On any given day you are most likely to find us communing with the gnomes and the fairies Under The Old Oak Tree

Saturday, July 17, 2010

How I Recover from A Couple of Rough Days...

The past two days have been really rough ones for our family.  We live in a townhouse apartment and one of the major drawbacks is smelling everything from the unit next door.  It's currently vacant and being renovated.  Unfortunately, part of that process involved the heavy use of chemicals with fumes that made us sick.  Of course this had to happen on a 100 + degree day when my husband's car was at the shop being fixed. This meant that my husband was driving my car...and of course both of our car seats were in our respective cars.  So W and I were effectively stranded!

Somewhere in the afternoon I noticed W looked like he was about to fall over and then suddenly felt very dizzy and started smelling bad fumes.  We were getting ready to have friends over to go swimming so I grabbed all our pool stuff, dumped it on the front porch and high tailed up to the management office to report the issue.  Luckily they were really responsive and put out fans next door.  We swam with our friends who were wonderful to bring us cold water to drink as well.  After swimming, I was still feeling sick in our apartment, so we waited outside for  my husband to get home from work, talking to neighbors from the other apartment that was most affected by all of this.  The management company ended up having to send all of us to hotels for the night.  Today the smell is gone and we were able to come home, but talk about messing up our entire rhythm and shattering more than a few of my nerves!

Today started pretty well.  Daddy went to work and W and I took our time getting ready and  getting breakfast at the hotel before coming home, dropping off our kitty, closing the windows and turning the ac back on.  It was well over 90 degrees in our apartment this morning, so we headed back out to run some errands.  Not sure what possessed me to come back home before heading to an event at my husband's work, but we did....and the rest of the day went down hill from there.  I think W and I were really just letting out all of the stress and frustration from the day before, but things got bad quickly and included a very cranky toddler, lots of literally spilt milk, lots of laundry in need of washing (in part due to spilt milk and our laundry rhythm being out of wack) and a possibly broken little toe for me.  Needless to say, we never made it out the door and there were many tears from both W and I throughout the day.

I was so grateful when my husband walked in the door this evening with dinner and everything started to calm down a bit.  W was excited for his time with Daddy, I was able to vent a little and I have some time to myself now  to breathe, finish up a needle felting project and blog.

And so, I relaxed and recovered by adding the finishing details to this little duck that I started at my women's group at church last week.

Ducks have been very popular in our house lately.  Each spring, we have a pair of ducks that come to visit our apartment complex.  The kids in our neighborhood are very find of the ducks and W and the little girl I babysit have been quite into ducks ever since.  Their favorite pages of the books we read are the ones with the ducks and there are days where I feel like all I hear out of either of them all morning is "duck" and "quack".

So, in honor, of the toddlers in my life, I am adding this lovely little wool duck to our nature table.  I am sure every time I look at it, I will remember how nice it was to sit and work with the wool and the needles and just relax after a couple of difficult days.  Needle felting often does that for me.  I really love the creative process of sculpting wool and shaping it into something special with the repetitive poking of my felting needles.  People often tell me that the "stabbing" of the wool, must feel like a release when I'm angry, but I think it is deeper than that.  It hits further down in my soul with the creative process.

All of this has me wondering what other things people do to help re-center themselves and regain their sanity. Tomorrow, we will go to church, worship, and give thanks.  That often helps me to recenter, but I'm thinking this week I may need a bit more.  I'm wanting to develop my own little personal mini retreat for Monday morning/afternoon and thinking on the things that would help me to replenish and rejuvenate myself before my husband goes back to work on Tuesday.  I'm thinking that some time, reading, meditating, praying and drawing/writing in my illustrated journal would help.  I'm also thinking it would be really good to go for a walk and to reconnect with nature if I can manage a time that's not too hot and my toe's not throbbing too much.  I'd also like to take some uninterrupted time to work on some more creative projects.  I need to check the weather and check around a bit to see if there's someplace that I can go outside of the house for all of this.

If you were able to take maybe 4-6 hours for your own personal retreat to help rejuvenate and take care of yourself so you can better care for your family, where would you go and how would you spend your time?


  1. I agree that needle felting is much more than just stabbing, I think any handcraft involves the soul and thoughts streaming outward from it, to take concrete form. Finding time alone is not easy with a wee one,reconnecting with nature when your toe is better is a good thing, love and light Marie

  2. Beautifully stated Marie! Thank You!

  3. Oh...finding time can be a real challenge!
    I go for a walk when I need a break...and breathe....breathe...breathe...I breathe in the scenery, the fresh air and just bring myself back to "myself"!
    Of magical fantasy is that I go away to a hotel room with nothing but my craft supplies and just create do my hearts delight...uninterrupted!!!
    It sounds horrendous, what you had to go through with those chemicals they were using...
    I don't blame you for feeling stressed and in a bad mood!!!
    xo maureen

  4. Fortunately, my husband is wonderful and understanding and is giving me a little personal retreat time this morning. I'm going to have breakfast at a local coffee shop and then spend the rest of the morning at our local botanical garden and when it gets too hot, I'll explore the library there (never had a chance to do that since I usually have a toddler in tow). I've got my bag of craft supplies, journaling materials and books packed for the day. I agree though that going to a hotel room with craft supplies would be amazing (but unfortunately out of my budget)!

  5. How sweet of your husband to help you find some time just for yourself! That can be such a challenge for any mom of young ones! I do enjoy getting outside when I need a break. Gardening helps me calm down and think, as does just about anything creative.

    I so agree with your thoughts on needle felting (Marie's too!) for me it has nothing to do with relieving anger by stabbing wool... it feels so good to watch something beautiful or useful (or both!) begin to appear from all of that fluff. Plus for me it is something creative that I can pull out when I have just a short while to work. (Much easier than trying to sew or paint etc, since I don't have a dedicated craft area where I can leave my larger or messier projects out and waiting for a few minutes to be worked on.

  6. ohhh needlefelting...the ultimate relaxation and feeling of accomplishment and creativity. You do a splendid job!
    this is a tough question- usually when I am feeling off kilter, I do some handwork or bake some bread...the kneading is really very soothing to me...but I agree, sometimes you need something the summer, I think swimming in a lake and reading a good book or writing in a journal is helpful and calmimg....there is also a tree I like to sit in located in a park near my house. I get some good thinking done here...maybe you can find your own little spot? ::hugs::


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