Saturday, April 23, 2016

Um... a small announcement

Hey there, my internet friends! Today is not only my favorite mother-in-law's birthday and my cousin Seth's wedding, but Earth Day!

That's a lot of awesome packed into one little day.

We love you, Seth and Ashley!

I have a bit of an announcement to share that is definitely eco-friendly and is going to make me really have to step up my game:

So you guys, it's not really going to come as a surprise that I am a minimalist and that I'm trying to pursue a zero waste lifestyle. The minimalism is easy, the zero waste is hard. I tend to get sort of lax on the zero waste front, because I'm easily frustrated and it's kind of impossible anyway, no matter how hard you try.

Well... that's what my mind keeps telling me.

Um, so anyway, I follow a blog called The Simple Year. It's about women and the projects they undertake to "simplify." That's in quotes because simple is never actually simple. We had Kerry, who bought nothing new for a year, and Kandice, who downsized just about everything in her life, and Tracy, who has been working on a series of objectives to declutter and organize.

But each project only lasts a year, and when the group called out for applications for the coming year's Simple Year, I applied with the idea of a zero waste project.

And my proposal was accepted.

So I'm the new Simple Year contributor.

It's slowly occurring to me what I've signed up for. Not that it won't be completely awesome -- I'm so excited! But I'm also nervous. When I found out my project had been selected and told the family what I'd signed us all up for, the conversation went something like this:

Eric: So Mom has some exciting news.
Abby: You'd better not be pregnant.
Me: What?! NO! I'm, uh, the new Simple Year blogger. I submitted the idea for a zero waste year and got picked.
Johanna: MOM! You're gonna do so great!
Abby: That's awesome! You will rock that!
Eric: [Quietly grinning]
Me: Um, so... it's not just me who's doing this project. It's all of us.
Girls: Noooooooooooooooooo!

So they're super excited too is what I'm saying.

Anyway, I started April 15  and have a few posts up, which is why I figured it would be safe to tell y'all now. I'll be writing about the challenges and successes of practicing zero waste in a small town and with a (kind of unwilling) family (it's hilarious to me that the girls are freaking out about this because they already do so much -- they're minimalists, too. Is it the new title? I have no idea). It's going to be fun, and eye-opening, and it's also going to force me to quit being so lazy and distracted.

I will still be posting here. Simple Year is quite focused, so for all my random thoughts, Pointless Ramble will live on. I'm sure that's a relief (at least to my mother).

The end, I guess. Or maybe I should say, "The beginning."

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Take THAT, anxiety ferret!

So remember how last month I went to my reflexology appointment and the anxiety ferret basically made me want to jump off the table and run for the hills?

Yeah, that was fun.

How can something so fluffy and adorable be such
a jerk?!

Anyway, I had my monthly appointment on Monday, and I was kind of nervous about it, truth be told, because I was trying NOT to be nervous -- trying not to psych myself out by assuming it would all go wrong again. It's kind of hilarious how when you try to not think about something, your brain immediately latches on to whatever that is and that's all you can think about.

It's fine, that's just science. (I guess?)

But when 2 p.m. rolled around -- my standing appointment time -- I marched myself up the hill to the reflexology office (how cool is it that it's just up the hill?) and told myself that THIS WAS GOING TO BE FINE.

And it was. Oh, the anxiety ferret was all, hey girl, what's up?, but I was all, I don't even see you.

And it went away.

That's probably luck more than anything, but you know what? We take our victories where we can.

And also: I just tried to enjoy it. How often do you get to have someone rub your feet with soft music playing, a heating pad under your back, and the sunlight streaming through the window? I focused on why I like reflexology: It's relaxing, it's completely selfish (I mean, no one is benefiting from this but me), and it stimulates my organs or something. (Oh, the joy hearing that you have some congestion in your colon. Yeah, totally gross, but if you can get beyond THAT, it's very nice to have your stomach issues justified.)

So yay me is what I'm saying. Anxiety ferret, you just stay in your box.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Project 333: Spring edition

I'm not going to lie: My spring and summer wardrobe is my favorite. I love the patterns, the colors, the lightweight fabrics. I love ditching the sweaters and the boots and pulling out t-shirts and sandals.

I love my wardrobe so much, in fact, that I'm not even remotely tempted to change it by going shopping. That would just mean I'd have to get rid of something else, and I'm not ready to part with anything.

Seriously. I love this wardrobe.

Right now we're dealing with temperatures that go from freezing (that's 32º Fahrenheit here in the good ol' States, because apparently everything has to be a revolution with us) to low-80ºs -- generally in the same day in a span of a couple of hours. (Oregon! You crazy beast!) So right now I have a couple of my favorite sweaters still in the mix because I need them, but I will ditch them as soon as I can (i.e., the weather gets truly nice consistently).

This was my lunch view yesterday. It was too gorgeous
to stay inside. 

This is, however, the perfect time of year for my jackets -- my old beige thing (we're going on six years now, it's like my child at this point) and my new to me denim jacket (a heck of a deal at a consignment shop last summer). Saying goodbye to my coat? Not all that hard, to be honest.

Other changes: I have a couple of t-shirt skirts (skirts made out of t-shirt material, whoever thought of that is a GENIUS) that I'm waiting to cycle in -- they look ridiculous with tights, but it's not always warm enough to NOT wear tights. Oh, and confession, I have a few dresses in the back of the closet I am not counting as they're too fancy for everyday wear, but we've already gotten three wedding invitations for this spring, so... I want them around. Just not THAT around.

When I first started P333, I couldn't wrap my mind around stretching the rules to fit my life, but at this point, I'm pretty comfortable doing whatever I need to do in order to make the capsule work for me.

Some of my favorites: Navy flowered shirt, beige and orange
peasant blouse, orange and white tank, blue and grey
baseball-style shirt, navy peasant blouse and black
and white t-shirt.

Here's the obligatory list of items in my closet. If you are good at math, you will notice that this is a list of 35, not 33. Eh, details are boring.

Grey: (3)
Santa Clara University long-sleeve t-shirt
... and blue baseball-style 3/4-sleeve shirt (pictured above)

Black: (10)
Turtleneck sweater
Shoes 1
Shoes 2
... and beige skirt
... and beige polka-dot tank
... and white t-shirt (pictured above)

Beige: (5)
... and orange patterned peasant-style blouse (pictured above)
... and orange tank (pictured above)
... and orange patterned scarf

Brown: (1)

Purple: (2)
... and multi patterned tank

Teal: (1)
Peasant-style blouse

Blue: (13)
Cardigan (navy)
Cardigan (light blue)
Turtleneck sweater (light blue)
Pretty peasant-style short-sleeved blouse (and tank... both in navy, pictured above)
Tank (navy)
Denim jacket
... and flowered t-shirt (pictured above; my very favorite!)
... and another flowered t-shirt, but this one is a gauzy material
3/4-sleeve shirt (navy)
... and yellow patterned maxi skirt (lighter blue)
Capris (light denim)
... and stripped scarf

For more on Project 333, click HERE.

* So the story on these capris: I could absolutely NOT believe how long they were on my 6-foot body. I mean, they actually fit and didn't look like I was wearing high waters AT ALL. When I got them home I realized they were long because they are actually real people pants, not tall people capris. Ah, well. Whatever works.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Pointless experiments: Tiny note project

(File this one under "stuff I forgot I was going to write about.")

Once upon a time, like in December, I took part in Courtney Carver's 31 Gifts You So Deserve. I think I even mentioned I was doing so at the time ... yep, HERE at the very end. Anyway, one of her gifts was writing tiny notes to say thank you, or I love you, or I'm thinking about you, and either sending them off into the world or taking a picture and emailing the sentiment.

My first thought was, wow, that would make a really fun little project someday!

Page from my journal, which is basically a dumping ground
for quotes I like and things I want to think about...

Someday, because December was already hella crazy. ;)

In February -- chosen because it's the month of love or whatever -- I decided to launch my tiny note project with the goal of one note mailed out per day for all 29 days. I even had fantasies of making the walk to the post office part of my daily work routine.

Well, THAT part didn't happen because I ended up getting sick and it was all I could do to, like, survive.

But the tiny note part? NAILED IT.

My tiny notes and my 2016 goal journal, which I made
from recycled paper and had bound, then decorated.

I found the perfect little blank note cards at the stationary store (purchased before my self-imposed buying ban for Lent. I had to really plan ahead!), and embellished them myself with stickers. I tended to do up a week's worth of cards at once and then mail them over the span of a few days before starting all over again.

One unforeseen obstacle was that, while I had plenty of people I could write to, they had to be people who wouldn't think I was weird for saying, "Hey, happy Valentine's month! I love you!" So at least a quarter of those on my list were children -- nieces and nephews mostly. I mean, kids don't think twice when you mail them a Valentine and tell them they're great and you love them so much. They're just like, RIGHT?! 

I figured that aunts, uncles, parents and in-laws would probably not think I was too weird, either, nor would my very best friends in this world.

I didn't get a lot of response from the project (which I understand -- people are busy! Actually my friend Shannon sent me a note to thank me for my note, and I was going to email to say thank you, and FORGOT. Shannon! I got your note!), but what I did hear was all positive. People like getting real mail even if they don't tell you that. And the point was to spread some love, not generate mail or thanks for myself, and you know what? Mission accomplished!

This was actually one of the funner projects I've embarked on. In case you're curious, my January goal was to make healthy choices (you can see my some of my scribbles for that in the picture above) and in March I tried to establish a nightly routine (and kind of failed). This month I'm just going for peace. I figure that will be hard enough. ;)

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Another round of pointless updates!

1. Hello, internet friends! I decided to ditch all plans today and just enjoy being at home. The weather is gorgeous, my house is a mess, and I have nothing that I really need to be doing. 

What a gift!

2. Was it only last Saturday that I ended up in Longview with my parents because we'd gotten the call that Grandma's heart was acting all funny and she'd been taken to emergency? Anyway, as I sort of alluded to in a past post, it turns out my sweet little Grammie has congestive heart failure. And had a mini-stroke, although that happened in the hospital and since my mother and aunt were watching her and noticed it, she was saved from having a massive stroke.

Because of that, she's been admitted to a nursing home for a few weeks (this place totally sucks -- it's where my mother had to bust out my grandfather a couple of years ago). But she's content, and she's getting better, and maybe she'll be able to move back to her assisted living apartment.

When your Grandma is 92, you just sort of have to accept that there is no way you can control the outcome and just be grateful that you still have a grandma. 

Anyway, although that was NOT the Saturday I'd wanted to spend (emergency rooms are kind of the worst), it was okay because I got to see Grandma and tell her that I love her so much, and just kind of entertain her with stories about the girls, and hang out and just be.

3. We've had some ridiculously great weather in our little part of Oregon this week, and the flowers and buds are really starting to pop. This makes me so happy. I love being able to take a walk after work or have lunch outside in the sunshine. 

4. That sunshine and ability to have outside lunch breaks saved my sanity this week, as we were putting together an annual spring section at work and that was a lot of extra stress and angst and general awfulness. Our publisher must have caught on to our despondency because she brought in good coffee and snacks half-way through. Turns out I can be bought. Actually, never mind, everyone already knows the way to my heart and happiness is just coffee.

But hey! We finally sent that thing off to press yesterday! My eyeballs will probably stop hurting any minute now.

5. The only bad thing about the sunshine is that, as I'm looking out the window trying to decide what to write next, I can see those windows are grungy and need a good clean. Ah, well. Maybe tomorrow.

6. Johanna went to a Blazers game on Thursday with her class at school -- a very last minute thing, as she had previously said she didn't really want to go. Turns out the $10 fee was just to buy her ticket, so I sent my baby to Portland without any spending money, which wouldn't be a bad thing if this kid wasn't an empty vessel that must be constantly fed. Luckily, her best friend's grandpa had volunteered to chaperone and he spotted her for snacks. This is why you read the fine print when you're signing a permission slip three hours before the class leaves, I guess. 

Ah, well. Details are boring.

7. Now that I've written about Jo, I feel like I need to write about Abby, just to be fair. That kid is so super busy and has so much on her plate. Are all teenagers this driven? Anyway, with basketball over, she's been able to enjoy more time with friends, and I think that's a good thing -- she needs to have some fun.

Also, we are not even thinking about the fact that she is in her last term as a junior, and that next year she graduates from high school and goes off to college. NO.

That's all I have to say about that.