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Showing posts from December, 2015

We need to talk

'Twas a week before Christmas and I was snuggled up to my new sweetie when it struck me that we should have "the talk".

Our relationship is very new, but now seemed like the best time to bring it up. A topic that makes so many couples (especially new ones) nervous and downright stressed: gift giving. 
"Mr. Romantic, as you know, I'm a minimalist. I'd like our relationship to reflect that. So let's agree now that if we ever decide to exchange gifts, they can only be experiences. I guess flowers, love notes, poems and songs would also acceptable."
There's this pressure in our society for couples to buy each other gifts for anniversaries, Valentine's Day, birthdays, Christmas, and even in the spur of the moment just because. Well I don't want to be a part of it. I don't want either of us to feel that pressure in our relationship. As I've mentioned in a previous post, if there's anything I want or need, chances are I'll be goi…

Merry Christmas!

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The idea
Last night, Mr. Romantic and I had a lovely Christmas Eve date night. We both like to read, and we both like intellectual discussion. So I suggested that we start our own private little book club.

Although we prefer reading non-fiction over fiction, I thought that starting with A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens would be fun considering the timing of our book club debut. I’ve seen different movie versions of the story, but I’d never read it, and neither had Mr. Romantic. So my plan was for us to read the book, discuss it, and then watch one of the movie versions. December 24th seemed like the perfect time for this kind of evening. And so the “Awesome Cheesy Romantic A Christmas Carol Evening” was planned.

The book
At the beginning of the book, there’s this passage where Scrooge’s nephew invites him over for Christmas, and, of course, Scrooge declines and asks his nephew what good has Christmas ever done to him. His nephew replies:
"There are many things from which I…

The usefulness of my utensils

So I've started a new experiment. On the evening of December 15, 2015, I decided to put all of my kitchen utensils in a box in our laundry room (it's right next to the kitchen). When we need a utensil, we take it out of the box. Once we're done, it gets cleaned and can go back into a kitchen drawer.

I forgot to mention this experiment to my daughter. The next morning she yelled at me from the kitchen "Where are all the utensils? Why are the drawers empty?" She wasn't pleased. So I suggest if you're going to do this in your home, notify the other occupants beforehand. It might prevent grumpiness, especially on a rushed weekday morning before school.

My goal is to streamline how many kitchen utensils we own. I have a favourite spatula and a favourite mixing spoon. I rarely use any others. But I'm not sure which ones are my daughter's go to utensils. I wouldn't want to get rid of something she enjoys using while cooking. That would make her grumpy…

What I want for Christmas

Mom:"What would you like for Christmas?"

Me:"Nothing."

Mom, with a look of horror on her face:"It can't be nothing! I'm buying things for the others! You need to get something too!"

Me:"Thank you, mom, but I really don't want or need anything. I most likely won't use whatever you'd get me."

Mom:"Fine. I'll give you money then."

Me:"You don't need to do that either. I'm good."

Why do we feel that we "have" to get our loved ones Christmas gifts? When did it become an obligation? Even though I'm letting her off the hook, my mom still feels guilty and feels she needs to give me something. In her opinion, it wouldn't be fair to me if she gets gifts for everyone else but me.

My family members aren't minimalists. I don't expect them to have the same philosophy as me. My wants are less than theirs. If I don't get a single gift under the Christmas tree, I won't assume that …

Continuing reflections on dad

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You may have read the post I wrote about my dad and his orange brush. I said that while I was reading minimalists' testimonials it occurred to me that my dad was a minimalist. I doubt it was a conscious effort on his part, it was just his personality.

You may have also read the post I wrote about being still. After reading that particular post, the man I recently started dating shared with me that one of the things he does just about every day is to "engage in contemplation or reflection". A "deliberate effort to take time for contemplation and introspection". His daughter asked him how he could just sit and not "do anything".

That reminded me of my dad. After he retired, he'd spend hours every day just sitting outside when the weather permitted. We were free to join him at which point he'd talk with us about anything and everything. Or we could just sit in silence with him. But most of his time was spent alone. Now in my father's case, it…

Online dating – minimalist style

A while back I had lunch with an old high school friend who happens to be single. He was saying how he'd been having a hard time meeting women lately. I suggested that maybe he could try online dating. I've been doing it for years.

He said he wasn't interested in online dating for a few reasons. One of the reasons he offered up was that there are too many options online which makes focussing on one person more challenging. He says you may end up passing over someone that could actually be a very good match for you because you're always looking for a “better” match to come along. Or someone may pass you over for the same reason. I must say that I agree with him (to a certain degree). The same could be said for the more “natural” (if we can still even say that) way of meeting people – the “organic in person let me strike up a conversation with you” kind of way.

Like with many things, you can choose quantity over quality with online dating. You could date many different …

Searching for quality

Remember when I wrote about settling? I mentioned how I couldn't always afford what I really wanted so I sometimes settle for something less expensive.

Well there's another issue that makes finding what you want frustrating. Quality!
Sometimes I do have the necessary resources for the right thing, but no matter how much I search, I can't find it.

Companies seem to be so concerned about cutting costs and being the ones we buy from. Their products have to be available before we get it from someone else. Who has time for quality!? Production, distribution, and profit at any cost! Right?

What if we waited? What if we all stopped buying it now because we want it now and wait to get it when it's right? Maybe that would mean that we're no longer stuck with "disposable" stoves, or refrigerators, or televisions, or electronic gadgets, or clothes, or houses, or whatever. If we all held out for quality instead of impulse buying quantity, how would that change the av…

Be still

One of my favourite parts about writing is when my writing moves people enough that they come talk to me about it or it makes them take action in their own lives. Some even reach out to me and offer advice or suggestions.

Paula (remember her?) came to me the other day to discuss my blog post To settle or not to settle. Her advice to me was "don't settle". She suggested that I take time to be still and let the dust fall. That I might be surprised how things turn out. 

My friend Susan also suggested that I "challenge" myself to not take on a challenge when I was asking friends, online, to suggest potential challenges. 

My cousin Marie-Josée suggested meditation or yoga. And I got a couple of comments from helpful and friendly readers leading me to others who've discussed the unexpected emptiness of minimalism.

The other night I was watching a TED talk by Pico Iyer called Where is home? In this TED talk, near the end, Pico quotes Seneca. It was one of the quotes …