Friday, May 18, 2007

The Great Chemical Exodus

I am on my way to becoming chemical-free (or at least using a lot less chemicals) in the bathroom.

I already clean with extremely environmentally friendly materials - vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, Bon Ami scrubby cleanser, and Ecos (?) toilet cleaner. I wash my clothes with Trader Joe's eco-friendly powdered laundy soap. I figured it was time to try to extricate the chemicals from my body products.

First to go was the lotion. I used to use Curel, but discovered that Trader Joe's has a body lotion (and creme, for the winter) that are not only biodegradable and natural, they are way cheap.

I have also switched to Method hand soap in the bathroom and kitchen. When that is gone, I will replace the soap in the pump bottles (re-using them) with Dr. Bronner's liquid soap. I have used solid soap in the past, but I think the liquid stuff keeps the countertops cleaner, overall.

I just finished off my last bottle of shaving cream (the metal bottle that makes the cream foam). I replaced that with Prince shaving cream from Lush. I love Lush.

I also finished the benzoyl peroxide face wash I was using, and replaced it with Coalface face wash bar from Lush. I basically got rid of my acne, so I figured I could start using natural products to control the last vestiges of it.

I have also been experimenting with natural deodorants. I have gone through phases in my life- wanting to smell clean, not wanting to smell like anything but be dry, and also a hippie phase where I didn't mind the smell. At least I don't smell too bad, like some folks. However, I am back in the "don't want to smell" phase. I am experimenting wtih three different deodorants from Lush: Fuwari ( a solid bar that is based on baking soda and some other powders), Powdry ( a powder deodorant with juniper oil, among other things), and Aromacreme (a creme deodorant that you rub on with your fingers). From the get-go, I scrape off Fuwari into a little sushi sauce-dish that I have. I also dispense Powdry in this way. I have a "kabuki" brush from when I bought a mineral makeup kit that I use to apply the powder - I tried my hands, but a brush does a much more effective job. I have had pretty good success with the Powdry, and with the Aromacreme, but I also have tried layering the Fuwari over the Aromacreme with good results. The one thing I notice is that the Powdry, for me, should be reapplied after about 6 hours, and probably wouldn't hold up to me biking. But you should shower anyway after doing something physical like that. :-)

Thoughts on a Small Space

This morning, as I woke up on my Murphy bed at 6:05 AM (then again at 6:15 AM), I pondered the wonder that it is that I can live in a 460 sqft condo. I immediately began my Friday morning routine of pulling out my work laptop, plunking it onto the couch, and plugging in the cord to the outlet as I turned on the machine, then plugging in the other end of the cord to the laptop. I folded up my bed as the laptop whirred to life, then briefly sat and entered my first of many work-related passwords so that the computer would give me access.

I then made the tiny trek across the Pergo-ish floor to the electric fireplace (?!) and carried the IKEA $15 coffee table to it's spot in front of the couch (which it can't occupy when the bed is down), and moved the computer to the table. Then I rounded the couch, getting my flannel pajama pant leg briefly caught on the side of the fuzzy couch fabric, and poured myself some iced tea.

Life Happening In Under 500 SqFt.

I often wonder what compels people to think they "neeeeeed" a 3000 sqft home. For them and their spouse, and maybe one kid. Not even a century ago, people were living in much smaller spaces. The argument will arise that today's Americans, perhaps because we are so affluent as a whole, own a lot of stuff.

I don't have a problem with owning a lot of stuff. I think I own too much stuff, myself. I am pretty sure I could get rid of half my books, all my plants, some of my kitchen gear, and my grandpa's dresser. But I'm talking about people who own stuff that they don't use.

This is one of my big beefs about people (in America, in particular). They own things that they don't use. Some people have closets full of clothes with price tags still on them from 5 years ago. Some people bought things with the good intention of using them - the most ironic are things designed to organize other things. Well, folks, they don't do a lick of good unless you use them. The Organizing Fairy isn't going to fly out of that wall-hanger for mail and fix up all your paperwork for you. You have to get off your lazy-obese-American-ass and do it yourself.

I have gone through several "clean-outs" in recent years. The first happened in 2004, when I graduated from college. The last year of college I lived alone in a 700 sqft 1br apartment. Ohh how I wish I could transport that apartment to Seattle in my current location. Anyway. I had sooo much random crap in there. I ended up selling almost all my possessions, except for some clothes, my instruments, and some other stuff like my spinning wheel. You know, I can't even remember what all I stuffed into that 5x5 storage locker when I moved out for Louisiana (a way-station before getting my first job)... I don't think I own any of it anymore. Anyway, so once I moved to Maryland, I came into some new furniture, etc. And then I got the job at Boeing, so I gave up some more stuff. But they actually moved me here to Seattle, so I didn't feel the need to clean out as much, although I knew that because I was planning to live downtown, I would need to downsize (my apartment in MD was 780 sqft, and 1 br. Almost twice the size of this place! The bedroom was truly monstrous). Then I lived in a 550 sqft apartment in downtown Seattle, which was awesome. But when I bought the condo, I figured out that some additional stuff wasn't going to fit, based on the architecture of the place. So I sold some more stuff. I feel confident now, though, that I would be able to live in a Manhattan apartment that was under 400 sqft, based on a few things:

- I can install a Murphy bed in the apartment to house my queen mattress
- I can install a closet organizer to use in the closet space


There are some improvements I want to make to my condo, though (there always are):

- buy a new couch that is shorter and possibly only has one arm (like a chaise lounge)
- get new pots for outside (pretty big ceramic pots)
- get a new coffee table that either can fold up or has extra storage in it
- get new side chairs (the wooden ones just aren't doing it for me)
- get a gas grill
- get a new bedside light (maybe one of those "clip-on" style lights so it can hang onto the edge of the shelf next to the bed

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Fiber Project List

So here are some ongoing projects that I feel compelled to put forth into the Universe, in the hopes that making them public will accelerate my will to complete them.

1) Spin and knit a pair of gloves or socks for the boyfriend. I need to present him with some patterns so he can pick out what he likes. I want to use the gray alpaca that I bought with him on Whidbey Island (poor thing drove me like 2+ hours to go to this underwhelming wool / alpaca sale). Plus, it's gray, and won't make him balk like a certain pair of green-toned "smoking" gloves did for someone else (a side note: I gave those gloves to my brother for Christmas last year, and he absolutely freakin' loves them! So, a note to knitters out there: Someone will like your gift, even if it's not the intended recipient).

1a) Practice knitting socks. I want to make a practice pair before making them for the boyfriend. And I desperately want to make the "Clessidra" pair from, but I need to practice the sock techniques, first, I think... Although who ever got anywhere by admitting limitations, eh? ;-)

2) Buy some wool combs. Either from online or from the Weaving Works in the U-District.

3) Spin some more wool for the Baltimore store that I have yarn on sale at. (Bad grammar. Eh.)

4) Acquire drum carder.

5) Make a shawl. I love the circular shawl patterns.

6) Try the Cat Bordhi method for knitting socks on two circular needles vs. dp's. I don't care, personally, but dp's actually are what I prefer at this point....but what do I know. :-) I do enjoy using her Moebius cast-on to make scarves, though....bringing me to #:

7) Make one of Cat Bordhi's Moebius purses and felt it in the washer.

Housewarming/ Birthday Party - 05MAY07

I had a birthday / housewarming party last Saturday, to celebrate my 26th (on May 2), and to welcome my friends formally into my new place. Kris, Randy, James, Dorothy, Rob, Ben & his gf Meghan, Sura & Paul, Lesli, Joanna, and my friend Chris showed up. Good times!

Unfortunately, the boyfriend couldn't come. He did something that pissed some CO off, and so he had to work extra watches, and one of them was on Saturday. Whee. So I was sad to not have him there, but fortunately I have a lot of friends who have fun together, so it was all good. :-) (He came over Sunday morning after he got off work, and we ended up going to the Seattle Art Museum and Pike Place Market).

Where was I?....

And 'ere are some pics to prove it!

These are my friends Randy & Kris (Randy is holding up the sombrero):

Here I am, vamping with Dorothy, who just shaved her head and still looks hot! I am jealous! Her boyfriend Rob and our friend Dave are in the background (Rob is in the hat).

(I just bought the dress that day from a store in Ballard that I am loving more every time I go in there; the dress, unfortunately, had a strap break and the zipper was sub-standard, but I went in today, and the owner is going to have the designer (who is in Portland), fix it free of charge. Yay!

And here is a picture of me in the dress... yay for self-timer-operated digital cameras. I love this dress. It reminds me of a tattered Cinderella...and my decolletage looks awesome, dagnabbit. I also bought the shoes on Saturday, but you can't really tell what they are. They're John Fluevogs (YEeeEes!) "Operetta" heels, in black. Maryjanes with a fat heel and diagonal top-of-foot Maryjane strap. And I paid about $40 less than they are marketed for on the Fluevog site. Even Better.

(The necklace I also bought at the store where I bought the dress....Voluairia? Something like that..) It's a block of lucite that has a lavender sprig embedded in it, then the finish has been sandblasted for a matte appearance. Not a bad deal for like $30 or something.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

New Lights, New Paint

I started to repair and paint over where the old track lighting strips were this evening. I filled the holes as best I could this first time with lightweight spackle (or "spackle-ting", as my dad calls it sometimes), and discovered that the dregs in the primer can still had a paintbrush in them. Thanks, Gary. So I painted a coat of primer over the stuff, and tomorrow I will lay a final skim coat of spackle over the holes, and then once that dries, paint everything and feather out the edges with the white ceiling paint.

I have a few more "clean-up" things to do tomorrow, in addition to hoping that Fred Meyer here has a plant stand that I rather liked when I saw it in Bremerton.

I'm having a birthday party/ housewarming party on Saturday - very excited. The boyfriend has watch on Friday, and he will be here Saturday morning. :-) I'll put him to work ;-)


Rasta H. Tafari! When it rains, it pours. My ex (well, whatever he is/was, since he never admitted that I was his girlfriend, despite the fact that all his friends referred to me as such, and made very little effort to come see me, a far cry from the current wondrous boyfriend who, I think, wants me to meet his parents when they come to visit in late May) called me last Thursday, under the pretense of getting a book back from me, and oh by the way I look good. Which is fine. I offered to mail it to him (no COD, even!), then he emails back and says he wants to pick it up. Which is also fine, but I feel ambivalent about this - on the one hand, I want to show him how much better off I am without him, but on the other hand, I would like to attempt to be his friend, and on the OTHER hand, I feel like I'd be best off not talking to him at all.

At least he has a girlfriend now, too. I am happy that he has found someone. For his sake, I hope she likes the sauce, and I also hope she lives on his side of the ferry. And I hope she is nice, because I think he is ultimately nice inside, he is just not done being a little drunken boy.


No wonder my boss gave up on trying to remember the names of the Navy boys, and just calls them all "Bremerton".

At least I'm not a Bremelo! (reference Sir Mix-a-Lot)