Essays From A Dysfunctional Life

Murmurings about life as it is and as it can be.

In the Twilight of the Morning


This morning, millions of people gathered to witness a moment of astronomical history, a total solar eclipse.

I gathered on the top level of our downtown parking structure along with other downtown and government workers. Prior to totality, the rooftop had the air of a tailgate party with people sitting in truck beds or up on cement columns. Laughter and conversations floated on the morning breeze.

The sky began to darken and the street lights below us came on, a testament to the event taking place. Voices became more hushed and soft “oohs” and “ahhs” slipped out as we watched the moon slowly cover the sun, leaving only a beautiful crown of light dancing around its edges.

The air had cooled and we stood together in silence for nearly a minute when the sun began to push its way out from under the shadow of the moon.

“Put your glasses back on!” A voice carried from across the parking garage. A flutter erupted as cardboard eclipse glasses settled back on the faces of those watching the show.

As the moon passed, glasses came off again and in near silence people began to make their way down the stairs and back towards offices and stores. As I walked the short distance back to my office, I was struck by the softness of the light. Shadows of leaves and flowers were temporary works of art.

And I am thankful for the opportunity to experience this brief event.

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Battling Perfectionism One Minimalist Theory at a Time


There is a battle in my life. And in my house. And in my desk. The battle has been going on for eons. The combatants are my mind and perfectionism.

In my mind, I picture my house as cool and inviting. A few juried objects d’art sprinkled across wide open vistas of tables and bookshelves. In this world that lives in my mind, everything has a home, and it magically returns there after use. The desk is orderly with labeled folders for current bills, writing projects, and community activities.

Then reality appears. My style of decorating is known in the design world as “eclectic.” I prefer to refer to it as “it followed me home and stayed… isn’t it cute?” I’m a bit of a collector, not of priceless paintings, but of all things “interesting” and “unique.”

Reality also uses my creativity as its greatest weapon. There are art supplies, fabrics, sewing notions, yarn, and knitting needles tucked into every nook which is not already been taken over by books. Oh, the books. Creative energy lured home the great 1930s club chair that needs to be completely reupholstered, where it has remained unfinished in the living room for four years.

At the beginning of the year, I accepted the challenge to complete 17 UFOs in 2017. I have completed one. However, I have gathered the supplies tor work on other projects. For example, I now have the foam and fabric to make new cushions for the great purple metal bench in the garden area. I am officially two steps closer to finishing the project that I took on two years ago.

In my attempts to overcome the reality of my “method,” I have read numerous blogs and listened to hours of podcasts extolling the virtues of minimalism. I tried to develop a deep and lasting relationship with Marie Kondo of the KonMari Method of organizing and decluttering. Marie moved on after depositing every shoe I owned in the middle of the floor. She left me with the task of deciding which ones brought me joy. The answer I found was all of them. Eat your heart out Imelda Marcos!

Sometime in mid-June, perfectionism took the battle to the next level. I began to anguish over each item I brought into my house, having been convinced by the minimalists and organizers of the world that I could obtain control by faithfully evicting at least one item for every one that followed me home.

By the time the smell of sulphur from the Independence Day fireworks had faded away, I was declaring: Freedom!

In the past month, I have written more than I had in months, began knitting a new hat with fabulous yarn from my stash, and have luxuriated in watching movies with those who are near and dear to me. The books are still cattywampus and there is still a pile of shoes that need to be returned to the closet upstairs.

And Perfectionism? Well, it thought it won the war, but I think I heard it whimper as it slunk away at the sight of Creativity holding the most beautiful pair of Rainbow Wood knitting needles.

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