Being here now with celebrities

Sometimes in Los Angeles you get second chances to say something to famous people who have truly meant something to you. And when that happens you can only hope they are as gracious and authentic as Miss Miranda July. You can also hope that you’re wearing a dress for the first time that you bought that day so it will forever be your Miranda July dress. You can hope that it is black and can be dressed up and dressed down and that it’s comfortable and flattering. Because then your Miranda July dress will become a staple in your wardrobe. And you’ll feel like she’s there with you all the time, reminding you to be present, to create without fear of judgment, to be as honest and authentic as possible, to be as kind to yourself as possible and to collect odd and gorgeous moments with both strangers and loved ones.

(Thank you, Alicia, for making me talk to her.)

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Twin Peaks Tuesday: By god, those things will be silent now!

I sometimes get very passionate about something and when I do, I think I might come off like Nadine talking about drapes.

After we visited Snoqualmie, WA this summer, my husband and I felt compelled to watch the entire Twin Peaks again from the pilot on (for the 3rd time? Maybe 4th?). We also wanted to evangelize about it to my mom and sister… they seemed to be into the first 3 episodes but I don’t think it took.

Anyway- I’ve been obsessing about this exchange between Nadine and Norma from episode 2 ever since. Watching TP with people who’ve never seen it before is fun because you get to watch their reactions and remember your own first reactions. Nadine is super creepy at first because you don’t know what her whole deal is. She’s so volatile. You don’t know if you should laugh at her or be terrified.

Norma: Hi, Nadine

Nadine: What are you doing here, Norma?

Norma: I could ask you the same question.

Nadine: And I will tell you. I’ve gotten all new drapes for my house. Ed bought’em for me yesterday at Gentleman Jim’s and we installed’em together. They’re a beige sheer. I was up all last night. Do you know what I was doing?

Norma: No, I don’t.

Nadine: I was inventing a noiseless, completely silent drape runner. And do you know how it works? Do you know what makes it work? The thing I thought of at four this morning when I was waiting for my husband to be released from intensive care? Cotton balls. By god, those things will be silent now.

It makes perfect sense to me that Dr. Jacoby gets to her with his own passionate declarations on the internet in season 3.

By the way- can someone please make me some golden shovel earrings? I couldn’t find them on Etsy!! You crafters are missing an opportunity!

Decluttering by using your stash- or why I wrote a lot of letters

Taking Brooke’s advice, I’ve been decluttering small areas of my apartment. I’ve done the kitchen gadget basket, my desk, the pantry, my sock drawer and our stationery box. Our stationary box started out as one of those sets of greeting cards you get at Michael’s with a few for every purpose. We’ve added and added and added to it over the years and I discovered we had an absurd amount of stuff in there- stuff we didn’t even know we had.

So to thin it out a bit, I put out a call for addresses on the internet for people who wanted some happy mail. Decluttering by using it up. Probably not an effective idea for decluttering an entire apartment but something to consider for those things you’ve held onto because you think you’ll use them someday. Prove it to yourself and use it! Last summer, I did some decluttering reading- actually reading books I’ve kept because I thought I’d read them someday. In my mind, this is a combination of the decluttering philosophies I’ve dabbled in and also an item on the long list of ways to be happy in Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project”- make time for projects.

Keeping things to use eventually makes you live longer. That’s absolutely not at all true, but it’s something I think we tell ourselves. We buy the coloring books for when we’ll have time to relax, the blank books for when we have time to write, the boogie board for when we’ll have time to go to the beach with other people who can watch our kid, the hiking shoes for when we’ll go spend time in nature like we should… And this kind of clutter makes you anxious because it reminds you of things you want to do that you haven’t been able to make time for. When you go on a trip, you pack based on your expectations of what you’ll spend your time doing- and I almost always overestimate the time I’ll have to do things and end up shaking my head at the second novel I packed or the pair of heels meant for a fancy dinner out. Limiting your stuff can also feel like limiting your time- you’re acknowledging the time you actually have and not the time you want to have.

So anyway- using things I have as a way to declutter makes me feel fantastic not just because it creates space for other things, but it honors the intention I had when I acquired the thing. And it helps me be realistic about the time I’ll have to use other things I see online or in a store.

I got eleven requests for letters and had so much fun using up these things I’ve been holding onto. Here’s some pictures of stuff I made:

I still have an absurd amount of postcards so, internet, feel free to send me your address and I’ll mail you one: mybloghassomethingtotellyou@gmail.com I will delete your information once I’ve addressed your postcard.

Have you decluttered by using your stuff? Tell me about it in the comments! Or send me an email. 🙂 Happy living your life with the stuff you meant to use!

P.s. Joy the Baker linked to a BBC article about how there’s a Japanese word for buying reading material and leaving it in unread stacks: tsundoku

P.p.s. I LOVE Joy the Baker. Here recipes are kicka$$ and her “Let it Be Sunday” posts are how I read the internet now if I’m gonna be honest.

Slow down

The week before last, I got to meet Brooke and Ben McAlary in person since they visited Woodland Hills on Brooke’s book tour.

I’ve been listening to them for two years or so about how to do “slow living in a fast-paced world.” They pointed me to the Guardian article which caused me to cut way down on my social media consumption. They pointed me to the book “The Art of Frugal Hedonism.” They’ve been a voice of reason in a sea of voices which I feel are nowadays either complaining, giving me a you-should list or selling me something. They talk about the benefits of spending time in nature. Doing only one thing at a time. Putting your phone away when you’re talking to someone. Decluttering- but in a reasonable, non-perfectionist way. They’ve helped me tremendously in my efforts to reduce my anxiety and simplify my life.

Brooke and Ben host the Slow Home podcast which I highly recommend and Brooke’s new book is Slow which I will be picking up very soon.

The hummingbirds are here!

When we first moved into this apartment nine years ago, we immediately bought a hummingbird feeder because we had a balcony! We never saw any hummingbirds… The red nectar dried up and the whole thing got gross so I threw it out. I figured hummingbirds didn’t like our balcony because it had no flowers (couldn’t possibly be because the thing was never changed or cleaned right?). During this past school year when I had to leave before 7am, I saw several hummingbirds drinking from feeders on balconies which overlooked the parking lot and had no plants. I decided to try again- although it took me some time… when they restuccoed the building, they took down the hook we had used for the previous one. I had to get a chain cut at OSH and rig it up to a pool noodle to get it up to a nail on our very high rafters. My husband ended up doing the honors.

So- it was up for 3 days with no takers. Then our son woke us up yesterday morning by saying “I see hummingbirds!” and indeed he did. They visited all day! I didn’t want to scare them away so my pictures are taken from far away- but they were so adorable!!! Here’s my best shot:

I went with the squashed tray model (that’s my name for it- can you tell?) because that’s what they have at the garden part of the Natural History Museum and those are swarming with hummingbirds. I might get another one because they’re already fighting over this one. I opted to make my own nectar which everyone should do- it’s 4 parts water and one part sugar. I keep the leftovers in a mason jar in the fridge. Finally- a use for a mason jar that’s not Pinterest salad!

So while walking to the laundry- we saw one of these crawling up the building:

(Getty images)

That is a friggin tarantula hawk wasp! It was gigantic. I’m angry I didn’t have my phone with me… but I googled it frantically when I got back to the apartment. These things paralyze tarantulas and drag them into their nests, lay eggs in them and let their babies eat it alive. Their sting is only rivaled by the bullet ant- so named because their sting feels like… a bullet. Holy crap!!!

So… nature! It was a fun day.

This lentil soup

This lentil soup recipe from Martha Stewart is my favorite ever.

I’ve made it so many times, I almost have it memorized. Any time I buy bacon for another recipe, I automatically buy tomato paste and a bag of lentils just so I can have it on hand. Double the recipe (a 1 pound bag of green lentils is 3 cups which is exactly double this recipe so you got it anyway) because the leftovers are divine. Freeze in individual portions for lunches (or “really good lunch day lunches” as I call them when I bring this in) or bring it to a new mom. It is so comforting and nourishing and delicious!!!! I mean- things gotta be good when you cook the vegetables in bacon grease. It’s really good with some warm bread but good on its own too.

Battery fail

Seriously though- how do adults know when to change a car battery? Because the way I know is when my car dies and I cross my fingers that it’s “just the battery” for the 30 min it takes AAA to get there. Here’s what the battery looked like when AAA pulled it out of my husband’s car in the Target parking lot:

I was happy to get out of Target spending less than $100 (remember how we all sang about how it all costs fifty bucks? One hundred bucks is the new fifty bucks.) Oh well…