I’ve finally admitted I am sick and am resigning myself to it and going with the flow. This is the longest I’ve gone without swimming since I began swimming last November. But to put my head in that water right now would be really stupid. Plus I almost feel I have a low-grade fever and I’m a bit dizzy. So, I’ll be hanging out at home today, drinking a lot of liquids and using my Netti-pot.
Still down emotionally, but possibly a bit less than yesterday. If I think about my situation: 57, broke, bankrupt, jobless, living with parents, then I could easily become discouraged. I’m not really an overt optimist, but there must be something in human nature in general which keeps us moving and thinking ahead.
When I go for walks here in my parent’s neighborhood, which is really working class, I see small, almost cottage-like homes that I can see myself in. I begin to think about what it would like to have a home of my own. My very own. And it’s very pleasurable to spend time visualizing it.
It’s yellow and small, just two bedrooms and one bath and it has wood floors. Built in the 1950s or 1960s, it has a little bit of personality here and there. Some built-in cubbies or bookcases, a rounded doorway, painted stairs.
It’s bright and has a lot of windows, perhaps a skylight. I have screen doors on the front and back doors and I leave the regular doors open so that air can circulate through the house. There’s no air conditioner. I look around at my things and smile. Music is playing.
Is it the Go-Go’s? Ani DiFranco? The soundtrack to Frida? It’s whatever the hell I want to play, that’s what it is!
In the last several years while spending a lot of time on decorating sites like Apartment Therapy and also from visiting charity shops all over Oregon and London, England, I have finally realized what my personal home style is. It’s a combination of Swedish mixed with mid-century American.
Walls are white. Pops of color come from blankets, rugs, pillows, and art on the wall (mostly my paintings or photography). Furniture is natural wood or painted white. Nothing is particularly heavy nor is anything particularly precious. It is just stuff that’s been lovingly cared for and holds memories for me of times gone by, or trips, or places I’ve lived.
The kitchen is the heart of the home and it will show signs of use. My burnt orange La Cruset dutch oven sits proudly on the gas stove top ready for use, too pretty and noble to put away. I have my trusty electric kettle nearby — something I can’t live without now that I’ve lived in England. Tea or French press coffee can be ready in moments and drunk from my vintage white glass mugs.
I’m teaching myself how to bake French pastries. On the countertop is a fresh batch of madeleines. I package some for my neighbors and they give me fresh eggs in return.
There’s a shelf displaying some of my Turkish coffee pots and pretty demitasse cups. Another shelf hold my vintage ceramic chicken collection.
The table fits four comfortably or six if you squish in a bit. The dishes may not match but they all go with one another because of color and weight. Primary colors in simple designs plus lots of white. If there’s a kitchen window I’ll buy white lace curtains for it. I’ll put some fresh herbs in pots on the sill.
Sometimes I visualize it with a cat lying on the kitchen floor in a spot of sunlight. Sometimes I see a dog of various sizes sleeping with me, keeping me company, alerting me to danger, but until I decide if I want to travel or not, the pet thing remains a bit fuzzy.
The back yard will have several fruit tress (cherry, plum, and peach?), and a whole patch of blueberry bushes. There will be several raised beds for me to plant vegetables in the spring: persian cucumbers, heirloom tomatoes, red leaf lettuce, lots of herbs. There will be a deck or patio and it will be covered. I will spend a lot of time out there reading, drinking coffee, watching birds at the hummingbird feeder. The backyard is my sanctuary.
I’ll have bleeding hearts, hydrangea, hostas, ferns, and maybe some tall grasses and rose bushes, but I’ll have little to no lawn to take care of. A bird bath, of course, near the bird feeder. A table and chairs on the patio to eat out there at a moment’s notice. A small barbecue.
Oregon summers are divine and we have to appreciate every sunny day because come October, we don’t have much sun for a good six months.
Sometimes I imagine a place a few notches up from that modest fantasy, but I go back to the little simple home more often than not because it’s in my comfort zone, it could be within my budget, it could be maintained by me alone. It’s not too big for me alone.
I love spending time imagining that I might have a home of my own again someday. But I usually only allow myself a minute or two because I don’t want to be disappointed. There’s nothing I can do right now to make it happen so I don’t want to torture myself.
I just hope I’m not too old to see this happen. These are not lofty dreams, are they?
If I can get a decent job and use the money I get from the settlement to invest until my credit is somewhat restored, this could happen for me. I think.