Monthly Archives: December 2016

Next Year?

I have goals, no resolutions beyond last year’s: to be more consistent.

I’ve succeeded in that there are 3 rooms of the house which are NOT always, but more consistently picked up and cleaner.I have (another) idea for how to make it into a habit I can forget and just do, but I’m doing okay, if not great without it.

Goal #1: To get the kitchen/dining room unpacked enough to be usable.. A lot of the junk which was in the living room wound up in the kitchen. Some things from the wall redo which were displaced from the sunroom wound up there as well. So, there’s items from THREE rooms or functions here, well FOUR:

  1. BOOKS, previously for sale/store stock.
  2. General STUFF, previously in the living room.
  3. General STUFF, hardware, etc. previously in the workshop.
  4. The items, FURNITURE, and STUFF, which had been stored in the kitchen or dining areas.

Also a batch of STUFF from the kitchen went to the storage, so that needs to be dealt with too.

My next big goal? Get the kitchen/dining room usable, again.

This involves not just going through the stuff and decluttering the space but a major cull. There’s simply too much to keep it all. I’m going to do something radical, for me. I’m going to give myself a “due” date, 6/30/2017 to get this done. Hopefully it will be done long before that, but we’ll see!

Oh! Here’s the image I used last year for my “be consistent” goal, I’ll use it again!


Slow, Snowy Day

except that I think I was rather busy!

Not only did I make soup (see the last post) but I cleared out the top shelf of the freezer, mopped the kitchen floor, made marmalade, kept the fire going and worked on a knitting design.

The yield today is: cleaner and more usable freezer, cleaner kitchen floor, better knowledge of what’s in the freezer, a design idea for the knitting, 1 pt of orange marmalade, less wood, and more warmth.

Much better than my yield for Storm Sandy. (You can read about that here.)

New Practices

I’ve been much better lately about using up our stored foods. I changed a few things and that has made all the difference.

  1. Rather than simply looking where I always have for food to cook, I make myself dig through the dark corners of the freezer or pantry before I start cooking. Frequently, I’ll find something which alters my proposed menu.
  2. I am trying really hard not to have leftovers, so I am actively working at using them  the following day if we aren’t using them outright for lunch.

Last night’s dinner, for example, was canned baked beans, with additions. The additions were smoked pork neck (needed to be cooked) and onion. There’s about 1/2C left. Also, after I cut the pieces off to add to the beans I still had a larger bony hunk, which I boiled.

I’d forgotten about that bit of broth and boiled meat but when I dug into the pantry  this morning and found a lima bean and barley soup mix, I decided to make it for dinner (it had been on the bargain shelf at the market).

When I got to the kitchen,  I realized I had a pan of cooked, smoked pork and broth to use up too. So, I did the obvious. I used the broth (and the meat) with the soup mix. The seasoning packet is separate, and I may or not use it — depends on the flavor about 1/2 way, in 45 minutes or so.

Previously, I might or might not have used the soup mix (I gave away a bunch of these last year) and/or the broth (I made and tossed TWO batches of turkey broth in November). I am working hard at changing how I deal with food and wasting as little as possible. Getting better!

Dismantling Christmas

On the 27th, I took the tinsel and beaded icicles off the tree. I was curious what it would look like, and frankly it looked rather barren.

I have to both find the glass ones I bought years ago and make more beaded ones. Most of the ones I have were a gift from a family who crafted items for sale, including beaded icicles.

I’ve been beading since I was a small girl. When I’d visit them, if they were making icicles, I’d grab a needle and do some while I was there. They didn’t pay me, it wasn’t for that. It was just a friendly thing to do, fun, and it helped them. That Christmas my present was several boxes. Usually their gift was sweet breads and cookies. But that year there was a box chock full of the icicles. What I have could be the ones I made, or not. It doesn’t matter. I value them as a reminder of the friendship I had with Lois, Gini, and Char, all gone now, alas.

I started to take one of my beaded garlands off the stair hand rail (I had wrapped two around it). The monofilament I’d made it with years ago broke. Although I kept it from fountaining beads up and down the stairs, I have to restring the several yards of garland. I’m in the midst of  restringing it on stronger, new monofilament. There’s one other Christmas ornament, a fimo one, which needs to be glued back together.

Ninety-five percent 0f the Christmas stuff is packed. The moving box I’d wrapped is full and I started a second. (I’d packed smaller  boxes inside bigger ones.) The idea that I now have less than the small trunk’s worth of Christmas stuff was overly optimistic. Yes I broke some things. Yes, I sold some too. Yes, I gave some away. But, aside from the tree, there were pieces on the console table, in the kitchen, on the end tables, the front door and the hall. If it was just the ornaments I had on the tree, yes, I have less.

I broke 2 balls and gave away a box of balls, a bag of lights, a box of tinsel, the few hangers I had on ornaments. I sold/put out for sale 5 ornaments that had been in the attic, a small box of them, and a few others. I’d already sold 3 table top trees. Need to do more culling and the items which haven’t sold are going away, somewhere, somehow, but they aren’t coming home again.

I also have to make the box(es) up for next year. My intention is to make it like a big gift box, or find some, I doubt I can find them big enough though. What I’m thinking about is a box which has a deeper lid than file boxes usually do, something like this:


If I can get these, I can do what I want, have it look neat, and have storage the way I want it at the same time. We’ll see! I can buy them of course, it’s if the shipping cost is insane or not. I found a source locally! I can do what I had in mind. Cool!!!! I may (or may not) post images when I get it done.

Anyway, the tree is down, the ornaments are packed. The tree is outside ready to go to the dump, the table has been polished and the large ornamental piece which normally lives on it has been replaced.

The reason that I’m so focused on the decorative stuff is that we decided no gifts this year. Those we got were all consumables, and that is exactly what we wanted. No more stuff!

Although the two boxes and the tree stand haven’t been put away, Christmas has definitely been dismantled and the process was much tidier and more timely than in years past.

Going in the right direction!

If I can do things the way I want, I’ll get through enough other stuff this year so that I can get back to and cull/edit the Christmas stuff again, before next December. We’ll see!



Lapful of Warm, v 2.0

I had a second skein of the yarn I used to make the muffler. I’ve been using the muffler, but it’s a bit narrow. I started playing with that second skein and had a slightly bigger pair of needles and wondered how that would change it? Well, after a few days of knitting, I have the following to report:

  • It’s wider
  • My knitting is better
  • and, because I quit deliberately when I did, it’s a bit shorter.

I intend to use this one rather than the other. It’s better made and slightly more practical. I may (or may not) rip the other one apart and make a pillow cover from it. I haven’t decided.

No shaking, cold, etc. until this morning when I was casting off. Of course, I kept myself distracted while I was knitting. This time I’ve been watching episodes of the original Ironside on youtube. Whatever the trauma related to knitting is/was, it definitely is its worst during casting off!

The frustrating part is that without an actual memory of what occurred, I can’t do more than I have to combat it. For me to “erase” a trauma, I need to know/understand wtf happened so I can rewrite the scenario, filtered by my adult understanding. It’s the same process I talked about with cleaning the house, here . The “easy” traumas, the obvious and clearly remembered ones, have been dealt with as much as I can. Otherwise, it’s shadow boxing, you guess and try — lather, rinse, repeat — hoping to narrow down what the issue is/was.

The second lapful of warm is a deliberate repetition and a better variation, if I say so myself. Happy holidays to me!

Happy holidays to all of you too, whatever midwinter festival, holiday, or break you practice.

Minimalism: Learning

I already did a post on holiday minimalism, but I have learned or figured out a few things since:

  • Ornament hangers are not necessary. Use a piece of thread or monofilament, whatever you have. Then you can stop buying those packages of little bits of wire which break, you never seem to either have enough of, or there’s too many. [I took the few I had off the ornaments, they’ll be recycled Weds.]
  • I had an open box of tinsel, so I used it up. I also have an unopened box. I decided that I would never use tinsel again, whether I already had it, or not. It’s a complete waste of storage space to keep something that I’m against in principle. If I have principles, I do, and I should act on them. The full package is going to the dump’s swap shop Weds. too, with a mini Santa mug, and other odds & ends I don’t have any idea why I kept, many times for decades.
  • Because the little cat daily has spells we call “crazy cat,” we decided not to put anything breakable on the tree. We have enough plastic, wood, and paper ornaments to cover it. No Christmas balls, but other things. Although it’s a bit odd not to have balls on the tree, it’s just fine without it. I have a new to us box of Christmas balls, which is also going away.
  • The Christmas balls I am using are on a charger or in clear glass vases on the couch’s side tables. Two “artist” balls were broken in storage, they’re off to the dump, and most of the others are in the glass vases. Decorations? Yes. On the tree? No. Also less need for “other stuff” to decorate for the holidays.
  •  When my helper and I pulled the Christmas things out of the attic a while back, I had piled it up discreetly under the couch and one side table. After the tree was decorated, I returned the small boxes to where they’d been. I hated the visual clutter. I thought of putting all the small boxes into a larger box. I did. Then didn’t like the way that looked and “wrapped” the larger (small moving) box. (Like everything else, if I have something I usuallly have too much of it. That’s true of the paper I’ve been using the past 2 years. It’s black & white stripes. I got it to put on the back of bookshelves and/or cabinets, on sale. I decided if I used it that way, it would feel like a prison, so I was stuck with 9 rolls of paper. I have 3 left now.) Now we have this large “wrapped” package in the living room, under the tree, without a bow, marked “empty ornament boxes” and no printed Home Depot cardboard carton(s) to ugly up the place.
  • What I learned from wrapping that box?  That I can ditch the trunk where I’ve always stored Christmas stuff. Obviously, I don’t need that much room! I’ll look for and/or make a box with a lid, and make a pattern so all I have to do it wrap the lid next year and years later. The ornament boxes will have a permanent home, and it will be neat/tidy. It will be able to be put out under the tree year after year. I do NOT know why I never thought of putting the small boxes into a big wrapped one! (The little boxes always made a mess before.) No need to tidy the little boxes away, no extra step. Win!!!
  • No gift tags this year either. I have this correction tape, it’s white. I used it for years for price tags and other things, used some of it as labels for foodstuffs (doesn’t work well in the freezer), and have the end of it now. (See comment about too much stuff in wrapping paper bullet.) I’m using it to make labels this year. Sticks right on the package, no strings, nothing to buy. I’m using a silver pen, but I had it already!

My conclusion from all of this is that minimalism is a process, not a destination. I will never really get there, but my mindset is different than it used to be, and it shows.

Not a Win, Not a Loss

Yesterday was a day which previously would have sent me into days if not a week or more of depression. I really embarrassed myself in public. I was tired and the PTSD which always makes me clumsy had a field day because of it. Also because of lack of sleep I was more sensitive to the negativity created by what I did. Big time suck.

Except for texting a friend I don’t talk to often enough, I didn’t go there. It wasn’t anything illegal, just not a shiny adult moment for me.

Today I’m grateful that although I was up until 4 a.m. running away from/avoiding the litany of

“Failure! Bozo! Idiot!”

which came from the Abuser’s tape, I managed to wait it out/put it off and finally just go to sleep.

Not an ideal solution, but better by a huge margin than depression and hours of self-recrimination and the PTSD which is woven in and around all of that. No tears. My heart raced a little, but that was it.

I’ll take it! I’d rather not have the tape at all, but I don’t seem to have that choice. This is the best I can do right now and it’s worlds better than what I could do before.

If this is settling? I’ll take it!