Tag Archives: clearing out

Tips for Dealing with Troublemakers and Toxic People

images-19 How do you deal with someone who is toxic or simply intent on causing trouble? You know the type. The person who begins a conversation with an innocent sounding premise, but then proceeds to launch a sugar-coated attack on you or places the blame for their transgressions onto you.  Toxic Troublemakers, we’ve all got them in our lives. Continue reading

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Transformation, Mile Marker 1.2

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Here I begin part two of my exploration of the body’s chakra energy system. As previously mentioned, my review is cursory and greatly abbreviated. Although I’m hoping for some clarity and “self-improvement,” I’m just curious to see what happens as I make my way through all the self-help and life coaching books I’ve got cluttering my bedroom reading area. Continue reading

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Transformation, Mile Marker 1.0

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Last night I started the first book on that insane list, Chakras for Beginners by David Pond.  The extent of my knowledge at the beginning of this journey is that there are seven chakras and they have to do with life balance.

I don’t know the names of all the chakras, but I know some from a regular yoga practice about the Third Eye chakra, the Root chakra, the Sacral chakra, and the Crown chakra.  I guess that’s as good a place as any to start. Continue reading

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Down the Rabbit Hole of Self-Improvement

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I’ve been cleaning house this summer, and as I clear out my books, one of the things I’ve noticed is that I have an extraordinary number of self-help books.  I’m not talking a few, I’m talking dozens.  I’ve probably invested many hundreds of dollars, possibly thousands, in these little tomes of wisdom over the years. Continue reading

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The Beauty of Clean Laundry (U.B.C. – Day 15)

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Today is many things in my household.  It is, of course, tax day.  Fortunately, we have an accountant who keeps us in line there, so I don’t worry too much about it except to keep her in the know with the appropriate documentation.

It is also the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing.  For us, it is a day to be extraordinarily thankful, as my eldest step-daughter was running the race last year and was less than a half mile away when the bombs went off.  Other than a foot injury sustained in the crush of humanity rushing this way and that in a panic, she was unharmed.

This April 15, however, holds another, more immediate reason for gratitude.  Yesterday our hot water heater was replaced, and today I can do laundry for the first time in nearly two weeks.  Towels, sheets, socks, underwear … it’s all going into scalding hot water today and I couldn’t be more excited.

Perhaps after the laundry is all done, I can start catching up on the rest of my to-do list….

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Random Thoughts (U.B.C. – Day 12)

Saturday.  It’s one of those charged concepts.  Does it mean a day of relaxation or a day to get twice as much done around the house because my husband is home?  Usually the latter.  Yesterday was no different.

Starting out early because The Boy awakened us at 6:25am, I tried in vain to coerce him into slumbering longer.  I summarily informed him that if he was going to wake me so early, he was forbidden to speak with me until I had my coffee.  He seemed to grasp that he’d crossed a line and was remarkably silent until I’d sucked down two cups of java. Continue reading

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Hot Water (U.B.C. – Day 8)

Today I did not have much time to craft a post, as I was working out with the plumbing company the cost estimate for replacing our hot water heater. The heater started leaking last week, just a tiny bit, and as we had just had lots of rain, my husband thought it was a groundwater overflow. I had a bad feeling about it, but kept it to myself so as not to be labeled a dramatist.

The puddle increased in size over the weekend and by Monday morning I decided to put down towels so we could continue to use our showers and do dishes and laundry. The plumber came today and told me I was not a dramatist and that I should have trusted my instincts. The hot water heater is original to the house; it was built in 2001. My dad routinely tells me that most things last ten years and after that, every day it still works is like a gift from the heavens. At thirteen years old, this water heater owes us nothing.

The aggravation to put in a new one is what annoys me. The nice young man who came to look at the heater and do the estimate told me the tank is unlikely to burst, so I need not worry about potential flooding. I scheduled the install and cleanup is scheduled for next Monday, which is good. At least we won’t be paying for “emergency fees” on top of the replacement cost. The part that aggravates me is having to spend next weekend cleaning out the crap in my basement and moving it all out of the way.

Grrrr….. I’m going to start now. After I have a glass of wine.

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Yoga is My Friend

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I love yoga. It is my go-to workout for everything from simply feeling good about my body’s physicality to needing the hour or more of meditation and silence. I am a serious practitioner. By serious I don’t mean that I practice every day or that I have mastered all of the advanced asanas, just that I take my practice seriously and use it for the intended purpose: silence and concentration on the self and the moment. Continue reading

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Cleaning House

I’ve been cleaning out my house for, well, it seems like forever. The reality is that while my house may be clean, it is cluttered. Extraordinarily cluttered, by my child’s things, my husband’s things, and a lot of my things.

I am claustrophobic, so much so that I cannot even pull the covers up over my head, so much so that if my space is too cluttered, I start to lose it. I like to have my things contained in an organized fashion. I’ve been known to refer to The Container Store as my spiritual home. I have turned The Boy into a convert, and he likes to have his Lego blocks organized either by the complete set or color and lined up on a bookshelf for ease of access. It sounds crazy, but he actually plays with them more if the blocks are organized and he can find them easily. Continue reading

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Keep a Contented Heart in November

Well, here it is again. That time of the month. The time when I drag out my muse’s guide to finding happiness and write myself notes on the next layer of my happiness and joyful cake creation. Here’s what Ms. Muse has to say for the month of November.

Keep a contented heart.  A contented heart is a even sea in the midst of all storms.  So said William Secker in his treatise The Nonsuch Professor in His Meridian Splendor, published in 1660.  Amazing that it’s the same some three hundred and fifty years later.

a) Laugh out loud.

She’s right. I should laugh out loud more. We all should laugh out loud more. It just feels so gosh darn fantabulous when we do it. The sun seems to shine brighter for a few moments, the air seems to warm, and the endorphins rush through our bodies. It can change my whole outlook on a day.

What do I do to ensure I laugh out loud at least once a day? For starters, I have a child who is learning to read and sometimes mispronounces words in such a way that I can barely even understand what he’s trying to say. My child also loves to sing, and I mean loves it as if it’s his favorite chocolate treat. He belts out whatever tune he is listening to, and at times it’s all I can do to keep the car on the road I’m laughing so hard. Which makes him smile and sing more loudly, which makes me laugh more…. You get the picture.

I also read amusing books. Currently on my nightstand is Jen Lancaster‘s The Tao of Martha.  Ms. Lancaster is a seriously funny woman who doesn’t take herself too seriously. Consequently, when reading her books, of which there are many, I tend to laugh out loud and try to live my life with the same grain of salt approach she seems to espouse in her essays.

Laughter is good for anything that might ail us. We all need more, so I’m going to continue laughing and smiling and feeling good. It helps me get through the days when the sun doesn’t shine so brightly, which was a lot of September.

b) Use good manners.

I have my mother and Emily Post to thank for my somewhat rigid adherence to “proper” and “appropriate” behavior. My parents drilled me like they were each an Army Drill Sergeant to ensure that I knew and utilized manners. Proper table etiquette, even when all we were eating was grilled cheese sandwiches. Thank you notes for everything and in a timely manner, e.g. no later than two weeks after the event, the gift, etc.

One year for Christmas my mother found and gifted me a book on manners penned by none other than Ms. Emily Post. I still have it on my shelf with the the note-filled margins, underlined text, and dog-eared pages. I still consult Ms. Post regularly, but these days it seems that most of her advice is considered antiquated niceties that we can all eliminate from our lives due to the instantaneous and often impersonal nature of the digital age. I disagree wholeheartedly and so stick to the advice and manners that have gotten me this far in life.

Several years ago I bought the updated version of Emily Post’s book for my two step-daughters.

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I thought that as they went out into the world as young women and began interviewing for jobs, receiving engagement, wedding or baby gifts, knowing how to deal with the acknowledging and thanking people for their kindnesses would be helpful, especially since so few people attend to social niceties these days with the advent of e-mail. I gave the books with that precise sentiment.  As both opened the gift in my presence, they both said thank you, having such a resource would be great.

Two years later?  Both books are still sitting on the shelf in their respective closets upstairs, unopened. One moved out and left her copy here.  Does anybody want to purchase a slightly used copy of Emily Post’s Etiquette? I can give you a really good deal!

c) Give positive reviews.

I consider this up there with manners. If I’ve received good service or had a good experience, I say it. I shout it from the rooftops. I am a firm believer in the maxim that if you let people know they’ve done a good job, that will make them want to do it again and again to get the feel good rush from positive feedback.

Accordingly, I’m one of those people on Amazon and Yelp and Open Table who reviews service providers. If the meal, the product, the service has been good, I let the provider know. Of course, I also let them know if it’s been bad, but I think it’s just as important to put out good vibes into the world as bad.

d) Find an area of refuge.

I’m working on this. I actually reclaimed my sunroom over Labor Day weekend and made it into a sitting/reading area.

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However, it’s off the kitchen, so although it’s a lovely spot in which to have a cup of coffee and chat with Ernie Hemingway or a friend when children are playing, it’s not really a refuge. Too public. So I’m looking for different space in the house.

Our house has a central family room where everything happens. We also have a formal living room, which at this stage of our lives is largely unused. The only time it sees traffic is when the Christmas tree goes up and when packages are delivered to the front door. It also tends – like so many other open spaces – to attract junk and become a storage area when it’s not being used for the Christmas tree.

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For some time, I’ve been planning to make the back corner of the room into a quiet area where I can meditate and practice yoga. It’s sunny and bright, and the farthest corner of the house away from the main traffic areas, so it feels distant. Just what I need for quieting my mind and soul.

Of course, I have an office, too, but currently it’s situated in the laundry room on the other side of the master bath, and over the garage, so it’s not quite as isolated and quiet.

Plus, it’s cold. It is so cold that even when the heat is on, I need an electric space heater to keep marginally warm. It is so cold that once the outside temperature drops below 40 degrees, my cat won’t even hang out in there with me. It is so cold that the winter after we moved into our house we needed to install heat into our garage to ensure that the pipes for the laundry didn’t freeze. I don’t know precisely what the previous owners did about that particular problem, but I don’t care. I now have a garage that stays at a relatively balmy 55 degrees all winter. Getting into a cold car is not really a problem, unless of course, I’ve been lazy and haven’t put the car into the garage, nor is frozen pipes, truly the most important thing.

My husband decided several months ago that his office, located off the family room, should be mine so that I wouldn’t have to spend so much time upstairs away from the central living area, but it’s still got a lot of his books and other stuff in it, so it doesn’t feel like mine yet.

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Maybe I’ll work on getting the walls covered with my stuff and then I’ll want to use it more. I’ll keep you posted.

For now, though, I think my quiet area in the formal living room – or the Christmas tree room as we call it – is my best bet. I’ve got a folding room divider that I’ll put behind the couch, a meditation chair for which I’ve just redone the cushion, my super thick yoga mat, and a Bose sound dock into which I can pop my iPhone to play ocean music. Now I just need to get all the junk out of that room.

And did I forget to mention that Thanksgiving is at our house?  Namaste.

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