Thursday, September 17, 2009

OMG I have a new puppy!!!

Or rather I will have a new puppy in a couple of weeks. He came to my office today with a couple of nice ladies, along with one of his brothers.
I'm taking suggestions for his name (looking for a name that would be appropriate for a journalist's dog.) Feel free to leave your favorite in the comments section.

Here's his photo. Isn't he wonderful??? I have a new puppy!!!


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Progress! Yes, it continues!

My kitchen is in pretty good shape. Dishes washed -- all but a very few -- countertop clear and clean. Food cabinet cleared out. I've even cleaned things I plan to put in a garage sale.

Now I'm working on my bedroom. This evening I've flipped and turned the mattress, dusted the nightstands, put on a clean mattress pad and linens, and swiffered under the bed. Somehow one pillowcase wasn't folded into the sheet set so I have to find it.

I'm also clearing out the magazines. I just found a Halloween issue of Country Living on my hope chest. I thought it was last year's issue, but NO. It is from ... 2004. Three years before I moved here! GAH! I've been working on clearning out magazines for a couple of months, taking an armload to work to recycle every couple of weeks or so. Looks like I still have some work to do on that front! At least I have slowed the incoming magazines by not renewing subscriptions and not making impulse buys. I am an absolute sucker for magazines -- or should I say, I am an absolute sucker for magazine cover photos. I love the pretty pictures!

There has been a lot of clearing out in my house over the past week or two and it is good. Last night I cleared years of old paperwork off the dining table. Still more work to do there, but I am so pleased to release this clutter.

And yesterday I mowed the lawn. It took me just an hour to do both the front and back yards, and I was taking the mower back to the garage as the first raindrop fell.

I was rewarded with a hot shower, a good solid nap, and then dinner with old friends. All in all, a nice day, considering I worked from 9 to 2.

Today I made another step and visited a new church. I was so pleased to find a church that had all the best qualities of my former church in Oklahoma City. I will definitely visit again, but I also hope to visit some other churches.

Back to the mucking out. More to do tonight before I go to bed. Hope your Sunday has been a good one.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Getting Ready

Following up on my last post -- I've made a list and checked off most of it this weekend, slowly but with determination, as I've had the energy to do it.

Time-wise, I'm a little off kilter from not working for five days (combination of illness and the long weekend, which, for once, I had off.) My sleep schedule has been thrown off from sleeping late and napping when I needed to do it.

However, I've made some good progress in the paring-down department. Unintended, I wound up cleaning out 2/3 of my canned food because it was out-of-date. I was stunned. Some of it expired before I ever moved here, two years ago. What's left now fits on one shelf of the cupboard and I will be keeping a careful eye on iy, making sure I use it before it expires, too. And I've learned I don't need to stock up on things I won't use right away. I can buy what I need, when I need it.

I've made grand progress on cleaning my kitchen, with the dishes 97 percent clean (I found some crystal pitchers and stuff when I unpacked some of those boxes and those still need to be cleaned.) Stuff like that also will be going in a garage sale or charity donation within the next month -- one way or the other. I won't wait forever to have a garage sale. If it works out, and I make a buck, great. If not, I'll donate this clutter and get it out of here and feel free and wealthy knowing I don't have to hoard things. They do not make me happy and I do not need to surrender my space to things I do not love.

I should go to bed now because I don't exactly know what I'll be facing tomorrow when I return to work. I have a very negative vibe about it -- I hope I am wrong and that things are just back to business as usual. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Slowed, but making progress

I've been slowed down by illness this week, missing work on Thursday and Friday. I had a very few minutes here and there to do a couple of loads of laundry and a little tidying up after my sick self -- certainly not the progress I have wanted to make.

Today, I still am not back full steam, but I'm at the point of MAKING myself move out of necessity. I had to get out to the pharmacy today to get my insulin refilled because they will be closed on Monday and I'll need my new supplies before then.

However, I've made some huge, major progress today, too. I went through four boxes that have been stacked in the corner of my kitchen since I moved in two years ago. These were boxes that my friends packed for me at my old house, so I wasn't sure what I would find once I got into them.

Amazingly, I found myself.

I found the self who, on a day's notice, picked up and moved to New York for two months on a fellowship while I was in graduate school. I found the photos I took there; the work I did while at United Media Enterprises. Good stuff. Stuff I am still proud of 25 years later. OMG, did I just write 25 years??? OMG!

I found photos from a trip to Florida to go deep-sea fishing in 1997. Another memorable trip on the Emerald Coast -- not just because of the seasickness while we were out on the boat, but the incredible restorative powers of the white sand and blue-green water. Incredible.

And I found photos from the most incredible trip I ever took, to Switzerland, in 1997. I cannot begin to describe any part of it -- the beauty, the scenery, the society and culture. I could not do it justice in a blog post.

Most of all, I would be ill equipped to describe a deep personal change that took place one night during that trip. Briefly, I had gone out one night after our tour of the day was finished, just to walk and take in more of the city. I tend to wander alone when I travel because I gain so much from it.

I stopped at a sidewalk cafe for a "Coke Light" so I could watch the people and just enjoy the night. One of my traveling companions happened to find me there a few minutes later -- an older man who was on the trip recording a radio program.

He stopped to visit with me and we had a profound conversation -- rather, he talked and I listened. He said he had been observing various people on the trip, me included, and wondered what the burden was that I was carrying around with me. He said that although we had only know each other for the few days we were on the trip, he sensed great potential that was being held back by an unresolved sorrow.

I started to laugh it off as some conversation starter -- not quite a pickup line, not quite the hocus-pocus of a fortune teller. But he persisted, saying that one of his gifts was discernment, a gift he had from being the seventh son of a seventh son.

It might still have been idle conversation, but it unlocked a truth in me that I had been suppressing. Family concerns had kept me from going as far as I might have, even with these occasional mountaintop moments. In fact, it was just a matter of weeks after this trip that my brother died and my mother began her final journey over the next couple of years.

Today's rediscovery of those bits and pieces of my past also hammer home to me that I may have had unfinished business a couple of years ago when I moved back to my hometown, but that is long finished and it is time for me to move on to my own next chapter.

Recently my boss, in anger, told me that my opinion on a matter wasn't welcome, and if I didn't like it, I didn't have to be here.

Truer words were never spoken. It's time for me not to be here.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Digging In to Dig Myself Out

I started writing this in response to Tech's blog post tonight. His struggles are some that really resonate with me right now -- health issues/insurance inadequacies; feeling like our life's sparks have been burned down to embers and not being able to find our inner selves.

When I get in this state, I recognize now that it is reflected in my environment. Not sure which comes first, the chicken or the egg -- or the shattered sense of self or the mess. I know not everyone lives this way, so what I'm writing may or may not resonate with you.

I am fighting my way out of this quicksand that is so ready to swallow us up. One tiny project at a time. Tonight I realized my house was looking like one of those houses on hoarding shows that are so disgusting you wonder how anyone can live like that. Then I realized -- I CAN'T live like that. Not any more. So I watched one of the episodes of the A&E show Hoarders online (since I can't @#$@#$ afford cable to watch it on TV).

While I watched, I filled up two trash sacks with junk. I've put all my current mail in one place. Small baby steps for me. But then I realized I also made some steps over the past several days by working on my kitchen and bathroom -- I just didn't realize that I was systematically starting on this mission already.

This has been a longtime struggle for me. Over the years I've battled this with the help of FlyLady ( and SHE (Sidetracked Home Executives.) It's one of those things that keeps coming back to dance with me, though.

Like the people in the hoarding shows, I start finding myself making excuses for all the clutter around me. The yarn? It's so I can knit prayer shawls for people who need comfort or emotional support during a tough time. The fabric? I'm making a lot of my own clothes, but I also have big plans for making quilts for some of my friends. No, I haven't made any progress on that in three or four years, oh, but I will. And I have other fabric that's for making pillowcases for children with cancer, from another project I thought would be great to take on. Oh yes, I also have boxes of pillowcases that other people have sent me for this project. And a big stack of pillow cases that need to be washed, ironed and packaged for the project.

Then there is my laundry, piled up on the couch. Some needs to be folded and put away; some needs to be ironed. Some needs to be sorted to give to charity ... or to have a garage sale which I have been planning to have for two years and likely never will, because I can't be certain that I'll have a Saturday off to have one. (Lots of excuses, do you hear them all?)

Then there's a big black garbage bag that is filled with 2-liter plastic bottles that I have washed out to take to Wal-Mart to recycle. They are ready to go, next to a stack of other miscellany for that garage sale. There's also a box of books for the garage sale -- if they don't sell, I'll take them to the Friends of the Library for its ongoing sale, of course. Oh, and there's some shoes that I've been meaning to take to a co-worker who wears the same size. These are all heels which are too tall for me, but she might wear them or find someone else to give them to.

ENOUGH. I have had ENOUGH. I cannot live like this any more. All this stuff has to leave my house, and I mean NOW. Labor Day weekend is coming up in a few days, and this stuff better not be around come Tuesday morning.

I need to make some big changes in my life -- things like changing jobs and moving to a place that inspires me and draws me to be more fully alive. I can't make that next move with all of this JUNK weighing me down. I am at that point in my life when I need to live a leaner, cleaner, lighter life. This stuff does not define who I am, and it does not add one ounce of joy to my life.

Stay tuned for the Great Clean-Out 2009. And I'll try to tell you the rest of the story about why this came to the forefront today.