96: Moving right along

(Winter in sepia.  Taken at Quail Hollow State Park.)

This is the time of year when I start sorting through the goals I made for this year to see how far along I made it in terms of actual accomplishments.  I know many others will be doing the same as this week goes by and there will, no doubt, be lots of blog posts about resolutions, goals, and commitments.

(Winter in sepia II.)


One of the things I started doing a few years ago was establishing a theme for the year.  One or two (or three, if necessary) words to define what I hope to accomplish over the year.  For 2010 the theme was:  Simplify.

I have not outwardly done as well as I hoped to when I set out to simplify my life.  The past two years have brought a lot of transitions (birth, death, marriage) and it occurs to me that 2010 brought an inward kind of simplicity that will help me along the way in 2011 when my theme will continue along the simplicity path:  Declutter.

(Opening up.  Potter Furniture.  Lancaster, PA.)

There are some things I can and have easily removed from my life.  “Fat clothes,” because I don’t want to go back.  The kitchen gadget that seemed like a good idea when I purchased it but was only used once or twice because I found that doing things by hand is quicker and simpler.  Items that are worn out and need replaced.  Getting rid of that sort of stuff is uncomplicated and relatively effortless.  Donate, recycle, or throw away.

(Making change.  Potter Furniture.)

There are other things I have had to learn to release.  Books are a good example.  I have been known to hoard books.  This past year I’ve given away a lot of books, and plan to keep giving them away in the coming year.  I finally realized that most of the books I’ve kept over the years, carried around from move to move, are not books I will be reading again.  There are millions of books I haven’t yet read and life seems to be getting shorter as I get older.  It’s time to read and enjoy new stories, and even new ways of telling stories, while allowing others to enjoy the stories I’ve already read.

Not as easy

This year, I think, will be about learning how to let go of the sentimental.  There are things I cling to because they represent people and/or or events from the past.  If I make use of these items, they are part of my present and there is no reason not to keep them.   Many items, however, are tucked away and ignored until I start sorting and decluttering.  The tablecloth my mother crocheted.  Craft projects made by my sons when they were children.  Cards my husband gave me over the years.

(Toys without children.  Potter Furniture.)

Some of those things can be given away to family, friends, or even strangers who might want and use them.  Others I have plans for in terms of my own art.  Repurposing.  It will be both fun and interesting.  The key is to make sure I do use them in some manner.  Otherwise, I may end up back at start with boxes of stuff I’m saving for a future day.  In other words, hoarding.  Not on a horrific scale but still, it’s hoarding.

(The wheel of time.  Porter Furniture.)

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Sunflowers at sunset

(Enjoying the wine, the weather, and the evening.)

We had a lovely weekend here in the Bogs.  I hope your weekend was lovely too.  Sunday’s get-together with friends was nice.  Good food, good beers to sample, good weather, and great company.  Can’t ask for more than that.

The sunflowers were looking especially pretty yesterday at sunset.  I couldn’t resist hauling out the camera even though I keep telling myself that I should not take any more photos until I upload all of the Colorado pics.

I sat on the ground for a little while and did nothing more than admire them in the glow cast by the setting sun.  Then I decided to lie on the ground and look at them from that perspective.  The grass was pretty comfortable, and I had to resist the urge to close my eyes and take a little  nap.

Eventually the flowers spoke to me with light and color so I took a few photos.  Really, just a few.  It was apparently my day to practice restraint as I resisted the next urge which was to take a few dozen or so pictures.  Or it could have been my day to practice patience, waiting and watching rather than snapping away in the hopes that I might get one or two good shots.  I would like to practice the waiting and watching method more often.  I suspect it would improve my photography skills.

Warm and humid

(Today’s view of the pond.)

Things are finally greening up here in the Bogs.  This weekend’s rain helped.  There must have been a freeze while we were traveling.  Some of the plants look as though they started to bud or bloom and then got hit with some mighty cold weather.

Most of the apple and crabapple trees that were protected are blooming pretty nicely, though.

I’ve finally gotten back to work on my Simplify2010 Project.  M and I have both been sorting and cleaning today.  The idea is to eventually have less stuff because having more stuff generally means more to take care of.  It would be nice to live a little more simply.

Garden notes:  M planted the sunflowers today.

Snowy Saturday

(Nighttime snowflakes.)

The snow continues to tumble from the sky, twirling, whirling, and somersaulting in the gusts of wind.  Another 2-4 inches are expected tonight with another 2-4 inches predicted to fall tomorrow.  The current temperature is 13 degrees with a wind chill of -3.  Brrrrrr!  M is outside shoveling, a task that, this time of year, is as sysiphean as housework.  He’s also doing something he didn’t want me to do yesterday — feeding a stray cat.  I guess that makes the cat our official barn cat since M also provided some heat in the barn where it has been taking shelter.  It’s a long-haired cat that, M says, appears to be part Siamese.  I haven’t seen it yet and I don’t think he’s had more than a few quick glimpses of it.

(Creativity corner.)

In honor of my resolution and intention to simplify my home and life this new year, I started with my art desk corner (for a memory jog, see the posts here and here) yesterday.  I cleaned up and organized the desk.  I realize it doesn’t look particularly organized in the above photo, but you should have seen it before I started.  What you see is the result of me actually using the desk to work on an altered journal project.  I normally destroy my journals every year as a way of getting rid of the old and ushering in the new, but I like the design of this particular journal so I’ve been drawing and collaging over my writings, leaving bits and pieces showing through here and there.  I noticed that my intentions for the year are cropping up in a variety of ways, in words, scribbles, and pictures.  The end product may well turn out to be my 2010 journal.

I also started keeping track of my mileage and will be posting about that regularly (since the knowledge that I’m posting about it gives me the incentive to keep moving).  I’m only up to about 6 miles so far, but it’s only two days into the year.  I figure it’s a pretty good start.  As Lao Tzu once said or wrote:

A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.

(A touch of whimsy by the pond.)

Yesterday’s pork and sauerkraut was, as always, delicious.  Tonight we’re having a Cajun spiced vegetable soup.  I’m beginning to think the antibiotics I’m taking are placebos.  As M said the other day, you get what you pay for and I didn’t pay for the antibiotics due to pharmacy competition and the desire to have the lowest prices.  You can’t get much lower than free.  Perhaps some soup will do what the antibiotics are not doing and cure what ails me.  It would be nice to get the hearing back in my right ear.  I suspect the world is going to sound very loud when I do.