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(c) 2016 Trina Lambert

(c) 2016 Trina Lambert

If you saw me this past weekend you might wonder just how and why I became coated in the dust of ages. Well, about once every 10 years or so I have to clean out the office—whether or not it needs it. Truth? It needed it.

However, changing around the office is not exactly a new year’s resolution project, despite the timing. I likely would have lived with the hidden dust behind the furniture longer if we hadn’t needed to find more space. I am formally welcoming an officemate—well, a human one beyond the two or three dogs that often hang out in here when I am working at my desk. Welcome, Christiana, to the office down the hall. The dog hair is plentiful (although not as much after the recent cleaning spree) but the commute is short.

My daughter recently finished additional schooling (a certificate in graphic design) to round out her BFA and has begun her job search. But as a fine artist/graphic artist, she’s always going to have work-from-home projects in the pipeline and since this is her home for at least the near future, I’d rather those projects not take over the living room too often. We’ve already tried out working in the same space while she created and completed projects for her courses and, so far, we seem to be able to finish our work without causing each other trouble—but more space would allow that to happen with a whole lot more ease.

And in this 1940s office, more space means moving on up—at least as far as storage goes. (“Moving on up” is also the phrase my husband Sherman and I chose for 2016.) No more (horizontal) credenza that has served me a little too well over the years. Sherman and son Jackson moved it for use in our basement. So grateful for their efforts—and that neither of them died during the process. Yes, moving furniture in this 1940s house is often a life and death pursuit.

Non-hipsters that Sherman and I are, we had never really considered that homes such as ours are exactly what IKEA furniture is designed for rather than for those modern suburban homes with up-to-code doorways and large rooms with few walls. My friends, we are no longer IKEA innocents, but after a two-hour trek checking out everything (I mean everything) the store sells, we decided that for now we’d stick with the cheaper (and much bulkier) close-out vertical wardrobe we found at Lowe’s. Should the both of us (my daughter and I) one day decide to make our fortunes full-time in this space, we will likely put some of those fortunes toward IKEA and its Tinker-Toyification of storage solutions.

But for now we’re settling for sturdy upright storage and a whole lot less dust. I love how the office is shaping up but what the heck am I going to with all those piles I’d rather just forget crowding the dining room table and other furniture? The point of keeping my daughter’s doodads from spilling into the other rooms is moot if I replace them with my own.

Dust in the wind I may be, but without tackling my own copious baggage and putting more than a little of the dust from that baggage into the air by cleaning and moving it out, I’m destined to be held back by the whatchamacallits and thingamajigs I have collected. When my days on this earth are done, I’d rather that stuff and dust are not the only legacies I leave behind.

Pardon the dust—it’s got to get a little dirty in here first in order for me to move on up.


Sherman Lambert's feet--(c) 2012 Sherman Lambert

Sherman Lambert’s feet–(c) 2012 Sherman Lambert

It’s late summer (or at least it seems late when people in your family go to school) and suddenly the living feels easy-er: my daughter is feeling better and leaving soon for a temporary campus job that could work into a job while she’s in school too, my son finished the course—and coursework—that’s been in the way of his moving forward in college, the salary freeze has been lifted at my husband’s work, all the work we’ve done to get the commercial property loan we need is leading to a closing date, and with just a small weekly commitment to physical therapy exercises I am remaining relatively pain-free and able to improve again with my activities. I finally feel as if we can all move forward.

As for me, I’m thinking more about the lessons I learned while doing (Julia Cameron’s) Artist’s Way almost 15 years ago. There are obvious steps that move you toward your goals and then there are subtle activities that can open up you—and the Universe—to what comes next. So on one hand, I am evaluating what type of work I want to pursue and working on how to present myself. On the other hand, I’m doing other things that seem to have no professional purpose yet they help me both to remember who I am and create enough space to help me discover how to create a new way of living.

Sometimes you just have to stop thinking and do something—with your hands, with your whole body, or with your possessions—or all of them. Movement inspires more movement.

Part of getting ready to move forward is leaving behind what doesn’t work anymore or what’s been an impediment. That junk that causes me to stub my toes and then say things I wouldn’t think of putting in print is dragging me down. This past weekend my husband started removing items from our detached garage and soon I joined him. Why were we storing the whatchamacallits and thingamabobs of previous decades (and the past century and millennium) when we have current doodads that need a storage home? We kept at the work for a good part of two days and couldn’t believe how much easily-accessible storage we really do have. Just imagine if we keep up the work—and do not fill up every available free space . . .

However, the garage work is just part of the physical movement we’ve done that frees up room for more ideas. I can count three other areas where we’ve made major changes for the first time in years—the house is beginning to feel very different.

Speaking of ideas, I had one a few weeks ago that didn’t involve words. In times of great emotion, sometimes words come too fast and seem to keep me too deeply anchored to the present and past. No, I don’t usually think in pictures but this time a fully-formed picture came to me that expressed where I’d been for far too long. I’m no great artist, as my daughter is, but I just knew that making a small crazy quilt project would be better than writing the same old things . . . blah, blah, blah, blah.

Just so you know, I’ve never made a crazy quilt before but have pieced together quilts. Also, somewhere in the really far past I did embroidery on 4-H projects. So I looked on the Internet and—voila—found a pattern perfect for my project—just as I had envisioned it. Then I scrambled through my scraps looking for just the right pieces—and at the same time got all the remaining scraps organized for future projects.

The top is now pieced together and waiting for me to have time to sit down and practice my embroidery skills a bit more—my first attempts showed me I am not quite ready for prime time, but I am close. Hope to share this completed project with the pattern’s designer and in a future blog post later this month. And, you know what? I do feel more hopeful about both my renewed embroidery efforts as well as most everything else in my life. Really—the picture I saw is starting to become reality.

What is next for me? Don’t know yet, but little by little, day by day, the future looks more like a picture at the end of a gallery than one hidden behind clutter in a garage. And that makes it easier to find a little focus—which is one more reason this summertime feels—if not easy—easier.

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(c) 2009, Christiana Lambert