Project 333: summer selection

This was originally part of my previous post but it was getting crazy-long and rambling so I decided to split it into two posts. Forgive me if this post is still a bit disjointed. 

I pulled out my clothing storage totes a few weeks ago and happily stored away the last remnants of winter.  I took out all of the summer clothes, sorted them quickly and immediately added some of them to my current wardrobe, even before July began. (We have been having a lovely summer and I love summer clothes!) I set aside a few things that I probably should have donated long ago.

And then I got really busy.

So for the last few weeks I have been living with a fairly full closet, somewhere between 40 and 50 items hanging out in there. There weren’t many spring items coming out of rotation, but there were quite a few summery things added in. Having more things in the closet didn’t make it easier to get dressed. If anything, I felt like it made my choices a little slower each morning. I was glad to have certain items available to me though, especially some new pieces I recently acquired.

Late in June I was given 2 nice purple tanks with a little gathered detail in the front. They are the kind of thing I was talking about to add a little “fancy” to my everyday tops (although I have postponed searching for the fancy date night/casual chic top that I really want). Luckily they were too short for someone else, which meant they were just right for me. I’ve worn each of those tops a few times since I got them and even though they overlap slightly with my lilac tank, I think they will be useful, and if push comes to shove I will choose them over the plain lilac tank.

new thingsAs I mentioned in my last post, last month I also replaced my knee-length knicker shorts with a new pair of stretch cotton capri shorts, a little longer and looser. This was a straight one in, one out exchange, but the new shorts go with a lot more tops than the old ones so they should be very useful. I’m going to avoid grey bottoms in the future after realizing how many grey tops I have.

So for the past few weeks I’ve been swimming in clothes (relatively speaking!) and I haven’t had much time to do a proper assessment.

unpacking the storage

summer stuff coming out of storage, too many tshirts and so many dresses!

Most of my summer pieces in storage were either dresses or tshirts. I have a big pile of tshirts that I really have no intention of wearing again anytime soon. I think I will send the plain ones to the thrift store. The patterned ones have some sentimental value – not much, but just enough that I hesitate to let them go. (Of all the things I’ve ever donated, several printed tshirts are the only things I’ve really ever regretted getting rid of, especially when I made my tshirt quilt and didn’t have my favorite designs to go into it. But then again, I wasn’t all that cut up about it.) There are about half a dozen tshirts that will probably go back into storage. I’ve only added one tshirt to my wardrobe for thr summer and I’m taking a couple of others out, putting them in my closet “emergency” tote along with my swimwear, sarongs, and a few other extras.

emergencydressesI have also set these 3 dresses aside as an “emergency” special occasion capsule. The first is great for summer weddings, the second would be more appropriate for a work-related event, the third is more appropriate for a nighttime event. I don’t anticipate actually needing any of these dresses, but they are lovely, they fit well, and it makes more sense to have them hanging up and ready to wear than for them to be in storage. I have them on the other side of my closet so they aren’t in the way of the daily “which dress shall I wear?” process.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been looking at what I have and setting a few things aside to be stored. I put away a couple of skirts and probably still have too many out. I have more dresses than I really need. A few of my dresses are not looking too good on me this year – I have gained a little weight and although they are wearable, I don’t think I’m going to choose to wear them. I have plenty of other options. I tried them all on one day hoping one would work, but I just didn’t feel great. I wore something completely different. If that happens again I will put them away for the summer or more likely, add them to my growing donate pile. Why are you holding onto them now? you ask. They’re my 3 shortest, most summery, breezy dresses. They were cheap, but they are fun. They’re different from the other dresses I have. I like them and I want them to fit! But sooner or later I’m probably going to get rid of at least 2 of them.

I’ve been feeling resistant lately.

I was thinking about how I started P333 last summer and how hard it was to get anywhere near 33 items. I don’t like having things I could be wearing packed away. This has always been my point of resistance with this project, and it’s fairly easily overcome by just doing it anyway. I have learned that I get over it once the stuff is out of sight. But I’m always trying to whittle things down to the point where I have everything for the season out and part of my 33.

I also considered whether 33 might not be the right number for me, but I couldn’t really see why it wouldn’t be. I don’t have any special circumstances that make 33 difficult. I’m just resisting because I want to keep all my pretty lovely things, even if they don’t fit quite right or make me feel great. Clothes are hard!

While I was preparing these 2 posts I had a chance to really think about my wardrobe, and I think I’m doing just fine overall. I took photos of pretty much all of my summer clothes, and it wasn’t too much. I worked on my spreadsheet and started creating my list for this season, and again, it wasn’t too much. It might not be exactly 33 (depending on what counts and what doesn’t) and I’m still making exclusions (I’m only counting clothing, not shoes and accessories), but I think I’m in a pretty good place with just the right balance of discomfort (challenge) and room to do better.

You can see pictures of all my clothes here.

And see my spreadsheet where I track my clothes here.

Thanks for stopping by!



Posted in less, Project Life, stuff | 2 Comments

Project 333: June review

It’s the end of the spring season of Project 333 and the beginning of the summer season. Another chance to choose what I’m going to wear! And another chance to review what I’ve been wearing and how well my wardrobe is working.

I did the same review that I’ve been doing for the last 2 months {x} and I have the spreadsheet shared {here} and as usual I was surprised at how little I wear each item of clothing.

You’ll be pleased to see I finally took photos! It took me a while, but I found a good spot in the house to hang stuff up and take pictures without too much of a color cast :) oh how I envy people with a big white wall or a full length mirror for taking outfit photos!

My most worn items, with 6 or 7 wears each, were my navy cardigan, my black cardigan, my grey sweatshirt, my striped tank dress, my denim skirt, my sweatpants, my tanks (4 items) and my leggings (2 items, although I think I only wore one pair, my skirted-capris). These are all very basic pieces, mostly the kinds of things I grab when I don’t want to think about what I’m wearing. They’re also the kinds of things I wear when I’m sick, which I was for part of the month. I spent 2 weeks at home with the pug while she was recovering from surgery, and for a week of that I had a bad cold, so getting dressed was a very low priority. I wouldn’t have gotten dressed at all except that I had to go out to walk the pug and do my hen-sitting duties.

mostwornbasicsThe navy cardigan was something I pulled out of storage part way through the spring season, and it has been extremely useful. I think I wore brightly colored cardis more in past years, but I’m in a more neutral zone lately. The striped grey and black tank dress was a bonus choice as well - unflattering but very useful on hot days and if I need something to wear with capris for working in the garden or around the house.

Funny thing about the grey sweatshirt – it has a star next to it on my sheet because I didn’t think it was very nice or useful and I was thinking about tossing it. But for the last 3 months I have consistently worn it more than once a week. If I didn’t have it I figured I would be wearing it’s fraternal twin, the pink sweatshirt. But would I? Hot pink just isn’t right every day. Grey isn’t my best (most flattering) color, but there are a lot of days when it’s my comfort zone.

nextmostwornMy next most-worn items were my pink striped tshirt, my lilac tank, my pink sweatshirt, my grey striped maxi skirt, and my black and white long sleeved tshirt. The long sleeved tee was probably part of my early June sick wardrobe. I haven’t worn it lately. It’s been too hot :) BTW that pink sweatshirt is impossible to photograph well! It’s a much truer hot pink than this picture would suggest, closer to the color of the striped tee. Oh, and those stripes might be doing crazy things on your screen. Sorry.


I have been “splitting my wears” when it comes to my dresses. Late in the month I added a couple of summer dresses as part of my changeover (I pulled them out about a week early and put away my winter wear) so I now have too many dresses hanging in my closet. They are so pretty, but I think I should narrow my choices down a bit, or accept that I’m unlikely to wear each one more than a couple of times a month. That might be OK, as long as having so many choices doesn’t make life more difficult. I wore 7 different dresses once or twice each last month. I had two dresses that I didn’t wear, at least among the dresses that were on my spring list. I have several more dresses hanging up that I haven’t worn yet this year, some of which may not fit very well any more. I have sorted a couple of dresses into the donate pile already.

bluecaprisHalf way through the month I replaced my grey “knicker” shorts with a pair of slate blue capris. They don’t fit quite as well as I had hoped and I doubt that they are flattering, but they are very useful and comfortable and I wore them 6 times in 2.5 weeks. I would have worn them once or twice more if they had been clean – as it was I had to wash them specifically so I could wear them again. I even wore them the same day I bought them. So obviously they are meeting an important need. I found them especially useful for the days I spent helping with a decluttering project in someone else’s home (ie. I couldn’t wear my pajama capris!) I might need to find a better fitting, better looking version of these pants. I learned that blue shorts are much more useful than grey shorts – I have several grey tops that looked horrible with my old grey shorts but they worked perfectly with my new blue pants. I will remember that lesson for future bottoms purchases.

I’m looking closely at the things that got no wears. Some were just unseasonably warm. Others I have worn in the first few days of July, so they are OK. There are a few things that go together that I haven’t worn because of the way June turned out – a lot fewer fun days and a lot more hard work days. But I’ve got a couple of things that might be on their way out. I always keep a bag in my closet to collect donations. It lets me make a quick choice, but I can change my mind and pull things out if I regret my choice. I rarely do.

I’ve started a post to follow very soon about my new selections for summer. I’m giving myself a week or two to whittle my summer wardrobe down to a reasonable level. Giving myself the same exclusions as I’ve been working with so far (not counting bags, shoes, jewelry, counting loungewear if I wear it all the time) I seem to be right around 40 items right now. I’ll work on it little by little and see what I’m really wearing.

It’s only just starting to be consistently hot, as is typical in the Pacific NW. I won’t be wearing my sweatpants at all for the next 3 months. I guess I should put them away. I’ve already stashed my sweaters away. Next year I probably won’t keep them out for the spring season at all. It’s always tricky to know what is going to work in the spring. We’ve had an unusually lovely spring this year with lots of warmth and sun. Who knows if this is our new normal or just an anomaly.

Back soon!

Thanks for stopping by,




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Independence Day: A minimalist holiday?

Happy day after the 4th of July! …known to most of the world as the 5th of July, which this year is also known as Saturday.


I tried out my camera’s fireworks mode for a few shots – this was the best. I love it!

I had a thought yesterday, while I was listening to “bombs bursting in air,” about the difference between this holiday and some of the others that this country celebrates. I wondered if Independence Day is one of the more minimalist of American holidays, at least as they are stereotypically celebrated. (I am about to make some generalizations, and I’m not sure if I’m going to conclude that my initial thought was right or wrong.)

The Fourth of July is about a few things – the peak of summer for some regions of the US (or the hope of summer coming tomorrow for the Pacific Northwest), patriotism, grilling and other casual feasting, and fireworks. Lots of fireworks. Most municipalities regulate the sale of fireworks very heavily (if they don’t ban them outright) so that they’re only available for a couple of weeks before the holiday. Within a few days of the 4th, most people have run out of fireworks and can’t get any more for another year. Fireworks are one of the few things Americans enjoy in a similar way to the Japanese love of cherry blossoms – as something beautiful, but short lived and ephemeral.


Fireworks are very in-the-moment. If you look down or look away, you miss them. They don’t last long – you can use up hundreds of dollars of fireworks in mere minutes. If you don’t pay attention when you’re lighting them, you can make a mistake that might cost you a hand or an eye. You don’t collect them or hoard them (well, you really shouldn’t!) and when you light them off you can’t help but share them with everyone around you.


We spent yesterday with family on the waterfront, feasting on burgers, freshly caught crab, sweetcorn, and salad (and at least a dozen other things), sitting around the fire pit wondering how anyone could eat more than 2 s’mores (so sickly), watching other people blow up fireworks. Our beachfront spot gave us wonderful views, so we were content with lighting and sending off some paper lanterns and letting other people entertain us with rockets. Luckily two doors down was a family with a lot of money and a pyromaniac streak (one is a firefighter) so we were treated to the best amateur display anyone could hope for – a 15+ minute non-stop barrage of the most beautiful fireworks. I think they had multiple lighters and had maybe bundled them and planned the whole thing, because it was as good as the shows I used to go to as a kid, and probably somewhat longer. Our host thought they had spent about $10,000, as they seem to most years.

Mimi firepit

So, is that minimalist? It’s sure as hell not frugal! But there was no holding on, no hoarding going on. That money was spent on pure experience. Blink-and-you’ll-miss-it experience. I’m always going to view fireworks as setting fire to money, but then again, I’m the opposite of a pyro. I’m just really glad that other people do it and we get to share in the fun. I don’t need to light any myself.


Giving it some more thought I’ve decided that Memorial Day is the most minimalist major holiday on the American calendar – remembering those who have died serving their country, getting outdoors with family and friends, eating summer food, and it’s always a long weekend (although that’s probably why it’s more popular for sales on mattresses and cheap cars than the Fourth which is always on the 4th, even when that’s a Wednesday). Independence Day is pretty close though.

The best holidays are the ones where you get together with people and eat, with no expectation of gift giving. If Thanksgiving wasn’t such an intensive cooking project for the host I would give it the award for best holiday. But I’m not a fan of Fall or the earnest testimonials of people counting their blessings so it’s never going to be my favorite.

The Sisterhood of the Star Spangled Sweater: genuine, vintage, borrowed

The Sisterhood of the Star Spangled Sweater: genuine, vintage, borrowed from our host’s closet.

I don’t think any American holiday is really minimalist, unless it’s one of those ones that hardly anyone actually notices, but then it’s not really a holiday. But holiday can be minimalist if you choose to strip it down to their barest level. That doesn’t mean eating one s’more and lighting a sparkler with one small American flag in hand. Or Charlie Brown’s stick Christmas Tree.

I think it means:

Getting back to the meaning of the holiday, whatever that might be to you. Being with people who share that feeling. Eating food together that is appropriate to that event. Performing the rituals that make that day different from a normal everyday day.

Maybe borrowing a vintage Star Spangled sweater to wear over your Sketchbook Tour American map tshirt…


We had a fun and happy Fourth of July.

I hope you did too, or at least had a happy Friday if that’s all it was where you live.



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Currently: ideally vs actually

What I should be doing right now:

* planting the plants I’ve been given lately… and especially that one plant I bought over a month ago and still haven’t put in the ground.

* laying out my soaker hoses… I should have done that 2 months ago…

* weeding!! always weeding!!

* writing some blog posts about Project Life and Project 333.

* figuring out my summer Project 333! I put away my winter things and got out my summer things, but I haven’t gone through my summer dresses and chosen which ones I love the most and I haven’t made any decisions about the rest of the excess in my closet. I’m feeling some resistance. I’ll tell you more about it soon.

* writing my stories and memories from my college years… I did one page today, so that’s a better than nothing I guess.

* tidying up, cleaning, cooking meals, taking care of business around the house…

* sitting down with my husband and figuring out for real if there are ways I can help him out with his business.


What I’m actually doing lately:

* walking…! the dog is getting her outings and I’m walking around the neighborhood with my friend a couple of times a week. I’m averaging 9900 steps a day and 18 floors of stairs/hills. I’ve had a few of days over 15,000 steps lately, and yesterday I climbed the equivalent of 65 floors!

* helping someone else deal with some clutter… this is the big thing lately. I might write in more detail about this experience, but for now I will say I have been the middleman in rehoming 6 FULL garbage bags of yarn, one large bag of sewing and knitting tools, and a very heavy pile of Fiesta Ware plates. I helped shift a snow village collection from one room to another. And I’m trying to broker a deal to get rid of a MASSIVE collection of Avon decorative bottles. Please cross your fingers for us that this deal works out!

* getting together with friends… besides my regular walking date, I have had several lovely days visiting with friends. It’s been hectic, but also fun.

For me, any day where I have 2 things on the calendar is a “hectic” day. I know most people wouldn’t call my life hectic at all. But I’m not used to having to squeeze activities and people into my schedule. 

* reading… most recently John Green’s Looking for Alaska, and a funny memoir called Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (although I had to take a break half way through). Right now I’m cringing reading Nicholas Sparks’ awful The Notebook (one of those rare books that might not be better than the movie adaptation? the writing is appalling…) I don’t read a lot each day, but I’ve finished 15 books so far this year. Not great, but not bad. They’ve been pretty good books for the most part.

* feeling amazed that we are exactly half way through 2014 today!


Are you doing what you should be doing?

Or are you doing what you want to be doing?

Or are you all over the place like I am?


Back soon,


Posted in blah blah blah, what I'm about | Tagged | 1 Comment

a simple thing: our lawn

Not all lawns are simple. Lawns are not my favorite thing. I can’t stand the neighborhoods that require a bright green perfectly trimmed lawn in front of every house. I dug up our front lawn. But our back lawn is a very simple thing.

It’s a little bigger than a postage stamp, but not very big. It’s basically square. It has weeds in it. I don’t water or fertilize or chemically treat it in any way. It’s not particularly flat or pretty. The dog uses it as a bathroom. I hang washing over it. From time to time in the summer I even lay out a quilt and sit out on it.

The thing that made me think about it this afternoon was how simple it is to maintain. A few minutes ago I walked out of the basement after putting on the laundry and noticed that the lawn was a little bit long. So, before I went inside, I grabbed the push mower and mowed it. It took maybe 5 minutes. If I had needed to pick up dog poop before I started it would have taken 10 minutes.

push mower

The keys to keeping it simple:

- low standards. I don’t worry about the edging and weeds and all that stuff. From time to time we pull the weeds and clean up around the edges to make it easier to mow it cleanly, but I don’t have to do that every time. And right now it’s messy around the edges, but I just don’t care.

- a small lawn means we only need a human-powered push mower. I would prefer not to have a lawn that requires a motorized mower. The push mower is always ready to run. And it’s a good exercise. Not to mention quiet. And safe. I don’t need to put on proper shoes or ear protection to use it.

- keeping the mower right next to where it gets used. We store it in the basement over the winter when we don’t need to mow, but once it comes out in the spring, it lives on the back patio where it’s ready and waiting to be used. During the spring we sometimes need to mow every 4-5 days. I have no patience for getting things out and putting them away.

- the dog poop bags are easy to grab too – I keep them in a bag on the back porch where they are handy to grab for a quick pick-up anytime. We re-use kitchen plastic bags (bread bags, produce bags) so I keep the bag of bags where it’s easy to keep stocked from the kitchen.

- because it’s so quick to mow I don’t mind doing it right away when I see it getting long. Unless it’s extremely hot and bright, I don’t even need to worry about grabbing a hat. I don’t need to wear special clothes to mow and I don’t usually get especially sweaty doing it (unless it’s a hot and sweaty day anyway).

If it was any more difficult than this I would put off doing it. I am really good at procrastinating. But I very rarely put off mowing the lawn more than a day or two. Usually I tack the task on to something else I’m already doing, like laundry or dog walking.

It’s super simple.

And these are basic principles that can help in so many situations. Keep things where they’re used. Do it now. Better done than perfect. Use simple tools (a knife vs a food processor that takes minutes to retrieve and set up and is difficult to clean). Keep things small.

Of course simple isn’t everything. My front garden is simple in some ways and complicated in others. I keep it as simple as I can – buying plants that don’t need a lot of maintenance, for one thing – but the beauty of the garden is worth the complication. Sometimes I do think it would have been easier to just clean up the front lawn… I could have had a much smaller garden… but I’m probably just saying that because I’ve gotten way behind on my weeding. The good news is that you would hardly notice, because my crazy simple garden hides the problem.

That’s my thought of the day.

Thanks for stopping by.


Posted in garden, less | 2 Comments

fancy top update

You remember how I’ve been looking for a “fancy” top, something with a little more detail, something in more of an “evening” fabric, or with some kind of tailoring or decoration that sets it apart from the tshirts and tanks I currently have?

You might recall that I placed an order from a cheap fast-fashion retailer, hoping to avoid having to go into their store. I thought I might be able to find something that would work… but deep down I was a bit skeptical… of both the possibility that I would be able to get something that would fit and flatter, and that I would be OK with the quality and fabrication…

I was right to be skeptical. I ordered 4 different tops and a flowy cardigan. I tried them all on. Then I refolded them and sent them all back.

my overflowing to-do piles

If I was a fashion blogger I would have figured out my remote shutter thing and taken some pictures to show you why these tops didn’t work on me. I had the package set aside to do something like that. I set it right on top of my pile of “crap to do” which has been cluttering up my sideboard for months. And then I remembered that I’m much more of a simplicity blogger, if I’m going to be labelled. I was going near the post office on Friday, and this retailer has a short 30-day window for returns, and things were already chaotic enough around here with the cone-headed pug situation anyway, so I packed that bag up and got it out of the house!

So, no pictures. But I’ll tell you how it went. The first black top was so long, it hit just above my knee like a dress. Shapeless and see-through. I guess it was supposed to be a tunic…? But it was cut for someone closer to 6 feet tall than 5 feet tall. Another top was actually pretty good. If I hadn’t looked at the back, I would have kept it. It was a sleeveless grey tank, polyester of course, with a small open collar and buttons down the front – something a bit different for me. But the high-low hem thing that everyone is loving right now meant that the hem at the back hit a few inches below the bottom of my bottom. People with big backsides sometimes think that’s flattering, but it’s not. I need something to cut my rear in half. Not a butt-tent! Pass. Another top was ugly and wide and boxy even though I ordered one size down from what the size charts told me to choose. Actually all of the size 12s fit loosely, even though the charts said I should order a 14. That’s one of the reasons why I hate online shopping.

I ordered 2 different sizes of a hot pink rayon top, since it was the only non-polyester top that I was ordering, and it was a good color. Yes, I had hopes for this one. Until I touched it. Rayon is usually soft and flowing, but this was the coarse, sticky, and even more fake-feeling than the polyester. That was a big disappointment. And the color was a coral toned pink, not the clear hot pink I had been promised. By the time I tried it on I was pleased that it hung strangely because I really didn’t want it anyway. That top reminded me of why I really hate online shopping – the first thing I’m drawn to in real life shopping is color, and I run my hand over every fabric before I even really consider the cut or design. If the color or the texture are off, I don’t usually even bother trying a garment on.

The finely knit cardigan was a blended natural/poly fiber that felt really nice. The light blue color was quite pretty. It even fit well, and I was thinking it might work… until I got to the drapey panels in the front. I tried as many different ways of casually tossing the panels over my bust as I could - windswept, hanging, closer together, off to the sides – but they all looked horrible. Or at least, not particularly flattering. And the thought of doing anything while these extra panels of cardigan flopped around was not particularly appealing. Where would they sit while I was sitting eating dinner? I guess I’m not a frou-frou, drapey, kind of girl. Or maybe this just wasn’t the right kind of drape for me.


So I’m back to the drawing board. Or more accurately, I will continue to keep my eye out for a nice top. I haven’t even thought about going shopping in the last couple of weeks. I will eventually find myself in a thrift shop and I will see what I find. One of my thrift shop buddies is on summer break now, so we might hit some good shops. Or I will make an effort to go into the city and see what Nordstrom has.

I don’t really care that much. I  know that I will notice this gap in my wardrobe again, but I’m sure I will deal with it, probably by wearing a dress. That makes me wonder why I’m wasting all this energy. But I think it’s also a sign of my under-shopping tendency, where I avoid buying things I genuinely need because it’s difficult. I’ve been “looking for” winter boots for 4 or 5 years, and have only tried on a couple of pairs. Every year I just give up because the decision is too difficult.

I still have a pink tank top to dye. I had put that off for a while because I couldn’t find a dye pot. But now I’ve decided to use a bucket. Or maybe I have a friend with a top-loading washer that I could borrow. I still have a vague plan to add some embellishment to an existing tank. I could try to figure out something with a scarf to fancy up a plain top. (There are reasons I don’t care much for scarves – they bother my neck muscles, they feel like bibs if you wear them while eating, they look silly with summer clothes – “what, your arms are hot but your neck is cold?!” But maybe I can get past that.) It’s been suggested that I should design and make something myself, but since I still don’t know exactly what I am looking for or what would suit me, I don’t think that’s going to work. But who knows?! Maybe I will have a brainwave.

These blog posts might make it seem like I’m up nights trying to solve this problem. But trust me, I’m not. I don’t even think that “problem” is the right word. It’s just a niggly little thing. But it’s something I can write about. Do you know how hard it is to write posts about not going shopping, not looking at advertising, not getting new things every week, about wearing the same few things every day?! lol. Especially if you want to include pictures!

The good news is that June is half-way done and in a couple of weeks I get to choose a new P333 wardrobe for summer, if I want to. Any day now I’m going to pull down my “emergency” clothing box and see what’s inside – just a couple of dresses, I think. And then I’m going to drag my big tote out from the basement and do the full seasonal switch-over. I have several wintery things that I kept out for the spring transition that I can put away until October (yay!) and I have a few things that might need to get donated.

I think I might do a full inventory of my tote, something to add to my “what I wear” spreadsheet, so that I know what I have in storage. I think I might keep most of my wardrobe the same as it is now. I can’t really think of much that I want to pull out. Just a couple of summery dresses. I’ll let you know how it goes, of course.

Some other random good news:

-I put my name in for the class action suit refund on the Vibram 5-toe shoes. I was just about to donate them anyway, and now I can get a little bit of money back on them. (The company made claims about the shoes that they couldn’t back up – I don’t care, but I will take the cash anyway! $20-$90!)


Mimi this morning – before and after her appointment

-Mimi was declared perfectly healed when she got her stitches out this morning. The pathology report showed the inflammation and scarring that we expected, but no sign of cancer. Mimi’s vet technician is celebrating never having to express her tricky glands ever again.

-Mimi is happily sleeping her stress and troubles away, free from harness and cone.

Well, as always, thanks for stopping by!

And if we don’t talk before the weekend, Happy Solstice, whether it be summer or winter where you are.


Posted in blah blah blah, Project 333, stuff | 5 Comments

cone head pug: a poopy post

I was on quite a roll with regular blogging, and then… life got in the way.

We took Mimi Pug in for anal gland removal surgery and tooth cleaning and extraction last Wednesday, and I’ve gotten very little done since then.

(I’ve been wondering if I should write a more detailed post about the anal sacculectomy surgery and recovery for other people considering it for their dogs. I might do that. If I do, you don’t have to read it. It’s a poopy story!)

The tooth extraction was postponed, but the gland surgery went well. The vet confirmed that one gland in particular was much better out than in. The recovery was a bigger deal than we had anticipated though. I have been keeping Mimi company on the couch for the last 10 days, making sure she doesn’t over-exert herself, and most importantly, doesn’t do anything to prevent her incisions from healing. She’s wearing an Elizabethan collar, her “cone of shame” to make certain that she can’t chew out her stitches, and she needs to go out for potty walks several times a day. We’ve had quite a few poop accidents and one of my tasks has been to clean her butt to make sure her incisions don’t get infected. Yuck! Watching her drink out of a glass is endlessly amusing, but feeding her kibble by hand got tiresome very quickly.

We’ve also had a bunch of medications to make sure she takes – one for inflammation, one for pain, and another to prevent infection, as well as her usual antihistamine. Mimi is usually so good with pills, to the point that she thinks they’re treats and gobbles them down. But not with these pills. The first night was a real battle, and we lost. Even cheese wasn’t working. I had to pull out the big guns – spam. Thank goodness that worked. I was at my wit’s end. Since then I’ve had more success – hiding the pills in tiny Pill Pockets, spam, or cheese, trying to change it up and use as little as possible, because she’s probably allergic to all of those things.

coneheadpugblogoneMimi’s cone is fairly small, like she is, so we haven’t had too many problems with her knocking things over. But she does tend to bump it into walls and door frames. And our legs have been scraped up a little bit. She likes to stand right behind me with her face a few inches from my legs, which means that the cone end is digging into my skin. She can’t see us standing or sitting behind her and she’s missing her face cuddle time. We decided that giving her a break from the cone would just make it worse to put it back on, and honestly, it isn’t bothering her that much anyway. Of course she’ll be glad to have off! But it’s not really causing her discomfort or anything. Making sure she doesn’t damage her stitches is so much more important.

This week of caring for the dog coincided with me catching a cold. I haven’t had a cold in ages – I literally can’t remember the last cold I had, but I’m thinking it was about 18 months ago. But wouldn’t you know it? The sore throat and sniffles started the same night Mimi came home, and then I was laid up on the couch with her. I have a well-researched strategy for dealing with colds. You can minimize the snot-producing immune reaction with an antihistamine, but it needs to be the kind that makes you drowsy. So for the first few days of a cold I take Benadryl every 4-6 hours and nap a lot. It works really well, but no matter what you do, a cold will always last about 7 days. I always joke that you can get rid of it in a week if you treat it properly or 7 days if you just let it run its course.

I couldn’t get out of walking the dog 3 times a day (6am, noon, 5pm at the least), but she was slow moving most of the time, only picking up speed later in the week as we both started feeling better. Mimi must be the only dog in the world who is not happy to go on extra walks. One is her ideal, two she will tolerate, but the third walk of the day is more of a drag, literally. I also spent the week walking over to my friend’s house to look after her hens and her garden while she was out of town. That amounts to an extra mile or so of walking every day, although I did find the least hilly shortcut I could. So even with all this couch lying laziness, I have managed to hit or exceed my fitbit goals almost every day – 10,000 steps/5 miles, 30 “active minutes” and 15-25 flights of stairs/hill climbing. Over the last 9-10 days I have walked 105,500 steps, or about 43 miles!

(Yeah, I got a fitbit one and I love it. I thrive on quantifiable feedback. I love getting my green smiley faces each day. Knowing the true extent of my inactivity on lazy days is a good wake up call too.)

After a week of poop and snot and too much time on the couch, I was really glad to get out of the house for some library work yesterday. And I put away all the laundry I had done the previous day (clean! blissfully clean!) and tidied up some messes (of the non-potty variety) that were getting on my nerves. Our house is still full of supplies for our business, which is something I can’t control. Hubby is really good about keeping most of it neatly stacked against the walls. But I’m the only one who can do something about my piles of procrastination! I took care of the sideboard, putting away a bunch of things that I could have put away properly the first time. I have a couple of “projects” out that I need to finish, but getting that space cleared off and dusted made me feel so much better.

coneheadpugblogtwoBefore Mimi goes in for her massive 16 tooth extraction next month I will make sure to get the house clean and picked up. I don’t think her recovery will be as bad as this one was, and I don’t plan on being sick again. But it helps to have everything in order before the stressful times hit. Keeping things neat and tidy, well organized, and simple every day means that even when things get a little out of hand, nothing gets too bad. Even if there is poop!

Thanks for stopping by. I’ll have something a little less poopy to talk about next time.


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