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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.

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I have never

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It’s difficult to believe this but I have never sat in a coffee shop alone with my laptop. I have never gone to a library to read. I’ve only once gone to a sit-down restaurant by myself.

I’m no spring chicken. I have done many many other things that maybe someone else hasn’t done. But seriously the simple things are foreign to me.  I never felt I had the luxury of time to do these things, or I would tell myself ,  “I can do that at home.”  Doing simple things at home is never the same as doing them else where, and they rarely happen.

I remember on one vacation I was happy to cook everyone breakfast, no matter what time they woke up.  Looking out the kitchen window there nothing but beach between me and Pacific Ocean.  I determined I could cook there non-stop. At home I might say to the late risers, “I’ve been up for five hours I just had lunch.”

Here is the key, when you get home, there’s always something tugging at you. If not physically then mentally. At least in my case there is. Considering what lives at home off and on; two dogs, two cats, three children, a husband and my mother, tugging at me comes as no surprise.  That’s another reason I am heading to minimalism less stuff to even consider or clutter your thoughts.  You don’t have to bother yourself with items that have to be stored, or saved for another time, or cleaned and repaired.  No.  No Mas. The time is now.

Time to change it up a bit.

I figure I can spare one hour a day, with a minimum of travel time on either side.  So lets make it two hours.  Two hours instantly scares me into thinking I cant do this.  But I know I can if I really want it.  If I want it more than doing laundry today, or lingering on the internet,  I can spare some time to hang with nature.  That’s what I like to do.  You might like something totally different.  Maybe you won’t get to it exactly at the time you wanted, but if you want it, you can get there.

Time to let yourself know, you make the your decisions.  Face it, when we make excuses many times we still don’t even do “the excuse” of why we couldn’t do what we wanted.  Time sucks are everywhere.  You need to identified and destroy those time-leaks.

For a while I was taking the dogs to the park , throwing down a blanket and sketching with my colors pencils and reading.  With this small outing, took my hectic-life and I made it stop.  I was there.  Nothing else was allowed to tugged at me.  It was pretty awesome.

Start simply: here’s an idea you can do at home tonight.

How about a  luxury bath?  Even if you don’t usually take baths, try this on for size; 2 cups of Epsom salts, 1 cup of baking soda, and 10 drops of lavender oil to bathwater as hot as you can tolerate.

I am doing this tonight.  I think I will light a few candles as well.  Love to hear how you like it , if you do it.

Cheers!

Tip: Start small, little changes every day is the best way to change your life, but don’t allow yourself to miss even one day no matter what.

Inspiration: “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”- Buddha

One day – one thing: Take ten minutes, close your eyes and visualize your life as you want to live it.

Kill the Judge Within

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How many of you out there feel like this:

You read all the cool stuff about how to be happy , centered, nurtured, live in the moment, live in love and light, eat this and that, they are super foods after all and then you feel good. Yeah, it feels pretty good reading the words and thinking about the possibilities. “Feel good” words, but when it comes to living that life I have found it’s a ongoing struggle. Sometimes I want nothing more that to eat BBQ chips and watch TV. Yeah, crappy TV.

Don’t get me wrong, if TV was better I would pick the better shows….but that’s not the point. The point is there is only so much a person can take of learning how to be “wonderful in mind, body and spirit”

I hate to admit this, but I find it difficult sometimes to read more then the headlines…..or given a top ten list and I read the only the words printed in bold. I tell myself I will read in depth later. Ha!

I understand when a person is in that world, they are excited and want to share, and thank God they do. I would never spend the amount of time takes to figure out the grams of fiber and calories in any particular green smoothie let alone a book full of these recipes. There’s only so many hours in a day.

When I get my rest and eat well, and balance my day – there’s very little that can get me down. I know when I am really it, “it” being in the moment with a clear mind and heart, everything is so dang easy.

Come to think about it, I have changed my life. I should be proud of my growth instead of measuring myself against those far more centered or advanced than myself. That’s the key. I can read what I want and what I can handle, and if I feel like I am failing because I slack off, then at least I know I only have my self to blame…..which I should never do.

Don’t talk yourself down.

I should acknowledge that I do the best I can on any given day and that to me should be perfection. I am going to try to kill my inner judge. That judge has been living inside me way too long. I think this is a good thing.

Cheers!

Tip: Be as kind to yourself, remember you are still learning.

Inspiration: “Imperfection is not our personal problem, it is a natural part of existing.” – Tara Brach

One-day one-thing: Seek out the beauty in everyday life. Make mental acknowledgements of what beauty you see.

lawyers, liars and cold cash

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Okay so have you ever met with situation where someone screws you out of money and you think to yourself, “I’ll sue them.”

But after you settle down reality kicks in – you can’t possibly afford an attorney. Or you find an attorney who down-plays your case to cover his ass. The first thing out of every attorney’s mouth is: “If this goes to court I can’t guarantee you will win.” Believe me I have been there. So I want to offer advice.

First off: People who are going to make money off you lie. <;- Sear this into your brain.

Second: People who lie rarely put things in writing. Some will provide contracts but then they have you sign first, but they themselves never sign. (I’ve seen this trick in construction and employment)

So here is what you do, try to guard yourself against the two items listed above.

Say you have some work that needs to be done at your house. Take a notebook and date and time stamp everything that is said, no matter how trivial you think it may be. Little details will jogged your memory as time passes and it makes your record keeping more believable.

Set up your phone to record conversations. I have a cell only so I am currently looking for a way to do this. ( any apps out there? if not I will develop one)

I remember once I taped a lawyer from a huge firm, who said to me,” we really f*ck up your case.” It didn’t matter that this recording never saw the light of a court room, it was enter into a court doc and filed which made it public record. They dropped all fees right there and then, that is all we wanted.

Just recently a person on the phone asked if they were being taped before saying some very incriminating statements. (note: ANYONE who asks if they are being recorded is about to tell you the truth.) Of coarse I wasn’t taping him, I was ill prepared. If you are taping anyone do not admit it. It may not be admissible in a court of law, but the proof is there and that proof alone will spark a settlement without going to court. If nothing else remember you can always go viral with the tape.

Another tip is ALWAYS have someone with you for discussions if possible. Witnesses are very powerful. Plus they can help you recall details.

Okay, so if you just got screwed, whether you have a lot of proof or just a little proof, take your complaint to small claims court. The courthouse in my town makes this very easy. Your local municipal court should have similar forms and instructions available. If not , use these two docs: 1. instructions 2. claim form, as a reference and make your own. The worst that can happen is the court will correct you and provide guidance. The cost to file a small claim here is 65.00, .05 cents for copies and they will notarize on the spot.

I always remember those sh*tty landlords that wouldn’t refund my rent deposit. I never fought for return of my security deposit. I didn’t know how.

The limit for small claims is thee thousand dollars, that’s way better than nothing. And you will not rack up any lawyer fees. So if you win or lose at least you tried to get you money back.

If you are in a position where you need help regarding family law. Do it your self. Believe me divorce lawyers want to keep you in court and fighting as long as possible. The more you disagree, or the more a lawyer leads you to believe you can get XYZ, the more money that lawyer makes.

I used Nolo press for child support and visitation issues when I lived in California, it worked like a charm. Also nothing quite beats Legalzoom for so many different legal needs.

The moral of the story, you don’t need a lawyer and you don’t have to take getting screwed.

Fight for yourself, you are the only one who truly cares.

Cheers!

OOPS! ****Forgot this important tip. Make a paper trail that shows you attempted to resolve the matter before you go to court. It always looks good to the judge if you can prove you made an effort to avoid his/her courtroom.

Tip: Stick with facts and stay calm and always be polite in correspondence.

Inspiration: “A lawyer with his briefcase can steal more than a hundred men with guns.” – Don Corleone, in The Godfather – Mario Puzo

One-day one-thing: Organize important documents. This may be a repeat, but with tax time, I have new docs to organize. It’s never stop

Lies

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Geez. I don’t lie. I try not to lie. I can’t remember anything , so I am no good at lying and I don’t feel good if I lie. So I really don’t lie.

I can keep a secret. I am the best secret keeper I know. I never betray a trust. But I want you to know, I don’t hold on to secrets. Meaning, I hold them and throw them away, maybe file them away is a better term. Secrets belong to those who share their life with me. Those secrets belong to the person who told the secret. If someone trusts me, I feel it is my most important responsibility to protect that trust.

I have always believed this. It’s nothing that I can change or that I want to change. It part of me like my face. It is just there.

So when I get lied to or when someone betrays my trust, I am deeply offended. I lose total respect for the person that lied to me. That’s it. I cut them out, or at least I cut them off. I mentally attempt to erase them. Not so easy when the person is a relative.

The inspiration quote I posted yesterday is very interesting to me.

“Lying is done with words and also with silence.”- Adrienne Rich

Take some time to think about this. It may prove helpful. If you are having an important conversation, and someone isn’t actively participating, it may be a clue to their deceit. Keep alert, pay attention to body language and tone. Changing the subject is another red flag.

I have learned that if someone lies once they will lie again. I have learned that liars think it is okay to lie. They easily understand when someone lies, and they go about their day as if nothing happened. Liars hang with other liars. “Birds of a feather” still holds true.

Obviously, I have a low tolerance for liars but I know so many of them. This often puts me in a position of being the oddball. The one who “expects too much out of other people.” I get criticized for expecting people to not lie in general. Who knew standing up for the truth would be met with criticism.

I believe everyone has the right and the responsibility to protect themselves. So don’t put up with any liars they will only hurt you over and over again.

Liars never rarely change. But the truth eventually comes to light. And for that we should be grateful.

Tip: If you call a liar out they will become angry, it’s better to recognize them for what they are and ignore them.

Inspiration: “No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.”- Abraham Lincoln

One-day one-thing: Acknowledge who has your back, nurture that relationship.

“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.

My Dogs are Minimalist Gods

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When I need some inspiration on my road to minimalism, I look to my dogs.   If you have dogs you’ll know what I mean.  They are everything.  All inclusive beings, without owning anything.  They don’t own any material things willingly.  They may have one favorite toy or bone, but those didn’t come with a title or proof of ownership.   Maybe one thing.  Everything else they have we humans  have pushed onto them.   You know like the collars, tags, leashes, sweaters, Halloween costumes, you get my drift.

( who says “drift” without the word snow next to it ?)

Batman pretending to read the paper & Ice

Dogs are super Gods.  Not only because they are minimalist but also because they have  mastered their general day to day existence in life.   Everyday they wake up and it’s the best f*cking day of their lives.  They are ecstatic to see you are still with them and eager to eat their gruel-in-a-bowl.  They play, they run and when they tire they slip in to a deep slumber.

When they wake up or when you come home, it’s like the very best f*cking day in their lives, again.  You are back, and they are eternally grateful.  Their tails give them away,wag wag wag wag.  So dogs actual get two days out of one without much effort, and they are happy about it.  I don’t think there is a day they don’t love.  Every day is great!  Wow, they are super beings!

Beyond the basics;  air, water,  food and shelter,  the only true possession a dog  need is love.

What’s not to learn from that?

Tip: Wag more Bark less

Inspiration: “Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.”- Henry David Thoreau

One day one thing:  Sorting my pets’ bins (cats and dogs) and donating to local animal rescue.