Summer Slump

Well despite my deserved reputation as the Energizer Bunny when it comes to productivity, I’m entered into the post-Summer slump a little early this year. Typically I love the summer season with the extra long days and sunshine.

This summer though I’ve had significantly less energy, despite finishing the master bedroom earlier this summer.

Thankfully this week was full of self-care, something that’s becoming even more important as I work long hours in my business and pour my energy into serving my clients.

On Tuesday I met up with two colleagues in San Francisco for a walk down the Embarcadero and then a trip to the Botanical Gardens. And Friday night, a trip to the county fair here in town where I bought nothing, rode no rides but took many pictures.

on the wharf

In lieu of finishing up projects this summer I have a challenge for myself that I’d like to share. Instead of starting a new project I’m taking time out to work with what I have, I call it the “Abundance Challenge” and here’s what it entails:

  • the primary focus is taking stock of what you have instead of what you don’t
  • begin by searching through your cabinets, stock and group like items together
  • create a ‘do not buy’ list that you can carry with you
  • clean up, organize and take care of the things you already have
  • give or gift the items you have in abundance to make room for new in your life
  • create free or cheap storage using things you already have on hand

Let’s take the main bathroom as an example. I would really like to replace the floor with new tile, touch up the wall paint and add vinyl or paint the inside of the cabinets. I also have plans to replace the sink’s faucet and the bathtub shower head. But that’s unlikely to happen this year.

Instead of getting frustrated with these projects I choose to focus on the abundance instead.

For me, this looks like:

  • finishing up some bubble bath (a rough job but someone has to do it)
  • cleaning my bath mat so it doesn’t get moldy
  • sweeping the floor and dusting the baseboards
  • use up some cleaners and continue to make my own
  • using those odd bottles of shampoo and conditioner
  • take the bar soap and make more liquid soap
  • clean the mirrors
  • wipe down the lights, light switch and towel rods
  • re-organizing medicine storage and writing inventory lists

And I can add to my do not buy list:

  1. mouth wash
  2. candles
  3. washcloths
  4. full size towels
  5. rags
  6. cleaners
  7. plug in air fresheners
  8. bar and liquid soap
  9. hair gel and mousse

Wow, that’s quite a lot of things that I don’t need from just one room.

And here’s my list of upcoming projects:

  • Finish caulking around the cabinet
  • Paint the interior cabinet (maybe with the oops paint from Home Depot)
  • Add vinyl to the cabinet interior (sized 16″x22″x6 and 22″x35″ [2’x10′ roll])
  • Hang easy list inside top cabinet/cleaning cabinet
  • Dye the two white rugs green
  • Remove the weird frog decal on the wall
  • Remove and spray paint the vent white
  • Replace the light fixture
  • Replace the sink faucet
  • Replace the tub’s shower head
  • Touch up the wall paint including behind the toilet
  • Paint the ceiling

But before I start working on those projects I’ll continue to work through different spaces in the house, downsizing where I can and continuing appreciate the abundance all around me.


Back to the Patio

Well, as much as I love the pictures on my photo wall from the garden, this year I’ve yet to plant anything. Until now.

I was planning on skipping the seasonal flowers due to travel and staying busy with my company. But thanks to some special circumstances I needed to clean up the patio.

Here’s the before:

bench swing in progress

I needed to move out the frame of the swinging bench so it could be painted and the new wood slat installed. I wanted to move out all those dead plants and set up some seating.

And here’s the midway shot:

now with real seating

I had most everything already, so all I needed to purchase was soil and flowers. I moved out the chairs that were in the garage, the white table from the living room and the rug from the laundry area.

All of the flowers were re-potted into bright pots which I found on sale at the end of season a few years ago and I’d yet to fill them until now. I still have 3 more  gallon sized pots and many smaller ones in the garage.

Here’s the welcome swing with some bright flowers in plastic pots and a pink hibiscus in a gallon plastic pot.

left of the door

This $5 bench from the Salvation Army got a good wipe down and rinse. All of the spider infested pots went into the backyard and I added a few things back.

bright and cheery

The chairs came from Ikea ages ago (one was a Freecycle pickup) and I moved them out from the guest room when I got the queen sized bed. These pillows were $1 ea from Home Depot and the rug was $4 at Ikea. The white side table was a $10 Wal-Mart find and I filled in the rest of the existing planters with flowers:



Before Nixon came to live with me Wilson loved to spend time on the patio but with 2 dogs it takes a little more coordination. Hence the cinder block to keep them from running off. Today I took them out and they lounged on the chairs,

what’s happening on the street?

shared a chair,

which smells interesting apparently

Kissed a bit,


Nixon stopped to smell flowers,




Of course all that time teaching Nixon how to sit was for naught because he prefers the table. He starts off in the chair,

this is not good enough

then sneaks up,

I’m technically sitting on the chair…

and pretty soon is full on claiming the table.


Wilson was content just sitting on my lap, watching the street: