THANKS FOR NOTHING MONTH                      January 30, 2012                      5:20 AM

62 F indoors                 21 F outdoors


 ImageDiane Luers is the one holding the stuffed toy.  Annie and Miss America (the blond beautiful one) are at the other end of the row.

This month of living without money has given me a stronger picture of my overall state, particularly as I’ve begun to measure life, not in terms of money, but by the Happiness Factor. 

I’m not sure exactly why I’ve felt so content. I think I need to figure out more of the reasons.  What matters is that I have allowed myself the time to erase money from how I feel about myself – after Sunday’s “garage sale” birthday swap I can see I need to seize more of these opportunities.

Quite honestly, maybe I haven’t used the opportunity to erase money to its full extent, but I still feel like I’ve been on vacation from the world.  The mail still arrives with bank statements (I didn’t look at them yet), and Blue Rock Station has received quite a few book orders, and workshop registrations in one month – let’s say it is a record for us.

Jay tells me the news (although he didn’t have school last Thursday so I’ve had a week-long break).  I do see some news headlines Online that friends send, but I haven’t found any of it worthy of reading in depth. 

But how not spending money has influenced me is a little less clear.  No errands, no thinking about what to buy at the grocery,  using no energy at night or to cook, and most importantly, no going to a restaurant to eat a single bite of food.  

I do confess that I have mentally built up a tiny list of things I must buy to get ready for kidding season, and as the chicken scratch bin has gotten low I tell myself that I must go to town on Wednesday to buy them food.

Another truth is that I enjoy having a break from creating menus, buying food, and preparing it.  Jay’s given me quite a good vacation this month from breakfast food preparation in the mornings, and the rest has been taken care of with the menus.  We’ve almost always followed menus, but not for one whole solid month at a time, and, possibly this is the important part, we have had to stick with them even if I was too busy to have the food ready by mealtime.

Yesterday I went to Jeanette Weinberg’s “Garage Sale” birthday swap but I didn’t drive myself, as I reported I would have to do.  Instead Diane Luers telephoned to insist she was coming to get Catlyn and me so we could all go together. 

ImageJeanette – the birthday celebrity – notice her tiara (on loan to wear the day of the birthday)

Diane’s gesture may possibly be what all of THANKS FOR NOTHING is about.  As I thought through how I felt about her using her gas and taking her time to retrieve us, I felt a little guilty.  But then I also felt guilty at driving the car, and breaking my promise to myself about not using that form of energy for a month.

As I looked beyond the guilty stuff (after all I was raised Baptist), I was able to see that Diane’s kindness created a whole new afternoon for all of us.  The sun was shining when she arrived – full of smiles and a gift of dried mushrooms. 

We spent some time visiting with each other, and then loaded the car with all of our goodies for the swap.  The drive to town was filled with laughter and tidbits of gossip and more catching up.

For two hours we sorted, tried on clothes, laughed, ate food and generally enjoyed ourselves with the other wonderful women.  When we arrived back home we had a proper cup of tea and visited some more. 

When Diane was leaving she hugged Catlyn really hard and said, “It was so good to see you Bunny”.  I can’t say why that touched me so deeply, but I can see that she had given us a gift of herself…something that would not have been so rich if I had merely met her in town, and not accepted her gesture of kindness.

Nans Thomassey is right…money does remove us from each other at so many levels.  I have to try to hang on to how this works so I can allow myself to experiment and learn more about life without money.  Tomorrow is the last day of the month, but not the last day of giving thanks for nothing…I think it’s just beginning.

 Image Miss America, Nans Thomassey and Guillaume Charroin at Blue Rock Station waiting patiently to eat some of Jay’s famous gluten-free pancakes.





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Writer, farmer, scientist, from Ohio

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