Category Archives: Craigslist

STOP! Before you shop for the holidays, read this:

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2011 Holidays for the 99% Across the Globe – Birth of a New Tradition

As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Americans and other countries with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods — merchandise that has been produced at the expense of

local labor. This year can be different. This year Americans and other countries can give the gift of genuine concern for their own

local economies. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by

local hands. Yes there is! It’s time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper? Everyone — yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your

local hair salon or barber? Gym membership? It’s appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement. Who wouldn’t appreciate getting their car detailed? Small,

locally owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates. Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plunking down the Benjamins on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course or recreation facility or skating rink. There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants — all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn’t the fancy eatery sort, what about a half dozen breakfasts at the

local breakfast joint. Remember, folks this isn’t about big National chains — this is about supporting your home town Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open. How many people couldn’t use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy? Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day. My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running.

If you are still fortunate enough to have a

local bookstore, it may cost a few extra dollars to purchase a book from them, but it will be worth every penny.

OK, you were looking for something more personal.

Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes and old fashioned wooden toys for children.

Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a

local play or ballet at your hometown theatre. Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands. Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of light, about fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip. You see, Christmas should not be about draining local pockets so that China can build another glittering city. Christmas should be caring about US, encouraging local small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. And, when we care about our fellow countrymen, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn’t imagine. Make this the new international Christmas tradition. Forward this to everyone on your mailing list — post it to discussion groups — throw up a post on Craigslist in the Rants and Raves section in your city — send it to the editor of your local paper and radio stations, and TV news departments. This is a revolution of the 99% caring about each other and isn’t that what Christmas is about?

Children’s gifts can be just as inventive and supportive to

local economies from local movie, dance, music or theatre tickets that support teen theatre workers to

local bookstores, classes, fun houses, museum memberships, hair salons, ski resorts, etc.

Please pass this on! I cut and pasted and modified this message so it does not get tracked by whoever tracks our group emails because I generally do not pass on anything from email but this was too good to drop the ball.

Like this idea? You can also “like” it on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-99-Supporting-Local-Economies-for-the-Holidays/273216302721563

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Filed under community, Craigslist, Families, Grandparents, prevention, teaching

The Signs of Simpler Times!

LagerI suspect the current household I live in is similar in some of the following ways to other households in the U.S. today.

My husband and I lost our house this past year. Then I was laid off. These events prompted relocation to Roseville with my daughter, her husband, and my 1-year-old grandson to cut living expenses. As my husband’s business in Sacramento continued to slump downward, he started a new business in the Central Valley.

While we were moving our belongings to storage and seeking good homes for the belongings we no longer needed, I became aware of an interesting evolution in American consumer culture. In the early 90’s we had E-Bay.com! It was name your price and higher. Soon after the dot-com bust, the preferred favorite became Craigslist.org , where a deal could be had by all and where price gouging and bidder wars were a thing of our gluttonous past. Now, in 2009, after the massive economic meltdown hitting all sectors of our population, the new choice of the masses is swiftly becoming Freecycle.org, items not for bid, not for bargain prices, but for free!  This downward spiral of consumerism is not only ushering in a simpler time, but a smarter time where waste and unnecessary spending are seen for what they are–unnecessary. For us, Freecycle became the quickest and easiest way for to unload many of our no longer needed household items and move them into better homes. Even my houseplants found good homes through Freecycle with just a simple one-line posting and a phone call. Quick, easy, free, responsible, and win-win for all!

Yes, simpler, smarter times were in order for me, but I had no clue as to how deeply these changes would end up manifesting. Shortly after I moved in with my daughter, the three of us adults living in this new Roseville home were all unemployed. It was an uncanny joke, but we were not laughing. We were all part and parcel of the daily news; we were strung together with most every other American, rich and poor. No one seemed to be left out of this current state of affairs.

On the other hand, I found the first month of these dramatic changes actually a refreshing opportunity. I cleared out my boxes of unfiled paperwork, sorted my belongings into only the bare essentials. Unemployment was a blessing, giving me the much-needed time to rewrite my book and work on all of the other time-consuming publishing and networking details I never had the time to deal with. I also cherished this rare time with my grandson, feeling blessed every day I heard his sweet voice and saw his precious smile.

Into the second month, it was clear however that things really had to change, which further stimulated my analytical mind. I made a firm commitment to use only the resources I already had, both from a business and personal perspective. I reveled in just how many resources I actually had without having to go to the store. I had a good supply of bulk foods and office products and those little one-time use shampoos and lotions from years of traveling. I had time to cook for the first time in years. After decades of mandatory budgeting for a family of five under my belt, the creative know how to make a meal stretch was a happy challenge once again. Nevertheless, I did continue to purchase my $7.00 bottles of wine for my nightcaps, fair-trade organic coffee, and organic vegetables and fruits.

At the end of two months however, savings running lower, and the publishing date for my book kicked out further than anticipated, I began to see more changes were in order; more scaling down was needed.

With every weekly trip to the grocery store—finding myself living in the isolated suburb of Roseville, miles from my friendly and economical Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op of downtown Sacramento—I had to be honest.  Deeper change was in order, even if it was temporary.

Trader Joes completely replaced the Food Co-op, not because of price—the prices are comparible—but because of gas prices and the environmental consideration of driving for 1 1/2 hours compared to 30 minutes.

Things continued to evolve when I discovered one day that I was out of Earl Grey, a necessary part of my afternoon ritual. Okay, it was time to use all of that green tea I had been saving for THIS rainy day. Reluctantly I sucked it up, drinking in THIS abundance. It reminded me of that phrase from the old Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young tune, “If you can’t be with the one you want, love the one you’re with!” I rekindled my appreciation for green tea that I had never actually lost, I just liked Earl Grey more.

As time passed, every consecutive weekly trip to Trader Joes became another lesson in this evolution of simpler times. I began seeking $5.00 bottles of wine, then $3.00, and finally, I realized I had hit bottom when I became overjoyed at the discovery of a $1.99 bottle of wine that actually tasted decent! (It is obvious my taste buds are also changing with the times.)

This downward evolution in taste has become even stranger when it comes to beer. Not in my wildest dreams did I ever believe I would settle for the budget beer in a can that my son-in-law had been drinking for years. How could he? How could I?

Then, while on a camping trip with my daughter in the fall, I observed that she too had been changing her ways. I remember how thrilled I was when I found out she had actually brought beer on our trip, something I hadn’t had the heart to add to Simpler Times Lagermy budget at the time. I didn’t even think twice about drinking that beer in a can or consider how it tasted! I was grateful to have it at all! When she told me she got it at Trader Joes for only $2.99 a six-pack, I was floored because in recent months passed, I had become acutely aware of how expensive beer really was. This felt like the deal of the century!

I have to admit with pleasure, that since the beginning of this newer, simpler time, I have gone back to my roots. Waste and overspending has always been unnecessary in my book and I have always been thrifty, but now, even my thriftiness has taken on a new depth. The only places I really have no discipline when it comes to shopping is in bookstores or fabric stores. Now, I stay away from those places too. I have a box filled with sewing projects I am vowing to complete before I buy any more fabric. I actually made a dress last week, sewing something for myself for theNew Dress from Old Throwaway first time in years! As has been my preference for a while, I only buy a book when I know it is a must and I wait for the price to go down first. Though I don’t know if I have the heart to wait for Barbara Kingsolver’s new book, The Lacuna to drop in price. Perhaps that will be my Christmas present to myself! When it comes to my own book sales, hopefully, this trend in thriftiness doesn’t affect them—but I suspect it will. (For this reason, I DO have a special temporary price reduction while I can offer it because I know everyone is counting pennies, not just me!)

Today,the three adults in our household actually have temporary employment to get us through these times, but the budgeting, the simpler view of what we can and cannot live without is sticking with us. My husband enjoys his new business much more than his former one in Sacramento.  He, too is impressed with how much happier he is living with less and how much less complicated his life is today.

I still buy organic spinach, tomatoes, and some fruits. I still insist on organic fair trade coffee, but I have had to compromise when it comes to sharing with my family. I eat what they cook, which means I am eating more meat than I prefer, yet they eat what I cook, which means they are eating more vegetables than they prefer (especially my son-in-law). They now see the simple and healthy value of oatmeal in the morning for the little guy and the security of a pot of beans in the fridge. I now accept a hot dog now and then as a trip down memory lane, instead of a scandal.

I have learned to live without a few movies every weekend and am spending more time reading and writing as a result. Thank goodness the affordable and health promoting walk is ALWAYS available.  I have actually lost weight due to this natural portion control and I am in better shape than I have been in years because exercise is free!!!!

Though, there is one challenge my son-in-law and myself are still mulling around: along with the challenge of getting through this winter without buying any new clothes, my son-in-law (with British roots) has exhausted the black tea in the house, and my green tea is almost gone as well. This is where we both draw the line! Neither he nor I are interested in drinking the large container of assorted “caffeine-free” herbal teas in place of our black or green tea!

Is there anyone out there open to a trade? Herbal for caffeinated tea bags? Our zip code is 95747! We even have Echinacea we are willing to forego for the taste of black-any type of black tea! Leave a comment!

That is my story. These signs of simpler times may not be the best for economic growth, but actually, maybe more environmentally responsible and economical deals of the century for basic staples should be considered for manufacturing instead over the wasteful, unnecessary products of the past! As taken from Chapter 16 in my new book THE NEW PHYSICS OF CHILDHOOD: Replacing Modern Myths with Simple Strategies, “When consumers have more options to purchase responsibly made products, they will be more likely to invest in them.” 

Some may argue that this all costs too much, but if we scale back on what we don’t need, we will have more capital, creativity, and energy to design, manufacture, and purchase what we DO need!

I still shop at my favorite Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op, just when I am in town about once a month. In time, when I am living closer, it will become preferred store once again, mainly because almost ALL the produce is organic and locally grown with the location of the grower on the product label above each tasty in-season treat. This store is one of the best reasons to live in Midtown or Downtown Sacramento!  Until then, Viva Simpler Times Lager!

WHAT CHANGES HAVE YOU MADE DURING THESE SIMPLER TIMES?

Cheers!

 

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Filed under 1, Barbara Kingsolver, Books, camping, Craigslist, environment, Grandchildren, Granny Pants, The New Physics of Childhood, Writing

LETTER TO MY DAUGHTER: A MODERN DAY STORY

 

 

Dear Sara,

 

As your mother, I have many regrets.  If only I could have taught you a few more things before you headed out in the world on your own.  (I guess I had to learn them first myself before I could teach them to you!) Despite these many untaught lessons, you have done quite well for yourself: successful careers, financial responsibility, loved by all, great husband, wonderful new baby boy, and now your first house.

 

In fact, you have done so well that you were the one who gave me my first lessons on office protocol, the ways of the business world, internet dating, and the value of Craigslist.  Although it felt strange at the time, I accepted your help and trusted your judgment, always, which has proven to be good. 

 

What an inverse era we finds ourselves in, when children teach their parents the nuances of resumes, job searches, and career choices.  I know I am not alone in this experience.  Millions of mature adults such as myself are forced to enter and re-enter the work force after years in a singular field. We are up against masses of youthful competition and our children often have a window into how to compete with their peers, providing us with the updated knowledge we need to succeed.  It’s like we’ve raised our own little resource directories that give us free regular updates.

 

Now, years have passed and the winds of usefulness have shifted, once again in my direction.  Most recently with your first pregnancy, childbirth, as a new nursing mother, and now as a new homemaker, you have found new value in what I can offer you.  The things I always wanted to share with you, the wisdom I knew I had to offer you, has finally found its day.  In my pride as I witness you as a new and wonderful mother, it feels like you see me with new eyes with every question or favor you ask. Your motherhood has transformed our relationship.

 

 

The nurturing experiences from our mothers will always transcend the value of fast pace, technical toys, and current school of thought in any given era. In our new era, I am here to offer you time tested remedies, sagacious secrets, resplendent recipes, and common sense practices that will outlast every parenting trend, marketing miracle, or latest medical advancement. 

 

My experience as your mother has evolved from that stressful and fumbly first bath while I tried to gently wash all of the folds in your chubby little neck, to the fears of the many responsibilities in the world I found myself in one day—on my own—with you and your two sisters.  Today, as you give me my seventh grandchild, I sense that all of the maternal encounters of my past will serve you well and overshadow any lack of business savvy I may still suffer from. 

 

As your own motherhood evolves, remember that whatever question you ask, or favor you need, that for me, it is a blessing to again be able to give you an answer, a suggestion, a helping hand, a hug, or just a shoulder to cry on. 

 

Not so long ago, I used to be zipping up your coat and tucking your cherub cheeks into your hat before you headed out of the house into the biting Colorado weather. Today, as your mother, I find so much joy in tucking your son’s sweet cheeks into the cozy hat I made for him so he too, can feel the warmth of my love for you both. 

 

I may not have all of the answers; I may not make the best choices in every aspect of my life; I may not respond perfectly in every situation; but one thing is a constant: my love and commitment to my children, grandchildren, husband, and other loved ones.  In this, I hope to never let you down Sara.

 

With cherished anticipation of all we have yet to share and give to each other in our many future moments, I Bless you Sara with goodness and wish you the most Awesome Birthday and Best Year Yet in your new home!   

 

Love, Mom

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Filed under Barack Obama, Breastfeeding, Craigslist, Grandchildren, Internet Dating, La Leche League, mother, nutrition, Parenting