Remember those lemons I “borrowed” from my neighbor John? This weekend while working on my pie I noticed a few annoying black bugs flying around. I took out the trash and recycling, emptied the garbage disposal, ran the dishwasher and still, bzzz… the tiny gnats continued to annoy me. Then I looked at the basket and realized I had way over-estimated my lemon needs. The bottom layer of lemons hidden from sight looked like a scene from Marie Curie’s laboratory gone awry.
I washed those that weren’t moldy, threw the basket liner in the washing machine and pulled out my hand-juicer and cutting board. (What I should have done was make a lemon pie.) Twenty minutes later, I’ve got fresh lemon juice for the rest of the year’s recipes. Voila.
Adam sent me this link today about consumerism in the United States and how everything is a bit out of whack. We are spending way more than we can afford — like the obese at a dessert buffet, we continue stuffing ourselves when we should have long since gone to bed.
I find that when I am eating sensibly, I’m also spending wisely. It’s all or nothing — or as my mother so aptly puts it, “Honey, you have two shades: black or white.” Thankfully right now I’m in a disciplined mood and am saving money like I’m saving my calories — for the good stuff, like filet and Malbec.
With rising gas prices, I’ve started carpooling more and am cutting coupons when I actually need the product. I’m even considering writing all of my spending down for a month, as suggested by this month’s Real Simple, to take a closer look at where the foolishness is occurring. (Coffee shop stops, more than likely.) I also like talking to my grandparents about budgeting. They not only survived The Great Depression, but they did so on farms — in Pennsylvania and England. Rural life was not kind, and as a result my grandmothers are tough hens who know how to make food budgets feed all of those coming to dinner, regardless of the number. I have a lot to learn from them.
Hence the drive to juice the lemons, rather than just pitch the basket. Just like with being healthy — it isn’t the occasional splurge that kills you. It’s the daily little things that accumulate. By cutting back on both, I hope to become less of a mindless consumer.
And if you hear of a Phoenix girl arrested for doing cartwheels down the street? It will be me the day my last grad school loan is finito. I have bigger and better things to be paying for — my own little plot of land somewhere in Colorado where I’ll have that huge vegetable garden, my dogs, my adopted kids from Africa, my own non-profit, my family nearby, my little condo in Tempe where we’ll all retreat for winters with our Arizona friends. Soon enough and in the meantime, I’ll be sipping my lemonade and smiling at the sweet future in store.