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Special Kind of Crazy

Change is hard. Even if you like change or the change is for the better, it’s just tricky. You may be very accustomed to change, you may not crave a routine the way I do – but I would venture to guess you still have your moments. I thrive within the confines of structure, familiar pacing and a consistent rhythm to my days, so for me change is not necessarily scary, but it is always an event.

I’m moving out of my apartment. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am beyond thrilled about this. I’ve been pestering my husband to move for years and we both finally arrived on the same page, a beautifully illustrated page depicting a gorgeous new apartment, in a beautiful building, in a desirable neighborhood, on a fabulous block. Amen right? Hallelujah even!! So the thing is … I’m kind of a wreck.

I love to pack (honestly I do), I love my new home and I’m sick of my old one and I actually have plenty of time to prep – so why such a disaster zone Stone?!

Because. Because the night I got married I came home to this apartment. Because I woke up one morning and decided I would start a business in this apartment. Because the dry cleaner across the street knows to get out the stain stickers when she sees me coming. And because the coffe shop on the corner knows that when I ask for Splenda I really mean sugar. I know I will have these moments in my new neighborhood, and that the new dry cleaner will know soon enough there will be at least one grand skim latte stain on everything I bring his way – but still, it’s a lot!

I didn’t think it would be hard for me to leave this apartment that has recently come to feel like a cage, but it is. And you know what – its ok. It’s ok to feel attached and to hold on to physical places tightly. The experiences I had here will always be with me though, and slowly I’m coming to accept I don’t need my fourth floor walk up to remember and keep those moments. They will always be with me.

So I’m taking lots of deep breaths, eating a slightly increased amount of ice cream, and carefully wrapping these moments in bubble wrap.

Change is hard, but as soon as I said that out loud, it got easier. Embracing change doesn’t have to mean ignoring or dismissing what came before. Sitting in a moment of transition is naturally a little uncomfortable. I’m telling myself to try to enjoy that feeling and laugh about the messiness of a good, timely transition. After all, soon enough the new routine will replace this moment of uncertainty and I’ll find myself longing for the freedom to not know what’s next all over again.

Post authored by Brooke Stone.

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Admit it, right now there are jars in your refrigerator that haven’t been opened since Obama was elected. We all have them, well, unless you’re me (or my roommate) (or my parents) (or if I’ve stayed at your house for the weekend). My “special kind of crazy” involves checking the expiration dates on all the condiments in my refrigerator – and sometimes, to be perfectly honest, other people’s refrigerators, with permission of course! There is something so wonderfully satisfying about purging any expired bottles and jars from those always over-crowded fridge door shelves.

Living in NYC, I’ve moved into new apartments with already settled in roommates and nothing makes me feel more settled in than the great condiment shelf clean! It should be horrifying to discover a bottle of peanut sauce stamped with “Best Before October 2007” when it is currently 2012, but oddly enough, cleaning up this little square of the world makes me feel energized and ready for something new! Really anytime I can create space and order in a place that is usually messy and over-crowded, I feel a bit of a rush, but it’s heightened with the refrigerator. It’s meant to be a quick grab-and-go space, as well as being a place we see multiple times a day – why not make it more joyful, or at the very least, more functional. Like any “good-feeling” junkie, my own kitchen can only provide this cleansing high so many times before the bottles and jars are all up to date, so I need to take my cleansing elsewhere. I get a fix twice a year when I visit my parents in California and clear their shelves. I’ve been known to “help” friends with their refrigerators as well – they think I’m a saint for taking on the nasty task – little do they know, it was my plan all along, hahaha!

My hunt for the past date condiments has a practical advantage as well – I rarely have to throw out expired products (of my own), which can definitely add up to savings in my grocery budget.  I also take this time to group items by use.  The makings of a healthy and delicious salad dressing are grouped together, likewise with sandwich schmears and fixin’s.  I like to stack my yogurts by expiration date as well, latest date on the bottom, so I’m never eating “Good Until July 1st” on June 15th, when there’s a June 16th sitting on the shelf being ignored.  These simple steps take very little effort when unloading the groceries, but can make a world of difference in the amount of old food thrown out in a year.

Post authored by Erin Jerozal 

Do you know what you did on June 17, 2005? No? Well, I do. I know that I had lunch with a friend, bought a new pair of jeans and felt very happy at the end of the day. Now, I don’t actually remember these events on my own – although some people actually can (www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7162994n) – but I have a “Special Kind of Crazy” that remembers for me.  We BSLM bloggers are an “interesting” bunch. We make spill-catching bibs for our coffee cups and get a bit too excited about rows of perfectly sharpened pencils. But sometimes, our particular “crazy” might be something you’d like too!  So, in that spirit, I’d like to share mine with you.

I have had many failed attempts at keeping a journal. I’ve tried various times throughout my life, from childhood to the year 2005, to keep a detailed, daily, written-before-I-go-to-bed type account of my life. I’ve bought beautiful writing pads, colored pens, created Word documents and more in the hopes that some external source will keep me motivated to write about my day. I wanted to capture how I felt and what was going on in my life and what my dreams and goals were for the next day, but all I ever managed was a few days of stilted entries that captured nothing but the pressure I was clearly feeling to “write beautifully” and “do this daily”. So, like anything your heart is not truly desiring to do, I gave up. I gave up every time. That is, until that life-changing day in the summer of 2005 when I was introduced to the idea of a Gratitude Journal (let’s all give a hearty round of applause to the a-ha moment queen herself, Ms. Oprah Winfrey!)  The idea of the gratitude journal is to write down one thing that you are grateful for today – small or large – in essence, always saying, “I will have gratitude for this day.”

One sentence?!? That’s it? No problem!  So I bought a simple lined journal and wrote a day of the year at the top of each page (January 1st, January 2nd, etc.), so each day of the year has its own page.  When you make an entry for that particular day, you list the year, the day of the week and your thought for that day. Over time, you’ll have a page full of entries for each day and a record of your life throughout the years – big things and small.

Here are some examples of my recent entries:

  • “Starting the day with an iced coffee and a crossword is so peaceful and relaxing. Remembering to appreciate the quiet mornings makes the busy ones just a bit more tolerable!”
  • “Bought 5 new songs on iTunes and listened to them over and over again. New music is so energizing!”
  • “Jacque and I stay up WAY too late talking about boys and shoes and what to wear on a first date!”

Of course, your daily entries will not and don’t have to look like mine. I am very heavy-handed with the exclamation points, you need not share my punctuational enthusiasm.

I love having the ability to look back on the years and rediscover old jokes or tidbits from my day that made me laugh until I cried at the time. Without my daily journal, they’d be lost forever.  I’ve also discovered patterns I have that I was unaware of and can now use to better plan my life.  After 6 years of journaling this way, it is very clear that, generally, January does not feel like the New Year to me. But rather, I discovered a lot of my thoughts of the day in February were about how energized and refreshed I felt – ready to tackle a big project. So now, I cut myself some slack in January, planning small goals and projects, and wait until February to really dive into the big stuff.  My journal is also a great way to see how I’ve handled disappointments and fears in the past. I get to see the process of applying to and completing graduate school over and over again – which is a constant reminder that when I set my sights on something, I know how to go out there and make it happen. Same for seeing how I dealt with relationships ending, illnesses and other losses. When you are feeling lower than you ever have before and it feels like life will never get better (we have all been there), my journal reminds me that it does get better. It may take more page turns than I would have liked, but eventually, my smile returns and my journal reflects it and I feel deeply grateful for the one sentence daily commitment I have made and kept throughout the years.

Post authored by Erin Jerozal 

There’s an inherent design flaw in Starbucks coffee cups. They drip. They drip from that spot where the lid meets the seam of the cup, and it makes me a special kinda crazy! The only drip I want my coffee to do is in the pot. Not on me!

As a person on the move I have to have things that can pick up and go with me. Things that can keep-up with my daily hustle; I expect my coffee to be one of them. But with the aforementioned structural snafu, my coffee certainly does not keep-up! The fact that my Venti-Soy-Misto with 3/4 coffee and 2 raw sugars drips in a way that can only be likened to a kind of medieval water torture has me worked into a high frenzy. But never the quitter I’ve worked diligently to remedy this dilemma.

Ladies and gentleman, may I introduce the “BIB”; a strategically placed napkin folded specifically to keep the best part of waking up from becoming your own private purgatory!

Allow me to explain –

Upon receiving your favorite caffeinated coffee treat remove the lid and proceed to doctor your beverage diligently. While adding the finishing touches to what can now be referred to as your morning coffee remove the sleeve from your cup and set it aside. Take a napkin and fold it a quarter of the way down, creasing it to ensure the fold remains in place. The next part takes a little finesse but if it ensures you a morning commute drip free and potentially a lower dry cleaning bill then all I can say to you is practice makes perfect. With your napkin now folded wrap it against the side of your cup so that it’s flush with the top of the cup and the seam runs up the middle of the folded napkin. Grasp the cup and the aligned folded napkin from above with one hand and work to slip the sleeve on with the other hand. Ensuring the napkin is snug between the cup and the sleeve and gently settle it into place. Voila! The bib is set secure and ready to face the day with you, drip free! And that’s my special kinda crazy folks.

Post authored by Josh Schulteis

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