Tuesday, August 31, 2010

September 1st...well almost

Good Morning, Yes I know that it is the first of September so time to start my vegan diet.  Oh it I knew I was moving when I made this list I would have maybe not picked it.  I am going to spend the next few days looking and recipe books etc but not officially start till we return from our mountain trip next week. I do my grocery shopping on Monday for the entire week so I would like to wait till next Monday for my official shopping day.  OH...I feel like this is going to be hard and I am so not motivated to do it.  The food here is just different and talk about the prices.  Certain things you just can not get like brown rice...even in a health food store and a piece..a single piece of tofu if you can even find it could be around 8ch ($8) and that is nuts so I am going to have to be a bit creative.  I also do not cook more than 1 meal for dinner..you know no extra things for the kids so I typically cook meals that I know they will eat.  I have never been a food pusher and I feel like they eat ok..I mean kid stuff is what they prefer obviously.  I would love for them to eat more fruit, vegetables, salad etc and less juice, chicken nuggets, and mac and cheese but they won't and I do not like to have a battle at meal time just not worth it to me so I make what they like, they eat, or don't eat and whatever is fine with me.  I guess that is an ok philosophy as I did not eat much as a kid and well they have never been really sick, no antibiotics ever for both, and overall they are really healthy so I have not killed them yet :)!  So anyway..I need to think of meals that I can make for my family and just swap things out for my vegan month...you know just leave things out or maybe add some beans or something....we will see and I will think about it this week so I am prepared for my shopping on Monday.  It is more tricky than you think since I can not read the labels...the French I can do pretty well but somethings are in German or Italian and rarely English so everything things seems a bit more challenging.  When I look at recipe books and I did bring a great one that Melissa made..I just can not find the actual things to make it with so what to do?  We will actually be back on Sunday and I did plan to make an Italian dish that I will substitute chicken with eggplant, leave out the cheese, and add some extra veggies.  We will see...I need my inspiration to kick in...MELISSA please cook for me!
I do think the food here in the regular grocery stores are much better quality that in the US.  The fruit and vegetables are almost always seasonal and you can not get everything all year.  They also import very little food and all meats etc are swiss..they even say it on the package. Overall pasteurize things much less here and even packaged foods are fresher tasting overall.  It does seem like the swiss take pride in their overall food and how things are prepared and packaged and yes the cheese, chocolate,and bread is very good.  Oh a good note I did find out that the baguettes are NOT made with eggs YAY!!! I truly think I could live on those for a month :)!  SO yummy!
So wish me luck...I will post next weeks menu when I return from our Holiday as they say here! I am off to have my coffee with no cream :(...no real soy products here so I guess I will just leave it out.  If any of my Geneva friends are reading this and know where to buy these things....CALL ME!

School starts on Monday and both my girls have a French day first..oh my!  I am way more nervous than they are!

last day of august. wow.

flew right by, that August did.  but i have to say, i got a lot of purging accomplished.  i don't think i have ever got rid of as much stuff, unless i was moving.  and then maybe not even as much.  i have boxes and piles all over my house for the big yard sale on Saturday.   i can deal with this clutter, knowing it will be gone in a matter of days.

Today i went through my storage space in the basement.  it is about 4ft. x 15ft....well that is my best guess. i am so not good with guessing measurements though.  besides our bedroom closets and the built-in closets (we have 2), this is our only storage space.  so, i do have to say, this is much less already than other places i have lived, where i had a whole basement and attic!  you know what i have found though...more space=more stuff.  was i happier with more space and more stuff.  no.  definitely not.  i love living in this apartment, with my tiny storage area.  i have found it is not the space or the things that make me happy.  it is the people, the community, being orderly and not everything a mess all the time, but mostly the people.  my three favorite homes have had a lot to do with the people i lived around, that were on my block, in my neighborhood or in my building.  do i still want a home?  with a yard? yes.  i still dream about that.  but through this month's exercise i am reassessing what that home should look like.  what i want it to look like, and be and provide.

so as we move into September, i will be starting vegan month, and finishing purging my stuff month.  since the yard sale is this saturday (from 8am-3pm for all you locals, come buy my stuff!) i am planning on spending another day down in the storage and going through the christmas stuff.  i love decorating for christmas, but i do think we have more decorations than we need.  (here i am wincing in fear of my mother's reaction since most of it was handed down from her.)  but seriously, it is just too much, and i don't even use it all every year.  no Christmas tree could hold all those ornaments.  so if anyone is reading that is family, please, no more ornaments.  and this new less stuff thing is going be interesting for the holidays.  the kids always get SO much stuff.  SOOOOO much.  i keep it to a minimum, a silver lining to our always modest income.  but relative over buy.  i know it is out of love.  so i don't want to deny them their joy.  i know that joy, i love buying someone a gift they love.  it is truly one of my favorite things.  which, by the way, reminds me...i hate kid's birthday parties where the kids don't open the gifts in front of the guests.  it is the best part people, it's what i came to see.  anyway.  Christmas stuff, see it send me into a tizzy.

and tonight i am happily leafing through vegan cookbooks and others i can get vegan ideas from.  i am so excited.  tomorrow i am cooking food for a friend and i think she'll love a vegan meal, perfect.  So far i am thinking about a summer vegetable ragout with exotic curry sauce.  that's really the name.  printed in Bon Appetit from an LA restaurant, Hatfield's.  we'll see.

and then later this week, pricing my stuff.  hard to do.  too high and no one buys.  too low and you don't make any dough.  and i want to go to Europe people. :)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

inspiration, from tiny places

I spent this morning looking around the web for inspiration to keep on going with the purging.  it just gets hard to get started because i think of all the reasons why i am afraid to get rid of certain things.  i found lots of inspiration...starting with the tiny house.  wow!  what a great idea.  here is a link to a guys website that has some great info on it and where you can see a tour of his tiny home.  and here's a picture of one too.


then I found this post on a blog for simple living...interesting thoughts on how just focusing on having less stuff isn't really the key to being happy either.  i like the idea here, and think it important to share and live into.

"Most of us would agree that a materialistic life is not a fulfilling one. More clothes, bigger houses, the latest electronic gadgets, newer and flashier cars… these things might bring temporary enjoyment, but a life based around acquiring things can feel pretty empty. The reason is simple… “stuff” doesn’t equal happiness.
So what about the idea that many people have nowadays that less stuff equals happiness? It’s really the same mindset carried to the opposite extreme. One group thinks that buying another new thing will make life better… one more purchase will make life happier. The other group thinks that ridding themselves of another existing possession will make life better… one more act of purging will make life happier.
Both groups are putting far too much importance on “things.” It’s possible to be happy living in one room with few possessions… or in a mansion filled with the finest of everything. It’s also possible to be miserable in both situations. Lasting happiness comes from relationships and spiritual and emotional fulfillment… it isn’t determined by how much stuff you have, or the process of acquiring it or purging it. The person who has simplified his life isn’t happy because he has less stuff… he is happy because he has achieved inner peace.
There are some very good reasons for purging and decluttering, but compulsive purgers who purge for the purge itself are just as excessively focused on stuff as compulsive shoppers are.
And that is not the path to achieving true and lasting simplicity."

i know this has been out there for a number of years, so many of you may have seen it before...but if you have not watched this little cartoon, The Story of Stuff, i highly recommend watching it.  

thanks to all that have been leaving me little clips and such via email or FB for more inspiration.  i love it!  in fact, here is a story someone shared from the Seattle Times about a tiny apartment, enjoy!  and thanks Amy!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

more purging

today i got to work on the built-in hutch thing we have in the dining room, and again, i feel like i must be moving soon.  the emptiness is something i have only experienced when i am all packed up, when all my stuff (the stuff i like and use and the stuff i don't but have never had the strength to let go of) is in boxes and out the door.  onto the next storage place.  i am ready for my home to be more of a living home and less of a storage home.  the emptiness is growing on me.  it becomes less startling every time i walk by and more and more like a deep breath in...and then out.  my hope is for more deeps breaths, more letting go, and less overwhelm.  i am someone that can easily get overwhelmed.  and i am far from my best when i am in that state.
i also got the kids rooms started.  we have a huge pile of clothes to sell.  so in the past month i went from the need to purchase new dressers for each child...because the ones we have aren't big enough and they were always over stuffed, which makes it hard for kids to be helpful in cleaning up their clothes and rooms.  i know, cleaning up is easier if everything has a place, and especially if those places actually fit what goes in there.  so, now we don't have to spend money on some new piece of furniture...and the kids will put their clothes away!  great!  (ok, i know the kids helping isn't going to magically happen...i am not that naive)
we also are going through toys.  oh, the things i wish i knew as a new parent.  the things you can't possibly know as a new parent because you have to learn it yourself.  like, my kids don't need all these toys that i thought they just HAD to have.  they hardly ever play with any of it.  my friend Jen was just talking to me about a book she is reading about simplicity parenting.  and how the fewer toys a kids had the more they can actually live into, and play more deeply with the ones they do have.  it makes sense.  even today with tallulah, my 5 yr old....she was saying she wanted to keep this dress and i said...but pumpkin you never wear it.  and she said, mama...i just forget that it is there.  when we have too many things, maybe we forget that we even have some really great stuff.  there is all the crap in the way.  it can get buried in the piles you create in an effort to shove everything in a closet so you can feel like your house is somewhat together.  well, maybe that's just me.
time to make dinner...
which reminds me, the kitchen is going to be the hardest place for me to tackle.  but you know, since i love to cook so much, maybe that is the place in my home where keeping stuff makes sense.
and can i just say....thank you sun, thank you for shining on Seattle this week!

Monday, August 23, 2010


First I want to say that this post is not to complain...I know this is crazy great that I get to live in Europe for the next two years and that I should treasure every minute of it and that I should feel so lucky to even get this chance...I know all of that and I feel all of those things but I will tell you I underestimated how hard it may be to transition to life here.  You know the funny thing is that all the things I thought would be difficult such as learning my way around, finding things to buy (well grocery store is still challenging but way better today), getting used to city living are not hard at all...these are actually the things I like best.  I love not having a car and that I can get anywhere by bus or tram..that part has been pretty easy.  I also love living in my apartment and the location is great.  I have met some really great moms here that have been a huge support to me and I learn something new about Geneva from them everyday or when I just need to borrow something that I could not find anywhere :)!
Here is the hardest part for me...well the language for sure.  That is why I have been working my ass off to try to get better at it.  I get that most people here speak English and that is great but in certain situations you just need to know some French.  The biggest thing I have noticed is the European/Swiss reaction to children.  They truly believe that children should be seen and not heard...they like kids well quiet kids.  I am sure this is true in many parts of the states..I just have never encountered it very much.  Let me tell you...if your kids run, walk to fast, talk to loud, have a temper tantrum, etc you will hear all about it from people on the bus, in a restaurant, well anywhere.  I don't like to make a general judgment of all people or cultures but this has just been my experience.  I feel like my girls are quiet and well behaved most of the time but I have had multiple interactions with people out and about that feel differently to that.  I think what makes it worse is if they are yelling at your in French...that is not so fun because it is hard to defend yourself when you are not exactly sure what they are saying but for sure they are yelling.  I know I just should not care and let it go and do what I want but it really is hard.  It is more than people saying things...it is part of the culture here and I live now in this culture so I feel like I need to be the one to adapt not them.  Again...learning the language will really help as at least I can try to communicate better.
Also...people here love to relax (in quiet :)) but they are sure in a hell of a hurray to get to the place of relaxation.  They don't even give you a chance to think or move out of the way.  I was in a bakery the other day and the lady was so frustrated that she had to repeat herself or that I was taking so long to respond...well lady you are speaking FRENCH and I am TRYING. 
Anyway...I am not complaining just explaining the things that are difficult to adjust to.  I will continue to practice my French tonight and I am thinking of taking a few classes once the kids go to school.
Oh and I think I found a vegan partner for next month (thanks Sarah!) whooohooo!

My french sentence of the day...I should learn this just in case! Si vous plait tranquille por vous enfants! (Please quiet your children :)!)


Friday, August 20, 2010

moving stuff along.

well, i did get some things to the back of the van...ha! now only a few more weeks and they'll make it to the goodwill. :)  and i did throw some stuff away, but only after i offered it to people in my building.  i have some stacks of things sitting neatly in my living room prepping for yard sale time.  I should do the yard sale the first weekend after the end of August.  and did i tell you all my plan?  for the money?  yea, to put it in a savings for the Baumgarts go to Europe Fund!  wooohoo!
The china closet is totally cleaned out, even all the crap that was stacked underneath it is moved and gone.  and my mom said it best...it really was quite a sight! before everything was cleared out, it just had all these supplement bottles and herbal tinctures thrown in there, a big mess.  Now, every time i look at that area of my house i feel like we are getting ready to move out or something...i am just not used to seeing things so sparse and clutter-free!  i love it.
Today it is hard to say I will get more accomplished on the stuff front.  My kids came home last night!!!!  so, i am planning on spending the day with them.  or actually what is going to happen is i am going to be going through their clothes in their drawers (see, I will get to work on this month's theme after all!) adn get rid of old things to make room for all the new clothes that Grandmom got them when they went school shopping in Baltimore, lucky kids.  and the kids will be playing with their friends in the building.  i won't see then until we go to the movie tonight...which is Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.  they are so excited to see it on the big screen.  see, there was such a find from the blog...central cinema.  still loving that place, and had the best burger there ever a couple weeks ago, BTW.
here's a website that has some great book suggestions....i want to read them all.  and it reminds me of how the gardening month really ties into this month as well.  if you are growing your own food, you are living more, and spending less...and not to mention eating well and helping heal the planet!

off to the clothes!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Kids and Europe....

I know this has nothing really to do with my "learning a language month" but this is on my mind so I am looking for ideas on this...
We want to see Europe. I have tons of ideas, plans, locations I want to visit BUT this seems almost impossible with my girls.  My girls are really so good...they listen, no running, mild meltdowns (ok some huge), and overall really good but as I have come quickly to realize touring around a new city is not really their idea of fun.  It works here in Geneva because I want it to be real life..parks, friends, shopping etc and we have seen so much of the city doing those kinds of things and it works.  We took the train last weekend to Montreax for the day to see the castle and look around the city. It was fun but it was in no way was it relaxing or did I really learn anything about the town.  I think it may have been the fastest castle tour in history.  They loved it but mostly they loved matching the numbers to the map...i am not sure I even had a chance to read the map and really they just wanted to know if it was a princess bed :)!.  I thought I did an ok job of packing a bag but of course not enough snacks or activities to keep them busy and of course without those things you get whiny kids.  And really it costs a fortune to take the train, by the castle tickets, eat out and for whiny kids grrrrrrrr.  They would have been just as happy with the train ride and a look at the castle from the outside.  My new friend Sara just took her kids on a holiday and had similar problems!  SO this is my question HOW am I going to do this...I just can not see spending tons of cash to go places when we have to run into everything and don't have 5 minutes to enjoy BUT we are definitely going to figure this out because I want them to see the world and I want to see the world so I am looking for suggestions of kid friendly travel in Europe.  I do know that there are plenty of places that I will go just with Ian but mostly we would like to move as a family.  I think my first idea is to wait till after the summer and then the crowds should be less...that would help with the whole waiting in line thing.   ok so please send your ideas and suggestions!!!!!!!! I want to go somewhere before the kids go back to school in a few weeks.  I have been asked before if it would be difficult to have my dog here if we want to travel but really he is the easy part it is the girls that I worry about :)!

Back to my Language month...all goes well and it is going to take time as my dear friend Michelle reminded me.  But I will appreciate the small gains of taking Walter to the vet and being able to fill out the French form with no help! YAY  Rosetta Stone tonight!

I started thinking today about next month....Holy Crap Vegan Month in GENEVA.  It made so much sense to me when I picked it in the states but here not so much.  I am going to have to think on it and as friends have said I guess the positive is I will spend less money and lose a good 10 pounds.  I love people who look on the positive!

J'ai faim.  Le temps de manger le diner avec du fromage et de viande :)!!!!


Monday, August 16, 2010

on a mission...

so, my usual way to purge my things is to 1. throw as much shit away as i possibly can.  it's like all my environmental recycling instincts get put on hold for a couple hours and i am holding my ears and singing "la la la la la"  i can't hear you, you voices that say not to create so much trash for the landfill.  and in the trash it goes.  the other tactic is 2. to take everything immediately and put it in the back of my mini van.  where it sits forever until i finally get it to the Goodwill.  and that is why i call the back of our van our own little goodwill.
this time, and dear lord it is taking a lot of time!  i am going through everything.  i am placing things in piles.  which is another issue...where to put all these piles?  i hate the clutter, i mean, isn't the absence of clutter one of the reasons for this whole thing to begin with?  right?  i know, it is, but i have to live with it in the meantime.  some piles are for Goodwill, some for trash...and i have a new pile!  things for a yard sale.  traditionally i have put yard sales together at the last minute and i don't know if it is just me, but i tend to make about $ .50 total, for a whole day of sitting around making small talk with strangers about my stuff i don't deem worthy of staying in my possession.  it is awkward at best.  most yard sales are awkward, to me.  unless they have great stuff for a great price...then it is like heaven.  i am hoping to create more of that feel this time.  and if i succeed, the fruits of my labor...the money i make (hopefully more than my usual) will go straight into my "The Baumgarts are going to Europe! fund"
so that's the plan.  it is taking sweet time.  i did clear out my china closet and i have a box of free stuff for neighbors to take, and the rest will go in the trash.  so again, i feel i am making this a better process, and not just filling the landfill with my poor choices when it comes to taking free stuff and buying crap i don't need.  and that's another thing, when you don't have that much money, like us....people are always going you stuff.  and i totally appreciate it, AND i have to admit i get so used to taking free stuff that i don't discriminate any longer, i just take it...in case.  and because i feel like i should cause we can always use the help, right?    wrong.  i can still get out my virgo and be discriminating.
tomorrow, i have some time to get back to work on all this.
my list is....finish the china closet.  and get started on our built-in buffet in the dining room.  both of these projects will be satisfying, but are so behind the scenes, the drawers are always shut, so all that crap hides so easily.  wish me luck!
here is an interview from the Sun magazine (which i may still submit to, remember?)  with a guy from the Adbusters magazine i linked to before....enjoy!  on Consumerism....

good night...


Today I feel so tired..my head hurts.  It was rainy and cold..felt like a Seattle winter day.  I guess I could not put so much emphasis on learning as much French as possible and I know that I have 2 years here so there is plenty of time but I really want to do it but it really makes you tired.
I went to the grocery store (supermarche) and you know how difficult it can be to go to a new store in the states. What isle is everything in, different brands you are looking for...now multiply that by 1000 when NOTHING is in English and all the packaging looks totally different.  There are 2 stores just a block away from our home and we have been using those.  I was feeling overwhelmed with having to go everyday and that the stores all close at 5ish so somedays is was difficult.  I needed to do a big shopping so I went prepared with a menu for the week and a list of what I needed.  It took me forever but I think I did an ok job.  I used as much French as I could. Actually I think being in stores helps since it really is the same vocabulary over and over and over.  I also think I will get a cookbook in French because again it is that repetition of stuff that helps.  I was told once today at the store when I asked if  a women spoke English she said This is Switzerland speak French...hmmm I am really trying lady.  You do not get that much here since it is so International but really she is kinda right.  I do get the feeling that other who know English like the bus drivers don't let on that they do and will on speak in French.
I also was successful today in getting my cell phone and the phone came all in German...so that is another issue...they speak German in other parts of the country so much is in German...grrr that is just way to difficult so I switched with the help of the phone company my phone to FRENCH....I think sometimes you just have to think you have no choice and you will learn faster.    Anyway...I am getting it and although tired it is really awesome to be here and do this!  Oh and the grocery store delivers for 5chf ($5) so that was great...they got here within the hour...perfect. Tomorrow we will try a farmers market. Ok...her is my first attempt to write something for you in French...sorry for such a disorganized post but it is kinda how my brain feels today.
Je suis fatigue.  Je pense que je vais aller au lit.


Friday, August 13, 2010

harder than i thought

i was so inspired with the books.  and now i look at the rest of my home and it is overwhelming.  where to start?  i think today i will do my china closet.  i have a LOT of crap in there.  lots of herbs and supplements that maybe i might need someday.  or maybe someone i know might need.  shit, most of the stuff in there is probably expired by now!  so, today, china closet and maybe the TV furniture thing ( i can't spell armiore and spell check isn't working).  but i have lots of other stuff to do today and since i worked this morning, not much time to spare.
my kids are out of town...for 2 WEEKS!  holy crap, that is a long time to be child free.  my husband and i lived it up the first weekend here in seattle...brunch out, a movie, walking all over the city, a birthday party at volunteer park....i love the city and our neighborhood, capitol hill.  and then the work week came.  i have been working evenings at the herb shop so i had day time three days here alone.  the first day i spent doing the bookshelf.  felt great.  the next day i spent doing shit on the computer and watching the food network.  i felt like a big fat lazy nothing.  but my friend kate said to jsut relax and enjoy it.  i would have to spend of year watching the food network to even out the playing field of busy my life usually is.  thanks kate!  then the next day i got out of the house and i went to a coffee shop and what i planned on doing was deleting files from my computer since it is slow and i can't skype with all this crap on it.  so, it tied into the blog...getting rid of what i don't need...and would help immensely in many other ways.  and i know, i suck, cause i think i was given the money (thanks, it was very generous, but i think we probably bought groceries or paid the cable bill...which i am about to cancel anyway) by my dad to get a damn external hard drive once already, and i didn't get it.  so there i was at Liberty, this super cool coffee shop/bar/sushi restaurant in my hood, and what did i do? i spent 2 hours looking for places to camp in the pacific NW.  shit, i could just get in my car and drive and hour and i bet a camping spot would be  nearby, a gorgeous one.  so i cam home and rushed around to the co-op and cooking so i could make a meal to drop off to my friends that need some support these days.  god i love them and wish i could do more than just make a meal.  anyway....
basically, i have been a lazy slob, wasting my time....and not chopping my belongings list in half.  but today...even though i am prepping for the said camping trip...i WILL do some whittling.
peace and love y'all...

Hard to speak French...

When you have a playdate with a bunch of moms from the Expedia group...but who cares it was fabulous.  We had the best day!  We played for hours, ate, laughed, went to the park...it was great.  No French as well we all speak English :).  I do love it here and really it feels more and more like home!  Tomorrow we will travel by train to visit a castle in Montreux! The kids are excited so it should be a fun day.  I think by the end of this month I will post a blog in French and NO I will not use google translate :)  It really is my best friend these days!


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

On the bus!

First I have to say that I love what Melissa is doing and share many of the same fears and ideas regarding stuff.  I think it is fun that she is doing this and love hearing all about it.  I am so happy with the stuff that I sent to Geneva....I have tons of empty closets, kitchen cabinets,etc mostly because I only packed things that I thought I would use truthfully it feels great but now I need to work on not buying new things to fill that space.  Good for you Melissa...please send all those positive ideas my way!

I also kinda agree with Jamie that maybe we should stick more closely to the topic of the month but feels fun to change it based on where we are right now.  I am honestly more passionate about learning French then I have been about anything over these last few months.  I can already feel that this experience is changing me in so many ways..as a mom, wife, friend, and just really how I view the world.  I am doing things and learning this I never thought I would.  Geneva feels more and more like home everyday...I am truly feeling the happiest I have in a very long time.  Just in these short weeks I have reconnected with my husband..I do love that man...more than anything.  I just would not be me without him...yesterday we celebrated 12 years of being a couple...12 years....a dozen...amazing.  He is a gift to me and the girls and I will work hard everyday to remember that and treasure it.  I have also spent tons of time with my girls and that is something I have missed.

ok...back to the "on the bus" title.  I take the bus/tram everywhere...all day everyday.  It is fun and I am getting pretty good at it.  You should see me...2 kids, stroller, shopping bags, pully carts...all on the bus.  We are turning out to be just like the locals...well expect for the French.  Gosh..kinda feels like I am watching a foreign movie all the time...you just do not understand anything going on around you...I think it quiets your world..it is truly an interesting experience.  If it relates to food or drink I can make my way pretty well in French, I can also say "do you speak English", or "I speak only a little french", I got numbers and colors down...but today I had a bit of a moment.  Ian and I were are at a meeting and riding the bus home...a lady on the bus turned to us and asked a question in French..Ian was about ready to say that we only speak English..but get this...I totally understood her and was able to answer in French.  She asked if our bus went to a place called Geneva Pague but it didn't.  I told her she needed to take the number 6 bus at the Metrople stop.  OMG..not only did I understand her but I could answer her in French AND I knew the answer about the bus.  WOW...totally felt amazing. I love it here :)!



well, even though my husband thinks we are way out of line for changing the blog this month...i had a great start on my new project.  I went through a bookshelf in my living room and here are the numbers...
Books i kept = 162      Books i got rid of = 141
How's that for a first day?

and i was also thinking, how does this fit into a passion...one that takes you to that creative space and opens your life to a new joy.  upon first thought i was like, nope.  cause it seems like once i would get all narrowed down then that would be it.  but, really, it would be a practice to keep up since we are always "needing" something in life.  Always acquiring new stuff.  plus, even if I did get down to basics...wouldn't that then open my life up...perhaps for some creativity to bloom out of the simplicity.  what would life be like without so much stuff?  seems like the things you keep would be all that more meaningful.
my fears that come up around this project:
-my mom feeling mad at me or disappointed that i got rid of something.  we are so different when it comes to attachment to stuff.  sometimes i wish that a fire or something would sweep through my apartment (of course, without anyone being home!!!  i'm not that dark and disturbed) but anyway...just to get rid of all the stuff and be free.  i don't really think there would be anything i would be devastated about.  i mean, it's all just stuff.  things.  replaceable.  they are not our relationships, not our friends and family.  just stuff.  but like i had been saying...my mom feels a little differently than i do.  the things are an extension of those relationships to her, is my guess.  a representation, and when the stuff goes....there is a letting go process that has to happen.  and i feel that she can get upset with me for being too brash about my lack of attachment to stuff.  it's an interesting thing to be who you are, even though sometimes it seems like everyone else (or even just your mom) thinks differently.
-Dealing with the desires to get more stuff.  hopefully i'll remember that when i have more space, it doesn't mean it's there to fill it up with new stuff.  my fear is that i am secretly getting rid of stuff so i can replace it with new stuff since i feel like my style has changed a bit as i get older. i will need to stay inspired.
-that i'll need to be borrowing other people's stuff more often than i already do!  it seems we are always running to the neighbors to borrow their clippers or their baking pans.  if i narrow down my stuff because i am inspired to live with less, does that mean i just depend on my neighbors to live with more stuff?  or do i stop every time i need something i don't have and really think about if it is truly needed.

i am sure other fears will come up, and don't worry...i'll be blabbing about them here.
and now where to start today?????

need more inspiration....here you go!
from adbusters magazine, and their "but nothing day"  Totally Hard Core.  and i love it.
a more zen inspired approach if that is your thing.
maybe if we spend less money on stuff, we don't have to work as much and will have more time to enjoy the people, the relationships in life that really make it worth living in the first place.
and for those more mathematically inclined (ian or dad, i wish you read this blog!) here are some numbers to crunch

ok...that's it, i gotta get to work on all this stuff!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

new moon in Leo

so, yesterday/today is a new moon.  New moons are a time to start projects and get motivated. a new moon in Leo infuses that jump start with a firey energy, a child-like creativity and joy.  Leo is inspiring, generous and heart-centered.  so, all that said, it's no wonder i am feeling like finally getting start on this month's blog.  well, all that and a triple soy latte!  that i got for free!

The only problem i am having is what to learn this month.

it was supposed to be music.  which sounded fun, even though i know how to read music.  i was gonna do the whole accordion thing.  but to be honest, instruments are hard to learn and i felt discouraged to begin knowing that in a month i could only learn maybe...row, row, row your boat.  then i thought i would jump on Dina's bandwagon and do a language, and maybe French so i can chat with them when we visit.  but again, a language in a month?  and i was looking for classes and i couldn't find one this month.  and really, i think it is a great idea to learn French, but i have a year to do that.  so...that left me feeling lost for the month and uninspired.  and also feeling like a failure, a big fat blog failure.  especially after last month!

and now here i am...with the new moon fueling my fire...i am ready to pick myself up and begin anew.

so.....i was in a great little coffee shop the other morning, Stumptown Coffee.  the best coffee in Seattle.  and i was reading the New York Times.  i know, now i sound all educated.  wrong.  they had a copy and the tag line for this article caught my eye.

But Will It Make You Happy?

the article is about paring down, everything.  realizing that all that stuff and the size of your house and making tons of money isn't necessarily what being happiness.  i can relate to that. and since i felt such a connection and a heart-pulling toward the ideas talked about in the article, and seeing that when i came home my external life doesn't exactly reflect that internal...well, i think i have myself a project for the blog this month!

now, I am not sure i can get down to 100 personal belongings.  because that is counting everything...bathroom stuff, clothes, pots and pans, books.  wow.  it all adds up pretty quickly.  but i am going to start the process.  add up what i have as i go.  get down to whatever i can got down to.   now, i know it's not music and it's not a language.  but i think it is important and totally inspiring.  and i am just going to do it.  

and you know, i may just learn a little ditty on the accordion for you all.  and post it at the end of the month.

Friday, August 6, 2010

French it is!

OMG...I totally need to learn French.  I feel like sometimes I am watching a movie and there is an entire world going on without me and I have no idea what is going on.  I really would love to learn music but this is way important right now.  I love it here...I really do but speaking more of the language is going to help so much with meeting people and finding my way around.  I often feel like the dumb American...everybody has to change to English for me....most do speak at least 2 language but the other is not always English.  So that is it for this month :).  I have been doing Rosetta Stone most nights and I am getting some basic vocabulary and phrases.  I am also looking into taking a few classes.  Mostly...I need to use my French as much as I can.  I learned the most yesterday from the movers...I figured out how to direct them to each room using  French..I need them to be here everyday.
Geneva feels like home...I love it and the adventure it brings.

Bon Nuit :)


Thursday, August 5, 2010

still blogging...

i know it doesn't seem like it!  but here i am!

and unlike Dina...i totally blew writing month.  blew it off.  i did not write.  i didn't send in my thing to the Sun magazine.  I didn't do my morning pages.  i didn't write any poetry.  all lies!  but hey, i had a great month.  so much fun and did things i don't usually get to do....and i had a blast.  so, now here i am to pick up the pieces of my blogger life.  will you ever forgive me? :)

ok, so August is learning to read music month.  i know how to read music, so my original plan was to learn a new instrument.  maybe take accordion lessons.  i once had a vision of me gigging in this little pub up the street with some band, me playing the accordion, and really blowing the place away with my skills.  ok, i do...at times, have illusions of grandeur.  and now that i sit and really think of it and picture me standing in front of people with that big heavy instrument, with my jamming face on (you know we all got one, like the face you make when you are really into your groovy dance moves...yea, that's the one)...well, i am not feeling it so much anymore.  i like Dina's suggestion of switching it to a language.  if i did that, would i switch to French? so that, god willing when we save up enough money to someday visit them, i can speak the language and speak French with my nieces!  that is exciting!  or do i go back into Spanish, since so many people speak it here in the states...and just make sure i visit Spain when i (again, god willing, cause some of you know what a terrible money saver I am) get to Europe.  Next summer.  just putting it out there.

thoughts?  i am gonna look online for classes, see what comes up.  although, a relative was recently talking about how great the Rosetta Stone is.  and i saw a picture of Dina with the girls using it.  is it really great?

well...i am in that weird state of non-sleep you get after traveling.  the one that makes you realize part of the funky feeling you had when you dropped acid years ago wasn't just the acid...there was this whole sleep deprivation part.  i don't know, maybe that's just me.  and maybe i should get more sleep before i blog! :)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

August 1st! Swiss Day!

Hello from our new home in Geneva Switzerland.  It is hard to believe that we finally made it and adjusting pretty well since the girls and I have only been here a week.  We have been busy figuring out how to get places and well just figuring it all out.  Lets just say we have a long way to go.  Over the week, I have met some wonderful new friends from Expedia and a few at the park. We have had a playdate, dinner party at our house, and were invited to brunch at a new friends house that I met in the park....not bad for 1 week.  It is Swiss day here..kinda like the 4th of July.  I am not sure why they call it swiss day since it goes on for two weeks...I like fireworks but really this is crazy..oh my poor dog :(.

So writing month was fun for me..I was disappointed that I could not blog much since I had limited access to a computer but I did keep a daily journal for the girls that I think they will enjoy.  I am going to try to keep it up since I will never remember all the things we have done here and will do!  Oh did I mention that all of our stuff comes on Thursday! It will be nice to see it all and maybe make our apartment feel more like home.

This month is learning to read music...when I picked this I was so excited because it is really something I wanted to do but now with the move and all...nothing seems to go as planned.  We have been so busy learning French that learning music right now may not be the best use of our time.  I am thinking maybe I will switch my learning to French...I guess music can be considered a language so maybe it is not that big of a switch.  I think my brain may explode if I try to do both.  Anyway...I will think on it and let you know.