Friday, January 11, 2008

New Year, Old-Fashioned Thoughts

Most years, I "resolve" to keep it up at the gym and to try to eat more fish. Ditto for 2008. It's not really a formal resolution, just some ideas I try to keep in mind.

This year, things are ... well, different, I guess. You may recall from an earlier posting that I want to try shopping at "sustainable" farms--I'm afraid that word is going to become as overused (and abused) as "green." I want the foods I eat to be as unadulterated as possible.

I feel like the Christmas season has become an orgy of unrestrained spending--and this year I did try to pull back on the amount of stuff the kids received. And yet, on December 25, each child had a stack of presents to open. In response to the overspending, I'm now trying like hell not to spend. It sucks. I love shopping. I love buying things on sale. I love telling my husband how much a certain item was originally, and how much I paid for it. And how much money I saved, and how I was able to use that "saved" money to buy something else!

Before Christmas, I received one of those postcards from some organization offering to pick up my unwanted stuff. I've been going through the house bagging up stuff for collection next week. And so much of it is stuff--why do we need all of this crap?

My daughters received American Girl dolls for Christmas. They're pretty expensive, but I like how they represent different time periods in American history. Each girl also has a series of books (also available for purchase!), and we've checked out several from the library in the last few weeks. Caitlin received the Molly doll--she's from 1944, and her father is serving in England (he's a doctor--they'd never have someone in actual combat *eye roll*). Anyway, Molly's family has to make do often--things are scarce, food is rationed. I've been looking through some of Molly's stories. She and the girl from the Depression (her name is Kit) interest me because they came from a time when we all pretty much had to make do with less.

Last Friday, I drove Caroline and a classmate of hers to their Brownie meeting. The classmate has an older sister, and this classmate proceeded to tell Caroline all about how she needed to watch Zoey 101 tonight and how Jamie Lynn Spears is pregnant and she's only 16. I was cringeing in the driver's seat. Caroline has no idea who Jamie Lynn Spears is, and probably had no idea that mommies can be 16. She certainly has no idea about how babies are made. And I'd like to keep it that way for a few more years, thank you very much! I told Rob about it. He was not happy either.

I decided to try some counter-programming. On Saturday night, I broke out Little House on the Prairie. Caroline received it for Christmas last year, but we hadn't really watched it. This year, all the kids were into it. They watched two episodes in a row and were begging to watch another one. That's more like it. Now the girls want me to read the books to them--see, they were confused when I explained that Molly and Felicity (their American girls) were not real people, and they were thrilled to learn that Laura Ingalls was a real person.

My little brain has been busy mulling all of this over and wondering how to act on my thoughts. Where to begin? How to really simplify? And what exactly do I mean by simplify? How do we convince ourselves that we really need less? I'll keep you posted as I come up with strategies and solutions...and I'm always open to ideas. Happy New Year!

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