Tuesday
Oct192010

Hello? Is there anybody out there??

I’ve decided to start my own business. It is the scariest thing I have ever decided to do. I’ve been thinking about it for a long time – kind of pie in the sky dreams since I was a kid and more seriously in the last year. I put it off for a little bit to buy, gut and renovate our new home and then to re-do my parent’s house. And now that I've got the interior decorator/contractor out of me, I’m settled and ready to go.  But why is it so scary if it’s something I’ve always wanted? It’s the first time I’m doing something that’s all mine and I’m doing it on my own. Of course I have an amazing support system in my family and friends, but when it boils down to it – if it fails, it’s all on me.

 I’ve worked as a clothing designer for several years, but always for large corporations. It’s such a different experience – I have no bargaining power (I’m used to working with hundreds of thousands of units, not ten – literally 10 units), I’m doing way more financial analysis and number crunching than I ever expected, and I am totally alone during the day. There are some days when I realize that I haven’t heard the sound of my voice until 7:30pm when my husband comes home from work. Of course, I’ve been hearing a voice all day bouncing ideas around in my head, but it’s such a different experience to not be able to turn to a friend or co-worker at some point during the day and say, “hey – what do you think about this?” or “Please tell me you watched Glee last night!”. 

 So here I am again having not spoken to a soul all day and am turning to the blog to at least get some of my thoughts out there in the universe. At least my vocal chords will be well rested for…. I’m not sure what people do after they’ve rested their vocal chords for 20 hours, but I’m definitely ready.

Thursday
Oct072010

Long Days Journey Into Short Years

Tonight my sister told me that a mom who's now a grandma described parenting in this way:  the days are long, but the years are short.  She shared this with me after the longest two weeks of long days of my not so long life.  A sick baby makes for long seconds, I can tell you that.  But even if you'd asked me if I concurred with this sentiment in the first few months of my daughter's life, I would have said YES.  Sorry to Jennifer if you feel like I did while awaiting the arrival of your first-- that everyone gives a whole lot of unwanted and even terrifying commentary about parenting.  Even when someone said that becoming a parent was the best thing they'd ever done, I prickled.  Now I agree.

I actually wanted to steer this theory toward my work, work... to reflect on short years full of long days with pen or keyboard.  Because it's just as much of an aha for me there.  Elbow deep in a draft, I often feel like the days are epic and that I tend to waste them.  Even once I'm on a roll, it can become grueling.  Should I change this word?  If I cut that scene, do I need more setup for the one after it?  Will I ever finish?  Then, I stand back and look (especially at my current project) and realize that four years have slipped by since it was just a little conceit. And then I must prepare to let it go out into the world and stand on its own. It's alarming, wondering where the time went.  At least I can say it went with love.

Monday
Sep272010

270: Letting Go


270: Letting Go, originally uploaded by jgandinle.

I discovered an incredible quote from Andrea Scher's blog last week: "Keep in your house only what you know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." (Upon rechecking it, I realized that I unconsciously inverted it to the positive, and I like my version better. The original version is, "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” ) Chris and I have repeated these words over and over as we dig deeply into our possessions and pass them on to new homes (or the recycling bin).

While I have long been good at shedding unnecessary possessions, this guiding principle has sharpened my ability to release a lot of things I kept only because I *thought* they might someday be useful. Not surprisingly, I have never reached for any of them in the time I've kept them.

It feels so good to acknowledge their meaning in my life, and then let them go. We are clearing much space for this new life coming into our lives.

Thursday
Sep232010

266: Worth It


266: Worth It, originally uploaded by jgandinle.

I knew it would be worth the effort to put on my macro lens, go outside for five minutes, and kneel in the grass to capture these tiny buds. This is proudly straight out of the camera.

Sunday
Sep122010

In the Dark

The sound of my dogs panting and intermittent bouts of thunder, but nothing else.  No fans or stereos.  No ice maker or whirring dishwasher.  Not even the faint buzz of overhead lighting.  I never noticed before, but candles flicker silently.

A storm has taken out my electricity.  I put my one-year-old in bed and found candles and flashlights in time before the sky and all the houses I can usually see went completely dark.  This is the makings of either a very scary movie or some sort of personal awakening.  I am so used to electricity, so used to instant sound and light, my espresso machine if I want to do some work or the television if I want to turn off my brain.  Now I’m buzzing with all the electricity that isn’t flowing through the house.  

It’s only eight ‘o clock—plenty of time to see what it would have been like to write a couple hundred years ago.  Minus the laptop that still has some juice in its battery.  And the Ben and Jerry’s, which I salvaged from the dark freezer.  But the lack of wifi, the glass of red wine and candlelight—surely this is the stuff of writing years ago in its most romantic sense.  Forget the mastiff licking ice cream off my hip.  (It’s dark, remember?)   

Thursday
Sep092010

252: Blue


252: Blue, originally uploaded by jgandinle.

Dusk sky on our fourth anniversary.

Thursday
Aug262010

238: Dusk


238: Dusk, originally uploaded by jgandinle.

When I took this, I had in my head Andrew Wyeth's "Christina's World," a painting that's stayed with me since I first saw it.

Tuesday
Aug242010

236: Gone.


236: Gone., originally uploaded by jgandinle.

What a month. Merrell died today, after a routine vet visit. His death was as unexpected and quick as was his entry into our lives, almost six years ago. Gone, just like that. I had no idea I could love something so small so much. Both of our beloved pets, gone within a month of each other. I'm ready for this summer to be over.

Monday
Aug162010

228: Birdie Patient


228: Birdie Patient, originally uploaded by jgandinle.

An unexpected visit to the vet today when we noticed that Merrell's right eye was totally red. We're all in for another course of birdie antibiotics; he should be okay. Canaries are so small, fragile, and yet resilient.