Monday, December 31, 2007
This process of simplification has raised so many more questions than it has answered. Some have come through the process, some have been raised by other people. I am sure of one thing: the questions will continue, mostly without answers.
What will I do when/if I reach 500? What then?
I don't count consumables, but what about things like the rubbing alcohol in my medicine cabinet? It's going to last years, but it's still consumable. Should I count it or not?
If I count consumables that last a long time (like over a year), what about that box of Q-tips? It has 500 in it so it will last longer than a year, but I use them every day. Should they count?
If I don't want people to give me things - like at Christmas, or my birthday - how are they supposed to show their love and appreciation?
Am I robbing people of the joy of giving by not allowing them to give me things?
Is it fair that I get to give things, but other people don't?
Why am I trying to simplify in the first place?
What about intangible things? Should I count my gym membership?
Should I count the software programs on my computer? Some I downloaded so I don't have a cd or anything physical. Do they count?
What about my driver's license? Is that an object I own?
Should I count my two bank accounts as two things?
Why do I have so many questions without obvious answers?
1 Harper Collins Spanish-English Dictionary
2 A Life God Rewards: Why Everything You Do Today Matters Forever, Wilkinson, Bruce
3 Secrets of the Vine: Breaking Through to Abundance, Wilkinson, Bruce
4 The Rough Guide: Mexican Spanish Dictionary Phrasebook
6 The Chronicles of Narnia, Lewis, C.S.
7 Terra Nostra, Fuentes, Carlos
9 The Sword of Shannara, Brooks, Terry
10 Three Trapped Tigers, Infante, G. Cabrera
11 A Prayer for Children, Hughs, Ina
12 Ben Hogan's Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf, Wind, Herbert Warren
13 The Six-Day Financial Makeover, Pagliarini, Robert
14 The Masters of the Spirit: A Golf Fable, Kinsman Fisher, Anne
15 The Giver, Lowry, Lois
16 501 Spanish Verbs
17 Breaking Out of Beginner's Spanish, Keenan, Joseph J.
18 Larousse: Diccionario Educativo: Inicial
19 Larousse: Gramática Lengua Española: Conjugación
20 Charlie y la fábrica de chocolate, Dahl, Roald
21 The Ultimate Spanish Review and Practice
22 Spanish for Gringos
23 Pido la palabra 1er nivel
24 Alpha Teach Yourself Spanish in 24 Hours
25 The Fairy Tales of Hermann Hesse, Hesse, Hermann
26 Teaching with Love & Logic, Fay, Jim & Funk, David
27 The One Year Bible (NIV)
28 Santa Biblia (KJV)
29 Thompson Chain Reference Bible (NIV)
32 The Backpacker's Field Manual, Curtis, Rick
33 Wilderness Navigation, Burns, Bob & Mike
34 Easy Spanish Phrase Book
35 1001 Most Useful Spanish Words
37 Siddhartha, Hesse, Hermann
38 The Ultimate Gift, Stovall, Jim
39 Eight Habits of the Heart, Taulbert,
40 In the Name of Jesus, Nouwen, Henri J.M.
41 The Journey to the East, Hesse, Hermann
42 Pata de Zorra, Wast, Hugo
43 The Screwtape Letters, Lewis, C.S.
44 Literacy Con Cariño, Bahruth, Roberto
45 Practice Makes Perfect: Spanish Pronouns and Prepositions,
46 Classic Shots: The Greatest Images from the USGA
47 Star Wars Episode I Coloring Book
48 Winnie the Pooh Coloring Book
49 My Lens, My
1 3 hole punch
50 books (see list to know what books I own)
1 box checkbooks
1 box Crayola crayons
1 box envelopes
1 box office staples
1 box paperclips
1 box spare change
1 Camera: battery charger
1 Camera: camera case
1 Camera: card reader
1 Camera: Fujifilm Finepix S5200
2 Camera: sets rechargeable batteries
1 cell phone, w/ charger
6 Christmas cds
1 Computer: cable modem
1 Computer: cd cleaner
1 Computer: computer back pack
1 Computer: Dell Inspiron 600M laptop
1 Computer: external hard drive
1 Computer: game, Monopoly
1 Computer: game, Risk
1 Computer: HP Laserjet 1012 printer
1 Computer: set computer disks (windows, office, etc)
1 Computer: set head phones
1 Computer: speakers
1 Computer: surge protector
1 Computer: USB cable
1 Computer: USB flash drive
1 Computer: wireless mouse
1 Dogs: leash
1 DVD: Finding Nemo
1 DVD: Lord of the Rings Box Set
1 DVD: Yesterday
1 exacto knife
1 file box
1 fingernail clippers
1 Furniture: 2 drawer filing cabinet
1 Furniture: desk (mom & dad's)
1 Furniture: lamp, wood (mom & dad's)
1 Furniture: office chair
1 Furniture: walnut bookcase (mom & dad's)
1 hole punch
1 IGA pocket knife
3 large pads paper
1 leatherman tool
1 matte cutter
1 packing tape dispenser
1 pad stationery
3 pair scissors
1 Pass the Pigs game
2 plant hangers
1 Rage game
1 VHS: Rikki Tikki Tavi
1 set of house/car keys
1 small flashlight
1 small pad paper
1 spiral bound index cards (gift from mom)
1 stapler (the office kind, not the gun kind)
1 tape dispenser
1 wallet w/ credit cards, driver's license, etc.
1 wire basket
1 atomic clock
1 ceramic pot (gift from the Nebeker's)
1 Furniture: blue love seat (mom & dad's)
1 Furniture: director's chair
2 Furniture: lamp, brass
1 Furniture: lamp, golf clubs (gift from mom & dad)
1 Furniture: rustic coffee table (mom & dad's)
1 Furniture: rustic end table (mom & dad's)
1 Furniture: seminary drop leaf end table (mom & dad's)
1 Furniture: trunk full of memories (m&d's trunk, my memories)
1 Furniture: wicker ottoman (mom & dad's)
1 Furniture: wicker swivel rocker (mom & dad's)
1 Kirby vacuum
1 Mexican blanket (covering cushions on swivel rocker)
1 Mexican blanket (gift from mom)1 pillow: golf throw pillow
1 box electrical connectors
1 box fuses
1 box picture hanging wire
5 boxes light bulbs (I keep waiting for light bulbs to burn out, but I don't have the lights on that often)
1 Camera: monopod
1 Camera: tripod
1 candle lantern
1 drying rack
1 electrical adapter (2 prong to 3 prong)
1 extension cord, 8'
1 extra keys
2 fire extinguishers
1 Furniture: washer/dryer set
1 mop bucket
1 roll electrical tape
1 small leatherman tool
1 staple gun
1 staple gun staples
1 aluminum pot (for cooking pasta)
1 bag of corks (saving to make a cork board)
4 butter knives
1 can opener
1 cheese slicer
2 cook books
1 crock pot (small, perfect for just one person)
1 cutting board
3 dish rags
1 Furniture: refrigerator
1 Neti pot
4 glass bowls
1 glass measuring jar
4 glass salad plates
1 hamburger flipper
1 pasta spoon
7 kitchen towels
4 large pasta bowls
1 metal tongs
3 mixing bowls
1 non-stick frying pan
1 plastic cup (I can only use one at a time)
4 pot holders
1 PUR pitcher
1 Pyrex casserole bowl
1 revere ware pot
2 Rubbermaid containers for sugar
1 salt & pepper shaker set
1 serving spoon
1 set measuring cups
1 set measuring spoons
1 silverware tray
1 Special plate with the boat on it (from mom and dad)
1 stainless steel table (mom & dad's)
2 stools for stainless steel table (mom & dad's)
1 sugar bowl
1 table cloth
2 tea towels
1 veggie peeler
1 water bottle1 whisk
1 Clothes: winter coat
1 Clothes: USGA rain suit
1 Clothes: IGA rain suit
1 Clothes: Bandon Dunes jacket (a gift from Mary Bea)
1 Clothes: IGA fleece pullover
75 frames (ready to frame my photos and give away)
1 Golf: Momentus training club
11 Golf: putters
2 Golf: Wilson Staff golf bags (with my name on them, left over from my days as a professional)
1 sleeping bag
1 wood shelf (made by Swede)1 night light
2 Furniture: chair, wood & leather
6 hangars w/ covers crocheted by Gramma
1 night light
1 painting from Gramma & Grandpa Latting's house
1 picture of dad on a horse
1 picture of
1 stuffed bear (Two Cee, gift from mom)
Now to be fair, the bedroom does include more than 13 items. But, the bed, night stands, dressers, etc., really belong to my mom; I'm just storing them. I found this out when I asked my mom, "If I move to a smaller house, can I just get rid of the bedroom set?" "No."
1 1989 Ford Ranger w/ 227,000 miles (more now)
1 axe (the wood-chopping kind, not the body spray that's supposed to make me irresistible to women --- it doesn't work that way for me)
4 bags sand (for winter traction and weight)
1 bucket sheetrock mud
1 bucket, nails (misc. sizes)
1 canopy for my truck
4 Dogs: dog chains
2 extender poles (for paint roller, drywall sander)
1 extension cord, 50'
2 Furniture: picnic tables
1 garden hose
2 garden sprayers
1 garden spreader for fertilizer
1 gas BBQ
2 gas cans
2 pair gloves, work
1 pile lumber
1 pruning shears
1 shovel, snow
1 tire chains
1 toolbox, w/ tools (I should count each tool, I guess)
12 tools, electrical
15 tools, paint
1 weed eater1 wheelbarrow
1 canvas army bag (When I travel, I take my own pillow – king size – and a body pillow. This bag is my pillow-carrying bag.)
1 Clothes: bandana
2 Clothes: belts
1 My Store (extra clothes and stuff)
16 Clothes: dress shirts
11 Clothes: golf shirts
2 Clothes: long sleeve t-shirts
2 Clothes: pair golf shorts
1 Clothes: pair mittens
5 Clothes: pair jeans (3 blue, 1 brown, 1 black)
2 Clothes: pair cords (1 brown, 1 black)
2 Clothes: pair dress pants (1 black, 1 khaki)
2 Clothes: pair tennis shoes
1 Clothes: pair teaching shoes
1 Clothes: pair golf spikes
1 Clothes: pair hiking boots
14 Clothes: pair socks
10 Clothes: pair underwear
1 Clothes: pair work pants
1 Clothes: pair work shorts
1 Clothes: stocking caps
1 Clothes: sweat shirt
1 Clothes: wind vest
1 Clothes: sweatpants
1 Clothes: swimming trunks
2 Clothes: ties
4 Clothes: t-shirts
5 Clothes: undershirts (grey, if they get dingy-grey, nobody can tell)
2 Clothes: workout shorts
1 Computer: Ogio computer bag
2 Dogs: dog kennels
1 duffle bag
2 full sheet sets
2 Furniture: dressers
1 Furniture: full size bed
1 Furniture: lamp
1 Furniture: oak bookcase
1 Furniture: seminary night stand
1 clock radio
2 Golf: dozen golf balls
1 Golf: golf bag (includes clubs, balls, etc.)
2 Golf: golf hats
1 Golf: Rules of Golf bag
1 hydration backpack
1 laundry basket
4 pair shoe trees
1 pillow: body pillow
2 pillow: king size
1 gym bag (with racquets, gloves, goggles, balls, stuff for Spinning class, etc - my athletic stuff, which I sometimes count individually and sometimes all as one)
1 REI hat
1 softball mitt
1 space heater
1 Clothes: windbreaker
1 Clothes: sweater vest
1 OGIO duffle bag1 steam vaporizer (I love the smell of Vicks; it's one of those smells that takes me back to my childhood, somehow making me feel safe and loved.)
1 automatic shower cleaner (I'm kinda lazy that way)
1 bag cotton balls (Most of these are leftover from bottles of some medication, you know, the kind of cotton stuffed in the top)
2 bath rugs
4 bath towels
1 beach towel
1 beard trimmer (More accurately a goatee trimmer, since I don’t have a beard.)
1 body wash dispenser
1 Coca-Cola clock
1 Dogs: eye meds for Chessa
1 electric razor (I’ve discovered that it does NOT shave as close as a blade, but I don’t want my money back.)
1 first aid kit
1 hair clippers
2 hand towels
1 pelican on driftwood (gift from mom & dad)
1 razor (for shaving, instead of the electric)
1 sewing kit
1 shaving mug
1 shower curtain
1 small round mirror
1 toilet brush
1 toiletries travel kit
2 toothbrushes (one for my teeth, one to clean the clippers, and no, so far, I have not mixed up the two)
1 tweezers2 wash cloths
85 boxes, tubs, etc. (Empty, for moving, someday. There’s no reason to get rid of empty boxes because at some point I will need them, even though it’s not right now.)
1 cooler (I don't remember the last time I actually used a cooler, let alone needed one, but it's one of those things that I keep - so far - because I think, "You never know when you might need a cooler.")
If you see anything on the list you would like to have, let me know. I might be willing to sell it to you, maybe even give it away. You never know until you ask.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
1. When my mom is at my house, she will never do dishes. (She had a pair of rubber gloves here in my house, which were counting on my list, so I took them back to her so I don't have to count them. When I handed them to her she said, "These are supposed to be there so I can wash dishes when I'm at your house." "Well, I guess you just can't wash anymore dishes at my house; that's one of my New Year's Resolutions. And I have another related one ...")
2. When I am at my parent's house, mom will never do dishes. (This one I've already started. When I was at mom and dad's for Christmas, I didn't let her do any dishes.)
3. Publish my list of current possessions on my blog. (This will be done January 1, 2008.)
4. Achieve a Healthy Weight. (I actually started this last summer, and lost weight: eating healthy, working out. Then my arthritis got in the way. I've put some of the weight back on, but not all of it. I'm now feeling good enough to start working out again.) So, to accomplish a healthy weight (which is what I really want), I've resolved to do (or not do) two main things:
4a. I resolve to not eat any fast food for one year.
4b. I resolve to not drink any pop for one year.
(I've done the pop thing before. After the first two weeks it wasn't that hard. The fast food thing, that's going to be more difficult. It's just so easy, and tasty. But, it's only for one year. I can do it.)
5. Work on my Spanish. (I just need more practice. I have the books and some software; I just need to use them.)
I might add to this list (which does not constitute adding to "the list.") But, this will do for now.
I hope you all had a great Christmas, and you have a great start to the new year.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
Outside my office at the elementary school, the wall is covered with photos of my kids. I could tell you the exact number, but then it might spoil the contest. I don't know if anyone there reads this blog or not. The contest involves guessing how many people are pictured on the "Wall of Faces." The person closest to the actual number (the number Jonika and I came up with), get a portrait done by me, Mr. M. Here's a sample of one I did of my niece.
The winners (one from each grade, and the teachers) can have a portrait done with 12 photos of themselves, or themselves and 11 of their friends. Plus, the fourth grade gets to guess the average number of photos per poster (there should be something educational).
I've spent the last week having this conversation with kids:
"Mr. M, how many pictures are on the wall?"
"I can't tell you; it's a contest."
"I'm gonna guess 300."
"You're exactly right."
Then another kid standing close by says,
"Well I'm guessing 1000."
"You're exactly right."
"Mr. M, what's the real number?"
"18,432, that's the real number."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes, 7,891 is the real number."
"But you just said 18,000 something."
"I know what I said and 485 is the real number."
"Mr. M, you keep changing the number."
"Are you sure? I'm positive I said 913 every time."
I put post-it notes around my office with random numbers and notes like:
Tiffany, this is the real number, don't tell
photos, don't lose
I even have one that just has a number with no note.
I think the kids are having fun, and the teachers too.
Wednesday, I can tell you the real number. Well, if you're really that impatient, I'll tell you now, as long as you promise not to tell anyone at the school.
The real number is 4,867,918, but don't repeat that because I won't.
Monday, December 10, 2007
the elementary school library!
I know, that makes no sense whatsoever, seemingly no sense.
Each year, at least since I've been in Wendell, the elementary school has a "25 cent Christmas Store." Students can come in to the library and buy Christmas gifts for twenty-five cents.
Beginning early in the school year, the librarian collects anything teachers (and parents) bring in: left-over garage sale stuff, I cleaned out the basement and don't know what to do with this stuff stuff, this was in the garage when I bought the place 13 years ago stuff, I have a closet full of stupid gifts that other people gave me for wedding gifts that I never opened stuff, and any other stuff people might have. The last week of school, before Christmas break, Carol and her daughter Jackie (along with a lot of help) arrange all this stuff ...
At this point let me clarify "stuff." At some point these objects become treasures. Exactly when that is ... hard to say. Is it when a student actually buys it? Is it when I realize that it no longer belongs in my house but should be cluttering up *ahem* I mean filling another person's house with love? I don't know for sure, but at some point the old adage becomes truth: One man's trash is another man's treasure. Now back to your regularly scheduled blog.
... on the tables and counters all over the library. There is almost anything you can imagine (that might be worth 25 cents). Students are allowed to come in and purchase anything they want; each item is only 25 cents. While I'm sure that some kids come in to purchase things for themselves, there are a number of students who come prepared with lists. I have happily and discreetly watched them walk around the library, list in hand, checking off people's names when they have found the perfect gift. "Gramma, grampa, mom, dad, my little sister (even though I know she won't get me anything), my big brother who's at college, and my cousin."
I recognize in their eyes and face the pride they feel at being able to find the right gift. And even the poorest of kids can find a quarter. For the one's who can't find even that amount of change, a few quarters always seem to appear at just the right time. (God bless the anonymous giving of teachers.)
I see them learning the value of what they have, prioritizing their meager funds to make sure they don't miss anyone, knowing that there have been Christmases that they were forgotten.
If I might digress another moment. Today a teacher brought me a copy of a student's paper. On the worksheet the student was asked to use "special" in a sentence. At the top was the definition: Special - not like others, more than ordinary. The student had written, "I am not special like others." I wondered if maybe they had simply placed the "not" in the wrong place, but the teacher had asked. The student believed that although other students were/are special, this student was not among that group. I encouraged the teacher to continue doing what she is doing - making her students feel special everyday.
It's okay to feel like I'm not special. I teach my students that all feelings are okay, all feelings. If they feel unimportant, invisible, not special, who am I to tell them they are wrong. Well meaning parents often contradict their children, invalidate their feelings by saying things like, "Don't say that honey. Of course you're special." The kid hears, "You're feelings are wrong. You should listen to someone else other than yourself." How horrible is that to tell a child who is already feeling badly?
Instead, I try to validate their feelings, then remind them that I think they are special. Even if they don't believe they are special, I do.
During graduate school I learned so many interventions, techniques, responsibilities, etc. I have discovered the true purpose of my life as a school counselor. Over the past three years (sometimes I can't believe it's been that long and sometimes I can't believe it's been that short) my true, real job has been revealed. My task as a school counselor is simple. I strive every day to make sure that kids know I believe they are special, unique, valuable, worthwhile people.
Even if nobody else in their life - including themselves - believe in them, I do.
Even if nobody else in their life hugs them, I do.
Even if nobody else in their life believes they are capable, I do.
By focusing on this one task, I have received immeasurable reward. Today, I tried to remind this teacher that she also has this task. Of course she is required to teach reading, writing, math, science, manners, rules, etc. But her main task is to make sure her students know that their teacher believes in them. This teacher does that; I have seen the evidence.
WOW that was a huge digression!
Back to the store ...
Kids come in and buy for their list of recipients. No adult purchases are allowed.
I took in some things that are obviously worth more than a quarter. But they were items/objects that needed to come off my list. I donated an airpopper, a mixer, a blender, some dishes, and some miscellaneous utensils. My mom donated some art supplies, paper, stamps,
serving platters, and lots of other treasures.
Although these things are worth more than a quarter, look at how many people win.
I win because I eliminate things from my list.
My mom wins because she eliminates stuff from her basement.
The kids wins because they get a great gift, for only 25 cents.
The gift recipient wins because they receive a gift that the kid would never have been able to afford.
The school wins because the money raised during the sale goes for some great projects around the school.
The 25 Cent Christmas Store is a win-win-win-win-win situation. How often does that happen?