IMG_0535The other day Don ordered a little shoe bench to put by the front door.

It’s very cute and it works like a top.  We take our shoes off at the door and after a few days we always seem to have every pair of shoes we own lined up down the living room wall.  I honestly don’t understand how it happens.

Before I go too far down that rabbit trail what really struck me was the fact that the shoe bench was in a box inside another much bigger box that was filled with wadded up paper.

Total waste.


Which of course bugged the shit out of me and when something bugs the shit out of me I think about it.

fillpak-tt-smallThe paper – what the shipping industry calls dunnage – was seriously about 30 feet long… and in one piece.  When this dunnage shows up at the shipping facility it’s either on a big roll or folded in a big stack.  It gets fed into a dunnage machine.  The only thing a dunnage machine does it wad up paper.  That’s all it exists for.

I kinda hate dunnage machines.

On the other hand, I am always grateful when something I buy arrives without damage so I kinda like dunnage machines.

It’s a fine line we have to walk while living in this world.

The truth is we can’t exist in the universe without causing some kind of change.  That’s truth.  It just is.  So sometimes it’s hard to love trees and shoe benches at the same time.  Speaking of which, why would I guiltlessly love a wooden shoe bench and so rabidly hate paper dunnage?  Trees died for both.

Again, this bugged the shit out of me.

Again I thought about it.


I think it has to do with the difference between use and waste.

I think we should USE as many resources as we NEED.  I am trying to reduce my WASTE which I define as the thoughtless discarding of still useful material.  So I thought about this paper.  Now honestly, this paper had served a purpose.  It had protected the shoe bench in transit.  So it could have theoretically gone in the garbage.  For some reason that still felt like waste.

IMG_0514So I folded the paper back up.


I thought about using it as a weed barrier in the garden.  But that felt like giving in too soon.

I mean, I have 30 feet of paper… that just happens to be the perfect weight for making patterns.

So this paper now sits on top of a pantry shelf waiting to become the basis for a pair of pants or a shirt.

When it’s no longer useable for sewing it will go into the garden or the compost bin.

And just to be clear, it’s not really about the paper.  It’s about honoring the rest of creation.



Staying Home Today

Last week I went to a neurologist to see if he could do anything more for my tremor than my general practitioner.  Turns out there’s not a lot that can be done.  My condition is not severe enough to warrant invasive procedures and even if it were I would not have them done.  One involves inserting wires into my brain that direct electrical impulses into my hippocampus or some such.  The other involves directing little beams of radiation to destroy a small cluster of brain cells.

Honestly, I will have to become totally incapacitated before I consider either of those.

Medication helps.  I take a beta blocker that does something, no one quite knows what, and decreases the modulation of the tremors.  The doctor felt that we still had some room to increase the dose so I’m taking it twice a day now.  It is helping but I’m feeling a little fatigued.  My pulse is still well within an acceptable range and I think that after another week or so I will adjust to a new normal.

But for today, I am being quiet.

IMG_0523I worked in the garden this past weekend.  The bare ground that you see was previously covered completely with weed cloth and a few hundred pavers.

I’ve actually gotten farther than this picture shows.  My plan is to have six beds, three on each side of the middle path.  The existing bed that you see was here when we moved in and so we made use of it.  Now though, we have to wait until the brussels sprouts and onions are ready to harvest before I can move it.  Shouldn’t be much longer though – the onions are starting to lay over and the brussels sprouts are starting to swell.

I learned two things about brussels sprouts this weekend.


IMG_05321.  You are supposed to trim the leaves as the plant grows leaving about five rows of leaves at the top of the plant.  This directs the plant’s energy into growing sprouts and not leaves.

2.  You can eat brussels sprouts leaves.  Yeah, who knew?!  They are actually pretty tasty but a little chewy.  After learning this I gathered the leaves and sautéed them in olive oil with some salt and pepper.  They were delicious.  Unfortunately, because I had left them on the plant so long they were just too tough to mess with.  This batch made a pretty picture but then it went into the compost bin.


IMG_0519While I was busy outside, Don was busy inside laying tile.

We have had the best luck with the new peel and stick tile.  I have to tell you, I think the secret is buying the 18″ square tiles instead of the square foot ones.

I just love that we finally have some finished edges on this place.  This happens to be the view from my desk.  Sometimes I just turn my head to gaze and be happy.

Anyway, that’s enough for now.  Have a happy Monday!