Notes from the commute: checker cab

I left my house the other day and noticed this guy a few spots down, FOR SALE signs adorning a few windows. I was in a little bit of a hurry, so I figured I would get a photo on my way home. Actually, I had lots of magnanimous plans of cool 'old car' photos to complete a sort of 'series' I started back in college and have slowly built since then.

Well, not 5 hours later, the cab was gone. Whether it sold or simply found a new temporary home, I do not know. Fortunately for y'all, Brian managed to get a picture of it before its disappearing act. Sadly for me, I'll never have the neat images I spent all day musing.



One of the rad things about my library is its set of bloggers. Recently one of them put out this gem, called Libraries are a smart investment.

It talks about all the benefits the library system here in Denver provides. And I can vouch for their widespread use - I've regularly frequented two branches, and they are both regularly packed. I've never been to either of them - and I've been at all hours - when the parking lot wasn't nearly full during open hours. It's remarkable!

This library system is great, too, because they have just about everything. And if I can't find something at the Denver library (rarely happens, and when it does happen, it's usually a little-known Christian-y book), about 80% of the time I can get it through the Colorado library loan 'conglomerate' called the Prospector. I've also been known to request the acquisition of a title, if nobody has it and I think it's something that fits here. (Meaning, I don't request the random little Christian-y books. Or at least not all of them...

I have probably expounded upon the virtues of the DPL here before, so I won't tell you more. But I do encourage you to check out that link up there. It's compelling, if you're into (and worried about) libraries the way I am. 


yesterday's troubles

Yesterday was trash/recycle pickup, so naturally we set out our trash and recycling. And since we just moved, we have about 3000 boxes that need to be recycled. I left the house that morning, ready to see the pile of cardboard go far, far away.

I came home to a giant pile of cardboard.

Right. So apparently the recycling people are way picker here than they've been anywhere else I lived. I don't know how I'm supposed to get these boxes picked up. Maybe cut them down and stuff them in the supercan. Because that sounds like a lot of fun. Anyway. So instead of pouting and feeling really embarrassed in front of the neighbors, I tried to pick myself up by going out back and taking pictures of this:

After doing all the procrastination I could muster, I went to the front to start reigning in all the stuff. Box-wrangling done, I headed to the front door to pick up the mail, where I noticed this:

Sometimes you just can't win, beautiful foliage and all. There will always be squirrels to eat your giant pumpkin.


sick day

Because I spent the vast majority of yesterday in sickie mode, there's no real post for today. Instead, I'll leave you with this video, which depicts Rory's reaction to her new snowshoeing gear:

What's your favorite remedy for sick days?


pupdate: the mopey puppy

Rory and Eli on our trip to Mt. Evans in July

Rory is a year old now. In fact, she was one of those very special babies who celebrated her birthday on 10/10/10. Her actual birth date is a guess, since she's a shelter dog, but our best estimate is that she was born on or around October 10 last year.

She's grown a lot since we brought her home last November. (So has my patience.) And even though general consensus is that a puppy becomes a dog when it's a year old, actual 'youth' varies from breed to breed. And despite having completed a trip around the sun, Rory is still very much a pup.

One of her favorite games is 'tug'

One of the benefits of our new (rental) house is that it is across the street from the church where Brian works. Every morning he leaves out the front door. And every morning, Rory spends a little quality time moping by the front window.

Sooooooooo sad and lonely

Eli, on the other hand, prefers that his beauty rest go undisturbed.


The Maybe-Minimalism Project: kitchen utensils

I know I promised last time that the first thing I'd tackle is clothing.

But I changed my mind. I have too many ideas for clothing reduction and I lack any of the tools necessary to implement them (ie, mental capacity shelving).

Instead, I decided to go straight to the heart of the matter our home for my first Maybe-Minimalism step.

The Kitchen!!

Now, our kitchen isn't as bad off as the kitchens of other people. I have a pretty good idea of what all is in there, where it is, and just how often I use something (or don't use something). I have a few pretty serving dishes and party trays and special dessert presentation things that were wedding gifts, that have pretty much gone unused for the past 3 years. I am putting off tossing those things just now because we are, for once and finally, in a position to entertain, and I want to see what ends up seeing the light of day in the next several months. I know this doesn't really fall in line with 'minimalism' per se, but since I'm afraid of "real" minimalism at the moment, I'm going with this plan anyway.

Justifications aside, my kitchen could use a reduction in inventory. And the biggest culprit at the moment is my stash of utensils. You know the ones - the spatulas and spoons of various plastics, metals, woods, and rubbers. We have way too freaking many. And it's time to cut back.

Here's the plan:

1. Take ALL utensils (I'm just taking about the cooking/baking things, not the pizza cutters and vegetable peelers and the like) and put them somewhere they don't normally reside. For me, that means they are sitting in a pile on the counter. Lovely. You might have an empty drawer (ha!) or at least a nice basket you can leave on the counter.
2. Designate a home for the utensils you do use. For me, that means the stainless steel crock next to the stove.
3. When you go to cook something and you need a utensil, get what you need: FIRST check the utensil home for whatever it (for me, the crock) and THEN, only then, check the holding place if you don't find what you need.
4. After you've used something, wash it and put it in the home spot.

After a week or so of cooking (assuming you cook at home every night like I do) you'll have a pretty good idea of what you use regularly (aka NEED) vs. what is unnecessary.

I think it's also important to give yourself a decent time frame for deciding what utensils to keep vs. what gets tossed. I'm planning to keep my pile of utensils on the counter for two weeks (which actually ends today, October 15).

At the end of my two weeks (meaning, this evening) I will put the unused ones in a small box for a month, to allow time for my husband to adjust to the change. And if, after the combined 6 weeks, we don't use something, it will make its happy little way to Freecycle or the nearest donation center.


too deep for a wednesday: radical honesty

Radical honesty. You know, never lying. About anything. Not even a little bit.

What's your reaction to that concept?

I first read about the idea of radical honesty in a marriage book. The therapist advocates radical honesty with his clients, and he says it has neve been a mistake. That's not to say it's always easy for his clients, but it never ended in divorce and always led to the couples feeling closer and that much more bonded.

To be honest, I scoffed. I had a hard time with the notion of being 100% honest, always, about everything, with Brian. Who does that? Nobody, right? You're rushing to get out the door, and your spouse asks if he/she looks ok. Yes, the answer is always yes...even if really the answer is maybe or even no. Pure honesty doesn't really matter, especially when it comes to trivial things.

And that's just the little stuff. What about the big things? What if you've been married for 25 years and have a great life, but there was that business trip you took 17 years ago that maybe wasn't all business. Is it really important that you tell your wife that you cheated on her, once, a billion years ago? Should you tell her, causing her to suffer for your regretted indescretion from long before? No. If it were me, I wouldn't want to know.

But then I thought some more. About my past, about marriage, about what my faith teaches, and about the kind of legacy I might want to leave. And I might have changed my mind about radical honesty.

I'm probably going to keep reflecting on this for a while, but I'd love to hear your thoughts today.

Update: Read part two here.


Craigslist + Ignorance = Peril!

We recently bought a new mission-style coffee table and matching end tables off craigslist. They're heavy, and sturdy, and the right size and height, a style we like, and they fit other 'wants' we had for a coffee table.

Before buying, I checked and found that the set is made by a 'real' furniture place. Not shoddy. We picked them up in great condition for 1/6th the current list price. Not bad, right?

Well, the lady who sold them to us kept tauting the fact that they are 'real wood' and 'not veneer.'

I guess a few weeks sitting in the heat of a Denver garage in September proved her wrong.

Now if I could just find the box with the super glue, maybe my table would stop grabbing my leg every time I walk past it!!


early morning bible study

My husband is a youth minister. You might have figured that out by now.

A new school year recently began. You probably knew that too.

This year's youth group has a great crop of seniors. These kids are friendly, inclusive, outgoing, and all around nice to be with. What's more, a few of them are really motivated, faith-wise. So Brian decided to capitalize on that.

Wednesday morning, two days ago, a group of high schoolers gathered at our house at 5:45. (I would like to note that the sun didn't even gather at our house for another hour.) Their purpose? Studying the bible together.

Cool, right?

Even cooler is, Brian made blueberry muffins, from scratch, all by himself. My Brian, my Brian who does not bake, my Brian who has baked maybe two times since I've known him, including these muffins.

So many people being so impressive, my head might explode.

What's been impressing you lately?


Notes from the Commute: my new ride!

Here's kind of a 'new feature' I thought up this morning. I have, for the first time in ages, a cell phone with camera capabilities. Also, what with our recent move and all, I am now biking to work every day. I see things. Sometimes odd things. And that means I need an excuse to post cell phone pictures on the blog.

Thus, Notes from the Commute. To appear whenever interesting stuff happens. That is to say, irregularly.

Today's note is regarding my 'new' ride.

My new ride came to me courtesy of a gal who goes to my church. She and her husband are pretty involved too; we used to carpool for Bible study, her husband was head of the committee that hired Brian, etc. They are all around cool folks. Made exponentially more cool when I mentioned that I was thinking about getting a bike for running errands, and she offered me her old bike! She was planning to donate it, but hadn't scheduled the pickup yet...and next thing I knew, I was in possession of a 20+ year old, great condition 7-speed mountain bike.

NICE. Bike, I mean. Not picture quality. Sorry about that. Note to self: photos taken in shadows will likely be dark.

After repurposing a few things I already had and making a couple stops at REI for a helmet and panniers, I am close to having a full outfit. I could use a mirror to look behind me, something to tie around my leg so my pants don't get caught in the gears (R.I.P. FAVORITE 8 YEAR OLD EXERCISE PANTS) and I'm thinking about getting one of those blinky sleeve light things, just to look ridiculous.

I also need to get the brakes replaced, but that's not really a big deal, right?

So there's my new ride. I'm stoked about all the fresh air I'm getting. And I can already tell a difference in my recovery time when I get home! But more on that later.