Monday, July 30, 2012

Cleaning Out My Closet

This weekend (in that awkward time between the live broadcast and the "contextual" prime time broadcast of the Olympics), I did another sweep of my closet. I know I'm behind on my weekly "donation" but fear not, I will get to it.

Don't believe me? Here is the pile of clothing - there is still shoes, scarves and jewelry to purge!


Saturday, July 28, 2012

It's a good busy

Busy summers tend to mean awesome summers, so I'm ok with not having the time to blog like I used to. Here's what's kept us going lately

 - Managing to keep within $0.50 of my thrifting budget for the first time... ever?

 - Acting as Assistant Wine Czar with my mother-in-law at a family wedding, stealing bottles from other tables, drinking too much wine, and *maybe* being a bit too emphatic with my brother-in-law about my approval of his girlfriend.

 - Wearing my new summer fedora at every chance I get. It's so rare to find a hat that fits... we'll ignore the fact it was from the baby section at Old Navy

 - Fringing it up at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival. Next year, we may not choose the performance based strictly on location, but at least performance poetry is a bit more polished than straight stand-up comedy!

 - Visiting with two cousins from south of the Mason-Dixon line for the first time in 5 years... and considering we experienced the older cousin's first legal drink, what a difference 5 years makes!

- Buying my first domain and hosting package. New blog, here I come! (when Scott finally has time to create it)

 - Setting up my Olympic home base on an air mattress in front of the TV (and the air conditioner!!) and watching the opening ceremonies with a bottle of wine. Best.Friday.Night.Ever.

 - Finally finding a weekend without any major plans, letting me kick back on the balcony, make a list of what I SHOULD be doing, and updating the blog.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Lakes

Manitoba has great lakes. Not the Great Lakes - that's the next province over. However, we have lots and lots of lakes. And while I hate being away two weekends in a row (especially when it'll be three weekends in a row before I know it), I've been able to visit three lakes without really embarking on any major road trip.

Two weekends ago, we went to my in-laws cabin to celebrate our first anniversary (and yes, we had the cabin to ourselves. It's amazing how many people thought we planned to spend the entire weekend with chaperones. All family was restricted to pit stops at the beginning and end of the weekend... and the family gathering smack dab in the middle of it. Come on, we invite family to the wedding, why not let them join us in our anniversary celebration!). The cabin is at Thomas lake, which is one of the less developed "cabin country" lakes in Western Manitoba.

While the nearest store is about 15 minutes away, on gravel roads and broken highways, it's wonderfully located about 35 minutes from Wasagaming, on Clear Lake, one of the prettiest lakes in the prairies. It's also a nice tourist town, which allowed us to go for a romantic noisy and warm dinner, before a much needed walk.


And this last weekend, some friends invited us out to their grandparents' cabin at Victoria Beach, a super cute "no cars allowed" cottage settlement on Lake Winnipeg, the biggest lake on the prairies.
 
These are just a small sampling of the pictures from the weekends, but there is something amazing about being out at a cabin. It doesn't matter how busy it feels to rush home from work only to load up a car and drive for hours, the minute you see the lake, all the harried pace of the day melts away. We weren't even home for 3 hours before I started planning our next lake adventure.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Post-curation Consideration

My plan for "Curating my closet" was to put a "Do Not Resuscitate" order on clothes that just don't work for me, eliminating one piece a week.

And then last week, I got rid of two tank tops.

It wasn't just a case of being an over achiever.

One tank top... was to make up for the fact that this week? This week I resuscitated a shirt.

I am a strong believer in waiting 6 months after deciding to keep something and my red gingham shirt, which didn't seem worthwhile in winter, became super important this summer. I needed it for our weekend at a friend's grandparents' cabin.

I haven't been smart enough to date when I put things into a box (it's often weeks or months before I get around to posting it on here), so when I take a load to the thrift store, I randomly choose. How this one escaped, I wasn't sure, but nothing says: "Lake wear" like a knotted red gingham shirt!


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The high cost of low budgets

We literally drive our cars for so long they are literally wearing thin and falling apart with every kilometer. We aren't doing it to counter consumer culture. Our cars are 13 and 15 years old because we simply can't afford to replace them.

When we want to do something on a weekend that comes with any price-tag other than "free", we have to consider how to make that money, most often by selling our possessions.

As we re-evaluated our budget, realizing we were outspending ourselves, we cut our grocery budget. Again. We're not scraping the bottom of the butter dish to try to make everything stretch just a little further. But we do try to really evaluate the difference between what we want and what we need.

Knowing it's only short term (less than 4 months until Scott's done school!), we figure it's short term pain for long term gain. But the other day, we were sitting on the couch, watching TED Talks, and browsing Pinterest for new recipes. I was explaining why I accept (some) of the theory behind vegetarianism and veganism, but why I don't feel it's the right decision for me. I feel meat is necessary for my body (yes, I do know the health risks of a diet heavy in red meat, etc). My body's desire for meat, however, has to outweigh my dislike of factory farming.

The answer was simple: eat sustainable, organic, or free range meat. But it doesn't come cheap.

As Scott said when I posed that conundrum to him, "We don't have enough money to be good people".

Comments about the high cost of low prices are generally targeted at stores like Walmart, which offers low prices at the expense of the workers, both domestic and international all in the name of profit. We pat ourselves on the back for boycotting Walmart as we eat our grocery store meat, which offers low prices at the expense of the animals.

I know this is the point where I should be voting with my pocket book and going fully vegetarian or vegan if I can't support the ethical farming process. But I also know I'll be benefiting the animals at the expense of myself (I struggle to maintain enough iron and protein levels on my current diet) if I do that.

But my hope is not only that one day we'll have the funds to be "good people" but also that one day, being ethically conscious will not be a privilege for those with money.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Basics gone bad

Has anyone riffled through their drawers in the morning, looking for "That black tank?" while your significant other watches you throw two, three, four black tanks over your back?

I used to justify saying I wore black tanks almost daily.

Then, I justified the merits of each.

Now as I am more likely to wear teal tank tops (yes, I have multiple. Yes, they are each a different shade. Yes, I do intend to keep all of them), I'm seeing my black tank tops as my husband does - yet another basic serving the exact same purpose. Really, do I need more than one, maybe two?

So this week, I'm getting rid of two black tank tops. You don't need to see them, do you? Use your imagination, it won't be hard.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Fruity Friday

We're headed out to the lake to celebrate our first wedding anniversary, so I thought I'd make up for my lack of blog reading & commenting (both due to being too busy prepping for the weekend, and being out of all internet and cell phone range Friday-Sunday) with a post. I know - they're fairly rare around here.

As I mentioned the other week, I have a new smoothie recipe. I love making these up the night before, so breakfasts are super easy and quick in the morning. It seems like a lot of work at first, but I've got the science of it down to an art!


Ingredients
Fruit
Yogurt
Milk
Flax
Oatmeal
Chia
Honey


1. Chop up fruit. I usually don't fill up my Magic Bullet cup this full, but I really love strawberry & watermelon together, so I usually add extra!


2. Blend

3. Blend oatmeal and flax in a separate container. I add about half of this.


4. Top off with yogurt, milk a touch of honey and chia seeds. Blend, while you watch the bug that came out of nowhere crawl all over your watermelon rinds


And you're done!!  Leave in the fridge for at least 4 hours for the chia seeds to absorb some of the liquid!*


*I married into a family that hates anything Jello or pudding related, so I've learned not everyone loves a thick smoothie. If you find your smoothie is too thick the next morning, throwing it through the magic bullet for a few seconds loosens it up. I tend to not measure (could you tell?), so some days my smoothies come out pretty solid. Only once have I ever had to add any more milk to get it flowing again!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tired Academic

It took some convincing for me, but it's time for this jacket to go.

I bought this jacket when Zellers relocated in my hometown. I can't remember the year, but I remember it was Remembrance Day because I grabbed it when I went to buy more flour for the annual perogy making "fest".

But now, it's starting to look a little worn and disheveled. I've already replaced it with a similar style/colour jacket, but I will miss the corduroy! It was so hard to consider giving it away when I found its replacement, but now that I'm comfortably seated in my position within an academic environment, I'm ok with letting the symbol go!