Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Intentional Thrifter: Goings, comings, and a big change of plans

See the stack of empty paper boxes? We just acquired those. They are not for storage. They are not for Mr. Fixit's Ebay selling (well, maybe later). Their intended purpose is to help the three of us move out of this fifteenth-floor aerie (as one of my friends calls it), and into a more longterm (and ground-level) home.
All this will (God willing) be taking place over the next month.

We did our major downsize when we moved here two years ago, so cleaning out and packing shouldn't be too agonizing. Plus a lot of things have been "KonMaried" into containers anyway, so we'll just be putting the boxes into bigger boxes.

But I still took a very hard look at some of the thrifted books and clothes that were easier to donate than to move. One advantage of volunteering in books is that I'm pretty sure of the ones that will show up again. So I've already cleared a few things out. I've also started un-making our pantry box system, which will be quite different at the new place. (As in, no pantry. BUT we should have room for a chest freezer. Because we'll have a basement.)

In the meantime, even though I gave some things away, I've still picked up a few other things, here and there, that I don't mind moving.
A book about decorating odd spaces, and a small-slow-cooker book.
Mary Oliver on writing poetry
Two photography books for Mr. Fixit
A very drapey, shawl-like summer cardigan
A pink lacy top and a grey denim  skirt
A small paisley scarf
And a sleeveless dress which is more like a top with an attached skirt.
What it looks like with a jean shirt.
I almost forgot to include this teapot book from the antiques market. 

In some ways it feels like we just got done moving in, and now we're moving on. (No more balcony photos!) But it was the right time, and we're looking forward to new things.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Quote for the day: Sometimes it's cherries

"All I have to do in order to begin again is to love mercy, if I am to believe nutty old Micah. Then creation begins to float by, each new day. Sometimes it's beauty, cherries, calm, or hawks; sometimes it's forbearance, stamina, eyeglass wipes, apricots, aspirin, second winds." ~~ Anne Lamott, Hallelujah Anyway

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

From the archives: When Lydia was almost six

First posted April 2007

1. "You know what I like to do? I like to bake cookies and then even after I wash my hands my hands smell cookie-ish."

2.  Mama Squirrel: Now it's time for memory work. We're going to say the Ten Commandments.

Crayons/Lydia: Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick...

From the archives: Ponytails' really good narration about Theseus

First posted June 2006. Ponytails was almost nine.

(Note from Mama Squirrel: Ponytails dictated this to me recently. It's from the middle of the story of Theseus in Charles Kingsley's The Heroes. Some background: Theseus has been on a quest to find his father, King Aegeus (who doesn't know him), and on the way he has had to kill various monsters and so has gained a reputation for himself; one of these slayings turned out to be some kind of a kinsman, so he had to go and get purified for that (forgiven, as Ponytails says here). When he finally arrives at the palace, he finds it has been taken over by his partying cousins.)

Theseus went and got forgiven, and then he went on to the palace. He looked around for his father, but he wasn't there. He said, "Where is the master Aegeus?" "We are all masters here! You can ask one of us instead. Come and eat and drink with us (hic!)! Heh heh heh!" Theseus looked around, but he did not see Aegeus. Then he said, "Go and tell him Theseus is here!" "Yes, your majesty--Mr. Theseus--I will go and summon him!"

So he went, and next to him [Aegeus] was Medea, and she was a snake woman. So Aegeus turned pale, red and then white. He went out because he knew this was going to be important.

Theseus said in his mind, "I'm going to test him first before I say I am his son." So he said, "I have come for a reward." Aegeus said, "I cannot afford it." But Theseus said, "All I want is dinner." "Okay, I can give you that."

Medea was watching. She went back into her room, and she came back out. She said, "This is a troublemaker." She saw him [Aegeus] go red and white when he heard the word Troezene. So she was going to get rid of him, Ah ha ha ha! She dressed in jewels and got a golden bottle full of magic wine and a golden cup. And she came out to Theseus and said in a soft voice, "Theseus! Please drink from this cup! It will give you strength and heal your wounds, it will give you fresh blood in your veins, so please drink." But Theseus saw the look in her eyes, the black smoky evil look with a tint of red, it turned up at the corners to make her look evil. He said, "You drink first." But she said, "I can't, I'm ill, I'm very ill. So I cannot drink." (But it's supposed to HEAL wounds!) He said, "Drink from it or you die!", swinging his club. She dropped the cup and ran. She called for her dragon carriage and went off, far away from the kingdom.

The stones bubbled from the wine she had spilled, and they just kind of disappeared.

Aegeus said, "What did you do? That was sort of my wife!"

But then he pulled out the sword and the sandals, and he said the words his mother bade him to say. And they hugged and wept until they could weep no more. The end!

Saturday, June 08, 2019

The Intentional Thrifter (and Yardsaler)

I found this jersey dress at the thrift store. It wasn't an absolute need, although I loved the colour and the twist-knotted waist. It's a fancier style than the other dresses I have for the summer, so not as likely to be worn much (since I don't dress for an office job).
But...I  discovered a way to double its wear. As with so many knit-fabric dresses, it can easily be hiked up to wear as a tunic or top. Now I feel much more intentional.
I also found a really great book about the sculptor Alexander Calder, who pioneered mobiles as an art form.
We haven't been to many yard sales this year--the weather's been too cold and rainy, and they're often not what they used to be. But we did stop at a couple of sales this morning, and I found three new-in-the-package "snack bags," or washable waterproof-lined zipper pouches. I don't care that they're baby-animal fabric, I'll use them for something.
I also bought a zippered travel case for jewelry. Not that I travel much, but when I do it would be very nice to be able to keep earrings together and necklaces detangled. I will use it at home in the meantime.
That's all!

Thursday, June 06, 2019

From the archives: Need to slow down

First posted June 2014

1. Fit in seven minutes a day..."for the time-crunched masses," promises the online article.  You exercise intensely for half a minute, rest for ten seconds, and so on.  And that, if you're "time-crunched," promises health and fitness.  Fast fast fast.

2. "Do you work out?" the doctor asks my husband.  My husband mentions lawn cutting (we have a lot of grass), gardening, cleaning, fixing, and the hundred other active things he does.  But they don't seem to have a category for those.

3.  An Ontario school board is trying an iPad pilot project to encourage "essential literacy skills." They have provided electronic devices for whole classes. "I can't imagine going back now," says a teacher.

4.  I found Goldsmith's "The Deserted Village" online, something I wanted for today's school--but we also have it in an old book of poems, with a student's name and "1915" inscribed in the front in pen and ink.  I decided to read it from the book.  We also used five minutes of a video on castles to follow up the book we were using, and a super page on chemical reactions to clarify a new and difficult concept.  I have nothing against using the wonders of technology in the classroom.  But not as the only or even the main teaching tool.  And I somehow doubt that the seventh graders I saw on the news are Googling Goldsmith.

5.  Bus drivers who text AND write while driving.  We were uncomfortably close to one such today...any closer and we would have lost some paint.

6.  "I just realized," says a longtime CMer, "that I've been reading Charlotte Mason's books too fast.  I need to slow down."

Quote for the day: We fail to notice

"The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice, and because we fail to notice that we fail to notice, there is little we can do to change, until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds." ~~ R.D. Laing

Monday, June 03, 2019

Paper or Plastic? It's not about the recycling.

I read Paper or Plastic, by Daniel Imhoff, very quickly, at the request of our thrift store manager who wants the staff to have a chance at it too.

The book is almost fifteen years old, and it's showing its age somewhat but still worth looking at. It's one of a series of three books, and this one is, very specifically, about the issue of packaging, large and small, including shipping packaging such as pallets. What is our burgeoning need for packaging stealing from the earth, and how in the world will we put it back? It reminded me of a rude meme misquoting The Lorax: "I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees; litter again, and I'll break your (expletive) knees." But is anger all we can offer?

The message that came across from the book was not so much about the ins and outs of whether paper or plastic packaging can be recycled better, but the huge amount of resources they both demand in the first place. These days everybody knows that plastic is bad bad bad; but the truth is that paper (and wood and cardboard) hurts too. The Lorax speaking for the trees has more to worry about than litter; and that's just the packaging, we're not even talking about products. Imhoff does point out how much primary packaging relates to the thing inside it, or the amount of product demanded in one package. If people didn't think they required cup-sized amounts of yogurt, for example, then the recyclability of small plastic yogurt cups wouldn't be an issue. Or you can look at the problem more as the sheer amount of stuff that gets made and needs packaging. A thousand pairs of shoes need a thousand sets of boxes or wraps or hang-tags. If everyone bought fewer shoes in the first place, there would (obviously) be fewer trimmings to dispose of.

But how can we fight back against over-packaging caused by over-production? First and most obviously, to make do, or make do longer, with the thing we have instead of buying something else.  Intentional contentment will save us from a certain amount of Loraxian knee-breaking.

Beyond that? Thrift stores (yes, I made the connection). Yard sales, rummage sales, buying used goods locally through online ads. Swapping and borrowing. Upcycling stuff. You get double points for anything that is both pre-used and that doesn't come in a box or bag you can't easily re-use (compostable is okay).

More ways to avoid packaging, and maybe save money too: growing food. Making things at home that otherwise come in a package, like cookies or yogurt, as long as the ingredients don't produce even more packages. Buying things in person from local makers. Shopping at bulk stores and produce markets that let you re-use containers. Buying big sacks of things if it works for you. (We used to buy oatmeal and beans that way, through a buying co-op).

And yes, buying less overall. Sharing things among more people. Renting things you'll need only briefly. Having gift-free parties and swag-free meetings. In some ways, that could be more important than worrying about whether it's paper or plastic. Because our houses and apartments and storage units and closets and backpacks are packaging too.

Save some packaging. Save some trees. Save some knees.