Monday, May 26, 2008

An Award, Pants, Refashioning, a Tantrum, and Mason Jars

First of all, a dear blogger buddy of mine, Greenish Lady (love her blog name, it could fit me too), has graciously given me this award. Thank you. It's so hard to keep up with the ever expanding and wondrous blogging community out there. I have to add an updated version of "So many books, so little time" (wasn't the original original "So many men, so little time" by Mae West?) to say it's now also true that there's "So many blogs, so little time". It's hard for me to keep up with all the fascinating, fun, quirky, entertaining, educational, poetic, and thoughtful bloggers out there, as well as trying to keep my own blog fun, fascinating... well, updated at least. So I really appreciate it when someone bumps into me while floating around in the far corners of cyberspace, feels a connection, and comes back often enough to start that magical evolution from acquaintance to friend.

I'm flattered that someone thinks my blog is E for Excellent but there's no question that this excellent thing doesn't trickle down from posts into the maintenance and upkeep portion of being a blogger. I tried to add this icon to my sidebar only to get myself all all splayed about like a solitary game of mental Twister. Do I put this link here in this location bit or do I have to add the photo to another spot first? And if I want to put it in my own blog files, how do I do that before it's actually ON my blog? I called up a more technically savvy friend, Deirdre, who un-Twistered me a bit. Hopefully I'll be able to keep the suggestions in my head long enough to remember them when I finally get around to doing some template tweaking, which will have to wait until tonight or tomorrow or next month or....

And while she was trying to explain photo storage links to me, we discovered that the icons I'd actually managed to get up on my sidebar in the past, had mostly disappeared because the stored photos had been deleted. So. More work for me to do. And let's not even discuss how woefully, tragically behind I am on updating my Blogger Links section. When I see that a regular reader has placed me in their blog's link list, I get all twirly happy and want to reach right through the computer and kiss them. On the LIPS even. But me? My links? A good portion of them don't even work or take you to abandoned blogs. Some folks have moved URLs years ago. A pitiful few still work. And there are dozens of people I visit regularly who aren't even mentioned. I am.... sigh, what I am... as Popeye said. A chronically unorganized mess.

But, I haven't ALWAYS been an unorganized mess. Honestly. Cross my heart and stick a needle in my eye with a cherry on the end. Or whatever. I used to be Organized, with a capital O and no "Un". I used to be tidy. No one believes me. Least of all my children. I was just telling William yesterday (it coming up in a larger conversation about our family member's personalities) about how he can't judge me on what I'm like now because he wasn't around for the greater portion of my life and can't really have an opinion from the time when he was little. His response was something about how we can't rest on our laurels or use past accomplishments as a justification for what we are or are not doing in the present. Which is a frightenly wise point out of someone too fresh to have accumulated a lot of life wisdom himself yet. But I wasn't trying to justify myself to my son, I was only explaining that he couldn't see the whole picture, and I can. Now the trick is just to figure out what it all means. But, maybe another day. Moving on....

Yesterday I finally got through the pile of pants I wanted to sort. I blackmailed myself into it by telling myself that if I didn't finish the job by the end of the day I was going to post photos of the mess on my blog. (and I have conversations with myself too!) Crazy at it seems, it worked. I did it. I'm frustrated that I still have a bit of overflow left, but I have to remind myself to look at the bright side and be happy at how much I got done.

For those of you who crave details or simply want an excuse to sit in front your computer and finish your coffee now - When gathered together I had 49 pairs of pants, 7 capris, and 3 pairs of overalls for a total of 59 items. I tried on each and every one of them, a few of them I tried on twice. 16 of them went easily into the get-rid-of pile because they didn't fit, were completely worn out, or were hopelessly out of fashion. That makes 43 pair. One of those pair is for painting in only, which brings me down to 42. 7 pair I kept even though I hadn't worn them because they all needed hemming. I set those in the studio by the sewing machine instead of letting them get mixed back in my wardrobe. If I ever fix them, I'll figure out how to make them fit in my closet. If I never get around to hemming them, then I can get rid of them later. So we're now down to 35 pair. One pair of overalls was a little snug and I asked my daughter-in-law if she wanted them. She said no and I bravely added them to the get rid of pile. So, 34. Of those, 5 I set aside in a limbo/maybe pile. That's the part of the project left undone. But since I have so much more to sort through, I can let that go for now. I put 29 pairs of pants back in the wire cubby hole space allotted to pants (no, 30 since I put the painting pants there too) and they all fit with a smidgen of room to spare. YAH!

That's still a lot of pants, but half of what I started out with. And they're not all the same. A couple were only for dress up occasions, a dozen were capri or lightweight summer styles, the rest were winter wear. I only had ONE pair of traditional jeans left when I was finished since I'd literally worn out (way beyond cool ripped jean style) the rest of my jeans. I'm not going to run out and buy any more jeans though. I'm really trying hard to stick with my goal to "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without." It's an accumulation of events, people and ideas that has me determined to change my consumer ways, including my friend Julie who has been quietly (and nonjudgementally) inspiring me by posting about the pledge she took last year not to buy anything new for her wardrobe but instead to "Refashion" what she already owns. It's been almost a year and she seems to still be going strong. If you want to join with other refashioning bloggers, click here.

Last night I had a tantrum. Yelling at hubby while all the while explaining I wasn't really yelling and I wasn't really mad, I just sounded mad because I was frustrated and I needed to SHARE with him - and yeah, even to my own ears I thought "What the fuck is WRONG with her!" Poor guy. If it hadn't been one o'clock in the morning he would have just offered to distract me with coffee out or suggested I call a girlfriend. But he didn't have that recourse in the middle of the night and so he just pretended to listen with his head under the covers.

I really wasn't mad at him, specifically. Part of my mini-meltdown was hormonal timing (which of course if anyone else suggested this, I'd bite their head off for speaking it out loud) but I also realize that this happens every time I try to climb out of the mess my house and garden has become. The family, assuming that a messy house is normal, and that pigsties are muddy but inviting places, just go merrily on their way leaving papers strewn all over the living room, filling up the kitchen pantry with junk food, naming the dust bunnies, and otherwise acting as if chaos is no big deal. Meanwhile instead of ignoring it, like I usually do, I'm manically following people around reminding them to carry their glass to the sink and stop leaving their catalogs on the table and when are they going to clean up that pile of theirs (yeah, the one next to three of MY piles) and basically making their lives miserable. It's hard enough pushing a goal uphill without the added weight of people riding on top of it.

Hubby is actually getting behind me in spiffing up, if not our house, at least our eco-habits. Not all of them, but at last he's trying. I finally glanced at a few months worth of newspapers that were strewn about the house and gathered them up for the recycling pile. I had to glare at hubby when I reminded him to put them in recycling and NOT in the burn pile. (when we heated with wood, that was fine, we needed all our scrap paper. But now we have a gas heater, so why burn what we don't need to burn?) He looked annoyed, I know he just wanted to chuck it in the fireplace when I wasn't looking. But he said he'd put it out on the next pick up. I also suggested we cancel 90% of the mail order catalogs that arrive in the mailbox. There two or three that we truly enjoy receiving in paper form (Northern Sun, a couple garden catalogs), but the rest can be accessed online on the rare occasion we need to order something. I don't even know how we ended up getting some of them. And speaking of junk mail, WHY can't we stop the insane flow of campaign advertisements? Do they really think I'm going to make a decision based on this biased crap?! How many trees do we have to sacrifice to these political blowhards!?

Last night I browsed through a catalog (before tossing it) that sold all manner of things for patio and outdoor living - everything from loungers, tables and umbrellas to barbeque tongs and ceramic wall displays. One of the items for sale was a set of four candle holders that were made to look like old fashioned mason jars with wire handles. Candles not included, it cost $29. I thought about that for a second and then looked up the cost of mason jars. A set of twelve at your every day sort of store like Target or Ace Hardware ran from $6.99 to $9.99. For TWELVE. I suppose if you didn't have any wire laying about in your garage that you could use to make the handles, you could add in the cost of new wire... but let's not because now that I think of it, you don't need the wire handles and even if you bought wire, you can probably get the four mason jars at any thrift store for a buck or two tops. Assuming you couldn't just use jars you already had, or find some in your mother's or grandmother's basement. So, I repeat - $29 for four candle holders that are supposed to look like old mason jars?!!

Okay, I need to get going. I've been laying about because I'm sore. Wanna guess why? How embarrassing. I think it's from trying on over 60 pairs of pants yesterday. I haven't done anything else that could be the cause. Who knew that dressing and undressing qualifies as exercise? But now it's time to go sort something else. Magazines maybe? That will only exercise my fingers.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Linda, 60 pairs of pants!!!! The shopping that must have been required to amass this amount staggers my mind!! Then the closet space--I get the hebe-gebies. I have 8 pairs--3 of them not suitable to wear to work, and one dress pair. I do need to buy more and throw three to the goodwill, but the thought of the work shopping for replacements which can be worn in a professional manner is just too much right now. I can't face trying on 6 pairs, let alone 60--you get the bravery award.
Your non-stuff, non-shopping friend kathy

9:08 PM  
Anonymous alala said...

That was inspiring, thank you. I need to declutter before we can move, and somehow I am not locating the point at which "I have all day to get it done" turns into "I didn't get anything done today." But if you can try on 60 pairs of pants, I can declutter something. One thing. But not my closet, because it has sliding doors and there are kittens in one section.

11:15 AM  
Anonymous Deirdre said...

Good job with sorting pants. And I hate to say it but William does seem to have a point - one I (personally) might try to reflect on.

For your wordplay logo - replace the word blog with the word images all lower case and the picture will work fine. I'm glad to see that your Thinking Blogger award logo was added to the sidebar.
;-D eirdre

12:12 PM  
Blogger JulieZS said...

Thatsa lotsa pantsa! I'm tired just thinking about trying all of those on. Good for you though, you really made a dent in them. And I do the exact same thing with family bugging/housekeeping, and to the same result, cranky family, messy house. Oh well. Life goes on anyways.

10:43 AM  
Blogger Miss*Laurence said...

When I started reading.. I thought " hang on maybe I have 60 pairs of underpants too, what's so weird about that..." but then, well, obviously.
Anyway, I'm glad you've lightened up your stuff, now it's everyone else's turn! I think the i've-had-enough-with-all-that-mess bug strikes mostly in Spring, when light shines in every nook and cranny, and for longer, when the wind blows the dust balls about and they get noticed, when last Christmas TV magazine seems strangely out of place...

The way I clear up is dramamtic and everyone notices: empty room A into room B. Clean up, then only put back what is really needed or beautiful. It makes a mess for a week from room to room, but by then you have lost a lot of unnecessary weight around the house!
I'm waiting for a sunny day for the garage to get the treatment!

3:31 PM  

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