Spring – Great Time to Declutter

geniusawakenings.com

geniusawakenings.com

The weather is finally starting to improve. It has been one COLD, long winter. While it is still too cool to do outdoor work, I am inspired to declutter the house. Here is my method.

1) I have discovered the virtual garage sale site Varagesale. I don’t really love having to meet people for the exchange, but it is worth the effort to know my clutter will be loved in someone else’s home (and I may even make a bit of money)

Time to get rid of DVDs,  we only watch digital now.

Time to get rid of DVDs, we only watch digital now.

2) Every garbage day and recycle day, I promise to discard at least one thing beyond the regular weekly waste. Surprisingly, I get “on a roll” and often fill the bin, yay me!!

3) I started a pile of stuff that will go to the local Eco Centre in Spring

4) My starting point is the storage room and when it’s clean, I will have an organized room where I can make a “home’ for things from the rest of the house.

How about you? How do you tackle the task of decluttering?

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Celebrate the Women in Your Life

March 8th is International Women’s Day. I have many wishes for women the world over, happiness, safety, equal opportunity, and education. Beyond global wishes, we also need to remember the special women in our day-to-day life.

The special women is my life are my mom and my two daughters. My mother formed who I am, my deep seeded values and ability to love and nurture. She was my role model for most of my life.

Until I gained two new role models, my daughters, who challenged the values I held, pushed me to be more tolerant and open-minded. They are smart, kind, beautiful, tough and ambitious. They taught and continue to teach me every day.

All three of these women made me who I am today. I love them to the moon and back.

The Hour-Glass

Lately , my mind has been reflecting on time.  The hour-glass of life is emptying way too fast.

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“What have I done with my life?”  “What should I do with the time left?” It is easy to get depressed looking around at successful people and feel inadequate. “Do I contribute enough?”

I don’t have all the answers, but perhaps success is overrated. There
are many “successful” people who are ruthless and mean.  I don’t want that for myself.  I don’t have all the meaning of life answers, but I do know what is right for me. In the time I have left, as my hourglass empties, I will……

1) Embrace and spend time with the people I love and who love me

2) Limit time with people who are negative or bring me down

3) Accept others for who they are and their choices, make no judgements

4) Find the good in all people and situations

5) Play and Laugh, have as much fun as possible

6) Share my talents, time and resources with others – practice kindness whenever I can

7) Keep learning!  Explore, question, investigate, travel, try new things – never stop learning

8) Practice Daily Gratitude for all I have, big and small, so much wonderful things in my life

9) Acknowledge and validate, not enough people give others complements or simply say “You are important to me, thanks for being you”

 

So there it is, none of us knows when their hourglass will be empty but I have a plan for the time that is left.  No great inventions, books or businesses, just an open mind, open heart, fun and authenticity.

 

 

I’m Not Prejudiced – Or Am I??

Prejudice defined in dictionary.com

  • an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought or reason.
  • Any preconceived opinion or feeling, either favorable or unfavorable

I am sure many readers,  (including me) think the word is talking about other people.  I embrace all races, religions, sexual lifestyles and the economically disadvantaged. I am not prejudiced.

But really, think about it!  Think about people you meet, well… not really meet, at a dinner party, don’t you make snap judgments from across the room??

Walking through the mall, don’t you think negative or positive things about the people you pass, judgments about their lifestyle, based solely on a two second view of them in transit?

True confession time, I make am prejudiced.  I do hold (undoubtedly unfounded) stereotypes to be fact. I am not proud of them, but I think you have to face it, to combat it !

Ageism – I often make generalizations about the current young generation.  I also make generalizations about their parents and parenting styles (both ridiculous since those groups include my children and my parenting style)

Size – I don’t have a reaction to the regular size 12 or 14 females or the guy who is an XL, but I do make snap judgments about obese people. Not fair, I don’t know their story or genetics.

Money – But not how you think, I make judgments about people with great wealth.  Different thoughts – misuse, didn’t deserve it , blah blah blah, all stemming from jealousy, no doubt.

Education – I think people with higher education are superior, not sure, I suppose that was drilled in my head my whole life from every direction. Truth is, some very educated people are asses and some very uneducated people are incredibly wise and kind.

 

So there it is, my list.  I am sure I have forgotten some, but the point is admission is half the battle.

There is no denying it, we life in a world that judges.  Although we can’t stamp out prejudice, we can be accountable for our own actions and reactions. The next time I make a generalization or an uninformed snap judgement, I will stop myself and reconsider.  No group is “all”. People are individuals behind their exterior.

Gotta Love Business Trips – Staycation Heaven

A business trip is a wonderful thing. I don’t mean me taking a business trip, I mean me staying home alone while my hubby goes on a business trip. Every time my husband has to leave for a few days,  I get that Risky Business, home alone, yippee, kind of feeling.  It may sound terrible, but I do rather like it when my husband leaves town for a few days.  Really, I love him to pieces but there is something liberating about two or three days alone.  I live it up, in my own silly ways.

 

My list of guilty pleasures.

lucky charms

1) Eat garbage (Lucky Charms, toast and Kraft dinner…. and lots of chocolate).  I don’t bother making any actual meals in those few days.

2) Sleep In guilt free

3) Read until I am too tired to keep my eyes open any longer. This is usually four or five hours after my “normal” bedtime.

4) Spa “sort of” treatments.  Long hot baths, painting of fingernails, facial and a proper leg shaving

5) Watching subtitled movies. My husband and I have pretty much the same taste in movies, except he is not a big fan of subtitles. So this is my chance to enjoy them un-apologetically.

6) Waste time. Somehow I feel this is my free time, no accountability (not that I ever have to account for how I spend my time, that is an obligation I put on myself) But when hubby is out of town I feel I have a “free  pass” to research trips, read blogs for hours, take naps or do whatever my heart desires.

 

toenails

This would definitely not be the way to live for an extended period of time. But for a few days it really is a revuvinating staycation, without leaving home. How about you, what do you do (or would you do)  when you get the house to yourself, away from your family for a few days?

 

 

Scratching Our Head – Killings in Canada

In the past two weeks, in two separate incidents,  a soldier was shot at the War Memorial in Ottawa and a man intentionally ran over two soldiers in Quebec.

What causes a person to commit such acts? The murders in Quebec and on Parliament hill have everyone scratching their heads.  There are many, including the government. who blame terrorism and radical conversion of the perpetrators. This may be, but what would make these young men vulnerable to conversion. You don’t cheat on your wife if everything is great at home.  So what is going on at home (Canada)?

IMG_0775

30, 000 people are homeless on any given night (The State of Homelessness in Canada in 2013).  I could go on and on with stats like, “over 200,000 Canadians are homeless in any given year” , but I will get to the stat of most interest to me.

20 percent of the homeless are young people between the ages of 16 and 24.  The age where people discover who they want to be. The world is your oyster and all that jazz. But a large number of youth are seriously down and out. They find themselves in this situation due to the inability to find employment, addiction, mental health issues or family violence.  These are issues they didn’t bring on themselves.  And who is taking care of them? Certainly not the government.  All the future holds for them is inefficient programs that have not changed the homeless rates in years, no job prospects, inadequate  free mental health interventions.  They can’t help but feel abandoned by a government that should look after them.  A government that spends billions on foreign aid and foreign military intervention, but appears to neglect the needy in their own country.

Those conditions in the vulnerable youth are perfect for falling prey to outside influences. They are eager to have hope for the future, to belong, to do something that matters, and hate on those who neglected them.

Security is great, but perhaps the real solution lies in taking care of things at home, giving the youth help and hope.

Daily Post – Photography

Daily Post Up Turned Noses

Less is More

 

I am not a snob about many things at all. I will drink any wine, wear clothing my grown children have left in the closet and I’ve stayed in some questionable hotels, however, I am a photography snob.

I am not pretentious about the equipment, I think great photos can be taken with any equipment. Nor, am I a great photographer, really. But I do not understand why people don’t take a moment to look at the scene they are shooting. Is there clutter that should be removed? Would turning the camera angle 20 degrees give you a significantly better backdrop? Are the subjects of the picture blurry?

DSC_0732

Taking the bad photos is not the real offense. It is  posting them on facebook, twitter, youtube and blogs. Why post blurry photos or redundant photos. If there is one bad photo of you and your cousin in front of an out-of-focus statue (snore), bad enough, but posting 4 versions is painful.

I feel bad ranting, but I must confess I do have an up turned nose about photography.

What about you, does it drive you crazy when people post blurry, redundant, crooked or cluttered photographs?