This beauty followed me this morning on Instagram (Yay!), and I am loving her music. Perfect for FRIDAY!
Happy Weekend . . .
I had an interesting conversation with my 13 year old last night - about drinking and smoking pot - at the end of which I was reminded that not everyone shares my special method of parenting this age, and that is totally cool. What wasn't cool is that I felt completely judged. Bleh.
Here are a few things you might not know about our little family . . .
The bottom line is that keeping an open line of communication about all things works for our family. And as such, I really don't care what other people think. (Thank you Martha Beck for the amazing insight last weekend!) I know it probably isn't very popular, and I also know there are parts of it that can be dangerous, and I'm going to keep doing what I do. And I will never, ever judge another parent for doing things a different way that works for their family.
Have you seen that new breastfeeding vs. formula commercial that came out not too long ago? At the end of the day can't we all just support each other in raising our kids to be good adults? OK - maybe it's a little bit of a different conversation, but I think the end results are the same.
I have a great relationship with my boys, and they are amazing teenagers who are turning into really cool young adults. And on this Mother's Day - I couldn't ask for anything more.
Three years ago, upon the advice of my dear friend Maya - I embarked on a crazy project of making 30 videos in 30 days to get over my fear of video and looking like a complete DORK. This was Day 2 . . . clearly I hadn't made it to "Not Dorky" yet, but if you watch until the very end it is pretty hilarious. I'm giving 2012 me a gold star for bravery . . . even though this video was only made public about five minutes ago.
Happy Tax Day! Now go eat lots of chocolate . . . :)
I know many of you follow me on social media, so (again) some of this is old news - but my son and I took a little trip to Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago to celebrate his 16th birthday. To be clear, his birthday was last July, but there was some additional criteria that related to improving his grades which had to be achieved before airline tickets were purchased. To his credit he is really trying this year, and it is paying off! There's no shortage of smarts with this kid, it's all about applying himself. I'm proud of his hard work and happy this worked out.
We flew down in the morning on Friday - probably a little too early for our own good. I have no idea what I was thinking! Maybe I was thinking that we'd have the whole day to shop, which is exactly what we did. (In our awesome upgraded rental car.)
It was cra-zeeeee!
Here he is at the Undefeated store after doing some serious damage. I rolled my eyes and let him spend his money. O_o
There was lots of cool street art on the sidewalks of Fairfax & LaBrea . . . nothing like a good excuse to take pictures of my feet!
It was actually raining by the end of the day - so we headed back to our little VRBO in MarVista, and had dinner at Status Kuo - fusion Korean - as recommended by our cute host Jill!
More photos from the rest of our trip coming soon!
Today the weather was ridiculously beautiful, so I took my grumpy, tired Monday-self out for a photowalk at lunch time. My neighborhood never disappoints!
Seriously people - these were all taken in less than 15 minutes, within one block of my house . . . imagine the whole big world out there just waiting to be made into photos!
And I was much happier by the time I got home - there are few things that a little sunshine and a dose of creativity can't fix.
I may or may not have mentioned that I am currently enrolled in Martha Beck's Life Coach Training program, which is so amazing! I have known for several years that I wanted to be a Life Coach, and as I learn the tools and get to practice on "real" people - I know with the kind of clarity that I am rarely blessed with that this is the field I want to be in . . . it is my true calling. Very. Cool.
One of the assignments for the program was to read Martha's book, "Steering by Starlight". I have a terrible history of failed relationships with self-help books, so I was very proud to make it all the way to the end! (It was really good . . .). There was one chapter in particular that related to creativity, that I actually read twice. And I think it was in that chapter where she encouraged her readers to re-decorate their space, shift the energy, move things around, switch it up!
What more perfect time for some redecorating than after a collosal purging? (I'm not done yet, but have made incredible progress!)
This morning I had a vision right before I woke up that I wanted to display the cover of a journal I made last year at an art retreat in California, on my bathroom wall. Crazy? Perhaps. But at lunch time I got out the scissors and cut up my journal and did exactly what I wanted. I think it looks awesome!
One of the things I like best about the art is the quote that surrounds her head like a crown:
"I have always been delighted by the prospect of a new day,
a fresh try, one more start . . . with perhaps a bit of MAGIC
waiting somewhere behind the morning." J.B. Priestly
New clock from Crate & Barrel, Milagro Heart Art brought back from Mexico by my best friend Merrilee, tag from the lovely ladies at Wild Roots Sacred Wings (lettered by Christine Mason Miller) reads, "your Laughter moves around a room like a Hummingbird dipped in Glitter". How lucky am I to be surrounded by all this beauty when I get ready in the morning? Truly Blessed!
In other news, I went back to the Social Security office this morning (after a failed attempt on New Years Eve), and managed to get my name changed in nine minutes. I actually took along Beautiful Ruins which I bought at the airport over a year ago when I was coming home from North Carolina, and had never gotten past the first few pages. Turns out it's really good! (The name change only took nine minutes once the office opened, but I did get there 45 minutes early just to get in line. Lots of time to read!)
AND . . . my Swing Dancing class is so much fun - I just need to find a partner. Anyone? Anyone?
I'll let you know how that pans out for me . . . :)
I had to take a little break after my last post for a brief vulnerability hangover. Sharing things that aren't great isn't easy. And at the same time it felt remarkably free-ing to be honest & true, and I'm going to try it more often. Stay tuned for more snapshots of my awesome life which isn't always rainbows & unicorns!
Really though, I got some of the nicest feedback in the form of comments here (which usually only come from my Mom!), and one directly that said "You are best when you're at your most truthful". Big gratitude for all of that - just the motivation I need to share more things that come from a deeper place. Keep your eyes peeled.
In the meantime, a quick update on the Epic Space Clearing of 2015!
** I do want to note that clearing out a house that I'd owned with my ex-husband for 15 years meant that a LOT of things ended up coming to my place that I knew I'd have to go through again at some point. That point is now. **
I am astonished (daily) at the random shit I have kept over the years. Some examples:
I'm also a little surprised at the things which I am struggling to let go of. Like:
And then there are the treasures . . . like this photo from my first photography class in the fourth grade. I will keep this forever! Clearly lots of thought went into this faux car-crash scene - it's hilarious! My outfit on the other hand could have used a little more thought . . . ????
I'm about 1/3 of the way through this craziness which if you recall was originally movtivated by Kate Northrup's Feng Shui For Financial Freedom and I wanted to tell you that it's working. How so? Well, a year ago (against the advice of my accountant), I filed an appeal with the IRS requesting that I be relieved of a rather sizable debt that they were trying collect from me relating to an old unpaid joint-return - most of which was owed from my ex's business. (I didn't know it hadn't been paid.) Last week I received notice that my appeal had been approved!! Is it money in my pocket? No. But that just moved me almost $4000 in the right direction. I'LL TAKE IT!
I have the weirdest theory about this process which feels woo-y even to me - (not just woo-woo, but Triple Woo!) - hear me out: I have an overwhelming feeling that everything in my house is made up of teeny bits of energy. From all the material possesions, to the trash/recycling, to the dust bunnies on my stairs & under my bed. Which is to say that even when I'm done with this massive project there will be daily efforts to keep my space at it's best - making room for the good bits of energy by clearing out the ones which aren't serving me. (The city dust around here is kind of ridiculous.) And I also think this extends to other parts of my life like relationships and behaviour patterns. I believe with every fiber of my being that by letting go of what's not serving me, I am making room for new and exciting adventures and opportunities!
One more quick thing. A freind of mine recently posted this on Facebook:
And sooooo - tonight I start Swing Dancing classes - I can't WAIT!
Happy Thursday . . .
Another reason for my blogging resistance over time has had to do with my avoidance of writing about things that are real. I mean I'm sure you find my posts about road-tripping with my sister fascinating, as are my lists and links to YouTube videos and Etsy Treasuries in which my work is featured. But let's face it - all of that is a little fluffy. And it creates what I like to refer to as the "Facebook Syndrome" - you know where everything that's posted is so positive and happy, and then people think your life is well . . . perfect? I've even had friends comment to me in the last year, "I want what you have!", and "You have it all figured out!"
In this installment (of which there may be several), I am here to tell you that my life is far from perfect, and no I do not in fact have "it" all figured out.
Let's start with the story of this house . . .
My ex-husband and I bought this house together 15 years ago. It's in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle, which at the time we thought we'd never be able to afford - and somehow made it happen. It is an old Craftsman which had been mostly restored inside, and was perfect for our little family.
We moved in when our older son was just a year old. We landscaped the yard, put in new lawn with a sprinkler system! When our younger son arrived, we remodeled our daylight basement so that all our bedrooms could be on the same floor. As the boys got older the loft above our dining room became a haven for playdates and sleepovers, family movie nights and many, many hours of video games. We built a deck in the back yard with a treehouse for the kids . . . I guess on the surface you could say it was pretty ideal.
When the marriage fell apart I was the one who moved out. The house held lots of not-so-great memories for me, and I was ready to start anew. At the same time with the economic downturn, the small business my ex had started faltered. He eventually sold it, and subsequently was mostly unemployed for the next three years. Yes there were jobs here and there, but many of them were start-ups that couldn't get funded, and then he'd be back looking again. (To be clear, this is not about his inability to find work. I know he busted ass every day to find a job - and that being unemployed at the age of 53 after years of providing for his family was NOT great.)
So what happened with the house? He had no dependable income. I couldn't afford the house payment on my own - even after months of negotiating a new supposedly lower payment with the evil mortgage company. So we just stopped paying. We became "those" people. Oh sure we could have put the house up for sale, but without a job there was no way he could find a new place to live. And given the real-estate market at the time, we would have walked away with nothing.
We avoided foreclosure (sometimes by minutes) at least six times in the last eighteen months. There were real-estate sharks on our porch after each foreclosure notice, and strangers looking in our windows assuming the property was abondoned. My teenage son was getting phone calls on his cell asking about the house. It wasn't pretty, and I'm quite certain not a situation that anyone would envy.
In November we finally sold the house, and walked away with a few dollars (better than zero dollars I keep telling myself!). My ex found a job, which gave him the ability to rent an apartment in the same neighborhood so the boys can stay in their current schools with all their friends. It was a massive act of letting go, one that involved a fair amount of tears on my part - mostly for my boys as this was the only house they had ever known. Apparently the buyer plans to tear it down and build new townhomes on the lot. I felt like someone put a knife in my heart when I heard that . . . letting go, letting go, letting go.
At the end of the day - it is just a house, it doesn't define us. We are all healthy, and the boys are gradually adjusting to the new apartment (size, location & sharing a room). We even had Thanksgiving and Christmas together there - which was kind of fun. I have lots of gratitude that we can spend the holidays together as a family and actually enjoy each others' company. There aren't a lot of split families who choose to do that - and I'm proud of how far we've come.
So there you have it - a real story of something that kind of sucked for a long time.
My life might look shiny & pretty from the outside, and sometimes it is! But the truth is that there are days when it's bumpy & jumbly & I cry about it. And I wouldn't have it any other way.
Happy New Year Lovelies!
Today I continued the epic de-cluttering of my house. I have made SO much progress and there is still SO much to do. I hope to keep up the momentum tonight and over the weekend.
I also made time to go to the gym and then to Lincoln Park to get some photos of this beautiful day!
Looking forward into 2015 I see so much possibility, it practically takes my breath away!
My sister gave me Danielle LaPorte's DesireMap Day Planner for Christmas, so I've been giving some thought to my Core Desired Feelings over the last week. And with that I decided that instead of choosing a word for the year that would help me get where I want, I would choose one (or two or three!) that are how I want to feel when I get there.
And with that I give you my word for 2015: SEXY!
(followed closely by Strong and Clear . . . I'm claiming those too in some capacity)
My word encompasses so much more for me than just what it is on the surface. For example: Having a house that is free of clutter and feels clear and calm when I'm in it? Now that is sexy!
If you're still working on choosing a word for the year, take a look at Christine Kane's Word of The Year Tool - I think it's rather genius! (I had already claimed mine, but her approach is really great!)
I hope you all enjoyed a relaxing New Year's Day - here's to an amazing 2015!
In addition to changing my name, and getting a new computer for Christmas (wait there's more?), I also gifted myself Kate Northrup's "Feng Shui For Financial Freedom". It's a short course with tons of tips and overall I'm really excited about it. The BEST piece hands-down however, are the questions she has you ask yourself through the de-cluttering process. Simple & SO effective.
On Monday I made one trip to Goodwill, and last night I took over 100 books to Half Price Books - I made $45! Actually I left with two books I really wanted & needed, so my take-home was only $25.
I know, I know - you may be asking yourself why I'm buying "Digital SLR Photography For Dummies" when I claim to be a Photographer. The truth is I do know a lot about some aspects of photography, but my knowledge is kind of sad in other areas. For 2015 I am committing to learning more about my craft!
The WordPress book is all about the future Proudfoot & West blog. Next I need to find a Wordpress template that is responsive (meaning it will accomodate lots of different devices - phone, tablet, computer - and still look normal), and then we can get started! I'm not putting a lot of pressure on myself, but I am happy to have a book that looks like I'll be able to learn nicely from.
Back to the whole "space-clearing" thing. The truth is that it is NOT about making money. I think I was stuck in that mindset for awhile, but I don't have time to list things on eBay or Craigslist, so ultimately I just sit with a bunch of crap in my living area which is taking up space and energy that could be better used for things I really want in my life. For whatever reason Kate Northrup has succeeded where others have failed, in convincing me I can be unapologetic when clearing my clutter. If I don't need it and don't love it - it can go. End of story.
I am working this morning, and after lunch I will spend the rest of my day making multiple trips to Goodwill. Spending New Year's Eve alone? Ok - it is kind of a bummer as I am definitely a fan of a nice New Year's Eve kiss. But since it doesn't look like that's in the cards for me, I am going to spend the evening clearing my space of things that I don't want or need or love any more . . . making room for new adventures in 2015. Bring It!
Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!