Friday, August 31, 2018

Can you have a capsule reading wardrobe?

I have never been one to minimize on books. But you probably knew that already.

So recently I was thinking through that clothes problem of "if I buy one more thing, I'll have to get rid of something else, and I really don't want to, because I like what I have." I have a similar issue with books: they come home, by ones and twos; or long-awaited holds drop into my Overdrive account; and, like taking an overfilled buffet plate, I sometimes don't get more than a taste of them before the next clear-out. I do finish a lot of books too, but sometimes they go by too fast.

I made a list of what I need to and want to read and re-read in the coming months, including some bit-by-bit books. Where do I want to be, reading-wise, when 2020 rolls in? I have textbooks, they're high priority. Bible reading as well. But then what? Do I want to be here in a year and a half and say that I didn't crack the cover of Pilgrim's Progress in that time? Or that I made no steady progress through a Charlotte Mason volume? Or that I never did finish Wendell Berry's Sabbath poems, or The Invention of Clouds?

 It's a pretty serious-looking list, but it's not impossible. Here's the thing, though: if I start throwing in more books, even good ones, something good I wanted to read is going to get edged out. See the parallel?

Of course plans can change. Books turn out to be boring, and pants ride up. Replacements are sometimes necessary. But in the meantime, I'm looking at books that didn't make the list, and thinking, "Do you really deserve shelf real estate if I have no plan to even look at you until 2020?"

Some of them do, because I know I will pull them out when I know just where that quote is, or because I suddenly want to re-read that Elizabeth Goudge forest scene. Some of them are just treasures.

Others...they're falling into the "so many books, so little time" category. Like thriftworthy clothes,  great titles pop up all the time in our sorting space, between the romance novels, the diet books, and the multiple copies of Eat Pray Love.  But I'm just one reader with just so much time. Knowing which books I'm looking forward to reading (textbooks included) makes it easier to thin out the rest.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The Intentional Thrifter shops for parts

I bought four things at the thrift store this morning: a wooden organizer box, a set of four cloth placemats, and two personal-planner binders for a dollar apiece, just for their innards. Total, seven Canadian dollars (U.S.$5.42 right now).

Here is the box. Nothing special, just useful. 
Maybe for paper?
Maybe for hot pads? 
The lid could also be useful.
Here are the place mats.
One by itself would look nice with this strawberry plate.
One of the binders was six-ring, but the included paper fits my own planner perfectly. Also included: some Stephen R. Covey planning advice. Just a bonus.
 The other notebook had a special binding system with plastic buttons, so the paper doesn't work in a regular binder. But we did end up with a bunch of loose paper for grocery lists, Scrabble games, and phone messages. Also some sticky page markers.
I can't use these dividers and page protectors, but I'll leave them by the elevator in our building, where people share stuff like that.
And this small pile of stuff is going in the garbage. The pen didn't work, and I didn't need the other hardware and plastic inserts.
But I still got my money's worth.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Minimalism is not animism, so don't throw that baby out with the bath products

Some people are turned off from KonMari-style decluttering because of Marie Kondo's Buddhist worldview. They get nervous about holding up a sweater to see if it sparks mix religions, that sounds a lot like reading auras. And they definitely don't thank their shoes for a good day's work. It's like the Zen cookbook that recommends asking the carrot how it feels like being seasoned today.  In our Western view, shoes and carrots do not have feelings.

But it's an interesting question: can you encounter a philosophy, use its good practices but disagree with some of its fundamentals? That comes up often with Charlotte Mason: can you embrace her educational principles without giving credit to the Holy Spirit? Tough call, because she drew on philosophers, writers, and educators both inside and outside of the Christian tradition; but she believed that God's Spirit inspired all such insights. I think it's hard to pull off a secular CM education and not miss something vital, but there are those who disagree and do it anyway.

So, is there a non-Buddhist version of KonMari, beyond the cliche of not talking to socks? Are there places in this philosophy of tidying where wisdom crosses cultural and religious lines?

Thought One

One reviewer said that "spark joy" is simply asking who we are, what in our lives made us acquire these things, and who we think we would like to be from this point on. What are our true priorities? In Anne Tyler's novels, including her latest one, Clock Dance, characters have a habit of disengaging themselves from their built-up, overstuffed lives...running away for awhile to gain a new perspective. Sometimes they return home, sometimes they don't. Since running away is not always practical, we need to find other ways of looking at ourselves, and one way to do that is by examining our homes and possessions. If we can climb out from under harmful stories or false expectations, and begin to "know ourselves" (I think that's Marcus Aurelius oops, no, Plato talking about an inscription at Delphi), we may not want to live any longer with stuff representing those stories. The author of Goodbye, Things says he did not really want to read hundreds of books,  that he was not enjoying his large camera collection. For him, those things were props that said "I want to be that person." For other people, belongings from the past say "I was that person, and I am still that person. Or, I will be that person again."

Someone else (I can't remember who) pointed out that it's easier to ask what things in your life might "spark more joy" for someone else. Kitchen utensils and bedding might spark joy for a refugee family or fire victims. When we downsized, I let go of many large toys and books that families with  younger children could use. The dollhouse my grandfather built was a pivotal one for me, because holding on to it said that I stilll recognized the work he had put into it, and also remembered the fun that our girls had playing with it. But, in the end, it was a large, cumbersome wooden object that we could not possibly use or fit into our apartment, and it would not do anybody any good sitting in storage for someday-grandchildren. Time to let go.

Sometimes, ironically for Western objectors to animism, we hold on to objects because we're afraid of not having them around. They are emotionally powerful, imbued with the history and meanings we give them. Books are often like that...we want to hold on to the exact book someone once gave us, or that we bought for a quarter in a little secondhand store. I have my share of those. But perhaps, sometimes, it wouldn't hurt to lean a bit Eastern in our ways of letting go. Have a little goodbye party, if you need to. Be Miss Sadie and have a hat fashion show before you give your new friend all your mother's hats.

Thought Two

A big part of KonMari is finding homes for everything that remains in your home. That implies not only that you have good reasons for keeping whatever you do keep, but that you can find enough space for that number of things. It's like admitting that you're never going to be tall enough to pull off stiletto heels: you have the floor space and cupboards that you have. As I've posted here before, right now my wardrobe limits are four drawers, half a closet, and (currently) a suitcase that is holding a few transitional summer things. When the t-shirts are folded, and you see them all lined up in the drawer, you can't imagine either that you don't have enough shirts, or that you would be able to put more of them somewhere else. There is a sense of gratitude, of contentment, and of order.

Recently my daughter gave me a zippered case that she wasn't using, that she thought I'd like. She was right: it is just the right size to store the small amount of makeup I own, and it fits perfectly into the dishpan which fits in the cupboard under the sink in the bathroom. It's such a pretty design that yes, it does spark joy when I pull it out. I don't need more than that.

Thought Three

Christians have been instructed to live lightly here; to set their hearts on things above; to view their time on this earth as full of delights, but still only as a taste of what is to come. That doesn't mean we should all become nomads without possessions, or that having just one of everything is always best. We are instructed to show hospitality, and that implies that at least some of us should have extra forks and plates, extra beds or blankets. I think that sometimes God even leads people to buy houses with extra rooms, or to buy a van rather than a small car. What that does not give us is permission to pack those spaces with clutter and garbage, things that don't work, things we never really needed. (I do know people whose garages are piled high with donations collected for others, or whose pantries are stocked against emergencies, and those are different matters. One point Marie Kondo makes is that even hospitality or disaster supplies should be kept current and useable, and checked regularly for mildew, mice, moths, whatever.)


I read a comment that blamed Marie Kondo for causing a recent increase in the amount of stuff given to thrift stores and thrown in garbage dumps. That's like criticizing a weight-loss trend for a resulting downturn in fast-food revenues. And if there is a glut of donations right now, I think it's due more to demographics than KonMari. Baby Boomers are all downsizing, and their kids don't want their stuff.  Drastic dumping is a sad symptom of our consumerist culture, but it may be the only way some people can get free and start fresh. Don't blame Kondo for overstuffed houses; just thank her for getting them cleaned out.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The Intentional Thrifter calls a halt

In previous eras of my life, I have gone months at a time without buying much of anything for myself (except for books, and those don't count). Sometimes that was because we were on a tight budget. Sometimes it was because we weren't going anywhere that sold clothes. (Our usual grocery stop these days is at the Large Store That Starts With W, but previous supermarkets just sold food.) Sometimes I didn't need anything, or had no idea what I needed. During our  previous two-and-a-half-year thrift store volunteer stint, I think I bought one pair of shoes and a purse there, along with some Christmas decorations, a few girls' clothes, and a lot of books. In any case, I seemed to get by.

For the past year, clothing temptation has reared its head because I'm at the thrift store twice a week. (And also before that when we were downsizing and dropping by there so often.) I don't care much about bringing home books these days; I can admire and then happily put them out in the store to let them earn somebody else's money. But show me a nice scarf for a couple of dollars, and I'm undone.
Or, heaven forbid, a purple skirt that was on its last week before dropping to clothes oblivion.
It's suede. Unwashable, impractical, and $2.50.

Usually I do err on the solid and useful side, though. Like this grey sweatshirt-fabric circle cardigan. (The pink part is the lining.) I've tried out similar jackets and cardigans before, but the sleeves were always too tight, or something else wasn't quite right. This one I could happily wear everywhere, every day.
Oh yes, and a navy-and-frosty-grey pullover. Like Oliver Pig and his ever-growing Christmas list, I didn't strictly need it, but I wanted it, and it would go with everything (maybe not the suede skirt). And there was one free sweater spot in my drawer. Done.
And done. With the exception of a needed pair of shoes, tights and particular underpinnings, and a plain belt or two (that would be helpful), I am calling a moratorium on clothes (and scarf and jewelry) shopping, new and used, for the next three months. There are always going to be beautiful things cycling through the thrift store, but right now I have more than enough to enjoy, and if I brought anything else home, I'd have to say goodbye to something else.

Thrifting for the next while will lean towards home stuff (we could use an everyday tablecloth) and crafty stuff for Christmas holidays. And maybe a few good books.

Monday, August 20, 2018

From the archives: Old habits and diehards

First posted August 2015. Edited slightly.

I like it when good things turn up in strange places.

The final Brother Cadfael novel centers around his making a very hard decision. For complicated reasons, he chooses to go AWOL so that he can help someone he cares about. He knows that if he does this, he may never be allowed back in the monastery. The identity he has shaped for years can be torn away by a quick decision. At an earlier point in his life, remaining in the cloister would have meant everything to him, might have been the right choice; but now an act of love is more important than hanging on to position and approval. In the end (spoiler), all is resolved and he is, happily, welcomed back. But even if he hadn't been, we get the impression that it would have been okay either way. He was who he was, whether he had his hair tonsured and wore a habit, or not.

I've been working through William Zinsser's Writing to Learn, and last night I got to his chapter "Man, Woman and Child," about writing in the social sciences. All through the book Zinsser includes examples of good writing in each academic area; but in this chapter, he tells about how his own interest in anthropology began. In the 1950's, he was working as a journalist and was required to attend Broadway performances as part of his job. (What a hard-knock life.) One night he saw a performance by some Balinese dancers, and he was so fascinated that he decided to take his next vacation in Bali. This is what he found:

"...I made my way up into the hills to the village of Pliatan. The musicians and dancers who had conquered Broadway had long since come home and were back at their everyday jobs in the rice fields. That's how I found out that the Balinese have almost no concept of 'art.' What I had assumed was their art turned out to be organic to their life...Art, life and religion were intertwined. Children and chickens were everywhere...That was my first view of a unified culture, and I remember how resentful I felt that my own culture didn't have such an enviable wholeness."
 Zinsser says his point (as he sees it) is that we can't take any culture as just "quaint," and that writing about anthropology is serious business. Unfortunately, that leads in to a skippable "cultural" example about evil spirits, but we'll let that go; I'm more interested in his story about Bali.

That word "organic" has popped up more than once over the last couple of years, and not in a health-food sense; it means a wholeness of life, and (to put it in educational terms), a unity of knowledge and thought. I've said this before, but it's why homeschool "retirees" don't stop thinking about learning, whether we're surrounded by Balinese dancers, children and chickens, or by just keeping up with the laundry and our young-adult offspring. Brother Lawrence had the right idea--prayer functions in the midst of bustle and clatter...and also in the quiet times. Our lives are as real in the supermarket and in a chance to talk with the neighbours, as on the stage, in the monastery, or (for some of us) in or out of the schoolroom. None of it is perfect, but it is all what we are given to do.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Who Made My Scarf? (National Thrift Shop Day)

Happy National Thrift Shop Day! Our local MCC store is celebrating with discount prices and cake for the customers.

I picked up this purple infinity scarf today, just because I liked the colour.
But I was curious about this label I found stitched into the blanket-stitched edge: "Ayu Sewing Project, Handmade in Indonesia."
I came home and looked up the Ayu Sewing Project. It turns out that a talented group of Indonesian women  are making scarves...beaded scarves, batik scarves, jersey scarves, an astonishing variety of help support their families. All that blanket stitching is done by hand.  (They have also branched out into other projects, such as very nice-looking cosmetic bags.)
So my scarf has a story, and a group of real people behind it. I might even leave the label on the scarf, just as a reminder.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

In Honour of National Thrift Shop Day: This fall's clothes page

August 17th is National Thrift Shop Day!

I felt like I was planning in circles this time around. I like "dressing up" clothes, but my lifestyle is casual, and often dusty-sweaty (like unloading donated boxes of books). Those realities don't always blend so well in a small wardrobe. I tried making a capsule-within-a-capsule of jeans and t-shirts, but in the end it was easier to list everything together. Some things cross back and forth anyway. I tried a few other approaches, but they were all making me unhappy about what wasn't going to make the cut. Besides that, my half of the shared closet was very messy, and I couldn't figure out why. I don't have forgotten clothes from years ago, or impulse buys with tags still on them. But I pulled everything out just the same, and started re-hanging the definite keepers.

The answer to the second problem turned out to be related to the first. I needed more hangers. Not for the closet, because, it turned out, I had just enough space and just enough hangers to hang up everything that didn't fit in the dresser (see below), minus a few also-rans that are heading back to the thrift store. The real roadblock to my sartorial serenity was a laundry issue.

I do a lot of air-drying over the bathroom shower rod. On hangers, which have to be filched from the closet, which causes shortages and therefore clothes doubled up and hard to see. A-ha moment there: I need to buy some extra hangers just for laundry use, and I also need to not stuff the now-dry tops into the closet where they cause traffic jams.
As for the first problem: I renewed my vows to KonMari, and folded all my t-shirts into one drawer, from tanks to pullovers. I  folded heavy winter things into another drawer, along with the jeans I wear the most. 
Second a-ha moment: what did fit into those spaces is now my working wardrobe until whenever. I suddenly did not have to choose between this thing and that thing just because it wasn't in the plan. I could keep my dressy pants, my worn-but-comfortable sweatshirt dress, and all my purple t-shirts. I stopped being unhappy. 


Friday, August 10, 2018

The Intentional Thrifter: Fall greys and Gathie Falk

I'm trying to use what I have to put together a fall wardrobe; but sometimes you need to buy things to fill in gaps. I do have a very warm grey cardigan from last winter, but this acrylic one isn't quite as heavy, and it has interesting side cutouts (less material to bunch up).
Another good basic: a grey cotton pullover.
Some recent book finds. Gathie Falk is a Canadian artist, and this is a nice coffee-table-type book about her and her work. Patches of Godlight is a Jan Karon Mitford go-with that I rarely see. The third book, The Violence of Organized Forgetting, got mixed reviews from readers, but I am going to check it out anyway.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

From the archives: "Ask me, ask me": Teaching in the C.M. Classroom

First posted February 2013

"Conference Lessons, Class II," by K.M. Claxton, Parents' Review Volume 26, no. 8, August 1915, pgs. 569-573

Charlotte Mason's form of education is often seen, in fact promoted, as simple, natural, and relaxed.  At one time it was misunderstood by many homeschoolers to be just one step short of unschooling.  In some ways, the "simple and relaxed" idea is quite true.  It definitely takes the pressure off a teacher to understand that the act of learning has to happen in the child's mind; that education is not all about detailed lesson plans and clever activities.  It takes some pressure off the children to realize that they're not expected to complete pages of busywork, and that they're being asked to tell back what they understood from a reading, not answer a slew of questions.

However, there's another side to CM-style lessons that we, being mostly limited to hundred-year-old written descriptions of the curriculum and classes, can sometimes miss.  I haven't yet seen the DVDs of CM teacher Eve Anderson, and the link to the Perimeter Schools site that was offering them seems to be non-functional, so I guess I won't be seeing them anytime soon either.  But from what I've heard, her presentation, for instance, of a Picture Study lesson on Vermeer, was something of a surprise:  CM homeschoolers have commented on how much she talked before she let the children look at the picture. [2018 Update: I have watched the DVD series now, and they did stretch my understanding of how a class session could work.]

This lines up quite well with K.M. Claxton's description of what she called a "Picture Talk" lesson, given in 1915 to a demonstration class of 17 (!) children ages 8 to 11 (see the link at the top of this post).  The term's painter was Raphael, and the painting was "The Miraculous Draught of Fishes."

First off, she asked what the children already knew about Raphael (they had already started their term's work so would have done at least a couple of art lessons.)
Second, she told them a story about the history of the painting.  (The story as told in this online book may be closer to the way that Miss Claxton told it.)
Third, she read them the story about the fishes, from the Gospel of St. Luke.
THEN, only then, the children studied the painting and described it.
Miss Claxton gave "a few appreciative words" about the painting.
Finally, the children drew "the chief lines of the composition."

This pattern of asking, and then presenting a bit of something to get the students interested in the lesson, seems a lot to ask of a homeschool parent who might have several children doing different lessons, who might not have read all the books ahead of time, and who and might or might not have any idea herself about the history of any particular Raphael painting; but it seems also to be, unfortunately, the way the Parents' Union School did things.  We can't cross it out just because it is more work for us or because we don't like it.  The original Programmes don't specify or explain much about this, they just give book titles and page counts; but considering that we have seen both a "live" example (Eve Anderson) and written examples (e.g. Miss Claxton), it seems that if we don't present at least some of our lessons in this way, our students will be missing out.  Note the difference here, though, between what Charlotte Mason called "getting up a lesson," meaning that the teacher was the lecturer for the whole lesson, and these outlines, which do require some preparation or a bit of research ahead of time, but which are still book-centered.

Here are more examples from the morning that Miss Claxton spent with these 17 youngsters, none of whom she had ever seen or taught before:

In Natural History, the term's book was Life and Her Children, by Arabella Buckley(Full text available here.)  
The asking: The children told her what insects they were studying, gave her some examples, and told her the four stages in the life cycle of these insects.  She told them that today they would be learning about different kinds of Two-Winged Insects or "Flies," and asked the children to name the kinds of flies that they knew.
The hook:  Miss Claxton had (bravely, we think) toted along two daddy-long-legs in a jar, and had the children look at some details of their anatomy.
The reading, starting on page 262 (sounds like the children read):  

These "balancers" tell us that the two-winged flies, the gnats, mosquitoes, midges, bluebottles, house-flies, and cattle-flies, are not made on a different plan from the four-winged insects, but are merely flies whose hind wings have lost their size and power, while the front ones have become stronger and larger. This has evidently been no disadvantage in their case, for they have flourished well in the world, and myriads are to be found in every town and country, while their different ways of living are almost as various as there are kinds of fly. Some, such as the daddy-long-legs, suck the juices of plants, some suck animal blood, some live on decaying matter ; while in not a few cases, as among the gadflies, the father is a peaceable sucker of honey while the mother is bloodthirsty.

Among the gnats and mosquitoes the father dies so soon that he does not feed at all, while the mother has a mouth made of sharp lancets, with which she pierces the skin of her victim and then sucks up the juices through the lips. Among the botflies, however, which are so much dreaded by horses and cattle, it is not with the mouth in feeding that the wound is made. In this case the mother has a scaly pointed instrument in the tail,"" which she thrusts into the flesh of the animal so as to lay her eggs beneath its skin, where the young grub feeds and undergoes its change into a fly.

For we must remember that every fly we see has had its young maggot life and its time of rest. Our common house-fly was hatched in a dust heap or a dung heap, or among decaying vegetables, and fed in early life on far less tasty food than it finds in our houses. The bluebottle was hatched in a piece of meat, and fed there as a grub ; and the gadfly began its life inside a horse, its careful mother having placed her eggs on some part of the horse's body which he was sure to lick and so to carry the young grub to its natural warm home. 
 At this point they narrated what had been read so far.  Miss Claxton showed them drawings of the life cycle of the gnat.  They were allowed to examine these and discuss them.

Then two children read this section out loud:  

But of all early lives that of the gnat is probably the most romantic, and certainly more pleasant than those of most flies. When the mother is ready to lay her eggs she flies to the nearest quiet water, and there, collecting the eggs together with her long hind legs, glues them into a little boat-shaped mass and leaves them to float. In a very short time the eggs are hatched and the young grubs swim briskly about, whirling round some tufts of hair which grow on their mouths, and so driving microscopic animals and plants down their throats. Curiously enough they all swim head downwards and tail upwards (g, Fig. 90), and the secret of this is that they are air-breathing animals and have a small tube at the end of their tail, which they thrust above water to take in air.

This goes on for about a fortnight, when, after they have changed their skins three times, they are ready to remodel their bodies. Then on casting their skin for the fourth time they come out shorter and bent and swathed up, but still able to swim about though not to eat. Meanwhile a most curious change has taken place. The tail tube has gone, and two little tubes (p t, Fig. 90) have grown on the top of the back, and through them the tiny pupa now draws in its breath as it wanders along. At last the time comes for the gnat to come forth, and the pupa stretches itself out near the top of the water, with its shoulders a little raised out of it. Then the skin begins to split, and the true head of the gnat appears and gradually rises, drawing up the body out of its case. This is a moment of extreme danger, for if the boat-like skin were to tip over it would carry the gnat with it, and in this way hundreds are drowned but if the gnat can draw out its legs in safety the danger is over. Leaning down to the water he rests his tiny feet upon it, unfolds and dries his beautiful scale-covered wings, and flies away in safety.
Finally Miss Claxton showed them some empty pupa cases, and asked them to narrate the life-history of the gnat, which they did.  They all promised to go out and look for gnat eggs and larvae.

The world history lesson that Miss Claxton taught was based on two chapters of The Awakening of Europe, one of the Story of the World volumes by M.B. Synge.  I won't go over all the things she asked them (you can read the article yourself), but she did have a few questions about what they already knew.  She described one of the main characters and showed them a portrait.  I think because it was a one-shot class, she decided to read to them first from Chapter 1, and had them narrate.  Then she showed them a map (drawn on the blackboard) with certain towns marked, and as well as pointing them out, she mentioned which ones had been in the news recently (this was during World War I).  Then she read them the later chapter on "The Siege of Leyden" and possibly a bit from the next chapter (it's not quite clear where she stopped.)  The lesson finished with another narration.

The pattern begins to appear, and you know, it's something that's not all that hard for us in the 21st century to copy--easier, in some ways.  I don't have to fill up boxes of clipped pictures, or spend that time hand-drawing a map. At the click of the keyboard, I can access the portrait of a king, the map of a battle site, or the photograph (if I can't find the real thing) of a gnat pupa.  Do you notice how relatively short the readings are, too?  This is not onerous study.  And we all know that a lesson should be narrated, right?  However, it does seem also to be expected that the children are going to be able to tell you the what's and who's of what they've learned previously, and I think sometimes we, the parent-teachers, might slip back in that area.  It's okay to ask them.  Miss Claxton said so.

(It's also interesting to compare Miss Claxton's notes with those of another teacher using different chapters, same books.)

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Laugh for the day: How did she get them rings?

Daisy Moses (Granny): Them red diamonds are purty.
Jewelry Salesman: These are rubies.
Daisy Moses: Well, ask her if she wants to sell one.
Jewelry Salesman: Madam, the ruby I'm referring to is not a lady.
Daisy Moses: How she got them rings is her own business.

Beverly Hillbillies, "The Girl From Home," 1964

Saturday, August 04, 2018

Quote for the day: When insight is the harder task

"There is nothing abstract, or even subtle, about what happens when the writer attempts to apply a prejudice where only an insight will do.

"Proceeding blindly toward his preconceived conclusions, he asks his character (whether real or imaginary) the wrong questions: compounding the error, he twists the answer to make it match what he would prefer to hear. His goal immutably fixed in his mind, he ignores clues that would lead him to the unacceptable truth.

"The stories the young writer produces in such ecstasies of self-assurance are as unpalatable as green persimmons."  ~~ Jon Franklin, Writing for Story

Friday, August 03, 2018

The Intentional Thrifter goes back-to-school shopping

I don't shop at the uptown consignment store very often, mostly because I'm not often in that part of town. But every August they have a half-price sale, and that's when I do go and see if I can match up anything on my fall wish/needs list. Half-price on consignment-store prices makes things just a bit more than they would be at the thrift store, and I can live with that.

Actually there isn't much I'm looking for right now. I would like a t-shirt-style dress, but haven't been able to find one that isn't too small, or too big, or that doesn't have cutout shoulders, or that isn't camo-print. I was thinking about replacing my blue jeans (thrifted two years ago), and/or about finding some non-jean pants that are a bit dressier but not too much so. I also want to replace a worn-out grey t-shirt.

Results of the consignment store trip:

One grey t-shirt, which I ended up giving to Lydia. I'll find another one.

One pair of "dressy sweat pants," exactly what I was looking for. They are polyester, not  a trendier fabric like modal or bamboo, but they have the same nice feel.
One taupe sweater, knit from ribbon yarn, so it's very lightweight. This (obviously) wasn't on my list, but it was a good find anyway, and it even goes with the navy pants. The wide waistband looks it would be like a bad choice for short people, but I like it anyway.
It's also a good match for this scarf, which came from the antiques market but which I'm pretty sure isn't an antique.
I didn't find a dress, but I am still a happy shopper.

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Quote for the day: There is no magic pill

"People who are anxious, confused, and looking for answers are quick to search for solutions in the pages of books or on the Internet, looking for that 'killer app' that will make everything right again. The Rule [of St. Benedict] tells us: No, it's not like that. You can achieve the peace and order you seek only by making a place within your heart and within your daily life for the grace of God to take root. Divine grace is freely given, but God will not force us to receive it. It takes constant effort on our part to get out of God's way and let His grace heal us and change us. To this end, what we think does not matter as much as what we do--and how faithfully we do it." ~~ Rod Dreher, The Benedict Option