The Land of the Lotos Eaters

I suppose this post is a follow up to my last one on Preventing the Perfect Life. I don’t think there is a whole lot you could say is typically “perfect” in our home. 
While I feel like we’ve done a nice job remodeling and decorating our house, I don’t think it looks anything like the cover of Martha Stewart (after all, I get pretty tired of gray, gray blue, white, and tan EVERYTHING, which are apparently the only colors modern style deems acceptable.) 
I don’t feel like we do a particularly “perfect” job homeschooling, or gardening, or cooking, or parenting, or whatever else we enjoy doing. 
You see, I’m absolutely OK in admitting that we’re a bit lazy.
I painted our worn out doormat to reflect our family values. Don’t come in here with any ambitious ideas!
I don’t mean Lazy as in we actively put things off because we don’t want to get off the couch
We actively put things off because it doesn’t seem worth it. 
In short, we’re a home of lotus eaters. 
they came unto a land
In which it seemed always afternoon.
All round the coast the languid air did swoon,
Breathing like one that hath a weary dream.
I was talking to Martha at Romancing Reilly after she mentioned in one of her posts that her family used to call themselves lotus eaters. What a brilliant thought! Her family, like our, loves reading, hammocks, lazy days, laying on a blanket outside on nice days, and cuddling on the couch on cold days. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, don’t believe career or financial success is the key to life, and generally love goofing around.
This is probably why I am so indifferent to trying to achieve “perfect.” 
Surely, surely, slumber is more sweet than toil, the shore
Than labor in the deep mid-ocean, wind and wave and oar

There are certainly a lot of things that I do but anymore I rarely do things that I don’t want to do. I feel like for a long time I was just waiting to do the things that made me happy…waiting to be done with school, waiting until the kids were older, waiting until we had more money…

But anymore I wonder why I bother waiting to make myself happy. Why push against the ceaseless waves when I can spend my days doing what I want and being what I want?
Why are we weigh’d upon with heaviness,
And utterly consumed with sharp distress,
While all things else have rest from weariness?
I know this is kind of a roundabout post. I feel that while pursuing my interests I have found my own ideal of the perfect life. I may not have Odysseus’ ambition but I find perfect harmony in the still small things of life. I am content. I do not need more.
And music in his ears his beating heart did make
So if you’re in the same boat as me, craving the kind of small delight that you feel will only come once you do_blank_, let me share some of my favorite small treasures I do to make our home more delightful:

Pretty bowls and plates (and food) are really underrated in the home. I like to buy a special plate (usually from Goodwill. I wish I could kiss every old couple that donates their beautiful vintage cook wear to Goodwill. They are the best!)  for everything in my house. It’s a small honoring of the food that’s on it. A pretty loaf of bread deserves a pretty plate.

Just as strawberries deserve their own special strawberry bowl.

Discounted grapes look much happier on a glass cake stand.

Water looks much more appetizing when it’s on a pretty platter with nice glasses, not just coming out of the faucet.
 I got this idea from the book Life With Father. Father Day insisted on a pitcher of cold water sitting on the sideboard when he came home from work. So every day I before my husband comes home I put in fresh cold water. It’s usually only used at dinner (where it’s handy to have glass and water already sitting out) and I empty the rest to the dog or houseplants.
This was our dinner the other day. I was really inspired by The Prudent Homemaker and her ability to feed a family of 9 on 100 dollars a month. Of course, she has a huge garden, but for the past 2 weeks I’ve been determined to feed our family on only things from our garden and pantry. 
This could be kind of depressing, which is why simply giving things a fancy setting helps boost it’s appeal. 
At one point, all I really had was cucumbers, so we had Tea. We ate cucumber and PB&J sandwiches, fruit salad from leftover fruit, cut up beets and cucumbers, and zucchini bread. The kids loved having Tea and using the nice china. I think I successfully turned not having much into a special treat.
I try to just arrange food nicely on people’s plates before meals. Styling really does make a difference in how eager people are to eat food they may otherwise not enjoy.
I try to never accept ugliness. The only stipulation I put on getting a pet hamster is that we would have to find a cover for the cage. I got this one on clearance at TJ Maxx for ten dollars and when the hamster dies (I’m not being morbid, the tiny thing only has a year life expectancy) the cage can be used for candles or something.

The same hatred of ugliness inspired me to buy this trunk when we got a bunch of costumes for the kids. After all, what more could a child want than a REAL TREASURE CHEST?! 

Some may say I was silly for putting the extra tiles we had from doing the bathroom in our basement. After all, you don’t put lipstick on a pig. However, I think pigs look mighty nice with a bit of lipstick, as long as its the right color. This is why I’m a big believer in the power of a coat of fresh paint. You can make anything look nicer.
Having the life you want really has little to do with money or ambition or time. I have very few of those things but I’m still working toward creating my own version of the perfect life, especially in our home. For some people it may be careers or relationships or whatever. There isn’t anywhere that you can’t find a bit of lotus blooms to cling to.
The Lotos blooms below the barren peak,
The Lotos blows by every winding creek;
All day the wind breathes low with mellower tone;
Thro’ every hollow cave and alley lone
Round and round the spicy downs the yellow Lotos-dust is blown.
Focusing on the small things really helps not becoming overwhelmed by the big picture, especially if you’re also a lotus eater and tend to think staring at the clouds sounds better than a big picture 🙂 
Or in my husband’s case, set off rockets instead of fixing the crack in the front porch.
After all, memories are made up of little wisps of smell, the tang of taste, and the feel of snuggling with a warm, soft dog. These are the kinds of things that I already know will bring me to tears when I’m old and grey, not a magazine-quality photo of my living room.
Let us alone. Time driveth onward fast,
And in a little while our lips are dumb.
Let us alone. What is it that will last?
I would encourage you to check out The Prudent Homemaker as she is the master of making the small things beautiful, and re-watch Amelie evey time you need to be reminded how important little delights (and a great haircut) are.

O, rest ye, brother mariners, we will not wander more

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