Menopausal Monday!

I’m hot as Hades out here in the Western US of A.

Add that to the hot flashes and you’ve got a raging inferno sitting on this sofa.

I couldn’t sleep last night. I attribute it to the “hormone-ees” to quote Andrea Martin in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”

Image result for andrea martin in my big fat greek wedding

The lack of sleep + the hormone-ees makes me a little crazy. So, join me on this Menopausal Monday and let’s enjoy this photo of an old lady with a cat on her head.

cat on head

Peace & cats,

Jill

Advertisements

Minimalism vs The Addiction

takemaru-hirai-239936

Here’s how it is for me – I like to get new things but I don’t particularly like to shop.

I don’t enjoy the thrill of the hunt, the satisfaction of the bargain. That’s not my thing.

I just like the feeling of getting something new. It’s the feeling I’m attracted to, not necessarily the item.

So, you know, dear reader, that I spent months discarding, decluttering and reorganizing my life. I’ve got my clothes closet dealt with. I’ve got my house decorating settled. Towels, linens, kitchen tools, memorabilia, storage, well, just everything is fine. It was hard work. It was emotional work.

And now there’s really nothing I need to buy.

Oh, there is still a desire to shop because I like that feeling of having something new.

To be honest, that feeling is an addiction.

Occasionally I’ll get an urge to buy something new. It grows until I’m jonesing for that feeling. My mind starts running through my whole house trying to find something that I can justify replacing. I’ll resort to really stupid reasons to buy something new. “The coffee maker is dirty, I need a new one.”

Or I’ll get that itch that I’m bored with my clothes and I need something new. “Yes, I have a pair of black shoes, but I need a pair with a millimeter more heel. Don’t you understand?”

Then I get real practical. I’ll say, “I need a new organizing bin or rack or something that will “help” me. I really need another organizing tool, don’t I?” Nope.

“How about office supplies, I need new post-it notes and paper clips, right?” Nope. “But my paper clips are just silver, I think I need blue ones and post-it notes to match. Matching office supplies will help me be more organized, right?” Nope. Just stop!

“Isn’t there anything I can buy? I need a fix!”

But minimalism has messed me up. I can’t get a fix!

Because now when I think of buying something new I get a flashback of all those bags of items that I discarded. Bag after bag, box after box of junk that I didn’t need. I remember having all my clothes spread out all over my room and carefully deciding which ones bring me joy and which ones don’t. I love all my clothes and the beautiful relief of having  a spacious closet. I can actually go in it now without feeling anxious. I don’t want to ruin that so I find that when I thinking of buying something I remember that relief and joy and I think, “Whatever I buy will probably throw off my balance” so I don’t buy anything.

It doesn’t affect just my clothes, but my whole house. I think about the overwhelming burden of clutter and the weight that is now gone of not having to find a place to put it all and clean it all. Oh, I don’t want that again.

So, I find myself not buying anything.

But the craving for that feeling of getting something new is still there.

It’s frustrating. I have an itch I can’t scratch.

 

If someone else asked me what to do, I’d say, “Go do something you enjoy like hiking or your hobby or spending time with loved ones.”

But you know, honestly, those things don’t take that feeling away. It just gives me a reason to shop: I need new hiking boots, a new tool for my hobby, a new dish to put the potato salad in that I’m taking to the pot luck dinner.

It’s a modern day addiction fed by advertising that is everywhere and the stores that are so convenient that it’s crazy. These stores give you an experience, make you feel good just by walking in them and walking out with that delicious feeling of having something new. “Where shopping is a pleasure.” “It’s my pleasure to serve you.” The stores exist just to make me happy! Right?

I’m sorry but walking in the park is not quite the same. It’s good, but not the same.

So, I hate to leave you hanging, dear reader. I have no solution.

Maybe it really is like what I’ve heard drug addicts say, “You never really lose the taste and desire for heroin, you just learn to fight it.”

Got any advice?

Peace,

Jill

 

 

 

Clutter Control

StockSnap_U66FCTIMTH

I’ve been here visiting my kids and grandkids for almost 4 weeks now. I’m living in a spare room with my computer, camera and a plastic bin of clothes. It’s great!

A neighbor asked if I would be willing to house sit for them while they go on vacation. I agreed to do it. Not a problem.

That’s what happened which led me to write this post.

There was a time I would not have agreed to help them out for one stupid reason.

The junk in my house.

How does the junk in my house affect me housesitting for someone? How is it even connected, you may ask, dear reader.

I’ll tell you.

Clutter Control.

When my house was filled with clutter and stuff crammed in closets and under beds and there was no organization, I didn’t know where stuff was and I didn’t know what I had or what I needed. It was Clutter Confusion!

Most of the time I shoved the reality of all that clutter out of my mind. It seemed too overwhelming to tackle, so I just wouldn’t think about it.

So, I would keep cramming the clutter in my house and in my mind. I was never free from it. Even when I wasn’t at home I knew it was there! Nagging me.

It kept me in a state of uneasiness. I never felt in control. I was embarrassed that I was not in charge of my life, but my house was. I always felt there was work to be done, something to clean out, sort out, organize. It was a horrible feeling.

Whenever anyone asked me to do something, my mental to-do list popped up and all the work I needed to do around the house started screaming for priority.

Clutter kept me from doing things I wanted to do.

So, now that I’ve decluttered and organized my home I know what’s in every closet and drawer. I know exactly where important papers are and they are safe. There is nothing to do at my house!

My home is not in control of my life anymore! Hallelujah!

So, now when I’m asked to housesit and I think about what I need to at home it doesn’t weigh me down and stress me out! There’s no to-do list to pop up and smother me.

It’s so freeing!

Isn’t it crazy to think how a bunch of inanimate objects can control your life?

Stay free my friends!

Peace,

Jill

 

 

 

 

 

#1 Grandboy’s First Birthday

I warned you about this blatant broadcasting of photos of the birthday party, so if you want to skip this you can. No hard feelings.

The first birthday,  you know it had to be a blowout. It was a 2 day affair. First day, his actual birthday, with family. Then, the second day with his church family.

It was a Sea Pals Adventure Party that started with really cute e-vites that my daughter designed with Paperless Post.

 

FullSizeRender (8)

This was a really cool e-vite because it had so many bells and whistles. It allowed me to rsvp and add the event to my calendar to name a few. If you are in a community of people like a church or a large family – you really need to check out this site.

My daughter had some really cute ocean-themed decorating. I made a paper whale for the front door…

IMG_6582

She made some paper “scales” to decorate one wall, green, plastic tablecloth “seaweed” to hang in the doorways and styrofoam bowl and ribbon “jellyfish”…

IMG_6583

The food table had plastic sand buckets of snacks of popcorn, cheerios and pretzels, a watermelon shark, fruit kabobs, blue punch and the ocean cake and his scaly smash cake. She also had clear balloon “bubbles” and the plasticware was wrapped in a napkin tied with twine and a lifesaver. (I think all my cake decorating practice was worth it!)

IMG_6600IMG_6589

Outside she had a tent set up with a sunscreen station and a kiddie pool of water and one with sand. They also had a water table and a sprinkler going. For the adults there were hoola hoop targets with sling shots to shoot water balls.

IMG_6594IMG_6622IMG_6625

It was a great day had by all, especially the birthday boy being surrounded by his friends and family and being lavished with fun and thoughtful gifts. And tasting cake for the first time….

IMG_6640

Next up, Grandboy #2’s First Birthday!

IMG_6682

 

 

Feeding The Grandkids

providence-doucet-154365

When my kids left for college I had a bolt of wisdom hit my brain like lightning,

“I want them to come home.” 

You might say, “that’s not wisdom, that’s separation anxiety.”

No, it was wisdom. When they stepped out of that door our relationship changed. They were making decisions without my guidance, without the benefit of my experience – unless they asked.

They’ve made decisions I didn’t particularly like or agree with and I’ve had to stand back with my mouth shut and let the consequences happen, let them struggle, let them cry, my heart breaking knowing that they could have avoided it. I’ve comforted them and helped them out of the ditch all the while biting my tongue to keep from saying, “I could’ve told you that would happen.”

Why didn’t I step in? They needed to learn, they needed their own experience. And I knew that if I jumped in and told them what to do that we would’ve had World War Three or at the very least it would have been an insult to their pride. And like I said, “I want them to come home.” Oh, I’ve spoken up when the danger or risk was greater than the possible conflict. That is how “Pick Your Battles” works. For the most part, though, I treat them as educated, reasonable adults able to make informed decisions for their age. And I let them do it without always having to give my advice – unless they ask. 

And I am applying this same modus operandi to feeding the grandkids.

I mean, to be honest, I have to recognize that I haven’t been the parent of a small child for 27 years. There’s a lot of research and data that’s come out. There’s a heck of a lot of information at my kid’s fingertips than was never available to me. They are making informed decisions, they don’t really need my advice.

Not to mention that if they did take my antiquated, albeit “good enough for you when you were a kid and you survived” advice, they would stand out like a freak show among their peers. I mean, even if granny used to let me suck on a chicken leg bone that’s just not done nowadays. And if my kids allow their kids to eat some of the stuff I gave them to eat, their friends would report them to the “horrible and dangerous parent” police. I just found out last night that corn was on the list of dangerous choking hazard foods. Corn.

So, as I’m navigating this new grandparent land and wondering how to deal with feeding the grandkids, I’ll amend my previously successful guiding star of wisdom: “I want them to come home and bring the grandkids.”

I mean, is it really so important to me to push some foods on my grandkids that their parents don’t want them to have just to prove some kind of point and cause an argument or worse still, cause them not to trust me enough to leave my grandkids with me?

Heck to the no!

I want to be around them so much that I will lay down my pride and ask, “What would you like for them to eat.” Not a problem.

And I solemnly swear that I will not feed them any of the “danger foods” in secret. I do not want to lose their trust.

Relationship is more important than my pride.

But I would like to say for the record that I did raise 2 kids and we all survived. I do know what I’m doing, really. And I was allowed to do it my own way – so I guess I should allow my kids the same freedom.

So, give me that list of “danger foods” the avocado and quinoa and let’s do this!

Hope you all have a great weekend. I will be blasting you with blatant bragging 1st birthday pictures soon, just get ready to skip that post!

Peace,

Jill

Settling In

FullSizeRender (7)

So, I arrived 800 miles later safe and sound. And since I’ve been here we’ve been on full-out playing, eating, laughing and birthday planning mode!

Me and my boys have been getting to know each other better and learning what each other likes and finds funny. I bought the above double stroller at a 2nd hand shop so we could go Rollin’ together. They are so cute when they hold hands when they’re in the stroller together! Both of my kids are planting a church together with their spouses and some really great people. They meet in a movie theater on Sunday mornings. So, they have to go early to set up. I went early this past Sunday to watch the boys while they were setting up and this stroller was a big help. We rolled around outside then inside. Great fun!

Gideon, the cute guy on the right will be a big ONE year old this week and we’ve been in party planning mode. I offered to make his birthday cake and we’re going big! I made a practice cake to see if I could actually make what my daughter was thinking about. I am NOT a professional. I’m just crazy enough to try.

IMG_3263

Don’t judge! I don’t like anything you see here, except maybe the “sand” layer. We’re working toward an ocean theme. Sand, waves, fish scales, you get the idea. I was trying out some canned icing and found it’s not good for piping unless I add powdered sugar to stiffen it up. Then there’s the HEAT to contend with. We also played around with colors. I don’t like any of the colors you see in this pic. So, I will adjust. The Golden Oreo “sand” turned out good, I think. It was fun working with my girls. I really miss spending time with them. They are so creative and daring (especially letting me make the 1st birthday cake!)

7 weeks after Gideon’s birthday, Manny, the handsome guy on the left will turn ONE year old!

So, I’m settling in for my long visit. We’re so used to having just a few days together that we rush around trying to get in all our fun and talking and hugging before I have to leave. But now, we can relax and just BE. It’s SO nice.

Hope you’re all doing well. In my next post, I’ll talk about feeding the grandkids. Is that a source of tension between you and your kids? Let’s talk.

Peace,

Jill

 

This Was The Goal!

pan-xiaozhen-252162

 

Of course there are many factors, many purposes and many reasons because life is not that simple. But one of the goals of freeing up, lightening up and streamlining my life was to do just what I’m doing right now…being able to spend A LOT of time with my kids and grandkids who live half way across the country.

I packed up pretty much all of my clothes in a plastic bin- because I’ve cut down the size of my wardrobe, remember – and threw them in the car and drove 15 hours to my kids to stay for a month.

It’s okay. The husband is okay with me leaving. Not jumping up and down but okay especially when I reminded him he’ll have control of the remote and he can cook all the crazy, spicy, weird foods that stink up the house he wants to.

But let me tell you, it was a breeze leaving the house. Back in the day it would have taken me a week or so to get ready to leave. I would have had to wash a ton of clothes and dig out a suitcase. I would have probably gone shopping because I never really had stuff to wear because I hated most of my clothes in my closet. So, thank you KonMari!

I would have cleaned the house (because I hate coming home to a dirty house) which would have led to the sorting and cramming and the frustration of realizing I need to throw stuff out but I’m too stressed because I have to go on this trip to stop and do that right now which leads to the guilt of having just crammed all my crap into weird places just to make the house look neat and clean and putting discarding and organizing on my to-do list for when I get home. Whew!

Then I would have to pay the bills which would lead to the same ordeal only in the office and file cabinet followed by the guilt of feeling unorganized and worring if we have enough insurance in case there’s a flood or the apocalypse and knowing none of my important files are in a fire/water safe safe and then feeling guilty for not really knowing where those files are, in fact not knowing which files are important. Whew!

But since I’ve done all the decluttering and organizing, leaving for the trip was easy. I paid the bills, filed the necessary papers which took me 20 minutes max. I had one small, and I mean small load of laundry to do. I didn’t have to pick and choose what clothes to take because I only have like 4 pair of pants, 2 shorts, and several shirts. I threw in my sneakers for walking and sandals. I wear my hoop earrings almost every day and my fitbit so I didn’t have to figure out what jewelry to wear with which outfit. I slimmed down my every day grooming routine, so I just threw everything I use everyday in my toiletry bag. I didn’t really have to clean the house because the house stays pretty clean everyday now that I don’t have a lot of clutter.

So, I put all my clothes in a plastic see-through bin so I wouldn’t have to dig through a suitcase for a month. I packed a tote bag to take into the hotel with me for my one night stay halfway there. One basket of snacks and water and I was on my way!

I didn’t leave with that uneasy, guilty feeling of having left things undone or unfinished or out of order. I left free.

Now, I’m here and we’re already having loads of fun. I think all those FaceTime sessions has helped make me a familiar face with the grandboys. They are sweet and social anyway, but they’re not looking at me like I’m something from another planet.

So, now to settle into a routine and try not to be an annoyance. You know, “the mother-in-law.”

Let me say sorry/not sorry if I write and post pics about my grandboys for the next little while.

Peace,

Jill