Wednesday, April 30, 2014

To dream, perchance to create a moderately interesting story.

I had a dream last night.

It was a world much like our own. Only the technology had advanced to the point of implants and replacements. Instead of Google glasses and Google contact lenses, straight up Johnny Mnenomic slash Shadowrun implantation tech. The computer is in your head, that sort of thing.

In this world, the majority are aware that at a certain date in the very near future, the entire world is going to be thrown back in time to the Edo period. We are aware of certain rules for this event.

One, once we are thrown back into this time period, there is a bubble of an opportunity for our technology to continue to work. Once everyone in your domicile has left said domicile at least once, your technology will stop working, all traces of it will disappear and everything will be replaced with Edo era items. The governments are using this to their advantage and setting up sections where one person has volunteered to man the building, no matter what, to make certain their nation can keep in touch with other nations. Various nations are also encouraging their citizens to do the same.

In this dream, when we are thrown back to the Edo period, Jonathan goes outside to see what is happening. When he turns around, our apartment is replaced with Edo style housing. When he steps into our apartment again, it is still the same apartment with the same technology that is still working. The internet still works. The lights, the water, the air conditioning, et cetera. I step out to inspect and see what is up. I can go back inside and the apartment is still the same. Jonathan and I both step out together. We turn around and notice Tesla toddling towards the open door. We race back to keep her from crossing the door frame.

Too late. Our tech is gone now that we all have crossed over. If one member remains inside, all our tech would still work. Now, when we go back inside, everything is replaced with Edo period items.

There is a downside. For those with implants it is a sacrifice needing to be made in order to not go insane. For whatever reason, while technology that is not implanted works fine, any replacements but particularly the cranial implants tend to malfunction.

Remember the internet during the late 90s? All those pop up advertisements and crazy viruses?  Something similar is happening to those with cranial implants.Imagine having your vision, your hearing flooded with a constant and very loud stream of pop up adds or having an audio book read over and over and maximum volume in your head.

In order for this to stop, everyone in the domicile must exit at least once.

There is a group in this dream that is desperately trying to convince a roommate to step outside. The roommate does not have any implants, too expensive for his salary. But he does enjoy technology. He doesn't quite understand the pain his cranial enhanced roommates are experiencing. He does know that once he steps out of their townhouse, there will be no more internet. No more video games. No more contact with loved ones via a Skype type of video phone.

Eventually the roommate who only has a cybernetic leg manages to drag him out. Once he is out, everything goes quite finally for his roommates. He is angry about the loss of tech and it will effect his decisions later on.

The rest of the dream involved flashing from one set of characters to another as they dealt with their decisions and life in this weird Edo period slash post modern technology filled world.

This was a really entertaining dream to have. I woke up wanting to watch more and really hoping there was a book to read. Then I realized it was a dream and there was probably no book series.

This another of those times when I should go ahead and write this.

Monday, April 21, 2014

I completed the 40 Bags in 40 Days 2014 Challenge

Well, I did it. I succeeded and completed the 40 bags in 40 days Challenge. Over the course of 40 days, starting on March 5, 2014, I removed 40 large kitchen trash bags worth of stuff from my apartment. In hindsight, I really should have taken before and after photographs. The change is surreal. I'll try my best to paint a picture with words of what life was like before and what it is like now.

The Inside Storage Closet:

Before - The door opens into the closet. At least, that is what is meant to happen. Instead, the door opens with barely enough room for an adult to inhale deeply in order to snake their way into the closet, and pray they don't end up buried under an avalanche of the random odds and ends that have been chucked into this closet over the past two years. One has a good idea that the object they are looking for is somewhere, buried in this closet. But in order to even try to look for it, the entire closet has to be emptied out, small items by small items leading to enough room to open the door more to allow the large items to also be removed. Plan to spend at minimum an hour to two hours dealing with the inside storage closet trying to find whatever it is you can't find.

Now. The door opens into the closet. The entire swing space needed for the closet door to open into the closet is clear now. Once the door is open, one can clearly see all that is kept in this closet. Blankets too warm for spring are packaged up in Ikea zipper storage bags. Winter coats and tidied giant Ziploc bags that hold too small baby clothing. A set of golf clubs. A step stool. A steam iron. Things we want. but don't want on display in the rest of the apartment.

The Laundry Room

Before - Technically it is more of a closet that is large enough to house a washing machine and a dryer that also happens to have shelves built into the wall above such space. The "room" is a bit of a hot mess. Random crap is shoved into every nook on the shelves. Random stuff is sitting atop the washing machine and dryer. We convince ourselves this is fine because we are able to close the doors to this "room" with no trouble, while doing our best to ignore the hodge podge of junk that sits atop the shelves.

After - The shelves are cleared off. On the top shelf sit pots and pans. On the second shelf bed linens, table cloths, wash cloths, kitchen towels and bath towels reside. The washing machine has laundry soap and a basket for collecting wet dirties, such as dirty cloth diapers and soiled towels of the bath and kitchen variety. On the dryer, a laundry basket resides.

The Spice Rack

Before - The spice rack is a set of shelves that has a double hook, one at each end, allowing it to hang on the inside of the pantry door. It has become a catch all. There are bottles of spices under bottles of oil under various and sundry pantry related items. It is overwhelming to look at.

After - The spice rack is now organized, alphabetically. I know where the marjoram is. I know where the cumin is. I can find the almond oil. It is a thing of beauty. Since organizing the spice rack, I have noticed we are preparing a lot more meals with a nice variety of spices added. Also, making more stove top popcorn for snacks that involve spice mixtures being mixed in. Very lovely.

Linen Dresser

Before - Every single linen we owned is crammed into this dresser. Originally part of a duo we picked up at Ikea for our personal use, after Tesla's birth she inherited one for her clothing and the other became the linen dresser.

After - Completely empty. There was so much stuff crammed in there, we hit a point of just washing drying and reusing whatever we already had out, instead of ever folding up and replacing the linens back in the dresser. Now, the linens have been sorted out. We got rid of a lot and now only have enough for us and a guest or two to use. The linens now reside in the laundry room. This is useful, especially after Tesla goes to sleep. Before, if we needed a towel, or a pillow case or a wash cloth after her bedtime, we were out of luck. We didn't want to risk waking her up by blindly pawing through the linen dresser in search of a clean towel. Plus, odds were good we would wake her up, since a lot of effort was needed to open the drawers in order to find something. Now, with the linens out in the laundry room, if we need a clean towel, no problem.

Under the Bed

Before - Yet another place to store stuff we thought we wanted at some point in the future. When that point in the future would be, no clue. But we might want that stuff, even though we can't tell you off the top of our heads what said stuff is.

After - We can tell you what is under the bed now. Extra board games, Extra dice. Folders of DVDS. A complete set of every single Star trek film on VHS. (I still use a VCR.) and a box of business envelopes. This was an embarassing clean out, because as we pulled stuff out, we were baffled as to why we were keeping said item in the first place.

Office supply Desk

Before - Hot mess is putting it nicely. Every drawer is just crammed with stuff that may or may not be an office supply. Fairly certain majority of items in this dresser slash desk have been chucked in here to be out of sight out of mind.

After - Clean and organized. Desk slash dresser now only hold office supplies that we need and use on a regular basis. Drawers are easy to open. Supplies are easy to find.

Kitchen - Mugs cabinet

Before - Way too many mugs. Some mugs have been in their same spot in the cabinet since being put in there when we moved in.

After - Got rid of majority of mugs that aren't used and haven't been used. Down to a set of white normal sized mugs, a set of rainbow oversized mugs and a couple of mugs that are sentimental and actually get used on a regular basis. (You can have my Charlie the Mexican Art Unicorn mug when you pry it from my cold, dead hand, thank you very much.)

Back Porch

Before - A little dangerous to navigate , be you toddler or grown ass adult. If you squinted, you could kind of see that one half was suppose to be a work area and the other half a place to relax while your baby plays at your feet.

After - No need to squint, the back porch is clearly a place now where one can hang out and enjoy the weather while a baby or toddler plays at your feet.

The Master Bedroom Closet

Before - Like the inside storage closet, the master bedroom closet had a similar set up, with the door swinging in. Only in this situation, the door is forever open, held open by a four foot tall pile of shoes, bags, shoe boxes and what not. You could step into the closet, but only half of your foot would be in the closet. Good luck at getting your clothing or anything off the top shelf. Closet is packed with stuff, packed.

After - If nothing else was accomplished during these 40 days, this after would be worth it all. The door closes now because there is nothing on the closet floor in it's way now. shelving has been cleared. You can step into the closet and close the door behind you, in case you need a private moment to appreciate the space you now have. Clothing is easy to retrieve now. Out of all the afters, this is the most satisfying one. Also, because there is now a clear floor space in the closet, there was room to move our dirty laundry basket into the closet. This cleared up a huge amount of space in the master bathroom.

When I first began this challenge, I really thought I would be hard pressed to find enough stuff to fill 40 small bags, let alone 40 kitchen trash bags. But I did. Items that were still usable were donated to local thrift stores. Items that were trashy or trash were thrown away. There is still a lot of work yet to be done, but this challenge took out a great chunk of the clutter, helping our home to become more cozy and a place we want to spend time in.

Now that the challenge is over, what is next? Well, I'm still continuing the decluttering of our home. Getting rid of items that have merely traveled from move to move. It would be nice to live in a house someday, but I don't want our move to a house to be due to having way too much stuff to make apartment living comfortable. I want our time in this apartment to be a comfortable time, and not one that feels like we are living in a storage unit until we can afford a bigger place.

Monday, March 10, 2014

How am I Frugal?: The List

I'm not certain how I am wanting to keep track of a list to remind me that I am technically frugal. I don't know if I want to make a big entry for every time I do something frugal or just keep a master list entry that I add more notes to. Either way, I'll figure it out. But for now, here is a quick list of ways that I am frugal for me to look back upon when I get frustrated and need a reminder.

1.) I get my hair cut at the Aveda Training School instead of a salon.

2.) I have a flip style mobile phone, instead of a smart phone. I can make and receive phone calls. I can make and receive texts.

3.) Make majority of meals at home.

4.) Check out books, movies and music compact discs from the library.

5.) Don't have cable television.

5a.) Watch television programs on free sites such as Hulu or Crunchyroll

5b.) I also derive entertainment from watching the many enjoyable Youtube channels on Youtube.

6.) I have taken a vow to knit and crochet through my yarn stash before buying new yarn. My goal is to no longer have a yarn stash and only purchase yarn when I need it for a project.

7. I workout by using the local parks and going for walks in addition to checking out workout videos from the library, instead of paying for a gym membership.

8.) I keep a wish list on Amazon of items I would like to purchase. Instead of impulse shopping, I add the item I want to the list and let it set there for a while. Odds tend to be good that even a time frame as short as 24 hours will allow me to cool down and decide I either don't really want the item or can wait quite a while before purchasing.

9.) I do a large majority of my clothes shopping at thrift stores.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

How am I frugal?

Sometimes, I forget I am technically frugal. I blame TLC for bombarding me with shows about couponing and extreme cheapskates for raising the bar on what it means to be frugal.

Then I decide I need to be frugal, check out websites with helpful articles about becoming frugal and leave frustrated because I am already doing everything they suggest.

In order to remind myself that I am frugal, I decided to keep track of moments that remind me I am indeed frugal. I thought about keeping a physical journal, but decided it would be easier to just make occasional entries here that are tagged frugal.

Yesterday I was in Target. When I was ready to check out, I chose one of two available lanes. I went for the one that had the fewest people with the least amount of items. Unfortunately, this did not mean it would be the fastest lane. While waiting for my turn, I noticed a woman checking out at the other lane with a shopping cart full of throw pillows in various sizes. I thought she had perhaps recently moved to town and needed pillows.

She was in conversation with the cashier when I noticed her.

Cashier: I know what you mean, sometimes you just need a change.

Customer: Yeah, I was just looking at my living room and was sick of the colour. I needed to get new pillows now!

Her words bounced around my mind while I continued to wait to check out. I was a bit baffled by this action. You don't like your living rooms colour scheme so you just go buy items to change the colour scheme?  I continued to listen, being bored of waiting and nosy, and learned she has a different colour scheme for each season in her house. So it wasn't even the case of having the same colour scheme for years. She regularly changes the colour scheme in her house based on the season and decided she didn't like the colour scheme she normally had for spring time.

This was a moment when I realized I was frugal in this department.  It is probably a normal habit to change out the colour scheme of your various rooms based on the season. I do recall that my mother in law has a different bed comforter and rug set for at least two seasons.

And why shouldn't people change their houses rooms linens and decorating based on the season? It would be a little odd to have winter colours bombarding the eye during the summer.

Still, that isn't how I roll. I have the same throw pillows no matter the season. I never really thought it was an option to just go out and buy a bunch of throw pillows and rugs and curtain at full retail price because I was bored of a colour scheme.

I'm not certain what it would take to make me change the colour scheme for our living room. Even if something happened to the couch, and we had to replace the couch, this wouldn't encourage me to replace the other chairs and blankets and rugs and curtains.

So, just a reminder to myself when I wonder how I am frugal. I am frugal because I don't just rush out and drop a few hundred dollars on throw pillows because I am bored with the colour scheme in my house.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Books of 2013

(At the beginning of 2013, I decided it might be interesting to create a poem where each line is the first line of each book I read during the course of 2013.)

I am the head cookie bitch and this is my party.
From the moments babies are born,these tiny human beings start communicating with the world around them.
The motto “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” is one lesson you likely learn at a very young age.
I thought it would be easy.
I was still hands shaking.
I want to get one thing straight from the start: I am not a natural-born jock.
I certainly didn't realize how easy it was to calm crying babies when I began my pediatric studies in the 1970s.
You're invited to a marvelous soiree, a wellness revolution to be exact.
School's out fo-evah!
This is where we live.
Prelude to a ballad.
Taking the plunge and quitting your job is a scary step.
When I was a little girl, I lived in an apartment house in New York City, with Mama and Papa and my little brother Harry.
When I was pregnant with my first child, I had absolutely no idea what to expect.
This might as well come out up front, first paragraph.
In the early 1900s,Maria Montessori,practicing physician, and professor of anthropology at the University of Rome,presented a startling idea to the academic world.
Off with their – legs.
Whether your child is an infant or a toddler, performing puppet shows at preschool or using your belly as a trampoline, we know how hard it can be to pry your eyes off your little one.
When the Jews came out of Egypt, that was enough to make us happy.
It is easy to forget now, how effervescent and free we all felt that summer.
If you haven't been to a mosh pit, you've probably seen one in movies.
By God!
It was a midsummer afternoon on Long Island,and the mosquitoes, like the girls who get dolled up at evening time, would not be seen flitting for hours yet.
I turned 31 on December 29,2009.
I climbed aboard the Little No. 5 as I did every morning on my way to work.
Most people get flowers when they give birth – I got a two pound baby and a failing liver.
When the Fabulous Flying Fandinis moved in the neighbors said they were strange.
The bedroom is strange.
Slow simmered, shredded chicken, vegetable, and three bean soup.
Sloth's house was a terrible mess.
One morning, as the Keeper of the Zoo was about to unlock the gate, he noticed something on the steps.
We were headed for the Verrazano Bridge, caught in traffic.
I have never been what you'd call a crying man.
How do you remember things?
I clasp the flask between my hands even though the warmth of the tea has long since leeched into the frozen air.
It isn't even noon and I've already had sex with fourteen women.
My name is Molly Pink and I'm a yarnaholic, I announce to my crochet group, the Tarzana Hookers , as I put my stash on the table.
Get it together,Abraham.
I'm watching an internet series about pregnancy.
I used to live in a small apartment in Chicago, where the radiator hummed noisily while I drew comics.
The New Orleans businessman,whose grey hair put him in his fifties,was accompanied by his much younger and much taller bodyguard/chauffeur on the night he met the devil in the French Quarter.
Naps take only a few hours of time, but they shape all twenty four hours of your child's day.
When I was in high school all the coolest punk rockers hung out in the shopping mall parking lot across the street from campus.
I had a car but on most days in that fall of 1973 I walked to Joyland from Mrs. Shoplaw's Beachside Accommodations in the town of Heaven's Bay.
In the tower of the nameless necromancer it is always cold.
The day they came to tell me, I was in one of the gardens with Kiernan, trying to decipher a three-hundred-year-old map of the palace grounds.
The subinspector works the last breath out of a waning cigarette and flicks it out the window.
Once your baby is born,you'll find that life takes on a new momentum as you grapple with all the first time experiences that caring for a growing baby involves.
We found the monster on a rocky ledge high above the lake.
His first memory is an execution.
What do you cook?
In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my head ever since.
The fault line running through my bones, through my every breath, may be the day of the accident: on June 23,1993, I became paralyzed.
They say women are blessed with the ability to forget the pain of childbirth so they will be able to have more children later on.
It is Sunday in Venice.
Shh, quiet Scout, go to sleep, you'll wake Johnny and Mom.
I am a jackass living in America and living surprisingly well.
On the second day in December in a year when a Georgia peanut farmer was doing business in the White House, one of Colorado's great resort hotels burned to the ground.
You probably have no memory of what your life was like between the ages of twelve and twenty four months.
Twenty years ago...

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

New Year's Resolutions for 2014

1.) Use up an entire tube of chapstick. 2.) Take up yoga. And actually, you know, get decent at it to the point of enjoying it. 3.) Knit and crochet one item every two to three weeks. 4.) Play the violin at least once a week for at least half an hour. 5.) Write one short story or a poem or a chapter of my silly little novel, approximately ten pages, a week. 6.) Complete the Eowyn Challenge 7.) Learn how to juggle.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Sometimes, you just need a place to shout into the ether that is the internet.