letting go and catching up: spring cleaning

Hello Carrot Condo friends–

It’s been a while since I’ve written a letter to all of you, and it feels like a good time to catch up. I’m doing some literal cleaning of Carrot Condo–my block-printing space is tidy and ready for the next project, and my shelf of supplies and files is waiting for its pruning and sprucing. I’m also doing more of a metaphorical, spiritual cleaning of Carrot Condo–letting go of ideas that seemed great at first but just didn’t feel fun or inspiring, like The 100 Day Project. I started:

but after a few days, it just didn’t feel right. I kept at it anyway, and that felt worse. Instead, I let go of all ambition and just sat for a bit, rather grumpily to be honest, and then I started in on whatever pulled me, which seems to be “going through stuff,” like: my journal, old essay drafts, files of original drawings and drafts, and just sifting, sorting, and reflecting.

As I stay open to whatever is next and sort through my work space, I have a few newsworthy things to share with you from the last few months.

Bacopa Literary Review published my essay about discovering an ancient and rather magical tree in the parking lot of my dad’s memory care center. For many months of the pandemic, the only way we could visit my dad was by standing outside his bedroom window, waving, smiling, and shouting through the two-inch opening then wondering if he was saying anything back to us. In this story, I’m holding what we thought was a pine cone when it starts to open up in the palm of my hand. This sends me on a journey to learn more about this tree, which ends up giving me comfort and resolve to endure the strange and difficult experience of my dad and Alzheimer’s.

Then, in December, the lovely online and print journal Farmer-ish published my story about meeting a woman from Denmark who had me absolutely captivated and mystified by the concept of “hygge.” I finally found it two decades later in my own living room.

Because I was accustomed to fluorescent lights splashing even the deepest corners of any room in cold yellow light, what she described seemed like a lot of darkness to me. Even so, her conviction captivated me. I’d never thought to notice the lighting. I was as practical as the design of the university—show up, do the work, earn the degree. What did light have to do with it?

Searching for Hygge,” Farmer-ish Volume 3: Issue 2 Winter Solstice 2022

In January, I had the opportunity to design the PNW CSA Share Fair’s artwork for their social media, brochure, and posters.

The final black-and-and white ink version.
The printed version as seen on my rather wrinkled copy of the brochure.

At the fair, two former customers stopped by to tell me how much they love their kitchen towels! That was deeply inspiring to me–one commented about how sturdy the towel is and how it stays bright and clean no matter how much it’s used. The other customer told me they think it’s too nice to use, so they keep it hanging up on display! It was sweet to know both families love theirs that much.

And here is me at my table:

At home, with my family in January, we started a ritual that’s been a good conversation starter and at times quite profound. Our friend gave us cute frames for fortune-cookie fortunes. I don’t know if she knew this, but we’ve saved every fortune from every time we’ve eaten somewhere that gives fortune cookies. We must have well over one-hundred fortunes squeezed into an Altoid tin.

So, thanks to the inspiration of these frames, every Sunday evening we take out the old fortune, talk about how it did or did not apply to the past week, then randomly choose the next week’s fortune. Here’s a recent one:

This one gave me a boost of confidence and focus that week. My fortune this week says something about witnessing a miracle, which has me rather nervous! Maybe it will be huge? Maybe I’ll miss it? And of course, my writer-brain is pondering all the ways “miracle” could be described–a first spring flower, the keys to a mansion, kindness between strangers, a great (free!) parking spot … ? You see how these little notes can get you thinking.

Well, as always, thank you for reading and following along. I’ll see you next month with a story about wings and strength.


9 thoughts on “letting go and catching up: spring cleaning

  1. What a lovely email to start my day with!

    And love that you put in the PNWCSA work. 🙂 I have un-wrinkled copies of the brochure — I’ll set aside a few for the next time I see you.

    Congrats on the articles! I just spent half an hour going through Farmer-ish (thank you for introducing it to me!). It makes me want to spend more time reading. (And clean up my office and adjust its slapdash lousy lighting.)

    Hoping you have a bright and convivial April. Looking forward to your next newsletter. 🙂



  2. First of all, I have to agree with your customer about your kitchen towels – very sturdy and truly, they do not fade! We have two of them, they are the only towels I now use, and they look as good as they day we got them! They make the whole kitchen so cheerful.

    Secondly, you totally blew my mind. You stopped doing a challenge you had (publicly!) set for yourself – are we allowed to do that?? It’s SUCH a good message about listening to ourselves and elevating our feelings and our needs over the “shoulds” that we create. Thank you for sharing!


  3. My husband was diagnosed with frontal lobe dementia when he was 50 years old and died at age 56 in 2012. There was 6 years of living with and working with his illness and its difficulties. It definitely was not easy. It was heartbreaking, for him and for me. After he passed I had to go through everything, let go of a lot as could not afford to keep our home, and set a new course in life. Lightening up the load definitely helps. There are many changes in our lives, some bigger than others.


    1. Rose, I remember learning this about you after I knew you as a colleague and talented photographer. How you endured those six years … I can’t even imagine.


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