Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Passing On the Ancestors

This past weekend we had our family all in town for a big dinner out at the vineyard. While Kate and family were here, I was able to continue my "project". These items were totally special and a lot of fun to give away. Years back, I had an "ancestor wall" in our dining room which consisted of copies of shots of many of the great and great-great grandparents. Kate has added such a wall to her dining room, and I have to say that in her 100+ year-old house it really fits! So this weekend, I asked her if she wanted the 20 or so framed prints that I'd been keeping in a box ever since I redecorated the dining room 3 years ago. Kate gave me an enthusiastic yes and another box of "things" was on its way to a new home. We spent a fun hour or so identifying and labeling the backs of all the shots so that Kate can tell her kids who everyone is when they want to know.  Can't wait to see what the shots will look like when she gets them all set up the way she wants to!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Simplifying is Contagious

I discovered something this week that's sort of interesting. The desire to simplify one's space by letting go off "stuff" is contagious! Iam in the 3rd week of my little project and suddenly my husband is cleaning out his closet! So instead of hauling just MY bags of items to Goodwill, we added a bag of his! He's getting into the whole idea too. In fact, this morning one of the things he mentioned was prefaced with the remark,"When your working on getting your stuff to give away later...." I found myself grinning at that. Now it's a bit "our" project... however, his bags can't count as MY 2 bag target! In this game, it's every pack-rat for himself!!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Handbag Holdouts

The Big Pitch or  week 2 of Staude Stuff Gone:
Had a lot of fun in the cellar this week. A year and a little more ago, when our kids were temporarily living with us while their house was being finished, we hurriedly stuffed a LOT of things into the classic see-through Rubbermaid containers and stacked them in the basement. Well, a lot of time has passed and I hadn't felt the need to go into those big tubs and resurrect ANY of the items in them. It occurred to me this week that they might be ripe for the pitching as part of my new project. So down into the cellar I went with an eye toward tossing.

One container was chock full of old handbags! What is it about an old purse that makes it almost impossible to pitch? These were some really beat up looking purses but for some bizarre reason I felt compelled to save them! This time, however, my momentum from last week's tossing-out carried me through. Before I knew it, I had 3 bags worth of handbags and other assorted clothing items ready for donation to Goodwill and a 4th bag full of trash! Best result? I now have TWO empty 35 gallon Rubbermaid storage tubs waiting for me to find something ELSE to stash inside them. But for now, I am just going to enjoy having two empty tubs sitting off to one side.
On a separate note, school began this week. I have some really great classes of kids... ranging from 10th to 12th grade. I get to teach ALL the seniors and a nice assortment of some underclassmen as well. The kids seemed as shocked as we teachers were that summer is over already, and they were good as gold today. I always have to laugh at how quiet they are on the first day... it's not a situation that lasts indefinitely. We will get to know one another and they will discover how much noise this old lady can tolerate before she shushes them. But today we were all new, sort of a couple on a first date, checking the other person out to see if they have anything in common. Merry New Year to all my students! (and does anybody need an old purse?)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love... Repeat

We went to see the latest Julia Roberts film today... "Eat,Pray,Love" based on the bestseller by Elizabeth Gilbert. While not the best film I've seen this year, I admit I enjoyed it and it sparked a lot of conversation on the way home and on into the evening. (I also read the book this week so I could judge the film fairly and not get caught in the reviewers' hype)

We found ourselves talking about things like various paths to spiritual truth, our American tendency to define ourselves by what we do rather than what we are, and our difficulties with letting go, not only of material things (see earlier post on stuff) but of emotional baggage as well. Not bad for spending 2 hrs in a blissfully cool theater on a 100 degree day!

Most of all, I enjoyed seeing Julia onscreen again and realized how very much I had missed her and her work. To me, she epitomzes classic star quality blended with a very disarming geniuneness that always makes me smile. She makes you wish you could be her friend or neighbor. She has the most wonderful laugh that just comes bursting forth with a gusto that causes me to chuckle right along with her! The girl comes close to full out snorting when she laughs and it is so endearing!

So don't listen to the naysayers on this film. Ed and I give it two thumbs up. It's kind of nice to spend a bit over 2 hrs roaming the planet with Julia and enjoying her smile. I may even go and see it again!

Sunday, August 08, 2010

My Biggest Fear - An Online Project

I have been noticing people using blogs of late to accomplish some interesting things. Surely this has been going on for some time now, but it came to my mind most obviously when I went to see Julie and Julia. Here was a young woman finding herself by setting up a cooking project and then blogging about it. Now before you get worried that I am suddenly going to go domestic and start cooking up a storm, never fear! Ed's dominance in the kitchen is TOTALLY secure!

Recently I stumbled across a new favorite blog project, this one is still ongoing and has me fascinated. There is a young 30-something in California who has pledged herself to the task of only spending $1 on 1 outfit per day for an entire year. She sews... and sews with abandon, actually. And so she goes to tag sales and thrift shops and picks up whatever dress or clothing item that $1will buy and then revamps it into something marvelous... or at least something she's willing to wear out in public. Her blog New Dress a Day is SO much fun to follow because she posts before and after photos and a lot of things in between. Try peeking at it the next time you feel like there's nothing in your closet. She also has "theme weeks" where she focuses on one particular type of cast-off clothing... "Bridesmaid Dress" Week was particularly hysterical and she got some really cool clothes out of it!

So what will my project be? Nothing quite so impressive... but nonetheless I think very worthwhile. I have known for a long time that I am a "saver" of things. In fact, I come from a long line of "save it you may one day need it" types. (Ask my kids about their grandma who collected boxes. Yup, just empty boxes!) I live in a house, that by my modest estimate might have 1700 sq. feet of space if you count the 3/4 basement underneath it. Here's where the fear comes in.... I don't want to someday have to have my daughters have to clean out my numerous stashes of "stuff". I caught an episode (actually TWO episodes) on Oprah last week that were focused on the problems faced by folks known as "hoarders"! Now I am not even the teensiest bit close to that horrific issue... in fact, I didn't even know what a hoarder was until about a year ago when I learned that one of my dearest relatives was battling the problem. I had to go look it up and find out what it was. But the TV episodes got me thinking about stuff... in the very literal sense. And all my stuff makes me feel just anxious and heavy. SO, I have made a pact with myself - I am going to try a pitch a minimum of two bags of "STUFF" each week until I can't find anything else to pitch. My ideal would be one bag to trash and one to charity... even better would be TWO to charity and keeping my stuff out of landfills. (Fits my ideal of being green and all that jazz!) When I can, I am going to post a photo of the stuff and tell where it went.... sounds good.... where the stuff is just boring to look at, all you'll get is maybe a photo of something related or prettier to look at.

So here goes.... WEEK ONE of STAUDE STUFF GONE: (ironic isn't it, considering what I named this blog several years ago!?)
This week... the first week of AUGUST: I pitched out ONE full bag of just plain trash out of my office and donated 3 bags to charity. Two of the bags were full of clothes I hadn't worn in over 3 years. The THIRD bag was the fun bag. It went to the library. It was full of computer software that I no longer have a computer to run anymore!!! Does anyone out there need a copy of "Where in the World is Carmen San Diego" for a Mac Classic? Well, go to our Library's book and AV sale next May and you can probably have my old one for $1!!! I filled an ENTIRE bag with out of date software... some of it in its original and UNOPENED packaging! Yikes! And that is the secret to how I got ONE whole empty shelf in one closet in my home; something that feels like a really good start!

Thanks for listening, dear readers, and wish me luck!