Category Archives: Minimalism

I just want good days!

I started this blog two years ago when I decided to document going minimalist in My Journey Begins. Between September and January of 2015, I managed to do quite nicely in downsizing.  Then I stopped writing when the drinking got out of hand when I wrote I will not admit I am defeated…

I thought I would just delete this blog and start a new one but I’m tired of “starting over” so I will just have to catch up on the many things that have happened in a year and a half.  Some of it was fun and I progressed quite nicely in downsizing….it also wound up to be some renovation to my home as well.  Some of it was awful (breast cancer) but I managed to get through it with help from family and friends.  I wonder sometimes why I did not document any of it.  Now I will have to rely on memory.  Since I have a few followers, I want to put it together so it is not too confusing.  I think I will work on a “catching up” post this weekend – might take a few parts.

The good news is I am still not drinking wine (or any alcohol) and my health is stable.  My drink was always Chardonnay.  I never did drink anything else except a nice red wine sometime.  Chardonnay was the drink I used when feeling good, sad, depressed, sick, lonely, tired, overwhelmed and every day no matter what I was feeling …..  I know today that if I drink one glass l be back to the bottle a night – or two.  There were times soon after I quit when I wanted to stop and pick up some cool Chardonnay…but I pushed past it.  It has not been as hard a I thought.  Of course, this time I keep thinking that “if you have breast cancer and in remission, there is a 90% chance of it returning if you drink any alcohol”.  Smack down…

These days…I just want good days.  I can’t have them when drinking wine. So I won’t drink….

I had a check up with my cardiologist on Monday.  He said the echogram showed my heart is fine.  There was only a minor change and it would never bother me….the usual “due to my age”.  My blood pressure was 96/58 so he cut one of the blood pressure meds in half (I think this good news is due to not drinking alcohol).  The feet are still swelling somewhat but he doesn’t know why and I don’t want another round of doctors to “try” and find out why.  I’m just going to do a little better with my diet and exercise.  Loosing 25 pounds would definitely make it all go away….

Watching the Olympics! I love, love the Olympics!

Catching Up!!

It has been over a month since I last posted.  I certainly hope my followers have not given up on me.    I may have to take two posts to catch up….it has been very, very busy!!

First, I sold all the antique hat pins on Ebay as well as a few other things that were collectibles and small.  I made over $1,000 which was very good I thought.  I put some items on that did not sell so then began the work of cleaning out closets and donating. My church had it’s annual tag sale so I donated a van full of items.  They were pleased since my stuff is “good stuff”.  They said you would not believe what some people donated that was not possible to sell for any amount.  I think this was the first pass.  Afterwards, I made another pass and donated another truck (really, my brother’s truck) full to our local Mission to use in their resale store.  I gave all the old bowls I had sitting on top of my kitchen counters as well as many other items.  I don’t miss a thing.  Looking back the majority of it I had not used since moving into this house in 2006.  Now that’s sad!!  The more I give away the better I feel!  This is really becoming a freeing experience.

I made trip to see a friend I had not seen in a while.  She lives in wine country Virginia so we went to a few for tastings.  I did have some wine but not much.  It was great seeing her and spending quality time together.  She has a dog, 5 cats (all rescue) and takes care of 2 feral cats as well.  I did not take my dogs.  My dogs have never known a cat so I didn’t want to take any chances and her cats are bigger than my dogs.  I took the rest of the week off and had some work done on the house.  Cleaned on the outside, washed windows, cleaned out gutters and fixed some areas in the garage where I had my foot slip from the brake and pushed the freezer into the wall.   Two big holes!  Probably need a big “STOP” sign.

I had my six month CT scan and visit with doctor that did the surgery for my aortic dissection.  These visits always make me nervous weeks before I go.  He said all is very good.  The stent is still in place and is not leaking.  I still have an issue with the right kidney but he can’t do anything about it.  For now, it’s the same.  I asked what would happen if the stent did start leaking and he said he would just put in another one.  Good grief.  I was nuts thinking about the first one – I certainly don’t want a repeat!!

I had contemplated retiring again next year but I am rethinking it.  I really need to have the house painted inside so can use the money.  For now, it’s on hold.  Maybe when I’m 70!!

I live in North Carolina!  Yesterday there was snow in South Carolina.  Too funny!!  South Carolina!!  Today is cold but sunny and beautiful Carolina blue sky!! Picture is from my back deck!

Pinehurst Sun

Trying Again!!

I made it 23 days without having wine.  Then I had a birthday…..and I had some wine with family.  Not much, just one glass.  One glass too many.  I then had some wine later in the week and yesterday, I polished off a full bottle!!  It took most of the day to do it so I was not drunk.  Today, I am back to none and Day 1 again.  I felt so much better not drinking and today I felt like crap again.  Why in the hell can’t I just put it away for good?  I didn’t grow up with it but along the way, learned to love it too, too much!!

It has to stop!! Enough said!!

Birthday Gratitude

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”  C.S.Lewis

Yesterday was my birthday.  I am 69 years old.  After the aortic dissection two years ago, I am in “love” with birthdays.  I love the good wishes from everyone, the cards, the calls, the meals, the presents…..I just love it all!!  This is “probably” because I was close to not seeing my 67th birthday….let alone the 69th!  Happy days!  It was also a day to count my many, many blessings.  I am relatively healthy now, I have a wonderful family, great friends, a beautiful home, happy pets, nice job and nothing to complain about!!  I have really had this all along, I just did not appreciate it as I do now.  Nothing like a little “kick in the butt” to realize that life is absolutely perfect just the way we make it!!  We can make it crappy (and I have in the past) and we can make it great…it’s all up to us…every bit of it!!   Material things will make us happy for about a nano-second and then it’s forgotten only to be tossed or set aside at some point.  I am happy every time I empty a closet full of “stuff” or clean out a drawer of accumulated “stuff”.  My simple life!! I love it!!  More to come…….

My morning walk today!!

Morning Walk 1Morning Walk 2

Photographs and Memories

Yesterday I spent most of the day sorting through photographs.  I thought it would be emotional but it wasn’t.  I first sorted all of them into categories:  husband, parents, pets, siblings, nieces and nephews, houses, cars, travel, hobbies and junk.  I immediately tossed pictures of people I did not know, places I could not remember where they were, multiples, scenes of something (i.e. various parades, gatherings, etc.).  I then went through what was left in each category and kept a variety that are really important and the best of the bunch.  For instance, there is no need to keep 92 pictures of my niece (I only have one).  I did not need to keep pictures of a wedding when the bride and groom have been divorced for years and moved on to who knows where or places I worked that I really need to forget!!

This is how I started!

Pictures B4And this is how I ended!  All in a pretty little box!!

Pictures After 1Pictures After 2

 

“I would like water please”

Thursday night I went to my first social event since I stopped drinking wine.  This is a group of golfing friends that meet once a month for dinner and to catch up on golfing events.  Most in the group drink wine but I noticed more are now just having water or tea.  I thought people would notice I was not drinking wine but none did…or at least if they did, they didn’t mention it!

Why did I think people would notice?  I have been meeting with this group for 6 years and normally have my two glasses of wine.  If the function is at someone’s home, it is BYOB and usually everyone brings wine.  Is it because I feel so bad about the amount of my own drinking and I think others are reading my mind?  Prior to stopping the booze, I would leave the dinner, stop by the wine store, get a bottle and finish the bottle before going to bed!   Then the shame, guilt, and generally feeling like crap the next day would consume me.

It has now been 3 weeks (21 days) since my last drink!  Everything is improving.  The dark circles are gone from under my eyes, my skin is better, the morning sinus drainage is gone, I sleep so much better and my blood pressure is way down.  I know I will have challenges to come with wanting to drink (maybe this is the “pink cloud” of sobriety I have been reading about) but my resolve is to stay strong and continue the quest to be a “non-drinker” – not just sober but a “non-drinker”.

As part of my minimalist journey, I am going through old photographs today and purging.  I moved them here 8 years ago and have not looked at them since.  My plan right now is to keep a few memorable one’s but to do something with the remainder….either have copied to discs, give away or toss.  This task might just be the most emotional one I will have to tackle.

The “eBay” Experience!!

I have sold items on eBay before and had good luck.  A few days ago, I listed my antique hat pin collection which included 6 sets of hat pins in porcelain hat pin holders.  I listed them rather cheaply because if the cost is too high, people will just not pay attention.  If the price is attractive, I get more views.  Anyway,  I listed the hat pin holders as “Limoges China” which is what is written on the bottom and signifies these are a reproduction of the original Haviland Limoges from France (I Googled all this before I listed them).  If they had been the real French Limoges, they certainly would have been more than the $10.00 (including pins).  They would have been more like $100.00.  I have a number of people watching the bidding and even have bids on two of them.

Then I get a message from some lady in Wyoming that says they are all fake and not legal to sell on eBay because they are not authentic.  This person has not bought or sold anything on eBay (the number of items traded is always listed after the sellers name).  She continues to tell me she is an expert on Limoges and these are illegal.  I wrote back that they were from China which was in the description and nothing was said they were original but listed as reproductions from China.  She wrote again they were “illegal” and against eBay rules.  I asked her nicely to not send any more messages and my description was exactly what they were. Also, there are a whole bunch of the others listed on eBay identical to mine.  So, then she writes back that she will turn me over to the fraud department at eBay and “let them handle you.”   Just to make sure there was no misunderstanding, I wrote the two people that had bid and told them what happened and they both said they did not care where the holders were from.  They wanted the pins and were not particularly interested in the holders. Just to make everything really clear, I changed the description to say “Hat Pins and Holders” only – no mention of Limoges China.  I also filed a complaint with eBay. 

This left a bad taste about trying to sell more items on eBay.  I don’t know what her problem is with me and she is probably contacting all the other people selling the same thing listed as “Limoges China”.  I guess we will just wait and see what happens.  I can understand eBay being careful with people selling true “knock offs” like advertising a Chanel bag and it being fake.  I advertised mine as being a reproduction from China and it’s listed that way.   And the price!  One of them includes the holder and 10 very long antique hat pins for $25.00.  Just one of the hat pins would sell for that.  Trust me, if it was the real Limoges, the price would be more like $250.00.

My “Rules” for selling on eBay:

  • Don’t sell anything under $10.00.  It is just not worth the pictures, the listing, answering questions, packaging and shipping if it’s under $10.00 even with shipping charges extra.
  • Do not use “Buy it Now”.  It seems lately that most of the items are “Buy It Now” meaning there is no bidding.  The buyer pays what the seller is asking.  These prices are usually incredibly high.  I have put a number of them on my “watch list” just to check out the traffic, and the majority don’t sell.  The seller will just list it again and sometimes under another name.
  • List for only 7 days.  If it doesn’t sell in 7 days, it goes to charity.  Listing for weeks will not help sell it.
  • Have one picture, maybe two if the manufacturer name is a selling feature.  I see no need in posting a whole bunch of pictures for a little item.  If a buyer has questions, they ask!
  • Short description.  I have found eBay buyers look through hundreds and thousands of items.  They usually look at the picture and the description line.  Most don’t take the time to read a long description.
  • Ship as quickly after being paid as possible.  Your customers will comment and give better feedback for quick shipments.  Package well.
  • Always leave feedback!!

I am going to see how the next round of items sell.  If I have more “grief” than “luck”, I will just donate all the rest of it.  I only wanted to make enough for a new camera!!

What would you do anyway?

Conversation with my boss today:

  • Boss:  “How are you feeling these days?”
  • Me:  “Good.  I go back for my six month check-up in October but I’m not having any problems.
  • Boss:”You still doing OK working full time?”
  • Me: “Yes.  I usually start part-time in November but I told the Office Manager I could work full time if needed with the move to the new building and all.”
  • Boss:”Thanks for being flexible. But if you didn’t work, “what would you do anyway?

I will do exactly what I want to do and not what someone tells me to do!!  I do have a life outside of work….what was he thinking?

Addicted to “collecting”!!

I am not sure I can remember the diffferent types of things I have “collected” during my life.  I guess I enjoyed the fun of finding items during the collection period but honestly, I don’t remember so it could not have been that memorable.  My list…..ugh!!

  • Decorative bird houses – I had them sitting everywhere!! Why?  Bird houses are for birds “outside” not collecting dust on the coffee table.  I sold what I could, for hardly nothing, and donated the remaining to the Rescue Squad Garage Sale when I downsized from a large home to a townhouse.  They were “decorative” meaning the birds would not build in them when I tried putting them outside plus, the weather ruined them in no time.  Learn from the birds……simple!!
  • Fenton glass bells – This was an expensive hobby and when I was collecting, they were pricey. I started when a friend, who was a collector of numerous items, invited me on one of her “hunts” and decided that I should collect “something”.  We found a “Madeline” Fenton glass bell and this was the beginning.  At one time, I had about 300 bells.  Again, collecting dust!!  I suppose it was fun at the time but, again, I don’t remember.  What I remember is trying to get rid of the damn things!  I sold about half when I moved to my current home and the remaining I sold at a yard sale for $2.00 each. One lady bought 10 and came back later for more.  I gave her all that I had left and she was thrilled.  I guess she was a “collector”.  I have a few remaining but from the research on eBay they are not worth the time to list.
  • Copper pots and pans and other copper things –  My husband was a Chef and loved to cook in copper pans. The irony of this being he never cooked in “our” copper pots and pans.  I don’t know if Chef’s still use copper pans but “back in the day” (the 70’s and 80’s) it was all the go so they were easily available to collect.  When we built our mountain home in the 70’s, we had a wooden beam across the kitchen and the pans hung all across it.  After my husband died, I moved to another house, and in redecorating, I had a beam placed on the top of two sides of the kitchen for…you guessed it – the copper collection!  I must say it looked nice and was the topic of conversation for guests.  I was still collecting by then and had many stuffed into a cabinet.  Talk about a pain to clean!!  I would take two days about every other month, clean and then polish to a shine.  I look back now and think….why?  When I left this house to move to a townhouse, I sold “everything” except personal items like clothes and my dogs. The copper pans went with the birdhouses.  I only kept a few miniatures and really old items.  I think they are still packed away in a box from my move 6 years ago.  
  • Longaberger Baskets – I had been invited to many Longaberger Basket parties and never went.  I just don’t do parties and I thought they were too expensive anyway.  I visited my sister and she and her boyfriend at the time were collecting them but buying at auctions which made it a lot cheaper.  I had a “stupid moment” and went to an auction with them and bought a bunch – I can’t remember but it was probably 15 or so, maybe more.  “Stupid moment” is right!!!  I kept collecting.  I found eBay!!  I probably had over 100 of these baskets when I finally stopped.  When I moved from the townhouse, I had a tag sale and sold many of them for a lot less than I paid.  I brought about half with the last move and have since given away some, sold some at my last garage sale, and have a few more to list on eBay to try and sell.  If they don’t sell, they will go to charity.
  • Old Nesting Bowls – I call this a collection but I bought these for the sole purpose of putting on top of my kitchen cabinets.  There is a space between the cabinet and ceiling that I thought “needed” something.  Huh!!!  For a while I really enjoyed them in my “country kitchen” but now I am ready to be rid of all the stuff that serves absolutely no purpose except to collect dirt and dead bugs!!

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  • Golf Visors –    I am a golfer and I wear visors when playing – keeps the sweat and hair out of my eyes!!  When I started playing golf, I collected a personalized visor from every golf course I played.  Over the years, it was many!  I have since gotten rid of about two-thirds of them.  I do use them so will keep what I have left for my golfing days!!
  • Antique Hat Pins – My sister-in-law showed me a few antique hat pins she had found at an auction house.  I did not realize they existed.  Years ago, in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, women’s bodies were totally covered.  They wore dresses all the way up to their neck, long sleeves, and skirts long enough to touch the ground.  They grew their hair long, put it up into a knot, and put a hat over their hair.  There was no place on their body for “bling” like today with jewelry so they had long hat pins that would go through the hats and into the hair underneath to keep the hat secured. These were their “bling”.  I was absolutely fascinated and completely “stupid” again.  I began collecting.  At my “I’m done” point, I had over 200.  They are beautiful and I am still fascinated but not enough to keep hanging on to them.  I listed all the remaining hat pins on eBay yesterday.

Hat Pins 1

Like being addicted to alcohol, I believe I am “addicted to collecting”.  When I stopped drinking wine, I stopped collecting!! 

 

Saturday Morning Farmer’s Market

One of the first things I do on Saturday morning is go to the Farmer’s Market.  It is located in a lovely little town near me and the requirement is that all the food be grown in our county which makes it unique I think.  I have been to Farmer’s Markets in other places and the items are brought in from out of state or even from grocery stores.  As part of my minimalist journey, I am focusing on simple, healthy and fresh food. 

This is my stash from this morning

MarketAnd this is the town

Southern Pines Southern Pines 2 Southern Pines 3

It has been two years today since my aortic dissection.  I continue to feel good and do most of the things I was doing before….Cross Fit is not one of them.  When I first became ill, the doctor told me not to do anything strenuous including house cleaning, gardening and yard work.  Didn’t have to tell me twice…some people like cleaning and gardening but I’m not one of them.  I hired someone to clean the house and someone to take care of my yard.  I have no intention of going back.  Call it lazy….I don’t care.  I don’t like it and as long as I can afford it, I will continue to have them help.  I still can’t lift anything heavy….like a rake or vacuum cleaner (really…..LOL).  So that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!!!

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