Zen Routines

Tuesday Soup Day

After my Morning Routine, I stopped at Winco Foods and bought

Pinto Beans 25 Pounds @ $15.20 ($16 for the same if I bought it out of the bin.)

Garbanzo Beans 25 Pounds @ $26.84 ($28.25 for the same if I bought it out of the bin.)

We use both of these types of beans very frequently in our Plant-based Lifestyle so there’s no worry about using it all up and dry beans keep forever. Literally.


After I came home and unloaded the beans, I pulled out the vegetable scraps that I’ve been saving in the freezer. Admittedly, it won’t be this much in the future because after these plastic bags have been used a few hundred times, I’ll be using glass jars to store them in the freezer.

I save my onion peels, leek tops, kale that’s starting to fade, and the celery bottoms or middle leaves. You can also see some asparagus bottoms in there. I cut off the tough part and save it to flavor soups in a batch like this.


This bag was a group of vegetables that was nearing the end in our refrigerator so I dumped it all in a bag and saved it for soup.


Every time I peeled carrots or cut celery sticks I put the peels and leftovers in a bag for the freezer to save for soup stock.


Here I dumped one bag into my Wolfgang Puck Triple core skillet. (I’m pretty proud of this one. I bought it at the thrift store for $5 without a lid. That same day as I was bragging about it to my home care client, she grabbed the glass lid she had to fit it and was incredibly pleased that we’d made a match and she was rid of the spare lid.)

Then I added the bag with the leek tops etc and put the lid on. Medium heat for a few minutes will thaw the vegetables and cook them down enough to add more.


This gave me a few minutes for an Italian Roast coffee and enjoying the morning sun with Rogue, our little Scotty-Cairn Terrier.

Next, I added the third bag of the dreaded Kale, broccoli ends, and such with enough water to cover about half way up.


Now I’m off to do laundry and do my Tuesday Cleaning Routine.

Lunch was a lentil basil vegetable soup, apple, and Mandarin orange.

I spent the early afternoon listening to “How to Live on 24 hours a Day” by Arnold Bennett while I crocheted Compassion Coasters for future gifts. I’m using up the yarn I have before I buy more or do other projects. My books by Marie Kondo came in the mail today too so after school Tea Time was popcorn, tea, and books.


Embracing Kon Mari

When Marie Kondo’s book, “The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up” came out everyone was reading it and reviewing it. So, as is my nature, I refused to get caught up in the mainstream. I avoided it for a long time thinking that it was another book on decluttering and minimalism so I really didn’t need to read it because all of that is very simple. I couldn’t think of a good enough reason to read more on less.

Then one day a couple of weeks ago, I remembered the Overdrive app. It’s one that lets you use your local library membership to check out ebooks and audiobooks. I was excited to try it and began exploring the app and the books my library had to offer.
There was Marie Kondo’s book available as an audiobook and so I downloaded it to see if I was really missing anything. The audiobook convinced me that I wasn’t wasting my time because I could do other things while I was listening.

I liked it so much that I put a hold on the ebook version and checked out her subsequent book, “Spark Joy” at the library the next time we went. I especially liked Spark Joy because it’s a simple little book that hits the highlights of her tidying method as well as such things as how to fold clothes and what to do with the little things (kondo is what she calls them) that seem to be everywhere.

Suddenly everything about organizing makes sense. Like a crazed woman, I went through the whole house following her methods and finally making order out of our home. It’s not that we have as much as many families. We have enough but we don’t have the massive storage spaces to go through that many families do. I was grateful for that but still, I spent a fair amount of time creating order here. Possibly the most helpful thing she talks about is not having multiple spaces for the same types of items. Store by category, not by convenience. Also, the way she teaches us to fold clothes with love and attention seemed crazy at first but after I put my clothes in order with her suggestions on color and flow, I found the logic. Even when I embraced becoming a minimalist, I never had quite the joy I have now by adapting her insights and methods. Now I see what all the fuss is about.

Will I go back to the way it was before? I can say a resounding no.

Marie Kondo’s methods make putting things back where they belong so easy as well as truly influence me not to keep anything that I don’t truly love. Although that seems unconventional at times, I can say that there are things that I love based purely on the things that they can accomplish for me rather than how they look.

Two pieces of advice on getting her books: If the thought of organizing your home seems overwhelming to you, then start with Spark Joy. It tells you just exactly what you need to get started. Then go back and read her first book if you get stuck or you need more details or just for the sheer pleasure of reading it knowing that you are already on your way to a joyful and tidy home.

Frugal Living

My Frugal September

So far this week jeans have been bleached in the laundry by accident and I realize that I am down to the last pair of my favorite eyeglasses. It was time to sit down and shop. I have been trying to limit spending not only for the budget sake but for the reasons of my becoming a minimalist. I am lucky that I have some favorite places that have been consistently reliable. So shopping was quick and painless. I bought only what I needed by shopping right before we  were paid. This makes me shop very frugally. If I shop on payday I tend to be more liberal with my spending because I think I have more money to spend. It makes sense in my world.

Jeans: I dislike extreme fashion trends so I buy jeans that are middle of the road classic and affordable. The ones that fit me well and meet all of that criteria are

Gloria Vanderbilt Amanda Jeans

I buy them at Costco online because they are never more than $14.99 and they carry the tall sizes as well. Sometimes they have them at my local warehouse but rarely the Tall sizes. I also want to shop as much as possible online so it worked well.  Today there was a $5.00 off coupon for each pair so final cost for two pairs jeans = $22.11 . Not bad.

I have bought my eyeglasses for years from Zennioptical.com . They have glasses starting at $6.95 a pair. If you get upgraded lenses, coatings, etc there is an additional cost. Even with add-ons ,these are much less than a local vision company. They charge one low-cost shipping fee of $4.95. I ordered three pairs of glasses at $6.95 each with no additional extras. These are prescription glasses that I use daily since I ditched the contacts. The Final cost for three pairs prescription eyeglasses = $25.80 Not bad there either. Done.

For the next 15 days:

My buying schedule for bulk items this month:
Black Turtle Beans 25 lbs = $19.00
Old Fashioned Oats 25 lbs = $15.20
I’ll buy these both on the 15th as planned.

Soy Milk 2 cases $26
Bulk Coffee 4 lbs $28
Pasta Sauce $4
Frozen Strawberries $10
Bananas $8
Carrots $4
Sweetener $8
Vegan “Meats” $50
Vegan Pizza $16
TOTAL= $154 ish

We have enough vegetables from the garden,pasta,and spices etc to make whatever dishes we dream up for the next two weeks.

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Simple Exercise, Uncategorized

Simple Exercise


I learned that going to the gym just doesn’t fit into my Zen Life. Gone are the days of my being a gym rat that couldn’t wait to get back to pumping iron. I lived and breathed it. Not anymore. Now I like the simplicity of hitting the local trail with the dog and sometimes with the family. Most days We walk the neighborhood or the closest trail to get in our simple exercise. It just doesn’t make sense to me anymore to pay for a gym membership, the gas to get there, special clothes to work out in, and all the digital music I need to distract me from what I am doing.

When I walk I am never bored because now even the neighborhood changes from day to day. Just watching  the dog get such pleasure out of exploring makes me smile.  I walk at a pretty good clip in order to get the cardiovascular benefits from walking and I try to challenge myself at least twice a week.  At least two other days of the week we walk at a rather leisurely pace and just enjoy the weather, the birds, the plant life, or people watching. We never go home early.

Walking is great for your back, legs, arms, and core if you choose to engage all of them by standing straight and swinging your arms. Pull in your stomach muscles and practice good posture to improve those abdominal muscles.

  • Warm up your joints and muscles before you begin.
  • Start with short distances if you haven’t been active.
  • Add on more distance and/or increase your pace each week.
  • Take a walking buddy to keep you company.
  • Make it a joyous time by smiling as you go.
  • Walk in the light of day in a safe place.
  • Enjoy the scenery of a local park or trail.
  • Change your route to keep it fresh.
  • Have fun.

Sometimes I add in more steps each day by parking farther away from my destination, chasing the dog  or the kids in the backyard,  taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and using my treadmill desk when I write instead of sitting at a desk. Simple walking will help us live a longer, better life.  It doesn’t have to be complicated. Namaste’



Rituals, Uncategorized

Meaningful Rituals


Meaningful rituals are a great part of my life. As I grow older I learn to recognize and appreciate them ever more. It helps that I have learned to slow down and not fill my life or my time with garbage. When I use the term garbage I mean those things that have little or no meaning that people do just because society deems it so or because they think it will impress other people. Thankfully I have outgrown my insecurities and now simply appreciate my time and the evidence of peace in my life. Here are my rituals:

1) Rise Early
I rise nearly every morning at 5 o’clock. This is the time of the day that is
quiet and allows me to reflect. I tried more traditional methods such as
meditation and prayer but the mere act of rising early and sitting is just that.

2) Coffee and Nothing Else
Upon arising early in the morning I find myself studiously making a fine cup of
coffee. I dress it up with cream and something sweet even though I shouldn’t.
This goes well with staring out at the finishing full moon of the night or with
the slow rocking of the chair while seated in my velvet pants and warm sweater.

3) Walking
I’ve taken to walking the dog just as the sun finds itself over the eastern
mountains. His happiness and getting out and exploring is contagious even if we
have engaged the route many times before. Somehow it always seems new. This joy
first thing in the day is such positive and natural exercise that I hardly know
I am actually doing something that’s good for me. It’s a simple joy.

4) Writing
Writing is a Fall and Winter Ritual. I find the change of the seasons to change
me from the gardener to the reflective recluse as I huddle in front of the
computer and find a tale to put down in black and white. Whatever seems to suit
my mood at the moment. I have numerous blogs that I write with each in it’s own
true unique category. One or two are private to keep me on track.

5) Gardening
Gardening is the Spring and Summer Ritual that replaces writing in the warm
months. I do plan it all year long and then go full swing as soon as the
weather allows it. The change of the seasons still enthralls me and I love to
make things grow seemingly from nothing. Even pulling weeds and tending soil
is captivating and wondrous. It brings me in touch with the earth.

6) Tea Time
Tea Time is always at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. I always stop what I am
doing and make a cup of tea. I have this along with something sweet such as
a square of dark chocolate. This makes me stop and take a breath during my day
and say a silent thanks of gratitude for my wonderful life that I lead.

7) Reading Together
At the end of every day our family reads together. We turn everything else off
and lock the door then each with our own book on digital device we take time
out of our day to challenge our brains and absorb true knowledge or enjoy a
work of fiction lost in time and place.

Meaningful rituals will vary with each person and each lifestyle. Creating your own rituals gives a sense of comfort and consistency to a life that is full of unknowns. They take away the chaos if only for a few moments and establish wonder and gratitude where there was doubt and misconception. Traditionally rituals involved religious ceremony and prayer. Some still remain to this day and are quite beautiful. Whatever the reason that you choose to establish rituals in your life consider basing them on finding peace within.


My Minimalism

Becoming a Minimalist has been an adventure and I look forward to even more learning. I’ve swayed my spouse a bit towards owning less. He likes it just because we spend less money. Nothing wrong with that. Because I live with a spouse and a child I have had to relinquish some of the things that I aspire to for now. There won’t be a Tiny House just yet or owning just 100 things but I have made some pretty good choices and accomplishments such as wasting less, eating a plant-based diet, and getting rid of the unnecessary.

I’ve met some really good people along the way too.