Here I go...

Walking and Talking Across Spain

Friday, December 19, 2014

But How Do You Find Your Way on the Camino Santiago?



The answer is WAYMARKING.

Waymarking is a term used to describe the specific symbol which is used to mark a route people travel. Waymarks sometimes follow the route in one direction, or in other cases allow a route to be followed in both directions. Following is an explanation from the Confraternity of St. James website.

The waymarking along the Camino Santiago is,in general, very good. In France, the route from St.-Jean-Pied-de-Port is part of the long-distance GR65 footpath, and is marked by the red and white flash of the GR network. There are separate red and white to indicate changes of direction, and a red line crossed with a white one to indicate that you have taken the wrong turning.

In Spain, the official mark is the stylized scallop shell on a blue background, which is often placed on the walls of houses well above eye level to indicate the route through villages and towns. In open country, one frequently encounters these signs are often found embedded in small concrete pillars. There are also signboards with this mark at the top, a pedestrian sign in the middle, and a direction arrow at the bottom; these are much used at road crossings.

The red and white GR flashes are also found from time to time in Spain. However, the most common mark is a yellow arrow, which may be painted on trees, rocks, kerbstones, storm water gutters etc. Sometimes a yellow stripe is painted on trees as a continuation marker for reassurance. Some other waymarks incorporating the scallop shell can be found.

When walking the Camino Frances or most of the other routes to Santiago, one does not need a map... you simply follow the waymarks!























The Well-Dressed Pilgrim: Medieval and Modern

A while back, my blog crashed and I lost some of the posts. I'm going to try to recover a few. I've looked and don't see this one anywhere, so here goes. If you have read it before, please PM me with the link.  Thanks! 




What does a modern pilgrim WEAR while they walk? Well, the costume has not changed much over the centuries!

If we examine the photos taken at the Pilgrim Museum in St. Jean Pied du Port, you can see that the primary item of medieval pilgrim couture is THE HAT. Every pilgrim needs a hat to protect them from sun, wind, and rain. A hat with a wide brim will provide shade, as well as protect the back of the neck. A crushable/packable hat can be put away on those days you choose to walk bare-headed.

Under the hat, the medieval pilgrim wore a scarf. The scarf protected the neck from the elements and in the case of the female pilgrim, doubled as a shawl. It provided some shade. For modern pilgrims, this might be a tight-fitting lightweight microfiber or wool hat that can be worn under the brimmed hat, or it might actually be a scarf or kerchief. In hot weather, a kerchief is a great thing, dipped in water, to keep the pilgrim cool while walking. At night, the hat can be wrapped up in the scarf and voila! You have a pillow!

You see that the medieval pilgrim's clothing is layered. This is still a smart way to dress for the modern pilgrim. Layering your clothes makes it possible to walk through all temperatures comfortably. The weather on the Camino can change from moment to moment. Mornings can be very chilly while afternoons can be very hot. Peeling off layers is easier than stopping to completely redress yourself! On cold days instead of a heavy jacket, a modern pilgrim might wear long underwear covered by a longsleeved fleece, covered by a loose shortsleeved shirt, covered by a lightweight Goretex jacket or poncho.

You also will note that the male pilgrim wears a cape. It could be used to make shade, to keep one warm during chilly weather, and was the medieval version of a sleeping bag at night.

Lightweight cotton long sleeves protected one from the burning sun, and is still an excellent idea! I have a white gauze shirt that I put on to protect me from sunburn. It is lighter to carry and much safer for my allergies than chemical sunscreen.

Medieval pilgrims carried a staff. Today, many pilgrims still walk with a staff they purchase from local artisans along the way, or they use trekking poles. These poles are good for keeping your balance while fording streams, walking in slippery mud, climbing hills, and discouraging pesky dogs (or people).

The medieval pilgrim also carried a bag over their shoulder where they kept various needful things. Modern pilgrims wear a waistpack and money belt for the same reason.

Water must be carried. Medieval pilgrims often carried their water in a gourd. Today, we use camelback systems or bottles, and fresh fountains of water can found in nearly every village along the way.

So as you see, not so much has changed between then and now. 


We still travel light. 


We still dress appropriately. 


And we still proudly display the Scallop Shell 

as we walk under the Milky Way toward our goal, 
Santiago de Compostela.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

My Camino Chaplet



Camino Chaplet


To help pay my way for my first Camino, 
way back when,

I made these knotted Rosaries and Chaplets to sell or trade.

The Rosaries were one decade and have a St. James Crucifix on them.
The Chaplets had either a St. James medal or a Pewter Scallop on them.


I thought I'd ask 5 Euro for the Chaplets and maybe 7 Euro for the Rosaries.
I sold a few and gave many, many more away.

People just loved them.

Next time, when I took my groups, I gave these out as mementos.
I'm not sure if I'll continue this practice.
It was a labor of love.

I have to think about it...

Where's Annie?

Wow!

The time has flown and I find I haven't blogged in a while.
Time to catch up!

Summer was wonderful in my new house, 
but when the days began growing cold, 
and my bones began to ache, 
I knew I needed a change.

I called my friend Joe and said,
 "You going to the desert this year?"

He said "yes!"

I made him a deal he couldn't refuse. 
I agreed to drive and pay for the gasoline 
in exchange for him letting me stay in the little sunroom this winter. 

We had a hell of a drive in sheeting rain.
It was crazy!
We could barely see most of the way.


We saw several overturned cars and trucks.
People were driving too fast
and hydroplaning on the standing water!


We pulled into Hanford exhausted,
having driven straight through.
It was about a 14 hour trip.

I was happy to see my mom - she's doing well.


 We spent about 3 nights in Hanford.
I needed to visit my Aunt Vena, who just turned 98 this year.
I also had to collect some DNA from my Aunt Jean, her sister, 
so I could trace the family tree a bit more.

Then we were off to Desert Hot Springs to rest and relax.
I love this little place in the desert.
And I don't mind sharing space with Joe;
we've been friends for many years.
The park model has a regular bedroom where he lives,
but along the side, he's built a small sunroom.
It's a lovely little room with a bed and a desk.


 I share it with the washing machine and a few tools, 
but that's ok with me. 
And now, I have a plan!

As some of you know, 
I returned from the Camino last year
 only to experience a strange case of tendonitis in my ankle 
AFTER my return. 
I have been seeing my chiropractor regularly 
and the ankle is healing… slowly. 
 But the downside was 
that I've been unable to walk any distance at all.

That combined with sharing my house with three men 
who eat ice cream every night, 
and my lack of self-control, 
has led to a HUGE weight gain. 
I look in the mirror and say,
 "How did this happen?!"

Following the weight gain, 
and most likely because of it, 
my gallbladder began to complain.
Uh-oh!

So, I have a plan.


Here in the desert, there is nothing to do 
but write, exercise, and enjoy the sunshine.
I've decided to concentrate on my health and writing.

In order to create accountability, 
I'm going to blog my plan right here:

Writing and Genealogy


My writing will concentrate on my own family stories.

Several of my students have asked for a biography, 
so that will be one focus.

Also, I have many stories and interviews 
I have collected from the old folks in my family.
I need to get them written and in a safe place.
That will happen here.

Mixed in with those will be stories from the Camino.

Weight.


Morning - Fat Burning Workout by Joyce Vedral.
I've used this workout successfully in the past
 and hope to lose 5-10 pounds per month.

Afternoon - Walk
I began last night with only 10 minutes. 
I will increase 5 minutes each day as long as my ankle holds up. 
I hope to build up the strength slowly and not aggravate it.

Evening - Yoga
There are several nice bedtime yoga routines on You-Tube.
Last night I did this one and slept like a log!


Health.
I have ordered the herbs I need 
to do a complete kidney and gall-bladder cleanse.
I will begin as soon as the herbs arrive.
The kidney cleanse takes 13 days, 
after which I will do the gall-bladder cleanse.
The last time I did this cleanse, maybe 7 years ago,
 I released several hundred gallstones.

In the meantime, 
I'm eating healthy food, 
watching calories and fat, 
exercising,
and drinking lots of water.
I feel less bloated already.

Camino

We have two Camino trips planned this year.

The Best of Both will be led by Joe and it is nearly full.
We are also doing a Ladies Only trip, 
which will be led by Robin Lieberman.
You can read more about both 
at our Anniewalker's Camino website:

We originally had three trips planned, 
but the Ebola scare mixed with economic woes 
apparently frightened some folks off 
and people cancelled to the point we had to drop one trip. 
It was a shame, really, because I feel flying is very safe 
and Spain is one of the safest places in the world. 
I'm much more comfortable walking alone in Spain 
than most places in the USA.

Will I walk this year?
At this point, I'm going to say no.
I need a year to rest and recover from this tendonitis injury.
But I'll be ready to walk in 2016 for sure!

So there it is in a nutshell.

If you're interested in walking the Camino, 
and would like to go with a small group, please get in touch. 
We also offer a KickStart program which is very affordable. 
With Kickstart, I give you all the information you need to plan your trip, 
and am available for email, telephone, 
and face-to-face Gmail or Skype chat.

For those of you planning your trip, I'm excited for you!
Please keep me in your prayers.
I REALLY want to walk next year!

Love,
Annie


Thursday, October 23, 2014

What's Going On?

I've been super busy this summer and haven't been blogging much.
I thought I'd write today and let you know what's going on in my life.

AnnieWalkers Camino Trip.

This year we have 3 trips planned. Group Leaders Joe Walsh and Annette St-Pierre are leading two groups, and hopefully, I will be leading a third, The Crone's Camino, which is a group for women only.

You can read more about the trip and the leaders at this link:

AnnieWalkers Camino

There is space in all three trips at this point. Two were full, but we have had cancellations for reasons from new grandbabies to the Ebola scare. It's still very early, however, so we are confident all three trips will fill up fast. This generally happens around Christmas.

Chickens

My chicken run has a roof on it!


I'm frantically working to get the chicken coop and run finished so I can get out of the rain and spend some time at Joe's place in the warm California desert.  The chicken wire still has to be put on, and concrete must be poured around the perimeter. And then the chickens will be much more safe from the raccoon family who live nearby.

I have 4 hens, two Barred Rocks, a Red Sex Link, and an Easter Egger. Three are laying regularly. The  smallest Barred Rock is a month behind her sister, and I've given her one week to produce or she's going to be sold. I love these chickens! They're such funny little things. Watching their antics has given me a lot of pleasure, plus the added benefit of my own organic eggs.

Kallie, the laying Barred Rock, and Sissy, the Red Sex Link, produce lovely brown eggs.


 


Bella, my Easter Egger, produces beautiful blue eggs which are occasionally two-toned.









Mushrooming

October and November are mushrooming months in Oregon. We attended the Mycological Society's Fall show this weekend. There were hundreds of mushrooms on display with cards indicating whether or not they were edible, poisonous, or just naming them.  It was an awesome show!


Tuesday, Joe and I headed toward the coast to our favorite Chanterelle mushrooming site.
We both came home with enough mushrooms to give to friends and to eat for a week. Here is part of my harvest.  In past years, I've gathered enough to can for the year, but this year, we just wanted enough for immediate use.


Those of you who have walked the Camino may have seen Chanterelles growing in the SPRING on the banks beside the trail to Pedrouzo.

At the mushroom show, I bought a block that will produce Shitake mushrooms and another that will produce Oyster mushrooms. I'm going to set them up today.


My Ankle

My ankle is healing well. I have been seeing my chiropractor once a week and that, combined with gentle stretching exercise, seems to be working. I hope to strengthen it by walking in the desert after Thanksgiving.

The Economy

My middle son and his wife are losing their house due to the economic stress. He was laid off a few months last year and got about 4 months behind on the mortgage. He is working now but Wells Fargo REFUSED to work out any type of catch-up payment plan even though they were only $6,000 behind. Even the arbitrator agreed that they were greedy slime.  Of course, they'd rather sell the house and collect $300,000 for it. At first this was very stressful, but the family has accepted it. They have put the house up for sale and are hoping to at least recoup some of their equity before they move to an apartment. Please put my family in your prayers that they might sell this house soon and have some money to get reestablished.

My Needle Felting

When we got a new roommate, I moved downstairs from two bedrooms to one bedroom, to make space. This left me with a very tiny studio space for my needle felting. Last week, I sorted and cleaned and organized. I'm ready for the holiday rush now.

 If you're interested in seeing what I do to make extra cash, you can see my shop at this link:


I guess that's about all the news for today.

I hope you all have a wonderful Fall!

Until then,




Thursday, October 02, 2014

Walking the Camino - and Life - Unplugged


Recently, I've been attempting to unplug more, 

as this ad suggests.

I think other folks are on the same page, 

because this morning there were several posts on Facebook 
addressing this issue. 

 Gabrielle Reece said, 
TURNING OFF has become a major challenge for us, with cellphones and laptops giving us constant access to the world -- current research says that 75% of us use an electronic device within an hour of sleeping. The same research says that our habits with those devices are negatively affecting our sleep, which can have significant health repercussions down the road.

How do YOU sleep these days???


Then there was the awesome video post by Prince Ea:




It's not easy. 
Electronics have become addictive. 

I've attempted to unplug
 - at one time I had 3 Facebook accounts. 
Why three? 
Well, there's so much politics on FB,
 I wanted to avoid arguments. 
 I had one account for my Christian right-wing friends, 
one account for my pagan left-wing friends, 
and one account for my felting and Camino friends. 
It got crazy, the amount of time I was spending online.
 So I cut out the two right-wing/left-wing accounts and kept the third.
 But still, I'd catch myself checking FB before sleeping,
or checking Facebook before I'd even get out of bed. 


I tried making a rule. 
 I'd check Facebook and email only twice a day; 
once in the morning and once before bed. 
It worked about 2 days. 
I continue to work on this issue.

The easiest way for me to begin unplugging
 has been to not carry my cell-phone around. 
I leave it in my bedroom unless I'm driving someplace. 
If it rings and I'm busy, I don't answer. 
If it's important, people will leave a message.
 If it's an immediate family member, 
like my mother or one of my sons, I do call back. 
But more often than not, it's just someone wanting to chat. 
And if I'm felting, which is my work, 
it can wait until I take a break or have the time. 
When I drive somewhere, I do take the phone,
 but never answer it. 
I take it in case I get stuck at the side of the road,
 or leave my keys in my car, as I did recently. 

Lately, instead of rolling over 
and checking my Facebook on my iPad when I wake up, 
I've begun grabbing a cup of coffee and reading,
 either Rumi or Esther Hicks or the Bible 
or something that might give me inspiration for the day. 
Some mornings, when I don't feel like reading,
 I'll take my coffee out into the back yard 
and just study nature for 15-20 minutes
 - just be thankful for waking up alive. 



Which brings me to the Camino and walking unplugged.

I have walked various Camino routes around a dozen times. 
It has only been the ones where I led a group 
that I felt I needed to carry a cell phone. 
People are just more comfortable 
when they know they can reach me. 
However, when I walk alone, the phone is OFF. 

Nor do I listen to a musical device. 
Instead, I enjoy the sounds of the Camino
and use my iPhone to record them.
(Do I sense a conflict here? I'll have to mull this over.)

If I had an iPod, I would have missed the cow bells

video


I would have missed the frogs croaking in the ponds on the Camino Madrid.
video

I would have missed the cuckoo in the distance,
the wind rustling the leaves in the trees, 
and the rushing water in the river.

If I'd been wearing a iPod,
I would have missed being awakened by this men's chorus
in Puente la Reina
video

Instead of being distracted by electronics,
I savor the smells, 
bread baking in an oven, 
freshly squeezed orange juice,
 the smell of the upturned soil.

I walk with my eyes wide open for color - 
the green of the forests and fields, 
purple and red bunches of grapes hanging on the vine, 
colored sheets hanging on a line,  
or the diverse colors and shapes
 of the wildflowers sprinkled along the route. 

I look into the eyes of the pilgrims I pass.
There's much diversity there to enjoy.

I close my eyes and really SEE, SMELL, and TASTE the caldo, 
the tortilla, 
the gazpacho, 
the grilled peppers,
feeling my tastebuds dance 
as the various flavors tickle each one. 



I want to be distracted by the CAMINO! 
By the sights, sounds, and smells 
of the wonderful exotic country I'm visiting. 

I can't tell you how many times 
I've passed a pilgrim wearing earbuds,
 totally engrossed in their own little world. 
While it's true, they ARE walking THEIR Camino, 
I can't help but feel a little sad for them. 
They missed the opportunity
 to share words, ideas, laughter,
with someone from another country,
 another culture. 


Why go to Spain at all?
Why not just walk in their own neighborhood 
listening to their iPod? 
Why spend their life savings to come to Spain 
to do what they could do at home?

I'd like to encourage you to unplug, 
at home 
and on the Camino.
Try spending a day,
in fact, try walking the Camino
 WITHOUT a phone, iPod, iPad.
Every other pilgrim will have one, if you need help.
Nearly every albergue and hotel is plugged in.
You can use provided computers
to email your folks to let them know you're ok.

Try leaving the electronic security blankets at home.

After all, until about five years ago, 
thousands of pilgrims walked the route unplugged.
They made it to Santiago.

You will too.

And though the Cathedral is lovely,
and they say your sins will be forgiven if you reach it,
I believe the Camino is about the journey, 
not the destination.
Try immersing yourself in the experience.
Unplug.
You won't regret it.






Sunday, September 21, 2014

New Balance WW1069BR


This year, I'm going to try another New Balance Shoe.
It is the New Balance WW1069BR Trail Walking Shoe.
This rugged shoe features a split suede and breathable mesh upper with GORE-TEX protection. The padded footbed lends lasting underfoot support; the combination of C-CAP® and ABZORB® midsole cushioning, along with a long-wear drag tip delivers underfoot support. Rollbar® technology minimizes rear foot movement for an optimal ride. The AT Tread outsole of the New Balance 1069 GTX® hiker combines both trail and running rubber lug designs for on- and off-road performance.

Type: Motion Control

Weight: 336 grams (11.9 oz)

This is an outdoor-ready walking shoe featuring a waterproof GORE-TEX® upper, underfoot cushioning and a supportive fit.

When your walk takes you off road, as most of the Camino Santiago is, shoe is ready. 

For wet Galician conditions, this shoe features a waterproof GORE-TEX® upper. 

For unforgiving ground, such as the stretch into Roncesvalles, the 1069 provides cushioning with C-CAP® and ABZORB® technology. 

And when things get rocky, such as the stretch coming down Alto Perdon, the ROLLBAR® technology helps keep feet stable using a system of TPU posts.

Features also include the following:

· 10 mm drop: due to variances created during the development and manufacturing processes, all references to 10 mm drop are approximate

· Debris-free construction eliminates waste, preserving raw materials and providing an environmentally preferred manufacturing solution· Rich eyerow hardwareT

* * *

I like the looks of this shoe.
It looks sturdy, and I love the WOL-01 Shoe Last it is built upon.
It has a deep toe box and wide front combined with a narrow heel.
This combination works very well for Camino Walking.

Prices I've seen range from $139 to $169.
But don't balk.
You get what you pay for and on the Camino, your shoes are your primary investment.
Take care of your feet, and your Camino will be successful.

Let me know how these work for you!

Buen Camino!
Annie


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Help Making Tough Decluttering Decisions


On her Blog, LIFE YOUR WAY, Mandi Ehman suggests 10 questions to ask yourself as you evaluate the items in your home and make tough decluttering decisions:


1. Is this item something I use regularly?

A lot of times we keep gadgets, tools, toys, art supplies, et cetera around because they seem useful. However, it’s important to consider how often you actually use each item when deciding whether it’s worth keeping or should be given away. If you haven’t touched it in three to six months (or more), despite your best intentions, it is a good candidate for decluttering.

2. If not, is it something I love?

Of course, there are obviously exceptions to this rule (including seasonal items that you usually regularly in season). One exception I would always encourage you to make is for items you love. Keeping a painting from your grandmother that you love even if it doesn’t have a place in your current home is much different than keeping a snowcone maker that you have been meaning to use for two summers but never seem to have the motivation to actually pull out.

3. Am I keeping this out of obligation or expectation?

Chances are there is at least one thing in your home that you’re keeping not because it’s useful or you love it but because it was a gift from someone and you feel obligated to keep it. While I completely understand the desire not to hurt someone’s feelings, I think it is also important to remember that this is your home and if it is affecting your life, it’s okay to declutter gifts as well as the things that you’ve bought for yourself.

4. Am I holding onto this because I think I should 
love it?

Maybe you have a piece of artwork or a trendy outfit you picked up because they were popular and you felt like you should love them, even though you really don’t. Maybe your craft area is stocked with supplies for a hobby that no longer interests you. In all of these cases, it’s important to consider how you really feel and make your decisions based on those feelings rather than the ones you think you should have!

5. Am I saving this just in case?

One of the most common causes of clutter is a fear of needing something that you’ve given or thrown away. The reality is that if you commit to simplifying and decluttering, chances are that this will happen at some point. But for those of us who take the plunge to get rid of the unnecessary, the benefit of a clutter-free home is almost always worth the tiny bit of regret in these situations.
6. Do I have multiples of the same thing?

How many spoons or spatulas do you really need in your kitchen? Obviously your answer will depend on the type of cook you are, but ask yourself this question whenever you have multiples of any item. There’s a difference between being prepared and more efficient and just creating clutter!

7. Could something else I own do the same job?

I think this is a fun question! As you’re decluttering, look at any specialized tools or items you have and ask yourself if you could do the same job with another item, thereby cutting down on the number of different things you keep. To use another kitchen example, I decided to simplify our entertaining by giving away a bunch of our serving bowls once I bought a set of beautiful stainless steel mixing bowls from Ikea. I use these every day for cooking, but they also make great bowls for chips, dip, ice, et cetera.

8. Am I holding onto a broken item to fix one day?

This is another classic cause of clutter. Perhaps you have a piece of broken furniture or a broken electronic that you’re just sure you will have the time and desire to fix at some point. But ask yourself how long it’s been sitting in storage waiting for that day to come and whether you’re really ever going to get to it as you make the tough decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of.

9. Is this item worth the time I spend cleaning/storing it?


It’s important to remember that both your time and the space in your home have value. Think about how much time you spend cleaning knickknacks that you don’t really love. Or how about the time you spend sorting through the things in storage time and again to either find something you do need or want or to try to declutter once more. Would your life have less stress and busyness without those items?

10. Could I use this space for something else?

Think of the possibilities of what you could do with a closet or storage area in your home if you weren’t holding onto everything that currently fills it. What about a shelf full of knickknacks or books that don’t really interest anyone in your home?Your space has value too, and it’s important to look at the cost of everything you keep in terms of the space it occupies as well.

* * *

I hope these questions will help you make some difficult decisions.
Giving yourself permission to let go, well, THAT is the first thing you must do.
If you haven't yet walked the Camino Santiago, you'll see.
I bet you won't miss ANY of this stuff - not one bit!





Decluttering - Where to Begin


Deciding to live more simply takes courage.
Letting go of things we've kept for so many years "just in case" feels like yanking the rug out from under us, for some. It makes us totter for a moment. And then, like magic, you realize you are still alive and happy WITHOUT that dastardly thing.

But where do you start?
Here is a list to consider:

  • Duplicates.  Do you have two irons? Two sets of measuring cups? Two pairs of flip flops? Two coffee makers "just in case" one breaks? Two rhinestone necklaces?  Get rid of one!
  • Broken things.  Keeping cracked or broken things in your house is just plain bad feng shui! It attracts cracked and broken energy. You know that pair of glasses you've been meaning to fix? Or that coffee cup that you made in 3rd grade with the handle broken off? Or the blender you keep meaning to replace the container on? If there's no motivation to fix it, if you REALLY aren't inspired to fix it today, then let it go.
  • DVD and CD jewel cases. Buy yourself a binder that holds discs and get rid of all that plastic!  Better yet, put all that music on your desktop computer and get rid of the discs!
  • Things that multiply. Pens, cups, chopsticks, plastic giveaways of mustard, mayonnaise, tupperware containers, paper bags. Keep two pens, a cup for each family member, 6 tupperward containers, and shovel the rest.
  • Clothes. Sort through your closet. Take out each item and ask, "Have I worn this in a year?" If no, it goes.  "Do I absolutely ADORE this?" If no, it goes.  "Does it fit?"  If no, it goes.  Keeping clothing because we've gained or lost weight and "may" get back to the point where we can wear the item just causes clutter in our closet. Do you have 3 green shirts? Get rid of 2. Do you have 4 pair of black jeans? Consider giving up two pair. 
  • Shoes. My mother has about 30 pair of shoes. Some are still in the boxes and have never been worn. I think this is because she grew up during the Dustbowl and never had new shoes. But it's crazy. In Oregon, you need 1 pair of sandals, 1 pair of walking or sports shoes, 1 pair of snow boots, 1 pair of rain shoes, 1 pair of house slippers. That's being generous. Let the rest go.
  • Office supplies.  Just how often do you use paperclips these days? When was the last time you reached for a rubber band? Or a bulldog clip? Keep a dozen of each and get rid of the rest.
  • Books. I know, I know… people love their books. But how many books can you read each day? Go through your books. If you have no intention of reading the book this year, let it go.  If it's a favorite, put it aside. Then, look each one up on Amazon Kindle. If it's free, nab it, and donate the paper copy to the library. 
  •  Toys. Go through your child's toys. Choose to keep the ones you have actually seen them play with this month. Put all of the rest into a "limbo" box with the date on it. If they haven't asked for the toy by the end of one month, donate them all.
  • Kitchen drawers. How many potato peelers do you have? How many sharp knives? When was the last time you used that melon baller? Consider letting these unused items go.
These are just ideas.
But you get the picture.

* * *
Have you started the Minimalist Challenge Yet?
It will help you prepare for life on the Camino.
No.. really!
Living for two months out of a backpack can be interesting.


I'm on Day 3, and today I had to weed out 3 items.
Today I let go of a really NICE leather binder, 
a necklace that belonged to my grandmother, 
and an inlaid wooden box. 

Tomorrow? 
Well, that's another day.

Until then, remember...