Life is crazy

So, I have been absent again from this space.  Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever slow down enough to continue this blog as it should be.

Our life has been busy here with the play and my efforts to help with costuming the 114 little people in the cast.  This year, I think we (Sara & I) have about 6 people, including ourselves, working on costumes.  It seems like it should be more and maybe there are more that I don’t know about.  This year just seems harder.  Harder to get the information we need to make the right costume choices in the first place and harder to get into the right mind set to get the job done at all.  Part of the problem seems to be a lack of people who still know how to sew and are willing to do that on a volunteer basis.

I think it may boil down to me needing to say no to some of the extra stuff that I do.  I think it’s time to slow down the busy-ness of my life and just enjoy being in the moment.

It’s time to say no to being the service unit treasurer for our Girl Scout service unit.  I haven’t had time to do this job properly for some time now and I’m sure that there is someone in our service unit who can do this job.  i’m not sure what other volunteer stuff I can cut right now, but this one has to go.

It’s time to say no to busy work.  Those projects that I come up with to fill time that doesn’t need filling.  Like cutting out an apron pattern to sew for the play when we don’t need one.  The pieces are staring me in the face, but I’m not sewing this up until other things get done.  And maybe I’ll just sew it up for myself  then instead.

It’s time to declutter our living space.  We have too much stuff.  Our house is the right size for us and I don’t see us moving into anything else, either bigger or smaller, any time soon so it’s time to rid ourselves of what we no longer need, want or use.  I’m sure that there are charities who can use these things to make money for themselves via resale and that is where they need to go.

It’s time to get serious about getting rid of my excess weight.  It isn’t helping me by keeping it on and it is hurting other aspects of my life and my life expectancy.  It has got to go.  Today I have made a start-again.  Kind of like when I quit smoking almost 21 years ago, I just had to keep quitting until the quitting stuck; I will have to keep beginning the 17 Day diet until the formula sticks.  Today I had 6 oz of Greek yogurt with 1 Truvia packet and a cup of coffee with creamer for breakfast.  Not exactly the perfect 17 Day Diet breakfast, but closer than I was yesterday.

It’s time to put our house first on the to do list.  That means making sure that I have finished what needs to be finished here before going to another project outside of the home.  Pretty soon I will get called back to work for the spring and I need to have this space clean and in proper order before that happens or things might continue to slip.

It’s time to stop putting my family second to other people’s wants, or what they think are their needs, because I’ve accomodated their wants in the past and they just seem to want more and more.  Enough!  My family deserves my best effort and that is where my efforts will go.

It’s time to enjoy life without the craziness of busy-ness.

Enjoy life.

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More than the usual busyness

“Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities.”  Aldous Huxley

Wish someone would have bothered to tell me sooner.  But seriously, sorry for the two week absence.  Life did get overly busy and there simply wasn’t enought time for writing.  I did get quite a bit done, however.

1.  Moved the oldest (age 25) out of our house and into an apartment in another city (another college town but not her college town-thank God).  She seems to be adjusting well.  I’m glad.  I’m also glad to have my homelife back on an even keel.  Okay, we’re actually just trying to get the keel even again, but we’ll get there.

2.  Completed two more Virtus sessions.

3.  Finished BooBoo’s knit Matthias’ Oversized Monk’s Robe so BooBoo can be Matthias from the original Redwall book for Halloween.  Ditty has now decided that she does want to dress up and go trick or treating for Halloween.  She announced it at supper last night and even my husband said “What!  You’ve decided that now and there’s only a week to go!”.  Bless his heart.  She knows that I will not be making a new costume for her this year.  Not on that short notice.

4.  Shampooed the carpet in the bedroom formerly used by the oldest.  Almost wish I had taken a before picture along with the after picture, but you would have been seriously grossed out.  Suffice to say that I changed the water in the machine about 16 times.  It only has a small water tank, but that number even makes me gag.  The rest of the carpets will soon be seeing their opportunity with my still relatively new carpet cleaning machine.  I’m looking forward to really clean carpets this winter.  And keeping them that way!

5.  Began our rounds of knowledge bowl meets last Monday with a meet at St. John’s Prep.  The other 7th & 8th grade team from our school placed 3rd.  That was a nice start to the season.

6.  Certainly not the least important, just the most recent event.  We celebrated my in-laws’ 50th wedding anniversary this past weekend.  About 6 or 7 years ago, we could barely hope to make it this far.  My mother-in-law had been diagnosed with leukemia and had come out of remission twice, each time in half the time of the time before.  We hoped and prayed that we would be able to celebrate this milestone anniversary with them.  We are very grateful to still have both of them with us for however long God will allow.  A hotel stay on Friday night and the kids enjoying the waterpark along with Mass on Saturday night and dinner with their closest relatives and friends made for a beautiful weekend.

7.  And lastly, along with all of the miscellaneous busyness (knowledge bowl, scouts, etc.), I got to spend all day yesterday in my pajamas.  Doesn’t sound like much, but there are just days where you need to unwind, relax and not worry about how you’re dressed.  Generally DH complains when I do this.  He doesn’t understand why anyone would want to do this instead of getting up and seizing the day.  But he didn’t complain, the kids got dressed and I had a lovely day just reading and knitting.  I did make brunch and supper for them and didn’t skimp on the cooking.  Maybe that helped, or maybe it was the 15 years we’ve been married that has made him finally able to shrug his shoulders and let it go.  What ever it is, I’m happy.

Photos will be forthcoming on the costume and my next little knitting project as soon as I can carve out some more time and download them from the camera.

Enjoy the beautiful autumn weather.  I need apples . . . and pumpkins.  Time to get to the local orchard.

Plan well

“Luck is the residue of design.”  Branch Rickey

My days have been passing by in a blur lately, mainly due to not having a proper plan for them.

The paying job that I accepted is seasonal and varied.  There is no way to change that, it simply is.  I need to create time to plan the parts of my days that I can control, the early mornings and the evenings.  I need to take time on the weekend to make a thorough inventory of what is in my freezers and cupboards.  I need to then get my meal plans made and create some easy, go-to meals for those evenings when we don’t have time to make a meal from scratch.

I also need to create chore charts for my kids and see to it that they really use them so that they learn to contribute to our family’s efficiency.  Two are still in school and the eldest has accepted more hours at her job.  That doesn’t excuse them from chores.  We will all need to do our parts so that we can all enjoy some down time.

Off to create a plan.  Have a great week.

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It has been an interesting week at our house.  Ditty was gone for a week long educational field trip to a camp up north.  They learned about the environment and team building.  She wasn’t too impressed with the way some kids reacted to the experience.  Ditty loves to camp.  She has no problems with bugs, animals, being dirty, or being outdoors.  Oh, she still can whine with the best of them if she’s uncomfortable, but tell the girl that she’s camping and she can change her attitude when needed.

I asked if they had Mass on Wednesday while they were up at camp.  That’s there usual school Mass day.  She said no, but they did have chapel every day.  Okay, whew!  That works for me.  Since they were at camp with three other Catholic schools, I hoped they would be doing something religious to build their faith at some point.

BooBoo missed having Ditty around.  He tried his little tricks to get attention.  Yes, some of them still work.  I reassured him that even if she says she didn’t miss him, that she actually did miss him.  And I know this is true even if she won’t admit it because of the amount of time spent discussing what “the boys” were doing the weekend that DH & BooBoo went Cub Scout camping.  That helped BooBoo a bit.

Then, on Thursday, my bursitis decided to act up again.  Think tennis elbow in the shoulder.  Very painful.  So, to avoid another midnight trip to the emergency room in agonizing pain, and another $900 medical bill for a painful shoulder, I asked DH to bring me to Urgent Care instead.  He and BooBoo went back home to make pizza for their supper while I sat and waited to be seen by a doctor for the shoulder and prayed that this one would go easier on me than the one in Florida where I had my first diagnosis of bursitis.

The appointment did go much better and so I left with prescriptions for pain management and something to reduce the inflammation of the bursa.  Amazingly, it took longer for these meds to reduce the pain and swelling than the last did.  Sunday was the first day I actually felt good and could move my arm with little to no pain.  I still can’t bring myself to try to raise my arm over my head, but I’ll keep trying slowly because I know that I need to work back into a proper range of motion in that arm.

DH & I also took the family up to our niece & nephew’s Steubenville fundraiser breakfast Sunday morning.  It was a nice breakfast and afterwards we watched our niece play in an Ultimate Frisbee tournament.  Made me wish I was young and agile again.  It certainly looked like a lot of fun, in spite of the wind and cooler than normal temperature.  If you’re wondering what Ultimate Frisbee looks like, go to www.whatisultimate.com .  For those who don’t want to click the link, think Frisbee played by seven player teams on what looks like a soccer pitch.  No refs and only players, not coaches, can call fouls, etc.  It is a fast scoring game.

Forgetting & Remembering

“May I forget what ought to be forgotten, and recall, unfailingly, all that ought to be recalled, each kindly thing, forgetting what might sting.”  Mary Caroline Davies

Yes, following this advice is hard.  But just think what our world would be like if we did.

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Life here has flowed to the mundane after the excitement and drama of “the play”.  Or at least mostly.

During the final week of play practice, DH came home and told me that his chiropractor was putting him on a strict diet to reset his blood sugars in the hope that this would help alleviate some of his allergy symptoms.  This did not go over well considering the stress of that week and it’s flurry of activities.  Especially when the diet consisted of proteins, fresh fruits, vegetables and literally nothing else.  No pasta, no potatoes of any variety, no grains except “roasted rice”, no wheat in any form and no sweeteners of any stripe either.  You have no idea how many foods we take for granted have wheat or some form of sweetener added.

DH will finish the two week regimen of that diet at lunch today.  And I can finally make a pizza for supper without guilt!

The diet also meant that our virtual St. Joseph’s Altar had to stay virtual this year.  The wheat exclusion was absolute.  But here is a picture for you.  Ditty colored the pictures and cut them out for me.  I wrapped the boxes and placed the items.  Next year, hopefully, we can prepared the foods for real and celebrate the gift that St. Joseph is for us all.

And that scruffy looking couch in the background. . . I purchased a carpet and upholstery cleaning machine last Wednesday.  The couch will be getting another cleaning this week.  It got two this weekend and still needs work.  It hadn’t been cleaned in, well, let’s just say not in the time we’ve owned it. 

I have been wanting a carpet cleaner for a long time and the end of October last year, actually got a raincheck for the machine I wanted to purchase.  Unfortunately, the form was filled out incorrectly so the postcard that was supposed to be sent never went out.  With the raincheck, I could have gotten the $250 machine for $179, a substantial savings to say the least.  Well, last week a different machine went on sale for $240 and I had received in the mail a coupon from that store for 30% off any purchases storewide including sale prices.  So I went to the store on Wednesday to purchase a slightly more expensive machine just to get the purchase done so I could clean my carpets, etc.  Lo and behold, they were sold out of the advertised carpet cleaner.  No surprise there, by this time I was seriously beginning to think that they only stocked one or two just to bring people into the store.

However, the store did have the original cleaner that I wanted (only one of them on the shelf, hmm) and it was on sale for $199.  Naturally I grabbed it on the spot.  Heavy, cumbersome box and all.  No cart of course.  This store doesn’t seem to want people to purchase much since they don’t have carts that will accomodate anything bigger than a coffee maker so I had skipped even getting a cart. But I digress.

I wrestled the box up to the checkout, asked the clerk if she could look up my store charge card, since I had forgotten it at home and the coupon was only good if you put the purchase on a store charge card.  She said she could and the wonderful news . . . I got the carpet cleaner that I originally wanted for $150.17 including sales tax, a savings of $121.69 over the total cost at regular price!  Sweet!  And now I can shampoo my carpets and upholstery whenever I want without having to rent a machine or worry about getting the rental back in time.  The only additional cost will be for the carpet shampoo.

Too bad I have to work this week and next or I would have the cleanest carpets anywhere.

A good read

While I was at Menard’s the other day picking up 3/4 inch nap paint roller covers to use on Ditty’s ceiling, I found a book about organizing.  Yes, I know they don’t keep the books in the same section as the paint rollers, but strangely enough, I like browsing in Menards.  No, I don’t understand the inclination either but there it is anyway.

The book is titled:  organize now!  I’ve tried to link it, but my link feature isn’t working.  You can find it on Amazon.  I picked up the spiral bound edition with the lovely lime green cover.

The book details a week by week plan to get yourself and your space organized in one year.  The book is clear and concise.  There’s no slogging through pages upon pages of information.  It’s a this is what needs to be done and here’s how to do it kind of book.  Each week’s information is presented in just 4 short, 5×8 inch pages.  Seriously, you probably have photos the size of these pages.  And there are lots of check lists so that you can track what you’ve accomplished and ignore what you don’t need to do.  You can also skip around in the book so that you can tackle your biggest problem areas first if you wish.

Gotta say that I’m really enjoying this book.  I truly appreciate a no-nonsense approach to decluttering.  I may do more than one week at a time.  I don’t think I can stand living within this clutter for another whole year.  At the very least, I will tackle my biggest problem areas ASAP.  Because I’d like my sewing/computer/gift wrapping room ready for the holiday madness.  And I’d also like to be able to entertain friends over the holidays without shoving everything into a box to be sorted out “later”.

A quick bite

Just wanted to let you know about another blog that I found interesting.  I’ve added her to the My Favorite Things tab, but I’ll post it here as well.

Jenna’s Everything Blog is a well written blog by a young woman living in the Midwest.  She has some great recipes as well as some fresh insights and a delightful writing style.  Her post Prayer In Times Of Cleaning was especially helpful to me.

It’s no secret that I despise housecleaning.  I know that I shouldn’t.  It’s necessary both to keep the house and our things looking nice and also to keep my family healthy.  Friends have long told me to “just give your cleaning up to God”.  Okay, whatever that means!  Jenna, however, has put down steps in her post to actually show me (and others) how to do exactly that-give our cleaning up to God.  And these steps would work with other chores we dislike as well I’m sure.

So I’d just like to say “Thank you!  This has really helped me.”  I also hope that it will help you, my readers.  Check out Jenna’s blog when you get the chance.

The laundry fairy

Well, it’s official.  The laundry fairy hates me! 

I went ahead and got the laundry sorted and down to the laundry room in record time this week.  Actually got the wash loads started yesterday.  Then I come to find out after 4 loads (started with the darks), that the water softener is not removing the rust from our water.  The rust has now permanently and noticably stained 5 shirts and one pair of ivory shorts.

Why did this have to happen when I’ve just gotten things on track?  And why could the rust stains not have happened on some old or ratty looking cheap to replace shirts?  Instead, it happened on the brand name shirts and shorts.  Yes, I did get them below retail price.  Off of clearance racks, but we still liked them and were still happy wearing them.  And one of the shirts was Ditty’s brand new glitter t-shirt that she picked out when Grandma took her shopping.  Granted, I didn’t like that one all that much.  Can you imagine a washing machine and dryer full of glitter every time you wash clothes? 

I’m hoping that Ditty’s shirt will be salvageable once the water softener gets sorted out.  The shorts should be okay after a treatment with Iron Out since they are almost white anyway.  The other shirts may have to go through the Iron Out treatment and then be bleached and re-dyed.  I’m hoping that goes well.

In the meantime, what does one do to appease an angry laundry fairy anyway?

Catching up

The oil in my van has been changed, the grocery shopping is done, got milk for the week, I’m down to just two more loads of laundry and at least the bathroom floors got swept.

I also made a dinner tonight that I haven’t made in ages.  It’s called Slow Cooker Cassoulet, from a Pillsbury Cookbook called Harvest Time Baking and Cooking back in Nov. 1991.  Yes, I am old but I’ve been collecting recipes and cookbooks forever.  I didn’t get the cassoulet assembled in time to do it in the crock pot, but the recipe comes with oven directions too.  Added a salad and some good french bread and it went over pretty well.  Ditty & Clairebear liked it, DH didn’t complain, but BooBoo wasn’t happy with me.  Maybe he’s just tired of casseroles this week.  I haven’t made this in a long time and I had forgotten how much I like it.   So it will probably appear again sometime.  Hopefully BooBoo will outgrow his dislike of it.

Perfectly Preserved In Perpetuity

Friends, Romans, Countrymen

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Quotes:

"If you are what you should be you will set the whole world on fire."
St. Catherine of Sienna

I finally understand

"Among those around you, apostolic soul, you are the stone fallen into the lake. With your word and your example, you produce a first circle, and it another, and another, and another, wider each time. Now do you understand the greatness of your mission?" St. Josemarie Escriva: The Way