Marie Kondo has become a verb at my house


As you, Faithful Readers, are aware from previous posts, I’m trying to thin out my stuff.

It’s been made clear to me that I keep so many things that are never looked at or used. These things are generally all kept packed up, and take up space in all kinds of nooks and crannies. They were most likely inherited, or given to me by someone close, and I keep these things not because they are useful but because I feel obligated to keep them.

Keeping things out of obligation is a terrible way to live. Getting rid of things I have been keeping out of obligation has been very difficult, until I ran into Marie Kondo. Follow the link to see a snippet of her Netflix show on You Tube. If you have Netflix, go give the show a good look.

If you have a hard time watching it, like I did, stick with it. She is a little out there with some of her methods, but there are so many kernels of truth in what she has to say about what to keep and how to organize things, that it is worth paying attention to.

One of the big thing things I took away from her show is to ask yourself if an item “sparks joy” when you pick it up. If not, it’s probably time to donate it. Make space only for the things you really want or need.

For me, that morphed into asking myself why I’m still holding onto something if I haven’t been using it. The answer generally seems to be that I have felt obligated to keep it.

Hmmm. It seems I’m drowning in stuff I feel obligated to keep. When I look around my house, there is so much I don’t use, and little that I need very often.

So, last week I culled books out of my shelf, and only kept the things that I felt were useful. Today, I was making myself some coffee, and spied my recipe box sitting on my counter. It’s full of recipes that I have either never used, or ones I will not use again. So, I Marie Kondo’d my recipe box this morning. That’s right… Marie Kondo has become a verb at my house. I culled fully half of my recipes, and now have a whole lot of spare room in my recipe box. Next step is to do the same to my grandmother’s recipe box, and combine the two together. That’s for another day, though.

Baby steps, Faithful Readers, are ok. For those of us who are easily overwhelmed by the enormity of it all, just do one small thing at a time, and do not feel obligated to do a whole room at a time, just because other people have that capacity.

I know lots of folks who can dive in and are driven to spend a whole day or weekend on one room and get the whole thing done. I just can’t. It’s too much, and I’m learning to be just fine with that.

Today it is a recipe box, and a few things I’m taking out of my closet, but not the whole closet.

Here’s hoping you all find just the right pace for you to do what you need to do, without letting others influence your speed, or reasoning of purpose. Anyone who tries to pressure you into thinking their way of doing things is better can go jump in a lake. You can tell them Sparrow said so. 😉 Blessings all.

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Road trips and time slipping away


Normally, I try to patronize my local coffee shops, but today I thought I would go to Starbucks for a change. As I sit here enjoying the newspaper, and not enjoying my coffee so much (back to my local coffee shops!), I realized that a quarter of the year has blown right by me and we have already steamed right through April. I’m feel as though I need to tighten up my seat belt and put on a helmet. Where are the freaking breaks?!

Actually, I’m of two minds about it. I’m so freaking grateful the snow and cold are gone, and the sun is out longer, it doesn’t bother me to have blown by that part of the 1st three months of the year. And yet, I need to find a way to slow my life down. It’s sliding by fast like a greased pig trying not to get grabbed.

As my Faithful Readers can attest to, I have a long history of talking about needing to get my house in shape, and really needing to thin out my stuff. Years have gone by and so much is still needing to be done.

Maybe it would be alright to stop beating myself up and give myself credit for things that I have managed to get done in the last 6 months, hmmm? Yes.

Speaking of giving credit, I’d like to give a shout out to my sister, Birdie Girl. She has an iron will, and the most amazing drive to power through things that need doing.

I spent Easter weekend helping her and boyfriend move from their farm to the condo in town, and watching her deal with the activity and stress of it all has been quite an inspiration to me. Moving is just the most horrendous task, and she really just powers through it even though she is hurting, exhausted, and having to move on top of working full time. I think I’ll take a page out of her book and power through some of my own icky tasks today, rather that let them overwhelm me.

Speaking of Easter weekend, I drove to where Birdie Girl and her boyfriend live in Canada. Along the way, I stopped at the bar in my home town and visited with some old classmates, which was a lot of fun. The drive to Canada was so calming. I love a good road trip. Even though the weather was a bit gloomy, I love the open road, and it was solitude that was much needed. It was good to visit with Birdie Girl and her sweetie, as well as her pets. They have two Siamese and two boxers, which makes for lots of sloppy kisses and purring. Good stuff for the soul ❤️.

Here’s to road trips, and all of the good friends and cuddly pets waiting for you at your destination. If you haven’t taken a road trip, do it. Life is way too short the way time slips away so quickly. Blessings all!

Turning 50 is a joyful thing… No joking!


 

On this bright, sunshiny, frigid North Dakota morning, I sit here and count my blessings. My house is warm, I can hear my washer chugging away in the basement so I know I will have clean clothes to wear to more tomorrow, and I have just consumed a scone from a newer business in Minot called Prairie Sky Breads. Who could ask for a better start to the day?

I turned 50 recently, and with that comes a lot of things to be joyful about. Yes, you read that correctly. Turning 50 years old is worth celebrating!

What?! Crazy talk, you say? No, not at all. So many women get hung up on aging as though it were the worst thing in the world. Maybe some ladies have relied on their youth and beauty to get by in life, and seeing that change over the years bothers them. Being rather average that way, my looks are nothing that bothers me to see change, in large part.

To be honest, reaching this milestone age has allowed me to shed a whole lot of care for what people think of me. What others think is their business, let them wrangle with it if they need to waste time and energy on useless thoughts.

Being 50 brings a lot of freedom. Behold just a few of the reasons this is so:

I am so lucky to be an empty-nester, having successfully launched my two boys, who are amazing young men, and productive citizens in each their own right. I am not responsible for anyone but myself at the moment, and I really enjoy the freedom.

I own my house, and can change it however I want. Last year was the “Year of Decrappify and Spiff”. I did a lot of that, and continue those efforts into 2019. I took a week off recently and had work done to my house, which I will elaborate on later, and it has helped me get further along in my goal of being happy where I live. The freedom to fix things up to suit my tastes, my interests, and my needs is a lovely thing.

I have almost reached the 10 year mark of when I learned I was getting divorced. I just realized this yesterday, sitting with the afghan I made myself when I turned 40. It’s been used a lot over the last 10 years, and that wear shows. It still keeps me warm, and fits me just right. It makes me happy to know that my handiwork held up through bad times, and carried me right into the good ones too. It’s a 98E9519E-C564-449F-93D9-87B908EEC906reminder to me that good times come and go, but you can do things for yourself that get you through the bad times. The bad times never really last forever, and that is something I’m always grateful for.

This week, Older Son came to visit, and had supper with me.  While he sat in my new rocker-recliner groaning for having eaten too much spaghetti, I threw my afghan on top of him, and he grabbed it and pulled it up around his chin. I think I got a bigger kick out of that than his having missed my cooking so much he over did it. I hope that little blanket keeps generations of my family warm after I am gone.

I am constantly reminded that there are all kinds of things, large and small to be grateful for every day. I’m grateful to have made it to 50, and am looking forward to what the future brings.

Here’s hoping you find even the tiniest thing to be grateful about at whatever age you occupy now. Gratefulness really is the key to being happy. Blessings all!

 

 

Be a weed- bloom where you land


Today, I started a chore I had been dreading: weeding behind my shed.

Generally, I enjoy putzing with plants, but I have this little plot of land that enjoys sprouting really giant weeds. It also gets a kick out of harboring feelers from my neighbor’s Virginia Creeper.

It’s really a do-nothing slug of a plot of land. Largely, that’s my fault for not paying attention to it.

Given that this is the year of “Decrappify and Spiff”, I’ve decided to try to rehab this little 10×12 piece of land. Time to get out what I don’t want or need, and make it a productive, satisfying, happy place.

I was surprised at how quickly I was able to get most of it pulled up. I was a little sad though, because there were some happy little bees harvesting pollen from a bunch of the flowering “weeds”. Seeing that, I left some of it to do for tomorrow. Let the bees have their lunch.

I pulled out a whole lot of thistle, which has the prettiest flower. I’m a huge fan of weeds and their flowers, but these do need to go in order to make way for progress. Not quite paving paradise and putting up a parking lot, but I’m aware of the irony of it. I hope to make this space as functional for the bees as for me.

So, what to do with this space? I think I’m going to take my time, and step terrace the little hill behind the house. My plan is to make my yard a fully functioning space, loaded with gardens. It needs to be an oasis that feeds me, physically and spiritually.

Wow. Sounds like a tall order, right?

Maybe, but chunked up into baby steps, each one is a doable achievement. It’s my hope that just the physical labor of doing the activities associated with what I’m calling the Back Yard Metamorphosis, will be one satisfying aspect all by itself.

In short, I’m trying to enjoy the journey of blooming where I’ve landed.

For so long, I’ve felt intimidated by all the work it will take to get this yard into shape. Now, I just want to putz with one little project at a time. It’s my hope that one day I will look up from whatever I’m planting, or harvesting, and have the sensation of having arrived. At that point, I’ll need a new project. Lol…

Now I’m off to visit a cousin I haven’t seen in person since I was 16. It will be a nice visit.

Here’s hoping you all find ways to bloom where you have landed, in whatever capacity. Beautiful flowers come in all shapes and sizes. Blessings all!

Giving yourself permission to take baby steps


It’s been a long week. Not a terrible week, just long and slow.

At first I couldn’t understand what the reason for this was, because everything went better than anticipated. I had expected a couple of hard days at work, and it turns out that the anticipation was much harder on me than the actual events.

Note to self: Don’tover think things.

I was able to finally get my living room painted and mostly put back together. It’s a lovely shade of blue/gray which (depending on the time of day and the light in the room) can be seen as gray, various shades of blue, or purple. It’s quite a change from the cool mocha that has been on the walls since a few years before my ex left. It was just the change this room needed. Paint is a really cheap way to make a big impact in a space.

You, my Faithful Readers, will notice I mentioned my living room was mostly put back together.

My intention was to take everything out while painting, and only put back in the things I absolutely wanted in this space. For the most part, I feel I’ve been successful in doing just that. However, there are a few items I’m just not sure what to do with yet. I also don’t have any pictures back up on the walls.

It’s functional for now, and that’s what’s needed most.

I’m trying really hard not to over think it, and to give myself the time and space to just let things happen. I keep reminding myself that I get to take baby steps, and that I don’t have to be in a hurry.

This morning I will continue to sit in my lovely new space, slurp coffee with slow, wild abandon, and peruse blogs I didn’t get a chance to read yet this week.

Here’s wishing you all give yourselves the space to take all the time you need. When you feel rushed, take a big deep breath and ask yourself how it serves you to be in a hurry. Blessings all!

Depression sucks the life out of you like a mosquito.


I’ve been struggling recently. A lot.

I didn’t realize I was experiencing depression because it sneaked up on me like a mosquito looking for a meal. I keep absentmindedly swatting it away, but it finally found a place to land, dig in, and began suck the life out of me.

What could I possibly have to be depressed about? I just kicked someone to the curb, who I love very much. I just couldn’t take what he was dishing out any more. My mom is losing her mind, slowly. It’s become apparent to me that Dad knew a long time ago but didn’t say anything, and he is struggling in dealing with Mom’s issues, and what I strongly feel is depression. I still need to have a chat with him, and I’m not looking forward to it.

Feeling depressed is often mocked and made light of. I have never been in favor of just “laying down and taking it”, rather I always tell myself to get the hell up and get moving. The familiar tape plays through my head…No more feeling sorry for yourself, there are too many people counting on you so get your shit together and take care of your responsibilities. This isn’t the healthiest thing to say to one’s self, or anyone else for that matter.

These days, my perspective has changed, along with my circumstances.

Being an empty nester, I don’t have the daily need to make things happen for my kids every day. In large part, they saved my life when my ex husband left. Just the fact that I was needed made the difference, and I was able to suck it up for them. It’s different when there’s nobody at home to suck it up for.

A lot of people are able to go the route of medication as a means of feeling better. I went down that road from 2000-2008, and it was a giant medicated disaster. Most of the many anti-depression or anti-anxiety meds I gobbled either didn’t help, or had such horrendous side effects that I felt like killing myself or just slept all the time. Others have success with medication, but I’ll never go down that road again.

The only thing that does help is extreme exercise and better eating. When I was in the process of getting divorced, I walked, and walked, and walked. I spent much time and many miles just walking and thinking.

A nice unintended side effect of that was that I lost 50 pounds, and felt stronger. It gave me the space to think and work through problems. It was a like playing a long rambling game of chess with myself, working through all of the contingencies of whatever problem cropped up.

It’s probably the solution I need now. I have a tendency to eat my way through my problems, and I have gained back all of the weight I lost since joining Curves in February, plus some. Some people drink or do drugs to try to feel better. My favorite poison of choice is carbohydrates…it’s like consuming anesthesia.

Enough.

I see it now, and it’s to time to kill it like I would any other blood sucker.

I’m in the middle trying to paint my living room, and it’s been hard slogging. I have painted this same room twice before, and have done it in less time. That’s ok. It will get done this week, and that will have to be good enough. No more beating myself up because I’m not moving fast enough. It’s just me living here, and I don’t have to worry about anyone else being inconvenienced.

It’s time to clean out my fridge and only stock it with things that aren’t junk. The less carbs I eat, the better off I will be. More Whole Foods, less processed pretend food.

Time to get started. Daylight’s burning.

Here’s wishing you are all finding a way to practice self care, however that looks like in your world. Taking care of yourself is a good thing. Blessings all!

Changing priorities


I sit here slurping coffee, while I stare at my living room ceiling and try to gather up the energy to finish painting it.

Last night I tore up my living room, and moved a bunch of stuff out so I would have the room to get my step ladder around the room. My ceiling has needed painting for so many years, and I’m just now getting around to doing it. It will be lovely and fresh when it’s done, but it sure is a disaster now. My spare room and my kitchen are full of stuff from the living room, and my little house is quite a wreck.

Today, I’ll finish painting the living room ceiling. I’m tempted to paint the walls while everything is pulled apart. It would be the smart thing to do, and I guess I should just go get the paint and do it. I have the paint for the kitchen, and I have been so looking forward to getting that done, but it doesn’t make any sense to put the living room back together only to have it be pulled apart again later.

The original plan was to paint all of the ceilings, and then do the kitchen. I see now that flexibility is key, and I need to just roll with what makes sense in the moment. More on that as it progresses.

In other news, it looks like I will be going to see the fireworks show with The Flirt tonight. We haven’t spoken in person for a couple of weeks, since we had “the talk”. It was a difficult discussion, and I had expected to come away from it single and going forward just concerning myself with me, and my family’s needs.

It never, ever, occurred to me that he would try to change my mind. Huh.

Well, I came away with a compromise. I at least wanted a break, and we agreed on a month just to see how things would settle. It’s been weird, but I’ve enjoyed the time alone. It was sorely needed, and I’ve been glad for it.

I have missed him, but I know I don’t want to go back to the way things were. If he wants me back, things will have to change. A lot.

So we when he asked me if I wanted to go watch the fireworks with him, I was of two minds. This is only a couple of weeks into my month long break, but my curiosity is overwhelming. No lie, it’s going to be awkward. I am not entirely sure what my motivation here is, but I’m interested to see what happens, so I’ll go watch the fireworks with him and see how things play out.

Right now, my coffee is almost gone and the ceiling isn’t going to paint itself. Time get started.

Here’s wishing you all the motivation to get up and do whatever needs doing, especially when it comes to priorities that change as you go. Blessings all!