My transition from cluttered to simple living.

Monday, May 31, 2010

DJan from Djanity, recently received a Blue Award, and has asked six bloggers to respond to the following questions...

1. What is your favorite book and why?
2. If you could be anybody, living or dead, who would it be?
3. What is your first memory? Why do you think you remember it?
4. What do you think is your strongest asset?
5. Do you like parties? Why or why not?
6. What is your favorite activity?
7. Why do you blog?
8. Do you get regular exercise? If so, how?
9. Are you happy? Why or why not?
10. Tell something about yourself you want to share.

I was one of those six bloggers and am going to, over the next few posts, attempt to answer her questions...

1. What is your favorite book and why?" My very favorite book was written by Charlotte Bronte in 1847. " Jane Eyre" is not only a love story, but, according to Wikipedia...

"Partly autobiographical, the novel abounds with social criticism. It is a novel considered ahead of its time. In spite of the dark, brooding elements, it has a strong sense of right and wrong, of morality at its core."

I first read this novel in my teens. I have read it several times since. I often imagined myself in a reversal of roles, and wondered if I would one day have someone love me as much as Jane loved Mr Rochester. I think I shall read it again, and I encourage you to do the same.

2. "If you could be anyone living or dead, who would it be?" Now this question gave me a lot to think about! I am afraid that I cannot narrow that down to one individual... At times, I think I would like to live like Thoreau. I would like to write like Bronte and paint like Bateman. I would like to have the hope and faith and the ability to envision a better world, as did Martin Luther King. I would like to have the inner strength of Rosa Parks...and yet, I would like to be the guy that sat across from her on that day when she refused to give up her seat. I wish I had the wisdom and peaceful demeaner of Wayne Dyer. For the most part, however, I am just glad to be me. I have the bounty of a great family and I would not trade that for anyone or anything!

3. "What is your first memory?" My first memory is being held in someone's arms and waving up at my dad who waved back from a window in a brick building. I looked at him through a chain link fence...and no, he was not in prison! I later learned that I was around three years of age, possibly younger...and my mother held me so that I could see my dad who was in hospital at the time. I remembered this incident as it was a painful memory...and I think pain can leave a lasting impression.

Thanks, DJan for including me in this exercise. I will answer your questions over the next few days!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Just some thoughts...

I am beyond the midpoint in my transition from cluttered to simple living, and I find myself constantly asking myself..."Just what is it you mean by overhaul? What is it that you are seeking to accomplish?" I do this to keep on track. So...I went to numerous online dictionaries, and googled the definition of "Overhaul." The best and most pertinent definition was found in FreeDictionary...


To examine or go over carefully for needed repairs.
b. To dismantle in order to make repairs.
c. Nautical To slacken (a line) or to release and separate the blocks of (a tackle).
2. To make extensive renovations or revisions on; renovate:
3. To catch up with; overtake.

I am pretty happy with those descriptions. Unhappy with the road I was on, I knew it was time to change live more mindfully and to adopt a simpler way of life. To do that, I needed to examine every aspect of my life, and steer my craft towards more peaceful waters. I knew it would take time, thought, effort and review, and that the journey might be lengthy. It has been, and it will be. I think this process will be lifelong.

There are times when I think that I am "almost there," and then I realize that although there have been gains, it is very easy to slide backwards...easy to allow past behaviours and negative thoughts to steer me off course...and during those times, I have to remind myself to captain my ship.

Along the way, I have met many interesting and wonderful people. Many are on the same path. They inspire me to do better, and to keep on paddling. So...with that in mind, I humbly want to say "Thank you." Your comments here, and your blogs, where you share your journey, inspire me. You are the wind at my back and the light in the distance....and I am ever grateful

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Breakfast and Lunch... every day!

When I started writing this blog, my desire was to do an overhaul on all aspects of my life. I wanted to eat better, and live better. Diet and exercise would be introduced with a goal of "simple and effective." I found the GI Diet most suits my needs, and I am thrilled to say that I have lost 13 pounds. I have many more to lose but this has become a way of life and I feel better than I have in years.

Breakfast (above) and lunch (below) are, for the most part, the same everyday. I make a bowl of large flake oatmeal and as it is cooking, I throw in a handful of raisins and cranberries. I usually serve it with soy milk, and I look forward to this dish every day. Lunch consists of a bowl of low fat natural yogurt, topped with fresh fruit.

Supper is whatever I can scrounge. I am trying to stick to salads or lean meat and veggies. When I am hungry, I snack on high fibre, low fat bran muffins. I think I eat like a queen...

Who could argue that point?

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lions and Tigers and Bears! Oh My!

I live in the town where I work. I can walk to work in 20 minutes. I can bike to work in 15 minutes. Work is a 5 minute drive from my front door.

Leaving the car in the driveway is a choice I seldom make, but yesterday I had a twinge of conscience and asked myself this question. "Why do you talk about the effects of our thirst for oil...and seldom ride your bike? Is that not hypocritical? I mean, why recycle paper goods if you do not use them yourself?"

So...with a renewed resolve, I hauled the bike out of the garage and peddled to work...and man, did I feel self righteous! The trip took me a little less than 15 minutes.

Throughout the shift I thought about my ride home later that evening. I looked forward to it. I looked forward to flaunting my resolve to hubby who I knew would wait up for me. It was 10:30 at night. It was dark.

I gave my report to the oncoming nurse and casually mentioned that I was anxious to get home as I was biking. I might have thought that she would impressed. Wrong!

"Wendy" she said. "Did you not hear about the two cougars that were spotted in the field behind the Home?" be perfectly honest...I hadn't. I had forgotten, when I set off, about the bear that had wandered through town last week.

I think I handled the situation well. I told the nurse that I had no concerns, and then when I was out of her sight, I coerced a young nurse-that-happens-to-like me to walk me to my bike. I even talked her into giving me a 5 minute head start if I walked her to her car.

The trip home was less than 7 minutes. My heart beat like a trip-hammer. I am SURE I was followed.

I have a new resolve. I will NEVER ride my bike at night again! Yes...I do want to lose weight...but not as a result of a run-in with a cougar or bear and given that I seldom drive anywhere during the week, I think I can relax a little and enjoy the drive to work tonight as I never have before. I will be parking as close to the door as I can...

Monday, May 24, 2010

I want to encourage each and every one of you to check out the link below.

Sometimes the solution lies in the hands of the simple man....

Friday, May 21, 2010

Garden Helper

My next door neighbour is an artist in his own right.  He is also a big kid.  He repairs old Tonka trucks, collects miniature models of motorcycles and cars, and builds things.  

Below is something he has built.  "He" is standing in the middle of the raised gardens that my husband built...(which, by the way, will be planted this weekend.)

"Frank" has done wonders at scaring off cats, rodents, and dogs.  (Our Lab starts therapy sessions on Monday.)  He has also given me a fright on occasion...but you gotta love the guy!  After all...he has personality.  He is not just the run of the mill scarecrow...

So...thank you Frank for "Frank."  He has become a member of the family, and we love him.


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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I Know How a Hamster Feels

Do you ever feel as if you are running on a treadmill? So much to do, and so little time to do it? Why is it the older you get, the faster time flies? Don't you ever just want to cover your ears, close your eyes, and yell.."STOP! SLOW DOWN!!"

I am tired. I am ready for some time away. I need to refocus.

What is it that can't wait? What HAS to be done? Where do I most want to spend my time? Why do I have to leave home to focus? Has the demands on my time been imposed by ME? I think so....

I feel as if I have been on this treadmill for the past 30+ years. It has been a curse bred by necessity at times, and an incessant desire to please and make others happy.

I know the drill... "What would you most regret if you knew you had little time left?"

I would regret that I had not spent more time with kids, grand kids, my husband, my dad, my friend paint brush.

So here is to the new day...and to the Overhaul of my priorities...and to resolve...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A fun day!

I spent the afternoon today, in Orillia, learning how to machine quilt, at "Thimbles and Things." In the past I had tried to machine quilt, however, my abilities were limited to stitching a straight line.

We began our day by practicing the alphabet and progressed to straight lines and loops. Although I prefer a hand stitched quilt, I can certainly see myself using the techniques I learned today.

I need more practice. I would like to make a quilt for each of my grandchildren. I have made the oldest a quilt. I have three more to do. That number does not include he baby who is on the way, and I imagine, by the time I finish his quilt, I will have had LOTS of practice! I might even be ready for the advanced class!


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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A weekend away...

My friend of 33 years and I, spent a much needed retreat weekend at Cedar Grove Resort, north of Huntsville this weekend. The rates were great...the accommodation...terrific, and the food...superb!

We booked in on their "off season." The weather was chilly, however, the cabins all had fireplaces, and Dee and I did not venture far from the couch, where we worked on knitting, and embroidery.

Such a beautiful place...and to think that our stay there was made possible by the hard work of the pioneers to this area who etched out a place that we would someday visit and enjoy. I am sure that their labours were difficult.

Did I say that the food was superb? I tasted fiddleheads for the first time....and pansies! How nice it was to be served a wonderful meal, and not have to clean up afterward!

I think these chairs have my name on them! Perhaps you might like to come along! You won't regret it! Absolutely lovely!!!

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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Thursday, May 6, 2010

No pics today...

I live in a small town on the eastern shores of Lake Simcoe. It is a sleepy town that seems to come alive at this time of year. More and more of the land surrounding the village, is being claimed and cultivated as farmland. Migrant workers are bought up from Mexico to turn the soil and do the heavy work that Canadians are either too lazy, unmotivated (or too expensive to hire) to do. Crop after crop is harvested throughout the spring, fall and autumn, and then our "guests" return home to families that they have not seen for months.

We have been lucky as far as our weather is concerned. Although we have had cool days, we have seen a great deal of sunshine and have had ample rain. I cannot help but wonder, however, at the reports that I am hearing, of snow in the West. Perhaps this is not unusual weather for Westerners... I don't know, but I am thankful that we have been spared this weather, as I am sure the impact on the crops grown here would be devastating.

My seedlings are beginning to sprout and I look forward to the end of the month when I can put them in the ground. If all goes well, we will have enough vegetables to preserve and ease our grocery burden...and that of our families.

I have been busy painting, knitting and sewing...and working when I have to. As I near retirement, I find I enjoy work less. I think that is a good thing in itself.

My thoughts drift today to the news that seems to get worse as time passes...the oil spill. I cannot help but think that, if we as a whole lessened our reliance on this fuel, that the world would become a more peaceful, and healthier place. It is a disaster of epic proportions, and wish I lived closer to help out in some small way.

So today's post is just a ramble...a collection of thoughts. I am glad that I have found this blogging community. For the most part, the blogs I follow are the writings of people who are doing their best to make this world a better place for themselves and their families... people who aspire to lessen their impact on the world, and in doing so, inspire the rest of us to do the same. Thank you for the inspiration!

Monday, May 3, 2010

What's blooming?

Today I mowed two lawns...BIG lawns...but I loved being outside. I took time to smell the roses...and tulips and apple and pear blossoms. All seemed to sing the praise of just "being."

Does anyone else hear their chorus?

I love all of the colours. There is not one that is more beautiful than the next...all different and all beautiful in their own way

What would this garden be without the diversity of colour and species?

Is the purple tulip more beautiful than its dainty little neighbour, the "Forget-me-not?" (How could we forget you?)

This shy little violet lay hidden beneath some shrub.

I think the flowers who look skyward remind us to do the same.

Pear and apple blossoms feed their nectar to the bees and later will feed their fruit to us. My trees are not touched by pesticides. It just doesn't seem right.

There is beauty in diversity...and you need not venture further than your backyard to find that beauty.

What lesson has your garden taught you?

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