Saturday, February 26, 2011

Vegan Dumpster Chili Bitches! And Towels...

I just made some mighty fine chili from dumpster finds: TVP, vermicelli, tomato sauce (always plentiful), kidney beans, in a dumptered Emeril pot, stirred with a dumpstered Emeril utensil. In a dumpstered Tae Kwon Do t shirt and organic cotton leggings. The onions I bought and the seasonings were both gifted and bought. The soy sauce: pretty inspired addition! I am not vegan, I'm kind of anti Vegan in terms of health, but it can be inexpensive to go the meatless route....

Also: Found just in time!!! Its embarassing going to Bikram with towels that have oil paint on em!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

When Hypochondriacs Have an Attack

I just had what I would consider a great little dive. Photobucket
Good things I use a lot: organic pastas, weird Chinatown novelties, salt (which I've been spilling a lot lately :O !!!), splenda, which I am out of (oh bite me I know its fake sugar! I am not sugar deprived, I make up for it in wine and cookies), hot cocoa, detox teas...I'm happy to find it, but in a way it makes me sad. The whole find is indicative of neuroses. Obsession with health related items is a known mental disorder, and the person probably got rid of all of this if not in a move, than in an attack. Sad...really really really sad...Anyhoo...who wants organic pasta with mushrooms and hot cocoa???PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Onions. Do They Make You Cry Too? Do You, Too, Love Them?

Two weeks ago I wrote about how I got rid of so much stuff how I've never had less than this, everything is so clean...blah blah old friend came over and was impressed but said “Keep going!” I thought, really? Pfft! Whatever, lets see you do it! And Aaah! Space!

So last night I had the option of moving into a smaller but supposedly less noisy apartment. I tried it out and realized there is no way I am moving TWICE, possibly three times this year...and that Yeah. I am not done cleaning and getting RID. I took out three more bags of unwanted items that had little or no use or value to me. I put up even more on ebay, half dot com and etsy. I have two more bags to take to Market Fresh Books. ALL THIS after sincerely thinking I was done!

I don't know if its the Bikram (SWEAT!) or the Thai massage or being in touch with what I want and feeling purpose...something is happening and it's emotional and exciting, and it is all intertwined. I've let go of a lot, I just seem to keep going, and it feels wonderful! It is notsuperficial but on all levels (mental, emotional, physical) that in reality are just different ways of seeing truth. The Western convention to categorize everything is really just an aid to language, but since language changes the way we think, its good to remind ourselves that no. Really. Its all one. 

I've noticed a pattern to the release cycle, no matter what we're talking about...situations...things...expectations. I tend to get pretty emotional right before a big release. It all comes to the surface. I don't think I'm going to make it. It's dark and spiralling and hopeless. And then, I let go. And, hey hey! Dance a little victory dance! I'm standing. And soon, I've moved onto the next demon and the last one was ages ago...

So, I know what you're thinking. Janet, I just want to see pictures of your latest finds!

...I write under the category of dumpster diving, but its not about accumulating things at all. I told someone last night how I got rid of a bunch of stuff and they responded, “I thought you were a dumpster diver?! Aren't you doing it in reverse?” Now, if I gave the impression that I was out for material gain and that you should, too...if that's what people walk away from me thinking, then...I have failed to communicate. The POINT of diving is NOT STUFF. It is not wasting, it is knowing we live in a country that is wasteful and we choose not to join in, at the core, its about RESPECTING YOUR MOTHER (EARTH). This does NOT mean hoarding. It means living simply, not shopping and spending money when we do not have to. It is doing more with less. It is having less of a material impact and refocusing our energy to things that really really matter. Its about living UNDISTRACTED.

And, bite me, its FUN! I've been experiencing such joy getting rid of things last night and today! So much is replaceable. So many things immediately depreciate once you've purchased them. I've had multiple beds, kitchen sets, cars, bikes, irons...blenders...things come back to you when you truly need them, and sometimes when you just want them, and you do not need to grasp for them. So trashing the expendables was joyous. What has been even MORE fun is realizing what my life has been up to nearly thirty, taking inventory. I am shockingly at peace with and proud of the things I am choosing to keep. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Who Was Raised Catholic? Show of Hands...(hand emoticon here)

     Its been a while since I posted. I can 'splain!

     I got a job, see...are you disappointed? FlashbacK! I had a blog about my anarchistic ways (though I never put that term to the behaviours till a year or so ago...) in 2008 when I freaked out about how culty Whole Foods is (John Mackey's the devil MAYN!) Anyway, this blog was on myspace and I had a fan. Dook he called himself. Ah Dook...Ill never forget your words of encouragement...I'm actually serious. He also bought a painting from me. (And when he sent payment he also sent a recipe for black forest cherry torte. Awwe! Dook, you remembered!) Dat was a hundy fiddy!!! Anyway, it was a fun and free spirited summer, until I logged into chase dot com. Then I got a job, and then I disappointed Dook. Dook, selling a painting here or there and dumpster diving, it ain't an income... :( Dook! Dook...? Echo???

    ...Although “jobs” aren't always the solution either. But jobs, as I am remembering and experiencing, can be fun, wee little stepping stones, and all jobs have their own special set of perks that come with them. I'm all about the perks and the freedom. And if food is involved, I'LL BE THERE! Past perks of former jobs I've had: 87% food related. Sometimes very GOOD food related. Like, four star dinners and fish eggs and blinis for breakfast. The other 13 %: flight benefits and borrowing books for free. (Cough. Thanks Half Price Books, ever hear of the library? Actually that came in handy when I owed 40 dollars in fines...)

     So, turns out, my part time, very chill coffee shop job comes with food and drink! I always suspected the drink would come when the coffee shop dream became reality...though I never suspected I could handle six shots a shift with such...finesse! I get food and bev fo free, without apologies. No, hey can I have this? Is it OK if I eat now? Can I be a partner to my bodies needs? Its pa-retty sweet. Being that I am still going through the food I've found from before (so much left!) and that in a way, Im “diving” at work (through glass covered displays) I haven't been checking the dumpsters as much as I had been.

     Confession time! A friend of mine came over for a night of boxed wine, and when she left, she found two boxes of Kashi in my dumpster. God, are you there? Its me, Janet. I felt a twinge of envy...I mean, what a find! Kashi's expensive! And that fiber? Thats not going anywhere for a long time, no matter what the company funded studies cant win em all...but from my very own dumpster!?

     I'm only partly kidding there. I DID feel envy. I haven't found anything for days. But diving is like that because things are constantly changing. And I just don't need it. The purpose of dumpster diving and cutting corners not the end but a means, and its fun, and there'll be a day when I can pass by some sweet finds. Maybe there will even be a day when I dont even look (Ha! Not! Way too curious...) But really, I had to ask myself, what am I some sort of a bum? What am I going to run after my friend with a broomstick, like I saw my neighbors do a week ago? True Story. But then I realized that although my income for 2010 was lower than when I was eighteen, I'm not just after free stuff...Im in it for the surprise! “Happy February Thirteenth Day!” “Happy Class is Over Time!” “Happy theres no more wine at home and you made less than you did when you were eighteen and you are almost thirty!”

     Not gonna lie. Tax season got me down for about a day. Less than I made when I was eighteen. LESS. THAN. I. MADE. WHEN. I. WAS EIGHTEEN. And I didnt pay rent then! No wonder I was dumpster diving! That was instinct, will to survive...The lack of income was not due to laziness or a poor economy, it was due to soul searching, school, and sacrifice now for long term gain. No immediate gratification this year when it came to money...And it's O.K. But it was a bit of a shocker. And I avoided the blog.

     There. Confessed! Now to say three hail marys and off to bed...and more frequent blogs to come...

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Ambiversion, Books and Boxed Wine

A love of solitude can certainly be your friend when you are living a thriftier life...

A few years ago when I was a fan of reading the dictionary (not MY dictionary, Barnes and Noble's dictionary :P) I ran across a word: ambivert.

Ambivert: one whose personality type is intermediate between extrovert and introvert.

I dont think you can expect to thrive in this world without some degree of flexibility and ambiversion can be a very advantageous quality. Of course, it can also lead to problems: like choosing a social job that is fun for a while until the introversion rears her soulful head, or choosing a quiet job where you suddently and for a long spell find yourself desirous of social expression....but it is ultimately a good thing and frankly a rare thing, like true androgyny. Part of what makes me a good candidate for dumpster diving and living frugally, without the risk of suicide, is that I am flexible. It doesn't mean I dont have preferences, I do. But being able to bend and be happy with WHAT IS will serve you well in the long haul.

I dated a man who coined me as a consummate introvert and I am pretty sure I lean more toward that side since I have such an active imagination and can live vicariously (some of the time :) ) with a certain degree of satisfaction. But I think my financial situations have made me develop introverted qualities that may not otherwise have had a chance or reason to develop. Friends. Cost. Money. They love to go out, they make excuses for being together, and if you are friends with people who do not have similar monetary tendencies, they can end up costing you if you overindulge...or making you seem like a cheap bitch if you stop and THINK once in a while.

Think about it. How much money do you spend because you have been trained to believe (by epopel who want your money) that being successful as an adult means you have to have a full dance card, so you book your non working days full of activities that lead you to spend money? I swear I cant leave the house without spending money, and I'm a tightwad! doesnt stop once you start dating if it was there to begin with. If you are single: How often do you go to a bar with people or in the hopes of meeting people and dole out waaaaay too much money for a mediocre time that leads to at ( shortterm ) worst: aqward sex or ( longterm )worst: a relationship that lasts entirely too long? An older lady I worked with a few years ago gave a lecture on how every couple she knew who met in a bar and got married ended up divorcing. Thus endeth my interest in bars. AND If you are coupled: how often do you go out and spend money as a testament to your affections toward one another, instead of staying home or choosing a less costly alternative at the risk of seeming cheap and self centered? Somehow money became synonymous with romance.

Heres a secret: Im romantic. In a holistic sense. I live my life like I am the heroine of my own novel that I am continuously writing and editing. This definition that I have made for myself does not require coupling, though its nice when it happens, and it obviously does not require money. Money can too often lead to a lack of creative solutions and forethought. Its a false sense of security, and far better than daddy's money (daddy can also refer to the company you work for, or your significant bread winning other) is the confidence that being self sustaining can bring.

Margaret Mitchell spoke of the heroic characters in her novel, Gone With the Wind, (Scarlett and Rhett) as being people with gumption, and gumption is what sustained them through the changing climate of their world. They bent, but they were by no means weak. They did whatever it took to get through the lean times, and you knew they would see prosperity in the end. Part of this was because they, while proud, were also honest about their situation and acted accordingly. When Scarlett needed a dress she took the goddam curtains and made a goddam dress goddammit! Maybe she wasnt writing a blog about it, but she did it because it had to be done.

How often do you adjust your lifestyle to match your true income (for NOW, not for when you used to make money, or for that day when you WILL make money?)? And when I say income I mean money that is yours, rightfully earned, that requires no payback?

(More on this topic in a later blog, Im sure!)

In any case. I dont go out much these days and thats OK. I've been hankering to read Gone With the Wind again but always forget to check it out and am too busy to read anyway. So when I got home from running errands I remembered this website that I found a few months ago that has public domain literature in free MP3 downloads and I've been loving it all night as I worked on the computer.

No Margaret Mitchell :( but LOTSA good stuff! Check it out.

What errands did I run? Buying 5 liters of wine for 13.99. (Thank you, Franzia!) and selling books to Market Fresh Books. I got home and worked and made dinner. Dumpster pasta, with bulk olive oil and garlic in depression glass bowl that I dumpster dove, alongside a glass of cheap chablis.

For boxed wine, its not too shabby.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Dinner and a Movie

     I am completely PMSy this day as well as sleep deprived. A lot on the noggin, eh? Eh. My mom's advice: "Drink some wine." Heh mom that's why I love ya...most of the time, when I am not PMSy and sleep deprived. I had to kindly peel away from that conversation...
     My moms advice is something I have followed pretty well. But being on a low income (for now) and wanting to change my circumstances (cuz its fun!) is steering me toward other activities tonight...even a 4 dollar bottle of wine, nah. The four dollars is better off in my paws than eventually in my blood stream. (That only kind of makes sense).
     The coffee shop I work at fed me and whisked me away with bagels, so tonight its a bagel with garlic in olive oil, spinach, and dumpster pudding. (found sugar free mix mixed with found dry milk). Also its lame that the library charges a dollar to rent dvds...but a dollar for that much entertainment where I can let my ovaries cry in peace, pretty good. I have in my clutches James Michener's Hawaii with Julie Andrews. She's funny in an overacting typecasted Charlton Heston kinda way...but still has talent. Like Chuck Heston!
     Yup. My recipe for the extreme version of PMS I get (along with charting the path toward my hoop dreams that sometimes come true, but never when I am actually PMSing) is sweet sweet carbs, clouds of chocolate pudding, and total isolation. TOTAL ISOLATION.

     Its for the best of all concerned.

Slideshow of Finds

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Oatmeal Powder, Imbolc...and more random thoughts!

Photobucket(I'm drinking on sale sauvignon blanc and eating half off cashews while I type this so bear with me...)
(I dont really know what that means...and maybe it is really any of your business, anyway...)
So I just wrote a vaguish, barely followable intro blog, (am I the only one with the urge to type blogue instead of blog bc it seems...fancier?) so onto the straight dope!
 When I was 18 I found a book at the library written in the late 70s about natural beauty. Totally Natural Beauty. In fact the title of the book: Totally Natural Beauty (author: Nona Aguilar, who incidentally wrote a book on natural birth control. If you are into that...) and I recently purchased the volume, intent on making how to videos to spread the wealth of knowledge contained within. The videos havent happened yet. I took a semester of film classes and I'mdetermined to someday make those film classes worth the fifty dollar debit they incur monthly via loan payments...but I digress...The premise of the book: New York professional (by 70's gendered standards and biases) vacations in Switzerland and comes back protein packed, pretty, and chastising her American counterparts.
A core part of the remedial repoitoire for maintaining this totally natural beauty are two household names: oatmeal and vinegar. The oatmeal is to be ground into a fine ground and then applied and rubbed around face twice after thirty second lashing of scalding hot waters. The hot water opens the pores, the oatmeal powder exfoliates. Repeats. Then is followed by a nice lashing of a vinegar rise (I use 1/8 c vinegar to 2.5 c water rise) that restores the Ph balance and destroys the harmful bacteria that may creep in to the newly opened orifices.
Thats what I did tonight. With dumpster given oats. And generic brand vinegar. 
Though that is hardly all I did today! Last night was St. Brigit's Day/Imbolc. I had really no previous knowledge about the events, except for a rudimentary introduction during my undergrad days in the exclusive Wicca/Neopaganism class at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. An ADD internet search told me that it was a day of cleansing and renewal, and whether I searched or not, I could tell that. For one thing, this has been a FANTASTIC dumpster diving week. I have found clothes that fit and are cute (and don't...and aren't) including plaid pants I wore to my first day at new job, black jeans-rock and roll!-white pants with a fancy waist band, a cute hippie summer dress, kitty litter, unopened Meow Mix, an army sweater, a fancy army micronet towel, unpened chili spiced mango, a yellow tank top, a vermont themed t shirt, espadrilles, not disgusting khackis, comfy comfy black tights I cant stop wearing, Steve Chappelle show season 2 (now watched, now on, another summer dress, an organizer...thingy...that you put in your closet and it has shelves...,mine has linens in it!, a teenage mutant ninja turtles umbrella Im giving to my friend Ted, and a cheesy romance novel thats probably going to go into my half price books box.
Thats a lotta sweet trash! And thats just the stuff I kept! I also have gotten rid of so much this week. The school I attend hosted an exchange this past weekend and I unloaded a bag of stuff I dont need and came home with leg warmers I cant stop wearing, curtains I'll be using someday, and a t shirt with a squirrel on it. I took two boxes of books to Market Fresh Books and got a mere $6.00 but more studio space, and both are better than heavy books Im not going to read EVER. I have four more boxes of stuff to take to a used book store. I listed quite a few items on and make about 20 bux so far. I sold my massage table today and plan on buying a Thai massage mat with the money. (woohoo!) And I must have taken out four boxes of trash. Where from? Who knows! But its gone and thank God! So, really we are talking about 8 (conservative guesstimate)boxes/bags o stuff I dont want/need outta here, and better things or nothing (space! Aah!) taking its place.
Currently my apartment is the cleanest, overall, in ALL ways, that I have ever had a living space, and I am almost thirty years old. Cleaning and clearing invites in things that resonate more clearly with who you are at the moment into your life while getting rid of stagnation. Making the decision to get rid of things sends out a message to yourself that you are not needy/have a non grasping attitude, and are in a position to make choices. When I first moved here and started diving I took what I could get. Now I am more selective, and get rid of something immediately if it doesnt fit or I know I wont use it or do not know anyone else who needs such an item.
Having a clear space also helps you tackle your to do list, and the oatmeal powder routine has been something I've been meaning to take up again for about two months. I ground the powder in a blender my ex boyfriend's parents got me this past christmas, and found the oatmeal in the trash. I find a lot of oatmeal in the garbage. Its cheap and no one wants to use it. I dont eat it but Ill exfoliate with it :) I looked around for a container and put it in a candy box from Chinatown, I was never going to eat the candy anyway... “Strawberry Candy” ? Heh. Sure. A euphamism at best...out with the junk!
Food for today consisted of a protein shake, noodles from China town spiced with dumpster boullion, a grapefruit I purchased, and a dish I made from the rice vermicelli I cooked earlier, curry powder, calamari an ex roommate/boyfriend left when he did, coconut oil, some veggies, and cashews I bought on sale. I also drank a sauvignon blanc from World Market that was pretty indulgent, even at under five dollars a bottle :) But, ya know. I cut corners elsewhere :)
Like last night during the blizzard...
The school I go to offers practice sessions for 15 dollars which IS totally worth it and I am not so cheap to harm my prospects later on in life. But the blizzard! The blizzard! I live literally a block and a number from a fellow student, so we both traded practice sessions that left both of us feeling great=physically and confidence wise. Then my lovely friend insisted on feeding me moonshine and snacks (cheese, kiwi, pickles, beets, crackers...) and we had a super fun night adding godiva to pure disgusting alcohol, playing pac man, and gabbing. It was lovely, productive, and, well, free!
In the wake of so many new undertakings, I have really managed to tackle my to do list, and the snow day today really helped. Not having a significant other definitely has its perks! So I am now left without a to do list, and that will be my task tonight. I have a few more burning things to do: mostly sell my old video game systems. I have Atari 5200, Atari 2600, and a Nintendo 8 bit. Have to test out the games and list the items. Painting again will go back on the list. As will exercise. A month of Thai massage school will leave you pretty non enthusiastic for regimented exercise. I've just been coming home and dancing to relieve stress, but my body is pretty cravy for yoga and weight lifting again.
So tomorrow I'm setting the alarm and I'm moving before work. Moving is free and saves money in the future. Then its off to a short four hour shift where they will insist upon free food and drinks for me, which I will graciously partake in...


By Popular DEMAND

Thats right! Demand! uh, hehe, Sorta...
     It was suggested to me last night during the "Snowpocalypse" of 2011 that "there was something there...a coffee table book? A blog?" in reference to my album on facebook that archives my finds/musings via dumpster diving. Indeed it has attracted much acclaim on facebook...many  a "likes" to be had, indeed...And due to the again overwhelming facebook response to my query on to blog, or not to blog, here comes the first timid attempt...
     I've dabbled (and at times, more than dabbled) in tightwaddery for years, always saw the value to less in vs. more out...I eat less and exercise less and a a consequence tend to look better than my more monied, gym membership owning friends and acquaintances. 
     I am a leisure enthusiast. I respect the power of stress and try to minimize its effect in my life. And I have dreams, yet not the inheritance of a trust fund...or any monetary aide from my parents since becoming 18. 
     AND: I dumpster dive. Yes. There is the core of the blog, if not the heart of the blog. I want the blog to really truly get across why I have come to the conclusions/actions I have come to/engage in. I have a lot to say about life and how I live it. Many blogs exist already in me brainspace. SO there you have it...introductory yet vague blog-check!