Sunday, December 30, 2012

Winding Down the Old and.....

Contemplating the new. Our party group left with smiles last night and that was what it was all about. We talked and played LCR non-stop until the money ran out, as I had set a limit to our fun. Even the guys got into it and the last pot was a good one. We all indulged in too much food, eggnog, and vino, but we all enjoyed laughing at the anticipation a winner takes all kitty spurs. Hints included that a new neighborhood trend had begun, and I remembered thinking that I will be very happy to attend this new event. Nice to have friends who just enjoy being around each other. We got to meet a couple of new people and jokingly reserved their Colorado home for a trip in the future.  

Richard is on his way to the pecan orchard, and I am chilling while I decide if I will attend a New Year's Eve party. My grandson might be available for a visit also, and I don't want to miss that. My thoughts travel to my mom and whether or not I should have tried to visit her this weekend. The weather hinted at a messy eve and first, so I opted to stay home. Bad weather doesn't bother my husband at all, but I am a nervous wreck traveling bad roads for any reason. I let him be the adventurous one going to the hometown.

Lots of changes this year in the family dynamics have encouraged me to get my "started five years ago" projects finished. I am bound and determined to get my boys pictures put into new albums. They have all been released from the acidic pages of the old time albums, but the organization end of it all has been the biggest challenge. I think I am ready to start the next album when I discover a box of pictures I just packed away much too quickly. I find that I thought I would remember the year of the events because it was so important at the time. Not.....this just hasn't happened and I find myself thinking now in themes instead of years as the pictures just seem to flow into each other.

The digital age made the last 10 years much easier to chronicle, and sites like Shutterfly help immensely with the picture inventories. Computers and the outside storage also create amazing timetables of life's events. All very compact and accessible unless the power goes out. I love the ease with which we can just look at our lives and those we love with the quick motion of inserting a digital card into an electric picture frame. I refer to my digital picture frame as my personal TV of the events that really count. I find comfort in this kind of grounding and remembering that my family and friends bring the continuous smiles to my face.

If I am ever at an age where I have to go to a retirement home of any sort, I hope my family remembers my picture frame and the SD cards I have carefully saved in lieu  of wiping them clean. My entire life is on those cards thanks to the ability to scan and save and redeposit the old pictures to the cards. I wonder if the next generation will be as happy to find the cards and the memories as I was to put them there. They will have their own memories to contemplate and hopefully will be thankful that I had set this example for them. Who knows, but one can hope?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Just Thinking Today

I don't get a lot of opportunities to just be on my schedule. Today is one of those days. In fact, this whole weekend is mine. Just mine. I will drink coffee in pajamas all day if I choose to do so. I won't, but it is nice to know that I can. I have a list of things to do, and I will get the list finished, but it will be on my schedule. I don't even have to make dinner tonight for my hard working husband. What a treat. Next week will be another blur as I visit my mom and go to the doctor with her. She is sad and having a hard time since losing her sister. It is hard to be the only remaining sibling of a generation. Scares me to think about it. The last fun event happened last night. We went to a granddaughter's program, and what a joy to once again see 3 and 4 year olds singing and telling the Christmas story. The end was wonderful with all trying to outsing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." It was a hoot. Then, Richard took me down a few streets with Christmas lights. Rare occasion, that one, as lights are definitely not his thing. I will do my own sightseeing this weekend too. This year has passed so quickly. I turned around and my best bud grandson is now 12. Twelve. He was just 5 when we met him. My granddaughters are 4 and almost 4. It was just yesterday we were flying to NC to meet the new brunette, and three months later, rushing to the hospital to greet the new blond. My mom had the blessing of seeing the newborn, too. Both fathers were in awe of the new life, and the love that was in their eyes just melted my heart. On another note, I am bound and determined to finish a project I started 6 years ago. My grandson was living with his dad, and as a gift to my new daughter-in-law, I arranged to fly him back home on Christmas Day. We had a grand time while there, and I found these Night Before Christmas books, and thought then and there about making a keepsake for the grandchildren. At the time, I bought 4 because both daughter-in-laws were pregnant. Lo and behold, 5 years later, I am accomplishing this treasure. The treasure is probably more mine than theirs, as I love the feeling I get when I look through pictures and just remember. Some people jog. I look at memories. The NC family visited between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and what fun we had. My granddaughters both love the outdoors, and the parks are one of our favorite places to spend time. Just the moment when the cuties first could swing by themselves brings joy to my heart. Reagan got to ice skate for the first time, and I wondered if my younger son was taken back to his first ice skating in the very same Woodlands mall many years ago. I was also taken back to the year my older son skated for the first time in the Galleria mall. Back then, Richard and I sat at a Mexican restaurant and watched as David mastered the skates. Years later, we sat as adults in the same part of Houston and watched the light parade one Thanksgiving evening. I look forward to history repeats as the grandchildren get older. Hopefully, we will expand on the memories as time goes by. I was able to get both girls to Victoria to see my mom, and I took a cute picture of the great grandmother with the girls in the coats mom got them for Christmas. We have had several gift exchanges already as I wanted to see their faces. I am sure that I will treasure that moment in time forever. If I had been thinking, I would have gotten me in the picture as well. I will frame that picture of my mom and take it to her next week. We will smile together. Some people jog. I look at pictures of the great times together.......always will.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


My favorite aunt passed away this morning at 7:20. Ola Olivia Alexander Gara has joined the Lord and is no longering suffering from cancer. She battled bravely to the end, God was merciful and she is no longer in pain. She leaves behind two daughters, Jennifer Gail Gara Gietzen (Jeff) and Katheryn Alexis Gara Morton (Jeff) and three grandchildren, Alex and Kyle Bayley and Claudia Gietzen. She is also survived by her sister, Bettie Joy Alexander Bethke, my mom. Nieces and nephews include: Rebecca Smith (Richard), Marsha Bain (David), Marvin Mikeska, Judy Higdon, Bettie Hairston,and Dale Alexander. She leaves behind great nephews and nieces: Jason Mikeska, David Keefer, Justin Smith, Bryan Jones, Ashley Higdon, Mathew Bain, Britney Bain, and Christine Mikeska. Great-grand nieces and nephews include: Kaleb Mikeska, Kamryn Keefer, Jonathan Stafford(by marriage)and Reagan Smith, Emily Bain, Christopher and Jonathan Brockwell, David, Nicole and Dryden Jones. I mention the extended family because my Aunt Ola took great care to make sure we knew she was always thinking of us. Christmas always included boxes of cute gifts from the oldest niece to the youngest great-grand nephew. I was always surprised at her ability to remember everyone as most of the previously mentioned relatives are my mom's side of the family. I gave up long ago trying to get individual gifts just to say I love you, but I admire people who do this. We are enjoying the company of my aunt's sweetheart for about 15 years. I remember the evolution of this relationship well. My aunt loved to square dance, and met Francis through this hobby. They danced together for years, and Ola's wish was to die on the dance floor. That's an interesting way to end one's life. Die while engaged in something you love doing. I want to go that way.....maybe while painting a sunset over the ocean. My aunt has once again inspired me. She always did.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Legally Stoned......

My favorite aunt is in the latter stages of cancer and this became my catch phrase as she medicated with the sixty's favorite herb. As she cut the cookie or fudge treat, she would tell me that she would share, but it would be illegal to do so. We would both get a good and much needed laugh. Her cancer in its last stages is quite painful and her nausea really unpleasant. Her doctor prescribed the marijuana for her stomach, and it does help. My younger son has been sending all he knows about the treatment with instructions to not tell mom. I sometimes wish my children would give me credit for at least having knowledge about issues in this decade. The medicinal use of marijuana is a non issue to me. If I research the medications I take every day, I am sure that most of them get their power from various plant bases. In fact unless synthetically produced, most medicines do begin as some sort of foliage. Such is science and such is the science of medicine. It's been a rough 2 months for me. My mother had a stroke, was in rehabilitation for a really quick six weeks, then home with 24/7 care. I was her caregiver for the first two weeks home and my brother and sister covered this last two weeks. We were all in the process of getting a family gathering organized for my mom and aunt. My mother was instructed to stay close to her physicians for at least six months, and then my aunt received news that her condition is terminal. My husband was on board with getting me to Seattle to visit with my aunt. He handled the reservations for me, and that gave me a few moments to just breathe. The visit was bittersweet as we talked, played a few games, and enjoyed a meal together. It is hard to see someone you love in pain. Pain is such paralyzer. Normal activities become difficult and it is, quite frankly, easier to stay in bed and have one's pillow fluffed. My aunt was frustrated that we couldn't go have fun. I assured her that I had come to visit, and I had. My cousins are very accomodating hostesses, and I was treated like royalty. I could lie and say that they reserve that treatment just for me, but my nose would grow. My cousins just happen to have excellent manners, and that leads to a most comfortable climate whenever anyone visits. The weather was beautiful, and I was content to enjoy the scenery during the quiet talks with my aunt. When she slept, I sat and remembered. She was my tour quide for so many years. Both of my sons have climbed mountains,thrown snowballs in August, swam in the lakes, traveled to a part of Canada, and enjoyed a cabin on a mountainside because of this sweet lady. Out of the goodness in her heart, she took us all over Seattle many, many times. When the kids were small, she very carefully orchestrated trips that would excite and entertain my boys. As the boys grew up, our trips included more cultural sidetrips that adults would enjoy. She was ever the perfect hostess. I will cherish these memories forever. My aunt made sure she stayed in contact with her Texas roots. We were never ignored as part of her family. She moved to Oregon, New York, and finally to Washington. She made sure we knew her children. As much as possible, my Aunt Ola came to Texas. While my Granny was alive, this was a scheduled, once a year trip. She made Texas a stop on her way to yet another home in Chili. It has always been an understanding that her home was open to our visits. My aunt kept our family connected, and that is no easy feat these days. This is my tribute to my aunt. She touched my life in so many ways and will continue to do so in my forever memories. I will spend the last months of her life praying that the Lord will provide whatever is necessary for her to be as painfree as possible. I am sure the Lord doesn't mind that she is legally stoned, and neither do I.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Soooo Happy

I admit it. I have been worried about my kids.......specifically, my daughter-in-law in North Carolina. My son called yesterday with excellent news concerning her cancer remission. One more 3 month check-up and she will then go to the 6 month check-up cycle. She is still in remission and I praise God for this.

I have been praying for her complete healing and so far God has said yes. I feel confident that He will say yes to my second prayer request for her and my son. I have prayed that she will live to see her children graduate from high school, go to college, get married, and have babies of their own. The blessings of being a grandmother are like no other. I pray for this blessing for all of my kids. There is such fun in being able to relax with grandchildren. To peek at the bits and pieces of DNA that came from the grandparents, parents, and the generations before that.

I look at my sons and see their fathers. They both have strong character, and I am proud to be their mom. I enjoy seeing the family resemblances from both sides of the families in my grandchildren. It's such a permanent statement for the future. My kids have have been married 10 and 5 years while Richard and I hit the big 30 this year. The time has just flown by for us.

Richard and I are at a crossroad in our lives. Do we play it safe, and make sure our children will inherit from us? Do we speculate and continue to invest in a project that may or may not produce income in 5 years when we retire? We will have to make lots of decisions this year, and I want to carefully consider what the impact will be on my children and grandchildren. Times are so unstable right now, and we are fortunate to continually be blessed. I pray that God will bless my children and grandchildren as abundantly as He has blessed us. Thank you, Lord.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Feeling Stuck

Not stuck in life, but stuck in a weird mood! I hate when I feel like this. I have lots of projects that could keep me inspired and engaged and then yield a productive result, but I choose instead to be plain lazy. I don't know if this is a mental issue or the direct result of getting on the Jenny Craig diet plan. I have always been a carb freak, seeking immediate energy, getting the job done, crashing, and starting the same cycle over the next morning. My first gear just refuses to move into second. I find myself just getting through the day.

Yes, I am taking vitamins, and getting the exercise although I could add more minutes to this area. I am just in a rut right now. I am tired of handling all of the details of life, and I find myself getting quite rebellious in my old age. It's not limited to my personal life either. I am tired of listening to people gripe over nothing, and I am tired of my neighborhood. That is nothing new. I seem to have a short attention span when it comes to houses. Husband is supportive and told me to start looking.......but since I am stuck in a rut......I have no desire to pursue this on my own.

My only joy in the daily routine of life is my prayer group. I just feel so refreshed after praying for my family and my grandchildren. I need to start a stuck in a rut prayer group. lol I imagine that God would honor this gripe session. He has broad shoulders......

I will be glad when this cloud lifts, and I can be all perky again. I like being in motion, and my general health is actually on the up swing. My thigh muscle has finally relaxed after my knee replacement, and taking on tasks that involve a step stool no longer cause me angst. I will be happier when I can do what I want to do instead of what other people want me to do. I have had to say no again to various groups, community members, and friends. I will have personal freedom again in June, and it can't get here fast enough.

I will be able to lose myself in my projects for posterity as I call them, and I am actually making my own bucket list for now. I really need to make some personal adjustments for me and only me. That is hard to do, or at least it is hard for me to do. In the meantime, I seem to float through the days, and then another week has passed and I can't seem to pinpoint anything I accomplished besides the regular woman stuff. Washing clothes and cooking meals just doesn't cut it for me. It never has. I will get out of this mood, but may need a small adventure to get there. Maybe the husband will want to take his new wheels for a mileage drive this weekend to look at some lakefront or bayfront property. That might perk me up.......

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

My Life-Such That It

I talked to my neighbors today. He finally took official retirement at age 70 and she has been retired for a few years now. Both are very pleasant people and easy to approach. During the conversation the mister asked me if my husband had informed me of the latest break in attempt on their home. I said no and he explained that while walking around his property, he discovered cut screens in the guest bedroom. It was comical to me as I had just ordered a new security system, and the technicians will be here tomorrow for the installation.

This house is already wired for it all, and this service has been put off for a while because we have a four legged yapper that seems to hear every outside sound that ever happens. In fact, I'm not sure if her yapping didn't interrupt the screen cutter. Whenever she goes on a rampage, I throw the bright outside lights on. Bright light would deter me from doing anything illegal if I were a burglar.

As continued talking, I explained how I have never lived anywhere and not gotten burglarized in some form or another. Sometimes it was the house and other times the cars or trucks were broken into for laptops or CDs. The times we live in seem to increase this sort of crime. I recently witnessed shoplifters stealing a huge cache of baby products. They just walked the full carts right out the door and started running to a waiting car and get away driver. The trunk was popped and loaded before the cashier could even finish reporting the crime. The car was just far away enough to make reading the plate impossible.It was almost dark outside for this well planned heist. Thieves aren't stupid, no matter what you have heard.

I reminded my husband that he had neglected to tell me the latest problems from next door, and all I heard for a moment or two was a huge groan. He'd just forgotten. I told him that the installer was coming tomorrow and he groaned again. We will probably set the alarm off accidentally until we get used to setting and disarming it. It's not that complicated. We will survive and add it to our one more thing to remember list.

I know I will sleep better knowing that a blaring sound will wake us up if we are here during a crime attempt. I will also leave the house more easily now knowing that a constable will be called if the alarm gets sounded. We have nothing of real value in this house, but a thief wouldn't know that. These are patio homes, and downsize steps for most of us. Our children took extra furniture when we moved, and any valuable items are kept in a safety deposit box or I am wearing it. Our jewelry has sentimental value only. There is nothing designer about our decor, and our technological items are so outdated it is sad. Our running joke concerns the fact that our kids already have better stuff than we do.

I really think it is sad that we have to pay someone to protect our home, but this just seems to be common practice these days. It also bugs me to have to pay a diet program to monitor my weight loss. It seems like nothing in life is free anymore and unless we pay for something, it has no value.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What a Week

First off, I just finished restaining the quarter round on my wood floors. When they were installed, I don't think the detailing was finished correctly. I could have called them, but the floors are over 3 years old now, and I had the materials from another job, so I got it done. My new EZ movers came in today, and moving furniture out of the way was very EZ. The stain has to dry for 8 hours, or I would have completed the job today.

I needed a way to get rid of all this pent up energy. I attended a HOA meeting for my subdivision and was just wired afterwards. I didn't sleep well last night, and today I couldn't get busy fast enough. The meeting was 3 hours of just plain nonsense with people who had nothing but anger towards each other. Old grudges just went on and on, and I noticed that not much business got done. I had to remind them from the gallery to just get on with it. Many of the issues had nothing to do with running a HOA. Just lots of griping about issues that aren't even covered in the deed restrictions.

We voted last month to let the board make edits and additions to our restrictions that will be correct under new laws out there. After last night, I realized why the laws had to be passed. After enduring this meeting, I was just undone. Thus, my projects got started. Hard labor tends to wear me out, and then I can rest. I could have taken a pill to relax, but decided to knock out some chores around the house.

My poor husband called today and got an earfull. He laughed it off, and said that maybe we should get more involved. Elections are in April, and I will probably throw my name in the hat. Somebody just needs to get the job done, and quit wasting everybody's time and energy.

Over coffee this morning, I discussed some issues and how to easily solve them. He'd been the past president and had stepped down due to all of the infighting. We both agreed that it is time to think about moving to another area. Unfortunately, we have 5 years until retirement and building our final home, so I am stuck for a while. Maybe bringing peace to this neighborhood will be a nice goal to have before I move on.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day 2012

In my world, yesterday was Valentine's Day. It is mental anguish to actually go out for a nice dinner on the actual date if it happens to fall on a week day. We already celebrated and said the I love yous. Then, to put the frosting on the cake, we exchanged cards at the coffee pot this morning. I chose a book An Older Love by Warren Hanson for my "card" this year. This author spoke to our ladies group in October, and I actually thought ahead for a change. As I read through the book last night, I identified my life with my husband in so many ways. I even understood when the author admitted to making the same mistakes over and over only to be forgiven over and over. That is what real love does.

I also understood being totally comfortable with each other. It takes years of love to not get prickly when the husband actually asks what day Valentine's is on. It helps to realize that he can't always remember to do the things he used to do as a matter of course, like minor plumbing or door knob replacement. After this last round of home repairs, it will take a handy man 2 or 3 days just to fix our fixes. I am glad I can chuckle over this as I write about it. I think the years of good stuff just sort of diminish the goof ups as we go along. Reality kicks in and we are both thankful that we can afford to fix our mistakes.

I, too, am having my last project redone by a professional. I really thought I could refinish my dining room table. I refuse to give up the black walnut wood from so long ago. After 2 weeks of stripping, sanding, finishing, resanding, refinishing, and stripping again, I gave up. My husband literally flagged a refinisher down as he left a neighbor's house. He got the bid and the guy's card. The furniture is now in the shop along with 7 other pieces. Yep, we both know how to let each other try and then call in the calvary as plan B. Older love just knows.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Early Morning Thoughts

Sometimes I get up early with my better half just to enjoy the coffee. Silly, I know, but very therapeutic for me.

Last night the younger son called to say he got his latest promotion. He is now Staff Sargent Smith. He is at the beginning of his fifth year in the Air Force, helped his wife survive cancer, and is a loving father of his stepson and his three year old. He's had a very busy five years.

It got me to thinking about my boys. I am so proud of both of them. Both boys work their hardest to provide for their families, and it makes me proud to not only be their mom but to know them as men of character. What a contrast their family atmospheres are compared to my family life when I was young.

My father was a character but not a man of character. His efforts were always selfish and self centered. He was the father of five children, and he really didn't care too much if we even had food to eat. He was a gambling man and a heavy drinker. Between the fights over money to pay bills, and wondering if there was going to be any lunch money for school, our young lives were filled with stressful situations that just created chaos in our lives.

The only normal life was provided by a really strong willed woman who somehow always made do with very little. She finally went to work when I was fourteen just to keep food on the table. Sad commentary on a life, but I know that she wasn't alone in that world. That world still exists today for thousands.

Twenty five years of teaching let me see parents in all their glory and some in their worst moments. Most of the troubled kids had one thing in common. Parents who just didn't care about anything except themselves. I will give my sons credit for always considering their family first.

That links me to my daughter-in-laws. They are both outstanding moms. Both always engage themselves in activities that lift the kids spirits and make them happy. Both are thoughtful of their kids' feelings, and that is a real self esteem builder. Both girls are blessed to have husbands who always provide for their families. This kind of security is priceless.

I know that my sons are not perfect and their wives are not perfect, but from my point of view I see them making all efforts to create a loving environment for their children without forgetting that they are a unit of two. Many discussions happen before deciding issues that will dictate a lifesyle. I see them learning together what works and what doesn't.

My husband and I used to do that when our marriage was young and every penny had to be allocated properly. I remember feeling secure just knowing that we were working together for the greater good of family. As a result of our focus, we are resting together in our young old age and five years away from retirement, kids grown, grandchildren to brag about, and the security to pursue our interests. Life has been good.

I pray for my kids, their wives, and my grandchildren every week with a prayer group and every day as needs arise. I pray for the preservation of their marriages and for them to continue to love each other as the day they met. I pray for the grandchildren to understand how much their parents love them. I pray that their parents will be the vehicle to lead them to accept Christ as their Saviour. I really want the blessing of eternal life for all of my family members.

Just finished my third cup of coffee, so time to move on......

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I Tried to edit, but couldn't

I am so glad my mother

God Does Handle Details

I ;am so thankful my got to Seattle on her own steam without a family member having to make the trip to be by her side. In fact the whole trip sounded easier than when we accompanied her in these recent years. My sister made her reservation and asked for assistance.

When I went to the airport, the bags were handled curbside which is normal. The handler said to wait and a wheelchair would be brought. Presto chango, yep that fast. The baggage handler brought the receipt to my mom as she was being assisted into the chair and she was whisked into the building before I even got to hug her good-bye. I yelled bye, and then got back in my car and came home. I was just amazed. My mom is 80 years old, and the trip was going to be hard on her. The efficiency of the airlines lowered her stress levels and that of her family members.

My aunt lives in Seattle, actually, a suburb just outside of the city. Her cancer has become active again, and she is taking chemo once a week for 3 weeks, then a break, PET, and decisions based on the information. All I can do is pray for my aunt.

My mom wanted to be there for her. She had this overwhelming need to just go, and now I am glad she did. My biggest worry concerned "in the airport". I remember losing her several years ago when she went to the ladies room. She got turned around and wouldn't carry a cell phone. She still doesn't. We eventually found her, but all were totally stressed. The same thing happened at Caesar's Palace in about the same timeframe.

I actually think I have learned something from this. If my mom insists on going on another trip by air, I will request the same services for her; even if I am there. Travel is hard enough and anything that will make it easier is something to consider. I guess we can all learn something new every day.

My sister called to ask how it went and we were both pleased by the results. She never got a confirmation on the assistance request, so we were both holding our breaths. "She's in the system" were music to my ears for one more adventure in my mom's life. I always wondered how older people traveled so much. Now, I know. When I am 80, I'm going to ask for all the help I can get........

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year's Resolution

To be quite honest, I forgot to do this on the first day of the year. I was just exhausted and in bed that day and the following. I thought my husband would make a crack or two about my laziness, but I got a nice surprise. He was sick and also as tired as I was, so we enjoyed being chair potatoes together. This is so unlike our past lifestyle. Once again, I am thankful that we don't have a deer lease to maintain. My hubby and I will hunt dove at the pecan orchard until season is over. That will be enough hunting for me.

I did get a new shotgun for Christmas. I do hope that I can enjoy shooting it. Richard went to a lot of trouble to get it sized just for my arm length. After reading the information packet, it seems like an easy gun to load and shoot. I broke lot of nails on the last two hunts because of loading and pumping and ejecting. Anyhow, I do appreciate the effort put into the gift. I really would like to learn how to hit the dove. I enjoy being out in the open for this kind of hunting.

As of today, I figured out my resolution. I am going to simplify my life. I really am going to throw things away that have been in the drawer untouched for the past year. I am really going to donate the clothes that have been unworn for the past year. I am actually going to organize my closet by outfits and colors. I used to do that when I worked because the mornings were always so rushed. Retirement seems to have relaxed me too much. Time to get efficient again.

I am not going to shop all year for Christmas. I will pass it up even if it is a good deal. I will wait for the kids to tell me exactly what they want (within reason) and then get them that. I am also going to tell the kids exactly what I want. I got some really great gifts this year because I told them what I wanted. They made the choices, and really great choices they were.

I am going to finish that hallway I started painting. I am going to finish that collage of pictures I started. I am going to clear up that last closet that seems to be a catch all. I will throw away stuff that is never going to be used again. I won't hesitate with any buts about it. I just need to clear stuff out, and then I will have room for things that just seem to sit around and pile up.

Yep, that's my resolution. I am going to simplify my life.