Sunday, September 9, 2018

Minimalism Phase 2 - Delayed Reaction

23 items to go out and another 6 not shown as they've already gone.
Before I start on the topic in hand, an update on The 1000 Clutter Challenge that I started last October (previously 500 before being upgraded to 1000). Having decluttered 952 clutters I had only 48 items left in order to reach the goal of 1000 unnecessaries out of my house. In the photo you can see 23 more things.

There are 7 items of DD's clothing (mostly too small and grubby school tops) to throw out. 7 books (two to pass on to friends, and the rest to donate). 3 old swimming goggles and/or their cases. A Kinder Surprise from inside a chocolate egg, a bag of dried out felt pens, an old CD, and 2 CD racks, I won't count DD's old school backpack with the dodgy zip because we bought another one to replace it.

I didn't get rid of the CDs - I'm not quite ready to do that yet, but I moved them to a book shelf that has been freed of books. So consolidated clutter rather than consigned.

One note about the Oxford Book of Quotations. I got two of these for my Bat Mitzva 43 years ago. I left one of them at my parents' house in London and the other has been with me all my adult life. I chose this one as it's inscribed from my Dad's cousin Alan. I noticed it this week as we were talking on facebook about Bar and Bat Mitzva presents that we still have. I have about 8 of mine still. And then I thought about it seriously. In these days of internet, I don't need a big bulky book of famous quotations. So thank you Barbara and Alan Miller, I really did love it and use it before the days of instant information online. But now it has to go.

I'm really into gifting well loved books that I know I won't read again. In addition to what's on the bed, another 4 books were gifted recently. A Gentleman in Moscow went to a real gentleman for his 60th birthday and Behind the Scenes at the Museum went to my colleague at school who, like the girls in the book, grew up in the north of England in the 1960s. Eleanor Oliphant also went to an English friend who will appreciate the cultural references. And a coffee table book about quilting went to a friend who quilts. Half the pleasure is finding just the right recipient for each book.

An outgrown dress and unused pencil case of DD's went to the little girl downstairs. That makes 28 clutters and a running total of 980 items.

During the summer I sold two items of furniture - a chest of drawers and a tall display cabinet that became surplus to requirements (already counted). A friend came over and exclaimed, "Wow! Your apartment really looks and feels much bigger!" Score

And here's where I'm stuck. Although much has been donated, passed on, sold, or thrown out.... much of it hasn't. I have tops of wardrobes and other assorted shelves and drawers full of stuff waiting to go to the Yedidya Bazaar. I am trying to weed it down by taking books to the park library but it's a slow process.

Until those spaces are freed up I can't move other things into them and free up other spaces. For example, I don't need to store spare cling film and foil, sponges, dish clothes, and paper towels, etc... in the actual kitchen. I buy all these things in bulk packages because it's cheaper but they could be stored in the cupboard in the study, along with the spare toilet paper, if only I could get all the unwanted stuff out.

It's a temporary stuck. A delay of you will. The Yedidya Bazaar comes round again in April so I'll keep chipping away at it until then. Any other charity sales or swaps that come up in the meantime will be gratefully embraced. The only disappointing aspect is that I don't yet feel like a minimalist as I  can still see where more space can be found and possibly one more piece of furniture eliminated.

On the other hand, I do intend to find those last 20 clutters to complete the 1000 clutters challenge within the year.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

September 2018 - R2BC

The obligatory back to school photo.
Begrudgingly allowed because it's the law. 
It's the Jewish New Year this week, it was the academic new year last week, also my birthday, the weather got cooler, as if by magic, and autumn is definitely in the air. The End.

Just kidding. September has always been my favourtie month for all the above reasons.

Rosh Hashana
A chance to repent, renew, recharge and reinvent. This year I finally stopped pretending that I would be going to traditional synagogue services and have arranged to meet with a  few friends on the first morning of Rosh Hashana (it's a 2-day festival) for some meaningful start to the year. I'm not sure exactly what will happen as although we have a  rough agenda, this is the first time we're doing this. But I'm very much looking forward to it.

At home DD and I will do all our own Rosh Hashana traditions - blowing away our sins and bad habits, and eating our menus with the Rosh Hashana Symbols. And some of the meals we're eating out with friends.

It was back to school for both DD and me this week. DD has always hated having her photo taken so on the first day of 1st Grade I told her it was the law. She's now in 5th Grade and she still thinks it's the law. Hilarious.

My Birthday.
Me and Ingrid Bergman reduced to tears as we marched, singing This Old Man, into a Chinese village in North Wales. You had to be there.

The Weather
It's overcast. Seriously, there's grey in them there clouds. We are praying for a wet winter in Israel. Turns out that desalination isn't enough and we're once again facing a water shortage. However, the heat of the summer is behind us and hopefully the universe will be kind.

The Reasons 2B Cheerful linky is with Michelle on Mummy From the Heart this week and for the whole of September.

Wishing everyone a SHANA TOVA UMETUKA (A Good and Sweet Year). 

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

The Sixth Happiness For My Birthday

No photos from yesterday so here's one we made earlier.
Yesterday was my birthday. It wasn't a big birthday although no one can say that the number is small anymore so I suppose all my birthdays are now big birthdays. It was the day I don't teach in school, and college hasn't started yet so I did have a less hectic day than would normally be the case.

Whatsapp messages from family and friends mostly either wished me a great day (fantastic, amazing, wonderful, etc...) or asked what I was doing to celebrate. I answered truthfully. Grading papers, preparing lessons, supermarket. I treated myself to a delivery but then I do that every month so not really fair to count it as a birthday thing.

Facebook was marvelous as it always is on birthdays. Thank you to all my friends and even my "friends" and my cousins, who left birthday greetings. I tried to answer each one with a personal thank you but after a while I just 'liked' as many as I could. But, seriously, big LIKE to all of you.

Two e-cards all the way from Canada and California. Thank you, you know who you are.

And now enough of this Oscars acceptance speech  and back to the day itself. I also popped into college to do a few things, I went to sign DD up for gymnastics club, I did some housework. That's it. Until the evening.

This is where you expect me to say that I let my hair down and went clubbing all night. Wrong. DD had been asking me what I'm doing for my birthday all day. She was annoyed that I wasn't doing anything. I think she wanted to go out for waffles but as she didn't even bother to make me a card, I wasn't inclined to break my diet for her to have the treat. She did give me a big hug and say, "Happy Birthday Mummy, I love you so much." She's clever like that - no money or effort involved.

Anyhoo, I felt a bit guilty (Why? Just why did I feel guilty?) so I asked DD to watch a film with me for my birthday. It was my birthday. Mine. So I got to choose the film right? Wrong again. Well I refused to watch some pre-teen Hallmark TV movie this time so DD refused to watch anything with me.

As I was choosing for myself I revisited my childhood and watched, "The Inn of the Sixth Happiness" on You Tube. Remember? Ingrid Bergman and 100 Chinese orphans escaping the Japanese invasion. I was surprised to find that the bit about escaping with the children was only the last half hour of a 2 1/2 hour film. I'd remembered Gladys Aylward secretly reading her employer's books about China and saving her wages to pay her passage to China. I remembered her adopting Sixpence and then I thought the whole film was about the orphans' journey across the mountains. Not so.

It was a bit like when I watched Jane Eyre again decades after reading the book (because I had to at school) and seeing the movie and the BBC TV drama. I'd completely forgotten that half the story is about her life before going to be the governess at Mr. Rochester's house.

Btw, I read Wikipedia about Gladys Aylward and the film was very romanticized. The real Aylward never kissed a man in her life and didn't abandon the children in the end to go back to her  boyfriend. I didn't mind that so much but I'm sorry I read the article before seeing the end of the film because afterwards I could only think, all that scenery is actually North Wales not China. It lost some of it's magic I'm afraid.

Still, I found myself blubbering through the last 20 minutes so it was a fantastic choice of movie and a great way to celebrate my birthday.