Always Be Beautifying

rogers-gardens

Every once a while I find a favorite phrase. It’s kind of like a personal mantra but more like a decision-making filter that I apply to everything. Lately my phase is: Always Be Beautifying.  Last year it was “Always Put Yourself in the Way of Beauty” from the book/movie, Wild.

Yes, I got the idea from Payam’s favorite movie, Glengarry Glen Ross.  I don’t love that movie. It’s full of conflict and the whole movie stresses me out but I do love the ring to “Always Be Closing.”  I love that’s it’s succinct and applies to everything. It’s one of those big ones that has made an impression on many young money-making salespeople not to mention it’s had a significant historical impact on corporate America for better or for worse. I’ve worked with sales people over the years and it’s a skit they all love to quote.

However, I don’t care about closing but I do care about beauty.

I use this phrase in all kinds of ways. When I’m tidying the house I apply it to each room. I walk into the room and think, what can I change to make it more beautiful? Rearrange something? Yes, let’s do it! Clean something? Put something away? I’m on it.  Something needs to be repaired or replaced? I pull out my list-making app and make a plan.

I know most people don’t think like I do. I know Bug definitely does not. She looks at her messy room and promptly throws herself on her bed in overwhelm. She’d rather lose herself in her phone than even take the tiniest step towards wrangling her clutter. I don’t know why I’m different. I guess I don’t get overwhelmed by the whole. I see lots of little parts and bite-sized challenges. I can’t fix the whole kitchen that needs a remodel and has a broken countertop that leaks but I can wipe those fingerprints off the refrigerator handle… You get the picture.

I skip around my house hopping from task to task “beautifying.” It’s a very chicken-with-her-head-cut-off way to do things but it suits me. I’m not necessarily orderly by nature.  I don’t wash my body from top to bottom when I’m in the shower. I wash whatever I feel like and it changes every day. I know this would drive my OCD friends crazy but this is how I work. So I clean my house like a beautifying fairy flitting from task to task.

I do the same thing in my garden. I can’t make everything grow like magic like it does in my favorite fancy nursery but I can curl up the hose that’s laying across the yard into a tidy circle and I can water everything. Before I know it all my little small changes start adding up. Things do grow. Weeds do get pulled and even though it doesn’t happen overnight all at once, you can tell that care has been taken.

I’ve also been applying this to my recycling. I know I might be getting a bit out there with my concept but I like making art out trash. I made tiny haunted houses out of milk cartons for Halloween. I think I’m going to switch them up to cute pink cottages for Christmas or maybe I’ll give them away as gifts… I also cut up a plastic milk jug to make the flower below. Jury is still out on whether it beautifies my yard or not. But it’s fun and I like doing it. One tiny footprint of recycling at a time and we aren’t even talking about the mental health aspects of doing art. Who needs to go to an art store for supplies when you can find all sorts of things to recycle at home?

odds

It’s not a perfect system. I waste a TON of time being a busy little fairy and I imagine people with real jobs and kids that need to be cared for won’t have anywhere near as much free time as I do but I think it can be applied in little ways. Putting on lipstick can make you feel like you’ve beautified your face. Plating dinner in a pretty way can be beautifying. Teaching your kids to make their beds can be beautifying. Even sitting still and noticing the pretty sky or a pretty plant can be beautifying to your mind. I think we just need to stop and find the beauty in life because right now it can be so dark and scary and overwhelming.

So let’s make art! Let’s make things beautiful! Let’s find the beauty where no one else is looking for it. Is it in your bathroom under your sink? Maybe it’s your linen closet? Maybe its the row of favorite mugs by your coffee maker. Maybe it’s your tidy glove compartment. No space is too small to be beautified.

 

I made you some printable postcards Just in case you want to play along. I know it would be weird to send them to someone, how dare we command someone to beautify!??  But little cards are great to use as bookmarks or just stick somewhere as a messages to yourself. I hope you like them!

 

Let’s Catch Up

I took a minute off blogging. Not on purpose. At this point it’s the monthly illustrating-a-new-banner habit and boy did I work hard on this one. Why? I don’t know! It’s just a thing I have to do. Have you guys watched The Social Dilemma on Netflix? I’m sure you have. It’s pretty good. It gave me a lot to think about so maybe blogging is my small way of sending good content out into the world to fight the evil monster algorithm. It’s pretty scary when you think about it. But it has helped me to put social media and the internet in perspective.

halloween-in-full-session

Nobody is happier that it is Halloween Season than Bug. Just when I thought I figured out her last aesthetic (dreamy white walls with delicate botanical drawings, plants everywhere, natural textures and boho hippie vibes…) she goes and changes it! Now she’s really into dark gothic designs and loving anything Victorian. If it’s complicated and patterned and dark then she loves it! But she’s always been this way. When she’s into something she’s passionate about it!

I guess we are two of a kind that way. The other day we found a new taco stand and they had these wild blue turquoise painted stucco walls. So we posed in front of them of course.

go-go-bucket-hat

I recently purchased a turquoise bucket hat so it was kismet.

new-taco-stand

This is the taco joint we found. I recently hired an accountant to help me figure out my mess of finances now that I’m a big fat corporation (not) and I have a feeling that the accountant is going to put the kibosh on all these out-to-lunch adventures Bug and I often go on. I think it’s going to be time to get back to basics with peanut butter and jelly soon.

first-day-of-school-covid-style-hybrid-model

The girls are back to school two days a week on the hybrid model. They love it. I’m so so. But I do feel a lot better knowing they are back at school only half the time with half the amount of students. It’s a numbers game I guess and at this point I’m weighing their mental health against their chances to catch covid. I guess we’ll just wait and see and take all precautions.

Back to school for my girls means dressing like you are in the nineties. And by nineties I mean the Kirk Cobain era, not the fact that it has been over ninety degrees outside. I don’t know how they can wear long sleeves and docs when it’s sweltering but they do. Sweat in the name of vanity I guess.

And speaking of vanity,

brick-wall-meeting

Guess who likes her picture taken again! I am so happy to accommodate with the fashion photography. Work it girl! I do love her fashionable choices. She’s getting more and more inventive every day and I love it.

october-skirt

The other day we popped into a thrift store and she found this vintage Parisian skirt. I would have never picked it up myself but now that’s she’s been wearing it regularly, I am loving it too! It’s really well made with one tiny button at the waist. I think it’s super cute on her.

payam-climbs-lassen

In other news, Payam made it back from hiking Mt. Lassen!  We are so proud of him. He set out to do something that seemed impossible and he did it! Now I just want to go back and do it with him!

amazing-cactus

Meanwhile back home my favorite cactus has been putting on a show.

spreckles-in-a-lampshade

Oh! I’m babysitting my mom’s dog, Spreckles. This dog. She is going to be the death of me. She’s wearing a cone because she scratched her eyelid and wouldn’t stop itching it until it was raw and hairless. I took her to the vet and they gave her some meds and she’s pretty much better now.

And she bit my friend Lubna.

Yes, I said that right. Lubna is fine but it was a scare and a half.  Spreckles has a biting problem and we forget about it because she is a super sweet dog when she’s not a rabid crazy biting dog. It causes us a LOT of stress. She’s a Kingsland Healer so she has instinct to herd animals (or people) by nipping at them. When she gets scared (like if someone unintentionally gets in her space) and will lunge at them. Usually, we can avert this problem by giving her her beloved tennis ball (she’s psycho about the ball) but if we don’t have a ball when she encounters someone new it can get really dicey. She probably feeds off my fear and gets even more defensive and protective of me. Anyway it’s been a super nightmare because I am scared to death she’ll bite someone and really hurt them and then they will sue me and my life will be over.

I’m being dramatic but it was really scary. She bit our cleaning lady once when she went outside to throw out some trash AND she tried to bite the gardener through our screen door and knocked the screen door out of it’s track. Thankfully I had her muzzle on and nobody was hurt but still. Scary dog!!!!

Except that she is super sweet to me and nuzzles her little nose into my lap while I’m typing this. How can you put down a dog like that? It is a real conundrum.

spreckles-muzzle-maria-walking-partner

I found a muzzle for her that is super cool. She doesn’t mind it either. In fact, she is really happy to put it on usually because I always put it on when we take walks and she’s associated it with getting to go out on a walk. You can see how red her eye was. It’s better now. The muzzle is soft and mesh and she can easily breath with it on. It also doesn’t look too scary like a dungeon dog or something

Taking walks with all three dogs is the regular three-ring circus it has always been. Except I think it’s worse now that I am afraid of her biting someone. I’m also worried my dogs are picking up on her habits because now Whiskey growls and lunges too but he hasn’t bitten yet. SO enter one of my favorite friends, Maria!! I love Maria for so many reasons but recently she has started walking the dogs early in the morning with me and it helps a ton to have some extra hands.

3-ring-dog-circus

So yeah. A real dog circus. Have I mentioned that Spreckles is obsessed with her ball? She was trying to get it from under the couch (where it always seems to go) and she pawed at the cord of our lamp and knocked it over and busted the lampshade. Dogs, man.

I think that about catches you up. See you next month! Unless I get back here sooner.