Thursday, July 29, 2010


It's possible to be boring at any age, but there's something particularly depressing to me about middle-aged boring people. Maybe it's my fear of becoming one of them. Or my concern that if they haven't become interesting yet, they may never get around to it.

I was sitting in my local bagel shop eating lunch with Knox today and eavesdropping on three boringly dressed and boringly accessorized middle-aged women conversing, and I thought: "Man, adults are so boring." One woman was telling her lunchmates about so-and-so's divorce and Catholic annulment and how she was trying to piece it together from snippets on Facebook and texting someone's brother. It was neither juicy like a novel nor sad like something closer to home; it was just boring. The only mystery involved was trying to figure out why the marriage needed to be annulled--turns out the Catholic partner wanted to remarry. No discussion of civil and religious marriage laws ensued. The conversation didn't lead to any heated debate on same-sex marriage. No one volunteered that they had had a huge crush on their priest when they were in high school and still felt guilty for trying to flirt with him. They just sat there next to their boring, middle-aged handbags and moved on to talking about contractors for home renovations.

I was so glad when at that point Knox stuck his fingers up my nose to liven up my lunchtime, then told me I looked weird wearing my stupid Nantucket cap. I don't think you have to live an exciting life to be an interesting person. I want to practice the art of conversation and perhaps learn a thing or two from the stage so that I can be in character as an interesting person so that when I am lunching with the ladies, the lone mom eavesdropping on my conversation won't be relieved when her child does something obnoxious simply because it breaks up the boredom of overhearing me talk.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Yoga Home and Life

I realized tonight as I moved through my home that it feels a bit like a yoga studio to me, in the best sense. Certainly the hardwood floor area would be perfect for practicing yoga poses. It feels open, uncluttered and light. Even while littered with boxes, its bones and spirit are open and uncluttered. It is meant to be a clean, simple space that feels good to be in. I want to respect its nature by allowing it to be light both in feel and visually. I want to be sure it doesn't groan with excess and heaviness or become defaced by clutter and dirt. It has so much peace and restoration to offer its inhabitants if I work with it and not against it. It is my yoga home. Yoga stretches and poses create space in the body and allow the body to correct itself and bring mental and physical
and peace.
I want my home to be a space that has that same effect on my family and our visitors.

I also want to live more of a yoga life when it comes to taking care of children and interacting with people generally. Yoga requires concentration and quiet strength to move the body so fluidly. What if I set my mind to offering quiet strength and gentle respect to my son and the children I nanny? In yoga you soften your breath. What if I softened my voice when I speak to children? Yoga encourages practicing a gentle gaze (drishti). What if I practiced having a more gentle gaze upon children in their worst moments to help them find their balance again? What if I concentrated on these yoga extrapolations throughout the day, like changing and holding yoga poses, according to the moment? What if I were more gentle to myself and the people around me--less full of cursing and griping--by practicing physical and spiritual inhalation and exhalation? What if I could be just a little bit more open and alive every day?

photo credit:

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Neighborhood Exploration

One of my very favorite cheap thrills in life is exploring on foot. I love a good meander.
You never know what you're going to discover. My previous neighborhood was wonderful for walking. There were so many interesting houses and gardens to look at. I love the little touches that make a home: an inviting porch, a lovely potted plant, old architectural details, a bit of scrollwork, a flourishing garden.

I was concerned that I would not enjoy walking in my new neighborhood, so I was thrilled when my first exploration on foot yielded more than I could have imagined. This is one quirky little section of the city! Here's a sampling of my new 'hood. (I'll probably have a Part 2 to this post.)

At the intersection of 18th St. is Short 18th!
I love arts & crafts style, especially nestled so cozily, though if it were mine I would lose the front bush to show off my arts & crafts porch!
A large cemetery 
where laid to rest are Lively 
and Quick
(thought I'd throw in a little cemetery humor)
Our neighborhood is in the old Woolen Mills section of the city, where several mills were established and operational in the late 1700s and throughout the 1800s.
an old church established for the mill workers and their families
(it still holds Sunday services)
a funny garden goddess statuette
I am equally excited by dream homes and abandoned, dilapidated structures.
a pretty dreamy home with mountain backdrop and lovely garden
an old factory chimney?
railroad bridge
And lastly, one of many modern designs in the neighborhood.
I'll have to do a post some time of all the mod houses because there's an interesting group of architects who chose this neighborhood to place several of their very contemporary designs.

Can you believe all of this is in the same area within a 15-minute walk of my house? It is so very quirky.
I love that!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Reality, or Woe Is Me

UGH!! This is my environment right now. And there's more in the bedrooms and bathrooms! It's awful. I don't remember unpacking being this bad before. Have I forgotten, or is this time just worse? We got rid of lots of stuff, but we are still way overloaded. And this is a small home. There's nowhere to escape our stuff. It's everywhere! I bet I could take any 10 full boxes to the dumpster and hardly miss whatever is in them. My goal for today is to stack boxes and clear surfaces before despair sets in! 

I flipped on NPR and "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" is on. Everyone's laughing hysterically, and it is truly medicine. It's making me feel better just listening to people laugh. I need a steady diet of comedy to listen to while I slog through the unpacking until things begin to take shape here. Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to unpack I go!

Friday, July 09, 2010

Facelifts and Fresh Starts

I've digitally unearthed and dusted off the old Knoxlife blog and given it a facelift. I had let it languish for almost three years--half of young Knox's life! I've also renamed it; it is now Chisholm Place Chronicles, in honor of our new nest on a street called Chisholm Place. It's such a sweet little street, and we're so happy to be here, where light streams in the windows. It makes life seem full of possibility, and this blog is where I plan to chronicle our life happenings. The Chronicles of Chisholm Place ... surely that holds as much possibility as "The Chronicles of Narnia" or "Chronicles of Avonlea"? :-)
It's nice to think so, anyway.

I'm expanding the scope of the former Knoxlife blog to be more of a personal space for me to write and post things. I seem to crave a space beyond the confines of Facebook--a place to publish unobtrusively in whatever way I wish; a space where people can choose to visit (or not) of their own accord. But I do want this renovated blog to be a useful place for far-flung family and close friends to check in on Knox and his parents when they want to.

Hooray for digital facelifts and fresh starts!

Knox and his new next-door neighbor running gleefully through the empty house
while the grownups conferred about boring things like filters and spare keys

Open floor plan (before we backed the moving dump truck in to unload our STUFF)

Summer swingin'

Ahoy there, cap'n!
Knox on a boat ride at the Outer Banks in North Carolina

An interlude to concentrate on BrainQuest in the ship's hold

My other favorite passenger, Luke, the old sea dog

A shot I took from the boat of the sun and dramatic clouds at sunset

Knox cutting up for the huge wall of scrolling photos at the Pittsburgh Children's Museum