Sunday, June 19, 2011


Today was one of those "lost in a haze" days. And yet, I got my hair cut, bought and set up an all-in-one printer, and scanned all of my automotive-related and HOA-related documentation for the past 10 years.

One thing I am finding is that I'm starting projects and not following through on them. I have the same problem at work. I probably should have held off on the scanning project until I got the bathroom painted...but dealing with all of the paperwork was sort of related to getting started on Quicken...yet another partially completed project.

Still, for the most part, these projects give me hope for a better organized living space and automated monthly payments.

I'm proud of taking these steps.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Happy Birthday to me

Today I clock over to 49 years old. I celebrated the day quietly working on my home, my truck and my finances.

My home suffered with years of neglect during my darkest depression--and it looks it. Slowly, my life, my health, and my home are being rebuilt.

For my home, I unclogged a sink that had been clogged for nearly 5 years and replaced the lens in my florescent lights. This allowed me to reclaim an area of my home that's been "out of order" since 2005/2006.

For my truck, I emptied 4 bags of garbage I'd been carting around in the bed of the truck for about that many years. It's incredibly freeing. I don't have to be ashamed every time I get into my truck anymore.

For my finances, I took the time to take a look at my annual social security statement and the savings in my 401k. The good news is that I only have $100k more to go until I'm fairly set for retirement. $10,000 per year for the next decade.

This is not the way anyone else would choose to spend their birthday. But I so wanted to start the year with a clean slate. I didn't do a "perfect" job of completing all the tasks I needed to do, but it's enough to get started.

I'm studying Ezra these days...learning about how the Jewish people were allowed to return to Jerusalem after 70 years of captivity in Babylon...and they had the freedom and finances to rebuild their temple. I feel their same joy and freedom...the hope that comes with the process of rebuilding. Amen.

Monday, June 13, 2011

At Home with Venetia in Kyoto

A couple of weeks ago, one of my knitting friends turned me onto a TV show on PBS called At Home with Venetia in Kyoto. It didn't really sound like something that would interest me, but she raved about the show so enthusiastically, I decided to overcome my own negativity and give it a try.

After just one show, I was entranced. The show is simply about the life of Venetia Stanley-Smith, a British expatriate, who has lived with her husband in Kyoto's Ohara district for the past 30 years. Kinda grabs you by the throat, right?

Venetia's life is measured and thoughtful. Each week, Venetia tends to the herb garden of her rural home, makes handmade gift for her friends, and visits one of the artisans who live in Kyoto. So far, she's visited the Rakuten Bamboo Shop, the wirework shop of Tujiwa Kanaami, and a defunct factory for a milk-based drink sold during the 20's and 30's. Also, the pianist who composes music for the show, Mine Kawakami, stopped by to visit Venetia and wrote an impromptu composition about the mint tea Venetia brewed for them.

Some of Venetia's handmades have been oatmeal and lavender bath bags, jasmine and sandalwood face cream, and lavender vinegar.

The things that draw me in most are the ways Venetia lives her life: a slow, measured pace, extending thoughtfulness towards her friends, mindful of reusable and renewable sources. She expresses her creativity through making small gifts with the herbs and plants she grows herself. Watching Venetia's mindful life, listening to the lovely accompanying music leaves my mind as relaxed as a bit of quiet yoga.

Happy New Year

Tommorow I turn the big four-nine. Over the past year, I've considered various topics for the blog: lost arts, spinning rare wools, and walks in my neighborhood. I figured that a one-topic blog was the only way to go.

But, I've decided to have the Kelly-topic blog and to write whatever pleases me.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Community Emergency Preparedness Graduation

Over the past 8 weeks, I've participated in the Community Emergency Preparedness Academy. It's an interesting look at the knowledge and skills needed to face a community emergency.  We learned CPR, how to size up a structure after an earthquake, how to administer first aid, and how to fight small fires.  All in all, a cool adventure.