Friday, August 31, 2012

Lanterns light the way...

I've been "paring down" since we moved a year ago.  In Florida, they build homes with these lovely plant shelves, though I'm not sure why they call them plant shelves.  Ours were so high, there's no way you can get up there to water the plants--yes, I tried--unless you drag out a 10' ladder weekly, and the air stays warmer up high, especially in Florida, so yes, they need water weekly.  I'm not a fan of fake plants, though I think the options available now are beautiful, I'm just not much for dusting them, and I despise seeing dusty fake plants.  So, my dust catchers in the shelves--lanterns.  Like so many people, I have a thing for lanterns.  I don't know why.  They light the way.  They are of old.  There are so many shapes, sizes, colors, options.  I tend to go for what either looks like it washed ashore or would withstand a hurricane.  I mentioned earlier that I had 22 and had downsized.  Right after I wrote that post, I immediately came to grips with the fact that I didn't love all of them.  In fact, I really only love those on the entertainment center Dad built us.  Isn't it gorgeous?  I gave him a photo from Pottery Barn, and he built it.  I love it.  In fact, every time I walk through the garage entry door into their laundry room, I see the plans for the piece on the wall.  That's what Dad does.  He draws the plans, hangs them up in his workshop, which will soon no longer be the garage (after 35 years--yay! dad!) and builds it.  Ok, I digress...

I took down the lanterns I was parting with from my "decor" closet (these are wonderful things to be fortunate enough to have, and I'll post on that one day, but they are also completely unnecessary, especially if you move every 3-4 years).  I dusted them off, and took photos and posted them on Craigslist.  No response for one week.  I've learned to be Craigslist savvy, so I edited them after a week to bring them to the top of the postings.  This is important if you want to be seen.  I realized that there were no lanterns in the section I posted in, so a couple of days ago, I changed the category.  That night, I received an email.  Typical of Craigslist, it read, "would you take less than what you are selling for?" not in those words, but basically this is what it read.  I thought, here we go...Craigslist can be a wonderful tool for selling (& finding) stuff.  However, everyone wants to barter.  That's fine, so do I.  But I'm one of those people who, when I sell it, it's priced for wayyyy less than it's worth to start with.  (I sold an Apple Cinema Display 20" or 21" for $50 and it was selling refurbished for $200 on the internet...$50 was all I had in it.  Call me dumb.  I just needed the space on my desk.)

So, I reply, "sure, I'll take $X for them."  I figured I'd never get a response.  Had that happen with a separate item this week too.  A guy emailed me like 4 times about a camera...I candidly and promptly answered every request.  He tells me he'll buy, and I never hear from him again.  Go figure.  I hope he's not ill or otherwise.

So, the person tells me they'll get the lanterns Saturday.  Ok.  Here's my phone number.  Today, I get a call that the person can't get them today.  Fine...then I get the line, "I'm a landscaper."  She has no idea that I'm dancing up and down, excited that I've found another plant person in this world.  We chat for a minute about pick up of the goods and I mention that I'm taking gardening classes, and we instantly go on a tangent about landscaping, gardening, having college degrees in some random other field, but being called to do this--GARDENING!!  Yay!  For the second obvious time this summer, fate has dropped in my lap a gentle reminder of, "Brando, you are supposed to be teaching people how to grow something other than turf grass."

Not really sure where this kind meeting of gardening souls will take me--perhaps just a dirt-diggin friend, perhaps a new career adventure that neither of us knows yet, but I feel the calling growing stronger and stronger every day.

Oh, the other calling...I'll bore you with that tomorrow.

Point to my post, I was hoping to get rid of some more of my life's clutter--things I've wasted money on that don't bring me joy.  Things I had to work to keep up with that didn't give me anything in return.  Given the amount of things I've donated to Goodwill lately, I don't really know why these didn't make it into the donate bin (7 other lanterns did), but I now feel like it was money well-spent.  I bought a hidden product in those lanterns--hope--light--a kindred spirit, a friend.  I never knew four years ago, that I'd be in Virginia, sinking with the desire to garden and change life for me and those around me, that I'd be giving away half the things I once thought I wanted and needed...I never knew I would be able to function without a corporate job, without a "net" so to speak.  I never knew I'd find solace in having an empty room in my house, the one I'm sitting in right now, clad in only a rather worn and tattered couch (the most comfortable couch in the world--it's been known to solve world crises) and a dog food bowl.  But I did, I am, and I couldn't be happier.  And that moment that I picked up my phone today and sold some stuff, well, those little lanterns lit up my life, gave me hope again that what I'm doing--pursuing my dreams, even if they are dirt--are very real and very attainable.  And that I have another supporter in this area.  Yay me!  Yay my new friend!  Thank you for wanting my lanterns.  You have no idea how bright they shine.

Decisions, decisions...

I know, I know...I promised to revise this layout by now.  Trust me, IT'S ON MY WEEKEND AGENDA...yes, I'm that boring.  I read my blog as one of you the other day.  SHEESH!  It's awful.  I can't see the links, and there's no way to share things....I really need to "get with the times".  So, painful as it may be from a Mac (shame on me for saying that and I'm so glad B doesn't read this), I'm going to force myself to fumble with it this weekend from the Mac and get up to speed and give you something new (*and pretty*) to look at.  In the meantime, I think I mentioned in a previous post (a couple of weeks ago) that I was thinking of new directions....well, I am.  I *intend* to leave this blog my Florida blog--I'm due for a trip down South in two weeks (lots of dancing in my seat right now).  But I want a new that focuses on....what to focus on?  I need your help, your opinion...

I'm very interested in a variety of topics, and many of you who know me, know that when I find something I like, I tend to throw myself into it for awhile, until something else peeks my interest.  Currently, those things are (in no particular order):

"Less is More"
      translation:  I'm learning and embodying a clean and organized lifestyle.  Nothing new, right?  But, I'm trying to learn to be more frugal and simple.  I figure after going for 14 months and counting of not working, frugality is becoming a) a necessity while maintaining payment for two homes and b) easier for both me and B.

Plants and my quest to become a master gardener
     Please note I'm not trying to gain any kind of endorsement in this statement.  Even if I weren't in a Master Gardener program, I'd be trying to become a master gardener.  I'd like to share the learnings with you.

Job hunting and networking 101
     I once thought I was good at this...I'm finding out, in an area where there are a ton of high paying jobs which I'm not qualified for, that I need some help.  Who doesn't?

    Don't get me started.  To me, this is a foreign concept here.  Time to change that, and hopefully educate you along the way

Saving money
    I suppose this goes hand in hand with "Less is More", but to me, it's a separate topic.  I have tried to be a grocery couponer!  But when you eat organic veggies and local produce and grass fed meat, and the occasional quinoa or whole wheat pasta side (heaven forbid I mention DeBoles pasta), I find it difficult to coupon.  I've learned a few other tricks and I'd love to share.

Learning to craft
     Just look at my pinboards on Pinterest...I *want* to learn to do everything.  I've yet to learn most of the things I've pinned, so why not hold myself accountable and try some and show you what I'm doing.

     I love food.  Let me say that again.  I love food.  As I drove to the grocery store to pick up our organic whole roaster chickens today for tomorrow's smoke fest at the Belue residence, I was starving for lunch!  Insanity has nothing to do with that!  NOT!  Anyhoo, yes, I texted B like 5 times from downstairs (to upstairs) about what to eat for no reply.  So, I thought and thought and thought and hunger overcame creativity and I settled for a organic peanut butter/almond butter/banana sandwich on sprouted bread.  Have I lost my mind?  Quite possibly!  But it hit the spot, and 5 hours later, I'm still happy, but I also know I'm having roasted elephant garlic atop a nice grass fed filet tonite...and some yummy sauteed brussel sprouts.  MMMMM, I think everyone should be eating good whole food, and I was not long ago the queen of take-out and bleached pasta.  So, I'd like to share with you how to do this economically and quickly.  Yes, I've learned it's possible, especially if there's a glass of wine at the end.

So, my question to you...please, please, please!  Should I do all, and rotate the days/subject.  Monday Menu, Tidy Tuesday, Who-do-ya-know Wednesday, etc or dedicate a month to one particular subject, or would you rather hear about just one, and which?

By the way, we all know what I'm doing this weekend...eating lots of chicken and learning to deal with my Mac/blog.  What fun is in your life?