What’s In The Bag?

Heathrow Airport Arrival 2013

Coming home is particularly sweet after an extended time away.

There’s the obvious happiness of seeing my husband John waiting for me, and the ahhh feeling I get when the plane lands safely and I make it through customs and immigration, but this time has been different and I have been trying to figure out why.

I recently returned from a ten-week stay in the US and have been a bit overwhelmed since my arrival a little over a week ago.

I hear you thinking, What do you mean overwhelmed … how long can it take to unpack your bags and settle back into your routine?

Sometimes, it’s not about the stuff in the bags.

As you can see I am pushing a very full luggage cart and it’s not the first time I have arrived from an international flight looking like a smiling beast of burden. This collection of suitcases is fairly light compared some of my past Heathrow and Gatwick arrivals. Due to decreasing weight allowances, but increasing checked baggage costs, I tend to travel lighter on my trips between what I think of as my two homes.

Except this time.

This time the extra bag I checked carried some favorite product brands I can’t get in the UK along with some new clothes and other things I have needed for a while.

Needed might be questionable, but …

I tend to be a big charity store shopper with Salvation Army, Goodwill, and second-hand shops being my ‘go to’ places. This does not mean I don’t buy new, but when I do I tend stick to the sale section. Thrifty shopping can be just as bad as spending too much on new, a lesson my normally bulging closet would illustrate had its contents not been recently whittled down.

Thursday, John and I took seven huge garbage bags filled with clothing to a local charity shop along with several bags of barely worn shoes and two big boxes of books. I think I struggled more deciding which books to give away than I did with clothes and now after looking at my bookshelves and wardrobe more critically, I have decided to go back through and do another purge.

Remember when I said it’s not always about the stuff earlier …

I have been working on multiple parts of the house since I got home, clearing away clutter and organizing what is left. I have even been in the attic going through boxes and throwing out or giving away things while doing a total overhaul of what is allowed to stay. I’ve emptied a wardrobe and a too-full dresser in the guest room and I’ve reorganized other parts of the house as well even giving away loads of my books that were cluttering John’s study, but what I haven’t done is finish tidying up my studio space.

Studio sounds a bit grand for what I do there, but it is my creative get-away space and where I do most of my writing and photography work. It also doubles as my dressing room and has an en suite bathroom attached to it both of which have been an absolute tip (trash site) since I arrived ten days ago. I left it very tidy when I flew to the US in early July, but with the big clear out over the last week things have fallen into a bit of state.

Looking at it feels overwhelming and I have been finding ways to avoid slogging through what’s left to finish it off.

I decided to take a look at how my need for perfection keeps me from getting more done creatively after reading this post by Nadia Eghbal titled  Why I Wore The Same Outfit Everyday For A Year.  As good writers and bloggers will often do, she got me thinking.

Sure I can clean like I’m still in the Army getting ready for an inspection, or make a time-consuming special something _________ insert what ever suits you here, but be sure it’s something that could use a bit more of this, or a touch of that because that’s what my rarely satisfied self would do with something I make.

I could say I’m only nesting with all this clearing and decluttering, making room for the birth of some semi-new blog or book idea, or even some business daydream that can travel with us when John and I pack up and go and some of that would be true, but I have to wonder if there’s not something bigger underlying my need to restrict and control disorder in my environment to the extent that it distracts me from other parts of my life needing attention.

I’m not going to spend any more time mulling that one over as I do better when I make a decision and move on. With that in mind, I am committing to tossing a few extra things into my partially full give-away bag.

I am willing to begin by dropping in my perfectionist tendencies along with a too tight sweater and a dress that’s really a little young for me. Then there’s that old comparison rag where I tend to judge my work against that of others. Yep, that’s going too.

That will do for me for now, but what about you?

If you’ve got something you want to get rid of, something that’s keeping you stuck or distracting you from your next best thing, feel free to leave it behind in a comment.

Go ahead, I’ll bag it up and dispose of it for you.

Because you know I do like a tidy work space, and I’m already going that way.

Redoing It My Way

Yesterday I went into our closest town with my friend Tina to get to my hair cut by someone new. The stylist who has been doing my hair is 40 miles away and it was getting to be a bit much for a woman who needs a cut every six weeks so I decided to try the woman who does Tina’s hair.

We had a bit of car trouble on the way there. Tina was driving when the reverse in her car completely disappeared while we trying to back up. This can be a problem when driving on the narrow lanes here as you frequently need to reverse when you meet an oncoming vehicle. We made it back to the village and after parking her car, we picked up John’s car and set off with me behind the wheel.

We had a bit of time to hit the shops before our hair appointments and we went into some of my favorite stores, the charity shops. There are tons of them scattered around everywhere you look in the cities and towns here in the UK.  You can literally walk out of one and within a few hundred yards be standing in front of another. I see these shops as a treasure hunt of sorts and yesterday, I hit gold when I found two almost identical bracelets and a necklace.

Want to know what I did with those three pieces of jewelry (or jewellery for UK readers)…. I made some more….I love reworking jewelry into something I really want. Below are the seven pieces that I reshaped from the original three and I’ve got enough bits left over to make at least two or three more pairs of earrings.








I had a lot fun making these pieces, but the best find of the day was Lisa, who gave me my sassy new haircut.

Because Red Pine Mountain asked about it, here’s a picture of my new haircut that John took in the pub last night. It’s not the best of me, but you can get an idea of how it looks. I know it’s not dramatically different from some I’ve worn in the past, but I was getting so shaggy looking that it feels fresh and exciting to me. Plus, I really prefer my hair short enough to keep it looking somewhat natural…too long tends too end up being too much work and a bit fussy looking for me.


Can you see the new earrings I made earlier in day?


The pub was packed last night as the live entertainment drew a huge crowd that spilled over into the restaurant side where we were sitting as well to the picnic tables outside .


John and I walked home about 11:45 calling it a night fairly early, but there were tons of folks still having fun as we strolled off into the dark.