Category Archives: Good-at-Life

2018 Year In Review

Back in the day when my email address was still at yahoo.com, Axel and I used to sometimes host a small gathering on New Year’s Eve with a survey reflecting on the past year and looking forward into the New Year. Introverts loved this “party” and went home at 8:15 when they were done with their reflections and hopped into bed. Extraverts talked quietly to each other about the questions and then left to go to a real party after.

It’s been many years since I’ve hosted a gathering on New Year’s Eve though unbelievably I did manage to attend one last year! There were no surveys though and by the time I realized this, it was too late to curate one.

I had brunch with my childhood friend Alice, in town from New York, just a few days ago. As we were parting ways, she said, “If you make a survey, send it to me!”

So here you go Alice and here you go everyone! I highly recommend printing this out or copying it down onto real paper, but I suppose you could just look at it on your phone and think about the answers. If you thought your New Year’s Eve in front of the TV with a box of Wheat Thins was going to be boring, it has now turned into the Reflective Event of the Year!

Happy Surveying to You and Yours. I, for one, hope to get back into surveys in 2019. May there be many more where this came from.

2018 Year in Review

What three verbs summarize your year?

What things (if any) made you laugh this year?

 What things (if any) made you cry?

 Who was there for you this year? Who were you there for?

 Did you make any 2018 New Year’s Resolutions?

 If so, are you able to recall or look up what they were?

 If you have any idea of what they were, how did you do meeting those aspirations?

 If you have no idea what they were, or didn’t make any, why?

 Did you receive any odd holiday cards this year? If you didn’t understand them, did you contact the sender for clarity?

Draw a picture of the Typical You of 2018:

 

 

2019 Year in Preview

What ways of being do you want to continue into 2019? 

What do you want to add/change in the new year? 

What superhuman powers will you need to live the way you want to live this year?

What people, things, or situations are going to limit your dreams for the new year?

 Can you imagine any way to limit the limitations?

Draw an encounter between the Typical You of 2018 (see your previous drawing) on their worst day and the Typical You of 2019 on their best day.

 

 

 

Now save a copy of this somewhere so that you remember what you’re hoping for this year.

Happy 2019!!!

 

Be Good-at-the-Half-Sock

Have you ever tried going to bed with cold toes? Who can fall asleep that way?

But have you ever awoken in the middle of the night, just a little overheated? Oh, if you could only get those socks off… but it’s just so much work.

Or is it?

Not when you’re wearing what I call the “half-sock.”

The half-sock is really a whole sock. But rather than pulling it up to ankle or calf length, you do not secure the sock over your heel. It is this action, or inaction, that turns it into a half-sock.

Half on, half off. The half-sock.

Yes, the half-sock dangles from your toes when you walk around, but it’s not meant to be worn around town or the condo. The half-sock is a sleeping accessory, like a nightcap or sleepmask.

Wearing the half-sock, you fall asleep with warm toes. It’s really toes that get cold; not heels. So who cares if the heels are exposed?

If you wake up in the night feeling warm, you can easily slide the half-sock off using just your feet! No need to bend your knee and pull your foot towards you or awkwardly shimmy your body into a position where you can reach your toes.

Are there any downfalls to the half-sock?

Just one.

If you don’t remember to track down your half-socks (halves-sock?) in the morning, you can get a whole lot of half-socks accumulating in what Megan and Cameron call the “bamper” at the foot of the bed.

Tonight when you’re getting ready for bed, give your feet a treat and try a half-sock or two.

You’ll discover for yourself: two half-socks do make a right.

Be Good-at-Thanks

I don’t often go the corny route (I like to tell myself), but given the day, there are a few things I want say I’m grateful for. 

These past few months have been both wonderful and trying. Turns out all those parents who said having a baby was hard weren’t exaggerating! Especially given Little L’s early arrival, we have relied upon the kindness of our loved ones more than ever to keep all three of us fed and in good spirits. 

I’m Grateful For (in no particular order): 

  • Food, food, food – thank you for the casseroles, vegan scones, burritos, pasta salads, takeout, gift cards, etc. We would be hungry had you not fed us.
  • Hand-me-arounds – thank you for all of the clothes and contraptions that have come our way. We’ll return them or pass them along when we’re done (does anyone want an Arm’s Reach Cosleeper? If so, let me know!).
  • Texts, calls, emails, and visits – You texted and checked in. You walked over. You drove from California. You took the train. You stayed away because it wasn’t a good time and sent your love instead. It’s so nice to feel connected during what can be an isolating time (it’s been almost 24 hours since I’ve exited my apartment…). Thank you.
  • Babysitters – ‘nuff said.
  • Cleaning – I’ve asked family and friends to clean my bathroom, vacuum, change my sheets and prepare their own meals when they visited. You didn’t even let me see if you rolled your eyes when I inundated you with The Rules.
  • Errands – picking up Little L’s rocker from Des Moines, picking up conditioner at Trader Joe’s and orders from Target. Thank you.
  • Axel – thanks for still laughing with and at me even when I’m crying for no apparent reason (unless you consider being vomited on by an infant a good reason. Is it?)
  • Little L – thanks for not demanding more than one bath a week. It’s all we can muster. And for being so fun and cute. Uh-ggggg! (You know what that means even if I don’t).
  • Kindness of doctors, nurses, and staff at the hospital and clinics. One nurse gave me a two-week supply of bandaids to take with me because I told her I wouldn’t have time to go to the store.
  • Instacart – speaking of not having time to go to the store.
  • Video games – Just kidding. Not thankful for these. Except maybe Mario Kart and PokemonGo.
  • Advice – Thanks for answering my texts and emails about feedings, naps, and going back to work. Etc, etc, etc.
  • Freezer storage space – Thank you!
  • Many more good deeds and kindness not listed here – so much love.
  • Whoever you are that signed up for my blog last week – woohoo! It’s always nice to get a new reader. Thanks to all my readers!
  • Everyone who says, “I was going to buy Little L something but I didn’t because I know you don’t like so much stuff.” 

California fam, miss you like heck this weekend. Hope those brussel sprouts are good.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Be Good-at-Being-a-Poet? (Without knowing it)

Last spring I checked a voicemail left by a caller from an unknown number.

To my surprise, it was not someone from my college asking for a donation.

“I’m calling regarding your submission to the Talking Stick journal,” a woman’s voice said. “Give me a call back.”

If you are a writer, maybe you’ve submitted your work to journals and forgotten about it. I am always amused when I receive an email in December regretting to inform me that “we did not select your submission for inclusion in our April issue.”

I called the woman back. In her voicemail, she had called me “Carissa Jean,” which I appreciated, since it is my pen name.

“Hi, this is Carissa Jean,” I said.

“Oh yes! You sent in the poem ‘The Way We Move,’ and that won first place!” I’m not sure if she had an exclamation point in her voice, but that’s how I heard it!!!

I consider myself a mostly-prose writer. You don’t notice a lot of these posts written in poetic format.

I have taken two poem-like writing classes at the Loft – prose poetry and short-shorts – along with many creative nonfiction and memoir classes.

From those two classes, I came away with a handful of little prose poems that I like a lot. Sometimes I enter them as submissions in poetry contests.

My creative nonfiction has never won a prize. But for some reason, my less-favored poetry seems to have better luck.

A few years ago, my poem “Minneapolis at Large” was published in the Chinook Book – a book of coupons. This has given me great joy; I was published in a coupon book! What a deal.

I got a free coupon book, worth thousands of dollars in great discounts (if you spend millions of dollars to get all those offers).

And now this! A real live journal. Not a placemat or a napkin; not that I wouldn’t be honored to be published on food paraphernalia.

The catch – the book release party (!!!) was happening in mid-September.

And Little L was due in August.

The party was three hours away.

Oh, how I longed to read my poem at a book release party. I definitely planned to attend.

“I hope for your sake that you have a one-month old who allows you to go a party three hours away,” Nellie, a wise friend with two small children, offered kindly – and knowingly.

As the date approached, I so wanted to go. But taking Little L seemed like too much work.

Going without her would still be work, but seemed doable.

We had plenty of options for babysitters – who doesn’t want to watch Little L? I consulted my “Offers to Babysit” spreadsheet (that’s right – don’t offer if you don’t mean it; I am definitely keeping track).

I yearned to be that cool mama who continued with her hobbies and showed her young daughter that women can and should pursue their own interests, even when they are mothers.

I wanted to be… independent.

But I just didn’t feel good about going that far away from her yet.

Turns out I wasn’t, at this stage in my life, independent at all.

After much back and forth, I didn’t go. Instead, I organized a special day for myself here in Minneapolis, so that this important day in my writing “career” wouldn’t go unnoticed. My brother and his girlfriend wanted to visit with Little L, so they watched her while Axel obliged my request to go through some papers he’d been promising to downsize.

Meanwhile, I did whatever I felt like.

I went to the farmer’s market on my own and ate an almond croissant and drank a cold press coffee on the steps while writing in my journal. I got my wedding ring cleaned (a cheap way to pamper myself – free jewelry cleanings!). I bought myself two sweaters. Got a pedicure. Went to my favorite café and hung out.

I felt almost – well, independent.

Then I came home and to read my poem to the enthralled audience of my brother, his girlfriend, Axel, and Little L.

“Aren’t you going to read my bio?” I asked Axel before I began. He obliged.

my bio
I don’t object to being called a winner.

“You win a…  baby!” my brother said when I finished the poem.

I lifted Little L out of her crib and held her up high in victory.

It wasn’t a party, but it was a good day.  A different day.

A day I’ll remember.

I had to give myself permission not to go. To be okay to take time to adjust to the realities of new-momness.

I bet you’re wondering about my poem? I signed a contract giving Jackpine Press the rights to it for the next year, so I can’t yet publish it on GWGL.

page from book
You know how people always downplay their excitement? Well I’m not going to. This brings me so much joy!!!

If you’re interested, you can find it here – but you know that I would be the first to warn you against acquiring too much stuff.

envelope
A modest check came in this envelope. They published my poem and then paid me for it!? Hard to believe.

What is the point of all this?

After much typing and deleting, I’ll leave it at this:

Just because you think you’re a prose writer, it doesn’t mean you’re not a poet.

Maybe you’re both.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be Good-at-Fun

This post could have also been titled “Be Good-at-Sports” or “Be a Good Sport.”

On October 4, the Minnesota Lynx won their fourth championship in seven years.

Thanks to Axel’s insistence, we were there to see it.

When the Lynx pulled off a win in Game 4, Axel asked if we should get tickets for the Wednesday night home game that would determine this year’s champion.

I had been at Game 5 last year with our friends Jon and Dana; Axel had been out of town. This was a rematch against the LA Sparks, and Axel was here this time.

He wanted to see them win.

I was on the fence. I love my Lynx, but my main concern was sleep.

In order to maximize my time sleeping, I head to bed around 8PM every night. I had been staying up for the Lynx games – one even started at 8PM! – but from the comfort of my own home, I was in my PJs with my teeth brushed, ready to hop in bed the second the last buzzer rang.

Going to the game would be at least an hour game-to-bed-clock differential.

“So what are the factors we should consider?” I asked Axel the next morning on a walk. We rattled off the obvious ones – the price of the tickets, jeopardizing sleep, leaving Little L to watch her Lynx without us.

“And fun,” Axel added.

Fun?

We love Little L, and yet fun isn’t always the word that comes to mind when you’re washing bottles, emptying the diaper pail, and frantically scrambling to finish your half-eaten bowl of mushy cereal at 11AM.

Had we been having enough fun?

“Plus we haven’t been on a date since she came home.”

On the evening of Game 5, my brother and his girlfriend generously came over to take care of Little L, promising to watch part of the game with her.

You know, without exposing her to any screens of course.

We went out to a quick dinner, just the two of us. Getting off the bus a few blocks from William’s Arena, we walked the last of it.

Red leaves were beginning to appear on the trees. College students scurried home from class in colorful scarves. Fall was in the air, and we had made it out the door to witness it!

The stadium was hopping. We found our seats. I could see the TV commentators on the floor not that far from us (because Axel had convinced me that if we were going, we might as well spring for good seats).

I was getting texts from our parents – everyone seemed to be keeping a close eye on the game. Jon and Dana, who had opted to watch from home this year, sent us a photo of us on TV!

At halftime, we snapped a selfie with my cousin and uncle, who happened to be just a few sections over.

This was fun!

And then the Lynx won, making it even more fun.

Prowl gets a lot of use out of that sign.

Not only are they talented athletes, they are hard-working, resilient, kind and generous, and they stand up for what they believe in. They constantly seek to improve. They speak well of each other and their coach, Cheryl Reeve, who although she didn’t throw her suit jacket on the floor like last year’s Game 5, is one of my favorite Lynx.

Little L had fun with her uncle and auntie, and we had fun at the game.

It only took me  a week to recover from the lost sleep, I mean fun.

Just kidding. Kind of. Good thing championships only happen once a year.

It’s back to the 8PM bedtime for me – for now.

Thanks, Axel, for the fun date.

Go Lynx!

Train Yourself

Megan and Cameron will soon be headed out to Minnesota on the train. Megan’s parents June & Earl will be joining them.

“Let me know if you have any advice for the train!” June recently texted.

June and Megan took the train cross country about 15 years ago; I guess they want a refresher. Having done four overnight train rides in the past few years, I’m no expert, but I’m not not an expert.

Just saying.

Here are some tips. These are mostly based on coach travel, which all but one of my trips has been. If you are able to splurge for a sleeping car, it’s a fun experience – and you will pay for it. Literally.

Book your tickets separately

I realize I should have told them this before they booked, so my bad. If you book your ticket with a buddy, upon boarding, you are sent to the seats reserved for twosomes. This means you only get two seats for two people. While preferable to riding next to a stranger, I almost always see those riding alone luxuriating in a twosome of seats for themselves, which makes sleeping much easier. Training is not like flying – open seats abound. So book separately, and each of you can grab your own two seats right across the aisle from your travel companion’s dual train seat suite. Sorry I didn’t think to tell you sooner, friends.

Upper level coach

If your mobility allows you to take the steps, I recommend the upper level versus lower level coach. I made this mistake the first time I took the train out West. Lower level coach is just one small car, so if alone, you end up sitting with a stranger. From this experience I learned that people from Montana are friendly and like to sing, so it was entertaining nonetheless.

Take the train there, not back

In most cases, I would recommend taking the train just one leg of the journey, particularly if anyone in your party isn’t a train-lover. If you are debating between outward or homeward bound, I vote for the former. It’s an adventure to depart on a train and make your way to your destination! If you’re lucky – as I have been – you will be greeted at the train station or waved to from the side of the tracks by your loved ones as you approach your destination (though you may not spot them for some reason even if they are right next to the train). On the way home, you are often aching for your (hopefully) clean sheets; even if you have two train seats to sleep in, you might not be digging train transit at this point.

Recline your seat and put your legs up all the way

The leg rest in your coach seat goes up to make a nice large flat surface, as does that of the seat next to you. Look at what others are doing if you don’t have it quite right. Now enjoy.

Bring a small pillow, many blankets, and an eye mask

In my experience, the train is freezing. Be prepared, though you can always buy a cute little travel kit of inflatable pillow with a lightweight blanket and sleepmask downstairs in the lounge car.

Bring your own food and drink

Pack as much as you can. You might want to go to the dining car for a couple of meals, but you can definitely bring along snacks, sandwiches, and lots of water. I usually splurge on coffee in the lounge car.

Book it to the observation car

As soon as the conductor comes around and checks your ticket, make your way to the observation car. It is so fun watching the scenery and these seats are first come, first serve. Your assigned seat is for sleeping; the observation car is for the rest of the day and night. This time came from my father-in-law who is an actual train-riding expert.

Bring a small bag for valuables

Take them with you when you go to the lounge car. Your regular bag can stay resting above your seat with your clothes in it. I also sleep with my purse in the seat with me. Better safe than sorry.

Pack with your toothbrush accessible

You don’t want to be rummaging through your suitcase when your mouth gets stale. If you think you might need something, put it in a compartment on the outside of your bag, and commit it to memory.

June, I hope this helps. Sorry for not answering by text.

As you can see, I had a lot to say.

Good at Life, Defined

“So a person can be good at video editing but bad at life?” I asked.

“Definitely,” Axel responded. Who knows how the topic of video editing came up.

“But would being good at life necessarily mean that you’re good at video editing?” I asked. Axel is always telling me I’m “good at life,” and I don’t think I could make a short film.

“No, being good at life is a different skill set,” Axel said. And then he started to formulate his personal theory of being good at life, which I of course took copious notes on, to share with all of you.

In Axel’s humble opinion, being good at life means you are good at all of the following areas:

Good at Life Domains:

  1. Health – mental & physical. He thinks trying to be of “somewhat sound” mind and body is a characteristic of someone who’s doing well at life.
  2. Nutrition – he named this as a separate category than the above.
  3. Sleep – Axel notes that Domains 1, 2, and 3 are not always in your control. So I guess doing the best you can given the obstacles is what you would go for with these first three.
  4. Family and friends – According to Axel, being good at relationships is part of being good at life.
  5. Life Burdens – Axel defines these as “the burdens that are part of being alive.” These include things like shopping, submitting medical receipts to your Flex Spending Account, financial discipline, and paying bills. The key, Axel thinks, is how do you minimize the burden and maximize the benefit? You can’t eliminate these tasks, so how do you keep them from taking over your life?
  6. Purposeful leisure – Axel muses that you can be good at work but still bad at life. In order to be good at life, you must have some non-work related activities that bring you joy and restoration.

Struggling in one of the above areas? All six? Why not pick one to focus on this summer?

I feel like I should add a disclaimer here. Once, I got dumped for being “too good at life.”

But we don’t know what that guy’s criteria was, and he wasn’t Axel.

So take the risk. Be good at life. Make Axel proud.

Be Good-at-Boredom

No, no, no. I’m not bored by summer vacation. I see how you might jump to conclusions when I follow “Summer Vacation!” with “Be Good-at-Boredom.”

That would be ridiculous.

“We’re going to practice the ancient art of mindful waiting,” the meditation instructor said.

Not only were we going to practice it right now in the meditation hall as we waited for the afternoon talk to begin, but I had also practiced it earlier that day on my own.

The earlier practice was somewhat more challenging for me, as it involved waiting for… food.

Someone recently was talking to me about how we rarely get bored these days. I wish I remembered who – it’s not that I found what you were saying boring, I swear.

You always have your phone with you, they were saying, so you’re never just sitting there waiting. Also, people don’t talk to each other while they wait, because they have their phone to entertain them.

Granted, this last part may be a victory for us introverts who don’t revel in making small talk with strangers in the ATM line.

But on the first day at the meditation retreat my husband was teaching, I arrived at the noon o’clock meal – after hoofing it up the hill in the uncomfortable heat – at about 12:10.

Fashionably late.

Except there was no food in the cafeteria yet.

Unfashionably early?

I checked the schedule. Lunch started at 12:30.

Whoops.

Returning to my room would mean walking both ways in the sun, so instead I grabbed some water and sat on a bench in the sweltering shade outside the cafeteria.

I had no phone. I couldn’t even easily track the time.

I just sat there.

And waited.

Was it boring?

Yes.

Was it hot?

Don’t even get me started.

Did anyone talk to me?

No. It was a silent meditation retreat. There were two others waiting, but the rules prohibited their making chit-chat.

After a few minutes, I remembered a meditation retreat I went on a few years back. Seven drawn-out days of silence and phonelessness had seemed like three weeks.

Talk about a way to stretch out your summer vacation!

Boring plants? Watching them blow in the breeze was the highlight of my bench-sit.
Boring plants? Watching them blow in the breeze was the highlight of my bench-sit.

So if you want to gain a little extra time in your day, I suggest stranding yourself somewhere (introverts, I suggest a library or meditation center) you need to wait without your phone or even a way to tell the time.

Don’t worry; you’ll know when it’s lunchtime.

I sure did.

 

Be Good-at-Appreciation

Teacher Appreciation Day was coming. At least that’s what an email from Chipotle told me.

BOGO with a school or university staff ID. Starting at 3PM.

I learned my lesson last year, when my brother and I stood in line for at least 20 minutes only to receive half-sized portions. Our bad for going at 6PM.

This year, I was going to arrive early.

My husband and I met at Chipotle after work. Why did both of us need to show up?

Because he works at a university.

That’s right. We were getting two BOGOs.

“Maybe we shouldn’t talk once we go in,” he told me.

“But we each have our ID,” I said.

Maybe he was just ashamed that we were getting so many burrito bowls.

Or maybe he just didn’t want to talk to me?

The line was nearing the door when we arrived. We were less than an hour into the BOGO deal.

A teacher from my school was at the register.

“She beat us here!” I said in awe.

I ordered my two veggie burrito bowls to go, tortillas on the side.

“Could I have some more rice?” I asked.

This is the first time in all of my Chipotle experience that I asked for an adjustment on what I was given; I was emboldened by the woman in front of me. Likely because of the lengthening line, the rice portions seemed reduced.

My husband, behind me in line, got the exact same thing.

I paid $7.01. He paid with a gift card.

Four burritos for $7?

Not bad, Chipotle.

Jimmy John’s was also running a general “Customer Appreciation” offer on the exact same day.

Sadly, even though Jimmy John’s was right around the corner, the deal didn’t start until 4PM, so we decided to go home and come back later.

We didn’t arrive at JJ’s until almost 5:30. Dangerously late for an offer that started at 4PM.

The Chipotle line was just trailing out the door as we walked by.

“I bet they’re making the bowls even smaller now,” my husband said, reading my mind.

And then we saw it – a youth holding a “$1 subs!” Jimmy John’s sign.

“That’s a bad sign,” Axel said, I assumed more about the presence of the sign than the visual layout itself.

“Maybe it’s a good sign!” I said. “Maybe they don’t have enough customers!”

But as we rounded the corner, we discovered that they did, indeed, have enough customers.

We just fit in the door.

But unlike Chipotle, Jimmy John’s had changed their staffing practices in honor of Customer Appreciation Day. While Chipotle had the same number of people working behind the counter, Jimmy John’s had at least doubled their numbers.

The perfect stocking stuffer - in May!
The perfect stocking stuffer – in May!

Two cash registers rang people up while sandwich-makers produced subs every few seconds.

The guy in front of us handed me a pamphlet. “It’s Customer Appreciation Day!” he said.

“Isn’t that great?” my husband asked.

In case you missed this, start planning ahead for next year.
In case you missed this, start planning ahead for next year.

“I was going to get a #8, but I guess you can only choose from one through six,” he told us.

I had seen this online. While I usually like to order the giant sub, only normal size subs were on sale for $1.

But for 100 cents, I really couldn’t complain.

“I feel like a valued customer today,” our new friend said. Then he said some more stuff, but I started taking notes on my phone instead of engaging in conversation.

It was one $1 sub per person. I handed my husband a dollar and change as he approached the register.

$1 dinner was on me!

I went after him and ordered the #6.

$1.08 with tax.
$1.08 with tax.

Within two minutes, sandwiches in hand, we walked outside to see a growing line.

People saw the sign.
People saw the sign.

On the walk home we saw our neighbor pushing his daughters in a stroller.

“$1 subs at Jimmy John’s!” I said. He’s not a teacher, so I didn’t tell him about Chipotle.

“That’s where we’re headed!” he said. “I saw the sign.”

I wondered how he was going to feed a family of four if you could only buy one per sub per person. Maybe he was going to give his daughters each a dollar to buy their own?

At home, we decided to eat our sandwiches for that night’s dinner.

You know what we had the next night.

And the night after that.

 

 

Purge Splurge!

My friend Josh finds that moving every few years helps him avoiding accumulating too much stuff.

We’re not moving. But we are installing new carpet in our condo, forcing us to go through 75% of our possessions and reminding us how much stuff we actually have.

I think Josh would approve.

“How is it possible that we have this much stuff?” we said over and over again that morning, as I sat on the floor cataloging the books my husband was willing to get rid of while secretly willing him to get rid of more.

Some of these books I remembered clearly from our last downsizing escapade. Here they were again, not read since the past time he deliberated over them. I was pretty sure he wouldn’t let most of them go this time either, and I really didn’t have a right to complain. He has gotten rid of a lot of stuff over the years.

And then the mood changed.

“You know what? Look these up. If they’re at the library or online, I can get rid of these,” my husband said, pushing a large pile of books including statistics textbooks and my way.

I tried to hide my exuberance as I obsessively searched for the titles.

“Hey, we could get rid of my desk chair!” I offered, wanting to take part in the fun too. Desk changes were coming our way (stay tuned for another episode of Good Work, Great Life).

Going through the tech box, which could now actually close, my husband said, “This is your camera charger, right?”

He was saying goodbye to piles of books. It was time for me to get rid of something I’d been hanging onto for awhile.

“Should get rid of my camera?”

My trusty old Canon PowerShot SD 1000. My husband has been teasing me about using the old camera rather than my phone, which has a better lens than the camera.

The Canon has been perched precariously on bridges in Iceland and mantles in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and California.

But lately I’d been taking photos on my phone. And bonus – if we got rid of the camera, we could get rid of the charger too.

After transferring the last photos to my computer, I texted my brother-in-law, who gets endless glee when I pull out the ancient Canon. His go-to phrase: “I can’t believe you still have that thing.”

Say goodbye to our trusty old friend...
Say goodbye to our trusty old friend…

“What!! Why?” he texts back.

I almost keep it out of nostalgia.

But I must be strong.

The Canon and its charger added to the Best Buy recycling bag, I glance at a pile of magazines sitting on the kitchen counter and hold back my sigh. He’s already gotten rid of a lot today.

“We still haven’t ordered a new printer,” my husband says from the office. Ours has been on the fritz for awhile now.

“We’re going to have to move it anyway for the rug installation,” he says. “We could just take it to Best Buy now.”

Now this is something I like to hear.

“Then we’d be forced to get a new one,” he adds. Of course I’m thinking, “or just go without!”

Impulse purging! Adios, printer. Why not?!
Impulse purging! Adios, printer. Why not?!

I’m shocked. But I like it.

We’re about to head out the door, laden with bags of recycling, electronics, and items to donate, when my husband says, “Hang on.”

“I’m never going to have time to read all of these,” he says, and adds the magazines to the recycling pile.

My heart soars.

What a day. Why impulse purchase when you could impulse purge?