Archive for the ‘simplicity’ Tag

Flames   Leave a comment

Mesmerizing.  Peaceful.  Flickering.  Colorful.

I wish I could come up with some more words that would really do a warm fire justice.  I built one last night as the temperature dropped all day, and by evening I wanted to enjoy the delights of laying on the tinder and logs just so, lighting the newspaper, and watching trickles of orange travel upward.

What is it about fire that is so entrancing?

I could sit and look at the interplay of orange, yellow, blue and sometimes green flame, and hot orange and russet  glowing coals all evening, and be perfectly happy.

When I’m watching the fire my brain disconnects from the current projects and stress.  I feel peaceful.  I am pulled into an eternal place where I’m at rest and nothing is changing.  I don’t know about you, but some part of me believes when next to a fire, that the present moment will not ever end, even though the rest of me knows no moment does that.

It’s interesting to think that this sensation is one that human beings have been experiencing for a long time.  If the theory of the collective unconscious is correct, this experience might even partly be driven by memories of my ancestors.

But why is it that a visual experience that seems timeless, is in fact completely transient?

A fire by definition is entropy, matter and substance becoming more dispersed, not less.  How can something that will burn out that very night before I go to bed put me in a place that will never burn out?

Posted February 25, 2014 by swanatbagend in reflections

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Christmas for Slobs (or How to Enjoy Yourself with Less than Half the Effort)   Leave a comment

by the author of the forthcoming manual Homeschooling for Slobs (when we get around to publishing it)

OK, this is a re-post from last year, but I can’t improve on my thoughts and I know people need to hear it, so…..Plus, I have added one more thought.  See Item number 6 below.

Does Christmas stress you out?  You don’t have to feel that way.  Just follow these five easy tips and join the Slob Revolution!

Item number 1: Decorations

My rule here is, never buy Christmas decorations.  People will give them to you anyway, and then you will have enough to make your house cheerful and festive, without having to worry much about where to store it all.  A few tasteful decorations go much farther than five boxes full of battery powered wreaths and all the rest.  It’ll take less time to take down as well.

Also I definitely don’t recommend putting up Christmas lights.  That can be a health risk and takes quite a few hours.  Here’s what you can do instead:  Gather the kids and your husband.  Get into your car.  Drive down your street.  (Or better yet, get some exercise while enjoying the lights, by walking!)  Maybe even make it into the next neighborhood.  You will see gorgeous light displays everywhere!  I like the blue lights on the Christmas trees in other people’s front yards.  I am especially fond of the white lighted reindeer.  Seriously, these light displays are awesome!  You will get so much enjoyment from them.  And the best part?  You don’t pay for anything but the gas money.  No cost for lights, no cost for electricity, no doctor bills from falling off the roof.  You really can’t lose!

Item number 2: Festive baked goods

I remember reading one of those “simplify your holidays” articles years ago, and here’s the part where I started choking.  This article recommended that, to decrease your stress level, you could make only 6 kinds of cookies, instead of your usual 15.  OK, maybe I’m exaggerating the former amount, but I am not exaggerating their recommendation of doing “only” six kinds of cookies.

What do these people do for a living?  SIX kinds of cookies?  I have always made two things: frosted sugar cookies and fudge. That’s it.  They are annual favorites, they are delicious, they are not hard to make.  And trust me, your kids will be getting enough sugar and food coloring from other sources anyway!  Boy, if I had ever known I was supposed to be making SIX kinds of cookies to be doing the holidays properly….I think I’d have just forgotten that fact.

And now I give you permission to forget it as well!  Make whatever you want, and hey, you could even buy it!

Item number 3: Decorating your Christmas tree

The way I handle this is, I have kids who are old enough to do the decorating themselves.  My husband brings the box in, and they all get the pieces out, set up the stand, and attach the branches.  My husband helps the kids with the lights, and then presto! They do the rest of the decorating!  The effect is wonderful, and I didn’t have to do it.

Item number 4: Christmas gift wrapping

This one kind of reads like number three.  I have a child who likes to wrap Christmas presents, so I definitely recommend letting a responsible child do the job for you.

If you don’t have a child who is old enough and capable enough, maybe you could borrow mine.

Item number 5: Christmas shopping made easy

My secret is that I buy things throughout the year when I see them, if I think someone will like them.  At yard sales, on sale, when traveling, whenever.  Then I already have a stash to draw from for my favorite people, and there is less pressure at the last minute to come up with something.

Of course this doesn’t always work.

Then I have to confess I turn to Amazon.  Or some other wonderful site on the internet.  I really like not having to leave home to go shopping, unless I am totally in the mood and ready for it!  If you order enough from a lot of these retailers, you can get free shipping, which makes it a winner all around, if you ask me.

Item Number 6: My new thought.  What is your favorite thing about Christmas?  Whatever it is, be sure to do that.  Don’t worry about the rest.  My favorite thing is probably writing the Christmas letter and sending it out.  I’d rather do that than wrap, bake or decorate.  If you get to do something you personally think is fun, I can guarantee you’ve increased your chances of enjoying yourself with less effort!

So…see, you really can have a fun Christmas season, with less stress, if you just take my advice.  Christmas is a lot more fun if you are a slob.  Then you can focus on whatever aspect of the season you enjoy the most.  Make time for those who are dear to you and those who are alone.  Do something fun and relaxing.  You can use some of the time you saved following these five helpful tips – and thanks for joining the Slob Revolution.

Posted November 29, 2013 by swanatbagend in Uncategorized

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Christmas for Slobs (or How to Enjoy Yourself with Less than Half the Effort)   5 comments

by the author of the forthcoming manual Homeschooling for Slobs (when we get around to publishing it)

Does Christmas stress you out?  You don’t have to feel that way.  Just follow these five easy tips and join the Slob Revolution!

Item number 1: Decorations

My rule here is, never buy Christmas decorations.  People will give them to you anyway, and then you will have enough to make your house cheerful and festive, without having to worry much about where to store it all.  A few tasteful decorations go much farther than five boxes full of battery powered wreaths and all the rest.  It’ll take less time to take down as well.

Also I definitely don’t recommend putting up Christmas lights.  That can be a health risk and takes quite a few hours.  Here’s what you can do instead:  Gather the kids and your husband.  Get into your car.  Drive down your street.  (Or better yet, get some exercise while enjoying the lights, by walking!)  Maybe even make it into the next neighborhood.  You will see gorgeous light displays everywhere!  I like the blue lights on the Christmas trees in other people’s front yards.  I am especially fond of the white lighted reindeer.  Seriously, these light displays are awesome!  You will get so much enjoyment from them.  And the best part?  You don’t pay for anything but the gas money.  No cost for lights, no cost for electricity, no doctor bills from falling off the roof.  You really can’t lose!

Item number 2: Festive baked goods

I remember reading one of those “simplify your holidays” articles years ago, and here’s the part where I started choking.  This article recommended that, to decrease your stress level, you could make only 6 kinds of cookies, instead of your usual 15.  OK, maybe I’m exaggerating the former amount, but I am not exaggerating their recommendation of doing “only” six kinds of cookies.

What do these people do for a living?  SIX kinds of cookies?  I have always made two things: frosted sugar cookies and fudge. That’s it.  They are annual favorites, they are delicious, they are not hard to make.  And trust me, your kids will be getting enough sugar and food coloring from other sources anyway!  Boy, if I had ever known I was supposed to be making SIX kinds of cookies to be doing the holidays properly….I think I’d have just forgotten that fact.

And now I give you permission to forget it as well!  Make whatever you want, and hey, you could even buy it!

Item number 3: Decorating your Christmas tree

The way I handle this is, I have kids who are old enough to do the decorating themselves.  My husband brings the box in, and they all get the pieces out, set up the stand, and attach the branches.  My husband helps the kids with the lights, and then presto! They do the rest of the decorating!  The effect is wonderful, and I didn’t have to do it.

Item number 4: Christmas gift wrapping

This one kind of reads like number three.  I have a child who likes to wrap Christmas presents, so I definitely recommend letting a responsible child do the job for you.

If you don’t have a child who is old enough and capable enough, maybe you could borrow mine.

Item number 5: Christmas shopping made easy

My secret is that I buy things throughout the year when I see them, if I think someone will like them.  At yard sales, on sale, when traveling, whenever.  Then I already have a stash to draw from for my favorite people, and there is less pressure at the last minute to come up with something.

Of course this doesn’t always work.

Then I have to confess I turn to Amazon.  Or some other wonderful site on the internet.  I really like not having to leave home to go shopping, unless I am totally in the mood and ready for it!  If you order enough from a lot of these retailers, you can get free shipping, which makes it a winner all around, if you ask me.

So…see, you really can have a fun Christmas season, with less stress, if you just take my advice.  Christmas is a lot more fun if you are a slob.  Then you can focus on whatever aspect of the season you enjoy the most.  Make time for those who are dear to you and those who are alone.  Do something fun and relaxing.  You can use some of the time you saved following these five helpful tips – and thanks for joining the Slob Revolution.

Posted December 11, 2012 by swanatbagend in Uncategorized

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