Wednesday, September 30, 2015

What I Learned in September

Linking up with Emily and sharing what I learned this month:

1. The key to a good bowl of tuna salad is about 3/4 of a whole kosher dill pickle. 

The key to a good kosher dill is that it needs to be one of the Claussen ones from the refrigerated section. I've been obsessed with these pickles since I discovered them which was probably circa 1996. I recently started making myself turkey sandwiches with good bread, cheese, Duke's mayo, and these pickles sliced really thin after Peyton made an excellent one for me. Well, then I remembered having tuna salad at a friend's house and how she had dill pickles in it. I usually don't like pickles in my tuna salad (actually, I usually just like tuna, mayo, and a little salt) but I think that's because people typically use sweet pickles and I HATE sweet pickles about as much as I love dill pickles. Well, I tried dicing up the Claussens and y'all-- whole new level of tuna.

2.Sometimes, nothing in the world feels better than the work of your own hands.

 Since we've been home (well, since the house has been functional), this had been the longest I've gone without cleaning the floors (vacuuming everywhere, mopping the kitchen and bathroom, and polishing the wood floors)-- about ten days. Before we moved, I probably did it every two weeks if that. Usually more like three. Sometimes a full month. Living in a tiny space made cleaning more manageable and if I'm being honest, having it sparkly also helped me be content with what I had. And it made me appreciate the heavy vacuum I complained so much about- we had our Shark part of the time but it broke and the we just used a broom and a mop (sidenote: I *finally gave in to Peyton's request for the past seven years to use an updated version of an old school string mop rather than those sponge mops that kept breaking every three months and became gross way before that). 

3. Most words in English won't have more than three consonants in a row, because otherwise it gets to be too difficult for English-speakers to say it...In other languages, like Polish, long strings of consonants are more common. 

4. GroupMe has transformed my long distant/friend group communications. I have this one specific group of friends (me Carrie, and Ashley) and we used to love to group text. When I got my new (crappy, but very affordable) phone/phone plan, group texting hardly ever worked well. Most of the time, I couldn't see Ashley's response, for some reason. Carrie was SO sweet about sending screen shot after screen shot, but it got to where we didn't text as much. My sister was talking about how her and her friends (who all have the latest iPhone, I'm sure) use GroupMe and it occurred to me that it was worth a shot. Y'all, it solved all my problems in this area! And I feel like we've been visiting so much more. Plus, it's super easy to make fun memes:

5. People with soothing voices are so calming to me. I mean, duh. But like if I pay attention, it can change my mood. Someone mentioned in the Sorta Awesome Hangout group on Facebook how amazing Megan's voice is and I one hundred percent agree. Later, a friend used the voice recording feature on the messanger app and I was struck by how soothing her voice was. I've been noticing voices more after those two instances.

6. So many ordinary things saved my Summer (and my life).

7. My husband can throw an amazing surprise party. I shouldn't be surprised at all by this one (pun intended).

8. With our simplicity journey, the biggest thing hasn't been any specific decisions or intentional choices to make sacrifices. The most important thing, by far, has been realigning my priorities. And sometimes the smallest things seem like the most meaningful. I was pretty excited at first about the preview sale of my absolute favorite consignment sale last week. I've been so sad to miss it for two years now. I'm still went to the regular sale the first morning but I skipped the preview sale (an early chance to shop for those who consign and something I used to NEVER would have missed). If I hadn't I would have missed walking with a friend that night and lunch with another friend the next day. I probably could have shuffled things around and rescheduled both, but it felt good to just give those things priority. I want to say that I value relationships over things and I want to live my values. I don't say this to brag, but because it really does feel better to live this way.

9. You have to feed your mantis every one to four day, depending on the species, the type of food you give it, the size of the mantis, the body condition of the mantis (well-fed or skinny) and its life-stage (adult females need more food than adult males). Guys, it's body condition and life stage! We recently became owners of a mantis and Peyton determined its species, gender, and approximate age and thus how to feed it. Who knew?

10. Graves really enjoys using double names for his pets. Before Green Snap (the mantis), we had a very short lived relationship with a bug named Hard Catch, before setting him free (that was prior to acquiring the mantis, otherwise it might have been her dinner).

11. For people with anxiety (especially the kind where you are consumed with stress over what will get done) immersing yourself in the moment, focusing on concrete, physical sensations (e.g. "what do my hands feel like in this warm, soapy water?"), and physically slowing yourself down (e.g. walking or brushing your hair very slowly) can be really beneficial. I heard this on the Anxiety Episode of the Sorta Awesome podcast and I thought it was brilliant (and brave- because I don't even have things that are THAT important to get done and still the idea sort of terrified me).

I'd love to hear what you learned this month!

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