Thursday, September 22, 2016

Packing Light

About a month ago, while packing for a vacation, I accidentally left at least half of the clothes that were suppose to be packed in my suitcase on a shelf in my closet instead.  Of course I didn’t realize it until I was there, unpacking my bag.  Fortunately I brought my most important things, and just didn’t have as many duplicates on shirts and pants as I had intended.  Also fortunately, the place we were staying had a washer and dryer.

For a vacation that was a little over a week, I had a pair of leggings, a mini skirt, a pair of pants, 2 long sleeved t-shirts and 3 short sleeved shirts and a warm hoodie.  Normally, I pack a different outfit for each day I’m on vacation. So this was a big change for me.

And as it turns out, it was a good change.  I learned that I LOVE packing light.  I wore every single item of clothing I bought- more than once!  I mainly layered things because I was in Colorado, and the weather was much cooler than I’m used to in Dallas.  I didn’t have to think much about what to wear each day, because there just wasn’t much to choose from.  I did a load of laundry when I ran out of things, and then just wore everything again. When I got home, there weren’t as many clothes to launder and put away as usual and that was yet another bonus.  Also, the clothes I brought on that trip make me think of Colorado-  Now, each time I see my “Life is Good” t-shirt now, it’s not just another t-shirt.  Instead, it’s, “Awww, it’s that t-shirt I wore all the time on the Pagosa Springs trip.”  And I like that!

So when I was packing for my trip to Breckenridge this past week, I packed light again.  I knew we were staying at a house that had a washer and dryer, AND I also knew we weren’t traveling to a 3rd world country.  If there was something I found myself needing, I could always buy it once I was there!

Again, I loved that I only had a few different pieces of clothing to chose from each day. If it was clean and it seemed warm enough (or cool enough, depending on the day’s weather) it went ON.  Everything I brought pretty much matched, so it was like I was back to wearing Garanimals. Remember Garanimals? When I was a kid, it was a clothing line, made for kids, that are ideal to "mix-n-match" because each season, everything they put out matched, more or less. I could get dressed in the dark, and no matter what, it wouldn’t be a complete disaster.

So there it is. This is minimalism that works for me... Packing mix-n-match clothes, and keeping it light... as long as I have access to a washer and dryer!
Because seriously, who cares what clothes someone is wearing when the scene looks like THIS anyway?!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Music Monday: Pure Imagination by Willy Wonka

I'm so sad. This was not what I first intended for today's installment of Music Monday.  But anything else I might have thought about has been superseded by this song, in honor of the brilliant Gene Wilder, who I just learned died today.

People love Gene Wilder for his many great roles, but for me it was Willy Wonka.  Such an interesting character he played, and he played it so well that I've always just sort of thought he really was Willy Wonka.  I've loved that movie, that character, and that man since childhood.

Then I loved him even more, and learned more about Gene after reading Gilda Radnor's memoir, It's Always Something many years ago.  Gilda died from the same horrible disease that my mom did years later~ ovarian cancer.  Gene and Gilda's was a true love story, although tragically short. He once said this about his life after meeting Gilda, "My life went from black-white to Technicolor."

I'm holding my breath, making a wish, and counting to three...knowing Gilda is welcoming Gene up into the heavens today.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

I Have Never...

I pride myself on a few things I have never done.  It's just weird stuff, unimportant things, but for whatever reason, people seem a little shocked when they learn some of the things on my "I have never" list.

Most noteably:
I have never eaten a McDonald's hamburger.  I could even go so far as to say, "I've never eaten anything from McDonald's", but I feel like I might have eaten a fry or two from a kid I once babysat who was always eating Happy Meals.  I'm not really sure that's true, but it seems within the realm of possibility.  But FOR SURE, I've never eaten a McDonald's hamburger.  Growing up, my family rarely, if ever, ate fast food.  That's not to say we were super healthy eaters or anything, it's just I liked my Kraft mac and cheese made at home by Mom.  And my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches too.  Who needed fast food?

I've just never been a consumer of fast food in general.  Why do I want to get or eat my food so fast anyway? And why in the world would I want to go through a drive through or eat in the car? I'm a big believer in sitting down for a meal and taking my time.  So no McDonald's hamburger has ever touched my lips, and never will.  I can make that vow without any trepidation.

cute graphic!
Up until yesterday, although probably not as newsworthy, but still worth noting... I had never eaten anything from Chick fil A.  Nor did I even know how to spell it... I made a reference to my big adventure in going yesterday and texted a friend, telling her I had finally eaten at "Chick Filet." 

Anyway, for years, I've noticed big lines at the drive through of Chick fil A and always wondered, "What's this all about, Alfie?!" Also, I've seen those cute billboards with the cows over the years, and I do like those... so....
actually, it isn't- but i like this cow and want to support his cause!

My friend, Kathy, found out I had never eaten there and told me I might actually like it.  She knows me and my picky eating habits well, so I decided to give it a go last night for the big meal to be eaten during our weekly viewing of "Bachelor in Paradise"- Hey, junk food and junk tv sound like they would go together well!

I had heard people talk about the waffle fries- "Oh!! Get the waffle fries!"- I know what waffle fries are, people.  But okay, maybe Chick fil A's are especially delicious.  So I ordered waffle fries, obviously, and a few chicken tenders, as advised by Kathy.

We took our bag home and I warmed all of it up in the oven because I wanted to experience it all in it's best form... which I would assume is HOT.
fresh out of the oven, but back in boxes for the photo op
So, do I feel like all these years I've been missing out on the Fast Food Nation thing by not going to Chick fil A? Nope. Not at all.  No regrets.

I DO NOT get the love people almost obsessively have for Chick fil A. (Other than the cute commercials.)  The waffle fries don't even compare to the sweet potato waffle fries at GRUB here in Dallas. Mine didn't have barely any flavor, and were a little soggy. And the chicken tenders weren't that great either- They weren't crispy and there was nothing special about them at all.  Kathy told me they would be better if they had been fresh, and that some days are better than others- and I totally get that and am sure it's true.  But honestly, if it's hit or miss, I'm not trying again.

So although I can no longer say, "I've never been to Chick fil A", I can now say, "I ate there once, and only once." AND I will continue to uphold the "I have never eaten a McDonald hamburger" promise.

Monday, August 22, 2016

My Book Journal

Year after year, I resolve to keep a list of all the books I read. I've kept a scattered ongoing list in journals, and online at Goodreads, my Instagram account, on the Litsy app, and on my blog. But it's pretty disorganized because it is so scattered. And I lose track of what I've read. Sometimes, I can remember that I've read a book months after finishing it, but I can barely remember what it was about, or if I liked it and why or why not.

I want my reading to not only be interesting and fun in the moment, but meaningful in it's after effects.  So, I want to journal about my reading.  And not necessarily online.  Just for me.
I decided to buy a journal to motivate me do this in a more organized fashion.  Not just a blank journal, as I've tried that before, but one specifically for keeping and easy record of books I've read.

I asked a salesgirl at the counter of the Half Priced Books in my neighborhood if they had any book journals, "...for keeping track of the books I read." She looked at me like I was an idiot and said, "We have an entire section of blank journals."  We had a quick conversation about what I specifically was looking for, and she let me know that no, they didn't have something quite like that.

But guess what?  Amazon does! 
The Book Lover's Journal.  Hey! That's ME! And this is MINE!
I read the reviews about this journal to make sure it was what I was looking for, since I couldn't see the inside of it.  A few reviewers complained that it only had enough pages for 70 books, because 2 whole pages were dedicated to each book.  Um... yes.  That's true, but why is that even a complaint?  Shouldn't it take at least 2 pages to jot down just a few highlights from a book that someone spent months and possibly years writing, and I spent hours reading? So that complaint didn't stop me from ordering this journal.

The layout inside the book journal. 
And I'm so glad it didn't, because I LOVE IT.  For each book, there's a spot to write the title, author, what type of book it is, and the number of pages.  Then, a little spot to fill in what was noteworthy, when/where I read it, and I discovered it in the first place. There's a little grid to rank the writing regarding different aspects like pace, plot development, etc.  Then you've got a whole page to jot down anything you want about the book-- the basic plot, how this book made me feel, important lines in the book, etc So it gives me just enough room to write a quick summation of my personal experience with the book, but not too much room that I feel overwhelmed by the blank space.
I've only read 3 books since getting this journal, but so far I'm 3 and 3 for recording what I read in this journal.  I am super excited to fill this thing up.  And to keep track of what I've read.  I'm expecting this to be the first of many "Book Lover's" journal.

Friday, August 19, 2016

My ATV Ride, and the Picture to Prove It

Recently, I took a trip to Pagosa Springs, Colorado with the fam.  Fermin and I drove (yes, we drove!) so Lucy and Ricky could join us.  We met up with my brother and his dog, and a few days later, my sister and her dog came up as well.  Hey, it's our dogs world, and we're just living in it!

It was great.  Seriously great.  The weather, the beauty of the the mountains, the fun outdoor things to do every day, ... all of that was such a nice break from Dallas. 

There was only one day that the weather put a damper on things. My brother, Fermin and I rented ATVs.  (Which I mistakenly kept referring to as ATFs, All Terrain Fehicals, and am just going to continue to do so.) We were going to rent them for 4 hours, but because of my blood sugars and my eating schedule, (I'm a little high maintenance due to my Type 1 Diabetes) I said I was only doing 2 hours.  The two of them sort of rolled their eyes at me, but also changed their reservations to 2 hours.  Which in the moment, totally sucked.  But, it ended up being a great thing.

Within 5 minutes of us leaving the rental place to head up the mountain in our ATFs, it started raining.  A lot.  And getting colder and colder.  After about 20 minutes, we had to pull over and get under some trees so this storm could pass.  We did see a few other people in cars, and even a few on  ATFs, but they were all coming down the mountain.  The three of us came up with a plan- rather than riding up the mountain, we decided to go down near the river.  It would probably be warmer there (makes sense, right?), and maybe it wouldn't even be raining by the time we got there.

No.  and No.

That ride back down to where we started was hellacious!  It was so miserably cold, I couldn't see out of my rain soaked, fogged up glasses, and the raindrops were so big they were actually painful.  At one point, I found myself screaming all sorts of phrases into my helmet that only I could hear.  Somehow, I think it made me feel slightly better.  And in between my expletives, I'd laugh at how ridiculous this stupid this ATF ride was.

Oh, did I mention this was my first ever ATF experience?

But this was the one picture we got from that misadventure. We only took one photo, at the very beginning of the ride, before everything went to shit.  Look, we look like we are just loving every minute of it.  It's such a misrepresentation.  And the perfect one to post on my Facebook account!
Fermin and I- on the ATFs pre-monsoon.  Fun for about 5 minutes.