Archive for the ‘House’ Category

The Close

angsty new year

Not really sure how I feel about the last year or whether I know quite how to approach the coming one. Full of hope and expectation? Only to be let down and feel deflated?

What is a possibility? I was contemplating that idea during a hike a while back and the whole idea gave me hope at the time…but there is always the possibility for terrible things to happen. Do we just ignore them? Or decide that whatever happens we will endure and grow stronger? All this thinking makes me want to hide under an embankment and have someone wake me when its over.

But another year is over and many possibilities are what get me through each day, so what can I say against hope and possibility? Nothing. Moving forward just knowing that a broken world produces many things among those that we hope for.  So I feel angsty.

But as the close comes quickly now we also celebrate.

Happy New Year! May it truly be happy and full.


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Last three boxes before I have to fit boxes into my teaching schedule. Not looking forward to it, but its got to be done and I could use some discipline in my evenings.

Box #19 was a nightmare. It contained three years of paper that we had accumulated since we moved in! It was everything from 2 year old bills, junkmail, and credit card offers to pay stubs, invoices, and lumberyard bills. It took me an hour and a half to do this one box. It was awful. Thankfully I had my trusty Septimus Heap Book 5: Syren audiobook to keep my mind off the awfulness of the situation.

I am a total sucker for young adult fantasy. The Septimus Heap books have been keeping me company for the last month as I road tripped, painted, and unpacked boxes. I’m a big fan of audiobooks. They do all the voices! I am also reading (as opposed to listening to) the Madeline L’Engle Murphy/O’Keefe series and loving them. I think young adult books are just transporting in a way that adult fiction can often not. Young adult books still cultivate the imagination by believing in peace, love, and justice. At least the ones I read do. I feel giddy just thinking about it.

Box #20 & #21 were more books. Lots of those.

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So we didn’t end up going backpacking because it rained. So I re-organized the office and went to Ikea to assist in the matter. Not quite done, but I will post pics when I am done.

Box #17 was more bathroom stuff that should never have been packed and left to sit…lotion, vitamins, foot creme, and bengay with dead bugs at the bottom. So gross. The only things I kept were some packets of tissue that seem unscathed and an ace bandage that was still in its packaging. The rest went into the trash.

Box #18 was books. Found spots for them much to my surprise.

In other news, here is a sneak peek of a new shirt screen design.

Coming to Squam Art Workshops Art Fair on September 18!

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The Box Challenge: Days 11-16

given to me right after we started dating

Going into the future now because I will be away for the next few days. Pre-unpacking rather than trying to catch up afterwards.

Box 11 was yesterday and it was most unspectacular. It contained mostly old bottles of otc medicines, lotions, and vitamins. They went straight into the trash. 3 year-old Maalox anyone? Gross! We should have never packed so quickly…no thought to what was important and what we would certainly not be unpacking soon enough. Ah, lessons learned.

Box 12 was not in the basement, but not all of them are. I have a few boxes lying around in the office itself and this was one of them. It contained all of our various print papers. I had cleaned off the paper trays the other day so neatly they went onto the plastic shelves. That was a satisfying box!

Box 13 was more books. Enough said.

Box 14 was mostly empty, but it counts because it was still taking up space in the basement. It had some unwanted kitchen stuff in it that had been left after the good stuff was taken out.

Box 15 was dreaded school notes and binders. What do you do with all your old college notes? Will I want them again? Most I kept. A few things went into the recycling. I just don’t know.

Box 16 was more randomness. One notecard box held all the rsvp cards from our wedding 6 years ago. I thumbed through them lovingly until I realized that I was counting up how many of the families that were noted on the cards could no longer be written as such and how many of the people listed I cannot count as friends anymore. I counted three divorces and more lost friends than I have fingers before I slammed the box shut frustrated by how the passing of time claims relationships. Hot, angry tears…but I’ll be okay. Some change is just hard and to find something so tangible showing the change caught me off guard. There have also been marriages, babies born, and new friends added in the last 6 years. For that sunshine I am thankful.

I did find my reindeer antlers my mom got me for wearing to school right before the Christmas break. Every year since we moved I have mourned their loss the day before vacation. Now, to keep them not lost until December!


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Are any of you unpacking boxes? I promise I have been. Except for yesterday. Yesterday I had to fire off lesson plans I had forgotten to do then I progressively saw a few different friends. So today I did two boxes.

Box #7 & 8 were….I don’t actually remember. More office junk I know. CDs, stuff to get rid of, books.

Box #9 was even more junk. Empty boxes from electronics we don’t own anymore. A magazine holder full of Ben’s papers (including tax stuff…why can’t we just file things??).

Box #10 was another despairing box of books. I could have just dumped them on the shelf but we don’t own enough shelves, so I sorted them. The shelves in our old office were organized according to the Dewy Decimal system. It was pretty cool. But there is no semblance of organization now.

The good news is that while there is more junk lying around in the office, I can start to see a dent in the basement!

I promise that this is better than it was before. The boxes were up to the ceiling. Its not a hole yet, but it is a dent and dents help in the long run. I might even be able to see light at the end of the tunnel. Can’t be sure, but maybe.

I have also been putting some time into organizing the office as I unpack, but that is more very very slow work.

Anyone else unpacking?

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Yes, I have been unpacking one box per day these last fews days…just hadn’t gotten to blogging about it. Three more boxes have been unpacked and their cardboard is not folded up at the top of the stairs. Box #4 contained all of my BeDe cards and other random office junk. I found a spot for the BeDe cards and added new cards to the binders. Box #5 was a box of books, so I found a shelf for them. Probably should get rid of some of them, but for now they will stay. I feel like we need to go through our whole library and sort it out. Box #6 was huge and heavy! It was more random office stuff, including a box of photos, old birthday cards (what does one do with them all??), the contents of my old magnetic board (still have to go through that), the file with all the drafts of my wedding invitations, and some school stuff.

So this question comes to mind, how does one find the balance between sentimental keepsake and hoarder packrat? I feel like this room is quickly filling with stuff I don’t really want and yet each item individually seems reasonable to keep. Am I fated to drown in clutter??

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The Box Challenge: Day 3

So today I slept in and then got myself swept up in painting, so just did my box now. I was not happy about doing this one, labeled “Jess Office.” The office in our apartment had so much junk in it and I just don’t know what to do with it. This particular box was half full of old electronic devices. Luckily I have the best possible dumping ground for this kind of stuff…Dad’s electrical and computer engineering lab at UMass Amherst. So with one phone call I had a home for that junk. They will either use it or take it apart and make something else from it. Not everyone can recycle/reuse electrical devices, but they can!

this stuff is going to dad's lab

In other news, I completed a little encaustic today. I had previously draw the line to chart the ups and downs of a day with a particularly anxiety-invoking evening (can’t quite remember why). So today I painted and waxed the line’s story.


I’m really liking these little line-based encaustics. For one thing they make bad days a source for interesting art. A good day would just make for a boring line. I’m also painting a lot of houses. I’ll post more about those another time…and when I have more done.

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