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Things I Need to Achieve on My Holiday (It’s a Long List…and a Short Holiday)

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I wrote the following just before I went on leave last month :

…I have some leave coming up very shortly and it feels like it’s been a long time coming.  Well, it has.  I haven’t had a break for over a year.  And I’m a bit tired and over everything so I need to have some time off.  This is difficult because I don’t have anyone to cover me at my job.  It’s a drama getting one day off for illness, let alone a full fortnight of annual leave.  Luckily, an ex co-worker has agreed to come back and babysit the library for me while I am away.  Hooray!

14 days is not a lot of time to achieve a great deal.  But, of course, I have many plans for the time and am hoping that I will succeed in achieving at least half of my goals.  Ok, maybe a quarter.  Five things.  Look, at least one of the things on my list, ok?

Ideally, I would like to lose 10 pounds, become super fit and healthy, decorate my entire house, create a fabulous garden, write a business plan, organise my life and secure my financial future, all in the space of two weeks.  But, unless I also turn into someone else in that time, these things are possibly not really realistic.  So, I am aiming for a few smaller achievements.  Things I should have already achieved, to be honest….

  1. Decluttering : I have so much stuff.  I am always saying that but, this time, I mean it.  I have the hoard of a demented packrat and I need to get rid of stuff before it all caves in and I am swallowed up by it.  This includes my craft room which is two very short steps away from being condemned in the interest of public safety.
  2. Culling my clothes.  I have a lot of clothes but, sadly, do not have the type of body that really looks good in most of the things I own.  I keep things in the deluded hope that I will one day wake up looking like Gigi Hadid or someone equally “slim” and not middle-aged.  I also have clothes that, although they fit me ok, I have owned for more than a decade.  They have become security blankets or something equally sad.  I should probably try something new and donate/giveaway the items I was wearing in the 90s.  I’m not even kidding.
  3. My garden.  It is laughable that I am even calling it that.  It’s basically some sand with a few twigs and LOTS of weeds on it.  When I moved in, it was just sand.  But at least that sand was tidy.  I have, in my usual crappy adulting style, let it fall to wrack and ruin.  I’m sure my neighbours are appalled at this slovenly slacker who has moved in next door to them and brought down property values.  I must tackle the weeds and at least get them sorted so that it looks somewhat tidy out there.  Also, the weeds are getting so high I am frightened I might get lost in there or be attacked by some children-of-the-corn type figures.  Actually, I have never seen Children of the Corn, but I imagine there are fields of tall corn with demonic/murderous children in them.  I don’t want this to happen in my yard.  Although I am rather fond of corn.
  4. Paperwork.  I am THE WORST at filing and organising my paperwork.  I went into a panic last night because I couldn’t remember if my house is insured.  I mean, really!  Of course it is.  But do you think I could find the paperwork?  No, I could not.  So, that is something I need to be better at.  I need to file things and sort things and keep them all in one place so they are easy to access and find.  I need to shred my bank statements from 1992 and get rid of registration papers for cars that I not only no longer own, but that are probably scrap metal by now.
  5. Exercise.  I need to do some.  Not just to lose weight and look better, but because it is good for me and decreases self-loathing and will get me outside in the fresh air and amongst other human beings.  I need to learn to enjoy it.  I need to see it as “me time” rather than as a punishment.  And I need to do it every day.  Or at least five days a week.
  6. Take time to practice stuff.  I need to make scheduled time to sit and practice my drawing and painting skills.  Do the basics.  Spend a couple of hours studying up on how to draw eyes.  Or noses.  Or little pinky toes.  Until I can do it properly.  And learn to write neatly, in different fonts, so I can add that to my art work where appropriate.  My handwriting is the kind that gets ripped out of school books by disgusted teachers.  I know this because a teacher once ripped a page of my handwriting out of my school book in disgust.
  7. Get my finances in order.  I recently had some HUMONGOUS bills come in and they were very unexpected and they sent me into instant meltdown.  I do okay with money – being a tightwad helps with that – but I need to do better and keep track of things and save for unexpected bills etc.  Be a grown up, basically.
  8. Catch up with people I haven’t seen for a while.  Life is so busy and it can be months, or even years, between visits with some of my friends.  Which is not good enough.  Because I am lucky to have these awesome people in my life and I should make an effort to keep in touch with them. 
  9. Get into a better sleep routine.  At the moment, I go to bed far too late, don’t sleep very well, and then wake up horribly late in the morning.  I need to have a regular bedtime and get up when my alarm goes off, rather than making the snooze button my best friend. 
  10. Clean my house.  Seriously, I am a bit feral, as I have told you before.  I get very overwhelmed by it all sometimes and it just seems easier to ignore it.  But I am going to start being tidier and doing some form of cleaning every day, rather than letting it all pile up.  Even doing the dishes every night will be a start, and will encourage me to be tidier in other areas.  Basically, I need to stop being such a lazy arse….

Now, several weeks later, I can predictably say I did not achieve all of these things.  I tried, really I did.  But two weeks is actually not a very long time.  And things get pushed aside for other, more fun, things.  I did clean my house and it is fit for visitors and doesn’t embarrass me now.  I am doing my dishes every night (well, almost) and I put my laundry items away as soon as they’re off the line.  I even did a basket of ironing the other night!  Crazy!  But good-crazy.

I did cull a lot of my wardrobe.  Skirts that were too short or tight – gone!  Pants I can’t button up – gone!  Jumpers that are just plain ugly and make me look like some sort of sack creature – gone, gone, gone!  I also turfed (ie donated to charity) shoes I can’t walk in and belts I can’t wear unless I refrain from breathing.  I filled my car with bags and bags of stuff, including bed linens and blankets, pyjamas and underwear (un-used, let me just say).  It felt good, but I know I could have culled more if I was less of a hoarder.

Sleeping – hmm, well, I have done a bit better on that front.  I have been going to bed a bit earlier some nights and I am definitely getting up better in the morning.  I now put my alarm so far away from my bed that it is practically in another room.  I HAVE to get up and out of bed in order to switch it off.  This works 90% of the time.  Other days, I still hit that snooze button and go back to bed.  But not as often as before.  I have been having horrible nightmares again and so I am not sleeping well but, on the whole, I am doing the best I can to get a good night’s sleep.

Catching up with people – I achieved this one.  I went out for coffee and walkies and had people over to my (newly-cleaned) house.  It felt good to catch up with friends and family – I need to make more of an effort to not let the time slip by in between seeing them all.  And I need to stop being such a damn hermit.  I’ve even agreed to go out with members of the opposite sex.  Not on “dates” as such (Lord knows I am nowhere near ready for THAT) but just coffee catch-ups etc.  So I can get better at being in the company of blokes again and not be so anxious about it.  And just be out there.  Like a normal, healthy, adult human being.  Instead of some kind of spinster/loner/weirdo/hermit hybrid.

My finances are ok and the wolf at the door is having a little rest and looking less savage.  I just need to not provoke him by overspending or being unprepared for things.  Christmas is tricky because I really love to buy gifts for people and it is difficult to rein it in a little.  But I have kept to my lists and not strayed into gifting overload.

Exercise.  Um…..next!  I am a big slug.

Paperwork.  Erm.  Fail.  Actually, I did start culling it and sorting it out a bit but there is still loads of it and I can’t face it right now.  It scares me.  So it is just sitting there in piles, quietly mocking me.

Garden.  We are still dealing with a Children of the Corn scenario.  There could be anything living in there.  Tramps.  Herds of wildebeest.  Lost civilisations.  Who knows?  All I know is that it still looks bad and now the weather is heating up, I am even more inclined to just ignore it and hope it dies off by itself.  I repotted plants and got rid of some that were really not going to make it.  I did do a little bit of weeding but it was a bit pathetic and half-hearted, to be honest.  Lots of sighing and whinging about my aching back.  I’m sure you can picture it.  Let’s move on.

Practicing my drawing and writing skills.  Um, no.  This did not happen.  Another fail.

Decluttering.  I actually did get some stuff out of the house, which is an achievement for Miss Hoardypants.  I had to think “Will I ever use this?  Does it fit in with my life/house/values/décor?  Will I miss the darn thing if I get rid of it?”  And, more often than not, the answer was a resounding “No”.  But it is still hard though.

It’s funny how most people have time off of work and they think about travel and relaxing and maybe seeing some movies or doing lots of shopping.  Me, I use my time for mundane things like folding towels and repotting my plants.  But hey, that’s ok, right? 

Hope you are having a happy, uncluttered day – thank you for stopping by 🙂

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Thrifty Goodness (Even though officially I am banned from buying anything more…)

So, I’ve had three glorious weeks off work.  GLORIOUS.  Not because I have done anything exciting or life-changing, but because I JUST WASN’T AT WORK.  Which is pretty damn good to me.  But the time has gone dizzingly fast.  Depressingly so.  Like, where did the last two weeks go?  Where did the last 5 days go?  The last three hours?  I don’t know.  I am a terrible time-waster, one of those people who is always “busy doing something close to nothing” (Thank you, Prince).  I have so many things I want to do, I end up faffing about doing nothing.  Which is horrible and makes me very annoyed.  I don’t sit around doing nothing, I move around and never sit still, but at the same time doing nothing constructive.

I was supposed to get fit and lose weight on my holiday, but that hasn’t happened.  I have pretty much eaten my way from one end of Perth to the other.  Lots of lunches and breakfasts and dinners out.  A coffee break here, an afternoon tea there – it all adds up.  So, predictably, I gave up on the whole losing weight scenario.  That will have to wait until I am back at work (although the workplace is often THE WORST place for trying to stick to a diet).  But I have caught up with lots of friends and family, so I am not complaining really.  I can’t do up my pants, but I am not complaining.

Because I am looking at moving out soon, I have tried to limit the amount of shopping I do.  I need to declutter, not get more stuff.  I sorted through my wardrobe and culled a bunch of stuff that I no longer needed or fitted in to (giving up the dream of ever being skinny again any time soon).  I didn’t go op-shopping for a few weeks.  I stayed away from those havens of thrifty goodness because I don’t want to fill my wardrobe again.  And I thought it would be incentive to lose weight – the promise of new clothes down the track.

Well, that lasted all of about three weeks, which is actually pretty good for me.  Probably a record, in fact.  I even took stuff TO the op shop in order to donate it, and did not go inside “to have a quick look”.  I was a good girl.  For a little while.  Hey, an accomplishment is an accomplishment, no matter how small, right?  I will try and hold out for longer next time.

So, this last week, unable to stand the withdrawal symptoms any longer, I stopped into a couple of my “locals”, ie the op shops that get all my money.  I desperately needed a new pair of black boots for Winter – mine are getting very beaten up and scuffed because I wear them to death, and have done for several Winters – so I did actually have a goal and purpose.  I wasn’t just wandering aimlessly, as I would normally do. Most of the boots in “proper” shops are a.) too expensive and b.) too high in the heel for me.  I have trouble finding shoes in general, but finding boots I like is a nightmare.

Almost immediately, I came across these boots, which were nearly new and in great condition , and in my size (which doesn’t happen very often).  They fit really well and are comfortable so I popped them in my basket (whilst secretly doing a little happy dance).

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Next up, I found this cute little handbag.  My own bag (sorry about cruddy photo – half of these were taken on my rapidly ageing phone) is VERY ANNOYING because it just won’t stay on my shoulder, it sits funny and I am just over it!  This one was a perfect size, nearly new and a great colour (pewter goes with everything) so it too went into my basket. My old bag will be donated – I am trying to donate one thing for every other thing I bring in to the house.  That way, I don’t become an official hoarder.

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Was super pleased to find these little pots for only $1.00 each!  I got five in all different colours.  Perfect for my succulents 🙂

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Then, I found this denim jacket.  It fits really well (I’m not skinny but I am petite, and jackets are often too wide with ridiculously long arms!) and I like the distressed detail and zip-up front.  It’s fitted so isn’t too bulky on me, but will be nice and warm for the coming colder months (ugh!).

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Another jacket – this time a leather-look one.  I did have a nice faux leather one, but it has been worn to death and was starting to fall to pieces, as faux leather will do after a while.

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My cousin actually bought this top but ended up giving it to me.  I like grey, and the little zippered pocket is a nice detail.  It’s long enough to wear with leggings and will be nice with jeans too, if I am brave enough to wear skinny ones this year.  Which seems unlikely, but you never know…

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Yes, I did buy another faux leather jacket – don’t judge me!  This one was so cute and feminine, and super soft.  Brand new with tags on still, it only cost $4.50!  It’s a bit dressier than your run-of-the-mill jacket and I love the detailing on the back (see following photo).  Hard to take a picture of, so hopefully you can get an idea of what it looks like.  It feels like one of those lovely old leather gloves – so soft!

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My friend thrifted this dress (sorry about blurry photo – I am hopeless today) but decided to give it to me.  I’m not sure about the bright colours on me, but it fit well so will probably wear it with some opaque black tights and a cardigan, for work.

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I wore this one today – a comfy oversized top.  Good for this in-between weather that we are currently experiencing.  I like the faux suede on the shoulders and fake pocket area.  I don’t wear a lot of pink but I didn’t mind this one as it had the grey/black through it.

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A cute little knitted jumper.  Not my usual colours, but I kinda liked it and it fits well.  I generally wear a lot of dark things so this will make a nice change.  It is also very soft and cosy, without being bulky or heavy.

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Last, but not least, this jumper.  I am going to go ahead and call it the Muppet jumper.  Because it looks like someone skinned the Cookie Monster.  It is ridiculously soft (I have a thing for soft, apparently) and makes me want to cuddle myself.  It’s a bit more cropped than I would normally wear, but I’m sure with a high-waisted skirt or pants it will be fine.  The lady at the counter charged it as a kid’s knit, so I only paid like $2.00 or something crazy.  I love it.  Have no idea where I will wear it but maybe I will just wear it around the house and stroke myself a lot.  Which would be weird.  So maybe I won’t do that.

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So, that’s it for now.  I tend to get in a bit of a frenzy, where op shopping is concerned.  It’s a bit addictive so I have to pace myself and remind myself that I am supposed to be de-cluttering and culling.  But I have already worn several of these items so I know they weren’t frivolous purchases, and many of them were half price so they cost me less than $5.00 each.  Not gonna feel guilty about that.

Back to work next week.  I’m so sad my time off is over, but I have really needed it and feel somewhat human again after feeling like I was at risk of curling up into a ball under my desk and never coming out.  I may well feel like that on my first day back, but at least I will have new boots to help get me through.  Shoes are very powerful – just ask Dorothy!

May the thrifting Gods smile on you all today 🙂

Frosty Branches from Nowhere

Frosty Branches from Nowhere

Last night I stayed up later than I should have finishing off some cards and starting new ones.  My house is a mess yet AGAIN.  I don’t know why I can’t craft neatly, in a tidy and organised manner.  Why do I have to spread out from one corner of the house to the other? I guess that’s just how I roll.  I have tried to be neat but I can’t work like that.  It seems chaos is more natural to me than order.

I made this card last night.  It is an improbable design ie there is no explanation as to why there are frosty branches coming out of a door.  Perhaps it is the wonder of Christmas, making miracles occur… We may never know.  But I think it looks ok and I like the colours.  Plus, I just really wanted to use that door because I’d had it hanging round for ages in my paper stash.  And I love the “branches” paper punch (even if it takes all my strength and weight to punch anything out with it) – it’s so cute.

So, here is my card for today.  Improbable, but finished.
Which is good enough for me 🙂

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