Sunday, May 18, 2014
finding and savoring the simple order and peaceful harmony in enough
I've been thinking a lot lately about the way we live our lives. As each year has gone by, I've parted with more and more "stuff." It feels GOOD to see empty floors in closets, and half empty clothing racks. There is more to cull, but at this point I am very happy with the kitchen supplies and furniture and clothing we have. We don't NEED more (although I'd like a tart pan and some new cookie sheets). I have finally, after six years of my journey into living simply and frugally (it really IS a process that reverses so much of what we absorb growing up in such a harried, materialistic culture), felt the SEA change in myself regarding the way in which I want to live. I almost can't believe it, yet there it is, firmly planted somewhere in the center of my being. I first felt it strongly the day I bought organic half and half because the awful grocery store here had it stocked for the first time, even though I knew full well we had at least 2 perfectly good non-dairy milks at home (I have learned that I prefer good half and half in my coffee to vanilla-flavored nondairy milk, which is what my DH prefers). It was $3 I hadn't wanted to spend. It was an "aha!" moment which is weird because I've certainly had those dilemmas before. It made me WANT to be intentional but not stressed about those types of choices. Usually, there is one choice. Do without and make do! So I have begun applying that to everything. Also, of course, less being more -- a little less laundry powder each time I wash, washing in cold water for 99 percent of loads (our most recent electric bill was HALF the previous month's!!). We are using the drying rack to hang towels that have had dishes drying on them and it has drastically cut down on how often we wash kitchen towels. I just bought the EXACT bathing suit (well, very close) I had been researching online for lap swimming (priced at $60-80+) at a thrift store for $9. It wasn't the perfect suit, but darn good enough for that price! Saved me a bundle, plus I also was able to purchase a new work-appropriate top for $4. Still way less than the price of one suit. I have been packing a meal for grocery shopping trips and saving $10 or more on the cost of dinner, say, at the Whole Foods salad bar.
We have been crazy busy here trying to find our place to live in northern Virginia. We may have settled on a place (!!) in Alexandria. Now, this place is not perfect. It's SMALL. But it does have great storage should we need to stow a chair, our books, etc. for the next year or two. Our master plan is to rent a single family home in a year, or two, depending how it goes. The rent is a little cheaper than the blandblah (yes, my word creation) townhouses/condos rampant in that entire area that we are SO not fond of. Not much, but it puts more wiggle room in a tight, but not unbreathable, budget. I have found that if I stick to the budget, I will have some for savings, some for joining a pool and yoga (NOT extras in my opinion, as health is thy medicine!), and plenty for bills. I also found a few loopholes to begin paying down debt. DH having a full-time salary at last helps too. Alexandria is farther from work, but a vibrant city full of life and amenities (and lots of free entertainment, in addition to what's a short train ride away in DC!). I think we're going to like it. We should know for sure in a couple of days on whether we get this place, and then I'll post some pictures for you.
I am struggling with not having a summer vacation this year, as the school year here winds down (2 more weeks of school days!) and I get into my usual pattern of "too hard to get up" and getting to school much later than I normally would, not having breakfasts and lunches planned, etc. But I think the new environment will refresh and keep me occupied and summer nights are long :-)
Food here has been quickly lightening up. We are doing a lot more smoothies and salads. There are just a couple more roasts and stews planned. Lunches have been hard-boiled eggs, grassfed hot dogs, homemade trail mixes. I love this time of year, a nice break from all the cooking/baking/heavier foods of winter. It's a great time to lose some weight, although I find that my diet keeps the weight steady :-( Not sure if that's good or bad, as the weight is much higher than I'd like it to be. But I always do seem to lose some this time of year. The heat does make one eat less, I find.
Well, this is quite enough rambling for one update. Speaking of food, today will be spent in the kitchen doing some prep work for pizzas. I'm going to make crockpot baked beans, quinoa, and -- for dinner later -- a lamb roast with mashed potatoes. If I don't get it all done, well that's okay too.
I hope you've been enjoying a wonderful spring.
Love and light,