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Destuffing Update

Lately, when I have found the time to write, I have been writing mostly about food (which was the original focus of this blog).  But behind the scenes I have been continuing to work on reducing the crap in my life and making tiny steps towards a more ecologically friendly life.  Looking back over the last few months, I am happy to report that I have purchased very little other than food.  This has been largely for financial reasons, but it feels good and hopefully will become a permanent pattern.

For some strange reason, I have recently been really craving shopping.  I have found myself driving past big box stores and picturing myself, with some nostalgia, walking down the neon-lit aisles.   Strange, I know.  Perahps it’s some kind of re-directed “gather for winter” urge.  Or maybe it’s a subliminal switch that has been programmed into me upon hearing Christmas music: shop, shop, shop ’till you drop… it’s Christmas time!  Because I have been working so hard all semester, I actually had a little extra money for the first time in ages, and decided to allow myself a few purchased.  Last week I picked up a stainless steel canning funnel (I have been looking for one of those for months!) and a stainless steel compost bucket from Lee Valley.  I also bought two sweaters and a pair of pants at a great little second hand clothing store in Waterloo.  I desperately needed new pants as none of my old ones fit.  I am growing quite fat from spending most of my time sitting at a computer or in a car.

Last night, while driving home after a very positive but nonetheless tiring meeting with my dissertation committee, I once again felt the lure of the aisles of junk and neon lights.  I am always tired after such meetings as I worry so much beforehand that they won’t be happy with what I am doing (but, once again, they were).  I decided to allow myself a trip into Winners.  I had a good reason: to buy a good quality pot at a reasonable price.  I cook using my roommate’s pots and pans, which are lovely and expensive.  For some reason, I seem to be incapable of keeping things from burning in them.  Yesterday I twice heated up food that left dark rings on the inside of her stainless steel pots, which took quite a bit of scrubbing to remove.  And every time this happens (just about every time I use the pots), a little more of the ring stays.  Worrying that I am going to ruin her lovely pots, I decided to get a couple of my own and use those instead.  I found a fantastic, brand new, cast-iron skillet and soup pot on the side of the road, and just needed a little pot for reheating the soups I eat almost every day this time of year.

On entering Winners, I was amazed by all the stuff.  I walked up and down the aisles, humming along to the muzak, and was pleased to see that there was absolutely nothing that interested me.  It was pretty much all junk.  The quality is so low on most items that it is really not worth buying them.  A friend commented a few days ago that antiquing and second-hand clothing is going to become a thing of the past as there is nothing that this generation is producing that will last.

After wandering around the entire store, I found a suitable little pot and headed to the cash.  Supposedly originally $50, this pot was marked down to $21.  I heated my dinner in it tonight, and the sides did not burn.  Success!

This weekend I have to finish grading 160 exams, but I am going to try and find some time to get back to sorting through the last few boxes in my room.  I still have about 10 boxes left to sort, and now that we have the woodstove going almost constantly, it is a good time to go through my old letters and cards and ceremoniously dispose of them.  The next project will be my photograph collection, which was once very nicely organized, but has been let slide out of control for several years now.  I would like to have that sorted as well before  spring.  What remains will be a much more manageable collection of stuff, and nearly all of it useful.  Of course at that point I will once again comb through everything to see what else I can get rid of.  But one step at a time!


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