RA Guy’s Book Club: “How To Be Sick”

Book 4 of 2012:

In case you haven’t seen it, there’s a discussion over at

RA Guy’s Book Club on the book: “How To Be Sick” by Toni Bernhard.

How to Be Sick

Through the magic of Kindle I went from the panic of ACK!  I need to go to the bookstore!  to  AHHHH…. book in hand.  I do so love my Kindle.  I’ve read the first couple chapters already, keep tissues close by if you are easily emotional, as I am lately.  I’ve gone over and answered the discussion questions already as well, but you’ll have to go over there to read my answers.  🙂

(And I know some of you may flinch at “A Buddhist-inspired Guide” but I’ve found Buddhist inspired guides to be some of the least offensive things in the universe and usually some of the most helpful.  So I’m going with it.)

Don’t Just Talk About It, Days 13,14, & 15

When I first made my list earlier this month, I had no idea that I’d end up having the kind of week I have scheduled ahead of me.  Monday I have a two-hour webinar for scouts, Tuesday I’m going to spend all day driving to and from Dallas with David, getting his back checked for scoliosis, Wednesday I have a half day playdate (planned for two weeks ago, then rescheduled) to catch up with a friend that I haven’t seen since my birthday last April, Thursday I’m going in to the hospital to have an EEG done to see if I’m having mini seizures, and Friday I’m having another catch-up playdate with a different friend (also rescheduled) who I thought I’d seen this month, but apparently haven’t yet.

Fortunately I’ve already done days 16 & 17.  YAY.  So today I’m going to try to get 13, 14, & 15 all done.  Watch for updates.  There should be some.  You know, unless I fall over and hit my head or something. *sigh*

Update 1:


The craft supplies extend into the two carts on either side of the desk and also into the big binder, box, and accordion file under the desk

Two hours later, I have emptied the entire desk-that-was-my-grandmothers (now referred to as the craft desk because that’s a less unwieldy phrase), taken stuff out, looked at it, pitched some of it in the trash, designated other bits -one entire drawer actually- for sale on ebay  (anyone interested in some Stampin’ Up?), and moved another whole drawer over to another area, where I feel like I might feel more compelled to write notes & cards (since I won’t have to dig through the scary deep drawer to find them).  I have also dug through the entire cart, following the same process as above, a drawer in the other cart, and the small three drawered cubby as well.  I watched episode 1 & 2 of the first season of the UK version of Being Human while doing so.  I say “watched” but listened was more like it.  I wanted to see it because I liked the werewolf from when he was on Little Dorrit.  I liked him here, too, which was unfortunate because the show is too bloody for me.  😦

Now the children are home, it’s lunch time, and we’re digging through drawer 2 of the second cart.  We may have to stop to do tie-dye before we move on, since it takes up a lot of space and the children would rather we tie-dye today than throw it out unused.  I agree with them.  If only we had some white t-shirts.  Off to check for shirt availability.

Update 2:

An hour later, Nick has gone off to work and I have finished emptying the second cart.  Another trash can has been added, as the first one is FULL.  The tie-dye did not pan out, as only one kid has a shirt available for  it.  The top of the desk is left to do, as is finding a home off the floor for all the paper products (which do not fit into the desk).


See, the top is still left to be sorted out.  That'll be left until the ebaying is complete, sadly.

However, the day is still rain-free, the kids are awake and at liberty, so they are being drafted into “Day 15” and will help me carry heavy stuff in the garage.  I can hear them discussing it amongst themselves right now.  “We have to help her because she’s TIRED.”  “We’ll carry the heavy stuff and then she’ll be happy and let us have screen time later.”  They are SO RIGHT on both counts. (In other news, my bff read my earlier update & called & excused me from coming to her house this weekend, which was a relief because I was fairly certain I’d be dead by then.  Two trips to DFW in one week do not make for a happy Lisa.  On the other hand, I had wanted to see the Harry Potter party leftovers and love on her and her kids.  Ah well, there will be time for that next month.)

Update 3:

Another hour later, because I’m about to pass out and this may be the last update of the day.  The two younger kids have been very good helpers, as evidenced by the quotes above (you all knew that was Ben & Greg, right?).  David got mad about 3 minutes in because I wouldn’t let him keep his large supply of sticks in the garage any longer.  He left to take a giant bag of Lego bricks inside (why was it in the garage?  no idea) and never came back out again.  Greg and Ben helped me break down boxes, sort things into recycling bins (certain things can go in the one that goes out to the street that can’t go directly to the recycle center and vice versa) and the dumpster, and sort other things into whose room in the house they belonged to for once they go back inside.  Now we have a couple bins of things that go back in the house, which worries me a bit.  But the garage has been tidied up a reasonable amount, my trunk is full of more stuff for Goodwill, and in a few minutes it’ll also have been swept.  And then I’m going to go lie down on the couch and watch The Secret of Moonacre again with Greg because it is a delightful movie and I am exhausted.

Update 4:

(Are you shocked?)

Well, another hour has gone by and I haven’t passed out yet.  The kids didn’t want to watch a movie just yet.  “It’s a lovely day, Mama!”  And it is.  Breezy, warm.  Non-standard January weather.  They wanted to ride bikes in front of the house.  Sure, why not.  Well, here’s why: we tidied the bikes into a figurative corner and couldn’t get them out without getting the van out of the garage.  As long as the van was out and there was more space to move around in, why not reconfigure the garage so the bikes are easy to get to and the van seats (which rarely leave the garage these days) are less open to the elements?  So the kids got their bikes out, I shifted the other stuff while they were riding, et voila!  Now they can get to their bikes & helmets & padding on their own and I, thanks to some hooks hung on the wall to contain their never-used golf sets, have comfy seats inside the garage to watch the festivities from, out of the sun and elements.  Wahoo!


messy, hard to get around stuff

Messy messy back wall of garageMessy, messy garage looking out of big doors


stuff we like to use front and center by the door, tidied up & purged of extras (except that small desk, which is destined for my in-laws house once their remodeling is complete, which will be soon)

The back wall of the garage, tidied up. :)Looking out through the big door of the garage, all tidied up

Don’t Just Talk About It, Do It; Day 12

Day Twelve on the schedule had me cleaning something messy somewhere in the house.  Very vague.  Sometimes I like vague.  Today was a good day for vague.  Here’s how it went: I did some stuff in each room of the house, tidying up here and there various messes that had gone untidied earlier in the week.  No before and after photos, no drastic changes.  Just a bit here and a bit there.  The only big things I did was gather up all the trash and put it in the dumpster, gather up all the Goodwill donations and drive them out to the drop off, and have the kids finish tidying up their rooms.  David took down everything I put on his display shelf and put it on the desk “to play with.” Ben rearranged some of the bins in his room.  Greg showed off all the changes to his cousins when they came over this evening.  And that was it, end of week 3.  Wahoo!

Don’t Just Talk About It, Day 11

For Day 11 I tackled the biggest boys bedroom.



oh my (he assures me that he was trying to find something, which led to this mess.  I love how that happens.)


the closet full of mostly my stuff and/or empty containers


I don’t have any DURING photos.  I was too busy being busy.  And now for an explanation of my process.  A real life friend asked today how I manage to do all that I do.  Here’s how:  when I move furniture I take everything out of it.  Then I take it as far apart as it goes, unscrewing screws, taking off drawers, legs, anything to make it lighter.  Yes, this is time consuming.  Yes, it’s tedious.  Yes, I probably ought to ask my husband to move stuff for me.  But then he’d have to stand around while I internally debated all the pros and cons of where I wanted the item to end up and move the parts back and forth and back and forth while I decided and let’s face it: that would make him insane.  I’m trying to avoid insane Nick.  Also of note, I didn’t do this room in an hour or even two.  I started on it right after I dropped big kids off at school around 7:30am and worked on it off and on, with frequent rest breaks and time off to take Greg to school and to eat meals, until 1:30pm.


Here, for instance, those plastic drawers: mostly empty.  Also: lightweight.  They’re living in the garage awaiting a trip to another home.  There was a little plastic cart in the corner you can’t see that just wheeled on out (also mostly empty, oddly enough).  That all got moved the first 15 minutes, then a fifteen minute break.

The file cabinets got emptied out (each one had one empty drawer already).  The top one had drawers that came all the way out, the bottom one did not, but I already knew that (that’s how they came to be stacked that way).  I only moved them a few feet across the room to hold up the desktop (which, don’t tell David, was the bottom of his crib) of D’s new desk area.  I moved those one at a time, with a rest break in between and afterward.


Since the closet was then nearly empty (I still have a stack of file boxes of old high school & college memory stuff in there that needs tending, but that’s another day entirely), I slid the dresser (particleboard, also sans drawers) in there.  After that another break, this time for lunch.  (See the pattern here?)


The only heavy thing to move at all was the former TV stand – also oddly particle board – but it was much lighter after removing the drawer.  (The family that took our old TV is coming to pick it up later this week)


Also in between everything was the ever-present picking up of Lego bricks.  They’re EVERYWHERE (they were even, mind-bogglingly, under my bed).




A nice, neat desk area for David, with drawers in the file cabinets for his Scout stuff & papery goodness and the hope chest for Lego brick storage. (Not shown: his display shelves: they’re to the left of the frame)


The closet of joy and emptiness.  Or NOT.  I found 12 belts in there.  12.  He can’t ever complain about a lack of belts again.


(Notice that I’m not showing the beds in these pictures.  Yeah.  That’s where I dump all the stuff I no longer have any interest in picking up.  I put away the stuff that’s big and in the way, but the nitty-gritty stuff that needs a kid who knows where it goes to put it away?  Well, that’s what beds are for.  And kids.)

Don’t Just Talk About It, Days 9 & 10

I’ve spent the last couple days ( #’s 9 & 10 on the challenge) working on the smaller kids room.



Ben’s closet before (at least the top half of it; no idea why I took just the top half, but look, so many clothes, so many piled games, the bottom half was piled clothes and piled toys)



Mysteriously there’s no photo of Greg’s closet before.  Imagine a closet with 6 items hung up top, a few empty hangers, then below: a chest covered with 2 blankets, 8 pairs of shoes, a dozen outfits, dirty socks galore, and a dozen or so books.



The weeding out stage, which we actually did over the weekend when Ben was available for consultation.  Most of these clothes were lovely, but we had nowhere to wear them.  At home we’re t-shirts and jeans casual and at school & scouts there’s the uniform (which is also worn to lessons), so no need for these cute collared, stripy shirts.



Greg’s closet turned out not to be as bad as I thought in that the costume chest held nothing but costumes, much to my delight. He does have a lot of shoes, though.






Since I’m doing crazy organizational things, I decided to do a bit in the actual room as well as the closets.  The kids haven’t been playing in there at all since we added the nook, which ended up being the place they tossed all the stuff they didn’t toss into Greg’s closet.  They couldn’t find any of their toys and so they were being lazy and just playing their DS’s all the day long.  Well, I’m not going to let that go on forever.  So I took out the Nook O’ Messiness (they still have the hiding nook in the bathroom – have I featured that here yet?) and moved Greg’s bed back to be even with Ben’s again.  I took out the tiny desk that no one uses and moved the shelves over there.

Then I pulled in a folding table from the garage, one that is long enough to accommodate two boys sitting at it, hung a peg board above it, and hung all their card games, lego bricks, nerf stuff, & a box of their creatures above it.  I’m envisioning this as a space that Ben can work at Scout stuff at and Greg can build things at and they can play games together just the two of them.  It’s still a work in progress (I’d like matching chairs and the board to be a color they choose, but hey this is a big change and it was FREE), but here’s how it looks right now:



Special thanks goes out to my friend J.P. who watched Greg for several hours yesterday and my friend S.C. who watched Greg & David for an hour and a half while I worked on all this. Smile

Admitting defeat

On Monday I was supposed to work on the biggest boys closet.  Well, I had him clean under his bed that day, thinking that adding an under-the-bed-storage box would help his messy woes under there.  Oh no.  It took him hours and hours and in the end he was frustrated because it wouldn’t all fit in the box.  I was frustrated because all that stuff on the floor meant I couldn’t get into the closet where I was meant to be.


Yesterday I was supposed to work on the youngest sons closet.  Well, I got distracted by the giant mess directly outside of it and tackled that first so by the time I got to the closet there wasn’t enough time left to finish it.  Plus there was so much stuff on top of his costume chest.  The costume chest was a bad idea.  I thought it’d help with the tidying, but it’s ended up being the place where things get tossed in a hurry and then when it gets full, things get tossed on top, too.  So the chest was excavated.  I can see the top of it.  We put away the books, I stuffed all the clothes in the washer (not knowing what was dirty or clean),  and I made a to-be-tried-on shoe pile.


Today, however, my friend J.  (K.’s mom) is taking Greg to her house while I have some “me time” and by “me time” I mean I’m going to catch up on those closets!  🙂

Don’t Just Talk About It, Days 6, 7, 16, & 17

Day 6 I was supposed to clean under the bed.


Cleaning under the bed was mostly easy.  I took all the junk out & put it in the holding basket, then put it all away.

Stuff I found under my bed.

Dusted under the bed, then slid the already tidy drawers back in.

Yet more stuff that lives under my bed.


Here’s where the cleaning bit gets messy. Day 7 was cleaning the shelving units at the end of my bedroom.


The problem with the shelves is that they are where all the extra stuff is stored: books & movies that have been borrowed but not yet returned (I borrow from a friend that I only see once every 3 or 4 months so it’s a big pile), videos & DVDs from other areas that have been taken out but not put back (mostly because they no longer have a home due to changes in living room furniture), paper goods that need to be filed but can’t because of sleeping David (the file cabinets live in his closet), all our old yearbooks because they can’t live in the moist garage anymore, etc.


So the dilemma is that there’s no longer storage for videos in the living room and my under the bed space is totally filled up.  I started going through there and clearing out movies I was pretty sure we’d never watch again or would be easily available through Netflix. I only managed to get rid of about 6 items. Then I moved on to the drawer of them in David’s room (the old TV stand is in there and used as Lego Building Territory, but we’d never cleared out the drawer and had meant to) and got rid of most of those.   I also dug through the one drawer in the media cabinet that has DVDs and sorted through those and got also got rid of all our cassette tapes, as we haven’t had a cassette player in years (edited to add: some tapes that had sentimental attachments stayed, such as mix tapes made by us or friends).

I still had too many movies to fit into the tiny drawers in the media cabinet.  So I pulled the old media shelves back in from the garage, rearranged a bit of furniture again to accommodate them, and put them back into place.  The rest of the videos and DVDs fit there nicely…with lots of room to spare.  I started thinking about that extra room and how what I thought I needed for the sheet music was shelves.  I ended up pulling out all the music, organizing it by instrument (piano, clarinet, flute, recorder, violin, small percussion), then by book series & level, composer, or genre, depending on the book.  Put all those on the bottom shelf and they fit perfectly.

The newly organized music shelf. Series on left, compilations in middle, by composer next, then theory, books of popular or contemporary music, then the hymnal for clarinets followed by music for clarinets, flutes, recorders,  violins, & percussion.

So in the end I worked on days 6, 7, 16, & 17.  I still have some more work for day 16 – I’m going through and ripping CDs to mp3 that I never listen to because they can’t go on the iPhone as they currently stand – involving moving quite a few CDs into a “Discard if not used in 6 months” box.  But that I’ll leave for later in the month.


I’d hoped to get the rest of the shelves in my room cleared out, but the kids are coming home from their Nana & Pa’s house earlier this morning than I’d expected, so this is as far as I got, which is still so much better than it had been.

Don’t Just Talk About It, Do It; Day 5

Day Five on the schedule had me cleaning out my reading nook.



See all that stuff around the sides and underneath?  There’s only supposed to be three things around the bottom of that chair.


During:  Well, there are no pictures of during.  I was trapped in my bedroom trying out a new anti-inflammatory gel in an awkward location and couldn’t leave to get my camera, as it wasn’t dry enough yet.  So imagine the chair pulled out and all these items underneath it: 5 boy socks (none matching the others), 2 adult baseball caps, 1 adult apron from a job I had 15 years ago, a pile of trash paper about 8 inches high, a pile of stuff to be filed much smaller than that, an adult belt, a full sized ergonomic keyboard, a gamecube controller, 4 power cables (only one of which I couldn’t identify), my reading basket, a mirror, 2 wire hangers, a VHS tape cover, and a book & workbook for Twelve Extraordinary Women.  I pulled it all out, dusted it all off, put everything we were keeping away and everything else in the trash can, then swept up all the dust.



One hour later, this is what my reading nook looks like.  There’s a round piece of glass that occasionally becomes a table top when we need it on one side of the chair (safest place to keep it), a mirror to cover the cable coming into the room on the other side, and my reading basket below the outlet (it contains extra bookmarks, magazines in progress, book holders, and book covers in case I’m reading something that might scare the kids).  Not pictured: my foot stool.  It looks so much better now!

Books, 2012

I don’t think I’ll be able to beat my reading record from last year, but here’s what I’ve been reading the last two weeks.  🙂

Books I’ve read/am reading:

  1. The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan (David and I are reading this series together – I really liked this one)
  2. Point of Honor by Madeleine Robins (I’m reading this in the car and am only 21 pages in)
  3. The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan (Just started it – there’s not a lot of time for reading lately)

Don’t Just Talk About It, Do It, Day 4

Day Four!  I totally admit to doing this yesterday, as I knew I would not have a moment today to get to it.  Today’s goal was to DO SOMETHING about my closet.  The problems: 1) my kid likes to hide in there during hide-n-seek, 2) there’s no room for that without pulling down clothes, 3) I have no idea what’s back there under all that stuff, 4) scrapbooks ought to be out where they can be seen & admired, not trapped in the closet, 5) my shoe organizer does not work for me.


messes and piles and stuff on the floor, oh my!


I literally just pulled everything out and dumped it onto the floor.  My husband came home for lunch in the middle of all of this and I warned him not to go in there, as the mess might suck him into an evil vortex, but he did not heed my warning.  Fortunately the evil vortex must have gone out for lunch.

After I pulled everything out of the closet, I pulled everything off this little shelving unit (which was just more little junk) and put it into the back of the closet.


I put all the boxes of extra pictures  and my old diaries onto the shelves.  The sewing machine sits on top in the corner.  You can’t see it because of the angle of the photo, but there’s a ton of space in there for the smallest boy to hide now without disturbing my clothing.  Also, the clothing is once again in order by sleeve size, then color.

The other day when I was doing my desk area, I pulled out all the scrapbooks that had stuff in them out and put them where they can be accessed by everyone.  The kids have been loving looking through the family photos.  🙂  The magazine files that were on top the unit that went into the other side of the closet came in and were placed alongside the piles of miscellaneous stuff that lives in the closet.  My husband cleaned out his shoe area and allowed me a shelf over there again (I’d given it over to him when I put the shoe organizer that didn’t work into my side).  I have more shoes than I thought (most of them are for warm weather, go figure).  I also took time to hang up all the belts, put the scarves on a scarf organizer, place the unmatched socks into a bag for matching as more laundry gets done, and made a bin for our sermon notebooks (which I keep finding in random places throughout the house – they need a home!).

Anyway, I’d still like a chance to go through those little piles there, but for now the closet is looking so much nicer I’m just going to be happy with that.  🙂