Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Five: Clutter .....

Jan says: Since posting about decluttering, I am still muttering about the need for it in my house. How about you?

1. What things do you like to hang on to? Like? I'm not sure...but I do keep books and papers.  I have, for example all my tax returns dating back to the 70's.  I know, I can let them go....but there they are.  Books...I have books from grade school! R is telling me I must purge for the move in future.  I know, I know....but the books are a hard one.

2. What is hard to let go of? See #1.  I also tend to accumulate and keep office supplies, sewing and crafts stuff and shoes.

3. What is easy to give away?  Easier though not a cake-walk, clothes that I no longer want/need.
4. Is there any kind of stumbling block connected with cleaning out? I have this struggle with "well if I get rid of it I might need it" and every time I start getting past it, I have some reinforcement that it's true.  Who'd ever think for example that I'd need that box of registration paperwork and catalogs from graduate school? I don't know how many times it almost went to recycling.  But just this week I absolutely needed one of those old pieces of paper to verify something! So I guess that box will be staying on with me.

5. What do you like to collect, hoard, or admire? I have a collection of hammered aluminum ware. I debate about keeping it several times a year. Part of the problem is "what to do with it?"   I also have some old and "antique" kitchen ware and small appliances that is displayed in my kitchen that I am pretty attached to. But I think a move will help me decide about what stays and gos.  The last time I moved though, it cost me more to get rid of the things I was not moving than it did to move the things I was! ( Dumpsters, appliance haulers, landfill fees, etc.) So this time I plan to start the purge earlier and be smarter about how it goes away.

Bonus: Tell us about recycling or whatever you can think of that goes along with this muttering about cluttering. We do recycle.  I'm proud of the fact that more goes in that bin than the trash most weeks.  I tried composting...not too successfully, so gave that up.  Our grass and branches go to the local yard waste site, we buy things from the re-use store and thrift if we can (saves money and feels good to re-use or give things another lease on life).  But it still seems that there is a lot of "stuff" in my life that, some days feels like it owns me. So I know there is a purge ahead and I know I could do that ruthlessly and still have plenty of stuff!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Thanks to a WI Farmer and the Government....Freedom!

Yesterday was kind of a BIG day.  I paid off the LAST of my student loans.  Only because of the grace of God and the National health Service Corps, I might add.  When I finished my doc program I owed the equivalent of  the cost of a moderate house...and my payments and "mortgage" were about equal to buying one too! The was I figured it, if I paid $1300 a month for the next thirty years, I'd be just about done.  There were only two problems with that scenario. 1) I did not HAVE an extra $1300 a month, and 2) graduating as I did, shall we say, a little later in life....thirty years was going to take me WAY past any one's idea of a graceful time to retire.  I had deferred and forbore, and it was, after being out of school a bit, definitely time to pay the piper.  This all came to a head on my birthday back in 2002.  I was sitting in a field in Wisconsin celebrating my birthday with a friend.  S has always been one not to pull punches with me, and as I was bemoaning my "fate" of a lifetime of loan payementss with no retirement ever in sight, she hit me with the one-two..."So....are you just going to sit around and complain about this thing, or are you going to actually DO something?" I knew the something she was referring to....the National Health Service offers to pay back loans of those in health and allied professions who agree to work in underserved areas for a period of time.  We had talked about this as an option when I was in grad school, but I had hemmed and hawed and put off seriously thinking about it.  It was a risk, I'd have to life would have to essentially (or so I thought) be put on hold for the 5-7 years required to complete my service obligation.  And where would I end up?  (Visions of underserved areas to me didn't include my own state at that time.) But I heeded S's words and when I got home again, I looked up the NHSC.  I checked the locations for places to serve and found there were a number of them within a three hour drive of home, and some even had been given a rating that led me to believe that I would have no trouble being accepted for the program should I be applying from one of them. Hmmmm....This might work!.The next step would be a job search. I thought that would take time.   Imagine my surprise when I opened the Sunday paper right there in my own kitchen, and there was one of my my own state, looking for a psychologist!  So off went the resume, and very soon I was toodling across the state to an interview, then accepting a job and packing to set off on the beginning of  what turned out to be far more of a life-changing adventure than I had ever bargained for.  In addition to the obvious benefits of NO MORE STUDENT LOANS....I have gained  fabulous friends, ordination, which of course has led to more wonderful adventures all on its own, and best of all my amazing husband!  Not bad for eight years. So I'm toasting the National Health Service Corps.  A great deal all around.  People in underserved areas get good clinicians to come and work with them....and those clinicians....doctors, dentists, nurses, too....get relief from a huge debt burden! This is something the government has gotten very, very right. Thanks and blessings NHSC.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday Five: Dog Days of Summer

Singing Owl says: "Here in the snow belt state of Wisconsin we long for the first signs of spring--perhaps a crocus poking up through the snow, or a pussy willow bud popping out even beneath ice. The first appearance of robins, that most cheery little hopper of birds, causes widespread rejoicing. Spring is followed by summer, a time for home-grown tomatoes, watermelon, corn on the cob, all sorts of "fests," back yard "fry outs" (what they call a barbecue here, for some reason) and trips near and far.  I love summer, and wait anxiously for it every year. So how is it that we have arrived at the hot and humid "Dog Days" of August, and I have not done nearly enough of what I planned to do? I want to pack in as much as I can before snow flies once again. How about you? And what is happening for those of you who are in a different hemisphere than I, and it may be cold?"

1. What is the weather like where you live? It's HOT and it's HUMID and I LOVE it!!!! Yes I know, I know, that makes me some kind of wierdo.  Everyone around me is moaning and complaining and I am reveling in it.  We were in SC for a little vacay last week where it was more of the same and I LOVED that too.  It makes me feel good, what can I say?

2. Share one thing you love about this time of year. Well other than that it's hot and humid...I also love that it's light FOREVER, and the days go on and on and on so we can go out and play after work.

3. Share one thing you do NOT love about this time of year. Mosquitoes.  We grow 'em large and we grow 'em vicious and they find me tasty.

4. How will you spend the remaining days leading up to Autumn? Playing outside as much as possible. Biking, geocaching, taking the kayaks out to see if I can find get the hang of paddling in a straight line...more or less.  But we also have some chores that must be accomplished as well.  The garage MUST be re-roofed before the snow (ugh) flies and it needs a paint job, as does the front porch.  There are a few other "outdoor musts" that are on our to-do list as well. So we'll try to balance that with our fun time.

5. Share a good summer memory. Oh, hard to pick just one!  The wedding and our honeymoon of course got summer off to a pretty good start. Our trip to SC to see Soul Sister A last week and her hubby was great, too. This has been a really good summer all in all!

Bonus: What food says SUMMER to you? My gazpacho ( a takeoff on Moosewood's recipe from the original cookbook and not bad if I do say so myself), anything R grills, and of course potato salad!

Friday, August 06, 2010

Memories, Memories Friday Five

Sally says: "This year Tim and I have planted and nurtured a vegetable garden, and I have just spent the morning preparing vegetables and soups for the freezer, our veggie garden is producing like crazy and it is hard to keep up with, that said it'll be worth it for a little taste of summer in the middle of winter :-). That got me thinking of the things I treasure, memories are often more valuable than possessions."
How about you, can you share
A treasured memory from childhood? I did not often have the chance to do things with my dad.  He worked hard and didn't play much.  However, one sunny summer day just he and I took a daylong boat excursion on the Mississippi.  The boat was a paddlewheeler.  Her name was the Avalon. Amazingly I still remember this...I was probably all of nine at the time.  He bought me a little captain's hat and we sat way up on the top deck in the sun and looked at all the sights.  It's a memory I will always hold of him.

A teenage memory? Those were some tough years. Probably some of the best times though were with music, singing, playing in the orchestra.  It was a time I found something I was good at and had passion for, something that I could get lost in.

A young adult memory? My days in the convent were at best a "mixed bag" in many ways. But I do have one great memory of a night a group of us gathered for some reason out on the hill behind the novitiate. Some people had guitars and we sang and had prayers and then just sat in silence for a while.  Suddenly the heavens just erupted with the most amazing meteor shower.  It was very brief but quite spectacular (and I don't think we knew it was coming). It stunned us to silent reverence.

A memory from this summer? Well, no doubt the BEST memories from this summer are those of our wedding.  Although I have to say. the trip was a close second, and all the fun we have been having around here since has not been too bad either.  But of the wedding....still, best moment...walking up the aisle and feeling that moment when I could not go one.more. step. without his hand in mine...reaching out and there he was, just like I knew he would be, just like he always is.

A memory you hope to have? Oh I hope to have lots and lots and lots of great and wonderful memories with my fabulous husband!
Bonus- a song that sums up one of those's the song we danced to at the wedding...Jimmy's our guy and it sums up our philosophy, if things are hard....breathe in, breathe out, move will get better.