Are plants like people?

Purging things, trimming, deadheading (can that be done with too small clothing?).

My father died on November 6, 2007. All that he meant to me, all that he taught me, his death, my loss and how, almost two years later I still miss him terribly- is another post.  He was a popular guy.  Even though he had been retired for 11 years, executives from the company he worked for flew in from California and New York to attend his funeral and pay their respects.  They also sent huge arrangements, some of which consisted of beautiful plants.  

I ended up taking most of the beautiful plants to my house.  My mother's deep mourning included purging things that reminded her of his funeral.  I've spent the past almost 2 years trying to nurture, cajole, bribe, threaten and give mouth to mouth to those plants, but my capacity for tending for things or people apparently has a short reach– (3) beautiful children, some extended family, and sporadic success at nurturing a relationship with a man I can do, but the plants just aren't going to make it.  Still, I have trouble letting go. Here is a picture of one that is so sad:


And when I bought these a couple of months ago, they were full and amazing and colorful and bright…


Should be trash right??

But putting them in the trash is so difficult, just like some of those relationships we should let go as well. Plants clean my air and brighten my house and look great for the first few months I have them.  Then they start to brown around the edges and fall limp and sag a bit.  Wait, am I talking about plants or men?  Just kidding.  Don't be so sensitive. 

Someone take me by the hand and tell me it is OK to throw this stuff out, that it will clear my head and my space.  And to just let go already. 

Food waste, or why the hell didn’t I eat that sooner?

It is a typical Saturday morning, although during the summer I love going to the farmer's market and today I'm not going to make it.  My son had to be up early for work.  Because of circumstances better left un-said on the WORLD WIDE WEB, he doesn't have a driver's license right now.  10 more days, 10 more days, 10 more days and he'll get it back after 20 hours of community service and a hefty fine to the city.  No, he isn't a serial killer or even a drug dealer, he's just missing part of his frontal lobe.  According to research, it hasn't developed yet, and after I whacked him up side the head it may never develop. 

So I got up early to hang out with him, make him a little breakfast and then drive him to work.  We bought him a bike to use for the three months he wouldn't be able to drive, but when I asked him where the bike was (couldn't see it out the back window in the bike rack), he laughed and said it was in the back of a friend's car from yesterday.  He just "forgot" to get it out before his friend drove off.  Duh.  Frontal lobe, please grow quickly. 

But back to the food.  How do I get distracted so easily? 

So I'm up early because I'm a terrible swooping mother who didn't make him walk the 2 miles to work, and I start cleaning out the fridge. 

Bad choice. 

What I should have done is leave all the rotting food in there until the fridge implodes on itself and has to be replaced. 

I'm a single working mom, and not to make excuses (HERE COMES AN EXCUSE), but life is hectic.  Did I mention I've lost my frontal lobe and am starting a new business?  Twice last week I left my house around 7:00am and arrived home shortly after 10:00pm. 

Entreprenuerism = lack of sleep, grumpy mom, starving children, dirty house.

So I was excited this morning to do a some house cleaning, starting with the fridge. 

3/4 can spam

15 oz feta cheese

3 bratwurst

1/2 lb blueberries

and on, and on, and on

I threw away the equivalent of meals for a family of 4 for a month.  It was depressing and I can't help but think there is some way to avert this kind of financial disaster.  How in the world does anyone manage their food?  Is there software for that like Quicken manages finances, or like Basecamp manages projects?  Something that will rotate my food, tell me what leftovers I have, send me e-mail reminders to eat the leftover chicken and shout out when I open the fridge and reach for something new-

"Hey DUMMY, eat the bratwurst first!!!!"

A Wind of Change is Blowing

Change.  That is a frightening word to most people.  My world changed drastically earlier this year when my company downsized and I up-sized from the stress.  I gained 10 pounds and have spent the last few months trying to work them off. 

So I decided to abandon consulting work which was paying some of the bills, a job search that was going fairly well and chuck all that to partner with people I barely know and start a new company based on an area of marketing to which I am fairly new. 

Guess I'd better keep the "size up" clothes handy.

My head keeps telling me to run and find a job with a well funded start-up with a snazzy product and lots of head room for success.  My heart is telling me to jump in head first and work 20 hour days until we make this company successful.  I've never been one to play it safe, so I guess staying tuned might be in order.  And a few prayers and lots of mint chip ice cream.  And chocolate. 

Back to relationship clutter

Now that I've put Twitter down for a few minutes, let's get back to another kind of clutter- the kind that comes with strings so tight and bonds so hard to break that most often we ignore them, much in the same way we are able to ignore centuries of nick knacks piling up on shelves. 

I've been thinking a lot about emotional clutter lately.  If I were to go into the details, you would soon yawn with a mighty YADA YADA YADA and QUIT YOUR DAMN WHINING SISTER, WE'VE ALL GOT PROBLEMS.  So I won't.  Suffice it to say that being unemployed has another unsavory downside- too much time to think about life.

So as I get rid of stuff I keep coming back to the question, shouldn't we purge emotional clutter too?  Not to get overly ambitious on perfection, but what about those relationships that have run their course, or are destructive.  Sometimes friendships or relationships go along for years, then something happens, someone changes, circumstances vary.  I have a friend who is a believer that people come and go in your life for a reason.  She celebrates those changes and tries to see the value that each person brought or brings to her.  Then, if it is time to move on, she celebrates those gifts as opposed to gnashing over what went wrong.

Isn't that a wonderful theory?  It allows you perspective, change.  Or is it shortsighted in terms of building and maintaining relationships- learning and growing? 

Shopping with Emily

Back To School. 

That simple phrase brings dread and fright to mothers.  It consists of:

Registration = $$$

Gearing up for sports season= $$$

School supplies= $

School clothes shopping with your daughter= $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

This is a similar system to those restaurant guides where one $ means a reasonable meal and $$$ means you just ate the smallest piece of meat you've ever seen for $69.00, and veggies were extra.

Today Emily and I spent part of the day shopping for school clothes.  This is a particularly painful process for me because of my inability to jump in and enjoy it.  She shops and I mope around, sometimes pretending I'm a horse in need of blinders.  Ive made this commitment not to shop, and that just takes all the fun out of it.  Tomorrow, double the torture, because we are continuing our quest with her older sister.  So double the trouble, double the fun, and double the bill.  Yikes. 

Treadmill be gone.

I sold my elliptical machine.  It wasn't a treadmill, but still represents what everyone thinks of when they think treadmill purchase. 

I'll buy one and use it every day. 

It is cheaper than a gym membership.

I can still exercise when the weather is foul.

Then you buy one and use them for the first couple of weeks and then… nothing.  The treadmill becomes expensive real estate.  I paid $899.00 for mine, and figure that for the same amount of money I could have purchased closet improvements instead of hanging my clothes off the handle bars.  I could have purchased clotheslines instead of using it as a drying rack.  I could have rented storage space instead of shoving things onto it. 

So I sold it a year later for $395.00, wait, the guy gave me $400.00 even.  I think he felt sorry for me, but what he didn't know is that within a few weeks, his girlfriend will be hanging her jacket on it when she comes home from work. 

As a side note, I was thinking about training for the half marathon I signed up for in October.  I know, stupid.  But I kept wondering why, when I run with my friend Kim, it seems like she can go so much faster than I can.  Then it hit me.  In the leg game, Kim won the lottery and I got totally shafted.  Hers are long and lean and well, long.  Mine are short and stubby and well, short.  Simple mathematics dictate that she can run faster than I can with her longer stride.  I got totally ripped off.  And I'm mad.

Relationship clutter (but first another Twitter moment)

I'm busily getting ready to either have a garage sale or pack up half my house and drive it to the thrift store.  If only I could get off Twitter long enough to work on the project.  This post was going to be about relationship clutter, but I honestly think I might be addicted to Twitter. 

Not that there isn't enough to do; cook, clean, fold laundry, shave my legs, pull weed (OK, truth is, I never pull weeds), maybe GET A JOB, but Twitter has me in a strangle hold.  It is such a weird phenomenon.  At first I didn't get it, then unfortunately I got it pretty good.  Now I'm getting it really good and am fascinated by everything that is happening in the world.  One minute I can be reading about some celebrity and their drunken birthday bash.  The next minute I'm nodding my head vigorously about "going green".  Then there are the actual work related topics, like marketing and social media and branding—- those are where I should be spending my time, but then I hear the siren call of Ashton Kutcher and think-

I'll just spend a couple minutes seeing what he and Demi are up to tonight. 

One Tweet says he is going to Vegas.  Hey, I'm going to Vegas.

Wonder what he's doing there?

He posts a Twitpic, so I check that out.

It is at the Palms Casino, so I go to their web site.

He and Anne Heche are doing a one night show.

Which night (searching of Palm site ensues).

Wow, they have a Barbie Suite, that's kinda cool.


Oh, my gosh, the suite is Designed by famed "Happy Chic" interior designer Jonathan Adler.

I love him. Wonder what he's up to and if he Tweets.  Better finish on Palm's site first…

Oh, my double triple gosh, they have an Erotic Suite that "features a Show Shower™, full bar, iPod® Hi-Fi, and an eight foot round rotating bed with mirrored ceiling."

Now I'm really distracted. 

So I decide to Google "Twitter Addiction" and up come some references, but I don't think anyone has properly addressed it as a true malady.  And since an hour has passed since I thought "I'll just spend a few minutes checking out some interesting things", someone is clearly missing an opportunity to rake in big bucks in a specialized area of psychotherapy.  Hopefully they'll call me to be their first client. 

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??


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.