Day 13 – herb tea and confessions of a shopaholic

8 April 2019 at 06:19, Monday, Fr.
Scriv, lt, 3C light cloud, sun predicted
Bedtime (night before): 21:08, read This Naked Mind till 22:00 (only got to 16%, kept falling asleep)
Woke: maybe around 05:00
Fof: 06:00

Done: sit-ups, boiled water

I brought only herb tea upstairs with me last night, to prepare for my morning writing session. Just before going to bed, I’d had a cup of lemon ginger tea, and the taste was so good, so spicy and naturally sweet, I couldn’t imagine having rice-milky coffee in the morning, especially not cold, as I’ve usually been letting it become. I might have to face the fact that I don’t need coffee any more to write in the morning, might not even want coffee anymore to write in the morning.

Old habits die hard. Sometimes we keep them long past the time they’ve served us. Or past the time someone first served them to us.


Dear E——, I offer myself to you
to do with me as you wish.
Release me from the bonds of self,
so that I may better do your will
take away my troubles,
so that others can bear witness to your love, your power and your way of life.
let me always do thy will!

Total honesty. That’s what I wanted when I set out on this journey.
I set out on this journey not twelve days ago but perhaps several years ago

07:17 I spent all my writing time reading old journals, trying to find out how long ago. The beauty of digital journals is that you just type in a keyword to find what you need.

There was a mention as early as 2012 in my digital journals…

* * *

13:45 I’m already exhausted. Morning drop-off #1, herding the second set of cats around the lake; as usual they didn’t want to go, and as usual it turned out (mostly) lovely. Saw the good people and dog we love. Gave two packs of herb tea to the backpack man. Saw Roos’s parents having a cuppa on the dock by the lake.

Then drop-off #2 and grocery shop. Had seen the catalogue with all the new garden stuff in, and decided, after consulting the other night with my husband, to buy. So besides the groceries, I checked out with a massive sun umbrella, the kind you need four concrete pavers to anchor, which I dreamed, in my silly, silly mind would shade many a joyous (alcohol-free?!?!) luncheon al fresco this summer. Also a large plastic trunk for keeping the kids’ blow-up-pool toys (I’d been scoping this thing out each year it came in stock) [Edit: this was a disaster, as feared! so flimsy! horrible waste for the environment! use anything but this! currently we use a large shopping bag, much better! I returned the immediately broken trunk by way of protest in hopes they will stop selling these god-awful things!]; four sets of LED patio lanterns (again — alcohol-free dinner parties?!?!), two shower caddies (unplanned, to replace our rusting ones), and a pair of jeans for DS2 and a pair for DH. Total: €225. I felt sheepish at the checkout.



Stuff takes work to maintain. Most of it really doesn’t make you happier. I do like a mould-free bed though. And a heated mattress pad.

NOTE TO SELF, about STUFF: Will it make you more productive in the NOW? Then buy it. Are you buying it for some imagined relaxation period in the farther-off future? Leave it in the store. That relaxation time will never come, otherwise.

But heated mattress pad? YES. Always yes. #nocentralheat

It’s been ages since I went on a shopping binge like this; I can’t remember the last time.

When the kids were babies, I became a shopaholic. And a homemade-brownie-aholic. I could never get enough. I kept the brownies down, and the calories evaporated through the breastfeeding, but the shopping was binge-and-purge style, especially during the early years when cash was very, very scarce — almost painfully so.

Buy, try, dream, and return. Rinse and repeat. Come to think of it I wasn’t drinking much wine back then. I guess shopping and chocolate temporarily replaced wine.

Thanks to becoming addicted to daily writing, a few years ago, I lost my addiction to shopping, mostly. Somehow the journal-writing filled that god-shaped emptiness, and reset my brain. Sometimes, since we live in a remote area, if boys’ jeans go on sale I’ll excitedly buy three pairs for each kid, and I might have to return or exchange them if they don’t fit. But other than that I’ve taught myself to keep what I buy. That means I hardly ever buy things I don’t need or absolutely KNOW 100% FOR SURE that I want. It was a great exercise that worked like a charm. Shame can be useful.

But now, suddenly, here I find myself again back at square one with shop-aholicism. And a jar of Nutella beside me!!! Damnit.

NOTE TO SELF: NEVER look at catalogues!!! Not even online ones!!! Not even if you’re just going there to check if they’ve got heated mattress pads coming on sale anytime soon!!!

I now feel horridly anxious about the prospect of having to take all this enormous garden stuff back. It’s a small town, nobody EVER takes stuff back where we live, and even though the return policy is officially, “satisfaction guaranteed, returns within 30 days,” the cashiers sigh and roll their eyes, as in, “Ugh, you again, you indecisive foreign fool,” and yell across the store to their managers to enter the access code, whenever you take things back. Plus there is no returns counter. So you have to wait shamefacedly in the grocery line-ups with all your unwanted crap, amongst the more well-brought-up clients who understand how shopping is supposed to work: You make a rational decision (but not taking too long!), then you take it or leave it. And if you take it, you keep it. Huh?!? ‘Splain that to a North American.

But you know what? Now that I’m writing it, understanding the possible reason for this shopaholic relapse, I don’t give two fuckety fucks.

NOTHING is going to come in the way of quitting wine for me. For now, I forgive myself every other vice. (Including swearing.) It may have some annoying temporary side affects, and my anxiety and lack of self-esteem may not be cured overnight, but none of these the side effects on their own directly causes throat cancer, heart-disease, unemployment, depression, resentment, delusion.

None of them, on its own, turns you into the kind of grandma that your grandkids dread going to visit, that your kids dread bringing your grandkids to. The kind of grandma that is always completely dependent and bitterly resentful about it.

Mamai, belle-mère, great spider, I loved you; we shared great laughs together. I understood you, at least I understood why you were the way you were. You were amazing, considering the childhood you had. And I am grateful for what good you created in the world. You did an amazing job with this man I married, for example, raising him and his bro’ out in the woods for some time as you did. And before that, you implemented a free breakfast program for the hungry, neglected kids at the school that your own kids went to — the kids that came with cigarette burns, and bare feet through the snow.

I love you, and I understand you, and I admire you in many ways, and I am grateful to you. But I can’t honestly say, at this moment, that I miss you.

I want to be the kind of grandma, when I grow up, who never needs to complain about the kids and grandkids not coming to see her more often. The kind of grandma that doesn’t need to be paid out of debt every few years. The kind of grandma that doesn’t need litres of wine dropped off outside the guest-quarters door. I want to be the kind of grandma that actually gets *invited* to come stay and look after the kids. The one that the grandkids beg their parents to go visit. The one that can get in a car, or on a bus, train or plane herself, and pay for it with her own money. I want to be a high-demand grandma. And/or a high-demand grand-aunt, or grand-family-friend, for that matter.

With any luck, my problem, when I am in my sunset years, will be the kind where I actually have to set boundaries with my loved ones; where I sometimes feel compelled to say no, sweet dear ones, I love you so, but my bones are old, and my mind is young, and I need time to rest, to write, to sew, or to do nothing under a tree, in my own backyard.

Sipping herb tea.

xoxo stl

Edit 2019-06-08: made this private soon after publishing due to FUD. Making it public again now.

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