Saturday, August 27, 2016

Minimalising

This has been the summer of minimalising. I don't know what shifted in my psyche or changed in the universe, but I've been spectacularly successful at decluttering,  letting go of belongings, paring down. It feels right.

The "couch of shame" is gone, save for one small laundry basket that I use to corral items that are in transit to new homes (friends, thrift store, donation center). I've gone through literally every square inch of my trailer and purged through everything. I have a better idea of what is important and what is not, what makes me happy and what doesn't.  And I've gotten into the habit of taking a few minutes to evaluate areas as I use them. Skimming through a box if DVDS when I watch a movie to see if there are any I no longer want. Or mentally evaluating my wardrobe as I do laundry, to see if there's anything not worth putting back.

And here's a funny thing I've realized - decluttering AFTER the big purge is actually easier.  This makes sense, if you think about it - during the big purge you're trying to make decisions about 20 DVDs all at once. Afterwards, you're only making decisions about 1 or 2 at a time. Discarding half of your wardrobe is scary - what will you wear?! - but realizing that you no longer need this particular shirt is easy.

This is important. Why didn't I realize this before?

Saturday, July 9, 2016

A Stream of Consciousness

Finishing the bathroom remodel. I should have done this years ago - it's amazing how transformative a little paint and a few updates can be! The biggest project (installing the new high profile toilet) will have to get done next weekend, but it looks amazing. Also - washing out my crockpot and wondering at how easy it is now, with the new high faucet, when it used to be such a pain.

(With all the home improvement projects I've been doing lately, I am forced to contemplate: do I want new flooring? I have some in mind, I think I might buy a few tiles and lay them out to see how I feel.)

Sitting down to pay all the bills yesterday, and being struck suddenly with an overwhelming sense of gratefulness. Not only because I am employed and able to pay bills, but that I am able to pay those bills doing work I love. That's precious.

Having lunch with someone who loves me, and walking around for the next few days feeling deeply loved and thus unstoppable. Thinking about the nature of faith, and how sometimes God uses others around us to speak Truth into our lives.

Not reading much of Atlas shrugged. Gotta get back to that.

Experimenting with going gluten free (some success and some failures). Discovering strawberry seltzer water (yum!). Making veggie pizza rounds (slices of zucchini topped with tomato sauce, thin slices of Roma tomato, pepperoni, and cheddar cheese) and falling into a pan of them - so, sooo good! Finding spiraling veggies at the grocery store (I don't want to own a spiralizer, but I want to be able to buy them every once in awhile).

Thinking my tiny garden was NEVER going to do anything, and then the next day it bloomed.

Explaining how pickles are made to Mason and the triplets.

Getting a stack of antique books and reveling in them - the smell, the feel, the type. (I kept one that I fell in love with and will pass the rest on to a friend with similar appreciation!)

Playing with Zephyr, and snuggling Zipper. I love their tiny faces and paws. Zipper is getting much better at being picked up (he's always liked being held, but always been skittish about getting lifted). I love seeing Zeph hang out in his hammock. :)

Thinking about our trip to the beach, and anticipating a fresh dose of inspiration. Making plans and writing lessons for next year. Spending Tuesdays and Thursdays cheering for Ruth at swim meets. Learning how to be a timer with Cris (and only screwing it up once!).  Putting cream in my coffee and needing to stop and watch as it melds (my version of "stop and smell the roses"). Pricing out a new phone (and deciding I'll wait til Christmas sales). Looking at tons of tiny houses and getting excited because my floor plan is staying pretty consistent - I think I'm ready to get some blueprints made and some price quotes.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Lately

I'm...

- getting stuff done. Painting the kitchen backsplash orange (love it! Though not sure this will be the final end. Still contemplating tile). Painting the bathroom (finally!) and all the prep work that entails - putty, sanding, cleaning. Decluttering in a MAJOR way. Buying a new kitchen light after Allen told me he'd install it for me, only to realize midtown that it was incompatible (bah). Installing a reading light in my sleeping compartment (whee!). Cleaning EVERYTHING.

- watching: the fifth season of Castle. I was baffled because I didn't remember any of the episodes, until I checked the year and realized that the fifth season was released the same month I ruptured my eardrums (coming up on three years this September) and I watched it while dozing in and out and on pain meds. Crazy.

- enjoying: the positive energy around the pool this week :). Four days in a row that I got to sleep in (!!! I refuse to be guilted about it). Grilling (all by myself, because I-am-woman-hear-me-roar). Getting a rare cool, overcast day to leave the windows open and listen to the birds. Ice cream (I'm not normally a fan, but I've been craving it like crazy these past few days).

- excited about: my tiny garden growing (still no produce but I have hope!). All the swim teachers coming back from vacation this week (whee!). A week with a lot of downtime, split between getting stuff done and relaxing.

- listening to: Jack Johnson. Herman's Hermits. The Beach Boys. Lots of GLAD.

- cooking: Italian sausage with kale and blistered tomatoes. Lots of green juice. Spring rolls (and spring roll salad, after the leftovers fell apart). Grilled sausages, zucchini, tomatoes, and Mexican corn (ohmagersh, so good). Bunless cheeseburger with avocado, kale/chard/spinach mix, and tomato (and coconut mayo - so amazing!).

Sunday, June 26, 2016

More Sunday Afternoon Randomizer

I am...

... drinking: tons of seltzer water (I gave up sugar in my coffee last year, this summer I'd like to give up sodas, tea with sweetener, etc. Except for mojitos. I am NEVER giving up mojitos!). Lots of iced coffee (I should buy stock in Starbucks).

... eating: smoked salmon (I am OBSESSED). Eggs, cooked every which way. A (very) late night cheeseburger after a long night.

... watching: finished the Dick Van Dyke show (all five seasons). Started rewatching the old Wild Wild West show (kooky old scifi? YES PLEASE!). Went to see The Shallows with Allen - such a truly terrible shark movie but so. much. fun. I screamed every time the shark popped out of the water and laughed at myself a lot.

... enjoying: the new car, and being able to drive around with all the windows down (although I'm NOT so excited that the same window that they worked on to get it to pass inspection has quit working again. Nor that I have to get the oxygen sensors worked on). Getting to spend some time in the water helping out my instructors with tricky kids.

... thinking about: my Alabama family (I'm missing them terribly). Going to the beach in August, and how I really should make reservations before everything fills up like last year. All the little tasks I need to get done when I have some spare time. Next swim season, and what we should do differently (or continue doing). Tiny house rooflines. How big Zephyr is getting - I bought a harness for him at the pet store and it was TOO SMALL.

... (re) reading: Atlas Shrugged. Remembering how (for me) this is the ultimate novel,  the most beautiful thing ever written. I love Dagny and Francisco D'Anconio and Ellis Wyatt and Richard Halley.  And if I ever have a son, I am so naming him Rearden.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Sunday Afternoon Randomizer

I love Sunday afternoons when I don't have to work. (I don't mind working on Sundays,  exactly - some of my best times with the kids have happened on Sundays - but inevitably when I don't get those few hours on Sunday night to set up for the week ahead, I end up playing catch-up all week.) I've spent this weekend getting stuff done. I pulled out everything from storage underneath the trailer and either discarding or donating most of it. I got my little (very little!) garden of zucchini,  tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and basil planted. (I'm so terrible at gardening. I want so badly to be good at it.) I replaced the faucet sink (with liberal help) after the original one broke. I did laundry and dishes and put them away. I ran a ton of errands. I went to the dump. I cleaned out and vacuumed the car. I cleaned the house.

I cleaned both boys cages and figured out a way to rig Zephyr's drip bowl with zip ties so he can't remove it. (Why he likes to detach it and sleep with it is BEYOND ME.)

Someone made me see red for a few moments this weekend when they called me "lazy" for not singing or playing the piano. I was furious for a moment because so many people who never mattered have tried in various ways to guilt me into doing what they think I should be doing. And then I thought about how little this person's opinion mattered, how unhappy his life looked, and how happy I was, and I let it go. Small victory.

I've been eating some amazing food lately. A birthday dinner at Charles Street Brasserie (pork kabobs, a smoked salmon platter, and seared tuna). Homemade shrimp tacos. Baby kale and swiss chard. A burrito. Snow crabs and salmon for Father's Day.  Soft - boiled eggs with smoked salmon, capers, and coconut mayonnaise. So. Much. Coffee.

Also,  I've been listening to Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged through Audible. I fully intended to listen to as much of it as I could for free and then cancel the subscription,  but I like it so much I might keep it. It's an interesting experience, listening instead of reading. I've reread Atlas Shrugged every summer but one since I first read it - which means that I've been reading it for about a decade.

I'm enjoying the new car. Not that I ever disliked it, I just had a hard time giving up my beautiful orange truck. But I am really enjoying having more room and doing lots of driving with the windows down.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Summer Bucket List 2016

June
 1. Buy a new cd
2. Road trip!
3. Read a new book
4. Go to the lake
5. Play in the sprinkler with the triplets
6. Go to the movies
7. Buy new goggles
8. Try a new restaurant
9. Watch a sunset
10. Cheer for Ruth at her swim meet

July
11. Go hear live music
12. Tile the kitchen backsplash
13. Take Allen on a brother date
14. Buy new sunglasses
15. Get some henna
16. Do a random act of kindness
17. Explore someplace new
18. Have a spa day
19.
20.

August
21. Drink a mojito
22. Go to the beach
23. Watch the Olympics
24. Send a gift to Baby Henry
25. Go stargazing
26. Take a cooking class
27. Go people-watching
28. Eat seafood
29.
30. Take one picture each day

Monday, May 30, 2016

Lately

I am...

... purging, paring down, decluttering. It's becoming natural instead of occasional, more the realization that "I don't need this to make me happy" than "How can I live with less." It's empowering.

... constantly amazed at the power of ten minutes. Ten minutes spent cleaning, praying, stretching.  The gains seem so much greater than the time investment.

... sad. Trying to honor this "down" period in my life right now by making room for it. Recognizing that it's not the end of the world if I need to cry for a bit to let off some stress. Realizing that with change and new starts come endings, and endings are allowed to be bittersweet. Mourning the endings of some things that I loved.

... counting my blessings. Thanking God for the grace that has poured out and so thoroughly saturated my life as of late. Praying. Praising. Playing praise music and being absolutely floored in the melodies, harmonies, and lyrics.

... planning - for summer with Abigail, for next Fall with the triplets, for next month (and next season) at swim, for next weekend (travel with Mags and Cris). There's a certain comfort to be taken from the acts of planning and tidying up.

(And a picture of Zipper sleeping. Just because.)