Category Archives: Simplicity

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

 

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!!

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!!

DSCN0664

  • 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!!!

DSCN0658

 

Three Year Short Story

About 3 years ago, I decided to become a Vegan.  My cholesterol was high and I cannot take Statins due to muscle pain. I was also horrified at how animals are treated and slaughtered at factory farms so this was my way of protesting the practices.  At first I was a “junk food” Vegan meaning I substituted real meat and dairy for the fake stuff.  I really did not know how many fake items are there.  My little dog, Pepe, would not eat Tofurky and fake cheese and he will eat “anything”.   After a few months, I decided this was not healthy either and I really didn’t know what was in the food with all the ingredients I could not pronounce.  I settled into my new way of eating quite well and lost over 30 pounds.  I was also exercising a lot.  I was at the gym every day at 5:30 a.m. with the morning group for an hour of cardio and I worked out with a trainer twice a week.  Our gym had introduced something called Cross Fit which consists of TRX, kettlebells, medicine balls, sled with heavy weights to push and ropes.  I was also running (or run/walk) 5K and 10K races.  My cholesterol came down from 305 to 245 within a couple of months and my blood pressure was really low.  I felt good and looked good.

Then came September 6, 2012 and I had an aortic dissection!!

Only 25% of people with an aortic dissection live.  I was in ICU for 11 days and when I was released, my doctor told me to do as little movement as possible.  I came to a stop!!  I was scared I was going to die and I was incredibly depressed so what the hell!!  So, I went from Vegan to KFC and fast food every day.  No movement right – I took him literally and didn’t even move to the kitchen to cook.  I just didn’t care.  Over the next three months, I gained back the 30 pounds plus some.  I was also drinking wine every night and a lot of it.  Of course, this just made me more depressed.  Life was not good!!

Two years later and after having surgery to correct the dissection, my CT scans continue to show I am OK.  I am finally beginning to believe I will live a while longer and can have a healthy, happy, long life if I just take care of myself.  I am alcohol dependent – or wine dependent.  I cannot drink in moderation.  I’ve tried it and one glass leads to five.  So this is it!  I am now 8 days without wine but I feel really good about it.  It reminds me of when I stopped smoking.  My liver will fail before the dissection if I keep up with the daily bottle of wine.  And so the wine drinking ends here.

I go back to work tomorrow.  Today I cooked so I don’t have to cook much the rest of the week (hard cooking for one).  The food was simple, nothing processed and really good.  Here’s a sample:

Tuscan Kale with Walnut Sauce, Baked Sweet Potato, Barbecue TofuTuscan Kale with Walnut Sauce, Baked Sweet Potatoes and Barbecue Tofu

And lunch is packed for tomorrow:

Tuscan Kale, Brown Rice, Lima Beans with CornTuscan Kale, Brown Rice, Lima Beans with Roasted Corn

 

My Journey Begins

Why the name “Imperfect Minimalist”?

  • Minimalism – A style or technique that is characterized by simplicity
  • Imperfect – Not perfect

This is me.  I have been working on being a minimalist for a few months now but realize it is much more than purging the material “stuff”.  It is about a way of life that brings health, peace and quiet. 

I will be 69 years old in a couple of weeks and retiring “again” in a few months.  I say “again” because I did this in 2008 but the situation was entirely different so I went back to work.  Now it’s time and I am feeling comfortable with my decision.  What all this will bring, I don’t know but I want to keep a record of how it all unfolds.  So here goes

Today is Monday, September 1, 2014 and this is a picture from my yard this morning.  Fall is starting and the Dogwood tree is just beginning to turn colors.

September 1