Monthly Archives: May 2014

I’ve Never Had a Good Relationship

 

 

I’ve never had a good relationship…with hangers.

 

I come from tidy organized people (well maybe don’t look in Dad’s office). I grew up knowing that everything had a place and everything should be in it’s place. I LOVE color coding and labels and boxes to organize things. I have an organizational philosophy for everything. When I get stressed, overwhelmed, or have feelings to process, I reorganize. Everything I own should be meticulously organized, I know how I want it to be, but alas, my closet is my biggest nemesis. Somehow my clothes never stay on the hangers. Never.

 

Eventually it drives me crazy and I forgo sleep (not that I sleep that much) and reorganize the entire closet (read: clean up the hot mess). I realize that if I had less I would have less to clean up.

 

This past week I haven’t slept much, blame insomnia, feelings, life changes, whatever. I was wide awake anyway so I decided to organize.

 

I have been on a purging kick for for about a year and a half, almost two years. The desire to purge started because I lost a decent amount of weight and pretty soon after, life threw me a HUGE curveball. 84% unrelated incidents. I had piles upon piles of clothes to get rid of because I never wanted them to fit again. I also realized that at some point all the stuff I had was going to have to move with me and not just be in storage at my parents house. I was pretty sure my one day future husband would not want to have stuffed animals, every note I ever passed in school, a massive collection of hair do-dads, tchotchkes from adolescent and college life, to move into our one day future home together. I sure made a lot of trips to donation centers that summer. I began to feel lighter, happier, free. I kept going and I have continued to try and purge the stuff.

 

I run into trouble though because, well, I have nice things. I feel guilty getting rid of things for the simple reason that I just want to get rid of them. I need to get over that. I want to own less.

 

I started “spring cleaning” back in March. I packed up some winter things and got rid of some of the spring clothes that I realized I should have never hung on to and no longer wanted. That was the beginning of the most recent purge. Little by little I let go of a few items here and there. Then the baby came (not mine, but he lives here too).

 

This week I feel like I finished (for now, I realize this will be an ongoing process). I was ruthless, sort of. I did most of my purging while on the phone with two of my best cleaning support team. Sometimes we need a little validation and encouragement to let go of the stuff and someone to point out that the amount of nail polish you own is just unacceptable….

 

My friend talked to me for probably over an hour. Thanks to her I was able to let go of 9 pairs of shoes (including a pair I’ve had since my sophomore year of college) and some camp clothes. Shorts that have experienced at least 4 summers of camp (I can tell you which color paint and tie dye stains are from which summer) went into the bag.

 

Mom talked to me while I, quickly, to avoid changing my mind, boxed up 40 bottles of nail polish. I can’t believe I even owned that much polish. I pitched all the makeup that I never wear, and just about anything that had glitter in it.

 

I sent friends pictures of my jewelry and let them call dibs. This was perhaps the best thing I did, because then I felt like the nice things I loved, but never wore would at least have a good home and I wasn’t “throwing them out”. It assuaged some of my guilt and made it easier to just let go.
I feel lighter, more organized, and more focused. I still have a long way to go before anyone would call me a minimalist, but I am pretty thrilled with my progress. I am not even sure minimalist is my goal, I think I should just strive to have a better relationship with hangars.

I feel a little exposed showing off my closet, but it feels good to have it the way I imagined it could be.
I feel a little exposed showing off my closet, but it feels good to have it the way I imagined it could be.

Princesses

Dad calls me his princess. Mom thinks this has gone to my head. One of my dearest friends once a whined, “why am I not a princess?!” (She had just watched the royal wedding). I ran the princess half marathon.

 

What’s up with our princess thing? I recently took an internet quiz to find out how much of a Disney princess I was. I scored somewhere in the middle. This didn’t surprise me. But it did spark a conversation with two friends about our favorite princesses. You see, even though I am an adult and even though I would like to think I am not that girly, I love animated chick centered movies. I love most animated movies really. But guess what, my favorite female characters aren’t princesses. Mulan, Meg, and Princess Tiger Lily…even though it’s in her name she doesn’t count as an official princess.

 

The greatest gift and honor... is having you for a daughter.
The greatest gift and honor… is having you for a daughter.

Mulan is amazing. She has both parents (major deviation), who seem to be pretty decent, and they don’t even get killed off. Her grandma is a spitfire. Remember the part: “Do you want to stay for dinner?” “Do you want to stay forever?” There are a few songs from the movie I will belt out shamelessly, yeah total non sequitur. She saves her country. She doesn’t have magic or need a man (she likes a man, but they end up working together more than she depends on him to save her). She defies everyone and stands up to gender restrictions (as best she can) to do what she believes is right. She is the best. But she is not a princess.

 

Thanks for everything, Herc. It's been a real slice.
Thanks for everything, Herc. It’s been a real slice.

Meg. I mean come on folks, any woman who says, “I’m a damsel, I’m in distress, I can handle this. Have a nice day.” is worth admiring. She also has a few songs I belt out with regularity (in fact it might be part of my running mix, my pre-date getting ready mix, really every mix). Meg doesn’t have a family. She makes a series of poor decisions, but hey, she can handle it. She reluctantly falls in love with a demigod. Let’s skip the whole part of the actual mythology where Hercules ends up killing her. The movie Meg has spunk, she is a well created character, especially considering she isn’t that well-developed in mythology. Meg may not be the perfect example of healthy attachment, she has her guard way up, but eventually she is willing to let Herc into her life. I think she is great, she ties her own sandals and everything.

 

She doesn’t needs lines, she says it all right here.

Princess Tiger Lily. I couldn’t tell you the last time I watched Peter Pan. And I don’t even remember if she has a single line in the whole movie. But what I do remember is the way she stood there with her chin in the air, in a brave and defiant posture. And the way she danced, she was really dancing, not just flitting around. Those two postures stick out for me. I’ve always liked her.

 

Bravery. Confidence. The ability to stand on her own two feet. No magical powers of her own. No wimpy distress for a man. In fact they are all willing to make sacrifices for their friends and/or family not to just be a damsel in distress. They are regular bad ass gals.

 

These are the ladies I like best. But they don’t “count” as princesses. I guess this shouldn’t really matter, but it makes me mad. Sure, there are other things about the “real princesses” that I like, Belle is an avid reader, Ariel has beautiful curiosity, but there are a lot of things about them that make me cringe, helplessness, making absurd sacrifices for guys (yeah I am talking about you Ariel and Pocahontas), and the like. Sure there are some newer princesses that are okay. I guess my bigger issue is with the whole “princess thing.” Sure it is fun to play and imagine. I have no qualms with Dad calling me his princess, nor with girls who make-believe or even wish they were princesses. It does seem to have some perks, and hey we all want to be special. But why do the princesses we offer as models have to be so…well…lame?

My Mixer

I love my stand mixer. I know it seems silly. A kitchen appliance. You might think love is a little too strong of a word. It is not.

 

Mom and Dad gave my stand mixer to me as a birthday gift a few years back and from that very moment on, we have created a beautiful relationship.

 

I didn’t grow up with a stand mixer. We had some other pretty great mixer. I will always have a special kind of nostalgia for that mixer. Sometime in my teen years, or maybe it was as late as college, Mom got her own stand mixer, a buttery yellow mixer that did amazing things. I started falling.

 

My mixer is a little bit larger than the standard model. My often requested cowboy cookies just don’t quite fit into the 5 qt size bowl. It is a beautiful shade of red. For years I have fantasized about my future kitchen. It is going to be a tasteful, not kitchey, subtle patriotic theme (which fits if you know me well, and if you know about my rose garden dreams, and the names of my future children…). So red fits. It also goes well with my blue dutch oven, but that might be for another post.

 

When I decided I was going to move I knew I would have to wait 8 months before I could make it happen. I had commitments. I am not the type of person to back out of a commitment.

 

5 months before my move, I was out here visiting and it was Passover. I was making dessert, which if you read my previous post, you know I have strong feelings about, and I use a lot of egg whites. Well guess what, The Cousins, they didn’t own a stand mixer, or a hand mixer, or even a whisk! I know, I almost died too…

 

I managed to procure a whisk and made all my desserts by hand. I realized 2 things:

  1. I have very little muscle in my arms
  2. I needed my stand mixer

 

2 months later I was driving out here for a visit. My mixer was in the car with me. I knew if I left it behind, there was no backing out. I was never worried, there was something about being here that made my soul feel right, but there were some naysayers who thought I might not go through with it.

 

I had an amazing summer.

 

The night I drove into town I pulled out that mixer and got to baking. Reunited.

 

Today, I was baking again (big shock I know) and I was cleaning my mixer to put it away. I realized I was being more careful and attentive cleaning my mixer than I am shaving my legs (perhaps a reason I am single…) and I realized I wanted to talk about my love.

 

Reasons my stand mixer is WONDEROUS:

  1. It is beautiful
  2. It can whip up eggs whites in a fraction of the time it would take any other way
  3. The dough hook option kneads bread fantastically
  4. I can multitask while it mixes, blends, whips, kneads, and does all the other amazing things it does
  5. Shredded chicken (use the paddle attachment after you have cooked and deboned it while it is still warm)
  6. It is better than a white noise machine
  7. it has potential to do so many other things I haven’t even tried yet

 

I am thrilled by my immersion blender, and my cookies sheets, and cake pans. I adore my butter cutter (What is that you ask? Well, it is something you need). I would be devastated to part with my cake stands (yes plural), decorating tips, silpats, and all my other tools. But I LOVE my stand mixer. I doubt I am the only one who feels this way. In fact I learned about the shredded chicken tip from a fellow stand mixer lover. Maybe we could start a club…