Back to Basics

It’s time to get back to something I started a few years ago; minimalism. I’ve reached my goal of having a home office for my foundational job, (the job that has insurance and PTO), and I teach online for two different universities; I don’t have to leave the house much. With that in mind I’ve decided that I need my home to be a happy peaceful place. A home without clutter is a good start. One in which when I leave for a trip or training that when I get home, my home will be a welcoming place to be. I currently live alone but have plans to change that in roughly six months; in the next six months here’s what I hope to accomplish.

The first thing I’ll be doing is separating what I can sell, give away, and trash. With various online marketplaces available I can sell everything from shoes I don’t wear to old sports cards and comics. I have many items that just take up space that can go; with that money, I can focus on adventures over items.

The next thing I’ll do is a floor-to-ceiling cleaning. The extra dishes will make the cupboards easier to clean. The closets will be less cluttered, and the storage areas will be low to non-existent. Once this cleaning is done it will make the house easier to maintain.

The last item on this list of minimalism is to make my outdoor space fun. I’m renting now, I don’t want to pretty up the rental too much but I do need a peaceful space. My fire pit and log rack, my garden and greenhouse, all of this is important to me and with the reduced clutter inside, I can spend more time outside.

Lastly, the overall reason to do all of this, to minimize my life is to be able to save money and use that money to travel, spoil my grandkids, and not worry about my jacket being ten years old or that my vehicle isn’t brand new. Life is what we make it; I want to make it simpler.

(TikTok @yooperminimalist)


Dreaming of Green Acres

I find it a bit amusing that the last time I wrote anything on here was in March of 2020, you know, when the world ended as we know it. My daughter got sent home from college, I was living in a crappy one color apartment, (every wall was painted antique white), and I was just getting let go from a job I didn’t believe in; what a year.

Now almost a year later I’ve moved into a renovation, the fire house/project house, and as it nears the 7th or 8th year since the fire, it’s time to move on again. I found a farm that I want to pursue. The goal is to have a “tiny farm”, as in little chickens, ducks, pygmy goats, a pony, well two, they need each other. I want a berry field or three, basically strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. I’d like to stock the pond with fish, trout if it’s a good water pond, (spring fed), and lastly I want, well need, my pumpkin patch.

I want a pumpkin patch that will allow the Great Pumpkin to come to my yard and bless me, okay I’m not nuts, but I’ve been trying to grow pumpkins for 35 years and have only produced one. There’s other things I’d like to grow too, things I’d actually eat. I get 23 days a year off and want to use them to enjoy life. Less tv, less noise, and more campfires.

I do a walk through of the farm tonight. The house itself is homeless person livable, I believe the heat and electric work, plumbing, (well and septic), and is solid. It’s just really old and ugly and in need of a facelift. It’s just me now, I have someone I’m seeing but I doubt living together is in the cards, specifically if I’m out in the “boonies”. The drive to work would be a bit much, 35 minutes or so one way. My oldest may move away and then I wouldn’t need to drive her anymore, that saves me five to ten minutes. I truly want to sit outside and night and hear crickets, not cars. The barn is beautiful, the sauna is probably racoon infested, but I’ll find out. I’ll never be “happy” as my depression has me tight, but I’d sure like to try to live the life of peace and quiet and to have a place where once the grandchildren start rolling in, that they’ll enjoy. The Foreman Tiny Farm sounds good to me.

Money, family, or time?

I’m tired. I left a good job in the city, (working for a woman every week day, no song here), that meant a $10,000 cut in pay a year. Yes, the cost of living is cheaper where I’m at now, but not that much cheaper. I miss being able to go out to eat, to not write down what I spent; and Marshalls. I have some decisions to make in the next six months to a year. The timeline is due to owning money, (moving three times in two years is expensive as well as getting divorced), applying for positions away from home, and can I leave my kids again? The answer to the kid question is yes, as long as I’m a short drive away; which to me is two to three hours one way. The jobs I’m seeking are in education, teaching at the community college level, or working for a larger university in student success and wellness. I’m not sure why the success and wellness calls to me, (aside from the good yearly salary), I am sure why the teaching position calls to me it has a good salary and I’d only be working nine months out of the year. There it is, money, family, or time; I’ll take all three for a thousand Alex.

I will continue to teach online as long as they will have me which truly is a solid base once my finances are in order, (come on February 2021). Teaching online does require some level of time for grading and student communication that can’t be done on a lunch hour; I need a job where I can “double-dip” so to speak. It’s been awhile since I’ve had that kind of position; again the teaching job would work as professors don’t truly work THAT much. The appeal of staying where I’m at but trying for higher paying positions, (retirement to part-time is only 14 years and five months away, but who’s counting), I’d probably live with one my kids and honestly would save money in the process. All this sounds great now because I’m single, (just call me Casper as I get ghosted as well as I ghost), but if I do find someone I think living even with an adult child might be awkward. Then there’s the dream retirement.

I don’t plan on retiring until I’m medically forced to; I like being busy and not sitting alone with my thoughts. I’d like to own a Bed & Breakfast but with zero savings that’s not likely for at least five years. The same goes for dream number two; a hobby farm, same timeline but complete opposites. With the B&B it would be about never being truly alone, guests would come and go, year to year, until one year I’d be gone; hopefully retired not dead. The hobby farm is more about the quiet, and love of animals, and everything green. I’d raise chickens, worms, and have a trout pond; yeah not the most realistic thing to think I can do in my later 50’s by the time I buy one; but I can dream.

The next few months will settle me down into what’s next, I need to keep my options open as my current day job isn’t stable, and I wouldn’t keep me if my caseload doesn’t pick up. In the mean time I’ll keep writing, keep grading, keep looking for work, and a partner in crime.

Slowing down time


One of my biggest pet peeves is wasting time because time is something you can never get back. Sometimes it’s a meeting that’s presenting material that’s been gone over before, a bad movie, a party that you feel obligated to go to; they all can take away time from what you want to do. We all complain that there’s not enough time to get everything done but maybe it’s because we aren’t trying to get everything done? I’m currently attempting to add a regular exercise routine to my already busy weeks. My solution is to go to a gym that’s open 24/7; that won’t work for everyone. There are 24 hours in a day. Let’s say you sleep for seven, work for eight, that’s 15, an evening meal, that between prep and cleanup is two hours, put the kids to bed, do laundry, take a long relaxing bath, (just kidding), shovel or another chore; another two hours; this leaves five hours of time. For argument’s sake we will toss two of those hours for your personal care and work with the three remaining hours.

Are you’re a night owl or an early bird? When my house was full I liked to get up before everyone to have that half hour of peace and quiet; and I still get up early to spend some quality time with my cup of coffee. I’ve never been a night owl but if you are there may be that glorious hour after everyone has gone to bed for you to use for your “me” time. Sadly, a large portion of individuals will break out their screens, either a phone, computer, or tablet and browse social media or look for that program they saved that they can’t watch when it originally airs. I’m one of them. I hit up my Hulu and watch my dramas like This is Us or something truly just for noise like America’s Got Talent the Champions, and then wonder why there’s not enough “me” time; so here’s what I’ve done, (these suggestions are for demonstration purpose only, no one needs to follow these but me).

For the gym during the weekdays, (these suggestions are for the weekdays, weekends are a whole different story), I set a timer. It’s kind of like in Crossfit where you have a workout for the day, WOD, but less challenging. My cardio is about 30 minutes then I set a timer for 20 minutes when that goes off, I’m done; by the time I get home there’s my one free hour. Did you know you can pause your shows? I watch my shows while eating, or cleaning; that way I’m getting one thing done while “wasting” time watching television. I talked to someone recently who said they didn’t have a television; I’m still processing that. That’s two hours. With my one hour left I should do something creative but I don’t, I work on my grading for my second job; which does truly make you feel like you don’t have enough time. Lastly, use your phone for other reminders other than a timer; set reminders, or get an app that gives you daily quotes like, “I matter” and “Good things are going to come to me”.

The best thing you can do if you feel you are wasting too much precious time is to sit down and look at your day to day life. For me it was watching Sportscenter for 30 minutes a day; I’m canceling the app that allows that and I’ve replaced it with staring into space with my coffee cup in my hand. I’ve wasted enough of your time, until next time remember; slow down and smell the coffee.

No, You’re Obese

I have a fascination with watching fitness shows like The Biggest Loser. I’m not a cruel person who watches to just see people struggle, I watch because 40% of the American public is considered obese. I’m obese by my BMI at 25 pounds overweight, I work out, I eat fairly well, but yet I carry an extra 25 -30 pounds, (and no I doubt that it’s my muscle mass). I’ve recently gone back to a mostly plant based diet and a typical day will consist of oatmeal with berries or peanut butter in it, lunch is practically nonexistent, (a banana or two), and dinner is a Vegan meal from the health section and or a pasta dish, without meat. I know you’re reading this going “why” and that’s “boring” and it is boring at times but I eat to live and not live to eat; or at least that’s my goal and I’ve failed many times. The “why” part is based off of reading The China Study that with thousands of examples has shown that a vegan diet eliminates all non-genetic heart disease and severely reduces the chances of colon cancer. I have genetically high cholesterol and it will always hover over 200 but with a plant based diet it won’t get higher. I’m sure I have some issues in my arteries because I’ve only been a healthy eater-ish for about three years but at 50 I don’t feel it’s too late to start; but why are we so fat?

I stop at the gas station every morning for coffee and bananas, (two for a dollar and yes it would be cheaper to buy but they rot at home). At that gas station there’s a hot food section with breakfast pizzas, this sandwich and that rollup. There’s bakery and every conceivable type of snack around; that doesn’t take will power that takes won’t power. If you’ve ever gone through a drive-thru you know a burger is much cheaper than a salad. Cheap ice cream cones, mini pies, etc., it’s all out there and there isn’t an easy answer, but there are answers to lower your weight and increase your health.

Eat less and exercise more. That’s the diet, no matter what you eat if you want to lose weight that’s the formula, not this pill or take away this or add that; simply eat less and exercise more. I’m a busy guy and only get to the gym two to three times a week, but that’s two to three times more then someone who doesn’t. I get my coffee from a gas station verses the drive-thru even though it’s more expensive because I can resist the gas station food but for some reason the dollar menu calls to me.  You don’t have to eat a plant based diet to lose weight it’s all about calories in and calories out. Every 3500 calories is a pound, thus why the fasting craze is happening, people would rather not eat for a day or two then eat less. Not everyone can exercise at a high rate but everyone can do something from curling soup cans to a walk around the block. If you can crawl, start crawling. I’m writing this primarily to vent about the gas stations food selection and how hard it makes it for me but also to say that at 195 pounds I’m considered obese. but with a bulky hoodie on it doesn’t show, but it’s there, that dad bod is hiding and I want it gone.