I love me a cozy blanket. Feels like warmth and safety and all sorts of comfortable.I made this baby for my cousin as a wedding gift. It’s always a little nerve-wracking, giving a handmade item as a present. I want the receiver to want it, like it, and hopefully not feel annoyed that I didn’t choose something off of the registry. Mostly, though, I feel driven to make something that might be meaningful, because, selfishly, it’s meaningful to me. So maybe that’s what it’s really about. Huh. Check out the back of this quilt. Faux mink. And you should feel it. Super dreamy. Faux mink because I’ve been reading the Clan of the Cave Bear series and the characters are always climbing into their sleeping furs at the end of the day. I want sleeping furs. There it is. I “quilted” it by hand by making little starbursts with this beautiful silk thread that I was able to borrow from one of my best, best friends.
to announce that I will be joining the team at Garrison Counseling, Inc!! Located in the historic Batavian Building in downtown La Crosse–I’ve said this phrase a lot lately and I really like it–I’ll be offering my counseling and art therapy services beginning this November. I join a stellar crew of counselors, including Debbie Garrison, Christi Nowland, Sheryl Gora-Bollom, and Tamera Hill. You can learn more about Garrison (and set up an appointment with me) on their website.
Let’s ease back into this with a little music…a baby boy was born to us a week and a day ago, so we’re all in the middle of that transition. Happily, mostly, but not without its moments of crushing stress and debilitating anxiety. Anxiety, man, what strange waste of energy and time on things that don’t exist.
Music: Future Islands :: Seasons (Waiting on You)
I saw Future Islands live in Madison a few months ago and I was struck by how totally in the moment the lead singer, Samuel Herring was. His performance felt very real and spontaneous and like nothing else in the world existed. For him. While he was singing and dancing and growling.
I happened to be in the car a couple weeks ago and caught some of the TED Radio Hour in which they were talking about a study regarding happiness. It turns out people are least happy when their minds wander, regardless of where they are or what they are doing. People are at their happiest when they are in the moment, completely immersed in a task or experience. Check it out:
Awww. Such a pretty cat. So…majestic.
Almost as majestic as the litter box that is hidden somewhere in the bowels of the house.
I’m pregnant, as you do or do not know. I have two cats. They crap in litter boxes. Cat poo, turns out, is dangerous for pregnant women :: toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis doesn’t really do much to the non-pregnant population, but can cause still-birth or structural and neurological damage, among other crappy crap, to unborn babies. You can read more here, if you’re curious.
So you get what this means for me. No litter box cleaning! Yay!
Or this means really full gross litter boxes that I have to bother other people (ahem) into cleaning. This is a really bothersome and annoying thing for me. I hate it. I would much rather clean the stupid boxes than nag someone else into cleaning them, but it’s too risky. Hence, my situation.
Yesterday came. I’m pregnant (did I mention that?) and emotional. Also interesting, because pregnant emotions are so confusing…it’s not like they remind you, like, “hey, don’t forget you’re pregnant and a little crazy!” Anyway. Yesterday morning. The litter boxes are FULL. The cats are, well, cats, so one of ‘em lets me know she’s not happy about the boxes by urinating on a blanket: Awesome. Great. I’m so happy about this.
Okay. Why am I sharing this? Because this situation was totally controlling my life. I was fuming, stupid angry. I was trying to figure out if I could walk my three-year-old through cleaning the boxes (seriously, can you imagine how awesome that would be?). Not an option. The person that I would normally nag into cleaning them was physically not present. Also not an option. And I’m feeling like my life is ruined by cat crap. For real. My head space was consumed by cat crap.
Then I decided, screw it. I’m not going to let this completely own me. I will hire someone to clean the crappy litter boxes and I will pay them to do it. So that’s what I did. I posted on craigslist:
Dirty Job: Looking for an individual to clean a couple of super gross litter boxes. $20
I almost immediately got a response from John. John said (and this is a quote), “hello there , are you really serious , you can’t get of your ass and clean them yourself , wow really”
I mentioned that I was emotional. I was furious. So angry. Tears in my eyes. I gave him ALL of my power. I responded explaining that I was pregnant…unsafe…blah, blah, blah.
John says (again, this is cut and pasted from my email), “thats funny , my wife had kids and cleaned out litter boxes and never endangered our two kids and they turned out perfectly normal , so that is false info that you have been precieved with”
I’m in the middle of my living room attempting to do breathing exercises, looking at my kids and saying, in what I’m sure was a shrill version of my voice, “Come on, let’s do some yoga!” But I cannot recover. I have allowed John to push me over whatever edge I’m next to. I delete the ad. But not before Bill* responds to me saying, “I can help you out this afternoon.”
I am immediately slammed back into a more grounded state.
Our brains can hand out some mean thoughts. I was able to snap back from being a completely lazy, stupid, dumb, useless pregnant woman to a position where I was taking care of business, taking care of cat crap, and taking care of myself. Instead of allowing myself to feel powerless about a seemingly ridiculous situation, I was able to empower myself by finding a solution.
It’s interesting because I find that people, myself included, are often black and white thinkers. As if there is only one solution to a given problem. When in reality there are many, many, many–dare I say hundreds–of options.
Bill, a nice young gentleman, came over and cleaned the litter boxes in a matter of minutes. I paid him what it was worth to me. I’m still basking in the warmth of the solution that I found. I told John to eat it. That’s a joke. I stopped responding to John. I realized right away that I was giving him all of my power by simply responding to him at all and by allowing myself to become emotionally responsive to his opinion. By stopping the communication (super hard to do, by the way) I effectively stopped that emotional drain. It worked too.
And yes, I called a friend, two of them in fact, to let them know that a craigslister was coming over (in the name of safety). But I felt safe. If I had gotten a bad vibe about it I would’ve bowed out, no questions. Trust your gut, not your brain.
Now I find this entire situation quite comical. I mean, why would litter boxes EVER bother me THAT much? But who cares. It’s taken care of. This just popped into my head:
*name changed to protect the innocent
Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I’m guessing Einstein would have been a fan of Baba Brinkman!
Moving with the family from Madison to La Crosse this very month. What does that mean for clients, present and future? Well, I will be keeping my office in Madison and seeing clients every Tuesday. For all of y’all in the Driftless Region, I’ll be securing an office there and setting up shop in the near future. Details soon to come.
I created a couple of little pomegranates to place in the back of the necklace, close to the clasp, kind of a little secret just for me.
I had this interesting thought process over the weekend, like I really wanted to do a lot of embellishments (ie: add a lot more time to creating the piece), but I also felt this urgency to get it done and around my neck. I decided to go with the urgency and finish it today.
This is what it all means:
Iron (horseshoe)– life-force/life-force of the Earth
Coal (horseshoe)– good luck, energy, possibility of warmth and fire
Pomegranate– fertility, prosperity, abundance
Sterling silver– reflects away negativity and evil intentions; calming and balancing
To be clear, I’m not creating this talisman and giving it all of my power. I will not forget to wear it one day and fear for my safety. I will not lose it and assume the worst is about to happen. It’s not a superstitious kind of a thing. It’s a reminder. A reminder that I am in charge of my luck and my safety, my prosperity and my balance. It’s something I might see in the mirror and then, remarkably, feel better.
Does that make sense?
You can see where this process started here.