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This picture represents something quite unique for me. A package of pretty soaps with one missing. That means, one is being used. Used up. And once it’s gone, it will be no more.
At one time in my life this would have given me heart palpitations. The idea that I could use something so beautiful. Waste it so to speak.
I got these soaps from my dear daughter-in-law for my birthday. As soon as I got the beautiful box my first thought was, “I can’t use these!”. So I put them on display in the bathroom. Too nice to use, I thought.
Then, one day, I was remembering a bunch of guest soaps I had bought and kept in my soap dish. For guests to use. My husband wasn’t allowed to touch them. I had to dust them off from time to time. They were too nice to use. One day I tossed them out. They were chipped and dusty and didn’t look pretty anymore. I hadn’t even had a chance to use them. Throwing them away was far more wasteful then using them and enjoying them.
I’m in the purging stage of my life. I am throwing things out that, at one time, I had to have. I realized if I didn’t use these soaps, they too would one day get thrown out. If I could bear to do it.
So I pulled one of the soaps out of the package. It’s almost gone now. And when it’s done, the next one will come too. I’ll probably keep the box because I haven’t met a pretty box I didn’t think should go up on the shelf with my box collection. And then, someday, it too will get tossed.
But not yet. I still have two pretty soaps to look at and enjoy.
I don’t know about you, but for me a good morning starts with opening the dishwasher and seeing it empty. Why does this particular sight make my heart so happy? The realization that I don’t have to start my day with work? Laziness on my part? A half-full dishwasher makes me feel slightly less happy – it means that after I put in my breakfast dishes I’ll have to run it which means the NEXT time I open it up, guess what. There will be dishes to unload and put away. Something like this picture usually creates a grimace. Why? I don’t know.
I timed myself once, just to see how much of my precious day this particular job steals from me. A whopping six minutes. That’s less time than it takes me to write this post about the heinous job of unloading the dishwasher.
I decided I was approaching this dishwasher thing all wrong. It is Lent and I am trying to cultivate a sense of thankfulness this Lenten season. So I’m trying to find, in each thing that comes my way, something to be thankful for. This head cold I’m fighting has been a challenge, but I’m a creative sort. I’ll get that one figured eventually once my mind works better again. But for now, it’s the dishwasher that has been my challenge in the thankfulness department.
So as I empty it I try to make myself thankful for dishes to eat off and clean. Thankful for food to put on the dishes that makes them dirty. Thankful for enough utensils that I can stuff the dishwasher to the max and still have enough utensils to eat with. (Sure, one of them might be a baby spoon and the other that bent fork I keep throwing back in the cutlery tray, but hey, it’s better than fingers.) I’m thankful for the new drinking glasses I bought and how they sparkle when I take them out and put them in the cupboard. I’m thankful for clean water to put in the glasses.
But mostly I am thankful for the thing itself. It’s a miracle machine. I put dishes in it dirty and they come out clean. It’s quiet so I don’t even have to hear it doing it’s job. It doesn’t make work for me as much as it saves me work. So today I salute my dishwasher. Long may you run and long may you take what is dirty and make it clean.
I’m sure there’s a Lenten lesson in here somewhere but I’ll leave that to the more erudite of my readers to connect the dots and ponder it. As for me, I’m putting my breakfast dishes in the dishwasher and going out for a walk. And when I come back…..all will be done…and then I can empty it again.
Many writers talk about book reviews and how they avoid reading negative ones of their own books. Now, I’ll admit, I’m a bit of a wuss when it comes to that too. I don’t like to know that all the words I struggled so hard to pull together are seen in a bad light. Books have often been compared to babies and the analogy applies. No one likes to be told the child that they nurtured and cared for and loved so dearly is….well….unattractive….ugly. Reading negative reviews on your book can raise hackles, create depression, make one question one’s abilities etc. etc. I have often written a book thinking, this is the one that will get the amazing review and then, when it came out, it didn’t.
I used to avoid reading reviews altogether. Nothing could send me under my desk, gnawing at the cuffs of my hoodie faster than reading a review that either trashed or, worse, made a ‘meh’ comment about my book.
I’ve tried to take a different tack, lately. I’m getting a little tougher with each year I walk this planet. I have a better handle on who I am and what I do. One of the perks of getting older. I always promised myself I was going to be a crusty old lady. Getting there.
But the reality is, after 40 some books, I’m still looking for ways to improve my writing and make it better and I can let criticism of what I do run off my back a bit better. My editor is one part of that process of getting better….and like them or love them, reviews can be another. The good…..and the bad and the mediocre. Sure, the good reviews make me feel all warm and fuzzy. And sure some of the bad reviews are a bit off base.
But at the same time, I swallow my pride, set aside my ego, embrace cliches and read them. If there is a consistency to the negative reviews, I pay attention. I like to know if I did something right, but I also need to know if I did something wrong. My editor helps, yes, but reviews come from readers who have had no exposure to the idea. They are starting fresh. So I check them out, sift them a bit and take what I can possibly learn and see if I can apply it.
It’s all part of the process, I figure. And some of the bad reviews send me back to the computer determined to ‘show them’. And anything that gets me back at the keyboard is a good thing.
I have been doing some home renovations lately. This always makes me stressed. Not the reno’s. Those are a breeze. Painting and moving and buying and throwing away. It’s the picking and choosing of colours and designs, that makes me craaaazy. I have reason to feel this way. When we built our house I decided that me, taupe-loving, never-met-a-brown-I didn’t-like, neutral person should bust out of her comfort zone and get some colour.
Mistake. My counter which was supposed to be a gentle blush turned out a flamingo pink. My bathroom, a brilliant aqua. I lived with both as long as I had to and then, as soon as I could afford it replaced the aqua bathroom with, you guessed it, brown granite. Why fight it! The pink got replaced with green.
Fast forward to a month ago. I wanted to update the house. Because of previous bad colour choices I got some help. I painted samples of colour all over the house and looked at it in different light, asking anyone who came by for their opinion. We finally settled on Benjamin Moore camouflage colour. We, meaning me and my friends. My husband prefers I keep everything exactly as it was when we first moved in. He hates change. We ignored him.
I got the paint up. Now my house is wide open, living, dining room and kitchen are all one large space and it was a lot of camouflage. So I decided I needed an accent wall to break it up. So I googled what would look best with camouflage and then got all antsy when I saw how dark it was. Thanks to instant messaging, I could use my sister again. I got two batches of the paint that the Benjamin Moore website said went best with Camouflage. One went full tone, one half. Then I put new splashes of paint on my wall, took a picture and sent them off to my sister. She preferred the darker colour, I’m leaning to the lighter one. What do you think?