Taking Stock

Any kind of life change affords one the opportunity to do some reflecting, a little looking forward, and the chance to contemplate what’s next. And what’s here now. It may seem silly, but how often do we pause to look around right where we are?

Earlier this year, I shifted my focus to more cerebral pursuits – I wanted to make creativity a priority again, to get in a better mindset overall. At the gym, I had had my foot on the gas for too long, so to speak. And so I did. I eased up a little. I still trained – but only three or four times a week instead of four or five. I stopped going heavier, instead making sure my workouts were consistent and made me feel good, not whipped. And when I got home, I read books on creativity and did some writing. Nothing worth publishing, nothing for public eyes. And while it didn’t seem like I was accomplishing anything at the time, it allowed me to grease the wheels and just start. Along the way I closed up the blog and excused myself from social media – just to quiet my mind for a little while. Enough with all the external information, it was time to just look around at the here and now – in my neighborhood, in my own world, in my head. Or, as I explained it to a friend:  just do me for a while. Continue reading

Pardon Our Dust

You may have noticed a definitive absence here that started around late February.  I decided my services were needed elsewhere.  And by elsewhere I mean my guest bathroom on the second floor.  But wait, Alison, it’s May.  Good catch.  As it turns out, renovating a bathroom 90% solo, while maintaining your normal life, takes a very long time. Here is that saga. Totally worth it. Continue reading

Befores (and Progress!)

The last weekend in June was all hands (well, my hands) on deck – I had had enough.  Sitting at work on Thursday I started cooking up some grand plans for the yard, and more specifically, the yard in the days to come.  And maybe less “grand plans” than “feasible solo projects.”  I have Fridays through Mondays off (I know, I know…) so I have A LOT more time to do house projects than Ryan does.  This means much of the manual labor around here falls to me.  Which is fine, because then I can be as anal retentive as I want about how things get done.  (So that’s that.)

Here are some before pictures of the yard.  I was so anxious to get started on Friday morning that I forgot to actually take photos before I started working, but I’m pretty sure the idea of “unfinished project” still comes across.

I spent eight hours Friday, four hours Saturday, and three hours Sunday on this portion.  (Ryan was kind enough to help me on Saturday, although the look on his face when we arrived in the backyard and I explained the project was priceless.  Somewhere between hopelessness and disbelief.)

In related news, my hamstrings are killing me.

Have you tackled a big project around your house or yard single handedly?  How did it turn out?
Backyard 1Sideyard 2
A couple of “befores” of the areas to be renovated.  To say we let the weeds go a little too far is an understatement.
Sideyard Progress 2
Backyard Progress 1
After a couple days of tilling and pulling and tilling and pulling and hauling endless bags to the curb, here’s where I’m at. So close. This dirt area is going to get sod, so we have a little more lawn and less weed-pulling.
Satellite Laptop
Anyone that knows me, also knows about our bizarre yard. The previous owners had a couple dogs, a couple kids, and a less-than-perfect reputation for flinging things at-will into the backyard abyss. This means that every time, and I mean every time, Ryan and I do a little landscaping, we find amazing and sometimes puzzling treasures. This may be the most awesome find yet. I posted this on Twitter with the caption “Somewhere, there is a super hero action figure missing his satellite laptop.” If you know this household at all, the fact that I found a miniature laptop is pretty awesome.  Had to take time out from manual labor to snap a picture.
Hosta FlowersDay Lilly Flower
And because staring at all the work left to be done can cause one to burst into tears of frustration, I leave you with these two images.  When the task at hand seems insurmountable, it helps to take in what HAS been completed.  This summer I’ve already spent a considerable amount of time in the front yard making our house look presentable – stopping at the end of a hard work day to take a few pictures of healthy flowering plants made me feel a little better.  If I whipped the front yard into shape, I can do the same with the back.  Just a little perseverance, is all.  (And some serious ibuprofen.)