Y’all, I have one more week in this long, long, long, long, long semester. Not bad-long, just long-long. And I’m ready for a break, but what I’m really excited about is organizing all the boxes of class materials under my bed into spiffy binders. And these spiffy binders will all fit into one box, making it possible for me to get rid of all the others. Then, I’m going to adjust my prices and re-list my books on in the hopes that they all sell so I can get rid of that book case. And after that, I’m going to go through all my clothes and sort them honestly based on what I wear and what I don’t. I’m going to get rid of the ones I don’t wear, and then I’m going for a run.

When I get back from the run, I’m going to shave my legs. Both of them. All at once. Then I’m going to catch up on all my stories and take a nap. When I wake up from the nap, I’m going to go to the movies. I don’t know what I’m going to see, but it’s going to be good, and then I’m going to do my Christmas shopping.

After that, I’m going to read. I don’t care what. I’m going to go to the ‘Bou, get the free drink they promised me after making me the wrong drink last time, and read until I’m over it. Then I’m going to look at Etsy and Pinterest while I watch Bones and, let’s be honest, probably Elf for the fourth time in a month. I’m going to lie on the floor and watch the lights on my Christmas tree twinkle while I listen to all my favorite music. And I’m going to talk to people on Skype at all hours of the day and night when I would normally be asleep or at work.

If you would like to join me in any of these activities (except the napping and leg-shaving), you are welcome to do so. It would please me very much. We can make gingerbread houses and eat cookie dough and go ice skating and maybe even hold hands.

Simplify2011: Chuckin’ It

I’m creative, but I’m not always all that proactive, so I buy stuff with this great idea of what I want to do with it, and then I never do it. So the stuff just sits around and sits around and sits around, and then it gets moved to a new house where it sits around some more. It just sits there for years and years, and I never actually get around to doing anything with it. I’ve decided to get rid of those items.

A few years ago, a local Raleigh radio station had a poor intern whose job was basically to embarrass himself royally for the entertainment of the DJs and the listeners. They sent him out to Krispy Kreme one morning, where his mission was to order doughnuts, take a bite or two, and then take them back to the counter and say, “I don’t want this no mo’.” That was all he could say. “I don’t want this no mo’.” When they asked him if there was something wrong, all he could say was, “I don’t want this no mo’.” It was pretty hilarious.

So I’m looking around my room at all the abandoned projects and random items associated with them, and all I can think is, “I don’t want this no mo’.” And I really don’t. All the stuff is just overwhelming, and when I think about moving it, I REALLY don’t want it.

And I’m beginning to think that a yard sale might be yet another project that will never happen. First of all, we don’t really have a yard. Second, a yard sale is a lot of work. You have to price everything, organize it into displays, advertise your yard sale and get up at the butt-crack of dawn to haggle with people. And third, I have a lot to do between now and the time we move, and I don’t think I’m going to have the time or the energy to do it before then. And if I’m not going to sell it before we move, I want to just get rid of it some other way so I don’t have to move it.

So yesterday afternoon, I took a trunkful of stuff to Goodwill. It was the first of probably many, many trunkfuls, but it was a good start. Next time, I’m tackling the crap under my bed that I never ever pull out to use. Then W-Josh and I are going to chuck a pile of crap that has somehow built up in our front room. Yes, friends, I’ve moved directly into the fourth stage of moving. Maybe by doing it this way, I can escape the dread AND the crap multiplication? I hesitate to even say that because the crap always multiplies. Always. I don’t know how, but it does. But perhaps just this once, I can nip it in the bud? Maybe?

I’ll let you know. At any rate, I’m getting rid of things. If you think you might want some of my things, come on over, and I’ll tell you if you can have whatever it is that you want. Your chances are actually pretty decent.

Idle Hands (Order Things from Infomercials)

I know y’all thought that idle hands were the devil’s workshop or some variation thereof, and perhaps this is a variation of that, but I’m here to tell you that my idle hands do exactly two things:

  1. Sign up for online dating services
  2. Buy things from infomercials

Well, so far this vacation, I’ve managed to avoid the former, but I know it’s time to get my butt in gear and do something productive because I spent the morning watching infomercials and buying at least one product. Before you judge me, know that I did not buy the Genie Bra, tempting as it was at $14 a bra (though not quite as tempting in that you had to buy six of them to get that deal). AND I did not purchase the Ab Belt by Sport-Elec.

No, I bought the Wen® Healthy Hair Care System by Chaz Dean (brought to you by Guthy-Renker® all rights reserved). So you can look at it like I bought six products, or like I bought one hair care system. Either way, it was 30 bucks, and I thought, You know, I spend almost that much each month on hair gel alone. Not to mention shampoo, conditioner, intensive moisturizing conditioning mask, and leave-in conditioner. So I went for it.

If I were one of those girls who could just use White Rain shampoo and conditioner from Family Dollar and be done with it, then this would probably not be worth it. But as you all know, my hair is a bit more persnickety than that and requires a lot more doing than just a wash and blow-dry. Wen® claims that the cleansing conditioner will effectively replace my shampoo, conditioner, and leave-in conditioner, so that clears up some space in my bathroom. (Oh my gosh! I had not even thought of this as a strategic Simplify2011 move, but it totally could be if it works!) The Re-Moist Intensive Hair Repair Mask replaces my intensive moisturizing conditioning mask. And the Styling Créme is supposed to replace my gel. Y’all know I’m skeptical of that, but it’s worth a shot, right? If I’m not happy with it, I can return it within 60 days, and they will refund my purchase EVEN IF THE BOTTLES ARE EMPTY! AND I got some texturizing goo, a wide-toothed comb and a 30-day supply of vitamins for “free” (I didn’t have to pay extra for them, but you know ain’t nobody losin’ a profit on any of this stuff).

Sounds like a win-win (win-Wen®?) to me. I’ll let y’all know how it goes.

Simplify2011: Body (aka 5k training)

No, I don’t think I’m going to lose 30-50% of my body mass this year. That would be a little frightening. But as you know, I do have a long-term running/training plan in place to get me ready for next year’s Disney Princess 1/2 Marathon, and I figure if I lose some weight in the process, so be it. This here is an update on my progress. You know, for anyone who cares.

I finished up Week 2 of the Couch-to-5k training today, and while the first two days were surprisingly hard, today was noticeably easier. I was actually able to run and walk faster as I got closer to the end of the workout. I mean, I’m still no Flo-Jo. Shoot, I’m not even my friend Sally, who runs nine-minute miles (I’m still closer to 12). But I’m getting better. Incidentally, I’m also working on a one-legged spandex getup to wear to the Y.

So next week, I’ll start on Week 3, which is the one where you jog for 90 second/walk for 90 seconds, then jog for 3 minutes/walk for 3 minutes. I know I was skeptical that I could do it last time and surprised when I could. And I know that I did it and went on to do even more, but still, right now I’m thinking, Ugh. Three minutes?? At ONCE?! I don’t know…

But I’m just going to fill my mind with images of gazelles and my ears with music and the encouragement of Chubby Jones, and I know I’ll be just fine.

Simplify2011: Books

I made two steps over the weekend to cut my book inventory WAY down. First I bought myself an eReader. I know, I know. I was staunchly opposed to them, but I basically got the deal of the century, and I couldn’t pass it up. It’s nothing fancy. It’s the Borders Kobo, originally priced at $139.99, but I got mine for $59.99 because the Borders store in Cary is closing, and everything is on super-sale. I went over there to look into some cheap Rosetta Stone software, but all they had left was American English, so I was leaving, but as I approached the door, the Kobo (and its sale sign) caught my eye. I went over to take a peep, and the thing comes pre-loaded with 101 classics and a dictionary! And I thought, 101 books, a dictionary, and space to add 1,000 more books that won’t fill up a billion boxes every time I move, all for 60 bucks? Yes, please. So I bought it, which meant I could add my Complete Works of Jane Austen, my Les Miserables, my Count of Monte Cristo and my Hunchback of Notre Dame to the “sell” pile.

And that brings me to the second thing I did this weekend to reach my goal of a 30-50% reduction in stuff: I put 59 books up for sale on If you want to see what I have available (and perhaps purchase one or several), you can visit my store. I’d say I would just give you one if you wanted it, but the store also serves a second purpose of helping me raise money to go on a mission trip to Italy this summer. More on that later, but if you want to contribute to the cause by purchasing some new reading material, that would be great.


Part of this came from looking around my extremely messy room. I’m not kidding y’all when I tell you that there are Christmas presents still sitting on the floor. Part of it came from cleaning up the kitchen the other day and seeing how amazing it looks without so much stuff everywhere. Seriously, every time I go in there now, I don’t want to leave. The counters are so bare, it’s just beautiful. And part of it came from the thought that I might have to pack it all up again in a few months if W-Josh and I decide not to stay here. Moving is not an option on the table right now, but with L-Josh gone, we’ll both be paying more each month, and if the rent goes up with a new lease, I don’t think I can afford it.

I’ve done a few things to simplify my moves in the past. I put all my DVDs in one of those big CD books and threw away all the cases, I’ve gotten rid of clothes and shoes, papers and books, and all kinds of trinkets. But looking around my messy room the other day, it overwhelmed me how much stuff I have that I never use. Never even think about. Have, in fact, forgotten that I own. There’s this whole big plastic container in my closet full of mystery. I don’t even know what’s in there. I could give the whole thing to Goodwill without looking in it and never miss a thing. And there are probably two more such containers under my bed. What am I doing with all this crap??

Furthermore, I’ve got two whole bookcases full of books. Some of them are books I use for teaching, and some of them are old favorites I’ll likely read again and again, but I could probably do away with 75% of them and not feel the loss at all.

So I’ve decided to make at least a 30% reduction in stuff this year. If I can make it 50%, I will, but 30% is the minimum, and here’s what I figure: If I get rid of all that stuff, I’ll need less furniture to keep it on/in, and I can get rid of that too. Then I can keep things clean and make moving a less horrible affair.

I’ll keep y’all updated on my progress (#1) for accountability’s sake, (#2) to share my thoughts/feelings/difficulties/triumphs along the way, and (#3) to encourage anyone else out there who wants to simplify. And I do encourage everyone to simplify. Anybody with me?