Category Archives: decluttering

All by myself….. just wanna be…


Really. I have the luxury (for an introvert) of eight days in my own house by myself.

Susan Cain posted a question on Facebook about what sad songs make you happy. I responded with this, my favourite teenage pick on the jukebox at the Calabria restaurant in Ottawa, that high school hangout that made great pizza and may or may not have served alcohol to minors skipping their afternoon classes (OMG – it closed!):

The only thing I’m sad about now is this cold that has been hanging around in my chest for a week now. I had to miss choir today and have been lazing around watching too much television and eating too many carbs. I had spent last week at the cottage for the long weekend and then in Montreal visiting Michael (more about that in a future post.) I had to take the drive home slowly and get lots of walking around time en route (that may or may not have involved shopping). But I love driving alone, with an audiobook or whatever classic rock station I can find on the dial. My next car will definitely have satellite radio.

I have a lot of plans for this week, to get a whack of stuff chopped off my to-do list and to put some order in the household, now that things will stay put when I move them. Both my men get home next Sunday (I think) and the week is stretching out before me like a gift.

A shocking but (maybe) doable proposition?

My feed reader presented me with this today.  I like this guy.  I read Zen Habits and Zen Family Habits, two of his other blogs.  But get rid of books?  Even books I haven’t read yet (which is what I’ve pretty much whittled my fiction down to.)

But I have to take this possibility seriously.  I have too many books.  I have a great public library system that keeps me loaded with fresh reading.  Honestly, I haven’t read anything from my shelves in months.  Why can I not just wrap my head around giving away more of them?

I think I’ll start going through my non-fiction collection and cull anything that’s out of date or unlikely to be read or referred to in the next few years.  And then maybe tackle more fiction.

A shocking but (maybe) doable proposition?

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My feed reader presented me with this today.  I like this guy.  I read Zen Habits and Zen Family Habits, two of his other blogs.  But get rid of books?  Even books I haven’t read yet (which is what I’ve pretty much whittled my fiction down to.)

But I have to take this possibility seriously.  I have too many books.  I have a great public library system that keeps me loaded with fresh reading.  Honestly, I haven’t read anything from my shelves in months.  Why can I not just wrap my head around giving away more of them?

I think I’ll start going through my non-fiction collection and cull anything that’s out of date or unlikely to be read or referred to in the next few years.  And then maybe tackle more fiction.

A Simple Post on Simplifying

I rarely print out content from blogs or websites, but yesterday’s guest post at Zen Family Habits had me hitting the print button.  Called 43 Simple Ways to Simplify Your Life, it was a list of great ideas that are short and sweet.  A list of some things that I’d already implemented and some things I need to get a handle on.  The tips range from keeping a gratitude journal to keeping spare garbage bin liners in the bottom of the bin.  I could benefit from both.

Zen Family Habits is a sister site to Zen Habits, another inhabitant of my feedreader, and full of sane advice about keeping it simple and real.  For example, it reminded me to get to bed early, one of my resolutions and something that I’ve fallen out of doing so soon into the new year.  Same with weekly meal planning;  I need to get back on that bandwagon.

For the next 30 days, Leo over at Zen Habits is giving every penny of sales from three of his ebooks to Doctors without Borders, so if you’re interested in this kind of lifestyle, head over there and get one.  They’re all under $10.

A Simple Post on Simplifying

I rarely print out content from blogs or websites, but yesterday’s guest post at Zen Family Habits had me hitting the print button.  Called 43 Simple Ways to Simplify Your Life, it was a list of great ideas that are short and sweet.  A list of some things that I’d already implemented and some things I need to get a handle on.  The tips range from keeping a gratitude journal to keeping spare garbage bin liners in the bottom of the bin.  I could benefit from both.

Zen Family Habits is a sister site to Zen Habits, another inhabitant of my feedreader, and full of sane advice about keeping it simple and real.  For example, it reminded me to get to bed early, one of my resolutions and something that I’ve fallen out of doing so soon into the new year.  Same with weekly meal planning;  I need to get back on that bandwagon.

For the next 30 days, Leo over at Zen Habits is giving every penny of sales from three of his ebooks to Doctors without Borders, so if you’re interested in this kind of lifestyle, head over there and get one.  They’re all under $10.

Seven Quick Takes Friday

–1–
baking sodaFor the past week, I have been trying the so-called “no-poo” method of hair management.  This involves ditching shampoo and using a baking soda paste to “wash” and some apple cider (or other) vinegar as a rinse/conditioner.  I have to say, it’s working remarkably well!  I don’t have before and after pics, but my hair is much smoother and less frizzy than normal.  I can also go an extra day (or two) between washes, which is a good thing with my coarse mop.  The second time I did it, I forgot to get some vinegar so I just skipped that step and it was still fine!  I’m using my regular styling products plus a new tool….
–2–
Ever since I’ve started growing my hair out, I have bemoaned the fact that I can’t get it to lie flat like my stylist can, with just a hair dryer and a round brush.  I can’t seem to put the hair tight enough to dry it flat, and let’s just forget about the back side of my head.  I had been contemplating getting a flat iron for some time, and I picked one up at Winners earlier this week.  Can I just say that I lurve it.  Seriously.  I am not a hair freak in any way, nor do I pay very much attention to my appearance in general, but this little (zebra-striped) baby is fabulous!  I’m probably frying my hair or something, but it gets it nice and straight and kind of soft.  I’m a convert.
–3–
While we’re on the subject of hair, I am considering letting my grey grow out.  I estimate that I’m over 50% grey, at least at the front.  After perusing Going Gray Looking Great and requesting the book at the library, I’m going to talk to my stylist and see if she can do some magic with a combination of low-lights and highlights to let my grey come in without looking like a skunk.
–4–
Okay, enough about my hair.  (And I said that I didn’t really care about it….)  The Declutter Club started on Monday with an online chat for an hour, which was great.  There were over a dozen of us online, plus some who couldn’t make it.  I’ve been working hard on getting my living room bookshelves into shape, purging books, listing some to sell, giving some away, and generally sorting through all kinds of papers and junk that I had stuffed in various places.  Next week, I will start working on a large former TV cabinet that I’m now using for linen and candle storage.  I want to get this unit out of my house, so I’ve got to find a home for all the stuff inside it.
–5–
Bullseye the DogThe print editions of the National Post and The Star reported that Target is considering coming to Canada in the next 3-5 years.  Target, along with Trader Joes, were the big losses when we left the US 2-1/2 years ago.    Oh, and real barbeque.  Heavenly days!
–6–
Alex is coming home from Queen’s for the weekend.  Apparently, a lot of people are going skiing this weekend and he’ll find it hard to study.  Yes, you read that right.  We’ll see how much studying gets done at home.  And I need to remind him to turn off his file-sharing software on his computer….luckily for us Bell caps internet overusage at $30 per month.  We could have been hit by an extra $300 last month for whatever it is that he does.
–7–
I requested and received reservations for two papal masses when we’re in Rome over Easter.  We’ll be able to attend the Holy Thursday mass at St. John Lateran (cool VR tour) and the Easter Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s.  Those letters are my favorite faxes of all time!  Now I need to book a tour of the Vatican Museum.

Seven Quick Takes Friday

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–1–
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For the past week, I have been trying the so-called “no-poo” method of hair management.  This involves ditching shampoo and using a baking soda paste to “wash” and some apple cider (or other) vinegar as a rinse/conditioner.  I have to say, it’s working remarkably well!  I don’t have before and after pics, but my hair is much smoother and less frizzy than normal.  I can also go an extra day (or two) between washes, which is a good thing with my coarse mop.  The second time I did it, I forgot to get some vinegar so I just skipped that step and it was still fine!  I’m using my regular styling products plus a new tool….

–2–
Media_httpwwwpolyvore_baebv

Ever since I’ve started growing my hair out, I have bemoaned the fact that I can’t get it to lie flat like my stylist can, with just a hair dryer and a round brush.  I can’t seem to put the hair tight enough to dry it flat, and let’s just forget about the back side of my head.  I had been contemplating getting a flat iron for some time, and I picked one up at Winners earlier this week.  Can I just say that I lurve it.  Seriously.  I am not a hair freak in any way, nor do I pay very much attention to my appearance in general, but this little (zebra-striped) baby is fabulous!  I’m probably frying my hair or something, but it gets it nice and straight and kind of soft.  I’m a convert.

–3–
While we’re on the subject of hair, I am considering letting my grey grow out.  I estimate that I’m over 50% grey, at least at the front.  After perusing Going Gray Looking Great and requesting the book at the library, I’m going to talk to my stylist and see if she can do some magic with a combination of low-lights and highlights to let my grey come in without looking like a skunk.

–4–
Okay, enough about my hair.  (And I said that I didn’t really care about it….)  The Declutter Club started on Monday with an online chat for an hour, which was great.  There were over a dozen of us online, plus some who couldn’t make it.  I’ve been working hard on getting my living room bookshelves into shape, purging books, listing some to sell, giving some away, and generally sorting through all kinds of papers and junk that I had stuffed in various places.  Next week, I will start working on a large former TV cabinet that I’m now using for linen and candle storage.  I want to get this unit out of my house, so I’ve got to find a home for all the stuff inside it.

–5–

The print editions of the National Post and The Star reported that Target is considering coming to Canada in the next 3-5 years.  Target, along with Trader Joes, were the big losses when we left the US 2-1/2 years ago.    Oh, and real barbeque.  Heavenly days!

–6–
Alex is coming home from Queen’s for the weekend.  Apparently, a lot of people are going skiing this weekend and he’ll find it hard to study.  Yes, you read that right.  We’ll see how much studying gets done at home.  And I need to remind him to turn off his file-sharing software on his computer….luckily for us Bell caps internet overusage at $30 per month.  We could have been hit by an extra $300 last month for whatever it is that he does.

–7–
I requested and received reservations for two papal masses when we’re in Rome over Easter.  We’ll be able to attend the Holy Thursday mass at St. John Lateran (cool VR tour) and the Easter Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s.  Those letters are my favorite faxes of all time!  Now I need to book a tour of the Vatican Museum.

Seven Quick Takes Friday

Welcome all Company Girls!
Coffee
–1–
The last couple of days have been rather nerve-wracking, health-wise.  The night before last, I woke up at 3 am with stomach pains that wouldn’t go away.  They continued all day yesterday and pretty much prevented me from doing anything….I only managed to take Wilson around the block, and I drove to the library to drop off and pick up books.  My blood pressure was also up. Quite a bit.
I kept reading these websites about how heart attacks in women can mimic indigestion, etc, and was getting a bit freaked out. We didn’t have anything in the house for stomach ailments, and I didn’t really feel like eating.  I forced down some plain yogurt and a couple of bananas over the day (and a cookie)  and basically lay on the sofa with a book.
My stomach was still bothering me last night when I went to bed, but it’s all better this morning.  I have a headache, and my bp is still up, but hopefully it will subside as I start to feel better.  At least I’m up for errands and housework today.  And dinner out with friends tonight.
–2–
One of the “benefits” of being under the weather is getting some reading done.  Yesterday, I read the Philip Roth novella The Humbling.  Very dark and intense story of a successful, aging actor who can no longer work.
–3–
I also got NutureShock: New Thinking About Children: by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman from the library (again).  This is the third time I’ve checked it out but I’ve never been able to get it read before having to return it.  I”m halfway through and it’s a book that I wish I’d had when my kids were young.  So many important insights, but mainly it’s a debunking of many of the prevailing child-rearing tenets.  Like praise.  Like talking about race.  Like gifted testing in the early years. Like TV makes you fat.   Highly recommended reading for all parents of all ages.
–4–
I have a couple of resolutions from the book above regarding Michael.  First, it is imperative that he gets more sleep every night.  To that end, the laptop, iPod, and phone will be turned off at 10 and  left outside his room at night.  Second, he needs to understand that his brain is like a muscle, and the more he uses it, the more it grows.  He needs to start doing more work at school, more than is required by his teachers, if he is to keep it growing.   He has decided to drop Japanese for the rest of the year….he was quite far behind and unable to catch up, so we have let him stop going.  In it’s place, we’ve registered him in the Saturday Science and Engineering Academy at University of Toronto.  Their spring program is ten weeks, starting next month, and he’ll be taking the Math and Physics for Engineering program for students in Grade 9 and 10.
–5–
Doyle & DoyleThere are a couple of new TV shows that we’re enjoying.  The Republic of Doyle is a charming hour-long detective show set in St. John’s, Newfoundland.  The main characters are a father and son, who share a house with the father’s lady-friend and the son’s daughter.  The son is going through a divorce and his soon-to-be-ex-wife is also featured prominently.  The dialogue is fast and funny, and the scenery is gorgeous. The show has a retro buzz about it and is thoroughly engaging.
We also watched the first episode of the HBO production of Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures, an adaptation of the Giller award winning book of the same name by Vincent Lam.  The show really pulled us in, and is complex with flashbacks, fantasy scenes, and unanswered questions about why certain things are happening.  Another one for the PVR.
–6–
This Saturday, Z, Michael and I are heading to Koerner Hall to see Quartetto Gelato and Ethel.  Should be a high energy evening!  Check them out:

Ethel

–7–
The online Declutter Group I’ve joined starts on Monday!  I”m looking forward to having a focussed approach to getting the house in order as well as the accountability of doing it in a group.  There are still spots, if anyone’s interested in joining me!
That’s all for today!  I”m off to get my house in order and run some errands.