Coming Out as a Clutterer

My name is Jeanette and I am a clutterer.  There, I said it.  That’s NOT the same as a hoarder, by the way.  My piles are only knee-high and they don’t invade every room.  There’s only one room in my house (a small one) that isn’t useable due to the clutter, which is a huge improvement.  Do I like it this way?  No.  Do I find myself watching HGTV and wishing my house looked like the ones they show on there.  Yes.  Do I do anything about it?  Sometimes.

This is really in my house.  If you came over you'd never see it.  But it's there.  And I just noticed that (how funny is this?) that the blue book on the right is "One Year to an Organized Life".  Yeah, like that worked.

This is really in my house. If you came over you’d never see it. But it’s there. And I just noticed that (how funny is this?) that the blue book on the right is “One Year to an Organized Life”. Yeah, like that worked.

It takes time.  I like to devote a large chunk of time to organizing.  Do I need everything that is in this picture.  Probably not, but MOST of it I do.  I just tonight was looking for a disk that I needed and…HA! I found it!

There’s are professional organizers.  And there are psychologists that specialize in helping hoarders (which I’m not) get rid of their shit.  Both in their heads and their actual THINGS that they are keeping.

Why do I keep all this?  I think it has something to do with the fact that I am an Army brat.  I moved every three years of my life (a few times I moved after a year or two).  “They” say that can create some issues in people that they either keep almost nothing or they hold on to a lot of things.  I’m the latter.  I have notes that I passed in class in high school.  Recently I did throw some of them away but my friends Celianna and Autumn will laugh out loud someday when they see some of the things they wrote and drew back in those days!  I have papers I wrote in high school, college and grad school.  What the hell do I need those for?

What I find the funniest is that when I do organize and purge I feel amazing.  It’s fun to do, takes way less time than I thought it would and I feel like my space is one I don’t want to leave.  But yet it’s been years since my whole house felt like a zen space.  That’s the goal for 2013.

Tell me I’m not the only one.  Share an organizing tip.  Interested in sharing organizing energy?–I’ll come to your house for a day and you’ll come to mine for a day?  Just holla, girlfriend!






Lighting the Menorah

So tonight is the first night of Hanukkah (otherwise known as Chanukah).  It’s the Festival of Lights, where we light candles for eight nights.

My husband is usually the one in the house that leads the candle-lighting and saying the blessings.  He was out tonight so when my little one asked if we could do the candles, I was feeling like a lazy mama and tried to tell her that we could do it another night.  We don’t always have to celebrate holidays on the exact night of the holiday do we?  Well, little M had a different idea and she insisted that we light the candles tonight.

I couldn’t find the blessings but I had bought candles so we got out the menorah.  It took a whole two minutes it takes to light the candles and say the blessings.  But those two minutes were sweet.  A connection during such a simple thing.  A tradition that must continue.

I asked M why she insisted that we do it tonight instead of wait and she said that she really wanted us to do the candles on the first night of Hanukkah because that’s what we’re supposed to do.  My little rule-follower.

Lazy Mama turned into Proud Mama.

hanukkah  candles

hanukkah candles (Photo credit: woodleywonderworks)

8,000 Women

Yesterday I attended the Massachusetts Conference for Women. I had NO idea until I was driving to Boston for the conference with my friend Karen (who attended the last two years) that there would be more than 500 people there. No, not 500, EIGHT THOUSAND. Gulp. Thousands of GUTSY MAMAS! Thousands of gutsy women who took a day off of work to nurture themselves for a day.

A few of the speakers I had heard of: Arianna Huffington, Deepak Chopra, Jean Chatzky, Kristin Chenoweth. Some I hadn’t: Barbara Bradley Baekgaard, Brene Brown, Charlotte Beers and Tory Johnson. I learned, I was inspired, I was challenged, I shed a few tears, I smiled, I laughed and I made a few new friends.


What did I learn? What nuggets?

Don’t forfeit the right to know yourself.
Be memorable.
Dare greatly.
Vulnerability is about showing up and been seen. Be a courageous person, walk into the arena, talk about how you feel. You may be afraid but do it anyway.
Sleep at least 7 hours. Nap if you didn’t. Read Good News on

There were more, but wow, it’ll take a while for those to really sink in, eh?

[Photo: have you ever seen so many tables?]

Blanket: a Confession

I have a confession to make. Well, those who know me well know this already. I sleep with a blanket. Not just any blanket, but one that my Great Auntie Anna made for me when I was two.


It doesn’t have a pet name. It’s not called Blankie. It’s just Blanket. Just like Michael Jackson’s son.

Blanket has been my friend for more years than I need to admit here. In cold moments, warm moments, good dreams, bad dreams, getting cozy moments and watching-scary-movie moments. My kids have grown to like it, too. (And yes, even my hubby likes it–occasionally.)

Most people think that a blanket or lovey or special toy is something just for kids. I’m here to tell you that I disagree. I’m happy to have Blanket in my life.

Just call me Linus, okay?

Do you have a special something that you need to have with you from your childhood?

50 Minutes of Therapy

[25/365] On the couch (Explored)

[25/365] On the couch (Explored) (Photo credit: pasukaru76)

Therapy.  A word the evokes different emotions.  For some it’s a warm feeling.  For others it instills fear.  For others it indicates weakness.

Therapy–the 50 minutes per week that a person might choose to spend with a social worker, psychologist or psychiatrist–isn’t a new concept.  It is, however, something not everyone is comfortable doing.

I have met a lot of people in my line of work:  those who don’t need therapy, those who need it and get it, those who need it and don’t get it (for various reasons).

Who admits they have gone to therapy?  The media makes it appear that everyone goes, especially if you live in New York City or Los Angeles.  But what about in Massachusetts, where I live?

Me.  I’ve done it.  I was hesitant at first, despite having friends and colleagues who ARE therapists.  I went later than I should have, in retrospect. But hey, at least I got my ass there, sat on the couch (chair) and used lots and lots of tissues.  There she was in front of me, a person I didn’t know much about (except what I saw in her online profile–yes, it’s like online dating, I know).  I didn’t even know she had kids until maybe 8 sessions in.  I still don’t know how many she has.  She was there because it was about me.  Just.  About.  Me.  When else do you get that kind of dedication from anyone in your life.  It’s customary, even with our BFFs to whine for a while but you’re SUPPOSED to ask THEM how THEY are doing at some point, right?  Not at therapy.  It’s all about you.  So freeing, really.

It’s also such hard work.  Yeah, you can cry and whine and use profanity all you want, but in the end you have to face your fears.  Figure out why you are sad, angry, depressed, unmotivated, insecure and whatever other emotion the talented therapist helps you identify.  The questions you are asked can be jarring.  Can’t I just explain it to you in the nice little package I’ve put together in my head and present that to you with a bow on top and you’ll tell me what to do?  Nope.

And the 50 minute thing.  It sucks.  It’s just enough time to really get deeply into one aspect of your issues and then they have to let you go.  I asked why it’s only 50 minutes when 90 seems better.  She said it’s because that’s how much insurance will cover.  I think it’s because a person can only take so much whining and crying in front of them before they need a break.  Plus they do have to pee at some point.  If they are really human, that is.

Did therapy help?  Hell yeah.  Did I stop going?  Yup.  Have I felt like I could go back since then?  Yup.  But then I felt better the next day.  I know what to look for, though, in myself.  And I’m not afraid of it.  I grew to enjoy it.  I learned so much about myself and those around me, too.

Have you experienced therapy?  Willing to share some nugget of wisdom you learned?  Or maybe a comment about what you got out of it?  Please comment below.

By the way, going to yoga also helped.  Just sayin’.

P.S.  If any of this resonates with you, please go ahead and be a gutsy mama and go.  Sign yourself up for therapy.  Need a referral, let me know.  I know lots of folks in that field (just one of them was mine, the rest I’ve met through my work).

Gutsy Beyond Comprehension

Yesterday I attended the beautiful natural birth of a baby boy.  His mama was gutsy and despite a powerful labor and being forced to spend her labor in bed (for no good reason, by the way, just sayin’), she did it the way she had wanted to–all natural!  Then I went and spent a few hours with more gutsy mamas at one of my breastfeeding groups.  We talked about nursing, teeth coming in, pumping, making more milk and being gutsy when other people in our lives discourage us from doing what we feel is best for our children.

After that, I gathered with friends to share hugs and tears as we remembered the inspirational little boy of a friend of ours.  Little Kai’s life was filled with hugs and kisses and tests and blood draws.  He may not have realized it, but he brought a community together even tighter.  His mom, Kerri, is a gutsy mama beyond comprehension.  Starting with the day he was diagnosed, she blogged craftily for 18 months about his illness, his fight and her feelings.  She inspired us all in different ways.  She welcomed us into her world.  She smiled.  She shared deep thoughts and emotions that no mother should ever have to experience.  We cried with her.  And she smiled again.  Her words inspired us to appreciate our kids even more.  She taught us to trust our intuition and to welcome the help and support of others.  And we come together as a community to support her and other families whose children are sick.

Ultimately, it was a surreal day, starting with birth and ending with death.  But it was also an honor to be present for both celebrations.  To be part of something so special and precious and magical, wow.  The kind of day where I sat with my family around the dinner table with a delicious meal and a glass of wine and marveled in the power of the day and the love I have for the people I share my life with.

What makes YOU marvel?

P.S.  If you want to learn more about this gutsy mama and Kai’s story (all of which I really hope will become a book someday), see Kerri’s blog,  There’s also a huge Holiday Market (45 vendors) in Grafton on Saturday, December 8th to support Kerri and others…see Kai’s Village website for details on how you can get all of your shopping while raising money for great people!