Saying goodbye to 2016

ny1I’ve read, or should I say noticed a few memes on Facebook recently saying something to the effect of: “Goodbye 2016, I can’t wait to see you go, you’ve been an awful year”.  I’m sure some of the people that have posted these statements have honestly had a bad year for whatever reason…. although I think that probably the vast majority are protesting political outcomes.  I’m so sick of politics I could scream. So in a way, I echo a slight relief of saying farewell to 2016 and all the crud that went along with the WAY TOO LONG AND DRAWN OUT presidential election.  Oh yes people, I would change the political process if I could. We’d have something like 3 months to get the job done – just like other civilized nations do. But I digress, this blog post is NOT about politics! It’s really my end of the year musings, my look at how I did regarding my 2016 resolutions, and plans for the future.   For me (politics aside), 2016 was a great year, with just one exception. In July we had to say goodbye to our precious kitty and RV buddy, Jinx the cat. I know I’ve talked about this in other posts so I won’t go on and on, but honestly, losing him was hard…. really hard.  We have been pet-free now for about 6 months… but folks, this is about to change!!  Hubby and I know we really want to get another furry companion, so at the end of January we’ll be going to the local shelter and waiting for a special kitty to meow to us in just the right way…. the way that tugs on your heart strings and says “take me”!  Of course I will do a post on that when it happens!! That will be big stuff! 🙂

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Last December I made a post (click here to read) about my new focus for 2016. Number one on the list was decluttering my home.  Whoa baby, did I ever do a good job of that.  I spent months going through closets and cupboards, boxes and bins, getting rid of stuff…. from books to CD’s to clothing and housewares and everything in between. It felt good. It felt really good. I reorganized cupboards, closets, shelves, and our pantry.  My “junk” drawer was in good order…..and now, oh my goodness, it’s bad again.  The junk in the junk drawer is overflowing. The pantry is in near total disarray. My closet is full of too much stuff.  So, it’s going to start all over again in this little house!  The decluttering and organizing will begin anew in January!!  After going through ALL my clothes this past year and getting rid of bags and bags of stuff I didn’t like, want, or need (and I mean big black garbage bags full!), I thought I had it narrowed down to “just the good stuff”.  Now that it’s been nearly a year, I can see with new eyes, the things that I thought I needed/wanted but that I actually never used. If they haven’t been utilized in a year, then it’s probably time to say sayonara . So the decluttering will begin anew!

Number two on my list last year was to eat healthier foods.  Sometimes I’ve been successful at this, and other times not so much.  I am still making and consuming on a regular basis, my homemade cultured Kefir.  This stuff is not only delicious (in my humble opinion) but without a doubt, super-healthy for you.  Kefir contains a greater variety of strains of probiotics and beneficial yeasts than yogurt.  Making your own is easy and SO economical!  I buy a half gallon of milk on sale at the store for 99 cents and that will make me enough kefir for about 2 weeks. Of course, the price would go up if you bought organic milk – and who knows, I may do that at some point. It’s still much cheaper than buying ready-made kefir.        I failed at one of my goals for last year – and that was making my own fermented veggies, but next year will be a success!  I got an awesome Fermentation Crock (click here for details) for Christmas! I’m so excited to finally give this a go!  One thing I want to examine more carefully in 2017 is eating way less in the way of processed foods. No, I don’t want to get all fanatical about it, after all there is NO WAY I’m giving up my Kraft macaroni and cheese every once in a while, but I do want to try and and make things from scratch more. This could even mean making my own breads!  I have a sourdough starter kit from Cultures for Health, the same people who sold me my Kefir making “grains”. I really need to buckle down and give it a try and get that sourdough starter growing!!

Number three last year was to READ MORE and compute less, and in this I was totally successful!  I set a goal of 25 books for the year, and ended up reading 37!  I love to read, so this really wasn’t a difficult or tedious task for me, but I’m still proud of actually exceeding my goal for the year.  I will have the same goal for 2017, 25 books.  I enjoy using GoodReads,com for keeping track of my reading progress.

So, this brings us to next year, 2017. As you can see, my goals from last year still apply for this year – I’ll be reading, decluttering, cleaning & organizing, fermenting, and hopefully more physically active. It’s so dang easy to sit around or just do house work during the day, but I need to get out and take walks much more often.

I’m also looking forward to several things that are upcoming!  In January, we are flying to Hawaii to attend the wedding of my oldest, Aaron. He’s 39 and two years ago he finally found his “soul mate” in Andrea (Andie). We’ll spend a week on the island of Maui with family and friends, and then after the wedding we’ll be going on our own to the Big Island for a few days. Should be fun!  When we return, it’s off to the Humane Society to find the next furry member of our family – can’t wait!  Later on in the spring, we hope to get down to our southern hang out (Palm Springs) and spend some sunny days there – hubby playing golf and me having pool time!  We have RV trips in the works with our delightful neighbors this coming summer also. I hope our new kitty is adaptable – he/she will need to enjoy being at home in the northwest, the sunshine of southern Cal, and on the road in the RV!

Here’s wishing everyone a truly wonderful 2017 ~~ and let’s not wish our years away like the folks who put up the memes I mentioned at the beginning of this post…. after all, we don’t know how many years any of us have left! People (celebrities, anyway) seem to be dropping like flies lately 😦   A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ONE AND ALL!!!!

happyny

fermcrock

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Mid-year update on New Year Resolutions

We’ve made it through half of 2016 already! Amazing how fast time flies by.  I made three “resolutions” this year and here’s how I’m doing so far:

Numero Uno: Decluttering my home.  Guys, I have done amazing on this!  We have donated many, many big bags of generalized stuff to charity.  I started in my kitchen and literally went through every single cupboard, cabinet, and drawer.  I’ve cleared out doubles of things I didn’t need, and oodles of items that I never used. My kitchen is now SO much better organized – and that makes me really happy. I went through the pantry from top to bottom and yes, I regretfully say I had to toss some items out.  With things better organized, I now know exactly what I have and where it is, so hopefully my days of throwing stuff out is over.  Then I moved on to the bedroom, going through my bedside table, dressers, and the closet. I parted with SO MUCH stuff that is no longer loved or useful. I cleaned out and organized under the bathroom sinks and all the cupboards and drawers in both the bathrooms.  I was UNABLE to clear out stuff belonging to my husband…. well, I could have, but that would be putting the marriage in jeopardy (I wanted to, SO badly, I’ll admit).  Hubby’s mantra continues to be: “I need everything I have”.  Obviously I strongly disagree, but… what can I do?  So, this leaves the third bedroom/office.  I am presently in the throes of working on this massive project and hope to have it in great order by the end of August.

Numero dos: Eat healthier foods.  Mixed results on this one.  I had hoped to be making my own fermentations by now, but I haven’t done it.  I AM still making my own milk kefir and not only is it delicious, it’s also full of wonderful probiotics.  When we spent two months at the Palm Springs place, I feel as though we didn’t do very well on general healthy eating.  We seem to go out to eat more down there and attend more social events.  Poor excuse, I know.  I do love this time of year when we’re getting oodles of wonderful fresh veggies which I include in our menu daily 🙂 Bottom line: I need to do better.

Numero Tres:  Compute less and read more.   Up until the past two weeks, I have done great at this I’m happy to report!  I have already read more books this year, that in all of last year (25 so far!).  Then, two weeks ago I discovered an addictive TV show (which I’m watching on the computer) called “The Great British Bake Off”.  I can’t stop watching!!  I’m on season 3 of 5 so far.  I will admit that not only is it entertaining, I honestly have learned some interesting things watching it as well.  I mean – who knew what “choux” pastry is (pronounced “shoe”)?  I didn’t, but now I do!!!  And a myriad of other interesting things too.  Hey, it’s almost like reading a “how to bake” book!  At least it’s educational. 🙂   On the book scene, I am presently in the process of reading 4 books, and loving them all.  It’s a little nutty to have four books going at once, but I guess it’s how I roll – at times. Last week I got to page 120 of a library book, thinking up to that point that it was pretty good, and then it went downhill FAST.  Some folks force themselves to finish every book they start, but not me.  That one went back to the library, pronto!  Too many good books, too little time!

So, there’s the mid-year update on my resolutions.  There is definitely still work that needs to be done and I will forge ahead!!

Beginning my de-clutter journey

So I’ve done it. I’ve read the very popular book about the magic of tidying up and keeping things that ‘spark joy’ (see my book review under “Books 2016” tab at top of page).  While I didn’t agree with or even understand the whole concept, I do know that I’m definitely IN for the de-clutter challenge of 2016.  Well, that’s what I’m calling it, anyway.  I also started a de-clutter challenge with a really sweet YouTuber, Jen.  She gives us (the viewers)  tasks to accomplish five days a week and so far I’ve done pretty good.  Which brings us to this:

junk1

This is the contents of my junk drawer.  What a huge pile of….. junk!  Some of it is definitely useful, so it couldn’t all just GO.  By the way, the author of the aforementioned tidying book says she does NOT believe in junk drawers. Okay. That’s fine, but I wanted to keep my junk drawer – the deal is, I just wanted to open the drawer and be able to find my junk!  Here’s another view of the mass of stuff that had found it’s way into the drawer:

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Actually, it’s hard to believe I was physically able to cram all this paraphernalia into one single area. It’s embarrassing that I’d amassed such a conglomeration of useful things mixed in with total garbage. Shame on me!  But, this is not about shaming, it’s about keeping useful things and things that spark joy.  Here is a pic of me, trying to decide just exactly what that spark of joy feels like:

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The book’s author says to hold each item in your hand and decide how you feel about it. Just for the record, I kept both of the above shown items 🙂  A LOT of things did not make the cut. Some found better homes, with like items… but much of it ended up in the round file.  Here’s the finished look:

junk4

Wow. I can see everything I’ve got now.  I no longer have to DIG and ROOT around for anything, and I love that feeling. I hope to keep it (and all my other drawers, cupboards, closets, and cabinets) neat in the future.  YAY!

Today’s YouTube de-clutter task was to clean out your under sink area. I should have done a before and after but I just did an after.

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Heck, it may take all year, but I am really determined to get this place into shape 🙂  My absolute WORST area (not counting the garage, because I am not “in charge” of the garage, someone else has to step up to that massive task…. well, I could do it, but the hubby is going to have to make some of these keep or discard decisions too) … oops, as I was saying, my worst area in the house is our home office.  It’s the 3rd bedroom that is a proverbial “catch all” for anything and everything. That’s gonna be a biggie. That project I’m saving for last. Oh my.