Getting Philosophical As I Prepare To Take A Month Off From Blogging

Pretty blurry striped colors make for a lovely image* at the top of this post, my last one for 2019.

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I LISTENED TO THE LATEST Hurry Slowly podcast from Jocelyn K. Glei.

In it she introduced her new vision for how her podcast will evolve during Season 3.  In a nutshell, she’s loosening up about who she is and will be focusing less on productivity and more on authenticity.

I look forward to hearing what she says as she shares her transformation and her realizations about what matters to her now.  And therein is the nugget of wisdom that I gleaned from her podcast.

It’s all in the now, the person who you are in this moment and how you will manifest as such.  It’s not about what you’re doing, it’s about how you’re doing it and why.

Always the why.

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AS YOU MAY REMEMBER MY #OneWord365 for this year is streamlined.

Since I adopted it last January I’ve thought on it, not necessarily daily, but weekly as I organize my life, hoping to create a clutter-free home and the conviction that I can do things smoothly.

However, if I’m to be truthful here I’ve had a rocky year with this one word. It’s come to mean expense [roof, windows, computer] and idealistic dreams [the basement and garage are still harboring too much stuff] and, by the looks of the inside of this house, half-finished projects strewn about the rooms in messy heaps of indecision.

On the one hand I feel like I’m a failure about implementing the streamlined concept, but on the other hand I wouldn’t be as far along the path to becoming who I want to be now if I hadn’t focused on it.

So there’s that.

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I’VE DECIDED TO TAKE THE month of December off from blogging and instead focus on Susannah Conway’s December Reflections Instagram prompts.

I enjoy writing but feel that I need to get away from my ordinary routine, allowing me to reflect on how and why I’ll be doing what I plan to do in 2020 AND to decide whether or not my attempts to be streamlined have been a personal transformative experience or just another screwup.

Thus all that is left for me to say here is please enjoy whatever it is you do during the month of December. Make it a fun one. Take joy!

Later, kids.

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* Because someone is going to ask: I made this image by photographing a page from Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith. I then enhanced the photo using ‘Rainy’ in Waterlogue [here for Apple] or [here for Windows].  

I put that enhanced image into Photos on my iMac where I edited it by adding highlights and cropping it into a rectangle.  It was work-y, but turned out pretty darned cool, if’n I do say so myself.

In Which I Prattle On About Ivy, Donating Furniture To Charity, And Tuesday

I’m feeling lighthearted and warm today.

Hence I shall show you the above photo of two pots of ivy immediately after they had a shower in the kitchen sink. One is silver bells ivy, the other is jubilee ivy.

I can’t tell you which is which but I like ivy, and I especially like these two varieties because they have great names and are easy to grow.

That, my friends, is a win-win.

May you heart be like holly and your words be like ivy.

[An Irish blessing, not sure if I got it quite right, but you get the idea.]

Anyhoo, the real reason I’m in a great mood today is that once again I’m waiting for St. Vincent de Paul to get here to pick-up some furniture that we’re donating to them.

Everything but the kitchen sink.

[A nice idiom that lends itself to this post.]

Slowly, ever so slowly, we are divesting ourselves of that which we don’t need but someone else can use.

Another win-win, I believe.

Thus I’ll end this jotting-style post in which I prove that I can and will show up on Tuesdays. Because unlike most of the peoples I know, I like Tuesdays.

Having been born on one.

Tuesday’s child is full of grace.

[A childhood poem, one line remembered.]

So be it with me. What’s up with you?

The One About Beautiful Wedding Photos & Sneaky Weasel Words

Here’s a story I heard from an acquaintance wherein weasel* words created a situation that is not dire, but truly annoying. See if you don’t agree.
Photo by Pexels via pixabay

Acquaintance’s mother recently married.

Acquaintance’s mother had a lovely, perfect wedding that included hiring a well-known local professional photographer to take photos.

Beautiful photos.  Many of them.

But here’s the thing, what acquaintance’s mother did not read [or understand?] in her contract was that this photographer would not use his expertise to discern which photos were the best ones, instead giving acquaintance’s mother the opportunity to see all the photos he took of the wedding.

In practical terms this means that acquaintance’s mother has a problem.

She is now forced to sort through 3,000 photos and decide which ones she wants to keep and have put in an album.  In many cases there are 20 or 30 photos of the same thing like a bouquet… or of acquaintance zipping up her mother’s dress… or of the cake from a gazillion angles.

As you can imagine this sorting process has become a tedious burden for acquaintance’s mother.  It’s overwhelming and is an unwanted game for acquaintance’s mother as she tries to figure out which photos are the best ones.

Acquaintance’s mother is flummoxed by this situation.

It’s not as if she has the time, or the eye, to fuss around with three thousand wedding photos that she’s has contracted for, assuming the photographer would narrow down her choices.

Acquaintance has offered to help her mother, but she can’t intuit which photos her mother and new stepfather will want, nor can she wrap her head around how this happened.

Can you imagine…?  What would you do with 3,000 photos of your wedding day?  

* Oddly enough this has turned into animal week here at The Spectacled Bean.  First ducks, then squirrel, now weasel.  I didn’t plan it this way but go where the road stories take you, I guess.

Trashapalooza: Living Large With Two Paper Shredders

Stop calling, we have a winner for the most boring Project ever.

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Welp, I’m back.

And living in a house that has not one, but two, electric paper shredders in it.

Try not to be jealous.

You see, last week when the ungodly hot and humid heat wave hit our region, I was in need of a project to keep me entertained + cool.  Zen-Den had the week off so he was wandering around the house, in need of something to do.

Hence it came to be that we decided to go into our unfinished, but cold, basement and start doing something we should have done years decades ago. Yes, we bravely opened the drawers in the many filing cabinets down there and sorted through the documents contained therein.

Meaning that we found: bills and checks and insurance documents and warranty information and furniture sales receipts dating back to the early ’90s and… in what was the biggest surprise to me… all of my late mother’s federal and state income tax filings going back to 1984.

[She’s been gone 22 years.  I was executrix of her estate.  I thought I’d destroyed all of her documents before we moved here in ’99, but obviously I had not.]

Anyhoo, in the process of going through all of these documents we decided to invest in a second shredder so that Zen-Den could sort through files while I shredded the paper, feeding both shredders simultaneously like a champ, to keep things moving along at a fast pace.

And to keep life interesting.

Or as interesting as it can be, under the circumstances, while sitting in a dusty basement being responsible adults, shredding our past, for hours on end.

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Question of the Day

What’s your most boring project ever? Did you put it off for decades? Were you compelled to do it because of lousy weather?

The Stuff Of Family & Ancestors: Thoughts While Sorting Through Boxes

Does this make me feel more alive?

[The question to ask. Always.]

I’ve been in a deciding frame of mind this month. Must get rid of a past that doesn’t serve me.

A past that in many cases is not mine, but I reluctantly accepted and boxed up when elderly relatives passed on, storing their stuff in my closets, I did.

Now, I want empty closets, the feeling of lightness.

Been going through dusty boxes of old family photos and documents and letters. Pamphlets and newspaper articles.

Memorabilia, too.

Does this make me feel more alive?

I shred the photos and docs and letters that don’t call to me, and save those that might… might… might… someday find their way into…

a blog post?

an article or essay?

a memoir, perhaps, even?

But as for the family memorabilia, it’s a different kind of past. Remembered with objects, things of history.

Personal cookbooks;  and 1940s slides [with a projector];  and  handwritten family stories;  and a diary;  and a daguerreotype;  and [of all things] a Civil War soldier’s personal mirror with carved initials.

What shall I decide about these objects, I wonder.

Does this make me feel more alive?

Difficult for me, an adult orphan, to know what to do with these things that held memories for someone who is long gone. Someone who I may never have met.

I intend to make peace with these objects, sending them on their way…

to history museums or libraries?

to antique malls?

to the dump?

I’ve been a good relative, respectful, but now I’m ready to have more space, both literal and figurative, in my life. Must get rid of a past that doesn’t serve me.

Does this make me feel more alive?

Be The Light: Of Washing Machines & The Retirement Scene

I’ve joined in a yearlong monthly event called We Are The World Blogfest.  

The purpose of this event is to highlight positive news stories, presenting them on your blog on the last Friday of the month.

This being the last Friday of February, I have a positive story to share with you, my gentle readers. 

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THE NEWS STORY:  

Lee Maxwell, a retired electrical engineering professor who lives in Colorado, collects washing machines.  His washing machine collection, stored in two warehouses, consists of nearly 1,500 machines.

Maxwell, age 87, finds the machines all over the United States.  They’re usually in disrepair.  He gets the machines to his warehouses where he repairs them, and stores them.

He has what is believed to be one of the largest personal collections of anything in the U.S.A.  His hope is that someone, a benefactor, will build a museum dedicated to washing machines so that everyone can see for themselves how washing machines have changed over the years.

[Complete story with video: Washing machine collector takes a whirl back in time]

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MY COMMENTARY:

This story is a quirky happy news story that makes me appreciate people who follow their own muses.

What’s not to love?

A retiree finds a hobby, that turns into a passion, that ends up preserving pieces of history that are easy to overlook.  And suddenly there’s a collection worthy of note because someone, Maxwell, took the time to notice.

I give props to this man.  He didn’t start collecting washing machines to be a news story.  No, he just did it for something fun to do, and in the process saved an interesting part of American history.

I consider him an inspiration.  Think about it, when it’s time to retire we all should be so fortunate as to stumble upon a hobby that takes us down uncharted roads, while filling our hours with a quiet sense of accomplishment.

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Musings On Inherited Stuff And The Right Details

My new mantra.

One that I’ve chanted as I sort through the basement. Where there is so much stuff, household stuff, just sitting there.

Stuff that I didn’t have the emotional strength and/or design perspective to deal with until now.

Stuff inherited.

Stuff saved.

Just. In. Case.

But *news flash* there is no case. There is no reason for me to keep this stuff anymore.

The details are wrong. Not my details.

Grateful that relatives loved me enough to trust me with these details.

Aware of how it came to be that I felt the need keep the wrong details for so long.

But now, slowly, I’m letting go of the stuff.

My head and my heart agree that this stuff, these details that are wrong for me, need to move on to happy homes where they’ll be the right details for someone else.

A decision that’s been a long time in the coming.

Date in fine print at bottom of newspaper advertisement that I used as packing material years ago when I first boxed up this stuff. 😣