Sunday, October 20, 2013

Autumn Comforts

We arrived home from a birthday trip to Pittsburgh to find the temperature had dipped below 50 degrees at our house.  It was that first break down and turn on the heat moment of the season.

It is always nice to come home from a trip, even a very short one.  But yesterday proved even nicer, because it was cold enough that we turned on the living room fireplace for a bit, too, and got treated to cozy awesomeness.

This really is my favorite time of year.

Today will be filled with some serious straightening and cleaning up, and general tidying of our randomly piled living spaces.  When it comes to this time of year, I want to nest in comfortably with a good book and some warm spiced cider or tea, and I can't do it if the visuals are all piles of random crud that no one wanted to take the time to put away.

Alas, comfort and clutter do not coexist well in my universe.

But clean, freshly washed, cozy blankets and cleared off flat surfaces just waiting for a puzzle or a game on a bad weather day?  That makes me happy in the biggest way.

This week's goal at our house will be to get those pesky flat surfaces cleared.  For us, this means mostly finding shelf space for all the books that are strewn about the house.  We are a house of readers, but not a house of readers who consistently put their books away back on the shelves.  It is a source of much irritation for me at the moment, and I'd like to come up with a better way to organize things for my own sanity's sake if nothing else.

There is a craft project in my future today as well.  This past week, we read The Shelf Elf, which features an adorable little library elf named Skoob who wants to win the Golden Shelf Elf Award.  Yesterday, I found a little plaster statue of Santa that I am going to paint with shiny gold metallic paint and glue to a base of wood that will also be painted shiny gold.  At least, that's the hope anyway.

If it works, then henceforth, the shelf elf will be leaving little notes for my younger students on library behavior and the importance of reading.  It should be an awful lot of fun for me, if nothing else, but something tells me my smaller kids are going to have some serious fun with this, too.

This past year has been so chaotic and frenzied, with all of the doctors visits and medical ick that followed from my breast cancer diagnosis.  Physically, I'm only feeling about halfway back to normal on any given day, my brain is still a little chemo-addled when I get tired (please tell me that full brain capacity will come back!) and I can't fish information and even vocabulary out at will like I could before all of this.

The worst, though, is my inability to multi-task and organize like I did before all of this.   Everything takes so much concentrated thought and energy. 

I want my brain back, but something tells me that time, rest and patience are going to be needed to get me there.  It seems to me that autumn's slower pace and call to comfort is just what is needed to make that happen, and so I hope to embrace it fully in the weeks ahead and all the way through winter's chilly season as well.

What I would love is to have a house elf to clear up while I rested.  But, alas, although Harry Potter's universe seems so real to me when I read the books, the house elves have not yet shown up to offer their services at our abode.  (I am convinced that J. K. Rowling must loathe housework as much as I do to have invented such a fun little creature as the house elf.  I often wish they were real, and would happily offer one clothes if she would come and live at our house in perpetuity and help out.)

The thing is, more grousing doesn't fix anything.  And so, it is to the cleaning I go, keeping in mind the happiness and satisfaction I get when I am done and things are tidy and lovely again.  It is worth the slog to get there, I suppose, but it doesn't make the slog any more fun, now does it?

Find something fun to do today.  Have a smile on me.

(Photo via Tomoaki INABA.)

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