Through The Looking Glass – Pieces Of Me

With today being a holiday, you can rest assured that the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon have been on pretty much non-stop the entire day.

I finally reached my breaking point and headed upstairs to get away from children’s programming. Once upstairs, I decided a little cleaning was in order so I did the usual; picked up dirty clothes, bagged up the trash, put away a few random items from various horizontal surfaces… you know, the usual.

And then as I sat watching last week’s episode of Las Vegas, I looked down to the last cube on my bookshelf and noticed I have an excessive amount of those grocery store check out cook books. I started to pull them out and was greeted with one of my old journals. Interesting. I kept looking and found two journals that I filled before that one. They started sometime in 1992 and ended somewhere around 2001. I began to read through them and couldn’t even recognize the person I used to be.

By the time I began journaling in 1993, I had met my “future ex husband.” I read back to the time we began getting serious, took vacations with his family, I found out I was pregnant with my first child, and then the second, and finally the collapse of our three year marriage.

I  read though pages of pain and then hope, and saw myself pull it together and get back out there.

I read through pages of stupid choices I made in an attempt to get on with my life.

I read about Jason and I becoming a couple and those entries, no matter how sporadic they were at that point,  saw myself changing and becoming truly happy.

Looking back, there were so many entries that I don’t even remember writing or even feeling the way I did at the time. I saw page after page of my handwriting that should something happen to me now, I would never want anyone to read. I’m embarrassed by some of my actions and thoughts.

Today, I erased a part of my past, the written part. I ripped page after page out of those books and out them into one pile. There it was, year after year of my innermost thoughts, thoughts that probably should have stayed in my head, now in a heap on the floor.

I fired up the paper shredder and fed my old demons to the teeth. I don’t like the person who wrote those pages. I wouldn’t change my past because it made me who I am today, but I can say I honestly don’t miss her. I’d never want my family to read those journals. Now, I don’t have to worry about that. Honestly, I was seriously uncomfortable reading my own entries, I can’t imagine how they would feel.

So today I destroyed nine or so years of my written history and I’m positive that was the right thing to do. Those journals felt like a dark cloud or a heavy weight on my shoulders. With them gone, I feel lighter already.

Will I regret it some day? Possibly, but I seriously doubt it.

The Challanges of Recycling While Living In An Apartment

With January comes New Year’s resolutions, and I’m willing to bet a lot of people made the resolution to become more environmentally aware. Now I have to tell you I’m not an environmental activist by any stretch of the imagination. I’m just someone who’s sick of seeing item after item in the dumpster heading to the landfill that would be better suited for the charity shop or freecycle.

In September of 2006, our family had to make the difficult choice of moving into an apartment. Allow me to give you a little history.

When Jason and I moved in together, he came from a condo and I came from a duplex and we moved into a rental house. When you’re in a house, the city we live in provides you with a regular trashcan, a green waste can, and a recycle bin. The garbage can is the smallest and would always fill up quickly. They do that on purpose to encourage recycling. They’ll give you multiple recycle bins and green waste bins at no additional charge, but if you wanted another garbage can, you’d have to pay extra for that.

The two places we lived after that were also houses and had the same set up. Then the owners of the last house we were in planned to sell and we were forced to move. We were given a very short period in which to find a place to live, and unfortunately the only financially sound choice we had was the apartment we live in now.

The main thing you learn while living in an apartment is just how wasteful people can be. We’re provided a dumpster in which everything goes. There’s no recycling dumpster, no green waste cans, just a total of four medium sized dumpsters for our entire complex. I’ve seen just how lazy some people are with their trash that I have a feeling a separate dumpster for recyclables wouldn’t work anyhow.

What do I mean by lazy? Well we have a spot with two dumpsters side by side and most of the time people won’t walk the extra three feet to deposit their trash bags into the mostly empty dumpster. They just keep piling their garbage on the already full one until it begins to fall on the ground. It’s disgusting, really.

Now getting back to how wasteful people are, it pains me when I see items in the dumpster that could easily be freecycled, listed on craigs list, or even taken to a donation center. The worst offenders are people who are moving. I understand not wanting to move everything you’ve accumulated over the years. Heck, we’ve moved something like four times in the last seven years so I understand more than a lot of people that sometimes it’s just easier to get rid of “it” than move it.

I’ve rescued several useful items that have found their way to the dumpster since we moved in. I got a 15 pane picture frame/room screen that with a little TLC was as good as new. I’ve rescued a huge box of baby clothes, many still with tags on. Right next to me is a side table that I plan on refurbishing. Those are just a few of the many items I’ve repurposed.

Currently in the dumpster you will find a perfectly good umbrella stroller, a baby swing, a baby bath tub, a large stuffed giraffe and an infant play mat. Those play mats aren’t cheap either.

It’s 2008 and yet there are people who think it’s perfectly acceptable to throw out usable items. I realize that the stroller is probably destined for the landfill at some point, but there are plenty of people who could get many years of use out of it before it heads there.

So the next time you clean out that garage or closet, think before just throwing it in the trash. As yourself first if someone you know could use it, and if not, would anyone be willing to pay for this on Craig’s list? How about listing it on Freecycle? Could I donate this to a second hand charity store?

The Holidays Wrap Up – Moving Forward Into 2008

Now that the rush of Christmas is over, I can take a few minutes to reflect.

We had two events to attend and we hosted one at our home. Each party/gathering went off without a hitch. It was wonderful to spend time with family and I really cherish those times.

Shortly after Christmas, we had a few guests join us from Arizona. Dan, Cj, and kids came in on Friday, December 28 and stayed until the morning of January 2.

When they arrived on Friday night, we chatted for a while and then gathered the group and headed out to dinner. Saturday was spent doing a little shopping and relaxing, followed by a tamale dinner. Sunday we were all up bright and early for an entire day of fun at Disneyland. We spent 14 hours or so at the park with 3 children under the age of five, and still managed to have a fantastic day. We even got to watch the parade and fireworks show.

New Years Eve was spent manly relaxing at the homestead and a dinner of appetizers. Once the clock struck midnight, you’d swear we were in the middle of a war. Right outside the kitchen window, a group of teenagers were lighting off firecrackers and quite possibly 1/4 sticks of dynamite. All I know is it got crazy loud and didn’t stop until 12:30 when Dan told them ok, you had your fun now knock it off because we have sleeping children in the house.

New Year’s morning we gathered one last time for my traditional Creme Brule French Toast breakfast. After breakfast, Dan, CJ and the kids packed up their car and headed east to their home in Arizona and I settled in for a much needed nap.

There aren’t many things I’d do different this year. I guess the biggest change I’d make is I’d start Christmas shopping much earlier. Do to starting so late, I was unable to buy as many gifts for people as I’d have liked. I love shopping for people, and according to my standards, this was a pretty humble Christmas.

I’m so glad for the friends we’ve made over this past year, and I’m so glad that Dan and CJ were able to come and visit with us over the holidays. I’m looking forward to many many years of their friendship.

So raise your glass to 2008 and let’s hope it’s the best year yet!

Christmas Q&A

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Boxes get wrapped, oddly shaped items get bagged.

2. Real tree or Artificial? I love a real tree but this year we have a small artificial one.

3. When do you put up the tree? Thanksgiving weekend.

4. When do you take the tree down? January 1.

5. Do you like eggnog? Hell yeah

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Probably my stereo. I got it when we still played records. No CD players yet.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? Do I have one, yes. Do I display it, no.

8. Hardest person to buy for? My son.

9. Easiest person to buy for? Caitlin because she’s an open book with what she wants.

10. Worst Christmas gift ever received? It’s not exactly a bad item but a yard decoration. Not exactly exciting to open. Lot’s of… Ohhhh, this is so…. pretty. ummm Thanks?!? I like it and all, but not something I’d think to get for someone as a Christmas gift.

11. Mail or email Christmas card? Neither which explains why we never get any cards either.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? White Christmas.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Whenever I have money but not usually until after Thanksgiving.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Hahaha I’m doing that this year with my 1 year old niece. But! Her mother told me to just wrap up one of Jessalyn’s toys she no longer uses and that would be fine.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? TAMALES!

16. Favorite Christmas song? O Holy Night

17. Travel at Christmas or stay home? I hate driving anywhere on Christmas. So home.

18. Can you name Santa’s reindeer? Dasher Dancer Prancer Vixen Comet Cupid Donner Blitzen, but do you recall the most famous reindeer of aaaalllll, Rudolph the red nose reindeer….

19. Do you have an Angel on top or a star? Neither. I do have a penguin ornament as close to the top as possible.

20. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas morning.

21. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Not having a place to put wrapped gifts because my toddler will just rip them open. Not that I have any gifts purchased much less wrapped yet. Or maybe trying to fit new stuff into our place.