Thursday, August 07, 2014

Brief Home Buying Insanity, Anxiety & the Clothing of Annie Hall. Plus Birds and Cats and Crafting of Course.

Dear Internet, 

I know that the format of most of my recent posts have all been the same lately - mainly boring photos and their equally mundane descriptions. But, it's summer, so I plead your forgiveness. 
There's just so much going on in summer you see. At least in these northern parts. When it gets cold, it stays cold, for a long long time. When warmer weather rolls around, everybody just kind of packs in all of the outdoor adventures and and visiting that they can. 
I am hoping though, with fall's arrival, that I'll get back on a better writing schedule. 
In the meantime, here is some more of what we've been up to.

Last week, for about 24 hours, I went into a state of compete home buying insanity. I am....ashamed.  Although I love our current house, and I feel strong attachment and responsibility to her, for one, brief day, I was unfaithful. I lusted after another house in a nearby village. 

It started innocently enough. I was searching for a link for last week's post on the Village of Franklin. Franklin is the smallest, most quaint and lovely little village around. A place that I've wanted to live in for years and years. We're talking decades. I've always been enamored with the old time-y sweetness of the place. It's even called: "The Town that Time Forgot." Which says to me: "Perfect, let's move there."

Jon and I settled on living in our our current city, which is not Franklin, because Franklin was a bit too slow for Jon's tastes, and I'm sure that my years of enthusiastic Franklin pushing must have been annoying. Being the super nice guy that he is, I known that Jon would have humored me and would have moved to Franklin had we not found a great house where we are now, but I felt it was important to live somewhere that we BOTH could feel good about. So, Franklin was taken off the tables during our last move.

While searching for the Franklin link last week, one of the results that came back was from Zillow on current Franklin homes for sale. Naturally, just for fun, I clicked through! And there it was... a beautiful, beautiful, HISTORIC home in my tiny, little dream neighborhood. Which, the neighborhood only happens to be just about three streets big, so it's not often that you find a house for sale in just the right place and just the right perfect. It was light and bright and from 1840 (WOW!). Also, it had the handful of things that our beloved current house does not have, that we would really like.... ie.) a bit more space, a two-car garage, a finished basement, formal dining room, more than two bedrooms, several bathrooms, and presumably more than just the two interior temperatures of burning hot and freezing cold. 


Don't get me wrong, let me re-iterate how much we adore our current humble abode, it's just that sometimes the prospect of having somewhere to put your second car inside during the icy winter, or the thought hosting Thanksgiving not in your kitchen is just so enticing!!!!

We looked at the house's photos, read the description, talked about it. Did some math. Then I convinced Jon to take us over after dinner for a wee look. We first stopped at an old farmhouse in Franklin that was converted in to a coffee/ice cream shop. It's just a street away from the house for sale. Noah had an ice cream cone and I coffee. Then we walked. We walked down the quiet dream neighborhood street, admiring the large trees and cute, old houses. I was so excited. I imagined Noah riding his bike up and down the block, and me, happily living in this peaceful, secluded neighborhood.  Hanging seasonal garland along the house's white picket fence. Wearing more flannel, and almost never leaving the house. I might even give up my cell phone! It would be so old-school New England. Just.the.way. I. want. it.

My eyes were welling up with tears when we saw the beautiful, yellow house up ahead. Both because I thought, Ah! IT WOULD BE SO WONDERFUL TO LIVE HERE! and also because I felt, Ah! I feel so terribly guilty thinking about any house other than my own! 

By the way, just to explain the attachment to our present home - I feel a true and deep sense of obligation to our house to both appreciate it and keep her safe! She is sitting on a downtown lot, and there are not many residential lots in our downtown. It's sadly popular here to tear down small, old houses and build giant new ones on the lot. Our house is historically registered, so technically, you can not tear it down, at least the original front portion. The last owner fought the city and tried to get plans approved to remove the house and build something bigger. They were rejected. Then he brought forth a plan to turn our house, the front portion into a GARAGE and then to build a big foot house in the back. Those plans were not approved either, thankfully!  Fast forward about ten years.... I have heard that once in a while, a historic designation can be removed, and a home can be torn down. So, my fear is that one day, if we ever moved, somebody would not want our little home, but our lot, and would fight to take her down. That would break my heart. So, that is why, we feel like we're her protectors. That and the fact that when we got her, our little house was leaking and tattered and empty. She needed major TLC and we'd hate for anybody to neglect her again. But who can we trust? Also, it was a miracle that we got this house. It's a long story, but so many things from numbers to timing to selling our old home to the construction work aligned in perfect synchronicity.  So, I am still to this day amazed and in awe and thankful that it all happened.

* I just stopped and hugged my house.

ANYWAY, we walked past the Franklin house and I was so excited and giddy and then as soon as we passed, completely feeling guilt-ridden and suddenly homesick for our little home. It had been a trying week where our upstairs, despite our A/C, was incredibly hot and humid and our downstairs like an icebox. There were just a bunch of other small things breaking or needing repair. And sometimes when issues pile up, it causes you to MOMENTARILY lose sight of how you truly feel.

Long story (kind of) short, we were quick to realize that our house was home, and that we'd be crazy to give up on her. Even more so, as we pulled up in our driveway after coming home from Franklin, it was immediately apparent just how sad we'd be not to live in our little, yellow house. She's part of the family! 

(After walking past the Franklin house, we walked over to the most famous spot in all of the village, THE CIDER MILL!!!! One, month! Just ONE month before she open again!!! I can't wait. All my life I've been coming to the Franklin Cider Mill in the fall. From September through November, for decades they've been serving hot cider donuts and crisp apple cider. It's the BEST!)

(This is the little stream at the cider mill that spins the big water wheel that used to power the mill.)

Other things that have been going on is seeing friends and having visitors. Lots of socializing! In the past eight weeks, I've counted NINE, little visits from friends and family that live out of town. And this doesn't include the local get togethers we've been doing. I love seeing people that I care about and appreciate their effort and interest in visiting us too. I always have such a nice time talking and catching up. The only thing is, is that I'm completely, 100% an introvert.  A few hours of socializing and I'm totally exhausted. It was funny, my cousins were in town and came to visit from 10:00am - 5:00pm. That evening, I sat down on my bed at 7:00pm, fell asleep and didn't wake up until the next morning! It's really that bad.

My friend Laura, who visited me from London this past spring, and knows me so well, posted this illustration of "A Map of the Introvert's Heart" to my personal Facebook page. It's by one of my favorite illustrators, Gemma Correll, and sums up an introvert's heart quite well I should say!

(Photos link to Gemma's art on sale at

It's so much fun because seriously everything that Gemma comes out with, (web site HERE)  I can relate to! She's funny and honest, talented and.....just understands.... :)
I want to share a couple more of my favorites. Please stop by her blog too,  it's really great and cracks me up!

(Here is Gemma's hilarious and relatable piece entitled: 

Ha! Um....yeeeahhh.......

For the record, Gemma also makes art on being a crazy cat lady and pugs among many things. 

Speaking of crazy! So I have this little rule, for anything in life, if two or three people randomly, in a completely unrelated way, mention the same book, movie, store, product, etc. to me in the span of a fairly short time, I owe it to myself to investigate said mentions. I've never regretted this. I believe in synchronicity and maybe even "signs" from the universe! 

Recently, I've come across several mentions of the 1969 classic book  "Hope and Help for Your Nerves" by Dr. Claire Weekes.  Ann Landers touted it as a "Revolutionary new method for over coming fear and tension" on the cover.  I've heard several people mention this book as one of the top publications on anxiety, even 45 years later! 

Then, this week while reading one of my favorite blogs, Anxiety Guru, the author of the blog, Paul Dooley, listed Hope and Help as the first book on his list of Seven Essential Books that Will Transform Your Anxious Life." (By the way, please check out Paul's podcast the Anxiety Guru on iTunes. It really is super informative and great.)

After reading about Paul's recommendation, I felt like I had to investigate this book once and for all. It was available on Amazon for just $5, plus I had free shipping, so there was not much to lose!
It arrived today, and I can't wait to start reading. I've skimmed the book a bit, and love how anxiety is referred to as "nerves" and "tension" in such an old-school way. Without the modern psychology of our current times and without all of the research and new understandings, we'd be nowhere. Sometimes though, I feel like simplifying large, complex issues like anxiety, and boiling them down to the basics like "nerves" and "tension", it just makes everything easier to face head on sometimes. I want to know about my nerves and just start there. Do you know what I mean?

For example, I know without a doubt that my anxiety is triggered more than anything by feeling stressed and too busy. That's a simple understanding. It's usually fairly easy to cut back on stress and commitments and therefore help keep my worrying more manageable. Simple concept can sometimes be the most helpful!

Also, along the lines of "nerves", I've been watching some Woody Allen movies lately. My favorite movie of all time is Annie Hall. Hands down. Woody Allen movies are nice because they remind you that you're not the only one needing an analyst.

For those of you interested, I've started an "Annie Hall Style" board on Pinterest. I'm challenging myself to recreate a couple of  the iconic Annie Hall outfits. I will never look as good as Annie Hall did, but it'll still be a fun project. Did you know many of the "costumes" that Diane Keaton wore in the movie, were actually not costumes at all! They were outfits that Diane put together herself, from her own closet! Pretty cool! Diane has always been one of my style heroes. She's so original and unique!

By the way, for my birding friends, I'm sitting here on my couch, typing and overlooking our backyard. We have a family of robins living in our trees. Their "teenager" birds are adorable, and I've enjoyed watching them grow this summer. I just looked out and saw the mother Robin on our lawn with several of her babies hopping and flying around her, checking out the grass and eating berries from a nearby tree. The mother bird sat in the grass in the sun, outstretched her wings and began "sunning" herself! It was a great site to see! The funny part was, down came two baby Starlings then, looked at the mother Robin, and then one of the Starling chicks began to copy her! Outstretching HIS wings too!  It was SO CUTE!!! She just looked at the Starling like: "Huh!?" :)

Lately I've been craving some creative time. I miss that I don't "make" as many things as I used to. For whatever reason, I haven't been crocheting as much, or making as many window decorations. I used to sew and create all kinds of things! I'd really like to get back to it. Much of my spare time is spent on the blog these days. I intend to find more time for creating too.

I'm not very good at Perler (a.k.a Fuse) beads. Noah loves playing with them. This week I tried my hand at making a hanging Perler bead heart ornament. They're really fun to use!

It's been months and months since I've made paper decorations for our front windows. I used to make and change them each month! Because I start from scratch, no pattern or template, it usually takes one to three days to design, cut, glue, decorate and hang five windows worth or more of these little paper decorations. I know that they look simple enough, but I have to cut out things like watermelon seeds and sunglass frames and sunglass lenses one by one with scissors. It's a lot of fun. Next month, for September, I vow to make an apple-y school theme! Ooooh. Maybe I should do a cider mill theme too!

This month the decorations were quite simple. When you stand back and see them in all the windows though, it looks kind of cute. :)

By the way, while we're on the subject of decorating the front of the house.......  I came across this idea for a wreath made out of extra yarn on Pinterest. Isn't it cute!? I'd love to make one of these for January or February. After the Christmas decorations come down, I'm always needing to come up with some "wintery" decoration themes.  Anyway, just wanted to share!

Hector REALLY likes Noah's small slot car set. He naps o the tracks. It's kind of funny.

Well, until next time! Sending lots of love and summer cheer. I hope your start to August has been great!


Valerie said...

Hi Lauren,
I loved your post! Franklin looks so charming and what a beautiful house. =) I know what you mean though, about being attached to your home...I feel the same way...although I sometimes still like to look just for the thrill of doing so. ;) I love that map of an introverts heart. Looks like my heart indeed. Gemma has such great talent! I love Annie Hall too! Believe it or not, my husband I just recently discovered it. Stumbled across it by chance. Diane Keaton is a favorite of mine, I think she has the most marvelous smile. I love your little window decorations, how lovely. =) And your Hector cracks me have the MOST lovable kitties EVER! Hope your summer has been fantastic. Soak up the sunshine, autumn is right around the corner. Blessings and Sunshine, Valerie

Lauren said...

Hi Valerie!!!!

Thank you so much for this caring comment. I know, it can be quite thrilling to JUST look at houses for sale. ;)
I feel like we have so many things in common. I'm glad that we've met. I hope that you and your sweet family are enjoying these last few weeks of true summer. Yep! we're trying to soak up some sunshine.

Lots of love to you and happy summer days!
Lauren :)