What I Shed Today

lightening up a little at a time

dead electronics

After a year of collecting them in a box, it’s time for our various dead electronics to go off to the electronics recycling drop off.

dead electronics

shedding style: recycle
destination: community electronics recycling stream

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soap remnants

I’ve been telling myself for at least the past year that I should make a new bar of soap from the various small pieces that have survived in our various soap dishes. Tonight, I’ve finally chopped them into pieces and started melting them down for reuse.

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before

and after

and after

shedding style: re-use

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belts

beltsAnd then there’s when I decided that I’d start wearing belts. I’m not sure I can remember the last time I actually did wear a belt…. So, like the ball caps, these are off to where people who might find them both beautiful and useful may find them.

shedding style: give away
destination: thrift store

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ball caps

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take me out to the ballgame…

I like the idea of wearing ball caps, but I almost never actually do so. This has not kept me from buying ball caps. So I’m turning these three caps over to the thrift shop where they can go to people who’ll actually use them for their intended purpose.

shedding style: give away
destination: thrift store

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fish food

container of old fish food

may the worms enjoy this more than the fish ever did!

We have a small outdoor pond (very, very small, like 30 gallons or so) which we keep primarily for growing a water lily or two. It also houses a couple goldfish to prevent mosquitoes from using it as a breeding ground. At this point, we’ve given up on having fancy or larger fish (read: koi) and just buy a couple feeder goldfish when necessary. We’ve also given up feeling like we have to provide more food than nature does, especially when our can of fish food contains pellets too big for our fish to eat! So it’s off to the compost pile with the fish food and to the recycling bin for the container.

shedding style: compost, recycle

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100% creative control

They said we’d be artistically free
when we signed that bit of paper
They meant let’s make a lotsa money
and worry about it later

—the Clash, “Complete Control”

In WordPress-speak, I “own” What I shed today. (Nimue and I’ve taken to calling it WIST for short.) Every day since 31 December 2013, I’ve decided on the content, drafted and revised the posts, taken and post-processed the photos, put them together and hit the “publish” button. (And appreciated the replies of commenters! Thanks, y’all!)

What I absolutely haven’t done all by myself is the lightening up What I shed today is about. Nimue, partner in nearly everything else in my life, has been a willing and even gleeful co-shedder. And we do it as greenly as we do only because of recycling infrastructure and systems built and tended by many others. Thanks also go to WordPress.com, which provides these virtual publishing tools and hosting for free.

This week, WIST becomes even more a collaborative project. I’m off to a continuing education event, and Nimue has accepted title to the blog while I’m away. Mick and Joe had good reason for fighting to keep creative control, but I’m glad I can shed it! And happy that gratitude is a movement of the spirit I may give freely and still keep.

I've got a ticket to ride....

I’ve got a ticket to ride….

shedding style: release

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ties that don’t bind

My current job doesn’t require that I wear a tie to work on weekdays, so when I do on Sundays I reach for my favorites. Consequently those I never don have bubble-sorted to the bottom of the drawer. Nimue and I tackled it tonight and found some in good enough condition to give to Goodwill. Others spent the summer touching a leather belt colonized by mold, and they look like victims of a biology experiment gone awry. Nimue is googling “cleaning men’s ties at home” … we’ll see how that goes. But I’ve slipped the noose of at least four.

Blueberry: "We're playing a game, right? Are there rules?"

Blueberry: “We’re playing a game, right? Are there rules?”

shedding style: give away
destination: thrift store

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hair

I feel the same about getting a haircut as I feel about shaving: glad to have it done. But I don’t like the process, so I don’t go to the salon more than three, maybe four times a year. My public excuse is that Nimue likes my hair longer, and I let it grow out for her. Which is true, but when it starts to flip up or get in my eyes, I feel unkempt. Still I delay the inevitable appointment with the shears for weeks or even months. Why?

Partly it’s because I enjoy saving money more than spending, and I can always defer a haircut’s expense another day. (The beauticians deserve what I pay them, though, and more, so I’ve started tipping.) Partly it’s that, like-able as the staff are, I have to let someone I don’t know well into the bubble of my personal space. And partly it’s because getting a haircut interrupts whatever plans I’m pursuing, though I interrupt myself a hundred times a day, and generally don’t regret the moments of grace in which I stop to smell the roses.

Whatever … today I shed some hair. Always before I’ve walked away from my fringe on the floor, but today I asked if I might have it to feed my compost pile. Hair is a good slow-release source of nitrogen, some 15% by weight. That’s more than manure. Aren’t you glad you learned that?

hair today, gone tomorrow

hair today, gone tomorrow

shedding style: relocate, compost
destination: compost pile

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accretion of unwanted material of biological origin on travel backpack

Years ago, I bought Nimue a backpack. She was going the UK to work and study, and I wanted to empower her to have adventures—or so I told myself. Really I think I bought it for myself, so we’d be the kind of people who backpack across Europe. (I still buy her gear, but I’ve gotten wiser about talking about it with her first.)

It was cool tech, though: a North Face Galileo M4100 internal frame model optimized for the task. The straps folded and zipped into pockets so it could go as checked luggage. It incorporated a huge detachable daypack, came with a shower organizer and a raincover, and could swell up like a Wagnerian soprano or be compressed like a Victorian lady in a corset. (It weighed as much as two ordinary backpacks, but hey, you gotta give something for all that function.) Nimue did have adventures with it, and I joined her for a few of them. But I think I always liked it better than she.

At the end of one of her last trips, it landed on top of boxes in the room we call “the library,” but should call “the lair of Tiamat, the primordial chaos dragon.” It’s Fox’s favorite room. Fox is a cat. Those who know cats will immediately connect the dots. He’s normally shut out of that room, but he got in nevertheless, and he made a nest of the travel backpack, turning it orange with Fox fur.

When I discovered that, I brought it downstairs to clean. I went off for just a moment in search of adhesive tape to make a Fox-fur-catcher … a moment too long. Percy, who has a love-pee relationship with our luggage, climbed upon the pack and expressed himself. Disgusted, I hauled it to the garage (our other dragon’s lair), dripping a noxious trail. There it remained, another stalled project—where, like almost everything else in the house during the damp southeastern US summer of 2013, it grew a green coat of mold.

Under all that contamination, however, there’s still a potentially useful tool. Next week I’m traveling to a continuing education event by the low-carbon-footprint mode of riding a bus. I’ll have hours of layovers and will take local public transit on the last leg. The travel backpack seems made for such a trip. So today I’ve scrubbed it to shed the filth that was making it revolting. Other than cat hair, odor, and dust, I haven’t actually gotten rid of anything … except, gladly enough, regret.

Why don't product photos in catalogs look like this?

Why don’t product photos in catalogs look like this?

I’ll pay attention on my journey to how truly useful the travel pack seems. Old hopes and even affections aren’t enough to keep me keepin’ on any more. Chaos dragon, beware!

shedding style: release

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tired tire retired

For over a decade spanning my late young-adulthood and early middle age, I had the “Mercedes bends.” My good memories involve a succession of diesel models. We could purchase one used without taking out a loan, spend a couple days repairing whatever ailed it, and then, with no more care than changing the oil and filter on schedule, drive it for tens of thousands of miles. Two of our sedans rolled more than a quarter-million.

My nightmares feature gasoline-powered “classics” I bought in advanced states of decline with dreams of restoring them to glory: the Mariemobile, Werner von Braun, the Grenz—oh, the pressing weight descends! (Deep breaths, keep taking deep breaths.…)

I probably have a month’s worth of sheds to unload all the stuff I’ve got that’s stamped with the three-pointed star. As, for instance, an extra set of vintage “Bundt” alloy wheels. One wheel still had a tire mounted. I left that at the local auto service center today. I’ll pay the dismount charge and our state’s tire disposal fee and consider it well-spent. One more large object I don’t need is gone.

shedding style: recycle
destination: recycling stream

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