Simplicity Sunday, Uncategorized

Simplicity Sunday – No such thing as “simple”

I am quickly coming to the conclusion that there really is no such thing as simple.  According to the Oxford Dictionary, simple is:  easily understood or done; presenting no difficulty.  Not much about my life seems easily understood or done.  Much about my life presents some difficulty.  But, I’m not sure this is all bad.  As the saying goes, nothing easy is worth pursuing.

The last few weeks have been tough.  I didn’t sleep particularly well before leaving for the pre-hospital trip, getting grading done and the house cleaned up.  Then there was the hospital, where I didn’t really sleep at all one night (in the CVICU), barely slept the next night and slept on and off the next couple of nights.  I slept a bit better back at home, but Bean was still up every few hours complaining of pain or needing to move.  My husband left for five weeks a few days after we got home and soon after I left my DD at my in-laws to go to a conference in San Diego.  The first night, my MIL called me with Bean scream crying in the background, saying she was upset because she had forgotten to call me to say goodnight.  That was obviously not the reason she was scream crying.  She was scream crying because she wanted me THERE, with her.

My mom guilt was extremely high.  I should not have left her so soon after she went through so much.  I’m afraid her anxiety will come back due to this craziness.  How important was this conference (well, it was pretty important because I need it to work on this year-long project I am working on)?  Could I have figured out a way to bring her here (tough one…it is expensive and difficult logistically)?  Should I just give up on making it all work (probably…let’s face facts)?  From there, things got much better and she was fine.  So, on the roller coaster of mothering, I was on the short, fun drop instead of the upside down, traveling way to fast to be comfortable part of the ride.

We’ve been home now for a little over a week and things are going pretty well.  Although, she missed two days of VBS this past week with a fever, so there was a bit of panic for that.  But, it must have been some 24 hour bug because it was quickly gone.

I also didn’t get one of her medications in the monthly delivery, but when I called the pharmacy they said the doctor had not sent a refill.  When I called the doctor, it was a problem with pre-authorization.  And it turns out, we can just buy this stuff over the counter for about the same cost as the copay (maybe cheaper if I can catch it on sale).  So, we took care of that issue.

So, this is what I mean by NOTHING being simple.  But, I think that gives me all the more reason to simplify whatever parts of my life I CAN simplify.  So, decluttering my house (I feel like I have rid myself of VOLUMES of stuff in the past six months, but we still have VOLUMES AND VOLUMES of stuff left.  What is with that?!?  Decluttering my schedule and establishing routines so I don’t have to constantly think about what I should be doing next.  I want to surround myself with things I love and enjoy and that make me feel peaceful and content.  Then, when the inevitable complexity of life pops up, I can not only survive, but thrive.

I am quickly approaching my 48th birthday (what the heck?).  I want to live up to what this blog title suggests…being more in my 40s.  I have a limited time to achieve that though.  A very limited time indeed.

Simplicity Sunday

Simplicity Sunday – Five Reasons to Visit Your Local Library

This week is focused on a simple resource you probably have in your community, but may not be utilizing.  Your public library.

Summer 2014 Library Reading Log
My DD’s Summer Reading Log at start of Summer 2014.  We got another yesterday for this summer!

My DD and I then went to our county library yesterday.  We used to go the library once or twice a week before she started school, but we’ve not been going as much in the past year and a half or so.  I’ve missed it.  I love the library.  I have talked about it in a previous Sunday post (over a year and a half ago) and nothing has really changed.  I realize that some people have not been library goers for their entire lives (my mom started me quite young), so I thought I would share my top five reasons (there are so many) to visit your local library and check it out:

First, it is FREE!  No strings attached (other than meeting return deadlines).  No free today, but your credit card will be charged in four weeks and for the remainder of your natural life.  Every library offers slightly different services, but our library has movies, audio CDs, ebooks, book clubs, activities for kids, etc.  It is worth checking out what your library has to offer.

Second, it is quiet.  Well, relatively.  If you need a place to escape to where you don’t have to purchase a $5 coffee and listen to the person at the next table talk about their upcoming visit from in-laws on their cell phone, this is a good spot.  You can’t eat and drink in the library at ours, but they have a great grassy area just to the side of the library that makes for good picnicking and some libraries have rooms where you can eat and drink.

Third, it is constantly changing.  Much like the local bookstore, but without the price tags, our library is constantly changing up the books on it’s front tables.  It has art work that changes every few months.  It offers new selections constantly and often has new activities to try out (we have a knitting group, a book club, a chess club for teens, family movies on Sunday afternoons – with popcorn).  I am always curious to see what they have and what they have going on.

Fourth, and this is parent-specific, your kids can look at books, play with toys and use a computer without you having to worry about buying it later! BONUS:  Other adults are there too! I have tried to teach my daughter that we don’t need to buy something every time we go to a store.  And we often don’t.  But, it is always a battle.  At the library, when she finds a book she really likes, I can feel good about saying, “let’s get it”.  I can also feel good about bringing it back when she has read it and will never look at it again!  Our library has blocks, felt boards, puppet theater with puppets, etc.  It is air conditioned, so in the hot months, it is a great alternative to the park.  They have coloring sheets and crayons and pencils.  And usually, you can find a friendly adult to chat with while your kids play.  It feels safe.  It feels comfortable (I’m not constantly fretting about what she can and can touch).  It is enjoyable without costing a penny.  I can sit and read a book myself, or look at magazines, or even work on something and she is in a safe, cool space.

Fifth and most important, it helps to keep much-needed public spaces available in our communities.  When the big bookstores came to town, a lot of libraries struggled to prove their need in the communities.  Funding was cut.  Hours were cut.  And if people don’t use these services, demonstrating that the community supports and NEEDS these services, the cuts will continue.  We are lucky to have a supportive community, so our library is actually expanding hours back in the Fall (they had made significant cuts a while back).  Public spaces that offer resources for everyone are important to me.  Although I can afford to go to Barnes and Noble or shop online at Amazon to buy my daughter books (we actually buy quite a few at thrift stores, because reuse, recycle, etc.), I want every child, no matter what their financial circumstances to be able to access books and literacy programs and a space that is inviting and encouraging of reading.  I also want adults who do not have computers in their homes to have access to those resources. My parents used the public library computers for a dozen years, never choosing to have a computer in their home.  Many seniors and homeless individuals use the computers at the library to get access to needed resources.

Public spaces can be scary.  After all, they are so, well, public.  Homeless people do use the library much more often than Barnes and Noble (although, sometimes they are in the cafe there).  And to some people, that is a bad thing.  But, to me, this is reality.  And facing the individuals in our communities who are not thriving hopefully will help us remain a community rather than being divided by social class.  We have prided ourselves on NOT being a society based on class division, but we have created these consumerist walls of division between those of us who can participate in that consumerist lifestyle and those who can’t/don’t.  I think that doing more to create community through our public spaces is important.  And if homeless people abuse the public space, they should be removed (and hopefully provided with the help they need, although that is another area of funding that has gone to the wayside in recent decades – our mental health services have collapsed, but I will leave that for another post), but just because they may not be dressed as nice as we are or smell as good as we do or have their hair styled does not mean they don’t deserve to be recognized and served as the humans they are.  I like that the public library provides a space for all of use to coexist.

 

Simplicity Sunday, Uncategorized

Simplicity Sunday – Simplicity is not Simple

Another Sunday already?!?  I actually wrote that title LAST Sunday and that was it for my posting attempt.  Sad.  But, I’m back with the same title, hoping to actually post something this time.  My house is a total disaster right now.  Partially because I have been busy, busy, busy for the past month or more.  But, a bigger reason is that we just have WAY TOO MUCH STUFF!  For example – this is my dining room and end table currently:

Messy Dining Room Table

First of all, every time I take a picture of my house I notice something else I hate.  I mean, I hate the mess, but that light fixture in the dining room – hideous.  How badly stained the arm on my couch is (a replacement couch has been sitting in our garage for over six months now, but there it sits)…but, the point of the picture was the piles of stuff.  That is what I’ve collected over the past couple of weeks as everything that does not have a place goes on our dining room table.  The piles get moved around, but there they stay.  The pile on the end table is my grading.

So, yeah, I’m starting to realize just HOW MUCH STUFF we have in our home.  It is somewhat insane.  There are only three of us.  So, I’m trying to get rid of stuff.  But, it is sometimes difficult.  I feel like there are things that should be kept (books, for example), but they take up space.  Precious space.  And do I REALLY need them?  I did get rid of some sheets today from our queen size bed (we replaced it with a King for Mother’s Day), which was liberating.  And I’m going to get rid of some additional pillows and buy some King size pillows tomorrow or Tuesday.  I also threw out a few makeup items and took some things from our downstairs bedroom that actually belongs upstairs.  I am ready to be DONE with moving piles of stuff from one place to another, from one room to another.  But, that means the stuff in those piles have to stop moving AROUND my house and start moving OUT OF my house.

So, that’s the plan.  The Summer of Simplifying!

Simplicity Sunday

Simplicity Sunday – The Other Side of Fear

other side of fear

Yes.  Everything I want IS on the other side of fear.  On this Easter day, I realize that I need a little resurrection of my own.  Resurrection of some dreams and goals and aspirations.  I’ve been doing pretty good for the past decade.  I am extremely happy that I made the choice to come here when the job opened up almost 10 years ago.  I love where I live and I have had a great experience in my job.  But, I’ve become comfortable and I’ve avoided taking opportunities for more when they’ve come along the past few years.  The Community College by me has had three jobs in the past six years and I’ve applied for none of them.  When I originally finished my Masters program, teaching at Community College was what I wanted to do.  But, when this job came along, it was a good compromise.  There was no “tenure” to be had, but it was stable in a good program with good funding, and it was my alumni program.  I make decent money and I don’t have an overload of teaching responsibilities.  So, I have resisted change.  I’ve made a lot of excuses – my parents’ illnesses, my daughter’s illnesses, health insurance concerns (legitimate in our situation, but after looking into it, seems to be pretty equal), retirement concerns (again, legitimate, but seems pretty good).  And because of these, I’ve given up what could have been six years of consistent raises – instead of I’ve received one raise in the past nine years and we may be going on strike next month, so things are looking good for future raises either.  And even if I get the raises we’re striking for and the one I applied for, it would still be a ceiling for many years to come.

In addition, I am in a position where although I have a lot of stability, I am not a “regular” faculty member.  I do not really feel part of a professional community.  And that takes its toll.  Especially when things get stressful or I want to try new things or I just want to be able to talk shop with someone.  I don’t have that where I am.  And without a change in position, I will not have it.

So, I’m taking a leap.  I am applying for the fourth job at the local Community College.  It is another year where I have plenty of excuses NOT to – my DD’s pacemaker placement is stressful and could interfere with interviewing.  We have a strike coming up possibly, which will also wreak havoc on my semester possibly.  So, I could have easily passed up the opportunity with my usual “it just isn’t the right time”.  But, you know what.  It IS the right time.  And although it may not happen, it is an opportunity I need to at least step up to and take a chance.  So, here goes.

We had a friend visiting this weekend and she said she had made 2016 the year of saying yes for her.  She said she says yes to opportunities unless there is a really good and important reason to say no.  I have kind of been on the opposite focus lately.  But, I think I need to say yes to opportunities that COULD BE really good and important to my future.  And this is it folks.  So, I’m stepping out and doing it.  Wish me luck.  I can’t say I’m feeling totally confident in my decision at this point.  But, I feel confident that I will regret NOT doing it.

 

Simplicity Sunday

Simplicity Sunday – On Space

To go where no man has gone before…

Star-Trek

No, no…not that “space”.  But, “space”:

Front Porch

Inviting, comfortable and usable space.  That used to be my front porch, when I first got my patio set.  I loved that space.  Now it looks like this:

porch march 2016

And that, my friends, pretty much is my life in a front porch picture.  I get things cleaned up, looking nice, feeling welcoming and comfortable and usable and then life happens and it is all the same mess again.  And I realize that life is messy at times and I don’t live in a magazine photo shoot, but I do know that others with more kids, less time and more chaos are able to keep their houses at least picked up, without random stray items laying all over the place.  That is all I really want.

So, I’ve realized that a lot of the reason we don’t have that is we have way. too. much. stuff.  I mean, WAY too much stuff.  So, I’ve been trying to downsize.  But, it isn’t easy (as my porch can attest to).  So, I’m trying out some new ideas in helping me clear out…I’ll let you know how it goes.  In the meantime, I’ll be trying to find some space!