Friday, May 27, 2011

FedUP: Luddites Unite!

This was absolutely the last time she would do it. She would put her foot down this time. Tell her husband "No" and mean it. Yet here they were. On the threshold of yet another cellphone store. She hated this. Shopping for a new phone. Even before she entered the store, she knew what to expect. Through the window of the cellular store she could see the sales clerks that she knew were not yet thirteen years old.  Seriously, why was she expected to conduct business with a junior high cheerleader? "I can't face it." She said to her husband. He took her by the hand and lead her into the store. The conversation in the car was still racing through her head.  

"The sales chick is gonna tell me junk about the latest super-phone-with-buttons-and features-and-apps-up-the-wazoo, and then I'm gonna have to feign interest just long enough to say, 'really all I need is a phone...Texting would be nice.'  Then she is gonna giggle, and rattle off some scripted, overly rehearsed, totally unconvincing sales speech about this super-camera-phone-with-buttons-and-features-and-apps-up-the-wazoo that I just have to have!  Then I will have to try to convince Barbie that all I really need a simple phone...nothing fancy.  She'll look at me like a I am some sort of elderly luddite and direct me to the display of 30 phones that come in 68 stupid colors.  I cannot handle it, Honey.  I just want a @#*!* PHONE! " 

And yet here she was, yet again. Barbie quickly approached with the obligatory, painted on smile. "Hi!" she veritably shouted into the quiet of the store. "I totally bet I know exActly what you are looking for!" She was wrong.

This was for a writing prompt over at TheRedDressClub. This week we were asked to write a post starting with the words "This was absolutely the last time" and ending with "She was wrong". 
FYI: the photo is of a phone exactly like my first cell phone...I still have the same number.

Quote of the Day: "If The Phone Doesn't Ring, It's Me." ~ Jimmy Buffet

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Simplicity Habit #2: The Ten-Second Tidy Basket

Well, I was hoping that Simplicity Habit #1 would be useful to someone...anyone, but it turns out that no, it was not needed. We all know that unloading the dishwasher first thing in the morning is ideal. I assumed that other folks, besides your's truly, were having trouble actually making this happen.  Turns out that NatureGirl is in fact, the laziest person alive. I have suspected as much. Oh well, perhaps tip #2 will prove more valuable.

This is a tip that someone shared with me many years ago. And it really does work. The idea is that most of us waste a lot of time and a lot of steps when doing that little "tidy-up" time around the house. Not the deep cleaning of each room, but just the picking up of stuff that is not where it belongs. 

[note: If all of the comments come back that everyone else's children put things away as soon as they are done with them so that nothing is ever out of place, I will take an overdose of chocolate and end this blog immediately] 

Often, when we are tidying up, we see things out of place and grab the offending item and take it to where it belongs. In that room we then see the next item that needs relocated and grab it and walk to the next room to put it away. Think: If you give a Pig a Pancake! We are constantly running from room to room moving our stuff. the tip!

Carry an empty laundry basket around the house with us as we do this little tidy. Everything that we see in the room that does not belong, goes in the basket. This first room then gets a quick tidy and we move to room #2. Everything from the basket that belongs in this room gets put away, and everything that does not belong in this room gets put in the basket. Quick tidy and then on to room #3...Get it? Eventually we are back to room number 1 with whatever may be in the basket that needs put away. We essentially save ourselves the running from room to room and backtracking that takes extra time and so many extra steps. 

Confession time: This really does work. I have tried it. It saves time and energy, I promise. The problems? I am often to lazy to do this when things are just a little untidy and it does not really work when things are all the way untidy...if you know what I mean. I also would like the children to learn to do this for themselves instead of relying on Mom to pick up after them. The kids are 18, 16, 13 and 9. At what point do I give up on this fanciful notion? AND often the laundry baskets are full of clean/folded clothes that said children have not yet put away!

So, it is what it is people. If you actually happen to have an empty laundry basket, this really does simplify that morning and evening tidy up. AND if we can muster the motivation to do it everyday, it saves us from the larger clean ups that become necessary when things go...a little longer.
I am going to work on this one.

P.S. Hunky Hubs read the blogo tip #1 and unloaded the dishwasher last night after I was already in bed.  Told you he was a hunk!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Simplicity Habit #1: Wake Up To An Empty Dishwasher

Let's talk about simplicity. Specifically a bit about what simplicity IS and what simplicity is NOT. First simplicity is not always easy.  What?! That's right...not always easy. Simplifying our lives does not necessarily mean we will have less to do either. It does not mean giving up all of our worldly possessions and taking a vow of poverty. "Get thee to a nunnery!" Nor does it mean that we no longer have chores to do and can spend our lives in unoccupied idleness. "Get thee to a BarcaLounger!" No, we may actually have more to do, not less, when simplifying our lives.

Simplicity is living intentionally with our possessions. It is cutting clutter. Space clutter, time clutter, mind clutter, life clutter. It is paring our lives down to the things that we value most. It is creating habits that allow us the freedom to do the things that bring us real joy. The real focus, I believe, of the simplicity movement (which is in no way new) is mindfulness. When we know why we are doing the things we do, and we have good habits that help us to keep our lives and homes and minds clutter free,  we make room for joy. For spontaneous play.  For Friends. For Love. For Real Life.

So, I have been making note of some of the habits that have helped me simplify my life, and will be sharing these over the next couple of weeks. In the end, I hope to do a link up so that each of you can add to the list!  I am by no means an expert, but from experience, I can tell you that when I follow good habits, my life is more simple, more relaxed, and much more peaceful, which in reality is what I am after.

Simplicity Habit #1--Always wake up to an empty dishwasher.
I have tried so many different systems for dishes. I have found the one that brings me the most peace throughout my day is this. I admit that I do not always follow it. When I do not. I am sorry. So, the habit can go a couple of ways depending on your preference or amount of dishes. Option #1 is to run the dishwasher in the afternoon and then unload the clean dishes while making dinner. Obviously, this chore could be done by anyone in the home, not just Mom or Dad. The dinner dishes are loaded after supper and the dirty dishes are added throughout the next day until we are ready to run it again in the afternoon.

If the thought of dinner dishes sitting overnight in the dishwasher makes you cringe, then you are a candidate for Option #2. Running the dishwasher after dinner and then unloading it before bed. This way we actually DO wake up to an empty dishwasher, but either way we are loading the dirties throughout the next day. I actually alternate between these to options depending on how many dinner dishes were created. And trust me, most evenings Hunky Hubs and I are tired. We just want to go to bed. We do not want to unload the dishwasher after the kiddies are tucked in. But the next day goes so much more smoothly if I take the time to do this.

Why it works: I am lazy. If the dishes in the dishwasher are clean when I get up in the morning, I will do whatever it takes to not unload those puppies until absolutely necessary, which means the dirty dishes pile up in the sink and on the counter all. day. long. Am I right? With an empty dishwasher however, I can blissfully pop in the offending cups and plates all day long one or two at a time and keep the kitchen relatively clean throughout the day.  Nothing, and I mean nothing, creates peace as much as a clean kitchen. Admittedly, there is no less work involved in this habit, but by eliminating the stress of piles of dishes in the sink, life is simplified.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

CheerUP: Happiness Project 30 Day Challenge

I am about a week late with this link up, but better late than never is what I (ok, I hardly ever say that because I hate being late) But for what it is worth, I did the work, so I ought to at least get some of the glory...right? Here is the original post on the Happiness Project, based on the book of the same title by Gretchen Rubin...worth the read by the way.

Day 1  I am having a tough time finding the love today. I am in a bad mood after a late night argument with a curfew breaking teenager. The same argument we have had 2000 times. Neat kid...but punctuality is not in her vocabulary. Luckily lots of other things are. Loyalty. Creativity. Talent. Humor. Intelligence. Wit. Strength. Faith. To name a few. I am grateful for the many things she IS.
Day 2  Hair. Cut. need I say more?
Day 3  There is sunshine in my soul today AND outside.
Day 4  Grateful for the ease and comforts of life.
Day 5  Today is my mom's birthday...grateful to have such a young, generous, funny mom who taught us to love people and books and each other.
Day 6  I am stronger than I think. Lifted up into a headstand today and Hunky Hubby said I made it look easy.  Quite a compliment considering he makes EVERything look easy!
Days 7-13 Totally Forgot to write anything, but I am sure I was danged grateful for something!
Day 14 & 15 I am SOOOO grateful for sunshine these past two days. And for a nice quiet Easter Sunday.
Day 16  Yep...forgot again.
Day 17  Grateful today that 26 years ago at age 15, I was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know who I am, I know God's plan!
Day 18  Just finished the most aMAZing book: Poser My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses by Claire LOVED it!!!
Day 19 Grateful to have Hunky Hubby home after a few days away on business. The answer is "Yes"...absence does make the heart grow fonder!
Day 20 Nice quiet day at home. Clean house. Good tunes.
Day 21 Hunky Hubby is so handy...he put in a gorgeous new front door for me!
Day 22 Really uplifting day at church today.
Day 23  Grateful that someone called me "strong" today.
Day 24 Glad that my 9 year old baby princess will still sit on my lap.
Day 25 Hump day. Feeling blue. Exercised anyway. I guess I should be grateful for that.
Day 26 An absolutely gorgeous morning!
Day 27 Starting a little bit of a remodel project in the kitchen...gonna be fun!
Day 28 Grateful today for a really cool little brother.
Day 29 Finished a really incredible book about a woman with face blindness. You Don't Look Like Anyone I know By Heather Sellers. Fascinating and captivating memoir.
Day 30 Grateful for a strong body today...Sometimes I surprise myself!

There you have it. I was not as good as I should have been about keeping it up everyday. I discovered that I am more apt to use a pen and paper than get on the computer. If I continue my gratitude journal for the rest of the year, I will have to jot it down in a notebook.  Was nice though to focus on the things that we have rather than any little thing that might be missing. I am so blessed in so many ways. The little annoyances of life and even the BIG trials, need not make us unhappy. I saw a marquis yesterday that read "Happiness is recognizing it." I do believe that is half of the battle. Thanks to WonderWoman Naomi over at SevenCherubs for hosting this link up.

Quote of the Day: "I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder."  ~G.K. Chesterton writer

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

GettingDOWN: Manifesto Memoir

This post is a compilation of several that I have written over the course of the last 2 years. But I decided to resurrect and revise the content to participate in this week's memoir prompt over at RedDress. The them this week is Pride. Not the like stuck up kinda know...the I can Do it! kinda pride. So here goes. In February of 2010 I wrote:
Have you ever had the feeling that the universe is trying to tell you something? Yeah. Me too. Usually I just ignore it. Ok, this is complicated so I will get to the point. Several things have happened over the last few months that have given me the determination to change my status quo and break out of my box. Ok, perhaps determination is too strong a word. What is the word for "I'm still chicken but I think perhaps it is about time I do change because I am turning 40 next week and so what better time to finally break out of my shell and do something really different, really hard and really unexpected even if I don't really want to?" Where the heck is my thesaurus...?

So, if you can, follow my train of thought through the last few months...
First, an old college roommate announced that she was training for her first triathlon. Something I have always thought I might like to do, but too afraid. Then a friend suggested that I consider doing a local century bike ride this summer. Yeah, right! But then I read a blog post entitled "what are you waiting for?" So I asked NatureGirl, "NatureGirl, what are you waiting for?" She had a whole list that I will not bore you with now, and then had the gall to remind me of my own recent post in which I was dumb enough to say that I was finally ready to take a step outside of my box.

So, long story short, in order to help force myself out of that box I decided to do something daring in honor of my 40th birthday (in 2010). Specifically, a century bike ride. I chose to do the 100km. Sixty five bum bustin', leg burnin', sweat breakin' miles. And...I DID IT. And except for the 20 mph winds for the last 30 miles it wasn't all that hard. This year (2011) Hunky Hubby says we are doing the 100 mile route. I say "Bring it on!" which, if you know me, is not something I say very often. You see...I am the queen of big buts.
You know...
I would try the ride... BUT.
I wish I could do this...BUT.
I would love to try that...BUT.
I could be all that and a bag of chips...BUT.
I dream of_______...BUT.

That is a lot of big buts. I was kinda tired of walking around dragging all those big buts behind me. Now, this is not to say that I do not love my life. I totally do. I have amazing kids and a Hunky Hubby that I cannot get enough of, and we live a great life full of love and books and movies and art and nature and fun, but I have always played it safe. Shortly before that ride I read something that I had written in a journal a year or so before. "Will I ever do something truly daring?" This ride for me was daring. It required believing that I could do something that I did not know whether or not I could do. I never, let me repeat, never do anything that I do not absolutely know I can do. Especially in public. 

So many of my posts over the last 2+ years have been about my desire to get out and live, oh I don't know, to live...more, I guess. Live more, love more, pray more, try more, be more. Not worry so much about getting hurt, or looking stupid, or shhhhh....failing. In the end, I am proud of myself for doing this hard thing. Not so much that I accomplished it even, but that I even tried! That is a big step for this ScaredyCat! I am quickly realizing though, that life is too short to waste...

Quote of the Day: "Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told: "I am with you kid. Let's go." ~Maya Angelou