Keeping It Real

Most days, after I wake up, consume my necessary levels of caffeine in order to function like a human being, settle into my desk and make it through my first several appointments (or stacks of to-do work) of the day, I warm up another mug of coffee and start scrolling through my daily queue of favorite blogs.

I am quite comfortable in owning my tendency for nosiness. I like to find out what is going on in other people’s lives, homes, spaces, worlds. My poor wife has had to create coping mechanisms for my tendencies to eavesdrop, probe, watch and wonder about other people and their lives. Not a day goes by where I won’t look out the window whenever I hear a car or people approach our house during unexpected times. So, it shouldn’t surprise anyone – least of all, me – that I thoroughly relish the peeks that I have into other people’s lives through their blogs.

Sometimes I browse through my daily reel quickly – soaking in the pictures of other people’s worlds. Sometimes I will settle into reading the thoughts and ponderings of my favorite bloggers and then turn their words over and over in my head. Sometimes I will graze through my favorite sites with the “I-wish” thoughts rambling around. And sometimes, I look at the picture-perfect glimpses of these peoples worlds and laugh loudly.

It’s not unusual for me to be inspired or infatuated with the pretty pictures of perfectly-styled food, bedrooms, houses, creative spaces or projects. But then, after extricating myself from the brief visits into the worlds and spaces of these bloggers, I return to my reality. I’m a very visual person, so I carry around the visions of their ideally-stylized vignettes but I also wonder, when the cameras are not taking pictures, and the laundry needs to be done, and the day is exhausted, and the pantry is absent of ap flour and vanilla extract and fresh veggies … what do their worlds look like? Are their spaces as messing and disorganized as ours get? And then I fall into the loop of wondering if I am feeding my own self-criticism by absorbing all of these everything-is-perfectly-in-place-and-color-coordinated-so-why-isn’t-ours-that-way thoughts.

I understand why the blogs that I enjoy are popular. People crave the glimpses into other’s lives and want to see how perfection functions and if it exists. People search for inspiration and an escape from our own daily choas and seemingly-mundane existence. But sometimes people (read: me, myself and I) forget about the beauty in our daily chaotic existence. This virtual space of mine will never be a place of picture-perfect beauty. Not because I don’t enjoy the thoughtful placement and production of attractive spaces, lives and products. Not because I don’t strive to create picture-perfect vignettes in our life or our spaces. But rather, because keeping this life real is my priority. And my reality is that I keep an untidy house that is cluttered with items that sometimes have purpose and sometimes dont. My reality is that I collect things – pens, books, alcohol (this comes in handy when you want a cocktail at the end of the day but are indecisive about what you’d like to consume), bath products, dishes, coffee cups, shoes (it used to be heels, now its slippers … seriously, you need a barometer of life priorities – look at a woman’s shoe selection!) and many, MANY other things (added to it the collections that are kept by 7-year-olds despite the fact that my wife continually tries to manage and downsize said collections). My reality is that I make messes in the kitchen and I tend to use every pot and platter in the pantry for the meals that I make for our family and friends. My reality is that I don’t get bothered with mail stacking up on the bookcase and I feel comforted by the little signs  (i.e. bows and swords, lego men, stacks of books, etc.) that Shortstack has been in every room during the day.

So, I won’t be giving up my daily ritual of stopping in for glimpses of other people’s lives … but I also want to enjoy celebrating the glimpses of our daily life as well.

chaos1Wine. Books. Both self-explanatory. Ace bandage … well, let me just mention that when you’re married to someone who has multiple (ummm … 12!) surgeries on ONE knee, sometimes there are body parts that need to be iced. May I point out that the glass is not on ANY of the coasters that have taken up residence on this table? Oh! And there is no surface in the house that is complete without the presence of a lesson plan (i’m sure that’s not the proper word – but i’m okay with that, so -of course – you should be too!) for soccer practice. OH! And there is one of the several remotes (aka “clicker”) that this mama should not be in charge of (according to Shortstack, of course!)

chaos2Uno! LOVE this game!! And sometimes – during or after playing (and possibly, losing) this game there may (or may not) be a temper tantrum – usually depending upon how much of the wine (see previous picture) has been consumed. hmmmm … I just noticed that the zipper seam for our couch cushion is facing the wrong way. I wonder if it still is – something to check on when I get home. If I remember to do so. Which i probably won’t.

chaos3Remember when I mentioned that I collect things? Well, I was serious! I LOVE sharpie pens! Who the hell doesn’t? They come in all these fun colors and sizes. tarot cards … yes, my friends. I enjoy having a few minutes when the mood strikes, to shuffle and draw a layout from these cards. Are the layouts messages from above or without – I have no idea? Is there any legitimacy or value in what i read in them – your guess is as good as mine. But, without fail, after every reading, I find myself pondering the cards and their meanings and thinking deeper about what is happening in my world. We have a total if 5 plants in our house. And the orchid in the background is my favorite. It was a wedding gift from very special friends (aren’t you proud of my keeping-it-alive skills, Donna??). This is the second bloom that it has produced since january 2012. The flowers or classic, elegant and gracious … and, let’s face it … I haven’t killed it so I am damn proud of its resilience!

The clutter, chaos and collections make up our home. And I’m thankful for every single inch and item that we get to possess and imbue with our sense of family and life.

Enjoy your chaos. Enjoy your moments for imperfect beauty. Enjoy keeping your life real.

Happy hump day, friends!

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