Monday, March 24, 2014


Arrived home on Saturday afternoon.
Hard to leave the beach,
but so easy to come home to Chateau Gahan.
I miss her when I'm gone.

Some final images from our time on St. Helena Island.

These pix were taken on a day trip to Hunting Island State Park.
After days of rain and dreariness, it felt so good to set up my chair on the sand
and warm myself in the sun.

The lighthouse on Hunting Island was a treat. 
The little museum was fascinating. 
Definitely worth visiting.

This little lizard was with us all week.
Gideon didn't discover him until the last day.
I told him not to bother the little guy, 
and so my gentle giant entertained himself by engaging in a stare-off.
I don't know who won; I got bored and left.

Yes, I have a pair of rubber overshoes.
I know. I know.
I'm neither a 90-year-old man nor
a farmer in Iceland.
Just a gal from Norcross, GA who was dang glad to have these for treks 
on the beach in chilly, wet weather.

Gideon turned seven on St. Patty's Day.
I'd like to think that this was his best birthday ever, what with being at the beach and all.
The way the hair on his legs curls when damp with salt water . . .
so stinkin' cute.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Staying on the positive side of overcast and chilly

I'm sitting in the sunroom, the one room on the first floor of the house with a view of the ocean, its three tall un-paned windows framing the huge oaks that lead to the water, their limbs dripping Spanish-moss.  The room's two leather chairs and companion ottomans have been turned to face the windows, a move that the landlady encouraged when she met us at the property to hand off the key and offer up restaurant and tourist recommendations. We brought the matching leather chair from the TV room into the sunroom so that we'd each have a chair, and now the room feels a bit like a VIP box at a concert, the three of us girls sitting in a row and looking out at a stage showcasing the smooth waters of St. Helena Sound and the neighboring shore of Edisto Island.

The secluded house is situated on a narrow strip of land that leads down to the ocean.
The few homes here means that the beach is empty of people.
And, as you can see by the screen grab, I've not had much phone service.

I wish I could say that the weather has been ideal. No one more than my college-aged companions would have wanted these first few days to be beach worthy. There've been no tan lines, no retreats to the house to escape the heat of sunning on the sand, no trips down to the water with beach chairs, books, towels and cooler in tow. The weather has been chilly and overcast. My walks on the shell-strewn beach have been made in sweaters and coats, with one evening my hood tied close enough just so I could see, the rain pelting and wind gusting, Gideon running and jumping like it was the best day of his life.
Even Gideon enjoys the sunroom. Bird watching and beach reads.

The beach is piled with oyster and clam shells. 
The house, below right. You can see our sunroom and the adjacent screened porch.

The girls have been good sports. They float from one room to the other, carrying their blankets. Pinterest, Netflix, a big screen in the TV room with cable (a treat for the three of us who don't get cable at home), a jigsaw puzzle taking up half the real estate on the dining room table, Facebook, naps, books, snack foods and rest . . .  lots of it, more than we ever thought we'd have and, honestly, quite enough for this old gal. We've gotten out of the house — mani/pedis, good meals out, shopping/thrifting. We've drank wine and margaritas and talked and laughed. Enjoyed coffee each morning, our wake-up alarm simply the light pouring through the window blinds.

Lunch here our first day — the best she-crab soup I've ever had.

The weather should take a turn tomorrow. We'd like to go to Hunting Island, maybe Charleston. But for now, I sit in the sunroom. Gideon is curled on this bed. Once I finish this post, I'm back to reading, making a dent in the stack of library books I brought with me. The only distractions are the squirrels in the yard and a bird who has been making a nest all week on the screened-in porch. She flies from her nest in the rafters to the outside and back again, the wind chimes making the perfect lullaby for the babies to come. The intermittent groaning of the old refrigerator and the clicking of the dishwasher on its dry cycle make me feel at home and miss home at the same time. Harleigh just headed out for a run and Christina is singing in the kitchen. I'm hopeful for a sunny rest-of-the-week. If there's one thing I need for a vacation, it's sunshine. And lots of it. If it alludes us the rest of my time here, at least I'm surrounded with three easy-going, loving natures (two girls and a dog) who remind me that sunshine and warmth needn't come from a big ball of fire in the sky.

Early mornings and early evenings on the beach.
Our favorite time of day for strolls and shelling.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Puzzle is Purchased and The Joys of Simplification

It's now single-digit counting-down days to our beach trip. Gideon and I will be heading to St. Helena Island, SC, a 5-hour drive with Harleigh's dear friend Christina, who's joining us for the week. For Harleigh, only an hour drive, so she'll meet us there. Check-in time for our beach house is 10AM, so I plan on an early start to assure our arrival by as close to 10 as possible. Want to savor EVERY minute I have of this trip. 

On my lunch break today, bought the vacation-must-have 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle (see above), because, honestly, who has time to do a jigsaw puzzle except when on vacation. Also made a trip to the library for a stack of good beach reads. This gal is more than ready to do nothing, and do it well.

Speaking of doing things well — 

Over the past few years, I've felt burdened. Not consistently. But in overwhelming chunks. My life is good. I accomplish a great deal. I have a healthy balance of work and play. I'm truly blessed. But there was always something gnawing at me, keeping me from feeling the peace I knew was attainable. A combination of reading blogs and opening my booth at the antique mall created the big Aha moment for me: I was long overdue to simplify my life. 

A number of bloggers have written about this. I'd read their stories and thought there was truth in what they were saying, but for reelz, could getting rid of possessions and streamlining my processes and approaches truly make life better? It wasn't until I rented my booth space back in September of 2013 that I enjoyed the result of simplifying. I began to clean the house, purging myself of things that I didn't need. I told Harleigh, if you want to keep it, better put a sticker on it, 'cause Momma's getting rid of stuff. It wasn't nearly as hard as I'd thought it would be. Not nearly as sad. Objects I'd surrounded myself with for years moved seamlessly from Chateau Gahan to my booth, staged lovingly. As items were sold, the antique mall employees would tell me stories about who bought them and why. It warmed my heart. 

I continue to curate the rooms of Chateau Gahan, limited only by the square footage of my booth and how quickly items sell. It's been fun and freeing. My big fear of the house looking empty and cold was unfounded. If anything, there's more focus on the things that I've kept. Plus, there's less to dust. I approached my purging of possessions in this way: If I had to move tomorrow and were faced with the horrendous chore of boxing up everything I own, what would I take with me? Seems harsh, but this new mindset has taken my contentment to a whole new level. AND, I made another huge advance this weekend — I pulled a bunch of items out of my booth that haven't sold since September, and boxed them up to take to the thrift store. I know!!!! Who am I???!?!?!??!?!?

Once I had a taste of how good it felt to whittle down my possessions, I turned to other areas of my life in need of simplifying. I take great pride in being organized and detail-oriented, but upon closer inspection, my method of organizing was in MAJOR need of an overhaul. I used my iPhone Notes sporadically to keep track of tasks / to dos. I used a 5 x 7" three-ring day planner for my calendar. And I was in a dysfunctional, five-plus-year love affair with ruled notebook paper to keep lists. This all had to end. And so I went on a search for the perfect day planner. One that would 1) be smaller, 2) have a section devoted to monthly calendar pages, 3) have a page devoted to each day of the year, and 4) not have pockets and sleeves galore (which I tend to fill with "stuff").  Well, it took me a "trip" to Korea to find perfection. This Smiley Diary, purchased on Amazon, is the bomb diggity. I adore everything about it. Since it came from Korea, I had to fill-in all the holidays in the calendar section, but if this was the only down side, who cares. It has changed my life. No more iPhone Notes (at least for tasks and to dos). No more stray sheets of paper. This day planner makes me Smiley indeed.

Hungry for more simplification, I took an entire afternoon one Saturday and cleaned out my personal files (house records, billing records, etc.) and shed a good 100 pounds of paper.

I cleaned out the contents of my purse, giving the wallet a good once-over and weaning myself of a make-up case of items I hardly ever used. And I bought a new purse that's less satchel (which always felt like a catch-all, bottomless tote) and graduated to a messenger bag, flatter and more suited to everything having its place. 

And as far as the literal cleaning of my home, I now tackle cleaning in little snippets, rather than devoting an entire, seemingly endless, weekend day facing a mess (and then feeling resentful because I'd lost a day of my precious weekend).

Here's to the simple life!

You might also like . . .

Related Posts with Thumbnails