Monthly Archives: January 2014

Postcard Collection

When Ducky was four months old, we began a postcard collection for her.

My mom is a fervent magnet collector. She has magnets from all over the world: many states, many countries, every continent (yes, even Antarctica). Watching her fridge surface of mayhem grow has been pretty cool. When people find out about her collection (yes, even strangers), they contribute. We always make a point to grab her magnets when we travel.

This inspired us to create a similar collection for Ducky. It had to be something similar to a magnet; it would have to be easily purchased and transported. We decided on postcards. Not only can they be bought all over, they can be mailed or carried with relative ease. It was also appealing that there would be such a variety.

So, when she was four months old, we took our first family trip. Beer Bear (that’s my husband) was working weekends out in Grand Rapids and we made the commute from metro-Detroit with him to check it out. (At the time, we did not know that we would be living out here months later). Whilst perusing some downtown shopping, we bought her very first card.

After that, we announced to our family and friends what we were doing. We are incredibly spoiled that so many people love us and have since responded. Ducky has 148 postcards to date. That’s about two per week since we began. I really enjoy finding them in our mailbox. Here is a sample:

Some from Europe (left-to-right, top-to-bottom): England, Holland, Poland, Gibraltar, Austria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Spain, France, Greece, Portugal, Vatican City, Turkey, and Italy.

Africa, Asia, and the Pacific (left-to-right, top-to-bottom): Morocco, China, Seychelles, UAE, India, Philippines, and Sri Lanka.

North, Central, South Americas and the Caribbean excluding the US (left-to-right, top-to-bottom): Cayman Islands, Mexico, Canada, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Virgin Islands, Uruguay, Bahamas, and Dutch West Indies.

USA (left-to-right, top-to-bottom): Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah, Illinois, Tennessee, West Virginia, Maryland, Nevada, Colorado, Missouri, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, California, Texas, Louisiana, and Florida.

As a family, we haven’t gotten around much, but we have commemorated our wee travels too. So far, we have hauled the duck around Michigan, to Chicago, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh.

My favorite cards have been the ones that offer information about a locale or insight into what the travelers were doing. Ducky and I look at them often. I hope they will make a great geography lesson one day and maybe even inspire some more family travel. Just doing our part to keep the USPS afloat.


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Guest Blogger: Running Bear

For the purposes of this blog, I will refer to my three sisters in this order:
2. Running Bear
3. Hermana Bear
4. Panda Bear

Today’s post is a contribution from Running Bear. She’s a highly successful, good-looking, marathon-running phenom. Obviously, she takes after me. I limit my runs to beer-runs though. Hey-ohhhhh.

Well here it is…

As my older sister didn’t really take the origin story seriously (for real, her half-assed account brings shame to the Bear Pack), I felt it incumbent upon myself to explain the whole of the story for you. To that end…

(I just hadn’t gotten to it yet. Sheesh.)

Picture it. Sicily 1920. Four girls entered the tent, four women exited. Actually, I won’t start it exactly like Sophia Petrillo would.

Picture it. Harrisville 2011. Where is Harrisville, you ask? Take your left hand. Hold it up like a mitten, round about the first knuckle on your pointer finger. Harrisville is a lovely little town on Lake Huron in the Northern Lower Peninsula in Michigan. This is the site of our family’s annual reunion weekend which is hosted the first weekend in August every year since 1992. What was so special about 2011? It was the year of the great tent caper. Was it really a caper? No, we immediately realized why we were missing a tent. Blame it on our Dad for only packing the tent poles and not the actual tent. Thankfully we had a back-up. Unfortunately for my soon to be future brother-in-law, this meant that the three of us who were planned to sleep in the missing tent would be bunking with he and our sister. Lucky him.

For some additional background, there are four girls in our family. No boys. We are all within 6 years. That’s a lot of estrogen, and as our mother is wont to say, a lot of potential for riza-riza-rella. Alright, enough climbing into the way back machine.

(Riza-riza-rella is a Bear Pack term referring to childish mayhem, foolishness, and horseplay).

Picture it. Harrisville. 2011. We had eaten and drank to our hearts content. We were camping, so we were all wearing our Up North finery. As you can imagine, this included hoodies, elastic waisted sweatpants, and one rather unattractive bear sweatshirt. I mean this is the equivalent of the Three Wolf Moon t-shirt that Zack Galafinakis wore in “The Hangover” in bears. The eldest and allegedly wisest of us was the one wearing this sweatshirt – with screen printed bears literally wrapping around her midsection. So. Hot.

(Case in point: oldest, wisest, and HOTTEST).

So there we were in all our glory, and then 5 grown up people climbed into one tent. Not surprisingly, I was the only one of us who had remembered to bring a pillow, which was the coveted accessory of the night and was commandeered by my asshole sisters a couple of times. We immediately fell into the giggles and started the riza-riza-rella that had been the bane of our mother’s existence for the 18 years we all lived at home. The only problem is that our mother wasn’t there, our sister’s boyfriend was there. He was soon to be out future brother-in-law so thank goodness we didn’t scare him away. Anywho. I think it was after the farting commenced that he really lost it. Yes. Farting. Four adult women. Farts are still funny. And this was the moment that the bear pack was born. Poor Jose, in all his camping virginity and Spanish swarthiness came unglued and yelled at us. It wasn’t really a yell, but I think for him, that’s about as close to yelling as he gets. Anyway, so his little Spanish accent from the silent corner of the tent rang out “Oh for God’s sake Bear Pack, I am trying to sleep.” (Or something like that.)

(Although I think he had been equally fed up by the stirring, yet repetitive, rendition of “We’re the Four Best Friends That Anyone Can Have”).

Well clearly, given the world’s ugliest sweatshirt and the fact that he literally stunned us into silence, the name stuck. Seriously. We all now regularly shop for bear themed jewelry, home wares, etc. I am sure that it’s not as funny in writing as it was in real life, but I don’t GAF what you think. It was hilarious when it happened and as far as inside jokes goes, continues to crack me up now.

Da bears.

Thanks, Running Bear.

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Rant: Glass House Douchebloggery

Wouldja have a lookit this?

Ah. Amy Glass. Inevitably, this article made its way thru my newsfeed along with many incredulous and heated responses. So, my thoughts:

I am a SAHM. I actually work hard. I cook for two or three, one of whom changes the meal plan the moment I set her plate down. My sink and dish-rack are perpetually full of dishes. I constantly have a wipe/mop in my hand, trying to suppress the sticky. I sweep and vacuum multi-daily, trying to conquer the never-ending horde of crumbs and dog-fur. I pick up toys and books and clothes non-stop. The washer and dryer are on cycle “infinite.” Then, there are diapers to be changed and dollhouses to be arranged and songs to be danced to and books to be read aloud. I do all the little things, like bathe and dress and brush teeth and comb hair, twice. And, I complete all these tasks with one hand being held or with a little girl in my lap.

I suppose I would first have to address Glass’s statement that I am not on “equal-footing” with a woman who takes care of herself. Well, that’s true. *See above.*

She goes on to say, “These aren’t accomplishments, they are actually super easy tasks, literally anyone can do them.” Yes, day-to-day housework takes on a menial “charm,” let’s say. Referring directly to getting married and having children? I must disagree here. It is no easy task to be married. It takes work. Furthermore, as someone who struggles with infertility, I am actually a wee-bit offended at the casual suggestion that “getting knocked-up” is no accomplishment. (And, we won’t even mention how offensive this might be to an adoptive or potentially-adoptive parent who may know unorthodox obstacles in becoming a parent). Let alone the rearing of any child. Or a special-needs child. Or multiple children. Or multiple special-needs children.

Glass next states, “If women can do anything, why are we still content with applauding them for doing nothing?” However, this statement coupled with her essential argument creates contradictory logic. She continues, “You will never have the time, energy, freedom or mobility to be exceptional if you have a husband and kids.” There lies the rub. I am both: doing nothing, doing “super easy tasks” and too busy, too bogged down.

Glass’s next impression:

I hear women talk about how “hard” it is to raise kids and manage a household all the time. I never hear men talk about this. It’s because women secretly like to talk about how hard managing a household is so they don’t have to explain their lack of real accomplishments. Men don’t care to “manage a household.” They aren’t conditioned to think stupid things like that are “important.”

If women are solely seeking validation, men are doing it too. Never hear a man boast about the alterations he made to his theater-system or ride or man-cave? No, it’s not “managing a household.” Men are conditioned to think “other” stupid things.

Furthermore, there is a lot more physical labor in my daily activities as a stay-at-home-mom than as a writer. I would like to invite you over, Ms. Glass, to shovel my driveway of snow. Honestly, the sense of accomplishment I felt upon the completion of that task far superseded any award previously-earned. Not only is there achievement in sweat, it is a powerful illustration of hard-work to little eyes and little minds. As a SAHM, the mental activities can be mind-numbingly repetitive and banal at times, but this is equally as exhausting as any thought-provoking tasks. Finally, the emotional toll as a wife/parent/human-being can be overwhelming. When you are capable of empathy, when you care for/about another person, you share accomplishments. So, I may not have a Pulitzer, but I am currently teaching a person to read and behave and wonder. That’s equally as important in my book. Making real person out of real nothing = real accomplishment.

Glass finishes by including the following: “Doing laundry will never be as important as being a doctor or an engineer or building a business.” 1. I wonder if she wears dirty clothes or just buys new ones all the time? I mean, makes her own new clothes all the time. (Because someone did make your clothes, Amy). 2. Obviously, average/menial work is not important. Although, I don’t know how things would work for doctors, engineers, and business-builders without all of the assistance they require. (It was poor judgement to ostracize just about every other profession, Amy. Yikes).

The truth is, this is a difficult subject for me. I, for one, do think it is incredibly rare to “have it all.” I don’t care if you are a stay-at-home mom, a working-mom, a career-mom, a business-woman with kids, etc.; if you choose to be a parent, you may not succeed in other arenas in the same fashion.

But, my opinion here truly doesn’t matter. Feminism actually is about “validating the choices” that women make. Equal-footing with men? Women should have the same rights over their bodies and minds… and, be able to choose any method of living- even if it rubs you the wrong way.

Ultimately, Glass chose not to approach the subject with any modicum of respect. Hell, she titled the post, “I Look Down On Young Women…” This leads me to believe that she was really just trying to stir a frenzy, generate blog-views, etc. In this effort, she found success.

Finally, in the fifth paragraph, she uses the phrase “the dominate cultural voice.” I think she meant the adjective, “dominant.” Not the verb, “dominate.” (Exceptional writing there, Ames. You never heard that saying about glass houses?)

(For the record, I don’t think men, in general, or women, in general, think “stupid things”).

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Upcoming Readery

Today’s entry concerns ten books I am looking forward to reading this year. Per-the-usual, my “want-to-read” list is pretty extensive, so this is just another sample. Mostly, these are books that I actually have on hand. I maintain a couple library wait-lists, but haven’t included any of those titles. I am also not including any books that are expected to be released this year, even though there are a couple of publications that I am excited about. (I’m looking at you Mr. Martin!) I am also not including any books that I will be re-reading this year. There are a few requiring revisiting.

Disclaimer: Obviously, I haven’t read these yet. Don’t spoil them for me! I will high-kick you in the face. Well. I will probably pull a hammy. I will definitely high-kick you in the knee, though.

1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I know absolutely nothing about this story. (And, I hope to keep it that way!) I bought this book at a used-book sale awhile back and it immediately went on loan. I have taken great pains to avoid any mention of it. Or of the movie; which came out whilst I awaited return of the book. The trailer popped onto the tv once and I had to run from the room. My mom was talking about it and I had to clap my hands over my ears. I would really like to delve into this story blindly because I have heard that the book is excellent. Avoiding mention of it has been a challenge. I suppose I could’ve borrowed it and read it already. I’m postponing for hopeful delayed gratification. The book has been returned. My breath is bated.
2. The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan. I totally make cursory judgements of a book by its cover. Seriously. I discover new books at book sales and stores- based on cover art. I have no idea how a publisher establishes the appearance of a particular book. But, I assume some thought goes into it? And, as a writer, I would want to influence that. I think the cover art actually does say something about content. I picked up The Lifeboat at a library sale. I found the cover aesthetically pleasing. Fingers crossed that I will enjoy the content as well.
3. A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick. Another library-sale find; this book also came by recommendation from my mom. She’s a helluva reader and has a pretty good idea of what I will like. She’s my most-frequent book chatter (and sometime spoiler, argh). Neither of us belong to a book club, but we will similarly disseminate a story for hours. We don’t necessarily share the love/the hate for particular books, but we do appreciate one another’s opinions. Actually, our book-sharing circle usually includes all us girls. I guess it’s a Bear Pack Book Club, really.
4. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. I was supposed to read this for a literature class. Forever ago. “Supposed to” being the operative phrase. I actually don’t remember much about the plot- which I extracted from various sources at the time. (Ok, Cliffnotes). I would like to experience the language firsthand. Finally, it appears as “recommended reading” alongside Fifty Shades of Grey. Now, I cannot possibly admit to having read that series. Obviously. But, if I had, I would want to see what possible correlation exists.
5. and 6. The Bean Trees and The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver. I loved The Poisonwood Bible. I hated Prodigal Summer. I have high hopes that I will like at least one of these selections. I have heard The Lacuna was excellent.
7. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. My sister loaned this one with the specific condition that it be returned to her. She was quite clear. She wants it back. Seriously. Don’t forget. Must be a good one. (I have no idea what it will be about).
8. Brown Dog by Jim Harrison. I has never heard of Harrison but I am looking forward to this read. First, the setting is in the U.P. As a native Michigander, I’m all over that. Also, the book is made up of novellas. I think novellas and short stories are so underrated! They are, in fact, my favorite literary forms. I greatly appreciate the ability to generate an entire narrative succinctly. Such an accomplishment.
9. The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood. I’ve mentioned this one before. Still haven’t gotten around to it. I know it’s the second of her post-apocalyptic series. I so enjoy her style, hopefully the plot will rise to the challenge also.
10. Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving. Irving is one of my favorite authors. Hands down. I began this book a few years ago and put it down. I said I never walk away from books, I never do. In this instance, I was reading this book when something happened. This “something” kept me from reading altogether for a long time. I was grieving instead. I’m sure I will expound upon this further (at a later date). For now, suffice it to say that I chose not to finish this book. I will have to go back and reread from the beginning. To be clear: I was absolutely enjoying it, so my pause was not because I didn’t like it. It has been some time since the interrupting event and consequent put-aside. It is time to return and finish it.

Hopefully after I’ve completed this list, I can offer some genuine recommendations.


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So, why is the blog named “Grin and Bear Pack?”

Well, the answer is twofold:

First, I quite regularly find myself exasperated with situations of late. My patience has waned. My patience is shot. I suffer from a slight inflexibility. My usual route of frustration stems from my Facebook newsfeed; where I am constantly shocked by inanity. But, media of all kind too frequently demonstrates overwhelming stupidities. It’s in the form of obvious spelling errors and in the lack of elementary grammatical comprehension. It’s in the lately-prevalent crunch-o-sphere that represents alternative opinions and publicly vilifies research-established protocol (like vaccines). It’s in the universal denigration and shaming of parents who don’t or can’t measure up (like formula-feeders, tv-watchers, non-organics). It’s in the blind and misguided following of political trends without an educated awareness of policy effects. It’s in the premature spilling of secrets and extensive over-sharing. It’s in the rampant egomania. Everyone thinks their personal opinions, ideas, details, play-by-plays, lists matter… Um, not me, obviously. Idiocy.

(Especially in parent-dom, there are offenses: Ones who make sweeping judgements then pinpointed belittlements of other mothers. I cannot suggest that I do not make sweeping generalizations. I do. But, thankfully, mine are correct).

I am at my wit’s end.

Second, I have had some unusual personal struggles lately. Up until a few years ago, I enjoyed a pretty carefree life. However, in recent time, and most specifically, since the advent of parenthood, I am confronted with unexpected and unique challenges. Not the run-of-the-mill exhaustion, tempers, etc. Unusual. Special.

For instance: my beautiful, wonderful, amazing daughter is bald. Completely bald. She has alopecia. We don’t know yet what this will mean for her future. She is almost two. It means very little to her now. But, it sometimes overwhelms me. Yes, I am incredibly thankful that she is (mostly) otherwise healthy. I just can’t help but imagine what implications this will have on her future. There’s no denying that she will be different. And, people will treat her differently. They already do. I want her to have everything. Without complication. It’s just such strange territory in ways.

So, I get fed up from time to time. I suppose I could smile and nod and “bear it.” Stiff upper lip and all that (see Brit-o-phile entry). But, I have the bear pack. Lucky me.

Seriously, my people “bear” me up. They can make me smile. They can make me laugh. In fact, we most often turn life’s little difficulties into cause for jest and hilarity.

If there was a pie chart for my life, the greatest slice would belong to my family. (Well, depending on the type of pie. If it was pecan, I would probs eat the greatest slice).

If laughter is the best medicine, I’m thankful for my prescription. Bear pack. Roar.

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Rave: British Invasion



Okay, confession: Due to my somewhat-incapacitating fear of flying, non-possession of excess funds, and faulty prioritization of “other things,” I am not actually well-traveled. If you don’t count my extensive literary junket, I’ve basically been nowhere. I’ve been to some places here in the States. I’ve been to Canada. I’ve been to Mexico. That’s it. Bupkiss. I would love to get “transatlantic” sooner than later. My sister lives in Seville. (And, she’s almost as amazing as I am. Check out her blog, Allie in the South of Spain). Anyway, Spain is a must. My heritage is Italian-Swedish-German and I’d really like to get around in each of those countries as well. And Greece. And France. And Belgium. And Austria. And Hungary. And Croatia. And Turkey. And Portugal. And the Netherlands. And Russia. I WANT TO SEE IT ALL. Waaaaaaaaaah.

As much as I desire a tour-de-continental Europe and to see my sister’s home, my number-one, must-go destination is the United Kingdom. I dream of double-decker buses, royal digs, tea and saucers. I long for bowler hats, wellies, woolen jumpers, and macintoshes. I yearn for castles and moors and lanes. I am aware that this is irrational and absurd. It seems so ridiculous to be enraptured with a place I’ve never been. But, I suppose I really don’t care.

Truly, I have a borderline-obsessive inclination toward all things British. Now, I don’t own union-jack anything. And, I’m not particularly impressed with the food or the idea of warm beer. But, I am stupidly attracted to the accents: from the brogues to cockney. I can’t get enough of the different verbiage. It’s brilliant. I (creepily) try to adopt Anglo-specific words and phrases into my daily lexicon. American English sounds so… well, American. It’s rubbish. Furthermore, as a consummate Brit-o-phile, I cherish the literature. And cinema. And telly. And music. Shakespeare, King Arthur, Monty Python, Dickens, Bridget Jones, the Beatles, James Bond, the Spice Girls, Warwick Davis. It’s enough to blow your mind. So, here is just a minuscule sample of my current favorites:

1. Jane Austen anything. I love the propriety, the people, the letters, the walks, the estates, and the romances. Pride and Prejudice is in my top-ten novels of all-time. No easy feat. In terms of cinematic delight, I especially love the BBC production starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. Oh, and Ang Lee’s “Sense and Sensibility.”
2. Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. I’ve read a wee bit of the Victorian oeuvre, but this is my absolute favorite. The essential story may be familiar to you, but the narrative is uniquely inventive. Truly. Read it.
3. The Canterbury Tales. Again, you’re possibly familiar with Chaucer’s body of work. But, reading the text in Medieval English and witnessing firsthand a step in linguistic evolution is absolutely intriguing. (Plus, I can still recite the first 18 lines of the prologue. Toot toot. That was my own horn. Boo-ya… Far better to “boo-ya” than really consider how lame that is).
4. Hello? HARRY POTTER?!? These books captivated me from the onset. They were so well-written, so thoroughly thought-out. Do you hear me, JK? You have an intrepid imagination. You’re my hero.

5. “Downton Abbey.” A period-set soap opera? Yes, please!
6. “Sherlock.” Season three! Season three! Season three!
**I grew-up watching “Masterpiece Theatre” on PBS with my folks. I’m at home with them all; Poirot, Marple, Holmes and Watson. Victorian dramas, empire dramas, war dramas? You betcha.**
7. “Love Actually.” One of my all-time, favorite films. Absolutely brilliant. (Click here for a different opinion).
8. Pink Lining bags. See above. Find them here.
10. Jellycat stuffed toys.

20140117-005906.jpg Adorbs. Ducky has several. Find them here.
11. Ricky Gervais.
12. Names like Rupert, Hugh, Alfie, and Gemma.
13. Malt vinegar, (cold) stouts and ales, pronouncing “draught” as “draft.”
14. Peter Rabbit.
15. Kit Harington.
16. Just about half of my favorited items on Etsy. (This happens to be completely coincidental).
17. Did I mention Warwick Davis? I heart you, Willow.
18. The defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588. Figured I better throw something high-brow historical in there…
19. Oh, yeah; Stonehenge. Bam.

I could go on and on and on and on… Thank you, Great Britain. For the above and so much more, I am incredibly grateful. Hope to see you soon.

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Remaining Resolution

I mentioned that I made a second resolution for the New Year.

I decided that we will be more conscious of the reduce/reuse/recycle game plan. We already recycle in our home. We live in Michigan where there is a ten-cent deposit on bottles and cans. Hey-oh! It’s practically sacrilegious to not recycle those. We also have a pretty standard bin-collection for plastics, paper, cardboard, glass, metal, etc.

I am also going to make a serious effort to be energy and water-conscious. I tend to leave too many lights on too often to combat the dreary Michigan winter. Also, I’ve never lived anywhere in a water-crisis. In fact, I’ve only ever lived on peninsulas. So, there you have it. I let my water run while I wash dishes and brush teeth, etc. I’m going to try to change this. It’s wasteful. I’m spoiled. Lastly, we live in a perfect spot for walking and public transportation. We could (and should) be walking to a grocery store, several restaurants, a pharmacy, a convenience store, a liquor store, etc. Really, plenty nearby. Totally walkable. Or bike-rideable… if it wasn’t going to kill me. (Hey, it’s pretty hilly). We also live within comfortable walking of several bus lines. I have never ridden the bus. Never. Not since the big yellow one. (I said I was spoiled). I’d like to change this. It’s embarrassing. (Mayhaps I will need a tutorial though).

All that said, my specific resolution is not to buy anything “brand-new.”

This is actually going to be pretty difficult for me. I am a stay-at-home mom of a toddler in a (relatively) new home. One of the things we do in order to get out and about is to go shopping. We try to do a grocery shop and another shop about once a week. Usually, we take our “other” shop to the mall where Duckers can play in the kids’ area and we can get a little walking done. Inside. Where it’s warm. And dry. (Thanks, Snowmaggedon). I almost always end up picking up some-little-something.

Some-little-something is usually just that. A book from the store. An outfit for the Duck. A little gift for someone. I am a pretty frugal shopper. I love clearances and sales. I love a good barg(ain). I love to save a buck.

But, that’s just it. I’m not actually saving a buck. I’m, more often than not, buying something I didn’t need. I regularly suffer from buyer’s remorse. My closet is lined with items that still have the tags on them.

And, the thing is: I was never much of a shopper before. When I was young, I was never one of those gals hangin’ at the mall. I never tried anything on. Shopping was a chore. Then, with a baby, I was worried about her being a menace to the public. Now, it’s something I look grossly forward to. Don’t get me wrong, Ducky can still be a menace, but it is nice to get out and be social. Yes, we do other stuff like storytimes and swim classes. We visit with family and friends when we can, but most of our time is spent at home, lame-o-ing around.

My television is perpetually on. On Sprout. The kiddo’s channel. Yippee.

And, being brutally honest, I have come to enjoy “the hunt” and “the thrill” too much. Words that are more appropriately associated with outdoor activity; not theme-music, escalators, and gourmet coffees.

So… My goal. I will not buy anything new in 2014.

Obviously, I have already generated exceptions. First, resale is ok. If I absolutely need something or, more likely, if Duckers does, we can shop buy/sell/trade sites, consignments, thrift shops, etc. Hopefully, this will keep me from my regular shopping habit and help save a little money when we find that something must be purchased.

I am also not counting perishables and groceries. For obvious reasons. Kudos to people who can starve themselves. But, I like to eat. A lot. I am also not hardcore enough to try one of those garbage-diets or something. And, I do mean trash. People eat trash? Yes. Yes, they do.

My final exception is for “new” items that I will use to make something. I’m not incredibly crafty but I do like to make things from time-to-time and I can generate activities for the kiddo this way too. Because she needs constant activity. Constant. It’s exhausting.

Hopefully, we can save a little money from reducing our shopping. I really hope to stick to both resolutions this year.


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