Monday, December 23, 2013

The Double Life

I went back to duffles. For the past two weeks I have been nannying in southern California, just outside of LA.  With my mornings free and a car at my disposal I explored a fair amount. I didn't anticipate this time and place I would be in beforehand.  I assumed I'd work in the mornings on my photography or other business dealings, then nanny in the afternoons. I think I had forgotten what it meant to explore a new place. In fact I got the itch again. The itch to travel, explore new places, new experiences and have time to ponder life with myself.

I have a quote book that I've been gathering quotes and sayings in for a number of years now, maybe 8-10 years off and on. I attribute it to the inner nerd in me. Andrew says its an inner and outer nerd…regardless, I have collected hundreds of inspirational sayings and letters from people that I look to from time to time. Throughout college I looked to it for guidance and direction; during the summers at Sail Caribbean I looked to it for encouragement and inner strength; and now, I look to it to give me a confidence boost and a reminder of who I am and who I want to become.

I came across this poem last night.

The Double Life by Don Blanding

How very simple life would be, if only there were two of me. A restless me to drift and roam and a quiet me to stay at home. A searching one to find his fill, of varied skies and newfound thrill, while sane and homely things are done by the domestic other one. 
And that's just where the trouble lies; there is a restless me that cries for chancy risks and changing scene; for arctic blue and tropic green, for deserts with their mystic spell, for lusty fun and raising hell.
But shackled to that restless me, my other self rebelliously, resists the frantic urge to move.  It seeks the old familiar groove that habits make. It finds content with hearth and home - dear prisonment, with candlelight and well-loved books and treasured loot in dusty nooks
With puttering and garden things, and dreaming while a cricket sings; And all the while the restless one insists on more exciting fun, it wants to go with every tide, no matter where…just for the ride. Like yowling cats the two selves brawl until I have no peace at all.
One eye turns to the forward track, the other eye looks sadly back. I'm getting wall-eyed from the strain (it's tough to have an idle brain). But one says "stay" and one says "go" and one says "yes" and one says "no".  And one self wants a home and wife and one self craves the drifters life. 
The restless fellow always wins, I wish my folks had made me twins.
I had a great time in California exploring and traveling this faraway state of looming palm trees, constant sunshine, rugged canyons, and glitz and glamour. I had been feeling restless the prior week to arriving in LA. And yet I have been happy at home carving out a life with Andrew and making our house a home. I find this poem increasingly accurate to my personal self.  I want this double life Blanding speaks of.  I am finding myself leaning more towards the stable life, but every now and then I crave the drifters life.  I crave that rush of excitement at each new place, I long to wander aimlessly down unknown streets, and I dream of faraway places to bring my camera.  And yet, this morning, I could not be happier sitting in my godmother's old mustard yellow chairs staring at our twinkling Christmas tree as I sip hot tea and think about all the normal every day things in life I'm thankful for.

 Sunset in Pacific Palisades
 Point Dume in Malibu
 Birds of Paradise
Hollywood Walk of Fame
 Malibu Lifeguard Stand
 Hike to the Hollywood sign in Beverly Hills
 Million Dollar car on Rodeo Drive
 Getty Museum: Best museum in the world
View of LA from the Getty Museum
Home Sweet Home


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Packing Dilemma

I woke up this morning in sunny California. I looked at my suitcase laying haphazardly on the floor and sighed. One day I will learn how to pack.  I will not throw extra things in at the last minute that I don't need. I will learn to think outside of where I am at the moment and visualize what I will need in a new place and new climate. I will not fill an entire suitcase just because there is room.  And I will not frantically unpack and repack the morning of my flight.

At least I realize that I want to pack less but somehow I always pack more.  Its kind of become this dilemma that I am incredibly self-conscious about. I don't want to be the person that packs too little and wears the same thing all week, neither of which is stylish or fashionable.  And I don't want to be the person who packs TOO much and has an embarrassingly large duffle filled with bricks.  I literally rack my brains about this and have a mind war with myself in what to pack until I get out of the car at the airport. In fact this trip I almost unpacked as Andrew was letting me out of the car.

To be fair, I wanted to pack in a carry on, but for a two week trip, that is tough.  Even when you do research on, its still hard to picture a 60 degree climate when you are in a 40 degree climate.  Case in point, I packed way too many sweaters, no flip flops, no hairdryer or toothpaste and too many varying jackets.

I am here in California to nanny for a Nantucket family I've known for a few years now.  I call it my two week paid vacation.  And man do I feel like a little Cali vacation. This past month we have been busy with finishing up the back living room, side deck and Andrew's shop. Our goal was to finish these projects before Thanksgiving and somehow we succeeded. My parents came for the week of Thanksgiving and we had a memorable week together exploring Newport and nesting at 82 Middle Ave.  Although I won't be home for these two weeks of the holidays, it is comforting to know that my sweet house is decorated for the occasion.

Clarks Christmas Tree Farm just a few miles away in Tiverton was the perfect spot to go cut down your own Christmas Tree!

My loving grandmother "Mimi" needlepointed these dining room chairs years ago. She was incredibly talented and although I admire her work (on the left), the style was just not mine.  After a gazillion stables and everyone chipping in, we finally uncovered all 8 chairs and recovered with the linen fabric on the right.

Notice the new Mahogany mantel. Andrew built this and varnished it just in time for me to cover it up with decorations. It is supposed to mimic the shape of a ship's hull. It really finishes off the room quite nicely. Be on the lookout for the new bookcase that compliments the mantel...

LL Bean catalog anyone?

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