Monday, December 10, 2018

The Revival of "Adventures in Grooming"

Several years ago, when I was a much more regular blogger, I had several categories of blog posts. (Yeah! That's how often I posted. I needed separate categories) But today, for some reason, I was thinking about a category of posts I had long ago called "Adventures in Grooming".

The general gist of it was that I am an absolute slob and have no idea how to doll myself up or even how to complete everyday personal grooming tasks that other people do on  daily basis. (really? full makeup every single morning? ) And though the other general gist of the posts was that I was going to try to be a normal person who engaged in activities like waxing my eyebrows, I quickly decided that I enjoyed running around like she-wolf and dropped both the home spa experiments and the blog post category.

I somehow was able to blend in with normal people in society without changing my ways.

But now, I'm closing in on a BIG birthday in 2019. And I'm setting some big time goals (even bigger than my monthly blog goals). I'm striving to feel good and look good and be the picture of health. I've kind of wrapped my head around the idea that maybe part of looking good is putting a bit of effort into it. And though I still kind of like the idea that I put zero effort into my appearance. I'm willing to try some changes.

And so it begins.....

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Christmas Cards

As this weekend comes rolling in with the cold weather, I have only one big thing to accomplish: sending out Christmas cards.

I know, exciting, right? For me, well, yeah. I love sending Christmas cards. 

This is not the case for everyone. I have many friends, colleagues, and clients who dread the thought of sending out cards. For them, it's a tedious task that takes way too long. It makes them frustrated and agitated and frankly doesn't have that much of a payoff. And to those people, I say- "Don't send cards anymore." Cards are certainly not mandatory. If they cause you stress, you should certainly eliminate them from your life.

For me, Christmas cards are a joy. I put on a movie (extra points if it's a Christmas movie), pull out the address book and let the fun begin. 

The time I spend writing a little personal note, addressing the envelope, stuffing and stamping is the time I spend reflecting back on all the good times I've have with the recipient. Which is nice. Especially since there are many names in that address book who I haven't seen face to face in years. It happens.  Some people I've drifted away from as life got busy and we moved in different directions. Some people it was a more intentional break. That happens, too. 

Yet even when I specifically decided that I could no longer have somebody in my life in order to guard my own sanity, I can still send them a Christmas card.

For 3 or so minutes, I can remember this person fondly. I can laugh at little jokes we used to have. I can reminisce about things we did. And I can send out the card with good vibes and long distance loving thoughts. Maybe we're not in each other's lives anymore. But for one brief moment each year, we are in one another's hearts. 

So this weekend, I'll be laughing and smiling to myself, sending out friendly wishes to distant friends. And wrapping it all up with a Santa Claus stamp. 

Merry merry and happy happy

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

December Goals

Last month of the year, and I'm only 5 days behind!  Actually, I'm not behind. I just had to have a couple horizontal days to stave off really getting sick. It worked, thankfully. And now I can sit down in front of a keyboard without feeling like I'm drifting off into space.

So now I need to get down to earth.

December Goals: 

1) At least 8 glasses of water a day: This really should be automatic by this point in my life. But sometimes when I get stressed, I drink Diet Coke like a meth addict inhaling fumes. Time to start chugging more healthy.

2) All State Licenses Renewed: A must complete goal!

3) 3 Books Read and Passed Along: I was successful with 2 books last month, upping it to 3 now.

4) Once Again, Girl's Nite: Gonna try to include some more people this time!

5) Continue with the Marathon Training and Stretching: Keep up the momentum

6) 30 Day Burpee Challenge: I somehow let somebody convince me to do 1000 burpees this month for some kind of challenge. Doable, but those two horizontal days already messed up my numbers!

7) 2 Group Hikes

8) Start Selling Decluttered Items

9) All Xmas Cards sent out!

10)  Kids Day over their Xmas Vacation

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Looking Back at November

November was a humbling experience. It taught me quite a bit about overcommitting and prioritizing.  My big, ambitious goal for November was to declutter the storage area over my parents garage. It turned out to be a much bigger endeavor than I expected.

An entire month to declutter  a storage area seems reasonable, doesn't it? I thought so. But I failed to take into account that the storage area hasn't been cleaned or organized in over 20 years. Once I started, the job just seemed to get bigger and bigger. Boxes piled on boxes piled on even more boxes. I went through them all! I divided all the contents into keeps, throw aways, donates, and gift.  (there were lots of things that had never been used) There's a big pile of "sell" items.

The storage unit is now divided into different zones, instead of all just cluttered together.  The boxes are neatly stacked within the zones. Everything is labeled. Anyone looking for well, anything, can find it easily now.

And I'm exhausted.

The good news is that I did accomplish my big, ambitious goal.

The not so good news is that some of my other goals had to take a back seat.

November Goals:

1) Healthy Eating Plan:  About half credit. I kept up with a good eating plan for about 2 weeks. And then the decluttering took all my free time. BOO!

2) Daily Writing Practice: Big Fat Fail on this one.  December's another chance, though.

3) BIG DECLUTTER: Success. Thank goodness! So many trips to the thrift store. So much tossed in the garbage. And a big pile to sell.

4) Side Hustle in Place: No go on this one.  Sigh.

5) Outdoor Activities: Partial credit. Did two hikes. No runs or family thing. But it did rain a lot this month.

6) Read and Pass Along 2 Books: SUCCESS!  I finished Walking to Listen and The Mother Tongue and gave them to two friends.

7) Marathon Training and Daily Stretching: SUCCESS!  I'm actually on track with this one. And I decided upon a spring marathon that looks pretty fun.

8) Continuing Ed Completed: DONE! Yay! Three in a row is making me feel a little better.

9) Xmas Gifts Purchased: Half done. Gonna finish up this weekend.

10) Another Girl's Night: Success. Or a girl's day, rather. Went to the movies with my besties and Shell's daughter.

So about half completed. Not as bad as I thought.  Feeling a little better and looking forward to December goals.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Election Day

I've never experienced an election where so much seems at stake. Please, let's not blow it! 

Monday, November 5, 2018


November always seems like the perfect month to focus on gratitude. The weather is getting colder, the days are getting shorter, and we tend to spend more time indoors- time that seems custom made for reflection. We are rolling into the winter holidays; Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks and being grateful! And it's always a good idea to keep gratitude close to your heart when holiday shopping- it's far too easy to let materialism take over.

I've done gratitude challenges in the past, though they all seem to emphasize self reflection (name one thing you are thankful for today)with little focus on community and connection. As somebody with introvert tendencies, I've been making an effort to reach out more and focus on connection this year. I haven't always been successful, but I have at least been more aware and been able to curb my proclivity towards turning inward and hiding out. This November, I decided to search for a gratitude challenge that not only emphasizes being thankful, but also includes reaching out beyond myself.

I decided upon this little ditty:  Super simple, but effective (I hope). By the end of the month, maybe I'll establish a habit of spreading tiny little bits of joy as well as noticing the little things that make me smile.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Decluttering Challenge

This is, by far, the biggest thing going on for me, right now. The most difficult thing about this endeavor is that it's not even MY stuff that I'm decluttering! Which makes it easier in some ways, but much, much harder in so many other ways.

But I need to back up a bit.

My parents have a hoarding problem. Both of them. For exact opposite reasons. My mother has developed a compulsive shopping problem to the point where most of the rooms in the house are  unusable. Piles and piles of clothes, shoes, blankets, jackets, overrun every area of the house. Most of the stuff still has tags on it. The living room is drowning in magazines- 12 subscriptions come every month- and newspapers- 4 daily newspapers delivered.  My dad doesn't want to throw ANYTHING away. The garage,  shed, and storage area above the garage are packed full of things that haven't been used in years- old furniture, dried up pain cans, tarps, rusted gardening tools, old shoes, more golf balls than anyone could ever use in about 20 years. And piles and piles of plastic grocery bags stuck here and there "just in case." Just like the house, the garage has been unusable. A big two car garage that no cars are able to fit into.

At the beginning of this year, they started having accidents in the house. My mother was tripping over things. My dad slipped going up the ladder to the storage area with an armload of stuff and split his arm open. A towering pile in the garage came crashing down and he injured his shoulder. And neither of them could ever find anything in the mess. It had become unsafe.

So at the end of April, I moved back and took up residence in the house. Which is not where I want to be. But it's kind of where I need to be for the time being. As a family, my brothers and sisters-in-law have talked a lot about "what to do" about the house situation, but no real action has been taken. And when somebody did do something (go over and clean up a room, clean out the refrigerator, clear the floors of clutter) it was un-done in a matter of hours. The cleaned out fridge was stuffed with newly purchased food from a grocery trip that eventually rotted in the fridge. Shoes and clothing ended up right back on the floor.  And the one cleaned out room was soon cluttered up from things being brought it from other rooms, whether it made sense for those items to be in there, or not. Somebody needed to be there to tidy up daily.

Since April, I've been doing that daily tidying as well as some bigger decluttering efforts. The good news is that most of the rooms can now be used for their intended purpose. It is possible to prepare food and cook in the kitchen. It is now possible to eat at the dining room table. It is possible to sit on the sofa and watch television (even to put your feet or your drink on the coffee table). It's possible to park in the garage. The tripping hazards are gone from the floor.

And it's easier to see the items that are actually in the house and the garage and the storage area that need to be tossed. It's November. The cold weather is rolling in. And it's perfect time to attack the storage area above the garage. The exponential 30 day decluttering plan ends up being 465 items to be donated, tossed, or given away in 30 days. I think it's possible. I'm going for it!!