the walking writer

I’m not terribly great at shopping. Christmas usually inspires total panic and dread as I anxiously shop online and at the stores for the perfect gift. It’s taken me years to let go of the idea of finding the most awesome gift for each member of my family and instead just find something they will like and actually want to use. One of my kitchen cupboards is unfortunately home to a couple of gifts that I’ve only used once and don’t know what to do with.

Fortunately, this year, I managed to convince my family to do a gift exchange instead of what we’ve previously been doing. Instead of buying gifts for every single member of the family, I only have to find a gift for one household. I had the bad luck of getting the one household that includes a family member who is impossible to shop for. What do you get someone who seemingly has everything he wants and also has very few hobbies? Bored and frustrated, I started Googling for gift lists for such people. I was not amused when I came across a list that include about a dozen ideas that cost thousands of dollars.  Helpful? No, not really.

So what do you give someone who seems to have everything they want or need? The best I can come up with is gift cards for activities (such as movie theaters) or tickets to special events. The important thing to remember is that it really doesn’t matter and it’s not worth stressing over. As long as you put some effort into finding a gift, your recipient will enjoy it.

The weather forecast in my area for the next week is looking pretty warm. I live in a region where hot summer temperatures are fairly rare; many houses, apartments and businesses do not have air conditioning. When a heat wave arrives, our citizens tend to anguish and groan. These strong emotions tend to find their way onto social media, blogs and news sites. Oh yes, the Internet is full of silly arguments over stupid stuff. But, I think it’s hard to beat the fights that break out over the weather.

How you feel about certain weather is the same as how you feel about certain movies or food. If you hate ketchup, do you really expect to get into a big fight with your brother, the ketchup lover and defender of the world? Hardly. I don’t deny this can happen, as I once knew someone who would argue with you about any of your personal preferences. However, it’s just not that common. So why do people argue about the weather?

I don’t have an answer. In this case, I can’t stand the heat. Even if I drink tons of water, I still end up getting headaches when my apartment reaches the upper 70s and higher. when it gets really warm, I have no choice but to leave my apartment and go hang out at a bookstore or some place with air conditioning. I don’t mind doing this on occasion, but I don’t really fancy spending an entire weekend at the mall. In addition, for some individuals, heat can cause a number of serious health problems, especially for the elderly.

If you love the heat, fine. I don’t see any reason for you to gloat or pick fights with people who prefer to be able to sit comfortably in their apartment. People have their reasons for not liking the heat, and it doesn’t make them whiny.

My former church excommunicated one of its members today. Excommunicated, in this case, means this individual can no longer call herself a member of the church. What was the great crime that caused this result? Simply put, Kate Kelly was excommunicated because she wanted women to have the same rights within the church as the men enjoy.

On the surface, it seems a little odd to me that I care at all about this as I no longer believe in any religion. However, I can understand the pain all too well that many of Kelly’s supporters are feeling tonight. I felt a similar pain one day, many years ago, when I realized that the church wasn’t what I thought. It’s easy for me to take myself back some years ago when I was still a member and think about how I would have reacted upon reading this news. I think I would have been shocked to realize that this supposedly loving and open church was shutting its doors so cruelly to such a faithful member.

As of today, I no longer have any belief that the church will someday become a more open and tolerant place. This fact saddens me as both my husband and I still have many family members left in the church. I hope, however, that more people will see the church in a new and honest light after this event. Perhaps some members who struggle to fit in the church will begin their own journey to happiness that comes from believing in yourself and your fellow humans instead of religion.

Lately, my husband and I have been a cleaning kick.  When we merged households after our wedding, we didn’t spend much time actually paring down his possessions.  We always meant to do it later, but, well, we got lazy.  Our problem is never with dirt and grime, it’s just clutter.

So far, the process has gone well and we’ve made noticeable improvements to our dwelling.  In addition, we found an old and still good gift card from our wedding and some cash.  Sure, it’s not much, but finding some extra money was a fun and unexpected discovery.

So, I’m sure there’s plenty of tips to help people clean their own homes, but here are a few of mine:

  • Don’t underestimate the value of lots of storage containers.  Since it’s January and the time of New Year’s resolutions, there are plenty of storage containers at various retailers.  If you look around, you can even find some really great deals.  Storage containers can help you add storage space to previously unused spaces, such as under your bed.  Shelves simply look better with a stack of containers, instead of a mismatched collection of boxes.
  • During each session, always work on at least one a visible area that needs cleaning.  You may want to tackle your closets or your drawers, but cleaning a visible space, such as your desk or countertop, will help you feel like you really accomplished something.  I love walking by some of our now-clean areas and admiring our progress.
  • Start small.  If spending an hour or two cleaning seems daunting, just start with small sessions of 10 or 20 minutes.  I find that I always get into a groove once I start, but cleaning in small chunks may work better for you.

Good luck!

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