Friday, July 27, 2012

2012 goals check in

In short, I'm a big failure.

-The big one, exercise twice a week, was more often once a week in reality. Once late April hit, it was more than a month of zero exercise. Well, there was certainly a ton of walking in Europe, but no gym for weeks. I was working every day and took several work trips in addition the vacation trip. Since mid-June I've been better, but still averaging once a week.

-I wanted to bike 100 miles. It wouldn't be tough, either--ten trips of about ten miles each. Easy peasy. But again, the busy and then the pregnant. And now the ridiculous heat, sheesh. So that one's gone for the year. I'll look forward to re-discovering biking in Portland next spring and see if we can get some baby seats for some family rides (I am really excited about that, actually). 

-I wanted to fully fund a Roth IRA contribution. After the new year, having a real salary, I did several large and small contributions but to both tax years. I think combining the two I was pretty close to $5,000, which Mister M says still counts.

-I wanted to drink more water (at least 16 oz a day). I did pretty well, and have been trying to drink more than that. It was a little easier at work, with the water cooler. And now that I'm once again obsessed with lemon water (I like a tablespoon of lemon juice to ten ounces of water), plain water is so boring but I keep running out of lemons.

(PS, do you ever catch yourself realizing what you're complaining about? "Ugh, all this clean water that I get for free from inside my own kitchen is so BORING." "Dude, I'm eating so many lemons that I can't buy them fast enough with all this money I have, from these many grocer establishments in my immediate area!" "It sucks that the clean water I turn on in my shower is so cold at first! I have to let it run unused down the drain so long for it to be warm and comfortable for my precious skin!" First world problems, oh my!)

-I made a reading goal of eighty books and four classics. I'll shatter the first one; I'm already at 65 for the year. And! I've read three classics too so far. First was Peter Pan, for one of my book clubs. It was...kind of weird, but still had the same charm as the Disney cartoon and Hook. Then I found a book that included Call of the Wild and White Fang and devoured those in a few days. I loved them! I'm not sure why, but I really enjoyed reading about the exploits of the wolves/dogs and the wild white north. I was, and still am, kind of bummed that the books are over. I watched the White Fang movie (with the baby-faced Ethan Hawke), and I keep meaning to start re-watching Due South because of the husky.

-Donate blood--nope. My OB took about five vials of it for the first round of testing though, does that count?

-I wanted to visit my grandma once more. Mister M and I went out there just after we got married, two summers ago. She's now 95, and since we (read: I) were already planning to move, it wouldn't be as easy to hop over to Illinois. I just went last week and it was good timing, because a couple months ago she had a bad fall and her health/mental acuity has been deteriorating. So I'm really glad that I made it out there to see her and some other family that I don't see much.

-I wanted to snack smarter and eat at least one piece of fruit a day. That one has only been so-so. I got tired of apples months ago, but have been eating bananas, lots of blueberries and strawberries, and of course, all that fresh lemon juice-yum yum. However...currently there are two packages of cookies in the kitchen. (This is a major anomaly though!!)  And I was thinking about making nacho tots for dinner...

-Organization! I have made a few small strides in that lately (recent bathroom closet clean-out), and I weeded out some clothes and books a couple times this year, but now it's ramped up with the packing process. That's a definite upside to getting ready to move--perfect opportunity to get rid of excess stuff and make sure you keep what's actually important. For example, I gave away the two and a half years' worth of National Geographic and Smithsonian that I'd been saving. Remember that I agonized over getting rid of the first couple years' worth and wanting them to be used for the right reason. Now, obviously, I realize that it is utterly ridiculous to move a big stack of heavy magazines that honestly I never look at after I read them, interesting though they are. So in a way I'm even organizing and decluttering my mind! :)

(Oh, and I've linked to it on Facebook a couple times, but just in case, if you are motivated or want to be about cleaning/decluttering, you should read Unf*ck your Habitat. Big inspiration! Unclutterer is another good one, with a more mature/less cursing kind of feel.)

Well, I guess that overall I haven't failed too badly at most of these things. I really am counting on this pregnant thing to be a valid excuse for some of it, and now losing my job for some others.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

it grows

This is me at 19 weeks compared to 9 weeks (ie, nothing). It's really starting to show! Last week two different people asked about it. It's really obvious here, in something tight, and especially if you knew what I looked like before. I've been wearing a lot of dresses, and some of them sort of camouflage or downplay any belly, and at least one of them makes it pretty obvious. I guess from now on I'll need to be ready for more comments from strangers.

It's also strange that I can see the roundness from the front (just as bare belly). My belly button has been getting shallower for weeks now too, so the whole thing looks different. My whole abdomen feels firm, instead of just where my uterus is; I didn't expect that. And it's definitely firmer to the touch after I've eaten.

Last week I decided to keep track of my growth (too bad I didn't from the beginning!), so here's what's happened so far.

Before measurements:
Chest: 34" or so
Waist: 30"
Hips: 38"
Weight: 148 or so

19 weeks measurements:
Chest: 40"
"Waist": 33"
Belly button circumference: 37"
Widest part of belly: 38 1/2"
Hips: 40"
Weight: 160

The belly button measurement hasn't changed from last week, but in comparing the photos, there's a noticeable difference, in the fullness.

I'm now comfortable saying that I'm feeling movement. There's a fishy kind of swimmy feeling that I've sensed for a few weeks now, so I think that really is it. Tonight they must have been doing a bunch of somersaults, because it felt like things were rolling over and over in there. They are both about 6 inches long now, so I guess it's not surprising that I can feel two of them moving around.

When I visited the doctor two weeks ago, she said I was measuring at 20 weeks (while I was at 17), so I'm not too much bigger than a singleton would be. I think overall I'm carrying on the small side (for twins, obviously! the twin standard is singleton + 7 weeks). It's crazy to think how much will continue to grow and change for four more months!

Monday, July 23, 2012


We have assorted ultrasound photos tacked to the fridge, along with the most recent referral form, which says at the bottom, "twin gestation".  So most of the time that I do something in the kitchen, my eyes fall on one or some of these items, and whoa.



I'm four and a half months through this thing--halfway, considering that full term for twins is 37 weeks instead of 40--and it still hits me occasionally. The magnitude of the whole thing. The alienness of having new life bumbling around inside, and that there are two of them! TWO. OF. THEM.

We are very lucky in that we get to see at least a quick sonogram at every OB visit. (We go to an office/hospital a couple blocks away, and since Mister Melancholy also works nearby, he can and does come to all the appointments with me.) With a singleton, the OB can use an instrument to just hear the heartbeat to make sure everything is still kicking. But with more than one, you can't pick out discrete beats audibly, so she does a quick sonogram to check visually.

We had an appointment last week, and we saw one of the aliens swallow, and the other alien was having a full-on party, dancing or playing the drums or something. I could see not just the bones, but the lighter gray tissue of its actual limbs all moving around.


 It is just so weird. So weird!

And that makes me feel odd. It seems like most pregnancy things I read (and I've definitely been doing my share of reading) talk about their delight and love and feeling all beautiful Mother Earth Goddessy.

This whole thing has been such a surprise that I often feel like it just hasn't sunk in, still. Maybe it's partly because I still occasionally have trouble believing that I'm a grown-up. Maybe it's partly because it hasn't been so physical on the outside (YET), so it's less real because I can't see it. (That is beginning to change--the seeing part, I mean.) Or maybe it's because I was never one of those people who always knew she wanted to be a mother from the age of whatever. (Remember that I helped care for my two much younger siblings, so babies are not exactly mysterious beautiful things for me.)  I'm not sure what it says about me and my future parenting potential if I'm not beaming beatifically all the time at my belly and at the world. Does it mean that since it's so hard to believe this is actually happening, I won't be good at it?

I already worry about these aliens, insomuch as what I am or am not doing for them. Am I cooking them appropriately? Since I don't eat meat or eggs or fish am I doing something bad for their development? Are the vitamins really enough of a substitute? Will they come out okay? (For the record, the first round of chromosomal testing came through all clear. Second round results in a couple weeks.)

I'm a little protective too. I already hate, loathe, abhor cigarette smoke and I wish it would be banned from any kind of public open space. And now that I'm carrying some innocent life that's still building itself, I find that I hate having to walk by smokers even more for polluting the air, my air, the aliens' air.

So at least I'm already looking out for what's best for them. That's good, right?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

one more thing...

As if enough things weren't already going on this year, we're also moving across the country at the end of August.

I have a LOT to say about this, as you can imagine. This has been a long time coming, for those of you longtime readers.

I moved to New York in the summer of 2004 (exactly eight years ago today) to join the NYC Teaching Fellows program. I knew I would be here for two years, and in my second year of teaching (which was by far the best of any of the six years I taught), I definitely wanted to stay for a third year. The fourth year I ended up staying by default, and then I left the public school system. I interviewed at a KIPP school in Austin and would have been happy to accept a job there if they'd offered it. I ended up at a different charter school that kicked my ass, and then the following year taught at another charter school, which ended up being at least partially a disaster.

(Side note: one of my sweet students from that year still keeps in touch; we email back and forth. She is the cutest thing and I want to hug her. She is under so much pressure to do well in school though, and some of the things she writes just breaks my heart.

(Second side note re: great second year teaching: Recently I posted a status on facebook that said, "WHY can't people read?!!! Argh!" And a student from that year, who just graduated from high school (!), replied, "Because they never had English with you."   !!! Could you just die? See how great that year was with kids who turned out like that?? [Not only that, but she is right. If the GROWN ADULTS who I encounter in various ways had had me for an English teacher, they would not be so dumb and bad at reading comprehension!])

Even with all of those extensions, I moved to New York knowing it was temporary. I didn't bring a lot of stuff with me (but good lord have I acquired plenty in my eight years!); it took three years to get a New York drivers license (shhh, don't tell); I never fully mentally 'unpacked', so to speak. Living in a series of apartments, great though some of them were (others shitty enough to balance out), only increased that sense of "I'm only here for a short time." Apartments are very transient to me somehow; even though we've lived in this particular (fantastic) apartment for three years, it doesn't have the same feel of 'home' as a house might.

Plus, as the child of divorced parents and shared custody, I always had two houses, which meant that my stuff (clothes, books, toys, schoolwork, etc) was always split between two places. I often couldn't find things because I didn't know which house it was in, and then there was always the risk that someone moved things around while I was gone. So now that my stuff is crammed into my own apartment but that a bunch of my stuff is also in my dad's barn and my mom's garage...I have this low-level anxiety at the back of my mind. It's pretty far back there; I don't actively stress about it or even think about it often. But when I do think about my belongings, it makes me anxious because I've always been so desperate to have ALL of my things in ONE PLACE. A home, with roots, to settle into.

Mister Melancholy had a sort of idyllic American childhood, in that his parents are still married, they grew up in a small, educated town so they had plenty of happy time playing at school and exploring some nearby nature, the family has lived in the same house for like 25 years now so there are still memories and things stored in the childhood home. So our experiences and outlooks on that are pretty much opposite.

We've had discussions (which usually ended up getting a bit emotional) for years, because I've always wanted to leave New York, and he has never wanted to leave. I was over it when I got here. I lived and worked in eastern Queens for four years and now Brooklyn for four, so I never was in that party-Manhattan-cool-kids scene. New Yorkers and a lot of people who live in New York tend to be in love with New York as the Best City Ever in the World And You're Stupid If You Think Otherwise or Desire to Even Travel Somewhere Else. I quickly learned that I couldn't say I was from Washington, because the only Washington that exists is the capital. [One time even though I said I was from Seattle, the guy goes, "Ah, DC?"  What?!!] Not only do people not seem to know their geography, many of them just haven't been anywhere. Florida and the Caribbean are the exceptions--everyone here goes to one of those two places. But the West Coast? Central America? Europe? No way, what are you talking about, why would you want to go there?

Anywhere you go in New York, anything you do, at any time of day, there will be anywhere from 500-5,000 people with that exact same idea. There are people EVERYWHERE. And while it makes for good people-watching, it makes for a shitty time walking down a sidewalk or getting through a rush hour subway commute. Sure, there are lots of cultural activities to blossom your brain! But no one has the time or energy to do that during the week, what with an actual work week happening. Then you're left with the weekend, which isn't a lot of time, and you have to seriously weigh the coolness of the activity with the doing that cool activity with hordes of other people and how much time that will take. There are great restaurants! Yes, there are! We have a number of them that we love and frequent. But psst, do you know what? There exist great restaurants in other cities too! I know, it's such a shock! Oh, and there's so much nature here in New York, such great parks to get away from the hustle and bustle of the urban life! Yes, there are a handful of big, beautiful parks. But does that really make up for wild nature? What if you wanted to experience real, actual nature from NYC? Well, you'd have to drive for up to an hour, fighting traffic and pay $13 in tolls just to get out of the city limits. Then you can drive another hour up to Bear "Mountain", which is a small hill with a parking lot on top. Or yes, the Poconos are two hours (plus) west, or even the Berkshires, two hours northeast. But don't forget to add an hour of extra traffic time on the way home. Even in the middle of the night, you'll sit bumper to bumper.

So yes, there are a lot of great things about New York. But they aren't necessarily something that you need to live here year-round to exclusively have access to.

Which brings me back to this year, for us. Mister M's been putting me off for a year or two about moving--well, we can't this year, so probably next year. Next year comes: well, it would be tough this year for reason xyz, so probably next year.

The mere idea of lugging a baby and its accoutrements around the subway system has always horrified and exhausted me. Not to mention the cost of daycare and food in this market, the ridiculous preschool sign ups before birth, the fact that apartment living has no immediate greenspace, and the general culture of snooty moms I've heard so much about. And the weather being so extreme for big portions of the year that you need all kinds of gear just to go outside!

Now multiply those costs by TWO. NO FREAKING WAY do I want to deal with the extreme hassle of two tiny babies and New York City!

And no way would it make any kind of sense to move AFTER they arrive. We will have mountains more stuff, plus two more people (albeit very small), and be WAY more tired. No, we need to move now.

The lifestyle in most cities that aren't New York (or other super big ones) are a lot more laid back, plus there is more space, physically, mentally, naturally. I think that's just what we need with the huge change we're embarking on.

Our lease is up at the end of August. We-slash-I ended up settling on Portland, Oregon as our next place to live. It's a few hours from my family, so there will be some support near-ish. It's a new city for both of us, so one of us won't be at a disadvantage. It's a smaller city (much smaller), so it's a lot more affordable. We can afford to rent a three bedroom house! With a garage or driveway! And possibly a yard that I won't be good at maintaining! And a washer/dryer (we hope) and dishwasher! And most importantly, SPACE!

It's ridiculously easy to get around by car. It's got a huge bike culture, which Mister M is/will be/should be excited about (and me too, when I'm back on my feet. Or butt, as it may be). Fewer people means fewer cars means less traffic (and easier parking!), so we can get out of the city quickly and easily. The coast is an hour and a half west; the mountains are a couple hours east (or  north or south). The air is cleaner. There's an NBA team with affordable tickets.There are a ton of great restaurants, whose prices are a lot lower.

Yes, it's really scary to leave our life here. It's really scary to start over where we only know a couple people. We're both nervous about that. But homeostatis is a dumb reason to live in New York forever. The addition of two small and expensive people is a good reason to get out now and settle in for a new kind of life. One in which we won't ever give up on adventures, or even New York, for a visit.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Our start in Vienna was not so ideal. We forgot to load a map on the phone before we left wifi in Prague, so even though we had the street address and an assumption about a vague area, we didn't know exactly where we were going. At the train station, we exited on one end and the information desk was closed. We couldn't find an ATM and didn't have any Euros, so we couldn't take a cab. We weren't able to buy UBahn tickets with a debit card in the machine we found either. So we wandered around a bit to figure out what to do. 
Finally we went back to the platform the other direction and ended up in the correct end of the station, with shops/food, an open ticket office, and ATMs. The ticket office folks got us hooked up with a map and how to get to our hotel, we got some cash, and were on our way. Phew!

We made it to the hotel pretty easily after that, and after dropping off our stuff, went back into town. There's a museum called Haus der Musik that's open til 10pm, so that was our first destination (after being wowed walking past the Opera House!). There were several floors and we were the only ones there, so we went as fast or slow as we pleased, which is a pretty ideal museum experience, if you ask me.
There were lots of exhibits about music in general, and the Viennese Orchestra, and individual composers. Many areas included hands-on experiences. The first one was a minuet waltz that you 'composed' by tossing dice. Another floor is all about perception and sound itself. In this room, you can hear all kinds of different sounds in this phones (cars honking, someone yawning, wind blowing, etc).

 There were individual rooms/exhibits for a handful of famous composers: Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn, Schubert, Strauss, Mahler. There's an actual gazebo to waltz under in the Strauss room. In the Mozart room, you enter your name on a computer, and it creates your song. Mozart played with assigned notes/values for different letters as fun ways to compose. Then there's a small room where you can actually conduct the Viennese Philharmonic. You hold the special baton and it controls the speed at which they play the song you've chosen. If you do it too slowly, too quickly, or too oddly, they will stop and admonish you! Great fun. :)
For a late dinner/snack, Mister Melancholy was excited to find a schnitzel stand he'd found in the guidebook. We went back a few times while we were there and he loved it! The Viennese are really into their street meats!

Day two was a long one, in energy if not geography. We spent the entire afternoon at Schloss Schonbrunn. There are many "attractions" to see, so you buy a ticket with whichever combination of "attractions" you want to visit. I put "attractions" in quotation marks because I found it kind of a ripoff. The gardens, for example, aren't really interesting enough to be a separate cost. But the "normal" bundle is like five attractions, which is a good variety of things to see. I suppose it's most beneficial for someone who only wants to see the museum part and can therefore spend less money. 

 Anyway, the castle was large and pretty. Very similar in feel to Versailles, except smaller of course, and less gilt. We toured through the rooms, most of which focused on either Maria-Theresa or Franz-Joseph and Elizabeth (Sissy). After the inside, we explored a bit outside.

  I twirled,

and of course we also jumped (this is the back of the castle, from up on the hill where there's a big Panorama Terrace). It was really hot out there, and I was glad I'd brought my umbrella to shade myself. I moved nice and slow. (Except for the jumping.)

Finally, the most unusual (and tastiest) attraction was the Apple Strudel Show, a demo of how to make the classic Austrian apple strudel! The dough was so thin you could literally read through it!

We went to the Naschmarkt for dinner. It's a bunch of fresh produce/meat stalls and some restaurants. I ate a small carton of strawberries and then had the most delicious chocolate ice cream of my life.
We also rode the Ringstrasse on the tram and marveled at the city. It's a beautiful place, and totally different than Prague.

Day Three was crappy, weather-wise.We started by saying hello to the Stephensdom, the big church right in the center of town.

Then we walked over to the Albertina, one of several large museums in Vienna. There was an exhibit on the Impressionists, and another on Klimt. Due to my 'delicate' condition I wasn't feeling too strong, so we walked through most of the galleries without stopping for too long, except for some bench sitting. (Sitting is one of my favorite activities when I travel anyway.) 

 After some lunch (the most amazing McDonald's meal of all time [I know; please don't judge too hard]), we decided to hit up the Treasury in the big palace right in the middle of town. It was an extensive collection of not just jewels, but also clothing/costumes and other historical...things. Here's the famous crown studded with all kinds of precious stones. There were a few other jaw-dropping items to see there as well.

We had a bit of time in the morning before our train back to Budapest, so we walked to the nearby Prater park for the Riesenrad, the giant ferris wheel.  It's kind of like the London Eye (except older)--you get in a little cabin and take in the scenery as the wheel slowly revolves, for 15 minutes or so. It gets pretty high up there!

We made it back to Budapest and went to a free choir concert at St Stephens. It was beautiful, the way the notes echoed and lingered. No more fitting place for choral music than a cathedral/basilica!

We had an early morning flight out -- we were at the airport so early that none of the check-in desks were even open yet!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Oh, Prague. I was so excited but also nervous to return. My time there in 2006 was wonderful and I totally fell in love with it. Part of me was nervous that going back would be meh, that I wouldn't like it as much. I was very excited for Mister Melancholy to see it--I hoped he would love it. 

I needn't have worried. We got a cab to our hotel/apartment, and even though it was nighttime and I couldn't see much, I was glued to the window, thrilled. 

After we dropped off our bags, I dragged him out to walk to the Charles Bridge so he could start seeing Prague right away. I was all a-twitter and excited, and I even remembered how to get there! It was just as magical as I remembered. Oh my.

Our first stop our first morning was of course Old Town Square. I remembered how to get there too, and it made me just as happy as it had six years before. I mean really, how could it not?

 We read about the Charles Bridge Tower, and I vaguely remembered reading about it on my last trip and not finding it. Well, there's only the one tower (you can see it in the nighttime photo above), and there was a guy in an olden-tyme uniform standing near a doorway. No sign or arrow or name or anything. I asked if this was the tower exhibit and sure enough it was! We went up a couple sets of spiral stairs and came to an exhibit room. There was a big map of the EU on the floor, and two sets of mannequins representing different kinds of people in the old kingdom, and two suits of armor ready for photographing!

The best part, though, was the views! Looking back toward the city was this enchanting sea of red tile rooftops:

And on the other side, you can see the swarm of tourists on the bridge and the part of town across the river as well as the Castle. There's another set of stairs and you end up on the roof, looking out open viewpoints with information about the bridge and other parts of Prague history. Gorgeous.  

St Vitus Cathedral (inside Prague Castle). The Castle complex was the only "museum" that we did in Prague.

Subway walls

We took the train out of downtown to Vysehrad, the 11th century fortress. As you can see, the fortifications are still evident! No invaders here.

View of Prague Castle from one of the Vysehrad lookouts

Doors of Sts. Peter and Paul church at Vysehrad

If you're wearing a fedora, you can play the piano from Big.

Train that we caught with five minutes to spare to Vienna

In short, Prague is gorgeous. We both loved it. You must go.

Monday, July 09, 2012


Our journey to Europe started out as a chaotic one. Our plane left late, we had to go through a second baggage screening at Heathrow before running for our Budapest flight which was about to close. We made it all fine and dandy, and got a car service into town to our very fancy hotel (Le Meridien Budapest!). The sun was shining, it was warm, and we went for a walk and had dinner. Fell asleep in a big squishy bed by 7pm.

Budapest wasn't so much a destination for us as the cheapest place to fly into/out of. We didn't have a ton of time on this trip (we arrived on a Sunday and flew out the following Monday), so we only scheduled one night in Budapest on each end. We figured we'd explore as much as we could while we were there but not stress about it. As it turned out, we saw even less than we'd thought. Partly because we were tired and didn't want to deal with figuring out what to see and how to get there, but also because it was kind of a disappointing place. You can just see that it's been neglected--there are lovely buildings all over the place, but most of them are crumbling or abandoned. It still feels like the Soviet era is still hanging over the place. I just looked it up--and it was only in 1990 that Communism ended there, so no wonder!

Holding a goose

 St Stephen's Basilica

Looking up at the dome inside St Stephen's
 The second morning, it was rainy, but we still wanted to go, so we climbed 302 steps to get to the top of the basilica. Here's part of the view looking out over Budapest!

Fun art

Pretty but decrepit building

Parliament buildings

Antique public transportation

Our first meal, I had raspberry cream soup and salad, while Mister Melancholy had some goulash. For dessert, of course we had strudel! In Europe strudel is almost all fruit and a little pastry wrapping, whereas in American bakeries it's a lot more pastry.

Train Station

So overall, we were not sad to move on to Prague after our day in Budapest!

Saturday, July 07, 2012

oh yeah...

 (we got a new toaster oven!) 

 (two by two)

and if it's not clear yet...

Friday, July 06, 2012

Careful what you wish for

I meant to write in June--even started a post! only as far as the title, but still--but things were still just too busy.

In May, of course, we had our beautiful Central Europe adventure (which I still owe y'all photos for...), but other than that, I had ONE day off (yes, including weekends) for the entire month. I was so exhausted.

Then at the end of May, we got bad news about the company--it's going under. We had a big event to do in mid-June, which went very well. But since then, nada. This week included my last official day.

So now I have nothing but free time!

I'm bummed that I won't have an income--in only six months I adjusted very quickly to having a regular salary! I must have bought at least 20 books, I think nine in January alone!

But...dude, I love sleeping in. I've been pretty good about finding things to do, though I think that's gonna run out here soon. There are plenty of things to tidy and organize around our apartment, that's for sure!

In fact, on Wednesday I tackled the biggest one: the bathroom closet. There are five shelves, and they were all full of crap. Every once in a while I would go in and organize bits and pieces into bins, but it would quickly devolve back into chaos.

So after a few weeks of deciding to do it but dithering, I finally took the plunge and emptied the entire thing, wiped down the shelves, and went through all of that crap.

It took awhile, but it was easy to throw away or put aside for giveaway a lot of the crap I've been holding on to for no reason at all. Then with a vastly reduced amount of stuff, it was easy to organize better. For example, there's a bin of all medicine-type stuff, a bin of my cleanser stuff, two ziploc bags of travel-sized things, etc.

It feels SO much better--to know that I got rid of a bunch of useless junk that I never used or had almost used up (I guess that was a frugal habit? I thought I might finish it or need it later?), and to see the shelves that are not full, and that are neatly organized. I know where things are, and I made sure to give Mister Melancholy a "tour" of the new and improved closet as well. He was always asking where certain things were in there, which annoyed me. He should know where bandaids and extra soap are! But to be fair, one had to dig around a lot of other crap to find where those things were. So now it's all clear and clean and organized and happy!

(I took a before picture, but a) my memory card ate it and b) it was probably too embarrassing to post anyway!)