Successes and Failures

Successes and Failures

So how has it been going, this lessening of media usage?

Well…

Okay, maybe let’s start with the successes: The cell phone is no longer in my room (or, mostly not). I use my alarm clock to wake me on the mornings I want to be up to go to my Dailey Method Studio class. I don’t charge my cell in the room, and I do not scroll through facebook feeds to fall asleep. No, I read a book. Far more effective. I’ve been getting more sleep as a result- yay for me!!

What am I reading, oh…just something light:20170719_111526

Animal Farm was short and sweet and to the point: no matter our best intentions to set up a democratic, fair society that let’s everyone live their best lives, we always fall victim to those who seek power (in this case, the pigs). The characters were all analogous representations of political groups/figures at the time of its writing (yes, some of that went over my head, I’ve never been very good with remembering history lessons).

Now, 1984 is simply terrifying. I’m at this bit where the ruling party is essentially re-writing history over and over so as to control the masses and keep history in-line with their current agenda:

“The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.” p162

The parallels to current affairs here in the States what with “fake news” and the rabid denials of truths and the shutting down of basic human rights by the White House…is terrifying.

But this is not a post about politics…let’s not get me started. Please don’t.

What else…successes…well, I was so good at not checking in with media that I missed writing in this blog last week. Yay?

Joking aside, just stepping out of the stream of constant fb news has lightened my spirits.

The failures are numerous. There have been times that I have said “F it!” and started scrolling my feed. ( Especially since recently my skin, just past the anniversary of having spontaneously resolved itself  last year, has rashes all over it again , mainly my neck and fingers…the itching makes me lose self control in multiples ways.)20170726_085534I regret giving in to checking my media almost instantly as the payoff is nothing but many wasted minutes and a much more agitated mind. I’m learning.

Another kink has been that last week saw demand for my photographic skills go gang-busters, so I was on the computer for long stretches of time, editing, sending out contracts, communicating about locations and times etc. This is not a bad thing, but it does show the challenge I face: I want to be successful with my photography business, and as a result I need to be responsive through media, posting on media and also using my computer for a bulk of my photographic work.

I’ve discovered that having a work day, sans kids, is immensely helpful. I can do most of my work and online networking on this day, including blogging and personal facebook updates for family, so that when my kids are with me I can set the phone aside. This is not perfect, however, as stuff comes up that I need to deal with most days. My only hope is that I am lessening the time spent looking at my screen in their presence. I do, however, at the end of my work day, wish I had about 2 more of them. There’s always more to do. And with the school year starting up again soon, I will lose my precious work day and be back at square one. I need to start thinking strategically and figure out what my next step is in that regard. When one can’t afford childcare…what does one do?

What I know: I’m addicted to media. I’m also addicted to coffee. Both of those things I can hopefully ween myself of…which one first? Lol. Perhaps with all the sleep I’m gaining from reading in bed instead of facebooking, I will be able to lose the coffee. The media might be a longer road.

Cheers.

Week 23: Vive La Resistance!

Week 23: Vive La Resistance!

I want to keep this as brief as possible because I have a few hours to myself, and rather than just blogging, I want to try to paint. But I do have something to report this week:

My puffy jacket arrived in the mail. Yes, the one I bought on-line after many attempts at trying to not do so. Well, it arrived and I was pretty excited. I anxiously unwrapped it and tried it on…and it fit horribly! It looked great on my body but the arms were way too wide.

So, I returned it. I didn’t even dick around with sending it back. I was on my way to somewhere with the kids and I veered off to return it to the physical store. I did wander around the store and try on a few puffy’s there…all ludicrously expensive and out of my league. Resisting them was not hard. I walked out of there with nothing except the $145 dollars I had spent, back on my card.

And folks, I considered returning to those websites to peruse for another deal. But I didn’t. The thrill is gone. I feel quite silly actually. I have been wearing the “ill fitting” puffy I already possess…and quite frankly, it is warm, it does it’s job…and I can’t see myself unless I look in the mirror, so I just won’t! Problem solved. Ill fitting or not, I am using it because I have it. End of story.

Our family hangs at the precipice of massive changes in our lives. We are most likely going all-in on a property on which we will build a new wood shop for Glenn Pope Woodworking. This is serious business. I shouldn’t say more, because it’s not really for me to tell at this point. Also, we still are dealing with trying to get our medical insurance claim processed to get back the large sum of money we paid to CHEO when C was ill in Canada. It’s a bit of a nightmare…but again, I will not go on about that too much.

Simply put, as far as spending is concerned, this is no longer just a personal challenge, this has direct impact on the whole family. I need to use what I have and be conservative with what we need. Are we watered and fed? That is the main thing, and all else is extraneous.

I need to get over myself and my wants. They are not important. I am not defined by what I possess. My happiness does not hinge on what I possess. I am not more attractive as the result of my possessions. Others’ opinions of me are not formed by what I possess…and if they do, then I need new friends! Lol!

That’s it. That’s all I have to say. I need to go paint.

 

Kid Wisdom

Kid Wisdom

I know.

I just said in my last blog that one post a week, on Sunday, was all I could handle.

For the most part, that’s going to be true. But for some miraculous reason, both kids are napping and napping well right now. Which gives me a chance to share something with you:

My kid is a wise, anti-shopping guru.

Yes. She blew me away today. I was all set to haul us to Old Navy, finally caving to the realization that, my almost 3 year old is finally growing out of a lot of her clothes and she is actually in need of a few items. Mostly dresses as that, for some reason, is all she wants to wear these days. We are quickly running out of options. So, I thought (with yes, a little bit of glee) that I would go check out the summer sale rack and see if I couldn’t find a few soft, practical jersey dresses that would be great for running and playing in.

I floated the idea with my girl, thinking she’d be really excited at the prospect of more dresses. I was like, “Hey! What do you say we go get some new dresses for you today?”

And she said “NO!”

I was taken aback for a moment. Surely she heard me wrong.

“You don’t want new dresses? I thought you loved wearing dresses? We don’t have much at home. Are you saying you don’t want dresses?”

“No. I don’t want dresses.”

“Are you sure?”(note how insistent and persuasive I am trying to be – that’s me resisting letting the idea go) “will you be okay with it when tomorrow you ask to wear a dress and we don’t have one?”

“Yes. We will just wear…let’s go to the park.”

“You want to go to the park instead of getting a dress?”

“Let’s go to the park”.

And so I took a breath, absorbed her infinite wisdom, and let the idea of dresses go. It was hard. But we went and we played, and, in both our estimation, it was a better way to spend our day.

I bow to my toddler teacher in all her wisdom.

Tomorrow she may tantrum that she has no dress to wear…but we’ll improvise, I am sure. Perhaps a load of laundry will reveal a few dresses we haven’t seen in a while. Hmmm.

*Bonus points for those who counted how many times I said “dresses” in this post.

Day 33: Shoppers Brain

Day 33: Shoppers Brain

It’s amazing the machinations and contortions the brain can go through in order to justify things.

I actually caught myself thinking that buying dresses for an upcoming wedding is a necessity. Luckily, all thoughts of shopping must come under close scrutiny, and so, I really gave it some good thought. And what I came up with was, no, dresses are not a necessity. Yes, my toddler has outgrown most of her dresses…but not all. What I realized I was longing for was this cute trio: mommy, toddler and baby in matching, or at least homogeneously coloured outfits looking darn cute together. The reality is, we will be darn cute together regardless.We will not look like a matching trio; we will be a hodge podge of clothes that we do fit, but it will in no way impact the way anyone views us. No, in fact, the day will not be about us at all, it will be about my friend whose wedding it is. What we wear will in no way impact the way we enjoy the day.

Another challenging moment: talking with another mom and she mentioned going to the GAP and seeing they had a kids section, and then that the store was closing for good so there were crazy sales. Suddenly I wanted to go see those sales. Suddenly I wanted that store to not close, even though I could count on my hands how many times I’ve been there. I just thought, gosh darn, the store will be closed before my year of not spending is up. Crazy. This is deep rooted, folks.

On the eczema front, my face and neck feel almost entirely normal. Last week it felt like I was recovering from sunburn, there was an overall tingle and wherever the eczema had cropped up the skin felt thick and tight. Today it feels like normal skin, I can smile without feeling it stretch. Also, most of the peeling skin has come off so I don’t look quite so scary when I go out in public.

My hand, however, still has patches of itchiness and I am not doing well resisting the urge to scratch now and then. My palm looks particularly terrible. It was actually really doing well, but I went for a run and had to push the stroller, and the mere act of applying pressure on my palm reactivated the itch. In a moment of agitation, I gave into a scratch and kinda opened up some wounds. There’s also a place between my pinky and ring finger that just keeps weeping. I’m going to try to apply a green clay to that area to see if I can dry it out.20160512_165517.jpg

But overall, doing well. I managed to fit in a run and I am keeping up with the green smoothies and mostly veg, low grain and fruit diet. I am looking forward to being able to reintroduce more fruits soon as it is coming up on amazing fruit season here in Cali.

Day 18: Food For Thought

Day 18: Food For Thought

I had a talk with my mom and dad today. They have always been able to ground me when I am at sea. Not that I feel at sea, per se, but we had a good conversation that brought out some stuff for me. Mainly, that I have been suffering with skin issues/toxicity and also feeling detached emotionally/spiritually for many years. Both of these things I have been very aware of but have been  unable to act in order to change the situation.

One would think that with the birth of my first child I would have awoken then. In fact, I really hoped that I might; that with the birth of this amazing miracle I would somehow see life and living in the moment with deep clarity. Instead I ended up dealing with a lot of brain fog brought on by sleep deprivation. There were certainly moments of pure joy from the simplest observations of my daughter as she grew and developed; small glimpses, but not enough to shake me from the fog.

I’m still in it, but it seems like there has been an orchestrated shift ( who is orchestrating it, I don’t know) that has finally spurred me on to make changes.

I was trying to pin-point when the moment happened. I think I was just finding ways to zone out in the few “me-time” hours I had using Netflix. But instead of zoning out with brainless content I found a few shows that started to really inspire me. I believe, I watched “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead“. Not a huge eye opener, as I am happy to report that I am not in such dire dietary straights as the guy in this documentary…but it did remind me and inspire me to look again at what I was eating and consider, if not juicing, at least green smoothies. Around that same time I also watched a four-part series on Netflix, produced by Michael Pollen (of ‘ the Omnivore’s Dilemma’ fame) called” Cooked“. A beautiful look at where our food comes from and extremely inspiring in terms of returning to the home cooked meal and real foods.

It also inspired me to compulsively buy a book on Amazon about baking rustic bread at home. It remains to be seen whether that book will be used (especially now that I’m avoiding sugars). I hope so. But the compulsive spending was also coming to a head and lead me to come up with this shopping detox challenge I set for myself.

And then, almost simultaneously, as I was committing to this shopping detox, my body started to let me know, via persistent and spreading eczema, that I also needed a physical detox as well. Having watched the various documentaries about nutrition, I felt like I could be fairly confident about how to start improving what I considered an “already decent diet”. If I’m honest with myself, I’d been letting a lot slide, namely allowing much more sugar into my diet, giving into the cravings I’d developed post baby.

Now I am in the middle of watching a 9 episode docuseries called the ” Truth About Cancer, A Global Quest” ( thank you Auntie G), and it really comes down to what we put in our bodies. Pure, unadulterated food is our medicine. All of these shows have a common theme, which is to return to nature for the source of our health. So, that is what I am going to do. It all ties in perfectly, because as I focus on healing, both mentally, emotionally and physically the need for spending needlessly will fade and the vitality I anticipate will inspire me to do only the things that serve to strengthen my physical and spiritual well being.

I set out to detox my shopping habit, and it has snowballed into much more.

All of this could be seen as rather overwhelming. And it is. But I am also very excited. Finally I feel like this is the time. Somehow, I’ve been waiting to be ready and now I am.

These are still the early days folks, I suspect that my resolve and enthusiasm will fluctuate. I just hope that I’ve set a good enough structure to this challenge and enough checks and balances via my community, to keep me going.

Thank you for your support. Much like Tinker Bell, knowing you believe in me keeps me strong. Feel free to hit the “Follow” button I added to my page to get email notifications of my most recent posts.

Days 14 & 15: Detoxing on All Levels

Days 14 & 15: Detoxing on All Levels

I’ve been a little distracted. I’ve dealt with some skin issues over the years, flair ups of eczema here and there that I’ve largely ignored. Well, for whatever reason, it’s reared up and will not be ignored. I’ve been so itchy this last week it’s been all I can do to not scream.

I need to get this under control quickly or I’ll go insane. I’ve had enough experience to know that a lot of this is tied to diet. So…on top of detoxing from shopping, I am also going to need to gently detox my body…namely removing sugars from my diet and flushing my system with a lot of liquid. I’m a nursing mom so I can’t just fast and start fresh.

So, I am going to be relying on my farmers’ markets to supply me with nutrient dense greens for smoothies and meals quite a bit I think.

This weekend was a challenge as we went to a parade/fair. SO much stuff to see and buy. I must say that I am rather proud of myself. I managed to pack a lunch for me, my mother-in-law and my kiddos so that we wouldn’t be tempted by all the fair food. There were a surprising number of freebie items that we took advantage of- including free ice cream samples which handily provided the “treat” my toddler was hoping for without having to spend a dime ( I stoically passed on the sugary ice-cream myself).20160423_123851.jpg

I allowed one grown up treat- we went to a coffee shop and I got a cappuccino, a steamed milk for my girl and a latte for my mother-in-law. Money well spent for a reprieve from the noise and bustle of the parade filled streets. However, given that it was my one treat in 14 days…I was rather disappointed to end up with a rather acrid cappuccino. Boo. Being the person I am, I did not go and return it for another…though perhaps I should have. Life is too short to drink bad coffee!!

Surprisingly, it wasn’t so hard to not spend during the event. I did worry that I would be a more boring companion since it was clear that all sales booths were out of bounds for me. But my mother-in-law reassured me that I brought all the entertainment she needed in tow with me in the form of my kids. So, it all worked out well.

Some change was spent on a balloon hat that a man I can only really call a “balloon master” made for my very excited kid. A tip seemed appropriate and well spent.

So, to detoxing on all levels! Here we go!20160423_131342.jpg

 

Day 13

Day 13

It’s Friday and an incredibly rainy day. Still, we got our butts in gear and went to the Children’s Museum.

What a fun place! This is the kind of stuff we need to be doing, and the money invested for a yearly membership there is well spent. We were lucky to receive this years membership as a gift; but when it comes up in July I would consider this one a necessity. To have somewhere so awesome to go on a rainy day (any day actually) is truly a blessing.

There were two moments of temptation there, surprisingly. One for my toddler and one for myself but I am happy to report we passed with flying colours.

My toddler stood behind a girl who was looking at a rack of wearable butterfly wings for sale. She watched as the girl twirled the rack and looked at all the colours, watched as the girl pulled one off and asked her mom if she could buy it…and my kid was happy to just watch. Phew. Perhaps just two weeks of no additional spending has put it out of her mind? Maybe it’s too early to hope. But I really was surprised that she didn’t ask if she could buy some wings too.

For me, it was the coffee guy. There’s a man who recently started setting up a coffee booth outside. I’d often said that the museum would be the perfect place for everyone, not just the kids, if only there was some coffee to be had. Well, voila, there he is. Only, now I am not spending on those extras. I gave his coffee pour overs a good look as I walked passed several times on the way to various displays, but I did not buy.

Good on us.

 

Money not spent: $3…possibly $6 because I usually get pulled into selecting a pastry too.