When I start wallowing, I realize it's time to do two things - clean, and count my blessings. Yes, I still want to run away to Alaska. I'm not really sure THAT will ever leave me, and although the urge is strong, when I'm feeling down, to think everything in the world is better there (in Alaska, the grass is ALWAYS greener, even when it is covered by three feet of snow and is 20 below!), I really do just love Alaska. So it isn't JUST about the urge to run away... I ALWAYS want to go to Alaska, ALWAYS want to move there. And it is harder for me right now, because I love summer in AK. I've been lucky enough to have been there a few times in summer, as well as winter, and although I definitely love winter because of the dogsledding, it is just beautiful there in the summer. This time of year is when it tugs really hard on my heart when I can't go and there are no trips planned in the foreseeable future. Made worse, too, this week, by my brother's admission that he is going back in September. Lucky bum. His time is his own, he has no kids to put through college, and the fishing is good in September. AND - he's going to Homer, which is, quite possibly, the most gorgeous little place on God's green earth. But, hey, oh well. I've been there. It's beautiful. I have permanent pictures in my mind. That in itself is one of my blessings I need to remember. Some people have simply not been that lucky. I have. Blessing counted!
Other blessings that come readily to mind this introspective morning - I love, love, love watching my chickens on the front lawn. I KNOW they drive my neighbors crazy, I know it is a little bit weird, but I just get so much peace from watching them go about their daily business. They are fun. They have SO divided themselves according to "pecking order." The three original ladies were adopted by the driveby-drop off rooster, so the 4 of them are always together. The two black Americaunas - a hen I raised, and a rooster a friend raised from the same bunch and gave back to me, paired up immediately, and can always be found together. And then two gorgeous orange and grey Americaunas she gave me back, the last two to join, are also never apart, but never with the other ones, either. And they are the lowest of the chicken food chain - they are the last to get to eat, or drink, and the last to get any scraps. The other 6 hold them at bay. Yesterday morning, I was sitting on my front porch, drinking coffee, eating toast, reading a book, and Butterscotch, one of my three original ladies from last year, jumped up on my lap and started pulling toast out of my hands. What's not to make you smile about that?! And Sparrow, my favorite, is such a GOOD cuddler. Any time I'm feeling a little low, I go out, pick her up, and snuggle her. She settles right in, puts her head down on my arm, and goes to sleep while I rub her soft, downy underneathe feathers. I think everyone should own a chicken or two. It would make the world a better place.
The weather has sunnied itself up again. Although it is hot, and muggy, I have decided it is infinitely preferable to last week's bone-chiling cold, for July. I'm appreciating it.
I am reading a really enjoyable book, Coop, by Michael Perry. It's just a slice of someone's country life, it's joys and struggles, and I can identify with so much of it that it is a genuine pleasure to read. That's always a plus in my life - I read so much that when I stumble across a really good book, I feel like I've won the lottery. I don't know that a lot of people would love it, but I do.
I am taking my daughters shopping tomorrow. I'm not really much of a shopper, and generally taking them is not high on my list of fun things to do (I'd rather walk across hot coals), because they argue, they fight over where I have to go with which one of them, they grumble when they don't find what they want. It's just usually a pain. But tomorrow, I am actually looking forward to it. After finishing the last couple of weeks of school, then spending the first week of my vacation hurriedly cleaning out my parents house with my sister and brother, I feel like getting out. I don't need to buy anything, I just need to look at bright colors, lots of people, eat food someone else has made for me. And then I will be more than happy to come back home and stay put for awhile. Like, for the rest of the summer!
So, as an addendum, I didn't finish counting my blessings. I've been too busy living the other part - cleaning. I have decided to totally weed out the extra "stuff" in my life that is simply not necessary. My mind, heart, and soul are all just lighter, and free-er when life is simple and uncluttered. We dropped off two full boxes of my daughters' jeans yesterday at a clothes drop box. That felt good. I have decided there is no need for two quilt racks in my bedroom, or an old antique spool table of my aunt's that is broken, etc. etc. I did take the girls on a marathon shopping trip yesterday. We all picked up just a few bargains, and came home exhausted, but happy. That will do me for, well, like I said, the rest of the summer. I'm just not much of a clothes shopper. I hate malls. AND, best of all, it was the final little kick I needed yesterday to change my eating and exercising habits - I'm tired of clothes not fitting, tired of the sizes I need to look at, can't STAND to look at my shape (?) in the dressing room mirrors, etc. I had a salad for dinner, and a slice of veggie pizza. Summer school started this morning, and I have 4 little cherubs to work with, one on one, 30 ,minutes each, on their individualized reading program. Despite the heat, it flew past, and I'm home, with an afternoon stretched ahead of me to work on more cleaning, and I think I might even sneak in a nap.
From very empty feeling a few days ago, with the heat and the sun and a new attitude, I am feeling very FULL of blessings today.
And, I've decided I want to learn to fish this summer! :) I haven't set the rest of my summer goals yet, but I definitely want to fish.