Apr 4 2011

mom!! the ice cream truck!! [day 312]

I have really come to hate the taunting music played from the ice cream truck, getting louder as it gets closer to my house.  As soon as I hear the fain sounds of it, I know what’s next.  Mom!!!!!  The ice cream truck!!!!!!  My kids know I’m not a fan of the van filled with overpriced, well advertised sugar products, stopping to fill the air with carbon monoxide and invading my territory.  While I was away and had a sitter, they went to the truck.  My youngest, knowing I would not be happy about this, decided to make something good out of it.  He decide to get something that was in a container we could reuse, and he also talked all his friends into doing the same.

We use these little containers in our lunch bags.  I did not end here.  The next time the ice cream truck came by, I said, “No.”  After much deliberation, I decided to have some fun with this.  I let him go out and get some ice cream from the truck.  I think I freaked out my neighbors, but here’s what happened…

 

 

I haven’t checked at Kroger yet to see if they carry Popsicle Shots, but I’ll be checking today.  I’m all about people making a living in creative ways, and the ice cream truck driver is a good way to make some money.  It’s like fast food that comes to your house with dessert.  I never buy this for my kids, I make them use their own money.  If they feel good about the purchase, then I’ll go with it.  I don’t always say yes to the ice cream truck, but I don’t always say no.  Balance.  It’s all about balance.

 


Apr 2 2011

what? it’s only $1,074 [day 310]

Deciding to get a pet of any kind is a big decision, not only for the responsibility associated with them, but for the expenses you will incur.  A couple of weeks ago we adopted Zuri, a 6 month-old kitten.  She’s precious and is the perfect fit for our family.  Although we adopted her from the Humane Shelter, we had to pick her up at PetSmart.

Now, adopting a pet means shopping for pet supplies.  Under the challenge rules, I can buy her food and litter, as those fall under the toiletries and groceries categories that are allowed.  I was going to need at bare minimum, a food bowl, a water bowl and a litter box with a scoop.  I was prepared to get creative.  I have bowls and lots of them.  I’m quite sure I could modify some plastic container in my garage for a litter box.  The scoop I had to ponder a little longer.  Old kitchen utensils?  Something in my garage?  After an intense thought process, I decided I would be able to make one from old coat hangers.  Yep, we were ready for a cat in every way possible.

When we went to pick up Zuri, we also picked up my friend E. because she adopted Zuri’s sister a week earlier.  As I was walking though the pet store, I had to stop and look at the senselessness of what I saw.  Gourmet canine cookies.  My kids don’t eat stuff this fancy or expensive.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to treats for pets, but this seems a bit excessive to me.  Does Fido really care if he gets the pretty little treats shaped like dog bones, dipped in colorful icing?

How about pet fashion?  Yes, Martha Stewart has come to the rescue, not only to help your pet in the fashion world, but to stylistically incorporate pets into your home.  Again, I have no problem with pet supplies, what I’m saying is this seems excessive.  Yes, a pet bed is good if they’re not sleeping in your bed.  Yes, they need bowls to eat from.  Yes, they need a toy or two.  But do they really need all this stuff?  Let’s say I bought one of everything for my new kitten.  I’ll choose middle of the line items.

My list includes such things as a UV light cat pee finder, and cat sitter DVD, a mid-sized cat scratch tower, cat repellents to tell them where they don’t belong, a bed and much more.  The total?  $1,074. And once you’ve spoiled your pet and there’s nothing new left to buy, there’s now kitty anti-depressants. Continue reading


Mar 7 2011

go to your happy place [day 284]

I have many happy places, as well as many non-happy places.  I guess we all have those lists.  Sitting in my hot tub, happy place.  Going to the mall, not a happy place.  Jumping on the trampoline, happy place.  Driving in traffic, not a happy place.  Going to the beach, happy place.  Going to a snowy place, not happy.  Some happy places are obvious, while others are not.  One of my happy places is being in an abandoned house or building.  It sounds crazy, but take a look.

This is an abandoned church up in Maine.  It was locked up tight, so no inside time here, but it was a beautiful day and many photo opportunities outside.  It’s so peaceful, yet mysterious.  I also got to spend some quality time with a great friend here.

Some of the best happy places don’t cost money, there’s no admission and can be a spontaneous thing to do.  I have a happy place with my kids.  When the weather permits twice a year, in the fall and in the spring, we sleep outside on the trampoline.   My happy place in my house is standing in front to my latte machine in the kitchen.  No, it’s not in anticipation of the steamed, frothy greatness that I’m about to drink.  It’s because there’s a small rug there to warm my feet from the cold floor and the heater vent gently blows a soft breeze of warm air, wrapping me in an invisible blanket.  I stand there every morning and count my blessings.  Occasionally, one of those little blessings will stand there with me if  he’s awake, as it’s his happy place too.

Some of the best things in life are free.  Enjoy them.  Where is your happy place?  I’m going to mine right now, you should too.


Feb 21 2011

where did all this stuff come from? [day 271]

I spent a few hours yesterday in my garage, again.  I’m making progress and getting rid of a lot of stuff I don’t need, or even want for that matter.  So this begs the bigger question.  Where in the world did all of this stuff come from and why do I have so much?

Space. Maybe it’s because I downsized from 3,300 to 1,780 square feet, but that was 4 years ago.  I took everything from my old house because I could, everything but the furniture.  It wasn’t my style, so I gladly left it.  The photo is of my ‘formal’ living room in the old house.  A useless room that was used once a year at Christmas time.  I loved the red walls, but I couldn’t take those.  I hated the coffee table so much, I listed it in the divorce decree as the ‘ugly coffee table’ that he could keep.

I’m realizing the I don’t need this much stuff to live or to be happy.  I don’t need to keep a lot, I don’t need to buy a lot and I don’t need to pack every inch of my house with stuff.  My neighbor saw my master bedroom closet and said it’s the smallest she’s ever seen.  It’s small, but it’s only about 1/3 filled, and that’s with the shelf I took out.  Empty space is good.  I want more of it.

Personal attachment. I don’t have many of these items.  Some would say it’s because my heart is 2 sizes too small.  It could be.  I do keep a few things.  My kids each have one plastic tote in the attic.  I place items in there that are meaningful to them like their favorite outgrown toys or art projects.  I kept one thing from my grandma, her turquoise blue double boiler pan.  Useful, and it reminds me of her cooking french toast for me when I visited.  It’s about the memories with a person, not the stuff. Continue reading


Dec 19 2010

cool art made from junk mail [day 207]

I got an awesome little gift a few days ago, unexpected and very much related to trash society.  The gift?  An origami box with a photo album inside, all made with junk mail and paper stuff from the recycling bin.  Check it out…

Continue reading


Nov 23 2010

happiness is… [day 181]

I had a conversation with a friend of mine over lunch today, and he’s trying to understand the ‘black friday’ thing as much as I am.  It made me think about a book I started to read recently called Absorbing Spongebob: Ten Ways to Squeeze More Happiness Out of Life.

Honestly, I borrowed this book from the library just because I liked the title and cover.  What?!  Like you have never done that before…  If people didn’t judge books by their covers, publishers wouldn’t spend so much time and money to make them look great.  Sorry, rabbit trail, back to the story.  I started reading this book out of curiosity, but I had to put it down when the author started talking about the episode where Spongebob was playing with a leaf blower.  Anyone who actually watches Spongebob Squarepants knows that he plays with a reef blower.  If you’re going to use a metaphor or character to make your point, do your homework.  I did thumb through the book, but nothing jumped out as life changing.  Watching Spongebob is much better for happiness than reading this book.

So what is happiness and how do we get it?  If you’re looking for the answer to that question, I don’t have it, however I do have a few observations.  Happiness is not in the form of a pill.  Happiness does not come in liquid form either, although some say these help.

Happiness is sometimes difficult to find when you’re looking for it, but sneaks up on you when you least expect it.  There are many masks out there, disguising things as happiness.  Advertisements contain much information about happiness, although buying those things never really produce happiness.   Continue reading


Nov 12 2010

sleep productivity [day 169]

I wish, just some of the time, that I could turn off my brain.  It’s full of active monkeys, as one of my friends said.  Another says I have crossed-wire mentality, that’s why I can be creative and artistic, but at the other end of the spectrum, do computer programming and financial analysis.

As I sit here at 2-something in the morning, realizing I can’t sleep because I was designing things in my head that need to get into the computer, I decided it’s cool to be productive while sleeping.  Doesn’t do much good for sleep, so this next part, we’ll attribute to lack of sleep.

As I thought about my brain, it reminded me of the Spongebob Sqaurepants episode where Squidward makes Spongebob remember everything about fine dining, then he forgets his name.  The scene is in his head as many Spongebobs look desperately through file cabinets, depicting his brain cells.   Poor Spongebob is in a panic to remember his name.  Eventually his head blows up and he freaks out.  Good thing it’s a cartoon.

Like Spongebob, I love to use my imagination.  Sometimes it’s so far out there that it scares people, or they just can’t see the big picture of my thoughts.  The reason is that most of it is abstract, not at all normal.  I see an opportunity of any type and I have to process it.  Everyone thought Spongebob was crazy when he came up with pretty patties.  The thing that makes him so happy is that he’s motivated by fun, and the general joyfulness that comes from using his creativity.  Not all of his ideas work out for the best, but at least he’s not afraid to try them.  So if you find the magic pencil, put it to work.  My magic pencil came in the middle of the night.  It’s still well before 3 a.m. and I’m off to make a latte, and use my creative superpowers to design the time machine I built in my dream.