Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Let's Play (February 27th- March 1st)

This last purging was mostly conducted in the basement and under cover of night (purged toys and crafts) I wasn't counting or creating any photo evidence. I didn't consider these as personal possessions of others because they were in the general toy muddle or have been abandoned for extended periods of time, left to become someone else's problem. Types of things that went were broken dolls and action figures, stained or mismatched aged doll clothes, shredded outfits from the costume box, odd mini totes and pouches, old paint (house paint, tempera paint) cheap brushes, lesser loved, outgrown, or damaged clothing, board books, stuffed animals, baby toys, games, craft items. Serving trays, a rusty mini dolly,  a tall stack of ceramic plate and saucers, old cleaning supplies, old nail polish and make up. I have a few pictures below, but they are just representative. There are no pictures of the toy thinning.

That's 30 days. Or 60, since I did two The Game challenges concurrently and I'm a little tired of it in terms of keeping track. I think It helped me sort of wrap up the heavy purge I dove into last year. I'm ready to enter into "maintenance mode" with occasional focused purges that are more aimed at achieving a particular transformation of a part of a room or a part of a storage space. I've presently been mending my old wedding quilt and trying to figure out how to repair all of the shredded center that the kids damaged. I decided It didn't feel right eliminating it, even if I do mostly end up using it as a "fill" and retopping it.

My next major project will be organizing our decade+ of family photos with the aim being to have them 1. Backed up digitally in 2 places 2. displayed and/ or within reach and 3. actively working in such an organized way that new photos (and video) will be easily backed up and queued for prints plus 4. stretch goal for family sharing and accessing extended family archives too

I have also resolved to list the kiln for free this month.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Let's Play (Feb 21st -26th)

Played The Game. Only a few more days to go. I want to try to get the last four days done this week so I can make a donations run all at once this weekend. I think I know where to look around my house for the rest. 


21: Old school work thinned and filed to store.

22: Poured all the oldest seeds from my seed storage into one bag to toss out into some corner patch of the yard and see what happens later
22: sorted more old seeds
22: More old seeds

23: 12 books to donate
24: 35 things from the kitchen (11 extra- applying to the 23rd)

25: 25 lesser liked art prints recycled

26: 6 things

26: 20 things to hand down

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Little Guide to Your Well Read Life (book review)

If you're interested you might chance upon my used copy re-released into the wilds of secondhand books, or you can check out the author's site for it with sample material at

The good news? It is indeed little.

I felt like I had come to the place he was at in terms of how to set up a personal resources list of ideas for reading and in keeping books I'm meaning to read and books to treasure. Only he placed a lot more value on having around a great deal of volumes in the home and I don't think that advice is great for everyone all of the time. My natural inclination is to insulate my walls 5 rows deep with books. but I've been working hard for years to unbury myself. I think I've moved more material to the recorded book lists in order to let go. I have the trust that I can look it up again somewhere.

 Also, he's really intent on releasing you from the desire to finish books you're not the most crazy about, but I can think of two instances in my recent experience where I was so glad I had stuck through to the end, and it was worth even those times I'd read through and still been disappointed in other works to find those two works satisfying. In fact, one of them is a book he names: Crime and Punishment. He says he found the book more crime than punishment. Well, I had been reading that book and it depressed me almost the entire time as the murderer becomes more and more blatant in his crime as he realizes no one suspects him, but oh! Oh, how the last few leaves of the book are good and redeeming and worth every bit of  all the rest. I am sad for this author for not having finished it!

The other case for me came in my sci-fi library. One of my favorite novellas, Cascade Point, where I discovered how much I love Timothy Zahn came as a double book, where the paperback flipped over to another author. In this case Greg Bear's Hardfought. I had the book for almost two decades. Every few years I would reread cascade point and enjoy it all over again, and then I'd give Bear's book another shot and my eyes would glaze over. It was too alien, too oddly formed. I couldn't digest it. Eventually I stopped trying until I mentioned it to a friend. He surprised me by suggesting I keep trying. Then last year something happened and I was able to enter the story through its difficult to open airlock and all of a sudden I got it. It wasn't the best story I ever read but it was good meat for the mind, about wars of innumerable ages fought far from any soils by persons who were engineered to live in space in many iterations of themselves and seemingly repeat their fates without end to the iterations, sent into battles that were their reason for existence which took their whole lives or generations longer to even arrive on the scene of fought against beings that didn't have any easily comparable physiology to their enemies, and who could not conceive of communicating.

Once I finally accessed the story and digested it, I realized that I was able to part with the copy. I had other copies containing Cascade Point, but all these years I had been holding on to that one because when the student was ready, the book would be there.

Few people I know are holding on to a sci-fi novella they find difficult to read though, and that's another bit of advice that Well Read Life metes out from the beginning. Your to-read list is yours alone. Don't let other tastes or heavy handed best books lists persuade you away from what you want to gnaw on in literature and non-fiction. Don't even be hemmed in by your own lists- let them change and grow and lose lines. Create multiple topics or styles to read from, read narrowly and broadly, read at your own pace, give audio books a chance, but the best advice of all, read purposefully, not just waiting for it to happen.

Dematerializing: Taming the Power of Posessions (book review)

I loved the opening of this book! She connects our obsession with things to primal desires and draws links to fairy tales and legends. She puts commercial advertisements in light of the promises made for spells and elixirs in stories far flung and ancient, only with the dire moral warnings excised. It draws some interesting connections about who we are with and without our stuff and how the things we give purchase to in our lives always come at a cost.

Then the rest of the book became somehow belabored for me. I'm not sure why but it was like maybe an online advice column that went on for a hefty volume. The introduction had held so much promise though! It was enough to spark some thought trains of my own about meaning and value and the intentions or desires behind the things themselves.

Well, I'm likely to declutter the book, but if I ever want to read the entrancing opening again, I'll borrow it or buy it as an e-book.

Let's Play (Feb 14th-20th)

Here's a few more days worth of photo evidence of that which will be no more in my home.

14: 1 extra pencil sharpener

14: 2 things Libby doesn't want

14: and the other 11 things that can find new homes

15: 10 things. I decided to count the additional 5 from the extra stuff on the 12th and call this day done.

16: 16 baby toy things (I'm keeping the cat)

17: 8 toys

17: and 9 more toys and craft goods

18: Event Table clothes I couldn't resell- donating

19: Thread things

20: 10 things from our electronics stuff (well, 2 are bread mixer paddles with the coating worn off)

20: and 10 more things from the kitchen

Monday, February 15, 2016

Saying "Thank You" is Important

I read Marie Kondo's "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" at the bookstore in an hour (well, skimmed a bit, but read closely in many parts). I wasn't too impressed at the time (she spends a lot of time picking on how you fold your socks and shirts) but some things that sounded corny turn out to get to the heart of the problem. We form relationships, attachments to stuff, important and less important, and transfer some of our self image to those objects. So when she says that you should thank the object for serving you and then let it go, it's not about acting like the thing has ears and feelings, it's about acknowledging that you have feelings, memories, ideas, and expectations.

Borrow it or get the e-book version... you know why!

So when I presently come across my old tatting kit-- that I haven't used in 5 years and had put inside a basket of other things and stowed into a difficult to reach corner-- and when I take it out, I see the memory of looking very hard to even find those tiny tools, paying good money for them, spending a long time finding detailed how to tat instructions online and printing them, following them painstakingly close to learn the skill of making teeny tiny threaded knots. Honestly even though I did figure out how to wind and form the tiny picots, I grew exasperated of the slow progress. It would be an excellent hobby in that it is very tiny, easy to slip into a purse and do piecework on. And having tried it, I can all the more be awestruck by folks who make any elaborate lace work by hand from thread. But with babies and small children all over me, it was tedious and I never got anywhere serious with it.

Now I have other projects and skill sets I know I want to focus on. I want to think that I could tat anytime I like, but I know the reality is that I don't intend to, and that even if I suddenly changed my mind, I could probably hunt down those adorable little shuttle tools again, the information on how to is probably even more proliferate on-line than it was years ago when I found just one comprehensive tutorial (I'm sure there are dozens and lots of You Tube how-to's and some tatting guru on a forum and with a face book page for advice somewhere), In other words, even if I give up the Tatting kit, I still can tat any time I like, with fairly low amount of preparation.

Thank you, tatting tools, for giving me appreciation of the skill of others, for helping me improve myself, for being so adorably small. I'm happy to donate you so another can discover the things you shared with me.

What's so cheesy about that?

Next I'll let go of most of the bin of threads that I picked up second hand to tat with.... not quite so compact as the tools.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Let's Play (Feb 8th-13th)

Although I wanted to work ahead for the weekends, I only made it up to the 13th. But it's cool. There's more to come! Or should I say go?

8: books
9: 8 things...

9: and one more

10: books to donate

11: 6 things in a tatting kit...
11: and 5 booklets

12: more than 12 things from my embroidery stash plus yarns and a Chinese checkers board

13: randoms from the kitchen and a badge I made in metals class

I'm getting rid of old undergrad made things (Some in January, one here and there like the badge this month) And I like the universal pot lids, but I had four, so I'm letting go of my two lesser favorites. Also letting go of fry baskets (I never fry) and a steamer pot extender because I have other steaming options I use more. Also, the last of my antique chopstick set. I had a nice time with Chris in Rensselaer that day. It was an oddly quiet afternoon and we just poked around the shops. The chopsticks were coming apart (wooden tops loose from the decorative enameled bodies) even when I'd bought them. But I'm not sorry I had them. Sometimes using something becomes a part of you. But like Marie Kondo says- thank them and let them go.Some of the books are going to our homeschool library and some to the free table. I might start a box to put aside for the Summer Curriculum Fair.

The tatting tools came from a big basket I had carefully put together and then put aside and forgotten. I have to come to the conclusion that it used to mean something to me, and it was important that I tried those things out, but now those things aren't going to get me where I'm headed and it's okay to pass them along too.

Let's keep doing this! Almost at the halfway mark!