Cleaning Up with the Japanese Art of Decluttering


Recently zoomed through the book, the life-changing magic of tidying up by Marie Kondo.

untitledAn interesting and worthwhile read because Marie offers a fresh look, with some new twists, on a subject that feels like it’s been around too long already. She takes the idea of de-cluttering and shines it up to a brilliant level.

The theme of the book is not to throw out to tidy up, but to remove anything that doesn’t delight or give a feeling of gratitude for having it. Marie says once this is achieved you will never step back into a cluttered life and will come to understand yourself better.

I requested this book even though I smugly thought we didn’t need it. Not after our massive clean-out sixteen months ago when we downsized. We’ve been living with the smugness of that purge—even as we grew stash(es) of writing and drawing papers, cup-hoards of pens and—OMG—the books!

Those little buggers had been multiplying like horny little hard hares on the shelves—so we started with them:

Step one – gather every book from everywhere and pile them on the floor.

Step two – pick up each book (unopened) and listen to the feeling it evoked. Was it :

  • A sense of guilt because we hadn’t gotten around to reading it yet?
  • A sense of shame because we’d read a few pages before putting it down, thinking we’d try again another time? Only we hadn’t.
  • Or, if we did read it once but because it was pricey we somehow thought hanging onto it would give us a better deal??
  • A sense of delight, because somehow, someway, the book connected with us?

If the answer was one of the first three the book joined the giveaway pile(s).

In total, we gave away one hundred and twenty-one books!

Now, when we look at the bookshelves our eyes don’t skitter away anymore. We feel a nice sense of wonder and delight we have such great books.

Then it was time for the pen stashes . . . oh just  tsk  tsk  tsk.

Ain’t  weren’t we fine examples of pen-hoarders. A plastic bin, the size of a shoe box, carried away our shameful excess.

And you know what? It’s heaven to not pick up a pen that feels like ick. Now, when we pick up a pen it feels good—every single time!

I’m glad I read her book. . . and as soon as we rest up from our ink-loaded endeavour we’ll be tackling our over-the-top passion for paper, pads, notebooks and my personal hoard of pretty papers.

new papers books oh my




Tout naturel or au naturalle ?

So, there we were—Man-Wonder and I quietly getting our breakfast as the radio played behind the sounds of the kettle heating, cereal pouring and toast being buttered. Nary a  ‘watch out eh’ or a ‘Scuse’ said between us.

Definitely not one of those mornings where it’s like we’ve spent the night the night dreaming and thinking and coming up with things to discuss. Those mornings are like two blabber-guts over cereal!

But the morning was quiet. And as we sat across from each other chewing, the radio kicked in with the morning news and up comes a little news piece worth some serious discussion.

It was reported that the police on the mainland (outside of Vancouver city) were searching for a  hiker. Seems the guy had been spotted on three different occasions wearing nothing more than a backpack and ear buds. They did say when he realized there were others close by, he hid behind a tree.

So—not a pervert nor an exhibitionist—just someone who likes to be out and about, away from the general population, naked, au naturalle , tout naturel. Call it what you want – he prefers it all off.

“Kinda’ cold for naked skin.” I said, when the news ended, as I looked out the window at the thermometer and slurped my nice hot java.

Man-Wonder grunted. (I think partly because he’s cut back on his java.)

“But,” I added, buttering my toast, “I don’t think it’s illegal, if he’s in an area where he’s believes he’s likely to be alone.”

Man-Wonder raised his head from over his cereal bowl and stared at me for a lonnnng moment before raising one eyebrow and smirking as he said, “I’d be more worried about squirrels hunting for nuts.”



. . .Let’s just call that breakfast conversation one of our shortest ever. . .



Book Review or Two


Sarah Jio – Goodnight June

June Anderson, the main character, is a self-described highly trained, (emotionless)  ‘ax-person’ for a foreclosure department of a large bank when her beloved aunt dies and June finds herself the new owner of a much-loved bookstore from her childhood. But she hasn’t just inherited Bluebird Books, she’s also inherited a lot of problems. Serious problems.

June is suddenly faced with decisions; Quit her highly successful job and do everything she can to breathe life back into the bookstore, or try to sell it and go back to her own successful life.

To further complicate things, she is led to discover years of friendship letters between her aunt and Margaret Wise Brown, author of Goodnight Moon—the beloved children’s classic book. Letters which cause her to turn around and take another look at everything she believes to be true.

This book I could not put down. I tried. But I just seemed to end up with my bum parked and my eyes rapidly moving from left to right.

This is one big heart-tugging/heart-warming book from start to finish and it closes with a long satisfying sigh.

Good stuff!


The second book I was planning to review will have to wait. At least until the deliriously-happy drool has dried.

Good thing it’s not a library book!



Operatic Solo or Operatic No-no

I’ve been hanging around the coffee shops again. Listening to snatches of conversations and pondering the wisdom of people.

What have I learned?

  • It doesn’t matter how well dressed and together people look, they still have the same kind of sticky, icky issues.
  • Like the young couple, who were, whether they realized it or not, breaking up. I was fascinated at how their voices would go from quiet angry to rising fury, before dropping into angry hisses, only to start rising again. It was like hearing an operatic libretto minus any musical score.
  • Across town, in another coffee shop I was treated to the following; Two male clerks were eating lunch and discussing the sales levels of the new ‘manly’ outdoors store.

“Yeah, headquarters is trying to figure out why our rifle sales and our fudge sales are still shooting up. We’re outselling all the other stores.

“Simple,” replies the other one. “We gotta’ lotta’ fat people shooting off more than just their mouths around here.”

I’m still amazed that neither of them, while busting a gut, didn’t choke on their sandwiches. And, I really wonder, just who the real fatheads were. . .

. . . .

One last scene worth sharing—This time it was all Man-Wonder’s fault (and since he never reads this blog I’m safe to say that.) Part of our improved lifestyle means more walking. So we decided that we would include an after dinner walk to our local coffee shop, a few times a week, for an evening cuppa.

“Let’s take the crib board.” Man-Wonder said last night.

“I’m kind of tired.”

But he did and we had a game. When it was apparent he was going to double-skunk me I offered to toss the game.

“Un uh” he said, “It ain’t over till the fat lady sings.”

Remember how I said I was tired?

Well, I belted out one of my short operatic squalls,thSNBVKTCX like I tend to do at home (or when locked safely in a moving vehicle).

Wow! Have you ever been the cause of instant dead silence? I considered sliding under the table but the image of struggling to get back up killed that thought before my legs had time to do more than twitch.  Instead—with crib board tucked tightly under arm and toques pulled low—we slunk quietly into the foggy night.

So, I wonder which will happen first—we go back to that coffee shop or Man-Wonder wants another game of crib?

And, I want to add a note here for anyone with a song in their heart; I couldn’t help but notice the echoing—the acoustics in a half-empty coffee shop are pretty good!






I Know There’s a Name for it

Since the strand of tinsel has fallen, and the last string of Christmas lights have been unplugged. And, because, there’s only a smear where the last piece of shortbread was laid out in its glory, I’ve been trying to find joy in other ways.

Like reading! And I have found gems worth sharing.

Here’s a few;

If you’re a stitcher, you’ll enjoy the humor in Mary Corbet’s latest blog, Life as a Needle in My Studio


If you are a writer, and plan to up your writing game in 2015, and you need a little soft pushing, try Jordan’s article about over-night success;


Or, maybe, like me, you need a GIANT butt kick, here’s a sign for 2015 from Jeff Goins

writer   More of his brand of wisdom is hiding here;


And talking about wise men—I just finished reading Huston Smith, Wisdom Keeper by Dana Sawyer.

huston smith   WOW—This is an autobiography of a life well and truly lived.  Huston Smith has friendships with some of the great philosophers and authors of our times. Men like; Gerald Heard, Aldous Huxley, and Alan Watts (Way of Zen). Huston is a teacher, author, and a scholar who has dipped his heart into every religious, mystical, and spiritual tradition that he could find—from Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert (aka Ram Dass) and their experiments with  psychedelics, to the Dali Lama and Buddhism, to the Sufi Turkish Whirling Dervishes and then all he could learn of the Native American religious traditions from leaders of the Onondaga  tribe. Huston has been called a 21st-century spiritual giant.

No freaking kidding!


In the world of whodunits I have found another ‘favorite’ writer—Sue Ann Jaffarian.

6a5d8dd7ba489764f771431d28bfb71e   Man-Wonder surprised me with Ghost of a Gamble from her Ghost of Granny Apples Mystery series. Not only is there murder in this baby but there’s also a cast of unexpected characters, long-dead, shortly-dead and some bodies heading that way. There’s also mobsters, cute babies, mediums, tarot readers, cops, kidnappers etc. etc. .

Funny and light-hearted but solid enough to pull me in tight from the first paragraph and I admit I burned through this one— and probably spent more time whining because I finished it than I did reading it. . .


Right now I’m into a new and promising book combining Yoga and Energy medicine. It’s called. . . wait for it. . .

2464 . . Energy Medicine Yoga  by Lauren Walker.

I’m a fan of Donna Eden. So is Lauren. In this book she combines her yoga and Donna’s energy teachings into a vibrant and natural body/mind series of movements.

Some books, the ones I really, really like (and are mine, not the library’s) I will scribble all through the margins. This book, in two chapters, has almost as much pen ink on the pages as typed ink—and I plan to scribble plenty more; especially since I received pens, pens and more pens in my stocking.thBVSFER1E


And, here’s a picture of what the coffee table looks like now that the Christmas hoopla has been stowed away for another year.

002   The back stack are books I’ve removed to make room for incoming. I still have to go through them.

Just to be sure.

Uh . . . what’s the word for book-hoarder?

It’s that time of year again. . .

sick woman1

Once again the cold season has reared its snotty head!

Am now into week two (since first sniffles) and so so very tired of hearing my pitiful moans each time I have to blow my nose—which is the ugliest shade of reddish-purple I’ve ever seen and trust me I’ve been doing plenty of bathroom-mirror-staring-up-the-nostrils since plugging up.

I keep thinking Man-Wonder has reached the breaking point in listening to my sniffing and snorting, and has waited until I fall into the daily dozen or so, half-sitting, foggy slumbers before sneaking in, and, lovingly (sure, sure), shoved wads of twisted tissue up my nostrils, in hopes of a few moments of silence.

The other though that keeps me checking is the thought that maybe I’ve sleep-sniffed so freaking hard I’ve sucked up my a shit-load of fibers from my drool cloth.

HEY! Don’t laugh!

Since the nose turned into a solid block of . . . ,  there’s been a lot of serious mouth-breathing. And, since I’m unable to sleep on my back, the drool have the perfect opportunity to make a run for it.

Colds are so disgusting!

Take coughing—mine is now a serious strain on my abdomen it’s causing more embarrassing moments. Like having to run for the washroom because the bladder has been coughed inside out.

Gotta’ go to the doctors? Or run out of cough syrup? Guaranteed the cough-fart, cough-fart, cough-fart scenario is coming up. And worse yet—since the nose is blocked, there’s no sense of smell.

You start a cough-fart session and you better start trotting  running away.

Never mind you’re doing a serious imitation of tugboat Annie as you propel yourself forward.

Never mind that your mouth is hanging open like a demented cat. Or that there’s a thin silver bubble dancing on the end of your nose.

Just go. . . G0. . . GO!

Yeah, I love colds. It brings one down to the humblest of places. I guess in some ways it’s good to get a cold. It makes one appreciate full body control and function.

And now, thanks to the daily pot of stinging nettle, green, and red clover brew, the dark circles under my eyes are slowly fading and the ability to hear the world around me is growing stronger.

Like the sound of Man-Wonder doing a lot of low-level throat clearing. . .

. . Crap, Crap, and double-crap—I do believe round two in the battle of the travelling mucus is about to take place.



Last week Man-wonder and I took a trip. For the first time in somewhere between ten and fifteen years we left Vancouver Island. Got on a ferry and motored across the Strait of Georgia.

We agreed to not act like googly-eyed tourists but we gave ourselves away minutes after boarding our first ferry and hustling up to claim front row seats.

Too bad neither of us noticed the crush of bodies flowing against us as we happily nabbed two prime seats. We plunked right down to enjoy the view. Of what we were leaving.

A. Leaving Nanaimo

Yeah. We had prime seats looking out the back of the ferry. . .

At least it wasn’t crowded.

After getting off that ferry we caught a second ferry, and this time we enjoyed stunning views of snow-capped mountains as we motored along side a number of small islands.

D. Gibsons (15)

Disembarking, we had a short drive to our first destination—lunch in a restaurant which used to be famous for being in a well-known and crazy popular Canadian TV show. (about a hundred years ago)

D. Gibsons (12)


Of course I had to take pictures. And I did keep the camera low. Too bad I didn’t remember to turn the flash off!

That’s when I gave up and began snapping off the shots like a monkey with a new toy.  I snapped a good one of the floor, one of the booth beside us, and finally one of the window overlooking the harbour before giving up because Man-wonder’s ‘oh my god’ sighs were getting annoyingly loud and people were staring.

Sunshine Coast Holiday

After lunch we found a well-trod path between the first row of homes and the harbor. Part way along the path we discovered a home with a chicken coop build alongside the walkway. Attached to the pen was a newsletter called The Chicken Coop and it was full of info about the girls. Like who was laying, who wasn’t, and who’d been feeling fowl. Too cute!

Of course Man-wonder and I both had to try patting the chickens.

C’mon.  Seriously? Have you ever tried to pat a chicken?

So, did I get a picture of any of the above? Of course not. I mean, a picture of chickens by the seaside? When there are restaurant floors to snap?

You know, maybe I should let Man-Wonder carry the camera for a while. . .

SOLIVTUR AMBULANDO: It is solved by walking



Once again the wise words of St. Augustine of Hippo have been proven true.

I recently went through a week of growing inner turmoil. Why?

Was it because:

  • A birthday was arriving, meaning I was one year closer to my end rather than my beginning and I still haven’t gleamed the essence of it all?
  • Or because I’ve been pissing around instead of seriously writing again?
  • OR because there hadn’t been enough sun and my vitamin D level was in the toilet?
  • OR, because I still can’t whip the I want, I want mentality that burdens my spirit and I’m so so tired of it?

Whatever the reason, or combination of reasons, I was feeling like a frog on a sinking lily pad and I couldn’t shake it.

So, B-day arrives and when I opened my eyes I knew I needed to take a looong walk and, because Man-Wonder is always game to walk some anywhere, we put on our rain coats, opened our umbrellas, and walked to town in the downpour . . .

. . . And it was wonderful!

We had a quiet, swishy (thanks to passing cars) walk. We spent awhile drying off and reading magazines at the library, then enjoyed a classy lunch in one restaurant. After that (to shake off the class) we headed to a wonderfully, wildly eclectic coffee shop for a loungy cuppa before heading home in the never-ending rain.

Our walkabout took us six hours. We arrived home with tired feet squishing inside soggy shoes, and just slightly ahead of the dark. But most importantly, we were both smiling.

. . And my mind was finally at peace.

I out-walked my piss-ass mood. Somewhere, it fell away. Dropping into a muddy puddle where it belonged.


Solvitur ambulando indeed!

Moving right along

The long, hot and dry days of summer are a memory now. They pull on the mind; like watching a sweet little fluff ball of a kitten scampering down the road. You want to reach out and pull in close, feel its cuddly warmth against your skin only you can’t because it keeps moving further away.

Yeah, I was doing a lot of sighing as I watched the rainy season blow summer off.

Then, fall took a nose-dive into winter and brought with it cold, crisp, sunny days. And Man-Wonder and I got the urge to get moving and so far we’ve kept the momentum up.

Yeah, I’ve been a wearing a surprised expression too!

We’ve even found a really cool walk in the middle of the city. It’s like a mini-forest, ringed with a single path around the exterior of it. That path is a city walk—traffic on all sides! But one you veer inside and start walking through the trail as it loops back and forth under a dense canopy of maples, firs and cedars you forget where you are. All city sounds disappear and you forget everything except the feeling that your toes want to reach up and kiss your face in joy and appreciation of the soft thick carpet of bark mulch and fallen needles beneath them.

The whole walk, around the woods and inside on one giant looping trail is only about 1 mile total but it’s not just a walk. No way! It’s also an exercise circuit—exercise stations are strategically placed along the trails; from monkey bars to pole climbs, from push up benches to posts for leap-frogging over.

chopped collage

I’m proud to say neither Man-Wonder, nor myself, hurt ourselves on any of the three times we’ve done this loopy walk so far. . .

. . . and I’ve taken pictures of every single exercise stop we’ve quickly walked past.

Walking Idiots . . . or. . . Idiots Walking?

Morrell Nov 8 2014 (10)

Man-wonder and I have been wandering in the bushes again. Okay, bushes within park boundaries.

We decided it was time to retry our luck in Morrell Sanctuary—a skookum inner-city walking park wrapped around a small lake. The last time we walked it we accidentally ended up on the highest peak in the park. Which is not a place I’d go willingly, since I grew up in a small town built on a steep hill.

And, yes, once again we wandered off onto a wrong path. Our big clue this time, after long passing Morrell Lake,  was seeing the sparkle of another lake through the trees—a much larger lake, and one that didn’t belong to our park.

Or should I say, the park we shoulda’ been in? After getting ourselves turned around the right way, we had a fun walk back; kicking and crunching our way along trails thick with  leaves and marveling at how quiet, aside from us,  the park was.

Eventually, we arrived back at our starting point—and because we were finally  in a ‘let’s pay attention to the signs’ mode we caught the two we’d missed going in:

One reported recent bear sightings.

The other listed a cougar sighting from that morning!

. .  . . . . So what did we learn?

That either we learn to read every freaking sign OR we take up running. Because, at our normal speed, where we are regularly passed by the elderly with their walkers—what’s our chances of outrunning a wild beastie . . . ?






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