Thursday, July 2, 2015

Tidy but pantsless?

I had already thought long and hard about my “Think like a homemaker” theme for July when I started coming across lots of references to this book about “tidying up”. There was this post, for example, and this one. The “tidying up” concept obviously has some appeal to me, and I put a hold on the book at my library. But I’m not sure I’m ready to go all in with this particular method.

Apparently, the process is to look at all your possessions in turn and then keep only the ones that “spark joy.” Here’s the result the guy from the second post had:
The moment I finished my tidying extravaganza, my room looked amazing. A couple friends had also read the book, and we proudly swapped photos of our immaculate closets. The only inconvenience: I no longer owned pants, and that made for an interesting week.
I guess I see the appeal of owning only joy-sparking clothing, but what a huge, stupid waste to get rid of all your functional pants. Listen, buddy, your closet may be pretty, but your fellow planet-dwellers are not exactly lining up to admire it.

Or maybe I’m being too judgmental. After all, this is about what sparks joy for each individual, personally. Maybe I am just unusually enthusiastic about my earth-friendly, pants-owning ways.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

GREAT resolutions for July

Just literally turned the page on a new month, and you know what that means! Time to stop feeling guilty about not writing down 10 rules every day announce my new month’s resolutions!

Yeah, June’s rule fizzled out badly—I guess in my heart I do not prioritize being “an ideas machine.” But the couple of ideas I did get out of it made me happy, so that’s something. I had also set a goal of selling $100 worth of stuff, but I sold only $70 worth. (That’s partly due to laziness and partly due to no one wanting to buy my stuff.)

It is a little sad when you—when I—when one can’t keep a resolution going for four measly weeks. Frankly, I think five separate things a month is turning out to be a lot to care about all at once, plus I’m juggling all the bonus rules I made myself regarding my shoulder. Maybe this will get easier with practice. Maybe it will get harder with apathy. Who knows!

July’s GREAT resolutions:

  • Goal: Get rid of 100+ pieces of paper from my filing cabinet (or I guess anywhere).
  • Rule: Meditate for five minutes every day.
  • Errand: Just finish up my shoulder rehabilitation program.
  • Affirmation: I am making progress in all areas of my life.
  • Theme: Think like a homemaker.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Grumpy shoulder

I’ve just finished week six of the eight-week happy-shoulders protocol, and I am not as happy as I would like to be. I’ve been resting my arms and taking six to eight Advil a day—which I hate doing. But THE INTERNET TOLD ME this is what I needed to do, so I am trying it.

The Internet also said that my shoulders would start feeling better almost right away but not to fall for it: I have to continue the anti-inflammatories for the full eight weeks if I want to actually heal.

Things have gone according to plan with my right shoulder, but my left shoulder—not even the one I originally injured, by the way—hasn’t even reached the “feeling better but don’t be fooled” stage. So I don’t know what to do about that. I’m willing to continue to rest it as long as it takes, but being on Advil for more than two months? Ugh, no.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Thinking like a homemaker

I came across an interesting blog post about the term “homemaker,” and I have to say, I like the idea of being a better one. Really M.H. is our home manager, since he’s in charge of the schedule and the shopping and the budget and the laundry and the driving and our overall care and feeding. But his plate is full with all of that (plus writing books), and he doesn’t focus much on making things more homey.

I think that’s where I’m supposed to come in.

The problem is a little bit that I’m already busy, but mostly that I don’t feel like I have much of a knack for homemaking, and I’m really not willing to spend a lot of money on things that might make our home more inviting. For example, you would be hard-pressed to find decorative items around here that aren’t homemade, hand-me-downs, gifts, or straight from a garage sale. (And the ones I did pay real money for mostly fill me with regret.)

But I’m thinking the heart of the issue is more than decorating anyway—I just have to be thoughtful enough to figure out what my kind of homemaking looks like. This would make a good theme for July!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Adventures under the bathroom sink

My errand for the month of June was to clean under the three bathroom sinks and make sure each bathroom was stocked with the appropriate cleaning supplies. The first two were easy, and I took care of them right away. I knew the last one was going to be worse—filled with little bottles of unused products and supplies and science experiments and junk. But I did it! I feel much better about my life, and it really does make it a lot easier to clean bathrooms when you don’t have to hunt all over for the stuff you need.

Good choice for an errand. Five stars. Highly recommend.

My main problem with keeping the amount of “stuff” down in the bathrooms is that we have stopped using a lot of the products that we used to. For example, we’ve swapped out toxic cleaning supplies for homemade or greener ones, but the old ones are still lying around everywhere. I’ve decided to just use them up and be rid of them. As another example (and as I’ve mentioned several dozen times), I have my hair care simplified to the point where I wash it once every week or two with a shampoo bar. I can pawn off my old shampoos on the menfolk, but menfolk don’t use conditioner, apparently. Or facial wash. Or “Oil of Olay.”

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Mint tea from my garden

I was aware that mint is so hardy that it’s basically a weed, but I like the look of it, and the smell, so I planted some in my landscaping anyway. (Also, I think the weed mat under the rocks should constrain it, and I wanted at least one type of plant that I knew I would not kill.)


Anyway, it’s doing really well—the two clumps in the picture aren’t even the half of it—and I decided I’d better find a culinary use for mint ASAP. So yesterday I snipped off several stems, removed the leaves, rinsed them, and dried them in the sun for a few hours. They got nice and crispy, and I brought them inside and ran them through my food processor for a couple of pulses. Mint tea like magic!

The summer mornings are delightfully cool here in Montana, and I am currently enjoying a nice hot cup of my dominion over nature.

Friday, June 12, 2015

A handful of decent ideas

I know I never blog anymore except to give updates on the status of my monthly resolutions, but at least that gives me something to talk about besides hilarious work-related stories that would just get me in trouble. (Bashful and Sneezy have dropped off my roster, but I don’t believe I’ve introduced my two new clients, Loopy and Frantic!)

There, see? I tried to be entertaining for three seconds and already got myself in trouble. Because Loopy and Frantic KNOW WHO THEY ARE.

Anyway, I wanted to talk about this rule of writing down 10 ideas every day. The stated goal of the exercise is to work on your creativity muscle (aka “turn you into an ideas machine”), which would be nice, but there’s another little benefit, too: the ideas themselves. I mean, I don’t know if I’ve had any groundbreaking ones, but there are a few I really like:

  • Ideas for things to knit (6/3): Pillow covers. (Hey, yes! I have so much yarn, and all our throw pillows match a couch we no longer have.)
  • Ideas for new rules (6/5): Clean out my inbox at the end of every day. (I started doing this as soon as I thought of it, and it has changed my life.)
  • Ideas for new rules (6/5): Recycle five pieces of paper from my filing cabinet every day. (This would be ridiculously easy, and it would result in 150 fewer pieces of useless paper by the end of the month.)
  • Ideas for getting rid of old toys (6/6): Make the kids do it. (It’s so obvious now.)