Cancer and minimalism

June is a difficult month emotionally for me. June 15, 2005, is the day I received the phone call that changed my life. It’s always hard to put into words what goes thru your mind. But certainly, there is a lot of ‘why me’? I started out with 17 rounds of radiation and then moved on to 6 months of chemotherapy then preparation for a Stem Cell Transplant and then the transplant.  I was in the BMT unit for almost 3 weeks. And then, of course, there is the recovery for me that was about a year.

It’s been a lot of ups and downs but here I am 12 years later. For someone with Multiple Myeloma, that is quite extraordinary.  I’m one of the lucky ones. My cancer responds to the treatments I’ve had thus far.  There are new novel therapies out there now that I still have as an option.

Now, June 23, 2016, was my last Velcade treatment.  So, now June is a happy time for that reason. In two weeks I get my labs, so that will tell me where I am with my cancer. I suspect my numbers will have gone up some but still not enough to start treatment so I am lucky.  I have had a year of wonder.

So how does this relate to minimalism?  I’ve been on this minimalist journey for about 5 years now. Prior to that Flylady gets the credit for helping me with zone cleaning and doing just what I could in 15 minutes.  When I was in treatment this was extraordinarily helpful.  But then I moved into the space of wanting a fresh look, a minimalist look and then it just took off from there.  We have gotten rid of thousands of things, some valuable even.  Just gave them to the thrift stores.  I didn’t really try to sell a lot.  It was more important to just to let it go. Plus, I’ve always believed what goes around comes around and if I need something down the road, it’ll come my way somehow someway.  Maybe, I needed to purge things and create a new space for myself and my family. I try not to over think things so who knows. i just know it has felt right to do.

I also think having to face one’s mortality, does affect bring into focus what’s important. Plus, I was very taken with things I’d read about NOT leaving stuff for your survivors to deal with. In reality, we didn’t have a lot, but it was still too much for the intention I had to be a minimalist.

Creating a minimalist space has let me enjoy a clutter free space and while I’ve been off chemo, a more simple schedule and lifestyle. It’s been a joyful year filled with wonder, excitement, and beauty.

A simple life.

I think it’s very important to purge things from your life that complicate it.  Are you always SOOO busy?  It’s easy not to be, just say NO! You don’t have to do all that extra stuff. Your kids don’t need to do 12 activities a week. You don’t need to be over scheduled. You can decide what you want in your life or not.

Even if you are working full-time, you can still decide what you need and want to do with your life. You can simplify meals, have a morning and evening routine, declutter so there’s less to take care of and slow down.

  • I think in our crazy world we need to step back and put into focus what is important.

  • Family time is important.

  • Time for yourself is important.

  • Time for your relationship is important.

One thing I learned from having cancer, is to slow down, do what only was essential. When you’re on chemo, you just don’t have the energy to do everything you used to. It’s a great lesson in some things just aren’t that important and they can either wait to be done or just nixed.  Now that on still on my drug-free time( chemo that is), I still prioritize what I want to do each day.  I never take on more than I want to in a day. I usually list what I need to do in the morning and then if I can’t finish that, I just look at whether I want to do it tomorrow or not.

Try and be less busy, it’s good for you and probably your family too.

image   Take time to enjoy nature.

Ongoing de-cluttering

So, I took down the 2 bins of Waldorf books and toys that were my children’s and pulled out some stuff to sell on craigs list. I reduced the amount I’m keeping( for now ) to one bin. So that’s a big win.  One of my goals is to keep reducing things so that there’s one bin less than when I started.  I’ve done pretty well and even my Life magazines are down to another full bin’s worth. So progress.

The barn storage is looking fabulous. B hung 2 more bikes and it looks better in the back room. I really need to get rid of my one bike which is a specialized mountain bike. I’m kinda attached to it but I haven’t used it since I got the Schwinn cruiser. So, I may pull it out and look at it. So other than seasonal Christmas which is @ 4 small bins, the Life magazines at 5 bins, one of the memorabilia, and one of my children’s art and main lesson books from Waldorf, that’s it. So pretty excellent.  I’ve already got a big pile ready for my son to sell when he does the flea market.

I have a bag I’m slowly filling with little things to get rid of. A couple of scarves I don’t want anymore, little odds and ends but honestly it adds up.

I’m also looking at getting rid of the 2 mission style chairs and just use the Poang. And then maybe get another Poang when we go to Ikea next. I like the mission chairs because there solid, but the covers are really stained( even after washing) and the foam is kinda uneven.  I thought about recovering them but the backs of the chairs are a fabric so it would look kinda odd. Better to just be done with it. Maybe by the end of summer. We hardly watch any shows in the summer since we usually sit out till 8 or so.  Of course, I’d love to find a couple of Danish style arm chairs but that’s probably not going to happen at least in my price range.

I just read an ebook called Discardia. It’s about getting rid of things but more the understanding behind creating a more simple home and life. I enjoyed it. I think it was 2.99, so affordable.

It is so true, that once your house becomes less cluttered and simplified there’s more space and openness.  For myself, less visual clutter helps me enjoy my home more. It’s all a work in progress. Right?

I’d love to have our entry be simpler but it’s a work in progress. B has his work area to the left of the door and then to right are 2 white buckets that hold dog food. We are going to have to replace the door this summer as the dual pane are moisture filled so that’s not good. Plus it looks funky.  So the door will be set to the right more(it’ll need to be reframed) and will give more space when it opens. We’re going to go to Habitat for Humanity outlet store to try and find a front door.

Rainy again

It’s a rainy Monday. We walked in the park and it was just misting.  Yesterday, there was an Easter service that we walked by. And there were 3 sets of new baby goslings.  Unfortunately today we saw a Canada goose had been gotten by a coyote or mountain lion and feathers were everywhere. And there were only 2 sets of parents.  Canada Geese are extraordinarily fierce with their young so it must have really tried to protect the babies. WE did count the babies and I got to 19 so maybe some of the ones of killed goose went over to the other parents. I hope so.

We had southern fried tofu for Easter dinner. Of course, we don’t celebrate Easter as such, just as a renewal of a new cycle of life. Not based on Jesus. So I made a potato salad and we had some deviled eggs. I didn’t fry the tofu but baked and you’d think the end of the world had come. I guess I’m not doing that again.  It was pretty good just not quite as tasty as when I fry them.

This week is not too busy. I have an Invisalign appt, and that’s it. Plus I’ll go to the Koffee Klatch on Thursday.  I have a good size load of Life magazines to go the Humane Society Thrift store.  There are some great ones from the 40’s going but it’s just the way it needs to be. Plus the van is full of Foodbank boxes so I’ll do that tomorrow on the way to the gym.

Next week are my labs so that’ll be interesting. At some point, my light chains will begin to increase and then who know. For now, I live each day as if it is a gift.  Life is precious, non-essential live it as fully as you can.

 

One thing about minimalism is that as you clear the nonessential, you really begin to experience things differently. DEfinetely clearer and more in touch with what is around you. It’s a process for sure.  I have to say, every time declutter or look at what is it I want around me, I’m surprised at what the answer to that is. I want my house to be clean, clear of stuff and just a simple place to live, cook and be. It’s getting there.

They’ll be a lot of no spend days this week as the budget is used up. We have a DMV to pay and that’s about it. So, freezer meals and pantry plus what I bought at Costco. Lots of salads.

Tonight is pasta night. I’m thinking an alfredo with a big salad.

 

 

Continuing to minimalise

We had someone come get the oak table from down at our corner so that was really cool. My husband was not about to lug it back in the van and home again. Ok, he would have but certainly with some grumbling. yeah, it’s gone.  The space out in barn where it lived and held junk on it is open now and looks good.  My goal is to have the shelves in the barn only have what we think is essential and practical.

I took the van to the thrift stores and dropped off 6 boxes of stuff to Goodwill including my almost new bread maker. Then over the Humane society thrift store and dropped a box of dishes that are part of a set but these were chipped slightly so I took them out. And then, to the bookstore and dropped a box of books off and two very old 1855 books. I checked on eBay and they were listed for @ 25 each. Nothing selling so I really don’t want musty old books I’ll certainly never read. Then a small handful of my vintage postcards I keep dwindling down.

Then after I came home and researched starting a web page for the FOAL, I went out to the barn and reorganized some and pull another 1/2 bin of magazines to go the thrift store. I’m actually going to go back our and see if I can get one bin emptied.  I also will bring in my kid’s Waldorf lesson books and they can go thru and keep some.  So it’s getting there.  I think now there’s 4 Christmas bins, 5 magazine bins, 1 of our memory things, and 1 bin of the kids LOTR cards. Gee, they must have every single one.  But that’s theirs, not mine. So I feel great progress and if the time comes to move, it’ll be whittled down to essentials.

I did find in an art portfolio my cutting mat I was looking for but its warped and not really usable so I’ll have to donate that and get a new one and a cutter.  It makes cutting edges quite easy and clean lines. I don’t need it yet but eventually.

Tomorrow is a gym day.  Wednesday I’m going to Costco.

Tonight is cheese ravioli with a garlic parmesan sauce, salad and maybe a piece of fish for my daughter when she gets home from work at 7pm.

How being a minimalist helps when you’re​ not feeling well.

This last week really threw me for a loop. I had a terrible hacking cough and lung congestion. I just didn’t feel well. But all the house routines and chores went smoothly and efficiently because of minimalism. There’s less stuff to take care. The housework can be managed by B or my daughter. They know the routine and it’s all because of what we’ve worked on in this last 3 years.

Dinners are simplified with a menu plus the meals are generally simple. Beans, rice, salads, some proteins like tofu or chicken make it easy to pull together.  I have a theme for every night , like Taco Tuesday, crockpot Thursday. So although the item maybe different it still uses the theme.The toughest part is just figuring out what you want to make or feel like eating when you’re sick. We had a few more soups than usual and that was perfect. Especially since it’s been raining nonstop.

The budget is all in place and simplified.  Most everything is on auto pay. A few things need to be put in manually like our PGE because we’re on their balanced payment program and it can’t be automated. Plus this month has been a no spend month so there wasn’t going to Target or wherever. That’s been great although I am having a candle withdrawal moment.

This morning, for instance, I checked bank stuff went to pay the Allstate but it wasnt due yet so I’ll wait a few more days.. Then I started a laundry load and dusted and still need to do a quick vacuum. So there’s less to dust, less to put away etc. I started another thrift store box and have a few things in there. One is my postal scale I used when I did Ebay. I used it everyday. Now I haven’tused it in maybe 2 years. I thought I’d  sell it but it’s kinda dinged up so someone will be delighted to find it at the Goodwill.

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Kon mari, the kitchen part 2

so there’s the upper cabinet cleaned out. The utensil drawer redone. The ikea cart for extra stuff(still working on what works here.) And those are our everyday white dishes.

I’m looking into trying to get another drawer somewhere under a cabinet so we’ll see. Someday we will remodel and this wont be such a crappy kitchen. For now it works and I guess that’s good enough.

It’s finally sunny here but freezing. On our walk, I even waited thill 6:30 since it was 30 degrees outside.  Funny, nobody else was out walking…

today is just tidying chores and that’s it.

Dinner is leftover black bean burritos ( I think).