Saving money?

A few years ago, I started using coupons and following all of these blogs about how you can save so much money by using coupons.  I was able to get a lot of things for free or, at least, close to free.  But (and you knew there would be a “but”, didn’t you?) now I’m trying to clean out my kitchen, organize, simplify, and minimize.

I’ve slowly been cleaning out cabinets.  Going through my dishes hasn’t been all that difficult as I tend to do that every year.  Since I very rarely buy any new dishes (except  for travel mugs/glasses for work…that’s a whole different blog post), I’m finally at a place where I don’t have a lot to get rid of.

Now I’m tackling the pantry.  Since I haven’t been feeling well (gosh, for what?  Like the past three years?), I’m just doing a little bit each evening while doing the dishes.  I started on one shelf, took out boxes and cans, checking the expiration dates.  I’m ashamed to admit how many cans of veggies or soup I’ve tossed because they were well past the expiration date.  Anyhow, my method is to go through the items until I’ve found a minimum of five items to discard.  Some days that’s pretty quick work.

pantry...before

pantry…before

You know, I was so proud of myself for being able to save so much money when I was buying all of this stuff.  But, honestly, how much money did I really save when I’m now pitching probably half of what I bought?

I’ve learned a couple of lessons here.  One, don’t buy so much processed food.  Fresh is healthier and I tend to actually use it because I knowingly buy small quantities so it won’t go bad on me.  Two, I’m not really saving money if the things I buy end up in the trash.  Okay, make it three lessons.  One person doesn’t need a lot.  When you see all of those stockpiles people have created, it’s not meant for one person.

I’m going to continue cleaning out the pantry.  I don’t know exactly how long it’ll take to get it done, but I’ll eventually finish it.  I’ll do a post later about my pared down pantry (hmm…I’ll have to remember that for the title).

Do you buy more than you need and then toss a lot?  I know a lot of folks say they do that with fresh produce, is that where you have issues?  Or is it in other areas?

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Time to go camping again

Well, not camping in a tent, sleeping on the ground.  Whew!!  I’m pretty sure my body couldn’t handle that these days.  Nope.  Instead it’s time to do Camp NaNo, 2014.  I know I haven’t spent much time writing lately, so you may be shouting, “What in the world are you thinking?  You’re going to tackle NaNoWriMo again?”

Hold your horses there, cowpokes.  Camp NaNo is a tad more relaxed than the NaNo that takes place in November.  I’m not going to commit to writing 50,000 words during the month of July.  I don’t have to.  What I am going to do is commit to writing a couple of short stories, no more than 10,000 words each.  I’m thinking that’s a much more manageable task for me at this point in time.

And, my hope is, this will get me back in the habit of writing on a somewhat consistent basis.  That’s really all I’m hoping to get out of this camping session.  Wish me luck.  Or, better yet, join me.

Am I a slacker?

Where in the world is Patti the writer?  I’ve not been doing much of anything, to tell the truth.  Well, working.  Sometimes.  But, writing?  Yeah, not so much.  I come home from work exhausted and in pain.  Most days, it’s all I can do to get the basics done.  You know, dishes, laundry, feeding the cats, cleaning the litter.  I tell myself I don’t feel up to writing.  I don’t feel like sitting in front of my computer and trying to come up with something to write about.  And I most certainly don’t feel like doing the actual writing.

But, the thing is, writing has always been my escape.  When I was younger, it was my emotional escape.  Why in the world would I refuse to use it as a means of escaping the physical pain I’m in every day?  I think, for most writers, the act of writing allows us to focus on something else.  And I could definitely stand to direct my focus somewhere other than the pain.  So why haven’t I been doing it?

I’ve been feeling somewhat alone in this battle with arthritis.  I’ve spent most of my adult life living by myself.  For most of that time, it’s worked well for me.  But lately there have been times when I find myself wishing I had someone here to help me out, to carry some of the load.  Don’t get me wrong, I have amazing friends.  Many of them have offered to help me out, to go to appointments with me, pick up prescriptions, and so on.  And my step-sister is just the best.  I know she’d do anything I need her to do.  I’m having a procedure done on my shoulders next week.  Originally, the doctor was going to do a more invasive procedure and I was going to need someone to drive me home.  Kathy offered to do that for me.  What I didn’t tell anyone was that they also told me I’d need someone to stay with me for 24 hours.  That just seemed like such an imposition.

So, what?  I think I’m better than other people?  That I’d do that for them, but wouldn’t give them the opportunity to do the same thing for me?  Or that they would turn their backs on me when I needed them?  Or that I don’t deserve their help?  I don’t know.

See?  This is another thing writing does.  It allows me to look at myself and try to figure out what in the world is going on.  Why do I behave the way I do.  Why am I so hesitant to ask for help?  I know no one likes to have to ask for help.  I know it isn’t easy for anyone.  And maybe, just maybe, I don’t want to look too closely at my feelings, my fears, my desires.  If I acknowledge those feelings, then I kind of feel obligated to do something about them.  And it’s a lot easier to ignore them than it is to deal with them.  Not healthier, just easier…in the short-term.

I think it’s time to get back to writing because I need to figure out how to live with this pain.  I don’t want to just survive it.  I want to be happy in spite of it.

Deep in thought...

Deep in thought…