Wednesday, 22 February 2012

A place to call home

Our front door in autumn
When we moved here last summer, it was hard.  Of course, some of the big things I wrote about, like the  losses I had gone through, and tyhe dear friends left behind.  But there was also the move itself...the endless packing and sorting and packing more.  And then the unpacking.

The whole thing left me exhausted.  But I do love the house Lance found for us to lease until our house in Florida can sell.  And a few weeks ago, I started making it home.  Putting up pictures.  Finally unpacking my craft supplies and setting up my craft room.  I started to relax just a bit.

But the universe didn't seem to like me feeling too comfortable, because the very day after I set up my craft room, the owners e-mailed to tell us that instead of leasing the house for two years then returning, they have decided to sell it at the end of our lease in early June.

So once again, we must pack up everything, and sort, and pack some more.  We need to find another place to lease, and we need to do it quickly.  And then we have to hope that the owners of that house don't decide to sell 6 months later.

It's hard for me to deal with this kind of uncertainty, especially with everything else.  Should I bother to unpack at the next place?  Should pictures and art work come out of boxes, or just stay in storage?

I want to feel like I have a home.  And more than that, I want my daughter to feel like she has a home.  I just don't know how to make that happen.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

On spam mail, chain letters and Facebook hearts - An unexpected Valentine's Day conversation

In my e-mail today, there were three chain letters, each promising something wonderful if I passed them on, and dire, deadly consequences if I didn't.  On my Facebook page, there were a half a dozen notifications that I had received a heart, a hug or some other token of love that would be counted and recorded as soon as I accepted it.

Both the chain letters and the Facebook apps suggested that I should send the same back to the sender, to let them know I cared. 

I used to get annoyed by chain letters with their thinly veiled threats for not passing them along to others whom I knew wanted them as little as I did. But now I see them differently.  They are requests to know that we matter.

So many of us live in a world where no one on our street knows our name (or perhaps ONLY our name.)  At work, we are replaceable if we choose to leave, or expendable if the company's accounts deem us unnecessary or too expensive.

Online, we may have hundreds or even thousands of "Friends" and "Followers", but most of them would barely notice if our Facebook or Twitter accounts shut down tomorrow.

So now, probably more than ever in history, we NEED to know that someone reads our e-mails and responds in kind to wish us luck or love or prosperity.  We NEED to see those heart (or hug) counts on Facebook to feel that someone out there, beyond our little world, cares about us.

Those often annoying, sometimes irritating requests are really a way of saying "Do you know I'm here?"  And more importantly, "Does it matter?"

So this Valentine's Day, I have a suggestion.  Spend some time over the next few days to let the people in your life (online and in person) know that they matter to you. Send them a note, write them a message or send a virtual card.  Buy a box of those $2 for 20 kiddie Valentines and give them out to your coworkers or neighbors.

And this is the hard part:  do it all without keeping count or demanding that they pass it on or return the favor.  The world can be a lonely, scary place these days.  Maybe this February 14th we can all make a dent in that.

Happy Pink Saturday!

Friday, 10 February 2012

I have a lot of work of course, I want to clean

It started back in college, I think.  Midterms or finals came around or a major paper was due, and suddenly I wanted nothing more than to clean my room.  And not just tidy.

I felt a NEED to sort through those drawers or organize my closet.  And then there was my backpack.  I'd been meaning to do that, hadn't I?  And my purse, and the car, and....

I wasn't alone in this sudden onset of sorting and cleaning, either.  Even the guys who had lived all semester with a carpet of dirty clothes and secret stashes of petrified pizza under their beds were seen heading to the laundry room with arms full of towels and jeans and sheets they hadn't changed since the school year started.

That same feeling hit this morning as a I contemplated my to-do list.  Lots of documents to process.  Some articles to write and post.  Phone calls to make and e-mails to send.

And all of a sudden, the idea of cleaning my teenage daughter's bathroom sounded like such a wonderful idea.  And then there was the kitchen pantry...hadn't I been saying I needed to reorganize that?  And so it went, as I imagined all the sorting and cleaning I could (should?) be doing instead of the work I had committed to do.

I tried to sit down and my computer and work, but God knew my weakness.  All of those other chores were calling.  I was imaging how I could do both.  Then my connection went wacky.  A program I needed offered me server errors instead of answers.  I knew it was time to walk away from temptation.

So now here I sit, with 5 miles between me and all that suddenly interesting cleaning and sorting.  A datebase I need to transfer is downloading.  E-mails have been sent, and a few more will go out as soon as I finish this post.  The noise and bustle of Panera Bread is nothing compared to the call of "other things I could be doing."  And my work will all get done.

Now if only I had known about this back in college....

Thursday, 9 February 2012

To Everything There is a Season...and Sometimes That Means New Blogs

Austin at Sunset ©Lindsay Shugerman 2011 All Rights Reserved
For now, my season is to be in Texas.  Sure, I'd rather be in Florida.  And I hope that things will work out so we can return home, sooner rather than later.  And I plan to make MANY, MANY trips home in the meantime, to see my friends and my family and my beloved places.

But I have to face facts.  For now I am here, in Austin.  And I can make myself miserable, or I can learn some new things, meet some new people, and work on myself while I'm here so that the person who returns home will be better, more interesting, more sure of herself and have greater depth than the person I was when I left.

This is hard for me.  If I find joy here, I feel like I'm being disloyal to home, and to those I left behind.  I worked hard to get back to Florida after so many years away.  I reconnected with those I had missed for so long, and I met new kindred spirits who also loved South Florida and called it home.

Sailing off Miami ©Lindsay Shugerman 2010 All Rights Reserved
But now I am in a place I do not love.  Where there are no precious memories or dear friends with whom I can reconnect.  I lived other places over the years...and each time, once the dust had settled, and the excitement of exploring a new city, a new state was past, that old familiar call home would begin.  But during those "honeymoon" days or weeks, I had built some connections, found some favorites in the new place.

This time, the excitement never happened.  So now I need to learn a new way to see the world, and my location.

No, it's not going to turn around over night. I will still be homesick, I will still call Florida "Home." But I need to work at finding some reason to like it here, even if "love it here" never happens.

One way I am going to try and make that happen is with some new blogs.  One, which I started in November, focuses on the details I see in the world.  That one will allow me to bring in images I've collected throughout my travels, as well as new things I find here.

The second one will be about Texas style in decorating.  I love texture and aged finishes, and if there's one thing Texas is excellent at, it's aging finishes.  Think of this blog as shabby-chic meets Texas practicality.  I am looking forward to working on that one.

The last one is a family project, and will be all about Austin and the surrounding area.  We've been working on that one, and are almost ready to launch.  By the way, if you're an Austin-area blogger, we will be looking for guest bloggers on that one.

I will still keep this blog, because this is where I share my thoughts, my joys and my sorrows.  I've been neglecting this blog because I was too sad to write, and got tired of seeing my own whining. So  I wrote and deleted, wrote and deleted, without ever hitting that publish button.  Time for that to end.

Watch for links to all three new blogs next week.