Sunday, March 28, 2010

Simplify!

I helped my brother move yesterday. It was actually a relatively quick and painless process. Okay, so a start-time of 8:00am was painful, but other than that it wasn't bad. There were four of us to help him move, and the whole thing took two hours. Seriously. We were all done and returning the U-Hall by 10:00 in the morning. His new place is really nice. It's a converted victorian house and all the original woodwork/flooring is gorgeous.

Yeah, he is SO hosting Thanksgiving this year.

Anyway, the move really got me to thinking about simplification. I have a lot of crap. That's right. Knick-knacks and tchotzkes and dustmagnets galore. Oh, and crap. Do I need all of it? No. Is fully half of it still in boxes from the move? Yes. I unpacked the things I foresaw needing, but due to a lack of space I kept a lot of my belongings packed away. The thing is, I've gone two months now without even thinking about needing any of that stuff.

So why am I still hanging on to it? I guess the easiest answer is: it's mine, damnit! But that's not a very good answer. If I don't need it, why am I holding on to it? Granted, there are sentimental things in some of these boxes, and a few things I did wish I had easier access to even though I don't need them on a daily basis. But most of it? I don't need.

So, I need to go through all of these boxes that are still left and cull out most of it, I think. My ultimate goal (and not necessarily realistic) is to get rid just about everything currently still in a box, save for the truly sentimental pieces. In other words, my great grandmother's hand painted china cake service is not going anywhere.

Once upon a time, I immersed myself fully in the world of consumerism and my jobs supported that immersion. I loved going to the mall, I loved shopping. And I had the money to do it. For the last six months, I have worked at a mall. I've got to say that my "love" of consumerism has pretty much gone down the toilet. Every time I drive in to work on a beautiful Saturday afternoon and see the parking lots packed full of cars, I get angry. I want to get on the mall loud speakers and tell all of those crazy people to get the hell outside and enjoy the day. Hike, picnic, work around your house, do something, anything besides spending this day inside spending money you don't have on things you don't need.

Having no money means you don't buy things. I won't say that I don't miss it - every once in a while a little retail therapy does a girl good. But these days, I'm just as likely to go to Goodwill or a thrift store, and leave empty handed if I can't find exactly what I want. There is no need to go to the mall. There is no desire. I'm much more picky about what I'll spend my money on. And my hope is that, even once I start making a livable wage, that I'll continue on in this way and cease with the unnecessary spending.

A girl can hope, right?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My Schedule

Y'all can ignore this post for the most part. Most of this is me just trying to wrap my head around everything I need to do in the next five days (ie, before class on Tuesday).

Friday Morning
  • Get up around 7:30, make a quickie trip to grocery store to buy some fruit/soy milk.
  • Take the chickpeas that cooked in the slow cooker overnight, drain and make into a double serving of chickpea cutlets, which may or may not last the weekend.
  • Laundry - paramount for the afternoon, must be done and dried
  • Make some bread
  • Shower
  • Squeeze in some homework if possible
  • Externship. This is scheduled from 1-3, which means I need to leave by 12:20 in order to set up for 1, and I won't get home until 3:30 at the earliest.
  • Homework if possible
  • Be at work for 5, until 9. Will be home around 9:30.

Saturday

  • 8:30am - help my brother move out of the apartment. Hoping I will be done by 11. I need to be done by 11, because I:
  • Need to shower!!!
  • Be at work for 1pm, 8 hour shift. Will be home around 9:30.

Sunday

  • Work 9:30 - 6pm. Be home by 6:30.

Monday

  • Clean old apartment, which means I need to get going around 8:30am or so. Hoping to be done by 11 at latest.
  • Shower!
  • Try to find someone who is available for a massage (for class) somewhere in the 2.5 hours I have for it between noon and 2:00pm.
  • Be at work for 3:30, 6 hour shift. Will get home by 9:30.

Somewhere in there I need to find time to both eat and do the homework I have on top of the externship and the practice massage. I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to do it. I have at least two hours of homework to do, and that's taking into account some of it has already been done. I believe I also have a quiz on Thursday I should start studying for.

I keep telling myself not to worry, it'll all get done. I always manage to find a way somehow. Just let it go and not worry about what was or what will be. Just live in the now and be present in the moment.

That Buddha was a wise dude. Now, if only he'd lengthen the day a little bit I could squeeze it all in and still get 8 hours of sleep.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The 23rd Psalm Saltine

The carb is my enemy; I shall not want
It maketh me to avoid green salads
It leadeth me past glasses of clear water
It fattens my stomach
It leadeth me in paths of yeasty goodness for adipose' sake

Yea, tho' I walk through the aisles of the supermarket, I will fear no carb
For thou aren't in my basket
(tho' thy dinner rolls and thy cookies, they comfort me)
Thou art on all the tables in the best restaurants
and thou tasteth best when anointedeth with olive oil
My weight runneth over

Surely cakes and garlic breadsticks shall follow me all the days of my life
And I will dwell in the International House of Pancakes forever.

Amen.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Reality: the Ultimate Killjoy

This morning, I was working on a post-graduation budget. Y'know, how much I'll need to make per/hour or per/year in order to live in the manner to which I would prefer to live. Ie, not below poverty levels.

My ultimate goals are to be able to afford a small apartment of my own, bring at least basic cable/internet back into my life, and even attend the occasional yoga class. I still intend to live rather simply, because if anything this li'l 9-month experience has taught me that a lot of things I think I need are actually luxuries I just like having around.

I got about halfway through planning out the budget when I noticed one tiny detail. All my figurings were pre taxes. They were all good figures, but if I kept on like that then I'd be running into trouble half-way down the line. So, I adjusted for taxes. Can I just say taxes suck? Sigh. Yes yes, I know why we have them. Blah blah blah.

With reality staring at me in the face, I seriously wonder sometimes if I can actually make a living at massage. I mean, it's a really nice skill to have, I love doing it, and I think I'm not so bad at it. But I get a little overwhelmed sometimes. Because, while I complain about the amount of knowledge being crammed into this 650-hour course, the reality is that what we're learning is just scratching the surface of the knowledge out there. How can I even know where to begin?

It would really be so much easier to find an admin desk job that pay $15/hour and get myself out of debt quickly. But then, why did I spend the last 9 months going through this program? Because I needed a break? Because I needed to re-examine my life? I'm not sure. I'd like to go forward and make a living doing massage. But I think my goal of living frugally for the next little bit will come in handy if that is the route I decide to take. Because I sure as hell won't be making bank.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Random Stuff I Kinda Wanna Blog About but aren't Worth Full Entries

1. Last night at some point I came up with a great book idea. I have a couple decades worth of journals and I thought it would be killer to use them to kind of track my life. Starting with the really inane entries from my childhood to some of my more recent blog posts. Of course, this would mean culling through hundreds of entries, writing explanations/introductions/what have you's, and oh yeah. Discerning which unpacked box houses all of these gems. This idea may have to wait a bit.

2. Yesterday in class I asked if I could switch from developing a business plan to developing a career plan. The business plan was just not working out for me and was causing me much undue grief and stress. I can see the next five years career-wise, and starting my own business is not anywhere there. So, now I just need to go through and do it. I think this will be a lot easier for me to see.

3. We have been having sun and warmth in Vermont the past few days. This is exceedingly rare for Vermont and I have been loving it. I'm also waiting for the other shoe to drop. Because this is only March. We're due for at least one more whopper of a snow storm to drop some footage on us. Our only saving grace is that at this late stage in the game it won't last long.

4. Today is St. Patrick's Day. I wore green even though I know the day is in celebration of a saint that drove traditional folk religion out of Ireland. And, no one in Ireland celebrates the day except tourists in Ireland for the "holiday." And, technically I'm Scottish. And, I can trace my ancestry directly back to some of those Scotch-Irish that settled in Northern Ireland and started this whole mess. So technically, I should be wearing orange. But green looks better on me.

5. I got my business cards in the mail today. They look pretty good. I told someone at work a couple days ago that I had ordered some. She asked me what I was going to do with them. I have no idea, I replied. I still don't. They look nice though.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Damn Thee, Organic!

I've been trying (and failing) to do away with organic stuff since I can't really afford it. I still very much comparison shop and if the organic version is comparable in size and price then I opt for it. But, usually it isn't so I wind up with conventional. This happens especially with produce and frozen veggies, since there is often no comparison - conventional is cheaper. Always.

This bites.

First, if I was only going to buy one thing organic, it should be the produce. But when fresh produce becomes a luxury, you take what you can afford. If that means non-fair trade bananas for 59 cents a pound, I offer up a silent apology to all those poor South American farmers working slave labor and buy them anyway.

Second, most of the time organic stuff just tastes better! Okay, so I'm spoiled by the fact that I can actually cook and bake. My food is pretty good. But, I don't always feel like doing that or I don't always have the time, so sometimes I will rely on buying staples like bread. When you eat bread that just has the basic ingredients of flour, yeast, water, sugar in it, it tastes more like...well, bread! Bread that has all those other (useless save for shelf-life) ingredients just does not taste as good. Same with salad dressing. I bought some non-organic, much cheaper stuff a couple weeks ago and it was awful. I ended up using it as a marinade for some tofu because eating it on the salad was just too hideous.

I hate that I have to have this inner battle with myself every time I go to the grocery store. I hate that our society has become so distanced from real food that in order to purchase something that should be basic I have to go nearly broke. And worse, people take for granted that what they are buying (cheap, loaded with unpronounceable, man-made ingredients) is good for them and healthy. Moreover, when they taste the real thing, they think it tastes funny! That is so sad. It's the shit that they are eating that tastes funny.

Sometimes, I really hate that I know the difference, because life would be so much easier if I could just call a Lean Cuisine, a can of diet coke, oreo cookies and milk dinner. Once upon a time I did. Knowing what I know about the way our food is grown, the way our meat is processed, and what animal products do to our insides, I don't think I could ever go back.

But sometimes I really miss the ease of not knowing.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Public Service Announcement

Do you like cookies? Are you vegan and/or gluten free? Or maybe you just like cookies. It's okay to just like cookies. I do too.

Regardless of your cookie-needs status, I urge you to check out Liz Lovely Cookies:


They are yummy. There are multitudes of flavors. I just had a SnickerDude myself. A snickerdoodle to put all snickerdoodles to shame. And yes, that includes my mother's (sorry, Mom). They are are located right here in Vermont, and they are good.

Odds are if you are here in good ol' VT your local health food store or store that carries organic goodies stocks their cookies. But if'n you are out in say, Phoenix, AZ (Becky), Jacksonville, FL (Alex), or anywhere that organic is tough to find, no worries! They ship.

Buy them. Order them. EAT THESE COOKIES.

This message was brought to you by a Cookie Enabler (me) and the letter C.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Typing My Thoughts.

Okay, so yeah I just posted something like two hours ago.

Whatever.

I guess I'm needing to process something and this is the easiest way to do it. Well, I could journal it in my paper journal, but that would require me putting down the laptop, getting up from the couch and going into my room to get it. And we all know that's not going to happen.

Classmates have, for a while now, been ordering business cards for themselves off a "free" website. My plan was to design my own myself and print them out, saving myself money and coming up with something unique and me at the same time. Yeah, well. That bombed. I actually came up with some decent cards, considering that I was using Word (some days I really miss InDesign). The problem was, I could NOT get the fuckers to line up right when I printed them out, and the printouts just looked cheap. Especially compared to what my classmates were showing me. There was no way I could use them.

So, I went online and ordered some business cards. I probably won't use 3/4 of them (I never have in all of my business-card toting life) and I spent waaay too much on shipping. Not even "rush" shipping - just shipping. Free my ass. That's where they get you - the shipping.

All this has left me rather angry. Angry that I couldn't get my way to work. Angry that it looked cheap. Angry that I had to spend money on something I didn't want to because of the impermanency of it. I feel like was was forced into getting "professional" business cards when I didn't want to. Which is bullshit; I made the choice, nobody made me do anything.

I guess I just didn't want the business cards. I didn't want to call myself a massage therapist, because I feel like I don't know where I want to go/what I want to do next. I feel like sometimes at the end of this I want to get as far away from it as possible. Maybe getting those business cards felt like it was pinning me down to something I didn't want to make a commitment to. I don't know.

Business cards shouldn't make me angry. Harumph. And now I have to go study for a quiz on the muscles of the hand and forearm. All I really want to do is curl up on the couch and watch Lost Boys and feel sorry for myself.

Is that so wrong?

Open Letter

Dear Icons from the '80s and '90s:

Will you all quit dying already?!? Seriously. I remember all of you fondly, even if in the process I am thinking "I can't believe I liked that movie/song/tv show". You don't know me from Eve, but for a brief moment you were a part of my life and I held you to high regard (even if I shouldn't have).

I know you all are human and thus mortal and that you will live on forever in your work. However, when you're only a couple years older/younger than me, your knocking off throws me in to a serious tailspin of asking such deep questions as "have I even done anything with my life?", "if I died tomorrow, could I look back at my life and be happy?", and "Really? Amy Winehouse is still alive?"' Okay, so that last one is just a general wonderment, but you get the picture.

Anyway, I'm hoping the ones who are left have either cleaned up to the point where they know not to take 50 sleeping pills at a shot or are so pickled that they will in fact last indefinitely. Either way, I would greatly appreciate it if the entire cast of Breakfast Club could in fact remain alive for the entire year. I know that's asking a lot out of Judd Nelson, but I think it can be done.

Sincerely,
A Child of the 80's

Monday, March 8, 2010

I should really go to bed

...and now, for your viewing pleasure, a list you couldn't care less about.

DVDs I Wish I Owned because I Watched Them all the Time on Cable but Now I Can't Afford Cable, Used DVDs or Even Netflix
  1. 50 First Dates
  2. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
  3. The Stand
  4. Any of the Charmed seasons
  5. Zoolander
  6. Steel Magnolias (don't ask, I can't explain it. I just have to watch it every time it comes on.)
  7. Rose Red
  8. Dirty Dancing (nobody puts Baby in the corner!)
  9. Any of the first three Indiana Jones movies. The fourth one just sucked.
  10. A League of Their Own. Oh wait, I own that on video for god's sake. Is my VCR even hooked up at this point?
  11. Futurama. Okay, so I have one of their "movies" on DVD, but would prefer some actual seasons.
  12. Robot Chicken Star Wars!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Dreams

I've been having some doozies lately, let me tell you. Most of them are in regards to things I either don't want to happen or are afraid might happen. As if my subconscious is giving voice to them in dreams as I won't in waking life. Or something.

Last night's was particularly interesting. We were getting ready for a dance performance, and more and more people kept coming in. There were people there from school, as well as old high school friends I haven't seen in ages (Hi Becky - you were in my dream!).

Anyway, as more people poured in the dance space got smaller and smaller. I started freaking out, because I had no idea what I was going to dance to nor did I have a costume. I went back stage and someone threw some costume on me, but when I looked in the mirror it was all wrong; totally not me at all. So, I finally choose which dance I want to do and frantically tear off this costume and try to cobble one that will fit the song. As I'm frantically pulling this together (I'm on next, of course) I realize that the cd I have of music doesn't have the music I want.

By now, I'm frantic - none of the costume pieces I'm putting on fit and the music I want is at home. Finally, my dance teacher comes in and asks "are you prepared to do this?" I sit down on the ground and say "no, I can't do this right now" and start crying. I've let her down, I've let my fellow dancers down, I've let me down, and I've let down everyone who came to see me dance.

I had no idea I was worried about letting everyone down. Frankly, it hadn't entered mind that I wasn't capable or able to do anything. I don't think this dream was so much about not being prepared, but more about being overwhelmed. Which I am, constantly. I certainly don't want to let anyone down, but I fear that I'm often being pulled in too many directions and that the things I hold most important are going to be the things that suffer most. I am worried that the demands on my time have reached critical levels, and the next couple months are going to see it get much worse before it gets better.

I am determined to see this new path through. I see the rewards at the end and I know I made the right decision. These next couple months are truly going to be the test of me, I think.

Deep breathe. Inhale. Exhale.

It will be okay.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Letting Go.

We do this thing in class called "Somatic Psychology." It looks a little different every time we do it, but generally speaking it is one of my favorite parts of class. One time we made collages (I think this was my favorite class by far), other times we do exercises that help us get in touch with aspects of ourselves, other times it is looking at the chakras.

Yesterday, we did this exercises where we stated our commitment (we came up with these months ago) in the center of a circle, then everyone else would come at us with "requests" we could either accept or deny. This looked like someone coming at us with their arm outstretched; if we accepted their request we walked with them and if we denied it we turned them away.

It was an interesting exercise. There were times when the requests came fast and furious and you had to struggle to keep up with everything. Some requests went unanswered, some had to be denied and there were some you wanted to accept but couldn't. Just like in real life.

Historically, I've had issues with both the request exercises and the commitment exercises. I have issues in regards to asking for help. It's not an easy thing for me to do - far too many requests in my life have been ignored, declined or ridiculed to the point where I just stopped asking for a long time. It's still difficult for me to voice my needs and ask for help, but I'm making a concerted effort to do it. As for the commitment exercise... well, I was just resisting it.

This time, however, it was very powerful for me. I changed my commitment at the spur of the moment - I committed to letting go of attachments which were no longer serving me. I had a couple specific ones in mind, but this really could apply to many things in my life right now. And the saying yes or no to people in that mind frame... it was electrifying.

I'm still trying to work out some of the more intrinsic details of what was going on with me - but I came out of this experience feeling much lighter. Like just stating "there are things in my life not doing me any good, and I want to stop holding on to them" to a group of people was very powerful. I think because on some level I don't like admitting that kind of stuff to people. I'm fine, thanks. Nothing wrong. I'm good. Smile.

I'm starting to approach things that cause me ire/concern/worry with the question "is this this still serving me?" If the answer is no, then I tell myself that it's okay to just let go of it. I don't need this anymore.

This is going to be one hell of a process, I think.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Because it's True.

I took this picture (among many others) this past summer along the Burlington Bike Path - that part the runs from Oakledge Park to the Burlington Waterfront. There are a lot of old train tracks from back when the area was more industrial. This was in an abandoned switch house.

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Today, You are Ten

Well, as far as we know, anyway. We're not sure of your exact birthday, so we use your "Gotcha Day" instead. You've been...