We've got a nice long Discardia this time (lasting until the new moon on January 8th) coinciding with a Friday night start which allows me to celebrate in my favorite way: flaking out completely and not worrying about a thing for a few days and then still having time for projects.
Went out for dessert & drinks the first night.
Followed the next day by a lovely drive up to Mendocino county to a beautiful house in the country where the primary activities are reading, eating delicious foods, naps, and looking out the big windows at the weather, the meadow and the ocean.
I'd write more, but I need to go see if the next 4 of the 16 different cheeses we'll be sampling this weekend have warmed to room temperature so I can put out the cheeseboard.
This tough life brought to you by the slow but successful project over the last 10 years of transitioning our family holiday focus from presents to presence.
No anxiety and racing around buying things. No money tensions when the bills come. No pressure. Just good company, good food and puttering around relaxing.
Figure out what the best real gift you could give yourselves at the holiday is and then keep moving toward making it real.
It's the turning of the year. Days getting longer from here on out.
Find yourself a little sun or a sunlamp today and avoid that Seasonal Affective Disorder. (Yeah, yeah, you Aussies just quit laughin' will ya?)
Happy Discardia, gang!
Dear friends, won't you help me spread this good idea of Heather Champ's?
A MODEST PROPOSAL
We all have people in our lives who WRITE IN ALL CAPS. They mean well, in fact they're lovely people who either are enduring a horrific keyboard malfunction or don't know any better. Chances are that we'll all be spending some "quality" time with them in the weeks leading up to the new year, perhaps gathering around candles, trees or turkeys.
I propose that we all take a few moments to spread the peace and love of a world devoid of ALL CAPS emails, posts, comments, etc. Just think of what a beautiful world it would be...
Failing that, take a knife and pop that "caps lock" sucker of their keyboard, tuck it in your pocket and run like mad (back to the turkey, ham, etc.). Those of us, like myself who work in Customer Care, will be ever grateful for your endeavours.
I am mercifully not so afflicted in my immediate family, but I, alas, can't claim never to encounter it in my work...
Dress up for something today.
High tea, anyone?
"Smaller, better." is my new mantra. Have less of better quality stuff and savor it.
I am enjoying this with Japanese home cooking which is beautiful and delicious and actually involves a lot less overall intake of food, as well as mostly eating stuff that's better for you. I also must say this is how I approach my vices. Gourmet cheese. Artisan chocolates. 1920's size cocktails from the classic recipes.
In this latter category I cannot emphasize the benefits highly enough. A really well made classic cocktail is a wonderful thing, and when savored over twenty minutes or more in small sips and followed by good sparkling water or a tonic & lime creates a convivial mood without consigning one to drastic sleepiness, nausea, or idiocy.
The really key factor here is size - smaller plates for food, smaller glasses for cocktails. Those 8oz vats that you get things with godawful names like "Chocotini" in are right out.
Go for a very small rocks glass and 3oz cocktail glasses NOT filled to the rim. Room for garnish and to admire the lovely flecks of ice in a well cracked, shaken & stirred drink!
Also, there's nothing wrong with gradually mixing yourself down. Start with a drink that's 2oz alcohol (a classic Old Fashioned, say) and then on your second, change the proportions down to 1.5oz. If you have a third, make it a half, and a fourth is just the hint of a drink. Between each of course, keep having 8-12oz of water and you'll be the life of the party and not miserable the next day.
I'm not sure that I can get away with a Discardian post on the benefits of top shelf liquor, but really, truly, you'll feel better if you don't drink well booze and instead call your drinks to use a better brand. Drink less and better, and if you're off the alcohol then go ahead and get the good stuff when it comes to soft drinks, fruit juices, and sparkling water when you're out on the town or entertaining. Everyone, balance the expensive stuff with water to keep yourself hydrated and you'll enjoy yourself more that night and the next morning.
If you're like me, you're using your CDs as a storage device and listening to you music in MP3 form, often in shuffle play or playlists.
If you're like me, you've also learned over time that there are songs on albums that just don't do it for you.
So, why would you want that stuff to come up in shuffle play? And why should it take up your hard drive space?
I use iTunes ratings to mark things that might be destined for removal with just 2 stars. Second time they come up and they just ain't it and I can't think of the last time where I was in the mood when they would be right, I set them down to 1 star. Third time, they hit the trash. Remove from iTunes and hard drive.
Make room for new good stuff!
I just went to Japan for a week and a half with a carry-on and it was just fine. In fact, I could have left behind two of the long-sleeved shirts I brought.
Really, up to a point - which for me is 3 days underwear, socks & undershirts and two outfits to go over them - the less you bring the better a vacation you'll have.
Next time you're at the airport just watch the people claiming their luggage. I sure hope some of those people are actually moving to the country they're arriving at because you shouldn't need a bag the size and weight of a coffee table to get you through a vacation. Who looks oppressed and in pain? The Giant Bag People. Who looks excited and adventurous? The ones walking past baggage claim on their way to the exit because they have all their stuff.
(Oh, and that War On Moisture, don't bring any liquids or gels thing? Just get some travel size toiletries when you get there. You can squeeze the first dose of toothpaste into your brush so you don't even have to worry about it the night you arrive. Just go out in the morning to explore a little & shop and then come back for your shower.)
1. Know what to expect at the critical connections. Check your flight's carry-on regulations and confirm your flight times. Confirm in advance the timing you'll need to be sure not to miss or run for your transport (be it plane, train or bus).
2. Carry some water and a light snack with you. It makes waiting in lines easier and can get you through a situation where the provided food is unpleasant without sending you into a hungry tailspin.
3. Carry less. Check out One Bag for some great tips. Light packing is so much less of a hassle!
Next time you have to travel somewhere, think ahead and bring the stuff you otherwise up shelling out for. When you do need to spend, spend wisely.
- Bring your own decent headphones for the plane and for use with an MP3 player anywhere else you want some of your own music to give you aural privacy.
- Acknowledge in advance that most of the time now airlines will not provide anything worth eating and that the airport food choices will be fair to middling at high to higher prices. Pack a lunch or at least bring some good snacks from home.
- Tuck one or two of those magazines you've been meaning to get around to reading in your bag or print out a long article from the web. Something off the stack at home and no "it'll do" choice at the newstand in the airport.
- Staying in a hotel for business? Don't drink the stupid tiny $5 water bottle in the room, take a walk over to the nearest grocery or drug store and buy a big bottle for half that price. Your legs could use the stretch and you'll see a little of the outside world.
Got some more tips for penny-pinching travelers? Comment away!
Here's some great advice from a woman who inspires me, Meg Hourihan:
I'd keep bottles of wine and treasure jars of jam for so long they'd be no good once I got around to using them. I decided life was too short and that it was important to use the good stuff. And now I do, mostly. I saved a beautiful birthday gift of 1989 Laurent-Perrier Champagne too long (no situation ever seemed good enough to justify its drinking) and when I opened it, it was passed and I was so sad. It was just the kick in the pants I needed to remember to use the good stuff.