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Archive for January, 2018

Yesterday, I was listening to an NPR On Point interview with Ann Patchett about her essay in the NYT – she had decided to spend 2017 as her year of “No Shopping.” Her friend, Elissa Kim, inspired her to give up shopping for frivolous things. Kim had returned to the US after a trip to India and felt, “…obscenely rich.” She was shocked by our sheer abundance compared to the street people she met on her journey; so, Kim gave up shopping for a year. https://www.npr.org/podcasts/510053/on-point-with-tom-ashbrook

The rules were simple: No clothes; No shoes: No bags; No jewelry

WHAT?! What if your winter clothes, shoes, bags and jewelry were all in a Pod stacked somewhere in a warehouse? What if you had to buy holiday presents? Patchett said this didn’t apply to food, which is good since I’d seen her a few times at Whole Foods, and even though we’d met at her store, Parnassus, and I’d sat in front of her at the Love Bug’s Grandparent Turkey Day, I never imposed myself on her celebrity.

Living in Rumson taught me one thing, you may get introduced to the Boss at the gym, but you never fawn over him.

Still, after reading ALL of Patchett’s books, and knowing her husband is also a doctor, I felt a certain connection and found myself stuck to my Sonos on the Nashville NPR station. This year of living without shopping came about seamlessly. She said it had something to do with, “…the state of the country.” Oh I hear you girl. Also realizing that, “I had enough!” To which I would add, I am enough. And finally, she thought she’d been spending a little too much time, “…chilling out by browsing online.”       http://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2018/01/02/author-ann-patchetts-year-of-no-shopping

There were so many questions I had after listening to this interview. How do I chill out?Why do we shop? As I’m typing, an email shoots into the right corner of my screen from Eileen Fisher, telling me about their new blue… Oh dear God. I ignore it. Then the doorbell rings, it’s an Amazon package…

But mostly, I am left wondering why people are so darn mean on social media?

I made the mistake of checking On Point’s Twitter feed to add my opinion to the mix, and there were all these nasty comments along the line of, “…it’s called poverty/what a bunch of pretentious, entitled/this is the worst etc.” A TED talk featuring a woman who saved $37,000 one year by not shopping seemed to really set the mob mentality over the edge.

Still, I listened to the subtext. What would happen to our economy if everyone just stopped shopping? And I heard the anger, the anguish of a certain part of society, the part that likes to pit US against THEM. They don’t just cling to their guns and their religion, they like to shop! They not only rejected the idea of doing without, they disparaged the “liberal elite” for trying to do so.

It left me wondering when Republicans became the party for the working class; of course I know it started with LBJ and the South, with that drum roll of racism that still underscores our gerrymandering. My Daddy Jim never finished grade school, worked his whole life and taught me to always root for the “little guy.” The Flapper always said, “Charity begins at home” because we were so poor. She idolized FDR! We came from the coal mining hills of Pennsylvania and always thought the GOP was out of touch, was the party of (and for) the rich. This latest tax scheme should enlighten us all.

Because a certain British rag couldn’t reach Patchett for a comment, they headlined their article about her abundance of lip balm, because at one point she thought she might have to buy some but found more in her coat pockets. My comment was about how Millennials are more interested in the Fashion Chain, ethically sourced materials, and so they love to shop vintage. I was actually trying to listen to the interview, not judge the panel.

I must admit I’m starting to like web browsing ever since we bought our mattresses online, and mea culpa, I’m guilty of standing in a Target aisle wondering how the heck I got there and what I wanted. And then there’s the problem with shoes…

Still who wouldn’t want to find more time and money by not craving that one (insert consumer product here) that will change your life forever? Maybe this will redeem me? Here is a picture of our adorable Cali cousins, little Frankie is in a red beret wearing a lilac bunny sweater that the Flapper knit for the Bride thirty some years ago. I’d call that “Sustainable Knitwear!”

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And this isn’t about football.

Though we nestled inside during these last single-digit days, and enjoyed seeing GranJorja’s Insta pictures of our little cousins in Pasadena – visiting the preparations for the Rose Bowl floats and lining up for a front row view of the parade. Jorja’s first visit to the Rose Bowl was many years ago, when she and my brother Mike, the fairly new GM of the Minnesota franchise found out what winter in California was really like;

“The Vikings played in their 3rd Super Bowl in 4 years against the Oakland Raiders at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA, on Jan. 9, 1977.”

And I have to admit that Bob did watch a little college ball yesterday, exclaiming about what a great game Georgia was playing against Oklahoma. I was reheating a black-eyed pea concoction I’d delivered to a party on New Year’s Eve (returning with half of it), and couldn’t care less about the game. I know, shocking!

Still during halftime, Bob paused the action to play a game of cards with me. An actual real game of cards, that are not on a device but depicted Provence in all its glory, with an “R” for the King and a “D” for the Queen and so we looked at each card carefully to see if we’d visited that market or that field of lavender… How many men would do that? Stop watching football for a game of chance?

My Daddy Jim would play Gin Rummy with me nearly every night when I was a child. The only TV show I remember being allowed to watch at night was “Father Knows Best,” and indeed, I learned quite a bit from Jim. He would help Nell clean up the kitchen after dinner, not many men did this in the 50s. He would put on the kettle for tea, open a box of ginger snaps, and get out the cards and the pennies. We played for pennies that would end up in my piggy bank aka a cigar box.

Every now and then, we’d sit at the kitchen table on a weekend morning, and roll the pennies up in reddish brown wrappers. Then he would drive me into town to deposit the  loot in my own savings account at the bank!

Maybe this is why I love games so much? I love backgammon, chess, rummikub, poker, Go Fish, and I think I want to learn Canasta and Exploding Kittens! And I really need to learn Mahjongg!! I saw a friend’s picture recently of her grandson playing a board game and the word “Sorry” just popped into my head. I recognized the board I haven’t seen in probably sixty years.

I remember playing Chutes and Ladders with my kiddos. Today, my best buddy’s retirement means he’s willing to indulge my love of games. Unfortunately, our Scrabble game is in the Pod. https://www.thespruce.com/best-family-board-games-4151145

Scrabble was the Flapper and Nell’s favorite game. It is one of my top 5 I have to admit, though you might have guessed that wordsmithy is my jam. When the Bride talked me into Words With Friends, it wasn’t the same. Call me old-fashioned, but I actually like interacting with REAL people, and so virtual gaming in any form is NOT my jam.

We got the Grands a wonderful new game this year for Hanukkah. It’s called “Silly Street”  and the Love Bug loved it! It’s not just fun, it helps children build confidence and think about their answers, and it ends with a dance party every time! http://playsillystreet.com And I’ve collected two beautifully illustrated Bingo games for our house as they get older, one with birds and one with bugs, of course.

So if you’re like me, and determined to add a little more fun to 2018, why not start a new routine with the family, a game night that doesn’t involve a device? Well, except for “Heads Up!” that’s the exception, thank you Ellen, and it’s great for travel.

Happy and Healthy 2018 Everyone! Here is our Lil Pumpkin mid-strike in our impromptu straw hockey game at a restaurant. Look out Preds!IMG_1678

 

 

 

 

 

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