Krissie: Decluttering

I’ve noticed this before. I have very red lips. They’re thinning with (choke) age, but it’s surprising how red they are. Makes me think of the scene in Venetia when she first meets Damerel and he quotes a poem about “cherry ripe.” Ah, don’t I wish.
So, on to the topic at hand. In autumn I nest. I bring fake autumn foliage out and stuff them in vases (real stuff would make me sneeze), I have autumn table clothes etc., and I like to declutter.
But here’s the strange thing. I do the tiny stuff. I don’t seem to be able to deal with the big picture. Last weekend I folded up all my panties and arranged them in my top drawer. Man, it was lovely. Because I have way too many pairs of panties, and I’m throwing out anything that’s slightly worn, and now I’ve got to get rid of the over-sized ones.
But on Sunday I had energy. I went for my walk, and then I made bread, and while I was doing the bread my utensil drawers were ridiculous. I can’t find my apple slicer and I realized I have so much crap in the drawers that I use maybe twice a year. So I took out all the stuff I rarely use, tossed some old stuff. I still need to pare down — I have like 8 pairs of salad servers and we seldom use them We just toss them with the fork. I have maybe seven spatulas. 12 wooden spoons. I’m insane. Anyway, I started with the main utensil drawer:
And then, feeling encouraged, I kept going.
So … with my house in disarray, why do I spend my time on meentsy (new word) little things and not just make things look neat. My sister, who bordered on a candidate for Hoarders, used to pile things in corner and throw sheets over them, so everything looked sleek (relatively) but there was chaos beneath. Chaos and slime. Whereas I like things clean from the bottom up — surface mess is less worrisome that nasty stuff around the toilet or dishes shoved in the oven so no one will see them. Of course I see the point if someone is making an unexpected visit … ah, no I don’t. People know what I’m like and I can’t fit all my chaos into the oven.
I’m not sure if fidgeting around in re-arranging drawers is a way of avoiding things, or whether it’s a bird by bird thing. Problem is, I don’t know if I ever get to the big stuff.
Does anyone else do that? I spent a day polishing silver when I’m drowning in crap. Does that make sense? And yet I really have a hard time cleaning surfaces when there’s chaos underneath.
Maybe that’s always been my problem. I sweat the small stuff and my energy and interest seldom lasts till I get to the big stuff. I don’t get the same sense of accomplishment from straightening the living room, because to do that I just move things into a different room.
I think this time I have to do all the levels. Rearrange the drawers — done! Rearrange the cupboards and get rid of duplicates. Clear off the counters. Make space in the pantry for the appliances that don’t get regular use. Tell Richie to stop feeding the cats on the counter.
Or should I even start in the kitchen?
Overwhelmed. I guess I need to figure if I’m doing things all wrong, starting with the small stuff.
I think it’s like writing. You can’t look at the big picture – it’s overwhelming. Another thing Anne Lamott said, apart from the bird by bird thing? That you should think about writing a book like doing an oil painting, and you only have to do a postage stamp worth of work at a time and eventually it gets done.
All I know is that decluttering my house and keeping it clean has always been an Epic Fail. And I just can’t live that way any more.

Krissie: Impossible Things

Damn, what great lists yesterday! There was probably a simple way of copy and paste to pick all the ones that spoke directly to me, but I was trying to read through (we were gone all yesterday) before I wrote today’s post. I’ll need to go back.
But man, what inspiration! Just some random thoughts:
I loved the one about wearing your nice clothes, not just waiting for good occasions. I have so many good clothes that get worn once or twice a year, if that. Mainly for conferences, and since I’m not going to Anaheim I won’t have that reason. I need to dress up.
And ditto with nice china and silver (I have a huge weakness for china. Don’t know why). Every day should be a celebration.
Great reminders that we need to work on stuff, not that we have to accomplish stuff. Progress, not perfection, it’s the journey, not the destination.
Because so much more of our time is spent on the work, not on the finished project, that we need to embrace the work, the journey.
I’m assuming you’ve all read BIRD BY BIRD by the divine Anne Lamott, but if any of you missed it, I’ll pass along (or remind you) of the story behind the title and the message for life.
The author’s brother was supposed to do a report on birds for school. So he spent weeks researching, had pages and pages of notes, piles of research books, all set out on the kitchen table, and it was time to finally write the effing paper. The kid stared at it, absolutely paralyzed, and said “how am I ever going to write this paper.” And the father said, “Bird by bird, son. Bird by bird.”
What’s how we have to live. How we plant our gardens for the summer, lose our weight, write our books, raise our kids, manage our marriages, clean our offices, paint our paintings. It’s how we make our quilts, learn to dance, help our aging parents.
There’s no way to hurry the process, get it all done at once. Bird by bird we get through it.
Wearing our good clothes, dancing when no one’s around.
To quote Jimmy O’Neill, a sage from my youth, “Rock on, Shindiggers!”

Krissie: Grrrr

So I checked Netdiary and I was eating too little. Obediently ate more. Not bad stuff, just more, like a bowl of bran cereal (my body really likes it and that’s all I’m gonna say) and lots and lots of fruit and a huge salad (with too many croutons but wtf).
Missed weighing since the day after I got home, so I popped out of bed, all hopeful and got fucking 243 again!
Now, mind you, my rings are so tight I can’t get them off. And … my clothes are loose. I had to put my bra on a tighter hook, my turtleneck flows around my hips instead of clings, and the (elastic) waistband of my jeans is loose. So I’m not going to have anything more than a temporary hissy fit, stamp my foot, and then go back to work. Haven’t been able to swim (next week) but I found my Richard Simmons sitting dvd (still shrink-wrapped) so presumably that’ll have fun music. And I’m fond of Richard. I know he drives a lot of people crazy but I think he’s basically a sweetheart, and I like over the top personalities.
But mostly I’ve got to ignore everything and work. I’m gonna ditch seeing my mother today because my sister’s former partner always visits on Saturdays. If I can find a little time to sew that would be great, but mostly I gotta put my head down and concentrate on getting work done. First, because it’s overdue. But second, because I always feel better when I’ve written.
But I learned with the last one that I have to watch it. I made myself feel so sick from exhaustion when I finished the last book that I vowed never to do that again. So I am going to make time to swim next week, damn it. And I’m going to do something crafty at least a couple of days a week (either jewelry or sewing). Or I’m going to go insane.
Life shouldn’t be about the destination. Yes, I need to finish the book and come up with a proposal. But I love both of the stories and to beat myself up over them robs me of the joy. And if I take everything else out of life but my duties it’s makes me sad and sick and colorless.
Here’s my challenge. Not to let numbers get me down. They can annoy me, but I’m not going to pay attention.
Get the work done, but do it joyfully.
Go to my sewing machine and play.
I’ll worry about weeding out the clothes and the patterns after next week (when the book is due).
Or … I can sit on the bed watching tv and going through baskets of clothes. Same with patterns.
Oh, and damn, I want to finish the new Teresa Medeiros book, THE PLEASURE OF YOUR KISS, which absolutely rocks! Plus I dug out the book I never read, called I DON’T HAVE TO MAKE EVERYONE HAPPY, which I think might be useful.
Aiyeee!!! Too many things.
Bird by bird, Krissie. Bird by bird.