Bloomin' Friday: Early Spring Edition

I am happy to report that we have no snow on the ground.

We have sunshine and blue skies.

Don't get all excited, though.  We also have cold north winds.  And they've been blowing for a few weeks now.  
(Apparently, the same weather pattern that is sending nor'easter after tedious nor'easter to the east coast is keep those cold north winds blowing here.)  

So it's cold.  Bitterly cold.  
(Which is such a rip-off when the sun is shining so brightly, y'know?)

Not much blooming on this sunny, cold Friday.  
(Even the crocus are staying pretty much in tight bud right now, holding out for just a bit of warmth.)

Outside, that is.
Inside, though?  That's another story.  Because I've got blooms!


The last blast from my amaryllis crop.


And my "Christmas" cactus . . . blooming at Easter time.  
(As it does.)  

Hope you've got something blooming in your world!
Happy Friday.

Cutting the Cord?

Early last November, right before I left for the Alabama Chanin workshop, I did something I never thought I'd do:  I went on a Facebook "fast."  I decided to just . . . take a break.  I even deleted the app from my phone.

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I never intended for my Facebook break to last that long.  I just wanted to see if I could do it, really.  I thought I'd just . . . take it off my phone, and then check it now and again on my laptop.  

Why?  What was my intention with this Facebook "fast"?  Well -- I had identified Facebook as one of the major contributors to a general sense of annoyance and irritation in my life.

I was reading too much news.
Clicking into too many enticing headlines. 
Watching far too many humorous videos.
Spending a lot of time "liking" friends' posts and photos . . . that I was also "liking" (and maybe even "triple-liking") over on other social media platforms.
Monitoring the activity on my own posts.
And becoming more and more aware that Facebook had become a swamp of garbage.

Really.  I was making myself kind of nuts.  

It was super, super hard for the first two days.  (Which made me realize how addicted I'd really become to my time-sucking, brain-numbing scrolling.)  But after those first couple of days, I hardly missed it at all!  (Kind of like giving up sugar.)

By the time I got back from Alabama, I found that I didn't even think about Facebook anymore.  I didn't miss it.  It just became a non-issue for me.  (And you know what else?  No one missed me either!  No one even noticed that I was gone!)

And now.  Here we are.  Four months later.  Still not missing Facebook.  After this latest Facebook "indiscretion" unfolding in the news before us, I've decided to reduce my "Facebook footprint" even more.  If you're confused about what's happening over at Facebook, or if you're considering the rather drastic step of shutting down your account, here are three things to keep in mind:

  1. If you have an account at Facebook, make sure you've got the facts about what happened.  This article from the New York Times is a good place to start.

  2. Understand that simply deleting your Facebook account won't necessarily "erase" you from Facebook.  It's a complicated web out there!  You may actually be better off doing a serious review of your privacy settings.  Here's a great article that explains why you can't just hit "delete" -- and it includes excellent links and descriptions of how to modify your privacy settings.

  3. Try a "Facebook fast" like I did.  You might discover . . . that you don't need Facebook as much as you thought you did!

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What am I doing now with my Facebook account?  I'm cleaning it up -- downloading things I've "saved" there (photos, videos, etc. that I want to keep) and then removing them.  I'm getting rid of personal information (my contact information, my birthday, where I went to school, how I'm related to people, etc.) that I really don't need to share.  I'm putting the most strict privacy settings in place.  I may even "deactivate" my account.  But I probably won't delete it all together.  Yet.

How about you?  Are you thinking twice about your own Facebook account?


Head over to Carole's to read more Three on Thursday lists!


Equipment Failure

There are so many ways of unraveling.


Sometimes, you pick up your knitting.
Notice a rough spot on the tip of your needle.
Take a closer look.
Maybe try to just flick a little something you see there on the tip.
And . . . OOPS.



How about you?  What are you working on this week?


Want to read more Unraveled posts?  Check out the comments over at Kat's.

Treasure Box

I have many little treasures in my house.  Little somethings that bring me joy.  Like this tiny spinning wheel.


My great-grandfather made this little treasure.  He was quite handy with wood -- a furniture-maker by trade.  This tiny spinning wheel was in my great-grandmother's room on a shelf when I was a little girl, and I always admired it.  (The treadle works to make the wheel go round and round.)  (This is the same great-grandmother who taught me to stitch.  You know . . . the one who didn't blink an eye when I stitched my work to my skirt?)

When my great-grandmother died, the spinning wheel went to my dad.  And when my dad downsized last year, it came to live with me.

I love seeing it there, on my bookshelf in my library.


Such a treasure!



No matter what kind of week it is, I'm always happy to see Friday roll around!


It's time for some TGIF!

T - Thinking About . . . gardening, of course.  It's still far, far too cold to do any work in the garden, and there certainly isn't much joy to be found in looking at it right now.  But you can be sure I'm doing a lot of thinking about it!  In fact, I'm really thinking about this . . . 


(Which looks like this once things kick into gear. . . )


I need to move the path.  Which means . . . moving plants and the small pond.  (We relocated Garden Buddha last fall.)  This portion of my garden has been in a holding pattern for a couple of years now -- while I've focused efforts on other areas.  In the meantime, the garden has overgrown the path, and it's causing lots of "flow" problems.  It's time for some changes -- but it's gonna be complicated!  (Tom is readying his digging tools already.)  I'm doing a lot of thinking. . . 

G - Grateful For . . . a change in plans.  A friend canceled our lunch date scheduled for today, and I am grateful for an unexpected break in my day.  (We'll catch up another day.)

I - Inspired By . . . signs of spring.  That crooked picture of the blue sky out my window at the top of this post?  Well, I took it yesterday as I was lying on my couch, waking up from a 20-minute refresher-nap.  (This time change has hit me hard.  I've been exhausted all week.)  I woke up, and there was that lovely blue sky!  And I've seen some barely-appearing buds on a few trees this week.  And my crocus are up - although not quite blooming yet.  (Because cold.  It is very cold here right now.)  Spring is coming - and I'm inspired.

F - Fun . . . Tom and I went to Bell's for dinner-and-a-beer the other night, and Tom ended up purchasing grain for another batch of beer.  As he was using the equipment there to grind the grain . . . 


I was having fun reading the signs on the wall.  Here's my favorite. . . 


TGIF, my friends!  Have a great weekend.

THAT Time of Year

When I open my laptop and see this logo on my menu bar . . . 


I know it's THAT time of year.  (And I'm not talking about March Madness. . . )


That little red check-mark Turbo Tax logo can mean only one thing . . .

Tax Time.

(This year, that Turbo Tax logo is appearing on my menu bar in March.)  
(Usually . . . it doesn't show up until April.)  
(Because apparently I live for deadlines.)  
(But that's fodder for another post.)


How about . . . three tax-filing tips from a (former-and-now-non-practicing-except-on-herself) CPA?

  1. April 17.  Taxes are due on April 17 this year . . . so you actually have 2 extra days to file this year.  (Yippee.)
  2. Turbo Tax.  If you want to file on your own, Turbo Tax is the best tax software to help you get the job done.
  3. Just do it.  And, while you're at it, prepare for the changes that are coming next year.

Just for the record, my taxes are finished already this year. (Pretty much.)
Which might be a new record for me.  
(Is there a deduction for that????)  
(But don't worry about my living-for-the-deadline thing.)  (Because I still need to file for my Dad.)

How about YOU?  Are you an early filer?  Or do you drag your feet (like me)?


Be sure to check out other Three on Thursday posts today over at Carole's.


No Actual Unraveling

Knitting has been slow, but somewhat steady.


The base tier is taking shape.

It's nice, relaxing, mindful knitting.  Except for the flip side.


Yeah.  Trying to deal with that mess every four squares or so.

No rush.  No hurry.  No stress.
And - best of all - no unraveling!


How about you?  What'cha making?

And be sure to check out the links in the comments over at Kat's for more unraveled posts.

Downright Pavlovian

For the last two years, I have been making an intentional and focused effort on reducing the amount of . . . stuff . . . I own.  Call it KonMari-ing or Döstädning or simple de-cluttering . . . I've been On It.

I've cleaned out my closets (multiple times).  I've reduced my personal library (by 30 banker's boxes of books).  I've cleared out my yarn stash (and I'm not done yet).  I've given away bedroom sets and kitchen supplies and linens and holiday décor and bric-a-brac.  

And I've tried to reduce the . . . stuff . . . at the source -- by curtailing what I bring IN to my house.  I've cut down on gift-exchanges.  I've reduced my shopping.  I've gotten much better at telling myself NO.  I recycle catalogs and magazines before I even bring them through the door.

There is so much less . . . stuff . . . in my house now than there was a couple of years ago.  But I still have more work to do!

And then, last week, I had a bit of an epiphany.  About shopping.  (Yes.  It's another True Confessions moment.)



So I've been a loyal Estée Lauder fan for pretty much my entire adult life.  (It's pricey -- but it works.  My skin is in great shape for a woman of my age-and-stage in life.  Just sayin.)  It all started back in the early 1980s.  When I was lured . . . by one of their free give-away deals.

You know how it works.  You spend $XX on a regular product, and they send you home with a bag of generously-sized sample products and a free-with-purchase make-up bag.  And, in Estée Lauder-land, they do this 4 times each year.  Because the products really do last a long time (a little dab'll do ya!), even a poor grad student's wife (back in the 80s) could indulge in special make-up and skin care products now and then.

The years unfolded.  I continued using the products.  I built relationships with the women at the Estée Lauder counter.  I got moved up to "preferred" status.  Now they even give me a call to let me know it's almost "free gift" time -- and I receive special passes to come in and get my "free gift" a few days before the promotion actually begins.

In other words . . . they treat me like I'm Special.

You know why?

Because I tend to buy at these promotions!  Even if I don't need anything immediately, I will pick something up to have on hand. . . and get the "free gift with purchase."  By this point, my make-up and skin care inventory is full-to-bursting.  I will use the . . . stuff . . . eventually.  But, for now, I definitely have an inventory on hand.

Yesterday I pulled out my entire inventory of EL products. This is stuff that I have on hand, but I'm not currently using. As you can see . . . plenty.

So when this quarter's promotional brochure (and "valuable coupon") showed up in my mailbox last week, I decided to skip it.
To just sit this one out.  
To simply not show up.
I'd just pop the brochure in the recycling bin on the way into the house.  
Because I don't need any products right now.

This is my current inventory of Advanced Night Repair. A great product, sure. But this amount will last me for years.

But you know what happened?


I didn't put it in the recycling bin.

I took it into the house.
And opened it.
And wrote the promotion dates on my calendar.
And pulled out the coupon-card to put in my wallet.
And started thinking about what I would buy.

And then I yelled at myself.
And put it in the recycle bin.

And pulled it again out the very next day.

And then it hit me. I have been completely conditioned (in the Pavlovian "classical conditioning" kind of way) to respond to "free gift" time by . . . buying.  Even when I don't need anything.  Even when I know that I don't need anything.

This is NUTS.
This has to STOP.

I finally did recycle the promotional brochure.  And the accompanying coupon.  And I erased the dates from my calendar.  (Because I do not NEED any Estée Lauder products right now.)  (I repeat:  I do not NEED any Estée Lauder products right now.)

This all made me realize how conditioned I am to buy . . . when I've been "trained" to buy.
At "free gift" time.
With "birthday bonuses."
Because they sent a generous coupon.
At the change of seasons.
For the holidays.
Before a vacation.
At fiber festivals.

But now I know.  I'm getting it in a whole new way.  (Thanks, Estée Lauder.)  
It's time.  
I'm going to break free of my shopping Pavolvian response!  

(Please tell me this happens to some of you, too.  When do you buy because you've been conditioned to buy?  And . . . how have you taken charge of your response?)