Resolution: Keep the Feeder Full

On Friday, December 27, 2019, I filled my bird feeder for the first time in four months.

These past four months have been beyond difficult. We returned home from a blessedly relaxing vacation on August 31, and things fell apart the very next day.

This fall, my family has experienced two very serious health crises; September 1 marked the beginning of an extremely rough time. For six weeks, I spent about half my time traveling back and forth to northern New Jersey to help with things there. After that, an illness closer to home kept me here, taking care of one while simultaneously feeling guilty about leaving my family “up north” behind.

And just as things began to settle down, we emptied our entire home into the basement, the garage, and a storage pod so some long-overdue renovations could be completed; we lived in an extended-stay hotel for 2 1/2 weeks.

On Saturday, finally, I loaded my brand-new bookcases with books I hadn’t laid eyes on since early November.

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Copyright 2019 Barb Szyszkiewicz. All rights reserved.

All this to say: My bird feeder has been sorely neglected. I was barely keeping up with work. I took shortcut after shortcut when it came to meals, and the laundry got done, but when I sat down at 7:30 to relax with a book, I’d be snoring on the couch within 15 minutes. I had no bandwidth left for birds, or anything else.

We’re back in the house. My loved ones are still feeling the effects of those health crises, but things are improving for them all the time.

My bookshelves are full, and so is my bird feeder. I’ve missed taking those five minutes to fill that up. I’ve missed seeing the sparrows, cardinals, and house finches nibbling at the birdseed. I’ve missed hearing the birds gleefully begin to chirp when I approached the feeder with cups of seed in my hands. In all the necessary rushing around, I’ve missed those moments.

Four months is a long time to let a feeder go unfilled. That 5-star bird feeder rating that I’ve worked years to achieve is not mine to claim right now. But I hope that by the time the juncos return to herald the winter snow, the neighborhood birds will have discovered that my feeder is open for business.

This New Year, I’m resolving to keep the feeder full. Because it feeds me, too.

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Copyright 2019 Barb Szyszkiewicz. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2019 Barb Szyszkiewicz

Back to It

Christmas Vacation is over, and I never even got to watch Christmas Vacation.5e717-christmas-vacation

I also never got to Inbox Zero (or even close). Not for work email, and not for my personal email either.

I didn’t make the meal plan for the month, or the week, or even for tonight.

My desk is clean, though. It started out looking like this:


Yes, that’s my Corner Office right there. The Christmas tree is right behind me. There’s nowhere to go but up. Yesterday I took every single piece of paper off that desk–the clipboard, the notebook, the planner, and that entire organizing thingamabob, and decided whether that paper deserved desk space.

3 baskets of papers went out to the recycling bin. About 2 hours into the project, I was down to the last few items. There’s the basket I was using for recycling, on the right.


Cleaning my desk turned out to be a great way to brainstorm; I’d stop and write down some ideas for things I want to do/write/set up/organize. I set a few goals for my recipe blog.

And tomorrow is back to routine. Back to school for TheKid, though he has an endocrinology appointment in the afternoon, so he’ll only be there for half the day. Back to work for Hubs and me (for the morning).

I’m rested (mostly). My desk is clean, even if my inbox isn’t. I’m ready.


Barbara has been doing an occasional series on laundry.

Laundry is one of those chores that we do one way and we stick with it. Even when our system isn’t working well for us, we stubbornly stick to that system.

I freely admit to being a slave to my laundry system, which hasn’t worked well for us since we moved into this house. That was in 1998.

Our old home was compact, with no wasted space, but not much to spare either. The utility closet (big enough for furnace, water heater, washer and dryer and nothing else) was just inside the front door–in the dining room. I had room for one laundry basket on top of the dryer. So laundry got done and delivered to the bedrooms, to be put away. I had no choice–there was nowhere else to put it.

Then we moved to this house, which has a laundry room in the basement. Since I had always folded the laundry right there by my dryer in the old house, I did the same here. But it was so easy to fold the laundry and place it in a laundry basket–one for each family member.

Five laundry baskets take up an awful lot of floor space in the basement.

And by the end of the day, I would forget to hassle nag remind my kids to carry their laundry baskets upstairs and put their clothes away. So they’d go to the basement to look for stuff, and rummage through the baskets, and I’d get annoyed because they had unfolded all the neatly-folded laundry.

It wasn’t working for me. It wasn’t working too well for them, either.

So I tried something different–which, for me, is a big step. The only time I willingly try something different is when I’m cooking. I stepped out of my Laundry (Dis)Comfort Zone. When the dryer was done, I dumped everything into a basket and took it right upstairs. I folded it on my bed and delivered the folded things to everyone else’s beds. Now when they get home from school there is laundry on their beds, to be put away. There are no baskets cluttering up my basement floor, full of tumbled clothes. There is no “Mom, where’s my (insert name of article of clothing here)?” There are no mad rushes to the basement downstairs to find that missing piece of a uniform.

I deliver as I go, and it’s amazing how much better I feel about getting that done. The only thing I need to tweak is what happens to the Lonely Socks, since I’m no longer in the basement to utilize the Lonely Sock Clothesline.

It feels so good to retool a system and have it work out so much better!