The kids are going back to school; except that they aren’t actually leaving the house, nor going anywhere. OK, fine, that’s where we are–it’s here, at home. I’m choosing to call the get-ready for that reality: therapeutic. Organizing makes me feel better, it makes me feel like things can be managed. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Fun things to help organize us all in the Weekly Favorite Finds below. Organize everything humanly possible — in hopes that’ll somehow make this fall doable — it’s worth a try. Because in my real actual heart, where I am on this whole state of affairs is here:
FTP. F This Pandemic. That’s about where I am right about now.
I didn’t feel like writing about this last week, but now I can’t get it off my mind, so I’m just going to type it out. My friend Rhoda left us and went to meet our maker last week. Losing her wrecked me — I cried my freaking heart and eyes out. Ninety-two years of her was not enough for this world; it wasn’t enough for me. She was a forever kinda super woman….forever.
I didn’t get to say goodbye. Our last conversation was a weird one, on the phone, confusion about something about ‘why is your name showing up on my new phone I don’t know how to use?’, ‘did I call you or did you call me?’, overly concerned about it, that raised a red flag with me at some strange hour of the day; but still — I just figured she was tired, and having an off day. I told her it didn’t matter what the phone said, it didn’t matter who called whom, that I was happy to hear her voice, but that she sounded tired, to take a nap and call me later. She did not.
We moved her into a place we thought was necessary and good several months ago. But then the pandemic made it so that she was in there and we were out here. And now we are here without her. FTP.
Rhoda raised three kids, on her own, after her husband passed at a super-young age. She was always a young age — she still is. In her ’80s, she hosted the after-party after my wedding…and it went on, and on, and on. It was epic. Just like her. It was among many after parties Rhoda hosted. They were all epic, because she was. And the rest of us were just trying to keep up with her zest for life and love. She’s the only woman I know who was half my size, and could walk the same pace I do, in better kicks than me and with a smile, without breaking a sweat, while just dropping wisdom bombs, left and right, with a sneaky sense of humor.
And not knowing that this pandemic was upon us, I cherished every minute of helping her purge her closets and her furniture, and art, and jewelry to make her big move to assisted living. At honestly, a time in my own life that I needed her to help re-ground me. I was the buffer and the beneficiary. Her youngest son, Philip…he’s the heavy. He moved home some time ago to take care of her. While she’s the most amazing friend EVER…um, I can see where being her own child would’ve been a gift, and also brutal. She was a tough cookie. Philip is so freaking patient and good; kindest soul alive.
It was almost like she knew exactly what she was doing when she arranged it so that the two of us would transition her. Me, having all the fun….”is this real?” “what’s the story with this one?” “how many cashmere coats does a woman who can’t leave the house really need?” “so what are we going to wear to Bingo night and opera night?” “how much art can we fit in the new place?” And “which pieces of furniture do you love most?”…as we cleaned out cabinets full of jewelry and drawers full of dreams and closets full of cashmere. While Phillip…did the real work; I was just the buffer — an open ear and heart, always ready for the next story, no matter how much time we wasted telling/listening to it as we slowly sorted. I need that, and someone else needs that.
I just showed-up, listened, and purged and packed…while Philip did the heavy lifting. Full well-knowing, that if I wasn’t there, to be listening to her stories and wishes, she’d have been on his ass non-stop. I was just the buffer. I liked my role. I genuinely enjoyed it. And I will treasure it forever.
When Philip and I got on the phone last week, HE asked me, if I was OK? He said to me, “I’m sorry.” Are you kidding me, Philip? Dear Lord are you your mother’s son. And no, no, no, I am not OK with this…none of us are.
I have had a fire lit under my ass for the past several weeks. After not having been able to light such a fire in myself, for too long. Rhoda, was a big part of what lit that fire for me at a time I genuinely needed to be sparked. I didn’t get to tell her all the things that ignited with that fire. She would have loved all the things. And she would have loved me being on fire again. But somehow, in my heart, wherever she is now, she sees all the things. And while she’d never take credit, for being my 92-year-old friend with the best attitude ever, and for inspiring us all to just keep moving through whatever shit life brings, with joy,…she knows she did that; and I’m going to choose to believe that she can see the good that’s come of it all. She knows, I wouldn’t walk the pace I do, without her lead. She knows that.
I’m going to go for a walk with Philip next week. We’ll circle our square. A few laps. Like we do, like we did, like we will. We’ll be masked. We’ll be outdoors. And at some point, I will reach over and squeeze his arm and tell him that he’s everything a son could be — and then some. I will probably erupt my fire into tears. And I will probably hug him. Because just F This Pandemic. I’m over it. Why? Why do we need to “consider” seeing, loving and hugging our friends? It’s just not right.
Here’s the thing: I think, the end for Rhoda, was that the pandemic kept her from her keep on moving way of being. I think, the isolation did her in — I think she’s probably not the only beautiful person who’s been done-in by the isolation effect. And so my friends, I have this to say: Rhoda lit a fire under my ass, and I’m sharing my flame. If you can, no matter how frustrating, infuriating, and terrible things seem in any given moment…just keep moving…because you can. Hug everyone you can however you can. Be on fire, and spark everyone around you. It’s kinda everything.
I don’t remember what Rhoda gave me as a wedding gift, other than the epic after party. I do know very well, that for my engagement she gave me an amazing cookbook on soups. Apparently, if you just make soup, everything in life will be OK. Along with a pile of jewelry she wanted my girls to have, and a few things she pulled with my son in mind, her soup pot is also waiting for me at the end of my walk with Phillip. Get ready for soup this year; I’m going to cook my way through that book, in her pot. It’s going to be a soup-is-good-for-the-soul kinda year.
Weekly Favorite Finds 08.29: Back-To-School (From Home) Organization
OK, gear shift, back to where we started and to what we do here. Let’s make soup out of this situation like Rhoda would have: the kids are going back to school (from home); the kids will be alright. We’re gonna be alright too. Here are a few things that’ll make us feel like we made some effort toward organizing the whole thing, and that small effort in itself, will help. Just organize things a little bit, and even when things seem out of control, they’ll feel a little more in control when we just put the things back where they belong…and move on to what’s next. Little fires. Little fires everywhere….spark big flames…sometimes…the right kinds of. xoxo, A
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12
1 | Lap Desks | It’s a thing, for space-sharing wiggly people who like to lounge.
2 | Monitor/Laptop Stand | I like a little lift…I look better on Zoom, and my posture is more correct with one of these in place.
3 | Cord Coiler | What’s better than organized cords? Organized cords are the new zen.
4 | Desk Organization Pod | Such a cute way to organize regular pencils, colored pencils, sharpies, dry erase and scissors, and all the things!
5 | Times Tables Dry Erase | When the kids were little we had tons of dry erase place mats that were a learning exercise in geography, planets, shapes — all kinds of things. We still have them, we just use them mostly for arts and crafts these days. But these….have my 3rd grader written all over them (giggle.)
6 | More Power | Just more power. We all need more power right now. Especially when something so cute brings it.
7 | (Not So) Lazy Susan | Center of the table in a shared space genius and super-cute.
8 | Easy To Identify Bins | Clear bins will solve the, “Mom where is my….” Or that’s my plan anyway.
9 | Geo Pencil Cups | Just cute and fun. And they hold the pencils.
10 | Ball Jars | Big Mouth/Wide is the trick here, and then we stack them in the supplies cart and tote them around as needed.
11 | Tape and Stapler | If we’re going to be sitting with them all day, they may as well be this cute.
12 | Supplies Cart | Ikea has similar if you are heading that way anyway…similar price. Container stores colors of it are my favorite. This thing is a work horse for organizing desk, craft, all the supplies. And they are so pretty too.
Black-Owned Business Spotlight | Linoto
Truth: I don’t technically need new sheets right now. Linoto caught my interest anyway. And their boxer shorts, which I will wear at home for happy lounging, from this day forward, arrived yesterday. Supremely comfortable, locally made, artisan sheets, bedding, curtains, kitchen, all of it. They are amazing. I have no doubt, their sheets, and all their other, are also amazing — simply based on my new favorite lounge shorts. Love for Linoto is where I am right now, in short(s.)
Home Goods & Decor On Sale This Weekend
CB2 | Storage Solutions Sale | Up To 20% Off
Crate & Barrel | The Upholstery Event | 20% off thru 9/9
Love your loves, in every way you can. Get a little organized. It’s all gonna be OK, one day. xoxo,
PS: Follow along with me on Pinterest for more Home Inspiration and other random distractions via pretty visuals. xo A
Thank you for telling us about Rhoda. What a great way to honor her. The cart! So hackable! I have five around my house. I put the top basket on upside down in the one in my office and I use it for a printer card. You can also zip tie the Ikea utensil cans to them to hold pens and supplies. The Lazy susan is also brilliant.
Shari….oooo….I LOVE when we turn things upside down! xoxo A
Rhoda sounds like a very special soul – I am sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your love for her; I have been trying to locate the pilot light within – a pot of soup and reaching out sound helpful. Take care and thank you for the wonderful recommendations.
I feel a soup club coming on Anne-…that and a little more light in all of us. xoxo A
I’m so sorry you lost such a special friend. Thanks for sharing about Rhoda.
Cooking your way through the soup cook book sounds like an awesome idea!
#soupforthesoul2020. Thank you V-hugs coming back your way! xoxo A
What a wonderful tribute to your friend.
I work with older people (I’m a speech therapist) and I’ve seen such decline in language and cognition since the start of the pandemic. I have no doubt that it’s due to isolation. Reduced social contact and human touch leave us all vulnerable, mentally and physically. It’s so very sad.
I just balled my eyes out. Rhoda sounds lovely. Thank you for sharing your friend with us.