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December 31, 2012 / Wendy Joan

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,000 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

August 1, 2012 / Wendy Joan

Living with Less

For the last few years I’ve has a consistent and reoccuring bad dream. I’m always in a hotel room or guest house of some sort, surrounded by piles and piles of clothes and other things to pack. I know the items will never fit in my traveler’s backpack, and I know every minute spent packing I come closer to missing my flight. But I keep packing, anyway.

I didn’t realize an apartment full of things was a problem until I started reading about minimalism, and the advantages of living more fully with less stuff. I recently devoured Leo Babauta’s book, Focus, even though the free pdf version has lived unopened on my desktop for nearly two years. Focus is a quick, great read and full of do-able tips for simplifying, as well as moving away from distraction and toward concentration. “Single tasking” is now on my daily challenge list (more on time tracking in a future post), and I’m working on fully committing to four or five essential projects.

Stuff is part of the equation. Like the piles of papers on my desk and unopened mail. Hand-me-down books and kitchen utensils I never asked for in the first place. Little items add up and steal too much physical space in our one bedroom apartment, and space in my brain that should be thinking about my master’s thesis.

So I’m decluttering, slowly, and it feels good. Sorting through clothes that are too big, too worn or just not me. I brought one of three teapots I own to the office–it can live here now. Throwing away dull knives and accepting the fact I have no need for a fancy cheese slicer.

I know this is the easy part. In The Joy of Less, Francine Jay writes stuff is either useful, beautiful or emotional. Emotional decluttering will be tough–what to do with old birthday cards, term papers and sentimental odds and ends? But, Jay writes:

“We have to remember that our memories, dreams and ambitions are contained in these objects; they’re contained in ourselves. We are not what we own; we are what we think and who we love. By eliminating the remnants of unloved pastimes, uncompleted endeavors and unrealized fantasies, we make room for new (and real) possibilities.”

This is a topic definitely to be continued …

If you want read more, from Babauta or Jay, see Zen Habits and Miss Minimalist.

Photo credit

July 14, 2012 / Wendy Joan

Unpatriotic Slaw

I whipped up this mango slaw back on July 4th, and paired it with shrimp dumplings freshly steamed on my stovetop (how did I live before one of these?)

Not the most festive meal, but the cabbage was from my garden, the mango from my new favorite Asian market and the chat masala from the spice store a few blocks away. On second thought, perhaps my lunch was more patriotic than baked beans from a can, and hot dogs with contents of unknown origin.

June 7, 2012 / Wendy Joan

Shameless Self-Promotion: New Roots Article

St. Pete is an interesting place. AmericanStyle magazine named us the top, mid-sized arts destination city the last three years running. But new owners of a property home to a  20 year-old artist collective are leveling the galleries to build … a parking lot.

Some neighborhoods are working toward “artist enclave” distinction, which allows artists to work and market their work from their home studios. The ordinance allows the “flexibility” to develop artistically, without the financial burden of renting a studio or warehouse space.

Interested? I hope so. If so, read the full article on New Roots News

(Image via http://www.stpeterealestateblog.com/Bob Horn.)

April 12, 2012 / Wendy Joan

Back From The Abyss

Here’s a hastily whipped-up exercise for my environmental writing class that starts in a half hour. Topic: profile a place.


When I think or running by Tampa Bay I forget about my ever-aching ankles or the brutal heat and think instead of the different things I see every time I run along the same path. The tides tell me when I can peek over the breakwall and spot a Cownose ray hiding in the shallow water, or horseshoe crabs scurrying along–not unpleasant, pungent muck mixed with seaweed that stinks at sunset.

Sure, I run to get stronger, but am equally satisfied when spotting the mother duck and her six four three ducklings in tow, swimming under the bridge toward Snell Isle, cutting through the mangroves to avoid a barefoot man braving the oyster bed for a few fresh mollusks. St. Petersburg’s bayside trail–for lack of a better name–is always a delicious mix. Stay-at-home moms at stroller boot camp, dressed to the nines in crisp activewear to match their toddlers’ jog past fisherfolk with castnets and transients who have wandered down from 4th Street with all of their worldly possessions to nap in the shade. Tourist families racing by on those crazy pedaled contraptions, snowbirds settling down to their daily routine on the beach, white wine in hand–or walk, wielding a telephoto lens to capture a common bird with their camera set to automatic.

I know my runs are sweaty, tough and un-idyllic, but I can’t remember those details as distinctly.

February 12, 2012 / Wendy Joan

Winter in Florida is Magical

Two Thursdays ago I went stomping through the urban woods with my environmental writing colleagues. For class, no less!

Boyd Hill preserve is tucked away on the south side of the city. Standing on the lake, you can see our modest skyline and a great blue heron in the same glance.

Perhaps the most interesting talk we had that day was the scrub and pine and saw palmetto landscape is not that “exciting.” The landscape here is not lush like the Keys or the Everglades. But where I come from, everything in February is dead and the sky is gray. This might as well be heaven.

January 12, 2012 / Wendy Joan

Waiting for Another Weekend



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