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/

 

 

Evolution, Part 3: Cut + Weave

There are many shades of innovation. Some are brighter than others.

There are two engaging and admirable industries within Cass Social Services. Both use recycled/reclaimed materials. Sheet glass becomes handmade coasters packaged in boxes hewn from reclaimed wood. Trashed tires become mud mats, and flip-flops.

Riding around Detroit picking up discarded tires for reuse brings tire recycling to a higher level. Repurposing illegally released rubber into colorful mud mats and trendy flip-flops is out-of-the-box inspiring; a home run from Detroit for Detroit. Even the big “D” logo shows up and adds pride to the sandals. How cool is it to tread on treads? Very. Freaking. Cool.

Rotating through various work stations in smaller groups was also engaging. At each interactive stop, we met mentors, ranging from self-conscious to confident, reserved to animated, a bit distrusting to upright happy. All had story to tell: who they were, who they are, who they are trying to be, a timeline of weary challenges and personal successes.

I tried my hand at glass cutting, after almost everyone else had. The basics: run the blade along the ruler at a 45° angle using firm, even pressure. Since all the kids were doing it, I denied my initial reluctance, carefully applying caution and draw. My instinctive “pass” was reinforced when my efforts failed to split evenly. A portion of the jagged piece I created would be salvageable, just not by me.

Our final afternoon assignment wasn’t about footwear, but an underfoot of another kind: mud mats.

Our two-person team’s teacher was reluctant. His nervousness was recognizable; his mannerisms familiar. You know the feeling you get when the last twist of the Rubik Cube nets the results you’ve been struggling with? You know the contented click of slipping in the last puzzle piece? You know the charge you get when you know you can succeed? With 30+ years of personality variation patience building behind me, I knew what to do. This was my right-place useful moment, although, that might not have been his initial impression

I know we were frustrating. Switching back and forth between thick and thin strips of sliced tire creating an unclear pattern while keeping track of non-repetitive rainbow colors was a bit like Suduko, which has never been a strong point of mine. Rework would be required a number of times.

I understand there is a color version of the game. That may indeed be manageable for me. Shapes might work, too. I’ve never viewed the solution as the need to create a single sum on each line. Too busy trying to figure out what doesn’t go to seemingly no purpose. But a puzzle is just that – an exercise in solving a problem. We all solve problems on a daily basis. Some of them are monumental and some of them are minute. All can be resolved; review, reanalyze, rework.

I know we eventually made him a little more comfortable. I know we made him shake his head in bemusement, and later amusement. I know he didn’t understand how we could not understand. Perhaps too bold, I want to believe our failure, could have proved positive self-worth. He was the teacher, doing something we could not. We left him with a smile, and to my great happiness, he smiled back.

Quote for the Week:

ALL can be resolved Sep 16 2014

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Flip-Flops: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flip-flops

Flip-Flops, Mud Mats, Coasters: http://cass-community-store.myshopify.com/

Flip-Flop: sound, reversal, circuit, sandal: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flip-flop