Sunday, November 30, 2008

Absolutely Fabulous and Minimalism

If you follow the British TV show, Absolutely Fabulous then you may remember an episode where Edwina flashes back to her minimalist friends Bettina and her husband, in college who are dressed all in white in an all white apartment with no furniture and just one tiny painting hanging from the ceiling by a thread. In present day they are yuppies with a baby. When they come to visit, they have mass amounts of baby furniture, diapers, formula, etc and are exhausted - no longer serene and groovy in their minimalism. Edwina is horrified screaming at her daughter, Safron, (Donovan reference,) "Where are my surfaces?"
Desperate, Edwina finally has sex with the husband knowing that Bettina will hear it on the baby monitor. She has no explanation other than, " Well they had to go darling."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Minimalist's Thanksgiving

So with Thanksgiving right around the corner, what is a minimalist to do? There are a lot of things I do to make a nice dinner with minimal work, expense, and stress. I have already started.
1. First of all I checked with my guests to see about how many I'll have. I always cook more food than everyone can eat anyway because leftovers are great to have the next day.
2. I don't like my guests to bring food because then I have to warm it up, find something to serve it with, and find a spot for it on the table. When people ask what they can bring I always say beer or wine because we can always drink it later if there's too much. We also always invite friends with no where else to go. This year a few of our adult son's friends are coming. So that will really be fun.
3. I have already decided exactly what I'm going to cook and have purchased everything but fresh herbs and veggies already. I started a few weeks ago by adding a few items to my list each week. This is one of the best tips I can offer because you won't be part of the last minute shopping rush and you spread the expense out over the month so it's barely noticed. 
4. Prepare and freeze some of the meal. I made a double batch of homemade butternut squash soup last week and froze 1/2 for Thanksgiving. I am experimenting with freezing a few other dishes this week. 
5. I no longer cook an entire bird. Instead I roast turkey breasts and legs. They cook faster and it's easier to tell when they're done and they are easy to carve. They are less messy too. I just cook the stuffing on the stovetop.
6. I am setting up a buffet but am making sure there are plenty of places for people to sit where they can set their plates down. Buffets are great and save the hostess a lot of time and trouble. No more getting up and down from the table for this or that.
7. The day before set up all of the serving dishes, napkins, plates, and silverware on the buffet. Thaw out whatever is frozen and make ahead whatever you can. Then make sure your dishwasher is empty so you can clean while you cook the next day.
8. I like to have everything ready and warm in my oven and my kitchen clean when my guests arrive. 
9. Set up a drink station with a bucket of ice, beer, wine etc. This lets your guests help themselves keeps them from getting into the way in the kitchen.
10. To make clean up easier make sure you have freezer bags ready to put food away easily. Fill up the sink with hot soapy water so guests can just drop their plates and silverware in there.

I hope you all have a happy, stress free Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Here are Two Great Blogs

I just found a new ecology blog that is totally cool. I wanted to share it with you all. It's called Let Me Green . The first thing I found there were affordable solar panels which I want to power my green house as I want to continue growing vegetables over the winter in our potting shed. My husband and I went to an art opening at the Launch Pad Gallery on Thursday and bought a really cool piece of multimedia art to go in there. It's by Rebecca Shelly. Here's some info about her. She has a great web site about gardening and her art. If you're a gardener, you've got to check her out!

Rebecca Shelly

Rebecca Shelly will be showing some beautiful drawings & installation work from her MFA thesis about modern-day victory gardens. These pieces are originally inspired by a WWII era government propaganda campaign to encourage Americans to plant food gardens, which they called, “Victory Gardens”, as a way of supporting the war effort. Shelly has taken the idea of the Victory Garden and adapted it to address a different yet equally grave set of problems facing us today.

Friday, November 7, 2008

I'm Back.......

Well, I must admit I have missed writing this blog so I  am going to resume writing it even though it contradicts being a minimalist because writing three blogs isn't minimal. In truth, my life is quite complicated but maintaining a minimalistic lifestyle in my home. personal habits, and business organization is what keeps me sane. So here's where I am now.

If you've been reading my blog you know that I quit teaching after a 20 year stint to work with my husband and now almost 25 year old son flipping houses. When the economy soured our son got his general contractors license and we started a remodeling company. This journey has been wonderful for all three of us. I became so organized I  found time to paint and show my work which has totally changed my perception of myself.  I downsized everything and found out what is important and what isn't. That's really at the heart of what I write about. I just love to focus on practical ways to make life easier ways to tread lightly on our beautiful earth.

After teaching writing for so long it's fun to actually write to an audience that wants to hear what I have to say. I had no idea that so many folks subscribed to my blog to tell you the truth! So here's what the minimalist is up against now......

We just moved last month into a huge house that is too big for us but needed to be occupied as we couldn't sell it and having just renovated it, it was too nice to rent.  Our son and two renting friends moved into" the minimalist townhouse" downtown so he could live our downsized lifestyle!

This house is only a mile and a half from "the Hood" where we used to live but having to drive everywhere really changed my reality. In protest, I just drive right back there to do my shopping where I know everyone. We still hit happy hour at our favorite haunts, but can't stay as long.

Anyway, my new challenge is to minimalize this big place on 1/2 an acre and to fight becoming re-suburbanized! If that is something you can relate to,  I invite you to follow me on my new journey...... Repeat after me.... no Costco, no Costco, no Costco!!!