I have not forgotten you. You find me in strange circumstances. Recently, we have had the confluence of two unusual events: my phone photo/video storage reached it’s capacity and then while I was working on that issue, my 88 year old mom fell and broke her knee.
So I have been hanging out at mom’s house to help her out. But she doesn’t have internet. (I know!!!) So blog responsibilities took a back seat to real life responsibilities. But I believe I can move forward in this way: I need to delete a bunch of photos that I am not likely to keep, but I think are beautiful, nonetheless. So I will share them with you all and then delete them from my phone, to make space for more photographs to share with you all! Sound okay?
So the minimalist in me does not feel obligated to save these photos for eternity, though I did enjoy them for a moment or two.
Hopefully, I will have worked out the bugs in the system and mom will be upright on her own two knees soon.
Every year, about this time, I review my “Death” folder, to make sure it is up to date.
As you can see, it includes instructions for the disposal of my body. It also includes an updated list of bank accounts and insurance policies and who to contact to stop my pension checks. Some years I tinker with the song list for my memorial service. This year I had to add a whole page of instructions on how to help my disabled son.
I do this because I love my children very much and while I can not make my death easy for them, I can make it less difficult by giving them access to the information they will need in the days immediately following my death.
Now on to more fun topics.
I thought I would try my hand a New Year’s resolutions. In the past, I did not bother with them, thinking that if I wanted to initiate a change, I should just do it and not wait for the calendar to catch up with me.
This year, I thought, “What if I am missing out? What if New Year’s resolutions will really improve my life and I never gave them a fair chance?”
But frankly if seems kind of bossy and abusive “for my own good,” kind of like The Biggest Loser TV show where participants enter into a boot camp full of healthy food and vigorous exercise.
This one is more gentle, and a lot more “new agey.” But is also seems pretty complicated and likely doomed to failure if I can’t pull my resolutions up from memory.
How about you all? Any New Year’s resolutions that you would like to share?
Both of the reviewed books were borrowed from the library. The cover on this one is a bit worse for wear, which I interpret as that it has been checked out and read a lot.
The cover here tells the story: Bea Johnson has created an ultimate guide to reducing household waste. Her family’s story is one we have heard before. They had the large home in a nice area with a long commute and spent their free time taking care of the house and the yard and in the car. They relocated to a city home that was half the size, and this started them on the path to simplifying their lives in other regards as well.
While reducing the family’s landfilled trash output to less that a quart per year is an amazing achievement in our culture, I don’t think that that aspect of their adventure simplified their lives.
If you are looking for ways to reduce your trash output, this book will give you lots of good ideas: some simple, some complicated.
Best tip from the book: Look at the stuff that you put in your trash can and recycle bin and ask yourself how to find a way to keep from putting it there. Easy options include using reusable bottles and shopping bags to replace single use plastic bottles and plastic bags. More challenging options include making your own yogurt and buying clothing second hand and creating a compost. Probably too difficult for most of us include taking your own glass jars to the cheese and butcher shops so the staff can deposit their wares directly into your containers and teaching your elementary-aged children to say no to party favors.
Worst tip from the book: putting a brick in your toilet tank to reduce the water flow. Don’t do it! I have heard/read from several reputable sources that the bricks deteriorate over time soaking in the water and will cause plumbing problems.
The Toolbox for Sustainable City Living will teach you how to grow your own vegetables, chicken, fish and small mammals for consumption in a city setting.
The techniques laid out are easy to understand and the supplies required affordable. It would be useful to own your own property before implementing these methods, but information is given on how to do so on abandoned city lots as well. There are plenty of diagrams and photos to help the reader replicate what Kellogg, Pettigrew and their community have achieved.
The environmental, economic and political benefits of this type of farming are also discussed in the book. I have added to my Travel List a visit to their community in Austin, Texas both to see the husbandry in action and to learn how they work as a community to get the work done.
Here is my holiday décor for December. When the rest of your space is simple, it doesn’t take over-the-top flash to make it feel cared about and fresh.
The plate was in my kitchen. The cedar branches with berries came from a tree in the apartment complex’s yard. I was careful to trim from a side where the branches were not desirable (rubbing on cars in the parking lot.) The candle was .99 USD at IKEA.
After the holidays, the plate will go back into the kitchen, the cedar will be composted and the candle will either make it’s way to my meditation space or to the household emergency kit. Frugal, stylish and sustainable. Exactly what QuakerStylist is all about.
And I need a dose of restrained style, because this is our front door for the next two weeks.
My stash of home-made cards was getting pretty low, but I have been waiting to make more. The librarian at our local library told me that she clears out the circulating magazines at the end of the year and they are offered first come, first served to the general public. She even offered to reserve a few for me!
And they did not disappoint! I cut out any photo or illustration that appealed to me. I had purchased a package of 25 blank note cards with envelopes from the local craft store. They were on sale for $5 USD. Based on the size of the note cards, I created a cardboard template from a empty cereal box. I used the template to crop and frame the pictures I liked in a way that appealed to me.
Any two dimensional image can be used. For past cards I have used antique photos, old calendars, used greeting cards, magazines, interesting tags that came on purchased clothing, parts of a playbill, a politically incorrect children’s book that the library was giving away.
I have a file folder where I collect interesting images for this purpose. When I have enough, I buy the blank note cards and get busy!
We had some high winds Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, and when we woke Wednesday morning, we were greeted to this tree crashed down onto what is my usual parking spot. I’m ever so grateful that I parked in a different spot when we got home from the movie Tuesday night.
I hosted a dinner at our apartment Wednesday evening for my children and their families/partners. Due to my minimalism and recent multiple moves, I did not have enough plates and flatware for 8 people, but I was easily able to borrow the needed items. No less than three people offered to loan me plates and flatware for the event.
(And by the time dinner was served, the electric company had cut down the tree hanging on the power lines and another crew came and hiked the electrical cords back up to their normal, safe height.)
Dear readers: I would love for you to share in the comments what you are thankful for this year. International readers, please chime in also. Surely, gratitude is not confined to federal holidays.
From the moment that I moved into this apartment last February the grime and careless workmanship of the tile repair bothered me. I knew that tackling the tile and grout was going to be an intensive task. I undertook some easier ones elsewhere in the apartment first, so that I could have some success under my belt before I took this on.
And it got worse before it got better. I scraped out the filthy grout before gluing the cleaned tiles back in place.
I know it seems a bit early for a post about wrapping Christmas gifts, but my family is travelling here for Thanksgiving and I won’t see many of them near the Christmas holiday. We have developed a family tradition of sending the wrapped gifts home with each other when we gather at Thanksgiving to save on shipping costs.
I use the same paper for gifts all year long. I just dress it up differently according to the occasion. I bought this large roll of cream drawing paper at IKEA from the children’s section. Here. I’ve been working on this roll for a couple years. The brown paper is reused from a framing job I had done. The gift tags were all cut from an 87 cent piece of cardstock. I’m still working through a large stash of ribbons and string that my mom collected over decades and passed on to me. I usually color on the gift tags in colors that coordinate with my ribbon or string.
My cost this year was just the cardstock. Everything else I had on hand. The paper can be reused and recycled. The fabric string and ribbon can be reused and composted.
I realized this is the second kind of lame post in a row. The bathroom tile/grouting project is time consuming and I can really only work on it when my son is visiting at his dad’s because there is no second bathroom to use while work is underway.
In the meantime, I amuse myself with small projects I can knock off in an hour our two. Here is one from this past week.
All that took was a bit of vinegar, a toothbrush and some elbow grease.
And it makes me happy every time I cross the threshold.
PS. I did not get the house that I made the offer on, so back to the property search.