Pesach Dishes

Went to Canada to spend Pesach with mom. We always do the first Seder at the home of aunt A and this year was no different. When we sat down for the Seder everyone noticed the dishes: gorgeous white china with black and gold trim.
I love the new Pesach dishes,” I said to aunt A, “So beautiful.
We got them for our wedding,” said aunt A, “But we never used them. We waited for a special occasion, and they say hand wash, so…

Aunt A and uncle A got married in 1989, the dishes have been sitting unused for 27 years, and uncle A passed away in 2011. Aunt A showed me the rest of the set. Apparently they had registered for the pattern and received several pieces, even a soup tureen which was over $400 at the time. I told aunt A that I was happy to hand wash them for her, but she said it didn’t matter; she was going to put them in the dishwasher on the china/gentle cycle.

Been thinking about this a lot since I came back from Canada; a swirl of thoughts about using the beautiful things I have and enjoying them while I can.

Back and Forth

This weekend was marked by periods of great productivity alternating with periods of complete sloth. Still, when I look at the to-do list, there are more things checked off than not checked off.

Made slow cooker beef stew today, using ideas from a number of different recipes I found online: used sweet potatoes as in this recipe, but thyme and Bay leaves as in this recipe, and so on. Not sure where I got the idea to throw in rosemary, probably from here, but I think I used a bit too much. Glad I took the time to sear the meat prior to putting it in the slow cooker. Used veggie broth because I had neither beef broth nor red wine. In any case, I’m pleased with the results: it yielded enough for 6-8 dinners. Going to serve it on top of Basmati rice. Found a bag in the pantry with a Best Before date that has come and gone, but I highly doubt it matters. Also made salad out of some veggies that were at the end of their useful life.

Haven’t heard back from SnD, and haven’t had a chance to stop by the kendo club practices, so I still have the bogu. This is shaping up to be a busy week, but maybe I’ll have a chance to drop it off next weekend.

Went to the dentist last week for the 6 month cleaning and checkup and discovered that I need a filling, first time in 12+ years. Not exactly looking forward to it, but made the appointment for early March, no sense putting it off. Planning to research the heck out of it between now and then, as the more useless details I know about any medical procedure the calmer I am while it’s happening.

Throwing Things Out

Threw out so much stuff today. Amazing how I managed to acquire so much stuff I dislike. And it will be even more amazing when I get through the entire process and end up sharing my dwelling only with the things I love.

Moved all my books from one room to the other, clearing the big room so that the carpet cleaning person can actually clean the high traffic areas tomorrow. Got rid of more books while I did that. There’s a sense of déjà vu here because I was doing the same thing – cleaning in advance of the carpet cleaning – back in September 2013, but it’s different this time as I am ok with throwing things in the garbage rather than trying to find each item a perfect home. Also because this time I am not stopping until all the crap is gone.

It was another week of no eating out M-F, and I considered ordering a pizza for dinner, but the fact is I have plenty of good food in the fridge and I don’t feel like spending money on low quality food.

Going to chill on the couch with some DVDs I got from the library: either the British TV series DCI Banks (season 1) or the Israeli film Cupcakes.

Gently Used Bogu

Carried the week’s momentum into the weekend. Today I got rid of two boxes of books, two bags of clothes, several dozen plastic hangers, even some housewares and costume jewelry. Some of the stuff went to Cath Charities and some to the Sally Ann. Threw out things that were in no shape to be donated, such as an old leather purse that had reached the end of its useful life.

Got rid of the suit I wore to my job interview 10+ years and 70+ lbs ago. For the record, it was a J0nes New York petite size 10. Not going to keep it around until I fit into that size again. With it went many other things, including another suit, a pair of black pumps that were never really comfortable, a ton of exercise clothes, a crinkled skirt, a faux fur coat (size 8), and, after almost two years of holding on to it, a shirt that belonged to my dad.

The book I mentioned in my last post is still around, but I was able to let go of many others. Tomorrow I will tackle DVDs.

E-mailed SnD to see if the kendo club can make good use of my bogu, two unworn hakamas, and a short bokuto. Have no interest in selling them; would much rather some kendoka used them to further their training. Haven’t heard back yet, but if it is a yes I’ll drop everything off later in the week.

It was an emotional day; getting rid of things was not always easy. Towards the end of the day, when I heard the news about the passing of Justice Scalia, things got even more emotional. He was my second favorite Supreme Court Justice and I loved reading his decisions and dissents.

Dealing With Books

Giving up books has always been very hard for me, but the decluttering project will never be finished if I don’t deal with my books. Remember when I bought Hell In A Very Small Place back in 2009? Never finished it, kept it around for 6.5 years hoping to finish it, got annoyed at myself for not finishing it, still feeling like I failed for not finishing it. So much energy invested into an inanimate object. The author died before I was born; it’s not like I could apologize to him directly for not finishing the book. And in any case I’m old enough so that I will never read all the books I want to read, even if I started now and read one a day for the rest of my life.

Took a few books with me to work today and placed them in the staff lounge with a little note saying “free books”. By the end of the day all were gone but one. I’m going to take a few more tomorrow, and discard/donate the ones that remain at end of day. Obviously I can’t do that with all my books, but at least I can get some momentum going so that the removal process can begin in earnest.

Got home from work today and did nothing. Sat on the couch and wasted time on the internet. Had a phone call that stressed me out, but there’s really nothing I can do about it, so I have to turn my focus elsewhere. Finally made myself get up and chop vegetables for tomorrow’s lunch. Felt better after doing something, however small.

Eating the Pantry

Left work promptly at the end of the day, returned the cable modem at the ISP storefront, went to C0stco and bought cucumbers and multicolored peppers, got home and prepped lunches for Thursday and Friday, did two loads of laundry, poached 2 lbs of chicken breast, packed up a box of books to discard. Amazing what one can accomplish when one plans ahead and when one does not take work home.

Working my way through the canned fish supplies in the pantry; I have tuna, salmon, sardines… The lunch I made for the next two days is salmon salad: salmon, mayo, dill, lemon juice, diced red pepper. Skimmed through a bunch of recipes and those seemed to be the most frequently mentioned ingredients. Have enough Israeli salad for tomorrow’s lunch, and Friday will just be chopped veggies because I won’t have time tomorrow to make a large batch of salad. Add a can of soda (LaCroix sparkling H20) and a yogurt, and that takes care of lunch. Sometimes I pack olives as well. Made the stress-reducing choice to eat at my desk again and avoid the staff lounge.

In the past ten days I’ve only had coffee once, when I went out to breakfast on Sunday. At home I’ve been drinking tea, since I’m also working my way through the loose leaf tea supplies. When I was visited Chicago last year I bought some Yunnan Noir at the Adagi0 store, and it is my current morning tea; love watching the leaves unfurl as it steeps. When I get home from work I make some lapsang souchong. It’s an old favorite of mine and it is a really nice way to relax after work.

Nothing to report on the exercise front. Focusing on consistency of food prep, home cooking, and incremental decluttering, and there’s only so much I can handle at one time. And that’s ok.

Two Days In

And so far so good (she said cautiously).

Took lunch to work both yesterday and today, and Wednesday’s lunch is packed and ready to go in the fridge. Spent no money on non-grocery food, not even $0.60 for a drink out of the vending machine. Stayed out of the staff lounge and ate at my desk instead while reading some interesting articles. This had a noticeable positive impact on the rest of my day because I wasn’t expending energy dealing with irrelevant stuff, and I was able to accomplish a few items on the to-do list.

Left work promptly at the end of the day and ran a errands. Replenished groceries: mayo for tuna and chicken salad, yogurt, lemons, bread. Dropped off a package at the UPS store, returning an item that Amaz0n had sent me by mistake. By mistake I mean that I didn’t order it, and when I called them to inquire what this party game was doing at my door, they had no record of sending it to me or of anyone gifting it to me. (Yes, I know that legally I can keep the thing, but it feels wrong to me.)

The cable modem arrived and the install went fine. The customer service rep was helpful, and my bill looks better now without the rental charge. Packed up the old modem to take back to the internet service provider tomorrow.

Weight on Monday morning was 206 lbs.