fear

I bought plastic

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I bought a plastic cup.  This goes against everything I believe, but I have become super tired of spilling everything in my car.  I  need to drink more water, we all do, but I was spilling more than drinking.  So I broke and  bought a cup with it’s own cover and straw.  Wow, huge purchase!!!

I am trying to get rid of things and not add to the clutter…….but…..this purchase was meant to be.

Take a look at what I saw in my water cup next to my bed this morning, one day after I switch to my sippy cup.

It’s quite possible that I could have taken a swig out of this cup last night in the dark if not for my new sippy cup.

So there you have it.  Beware of the creatures in the night.

Help them now.

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A person can only be pushed so far.

I really do not know how people do it.  How do people continue on peacefully when the world around them is crumbling?

Last week a young mother was shot dead in the middle of the afternoon.  From what I understand there was a fight going on between two groups of girls.  Someone pulled out a gun, shots were fired, and people ran away.  This young mother was running away, to save her life.  It didn’t work.

This was in a neighborhood of housing.  People live there, sleep there, laugh there, feed their children and sing lullabies.  Yet outside at any given moment someone can be shot dead in the middle of the afternoon.

I am so touched by this story, and so entirely confused as to why this violence  is allowed to continue.  Is it because these people are poor? Is it our cities failing to make security and safety a priority?  Is it the crumbling school system, or the rarely existence family support? Is it caused by the onset of  the gun culture?  Or is it really because the rest of the city and surrounding suburbs just don’t give a sh*t?

We need to take a moment and wake the f*ck up.

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Since writing this many months ago, a terrible shooting happened in a small quaint town of about 5000 named Chardon, not too far from Cleveland.  One morning before classes started, three students were shot dead.  A 4th student  is recovering in the hospital and the fifth shooting victim is recovering at home.  Three young people shot dead in cold blood by a 17 year old student.

I have pondered the effects of the school shooting and nothing I come up with makes any sense except that we the people have to start caring about each other.  We need to teach kindness, and tolerance.  We need to teach the basics of  right from wrong in our homes.  We need to be reminded that people can be cruel and bitter, but usually because they are in a painful place, and they need help. We need to do all we can to build bridges in stead of walls.

We need schools that are safe.  And if that means we need police there, then put police there.  If it means we need metal detectors then place the detectors are the door ways.  We need to take bullying seriously, and we need to listen to our children, especially if they are saying something that sounds off-base or unusual.

We need to wake up to the fact that there are drugs in every school.  It’s a fact kids drink and drive, and they have parties and drink their parents booze.  Students cheat on test and make trades for homework, and just like always they have unprotected sex.

Parents need to get their heads out of the sand.  School administrators need to be fair and consistent when enforcing the school codes.  No more hiding the dirty little secrets.

We need to recognize that all students are not the same, some are gay and some students are homophobic.  Students are every race and racism is alive and well in America.  These are issues that continuously harm our society as a whole.  And if we want it to change, each one of us has to personally stand up and say enough is enough.

Regardless of differences each child deserves an education in an environment that is safe physically and emotionally no matter what it takes.  And they are not going to get it unless we demand it.  They need us now, not later.

Start a conversation, let your voices be heard.

“Do you feel lucky?”

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It hasn’t been much more than a week and already I am breaking retracting the contract on our new house.  I was ready for the experience to live in the city with everyone and anyone.  We haggled a bit and signed an agreement last Wednesday.  Over the weekend we checked out the yard because we needed to determine where the fence should be installed for our dogs.

Two days ago, I was at the property with my fence contractor.  He had to measure the entire perimeter, and as we spoke he began to discuss the area behind the garage.  We walked over and to my surprise I found this:

He said, “This is fresh, someone is sending a message.”  It could have been wet for all I know, I was too stunned to touch it.   The graffiti wasn’t there when we made our offer, it wasn’t there Saturday as we walked the yard.  No other nearby garage got tagged, just ours.

This little white girl raised in suburbia, isn’t fit for this.  I started thinking I would actually have to shoot someone.  Then my mind raced on, and I thought if they come in my house, I’d have to shoot them inside and all their guts would be everywhere.  My dogs would probably eat nasty thug guts.  Gross.  At that point, I decided its better to shoot when they are on the porch or when they step onto the property. Less mess.

Oh my God.  Am I going to live like this? I have never even held a gun in my hand, but you know what?  I am going to learn. And when I get good, I am getting the biggest caliber I can handle.  Peace,  love,  don’t f*ck with me.

I called the police, they told me to send the images to the detective unit that handles gangs.  I did that.  I will never hear back, because I am not buying that house. Ever. This is not going to be my problem.

I was only joking previously when I compared this house to the one in Gran Torino .  (awesome movie) Little did I know just how close I was to the truth about lucky house number #7.

However, I do still see the luck in this.  I was lucky to find the graffiti  before we closed and transferred the title.  We literally dodge a bullet or maybe two.  Call me crazy, but so many things lined up, it makes me feel like someone was watching over us.  ( I like to believe that is true, because it warms my heart)

I just sent off the mutual release form and hopefully that will be signed tomorrow by the sellers.  Back to square one, just a bit wiser and a little stronger.

Stay Tuned.  Cheers.

Update 2/24/2012: Seller says they will NOT sign the release.  However, we never signed or initialed the seller’s counter offer so there is no contract in place.  Hopefully now they will sign the mutual release.

Tip: Trust yourself.  I have said this before but it bares repeating, trust your instincts they will never let you down.

Inspiration: ” We all have our own life to pursue, our own kind of dream to be weaving. And we all have some power to make wishes come true, as long as we keep believing.” – Louisa May Alcott

One-day one-thing: Be grateful when something works out.

This is not my Beautiful House.

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Kiwi salsa! That’s all I can think about since the day I saw it.  Well, that is only half true.  When I see it, besides looking incredible,  it reminds me of what I have not done. I haven’t even made my green drink (ginger cucumber etc) yet.  The recipe sits on my home desk.  It’s not even in my “book” yet.  I am hoarding again, but now it’s recipes.

Look at this – isn’t it glorious?

click photo for recipe

Procrastination and excuses, I have a million.  But why?  Do you procrastinate?  Do you make excuses?  Why do we do this?

Somewhere in my head I think when we get our house, and have our few things, that’s when everything will come together.  I don’t think it’s uncommon to say “when this happens” then everything will be right.  But that is so not right. When this happens,”xyz” -then I’ll be able to do “abc.”  This is the motto of doom. And it’s how I have been thinking lately.

I am reading, “Does the Noise in my Head Bother You?”  And it doesn’t bother me.  Did you know his fashion style is inspired by Janis Joplin? I love read about other real people, people I find interesting.  People with spirit.  I don’t care that he is famous, and wealthy. His story so far isn’t about that.  His childhood was very different than mine. I don’t think he waited even once, for anything.

I am starting to believe when you are raised in pretentious (pretentious by Cleveland standards) suburbs, that you lack a certain sense of urgency.  Nothing changes much, people don’t move away or move in.  Life goes on and change is rare within the bubble.  Social expectations are basically written in stone at every level, and at every possible turn.  Gossip and keeping up with the Jones’s is the main stay diet.  I subscribe to neither ( never did gossip), which puts me in the category as inconsequential: weird,  odd-ball, and a target for gossip.

I have been told, by someone that, “People like you, you just don’t like them.”  What a load of crap. I’ve been told, “You expect too much out of people.”  So am I supposed to lower my expectations?  I expect nothing out of people who are mean, how much lower can I go?  I beleive it’s important to have some sort of gauge when deciding who you want in your life.  Sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

I don’t follow the suburban handbook.  So obviously, I cause my own issues when I may disagree, or stand up publicly to what is wrong.  Oops.

Go, do whatever, here's your green light.

The kicker is by the time you realize what has happened you are “in” very deep. You may end up writing you thoughts on a blog just to keep convincing yourself, that everyone isn’t the same, and this isn’t better than that. And I do have every right to think what I like, and I know how to pick my friends.

I feel stifled. As if change isn’t possible for me here.  So I shut down.  Rationally I know this isn’t true, but mentally I feel the oppression.

I don’t know what would have happened to me if I never left.  I can’t imagine what I might believe right now. Unfortunately, what is truly haunting me now is what would have happened if I didn’t come back?

“My God what have I done? “

(ironic side-note David Byrne married a woman who was raised in my hometown)

Huge Motivator, It’s Really Small

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I can’t believe I have done it once again.  I am setting myself up for one more let down only this time it’s going to be the U.S. court system that delivers the blow.

This poor guy, I imagine he is poor now.  According to court records his 17 parcels are all on the chopping block.  Well I decided to try to take one off his hands.  This new possible house, I’ll call it No.3, is small.   Not unlike the house in my original plan, the small house in my journey to living better with less.

Here’s the kicker; all offers must be approved by the court.  So we put our offer in and wait.  Thus giving me enough time to question myself, and ponder the pros and cons of this “maybe ” purchase.

Love this, maybe someday

No.3 is  a small brick house with a pointy peak over the front door.  Nothing I currently own will fit in this house, therefore I am going to literally have to get rid of nearly everything.  Just like I said I was going to do before, but I still held on with a storage unit.  I told myself it was  because I didn’t know exactly where I would be living next.  (still true, but I think I was holding one to our past life)

Until we hear back, I’ll spend my time on Apartment Therapy looking at ways to make small look wonderful.   I’ll learn how to make form and function work with simple design and create spaces that fit our lives.  This will be fun.

All this time, what I am really learning through this process is even if most things don’t work out  eventually “some” thing will work out .

Then in creeps FUD; fear, uncertainty and doubt.

This house could be a bad decision, but then again, it could be a great decision.  As we get older we can clearly see the trail we have left behind.  Hindsight, that 20/20 bullsh*t that relentlessly gnaws at our psyche.  For some reason seeing that old trail we’ve left behind leads us to believe we have the super-power see our path into the future.  This is not good.

Thinking we know anything for certain about the future is ridiculous.  These thoughts beliefs can hold us back from looking things objectively, making changes, and it holds us back from taking risks.  We are conditioned by events throughout our entire lives, and somehow we decide that however we saw things,  that vision or” fact” should be set in stone.  Oh yeah, that’s what happens when you do” this” or ” that.”

Twenty years ago, I would buy this house and never look back.  It would be what it would be.   And no matter what happened after the purchase I would never look back and say, ” I suspected, I imagined,  I knew that would happen.”  No, I would just accept it, whatever happened, and I would move-on to whatever happened to be next.

How limited is our exposure?  Can you really say you’ve seen it all?  Have I witnessed everything you have witnessed.  Not a chance.

My point here is: forget about it.  Our minds are powerful, take the expiration off your brain and live again.

There’s an entire world of possibilities out there, just waiting.

Cheers!

Tip: Follow your instinct even if everyone disagrees. Repeat as necessary.

Inspiration:“People are disturbed not by things, but by the view they take of them.”~Epictetus

One-day one-thing: Correct negative thoughts in your brain when they happen, don’t dwell in fear.

I Shredded like a Mouse.

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Well the bird food was all eaten, and there were mice droppings everywhere. I am referring to the garage. So gross.

I am a painter who doesn’t paint at the moment. But I have an abundance of art and painting supplies stored all over the place. I have been waking earlier, that has been good, and getting enough sleep, but I still find my self running like a mad woman. So today I took on the garage in a couple areas, canvases and large framed photos, and one heavy box of documents.

I decided after seeing the sunflower seed shells and mice droppings that I best get anything that wasn’t completely sealed out of that nasty garage.

Notice the top right corner of the file box has been chewed. I didn’t do that. Look at all these ridiculous papers, I don’t even know the years, maybe 2006, 2007,08 ? This box was packed full with hanging file holders containing labeled manila folders which were holding these worthless statements and paid bills, for years. It weighed a ton.

I decided to move all these various boxes, holding the papers, canvases, and framed photos to my office, where I could sort in peace. Plus I am attempting to get all my art supplies in one area, the corner of my work office.

I had to use a hand cart, dolly whatever they are called. Four trips from the car to the elevator to the office. I worked on the box filled with papers first. Out of the entire box I kept only one paid medical bill.  One piece of paper.  That’s it.

My shredder started acting up, but I got it going again. It made a huge mess in the meantime. I feel bad for making such a mess and leaving it, but we don’t have a vacuum at the office.  It will have to wait for the cleaning crew. It’s  good thing they are really laid back, every day is good to them.  “Better than Russia,” they say.

All is good, I am working away so next I tackle the canvases, and large framed photos. They were in boxes that I needed for something else, so I was emptying them. I got to the third one and I SCREAMED. I’m embarrassed to say this but when I see mice I scream. It’s an immediate and involuntary reaction. Especially when they are jumping around frantically. I was lucky I could shut the box in time. I held it closed with one hand and searched  for tape the other.

Good thing there was only one mouse.

I had to get this mouse out of my office, out of the building and out of this box.

I felt much better once I taped the box shut.  I relaxed a bit and I began to feel sorry for the little creature.  I decided to chauffeur the mouse back his home in the garage, at least if he had family or friends he could stay with them. The city high-rise seemed like certain death for the little guy. ( look at his scared worried little eyes…awe )

I gave him his bedding too. That's all from what he chew off my other things in the garage.

So that was my day, more or less.

My take away – if you have anything stored outside or in areas where there could be mice, there will be mice, and all your “stuff” is on it way to quickly becoming garbage. I found a pair of shoes that the mice ate.  Shoes! Who eats shoes? Those mice were likely making their condo out of shoes parts.

Another thing I will suggest since the New Year is coming; buy a cheap accordion file labeled by month or alpha however you like to file bills and such.  Mark it 2012, boldly. Only put items in this accordion that are records you can throw away next New Year’s Eve.  Do not mix important papers, cards, photo or notes with worthless statements and bills.  Repeat that to yourself [really for me] – Don’t mix important things with worthless statements and bills.  Prepare to destroy this self-contained file in a celebratory fire or toss it at the dump. You can seal it closed with duct tape if you worry about identity theft.  Personally, I pity any soul who ever steals my identity, that would be a real bummer for them.

I’m feeling more optomistic and much more focused on moving in the direction of my dreams.  I guess that’s what people mean when they say the most important habit to have is to be pro-active.

If I can get back on track so can you. No excuses. Remember you only have to do one-thing each day! Cheers!

Tip: If you have to store items, invest in heavy duty Rubbermaid containers. If your stuff isn’t Rubbermaid “worthy,” do not save. :)

Inspiration: ” First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.” ~ Epictetus

One-thing one-day: Plan your dream; doodle it, make notes about it, cut out articles that support it and keep it all together in a place you can look at it every so often, make a ” My Dream Project “

How many journals does it take to screw in a light bulb?

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The answer: zero.

A brand new journal sat before me.  I longed to pour my heart out on the pages so that some day I could see where I had been and how deeply I felt.  I wanted nothing more than to fill my journals with beautiful words that would read like a novel.  I created images in my mind of sipping tea and peacefully writing by candlelight, no less.

I was delusional.

Journal-ing became huge when my children were in grade school.  They started at the third grade level and I thought it looked like a good idea.  So I attempted it.  I think my longest consecutive journal-ing lasted four days, tops.

When I was a kid, I was given a diary and told, “Never put anything in writing that will come back to bite you.”   Well that wasn’t any fun, so I wrote in code.  A code that means absolutely nothing to me now, pure gibberish.

What I carried forward into my adult life from that was fear.  The fear of putting things in writing.  My fear extended into me sharing very little, being secretive and guarding my thoughts.  I admit, I am a very private person.  But maybe it stems from the intense code of secrecy I was taught to live by. 

( in all honesty I never even considered that before writing this – that’s the light bulb here)

The really funny thing is no one really cares what someone else thinks or writes, especially when it’s in their journal hidden in a drawer under lock and key. So write to your hearts content, tell stories, write about your dreams, swear, use slang, forget grammer – it doesn’t matter at all.

I have collected all my partially filled journals.  I am not even going to read them.  I am letting go, yet again.  Letting go of one more belief that held me back.  It feels good.

Cheers!

Tip: Question authority.

Inspiration: “Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t goin’ away.” ~Elvis Presley

One-day one thing:  Sort old documents, letters and cards.  Paper clutter is among the worse, because it lingers and grows when you are not looking.

“Stop. Hey what’s that sound?”

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I walked in the park the other day, alone.  I wanted to take photos but my camera’s battery was dead.  The only camera I had was in my phone.  Usually I take my dogs with me as my protectors, but I didn’t have the right harnesses.  I felt a strong desire to walk in the woods.  It was a beautiful day and I was afraid to waste it.  So I went alone.

I walked up the stairs, all 100+ of them.  I was winded.  It was beautiful.  I was alone.  Sitting there catching my breath, taking in the fall colors of the tree tops below, and then all of a sudden I got scared.  Just me,  alone, at the brink of a huge cliff  next to the never ending woods.  Not a soul in sight.

What crossed my fearful mind, after all the horrific scenarios, was that I should think like an Indian Squaw.  Hold on….I have to look up “squaw” because I don’t really know what it means.  Well… that was more than I needed to know.  I guess I need to know, but I didn’t know the bad meaning until I looked for the regular meaning.

I recovered from the stairs and started my hike.  I began telling myself to “stop it, don’t let your fear win, just enjoy.”  So I walked for awhile up until the moment I noticed freshly pressed large foot prints in the mud.  I froze stiff in my steps and listened.  I listened hard.  I wanted to hear those footsteps if they were out there.   I tried to imagine that if I heard foot steps that I could locate the origin of them as quickly as a native Squaw.

Sigh….

I calmed myself down.  Which was no small task.  But still I wanted to locate something by sound alone.  I wanted to be keen, keenly aware.

I continued on, hearing only my own footsteps.   I stopped again.  It was really quiet.  Finally I  heard a bird, a large bird, an owl or something up in the trees.  I tried to locate it, but as I walked on the sound bounced, appearing to move.  Being keen is not that easy.

The voice I heard had a soft mellow earthy tone, relaxed.  I have no idea what kind of creature it was, I never saw it.   It sounded blissfully content, high above me in the seemingly empty quiet woods and that was enough for me.

All this on an indiscernible Thursday from a simple walk in the park, alone.

Tip: Keep your batteries charged.

Inspiration: I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear.”  ~Rosa Parks

One-day one-thing: Wake-up your senses; step outside and do something alone.

I have too many names, just like The Cat in the Hat

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Well this is a nightmare. I am having a digital meltdown.   Remember the days of the early internet:  predators, scammers, and identity theft? Oh My!  Well I was afraid.

I created several email accounts, that go with different blogs and different networks, because I was so afraid to let anyone know who I was. I wanted to protect my privacy, stay safe and not hurt anyone’s feelings.  My business was my business. I didn’t want people to know where I lived, how many children I had or where I worked.  It was a safety concern for me as well as a way to set boundaries.   I wanted to be free to say whatever I wanted without risking any negative consequences.

I created one blog just to express sadness (I have bouts with depression), I call it my “sad blog.”  No one would ever need to see that.  It was for me and me only, but it needed to be connected to some email account.  So I created yet another email.

I also like to post comments.  I have to add my two cents, I don’t know why I like this, but I do.  The problem is many sites use different sign-on applications to allow comments.  So I would sign up, and not even remember what name and or password I used.  I didn’t keep good records, too much work.  So how many names and password do I really have?  No clue.

( btw – #$%@ passwords )

Now,  if you don’t use your real name people think you are the creeper. I believe Facebook and Linked-in changed the game.

This brings me to my secondary issue, I don’t even know my name.  What I thought was my name for 20 years turned out not to be my name, according to the government.  The IRS informed me that I either had to change my name to match my social security card or get a new card with my married name on it.  This posed problems because of medical records, school records, property documents, insurance policies and a few financial items.  I didn’t what to go through all the work of documenting the changes to all these different places.

My super easy solution – I’ll just tack on the married name.  No hyphen. I always hated hyphenated names.  I wanted nothing to do the hyphen.  So the last name is just added at the end of my name sequence; my first name, my middle name, last name, and now a second last name.

How many times am I asked, “What name is it under?”

” I don’t know, ( they look at me like I am nuts) my first last name or my second last name.”

“Hyphenated?”

“No.”

Look at The Cat in the Hat, he is very talented. ( but he does have 5 names)  I tried to be him.  For decades I tried.  But that kind of balancing act is far too much for me to handle anymore.  I am not at all interested in even attempting it and that why I am changing.  I no longer what to exist so many places with so many log-ins, and passwords.  It eats up the limited space in my brain.  I won’t change my physical name ever again (never say never), but I am able to declutter my digital existence.

Right now, one singular  identity will not work for me, however,  I figure that three focused areas and dedicated id’s will suit me fine.  I have work, personal, and personal work. Eventually they will meld together, I am sure…..maybe.

I am saying good-bye to my personal Facebook (deleted it last night), and keeping my business Facebook, ditching some twitter accounts, and eliminating old email accounts.  I am also going to delete old emails, on my personal -work account.  I don’t need to see that huge number at my inbox.  I am never going to read them anyway.  Just letting go feels good.  Phew.  This is a start.  What can you delete?   Cheers.

______

**In writing this, it spurred a thought to unclutter my name to singular name you know like Cher, Prince and Batman. Hmm.  As long as I am tied to a Social Security number I don’t think it matters. (?)

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Tips :   25 Areas of Digital Clutter to Minimalize

A Minimalist’s Guide to Using Twitter Simply, Productively, and Funly

Plug all Your Leaks Or You Will Die

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Today’s One day- one thing: Deleting old accounts, horrible photos and old emails.