I Love Stuff. I Hate Stuff.

Pixabay: 999theone, Free for commercial use; no attribution required

I have a love/hate relationship with stuff.   I own too many things.  Not all of it sparks joy, that Marie Kondo test to decide whether to keep something or eliminate it.

I’ve gotten rid of things along the way, but unless I move and have to do a major purge, things flow into my house at a faster rate than they flow out. Having lived in the same place for nearly 20 years, stuff has accumulated.

The percentage of stuff I use regularly is…small.

Some of the stuff is seasonal, stored until the season rolls around again.

Some is aspirational: those pants I’ll fit into once I’ve dropped 10-pounds.

Some is, if I’m brutally honest, fantastical: am I really going to read Daniel Pink’s To Sell is Human or George Lakoff’s Moral Politics?

Continue reading “I Love Stuff. I Hate Stuff.”

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Postage Stamps are Little Marvels

Pixabay: AngelaT Free for commercial use; no attribution required

The price of a U.S. first-class stamp goes up January 27, 2019 from $0.50 to $0.55.

If you’re of a certain generation you might ask, “What’s a stamp?”

If you were alive 50-years-ago, when stamps were $0.06, you might grumble about the higher price.

But focusing on the price misses something bigger: the marvel of what you get for the price of that stamp; that stamp affixed to an envelope you can send to a friend 3,000 miles away.

Continue reading “Postage Stamps are Little Marvels”

Road Intersection Lesson #2

Pixabay: Alexas_Fotos / 19628 images CC0 Creative Commons

Have you ever thought you’d squeezed every morsel of learning out of some lesson, only to have it say, wait! there’s more!

My Road Rage story was like that. I dubbed the location where I learned to reduce my road rage, mindfulness intersection. After blogging about it I thought, ok, that intersection is dry; I’ve learned all there is.

But life continued. And I realized so much depends on perspective. When I first wrote about taming my road rage, I wrote about it from my perspective: the one pissed off that another car cut in front of me.

My second lesson had me being the cutter.

Continue reading “Road Intersection Lesson #2”

Tilting at Windmills

VIVIANE6276 CC0 Creative Commons on Pixabay

I love moments when I see my perspective shift on something.  I tilt my psychological head and, bam! things are suddenly different.

I was driving to the hospital to see mom. The Vermont hills, peppered with farms and cows, rolled before me, small towns and communities rising up and fading away.  The green scenery swaddled me in its splendor; an occasional tree hinted at autumn.

I rounded a turn. There on the hill before me was a display of a half-dozen windmills.

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Road Rage Lesson #1

Alexas_Fotos / 19406 images. CC0 Creative Commons

You know that road rage emotion? That righteous anger that feels good because you know the other driver is an absolute, f’ing moron behind the wheel?

Yeah. That road rage.

Ever hear the quote, “holding grudges is like taking poison and hoping it kills the other person”?

Replace “grudges” with “anger” and…same truth.

Continue reading “Road Rage Lesson #1”

Mentor Cat

ggirl144 on Pixabay CC0 Creative Commons

“Note the thoughts. Note the feelings. Let them go. Don’t chase after them; don’t resist them.”

“Note the thoughts.” It’s a fundamental lesson of my meditation program. It resonates. It’s helping me be less attached to thoughts and feelings. Not all of the time, but I’m discovering, with greater frequency, a wee bit of space between thoughts and how I act upon them. In that space I’m finding greater clarity and calm. And less judgment. Which, given how active the internal Judge has been in my life, is something I celebrate.

I’m getting it, slowly. Bubba and I have a joke that it takes 19 times of hearing something before we “get it.”  I’m still in single digits on this.

Recently I got lucky and got to watch an element of this meditation idea in action. The “don’t chase” concept was demonstrated by that great spiritual teacher: our cat.

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Ice Cream, Safeway and Letting Go

Dustytoes on Pixabay CC0 Creative CommonsIce cream is the secret to a long and happy life. My dad, an almost daily eater of ice cream is, at 94, my evidentiary proof.  If red wine drinkers have convinced the world of the medicinal argument for their lust, I’ll go with the longevity argument for mine.

So, I eat ice cream, leaning toward anything with salted caramel in it.

Continue reading “Ice Cream, Safeway and Letting Go”

Return to Blogging

Alexas_Fotos on Pixabay CC0 Creative Commons

I fell off the blogging wagon. I’d like to blame it solely on the demise of WordPress’s Daily Prompt, but that’s like saying I eat ice cream only because they sell it at the grocery store. Right. It makes no sense.

I’m back. Taking it slower than before when I was overly ambitious with my blogging frequency. Had I spooled out my posts to date, they could’ve carried me through to today. Instead, I front loaded and then…life got busy and my postings dried up.

I’m looking forward to catching up. Or at least, jumping back in, and seeing what ya’ll have been up to.

I’m also looking forward to getting back to writing about how, so often, I’m of two minds (or more) about things. That hasn’t changed.

 

Photo source: Alexas_Fotos on Pixabay


 

The Judge and the Dishes

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When Bubba and I met, we each had years of experience loading dishwashers. The thing is, we didn’t load them the same way. And since each of us was sure “our” way was the “right” way, we had to deal with some relationship hiccups as we figured things out.

Routine aspects of life give me regular opportunities to “figure things out.” That usually means trying to understand the inner voices that chirp away when, for instance, I see Bubba do something my Inner Judge insists is just not right.

Maybe he’s putting forks into the dishwasher tines-down.

“The tines won’t get properly washed!” The Judge says, absolute in her declaration.

Continue reading “The Judge and the Dishes”

The Anti-Frown Workout

Creative Magic on PixabayIt was dark on my morning walk as I forced myself to smile.  There was nothing funny about the dark, but I smiled anyway.

I was exercising; not just my legs, but my smile.

“I am not going to become a grumpy-looking old person,” I told myself. I had seen those faces; the edges of lips turned down in a permanent frown. A look at a few Mitch McConnell photos should scare anyone.  I was resolute; this was not going to happen to me.

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Crazy Lady and Swallow NIMBYism

147685 on Pixabay. CC0 Creative CommonsThe swallows have returned to the neighborhood. We watch them through our large, plate glass windows as they scope out the houses for the perfect spots to build their nests. They like the eaves of our house: high up; well-protected.

I love swallows.

Continue reading “Crazy Lady and Swallow NIMBYism”

Bubba and the Broken Bottle

58_BrokenBottle1Bubba did the water-run today, bringing our three-gallon bottles and two-gallon water dispenser to the store to refill. Our tap water, while drinkable, leaves me feeling as if I’m coating my innards with scale.

Back from the store, Bubba carried the dispenser and one of the three-gallon bottles into the house. He left his truck parked curbside. The last bottle, filled, sat on the passenger-side floor, the truck door open.  Bubba had thought about closing the door as he made his first trip to the house, but he figured no one would steal the water bottle and, besides, he would be back in a flash.

Stepping back outside onto the front stoop, Bubba looked toward the truck and saw, in disbelief, that the water bottle was tipping over the door edge and out the truck. Too far away to save it, it crashed to the curb, shattering the bottle.

Continue reading “Bubba and the Broken Bottle”

The Long Red Reach of Costco

57_CostcoLabelI was attending a memorial service at a fancy San Francisco golf club. I had a few lingering friendships I’d held lightly onto from decades earlier when I’d lived in the city; those friendships that merit an annual birthday email and the once-every-few-years lunch. My friend’s wife had died in October and he was holding the memorial near the December holidays.

I had driven down to the city from my home an hour away in the wine country; a rural lifestyle that offered a mellow contrast to the more stylish and urbanized energy of the city.  With the short, dark, cold of the December evening, I had dressed warmly: slacks, top and a long black cardigan. Flat, non-designer shoes. On the practical side of the design-scale. My normal.

The cars in the parking lot were well-appointed, recognizable breeds: Mercedes-Benz; BMW; Lexus. My Altima felt overshadowed. As I walked into the clubhouse I was amidst a number of other folks heading to the memorial.

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Cloud-Like Comfort

56_Cloud Comfort1I was doing dishes, half-listening to an advertisement about mattresses, going along with their cloud-like comfort sales-pitch, mindlessly thinking clouds, yeah, big, white, billowy, comfy clouds. Images of fluffiness and cushiony-delight. Great for sleep. Great mattress.  Sure.  I’m sold.

And then…

My “what-the-‘eff” light-bulb clicked on.

Really? A cloud for a mattress?

If you attempted to actually sleep on a cloud—to plant your generous-ass on a bed of clouds—and it miraculously held you up, you’d be sleeping on one of the lumpiest things around.

But since clouds are nothing but water vapor, you’d more realistically end up smashed on the ground. Because that damn cloud, while it might look all thick and puffy, has got no support.

Cloud-like comfort. Really.

How quickly I can fall into a gullible fog, inattentive to what’s actually going on around me.

But, truth-be-told, I suspect that inattentiveness is more the norm than the exception.


 

Traveling to a New Place Without Leaving Home

54_Staycation_5-4-18Imagine you’ve lived in the same place for 20-years. It’s a familiar place; easy to take for granted. With time, your appreciation of its uniqueness fades a bit. Habits and familiarity lead you to stick with places you know, and places you don’t know remain unknown.

But your town starts to bore you; you want to spice things up. “I’ll go someplace else. Someplace new!” you decide. Someplace different from home. You know that by doing that you’ll get new perspectives; see new things; meet new people.

Continue reading “Traveling to a New Place Without Leaving Home”

Costco Shopping Daze

Clark Young, UnsplashI like to think when I walk into a retail store that I’m going to walk in, stride over to what I need, check out, and go home.

Rarely does it go that smoothly.

Retail stores know how to entice. Their shelves and displays, with their temptations, sale signs, and ever-changing inventory, pull me in and before I know it, I’m in a shopper’s daze.

Costco is fiercely adept at this retail game: they constantly move products around; provide no signage, forcing wayward wandering; go big on seasonal displays; and eliminate products with enough randomness to suggest the idea of future scarcity.  Must. Buy. Now.

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A Jedi Mind-Trick

37_jedi-trick.jpgBubba and I had a party to go to across town. It was the wet of winter; rains and winds swirled outside and the sun had long set on the horizon. The idea of driving that night was unappealing; 30 minutes to get there in the dark on wet and very windy roads that risked flooding, plus the drive back after monitoring our drinking. It was a holiday party, requiring us to get dressed up in fancy attire.

As we mulled over the upcoming event the day was closing in on, we could feel resistance to the idea of going. The couch, with its warm and fluffy blanket, beckoned. Several unwatched movies lay on the table. We had hot chocolate and crème de menthe to warm up the evening.

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Why and How I Play Mind Tricks

36_Trick Trash_4-15-18My mom, a child of the depression and WWII, is the queen of re-purposing things and making stuff last.  “Use it Up, Wear it Out, Make it Do, or Do Without” was a command she took to heart, proudly demonstrating it to us kids as we grew up.

She made my apron out of re-purposed, retired curtains. My potholders are from sewing project remnants; the interior heat-resistance an old blanket that had seen better days.

Socks with holes? Mom darns them.  Jars and food containers others might throw out? Mom finds new uses for them.

Very few things are ever “single use” in her household.

When she needed a dress for a fancy party—at a time when the budget was slim and had to be creatively stretched—she pulled together some fabric, designed a dress to Continue reading “Why and How I Play Mind Tricks”

A Tendency to Blame

34_Blame_4-11-18The call comes from my veterinarian at 4, saying my cat’s 5:30 appointment has to be changed. The vet needs to leave and there is no one who can fill her spot. Will Friday at 5:30 work?

There is nothing on my calendar Friday at 5:30. But that doesn’t matter. The Judge does not like that I’m being asked to rearrange my schedule; something “could” come up.  Someone is at fault that my appointment must be changed, and since I properly booked the appointment, the fault must lie outside of me.

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Magical Odometer Moment

32_odometer_4-7-18.jpg

Research indicates that happiness and/or validation does NOT come from a single event.  Lottery winning, Oscar-winning, Rock Star moments all produce momentary “highs,” but do not move the happiness scale.  Nevertheless I—and others too?—have a penchant for wanting some singular event to establish one’s meaning, place in life, worthiness of love, all leading to a place of irrevocable happiness.

I flashed to a memory from about age 6.  We were in the car and my dad pointed to the odometer; it was very close to turning to all the same digits.  I think it was going to be 111111.1.  I remember the feeling of excitement; that I was going to be at a special place and time and I wanted to focus my attention on it, look at it as it happened, burn it in.

Then I got distracted by something, took my eye off the odometer, and by the time my attention returned, it was past. Something like 111111.3.  I felt oddly crushed, as though I had missed some great opportunity, some important juncture.  I remember trying to figure out how long it would take for all the numbers to line up again, despairing that I would ever have that opportunity again.

I have not yet caught one of those singular odometer moments and did not even note the relevance of 11.11.11 until after the fact; even then, I felt only the tiniest bit of regret that I did not set aside a small portion of that day to revel in its numerological significance.

~ A Bubba Guest Post

Photo source: Pixabay