Saturday, December 12, 2009

Things are Christmassy!

Normal, everyday things seem different around Christmas, don't they? Cold winter nights are just cold in January or February, but at Christmas time they are cozy and crisp! I burn candles all the time, but at Christmas they are prettier. They glow. Burgundy and sage colored home accents are now decidedly red and green. Hot tea is the stuff! Suddenly it not only tastes good, it makes me feel good when I drink it. Surely you know that hot chocolate was made for Christmas! It's always good, but at Christmas it's almost a food group of it's own. At Christmas, it's all more of an experience! I have a better attitude about traffic at Christmas. I listen to and enjoy music that wouldn't excite me any other time of the year. I mean, who listens to Alvin and the Chipmunks or Bing Crosby in June? I don't even mind Wal-Mart as much this time of year. Maybe that's a stretch, but grocery stores, quick stops, gas stations seem friendlier to me, and it's just easier to smile at folks and strike up conversations.

Funny, isn't it? I wonder why it's that way? It's not just a 'mood', really. It's in the air... things 'are' different! It's the magical part of Christmas that I didn't quite outgrow, I guess. If it is childish, I'll keep it. I would really hate to out grow whatever it is that changes the mundane, day to day life into a different, more pleasant place. I wish I could keep it all the time.

I was thinking about all this just now because I'm baking brownies. I bake brownies other nights, but they are just brownies. Tonight, they just smell... well, Christmassy!. It's great! Happy! Comfy! Cozy! Homey!!

It's over cast and cold, with a light, misting rain this evening. In my world that's next to perfect! In my world at Christmas time it's delightful, enchanting, captivating! I think I'll just take full advantage of it all. Maybe I'll stay up late and look out the windows at the mist, or sit on the couch with just a candle burning. I could do that any night I choose, but this time of the year it's just... nicer.

Yes, I know what Christmas is really about, and I am not making light of it, or trying to change the focus. I just really enjoy the feeling of Christmas time.

Me, a candle, and a warm brownie looking out the window at the rain. Sounds good.

I'll add a warm brownie if they make it that long. ;-)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Any Ideas?


If you have any great tips on how to 'thin out' and get rid of things you don't need, please share!! It's on my heart to start getting rid of things, but I don't know where to start. Some of it I think I'm ready to get rid of, then I'll re-think it and stow it again for another day. Sometimes it's for sentimental reasons, sometimes its because I might need it later, sometimes it's because I might know someone who could use it. Whatever the reason, it seems like a good one at the moment, so I don't get rid of anything and I'm bursting at the seams! I don't want to keep all this junk! I've lived in this house for almost 16 years, and it's jam packed!

It's always been hard for me to determine what should stay and what should go. I suppose I am a partially recovered pack rat. You can never recover completely, I don't think. That might not be altogether a bad thing though, because it helps me spot needful things that others tend to overlook. For example, my husband has been wanting an anvil for as long as I've known him. They are pretty pricey items, so they were way down the list of things to purchase. Well, guess what? I just got a couple of anvils at a yard sale really cheap. Smokin' deal. Anvils are hard to come by, especially out here where we live. These were old, rusting, and junky, and would have gone unnoticed, or maybe to the junk yard if I hadn't gotten them. They cleaned up fine. We saved a bundle of money.

That's just one recent example. I do that frequently with everything; furnishings, tools, clothing, appliances. So, see? I'm good at finding things, but, unfortunately I don't jar loose with them as easily. I guess I just don't know what I actually need.

Here's my dilemma; Let's use the anvils as an example again. My husband is not using the anvils right now, but he will eventually. He has always wanted one and I have been looking for one for many years. Tthey were very difficult to find, and I probably won't get another deal like that, so keeping them is justifiable. Right? Right! So many of my things fit into that kind of a scenario. What do I do?

I have been thinking along these lines:

Pitch it:

~if haven't used it in 6 months (many say 6 weeks but I CAN'T!! lol ...yet)

~if have too many of any one item

~if it costs me more to store it than to replace it (yes, I have done that)

~if it will probably need replacing soon anyway

~if I can, use my 'good' stuff now (stuff that I already packed for moving and safekeeping) and pitch the stuff I've been using in it's place.

(By "pitch" I mean give it to a friend or freecycle it, or maybe take it to Goodwill. I tend to do that with everything I get rid of unless it's beyond re-using.)

Please feel free to chime in on this. Any idea is welcome. I need help! I have had a few minimalist folks try to tell me how to do it, and I understand mentally what they're saying, but they are suggesting that I cut back so radically that I can't really get my brain around it. Baby steps! Baby steps. Man, I sound like an addict.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Technical Difficulties

My washing machine went out. Reaching into the tub full of water, I pulled out a load of heavy, soggy jeans and went tripping down the street to my neighbors's house to spin out the water in his machine so I could bring them back home and dry them. And it was my first dirty load. I have about a zillion more to do. Now what?

Talk about ham strung! It says two very important and very different things to me. Number one, when you have a routine, a schedule, losing valued equipment is a bad thing. This is a monumental setback in the life of a stay at home mom, homeschooler, home maker, and the chief cook and bottle washer. I'm not the hard to please type. If I need a hammer and can't find one, a shoe heel will do. A butter knife, maybe even a fingernail makes a good screwdriver in a pinch. But what can you use instead of a washing machine in a modern home? I went through a moment of panic, followed by some unknown sort of nebulous sadness, followed by a ferocious need to overcome this setback. Conquer at any cost! Never give up! Never surrender!

No, I didn't conquer anything... yet. I will though. Meantime the laundry is piling up.

The second lesson: we as modern Americans are practically incapable of making it when something like this happens. We are so far out of touch with what it takes to get by that we don't think we CAN make it without all of the modern conveniences. The truth is, we are ill prepared. We can't go anyplace if our car breaks down. We can't pay our bills if the internet connection fails. Perish the thought that we would lose our public water services for any extended time. After chaos and looting and weeping and gnashing of teeth, we'd probably all die of thirst!

What does this mean to me? Plenty! However, I have promised myself that I'd blog three or four times a week, and I can see this being a subject of a blog of it's own, so I'm going to make this a cliff hanger.

To my many 'ones' of fans, stay tuned. To be continued....