Monday, August 22, 2011

The Great Closet Purge

This weekend I finally finished a project I have been working on for the past two weeks:  The Great Closet Purge.  I decided awhile ago that I wanted to give my closet a good gutting and get down to pieces I actually will, and do, wear.  I wanted to get brutal with it.  I also am beyond ready to jazz up my wardrobe a little bit and you can't do that when you have a closet full of crap.  Here was my purge criteria:
  • It had to be something I loved or at least really, really liked.  No more clothes I felt "meh" in or about.
  • It had to either fit now or be within eight pounds of fitting.  Totally arbitrary number I agree but it seemed more reasonable than either five or ten pounds.
  • It had to be comfortable. No pulling or tugging or, in the case of shoes, bunion hurting.
  • It had to be in decent shape.  So no overly faded, or pilled or frayed clothes.
So with those criteria in mind I tried on every stinkin' item in that closet.  Every. Damn. Piece.  And I looked in the mirror and assessed.  And I turned this mess

into this (OK, the change is more noticeable in person but humor me; it was a lot of work and is noticeable in person)

There is so much more room in there now and when I look at all the items I know it is all stuff I want and can and do wear.  It's funny, but having less in the closet actually feels like having more when it is filled with clothes you want.  It is liberating and I can not recommend this process highly enough. 

Here is the giveaway pile and the final tally of items to be donated.
  • 7 pairs of shoes
  • 8 purses
  • 13 sleeveless or tank top style shirts
  • 16 casual or t-shirt style shirts
  • 9 workout shirts
  • 18 dressier shirts/blouses
  • 15 sweaters
  • 5 pairs of shorts
  • 2 pairs of pants
  • 4 dresses
  • 7 pairs of pajamas
  • 4 jackets/blazers
  • 2 suits
  • 17 skirts
    Total items to be donated:  127
Now before you think I am some crazy shopaholic I would like to point out that some of those things have been in my closet forever.  Like since the late 90's kind of forever and I had been hanging on to them because they are cute and I thought I might like to wear them when I lost weight.  Some were more recent than that but a lot of them have been in there for many, many years.  I came to the realization that if/when I lose the weight I deserve new clothes and to let go of all the old things.  

Oh, and here is a disturbing blast from the past.  The skirt I am holding up in this picture was the same one I comfortably wore to my job interview 13 years ago for my current job.  
Yes, I am holding up the right seam to my right hip where a skirt would normally fit and yes, that skirt did fit beautifully 13 years ago.  I just want to go back and kick my 27 year-old self in the shins for ever thinking I was fat back then.  I actually contemplated my bone structure after holding this skirt up to my waist and wondering if it was physically possible that I fit into it at one point.  *sigh* 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Back In The Groove

I have been out of the running habit for far too long.  Between injuries earlier this year, the wedding, and then just plain being out of shape and uninterested I got far away from my running routine.  Things have changed though and I am glad to say that I am actually running again.  The past two weeks I have gone out for three days each week and ran.  Not fast and no further than three miles but I am running.  The last time that happened was back in February.  More importantly I am making it a regular part of my life again and feel like I can start re-building some fitness and base building.  Hooray, I am a runner again!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Super Secret Saturday Surprise

Saturday morning Kevin sprung his super-secret surprise on me.  He had been planning something for a few weeks but wouldn't clue me in to what it was until we pulled into the parking lot.  He had bought us both a cougar cub encounter at Cougar Mountain Zoo!!!  See, guessing penguin hugging wasn't too far off after all.  The cub encounter allowed us both to go in the cougar enclosure and pet and play with one of the zoos three new cubs. 
The cubs are from a zoo in Wisconsin and I think the keeper said they were orphaned but don't hold me to that.  There is one boy and two girls and we got to play with one of the girl cubs.  The cubs are three months old and are in that "I want to do it myself" kind of tween stage.  She was interested in lots of exploring her enclosure and not as interested in playing with us.  I can't blame her.  The cubs get out once or twice a day to play under supervision in their enclosure since it isn't kitten proofed yet.  I would want to run around and explore too.
Even though she didn't want to play much with us we still got to watch her play and explore and observe her cat behavior.  It is so obvious that domestic cats aren't all that far removed from these guys. 

We did get to pet the cub and they have surprisingly rough hair.  I figured it would be soft like a cat but it isn't.  We also learned that they have spots and blue eyes when they are young.  We were encouraged to pet them on the back and not the belly (we laughed when they told us that; anyone who has owned a cat knows that all too well) and to touch the tail.  They will eventually do blood draws through the tail and want to get the cats used to tail touching as much as possible.  This cub weighed in at 13 pounds but she was all lanky muscle.  It is hard to believe because our cat Ollie is a big boy and he tips the scales at 15 pounds but is about half the size of this cat.  Female cougars get to be about 100 pounds so she still has some growing to do as you can see from her feet.
Look at the size of those paws!
It was so much fun to get to be that close to a cougar cub! It was also fun to be that close and not worry about being eviscerated by a lurking momma cat.  Cougars are fascinating animals but I admit to being a little intimidated by them in the wild.  We had a blast following her around, watching her explore and test her still slightly awkward jumping skills and to play a bit with some of her toys.  Later in the day we watched her two siblings play together and observed some really strong stalking instinct happening already.  It was a blast to watch.

We weren't allowed to pick the cubs up because, well....the cub wasn't interested in being picked up by anybody.  Even her keepers that she knew super well annoyed her when they picked her up.  Cougar cub growls sound a lot liked pissed off domestic cat sounds.  But we also found out that cougars purr.  In fact, they are the largest of the purring cats.  Here is our cub giving the keeper head-butts and purring for her.

Sadly, that isn't a cougar cub stuffed under my shirt.
 She is such a beautiful cat and we can't wait to go back to the zoo to watch her grow up to be a big cougar. We feel invested in her now. 

This was such a wonderful surprise and I am such a lucky woman to have a guy who surprises me with things he knows I will love, like cougar cubs. He was right; it really was a once in a lifetime experience and I am so glad we had a chance to do it.  It was so much fun.  And you would have been proud of me, I didn't even try to smuggle one of the cubs home with us!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Clothing Lust

It is going to take bucketloads of restraint to keep me from running to Banana Republic and stocking up on all of these Mad Men inspired clothes. I have never seen the show but I love, love, love '50's style clothing and I now have serious lust for these. They are soooooo pretty and I soooooo don't need to spend the money on them right now.  But I can look and dream.  *sigh*

Weekend Plans

I've  got quite the busy weekend ahead of me.  Tonight is a 5K race through my old hood followed by a post-race BBQ on Main Street.  This is a great race that I wish I was in shape for but I'm really going for the company (brother, bro's girlfriend, my friend Todd) and the chow.  Sunday we have to head down to my mom's place to skunk proof her yard.  She has been having some serious skunk problems of late and we need to block off the underside of her huge deck and shed and maybe climb into the neighbors yard to block off a hole in their shed.  She called a pest removal company this week and traps have been set. So far they have trapped one and her Jack Russell terrier killed another.  Yes, apparently it is mighty stinky in her neighborhood right now.  After skunk proofing we head off to Safeco for a Mariners vs.  Red Sox game which should be a blast.  The members of Red Sox Nation should be out in force and they always make a game fun.

But the big fun of the weekend (maybe) is something I don't have any clue about.  Kevin has planned a surprise for me on Saturday and won't tell me what it is except that it is "once in a lifetime" and "epic".  He actually back pedalled on the word "epic" a bit so as not to raise my expectations but still maintains it will be awesome.  I am so excited!  I have no idea what the expect.  I have tried a few guesses but he says I haven't got it right yet.  Of course, even if I did he wouldn't tell me.  Also I have mad, kind of spooky guessing skills and he is on guard for me to get it right and he is being very tight-lipped with clues.  He won't even tell me what clothes I am supposed to wear until Saturday morning.  Maybe I walk out in heels and a dress, maybe I walk out in flippers and a swimsuit.  No clue.

So far my best guesses have been some sort of extra-special super behind the scenes Safeco tour or a behind the scenes at the zoo tour where I get to hug penguins.  Maybe a tour of Safeco while hugging a penguin?!  That. Would. Be. Awesome.  But those are all the guesses I have for something once in a lifetime that could happen this particular Saturday for a few hours.  I can't wait to see what he has come up with!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mountain Time

Considering how much Kevin and I both love to hike it is amazing we both don't get out there more and do it.  We decided that Saturday was going to be no more of that and we headed out for some day hiking at Mr. Rainier.  We had an 8-mile hike with moderate elevation gain planned and headed out the door for our drive to the mountain.  However, our plans took a detour when I realized that I had forgotten my hiking boots.  Clad only in sandals we decided to see what I could comfortably do without a) blistering myself too badly, b) twisting an ankle or c) beating my toes up on the rocks.

We could not have asked for nicer weather.  It was sunny and perfect temperatures up there.  The air smelled so fresh and piney.  It was absolutely perfect. 

We headed out on a three-mile loop trail and then, since the feet were doing great, decided to go a little further up to the Fremont Lookout. 
The trail behind me is the Fremont Lookout Trail.

See that little dot on the left bump?  That is the lookout.

We had a mountain goat sighting way down in the valley (yay!) and saw loads of beautiful alpine wild flowers. 

We also got eaten alive by mosquitoes.  Scratch that (ha! see what I did there?), I got eaten alive by mosquitoes.  Kevin has developed some weird mosquito immunity (he claims it was from six months hiking the Appalachian Trail) and even though they were swarming all over him he had no bites.  I had 20.  And this was before I put on the mosquito repelling shirt.  There was still loads of snow up there for this late in the season and the little blood suckers love to hang around the snowmelt line.

Kevin at the lookout, oblivious to the bugs.

When I mentioned loads of snow I wasn't kidding.  The trails were mostly clear but there were sections that had long stretches of snow.  Long stretches that went rather steeply downhill.  I was none to pleased about being in snow in my sandals and about having to navigate an icy downhill in shoes with very little tread.  Also, not being the most graceful critter I was worried about falling on my ass.  So instead we decided to do a little sitting glissade down one section.  Wet backside and frozen hands were worth not trying to walk down the slippery slope.

The hike ended up being about six miles round-trip so not that far from the original plan.  We are so lucky to have this beautiful place essentially in our backyard.  So gorgeous.  We have made plans to get out there at least once more this year for a more substantial hike.  I guarantee that I won't forget my boots next time.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

2011 Goals Recap

It is hard to reach your goals when you can't remember what they are.  It just occurred to me awhile ago that we are more than half-way through the year already and I haven't even thought about my goals other than my aborted marathon attempt and my mileage.  I have totally blown off almost all of my 2011 goals this year.  I might try to accomplish a few before the year is done but I am totally giving myself a pass this year if I don't.  I am feely blissfully unmotivated.  So what have I accomplished so far this year?

1. Run at least 750 miles - Bwahahahahahaha!  Next.
2. Finish a marathon - Nope.  I instead made a very costly "donation" to the Portland Marathon.  I am going to spend the rest of the year re-building my base for a spring 2012 marathon.
3. One stretching session for each day I run during the week - Not even close.  I might try bringing this one back this year.
4. Lose 30 lbs - Currently I am about three pounds heavier than I was at the start of the year.  I lost 10, gained nine, lost nine in a hurry for the wedding, and then promptly put it all back on and then some.
5. Visit one place in state I have never been before - Success!  Well, technically I drove through there once when I was a kid but I am counting our camping trip to Newhalem and Ross Lake as a first since I don't think we ever stopped the car to walk around.  This place also has important family history; my great-grandfather died while building Ross Dam. 
6. Visit one place out of state I have never been before - Success!  This has always been a domestic category in the past but I think Tahiti and Bora Bora count. 
7. Take a multivitamin at least five days a week - Not good for most of the year but the last month I have managed to take one dang near every day.
8. Paint the downstairs bathroom, kitchen, living room and upstairs bedroom - This is getting pushed off until fall and no way are we getting all of the rooms.  I will settle for the upstairs bedroom, downstairs bathroom and kitchen. 
9. Have a once monthly cleaning night - We were doing really well with this for the first four months of the year but since May we haven't really had an official cleaning night.  I would like to restart this and get 3/4 of the year.
10. Not be further in debt than I am right now - I am slightly over where I thought I would be because of a $1500 clutch repair right after we got back from our honeymoon.  I should be back to status quo by year end.

So there you have it.  An uninspiring list at the start of the year and an uninspiring accomplishment rate during the year.  Much like us Mariners fans have to say "wait until next year."