October 1

I can’t believe it’s October already. A friend of mine posted on Facebook today that there is only a month left before he will start putting up Christmas decorations. I almost unfriended him. I’m still clinging to the last shreds of summer. It seems like just a few days ago that I put my winter clothes away. (It really was just a little bit ago. I am so behind on stuff.) And just like in the spring, I feel the need to organize for fall. Maybe it’s because I’m spending less time outside now and more time inside, looking at the clutter that abounds. Granted, some of it is because we are still keeping items out of the dog’s reach, so things tend to pile up. Although he’s getting a bit better about staying out of things, at least while we are around. (When we aren’t he still tends to bring things in and out of the doggie door. Sticks and burnt log remains from the fire pit end up inside while shoes and toys and clothing go out.)

It’s this time of year that I realize I have too much stuff. I really should go through rooms with a box and start collecting items I think I can live without and store the box in the basement for a while. If I don’t miss anything, then the box can go. I know I also need to organize better. I’d be happier if my closets and cupboards and laundry room were streamlined and efficient. But there’s something about October and Fall that makes the time speed up like the fast forward button on the DVR. You know when you can still follow what’s happening, but feel like you’re not quite getting the full story? That’s where I’m at. Looking towards the end of the year with too many items left on my to-do list. We have only 91 days left in the year, my friends. That’s 91 days to finish the resolutions you may have set for yourself. And within those days are holidays that also seem to speed up time.

It’s easy for me to get lost in the busy. So out of curiosity, I looked back in my journal from this time last year and reminded myself of how much I’ve accomplished since then. We may have only 91 days left, but that means we’ve had 274 days already this year. And for me, those days have been rather productive. I may feel like I have a lot left to do, but none of it is an absolute. Well, outside of working and studying and breathing. Maybe eating and drinking a bit. And talking to my mom regularly because, you know, moms. So I’m not stressing. I’ll do what I can feasibly do and the rest will wait. I and my messy house will survive. I’m thankful for the perspective.

August 10

The outside of my house is about 98% painted. I’m thankful for the help I had today with my boyfriend on the tall ladder and my kids helping with trim. I also borrowed a ladder stabilizer from some friends which helped a lot. It took longer than I had hoped to get things as far along as we did, but it’s about there. Another half a day and another gallon of paint should do it. That’s a big one off my list. I’m also thankful that I finally got my closet organizers put in. The huge mess that has dominated my upstairs for the last few weeks can now get tackled. I had my kids help me tonight decide on whether to keep or toss some of my clothes. I tried things on and they gave me their opinions. That was brutal. I can now imagine how the folks on What Not to Wear feel when stepping into the dressing room of truth and getting Stacy’s and Clinton’s feedback. My kids do not soften their criticism. And I now have a pile of clothes to give away. However we did have some pretty hilarious moments too. Once you realize something looks ridiculous, it’s easy to make fun of yourself. In fact there were a couple of items we saved for the Halloween costume box. At any rate, it was good to get some movement on the to-do list today.

June 11

I got my garage half cleaned and organized, which is something I’ve been wanting to do for weeks now. I put up shelves and a bike rack. I even bought a really cool workbench with a light and built-in electrical sockets, although it won’t be delivered until Friday. That gives me another day to finish up the rearranging and cleaning. I’m so excited to get all my tools organized and the floor swept clean. Ever since I started painting my house, the garage has gotten to be a dumping ground, to the point where I haven’t been parking in it, so I’m thankful I got so much done tonight.

May 1

It’s May Day and I didn’t dance around a maypole, or sing, or put cute little flower baskets or treats on my neighbors’ doorsteps. I feel a little disappointed by that. I like holidays of all sorts and usually try to at least acknowledge them. I think I’ll put that on my agenda for next year; it will give me a greater incentive to meet more neighbors and learn their their names. Right now I feel like I only know them by face at a distance, enough to wave and say hello. Of course, without seeing them bundled up in winter coats and hats, I may not recognize anyone anymore.

At any rate, it struck me earlier today that some of these typical, fun holiday things are slipping past because I’m not as together as I usually am. I’m a list maker and like to finish tasks and be done with them, but I’ve gotten a bit disorganized and off-track, and it’s time to pull it together. For that reason, I’m thankful the semester is almost over at work. My night class meets for one more week, and then I will be back to having free time in the evenings. I will miss my students, and I will miss teaching over the summer because I really do enjoy it. Class interaction with students is a special kind of joy for me. However, it will feel great to get some unfinished projects done both at work and at home. Soon I will have a few weeks break from my normal routine that will allow me to focus on organization and planning for the upcoming semesters. I’m actually excited about it. Is this what sports players refer to as getting your head in the game?

March 10

It’s Spring Break at my school. I just wished it actually coincided with spring. I think we actually have more snow on the ground now than we did at Christmas break. Oh, well. The weather did turn a bit for the better today. I think we actually got close to 50 degrees, which felt amazing. I spent the afternoon with my daughter, riding around in her new little Miata convertible. She wanted to put the top down, but I nixed that. It may have seemed warm, but 50 degrees in the form of fast wind feels a whole lot cooler on the face. We did roll the windows down for a little while before stopping for ice cream. That was delightful. Until we both felt sick afterwards. Unfortunately, my kids have adopted my eating habits, which are basically eat whatever sounds good at the moment. It could be green beans and apples or it could be popcorn and Skittles. Today when I got home at lunch, she was eating chocolate mug cake. Since I had that last night, I know how filling it is. I settled for an avocado with basil olive oil and leftover edamame. When we added ice cream later, it was a bit much.

At any rate, the break from work and the bitter winter was a good switch. So I followed that up with cleaning the growing mess in my basement and upstairs office. Both places had become a dumping ground. The office was filled with stacks of papers that had been periodically moved from the kitchen when the mail piled up and visitors were coming. After sifting through and filling a garbage bag, I can now see the office floor again. And I can also see the new carpet in the basement after putting away the Fall and Christmas decorations that got left in a heap. In the process, I unearthed items I had forgotten about–a whole tote full of clothes and shoes. And the cover I bought for my grill but never put on before the snow fell. And some exercise DVDs. (Those I left in the basement. I’m not that motivated yet.) It felt good to clear away the clutter. It felt like a spring thing to do. I’m glad I took the time to get some of the organizing done that I clearly need to do. And I’m also thankful I took some time to enjoy the warmer weather with my daughter; that was a treat.