Days 100-107: Am I a Quitter?

Days 100-107: Am I a Quitter?

I made it to 100 days…and then sailed right on by it without marking it.

I meant to celebrate my 100th day, but as I am a mom of two very young energetic and fully occupying kids, I just could not find the time.

It’s been an imperfect 100 days. I have definitely not managed to adhere entirely to my own rules. I feel like I have spent quite a bit of money, mostly on things I think are necessary, but sometimes that definition has been gray.

I must also confess that I really want to quit. I don’t feel like I can do this well, and it bothers me. For one, finding time to blog about my experience has proved to be rather challenging. By the end of the day, if my baby has finally given up fighting sleep, it is usually so late that my writing is incoherent; my enthusiasm for writing is…tepid at best.

The other reason I want to quit is because…I want to spend money.

I didn’t mention this earlier, because it is all quite tenuous and I am kind of waiting for everything to revert back..the other shoe to drop so to speak…but two things have happened in the last month: I unexpectedly lost a bit of weight (no idea how, but most likely as a result of stress) and my hand eczema has almost entirely healed.

Both of these things have been…wonderful but…the urge to buy a new dress…or outfit of some kind is overwhelming. It’s somehow part of my psyche that in order to celebrate something like this, this “new me”, I should spend on a new wardrobe to highlight my new physique. Not totally unreasonable I suppose, but it is exactly what I am trying to avoid.

My monkey mind has told me more than once this week that I need to quit this whole venture because I am doing a terrible job of it, no one cares, no one is reading this blog, anyone who is reading this blog is confused by it’s random posts, I don’t know how to blog, I’ve already spent money I shouldn’t have, who wants to read my on-going confessions…etc.etc.etc.

I knew this was going to be hard. Things that are worthwhile tend to be.

So, though I am so very tempted to throw in the towel and go on a mad spending spree, I am not going to.

What I will do is adjust how I blog. I must acknowledge that I am a busy mom with not much free time. Thus, I will not fruitlessly aim for a daily blog post but a weekly one, which will greatly relieve the low-level stress I feel when I realize how spectacularly I am failing at posting daily. So, starting tomorrow, I will be collecting my thoughts from Monday to Sunday and posting on Sunday about my week of “not spending on unnecessary things”. Today is day 107..that’s how many weeks…let’s call that 15 weeks and change. So, next Sunday’s post will be week 16.

Ta da! It ain’t perfect, but it’s an effort to stay in the game.

See you next Sunday.

 

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Days 96, 97& 98: The Costco Conundrum

Days 96, 97& 98: The Costco Conundrum

Man, the big box stores sure have it dialed in.

You might go in there for necessities, but the temptations abound. Things you never thought you needed or desired are there in heaping piles yelling “deal, deal, deal!”

Moreover, they usually contain the allure of being also a name brand. What IS it about the name-brand that gets me so lathered up.I’m definitely a sheep when it comes to that. I have been so conditioned to value the brand name…even though I KNOW it is not necessarily synonymous with quality. That in fact, some of those name brands are FOR SURE using cheap production and slave labor to further their brand. And yet…

Here was my temptation:

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The material was incredibly soft and flowy. Perfect for a momma who just wants to pull on some pants and forget about them. The fact that they were name brand added a little bit of hope (on my part) that they would be a little stylish too.

In the next aisle was underwear. Who doesn’t need underwear?

I don’t. Especially not the ones with a man’s name written all the way around the band: Calvin Klein, Calvin Klein, Calvin Klein.

If a man’s name has to be written on my underwear, it better be my husband’s.

Yet, still, two days later, I keep thinking about just nipping back into Costco to pick those pair of pants up. Luckily, there is no such thing as “nipping in” when you’ve got two under three.

Did I tell you that I used a loaner ukulele while I was visiting family in Canada?

Well, I did, and it was far superior to the one I own. Superior by far. I will never be the same. To know what quality sound the ukulele, if made well, can emit has changed my view and enjoyment of the instrument irrevocably. I now covet that ukulele, which was hand-made by a luthier in Hawaii. Even took a picture of my beloved on the eve of our separation:

And I’ve found myself compulsively looking at ukes for sale on Craigslist and googling “how to make a ukulele” as I realize more and more how expensive a good one can be.

Since I’ve been back I’ve been dreaming about just “stopping by” a music store to “try out” their ukes. Laughable thought with two kids in tow who are more likely to run about tearing instruments from displays than sitting quietly by my side, listening to me play excerpts from my favorite songs.

I must say, on the no spending front, I am feeling rather discouraged. I am having a really hard time not desiring things. Even as I look about my place in discontent, wanting to rid myself of excess, I still desire new things. Why? It seems so at odds with what I envision for my living space, my mental and spiritual space. So many times I catch myself thinking, ‘yeah, I can just buy that and not post about it. Who really cares if I break the rules. I’m being too strict.’

Who cares? I care. I care to know why I want to purchase things so compulsively. I want to know why I think some object will make my life better, make me more attractive, more together, more stylish, more interesting.

What is the hole I’m filling and why is that hole there?

So many questions. I guess that’s what all of this is for. So I keep on examining and blogging, as imperfect as this experiment is.

 

Days 93 &94

Days 93 &94

Lots of stuff going on in my brain.

As I try to resettle into life at home (being away for 5 weeks can really throw a girl off) I am trying to look with new eyes at all the stuff that I surround myself with. A lot of stuff is what I like, I’ve collected the “stuff” and it is what makes this plae homey. However, the rest is just extra.

So, because I did not do well in the ‘no spending’ arena during my vacation, I am renewing efforts to eliminate the excess in my life.

This weekend, I started. There is actually so much to tackle, that I almost got overwhelmed. I had to keep resetting my mind to just look at everything in small projects otherwise I would have wanted to quit right away. I decided that the kitchen would be a good place to start. Of course, where in the kitchen? The kitchen alone can be broken down into different areas. So, I just decided to tackle under the sink.

I realized immediately that I have been holding onto stuff compulsively, aka my collection of paper grocery bags. Could someone please tell me what I am going to do with all of these?20160710_093614.jpg

I decided to be brutal about getting rid of stuff that I even hesitate about when I ask “do I need this? Do I use this?” I got rid of two rubber sink basin liners that my mom had gotten for me in hopes of helping us not break so many dishes. Honestly, I could get behind their use, but my hubby hates them and quite frankly it’s not worth the struggle. I chose a happy marriage over arguing the merits of such a thing.

Once I removed the mountain of bags, I discovered an old mouse trap (ick!), and dirty water catching basin, an old ant trap and all manner of disgusting things. So I scrubbed it all up and turned it from this:20160710_093610.jpg

to this: 20160710_094704.jpg

in a relatively short period of time. Not bad for the satisfaction it brought me. Of course, once I was in the kitchen, things snowballed. I got up on a stool to see what I could get rid of in the cupboards above the fridge, then saw the grime build up and had to stop and scrub that…which let to scrubbing the top of the hood range…

I ended up changing the way I organize my herbs, spices, oils and vinegars. I’ve decided that I want my kitchen work space as clear as possibly for both the mental and spiritual contentment it will bring me. I will also then be able to clean all the surfaces more effectively which will bring me peace of mind. So I spent a good deal of time working on getting all my oils, salts etc off their permanent spots beside my stove and onto the shelves…which of course led to a lot of rearranging and purging.

I, of course, am not done. Even with my hubs running interference, I do have two little kiddos who demand attention. So, it’s a start but it is incomplete. I hope I can maintain this forward momentum.

 

Also, a confession. I found myself coveting a few items and daydreaming of purchasing them. First, a bag my Aunt Reggie has that is by Derek Alexander (sold at the Bay in Canada) and seemed the perfect small bag to use as a diaper bag while not actually being one. I will admit to looking on-line and trying to see if I can get it here in the US.

I will not be getting it, as, of course, I DON’T NEED IT. I have more than enough bags here at home that have served me well. I must just deep breathe and let it go. I hate how those things can just hang out there in the corner of the mind. Why is the need to buy something so persistent?!?

The other thing I want to purchase is a pair of Ray Bans. I had a great pair a few years back, but I lost them. It was a tragedy indeed. It fell out of my baby bag while out on an excursion. Since then, I’ve been using some sad knock offs that are just not the same…and yet, they DO function. And truly, that is all I really need. So, I need to LET IT GO!

If I examine the urge to buy both of those items, it is pure vanity that is driving the desire. Somehow, on some level I think I will look better, or even feel better about myself if I poses those items. Of course, that is completely false and bunkum and I know it. So, I shall hold the items I do possess in my hands and thank them for their excellent and continuing service and move on!

So much more going on, but I end here because it is late. The kiddos did not go easily into tonight’s “goodnight” and so I find myself rather exhausted.

 

 

Days 72-92: Failure

Days 72-92: Failure

In the days following our medical emergency I had neither the urge nor the where-with-all to blog. We were still on vacation in Canada and that’s what it became for my blogging: a break from writing.

Now I am back and trying to figure out how to report on the 21 days I let slip by. I definitely failed in the “no unnecessary spending” arena. Maybe it was the relief from being out of hospital, or the sense that I was on vacation, but I did spend: on a few tourist T-shirts, on coffee and a few gifts from my sister and brother-in-law’s coffee shop. I also just came home and immediately spent money on two books that relate to different natural healing modalities that I am interested in investigating. Oh, and on some soil and some flowers and herbs to add to my garden ( I was inspired by my mom and sister’s gardens and my toddlers delight in them ).

So there you have it, my “confession” of sorts.

I’ve considered outright quitting this whole self-imposed challenge. I am the type of person whom, upon discovering she is not doing something well, just wants to call the whole thing off. But, when I started this, I knew that I would come up against challenges, and that I would have to work through them. So here I am trying to work through the fact that I have had wavering resolve with not spending.

I wrote in my list of rules that, were I to spend on something unnecessarily, I would need to either return that item or give away three items for every item I kept. Well, I can’t exactly say that all items were completely unnecessary ( I am still struggling with that definition and what that means for me), but I will do better than that stipulation. I’m planning a big house purge.

One of the benefits of being away from home for a big chunk of time is that, when you return, for a brief time, you have a new “stranger’s eye” view of your own home. I’ve tried to take advantage of that to help me see how I might improve things. The number one thing is that I need a whole lot less stuff. I knew this already, of course, but I have now a renewed sense of what is clutter and what is needed. I will have to resolve myself to being absolutely brutal and unwaffling in my approach. So, in the days to come I hope to be able to report about the stuff I’ve gotten rid of.

It’s good to be typing again. As I type, my hands ache, because no, I have not cured my eczema either. I’m working on it and will report on that later.

For now, it’s good to just be getting back on track.

Day 45: Happy Exhaustion

Day 45: Happy Exhaustion

Just so everyone knows, the original intent for this blog, that of not spending on unnecessary and ill-thought-out expenditures, still stands. This is day 45!

In that vein I must report that I have been mainly good on that front. The only extra spending has been on travel related goods, ie a child restraint, and on healing my eczema stuff, like colon hydrotherapy, and organic foods. Also an e-book called “The Eczema Cure”.

But last night, I went on Groupon. I know, ‘uh oh’ you say. And yes, I could have easily gone to the dark side and splurged on the 1,000 thread count sheets down from $300 to $34 in their clearance section (yes…I looked)…but I didn’t. I didn’t because I was on a mission. I want to return from my trip to Canada in a month and hit the ground running with some form of fitness. I want to continue to run, but I have to go a little easy with that because my knees can get injured rather easily. I had learned that there was a Groupon deal for “the Daily Method” which is a workout that combines barre, pilates and yoga in a workout that essential kicks ones butt. I want to try it. I hope that it’s for me. I really hope so, because not only is it close to where I live but it also has childcare!! Yes, childcare. For like, $5 per kid! Yes.

So it might be a frivolous expenditure, but I don’t believe so. I hope I love it as much as I loved Bikram yoga (when I could afford to spare 3 hours of my day ). The Groupon is for one month unlimited access so I hope to be able to use it to its fullest and assess from there whether or not to continue.

I’ve had a hard time trying to figure out what kind of spending I will still allow. I wanted to weed out all the spending that is purely a void filling exercise, all the impulse stuff that ended up as clutter and unused. At ¬†first, starting off with this blog I was very gung ho and thought that I would just go extreme and not allow any expense. But I realize that that is not realistic. What this is truly about is knowing myself, and stopping to ask the question “Is this necessary. Why am I buying this? Will it be used? Is there an alternative that doesn’t require buying this item” and coming back with a truly honest answer. Also, tilting the expenses I do incur more towards self care rather than empty temporary “treats” that are not good for me or simply feed my vanity or illusions.

A few blogs back I mentioned I’d signed up for a free olive oil via another blogger but had to sign up for their paid membership in order to receive it. I was struggling with then un-registering and appearing like I was some cheapo person taking advantage of them. But I did it folks, I un-registered. It was an offer they provided and said there were no strings attached, so I simply took them at their word. This was a big step for me.

As far as physical healing…

My hand is functional, which in and of itself is a relief. It looks awful but they are back to normal size and I can bend my fingers again.20160524_134448.jpg It was itchy today so I put on those cotton gloves and distracted myself.

I also got out and joined my aunt and her charge for an awesome day at the beach. What an awesome day. I feel recharged…even as I feel entirely exhausted. We got a lot of sun and sand and gorgeous views. Why don’t I do it more often (I say this every time I go to the coast)?!

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Day 37: Did I just Fail?

Day 37: Did I just Fail?

I feel weird. I just shopped on Amazon. That should be a no-no these days.

But I am flying to Canada in two weeks and I finally sat down to do some planning…and I realized that I hadn’t considered the safety factor of strapping my toddler into her own seat. I then fell down the rabbit hole of conflicting information and opinions on the matter, and arrived at: I can’t do anything for my baby who will be an “in lap” infant. Aviation requirements do not allow vest harnesses nor to have the baby secured in a carrier on take off and landing. Scary. Basically, if we are in any accident there is no way to hold on to my baby.

For a toddler you have the option of bringing on board an FAA approved car seat – ummm…no way. How could I possibly carry that plus a baby and toddler?! Or, the CARE harness restraint system that allows you to modify the existing lap belt to fit a kid up to age 4.

So, that folks, is what I just purchased. It is necessary I think. Not only will it be added safety, but it will help keep my little wiggler more firmly in place. She is accustomed to the feel of shoulder and sternum straps so I’m hoping it will give her a feeling of security. I hope I don’t regret it as I try to install it on the fly as we board!

Before I started my late night researching, I’d been planning on going to bed with the kids. I’ve been feeling really drained lately. Not sure if it’s diet related, but I don’t see that I am under nourished in any way. My diet may be restrictive, but I’m eating all the time and getting lots of protein and good oils.

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See! Home made chicken & cauliflower curry with cauliflower rice…and jasmine rice for the hubs and toddler
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Made mango lassies for everyone but myself. Me? I enjoyed my green smoothie.

I suspect I am just really tired and need to catch up on some zzzzzs.

So, with that in mind. I bid you good night.

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My face and neck are eczema free!
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The hands need work. I know they look scary. But dry is good. Under the flaking skin is new skin with new promise.

 

Day 31

It’s day 31! That means I’ve been doing my ‘No Frivolous Shopping’ challenge for a month. I’ve gone a month without shopping once before and it was incredibly hard and I immediately spent again as soon as I was done. Somehow, with the goal of a whole year looming ahead, 31 days didn’t seem so hard. Probably because it is a mere drop in the bucket. Also, I’ve had the eczema struggle to distract me.

I can’t help feeling like I am somehow failing my shopping challenge in that new expenses have been incurred as a result of my eczema detox. However, as I go over and over what I’ve spent, namely money on whole, organic foods, I don’t actually find any unwarranted spending. The fact that we have not eaten out at all for 31 days is huge. I am in the kitchen more, but not that much more. My hubs has noted that our counter top compost bin fills up really quickly what with all the greens I’ve been consuming; he has to empty it out every day now.

I like that the whole family is benefiting from the increased greens in our diet. I am putting it in everything, so it is inescapable. No doubt my hubby is going out on his own during the day and eating junk food, but so long as it’s not in front of the kids, it’s alright. Though, in my ideal world, we’d both be entirely on the same page and enthusiastic about maintaining our health. Perhaps one day…

I know my taste buds have been reset after essentially two weeks of low to no sugar. I ate a cucumber today and actually could taste an intense sweetness in it. A carmelized squash my mum-in-law cooked tasted like it was drenched in honey, and she swore up and down that it was just the pure squash.

I must say I am looking forward to being able to add a bigger variety of fruits back into my diet. Two more weeks to go of this more extreme approach and then I can start re-introducing.

Still itchy today. I admit I am not fully in control of my itch response. As a result my hands are pretty sore, but the wounds are healing quickly…and right now, as I write, I am not feeling the overall itch that was distracting me earlier in the day.

I am considering adding some meditation time to my day, just to visualize my skin in the state I want it to be in. I found myself fearful that after all this effort, I would not be able to overcome this eczema. I know how powerful the mind is when it comes to healing…now I need to harness it and also trust it.