Packing It Tighter Than OctoMom’s Uterus

DSCN4506As most of you who’ve been following my blog lately are aware, I’ve just completed the enormous task of downsizing 48 years of my physical life into a box measuring 200 cubic feet for shipping to England where I now live with my husband John. As you might imagine, 200 cubic feet is not a lot of space especially for a woman with a tendency to place value on the memory of a day or event and hold on to whatever object heightens the memory. Thank goodness my daughter Miranda was willing to take on some of the things that were too difficult to part with over the last few weeks.

I was fortunate to find a home for most of my furniture and big things last May when I came to England for my first long stretch. What I left behind in storage seemed in my mind to be a smaller amount to sort through than it turned out to be after I saw it all again. I wrote here about what it looked like when I began the weeding out process and below you’ll find a couple of pictures before I condensed it to a more manageable group of boxes.


Group One Of Boxes

Group One Of Boxes

Group Two Of Boxes

Group Two Of Boxes

As you can see, I had stuff in two places…one a basement room and one in the garage of my step-mom’s home.  She was so gracious about it all. As hard as I tried to keep it all contained to a few places, there were times when it spilled over briefly into other areas as I went through it.  Everything you see is the before image. All of these boxes had to be opened and sorted and repacked. I went through everything creating piles to re-box and take with me or packing them up to give to Miranda. What was left went into a section for my garage sale which netted enough to pay about half the cost of shipping my stuff over.


Day Two Of Sale

Day Two Of Sale

I had some telling signs up for my garage sale and between my Craigslist posting and a few signs, I did little else to alert the world that there was good stuff to be had out in Marietta. I did blog about it and three of my blogging buddies showed up  to say hello and help finance my move….thanks to Jules, Leslye and Taylor  along with some long time friends, Patrice and Scott. Additionally, two old boyfriends that I’m still friendly with from 25 and 30 years ago stopped by to say hello.  It was good to see each of them and I was pleased to see some things that were special to me go to people I know. Taylor bought a birdcage that I loved and I can’t wait to see what cool photographs she creates with it. You can see her first image of it if you go here.

A few more shots of stuff no longer mine from the sale…




By the time the movers came to box up the breakables, I had packed the rest of it. I could pack the non-fragile items, but had to leave the boxes open for the movers to note before sealing. Here are a few images from that day.






I shipped loads of art over as well as a chair that looks like the female version of one John has. I’ll post them side by side when it arrives.

Below are some of my boxes repacked and stacked to mimic the dimensions of the storage crate.




The wooden crate you see above is what ALL of my stuff went into.  You’re going to see why I chose the title I did for this post in a minute.


These men from Atlantic Relocation Systems did an excellent job packing the breakables up and numbering everything. They have a history of working with Rainier, the company I contacted to do the international move and everyone from Doug Wiviott at Rainier to Mike Orlin with Atlantic Relocation Systems and all of the guys who did the hard work of packing it up have been great to work with. I’ll update you in 45-65 days when my crate arrives as to the condition of things, but it’s been good experience so far.


Remember what I said about OctoMom’s uterus….well….it wasn’t eight babies, but it was pretty tight!













The next time you see the crate will be when we’re unloading it here in Cornwall. I wonder if it will seem strange to see my things in this setting. I have to say that as they were putting the very last thing into the crate, I got a little teary. The last two things were a large framed photograph of Miranda as a barely walking toddler sitting in my grandmother’s wicker rocking chair and the last minute addition of sewing box given to me many years ago by my Aunt Wylly, the children’s book author. There was something about seeing that old sewing box slip into a little opening to make the journey that caused me to feel something other than relief and exhaustion. I think it was the thought of Aunt Wylly and her sense of adventure that affected me in the moment. She was such a special woman and an inspiration to me in many ways…thinking of her and knowing how she lived her life…I think she’d approve of this new love and life in Blisland .

More Than Just A Wave


Ry Saying Goodbye

When babies are learning to talk, one of the very first things they learn is how to say bye-bye. Along with a which they usually pick up the importance of tossing in a bit of hand waving as well.  Like all new (dog) mommies, my daughter Miranda has been teaching Ry to do a bit more than just sit around looking pretty. While I was back in America recently, she proudly had Ry demonstrate some of his newly acquired skills. He’s a smart pup and when there’s food involved can pick up new things faster than some of the folks who descended on my garage sale two weeks ago.

I think his little wave was one of the cutest things she taught him, although I have to say I loved his exuberant high five as well.  He jumps up to go paw to hand when she says, “High five” and you almost expect him to say, “Aw right ” along with it.

It’s been a busy four weeks since I went home to Georgia to sort, sell, and ship my stuff over to England. As you might expect, I have more than a few stories for you. Back at home in Cornwall now with John, it’s a blue sky morning and I’m getting ready to go for my first run in a month with Tina, my running buddy and friend. We’re meeting like we always do on the the village green at 9:00 and I’ll be a second or two late as I usually am, because I just have to write one more word before I go. She’ll be there on time and waiting and will swoosh away my apologies with a wave of her hand…understanding and happy just to say hello again.  


Just In Time For Mother’s Day


Mother's Day Rose 2009

Mother's Day Rose 2009

Two years ago Miranda asked me the question mothers everywhere begin to hear as Mother’s Day approaches. Always fairly forthright she said, “What do you want for Mother’s Day?”  More time with you…is never what a nineteen year old wants to hear so instead I suggested an activity that might ensure more than a few hours together. I asked her to help me plant some bushes and flowers around the front of the house. We picked out some plants and a small rosebush and dug and watered and settled them into the soil of their new home. If you live in the Atlanta area, you know the last few years have been fairly dry and although I watered and watched over them for a year, when I left for England last May I wasn’t sure they’d survive.

Arriving at the house last week to move the stuff I’d left locked in the attic, I immediately saw that one of the plants had died and the other one looked as if it was not far behind. The next day Miranda joined me to help load everything into a truck to move it to Marietta to sort for shipping to England. Towards the end of our work day I noticed a bit of color along the white picket fence that borders the front yard. Growing around the fence posts was the rosebush. I’d missed it there hanging on bravely through the drought, still green and alive and blooming with the sweetest little miniature roses you’ve ever seen.  It’s interesting how something that seems so fragile at times is really quite resilient and just when you least expect it…surprises you with a strong showing.  

I hope your day was as lovely as mine!

Diversions And Updates

dscf4319I’m still waist deep in boxes and sorting as I decide what will move to England with me. The shippers come a week from Monday and I’m working steadily to go through everything and repack the non-breakables. (the shippers have to pack the fragile stuff)

I’m having a huge, mammoth yard sale on the 15 th & 16 th so I have a good deadline for getting it all done before sending what’s left off on the 18th. In addition to the stress of completing such a task, I find myself getting terribly maudlin at times seeing so much of my past spreading out before me. 

Late at night or in moments when I grab a bite of food, I slip to my computer to do a fast catch up on the blogs I read. Those of you who pop by mine should know how much a quick look at your words and images shakes me out of the past and reminds me of the life I have in the present.  It’s a big help to me right now. 

Today over a breakfast bagel and my third cup of coffee, I took a look at a favorite blogger that I follow. Rima, over at The Hermitage, lives a life most of us couldn’t dream of and her lovely space is alway a delight. The post I read today reminds me of Cornwall and John and what waits for me on my return. Please take a minute to go by and read her post, What I Saw By The Wayside.  While you’re there, take a good look around her site…she’s a wonderful artist and paints the most amazing scenes on the clocks that she makes.  

Have a great weekend and I be back in a bit…once I get through all of this mess.





Miranda Holding Sam

Miranda Holding Sam

Thirteen years ago I snapped this photograph of Miranda holding her new cousin Sam. He was about six weeks old when she and I boarded a plane bound for Alaska to see the firstborn son of my sister Margaret and her husband Leon. 

Elizabeth & Sam - Trying To Make Him Laugh

Elizabeth & Sam - Trying To Make Him Laugh

Sam as it turns out, was the laughingest baby I’ve ever known and if you ask my sister she’ll tell you he only ever laughed with wild abandon with me. (Use your imagination here to picture the silly dances and sounds I had to make in order to encourage such giddiness) You should know I’m talking about giggling, squealing peals of real laughter not just the smiles and cooing you get with a lot of happy babies. Born in Alaska, we didn’t see a lot of each other face to face over the years, but my memories of the way he would laugh can still make me smile and it’s one of the stories everyone talks about when we remember Sam’s baby years.

Last December, I had a chance to spend a week in Alaska with Margaret and her husband Leon along with Sam and Nik. It was the first time I’d been around Sam since he was about 3 1/2. so the changes were huge. Sam, the laughingest baby I’ve ever known has a more mature sense of humor now.

He understands subtlety in a way that takes you by surprise, sometimes being a step or two ahead of you before you realize he understands irony in way that most thirteen year olds don’t get yet. 

There are a few other qualities I had a chance to see up close during my visit, such as Sam’s innate sense of direction. It turns out that Sam’s love of maps makes having him in your car a bit like having a personal GPS that tells you where to go and then reassures you that he knows what he’s taking about. I saw him do this more than a few times when we were in the car together last December and thought how handy that would be when he makes it over to Cornwall sometime for a visit. 



Like his younger brother Nik, Sam is quite the music man. Preferring a Gibson guitar over his brother’s Fender, he seems to like to rock a bit more gently to some less raucous rock and roll classics and it was great fun for me to be able to see him play live at a Christmas concert. 

He’s had a intense interest in Huskies and the Iditarod for as long as I can remember and got his dog Buddy, an Alaskan husky when he was about six. (Sorry …I don’t have a better picture of Buddy) The picture below though shows one of the funny things Buddy likes to do when he feels like he wants to join the rest of the action.

Buddy At The Gate

Buddy At The Gate


Sam has a need for solitude and time to think that I totally get and conversations with him always leave me thinking about our discussions and marveling at the perspective and insight of such a young man. He digs deeply into areas that interest him and is more than willing to chat at length about certain subjects… sharing details you might not ever have considered. 


I think what I enjoy most though is seeing Sam interact with his brother Nik. With almost the same two year age difference that his mother Margaret and I share, I’m sometimes reminded of how she and I were as similar and different as Sam and Nik are while still enjoying the connections that come with having a sibling so close in age.


Sam Holding A Lizard With Nik Looking On

Sam Holding A Lizard With Nik Looking On

Today Sam is thirteen and recognized as a teenager on his way to all the experiences and expectations that will come with the title of teen. New directions can be more challenging for some of us than others, but with his uncanny sense of direction, I feel sure he’ll have no problems finding the path most right for him.

Happy Birthday Sam