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?

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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.

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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.

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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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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.

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When Birthdays Go Awry

Alexas_Fotos CC0 Creative Commons on Pixabay

My birthday was a fizzling failure. Or a shimmering success. It depends on what lens you see it through.

Breakfast seemed simple: go out and have someone wait on me, bring me exactly what I want, clear things away and do the dishes. Luxuriate in some morning spoiling all while checking out a new café in town.

It was the heart of your typical breakfast rush hour when we walked in, and the place was…empty. Not a single customer. No greeter. No wait staff. Utter silence. Not a good sign.

“They’re new,” I said to Bubba. “Still working out the kinks.”

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Ugly Dog

55_UglyDog_5-5-18When my 10-year-old daughter started to make her plea for a dog, I knew I was in for a stubborn brawl.   Like an attorney arguing her case, she pitched her arguments:  she’d be safer at home after school; she’d learn responsibility; she’d get exercise walking it.

After wearing down my resistance with her compelling courtroom convictions, I agreed; within certain parameters.

I had grown up with german shepherds; big, beautiful beasts with long snouts, long fur, and long tails. Their reputation aligned well with the “safety” argument, but their long fur meant lots of shedding, which I didn’t want to deal with. They’re also bigger than I wanted, so they got crossed off the list.

After doing some research, I landed on a dog I wasn’t familiar with: the boxer.

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What’s the Fee to Pet Your Dog?

NatWhitePhotography on Pixabay

If you have kids it’s likely, at some point along the way, they’ll deliver a wisdom-pearl that will bring you up short.  It’ll be delivered with a knowing confidence that silences the moment.

My daughter, at age 8, brought fresh perspective to a dry topic: taxes and park entrance fees. I know, exactly! Something every parent and 8-year-old talk about. But I work in the financial sector, so I had actually been trying to explain to her the idea of taxes and how they’re used. One of those uses, I explained, was to ensure we have parks for public use.

It was only when we were going to a local regional park that I realized she had actually been paying attention.  The park had a day-use fee, which I paid. As we parked, she looked at me and asked why I had to pay to enter the park when our tax dollars pay for it.

I fumbled my answer, at which point she argued the arrangement was “like buying a dog and then having to pay every time you want to pet it.”

Out of the mouths of babes.

 

Photo source: NatWhitePhotography on Pixabay