stuff = clutter

Story of my life so far:

1. accumulate stuff, both physically & mentally -- school, work, &c

2. feel overwhelmed by stuff, retire from job

3. attempt to de-clutter life, ongoing

It's not that the stuff isn't mostly worth anything. No, at least at the time I acquired it all, it was worth something to me. Turns out, though, that it's not all worth the same now as it was when I acquired it. I could get all deep & philosophical about this & talk about how we change with age, but it's old news so I won't bother.

The hard part is teasing out the things that matter to me now, and not lose them in a frenzy to de-clutter everything. You simply can't do that, there will always be some clutter. Simplification isn't just a matter of discarding unwanted stuff, it's a whole new mind-set.

I've seen it before in others. Just when you think you're ready to kick back & enjoy everything, you discover that you want to do & be more than that. So, what of all those things you acquired? Well, at least you had the pleasure of acquiring them. And most of what you acquired is useful for someone, somewhere.

Take costume jewellery as an example. Over the years, I've picked up a lot of interesting pieces at craft fairs & from individual makers & as travel mementos. None of it terribly valuable, I've only got a few pieces worth anything. Not even much gold, as I've always preferred silver. So, one of the things I did recently was go through it all and put aside things I'll never wear again. Took the lot to a family reunion & put them out "to a good home". Lots of little girls in the connection (& a few big ones) took up the offer. Feels good on both counts -- I gain some drawer space & they get something they like. Jewellery, if it had feelings, is useful again.

Same thing, only moreso, with clothes. We both went through our closets & drawers with a figurative back-hoe yesterday, and came up with 5 boxes of things that don't fit or we haven't even seen for years to go to the thrift shop. Also a bag of real cast-offs to go to the bin that sells old clothes by the pound for charity. Gain -- more closet space so clothes aren't permanently wrinkled plus good feeling that some less fortunate will get wearable things.

Next? Books. That's going to take a lot longer than the few hours for the jewellery or the day for the clothes.


now that I'm back...

I don't have anything special to say!

It's turning into a long, hot summer, which the garden loves but I'm not so keen on. Restricting my outdoor excursions to early morning & late evening until the prolific mosquitoes chase me back in.

My main lot in life this summer appears to be scaring wildlife. I had a close encounter with a chipmunk this morning. Yesterday it was a very small rabbit, and a cat that had collapsed from the heat in the one patch of shade on my south-facing deck.

There are many other things on my mind, but I have other fish to fry today so now that I know I can post again I'll let them simmer & post them later.

trying again from IE

I'm in "compatibility view", let's see if this works.

posting woes continued

I've deleted cache & cookies & it STILL won't post. *sigh*

UPDATE: I've posted this from Firefox, the problem seems to be IE-dependent, since I deleted cache & cookies, have updated Flash, &c ad infinitum


posting woes

I've been having trouble posting in this blog for a while now. Testing to see if it's working.


still here, problems posting

Last week I was having trouble staying logged in and posting comments on other blogs.

This week, it won't let me post a new entry here! Sheesh.


summer breeze

Sun is shining, garden is taking off like a flock of startled ducks. After a soggy political spring, a hot backyard summer is underway at last. Breeze does nothing to cool, unless you're right under the fan.

I'm a fan of A/C!

I'm also a fan of Blogger forums, where you can get useful advice when a problem turns up. Many thanks to nitecruzr for helping me with my log-in issue!


after the fact, where next?

I suppose it's fair to say I'm extremely disappointed by last night's election results. Not all of the results, by any means, but certainly by the fact that fewer than 40% of voters were able to achieve a majority Conservative government. Harpocrism rules, apparently.

It was less of a shock, in fact somewhat of a pleasant surprise, that the NDP are now the official opposition, and that both the Liberals and BQ crashed and burned. Also that Elizabeth May of the Green Party finally won a seat. A few rays of sunshine in an otherwise gloomy evening. (Even the weather is depressed.)

While it seems obvious to many that the remnant Liberals need to meld with the emergent NDP, so that next time the neo-Cons can't swan up the middle of a split vote (like the Liberals used to do when the old PC and Reform party split the vote on the right), it will probably take a lot of hammering to get this notion through the thick political skulls of the Liberals, a force for so long but an outmoded one. For politics in this country is changing, just as it is around the world. We saw it in the late-breaking NDP surge, founded largely through social media and engaging many new young voters.

Harper Government 3 would have Canada move in the direction that the USA has already gone (and regretted) -- more prisons (while our crime rate declines), more religion in politics (where we've NEVER had it before), more military spending (without accountability), fewer rights for the middle class, stifling public services, less access to assistance for students & women & families, privatization of just about everything. And, worst of all, making us wary of an incipient fascist dictatorship (he'd really like to be a president), Harper will continue his policy of silence, muzzling his caucus and public servants to keep the truth of what their supposedly representative government is actually doing, and for whom (multinational corporations & the oil patch, predominantly). Look for more US-style and US-compliant legislation on copyright and access to cultural institutions and communications technology, for example. We're already laughable on the world stage as an economic satellite of the USA. How far down that road can we go and maintain our sovereignty?

My poor country...what on earth are we going to look like after the next 4 years?


return of the traveller

It's been just over a week since my Guatemala-traveller returned, a little thin & worn-out, but very excited about all he'd seen and done. We've rested him & fed him up and he's about ready to take off again.

His blog is in my list of links, Jungle Jim Journeys, and it's an interesting (if poorly spelled) saga, with just a few of his many excellent pictures.

As a projected 10-15 cm of fluffy snow descends, I find myself wishing for the warm, although not in Guatemala, please & thanks.


one trip done, one progressing

I did eventually hear from my traveller, who had some difficulties with his connection in Guatemala, but has been emailing regularly ever since, mainly from Xela, where they have been building cooking/heating stoves in the highland villages, in partnership with AMMID, a local women's organization. It isn't all hard labour though, since they've also been touring a bit, both in the mountains and the tropics on the Pacific coast, and have the last few days for a bit more sightseeing and shopping. My curiosity as to what he'll return with is growing daily. Guatemalans are famed for colorful weaving and other Mayan crafts, and their coffee is superb. I also have it on good authority that they make excellent rum, and plan to drop a few hints for his shopping bag!

He reports that they have had good weather and wonderful food, but that all of the coffee must go for export since the local version is of the Nescafe variety. Too bad that the locals can't enjoy their own produce. It's a crazy world. Their team, many of whom have been doing this for several years, gets a warm welcome and amazing hospitality from the local communities. I really like hands-on aid organizations, they're the best.

My own trip, to Jacksonville FL, went extremely well. I managed the 2.5 hour drive from & back to Orlando quite well, although it was a little stressful. I'm not accustomed to driving such a long time, and the rest stops weren't frequent enough on the interstate highways. A couple of times I didn't think I'd make it to the next one, but I did. Drove a Toyota Yaris, not bad but I wouldn't buy one. Uncomfortable.

Visited friends I don't get to see nearly often enough, although we email regularly. They've got a place to the south of Jacksonville, also a beach house above Daytona. I spent the week with my friend as she shuttled kids to & from events, we saw a couple of films (The King's Speech & Black Swan), visited the beach house, toured parks & museums, and just spent time together chatting. It was lovely. I wish she lived down the road instead of hundreds of miles away.

Meanwhile, all was well at home on my return, and I'm awaiting the return of my traveller on Saturday. I hope his connections are good, and on time.


no news is good news?

Haven't yet heard from my traveller, who should be in Guatemala & well on his way by now. None of the other bloggers have posted since arriving though, so I'm assuming that they've all got there ok & are (a) too busy (b) not in the vicinity of an interente cafe (c) not thinking about blogging!

The other traveller is a little nervous about tomorrow's trip, but once on the plane the jitters will no doubt vanish.

And as I said above, no news is good news!


rattling around

My house feels very big and empty today. I'm used to being the one who goes away!