Sunday, February 28, 2010

Van Land

So the Olympics have been a bit exhausting, but definitely worth the trip to Van.  Last night we ended up going to a skid kind of beer hall place with hundreds of rowdy fans, and 6 of us sharing 3 stools and a small table.  We watched Woman's curling and saw Canada beat Slovak.  We cheered with everyone else as we drank our cheap beers and ate fries and gravy. 'The Cambie' was over a hundred years old, and a easy going, rip roaring time.  Fast forward to 10:30pm.  My sister has arrived from the airport and gets to have just one beer.  Her husband and his friends are now no longer welcome to order drinks from the bar, as they've gotten rather sloppy drinking there since two p.m.  We leave and his friend, whose house we will stay at, suggests we walk by the crowds to get the feel of the Olympic spirit.

Things degenerate.  A desperately sober sister, and a rapidly sobering me doggedly fight our way through the throngs as the boys keep getting separated and slowing our progress down as they need to be found and herded together again.  The journey reaches a climax when at the top of the parking garage where all the boys pee freely, I pause to consider doing the same.  Before I can act, 4 cops round the corner and one of them wants to give me a $250 dollar fine for public urination.  I have to endure his unjust accusation with a full bladder.  To make matters much worse, brother in law's friend decides to give the cops a 'lecture series' and starts shouting, pointing his finger and even swearing.  My sister and I back away and can't believe that he didn't get arrested.  We all march on - the guys now have their suitcases - and battle through about 5 more blocks congested with people standing cheek to jowl.  It takes us quite a while to find an open Starbucks and longer to wait in line.  But at last I have my turn to pee.

Fast forward again, no cabs in this city, so we magically get on a bus that doesn't charge us, and after a LONG, sometimes sullen and sometimes hysterical ride, and a brief hike across a golf course and over a fence, we get to his home.  As God is my witness, It took us about 3 hours to get home from the bar. And I was literally ready to beat the face off of our host.

Today was MUCH better!  My wife lovingly reminded me that I could eat until 10:00pm and still be on track with my Lent vows (because it would only be 7pm in Toronto).  I took full advantage.

We are staying very centrally tonight with our cousin in Yaletown in her lovely condo.  So grateful.   A dear old pal treated me to VIP tickets to the Hockey House where we lounged in ridiculous comfort and luxury, watched the bronze medal game, ate ourselves silly, drank for free, watched the Gold Medal curling, and saw Colin James perform (I even got a photo with one of the curlers!).  Mark Messier was there tonight too and my wife texted me that I should try and make a baby with him.  It was a clever suggestion for how I could get a nice souvenir of the Olympics without having to buy anything new, but I opted instead to battle it out in an ice-skate-lacing contest, and won a scarf.  I was so delighted to earn some Olympic swag that I didn't have to purchase.  I am always working the grey area and loop holes of my ground rules, aren't I?  With my Olympic mitts from that nice gal from the Compactor's Club, my twin knitting me a red homemade pair, and my newly won scarf, I am all set.

It is great to be spending money on 'experiences', like this trip, and interestingly, since I'm not buying stuff (and I've lucked into some free tix) I've actually spent very little at the Olympics, which is a bit of a refreshing surprise.

Tomorrow, we may go out to the flame, and otherwise, we are holing up to watch the hockey game/closing ceremony with my cousin's homemade chilli, and we can see the streets of Vancouver pulse with revellers through the windows on 3 sides of her condo, but not have to fight our way through them.  I'm saying that now.  Who knows, I may be out on the street dancing with strangers if we win that hockey game.

xo Tara

p.s.: I miss my wife.

Friday, February 26, 2010

No Souvenirs Means More Money for Food and Drink

A nice thing about not shopping (or at least not buying anything new) is that I know I'll be able to eat and drink with impunity here at the Olympics.  The not so nice thing is that I really am a sucker for swag and I want more of it.  Perhaps I can volunteer and get me one of those green Olympic jackets.  I could stand outside the Yaletown subway and give tourists fake directions since I have no idea where anything is.  They wouldn't know the difference till later, and by then I'd be long gone with my cool, green Olympic gear.  I did pick up a free Olympic lollypop and map.

So far my cousin and I have visited the Atlantic Canada Pavilion and took the aquabus to Granville, did a little saki tasting and checked out some art and walked around Yaletown.  We'll be meeting up with my sister and her husband a little later - My sister just flew out of snowy Toronto a few minutes ago.

It's warm and rainy here and we are going out to watch some hockey, drink beer and eat in a pub with some pals and a few hundred very enthusiastic strangers.  I quite like it here in Vancouver.

xo Tara

Bon Voyage


I'm about to hit the sack after packing for my trip to the Olympics.  I am leaving around 5:30am, so I need to grab a few winks.

I'm not sure about access to the good old interweb while I'm there, but my wife has kindly put a couple of useful apps on my new-used-reclaimed, ipod that will work if I'm in wireless hub.  In any case, I am still on track with my No New Stuff plan, and am full-on continuing with that while travelling.  I am allowed to eat out as needed, and my only souvenirs shall be photos and memories!

P.S.:  Today's Now Magazine in Toronto has a feature on Green Stuff AND a Vintage Shopping Guide!  Check it out at Now Magazine (they also suggest you add your favourites if they missed any).  I am looking forward to checking some of these out late March, early April with my pal Cindy.  Especially 69 Vintage.

P.P.S.: My Lenten Vows have been hit and miss.  I got in my workout today, but ate after 7pm.  FYI:  The reason I mention trying not to upset the Lent Fairy, is that I hate to think about anyone as omnipotent as G.O.D. paying attention to my mediocre Lent performance. 
P.P.S. I love you, Catholic wife of mine.

xo Tara

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Thanks for the Gift of the Olympic Mitts!

A friendly stranger to me, read my blog through the Compactor's Club connection.  She generously offered me her mitts for my trip to Vancouver on Friday since I can't buy anything new.   I just picked them up.  This is a photo of me very happy.  Thanks Cheryl!  How about those Canadian women racking up the medals today?
P.S.: one of the gold medal bobsledders is an occupational therapist


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Can't Get a Movie Made Without Them

My wife somberly informed me today that my blog will not be able to become a movie like Julie and Julia -- since I'm not buying anything there would be no opportunities for product placement ads.  I'm pretty sure she is right.  It would likely also be challenging to go around filming me not doing something all day for a year...


Monday, February 22, 2010

A Small Quotation

This is all I have for today -- a quick quote from Gretchen Rubin:

"The days are long, but the years are short."

So, be nice to each other and for God's sake, have some fun.  I mean it.

xo Tara

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Upcycled Skirt Alert

My friend Julie came by and spotted me while I sewed this.  Just a little edging to perfect and I am done!!

Jeans I was no longer permitted to wear = skirt!

xo Tara

Needs vs Wants

Hi there,
It's a lazy Sunday, and my wife is gone down for a nap, so I've got some time to roam around on my laptop with the space to myself.  I've been 'offline' for over 30 hours because I travelled back in time to Newmarket to visit an old school friend, who is living back there.  It was a fabulous visit, but makes me intensely grateful for my life in downtown Toronto.  She has 3 beautiful children, a loving husband, and zero units of sleep per night.  (well, zero is exaggerating, but you get the gist.)

Some of my reading and living lately has been helping me to work on what I need versus what I want.  (The Story of Stuff says that 6 months later we are only using 1% of the new stuff we bought that we 'wanted' so badly.)  It turns out that I don't need that much.  I still want a fair bit, but drawing my line in the sand is helping me to get a handle on it.  It's been kind of funny to take a step back and observe myself as I struggle with my shallower urges.   The hardest has probably been giving up the eating out for convenience.  And gazing with envy at my twin sister's new purchases (especially new leggings - the pair I have on needs some first aid as they're thinning at the seams and it is only February!).  Actually, if I can force myself to truly clean my closet and drawers, I may find a couple of pairs I'm sure must exist but have been buried in the rubble of clothing.

I still haven't bought anything new, and I've had a great degree of friendly and helpful outreach from friends and readers who are offering to lend me books like How to be Free (by Tom Hodgkinson), and Not Buying It! (by Judith Levine)

I've also had offers to take me vintage clothing shopping, to lend me Olympic Mitts(!), and people telling me about resources like Swap, don't Shop I still have to check out), and the blog, consumption rebellion  Not to mention friends who have joined in the fun of getting craftier and handier.  It's been so cool to do more entertaining in my home, to pare down my stuff, and slow down a bit.  I still have a goal of doing much more decluttering.  A constant need in a smallish condo (even without a lot of new things coming in). 

I'm still barely managing my Lent Vows (yesterday I got in a twenty minute speed walk to the Yorkdale subway -- almost all on a muddy, awkward slant with no sidewalk so I'm counting it as 30 minutes.)  But, the dinner at my friend's house was barely a 'pass', with me sitting down and tucking in at exactly 7pm.  It was delicious!  But I'm not sure how the Lent Fairy feels about me having my first bite at 7pm measuring up to my stated Vow of 'not eating after 7pm'.  Again, I haven't come up with appropriate Penances.  Since it IS Lent, maybe a few good, old fashioned 'Hail Marys' will serve?  I am a bit of a Catholic-o-phile, so my Catholic wife will probably get a kick out of it.  Or think I'm committing a major faux pas.  We'll find out. 

xo Tara

Friday, February 19, 2010

50 Days Without Consumerist Indulgence

Hi there y'all,

I've just enjoyed a home Movie Night.  We are lucky enough to have a friend who gets 'For Your Consideration Movies' and pays it forward by letting us watch them.  Tonight we watched 'Hurt Locker'.  Very good -- but high on the tension scale.

So, basking in the glow of my loaner olympic mitts, I am feeling really groovy.  Today, I was able to rise above my desire to buy fast food coffee and junk food for an a.m. meeting downtown (I forgot to bring my trusty travel mug, so I just did without till I got back to my office).  I also got my 20 minutes of exercise in before 9:30am and was sitting pretty all day with Lent and No New For Tara/No New is Good News in the bag.  I did however, shovel dinner and all my evening snacking down my gullet between 6:45 and 7:00pm, so I must admit to feeling rather bilious much of the night.  I devoured my potato chips and chocolate quickly as I heated up my supper, which I quickly scarfed down to meet my Lent deadline of 7pm.   Then I rubbed my aching stomach while more normal types enjoyed their movie snacks DURING the film.  I probably have to work some kinks out of this 'no eating after 7pm' vow to make it more palatable.

A friend/neighbour/book club buddy recently read my blog and wrote me this:

"Hey Tara, I was just checking out your blog again - I am really impressed by your not buying stuff for a year, honestly - and I found your entry about a friend with the negative comment interesting. I just watched a doc called 'Garbage, the Revolution begins at home', which is neat on a lot of levels. And does address the basic tenant of our society, which is based on buying stuff and throwing stuff out. The one comment they make which I found thought provoking, was about how a society shows love - and again, in ours, in buying stuff and throwing stuff out. Food for thought! And if the economy truly cannot survive without the constant production of needless garbage, maybe we need to demand a change. I have to think the economy will evolve if we do.

That said, I really want an ipod touch.

Sorry for the long message, just really found your entry really twigged for me. Hope you & Dawn are well and to see you soon for a glass exchange!"

This reminded me of my post a while back about 'The Story of Stuff'.  I highly recommend you check out the video on youtube.  She has also written a book (I just heard about a launch in NYC).  The film is only about 20 minutes long, and gripping and full of facts and makes you think - in a good way!  check it out at .  Also, I want to hunt for that documentary 'Garbage, the revolution begins at home'.  I'll let you know if I find it.

Hey!  My wife's new iphone finally came and I just got my ipod touch back.  Gently (and thensome) used, but feels just like new to me after an absence of about 6 months!

Night Night

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Serendipity Do Da

Check this out.  My conscience is squeaky clean because one of the gals from that 'Compactor's' club I mentioned yesterday (folks on the Danforth buying nothing new for 3 months this year), saw my blog and is LENDING me her Olympic Mitts for my trip.  This is perfect because I just couldn't buy them.  I am going to talk to my stepmomma and see what she wants me to do with the Mitt Money she sent me that I was not able to bring myself to shop with.

I might use it to go drinking with Johnny Weir (that lovely & flamboyant American figure skater), or send it back, or let my sister buy herself mitts with it.  Depending on what stepmomma says.

In any case, I've got one pair of Olympic Mitts coming my way with zero units of guilt attached.

'Spleen venting' art project re: not being able to buy mitts can now be retired! (Photo is from my 'photo booth' which unfortunately inverts images.) 

P.S.: re: Lent:  Tonight I squeaked in with dinner at work at 6:52pm.  Unfortunately it was a special Jamaican themed meal and it wasn't all ready, so I have to wait until tomorrow to try the banana, yam, dumpling, and root-veggie-I-forget-the-name-of part of the meal.  I did seriously enjoy my modest portion of plantain and ackee with salt fish.  In fact, I may need to send myself to bed early because I am hungry like the wolf.  Luckily I got my exercise out of the way with a 30 minute walking video at 11am.  So grateful not to have to hit the gym tonight.

***Addendum on November 24, 2010:  Interestingly, this post is my 'most popular' and for some reason people continue to view it regularly.  I'm not very internet savvy and extremely curious about the routes that people are coming to see it from.  If you are willing, please consider posting a 'reply' here on where you saw a link to this post!  I'm so nosy.  Also, feel free to check on what's going on lately with me: here.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Make Lenten Vows in Haste, Repent in Leisure

Today is the first day of Lent.  I'm not Catholic, but as I may have mentioned, over the past 20 odd years I've found the 40 days of Lent to be a convenient time to bone up on some type of self improvement/self flagellation.  One year I gave up swearing.  One year I gave up chips and chocolate.  One drastic year I gave up beer.   I only found out yesterday from my wife that Lent began today.  So last night I scrambled to come up with some things to do without for 40 days.  Since I am going to Vancouver for the Olympics, I can't very well give up beer this year.  I know a losing battle when I see one.

What I came up with was this:
1. I am giving up eating after 7pm.  With my two jobs, I often end up eating supper as late as 10pm, or worse grazing the evening away without really eating an actual supper at all.
2. I am giving up not exercising.  (I realize that falls into the ugly double negative category).  To operationalize this Lenten Vow, practically speaking it means that for the next 40 days I will exercise at least 20 minutes a day.  In a row.  So I cannot add up my 30 second jaunts to the elevator and fridge etc. to total my 20 minute allotment. 

Sounds good.  Sounds healthy.  Almost sounds easy.  But, failing to plan properly, led to one long arsed night tonight.  Day one of Lent started out optimistically.  I brought some leftovers to take as my supper.  However, they sat fermenting in my bag from 8am until 5pm because I forgot to put them in the fridge.  As they included chicken, I had to chuck the lot.  I rushed to job number two, ate some almonds, did some work, and scrambled out of there at 6:50pm.  In order to meet my Lent requirements, I had to race into a restaurant and eat before 7!  It wasn't a social meal, I was alone, but as pennance, I worked the whole time on my duties organizing volunteers for an event involving 250 homeless women that I help plan.  I had soup and a salad so it wasn't too decadent.  Then, when I got home, having failed to walk the length of myself today, I had to drop off my stuff (it was too heavy to just go for a walk en route), kiss my wife goodnight as she hit the sack, and turn around and head down to our gym.

The good news is that while it is very hard to drag yourself to the gym after 10pm (if you are me), I feel quite lovely in my post gym glow after a nice hot shower and some stretches.  I have done what I told myself I would do today.  It also feels good having done what I said I'd do regarding 'No New is Good News' for a month and a half.  The other good news is that I actually have a gym in my building so I should be thanking my lucky stars not complaining about having to drag my butt to it.

Tomorrow, meal's are part of my work (I have two cooking groups) and my walk is guaranteed because I actually do a fitness walk with clients on Thursdays, so I can breathe easy and keep the Lent Fairy appeased. 

Also: re: the Olympic Mitts I sinfully covet but cannot buy because they are new -- I'm still waiting for a miracle in the form of a pair of used ones.  In the meantime I vented my spleen during an expressive arts group I subbed in for today.  I'll bring home my creative masterpiece tomorrow, as it will have dried by then, and share it with you.  Something to look forward to!

Sweet dreams,


PS: My work pal left me an article torn from the Mirror called 'Danforth area residents take on overconsumption'.  There is a group there that have been around for 3 years, that has made a pact this year to go without buying anything new for 3 months.  (They did 2 months last year and 1 month the year before).  They call themselves the Compactor's Club.  "The rules of the club are simple:  Just try not to buy anything new except food, booze and essential toiletries," said Laurie Smith.  "The leader of the group is 'eco-queen' Mary-Margaret McMahon'".  At the end of the three months they meet, confess their cheating situations and offer suggestions of ways to handle them without cheating.  "If you want to get involved you can contact McMahon at"
This was taken from:

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Used Mitts, Anyone?

Hi there,

So finally, after 47 days, an ethical dilemma I can sink my teeth into with this 'No New is Good News' thing!  I just heard that in Vancouver they are falling all over themselves trying to get their hands on the red Official Olympic mitts from the Bay and/or Zellers.  They've sold out.  Here in Ontario they are easy to come by.  (Not that I'd know, I haven't darkened the door of a department store since Dec. 31st).  This is the small minded crux of the matter.  I really, really want a pair so that I can walk around Vancouver and have everyone envy them.  This is pretty much literally my first real challenge.  I want those mitts!! 

Does anyone have a used pair I can buy?  I'll pay full price.  My stepmother just emailed me money to get some, but I just can't buy them new.  She felt that if she paid it was okay, but I don't think so.  So, please, if you see any in the lost and found, or want to part with your own, or steal some, let me know.  I just can't be going into the Bay and buying new stuff.  But hot damn, do I ever want to.

On the bright side, I'm going to the Olympics!!! (Friday Feb. 26-Monday Mar. 1).  Not to compete, mind you.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Family Day

Hey there,

It's a stat holiday, Family Day, today, and I made vats of food for our freezer for my family (that's my wife and I).  I did a big shop at No Frill's yesterday and since then have made batches of homemade: spaghetti, turkey vegetable soup, chili, and grilled salmon and spinach pasta salad.  It's like I'm nesting for Family Day.  It's been very pleasant and low key with the olympics on in the background.  I did have to take a break from cooking when the pairs figure skating came on.  I get so tense, it's like watching a thriller movie.  Sometimes I can't look.  Sometimes I gasp and hold my breath.   I become vaguely superstitious about watching like I am responsible for keeping them aloft.  It's murder on the guts.

So, the new thing on my horizon is that I'm thinking about going out to the olympics for a long weekend.  It doesn't conflict with my rules about not buying anything new.  In fact, I'm encouraged to try new experiences.  BUT no buying souvenirs.  Bummer.  I'm going to double check to get the okay from work before I do book this spontaneous trip.  It occurred to me last night and seems to be taking hold of my fancy.

I'll keep y'all posted.

Happy Family Day,

PS: my wife really liked her homemade Valentine's tokens.

#1. was a collage I did using multimedia with a gallbladder theme (sort of a Valentine's in-joke between us)
#2. was a 'Wordle', which is a word cloud made from a piece of prose.  I entered our wedding vows and pushed 'create' and was able to fiddle with colour and direction of the words.  I printed out 3 favourites and had them laminated.

"Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends. "

check it out at:


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Finishing Things

Apparently finishing things, (aka tackling a nagging task, aka not leaving things undone) is a secret to happiness (see Gretchin Rubin or Brooks Palmer).

So last night after about 5 months of chipping away at it, I finished my knitted pillow!! And my lovely friend and neighbour generously stitch-ripped, cut and pinned my ugly-old-jeans-into-cute-new-skirt.  (That's a picture of Saint Julie holding up her labours of kindness to me.  My wife will be so happy I can no longer wear these as jeans.)  The second picture is me showing off my sewn pillow from a few months ago, and my long awaited knit pillow from last night.  Along with a couple of other crafty girls, we ate, drank, chatted and bonded with the olympics in the background.  It was a sweet experience of a night, and I am SOOOO happy to be done that blasted pillow I've been dragging around so long. 

Tonight, I'm visiting my most junior cousin, who is still literally a tiny baby, and my most junior sister, who is now a ripe, old 26.  Tomorrow, I'm looking forward to busting out my homemade Valentines.  I'll let you know how it goes.

xo Tara

Friday, February 12, 2010

Crafty Olympiad Chez Moi Ce Soir

Tonight in Vancouver there's the opening games of the olympics and the Cultural Olympiad.  But here in Toronto, I'm hosting a cozy girl's night which I'm thematically naming the Crafty Olympiad.  We'll have the TV on in the background and in the meantime enjoy chatting, eating, drinking, and working on our homemade masterpieces!

Have a great weekend
xo Tara

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Valentine's Day Sans Shopping

Any neat ideas out there for an uncommercial Valentine's Day?

I have handmade my wife's Valentine, but just looking to see if anyone else has gotten creative.

It's Payday! tomorrow.  To be honest, Payday! has lost some of it's thrill now that it simply goes towards food, bills, savings and paying off debt.

I'm being a bit cheeky here because there is the burgeoning of a mild frisson I get just noticing that I still have money left from last Payday!, a scenario way harder to engineer when on Payday!s of yore, I happened upon a Winner's at a moment of weakness.  (Then had to scramble to have money in the bank for the next day's mortgage payment).

So, Payday!s lost lustre is probably a small price to pay for some peace of mind as we continue to TCB (take care of business).

Night y'all
xo Tara

ps: I stole 'Payday!' with punctuation from Tena.  Thanks!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Recommended Book...

gretchenrubin 1 week ago in reply to Tara
"What an interesting resolution -- have you read the book Not Buying It? You
might be interested in that memoir of a year of not buying! Now I'm off to
check out your blog."

Gretchen Rubin of the Happiness Project, wrote the above book recommendation to me when I replied to her link about New Year's Resolutions (although, I don't strictly think 'No New is Good News' is just a New Year's Resolution.  I'm too serious about it!)

Would anyone like to buy it for me??

xo Tara

Bending the Rules?

I'm no angel, but I like to think most of the time my heart is in roughly the right place.  That said here are a few of the questionable things I bought as 2009 raced to a close and I knew I couldn't shop for a full year...
  • 2 stretch lace bathing suit cover ups (and I don't even have a bathing suit to wear with them)
  • 3 seasons of How I Met Your Mother DVDs
  • 2 Glee Soundtracks
  • A running skirt with built-in capri pants (I haven't gone running since I got over a challenging breakup in 2002)
  • A pair of $240 before tax boots
  • A robot vacuum
So, as you can see, I have plenty to atone for.

As far as me bending the rules goes... My sister and I stretched the allowable definition of a 'social meal' being a sanctioned occasion to eat out in a restaurant.  This weekend, rather than wait in line at my bank, I crossed the street to a local diner, got a table for two, and got started on my brunch.  My sister arrived just in time to tag-in for brunch as I rushed back across the street in response to my banker calling to alert me that the lineup of jittery RRSP buyers was waning. 

It counts as a 'social meal' since both our meals were on the same bill, right? 

Fortunately, this grey area stuff seems to be falling on my extra rules around doing things differently (restaurants, etc.) versus the 'new stuff' part of the equation.  I feel pretty strongly that I need to be absolute about the no new stuff.  That said, one of my students asked the question, 'What happens if you do buy something new?'

Good Question.  I feel like the answer is nothing, because it's not going to happen.  It can't.  But what if it does happen?  Perhaps a proactive list of penances?  My student suggested that I create a list of things I have to give up if I buy something new, so that there is already a rule in place if I commit a transgression.  It would have to be something I really don't want to part with to make it meaningful.  I will have to ponder this.  But just so we're clear, I have zero units of new stuff buying intentions.


Monday, February 8, 2010

Total Drag

I worked too late to take advantage of 50% off day.  Value Village closes in one minute and I am five minutes away.  I'm not the shopper I once was, I'll tell you that much.

Better luck next time.  Maybe I should go grocery shopping. 

Sunday, February 7, 2010

50% off sale at Value Village

Guys, the quarterly Value Village 50% off sale is on tomorrow right next door.  Do you think that coat mom and I fought over is still there?

I hope so, because the other items on my wish list (new pillow, attractive undies, and a netbook) are unlikely (or unseemly) to be purchased at the Value Village.

Talk soon,

xo Tara

stop being precious

Today was kind of funny.  I had my sister stop by the restaurant where I left my favourite scarf-shawl thing (I was so excited to find after losing) and pick it up for me.  She was coming to meet me to help keep me company while I cleared the clutter from my desk at work in the afternoon.  When she arrived, she was a little bit huffy as she reminded me that my stuff was so precious, but 'Ahem, do you remember, Tara, the several things of mine you've lost and not gone back for?'

I do.  I think a conservative estimate would have me weighing in at least 4 hoodies and/or cardigans in her debt.  Thank goodness I'm such a good sister.  But, it's true, now that I cannot replace my things as easily, I've stopped being as cavalier about how I'll replace them.  But, I am also working not to cling to 'things' per say as a way to be happy etc.  Ah, it's all so complicated.  But in a nice way.

Two lovely things happened today.  A friend who does comedy, acts, and writes and is working in Halifax texted me to say that she saw a comic in the Globe today that reminded her of me, but left it to me to figure out which one.  I'll try to include it in this text (wish me technological godspeed).  Also, I got to sing in Rockband tonight at my buddy's birthday, and although I cannot carry a tune, in Rockband, I was able to rock the house to the tune of 100%.  Once.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Saturday Morning

Clearing clutter, getting more sleep, and tackling a nagging task.  These are some of the secrets to happiness and to being more creative and productive.  

(For more details on who has been inspiring me this week you can check out Brooks Palmer's book, blog, and website at, or The Happiness Project at

I actually went to bed when my wife did last night at 10:30pm.  On a Friday.  Unreal.  Normally if she goes to bed early I turn into a teenager and watch TV until 3am or so.  It's the only way I can get my hands on the remote.  But I can really relate to a passage in the Happiness Project, where the author talks about being too tired to go to bed, so she stays up extra late.  Like her, I've decided to try getting ready for bed before bedtime, so when a tiredness wave hits, I can just do it.  It does take a tremendous amount of energy to face my waiting toothbrush and night guard, not to mention finding the just right pajamas for the season once I've overshot my sensible being awake time.

So, needless to say, I feel great this morning!  I got enough sleep and am energetic and bubbly.  Now, I'm on to the next part, the 'clearing clutter' and 'tackling a nagging task'.  I'm going into work on a Saturday to clear my desk and drawers so I can think straight.  Lately, I've been starting to feel like I'm trying to do my job from a battle-station inside the home of one of the guest stars on the TV show Hoarders.  I've been rushing around and trying to keep up with the day to day deadlines as my desk becomes a growing landfill of paper piles to the power of infinity.  I'm wearing comfy clothes, bringing snacks and music, and my sister for moral support.  I'm not leaving until I can see what colour my desk is. 

Have a great weekend!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Lost and Found

I am excited to report that my scarf-shawl thing has been found!  Since I wasn't able to simply pop down to the Bay and replace it with a new one, I took the extraordinary step of actually telephoning all the places I went yesterday.

This simply isn't like me.  I hate doing that kind of thing.  It falls into the same category as 'returning stuff'.  Loathsome.  Anyway, I would most likely have let it slide last year.  Stunned of me, but that's the truth.  Maybe this will help me to pay better attention to my bits and pieces as I flit around the city.  A true test will be if I can hang on to both black mitts till spring.  Wish me luck.  It's too late for this year's leather gloves. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


'The initials TCB stand for 'Taking Care of Business', which is what Elvis Presley called his band. He incorporated the letters into an emblem flanked by lightning bolts. This emblem was used in several pieces of Elvis' custom jewelry including his famous TCB ring and necklace.'
      I took that quote from a quickie google search

I've always liked using the TCB motto to describe what I'm doing when I am taking care of my own business.  The past couple of weeks have been fairly full of this type of activity.  On the one hand, it's the kind of thing that would have bored me silly a few years ago, but right here, right now, I'm actually getting excited about me and my wife Taking Care of Business.

The 'No New Stuff' policy is helping me to not be distracted by shopping as we focus on important TCB items such as: paying off our visa in FULL, paying off our new washer/dryer in full, maximizing our RRSPs, and doing our taxes, etc. 

I also think that linking all this stuff to a vision of Elvis in his heyday makes it all just a tad sexier.

xo Tara

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Groundhog's Day Advice

This advice is something I would give myself if I could time travel back to December 31st, 2009, when I was still allowed to buy new things.

I would advise me not to go shopping for a year's supply of bras and underwear 15 minutes before the store is closing on New Year's Eve.  You don't get a chance to try on the bras (always a bad idea because everyone knows you need to try on at least a dozen to get one that fits you right). 

Also with just 15 minutes of frenzied shopping time, you don't look very closely at your other purchases, which means I have 18 pairs of new underwear that make the 'navel knockers' my grandmother used to send me for birthdays look positively scandalous. 

At least I got the socks right.  Only 332 days to go.

xo Tara

Monday, February 1, 2010

Feb. 1st: One Month Down. Check!

Hi there,

I just got this cool message from one of my best old friends (and a university roommate).  She got a recycling symbol tatooed on her leg before most of us even knew what that meant.  And two of the greatest items in my closet are vintage coats she gave me.

(She also has a little boy who she's including in her goal)

January 31 at 8:30pm

"Hey Tara

I love what you are doing with "no new for tara" and you have inspired me to give it a go, albeit on a modified scale, and without the blog! I've been thinking about all the "stuff" in my life for some time, and how much I have that I just don't need. So here Feb 1st resolution is to get through the rest of the year with nothing new for me or Calvin. I am hoping it will make us focus more on the satisfaction of "doing stuff" than "getting stuff".

You count on me looking to you for continued support/inspiration.

Thanks for leading us down this path! I am very excited! "

Hurray! It's February 1st.
xo Tara