Sunday, August 27, 2023

The simple life

Another year has rolled around! It's my birthday today!! There's no need to discuss the numbers -- birthdays are about celebrating the fact that we are still here and able to live a pretty normal life.

I look forward to the following year, and who knows what that will bring. It's about keeping the mind open and the body in somewhat decent shape to do what the mind wants! 

It's about creating, it's about adventure and exploring, and it's about ME time. But best of all, it's about friends, sharing, and well --- it's just about LIFE and being one of the lucky ones still around. 

By the way (and I don't want to jinx anything), my knee feels pretty good. While it still has its moments, that sharp pain is gone. It's achy and tired, but I feel like I could hop back on the Camino and finish it right now! But let's not get too hasty. I wear my brace when I walk any distance, and I'll keep doing so, but I'm good around the house. I almost wonder what happened out there, and perhaps it was all a dream? 

I'm booking one more appointment with the physio this week because that was a "miracle" cure. It's better than a cortisone shot, although will this euphoria last? I don't care -- let's take it one day at a time. 

I had a somewhat decent day yesterday, but more importantly, I accomplished stuff that I had been dreading doing, and it got done, so that was a good thing. I had to make travel arrangements for several trips. This involved booking hotels, cars, and planes, all of which take time to do when you have to evaluate the options. Let's just say there are some weird trip combinations in the works, and you'll hear about them when they happen. 

But it blows my mind when things go wrong! I needed to book a hotel for an upcoming week-long event. When I tried to do that online, the system told me I couldn't. Why not? Well, because the second night is sold out. OK -- so if it were just me, I'd say - that's possible. However, knowing that hundreds of people will attend the same event and ONLY the second day is sold out, I knew something was wrong. 

After calling the hotel, the reservation desk said the same thing. According to their computer, the hotel was not available that night. So you're telling me that all those customers who have not booked yet won't have a bed that night? I don't think so. I went back to the coordinator to tell her the story, and within 30 minutes, the situation was fixed. It was supposed to have happened the day before, but I digress. I can live knowing that because of my persistence, the problem got fixed for everyone else. 

I get that the person I spoke to at the reservation desk was only an hourly paid employee, but wouldn't you question the logic of that situation? The first night is available, the second is not, and the remainder of the week is available. There must be a glitch. But nope -- they just go by what's on their screen, and I can't blame him -- he is NOT paid to question things. 

I must have sounded a wee bit frustrated, and I was. But I was polite -- I didn't yell. Imagine my surprise when I received a phone call shortly after from the hotel, ensuring that everything was OK. Then I received a second phone from the same lady, just double checking again, and then I got a text from her to say YES -- my reservation was, in fact, correct. I should have pretended I was so distraught that I needed a spa treatment as compensation. But seriously -- I wasn't that upset -- just frustrated knowing that when someone blocked off the rooms, they probably hit 200 for day one, 20 for day two, and 200 for the remainder of the days. It happens!!!

I still have more travel to book and arrange, so hopefully, I can finish that by tomorrow. All these fun and games. 

Then, in the afternoon, I puttered. WAIT -- I had a nap first! Maybe it's the legs over the back of the couch that is helping my knee? Then I puttered. I got the last Barbie quilt on the long arm. That required a lot of fiddling to get all the loose threads off that quilt top and the fleece backing. 

Last Barbie quilt - ready to go

Then, while we had Virtual Retreat last night -- by the way -- I'm back!!!! Yep -- I had no issue participating, and I just needed a few days to reflect on my journey and continue to enjoy the peace of the trip! 

So, during the Virtual Retreat, I managed to get all the bindings on the first eight Barbie quilts. 

Eight Barbie quilts are done!!!!!

Yeah --- that's a huge job done, and I'll try to finish the remaining one today and then call the Project Linus coordinator for pickup. I have a few Barbie books I do NOT want -- I might throw those books in with the quilts. 

I'm still wearing my Camino shoes for my daily walks. I have to laugh when I look at them. Look at this one spot that wore. I knew before I left that it was rubbing the bottom of my ankle somewhat, but it didn't seem to be a big issue. So, instead of bothering my ankle, the shoe wore down. 

My ankle trumps the shoe! 

And what is this on the outside of the same shoe? I've no idea what it is. 

Crap on my shoe!

DH went to the grocery store in the morning, and as he drove away to play golf, he mentioned that he bought me a surprise. OH -- I like surprises. He should have bought that for me today!!!

A chocolate pastry

Bless his heart for trying. This is a good substitute for what I ate in Spain. OK -- the pastry is nowhere near as flaky, and the chocolate is NOT the same. But it was fun to eat and made me think of all the others I ate while away!!! 

Someone sent this to me yesterday. I couldn't agree more. 

The less stuff you own, the less time you need to organize it and the less space you need. I think this is one of the reasons why the Camino calls people back. The beauty of living with minimal things is DIVINE!! You can't imagine the freedom of living with just the bare essentials over an extended period. It's a simple life - it's uncomplicated, and I think people yearn for that simplicity, but we are afraid to commit to living with less; we don't know where to start, and we think we'll miss out. 

So, it's time to let go of many things. I'm trying, but I want to be responsible about it. I don't just want to pull up a dumpster in front of my house and empty it. That would be pointless, and I would be sad. But consciously getting rid of it and enjoying that process brings me much pleasure. I know this is exactly how my Mom feels. But here's the difference between the two of us. 

My Mom is a hoarder, and she was born in the mid-30s, so they didn't have a lot of stuff. Little things became precious to her, and because of that pioneer spirit, many things were deemed useable, but not at that time. And over time, you just continue accumulating, and you don't see what's happening. Of the five siblings, four are similar; one is entirely different! 

Now that we have to finish with the house, she is determined to donate or sell all the stuff to someone. But here's the thing --- who needs a floor polisher? I think there are two in the house, and I swear they haven't been used for over 40 years. But in her mind, they are still valuable. Who polishes their floors these days, and can you even buy the wax? 

We have a job to convince her that everything of any value has already been dealt with, and whatever is left just isn't worth keeping! Thankfully, I have a co-conspirator! 

Thankfully, I realized this potential hoarding thing about 10 years ago for myself. And since then, I've been getting rid of things or using them as appropriate. NOTHING is precious anymore - memories, yes, but not things. Anything can go. I'm trying to get rid of them while they are still of value to someone. Times change, and what was good one day is no longer good. I mean, who wants a fax machine these days? Not that either of us has one to dispose of, but you know what I mean. 

So look around your house. Here's a crucial thing to consider as you look around your house. Are you using the item and want to continue to keep it, or are you bound by a MEMORY of who it belonged to? We all need to get OVER the memory thing and focus on its purposefulness. And while it's OK to keep memorabilia, we need to think carefully about how much we own. What are you no longer using and likely could live without? Can someone else use it? If not, then guess what? It's time to take it to the dump! I know -- -that hurts to the core, but seriously -- why should we be saddled with these physical things? We don't need to be heroes to our ancestors -- if there is no use for it -- then get rid of it!!! They will only haunt you if you let them! 

I'm doing the same thing with my e-mail, and I'm down to less than 17,000 e-mails, so I'm making progress, but there is still lots of work to do. A bit at a time, and before I know it, it's going to be in good shape. 

The key to all this is to NOT let it happen. This is something that parents need to teach their children, and teachers need to teach to their students. If you want to buy your kid toys and gifts -- that's OK, but also teach them how to get rid of what they don't want. DO NOT DO this yourself, but show your kids how to do it --- they'll love you for it later in life. It's an important life skill. 

OK -- so where did all that philosophical stuff come from? OH -- it's my birthday -- one year older and one year wiser! 

Anyway -- have a super day, and if you get a chance, pop into the Virtual Retreat (the link is in a separate blog post) and have some virtual cake!!!!



  1. Yea on continued progress of your declutter journey. For sure give yourself credit for the fabric off to Diane so frequently. I bet that's nearing 1000 meters if not more already!

    Here's a story to tell your Mom: I had inherited a 1940 Mahogany Duncan Phyfe dining set. I was tired of it-we're not fancy people. It appraised for 12k. No one in the family wanted it. No antique dealer would take it as they said it wouldn't sell. I finally got an offer of $375 and it will go to a refugee family establishing a home here.

    Cheers to simplifying, congrats on the 2000 emails tossed into the ether and the Barbie quilt pile OUTTA there! 🤣

  2. Happy birthday! And I agree about having less is better than organizing more. I recently went fabric shopping with my mother (we were celebrating her 89th birthday) and she commented on how little I bought. I told her the truth, I am out of storage space and I refuse to put fabric under my bed!

  3. Happy birthday 🎂!!!!! Hope it’s a great one 😻