Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A Theory About Boxes



I have a theory about boxes that has begun to grow in scope as I clean out and pack up all my worldly possessions ... and it surprises me just a bit.

In the last year I have been brutal about downsizing stuff.  This house in its hayday probably held the contents of 3 families.  Over the last year I have carried out or hired someone to haul away about half of that stuff.  Yes, much was inherited, much was collected by us, and then there was the I "may need it someday" stuff.  You get the idea!  I have been relentless for about a year. 

And still ... the packing of what remained birthed the "box theory."

The box theory began as a small seed in my brain.  A move date was on calendar.  The future square footage was known.   Packing began and a stack of boxes began to grow.  Somewhere about box #10 (packing boxes gets old very fast - I can assure you!), I started to look at boxes as a gate keeper to the new condo.  

The small stack of boxes began to weigh on me.  Previously loved and valued items started to become less valued.  My brain started to prioritize what I really wanted - not just what I thought I wanted.  Things that I previously kept were not loved quite enough to make it into a box. 

And that in a nutshell is the box theory - if you have to box it up and move it - the boxes become a sort of gate keeper.

I am up to 48 boxes packed.  We are estimated by the mover to have 100 boxes!  Although I look around and see a lot of empty spaces, I still see a lot of stuff.  What I have packed and what I have left to pack continues to weigh on me - so the box theory will be the final filter of decluttering.

What continues to be remarkable - is that I don't miss anything I have gotten rid of.  Nothing.  In fact, now that a lot of our stuff is in boxes, I don't seem to miss that stuff either!  Who knows, maybe the boxes aren't the final gatekeeper.  Maybe the condo will be the last gatekeeper.  As I unpack I may decide - hey, why did I move this thing!  

We have about 3 weeks before we move.  The finish line is in sight!   


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Moving ... all the time

Just a short check-in to let you know I still live!

Each day is filled from first light to dinner's end with details, on top of details, on top of yet more details.  Needless to say it is a very busy time.

The inspection of the condo turned up a totally ready property - no hidden problems. Visiting it again with the inspector confirmed how much we love the set up of this floor plan and the building generally.

The mortgage process is almost complete - with no hidden problems there either.  The only "problem" is paying a mortgage after years of no monthly payments.  But that will resolve when the townhouse sells and we can pay off the loan.

The downsizing and packing also continues.  Some furniture left our house for our son's home last weekend and a few last pieces will be donated at the end of the month.  I think I have estimated fairly well what furniture will fit in our newly reduced living space.  Only time will tell however.  The parade of objects leaving for new homes continue, but at a markedly reduced rate.  As I unpack on the condo end - it will be only loved items  - not the extras that have cluttered my life for so long.  That feels good.  The packed boxes are growing.  Empty room spaces are also growing.  Progress.

Moving weekend plans are forming.  Family and friends are holding dates.  It will be helpful to have friendly faces around me on that stress filled weekend.

Through it all there are 2 constants that are with me all the time.  I am tired and I feel a low grade anxiety.  Fatigue is normal - and will eventually resolve when everything is done.  Anxiety?  Well that is normal as well.  This townhouse holds the memories of almost half my life.  Never have I lived anywhere so long.  Something that shelters so much of your existence and holds so many memories can't help but take on an emotional attachment.

The townhouse is just a "thing," in the eyes of many ... and yet, for me ... it isn't.  It is the only loved thing left that I can't put in a box and take with me.

Don't know when I will be checking in again.  But I will be back!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Life List? Not today.

Gosh!
I will be so glad when my life is less busy, anxious, confusing, stress filled, overwhelming.
 ... Maybe around November!
Ha.

Anyway, today is a Life List Day - I won't be participating today.  Today is also a day free of most external responsibilities and as such will be spent packing and throwing out!  My to-do list is pretty long.  No structured Life List post today.  Too much to do.

But there may be one sometime this week - I am pretty sure.

In fact, I think it is safe to say that my Life List entries for the next few months will be as time permits rather than on a Monday schedule.

Happy Monday, all!

Back Soon!

Monday, July 4, 2016

My Life List - July 4, 2016

I am joining the blog Smidgens, Snippets and Bits in sharing "My Life List."

This entry will be a bit short for me (little old wordy me).  My time has suddenly gotten very very tight.

Outside my window ...
Back yard fireworks are making noise.  It is also rainy ... again.  I enjoy fireworks but if I see them ... it is usually on TV.  The crowds of people at these events are always a bit much for me.

Inside my window ...
Today we are on the crest of a busy and scary time.  We viewed a 2 bedroom 2 bathroom condo in a 55+ community, loved it, put an offer on it - and today, we got word that our offer was accepted!!  Holy Cow!  Looks like we are moving!!  More on that in future postings.

What I am reading ....
I finished the Olivia Mourning series by Yael Politis.  The third book was called Whatever Happened to Mourning?  This third book does sum up the whole story pretty nicely - almost too nicely and too neat - with most of it happening in the 1960s.  At first I didn't think I like the change of time line, but I kept with it ... and I am glad I did.  Check it out.  I think you will enjoy it.  Still working on what to read next.

What am I watching on TV ...
Still watching Nurse Jackie on Netflix and although it has lost a bit of its "fun feel," it is a compelling story.  I have no doubt that this story line is true for many people with addictions.   I did check out how this series ends in season 7 - and it ends badly.  But I will continue to watch this story to the end.  I am in season 6.

What am I creating ...
Lists, lists and more lists.  I can feel my brain exploding with everything I need to do in about 6 weeks time.  Thank God for my Bullet Journal.  It will save me!

What I am pondering ...
I can't help wondering what it will be like to live in 1360 square feet instead of 2200 square feet.  I am hoping it meets my expectations of less to maintain.  God knows we don't need or use 2200 square feet now, but just how much living space is enough?  I guess 1360 square feet will be enough because that is what the new condo will be.  And I am wondering how I tell my neighbors here that we are moving.  There are some really nice folks in my neighborhood.  I want to tell them before the sign goes up in the front yard.

A quote I quote ...
"When I was a kid my parents moved around a lot, but I always found them."  Rodney Dangerfield

My week - a Peek ...
Panic.  And more Panic.  Then list making.  Then organization.  Then calm, followed by panic.  And repeat, until November when we are settled in our condo, and this townhouse is sold.  Fingers crossed on the last point.

What keeps me awake at night ....
Two nights ago I slept very little - wondering if we should put a bid on this condo - were we ready to make this giant move, is this the right place, will I like the neighbors, will the neighbors like me, can I get this house packed up in 6 weeks ... it was a hard night.  Last night I slept well.  I was so tired from lack of sleep - NOTHING - would keep me awake.  Today when we heard our offer was accepted, it felt right.  Not big deal joyful.  Just right.  So it must be right.  Hope I sleep well tonight!

Word of the Year ... Move!
I chose this word because I wanted to keep my body moving.  Looks like it will be more representative of an actual move of residence.

Monday, June 27, 2016

My Life List - Monday, June 27

I am joining the blog Smidgens, Snippets and Bits in sharing "My Life List."

What am I thankful for ...
Crazy but I struggle with the public gratitude thing.  I'm thankful for so many things in my life, but it sometimes feels ingenuous to carry on about it in public.  Of course, this opinion is not in vogue.  Advice frequently is ... you would be happier only if you kept a gratitude journal or if you 'practiced' regular thankfulness.  While I agree, I think it is the private reflection that provides the most peace for me.  So next week I will find something else here.

And I am thankful I can do that!  :-)

Discovery time ....
This weekly snap shot - My Life List - is a great way to keep connected on the blog.  I get to chat about a variety of topics in a brain dump style.

Outside my window ...
Hot, moist, sometimes stormy.  In fact, last week when I took the puppy out for his first walk of the day, something had hatched a bunch of wormy things on my sliding glass door.  Gross!  I could never live in the tropics.

Inside my window ...
Air conditioning!!  No worms on the outside (or inside) of my sliding glass today.  Life is good.  Ha!

What I am reading ....
I am reading the second book in The Olivia Series by Yael Politis.  The first book was called Olivia, Mourning.  The second is called The Way the World Is.   And the title certainly fits. This book picks up the Olivia story with no gap in the action and includes a bit of the Underground Railroad prior to our Civil War.  The underground railroad was a secret effort by abolitionists to rescue slaves from the southern slaves states to northern territories in Canada.   Thankfully I was never raised with prejudice against different races so the attitudes of the pre civil war era seem terribly foreign to me.   It can certainly be said our country has made large strides in race relations, but I believe it will be many generations (if ever) before the human race is color blind.  Until we stop handing down our prejudices to our children, the theme of this book, The Way the World Is, will sadly continue to ripple through our human experience over and over again.  This is a very good series.

What am I watching on TV ...
This past week I re-discovered America's Got Talent.  There are some remarkably gifted people.  What appeals is that you never know what is coming out on the stage next.  Each audition is entirely different.  Singing, dancing, magic acts, circus style acts, even some that defy categorization.  And the exceptional talents are balanced by the hysterically funny but terrible 'talents.'

And I am still watching Nurse Jackie on Netflix.  There are 7 seasons and I am in season 4.  Happy One, one of my friends and readers, said she stopped watching when it got too depressing.  The story line has had serious and humorous elements, but I can see now the serious side of this story is starting to monopolize the episodes.

What am I creating ...
I started a new shawlette pattern this week called The Holden.  No pictures of my work to show yet because I am in the early stages.  Maybe next week.  But here is a picture of someone else's finished project.

Credit:  https://espacetricot.wordpress.com/2012/06/15/free-pattern-friday-holden-shawlette/
I will say that this kettle dyed yarn shows of the beauty of the pattern probably better than the yarn I picked.  I am just not that good at matching yarn to patterns.  My yarn is a gradient - going from a dark greenish turquoise to a cream with the cream being used in the lace areas.

I love this pattern.  I am hoping the lace edging is not to challenging.  The shawl can be made in several sizes - this picture shows a full shawl size.  I plan to make a shawlette this time - smaller scarf-like version.  But I have several yarn choices lined up for larger versions of this pattern.

What I am pondering ...
I love, love, love knitting.  I have dabbled into related fiber pursuits like spinning and weaving. They fall in the "like" category.  Not in the "love, love, love" category.  I often wonder why it is that some hobbies bring great joy to one individual while other individuals find great joy in something else.  Guess it is the beautiful part of being complex creatures.  To bad that "love, love, love" feeling we have for various activities doesn't spill over into our interpersonal relationships with other human beings who are different from ourselves.

A quote I quote ...

“Properly practiced,
 knitting soothes the troubled spirit, 
and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit either.” 


My week - a Peek ...
More dogs, more knitting, more walking, and more downsizing.

In the continued search for a place to move, the common theme is - the space we move to will be small.  My desires have crystalized over the last few months.  Location and condition are everything.  Size falls further down the wish list.  Downsizing efforts now will make that move easier whenever to happens.

What keeps me awake at night .... 
Actually I am sleeping a little better lately.  Ha!  So nothing is keeping me awake - except for some restless legs between 3:00 am and 6:00 am - and even that is much reduced!

Word of the Year ... Move!
Getting my step count up has been a challenge, especially coming off a week of puppy watching.  Yes, I was moving, but it wasn't always the kind of movement captured well on a pedometer.

But I have a new 'mind trick' to keep me moving.  Here is a picture of my Bullet Journal tracking system - the method I am using in June to document my progress.  Simple, easy to maintain and visual.

I have a ways to go to reach 10,000 steps consistently.  Without intense focus on the daily numbers, however, this method shows the trends - the big picture -which is all that really counts for me right now.  At my age, it isn't about the distance, or the time or the speed ... it is about moving.

I know electronic devices can provide this history with fancy grafts far better than my simple efforts, but I am not so bitten by the electronic bug that everything is better on that platform.  I prefer the analog methods.

My initial goal continues to be 10,000 steps a day.  But 12,000 to 13,000 steps a day would be better.  I believe the health benefits will be more remarkable in that range.

One step at a time.  I will get there.

Monday, June 20, 2016

My Life List - Monday, June 20

I am joining the blog Smidgens, Snippets and Bits in sharing "My Life List."

What am I thankful for ...
My daughter turns 40 years old this week.  40!!  I have always had more trouble with my kids birthdays than my own.  But I am so thankful to have lived this long a life to see them grow up to be strong and successful adults.  They make me thankful and proud.

Discovery time ....
I am taking care of my son and daughter-in-law's two dogs this week while they are on a cruise.  I discovered that I can go to sleep around 10:00 am and get up rested at 5:30 am - the dog's normal rise and shine time.  And they are so chipper at 5:30 am.  Me ... not so much.

Outside my window ...
It is heating up this week.  We are at the beginning of summer and things will be getting hotter and more sticky.  After all, I live in Maryland, the capital of the world for humid heat, other than the tropics, and maybe Florida (ha!).  Air conditioning is such a wonderful humane invention!

Inside my window ...
My days are busy busy busy with a puppy who is only partially potty trained.  I am beginning to read his body language well enough inside so I can get him outside in time.  But this potty training of a puppy is hard work!

What I am learning ...
Nothing this week! Ha.  I guess my 'smart container' is all full up.  :-)  Famous last words.

What I am reading ....
I am reading on my Kindle an absolutely wonderful book called Olivia, Mourning by Yael Politis.  I am about 50% into the story and it is very very good.  Here is the book description offered by the publisher.

Historical Fiction.  Olivia wants the 80 acres in far off Michigan that her father left to whichever of his offspring wants to stake a claim.  The problem: she's seventeen, female, and it's 1841.  Mourning Free knows how to run a farm and Olivia has complete trust in him.  The problem: he's the orphaned son of runaway slaves and reluctant to travel and work with a white girl.  Not without qualms, they set off together.  All goes well, despite the drudgery of survival in an isolated log cabin.  Strong willed, vulnerable, and compassionate, Olivia is a compelling protagonist on a journey to find a way to do the right thing in a world in which so much is wrong.

I generally do not enjoy historical fiction, but I do enjoy stories of survival in circumstances that are beyond my experience.  This is Book 1 in a trilogy and I am planning on picking up Book 2.

What am I watching on TV ...
I have started watching Nurse Jackie on Netflix.  I am into season 3.  I enjoy medical shows but for some reason I kept passing over this one until I ran out of other options.  It is really very good.  It took me a few episodes to get hooked, but now I am loving all the shows.  It is the story of an emergency room nurse who does everything she can to provide her patients with the best care possible while navigating the waters of a crumbling health-care system.  But she has a secret that is increasingly difficult to keep from people - she relies on Vicodin and Adderall to get her through high-stress sifts at a New York hospital.

What am I creating ...
This section should be called what I have created.  Here it is.




What I am pondering ...
How long will it take for my hair to grow back?  My hairdresser's shop closed suddenly, and I was unable to reach her for about a week.  So I went to a local uni-sex barber shop - and oh my - did I get chopped.  So short.  I will say it is cooler this way.  But I prefer a bit more hair on my head.  I am scheduled for an appointment with my regular hairdresser later in the summer, but I am hoping what little I have grows back in enough for that visit.

A quote I quote ...
Handle every stressful situation like a dog.
  If you can't eat it or play with it,
 just pee on it and walk away.

My week - a Peek ...
Dogs, dogs and more dogs.  And more 5:30 am mornings!  Glad it is at least light outside when we open the door.

What keeps me awake at night ....
My hips and my bladder.  I sure am tired of it.  Does anyone know where I can get some replacement parts?

Word of the Year ... Move!
I am sure falling short on my 'move' goals.  More on that another time.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Authenticity Shawl - Blocking

The knitting for the Authenticity Shawl is done and the blocking is underway.




As I mentioned in a previous knitting update, the progress of some lace projects are hard to assess until they are stretched out and blocked.  Until that step step is taken, the project looks pretty much like a knitted mess as it sits in your lap.  This lace shawl was knitted mostly on faith.   I had to trust that this pattern was coming out correctly and that the size would be big enough.  I am not a big fan of that kind of knitting - surprises at the end are not always good surprises.

But now that this shawl is stretched out on the blocking board, I can see the pattern well.  I can confirm that there are no hidden errors.  It all turned out as pictured in the printed pattern.  Thank God!

This shawl is for my daughter.  Although it is not a birthday present, I will save it till her birthday later this month.  It is a 'big' birthday.  The big ones can be hard.  Best to offer some distractions.