Egads, it is 6 pm already! I’m as tired as can be. I’ve been busy being Martha Stewart all day long. I made yogurt in the morning. Then soup with all the leftovers from Thanksgiving for lunch. Seems like not much if it was just the makings and no cleaning up after. I had alot of mashed sweet potatoes left from Thanksgiving. I made muffins with them after lunch which resulted in more washing up. I bet Martha never did any stuff around the kitchen. She just writes about it and somebody else do the cooking and cleaning up. Well, it’s all done, the cooking, baking and cleaning up. I’m finally here for another Ultimate Blog Challenge post.
I’m glad I was reminded about choosing my battles yesterday. I can’t fight/do them all. I did pause and thought about the more important ones. It’s prioritizing. I can have my cake and eat it but I can’t do it all. It’s a good thing we have the walk-in cooler in the garage. I’ve harvested 4-5 ice cream pails of grapes couple of days ago. I got my bottles for bottling juice from Amazon yesterday. They are washed and dried. They are ready but I’m not. There’ll be alot of sorting and washing grape before they can be juiced. They can keep in cooler till I can muster up more energy. I will aim to juice one pail tomorrow. It’s not about all or nothing. Just one thing will suffice.
It’s another day when I can only write my post for the challenge. I will pass the daily thread again today. I’m choosing what is the wiser thing to do today. I am tired and need to wind down for the evening. Tomorrow is another day.
It’s a grey cool Monday. I’m feeling the weather again. I’m sipping on a cup of decaf while contemplating what would be my best moves. I hate letting the weather get the better of me. But it might not be a bad idea to just take it easy for the rest of the day. I’ve already stormed out after breakfast and did a whole pile of work before 10. I planted the last 4 squashes between the haskap berries in the backyard and the rest of the celery in the squash bed. Yes, I got a little crazy with the squashes this year. I’m sure I’ve planted 30 for ourselves. Then there’s the giveaways. I will take an inventory of plants and produce in the fall for better planting next spring. It’s what I keep saying. Now I will have to do it.
I am feeling better for having started this tapping out. I sure felt like hell when I came in from the garden. I’ve done some work in the greenhouse, too. It’s nice and warm there, out of the cold and wind – a good place to clean up the pots and trays. I can put them up on the rock wall to dry. I am trying to have a better handle and not let them scatter all over the place. It’s hard to develop good work habits. So easy to just drop things drop wherever they are. But then there’s the hard part later picking them up.
Well, so much for taking it easy. We’ve had lunch and the dishes done. I find the cleaning up part the hardest. My mood drops and my energy deserts me. I have to talk myself through each step. It happens most days. You would think I could overcome this by now. No, I have to battle it every day but I do win every time. I’ve gone out again to the greenhouse to finish cleaning all the little pots and plant trays. The lettuce there are past their prime. It was hard but I’ve pulled them and planted 2 eggplants in their spot. I tend to wait and hang on to things too long, even lettuce. Well, no more of that!
It seems my keyboard is my best tool for working things/my moods out. It doesn’t give me any back talk either. I can talk myself out with no criticism. Sometimes I just need to put it out here on the page, sounding myself out. If I pay attention, I can hear/see wherein my problems and solutions lie. It’s worth it to make the effort of showing up on my self scheduled days.
Day 23 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge and day 3 of my daily ski and day 2 of my daily cleaning and decluttering. Am I having fun yet? Yes and no. When words come easily off the tips of my fingers, it is fun. Not so much when I have to struggle for every thought and sentence. I don’t care much for proofreading and editing. I force myself because sometimes I can think faster than I can tap. Yesterday I caught a few omissions and errors. Good thing my patience and discipline are improving. Sometimes good enough is not good enough.
Am I having fun yet? I had a wee rest after lunch. I worked steady and early this morning, wasting no time. I stirred my scrap apple vinegar fermenting on the dining room table. It’s my second batch. I quite like it as a substitute for regular vinegar. Mostly I use it for cleaning. I put a bit in a spray bottle with water. I spritz it on my mop to damp mop my hardwood floors. I also use it on my dust cloth for dusting furniture, etc. It leaves everything shiny and with a pleasant scent. Then I fed Oscar, my sourdough starter. I like to get the daily things done and out of the way. When I procrastinate, sometimes they don’t get done at all. It’s no fun falling behind and having catching up.
After breakfast I did a quick dusting in our bedroom followed by damp mopping of the floors. Then we hit the ski trail at the park. I did 3 laps around the park, working up a sweat. Was I having fun yet? Not quite but almost. Not sure if I got my ski legs back yet. I am slow as a tortoise. No kick and glide yet. Have to review techniques on YouTube again. At least I haven’t regressed. I could do double poling. No falling down today. My boots got on and off the skis like a damn. No struggle like last year. I won’t win any races soon but I’m burning calories.
The sun has disappeared. I will have to set out to put the greenhouse to bed soon. Without the heater, the low in there today was -1.8℃ this morning at 8:30. The high 8.6℃ at 3pm. All the greens are doing well. I cover them with row covers for the night and uncover in the morning when sun comes up and temp. above freezing. We’ll see what happens when the temps dip toward 20 and below at night. This is our first winter. I don’t think it will be fun covering and uncovering in the depth of December and January. I might take a break from it till February or March.
Day 22 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. 8 more days. I can do it. It has become a habit again. These days my mood can turn on a dime. It’s better to pound on the keyboard than on someone. Not that anyone has given me any reason, but you know how it is. It is the question of which comes first – the chicken or the egg. In the case of moods, is it the mood or is it the stimulus. You are on the edge. Then along comes the straw that broke the camel’s back. Kapow!**
I’ve been wary and vigilant though. In these moments I try to keep calm and not behave like my usual old self. I try to use the not-so-good vibes toward decluttering and cleaning. It’s a good tool and choice of activity for me. It’s what our mothers used to do to de-stress. It’s what I used to do, too, but somehow have lost the habit. Cleanliness no longer was next to godliness. They both got tossed aside for sometimes meaningless scrolling through social media and the Internet. Regardless of how I got here, I’m turning back to more hands-on living.
It’s not easy to change back, let me tell you. In the middle of my cleaning this morning, I got more depressed and wasted. There’s so much clutter and so much dust. I felt pale and drained just thinking about it and seeing what laid before me. I had to console myself. I tell myself that if I just sort out one small box, it will be enough. That did the trick. I dug in, cleared some dust and a box. What I learn today is:
baskets and boxes are hazards for hanging onto things forever.
I have trouble throwing out pens.
I can clean and declutter faster than I think I can.
cleaning and decluttering can be enjoyable.
I can control which way I swing.
I can be a clear bug as well as a cluttered one.
I shall dedicate the rest of the month to doing more cleaning and clearing daily. 8 days are do-able. Then I shall set a new schedule. Baby steps doesn’t work for me. And I hate that phrase. Not enough time left for baby steps. I have to take giant leaps forward. Onward ho!
These days of challenges keep coming at me, at everyone. We need to keep informed of how the world is but the numbers keep climbing. They get scarier and scarier. I’m trying to stay grounded and all but I worry. I worry about my mother’s upcoming appointment at the Eye Centre at the hospital next week. I worry about her vulnerability. At the same time I worry about her eyes not getting checked. I weigh the pros and cons. I will phone Monday to see what they say.
We are in a lockdown. They tell us to stay home. Life goes on though. Sometimes we must go out and sometimes we must let others in. When to go out and who to let in? We never gave it a thought before. Now everything is a dilemma. In the end we called and let the plumber in. A not well draining kitchen sink can be very stressing. Lucky or unlucky our kitchen sink upstairs is connected to the one downstairs. The plumber need not come up at all. Well draining pipes can make me diliriously happy. I’m happy to wash, clean and wipe things down.
It is still winter in April. Snow came down in buckets. It was enough for me to tell Sheba: No walk today. You can have a treat. She paced, gave me a few looks but plopped down on her pillow. She’s an old girl. She got her treats and was satisfied. I am just too tired today to fight the wind and snow today. Sometimes it is good to take a break and give myself a break and a rest.
How are you all doing out there? I will be alright in a minute or two. I’ve learned today that if I keep up with maintenance, life could be easier. I wouldn’t get so stressed in tricky times. But I am learning. I’ve cleaned out 3 under the sink cupboards. I got one more to go – the one in the basement kitchen. I’m cleaning house for Chinese New Year. It’s late this year but it’ll bring so much happiness now that there is room for it. That’s our tradition for New Year. Clean house before the new year. You don’t want to do any sweeping in the new year. You might sweep out good fortune. But we’re making a new tradition in these times. Happy Chinese New Year in April.
I have wasted a bunch of time scrolling through this and that in search of products and answers. I was caught up in the number of choices that we have at our fingertips. It is a burden rather than a freedom. Now I’m left with a bunch of information running amuck in my head. They’re like gerbils on treadmills in their cages. I’m much like them, a slave to my human nature.
At least it is still morning. The sun is shining. I’ve dug out a jar of soup from the freezer. It’s defrosting in a pot of hot water. I will tap out a few more sentences and leave my frenzied thoughts on the page. There’s the routine of vacuuming and dusting to do. It settles and grounds me for the day. Having a clean floor without all Sheba’s hair makes me feel so much better. It’s as if I am clearing the debris and cobwebs in my head.
I’ve been tackling the dust in one room/day. Amazing how much there is when I pay attention. Amazing how clean the air is when I do. There has been much that I’ve avoided to do. It’s as if I am afraid to move/change anything. I worry that things would never be the same again. These feelings have been beneath my consciousness though they do weigh on me. I now know the meaning of ‘There’s an elephant in the room.” I really do have lots of elephants in my living room. They sit heavy on my mind. I clear my mind and air every time I dust them now. I try to let go of the fear of change. It’s what I need – change for the better.
I’m just having a cuppa before taking the fur baby out for her walk. I treated myself with toast and jam. Yup, it’s the comfort rather than the hunger thing. I’m feeling the weight of being a child of immigrants. It makes me feel like my parents’ keepers, they being poor speakers of English and understanding less. Things tend to fall on me, the eldest child, not that I’m a child anymore. My shoulders are not wide nor strong but I manage most of the time. Sometimes I need the toast and jam to give me a little extra support.
I’m not complaining, just saying. I’m faring well, having dusted my computer screens and desktop. I can see what I’m tapping now. I’ve been out and about mailing letters, returning library books and to London Drugs. I dropped off dead batteries, bought a memory stick and Nellie’s Dishwasher powder. I was impressed with Nellie’s laundry soda. No scent, eco-friendly and effective. I am passionate about doing what I can to save our planet. It’s nice to know that I still care about something.
It’s a hot, hot day! I have laundry hanging outside. The blinds are drawn. It’s warm and stuffy upstairs. I turn the furnace fan on. I make my way to the cool of the basement. It’s a lovely happy space to have my decaf and toasted baguette. I sink back against the leather couch enjoying the cool quiet of being alone. It is worth all the effort I’ve put into cleaning and clearing. It fills me with joy to see there’s a space for everything. And everything are in their places.
It’s taken me a long while to get to this stage. Gaining some confidence from the process, I’m moving onto cleaning and clearing the deck. I want to make every space into a creative living breathing place and not a storage area for all the stuff I don’t know what to do with. It’s time to be clear about what our lives are about. It’s not about collecting and hoarding.
Let me be bothered enough to take the time to care, to organize, clear and clean. Let my mind work behind the scene and figure out what gives life meaning, what I need to keep and what I need to discard. I have lived too long haphazardly, by gosh and by darn. I’ve been lazy, just wishing and hoping for the best. Now I want to plan and be decisive and do what is the best for me and what makes my heart sing.
Strange times. I have to sit and chew on it for a bit. Sheba and I have just returned from our walk. It is WARM out there all of a sudden. Most of the snow are gone. I’m hot and sweaty, tapping a few words waiting for the water to boil for a cuppa of decaf. I’m cutting back on my tea consumption. Too much of a good thing was making my bladder crazy. I wonder why I have this addiction to Orange Pekoe tea. The more I drink, the more I crave it. Limiting myself to two cups a day seem to be helping – the bladder and the craving.
This feeling of craving is such a curious thing. The more I give in to it, the worse it gets. It’s a good thing that it’s only Orange Pekoe tea. Imagine the consequences if it is something else, like sugar. Maybe that was part of it, too. I like my tea sweetened with honey. So far, so good. I’ve kept to the 2-cup limit for a week now. No more craving. This principle probably applies to other things as well. It is wise to practice balance in all things. I will pay more attention from now on. I am sure I have the addict archetype in me.
It’s the next day, Saturday. My tap ran dry yesterday. I’m back to finish though today I’ve been taken over by sleepiness and idleness. I hope I can find a few interesting words and ideas. I could just do my usual mutterings. I am cured of the need ‘to do and accomplish’ for the time being. But it’s not good either to give in to languishing. I’m feeling as if I’ve grown roots into the loveseat. I’m still in my pjs though it is almost 3 pm. Soon I have to get dressed for a walk with Sheba. In the meantime let me enjoy my decaf and tap out a few more words.
It’s been a long while since I’ve felt this ease and peace within. Everything is working. I’m not fighting anyone or anything. I see all my ducks lined up in a row. How is it that life seems so easy in this moment? It could be that I took some care to clear, clean and organize my living surroundings. Cleanliness is next to holiness. It’s not that I can eat off the floors yet. But soon! And that what needs to be dealt with are, and not hidden beneath the piles. That never worked anyways. Things may be hidden from physical sight but they were just festering beneath the skin. So how could I have peace of mind when they were worming within?
Now that I have learned a few lessons, I hope I won’t slide back to my old ways of ‘later’. It’s much easier to JUST DO IT now. I’ll just sit back and breathe in this new feeling. It will help to keep me on track.
I feel very tired and cross after my second day of excavating the rubble in the basement. I am making progress but it is always a bigger job than I envision. It always is. And I would abandon the project time and time again. I should have been listening to Benjamin Franklin when he said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” I haven’t done any maintenance work in the basement for two years. I take things down but nothing comes up – not even dust. Now I’m paying the price. I’ll probably be a few pounds heavier after I’m done. It’s hard and stressful. I’m snacking.
I’m trying to be more efficient and tough with the stuff – recycle or throw out. No saving in case of it might come in handy later. Some things are difficult to recycle because frankly people rather get new stuff. I hate cluttering up the landfill with my stuff, so for now the rowing machine, exercise bike, mini stepper and slant board are in the garage. Maybe in summer I will bring them out as free grabs. Then what do you do with all those cutesy baskets and containers? I blame them for my accumulation of stuff. Then there’s my very old computer. How do you get all the data off the hard drive – smash it? And how do you get the hard drive out of the tower? I suppose I should ask at a computer store.
I’m feeling better, not so cross or tired. I just ate a bowl of chips. They help rid the dust in my throat. Yes, it is a little dusty down there with a few cobwebs. I should be ashamed of myself but what good would that do? I’m feeling bogged down as it is. Shame would add to the load. So no thanks to shame or blame. Life happens as they say. Tomorrow I will do a little more and a little better.
I feel like I’m always mired in my stuff. Once upon a time I had an excuse of working and shiftwork at that. That excuse is wearing thin now that I am retired. AND I have more stuff. Not that I am a shopaholic. Quite the contrary, but I did purchased a new sewing machine just before Christmas. It is quite big with an embroidery module and accessories. I haven’t bought fabric either. I don’t need to since I’ve been stashing them away over the years from – sales, projects, closing out sales, etc. I have the equivalent of 3 big totes. Overwhelming – yes!
Now I am in the process of organizing and making space. It’s difficult to see what I have or don’t have. Everything crammed together. No space to walk, never mind spread the stuff out. This morning I bit the dust (literally) and finished tackling my sewing stuff. At least now there’s room to move – and to create. I can see why sorting and clearing is such a difficult task. Memories are evoked from handling some of the items. Cleaning and sorting the contents of my sewing basket, I remembered my mom gave it to me when I bought my Kenmore. She stocked it with scissors and a few more items.
She taught me how to sew and knit. She must have been a good teacher because usually I’m not good at learning from verbal instructions. I have to read the directions. I have been sewing since high school. I designed and made my graduation gown. I never thought much of it then. It looks pretty good to me now. It gives me pleasure seeing it. I wonder if my mother still has it. I made my sister’s high school grad dress, too. I took special care finishing all the raw seams. I remembered she was recovering from a concussion that spring. She was struck by a car at a pedestrian crosswalk.
These are all good memories. They make me nostalgic, yearning for those bygone days. I didn’t know then how sweet everything was, even the tough times. I feel a tad sad with some regrets. It comes with being human. Who doesn’t have regrets, wanting things that aren’t and can’t be in retrospect? It’s really not a bad thing. It can inspire me towards reaching outward, upward and all around me to make dreams come true. Now for a spot of tea. Sheba and I have made a run to the dog park. We stopped at Sarcan and dropped off some old phones, bottles and cans. We made $8.00. We made space. We are proud.