Organized Kitchen…Help Wanted

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I got this free e-book from Amazon, “Kitchen Organization for Weight Loss Success”, by Angela Agranoff. I was hoping that it would help me organize my kitchen for weight loss success. Not so much. It had tips that I’ve heard and followed for years. Keep healthy veg snacks in the fridge. Clean the sugary crap out of the pantry. Well, yeah.

I was hoping for advice like where to set up a cutting station, next to the fridge where the veg are, or next to the sink where the garbage disposal is? Where do I set up the tea station, next to the tea cabinet or next to the water source or nearest the cups? I just know I have to move the electric tea pot away from the counter-top grill. One morning I got the cords mixed up and had hot water and raw bacon for breakfast.

I set up the kitchen when I moved to this lovely cottage eleven years ago. At that time, I didn’t really cook, so the (unused) pans went into the farthest cabinet, on the outskirts of the kitchen. The storage containers were next. The dishes were next to the fridge, because that’s as close as I could get them to the dishwasher. The “junk” cabinet, where I now store the unused coffee maker and toaster, is in the lower cabinet next to the fridge, wasting prime real estate. Hmmm, it all needs to be rearranged.

BUT, I’m focusing on the garage, remember? How dare you try to distract me with the disorganized kitchen! (That seems to be me, talking to myself). The problem is, as I clean out the garage, I keep finding more things I want to bring back into the house. I have no room in the house! That’s how this whole decluttering thing started!

I have to go through the boxes slated to come into the house, again. I need to pare them back by at least 50%, preferably 75%. This is not uncommon for me, though. I often have to go through things twice, or thrice, or…frice?

I’m sure I’ll be making another trip to Goodwill soon. I should ask the guy at Goodwill his name. I’ve seen him more often than I saw a lot of guys that I dated, back in the day. We may have something special going on here.

Excuse me, my breakfast is ready. Hot water. Raw bacon. My favorite.

Stay tuned…

 

 

191

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Do you remember in “City Slickers” when Curly (Jack Palance) gave Mitch (Billy Crystal) the secret of life? “One”, he said, “The secret of life is one thing”. Of course, we have to figure out what that one thing is, and it may be different for each of us. Which brings me back to…you got it…focus.

I really want to focus on getting the garage pretty much emptied out so I can store the patio set inside this winter. After the days and days of painting, I can’t leave it to the merciless Minnesota weather anymore. I’ve invested too much. So, until the garage is done, that’s my “one thing”.

garage clutter

The next pile…view 1.

garage clutter

The next pile…view 2.

Monday: Came straight home from work and made a delicious dinner of sauteed chicken tenders, mashed cauliflower (faux-tatoes), and grilled asparagus. Worked in the garage and packed up 3 more boxes for Goodwill, all books. Filled a bag of recycling, which won’t fit into the bin until after next week’s pickup. Brought a load of old papers into the house to shred. I’ll shred them, bag them and count them later. Bag count: 186.

Tuesday: You know, the problem with this Queendom is that there are too many jesters and not enough counselors (councilors?). Bella, the chief jester, insists on playing with the drawstring from my gym pants instead of the toys I buy her. I guess that’s okay, except my gym pants keep falling down.

Back into the garage I go, holding my pants up with one hand. I got 2 more boxes packed into Gypsy Blue’s back seat. Again, mostly books. I also started a bag of fabric from my delusional “I want to be a costume designer” phase. The bag isn’t full yet, so it doesn’t count. Goodwill drop-off tomorrow. Bag count: 188.

cat with string

Bella, Chief Jester

Wednesday: Maybe I don’t need more counselors in my Queendom. Maybe I need an Exchequer. You know, the guy who collects taxes from the serfs and distributes them to me, the Queen. Wait, maybe I need some serfs.

Since I have no serfs, I worked on the garage some more. Found my scarf collection. Yay, scarves are back in! Found more fabric, tons of jewelry-making supplies, and some dress patterns from the 1980’s. Those were good for a laugh. Filled another box and 2 more bags for Goodwill. Bag count: 191.

Garage progress

Garage progress

Stay tuned…

p.s. I linked this to Cozy Little House.

 

182

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Saturday evening, and once again, I’m not at the disco! I decided to work on the garage some more, since it’s such a beautiful day. It’s September in Minnesota. Who knows how many nice days we have left?

I told myself that I would clean until I got the recycling bin full. It’s overflowing! I put 4 bags worth of broken down cardboard in there, and a half a bag of papers. I also threw a bag into the garbage, and I packed 2 bags and 2 boxes for donations. That puts my decluttering bag count up to 182.

9 Square Feet of Garage Hell.

9 Square Feet of Garage Hell.

GE DIGITAL CAMERA

Can you believe I found more clothes out there? I almost took them into the house to save for when I lose more weight. I caught myself, though, and put the whole bag in the donation pile.

Hey, I didn’t know I still had one of those brown and black end tables. Maybe the person who bought the last one from the Goodwill might have wanted another?

And the white book shelf without any shelves is something I picked up by the side of the road. I thought I’d add shelves, but do you know how hard that pressboard is? I can’t drill into that crap. I’ll have to figure out how to break it down and put it in the trash. I’d leave by the side of the road, but suckers like me don’t come along every day.

Well, no disco, but tomorrow’s Sunday, and you know what that means. Casino! I can’t believe you thought I was going to say church. Don’t you know me better than that by now?

Stay tuned…

173

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Today is El Dia de los Huevos. The Day of the Eggs. No, it’s not a Mexican holiday. It’s the day I added eggs to my detox diet to see how they make me feel. And after my seventh egg of the day, I feel great! I did notice a bit of, shall we say, gastric distress after egg number three. Probably totally unrelated to the egg consumption.

I realized today that I was going to have to start shopping for clothes soon if I keep losing weight. I’ve lost at least 5 pounds. Of course, that was all today after my gastric distress. Perhaps I shouldn’t count on that continuing.

Super Duck

Super Duck

I didn’t have an egg picture, so I added a picture of a life jacket from a Boston “Duck” tour. (I’ll admit, I only took the photo because I thought it said Super Dick.)

As far as the decluttering goes, I did a little bit of cleaning in the garage last Sunday. It was just so I could top off the garbage and recycling wheelie bins before Monday’s pickup. I gathered 1 bag of garbage and 2 bags of recycling. That brings me to a total of 173 bags, boxes and small pieces of furniture that I’ve gotten rid of since January.

I recently read two decluttering tips on Sarah Titus’ blog.

  1. If it hasn’t been used in six months, get rid of it.
  2. Declutter 10 minutes per day.

First let me say that I really appreciate that’s it’s two tips, instead of ten tips, or thirty-four simple steps, or a hundred questions to ask yourself before getting rid of anything. And these tips probably will work for someone else, maybe a lot of someone elses. But not me.

Number one triggers my worst hoarder instincts. I hoard (in part) because something MIGHT be useful someday, even if I haven’t used it in six months, or ten years, or ever. Yes, I’m working very hard to get over that, but putting that arbitrary six month rule into place just makes me want to throw myself on my piles of stuff and scream, “NOOOOO!!!!! You can’t take it!!!!! It’s MIIIINNNE!!!” Mature, I know.

The second tip would probably work better for me. That is, if my personality was totally different. Again, I’m trying to change. I’m trying to be more like the fabled tortoise, instead the hare, but it’s a struggle. I tend to do everything in fits and starts, instead of applying steady, consistent effort. I get a lot done, but only occasionally.

What was my mantra from April? Focus, discipline, appreciation. That’s kind of tortoise stuff. I’m still working on all of those.

Meanwhile, Happy Dia de los Huevos to you and yours!

Stay tuned…

 

 

Friday Night Fever

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Friday night, and I’m grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning. This is why I didn’t get married, so I wasn’t stuck in the kitchen. Well, that and nobody asked. I consider it a bullet dodged.

But as a single women in the prime of her….fifties…I should be at the disco on a Friday night. I should be in my best polyester dress, dancing the “Bump” and the “Hustle”, letting guys in tight white suits buy me cocktails. Um, do discos exist anymore? And is it okay if I wear handsome, but sensible shoes?

I saw the naturopath, Dr. Paul, this afternoon to check on my detox diet. He decided it was time to start adding things in, one at a time, to see how I react to them. I suggested butter. And donuts. Buttered donuts. He thought not. I offered to leg wrestle him for it, but he declined (chicken). We settled on cheeses, which made me very happy. You know I love cheeses!

I’m to binge on cheese for a day and then go two days without it. I’ll then need to take note of any changes in how I feel. I decided my day of the cheese binge would start immediately and go into Saturday. Half a bag of curds later, I still feel great! Well, it kind of feels like someone is pulling all the skin on my head into a tight knot between my eyes. My burning, watery eyes. And my nose is running. But really, I feel great, nothing to see here folks, move along, move along.

Sigh. It’s not looking good for cheeses.

After I detox some more, I get to try eggs. If eggs are out….Damn. Now I’m afraid to even try the buttered donuts.

Stay tuned…

 

Addictions

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I’ve been off caffeine for 11 days now, and off sugar for 8. I’ve heard it’s as hard to quit caffeine as it is to quit heroin. Or is it as hard to quit sugar as it is heroin? Well, I have no experience with heroin, but I didn’t suffer any major physical agony while quitting caffeine and sugar. I had a headache. I was tired.

However, I would like to see the research that shows how many addicts return to sugar and caffeine versus how many return to heroin. ‘Cause I tell you, I’m not out of the woods yet. I’m jonesing real bad for coffee and a couple of slices of “Herb’s Heart Attack Coffee Cake”. We call it that because Herb brought it over after my Step-Mom’s funeral. We prised the recipe out of him and it contained a pound of butter. Damn, it was delicious.

Since I’m quitting caffeine, I cleaned out my coffee cupboard. It had tea, too, but I rarely drank that, and only a few kinds are caffeine-free.

The Tea Cabinet.

The Tea Cabinet.

That’s the “after” shot. I didn’t take a “before”, but if you look at the counter you’ll see some of what I took out. What am I going to do with all that crap?

Coffee mess.

Coffee mess.

The bags and tin of coffee can go in the freezer, in case I invite anyone over ever again. Damn. Except for the Peace coffee, it’s already old. Into the trash it goes. I put the cookie jar above the cabinet. It will be empty for a while, possibly forever, but I love it. I cleaned up the rest of the counter, too, and tried to make it pretty. The clean-up netted me just a little garbage and recycling, so my bag count is still 170.

Clean counter.

Clean counter.

So, that’s loose herbs in the jars (I thought I’d blend herbal teas for Christmas…last Christmas….or the Christmas before?). There’s a three-tier tray made by my niece for her wedding. I put onions and a tomato in a basket next to the garlic jar. And the knife block is one Dad handmade for me years ago. My Step-Mom said he went into a cutlery store and took measurements and made sketches of their knife block, right on the spot. Embarrassing for my Step-Mom, but the over-the-top effort Dad put into it makes me cherish it even more.

And isn’t this the cutest thing you’ve ever seen? It’s a saucer, cup and little teapot, all stacked together. I bought it in Ireland a few years ago. I’ll actually start using it now.

Irish teapot, wtih wee lambies.

Irish teapot, with wee lambies.

Stay tuned…

p.s. I posted this on Cozy Little House.

p.p.s. I posted this on Chic on a Shoestring.

 

 

Choosing a Career, Part 3

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The detox diet is going well, thanks for asking.

So after dropping out of art school and washing out as a waitress, literally washing out, I had to look back at my oh so useful career testing. I’d lost faith in the interest test after it revealed I was interested in being an artist, writer, musician or Merchant Marine officer. I looked at the test that questioned me about my work environment preferences, and dismissed those results. Assistant pastry chef. Not even head pastry chef. Harumph.

Ah, the Queen of career testing, the guidance counselor’s gold standard, the aptitude test. Let’s see, I showed a strong aptitude for Mechanical Engineering…or Chemical Engineering…or Electrical Engineering….or Facilities Engineering…or Aerospace Engineering… Okay, okay, you don’t have to beat me over the head with it.

I didn’t want to go to a four year college, because I was pretty sure that meant four more years of not being able to afford food, and food was kind of my main motivation to find a career. So I went down to the local technical institute and signed up for a two year Mechanical Drafting course. Engineering Lite.

And to my surprise, I did have an aptitude for it! I was tied for the top of the class, which I was none too modest about. I got a LOT of crap from the boys. It was not fun. I mean beating them was fun, but the harassment, not so much.

I couldn’t wait to get out of school, and I took the first job offer I got. It paid $4.50 per hour and I  jumped on it. The top guy got a job for $8.00 per hour, but whatever. $4.50 sounded like enough to buy groceries.

The supervisor interviewing me warned me that I’d be working with shop guys and manufacturing guys, and well, sometimes they can be a little crude or rough. I assured him that nothing could be worse than the way the guys at school treated me. I was right. I’ve never encountered that level of hostility again.

A couple of years later, I moved back to the big city, Minneapolis, because I could afford an apartment in a nice neighborhood AND food! I’ve been here ever since, and I’ve never looked back. Okay, I often look back, but the point is, I’ve had a good career. I’ve been a Mechanical Designer for 35 years, and I have less than 10 years until retirement. Then…. I’m going back to art school.

Stay tuned…

170

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I went to see Dr. Paul on Thursday. Dr. Paul is No.2 Sis’ naturopath. I went into the appointment feeling very anxious, because I knew he was going to put me on a detox diet, first thing. I was right. But he was like a charismatic preacher. By the end of our three hour appointment, he was flinging out his arms, exclaiming, “And you will feel SO GOOD! You will have boundless ENERGY! And your cravings WILL BE NO MORE!!” And I was jumping up shouting, “SUPER!! SUPER!! SUPER!!”. Because “hallelujah” would have been embarrassing.

Today (Monday) is day 4 of no caffeine and day 1 of no carbohydrates. I can eat meat and non-starchy vegetables. No eggs, no bread, potatoes, rice. No dairy, and you know how much I love cheeses!

I went to the farmer’s market on Saturday, and I have to spend today preparing veg for salads and stir fry. I’ll also cook up some chicken breasts and make some chicken soup. Since I’ll be stuck in the kitchen today, I’ll work on some cabinets. Might as well make room for the toaster and the coffee maker. They won’t need to be on the counter any more.

Here’s the cabinet before:

Cabinet beneath coffee maker.

Cabinet beneath coffee maker.

Cabinet housing the coffee maker.

Cabinet housing the coffee maker.

I filled a bag of recycling, and a box for Goodwill. That brings me to a total of 170. The toaster is behind the coffee maker, and the mixer and small crock are on the shelf. I kept a couple of the seven vases, and a decorative plate and tray. They have to be stored somewhere I’m more likely to remember them, probably in the hutch. Oh, I guess the empty wine bottle, saved for sentimental reasons, should go in the hutch too.

Well, the cabinet is cleaned, the cooking is now done (several hours after starting this post), so now it’s time to clean the kitchen, take out the trash and recycling, and lay out clothes for work. I’m on overtime, so no time to shilly-shally in the morning! And I do LOVE to shilly-shally in the morning!

Stay tuned…

p.s. I added this post to Tweak It Tuesday at Cozy Little House!