Monthly Archives: May 2012

Did it Work?

Mostly… What didn’t work?

My downstairs office counter isn’t clean. Why? Well, for one thing it will take a lot longer to clear it/put away everything on it, etc. than one hour. Secondly, I have planar fascitis [sic], which means I can’t stand very long without it being intensely painful. I broke the hour up into 20-25 minute intervals, and instead of trying to empty the counter as well as filing and/or cataloging, I sheeted receipts that were waiting for that to happen on the counter. Something I can stop midway.

On the other hand, doing the “clean the counter” and “paperwork” as a single hour instead of 2 got me off my feet that much sooner. Less pain, which means less aspirin and less icing/heat treatments. I will not apologize!

Aside from that “wrinkle” I did this, didn’t panic, and don’t feel “pushed.” My house also didn’t magically become clean, but I knew that wasn’t going to happen. For this to work, it will take repeated efforts like today. I’m going to go get an ice pack for my foot, and some ice cream for me. Not a complete success perhaps, but not a failure.

I did 2 loads of laundry, put them away.

I got all the clean clothes in the laundry room dealt with that had been heaped on top of the washer/dryer. I worked in the attic. [Found an old notebook with a bunch of unused, custom shop receipts in it (not filled out). They all got recycled. (Paper chase!)]

I went to the dump. I went to the hardware store. I planted seed in the veggie garden. I put up strings for the peas already planted in the veggie garden. I sheeted receipts on my office counter. I filed/dealt with > 100 pieces of paper.

Not too bad! I wonder what cards I’ll pull tomorrow?


My cards for today (5/31) are laundry, put away laundry, play, paperwork, catalog (the usual) AND kitchen dead corner (45 mins), back living room (1 hr), upstairs office desk (15 mins), kitchen desk (30 mins) and entry (30 mins).


I have too many irons in the fire. I have no plan, or not really. I have a HUGE amount of things I want to accomplish this summer and only so much time to do them.

Painting– metal couch, kitchen cabinets, living room floor, kitchen floor, touch up laundry room, new peg rails for laundry room, finish the trellis, the garden beds.

Clean/cull — everywhere except the veggie garden, which happens as it’s used.

Catalog– all the excess stuff and get it out of here.

I wrote someone a note a few weeks ago that had all the “little rooms” in this house, that is, all the rooms that are actually little AND all the bigger rooms divided into smaller, functional areas.  I came up with 29 areas indoors and 19 outdoors, or 38 areas to clean/cull! I do not have the time, unless this house is basically CLEAN to keep that many spaces clean/tidy from scratch. If nothing else, listing the areas got me to see that cleaning isn’t so much a “chore” as a necessity. I cannot keep the place clean going at it willy-nilly, not if I want to do anything other than clean things endlessly.

If I want a clean house and want all of it to be so, then I have to get it clean, so that I can keep it that way, and still have some time to do the other things I want to. The revelation here wasn’t that maintaining a clean house takes less time, it was that to do what I really want to, maintaining a clean house is a necessity, or nothing gets done well– as now.

So I need a system.

Right now my “system” is that I do the following on Mondays: clean the bathroom and re-stock the TP, dish soap, etc. Aside from that the kitchen is cleaned at least once daily, although that’s usually only the dishes are put in the dishwasher, put away, and the food cleaned up.

Did I mention that I HATE schedules? I do!

I find them almost always just another failure or reason to fail. I’ll make up cards from the list and try shuffling them to figure out what to do next — no rigid schedule. The bathroom on Monday thing started to see if I could handle cleaning/having clean one specific spot of my house, without panic, and it worked. Refilling the TP holder (it holds an extra roll) and checking the dish soap (we use a smaller bottle at the sink than we buy) just seemed like a good thing to do at the beginning of the week.

To do a schedule with any chance of working, I need to divide the areas into quick tasks and more involved ones. There’s no way I can  do 5 three-hour tasks in a given day, and if I try that or something similar, I’m doomed to fail, no matter how hard I work.

Also, because of my panic problem, I need to schedule breaks between shorter tasks & in the middle of longer ones. If I don’t do that, I’ll do a cleaning marathon, panic, and then mess the place up again — which is what has happened previously.

The only chance I have of actually doing this is to pay attention to the PTSD piece and leave room for it. I don’t know if this will work, everything else I’ve ever tried obviously hasn’t, or has only in a limited way.

There are other things goading me:

We’re living like my abuser did, and I find the parallel appalling

DH deserves a clean house, if for nothing else not ragging at me about it for the past 30+ years!

I wonder if this can work?

Here’s what I ended up with: daily laundry/put away (2 x 10 mins), catalog or paperwork (1 hr), play (1 hr) which is 2 hr 20 mins. Along with an assortment of other chores, from 15 mins to 1 hr., a selection of one 1 hr task and as many other short things that will make up another hour. Total time = 4 hr, 20 mins.

The first batch the variable pieces ended up being: down office counter (1 hr), front attic (45 min), laundry room (15 min).

I put the tasks on colored 3×5 cards (I had them already) and have hung “today’s” cards on a curtain ring (also already owned).  I put the daily tasks on white cards, the 1 hour tasks on pink, 45 min on blue, and 15 or 30 min tasks on yellow. I have 1 blue,  1 yellow, 1 pink card & the white cards to do today. My plan is to put the date I do (whatever) on the card under the task. (I’d put ’em on the back, but these are cards I used as a kid to catalog my family’s s/f collection, so there’s writing on one side already.)


Thinking Out Loud

People tell me I’m “strong” and I think they’re ill informed. I’m not strong, or at least it doesn’t seem so to me. Almost every time things happen my first reaction is to get overwhelmed, throw up my hands in some fashion, and give up.

Eventually, I’ll pick up whatever, most of the time. But there’s a large part of the time I just don’t. [Which is why it takes me so f’n long to get things done, you think?]

So I’m strong because I haven’t gone down for the 3rd time already?

I told someone not too long ago that being an alcoholic is a career path I’m sometimes surprised I missed, and I meant it. I also said that if I get a notion in my head that I don’t want to do (?) I can frequently push myself away far enough that I don’t. That’s how I stayed away from alcohol and drugs.

But it isn’t a straight line. It isn’t just a decision I make to do X and then I do X. I waffle, excuse myself, down right fail, get embarrassed and try some more. If that’s “strong” the human race is in trouble.

The effort here is a prime example.

I’m doing it, badly, begrudgingly,and, yes, emotionally it’s a toughie for me. [Understatement!] Shedding the stuff is the least of it, but that’s not the point. If I do it, people will only see the symptom, the yardstick, the count of things I’ve managed to get rid of. And as embarrassed as I am by how badly this effort has gone, I’m vain enough to want to forget how hard it was. And, at some point, someone will call me brave or strong or (?) – and I’ll feel like the fraud I know I am, again.

Not strong.

This is further complicated by the people who’ve known me for a long time. If I say depreciating things about myself they say things like, “You have no self-esteem! You really have to change that.”

And that’s just wrong too. [My self-esteem is fine, thank you very much.]

Frequently, I’ve found that writing things like this out will present me with an answer or a thread to pull. This time it didn’t work, darn it.

Back to the drawing board. [Now where is it again? I know it’s here somewhere . . . .  it used to be in that pile– I think?]


So . . . what’s new?

Hmm. Well, it’s confession time I guess.

I’ve been beating back depression, been running away in many ways.

The past month or so the personal issue that I’ve been tackling is old, and very deep stuff. I’m not going to go into details, but it’s really not fun for me. The first time it got brought up, I was devastated all day. That was about 2 months ago. Since then, the issue has come up/gone two or three times. In reaction to this, I first clamped down on it and got BUSY!!! so I didn’t have to think.

Then I started trying to read all the books by Diana Palmer I hadn’t yet (and I’ve been reading her stuff for 30 years) and then read some of them in order. It’s what I do when I’m depressed. I read serially. I’ve been known to read all the Pern books by McCaffrey and all the Corps books by Griffith, at the same time. When I ran out of material too soon that time, I started over and reread both!

I used to do the reading all day/every day and refuse to go anywhere and do anything else. These days, I spend a fair amount of time on the computer, invent reasons why I shouldn’t be home (have errands to do!) cook and read. Not anywhere near as unproductive as I was previously, but not getting my work done, either.

In one sense I’m out of the funk. In another? I’ve basically been in one since January 1. I need to get my act in GEAR! I have 90 days to do a HUGE amount of stuff in this house and I’m puttering along as if I still live in SoCal and the weather is almost always nice.

We’ll see if I can get my ass in gear, or not.


Updated graphic 3001 pieces out

Over 3,000. Yeah!!!


What to do?

I was nasty to someone who didn’t deserve it. Worse, it was someone I’d just met and they were trying their best to do something and I chided them (or thought I did) about how long it was taking. I didn’t realize until after I’d made my “joking” remark that what I’d said could also be taken as a variant on “You’re doing what you’re doing wrong or badly.”

I know how that feels, to try your best and have someone say to you, “What you’re doing isn’t right or enough.” It hurts.

I didn’t know what to do? Decided that I had to apologize, and not surprisingly, the person I’d been nasty to moved away from me in such a way that I couldn’t approach her.

What to do?

I left, but it bothered me and I felt I HAD to own up to my carelessness and apologize. I went to the market for an apology card. Because of Mother’s Day, the only such cards were for either BFF’s and/or lovers – both wildly inappropriate for someone I’d just met.

I got a plant gift card, you know the small cards/envelopes, and wrote an apology. Inadequate, but it was all I had.

I fucked up. I admitted it. I apologized.

Still feels like I should do more.

What to do?


Food History, Tradition, and Combinations

It occurred to me some time ago that traditional food combinations were not only made because of taste, but also because of availability. It’s obvious if you think about it, but we live in a culture where avocados & pineapple are available in the North, mid-winter.

Combinations like these:

  • peas & pearl onions
  • tomatoes & chilis
  • storage onions & aged cheeses
  • potatoes & leeks

It seemed that a good way to find these combinations was to look for traditional feast foods. Of course people would save that special piece of whatever for a feast, but without refrigeration, canning, or other means of preservation, the ability to hold onto something was limited and so the foods had to be in season, yes?

What seasonal combinations are used by your family/tradition? What do you especially like? What  foods do you wait for that are only available for a short time?

My favorite  spring & summer dishes are below.


Ham and asparagus risotto with Parmesan.

Variations: loin bacon or Canadian bacon for the meat. Peas, if I couldn’t get asparagus. Asiago can be used instead of Parmesan.


4Ps: pesto, pasta, and peas, with Parmesan.

Variations: pesto & butter, just peas & pasta with Parmesan.

While researching this, I also found an interesting site. Here: