Social Pockets

There’s a creepy email notice that arrives in my work inbox whenever an internal email address has been deactivated. Actually, there are two. One is oddly from “girlinterrupted.” But, the truly disturbing, one comes from the “bonecollector.”

I admit I’m a collector. Have been since childhood; don’t know why. I like to hunt and group. I like themes and displays, and collections of physical things: books, chickens, art supplies, fabric, which eventually find themselves in a repetitively mobile graveyard of unpacked boxes.

Paring and re-paring from move-to-move-to-move has lessened the compulsion.  Off-loading photographs of people I no longer know, tchotchkes that must have meant something at some time, and passing along books, and dishes and clothing have all helped free-up living space and cut-down on dusting. Now I only have a collection of non-things.

Cyber bogs clog up hours, to the point where they make my to-do list. Delete extra duplicate music files, back-up blog, organize pictures, back-up picture, sift through communications, save the ones worth saving, use or lose lists of sayings. Figure out where the 426 unread emails I have are hiding, delete daily coupons “good only for today.”

I arrived at Facebook after-hours, late to the party. I was tardy to Twitter, undeniably late to Linked-In, intrigued by Etsy, and passively able to lose myself for hours in Pinterest. I haven’t yet Snap-chatted, Insta-grammed, Flickered, Tumblr-ed  or  You-tubed. For a while I was active in Meet-Up; fruitfully engaged in Event-Brite. That’s where I found The Minimalists and the concept of lessening… things. But, as noted, I don’t have much in the thing department anymore, that I’m willing to part with, just yet. I’m against wastefulness and am satisfyingly content with just letting what I have wind its way down to non-replacement.

I’ve got Rocketmail, G-mail, Yahoo, Viber, text and voice mail, and a need-to-check running track rotation Every time I complete a lap, I feel compelled to circle back, start over, travel the same field. It’s honestly not good to check in once a week or a few times yearly to organizational accounts like the non-profit I belong to or my one devoted to my other life, not completely past. Expirations abound.

In the same breath, I know; something’s gotta go. Staying on top of the media cycle that drives publicity and engagement, there are expectations to meet. Rumoured wanings, declinations of non-seasonal Facebook followers may only be made up to lure traffic elsewhere. If it’s true, though, that the summer off-ers aren’t coming back in winter, I’m not sure what way I’ll go. I’m rather fond of Twitter for the conciseness required. The word-game challenge is how to say as little as possible with the most impact.

Having six social pockets is like wearing a pair of complex painter’s pants. Adding one more might lead to the need for carpenter coveralls, just for the extra front-load storage space. My phone has become a travel extension. It’s like carrying a suitcase and stopping every ten minutes to be sure something isn’t broken, hasn’t been missed.

So, I’ve got some research to do; figuring out the mass demographics of age and aim in the cyber info world, and where to find the people I need to find for the organizations I support. I’m pretty sure, following research will be a calendar not dissimilar to the one I have now, only more… filled.

Monday: One Brick Detroit Newsletter.

Tuesday: Knabble blog.

Wednesday: Condo Chronicles (updates forthcoming).

Thursday: One Brick Facebook audience engagement.

Something’s gonna win Friday, possibly even Sunday.

Not Saturday, though. There’s life to live.

 

Quote for the Week:

Choose your Moment jan 21 2015

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Word Paring: http://zenhabits.net/pare-it-down-cut-away-the-extraneous-to-leave-the-awesome/

Post-Gift Pare Down: http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/30980998/list/5-ways-to-pare-down-your-stuff-before-it-gets-in-the-door

Wear It or Pare It: http://www.crumbbums.com/?p=5903

Owe and Own

I own and owe; for the next 30 years.

The last time I made a long-term commitment , it turned out to not be so long. Still, the fact that I was prepared to honor that commitment is mighty considering my track record of temporariness.

My un-commitments have been more a more solid bet: jobs, towns, hair color. Not only have I never been bothered by change, I’ve looked forward to it, craved it. The forward-to part hasn’t always panned out positive. When you’re beginning an adventure, and everyone else has already been stuck there for years, your point of view isn’t always appreciated. I’ve found myself an unwelcome short-term outsider who only now can appreciate how my just being there could upset a hierarchical apple-cart, especially one of the preppy-kind. Doesn’t make me feel any better about that year, but I can teeter-totter rationalize forgiveness; some days more than others.

I’ve only recently concluded there are more minutia commitments than grand-scale. We commit every day. Sometimes it’s a job, or a promise to study harder, or play harder, or practice harder. We commit and recommit to exercise, intelligent eating, saving money.

We commit to brushing our teeth in the evening, showering in the morning, and something doesn’t feel right if we don’t. Rote is solid; solidity is commitment. I’ve moved so many times, I don’t despise it. It’s a habit. I might miss that moving feeling in short-time, weigh-in will come later.

This is long-term true. I want to get it right. Once. I don’t want to have to go back and rework. I don’t want to be paralyzed by having to get it exactly right, either. These days define as ups and downs. Some sway longer than others.

“Now” spends a lot of time fighting with “whenever,” which is completely irrelevant because resources are limited. I am uncomfortably staring down a 14-year sprint to retirement savings. “Have-to” is going to win over “want-to,” because I still haven’t ever matched more than one number in the Mega Millions lottery.

I’m spending so much time arguing with myself that I simply don’t have the energy to argue with anyone else.

Some people are liking this new trend; others appear to be loving it.

Quote for the Week:

There’s an art to successfully arguing with yourself 11 18 2014

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Keeping Commitments: http://elitedaily.com/life/stop-breaking-commitments/

Historical Mortgage: http://www.mortgagecalculator.org/helpful-advice/american-mortgage-history.php

Arguing Opposites: http://www.unlearning101.com/fuhgetaboutit_the_art_of_/2009/12/argue-with-yourself-its-not-debatable.html

 

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

Crush

Crush sucks up a lot of my daily life.

Most late afternoons, my perpetual lists and lists of lists are updated, reworked; feasible within normal limits of someone who has no other circumstance or person requiring energy divergence. Daily, I corral 4 or 5 must-do’s, herding them to the top of the list. There are always a few wishful thinking “If-I-Feel-Like-It’s” further down. Eventually, the IFLI’s rotate into prominence, and other not-so-urgents take their place. The harder things and the piddily things slide up and down; the regular things are the ones I remain committed to.

Post-work early evenings, an hour’s worth of unlisteds begin. Walking comes first, if possible. Postbox mail retrieval, plant watering, clothes changing, disassembling my lunch box, dinner, dirty dishes, assembling lunch, cat tending, prepping clothes for the next workday; all rote. Then, the decisions begin.

Some days the mail purposely remains unread. Nothing-to-handle piles itself up on the sideboard. Seeing it sitting there is a stressor semi-easily re-categorized as semi-ignorable. On the days when action is required, I clump the must-handles together, and rifle and toss the rest. Unless it’s a magazine; then, it piles itself on the coffee table for another someday. Under the handle it once rule if I am holding a bill, I want to pay it, file it, and be done with it. I take myself upstairs and wait for the computer boot, all the while staring at my list.

A problematic get it-out-of-the-way temperament derails me. Payment secured or scheduled, logic dictates continuity; other acts must follow. I update my register, review the budget, log expenditures in EPS.* As long as I am sitting at the computer, I might as well delve into the weight of main and multiple email accounts, checking for more required payments and due date reminders hiding between notifications: Twitter, Linked-In, Facebook, Word Press, Sparkpeople, MyPoints, E-Reader, Kohl’s, Pet Supplies Plus, Current, Vermont Country Store, FTD, The Grommet, Living Social, Groupon, Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, Sears. AT&T, Verizon, Zingerman’s, Costco, Kroger, Daytrotter, MeetUp, Snapfish, Omaha Steaks, Live Nation, Amazon, Expedia, Women’s Ministry, Crafty Kids, Brad’s Deals, What on Earth.  Click, delete. Click, delete. Occasionally, just delete. Unless MyPoints has a click-thru, or if I haven’t logged my nutrition or exercise into SparkPeople, or if an email actually looks save-for-a-later-date interesting. Coupons don’t get deleted either. Discounts should never be sneezed at.

Down to 601 unread emails, I’ve been sitting for another hour now. If I haven’t already taken my evening walk, by this point, I’m not likely to.  I log out of my inbox and the news pops up. All sorts of things distract me; horrific, entertaining, intelligent, dumb. Unlimited information streams nurture fears of missing important pieces of the world. Cruising creates another time crush, which I eventually abandon out of boredom. Before kicking off the internet, I convince myself I should make sure I’m not missing a Facebook birthday. I should play moves in my current 30 Words with Friends games in the interest of promoting myself as being responsive, polite player, and for the added benefit of possibly making another move later.

Glancing at the list, I bite my lip and sigh. Not enough time for that, not enough concentration for that, not enough enthusiasm for that, before I do that I have to do this. Between overwhelm and laziness, I succumb, self-offering certain possibilities for tomorrow.

On these strangely justifiable late weekday evenings, the mindlessness of Candy Crush is enthusiastically welcomed. It’s a wind down experience; a blanking, mind-numbing, pre-retiring near-necessity. After using all 5 immediately available plays, I smooth into another crush. This one involves cookies and pastries that thankfully don’t resemble reality. When those plays have dwindled, I flip back to the first crush, and back to the second crush, and back to the first crush. Until the next energy deposit is 20 minutes away and I have cruised past a decent bedtime for a responsible adult.

Somewhere in between, sometimes, some things get done. I’m not sure that the reason I don’t do these things is because I don’t want to do them. They’re on the list because I want to do them. I have plenty of time; not enough incentive. Plenty of responsibilities; not enough reasons for resistance.

First thing amid the disappointment of morning, the list is reappears. Contemplation, evaluation, reprioritization, recommitment: re-ordered as attainable tasks I aim to accomplish, today. I set the bar again, prepared to leap past it, though I fully expect the crush.

 

Quote for the Week:

The remedy for responsibility is candy crush

Enjoy this week’s Discovery Links

Crushing Demographics: http://www.mnn.com/money/sustainable-business-practices/blogs/candy-crush-saga-addiction-is-worth-millions

Hedonic Adaptation – No Pay for Play: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=science+of+brain+waves+during+acndy+crush&qpvt=science+of+brain+waves+during+acndy+crush&FORM=VDRE#view=detail&mid=3292BD8E7F5DD384DD333292BD8E7F5DD384DD33

Non-Addictive Stress Relief Games: http://stress.about.com/od/funandgames/tp/games.htm

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PS. EPS = Every Penny Spent, spreadsheet of where the money goes, and goes, and goes…

PSS. I don’t pay to play, never will.