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!
“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!!
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!
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.
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?
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!!
- 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.
Like being addicted to alcohol, I believe I am “addicted to collecting”. When I stopped drinking wine, I stopped collecting!!
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
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!!!
Two things have happened recently that really made me strongly consider retirement and my “mortality”. I don’t mean working part time, I mean complete retirement from working outside my home. The first thing is a gentleman in our office, one of the directors, did not come to work one day and we simply thought he was on a trip and had not informed us. My boss called him and left a message and also sent a text. His wife called that evening and said she and her son had left him sleeping in the morning and when they got home, they found him deceased in his bed. He had no prior health issues. He was 65.
Yesterday, another member of our staff said his 69 year old dad had been diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. He had never smoked and had no health issues. He was still working full time and was waiting to retire when he was 70 since he would get more in social security benefits.
I know everyone has similar incidents in their lives and I have had them in the past. But for some reason, these hit me harder than usual. I will be 69 years old this month. I am still in relatively good health, albeit with one issue, and still have some things I want to do and I can’t get it all done on the weekend.
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:
And lunch is packed for tomorrow:
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.