Simple Sunday

Another great walk this morning with a pretty sunrise. Nobody else there, not even the AH which we’re not sure why or what’s up with that but still it’s great not to have him stomping by us.

It looks like a cloudy day but the temperatures are really ok with high @ 60-65. Not bad for this time of year at all. The next 10 days actually look quite nice and I think we’re going to plan a drive up to Tahoe.

This week is the bedroom zone. I’ll wash the windows and tidy up but most of it is already done as this room is very minimal. I did wash the linen cover the other day. I may or may not iron it. I do like the look of linen without ironing it. The only thing I’ll probably do is tidy the closet some.

I made some sourdough pancakes this morning from the discarded sourdough and I have a batch ready to go for bread. The pancakes were good. I’ll bake the bread tomorrow after letting it do a slow rise in the refrigerator.

Just look at that beautiful starter. Except for it sort of exploded.

Here’s one of the amyrillys blooming. I bought the 4 pack of bulbs(Costco) and one didn’t come up. The other 2 have buds and this one is blooming. They are strange plants and I don’t think I will do them again. I love orchids though and usually buy one every time I go to Trader Joes.

This week is quiet for me but B has 3 appts. , two dentist and his port flush and blood draw. I plan on swimming at least 2x but that’s about it.

My second favorite Youtube vlogger, Beneta Larsson, has a 6 part series on decluttering if you’re interested. She is a minimalist that walks the talk. Her apartment is a beautiful example of minimalism and I love her cats. I’ve definitely been inspired by her.

Looking back at 2021

For us, 2021 was a really great year in spite of Covid. For lots of people, it was horrible but we managed to accomplish some very BIG Goals. # 1 was buying Rubi( the RV), which was exactly what we wanted), then Chevy, after realizing the Santa Fe was just not going to cut it with towing, and then going on camping trips especially the new addition of Refugio State Beach.

I started chemo in January, 3 weeks on 1 week off until June. My numbers went back into the normal range almost immediately after just the first treatment but you still need to do the full course of 6 rounds. I’ve had a great 6 months but my numbers are now slightly out of high normal so it’s a matter of how quickly they will increase. I’m waiting now for this week’s labs, so we’ll see. My guess is I’ll be back on Velcade in June. Amazingly, last time ( 2016) I had 4 1/2 years of remission. Not this time and it’s questionable how long Velcade will work before it’s on to the next treatment option. Well, that’s not today so…

I m swimming in March and I continue to love it. I wish I could get more than the 2-3 times a week in but it’s just too far and too much gas to do more than that. But it is incredible.

We did quite a few projects around the house and yard including the privacy fence along the driveway. We replaced the sunroom windows that were water damaged and will do the other 2 this summer. We redid the whole laundry room. It still needs some siding up around the window and I’ll bug my son to finish that when the weather is nicer. Let’s see, what else… I painted the bathroom, and ??? I’m sure there are more things…

Today is New Year’s Eve. We’re going to have the fondue we didn’t use for Christmas and I think to watch the new Witcher series. We had a lovely walk this morning and still no dog walker. That’s very odd, so we think either he got covid or moved?? We never knew his name so can’t check it out. But really it is wonderful to not have him stomping by or trying to run us off the path. Still, he is a dark walker( early morning) so there’s that connection. Not many people do that.

I plan to go to Target tomorrow as I need my calendars for 2022. I like their very simple inexpensive ones. Not sure they’ll have any left but I’ll try there first. I do plan a no-spend January but that’s just extra stuff that I don’t need( like candles). My January budget is set including the increase of our Part D Medicare plans.

I lost count of how many books I read , maybe 75? 100? I read a lot so I don’t think it really matters how many. Sometimes I read 3 books a week. It all depends on the type of book. Maybe I’ll keep count next year except I have tried that and then give up because it starts to be too many.

Visual Clutter

I’m not exactly sure when I made the connection between how I was coping with things and the visual clutter around me but my guess is in 2012 although it may have been shortly after I relapsed in 2010 from my STC transplant and was on Revlimid. Revlimid is oral chemotherapy extraordinarily expensive as most of the Tier 5 drugs are. Fortunately, B had excellent health insurance and I believe our co-pay was @ $60 for a 12,000 a month drug. Now it is even more.

I think I felt more stressed and of course, there was the dreaded Dexamethasome weekly as well. Maybe I had just reached a turning point, Who knows? and really I don’t care about the Why just that it started to make my life flow better.

But I had started the Flylady system and was going thru each room in the house and something just snapped. I couldn’t stand to look at all the stuff everywhere. It was all too much. I was working, happily, at the library at the job I LOVED, and I started asking my co-worker if she wanted anything I was giving away. She like Bric a Brac so she became the recipient of many things. At the time, I must have done a hundred trips to the Salvation Army( that was still in Auburn) and Goodwill which had only recently opened. I think it was only Salvation Army at that time that was in Auburn if I’m remembering correctly.

Some of the collections I gave away:

vintage Pyrex

a vintage button collection in 4 jars

Vintage Fans

Navaho Rugs

Excessive furniture( antique trunks, futon, ???

some antique Sterling silver ( some sold on eBay and some given to the Cancer Thrift store

SO. MUCH. MORE.

I’m quite sure that the term minimalism was not in my vocabulary then but decluttering was and Flylady’s system. What struck me about her system was the less you had, the less you had to clean or deal with and that’s what hit the mark for me. Also, she starts with keeping your sink clean, free of dishes, and doing it every day. From there with the 15-minute rule, I followed her zone cleaning and decluttering. Now, I don’t do most of her stuff daily as it’s been done but I do the weekly zone cleaning.

Plus, I make sure daily to keep my counters clear and do a bathroom swish and swipe. On Mondays I do a whole house reset and dust, wash mirrors and the glass on the Heywood, and little things that add up.

I also set Monday as towel day. We each only have one towel and that’s it. Plus I do sheets on Sunday and we only have one set of linen sheets for our bed.

I certainly still have books in the bookcase and other visual decorations but it all has a place and is loved, beautiful or useful.

Probably our most minimal area without any visual clutter is the bedroom. We have our bed, a vintage Heywood dresser, and a Heywood bedside table that holds my nighttime medications. That’s it.

Journeying into minimalism has been one of the best things I have ever done. It has simplified my home and allowed me a different perspective. I am more intentional about what I do and what I bring into my home. I don’t think the journey really ends. It just evolves. There are still things I’d like to change up and make different but for the present it’s fine.

Snow…

Whoo Whee…it is cold. We woke up to snow on Tuesday morning and it kept going off and on. We usually get a sprinkling of snow at our elevation a couple of times during winter. This was a big snowstorm for the Sierras and is much needed. Needless to say, I didn’t venture out to swim. I probably would have been fine on the freeway but with Caltrans discouraging any travel, I didn’t feel I needed to add to it.

It’s bright and clear this morning and 27degrees. So the trees in the park were very frosty.

I went into Winco after swimming yesterday for a few things. And next week I’ll hit Trader Joe’s for a few things including fondue, which is our traditional Christmas eve dinner. So far even with Costco, I’m under budget for food/alcohol( mostly wine). If my calculations are correct, a total of @ $550 is really quite good. So if I add the TJ’s trip at about $100 that brings me under budget. Of course, there will be the run to the market here for the odds and ends before the end of the year but usually, that’s not too much. Shopping at Winco and the new Trader Joe’s, and of course, Costco has definitely made a difference from shopping just Safeway.

Other than that there are no unusual budget expenses for the rest of the month. January is a NO SPend month so no projects or Home Depot trips. Anything that the house might need is excluded like vacuum filters or the filters for the air filter thing.

Today I’m planning on taking the couch covers and washing them. I do this around every 3 months. This Ikea couch has been absolutely fabulous and I love it. When it’s time for a new one I’ll definitely do Ikea but maybe a bit more of a midcentury look. I’ve been waiting for the two chairs forever( since the beginning of the pandemic). The Poang chairs still look good and quite comfortable.

My son is headed to Yosemite today and is going to be there a few days. It should be quite beautiful as it got a lot of snow.

I need to go make some pizza dough and I was going to make bagels but the Barley Malt I ordered from Amazon was lost in the mail so I need to find it in a store. I haven’t been too inspired with cooking lately but maybe over the Holidays or not???

My minimalist Christmas decor.

Simple Sunday

I made another batch of bagels this morning using a different recipe. This one did an overnight rise of the dough. Definitely better. I need to do a few tweaks to the recipe though as I put the bagels on the parchment paper like it said but this morning they stuck to the paper and were difficult to get off. I used a spatula underneath them but next time I will spray the parchment paper with canola spray. The boiling part went fine and so did the baking. I think bagel making is like bread making that it does take a few times to really get the feel for it and how it should be.

We had a nice rainy walk and it was a Christmas Miracle….. the AH was not there. It was amazing. Of course, it was raining and he doesn’t usually walk in the rain so maybe not a miracle.

Then we had decided yesterday to hit Costco today as Sunday before the churchgoers get there is usually a good time. We went right in and it was good. We were done in about 20 minutes and back out. This will be our last trip till mid -January or whenever we run out of coffee. I bought 3 bags of Starbucks so that should last us. Since we’re having a minimalist Christmas, there was no looking at the Christmas stuff or trying to figure out gifts. It’s very freeing. I think this is a natural evolution of our minimalism and everyone is on board. We’ve never not had gifts so it will be quite different. I am totally enjoying not being part of the Christmas madness. Well, everything is sorted and put in the fridge and freezer. I did get some chile tamales for Christmas dinner or Christmas eve so that will be tasty. The cheese and green chile ones are usually only available at holiday time.

This week is the bathroom zone so I plan on doing that later or even tomorrow. Wverything is tidied up and my daughter did a reset and tidied the kitchen for me while we were gone.

It’s snowing up at Tahoe and looks like the storm door is open all week. We need the snow pack so that’s good. We’re supposed to have rain all week too.

We’re watching the new season of Shetland and it’s good. We also started the Night Manager and it’s also good but gets a little intense.

Simple Sunday

A lovely Sunday morning walk. They’ve fixed some of the path with new asphalt so it’s much nicer and has fewer cracks to trip on. I use my walking stick in my left hand which does help with stability but mostly I keep it with me so that the AH dog walker moves over when he’s walking in the middle of the path with his dog to his far-left which puts the dog straight in our path. With his passive-aggressiveness, he usually waits till the last second to move over to the side of the path he’s supposed to be walking. Remember driving, bicycles, etc, you stay to your right. Oh well, it was still a very pleasant walk.

I came home and started working on the bedroom closet which is our ONLY closet. I did a little more reorganizing and there’s still some more to do. I’ve decided for the most part to not keep extra pantry stuff in there except for the Costco size cereal boxes. Plus probably the extra coffee bean bags. Last time I went to Ikea I bought a few extra white boxes and now I have all the stuff I use for Easter, Christmas, and Hanukkah in those boxes on the top shelf. I don’t have a lot of clothes so I hang my T-shirts, denim shirts and the 2 sweaters I have. I’m not sure what my end goal is in there but definitely eliminating as much extra stuff as possible.

Then I did the kitchen zone : here’s a few photos.

Someday, we’ll have money to redo the kitchen. Not the lay-out but the counters and the cabinets.

The new sunroom windows are almost in. What happened was the nice old redwood windows had just gotten too water damaged and water was seeping in and getting on the floor when it rained. Granted it is just a porch but we use it a lot for wood, cat litter etc. So now there are windows that will open and that will help with air flow.

Simple Sunday

Well, the clocks went back an hour so it’s now only 7am and we’ve walked and I’ve done some banking and now I’m eating a bagel.

I’m planning on starting the kitchen zone in a few minutes and getting that done. Then I plan to get a bag ready for the food bank and drop it off in one of the Food for Families bins.

Yesterday, I shopped at the new Trader Joe’s and it’s a lovely store. The layout is different so I had to kind of zig-zag to get stuff but it was fine. I picked up some Thanksgiving things like cornbread stuffing and some premade turkey gravy. Since we will be arriving home the day before Thanksgiving I need things to be as easy as possible. Of course, my son and daughter will be here to keep things running smoothly like letting the chickens out in the morning and in in the evening. They’re both working all the time we’re gone so they can keep up on the chores. It’s a big help really.

I’ve been reorganizing a few drawers of things like tools and will finish that up today too. B is taking a load to Goodwill so a few more misc things out the door.

The week ahead isn’t too busy. I have an annual visit with my PCP which is annoying to me since I see Dr. L every 8 weeks but I guess it’s their policy. Still a PITA. One is Sutter and my oncology is Dignity so I guess they don’t really communicate.

Since we’re having a no-gift/minimalist Christmas it has been very interesting to go into Target and look at all the stuff and realize, I don’t need to buy anything!!! ( well, a candle but that’s all the time). I’m determined to see how this plays out and if I like it or not. We have never had a Christmas with no gifts so this will be a new experience. Besides, we all get what we need/want anyway all year long. I will send my sister something( usually Harry and David’s pears) and my brother I just give cash to. Since we have no other relatives to exchange with I guess it does make it easy.

Is minimalism gone as a trend??

There are quite a few Youtubers doing vlogs about this right now. Has the trend of minimalism died down or is it over? Most agree that it’s not but with a few caveats. During the pandemic with lots of people working from home the decluttering bug really hit many people. Everyone was trying to make their homes more comfortable and enjoyable. Just look at what happened to Ikea’s stock. There are items that I’ve been trying to get for almost 2 years. ( the shoe cabinet).

Trends do come and go and minimalism has definitely been over done by youtubers and bloggers. Yet, having been on this journey almost 10 years now, I think it is an evolving concept. Certainly, I started out needing to create space in my very small house. I shudder to think about the stuff I had jammed into an under 900 sq ft house. Actually our official house square footage with the county is under 700 sq feet. But since we’ve closed in two porches we have added space. Both had concrete patios so we built on that. Still it’s a small house and it was packed. When I started Flylady in 2012 (approx), it was to get a schedule down with homemaking and declutter. But what has emerged is a deeper understanding of what works for me and what I need around me.

Some of this was triggered by relapsing in 2010, 4 years after my transplant. I think I felt out of control and needed to control something so I started with the Flylady zones. Honestly, it was a life saver for me. There’s quite a bit with FL I don’t use or particularly like but the zone cleaning has been a lifesaver and to this day I still do it weekly. Especially, at first, the 15 minute timed sessions. I did this with all the zones until I had cleared out most things.

As all the bloggers and youtubers agreed that minimalism is not just a one way thing. There’s no ‘right ‘way to be a minimalist. My house does not look empty of things but I have only what I use, love or need. And that is always changing. I know there’s more to release, because it is no longer needed/wanted, but, it’s not huge amounts. For instance, I found in the bin under the bed the Beatrix Potter dishes that were both my daughters and sons. They don’t want them( I asked) so off to Cancer Thrift they will go. I checked Ebay and they sell for maybe $20 so not worth selling and when someone finds them in the Cancer Thrift, be excited.

Simple Sunday on Monday…

I got my flu shot on Friday and exactly 12 hours later( right around midnight) got hit with some side effects. Achey, headache ,general malaise so I didn’t swim on Saturday. Yesterday I did feel somewhat better. The shot was the extra strength for over 65 yo so maybe that’s why. Then for some strange reason my left foot starting up again and it was very painful to walk. Remember in 2016 when I just finished the 5 years of “Just Keep Walking Project” and I had gotten hairline fractures on the top of my foot from the repetitive motion. It’s like that. But what’s weird is in Tahoe we were walking over 3 miles a day and I had no problem. I used a bunch of arnica on it yesterday and this morning it feels somewhat better. Geez, getting old is not fun when you’ve got these issues popping up.

I made a new recipe last night ,Chicken Katsu. I saw it in the NYT and it looked good. Basically you pound chicken thin then coat with panko and fry. I guess what makes it katsu is the sauce which is described as Japanese BBQ sauce. I made chicken ones and tofu ones. The tofu ones were delicious. I did coleslaw on the side with a ginger dressing and some organic jasmine rice. Quite yummy.

This week I have a dental cleaning and that’s it for appts. I plan on swimming Tuesday and Thursday. With it being dark earlier till DLS, I may start to go just a tad later. Usually I’m there in the pool by 7:15am, so I might try to make it 7:30 or so.

IT WAS A MIRACLE!!!! AH walker was NOT there this morning. It’s the first time in about 20 months he hasn’t been there. I do have to say though he is staying out of our way and moving to his right when he passes us with his dog. We are just walking as usual and not trying to walk single file when he passes. So I do give him credit for that. But he’s still not using his flashlight in the dark and does pass us sometimes with us being surprised. The other day I saw he had his flashlight on over by the pond but when he came around the pond and saw our light he turned his off. ( passive aggressive anyone?) Oh well, he is not bothering us by walking into us anymore. Especially since now there are other people around and he’s more accountable then. All good, I’d say.

The laundry room has been almost completed. The shelves still need to go up and the one wall still needs some wood but it’s some tricky cuts at angles so I’m not sure when my son will get to it. At least the door is now back on and the new window in. It looks quite nice. I’ll try and get some photos up.

Also this week I need to take another car load to the thrift store. Honestly, I think decluttering just never ends and I do feel it’s like peeling layers of an onion. What used to seem important enough to keep is now headed to the Goodwill. I just keep going thru things and finding that I don’t need it anyone or my style has changed and it doesn’t fit it. Case in point, I have a number of very cool( to me) vintage 50’s lamps that I bought many years ago at an estate sale. One has a nice wood base and is curvy. But I took it out of the front room last year because I moved a different lamp there so it was out in the barn. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the almost 10 years of decluttering and minimizing is don’t just store something thinking ‘someday’ you’ll want that again. Most likely you won’t. In addition if you get rid of it and find 5 years later you really want that item again, I’m sure ebay will have something that will be similar.

Even though I’ve simplified our house and barn( aka as the large storage area for my son’s things now), I don’t think I’ve reached that final point of being ‘done’. Maybe that doesn’t ever happen and that’s just life.

Flylady is the kitchen zone. Most of my kitchen is streamlined and there’s not any decluttering but it is the biggest zone I have to clean that takes over an hour. Probably due to the stove, stove hood etc. Plus wiping down my jars takes time too. Since I don’t have a built in pantry, the Far Niente wine boxes I use that are under my stainless steel island work perfectly fine. My kitchen, even though it does need to be redone, works just fine for now.

Simple Sunday

Things are back to normal around here. All the camping stuff is organized back in Rubi, the linen sheets washed and put back on the bed and kitchen is tidied too.

Our weather is definitely fall like and it’s getting darker earlier in the evening and getting lighter later in the morning. We walked this morning starting at 6:08 and it was still somewhat dark so we used a flashlight. AH was there, (when is he ever not there) and didn’t have a flashlight. ( Jerk!!)

BTW, we did get the laundry room back together before we left for Tahoe. The walls are painted but the ceiling wood still needs to go up and the door isn’t up. That’s because we plan to flip it so it opens the other way that what it was doing before. It looks good. I’ll get a few pictures up this week.

We decided to do Costco this morning because of the coffee on sale( Starbucks that’s $5.00 off) and the sale ends today. We got other sale items too since that is the best way to take advantage of Costco’s prices. We were in and out in 30 minutes, so a record.

The kitties are growing and lots of fun to watch although they are little terrors when running thru the house. Little Cherry got spayed on Thursday so now they are all done. They all have such unique personalities.

All the garden stuff is winding down and we have been cleaning up the yard/garden areas. My daughter does most of it but I try and do some everyday. I must have made 8 jars of pickled jalapenos. Hey, if you haven’t tried pickled jalapenos in eggs salad , give it a try it was delicious.

Last evening we had a BBQ. The first in months with the weather so hot plus fire danger. I did some burgers, veggie burgers and chicken. I plan on using the chicken tonight in some ramen. It was fun and it was nice to sit outside with the lovely weather.

I have a load in buggie to take to the Goodwill tomorrow. Included is a small very nice old dresser that has carved acorns on the handles. I’ve loved the little dresser but now I don’t have a use for it so I’m going to pass it on to someone who has space and can use it.

This week in Flylady we’re in the living room zone. We plan to take out the window cooler and I’ll wash the windows. I might look around or take some pictures to see what can be rearranged or decluttered. BTW, one of the BEST tools to see how things are in your space is take pictures with your phone. It really is eye opening.