a minimalist life lesson

useful

After a lifetime of living with myself, it appears I am still learning things about the person that I am. Since commencing my own Red Shoe Project and working towards minimalism I have learnt:

  1. Pace the project. I can’t start a project “gung-ho” if I mean to sustain it. This is because if I work for large chunks of time the quality control on my decision making diminishes in proportion to the length of time worked. My discipline goes right out the door.

Solution : I work best if I work in 20 or 30 minute chunks of time. A cup of tea, a walk to the mailbox with Augie Dog, or just doing a daily household chore refocusses me and I can return to the task with my decision making refreshed. Then, I can make the correct decision into which pile my belongings belong – bin, donate, save.

2. Don’t get bogged down in the little stuff, too soon. Clear the closet first, before tackling the jewellery and accessories. Chances are a lot to that jeweller that has been lost at the back of a closet, if chosen to be kept, will need some work – chains untangled, cleaning etc. before going into a new place of use. In my experience, it starts a side tour from the main path.

Solution: I have chosen one set of shelves where “tiny projects” such as jewellery boxes can sit and wait their turn. Once the closet is sorted, a home chosen for my belongings that is both accessible and sustainable, then I can sit down and look to the “small stuff”.

Not bad retrospection or reflective learning, whatever you choose to call it, for two days along the Red Shoe Project. It’s nice to find, early in this project, that there are unexpected bonuses – and three tidy closet shelves.

red shoe project 2016

Minimalism : a job for warrior baby boomers!

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Has minimalism been designated as a “young person’s” zone, or am I just unlucky to have come across nothing but twenty-thirty something young persons tell me how to get rid of my stuff?

Try being a baby boomer that birthed three children, now adults, who has been married 38 years and then tell me about stuff. I have multiple potato peelers older than most of the so called minimalism experts.

I started the flirting with minimalism a couple of years back. When we made our tree change I tried to shed as much as I could, but we ran out of time and energy in the moving process and so more stuff than I wanted made the journey to the country with us.

Then my mother went into care and the contents of my parental home of fifty plus years had to be dispersed. That meant incoming, but I managed to keep it to those things I considered important to me. My brother and sister took the mother lode, so to speak.

Not long afterwards, Mr FD’s parents died and though I stated VERY CLEARLY that I desired nothing from their home except for a few select items I thought our children should receive, Mr FD heeded not and a peculiar assortment of household items made their way into our garden shed and home. Most of it pretty ugly.

Now I open drawers and find three potato mashers and five pastry brushes. I make pastry about once every three years, tops.

So, some perky little thing with nice teeth who has only ever collected shoes and drink coasters from holiday nightclubs is not going to know the minimalism I am seeking. I need it in the large family size tub.

Baby boomers have a unique position on clutter. There is the clutter of two lives joined together; the clutter of  children and their lives before they flee home leaving everything in their rooms and the plastic storage containers in the garage. This is then topped by the yours and mine parents’ hoarding of their lives and the stuff we left behind when we fled the parental abode as well.

A weekend, two cupboard boxes and three plastic shopping bags are not going to meet my needs.

I’ve made a decision. I am going to complete the kitchen project kick started by Son while I was interstate. In turn, I think he was influenced by his sister who gave me a set of coffee mugs as a Christmas gift, then refused to leave the house until I shed an equal or greater number of  ugly and mismatched mugs that no one ever used. You know the type – the tiny mugs that only hold a thimble of tea or coffee and so are always pushed to the rear of the cupboard. Also, the cups that were “special” to your children, when they actually were children, but  are now on a top shelf, out of reach even if anyone desired to use them.

I wanted to shed the children’s cups for aeons, but I just knew the gods would go crazy and the very next day one of the children would have a mental melt down that would only be contained by drinking out of the mug they got at Dreamworld in 1997. However, Daughter1, a thirty something, steam rolled me into agreeing to allow her to remove them. That is, I allowed her to think she was steamrolling me and now if her siblings complain about a departed keepsake cup I can point the finger of blame her way. Win, win, for me. She gets to think she got one over mother, which is always a good ploy by any mother. Let them think they win, when in fact you have won big time.

How is any twenty-thirty something going to understand that type of minimalism psychodrama? Move aside this project requires a Baby Boomer Warrior Minimalist!

And no, I won’t be wearing any big girl undies on the outside of a superwoman costume. It’s always the pearls, dahling.

If you are not going to care you have to not care…

black pearls

I’d like to say it was “the only time” that I ever walked out of the house without the pearls, but I have to be honest and admit that every weekend I dress pretty casually when I go out, especially to the supermarket. Today I had showered and washed my hair, just dragging a comb through it, before I left the house. I wore a tunic top and three quarter denims with sports shoes. No pearls in sight.

Of course, I had to meet someone I knew in the supermarket. Even though it was one of my closest friends I still knew I looked less than perfect. Shame and horror.

Not that it will make me dress any differently, I am too me, to change me, if you understand my drift. I am equally sure that my friend may have thought momentarily that FD is going very casual today and then let it go, but some hours later I am still thinking about it.

Isn’t it terrible to be indolent and immoveable and yet care how you appear? I am practically perfect in every way, I have no idea how you little people cope with being ordinary.

True Confession : My dirty little idiosyncrasy

clothes lines 1One of my little idiosyncrasies. Most people in Australia, who live in single family dwellings, have a clothes line. Some apartment blocks have a shared line, also. There are few days in the year when the weather is too ghastly to dry clothes outside, especially in Queensland, the Sunshine State!

This is where my idiosyncrasy comes into play, though some might tag it by its possible clinical term as an “obsessive, compulsive” habit ritual.

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When I peg the clothes out, the coloured, plastic pegs chosen for each item must match. Two yellow pegs, or two green pegs; at all possible costs it must never be a yellow peg with a green peg.

Oh, and my clothing needs to have blue pegs. Blue is my favourite colour, most of my clothing is blue (or black, a little grey in winter). So it follows that the blue pegs are for moi.

Mr FD, uncouth and uncivilised, (be they of the same literal meaning?) follows no such gentility and will now only use random colours, but [name and shame] he deigns to even peg a pair of undies with a shirt. Yes, dear reader, a shirt will be pegged, not from the hem line, but from its shoulders and will frequently have a pair of undies dangling from a shared should peg. I only than the Big Whatever that our clothes line is at the back of our property and unseen by other eyes, except for wallabies and kangaroos who disdain the wearing of underwear anyway.

Yet, this attention to detail does not carry through to other areas of my life. My children have entertained dinner guests with the many and varied uses their mother has found for a tupperware lettuce crisper. Why limit it to just holding a lettuce, I say? Great for holding left over roast, for instance. And small, bouncing balls; or cotton wool. I wonder if I could set jelly in one?

Just this weekend I horrified Daughter 2 by informing her that I carried my fruit salad to school in a tupperware sandwich keeper. It doesn’t leak for a start. Why is everything a”keeper” with tupperware? Are they worried we might lose our sandwiches on the way to lunch?

I speak of tupperware though I have been but to two parties in my life. Most of my tupperware has been inherited from my mother who could never say no to anyone inviting her to yet another party plan event.

Do you think there are secret meetings of tupperware addicts, who meet in church basements under cover of darkness? “Hello, my name is Darleen, and I have 42 tupperware lettuce crispers.” Too frightening to contemplate.

What a difference a day makes

 

chasing innocence

As soon as I awoke I felt, well, rested. Does that make sense? A very quiet first day of vacation brought a degree of revival. I opened the patio door to allow Augie Dog out for his morning constitutional, while I made a lovely mug of tea. Then we retired back to the bedroom.

Mr FD is still sleeping in the spare room due to the difficulty of his nights, post operative. I am getting quite into the habit of sleeping alone, and I have to admit that I may just mourn it when he moves back in. The aristocracy were onto something there – I mean, it is just, so civilised. None of that, “now we all roll over and one falls out”; or “Who stole my blanket?” And if you have a sleepless night, your partner is not sentenced to one too.

I think Mr FD was up just about every hour on the hour until early morning, so Augie and I resolved (I did the resolving, he did the obeying, as it should be) that we would not wake him if possible. So, tea in hand I updated some social media.

Ten thirty and still no sign of Mr FD, so a check to see if he was still breathing (he was, obviously, or I would be writing an entirely different post… I think), before my tummy said “enough” and demanded breakfast.

earth music

Augie had toast and bacon; I feasted on avocado, bacon and egg on toast, with fresh tea. We breakfasted on the patio, and watched a couple of birds savour the bread treats I had thrown out for them.

Mr FD appeared just as Augie ate the last toast crust, I was benevolent and reopened the kitchen. Slow times.

 

age is all very relative

stop sign

I’ve never been fixated on age; my theory being that age doesn’t really matter for we will all die on the day we are going to die!

Possibly, my attitude is influenced by the fact that there is a bit of an age gap between my elder sister, brother and I – eight and six years respectively. No matter my age I will always be the youngest!

Recently, I have become a little more “aware” of the ageing process; not my age though, my eldest niece’s!

Favourite Eldest Niece was born in the middle of my teenage years. I can still remember sharing the news that I was an aunt with my high school friends! So, in some ways, we “grew up” together.

Niece turned 41 at the weekend and that makes me feel old!

It doesn’t really make sense, I know, but her entering middle age actually makes me feel older than the fact that all my children are now in their thirties; or that I am  grandmother!  Go figure.

 

And the figure is 41!

 

Upon the theme of a being a roof walker

roof top 1

If I were a roof walker, I could no longer be afraid of heights. I would have to leave my fears on the ground and not think about the lofty heights to which I aspired.

 

My feet would be clad, not in the hefty boots of ramblers and mountain climbers, but soft slippers in the like of ballet dancers and trapeze artists. I would wear black; black leggings, black waistcoat, but my vest would be black and white stripe, my top hat of black rabbit fur.

 

Upon the moonlit hours I would assail the rooftops, coming face to face with the gargoyles of years past. The children in their beds would hear my pitter patter across the tiles, the sheets of tin, along the drain pipes, the heavens above; but they would rest peacefully in their beds for they would know that only good adventures were afoot. And at any moment, I might climb through their open windows, peter pan like to whisk them into the fun. Just wait, just wait…

Quite possibly over the edge

What makes a glamorous, divine woman of a certain age, start to sing “zip-a-dee-doo-day” as she walks through the main gate to school, on a Tuesday morning?

I’ve been asking myself that very question ever since I started singing the tune to myself yesterday. Delirium? Insanity? Certainly nothing to be dee-dooing about in my life.

 

remember why you started?

Remember why

Do you remember why you started blogging?

It all seems so long ago now, perhaps eight years, since I started blogging on Vox. Exactly why is now shrouded in my memory as well, but I know I still love it as much now, as I did during those first posts.

adventure

I remember wanting to update my ICT skills. I actually purchased a book to instruct me on how to blog! The authors recommended Vox as a good platform for a novice and as I was certainly that, Vox it was. Oh, those heady, Vox days; they were like a long, Saturday afternoon party with friends. Then, they were gone and we were cast adrift. Some of us landed on WordPress.

self

My “name” was easy to choose – Flamingo Dancer. Ever watched a flock of flamingos performing their mating dance? They are all together, but each within themselves as they experience the moment. It was the metaphor to represent my construction of our human society : alone in our individual experience, but still within our community. I would choose the same name today.

The first friends I made were Margy, Aussie Emjay and Cat, Snowy and GOF. Followed shortly after by dderbydave, GOM and leendadll. All still friends today, though I prefer to think of them as loyal subjects! Oh, so many loyal subjects; friends.

thank oyu best

Eight years ago, I worked in the Basement of Discontent at a University. Since then I have celebrated by fiftieth birthday, and several more after that. Danced at the weddings of two daughters, been gifted two wonderful son in laws; welcomed a granddaughter, lost a dearly loved brother in law, walked with my Mum as she journeys through dementia, farewelled both parents in law; been retrenched, returned to university as a full time student, and survived almost six years of teaching and four  of those  as a teacher librarian. Oh, and moved from the city to the country and bought a dog! Whew!

fabulous me

Many of you have been with me all the way and what a joy you have been. A joy and a blessing, for you have allowed me to be “me”, whatever my mood, or thoughts. You have accepted and dare I say, even encouraged from time to time, my evilosities. When I am exhausted from being nice for too long, you are there, giving me space and giving me voice.

...but if you tell anyone I hugged you, I will deny everything!

…but if you tell anyone I hugged you, I will deny everything!

Every day, I get to write my words, to be creative in the way that I need and for that I am grateful. What a gift and a bonus, blogging has been for me. It is as much a part of my life now as my numerous cups of tea each day, my books and I hope the children don’t read this; my family.

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And now, what about you? Why did you commence blogging?

 

I’ll make us a cup of tea and you can tell me all about you…

tea cup stack