Thursday, May 19, 2011

Got Bees?

It has been a VERY busy month!  We have once again put our home up for sale, which means cleaning, de-cluttering, cleaning some more, and then leaving the house whenever someone wants to snoop take a look at it.  It does tend to make life a little more hectic than usual.

In all the chaos, I thought it wise to cancel the honeybees I had on order (placed in December).  It really didn't make sense to acquire bees when I knew the possibility of moving was in our not-so-distant future.  We were sad, but accepted the reality of our circumstances.

We did decide though that we would take a field trip to at least see other people getting their bees.  Wow - what a sight!  Hundreds of thousands of bees, all packaged in neat wooden containers with screened sides. At least 4-6 pallets stacked full of bee boxes.  Escaped bees confused and aimlessly buzzing around, people coming and going, some with pick-up trucks for larger orders, most simply putting the bees in the trunk of their cars, but all of them with a nervous smile plastered on their face.  If only I would have remembered my camera!

We enjoyed meeting beekeepers and connecting with the local beekeeping clubs, seeing the bees, and wishing we would have kept our order in place.  Then the strangest thing happened...  In speaking with the organizer of the entire sales event, knowing that all the bee packages were spoken for, we were offered a package of bees!  In my weakness, I eagerly accepted the treasure box presented to me.  We rushed to the car with the same nervous smile as everyone else, put the buzzing bounty in the trunk and headed home.  About half way home I really began questioning my sanity, but kept going until we stopped in our garage.  We opened the trunk and gazed in amazement.  Now What??? 

To be continued.....

De-cluttering in a BIG way

The past month has been a whirlwind of changes - more like a tornado really.  My de-cluttering efforts have been off and on again, but now have taken on an entirely new direction.

I have once again put my house up for sale.

This means getting it ready for showings.  You know, where people actually come in and snoop around. Gasp!  Thankfully, this time around, it hasn't been as much of a nightmare as last summer (when I also had the house for sale).  The house, and the stuff in it, has become so much easier to deal with.  It is more organized, with all the obvious junk removed, and (most) everything has an actual spot where it lives.  There is more space where before there was none.  We can actually breathe now.  Ahhhh.  :-)

I am actually beginning to enjoy my home more now that it isn't suffocating me.  But yes, I still would like to sell it.

Through this process I have realized something -

De-cluttering isn't only about STUFF

De-cluttering also involves the emotions.  I am discovering that all the stuff keeps me from really communicating with the deepest part of myself.  I have become totally disconnected from my true self because I have been constantly fighting with my outer environment.  My sense of inner peace has been totally squashed without me even realizing it because I was so busy trying to take care of "stuff".

Now, with lots of stuff gone, I am beginning regain my sense of peace, am finding more patience (a little at a time), have found new direction for myself, and am experiencing renewed personal growth.  My kids seem more at ease, are more cooperative, and are taking a larger part in keeping their rooms and things cleaned up.  We have ALL benefited from the de-cluttering efforts.

To go back to my previous post where I said that

Simplifying is not always Simple!

I can now say that the hard work is TOTALLY worth it.  You will gain more than you can imagine.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My - how things do change over time

As I go through the process of de-cluttering, I find myself examining different aspects of my "Self" and how I have changed over the years.  The possibility does exist that my introspection is what triggered the desire to simplify, but really either way makes no difference...

So what have I found?

I am amazed at the person I have become, not for my accomplishments, or even my values, but simply for the shock that I am nothing like what I used to be, or even what I thought I would be like at the not-so-ripe old age of 45.  I am surprised at what I see in the mirror now, compared to say, oh, a mere 20 years ago.  Not surprised in a bad way, but more in a curious way.  Where did this new "me" come from?  Over time, one does not notice the progression or slow formation of something new.  But comparing the before and after, a whole new perspective becomes dramatically apparent.  Is it maturity?  Is it life experience?  What is it that triggered the metamorphosis standing before me?  I suppose the answer can vary as much as there are people in the world and may be a question better left unanswered.

What I would venture to say though, is that dramatic change over time can be something to embrace, to value, and to appreciate.  It shows the growth of a person - the evolution of the self - into someone better, stronger, and hopefully wiser.  It allows for a new perspective on the future, new horizons to reach for, a reorganization of priorities and dreams.  Life becomes richer for the future as we look to the past.   I am now left to wonder to myself,

"What will I be like in another 20 years?

I know with certainty that everything will look a lot different than it does now...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Still. De-cluttering.

What was I thinking?  De-cluttering is supposed to be easier than this.  Whoever said it gets worse before it gets better was RIGHT.  And WHY is it taking SO LONG?

We were making good progress until we hit the kids' toys.  Oh, everything was fine as we removed the toys from bedrooms and hauled them to the basement.  We all shared in the joy of "clean new bedrooms", but once we stood back and surveyed the rubble in the basement, I was ASTOUNDED!

How can "I" possibly be the one who bought all these toys?  Yes,  I admit it - I was the main toy purchaser in the household.  The kids did help though.  But this now leaves me as the primary toy get-rid-of-er.

I can't get through ALL.THIS.STUFF!

My attempts have been temporarily stifled.  Before drowning, I finally had to turn my back on the toy problem and focus on something more manageable.  I managed to get some of my old belly dance costumes posted for sale (including photos) and now feel better.  Sort of.

There is still SO MUCH to do!

If you get anything out of this post, it might be that


I really wish I had some more reminders that this all takes time.  Lots.of.time.  And that it is OK to take a break.  It took years to acquire the junk, and it will not disappear overnight.  Unless the house burns to the ground.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A realization on de-cluttering

I am actually now on day three of de-cluttering - and as all things come in threes, I have made an interesting (at least to me) observation today.

My purging "piles" ultimately consist of

  • 1 -  Get rid of it  (either trash, donate or sell)
  • 2 -  I might need it/I can make something with this/we could use this later/$$$ 
  • 3 -  Keep it

Pile #1 is easy - OUT it goes!  Ahhh - relief
Pile #2 is killing me!
Pile #3 is also easy - but it helps to be organized

If I look at this arrangement, I see I am easily getting rid of only 1/3 of my stuff.  I am also easily keeping 1/3 of my stuff, but that last 1/3 is causing me much grief and agony!  If I succumb to the last 1/3 and keep it, I am only getting rid of 1/3 of my clutter.  That is FAR below what I had hoped for.  I was thinking something fantastic like 85% would disappear - NOT!

So the question becomes - HOW do you get past a laundry list which includes the desire to sew a cute dress from the floral cotton curtains?   Or the flannel pillowcase which could become a great shirt for my son?  Or the brand new baby clothes we could save for ??? in the future?  Or the doilies gifted to me from my now deceased favorite Aunt? and it goes on and on and on....

Pleeeeease tell me I am normal!

Okay maybe not entirely normal, but at least - ummmmmm.... well never mind that.

It is taking me nerves of steel, and hours of torture to decide what to do with pile #2.  I really truly want to get rid of the stuff - and realistically know that most of my ideas are hair-brained at best, but overcoming that reflexive impulse to keep stuff is almost too much to bear.  It would really help if there was some leprechaun or something sitting on my shoulder egging me to "just toss it".  Wouldn't that be nice?  I wouldn't have to get caught up in my own guilt trip.  There must be a better way....

My main argument with myself is to accept the fact that I have only so much time and energy, and that it is totally unrealistic to think I can tackle all these projects and still be human.  The projects have been sitting there for ages, so why would I believe I will get to them anytime soon?  Wouldn't I rather spend some quality time with my kids instead???  Yes.  Reality check in progress...

Pile # 2 aside, I am feeling some sense of accomplishment today.  One large bag of clothes went to the donation box, the garbage can is half full of junk, two boxes of clothes are ready to head to the consignment store, one large box and 1 full garbage bag are deemed garage sale material, and eight boxes and two (gigantic) trash bags of stuff are now empty!  Yippee!!!  Closet space is actually opening up!!!

I think this project is going to require at least two or maybe three phases.  Phase 1 = go through the obvious stuff and figure out what goes in pile #2.  Phase 2 = revisit pile #2 and purge again.  Phase 3 = repeat phase 1 and 2.

How are your de-cluttering efforts working out?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Getting ready for SPRING

With Spring nowhere in sight and a severe case of cabin fever, plus lots of new ideas starting to slowly materialize, and an ever increasing sensation of suffocation, I have decided it would be a good idea to begin my spring cleaning early.

Oh the joy!

The process began last year when I put my house on the market, and it felt so good to get rid of at least some stuff.  But in the rush of getting the house ready, there wasn't much time to really sort through things other than the obvious junk.   My previous de-cluttering attempts were more like high-speed semi-organizing or simply a "hide it in the closet so the room looks tidy because someone wants to see the house" event.  No REAL de-cluttering actually happened.

Soooo, this year I actually want to take the extra time and effort to move a little closer towards a minimalist lifestyle.  Now don't get me wrong, I am NOWHERE even remotely close to true minimalism, but the idea sure is ever so appealing.  So, by getting rid of one load of junk at a time, I have hope that MAYBE, someday, I will have a clutter/junk free home.  Doesn't that sound utterly blissful???

I am beginning in the basement.  I figure that's where the stuff we really don't use or need is hiding.  There are two closets fully loaded with JUNK which are the first on my hit list. I can't wait!  But at the same time I have to wonder how I will get past the "I might need it someday" syndrome. This is where it comes in handy to have a thick skin.  But I promise, I will do my very best.  Hopefully the final culmination of my efforts will be a really successful garage sale. ;-)

Will keep you posted as the project progresses.

Have you found a good approach to de-cluttering?  Please share your tips and tricks!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Multiplication - DONE!

WOW - we are soooo excited!  The kids have finished MathUSee Gamma!  They are now proficient in multiplication!

I'm not really sure if I can say that multiplication itself was a challenge, but actually getting through the lessons was the challenge.  The kids, especially H, really started to slow down as the problems got larger.  Not because they couldn't do them, but because they "didn't want to" do them.  Oh the drudgery....

But with some arm twisting, and some cheer leading, and maybe even a little bribery, all lessons have been completed successfully.  What a relief!  

I will be waiting a few weeks before diving into the next level (division) so that the kids can decompress a bit.  I've decided a nice change of pace is what they really need, so the next month or so will be primarily focused on science, maybe some history, more reading and writing.  

This is what I love about HSing.  The flexibility to make changes as we go.  It makes learning so much more fun when you aren't chained to a desk, enduring the same monotony day after day - and it makes teaching so much more satisfying as well.  Oh, and best of all - I get to spend time with my kids.  ;-)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


After looking through my old posts on this blog, I noticed that I spend a lot of time wishing and struggling for peace and harmony in my household, but yet, for several years it has alluded me no matter what I do or try.  I sound like a broken record.

So now I ask myself:
Am I expecting something unrealistic?
Or is there really a problem here that I am not dealing with?

The answer to both questions is yes.

I suppose the first part of the issue is that not everyone's idea of peace and harmony is the same.  Or they have different ways of getting there.  Or maybe it really doesn't matter to them.  And it really doesn't matter, since I have come to realize that the only place to find peace and harmony is within yourself, regardless of what other people think, do, say, or feel. Expecting someone else to fit into your own parameters isn't realistic.  What it does is guarantee disappointment.  And boy have I been disappointed.  I have been looking outside of myself for reinforcement, support, and yes, I admit it - peace.  The thing is, is that I set myself up for the disappointment.  I didn't live in the present moment.  I was looking to the next moment and finding fault with what was NOW, and how it would affect the future, my future... MY tranquility.  And naturally I blamed it on the perceived intrusion and/or impediment rather than accepting reality and my part in the disruption.

But then there is the nagging feeling that what I am hoping for ISN'T unrealistic.  I KNOW it is possible.

So what then is the problem?  Naturally we need to deal with the people and situations around us, and having expectations of others is completely normal, but what you do with them is where the difference lies.  I am concluding that the real key to dealing with our expectations is COMMUNICATION.  Without REAL communication, the entire structure of reliance and trust between two people breaks down.  If everyone openly and honestly communicates effectively, and LISTENS to the other person's concerns/needs, there should be no reason why a happy medium can't be found.  However, if one or neither party is able to effectively communicate and/or listen, it is virtually impossible for the needs/desires of either party to be met.  Unfortunately I am finding myself in just this situation.

So how do you resolve a stalemate?  You change yourself.  You change the circumstance.  You change the environment.  You change your expectations.  You change SOMETHING.  The only thing you can't change is someone else, and expecting them to change IS unrealistic.  You may find that the only way to find resolution is by leaving the relationship.  No matter what change you make, it really becomes our responsibility to ourselves, to take necessary measures to find our own personal peace and satisfaction in our relationships and lives.

The well known definition of INSANITY seems a very fitting way to end this post;

Insanity;  Doing the same thing over and over again yet expecting different results.

Is it time to end the insanity in your life?  Make a change for the better.  Today I accept responsibility for my own peace and harmony.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Freedom from FB

After finally succumbing to the pressure to join FaceBook, and actually enjoying it for a while, I have recently come to the realization that FB really hasn't brought any substantial benefit to my life.  In fact, it has done the opposite by taking much of my free time from my family, and myself.  I haven't done any knitting or spinning, no photography, not as much reading, no new blog posts, etc.  FB really became a drain of my time and energy, it stifled my creativity, and essentially created an addict.  I made the decision last week to delete my FB account, and after a few days of withdrawal, I am finally feeling liberated!  What a relief.  It is time to get back to my life.  The life that is here - now - and is REAL.  The article that pushed me over the edge is here -  Perhaps some of you will come to the same realization as I did.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

2011 - Already?!

Another turn of the year has come and gone.  We are already 1/2 way through January!  I find myself amazed at the accelerating rate of the passage of time.  No matter how hard I try to slow life down, it keeps going - faster and faster.  I suppose I will just have to accept the fact that time really does fly.
So where have I been the past 4 months?  Home.  Trying my best to bring harmony to our household.  And although challenging, I have had some success.  Here is an update on the happenings of late;

We are still homeschooling, and doing MUCH better than we did last year.  December was tough to keep momentum going, but that is par for the course with the holidays.  I am not going to beat myself up about taking a few weeks off for the holidays.  I am overjoyed to say that we are almost finished with MathUSee Gamma!  We started over with it in September and have made steady and swift progress.  Both kids are reaching mastery of multi-digit multiplication.  We are on course to move into division in the next month or so!  I am so very pleased and am breathing with relief at their progress.   The Spectrum writing workbooks have proven to be a tremendous help as well.  I have seen great progress in both of their writing and spelling abilities even though it doesn't feel like we have been making any extraordinary effort.  I think the variety of the lessons as well as more consistency has been the key to improvement.  Reading has really taken off this year too, especially for H.  It is a joy to come home from the library with armloads of books and actually see that my son is reading them.  I thought it would never happen, but patience has paid off.  Overall, I am feeling the best I have thus far with our HSing.  I think I have finally reached a true knowing that the kids will be fine, even if we don't do it like they do at PS.  It is a blessing to have them learning at home.  My son is still very enthusiastic about cooking, and is looking forward to some serious science projects.  Both kids also want to learn to sew and knit, so there are lots of fun things on the horizon for us.

As for myself, I have been challenged to the extreme over the past few months in several aspects, but I feel like the sun may finally be breaking through if at least a little at a time.  My primary concern at the moment is my struggle with severe anemia.  The past three months I have been struggling with it, but have just come to discover that it has gotten worse.  I am now engaging in overdrive iron supplementation and hope it will make a difference.  Another month will tell.  My financial picture is slowly taking shape with the recent purchase of a duplex, but I still am looking for a way to further supplement my personal income.  I am seriously considering starting up my spinning business again.  Which reminds me - I have actually made some time to sit down with my wheels again!  It feels so good to create once again.  It has been long overdue...

My goals for this year are pretty basic - to keep up our HS momentum, to improve my (and our) health, and to continue to improve my financial outlook.  And finally to bring back joy and peace to my household.

OH!  I almost forgot!  We got another doggie! She is a young Australian Cattle Dog (aka; blue heeler).  I never in my wildest dreams would have thought I would ever own more than one dog at a time, but much to my enjoyment, we now have two!