Thursday, March 31, 2016

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Scrambled Wisdom on Purging

I'm not sure what underlying drive fuels my desire to purge stuff. Psychologically it would probably be about trying to control what I can while Rob is going through his health dealio. Maybe. Or maybe I'm feeling guilty about starving children. Or am trying to recreate who I have become.  
If you walked into my house your first thoughts would not be "Man, this chick/hen is a minimalist!" Not at all. I'm not even close. I don't even know if that is my goal. I listen to podcasts occasionally by these guys. (While I'm cooking, usually, nice to have friendly voices in the kitchen with me. And I usually get caught up on two or three episodes. Beats bingeing on Netflix...
:  ) )The one I listened to the other day contained comments regarding feedback they get on their name, The Minimalists, and how some people are critical of that label. Like they aren't minimalist enough. They mentioned one guy they follow on social media and how he's got 55 possessions. The point they made was that he was living this extremely spartan life because his heart's desire is to pick up and move internationally every four months or so and 55 items works well for him. 

Another minimal mindset guy I follow is Becoming Minimalist. He had a really simple, thought provoking article the other day. 

Tying these two thoughts together I think I'm just done with being encumbered with stuff. I've gone on about the joy of some drawers being empty and all the rest opening and closing with ease. I spent a few hours this week purging my book shelves again. And every time I do it I think I can't possibly find more books to get rid of and every time I do it I find dozens. This time I was motivated by my grands. I had a sick one the day before yesterday and I suggested she read some books. She found a few, but honestly the kids books were a mess, laid on their sides, picture books mixed in with chapter books, and not really at eye level for them. Cleaning it up seriously took about five hours.  Making piles, sorting, bagging up ones no one wanted, dusting the shelves and putting everything back in a kid friendly, organized space. That thrills me. Because I honestly don't want a bunch of books sitting around that my kiddos won't read because it's too complicated to find them. I want my stuff to be used, not stored.  And I'm loving wide open spaces between objects. 

I haven't been keeping count this year since I whomped my 1000 things last year goal in three short months. I don't want it to be about getting rid of a set number. More like allowing my possessions go that are not adding value to my life because chances are someone out there needs what is gathering dust on my shelves. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Today

That morning when you literally have 10 minutes to blog.

And the dogs haven't gone out to potty yet.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Past Blast

My friend X-ta is one I picked up in a former life. No, not Shirley MacLaine style, as in a long, long time ago when I was much younger, naive and impressionable. 

I used to run a non-profit for child care providers. She ran a volunteer program for senior citizens. They should never have put us in the same private office. But they did. 

Within the first week of X-ta dropping into my life she had convinced me she was 15 years older than she actually was and introduced me to what a bachelors in theater looks like in the non-profit world. Ha. 

We did several collaborative projects. One an afghan representing the landmarks in our town wherein we got to do field trips and take photos of said landmarks. My favorite was the cigarette butt between the fingers angel statue. This photo was, of course, not included on the afghan. Her newsletter also featured my editing, suggestions and occasional art. This 20 something year old cartoon is not my art but I'm pretty sure it consumed much of my day anyways. 

X-ta has gone on to produce award winning publications in her current position. And she is a creative force behind Out of the Frying Pan. I believe we brainstormed the idea of two older strong-personality women who solved crime. One of which had to have the name Zula. Stay tuned for more. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Scribbles and Scrambles - Don't Go Into The Basement!!!

Gladys feels my shame. See, I went into the if you're like me you are chanting "No, don't go down into the basement!" While the stupid heroine does just that. But instead of finding a crazed serial killer I found something worse....tucked back in a corner is a bookshelf filled with boxes. In those boxes? Paper!

20 year old paper. Medical statements, utility bills, canceled checks...stuff dating back to 1994. Ten boxes worth. Tomorrow I will begin hauling handfuls a day and tucking them into our secure recycling bin at work. Sigh! Happy. Happy.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Scribbles and Scrambles

Lazy Tuesday. A winter storm is coming so we are enjoying the overcast afternoon full of scents and sounds to sniff and bark at. Well, they are. I'm actively avoiding sweeping, dishwasher duty and laundry.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Morning After Part 2

My long tale is nearly finished. And I may have almost recovered from four kiddos for 16 hours. 

Pathetically, as my mother pointed out, this was a mere sliver of my daughter's life. Wheweeee. This is why I did not start my family at age 40. 

No, that is not true. I did not start my family at age 40 because I was basically young and in love and we do crazy things like have and raise a family when we know nothing about birthin (or raisin) no babies. Right? Right. 

So bless you daughters who are carrying that torch of whelping and raising kids when its a rough, filthy and thankless task so very often. The dividends are great. But the nights (and days are long). 

Here is the rest of my story. We arrive at church. Halfway adhering to the daylight savings time loss. This is pretty impressive. 

We had all the gear packed (except the shark slippers, the jacket needed for school on Monday and, of course, the toothbrush). Two poopy sacks (one a diaper part 1, the other the oops underwear issue. For the record this collection grew). 

Unbeknownst to me and discovered later by my daughter, someone also left behind some hair. 

Seriously. My daughter left them with me (don't leave, no, don't leave) as they were finishing their movie. Bedtime was a noisy affair with a pen war (clearly) but the doors were open. There is no pile of hair on the floor or in the bed. Alone time was bathroom time. Every other second (at my house) was under adult supervision. I do have scissors in my bathroom drawer. I mean, he's seven. That shouldn't be an issue. Right? 

Well, I'm guessing he decided to cut a chunk of hair off to prove the laws of nature still work. Yep. I have no idea where the hair went. Maybe he ate it. I'll ask him. There's another scientific test there. I think I'll ask him if the extra fiber was what he was going for. 

Worship contained a new singer. The baby is going through a phase where new or even very familiar people freak her out randomly and about 79% of the time. Rob wasn't a good risk, what with squirmy strong super baby and kneelessness....that paints an accurate accident waiting to happen. So she joined me on stage. Entertainment for her and an amazing upper body workout for me. 

At church we had a good old fashioned time-out. Two of the four anyway. While in time-out the boy snatched the necklace of the four-year-old and broke it. Because when you are in trouble it's always best to do something else naughty...another law of nature being tested...cause and effect. Maybe he's going to be a scientist or a lawyer when he grows up. The four-year-old was very offended and sad and looked until she found the missing jump ring and I fixed it and put it on her neck. During this 45 second ordeal I put the 14 month-old down to toddle. I looked away to clasp the necklace...3 seconds...if that... she disappeared. Not really, but she was headed north, apparently saw I was otherwise engaged and veered west and hid behind a person. Thank heavens she was dressed in bright colors. 

A few more days and all my tics should be in remission. 

I love my daughter for so many things. Coming back for her children is right up there. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Morning After...Part 1

Where was I? Oh, yeah. Finally all three children hit the hay. I scooped up the youngest from my bed and dragged her, her pillow and two stuffed animals from my room to hers. Carefully, I deposited her next to the wall, straddling the leggy eight-year-old draped between me and the wall. I held my breath. No one stirred.

I crawled into my bed fully aware that morning was bearing down on me like a freight train and I would be reversing the bedtime process with three and adding a 14-month-old to the mix. We planned on going to church. With one hour less sleep and a very challenging bedtime. This had all the makings of a rich adventure.

Keep in mind, Rob is on crutches. Not that he doesn't have a voice which he can gruff up to get attention, but he possesses no chasing skills, at all.

Breakfast went well. In bits and pieces. The youngest woke up shortly after the baby arrived. She got the most sleep once she stopped wailing after the forcible removal from her sister shared nest. While baby toddled, little girl ran in to go potty. Oops. When Grandma was called for wiping we discovered a little more than what we had counted on. Those undies weren't going to church. And that behind needed a little more than toilet paper. Into the shower she went. Baby clung to me, smearing her banana yogurt, snot face against my shoulder. (She has an ear infection, and a cold.) I forgot to remove the yogurt container from the table and pop it back into the fridge. When we returned downstairs to finish breakfast a four-legged friend had already taken care of the pesky yogurt issue. Fortunately, baby was real content with anything and everything she found on the floor. I picked up bits of plastic so they didn't become consumables while the four-year-old and I continued to discuss the total okayness fashion premise wherein no panties were needed if a lady wore tights.

Did I mention that the older sibling who packed for her forgot her underwear?

The two others joined us downstairs. I portioned out breakfast, removed items from baby's hands and mouth, shoved approved edibles in their place and ordered different children into different bathrooms to clean up, brush teeth and get dressed.

The youngest looked at me. I glanced back, wondering silently what the look meant. "What's wrong?"

"I don't want to say."

"Please say."

Her brother said. "She lost my toothbrush."

She had been alone in the bathroom two minutes, presumably going potty and brushing her own teeth. "What do you mean she lost it?"

"She put it down the hole in the sink."

The oldest perked up and offered to grab it with tongs. I let her try. No luck. Brother got to swish toothpaste while I changed baby's poopy diaper number uno. Then I noticed faint black lines upon his face. "Did you draw on your face last night? After you went to bed?" 

No, of course not, it was his older sister. Well, that explains the screaming and giggling. He scrubbed off the evidence and I sighed for the twelfth time. 

Shockingly, we made it to Sunday School only 1/2 late. 

More? Oh there's more. Stay tuned. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ A Few Hours in Surreality...

We had our three oldest littles overnight Saturday. The baby came bright and early the next morning, very early because of daylight savings time. The curse of the lost hour. It seems cruel to lose an hour ever. And on a night with a sleepover, such a sad, sorry state of affairs. I know we get payback in the fall, but I'm just sayin. 

Bedtime. The kids were allowed to stay up a bit later than usual. This was stated to them every time they asked for a few more minutes. Finally, they were all snuggled, nestled in their beds. The night light was broken on the last sleepover so the door was left open and bathroom lights were on to act as a nightlight.  The faux pas of things I forgot to do or didn't do like mommy were all discussed and laid to rest. The final "good night, I love you's" were said. 

Then the giggling and fighting began. 

Threat One involved the usual, the youngest would be placed in Grandma's bed until she went to sleep. Threat Two involved a slightly crankier reiteration of Threat One with the ominous promise of "one more chance, don't blow it." Incoming Threat Protocol Breach involved said Grandma swooping in and forcibly removing said child. Weeping and gnashing followed. Threat One, Two and Three involved door open or closed and the weeping decibel level connection. Finally, the threat was enacted, the weeping stopped, the door was opened and all seemed well. 

Until  giggling. 

The other two. Threats One, Two and Three were swifter in coming. Somehow sleep was achieved. 

Stay tuned for the morning hustle....

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Scribbles and Scrambles - Idea

 Had a brilliant idea and thought I'd share it with you. Yesterday was just beautiful in Iowa. Almost 80. It triggered a hankering for sun tea. You know the slow brewed tea that lounges in the warm afternoon sun? 

I had thrown together a lemon blueberry coffee cake real early on Sunday morning. I used beautiful organic lemons to get the juice I needed, but even with a hand held citrus squeezer there seems to be so much more juice left. I had even zested the lemons. But because I am somewhat crazy, and cheap and just want everything to get it's fair chance to shine I tossed the mostly used lemons into a ziplock for some future use.

While thinking about sun tea, I remember the lemons. So I tossed 4 used lemon halves into a 2 quart pitcher with 5 normal old tea bags and filled it with water and let it sit outdoors for 4 hours. 

How stinking refreshing and delicious. So. If you are a tea drinker and love lemon, save your squeezed lemons and make yourself a treat. 

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Dog's Life

Of course, that's not all they did today. Squirrel is dangling over their heads. They were distracted by the jogger who no doubt felt the cujo barking vibes 1/2 a block away. And currently, as I type while waiting to go pick up Rob for his doctor's appointment, they are chewing on trash they've removed from the recycle bin. Yes. It is true. They are rotten. 

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Goal Check

Since I made the rash announcement that I'd be gathering and purging more items in my house and writing up three articles for September's blog tour in February, I should go ahead and fess up. 

Both goals met. Seriously.
I packed up 5 more bags and boxes combo of stuff. Granted, two boxes were the encyclopedia set we've owned since approximately 1994. I almost kept it because I'm sure history has been rewritten half a dozen times since then, but then decided if I hadn't touched them in, literally, seven years (and that was to move them to where they were until yesterday) I wasn't going to be needing to brush up on history. Real or imagined. 

I did get the three articles written, too. I've got to keep going on both. 

Violin. Uhhhh. Let's not talk about it. 

Of note. Last night it was me alone vs four grandchildren. 

Apparently, there is a grandmother Murphy's Law. It states: "If you are in your unfamiliar territory of your adult child's home, it is a guarantee that something strange will happen." Last night the kids managed to lock one of the bedroom doors. No one was left shrieking inside, nor did a dog slip in to get trapped overnight. This door actually had a keyed lock and bobby pins and sharp knives don't work so well. I gave up in defeat and put the bed-less child in the parent room to sleep (yeah, that's another Murphy's law..."you can put the child to bed but good luck making that stick" the chorus of giggles and shushing was deafening). 

My daughter found the key after I left with my tail tucked. She no doubt got a much better night's sleep than with a seven year old kicking her in the head. I slept like a baby. 



Three more articles. Okay. Four.

Three more bags of stuff. Yikes. That means dust bunnies. And other unpleasantness. 

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Makin Beagles Cray-Cray

Our girls, Gladys and Gertrude are toy snobs. They are also toy fickle. There are a few toys in their toy box that never get chewed. And toys that get some attention... IF they are in the right mood. 

Tennis balls? Sigh and shifty-eyed bored look. 


Rob's physical therapist came over for more how-to-live-without-a-knee therapy yesterday. He was like "You haven't put tennis balls on your walker yet." And Rob was like, "yeah" So PT dude asked if we had any. Rob directed him to the dog toy box. PT dude cut holes in the tennis balls and popped them onto the walker. Then this happened. 

Later Rob got up to go to the bathroom. The girls followed him and barked all the way. Ha.