Marie Kondo is a Big Deal

Today’s post is by Steve Grooms

The title of this article is a joke. Marie Kondo is tiny, actually. Her height, according to the national press, is five inches short of five feet. And yet she is unquestionably a big deal in the culture. Kondo has become famous and influential by teaching folks how to reduce clutter in their homes. She wrote four books that have been translated into eight languages. She has produced a series of videos on the art of tidying up one’s home. A series of her videos has been airing on Netflix under the title of “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.” A newspaper article yesterday said Twin Cities resale shops are stuffed with bargains now because Kondo has encouraged so many people to offload unwanted stuff.

The title she prefers is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Note how that differs from the simple idea that most people have way too much stuff. Kondo wants to change lives, not just tidy up messes, and she hopes to use “magic” to accomplish that. Working from her background in Japan’s Shinto religion, Kondo finds magic in inanimate objects. Before she helps a client declutter a home Kondo kneels reverently in an effort to introduce herself to the home. She asks clients to touch each object they own and keep it only if it “sparks joy” in their lives.

Kondo has a fairly rigid process for tidying up a home. It starts with clients making a pile of every single article of clothing they own. The piles are usually massive. Then she asks  clients to attack that pile, chucking out every item that fails to spark joy. The process moves along deliberately, taking several weeks to play out, concluding with an emotionally wrenching effort to jettison sentimental objects.

A few observers have criticized Kondo. Oddly enough, a woman who has written four books doesn’t seem to revere them. She has said nobody needs to keep more than 30 books. Kondo thinks a book one hasn’t read in three years is ripe for dumping, and she sees no value in keeping a book one has already read. My daughter, the person who urged me to get to know Kondo, vehemently disagrees on the topic of books!

Kondo could come off as a nag were it not for her sweet personality and spiritualism. Her approach to life and the stuff people accumulate keep attracting converts. I believe most people in our culture are troubled about how much stuff we own. Many of us would like ourselves better if we could dump a lot of that stuff and live in an uncluttered environment.

Do you currently suffer from having too much stuff? What sparks joy in your life?

Grocery Store Guilt

I am aware that being a “Reward Member” at my grocery store  isn’t just a way to sell me discounted gasoline and get me in on sales. It is a way to track what we purchase and get data on the buying trends of customers.

Husband and I probably  purchase of some of the more exotic items at the Cash Wise store here.  Who else buys all the celery root in the produce department two days running?  Cake yeast? I  have bought every pack the store had  each week for the past month.

There is a limit, though, on how much celery root and cake yeast a person can store. We tried to grow celery root in the garden last summer but it didn’t work. We use it in soups and stews and roast meats in place of celery.  I found 14 lovely celery roots at the grocery store last week and diced them, blanched them,  and froze them. We have enough now until next winter. The store hadn’t stocked them for ages, and I was delighted to find them. I also have enough cake yeast to last for months. Now I feel irrationally guilty and anxious.

I worry that  because of our exuberant purchasing,  the store will stock all sorts of celery root and cake yeast and it will all go bad because we don’t need to buy any.  That will make me feel guilty because I hate the thought of food going to waste.  I also worry  that due to poor sales of celery root and cake yeast, the store won’t stock them anymore after this, and when I need them I won’t be able to find them.

I realize as I type this just how ridiculous this is, how very little I really have to worry about, and what a lovely life I have. I guess that is the hallmark of anxiety-the irrationality of it all. I have baked for years using dry yeast, and I can always use regular old celery in a pinch.  I think the marketing people who track our purchases will find us hard to fathom.

What would someone tracking your purchases surmise about you?  Would it be an accurate reflection of who you are?

February Adventure

Today’s post comes from cynthiainmahtowa.

The First of February 2018 was a beautiful, sunny, crispy -10 F day. There was enough snow to snowshoe and I hadn’t been in the woods since I couldn’t remember when…years before my hip surgery. It was a Thursday, and Sunday afternoon our book club was meeting at my house to discuss “A River Runs Through It” by Norman McLean. As our group often does off- book things like skiing, hiking, canoeing, I thought it would be fun for people to ski or snowshoe down the Moose Horn River that meanders through my land.

But first to check it out.  Friend Daina and her Corgi, Jack, were willing to go through the woods, to the marsh and over the river with me. When we got to the marsh, however, Daina was afraid Jack would go through the ice and not be able to get out so she decided to take him home. I decided to travel on.

When I got to the river, I ventured on to the ice for about half a dozen steps when the ice gave out under me.  Suddenly, I was up to my armpits in ice-cold water. I don’t know how deep it was, my metal and rubber snowshoes wouldn’t let me get my feet under me.  Alas, I thought, “This is how I die.”

Though somehow I must not have believed that because I was hanging on to my Icelandic wool hat that I love and was NOT going to let it go! After a brief struggle, I floated myself over to the side of the river where there appeared to be a solid snow covered something. When I got to the embankment I saw a block of ice below me that I managed to get my snowshoes on.  With my one pole (I had hiking poles with me) I managed to pull myself back onto the ice, get standing up, pick up my other pole that I had left on top of the ice and headed back home.

Fortunately, I had on my polyester down parka and nylon ski pants. So I was not weighted down with water-soaked clothing. The worst was the water in my boots. I figured if I kept moving as fast as I could, I wouldn’t succumb to hypothermia. I was about 15 minutes through the woods and up the pasture from the house. At the power easement I considered going back on the road so someone would see me, but it was farther and open and the wind was bitter.

With some difficulty I got myself over the wire fencing and into the pasture. Halfway to the house, I saw Daina coming down to meet me. She, being brilliant in emergencies – and having experienced her husband’s hypothermia a few years ago – took over. She helped me into the house, out of my Sorel-like boots of man-made materials with frozen laces, my wet clothes and into the shower…then into bed with three or four layers of blankets, mugs of hot tea, chicken soup and liquid jello.

I never shivered, though in bed it felt like my deep core wanted to shake. But the adrenalin was coursing through my body the rest of the day and I was fully warmed up in time to feed my animals that evening…and before the day was over I cleaned and re-organized my cupboard of mugs.

I don’t know what the experience has done to my psyche, but looking back there seems to be a sense of appreciation and direction and confidence and generosity that I didn’t have before.

And when I got kicked in the thigh by Derby Horse the following Friday, the resulting hematoma didn’t seem like much of a big deal.

What was your scariest “adventure”?

Adventures in Moving

Husband moved yesterday on the reservation from one quarter of a double wide trailer to  half of a double wide trailer right next to his work.  The old trailer, where he has lived for four years, was across from the casino and right next to a gravel pit, so it was pretty dusty.  The fridge didn’t work, and he kept his food cold in a camping cooler. It was sort of like a studio apartment with a bathroom.  Now he has a bedroom and a bathroom and a kitchen. The fridge works. He has a dishwasher and a washer/dryer.

The trailer set up is thus: two double wide trailers are attached to one another end on end, one intended as a sober house for men, and one for women.  There was never enough staff to make the sober houses functional.  They connect in the middle in a laundry and furnace room.  Husband and I were moving things into the laundry room when we realized that the door had closed and we were locked in. We had no key . There was no one nearby to hear us call for help.  We were possibly locked in the room forever.  Neither of us had a phone.  Luckily, there was a kitchen knife above the washing machine, and I pried the lock open. It was a very frightening two minutes.

Tell about some of your moving adventures.

 

Silent Healers

It was interesting that, after I mentioned the traditional Lakota healer/medicine man who I know in the Bad Dream post on Tuesday, I heard from him early Wednesday afternoon.  Ed, as I will refer to him, phoned me to say he was in Sturgis and would be going through my town in a few hours and could I buy him a tank of gas?

Ed is a disabled veteran from one of the Iraq wars, and is on a very limited income.  He was on the way to a town on the reservation where husband works, so that he could do a smudging ceremony at one of the schools. “They are having trouble at the school. I am only staying long enough to smudge, and then I am heading right back because I have another smudging to do in Spearfish tomorrow”.

Ed travels all over the Great Plains doing ceremonies for different tribes and native citizens. If your brother is in the University of Minnesota Hospital and is dying, he will go there and sing and pray and do what he can to restore health. I have heard from people that he is pretty successful, and that individuals who weren’t expected to survive rally after he comes to them. He is called in when there is trouble or tragedy, and helps native families with funerals and grieving rituals.  He has an old suitcase full of his paraphernalia and he zips all over in his little white Ford,  healing and being a spiritual presence for his people.

I usually have no time in the afternoon to leave work, but I had a sudden problem with a toothache and had a dentist appointment Wednesday at 2:45 pm. Because I had no idea how long the dentist would take, I cancelled all my afternoon appointments. I was free, then, to meet up with Ed at the Holiday station and buy the gas. I suppose I could think about it as a happy coincidence, or perhaps it was the universe giving me a nudge to further Ed’s healing in this world.  It gives me great comfort to think of Ed and all the other people in our lives and communities who work under the radar, bringing hope and healing in ways most of us never hear about.

Who are the healers and helpers in your lives who fly under the radar?

Keeping Warm

Photo from IMBd.

I’m not sure why but the cold weather this week found me yearning for our old Monday morning song by the Sons of the Pioneers. Luckily you can find this kind of thing on the internet.  I’ve played it several times over the past few days.  It doesn’t warm me up physically, but gives me an inside warmth that comes with good memories.

Here’s another:

Just one more:

What warms your heart?

Burger & Fries

Once a month, after I volunteer at Loaves & Fishes, I drive east on 98th Street on my way back to 35W to get home. Imagine my excitement to see that the Denny’s there has been sold and will be a new Snuffy’s coming spring.  While the Edina Snuffy’s isn’t actually that far from me, it’s not convenient to get to so I don’t think about it often.

But a Snuffy’s where I have to drive right by it? I’m thinking I’ll be having Snuffy’s take-out once a month from now on.  Veggie Burger, fries and a malt – either Oreo or Brownie or the Dreamsicle.  I’m drooling just thinking about it.

Do you have a favorite take-out place or meal?

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