hello? hello? can you hear me now? [minimalist challenge item #346]

[item] Baby blue rotary dial phone… broken.

[purchase info] Purchased on eBay

[time in my possession] Approximately 6.5 years

[last used] Several months ago as a decor piece

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Medium

[destination] Freecycle

[replacement item] None

[info] I was going to save this and make something artistic out of it.  It broke when I tried to hang it on the wall.  These suckers are HEAVY!  I’m sad it broke.  I still have my collection of them displayed in my entry way.

boom! [minimalist challenge item #335]

[item] Photography light boom stand

[purchase info] Purchased new off eBay

[time in my possession] Approximately 7 years

[last used] At least 4 years ago

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Easy

[destination] Freecycle

[replacement item] None

[info] I just don’t use it or need it.

it’s hotter than… [daily good photo]

116°?!!??  I really have no idea how hot hell is, but I’m pretty sure we have to be close.  So how is this good?  I find a lot of good in this crazy hot weather.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m tired of it since it’s been over 100° for over a month now.  Okay, here’s my ‘good’ in it:

My mobile thermometer.  I’m glad my car has this temperature feature.  That might not seem like a big deal to anyone reading this, but my car is 15 years old.  I like simple ‘old-fashioned’ gadgets like this, not the complicated computers they have in all of the new cars now.  You can say I’m getting old and I like old stuff, but I love technology, so I don’t think that’s the case.  I just don’t need technology everywhere and on everything in my life.

Southern living.  I lived in Wisconsin and in Chicago, Illinois long enough to know I love living in the south.  I’d rather deal with this heat for a couple of months rather than the snow and cold.  Last time I was in Wisconsin, that little gadget said -17°.

Cool off!  Although the A/C in my car works, it’s not the coldest air ever.  And let’s not even talk about my electric bill even though I keep my thermostat set on 80°.  But we do have air conditioning.  Down in Mexico, only 8 hours away in drive time, there’s many people without this luxury.  They have hotter temperatures than we do… without anything to cool them off.  Sure, you can say, “They’re used to it…”, but really?  It’s good that I can afford, and have… air conditioning.

gracie rockin’ the guitar [daily good photo]

[like… a lot]  Once a month on Thursdays, we go to the nursing home across the street to hang out and sing with the residents.  I love to hear their stories, like Flo who was an incredible artist and painter or Ethel, 99 years old that was a biker chick in her younger days.  Gracie, whom we’ve never met before, joined us last night to sing.  She kept looking behind us because she saw an extra guitar and she kept asking for it.  Finally Steve got up, gave her the guitar and Gracie rocked the house!  She was harmonizing, belting out the hymns with her beautiful voice and playing the guitar like she had been in a band all her life.  Her happiness quickly spread to all of us around her.  I can’t wait until next month to see Gracie again.  I’m thinking we need to find her a guitar, as it’s unusual that we have an extra one.

road trip adventure

18 hours in a car?  Not a problem for us!  Yeah, I would love to fly and get to my destination quickly, but I’m good with a road trip.  There’s more adventure in driving.  (Texas to northern Colorado)  I don’t have photos of all the beautiful sights along the way, but I have some.  God was showing off His beautiful art yesterday… lightning, rainbows, rain, sunshine, deserts, mountains, clouds, storms, trees, rocks, sand…

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peacock feather [daily good photo]

[like]  I like, okay, love peacock feathers.  The colors are bold and beautiful, but more than that, they are a sign of protection.  I’ve studied Persian rug art and the peacock feather is a sign of protection.  This particular feather is wrapped around my happy tree.  The happy tree is a dead tree that is stained bright blue and stands tall by my front door.  It’s an art piece that I love to look at every time I enter or exit my house.  Luckily I don’t have an HOA and I have really awesome neighbors.

bird singing on the roof [daily good photo]

[appreciate]  A cardinal sitting on my roof, singing for over 10 minutes.  I got my phone out and opened an app that plays bird sounds and I talked to him.

 

tomorrow is the last day! [day 364]

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.

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seriously… behind again? [day 361]

Yes, it’s almost the end of the challenge and I’m behind again in blogging.  I have the momentum and the desire to keep up the no shopping thing, but I need a break from the journaling thing.  I want to sleep in one day instead of getting up at 5am.

I scheduled a vacation to spend some time alone to figure out what I want to do with the year of lessons I’ve learned.  I have many ideas, but I need some time to process it all.  I won’t be alone that week, I’ll be with my kids.  I think we’re going to hit the road.  No plans, just see where it takes us.  One week of down time.  I’ll think and process when we return.

This photo kinda says it all.

air is not free [day 355]

So I did take a day off to pick up the camper and to play a little bit.  I have to ‘fess up.  I had to make a purchase.  There was no possible way around it.  I had to buy a tire and some air. Here’s the story.

The camper had been sitting for 4 years, probably most of it on the flat tires.  We were able to fill them up with air, including the spare, although one of them was looking a little leaky.  Might as well try to use them, right?

We decided that on the way home we should stop and check the tire pressure and see how they’re doing.  One of the tires was a little low, and I didn’t have any cash for the air pump at the gas station.  I made a joke about using a credit card for the air pump, but I honestly had no idea… the pump had a credit option!  I guess I must be old, as I remember the days when air was free.  Now air costs $1.00.  I decided to suck it up and pay for the air because at this point, we still had the pumped up flat tires.  I slid my debit card in the machine, still in disbelief that this air pump took credit cards.  Is buying air really buying anything?  Still shaking my head, I pulled the card out, waited for it to authorize my account for $1.00 and the pump started.  As it turns out, the hose had a leak, so I paid to lose 2 or 3 pounds of precious pressure in the low tire.  So I really did pay for air because I got nothing out of that machine.  On to another gas station to pay for more air.  We filled up with gas and we never did stop again for air, we stopped for the tire blow out.  Continue reading