Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Iron May Complete!

Done. Done DONE!

Two and a half miles have been swum, 112 miles have been cycled, and a marathon has been walked! My poor botty feels a little put upon, and my feet have a couple of blisters, but it's done. I've finished, and it feels good.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Week 22 Passwords, Warranties and Manuals

Monday: Read Organized Home Challenge #22: Passwords, Warranties & Manuals

Tuesday: Create a paper or electronic password organizer (you can use this printable password organizer form if you'd like)

Wednesday: Declutter owner's manuals and warranties

Thursday: Organize your remaining warranties and manuals
Done. We will no longer keep paper copies of manuals. Instead, we will go to the company's website and download a copy of it.

Friday: Declutter flat surface
I can see a flat surface in front of me that needs, well, not decluttered, but tidied. I'll do it immediately after I've posted this. It's clean clothing that's been sitting on the chest of drawers for a good few days. To the wardrobe!

Saturday: Declutter another flat surface
The little bookcase outside of my bedroom still hasn't been decluttered of the Elder Offspring's belonging. This needs to happen soon. There's even a crate to put her stuff in!

Sunday: Gather documents/items for safe deposit box or for a fire safe file box
I must investigate a fire safe box.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Busy Crafting

This image is a place holder, showing the type of yoga socks I have made.
My new 'yoga' socks have just been completed. One is on my right foot, and the other is folded in two are is being sported on my left wrist! There's some yarn left over, and me thinks it would be a good idea to make a set of wrist warmers. Then my left ankle can be encased in wool.

My ankles can become rather cold in the evenings of warm/hot days, and this leads to pain. The yoga socks cover the ankle and instep, but keep the heel and toes free. This provides warmth without the overheating that would occur if I were to simply put on an ordinary pair of socks. My wrists can also become cold, and therefore sore. The wrist warmers will help prevent pain, which is a Good Thing.

In other crafting news, I have almost finished the quilt top, Rainbow Squares en Pointe. I'm still very new to quilting, and have decided to make a tied quilt. Tomorrow I will finish the sewing, sandwich the top, batting and bottom, and then baste it. Next I'll add the binding, and last I'll tie it. 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Swimming Swum

Yesterday I finished off the swimming component of Iron May. I swam 1.5 miles, and was utterly exhausted by the end of it! It was a bone-weary tiredness, and my knees hurt in the evening. I was not expecting sore knees. A quickly little one mile walk was added into the mix before the swim. This takes the total up to 89%. I'm almost, almost done!

In other news, my GP is delighted with the exercise and my diet. Although I still want chocolate and crisps! Last night we had fish and chips, and whilst I had been longing for it for two weeks, I didn't really enjoy it very much. Butternut squash pasta would have been far tastier, and more veggie-licious.

My plan is to have reward chocolate on Sundays. I'll ask the Beloved to buy me a luscious lemony chocolate concoction at Thornton's. This will be my chocolate indulgence.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Healthy Eating

My blood pressure was on the high side last time I saw my GP. Weight, exercise levels, genetics and the steroids I was on all are contributing to this. My GP decided to wait a little while and see if it lowers now I've been off the medication. 

I've taken the decision to be proactive about the situation. There's nothing I can do about my genetics. Iron May has helped address the exercise part, and I've been trying really hard to be good with food. One useful side effect of the medication was the only food I could really taste were vegetables, so my veggie intake increased greatly. This has been maintained, and I've added in fruit too. In the past 2 weeks, I've had one chocolate bar, no crisps, and three mouthfuls of 'full fat fizzy'. My salt consumption has decreased greatly as well.

Currently, I'm craving crisps. I want salt!  I'm desperately hoping the changes in my diet, combined with the exercise, will have brought some health benefits. Virtue, thy name is Maghouin; please let it also mean smaller numbers.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Rainbow Squares en Pointe

My latest sewing project, Rainbow Squares en Pointe. The picture above is my reference. I'll be using the striped fabric I bought in Gloucester.

I'm off to the cutting room. Wish me luck!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Week 21: Magazines & Newspapers

Monday: Read Organized Home Challenge #21: Magazines & Newspapers

Tuesday: Declutter or donate old magazines and create files for ideas (or use Pinterest)
We really have very few magazines.  There's probably some in the guest room. I'll declutter them when I tackle that room.

Wednesday: Recycle old newspapers
The only newspaper we get in the free one that's delivered. Most of the time it goes straight into the recycling pile, unread.

Thursday: Declutter or stop catalogs
Already done.

Friday: Declutter and properly store personal memorabilia
I'm trying to think what I have that could be considered 'personal memorabilia'. My wedding dress?  A few items of my children's baby clothes?

Saturday: Continue to declutter and properly store memorabilia
Still struggling.

Sunday: Declutter/shred/file paper piles
This is a task I can get into! The Beloved has a huge shredder at work, and if I make a pile he can take it to work, shred and dispose.

Sunday, May 21, 2017


This is the time of year when I start suffering with my dogdy joints again. Warmer days means shorter sleeves, and no socks/tights. However, it leaves my wrists and ankles exposed and this can lead to cold ankles/wrists, and therefore cold joints. Cardigans and socks cause me to over heat.

Today, I finished (as much as I can) socks for the Elder Offspring. It won't be until she is next on my little island I can measure her feet and fine tune the length of the foot. A three needle cast off has been used to secure the stitches, and when she nexts visits I'll fit the socks to her feet.

In a spirit of wanting to use us the leftover year, and also trying to prevent cold, sore joints, I've cast on ankle warmer socks. On 2.75mm needles, using 4ply yarn, I've cast on 64 sts and worked in 2x2 rib. The idea is to make something similar to yoga socks, but just covering the ankles and part of the instep. This will provide warmth exactly where isn't needed on the ankle and foot without causing me to overheat.

The challenge will be to create something similar for my wrists, but that doesn't make me look like I'm wearing sweat bands for tennis!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Busy, busy, busy

My last day at work came and went, and I was still finishing off items I wanted to complete. I was able to complete the various tasks, but it took a great deal longer to go through almost 9 years of files and ditch the things no longer needed, back up the website, and backup all files. Just after 9pm on Thursday I handed back the keys for the office and a list of passwords/accounts. Also on Thursday I cycled 15 miles.

Friday brought a whole day of doing nothing! I napped twice, and was still able to get a good night's sleep. During the day I hung out one load of laundry and washed a second lot, and I made dinner. That was about the sum total of work done.

Today, I'm off to Manx Yarnies and lovely Sweet Ginger Emporium. My work colleagues have given me a leaving gift of vouchers for Sweet Ginger. There is one thing I definitely want to buy, 50cm of thick black elastic! I'm having problems with trousers being too loose and threatening to fall down. My life is happier with secure trousers. What else I'm going to buy is anybody's guess. 

Oh! I know!  A metre of yellow fabric to add to a jellyroll of blues to make a jelly roll race quilt, and some fabric to make a border for the rainbow stripe quilt I'm going to make. At some point in the future, there will be backing fabric, and batting to buy too.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Week 20: Filing System

Monday: Read Organized Home Challenge #20: Filing System
Tuesday: Declutter current home filing system
Wednesday: Continue to declutter papers in binders/file folders
Thursday: Set up home filing system (use these suggested file categories)
Friday: Create file index
Saturday: Continue organising filing system
Sunday: Declutter/shred/file paper pile

My brain doesn't have any spare space for decluttering at home just now. I', too busy trying to get everything done before I finish work on Tuesday lunchtime. However, a great deal of the paper work listed above is in the dining room, and I will be tackling that room this month. 

I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike

Yesterday saw 15 miles completed by bicycle and 1.75 miles on foot. Despite all of that cycling, the view remained the same, my bedroom. Walking gave a much more picturesque vista, Port Erin in the sunshine. It is a beautiful little village.

This morning I had time to fit in two cycling miles before work, and this brings the grand total to 1 mile swum, 54 miles cycled and 15.75 miles walked, or 50% complete! 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Eating Healthier

Since challenge to declutter recipe books, way back at the end of January, I've been trying to include healthier, tastier meals in our rotation of recipes. This has been working.  When I started taking steroids to clear my lungs I had a funny taste in my mouth. It's as if I've been eating saccharine tablets. It's a known side effect of the steroids. I have been unable to taste anything bitter or sour. It's weird having Earl Grey tea with lemon, and it tasting sweet.

The one group of foods I could taste has been vegetables. For the past month our consumption of vegetables has sky rocketed. I don't think this is a known side effect of steroids!  

With the increase in lung capacity, increase in vegetables, and increase in exercise (IronMay), this seems the perfect time to look at my diet and be more purposeful about it all.  My desire it to retain the increase in veggies, once my taste buds return to normal, and to keep up the 30 minutes of exercise a day too. (On today's shopping list of 40 items, 24 are fruit and veggies!)

I'm going to visit my GP in two weeks, and I've decided to keep a food diary during these two weeks.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Butternut Squash Pasta, mark III

We have perfected the recipe to meet our taste buds!

a little oil
1 medium butternut squash
200g green beans
1 heaped tsp chopped garlic
50g pine nuts
pasta (gluten-free fusilli)
4 Tsp Waitrose blue cheese dressing (or mayonnaise)
150g  Stilton cheese
handful of cherry tomatoes 

Heat a saucepan of water. 

Remove the skin and seeds from the squash. Cut into cubes. Add a little oil to a frying pan and sear the squash. 

Add the pasta to the boiling water.  Whilst the pasta is cooking, top and tail the green beans, and cut into thirds. Also cut the Stilton into cubes and the cherry tomatoes into quarters. Cook the pasta according to the time on the packaging. Two minutes before the end of cooking, add the green beans. Add the pine nuts to the squash and toast. 

Drain the pasta and green beans. Add the garlic to the squash and pine nuts, and cook for two minutes.

Toss the pasta, green beans, Stilton  and squash mixture with the blue cheese dressing. Scatter the tomatoes on top, and serve.

This is delicious hot, and equally good cold.  

Next time I make this dish I shall remember to weigh out the pasta and record it!  I'll also take a photograph and add it above.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Life Continues Apace

Whilst swimming today, I started having problems with cramp in the muscles by the balls of my feet. When I got out of the pool to stretch and stuff, one of the life guards came over to check on me. He gave advice on  a better method of stretching, and asked "When did you last drink?"  

He explained many people don't realise how hard they are working whilst swimming, and they need to replenish their fluid supply. I drank about 750ml, and finished my swim. After the swim, I finished the litre.

I have always been so tired after swimming half a mile, and I'd thought it was because I had just swum half a mile. It's not! It's because I was dehydrated! Half a mile done, and I'm feeling fine and dandy, not wiped out at all. It's a revelation to me.

At work, decluttering, re-ordering and completing work continues. I'm looking forward to Tuesday afternoon when it is all over.  Getting all the work done I want to get done, before I leave is the goal. My desire is to leave it all in a state where people can pick up various aspects of the work and be able to start work. 
Oh, and the IronMay triathlon is 42% done! 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Declutter Hiatus

I have six days left at work, and my energies are going into ensuring (as much as possible) that there will be a smooth transition for the people who are picking up my duties. It's leaving me with little enthusiasm for decluttering at home. Although, yesterday I removed five items from the Clutter-haven, then dining room. Some things were simply in the wrong place, and two could be put into the rubbish bin.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Week 19: Receipts and Tax Documents

Monday: Read Organized Home Challenge #19: Receipts & Tax Documents

Tuesday: Decluter old receipts, and then organise ones left

Wednesday: Create receipt organiser for purse/wallet

Thursday: Gather old tax records into one place and file or declutter, as appropriate

Friday: Create personal tax organiser for current tax information

Saturday: Declutter/shred paper pile

Sunday: Declutter spring decorations
The only spring decorations we use are chocolate eggs and fresh flowers.The eggs somehow take care of themselves, and the flowers are disposed of when they are past their best.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Apple Coleslaw

There is a cabbage in the fridge that needs to be used up soon. This is phase one, apple coleslaw.

1/4 white cabbage
1/2 small onion
1 red apple
1 syboe (spring or green onion)

2 Tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 Tsp wholegrain mustard
1/4 tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp sugar
50ml oil

chopped parsley

Finely cut the cabbage and the onion. Grate the carrot.  Slice the syboe. Keeping the skin on the apple, cut it into a fine dice. Discard the core.

Mix all of the ingredients for the dressing, then pour over the coleslaw. Mix well. Sprinkle chopped parsley over the top.

Four miles on my bike is nothing

I'm very surprised how easy it is to cycle four miles on my bike, even in comparison to this time last week.  Four miles is nothing.

More than four miles is sore botty teritory, but four miles is easy.

Why 'Declutter'?

Last night I was asked by a friend, "Why are you decluttering? What's prompted the change?" I wasn't quite ready for the question, and I stumbled around for an answer for a little while. It got me to thinking, 'why declutter?'

I wanted to declutter because I was aware I had too much stuff. Having way more that you need is bad from an ecological view point, but, for me, it has also been bad for my emotional state.  Too many things has led to mess, and mess has led to stress, and stress eats happiness. I want a happy, contented life, with little stress. I'd rather save my money than spend it on things I don't need.

As I look around my decluttered bedroom, I sigh with contentment. This is what I want, and for each room in my house. So far, we've done the laundry, shower room, vestibule, kitchen, understairs cupboard, sitting room, bathroom and bedroom.  

Part of my motivation in decluttering is to make our next house move so much simpler. My hope and desire it to move from this house into the house I am designing. I don't want to have to move tonnes of useless, unwanted stuff. I want to move the things we love and use.  Another part of the declutter is I want to renovate the current house, one room at a time. This will be so very much easier to do when the rooms are tidy and clutter-free! It's all working towards creating a house that will be easy to sell at the time we are ready to start on our new house.

It feels like it is time to have a good think about a functional description of a sitting room. When we are ready to start the process of house plans, I will have a wealth of images for the look of the various rooms, and also how those rooms will function.  The function will help determine room sizes and layouts. The images will determine the finishes, textures and colours.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Stationery Bike

I was coming to post my miles cycled and walked, and thought "Oh, I know. I'll use a picture of a stationary bike." Then a little idea dawned, I'll use a stationery bike instead. Searching Google for 'stationery bike' only brought up pictures of exercise bikes. Even 'stationery bike -stationary' brought only a few stationery related images. I suppose I was hoping for a visual pun, a bike made from items of stationery.

Anyway, 8 miles cycled and 1.5 miles walked. This beings the totals to 0.5 swum, 24 cycled and 10 walked. This is 27% completed, and I'm in 12th place out of 31. I'm happy with that.

Rest Day is over, and it's back to work

Yesterday was a rest day. Only half a mile was walked, and no decluttering was done. Today is a new day, and I'm raring to go again.

The shelves above Geek Corner have been decluttered, cleaned and tidied. They are now home to the Doctor Who collection. The waste paper basket has to be emptied and a wee, quick dust of the furniture, and the room is done!

I'm really pleased with how simple it has been to declutter this room, and how smoothly it has gone. Next up will be the guest room. I'm not looking forward to that space!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

CDs and more CDs and even more CDs

We have so many CDs. And, today, the stacks in the sitting room have had a first decluttering pass. They all now fit into the CD storage tower.

This first pass has been a trifle tricky. When we were deciding which DVDs to keep the criterion was 'What you do want to keep?' We found that with CDs we were having a sentimental attachment to CDs based on our emotion responses to the music. Rather than wade through a sea of sentiment, we chose different criteria. The first was the goal of having all of the CDs in the sitting room fit into the CD tower. The second was to choose which CDs we no longer wished to keep. This was a far, far easier decision to make. Later on, perhaps in a few months, we will re-visit the CDs and see if are are ready to make any more decisions about what to keep and what to let go.

My main problem is I don't listen to CDs. When I want to listen to music I use youtube, or the music saved onto my Kindle. From a decluttering/mininalistic approach to stuff, this makes far more sense than having a physical object taking up space. The only CDs I actually listen to are Christmas ones.  At that time of the year I choose to put a CD on the CD player and listen.  But, I'm not quite ready to part with some of my CDs.

However, the sitting room is looking a little chunk tidier. The last thing to do is the set of shelves above Geek Corner. This will take about 10 minutes. The Doctor Who DVDs are staying, as is the Galileo thermometer, the Lego Mars Rover and the CD player/radio. The few remaining items will go into the box for the charity shop.

I'm all wet!

Strangely enough, swimming half a mile will make you all wet. Interestingly, it wasn't the swimming that was the hard part, it was getting dried and dressed again.

Swimming half a mile, and walking 2 miles have been added to my Iron May totals. They are now at 0.5 miles of swimming, 16 miles of cycling and 8 miles of walking. This equates to 22% of Iron May, and we're only on Day 4!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

There be dragons!

The sitting room decluttering/tidying continues. We have a dresser (cupboard in the bottom, and shelves on top).  This, along with the Lego box, have been decluttered, tidied and cleaned. On the largest shelf is a television, above that a dragon The Beloved made last weekend, and then a couple of framed pictures. Angels used to inhabit one of the shelves. They are in the process of being relegated to the Christmas decorations box.

I've decluttered a few things.  The Beloved and Younger Offspring will decide on the rest. Currently, it's tidy, ordered and clean. 

The areas left to do are the shelves above the Geek corner, and about 150 CDs! But that's tomorrow.

An Eighth of a Triathlon

Sixteen miles on a bike, and six on foot, this means I've completed an eight of the triathlon!

My feet are complaining a little and saying "Only one mile at a time, please." My bottom is asking for similar considerations, "Only four miles at a time, please." It's weird having body parts that talk to me. 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

More DVDs!

The stack of DVDs by the DVD player was decluttered first thing this morning, and the 'keepers' put away.  This leaves the Geek Corner (Star Trek, Babylon 5, Doctor Who, Battlestar, Buffy...) This will be was tackled this afternoon after work. I'm really not expecting to see much of a reduction in these DVDs. These are the ones we watch and re-watch. 

The only problem with starting with the DVDs is the majority of them were in drawers or in cupboards. The work has been done, but there's nothing to see on the surface. It will be good to get onto the shelves. That's where outward signs of decluttering will become visible.

Feel the Burn

I need to remember to wear 'twin skin' socks each and every time I go out walking. I wore them yesterday and had no problems with my feet at all. Today, after walking about 30m the soles of my feet started to tingle and I was feeling the burn.  This is not a good sign. When I go walking, it's time for twin skin.

Anyway, that's the first mile done today. And, I managed to put on socks without dislocating a toe! That's a real improvement.

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Second Sideboard Cupboard

Work has started on the second cupboard of the sideboard. It's another DVD storage area. I have taken out the DVDs I want to keep and have slotted them into the coffee table chest. 

During my declutter, I found we have two copies of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, and also two Disney VHS tapes.  The tapes have been put in the rubbish bin, and one copy of Priscilla will make it's way to a charity shop.

The others will have their turn later today in selecting the items they want to keep from that cupboard. I am finding 'select the things you want to keep' results in more items being disposed of than 'select the things you want to get rid of'. 

Once the DVDs have been decluttered I'm going to need to look at re-organising them. I think all of the films will fit into the coffee table chest.  The sideboard can be used for music DVDs, documentaries and stand up comedy.  The bookcase will be sci-fi corner, and be the home of the various television series we have.


It was strange on Saturday when we took our donations to the charity shop. One of the women started opening the bags whilst we were there. As she 'oohed' over figurine I had a moment of remorse. It would have been easier if they had waited until we left before opening. However, it was the emotion of a moment. I'm not missing it at all, and I'm loving, absolutely loving, having a tidy, decluttered bedroom.

Week 18: Bills

Monday: Read Organized Home Challenge #18: Bills

Tuesday: Create a routine for a weekly paperwork session
Not needed. As the bills, statements and paperwork comes in it is dealt with straight away.

Wednesday: Create a monthly bill organizer, which includes automatic payments (either paper or electronic)
Not needed.

Thursday: Create file folders for paid bill stubs
In my Big Book of Bills and Statements there is a section for all of the paper bills we receive. 

Friday: Opt out of telephone solicitation calls
It is illegal to cold call, either on the door step or by phone, on the Isle of Man.

Saturday: Organize email folders for electronic bill paying
I don't think we need this. As we have internet banking we already have a record of bills paid.

Sunday: Create command center for family information
We already have this more or less sorted. There's a calendar in the kitchen where we write down events we are planning on attending, and we talk about what's coming up over dinner.

Iron May has started!

Top of the Leaderboard!

That's my first day of Iron May completed. The goal is to walk 1 mile each day, cycle 4 miles and then once a week swim half a mile.

I might have managed the first injury of the completion too. I dislocated one of my toes whilst putting on my socks this morning! Thankfully it was a minor setback and the toe was relocated without incident.

(a few minutes later...) Fabulous Fi has managed to pass me on the leaderboard. She has walked 2 miles. Each section of the challenge counts for a third of the completed IronMan. Whilst I have travelled farther, she has completed more. We both have had a turn at the top of the board.

(12 hours later...) Fi has swum half a mile, cycled 7.5 miles and walked/run 5. I have managed 8 miles of cycling and 2 walking miles. And, I'm just about falling asleep!  I can hardly keep my eyes open. I want to get up onto that bike and add another 4 miles before bed, but I'm so tired. Please, someone, anyone, tell me this is a marathon (literally, there's a marathon in it!), not a sprint.