Category: simplifying

The August Break

So just as I’ve been getting more active in posting on my blog, I’m taking a break?  Kinda.  Kinda not.

The lovely Susannah Conway is doing an August break, where she will be posting daily photos (just iphone snapshots) rather than worrying about writing and posting, as she’s busy with some big projects.  But there are no rules, so a regular post in the mix will be ok as well!

Once I was given the permission to have no rules (in case I need to blog my thoughts to retain some sanity) and I saw her link to A Thing A Day challenge, I decided the two together would be good for me to post regularly but not feel like I had to invest much time in the blog, as I do have a big project of my own coming up this fall!

So my OWN guidelines (not rules!) for the month of August.

Every weekday, take a photo of one item (iphone pics).  Subsequently donate, toss, or offer that item online to friends.  (Watch this blog and twitter, probably the only places I will post them.)

I’ll give myself weekends off from posting, but also use them to keep up with the shipping/tossing of the items from the previous week.

Oh and in August at the midsummer gathering of our friends, I plan on bringing my “freebie” basket as well this time!! Though I don’t know that I can match Taco’s auctioning skills…

Self Assessment

A compilation of my alter egos and costumes over the past 4 years since my first Burning Man (compiled for my unravelling e-course)

For all the navel gazing I do, you’d never know that filling out my self assessment form for my annual review at work sends me into a panic attack.

I used to take it seriously, I thought hard about it and poured my heart and soul (as it relates to work) onto a piece of paper.  But it’s grown to mean nothing, it’s just stuck in a file somewhere, and my true thoughts – I don’t dare voice those even here, let alone on that form.

(Though, I took a risk and set one of my goals to be increasing awareness in the office about recycling, as I just dug through the trash can to pull out cans that were thrown away. One was in a can NEXT TO THE RECYCLING CONTAINER! UGH! Our office also stopped recycling waste paper – I’d like to encourage individual efforts in reduce/reuse waste paper, and get a petition to request the office recycles it again. Obviously I’m much more excited about this than anything else at work.)

So I figure, I don’t object to this task, I just can’t say what I want to say and no one is listening anyway.  And even though it’s not New Years or any other time when people traditionally re-evaluate their life, I’d like to do a self assessment on everything BUT work.

Review of Previous Period’s Objectives/Goals

Since this is my first time doing this, I don’t have a previous list of goals.  But a few ones that I have met over the past year:

– Take a hooping workshop and fire hoop for the first time

– Make a hoop video (I did this last night!)

– Create interactive art for Playa Del Fuego

– Help run an official Theme camp at Playa Del Fuego

– Cohabitate with my love 😀

– Perform fire in a group at Burning Man (wasn’t for conclave, but our dress rehearsal was a performance.)

Major Responsibilities/Accomplishments

Well, my accomplishments are listed above.  Responsibilities? Hmm. What are my responsibilities outside of work?

– Take care of my kitties (check. though they need brushing and I can’t find the brush, they are happy and healthy!)

– Pay bills and stay on top of finances (eh still struggling but I’m mostly responsible here)

Seriously? Those are the only “MUST DO” responsibilities that I can think of, but if I get into “SHOULD DO” I can think of more. This is brainstorming, not necessarily all of these were accomplished, but they are all things I’m working on.

– Responsibilities to self:  Eat in ways that sustain me and improve my health.  Get some movement in, every day hopefully.  Get enough sleep.  Spend time doing things that nurture and sustain me, and improve/educate myself.  Be aware of needs, desires, and boundaries.  Learn to say no to things that will only cause stress, and yes to things that scare me but are good for me.  Keep home a cleaner, nicer place to relax and rejuvenate.  Make sure financial basic needs are met (pay bills on time, keep roof over head, improve credit rating).

– Responsibilities to family/friends:  Love and care for kitties.  Love Random, spend quality time together, work on mutual dreams and goals.  Call and visit family.  Often.  Spend quality time with friends/family of choice, be there when they need support.

– Responsibilities to community/world:  Participate in life, don’t just spectate.  Contribute discussions, time, art, and effort to events that matter to me and to issues of importance in the world.  Improve my “green” efforts.  Bring joy and awareness to those around me.  Help create things/movements as a group for larger reaching efforts.


I have great ideas.  I can help others make their ideas happen. I have a harder time making my own ideas happen 😛

Love learning and experiencing new things.  A sense of adventure.

Curious mind, always wanting to know how things work and how to do new things.

A sense of responsibility to community and the planet.

Willingness to look like a fool in public for the sake of fun.

Never underestimating the power of fun, camaraderie, good food, or good sleep.

Development Needed

Knowing and trusting my strengths.

Making decisions.

Balancing what goals I can set and accomplish on my own to improve my life, and what ones I should set and work on together with my love.

Incorporating my passions into my job/career.

Pursuing bigger picture adventures without getting bogged down with the daily grind.


Balancing responsibilities and fun time.

Incorporating good ideas and lifestyle changes permanently.

Being gentle with myself for doing things poorly or not at all.

Watching where I spend/waste time.

Next Period’s Objectives/Goals and Target Dates

In the next month/s I shall:

– Make progress on cleaning/simplifying our home.  (Make a game plan with my love, figure out what we can do together to do this.)  Two weeks to a garage sale, so the incentive is there.

– Bring/create some joy into my work life, even if it’s tiny ways.  Be more present and productive at work.

– Set some short and long term individual and mutual goals with my love, and figure out ways to keep part of our efforts focused on them.

– Enjoy every moment of summer while it’s here.  It goes so fast.  Be present in the moment.

– Continue to increase healthy habits and decrease unhealthy ones.

– Increase calls/visits to family.  Decrease guilt about it never being enough 😛

In the next year I shall:

– Find a way to enjoy my job or find a new one.

– Relocate (if/when it suits both of us & our jobs).

– Have a routine to keep our home simplified, cleaner, and more green.  Reduce the amount of things I own and use/enjoy the things I do own.

– Leave time/space for unplanned adventures and spontaneity.

– Explore my creativity in old and new ways.

– Contribute time and energy to the groups that matter to me – PDF, PEX, fire community, etc.

– Whether through the above or not, work on creations/artistic acts that make a public impact in some way.

– Never stop growing or improving, but always allowing me to be gentle to myself when needed.

– Focus on what matters most.  Release things/people that don’t matter, that are more harmful than beneficial, whose time is just past.


Ack.  OK.  This was quite the onion peel.  I had been thinking I couldn’t afford an acquaintance’s new ecourse, but after seeing this I think I should sign up (I only have today left to decide 😛 I also worry about the workload, as I finish an e-course that I fell behind on, and summer is a crazy time…)

I’m going to turn this around to you.  Questions or ideas for me?  Did this raise any thoughts of what you can do in your own life?

I have a million ideas but can never decide on ways to implement them.  I find tons of amazing resources online like the happiness project (I even have a starter kit to start a group), creative every day challenge, joy rebellion, 29 day giving challenge…. Too many to choose from and commit to them all.

Do you want me to share more things like this with you? Would you be interested in a virtual or in person effort to pursue one of these things?  If you are anything like me, you may say YES! and even pick one, but without serious commitement to it, our efforts will fall apart.  And being spread too thin over many efforts does the same.

I’ll continue to share these things in case they strike a chord with you, but if you think that you and I should start a new community effort and you are willing to help, let’s talk.  Maybe it will be a slow start, being summer and all.  Maybe we can create something amazing.  Maybe we’ll just have some amazing brainstorming and go on with our lives better for it.

I’m not feeling like LEADING this at this moment, but I look for those who want to CO-CREATE with me.  To conspire with me.  Or hell, just to console and have a cocktail on the rough days.  I don’t know.  If you are already in my life chances are you already do one of those things at least.  I’m just planting a seed, and seeing what comes from it.  I’m focusing on that which I want to nurture in my life, and I need some people around to support and remind me of that so I don’t get too far off track.

So – now that I wrote this huge ass post on my own time and just finished posting it during a brief break at work (*wink wink*) I should get back to my real task at hand.  Which is of course, procrastinate and plan for the weekend trip!

The theme for today is lists.  Sent links for 43 Things and 101 things in 1001 Days to Limerick, and found the below posted on 101 things.  The original article mentions “before you die” lists.  I never think of them as that, more as “how to LIVE” lists.  My 43 things are mostly ongoing, so it’s hard to cross them off ;o)  But as the writer of Zen Habits says, the goal is NOT to check off things just to say they were done.  The goal is to not sit idle and watch life pass by!

Anyway – here’s the summary of the article:

6 Questions to Ask Yourself to Get the Most Out of Life

A recent article over at Zen Habits made me think a lot about the motivation for creating a 101 Things list. The 6 Questions to Ask Yourself to Get the Most Out of Life can be seen as a great starting point to coming up with ideas for self improvement on your list:

1. Who do I love, and what am I doing about it?
2. Am I pursuing my dream, or is fear stopping me?
3. Am I doing something that matters?
4. What am I doing to help others?
5. Am I as good a person as I want to be?
6. What am I doing to live life with passion, health and energy?


1.  Random. What am I not doing about it? 😀 

My family.  I’m horrible about calling them.  I’ve grown to dislike the phone.  I also need to visit them more often.

My friends.  They are my family too.  It’s hard when I feel drawn in many directions, and want to spend time with all of them but also need time to replenish myself.  hmm.

Me.  Yeah.  Sometimes, it’s OK to put me first.  The whole oxygen mask on the airplane analogy.


2.  I’m trying to figure out what my dream is still.  Workwise, no clue.  Aside from work, it’s just to have adventures with friends and those I love, to be challenged and challenge others, to grow, to never stop learning and more importantly, never stop playing.  It may look like goofing off, but I consider this pursuing my dream.

Fear may stop me in the career part – fear of failure, fear of hating something else, I don’t know.  It’s something I’m definitely struggling with, but to me the job is just to pay for shelter and for adventures and lots of cool toys 😛


3.  Again, splitting between work and social.  Work? I suppose so, roads need to be improved so I do provide a service.  If I weren’t here, someone else would do it.  I dunno…

Outside of work?  I want to do more.  Not sure how to go about that.  But I do feel that being part of a Burner community is doing something that matters – to other burners, to myself, and when I bring a bit of burner spirit to the rest of the world, I hope that matters too…  I suppose rather than a big thing I try to do lots of little things.


4.  Not enough.  Really.  How can anyone other than those who devote their lives to others really say anything else?  Again, if helping others in small ways matters, I do (try) that.  I need to devote more time and money to serious causes though.  Still haven’t donated to the food bank because of money shortage over the holidays, and I want to donate to Doctors without Borders again.


5.  Am I a good person?  I like to think that most days I am.  If I were as good a person as I want to be, I wouldn’t have anything to strive for, so that’s enough for me, for now.


6.  Oh a stickler, this one.

Passion.  Easy.  (Get your mind out of the gutter! :P)  I explore what I’m passionate about, I jump in and learn everything I can.  And then I discover something else.  OK, mind back in the gutter, or at least in terms of relationships – I do my best to love fully and accept love in return.  I read once that we only accept the love we think we deserve.  That makes a lot of sense, and I’m trying to remember that.  Because many days I don’t know what I did to deserve such an awesome guy ❤   (and awesome friends too!)

Health/Energy.  They go together.  Always striving to find joyful ways to move (not the E word!), to eat more wholesome foods than unwholesome ones, to improve our home environment so that it’s a place of rest and relaxation.  I definitely need to work harder on this, but I try.  Most of the time.  (Right now the vending machine is calling my name, miso soup was yummy but still hungry.) 



Yeah, so most of the things on my lists fall into these categories, but it’s a good checkpoint of sorts to answer them.  (Not tagging anyone, but feel free to contemplate on these even if you don’t blog/write publicly about them.)

A few positive thoughts for the New Year resolutions ponderings, and reminders of what’s important.


(I really want to read/process more about this story, but my heart can’t bear it today… Things like this, and prop 8 passing, make me want to take Big Action (whatever that is), but it’s so hard for me to stay in that mindset because I just get so angry and sad that I’m not capable of being very productive.  Sigh.  Add figuring out how I can help to #4.)


OK let’s end on a more positive note. This seems applicable, one of my favorites…

This is my living faith, an active faith, a faith of verbs:
to question, explore, experiment, experience, walk, run, dance, play, eat, love, learn, dare, taste, touch, smell, listen, argue, speak, write, read, draw, provoke, emote, scream, sin, repent, cry, kneel, pray, bow, rise, stand, look, laugh, cajole, create, confront, confound, walk back, walk forward, circle, hide, and seek. To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.

~Terry Tempest Williams, naturalist and author (1955- )



Blog addiction

So despite not having any New Year’s resolutions, I’m still working on reorganizing our home and my finances.

Going over my monthly expenses, I am reminded yet again that I am paying $8.95 a month for a Typepad account for 3 blogs that haven’t been touched in 3 years (for two of them, one was updated about a year ago).

The photos and files hosted on there are also on my computer.  Though at times, they have been easier to find on the blog, or accessible from work, it’s not necessary.

If I deleted them, I’d lose the entries.  I don’t know how to back that up.  I could make a huge word document.  I don’t know why I’m hesitant to let go of this account, wordpress has been much better for me.

The three blogs are my knitting blog, my henna blog (I had the domain for a while, but let it lapse since I don’t do it much anymore), and a general blog using the craft name Creatures of Nature.  I used this for various interests that I dabbled in – jewelry, reiki, and other crafty stuff, usually based on animals or natural items like semi-precious stones.  It is kindof interesting to look back, and see how I bounce around hobbies!


So – should I end that account? Yeah, I know the answer.  What’s the best way to back them up?


ETA:  Seriously.  About 2-3 hours after I posted this, I wanted to find a photo.  A photo that I have on my computer at home, but I’m at work, and I remembered having it in a typepad album and found it pretty quickly.  Sigh.  Makes me reconsider giving it up – but is it THAT important to have a photo of an awesome t-shirt that I need to find in my laundry pile to wear to DC just to show it to someone I’m chatting with online at that moment?  I think the answer is no.

Yes yes, simplifying by doing more ;o)  but this is necessary for my sanity, and being able to relocate if/when I want or have to!! Not to mention being able to walk around my apartment and use the closets.

Found some cool links today, so keeping it here for a record.

A while ago I knew about Apartment Therapy, but I keep forgetting to check it regularly or take part in challenges.

Today I found Zen Habits and the Unclutterer.

I’m at the point where I want to toss every item in my apartment in the dumpster.  Obviously not going to happen.  However I do need to get rid of much of my stuff – I suspect a lot of it will be trashed when it could be donated/sold, but I’ve been using the donation/freecycle/sell on ebay excuse for way too long as I put off this task and it grows larger and larger.

Do you need something? Let me know. I may have it. Ask now before it’s gone.  I may send out notices when about to trash something possibly useful, and give friends a 24 hour window to come salvage it…

Currently on my list of soon to be in the dumpster: (Note, many items are full of cat hair and dust, in case you have allergies.)

– 4 large, heavy dense floor pillows from walmart. Nowhere near clean, as they went camping and to henna gigs with me.  Bonus: bright yellow fake fur covers for them.

– A cheap walmart area rug, dark red with black, cream, other colors, oriental looking.  From memory, I guess about 4’x6′

Photos of rug and floor pillows located here

– Two lime green folding floor chairs supposed to be like back-jacks but don’t work nearly as well – shorter and not as strong. Best suited for kids I suspect.

Photo (kinda) showing the floor chair, and the yellow fur covers for pillows, here

– Mosquito netting bed hanging. Off white (er, at least it is now…) and very dusty.

– Henna – anyone want some henna? Jamila, at least 2-3 years old, kept in freezer entire time. Perfect for hair, may be ok for body art (fine for practice, but if you want high quality stains get fresher stuff!) I may keep some but I can spare some boxes.

– Do you have a current craft hobby or want to take one up? I have many crafty items that I would barter or sell, including a heck of a lot of beads for jewelry, mostly seed beeds and fun square beads.  Also a bunch of jewelry I made, and a cool carrying case for it. Let’s talk. This will take more time, as for some items I don’t know fully what I have, where I have it, and such.  (As I purge and decide to offer stuff up I may list things specifically, but we can brainstorm anytime if you have an interest!)
**beading supplies gone, will update if anything is left. for other crafts, we’ll discuss.**

– Roomba. No accessories/instructions, just the item itself and plug for charging.  It’s red.  I have too much cat hair and long hair of mine on the floor for it.  Only tried a few times, worked fine other than that.

You have until Monday evening to say you want any of these, and until next Friday (the 17th) to pick it up if you do want it. (Not applicable to the crafty stuff.)  Beyond that, it will be in or next to the dumpster and the garbage truck comes on Monday.  (I’m away at PDF this weekend, leave a comment or email me if interested!)

Money in exchange is always accepted but not always necessary and I certainly won’t take more than I’d pay for it in it’s current condition.  It’s free (or whatever you feel the value is worth) unless I specify something as sale/barter, i.e., the jewelry supplies and crafty stuff.  As for barter, while I do not want to take any more “stuff” in exchange unless it’s something special or useful, I would consider taking clothing donations in the proper size or food/booze ;o)