It's A Living

 Yes, look! I'm alive. Alive and....blogging. 

Apologies for being gone for so long, and without any warning. That certainly wasn't intentional.

A quick catch-up: So, the biggest new thing is that I got a job that I started back in mid-January. A real honest-to-god job with a paycheck and everything.  On paper, it's a perfect gig for this time in my life: a part-time library aid within the same school district as my kids, which means I get to enjoy the same holidays, breaks, and school calendar as they do. (Like right now, we're all on spring break.) Plus, I get to work with books and recommend them to kids and read aloud to the kids and re-visit the days when I was five years old and played "library" with my books. 

In reality...there is no perfect job. We'll leave it at that. (But it's still close, and I'm  pretty jazzed that I got it, no small feat in the competition to score a good district job around here.)

In other news, things have been pretty status quo  in terms of me still feeling fairly housebound and craving some change. (Because, y'know, my first job in a dozen years doesn't count.)  No major adventures or road trips or vacations lately. 

However: last week, the husband and I escaped for a quickie overnight stay to downtown L.A., to see Kraftwerk in concert. It was a little pathetic how excited I was to be in THE CITY! ANY CITY! and away from the 'burbs and our extremely kid-centric community. Our getaway was much too short but it was excellent, as was the concert.  I admit that I'm not the huge fan of electronic music that my husband is, but it was still thrilling to see those old iconic Germans up there on stage. (And though I may have nodded off a few times, in my defense, the concert didn't even start until 10:30. And also: Kraftwerk.)  
We stayed at the Westin Bonaventure, which I thought was sort of funny, just because the glass building is such an old icon itself.  Does anyone but me remember the early '80s sitcom "It's A Living"? It starred Ann Jillian and featured a group of cocktail waitresses who worked in a bar at the top of the Bonaventure. I kept thinking of that, and hearing the theme song in my head.
The Westin Bonaventure was the strangest hotel I can remember staying in recent memory. It feels very much like an airport, what with all the escalators, the lounge areas, and the random food court options.  On the other hand, the privately run brewery restaurant inside the hotel was really good. Best Caesar salad I've had in ages.

And the glass-elevators that run on the outside of the towers were still a hoot.  
So that's it for now. We actually have some minor travelling plans later this spring break, so I'll have something else to share soon.

Oh! And this: I recently deleted my Facebook page for the blog, so if that's how you've been receiving updates, I guess you won't see this. My reasons weren't that complicated, it just didn't feel right anymore.  But I am totes still on Instagram and you still follow me there. 

I am, and shall remain, your @readingnest1

A Hike for the New Year

 Apologies for my last (long) downer of a post. Actually, I don't consider what I wrote  depressing or negative -- just a bit intense. As things can get when thinking and writing about mortality and the kind of fears that grip you in the deep middle of the night, listening to those sirens. (And actually, we have a brand spanking new hospital in town that opened just a couple of miles from my house, so that's not just a metaphor.)

But, onward! I'm glad to have 2013 and its strange last quarter behind me, and am looking forward to a lot of new plans, routines, and adventures in 2014. For one: I got a job! That I really wanted! It's part-time and allows me to work in a school library, with books. And still write in the mornings. And still have summers and school holidays free. I'm excited. This will definitely be a change in my routines, and that's a good thing.


On the first day of the new year, I roused my family from our holiday stupor (we didn't go out on New Year's, but we did stay up past midnight) and got us all out of the house for a hike.

This is the same way we entered in the new year last January, too. You can see pics from that hike here.

This year, we headed a bit north to the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Preserve. It's only about 20 minutes north from us, plus a few minutes to climb west and into the foothills.

It was obvious that a whole lot of other people had my same idea, as it was busy, even in the mid-afternoon. 

I was so glad to be out in the open air, taking in the vistas and just feeling a part of the larger world.  Here are some photos of our day out, all taken with  my sucky camera phone.

The building you see is an old adobe, supposedly the oldest structure built in Riverside County, back when this area was settled by ranchers and cowboys.  The tree is  a big old oak that needed a hug. At least, that's what my Tucker said, and then he ran up and hugged it. 

I'm not sure what it is about the light, the sky, the long shadows, but these photos feel very quintessentially "Southern California winter" to me.  It's been a very mild and dry winter, a statement that probably makes you want to smack me upside the head if you live anywhere east of Arizona.  Sorry, Polar Vortex survivors.

But I do wish for some gray skies and a good dose or two of rain before the winter is done.

And this time, I AM speaking purely metaphorically.

Back soon.

Fair Wore Out With It

Ermagosh, it's been like, forever, right? Or just a month. The month with all the holidays, so a long, long, fastfastfast month.  Here I am.

Two weeks ago, I turned 45. Oy. And also, oof.  That's a sound a 45-year-old makes, right? Oof, getting up off the couch, oof, bending down to pick something up off the floor.

Oof, how did I get here?  When I turned 40, I planned a trip to Yosemite and woke on my birthday and stepped out to see the world and Half Dome shrouded in deep snow.  It was special, and 40 felt alright; not so different from 39.  For my 45th birthday there were no special trips, no big hurrah, it's not the flip from one decade to another after all, but OOF.  It feels bad, this 45. Feels bad to think it, feels bad to say it. I say it out loud and pause for the collective gasp. 

However. As I study the lines and the pores and the little hair beside my lip that somebody else is going to notice any day now, I think about how I lost a friend,  almost exactly a year ago. A friend who was only 42, and those last 2 years of her life had been chock full of daily struggle and fear and terror and illness and I think okay, 45. Okay. Here we go.

Warning: This is going to be a long and rambling post. Rambling like a rambling man. But, I swear I have a point.  Bear with me. 

I want to talk about a song that sums up what's been going on with me, and my life for the last few weeks, or is it a few months, or actually maybe it's all I think about, ever.

But then I remembered my post back in November, of me feeling all floaty and wan and blank with that Stevie Nicks song and I thought, really, Kelly, another post with yet another song to stand in as shorthand for how you feel, how HIGH SCHOOL can you get?

 'Cuz when I was in high school, my small group of friends was mad for writing letters to each other, folded up all tight and precious like a bindle of drugs that we passed at lunch or in the halls between classes. Those notes, folded into triangles and tiny squares, had a certain weight, and all that was inside was gossip and questions: how do you feel about...what do you think you think you can come over on....did you believe C. when she said she... And always, always, were the lines of quoted lyrics.  Sometimes, they took up a whole page, because sometimes you needed the whole song to get your point across, but most often it was just a line or two, the perfect line or two that SAID IT ALL and SAID SO MUCH because we felt it all and felt so much.

Sensitive girls in high school, circa 1986:

I find it kinda funny/
I find it kinda sad/
The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had.

I don't want to start any blasphemous rumours/ (English spelling)
but I think that God's got a sick sense of humour and when I die
I expect to find him lahhhfing.  

[Insert random Morrissey lyric here.]
(My own favorite favourite being the entire song of What Difference Does it Make?)

I'm friends with most of those girls on Facebook these days. Isn't that strange? It feels strange to me. Those girls were never that fabulous of friends, but were the ones I passed the notes with, so I guess that made them close friends. The ones I shared the lyrics with.  Although I was thinking recently, randomly, about what was my worst birthday ever, and realized it's easily the one one where those girls came to my house at night, and then all left together, early, to go somewhere I wasn't invited, and had no qualms about discussing in front of me. Oh. Now, that was a fabulous evening.  Welcome to the Edge of Seventeen.

(And I never have seen The Song Remains the Same, at midnight or otherwise.) 

My dad made a ham.<<<< Possibly the most pathetic and embarrassing sentence ever.

But, y'know, bygones and all that.  So I get to see them on Facebook, those girls who are women now, who've all been bashed around and suffered and lost and have loved and who write updates like we all do, of weekend cocktails and summer vacations and children's sports: you know, The Bullshit.  And I see their lines and ruined faces and they see mine.  Except for Her. Her Who Shall Go Unnamed.
 (Another story, entirely.) 

Let's pause for a moment to talk about Pearl Jam.  I don't have much to say about them. They're not in my Top 10 or 20 or any list of favorites bands,  although I bought their debut album back in the day, because it was popular and I "liked" their songs well enough. (Although I never understood even then why somebody didn't explain to E.V. that "Evenflow" was also the name of a very popular brand of infant products.)

Favorite Pearl Jam song: Crazy Mary, which isn't a Pearl Jam song at all, but a cover of sweet & kooky Victoria Williams. That what you fear the most can meet you half way....   But more on that in a minute.

I saw Pearl Jam in concert, once. It was at the same grounds in Indio where they now hold Coachella, at the Empire Polo Club.  This was back in 1993. I was dating a guy for a couple of months; it's a shame how he broke up with his long-term girfriend just to date me for that brief time. He could've had me without all that heartache involved on her part, but he wanted to do The Honorable Thing.  So this guy, let's call him Chris, since that was his name, Chris took me out to Indio to see Pearl Jam.  It was a big, big concert. All the motels in the area were sold out, car-fulls of people in the AM/PM parking lots loading beer and ice into coolers, etc etc. 

We could've stayed in Indio for two nights, but Chris the Honorable only wanted to stay for one. Why just one, when we were young and free and single and able to hole up in a Super 8 motel all weekend?  Because Chris was going to break up with me! To go back to his girlfriend! And he'd promised, swore to her he was going to do it that very weekend, but dammit, we had those pesky (and highly coveted) tickets to go see Pearl Jam.

Chris wore a really stupid, flowing, white Renaissance Faire shirt blouse to the concert. Whenever I turned to talk to him, he'd nod at the stage: watch the show! That's what we're here for! 

And so there's my very grungy, early '90s Pearl Jam story.

I had another friend from high school; we became even closer after graduation. She loved, loved, loved, Pearl Jam. Like, worshipped, man.  E.D.D.I.E.V.E.D.D.E.R.F.O.R.E.V.E.R. 

Eddie Vedder is actually kind of hot, and has aged supremely well. I'm trusting he no longer does that crazy eyes-rolled-into-his-head thing he used to do in videos.

Eddie Vedder might be hot, but I can't think of him, or Pearl Jam, without also thinking of this former P.J.-nutso friend.  The two are too strongly tied in my head.  Unlike my other old friends/acquaintances, I'm not Facebook friends with her, or in any form in real life.

However, being the social media maven I am, I have tried to Facebook-stalk her, and found her. Her profile pic was of Pearl Jam!!  Good lord. 

Anyway, Pearl Jam. Don't think of them much, except when an old song comes on the Lithium/90s station on my XM radio in my car.  And then I think of my old ex-friend, the one person out of all those girls/women who still gets my ire up, thinking of her.  And I usually change the channel.
This same friend, by the way, was also at that Pearl Jam show in Indio.  She and some friends stayed in another motel, and we stopped by their room before the show.  It was her first time meeting my boyfriend. He stood against the wall next to the door and didn't say much, in a roomful of strange females prepping for a concert. My friend later said she wasn't impressed by him at all.

Of course, she said that later in the same week, after he'd broken up with me. Also, he was wearing that stupid pirate blouse. 
After I was married, I saw Chris once more, at an outdoor mall.  This was several years after we'd dated, after the Pearl Jam concert debacle. I spotted him holding hands with the girlfriend he'd gone back to. Probably they were married by then (before they'd broken up, there had been engagement talk.)   Whatever the case, they both looked miserable on that Saturday night in front of the movie theater, holding hands but looking away from each other, looking grim. 

I felt pretty smug about that: they're married! And miserable! Ha! But in my honest heart, I knew that wasn't a fair picture. I thought of all the times somebody might've spotted me having a bad night while out with my own husband, and all the assumptions they might've jumped to.  Wrongly.  I love my husband. But I'm a cranky person, and often look it.  And marriage, well.  Marriage is a long story. 

I'm sure they were, maybe still are, very happy together. Probably, maybe.
Remember my guest room/playroom re-do? I was going to have it all done by the beginning of November and show it off here. It's finished, finally. (Still needs a desk.) We worked on the room over the long Veteran's Day weekend. While I was painting the room, I listened to the radio, like I always do when painting. Painting and daydreaming and, like the Little Feat song says, I let my memory drift and do nothing at all. (Again, with the lyrics.) 

It's so easy to slip...

The station I listened to was the X, out of Sparks, Nevada, and we found it while on vacation in Tahoe this summer. The X was playing the new Pearl Jam song, "Sirens."  I heard Eddie Vedder's voice, and my thoughts drifted to my old friend...and the old boyfriend...and all those old, lost friends. I couldn't quite catch the meaning, but it sounded dramatic and serious and it made something sad coil and gather at the center of my chest. Up the ladder, down the ladder, load the roller, roll the wall...

Hearing the DJ say "Sparks, Nevada" many times also made me think of the brief old boyfriend. His last name was not Nevada.

 It's so easy to slip, it's so easy to fall
To let your memory drift and do nothing at all...
 All the love that you missed,
All the people that you can't recall
Do they really exist at all?

I wanted the guest room done in time for Thanksgiving, and it was.  I primered twice and painted on two coats of dark royal blue paint, a blue that bled out from beneath the painters tape like nobody's business. My husband got cramps in his hands, painting over the mess with a tiny brush. 

Nobody would be able to tell that now; it looks fabulous. I'll post pics soon. 

What all this is leading up to is the silence, my silence, of the last month and a half.  While the rest of the world has been all about the holidays and the gift idea posts and the fantastic, crazy giveaways (just give a shout-out on Facebook and Twitter and Insta and comment and ALL THIS could be yours!), I've been here, being quiet and quietly freaked out.

The year flying by, a year since those two girls lost their mother, my first contact and first friend that was kind to me when we moved out here, almost a decade ago now. The time, it flies.  I sent her widow and girls a Christmas card, a photo card with my family of four. It felt wrong to send them a card featuring my family. It felt more wrong to ignore her name on my card list. 

During the month of December I posted a few "throw-back Thursday" photos of myself, before age 6, on my Facebook account. I thought they were funny and retro, but also I could not stop thinking about the 40+ years that have flown by since I was that small person.

Flown by, except that high school does feel like an awfully long time ago.  (Thank goodness.) And the crowded concert field out in the middle of Indio feels like a long time ago, too.  We were late for the concert, I recall. 

In the very early morning hours of the day before Thanksgiving, my husband woke me up out of a deep sleep and told me something that scared the living shit out of me.  He won't want me to go into more detail than to say, he wasn't feeling well.  A natural hypochondriac (like me), he'd been lying in bed, getting himself worked up that he was probably, most likely, dying.

All the hours and days and nights of the holiday season since then have circled back to this moment. That moment when he left my side and drove himself in the dead of night to go have himself checked out. "It's probably nothing," he said, and kissed me goodbye.

I had never wanted more to punch my husband in the face.

One of my very favorite books of all time is Fair and Tender Ladies, by Lee Smith. It's an epistolary novel that follows the life of a young girl in the Appalachian mountains of Virginia at the turn of the last century.  Throughout her long, long life, Ivy Rowe writes letters, mostly to herself, though she addresses most of them to her long-dead sister, Silvaney.  Ivy is uneducated but whip-smart and sassy, and the author uses a lot of misspellings and country dialect and jargon to show Ivy's personality.

I cried the first time I read the book, when I got to the end. At that point, Ivy is an old, old woman, still living in her mountain cabin, despite the encroachment of the 1980s and modern conveniences.  In her last letter, she looks back on the long vista of her life, at her early hopes and intense loves, at the tragedies and the mistakes and the scandals and the deep, deep love for all that has seen her through her days:

"and there is a time to be born:  Mrs. Brown, my first love which passeth understanding oh: who ever loved, that loved not at first sight?  I used to think I would be a writer.  I thought that I would write of love (Ha!), but how little we know, we spend our lives as a tale that is told...I have spent my years so.  I never became a writer atall.  Instead, I have loved and loved and loved.

I am fair wore out with it." 

Ivy Rowe was about 90 at the end of her life. I am halfway there now, Ivy.  And I know now just what she means, about being fair wore out with it.  And still so many years to go. At least, one can hope.

So! Pearl Jam. Back to that song that was playing in the guest room while I painted, the drama coiling in my chest even though I only caught just a few words, it being sung by Eddie Vedder, after all.

The guest room was finished, and the bleed-through paint all touched up, and the husband drove himself home while it was still dark out and returned to me in one piece. I helped point out the little EKG stickers still adhered to his skin, and somehow, impossibly, I managed to finally fall back asleep as the sky was turning light. 

A day later, we hosted Thanksgiving at our home for my extended family members, my sister and nephew and then my mom sleeping in the spanking-new guest room. 

Nobody knew a thing.

Yesterday, cleaning up the detritus of Christmas (so much detritus) the song came on the radio again.  I was, again, listening to the X out of Sparks. The station said it was 34 degrees out, forty degrees colder and two seasons passing since our week up in Lake Tahoe.

I head the song again, Sirens, and figured it all out, and the words hit me like a ton of bricks. Cliche.  But it's been a long post to write, so forgive me. (And thanks if you've made it this far.)

I listened to the song and came this close to doing the ugly cry, the sobbing, the falling down in the middle of the floor. Except that I can't really do that. And why should I?

Everything is fine here; we celebrated another holiday season, and were blessed to be together, or as my husband joked to me on the day before Thanksgiving, though it wasn't funny at all: "through the years we all will be together, if the fates allow," knowing how that song always makes me cry. 

Like I said at the beginning of this long post, it sums up what's been going on with my life for the last few weeks, or is it a few months, or actually maybe it's all I think about, ever.

You realize I've written this post solely for my husband, don't you?

 I'm going to post the video to the song at the end of this post, but my husband never clicks to watch the videos I post, and besides, we all need the lyric sheet to understand, so here it is and you better read the whole damn thing. (Not you.)

Hear the sirens
Hear the circus, so profound
I hear the sirens
more and more in this here town

Let me catch my breath to breathe
and reach across the bed
Just to know we’re safe
I am a grateful man

This life has been a light
and I can see clear
how to take your hand, and feel your breath
or feel this someday will be over

I hold you close, so much to lose
knowing that nothing lasts forever
I didn’t care before you were here
I danced with laughter,
with the ever-after
But all things change. Let this remain.

Hear the sirens covering distance in the night
The sound echoing closer, will they come for me next time?
Oh every choice, mistake I’ve made, it’s not my plan
to send you in the arms of another man
And if you choose to stay, I’ll wait, I’ll understand

It’s a fragile thing, this life we lead
If I think too much, I can get overwhelmed by the grace by which we live
our lives with death over our shoulder
Want you to know that should I go
I always loved you, held you high above too

I study your face, the fear goes away
It’s a fragile thing, this life we lead
If I think too much, I can get overwhelmed
by the grace by which we live
our lives with death over our shoulders

Want you to know that should I go
I always loved you, held you high above too
I study your face, and the fear goes away
The fear goes away
The fear goes away
The fear goes away


So in the end, I guess it turns out that I'm a bigger Pearl Jam fan than I ever thought. Although I don't know who the fuck Eddie Vedder thinks he is, writing it all out there like that, laying it bare, the thing on my mind this season, these weeks, this life.

 "Instead, I have loved and loved and loved.

I am fair wore out with it."  


Hey there.  Sorry I haven't been around the blog much, but I've been here -- here on the computer, in my house, in the midst of life -- all the while.  In fact, I figured out that the root of my low-grade depression from my previous post is exactly what I've just described  -- a string of days that have turned into weeks of daily routine, of not travelling anywhere beyond my usual rat-maze of surface streets -- to schools and the soccer fields and Target and etc.  I'm in need of a good road trip, or hell, just a day trip to get out of town and away from the house.  My favorite thing to talk about on the blog is our little getaways, and not having many of those in the last half of this year has got me down.

I've been trying to embrace the grind of routine by writing a little every day.  November is "NaNoWRiMo," for a lot of bloggers, writers and would-be writers, where you commit to writing the draft of a book within the 30 days of the month.  A woman from my neighborhood who's published a few books of Christian romance came up to me on the soccer fields at the start of the month to excitedly inquire if I too was doing NANOWRIMO!!!! (bold & exclamation points, because that's how she said it). And I replied, "ummm...what? Ohh...nah.  No, I'm not into that..."  That's me, Mrs. Enthusiasm.

So while I have no illusions of being disciplined enough to complete a draft of my own book this month, I HAVE been trying again to sit down and write a bit -- a little teeny, tiny bit -- every day. (Um, except today. Because the time to write eats up the time to blog, and vice versa.)  I think it was Anne Lamott who said that even writing a sentence a day is still something, is still moving in the right direction. So I've been creeping along in the right direction, ever so slowly.  On the up side, I've written a handful of sentences that are shiny and glittery and illuminating, and that's a good thing.

Another thing I've embraced lately is Instagram...I just dig it.  And though I'm too flaky to commit to writing thousands of words this month, I CAN handle taking a photo every day in the Trekaroo IG challenge. Trekaroo is a family travel site with all kinds of reviews and activity suggestions, and though they're a big site, they feel small and down-to-earth. So even though I haven't been much of anywhere this month, I've been doing their themed-photo-a-day hook up (Link up? IG-up?).

I also dig IG because it feels like connection, like micro-blogging, without all of the effort of writing a full-blown post.  And the stalker-ish side of me enjoys seeing what some of my favorite bloggers and artists are up to in their daily lives, too.

Here's a few of my recent Instagram snaps that were part of the Trekaroo challenge:

Day 4: Sunset (as reflected in a mirror above my bathtub):

Day 6: Brown (the furniture and old bakelite radio at the top of my stairs):

 And just yesterday, Day 14: Something New (the blue paint in our guestroom):
(Remember my guest room/playroom makeover that I hoped to complete for the the One Room Challenge link up in October? Yeah. That didn't happen, but I do hope to have it mostly done by the time we have some Thanksgiving guests.)

Notice a theme with all these photos? They're all taken inside my house, as are just about every other one of my IG pics from this month.  I wasn't kidding when I say I've been kind of a hermit these days and stuck in a rut.  Maybe that why I missed Day 12: "The Best Part of My Day," because, well...? One can only take so many shots of yellow legal pads and coffee cups and books.

SO. To everything there is a reason, and a season, and a purpose, and turn, turn, turn, the page I will. The holidays are coming up quick, and Tucker's 9th birthday, and my own next month and things are happening, people, is what I'm saying. Or at least they will be? Soon? Ish?

Let's hope.  Until then, you can see more filtered-out glimpses into my daily grind by  following along with me at Readingnest1.

Back soon. 

Never Have I Been A Blue Calm Sea

I've been in a really weird and not-fun place for several weeks now.  I can't say quite why, as I don't know myself.

Certainly, I'm lacking in inspiration and creativity, but also -- interest and enthusiasm and optimism, too.  Maybe it's just a bad case of the late Indian summer blahs.

So much to say, and yet no inclination to try and articulate, to spell it out. For you or for me.

A few weeks back, on my other Facebook account (because I have two: one for my secret writer/blogger self, and another for my mom/family self, and that division says volumes about the gulfs and gaps I find so hard to bridge and stitch together in my real life), anyway, on my writerly account, someone was interviewing a B-list woman writer, and asked a question about happiness. And the woman writer said (to paraphrase) "well, I count happiness as being a woman in good health, with family members in good health, who has the time and money and resources to complain about some trivial shit in her day."

She didn't say "trivial shit," but that's what she meant.  By her definition, I am a very happy, happy woman indeed.

And that's why I ain't got much to say.  Because I feel -- in so many area, in a lot of ways -- pretty unhappy.  But it's almost in bad taste to discuss what's nothing more than low-grade ennui.  I can't even call it depression.  Let's just call it a failure of optimism, at this point.

I've always wanted the blog to be a place where I share my loves, my secret self, the things I hold most dear. Instead, too often I treat it like my Facebook page, the one where I share pics of the kids and say pithy things about nothing much at all and smile and put only the best stuff out there. (Because if I've learned anything this last decade in Far Suburbia, it's that one must put her Best Face Forward everyday, lest one be sent to the ranks of the Weird. Much like high school, come to think of it...)

Anyway. Here's something I love. A lot. I grew up pretty obsessed with Stevie Nicks. I mean, I looooved her. I wanted to be her.  Earlier, there had been Judy Garland and Julie Andrews and then Linda Ronstadt, but by the time I was in eighth grade, it was Stevie all the way.

In my wild and dysfunctional childhood, I sought out the occult and Ouija boards and all the paranormal stuff that made up the weekly segments of "In Search Of..." Gypsies and palm readers and crystal balls, oh my.  I wanted answers. I wanted reasons. I wanted to feel in control of days and decisions that were anything but under my control.
Some days, I feel I haven't changed much at all in thirty years. I haven't listened to Stevie much in the last twenty years. But every once in a while, I'll watch something of hers, or catch something on the radio, and it will trigger those days, when she represented all I wished to be: a twirling white witch, mystical and beautiful and blonde and able to rise, rise, above them all.  Wouldn't you love to love her?
I spent untold hours staring at the photos from her Belladonna album. 

This week, I remembered this obscure Stevie song, "Storms," from the Fleetwood Mac album Tusk.  It's slow and quiet and a bit passive about a whole lot of buried emotions.  Maybe that's why it speaks to me again, in this odd and empty and changing season. The video doesn't feature Nicks, but a changing montage of nature and mountain scenes that complement the mood.

I'd like to leave you with something warm
But never have I been a blue calm sea
I have always been a storm.

This is my Jam for the week. 

The Playroom Must Go!: Week 2

Welcome back to Week 2 of the One Room Challenge, hosted by the Calling It Home blog. Quick recap from Week 1: I'm re-imagining our small downstairs playroom/sometime guest room  into primarily a guestroom, while still keeping the kid's computer area and games in the space. Here's a Before:
Confession: I haven't done much at all with the playroom in the last week. Not unless you count my little internal shudder that happens each time I glance inside.  But I do have a tiny bit of progress to show you from the previous week.

I'm at the not-fun stage, where I'm organizing and de-cluttering and making messy piles of "stay," "donate," and "figure out WTH to do with this thing." And piles don't look very pretty or glamourous, either in person or on my blog.

Well.  Part of this mess you see on the floor here:
 is due to the fact that I've successfully purged out the pressboard "rustic" wardrobe from Ikea. This piece is leaving, and it's just about ready for me to create a listing on Craigslist and bid it farewell.
Empty wardrobe:
I haven't been as productive in purging out the desk sitting beside the wardrobe. The desk drawers are chock full of both my things and kids' stuff. It's actually my own stuff that's harder to figure out (most of the kid's stuff can be chucked).

So that's where things stand as of this week.  But enough of ugly Before.  Let's see the vibe and direction I have planned for the room.

I like this small room below, especially because the lay-out mimics that of my own space. (Except it's still bigger than my tiny room.)
Design by Erika Ward, via My Colortopia

I plan on painting the large wall where the wardrobe/desk area is now a similar dark color. I'm picturing a nice true navy blue though, not the blue above that tilts a good bit toward violet.

And I also plan on placing the bed in the same location as above. (I don't know yet whether I'll try for some kind of faux-headboard, or just use some art above the bed.)

In this little recessed nook where the bed is now:
I plan on putting a console desk for the computer monitor. It's not very wide though (just as wide as a queen bed, in fact) but I hope to find something white and clean-lined, similar to this one from Ikea:
This is the Besta Burs desk, which is 70" wide and therefore won't fit in the nook. But you get the idea of what I'm after here.  (I could also put the desk on the wall where the Expedite system is now, swap that into the nook area, and flip it up to use vertically.)

Here are a few other shots of a room that I really love. It's a lounging area for a teen girl, but mostly I just love the clean white with pops of intense color, and the fun vibe:
Photo of K. Mathiesen Brown's design via House of Turquoise
 Photo of K. Mathiesen Brown's design via House of Turquoise
 Photo of K. Mathiesen Brown's design via House of Turquoise

(All of the above 4 inspiration rooms can be found on my Pinterest board, "Tween Room Ideas." )

Obviously, with a navy blue wall, my guestroom isn't going to be as white and bright. It's the overall playful vibe that's my inspiration.  (And the other walls are going to be re-painted in a brighter, semi-gloss white, to replace both the flat white paint & the pastel green walls.)  In keeping with the inspiration rooms, here are a couple of fun pillows that I've already purchased for the bed:
 The sequins on the "Famous" pillow are just printed on, which I love: no picking off sequins by bored little hands.  And the shiny patent-orange pillow is just fun, and I think it'll  pop like crazy against the navy wall. (And both were bought at HomeGoods.)

So that's my vision, and you've seen the it's my job to make it all come together.  Back next week to hopefully show some further progress! Thanks for coming by.
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