When I arrived, I stood in line, not only with the empty pill bottle, but also the little paper bag they put it in. That’s biodegradable, so I didn’t have to do that. When I got to the counter, I briefly explained what I was doing and awaited a reply. The lady working the counter wasn’t sure. She turned and asked the pharmacist. He said, “Sure. We can take the label off and refill it.” Yes, success!!! Continue reading
No, I’m not predicting the end of the world. It’s the last day of the challenge! It’s been a really good year. I thought I might look back at the post from day 1. Wow! A lot has changed since then!! Here’s the first post.
Day one of any long time period challenge is more of a normal time than a reality check of the radical decision you just committed to. I decided to do this challenge very early in the morning, which is the time my monkeys are the most active. Yeah, I should probably explain that. My friend Steve says my thoughts are like a bunch of monkeys next to a banana tree, so we frequently refer to the monkeys in my head. Monkeys are fun and cute, so we’ll go with it.
So I had breakfast with my kids and decided to tell them the news! We will not be shopping retail for a year. No new toys, no new video games, no new clothes. After the silence, then denial, they reluctantly agreed that it was a good plan, although they thought a year was a bit excessive. Well, with all the excess in our society, why not add a little more excess? LOL
The ironic thing here is that I still have to shop sometimes for work, and this being the first day of the challenge, I had to go to Ikea for stage set stuff. I had an Ikea gift card for $50 in my wallet, just to complicate things. So off I went to shop, placing the stage items in the cart, along with a few things that I could buy with the gift card. Well, as we all justify the stuff we absolutely need, my justification here was that I should use up the gift card since it probably will get lost or decrease in value over a year. As I was about to check out, I put the stuff back. I don’t NEED it and I’m not even sure I WANT it. I was there, I had ‘Ikea’ money and everyone needs more stuff, right? I still have the gift card and plan to give it to someone I know that is getting his first apartment and actually has a few basic needs.
I told a few people about my plans, or my challenge. A few people thought it was a good idea and were not surprised. (They obviously know me well and there’s not many things I can do to surprise anyone) Others said it was cool, but they could never do it. Let me just say here that I like to shop, but not like most people. I hate malls and I hate spending money. I like material things though. There. I said it. I have an internal struggle with wanting simple and less fighting with a desire for more. I was raised in a very materialistic house. I have to call it a house, not a home, because a much higher value was placed on the material things in the house, not the people living in it.
I suppose I’m doing this to prove to myself that I don’t need a lot of stuff. I’m also doing this for my kids to teach them about another world, a crazy different world that exists outside this wealthy, affluent bubble we live in. A world where poverty and hunger exist because 20% of the world has 80% of the stuff, including food and water. As Gandhi said,“There’s enough for everyone’s need, but there is not enough for everyone’s greed.”
This challenge is a very small step. I know I have a long way to go here, but if everyone just made some really small sacrifice, our world would change in a radically wonderful way. The monkeys are still processing all of this, along with my kids. Off to day 2…
I had an art show several years ago called Excessable, all of the photographs depicting the excess in our society, how accessible it is and how it doesn’t fulfill us. I’ve used some of these before in my blog posts, but today, they have more meaning to me.
As I stated a few days ago, I’m behind on my 2-per-week goal of creating trashograms. Although these are fun to make, I’m finding other opportunities that have much more impact in the trash society world. I have a few trashograms to share, then some news to share.
I don’t wear a lot of makeup, as a matter of fact, most would say I don’t wear any. I do wear a little bit of eye shadow and sometimes lipstick. (I cringe as I say these things) I’m not opposed to makeup or people that wear makeup, as it’s a personal choice. My reasons for not liking it is it takes way to long to put on and I prefer to stay low maintenance. I also hate the way my face feels with all that paint clogging my pores. I had horrible skin that used to breakout all the time. I stopped makeup foundation and about 98% of it cleared up. Anyway, this is makeup that I’ve had a long time, most of it I was talked into buying. I downsized my makeup by approximately 75%.
I gave this to a couple of pre-teen girls to use for playtime. I don’t like to play dress up. Continue reading
A few years ago, in my “excessable” art show, I had a gift card rug made out of 1296 gifts cards from different stores. The show was in July and I left the rug in the car a little too long in the heat, melting a good portion of it.
I recently used some of the gift cards in a video shoot. I had to take them out and clean them up, as they’ve been sitting in my garage for years. I’ve added a few to the collection, with thoughts of putting the rug back together. Problem: no box tape and no retail shopping. I need to get creative with the pile of cards. I have a few ideas…
I did get creative with the pile of rotary dial phones that were used in the show. I really had no intention of keeping them, but they’re just fun to have around. I’ve used them for many photo shoots, video shoots and props. Right now, they’re a permanent art fixture in my foyer.
Here’s some of the photos…
I know it’s crazy to keep all this stuff from my art show, but it’s not in a landfill and I do use it occasionally, or some of it, all the time. I think I’ll hang on to the phones and gift cards for a while. If I do get rid of them, I’ll make sure they go to a great home.
This was written 4 days after Christmas last year on my blog iembracechaos.com.
What is out of the ordinary? Choosing to help others and live differently in a way that changes life as we know it. My kids really didn’t seem all that bothered by the lack of gifts they got from me. They still received the mandatory 27+ gifts from my mother, gifts they will never give a second thought to once they are put away. They were both on board with the plan of donating money to their favorite charities, but I just wasn’t so sure come Christmas, they would still feel that way. I was pleasantly surprised. Christmas evening, after the kids came home, we rented a few movies and enjoyed some time together. After all, I had not seen them for almost a week.
Yesterday we ventured into the stores, only for the purpose of grocery shopping and finding a small rug for my closet floor. No store was exempt from the typical long return lines and post-holiday sale events. Seriously, I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.
I decided yesterday to clean out my closet and get rid of the mountain of unused linens. Why do I feel the need to hang on to stuff that I will never use again? I made the compulsory closet purge, filled up the Infiniti sleigh and headed for the thrift store.
After unloading our surplus of worldly possessions, we went treasure hunting. No, not shopping, treasure hunting. Shopping is buying overpriced new ‘goods’ at large chain stores. Treasure hunting is finding something special, previously owned by someone else at a price that doesn’t break the bank. My kids quickly made their way to the toy section, disappointed that it was mostly baby toys. I headed for the crowded book area, my kids not far behind.
I found a Man Ray photography book for 50 cents, which in the bookstore, was probably closer to $50. Man Ray is one of my photography inspirations, mostly for photograms. My photogram ‘Coffee Addict’ is one of my favorites… not that I have coffee issues or anything like that.
Cole found a Star Wars picture book, which he kept directly in front of his face in the entire time we were there, miraculously not walking into anyone or anything.
As we were making our way toward the front of the store, I stopped to see if there were any jeans or sweatshirts for the boys. I guess everyone has been doing their Christmas purge, as the racks had three times the amount they usually do. I found this t-shirt that pretty much sums up what society is teaching our kids. “WARNING: allergic to lame gifts.” I wanted to buy the shirt just so I could destroy it and take it out of the clothing circulation. I would have saved the small candy cane skull icon though, as it seems appropriate to use as a symbol of our cultural Christmas consumerism. Continue reading
My friend Becca, out in California, had a great blog post last week. cookieandclaire.blogspot.com She said my blog had inspired her and she’s planning to do Christmas a little differently this year… all handmade gifts. Well she has inspired me back!
Last year we did Christmas in a non-culture conforming way. We gave our little envelopes with magnetic poetry words and our Christmas card was a blog site, whydidyougivemethis? I also blogged the 25 days of Christmas and made a book called Excessable Christmas. It’s about living differently and not practicing the cultural chaos and consumerism during the holidays.
I had to design some t-shirts for work with a comic book / superhero look for our volunteers. The associated website is everydayheroes.me. The volunteers are our everyday heroes and the assignment was to use the EH, making into something similar to the S for Superman. The turnaround time was quick on these, so not much design time.
Here’s what I came up with:
After getting teased about the design using the EH with everyone walking around with their hand cupped over their ear saying “ehh?”, someone said the ultimate, horrific words… Ed Hardy. I’m pretty sure I threw up in my mouth a little bit.
So why does this bother me? You should read my blog post on rethinkgood.com to fully understand, but here’s an excerpt:
…what statement are we making by wearing it?
- I support financial insanity
- Food… $12, gas… $40, mortgage payment with late fees… $2367, Ed Hardy t-shirt… priceless
- My shirt cost more than yours! 😛
- The tattoo would have been cheaper
- So what, my parents paid for it
I could add to this list. I guess when they saw the shirt, maybe they saw something like this:
Yes, that’s a menorah. I’m pretty sure Ed has his name on just about everything. What is so desirable about a shirt (or other Ed stuff) that costs a ridiculous amount of money and everyone is already wearing? Don’t get me wrong, I like the artwork, and the quality of the stuff is good, but why does our society idolize it? As far as I know, Ed is not supporting anything good with his money… the probably 90% profit he’s making.
So who owns E.H.? Who knows, he could have copyrighted the initials, but E.H. has now become an icon. Just like the smiley face and Walmart. (yes, that’s a blog post too on rethinkgood.com) Whether or not Ed technically owns EH, make no mistake, he owns EH. We all get sucked into the marketing world, a culture where everything is well advertised and heavily sponsored. Stadiums are named after soft drink companies, generic brands have large chain store names branding them and let’s not forget that WalMart in Frisco is on WalMart street and Ikea is on Ikea drive. Even the paid camps for kids are sponsored by many businesses, all competing for space on the back of the camp t-shirts. What happened to the good old days of propaganda? Today, that would be something like this:
Okay, so today I’m belly-aching. I’ll stop, but I do need to say that this saddens me. I want to be stylish and wear fun clothing, but I want to make the statement that I shop smart, I support good causes and I sport some creativity in my choices. People don’t know, when they see my Ed shoes, that I got them for free. Yes, I’m against Ed here, and have used him as my ‘bad example’, but what I’m trying to say here is that we should all support retailers and brands that are supporting good causes and not ripping off shoppers to make large profits.
Here’s a photo I had in a gallery showing a few years ago I thought you might enjoy.
Blog post sponsored by trashsociety.com, a division of iembracechaos.com, and a subsidiary of the guy that designed and owns the original smiley face. ©®™♥
Wow! I’ve had lots of questions about how to order my self-published book. If you would like to order one, please go to http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1124341, or shoot me an email that you want one, as I have ordered some extras. Here’s the book info:
ISBN: yeah, not so much. Self published and I’m not famous… yet.
Price: blurb.com $26.95 + shipping. From me, $26.00 and I’ll pay for the shipping. **All book proceeds go to Casa Hogar Elim**
Softcover: 120 full color pages (like I would ever do black and white)
Language: English, I think.
Book Dimensions: Square, I like squares, 7″ x 7″
Thanks to all of my friends for your encouragement on this crazy little blog project. It has inspired me to follow my four year old dream of writing a book, to hopefully get published by someone other than me. The research begins NOW and you can check out the details at rethinkgood.com or become a fan on Facebook at facebook.com/rethinkgood.
Excessable Christmas is a recent self-published book from blogging the 25 days of Christmas on iembracechaos.com. This book highlights the excess in our society and the Christmas consumerism, with a quirky twist. You can preview and or purchase this book at Blurb. All proceeds will go to Casa Hogar Elim orphanage in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!
Here’s a preview…