Thursday, March 30, 2006

Mish Mosh Friday

It's Pig Portrait Friday! Meet Ramona. This is the pig that Maya, Mina & I adopted from the Farm Sanctuary. If you recall, after our traumatizing visit to Native Foods where we cried over seitan sausage pizza leafing through pamphlets titled: The Truth About Factory Farming, we resolutely decided to sponsor a Farm Sanctuary animal. Maya was ready to give up all her allowance to do so and Mina was willing to give up eating pork. She has backslid once -- no thanks to Husband -- and declared while sucking on a pork rib, "This ain't my pig." *sigh* Anyway, I told the girls after that fated Native Foods visit, that as one of their birthday presents (one bday is in April, the other in May), we would sponsor a pig. They were thrilled, but not as thrilled as when we received the packet introducing us to the lovely and surprisingly calico Ramona. Ramona, at one month old, was found in a sewage drain losing a battle of the tread. A passer-byer scooped her up, cleaned her off and dropped her off at the Farm Sanctuary. She was nearly dead and blind in one eye. They believed Ramona had either fallen off a local transport truck or had escaped a nearby factory farm. After some treatment, Ramona has regained all sight and is running around loving life. We're happy to be part of her life.


In other news, I recently read an article about a book called Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping by Judith Levine. Levine, a New Yorker, and a former automatic consumer (like most of us), mindlessly bought morning lattes and afternoon snacks. She ate out more than she realized. Her personal list of wasting money goes on and on. She was sick of her meaningless contribution to our society's over consumption so she decided to experiment for one year as a non-consumer, buying only "essentials" as defined by her and her man whom she's lived with for over a decade. Critics of the book question whether a $55 haircut and cat medicine are essentials, but the point is she became cognizant of shelling out money without checking the motivation or the actual bottom-line. Admittedly, this was very hard for her. She and her man became bummer friends declining constant invites to the movies and dinner. They handmade birthday presents. She craved clothes shopping and even slipped once . . .but on the upside, her knee-jerk response to spend was nearly completely squashed, she paid off an $8K dollar credit card and experienced what she describes as the most meaningful year she's had with her boyfriend in their 13 years together. All of this has made me think a lot about my own over consumption and wastefulness. It has made me realize that I had lost focus on some financial goals -- though we are humming along ok -- but if we were to be more aggressive, how much closer and faster could we get to the big picture? I think I had lost focus because our goals had become blurry. We live a fine life, not extravagant, but comfortable and sweet. I had not been looking beyond the current comfort and relief of this comfort. This caused me to tune out my own looming, moderate credit card debt and the very slow-building safety net. I've decided to do my own non-consumer experiment. A four-month plan to see what we can achieve financially. I mapped out my own essentials and thought about a more moderate plan for upcoming birthday parties and trips already planned. My biggest goal is to be conscientious about every dollar spent. Do I need it? Is this taking away from the Big Picture?

That said, ironically I just got my haircut for the first time in nine months. That was an essential if there ever was one considering my split ends were about to spontaneously combust at any moment. I am deathly afriad of getting my haircut for good reasons, but I found someone competent -- finally. I feel like I've stepped into the year 2006 and I'm thrilled with the moderness of it. My camera took a shit this morning or I would've shared - sorry! But it's a long shag, with side-sweep bangs. I'm not sure about the bangs yet, but the funness of it has got me all giddy. However, this morning I laughably realized that I may have cut my hair exactly like Marigoldie, Maven AND Andrea at hula seventy. Dudes, I now have the Hip Blogger Cut. Sorry for subconsciously biting all y'all’s style.

On to Gratuitous Gorgeousness Friday. Husband and I recently found some old pictures of the girls. They slay me with devastating feelings of mushiness.






20 comments:

andrea said...

too many things today, but first:

1. congrats on ramona. that sho is one lucky pig. I'm expecting regular updates, natch.

2. I've seen some articles on this book and I also find it endlessly fascinating. in the past year, we've had to tighten our financial belt in ways I haven't had to do since my college days. yeah, it's a bitch but I am always amazed at how much fat we're able to cut away when we really need to. I'll admit, I miss shopping something awful and traveling even more but we're making progress and these lean times won't last forever (I hope).

3. can't wait to see the cut, yo! I just know you are working it, sister. so all that talk we did about hair cuts got me itching and guess what I did this morning? new 'do for me too. shorter with some super short bangs. loving it but already missing the length. but does this mean I'm no longer in the hip blogger cut club? I want back in!

4. your girls... they are of the gorgeousness, my friend.

Jen said...

Along the lines of the reducing consumer spending, there is a group of friends in SF who made a New Year's resolution to not buy any new consumer goods this year. Here's an article and there's a link to their web site. They now have 600+ members of their Yahoo group across the country also taking part.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/02/13/BAGH3H7DH71.DTL

I've been on a forced plan to reduce my spending this year, and was amazed at how much I wasted on Starbucks/breakfast/lunch out. I haven't eliminated all, but now I'm much more conscious of when I do get a fancy coffee drink, and enjoy it more, I think...

Kathleen said...

"this ain't my pig..." oh my goodness...so funny.

lucky ramona!

have a great weekend with your beautiful family!
xo

Laume said...

Your pig is adorable. We (my family and I) were just talking last night about how odd it is that people eat pigs, considering that they are just as smart and affectionate as dogs. And speaking of diet, I thought of you when I realized I'd "gone soy". I wrote about it about a week ago on my blog.

Spending habits. Ack. I recently cleaned out my wallet, a woefully overdue task, WOEFULLY overdue. In just 3 or 4 months I'd accumulated a stack of Starbucks receipts thicker then my thumb. Granted, Starbucks is the only place in this backwater area to escape Conservative Thought, so it might be considered an essential, for my sanity at least, but still, I almost fainted when I realized how much money had been spent on that pile of white paper. I was too frightened to actually add it up.

The flip side of things, however, are people like my stepkid's mother, who pinched a penny so tightly that she made the kids take military showers, refused to turn on the air conditioning in 110 degree heat for her daughter's graduation party, and bought and insisted her son wear women's white canvas tennis shoes because she got them on sale for two dollars. It did NOT endear her her children. She ended up with a substantial amount of savings and investments and then died before she could enjoy a dime of it.
On the other hand, hubby and I have just started saving for our future because we made sure the kids had things like camping trips, football uniforms, and birthday parties WITH appropriate room temperature. We weren't extravagant. Thrift Stores R Us. But I'm just saying. What's essential is a relative thing.

Laume said...

Dam...dang. Can I swear on your blog? Anyhoo, something ELSE to say about the money subject.
I am constantly amazed at how different my young adult childrens' definition of "essential" is to mine. Ancient triteness such as "When I was your age we didn't HAVE.....(insert modern technological wonder)" pops out of my mouth regularly. But truly, we did live without television, ipods, second cars, eating out... in fact my children were present for many of those years of simple living. I don't remember feeling deprived. The look on my adult kids' faces at these comments, you'd think I was suggesting living in a tipi and digging for grubs.

Glamorous Jo said...

"This ain't my pig"........is my new favorite quote, second only to "I have a China"

la vie en rose said...

yay on adopting ramona!! she is one lucky pig with quite a suvival story. i admire the steps you are taking to become more conscious of your spending. as i read i felt my own guilt building and i know this is also an area i need to focuse on...but probably won't...not right now anyway...

i love the pics of your girls. doesn't it warm the heart to look back over the years.

Hannita said...

Ramona, very cute. Even cuter? "This ain't my pig" Thanks for sharing.

madness rivera said...

Oh man! Great comments as usual.

I KNEW everyone could relate to the Conscious Spending Topic. Thanks for all the stories and that article, Jen. I agree with you Laume on a couple points: the simplicity of pleasurable things that cost little and the relativity of essentials. I just got back from lunch and this was our lunchtime discussion. One of my friends declared that going to Starbucks was a pleasure that she works hard for. And I COMPLETELY agree -- this experiment isn't to guilt myself out of frivolity and the tiniest of luxuries, but to redirect my resources, for now, towards a greater plan.

P.S. Mina is a gold mine of quotes.

ESB said...

wow, what a great, bursting entry......love the pig story.

on the shallower side: is that YOU in the pic with mina?? if so, DANG. what a hot mama....

madness rivera said...

HA - no, not me eeekat. I think it was the party mom . . .

Green Whale said...

You give me, as usual, so many things to think about. Mina in sunglasses is utterly adorable. It's strange, but I have completely the opposite problem when it comes to spending money: I think way too much about each purchase and end up sometimes leaving the store without buying anything because I can't give myself good enough reasons to spend money on that thing. (I do this when I'm grocery shopping, so it's not only for luxuries.) Thank you for a marvelous post. Seeing Ramona reminded me of how much I would love to have a pet pig.

acumamakiki said...

I love your pig ~ if I had a pig, that's what I'd want her to look like, love the calico spots!
I want to challenge and look at how I spend money too. If she could shave an 8k credit card debt.....I like the idea of a 4 month cabosh on spending. Can't wait to see your haircut!

Maven said...

The hip blogger haircut will change your life. To mine I recently added dark-ass brown and now I look like Joan Jett for real.

Love your pig, love your pictures, love your spending freeze. I'm still mostly riding the wave of consumerism-inspired nausea that shipwrecked me in the fall. Boycotting Target really helped a lot.

Laini Taylor said...

I love that that pig escaped some dark unknown fate! Also love the pics of the girls.

SUEB0B said...

I am with Green Whale. I think and think and rarely buy. My one folly is spending waaaaaay too much money on food and on eating out. I can almost always justify a nice meal out. Thus the sad state of my bank account.

Michelle Fry said...

I love Ramona the pig. I'm also loving that you are becoming more conscious of where your money goes. Can't wait to see the haircut. I think since my hair has grown out a bit that I have the same cut too minus the bangs.

Laume said...

Chatty Cathy here again... er, I mean Laume. I just had to come and finish what I was gonna say and FORGOT yesterday - those kid pics made me feel all melty too. Of course I'm feeling particularly melty and memorylane-ish about kids because my son called me yesterday to tell me I'm gonna be a grammy - again (but first child for them). It's all I can do these days not to plaster my blog with old pics of my children. I really enjoyed yours, specially that small child in the middle of all that pink!

Marigoldie said...

No photos of the hair? I'm over here tuning my guitar for Blogger Band rehearsals. Actually I washed out all my Orbison with many doses of Prell, so I'm a shade less ROCK, but I guess the cut's still holding.

I can't wait to read that book. Living the modest lifestyle (relatively new for me, although I was never a big spender) is a soul purifier and a time saver. While it did feel good to leave a store with a bunch of adorable bargains, I think now that it feels better to leave empty handed. I did that just today, when I thought I might get a new pair of jeans and maybe some new running shoes. Looked, walked. One trick that's helping me curb my spending is to check that label. Made in China (etc) makes my heart sink, and I'm outta there. Second hand shopping, however, still feels good.

I love M&M&Ramona.

dani said...

the reduced consuming idea is very cool - i've been living that for ages now - due to reduced $$$$ coming in - but since the reduction in cash flow i actually have more money than ever before and less money has really equalled more money - weird, cool and one of the most interesting findings i've made.

can't wait to see the new do.