Monthly Archives: November 2012

Usually, It’s Just Stuff

but the framed picture hurt. Not just physically. My Dad gave me that print. He was proud I liked the image, my friends thought it was weird and wonderful that I liked it (Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights). My Dad was impressed that I, a kid at the time, liked it. So he got a good museum print and had it professionally matted in a good frame. I teared up as I drove off yesterday, leaving the frame in the swap shop.

Obviously, I can live without it. The frame was tweaked but not broken. However, I need to honor not only my past, but who I am NOW. And here/now I have a lot of frames, because DH is an artist and works with a local gallery. I know many people who make art, frame art, etc. Frames, matted art, artwork, and framing materials are one category of clutter here. I didn’t need it. I don’t need it to remember it. But I was tearing up as I left the dump yesterday.

Usually, it’s just stuff. Some better, some worse, but I have little if any attachment to the individual pieces any more.

I bought the Madame Chic book yesterday after I saw the doctor. It seems the reason it appeals just now is that the underlying philosophy is essentially: keep only the best and use it every day. Almost opposite the attitude of, “I’m vile, something to hide, I deserve nothing.” which is the underlying attitude of my shame.

I guess the lesson here is as usual, measure the distance from the beginning, not the distance to the final goal. Every step is a step — and counts — but some will hurt. Do it anyway.

There Are at Least 1,000,000 Better Ways to Start Your Day

Than I just did.

In the great furniture shuffle (interrupted) a framed picture wound up balanced against a desk in the hallway between the kitchen & the living room.

It isn’t there now. I was trying to do something, tripped and landed, butt down on the framed artwork. My leg has 2 glass cuts, one a puncture and the other a slice. Apparently, no veins were hit as it stopped bleeding fairly quickly; I have a huge band aid over both.

Needless to say, a doctor’s visit, to make sure that it is properly cleaned and that no glass remains is in my near future.

So, the hallway got cleared, no surprise. The frame and broken glass are outside awaiting being taken to the dump. The cardboard and paper backing are in the recycle bin. The artwork is fine — I wish I could say the same for me!



New Habits: Clean Before/Clean After

DH made biscuits last night to go with the soup I’d made (spicy split pea & barley with ham). He’s the “official” biscuit maker here. By the time I had the rest of the food on the table and the table set he said, “The biscuits are revenue neutral.” which made no sense?

He explained that he’d washed every bowl, etc. he’d used making the biscuits and so the kitchen was effectively where it had been, in terms of cleanliness, before he started. Cool!

We had dinner: HM vegetable pickle, HM biscuits, HM soup.

The table got cleared. But we still have a bit of think changing to do. I got the place mats and napkins in the wash, the dishwasher started and because I remembered Thanksgiving dinner, where we’d left the rolls in the breadbasket on the table, I looked. Sure enough, there was the bread basket with the end of the biscuits in it. Dealt with the bread and napkin.* I wiped down the table.

Later I pulled the place mats from Thanksgiving dinner out of the dryer and just set them on the table for dinner (or maybe lunch) today. Nice feeling and it looks good!

I didn’t made bread yesterday, so it was a requirement today. The recipe I chose to make was my old standard: yogurt bread. Takes 1 ½ hours start to finish, it’s a single-rise bread. We give bread away every Christmas Eve to the neighbors. It’s a tradition we started years ago when DH was between jobs and cash was tight. We give 2 loaves to the families with kids, 1 to the families without. We’ve been known to make 16 loaves of bread on Christmas Eve!

When I pulled out the cutting board to prep for kneading bread, it had flour on it from making the biscuits. Neither of us know who pushed the board in dirty, so it’s the cat’s fault? Anyway, I had to clean the cutting board before I could knead the bread. Did, bread is in the oven. The kitchen (including the cutting board) got cleaned before I started typing this.

I need to sweep the kitchen floor, but the dishwasher is going, the bread’s in the oven, and DH just made a fresh pot of coffee. In about 30 minutes, we’ll have two loaves of bread, piping hot to pull out the oven, and a mostly cleaned kitchen. Not too bad!

As I said in my last post, it’s getting better here, as we’re both actively working on it. Is it pristine? No. But it’s moving in the right direction. Home made, fresh food and a cleaner house; I’ll take it!

*Still to do – the bread basket doesn’t have an official home. Gotta figure that out!

Bread’s out of the oven, the cutting board is clean, the pans are washed, floor is swept, and there’s ammonia in a bowl in the oven to help me clean IT.

Shame (in Me)

I think the piece I cannot heal alone is shame. Shame is a natural product of abuse, I intend to ask my therapist for help Thursday. The piece that alerted me this might be the unfixable piece was when I said I felt I didn’t deserve flowers or nice things.

Something went, “Huh? Why?” I knew this was true, but also knew it for a clarion indicator that something was WRONG.

When I thought about it, it seemed it must be that I was ashamed, and punishing myself, by messy house, by not nice things, by being wasteful, etc. WTF??? And it’s tied to the part that kept saying, I haven’t had enough time to change it (whatever “it” was) ! I didn’t think I had any shame issues. I KNOW I was a victim and I’ve known it for some time.

This reminds me of the weekend the date rape thing came up – 20 years after it had happened.  I thought I was fine with it. I remembered it, could and did talk about it, etc. Then when we’d been married about 10 years, one day I heard a show about teenage sex on NPR. Some young punk guy said something like,”They really like it, they just can’t admit it.” I started screaming at the radio and crying. DH was on travel. Came home the next day, I started to tell him about it and broke down. Cried off & on for 2 days! My therapist when told about this said, “takes about 10 years for your body to work through something. Also, you needed to know you were safe that long before you could process it.”

Okay. So I have a game plan. We’ll see!

DH and I have both been working on the house. There’s no huge revelation of wonderful cleanliness, but the house is cleaner and slowly, but surely, is getting more so. I don’t think I can get rid of 2,000 things between now and the end of the year, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that the house is cleaner, and we’re still working on it. If I kick the shame thing, maybe I won’t need the camouflage anymore – wouldn’t THAT make this lots easier?

I made soup this morning and have done some cleaning, not a lot. I need to go do something, something not on a computer, including baking bread!


French Dressing (updated)

Since I found the Lessons from Madam Chic book I’ve been thinking about my wardrobe and doing research. Specifically, I’ve been thinking about what the author said about how French women dress. I’ve looked up “French women clothes” or some such online a few times since too. I was encouraged to find that I didn’t have to completely start over. There are some things I’ve done for years:

Lots of solid colors, specifically black, brown, & white. I already do this. I read, years ago now, a book or article that said that colors go out of fashion much slower than patterns, and decided that wearing solids was a more frugal alternative.

My dad had a bias, that only women with olive skin, or non-whites, looked good in black, so I NEVER wore black, or didn’t for a long time. Until I had a funeral to go to for a dear friend who passed. I really liked the way I looked – and I’ve been wearing black as a base color since.

Large sunglasses, well I do this too. Found a pair almost 14 years ago, huge Anne Klein’s. and they looked GREAT on me. When I finally faced the fact that the Anne Kleins were, er, shabby, it took me a while to find another pair I liked. (Mark Jacobs) Don’t like them as much as the original pair, but much better than most of what I found. So  I  do the large sunglasses thing too.

Large bag, in a neutral color. I own one, never use it. I usually just carry a wallet. I’ll have to dig out! I have a minibag too. Both are black, and the large one I’ve had since high school — believe it or not!

But I don’t do some of the other points. Some I haven’t EVER done:

Good leather shoes. Hmm, I wear walking shoes because I have bad feet. They’re expensive, but look like hell with anything but jeans. Ballet flats or other expensive shoes are not likely to be a hit because of my feet. I don’t know what to do about this, for the moment this isn’t going to happen.

Matching foundations. I don’t think I’ve EVER done this? (If I did, it was lonnnng time ago!)

Make up all the time. Minimalist during the day. I don’t do this, I can.

Been doing this, it’s not too hard or onerous time-wise!

Hair always neat & tidy. ( See makeup. ) I need a hair cut. I tend to wash/condition my hair, comb it out and that’s it. I need a good cut, but since I started the change, I’ve also got “frizz” which drives me nutz, so I tend to ignore my hair and just go out anyway, I may comb the front or just pull the whole mass back into a pony tail. I’ve stopped loving my hair, it used to be my pride & joy. It isn’t going gray that’s making me dislike it, it’s the fact that I can’t make it look neat any more, no matter what I do, it frizzes out. I always wanted my natural wavy hair back. I got it; and then some. (Be careful what you ask for!)

I don’t like myself in a pony tail mostly, what I’ve been doing is pulling the sides back into a small tail. Tidier than my previous ignoring it or stuffing it into a pony tail. Not where I want to be, but a step in the right direction!

Their clothes fit. Mine rarely do. I’m too wide for many of the clothes sized for my height. Or, I’m too old, since anyone my size is a kid, right? Or… What I’ve done for the past several years is mostly buy whatever was cheap/sort of fit from thrift shops. I have a lot of not very good clothes that don’t fit me very well.

So, what I’ll keep: Sunglasses, Bag, Scarves (I have a few good ones.), Blue Jeans, black “plastic” pants* , white blouses, vintage long velvet jacket/vest, and a few other pieces.

Most of it will go to Salvation Army or Savers or a church thrift shop. I’ve stopped giving stuff to Goodwill since I found out how little money they actually give to charities. Believe it or not, it’s a FOR PROFIT business I was told! I’d love to be wrong about that.

First batch of 10 pieces put in the Salvation Army bin at the dump. Second batch is started.

And I’ll look into Clarks or other well-made, shoes with a lot of support.

Not much to keep, ‘eh? Should make a lot of room in the closet. We’ll see!

Right now, what’s in the stack to go away is a pair of peasoup green sweat pants or a pair of mint green velour workout pants (haven’t decided which is the keep yet), 2 turtlenecks, and I pitched a few things last week.

Kept the mint green, also tossed a pair of navy sweats.

I’d like to be excited about this, but all I feel is dread. I don’t HAVE good looking clothes. If I get rid of the not-so good looking clothes, yes, I’ll have 10 pieces, most of which will be the best of the not-so good looking clothes. I only have about 5 pieces, max, where the clothes are 1)in good shape 2)look good on me and 3)still fit.

I suppose I can view this instead of throwing away almost everything I own as a opportunity to get new ones, but that idea doesn’t sound interesting either.


*I found a write up that said you should get rid of these, I’m too out of shape to go out and buy a new wardrobe all at once. Also, I really LIKE the way that leggings that fit look and I wear them as longjohns & PJs too! So I guess I’ll keep the pairs that don’t fit quite right and either get them hemmed (the usual reason they don’t fit) or decide they’re Pjs. The 1 or 2 pairs of leggings I have that fit I’d keep.

Holiday gleaning & cleaning

Well, it’s sort of reverse gleaning I guess. Instead of finding things I can use, I’ve been finding things I can get rid of. There’s  30+ items to go to the antique store, 21 things set aside to donate, 2 sheets and asst. other stuff to go to  dump. It’s not as much as I’d hoped. I’ve started purging the clothing collection. That will generate many culls before I’m done!

I also purged the candle collection this morning. Yes, I need candles for the house for power outages. No, I do NOT need all the candles I had, or the candle sticks either. So there’s a bunch of those going into the booth.

We may buy a camera today, it’s the only thing we’re actively looking for, but it’s unlikely. I’d like a new one, as I’d like to have pictures to post, but getting what DH wants, within the price range we want to pay is a balancing act, so it’s unlikely we’ll find one.

Don’t buy too much!


Happy Thanksgiving!

Much of the food that we’ll eat today for lunch or dinner is home processed. Chicken noodle soup for lunch, turkey, veggies, salad, bread & pie for dinner. I used to go buy the pieces and just cook dinner. These days I challenge myself to see how much  of the food I can do myself.

Some things I’ve never done: pie crust, for example. It’s on the list of skills I want to tackle, but haven’t, so the pie is a frozen blueberry pie. (It was cheap too.)

My goals today are: clear the table, dining room. Set the table. In the process of clearing the table & dining room, FILL the car with stuff to be taken to a charity Friday morning. If we can do that, I will truly be thankful this evening, and probably tired too.

As usual, I’m spending Black Friday doing other than the usual “stuff acquirement” that many do. For years I worked retail and so of course was busy selling people their stuff on Black Friday, rather than buying it myself. This year, we’ll be giving stuff away (and maybe putting some in the booth?) instead.

Another requirement today, because of the work, is that lunch has to be drop-dead easy (the soup was made last night) and dinner has to be fairly simple. I know myself well enough to know that I won’t want to make a fancy-dancy dinner after I’ve spent 6 hours cleaning, culling, etc.

I hope that you all have many things to be thankful for today!