The Writing on the Wall

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I think our bathroom wall is trying to tell me something:

And I think our bedroom ceiling is saying the same thing:

I wonder when they’ll get a reply?

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Paper traffic

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I feel very proud of myself today.  I spent the whole morning organizing my files.  Piles and piles of papers, envelopes and folders filled with receipts, payslips, contracts etc.  The result isn’t really obvious to anybody but myself since the files are kept upstairs and I’m the only one who deals with it.

I have actually organized our papers maybe a few years ago but I wasn’t really clear on how I should file everything.  And of course as new papers came in that had to be stored, I sometimes just put it in the most accessible folder or envelope so there were some very jumbled papers.  I’m still not sure and I even texted Jon and my sister repeatedly to ask for tips on organizing and what to keep and what to throw.  I have all these utility bills, payslips and receipts from years and years ago.  I found some report cards from STC, form 5s and classcards from UP, and school IDs. I even saw the contract for my first ever job 16 years ago.  And my monthly salary then was Php7500!  Amazing!  I ended up keeping that contract but I really don’t know if I should hold on to these.  How many years of paperwork should we keep?

I’ve been contemplating this project for months now but I always find excuses not to do it.  I finally decided to face the task today and didn’t stop until I was finished.  What’s great about the project was that I ran across old photos and letters.  I took some time to browse and see how I’ve changed throughout the years.  It’s also nice to see pictures of old friends and colleagues who I haven’t seen in ages.

I think I still don’t have the ideal set-up for a proper filing system.  Mostly my problem is storage.  I don’t have a drawer to put all the files together.  I just have a couple of boxes.  And while I got to fix it adequately, it’s not very convenient to file the papers as they come since I keep the boxes upstairs and I deal with paperwork downstairs.

So the plan is, have a temporary storage of papers downstairs where I put in the bills after they’ve been paid.  Then, every first of the month, I will file those papers in the boxes upstairs.  Since I’ll be doing it on a monthly basis, it shouldn’t be a daunting task and would probably just take me 5 min to do.

Here’s hoping I get to stick with the plan.  How do you manage your files at home?

Feeling Blah

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I’m feeling out of sorts today.  I’m not my usual self.

Earlier, I decided I’d make some bread.  The recipe called for 2 cups of bread.  While the machine was kneading it, I noticed it was still very wet compared to the last time I made it.  So I thought that maybe I only put one cup of flour.  So put in another cup of flour.  Then of course it was very dry so I guess I did put the correct amount and I just needed to knead it more.  I decided to discard it.  I briefly thought of mixing another batch but I decided against it since it might not turn out right either.

Recently, I’ve been having baking mishaps and I don’t understand why.  It all started with the sourdough pancakes.

Last Saturday, we visited Jon’s family in San Juan.  I thought of bringing bread to them.  So, after we ate the pancakes, I mixed a a double batch of the sourdough bread.  For some reason, it didn’t rise so we decided against bringing them.  We still baked the loaves since it was going to be thrown anyway, we might as well see if it was edible.

When we got home that night, we tried it out.  It rose a bit during baking so it wasn’t as dense as I expected.  It turned out edible and we had it for lunch with mushroom soup the next day.  I even had it for breakfast yesterday.  I made grilled cheese sandwiches using the bread.  It was just very heavy.

Since we still had half a loaf left, I decided to make bread pudding.  The kids broke the bread into little pieces and I mixed the custard to be absorbed by the bread.  Had another mishap there since I broke the eggs directly on the milk and it turned out that the egg was bad.  So that was a cup of milk and 2 eggs wasted.  I already know that I should break the milk on a separate container before mixing it but I was looking for shortcuts so I skipped that.  Never again.  The bread pudding turned out okay, not fantastic but just okay.  It seemed a bit dry and I probably should have added more milk and egg.

As I’ve said, I’m having baking mishaps.  The only decent thing I’ve made since Saturday were lemon squares.  At least that turned out as expected.

So this afternoon, I decided to clean the vestibule.  We have table there which just has junk on it.  I cleaned it, and put all the junk elsewhere.  I can now sit by the table and have coffee and read.  I felt better after cleaning up.  I hope this is the break I need and that by tomorrow, I’ll snap out of this slump.

I’ll bake some bread tomorrow and hopefully it would turn out perfect.  I’m having some friends over on Friday and of course I’m serving bread so I definitely should get my groove back by then.

De-cluttering

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I’m in an on-going project to de-clutter our home.  I started last year and I planned to clear a surface or a drawer or a shelf every week.  This is to make the project manageable by doing baby steps.

The first few weeks were quite successful.  I could see the surface of our divider, then the shelves downstairs was also organized and cleaned.  I threw a lot of useless stuff but my kids also got other stuff which I don’t use anymore.  (Unfortunately, these things are now cluttering their space).  I was very motivated by the improvements which made me want to do more.

Of course, after a time, I got tired of it and things started piling up again, ningas cogon at work.  It’s mostly my kids’ stuff and they have to be reminded to keep their things on their respective tables.  I have to continuously work on keeping the surfaces clear but I  usually let the papers pile up until I have to look for something then I’ll have to clear the area again.

Recently, I have decided that I need to continue my de-cluttering project and so I started clearing up our drawers in our desk.  I had so much old receipts, I even saw my contract for my pager dated 1997 and my first mobile phone subscription.  Amazing.  So, out came bags of papers and kids’ projects and artworks.  Of course I showed these to my kids first and they either kept it or decided to throw it out.

Keeping our stuff organized is really important so we don’t have to waste so much time looking for things.  It’s difficult to start but once we’ve started, I think it’s easier maintaining the order.  We just have to keep at it a little everyday so things don’t pile up and become unmanageable again.

Going through our drawers is also a great way to inventory the stuff we already have.  We might discover that we already have the things we need.  It’s best to remember where everything is kept or at least have general categories for each drawer to make searching easier and to avoid buying stuff we already have.

Hopefully, I’ll keep at it this time and get my kids to de-clutter their areas too.

By the way, just wanted to let you guys know that I’ve finally done Zumba three times this week.  Finally, after 4 weeks, I’ve met my goal!  The challenge now is to keep doing it.  =P

Cleaning Up

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I have just finished cleaning up all the stuff I used for baking this morning and I am tired.  Cleaning up is the only part of baking that I’m not a big fan of.

I’m not the neatest person but I try to keep things organized.  And of course cleaning up is mandatory in the kitchen to keep everything hygienic but I still don’t look forward to washing all the pans and other stuff I used for baking.

But then I see the news and of course the massive destruction brought about by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.  And I am ashamed.  What right do I have to complain when there are others who are facing the daunting task of cleaning up in Japan?

I have to remember that the reason I have to clean up is because I had orders and that is a blessing.  I should be thankful that I have stuff to clean.  And I should be thankful that I’m still here to clean.

Our attitude really determines how we go through life.  Having the right perspective will mean the difference between being happy and being miserable.  I choose to be happy.  So now I’d like to celebrate the fact that I have just cleaned up after a morning of baking.