Meeting Leonard …

Today I went to my second infusion therapy treatment. Infusion therapy involves the administration of medication through a needle or catheter (intravenous). In my case, I am getting remicade, a drug typically used for rheumatoid arthritis and similar diseases, but in my case as a new way to treat my sarcoidosis, a lung disease.

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The treatment is given in a hospital room that is outfitted with two or three recliners. You simply sit in a comfortable recliner for however long it takes; it could be just an injection or it could be administered intravenously which takes 1-3 hours.  You can watch TV, drink coffee, read — or, as I do, knit. This week, however, I didn’t get any knitting or reading done because I met Leonard.

Leonard, accompanied by his wife, was there for a blood transfusion. He receives them weekly, with the amount varying based on this blood counts. I didn’t ask why he needs the transfusion; I just noted that he was pale.

After a few minutes, we started talking. – the three of us. Leonard’s wife (whose name I didn’t get) also takes remicade, which she has taken for years for her rheumatoid arthritis. She looked pretty good to me – which makes me hopeful about my treatment. In any case, I am pretty lucky. It could be much worse.

Leonard and I had a lot in common to talk about. Leonard used to work at Cornelius Company in Anoka. The company is no longer in business, but I worked with them quite a bit during the first part of my time in Anoka. Leonard has several Farmall tractors – a favotite at our house because my husband’s uncle had a Farmall (now at our house). Leonard’s son restores automobiles; we have restored many automobile interiors through out upholstery shop for years. Leonard and his wife traveled after retirement with his fifth-wheel trailer and had lots of travel stories to tell. I love travelling and stories. Leonard (and his wife) are concerned about all the negative, mean-spirited behavior that bombards us every day. So am I.

By the way, Leonard is 84 years old. I hope we are scheduled for treatment at the same time again; it was truly an enjoyable morning.

Thanks for reading! I hope you will return.

Getting to less …

My last blog started this conversation on why and how you can live with less. (Click HERE to read that post.)

Several of you posted comments about decluttering on my Facebook notice of the blog post. (Thank you! I love comments!)  One that made me chuckle a bit is from my dear friend Marilyn, who was recently widowed.

“A new life-style can make you see how you don’t need several coffee pots if you don’t drink coffee (one Keurig is fine for company) and why am I keeping tools that I don’t even know what they are used for?”

I’m sure we all have items like this. As we declutter, ask yourself: If this something you must keep? Is it of value or importance to another family member? (If so, perhaps you should give it to them.) Does it provide something of historic interest? (If so, you may want to consider donating it to a historical society – but make sure you ask them first. Often they have limited storage space.)

To make it easier to start decluttering, let’s focus on the kitchen area.

Do you have several spatulas or other kitchen utensils of the same kind? I have so many, they no longer fit in the ceramic holder. Do you use them all (and often)? If not, out they go?

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How about coffee cups? There is a reason there are shelves of coffee cups at thrift stores. We all seem to collect them. Keep those that have a connection – they were given to you by a friend or family member, they are from a special event, etc.; determine how many you really need; and give the rest away..

If you are like me, you may have old pans that have become scratched and the finish is worn? Do you really use them all? Does something fall out every time you open a cabinet door? If so, it’s time to get rid of a few of those pans.

How about flower vases (another popular item at thrift stores)? I think, at one point, I had about two dozen vases sitting in various cupboards. They were not valuable vases – just those collected over time from gifts of flowers. Most of them were either given to others or went to the thrift store (hopefully to be used by others).

How about plastic containers? Do you have the lids for all of them? If not, out they go. Too many plastic bags? Return them to the store or take them to a thrift store or other organization for their use. Some creative folks are recycling plastic bags by turning them into woven animal mats.

Have you looked at your stored canned goods and boxed food products? At least once a year, I go through my cupboards to remove outdated or partially used items. How about spices? I found some in my cupboard that once belonged to my mother. She passed away in 2002. And, yes, they are no longer in my cupboard.

Much like many of you, I have a carch-all drawer. Recently, I sorted through that drawer, removing the ‘stuff’ – papers, receipts, twist ties, etc. – and either throwing them away or putting them where they belong. I also dded small open containers for the small items. Amazingly, there is now extra room in the drawer. Just a word of warning, though … it’s very easy to fill the drawer again because it is so handy. A periodic purge makes it easier to keep this in check.

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One area I need to tackle is the area under the kitchen sink. It is packed full of cleaning supplies – in various stages of use. A lot of the items have not been touched for quite some time because they are pushed to the back of the cabinet – with many items in front of them. Not only do I need to decide what to throw and what to donate, I also need to rearrange what is left so I can actually access the items. This might require some thought …

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Just to note … decluttering is the first step. Learning to buy less is also important – if, for no other reason, than to eliminate the need to keep decluttering. I, like many others, love a good sale – but, I am now making a very concerted effort to ask myself if I really need that item – sale or not.

Just think – if you do just one of the decluttering activities listed, you are ahead of the game. Try it … just one of the activities. It gets easier as you go – and you will feel good about what you have accomplished.

Thanks for reading! I hope you will return! 

 

 

Life can be better with less …

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(Pinterest stock photo)

 

A tragedy gets us thinking

Just a few days after Christmas 2016, our son’s house was severely damaged by fire. It can be rebuilt – after gutting and completely redoing the inside. The most important thing is that everyone – except beloved pets (a dog and a cat) survived. Most of their belongings were destroyed by fire or smoke. As it turns out, the toxic smoke is just as bad – or maybe more so – than the actual fire. But it is the loss of their belongings that prompted this blog.

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(Not the actual fire.)

Weeks later, my son’s family has been able to find temporary living space and enough furnishings to manage until the home is remodeled. Because they are limited in space, they are being very careful and thoughtful about what they acquire. Once they are ready to move back into their remodeled home, they will add furnishings. But the loss of their furnishings has them — and us — thinking differently about what they really need. A lot of their belongings – as would be in the case of many of us – was just accumulated stuff – stuff that really didn’t play a purpose in their life. It was just there – saved from years before. As they rebuild and replace, they are determined to take a more minimalist view of what they need.

Starting easy

I’ve been on a decluttering bent for a couple years. Being semi-retired, (working half-time plus), I thought I would have it done within a year. Well, that did not happen. After fifty years of marriage, we have accumulated a lot of STUFF. The fire, however, has made me even more determined to keep at it. I use the OLD PEOPLE CLEANING method — OPC. With OPC, we work for 15 minutes and rest for 45 minutes (or so). It also works great when you are doing yard work. But, of course, it is not a quick process.

I’m finding it easier to make progess by starting with items that are easy to discard — paper!! I have draft documents from my work, accumulated over the past twenty plus years. Most often now, however, I use electronic copies or search online. This makes it very easy to take those stacks and file drawers of paper and simply transfer them to the trash can. The hard part  however, is that a trash can of paper can weigh a lot – so we have to be careful not to fill it too full.

Do you still have cancelled checks and receipts from years ago? When we cleaned out our folks house, we found receipts and checks from 40-50 years ago. You do not need them. It is suggested that you keep them for one year – or for up to seven years for tax purposes. But you don’t need to keep century old receipts.

Another item that is easy to discard is magazines. I seldom find time to read them; there are so many other choices for things to do. You can either donate them to a local nursing home or other such organization or throw them away. I keep the craft magazines because the projects are timeless – but you can only store so many of them. From time to time, I just tear out the pages of projects I am currently interested and throw the rest. I’ve also stopped subscribing to magazines. If you really want to find an article on something, you can go online or just buy a single issue.

And what about those empty boxes? Unless you are planning to move, throw them away. They are potential fuel for a fire. And they take up precious space.

If you don’t feel like doing a big decluttering project, start with a cabinet or drawer – one a day or once a week. You’ll be surprised at how easy it becomes.

TIP: As you consider whether to throw something away, ask yourself – does it bring you joy? Does it remind you of someone or something dear? Is it reminiscent of an important event in your life? Is it important enough to give up something else in order to keep it? Does it make you happy?

There’s more to be done …

I have much decluttering left to do. My goal is to declutter in every area – our offices, clothes, kitchen items, bedrooms, bathrooms, decor, the stuff in sheds and garages, and more. It will take a long time. In the meantime, I will keep working at it, little by little.But how do you decide what should stay and what should go? Stay tuned  – my next blog will highlight more tips to help you declutter.

Thanks for reading! I hope you return. 

 

Take a break … and create

There’s always plenty of work to do. I don’t have to plan to have enough work. What I need to plan is how to make sure that work doesn’t take most of my time. So, this year I am creating a plan that will give me more time to do the things I never make time to do.

Don’t misunderstand me, however. It’s not that I don’t like the work that I do. For some reason, my brain enjoys writing ordinances and land use plans and documents. Perhaps it is the writing part of it. If it becomes drudgery, I will stop doing it.

I’ve always had a creative side and have dabbled in numerous arts and crafts. I have many started … and some not finished… projects. But now it is time to start new projects, finish old projects, and use some of those craft supplies that are sitting there, waiting for me, begging me to pick them up.

I started my plan my eliminating some of my consulting work. I’m also not taking any new clients but will simply focus on long-standing clients.

I’ve also developed a system of rewarding myself. I work for a time or complete a work project – then I reward myself by taking some time to read, write, knit or create in other ways (painting, sewing, papercrafting, photography, etc.). During one of my reward periods, I drew a picture. It was not amazing, but it was not horrible. I haven’t drawn in many, many years, so I am very ‘rusty’ at it – but, nonetheless, it was rewarding.

To remind me of my plan, I’ve posted the graphic shown in this post – as a reminder to ‘take a break’ and create.

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Is there something fun that you’ve been wanting to do but you just never make the time? Now is a good time to start – leisure reading, writing (yes, you!), or making something. If you’re not crafty, you could visit or help someone – both of which bring joy to you and the other person(s). So, what’s your plan?

Thanks for reading! I hope you will return. 

DIY # 1 … first project of 2017

Project #1 for the new year is now complete – and you will see it carries forward a familiar theme … adapting a new set of rolling drawers to suit our needs.

One of the most useful, inexpensive storage items we have found is a 6-drawer roll cart, made of pine. They are sold at many stores and come in a box, ready to assemble. If assembled as intended, the cart looks like this:

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If you click HERE, you will see past projects we’ve done using this cart.

This time, we decided to make a cabinet for the area where I keep my Keurig coffee pot and supplies. Before this project, the area looked like this – unorganized and messy.

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As you can see, there were boxes of keurig products everywhere. The TV table also didn’t provide much for stability.

So, my husband bought some lumber to make a shell for the new cabinet. He used drawers from two of the 6-drawer carts. (He has small drawers left over; they will be used in another project.)  This is the result  …

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The area is much neater  …

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and the coffee/tea/hot chocolate is all tucked away in the cabinet …

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Now, on to the next project.

Thanks for reading. I hope you will return.