Things have been a bit frenetic, and they're only going to get more so, as I finish one fiber festival and begin to prepare for two major shows in September, and when my life gets stressful, I hunker down into what I call "survival mode." It's not just keeping my nose to the grindstone, with blinders on, but that's part of it, I suppose. No, more likely it's a retreat to the practices that help me feel as if I've got a little control.
If, like me, the world is getting a bit out of hand (oh, wow, let's talk about earthquakes, tsunamis, nuclear accidents, out-of-control oil prices, a third war, a group of politicians that can't seem to get together to do the right things regardless of how painful they are and how unlikely re-election might be, debt crises, oil and electricity sky-rocketing costs, ad nauseum) the one thing I know that keeps me sane and focused is making sure I have some things under control.
1. Making smart choices about what I spend my money on: and here, I'm talking making choices that fit your priorities (for example, I do buy yarn and patterns for knitting, because that's the one thing I do that drops my blood pressure quickly and makes me feel calm, it also helps me have gifts that are personal and lovely at a reasonable price).
2. Cutting corners on the things you can: I dropped some very basic services on my cable bill and halved the monthly fee. I know there's another step down I can take and I'm about there in my decision-making process...more savings. I'm choosing to eat less and less meat, making my lunch every single day, and about to start using the bus for at least a couple of days each week to commute to work.
3. Spending my time in activities that improve my health (I'm currently training for a 5K - I'll walk it, but hey, that's exercise and it's cheap amusement, too, plus when I finish, I'll feel powerful and accomplished (not to mention, I hope to keep reducing my medical expenses by choosing to exercise!)
4. Splurging a bit to finally buy my ColorNook from B&N, but I am missing reading, and when I knit, it's hard to also hold a book. In fact, as I'm getting older, I'm finding that holding a book is just plain hard now - heavy. Lying in bed, holding a book is virtually impossible. Listening to books on CD is doable, and I've done it, but it's a little harder to focus depending on who is reading the book. The ColorNook, I hope, will help me reduce my library shelf-space. Fingers crossed, as the decluttering bug bites big every single spring, and I'd LOVE to make a dent in the poundage of books that get moved whenever I do.
5. Continuing to look for new websites that deal with Voluntary Simplicity and the idea of doing more with less. I'm hoping to find good sites that deal with the environment, vegetarianism, frugality (not in a negative way, please), the sorts of values I'm committed to.
I found this one last week and have been working my way thru the archives. But I'd love love love to find more...I've shared some others with you here over the past few months, but I've decided to have a little contest:
I'm giving away a book I found helpful in all this: Use Less Stuff by Lilienfeld and Rathje, it's from 1998, but is still valuable. And B&N indicates that it's out of print, tho' used copies are available. This is a very gently used copy. Here's all you have to do to win:
1. Leave a comment here with a website you've found helpful in the key areas of voluntary simplicity, vegetarian/vegan living/cooking, green living, frugality, environmentalism, fiscal responsibility. That will get you entered in the drawing once.
2. Post the contest on your blog encouraging others to come visit and share their ideas with me. Come back here and post a comment that you've done that with a link to your post. That will get you entered in the drawing a second time.
3. Post the link to the contest to Facebook, and come back here and tell me you did that, too. There's your third time entered into the contest.
I'll draw the winner on my local Earth Day (Saturday) morning - you have until midnight, Friday night (April 22) to enter. Oh, and please make sure when you leave me a comment that you make it possible for me to find you...(in other words, make sure Blogger has your email addy tied to your screen name, or leave a way to contact you if you can (I do have my email addy in the sidebar over there...) If I can't locate you, I'll be forced to draw another name!
(OH...and I promise to try to be here more often - but remember those shows upcoming? Well, I'll have my head down, and blinders on for the next 5 months...if I seem to have dropped out of sight, email, okay?)