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There’s This Woman Who Taught Me Everything I Know

Me and Ruth Anne, 1990.

You see, there’s this woman who taught me everything I know. Her name is Ruth Anne, she’s my aunt, she’s my Godmother and she has cancer. She recently had the operation to remove it, but she’s pretty discreet about the details and that only gives me reason to worry. The day before her surgery she gave me my favorite pieces of her old furniture and paintings, which is more than appropriate considering our relationship.

Aunt Ruth and Uncle Jr. circa 1970.

She was the aunt with the band saw in the basement. The one with whom I spent countless weekends making art, painting flea market ceramics and redecorating rooms in her house. We stayed up way past what was reasonable for a 7-year-old, watching home design shows long before Paige Davis, her feathered bob and Trading Spaces (although, because of my aunt, that was eventually my favorite show in 8th grade).

My Aunt Ruth showed such a fearlessness and independence in her ideas that I never knew she wasn’t positive a new project wouldn’t be an absolute mess. I didn’t know that her crazy ideas (like painting her fridge, which was unheard of in the early 90’s) was the result of her taking chances and following her own logic and experience. She still has that same organic confidence and fearlessness that I know can carry her through this illness. I can only hope that same boldness grows in me the way it is naturally a part of her. 

Circa 2003.


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About Kristen Van Loon

My name is Kristen Van Loon and this is the chronicle of my search for *Oomf!* Not only have I deemed myself qualified to revamp, repair, refurnish and refine my house, but I also jump into any DIY project that my friends, co-workers, family and practical strangers stumble upon. I would love to tell you that this is my full-time job and my complete life mission, but I make my bread and butter elsewhere and raise a daughter (Olivia). I have some experience but no time, no formal training and no money. My only saving grace is that I love figuring things out, I’m great at improvising and I’m always inspired. For the record, some things that I do (play with electricity, for one) may seem risky, and some of them are. I will always tell you what I’ve done, but I won’t ever suggest things for you that aren’t safe. Even though I push the envelope, I am only marginally incompetent. If sources (father, my brain, Google) tell me not to do something then I usually won’t. But if I do try and it blows up in my face (figuratively or literally) you will hear all about it, and you hopefully won’t attempt it. At the end of the day, I hope to inspire you. Space-Lift isn’t just a blog, it’s a verb. It’s an action that brightens your surroundings by assaulting everything that needs improvement. Nothing is off limits, and all possibilities will be considered.

One response »

  1. that made me teary…and i’m at work…thanks 🙂

    Reply

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