Monday, February 27, 2006

I like stuff!


I like stuff. Pretty things. Art. Sculptures. Handmade things. Colorful things. I'm not a packrat and I don't like clutter, but I love our things. Above, some of my favorites, the bedspread we bought at a bazaar in Istanbul, the mask from the trip to Venice when Jim asked me to marry him, the cat marionette Alexandra got us on a trip to Prague. I added my dogs in because they're old and lie around kind of like stuff, and because they're high on my list of favorites. The husky is my baby, Shilo, who we refer to as our "downstairs neighbor" because she NEVER comes upstairs to be with us in the studio. She is getting kind of tubby in her old age and occasionally goes on hunger strikes holding out for cookies. She would like her food bowl to be filled with crumbled cookies and nothing else. (Mentioning hunger strikes reminds me of the time my brother Alex went on one -- he was twelve and I was eleven and we were in Mallorca and he saw a sword in a shop but my parents wouldn't buy it for him so he went on a hunger strike for three or four days. My parents eventually gave in and bought the sword, only to learn at hotel check-out that Alex had been buying mini-pizzas on room service the whole time.) The brown dog is Leroy, my step-son, who isn't really happy unless he has some sort of physical contact with a human. That can be his paw overlapping your shoe, or his head on your knee, or any kind of touch.

Until very recently, Alexandra professed an aversion to "stuff." She wanted to be able to pick up and move like a leaf on the wind. I don't want that. I'm a nester. I get it from my mom who has made such a beautiful home, filled with orchids and art and color. I want to be surrounded by beautiful things I love, that remind me of friends and travels. Right now I'm craving a larger "nest." When we bought our little cottage we predicted it would be a five-year house, and it's been five years almost exactly and I'm starting to get an itch to move on, to expand into a bigger nest, paint new walls red and lime green and yellow. I LOVE looking at houses. Old houses. I'm not a big fan of new houses.

I got tagged by Meg (More to Me -- I still haven't figured out links!) today, and the topic is: 5 Food Challenges for 06. Well, I had to think hard about this, because I'm happy to say I tackled my big food challenges last year and am actively maintaining them, and feeling really good about it. So I'll say what those were/are, and then think up some new ones for this year:
1) Try more new recipes -- healthy ones only. I got a number of low-cal cookbooks and tried to make several new things a week. It was fun, and it taught me how to put together low-cal meals where I didn't feel the lack of anything.
2) Buy fresh fruit and veggies in large quantities, no matter what they cost. It is expensive to eat fresh & organic produce all year, but it's completely worth it to me to spend $4 on a carton of blueberries in February.
3) Substitute fruit & vegetables for carbs at meals. Instead of rice or potatoes: acorn squash or green beans or butternut squash fries or fruit salad. Instead of pasta: spaghetti squash. I've really gone crazy over squash this year!
4) Deny myself nothing. That is, I know I must have sweets, so I found things I can have, like Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches. I have sweets every day.
Now, new ones for this year:
1) Barbecue more in the summer.
2) Continue to try new recipes.
3) I would say, learn moderation with chocolate, but that's absurd and will never happen. I ask Jim to hide chocolate from me, and I know I will always have to. I know an old man who gets his neighbor lady to keep his Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches in her freezer so he has to ask her when he wants one -- otherwise he'd eat them all at once. Me, too, with chocolate. Another reason why we need a bigger house: Jim will eventually run out of chocolate hiding places!
I tag: Alexandra & Claudia & Shannon (sentimental) -- because she cracked me up figuring out how many Crispy Cremes she could eat in a day if she wasted no calories on anything else!

23 comments:

andrea said...

She sounds like a friend of mine that would save her calories so she would have drinking points at our girls night out.

Great list!
a.

beansprout said...

I love your dogs. I miss my Alex Girlie a lot. She was a 15 year old standard schnauzer that I had to put down in June because she had lung cancer and surgery wasn't possible. She liked to truffle into the room when I was working and hit me with her paw (so I knew she was there). Dogs are great teachers of our hearts. Thanks for sharing pictures of yours.

Jamie said...

I thoroughly enjoyed your perspective on stuff and being surrounded by beauty. I have a really deep desire to create a home of beauty and serenity. Sometimes I little voice inside of me (hello, gremlin) says "wow, you're so materialistic! Look at you wanting all those things." Your post today is a good reminder to say, "Nope, I just love being surrounded by beauty. Isn't it marvelous?"

I also really enjoy those things that let you know something about the unique people that live in a space, who they are, what they love, where they've been, what's important to them. Thank you for sharing some of your treasures today :)

liz elayne said...

i love this glimpse into your home here. the little things that you love that make your house your home. beautiful. and the funny story about your brother - fantastic! the downstairs neighbor and the step-son...so cute. (i would sometimes like to go on a hunger strike for cookies or ice cream or cake)
which leads me to your insight into eating better. i am trying to get better at substituting fruits and veggies for carbs - i always feel so much better when i do.

chest of drawers said...

There is so much in your post...your brother cracks me up!!!
I also love to have special things around me with sentimental value. You´ve actually got me thinking about a new sewing project to display all those lttle treasures like mother´s day and birthday cards etc. so I can see them and not just have them tucked away in a box somewhere. Back to the sewing machine!

chest of drawers said...

By the way, if you want to add a link under a name or word while writing a post just copy (and save) the link (right mouse button), mark the word on your blog, click on the little owl type thing on the top of your post, add the link and voila!

Laini Taylor said...

Hi Claudia - thanks for the tip -- but I don't have an "owl" thing...? Meg tried to give directions too but hers didn't match up with my screen either. Could it be a Mac thing? Do any of you use Macs? I can't find anything remotely "linky" looking, though I haven't spent a bunch of time yet. I will, though, it's getting very frustrating. Thanks!

la vie en rose said...

i love me some skinny cows too!

Erin said...

Hi Laini,

I just bought the "sun" card as I believe she'll be my inspiration for my wedding this summer (sentiment, colors, design...). I absolutely love Laini's Ladies - I bought them up for girlfriends for the holidays and requested the One Life one for my birthday in December (it hangs in my bedroom).

I cruised around some of your links and I'm so impressed w/ the group you've got! Am I imagining things, or is there a major creative renaissance taking place right now? I'm giving living life on my own terms (aka - unemployed & freelance) a go and feel not at all alone.

Anywhoo, just absolutely love your stuff. Thank you for creating it!
Erin

megg said...

Hi there!!

I'm back and I LOVED this post. I also got your note about food. You are definitely inspiring me A LOT. The good news is that with eating more intelligently and choosing better and chilling out a little I have lost almost 6lbs since you emailed me about it the first time - so you are REALLY helping me, thank you!!

I loved the part in your post about stuff. I have so much at my parents house and not so much here. I am deeply looking forward to the time when we can move into a HOUSE and make it ours. I am really ready to nest - I've BEEN the stuffless gypsy for awhile now and I'm ready for my own beautiful STUFF again. Have a wonderful, chocolate-nibbleful day!

vicci said...

Laini....I checked out your blog...and I love it! We like alot of the same books....and I like all your stuff!!! ALSO...them doggies!! May I post your site among my favorites?

HoBess said...

I love that you try new recipes every week. The rut can be so easy to fall into. And thanks for your comments on my blog about family mealtime ... I've been wondering if this move away from the table is uniquely American and what you said points in that direction. And that Jim hides the chocolate is awesome ... you two seem to understand each other so well.

Frankie said...

hahaha I love the story about your brother and the hunger strike! That's wonderful. I'm a nester as well, which I also get from my mother. I love places to scream "me" and to collect little unique trinkets from all over. I try not to go overboard though...my mother found herself in a bit of a garage sale obsession for a while and we ended up with more old fashioned tins than any person could possibly want or need....I'm glad you shared all of this!! It made me smile from ear to ear :)

Anna said...

The story about your brother elicited an uproarious belly laugh way out here in the midwest! My brother is currently 12-years-old, and he has a veritable arsenal that has been expanding over the years. Last summer, he fell in love with yet another sword at a craft show, and went through every stage of grief within about ten minutes, trying to convince our mother that he NEEDED it. She maintained her authority, and then had me buy it on the sly so that she could give it to him for Christmas. I could just imagine him doing what your brother did, and it put a kink in my side~ thanks for that! :)

euharlee real estate said...

Interesting read. Keep up the good work.

Sincerely,

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euharlee real estate
http://www.etowahrealty.com

Bartow County said...

I'm interested in anything to do with the Civil War and with Cassville, Georgia. Your blog is interesting.

Regards,

A Cassville Heritage Association member, Cassville, Georgia
Bartow County

Johnny Reb said...

Interesting blog. Keep up the good work.

Regards,

Johnny Reb
Civil War
http://www.scv670.com

SCV Member said...

A good read. I'm looking for info on the civil war and anything related to it.

Regards,

SCV member
Confederacy

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