December 11 – 11 things

What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?

This is, no doubt, another of those prompts that is meant to set one soul-searching and looking for ways to improve oneself morally and ethically. Apologies in advance if you were hoping to find items such as non-organic vegetables, air travel, nuclear weapons or world poverty on my list…

1. Depression. While the experience of having been depressed at times in my life has – I am extremely fortunate to report – led to a better understanding of some things and has served as a prompt for me to address certain issues that might have caused me to feel existentially unhappier for a lot longer, it is certainly not something I “need”. I know when I’m vulnerable, and I know what I can do to avoid, counteract, distract. I’ve got better and better at dealing with it, so yes, maybe I will manage to eliminate it altogether.

2. High-heeled shoes. I’ve never been able to walk in them, they make my feet hurt, my partner doesn’t even like them, and I’ve had so many sprained ankles anyone would think I was a centipede… Though I might indulge the girly instinct by preserving one pair of high-heeled boots, the rest are going. This will free up space in my shoe cupboard and give me an excuse to buy new comfy shoes – YAY!

3. Bare walls. The fact that I had so many bare walls in this flat for so many years attests to the fact that it felt like a temporary residence, and no doubt it helped to perpetuate said feeling, too. Things have changed a lot already over the last couple of years, but there is still work to be done and a few bits of wall that are too much of a whiter shade of pale. There are some more pictures and other hangy-uppy things in the offing, so watch this space (hahaha!)…

4. Coffee grounds / stains all over the kitchen. They drive me crazy. I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time cleaning them up, but just how can you eliminate them?? Giving up coffee or switching to instant are just not viable options.

5. Rubbish webmail. I’ve been complaining about the work webmail system for years – it doesn’t sync at all with what I use at work, and having to send myself copies of replies I have sent from home is tedious and feels antediluvian. I really need to get e.g. Thunderbird up and running on my home computer – this is SUCH an easy problem to eliminate and would remove a big headache from my life. That being the case, I have no idea why it has taken me so long to get around to doing this.

6. Pre-Christmas stress. Nuff said. I’m sure you can’t eliminate this unless you decide to boycott Christmas entirely and go off to a desert island (in advance of the Christmas travel rush, mind!). However, the end of the year would be infinitely more bearable if I started thinking about Christmas earlier (I am sure I have said this before, though. Every year within living memory).

7. Clutter. Probably the most cliched item on my list, but hey, who doesn’t want to eliminate it from their life? I’m working on it already – IKEA storage solutions be praised! – but there is a way to go yet and it’ll be 2011 before everything is in its intended place and whittled down to the essentials. The hoped-for outcome is that things will be easier to find and keep tidy in the long run.

8. Ready-made salad dressing. I have hardly used this at all in the last few years, so I can happily say it is just one tiny step to eliminate it entirely from my life. It’s tastier, cheaper and healthier to make your own.

9. Magazine subscriptions. Having magazines automatically delivered each week makes me too complacent after a while, and I have ceased to read them with any regularity. My tastes have changed, as have my reading habits and time available. I’d prefer to cancel the subscriptions and buy more consciously and specifically according to what I want to read, and when. I’m certain this would save money and increase the value of what I read while assuaging my guilty conscience and keeping the levels of waste paper somewhat lower.

10. New camera gear. I am determined to continue to manage with what I have, and to simply expand my knowledge of it and proficiency in using it. Taking better pictures is a much worthier and (hopefully) more satisfying aim than this lens, that gadget or whatever.

11. Lists with too many items on them. These must be eliminated and replaced by less tiring lists with fewer items on them. Life is too short, and all that 😉


Filed under Memes & blogging challenges, Up close and personal

8 responses to “December 11 – 11 things

  1. Kelly Janner

    Regarding number 4.
    Back when I was a coffee fiend, my solution to the spills was to put a piece of shelf liner plastic under the coffee maker, grinder, and container of beans. A shallow tray or thin cutting mat would work too. The trick was to always make and pour the coffee on/over the liner which was much easier to clean than a counter and could be replaced quite easily.
    As for cleaning, I used to use a bleach based spray cleaner. I’ve since learned how bad bleach is, so I’m not sure what to suggest now.

    • I try to do everything over the sink, but it doesn’t always work out as planned (and policing the kitchen when someone else is making the coffee isn’t really a very nice option ;)). I’ve gone over to using a soda-based cleaner for the kitchen surfaces – not as “poisonous” as bleach, but it seems effective.

  2. C. Garison

    On the coffee, I just have to live with cleaning the spilled grounds and the stains on the coffee maker. My resolution is to spend the extra money to get the next coffee maker in black or stainless where the stains are less apparent. As far as the grounds, it could be avoided if I chose to purchase my coffee on my way to work, but I like having a thermos of coffee that prepare to enjoy at the office. Plus, it helps me save money for other things so the cleanup and discolored plastic is part of the price.

    On camera gear, I used to think like you and believed that the there is no difference between shooting with my Rebel and any other Canon DSLR. After my 40D turned out to be the less than stellar camera of the decade, I grabbed a deal from a guy going out of business and picked up a used 5D for less money than the 40D. What a difference!!! Instead of coming home and reviewing to get 10 good shots from 100 shutter clicks, I was actually looking at picking the best 10 from 60 successful shots from 100 shutter clicks. Almost 3 years later, I can cherry pick the best 10 images from a 95% success rate. Having the right tool combined with a knowledge of perception and lighting has made all the difference for me.

    • I think what makes the worst coffee mess in my case is the mocca pot that is used on the stove top. No matter how tightly you screw the lid on, you always end up with the ceramix plate and the wall behind it getting spattered. A proper machine would probably make less mess, I am sure, but I agree that it’s good to take cost-saving into account.

      On the camera side, I can totally see your point. I did notice a big difference moving up from the Rebel to the 30D and don’t for a minute regret the investment. However, I have realized that when I get suboptimal results, it is almost always down to my own lack of care, thought, time or preparation. You are absolutely right about the importance of perception and understanding lighting, and I think I need to pay more attention to those rather than being distracted by other things. I’m not being ascetic or frugal – I just feel I need the discipline.

  3. anne-julie

    I’ve heard that the type of heel you prefer depends on the shape of your foot. Put your leg up on the sofa or something, so that your knees are bent at a 90° angle. Then relax your foot into a natural position. Now imagine a line going down from your heel (like an extension of your leg) and one going down from your toe (towards the floor). You can measure the distance from where the lines meet to your heel, and that gives you the perfect height. I’m not sure if it works for everyone, but for me it did. So if your foot stays up vertically to the floor, then that means your foot prefers no heel 🙂

    • That sounds like an interesting method. Not sure it’ll change my mind, but it might be interesting to try it out. You might have to show me, though, as I can’t quite get my head around how you’re meant to bend your leg / foot.

  4. squonky

    Coffee mess : I have every kind of coffee making gizmo going. They all make mess. However I feel that some messes are worth the clear up afterward and coffee is one of those messes :^)

    Camera kit : right with you. I could always, always, always be lusting after the next lens but I really do feel like I have a good set for the things I want to do now. Time to spend more money on travelling to places interesting to shoot rather than buying yet another lens and pointing it at the same old things.

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