Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Day Two Hundred Thirty Eight

Danger!  Peligro!  Warning!  I'm not the same of blogger that I used to be.  Or something like that.  In being true to myself I must admit that I'm sort of morphing the rules by which I blog.  A few months ago life threw a few curve balls that made it damn near impossible to show up here every day with something to say and a pile of stuff to get rid of.  So I did my best to scramble and make up for it, "paying back" the blog with items I missed, etc.; I even felt some guilt for good measure.  Then more recently life threw some fast balls and things really got away from me for a while.  This time I didn't feel the guilt, I just said, "Psh, the blog is the last thing I can focus on right now."  And so it goes.  It reminds me of something a friend recently said, "The funny thing about evil thoughts is you let yourself have one and the next thing you know, you've had six or seven."  So too it is with letting a good habit slide.  It is so easy to fall off the wagon and getting back on can sometimes involve clawing and being dragged in the dirt for a bit.  Realizing this makes me question the concept of sticking to things as a show of character.  I really don't like to be dragged behind the wagon.

I remember when my oldest son was about seven he was going to karate classes.  At first he really liked it.  His white belt got traded for a yellow one.  The colors kept changing and he memorized the forms and then one day he announced he didn't like karate anymore and didn't want to go back.  I could relate.  My entire life I've had a pattern of becoming interested in something and then after I understood it or got really good at it I would become bored and want to move on to something else that interested me.  Evidently my son had the same idea about karate.  So I lobbied in his favor against his father who thought that the right thing to do was to make him go to karate, to not let him quit something, to help him realize you have to stick things out even when they cease to be fun.  Buck up and all that.  In the end I won and he quit going to karate.  I felt like I had done the right thing and at the time my son was grateful.  Now fast forward fifteen years.  My son and I are talking and he says, "You know something I'm really disappointed about?  I wish you wouldn't have let me quit karate."  So who knows?  If it had turned out differently would he have said, "I wish you wouldn't have made me keep going to karate after I said I didn't like it anymore"?  Sometimes we're damned if we do and damned if we don't.

The point is, if I may attempt to make one here, that for me this journey through the crazy maze we call life is all about figuring out what works for us and doing more of that.  Maybe it isn't about all or nothing.  Maybe you can do some and be ok.  Instead of blogging every single day for a year I've decided that I'll blog until I have a year's worth of entries, a full 365.  If I need to take a day off because I'm out of town or overwhelmed then I take a day off.  Fair enough?  It works for me.  No guilt.  I'm driving twelve hours Friday to go see my daughter perform in a play at her university.  Then I'm driving home and will be back at work by mid day Monday.  I will not be blogging Friday-Sunday.  I will not feel guilty.  Maybe we should have offered to our son that he take two weeks off from karate and then checked in to see how he felt about it.

Today's five items are all from a basket of clothing that I found stashed in the laundry room that I've been ignoring for a very long time:

1.  T, this one's for you:  A diaphanous black blouse with ridiculous ruffles on it
2.  A pile of nine socks whose mates are long gone - I can't make myself wear mismatched socks, I've tried
3.  A green and white button down shirt that I used to really like and now look at and intensely dislike.  Go figure.
4.  A pair of blue rayon drawstring pants
5.  The little clay model of a gypsy wagon that I made...didn't run out well and it is just collecting dust

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Day Two Hundred Thirty Seven

I have a friend who served as my original inspiration for clearing my house of all the unneeded, unused and unloved things.  In the sixteen or so years I've known her she has reorganized her house from top to bottom many times.  Or maybe she has just been doing it one time and it has taken years and years, hard to say.  However, today she told me that by the weekend she should be finished!  So, congratulations to you my friend.  I know how much effort you've put into this.  So, how did she finally do it?  Whose system did she use?  She has been responsible for inspiring me to purchase a slew of books about organizing over the years.  Here's how my typical thought process worked for years:

1.  Become inspired by actions of others.
2.  Figure out what I can buy that will make me as successful as they are.
3.  Buy the book, cd, dvd or whatever.
4.  Thumb through the book, listen to the first ten minutes of the cd to 'get a feel for it'.
5.  Leave it out on top of a pile of things that needs clearing for inspiration.
6.  Forget about it until I get to that particular pile, at which point I....
7.  Put it away having decided it wasn't a very good system for me.  (After all, if it didn't DO the work for me then it wasn't going to get done.)

So as I sit here and look around me at a space cleared of clutter with a very neat pile of just completed work ready to be put away in a space perfectly organized and sized for the purpose, I realize that I've come pretty close to finishing.  I still have plenty of blog items, that isn't what I mean.  Lot's to still get rid of.  What I know that I've done is that I've learned what works for me.  My friend made the comment that she had finally figured out how she uses things and how she works.  That, my readers, is key.  I have learned that I work best by breaking down tasks that don't excite me into very little bites.  Now the finish line is only a matter of time because there isn't a doubt in my mind that I will do it.  I have the attention span of a gnat when it comes to doing things that I don't enjoy.  When I am working on something that I love I will do it for hours on end.  I remember when I was building my landscape that I'd go outside in the morning after a cup of coffee and the first time I'd look up and notice the time it would be 2:00 in the afternoon and I'd be outside in sweaty pajamas.  Implementing the timer system I've described before keeps me from sitting and working until my back seizes up but I will often work for 10 or 12 hours because I love what I do.  Same with an art project....incredible stamina there as well.

Moral of the story?  Don't buy the book.

Here are today's five items:
1.  Muffin tin I keep thinking I'm going to use to sort art supplies - not gonna happen.
2.  Blue vase with red flowers on it.  I've basically settled on three vases that I LOVE and the rest go.
3.  Baseball
4.  Baseball bat
5.  Another racquetball racket lurking at the back of the "sport" closet.  

Monday, February 7, 2011

Day Two Hundred Thirty Six

Today, February 7th, was my mother's birthday.  So, this one's for you, Mom.

My mother was a very interesting woman.  I've never met anyone like her.  She was born in 1933 during the Great Depression in Phoenix.  Her childhood was spent bouncing around different places in Arizona, southern California and Nevada.  She was  truly from the old West.  The stories she told about her childhood fascinated me.  I was born in 1960 and grew up during the social and sexual revolutions of the times; our experiences could not have been any more disparate.  I bought myself a VW bug when I was sixteen, she rode a burro to high school and married and gave birth at sixteen.  She actually told me of "turf wars" between the teenagers of Goldfield and Tonopah, Nevada over the ownership rights to the wild burros that roam that part of the desert among the eerie Joshua trees.  (I have often wondered what a rumble over burros looked like.)

While we were very different in many ways, I credit her for teaching me some really important things, including about the amassing of personal possessions.  I've heard and read many stories of people from the depression era being incredibly frugal and tending towards being unable to throw anything away in case it would be of use later.  My mom didn't have those kinds of issues.  She traveled pretty lightly, valuing the ability to be flexible perhaps above all else.  In an instant she would reinvent herself, her life, her environment. We moved a lot and often without much notice (not because we were on the lam or anything - she just didn't think kids needed to be kept apprised of things; it was before kids had psyches).  Leisurely consideration of what to keep and what to let go of didn't really happen most moves.  We moved once in a green horse trailer hooked up behind a U-Haul van.  Two kids with Mom in the truck and the rest of the brood in with a couple of cousins in a station wagon driven by our aunt.  The point of this is that my mother embodied the belief that if you didn't need it or love it then you should leave it behind.   Honestly, I was around 15 before I realized I had friends whose parents had been married to each other their whole lives and some had lived in the same house since they were born!  It had never occurred to me that there was another way to be which is a credit to my mother. 

Later, I decided that the Ozzie and Harriet style of life I had discovered must be better and I was determined to give it a try.  As a result I hung on to things and relationships beyond the point when they were no longer needed or loved.  All of that is what I'm working now to keep letting go of, little by little.  Mom, Happy Birthday.  You were right about a lot of things.

These have lost their usefulness for me:
1.  A racquetball racket
2.  Another racquetball racket
3.  Yep, yet another one.  Oddly, a couple of these were well worn and I don't even remember anyone every playing racquetball.
4.  A yellow baseball with a smiley face on it
5.  A 6' piece of wooden rope molding

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Day Two Hundred Thirty Five

Back in the Saddle

This is totally off topic, nothing about letting go of extraneous stuff - check back tomorrow for a return to the normal blog format.

I'm officially coming out of limbo.  (Dare I make the obvious rhyme?  Kimbo's no longer in limbo?)   I've been away from blogging as my daughter has been ill and was hospitalized for twenty six days in January.  Then the wheels fell off in many other aspects of my life at the same time while the workload increased significantly at work.  I have to admit that even though I am a woman who has always been capable and strong,  resilient and confident, that recent events have shaken me up.  My spirit has been considerably rumpled, faith in my own instincts shattered and my glass-half-full attitude in danger.  A common joke I've made is that I have to concentrate really hard to keep my little dingy afloat but that I always manage to do it; lately the dingy seemed to be taking on water.  Then a good friend who also doubles as a wise therapist told me that one thing she knows about me for sure is that I have a lot of people who love me and it may be time for me to admit to myself and others that I need some help.  I thought that over and it reminded me of my mother, who was quite generous in many ways, saying it was important to allow people to help you when they offer.  It took me years to understand the meaning of that fully but I did finally come to understand it.  Even so, it has never been easy for me to ask for help.  So I made a leap of faith and took a baby step forward by saying "yes" when a girlfriend offered to come help me for a weekend.  So much got done and we laughed and it was joyous and it was healing and it didn't leave me feeling pathetic for having asked (much to my surprise).  So I tried again and said "yes" to the next friends who offered to help.  Instead of feeling weaker, I felt stronger.  We shared a dinner and laughed (I'm getting that laughter is key here) and again I felt a bit stronger, a bit more able to face all the things on my plate.  I miraculously got things done.  Lunch with a friend reminded me of the value of nourishing myself well in times of stress, a sister's visit cleared all the blog items piling up in the house and got my place shining which provided me a profound kind of comfort, another friend listened to my idea for a website and helped get it up and running almost instantaneously (Goddesses for Jordan), a dear friend who is an artist stepped forward and made a generous offer of one of her art pieces (Jordan's Hope), etc. etc. etc.

Now, instead of a little leaky dingy being tossed in the waves I feel myself being buoyed along the sleek, smooth surface of the water in a fine hand-crafted boat with many oars in the water.  It is a very nice feeling.  I am filled with gratitude for the generous outpouring of love and support from people who are coming forward to help.  In permaculture, we design  to develop "functional connections" between elements in a system and this profound practice, like all of permaculture design, has once again been demonstrated to work in all aspects of life.  So I gratefully accept the help and sing a song of hope with a new twinkle in my eye.  In writing this it has occurred to me that this post is in fact not off topic.  One of the ways to simplify life is to accept and understand that we are not independent but fiercely interdependent.  While letting go of the 10 extra vases we've accumulated under the kitchen sink perhaps we would be wise to let go of independence altogether.  We are all connected.

This, sent to the blog by the friend who came and spent a weekend with me filing in my office a while back, is worth repeating here.  I am blessed to have a life filled with people who embody the spirit of this:

"I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there can be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again." ~William Penn

I promise to pay it forward. ♥

Here are today's five items:
1.  A pair of kid's craft scissors

2.  A stack of magazines (taking them with me to the dentist tomorrow for donation to the waiting room)
3.  Basic Beadwork
4.  A red clothes basket
5.  An IGI t-shirt 

Quote Challenge 
Don Vardo Plans
Gypsy Tour Map

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Can't give this entry a day number because I'm not making any forward progress.  This is just to say the blog is not a forgotten project, just one that had to be set aside for a little bit....I'll be back!

Be well.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Day Two Hundred Thirty Four

Slip slidin' away.

The effects of stress on the body have been well documented.  Heretofore, however, I doubt that the effects of stress on clutter clearing have been properly studied and documented.  I'm wondering if the government has a grant or endowment (really like that word) program available that would enable me to be paid to study it.  I'd do it for a sensible sum, something in the low six figures would be enough I think.  I'd have to pay my contributors probably but they work cheap.  I have four children, three siblings with families, a cat in heat and a raw meat eating dog with gas to help keep my stress level up allowing me to test whether or not clutter can still be cleared under trying circumstances.

In a matter of days I'll run out of low hanging fruit aka the big pile of things cleared but not yet listed.  Then I'll really be put to the test.  ;-)

For tonight, I've got it made:
1.  A pair of gray sweat pants with goofy pockets that for some reason remind me of high school in the 70s.
2.  A plain black ball cap.  I can't remember anyone in this house ever wearing ball caps yet I've come across dozens.
3.  A pair of black suede shoes.
4.  A hot pink bra.  The kind with the really well formed cups.  My sisters refer to them as "nut cups" as you could serve cocktail peanuts out of them at a party if you were short on bowls.
5.  A dog leash.

Quote Challenge 
Don Vardo Plans
Gypsy Tour Map

Friday, January 14, 2011

Day Two Hundred Thirty Three

Today just a little piece of eye candy.  When the sun rises over the Virginia Range and bathes the valley in light it is always beautiful.  However, every now and then the light has a certain golden quality to it that is exceptionally breathtaking.  I was up getting my day going at sunrise a couple of days ago and witnessed that special amber light and took this picture.  It is all I have to offer up tonight, no anecdotes, no items.


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