Everything in it’s place

This may be obvious to everyone else, but I have only recently realized there is a very big difference between “have a place for everything” and “find a place to put something.”

In my previous life (like, 6 months ago), I would spend all day on a weekend cleaning up, and putting things “away.”  But, that really meant just stashing them in a closet, or a catch-all basket, or one of the many places I had all over our place for miscellaneous items to get them out of sight.  Of course, this meant when I went to look for it next time that the item could be in any one of many many places.  And, this also meant that I often had several of each item, but no way of knowing exactly where any of them might be.

Having gone through all my closets and baskets and shelves, more than once, I now have consolidated and got rid of duplicates, and found *logical* permanent homes for all the things I chose to keep.  The ‘more than once’ part of that sentence is important!  Until you go through everything once, you don’t really know what more you are going to find.  And, you can`t go through it all in a day or two.  On your second (or third!) pass, you start to see patterns and remember that you have another whatever-it-is somewhere else.  This second pass allows you to either group like items together or, even better, find the right place for one and get rid of the spares.

You will be amazed that once you get rid of the excess stuff and the back ups, that you can actually find the one you really want, and that you don’t need those extras after all.

Here is an embarrassing example of having way too many of something, and not having any idea they were even there…

When I got to the kitchen uncluttering, I got a big plastic sheet and dumped *all* my kitchen drawers and storage containers on it in the middle of the floor.  I started grouping like with like and discovered many redundancies.  Did I really need two pasta serving spoons?  It isn’t like I was ever going to use more than one at a time, right?  That garlic press… well, i never use it, i always use a knife. Out it goes.  And so on.  But the biggest shocker was the fact that I had *fifteen* corkscrews.  Fifteen.  Now, before you assume that I am just a complete lush, the reality is that most of those came in gift bags from events, or attached to bottles of wine as a ‘freebie’ and because my brain saw them as something practical and perfectly useful, I just threw them in a drawer in the kitchen.  Now I have just two.  One I got in Paris when I was 18, and the second was most durable and strong of all the rest.   I could have kept only one, but I find if you have a party, having two out on the counter is better.  If you only have one, and it gets mislaid at a party, you might have a riot to deal with.

So, that is today`s tip.  `A place for everything` is vastly superior to `Find a place to hide it.`

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New Year, New Beginning, New Journey

I found this haiku online many months ago, and put it in my calendar on today`s date as a treat to myself….

Year’s end, all 
corners of this 
floating world, swept.
     – Matsuo Basho

I love the idea of sweeping out the corners of your own individual world to welcome a new year.  To begin a new year with a sparkling new perspective and a gleaming home (whatever home is to you) seems much more productive to me than our traditional resolutions. Resolutions seem to imply that everything about you is less than optimal and needs to change, while a thorough `sweeping` feels like you have removed your barriers and your excuses and the debris of the past and you alone stand ready to face the challenges a new year will undoubtedly throw at you.

For myself, I see this as both a literal and a figurative thing.  I am already in the process of removing all extraneous objects from our home, and the pending move (just a few more weeks!) has just kicked that impulse into high gear.  We will be starting a new year in a new home and I don`t want to drag any meaningless luggage from the past with me.  On a more cerebral level, I will try to stop wasting time thinking about past mistakes (mine and others) and past decisions that no longer apply. We all know you can`t change the past, but it takes real effort and conscious awareness to let it go.  May 2014 be a time of productiveness, and awareness, and a chance to surround yourself with love, simplicity and beauty.

So, Happy New Year to you all.  If you have any traditions or rituals or something brand new to ring in this new year, I would love to hear about it.

The Best Indian Tuba Christmas Caroling Birthday Night of all time…

Yesterday was Dave’s birthday, so I took him and his son to a small Indian restaurant we like nearby for dinner.

There was just us and one other table of about 8 people dining last night. As we were eating the lovely pistachio ice cream dessert the waitress had brought over for Dave, four tuba players came in playing Christmas carols. You know, as they do.

We and the other table applauded loudly when they were done their first song. Then the owner went over and requested that they play Happy Birthday for Dave. Which they gladly did. And the *other* table stood up and sang along with us. Then, the owner encouraged the tuba players to just keep going. So they played about 3 or 4 more short Christmas songs, even took requests. *Everyone* was singing along, even the staff (the owner started filming it all).  A waiter came around with a tray of mango lassi and vodka shooters for all the customers and the carolers. Then we all posed for some pictures, and the carolers left playing another song.

It felt like we were living a scene from some hip urban Christmas movie, probably starring, say, Jenna Elfman and Matthew Perry.

Remember to appreciate those unplannable moments in life, and just let things unfold. Kudos to the owner, who probably doesn’t even celebrate Christmas, for just letting this magical night happen.  Every customer left last night knowing that that was a special moment in time.  Make sure you recognize those when they happen. tubas

(Apologies for the poor quality smartphone picture – but I wasn’t really prepared for more!)

The Ice Storm Cometh

As of 4:30pm on Thursday Dec 19th, the weather network is calling for an ice storm from tomorrow morning through Saturday, followed by, you guessed it!  an ice storm from Saturday night till Sunday morning.

Now, I have a bit of a quibble with Mother Nature about this.  This was the weekend all my girlfriends from back in the day at University were planning to revive our old tradition of a Girl’s Christmas dinner.  If the Goddesses are listening, if would be just fab if you could just scootch that storm a little to the east or west, ‘kay?

However, that said, I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I (not so) secretly love extreme weather.  I find blackouts fun (before you yell at me about how difficult they are on various groups of people, believe me, I know, I am not wishing harm on anyone.  I am just saying my *personal experience* of blackouts tends to be positive.)  and love how people tend to pull together and become so much more friendly and open with each other when faced with a mutual challenge.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all could be that supportive and understanding of life’s challenges on a daily basis?

Thanksgiving in the USA, Thursday here

While it isn’t a holiday here in Canada, it is hard to miss the fact that while I sit in my office, just south of us, Thanksgiving is taking place right now.

And, being as I wasn’t doing this little blog thing on our Thanksgiving back in October, I will appropriate an American holiday as an excuse to list the things I am thankful for, right now.

  1. My family.  All of them. My husband, my mother, my brother and sister in law.  My step-son.  My cousins and my Aunts and Uncle (just the one uncle, yes, my family is teeny.)  I often read, or hear about, crazy family drama from my friends or online, and I really should let my family know more often how much I appreciate how great and easy-going they really are.
  2. My job.  I work for lovely, ethical people.  My daily environment is relaxed and respectful.  My hours are completely civilized. And let me tell you, having worked in television for years previously I do not take those things for granted.
  3. My upcoming move.  Being in a position to buy our new condo, which seemed like a dream just a couple years ago, is something that makes me monumentally happy and more relaxed about the future.
  4. My friends. They are the best, they really are.
  5. My online community.  Actually, scratch this one.  They too are my friends and belong up there with #4.  I shouldn’t have differentiated.
  6. My health.  Cliche or not, it’s true. If you have your health you have everything.  Just ask someone who doesn’t.

That’s it.  Everything else (yes, honey, even my beloved iPad) may make my life easier and better in certain ways, but all my possessions pale in comparison to the list above.

What are you thankful for today?  Take a moment and really think about who or what deserves your thanks today.

Our new future floors

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Our new future floors

Roasted Maple.

We spent Saturday afternoon picking out the laminate flooring for our living room /dining room and bedrooms.  This is what we settled on (Muskoka Sand, alas, was sold out.)  This is a slightly darker tone, but not so dark as to show dust and dirt too hideously. Initially, we had planned to go with real hardwood, but turns out that isn’t even allowed because we need to put a soundproofing and cushioning underpad and that works best with laminate.

Dave insists we can do this ourselves, so, we shall see in January I guess…..

Waivers waived.

That’s it.

We have now signed away all our final options to get out of this thing. Condo is purchased.  Despite us not having seen any banking paperwork, we have been assured by no less than three different persons that we are golden and the bank would just love to give us many many thousands of dollars.  Fools.

At the same time, we were finally able to get our hands on the floor plan.  So, here it is.

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Also today, we found a spectacular clearance sale on laminate flooring, which we may just have to jump on and figure out logistics of where we keep it for two months later….  Muskoka Sand Wide Plank, I think I love you.

Decisions to be finalized.  Soonish.