Before :: Better

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

As part of my efforts to be more organized, I've thought a lot about how I want each space in my home to function. This, I hear from the many organization books/blogs/articles I've read, should always be the first step. So I did this and came up with a plan that I've slooooooowly been working toward implementing for forever (I'm impatient with myself, have I mentioned this?). Every last closet & nook in my house has an assigned purpose and I just need to make it all happen. My living room, for instance, is broken into 3 distinct spaces: TV lounge area, reading nook, work space. I have nearly all the pieces for these spaces but I've been missing a key storage piece that was key to my ultimate vision. Until now.

My mom picked up this dresser at an auction for $1.

Yes, ONE DOLLAR. Sure, it looks a bit wrecked but it's solid construction & clean lines appealed to me. So I asked her to give me it and she sold it to me for $10. I have been looking for a similar piece for months but something was always off... wrong color wood, weird added detailing, wrong size, or insanely overpriced. But, for the price, I knew this chipped & dull dresser was something I could work with. And here it is now:

Not bad, right? I made a couple of trips to Lowes Depot & now it's my $50 dresser. Heh. Some sanding, filling, staining, polishing, and waxing can do magical things. And, the big splurge ($25), the new simple knobs, really pulled it together. It's hardly perfect (don't look too close!!), but it will serve it's purpose and it looks great in it's new home. I'm pretty happy with it and it's inspiring me to get rest of the room in order. Now that I have all the pieces, I can finally put this puzzle together.

Secret Paths

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My neighbor, Ruby, has lived in her house for over 50 years. She's adorable and I love her. She wins those Beautification Awards from KAB, yet she's very supportive of my grand landscaping vision. Which, so far, just means that I tear up my yard / make things look worse. She makes her visiting son go outside and tell me to put on a jacket. She also tells her son things like, "You should see the things Michelle does! She's always working on something. And all this after she works all day! Women can really do anything these days." Hee! It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy and feministy. Her son also gives me the scoop on the man who lived in my house before me, what the house looked like, when he finished the basement, when he planted the shrubs that line the back yard, etc. He's a valuable resource and someday I hope to learn his name (isn't that horrible? I also don't know the name of another neighbor that I talk to all the time... after so many conversations, it's just awkward to ask). But the greatest thing he's ever told me was about a "secret" path in the neighborhood.

He remembered the path from when he was growing up here and, one day when he was visiting, decided to check it out again. It's still there, so he explored it and then let me in on the secret. OK, it's not really a secret but I've lived in the neighborhood for 3 years and driven by the spot countless times and never noticed it. So it *feels* all secret and awesome like that. It's actually just a neighborhood gateway to one of Akron's fabulous MetroParks. And I think the whole thing is quite magical. The path itself is not on any map but it's clearly a path. The entrance, on a small lot in between two houses, is marked by a chain and 3 small signs (no parking, no hunting, no dumping). I contemplated exploring it many times but kept letting it slip from my mind. But, thankfully, Ruby's son visits every weekend and kept reminding me.

Saturday I was in the mood for a hike. So I rang up (texted) my usual nature exploration partner & it was on. It was time to finally explore this secret neighborhood treasure. I was worried that it would be lame. But, holy cow!! It's more amazing than I ever could have imagined. It's a trail to the main area of the park (with more trails)!! Like, right this way, folks! Here is how you get to the park without driving. You just walk! In the woods! It's like a dream. I have always wanted to live somewhere where I could just roll out of bed and go hiking without having to drive somewhere. And I did all along (well, for 3 years).

And it's a good hike, too. It's approximately 1.5 miles to get to the main park, with a few miles of trails from there. And since that park has trails that lead to the Towpath (which leads to other parks & other trails), I can pretty much hike all day if I want! Whoa!! You cannot believe how happy I am about this discovery.

Very happy.

books that intrigue me

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I have a ridiculous number of books at home waiting to be read. But I am always bookmarking or wishlisting more... I love to read. I love filling my brain with new ideas, new theories, new facts, etc. I'm 99% sure that I'm a scanner. Possibly I also have ADD or no focus or something. But the point is: stuff interests me. Lots of stuff. I have a special hidden wish list on Amazon called Books I Want to Read. Heh. On this list are books about the worldwide debt threat, our food culture, feminism, Star Wars, ballet, memoirs, historical stuffs, moss (yes, moss... the stuff that grows on trees), and more. I'm a genuinely interested person (juries out on whether I am an interesting person... I think I am but it's not my call). Here are a few books that have piqued my interest recently...

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking (Susan Cain)
I'm an introvert. I'm not shy. Those are different things. Things like your typical small talk w/strangers are so incredibly painful for me that I avoid all situations where it might be an issue. This conflicts with my strong desire to interact with other humans. I'm interested in why introverts are important & how to overcome some of the things that keep us down. So that I may (finally) convince everyone of my awesomeness. I'm kidding... kind of.

7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess (Jen Hatmaker)
I like to do little experiments with my life... it's all part of an effort to create better habits or figure out the things I like and/or the things that will work best for me. Next month I'm shaking up my sleep schedule (more on that later). I'm equally curious by other people's life experiments. Since I find the over-consumption of, well, everything by our country to be massively disconcerting, this book was added to the list. In it the author tackles "seven areas of over-consumption in the spirit of a fast; a fast from greed, irresponsibility, apathy, and insatiability." Hell yeah, I'm on it.

The Natural Navigator: The Rediscovered Art of Letting Nature Be Your Guide (Tristan Gooley)
I never know which direction I'm facing. OK, not never. I can handle sunrise & sunsets. But when the GPS or directions tell me to "head north," I usually respond by yelling obscenities while trying not to crash the car. Seems like this might be a useful book for me.

The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued their Bosses and Changed the Workplace (Lynn Povich)
Feminism stuffs! I don't know anything about said revolt other than what the title reads. But I am hardcore pro-equality on all fronts so anything that moved the needle toward fairness has me interested.

Why Have Kids?: A New Mom Explores the Truth About Parenting and Happiness (Jessica Valenti)
I use to be super positive that I wanted kids. Then I was pretty positive that I didn't. Now, sometimes, I think it would be a good thing and other times it terrifies the bejeesus out of me. Since I'm hurtling through the childbearing years, I think I should figure it out already. Maybe this book will provide some insight.

There you have it. A small sampling of Books I Want to Read. 

Is there a juice cleanse for life?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I've been thinking about what I want to do with this blog. But like every other thought, it's stuck in a traffic jam in my brain. I want my blog to be about the things that inspire me / intrigue me / fulfill me / happy unicorns blah blah etc. But I have to admit, stuff just sucks right now. Life is both overwhelming and underwhelming. Specifically, I am overwhelmed by how underwhelming my life is at this juncture. I'm on a "this is not my beautiful life" Ferris wheel and I can't get off the ride. And I hate Ferris wheels.


So what's a girl to do? I don't know. I can't figure it out. I am perpetually confused and chronically dissatisfied. And unfortunately, when I'm feeling like this, I embrace all my bad habits. Which, of course, bring me down more. I could take a long walk to clear my head. Instead I'll sit on the couch, having wine & olives for dinner, and watch 10 episodes of whatever show I'm into that day (side note: Parks & Recreation is a really great show). Or sometimes it's chocolate milk and potato chips. I know all the things I should do. But I feel like I've been trying all those things for the last 10 years and ZOMG when is it, any of it, going to start working?!

What's hilarious is that I'm actually a closet optimist. No one ever believes that because of the matter of fact way I talk about things. People die, people lie, people disappoint you, you disappoint people. That's kinda my thing... ALL the people are irretrievably fucked up. And I believe that will always be the truth. We won't ever be perfect. I don't even believe in perfect. But we can all be better. We can learn, grow, evolve, and yes, change. But only if we choose to. And most people don't. Heh. That probably doesn't sound very optimistic. But I swear it is. I never give up on people. I have tried to give up on people but I literally can't. It's kind of endlessly frustrating, I'll admit. Probably for them too. Maybe I'm not an optimist... maybe I'm just a sucker? I don't know. I can't figure this all out in one blog post! ;)

But back to my doldrums... I'm stuck right now. And I don't know how to unstick myself. I know I need to. I need to, in the words of Bob Dylan, "shake some windows and rattle some walls." But I'm a bit paralyzed by just how much I want to change. And it feels like everyone around me is going thru the same thing. So where do I turn? I joked on Twitter last year that I what I need is a combo psychiatrist / life coach / philosopher... but I don't think that's a real thing. I don't know what to do. I suppose it's OK to admit that every once in awhile. Right?* I'm not giving up. I'm not admitting defeat. I'm just laying it all out there. I am confused and fearful and unsettled by it all. And that's OK.

Sometimes, that's just what I need.

*Somebody validate me immediately!! Heehee.

fresh. start.

Monday, September 17, 2012

I was not feeling the love for my blog so scrapped all the old posts to start fresh. Again. That's just how I do.

The posts have not gone to blog heaven though. Most of the archives were from my two previous blogs so they are still accessible here: 33 etc. & {enjoy} more bliss. I also ported the remaining 25 posts over to {enjoy} more bliss.

This will still be my blog going forward. I'm just not sure where I'm taking it yet. ;)

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