Challenge Update: Week 41

Back to regularly scheduled programming

This week had moments of normalcy, moments of inspiration, moments of flow and the longest 24-hours of low-tide I have ever experienced.

Challenge Rule 1: Buy No Clothes/Don’t Covet

I bought no clothes this week. Not for me, at least. One day this week, my littlest scalawag’s teacher was absent and no substitute was brought in, so I had to keep him home.

I’m just going to say this: I love this little guy, but I had forgotten, after six weeks of school, how very much energy it takes to spend an entire day with him. By lunchtime, we had already read three books, played Paw Patrol with his figurines and vehicles, and gone to the library. I could have used a nap by then.

Then, it was time to go get the big scalawag for lunch. I packed us a picnic lunch, which we ate on a blanket in the field next to their school, during which I announced that I would be taking them to the thrift store to look for Halloween costumes. They squealed with delight.

I’m not into Halloween, I want to be clear about it. But my boys love costumes, (as you may have noticed), and I love costumes, too. Halloween is one of two socially acceptable periods of the year for them to wear costumes, and during which costumes are easy to find.

This, however, meant that I would be going to the thrift store. I would be finding myself in what I consider to be, just after being on stage with a microphone in my hand and an orchestra sitting behind me, my happy place. Would I make it out without destroying my Buy No Clothes in 2021 Challenge?

Well, the good news is that my boys, apparently, are really into thrift stores, too. They perused the less-than-stellar costume selection, but then discovered the kids’ clothes section. We found a few fun things to make costumes with, and even found a winter coat for my eldest, whose current coat would need to be passed on to his brother shortly, anyway.

The boys left me no time at all to enjoy the 1€ rack (which I did notice from afar, the siren’s song of colorful housedresses calling to me…)

This day was by far, the longest, densest 24 hours of my life. Even longer and denser than the hours we spent trawling airports in 2019 to get to the USA.

Challenge Rule 2: The Inventory

Nothing new to report here…it’s fun to rediscover my Fall/Winter items after several months apart from them.

Case in point: The Elf Boots are back in circulation, and I am so, so, so glad I decided to make them last. (Rumpelstiltskin and I both.) And those Lacy black leggings which were above 1€ per wear have now crossed the threshold to less than 1€ CPW.

Challenge Rule 3: Go-To Catalogue:

The white blouse made several appearances this week, just like I promised. I hand-washed it, to avoid doing a machine of whites.

One thing that is making me very happy right now in the Go-To category is my small collection of handknits that survived the moth infestation. The weather is just perfect for layering, and I am nothing if not a fan of layering: blouse, little mohair sweater, handspun vest, homespun jacket, handknit cowl. Oh, yeah, it’s a lot of needlework. Too much? Perhaps.

I love handknits so much that in one of my novels, there is a grouchy little old woman who knits obsessively for everyone she loves. Everyone in her orbit has items she made, proof that she cares for them, even when her attitude doesn’t show it. One of the main characters has a stash of sweaters and socks she had made for him that he rarely ever wears, something he acknowledges halfheartedly. One of my favorite scenes is when he, out of guilt, shows up to dinner with his love interest wearing a cardigan and socks the old woman had made for him. His love interest says, “Nice sweater.” And he blushes.

Okay, so it sounds hokey here. But it is the beginning of something very, very special between those two characters, in which she will go from being his love interest to being the woman who, against all odds, will change the course of history. That night she embraces her destiny and it starts with a handknit sweater.

Long story longer. “Nice sweater” is one of my favorite compliments.

Challenge Rule 4: Mise en Place/Plan Ahead:

At 6:45 AM on Tuesday, there was a knocking on the door from inside my eldest scalawag’s room. He knows he is to stay in his room until 7:20 AM. He may read, do puzzles, etc… I went to see what was happening.

“Mama!” he whispered with a smile in his voice, “we forgot to do my mise en place.”

And my little mama’s heart fluttered with pride.

Challenge Rule 5: Repair and Mend, Alter when Necessary:

I did work on that pentagon handspun bolero, which I ended up turning into a vest (what’s the difference between a bolero and a vest, you ask? A bolero doesn’t close. A vest does.) I would rather it not remain a vest, but don’t have enough handspun yarn to make sleeves yet. (Gosh darn it, I’m gonna have to spin some yarn.) It is wearable as is, and so I am wearing it. A lot. It is toasty warm, and looks pretty amazing, if I do say so myself.


Things things things, doing them all.

In other news…

I am a guinea pig. My fabulous sister is training to become a certified Life Coach, and she is practicing on me. I love this, because a. I get to spend time with my sister, just the two of us without boys to interrupt us, b. She is the world’s most amazingly gifted natural-born cheerleader c. I have projects, lots and lots of projects and need some help sifting through them.

I have long said that I don’t know that I could ever go back to working for someone else. My creativity and my need for approval make me toxic to myself when I work for others. However, it’s a harsh world out there for little creatives like me, people with lots of ideas to make the world a better place but zero desire to have to market themselves in order to make a living from their creativity.

I need a coach to hold me accountable, a cheerleader to keep me motivated, but I want to be my own quarterback. That’s what she’s helping me with. And she’s amazing at it.

My sister, the Life Coach: Five stars, highly recommend.

Published by Lily Fields

I am passionate about contentment. This is a challenge, because I am equally passionate about progress. I get up at 4:00AM to chip away at a solution to this monolithic problem: how to make progress on my contentment. Born and raised in the USA, I married a French philosophy teacher in 1999. We have lived in France since 2007. We stayed young and carefree until life threw us two curveballs in the form of little humans one after another in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Now I am a slightly older, slightly more exhausted version of myself, but with mystery stains on my walls and a never-ending pile of laundry.

3 thoughts on “Challenge Update: Week 41

  1. That little scalawag is preciously adorable! My 5 yo grandbabies’ favorite compliment, for herself! As well as others. “I look adorable today.” I pray God she never loses that self-love and confidence!!
    Is this tomato wall, one in your apartment? I was surprised in another post how drastically its color changed!!
    Good for you, for abstaining from the 1 E rack! I know E is not correct, But I don’t know how to get to that key.
    Why didn’t you include pic of you in said vest? I want to see it. I guess not to detract from His Adorableness!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t been home (alone) much this week to take my usual outfit photos (I know, right? This is sooo unlike me!) The tomato wall is in the staircase of our building…it is by far the most beautiful staircase in France. I think I did an ode to it once, but I can’t find it. It is just so beautiful! While working at Walt Disney World, we learned that the reason the pavement at the entrance of the parks is tinted red is because red makes the colors on photos “pop” (sponsored by Kodak, lol!) So I have always looked for red backgrounds, walls, brick walls, etc for photos. It so happens that this wall and red terrazzo floor are features of our building, so we have our own built-in, naturally-lit photo studio just outside the door!

      Liked by 1 person

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