Monday, May 24, 2010

how one becomes a hoader ....

i have always believed that the minute i throw something out because i thought i wouldn't need it or hadn't used it in eons, i will suddenly need it. and today i proved that point. a little while ago, i gave away a bag of stuffing. i didn't think i would need it. figured i was past the pillow making and/or stuffed toy making stage of my life. so i gave it away. i had used a smidgeon of it to make a muffin shaped lion for my daughter and figured that was the end of that.

but said daughter has been chatting about owls a lot lately. this is significant for a few reasons. first of all, her grandmother (my mom) who passed away 22 years ago this june, loved owls. anything with owls. so i had this plethora of owl items in my house that my father basically told me to get rid of after she died and i couldn't bring myself to throw away because they were my mom's. this was probably the beginning of my semi-hoarder stage. at any rate, i kept the ones that had a huge sentimental attachment, and gave a few of the others to a then friend (who was like a sister to me) but who later turned on me during my divorce (go figure). so the fact that said daughter, who bears her grandmother's name as her middle name, and who i wanted so desperately to have the same sort of relationship with as my mom, likes owls is to me -- some sort of sign.

so after i made the little muffin lion (he wasn't supposed to be a muffin -- he was supposed to be an egg cozy but something was off in the pattern and he ended up being too big), i started looking for owl cozies (i never did find one) or little amigurumi (which literally translated means little knitted or crocheted stuffed doll or something close to that) owl that i could make her for graduation. after all, owls r a big symbol of graduation and becoming wise, etc.

i found a pattern and put it aside thinking it wouldn't take long. amigurumi animals r usually pretty small and don't take even a full ball of yarn most of the time. the other day in my cleaning, i found the pattern and decided to start on it. thinking i could probably finish it quickly. then i read the pattern -- 10.5 inches high. right, well, then ... let's get to work.

it hasn't taken me all that long, although its hard on the eyesight as its all done in single crochet with an F hook -- so old eyes have a tough time with that. but now here i am needing to stuff this 10.5 inch high thing and i have no stuffing. and i'm kicking myself for having given it away, because its not cheap stuff. and i have enough plastic shopping bags that i could stuff it with that, but then it would make crunching noises when she cuddled it and she would hate that, so it wouldn't be a very fond reminder of her mom when she's away at college.

now i've proved my point about not throwing things away because eventually u will need them and then what will u do?? of course, proving my point doesn't help me at all with the lack of stuffing issue -- so off to joann's i go ....

UPDATE: I actually found a bag of stuffing in the closet of the spare bedroom -- so was saved from buying one at Joann's. however, i had to go there to buy eyes to finish the owl. and here's the finished product!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

motel living ....

regardless of what ppl tell u, motel/hotel (i still don't know the difference) living is NOT fun. sure, its nice to have clean towels delivered everyday but the cheaper hotels and motels have gone with the "throw the towel on the floor and we'll give u a clean one, but hang it up and its ur's till hell freezes over" philosophy in order to conserve energy (the maid's and the earth's simultaneously). contrary to popular belief, although i might well be on my way to hoarder-hood, i'm not a slob and no amount of wanting a new towel will entice me to throw a towel on the floor. they don't change the sheets on a daily basis anymore either -- or even remake ur bed for u. if u don't make ur bed, forget about it, it will not be made when u come back later. its all about conserving water (and pay for housekeeping services i imagine-- if they don't do it, they don't get paid for the time). i get it because honestly, do u put up clean towels every day at ur house? we wash our's every three days. my theory was (and still is) that ur drying off a clean body, so how dirty can the towel get? its not a big deal and if it helps to save the environment by using less water, i'm all for it. i just wish the towels weren't white ....

when i lamented to some friends that we were going to a motel for a period of time as yet undetermined, they were curious as to y i was not exceedingly happy about this prospect -- after all, complimentary breakfast and clean towels every day were worth it -- right? however, they didn't count on the "hey not every day at this place" theory, plus they didn't see all the inconvenience that living in a hotel can cause in one's daily routine.

so, here's just a smidgen of what happens while living in a motel. first of all, u have to plan meals that can be microwaved (if ur poor like we r and can't afford to even eat out at McD's dollar menu every night -- that still cost us over $10 the one and only night we did it). yes, breakfast is complimentary, but if ur not a real breakfast person (which, let's face it, someone who picks at a small bowl of DRY honey nut cheerios really isn't), then it seems like a gargantuan waste. a better meal to be complimentary might well be dinner for someone like my daughter and i. luckily for me, my ex-husband works some nights and offered up his stove when he was working so i can actually make real meals and not that heavily processed junk they tout as TV dinners. but we do like the waffles and the eggs and the bacon (or sausage) that is offered, so we eat it figuring that it will stave off hunger till supper time.

now to go along with the microwave cooking u will inevitably have to do, u then have to bring things to cook in -- which means glass or plastic, and things to eat off of like plates and forks and knives and spoons and cups. and of course, when ur me, u bring the real deal so that u can wash and not throw out, which then means bringing tea towels to lay or dry things with and dish washing supplies. and, of course, there are still things u can't cook in a microwave (ground beef or chicken naming a few) so then the creativity becomes about what u can make without having those meats in it.

then there's the whole where am i gonna do laundry thing and when ur poor, coin operated laundromats just don't cut it -- plus, there is the whole issue of i use all free products when i do laundry due to allergies, and some ppl don't, so am i washing in a machine that someone just put a ton of smelly stuff in and therefore, my things will be unwearable. again, luckily the ex said i could use his machine. i'm hoping i don't have to because he has one of those high-end front loaders and i know they don't use the same detergents as my old top loader and well, who wants to be responsible for messing up someone else's washing machine?

add to this the need for a computer and printer (for the daughter who's a senior and has a bunch of end-of-school year work to do). and if i'm gonna be stuck in a motel room every day for over a week, then i need to have projects to work on -- so i had to bring some yarn for crocheting and some scrapping supplies to work on said daughter's graduation scrapbook. and taking into account that i'm not "allowed" to go back to my apartment for anything, we must make sure we have enough of everything!

clothes, hair dryers, toothbrushes, shampoos, soaps, all those little personal items don't even begin to scratch the surface of what we needed to bring to this motel.

still, it wouldn't be so bad if it weren't so cold in the room (the blower runs ALL the time, but the temperature vascillates between really cold and warm), or the beds weren't so soft, which practically guarantees waking up with a stiff back when ur way over the hill and things r stiff under the best of conditions. we have a TV that doesn't turn itself off (like our's does -- don't ask) although the channels r much more limited than what we have at home. we have internet -- which is a tad slower than our's, but still its internet and if i didn't know the difference it wouldn't matter much. and there r two beds so that i can sprawl and not wake up the daughter -- although sleeping and living in the same small room presents its own challenges for her (i snore, i chew too loudly, there's nowhere to go to get a break from me -- except the bathroom , i'm sure the list is of historic proportions). i can't blame her -- she's a teen. this is her last year, last month, last few weeks of high school. she shouldn't have to be displaced during this period of her life -- but this is the hand that we've been dealt and she knows our lives have not been perfect. that which does not kill us makes us stronger -- right?

so lest u think this is just another one of my complaining sessions, its not. i'm just trying to make a point that motel/hotel living is not the glamourous thing that ppl make it out to be. we're making the best of a not perfect situation -- something we've learned to do quite well over the past 6 years. someday we will look back at this experience and marvel at it, maybe even laugh a little. and the best part is that it was another hurdle we jumped successfully. with each new hurdle we learn and grow. its all part of the great big plan....

Sunday, May 9, 2010

spools of thread ....

i have this antique coats and clarks spool cabinet that had been my mom's. its made from oak, consisting of two drawers, and has coats o.n.t. and spool cotton painted in black over what appears to be gold leafing on the two drawers -- sort of like the one in the photo. one of the drawers has a little square wooden tray and the other drawer has wooden dividers so that the spools of thread can be organized neatly. its really a neat little cabinet and i've used it for years, especially when i had my sewing business.

the problem with this cabinet is that the drawer with the dividers is really too small for today's spools of thread, unless u buy the guttermann thread -- of which i only have a few. you see, in the days when this cabinet was made, thread came on small wooden spools. i have a few of them from an old sewing box my grandma had -- and they fit quite nicely in the drawer. but the ones of today are huge and don't fit at all. so i ended up putting many of my spools into one of those plastic shoe box containers -- which, if u know anything about sewing and thread and fabric, is not good for them -- but that's where they are. and while cleaning out the kitchen to have them rip apart my wall -- i found that box of thread under the cedar hope chest of my mom's. i guess i had forgotten where i put it.

a couple of weeks ago i was looking for a particular color of thread to fix something and i couldn't find what i was looking for and yet, i knew that i had at one time owned that color of thread. it was frustrating. but this is what happens when u live in a tiny apartment and come to it complete with all ur belongings, and some belongings of those who have come and gone before u. its just the nature of the beast. u don't have room for everything, yet u have a hard time parting with things and so u find whatever nook or cranny where it will fit that u think u might remember where it is when u need it. which, of course, doesn't happen. and thus it was with the thread when i needed it.

but back to the thread cabinet. i got to thinking about the fact that if the spools of thread of today were the same size as the ones of yesterday that i wouldn't have had an issue finding the color i wanted because i would have known exactly where it was in the first place. so i'm blaming the thread companies. i mean truly -- who needs that much of one color of thread. 250 or 300 yards of it. even if ur sewing a complete garment u probably won't use all of it. then ur stuck with this huge spool with a little thread on it and u don't want to throw it out because what if u get a rip in the thing u just created and need to fix it?

so now u have this dilemma about where to store this huge spool of thread and granted, not everybody has a spool cabinet like i do, and they will resort to putting the spool somewhere where they hope they will be able to find it (like i did), when they need it.

so when did the need for larger spools of thread come into play. i mean truly, think about the size of the garments that ladies used to wear -- yards and yards and yards of fabric and intricately sewn bodices and sleeves with delicate lace or elaborate beads attached to them -- all needing to be sewn on by hand. surely they must have gone through a lot of spools of thread for one garment when u consider the size of the spools. as dresses got shorter and less intricate handwork was involved, surely the size of the spool of thread should have gotten smaller -- not larger.

i don't have an answer for this. i haven't researched it enough to know the answer. i just find it frustrating that my lovely antique oak spool cabinet is practically going to waste because the drawer that is meant to house my spools, doesn't accommodate the size of today's spools...

Monday, May 3, 2010

packing -- yuck!

i need packing boxes....

for the third time since the 5.5 years i have lived in this apartment, i am having to pack up all the stuff in the kitchen.

what u need to know about me is that i absolutely hate packing and unpacking stuff. i have moved so many times in my life so far that i really don't want to move stuff any more. when i was a kid we moved three times. then i moved out of my home and into my brother's in texas. while in texas i moved three more times. then i moved up to NH to get married and we moved shortly before the wedding (two more times). then the now ex got a job in buffalo and we moved again. then he lost the job and we moved to PA with my folks until he got a job in Florida. we were there a year and he lost that job and we moved back to NH. then i got pregnant and we moved again, and then he lost his job with the college so we had to move out of college housing and into a regular apartment. then i got pregnant with our second child and we moved into the duplex where he still lives and then we had the divorce and i moved here.

and since i've been here i have had to pack up the entire kitchen and put it into the livingroom right before a trip to a family reunion in PA (that was 2 years after i moved in). then three summers ago i had to pack up the entire contents of my apartment so they could drag it out onto the lawn for two days and redo the floors. and now i'm packing stuff up so that it doesn't get filled with fiberglass and the smells of foam insulation -- although idk how i will keep boxed things like cereal and mac and cheese, etc. from not smelling like foam since it will probably permeate the entire apartment but whatever.

so now i am on the hunt for boxes. and even this irritates me because i can't afford to go and buy really nice moving boxes from the u-haul place and even if i could, i would hate to put them in the recycling when i was done with them because in all probability i'll need them again. but i really don't have anywhere to store them. plus, when i pack up the kitchen, i really don't have anywhere to store that stuff either.

yes, it is going to be a big inconvenience in my life because when they move me to the hotel, i'm going to have to take all my product with me, all my yarns, my computer, printer, packing supplies for shipping product, etc. and that doesn't include all the food and clothing and laundry detergents, etc. that i'll have to take. it won't be pretty.

do i sound whiney and complainy -- well -- i am. and i admit that i don't like change very much. i don't like sleeping in a bed that's not mine (and might well have bed bugs since that seems to be the "thing" now), on sheets that haven't been washed in perfume/dye free detergent. or using towels that are too small to dry anything. or not having a stove to cook on and needing to buy frozen dinners and eat them. or drinking water that hasn't been put through a brita filter. yep, i'm spoiled rotten i suppose.

u just get into a routine and its easy to stay there and not want to deviate from it. that's pretty much who i am ... and it appears that i'm stuck there. so whining and complaining seem to be the order of the day when it comes to having to pack up and move out.... so please forgive me ... its a disruption that wasn't necessary and the timing couldn't have been worse for my daughter since its the end of her senior year. but then what i have had to say has had little effect on the "management". so we forge ahead -- as uncomfortable and inconvenient as it is...

Saturday, May 1, 2010

impossible dream

yesterday was a really tough day for me in a lot of ways -- which i won't go into because quite frankly who needs to hear anymore of my junk ...

i got to thinking last night that i'm not just dreaming an impossible dream -- i'm living it. sometimes it feels like nothing is ever smooth (i'm sure something is, but i never really feel like the majority of my life is smooth). and i look at around at other ppl and they seem so relaxed and things just seem to flow for them -- and i have to admit that a lot of them r non-believers in papa god. and then i say, "hmmm what is wrong with this picture?"

well, what's wrong with it is that papa god never promised that things would be easy. as a matter of fact, it was pretty much a guarantee that if u were a believer, things might well be really hard a lot of the time -- because if ur doing something right for papa god, the enemy is going to be at u from all sides trying to sway u to his side.

so when things get hard around here (and i'm talking what feels like unbearably hard), i tend to stop and re-evaluate and go, yep, that's the enemy, i must be doing something right. and with papa god's help and guidance, things rn't always impossible -- as a matter of fact they r very possible. so i'll keep fighting the fight here for the neighbors' rights no matter how hopeless it might seem on the outside ... because some day i hope that the world can see that its easier to get along in life if we try to communicate and understand each other and not put ourselves above others ....