Tag Archives: Sarah Ban Breathnach

A New Year Full of Things That Have Never Been

It has been a rough year with many kinds of losses.  I am trying to get myself back on track to remember and appreciate what I have that is good.  That simply being able to ‘be’, to exist, is a good thing to be grateful for.  I could be dead, right? 😉

I checked out past New Year’s posts and the quotes from my first New Year on this blog spoke to me again.  You can never have to much of a good thing.

And now let us welcome the New Year.  Full of things that have never been.  – Rainer Maria Rilke

“…but time is the New Year’s bountiful blessing:  three hundred sixty-five bright mornings and starlit evenings; fifty-two promising weeks; twelve transformative months full of beautiful possibilities; and four splendid seasons.  A simply abundant year to be savored.”  -Sarah Ban Breathnach

Happy New Year’s everyone!

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January Box (Oh, yeah, that’s late)

My Monthly Boxes

So what’s in my monthly boxes?  Teapots, mugs, candle holders, some candles, and sometimes decorations.  Over the years I’ve acquired way too many to fit into the kitchen and china cabinet.  Some wound up in the basement not even used.  (No teapot, mug, or tea-cup comes into this house unless it can be used.) What to do?  I didn’t want to get rid of them, too many fond memories.  And I do enjoy my candles and tea.

Well, one of the things I have learned over the years with animals is to divide their toys into groups and switch them out every week or every other week to help keep them interested.  As I was trying to figure out how to make this work for my stuff, I ‘found’ one of my favorite books called Mrs. Sharp’s Traditions – Reviving Victorian Family Celebrations of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach.  In it she discusses seasonal ‘tablescapes’ and The Seasonal Tree.  Yes!  Only instead of dividing my stuff up by seasons, I would divide mine up by the month so as to rotate all my teapots through and only have them in the china cabinet instead of all over the place.

I should note that my china cabinet isn’t used the traditional way.  It’s a hold over from a large house we used to live in.  The whole dining room set came with the house.  It’s old but wonderful and I used it for storage in the livingroom (this house is so damn small) till I decided to put teapots, cups, teapot books, and keepsake stuff on the shelves.  The cupboards below still have games and puzzles in them.

The past few years have not been fun and I didn’t keep up with the boxes.  So last year I brought everything upstairs (the monthly boxes live in the basement) and resorted and added the new stuff.  Then life went to heck last spring and I didn’t give a rat’s backside about changing out my stuff.  (I did do a couple this fall.) Well, it’s the New Year; but I’m always reluctant to let go of Christmas and didn’t get the last of it put away till Candlemas Day (Feb.2).

Sooooo, I’m getting January out for 2 weeks.  And then February out for 2 weeks. And then March will finish off, well, March.  No, I am NOT going to skip a month!  It’ll be another year before I see these pots ‘n stuff again.  So here are some pics:

My table before I threw my 'junk' back on it.  The snowflake boxes are votive holders.

My table before I threw my ‘junk’ back on it. The snowflake boxes are votive holders.

A gift candle I'm thinking of swapping out with the snowflake boxes on the table.

A gift candle I’m thinking of swapping out with the snowflake boxes on the table.

Some snowflake stickies I threw on the window.  Excuse the angle, but the first picture head on had me reflected quite clearly in the window.  In my underwear. :)

Some snowflake stickies I threw on the livingroom window. Excuse the angle, but the first picture head on had me reflected quite clearly in the window. In my underwear.  🙂

These teapots stay in the cabinet all year.  They are color neutral and small.  Only 2 mugs full.  The white one is a teacart.  I bought it for myself with Christmas cheer one year that was supposed to be used for clothes. :) The glass one is from my BFF.  It came with 'flower' teas.  You dropped the tea 'ball' into the pot and the ball turned into a flower.  Really cool.

These teapots stay in the cabinet all year. They are color neutral and small. Only 2 mugs full. The white one is a teacart. I bought it for myself with Christmas cheer one year that was supposed to be used for clothes. 🙂  (It’s really hard to find clothes to fit me and I get disgusted with clothes shopping.)  The glass one is from my BFF. It came with ‘flower’ teas. You dropped the tea ‘ball’ into the pot and the ball turned into a flower. Really cool.

These are also staples. They are both from my mother.  The one in the front is supposed to be a cupcake.

These are also staples. They are both from my mother. The one in the front is a table with flowers.

A January teapot.  A single serve 'Egg' teapot by Marjolein Bastion.  From my BFF.

A January teapot. A single serve ‘Egg’ teapot by Marjolein Bastion. From my BFF.

Sweet chickadee!  From my BFF.

Sweet chickadee! From my BFF.

This has a sugar bowl and creamer with it that I totally forgot to take a picture of! :)  This, too, was supposed to be clothes.  I have mugs from this set that you've seen before on my Mug of the Day pictures.

This has a sugar bowl and creamer with it that I totally forgot to take a picture of! 🙂 This, too, was supposed to be clothes. I have mugs from this set that you’ve seen before on my Mug of the Day pictures.

All together now!

All together now!

A cheerful tealight holder.  You can't help but smile back!

A cheerful tealight holder. You can’t help but smile back!

I also wound up with too many mugs for my mug rack.  So there are January mugs too!

These are wee kid size mugs.  Their lids are an open book.  You can see one on the right.  I found these with a teapot but I hate paying full price and waited till after Christmas one year to get them.  Alas, no more teapots so just the mugs came home.  The kids got a kick out of them.  I put them up on top my fridge.  (Which is freshly cleaned and decluttered!)

These are wee kid size mugs. Their lids are an open book. You can see one on the right. I found these with a teapot, but I hate paying full price and waited till after Christmas one year to get them. Alas, no more teapots so just the mugs came home. The kids got a kick out of them. I put them up on top my fridge. (Which is freshly cleaned and decluttered!)

Mug of the Day

So here's my first 'January' mug. Isn't he handsome?  The perfect size for a healthy cup of tea!

So here’s my first ‘January’ mug. Isn’t he handsome? The perfect size for a healthy cup of tea!

So that’s my January Box.  Two, now, actually.  In 2 weeks it’ll be time for the  February Box! 🙂

Yay! To Noticeably Longer Days!

Random Thoughts

When forced out of bed at the obscene hour of 6 a.m. on Wednesday, I realized that ‘light’ was appearing earlier than before.  This was greeted by snarling from my son who complained that it was interfering with him sleeping on the bus on the way to school.  Poor baby.  It also hit me that at one point in my life 6 a.m. was the routine ‘up’ time for me.  Huh.  Maybe this is the year I’ll be able to get myself back on a (snort) ‘normal’ schedule (eye roll).  Any who, I looked up the daylight hours here:  http://www.almanac.com/astronomy/rise

On December 21, 2012 we had 9 hours and 18 minutes of daylight.  The sun came up at 7:41 and set at 4:59 p.m.  Today, March 1, 2013 we had 11 hours and 19 minutes of daylight.  The sun came up at 6:55 a.m. and set at 6:14 p.m.  AND I’m starting to hear birdsong in the morning.  A sure sign spring is on the way.  YAY!

Soon it will be time for these beauties!

Soon it will be time for these beauties!

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I’ve gotten behind on my Simple Abundance and am trying to catch up.  I liked this section:

“Today, if you feel frightened or unsure about the future, pick up the double-edged sword of Light and Love.  Always remember, it’s simply not an adventure worth telling if there aren’t any dragons.  But as in the best old tales, at the end of your exploring, you will live happily ever after.”  Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance

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My March 1st quote of the day:  “Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it.” — Churchill

Life At Our House

Life has been a crazy round of after school wonderfulness.  Boy Scouts, The Play (6 days a week), and now Physics club for a gravity car competition.  But first they must build the thing.  Ugh.

But the real fun started last week when our furnace began to make the house sound as if it were under attack.  The bushings?bearings? and fan were dying dramatically.  Fortunately, the repair guy said it wouldn’t kill us.  If it died the whole thing would beat itself to death in what he called “the squirrel cage” without catching fire or blowing us up.  Phew.  Then he told us the company that made the furnace was long out of business (our furnace was 29 years old) and thus no parts.  Attempting to jerry rig something would only be a band-aid as the rest of the furnace was rusting to death.  Which we knew.  We were hoping to get through just one more winter before coughing up money for a new furnace.  We still have to put in sewage and had just enough money to do that.  Well, not anymore.

The first estimate was $3000.00 for an 80% efficient furnace and $3500 for a 90%.  I about had a stroke.  Eventually, after more estimates and some dickering, we got the company we wanted to put it in and a Rheem 80% efficient furnace for $2300.  $24oo something with tax (hey, I’m still traumatized).  Fingers crossed for a hefty tax refund from Uncle Sam to help off set this.  Having a kid in college has helped with that the past couple of years.

In the meantime I had to try to sleep (not) for 5 days with the furnace alternately sounding like a jet trying to take off or someone beating it to death with a sledge-hammer.  Gah.  Wednesday saw me up at the butt crack of dawn (6:00 a.m.) so that I could get a shower before they showed up and shut off the gas to install the furnace.

Life smiled on us.  We were given an estimate of a day and a half installation with heat guaranteed by night.  Well, we had two people working and someone to pick up the dead body and we had heat by 3:00 p.m.  I was stoked.  Of course, nothing is ever totally simple around here.  The furnace started up and burned a bunch of oil off the inside which flooded the house with smoke.  It looked like a fog had rolled in.  I have respiratory issues so this was ‘BAD’ and I ran around opening windows and doors and fighting with the fire alarm that was refusing to shut the hell up.  Oh, and did I mention the window screens?  We take them off for the winter.  They are on the inside of the house (what idiot came up with this I don’t know) and we wash them and put them away.  So after I threw open windows I had to have my husband keep the cats from jumping out while I dug screens out of the ‘Junk Heap’ (garage).  AND it was 40 degrees out and I also have circulatory issues so this was ‘Not Fun’.  But everyone survived and we now have a furnace that is half the size of the old one and really blows the air around.  I slept 14 hours yesterday and 12 hours today.  Thank heavens I had nowhere to be and things could be put off till the weekend.

Crystals

I changed out the rocks in the rock tumbler after 7 days.  The grit was gone.  Three days into the medium grit cycle the medium grit was gone.  WTF?  So now we are on the fine grit cycle.  I decided to see what I could find on the net and, wow, what a difference since 2004 when I bought the cheapo tumbler.

The cheapo rock tumbling kits give you 1 bag of each size grit.  It will get you so/so polished rocks, mostly of the cheap brown variety.  I had purchased on an order form the rocks that are in now so I got a somewhat better selection, but still only one bag per size grit.  What you’re supposed to do is ‘recharge’ each stage of grit with more grit till the rocks are ground down properly.  Smooth, no edges, no pits, etc.  Then you move to the next finer grit.  Repeat.  Apparently wearing the grit down in 3 days is not unusual.  But since I don’t have extra grit, I have to live with what comes out in each stage.  *sigh*

I find this whole process fascinating so I went looking around at ‘proper’ equipment and found that for one good 3 lb. tumbler and tubs, not envelopes, of grit I would have to come up with about $200.  *sigh*  So this won’t be happening anytime in my immediate future!  The following pics are 1) the original rough stones. 2) The stones after the rough grit. and 3) The stones after the medium grit.  You have to look carefully between the last 2 pictures to see the differences between the 2 steps.

Note the two green chrysoprase, one on top and one on the bottom.

Note the two green chrysoprase, one on top and one on the bottom.

It isn't an exact copy of the original photo, but close enough.

It isn’t an exact copy of the original photo, but close enough.

Note how the red striped rock in the roughly 10:30 position went from a slipper shape to oval in just 3 days.

Note how the red striped rock in the roughly 10:30 position went from a slipper shape to oval in just 3 days.

I wish I knew how to put these pictures side by side.  Next up will be a picture of them after the fine grit and then to the polish stage!

Mugs

After all the fun we’ve been having I grabbed a gift bottle of bubbly that we had been ‘saving’.  And I dug out my favorite hand painted wineglasses.  Well, only one.  And there are only three, not four, which is why I got them super cheap at a Christmas craft fair whose parade the Band always marches in.  I love these glasses.

Sooo pretty.

Sooo pretty.

Painted all the way down.

Painted all the way down.

Night all!

Our Loss of Wonder

Random Thoughts

Apparently Saver has the flu.  Any good thoughts or well wishes  you could send her way will be greatly appreciated.

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I’m happy to report my back is almost better.  I’m starting to get some sleep at night.  More would be better, but I’m at least semi-conscious during the day now.  I wound up spending too much time considering life and getting into a funk.  These two sayings popped for me:

“The tragedy of life is not in the fact of death, but in what dies inside of you while you live.”  — Norman Cousins

From ‘Romancing the Ordinary’ by Sarah Ban Breathnach:  Toward  the end of her life, the great environmentalist Rachel Carson confessed that if she could bestow a birth gift on every child, it would be “a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantments of later years” and the inevitable “alienation from the sources of our strength.”

Do you remember when you were a child and anything was possible?  The world was yours for the taking.  You could be anything you wanted, go anywhere in the world, discover hidden treasures, live happily ever after.  And then you begin to grow up and ‘Real Life’ happens and the exuberance and wonder you had as a child is slowly eroded away.  How many of us manage to hang on to that rush?  To the feeling that every new day is an adventure waiting to happen?  Not anyone I know, me included.

So this is where I acknowledge I’ve written myself into a corner.  ‘Cause I really have not reached a conclusion and have had no flash of insight.  I still need to find a way back, a path to follow.  Maybe I should just start with ‘mornings’.

This is funny – “Start each day with a smile and get it over with.” — W.C. Fields

And I love many of this woman’s sayings – “What happiness there is when I awake to find near me the gift of a Morning!” — Abbie Graham

And we really should be grateful every time we do get another one of those.  (I’m done throwing quotes around now.)

Life At Our House

Not much to report.  The Christmas Tree’s bone structure was removed from the house and its remains were literally raked up off the floor and thrown into the burn pile with the carcass.  Finally.

We also have been having -more- snow.  And now the weather is warming up and I was greeted with this view from my kitchen window.

I think there is a lot of snow melting off my roof.

I think there is a lot of snow melting off my roof.

So where did the drip, drip come from that formed this random icicle hanging off the tree branch?

So where did the drip, drip come from that formed this random icicle hanging off the tree branch?

Fur Babies and Other Friends

So now that I have been on regular spider patrol, I have baby crickets.

Dinner time!

Dinner time!

Which is a good thing because Cooper just keeps on growing.  Check it out.

When Cooper came here he was thiiiis big...

When Cooper came here he was thiiiis big…

And now he's THIS big!

And now he’s THIS big!

Out In The Yard (or Plants n stuff)

I went a little crazy right after Christmas.  I HAVE to get back to the stuff that makes me happy.  The things that I do well.  And plants are in that catagory.  It’s a long story, but I’m mostly plantless these days.  And the house used to have plants all over.  I really, really miss and need greenery in my life.

Because I needed to buy Cooper a bigger house (he grew waaaay faster than anticipated) and I’m greedy and want as much as I can get for the least amount of money;  I hit sales and clearance racks for greenery.  On sale for $2-$3 a bulb were Amaryllis.  I love growing them and bringing them into bloom.  Somewhere I have a picture of Saver when she was little in her Christmas outfit sitting next to one of my Amaryllis in bloom.  *sigh*

I bought 3 and planted them in my Christmas planter.  I will get blooms off 2 of them this year.  In fact, one of them is open and a surprise.  The box said I was getting a single white.  But this is what I really got.  Surprise!

Does that look like pure white to you?

Does that look like pure white to you?

And that's definitely a second row of petals, so not a single either.

And that’s definitely a second row of petals, so not a single either.

This was a special treat of a surprise.

Mug of the Day

Saver is on her way back to bed with her flu bug and it’s 12:30 a.m. so I leave you here.  Night all!

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Store-room Done (ish)

Random Thoughts

More quotes!

“The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing.”  — Marcus Aurelius

Boy, do I have days like that!  But I am back to doing my Simple Abundance, A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach.  “All you have is all you need.”  And she reminds us:

“We must learn to savor small, authentic moments that bring us contentment.  Experiment with a new cookie recipe.  Take the time to slowly arrange a bouquet of flowers in order to appreciate their colors, fragrance, and beauty.  Sip a cup of tea on the front stoop in the sunshine.  Pause for five minutes to pet a purring cat.  Simple pleasures waiting to be enjoyed.  Simple pleasures often overlooked.”

Today I took the time to admire my baby SeaMonkeys.  They hatched out of dried up eggs in a packet.  That always amazes me.  I gave kisses to my kitties and watched my puppy enjoy a peanut butter score.  And I looked at my Staghorn Fern and realized that it is sprouting new leaves.  Yay!

Life At Our House

The store-room is finally done!  Well, mostly.  There are things that have to be repacked because they’re a mess.  There are things I am probably going to either take to Goodwill or put in the yard sale pile out in the Pit (garage).  I have way too much kid paint and glitter glue, so I’ll see about donating to a teacher or two.  I have to make room to put my potatoes down in the store-room somewhere.  I couldn’t finish all the sorting and decision-making because we were on a deadline.  Spider Bait needs to get his Eagle stuff turned in.  We pitched 2 large garbage bags full of trash and put a bunch of stuff in the recycle bins (how many empty jars and bottles does one family need?).  But it’s 90% finished after roughly 17-20 hours worth of work over 2 weekends by 4 people.  And it is so amazingly wonderful to be able to walk in straight forward instead of crab-walking in sideways.  And I don’t have to worry about knocking anything over.  AND I know where everything IS!

Left side facing in from door.  The left side was bad, but not horrible.  Almost all the food is on that side and keeps being rotated out.  So it's semi-organized and clean.

Left side facing in from door. The left side was bad, but not horrible. Almost all the food is on that side and keeps being rotated out. So it’s semi-organized and cleanish.

Same side, lower view.  Once we hit the left side, it took about half the time to remove, clean, and replace.

Same side, lower view. Once we hit the left side, it took about half the time to remove, clean, and replace.

The right side facing in from the door.  See all the crap on the floor?  Goal - get it all on the shelves.  This half of the room was uber cluttered, dusty, dirty, moldy and just plain yuk.

The right side facing in from the door. See all the crap on the floor? Goal – get it all on the shelves. This half of the room was über cluttered, dusty, dirty, moldy and just plain yuk.

A reverse view.

A reverse view.

The right side empty and waiting to be scrubbed.

The right side empty and waiting to be scrubbed.

Now Once Upon A Time they had an uber sale on shelves.  I’m thinking it’s been 10 years, not sure.  We bought a bunch of them and got part of this room done but didn’t finish it.  I probably got sick again and didn’t pitch-a-bitch to get it done and it just got left and forgotten.  So we had shelf bits to make one unit higher.  And another still in its box.  And a metal shelf half buried in another part of the basement that we dug out, unloaded, cleaned, and brought in along with about half of what was on it.  Ta-Da!

Left side.

Left side.

Middle.  Look at all that walking room!

Middle. Look at all that walking room!

Right side.

Right side.

HIP, HIP HOORAY!

Fur Babies and Other Friends

I don't care if Mom's trying to work.  I need my snuggles!

I don’t care if Mom’s trying to work. I need my snuggles!

Me trying to work on the computer one-handed in my Eeyore pj's.

Me trying to work on the computer one-handed in my Eeyore pj’s.

Out In The Yard

Naw.  Too much snow.  But here’s a picture of one of the orchids Ikea had on sale for $5.

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Mug of the Day

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Woot!  And it’s not even midnight!

“And A Being Within Ourselves To Bring To Life”

Random Thoughts

I found this quote one year when reading Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach.  While Christmas-y in nature, I think it fits with the ‘take better care of myself’ theme.

If, as Herod, we fill our lives with things, and again with things; if we consider ourselves so unimportant that we must fill every moment of our lives with action, when will we have the time to make the long, slow journey across the desert as did the Magi?  Or sit and watch the stars as did the shepherds?  Or brood over the coming of the child as did Mary?  For each one of us, there is a desert to travel.  A star to discover.  And a being within ourselves to bring to life.  — Author Unknown

Life At Our House

We’re busy here.  Saver went shopping with Gma-in-law to get boots for LARPing in.  Tomorrow she will go shopping with my mom to get other things.

Spider Bait is doing presentations for different classes which have put him in a “wonderful” mood.

I am busting my backside putting my monthly boxes in order.  What’s a monthly box?  Well, I live in this way too small house that I was never supposed to stay in (long story).  There is very little room, but I still like my ‘stuff’ which happens to be teapots (40+ ish), mugs (100+ have to ask Saver), some tea cups, and my candle stuff.  I have a china cabinet from the other house, but it only holds on one shelf about 8ish teapots.  Teacups are on one and little bits of stuff with meaning on the third. I have a mug rack on the wall that holds I think 48 mugs.  And my candles and candle stuff?  OMG.  I had no idea how much of that I had till I started bringing it all together.  A number of years back I divided what I had then minus the candle stuff into 12 months and holidays and got boxes for them and any decorations for that month/holiday.  The first week of each month I would bring up that box and its contents and put away the month before.  That way I got to use/see/enjoy all my stuff.

Well the past few years I haven’t been doing my monthly boxes regularly and additions to the collection got stuffed here and there in the house and the Dungeon.  For the first time in a couple of years, I got teapots for Christmas.  Three, to be exact.  So I decided to round-up all I could find and re-sort my monthly boxes and also gather and sort my candle stuff and add it in.  Holy crap.  Hours ‘n hours and a couple of days later, I’m still not done.  I have to sit down and make an inventory for all the boxes so I know where everything is.  This does not, by the way, include Easter and Christmas.  Easter is buried in a corner I refused to excavate right now and Christmas is all over the damn place.

The candle stuff alone was sobering.  I put a few in each of the monthly boxes, but that still left 4 shelves worth of stuff.  I got only got rid of a shoebox of small candle holders.  Saver grabbed a couple that held memories for her.  Yikes.  Two and a half shelves are taken up with candles of different kinds.  I think as I work my way through them, a lot of the jar candles will wind up in the yard sale pile since I now have bad reactions to so many scented candles.  I need to let people know not to buy me jar candles anymore.  I’ll post pictures of box contents each month.  January always has to wait until after Epiphany.  AND…

We are also cleaning out the store-room in the basement as my son’s family project for his Eagle.  ***head table***  Another huge mess.  You could barely get in there. Hours of work. It is now my turn to go down and organize the shelves (put shit away) down the right side of the room.  I got the candle stuff in!!!  So tomorrow I will try to finish that and then Sunday the left side will be stripped out and cleaned.  It is the easy side since there really isn’t much to sort.  That whole side is pretty much food.  I took my time and built up a small stock pile of staples.  I buy in bulk whenever I can.  I really do love having a store-room and it will be sooo nice for it to be easy access and clean again. (No Halloween atmosphere with the spiders, no muck and mold on the walls, no mouse and rat traps with moldy peanut butter, … you get the picture.)  And speaking of which, I will post pics when we’re done with the room.

Here’s a picture of the Christmas mugs (minus 2 that came in after I took the picture).  I did at least get them out this year.

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Time for Bed!  Night all!

New Year’s Bountiful Blessing

And now let us welcome the New Year.  Full of things that have never been.  – Rainer Maria Rilke

“…but time is the New Year’s bountiful blessing:  three hundred sixty-five bright mornings and starlit evenings; fifty-two promising weeks; twelve transformative months full of beautiful possibilities; and four splendid seasons.  A simply abundant year to be savored.”  -Sarah Ban Breathnach

Happy New Year’s everyone!