Category Archives: cleaning

Pollyanna tries to be Shiny – part deux

Lyda here.

So this is me, tryin’ to be shiny.*

* Some of our beloved readers might not know what I mean when I say “Shiny.”

To which I say:  Get thee to Netflix and watch “Firefly” and then “Serenity.”  Y’all are in for some fantastic viewing! Here is just a taste of the shiny that is “Firefly” – not safe for work. 

In that ‘Verse [universe], shiny = awesomeness. See bottom of post for more shiny fun.

But I digress…

You know when you are trolling the web, and you keep coming across all these lists of cleaning rituals, clutter-busting rules, and organization plans? It’s especially bad at the beginning of the year, and then bad again when everyone is telling you it’s time for Spring Cleaning.

Like the seasons need cleaning. Please. Seasons are self-cleaning. That is what rain is for, people. But I digress…

You read things like:  “2 Million Things You Should Do Every Morning Before Anyone Else is Awake or You are a Failure as a Human Being” or “1001 Clutter-Busting Tasks That You Must Do Immediately – Unless You Want to Continue Living in Filthy Squalor, You Lazy Bitch” or “Your New Simple Task List  –  Two Hours a Day Is All It Takes or You Can Continue to Live Like A Sewer Rat, You Disgusting Whore.”

Wow, those subtitles escalated fast. Calm down, Internet.

And then you have to go lie down because you feel faint. And you are certain that you will drown in your own clutter if you don’t die first from the filth. But before that happens you will be evicted because you are just too hopelessly disorganized to find your bills, much less pay them. And then they will drag you off to debtor’s prison and your daughter will have to support you, and your granddaughter will die in the street and it will be ALL. YOUR. FAULT.

You never want to live out a Dickens novel.

Okay, calm down. A few deep breaths. Think about kittens.  And wine. Think about watching adorable kittens while drinking wine…

That’s better.

I think I can help.

Anna-Liza is laughing now because she knows I have a bit of a cleaning thing* and she thinks my rules are going to be just as bad as Martha‘s.

Really, Martha? 4 minutes and 15 seconds on how to fold a fitted sheet? Really? Someone get that woman some better drugs.

* Let’s just say that I can relate to Monk a bit more than I’d like. I’ve never been that obsessive. Or that funny. But still, hours of cleaning.

But I digress…

I can no longer spend hours obsessively cleaning my place, as I was wont to do back in the old days.

About housework, my mother used to say, make a shiny spot each day. Oh wow. I just realized that Joss Whedon stole “shiny” from my mom. I think I’m due some royalties now. Or free DVDs.  Mom also used to say “You missed a spot” but I’m much better after the therapy…

But I digress again…

So I recently came up with my own plan:  the Five-Minute Shiny.

I decided to see what I could do in 5 minutes. Anything that I could call progress around the place, anything at all.

For five minutes.

Put a few  clean dishes away. Take out the kitchen trash.

No, not “go through the frig and toss everything that needs to be tossed and then clean the frig since it’s now empty, and defrost the freezer, and…” –  Just take out the bag of trash already in the bin.

The Five-Minute Shiny is a tiny bit extra beyond my everyday tasks, like feeding and watering the livestock (my three cats), and cleaning the litter box. And… uh… yeah, that’s about it.

The first week I came up with this, I timed myself – because I happened to be microwaving my dinner for five minutes, not because I was being all scientific. I was amazed at what I can do in five minutes.

So, now I try to do a Five-Minute Shiny every day. Some days, I might do one in the morning and one at night. And some days, even 5 minutes is too much to think about, let alone accomplish. And that’s okay too.

This is the great thing:  Even done semi-regularly, the Five-Minute Shiny has really helped keep the place tidier and more organized.

Of course, I could use the five minutes to fold a fitted sheet.

But let’s not get silly.

* Super Shiny Bonus Fun:  Go here. Let’s do the thing.

Pollyanna’s on the move

Lyda here.

It’s been a bit crazier than usual around Chez Disney, where I live with my two friends and their nutty but lovable Disney Dog.

You see, my friends decided to sell their condo and buy a house. They gave me the news Sunday night, and there’s an open house for the condo this Saturday. Yes, they move fast!

So, all three of us have been packing stuff up in a frenzy. They are moving tons of stuff into a storage unit, for that “my, isn’t this spacious” look. We have all been getting by on less sleep. At least the dog is getting his exercise, running up and down the stairs with us.

Most of my books are already in storage – gasp! – and I’ve got to get the fabric and sewing machine packed up next. Oh, the suffering! I can’t believe how much fabric I have. Once the move is over, I will need to do some serious stash busting. But no time for that now!

So it’s knitting for me for a while – small, portable, and without the myriad bits and pieces of quilting. I kept out my knitting books, and I plan to practice some stitch patterns while making dishcloths. Small, portable… you get it.

Oh, the things I do for my friends!


Pollyanna Cleans up her act… uh, any day now…

Or at least tries to…

Lyda here.

My room is a complete shambles.

And, no, Anna-Liza, I don’t mean my usual “oh, I need to get some filing done and straighten the books” that usually gets me crazy –  and which for most people would not even be considered “messy.

No. It’s a disaster.

There are teetering piles of papers, books, and assorted school debris all over every available flat surface.  Mixed into the piles are old family photos, a huge unwieldy family tree, art supplies, drawings, clippings… all of them related to one school project or another.  The desk – one corner of which serves as my nightstand – is covered with pens, pencils, markers, post-its, and – on the corner that serves as my nightstand – an ever-more precarious pile of Terry Pratchett paperbacks. The table is piled with binders, notebooks, and more papers – and a salt shaker, fabric napkins, and chopsticks, since I eat here too.

There are towels on the back of the chair. There is a pile of discarded papers on the floor next to the trash can (the trash can itself being full).  I haven’t seen my sewing machine in months (I know it’s in the room somewhere). The bed has been in a permanent state of unmade since before finals started two months ago.

And there is a thick blanket of dust everywhere. I’m sure it has been seven or eight months since I dusted and maybe longer since I vaccuumed.

As Bette Davis would say, “What a dump.”

This morning, there was a knock on my door and the two exchange students were there, wondering about hooking up to the innernets and needing some code that was mysteriouslyhidden in the wires and such on the desk.

And I was embarassed to let them into the room.

Thankfully, the fabric and yarn is all neatly organized and stashed in the closet, safe from dust and possible coveting by the Danes. At least I have  my priorities straight.

So, this weekend I’ll be trying to restore some order to the chaos. And possibly finding the floor.

When the going gets tough, the tough… go on the innernets.

To find out  what the mess means about me.  Hmm. Funny, they don’t mention “stressed out grad student” as one of the reasons for the mess…

Okay. Time to get to it.

As soon as I finish this quiz:  What’s Your Cleaning Style?

It turns out that I’m an “easy breezy cleaner” at this point in my life.

I know. I would usually land solidly in the “crazy cleaning obsession” category, but I’ve just been too busy with school and I’ve learned to let the cleaning slide a bit.

See? Grad school has been good for me.

But I digress…


Pollyanna Returns!

Lyda here.

Y’all missed me, didn’t ya? Although Anna-Liza is at least digressing in her posts, and posting pics of adorable kidlets, which I hope eased your pain a bit.

Quick updates for now. More later, I promise.

Back from school, freshly full of excitement and scholarly wisdom and joy. I just love my school.

Did you know that “passion” actually comes from the word for “suffering”? And “compassion” means to be with someone who is suffering. Instead of using “passion” to say we care about something a lot, my teachers recommend “enthusiasm”. As in:  I am enthusiastic about my second year of school!

But I digress…

Heh. Told y’all I’m back.

I met some terrific classmates, including one who generously opened her home to me and let me stay with her for most of the week. Which means I got a lot more sleep (and it was much safer) than I would have if I’d driven from home each day, and I didn’t have to check into a motel (so it saved me money for tuition).

She had a spare room with a bathroom right next to it – it was perfect. And second only to her warm and friendly company, her home was sparkling clean. I mean sparkling. I loved it so much that I actually took a bath. Which is the first bath I have taken in probably ten years. Y’all know it’s sparkling clean when I think it’s sparkling clean.

I decided after I got home that I’m moving. I want sparkling clean in my own home, and I’m willing to move to get it.

And I got a phone this week, so hopefully I’ll be talking with Anna-Liza for hours soon.

And I missed you all during this hiatus, and I’m excited to catch up on your blogs. Which will probably take about a million years at this point.

Internet connection. Next place must have internet connection.

Got to go.

I’ll be back…

Pollyanna Plays Around with Chaos

Lyda here.

Check out this post over at A Fly on the Wall. I love that she is brave enough to show us her laundry pile. I love that she says, “We all pick and choose what areas of our lives we’re going to really work at, and there are parts of our lives that we decide can be disorganized…”

And it may surprise y’all to know that I agree with her. Yes, me, Little Miss Tidy.

Everything cannot be perfect organization / peace and harmony / aligned with the stars. No matter what, parts of our lives are going to be messy part of the time. Some parts of our lives are going to be messy most or even all of the time.

But even if the reason for the mess is a good one – like you hate folding clothes, or you have the flu/kids/pets/roommates/a life – there is an undercurrent of guilt associated with messy.

I say, screw that. Guilt we don’t need.

Give yourself permission to be messy sometimes.

Besides, some things are supposed to be messy. Sex. Birth. Divorce.

Junk drawers.

Creation and destruction are always messy – have you seen This Old House? Have you seen Jackson Pollock painting a canvas? Remember finger painting?

When I teach art classes, which I sometimes do – I call it Creative Play, which encourages people who don’t think of themselves as artists to come play and then they find out that they are indeed artists, because everyone is an artist, some of us have just forgotten… but I digress, stepping off soap box now – I always tell people to come in old clothes that can get painty and wet and grubby. We’re going to make a mess, so wear your play clothes.

Remember when you had play clothes and “good” clothes? You still need play clothes. Clothes you can be messy in. Clothes that inspire you to be messy.

And everyone should have times and places where they allow themselves to be messy.

Because a lot of the really great things in life… sex, rock & roll, love…


are a mess.

At least they are when you do them right.

Pollyanna Meanders through the Past

Lyda here. Today I rearranged my room a bit. I’ve been living since January with boxes in the room, and my fabric in the closet. I switched it so that now it’s the fabric in the room, and the boxes in the closet. Same stuff, different feel. I’d much rather look at piles of fabric than boxes. And I was surprised at just how much I fit into the closet. Including some of the fabric.

While I was rearranging, I opened the plastic bin containing memoribilia of my son’s childhood. I glanced through his baby book. I came across report cards and drawings, special bibs and his first stuffed animal (a soft yellow lamb – starting the fiber indoctrination early).

And I found the journal that I kept for him, and tumbled into the past.

I started this journal when we decided to have children. I wanted my children to know what I was thinking and feeling as an expectant and new mother, and what those early years were like. My own mother had died, and I missed her so much. I knew I would miss having her to advise me through my own motherhood, and to tell my about her experiences.

The journal begins years before our son was born. I wrote about how much I wanted children, and how excited I when I found out I was pregnant. I wrote about calling my father that day, the last time I spoke to him before he died. I wrote about my grief when that first pregnancy ended. I wrote about being afraid to try again, and yet trying again, and how I felt when that second pregancy, then a third pregnancy, and then a fourth, ended in miscarriage also. Those pages are full of raw pain and sorrow.

I wrote about hope and fear equally during my fifth pregnancy. About my boredom with bedrest, and my worry about money, and my deep concern about my husband carrying the burden of caring for me and for his aging parents and aunt at the same time. I wrote about the fear when labor started too soon, the discomfort of being confined in a hospital bed, the three days and two sleepless nights spent worrying and crying alone and obsessively watching the monitor showing my baby’s heartbeat.

And I wrote about the joy of holding my son in my arms for the first time. Of my awe of his perfection, and my fear that I would not measure up.

 I wrote to my infant son about his life, telling him about his first step, his first word, his first joke. I wrote about my decision to leave his father, and what it cost to leave, and what I thought it would cost to stay. I wrote about little things and big things, whatever was on my mind and in my heart.

Today I wrote a few new pages, to my son at age nineteen.

And then I packed it away with the bunny that was once fluffy and the report cards and the ticket from his first trip to Disneyland.

All waiting for the next time. And next time I will laugh, and cry again. And then I will write more in the journal. There is one thing I’m sure I’ll write then, as I wrote today and in every entry:

I love you. Thank you for being my son.