Saturday, October 27, 2012
I'm trying on that appellation.
My class at the college ended yesterday and I have some basic skills. and a LOT of enthusiasm.
This is my first piece, I call it "Sunday Morning". inspired by my late secretary Verdell, a Black lady who lived simply but with great dignity and profound joy in her faith.
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Julie Morgenstern's book "Organizing from the Inside Out" talks about the root causes for disorganization. One psychological obstacle of organizing is the need for abundance. The idea struck a chord, not only in terms of organizing the environment, but also regarding buying food, cooking and sometimes eating. Aha!
She talks about some people's "deep rooted need for volume in their lives". The root causes are often childhood deprivation, or observed family patterns. Growing up as one of four children and living with a single parent who survived the depression, I got the double whammy. "You may associate volume with a sense of fullness, comfort, security, and identity.” she says. Yes, I may.
I'm at a place in life where I'm looking for more and more a sense of balance and flow in my life. Like most, this means living in a pleasant environment with a healthy lifestyle.
Julie suggests working with and building around the need for abundance rather than fighting against it. She describes a young mother who loved crafts and wanted to spend more time with her children than her parents had spent with her. The house was a craft explosion. This woman "had grown up in a large household where money was always scarce and attention was even scarcer." Julie proceeded to create a craft center for the client in a closet, not discarding, but categorizing and consolidating. The woman was then able to enjoy her collection with her children, and ironically, the woman was able then to off-load the excess more easily.
I have some closets and collections (books, clothing, my hard drives) on which I want to use this system. I've already done it with the pantry and the refrigerator and the pan cupboard. Stacking up all those cans of black beans made it easy to start using them up. Once I had organized the pantry, I felt a real freedom. I know what food we have, and what I need to buy. I also know that if I have a stash of what the child of a depression-era mother calls "luxuries", like dried fruits, a huge collection of herbs and spices, various types of flour and baking supplies and good jam I do feel a sense of "fullness, comfort, security, and identity." That’s OK. And now I also now know when there is actual room for something new.
Cooking and eating is tricky. I tend to want to cook more than we need, thinking that it is efficient: the extra can be frozen for another meal. Yes and no. Freezing means packaging, dating, and keeping track of. But sometimes food ends up languishing in the refrigerator. Ugh. And if one cooks a lot, there is the temptation to eat more. So again, looking for balance.
Do I need abundance? There is a part of me that knows on the deepest level the constant outpouring of abundance. And my meditation teacher Pir Vilayat used to use the metaphor of a mountain climber, of necessity, jettisoning items as she climbed to higher and higher realms. Having too much stuff weighs one down. And he used to admonish all the time “don’t let the support system take over”. I’m looking for balance. To be continued….
Saturday, September 08, 2012
HATE housecleaning. I also do research when I have a problem to solve, and continually tweak. Here's forty years of house cleaning experience, the less time I spend on cleaning, mor more I have for fun:
Flylady's two mantras of putting on shoes in the morning first thing to reset your brain, and keeping the kitchen sink sparkling are really good.
I also like the idea of not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. If all you have time for a go around with some cutting corners, it's better than nothing.
To me less is more when it comes to the flat surfaces: tables and counters, open shelves. The less we have on them, the less that has to be cleaned. Gone are the knick-knack days. Keep a trash basket next to where the mail lands. Junk mail goes here. Handle it only once. Keep a trash basket near where you read the paper or magazines. They end up here. Keep extra liners in the basket under the liner in use. Every room has an adequate sized trash basket. Keep a big ongoing Goodwill trash bag somewhere handy for castoffs.
I think that Jeff Campbell's book "Speed Cleaning" is excellent. He has a website the Clean Team that sells his products. The main things that I learned from him are, clean top to bottom, left to right around the room. Don't clean anything that doesn't need it (not to worry), have your cleaning supplies in a little tote carrier to carry with you, GET GOOD TOOLS; a good vacuum, good cleaning solutions (he sells his own, but I've found that Professional 409 that you buy at Home Depot in a gallon jug is fantabulous, cuts right through the dirt.) and just regular windex. Get two easy to squirt professional cleaner person bottles with big handles, you can get these at Home Depot or Lowes, too. Put these in your box. Get a razor scraper for stuff that's stick on. He also suggests buying a big stack of cotton terry barmop towels, I have about 30 or 40. You use these for all kinds of cleaning, and throw them in the wash when they're soiled. Stronger and cheaper than paper towels. Save the paper towels for really gross things. I like big microfiber cloths for dusting. They also go into the washer. I've found that Comet bathroom cleaner is absolutely the best for soap scum, and any kind of bleach cleaner for grout mold. If you're cleaning something and the dirt's not coming off, go to a more aggressive method. And watch as you wipe, so that you don't wipe or scrub more than you absolutely need to. Find a scrub brush that's comfortable for your hand and guard it. Put a stiff toothbrush and nylon scrubbie in your tote. I don't use much Pledge-type furniture spray, too messy, but on occasion, like once a year, I'll polish up the furniture with a spray called Cabinet Magic. It is magic.
I've found that the best hand held vacuum is a Hoover Linx if you have pet hair to deal with, because it has a powered brush. I have a Hoover carpet cleaner that I can usually get one of the male residents to use on occasion, I've found that even having the traffic paths done makes a big difference.. Make sure that they rinse the shampoo out, otherwise it just acts like a magnet for more dirt accumulation. I also have a Little Green Machine that is a rug spot cleaner for pet accidents. My goal is to have the professional carpet cleaners come in once or twice a year, but that hasn't actually happened. It's a hassle, but so nice when it happens. I've also found that when the kitchen floor or tile entryway needs a good scrub, the carpet cleaner machine will work
I've found also that keeping the furnace filters changed makes a HUGE difference in the amount of dust and grime in the house. I like the 3M anti allergen ones. Mark the calendar when you change them.
BTW, I used to have a Roomba robot vacuum cleaner. I loved it His name was Robie. he turned himself on in the morning, meandered around the downstairs, beeping, singing, turning, merrily sucking up the dust and pet hair, and then chugged back to his docking station all by himself and sang a little phrase of triumph. He finally died. So sad.
In terms of getting the other residents to help out on the day to day, well, for me it is pretty much a lost cause other than one loading the dishwasher and the other vacuuming. I agree with others, I don't think most males see the dirt . Did you hear this one; "If you ask a man to do something, you don't have to keep nagging him about it every six months?" If I were raising children now, I would start them cleaning when they were itty bitty. But I didn't. I did have the children start doing their own laundry when they were about ten.
My "company's coming in a half hour strategy" is to have a big box or basket and just throw all the clutter in it and shove it in the closet or garage before they get there. The trick is to remember to put it back out and sort when they leave.
Is my house Martha Stewart perfect. Oh noooo. Am I less frustrated about cleaning than I once was? Yep.
What's your best advice?
Saturday, August 25, 2012
I was writing thanksgivings this morning and realized this part could be a blog entry.
I love this unsettled weather: I know, I know there's a hurricane scheduled to hit exactly right here, the National Hurricane Center's landfall dot is on my house, ground zero, but I love this part: the trees quivering ever so slightly in anticipation; the promise of nature's housekeeping blowing the dead litter from the trees; the cool breeze blowing from the northeast, unusual for us; the high flung clouds moving in majestic slowness, the sense of energy in the air and soon the ability to look up and see our own little part of that white swirl that's on the television screen. One can see the whole sky moving inexorably when the storm comes close. Nobody ever talks about this part of a hurricane.
And I have faith that we will make it through whatever happens here weather wise. I pray that all stay safe.
Friday, August 24, 2012
OK, I'm giving up. on the menus .
It was a two week trial. And I've learned some things from the menus: buy more fruits and veggies, and I was eating too many carbs and not enough protein.
But the menus are just not workable for me. Ordinarily I tend to make some foods that can be eaten over two or three days. And the menus are sometimes flat out strange, I'm a better cook that that. One can substitute meals or items but that's time consuming. Using the shopping list is cumbersome even with my grocery shopping app and sometimes I still don't have the foods that are on the menus: don't know if that's my mistake or Sparkpeople's. Additionally, to buy all the different items on the weekly grocery list, some food spoils before we eat it all and I despise waste.
Worst of all, I actually GAINED weight. Oh well, it was a good try.
I am using the Sparkpeople app now for tracking food and exercise which is helpful. I've become much more aware of calorie counts on food packages as well as portion sizes. And I can visualize the food types and calorie counts on the Sparkpeople menus, and design my own menus that have with lots more flavor, cohesion and interest.
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