Thursday, February 22, 2018

Radium Girls

I just finished this book after hearing about it from a friend. I have to admit my ignorance and confess that I had no idea that this happened--that hundreds of women were poisoned from working in radium dial factories and had to fight not only for a diagnosis but for rights to compensation and aid from their employers. Workman's compensation and work safety laws have come a long way since the 1930s and these women did a lot to make all of it happen.

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore is a really well put together story of several of the women's lives before they began their employment with the radium factories until their deaths. She has interviewed family members, read reports, and visited the areas affected. Her writing includes both narratives and research which makes for an interesting, all-encompassing read. I feel like I learned a lot!

She also writes it in a way that is very honoring to the women. We know their passions, what they enjoyed in life and what was ultimately taken away from them. We learn how many barriers were overcome and how much it hurt to keep going. But they didn't give up. It's incredible to think how strong these women were and all they accomplished.

I hope you'll give it a read. Be warned, it's long! 480 pages

Bookclub: A Long Way Home

Last month, my bookclub read A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley. It's a memoir of Saroo's journey to find his biological mother. He was born in India, and at the age of 5 got lost and was sent to an orphanage (that's the short version!). His adoption brought him to Australia where he grew up with great parents but still felt a longing to know where he had come from.

His search was long and tedious as his 5 year old memory was all he had. And as technology improved and the Internet became faster and better, he soon found his way back. It's really an interesting story and really a miracle that his family did reunite.

The book itself was a quick read and didn't seem to be embellished or anything. In fact, some chapters seemed a little mundane (just like some days in my own life I supposed!). The movie I hear that is coming will probably be really good -- getting to see the India in which he grew up and the shock of going back as an adult would make a great visual. And to see the emotions played out might also be easier than reading about them.

I loved the story and am so thankful he found his way home.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Making Space, Settling In

Last fall, after we found out we didn't get the two-bedroom rental we had hoped for, we decided to take a break from the housing hunt. Chris had gotten a new job and we rediscovered contentment in our small space. One thing I had requested however, was some funds from our housing budget to make some improvements to my living space.

As minor as it was, I replaced our Europe photos in our kitchen with clipboards. These clipboards offered two things: 1) changeable displays of art, photos, coupons and quotes, 2) an in-sight holding place for bills, unattended mail, and to-do lists and 3) it was pretty and made me happy.

Here's how it looks:

It has done its job of making our table less mail-cluttered and I like looking at my wall again. The clipboards ended up costing a bit more as I couldn't find in-good-shape used ones but I like them. The prints I have were printed from Shutterfly using discount coupons so they were reasonable.

The second change we made was getting rid of one of the four dressers we have. I've come to realize that we don't all need our own dresser and we certainly don't need all the clothes we have accumulated. I heard a presentation by a stylist a while back and she made a comment about hanging all your clothes so you could see your options. You aren't going to wear something you can't see. So that is where I started. I purged some tops and hung up the rest which freed up an entire drawer in my dresser. 

Then I purchased a hanging closet rod that fits underneath my tops and hung up all of William's clothes. His undergarments and miscellaneous things fit perfectly in that newly emptied drawer. And then we got rid of his dresser.

That was a little harder -- I really liked that dresser and it was sad to let it go but it no longer worked for our needs and it freed up a lot of space in the bedroom. I ended up finding a family in need who just moved to the city and needed it for their little guy. That made me a little more willing to let go.

Shortly after we freed up the space, I found a friend who was willing to lend us her play kitchen for a while. Until Stephen moves to a big-boy bed we will be able to indulge in some bigger toys!

As you can see, I still have some work to do! In the process of purging we removed two bookshelves that were above Stephen's crib (earthquake hazard that was giving me nightmares). Some books were given away, and a few kept and moved to where you see them now. It's a little too chaotic for me but I'll get to it soon.

Ideally, I'd like to get some nice artwork to put on their walls and clear out a bit more of our stuff. I need to find a solution for all the stuffed animals that used to be on the dresser we got rid of. But getting rid of a dresser was a good start! 

Do you have any space saving tips for me to consider?! Please comment below--I'd love the help!