Of Feasts and Famine


Gratitude Day 7- Washing machines

I hate laundry. Mostly because it isn't one chore in my mind, it's several. First, you have to gather it, and sort. Then you have to run it through the washer and the dryer. Then comes the folding, and the putting away. Waaay too taxing on my limited attention span.
But imagine not having a washer for your clothes. Having to wash by hand. Sure, it can be done. I was reading one blog were a woman washed her clothes in a rubbermaid bin in the bathtub. Not for me, thanks. I love the sweet smooth action of a washer. Dryers are nice, but easily replaced by the sun and a little manpower. Washers are only replaced with a ton of manpower.

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Graditude Day 6: Cheap food

Stats show that the average household now spends much less on food now than they did 30 years ago (as a percentage). Even as a somewhat low wage earner, I can enjoy olive oil from Italy and tea from China. I can also use my money to support local and ethically raised food without breaking my budget.

Some of the low prices of food do in fact have higher costs, through inhumane treatment of animal, government subsidies and intense mono-cropping. However, some of these advances are simply better methods and better manufacturing. As a consumer, I can make the choice which food policies to support with my wallet. I used to belong to a CSA, now I do a lot of shopping at the farmer's market, allowing me to spend my food dollars for healthy, more ethical food. And I still spend less money than many people who stop at costco. Fancy that

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Gratitude Day 5- Public Library

As easy as the internet makes my life, I still enjoy a good book. As a child, I had my own small bookshelf filled with books. Mostly fiction, some non-fiction. Coveting them, I made them a symbol of my outcast, nerdy status. In my adult life I carried the habit over, buying many books. I feel I must justify my actions by stating I read many of these books more than once. But some I never read at all.

Recently, I have kindled an interest in frugal living. Although I enjoy my job, it doesn't pay much. (funny how these things are correlated). Through frugality tips, I have re-discovered my library. And it's wonderful. Books, movies, music. Things I only take a passing interest in don't clutter my shelves. Automated email reminders help me avoid late fees, and the online catalog makes finding books a snap. Could my tax dollars go to a better cause?

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Gratitude Day 4: The internet

I'm an information junkie. I love it all, from tech news websites to frugal living guides. Oh, did I mention food blogs? Who knew anise ice cream existed, let alone it was yummy. Mostly, I stick to blogs. When I find an author I really enjoy I can read just about anything.

But also, what a great body of reference. I can google computer errors, the lifespan of a mouse and addresses all in a matter of seconds. Keeping up with my friends is easy, sometimes I get confused when friends not on facebook make an announcement. "Your cousin is moving to NY." I'm aware. I was aware in the planning phase of this move.

Now I'm gonna watch tv, browse the web and read thru a cookbook, thx.

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Graditute Day 3

Grateful to be alive. Cliche, I know. But I had a odd, surreal brush with death this morning. Riding my motorcycle to work, I always hit the car pool lanes. Traffic in the other two lanes is far too slow. Buzzing down the freeway this morning, a SUV decided to start to drift into my lane. I started moving left onto the shoulder to avoid him.

I wish I could have had a total hollywood suspense moment to share. Skidding bike, horns blaring, crazy music. Instead it was more like a dance. As the SUV driver slowly moved into my lane, I slowly eased over into the shoulder. Until I passed him on said shoulder. A faster lane change on his part could've killed me.

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Gratitude Day 2: A job for a late riser

When I was younger, I remember my father before work. He would come into my bedroom, pick me up and put me in front of weekday morning cartoons. I'd wake up to an animated version of Peter Pan. My father was very wise.

Normally, waking up that early would make me pitch a fit. Bleary eyed and warm, I would vent my wrath on the fool that woke me. Cartoons could placate me, but not much else. Certainly the prospect of going to school didn't. I wish I could say I became less immature as I aged.

As I entered young adult hood, things didn't improve. Any 8:30AM class I would be consistently late for. One quarter I had an 8:30AM class I would attend once a week. Still pulled a C+; a sad statement on the state of higher education.

Enter a job at a retail store. Sure, it has drawbacks. Customers, for one. But the perks- I don't have to be at work until 10AM. No perky, alert people at 8:30 in the morning. I'm not expected to roll out of bed elegantly coiffed. That is something worth working for.

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Gratitude Day 1: Iphone

I know, saying I'm grateful for my iphone makes me sound shallow. And certainly, it isn't my wisest purchase. However, this phone reminds me of how far I've come. There was a brief span in my life when I didn't have a phone, let alone a phone number for anybody to get a hold of me.

But when my parent's house got foreclosed when I was 17, I had limited options. As a minor, I could only work part time. I decided to tough it out until I turned 18. My parents kinda flew the coop, opting to stay in a motel. I decided to live with a boyfriend and his family until I could get on my feet. And lo- I did get a job. Managed to move out, even. Sharing an apartment wasn't ideal but it was close to school and cheap.

Good thing the rent was cheap, too, because that was all I could afford. Working at a computer store, I had no money for a computer. Or a phone. My room mates weren't interested in allowing me to use the landline, so payphone it was. The nearest payphone was over a mile away. Trudging down the hill, I would hope whoever I decided to call would pick up. And as for emergencies? I better not have those. That was less than 10 years ago... now I have a phone. A nice phone that I worked hard to buy, and hard to pay the bill for. And I can't really lie, it's pretty awesome.

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On gratitude

I consider myself something of a curmudgeon. Generally cynical and sarcastic, quick with a cutting remark. But sometimes, I really envy the blithely happy and positive people. Not I've-drunk-the-koolaid-Woohoo people, but those that can truly see the good in everything. People that make you happy just being around them. In light of this envy, I've decided to enter a gratitude experiment. 30 entries, all about things I appreciate in my life. An attempt at being happier and more vibrant. Worst that could happen is failure.