Wednesday, March 31, 2010

More or Enough

We're all living in the same economy right now and times are lean. I'm not telling you anything that you don't already know. We are absolutely barraged with this information every day on the news and in the papers. So I have a question for you. How do you shop? For more or enough?

What do I mean? Do you shop for more stuff because you can, because it's on sale, because it gives you comfort to have more? Or are you a shopper of enough. Enough to eat for a week. Enough to wear for a season. I'm an ENOUGH shopper myself. I know MORE shoppers though. I prefer my way because I like things simple and cleared out. I also have have environmental concerns that I often think about. Do you know that there is now a chip bag that disintegrates quickly in compost? Cool. What will they think of next?

I saw a show this weekend about a hoarder. Wow. I had never seen anything like it before. This woman's husband had died and because of the tragedy in her life she tried to fill this void by shopping. She never threw anything away. Rooms were stacked to the ceiling with not only material goods, but the garbage that was created by them. Even food garbage. So sad. Once she received counseling and help disposing of her things, the woman's life took a turn for the better.

So when I say MORE shopper I don't mean hoarder. I wanted to qualify that. And you know what? The MORE shoppers are the ones who always have things on hand. I know because they have come through for me in a pinch. When I have run out of something. When I didn't have enough. The more shoppers also buy things on sale and get great deals.

Now, as I get ready to move my household, to where I'm not sure yet, I am glad that I am an enough person. Less to pack, move and dispose of. But I do have to be thankful for the more people. We balance each other out. For me, right now though, enough is good.
© 2010 Ann M. De Broux

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Price of Beauty

We certainly are a society of smelling good, looking young and just down right fighting the natural progression of our aging process, aren't we? Hey, I am not criticizing. I'm just stating the facts. I fall into the trap myself. I'm no fashionista. Prefer jeans myself. I do not wear much on the side of make up. Cherry chap stick and under eye concealer and a wisp of mascara are it for me. If I don't do the concealer and mascara, you may not be able to see if my eyes are open or not. Yes, I shave my legs. Oh, and I do color my hair. Yep, fell into that one a few years back.

It's hard to admit to the gray. It is distinguished for the fellas, but can make the ladies seem tired and older than they are. So, yes, I played around with color a little bit. First I was blonde. Way too much upkeep for me. Then more red. Which actually turned orange. No thanks. Back to the brown with a little tiny bit of red. That's where I'm at now. Every seven weeks, back to the shop for a tune up. Those roots are one thing that I can count on. You can set your watch to them.

Have you ever had your eye brows plucked/waxed? I did this once while waiting for the color to grab onto my stubborn grays. The stylist so innocently said, "Ever had your eyebrows waxed? It might be nice to shape them up a little." So, I calmly laid my head back on the soft towel and felt the warm wax being applied above my eyes. I actually thought at that very moment, life is good. Then the little strips of paper and within seconds---RIP! I can't really type the thoughts that went through my head. Oh my word! My left eye started watering like someone had turned on a faucet. It watered so profusely that my eye actually clamped shut. I looked like Rocky. Like I had taken a huge hit. Then my left nostril started dripping. Like, I'm not kidding. The kind of dripping that calls for shoving a Kleenex up your nose.

The stylist said to me, "Wow, I've never seen that kind of reaction before." Well, I said, you won't see it again either! Here's the thing. I didn't even need my eyebrows waxed. They are naturally kind of shaped and thin. No uni brow thing going on. I did it because everyone else does. Well, to answer the proverbial question, if everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you? The answer is no and I now say no to the eyebrow waxing, too. Just writing about this experience brings back a few tears to my left eye.

I really don't judge any one's need to care for their body. People want to look good. Of course we want to smell good and not offend. I truly don't even care if people want to put themselves through some medieval types of maintenance, surgery, whatever, if it makes them feel good. I think that the world is full of beautiful people. I love the variety.

Personally, though, if I'm armed with my chap stick and concealer---ok and a little bit of hair color, I feel pretty good.
© 2010 Ann M. De Broux

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Feeling Disconnected

I'm feeling disconnected a lot lately. I don't mean on the phone or the computer, just in life. I'm almost always a very calm and laid back person. I make decisions and I make them quickly. I use my gut instinct probably 90 percent of the time. I am not analytical. I do not comparison shop. I am always thinking that there is someone that I would like to spend time with, or a book that I would rather read, or a charity I want to work with. I want to hold my almost 17 year old dog more than I want to spend time comparing prices. And I've mentioned before that I really don't shop much anyway, so this not comparing doesn't bother me too much.

What bothers me is not knowing which direction my family is headed. My husband took a job in another town and is enjoying the work. We miss him---a lot. We have our house up for sale because we know that there is not work in our town for him and apparently not for me, either. We have some options, but you see that's what is making me feel disconnected. I don't know where we are going. It's unnerving to not have some kind of idea where you are headed. I can hear it now from many. The future is not mine to choose. Want to make God laugh? Tell him your plans! I've heard these sayings. And to some degree they are all correct.

I guess for the first time in my life, my gut can't tell me much. I haven't trusted it over the past year and maybe this is karma. The moment that we are living right now is sort of like the ninth month of pregnancy. Everything is ready, car seat is installed, feeling uncomfortable---let's get this done! We can't wait for the next chapter. We are fortunate. We are blessed with great family and friends. Scott has a job with benefits. Finances are secure. We have a lot to be thankful for. Just not liking the hurry up and wait mode we're in.

It would be a relief to know what our future holds. But instead of wasting any more time worrying, I'm going to go and hold my old dog and enjoy the moment.
© 2010 Ann M. De Broux

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Commercial Break

Howdy, it's me. So, the other day I kind of got overambitious and wrote two entries to my blog. I'm sort of afraid you'll miss the first one if I don't mention it. It's called, "Yep, It's That Time of Year---Again." I guess it deserves special mention because right now at this very moment I am in the thick of it. Getting ready for the almighty garage sale. Enjoy this glorious Monday. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, it's like 50 degrees out and I'm---you guessed it, in my basement getting ready for the big one!
© 2010 Ann M. De Broux

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Just Call Me Julia!

All right. Sit down. Don't drink anything---for fear of choking or just making a mess. Are you all settled? All dangers of hurting yourself are at bay? We can continue.

I am not a cook and never have been. But I do like to eat. Here's a little personal history for you. My Mom is a great cook! So is my sister. Where did I fall short? They cooked and I set the table. The utensils were placed correctly, napkins folded neatly, nice flower arrangement. And then the three of us would get to talking and I would just sit back and watch the two of them spin their magic.

Fast forward. College. The food at the time was really bad. Mystery meats and such. Captain Crunch for breakfast, salad bar for lunch and dinner. Post graduation. I found myself a job with a restaurant in the building. My favorite benefit to the job. Never kept more than soda and cereal at home. Then I met my man. I had lived in my apartment six months when I met him. We were out on a weekend and brought a frozen pizza home to make. The next weekend we did the same thing. I went to turn the oven on to preheat and much to my amazement it already was---preheated. I had left the oven on all week! I should also tell you that before the pizza incident, the oven had never been on. Remember, I lived in this apartment for six months before meeting the love of my life.

Well, lucky me. I landed a man who can cook. Whew! And he is a great cook. I mean it, I'm not just buttering him up now. But he didn't have the time. So with that little kick in the rear I got somewhat motivated. Love to grill. Crockpots are great. Eating out is ever better, but expensive. So I have finally come to a point in my life where I cook because I have to, and I do it BIG! I bought my big stock pot at Target. It allows me to quadruple soup recipes with nary a spill. Love it. When I buy meat I separate, marinate and freeze. Ready made meals in a jiffy. When I make casseroles, meatloaf, spaghetti, I make amounts like I'm serving a Lenten supper at church and freeze it.

I bake under the same rules. And I'm a huge advocate of the big bowls of fruit and veggies in my kitchen. Plus those heaping bowls of fresh produce double as the centerpiece to my correctly set table!
© 2010 Ann M. De Broux

Yep, It's That Time of Year---Again

What time of year do you say? Rummage sale time. Yes it is. People are itchin' to get out there and find some deals. It's been a long winter and the malls and thrift shops are just not enough anymore. People want to be OUTSIDE experiencing nature while shopping.

So to prepare for this annual event, I have begun to purge and make my separate piles of stuff. I ask myself, where does this stuff come from? I actually don't shop much. Does it reproduce in the dark? Anyway, there's too much stuff in my house and it has to go! For instance, do I need a wreath for every season and holiday of the calendar year? It was cute for a while, but now I'm feeling burdened with wreaths and want to pare down to some classic, multiseasonal ones. Don't get me started on the other holiday decor. There will be much of this available at a very discounted rate also.

Then the kitchen. How many glasses do I really need? I used to have 12 or 16. Can't remember. Some breakage has occurred, mostly at my own hand, and now I'm down to WHAT, 24 glasses? Crud. I think I have done some souvenir shopping along the way and in a weak moment had to get the complete set of Shrek glasses from McDonalds. Really, Ann. Not sounding simple. And pans and trays and bowls. Let me just say this. I will never, ever, in my lifetime have a party that would be big enough to use all of the extra afore mentioned. Geez! I will cater first and buy biodegradible cups, plates, etc.

On to the purses. A woman can only carry one at a time, so to have too many is ridiculous, right? But come on. They always fit. Well I have the solution. I'm not really making a pitch here. But there is this type of purse that you buy "shells" for to change the look. Why don't I think of this stuff. Anyway, I have one---love it. Takes up little space on the closet shelf.

And on to books. There are times in my life when I just have to have the newest release RIGHT NOW. I buy it. I read it. And I pass it on or sell it. Never in my whole life have I reread a book---ok, portions of the Bible, but that's it. So I purge books at this fine time of spring. Not too many though. I tend to use my local library so much more.

After all of the complaining and going through kids clothes and toys and towels, etc. the day is finally here. Please let the weather be great. We always pick up lunch and sit in the driveway chatting in between sales. At the end of the day(or should I say weeks of planning), you hopefully have made enough money to cover the newspaper ad and lunch. You and your house can breathe again.
© 2010 Ann M. De Broux

Monday, March 1, 2010

Olympic Withdrawal

I have a confession to make. I watched more t.v. in the last sixteen days than I may have watched all year. As many of you know, I am a reader. I am in no way anti-t.v. But here's a basic fact that limits my time watching the tube. We don't have cable or satellite or any digital whatever. No, I am not living back in the 60's. Although I sometimes feel that I really was born to be a hippie. We just have chosen to not have cable t.v. We haven't had it for almost 13 years. We've saved a lot of money without cable.

I know I am missing all sorts of programs that make life richer. Truly, I know this. But here's a little cheat. Some of these programs you can see for free on the internet, or you can get the season on DVD at the library. Anyway, I digress. The point I was making is that I LOVED the Winter Olympics this year. I never have before. What changed? What changed was the human interest stories that absolutely made the Olympics real for me. It made the athletes a daughter, a son, wife or a husband, a dad or a mom. It brought the whole deal to my level. Because you see, I am a daughter, a wife and a mom. I could relate. No, not to the training and dedication to a sport that is crazy fast and totally out of my league. But to the fact that these athletes have lives. They have people that support them. They have had loved ones die. They have struggled. That's real.

And the commercials. Does anyone ever tire of hearing Morgan Freeman's voice? They aimed at the same lofty goal. They showed the triumphs and defeat that the athletes go through. And most importantly some really smart ad executives remembered to thank the moms. Simply brilliant!
©2010 Ann M. De Broux