Years ago, Cas Aarssen would spend hours looking for lost items, cleaning up and tidying up, and dusting items she didn’t even like. Sound familiar? Sometimes, we get so entrenched in our routines that we don’t see the belongings that no longer belong in our homes. Or we feel too busy, too overwhelmed, too exhausted to tackle a big project like decluttering. We think it’ll require energy and effort we just don’t have. Another obstacle to decluttering is actually letting items go. ‘We are especially reluctant to declutter things that were expensive, have sentimental value or things that we perceive as being useful ‘someday,” said Aarssen, an author and professional organizer. ‘Unfortunately, almost everything can land in one of these categories and by holding onto too many ‘useful’ items, we are making the spaces in our homes ‘useless.” We also don’t get rid of items because our stuff starts to represent different possibilities. And that stuff ends up replacing our actual habits. For
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For creative people, solitude is essential. Here are some excellent and inspiring thoughts on the nurturing power of solitude. Thank you, Kara!
There is nothing I love more than sitting at home, alone on a rainy day, coffee in hand, reading a book or listening to music (which for me means about 90% Lana Del Rey, 10% other artists, lol) while I write. Besides a day spent at the beach or exploring a beautiful place in nature, this is my favorite kind of day. For most people, this kind of day is dreary and boring. And I get why they would feel that way. But for me, spending time alone is one of the best feelings in the world.
If you are an introvert like me, living in today’s fast-paced society can be mentally exhausting. You may frequently wonder what is wrong with you, asking yourself, “Why don’t I like doing what everyone else likes doing? Why don’t I want to go out and party every weekend?” It is easy…
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Caitlin Kelly has my sincere respect and gratitude for fighting the good fight so long and so hard.
By Caitlin Kelly
My husband’s team Pulitzer prize…
Some of you might be readers of The New York Times, a newspaper some consider the best of the U.S. press, and my husband’s former employer of 31 years. I also write for them, freelance, several times a year.
The paper now has a new publisher, a member of the same family that bought it in 1896.
The Times will continue to search for the most important stories of our era with curiosity, courage and empathy — because we believe that improving the world starts with understanding it. The Times will continue to resist polarization and groupthink by giving voice to the breadth of ideas and experiences — because we believe journalism should help people think for themselves. The Times will hold itself to the highest standards of independence, rigor and fairness — because we believe…
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by Lillian Csernica on December 28, 2017
This has been the year I got serious about weight loss. 80 pounds gone! A great relief, both to my joints and to my various doctors. I knew the holiday season would present an obstacle course of temptations and trials. It would also bring many lovely gifts from the people who know me too well. A life without books, cats, and chocolate would not be worth living.
Here, then, is an account of all the goodies bestowed upon me.
My Christmas stocking: (Yes, I’m about to turn 52 and my mother still stuffs my stocking.)
- Nutella with pretzel sticks.
- Necco wafersNecco wafers
- European solid chocolate Christmas ornaments.
- Two milk chocolate elves
Homemade Ghirardelli brownies
A box of Mrs. Fields cookies.
A big red metal bucket full of four dozen Mrs. Fields cookies.
A Ferrerro Rocher Chocolate Set, dark, hazelnut, and coconut. (18 candies total.)
A Russell Stover Box, the Nuts & Chews.
Homemade Christmas cookies and a bag of homemade spiced nuts.
A Ghirardelli gift set.
Another box of Moose Munch.
Have I eaten all of this? Good heavens, no! Have I put a dent in some of it? You bet. Those Ghirardelli brownies didn’t last 24 hours. My husband and younger son did have their share. I confess the Moose Munch is all gone. We watch a lot of movies during winter break, and Moose Munch is the perfect snack.
Soon I must go back on the wagon. Last January saw me commit to the California Medical Weight Management Program. This January I shall continue that commitment. It’s fine to whoop it up during the holiday season, especially when my friends and family were kind enough to give me the really good stuff!
Sally has been kind enough to run one of my blog posts about the nuts and bolts of answering letters to Santa Claus. Thank you, Sally!
Last Saturday we found out more about the wonderful job that Lillian Csernica takes on very Christmas as an official Santa’s Elf.. This week she takes us through the process of becoming one of these very special volunteers.. Obviously the information is related to the United States but I am sure there are similar organisations in your specific country.
How To Be One of Santa’s Elves by Lillian Csernica
I’ve been a volunteer for the local post office answering Letters to Santa Claus for almost ten years now. During that time I’ve read requests that range from outrageous (in the funny sense) to really sweet to downright heartbreaking. When adults grow up and leave the magic of childhood behind, I think many of them forget that in the minds of children, Santa Claus can be the court of last resort. I highly recommend the movie “Dear God,” which is all…
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Little kids with autism grow to be teens with autism. As is true with all adolescents, pressures both inside their bodies and in the social world can make them sometimes be irritable and reactive. Parents who live with them adapt and adopt new strategies for supporting their children over time. Relatives who see the kids intermittently often aren’t prepared for what it means to interact with a bigger kid who can’t be as easily directed or managed as when they were young. This is especially true if some of the teen’s behaviors are socially awkward or even potentially frightening. Christmas is a time of year when many families have a big family gathering to celebrate. Parents of teens with autism and their extended family members are often torn: The teen is a loved member of the family who should be included, but will including him be disruptive to the family or even harmful to the teen? If you are a parent of a teen with autism, you are already well aware of the need for preparation
This is absolutely wonderful. Thank you, Jessica, for sharing this one of a kind experience.
I wasn’t well last week, so this post replaces the advertised programme. I said I’d continue blogging about Lisbon writers. But Fernando Pessoa and Joe Saramago demand full attention. When your head and eyes ache, you burn with temperature, and you’re not feeling fit for human consumption, their wonderful words do little more than swim around like the ubiquitous Lisbon sardine.
By Saturday I could venture out, and a local shopping street again gave me a lesson in fundamentals. Once the lesson was about multicultural London; last time it was about birth. This lesson, as if to remind me there’s always someone iller than oneself (my cold had reached the self pitying stage), there was a beautiful pair of black horses, kept still by two top hatted gentlemen in morning coats with an elegant engraved glass carriage behind. All you need for a traditional East End funeral.
I prepared to…
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by Lillian Csernica on Thursday, November 23, 2017
Today is Thanksgiving Day here in the U.S.
Today is also my son John’s 19th birthday.
Today my oven is out of commission (and has been for about two weeks). We shall be dining at the Ideal Fish Company down by the Santa Cruz Wharf. It promises to be quite a feast.
Today I have written 1865 words of my new fantasy novel for #NaNoWriMo. I just finished, as a matter of fact. Now I can go eat dinner and party, having made today’s quota.
Today I am marinating in gratitude. It’s been a rough year. No matter what kind of day I’ve had, I can come online and find people on Twitter, on Facebook, at the games I play, and here on my blog. Kind people, funny people, sincere people, people with good hearts and sharp minds and dazzling powers of creativity.
Thank you to all of you who read this blog. Thank you for your supportive comments, for your reblogs, for all the ways you help me feel like I really am part of a community. All the hard work I struggle to accomplish really does mean something.
Thank you. God bless you. I wish you all the best.
by Lillian Csernica on November 9, 2017
Here I am in lovely Eugene, Oregon. I’m part of the volunteer team for the Eugene Comic Con. It promises to be a spectacular show, with an impressive line up of Hollywood talent and some of the best names in the comics industry.
Two of the stars I’m most excited to see:
Martin Klebba, known for his roles in Scrubs and the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.
Deep Roy, who has had a long and impressive career in movies ranging from The Return of the Pink Panther with Peter Sellers to the recent remake of Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory starring Johnnie Depp.
One of the key reasons that convinced me to make the drive from Santa Cruz, CA all the way to Eugene, OR is my son John. He began drawing when he was just two years old, watching Blue’s Clues. He liked to draw the clues along with Steve. Watching the Veggie Tales animation series introduced John to a more advanced level of sketching. The Special Features on the DVDs included lessons from the show’s creators in the techniques of sketching Bob the Tomato, Larry the Cucumber, and other popular members of the cast.
At EuCon this weekend the folks from Imagination International Incorporated, creators of the Copic markers, are sponsoring the art contest. Winners will be announced Sunday afternoon. In one of the exhibit halls, III will have the Art Bus available. Space will be provided for all the artistically inclined attendees. Copic markers will be provided, along with paper and other materials. My wonderful son John will be on hand to offer tips on creating that one of a kind superhero or capturing the beautiful autumn landscape that makes Oregon such a picturesque place to visit now.
I will be at the convention, not in my usual official capacity as a professional writer, but even so. If you can join us and you spot me while I’m running around doing volunteer errands, by all means, say hello. EuCon is a great show, family friendly, lots of wonderful people and plenty to see and do.
Hope to see you here!