Bullet Journal- LIFE. CHANGING!

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I am suddenly organized AF. For 2 whole weeks now!  That HAS to be some kind of record.

I KNOW ALL THE THINGS!

  • I know about our cash flow and upcoming bills.
  • I know about our upcoming plans and schedules.
  • I know what we are having for dinner next Tuesday.
  • I know I have only missed 2 days of exercise out of the past 2 weeks (and why I missed them, and what to do about it!).
  • I know I need to work harder on my water intake goals.
  • I know I have been a rockstar at keeping up with My Fitness Pal.
  • I know I have to buy a present today for a birthday party tomorrow and won’t need to do my usual, “grab something on the way and wrap it in the car.”

I AM SAVING MONEY!  We are meal planning based on sales, and not needing to get takeout while working. We are not spending needlessly because we didn’t plan it in our weekly meeting. I am not spending money on gift bags and tissue paper on the way to parties when I have LOTS at home!

I AM HAVING SOME FUN! Some people like to keep their BuJos simple and for informational purposes only. Aw HELL NO!! I am loving having a little daily creative outlet that allows me to be creative if I want to, but basic if I don’t! I have even found myself snacking less at night because I am playing around with my journal (or saving ideas on Pinterest).

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Probably one of the BEST things that has happened as a result of the BuJo is our weekly meetings. I dedicate a page at the beginning of the week for Lonnie and I to sit down and meal plan, discuss the weeks cash flow/bills/stuff we need-slash-want, go over everyone’s schedule, and make a grocery list. WE ARE SO SYCHROZIED, IT’S SCARY!!!

Man, I hope this new habit sticks because this is freaking fantastic!!

Leave the light on when I’m gone…

20170718_172717I don’t usually listen to David Cook, but when I do, I have deep thoughts.

Nobody leaves the light on anymore.

Remember the days when you gave someone directions and then said, “I’ll leave the light on for ya!”? I can’t even think of a time that would happen now. Our world has become so weird. People are genuinely put off and annoyed at having to give someone directions. “Don’t you have google maps!?”

We are spending so much time in silence. Having silent, superficial, “conversations.”

I hardly EVER have to speak to my ex because the kids have phones and their communication can be direct (And trust me, this is NOT a complaint, HOWEVER, perhaps were we forced to interact more often, things would be better?). It’s a freaking PROCESS to find out parent’s info when kids go to each other’s houses because there are no house phones anymore! And when there are kids at our house, all of a sudden they are just walking out the door leaving because they have been texting with their parents making plans to go home never said a word to me.

For all the “social” media we are connected to, we are less social than ever. We used to call our moms and dads and talk about how to change a tire, make that recipe from our childhood, unclog a drain. Now we just watch a YouTube video. We used to ask strangers to take our photo on vacation, now we take selfies.

We have forgotten that those interactions had TWO purposes, one was to learn the thing. The other was THE INTERACTION ITSELF!  Say with me kids, Innnnnnnterrrrrrrrraaaaaactioooooooon.

I am completely guilty of this and I need to stop! Sometimes my 21-year-old daughter will ask me something (usually something I unreasonably think she should already know), and with a tone of annoyance, I say, “FREAKING GOOOOOGLE IT!”

I am done with that.

Yesterday, Sean (15) asked me, with actual words out of his mouth, if we could get steaks and teach him to cook them. As I hadn’t written this blog and had my revelation yet, fortunately, a precedent for cooking lessons had already been set as Lonnie has been teaching him “the basics” (omelettes, burgers, etc), and I have been teaching him his favorite recipes (pasta salad, lasagna, sticky spicy chicken), and Lonnie picked up steaks right away and I got a text at work that Sean is now a pro steak maker!  There will be lots more of this. I want him to know that he can ask me something, and our connection is important enough to take the time to teach him, or learn with him!

CALL TO ACTION!

Next time you don’t know how to do something, STEP AWAY FROM THE GOOGLE! Think about someone who you think would know about it, use your words, and ASK THEM!

 

Parenting: We’re doing it wrong

20170703_141203I cannot recall my mother ever telling me or my brothers what to do with ourselves during our summer vacation; especially not at age 15. My mother never made me a daily list of things to do. She never required proof they had been done.  Hell… she never even knew where we WERE most of the time, And we all turned out JUST FINE!

Yet somehow, as I sit here watching my son clock in another hour of ps4, I feel guilty, like somehow it’s MY fault that he is wasting his summer.

Why has my generation of parents decided that it’s our job to make sure our children’s lives are a never-ending amusement park of memories? Why do we now label parents as bad or lazy if they are actually letting their kids figure shit out on their own?  Every time something negative happens that involves a kid, the world swiftly responds with, “WELL WHERE WERE THE PARENTS!?” We have completely absolved our children from any sense of responsibility, autonomy, or morality, and yet expect them to magically become responsible, autonomous, moral adults when they turn 18. When I was growing up, summertime was me out and about in the neighborhood learning life lessons until the street lights came on. If I did something wrong (and I certainly did!), blame wasn’t placed on my mother, it was placed on me; where it belonged!

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“My Summer Vacation” by Sean J

In truth, WE are the bad parents. We have created children that have no idea what to do with themselves when left to their own devices. We are creating kids that leave home at 18…19….29….. and are immediately reduced to puddles of anxiety because we haven’t let them figure anything out on their own!

The solution? Hell if I know!? If I knew the magic answers, I probably wouldn’t be getting angry side-eye right now because I told my kid to turn off his ps4 to do a french lesson and some laundry.

City Vibes

20170624_151103We are laying in the park. Lonnie is reading. I’m watching sailboats float around on the Charles, people jogging and biking past, birds hopping around is search of… whatever birds search for. I’m listening to birds singing, wind rustling through the trees, the hum of traffic and sirens in the distance, and a crowd of ladies and babies on a blanket nearby laughing and gossiping. I _LOVE_ this. And just when I think I can’t love the moment any more, Lonnie looks up from his kindle and says, “I can’t wait until we live in a city and this is our life every day.” I know he doesn’t mean Boston, for a multitude of reasons, but I was so happy to hear he was drinking in the moment as much as I was. And even though I know we are on the same page about moving away from Maine in a few years, it’s nice to be reminded that he wants it just as much as I do.  (….another of those cobwebs left behind from my first marriage completely unrelated to anything Lonnie has ever said or done).

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Even a rainy day in Boston makes Colleen a happy, happy girl! Spoiler alert: The sun came out about 5 minutes after I bought this umbrella.

 

3ish more years until we can move to ___??___!! CAN’T WAIT!!!

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It’s not so easy to be cruelty free

 

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Check out my Marshall’s haul! I was just browsing around killing time the other day and came across an endcap FULL of cruelty-free cleaning, and not only was it not expensive, some of it was cheaper than the stuff we usually buy! Success! Sorta. 

I am writing this blog because my bff just commented on my instagram post (the above pic), “What are you using for dishwashing detergent?”  WHAT AM I USING FOR DISHWASHING DETERGENT!!?? I DIDN’T EVEN THINK OF THAT!!!! This isn’t as easy as I thought it would be. And we keep coming across things that I didn’t think of!

 

I have learned over the past several days what I am willing, and not willing, to do in the quest to be cruelty-free.

I WILL change the products I use to clean my house, wash my body, and put makeup on my face.

I will NOT be stinky and sweaty. And apparently, all mainstream anti-perspirant/deodorant companies test on animals.

I will NOT go broke in this quest. I am willing to spend a little more.

I am not sure yet about how I feel about changing a few things I am pretty attached to like my Crest Cinnamon toothpaste, and my aromatic array of laundry products that make our clothes and entire upstairs smell like happiness. All the major laundry brands test on animals, and that sucks.

Lonnie, aka Mr. Black & White, is all, “You shouldn’t have talked to me about this if you weren’t ready to make changes, it’s all or nothing.”

But IS it?? Does it HAVE to be? I have always touted myself as the Queen of Half-Assed. Why should this be any different? 😉

25 seconds

 

258bc473c24d6b3ecd537056956887b4The cutest little monkey is laying on a table in four point restraints, staring into the eyes of the person in a lab coat painting makeup onto it’s stomach to see if it hurts. That’s it. I’m out! I didn’t watch any further. Those 25 seconds were more than enough to inspire me to make a change. Makeup is a silly, frivolous hobby and guilty pleasure. I see NO reason for my fun to be at the expense of a creature who was unfortunate enough to be born in a lab, rather than the jungle where he belongs.

FORTUNATELY, I started to do a little research and learned that most of the stuff I use already IS cruelty-free! This drives the point home for me that animal testing is not necessary. It’s all already been done, and testing can now be done with lab-grown human tissue, computer simulations, and human volunteers.

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My love…. Macadamia (always purchased at TJMaxx for cheepz!

I also have quite a bit of stuff that is not cruelty-free, but I am not going to run upstairs like a psycho and start throwing shit out the window or anything, but moving forward, I will not buy cosmetics that test on animals. Pretty Bummed about Benefit Cosmetics though. I am… well was… a BIG fan of several of their products.

I also may have opened a giant can of worms when I talked with Lonnie about all this and he says, “I think it’s all or nothing. We need to start choosing all our products with this in mind and really take a stand. Maybe even write to companies, like Tide, that we aren’t going to use anymore until they get their shit together.” Oh boy……

Here is a link to the video “Experimenting on Animals: Inside the Monkey Lab.” As I said, I only watched 25 seconds, so if you go any further than that and get traumatized, you’ve been warned!

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And, you know, because I had the real camera out….

Not-so-Great Pond Mountain Wildlands Hike

spotYesterday, Lonnie and I, and the pooches of course, attempted a hike to one of our favorite secluded spots in the Great Pond Mountain Wildlands/Trust whateveritscalled, or as I now call it, the Tick Sanctuary. It’s a PERFECT spot where we can make a little fire, hang our hammocks for a nap, take a dip in the lake, and not see one single other human. There is even a picnic table! To get there you have to walk around a mile on a dirt road, then you take a left down a slightly groomed grassy trail.  We have been going to this spot for at least 4 years, maybe 5. Yesterday, when we turned onto the grassy trail portion of the trek, we were immediately inundated with ticks. We both ran back to the dirt road and had to strip off our socks, shoes, and pants to make sure we got them all off us. We quickly checked over the dogs and they seemed fine, we assumed their collars the vet recommended were doing their job. We turned back and decided on a Plan B adventure. Next time, we will kayak there like we did last year!

When we got home, we realized the dogs were not fine. They were very ticked up. We have spent last night and today thinking we got them all, and then finding another. We are all skeeved out and itchy and never wanting to go outdoors again. Fortunately, the collars actually DO do their job, and none of the ticks have been attached enough to feed.

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Throwback to Luna’s first visit to “the spot” in 2014. No ticks.

But WHY!? Why all of a sudden does it seem like ticks are taking over the world?? As I mentioned, we have been going there for years and have NEVER seen even ONE tick.

While driving to the grocery store, I theorized to Lonnie that I think it’s related to climate change. Maine’s shrimp industry is failing because of warmer water temps, wouldn’t it make sense that warmer temperatures would make ticks happy, happy, happy? Not completely sold on that theory, Lonnie theorized that ticks are becoming genetically heartier and more resistant to all climates. (Don’t you wish you could come grocery shopping with us zany kids!!?? LOL)

Well of course I had to do some research when we got home, mostly to prove my theory was right and his was wrong. #keepinitreal

Apparently the 2 largest factors in the tick increase are the mild winter, and acorns. Yup, acorns. Little did we all know…. in 2010 there was a bumper crop of acorns, resulting in an increase in the mice who eat them. And ticks love them some mice, so they increased too. Fast forward to 2107, shitty acorn crop, less mice, ticks still gotta eat.

So basically, I was right. Ok… not entirely right, but since my rightness occurs so rarely with him. I’m taking it.

Oh yeah… here are a couple of my sources because I am a grad student and that’s what we do 😉

http://www.pestworld.org/news-hub/pest-articles/the-year-of-the-tick/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/04/06/2017-may-very-bad-year-lyme-disease/100120496/