notes on (almost) the end of summer

So it’s almost the end of summer. Not meteorological summer — not yet — though the mornings are not bright as early as they were a few weeks ago, and nights are growing dim rather quickly. But the end of summer, as in the weeks that my big kid is not in school. Though only 1/4 of our household is actually on the school calendar these days, it still sort of keeps time around here. A familiar rhythm. Summer ends, and then “we” go back to school. Soon. But not quite yet. There are still a few more days of left of what has been a nice season. We did not take any family vacations, nor did we do everything on the “summer...

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Naming Needs

Naming Needs

Leading up to my birthday, both of my sisters independently texted my spouse asking for ideas on gifts that would indulge me a bit. Not sure how to respond, one night on the couch he fished, “Ellie, if you were to pamper yourself, what would you choose to do?” Without making eye contact or breaking stride, I snorted, shook my head and said, “I have no idea.” He brought this up on my birthday, and I felt bad for blowing him, and thus my sisters, off. But upon further thought, I still had no idea. Part of being kind to yourself is coming to terms with your limitations. I don’t get massages or my nails done. I’m lucky if I get...

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Enough Clothes Already

Enough clothes already! No, this is not a post about nudism or nudists. Also it isn’t about Never Nudes (which you’d know about if you giggle at “Arrested Development” like I do way too often on Friday nights). This is about clothing of all varieties and materials and how I have too many and so do you. What? How can I accuse you of having too many clothes? And what is too many, really? And who is measuring? And who gives a rip? “But wait,” you say, “we’re all on a spectrum, Claire…we’re all at different places in life….we all make different incomes and choose different paths and make choices...

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Blessings of boredom

Blessings of boredom

This Saturday I ran myself ragged. And I loved every minute of it. No, not because I am addicted to being busy. No, I am not trying to brag (okay maybe a little bit). I spent a wonderful day with friends and family doing many of my favorite things: playing, eating, talking, gardening, laughing, and just being. I was exhausted at the end of the day, but full of the peace of a life well lived, a life with meaning and purpose. Then on Sunday morning, the business section featured an article about the importance of boredom in one’s life. I found it a rather odd article mixed up among the retirement advice and the stock report. But it featured one of my husband’s...

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not counting shoes

I’ve long been intrigued by the 333 project. The 333 project: 33 items of clothing, for three months (underwear, bras, significant item of jewelry, and pajamas excluded). Such a nice formula for cutting out what isn’t necessary, for focus, for streamlining, for simplifying. And I like formulas. Especially for difficult things. Inspired by a recent, brief vacation — on which I brought one un-full suitcase that contained just a few items, each which proved just right — I decided it was finally time to give this particular formula a whirl. I’ve cleaned out my closet before. In fact, I do it regularly. I even write about it a lot....

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From Calendar to Cookbook: The Evolution of Prairie Grown

From Calendar to Cookbook: The Evolution of Prairie Grown

About five years ago, I got the idea that it might be fun to make a seasonal calendar of farm photos for my family who had just ramped up their gardening game, offering a small CSA to the community and getting back into farmer’s market selling after some time away.  And then for awhile I thought that instead of a calendar, maybe I’d make it into some sort of pamphlet, or maybe put the calendar photos together with some anecdotes from my family plus a recipe or two and have them bound at the local printing store.  And then I thought, hmm, maybe I should add another story or two, and a few more recipes and be more intentional about what photos to...

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Making it Hard to do the Wrong Thing

Making it Hard to do the Wrong Thing

In June, Susan and I taught a Creative Writing Course on the campus of Macalester College. The campus is striving to be trash free by 2020. I know this because they promote the goal well around campus with signs. They don’t stop with words and awareness, but have also made significant structural decisions that are moving the campus toward success. There was no trashcan in our classroom. There was no trashcan in the hallway, but there were recycling and compost bins. In the bathroom, the compost and recycling bins were significantly bigger than the trashcan. Sure, it was not that long of a walk down the hall to the nearest trashcan in the bathroom, but don’t...

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