No Substitution

Ok. Getting back on track, there is no such thing as presto-chango. There is habit breaking, weaning, paring, elimination and hopeful non-replacement. Budget, body, mind; substitutions are as plentiful as the problems we leave behind.

I have completely convinced my minimalism-desiring self I do not need anything. Except for new tires, or a rim, or not; still working on that. Four different businesses; four different diagnosis. As soon as I find one untried business that comes up with a plausible reason that corresponds to any one of the others, I may be able to do something about the perpetual low-air tire light.

In the meantime, as empowering as it is to say “no” to instant material gratification, I have moved directly into substitution. The new move isn’t a positive one, either. In fact, it may be more detrimental. I have deeper, longer arguments with myself over my replacement gratifier: deals.  The struggle is more constant than ever. Most email and post advertisements are easily disqualified, deleted. The ones that tempt are the “deals” sponsored through sites offering deep discounts. Advance commitment is the new barbed selling lure.

For example, there’s a new frozen yogurt spot that popped up near my regular market, that hasn’t actually been my regular market for very long. The new grocer won out over my previous market mostly by convenience. Closure of the store nearest me, numerous construction projects on the way to the other two sort-of-close-by, much better produce offerings and a cash-for-schools incentive that donates 10% of my purchase total to a program that will assist a friend’s child in taking a school-sponsored marching band trip abroad this coming winter, also played into the decision.

Ok, Getting back on track, I’ve been successfully avoiding that yogurt establishment, so far, using the carrot method. I drive by to pick up fruit and yogurt and mile and promise myself when I hit my next goal, 4.6 pounds away, I will indulge. I’m pretty sure I won’t succumb even then, because that would be monstrously counterproductive.

Then along comes an offer: $6.00 will get me $10.00 in frozen yogurt. I don’t need $10.00 in frozen yogurt. I also don’t really need $6.00 in frozen yogurt. However, if my finally-made-it-to-my-next-goal treat is going to cost approximately $4.00 anyway, it makes economical sense to go for the coupon commitment. The coupon will likely require an accomplice; preferably one who advance commit and will split the difference.

It’s ok to snicker at that idea. I know it’s ridiculous. The chances of me waiting to reach my next goal, which could be a month or more, are pretty slim. Which is what I am still trying to be: slim. So, I throw up my hands, close  my browser and decide I’ll decide tomorrow.

Hopefully, the almost irresistible offer will have expired. I’ll be disappointed, but fiscally and healthily responsible.

There’s no substitution for that.

Quote for the Week:

substitutions are as plentiful as problems

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Retrain Your Brain: http://www.forbes.com/sites/carriekerpen/2014/05/13/seven-ways-to-retrain-your-brain-for-a-happier-existence/

Retrain Your Brain: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-8647/5-ways-to-retrain-your-brain-into-a-positive-powerhouse.html

Retrain Your Brain: http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/08/04/ep.brain.crave.cohen/

 

 

Bulk Down

Bulking – it’s a new term I’m hawking; coining, if you will.
I figured I’d better claim in in the poor man’s patent kind of way; in writing. I could go the whole mail-it-to-myself route, but seriously, I don’t think it’s going to earn me. Expirable; might as well add that one to the list, as well.

I also have a back-up vice. Sometimes, even I can find it amusing. Sometimes, even I cannot. I’ve got membership to one of the big ones. The most appealing part is cheaper gas. It’s usually only pennies, perhaps a nickel or a dime per gallon savings. I fill-up twice a month; on occasion thrice. During the holidays, I might even hit weekly. It’s not exactly around the corner, but then again, not much is. A trip over, almost always turns into a trip in.

I’ve got a budget and an analytical nature. Self-posing questions abound. Here’s an interesting one:

Does someone like me need to purchase bulk?

Financially, it makes sense for the hard goods: toilet paper, paper towels, laundry soap, moisturizer, Q-tips; purchase cost savings may not add up, but the advantage of non-repeat market stops helps me live within my means. Less shopping means less temptation, excluding, of course, anything that escaped my list, but aims for my cart, anyway.

Soft goods are good only if there is commitment to their longevity. Experience has revealed there is no way I could consume a bulk amount of straight-up fruit in one week. However, sliced and tray-frozen, vacuum-sealed and clearly labeled, I have an extended supply for alternative use. Adding to oatmeal or yogurt, using as slow-melting flavored “ice” for my water, or as a thickener for fruit smoothies – are logical uses. I have used some in illogical ways. Like, hmm, defrosted strawberry mush stirred into hummus. Think of hummus as chickpea butter, and defrosted strawberries as alternative jelly. Not exactly Paleo, but not white bread PBJ, either.

Extended-life goods, pouches of quinoa, cans of tuna, chicken, boxes of black bean burgers, control portioned cheese, hummus; the freezer is our friend. Good buys aren’t always great ideas, though. Checking dates on yogurt is a solid determinant. If there’s no chance I will eat 24 single cups of plain yogurt by an expiration date, there’s no chance I’ll buy it. Bulk can bring you down, too. I’ve back-fired away from Greek for a while.

Milk, produce, and whatever yogurt happens to be 10/$10.00 (or less) wins; items best left to unfortunate fall-back “Hello, Darkness, my old friend” I-can-only get-there-on Saturdays or Sundays. Of course, if the choices were toenail clippings or an over-abundance of Greek yogurt, I’d go with the Greek. I think. I don’t know. Multiple senses rebel just considering taste and texture; characteristically thick, bitter curdle. A non-gourmet fact is some people do chew their nails. That makes me think there must be something to it. It also makes a magnificent argument for bulking down.

Quote for the Week:

Expirables demand a commitment jakorte 10 21 2014

 

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Smithsonian on Expiration Dates: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/sell-and-best-dates-food-are-basically-made-hard-get-rid-180950304/?no-ist

Conditioned Taste Aversion: http://psychology.about.com/od/classicalconditioning/f/taste-aversion.htm

Items Worth Buying Bulk: http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/my-money/2014/03/18/15-items-always-worth-buying-in-bulk

Micro Snowball

I have “The List.” People laugh at it, accidentally. I never show it to anyone, on purpose.

When you’re me, or anyone else who has to do it all by themselves, you’ve had plenty of experience wondering where the time goes. You also know exactly how long each chore should take. “Should” is one of those operative words; an ugly estimate based on past experience or those methodological time-saving articles in magazines that scream at you from every newsstand or browser launching pad insisting whatever-it-is really shouldn’t take that long.

So, on Friday afternoons the listing starts. Actually, it’s perpetual, but I get down to the real nitty-gritty when the weekend looms. Dedicated intervals for rising, grooming, eating, cleaning, showering, chore-ing, bringing down laundry, bringing up the paper towels, kitty maintenance, cooking, walking, mail clutter, advert clutter, email clutter, garbaging, bill paying, budget monitoring, gassing up, shopping, volunteering, all seem doable. Weekdays, I’m a Generalist. Generally, I should empty the dishwasher that cycled on Sunday.

I would, but Monday nights are reserved for creating and accidentally deleting the weekly One Brick Detroit Newsletter. In my opinion, it’s quite a bad design to have the Preview button located three hairs away from the Start Over button. It’s also a bit of a flaw having the Get HTML button located in the near same spot on a different tab.

Tuesdays are devoted to Knabble. It’s rare that I haven’t already formulated an idea, jotted notes or pre-written a rant that needs a kindness modification. It can be crazily comforting to bang out epitaphs, outright curses and words that my feminist, religious, karma-enlightened or easily offended acquaintances would balk at for lesser language. The most time-consuming part of Tuesday nights is the creation of those art slides. The art isn’t that hard; finding something intelligent to say, quoting myself without pretentiousness is a labor. That and making sure the words are in the most appropriate font, on the most appealing angle, and the most firm color.

I took up Chiropractic Wednesdays in July 2013. Nothing feels better after an adjustment than an additional pamper. To me, taking time to read three email accounts, click-through the My Points links, opening every inspiring forward and “just checking” to see if what’s is on sale is on sale enough for me to consider considering its value. I am learning to question everything and calculate if it will or will not add deep lasting value to my place in this world. I can easily pass up flannel nightgowns, mail-order chocolates and trendy clothing. I’m still working on the chicken thing.

Thursday is “Gee its Thursday Already?” day. I walk on Thursdays; and Saturdays and Sundays, sometimes twice. Occasionally, Wednesdays, but there’s no guarantee. Maybe on a Friday; maybe.

Fridays are a true 50/50. Mostly because I am already conjuring up my micro list and knowing there’s only a snowball’s chance in hell that I will accomplish 10 fifteen-minute tasks that evening. The goal is to get through the little stuff. The little stuff always snowballs. Sweep the kitchen floor leads to mop the kitchen floor, but only after clear and wipe down all the counters and the stove and the microwave for any stray stuff my weekday wipes may have missed, and only after dinner because I’m going to make more mess. Dinner has to wait until the ceremonial purge of overripe produce, limpy vegetables and whatever I made a lot of and am now tired of eating. The vacuum sealer sucks because it no longer sucks. It does seal, but that defeats the purpose, which is to remove the air and avoid freezer burn crystals.

In all likelihood, the sweep and mop will roll over into Saturday, after Dance Walk, after the Post Office, after the market, after restocking and after lunch. Vacuuming and laundry are 80/20’s. There isn’t much that keeps me from those, unless a card needs to be made or a volunteer event calls or it’s the one Saturday a month when my body demands a catch-up for late or sleepless nights.

Saturday’s leftover list slides into Sunday. Sunday always includes prepping produce and baking proteins to last the week; running the dishwasher post. It’s also the day I look at The List and realize I have not managed to do those things that I wanted to do after my self-obligations have been met. My grand visions for fun future become dreamy-futuristic next-weekend hopes.

Responsibility is a good thing. I need to hold myself accountable. I need to make a better effort to tackle 1 or 2 little things each evening. “Start somewhere,” isn’t as easy as it sounds. I dislike half-finished anything – chores or crafts or commitments are full-on experiences for me. Ordering – a back-track to a logical start – squeezes me out of time every time. The reality is there are no little things, just a back-log continuum that thrives on relation .

I recognize it’s self-sabotaging to refuse to begin because there’s no predictable conclusion. I also know a snowball when I see one.

Quote for the Week:

planning is easy 10 14 2014

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

A List I Could Live With: http://www.home-ec101.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/Home-Ec-101-Chore-Chart-Take-3.pdf

Tip Abundance: http://www.pinterest.com/jeepmaiden/cleaning-tips-tricks/

At Least Cut the Clutter: http://www.becomingminimalist.com/the-simple-guide-to-a-clutter-free-home/

 

Transplantation

Is it possible that reincarnation holds a different purpose than supposed?

Perhaps it’s not the worst souls that are re-sent to repair, but instead the best transplanted in overlay for those who need a second chance.

Perhaps this is why I questioningly cock my head when hearing something that has never come forth from someone I believed I knew so well.

When offering to pull someone out, there is always a chance that they don’t want to move. There’s disbelief in the removal of danger; believing it safer to remain with a known pain than to travel toward pains unknown.

There may not be the awareness; professing desire for assistance, but living resistance. Anchors can the cruelest double-edged swords.

We tie down to remain placid, stay our ground; float safely where we think we want to be. The mistake is found in not cutting free in the limited moments between a rational storm and a fury that will not abate.

I’m afraid most of us are no longer looking for a way to change the world; we’re trying to survive it.

It’s an unhappy circumstance we’re not truly surviving anything. We’re not waltzing either. There is a difference between trudging and dancing, between walking and dancing, between running and dancing.

Metaphorically, of course. If the body will not dance, let the mind do it for you. Stare a while at a gyrating screen saver; you’ll feel real movement, although inanimate.

The thing is this isn’t an unusual day trip. This is imagined immunity through imagined thick skin where perpetual schooling remains a need, and where sometimes adults are the slowest learners.

Based on the jadedness of our lives – love lingers where it shouldn’t, tied down and anchored, waiting for the next wave, declaring just-one-more-time.

Because we’re stubborn or desperate or afraid that if we don’t hold on through the storm, we won’t know where we are when it’s all over.

Finally, a recommendation, self and otherwise: Embrace the movement.

Allow transplantation. Dance with a new soul.

 

 

Quote for the Week:

  Embrace the movement 10 07 2014

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Anchors, Go Away: http://www.theminimalists.com/saved/

Science of Reincarnation, NPR: http://www.npr.org/2014/01/05/259886077/searching-for-science-behind-reincarnation

Immunity to Change, Robert Kegan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFYnVmGu9ZI