Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hoarding and Minimizing - Finding my Place on the Continuum

I've been thinking a lot about minimizing for years, and compared to many - maybe even most - Americans, I do live fairly sparsely.  I come from a short line of hoarders; Grandma grew up during the Depression, and her hoarding was attributed to that, though Mom's isn't as easily explained.  I refuse to fall into that trap, so an annual garage sale, and semi-annual trips to Goodwill are constants. Sharing an 850 square foot house with my husband, two kids, and two dogs, plus occasionally with my two step-kids, certainly helps keep the accumulation down.

A few years ago, I read an article about minimalism in ReadyMade magazine in which the author was striving to own fewer than 100 things.  I thought that sounded cool, but didn't do much with it. Recently, after reading many of my friend Bethany's blogs, I decided it was time for a closet-purge and thought I'd go for a reasonable number of each type of clothes.  Fourteen pieces total is not something I'm thinking about approaching, but I figured fourteen pieces of a certain type of clothing would be a reasonable beginning - two weeks worth of short-sleeves or bottoms or whatever (okay - I know that sounds like a lot, but I had to start somewhere, right?:). I figured that once I pared down, I'd work some sort of system where I have to get rid of a t-shirt every-time I bought a new one.

So, I opened up my closet, and started counting.  Thirty-seven short-sleeved shirts. Thirty-seven.  And that didn't count the ten or so at the Gladwin house. Or the two or three in the laundry.  THIRTY-SEVEN. "Good gosh," I thought, "maybe I AM a hoarder!"

So, with my girl's help, I did lose a lot of the t-shirts, and enough skirts, dresses, sweaters, pants and tank-tops to fill four plastic grocery bags. (How do I keep getting these things?  I've been bringing my own bags to Meijer for fifteen years, but never run out of those stinking plastic ones!) But, I did not - nor will I likely ever - meet the number goal.  I suppose I should just be content that I can actually fit everything into my tiny closet.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sliding into the grave

Robert Plant - Led Zepplin
David Lee Roth - Van Halen

Robert Plant and David Lee Roth both started out as the long-haired, bare-chested, crazy-sexy, front-men of hugely successful, ground breaking bands. These men epitomized the ideal of the "Rock God". If you polled a representative sample of so-called Generation X, I'm willing to bet you'd find the vast majority of us either wanted to be one of these provocative crooners or be with one - and a sizable portion wanted to be both.

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss -
Bluegrass Emmy

So as a Gen Xer, it makes complete sense that as my years add up and I consider just what aging may bring, I turn to these idols of my formative years for guidance.  And here's the thing - despite their very similar beginnings, Robert and David Lee have taken radically divergent paths toward old age.  Robert Plant strayed from his rock 'n roll roots and tried new stuff - this turn began with the Honeydrippers at about the same time that David Lee was at the top of his game.  He's explored different genre, and has seemed to have, well, just slowed down a bit - sort of easing into those "golden years".

David Lee Roth and Van Halen -
reunion tour
David Lee Roth, on the other hand, has chosen the "slidin' into the grave" approach. It seems he's doing what he's always done - rocking hard, drinking hard, and cashing in on the success of his youth. Touring again with the brothers' (and son) VanHalen has undoubtedly been incredibly celebratory and lucrative for him.

So the big question is. "Which is the better approach to aging?" Though I know which path I'm following, I don't know the answer to that.  Who's more content with his life? Who feels the most fulfilled? Who knows?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Work and Family

Last week, I was working for the MEAP Access helping to set the "cut scores" - basically deciding what it means to meet expectations on this test.  The process was actually very enlightening, and a great professional discussion helped clarify understanding for everyone in the room.  The meeting was four days long, and since I had a fairly long commute, the state offered to put me up in a hotel for the week.  I took advantage of this offer on Tuesday night, and had dinner (on my own dime) that night in the hotel bar.

I was dining with a colleague, and, after the woman next to us discovered we were teachers, she informed us of the ills of collective bargaining (Teachers in my district make more than I do!) and the audacity of the Assistant Principal in her district to have been out sick the past week.  I will spare the details of the conversation that followed, but let it be known that I did not once raise my voice, use any expletives, or resort to name calling.  Pat me on the back next time you see me:)

However, as I sit here with my sick little boy - missing my third day of school in a week and a half for this reason - I'm thinking back on the conversation and the assumptions of the woman.  A piece of her support for her opinion was that there was no way she could miss that much work, implying that if she did, she'd be out of a job.  I have no way of knowing if this is her perception, or her reality, but either way, it's a sad statement as to the value of the American workforce and the American family.

I love my job - I really do.  And I need my job; without it, our lifestyles would take a serious nosedive.  So my job is important - to me, to my family, to society - but not as important as my family.  Any professional commitment I make is weighed and decided by it's impact to my career, but first by it's impact to my family.  And if my family needs me at home, I will be at home. 

Life, including career and family, is a series of choices.  We always have a choice, and each of those choices have consequences.  I want to always make choices that reflect my core values. Finding the balance is what's hard, and the perception that a person's livelihood will be destroyed by taking care of his or her family is devastating to that balance.  Why has it become acceptable to the public that work should come first? This is exactly why we need that much vilified collective bargaining.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

My Boy The Hacker

For the last several weeks (really, since New Year's Day) I've been intending to begin regular contributions to my blog.  As you regular followers have likely noted, this intention has not exactly come to fruition.  Today, however, it seems Eric has learned to read my mind and decided to jump-start my blogging by posting one for me.  So since I believe him to be a very smart young man, I will take his "encouragement" as a sign that I need to start setting aside some personal writing time each day.  Hopefully you'll be seeing more of me in the future.

Thanks Eric:)

Oh! And check out his website - Eric Loubert Horror - and his youtube channel - also Eric Loubert Horror.

Hello :)

Hello people! Sorry I haven't written in a while. I've just been busy. So I'm here to promote my boy's website, Eric Loubert Horror. He has been in to this kind of stuff for a while. I think it's awesome. He also does YouTube videos. Click HERE to go to his YouTube channel!

Both he and I would appreciate it if you followed his blog or subscribed to his YouTube channel. Thanks for checking it out. I'll try to begin posting more often :)

PS: Hi Penny. This is Eric. If you're wondering how this got here, well, I hacked your blog! You should log off next time :) LULZ!