NaBloPoMo 2011, Reflections

Crossing the finish line

And there we are.  It is all over for yet another year.  No more last minute blog posts that are cobbled together out of nothing.  No more fretting and staying up late to finish the day’s post.  Peace at last.

I’m pleased that I committed time and energy to doing NaBloPoMo again this year.  It is such a good way to focus attention and improve my observational skills.  I don’t think I did as well as previous attempts, but I’m more than happy with the effort I was able to make.

So what now you ask?
Will Ms Oh Waily fade back into the relative obscurity of random posting schedules?
Truthfully, that is quite possible.  It is not my intent now, but it is still possible that intention will be swallowed up by real life*.

I hope to be with you at least three times a week from now on, covering the usual cast of characters – family, books, and any other random things that catch my eye.
I plan to recreate my life, post-NaBloPoMo and post-house move.  In order to do this I will be spending less of my precious life hours on areas that aren’t building the sort of life that I want.  Gosh, that sounds a bit pretentious.  What does it mean?

For those who see me around various parts of the web quite a bit, I might become a little less visible and a little less participative.  I’ll still be showing up and I will still be taking part, just a lot less frequently and only in my-life-affirming ways**.  I’ve finally come to the decision that life is too short and you should only do what you really love.

I love to read, but I don’t make enough time in my days to do it with any regularity.
I love to write† this blog but only do so in a hit and miss fashion, with no real planning or depth of thought behind many of the posts.
I love running a business, but many of the things I can do remotely get crammed in the corner between looking after the children, the house and my digital addictions.  Or get neglected all together.  I want to change this too.

So, I guess I’m laying out some pre-New Year’s resolutions for myself.

  1. More reading.
  2. More and improved blog writing.
  3. More focus on my business.
  4. Less online time wasting.

At the end of this I hope I will be more in line with myself, if that makes sense.
Thanks NaBloPoMo for giving me this insight and new found focus.  See you next year.

* and inherent laziness.
** yes, it does smack of new-age lingo, but I know what I mean and it’s doesn’t involve long braided hair and tie-dying.
†  I’m showing up on the page, but I’d like to step up from just turning up and writing in a stream of consciousness style.  How I plan to do that is still up in the air.  Suggestions on improving writing style are most welcome.

NaBloPoMo 2011, Recommendations, Reflections

Have you thought ahead?

The unthinkable will always happen.  You will, eventually, no longer draw breath.  You will have moved on to whatever place it is you feel you are destined for and your family will grieve and celebrate your life.

Well, hopefully they will grieve and celebrate.  Otherwise you’d better get your karma and relationships in order.

Anyway, I am raising this topic here at Oh Waily because of a wonderful, touching and eye-opening reader story over at Get Rich Slowly.

Eventually we all face some version of Jody’s experience in our lives, either with our parents, siblings, spouses or ourselves.  How you choose to bow out and leave things is down to you.   Most of us don’t even contemplate issues around estate planning and funeral details while we are “young”.  That is something we erroneously think is for elderly relatives or those who have a terminal illness intrude into their life.

Maybe this is so while you are very young, but when you have dependants?  I don’t just mean children.  Spouses, elderly parents, animals, anyone or thing that requires care.
Do you have people to whom you will be turning to execute your will?

You do have a will, right?

Jody’s Dad was an absolute star in the easing of the transition he knew she would have to face as his executor.  Clearly not everyone in every country has the same issues to address, but there will be a lot of similarities and while in a state of grief no one is likely to be completely functional.  So why not put plans in place to make it as simple as possible?

I absolutely love this story.  It shows the depth of consideration, love and understanding for what his daughter was going to face.   It is simply inspirational.

Now I think it is time to focus on setting my affairs, and others around me too, in order.   Even if the plan is not going to be needed for some time, having the bones of it together, ready and accessible is a great step forward from having nothing.  I am thinking that I will take as my starting point the humble Household Planning binder idea, similar to that found at IHeart Organizing.  Clearly it will not have the same content, but the idea of a simple one-stop place containing all the details that will be needed and can be easily duplicated is very appealing.

This may be an ongoing project.  If it seems sensible to share the process as we go through it, I will probably be back with updates.  In the meantime, head off to the GRS story and evaluate your own situation.  Seriously.  Do it.  Now.  Don’t put it off.

Today in history: 1667 – Jonathan Swift was born. (Irish author and satirist)

There are several very nice quotes from Mr Swift, so here they are.

Books, the children of the brain.

Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.

Every dog must have his day.

May you live all the days of your life.
– Jonathan Swift

Activities, NaBloPoMo 2011, Science

Science through flowers

Over the weekend Mr and Ms Oh Waily combined to create a first science experiment for the Oh Waily children.
It started innocently with wanting to pick a nice rose from the garden so that we could bring some of the flowers into the house.  The roses that are currently opening up are the very lovely Icebergs.  They tend to be just like the name suggests, a beautiful sharp white colour.  They can tend to a slight hint of pink, but the flower and buds that I snipped had no hint of that.

I had Miss Oh Waily pop it in a small tub of water, with the intention of seeing how and if the buds would open once cut*.  I then had a few errands, jobs and sundry other things to do and we left the rose sitting on the kitchen countertop.

The very next time I notice Rose #1 it’s little pot of water has turned a striking shade of red.  Mr Oh Waily had, with his able assistant, shaken a good dose of red food colouring into the water.   He had thought that it would be fun for Miss Oh to see how plants drink water and where it goes to.  So by this morning we had a fairly pink and very open Iceberg flower plus two very pink buds.

I liked this idea and ran with it.  This morning I thought what could be more striking than red turning up in the petals of a white flower?  The strongest food colour, other than black, that we possess is the very dark blue.  So Miss Oh and I picked another spray with a young flower and buds.  She added blue colour to the water and I popped the flower in.

Here are the results.  Apologies for the photographs of the pair, I don’t have anywhere reliable to set them down with good natural light, but you get the idea.
Colourful duetBehind the Scenes

As you can see the blue colouring has taken much more. It could be the delay in adding the colour to the water, or perhaps the strength of the colour itself.  These were the best photographs I could get for the veins, I hope they are clear enough for you to see.

Pink Veins

Blue Veins

And in this final photograph you can see how dark the pointed tips of the petals have become.

Colourful rose

All of the blue colour (I know if looks greenish) has come through in less than 6 hours.
So that is the first official science experiment for the Oh Waily children.  Pretty and effective.

* It has been some number of years since we tended roses, Icebergs very much included, so my memory of what would happen was somewhat spotty.

Today in history: 1832 – Louisa May Alcott was born. (American author)

Good books, like good friends, are few and chosen; the more select, the more enjoyable.
– Louisa May Alcott

NaBloPoMo 2011, Reflections

Beautiful things

This lovely quote came across my feed reader yesterday.

“If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
— William Morris, “The Beauty of Life”

It is very timely as I pack up our household into boxes large and small.  The process of packing belongings can be an eye-opening one.  
How many
boxes have I packed?  Where are the gaps in the house then?  There should be great stretches full of nothing but empty space.  There isn’t?  Gee, I wonder why?

The answer is staring you right in the face, boxes and boxes of things collected over many years.  Some of which are still in use and useful, some are simply there just in case.  I am beginning to think that the Oh Waily family has accumulated quite a bit of the latter.

Is anyone else out there a paradox wrapped up in skin?  I am a closet minimalist.  Well, in so far as my minimalism seems to be confined to my mind only and does not appear in the reality of my home.  This doesn’t mean I don’t try.  But something always seems to get in the way.  Oh, that’s right.  The Stuff.  And The Family.

What is a person to do when other members of the household do not share the same need to be tidy, put things back in their place or throw old and unused items out?
Frankly I don’t know.  I haven’t managed to find a solution to that problem in this family.  I just get my fix by subscribing to blogs like Unclutterer or Penelope Loves Lists or IHeart Organising or A Little Hut.  Fine, so the last one is a bit left field since it’s a craft blog but check out the paper craft, it is so minimal as to be the embodiment of clean, crisp lines with only highlights of colour for effect.  In other words, peaceful.  Messy houses full of stuff are not peaceful.

Being an INFJ I need peace, quiet, organisation and orderliness.  Living in a riotous home is something of a challenge to that need.  But that is what you get when you have children, especially while they are little.   I can, and do try to control their environment for their own development as well as my peace of mind.  They, however, are just as quick to reverse any reduction in toy mess I try to make.  In the interests of marital harmony I will make no comments here regarding Mr Oh Waily in any way.

All of this packing and the observations that go with it are inspiring me to attempt an experiment. I am seriously considering putting a large amount of the boxes into temporary storage and only bringing home those that we discover we need or want.  Seriously.
I’m not sure how well this idea will be received by other family members, but it is certainly a possibility.  This might be my best chance to do a toy cull without the smallest Oh Wailys noticing.

Hmm.  Things to think about.
I’ll let you know what I decide to do when we move in.

Do you have a “useful” and “beautiful” clause to meet before you bring new things home?
I’d love to hear how you deal with stuff in your home.

Today in history: 1757 – William Blake was born. (British poet)

A truth that’s told with bad intent beats all the lies you can invent.
– William Blake