Thursday, September 30, 2010

September smells

The weather lately has been perfect for evening runs. Every night, I fall in love with Chicago and running all over again. The people, the dogs, the sights, even the smells. Here's a recreation of my evening run through my neighborhood, by scent:

wet pavement
sidewalk chalk
Chicago river
dog poop
tamale cart
dog poop
lawn mower

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A confession, a Thing and a keeper

Despite my earlier post declaring my caught-up status, it turns out I was sadly mistaken. A few posts ago when I recycled some boxes, I accidentally numbered them Things 86-100 instead of 86-90. You see, I have trouble counting sometimes. "86, 87, 88, 89, 100! Woo hoo!"

So, instead of being two Things ahead, I'm actually eight Things behind. But that's OK, because I have so, so many Things to get rid off.

Like Thing 119:

From 365 things

I have no idea what this is. It's a bag containing some kind of plastic brackets. I have no idea what they go to, where they came from, or why I saved them.

Getting rid of this Thing was a no-brainer, but they're not always that easy. I do agonize over whether or not to get rid of some stuff. And sometimes, I choose to hold on to things for purely sentimental reasons, such as these non-things:

From 365 things

Within one week last year, I became a mother and lost a grandfather*. And although some wrist bands and a laminated card serve no rational purpose, some things you keep.

* Technically, my grandma's boyfriend of 20+ years.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Things 110-118

I think Maya's gearing up for some insane growth spurt because she's been sleeping a ton lately. Every night for the past week, she's barely been able to stay up for an hour after we get home from work. Then, she sleeps between 12-14 hours a night. And this morning, she was ready to go down for her morning nap an hour earlier than normal and has been sleeping for close to two hours.

I'm not gonna lie; it's been awesome. Last night, I was able to make homemade pretzels, and during her nap this morning I cleaned the downstairs bathroom, made the bed, changed the duvet, started a load of laundry, brushed the dog, took out the trash, cleaned up dog poop, washed out Maya's diaper covers, and gathered Thing 110-118:

Check out that made bed and clean duvet.
From 365 things

These Things include:

  • An issue of Working Mother a co-worker gave me (a childless co-worker who never subscribed to this magazine but for reason randomly started receiving it at work.)
  • The swim cap from the Chicago Tri. (Normally, I'd hold on to this to use when training, but this one's full of Lake Michigan filth. Ew.)
  • Offer letter to become a member of the Lincoln Park Zoo that I totally meant to send in. The offer expired in December. 
  • Old Christmas cards.
  • Empty shoe box.
  • Gift bag the shoe box came in. (Again, normally I'd save and reuse such a Thing, but it sat on the shelf for so long and got all crinkled and torn.)
  • Race bag from the Shamrock Shuffle. 

And with that, I've not only caught up to myself, but actually surpassed my Thing count by two. So, from now until I get woefully behind again, it's back to one Thing a day.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Things 91-109: A new room

Surprisingly, the back room purge didn't take as long as I thought it would. I wish I had taken a before photo, because it looks so much better (albeit possibly dustier) than before.

My efforts have now turned to the bedroom. I don't think this room will take too long, either, because I actually don't keep much in here. The room's only closet and dresser belong to Chris (they're too small for me). I do keep my jewelry in here, but that collection's been abridged already.

Really, the only place where Things accumulate in here is on the book shelf, which we use as a TV stand. Behold:

From 365 things

It's a mess. Today, I tackled just the top shelf and managed to get rid of Things 91-109:

From 365 things

These Things include:
  • A file folder of hotel and flight information for a trip Chris took in May
  • Some very old gum
  • A branded pedometer received at a conference
  • Some very old lip balm
  • Unopened soap bar taken from a hotel
  • Unopened Raisinets
  • Random ribbons
  • Swim goggles that don't fit
  • The manual that came with Chris' watch
  • A collection of pregnancy magazines, GQs and the newsletter Chris' old fraternity still sends him. (Hmm, in order of life events, perhaps those publications should be reversed. First comes fraternity, then comes yuppiedom, then comes the baby in the baby Bjorn.)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Things 86-90

Throughout this process, I've often wondered what constitutes a "Thing." If I recycle the daily ad sheet that's left on my doorstep everyday, does that mean I'm getting rid of something everyday? Technically, perhaps. But for the purposes of this project? No. But what if, instead of the ad sheet, it's the July 2009 issue of Women's Health that I've already read? I'd say yes.

So, when does trash become a Thing? When I've held on to it:

  • for irrational reasons, or
  • out of pure laziness. 

Things 86-90 fall into that second category.

We spent most of the summer redoing our kitchen (which I realize I've yet to post pictures of. You see, although functionally, the kitchen's finished. Cosmetically ... not so much.) To keep costs down, we purchased all the cabinets from Ikea and assembled them ourselves. Everything from Ikea comes in flat boxes, the majority of which I recycled as soon as we finished assembling. But when our Blue Bins got too full, I tossed the rest of the flat boxes on the landing near our back room, and then forgot about them for 6 weeks:

Don't adjust your computer screens. That's really how level our back staircase is.
From 365 things

Again, these may not be the most exciting Things, but at least their contents were.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Things 83-85: This one's for the doggies

For Valentine's Day 2009, Chris, Rosie and I visited Nashville. Other than being pregnant (and therefore, unable to drink while bar-hopping), and suffering one of my only bouts of morning sickness (which is why, to this day, I'm still not a huge fan of ribs), the trip was wonderful. I had the chance to reconnect with an old friend I hadn't seen in a decade, we got to take in tons of live music, and best of all, we got to bring Rosie with us.

We stayed at a Loews hotel, which is one of the few pet-friendly hotels out there. We booked the room during their President's day "Presidential Pooch Package" special. It included a reduced rate and free goodies for the dog, including treats, dog food, a bandana, and Things 83-85:

From 365 things

These Things comprise a small food/water dish, a dog tag bearing the hotel's web address and a dish place mat.

A combination of my appreciation for finding such a great, dog-friendly hotel, and my natural tendency to hoard stuff, led me to save these Things, even though both the dish and mat are far too small for my Rosie, and the dog tag is pretty much useless.

So, I'm letting them go. Fortunately, other than the bandana, Rosie ate the other stuff we got from the hotel. She still wears the bandana, and even though she has more than enough others, I'm holding on to it for now.

Listen people, I'm making progress. I swear.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Things 74-82: Most boring things ever

I've realized that the only way I'm going to conquer this project is if I have a plan. (Something I should have thought about, oh, four months ago.) And my plan is simple: Attack this project room by room.

This week, I'm starting with the back storage room. If you've been to my house, this is the totally un-level room (OK, one of the totally un-level rooms) leading to the basement stairs. This room, much like our basement dungeon, is the place where random things go to die. As in "Say, what should I do with with totally useless broom head? How 'bout I throw in the back room!"

So when it comes to cleaning out this room, I have Things a-plenty. Unfortunately, those Things are both useless and boring:

From 365 things

  • Starting on the left, we have a back-up mop, for which I can never find the right style of mop head.
  • Then there's the previously mentioned random broom head. I have no idea what happened to the rest of it. 
  • Dust pan, missing its broom. (And yes, I realize I could combine these two Things, but I already have multiple brooms and dustpans, all of which aren't missing other essential parts.)
  • Tap lights. These things eat batteries. 
  • Assorted plastic protector thingys for some shelving we installed a few months ago. I have no idea why I held on to them.
  • Gift bag that held a baby bath set. I don't use the bag anymore, but for some reason, I saved it anyway.
  • Plastic Hurricane glass from New Orleans. This is actually Chris', but I talked him into finally letting it go. 
  • Giant dish rack, no longer needed now that we have a dishwasher. A dishwasher that isn't me. Thank. God.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Things 66-73

As usual, I continue to run behind in this quest. Not that I should be making excuses, but I had one heck of a busy week. In fact, the rest of September and first half of October are looking pretty darn busy, too.

That said, I played Wii frisbee golf for about an hour yesterday while Maya napped – a whole hour when I could have been doing more productive things, but instead chose to play a Wii game chosen primarily because it doesn't require me to get off the couch. 

And speaking of restrictive movement, can we just stop for a second and reminisce about how absolutely huge I was last year at this time? One year ago today Laura and I threw my parents a surprise 40th anniversary party. Combined with the stress of that, I had also spent most of the night before at the emergency vet because Rosie was battling some kind of nasty stomach virus. So, I should have known then that six days later, I would be in labor.

But I digress. Here are Things 66-73:

As someone who doesn't wear much jewelry, I own an awful lot of it. Like so many Things, I hold on to this stuff for sentimental reasons. These Things, for example, were all acquired before we moved back to Chicago from Syracuse:
  • The two bracelets on the left are from ex-boyfriends in high school. 
  • The green necklace and earrings on the right I bought from a street vendor in New Orleans, and never wore once.
  • The silver necklace I bought for one of Chris' law proms, and never wore again.
  • The red dress pin at the top I got while covering a story on heart disease while I was a reporter in Syracuse.
  • The silver earrings on the left I bought from the store I used to work at in the mall in Syracuse. 
  • As for the red and black necklace in the middle, I can't remember where or why I got that. I'm pretty sure I got it in Syracuse, but that's about it. I guess not everything I save has sentimental value. Sometimes, I'm just lazy.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Things 38-65

From 365 things

This is a laundry basket full of toiletries. Mostly, they're not useful toiletries, like toothpaste and shampoo. But rather, free samples acquired during my "obsession with Clinique Bonus Buys" phase. That, and old makeup, expired moisturizers, unlabeled over-the-counter medication, and random knick-knacks. The fact that I have enough of this stuff to fill a laundry basket is surely Hoarding Sign #257. Not that I've ever watched any of those hoarding shows. I just imagine this is the sort of the they run into all the time.

That, and cats.

As I don't have any cats to get rid of, I thought I should get rid of some of this stuff instead. Mind you, I didn't get rid of all of it, or even half of it. Because, hey, I might need Band-Aids sometime.

But I did manage to get rid of 28 Things:

From 365 things

Some of those things include too-dark foundation, too-light foundation, a Bare Minerals starter kit, old lipstick, hair bands, Nair, and yet another ugly-ass candle.

I threw out most of these Things. However, I held on to a few to see if any of you out in there might want 'em. Occasionally, some of you ask me where I send this stuff (so far, my basement), and if you could have 'em. I threw out most of the cosmetics, as reusing that stuff ain't too sanitary, but there are a few things I held on to for now. If you want to take a gander at these or any of the Things I've sent to the basement dungeon, lemme know.

Illustrating an earlier post

Rosie continues to be the most patient of canines. A few pics from this weekend, captions provided by my husband. Ah, lawyer humor:

From My pictures

You got served.
From My pictures

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Return of the Thing

To date, I have gotten rid of 19 things. According to my self-imposed 365 Things schedule, I should gotten rid of 113 things by now. So, I'm a bit behind.

Despite this seemingly insurmountable task, I have faith I can catch up. Especially when people give me free booze for doing it.

My co-worker had her 2nd annual charity birthday party last night. Guests were asked to bring a bag of groceries and a bag of clothes to donate to a local food pantry. I was more than happy to oblige, bagging up Things 20-37:

From 365 things

These Things include some sweaters, shirts, pants and a dress. Maya also got in on the donation blitz and offers a few onesies, some socks and sleepers*.

I'm still more than 70 Things behind, but it's a start.

* After we had Maya, we went to Target and bought up everything we didn't get off our registry, for some reason totally forgetting that Maya's the youngest of three cousins and would be receiving hand-me-downs by the trunk-full for the next year.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Summer of weddings

This summer combined two of my favorite things: 90-degree weather, and weddings. That's not a joke. I love hot summers, and I truly love weddings. Getting dressed up, crying during the ceremony, dancing like a fool, the open bar. Weddings are the best.

But I have to say that this summer delivered my favorite things in extreme abundance. It was a very hot summer, and we attended a record 5 weddings. And I must admit that for the first time ever, I'm looking forward to the end of summer and the wedding season. Not that the weddings we attended weren't awesome, because they were! But, whew, I'm tired. (And broke.)

Here's a little overview of our champagne-laden season:

June in Chicago: A co-worker gets married.
June in Kansas City: Chris was the best man and Maya was the flower girl in Chris' best friend's wedding.

Maya ate the flowers.

July in Pittsburgh: Chris' cousin got married. Here were are with Chris' family after the ceremony.

The husband and I attended the reception sans baby.

August in Chicagoland: Missy and Dave got married. Cutest cake toppers ever.

August in North Carolina: A childhood friend gets married. This was supposed to be a beach wedding, but got moved inside/on the dock due to rain. But on the plus side, check out the rainbow!

Raise a glass to Summer 2010!