Messy Craft Table as Self-Portrait

This morning my plan was to add the border to the baby quilt I’ve been working on, so I can get that one and the other two that I need to finish sandwiched and quilted. I got derailed by laundry, though, and needing a quick trip to Target for the laundry and since I’m still not driving I had to wait until Kendell had a break in his calls and then…

I walked into my crafty space and just kind of had to laugh. Because look at my table:

Messy crafty desk 4 8 2021

I’m not the kind of person who’s bugged by some clutter. I’m OK to work around it. But this is ridiculous…all the useable space is used up! So before I did anything, I needed to clean up my space.

But then I really looked at it, and I thought….hmmmmmm. That’s kind of a self-portrait right there, isn’t it? My desk says a lot about me, my personality, my affections, my obsessions. So before I cleaned up I snapped a pic. I know it looks like a cluttered ridiculous mess, but here’s what my table mess reveals about me (starting from the left and working to the right.

  1. I make quilts. I make baby quilts. If you are my friend or my family member and you have a baby, I’ll probably make a quilt for you. SOMETIMES I will buy the fabric but never make or actually give the quilt to you. But I still thought about it, that counts, right? It’s probably me overthinking, but the making of baby quilts is not just a shower gift for me. It is a love language that I speak to other people, a way of giving them my time and something tangible. It is because of Aunt Merle making me a baby quilt, and I can’t actually remember Aunt Merle but I can remember loving that baby quilt she made and so in essence some part of her is still here. Still remembered. Am I saying I make baby quilts to ward off my fear of death? Maybe. Don’t tell the new moms that though.
  2. My ginormous paper cutter. Kendell surprised me with this Rotatrim in 1997 or 98 and 20+ years later it still works perfectly. It felt obscenely expensive at the time but the long-lasting nature has made up for the cost. It is one of my most useful and most-used scrapbooking tools. And there on top of it is a quilting ruler, which I use interchangeable for quilting and scrapbooking.
  3. There are actually four things for placing cups on on my desk. The one I’ve used the longest is the one Elliot made for me. I think about him every day, partly because I have this beautiful and useful object he made for me. (Translation: my favorite gifts are the thoughtful and useful ones that carry some of the giver’s personality.) Also Monet’s Water Lilies, which I bought at the Denver Art Museum after seeing the exhibit. The corner is chipped because the airport security made me empty my entire carry-on bag (as has happened every time I’ve flown out of Denver) and the woman handling my stuff dropped it. Guilty of transporting art over state boundaries I guess and there’s always a price to pay for that. I’m not bitter.
  4. I didn’t think I would love having a laptop. I like the sturdiness of a desktop. But since Kendell’s been working from home (for the past four years, folks, don’t complain about your year-long time of never having any solitude or peace or quiet until you’ve done it for almost half a decade) and he uses the desktop, I’ve fallen in love with my laptop. Poems, essays, blog posts, political diatribes, editing photos, chatting with friends, writing scrapbook journaling and in my journal and bits & pieces of unfinished stories and…I use it a lot. So much so that I’ve worn out the left arrow key. (I don’t know why it’s that key.) Yes, I do have a purple mouse.
  5. The last scrapbook layout I finished, some supplies I still need to put away, my box of pins (unapologetically pink), a pile of purple pens. Just pretty and fun and colorful stuff I use.
  6. A couple of the border strips. I’m not 100% sure I can make the vision of this border actually work, but I’m going to try! I’ll let you know!
  7. My surgery amulets. I like Alex + Ani bracelets. During my recovery I wore those two gold ones. One has a seashell and it reminds me of the moment on the beach at Carmel when I had to admit to myself that I couldn’t muscle my way through this injury but would probably have to have it fixed. I cried a little but then I felt a deep sense of peace. Maybe the ocean waves were fooling me, but I felt like it would eventually be OK. The other has a charm of a gymnast doing a pose similar to dancer’s pose. I wore that one to remind myself that I have been strong and flexible in the past and those traits will help me be strong and flexible again. I’ve worn them every day since my surgery.
  8. Burt’s Bees. My favorite line stamp for journaling. My only real “mixed media” supplies that I actually use (the Heidi Swapp Color Shine spray). A box of new stuff from Felicity Jane, one of my favorite scrapooking companies. A book I’ve partially read.
  9. A headband and a scrunchie. Head bands are starting to show up around the house again, proof that I am doing more outside movement. I have some longstanding and fairly deep Forehead Issues, friends. It’s a story. I can’t stand to have my forehead exposed to sunlight. So I have a, well…a generously-sized collection of Bondi Bands. I keep them handy in all the spaces just in case.
  10. That clear tray holds new photos and supplies I want to use ASAP. The smaller pink one holds scraps I’ll use to make cards. As soon as I make cards. I still need to make, write, and send thank you cards to the many people who helped after my surgery. Three months later isn’t too late is it? 

I had to slightly clean off my desk just to write this post. Now I’m going to put on the border. Except I just heard the laundry machine ding…


I Touch Glitter Every Day: On Preemptive Apologies and Loving My Scrapbooking Self

Last week, after someone asked a question in one of the scrapbook groups I’m in on Facebook, I found myself reading my own blog. Specifically, some of my posts about scrapbooking. I went in search of a post I thought I’d written about how to fit in a lot of journaling on a layout (turns out, I didn’t write a blog post about it; instead, it was one of the lessons from my Big Picture Scrapbooking classes), but as I scrolled and read, I noticed a couple of things:

  1. I’ve written a lot of posts that could be helpful for other scrapbookers. (Please note it took me about five minutes to write that sentence because I don’t want to be all tooting-my-own-horn, you know?)
  2. Almost every single post I’ve written about scrapbooking either starts with or includes some sort of preemptive apology.

What’s a preemptive apology? It’s where I purposefully cut off the mockery of my internal voices by acknowledging their objections up front. IE: yes, I know scrapbooking is dumb, yes I know it’s silly for a grown-ass woman to be playing with colored pencils like a kindergartener high on new school supplies, yes I know I’m not an artist, yes I know this is terribly self-indulgent, yes I know my effort in writing this is pointless because I’m not now nor will I ever be sitting at the Cool Scrapbooking Ladies table.

If I say it out loud then there’s no point in the critics saying it, right?

(I have some pretty deep connections to the preemptive apology, going all the way back to…the beginning of my life, probably.)

These two realizations made me feel sort of despondent, but also sort of annoyed at myself. To clarify my realization, I looked at my Instagram posts about scrapbooking and, yes, they hold true there, too. Decent content, preemptive apologies.

And then, same week, I saw this meme:

Zooey d meme

I had to look up what TV show it’s from, as I didn’t watch it (it’s called New Girl). I don’t even know if I would like the character saying those things. I actually don’t rock polka dots (too trypy for me) and I can’t stand glitter. (I do brake for birds.)

But that stupid meme was an ah-ha for me.

Because, yep: I have touched glitter today. And by "glitter" I mean puffy stickers & pretty paper & alphabet stamps & watercolor paint. Probably somewhere on my hands there’s an ink stain, and probably it is aqua or purple. I have 8 million different script fonts installed on my computer. I have more scrapbooking supplies than I could use in a lifetime and last night I added more to an online shopping cart. I know how to blend markers and which inks are the best for longevity and how to use Photoshop and which photo printing service makes the best prints. I have two bowls full of washi tape, and yes, thanks for asking, they ARE precious to me. (The washi tape rolls and the bowls.) I like being crafty and I like that some of my family photos have meaning because I’ve told their stories.

And none of that makes me weak, lame, silly, pathetic, stupid, or pointless.

Even though in my head I feel weak, lame, silly, etc.

This ah-ha made me ask myself: Who am I preemptively apologizing to? The Queen Bees from high school (who don’t actually follow my social media anyway). The cool guy in my head, an amalgam of mountain biker & motorcycle rider and all the qualities those two identities entail. The bad-ass trail runner girls who are tiny and strong and can knock out twenty miles without even breathing hard. My husband, who tries to be supportive but just really doesn’t understand this aspect of me at all. The alternate version of myself who made different choices and ended up successful in meaningful ways. The friends I used to scrapbook with who don’t scrapbook anymore. And yes, all the ladies at the Cool Scrapbookers table.

I’m sick of preemptive apologies.

I’m sick of feeling embarrassed over the things I love.

I’m almost fifty years old. If now is not the time to exorcise the critical voices in my head, that time will never come at all.

The fact that I try to touch glitter every day doesn’t mean I’m not strong or smart.

It just means that making stuff makes me happy.

And while the truth is that yes: people have, in real life and with their actual voices, said negative things to me about my hobby (some sly and passive-aggressive, some abrupt and openly ridiculing), a good portion of the shame comes from the chorus in my head.

So I have set myself a goal. I actually have been working on this for most of my forties anyway: be who I am. Be instead of perform. I am trying to do this in all aspects of my life, but I haven’t really embraced my crafty self. My scrapbooking self, who has nurtured me through many things.

I’m not going to apologize anymore. I’m not going to feel embarrassed.

I’m going to scrapbook, and I’m going to sometimes share what I make, and I’m not going to say I’m sorry.

And those voices in my head?

They can feel free to unfollow me.


Scrapbooking is a Way I Tell the World I Loved It

I had the opportunity to record an episode of The Scrap Gals podcast. (It will be downloadable next week!) The topic: Your favorite scrapbook layout you’ve ever made.

When Tracie told me the topic, two layouts immediately sprang to my mind. But then I thought…well, I’ve made a lot of layouts. What if I’ve forgotten some? So I pulled out an album, thinking I’d thumb through and see.

A pleasant hour or so later, with my crafty space even messier than it was before (I am in the middle of a quilting storm!), I had found a few other “favorite layout ever”s, but I kept going back to the same two I originally thought of, so these are the layouts I talked about in the podcast.

Here is the first one, and it was, literally, the first layout that came to my mind in connection with the word “favorite.”

2000 10 xx Nathan Cascade Springs

Why is it a favorite? Partly for that photo. (The enlarged one on the left side. Remember when you had to take your negative back to the photo developing place, after having figured out with your lightbox exactly which frame you wanted to enlarge, and then wait for even longer to get the big print back?) That is Nathan at 11 months. That autumn day we went to Cascade Springs, which is a spot in the mountains here with gentle paths and wooden bridges over the springs. The other pictures are cute, but that one of Nathan? One of my favorite photos I’ve ever taken. (It makes me more determined to figure out a digital camera option, because if I had taken this with a cell phone yesterday, it would not be this lovely.)

So…that photo.

But I also love what I did on the layout. The colors in the patterned paper (I wrote on the back that it was made by “OAR” but damned if I can remember now what company that was) are perfect, and that gold crinkly paper behind the big photo, and how well it goes with the quote. (I realized looking at this that there’s a typo…can you spot it?) Like the gold paper is the shook foil.

What’s funny to me about this layout being a favorite, though, is that there is almost NO journaling. At least, on the front. On the back, I wrote about Kendell being grumpy that day, and kind of ruining the experience for me a little bit, and how we forgot Nathan’s shoes (probably what made Kendell grumpy). As I talked about it on the podcast, I realized that these photos are from a transitional time in our lives, when Kendell was out of work and we didn’t know what would happen, and this little moment was (mostly) a reprieve from that fear, when we were just this family of three in the woods. I wrote that all on the back because I didn’t really feel then, like I do now, that it is OK to have the more difficult details included with the good ones.

The second layout that came to mind was this one, which I made in 2016:

1972 12 25 Amy Christmas photo at Grandma Elsie's house

When I first saw that photo, which is from my first Christmas in 1972, I started to cry. Everyone in it is so young and hopeful, and I was just little and innocent and not yet damaged at all. This layout is probably not the best when you look at it from a design perspective…it is a lot of journaling to balance with the 6x6 photo (which is also not the best if you are looking at it from a composition perspective) and the title. But I love the patterned paper, the gold script “love,” and the fact that I used Basic Grey stickers for part of the title.

Really, though, this is another very-most-favorite layout because of the journaling. In it, I wrote about how the photograph forms a connection between me and my grandma Elsie, who I wasn’t very close with. And how that connection is also why I take photographs as much as I do, and why I make scrapbook layouts, so that I am also connected to the future.

I’m sharing a few other layouts that I didn’t talk about in the podcast, layouts that, when I saw them as I flipped through my albums, made me pause because they feel authentic to me. Like I made them not only as a reason to use pretty paper and cute embellishments, but as a method of drawing more of those connections between past, present, and future. 2006 05 20 kaleb six impossible things

Sometimes I look around my crafty space and just have to laugh. It’s amazing: I have an entire room stuffed to the brim with the supplies of my chosen crafts. I think when I first started scrapbooking, I did it partly out of…the concept of being virtuous, I guess, in relationship to my photos. Not just leaving them in an album no one looked at or on a computer file where they don’t even really exist. Writing down stories so my kids would have them accessible and know things about themselves they might not otherwise seemed like a…almost like a noble thing to do. Or maybe I just told myself that to justify the time and expense.

2001 06 xx Jake Still Waters

But as I have continued making layouts (I have been scrapbooking since 1995, when Haley was born), I have discovered something deeper.

If I am honest, I don’t even really know how to exist without scrapbooking. Even when I haven’t been actively scrapbooking for months at a time, I still think like a scrapbooker. I still write down stories and take lots of pictures and buy supplies. Not every layout I have ever made has been authentic in the ways that these layouts feel. Some have just been cute layouts or fun supplies. But even on those layouts—like the first one, with the 8x10 of Nathan sitting in the autumn leaves—they aren’t only frivolous. They say something about my personality, the things I find important, the way I choose to live my life.

2012 08 05 Haley Still Here

Thinking about what my favorite layout might be pushed me to think about the deeper reasons behind my scrapbooking. It is OK that it is sometimes only about the craft of it, the color & patterns & puffy stickers. Because that is a part of me. And trying to get more than one layer into the same space—a story and a photo—is also a part of me.

 

2001 12 xx Jake tender is the real tough

Once I am gone, I don’t imagine that the kids will keep all the layouts I ever made. I mean…I hope they do, but if they don’t I won’t haunt them from my grave or anything. I understand that what is important to me isn’t necessarily important to them.

 

2005 02 11 Nathan Kaycis Wedding how lucky I am to have you

But I do hope that some of them will speak to each one. That they will discover things they didn’t know about their own lives and about their mom. That the layouts will help them see me as a whole person, someone who happened to also be their mother. That the layouts will be proof that they are loved.

2012 09 03 Kaleb fall love you as much as

 

Does it mean that the reason I scrapbook is to leave a tangible record of my love for my kids, my husband, and my life?

2010 09 03 Kaleb be still my heart bicuspid valve

I suppose it might. I really like that thought, in fact. I mean, I do hope my relationships themselves show them that I love them. But a second form of proof isn’t a bad thing.

Scrapbooking is a way to tell the world you loved the world. It is my way (it doesn’t have to be yours), and, when push comes to shove, I will likely never stop doing it completely.

2001 03 21 letter to Haley


Deep Thoughts about Scrapbooking

A few weeks ago, on a Sunday, Kendell and Jake went hiking on a Sunday morning. Because of my injured toe I haven’t been able to hike, and as Kendell was dying for a good mountain wander, Jake went with him.

That morning, Kaleb slept in.

Which means that for a few hours, I was alone in my house. Solitude is a rare commodity these days, with everyone working from home, and as the door shut behind my two boys, I did a little swirly dance in the kitchen. A dance no one saw because no one was home.

In that quietness, my excitement over scrapbooking came rushing back, so I went into my crafty room, piled up all of my sewing projects into a corner, and made a layout.

I turned my music on, shuffled through pictures, wrote journaling, found some patterned paper and embellishments I wanted to use. An hour in, the timer for the washer went off, so I paused in my happiness to rotate the laundry. What was this feeling in me, this lightness? This sparkle?

I just love this combination so much: an empty house and working on memory keeping.

***

In the silence and solitude, I thought about this hobby of mine. About why I love it, about why I haven’t been doing it much for the past two years.

Messy scrapbook desk
(the stuff I need to clean off my desk this morning)

I know not everyone understands it, and on the top of that list is my husband. He was raised on a family farm, where work was never, ever finished, with an ethic illustrated by both his parents that if you aren’t working on something, you’re being lazy.

I sat on my tall stool next to my open window and thought about this—about how Kendell feels about hobbies and leisure time and relaxing influences how I feel about it.

If you’ve read the book A Man Called Ove, you might understand better. Remember how Ove could not comprehend people reading for pleasure? His opinion was that books were for information-gathering and learning, and everything else was a waste of time. And yet, he loved his wife, who loved reading for pleasure, and so he built her bookshelves.

That is how it is with Kendell and scrapbooking. (Quilting too, although I feel far less guilt over quilting.) (Also, for that matter, reading.) (And blogging.) He wants to be supportive because he loves me, so he builds bookshelves (both literal bookshelves and metaphorical ones), but he doesn’t understand it, and sometimes that lack of understanding comes across as criticism.

And since I have a personality that automatically feels guilt for everything, this doesn’t sit well. (I wish I were more like Ove’s wife and could just laugh away the criticism…but I don’t know how to do that.) It festers, mixing as it bubbles with my own ethic, which is to make something productive with my life. Sometimes I’m not sure if scrapbooking is really productive. (Maybe that is why I feel less guilty about quilting: when I am finished, I have made something useful. Family history is useful, but it won’t keep you warm.)

When I am alone at home, it is easier for me to not feel guilty. To block out all the other things calling for my attention—the laundry, the kitchen, the yard. I could be prepping meals or scrubbing corners or dusting the ceiling fans. Why do I think I can ignore all of those and indulge in my hobby? I can’t quite quiet those voices when Kendell is home, even if he says nothing at all. But when he is gone…I can. It is like a sort of meditation, almost. My heart and mind enter a quiet space, which is influenced by pretty, colorful things and by looking at pictures of the people I love and by remembering the past. For me, it is like the feeling when you have hiked a long, dusty, steep trail, and you get to a stream, and you get to set your pack down, take off your boots, and put your feet in the water. Cool, refreshing, quiet, peaceful. I love the trail, just like I love my husband, but that time at the stream gives me what I need to keep going in the heat and the dust and the vert.

***

So here I am. It’s a Sunday, and Kendell is hiking. By himself, as neither Jake nor Kaleb wanted to go. But they are occupied, and the laundry is going, and it is quiet. I am sitting at my tall table with my high stool, and I am looking at pictures.

My thoughts go like this: I could scrapbook those pictures of Haley on the day we went to the wild animal preserve in Colorado. But the last layout I made was about Haley. So maybe I could scrapbook these pictures I just found from Ragnar 2013. But am I scrapbooking about myself too much? Is that conceited? But I really want to scrapbook about Jake, but I have so few photos of him. But…have I told all the wrong stories? Have I told the big stories? If I died tomorrow would this be enough? But…

Since that last Sunday of solitude, I have gotten myself organized. I’ve gotten rid of some things, and gone through the piles (and piles and piles, I confess) of new things I’ve purchased this year, organizing them into my way of using them. I gathered all of the photos I’ve printed but not scrapbooked and put them in a binder with notes and supplies. I’ve even made a few layouts.

I’m looking through my photos, and I’m thinking about the layouts I’ve already made. Not just this year, but since I started scrapbooking in 1996. I’ve spent a good portion of my adult life in this hobby. More than 1000 layouts. A lot of stories told and pictures preserved. But does any of it mean anything, in the end?

I am realizing that I need to separate how Kendell feels about my hobby from how I do.

Because, yes: I love it. It is quiet and restorative and fun. But do all of these layouts I’ve made connect with my life’s ethic? Am I making these because they are pleasant to make, and in doing so avoiding the harder—but perhaps more impactful—other work I might be doing? Am I emotionally invested in my crafts because they are an easy way to delve into creativity, without requiring judgement from anyone other than myself and my husband?

Am I, in other words, scrapbooking (and quilting) to avoid the hard work of writing?

I know: deep thoughts about a silly hobby. Making things and overthinking: it’s what I do. But time is so short and I feel a pressing need to finally take this step. To do the hard work.


2020 Goals: March Recap and April Ambitions

Keeping up with my goal to COMMIT this year, here’s an accounting of my March progress and a list of my April goals.

MARCH GOALS:

  1. My EXERCISE goals were to run 50 miles and to go to 10 ballet barre classes. March goals running
    COVID-19 put an end to the ballet barre classes, but I did get in three before the craziness escalated. As the month progressed, Kendell wanted to walk with me, so I walked a lot. More than I ran. I am feeling like getting outside and moving is more important than ever right now, and it matters more that I do it and less HOW. My mileage this month:

6 runs, 23.55 miles
6 walks, 24.55 miles
2 hikes (Dry Creek and Grove Creek), 10.28 miles
58.38 total miles

March goals dry canyon hike

  1. My WRITING goals were to blog two times a week, work on four poems, and finish an essay. Almost total fail. I did blog 8 times, but I worked on zero poems or essays. The enforced togetherness of the quarantine is not fantastic for my writing goals.
  2. My QUILTING goals were to finish the octagon flower blocks, bind Jake’s quilt, and figure out the process for Kaleb’s quilt. I finished a hot pad I made with some scraps from my Crazy Paving quilt (it is named "purple chakra") March goals purple chakra
    and the octagon flowers and I bound Jake’s quilt, but he hasn’t used it yet because I haven’t dared to take it to the laundromat. I did not figure out the process for Kaleb’s quilt but I did print out the pattern so that is a start! My other goal was to NOT quilt as much, and I did accomplish that; I made one little mug rug and I shopped for fabrics for another table runner, but that was all.
  3. My SCRAPBOOKING goal was to make some layouts, and I did that! I organized and executed my Christmas in March week (which is extending into April!) and I made 10 layouts. March goals scrapbooking
  4. My READING goal was to finish the two books I hadn’t and to start The Dark Tower series. Reading has taken the second-biggest hit during the quarantine for me (writing is first), but I did accomplish these goals. But I haven’t read much at all.

March goals dark tower

APRIL GOALS:

  1. EXERCISE: Eight runs (two a week) and as many walks as Kendell or anyone else wants to go on. Three hikes. Pick up strength training again by logging in to my Beach Body account and/or Peleton app. Also, MOVE MORE while I’m working at home. On Wednesday I took several 5-minute breaks where I did a little bit of exercise—jumping jacks, planks, burpees, each one followed by some gentle cobra poses—and my back felt 100% better at the end of the day.
  2. WRITING: Blog twice a week. A couple of days ago, I got sucked into a YouTube add for a Master Class by Joyce Carol Oates. Three things she said I want to remember: “The most destructive thing to our creativity is constant interruption.” “If you feel like you are a writer, you probably are…Take that instinct and turn it into a craft.” “What we all need is the psychological uplift of finishing something.” I was listening to this at the same time I saw that meme about how if you don’t finally do the thing you’ve been putting off doing during the quarantine, you obviously didn’t NOT do it because you didn’t have the time, but lacked motivation. If I don’t finally settle down and write something, anything, during the quarantine, will I ever? Well…who knows? What I want to do is to look at it like a challenge. I WILL be interrupted. I love my people and I love that we are together, but just their presence in the house makes me feel less able to write. (Does blogging count as writing? Yes…but also, sort of no, because it is easier. It doesn’t have the challenge of being chosen by an editor in order to be seen, and so in that sense it is more of a writing exercise.) So, I am making my goal smaller and more specific: I am going to finish an essay I started a while ago and submit it to the Ploughshares emerging writer contest.
  3. QUILTING: Actually make the table runner. Start on Kaleb’s quilt.
  4. SCRAPBOOKING: Finish the Christmas layouts I had planned and make three layouts for my family stories album.
  5. READING: Commit to reading for 30 minutes a day. I have the time. I’m going to try to not let myself feel guilty about this.
  6. BONUS GOAL: Right now, it feels like packages are life. I keep placing online orders for stuff I don’t need. So, I’m setting the goal of MAILING more than I order. I’m going to make and send two cards a week.

Of course...with all that is going on, maybe the best goal is just to survive! How did your March goals go? 


50 Hikes Project: Thoughts on an Album

Last year, Kendell and I did 50 hikes together. I didn’t blog about them much because in my head I have the spark of a book idea that is growing out of those hikes, the changes they inspired, and the reasons behind them. So I have notes in my hiking notebook and scattered throughout my journal but nothing in a central place.

In December, I had the idea that it would be great to put together a photo album with pictures from our hikes, to give Kendell for Christmas. (I would have to add the last hike after Christmas, because we took it on December 30.) I wanted this to be a simple album, mostly just photos and journaling with a few embellishments. I ordered a 6x8 photo album and some two-up photo holders (so two 4x6 photos per side). I started going through photos on my phone and, wow. I was swiftly overwhelmed. Of course I can’t print every photo I took from 50 hikes (at least, not if I wanted to fit them all in to one album), so I tried to narrow it down to 2-3 per hike.

50 hikes album photos
I'm using this Simple Stories black leather album and their Snap photo pages. Mostly 4x6 but some 6x8 photos too.

And then I bumped into the problem of photo orientation. Right now I am just using my cell phone for photos when I hike (I really want to change that and find a good small camera, as I’m getting more and more frustrated by the cell phone limitations, no matter how much they’ve improved), and think about it: how do you usually hold your cell phone when you take a pic? Vertically. But how are most pocket pages oriented? Horizontally. I know it shouldn’t matter and I can put a vertical in one pocket and a horizontal in the next one and it’s not a huge deal, the photos are still visible.

It still bugs me.

50 hikes album open with both photos
One vertical photo, one horizontal. This makes me crazy.



And then I started trying to figure out how to include some journaling. This varied widely depending on the hike. Some hikes were epic, like the 14 miler we did when we ran out of water at the half-way mark, got stung by yellow jackets, stumbled upon a big, angry rattlesnake, and got lost when we took a wrong turn. Some hikes were just…lovely rambles, but no big stories. In my head, I pictured small journaling blocks that I would stick on top of one of the photos from each hike, with the name of the trail, the distance and vert, and a few details. But as the “few details” are so different for each hike, some of the small journaling blocks are not really very small.
And then I also got hung up on how to orientate the journaling. If I had, say, four vertical photos for a hike, all together in the sheet protectors like this:

50 hikes album open with vertical photos
This is the album lying open on my desk, with four vertical 4x6 photos. You have to turn the album one quarter turn to see the pictures properly. Which way would you put the journaling?

then should I put the journaling so you could read it when you flipped the album to look at the photos? Or so you could read it as you just turned the pages, even though it would run the opposite way of the photos?


Eventually, I got all the photos printed. I printed some as 6x8 and more as 4x6. I tried to find as many horizontal photos as I could. I gathered all the story details.

50 hikes album journaling
See....these are the journaling boxes. No consistency to the size because the stories are all different lengths. I will put a stamped image in the empty space under the hike details.



Did I finish it and give it to Kendell for Christmas?

No.

Did I finish it and give it to him for our anniversary in February.

No.

I’m just frustrated by the whole thing. I wanted it to be simple but it’s gotten more and more complicated and I have a TON of photos (250+ so I have options to choose from) and all the sheet protectors but I don’t know how to proceed.

Actually, here’s what I want to have happen. I would like some scrapbooking company to make an 8x8 album that has two types of pocket protectors for the photos. One that holds two vertical 4x6 (which would be 8x6, yes, which is entirely different than 6x8) photos and one that holds two horizontal 4x6 photos. The holes on the protectors would line up so they all fit nicely into the album. Yes, the pages themselves would be a different size, but you could just flip the pages without having to turn the album to see the photos correctly.

One day I will put on my big girl pants and put the album together…but I already know I won’t love it.

At any rate, that is a very long introduction for what I really wanted to write about today (which I will blog about tomorrow), and that is that I have set myself a new goal. This year, who knows how many hikes we will take. We’ve had a slow start because of muddy trails and so only did one hike in each January and February and two in March. I don’t know if we’ll make it to 50 again. But I DO know I want to document it in an easier and less frustrating way. For one, I am paying attention now and trying to take horizontal photos on EVERY hike. I am researching a new, small camera I can take hiking with us. And I’m going to blog about every hike we take. These blog posts will include photos, and then I will just save them so I can print them at the end of the year, but I won’t have to spend 57 bajillion hours processing them all at once. The stories will all be in one place (in my 2020 hikes category). And maybe by then my dream album will have been invented and produced. Or maybe I'll figure out some different approach, I don't know. I'm open to suggestions!

Tomorrow I will start posting about our first hikes of 2020.


Christmas in...March?

One of the post-holiday, survive-January traditions I’ve established is to scrap the previous December’s photos in the following January. (So…I scrapped December 2016’s Christmas stories in January of 2017.) But at the end of December 2017, my mom got really sick. And then through most of 2018, she was ill, in and out of different facilities, and she didn’t actually make it back home until October of 2018. Then she passed away in January of 2019, and the process of cleaning out her house and settling her estate (not to mention grief) took up much of that year.

Also Kendell had knee surgery in February 2018, and then he started working from home, and I had whooping cough in the middle of my marathon training, and somehow in all of that mess, scrapbooking just kind of fell by the wayside.

But it has always felt important to me to keep the Christmas stories scrapbooked. I’m not sure why Christmas feels so important to me, except for the fact that there are always great stories to go along with the holidays, and because it’s the time I feel strongly connected to both my own family and my own history, and because I wish I had more photos and stories from my childhood Christmases.

Or it might just be the fact that Christmas supplies are pretty fun to use.

Christmas in march

So even though it’s March and I didn’t do any scrapbooking at all in January (but I made several quilts and got acquainted with my new sewing machine), I’m going to use the next week (and, let’s be honest…maybe all the way into April) to scrapbook some stories and photos from 2018 and 2019.

If you’d like to join me, just for fun AND to relieve some of that COVID-19 stress, here’s a list of challenges:

  1. Write your journaling in the form of a letter.
  2. Scrap some photos you’ve had printed for more than 5 years.
  3. Use an alphabet stamp to create your title.
  4. Combine an old product and a new product on the same page.
  5. Use a non-Christmas-themed supply on a Christmas layout.
  6. Make a layout with FIVE or more puffy stickers, THREE or more washi taps, and TWO or more different patterned papers.
  7. Combine silver and gold on one layout.
  8. Make a double-page spread.
  9. Make a layout about yourself.
  10. Make a layout using non-traditional Christmas colors.

You can use all the challenges or some. You can make one layout or 27. You can even just print out your photos and put them in your photo album if you don’t make scrapbooks. You could finish up your December Daily or Journal Your Christmas or however else you document your holidays.

If you play along and want to share, use the hashtag #christmasinmarch2020 so it is all grouped together. I’ll be sharing here and on my Instagram, which is @amylsorensen. Hope you’ll join in!


2020 Goals: February Recap and March List

Trying to be more proactive with my goals this year, I’m breaking things down by the month instead of thinking bigger. My word this year is “commit” and while I am not 100% there yet (nor will I probably ever be), I’m feeling good about my progress. I am much more apt to work on my goals if I put them out into the world, so I’m going to attempt to do this each month, either on Instagram (I am @amylsorensen) or here: review the previous month’s work and list the current month’s goals.

February Goals:

  1. Exercise for 30 minutes every day. I didn’t accomplish this, mostly because of a strained hamstring I didn’t want to aggravate. But, I did exercise MUCH more in February than January. Almost 50 miles, two hikes (it’s been muddy here and Kendell can’t deal with mud), and seven ballet barre classes. I’m OK with not making the goal exactly because it still helped me to move more. Goal recap running feb mar
  2. Push ups and planks every day. Yeah…totally tanked on this one. I think I managed it for three or four days, and then random days here and there.
  3. Work on a writing project every Monday, something that is not my blog. Another miss. I am realizing that when I am deep into the quilting process, I put everything else on hold. (Even stuff like laundry and fixing dinner.) However, I did have some ideas that I put down on paper, and besides, see #4.
  4. Blog twice a week—posts that aren't book reviews. I wrote nine blog posts this month, one of which was a book review, so YES. I accomplished this goal! My favorite post was the one about raisin bread and while it is perhaps too personal, this post about my continuously developing relationship with my faith was cathartic and helped me to understand myself better. I feel like picking up a blogging habit again will contribute to my writing progress as well, even if no one reads my posts, because I am remembering how satisfying it is to spend an hour crafting something with words.
  5. Make my January family stories scrapbook layout and one other one from last year. Remember that all-encompassing thing I do with quilting? Yeah…my February quilt is pretty much the only crafting I did this month. BUT. I did get the photos printed for January 2020 and December 2019 for the family stories album, and I have the journaling formatted and ready to print. Plus I gathered up a bunch of photos I had already printed for other 2019 family pages and got them organized into the correct months. So, not fully completed, but progress!
    Goal recap scrapbooking feb mar
    I also managed to buy a few new supplies! These papers don't go with these photos but they are all new.

March Goals:

EXERCISE: 10 ballet barre classes and run 50 miles. I’ll take whatever hiking I can get but it’s so dependent on weather right now I don’t want to set any goals. PUSH UPS AND PLANKS! I know those are so good for me. Also, continue working on my year-long flexibility goals, which are getting my splits back and perfecting dancer pose.

WRITING: Continue blogging twice a week. Finish four poems and polish my pie-crust essay.

QUILTING: Finish the last straggly bits of quilting projects: the octagon flower blocks and bind Jake’s quilt. At the end of the month, sit down and figure out the process to follow for the quilt I want to make for Kaleb. I have the pattern, but the process and fabric requirements are for fat quarters and I’m making it out of yardage and scraps, so I need to create a process. (I’m not going to do this until the end of the month so as to give myself a few more chances at finding any other fabrics I need to include—the main fabric is sharks, and the accent fabric is white with wavy aqua stripes, so I’m just looking for bits of aqua or navy or ocean-themed (but not cutesy) to finish out the collecting phase.

SCRAPBOOKING: Make some layouts! I am going to focus on the family stories layouts but I also have pictures printed for some other layouts I’m excited to make. Also put together my 50 Hikes album—all of the photos are printed and the journaling is written, just need to put it all together. (This won’t really be a scrapbook, per se. A few little embellishments but it’s mostly just photos and journaling in a 6x8 album. I meant to finish this for Christmas for Kendell’s gift. Then for our anniversary. Guess I’ll just give it to him as a “happy Wednesday!” gift!)

READING: I’m almost done with the two novels I’ve been meandering through. Then I’ll start The Dark Tower series.

What are you working on these days?


Stone Bracelet in a Jewelry Box

For the past five years, every January you could find me in my scrapbook space, making layouts about Christmas. Christmas in January—that was my thing, because I never could really manage making any layouts during December. (Scrapbookers who make projects like December Daily make no sense to me. I can barely get Christmas together, let alone an entire daily album.) This was my way of coping with January, of bringing light and memory and prettiness to a month that, in Utah, includes too much air pollution and so many smoggy days.

Well—for the past five years except last year. In January 2019, I spent most of my time with my mom in the hospital, and then at her home while she was in hospice, and then planning her funeral. And then the next three months were consumed with cleaning out her house.

During those months of sifting through the possessions acquired during an entire lifetime (really, more than one lifetime, as there were also my dad’s possessions still in her house, and both of my grandparents’, including some items of my dad’s dad, who died in the 50s), something shifted in me. When faced with the quantities of stuff at my mom’s house, I started questioning what kind of legacy I want to leave for my own children. What possessions matter the most to me? What might matter to them? (Because I don’t think these are always the same things.) I realized that without stories attached, most of her possessions are just items.

For example, I kept a beautiful bracelet I found in her jewelry box, made of a sort of bronzed gold and what look like rocks that have been polished smooth and then sliced into thin slivers. Stone bracelet 01
I think it is striking and unusual, so I kept it and I wear it—but that is its only story. I don’t know where she got it, or if she loved it, or why she kept it. I don't remember her ever wearing it.

I wish I knew the story, even if she just bought it at Dillard’s one day because it was on sale.

Stories matter: this is one of the pieces of knowledge that cleaning out her possessions taught me.

Which should bring me around to more scrapbooking, because I have always been drawn to it through the story aspect.

Instead, I have almost entirely stopped scrapbooking.

I’ve still been taking notes and writing some stories. I’ve still been taking pictures. I’ve even still been buying supplies.

But I only made about twelve scrapbook layouts last year.

This is because every time I sit down to scrapbook, I am filled with the same feeling I had when I first started tackling my mother’s collection of fabric. She had so much fabric. I understand this, buying things you think you might use and then never getting around to actually using them. It’s why I have supplies in my scrapbook drawers that are ten or twelve years old—because I bought it but then never got around to using it. I can look at it (a piece of patterned paper, a sheet of alphabet stickers, whatever) and still see how could use it. But there isn’t enough lifetime left to use it all.

I saw her fabric stash and I thought about how many quilts she finished—in her house, there were only three finished quilts. Dozens of partly-finished quilts, with all the supplies packaged together to be finished—one day. She made and finished others, of course, as gifts for many people. But in her house, three quilts. Four daughters. I decided to be the daughter who didn’t get a quilt from my mother, and I decided that without rancor or passive aggressiveness. I already own quilts I have made. I wanted my sisters to have my mother’s. I thought I will just finish one of these that she didn’t finish and it will be the same thing.  I thought about the quilt I own that was made by my great grandma Amy, and how that should be enough. None of my sisters have that quilt, I thought, so they should have the ones our mother made.

That quilt—maybe that is where it starts, really. This heritage of making things. My earliest memories, which are really only feeling memories (rather than story memories), are deeply attached to that quilt. The patch with the salmon-colored floral, the hue of turquoise that unites the other pieces, the fraying cotton thread, its vaguely musty scent: those aren’t just sensory details, but they are in essence what my childhood feels, smells, looks like. If I hold it I reconnect with the child I used to be, sitting under the quilt in my grandma’s bedroom while she told me stories about her parents.

I treasure this quilt. I “treasure” it by keeping it safely stored in my linen closet, where, true, it can’t really be damaged, but it also can’t make any new connections. Upon my death, my children would find it in the closet and know it was the quilt the grandma I was named for made…but that is all. That is the only bit of connection they would have, because I kept it safely in the closet.

Like the stone bracelet in the jewelry box.

It is all tied together—scrapbooking, quilting, making things. My mother’s jewelry, her china and clothes and the boxes of pictures and the yarn and the fabric and the half-finished quilts. The doll with her head hanging on by a thread, kept because the sound it made reminded her of Michele as a baby. All of her possessions were part of who she was, but our relationship didn’t allow for us, somehow, to know each other’s stories. (If, to flip this, she were to clean out my house because I had died—she wouldn’t know the stories of the possessions I value the most, either.)

So then I must bring this to myself, sitting down to make something. It’s become easier to make quilts than scrapbook layouts. Because quilts—quilts say something. They are useful, and soft, and warm. They are items that touch you. They are intimate, but without the potential for damage that intimacy can hold. They are items that can exist when their maker is gone, and it is almost like touching that person, to touch the quilt she made. You can be gone, as the maker, but the person wrapped in your quilt might still hear a little echo of your voice. They would certainly, at least, feel less cold.

Since I didn’t get a quilt my mother made, I can only have that if I finish what she started, and then it is not from her but from me.

I bring myself to this process of what I want to make. (Not making anything at all isn’t feasible for me. Making is how I cope, even if the making is unnecessary and superfluous.) I want to tell stories but I am, deep down, wondering: why am I telling stories and then shutting them away in scrapbooks? It is the same as the quilt in the linen closest, the bracelet in the jewelry box. It is—it is this truth? Is this the truth:

Am I just like my mother?

Do I keep my stories to myself? Am I shuttered up? Have I made relationships with my children that don’t allow for openness and connection, that don’t really breathe, that aren’t deep enough to allow for the real, actual person who exists?

Do I want to scrapbook not really because I want to leave my memories here before I’m gone, but because I don’t know how to truly connect with the people I love?

I know my mother loved me—but I also know she didn’t really know me. This is both of our faults, and it is also the reality of death. I can’t fix it anymore. (I don’t know if I could fix it even when she was still here. Even if she’d been her for twenty more years.) I wanted her to see me for who I am, not for who she was disappointed I didn’t become, and I’m not sure she did that. I’m not sure she could.

And that is the legacy I don’t want to pass on to my own children.

When I sat down to write this, I thought I would write about my scrapbooking goals. But here I am, in true Amy fashion, mired deep in existential thinking. Which is a pattern I keep repeating, every time I try to scrapbook. I start making a layout and end up wondering if I have managed to make a life with any meaning.

And then I start making another quilt.

And I know I am not following any healthy routes here. I know I am walking toward a cliff, but never jumping off. I know I am not ever managing to address the real issue, which while it grows from the soil of my relationship with my mother, isn’t about my mother. It isn’t even about me. It’s about healing what is in the future. It is about the fact that when I die, I hope the scrapbook layouts and the quilts have meaning for my kids, or for their spouses if they have them, or for my grandchildren if any arrive here. But more, I hope our relationships have meaning. I hope they know why I loved the silver necklace I wore the most (not just because I bought it on a trip to Mexico, but because my mom, Haley, Jake, and Nathan were in the jewelry store with me when I bought it, and because I had gone running on the beach that same day and I had a blister on my big toe from the sand in my running shoes, and because my hair was curly that day and my left shoulder sunburnt but not my right, and because I spoke in mangled Spanish to the store owner when I bought it and because the air smells different there than anywhere else I have ever been, and so when I put on my silver bead necklace it isn’t just a piece of jewelry, but it is the memory of that day in San Lucas and the feeling that my mom was glad I bought it) but even more I want them to know I loved them for exactly who they are.

Those words are repeated over and over in their scrapbook layouts.

Repeated and then put into a sheet protector and closed into books that no one looks at very often. That might become just some other stuff they have to sort through when I am dead. I don’t want them to have to feel what I felt during those three months of sorting my mother’s possessions. The way every choice (keep? discard?)  was like murdering her.

I want that knowledge to live inside of them. Not only after I’m gone, but right now. Right this second. Because I don’t want them to have to feel what I am feeling right now, a year after she died, that my mother loved me but she didn’t really love me.

They won’t be without quilts.

They won’t be without stories.

I hope they won’t be without the knowledge that I love them.

Stone bracelet 02


Goodbye July!

I can’t believe July is already over. We are still in the heat of deep summer here, and honestly, July isn’t my favorite month. It’s hot and almost no flowers are blooming and even the grass just seems drained.

But if July ends, then it’s August. And if it’s August, can autumn be far behind?

Time, though, moves too swiftly, so I’m trying to savor summer before it ends. I’ve tried since Kaleb got out of school, in fact, to just enjoy the days, even though they’re hot. One thing that’s helped is that this year I’ve mostly abandoned trying to wear shorts. I just never feel comfortable in them. I’ve worn a lot of dresses and a LOT of running skirts and yeah, my elephant knees are exposed but I’m just so much more comfortable this summer. I didn’t post on Instagram every day for 31 Days of Skirt, but I did actually wear Skirt Sports every day!

Heat aside, July was a pretty good month. And before I turn my calendar over to August, I wanted to write a recap.

Solstice to Equinox Streak:
I exercised every day this month, except for the Saturday I was sick. I didn’t do cardio every day; on some days I lifted weights or did resistance training for a half hour. I had a little exercise epiphany: there is almost always time. One day I went for a walk at 1:00 in the afternoon, when it was blazing hot, but I wanted to get it in. So I went to the shadiest part of a path by the river and I got it in. Several nights I did my resistance/weights at 9:00 p.m. But committing to the streak has helped so much, not just with my consistency but with my mindset about exercise. I can really do it every day. And while I have yet to see any weight come off (it actually is continuing to bulge around my belly…I have an appointment with my doctor next month because I’m so frustrated by this!), I feel like I am stronger.

I added cartwheels to my workout strategies. I know: that sounds totally weird, and is a cartwheel really a workout? Surprisingly, yes. More of a plyometric thing, but a simple cartwheel asks a lot of your upper body, your core, and your flexibility. Plus it’s just so fun! I visited for a little while one night with my niece and her daughter, who was trying to do ariels in the grass. My body totally remembers how to do them, how it’s not really about the speed you put into it but learning how to swing your arms correctly. I gave her some pointers, and she said “but you can’t do ariels Aunt Amy!” and I said “not anymore, but I can still do a pretty good cartwheel,” and she said “NO WAY! Show me! I think you’re too old!” and so when I was done holding her new baby brother I did a cartwheel for her. Never too old!

Cartwheels

I also achieved a milestone this month that I haven’t done in two years: I had a 100-mile month. 103.7, to be exact. (To compare, I ran 90.5 in June and 75-ish in May.) And, I know: that’s not a lot to many people. Lots of runners have 100 mile weeks! But for me, it is a little reward to see my count for the month go over 100. Even last summer when I was in marathon training I never had a 100-mile month (whooping cough!). It feels like I accomplished something. Not all of those miles were running, but that’s just fine, because I also hiked a lot!

Running:
I ran a total of 50 miles (it’s actually 49.98 but I think I can round up). I had my longest run since my marathon, 6.5 miles around where I live. I had the fastest mile I’ve had in a long time, 8:48. (Again…I know that’s not fast in comparison to many runners. But it’s fast for me.) And, guess what?

I TOOK UP TRAIL RUNNING!

Trail running

Well, maybe “took up” is too intense. I started trail running. I didn’t buy any trail running shoes so I don’t feel like I can call myself a “trail runner” yet. I was cautious and I went on very safe trails. But I just decided one day: I want to run trails too. (A longer blog post is coming on this topic.) I did two trail runs and I’m really itching to do more.

Hiking:
Big Springs with friends twice
My friend Wendy and I got out three times for hikes in the foothills.
Kendell and I together: Great Western Trail, Scout Falls and part of the TImponooke Trail (until the snow got too risky), Buffalo Peak, Rock Canyon, and Silver Glance Lake. We are up to 28 hikes together this year. I’m hoping we can make it to 50 but we’ll see.

I am more in love with hiking than ever. The best thing this year is the wildflowers. They’ve been amazing from all the snow we’ve had! I just wish that I were a better photographer and could capture images that communicate how beautiful they are. But instead of carrying my big camera to photograph the flowers, I have tried to focus on being present and fully admiring the meadows.

20190719_200502 wildflowers buffalo peak 4x6

Family:
I had a couple of conversations with my kids this month that helped me get rid of some unnecessary guilt I’ve been carrying for a long, long time. Well, maybe the guilt wasn’t exactly “unnecessary,” but these two conversations just helped me to see my choices in a different light. My heart feels so much lighter.

I took Kaleb to swim in a little local pond this month, with some of his friends. He loved it. I had taken him there five years ago, when he was only 9, and I had to pull up my pictures of that day. It was amazing to see how much he has changed. (Sometimes I just have to stop thinking about how utterly strange it is that Kaleb, who was the baby I waited the longest for, is becoming a person. Even though he’s been a person (by which I mean, not a baby) for a long time, it still just sometimes hits me hard. I waited and prayed for him for so long, and then, BAM, all of a sudden he’s grown up. I had a lovely time relaxing on the grass by the pond, reading, but I got so fried on my legs. Three weeks later, they are still so tender and itchy.

Kendell and I had a fun date night when we had to drive north to pick Kaleb up from Lagoon, an amusement park about 90 minutes away from us. We brought Kaleb and his friend some pizza for dinner, and then he and I went out to eat, went shopping, and then saw The Lion King. We haven’t done enough dating in the past little while. We hike together a lot but it was nice to get out and do something a little bit different.

I got to meet my two newest great nephews. I just love babies and am so happy they are here safely. I love that both sides of our family continue to grow.

Hobbies:
While I managed to buy a lot of new supplies, I didn’t ever get around to making any scrapbook layouts this month. I haven’t, in fact, made a scrapbook layout since February or March. I’m not really sure I can explain why, but this is the longest I’ve gone without scrapbooking since I picked up the hobby in 1996. I scrapbooked as a mom with young kids, as a mom with young kids working on her degree, as a mom with young kids doing student teaching and then being a teacher. I scrapped around Kendell’s many surgeries. I scrapbooked while I stayed up late waiting for teenagers to come home from dances and jobs and dates. It’s been a central part of my identity for as long as I’ve been an adult. Kendell working from home has something to do with it, as does the process of cleaning out my mom’s house. (By scrapbooking am I just creating a huge burden for my kids to deal with when I’M dead?) Some of it is that I feel like all the pictures of my mom’s that I need to scan are hanging over me, a project that is zapping all of my creative energy. Some of it I don’t understand. I still want to make scrapbook layouts. I still shop for supplies. I just…haven’t done it.

But! I have quilted a ton. I’ve got all my scraps managed and organized. I am almost done with the quilt I’m making for Jake and then I can start the one I’m making for Kaleb. I am actually, finally sewing together all the billion half-square pink and black triangles I’ve made over the past 7 or 8 years. (I’m trying to decide…is 90x90 too big for a quilt that won’t be used on a bed? I just have so many squares I love. And I live with tall people. But on the other hand: How much will a 90x90 quilt weigh once I back it (with minky!) and add batting? Will it even be useful or just a big pain in the butt?

July has not been a great reading month for me. I’m stuck in a book with characters I like and am interested in…but the story is moving so slowly I keep putting it down for other things. But I don’t want to not finish it because I want to know what happens to them all! Maybe I need another sick day just to get through it. I am also re-reading the novel Contact, which I read about 18 times as a teenager. I was a little bit nervous about the re-read because what if my adult tastes found it lame or inane or narrow minded? But what I am discovering is just how much of my beliefs about the universe/religion/is-there-anything-after-this-life was shaped by this book. Which is really strange, but also fairly liberating.

Finally, writing. I’m continuing to work on the poem I started. There is a deadline and a place to submit so that is pushing me. I still haven’t written the perfect transition I need, but I DID dream I wrote it, and then in the dream repeated it over and over so I wouldn’t forget it when I woke up. But I don’t remember it. I want to write more—I have an essay about pie crust that’s partly formed, too.

Tomorrow I am going to write my goals for August, but right now I am going to go sit out on my back porch. I’m going to listen to the crickets and admire the scent of the summer air, which is especially delicious tonight because it rained today. I’m going to breath in this deep-summer night and try to store it up as a hedge against winter darkness.

How was your July?