hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees

It’s that magical time of the year when all the gardens look lovely! The rhododendrons are blooming all over town and my garden is a riot of purple, pink, blue, and green. We haven’t had as much spring rain as we normally would, but we’ve had some seasonal drab days punctuated by beautiful sunny periods these last few weeks, so everything is growing like crazy. I got some new flowers (more lavender, more lithodora, more white flowering something-or-other that spreads and cascades, and a new plant – a beautiful purple columbine) and three cherry tomato plants in the ground. Now I just have to do the boring bits – weeding, more weeding, and taking care of the garden’s water needs.

garden, currently

Lately I had been thinking about getting a hummingbird feeder. Lots of people seem to have one or two red bottles hanging out in their yard and it seemed like such an easy thing – fill a feeder with sugar water and sit back and watch the hummingbirds come to visit.

But then I did a little research. I had gotten rid of my bird feeders after I found out that if you don’t keep them really clean you can facilitate the spread of illness between birds. And I wasn’t the best at keeping up with cleaning and refilling the feeders. It turned into kind of a nuisance. Well, it turns out that hummingbird feeders present the same issues. They are supposed to be cleaned at least once or twice a week. Sugar water kept in the sun is a perfect growing medium for mold and bacteria. Ideally the feeders should be emptied (by the birds) and refilled every day or so to keep them clean and fresh. Of course I don’t think most people are doing that. But I would feel horrible thinking about harming the little birds I was trying to help.

Oh, and those little feeders with lots of drinking ports are a bit of a con. Hummingbirds are notoriously territorial about their feeding spots, so each feeder will likely only cater to one bird, and having several tiny feeders dotted around the yard is recommended if you’re serious about attracting lots of hummingbirds. So that’s several feeders to gather, clean, and refill every few days.

Sigh. At this point I decided that buying a hummingbird feeder sounded like more trouble than it was worth for me. I dislike having to clean finicky plastic things covered in mold. I don’t want to have to find a little bottle brush to scrub out the crevices of a feeder. I don’t want to have to refill a feeder on a daily or even weekly basis. I’m just not a big fan of maintenance, you know?

And then I started wondering what the simple way to attract and feed hummingbirds (and butterflies and bees) would look like and I realized I already have it right in front of me! A colorful garden with a range of flowers that attract nectar-loving wildlife. I already have hummingbirds – they come to feed on the rosemary, and on the Rose of Sharon. I’ve seen them figure out that the NZ flax flowers are worth drinking from even though they aren’t red or purple. I had gotten the idea to put up a feeder because a hummingbird had “visited” me outside my house while I was talking to a neighbor recently. I already call my garden Beetopia, so I’m on the right track already. Planting a few more varieties of flowers in different parts of the garden that bloom at different times of the year is probably all I need to do to attract more hummingbirds and bees, although now I realize I’m never going to see lots of hummingbirds gathered in one spot to feed.

Letting nature take care of her own is by far the simplest solution to this “problem.”

It’s funny how often I figure out the right “solution” to my “problems” is just to let it go and do nothing. It’s much more fun to talk about turning a mason jar into a bird feeder –  painting it with some special product and then fashioning a feeder out of junk you have lying around the house… or about locating the perfect feeder out of the hundreds on the market. But writing about living simply and frugally is often rather dull because so many stories end with “I realized I didn’t need to buy or do anything at all, so I just let go and stopped seeing this as a problem.”

It’s all too easy to fall prey to the solutions being sold in every store and not notice that you never actually had a problem in the first place.

Just a thought.

Thank for stopping by today,

Jo:)

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April Project 333 review and summer wishlist

Hellooo, I’m back again!

Another month has come and gone and I still have a small 33-ish item wardrobe. And as I tend to do I’m going to reflect on that and think aloud about what’s working and what’s not and what I want to change.

The stars of my closet this month were my: blue jeans, black skinny jeans, leggings and tanks (both mostly for layering, so really they shouldn’t count, but I just count several pieces as one item), black maxi skirt (with pockets!), grey long sleeve t-shirt, chambray shirt, pink short sleeve (dress length) cardigan, new grey cabled cardigan, and the biggest star again, the long pink cardigan I reach for more than anything else (15 wears this month).

My wardrobe is mostly working. I had something to wear every day, so that’s good! haha.

No, but seriously, I had a few days where I went through a few different options before I found what I felt comfortable in. That’s usually caused by having an idea to wear a particular item and then finding it difficult to make a complete outfit that worked for the weather and situation. A couple of times I loved what I was wearing but it wasn’t warm enough and I couldn’t find an appropriate top layer that worked with the rest of the outfit so I had to start over. That’s because I don’t have a cardigan that really works with my lovely black lace top. A simple, pretty colored cardigan with a smooth knit texture that is long enough for an untucked top is definitely on my wishlist. I didn’t replace my black Lands End cardigan and that’s OK. I don’t want another black one (and the one I donated wasn’t really black any more anyway). I’m just challenged to find the same kind of thing in a color that I love, that will work with the rest of my clothes.

I also hesitated to wear black on some nice spring days recently. I like black, but it doesn’t always reflect my mood on a sunny bright day. Right now I have 3 skirts and 4 pairs of pants on my list (2 pairs unworn lately) but they’re all either black or denim. If I’m wearing my chambray shirt, which is a great spring layer, I don’t want to wear another blue denim piece, so that cuts out half of my options. A few times when I got stuck it was specifically because I didn’t want to double my denim with a denim jacket or shirt. I’d like to give myself a couple of different options – maybe a colored cotton jacket similar to a denim jacket, a pair of colored pants, and definitely a colored skirt that I can wear with my chambray shirt.

My other “problem” right now is a lack of pockets. I try to go for a long walk most days and I don’t want to carry my phone and keys. I have a selection of things that are comfortable to wear for walking on warm days, but very few of them have pockets. (In winter it’s easy, but it’s getting too warm for jackets and coats these days.) I know I have shorts and a skort with pockets which will be useful again this summer, but right now my only pocket options are jeans or sweatpants. So the thing that keeps popping up on my wishlist is a pair of colored warm weather pants that have pockets. That probably means capris. The skirt I mentioned earlier should also have pockets and would fill a similar need.

Let’s face it, almost everything should have pockets!

I’ve been wearing my dresses more now that it’s warmer – a couple of times each last month. Half of them have at least one pocket. The other ones should, but don’t. I’ll forgive one of them – it really isn’t built for pockets. But the others just annoy me. I’d love to get one more cotton sundress with a fitted waist and a flared skirt that has pockets.

Sometimes I wonder if I would ever have the guts just to grab all those pieces that aren’t quite right and banish them. I wonder what I would have left… ? Maybe I’ll give that a go later this month. Just as an experiment.

I’m going to go through my closet very soon to pull out some pieces that are not really seasonally appropriate any more. And a few more pieces are going to be added to the donation pile.

The most important item on my wishlist is STILL a pair of nice flat shoes. April was not the month for me to finally buy those. Maybe May will be. So, ballet flats, an everyday skirt with pockets that isn’t black or denim blue, some casual pants or capris with pockets, and a simple cardigan. Not really too much of a challenge.

Thanks for stopping by and listening to me ramble.  As always.

Jo:)

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Happy May 2nd, whatever you celebrate…

Happy World Scrapbooking Day! (and World Naked Gardening Day, if you’re that way inclined). It is May Day weekend, the sun is shining and flowers are blooming, “Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a daughter” this morning, and my hubby is back from his first dealer conference in Vegas. It’s a good day.

Some of my favorite scrapbooking bloggers did a blog hop this morning answering these questions about their “right now” so I thought I’d join in too. Maybe later I’ll adapt it into as a scrapbook page.

YouTubing: My favorite clip right now is actually on ellentube – I just love Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson’s performance of “Uptown Funk” with audience participation. I love the song – it makes me want to dance and sing along. And that’s what the audience did. Its happiness is infectious. I swear I’ve never seen such a fun musical performance on a talk show. They’re usually quite awkward. (btw I find this song even better now that my SIL told me that my nephew J can’t pronounce the “n” in “funk” – lol! gives the song a different spin…)

Listening: to the music from the ABC TV show Nashville. Over and over again. I can’t stop. I have never liked country music, but I love this music. I have so many favorites on these albums. I had no idea how many different kinds of country music there are, and the only stuff I really dislike is the “big hat cowboys” singing “beer and truck” songs. And I even like a few of those when I hear them on the show.

(Just don’t ever make me listen to the Kenny Chesney song “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” again. I heard 2 lines of it walking past a neighbor’s house and that was enough!)

Watching: Nashville. Again. Still. I’ve been completely obsessed with this show for the past month or so. I’m not even going to hint at how many hours I’ve spent watching and re-watching it lately. It’s my favorite prime time soap opera. Jane the Virgin is a close second. I’m still loving Once Upon a Time. And Brooklyn Nine-Nine. We are giving Last Man on Earth a try. We finally gave in and got Hulu+ and Netflix subscriptions. We might finally watch all those shows that everybody loves – Mad Men, House of Cards, Breaking Bad. We love TV.

Reading: Deathless, by Catherynne M. Valente, right now. I’ve barely begun, but so far, so good. I was most recently underwhelmed by The White Princess (Philippa Gregory) and Not That Kind of Girl (Lena Dunham). The last book I loved was Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese. The next book waiting for me on my kindle is All The Light We Cannot See. My goodreads reading challenge is going well – I’m on track to finish 42 books this year.

Eating: lightly, lately. Until this week. This week has been a bit crazy, eating out, mostly diner food at odd times, paid for by other people. I did a few favors for friends this week and got compensated with meals. Delicious meals. A fish burger, bacon and eggs, lentil sausage soup, pad Thai, something else diner/fried that I can’t remember no matter how much I visualize that meal. (An hour later I finally remember – a guacamole burger!) I made one good meal at home this week – delicious Greek lamb and pita and salad, assembled like Greek tacos.

Drinking at 4pm: water or not-coffee. Not-coffee is what I call my chicory coffee substitute. I can’t drink coffee. I have a tiny bit in the morning sometimes – about 1 fluid ounce in my not-coffee, but that’s my limit for the day. Caffeine gives me the jitters. A Thai iced tea at 4pm is tempting, but I wouldn’t get to sleep until 2am if I gave in.

Wishing: for a perfect pair of ballet flats that are comfortable and cute (and preferably come to me by magic without me searching for them because I hate shoe shopping). They have to be suitable for walking in because I walk a lot. And I absolutely hate “toe cleavage.” So, yeah, I’m picky about the details.

Enjoying: the sunshine and the warm temperatures and all the signs of spring (and summer) around here.

Funny story – the other day one of my friends was trying to have a serious discussion at work when she spotted a couple of squirrels going at it against a tree outside her window. Very distracting. Ah, spring.

Quoting: I’m not much for collecting quotes, but the last thing I highlighted in a kindle book (Deathless) was:

“If the world is divided into seeing and not seeing, Marya thought, I shall always choose to see.”

Smiling: at my nephew (who is visiting this week) and my little friend, both starting school later this year, both smart and articulate and hilarious.

Smiling/Laughing: at myself at the playground, going down the giant slide 5 times, but being too chicken to go fast. And getting tired arms from swinging. (I must be old!)

Smiling/Proud: of the design work I did for my friend’s grad school project, which seemed really daunting a few days ago, but is now feeling really close to finished, way ahead of schedule (hopefully! we’ll get feedback next week).

Favorite project: I’ve been working on Ali Edwards’ story kit prompts for the last few months, and I’ve been really productive, making a couple of pages most weeks.

AE story kit projectsI’ve been telling older stories and reflective stories and little stories and big stories. And I’ve been editing and using some of those old photos I scanned last time I was in NZ. This month’s theme is Click, which allows me to go on and on about how much (and why) I love photography and pictures. It’s been a great opportunity to gather photos together from different eras of my life and tell stories that draw them all together.

What’s going on with you? 

Thanks for stopping by today,

Jo:)

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why I didn’t do a Project 333 review for March

Howdy folks :)

It’s been a while…

I got a little stuck on blogging because it was time for me to write my post about what I wore in March, but I really didn’t have much to say.

That’s because I just wore my clothes, and there really wasn’t much drama involved. Sometimes I wore pants or a skirt with a top. Sometimes I wore a dress. Sometimes I dressed nicely. Other times I wore pajamas most of the day and then changed into sweatpants. Nothing too exciting to share about that! As usual there are several things that I didn’t wear at all, some things that I wore constantly, and plenty in between. My wardrobe is in a pretty good place.

March April P33 closet

My choices for spring are evolving. Which is to say that I’ve put a few things away as it’s become clear that winter has been, and is, over. I’m going to send my teal coat out for dry cleaning so I can put it away. I’ve barely worn it lately because it has been too warm. I’ve set aside my teal cardigan for donation because every time I think I want to wear it I remember that it’s got too much collar to be really comfy and that the color clashes with most of my dresses.

Right now I’m wearing long sleeves tees on the cooler days but short sleeves or sleeveless with a cardigan works for the warmer days. We’ve had temps ranging from the 40s to the 60s – mild to warm, or even toasty in the sun. As always, I’m all about the cardigans. My new grey one has been working out well. I don’t think I’ve shared a picture of that one yet. (It’s shoved in the top of the organizer in the picture above – light grey cable knit cotton). It has been a useful layer this spring and should work well for next winter too. So far I haven’t replaced my (black) fine-knit cotton cardigan. I’m sure I could use one but I haven’t found a color that appeals to me. And I have other options. It’s good weather for my short sleeved cotton cardigans right now.

I have several things I need to buy, but very little motivation to go shopping. Every time I realize that I need a pair of ballet flats to wear TODAY I berate myself for procrastinating. It’s on my to-do list… And as the weather heats up there will be a few other things to replace. I’m very much wishing I had pockets in my denim skirt, so I’ve been looking out for something that will work. But I’m not really shopping. Because I’m so over shopping. It’s a pain to hate shopping when you actually need something. But it turns out that there’s very little I really do need. I would like a new dress with a flared skirt and some kind of capri pants that look nice of such a thing exists. That’s about all I can think of right now.

So yeah. That’s my review of my March wardrobe. This is where I’m quite happy to be with my Project 333. Taking it for granted. Not stressing about it. Not counting too carefully. Not worrying too much if I have a few extra things in my closet. But also not having an excess. Dressing with less can eventually become a normal, non-exciting, non-bloggable part of your life too, if you give it a go, and then try again the next season, and keep working on it for a while. Every 3 months you have a chance to try again. Eventually it will feel normal to have a small selection of your favorite clothes to wear every day.

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Jo:)

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Remembering Hugh Cook, a fantasy author

A long time ago my boyfriend (at the time, who we will call Mr.A). found himself in a Master’s level English class with his favorite author, Hugh Cook. A few months ago I happened to look Cook up on Wikipedia after trying to describe his work to someone and that’s how I found out that he had died in 2008, sadly, far too young.

As a fantasy author with 10 published novels you could say that he had considerable success. Especially if you had read those 10 long, genre-challenging novels. Wikipedia explains them in a clearer way then I can.

“The Chronicles differ from most fantasy or science fiction series by not telling the adventures of a main protagonist, on a particular quest, in sequential order.

Instead, each book is written from the viewpoint of a different character, whose personality and objectives differ markedly from the protagonists of other books in the series. The novels are set over the course of about thirty years.

Only occasionally do the plots of the novels interact directly, and when characters cross paths, they perceive events in markedly different fashions…

Book ten tells the story of Guest Gulkan, a recurring character who appears in many of the first nine novels. Guest’s story encompasses the entire chronology of the Chronicles, beginning before the earliest previously related events, and ending with the close of the “Age of Darkness”.

The 10th book somehow brought all of the characters into one narrative, connecting all the previous stories together in a feat of plotting and continuity that few authors are capable of. It was pretty amazing after reading nine long, densely detailed stories to find them all come together. I didn’t even really like fantasy, but I read and enjoyed these.

I remember being blown away that a published author would be sitting in an English class at the University of Auckland. But the story I heard from Mr.A. was rather demoralizing. Cook had struggled to get his books published. New Zealand is not a great place to live if you’re keen on publishing a fantasy novel. I would venture that it’s not a great place for books in general – an average fiction paperback cost around $17.95 back when I was working at London Bookstores… earning $9 an hour. The average NZ published work started at $24.95 and most of those were of the serious literary fiction type. Publishing is not easy anywhere, but Cook told Mr.A. that he had to publish in the UK to get his books in print at all. The publishers insisted on ridiculous titles – all following the same pattern – The Wizards and the Warriors, The Walrus and the Warwolf, and so on. And then when he tried to get into the American market his publishers insisted on splitting each of the long books into two books (actually that was only one book according to wikipedia), and saddled them with appalling cover art (which was true – I saw with my own eyes. Sadly American fantasy often has awful cover art). Cook told us he had many more stories to tell, but he was unable to publish them.

Now I see that this is just one way to tell this story. If you ask wikipedia, sales were disappointing and the W titles may have put people off, or it might have been the style of the books, being non-chronological, telling the same stories from different points of view, or the inconsistency of the writing style across the series. Some people might have found it hard to deal with there being no obvious good guys and bad guys. Mr.A would argue that some people just aren’t smart enough to appreciate such an amazing series. (Some people apparently think that Hugh Cook was a group of people writing under the same name, but he looked like a real guy to me).

From the kiwi point of view, and especially a Gen-X-uni-student-1990s point of view, this was a typical poor-me narrative – of being an underdog, treated unfairly, bullied into selling out (with those awful titles) and then being blamed when they bombed. Mr.A didn’t want to hear that he would have to struggle to find a publisher for his books, or that he might have to compromise with the marketing department (and that they might be right). Maybe it’s just a story of economics and the difficulties of publishing fantasy specifically, and fiction generally. It was very demoralizing to A who was an aspiring sci-fi/fantasy author, but he spent the next year writing his own novel anyway.

When I looked Hugh Cook up on wikipedia I found out that he’s known as a cult author. That’s good in some ways, better than being unknown or forgotten, but it’s kind of like those great TV shows that got cancelled after one season that people won’t stop mourning. Being extremely popular with a tiny group of people isn’t as much fun as being able to share your work with a lot of people over many years.

And the part that stunned me was that these 10 books were only the first half of his planned Chronicles of an Age of Darkness. He had 20 books planned for that series. And two more 20 book series after that! Chronicles of an Age of Wrath, and Chronicles of an Age of Heroes. Can you imagine going to a publisher with a plan for 60 books and being turned away after 10? No wonder he didn’t feel successful.

I don’t remember hearing that Cook was going to move to Japan, but he did, right around the same time that Mr.A and I did, and for the same reason, to teach English. It was a really good way to earn enough to live well and pay off student loans. Getting well-paid work in NZ was difficult at the time, especially for Arts grads. But I don’t know if that’s why Cook went to Japan. Maybe he had other motivations. Wikipedia says he lived in Yokohama with his wife and daughter.

And then he got cancer and was treated, and then relapsed and died at the age of 52.

But it also says that he published poetry, short stories, flash fiction, and novels on his website. This was actually the part that made the most impact on me, the difference that the Internet has made for writers and creatives of all kinds. I wonder how many more people Hugh Cook could have reached if he’d lived a decade or two later, whether he would have been a popular blogger, whether his sales would have been better. I imagine that he was thrilled that he got to share more of his work in the last decade of his life and got to interact directly with his fans.

Perhaps if he’d had more time he could have written and released those other 50 Chronicles books as self-published ebooks. Who knows?

I was surprised that in all the years since he showed up in that English class I had never thought to google him. I’ve even tried to tell people about his books before, even though I’ve never seen them in any library or bookstore in the US. I was sad that when I finally looked him up that he was gone. His website is gone too.

(I recently listened to this podcast about control of blogs and social media after death. I thought it would have been nice to be able to go and read his work now, even though he is gone. But sadly all that remains is an in memoriam photo and a random, probably spammy, link. I don’t know if that was his family’s preference, but it makes me kind of sad.)

So anyway, this is me remembering Hugh Cook.

This post has taken me months to write. Actually this is my 3rd try I think. I hope that doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth writing. I hope that means that it was challenging but that it was worth persisting with. (Maybe that’s a lesson to learn from his story).

Anyway, thanks for stopping by!

Jo:)

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roller derby!

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I am not good at sports. Not only do I not play any sport well, but I’m not even very good at watching them. If I watch on TV the camera usually follows the action and I can keep track of some of what’s going on, but then my eyes get distracted and I miss everything. Thank goodness for instant replay.

Trying to keep track of what’s going on in roller derby is even more challenging than remembering to keep my eye on the guy with the ball in baseball or football. I’ve watched Whip It, I’ve read the rules in the front of the program, but it’s all I can do to follow the progress of one girl with a star on her helmet. Following both of them is a bit beyond my skills. If I can pick out the lead jammer in the moment before the official points at her I consider it a victory.

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blogeditIMG_0687blogeditIMG_0702Skateland is sensory overload anyway. The light and the colors assault me (and my poor camera). I am transported back to 1986. The Skateland in my hometown looked just like the one here. It might be 28 years later and half a world away but you’d never know it looking around.

blogrollerderbydetailsI used to take roller skating as my Wednesday afternoon sports elective at intermediate school. As I have said, I don’t sports, and having to do extra sports one day a week was just a nightmare. But the roller skating elective meant walking a couple of kilometers up to the rink, changing into mufti (street clothes), and skating round and round to the best music of the day while hanging out with my friends. I was never particularly good at skating but that didn’t much matter. It was all about the loud music and white tshirts and socks glowing under the black light. And the boys ;)

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I’m glad some of my friends made it out after work to come see the bout. It was the first time seeing roller derby in person for a couple of them, the second third time for me & hubby. The crowd was an eclectic mix – the families of the skaters who brought their folding chairs, friends and fellow skaters, little kids more intent on playing with their video games or their friends, and some random people off the street like us.

(I had forgotten that I blogged about roller skating and roller derby before, and that it’s actually a really cool post with some of my most favorite pictures – check it out here)

I didn’t take my good camera. I tried not to get caught up in taking photos at the expense of enjoying the action. But it’s a compulsion, trying to get a few good shots of the action, trying to capture the chaos of it. My old iPhone didn’t do too badly. I got a couple of people in focus here and there ;) and with some white balancing and selective cropping I was pretty satisfied with the photos I got. (The little voice in my head is saying “imagine how cool dSLR pictures would have been… maybe next time…)

It was a beautiful night to be out. The moon was a wafer thin crescent that my camera was not able to render accurately (it’s the bright spot in the middle, above one tree and to the left of the other. The top spot is a star, or rather probably the Seven Sisters. The other spots are artifacts, reflections of the street lights I think).

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btw in Japan Whip It was titled Rollergirl’s Diary, rendered phonetically. Thanks for showing me that google images.

And thank you for stopping by again!

Jo:)

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reviewing my winter Project 333 wardrobe, moving into spring

Hi there!

It’s been quite a while since my last Project 333 post. Spring has come early to the Pacific Northwest, so I’m calling winter DONE and changing things over a month early.

spring P333 closetYou might remember that I decided not to count my winter things too closely. I didn’t have much reason to switch over between fall and winter because I don’t have as many winter options (and I don’t much like winter clothes – I wear a lot of loungewear in wintertime). That worked out quite well. I did bring out some specific things for winter events – my special pumpkin orange wrap skirt, my day of the dead skirt, a Christmas tshirt, my elf hat, a fun-run tutu, and some red accessories. When the event or season was over those things went back into storage (I keep them with the decorations for that season, although, as evidenced in the photo at the bottom of the page, the Xmas items are hanging around on top of my storage tote waiting to be put away). But mostly I wore my simple basics around the house and relied on my brightly colored teal coat and pink cardigan to keep me feeling cute and cheerful.

During the 5 months of “winter” I bought a few new (to me) things which gave me some variety, although they didn’t all work out in the long run. I tried to do the tunic sweater dress with leggings thing, but tunic sweater dresses are not a very flattering option on me and if I’m being honest I know that they never have been (ugh, the 80s!). I didn’t find any winter boots that would balance my figure the way I was hoping, so I’ve decided to leave that look to other people. (The more I see the knee high boots and leggings look, the more I notice that most people don’t pull it off very well. Lots of short legs cut in half – something I can’t afford to do!) So yeah, the tunic sweater was a one month thrift shop “rental” and that’s fine.

I am still on the fence about the pink fancy blouse I found on that same shopping trip, because I might need to buy a similarly toned top to layer under it (because it’s sheer), and I don’t know that I love it all that much anyway. I’ve worn it once. The denim dress from that same shopping trip has been pretty awesome though. It has given me some variety for winter and will probably be even more useful this spring.

new black lace topI just found another top that can be considered a “fancy blouse”  – a casual top with a little bit of something special. Long time readers might remember the aqua lace top I tried and failed to make work a couple of years ago. Well I have found a black lace blouse and it’s so much better! It is a soft rayon tshirt with a pretty lace overlay on the front panel. The lace isn’t scratchy, and the top isn’t sheer so I don’t have to find a top to wear underneath it. The lacy hem is a little longer than the lining panel and the overall length is perfect for my short torso. It was a brand new, tags-on, find at Goodwill, $48 retail, so I was happy to pay $10 for it. I’ve already worn it a couple of times and I love it.

I’m buying a couple of new cotton sweaters this season which will hopefully be useful right away this spring, but will also be ready for next fall and winter. I’m really bad about procrastinating and just sticking with what I have out of laziness, so I’ve decided to replace some worn out old sweaters now, rather than trusting that I’ll do it when fall comes back around. I have 3 warm pullover sweaters right now – a black fitted cashmere (it wasn’t quite so fitted in the beginning, but I may have grown a little), a periwinkle blue fitted cashmere exactly the same as the black one, and my “kermit” sweater, a 2nd hand J.Crew wool/cashmere blend with a nice little cable design. It was near the end of its life when I bought it and I’ve worn it no less than 38 times this year, and probably about the same the year before (I think). It’s my go-to loungewear sweater on cooler days. I’m wearing it right now. It’s pilled and a bit stretched out and it’s the color of Kermit the Frog. I was tempted to donate it back to Goodwill at the beginning of the season, and I’ve worn it 30 times since then, so I don’t feel bad. I’m replacing it with another colorful pullover – either the one that’s on its way, or another one. And I’m donating the blue cashmere because it isn’t as useful as the black one and I’ve had it for close to a decade. I’m ready for a change. I should probably ditch or replace the black one too. I ordered a bright pink pullover and a cabled grey button front cardigan, hoping not to repeat the mistake of buying duplicates. We’ll see how they pan out, but I’ll donate the old sweaters regardless.

I actually have a big basket full of things to donate this season! I was pretty brutal when I unpacked my tote. If something looked tired or cheap or fussy it went into the basket. If I had thoughts of “well it’s not very flattering but –” I put it in the basket. Even if I wore it a bunch last year! (I have plenty of nice things that might not actually be as flattering as I think they are – I don’t need to wear things I KNOW are not flattering!) and I don’t need to wear cheap-looking junkie dresses. I’m letting go of some old favorites that are getting worn out. And I’m giving away some things that I’ve had for ages but hardly worn.

P333 spring changeover donationsI’m quite proud of myself. And I’m not going to run out and replace everything. There might be a few gaps in my wardrobe but I’m going to trust that I can make do with something else that serves the same purpose or get a replacement when and if I realize I really do need it.

And when I found myself packing a box of “emergency” things to stash in the top of my closet I decided that I didn’t need to. I hung a couple of dressy dresses up in my closet as a “formal capsule” so they would be ready to wear if a more formal occasion came around. But the other things went back in the main storage tote. I’ve been storing it in a more accessible part of the basement so I can just as easily retrieve something from there as from my closet shelf. The awesome part is that my tote is getting emptier! There’s space in there for bulky coats now. I’m excited.

P333 tote for storage of extrasI’ve updated my spreadsheet with winter season totals for October through February. The spring list is not quite finished yet. I’m trying to keep a list of the things I have in storage separately from the things I have in the closet. It’s probably a work in progress, depending on how this weird early spring pans out. I’m going to try not to change things around much until summer. But if our warm weather continues (or suddenly disappears!) I might need to make a few adjustments. I’m always trying to challenge myself with this project without being too rigid.

You’ll also remember that I don’t count shoes or accessories. Right now I don’t foresee a time when I will. I have been updating my shoe wardrobe lately, replacing some worn out walking shoes and trying to fill in a couple of gaps. I will probably share a shoe post soon. Spoiler alert: they are almost all black and pink these days. And I still haven’t made the effort to get a pair of ballerina flats. But I have a selection pinned.

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Jo:)

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