Thursday, June 28, 2018

My little office

This might not look like much, but it's both a victory and a pleasure. Let me explain.

I live in a 425 sf apartment, essentially, 2 rooms plus bath. Every item brought in has to fulfill a need, be beautiful, and/or have a spot to land. I spend the bulk of my time in the apartment at the table, reading, writing, and surfing the internet, which doubles as entertainment with my various streaming services. Therefore, the dining table doubles as a desk, and this area in the kitchen as an office. But how not to have clutter? How to have everything handy, within arm's reach? I do not want it to look messy but I want it to be functional.

If you think about all the accouterments one needs to have a viable office, it's a lot. I have:

Printer (old, the driver is going on it...still works though )
Scanner (old driver, it's going...still works though)
Personal Laminator
printer paper
reference books
prayer journal
books I'm reading now
Pens, scissors, paper clips
Post-it Arrow Tabs
Cat Nail Clippers, comb
USB chargers
Tissues (sappy movies get me every time, so does praying, and reading the Bible)
Table fan
coaster for water/tea/coffee
Lamp (good light is a must!)

All must be within hand. So I created a space where, voila, it is within reach of where I sit. It's organized, and not-unpleasant looking. As an organizer person that is why I call it a victory. This is what you see from different vantage points in the living room, where guests might be. Everything is on or inside the bookcase:

We have a mini-store at school where a salesman comes once a month to set up a display of school-related items teachers might want to buy. In May there was a darling looking little notebook I could not resist. That's my weakness, paper and notebooks.

It's hardcover, and inside one cover is a lined full size pad, and on the other inside cover is another array if post-it sized pads, sticky tabs, a smaller lined pad, and an envelope to contain scraps and notes and stuff. I wasn't sure how I'd use it, but I decided I wanted it anyway. I don't usually gravitate to girly things, but I do like it. Maybe there's frilly hope for me yet.

It since has become my prayer journal, and I sure do love it.

I watched The Karate Kid again on Amazon Prime the other day. I say 'again' because I saw it when it first came out, 34 years ago! Hard to believe how fast time flies. It has held up very well. Everyone needs a Mr Miyagi in their life, someone to be patient, kind, and take an interest. To just be there for you.

Bert and Murray

My Murray the kitty is so cute. He has so much personality. People who don't like cats think cats are boring with no charm, but this is far from the reality. Every cat I've had has been different with their own unique and identifiable personalities.

Murray likes to be active at night, as most cats do. If it's cool enough out, I open the windows before bed. After the windows have been down all day with the AC on, Murray finds an open window joyful. All night as I sleep, he races around from window to window to observe all the night life outside. He smells the smells. He watches the fireflies. No matter that my bed might be between two windows, he just leaps and skitters right over me. Plonk! Leapfrogs right on my stomach. Oomph, right over my head. I sleep with a pillow on my stomach to minimize the oomph-factor. Let him smell the great outdoors all night. It's OK.

When I awake he follows me into the bathroom, he knows this is where I keep his food. He looks at me with big eyes as I open the container and measure out his portion. Bert's too. Dry food only. Then he rushes over to his bowl and sits down, waiting for me to shake out Bert's in his bowl and then do his. Chomp chomp he eats with gusto.

After that he enjoys laying on the table where I type and read. A small kitty bed is ready for him there and he lays down in it and looks at me with his eyes wide again. Soon enough he is drowsy and snoozes. After a while he jumps down and heads to the bedroom.

Murray likes to lay under the covers of the bed. He uses his patented head butt to get his head under the fringe and the layers of bedding, then scoots up under. A big lump moves under he covers like you see in the cartoons, as he makes his way to the far corner and curls up next to the pillow. Strangely, he won't go on the bed when it's unmade. Not any part of it. He sleeps in the leather chair if the bed isn't made.

Always, immediately when I make the bed, he will climb up in there and nestle down He loves the bed (when it's made) so much that sometimes I feel bad for not making it sooner.

Bert just sleeps in the kitty bed that is on the floor. He does not like to be high up but he does like to be close to me. If I move his kitty bed from near the coffee table to the kitchen table by my feet, he will always follow it and sleep as close to my feet as he can.

Cats are funny in their preferences.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Pulled string art and altered book pages

They made it look so easy...

Finished pulled string art from some other, more talented artist

So I tried it...

Um, nope. Let me try thicker string.

Well that was a #fail. Let me try less paint, and pull quickly and more smoothly. Also less pressing down.

Ah! Getting there! That one looks more like the ones I saw in all the videos. Let me try again, still less paint, less pressure.

Voila! Now I have the trick! I still find it harder than it looks, but then again, I find all art harder than it looks.

I persevere though. Now for my altered art.

Fifteen years ago I learned about making Altered Books. You take a discarded book, preferably one that has a vintage cover, and glue together bunches of pages, and of the remaining pages you collage or pant over the words, leaving exposed the words you want to highlight. Each page can then tell your own story, or be a poem. Here is the title page and preface of my altered book. It's the story of my journey toward salvation.

I had a hard time gluing the bunches of pages together and the book came out bulky. I also had a hard time because it was a big project. My talent is small and so my projects must be small. I kept my completed book but abandoned the process, hesitant to try again.

Recently I figured out that you can alter just ONE page. Duh. So I did a few pages last night . They look childish because I used childish materials, colored pencil and crayon, but it's a start. It is harder than it looks, too. Writing poetry is difficult. Even looking over a series of words that already exist to patch together a poem is hard. But it's relaxing and sometimes the stuff comes out pretty, and it's fun, so that's all that matters. Who doesn't like coloring?

More books! The Special Store sells hardbacks for $1 and paperbacks for fifty cents. I got the Sherlock Holmes, Unbroken and Huddle of Sheep, plus the McEwan paperback there. I got the Puritan Paperback The Doctrine of Repentance for 2 cents from Amazon. Yes, 2 cents, the rest was paid for by Amazon points I'd accumulated. Score!

Summertime is time for trying new things, being leisurely, meditating on different things I'm learning, reading, and just relaxing. I hope that even if you don't have vacation time coming, that you can find some time to gather your thoughts, have a cup of coffee straight through, or take a nap. It's the little things.

Breakfast of champions!

I have oatmeal with chia seeds and fruit every morning during school. It fills me and staves off hunger until lunch. Which is great because stress eating is huge in school. If I'm full I don't roam the hallways like a hangry Visigoth looking for any crumb to eat. Oatmeal with chia seeds also feels good while digesting, and my cholesterol has lowered.

After a brief detour last week of eggs or salmon for breakfast, I am back to oatmeal with chia seeds. Here's the lowdown:

A 1 ounce (2TB) serving of chia seeds contains:

Fiber: 11 grams.
Protein: 4 grams.
Fat: 9 grams (5 of which are Omega-3s).
Calcium: 18% of the RDA.
Manganese: 30% of the RDA.
Magnesium: 30% of the RDA.
Phosphorus: 27% of the RDA.
They also contain a decent amount of Zinc, Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Potassium, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) and Vitamin B2.

This is particularly impressive when you consider that this is just a single ounce, which supplies only 137 calories and one gram of digestible carbohydrate!

Information from Healthline.

Oats are among the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat. And you already know about blueberries and their benefits.

What I do is make one serving of oats according to the package directions, and add the 2T of chia seeds. I turn on the burner to 2. This cooks it long enough to soften the chia seeds. One thing I like about chia seeds is that in their raw state they are crunchy but definitely chewable, unlike many other seeds. But interestingly when chia seeds are put into a liquid, they puff up the item it's in while softening. Sometimes people make 'chia pudding' that way. It increases the volume of oatmeal.

I set it on 2 and walk away. It doesn't take long for the oatmeal to cook, I make it every day when I school is in. I just leave it for five minutes or so. When it's cooked to the consistency I like, I add honey and milk, though if you are Vegan you can leave off those last two. I put in a tupperware, and go. Or if I'm home I eat it right then.

Look up chia seeds, all their health benefits and uses. Oatmeal is a good breakfast. I strayed into eggs and salmon for a while, and it was good to have a little variety, but now I'm back! I feel the oaty and chia benefits. Now all I need to do is stop at Kroger and buy a jumbo oatmeal package, and I'll be all set.

Friday, June 08, 2018

A day out

I am having a ball this summer! I love summer, love, love, love. Who would not love being able to stay home and drink coffee slowly in the morning, laugh at the clock, and take naps? One day I took TWO naps.

I think my favorite thing about summer break is knowing I don't have to get up (though I rise early every day anyway) and drinking my 2 cups of coffee slowly without hurry. I really love the leisurely coffee part. Of course, I enjoy having the mental chops to read heavier books, and not being so tired all the time.

Last night I sat outside at dark and watched the fireflies and the stars come out. It was a soft evening, like wearing a velvet cape, and some happy birds sang in the dark.

Today I had to go to Athens and retrieve my new glasses I'd ordered. I like them! I never got used to the bifocal line, so I got progressive lenses this time. Insurance covered it, yay.

I stopped at the car wash, got a hot tea and breakfast sandwich at Starbucks thanks to a gift certificate, and went to The Special Store for books. Here is the photographic rundown.

The entire haul: (except the painting)

Books: Hardcover a dollar, soft cover 50 cents

  • The Complete Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, 1975, hardcover
  • Laura Hillenbrand, Unbroken, hardcover
  • Ian McEwan, Saturday, paperback
  • A Huddle of Sheep: Poems and Quotes
  • Pictures and Stories of Animals, McLoughlin

Colorful small dish, to be used at the kitchen sink for steel wool pads. $1,

Note cards! One set is Thank You, another is an Autumn motif, blank inside, the black and white set is also blank inside, and the longer ones with the sweet cardinal at the end are just letter sized envelopes. They were all just 50 cents each.

Small drawing, framed, $2.

Antique book, Hand sewn binding. Color plates.
Apparently McLoughlin books were pioneers in color illustrations in children's books in the 1800s and early 1900s. This is from 1902. They are highly collectible.

I had a nice ride with no vehicular issues or mechanical break downs. It was a nice couple of hours, and returning home was also nice. The last few days have been cooler with low humidity, but today the humidity came swimming back and the temps are in the 90s. It was HOT standing on the pavement going thru the boxes of books. I am glad I did my errands early.

I've been using a charcoal scrub on my face, and it feels great! My skin is so soft. And at the Dollar Store they had lavender scented Epsom salts, I've been soaking my feet a few times per week. Nice! I have a pitcher of lime or lemon water in the fridge at all times, which I pour into and sip from a crustal-etched glass. It's like a spa around here.

I hope everyone has a nice day!

Friday, June 01, 2018

Heading out, then I'll be glad to get back in

I possess:

407 hard copy books
84 digital books
4 magazines

Yet, it might not be enough...

Abibliophobia - Fear of running out of things to read.

Fortunately I am on Summer Break so I do get to read a lot.

Summer Break throws me into a time vertigo, though. I have 9 weeks at home. I lose track of what day it is. I started a visual journal of my days so I can sort of keep up. Here are the first three days-

It is also supposed to challenge me to be creative with photography. In truth, every single day could be a photo of the cats and books. That's it. I'm a routine person. I'm not an outdoors person and I'm not a people person and I'm not a social person. Gee, looking at that list I think I am Boring Person!

How can I present the minutiae of my life, and make it interesting? How can I capture one photo of a moment and if I look back on it next year or five years from now, will I remember that I was doing or what that was about? That is the question.

I started an EB White biography and it's charming. I also downloaded an autobiography of Amelia E. Barr who lived through the 1800s and died in 1919. I wish there was a hard copy book because I prefer to hold a book in my hand but hard copy of her books are hard to come by, so I'll be happy reading about this remarkable woman on my Kindle. She was amazing! You know the movie Remember The Alamo? She wrote the book of the same title the movie was based on.

I am thinking I'll go 15 miles south on a little expedition this morning. A General Store/Tea Room/Gift Shop is a few miles below me. It is old, has wide plank floors, art, homemade treats, is a hub in that little village, and all the things you'd think a little out of the way place in a little village like that would be. It's in a direction I never go. I always head west to Athens, since that is where Kroger grocery store is and my church and doctors and friends. Isn't it funny that we get into these habits and usually just take the same road? I am reminded of a Jimmy Buffett Song Take Another Road. Today I think I will. Photos to come.

I do have important errands to accomplish so it's a given I will go out today.

Sunday is my next scheduled outing. Between the outing times, what do I do all day in my tiny apartment? Read, write, study, think, pray, and explore the world, virtually. I remember before internet. I remember before internet. After internet is better.

Have a good day everyone!