All posts by Susan Taylor

The Lady With the Kohl’s Cash

Do you know what Kohl’s cash is? It’s one of Kohl’s clever ways to get you to come back and spend more money. When they are doling it out, spend $50, get $10 in Kohl’s cash to spend later.

Your more disorganized types set the Kohl’s cash on the desk where it then gets buried and ultimately unearthed two days after it expired. So it’s literal money on the table that goes unused.

Your more organized shopper manages to keep the Kohl’s cash WITH the relevant receipt WITH the 25% off coupon for dropping off an Amazon return. Your more organized shopper (MOS) manages to put the packet in the car *and* make a stop at Kohl’s to utilize the 25% coupon *and* the second bit of Kohl’s cash *and* come home with the measuring cups and spoons the MOS has been eyeing. All for nearly free.

Your MOS has a calculator app on her phone and is busily running different scenarios while striding purposefully forth through the store and has the brain space to figure out the best combination of savings.

in case you didn’t guess, yes, I was the more organized shopper yesterday. It feels good to use coupons before they expire. Coupons and vegetables in my crisper often have a similar fate, and it was nice to have a different, more satisfying outcome yesterday. That’s what I get for getting more organized!

Deep thoughts on decluttering

3 lbs 11 oz I don’t have to shuffle anymore
An important alternate shot of the discarded papers
The quiet order of IEP and related paperwork

 

Raise your hand if you were there in 2008 when I started ye olde blog, known then as SiouxsiesMusings. My first post was bright and shiny with enthusiasm about the decluttering process I was going to undertake. Haha back then I thought it was a “one and done” kind of deal. I crack myself up.

I think some of my pre-baby nesting instincts got a little sidetracked because there really wasn’t time once the children train gathered speed. So I’m getting around to it now.

Kepler has an IEP (Individual Education Plan) for school and has had one each year since he started preschool in January 2009. The first IEP was about eight pages long and the documents increased in size each year so by now I have a couple thousand pages of these documents. Or maybe a thousand. Five hundred. A bunch. Today it was “get the IEPs organized” day.

Julie Morgenstern, in her book Organizing from the Inside Out, says that Americans spend a mind-blowing 9,000,000 hours every day looking for misplaced items. How she came up with that number I do not know, but that’s a big number!

And at the end of the day, the pages are in order, the other supplemental documents are in order and all are divided with labeled dividers. I now have a bag full of pages that were duplicates for one reason or another and are no longer clogging up the files.

So yay me. But it occurred to me that the decluttering and the resulting satisfaction are mostly a solitary experience. I know what a huge difference I made today but no one else does! I’m sharing the pictures of the pile I got rid of and the happy end result.

Best part of the accomplishment is I now have this year’s IEP and this year’s ETR (Evaluation Team Report) at my fingertips so I can stay abreast of the goals we are working on, instead of looking at them several years later and musing, “Huh.”

Wishing you this kind of order in your life,

Siouxs

 

Cleaning Sadie

[Sorry just let me moan a second here. WordPress has changed their editor. So, now I’m searching around trying to find the button to add an image. But no! Now you can add image compare, slideshow, tiled gallery, masonry, collage, offset, stacked, gallery, audio, cover, file, media and text, video, and OH THERE IT IS, image.]

And she shall be called Sadie.

Because I’m not aiming to be a world/current events blog, my post today is about my vacuum cleaner. Oh, not just any vacuum cleaner, but a SPECIAL vacuum cleaner. A Rainbow Rexair vacuum utilizes a basin of water on the base of the machine to catch the dirt and dust. This company has been around since 1936 and I got my machine around 2003.

I remember a tall thin man with a tall thin suit and a tall thin tie walking up our driveway when I was a kid. He was inexplicably carrying our vacuum cleaner. I didn’t know it was gone! Or that it would ever need to be fixed. But this type of vacuum cleaning system is top drawer and worth fixing.

Tall thin man was carrying one that looked like this one.



Seems owners both love them for superb cleaning power and don’t love them for their complicated nature. Not complicated like today’s tv remotes like how in THE WORLD do I turn this thing on. More complicated like where are the attachments, have I cleaned the separator lately and dang this thing is heavy. Ah, but you can vacuum floors! and furniture! and stairs! and the interior of cars! and concrete floors! and corners! edges! grooves!

Shiny upright vacuums usually play a role somewhere in the life of a Rainbow Rexair owner as one eventually tires of the extra weight and work and decides to just take ‘er easy for awhile with an upright one can just zip in and zip out of the closet. Soon enough, though, the upright gives up the ghost or the RR owner realizes the upright gives more of a lick and a promise than thorough cleaning.

These days though with cordless vacuums that just weigh a few ounces and have fancy attachments that can curl up and over high spots, one really has to be a RR aficionado to hang in there. Even my own mother, a RR owner since 1960, has finally eschewed her RR for a Dyson that she loves almost as much as she loves me.

Mom has given me leave to use her Dyson anytime and since we are next-door neighbors it would be easy to take her up on it. But. Even if it’s lighter (lovely) and cordless (dreamy), CAN IT DO THE JOB OF MY WORKHORSE SADIE? That remains to be seen.

The impetus for this post was actually The Woman Who Never Cleaned. (raises hand). Cleaning at many points along the journey has been an arduous, exhausting task that I found easier to leave undone. Who wants to clean over and over, especially when the youngsters inevitably track mud onto the freshly mopped floor?

Turns out, NOW I do. There’s not so much tracking anymore with fewer feet in the house. Plus I have learned to place rugs strategically and have grown to appreciate the habit of removing shoes upon entering.

The other impetus for the post was that this vacuum cleaner needs to itself be cleaned, dusted, scrubbed, etc. It works fine without such cleaning but how nice to have it zippy and zesty.

I looked online because there is nothing new under the sun and I was sure someone had made a video about cleaning their RR. But amazingly, no. So I will have to figure it out on my own! I’ll have to use my noggin! Problem-solve! Do trial and error! Maybe make mistake! Very exciting times we live in.

So while we all look westward (from my POV) and wish the people well who have to deal with the fires, and we all look heavenward for some relief from the political exhaustion, I’m going to also be looking sinkward as I take on cleaning Sadie. Wish me well.

PS [NB: Have cleaned and shined it since I started this post. Bye-bye, dusty dust.]

A Little of This, A Little of That

Punxsutawney Phil Makes Annual Groundhog Day Appearance

Recent self-portrait when i came out of my den to check which way the wind’s blowing.

Ok, so I’m not currently completely drowning and indeed have had a couple of productive days, so I’m going to quick document them for future reference on the days when there’s (theoretically) nowhere to go but up.

I can’t find my three-hole punch right now and that’s frustrating because I have made Kepler a “Daily Learning Notebook” that I found on a homeschooling blog and so I’m hole-punching papers one at a time with one of the old-timey punches that break your hand and stick in the papers so you have to force the handles apart. I still have lots of stuff that hasn’t found a permanent home from our move last year and apparently my three-hole punch is one of those things.

I was always secretly critical and judgmental of my dad for buying another widget when he couldn’t find the one he already had, but nowadays I can definitely see the wisdom in that. I love the idea of “a place for everything and everything in its place,” but I definitely have not been able to achieve that with any consistency. So I shall continue to hand punch until the three-holer shows its face again. (Haha unless I find myself in an office supply store in the hole-punch aisle!)

Some kids like visual schedules, but Kepler prefers LISTS. Lists that he can complete and check off. Here’s tomorrow’s list:

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Sometimes Kepler struggles with doing a task he doesn’t want to do. He can be pretty stubborn and hard to talk into something. Sometimes bribery works. Sometimes “first this, then that” will motivate him. I decided to create something to help him get through those rough times. I modified the “serenity prayer” and then added some “I can” statements, with the culmination “I can and I will.” He uses this tool pretty often, and it’s neat to see him taking responsibility for himself. He took it upon himself to write the tips down in his own handwriting.

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Kepler is a hard worker and is definitely being a trouper during this crazy time. If I weren’t such a grump bunny so often, we would probably just laugh and giggle our way through the days, but as it is, we do a lot of smiling. Until next time, take good care and I wish you well!

 

 

When We Last Spoke

Our heroine was in the dark of the tunnel, the dark before the dawn, lost in the forest. I suppose you’ve all been wondering what happened next.

Yes, finding out the password and being able to log in was the best thing that happened this week because our heroine suddenly remembered that she is a natural teacher, and has the best student ever.

There is a small problem with pizza here. As in, I’m going to be Jabba the Hutt when this quarantine is over. But I’m trying to take things one day at a time. And as far as homeschooling Kepler goes, we are doing ok now.

We even had Saturday school today and it was a pleasure. So I have at least adjusted to the fact that we probably will not have school for the remainder of the year. School is only closed until May 4 right now, but I anticipate that will be extended through the remainder of the year.

That’s all for now. Still sighing, but not about school and passwords anymore.

Love, Siouxsie

Just Wow

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I haven’t blogged in forever. There is so much content out there; I’ve decided my blogs aren’t adding much value to the world, but I am writing today because I need to.

So, like the rest of the world, we are schooling from home. I’m an old hand at homeschooling, aren’t I, then? I homeschooled pretty much non-stop from January 27, 1993 until around 2012, 2014? Something like that. I tried and used many different curricula, schools of thought, and original creative ideas on educating my kiddos.

With Kepler, I believed (rightly so) that the public school system would be the best set-up for him. So, the day after he turned 3, he started pre-school. That was 11 years ago. He has been lovingly guided by capable teachers now for many years. These are people who love what they do, love the kids, and do an amazing job with them.

My issue with the schools is that I have not been able to be hands-on with what he was learning and doing, which makes it quite difficult for me to reinforce what they are doing, let alone supplement it in a one-on-one context. Of course, there have been plenty of other issues which have impacted my ability to do more than the bare bones of living, chief of which has been long bouts with depression.

Well, now it’s time for me to step up and guide his learning at home, whether or not I want to.

And OMG this is complicated. The main complication is that all the assignments are online, but one aspect of the login information I was given has not yet worked. That’s the first issue. Secondly, the information is listed in Place A and Place B, and you can also access it through Place C, but make sure you click the icon in the address bar (I didn’t find that out for several days).

Kepler is actually quite adept at using his Chromebook. He can really navigate to email and google classroom and knows how to join google hangouts, etc. But he doesn’t have the executive functioning to be able to put everything together — plan what to do today, what to do next, etc.

All I can say is this is stretching my ability to cope. Do you know what it’s like to try to login to something and be told you have the wrong password? Of course you do. It’s a part of life for every single one of us who must navigate a thousand passwords. But add onto that the responsibility of overseeing a child’s education and this situation is asking for way more patience than I seem to have.

Finally, today, after many attempts, I was able to contact the correct person who was able to unlock something so I could do the fix. When did we start this schooling from home thing? I guess it’s technically only the second week, but I spent time the first two weeks seeing if I could acquaint myself with the system, so I’ve been at this for nearly four weeks.

Add into this the unique learning style, and pace of learning with Kepler, both of which are relatively foreign to me, as my experience with my older four was quite different, and didn’t include forty thousand different logins and passwords and terms and apps I was unfamiliar with. I need things simple and I’m not getting to have that.

So, I’m feeling sad. And angry. And frustrated. I’m attempting to give myself compassion but boy oh boy this is hard. I listened to a Brene Brown podcast yesterday and she said this isn’t a time for comparing how hard things are with how hard they are for anyone else. And I have been doing that. Yeah, maybe I have some difficulties, but what about the people who …. [fill in the blank]. And I appreciate what Brene said, because whatever anyone else is going through, this situation for me is difficult.

I can also see that it is an opportunity, but I have to first feel all the emotions that come with the challenge. I just can’t do anything perfectly, or even close to really well these days. So, I guess I’ll just do the best I can with the information I have and remember that there is such a thing as good enough even when something isn’t perfect.

Sigh. Love, Siouxsie

July 2019

I heard my heart whisperIMG_3814

“Go back to Colorado.

See the mountains.

Feel the sky.

Let me be free.”

 

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Go see John Prine sing while you still can.

That troubadour who sings from his heart.

Hello in there, hello.

Come on home.

His songs called me. I listened.

Red Rocks Amphitheater in 4 days.

 

Off to our lodging for the next three days.

But alas.

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The reality did not match the advertisement.

We spent most of the evening convincing Kepler it would be ok and he would be safe. He insisted he was not going to stay there.

Before the end of the evening, Greg decided we would find alternate arrangements, for the good of us all.

My hero.

Next morning, a text from my mom, “Did you hear about John Prine?” I found this on Twitter and I cried:

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But this is why I came. Now what?

Meditation. That’s what. Becoming centered regardless of the story my mind was creating. The next few days were spent seeing places like this:

Photo Jul 25, 11 52 39 AM

Up the mountain to the top of Mt. Evans.

No guardrails.

Bighorn sheep strolling by.

An entire weather system visible ahead.

Kepler insisting he was NOT going to the top.

A short hike to a mountain lake on the way.

Photo Jul 25, 12 15 42 PM

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A brief visit to Garden of the Gods the morning we left for home.

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A happy, happy hiker in the Garden of the Gods.

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I’ve Got to Tell You about Kyle Cease

Kyle is a former stand-up comedian who now does transformational events and speaking and I love him!

A couple weeks ago, my sister sent me a video about him and invited me to join her in watching a video series she had purchased. I’d never heard of the guy but I was in a bit of a stagnant place and knew I was ripe to hear some good input.

Well, it changed my life. Yeah. Really. I had struggled for many years being in an ongoing war with my brain, and Kyle’s teaching helped me befriend my little brain by understanding that it is going to create a story about everything and I am not the story!

I am not the story.

I am the space where the story happens.

And that’s about the most exciting thing I have learned in quite some time. The video series is called “The Limitation Game.” It can be found here. I spent $40 on lunch today. The video series costs $20. I own it and am enjoying watching it via Skype with one of my daughters. There are exercises and interaction that happen which continue to inspire me to living from my heart.

Kyle Cease on YouTube. This is a little snippet of the things he teaches. It’s about five minutes long. I dare you to watch it and see what moves in you.

The other day I was in the grocery store and I was craving this one thing that I often crave. Ok, it was a fried chicken breast from the deli. I really like chicken. Reallllly like it. And I eat it often in many different ways, but boy do I love those fried chicken breasts. However, this day I was aware of the craving and I decided to go inward to see what would happen.

My story was that I HAD to have a fried chicken breast or I would die. It was just a story. But then I remembered: I am not the story. I am the space where the story happens. When I realized I am the space, the tension and the tightness and the craving all released. Spoiler alert: I didn’t eat and chicken and I didn’t die.

Kyle is sharing what he shares because his calling is to inspire others to help change our world by stepping out of our stories and living from our hearts. I’m in. Join us!

 

Not an Accidental Post

Image by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/mohamed_hassan-5229782/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=2647299">mohamed Hassan</a> from <a href="https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=2647299">Pixabay</a>

Yes, I know it has been a long time, so I assure you this is me intentionally typing, not wordpress desperately putting up a post to indicate this website is still alive. Good day.

I discovered today that I am allergic to cherries. Cherries! A food I have eaten and loved since childhood.

I had been missing cherries on keto, and finally decided in my second summer of keto to go ahead and have some. And I discovered I am allergic. Now I don’t have to miss them anymore because the only thing I’m missing is allergy symptoms!

Since I last wrote, I have started using a lot! of exclamation points! I think that came about because ending a sentence with a period seems like I’m mad. Where did I get this idea?

Finally, if you remember the last post wherein I wrote about prioritizing speech practice for Kepler this summer, I thought I’d add an update.

Today we did our 47th day in a row of speech practice.

And also finally, more finally, is that yesterday as I was going about my day, I found two working inkpens at two different places, lying on the ground beside my car. I took it as a sign to write.

Love,
Siouxsie