Friday, April 21, 2017

does this spark joy?

I ignored the dust bunnies that were threatening to take over the house. I was busy with tidying/de-cluttering. I finished my clothes - 8 bags of thrift store and garbage. My closet is neat and tidy. Then I started with the rest of the house (remember, it’s by category of stuff): table cloths first, followed by Spike's toys, then the gargantuan task of tidying the pantry. I didn't get every nook and cranny, but now we can walk into it and even find things. Today I did placemats and napkins. Between the pantry and the placemat cupboard we have another bag of garbage, a heaping stack for recycle, and a giant bag for the thrift store. I think my tidying days are over for a while now though as we have to get cracking and paint the craft room in the basement.

It feels good to get the clutter under control and put order into some spaces. I go back to look and am pleased at the result. I'm sure most of you don't let things get so chaotic but I'm not good at getting rid of things so they stack up and burst through the cupboard doors.

I have managed to leave the house a few times during this flurry of activity. There was a trip to the accountant for tax season and lunch at Ikea. One day we went into town for something or other and had lunch at the Pho place. We've been to friends for visits and into the village with bags for the thrift store. The time is flying by and soon it will be time to pack our suitcases for our adventure.

"The best way to choose what to keep and what to throw away is to take each item in one’s hand and ask: “Does this spark joy?” If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it. This is not only the simplest but also the most accurate yardstick by which to judge.”   ~Marie Kondō

Friday, April 14, 2017

tidying up

No grey sky over our heads the last two days, instead a wondrous shade of powder blue lifted our spirits. It was warm too - today we walked around the field with no jackets, just a regular t-shirt. Marvelous. Carm fixed some fencing and then we brought the slides out on the camper. In previous years I would have quickly got to work vacuuming and preparing it for us to have supper there, but this afternoon I was totally out of energy. Maybe tomorrow.

My friend Christina dropped off a book called THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP: THE JAPANESE ART OF DECLUTTERING AND ORGANIZING. The first few chapters got me thinking, and the next ones got me doing. The basic premise is to keep only the things that 'spark joy' and to get rid of the rest. You are to do things by category, starting with clothing. I broke my clothing down further as it was too overwhelming to do otherwise. I brought all my 'around the house' t-shirts onto the bed and started. Does this give me joy? No - if in good shape to thrift store otherwise garbage. Pile after pile was sorted through and the bags started to pile up. How could I have had so many clothes? I had things that were at least 20 years old.

Everything is supposed to be folded and stood on edge in drawers. It makes sense as things get lost in large piles of stuff. So I folded and arranged. Dragged up an old dresser in place of some shelves. Nice neat rows of t-shirts are easy to see.

I'm almost done (just remembered two drawers of socks and such). I thought I'd feel really good about it but instead I am feeling overwhelmed at the rest of the house. Where to start? How long will it take? Will I be able to keep up the motivation.

Oh drat - just remembered that I have a bunch of clothes in the room with the drying rack. I sure hope I left room in all these neatly arranged storage areas.

All said and done though, it is a good book that bears reading again.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

coming to life

The grey sky is low over our heads today and weeping a mist of cold drizzle… The temp has barely reached 7C. It feels cold and I wish Carm was home to start a fire. Instead I dug out a fluffy blanket to drape over the sofa. It is one of the blankets that I used to use for the dogs in the camper so has a faint smell of dogs - not exactly Chanel no 5, but it will do.

Yesterday though! A taste of summer got us outside to wash Grace's cage and get the winter tires off the car. We even had a few minutes to get our hair cut. We both got good cuts, but I'm afraid our hair will be too grown out by the time we go on our trip (3 weeks!).

Despite the cold weather and the snow lying on the ground, tulips have pushed their way out of the earth and through the ice (which is almost all gone now).

Did you watch the golf this weekend? I didn't actually fall asleep (I read instead), and even watched some of it. It was a nail biter (if there is such a thing in golf).

We got our new freezer last Thursday. We went a few sizes up from what we had and let me tell you, we were glad we did. You can't fit nearly as much in an upright as you can in a chest. It is all loaded up though, with a little bit of space to spare. And wonder of wonders we can see at a glance what's in there. It is wonderful and I have to look at it at least once a day.

Sunday we had a lovely lunch with my family to celebrate Graham's 39th birthday. Spike went along for the visit - I made the mistake of telling him that we were "going to Gramma's house" so he stuck to me like glue until it was time to leave. There was no way I was going to forget him.

Speaking of dogs, the poodles got a long overdue haircut on Saturday. I was curious to see what Bella was going to look like without her puffiness as we had a visit to the vet earlier in the week and it seems that she had gained 4kg. I thought that was impossible and I think I'm right. She had gained a bit but isn't exactly rolling with fat. There must have been a calibration issue with the vet's scale. She's still on a diet though - they all are. Oh and me… well, I'm trying (see next paragraph).

I was starving on my last visit to Costco and when I passed the GIANT box of Captain Crunch with $2 off, my willpower disappeared and it jumped into the cart. I could hardly wait to get home; it had been years since I'd indulged this particular craving.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

rain warning

The grey sky is low over our heads today and weeping a drizzle of cold rain. Spring at its worst. The sky is pressing down on me, squeezing out any energy gained by a long night's sleep. In fact, the thought of retreating to bed and pulling the covers over my head is tempting. I'll wait and see how I feel after my second coffee.

I was reading a blog post from a year ago that talked about the sludge in my brain and that I was certain it was temporary… it seems that I was slightly wrong as I still don't seem to be sharp. I think it might be due to an increase in meds that happened a year ago so I'm trying to reduce back to pre levels. It might do the trick, if I can just get to sleep and avoid a cascade of other problems. It is all woven into a tight ball of yarn, but look out if the kitten gets ahold of it!

Sunday was a lovely day at home alone in the sun. But as the hours passed I started thinking about a burger from 'the Works'. I pounced on Carm as soon as he got home and luckily I caught him when he was hungry. A flurry of texts to Jo Ellen and we had a meeting time and place. Oh heavenly burger, you are so yum.

Yesterday we went for a drive, passing the abattoir in St. Albert. I wanted some bones for the dogs but they weren't supposed to be open. As luck would have it they were working overtime on some orders and passed me a huge bag of bones for $10 (a deal for them I'm sure). Bella went to work on hers right away, I tied Spike on the front deck and he chewed his, but Kabira tossed hers around her crate trying to bury it. Silly girl would have ended up with a nose like Spike so I just took it away from her. Maybe today she'll be more inclined to nosh.

The bones clean their teeth so well, but I'm afraid I was remiss on giving them for many months which allowed the tartar to build up. I scraped some of it with a dental pick and the rest has been cleaned up by the bones that I've been giving in the last few weeks. Their teeth aren't pearly white, but they are old dogs so I guess they are okay. A side effect is no bad doggy breath.

"Gentle Spring's around the corner,
     Waiting just to show her face
     And to bring us flowers and sunshine;
     Winter's almost run his race!
Be not, then, my friends, discouraged
     That there's cold and ice and sleet;
     For Springtime soon will be with us,
     And the flowers we will greet:
Daffodils, so bright and yellow,
     Hyacinths of varied hues,
     As they nod their heads, in gladness,
     Telling us they bring good news..."
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham

Saturday, April 1, 2017

the lion withered

We were spared the forecast snow yesterday, only getting a few centimeters, which was still enough to muck up the laneway to maximum muckiness. Oh Hurrah.

To brighten up our day yesterday we had Trudie & Leo over for soup and birthday cake. Trudie brought the soup she had simmering away and I contributed the soup that was bubbling in my crockpot - mixed together the results were rather fantastic. My curry soup was quite spicy and was toned down by Trudie's lentil vegetable soup.  The fireplace had been burning all afternoon and with the hot soup in our gullets we had to open the window for a while.

The new freezer is scheduled to be delivered on Thursday and with that in mind I wandered downstairs to see where the old one will hang out until the garage is rearranged/decluttered… oh dear. It is a mess down there and will require some work. I have a corner where I put things for the elusive 'garage sale' or trip to the thrift store, but sadly it has grown to epic proportions and is not easily shifted. When the snow is melted and the ground has hardened we'll bring the truck around and purge. In the meantime I filled a garbage bag with old VHS tapes and got discouraged. A cup of coffee later I started clearing another spot for the old freezer…

There is no getting around the fact that the delivery guys will have to go into the murky depths… my shame.

We teetered on the cusp of spring today. Cold rain was replaced by a thin cloud that let the sun tease through. The dogs were happy to get out for an explore this afternoon, but the little bugger (is that a swear word?) Spike disappeared twice. He wasn’t far, but he wasn’t where I wanted him either. All the smells being released from the melting snow is too much for the little tracker. He must be ½ beagle and not a purebred poodle at all.

In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.”
~ Aristotle