Makin’ it Monday

I just passed 1252 posts on my blog.

Of course, I’ve had my blog since 2012 when the great decluttering era started and my journey with minimalism. Right now, it seems minimalism is taking a back seat because my houseplants are taking over. Seriously, I think I need to give some away. Plus with Covid-19 the pantry has exploded into the prepper pantry.  It’s all good though, everything changes. I’m certainly not filling up white space with stuff.

My Flylady routine hasn’t changed all that much since 2012 but some. When I first started with FL, I did all her recommendations. Then as they got done, I wrote out my list of things for each zone and that’s what I use today. Some people find FL too involved or restrictive, but I think the form is valuable if you own it for your own circumstances. If you are drowning in clutter and not getting the house in order, start with the kitchen sink as she recommends.  Keeping the kitchen sink clean and clutter-free of dishes really sets the tone for the whole house as odd as that sounds.

Our very hot weather continues and so does the constant watering the yard. We are getting some cherry tomatoes and cucumbers and zucchini which is nice. As a matter of fact, I’m planning on making a zucchini bread this morning.

Last night I made the individual quiches and they were good. I used the  Breville toaster oven and it kept the kitchen cooler than using the oven. I think they could have been cooked a little less.

Today is my basic Monday chores which are dusting, vacuuming, mop kitchen floor, and a general tidy up.

We had the logger guy come and pick up the huge logs on Saturday. What a relief they are gone. He charged $150 which was completely worth it to get them out of the back area. Barclay could have never cut them up.

0.jpeg

0-1.jpeg

Beltane, May 1st.

We always try and have a Beltane fire on or near May 1st. In cross-quarter on the Celtic Calendar, it’s the beginning of summer. Burning away the old and planting for the new. It is between the Spring Equinix and the Summer Solciste. We had a fire the night before so that was good enough. We might have one tonight if we sit out.

This week I finished reading Jane Austin’s ‘Emma’. 500 pages of Jane Austin and it was astonishingly good. We have all the JA’s in Easton Press editions. I also reread a couple of e-books. I like the author Meg Wolfe. She used to have a great minimalist blog that I really enjoyed but I guess having written 5 books in this series took all her time. The first is the ‘Uncollected Death’. Charlotte Anthony is downsizing and is commissioned to write the memoir of a woman who then is murdered. There are 4 other books in the series which I’ve read but this one is my favorite.

I’ve moved most of my house plants( and there’s a lot), out to the sun porch. I’m going to see how they summer over out there. It does get hot out there so I’ll have to see whether this is a good option.Then I moved all the LP’s under the Heywood Wakefield so they are near the turntable. I’ll see how this works too.  That freed up a wood crate I had so I may use that somewhere else. Mostly, I’m trying to reduce visual clutter in my office room/space.  I have the one wall with Grateful Dead LP covers framed, and our Woodstock original Life magazines framed, B’s Bob Dylan poster and my favorite Star trek poster. It’s all colorful and pleasing to the eye but I wouldn’t want to add to it.

We’re doing really well food /pantry wise. I finally was able to get Costco to deliver toilet paper here although they are 14 days out for delivery. We have enough though. Plus the other big thing is coffee. We all drink coffee so we go thru  a lot. So I ordered 2 Starbucks French roast as it is on sale. It’s still cheaper to go in to the store( Costco) to get it but that would mean going into the store. So it’s worth it for now to pay the extra $5.00.

I haven’t been too creative with cooking. Mostly just cooking to get by. We even didn’t do Friday night pizza because no one wanted pizza. So we had the frozen manacotti I did a week ago. It was good. I did try making a sourdough focaccia and it was ok. Not great but I think I will try a different recipe and see how that goes.

Speaking of Costco, I checked Instacart/Costco and it looks like I can get delivery here so I may try that when I need the next round of stuff. But for now we’re good.

This morning after our walk I went into the Holiday Market an got enough fresh stuff for the week and they had tofu so that was exciting.

Next week Barclay has to go down to UCD med center to see the doctor because he needs his port flushed and another IVG infusion. I’ll just sit in the car and read although this time I may go for a walk.Last time I didn’t but I think it should be ok.

I also had my Zoom video appt with my doctor and it was quick and easy. We’re in agreement that starting treatment while the pandemic is going on is not a good idea. But we did agree when my kappa light chains get to @ 500 then that will be a good place to start. It really depends on how quickly the cancer cells start to activate. This last time it only went up 18 points so  that was quite a bit less than the time before. Really it’s just a waiting game. I’m not happy about but WTF. Not much you can do. So we shall see. it’s out there in the future somewhere.

A few pictures from around the yard

A573CC17-87FF-4AEA-9BC0-919A537868A1.jpeg

E8C3FEE6-9B6F-4FC8-B7BF-2B0566EB8A3A.jpeg

A7FD0F08-6AE6-4A89-A3F0-B793318F198C.jpeg

EFCF5DB6-695A-4111-A9D6-52F2BC957DD8.jpeg

This time of year in May everything is nice and green and so pretty. My daughter does an amazing job as gardener!

Rainy Day

It was a rainy day and I had to drive to Sacramento for my oncology appt. The drive was slow but not too bad. My appt went well. I’ve had Dr. Laptalo as my medical oncologist since I was diagnosed in 2005. He was a fellow then and then later board certified. He’s a good person and I trust him. Again, it’s really just waiting till my numbers are higher to start anything. That’s ok. He did recommend I have the colonoscopy after the diverticulitis bout. So I will schedule that for January or even February. I had him look at my CT scan with contrast and he said there was nothing unusual. So that’s good.

Then I came up to Rocklin and went to Walmart to exchange the flannel shirt I had picked up by accident in XXL. That is way too big for B. Then home.

Tomorrow I have a gym day and then some errands. I need a candy thermometer to make the peanut brittle and I need to go to the bank.

I am feeling somewhat frustrated with the house and it starts to feel really small this time of year. It’s usually when I start looking at decluttering more or at least moving some things around so there is more space. Winter/rainy days do make things seem closed in. Well, that too will pass.

Dinner is veggies and one of the cheese fondues. It’s not the one I usually buy so I thought I try it tonight.

Five on Friday

  • Over at Minimally, Trisha is doing a no Plastic September. Check it out for really good ideas on how to reduce plastic consumption. She’s also one of my favorite bloggers:) I am always trying to use less plastic stuff but I have to admit I fail a lot of the time. ( Costco’s packaging). But I am trying to be MORE aware of when I use stuff and consequently how to try and do better.
  • I had good luck at AAA on the house insurance. I had to wait a little longer than I wanted to ( almost 30 minutes) but in the end, I got the story that most companies are cutting house insurance and you have to go thru Calif. Fair insurance with a rider. Fortunately, AAA does offer this and after going thru numbers said it would be about$1600 a year. So an increase but not a crazy one. I guess having a small house just might be the ticket. Plus we have a fire station at the bottom of our hill so maybe 500 yards away. I’m happy with the number and feel more secure about it all.
  • We’re going to bite the bullet and sign Barclay up for Medicare part B with the additional plans. When he went for the biopsy on Wednesday, I tried to get his prescriptions and NOPE, the insurance says not covered. WEll, GD it. He is covered but the Cobra will get activated as soon as the check clears. So that means all that billing in August is going to get kicked back and then I will have to be on the phone trying to get it straightened out. So I am sick of it and said that’s it we are signing you up. So I have the form printed and he will email it to his HR person by Monday. And then as soon as I have it back we’ll go in.
  • We were going to to go to Costco today but decided not to as it can wait so I did a small Walmart order to pick up. It includes ice cream, of course. I’ll do that tomorrow. I have to say, not going into Safeway every other day has been great. Especially, since I am a bit of a compulsive shopper, well not really, but when I see stuff in the store, I will go oooh, I could use that. So this really has saved me money.
  • Today is a gym day and then home.
  • Tonight is pizza night. I was going to order one, but I think I’ll use the TJ’s dough I have instead. BTW, the TJ’s dough is really quite excellent.

Tidying up

There are 3 things that have really been game-changers for me when it comes to tidying.

The first is cleaning up the kitchen immediately( for the most part) after cooking or prepping food. Washing the dishes in the sink then air-drying them in the rack and then putting them away soon after. Since the dishwasher still isn’t working we’ve had to do all the dishes by hand. Actually, it’s kinda nice to make it a zen moment of being in the now of hand washing the dishes. So, if there are dishes in the sink, DO THEM!!

The second is whenever I leave a room I look around to see what needs to be brought back to where it lives. For example, we fold our laundry on the bed. So after it’s done there are often piles (like dishcloths) that need to be put away. If I’m putting towels away I might not get back to the other items right away. So when I go back in the room I pick up what’s there and take it out to it’s home. I do this in all the rooms actually. I think I started doing this when I had my foot fracture so I was limiting how much I walked around and so I started carrying anything in that room that didn’t belong there out.  I think it’s a good practice and it makes sure things go back to their proper places.

Also, and thirdly, I am adamant about everything has a place to live. That’s where it goes and needs to be put back after use. In the really great book”Decluttering at the Speed of Life” by Dana  White,

she talks about decluttering in a very humorous way. But one thing that stuck with me is to ask yourself WHERE YOU WOULD GO LOOK for an item. And then to put such item in that spot. For instance, we have a drawer where ALL the batteries go. Not some here and there, but all of them. So whenever anyone needs one, they know to go to the top drawer of that dresser( it’s the one in my office area).

These are at least 3 ways that I keep( and hopefully others) the house tidy and clean.

benjaminfranklin1-2x.jpg

a considered life…

All in all, we choose what our lives look like.

Sometimes, that is hard to see because perhaps it doesn’t really reflect who we are. To start, we need to ask ourselves, “what do I want my life to be/look like?”

I’ve been thru many different phases of my life. Young wife, mother, older mother, older wife. You get the idea. I also went thru lots of phases with decor from shabby chic, to lots of old furniture, and our more esthetic period when all I wanted was a Japanese farmhouse. ( well, I still would love that). But, really everyone’s life has phases and we are all at different points in the journey.

 I started my minimalistic journey with Flylady.  I was really in need of a system to help organize my house, housekeeping, cooking, etc.  I also was on Revlimid( a chemo pill for myeloma) and a very intense steroid( Dexamethasone). So I either had limited energy or the Dex was making me hyper and a bit crazy. So that’s when I started Flylady as her 15-minute rule worked perfectly for me. Basically, get a timer and set for 15 minutes and do the zone cleaning or decluttering.  Sometimes that was all I could do.

Since I decluttered thousands of things, each zone really only takes me 15 minutes max except the kitchen which takes generally an hour.  I don’t spend hours a week cleaning or tidying because the bulk of it is done in the zone cleaning. I do vacuum multiple times a week though and dust with a Swiffer.

There are some areas that I would still like to change such as moving some of the Heywood furniture in the living area but for now, that’s where they live.

One of the biggest game-changer for me was to finally be okay with our small house. It’s old, takes a lot of upkeep overall, it’s got a weird layout. ( There’s no real entryway). But it’s what we have and we do not want to move. Of course, circumstances do change if it became necessary we would move.

So I am grateful for this ‘considered life’ that we have created for ourselves.

A certain feeling…

I’ve been working on letting go of even more things that are just not essential.

When I was in Sacramento for those 2 1/2 almost 3 weeks, I had only what was most important and essential. There was the Mr. Coffee I bought for the RV, 2 cups, a sharp knife from Ikea, and a few other things.

I’m a sensory/visual person which is why I’m so attracted to minimalism. I get anxiety if there is too much stuff around me or on shelves. So down at the RV, visually it was very simple and undecorated.

And I had a FEELING about it. It was something I could tell was a subtle elusive thing. When I got home, with everything going on, it took a few weeks to get back to routines. Then I had that elusive feeling pop up. It was very fleeting and then I stopped and really examined what I was feeling.

It was to have around you only those things you love or use.

Trying new things

I like routines and doing things on a schedule. Maybe it’s a security need to know I’m getting things done. For me, there is LBC(life before cancer) and LAC( life after cancer). Before my diagnosis, I certainly got things done and was homeschooling my son using a Waldorf program. I had lesson plans, monthly blocks of learning, etc. So I was disciplined as such.

But it wasn’t til LAC. when I relapsed in 2010 and even later, that I started Fly lady and began my decluttering in earnest.  I don’t remember minimalism as a catchphrase so much back then but I’m sure it was.  Over at Minimally-less stuff,  Trisha has a great blog on the ongoing process of decluttering. It sometimes, like for me, is a life-altering event to start the decluttering journey or just a phase of life and discovering what works.

But back to trying new things. I like to implement new cooking techniques( the IP, that now I’m not too crazy about), and also new minimalist ideas that I read about. My son jokes with me, though, that I don’t really go out of my comfort zone a lot, and that is true. I guess I feel I did that so much as a young person and it was a bit reckless at times. ( The one year we moved like 6 times, like in a school bus, to a trailer, and so on). Yeah, not to steady. It really wasn’t till our daughter was born that we settled into a routine.

Anyway, this coming week I will be doing something new and that’s staying in the RV alone. It’ll be interesting, to say the least. And it will definitely be out of my comfort zone.

The week ahead…

We had a quiet Memorial Day.

My brother died in Viet Nam in 1968 so I thought about him. He was a talented artist. What a waste. He also couldn’t get a deferment even though he had a heart problem and at that time was working full time to support my mother. I guess Donald Trump got the deferment for his bone spurs. I guess he had enough millions to pay off a judge. Well, I guess that tells you something about my brother being killed in Viet Nam and  Donald Trump whining about a bone spur.

It was cloudy to start but then eventually the sun came out. We BBQ some burgers and I made some coleslaw. My daughter made us some strawberry shortcakes for dessert later.  We generally don’t eat dessert so this was a nice treat.

I didn’t drive to Sacramento and missed seeing B. But I’m going down today and all the rest of the week except Friday. I think my daughter will go on Friday unless her new job starts. Her library interview is next week and this job she is doing is only temporary thru June.

Everything is lining up for us to have the RV. I just ordered some camp chairs as I don’t want to use the owner’s ones for risk of them being stolen or damaged. We needed new ones anyway.

Flylady zone this week was the living room. That’s an easy one for me as it is almost where I want it with functionality and minimalized. I try and do one thing in each zone that’s new or improved. So this time I moved the Ikea cart out and put it in my office area. It holds our wine bottles( which have been reduced to one Chianti, that we don’t drink very often) and we kept our silverware in Ball jars there too. So, I’m going to try it and see if we NEED it back or can the space just be open( white space). I guess we shall see. Right now in my office space, it has a plant on top and that’s it so, that probably isn’t very efficient either.

I’m planning on going to Sac Co-op this morning for veggies and olives from their olive bar. But it kinda depends on my mood as I get closer. Nothing is critical that I need so we’ll see. (How’s that for being indecisive??)

Dinner is chicken enchiladas!

Some things Minimalism has taught me

A little departure from Fugal/Five things Friday. Although I may do a separate post on that.

But I was making the bed when it struck me how by becoming more minimalist what it has taught me about myself.

  • I know that lots of visual busyness makes me anxious and I need mostly monotones.
  • I know I need white space around me to function better. Since our house is very small there aren’t a lot of open places, but there are a few where I just have a plant.
  • From even in my 30’s I knew not to ever over schedule or I felt out of control. Even when my children were in school I didn’t over schedule play dates, activities, etc.
  • As I’ve decluttered, my house works well for us even though it is quite small.
  • For the most part, I know where everything is or where to find it although on occasion I can’t quite remember where I put something. ( I’m looking at you brown envelopes I can’t find)….oops, just found them right where they should be…Ha ha…
  • I need a decluttered space with clear surfaces
  • I do need a structure(like Flylady) to focus on what the daily chores need to be.
  • I function way better without decision fatigue which is why I have a very specific wardrobe and a very limited one. I don’t want to worry about what to wear. I don’t own a dress, skirt or anything dressy.
  • Over the years, since discovering less is more, I feel more joy and contentment. Plus since I ‘ve never like to shop it made it easier.

well, as you can see, minimalism really helps to define or really refine who you are.