This I Believe: On Self Acceptance by Eleanor Gustavel

Dec 7 2017

Eleanor Gustavel is one of my heroes. She spins words like magic, she’s not afraid of the mess, and I hope to be like her when I grow up. Eleanor is also 16, and I’ve never met her in person — not that in person matters when we’ve met by heart.

Eleanor’s mama, Wendy, introduced us a while back. Two years ago, maybe? I remember it was Christmas time, and I remember Eleanor wasn’t OK. She wasn’t well. She was mired in the mud and the muck of which I’m far too familiar as her brain sucked her under, into the mental darkness. Her mama was wasn’t OK, either, as mamas never are when their children suffer and don’t know their way out of the dark. And so Wendy and Eleanor and I spent that Christmas texting and emailing, sitting figuratively together and waving in the dark, hoping dawn would come swiftly, but whispering to each other that we weren’t alone while we waited. 

And dawn came, like it always does. And then day. And then dusk. And then dark. And then dawn again. Eleanor lived. Then Eleanor thrived. Then Eleanor found her voice, which is brilliant. And her brain still betrays her. And she is still the Phoenix, rising from the ashes, again and again. 

I love Eleanor to the moon. And it’s with a tender heart, I share her words below with you, knowing you’ll love her like I do.

 

 

 


On Self Acceptance
by Eleanor Gustavel

I believe in self acceptance.

Self love is simply a stupid, fabricated, superficial idea. We never love ourselves 100 percent of the time, but we can learn to accept ourselves. We can learn to look at ourselves and accept what we see, even if we don’t love it.

As a child I loved who I was as a person, but as time passed ideas seeped into my brain like slow, black, cruel molasses saying I wasn’t good enough.

I started to notice how my hair doesn’t fall like a perfect silk curtain, and I grow out of my child sized jeans and suddenly I start to pay a lot more attention to those little embroidered numbers on the tags.

I start to measure my worth in the calories in an apple, slip smoke out of my nostrils and eat the ashes of who I used to be because they’re calorie free, and I’m not pretty unless I can fit in a size zero.

Zero.

Nothing.

I am nothing.

I drink my tears to drown my sorrows.

I start to notice my nose and how ugly and hook shaped it is. And I hate my cheekbones because Angelina Jolie wears them better.

I cover up my feelings with foundation and put glitter on my eyelids because I just want to shine like a crystal slipper, but I look more like a crystal pipe.

I live in a funhouse, full of carnival mirrors. Bending me, breaking me. I shatter.

Acceptance came when I decided to breathe in and out without the smoke, without the tears, without the calculator in my head.

Acceptance came when I decided to fight those monsters that snuck into my head.

Acceptance isn’t easy.

Acceptance is a tear streaked face. Acceptance is red puffy eyes. Acceptance is many hours of self hatred turned into determination.

Acceptance is messy, and beautiful, and scary, and necessary.

This I believe.


Beth told me to write a bio about myself. I was going to write it last night, but I’m a procrastinator. Oops. My name is Eleanor Gustavel. I am 16 years old and from Rhode Island. I enjoy dying my hair unnatural colors and playing as many instruments as I can teach myself. I’m a trapeze artist, an animal lover, and a free spirit. Oh, and I’m clinically depressed, suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and have Anorexia Nervosa. I have self harmed, attempted suicide, been in an abusive relationship, and been bullied. That is my icebreaker. I‘m laying it all out for you because my writing is my therapy, and those who read it are people I could be helping out of a dark place. I lay it all out because I want people to know they’re not alone and it’s okay to be not okay. My writing has helped me through my darkest moments. From being hospitalized, to being bullied in the halls at school, when I take pen to paper I feel a little bit better. I don’t write for sympathy, but for empathy. I hope for my writing to make people more empathetic, not towards me, but towards the rest of the world and the struggles people may be going through.

I Had It All Together

Dec 6 2017

I had it all together yesterday. I woke up early. I ate breakfast. I drank an entire cup of coffee. I wore clothes that weren’t pajamas. I put on makeup so I didn’t look like the living dead. OK, fine; I had to throw the hair into a bad braid because who has time to do hair after all the above? But still, I had it all together yesterday.

I had it all together yesterday because I had a Place to Be; an Appointment volunteering at the local high school which made me feel magnanimous. I was both dressed and volunteering which qualify me for at least a few hours of super hero status, yes? Yes. I’m glad we agree on the criteria. 

So I had it all together yesterday. I volunteered at a school, and then I had a break, and then — wait for it — I volunteered again

Now, I realize there are parents in this world who volunteer regularly, in all the schools, all the time. They are not super heroes. They are magical, mythical creatures of light and love, imbued with benevolence and grace. They are better than super heroes, is what I’m saying. Still, being a Sometime Super is nothing to sneeze at, and I was super, if only for a day.

I had it all together yesterday. I walked with confident strides and shoulders back and smiled at All the People, as one does when one has it All Together. And so, to celebrate, I took myself to the Fancy Restaurant in town for lunch. Just Me, who had it all together, ordering the Cheapest Thing on the menu so I could sit and soak in the atmosphere, look at the giant, expensive Christmas decorations, and enjoy being pristine a few more minutes before going home where there are rice crispies ground into the couch and our giantest decoration is the tumbleweed of dog hair and spilled sprinkles roaming from room to room.

I had it all together yesterday until I laid my napkin in my lap and thus glanced down at my Super Self… which is when I realized I had my sweater on backwards and also inside out… which is when I hightailed it to the ladies’ room to fix the sweater… which is when I saw the Giant Spot on my pants… which is when I remembered my son “blessing” them with a handful of cupcake frosting… which is when I remembered I’d meant to wash these jeans but had relegated them to the recesses of my mind where all the non-urgent things go. You know, all the non-urgent things that don’t have to do with stopping someone’s bleeding or telling the legions to TURN DOWN THE TV VOLUME OR I’M TURNING IT OFF or running to the store for emergency toilet paper because no one ever puts that on the shopping list.

I had it all together yesterday until my clothes were on backwards and inside out and decorated with a spot that looked like feces but smelled like chocolate frosting. And until, while standing at the Fancy Sink in the Fancy Restroom of the Fancy Restaurant, using their Fancy Cloth Hand Towels to try to scrub the icing from my pants, I glanced in the Fancy Mirror to see that my hair had fallen out of its braid — or rather, half of it had while the other half struggled valiantly but futilely to stay coiffed. Really, by the time I noticed that, I just felt the hair was trying to fit in with its peers. The sweater and the pants had jumped off the cliff, so, by God, the hair was going to jump, too, and damn the consequences. 

But I had it all together yesterday, and even though I didn’t — not really — it felt good while it lasted.

Sincerely,

 

 

 

P.S. We are officially in Christmas Christmas season now, as opposed to Halloween Christmas or Thanksgiving Christmas. This is FULL CHRISTMAS, friends. Thus we begin our Christmas Christmas posts on this blog.

P.P.S. Christmas Christmas posts on this blog are the regular mish-mash of posts that wreak havoc and have no overarching theme other than the usual magic and mess and bizarre, beautiful bits about being both human and divine. 

P.P.P.S. I have things Planned — thoughts on faith, thoughts on politics, easy peasy recipes to share, an Escapist Book Club book for December, a Gorgeous Piece on Authenticity and Grace and Mental Health by my friend Eleanor who is Wise and Beautiful and Amazing, and more. When I listen to my fears, I’m afraid I’m going to give you whiplash, diving as I do from the mundane to the meaningful in rapid succession. When I listen to Love, which drives out fear, I realize this jumble of shallow and deep is simply Real Life, and Real Life is worth sharing. 

 

20 Gifts UNDER $20

Nov 28 2017

A few days ago, I saw a “Presents Under $50” list that made me roll my eyes HARD and then ask my family to roll THEIR eyes, too, because my own two were an INSUFFICIENT NUMBER of eyes to roll in response. It wasn’t the general idea of presents under $50. I’m at least theoretically all for that. It was this specific list that caused the eye gymnastics. 

First, the list called its 30 items “white elephant gifts,” which, at least as far as I understand it, means these are the items the list-makers assume are good for either a) general gift-giving appealing to all sorts of people when you don’t know who’s going to end up with them, and/or b) gag gifts. I mean, if you’re spending $50 on gag gifts, more power to you, friend. Also, I want an invitation to your party, please, because that would be a cool cross-cultural experience for me. But at no time, in the history of my life upon this fine earth, have I ever, EVER spent $50 on a white elephant gift. 

Second, the list called $50 the “sweet spot price,” and “cool, cheap presents,” and “affordable.” Which… maybe… except for the fact that…

Third, the list includes items like:

  • a $47 mini mug
  • a $16 velvet hair ribbon
  • a $35 hair comb
  • a $45 bottle of handwash clothes detergent
  • a $10 one-time-use, plastic drinking straw 
  • and more items that made me cock my head to the side and go… what??

For a while, I thought the list must be satire — surely it was a joke — but a little sleuthing uncovered the fact that it’s legit. That’s when the eye rolling began. And when I started typing in all caps. PLEASE HELP ME UNDERSTAND WHO SPENDS $16 FOR A STRIP OF VELVET. PLEASE HELP ME UNDERSTAND $35 FOR A COMB. I mean, does the comb LIGHT UP? Does it BRING ME A BEER FROM THE FRIDGE? Does it MORPH INTO A GENIE AND OFFER ME THREE WISHES? I’m on a Need to Know basis over here — I NEED TO KNOW HOW THIS IS EVEN A THING. I can get 3 YARDS of velvet ribbon at Joann Fabric for $4, y’all. And a 3-pack of hair combs is $0.99 at the grocery store… or, if you want to be extravagant, you can get a fancy comb with a HANDLE for $1.49. Right? I mean, a small bottle of detergent for A TASK I REFUSE TO DO costs $45? And that’s a “cool, cheap, sweet spot” gift? Gah. Don’t worry about me, friends; I’ll just be over here hyperventilating on the floor.

Eventually, once I forced my eyes back down out of my forehead, I decided to put together my own list of gifts for under $20. Because clearly SOMEONE MUST. While $20 STILL may not be the “sweet spot” for gift pricing, it’s a heck of a lot sweeter than $50. Besides, the prices for the gifts below go down as low as $5, AND they’re not gag gifts. There’s stuff in here for kids and adults, bigger presents and stockings, picky teens, travel gear, jewelry, and more.

Enjoy!

{And…psst… A BIG HUGE THANK YOU to all of you who helped put together this list of BETTER STUFF for $20 or less. You’re the raddest.}


20 COOL GIFTS UNDER $20

Fred Bonehead Folding Dinosaur Comb, $14 — OK; I couldn’t resist starting with a comb. While I must admit, $14 is still, in my opinion, too pricey for ONE COMB, this one is a far cooler version than the $35 number, AND it’s fun enough to perhaps convince my kids to actually use it. 

 

4M Science Kits, $9-17 — a wide variety available, great for kids elementary age on up. Tin can robot pictured. Other options include crystal growing, kitchen science, potato clock, hover racer, water rocket, weather science, solar rover and more.

 

Mobile Phone Camera Lens for Macro and Wide Angle Photos, $15 — Not gonna lie — I’m hoping Greg reads carefully enough to put this in my stocking. Highly rated mobile phone clip-on lens to improve photo quality. Two lenses in one… a wide angle and a macro lens. Excellent for amateur photographers who want to up their photo quality. (THAT’S ME, GREG.)

 

Stainless Steel Reuseable Straws , $7 — Honestly, who wants a one-time-use plastic straw for $10 when you can get SIX REUSEABLE straws for $7? This one’s a win, and it comes with cleaning brushes. Hooray!

 

Infrared Flying Hover Ball, $12 — This looks like an amazing gift for older kids, teens, and grown-ups like me who think we’re still children. We’ll be launching these on Christmas morning. Sure, a lamp or two may get broken, but let’s be honest; that was going to happen with or without dueling hover balls. 

 

BEAST Double Wall Stainless Steel Tumbler gift bundle, $18 — You know what I hate about stainless steel tumblers? The fact that they’re handwash only. Not this one, though. This one’s dishwasher safe and comes with some of those stainless steel straws I mentioned above. I’ll take this over a $47 mini-mug any day, no matter how cute that mug is.

 

Handcrafted Cutting Boards, Cheese Boards and Coasters at Swamp Otter Designs, starting at $15. The board pictured is handmade with cherry, walnut, red oak and maple, finished with food-grade mineral oil, measures 8”x7.5”x1.25”, and sells for $15. Beautiful AND supports a small business owner and artist. 

 

 

Ladies’ Owl Socks, 5 pair, $14 — Guess what’s going in my kids’ stockings this year? Yep! These have already arrived at my door. 

 

John’s Crazy Socks, $6-12 per pair — John has a very cool story! Click that link to learn more. He sells ALL KINDS of cool socks, most for $6/pair. I’m currently trying to decide between Talking Goat Socks, Nasturtiums, and Portraits of Barack Obama. I just need to find out from John how well those Obama socks are going to soak up my tears. 

 

Sterling Silver Mesh Chain Bracelet, $19 — I bought this bracelet for myself two years ago, and it’s become my all-time FAVORITE. I wear it almost daily. It lays beautifully on my wrist without flipping, the mesh adds visual interest to a basic bracelet that goes with everything, and the price is right. Love this one.

 

VERO MONTE Slipper Socks, 2 pair for $20 — choice of grey or white. Classic sock slippers in white and grey options. 

 

Long-ass, Fast Charging, Durable iPhone Cable, $11 — While technically “long-ass” isn’t part of this product’s name, it should be. That’s what makes it great. It’s 6’ long, Apple certified, and charges FAST. 

 

 

Hummingbird Purse Mirror by New Hampshire Pewter, $16 — A lovely artisan product, this is the perfect small mirror to carry for those of us who care about such things. 😉 

 

Never Trust An Atom (They Make Up Everything) T-Shirt, $8 — Also available in a women’s v-neck, these are awesome science-geek-approved daywear. I get Greg a geeky shirt for Christmas every year. He always needs new t-shirts, and the price point is perfect. Last year’s shirt pictured a cat and a box and said, “Schroedenger’s Cat Wanted: Dead and Alive.” There are hundreds of clever shirts to choose from once you start looking online, and most are under $10. 

 

 

Handbag Hook, $5 — I love mine! This sucker unfolds so that the disk in the center can be placed on a table, and the linked metal around the disk forms a hook. It’s an easy, reliable way to hang my purse on the table when I go out. No more putting it on the floor, and easy to carry in my bag with me. Holds a surprising amount of weight.

 

 

Mini Backpack, available in 6 color combinations, $7 — I felt like I was taking a risk with these when I bought them for my kids last year. I mean, a $7 backpack can’t be perfect quality, can it? I took a risk and bought two anyway, and they’re one of my best purchases. We’ve been using them for 18 months now, through several trips, as kids’ daypacks. They’ve been awesome. Perfect size for kids to carry their own gear! Up mountains, through airports, they’ve been fantastic. The adults keep borrowing them, too.

 

 

Gerber Paraframe Knife, $17 — High quality, durable, all purpose knife. My 11yo bought this one with his birthday money last year on the recommendation of my father, the Marine. It has lived up to every expectation. Gerber makes excellent products, and this knife has served my kid well while camping and whittling in the backyard. My favorite part is it sharpens easily and maintains a sharp edge which (believe it or not) helps reduce the risk of injury. Has my child cut himself with this knife? YEP! Sure has. Even though a Marine trained him in its use. Nothing a bandaid can’t fix, though, and a great knife to learn on. 

 

 

Camping Hammock, $18 — Speaking of outdoor gear, hammocks are just all-around rad and an ongoing favorite of my kids. This one is highly rated and comes with straps and carabiners for hanging. 

 

 

Flingshot Slingshot Flying Screaming Monkey, $7 — For parents who have lost their everloving minds and simply no longer care what gets broken. You thought the hover balls were bad? I have no doubt these are worse. Which is why we’re getting at least two. I DID discover there’s a way to dismantle the screaming portion, though. I mean, I AM out of my mind, but I still have some standards. 

 

 

Bottle of Wine: Myriad Options Under $20 — There’s a reason a bottle of wine is a perpetual favorite. The bottles are often lovely, you can find very decent wines at reasonable prices if you know where to look (hint: ask the wine merchant at Trader Joe’s for the best bottles at your price point), and it’s always classy. Pictured here: wine I love from Anne Amie in Oregon’s beautiful Willamette Valley

 

Quick Reminder, You Glamorous, Glamorous Moms: You’re Not Alone

Nov 25 2017

Hey.

So you know how you’re sitting quietly on the couch, minding your own business, next to the Christmas tree with the soft lights all around, and you think to yourself, what a wonderful world?

And you know how you’ve stayed in your short, cotton nightie all day because you have that sniffling, sneezing, stuffy head cold going around, but it doesn’t matter because no one’s going to see you anyway? You’re comfy and the ibuprofen’s working, so who even cares that your legs are prickly, your bra is God knows where, and your make-up is left over from yesterday so you’re sporting that whole strung-out raccoon look? 

And you know how you have a quilt on top of you and a pillow behind your back, and nothing pressing, and the children, praise Jesus, are all busy elsewhere and quiet so they’re probably setting the house on fire but who cares because you have, like, ten whole minutes entirely to yourself?

You’re with me, right?

Yes? 

You know how you got yourself a cup of French pressed coffee with just the right amount of cream, and it’s warm and perfect, and you set it down on the little table next to you, and you’re actually, for once in your life, drinking it before it gets cold?

And then you know how one of those children, bless his heart, decides to get the games down from the very top shelf of the bookcase behind the Christmas tree? And so said child must step over you and onto the arm of the couch and lean over the coffee and hang onto the tree for balance?

And then you know how the child overbalances and the tree tips and the games fall and the coffee crashes to ground and so does the child and most of the ornaments and there’s coffee and game pieces and shards of glass everywhere?

And you’re fine with all of that because the child is OK and you don’t have to go to the emergency room, so you pull the child from the mess and send him to get a towel and a broom and tell him it’s OK and everyone makes messes and I’ll clean this one up because, in our family, we help each other?

And you know how you feel rather kind and very heroic and like you rocked the poop out of motherhood, reacting with grace and compassion even though you’re sick and you could have been a total ass to your kid?

And then, you know how, in an effort to step in neither coffee nor glass, you drape yourself decorously over the couch to clean the mess? With grace and elegance? Pretty much exactly like a 1950s housewife who wears heels and pearls to polish her already pristine home?

And you know how your kid, that little turd, grabs your camera and takes a pic so you get to find it on your phone later and reminisce?

You know?

You know, right?

Well, me, too. And I just want you to know when that happens… you’re not alone, friend.

You are definitely not alone in this glamorous, glamorous life.

With love,

Quick Thanksgiving Tip

Nov 21 2017

Hey, friends! Super quick Thanksgiving tip for ya…

Here’s the situation: 

This is my son, Ian.

Ian experiences disability. Communication disorder. Intellectual disability. Post-traumatic stress disorder from early-life trauma. And myriad other challenges. His life is harder than mine, in other words. He has to navigate a rerouted brain every minute of every day. It’s unbelievably hard work, and he never gets a break from it. 

So when it’s this kid’s birthday — his 18th, no less — a BIG ONE — I try to actually organize a celebration. Like, plan ahead and everything. Invite friends from his class more than the night before. Prep his preferred foods. Make him feel special and at ease.

Not to brag excessively, but I ROCKED it this year. I invited the friends FIVE DAYS ahead of time. I sent Greg to get the pizzas. And, best of all, I snagged frozen pumpkin pies — his ultimate favorite dessert — ON SALE. Really, this should be a lifestyle blog because I HAVE MY CRAP SO TOGETHER I SHOULD BE TELLING OTHER PEOPLE WHAT TO DO. 

The morning of the party, we found some 4th of July streamers, wrapped them around our Christmas tree and, VOILA!, we were even decorated.

I pulled the pies out of the freezer to thaw and patted myself on the back for thinking ahead and honoring my kid in the way he wanted that was also EASY ON ME. Win/win, folks! Win/win.

Toward the end of the party, I put candles in the pies, and we sang Happy Birthday.

Which is when I saw the candles … leaning …

Like the Tower of Pisa. 

And I noticed the filling was a little… soupy.

And the crust was kind of… doughy.

And that’s the moment I figured out THESE WERE NOT THAW-AND-SERVE PIES, friends.

These were RAW pies that needed to be COOKED.

RAW PIES. At the END OF THE PARTY. 

Which is why I share this teeny, tiny Thanksgiving Tip with you today:

If you buy frozen pies, friend,
CHECK THE BOX to see if those suckers need baking.
And, if they do, I don’t know —
maybe BAKE THEM before serving. 

In conclusion, the Pioneer Woman and I are basically the same person, and you should come here for lifestyle and baking techniques more often. 

With love,

 

 

 

P.S. I did bake those pies. 

P.P.S. They were ready 45 minutes after the party ended.

P.P.P.S. My kid was Not Unhappy because Less Pie for his guests meant More Pie for him. So we may still be working on social skills around here, but in my kid’s book, this was a major win.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

2018 Retreat Dates are Published! 
Click here for more information.
I’d love to hang out with you next year!

 

Introducing the Newest Member of Our Family… Genevieve the Refrigerator

Nov 20 2017

Dearest, dearest friends,

Please believe me when I say this comes as much a surprise to me as it does to you.

Please do not feel as though I’ve withheld information.

Please do not feel as though I’ve been keeping secrets.

I think by now you and I have Built Trust in such a way that you’ll believe me when I say secrets are my worst thing. I mean, I rock the heck out of keeping Other People’s secrets, but I have very few left of my own. I pretty much tell you All the Things, or, as Greg likes to say when he’s being Particularly Complimentary of my writing, “She’s not inaccurate.” Like, I have two secrets at this point, tops, and one of them is that I put Cadbury Mini-Eggs in my bra so they get partly melty before I eat them. The shell is PERFECT for that — thick enough to hold in all the gooey chocolate without smashing, thin enough to shatter in my teeth when the chocolate’s properly prepared. Now, yes; one could technically hold the mini-eggs in one’s hands until they get warm-but-not-too-warm and accomplish the same purpose, but the bra speeds that process right up, and everyone knows the More Melty Mini-Eggs, the Better. 

So I’m down to one secret now, and withholding information about adding to our appliance family is Not It. This was not part of the Plan, but life so rarely proceeds according to Planm right, friends? I’d like that on a bumper sticker, please: LIFE = Not Plan-Friendly. While sometimes the surprises are difficult and challenging, though, sometimes they’re AWESOME. Amazing. Serendipitous. And Just Delightful. This surprise is one of the latter, which is why I’m ecstatic to introduce the newest member of our family…

 

Genevieve the Refrigerator

Born in 1949, sweet Genevieve is a Hotpoint Super-Stor refrigerator, a behemoth in her day — top of the line, baby — and now a petite little darling. 

I found her on Craigslist in a moment that can only be called Divine Inspiration. 

Now, listen: it’s been a month, friends. A hard, long, amazing, awful, invigorating, life-draining MONTH. Situation Normal, in other words. Still, we’re TIRED. We’re very, VERY tired. In part because we’re made out of human, and as fallible and fabulous as that implies. In part because our kids who experience disability are in the midst of massive transitions to adulthood with all the angst and agony and triumph and sighing and paperwork one might expect. In part because OMG, AMERICA MAKES ME WANT TO FACEPALM TIMES INIFINITY. And in part because the Great Church Disintegration of 2017 continues to be laden with grief. There’s nothing quite like the heartbreak, friends, of watching my husband and young son curled around each other, sobbing because we’re no longer welcome at the camp we once thought was a safe place to learn and live and love each other well. And there’s nothing quite like the fierce joy of releasing things that were never really ours so we can pursue a wider grace and a deeper mercy and a love that knows no bounds. It’s all very Both/And around here these days. Loss and Longing and Love commingled. A month full of Neverending Tasks and Life Lessons and Clinging to Each Other and Really Big Feelings. 

So I did what anyone in my position would do. I went online. I scrolled through Facebook. I read articles. I watched every Michael McIntyre video I could find. I drafted Christmas lists. I decorated for Halloween-Thanksgiving-Christmas, which is just one holiday now instead of three because I do not have time for 3 holidays in less than 2 months. There are pumpkins on my porch and stockings over the fireplace. The tree is up and fully decorated. I planned a living room remodel I’ll never execute, and then I planned two more. I ate 37 bowls of cinnamon rice crispies and made 3 giant pans of lasagna. I started selling furniture we’ve stored in our garage for far too long. And I shopped Craigslist for things I don’t need. 

Which is when Genevieve appeared.

And the heavens parted.

And light shone down.

And Jesus said, “DO YOU SEE HER, BETH? SHE’S ONLY $300, AND SHE MUST BE YOURS.”

I agreed with Jesus except the part about $300 — sometimes Jesus doesn’t understand Craigslist pricing — so I offered $200 and bought her for $250. 

Then I told Greg our Good News; that we were replacing our Much Larger, Modern, Functional, Ice and Water Dispensing Fridge with a Much Smaller Fridge from 1949 that Probably Works and Has a Tiny Freezer and No Ice Maker and Will Need Defrosting! ALSO, SHE’S SO PRETTY AND MATCHES OUR STOVE. 

Greg was ecstatic.

Then I told him he got to drive two hours in the middle of his work day to deadlift it into our truck, but not to worry because I also volunteered my father and my spindly little 11yos to help with the lifting, and — BONUS — my pretty princess self to supervise. 

He was over the moon.

And so Genevieve has joined our lives and our hearts. And I am love-loving her all the livelong day. 

Please join me in welcoming this newest addition to the Woolsey home.

With love,

 

 

 

P.S. Little Ms. Genevieve lived the first 68 years of her life in beautiful old craftsman house here in Oregon. She shared her space with a wood and oil burning stove. When the house was purchased recently, the new owners decided to remodel the kitchen. God knows why. 😉 Thus the need for G’s rehoming. Our research says she may run quite happily for another 30+ years. Or she may crap out next week, in which case she’s getting a new compressor and becoming the world’s raddest kegerator. This is what we call a classic win/win. 

P.P.S. As you may already know, given our crowd-sourced kitchen remodel project of yesteryear, Ms. G joins Betty the stove (1956) and Bud the Wiser, our bear beer bottle opener (2016). Betty, of course, is named for my grandmother, Betty June, who wanted Everything to be Fancy All the Time, and Genevieve is named for my great, great aunt, Betty June’s older sister. Bud is named for Budweiser because beer. We’re all doing well and settling in together, and so far Bud and Betty haven’t smothered Genevieve in her sleep, so I assume they adore their new sister.

P.P.P.S. Not to brag too, TOO much, but Genevieve is the easiest and quietest and prettiest little fridge that was ever born, and I loved her the moment I laid eyes on her. 

P.P.P.P.S. Greg asked if he gets to have a 1950’s housewife to go along with Betty and Genevieve. I think Greg might be trying to commit suicide. Kind of like Death by Cop, except this is Death by Wife. Betty, Genevieve and I are still offended. Also, we three cuss like sailors. 

THE END

Except that I JUST POSTED THE 2018 RETREATS. I would love (love, love) to hang out with you at the gorgeous Oregon Coast in 2018. Check out the link to learn more about the 4, small group retreat we’re offering this year — a retreat for book lovers, one focused on food and wine, one on writing, and one on mindfulness. If you’re looking for rest, respite and relaxation in a warm, welcoming community, these are the retreats for you. If you’re offended by stories about stuffing Cadbury Mini-Eggs in my bra, on the other hand, you might want to skip these. 😉 

Quick Life Tip

Nov 6 2017

Dear friends,

Just a teeny, tiny quick tip for you today.

If somebody says, “Hey! You look really nice today,” maybe just say thank you.

Thank you is enough.

Thank you is not as awkward as Other Options.

Thank you is socially appropriate. And, sweet friend, you actually do not need to offer an excuse for looking nice.

Maybe, for example, do not say, “Yeah, I would’ve worn my usual jeans except I put them on last night to go out, and I realized they smell like butt. I suppose I should’ve expected that since I can’t remember the last time I washed them, but it still came as a surprise. I sprayed them with perfume, which, as you might suspect, made them smell like Perfume and Butt. It really wasn’t an improvement over Just Butt, but at least it’s the smell of I Tried, you know? I wore them anyway because I was already running late, but I vowed I would not wear them again until I actually wash them because I have standards. Eventually. I have Eventual Standards. So, because I’ve put on, like, 30 pounds over the last couple years, I only have the one pair of jeans right now, which means the inner thighs are practically see-through and in imminent danger of ripping and presenting a serious social hazard. This dress is the only other thing that fits. So, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, that’s why I look nice, I guess. My butt-smelling jeans are on the fritz.”

Maybe do not say that, because then the complimentor will look at you, and you will look at the complimentor, and there is no where to go from there.

In conclusion, YOU MAY SQUIRM at compliments. They may make you itchy and uncomfortable. But I assure you — and TAKE THIS FROM SOMEONE WHO KNOWS FROM RECENT EXPERIENCE — it is way, way less awkward to just say thank you.

Repeat after me: JUST SAY THANK YOU.

Your Friend,