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Sunday, December 17, 2017

Resale Before Retail

Six years ago, I renewed my commitment to more conscious consumption.  I have gotten into the habit of shopping for entertainment. And because I was working overnights, found that I could occupy many hours buying crap I really didn't need, and sadly, didn't like once it arrived. When I decided to quit that job, I knew I have to curb my luxury spending. It was a nauseating experience. Buying the basics did not fill the same desires as shopping for "stuff." Not like I needed more "stuff". It was the shopping process.

Now six years later, I have more supplies for all the projects I could never have imagined back then. After a couple more shifts in my work situations I have scoped out how to get the best deals - way more value for the money I spend, in any category I desire.

 I picked up two bottles of Wen Cleansing Conditioner at Sal Army Store for $1.50 each. Having seen the commercials, I knew this was suppose to be the good stuff. Now, I gave up shampooing my hair more than ten years ago, so the concept of washing with a conditioner was easy. To top that, I read the directions. The portion to use is divided in half - first to wash, then the rest as a leave-in conditioner. Once home, I diluted two ounces of product to six ounces of water for my leave-in. I added a tablespoon to 12 ounces of water for my spray in.

I love the results of this product. My hair is soft and curly. Wen retails for over $32.

The Corning Saucemaker and the warmer were collected from the neighborhood thrift store. Collected a separate visits, I bought the one quart saucemaker for fifty cent and the warmer for $1. I couldn't leave it behind. It works great as a microwave rice cooker and most recently, I found I can cook red lentil curry in it on that warmer, which way beyond warms, apparently. It is Salton Jumbo Hot Spot - Sold as casserole set with dish for $47.  The Corning is listed as vintage and listed $13 to $40. Worth it to wander around and look locally.

I have enough yarn deals to post repeatedly, but this was a find from East Bay Center for Creative Reuse. I bought yarn. I love to buy yarn. I have plenty of yarn. Buying yarn is pleasure.  I longed for this yarn, but resisted paying retail. I found it on vacation in California for one-fourth the price of retail. I worked it up into this head/neck wrap and donated it to Flood the Streets with Art V in my community. It is a wool/acrylic blend, soft and beautiful. I hope the person that has it, loves it as much as enjoyed both finding and buying the yarn and knitting the project.

(Flood the Streets with Art is a project by Scott Wong to specifically battle the monster known as Black Friday.)

Before I shop at retails stores or online, I check my local resale shops for the items I want or need. I have bought a few duds, but I am so far ahead in savings that I let go of what didn't work. Personally, I do not recommend the reduced price in favor of cleaning it up. I bought a shelving unit around the corner, spent four plus hours washing and scrubbing. It still was not clean enough. Later I went to the store and bought a new unit for $4 more. I found a use for my less than stellar purchase and it works great.

Remember to let go of what no longer serves you, even the really cool stuff. That's how thrift stores have great deals to pass on.

#Happy Everyday!

I traveled across the country, to my favorite place and my heart - San Francisco! I made the pilgrimage over Golden Gate Bridge. Cross that off. Having fully renewed my fear of heights, I have no need to repeat the journey. Now when I feel unwell, I describe the symptoms as the sensation of walking across the bridge. Notice, I am hovering near the street/traffic edge; felt safer.

Before I completed my time at my last work situation, I applied for two jobs. One that pays well and another under the category,  "Would you be here if you were not getting paid?" Yes! As of this date, neither have called. I applied for two more jobs. One that will meet my basic needs. The other my desired schedule and maybe more money. Maybe. One contact to which I was not able to respond - system down.

To be clear, I love being at home. I leave to earn the funds so I can return home. Working offers the advantage of ease in meeting my financial obligations. I like ease. If I want effort, I can workout. So, as I step up my search for my next right and perfect work situation, I am thankful for each morning I wake when I choose, and every night I have relaxedly enjoyed before crawling into my comfy bed to rest. I celebrate each waking, Happy Everyday!

My days are filled with grandchildren, art and knitting. I am learning more about my attention and patience. I explore my creativity, stretching beyond my comfort zone. In my success of creating for others, I learned that it is unpleasant. I thought that time and talent was sufficient to complete the project. I found myself greatly distressed during the process - will they want this, like this, even care how much time and effort this required? Rather than sharing my joy, I offered my angst. My preference is to create and share, but not to order.

Presently, I am knitting a sweater for my son - XXL Tall. It was so exciting before I cast on. Now each row seems a chore. I put it aside when my enthusiasm wanes, pick up the mittens. This is a labor of love, much like birthing. (I took a break during my 52 hour labor.) I still have a month to complete the project, even at my slow pace and I am positive he will love it. 

As the year winds close, I am thoughtful of the choices I have made to have arrived at this moment. I thought I would manage to hang out at that last job until March 2018. One day, as I was driving for work, I realized there was no way I wanted to keep doing what I was doing. I was a mass of conflict. I had used my savings to pay off an old loan so I could open a new one. Not a fan of debt, I mapped a plan to save for my departure. The pay was low, but the benefits good. Leaving was more than the paycheck. Staying was draining my attention and energy, on and off the job. My co-workers were apathetic, though probably due to working multiple jobs along with family obligations. None seemed committed to being happy. Well, what the huh?

We  have relegated happiness to birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries. We congratulate births and partings (retirement). Yet, in between, we neglect happiness. When we find happiness we either grasp the moment to save and store in memory to pull out savor and lament, or dismiss and return to the grind before. Happiness to available moment to moment. A gentle awareness of each breath in the present moment allow us to exclaim, Happy Everyday!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Travel. Write. Drink beer.

Six years ago, I started this blog. My job situation no longer served me. There was no draw to stay and I began the search for how to let go. Finding other fifty plus year olds who were willing to leave what they considered stability and security to wander the unknown was challenging. Lots of young people out exploring the world, making do with what is or comes, and willing
to take risks. It would seem that the wisdom of age would support going forth.

11.11.11, that's the day I walked away. Took a flight west for two weeks. Worked on my novel - NaMoWriMo. Watched ALL of Fraiser. Drank beer. I saw the city - San Fran and the Bay Area. I visited family and friends. I had a spa day and time at the beach. I had saved six months salary to commit to this process, to figure something out.

My plan was thwarted by the demands (then requests) from my family of origin to return "home" to tend the sick and dying. The question of my agreement is another post. I went and spend the next six months traveling between my home and theirs, sometimes daily. Maybe I wasn't specific enough about the travel plan. I drained my savings, sold any valuables worth a hundred or more, lived more simply. I made do.

Then I got a call from an old work mate asking me to come to work for her company. And so began the ridiculous saga that finally ends this weekend. My new freedom date becomes 11.06.17. I wanted to leave sooner. I planned to move on. I shifted based on money. Then something happened and I knew I would not stay longer than the resignation requirement.

This time I have no six months living expenses in savings. No particular plan or even idea of what's next. I am open. I am attentive. In the meantime, I am off again, heading west. Instead of writing, I knit and have a daily photo plan. Still planning to drink beer.

I'm living life, around the curve.

Friday, December 30, 2016

This year - 2016

This year, I learned to ferment, more. I've been making sauerkraut for years. The sweet amber here is jun tea. Amazing! Made with honey, green tea, a scoby and time. Perfected by personal preference and imagination. For months it was a weekly routine. Then not.
 I got in my mind that I wanted to make hard cider. I read the directions, sort of. I set off with a plan (apparently not the directions) and created seriously hard, dry, hooch. That was something - rough. The knitting in the photo is supposed to be The Traveler's Shawl. Also didn't follow the directions. It's in a bag, waiting.
 This is my water kefir carrying on. I think that is hooch in the liquor bottle, but I used water kefir over my fresh pineapple to both preserve and create a sparkly fruit. Taste amazing! I am all about the taste (though I will eat stuff that taste like yuck cause it is good for me).

Later this year I learned to make tepache. Pineapple rind, sugar, water, and time. You've got it - amazing. I'm enjoying a bottle from 10.31.16  as I type.
 I started doodling at the beginning of the year, and until late summer kept up the practice of a daily doodle. I used index cards to reduce the anxiety of filling a page or abandoning the process. Some days I created several cards. It was fun to explore a new side of my creativity. That ended too. It seems so hard, all over again. I work at corners, then not.
I created art with my granddaughter every day. This piece is created with crayons and a heat gun. Let me say, "Heat guns are fun." We made beads from plastic bags, melted strips of plastic to make book marks, and kept busy on the search for ways to heat things up.
 I knit short socks for me. I love the heel construction and the yarn worked up nicely for color. The fit is questionable. I admire the sock knitters and hope one day to be counted among them.
I took the girls hiking and climbing often. They enjoy the outdoors and my community has committed to accessible green space. This park allows for easy travel up and down the boulders, but we also visited the climbing park where more effort and care is required.
 More art. My home is storage to paper, paints, scissors, glue, tape, bit and pieces and puzzles. We don't have company, inside. We are living in art world. Recently, we purchase a one inch hole punch. Creating never ends. We make art every day.

 I knit, every day.
The yarn in the blue shawl was a find at the local thrift store. I bought home an unfinished project and the matching yarn. I frogged (unraveled) the work and wound it into cakes. It remains one of my most beautiful creations from a find. It was gifted to a special friend.

Late spring, I decided I would knit shawls. Another opportunity to step up. While I select a pattern for its design, I tend to abandon the directions. This commitment was to follow though from cast on to bind off. Some projects became less interesting as I knit along. Cowls are quick and easy, especially in bulky yarns.

This one is a weekend project.

Kim chi and eggs for breakfast. Protein and probiotics. And coffee.
My goal was to have three month old kim chi. We were eating it as fast as I made it. Today, December 30, 2016, I have kim chi from September. My expectation were high. Shifting...

This year I started working out. Went at it hard for twelve weeks, five days a week. Then not. I'm like that.
I cleared out things I no longer use. Made space. Filled it up.
I gardened. We spent a lot of money to grow REALLY expensive produce. We need yet another new plan.
I saved a lot of money. I bought a roof. Boom! That shifted my financial situation. I go out and look at my money - working. I have a new roof.
I changed positions at my job. I had just decided that I would stay when the whole situation shifted. I've decided to focus on how this works for me and to live in that thought. It works for me.
I made my yearly pilgrimage to San Francisco. I journeyed to Oakland to visit my friend. I drank coffee at Jump N Java. I marched in solidarity with The Water Protectors.
I experience floating at the new float spa. I'm saving my opinion until I've returned for my next float.
I found a new massage spa, that I like. It is very affordable.
I gave of my time, talent, and treasures. And in line with the promise, I am prosperous.
My life is good.

Live by intention.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Foggy Perceptions

Here we are blanketed in fog. Low temps for May in the Midwest. Waking up to the forties puts a damper of thoughts of gardening and playing outside. I stood on the porch and listened to the dripping leaves. It is wet. First thought I want to fret about the plants which desperately need sunlight and warmth. There is nothing I can do about the weather. Next.

Coffee and pen
Last week I began the practice of mindful doodling. Initially it was really challenging. As I learned to slow down on focus on the movement of the pen, I let go of my expectations. There are no mistakes but an opportunity to shift the design. Doodling at the start of the day opens my perception and expands my horizon.

While I loved fermenting - yogurt and sauerkraut - last year I discovered natural sodas fermented with a ginger bug. Once I got it going we had fermented beverages daily. I mixed the bug with teas and juice for a second ferment. As it started to require more attention (constant kahm) I drained the solids and added the bug to whiskey. Talk about tasty. Last month I decided to try water keir.

Making water kefir requires water kefir grains. In the store they cost $16.99. Before I buy anything, I ask first. (That was the initial title of this post - Ask First.) I have very few "friends" on Facebook and even fewer connections in real life. However, I am connected with someone who is connected to hundreds of others. That means I am too.

I met the fellow who offered to share some of his water kefir grains with me at the local urban gardening center. I arrived in time to have dinner at the member potluck. I am a member but received no notice of the gathering. I am rarely social beyond my online connections and this was a fabulous opportunity to connect with others who garden, ferment, and live closer to the earth. Besides the water kefir grains (I offered a hat I knitted in exchange), I learned the gardening center delivered compost to gardens. Boom! I thought.

Their price was cost prohibited ($50), but the place where they get compost is very inexpensive. My son and I loaded his car with 10 trash bags of compost for $12.80.  It sells for about $4 for 2 cu ft in three stores in town. BOOM!

It is worth the savings to ask first. Check with connections on any and all social media. Connect with local free-cycle groups. Craigslist has a free section. Neighbors - they can help. Thrift stores, local interest groups, friends, and family. Whatever you need, it is probable that someone wants to share. Allow others to be a blessing to you.

That brings up to art. The three year old and I wandered over to the big thrift store. Last week we picked up a popcorn tin filled with crayons, pencils, markers, and color pencils - for free. It made a great sorting activity. Yesterday we made this creation.

Holding  the heat gun, JP proclaimed, "This is amazing!" Yes, it is. Not only melted crayons, but the time, space and attention to make it happen.

I'm here, living blessed.

Doddle away...