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To Do: Endings and Beginnings

This is a strange week. I am off from work, which is fantastic of course. But with that time off comes the pressure of using it well and having something to talk about when people ask what I did with all that time off. Can’t time be like money, and people just mind their own business? Of course, this is the real world, and that will never happen, but a girl can dream on the couch in her PJs for a week.

This is also a strange week because it straddles two years. The first half of the week will be reflective and contemplative and retrospective. The second half of the week will be joyous and fresh and new, and again, full of pressure to do great things. Goal setting and resolution making and all that…the ability to start over, it seems, is inherent in this season, more so even than Easter. But what if you try to do this year round? Then you look at this as the same as every other week, with a nod to the new year and the new date it will take you months to getting used to. You just enjoy the break and the ability to start over.

Even in that light, my goals this week.

  • Plan and use my Thursday nights better. Gym is open, yoga app is downloaded and loved, so next time he’s gone (…like 2 weeks) I’ll be prepared.
  • Attack the pre-holiday list. I was SO on top of this, that I thought for sure I had forgotten something. I didn’t.
  • Make another purge pile. The pile of curtains, odds and ends, et cetera will head off to the donation box this week. Pile in process.
  • Renew our passports. We are those terrible people right now. Passportless. It feels so weird. Both of our passports expired during 2014, so we don’t have to go through the full massive process, just a new application and photo and a check.
  • Menu plan for NYE. Our much-loved tradition for NYE is for the two of us and only the two of us (…plus dogs of course) to stay in and drink and eat ourselves silly. It usually ends up being lamb of some kind, and when I asked Steve if he wanted to continue that, he said yes. So, we’ll be doing a small amount of butterflied leg of lamb, some brie and cranberry cups, possibly some vegetable thing. Breakfast is cold lobster tail and champagne. It’s lovely.

Looking forward to this year’s end and the next one’s start.


To Do: Looks Like We Made It

I sing that song every Friday when I get to work, much to our front desk person’s chagrin. I’m just jazzed it’s Friday, yo!

Except today. Today is Tuesday. But it’s kind of a Friday. Because starting today at 2:30pm, and ending at 9:00am on Monday, January 5th, I have a paid vacation. The whole operation shuts down, and we get paid, and we lose no vacation time. A concept unheard of in my former life as a public servant.

So, it looks like we made it to this wonderful point when we all NEED this break, and we’ll get it.

My vacation plans are relatively non-existent, aside from Christmas and New Year’s Eve. And that is A-OK by me.

What do I have to do, though?

  • Vegetables and grains, not meat. It’s becoming easier and easier to do this without thinking about it. Any meat outside of the one big meat meal each week is a total afterthought or B-note in the meal.
  • Plan outfits for this week to finish strong! I have not planned outfits. I’ve been a coasting-close-to-the-line hot mess instead. Up until this morning, I was fighting a wicked wicked chest and head cold. I was knocked on my ass, to say the least, but I was not going to stay home for the 1.5 days before a 2 week paid vacation because, to this former HR lady, that’s simply suspicious. So off to work I went, in corduroys and a sweatshirt jacket (…yep), to hide in my office and conduct a cacophonous glottal orchestra. Today, I at least wore a sweater. Work wise, though, I’ve finished strong. So.
  • Plan and use my Thursday nights better. Ok, so I didn’t do the long yoga practice last Thursday because I was starting to get sick and the mere idea of downward dogging made me cough and hack. So, I wrapped presents and read instead. Our cable was out, which for us doesn’t mean “no cable TV,” it means “no internet,” which means no audio visual anything. So I had a book I had downloaded to my Kindle, and I read a good chunk of that while Steve was off saving lives being an elf on top of a ladder truck with Santa, throwing candy canes at little kids. The gym in our building reopened and MY is it lovely. It is huge and new and shiny and nice. So, perhaps a little visit there sometime when Steve is gone will be in order.
  • Attack the pre-holiday list. I have some kitchen cleaning to do (Steve cleaned the apartment on Sunday), and some prep work for Thursday’s meal, and some table setting ahead of me. But I have Wednesday off, so that’s that. Heading to the grocery store when it opens tomorrow morning instead of sleeping in.
  • Make another purge pile. There’s always more to rid ourselves of, especially around the holidays. Making another purge pile sounds like a great idea.

I’m so very grateful for this new job and all of the personal and professional joy it has brought me, but it’s time for a short break. I’ll be ready to start again, fresh and re-energized, in the new year.


Transitioning to the Land of Less

My closet has recently undergone a transition. In fact, it’s ongoing.

This is not just about changing from Summer to Winter, white linens to camel corduroy. This is about the year-long flux my closet has been in, ever since deciding to move to the city and to a life with less stuff.

Now, by normal standards (certainly by Steve’s standards…!), I have a lot of clothes. And shoes. And decorative accessories, and whatnots. I probably always will. But I have a lot less than I used to.

It’s not just about moving from a three-story suburban house with endless storage to a pied a terre less than half that size. It’s not about my weight (for once!). A lot of it is about realizing that the kind of life  we want requires less stuff and is indeed made easier–facilitated by, even–having less stuff.

We want smaller space, a central location, less time at home, more “better” stuff and less “meh” stuff, and the ease to pick it all up and move if we want to. Having one hundred and twenty five pairs of shoes makes that hard. Having a mere sixty or seventy? Do-able.

Being in a city has changed things, too. No car? No elaborate wardrobe, just-so hair, sky high heels, long sweeping coat, massive purse. Relying on–and preferring–the Metro, bus, and good ole’ walking has resulted in a necessary shift to classic, clean, and interesting outfits, simple hair that can be fixed once you arrive, practical stylish outerwear (…inevitable rain), a larger tote bag into which a small crossbody purse lives (along with my lunch), and commuter shoes. Hideous commuter shoes. But still. I am now one of those people who I never understood before: one of those people with like four pairs of shoes in her office.

No longer needing a suit one-two times a week, I’m now happily in the land of dresses and separates. So the eighteen suits I moved down here, not knowing where I’d be working or what I’d need to wear, have slowly been culled to ten. And they’ll probably get whittled to five or seven.

I was never, ever a sweats person, and I still am not! But I am even less so now. Running tights/leggings are my go-to lounge around pants, paired with a stylish tee or tunic or oversized but nice sweater. If I need to run up the hill for milk or grab an Uber to Hala’s in the rain for a night of tv and wine, that’s the default. I own maybe two or three pairs of jeans right now, and I’ll probably lose one of those because I don’t need a thousand options: I need one or two. Even my PJs haven’t been spared…I mean seriously, who needs all these things in the guise of options?! I’m learning…not me.

I’m not now living off of a capsule wardrobe or a monochromatic minimalist wardrobe, and I certainly haven’t been on any sort of ridiculous shopping bans. No. I’ve been increasing my stash in some areas. Jewelry and scarves, for example, have become an inexpensive, small, but powerful way to transform the reduced wardrobe, so naturally I’ve been adding there. It helps when your best friend sells excellent jewelry… 😉 I’m working on upping my blazer game, too, now that the reliance on suits has decreased. Flats and commuter shoes–preferably, non-hideous–are always on my radar. I’ve also amassed an appropriately large array of raingear, too.

This mindset has been hard to keep to, honestly, this time of year. Everything is on sale, it seems. And I find myself saying “Self, that’s a great deal! You should buy it!”

But I haven’t, which is huge. Aside from a few pencil skirts to replace some dated ones, I’m over shopping for myself right now.

In this season of “more is more,” I’m wanting less and less, and living with what I have. Living with it, yes, but also loving the process.