"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver

Tag: simplifying

Gone, baby, gone! . . .

DSC_0327I’ve been writing about the act of clearing, inwardly and externally, for a long while in this blog. Now the time has come. Instead of wondering in my head how to get through the stuff in the closets, I’m just going to empty them out in the big room, sort through it and jettison off what I haven’t been able to get rid of up to now. Clothing goes to Goodwill; yarn and arts and crafts kinds of things like beads and supplies can be volunteered to the Old Folk’s Home down the street from where we live.

Much to my surprise, my husband, G. said he was thinking of renting a dumpster to clean out the cellar, the garage and his piano workshop. If we don’t take care of our own mess, who will?

On a more reflective note, it also seems like time to clean up our inner acts and ignore them no longer: like noticing how our attitudes don’t help us but hinder us in having a good day. That’s all we can do is to have a good day or a bad day or a ho-hum day. I know that mine is more often than not encumbered by holding onto things that happened in the past that feel sad or are tinged with disappointment. What good does that do? Nada. It’s fine to think about moving forward and to write about it in this post, but to really wipe the slate clean? Not so easy.

So, today’s the day to make some real progress. Inertia is the opposite of taking action. Inertia has had its day for too long. I’ve planned this out for so long which in itself is an exercise in inertia. Just get off the couch and do it.

I’ll let you know how it’s going.


un-hoarding . . .

Yesterday, I read a column by Jane Brody in the NYTimes describing a book on un-hoarding that she said was the best self-help book she has read in forty-seven years. That’s a weighty claim to make by someone who dishes out scientific and everyday advice on a regular basis. This book supposedly approaches de-cluttering in a pragmatic way that also connects the reader with what is really going on underneath that accounts for us to hold onto things.

It could be an association or an obligation hidden in one’s psyche that one wants to memorialize. I’m not sure, but the book is due to arrive today and I’m looking forward to finally figuring out how to clear out the rest of my stuff. Read the rest of this entry »

new normal . . .

the naked duck

This is Sunday before Thanksgiving, and usually, I will have done my food shopping for the week’s preparations: fresh turkey, not too big; a couple of pounds of chestnuts to roast, peel and add to a bread stuffing made with Pepperidge Farm herb breadcrumbs, Bell’s seasoning, fresh parsley, vidalia onions, chicken broth; potatoes to boil for mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts with bacon, peas and salad; pumpkin pie or some kind of harvest-like dessert.

So, today, I was in Whole Foods and noticed that beside the very expensive brined organic turkeys, were rows of Bell and Evans fresh duckling. Since it’s the two of us this year, I thought, well, why not have duckling instead? Peking Duck, to be exact. A simple meal with roasted duckling, carved with crispy pieces of golden brown skin, scallions, hoisin sauce smeared on homemade wrappers. When I brought up the idea with G., his face lit up and he nodded in agreement. And Read the rest of this entry »

starting anew. . .

Baby Josie and me, this week!

Here it is almost new year’s eve and the beginning of a new year, along with many of us thinking about how we want our lives to be different with this turning page of the calendar.

Some things will remain the same: problems that crop up unexpectedly; relationships that are not what they seemed or that have run their course; perhaps some health issues that we didn’t know about or have ignored. Some things will be different, I suppose. On my list are these thoughts:

a. to be honest and straightforward (even more than I have been up to now) so that each day is clean and cleaned up as I go along. This has usually gotten me into trouble most of my life because I was unable or unwilling to “play the game,” and to say or do what I knew others might expect.

Thankfully, I’m not working in corporate America anymore. which means that I don’t have to dread spending my working days with people whom I didn’t trust very much, and whose agendas usually did me no good. But now, I don’t have to watch every word or how to phrase things in order just to get the work done. So, I’m grateful for this phase in my life.

b. to love and respect others without taking on their burdens. This one is a tough one because as a helicopter Mom, I have spent a majority of my life worrying about things that I couldn’t do anything about–just watching my daughters find their way in life. Now that they have reached a place where they are living their own paths, my work is done–except to feed them occasionally with good food, or to send an occasional check. This is also true for others whom I love and support. Judging not today or any day, but also, being here for them. Wholly and thoughtfully.

c. to continue to simplify my life and to curtail that which complicates it.

d. to simplify our lifestyle: to distill it down to its true essentials. And not anything more. That feels really good to me after the huge largesse of Christmas joy, holiday giving and wonderful things. Which I love doing and am probably the biggest mama of them all to give away what will be used and loved more than it would be in my possession. I love doing that–finding a better use for something that I might not use so much to justify keeping it.

me with a "mrs. santa" chocolate from my stocking. . .

e. to read a lot. really read. not to learn how to write by it. but to read for its own sake. I can’t WAIT to do that and have been wanting to read for pleasure as a way to live for a long time, not just catching bits of it along the way.

f. take care of my canaries and plants. Self-explanatory.

g. to rejoice in my luck and good fortune to be married to the love of my life.

George, tending a piano

h. to be surrounded by loving and delightful children. To be accompanied by charming and delightful granddaughters, fifteen years apart–one (Anna) almost ready to go to Paris with my daughter, Caitlin, this coming summer.

Caitlin, French teacher and la photographe extraordinaire

granddaughter, Anna, who is almost sixteen!

And the other little one (Josie) who just left–to be as charmingly engaged in life with each and every breath.

josie and megan

We are so lucky. And we’re lucky to know it and to be grateful.

Happy new year, everyone. No matter how bad the world appears on TV and in the news, we are lucky to be where we are. And at least for us, I’m grateful for it all and give thanks.

Many thanks!

meg, josie and jen!