Saturday, January 14, 2017

My minimalist wardrobe

I was recently asked about my wardrobe from a friend looking to pack conservatively for a 6 month move. I have some free time on my hands and thought it would be fun to share what my attire consists of now.  I am going through a 'wool' phase. I adore merino wool, particularly the expensive stuff that is more durable that I get from Icebreaker, Ibex and smartwool. The benefits of merino wool are the lack of itch, they are naturally antimicrobial (less stink), and they are good temperature regulators. I know most think wool = hot, but I have a lightweight wool shirt and tank top that work well in the heat. Other benefits include quick drying and it's all natural!  I now have wool underwear and bra. I even own wool Toms so I can be head to toe in wool on the right day lol.

From top left going clockwise: Tank/shirt tops, sweaters, fleece sweater, down coat, down pants, rain coat and pants, long sleeve tops, bottoms (pants and skirt).  This is everything I have access to right now, not including my socks and knickers 😛

My clothing list:
1) Underwear - 5    Although, I go commando often.  This includes the one wool pair, 2 cotton and two synthetic.  I wear the wool most often.

2) Bra - 6    Includes 1 wool sports bra, 3 synthetic sports bras and 2 Victoria secret bras I rarely wear.  I have noticed that I really only wear two of my bras, the wool and one synthetic lightweight sports bra.. again opting on some days to not wear any at all.. mainly when we are far from civilization.

3) Tops - 15    Wow, more than I thought!  5 tank tops only one is wool, 2 t-shirts both lightweight wool, 5 long sleeve shirts (2 wool, 2 cotton and one synthetic), 2 sweaters (1 cotton, 1 wool), 1 'fashion' sweater ie for dressing up nicely with the dress or over other tops to look more civilized should the mood strike me.

4) bottoms - 8    Includes 2 wool tights, synthetic lightweight pants, 5.11 cargo pants, jeans and 2 shorts (1 synthetic, 1 wool), 1 skirt (synthetic)

5) Socks - 8    Way more than I need!  Mainly wool in various weights

6) Dress - 1    I have one for dressing up, but it has come in handy while bathing near a river close to a road.

7) Outerwear - 5    Includes a down coat, down pants, a rain coat and waterproof pants, fleece hoodie

8) Scarves - 2    I have 1 purple synthetic and.. you guessed it 1 wool

Total=50 items

What helps this work for me is that the color of everything I own coordinates together. I can mix and match almost everything, I have one top that doesn't go with one bottom.  Most of my clothes are black, grey or a shade of blue. I have one purple tank, one gold (for fun that I rarely wear), and one t-shirt that is a deep blue/green shade... according to ibex it is 'tidal pool heather' whatever that means. This allows me to have diverse options for outfits... truth be told I often end up in the same things, just as I always have. I end up wearing my favorite items the most, which is why I know of a few things I can just get rid of.

To be clear this is everything for all seasons... so that does account for why I have 14 tops.  Half of them I am not wearing now.  In fact the photo doesn't include a few items ie shorts which I am not using so they are put away in a storage bag in the truck.  I mainly wear some combination of the wool items, as I am now in a wool t-shirt, wool tights and wool socks.

Creating this list has made me realize I have more than I need. I could definitely trim it down even further.  Like the 6 bras!  Goodness.  What's really amusing to me is that I once owned about 15 bras.  Why on Earth did I ever think I needed 15 bras?!  I also once owned about 30 pairs of underwear.  You can really go a long time without doing laundry that way... more ecologically friendly right?  To make up for the daily showers?

As I grow more independent of the idea of needing things, I am becoming more aware of the impact THINGS have on the environment and my life.  I am thankful for the opportunity to live this simply.  To recognize how consumerism effected my way of life and that there is a different, more fulfilling way to live.  The less I have, the more I'm living.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Living in Limbo

We departed from Matthews childhood home to embark on a long trip to get our car back and drive to a friends house in Wisconsin.  First was a train ride from Springfield, MA to Chicago, IL.

We had a 4 hour layover that we spent eating breakfast and walking around the city.  We were only 1 mile from Millennium park.

The next leg was to Fargo, ND.  We then had to wait about 12 hours until we could take the bus to Bismarck, ND.  It took from Saturday to Tuesday to make it to Bismarck.  We arrived having slept very minimally, with the last night getting maybe 3 hours of sleep on the bus.  Once we got the truck back we drove back to Fargo.  Once there we decided we really needed a good nights sleep before continuing.  The trip back to Fargo was stressful, we were anxious having been in an accident and the roads were still horrible, and we were exhausted.
 heading out of Bismarck

not encouraging

We got a cheap hotel and slept for 18 hours, with a short break to eat dinner.  We woke feeling a little off but much better.  We knew we were tired, but didn't realize just how bad it was until the next morning.  From there we went south to Sioux falls, then west.  It was a safer route than going through Minneapolis which was just hit with slush, snow and traffic in the entire city was entirely red on google.  That being said, it was still stressful with icy roads.  Here's a sampling of the cars we saw on the side of the road:

That doesn't include all the ones we saw, I was not able to get every one, but there were a lot and it was, again, stressful! It took us about 15 hours total but we made it safely to Wisconsin.  The work we had on the truck was pretty basic.  It was just enough to be safe to drive.  We are spending some time here to work on a few more things before heading farther south.  I was hoping to go to Colorado to see friends there but the weather was not looking good.  I just saw they got 30 inches of snow recently, so we'll make our way there later.  For now we are safe and warm which makes me very happy!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Home for the Holidays

I arrived at the DC train station and was greeted by my father.  He happens to work just a few blocks away.  I took in the cathedral ceilings of Union Station, it's a beautiful building.  I was really happy to be home.  I missed my family and was looking forward to spending time with them.  They wanted to spoil me as much as possible because they don't get to see me often... not being around does have its perks, hehe.

Dinning out
My mom and I got our hair done together, sorry no photos.  It wasn't anything that exciting, it's been 7 months since my last hair cut.  I'm letting it grow long again so I just got a trim.  My mother on the other hand didn't get hers cut at all, the hairstylist just magically changed her hair to all black.  My mother has a few spots of gray on her temples.  I spoke with a cousin who said my aunt grows them in the same place.  With everyone coloring there hair it's hard to know what to expect.  I have zero intention to ever dye my hair.  It's interesting the responses this has gotten.  Some people think it's cool, and others just don't believe me.  They have told me I will change my mind.  I have a few gray hairs already and they are increasing.  Each one makes me happier, I'm excited to one day have all gray/white hair.  We live in a society that looks down on age.  I just saw a commercial that went something like "is your skin sagging?  do you have wrinkles? are you depressed? we can help! just waste money on this product and all your wildest dreams will come true!".  If my lifestyle is any indication, I am not a conformist.  So far, this has made my wildest dreams come true.  No money spent on things have ever brought me true happiness, only finite pleasure.  I have learned the infinite love that comes from within.  Coming back into society, after months in the woods... it's like I come from a different country, with different cultural values.  My hope is to one day find myself  in a world surrounded by people who value themselves and others based on who they are, rather how they look... or dress, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, etc.  That is my Earth Dream.  I would call it an American dream but I realize we are not so closed in anymore, and I don't wish it for just our country. 

Ok, jumping off my soap box, back to the usual.  My first weekend home my niece was with us.  She is one of my biggest joys in this world.  She is intelligent, funny and so full of love.  We always have fun together.  We played with bubbles, read books, went running together and, of course, had tea time. 

The one and only Tatiana

After about 5 days at home, everyone was back at work and I decided to make a trip to Charlottesville to visit friends.  Not having a car, I got a rental that was a delightful little Nissan Versa, it was similar to my old Honda Fit.  I forgot how zippy and fast these little cars are.  I got used to a manual truck fully loaded with our gear.  My happiness grew as I drove into Charlottesville with the landscape of mountains in the distance.  I spent time with all of my favorite people (except one family that was out of town).  I talked so much in the span of 3 days my throat was starting to hurt.  My heart was so full of love seeing my friends.  I got so many hugs, laughs and even a few tears.  I spent a little time downtown, slept on the grass at the pavilion (I was sleep deprived), went running with Marissa in the woods (a favorite pastime), and shared every meal with a friend.  It was hard to leave.  Spending those few days, catching up and driving around familiar streets, it felt like home.

The few photos I have..
 Cat's "I don't want my photo taken" face 

 Blue snuggled up with Sonic

Lovely, me and Amanda

The day after I returned to northern VA was Christmas Eve.  We went to Christmas Eve brunch at the Gilhousen's, the host every year.  Again, I was surrounded by friends, good food, laughs and lots of hugs.  On Christmas we went to my uncles house for Christmas dinner, I got to see most of the family that lives in the area.  I had a blast playing Catchphrase with them, I laughed so much it hurt.  My family had the next day off so I got one more full day with them before they returned to work.  The following day was the first time I was alone since I got to VA.  It was nice to have some quiet time to reflect on my visit, and to do some laundry.  My mother took the day off for my last day home.  We watched Hidden Figures, it was excellent!  I cried.  In the afternoon we picked up Tatiana, I was grateful for the chance to see her one more time.  We went out to dinner that evening.

Last night home

The next morning I was back on the train.  I changed my ticket from ND to Massachusetts.  As much as I loved being home, two weeks away from Matthew felt like long enough.  This train ride was pleasurable in that it was on time and stayed on time!  I took a few photos from this trip as well...

Now I'm back with the love of my life and the waiting game continues.  We are waiting for the truck to be fixed enough to be safe and running, then we'll take the train back to Fargo, bus it to Bismarck and hightail it South, for the rest of the winter.  In the meantime, I'm enjoying the warmth of being indoors and Judy's scrumptious home cooking.