Twitter, patter, three hours later…

Twitter is insane.  If you aren't familiar, it is a random stream of thoughts, only 140 characters long.  You "follow" people and the "follow" you back.  Think of it as virtual stalking.  It is a running stream of the thoughts of people you follow.  They are supposed to be people who have the same interests as you, but that isn't always the case. 

The point is that Twitter has become Mind Clutter.  While I am busily, (well, kind of busily…when I'm not spending 3 hours at a time fixated by what @imreallyclever is doing at 3am), trying to get rid of unneccesary physical things in my life.  Then Twitter comes along and it is addicting. 

Everyone starts with 0 followers and you build up your followers and those you follow.  So instead of collecting Stuart Weitzman shoes, now I'm collecting Twitter followers.  Isn't it the same brand of insanity?

There are strategies and methods and websites to help you gain followers, just like there are those same things to score a pair of $750.00 shoes for $200.00!

The other day someone posted a link on Twitter to an article about a minimalist house, with pretty pictures of clean surfaces, which of course I can't find to post here because it has scrolled away and I didn't do the smart thing and save it immediately so POOF, its gone.  And I thought it was funny, because in the middle of this stream of mostly drivel, none of which I need, is this wonderful article about minimalism, which Twitter is most certainly not. 

I'm trying to achieve something like the picture below, but maybe not to this extent, well, because I HAVE teenagers.  Those bare surfaces would stay bare for all of 30 seconds before someone plopped soccer shoes, handbags, car keys, gum wrappers and any assortment of crap they carry around right on that gorgeous glass table top- are those people nuts?  Glass? Ever heard of fingerprints??

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So my question is, once you de-clutter your life of physical things, how do you keep out the Twitter Clutter and do the same for the mind, because really, I think I'm just exchanging one addiction for another- and sadly, neither include chocolate. 

Boating is awesome (and really, really expensive)

We spent the day at the lake last week with my Emily, my boyfriend's daughter and his boat.  Every time I go boating, I forget how much I love, love, love to be out on the water.  Some of it has to do with my heritage.  I'm part Hawaiian and spent part of my youth basking daily in water, right up until my parents went brain dead and moved us all to Idaho. 

But boats are a terribly expensive to maintain and apparently a lot of work to boot.  My boyfriend complains about waxing and vacuuming and wiping down and trash removal. 

Welcome to my world buster, that's just a typical day including my legs, housekeeping, making dinner and cleaning up.  Quit your whining and get us out on the water. I always make the grub.

Apparently it doesn't end there.  Included are oil changes, registration, broken parts, GAS.  Last time we went I offered to pay for the gas.  Dumb, dumb, dumb.  It costs a lot to haul those teenagers around a lake.  So a side effect of being unemployed is that I won't be buying a boat anytime soon.  Whew.  Cross that off my list. 

Concerts and There went another Twenty

Last week my boyfriend and I went to see the Indigo Girls in concert.  They were at a lovely venue in the foothills where we live.  I adore going to concerts there because it is an entire experience different than a huge arena with thousands of screaming fans.  Well, the part about the screaming fans still applies, but most of them were women holding hands.  I'm off topic.

Every summer I check out the concert schedule and pick two or three that I'll love.  This week we saw Death Cab for Cutie there and they were phenomenal.  But back to to the girls…

Their opening band was- wait, now I can't remember the name of the band, but at the time, with the breeze blowing and great food and good vibes, I thought they were amazing.  So I trooped over to the swag tent and bought myself their CD.  Ask me today where it is, quick, make me answer!!

The answer is- I have no idea.  They were great and at the time I thought I'd come straight home, load them onto my ipod and enjoy them the entire week.  Nope.

So once again the Law of diminishing kicks in.  How many CD's does one person need?  Downloaded tunes? Records?  Tapes?  OK, no one has tapes anymore but you get the picture.  I bought the CD and now what?  I already have more songs on my ipod than I can safely navigate.  Sometimes when I'm running on the treadmill and get distracted by the looooooong list, I almost fall off like those dorks in movies that fly into the wall behind them.  CJ Craig does it in the very first episode of The West Wing and it is hilarious, but I'd rather NOT. 

I got caught up in a concert moment. And I hope to do better in the future. 

Facebook message and Nordstrom Torture

Here is a Facebook update from a gal I've known for years: 

"SRM is so excited for lunch at Cheesecake Factory and Nordstrom Pre-sale shopping with my girls.  Look out Nordy's :) ."

There are 6 responses so far, she gets lots of comments to her posts because she is cute and spunky and writes funny stuff. 

But is she purposely trying to torture me?  Because every word is a knife in my no shopping, Nordstrom Pre, During, AND Post Sale avoidance strategy? (No, it doesn't seem like paranoid, drama queen thoughts.)

This is exactly the behavior I would have engaged in pre-experiment.  Stuff yourself silly, make friends with the store clerk who can score you the best deals, and spend the equivalent of a semester of college tuition or more.  Gosh, I miss it.

Nordstom Anniversary Sale or Eve eats an apple

I got the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale catalog in the mail today.  Traditionally I would text my children I'd be out of reach for a couple of hours, find a quiet spot, open it with a hushed reverence and spend an inordinate amount of time figuring out which of the amazing "sale" items I needed this year. During the sale they roll out the hottest new fall items, and advertise the BEFORE and AFTER sale price.  Which makes you feel stupid if you don't buy at the BEFORE price. 

"The prices are going up!  Alert everyone! Don't be an Idiot! Buy! Buy! Buy!"

The sale starts July 17th.  The back of the catalog actually says, "Shop Soon- Prices Go Up August 3rd". 

Tonight when I saw it on the mail pile I just blanched and considered torching the whole house to avoid having to deal with the pain of missing the big pilgrimage to the store. 

One year, in the heyday of the technology boom, when I was making much more than I've made in years, I remember going to sale and spending about $3,200.00 on new "work" clothes.  That was my crutch.  But I look back on spending that much money in one swoop and feel like it was crazy. 

"I've gotta have power clothes for work!!!"

Since the Stop Shopping, Start Saving initiative, I see things so differently and it continues to amaze me how little I feel I need things.  Not that I don't want them.  Because that Ruffle-trim jacket on page 24 from Nick & Ro is looking awfully cute… and oh, so me. Temptation.

The sale in my area starts of Friday July 17th, so I'll spend most of that day twitching and forcing myself to drive in the opposite direction.  I'll try to talk myself out of "just looking" or scheduling a lunch with someone followed with an innocent "oh my gosh, did you know they were having the Anniversary Sale"? 

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I’m just as full when I eat at home

I just finished a meal of left-over Turkey Tetrazzini from a lunch a
couple of days ago.  Normally I eschew any left-overs and turn my nose
up like Oprah with a private chef.  But being unemployed has a certain
cause and effect on the luxury of eating out.  Mostly it is just
effect, I shouldn't t eat out.

There was a strange phenomenon I noticed after finishing the Tetrazzini, I was full.  Usually I think I'm just full after a nice meal of sushi, or 5 Guys Burgers and Fries, or Chinese food, or… well, the list is long. 

My boyfriend's family has eaten out for years. They've raised entire
generations of children who don't know what a pot or pan is, or have
never actually turned an oven on, other than to dry socks when the
clothes dryer broke, so it really makes the situation hard.  My family
has eaten out more over the last year than I think we ever have, and
coming off that in the throes of unemployment is hard, like when the
doctor told me I had to give up coffee, chocolate, peppermint,alcohol and tomatoes.  Huh?  Did he just pick the 5 most important foods in my life randomly or was he serious? 

Stuff we really, really, really don’t need

This might be hard to believe, but I've spent the equivalent of a gazillion dollars on stuff I don't need. 

How does this happen?  

Here is a perfect example of something that looked really COOL in a magazine, or on an online website, or when I was high on crack maybe because I can't think of another reason anyone would purchase the following item. 

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Another excuse might be total boredom, winning the Idaho lottery or loss of the entire frontal lobe.   

Fancy phone thing- $7.00 plus shipping, hair tie- $.30 cents.  

Otherwise doesn't this solution do just as good a job?

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Paint, old blue jeans and desperation

When you can't just run out and replace things, their importance takes on a whole new meaning. 

A few weeks ago I spent 5 hours at a girlfriend's house painting.  It is a story too long for a blog post, but she needed some serious help.  Her ex-husband is dying from cancer, her daughter was graduating from college and she had family descending en masse for the weekend.  Typical foundational stuff for a BREAKDOWN, so I went over to help her.  I'd just left a volunteer job at a charity event and forgot we were PAINTING and I was trying to scuttle over there as fast as I could before she stuck her head in a 5 gallon bucket of paint.  But I did do the most important thing and stop at the liquor store to pick up two bottles of champagne.  The Good Kind of Girlfriends just don't show up to comfort you without liquor, and somehow getting drunk before noon on a Saturday seemed like just the thing she needed.  Sometimes I just wonder how smart I really am…

When I arrived and remembered we were PAINTING, I realized I had one of my all time favorite pair of jeans on.  She offered to let me borrow some or find some of her ex's sweats, but I was too stubborn, or tired, or stupid, or didn't want to impose, or wanted to start drinking, but duh, I left them on.  If I'd been smart I would have painted in my underwear. 

Trying to be careful was easy at first, but after the first couple of glasses of champagne on an empty stomach, I threw caution to the wind, and at some point in the fuzzy afternoon splattered paint down the leg of those wonderful, well fitting, broken in jeans.  These happened to be one of the only pair I can wear to work, a darker wash and a trouser fit.  So basically I screwed up and now don't even have the pleasure of going out and finding a replacement pair.  That sucks. 

Brand whores

My daughter and one of her best friends have been searching high and low for certain pairs of "Laguna Beach Jeans."  The jeans range in price from $99.00 to a few hundred bucks.  I remember buying my first pair of Levi 501 jeans in college for about $19.00. 

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These aren't the only "high end" jeans out there and I'm sometimes blown away at $200.00, $300.00 and $400.00 dollar jeans.  I admit, t I've paid $158.00 for a pair of David Khan jeans at Nordstrom.  I've worn them for two years and love them.  Are they worth it?  I'm not sure, but I'm not going to wear bling bling pockets and white whipped stitching and flaps decorated to high hell as a status symbol.  How did I raise such a brand conscious kid?  Was it the Coach purses, the MK shoes, the Levis?  Seriously, I'm just not sure how it happened.  She's not the worst offender I know, but this is the same sweet kid who, when I tried to buy her some Sketchers in 6th grade told me, "Mam, I don't need those fancy shoes, let's just get the $20.00 ones."  Some women standing next to me almost fell over and commented on what a great kid I was raising.  She's still a great kid, but somehow has morphed into a brand crazed, acquisition hungry teenager.  Good thing she's got two jobs. 

Serenity, Nature and being miles from a mall

Last weekend I was finally starting to recover from the "swine flu incident", so my boyfriend and I took our girls and a few of their friends to some property he owns a couple of hours from where we live.  Here are the girls at the start of our trip:

Girls  

Aren't they beautiful? 

I wish I had a picture from the end of the trip when they were all weeping from sunburn even though I kept yelling SUNCREEN at the top of my lungs every 15 minutes we were on the boat.  I can only imagine how much pain they were in, we were boating for over 5 hours and they seemed to think that sunscreen would prohibit them from ever having another boyfriend and living life as lonely spinsters. 

The trip was amazing, we went hiking to a damn the first day and ate dinner at a remote lodge.  The accommodations consisted of a trailer and a small cabin, more of a shed really.  I always marvel at the simplicity of going up there and leaving everything behind.  It reminds me of what I'm striving to accomplish by throwing off many of the trappings that surround my life and resisting filling it with more, more, more!

When I got divorced two years ago, I took my wedding rings to a jeweler with the intent of trading them in and buying myself a big right hand ring.  My daughter Emily had other ideas.  She said it would be cool if we all got matching rings- (at one point she wanted matching tattoos, but I vetoed that idea).  We ended up with cool matching diamonds.  Mine is bigger than the two girls, but they all match.  Or matched.  Here is a picture of Emily just before she dropped hers in the lake. 

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I'm not sure why she was wearing it wake boarding, but when she tried to take it off, it slipped out of her hand.  She looked so sad, and I almost had a heart attack, but in that moment I remembered that things aren't what mattered, and I knew if I yelled at her it wouldn't help, only make her feel worse.  So we got her in the boat and she cried and it broke my heart to see her heart broken.  At that moment I realized that if I hadn't been out on that lake, so far away from all my own status symbols and possessions, I might have reacted differently and I couldn't stop thinking about how much I have and how little most of it contributes to my happiness.  What is important are waterfalls, days on a boat, sunsets, giggling teenage girls, campfires, boyfriends who are so kind and generous to take 6 women to the woods, family, milkshakes and star filled nights with the moon shining- and smores.  I've never been so glad to be that far from a mall.