Saturday, January 8, 2011


A whole bunch of new dogs are at the Humane Society. I've been waiting for some *smaller* non-puppies to show up.
I just found out that Wednesday is half-price adoption day.
So, check back Thursday to see what I've gotten myself into...

His nose reminds me of Putty's.... what can I say? He's cute. He looks like an old timer and that's endearing. He's only 1.

He is a surrendered family dog given up due to allergies. He is allegedly good with kids. I like his smiley face. He's 2. (P.S. Doesn't he look just like Bob, Mom?)

She is not small... despite appearances... she's part Basset Hound. But, as her name suggests, she is supposed to be very laid back and sweet natured. She's 1.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Deed Is Done

Well, we did it. I'd like to say it was completely fulfilling experience that filled us all with joy... but... alas that is not entirely the case. This whole idea, this giving to give (unexpected joy) and not giving to receive (acknowledgement, validation... big or small, thanks) is not necessarily easy. I entered this knowing that. Knowing that some people will be grateful later. Not everyone can process what is happening, and respond appropriately even if they can, in the seconds that our paths cross in the aisles of Target (or elsewhere). I knew that. I did. But, I'm big enough to admit that it was still really disappointing when it played out that way. This exercise might be less about receiving joy through spreading joy, as it is about being humble. Accepting the truth about giving to give and really not giving to receive.

So we started out our mission at our familiar stomping grounds... I knew there would be lots of different people to chose from, and that at Target $5 can be used in about a million ways, from frivolous to necessary.

We went in and got our gift card (and envelope... more on that later... it was a mistake). I had written this little note on a sticky pad to put on the gift card (hence the use of an envelope) to give a little explanation.

I had envisioned this as a hand off type deal. I didn't want to count on having the time or interest (on their part) of being able to explain myself. (I do think this was a good idea).

So, we started scanning our options. This immediately became trying on me. There is no way to do this without starting to fall back on *who is deserving* type categorization. And this is not supposed to be about that. Everyone is deserving of this. So the next shopper I saw was this man (this is taken, oddly, after the fact when he was running back from checkout to price check or exchange something). He had a cart FULL of bed linens. So, I thought... he's spending a lot on necessities he'll probably appreciate it.

When we were next to each other I just handed the envelope over and said "This is for you." He took it and said without pausing "Oh. Thanks." And kept going. I can't write out his tone, but it was surprising.... because... he wasn't surprised. He sounded both like this happened every day to him, and that he expected it.

Well, that was a HUGE bubble burster.

I walked away not knowing if he even realized it was a gift card, or knew to open it before he checked out. I think, he may have accepted it in the way a polite person accepts something they don't really want... strange coupon, religious pamphlet, etc.
And I think my presentation kind of lent toward that assumption. I do hope he eventually opened it, and realized what it was (it was a gift card envelope for crying out loud!... although who knows what I might have put in it).

Lessons learned:
#1 It might be best to present to someone who is actively shopping. Someone with a cart full of stuff on the way to checkout... is ready to go... maybe in a hurry... and more likely not to want to engage.

#2 NO ENVELOPES! Really, I do think that was a big mistake, because it just put that barrier up that made it impossible for someone to recognize what they're getting. These transactions can be very fast, and while I don't need an appropriate appreciative response... I do want to be sure they know it's money and not something to toss! Next time I'm just sticking my sticky on the back side of the actual gift card and handing it over gift card UP!

#3 Giving something unexpected... means you are surprising people... not everyone reacts appropriately when caught off guard. That is part of it.

#4 Wanting to give to give is not the same as wanting to give to get tons of adoration for what a selfless, thoughtful, giving person you are in return. Even if deep deep down in the pit of you... or who am I kidding? right there on the damn surface... that's what you'd really like... and what would make you feel a hell of a lot more joyful. The truth is a hard pill to swallow, my friends.

#5 Next time choose a teenage girl... they are WAY more chatty!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Of Course...

I do have a crap load of stuff to report.

#1 I've been using my SparkPeople app on my iphone for the last week. I'm pretty happy with it. I like that I can journal my food intake on the spot, including looking things up if necessary. It's convenient, it's free, and it keeps my desktop and my actual desk top cleared off... so win win win. I'm trying to lose about 10-12 pounds, and so they have me at 1500-1800 calories, and working off a 150 calorie burn everyday. Sticking to that calorie limit is absolutely doable and no big deal, I am not actually hungry for more than that, and tracking just keeps me from doing something stupid that would push me over that amount. I actually worried I couldn't lose on that amount... but... they were right. I'm down one pound in one week, without stressing or even trying. And I've finally found the time that will work for my day for me to workout, and I am back to my 60 minute treadmill sessions, which is what I like. After our breakfast and morning lessons, I get my workout in before lunch. Most days of the week this works. So, I'm not stressing or making this a 100% or 0% deal with myself. I enjoy it, and really just needed to find the right time for it. Now that Kid is homeschooling, it's actually easier for me to fit the workout in, since I'm not driving all over town all afternoon anymore. And because I'm with both kids all day, I don't feel guilty about taking an hour out for myself. When I'm not hammering myself about workout every single day... I actually find myself working out a good 5 times a week and enjoying it. So, I'm using the SparkPeople app to track that, and I'm cutting myself the necessary slack in order to fit regular exercise into my daily life, without it being a battle for perfection. And, that attitude is the difference between my ability to stick to it, and my perfectionistic sabotage. I'm going to do it when I can (which is most days) but not stress out, and freakout, trying to cram it into too tight of a schedule, which spirals down into frustration, failure, and then quitting. Some days, I really am just too busy... and that is okay.

#2 I'm thinking of surprising Mr F with this guy...
Mostly, because when Mr F saw him his face lit up, he reminded him so much of his old cat Dusty. And that will bring him joy.

But also because his name is Washington.... which reminds me of this... (warning vulgarity police! This is not for you)

Which makes me laugh, because it is so absurd.... and because it is so damn catchy. And so whenever I see this cat I start singing "Washington, Washington" and that brings me joy.

So, in short, this cat = abundant Furious Family joy.

#3 Homeschooling is going well. Of course, the last two weeks we were on break ;)
Kid is over it, and is happily staying home. The work we are doing is enjoyable for both of us, and we seem to have a good balance. I'm really happy with the Sonlight curriculum. Really happy. In two weeks we start her day of extracurriculars that are offered for homeschoolers. Every Thursday she'll have a day full of Chemistry, Watercolor, Gymnastics, and Band classes, with lunch, and I hope she enjoys it, and we can make some new friends. I've also joined a homeschool group out by us, and starting next Wednesday they've set up a science class with a local MetroPark's nature center, and that is something that both Kid and Baby will enjoy. This group has also been extremely friendly, and as it turns out, there are 4 other 8 year old girls in it... which is awesome. We have our first playdate tomorrow. On top of all of that, Kid still has swimming and Brownies... so, socially, she's busy. In fact, I've cut out a couple of things this semester, so that we can focus on the things we really enjoy and lend themselves to forming friendships.

#4 Mr F did take the week after Christmas off and painted the entire time. Bye bye asylum. Really. What a difference having a different wall color, than the trim & ceiling color makes! Everything looks so much nicer... it's like a different house. And that is just the hallway. Pics to come, after we get all of our doorknobs replaced (and possibly doors...). Our hall lights look fantastic now. Fantastic. Baby's room is now pink (not ultra intense primary yellow!) and my room is next (although that might be months away if we're being realistic). Then we've still got to take down the border in the kitchen and paint the kitchen and then paint the big family room. We've still got some work to do, but the main impact spaces are nearing completion and once we get our Christmas decorations down, we can finally start hanging things and finish those rooms up.

That's it.

Oh, I'm hoping to start meal planning again soon (this week, please). Our new fridge (not new really really old) is a top freezer over fridge... and food just gets lost in there (vs a side by side for visibility). I've been spending 3x as much on food and throwing a lot a way. In Asheville I was down to NO food waste... so this is especially disappointing, and I need to get back on top of it. Meal planning is key, I'm thinking.

Oh, and look for our first $5 giftcard post on Friday. We're going to do the deed on Thursday (I am a little nervous) and hopefully manage to sneak a picture of our victim. It'll be fun. Or awkward... which should at least be funny... if at my own expense.
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