Things taken for granted…

…in no particular order.

  •  Seeing people regularly. We never bothered to get each other’s contact information because See you at work! See you at church! See you around!
  •  Restaurants. I’m surrounded by wonderful eateries,  all of which are closed. I hope they survive the shutdown.
  •  Cold medicine.
  •  Charity shops. With the arrival of warm weather, I put on last summer’s wardrobe. Everything is too big; I just have to deal with it for now.
  • The public library. E-books and online services are still available, but it’s not as satisfying as walking between the shelves and perusing titles.
  •  Walk-in hair salons.

Working From Home, Day 4

Yesterday was not productive, so a new plan was needed. Usually I prioritize the onerous tasks – like grading essays – but today I identified what takes up the most space.

La Casa de Tontería, aka The House of Nonsense, is too small to have this much visual clutter.   When the livingroom furniture is clear again, my mind will be, too!

My co-workers also struggle with the work-at-home routine. As a particular married lady wrote yesterday, “I’m going to report my co-worker to HR* for sexual harassment.  😂🤣” 


*Human Resource Department.

Many Unhappy Returns

In a rare bout of impulsive shopping, I ordered a hoodie with a reindeer motif online. It ended up being a strangely off-black with gray patterns, not white as shown in the photos.

I hesitated to return it. First, because it’s still rather cute.

Second, it’s a hassle: I’d have to buy a return plastic envelope and drive it to the UPS store in a nearby town.

Third, it’s a light enough fabric that I can use it as a second layer between a T-shirt and a sweatshirt.

And today came the clincher: Returned Goods Get Sent to the Landfill

Good grief! Plus I learned a new term, bracket, which means “buy a medium, small and large…, and try them all on and then return the two that don’t fit.” That seems a waste of resources in and of itself.

I think the researcher’s solutions are sound, particularly buying secondhand.

And so I would encourage you to partake in [secondhand] and to look for brands that are actually part of the circular economy… repairing, refurbishing and fixing goods at the end of their life so that they can have a second life.

 

Eating the Decorations

7157AA43-6016-438F-94C1-B757716D3CAC
I don’t decorate for Thanksgiving* but I add a few autumnal touches close to Halloween. My friend Sissy gave me a silly squirrel tea towel last year, joined this year by her hand-made matching pillowcase for a travel-pillow. My favorite decoration is a bowl or two of squashes and small pumpkins from local farmers.**

Then I cook and eat them.

Last week I enjoyed butternut and acorn squashes. This week it was delicata, which I’d never had before. Verdict: very pretty and delicious. All that remains are a pumpkin and a spaghetti squash.

I highly recommend decorating with regional edibles. It’s a twofer: Nothing goes to waste and it supports local growers.


*Halloween decorations consist of a felt skeleton for the door and a fancy candy bowl for the trick-or-treaters.

**Note: Unlike suburban farm markets, rural markets really are cheaper than grocery stores. And the produce sometimes comes in odd shapes.

Autumn is coming…

5cbf584f-542d-4c58-9c48-215ac28f22f1.jpegLast night was cold enough that I woke up and added a quilt to the bedding, but today has been pleasantly warm and sunny. I spent part of the afternoon lounging on a gravity chair in the back yard, enjoying the perfect temperature and ambiance.

The sounds of late summer are in the air. The piercing cicada solos are accompanied by crickets chirping not just at night but all day long. Perhaps competing for food sources, blue jays argue more raucously and chase sparrows from the birdbath. And the background noise of trees has subtly changed to a drier rustle.

0AA58A8A-EFC5-41D8-8E31-9ABEEE95F4DE

Across the river, Canada’s trees are turning red. Despite dark clouds in the morning, the afternoon was bright and the sunshine broken only by lofty cloud mountains drifting through.

Miscalculating My Mess

This past winter, my friend – henceforth known as Pickles – challenged me to the 30-Day Minimalism Game (full details here). Each day we were to chronicle what we donated or tossed; e.g. one item on Day 1, two on Day 2, etc.

I didn’t want to play because, between regular (long) hours in The Young Human and at physical therapy, my bed beckoned. But Pickles was facing off against her charming Picklettes, so she wanted adults to play, too.

I told her I’d encourage her and comment on her photos, but I couldn’t do the daily updates. After all, I don’t have a smartphone and I deliberately cut back on having a so-called digital life. 

Secretly, I planned to cheat. I’d just figure out the total, spend a weekend collecting items, and post a list at the end. However….

There are 465 items to “win” the challenge.

FOUR HUNDRED SIXTY AND FIVE!!!

It was impossible.

On Day Nine, there should have been 45 things in the donation box or the dump. There were nineteen in the former. The three trashed items were worn-out clothes that I immediately replaced. I couldn’t find anything more unless I got rid of things I had already decided to keep. I began to consider how to cheat without breaking the rules. For example, there are 52 cards in a deck, plus jokers.

But I wasn’t going to lie to my friend. I told Pickles that I could be her cheerleader, not a player.

I admit I was more baffled than thrilled by how much I’d pared down my belongings. I’d streamlined my life to make room for writing – and It showed. So why did I think I had so much superfluous stuff?

I figured it out a few days ago.

When it comes to projects involving material possessions, I grossly miscalculate how big and bad they will be.

Case in point: My rooms at The Young Human Factory needed to be organized and packed up.

Last Friday marked the end of another year.  A crew and equipment arrived this week to tear off the roof and replace it. In-between, I had to prepare for the inevitable fallout of a construction project.

My colleagues and I weren’t given any instructions, just warned that we cannot return until July. Even the custodians, who know everything, had only a bare outline. Therefore, I set an entire Saturday afternoon aside to gather summer materials, clear all horizontal surfaces, and pack away items in (I hope) dust-proof places.

Less than three hours was all it took.

That included sorting through several binders of paperwork given to me  by a former colleague.* I was amazed that even the office, which seems disorganized during the year, needed superficial changes

I begin to wonder how many other projects that I view with dread – rearranging the garden, organizing boxes of photos – aren’t nearly as bad as they appear.


*She lasted less than five years in the profession and went to work for the military in some capacity. No doubt she uses the skills she learned in The Young Human Factory to break the wills of recalcitrant spies or something similar.

40 Days, 40 Bags… oh, boy!

There are thirteen days left in Lent (not including today) and I have eighteen bags to go. A certain someone who will be known as Kiko thinks I won’t make it.

Yes. I. Will.

The hardest bags (actually boxes) are filled and gone: books and art supplies. I thought long and hard about how much reading and painting I do versus how much I dream of doing. 

I was reminded of a personal organizer who worked in the Detroit Metro area. She said – and I paraphrase based on memory – that people were haunted by reminders of their old hobbies and felt relieved when they gave those tools and supplies away. I mostly feel sad that those activities have fallen by the wayside on this crazy road of life.

 

2018 Progress Report #2

I missed last week’s blog because I went to The Young Human Factory and stayed there until quite late, assessing the quality of our products. I spent extra hours there this weekend, too, but to get ahead.

  • I made the second payment on the principle of La Casa de Tontería’s mortgage.
  • After a month of bullet journaling, I had to replace the journal. Schedules kept changing, events were cancelled indefinitely, and the pages didn’t hold up to the rigors of being crammed into an already-stuffed satchel and stuffed with sticky-notes. Pro tip: write dates in ink, plans in pencil.
  • My writing stinks. I cannot find a way to save the novel’s rough draft. In the meantime, members of my writers’ group are making inroads all over Steemit, Amazon, magazines, and actual printing presses! I have got to finish a short story STAT before the pros have no time to read other people’s crappy drafts.