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Category Archives: perfectionism

Today, I stepped back. I went and picked up stuff that I could have let go.

I’ve been pretty good about not picking up random stuff, and in letting things go. I think part of my trip about collecting and hanging on to things is trying to save things, or more accurately in trying to save people, by way of their things.
I have picked up some stuff recently, under the guise of storing it for friends.

Today, I went to make sure two friends who had recently moved had the things they needed,before they were thrown away by the new tenants, and ended up “saving” things they had already let go, because they are useful things

The great thing about this is the epiphany about why I save stuff, and how all that stuff gets jumbled and collected around me as an armour. I use it to brace myself against the inevitable, as well as to hold on to the past, both my own and others.

I have been trying to work outside of myself, and I know that I need to let things fall away, not just physical things, but emotional things and constructs and paradigms I have been clutching at for longer that I can remember, or even knew I was doing.
This blog is a part of my being willing to let go of all that other that is outside of me.

I am enough, even when I don’t believe it it’s true. I am flawed, and that is not unique.

I hide behind walls of stuff, and am going to come back to actively working on it. For now, that means I am going to come back to writing this blog and acting in ways that I am led to. I document here, for myself, to track and to have a way to see my own path and progress where it is made.
I have been expending energy on surviving, for a lifetime. Shifting, is what is important to me now, to beyond survival into living and being okay with who I am . Making change and shedding what I have outgrown, and embracing the things in myself that are good, and admitting to the good, to letting my core be my armament, my armature, rather than barricade myself in fear against what I am.

It’s back to baby steps, and that first damn step is always so difficult.
It is time, as another friend pointed out to take care of myself, and to become who I am.

I have been working on my kitchen for, in the neighborhood of, twelve hours today, granted, not with the solid kind of steam I would be able to contribute if I were cleaning house for someone else.

Earlier, I was feeling domestic and hopeful, as if,” Well certainly, there is no reason I cannot tackle this entire kitchen from start to finish, in one swell food, one solid day of work!” including rousting about in cabinets and getting rid of all things (food-wise, at least) that are older than my daughter, as well as dealing with all of my kids and my own schtuff located in the kitchen. Perhaps you will recall a few posts ago, I mentioned there were canvasses in the kitchen and very large ones at that. Oy, what a Pollyanna! I didn’t take before pictures, as they were too humiliating. I have during pictures, and while it’s true I’ve made progress, I am not done, and I feel like a terrible waste of human flesh at the moment. -Harsh? -I know, I should not deign to judge another human as harshly, I think, I hope not at least.

My son feigns terror, oddly expressing just how I am feeling!

Stuff I’ve been sorting. There was a fish tank on the table earlier actually. Additionally, I may have finally found the connectors I need to set up my stereo. Just think, I only packed it all away about three years ago!

What to do with all of this? Some will stay and some will go.

Made for dishes, and perfect for a stereo, especially now that I’ve located the wires (hopefully all that I need to get the bugger up and running, as music makes life better, and I’ve been forgetting that lately!

On the up side, I, along with my step-mom, picked cherries from Gran’s cherry tree today. That would make Gran happy.

Also, the first tomatoes in the garden I planted with one of my students in his yard:

as well as some lettuce and more tomato plants.

Lots more lettuce:

A beautiful sunflower that is blooming right outside the room he shares with his brothers:

More sunflowers:

Even more sunflowers:

More beautiful tomato plants with blossoms waiting to become fruit:

Okay. I feel a bit better now.

I am a domestic Goddess, in the same way that Hera is. I am not perfect AND I keep trying.

Good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow to either quote or paraphrase Murrow, I believe.

In any event, time to sleep so I can get back to it tomorrow with fresh eyes and a better attitude!

Here I am again, second time in a week, I think this is the most progress I’ve made in some time -two postings in a week, that is.

So, first, a word about these posts, I’ve said it a while ago, when I began posting, but I feel it is worth reiterating: This is not a literary post, per-say. I edit only in a cursory fashion, and do my best to write in a somewhat visceral fashion, post pictures if I have them, and post in a projectile-puke-and-run sort of way. I say this to remind myself not to be too harsh on myself as I go back and re-read with editing eyes, but also to keep any other readers focused on the main point of this darned blog. I am just to make progress with hoarding, and stuff and the issues around hoarding, more than with writing here, and if I give in to my type a-ish traits (which believe me, play a strangely large role in all of this for me) and over think/over edit I won’t get any writing/sorting/tossing done, or certainly much less. Having said that, thank you for being kind with me linguistically and literarily. I actually do know how to write/edit etc., but that is not my primary purpose here . . .

I have just got off of the phone with my step-mom (Thank you, again Cin!). She is going to help me, this weekend, to go through Gran’s linen closet and decide what to keep, what to send with her, what to get rid of … Some of the things in there are already mine, but I haven’t sorted out what’s what. She is also going to take down Gran’s string of cards with me, as well as taking home Gran’s rose china and some other stuff. Essentially, she allowing me to give myself permission to be here, to settle in and unpack, and admit that this is where life is, and what it is, which, for once in an anguishingly long time is not a miserable thing.

I am struggling with worthiness, and faith in plenty, not even mostly on a physical level, but am ready to get on with it, and to find my place in my own life. There are great pits of sorrow that are waiting to be trolled, but I believe there will also be wells of hope and memories that can bring balance and recognition of worth and renewal of faith, not just in life-the-universe-and-everything, but in myself as well.

In the meantime, I believe I will focus on the kitchen which currently contains some gigante canvases that I, for some reason unbeknownst to me am storing there, as well as cupboards full of food that are older than I am, and possibly even older than my dad.

There are no pictures today, as my daughter has my phone so she can call me when she is done at the movies, and my camera batteries have been temporarily enveloped by The Stuff.

Stuff, Stuff, Stuff! No wonder one of my favorite words is cosas (“stuff” in Spanish) very useful in so many settings, hee hee!

I did deal with the stuff in the back of the truck. sorted into recycling and trash and is waiting curbside now, so WAHOO to that.

Also, a lovely aside. I went to a friend’s house today and she had just read my blog for the first time. She told me she wanted to take me out to her garage so I would feel better. I always doubt people when they tell me about their stuff. In any event, It did make me feel better, not because her stuff is worse than mine, or better, but just that it is stuff and that she is trying to deal with it. Seeing her disheveled side didn’t make me care for her any less, I wonder why it has that effect for me regarding myself. Hmmm… I will begin to look at the inverse of the golden rule, and not just the straight shot of it. I suppose I deserve the same chance I give to others.

Okay, enough typing, off to work. I will check in later on in the weekend.

Lastly,time for a happy picture up-date after that darn fuzzy-headed stern one from last fall. The hair is making a comeback.  ; )

Here I am feeling terribly happy, down right sunny. Portent (in the very best possible terms of the word)of things to come, with any luck.

Sunny Day in Fort Bragg

Writing this blog is horrifying, I must admit.It has forced me to evaluate myself. I am not an exhibitionist, even though it may seem so, rather, this blog has served me well in the past for self moderation, motivation and feed back.It is akin to having sex with the lights blaring if you’re not particularly fond of your physical self. I have found it to be useful, and am still working on getting back into the swing of things.

I am trying hard to get my house in order, both proverbial and otherwise. I have started school for a new credential in order to teach the moderate to severe special education program next school year.

I spent HOURS, in my horrific rat infested garage yesterday trying to sort, and then simply pulling things out and cleaning. I did manage to sort out quite a bit (that seems like nothing compared to the over-all amount of stuff) to get rid of. I also filled, or nearly filled, the back of my truck with boxes to recycle and rat leaving and things the rats got into.

Stuff, stuff, and more stuff. Drowning in a sea of stuff. Learning to swim, as it were.

Oy, so much stuff!

Stuff sorting

Then I swept up the part of the garage I unburied. Phew. I am hoping to get back at it again today.

a small clean space.

I realized that not only since I’ve been here, but for years, in fact most of my adult life, in fact most of my life I’ve been depressed and overwhelmed my both my emotional and physical life.
A good friend asked me when I was going to stop being depressed. The answer is now, and I think the way to do it is to take control of my own life. I have been living for other people for so long, and even when I haven’t been doing so knowingly, I’ve been struggling with the idea of if what I was doing was right or wrong in the eyes of my family, or society, or whatever. Funny how all that time, I was mostly working under that heavy load without even really realizing I was carrying it around.
I am hoping to clear out much of the physical, as well as psychological and emotional crap in my life and be present. I think this is going to take a hell of an effort on my part, but I think it can be done. I finally believe, or at least am willing to look at the idea that not only to I deserve to be well and happy, but that it is okay, in fact great to have a bigger life, not in terms of anything physical, per say, but that I can be present and even booming, if I feel like it.
I want to deal with my physical stuff and turn the garage into a studio space that I can make art and write in. My experience in life has been that the more I do, the more I can do. so, I am hoping to get my s*** together and be able to spend more time with actively in my own life, of my own choosing being present.

stuff to donate

more stuff donate

... to the dump, to the dump, to the dump dump dump!

I found that I quite like getting rid of things. The hard part is not just pitching the whole lot. I think that is baby out with the bath water mentality.

getting there...

It may not seem like a heck of a lot, but the garage now has room for a washer and dryer, which will help with the chaos in the house, and I can move my glass kiln from the front seat of my truck to the garage. AND, the sidewalk is clear again, and I didn’t just shove it all back into the garage willy nilly. I am going to pat myself on the back instead of listening to the naggy bits in my head that remind me I didn’t get done. I suppose there is no done, only movement, at least as long as one exists in the physical land of the living.

 

Greetings and hello.

Long time no see, no write, no nothing.

I know, I know, It seems I’ve been a slacker. In truth my back blew out, to be precise, my L5,S1 disk. I was out of commission, entirely flat on may back, from Halloween night until well, I mostly still am, actually.

I had neuro-spinal surgery at UCSF on Friday, November 13, for what was an emergency condition, of I understand correctly. Turns out the back pain I had been experiencing for quite a while was not something I could just suck it up and get through, try as I might. My L-5 disk ran , like an estuary, into my spinal column and was pressing against the nerves leading to my left leg and foot and up my back. I am fortunate to have a fantastic Neurologist in town, Dr. Glusker.

In fact, let me back up and say, I have been very fortunate and blessed in the members of the medical community who have been looking after me since my move here among them are Dr. Tara Mcleer at the Mendocino Coast Medical Clinic; Dr. Eric Frazier, chiropractor extrordinaire ; Dr. Peter Glusker, Neurologist, have all been so important in the parts they have played in keeping this whole thing from being a complete night mare. I am so blissfully lucky that my disk didn’t rupture, that I am predominantly free of pain and that I seem to have a pretty good chance of having my left leg and foot come entirely back to life. Thank you very much, all you and all of the support staff involved.

I suppose you don’t need a play by play of all the down and dirty details, but suffice it to say that for once in my life, I had a serious medical condition that was taken seriously. It was acknowledged, diagnosed, and dealt with with rapidity and skill. Dr. Glusker examined me and then sent me for an MRI (surreal art that capture the body’s inner working, and I must here thank the fantastic MRI tech for her good work as well as the radiologist who read them at Mendocino Coast Hospital -thank you).The MRI confirmed and possibly even expanded on his suspicions which led to a diagnoses. He referred to me to USCF, to the top neuro-spinal surgeon in the state for goodness sakes, Dr. Philip R. Weinstein.

I am having such resistance to writing/doing the blog again, but feel I must jump in again where I can, so instead of coninuing with this post, trying to get it right, I am simply going to post it.

I am including below, well below, pictures of the progression of my incision healing. There was an internal stick poking out, which was hampering healing. I think that is a nice sort of allegory to what happens with my house, myself, and hoarding. There is an internal bit poking out and getting in the way of progress, surgery and healing aside. I am searching for that protruding stich, so I can deal with it.

Space inserted in case you don’t want to see incision pictures

Space inserted in case you don’t want to see incision pictures

Space inserted in case you don’t want to see incision pictures

Space inserted in case you don’t want to see incision pictures

Space inserted in case you don’t want to see incision pictures

Space inserted in case you don’t want to see incision pictures

Space inserted in case you don’t want to see incision pictures

Space inserted in case you don’t want to see incision pictures

Progression of healing from 3 weeks after surgery

Storm heading in during our brief visit to Reno this weekend.

Storm heading in during our brief visit to Reno this weekend.

Table is nearly empty. Getting down to minutia ...

Table is nearly empty. Getting down to minutia ...

I always find things are much easier to deal with on a macro, rather than a micro level. It is pretty easy to sort clothes and thing. Rather, I should say, it is comparatively easy. Getting down to buttons, bills I no longer need, magazines I”m not done reading, and the like have an ansane abililty to kick my ass and stop me dead in my tracks in  terms of dealing with stuff.

On the table are some binders I bought at the local outlet/seconds store. When I got them home and took a good look at them they were clearly either falling apart, or would be quickly with any use. The wise thing to do would have been to have inspected them thouroughly before buying them, of course. The next most desirable thing would have been to return or exchange them before I lost the reciept. Now I have to decide if I am brave enought to ask for what I want, wich is either an exchange, or a refund. I find it amazingly hard to ask for what I want or need of others.

I have quite a large pile of things to go to donation, including a box of things my grandmother brought home after her volunteer shift at the food bank. I swear, I got back at least one thing I had previously donated in addition to multiple sweaters, including some with a christmas theme. Not the kind of thing I am inclined to wwear, even when I was teaching elementary school. There is a large size garbage bag of clothes including some nice skirts, one or two clocks, some shoes, pants, and the like. There are also some books, and clean cottage cheese containers and lids to go to Down Home Foods, out local health food store. The containers are for holding things like raw agave nectar, and other foods and spices in bulk.

I am exhausted, and so this is the end of my post for Monday. Late, but more in the ball park than I’ve been lately!

Sweet dreams all!

-Pauline

Things waiting to be donated and a re-usable shopping bag waiting to move out to the car.

Things waiting to be donated and a re-usable shopping bag waiting to move out to the car.

 

Mmmm, moldy cheese.

Mmmm, moldy cheese. Not! This was given with the best of intentions. I don't know if Gran can even see the mold any more. If she could she would tell me to cut it off. I am tired of cutting off the mold, espescially from new cheese, both actually and metaphorically!

Wow! This is a touchy subject, or it wouldn’t take me so long to finish writing and posting it. I started writing this Monday, came back Tuesday, Wed, Thursday and Friday. Still no post. I am going to finish it. It may be a bit rambly, convoluted and off topic, but I am going to attempt to finish this today. post it and get back on track. I feel disloyal, but I suppose that is part of the process at times.

The kids and I spent the night at Gran’s Monday night, or rather we tried. We’ve been trying to work it out to stay there at night since it became an issue a few weeks ago.  Her legs have been giving her trouble for a couple of months now in that every once in a while they won’t do what she tells them to, as it were. Trying to sort out how to make it work so that sleeping there is reasonable for everyone has been next to impossible. I had a plan I thought would work, in terms of where the kids and I would sleep according to noise levels

My back has been out to a larger and lesser extent for about a week now. I have good and bad days, and can’t always act as if I’m fine or be able to do everything Gran wants me to do for her. She asked me to do something (I don’t remember what) on Saturday and I told her I couldn’t as my back was out. She called up that evening and left a message telling the kids and I to come spend the night so she could look out for me.  We didn’t get the message until later, as we had been at the store when she called and when we got home I went up to bed. I saw her the Sunday morning and told her we’d spend the night that night. 

My daughter, Rowan, went over fairly early in the day and made some soup and was going to make gluten free bread, as well. Gran kept offering Rowan extra things to put in the soup. She, and I, both explained that Ro was following a recipe. Finally Gran let her finish sans rutabagas and whatever else might be lurking in the fridge.

My Son, Forrest,  and I returned later in the evening, as I was working on a graphic and made him something to eat, as he does not eat bacon. Once at Gran’s we all got ready for bed, made sure everyone had what they needed for the morning and hit the hay.

Forrest could not sleep in a bed not his own, and came in with some frequency to tell me he couldn’t sleep. I finally sent him home at 3 am and he went to bed there. It’s only a few blocks away, and he is no longer a minor.

In the morning,  I came out of the shower and over heard Gran heckling Rowan about not eating strawberries with her cereal. She told me later that she thought Rowan liked Strawberries, and that she wouldn’t bring them home anymore if no one was going to eat them. She offered to hull them for me for breakfast. I told her that Ro does like strawberries, but not necessarily with her cereal, and that she could hull the berries, but that I couldn’t eat them just then as I had to get Rowan off to school, and check on Forrest and get him to school as well. Rowan told me when we left that the strawberries were weird and moldy.

After school got out Gran called while Rowan was at her house doing home work and asked about dinner. I said I would bring some sausages over. She wanted to make rice and a vegetable, and I said sure. Gran called later to say Ro was sleeping and was wondering if she should wake her up. I told her to let her sleep, as she had been seeming worn down. I continued working on graphics. Forrest asked if I would take him to Gran’s for a shower and I told him he could take one after dinner. Just then Rowan called and said she was feeling really crummy and could I come and get her please.

Forrest and I headed over. I let Gran know about the change of plans, that we would not be spending the night or eating there, because Rowan was feeling sick, but That Forrest was going to stay and eat and take a shower. I asked her where I should put the sausage. She said, very gruffly that she didn’t want them and acted quite disgusted.  She said I could give the dinner to the dog. I asked why she was mad and she replied, “I am mad!”.  I wanted to know why and she said it wasn’t healthy to eat so late, and said some other things about how late we eat dinner, and our schedule.  She had water on for the rice, just about to boil. She had made a stew using the leftover bacon soup, lamb, rutabaga, and some other things.

I apologized, said I didn’t realize she was going to do all that, but that I had to get rowan home and to bed. I knew For wouldn’t eat dinner there, but I asked him to pretend and placate her and that I would feed him at home. I felt weird about it, but I often feel weird about food, among other things with Gran. She has fed us weird things all my life, and I always had to eat them. When I say weird, I don’t just mean tongue that she cooked and forgot to peel before serving, but rancid butter that everyone insisted was fine, strange things pulled from the refrigerator and made into soup (this was very hit and miss, as it good edge up to great or be somewhat horrifying, one never knew until it hit your mouth). Now I try to avoid being in that situation.

Food, like everything else in my family, has historically been hoarded, and not necessarily rotated so that it is being used and replaced. Anything was up for grabs, not just by Gran, but her parents and my dad, as well. We a re well trained hoarders. I think it comes from both genetics, anxiety and training. I really do come by these behaviors naturally.

I realized that I don’t much like to eat, in part because I had very little control over what when, how much, etc. I ate the whole time I was growing up. I love to cook, I don’t much like to eat. I forgot to eat for five days once, in college. I am beginning to understand this. I think it is about control, as is, in part my hoarding behavior.

Enough, enough for now. Perhaps I will return to this another time.

books and clothes 002

As a hoarder of knowledge, and not just of things, I find that books are especially hard to get rid of. I am making my first foray into my bookshelves since beginning the blog. It is best to do this with some rapidity. Like pulling a bandage, it is best to scan the shelf quickly, document and bag, before I decide  I really do need to read Aku-Aku by Thor Hyerdahl, or the Ajanta Caves, Early Buddhist paintings from India. Or perhaps to re-read Inherit the Wind for the umpteenth time.  I feel I am terribly uninformed and know painfully little about the world around me. There is so much to know that I could never possibly learn and retain even a fraction of it. Still, the desire to learn is always there. The truth is that I can give a way loads of books and still have plenty to read. I donated eleven large boxes of books to the local rummage sale to support the new autism preschool program and I didn’t even make a dent.

I have put together one box of books and magazines to get rid of. This is only a tiny dent in my far too large library,  but at least it is a start!

I’ve also put together a bag of clothes, mostly. Including some very nice things, that I just won’t wear no matter how nice they are.

I am not sure why I am so inclined to hang on to stuff. I’m working on figuring it out.

I’m not sure if I’ve written this yet, but I realized, recently that I’ve never fully moved into anywhere I’ve ever lived as an adult. I’ve always had some boxes still packed, or pictures not up. I’ve gotten progressively worse over the years about settling into each new place. I’d thought this was about time, and my busy life style. I think, now, it may have more to do with denial, and not wanting to accept my life. I think it is time to get unpacked, settle, and assess. Only then can I change.

I’ve go two more bags to go to Paul Bunyan or Granny’s Attic. We’ll see what’s open tomorrow.

Good night.

-Pauline

Awaiting donation.

Awaiting donation.

Overalls my mom made, along with a Raggedy Andy, for me when I was 4 or 5.

Overalls my mom made, along with a Raggedy Andy, for me when I was four or five years old and no longer lived with her.

The last post, in retrospect, and just below the surface at the time, was clearly a fantastic example of avoidance behavior. I did vent a little, but I got rid of nothing physical, and what I did get rid of was done in a baby with the bath water fashion. Very difficult not to emotionally flog myself at the moment.

I panicked a little last night, as I realized my receipt for virus protection purposes was in the emails I had deleted, along with some other emails regarding a grant I am working on to try and garner some extra funding to send our middle school and high school choirs to San Francisco to see Wicked.

When I got home from choir last night, I found the deleted messages and began undeleting them.  I found the choir ones, but didn’t make it to the proof of purchase for virus protection before I went to bed. I woke up, logged on to the computer and found that the emails in the trash have been permanently deleted. There was a moment not quite of panic, but more of beating myself up. Then I stopped, as the truth is that venue is no longer available. Now I need to look and see if I have a paper copy. I had forwarded important emails, like the grant info and the receipt to another email account with less traffic, but they were servicing and updating and all of the email in my in-box, prior to yesterday was gone. Another moment of slight panic. The bottom line is this, I will figure it out, or I won’t. Either way, this is not life and death, it just sort of feels like it might be sometimes.

On another note, or actually the original note, I have been avoiding. I have been feeling overwhelmed with the process, with writing, with life in general. As a result I have been deflecting into busy work, and general avoidance behavior. 

Years ago, I fantasized about my house burning down because that, I thought, would wipe out the problem. True, it would take everything with it, but the upside is, it would take EVERYTHING with it! Most things can be replaced. What I found out when I wiped out my email in box,is that it is better to be selective and plodding, in overcoming this habit. A systematic way of dealing with all my stuff,and the accompanying tendencies is key for me to deal with this. I did not get this way over night, and I don’t think I can change, effectively and permanently over night.

The picture at the top of my post is of a pair of overalls my mom made when I was four or five to go with a Raggedy Andy doll she made for me with black curly hair and green eyes. I can’t find the doll, but I am not ready to get rid of the overalls yet. I may be willing to part with them later in the process, or at least find a way to categorize them, so I can find them when I want them.

I hope for Friday, to get back to actual boxes, and actual actions rather than theoretical ones. I have not been feeling brave, nor have I wanted to post photos of what my house looks like. I will work on pulling myself together for Friday and try to come up with a specific plan of action.

‘Till then,

Cheers!

-Pauline

Keep paddling!

Keep paddling!

The Proclaimers were FANTASTIC!!! I did a lot of jumping up and down when clapping wasn’t sufficient. It’s been years since I’ve felt that enthusiastic! I had a great time hanging out with my younger sister. I got to see my brother, my sister and her boyfreind. Very nice. I must put time in my life, for my life, and not simply the tasks I feel I must accomplish. I whole change of mindset is in order. I hope the ongoing effort of getting this blog out will help with that.

I did not post yesterday, obviously. I had more to do than I could accomplish, or that I could accomplish while procrastinating as much as I did. The more I get involved in the procfess of theis blog, the more I contemplate how far reaching these hoarding tentacles are wrapped around (possibly) all aspects of my life.

I had well over 4000 messages in my inbox. I just deleted all of them four two reaons. the first is that I have become overwhelmed with my email inbox and can’t find anything. The second is that I was avoiding writing and other activities. The deletions cause minor panic, as there was info in there I needed. The bottom line is that I couldn’t find it any way. I will have to track it down again if it proves to be really important. My goal for that is to either delete new emails or sort them into folders as I get and read them. There are some I am resistant to reading right away, not sure if it is because I don’t want to have to deal with the content, or the sender, or …? IN any event, I am going to make an effort to be present, as it were, with my email and work on bleeding that over to the rest of my life

I didn’t write yesterday because I had scheduled myself beyond my comfort zone, and instead of taking one bite at a time and getting everything done, I screwed around until I could only do the things that would be immediately noticable if I didn’t do them. No one (but me) is holding my feet to the fire over the blog. This is a goal I’ve set formyself. In other words I put myself last. I have a terrible time setting boundaries and an even worse time saying “no”.

I did get the donations from last week to the thrift store (Paul Bunyan again). So at least I’ve got that going for me!

receipt for last Wednesday and Friday's donations

  

I think the same behaviors/biochemistry/etc.  that lead me to hoard stuff compell me to hoard work/tasks/jobs, etc. Historically, I have been an pretty extreme workaholic.  A lot of what I passed of as work could have been done much more quickly and efficiently, if I had been more organized. It is very hard to allow myself down time, so I tend to sneak it in whan I (fell like I am) working on something, so I don’t feel as guilty about it. Unfortunately it takes longer to get things done that way, andI don’t really enjoy the time.

Sometimes multi-tasking wiorks in my favor, and sometimes, it doesn’t. It is very hard to be still, idle. This is, in my opinion, for a couple of reasons, at least. If I am still, my mind is free to wander. When that happens, I often become sad for no apparent reason. Even if I don’t feel sad, I feel itchy, not physically so much as metaphysically. It just occured to me, that being surrounded by stuff (regardless of the content/quality) is akin to not being still. -Visually, chaos, and therefore movement is still present. It gives me something to occupy my mind, to feel guilty about, to worry about, to prove that I am “less then”.

The physical chaos in my house precludes me from opening up my life (or at some level I believe it does, or use it to prevent me from…). I have myself convinced on a mostly subconscious level that I am not worthy, capable, or loveable, the way I live is proof.  Well that’s a bunch of bunk! I have been raising kids on my own for nearly 20 years. We are not homeless and they are pretty awesom! My son, with Asperger’s has beendoing pretty well, until this week when he seems to be on over-load and is mailnly sleeping a s a result. I completed college on my own, with one child, as a single parent. I completed a teaching credential program and an internship on my own with two children, and have  been working and getting ahead for all this time. My biggest block to success is me.

I know, I sound like a self help book, or a t least a self actualization book. But this all seems pretty accurate. There are more peices to the puzzle. There is the attention span issue, the out of sight, out of mind issue, time, etc … These can all be dealt with in some way, I am sure. I just need to keep forging ahead.

I am counting getting rid of all the email in my inbox as the get rid of bit for today, in addition to getting all this off of my chest.

I got some great shots driving up hwy 1 on the way home and will include some. Thanmk you all for humoring me. Back to regualr posting tomorrow!

-Cheers,

-Pauline

Shoreline on hwy 1

Shoreline on hwy 1

 

The sun begins to set along Hwy 1

The sun begins to set along Hwy 1

 

Setting sun and rock formations on hwy 1

Setting sun and rock formations on hwy 1

setting sun with dog in Jenner. Hwy 1

setting sun with dog in Jenner. Hwy 1

 

Dusk begins, Jenner CA. Hwy 1

Dusk begins, Jenner CA. Hwy 1

Good Morning.

It was too dark to take a morning shot, all I could get was the streetlight behind my house trying to pass itself off as the moon. I couldn’t find a sunset I’d taken locally, So here is a pretty good sunset shot I got coming back from Westport with my dad and kids one evening.

beach grass sunset1

It’s 5:28 am I got up around 4 am. I am subbing today then driving to San Francisco to the see the Proclaimers with my sister at the Bottom of the Hill. Way cool.

I need to take Gran to the food bank to volunteer by about 8, because I am supposed to be at the school just about 8. I also need to get the kids  up and off to school, pack a lunch, pack a couple of things for the trip, and generall, get ready. I wanted to make sure to post today. I do not want to miss any more scheduled days, it throws me off and I lose my momentum.

So far today I have decided to get rid of a pair of orange cords (gasp!) 3 pairs of jeans a very nice pair of linen pants, a pink sweater and an orange sweater. Mostly these were clothes that were upstairs in my room. I’ve gain weight since moving here, and as much as I want them to fit, they don’t. My weight fluctuates, and usually I hold on to all the sizes of clothes. I decided to keep mostly clothes I can wear now, and a couple of things that will fit if I lose some weight again. Thinking of it karmically, I’m giving these clothes to the thrift store. I am choosing to have faith that when I lose weight again, at least one of the thrift stores in town will have something decent that I like and that fits. less stuff in my house, right??

beginnigs of Fridays donation

I am currently wearing a dress around the house that fits, but I don’t know if I like it, or if I just like it because it is purple and velvety. We don’t have a mirror, other than the one in the bath room, so I can’t see it. Honestly, that doesn’t really matter because, mostly, I have no idea what I look like even when I’m looking at myself in the mirror, at least not objectively.

I am going to donate it.  I’ve added a pair of sweat pants and 3 bras that are nice and no longer fit. I also decided to put donations in grocery bags instead of garbage bags. The thrift store counts them the same, and I think it will be nice to get to count more bags I’m getting rid of. As a bonus, they are much easier to carry!  I’d like to do more, but I need to hop in the shower and get the day going.

Weasle inspects the donations for Wednesday and Friday.

Weasel inspects the donations for Wednesday and Friday.

Weasel says, "Out the door!"

Weasel says, "Out the door!"

The school I am subbing at today is taking a field trip to see the Symphony of the Redwoods, which is very cool. I wanted to go, but thought I wouldn’t be able to, and now I get to go with a bunch of fourth graders. Very exciting, truly!

After work I will get in the car and drive down to SF. It’s not 5oo miles, I’m not walking, and I hope not to fall down. This is gonna’ be great.

I realize it is important to remember to have fun sometimes!

-Cheers!

-Pauline

Not pleased, my can't express what I cannot

Not pleased, my cat expresses what I cannot

I am having a terrible time writing/thinking today. My apologies, in advance. And generally if my writing ever feels in adequate, or off. I am quite dyslexic and on bad days I miss more. I have decided to do as little editing as possible in this blog, as editing, and the editing voice has a tendency to stop me in my tracks. I am writing fairly stream of consciousness. I have been and will continue to do so.

Having got that out of the way:

 

I am posting at the end what it took me to begin writing. I was going to scratch it entirely, but I think it is an important example of expressed brain function. I think that function is relevant to my hoarding behavior.

 

Today was a day of many revelations. I felt like my grandmother had been reincarnated while still alive, as me. It feels like I mean this literally, or it did at the time of the revelation I believe that at least figuratively, it is very accurate.

Okay, upon re-reading, I realize that need some explanation, or I just sound silly.

I realize I hoard in theory and in thought as well as physically. I hoard ideas, desires, aspirations, etc. I am clear that this may not be the same as the hoarding of actual stuff, but I am also clear that my, personal behaviors are about much more than stuff.

Yes. I do have emotional attachments to some stuff, but not, for example, receipts I haven’t thrown away, recycling, threadbare crummy towels, empty cardboard boxes and the like. Those things are more about figuring out what to do with things, acting in a reasonable time frame, making decisions.

I also accumulate things because if I can’t see them I forget I have them. I hoard food in response to three or four things. First is that I was taught the behavior by my father, his mother and her parents. It was reinforced in my child hood in moments of scarcity, and when my son was very young and we were (financially) poor and we lived, largely off of what I had saved. There is an over-riding lack of faith in plenty, or I the ability to provide which is made worse by the fact that I can rarely remember what we have in the cupboards. If it is behind closed doors, it may as well not exist, which contributes to the stuff every where part of my problem.

I hoard things because I inherited them and feel they must have some value to have been saved this long… then who am I to do something else with them.

I realized in addition to all of that, today, those same abilities contribute to my difficulty making decisions. Unless one choice has some sort of empirical data to back up it’s superiority, it is neigh on impossible to make a choice, often. There is a great, deeply rooted fear of being wrong, of making wrong decision, about career, mates, etc. There is also ambivalence. Unless I really care about what to eat, and I rarely do, What do I care what it it is? Don’t get me wrong, I love to cook. I don’t love eating so much as it is a pain. I ramble, I digress, I think attention span is part of the problem as well, not always, but often.

I feel at once fairly intelligent (there is empirical evidence to suggest this) and jaw-droppingly stupid this is terribly confusing.

I think I am doing nothing to clarify any of this. I will post it any way.

Tonight, I am getting rid of a pair of orange shoes. They are not the most comfortable, but they are orange, and I do love orange. Orange, however is not the best reason best reason to keep a pair of shoes. I am also going to get rid of a couple of back packs. They are clean and washed, but my kids have new back packs, so I am going to get rid of the back up plan. -In truth, not entirely, as I am keeping one with a leather bottom mostly for my own use, but with an eye to back up, I admit. Every year they wear out their back packs they are so expensive, it makes me panic a little, so it is a think I tend to hang on to.

Orange shoes and clean back packs awaiting donation

Orange shoes and clean back packs awaiting donation

That feels insufficient, so let’s see, what else…

A bed-skirty thing ( I don’t quite know what it’s called or how to use it. It seems top get in the way of the sheets, although as I write it occurs to me it should go over the box spring, of which I haven’t one at the moment. I’m getting rid of it, even though I’ve figured it out! Hurrah! A nice lime green t-shirt. Both items were washed today and smell, and are, nice and clean for the next person.

Green shirt and bed skirty thing

Green shirt and bed skirty thing

 

More… please stand by …

A poster of the Fossil Record ..

Fossil record poster standing by

Fossil record poster standing by

Wait, I like it a lot. Now it is on our front door, using double sided tape I’ve been saving (which I used earlier in the week to help make a graphic) and tacks saved from fly paper, I know odd. But I have used them!

Fossil poster up on door. My daughter started reading it just after I put it up. How cool is that?

Fossil poster up on door. My daughter started reading it just after I put it up. How cool is that?

 I’ve replaced the fossil record poster with a sandwich maker I got at Paul Bunyan for my son, as he had one and it broke in our move here. Turns out the boy has some sense. He says they don’t work very well (generally, and that it is easier to make a sandwich.

Sandwich maker as sacrificial lamb for poster : )

Sandwich maker as sacrificial lamb for poster : )

Okay, that’s it for tonight, long post. Lots to think about.

At least they have an excuse! They also store where they (and customer, I assume) can see. Worth a try!

At least they have an excuse! They also store where they (and customer, I assume) can see. Worth a try!

 

Whew!

Weasel says it best, again

Weasel says it best, again

Blooper reel (as it were) at the end!

Off to read submissions from fellows in my writing class. Two down x to go and comment on. Wish me luck!

I am generally and specifically overwhelmed today. I have half a mind to post pictures of every crappy little corner of my house, my storage shed and my Grandmother garage. While I’m at it I have half a mind to do the same with her house/possessions, etc.!

I think, And I vaguely remember thinking before, that my problem is not about stuff, or rather it is, but the bigger problem is with categorization, with life in general. I think my wiring is wrong. I want to be gentle today. I strive to be a gentle person, but it is so hard to be gentle when I feel sad, or frustrated, or overwhelmed. It is easier to be angry and chastising.

This whole day has been like this entry to a larger and lesser degree. I am especially dyslexic, having great trouble expressing myself, when I try to express what I am thinking audibly, I begin to stutter like crazy, while writing, I am spelling poorly, stutter typing and rambling like crazy.

There is some kind of psychological phenomenon going on here. Something deep seated trying to emerge.

I have started this blog, and re-started  it least four or five times this afternoon. I have had a day that was simultaneously frustrating and rewarding. I know, odd, right?

Holy Toledo, enough already! I am doing everything but writing. I can hardly stay in my seat. Must be uncomfortable stuff, right?

Hold that thought, seriously! I am going to see what I need to make some gluten free brownies. I must resist writing, a little longer, but I’ll be back when I’m done resisting. I am too far in the future and not in the present. Let me try to adjust my attitude!

I did, in fact not make brownies, as that is simply further avoidance behavior and so, I was avoiding doing it, and decided to come back to the initial source of avoidance.

I must go back to the beginning, of the thought, of today’s blog. There is nothing terribly earthshaking, or at least not externally. Just realizations today. and a heavy cloud of big voice in my head reminding me I need to get rid of stuff still tonight. To the voice a respond perhaps I will get rid of circuitous thoughts and feeling s of overwhelming  … what doom, genetic predisposition, theory … not sure. As for the rest I will dive in.

If you feel like you’re trying to go swimming, or that I am, and I keep dipping my toes in and backing up, I think that is what I am doing. It appears to be the only way to go forward tonight.

I feel like I am exposing big dark secrets, or bringing a monster, uninvited to a dance. -I’ve left the oven on as part of my previous avoidance behavior, I can smell it getting hot. I will deal with it in a bit. In the mean time, it can help warm the house.

Okay, again. Today was a day where I realized some things. The crazy thing is, as I realize them, they seem to evaporate. I feel more like I am exposing myself typing this than I have with any other posts or photographs, so far, and I’m not sure why. I think I am far enough into this project that some part of my psyche is beginning to fight me in earnest while another part is simultaneously cheering me on!

I took my grandmother to the chiropractor today.  Her appointment was at 10:30 with a FANTASTIC local chiropractor. If you are local, he is right next to the Glass Beach Inn in Fort Bragg. I recommend him HIGHLY!

In any event, the appointment was at 10:30. I was running late, initially. Or I felt I was. I got to Gran’s, out Dusty the house chickens out with the other chickens, then came inside, gave her her eye drops did her hair, helped her to the bathroom.

Wait, back up, before any of this (sorry for being disjointed, today you get mostly stream of consciousness, or I won’t post at all. Gran called just before 8 am And asked me, somewhat pointedly if I had over-slept. … I thought at first I was reading the clocks wrong, then I realized it might be her. I reminded her that we had planned on my being there around 9 am and that it was not quite 8 now. I still need to get my son off to school.

What really matters here is the shift in time at the beginning of the day, I guess.

. I had things scheduled for myself I wanted to get done, specifically, Two friends and I are trying to start a printing press for broadsides, small book, collections of poetry, journals, etc. I had planned to go over there this afternoon

 

 

 

Hoarding for honey, heading home.
Hoarding for honey, heading home.
Bees hoard too, the difference is that the bi-product of their activity is sweet, whereas for humans it tends to be sour,  rancid in fact!
Paul bunyan Receipt

Paul bunyan Receipt

Here is my receipt for the clothes I decided to part with last night, as well as a bag from last week and three that I’ve been driving around with in the back of my car, for a total of seven total bags donated.

Paul Bunyan is a great charity. They work with the community on many levels. They provide jobs and training for people with special needs and treat them not just humanely, but well as we all should be treated. I am grateful that my project is giving me the opportunity to be part of something larger than myself, on many levels!

I want to take a moment to thank every single person who has visited my site and to especially, most humbly, thank everyone who has left a comment. I have had days when this whole thing seems like some terrible experiment I designed for myself in a nightmare and woke up to find had come true. This project is at once humiliating, freeing, enlightening, and connecting. Every time I read a kind comment, or hear from another human being with similar struggles, I feel this is a good path.

I have come to the conclusion that do not value myself enough, nor have I historically, to do this for myself alone. It is so helpful to know there is a greater good. I am working on the whole self worth issue. I wonder how that is connected to my hoarding behaviors. This is such a rich topic, hoarding, I mean. There is so much to explore and write about. I hope I can find answers and not just a cleaner house as I do this. Any thoughts on the matter from fellows are welcome!

You all keep me going, so thank you all.

-Pauline

Hoarding for honey

Hoarding for honey.

Honey bee gathering honey to hoard for to make honey!

Detail of honey bee gathering honey to hoard, for to make honey!

4 bags ready to be loaded up and donated

4 bags ready to be loaded up and donated

Partial picture of clothes in my room I am working on dealing with tonight
Partial picture of clothes in my room I am working on dealing with tonight
the rest of the clothes tonight, with appologies for sub-standard photography tonight!
the rest of the clothes tonight, with apologies for sub-standard photography tonight!

Tonight I am exhausted. I’ve been running around with Gran, cut my son’s hair, all the regular sorts of things and have been writing since five or so.

This posting is after midnight, and so technically, I am late. I choose to post late rather than not at all, as I strive to miss no more scheduled blog entries

The long and the short of it is that I have tackled, at least initially the pile of clothes in my room. I have no dresser, at the moment, and the clothes I’ve kept need to be re-washed and hung up in ward robe boxes I got off the local list serve to fill in as a closet and keep the cats off of them.

I am posting the before picture and the bags for donation. I will take tonight’s and the three or so already in my car down tomorrow for donation. I will post the receipt, just because it makes me happy to do so.

I feel dis-satisfied with the post, the blog, and my level of participation in the process.

I do applaud myself, or at least acknowledge that I a, posting, even though I can hardly see straight, I am so tired. Sometimes this seems Herculean and as if it will take forever.

One step at a time, even when they are baby steps!

It keeps occuring to me that I do not have to wait until the day of the post to do the work, photograph the process and post, I can do all but post ahead of time.  I mustn’t take myself so literally!

More Friday!

Beauty Among the Weeds

Beauty Among the Weeds

Last night I dreamt a friend came to my home.

They exclaimed, “What a beautiful house you have, Pauline!”

At first, I thought to myself, “What are they thinking?”, but when I looked again, I saw what they were seeing.  I realized, when I woke, that my house is a metaphor for myself and my life. I see my self through a different filter than others do. My house is beautiful, or it can be, if I let it. Surely, this is true for myself as well.

I am nearly always excited to move. The prospect of change, of a clean slate figuratively and literally has, historically, enticed me.  I have noticed the irony each time I move of how much I like the house when it is mostly empty, and how much cleaner I leave thing for others than I do myself. The clean slate of a new house, the minimalism of it wraps me in light, and lifts me. Why then have I not allowed my self more of that in my own life, I wonder.

I have lived in many places in my life, and have really liked nearly all of them when I first moved in. I am a romantic at heart and tend to see potential more than what is right in front of me. This is a double edged sword, however, as that filter works inversely on my perception of myself, and my own work and affairs. The longer I lived in each place, the less I liked it. It stands to reason that, the core of the issue is that I don’t much like myself. I believe I subconsciously work to make sure my living space reflects my opinion of my self, there by creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. I am not lovable, or worthy, not sufficient or good enough. Meanwhile, outside of my home, I strive to be seen as competent and worthy. I am known for overachieving, professionally and for a tendency toward perfectionism. The correlation between my outside self and my inside self with my home life and my professional life is worth noting and paying attention to.

 

There is something to be said of the fear of nothing that Rick Aster speaks of in his book, but I think for me, it is more about having little of no ability to set boundaries and feelings of worthiness, more specifically of a lack of worthiness.

Also, there is  the issue of heredity. I truly do come from a line of hoarders. Makes me wonder about biochemistry and heredity. Also abuse and a hoarding response. So many variables. I suppose what really matters, more than the cause of anything else, is behavioral change. There will be more on this in the days and weeks to come.

I hope that in changing my own behavior, and looking for its root causes, I can help myself,and my children, as well as others who are looking to change.

Perception is so important. I have never thought of myself as beautiful, or overly talented. I have had a hard time seeing myself outside of my connection to my house, or what ever space I was occupying at the time.  I want to learn to cut myself some slack, to remember that I am not horrible, simply by nature of being imperfect. Imperfection is a side effect of being human.

I will strive to look for the beauty among the weeds in my own life, and not just in the world around me!

hidden blossoms
hidden blossoms
"Weeds" on the road side

"Weeds" on the road side

Wild radish blooming on the street corner

Wild radish blooming on the street corner

Spider hiding on a wild radish blossom, hidden in the weeds

Spider hiding on a wild radish blossom, hidden in the weeds

Beauty is both all around and with in. The key is in remembering to look and being open to seeing it!