Wednesday, April 9, 2008

‘Tis Better to Dance with an Overbite than Not Dance at All

The move is complete and somehow we managed to squeeze 2000 square feet worth of things into 580 square feet of apartment. Luckily, 1. Mom was willing to let us store some things until they are sold and 2. The Goodwill drop off location is only three blocks from our new apartment. As a comparison, the basement apartment of my cousin’s house where we lived on Long Island was roughly the same size as this (with literally only six inches of daylight ever making it into that place, creating a virtual dungeon) but even though this apartment could be considered small, I am in love with the daylight that shines through to make it feel so much bigger!

Living room

Office / creative exploration space

That is pretty much the entire apartment, hope you enjoyed the tour.

Unpacking all of our many boxes has meant discovering items I either forgot about (most of which went to Goodwill since obviously they were not enough in my consciousness to require a need to keep them) or remembered being packed away and was excited to “find” again. One of the excitement items was my sewing machine and all the many pieces of fabric that go with it. In our first week here I have already hemmed the office drapery, created the living room curtains from scratch, turned an old shower curtain into a curtain panel for the shower window and made a fabric skirt for the bathroom sink. Last night however was the most fun of all because I learned the proper way (by hand) to hem a skirt during the first sewing class (of many to come) with Auntie.

I acquired this skirt from the massive clothing collection my Grandma left behind after she passed away several years ago. She was even more vertically challenged than me at 4’-10” (I think. That may be generous.), so the skirt may have hit her leg just above the ankle but on me it fell at the how-to-look-as-short-as-possible spot of mid calf. It is a casual style in sunny yellow cotton that I knew would get a lot of wear this summer so I packed up the machine, some supplies and the skirt and headed over to Auntie’s. There would be no way to accurately describe the belly aching laughs we both had last night while I hemmed this skirt (my first hand sewn item ever) but milk almost shot out of Auntie’s nose when we decided that the hem would probably not be complete until she was dead and I would be sticking remnant scraps in her casket, wearing the skirt to the funeral. Perhaps double stuff mint Oreos at 8:30 PM is a trigger for hilarity. I am thinking of wearing it to the show this Friday if the weather cooperates, mostly because I promised Auntie that I will be wearing it every day for the rest of my life. Of course it is much more likely I will be in my plaid shorts.

Something phenomenal also happened last Saturday afternoon; I finally became a non smoker. My torrid affair with the plant of death began so long ago that if those years of smoking were a person, she would be legal to drink by now. I had been trying to quit since about two weeks after I started smoking but convinced myself that I actually loved to smoke until about eight years ago. That is when I tried the patch; after watching my heart literally fling out the front of my chest and hit the wall opposite me about 400 times, I decided to rip that thing off and buy a pack. About a year later I tried what I called the “cold turkey with a straw” method. I carried around a straw that I cut to the exact size of a cigarette and every time I had a craving to smoke I pulled that out and inhaled air instead. I actually quit for about five weeks that way, which at the time I considered very impressive, but air just did not cut it and I went right back. Hearing that the gum was gross and not wanting to pop any pills, I skipped both of those methods. Then last week I was reading one of my favorite blogs and there it was. The Universe answered my pleas for a solution.

By now you all know I am a huge fan of Jason (no last name required at this point) and, like all people I respect and admire, I generally look into the suggestions they make for flicks to watch, music to purchase or books to read. I feel that the people who come in and out of anyone’s life are truly there for beneficial reasons and recommendations they make are probably well worth looking into. Would I consider Jason a friend? We have never met so no, not in the conventional sense of the word, but there are many like minded blog friends I have never met who have suggested various forms of media that I have loved so when I saw on his blog that he became a non smoker two years ago with a book he read I knew it was worth the $15 to give it a shot. I purchased the book The Easy Way to Stop Smoking by Allen Carr, read it in three days, and officially extinguished my last cigarette at 2:00 PM on April 5, 2008. No withdrawal symptoms, not feelings of anxiety or stress and honestly no pangs of regret or need for the substance. I am now free and feel fantastic! In an effort to pay it forward, I genuinely thank Jason for the thoughtful recommendation and pass on the love to all of you who might be struggling with this. Buy and read this book today.

Other awesome things that happened of late include:

~ Dog sitting for the easiest, sweetest, most kickin’ dog on the freaking planet.

~ Cas Haley released a new album. If you like reggae or are just looking for some stellar summer music I highly suggest checking him out. Great vibe all around. Living near Dallas is a plus; you can see him live (lucky).

~ Acquiring two faux jobs. One of which is not through anyone I already know (she found my website randomly woo hoo!) and will be installing one of my favorite finishes, the other through my Evil Step-Mom’s very close friend who is an Interior Designer.

~ Being able to spend time with friends that I rarely got to see while living far away.

~ Catching the first sights of spring in New England as flowers begin to bloom.


Bree said...

Wow! Fantastic! Congratulations!! I'm not a smoker (except for one time when I had imbibed too much whiskey...) but I can appreciate how difficult it must be to quit. I'm proud of you.

Bridgete said...

I remember that blog entry from him. That's so great that it worked for you too. I'm not a smoker unless you count when I randomly smoke cigars if other people are smoking them at a party, but I've known plenty of people that have tried to quit. Some of them have succeeded after 5 or 6 tries, some are still trying. So, good for you. I was already going to recommend that book to anyone I saw having trouble quitting, now I have an even stronger case for it. =)

High Desert Diva said...

Thanks for the apartment tour. We had a 430 sq. ft. apt. when we first moved to Bend. (ok, actually it was a single car garage that got "remodeled" into an apt. in the 1970's....yes....horrific) Kitchen, office, living room, bedroom all in one room, tiny bath built up off the cement floor. Did I mention these were deluxe accommodations? was a free place to stay (our friends owned it) So your place is looking very high end.

Congrats on eliminating the death stick from your life! YAY!

Cheering for the two new jobs...and all the rest you've packed into the last week.

Julie said...

You know, between the Mraz plug for the book and the other testimonies that have been popping up since -- yours included -- I'm about ready to buy the book... and I've never smoked!

Anyhow, Jenn, I'm so glad to hear you've quit! That's wonderful news! :)

Likewise, I am in awe of your ability to downsize. I keep wondering how we could ever live in less than 1300 sq.ft. ever again. Plus an attic and a shed. Granted, there's the child factor. Little people seem to have just as much if not more junk than us grown folk. For example, I've got boxes and boxes of little boy clothes in the attic. (They'll stay there until (1) there's another baby boy in the family or (2) we decide we're done having kids, at which point the clothes will be sent to goodwill or freecycle.) Your apartment looks spacious. Have any tips for de-cluttering?

Love the skirt by the way. :) It's nice to know I'm not the only one who's wearing clothes that have been in the family for decades and decades. ;)

draagonfly said...

Your awesomeness astounds me! I can't wait to actually meet you and Matt face to face tomorrow. :)

I am SOOOO glad you stopped smoking (not that I even knew you did before, but YAY anyway!) and fitting everything TWO people own into 580 SF is AMAZING. Teach me, oh swami, because I have to get down to the bare minimum to move next month!

We are gonna have so much to talk about, I dunno a) how anyone else will get a word in edgewise, and b) how we're going to shut up long enough to listen to Jason tomorrow. LOL (Yeah, I know... as if!)

Congrats girl!

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Ya know I recommend this guy's writing to anyone struggling with anything he happens to tackle. He is not cuddly though so be fair warned! I guess his smack upside the head was the duh, just quit that I needed to do it!

Thanks for all the encouragement Bree & Bridgete :~)

Char that sounds like the apt Matt lived in when he was in Ohio...teeninsy!!! Those can be cute though, ESPECIALLY when they are FREE :~)

My advice for living clutter free is this rule Julie: if you forgot you had it, have not used it for a functional purpose at least twice in the last 6 months or even know what it is for then it needs to go! I am so not a fan of clutter that is why many furniture pieces in my home have doors and I go through one room at a time often (like every couple months often) to get the stuff out of my space (Goodwill & craigslist are awesome). Another thing that helps is moving so much, it forces you to reevaluate what is really needed & what is not! That is not for everyone though but it seems to work for me lol!

Trayce in less than 24 hours we will be singing along with the man himself. There is no freaking way I am sleeping tonight lol. YOU have it even worse is a weekend full of Jason (lucky gal!). I am SO looking forward to finally meeting you all tomorrow :~)

Chris Stone said...

I remember moving to Chicago with 3 (or 4?) boxes and a bicycle... that was many years ago! It would be traumatic now!

Congrats on quitting smoking! that's amazing. I'm going to check that guy's book out... even though I've never smoked. Obviously, something is to be learned!

Chris Stone said...

wonderful apartment, btw!

ginger said...

all that light! it's so great jenn! I like your couch too, i like the simplicity you've got going on there...

i saw your comment on jason's page about the smoking, or not smoking. i am so happy for you! when i quit i did it cold turkey on a whim. i back slid once, but not being able to breathe and wreaking of smoke fixed that quite quickly.

i have to buy that book for a friend of mine who keeps trying to quit.

Judi FitzPatrick said...

Congratulations on quitting, that is the most awesome news.
Can't wait to see the apartment next weekend. Love the light and way you've not filled the space. Does Mr. Carr have a de-clutter book for those of us addicted to keeping stuff? ;-)
Enjoy the show, all of you who are going this weekend.
Peace and hugs,

Julie Mc. said...


Thanks for commenting on my blog. It sounds like you're going to the concert tonight. I hope you have a good time!

My friend, Jenny, and I are going in a few weeks. I think it'll be fun!

I love to wear flip flops, too. Even though it's supposed to snow again tomorrow. I'll wear them inside and pretend it's tropical outside. :) Take Care, Julie

pastrywitch said...

That part about the sewing lesson took me back; my mom signed me up for sewing lessons with a neighbor lady. I can still see the green and yellow flowered doubleknit polyester polo shirt..... Congrats on stopping smoking - does this guy have a diet book?