Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Membership has its privileges, a rant

I have never understood why people have such a tough time with the notion that you need a library card for certain things in the library.  It's a membership, like at any other business or organization.  No one questions that you need a Price Chopper card to get the discounts at Price Chopper.  Or that you need a Prime Membership to take advantage of free 2-day shipping at Amazon.  Or that you need an airline membership to collect and use frequent flyer miles.  There are actually people who not only don't get why you need a library card, they actively do not want a card.  They are anti-library card.  Not Anti-Library, just anti-card.  And then they complain that there are things they just can't do while they are here.  It's kind of bizarre, actually.

Actual example: I had a patron not too long ago who wanted to use our computers to check his credit card account, log on to social security, and renew his boat registration with the DMV.  And he didn't want to get a library card because he didn't want US to know his information.  Yeah, because we're Big Brother.   *sigh*

Yes, we are a public library.  Yes, by definition, we are open for free use by the public without restriction of age, race, gender, sexual preference, income, religion of political bent.  But we also offer a membership to the public (with the same lack of restrictions).  That membership comes with a card that allows access to even more services and materials.   And it, too, is FREE.

Without a library card you can do an almost endless list of things.  You can read a boo, look at a magazine, make a copy, use the wi-fi, attend a movie, come to story time, meet an author, do a puzzle, put on a puppet show, hang out with your friends, meet with a tutor, read the newspaper, use the fax machine, talk to the fish, say hi to a librarian.  The list is nearly endless.

There are two things you need a library card to do at the library where I work (other libraries may differ, but most I have seen tend towards the same).  The first is check stuff out and take it home.  If we are going to trust you with hundreds (or thousands) of dollars worth of materials, we do need to know who you are and where you live.  Just in case.  Yes, I'm sure you are perfectly trustworthy, but it only takes one bad apple.  Once you have that card, though, you can check out books, magazines, movies, software, audiobooks, and graphic novels.  Plus, you can have access to all of the paid subscription databases we have; that's thousands more magazines and journals, language lessons and test study guides, and research databases, too.  All for free!
It's even free!

The second thing you need a library card to do is use the computers here at the library.  If you bring your laptop or tablet or phone, and you want to hook up to the wi-fi, have a ball!  However, if we are going to trust you with a couple thousand dollars worth of our equipment, we need to know who you are.  Just in case.  We don't even keep a record of the computer users; once your time is up, your computer restarts and all record of your use is gone.  But you do need a card to do that. Again, it's free!

Why is this such a hard concept for people??

Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Lesser Dead by Christopher Buehlman

Calling an author "the next (insert famous author here)" has become de rigueur in book reviews.  Christopher Buehlman defies such categorical description.  Yes, he is an author of horror novels; but he is also an historical, literary humorist of the first rate.  Likewise, his books refuse such simple definition as a single genre. He's written of the black death in medieval France; modern wizardry in upstate New York (not nearly as benign as it might sound); and my personal favourite,  creepy 1930's Southern gothic.  His knowledge is sweeping, and his research is astounding.  He'll make you laugh out loud, but it's often just a distraction while he's sneaking around the back to terrify you.  Not always; he's not that predictable.  But often.

I have read each of Christopher's books a different way.  The first, Those Across the River, I read aloud to my then boyfriend (now the hubby) while we were driving north from Florida.  The book takes place in the deep South, and it was one of the best, and most terrifying, drives ever.  It remains one of my favourite books of all time.    The second book, Between Two Fires, I listened to during my commute.  It was very well narrated (although not by Chris himself), and I half expected someone to come lumbering out of the woods along the side of the road.  His third novel, The Necromancer's House, I read in hardcover the second it came out.  And I laughed and jumped and shivered and even cried a little.  It takes place in an area I know and love very much, and so that one had extra points before I even cracked the cover.  I wasn't disappointed.  :)

Fast forward, or maybe backpedal, to his newest novel, The Lesser Dead.  It's a
Bonus, his covers are fantastic!
vampire novel, and I loved it.  That really says something about this author.  If you know me, you know that I really don't do vampires; but when this book was announced, I pre-ordered it the first day I was able.  And I started listening as soon as it was finished downloading.  It was an extra inspiration that the author himself reads this one.  He has the voice for it, and he knows his material like no one else, so I was really excited when I heard that he did his own narration this time.  (I've since put in my personal request for him to narrate his others, including the first three. You know, in his spare time).

The time is the 70s.  The place is New York.  The feel is creepy, gritty, and dark.  Very dark, and not just because they are vampires.  Make no mistake, though, these are vampires as they should be.  No glitter, no romance, no happily ever after. Did I mention they are kids?  Not all of them, but a good number (a bad number?) are children and teens; or at least they were when they turned.  Just because they are kids, though, doesn't mean you can relax.  In fact, it keeps you on your toes even more, knowing they are children.  After all, anyone who has known a 7 year old girl or a 14 year old boy knows you had better not close your eyes on them for a second.

I don't like giving a synopsis of a book I am reviewing; I know some people who like to go into a book blind, and I respect that.  I will say this book took me on a ride worthy of the NYC subway system, with turns and stops I was not expecting. It was at times horrifying, humorous, sad and hopeful; but not necessarily in that order.

Read this book; or even better, get the audiobook.  Then you can sit back and let him tell you this story.  Trust me; you'll love it.

You can click through the links to see his website and find more information about each of the books, including the covers, excerpts and information about getting your hands on your very own copies.  He didn't pay me (or even ask me) to say that.  Christopher is just a really great guy in all his guises (Christoph the Insulter, Churchyard O'Shea, and bestselling author), and I am lucky to know him (and be a church mouse).

Thanks for listening.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Fuzzy

Happy Friday!  

Baby goats!

Have a great weekend!
Thanks for listening.

From the sublime to the ridiculous (and everywhere in between)

The thing I hear the most from people (both friends and patrons, although most of my friends know better by now) is how nice it must be to have a quiet job like mine. How peaceful it must be to work with kids and books. How wonderful to be able to just read all day long. In fact I had someone say that to me just a few days ago.  I hear it at least once a week, and usually more often than that.

To them, I say HA! Here's an example of some typical patron interactions in the Children's Room and beyond.


It's a fairly quiet morning in the Children's Room. The kids are in school, there are no classes scheduled, and I am working on some book orders. A mom and her son come in, play on the computer and read some books. About an hour later, this happens.

Boy child, about 4, is running ruckus through the Children's Room, pushing a kick stool all around. Not noisy, but boisterous.

Mother: You need to stop.

Boy: *ignores*

Mother: You really need to stop. That isn't a toy.

Boy: *ignores and starts climbing up the shelf*

Me: Please get down.

Boy gets down and starts pushing the stool around again.

Mother: You have to stop now, or I'll start counting.

Boy: *ignores*

Mother: One.... Two.... Three....

(I think she's going to do something. Nope.)

Mother: Four.... Five....

(Ok, surely now she's at the end of her counting rope. Nope.)

Mother: Six!

(Six? Who counts to six? Ah, well, at least now she'll do some parenting.)

Mother: You are so close to losing some serious privileges.

(Really? That's it? When, exactly?? No wonder he ignores you)

Boy: *ignores for about 5 more minutes*

Boy: I'm bored, let's go now.

Mother: Okay. *takes his hand and they leave together*

Me: *headdesk*


It's an afternoon, mid week, on a nice fall day.
The place is busy with most computers in use and all three desks helping patrons with reference questions and checking out materials. It is after school, so the neighborhood kids are all either here, or on their way walking. 

Fire alarm at the library, and this is not a drill!  We get everyone outside quickly, the fire trucks and police cars come, it's all very exciting.  I have the front door covered and keep everyone to the far sidewalk.  The kids and other patrons are all pretty well behaved and wait patiently for the building to be cleared.  A woman walks up, and this conversation actually happens.

Me: I'm sorry, ma'am, but we have a fire alarm. I can't let anyone in the building.

Patron: I just need to fax something.

Me: I don't know how long it will be; the firemen are here now. I'm sorry but everyone has to stay outside.

Patron: But it's just a fax. I'll be quick.

Me: I'm sorry, but I can't let you in the building until the fire department clears us to return.

Patron: *big dramatic sigh* Why do these things always happen to me? *walks away*

Me (and everyone else on the sidewalk): *SMH*


But, when all is said and done, there are always moments to remind me why I love my job.  This is one of the most recent, and one of my favourites (and that's saying something, since I've been at this for over 22 years!).

After story time, where we do This Little Piggie every week (we always do it with roast beef the first time, and the second time we pick a dessert), a tiny girl child comes up to me with a very serious expression on her adorable face. She is a regular, and has been coming to story time with her grandmother every week for a while now; and she really seems to enjoy it.

Tiny girl child: Miss Lorie, I am very worried.

Me: Why is that, sweetheart?

TGC, holds up hand and points to ring finger: Because this little piggy never gets anything to eat!

Me: Oh, I see. *very serious* Well, you can take him home and feed him if you want to.

TGC: *grins* Ok, I will! *skips off happily*

Me: *heart melts*


There are more, so many more! But I am saving most of them for my book. Or my blackmail retirement fund. (Just kidding. It'll be a travel fund, if anything.)

Stay tuned later for your Friday Fuzzy!

Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Slow Cooker Sunday, um.... Tuesday

How did it get to be Tuesday night already?  It was a crazy busy 4 day weekend; I guess that's how.

We went on a mini adventure to the PA Ren Faire on Saturday and Sunday.  It was a gorgeous weekend, and it was fun to get away to one last faire to close the season.  We saw some people we don't get to see much anymore, got lots of hugs, did a little shopping, and enjoyed lots of sunshine and hot mulled wine.  And then we drove home Sunday night and watched the season premiere of The Walking Dead.  Yay for Fall (and the DVR)!!

As I missed Slow Cooker Sunday, I decided to take advantage of Monday and Tuesday off to do some extra cooking.  I threw a roast in the crock pot on Monday with a bunch of seasonings and a cup of red wine and let it cook all day long.  Then I removed the roast, added some Wondra and stirred the juice into gravy.  Add some mashed potatoes and roasted veggies, and it was a wonderful dinner.  No pictures of that, I'm afraid.

Today was destined from the start to be a soupy kind of day.  And hour and a half at the gym, followed by an hour and a half in the garden confirmed the absolute soupiness.  I decided it was going to be a squashy soupy day.  I took one butternut and one acorn squash, and two sweet potatoes, peeled and diced them and added one carton of broth (you could use any kind, I just had chicken broth on hand) and simmered until the squash was kind of mushy.

Then I pureed it all together with an immersion blender (you could cool it and do this part in batches in a regular blender or food processor if you like, but I find the stick blender SO handy!) until it's smooth.  I added another carton of broth at this point, along with some garlic and onion, cayenne pepper and a good sized squeeze of chipotle paste.

This stuff:

The hubby got it as part of his last Birchbox.  He gets some really cool stuff in that; I do too, actually, in the women's edition.  Check it out; it's pretty awesome.

Anyways, I put it back on the stove on medium low and added some cheese.  I used about a pound of shredded cheddar, because that's what I had on hand.  Then I just let it simmer and stirred occasionally until it was perfectly smooth.  It's pretty awesome served with a dollop of sour cream.

While the soup was cooking I made a double batch of oat muffins for breakfasts and snacks this week.  I tried two different combinations this time.  The first are applesauce with peanut butter and peanut butter chips.  The second are applesauce with cinnamon chips and fresh apple chunks.  They are wheat free, packed with protein and fiber, filling but not heavy, and portable, which makes them great for the commute and before the gym.  I think it's going to be a yummy week.

I hope you had a great weekend, too!
Now it's time to go watch X-Men: Days of Future Past and snuggle with my guys.

Thanks for listening.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday Fuzzy

Wow, as long and frustrating as this week was, it doesn't seem possible that it's Friday already!  I hope you had a great week.

I got some good workouts in this week, but I need to not pressure myself too much out of the starting gate.  It's only been a week.  It's unreasonable to expect that I have lost 15 pounds and have rock hard abs already.  Right?  RIGHT??!!  Yes, I know.  Give it time.  *sigh*

Ah well, here's your Friday Fuzzy:

This one is of Bailey with a Syracuse bandanna, but I figured orange was good for the Orioles, too.  They are playing tonight in the first game of the ALCS.  Go O's!!!

That's it for this week.  I hope you have a fabulous long weekend planned, or at least something fun.  We're heading to the PA Ren Fest to take a gander at their new royalty.  They have gone in a new direction and have a young Henry VIII and Queen Catherine of Aragon, and this I just have to see!  I'm sure there will be a fun report to give.

Have a great weekend.
Thanks for listening!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Allergy season, an alphabet

Ode to allergy season. Ok, so it's not really an ode, but I just don't have the energy to do a cross stitch sampler, so here's my offering to the goddess of hay fever.

A is for Allergies, Allegra and Achoo!
B is for Blah,
C is for Coughing, Congested and Could it be Consumption?
D is for Drip ... drip ... drip
E is for Enough!
F is for Frost, which I wish would come Freeze!
G is for Gesundheit.
H is for Headaches, Hay fever and Hugs. Lots of hugs.
I is for Icepacks, Ice cream and Ice cold toes.
J is for Jitters from too much tea and too many drugs.
K is for Kleenex (see T below).
L is for Lemon honey tea.
M is for Mucus,
N is for Nose, Nyquil and Naps.
O is for Open windows (and half Open eyes).
P is for Pollen.
Q is for Quiet, please!
R is for Runny (eyes, nose, you name it),
S is for Swollen (see R above) and Sudafed.
T is for Tissues.  Lots of tissues.
U is for Uncomfortable
V is for Vicks Vapo-Rub
W is for Watery (ditto R and W) and Wish it Would stop.
X is for eXcuse me, I sneezed. Again.
Y is for Yawn, and Yup this sucks.
Z is for Zzzzzzzzzzz.....

Hope you're having a less congested Thursday than I am.
Thanks for listening!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Booze Pit, or dinner out with the family

We got an invitation out to dinner with the hubby's parents and a couple of other family members not too long ago. It sounded fun and we don't see family much during the summer, so we accepted.  The six of us met up at a popular chain restaurant and settled in to catch up and enjoy a fun evening.  It all started out fine, and so quickly went down hill.  I'm just flabbergasted, kinda pissed off and want to vent.  (Times are estimated, but pretty close)

6:45pm:  We arrive.  The rest of the party is there, so we sit down and order a drink.  I order a cosmopolitan and an unsweetened iced tea.  The waitress asks if I want to make it a double (the cosmo, not the tea).  I think that means it will be in a big fancy glass, so I say sure.  Hubby gets a beer, which means he gets two beers, as it's 2 for 1 drafts.

6:50pm:  Our drinks arrive.  My cosmo is a single because, and I quote the waitress, "The bartender wouldn't let me make it a double".  That's just as well, as it's really just too much vodka and a splash of some sort of pink juice.  *blech*  We order our dinners.

7:20pm  The waitress comes by and asks if we want more drinks.  I get a second iced tea, my MIL gets a water, and the waitress asks hubby if he wants two more beers.  I remind him he's driving and the waitress says. "Oh, it's okay, your dinners aren't here yet, and I can stand and talk to you for an hour if I need to."  I look at her. blinking in shock as she proceeds to encourage hubby to drink and drive.  "Besides, they are small beers.  You can process...." she continues on in this vein for a while.  He orders the beer (I think as much to shut her up as anything else), and they agree to split them among a few people at the table.

As she walks away, I turn to the rest of the table and ask if the waitress was really just actively encouraging my husband to drink and drive??!!  Yes, we all agree, she surely was.  Hmmm.  Not Cool.

7:30pm:  She comes back to see if we need more drinks.

7:50pm:  She comes back to check on our drinks (she was really all about the drinks) and apologizes for the delay with the food.  We express our displeasure in the hour wait.  I'm thinking an free appetizer would have been nice.  The place wast that busy.

8:05pm:  The dinners start to come out.

8:15pm: My dinner comes out.  It's stone cold.  The whole thing is stone cold.  The salmon is so dry that you can't tell there was ever a sauce on it; the shrimp are cold and rubbery, the broccoli might as well have been right from the fridge, and the mashed potatoes were congealed into a big hard lump.

8:25pm: The waitress asks how things are.  I wasn't going to say anything to her, but Uncle prompted me, so I told her mine was cold.  "Yes, yours was probably done first and waited there for the rest.  Do you want it reheated?"  Well, the salmon was already like leather and the shrimp were like little erasers from sitting under the warming lamp, so I turned down that offer and told her why.  I waited over an hour for a cold dinner, and several sides around the table were ice cold, too.  Not Cool.  (Well yes, cool, but not cool.  You know.)  She speaks to the manager and they tell her to comp the table.... wait for it ...  a round of drinks.
So I was the lucky soul to get a free cheap cosmo and a cold leathery dinner, and I got to listen to the waitress try to convince the hubby that it would be fine to drink and drive. Yay, me!

8:35pm: I leave The Booze Pit (not its real name) for the first and the very last time ever.

I would normally be posting the name of this restaurant all over the place, but if this is the typical service experience at their fine establishment, they will drive themselves out of business all on their own.  They are in a busy section of town, and they are surrounded by other similar choices, such as Outback, Smoky Bones and the newly opening Longhorn Steakhouse, along with several more.  In fact, as we left, I said to hubby, "I told you we should just eat at the cafe in B&N!"  

I do kind of wish I had said something to the waitress about the drinking and driving part.  Ah, well.  Live and learn.

Thanks for listening!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Slow Cooker Sunday and other weekend notes

Ah, Monday.  I have always liked Mondays.  Mainly because I don't have to be at work until afternoon on Mondays, thus extending the weekend and easing into the week gently.  I can enjoy the entirety of a Sunday, extend long weekends away, or just stay up late reading or binge watching my latest obsession.

I can also sleep a little later on Monday mornings and relax with the first cup of coffee.  I could go to the gym in the morning if I want to (hey, it could happen!); or I can just curl up on the couch with my fuzzy socks, and my cozy blanket and my sleepy dog, and enjoy the morning slowly and quietly.   That's what I did this morning.  Some days the drive to work is just daunting, and it's nice to be able to work up to it gradually.  I am not as fond of Monday nights when I am driving home after a long day and in the dark; but it's a fair trade off, and I get a good morning with it.

But enough about Mondays, let's talk about the weekend.  What a weekend!  Overnight company for dinner and movies on Friday was fun and relaxing.  I'm no movie critic (see TheClassicFlixGuys for that, you won't be sorry!), but if you haven't seen The Monuments Men, you need to watch it.  Today, or maybe tomorrow.  It's a beautiful story about a bunch of guys from around the world who can't go to war against Hitler for one reason or another, and they find redemption as a team.  It's a war movie about art.  It is a "little guys against the big machine" movie.  There is something for everyone (well, not the kiddies), and it is based on a true story.  It is the epitome of Art Matters, and it doesn't hurt that there is a stellar cast of actors in it, too.  It is heartbreaking and it is uplifting and it is tragic and it is full of hope for humankind.  Really, just watch it.  I'm sure you can get it at the library.  :)

Girls Day In started back up this Saturday, with a very cozy viewing of Saving Mr. Banks, followed by a nostalgic romp with Mary Poppins.  This is one of my favourite days all month, and it's an event that I look forward to all summer long while we are in hiatus.  It's one of the things that I am happy and proud to have started and I am so very thrilled that we are now in our third season.  I love my girlfriends (both friends and family) and treasure this time with them each month.  It may be only one day, but the effects are rejuvenating for a whole month long.  It's also brought me closer to a few people that I wouldn't probably otherwise gotten to know nearly so well without GDI.  From Girls Day In has sprung outings, weekends, game nights, book discussions, and theater trips.  (cue: These are a few of my favorite things....)

Saturday night we were planning to go to a bi-annual Viking party (we haven't made it to one yet, and we very much wish to.  maybe in the spring *sigh*), but we got an invite to dinner with the hubby's folks and a few other relatives.  We spend all summer gone, at faire, at camp, at life, and we don't get to see family much at all.  So we accepted, and it was quite an experience.  But that's for a different post.  (Soon, I promise.  It's still writing itself).

That leaves Sunday.  Hands down my favourite day of nearly every week, mainly because it's the one day of the week that the hubby and I can spend together.  We have the most fun on Sundays!

This weekend I started a new tradition ~ Slow Cooker Sunday.  Every Sunday that we'll be home for dinner, I plan to put something in the slow cooker.  This serves a threefold purpose.  Firstly, I am not spending all day (or huge chunks of cash) preparing a big dinner and yet we still get to eat a great meal together.  Even if we're going to be gone for part or most of the day, I can set it in the morning and it'll be ready when we are.  That's a win/win/win.   Secondly, clean-up is so easy now that I use slow cooker liners. Really, this is not an ad, and they are not paying me to say it (although if they want to give me free stuff I would not turn it down), but Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners
have made life so much easier.  This is especially great for the hubby, as he does the clean up when I cook.  Thirdly, there are usually plenty of leftovers for lunches and/or dinners for the first few days of the week.  That's always a good thing, especially since hubby leaves at 8 in the morning and I don't get home until 9:30 or so at night on Mondays.  Not ideal for a cozy dinner together.

So, this was the first Slow Cooker Sunday, and I decided to go with Crock Pot Mac and Cheese.  I knew I would be home in the afternoon, because both my G-Men and my Orioles were playing (and they both won!!), so it was the perfect choice.  I would normally post a recipe, but this was so easy! 

Here are the general directions:   I cooked a box of macaroni al dente, cubed up about 3 pounds of sharp cheddar cheese and mixed it all together in the crock pot along with a bag of shredded 4 cheese blend (it's what I had on hand).  Then I poured about a cup and a half of skim milk over it all.  Set to low, and let it cook for about an hour.  Give it a good stir to mix the melty cheese and the milk through it.  Put the cover back on, let it cook and stir again in an hour.  Let it cook for about 2 more hours and it's done.  It even gets the crispies around the sides and on the bottom like in the oven!  Of course, for the crispies, you can't use a liner, so there was extra scrubbing, but I think it was completely worth a little extra elbow grease.  Hubby didn't really give an opinion ~ he was too busy stuffing his face with gooey, crispy mac and cheese ~ but I think he agrees.

I hope you had a wonderful weekend, too.  I'd love to hear about it!
Thanks for listening.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Friday Fuzzy

Well, I made it through some pretty awesome changes this week.  I got back on the writing cycle.  Horse? Train?  Whatever,  I'm doing it.  And I plan to keep doing it.

I started back at the gym, and I have kept up with it.  Yeah, yeah, it's only been two days, but that's TWO whole days.  Of exercising.  Me!  But I have a purple gym bag and new sneakers (not purple, though) and an excuse to buy a purple water bottle, so I think I might stick with it this time.

As it's First Friday (first of the month and my first back blogging!), I thought I'd start a new tradition here at Living Simply 365 ~ The Friday Fuzzy.

Instead of a long rambling post that bores you to the point of drinking or binge eating truffles (like you're not going to that this weekend anyway!), I'll just leave you for the weekend with something like this:

This one actually qualifies as a Flashback Friday, too.  It's Bailey, my furbaby, just a few days after he adopted me all those years ago.

I hope you all have something fabulous planned for this weekend.  I am starting back up my Girls Day In, and there is a family dinner and some football and lots of baking planned, too.  Not to mention the start of Slow Cooker Sunday!  And yes, even a trip or two to the gym.

Have a great weekend, everyone, and I'll see you on the flip side!
Thanks for listening.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Stuff, and the un-gathering of such

I love stuff.  I love getting, having and sharing stuff. Not necessarily expensive stuff either; some of the best stuffs in life are free!  All kinds of stuff.   Catalogs, shoes, chocolates (ok, those don't last long enough in my house to qualify as having stuff), DVDs (it used to be VHS and now it tends to be Blu-Ray), pieces of pottery, clothes, spices, magazines, and boots.  And that's just to name a few things.  

And now I can get little stuffs in little boxes once a month.  Stuff like Birchbox and ipsy.  Which means I have lots of little stuff, PLUS lots of little boxes and bags!  But I digress....

I don't really fall into the category of collector.  Oh, there are a few things I dabble at collecting, like tiny clocks.  I have a very nice collection of tiny clocks from all over the world.  And someday I'll find the box they are in and get them all back out.  They aren't really the issue here, though.  My entire collection would probably fit in two shoe boxes.  

I am by no means a hoarder, either.  I toss the newspaper after we look at it (usually on Sunday for the puzzle and sports and coupons).  I feel no need to save detergent containers or milk cartons or tp tubes or water bottles.  In fact, except for tp and tissues, I don't even buy paper products any more.  We use cloth napkins and bar rags and the like for all the cleaning in the house now.  I don't usually stock up on umpteen cans of soup or boxes of pasta or condiments (except Frank's Red Hot for some reason) just because they are on sale (although it is good to be prepared.  You know, the zombies and the apocalypse and all that.).

I generally like my stuff to be useful, and I usually will gather stuff with a purpose in mind.   And then I get busy, or lose my focus, or find something else to do, or just... you know, be a gemini.

For example,  I will have two or three magazines on the side table and think to myself, I should read those.  Then life happens and before I know it,  two seasons have  passed, there are 14 or 20 magazines in a toppling tower, and I get overwhelmed and just can't face them.  Yes, that's right, I let a stack of magazines guilt trip me into avoidance.  Same thing with catalogs; I'll stack them up and wait to read them until I have a big block of time.  Ha!  Free time in big blocks!  Well, that so rarely happens that I end up with a pile of them so overwhelming that I end up just chucking them all in the recycling bin unread.  At least I am recycling, but it's such a waste.

My tea pot collection has gotten so large that I "store" them all on display in the Children's Room at work.  Well, not all of them.  I do have a few really nice ones at home.  But, for the most part, I only use them at work for tea parties and so they just stay there all year.

I also have a massive yarn stash, several ideas (and the stuff) for crafts and house stuff, bins of fabric for garb and other things, and the little identification pick for every plant in each of my gardens.  But these aren't the problems I am concerned with right now.  So, on to the crux of the matter.  Clothes.

Clothes are a big issue for me, and not because it's expensive.  I have rarely bought anything at full price; I always look for the great sales.  I have always loved to clothes shop (I come by that naturally), and I adore a good bargain.  So when I see a great something or other on deep discount, I buy it.  In Every Single Color.  Needless to say, my closet(s) and drawers are overwhelmingly full and overflowing.  I have bins of off season clothes in the basement, and I still don't have enough space.  And this week, when we joined the gym, my first thought was, "Ooh, I can buy some new gym clothes!"  One might also say that I have a Woot Shirt addiction (visit and explore at your own peril!).

One of the reasons is that I have gained a bit of weight since we bought the house.  You know, settling in, cooking every day, getting domestic and nesting and all that.   So, out of necessity I bought more clothes, in a larger size; not a lot, but enough to get by at work and play.   So now I have several wardrobes of differing sizes; and I wear pieces from all of it, depending on the day and my mood and the time of the month.  It's rather ridiculous, really, but there it is.

Fast forward to today.  Well, actually rewind a month....  I have set myself a challenge (starting on September 1).  For the 2014/15 school year I am not buying any clothes.  That includes all clothing (except the occasional bra/pantie/tights that may need to be replaced), new and vintage/thrift and *gulp* garb.  I will also be spending that time going through my closets and drawers and bins and brutally culling items that are impractical.  I mean, I have three size 8 formal evening gowns.  Right, I can see myself wearing those lots.  *sigh*

So, this challenge is partly to get my wardrobe down to a manageable size, without adding to the mess while I am getting myself back to a manageable size.  I have some awesome clothes that are just a tad too small to wear comfortably, and that is one hell of an inspiration to keep going to the gym.

I even talked myself down from the "new gym clothes" ledge with the promise that if the stuff I have now gets so loose that it's falling off, I will let me buy some new workout clothes.  As I currently workout in t-shirts and yoga capris (I am all about comfort and movability at the gym), that isn't likely to happen.  But don't tell me that.  ;)

Thanks for listening.

p.s.  You may have noticed I made no mention of books in this entire post.  To anyone who knows me, that may seem odd, as I own approximately a gazillion books (and that's not counting the Kindles).   I defend that lack of mention, however, with one simple statement ~ Books are not mere stuff.   They are a life necessity.

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