22 Apr 2015

Thinking thoughts

Hullo.  Are you well?  It's rather a while since we've had a chat, isn't it?  I've been thinking a few thoughts, recently.  Here are some of them.  If you're interested, that is.  You can just move onto the next blog in your reader if you're not.  I don't mind.  Really!

So if you're still here, here are some of the thinks I've been thunking:

:: For the last few weeks I've been hosting a decluttering thread on the AO Forum.  The project actually started for me around the new year, although it wasn't really a New Year's resolution; it just coincided with it.

My beloved and I had individually come to the conclusion that we were successfully storing too much stuff.  You wouldn't have necessarily seen it if you'd visited us - we both consider ourselves minimalists, and since the flood when we lost much of our furniture, out home is even more spare, but open any drawer or cupboard, and you would see what I meant.  Stuff.  Because we had the storage space, I think, we tended to just find homes for our new purchases without tossing the things they were replacing.  We had too much stationery, too many cleaning products, too many towels, sheets, pillows, duvets, shoes, winter jackets, pairs of jeans, T shirts, paint brushes, texta colours,  vases, computer cords, socks, Tupperware containers, jam jars, toiletry samples, mugs and toys.  There was nothing wrong with this stuff, only we just didn't need it, and we figured that instead of storing it in case we needed it 'one day', we should donate it in case somebody needed it right now.

So back there in January I started removing one shopping bag of stuff each weekday from our home. Five each week, sometimes more. Some was useless rubbish and went straight into the bin.  Jemimah's clothing went to friends at church for their kids.  The adult clothing along with the toys, bedding, towels and tea towels went to the local 'opp shop'. It didn't matter much where it went as long as it was out of our home!

We've overhauled wardrobes, craft cupboards, pantry, fridge and freezer, the games cupboard, the bathroom cabinets, the laundry cupboards, desk drawers, sports equipment, CD and DVD collections - practically everything except books.  I am decluttering, not getting rid of books.

Last week I realised that I am almost finished.  There are still a few things we need to use up slowly - I'm not tossing something that we use every day, even if we have enough to last us all year.  I just won't buy any more until it is gone.  The freezer is almost empty - we are just finishing up the few odd things at the back.  Why, oh why, did I buy so much kangaroo steak, and what am I going to do with it all?

Our home is working much better.  There are homes for everything, and space to put it all away.  We can see what is in the cupboard when we open the door.  It is sort of empowering to have done it, and we are all inspired to live more simply and to purchase less 'stuff'.  We really have absolutely all we need.

:: Which brings me onto the next thought I've been thinking.  It's related, so I've you're getting bored with simplifying, you might want to move onto the next blog - or at least to point three.

I've been thinking about capsule wardrobes.  I found out about them on FB, and the place that I've learnt most about them is at Un-Fancy. Caroline is much slimmer, younger, and all around more gorgeous than me, but we have almost identical tastes in clothes (except for the skimpy shorts), and I find her blog quite inspiring to look over.

I find the idea of a capsule wardrobe - a minimal wardrobe filled with clothing that you love to wear - intriguing, and I seriously considered making one for a couple of weeks. I've decided against it now, mainly because I actually have significantly fewer clothes than Caroline, and I can't see much point in buying many more, but I do like her ideas, and I have taken a good look at my wardrobe and where it does well and where I could improve it.  I even did a bit of clothes shopping on the weekend (I dislike clothes shopping immensely), and bought some new black jeans, a couple of long-sleeved T shirts and a gorgeous black alpaca cape, so I'm well set for winter.

If you want to know more about capsule wardrobes, here's Caroline's guide to them for you to read.

:: Facebook has been really getting me down lately, and I've been thunking thoughts about how I should best manage it.  I like FB - all of my best friends live inside my iPad, and as an extreme introvert, my online life constitutes a significant part of my social life - so I don't plan to leave it, but sometimes everything is so aggressive and unkind, and it makes me feel agitated and disgruntled.  It's not good feeling agitated before breakfast - sometimes I haven't even had a cup of coffee to calm me down.  Anyhow, I've been thinking about how to make my FB experience more uplifting.  I'd appreciate your ideas if you've thought these thunks before me.

:: In lieu of being online, I've been reading some great books.  I joined Silvia and some other ladies in a reading of Kazuo Ishiguro's new fantasy novel, The Buried Giant, and then got so wrapped up in the story that I finished it before some of the ladies had even started.  Sigh. Ishiguro's writing is gentle, poetic and peaceful, and I loved his portrait of abiding marital love into old age.

The ending, though.  Oh my.  What can I say? I'm haunted by it still now. Which is the sign of a good story-teller, I guess.

A quote from my commonplace book:

“But then again I wonder if what we feel in our hearts today isn't like these raindrops still falling on us from the soaked leaves above, even though the sky itself long stopped raining. I'm wondering if without our memories, there's nothing for it but for our love to fade and die.”

I bought my current book because it had such a beautiful cover, which is probably not the best reason, but has proved to be a good one in this case.  It's titled The Little Paris Bookshop, and it's a pure delight for both Francophiles and book lovers, or those who are both, like me.  Jean Perdu owns a book shop, or rather a book barge, which floats on the Seine.  It's called The Literary Apothecary, and Perdu acts as the pharmacist, dispensing books as prescriptions to treat the troubled souls of his customers.  Perdu has a cure, it seems for everyone...except himself.  For Perdu is suffering from a broken heart.

One day Jean Perdu discovers a letter from his lost love.  A letter written twenty one years ago, and which remains unopened.  The content of that letter inspire Jean to unmoor his book barge and set of for Provence to make things right. ..

This book is a pleasure to read. Okay, there is a bit of language and bad behaviour, but we're grown-ups right, and it doesn't seem gratuitous.  Apart from anything, its a book about books.  And Paris.  And other important stuff, like the redemptive power of love.  Much like The Buried Giant, I guess.

From the Commonplace:

“Books are more than doctors, of course. Some novels are loving, lifelong companions;some give you a clip around the ear; others are friends who wrap you in warm towels when you've got those autumn blues. And some...well, some are pink candy floss that tingles in your brain for three seconds and leaves a blissful voice. Like a short, torrid love affair.”
:: So these are some of my  thoughts.  I'm also thinking about:

 - Our holiday - only a little over three weeks to go now.
- Accreditation  - it is dominating my work thoughts.
- The AO Retreat in Indiana in July - are you coming?
- Why I used to be able to find enough to blog daily and sometimes now I struggle to write once a week.

What are you thunking about?


  1. Hi, good to hear your thoughts. I'm here because I have found a little extra blog time tonight, which hasn't happened much lately. Well done on all your decluttering. It is an incredible feeling. I like the quote- "less is more".

    Sorry to hear about your bad experiences on facebook. I pretty much only have what I believe will be uplifting and encouraging when it comes to facebook. If a friend begins to post bad statuses often that simply pull me down, I will hide them from my home page. I don't know if that helps your situation. At the moment I am thinking about all this rain and the storms in NSW. I'm thinking about how lonely I have felt this year with home schooling, and it has been my hardest year yet, I have felt really out of the loop with anyone. So I can understand a little about how you have been feeling. That's my honest answer.

    1. Oh. You have felt lonely? I wish I could do something about it. I often think of you Sarah, and of Jeanne, when I am having a bad day, to remember to invite that joy you exude.

  2. Oh my, kangaroo steaks?

    Glad to hear your decluttering has gone so well--like losing weight!

    My mind is not on my blog either, in case you hadn't noticed.

  3. Ha. I'm thinking about that AO Retreat in July too....and wondering if I should wait to purchase my plane tickets until after the official registration is open. Part me is afraid that the prices will get pushed up out of my range if I wait too long, or I won't be able to find flights at suitable times since I'm trying to squeeze it in between other things. Trying to be patient....

    I'm also thinking about the fact that we fly out to the US 1 month from today and that I've done nothing to pack my house here that we will be away from for a year, and planning a rather modified Term 2 to account for all the travelling we'll be doing over the next few months...trying to keep my expectations reasonable...

  4. Nothing like a good de-clutter to make a girl happy. Sound like you are having fun:)

    re fb- can you 'defriend' those whom make your spirit disquiet? fb is so not my medium, I only have family members (and 3 friends) and even then I keep threatening to pull the plug. Though I do have a page for my blog but not really any convo on there.

    re blog- yes I struggle to write even weekly these days

  5. Toiletry samples - definitely overrun with those. Dh brings them home from his o/s trips.I'm always reluctant to throw out clothes as I also hate shopping for them. FB - it's been good to connect especially with family & see what online friends like yourself are doing but I don't post often & am shocked at times by the nastiness which a degree of anonymity can bring out - not that I see much of it as I don't get to FB often.

  6. Hi Jeanne,
    I seem to have weeded out the negative folks on FB- I don't unfriend them but I hide them, and then if I have time I go to their pages and look for family photos :). But, election season is upon us and those of my friends that had calmed down are gearing up again. Actually my worry about FB lately is that it is taking away my ability to concentrate on other things - like books. How easy it is to make a desultory scroll through the feed rather than concentrate on physics or Moby Dick, as much as I like them.

    Other than that, I've had a lot of thunking to do about work, and running, and trying out new cookbook recipes.

    1. Kathy, I have your problem. I want to detox a bit from Facebook to focus on books. I too am loving Moby Dick.

  7. Oh, and I totally agree with you about the capsule wardrobe - she has more clothes than I, and I'd have to do a lot more shopping to approach her ideal and I passionately dislike shopping, too. Finding clothes you love takes a lot more time than you might think. I put a week's worth of clothes on a shelving unit in the closet, organized by day, and then I pretty much wear that rotation until the weather changes and I need to sub things out.

  8. Hi Jeanne
    Being a fellow Francophile, I have noted The Little Paris Bookshop with interest. Which leads on to what I am thinking about - a family wedding in Paris next weekend (nice) and putting together outfits for it (not so nice - I share your feelings towards clothes shopping!).
    I am also thinking lots about MEP as I am in the process of changing our maths curriculum, and I have found all your posts very helpful, thank you ever so much! A free, english-based curriculum - why didn't I find it earlier?!!
    Heather in London

  9. Enjoyed reading this, I don't have a lot to add that hasn't been already said by others above, but I enjoy the things you post on Facebook and blogging is very much for me when I feel like it, I do not obligate myself in anyway, other than my monthly book posts. So if you have not much to say or write, than enjoy other activities. We'll still be here when you wander in. :)


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