Clutter Glutton, 31 Days Self-Scrutiny

Tami, of Thrift Shop Commando, is constantly finding new themed writing challenges for her blog. One, The A-to-Z Challenge, I did both on SpyGirl and On the Edge last April. She brought the 31 Days challenge to my attention and I'm giving it a go here on The Glutton.

My theme?
Dealing with my clutter at Walgrove Manor, specifically the clutter in the living room.
(Baby steps).

I'm not attempting minimalism, by any means (I can't live that way). What I want is some tidiness. I'm hoping to force myself into accountability by posting my process (progress?) here.
Today I signed up for a decluttering e-course called 27 days of Feng Shui with Katie Rogers. It's 27 days of emails that I hope will help me get things sorted. I'll be using the exercises there as a springboard for what I will write here. [Update, 10/2: During my work-week I've fallen into a rhythm of morning photos, sketching, decluttering, then creating the post during my lunch break, with final finessing that night or the next morning. Hope it's not too confusing to have the dates in the journal one day earlier than the post.]

This post will function as my table of contents for the 31 Days of October.
[Links may not be linked every single day. Meanwhile, check the sidebar's Blog Archive/October panel. >>>>>
Or click here to follow the posts in reverse chronological order].
It all begins 10/01.
Table of Clutter
10/01 Working on the Table

10/02 All Tangled Up

10/03 Chaos into Catagories

10/04 Call me Sisyphus

10/05 Tangled Up in Beads

10/06 Still Tangled Up in Beads

10/07 Drawer of Distraction

10/08 Fabricating the Declutter

10/09 Tissue Mountain

10/10 Clutter Cache

10/11 Photo Schlepping

10/12 Clutter Here, clutter there, everywhere a clutter, clutter

10/13 A Fine Mess

10/14 A Little Pocket of Crazy

10/15 The Chain of Clutter

10/16 Sliding home

10/17 Closet Shuffle

10/18 Cornered with Clutter

10/19 Yellow Fever

10/20 Single Filed

10/21 Shoo Shoes!

10/22 Junked Mail

10/23 Skirting the Issue

10/24 Recipe for Success

10/25 Sketchy Situation

10/26 Clutter Loves an Open Space

10/27 Mystery Grab Bag

10/28 Next

10/29 Table That

10/30 Neatnik Nails the Nook



Gluttony in NY: I'm With the Band

The drive to the Suffolk Theater in Riverhead, Long Island for the Smithereens gig was long and boring.
Severo had sound check and I went and had a leisurely lunch with a blogging buddy.

I returned to the band's green room, where there was some pre-show meet-and-greet action:
I stood in the wings stage right.
A rousing ending to a fun few days in the East.


Gluttony in NYC: Day 3

Another day, another great breakfast at Empire Biscuit:
Severo had the House-Made Pork Suasage Gravy Sandwich, I had Ham & Egg. Delicious!

We then checked out of Hotel 17, and worked our way out to the Smithereens gig in Riverhead, Long Island
Severo made a pit stop at Katz's, getting a pastrami sandwich to go.

I stayed in the car, pondering the occult sciences transpiring in
And yes, Jacques Torres DUMBO was "on the way", though parking was horrendous.
Again, I sat in the car,  since we parked in a loading zone.
Severo didn't have to ask me "what flavors"
Wicked Chocolate (with Hot Chile) and Fig.

It didn't take much to convince Severo to return to get a Fig Milkshake. Mmmmmm.
Fig obsession started.


Gluttony in NYC, Day 2

It was just the two of us, Manhattan as our oyster, on our second day in the city.

We started with dessert-for-breakfast from William Greenberg Desserts,
within walking distance of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
I was determined to see China: Through the Looking Glass and was pleased that Severo was willing to join me.
We scarfed down our goodies as the line became longer and longer.
The China show was AMAZING (seven posts about it on SpyGirl) and then we walked the John Singer Sargent show, also incredible.
I find Sargent's painting style very inspiring.
John Singer Sargent, Mrs. Hugh Hammersley, Oil on canvas, 1892
I was so preoccupied with the exhibitions, I lost track of the fact that I went for four hours fueled by only one coffee and one hamentashen. Needed food, STAT.

What better cure for my hunger pangs than some New York style thin crust pizza,
from our favorite place: Pizza Suprima at 31st and 8th.
Ahhhh. Relief.

I was then fortified to take on more sock shopping at Jack's.
Severo shopped vicariously through me.
Severo loves a good bargain.

After all that excitement, naps were needed.
And dinner:
Lobster Roll, Lobster Elote, Salad, Lobster Mac-n-Cheese, at Red Hook Lobster Pound

And dessert at M'o Il Gelato:
Mango Sorbetto, Limone Sorbetto, random cookies


Gluttony in NYC: Day 1

After the huge breakfast, we were ready to cross the Hudson.
Our room wasn't ready at Hotel 17 (it was 9am), so we unloaded our gear from the rental car, lobby checked it all, and ventured over to Brooklyn. Severo was on a mission to take me sock shopping and Telco is one of his haunts. Bargains were found, including houndstooth leggings marked $5.99 and only $2.99 at the register! After an unpleasant episode with a homeless woman, we went back to Manhattan to secure a good parking space near the hotel.

"OK, let's eat!"
We had lunch at Xi'an Famous Foods on St. Mark's.
Clock-wise from left: Spicy & Sour Spinach Dumplings in Broth, Spicy Hot Oil-Seared Noodles (my favorite), and a Spicy Cumin Lamb Burger. It was too much food and too hot to be eating hot noodles. Oh well.

For dessert, we tried to go to ChikaLicious Dessert Bar at 203 E. 10th St.
"Sorry, closed due to broken freezer."
Boohoo. We had such a great experience there in 2012.
Implementing Plan B, we went across the street to The ChikaLicious Dessert Club, a more informal branch of the ChikaLicious empire.
We had the Madagascar Vanilla Creme Puff and a Bun Chika Bun Bun (Pate a Choux with carmelized-gingerbread filling).
It was then finally late enough to check in and collapse into food coma naps.
That evening, we walked over to the High Line and perused the New Whitney, which is at the south end on Gansevoort Street. I wrote a post with some of the art that we saw over on my Fashion Blog SpyGirl.
Our posing antics with the Freedom Tower were not included.
All that art viewing made us hungry again.
We ended up at Dirty Bird where we got Fried Chicken (for Severo) and a few sides.
Sauteed Garlic Kale, Mac-n-Cheese, Potato Salad, Veggie Rice, Chicken topped with Corn Bread

At that point, we called it a night.


Gluttony in NJ: Tops Diner

In August, Severo very kindly flew me east for a couple of days in Manhattan and a Smithereens gig on Long Island. Per usual, we flew a red eye that landed in Newark. Red eye flights tend to make me very grumpy and we have discovered that FOOD will soothe the savage beast that I become.
Severo consulted Yelp, and found a gem of a New Jersey diner called Tops Diner, located in Harrison. 
It's a HUGE place! We were seated in a quiet, dark, area
The menu is extensive
We started with Cuban Coffee -- perfection!
Eventually, our massive breakfasts arrived:
We ate with abandon. It was outstanding!
I ordered Eggs From Heaven: Three Eggs baked with Cheesy Grits, Bacon, Tomato & Chives, served with Green Salad
Severo ordered Corned Beef Hash & Eggs: House Corned Beef, Bell Peppers, Onions & Potatoes, topped with Two Eggs, served with Buttermilk Pancakes
Truly memorable. We will return!


Hearty Olive Rosemary Bread

I've been perfecting this recipe, adapted from this recipe on About Food, for more than a year and I think I finally have the proportions right. It's for bread making machines -- consult your machine's wholewheat bread recipes' flour quantities. If you need ratio adjustments, use this handy conversion link. When I fine-tuned the yeast quantity, it made a huge difference. I use an Oster 2lb Breadmaking machine, Model #5821. 

Olive Rosemary Bread 

  • 1/3 - 1/2 c brine from olives
  • Warm water, enough to make 1 1/2 cups when combined with brine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    pour wet directly into machine
  • 1 3/4 c whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 c ground flax seed
  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached flour
    (grains total 3 3/4 c)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 1 tb dried rosemary
    mix dry in a bowl before adding to machine

    make little valley for
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

    after the beep at 2:20, add
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup finely chopped olives (about 2 dozen pitted olives)
    I've used kalamatas, spanish, even minced NOLA's Central Grocery Olive Salad!
  • 3 or more garlic cloves, minced

Put brine in a 2-cup measure; add warm water to make 1 1/2 cups. 
Put all ingredients except for the olives in the bread machine according to your manufacturer's preferred order. (My order is in italics).
Choose basic or wheat setting; add olives at the beep.