Category Archives: Lightly

infinity scarf : finished

I loved every minute of this project.  The soft gray, soft wool, clicking needles–all of it.  It took a bit longer than I expected, but I am super pleased with the result.

I love it so much, I’m even going to put pictures of me, in my bright yellow & stained sweatshirt modeling it!

oil :: fracking

Keep it in the ground and keep our water pure, our crust stable, and our future bright #frackingfriday

Capsule Wardrobe

It was time for a major closet clean up. The season has definitely changed from late Autumn to early Winter (despite the date on the calendar). I’m not someone who normally pays a lot of attention to clothes/wardrobes, but I decided a bit ago to make a better attempt at looking put together.

Step 1:  empty the entire closet onto my bed and chair. Jasper was not terribly happy about the occasion, but once the gloves came out of a tote, he decided it wasn’t so bad after all.

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Step 2: Try everything on: check fit, check colors, check condition. I’ve streamlined my wardrobe to a simple palette of colors that look good on me.  They happen to be earth tones.  I took a screen shot of the colors and keep it on my phone.  The idea is that I can check any purchase against the colors and know if it will match what I already have at home.

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Step 3: Put everything that doesn’t fit or doesn’t match into the Goodwill bin. Put all the warm weather clothes into the totes. Find places for all the winter clothing in my closet. I ended up with a capsule wardrobe of 5 jeans, 1 dress pants, 2 skirts, 3 cardigans, 3 sweaters (tunics), black boots, brown boots, brown shoes, and trainers, down puffer coat (with hat, scarf, and gloves), down vest, super heavy winter storm coat, and snow boots. My base wardrobe of t-shirts, turtlenecks, Henley sweatshirts (2), flannel shirts (1), yoga clothes, PJs, and unders/socks all fit very nicely and I love knowing it all matches.

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In the end I decided cleaning my closet was cheaper than therapy and got me pretty much the same results. It also made packing for my trip to Florida a breeze and when I returned home there was an empty tote just waiting for my travel bag and travel accessories.

I ended up with a good size box of sweaters and sweatshirts to send to Standing Rock plus a few extra shirts and sweaters for the nursing home.

What I Stand For

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**Because nobody says it better than Wendell Berry**

Election 2016

Standing Rock Sioux Nation

Elder Care

Health Care

Black Lives Matter

Gender Equality

Environmental Breakdown

Public Education (including college/university)

Tomorrow I will go to the polls and I will choose who I think best represents my ideals and my passions.  The flollowing day I begin sending letters and emails to all those who will be my voice for the next two to four years.

I almost feel sorry for them.  Almost.

My sister sent me a meme from Sophie Haewood.  I’m going to include it below.  You should know (and anyone who knows me knows) I don’t like or use the F-Word, so please excuse it’s use below.  It is a pretty concise statement of how I’ve been feeling.

The older I get,

the more I see

how women

are described

as having gone mad,

when what they’ve

actually become

is knowledgeable

and powerful

and f***ing furious

Knowledgeable.  Powerful.  Furious.

Yep — and:  Voting.  Voicing.  Writing.  Marching.  Sitting.  Standing.

Bowls

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Such an odd post this is going to be. Just a warning straight out of the starting block.

Bowls — I adore them. They do such hard work in my kitchen. This time of year I’m eating oatmeal in the morning, Buddha Bowls for lunch, and soup for dinner.

My favorite dishes are my Fiesta Ware. They are so colorful and cheerful looking on a shelf. However, they are really heavy. Also, they get really hot when you’re holding one full of warm food.

I love to sit on the porch with Jasper (usually in the glider) and eat my morning meal. This means I’m normally holding my bowl, sometimes wrapped in a napkin for easy wiping and keeping the heat from getting to my hands. Unfortunately, the combination of heat, holding, and damage to my thumb means I often drop bowls. Fiesta Ware does not bounce very well. Just a few weeks ago I broke 3 bowls in the span of 6 days. Not good and not sustainable either.

The answer for most people is a plastic bowl. But, I don’t do plastic. I say no to plastic bags, plastic spoons/forks/knives, plastic cups . . . So I faced the challenge of finding a bowl that I liked, that wasn’t plastic, that could be filled with hot food and not scorch my hands, and could, if necessary, take a tumble and still remain whole.

First up: bamboo fiber bowls from Target. I love the idea of these. They look like plastic, feel like plastic, but aren’t plastic. They are colorful. They are a great size. However, they really transfer the heat to your hands. Also, while they handle a fall from your lap to the porch, they do not handle falling from the counter. Nor do they handle a full fledged thumb spazz — as Hannah so gleefully tested and proved. I still have one and I’ll use it for things like popcorn. Lastly, I’m not really sure how you would recycle these. I’m pretty sure they can’t go in the compost bin, and they definitely can’t go to the local recycling place, and that means any fragments just become garbage. Not cool.

Second up: Acacia wood bowl from Pacific Merchants. This bowl I adore. It is a beautiful wooden bowl. The size is perfect for oatmeal, Buddha bowls and soup. It can handle the heat, but due to the thickness doesn’t transfer it so quickly. I can normally eat the whole bowl of oatmeal before I notice the bowl is warm. Thankfully I haven’t dropped it yet, but from reading reviews I think it will be fine. And if one breaks, it is easy to recycle — straight into the compost bin.

I’ve been using it for a week and taking care of it is quite simple. I rinse it out immediately, then wash with warm soapy water, dry thoroughly, and once a week I’ll coat it with a bit of sesame oil. It is also great because it gets me in the habit of washing my dishes immediately after eating. In fact, I generally make the dish water as I head to the porch or table so it is ready as soon as I finish.

Shampoo Bar

Shampoo Bar

Shampoo Bar

*Note: I was not paid to review this product nor did I receive the product for free. I bought it as a normal customer in need of a product.*

My journey to this particular shampoo bar is long and winding.  For years I used regular shampoo and never worried a bit about it.  Then a friend of mine in TN began making shampoo bars and I loved them! Seriously loved them.  Life happened and she quit making them.  Then I found a local place that made them with milk and lard as two of the ingredients.  I used it for a while, but always had trouble reconciling my usage with the treatment of pigs I saw at Fair Oaks Farms (which was horrible).  So I finally quit using that particular bar.  Then came Burt’s Bees Gud Shampoo.  This was a nice alternative,  but it still has a few ingredients I’m not super happy about.

Finally I stumbled across this brand:  Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve.  Setting up an account and ordering was a breeze.  Shipping was prompt and delivery was USPS. Communication with the company through emails was streamlined,

The Dead Sea Spa facial soap is simply heavenly.  Smooth as silk and rinses so clean.  I’ve been using it in the evening before bed followed by my face serum (homemade using Argan Oil and essential oils).  I ordered a sample and it was quite big.  I’ve been using it a little more than a month and haven’t even put a dent in the bar.

The Ayurveda Shampoo Bar is out of this world fantastic.  I heeded the advice card that came with it and used an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse everyday for the first week.  It made the transition seamless.  I’ve been playing around with the frequency of the ACV rinse and have settled on every third day now.  I may go back to every other day as the air gets drier in winter. It is so nice not to have static!  My hair feels incredibly soft; it is super shiny; and best of all it feels thicker.  This shampoo produces a rich lather that I use to wash my face in the shower –but, it also makes for a great shaving soap.

I hate to admit it, but I haven’t used the Cafe Moreno shampoo bar yet.  I’m so in love with the Ayurveda one I cannot imagine shampooing without it.

I highly recommend this company and these particular products. I also bought my daughter the sea salt and seaweed facial soap.  I will try to get a picture of it and her thoughts in another post.

The Gifts of Imperfection, part 3

Today is my final post in this series on the book The Gifts of Imperfection. Three short sections to work through and then a wrap up /book review.

Calm and Stillness:  Letting go of anxiety as a lifestyle. Calmness is perspective and mindfulness while managing emotional reactivity. Stillness is time for meditation, prayer, quiet reflection, and alone time. Both of these are practices that give us an emotionally clutter free space.

Calmness — I am an “under-function-er” when it comes to stress, particularly emotional stress. Some people might take the bull by the horns, get all up in your business, and generally take charge. Sometimes whether or not you want all that help–in fact, usually without even thinking you might not want that.

I, on the other hand, I under-function: I get less competent under stress; I withdraw; I sleep; I hide. Meditation is very good for me. When I feel that first tingle of emotional stress, I take 3 deep breaths and if possible sit my butt down on blanket and breath some more. I’ve learned to say things like, “I need some time to think about that.” Email and texting are super awesome for someone like me. Nobody knows for sure when you see an email or text and so if it is an emotional land mine for me, I take a step away from my phone, sit down and breath, and then come back to it.

Stillness — There are two things that give structure to my day and also allow me time to be still.  I start each day with a morning routine that includes the morning devotion and Bible reading from the Book of Common Prayer and then straight onto the floor for yoga and meditation (I use Headspace).  Each day ends the same way, only in reverse–yoga, meditation, and then Compline (again from the Book of Common Prayer).

Meaningful Work: Meaningful work is sharing your gifts and talents with the world in whatever way you can. It doesn’t have to be sexy, it doesn’t have to be full of hustle, it just has to be something lifegiving for you and for others. For me, right now, meaningful work is helping my son through a difficult time; answering text after text from moms with kids recently diagnosed with ASD; writing this blog (that reaches all 4 of you 😉 ); and working with my parish on a grant project. None of these things brings a single penny to our family budget, but they are all lifegiving to me and I hope to others.

Laughter, Song & Dance: Letting go of being cool and always in control. Laughter, song and dance are three ancient forms of self-expression. Everyone does them and not everyone does them gracefully. They remind us we are not alone. I have my polite public laugh and then I have my “Oh my God, I’m snorting water through my nose and holding my sides, trying not to pee in my pants” laugh. Occasionally the signals get crossed and the public gets to witness me in full on laughter.

I can sing with the best of them. Unfortunately the best of them don’t want me singing out loud. I somehow missed the memo on how to make your voice do notes that are similar to the notes those around you are singing. So I mostly keep my singing to times when I am alone (although Kelly, Michael and Hannah have to listen — it’s in our family contract). There is nothing that lifts my spirits more than belting out a boy band song (or some classic Donny Osmond) while hoofing it up a hill on my walk or when scrubbing toilets or when cleaning the fridge (my two least favorite household tasks).

Church presents a unique form of torture for me . . . . Have you ever attended an Episcopal church service (or Anglican for my Brit readers)? Good Lord, they can sing. I think it must be something they put in the baptismal font, which would explain how I missed it, I was baptized Methodist. Dang! My heart wants to belt it out, but my brain says “hey man, step back, be cool, don’t kill Kathy (she sits in front of me) with that awfulness.”

I know, I know . . . The gifts of imperfection. Embrace your vulnerabilities. I’m trying, really I am. This book came to me at the perfect time. I’ve done a lot of soul work over the past 20 months and was ready to step beyond it. This book reaffirmed what my counselor from 30 years ago and my counselor from 20 months ago told me. The skill sets are the same. You are enough and your gifts of imperfection are those things that help you embrace your story.

Courage, Compassion, Connection:: My story matters because I matter.

**edited to add:  Since I wrote this post in September, I’ve tried moving seats in church.  This way nobody, especially Kathy, sits in front of me and I feel free to attempt a more vocal participation in the singing.**