Blogs that come and go…

I used to read a lot of different blogs. Some about simplicity, some about minimalism, some about organizing, and lots just about life and peoples different experiences. Some were about Myeloma and others about nothing in particular and some about frugal living.

I use to read Andrea Dekker and liked her organizational skills. But she had a lot of blind spots in her life such as not seeing her 2nd child, a boy, had some developmental issues. I think later ,after he still had spoken when he was 2, I think they saw some kind of specialist. But she monetized her blog and it began to lose something for me. Also, as soon as she talked about the Jesus card, I was out of there.  Just not my thing.

Others included ‘A blue door ‘something I cant remember. I liked her attempts at meal prep and some other things.  But again, God and Jesus seemed to be helping her live a simple life so I let that one go.

They both still have a very large reader base so there’s an appeal somewhere. But clearly for me, when religion comes into it or somehow Jesus is saving them, then it just goes too far for me.

As an atheist, I  believe in the order of the universe as in things like gravity, evolution, science etc. all without the help of some man-made idea of a supreme being. I’m pretty sure that 5,000 years ago or even more when man looked up to the sky and saw strange things or there were famines, blights etc, man needed to create an external way to make sense of it all.  Enter, a supreme being.

Now it seems every other blog is monetizing and doing the ‘7 things to declutter’ or how I organized my kitchen cabinet.  Clearly, there’s something going on with this theme. A new blog I started following was Farmhouse on Boone and wow, it is clearly all about a certain audience and a certain message for that audience. First, she talks all about simplicity and yet is only in her early thirties(maybe) and just had her 5th kid. Believe me, I’m not sure having 5 kids fits into the genre of simplicity or minimalism.

Yes, I know this is very judgemental and I accept that fully. Everyone has the right to believe what they believe and to actually include it and write about it. It’s just not for me and it just seems somewhat ironic. Oh, yeah, Jesus helps in that one too. Maybe it’s about procreating. Seriously, in my 20’s it was all about zero population growth. Only have 2 children to replace yourself. Not 9 kids as another blogger has or 5.

So, my own biases, as everyones does, plays out here.

There are some great other bloggers I do so enjoy, Reading my Tea Leaves is a truly beautiful blog. Yes, it is monetized but it’s not intrusive or blatant.

‘Minimally’ is another I so enjoy. Trish is the blogger who did the year of zero waste on another site. She is a funny and talented writer with a solid minimalist approach.

‘Spo’  is one of my favorite bloggers and writes wonderful and interesting blogs about his life.

So, for now, so blogs come, some blogs go….

And you know, there’s something for everyone out there!!

 

The journey of minimalism!

My daughter found this picture on one of her CDs and I was honestly like ” WHAAAATTTT”!!

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The cats are cute, and the Waldorf stuffs ok but the rest?? What in the world was I thinking or better yet, NOT thinking of?

The cats,, Ollie and Finwe, are just maybe a year old or less so this would be maybe 2005??? I was diagnosed in June 2005, so I know nothing minimalist wasn’t happening then or even 2006 after my Stem Cell Transplant. My recollection is that it was when I relapsed in 2010. It gained speed and momentum by 2012.

I think it was at that point I started feeling closed in and all the clutter was too much. Except for the 2 cats, all that was gotten rid of. Even all the Waldorf play silks. I gave them to some Waldorf family. The desk is gone, and the TV under the silk. I use the wishbone chair as my office chair. It’s a Heywood Wakefield.

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Here’s what it looks like today. You can see my Pinecone ware, a few Catherine Holm pieces. Both, of which if I found reasonably priced today, I would buy.IMG_0480.JPG

This is one of new ‘friends’. It’s just the sweetest fern. Keeping with a minimalist style I ‘m trying to add plants as the decor.  I just love this little plant. I’m not sure if it’ll be happy there as there is not a lot of indirect light.

So one of my strongest suggestions is to take photos of your spaces. I’m truly amazed how I see it differently if I take a photo.

Another is to really remove tchotchkes.  You really don’t need every shelf filled to the brim with useless crap. What I try to do is keep most shelves only half full. In our one teak bookcase that holds our Easton press, there are 3 shelves that are full, no spaces. But as a rule, I try and actually keep one empty shelf.

Another thing that helped so much was getting over ” well, I paid a lot for that Waldorf silk or that Waldorf doll”. It’s past its usefulness. LET IT GO!!  I gave away lots of quite valuable things to friends and thrift shops. Sterling silver, vintage cloths, vintage toys, and so much that I just didn’t have space for and I didn’t want stuffed in bins.  I can’t even remember the number of van loads I took to thrift stores. But it is and was so freeing.

Your space is meant to be calm and healing. With excess furniture, things, dishes ( my weakness), you just can’t find that balance.

I recently redid where I was keeping DVDs that we still want but don’t watch but once a year. The original Star Trek Series, Next Generation, Narnia, Forsythe Saga, and more.  I put the Star Trek in a small bin and put in the laundry room on a shelf. Then the others I removed from 2 drawers and repacked into 2 cute little crates I found at the Goodwill. They’re in a cabinet in the Heywood.

Right now one of my projects is working on photos. I’ve thrown away tons of repeats and just fuzzy or boring ones. But we still have a lot of our younger years that I’d like to get organized. That will take a while. I have scanned some but that really takes time.

One more thing, just start somewhere, then just keep going. It will and does get easier. Plus things are easier to clean and tidying up goes so much quicker.

 

Addendum:

 

So my daughter checked the date and it was Nov/Dec 2013.

This was the worst time in my life( up to that point) as this was when I had the compression fracture which was caused by the myeloma. It was misdiagnosed and then discovered 1 1/2 years later. So that happened around Thanksgiving of 2003. The reason at least superficially was that I had been lifting boxes. You see, I had just been to my first big estate sale and bought an almost complete collection of Life magazines. It was 40 boxes weighing at least 50 lbs a piece.  So I lugged them to my van , then to the barn, then to the studio. It was the next day was when I felt a pop. But it wasn’t till the next morning when I literally couldn’t get up. Why do you ask did I not go to the Er. That’s a good question but answerable. We never hardly ever went to doctors. We used herbs, natural remedies, blah, blah blah. So, when I did go to the NP and she said it was just a sprain, I should have been more proactive.  Hindsight is 20/20.

So that’s the back story….

 

 

Minimalism: older and wiser

Most blogs about minimalism are written by younger people. Some quite young in their 20’s. I kinda chuckle at their take on being minimalists for a year or so. Plus, there’s only so many years they’ve got under their belt. That is NOT a criticism. I applaud their courage and journey.

Still, having been on this journey for over 7 years and probably longer at different times in my life, with experience and age does come wisdom. In our twenties, we were total minimalists simply because we had no money to be otherwise. Poverty or lack of money makes minimalism seem petty as it’s really not a choice as such. Yet, we built our little wood couch, used orange crates as bookcases, gleamed free stuff from the dump when we could. We were hippies and loved our simple life. Yet, we were also broke.

Back in the 1970’s, after college, we couldn’t find any decent jobs, so we started our own business, Shiatsu massage and, spiritual counseling( I had just finished my graduate work).  We later opened a bookstore and that was great too but made no money and we eventually closed it.

Most of that now,  I see as part of our life journey but none the less the quips of the popular psychology of ‘follow your dream, follow your heart’ didn’t ever bring us fame or fortune, or a job, but years of struggling. We were minimalists out of necessity.

 

So many years later, after raising 2 children, and being in a different phase of our lives, minimalism comes full circle intentionally.  We had a good number of years accumulating stuff too.

People getting older need to simplify their lives. They need to have less clutter and crap around them in order to be more present in their older years. Plus who wants to burden their children with stuff.  Plus, it makes keeping up with housework and chores easier and more efficient.

We’ve decluttered many times and I’m sure there will be more to come. Moving toward being in ones mid to late 60’s is quite the experience.

With all things, there are many seasons to one’s life.  Living minimally now is so important. We don’t need a lot of extras, just enough.  I think just enough is perfect.9aff9c2e96b462ea1d37c12c64c687dc

 

Simple Sunday

The week ahead looks nice. We are in for some rain tonight and tomorrow.

I skipped the gym today and went to Home Depot with B so we could get a bathroom fan and a few other things.  I want to have him put up another safety bar in the bathroom as well. Mostly because our tub is a clawfoot and sits high. Either we need to change that out as we get older or do some other things( like the bar) to help with stability.

Yesterday was one of the nicest days we’ve had. I fired up the BBq and made chicken and BBQ tempeh. I made a macaroni salad to go with it. We even ate outside, the first this year!!

This week we’re going to go to Ikea too and check out ideas for redoing the counter and sink area of the kitchen.  There’s not much we can do to change the layout because of where doors are and such.  I’m interested in a farmhouse sink and would like quartz countertops. All our appliances are new so that part is done.

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As you can see it’s really just one wall of counter with the sink in the middle. The stove is to the left of the second photo.

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Ikea is great to get ideas from. I’d like to replace the kitchen window to as it is starting to get a few cloudy spots. The cabinets I’d like to replace with something more modern. We can’t really have them as open shelves as we wouldn’t have any place to keep spices and teas and things I just don’t want visible.

We redid the whole kitchen after we moved in. It was gutted and we took up like 20 layers of linoleum. It was brutal work.  So the kitchen is 23 years old. Except we just bought the appliances in the last 2 years.

Other than that, it should be a nice week for some fun things to do.

 

Simple Sunday​

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It is a lovely day. Sunny and pleasant. Not really warm but that’s okay.

This morning I made almond butter in my new Cuisinart. The first batch didn’t work too well as the almonds were stale, I think. I picked up another pound and then toasted them first then put them in the food processor. Viola!!! almond butter.  It does take a while to get to the final stage but I will do it again because it’s nice to just make a mall amount. We never get thru a whole jar so that’s kinda neat.

Then I made polenta. Some for dinner I’ll grill and then some for later in the week. I have brown rice cooking with some added wild rice.  Then I think I’ll just grill some tofu on the side.

I went to the gym and did an okay workout. I’m not feeling too inspired but I imagine it will pass.

This week is the Kitchen zone in Flylady so I’ll do that tomorrow morning.  Some stuff I already did ( wiped all the stainless steel appliances) but I’ll probably have to do it again.

Next week we’re heading to New Brighton State beach to camp. The weather looks ok. there is supposed to be some showers Sunday but the rest of the week looks nice.  Our favorite bakery ‘Gayles’ is there so that’s a win-win. Plus I’m looking forward to Lodge cooking again.

We are already into April and this year I’ve had almost nothing to drop off at Goodwill. I guess my balance with minimalism is darn good at this point. I just bought a new gooseneck electric teapot and the old one will go to Goodwill but really there’s not much left to declutter.  Perhaps down the road with different needs or criteria, it will change.

Things do change and each season in life brings new things.

 

 

Simple Sunday

Thanks everyone for the feedback. It looks like it’s going along well. I’ve wanted to buy the domain for a while and before it was under christina1952(of course my birth year) but then the tech help checked and said Tahoegirl was available so, I jumped on it.

In April I will have had my blog for 6 years.  It has been lots on my journey with Myeloma and its struggles. Relapse, Remission, Relapse….. drugs…. and about ordinary life.  I do believe that it’s in the most ordinary and simple things that we find the most meaning in our lives.  But it wasn’t till I put minimalism and simplicity together that the bigger picture of an intentional life emerged.

One thing that drew me to Quakerism at 17 was their purposeful queries focusing on simplicity and living intentionally.  I moved on from Quakerism to Buddhism also focusing on simplicity, zen things, and mindfulness. There clearly is a theme too what I’ve sought to be and do in my life. Even educating my children in Waldorf education and being involved in Waldorf things was a focus on nature and rhythms and an uncomplicated life.

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Today is a gym day and then I need to go to Target for cat food and bleach and other misc.

The sun is finally out although it’s still quite cold. The weather is supposed to turn to snow and rain again on Wednesday.

Dinner is an Ina Garten recipe : chicken parmesan,  and then I’ll do a tofu parmesan and a simple green salad with a lemon vinegarette.

 

why​ minimalize

We all have different thresholds of clutter and for things that are around us. When I look around my small house, I can see where a die-hard minimalist may say, ‘Gee, you have a lot of Easton Press books, or that I still have my Fiesta Ware.’ Even though I have gotten rid of probably 75 % of what we did have ( grand piano and 2 couches and a futon) plus more, there is still a comfortable amount of stuff that I like.

I love my Needles and Pine Tepco dishes that are in the Heywood Wakefield. Even though I use White dishes daily, I do use the Tepco and I use the Fiesta Ware. But I have them where I can appreciate them visually and they fit on the shelves they are on.

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That’s a big minimalist thing and I do use that concept of how much ‘real estate’ or space do I have for those items. If they were boxed away, I would get rid of them. But they are out on my shelves and fit the space. If you need to start your minimalist journey, I’d recommend the container concept. There’s only so much room on a shelf or in a drawer for items. So that is your parameter. You can only put what fits and that doesn’t mean cramming things in sideways.

So why bother decluttering and minimizing your stuff. From my own personal experience, my house stays cleaner as there is less stuff to dust and overall less stuff to deal. My stress levels are quite low( mostly) when things are tidy and uncluttered. I read a great article on some blog about when we’re stressed we want to declutter and I can say that is what I did.  I found the more I released the less stressed I was. My home felt better to be in. As an introvert, I spend a lot of my time home especially since I no longer work at the library. So

  • cleaner house
  • less stuff to deal with
  • lower stress levels
  • more time for other things like reading, cooking, walking etc

 

There’s less noise in my head when I have more white space around me both literally and figuratively. I think there’s even more, I can declutter down the road but for now, it is a nice balance.