minimalism

Whole30 Days 7-9

Collect MomentsCravings. I thought I was immune, thought my resolve and excitement for this round would keep cravings at bay until week 3 or so. But they struck in full force, and no amount of fruit eating or tea drinking were sufficient to convince myself that they weren’t real.

I ate pistachios and willed them to be pistachio ice cream.

I ate chicken cauliflower curry and willed it to be a stack of naan bread with hummus.

I drank a black americano and willed it to be a mocha.

None of these things came to pass. So I cleaned my kitchen.

It’s not done in the strictest sense–I’ll post pictures later, when I’m prepared to say it is. But in an effort to minimize my kitchen to the most useful and cherished items, I unpacked every cabinet and only put the most loved and used essentials back in. I’m left with lots of open cabinet space, surprisingly coherent drawers, and fewer dishes to wash. It’s almost magical.

Today, while thinking about pizza almost constantly, I turned on some George Strait and donned a bucket, a mop, and a scrub brush and set out to scrub the kitchen floor. It’s amazing how disgusting wide, white grout lines can get in the course of a year–especially when two one-year-olds consistently sling at least half of the food we put in front of them.

My knees started killing me about ten square feet from the end. When I changed later that I realized I had worn blisters into both knees through my trusty yoga pants. I also came to the conclusion that I hate our tile floor.

If only I could minimize my floor. Coat it in a glass-smooth resin that could be easily mopped, maybe?

If you come over to visit and find the kitchen floor covered in tarps, it’s because tarps are remarkably painless to clean no matter how far pureed blueberries get slung.

Either way, my mantra for this week (and my attempt to drown out the call of pizza, naan bread, and hummus) is to focus on collecting memories, not things–and to get rid of the burdensome stuff that’s taking up space in life without adding value to it. It turns out that’s an awful lot of stuff. And apparently I’ll be doing it all with bandaged knees, because progress isn’t always pretty.

We Don’t Sleep Around Here

Davey has not been sleeping lately.

Correction: Davey has been sleeping in two- to three-hour intervals, often interspersed with 2-hour awake periods, all night long. Thankfully, Micah is taking up the slack in the sleep department by going to sleep easily and sleeping soundly all night. So we only have one yo-yo baby to deal with. I’m not sure how I survived the newborn weeks when we did this all the time with both babies.

Small Great Things

28587957So in the moments when both twins are actually asleep and the house is mostly together, I often light a couple of candles and collapse on the sofa, only to realize I have no idea what to do with that precious nugget of time. Clean? Do the dishes? Read? Write a blog post? Knit? It’s rough, folks.

In my last post, I mentioned that I picked up Small Great Things and intended to start reading it soon. Since then, I have indeed finished the book. Because I don’t trust myself to formulate a coherent few paragraphs about it, I’ll boil it down.

Things I Liked

This book made me uncomfortable. It forced me to question my own attitude about race issues, and it left me thinking that I might not be as unbiased as I’ve always thought. I haven’t read many of Picoult’s books, but I am finding that she forces her readers to ask themselves some pretty probing questions. That’s a hallmark of a great read, as far as I’m concerned.

Of course, there’s a twist at the end. I remember reading once that a fiction writer should put her characters in the hardest possible situations, just to see how they react. Well, Picoult does this in a very unexpected way at the end of Ruth’s trial.

Things I didn’t like

The ending. The ending and the epilogue both seem a little too deus ex machina, happily-ever-after, Disney storybook perfect for my taste (sorry if that’s a spoiler). As much as I wanted to see Ruth, the protagonist, win her court case and come out on top, I didn’t expect it to be handed to her with a cherry on top.

Overall, I loved it, and I did end up reading it in just a few sit-down sessions after the babies were in bed for the night and before Davey’s nighttime wakefulness sessions began. Small Great Things definitely has a new home in my home library.

Dabbling in Minimalism

In other news, I’ve been throwing stuff away like crazy. Basically, tossing or donating as much *stuff* as possible–the things that fill up nooks and crannies with “I might need this someday” intentions. Baby clothes, unused cooking gadgets, clothes that don’t fit me anymore, half-burned candles, trinkets that I’ve held onto out of a sense of obligation to whomever gave them to me. It’s all going.

The progress is slow–sometimes painfully so–but I’m simplifying, because life is so much more enjoyable when you’re not tripping over accoutrements while trying to live it. Also, when you have fewer things, there’s less to clean.

I’m thinking I might add a few books on simplifying, minimizing, and decluttering to my reading list in the next few weeks, so if anyone has suggestions on excellent books of that sort, please let me know! I will streamline and minimalize many things, but my library isn’t one of them.