Minimalism

Six months into decluttering

As it is July, it has been at least six months since I started to declutter things. I thought I’d do a short blog about what I have now and where the decluttering goes from here.

The first thing I went through was my clothing. I have definitely trimmed a lot there. I now have two capsules –  a warm and a cool weather one. The warm weather one is bigger, mostly because the cool weather one was full of stuff I didn’t really like or had worn out. So as we come to cool weather again, I’ll be creating a solid wardrobe of things that I love. My warm weather capsule has 4 pairs of shorts, four t shirts, and four tank tops. I also have a pair of capris. My cool weather capsule has three pairs of jeans (they are three different sizes and I will assess in cool weather what fits the best and probably go down to two pairs) and three pairs of nicer pants. I may get rid of one pair that I’m not really happy with. I have three sweaters and two long sleeved tees. I need a few more of the long sleeved shirts since it’s not always sweater weather. I have gotten my shoes trimmed and again, may trim more but currently have a pair of converse, a pair of tan heels, a pair of black flats and a pair of tan flats. There are two pairs of boots (again, one more cold weather and the other for the in between weather). I have workout clothes and running sneakers for working out but that belongs to neither capsule.

I cleaned out a lot of bathroom products. All my makeup fits into one bag with the exception of six eyeshadows (the only ones I own). They can go in the bag but it’s tight and so I don’t have them living in there. I would like to trim that some more but so far I haven’t been able to. All of my hair stuff and the one bath bomb I have fits into a small drawer set that’s under the sink. Everything else is in the bathroom cabinet and the sink is cleared off. There was a lot of stuff on there once so I am very proud of how neat that looks.

I am still working on the food situation and making sure that the food gets eaten and not stockpiled. Progress is being made though. I also got rid of a lot of extra unused kitchen goodies. I can find everything now and even have empty cabinets in the kitchen. It’s a pretty joyous thing. I do need a mini muffin tin but I never had one of those, so it’s not like I got rid of one. Under the kitchen sink is also cleaned out and most of the stuff that had accumulated is in a place with other like things (I have one box of cleaning supplies) or it’s gone. There was a lot of old paint. The front bathroom has also been cleaned out and the closet space is neat.

There are fewer bookcases and most of them have empty space now. I’m still working on making what I have neat but it’s a process. Every time I go to one of them I get stuck trying to figure out how to consolidate but since they all hold different sizes, It’s hard.

At this point, I have some goals that would help organize better. One is to redo the closet organizing system. What is in there is just the wire racks that came with the house. I’d like to remove that and install a drawer system. It would be better way to store things and would likely mean the dresser could go away. The bottom shelf/rack doesn’t have anything on it, so it’s wasted and I think would look nicer with drawer systems in place. Getting rid of the dresser would also open up a lot of floor space in the bedroom, which would be helpful. I’d also like to figure out how to get all of the bookcases consolidated. Since I don’t know yet how to best do that, it’s on hold.

I would also like to get a stackable washer/dryer and change the laundry closet so that there is shelving on one side… or maybe open the kitchen up some more? That project involves moving a wall though, so it’s a long term thing. I also need to paint, especially in the living room area and put baseboard down (it’s been without for a long, long time now…) and fix the holes that are in one of the walls. It’s patched but it looks… bad. The living room needs work. I need to work on my drywalling skills. I don’t think that’s going to happen in the short term. One thing at a time right?

I’ll decide where to start eventually. It’s all part of the process. I am moving forward. I definitely feel less stressed with less stuff. Everything stays cleaner because I don’t have a million random things floating around with no real home. It’s easier to clean because I don’t have to spend an hour putting things away or looking for a place to put things because it’s already away. That alone makes life less stressful. Every time I get something else the way it should be, I feel a sense of relief and completion, as though it’s one less thing to worry about. That’s a good thing. I have also been able to see more clearly what needs to be done to get everything cleaned up. The house is messy and over the past several years we’ve discovered all kinds of issues and made holes that need to be fixed as we rearranged outlets. We also have found things that just weren’t done well when the house was built. The front door needs to be replaced as do the windows, which will help with energy costs. Little things that we need to do that add up to big projects none of which I could see well when I was constantly picking things up and putting them down but never making progress. I hope that makes sense?

Anyway, I’ll leave this here for now. I spent my morning doing nothing – relaxing some and letting all the pressure float away. Tomorrow, I’ll start work on whatever project is next. Three weeks… let’s see what can be done in three weeks.

Life, Nursing School

Welcome to summer break

I just got home from my final exam for my summer class. It’s an indication of how ingrained my routine is that as I unpacked my bag, I immediately thought “Ok, what do I have to look over?” The answer is nothing, as I am now out of class until August 14th. I had to stop and reflect for a moment because that was a true moment of surprise. It also reminded me that this journey has an end. This time next year, with any luck, I will have a new job. Wow… When I look back at the moment where I quit my job teaching and think about how much work was in front of me it almost amazes me that I can look forward and see the end.

It has been more than worth it.

For now, I am going to look at the next three weeks and see what kinds of stuff I can do in them. I want to try and get through at least three books. I have plenty of time for that. I also want to try and get ahead with some blog posts so that when I have exams come next time, I don’t have a big gap with no posts. I will do some bullet journaling and hopefully refine my newest version of a weekly layout so that it works for me. I may make another declutter pass and see if there’s anything else that needs to go. And of course, I have my day zero project list to work on.

Then there are the practice things like getting the house clean, going through the kids’ clothing and seeing what they need for school.

Today, however, is a day to celebrate. This break has been a long time coming. It seems as though I’ve been going nonstop for a year (there were a couple weeks off between fall and spring so I know I haven’t been but that’s how it feels). This occasion is momentous. I think it deserves cupcakes. 🙂

I’ll be back tomorrow.

Books, Bucket List, Bullet Journal, Life, Running

My Day Zero Project

So, the premise of the day zero project is to complete 101 tasks in 1001 days. These tasks are intended to be things that are challenging or interesting to you. Things you might not otherwise try to do. So, in the vein of accountability, I’m going to list the 52 things that I have on my list currently. I am also open to suggestions, if anyone has a suggestion about things to do that should or could go on my list. My official start date was July 1, 2017. That means I have util February 26, 2020 to finish everything. I still need 49 things. It’s a bit varied and there is some overlap… and some places where I’m not overlapping. It’s my project that will hopefully get me adventuring again. I will update when I make some progress (I have started on a couple of things). Wish me luck!

My list is

1. Go on a road trip
2. Complete a 365 day photo challenge
3. Do some volunteer work
4. No fast food for a month
5. Write a book
6. See 10 classic movies I’ve never seen
7. Complete a coloring book
8. Write a letter to myself to be opened when the 1001 days is over
9. Learn a poem by heart
10. Ask 20 friends to suggest one book, and read them all
11. Get a facial
12. Go rockclimbing
13. Attend the New Orleans Jazz Festival
14. See the Northern Lights
15. Make a Christmas song playlist
16. Mail a letter to Santa
17. Watch It’s a Wonderful Life
18. See the lighting of the Rockefeller Christmas Tree
19. Host a cookie-baking party
20. Deliver homemade holiday treats to someone unexpected
21. Do a random act of kindness for a stranger
22. Have a Christmas cookie swap
23. Learn meditation
24. Learn to make cheese
25. Learn to longboard
26. Write one page of my novel every day for a year
27. Learn how to paint with oils
28. Blog at least once a week for a year
29. Take a photo of the same place every month for a year
30. Run a 5K every month for a year
31. Send one handwritten letter per month for a year
32. Bake something new every month for a year
33. Spend an afternoon taking photos once a month for a year
34. Complete the 52 week money challenge
35. Keep a blog for a year
36. Drink from a coconut
37. Swim in every ocean
38. Visit a friend in a different country
39. Attend a TED event
40. Sleep in an overnight train
41. Save $500 in an emergency fund
42. Perform 5 random acts of kindness
43. Complete a 30 Miles in 30 Days Challenge
44. Complete a 30 Day Yoga Challenge
45. Climb an indoor rock wall
46. Go to Disneyland from opening to closing
47. Make a pie on Pi day
48. Eat lobster in Maine
49. Take a picture for each letter of the alphabet
50. Make a list of the top 5 people who have positively influenced me and write them letters
51. Keep a “My Day in Six Words” journal for 6 months
52. Read 50 books
Life, Nursing School

I am sitting here looking over my notes for my test tomorrow and I quite suddenly came to the realization that I haven’t blogged in a few days. How did that happen? Part of it has surely been switching planners and working through a new way of planning. It may not be as effective as I need it to be but I’m trying to ensure that I incorporate a few things that I have been ignoring. Part of it has likely been that I have been tired. Well, coming off of an adrenaline high might be the better description. I crashed hard. It’s been a crazy week, so I guess I’ll summarize what has happened.

First off, Monday and Tuesday off and I actually took those two days and did… nothing. I studied for a test on Wednesday and that was pretty much it outside of reading, running and generally laying around doing nothing. That threw me off schedule for sure. I cleaned the house on Monday, which hadn’t been done in awhile and I did some decluttering of my wardrobe. Both things were needed.

Wednesday I took a test and had to take my daughter to the behavioral therapist. The test was great. I did really well. My daughter’s appointment just threw me off more and I forgot to blog and since I had clinical the next day I did more nothing that night except read. I really wanted to get through that book (I only just finished it today).

Thursday was clinical day and that’s where things got a little loopy. I spent the day in the emergency department which is one of the places I have been considering working. I honestly expected that the day would be dull. I trained as an EMT a couple of years back and had several days of ambulance rides where nothing happened. Seriously, every paramedic team I rode with commented on how dull the days were by the end of my time there. So I thought, just my luck, the day will be filled with splinters and fevers. Nope.

We had an actual, real trauma come in. I can’t share details but suffice it to day that it was a real trauma with lots of blood and CPR and, in the end, death. And that was all before lunch. The rest of the day kept me busy and I hadn’t even realized the amount of adrenaline that I had in me. Until the next day when I woke up feeling like a truck ran over me. I sent Friday recovering, grocery shopping and working on paperwork for clinical. I have never been in a situation anywhere near that and while I did enjoy it, I now have to contemplate if the overwhelming adrenaline crash is worth it. Or if it will quell with time and I won’t crash so badly. It’s a lot to think about, honestly.

And then the weekend came and I went to work. And I hand’t blogged all week. So I apologize. I meant to blog, thought about it more than once but simply forgot after a couple of days. So now I’m back and will strive to do better.

Coming up, I want to talk about my bullet journal switch. I just started a new one and am trying a new format. It may not be working well but I’m trying to give it time. And think about options for other ways to handle what I need it to. I finished the third book in the series I referenced previously and A Court of Mist and Fury was interesting. Not how I expected the story to go but as there are more books to come and I did enjoy the first three, I will probably give them next one a go. This author also has some other books, so I may consider reading those too. I stopped at the library today and picked up Chris Colfer’s new book, Stranger Than Fan Fiction which looks very good. I have officially begun my Day Zero Project, with the first of July and so far things are not going well. I asked for book recommendations and got almost a handful from one person and one from another person. I need to ask again. Or redefine that goal if nobody has books for me to read (something I find odd given the number of people I know who read). Finally, this summer semester is nearly over with only seven class days left… five if you take out this Thursday and Friday for clinical. And the last three are all test days! We take a test tomorrow and then we have two days of class before all our final testing for the class begins. Then we get a month off, to rest before starting the second to last semester before graduation.

For now, I’ll sign off. I need to read through my notes again and see what’s sticking and what isn’t. I also need to put kids to bed and get some sleep myself. I’ll be back tomorrow!

Books, Life

Book Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses

So, just for fun, I thought I’d do a book review. This is mostly inspired by the fact that this series is one that has me enraptured and I can read quickly but I still want to reread. Now, I am keeping in mind that the series is incomplete and there are three more books that are supposed to be written. Also, I haven’t read the third book yet and I’m not done processing the second. Bear with me.

The book strikes me as one that is well thought out. I’ve read plenty of books that had a storyline but it didn’t seem very well thought out. Mostly, I feel that way when weird things start happening that seem out of place or the author just seems to be adding on to the story for the heck of it. This first book has a feeling of purpose – the story is going somewhere. The characters also seem to be well thought out, with backstories that are consistent and don’t change wildly from book to book. That is also something that I’ve seem happen and drives me crazy. The author seems to know her characters and her world, which makes the story always seem to follow a path.

I liked the characters a lot. There are more books with women as the main character now but there are still fewer than should be. It took me awhile to determine that the narrator is female but it’s nice to heat the story from her point of view. It’s also crucial to the story that we hear it from her pov, but it’s always wonderful to read a female lead who isn’t a damsel in distress and doesn’t act like a frilly girl. Feyre is definitely strong and determined and not afraid to fight when she has to which is nice. Now, the story does revolve around a relationship but it doesn’t progress in a typical way which is nice.

The world the story is written in is also really detailed. I got the impression that the author knew a lot more about her world than she needed to for writing her story. That always makes the story more interesting. Authors tend to drop in details that have nothing to do with the overarching story arc but still makes the story more interesting which is fun.

As a brief description, the first book introduces Feyre who ends up being taken to the fairy world after an incident (I don’t want to give away what happens if you decide to read it, so I apologize if this is vague). Feyre is a human and is terrified of fairies. The story follows somewhat of a Beauty and the Beast arch, where there is a spell that needs to be broken. The fairies are well written and very interesting. Feyre meets several different kinds of fairies and they all help her move forward in her discovery of what is actually going on. There is a lot of confusion in the writing since Feyre doesn’t actually know what’s going on and it’s told from her perspective. That allows you to learn about the world as Feyre does which is always interesting. The ending of the first book is what you would expect but it leads into the second book (A Court of Mist and Fury) which does not go the way you anticipate – or at least, I didn’t. The third book is out but I haven’t gotten it from the library yet so I don’t know where this part of the story goes.

Originally the books were a trilogy so I don’t know how the next set of three will play into the story but I will probably read the fourth one and see how the story goes from the end of the third book.

I just thought I’d throw this out there since I had some unexpected extra time today. I hope everyone has a great week and I’ll be back with regular type stuff tomorrow. Until then!

Writing

The Prophesy is made

Disclaimer: This is a story that has been forming in my head. This is all I’ve managed to get on paper so far, so I’m putting it here. If you want to read it feel free.

Queen Dana looked out at the party and smiled. Summer solstice had always been her favorite time of the year. Still, she had an uneasy feeling that something would happen tonight. The fae’s predictions had unnerved her. She shook her head, trying to shake the fog away and enjoy the solstice celebration. She turned, hearing a step beside her and came face to face with a tall, red haired elf. He had her green eyes and her sharp cheekbones, the only indication that they were brother and sister.

“Eldan,” she said cheerfully, “I thought you weren’t going to be able to be here.”

He shrugged and looked at his sister.

“Change of plans. I had a fairy tell me I needed to come instead of patrol the border.”

“Since when do you heed the warnings of the fae?” she asked seriously.

“Since this one was so insistent. He seemed sure that if I wasn’t here that you would be in danger.”

Dana frowned. That would make two fairy folk that had warned her family of danger. The dark cloud came into her mind again as she began to worry.

Eldan sensed his sister’s concern and patted the long sword at his side.

“Don’t worry. No harm is coming to you or anyone else in our family,” he said sternly.

Dana simply nodded. She had no doubt that her brother could protect her. He was a master swordsman, having spent years learning how to wield the sword. Their father had ensured that he could protect their lands and Eldan took that duty seriously. The summer lands were everything to him.

Eldan scanned the party and gave his sister a pat on the cheek.

“Don’t worry,” he said as he strode off.

But the queen was worrying. The fae normally stayed out of the elven affairs. The two groups were hardly friends and often there were issues between elves and fairies when the two groups came together. When the fae came to the elven royalty of their own accord, it meant something serious was about to happen.

Eldan’s red hair was fairly easy to spot amid the crowd of elves. It was a unique feature and nobody was surprised when he turned out to be adept with fire magic. Any elf that had that hair color was almost always a fire adept. Dana’s own magic was also fire but she was not as skillful with it. That was part of why she always looked for someone to protect her. Her brother and her husband were the two people she relied upon.

Marrying the elf who would become king of the elven lands had not been Dana’s intention but somehow Galdren had fallen in love with her. He was powerful and Dana had been drawn to that. Now that they had been together so long, she truly did feel a deep affection for him, although not really love. She was excellent at playing her part though, and only two other people were aware of her true feelings for her husband. So now she was here, a queen and occasionally a target for others. She had a feeling that she was in crosshairs tonight.

The summer solstice celebration was picking up and the music was incredible. The group playing was enchanting the crowd and the large ring of dancers was growing. As the night wore on, Dana became more comfortable and was starting to feel that she had been silly for worrying. Nothing had happened and the night was beautiful.

As soon as she had the thought, she felt the air change. Before she could move, she felt her brother’s presence at her back. Galdren was at her side a moment later. The crowd felt the change in the air too and the elves were looking around, trying to find the source of the cold. Stepping out of the shadows, a dark fairy moved into the ring of dancers. Her clothing was dark and her skin was purple but so dark it almost looked black. She looked around, finally finding the queen.

“Milady,” she said tauntingly.

Dana wasn’t queen by accident though and played the royal she was.

“What do you want fae?”

The fairy sneered, “You speak very brusquely considering I know secrets that could destroy you.”

Dana drew back, looking as haughty as she could.

“I don’t have any secrets. Now go from this place. This celebration is not for your kind.”

The fairy shook her head and stood her ground.

“Not before I give you the prophesy.”

“We do not need your prophesy, fae,” said Galdren angrily.

The fairy laughed. It was an evil sound and the elves closest to her drew back.

“I have come to tell you this and then I will leave. A plague on this land and its people. There will come a day when the queen of the elves will have a child. That child will be born this midwinter.”

The fairy leered at the queen who looked taken aback. She hadn’t even told her husband that she was expecting their child. She shook her head, confused.

“You can’t know that,” Dana said.

“You already know,” the fairy sneered again.

“This child is going to bring forth a period of woe for the elves. A period of drowse, where no progress will be made. The lands will shrink. The end of the elven age draws near.”

As suddenly as she appeared, the fairy was gone.

Galdren turned to his wife. “Is this true?”

Dana nodded her head, still in shock.

Galdren frowned. He was unsure of what to do next. Eldan put his hand on his sister’s arm.

“The fae don’t know what they speak of,” Eldan said. “How can she know that a child will bring woe? This child may bring in a new joy for us and the fae are trying to scare us.”

“We all know that the fae prophesy. What fae prophesy have you ever known to be untrue?” asked Galdren.

Eldan shook his head.

“Our first child,” sighed Galdren. Finally he spoke.

“This child can not be allowed to become royal. They will have to be given to another family, raised as a common elf. The child can not become a leader of the royalty.”

Dana looked at her husband angrily.

“Are you suggesting that we banish our child?” she asked him.

“What choice is there? The kingdom must be protected.”

Dana shook her head. “No.”

Galdren looked at her carefully before speaking.

“There is no choice Dana.”

“There is,” replied the queen.

She reached to her head and pulled the crown from it. Eldan grabbed her hand.

“Dana, what are you doing?” Galdren asked her.

“You can find another wife then,” Dana replied.

She jerked her hand away from her brother’s grasp and dropped her crown on the ground.

“I won’t allow this,” yelled Galdren.

Dana simply turned and walked away from her husband and walked to the castle. She did not stop until she reached her room, where she promptly started changing her clothes. She pulled out an old gown, from before she had married. Eldan and Galdren chased after her.

“I command you to stop,” shouted Galdren.

Dana felt an anger unlike anything she had ever felt before blasting a wall of fire up between her and the two male elves.

“I will not give away my child to some family as if they were nothing,” she said, “and if you would do that, then I want nothing else here.”

She continued to pull things out of the trunk, eventually finding a bag that she stuffed full of clothing. She turned and stared at Galdren, waiting.

“I won’t risk the kingdom,” he said calmly.

“Then you lose me,” Dana replied.

Galdren shook his head. Dana walked past him with the pack and headed to the kitchens. She had her horse and she would get some rations before leaving. She would not give up her child. She had thought that her brother might follow her but when she paused to stuff some cheese in her pack, she saw she was alone. Sighing, she added some bread, apples and carrots before heading out the kitchen door. She saddled her horse quickly and urged him to go east, toward the spring lands. She has no idea where she was going exactly but she needed to put as much distance between herself and Galdren as possible. She had a feeling she would be riding for a long time.

Life

A Mom type post

Last week, my daughter (not my son) was diagnosed with ADHD. This was not a total surprise to me since there had been some issues at school over the past year. When you start getting phone calls about how your child goes to the bathroom for extended periods of time and wanders around the classroom instead of doing her work, you start to suspect that she may have a problem. After several phone calls, I had a good idea that perhaps we needed to see if there was a medical problem at the root of this.

In retrospect, I can see the behaviors and how she just adjusted by herself. She just finally reached a point where that wasn’t possible. I would work with her behavior too, anticipating certain things and working to prevent them or at least minimize them. Schedules were always big with her. I wasn’t expecting what could happen with a little help though.

The doctor wanted to put her on medication. This wasn’t a surprise to me since there aren’t a lot of other things that doctors can do. The medicine is amazing though. When she takes it, she has a totally different behavior. She can focus on a task for more than five minutes. She actually is really creative but now she can get that out of her head and create something. There are fewer trails of disaster around the house too. She used to look like Pigpen from Charlie Brown, with a little trail of destruction behind her. Not so much anymore.

We’re going to work with a behavioral therapist as well. Hopefully she can work with us on some of the more challenging issues that come up when she gets very frustrated. I’m also hoping that those moments are fewer with the medicine. And then there’s the school aspect. I emailed the school counselor to ask her about setting up some accommodations. I now have a lot of papers to fill out and sign and one for the doctor to fill out. Then once that’s done, we can sit down with the team at the school and create a document for her that will help her.

I’m hoping that all of these things together will make the next school year better. I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to see what she can really do academically when she can focus on a task, as opposed to half doing something before wandering off to do something else. Sometimes, you get surprised, even when you aren’t expecting it and sometimes, those surprises are really wonderful things.

I hope everyone has a good weekend. I have a test on Monday, first one of the new class. Three weeks of class left… then I get summer!