Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Coffee and Books 2014

Two of my favorite things! I've been taking pictures of the coffees I'm drinking while reading, but I somehow stopped doing this in the fall (probably because since then my reading has been happening mostly in public transportation, and thus not accompanied by a coffee). Here are some (not many) pictures that I actually took.















22 things to do before my 22nd birthday

1. Set a wedding date
Much needed.
2. Write a short story
3. Grow something I can eat
It seems like an adult item to have in your kitchen.
4. Build a snowman
This assumes that there will be something to build a snowman with. All there is for me to do is hope and watch the sky.
5. Participate in a read-a-thon
I haven't done that in a while, but it is amazingly exhilarating, especially if it lasts for the entire week.
6. Suspend my city pass and cycle to school and work for a week
It's like I want to do this, but where will I do all of my reading?
7. Go to the botanical garden
My girl Jenifer really wants to go one day, but all I can manage now is to go myself and tell her all about it.
8. Get back behind the wheel
... and thus conquer one of my biggest fears.
9. Go to a wedding expo
Meh. Maybe. It seems like a nerve-wracking experience.
10. Join an academic circle for literature
So that I feel I'm actually doing something worthwhile with my time.
11. Achieve a right and left leg split
I was supposed to have already done this by the end of 2014 (and all the previous years), let's see if that's something that I really want or just a familiar resolution that I've been setting for myself every year.
12. Go to the tram cafe
There is a cafe set up in a TRAM in my city, so definitely that's something to brag about having been to.
13. Go for a run with my fiance
14. Go to the theater
I was lax about cultural events in my city for a while now, mostly because it seemed to me second-rate and very modern, and I'm principally dubious about modern theater. But I'm gonna give it a try.
15. Come up with my thesis topic
It's a start.
16. Get a professional massage
I wanted to do this for a long long time and ever since I started feeling backache about a year and a half ago this desire got REAL. I can't quite justify spending so much money on an appointment that lasts an hour, so this one I'm planning to complete on my birthday.
17. Send a care package to a friend
My best friend just recently moved to London and she'd need some candy for her birthday.
18. Go to the dance workshop
19. Celebrate our 4th anniversary with YourPantsOFFICIAL
Preferably with a dance party.
20. Donate ten books to the library
I've donated quite a few this year, so I don't have a ton of unneeded books left, but I'm sure there are some that are merely taking up space on my shelves.
21. Finish the Respectable Sins study
... it would have been a year that I'm doing this and it's really not a year-long study.
22. Run a half marathon
Haha, this one is mostly to have something demanding that I can aspire to, but I've got a hunch I'll left this one uncrossed off the list. It's not like I haven't thought seriously about the half-marathon in April. But... we'll see if I have enough energy to take up such an onerous task.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

2015 Mount TBR Challenge


Yes, this is happening! I have a lot of backlogged books and I always thought it pointless to own books I haven't read. Then again, it is great to have many books on my shelves to read because I don't have to go and buy books when I want to read something, so really, you could think about my personal library as a bookstore, which for some reason is a more fun way to think.
Honestly, the biggest book challenge I set for myself was to not buy any books in 2015 (what?! impossible! what?!). I do need to cut on my spending quite substantially and my book buying habits definitely do impede my wedding savings. Fortunately, I have a looong list of unread books I own (that will be ongoing until December 31st :), so I don't really have to worry about not having enough books to read while I can't buy new books. As you know, I love turning restrictions into games and I thought that banning myself from buying books sounds much cooler when combined with a mountaineering adventure. Based on the above mentioned list and on the number of books I will have read this year (over 75!) I am able to assume with quite a solid dose of certainty, that I will reach Mount Ararat, or 48 books. I am hopefully going to read more than this; however, I will still be using my library, especially for books I have to read for school, so that will easily make for the rest of the books.
The Mount TBR Challenge was created by Bev from My Reader's Block

Mount Ararat - Turkey

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Half a thousand things

Oh my. The relief.

I was somewhat ready for the feeling of freedom. I was not ready for an utter mindset transformation.


I thought it would be hard to get rid of that much stuff, I thought I would struggle going into the second half of the month and I would have to fish around my house, the garage, the attic. In reality? The more I was throwing out, the more I wanted to throw out. AND I mostly got rid of things around my bedroom, I didn't venture much into the kitchen (which needs its own Minimalist Challenge) or the garage. Yesterday I said to my fiancé: "You know I just got rid of over 500 things from around this room?". He looked around and said "I can't see much difference though". 


I got rid of half a thousand things and you can't even see a difference in the abyss of all the other things that I have. How absurd.


Conclusions? Even getting rid of over 500 items, I still have a lot of stuff, and after the initial purge, I'll certainly keep decluttering. That's what I mean by the mindset transformation: I didn't only clean unnecessary, I realized this September was just a starting point to living a more mentally hygienic life, with less stuff and less stress. Come October I'll keep decluttering, I even came up with a handy schedule: October - kitchen, November - garage, December - living room&linen closet. To think that I actually gave MONEY for half a thousand things that if not for the pictures below I wouldn't even remember is mind boggling. This challenge made me consider what I'm buying even more than keeping a ledger did. MIND AMAZED.


Confession: I did cheat a little. But if there was ever a good way to cheat, it's this one: I was getting rid of a lot more daily that I was supposed to according to the rules of the challenge. If I was getting rid of 400 pages of loose music sheets I would count them as one item. If I had 10 little items and a decorative box, I'd put them in the box and count it as one item. That's how I got rid of OVER 500 ITEMS, more than the challenge required. I also actually did the tossing and documenting for the upcoming days (I took the day thirty photo on the 23rd). BUT I never felt as right about cheating as with this challenge!


Here's some highlights about the most ridiculous things I got rid of this month:


- my Kinder Surprise smurf figurines collection on day 29 




- my dinosaur Christmas lights on day 29. no words.

- my decorative letter opener on day 15
- my stamp tweezers on day 15 (I don't have a stamp collection)
- spices from a kitchen cupboard that expired in 1998 (didn't count that towards the challenge though)
- three gigantic colored pencils on day 18 (that I got as a gift from my mom when I was 6. Felt a little sad about this...)
- eight (!!!) music notebooks on day 20
- orthodontic wax on day 2 (it's been over two years since they removed my braces. But even with my braces on I wasn't using it. Such a waste of money!)
- a couple hundreds loose music sheets on day 21
- pink glitter eyeshadow on day 21 (I'd never wear that color on my eye lids in a million years. Why do I have it?!)
- a beach radio on day 28 (this is funny because I always rant about people listening to the radio on the beach)
- six mugs that had cats on them on day 30. Don't worry, I still have like 15 cat mugs. I'm a bit cat-crazy.
- books in German on day 28 (I don't even speak German)



























































So what's the plan for now? Until the end of September (because I finished the challenge today, on the 23rd - I told you I was a cheater) I'll work on actually getting rid of the stuff I got rid of - so that means actually going to the library to donate books, taking trash out, donating the clothes to one place, the shoes to another, giving my yarn to the friend that actually knits, putting stuff up on eBay, going to Starbucks (here's the most exciting part: at one Starbucks near me you can actually donate a book since they have a shelf for the customers to read while they're having their coffee and get a tall coffee in return! I'm gonna wait until they have their Pumpkin Spice Latte, mhhhmmmm... or do they have it already?). So yes, I'll try to get this done in the upcoming week, especially work hard on actually selling the items that I have to sell and come October - I'll be really free from this stuff and ready to declutter the kitchen!

Thanks to Anna from And Then We Saved for inspiring me to do this!


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Getting rid of stuff

In the New American Oxford Dictionary the phrase "to get rid of" is described as "to take action so as to be free of (a troublesome or unwanted person or thing)". I particularly like the word "troublesome" as used here since I really need to get rid of some stuff. And right now I'm realizing that my stuff, yes, is quite troublesome.
It is odd how a person with such low income and similar income history for a couple of years now as myself can accumulate so much stuff. Logically when you think about it you spend when you have the money and time for it. Nowadays in our society we spend more to keep up appearances despite the money we make. Example at hand? Most people with tons of stuff have also tons of debt.
But this is not a post about this vague and rant-worthy subject of society, it is about myself. Lately, I've been finding myself more and more frustrated with how much time I spend mindlessly and how all the clutter I have simply takes up way too much room for me to breathe easily. From what I've heard from other people (who am I kidding: as read on blogs) I gather getting rid of unwanted and unused stuff should be a way to go. Troublesome is the word. TROUBLESOME.

I came across The Minimalist Challenge at And Then We Saved. The challenge was created by The Minimalists. How it works? For every day of the month you get rid of the number of stuff corresponding to the day of the challenge. So for day one you get rid of one thing, day two you toss two items and that way until day thirty when you're supposed to throw out thirty things. That way after a month you've freed yourself from 465 pieces of junk. Needless to say, I wouldn't talk about the challenge if I wasn't attempting it, so... September is going to be a month of decluttering for me. I am so ecstatic about this (really, has anybody ever said that about creating three boxes/ bags with "donate", "sell", "trash" written on them? Well, yes, my mother. Probably mothers in general).

Hopefully in September I will have gotten rid of 465 of my possessions and I'm quite certain I won't be missing any single one of them.

via BuyNothingNew

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Crazy crazy August

Since the last blog post I:

- got into my local university (despite the fact that I did really poorly on my high school standardized testing exam that I had to resit in May) for two different majors with no excitement really for any of them and with much uncertainty about which one to choose 
- did an internship at a publishing company, which changed my mind about what kind of education I would need for my dream line of work (basically don't study publishing if you want to go into publishing, which seems like it doesn't make sense but it somehow does)
- decided to major in English, again, although this time in English as a foreign language
- got sick from ice cream on numerous occasions, which sucks because it might mean that I'm lactose intolerant (NOOO!)
- swam in a sea BRIMMING with jellyfish and freaked out only a little bit
- had a friend from the US visiting me in POLAND
- went to Auschwitz for the first time in my life
- spent 16 hours on the train in a 30 hour period of time (personal record)
- ate 3 bags of chips in a 24 hour period (with two friends. Still: personal record)
- did not buy ANY books for the entire month (not sure, but might be a personal record as well) and felt extremely proud of myself
- went out of town to visit a friend with another friend of mine, which was really nice, and ended up watching stupid bridal reality TV and (see above) eating lots of chips for three days
- went on a night-time walk in the old town of Krakow, which was one of the most atmospheric and beautiful night-time walks I've ever had
- had the most frustrating house renovation and just gahhhh stupid stupid house cleaning throughout the entire month is SO EXHAUSTING
- realized that translating work is much harder than it seems
- spent so much money on a dentist that it almost made me physically ill
- failed two read-a-thons because of all this craziness
- lived at my aunt's place petsitting her adorable cat
- got into a very serious money saving mode
- bought bridal magazines for the first time in my life, because

- (best for last) I GOT ENGAGED on August 9th !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Cliffhangers.

This is a collection of unfinished drafts of blog posts. My favorite ones are those that break off mid-sentence. I mostly have no idea what I had in mind at the time. Also, this is completely unedited and I steered clear off proper grammar. You get me in my natural habitat.


I feel like I'm gonna need to kill something. I guess you know the feeling if you've ever felt swamped by work and were prepared to get into some pretty uncomfortable situation, almost made out with your brother-in-law not knowing that in fact he is your son or if you ever did NaNoWriMo. It is June and yes, that means that I'm doing Camp Nano. At every camp there is this one child who would call his parents constantly, moan, cry, refuse to take part in all camp activities, blame you for having their PayPhone card stolen (hey, remember that I was a camper in the nineties and early two-thousands) and get candy packages from their grandparents every other week and refusing to give you some and locking your common room before you come in and being a nudnik altogether. Wow, that was a long enunciation. But seriously, I used to get soooo annoyed with people who did nothing but moan. And right now I'm this tedious person who moans all the time and calls their parents. I don't wanna be that person. But really, this Camp Nano is horrible! I do not know what to write, I NOT KNOW WORDS HOW TOGETHER PUT. It's not that I don't wanna try, I open that freakin' word document

 ***


Back when I was in ballet school we used to end our daily training with a yoga routine. The teacher would say 'ask your body what it feels. Transcend the universe with your mind' and the like. Usually our bodies screamed something like CINNAMON BUN NOW and our minds would transcend to the changing rooms and focus on getting the hell out of there. While I'm not certain about the latter part, with the universe and all that, I think I finally get how it is when your body is more aware of what you actually want than you are. Since last Tuesday my body has been bellowing Sweden Sweden Sweden. I didn't know why I missed Sweden so much. I didn't know why I had this weird craving for Radbrod, I didn't know why I sat listening to Zarah Leander

***


I'm getting totally lazy. Tomorrow I'm leaving and not gonna have any internet, unless I go to the library IN ANOTHER TOWN IN ANOTHER COUNTRY and I'm not so sure there's internet there. At the same time I have three papers to write (one due last Monday), a revision to do,  a video to make, a picture to photoshop, a test to study for and

***

No excuses. I'm just gonna write something.
I'm at my friend's house, I was staying the night. I have a million things to do today, including a badgilion essays, same number of math homework, putting stuff on ebay and trying to crimp my hair (I'm all for crimping lately but my crimper won't work. Oh well...). I just wanted to say one thing (and also have at least two posts in a month of daily blogging), particularly because I want to remember this experience when I read this blog afterwards (also, sorry for messing up the sentence with a digression, but I'm really gonna put more care into grammar. Starting tomorrow....). So in Poland there is this game show on TV called Familiada. Basically you need to have 5 members of your family on the show. The presenter asks a question

***


Hello and good day!
I am not doing as well on the January blogging daily challenge, but hey, I have eleven more months to make up for that. This is a general update blog, so excuse me if it's too bloggy. People generally tend to hate these types of videos but  sometimes I enjoy them more than content-full-to-burst videos, because they show these people in their natural habitat. Also, unedited is always so old school.

I haven't been posting for the last couple of days, but boy, were they intensive. I was working all day Wednesday and Thursday (I'm a cleaning person. Last year I taught English to little Polish kids and I have to say that this year it such a great feeling of tiredness.

 ***

This blogging every day thing is hard. Not because I can't find some time every day set aside to this activity, but because the more things on my head, I feel that I don't have that time. The case is that I shouldn't have time. In fact, I'm wasting so much of it just worrying about how I lack it that with a different mindset I could be a timelady (should that be a thing?).
So, sometimes I feel the urge to be grave and/or self-reflective but really I'm just a lazybum who can't get her work done so... I'm not gonna edit it.
Okay, I'll go dry my hair and then I'm rushing off to church, so I guess, see you in a couple hours.

***


As I was entering this fabulous stage of my life when your major concern of preoccupation is college application essay, I gave myself a choice of writing about either something I had stable opinions on, or something that should shock. Ending up writing a dissertation entitled 'Math in my life' was a killer for all of my friends. A little backstory on that.
In primary school I was the best kid in class, in everything (at some point, I was even good at sports?). We had the GPA scale of 6, where 5 was very good and six was reserved for geniuses. My GPA was 5.9. The only subject I got a 5 in was math. I'm not saying that this grading system was particularly accurate, as I don't feel and have never felt like a child prodigy. I would rather say that I was the only one not worried about not 'being cool', which term was at that time often confused with being moronic. Anyway, my point is that it shows that from the beginning math was not my cup of tea.
First semester of junior high I was under threat of having to repeat it because of my disastrous results in math (I got 6%, hehe). Later on I grew so anxious about math, that I would not go to class (I would even volunteer to distribute the leaflets about contraception around classrooms instead of having to deal with functions. True story) and let's say that my relations with the teacher were were less than enjoyable.

Having had such experience with math I was fretting one of my final exams. I started studying for it 6 months in advance, just so that I could start from the beginning. And I kind of started to love that.

I almost completed the entire SAT math book in two weeks. Not because I was pressed for time, but because I liked it so much. And then I was all depressed because I needed to get a new book.
A couple of months ago I went to this Sunday School Teachers' Training where the lecturer told us about how math can be like life.
Remember in the first grade how they taught us the order of operations and how this was going to be the most important thing in math we will ever learn? At my school our teacher told us that if we don't know the order of operations we will mess everything up.

***

I've just written a really elaborate explanation for my internet absence in the last couple of weeks. However, I just feel too bored by what I've written to make it sound better. I just want to write what I've been meaning to. Anyway, what you need to know is: my examination marathon is over and I am back to blogging.

I'm sure all of us heard those excuses before. All this festival of "I was busy having life", repeating every few weeks and this need of making the explanation into a separate video on YouTube. For that I see one reason: even though you love doing what you do on the Internet, it is so hard getting back to what you've fell out of habit of doing.
Take blogging. In the month of April I wouldn't be able to imagine a day without a blog post. Once April has ended it was harder and harder to write once a two weeks or so. Doing NaNoWriMo was easy when I got used to writing all the time. But I haven't even opened the folder with my novel since I pushed into the depth of my computer documents on November 30th.
It is normal to jog every day if you're used to doing it every day.

***


I do have a weird relationship with time. Sometimes I hate it but sometimes it seems like a savage beast that needs to be given gifts in nature in order to be 
 I have always believed that time, if approached properly, would be ready to pay you off the courtesy. As shady as the reality would turn out leaves the question






Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Garage door


I'm one of those lucky people to have a garage.  Heck, I don't have a car but at least my bike has a comfortable place to live. I mean, having a driver's license AND a garage is half the success of having a car. Now all I have to do is wait until I'm thirty and able to afford to drive one but that's just a minor detail. To add onto the luxury, you can enter my garage from my apartment. Thus I have two entryways to the house: one through the front door and one through the garage (those are at least the traditional entryways, you can be sure I know of a couple more possibilities that sadly I've never been adventurous enough to try).  Everyday I have the option to choose how I'm going to leave my house. To an ordinary observer of my every day life, my choosing whether to use the front or the garage door may seem totally random. However, to a percipient observer there is a clearly distinguishable pattern. A percipient observer would see that on days that I'm wearing high heels, dresses, and bags that are clearly color-coordinated with the rest of my outfit I'd be leaving through the front door. If I feel really sophisticated I'll even stop by my mailbox and examine the mail with a curious smile. On those days I either sport a bright smile or a knowledgeable disdain on my face, the latter mostly when a suit and a laptop case are involved. On those days I go to concerts, theater plays or run "important errands". This observer would probably assume that on those days I feel good about myself. He would also discern that on the days that I use my garage door, I usually look quite different. I might go jogging, or to take out trash. If the observer is particularly perceptive he will notice that if I'm going to the store through my garage, I'll usually just end up bringing back big containers of chocolate ice cream. I leave through my garage if I'm wearing anything resembling sweats, anything clearly mismatched, anything that's been spilled on, sewed on in a noticeable manner, or if it's a really bad day, torn. Most of my clothing on those days will have cat hair on it but I won't care. It will be clear I'm feeling quite down. Yet, the most perceptive of the observers will see that all this actually is not about fashion in the slightest. Leaving through my garage door is a way for me to sulk and wallow, as if I'm not worthy of the proud stride through the front door that would indicate I actually know where I'm going, or that I'm the place I was supposed to be in from the beginning.
Lately, it would take only an ordinary observer to notice that I've been using my garage door much more often than I used to and way more often than my front door.  Yet, I am making a conscious decision to use only my front door from now on. I might have crappy circumstances but I hope I still have it in me to be joyful.

In conclusion, I sincerely hope I don't really have such perceptive observers in front of my house. I would be really freaked out by that.

Verse of the day: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Phillipians 4:4