A special occasion...

Major flashback! I watched "Monk" last night on the USA network and suddenly a black and white commercial, jingle and all caught my attention. It was the original Chatty Cathy commercial showing the real deal. Chatty Cathy dolls! Oh, they were so cool when I was growing up. The gimmick for these dolls was if you pulled the string on her back she would say sentences to you. This creative use of commercial was for Geico insurance using a new voice-over narrative about Cathy paying too much for auto insurance. I was riveted watching this commercial that I had not seen for over 30 years. I noticed that my mouth was agape in a child-like manner and it did not close till the commercial was over. I had regressed to my childhood in less than 30 seconds. It was a nice trip.

I was in a mellow mood last night. I had the luxury of using a gift-card for Bella Tosca Day Spa that I had received last year but never used. As much as I love being pampered, I am not very good at spas, especially the hoity-toity ones where I feel I don't measure up to their regular clientele. I decided to go in deserving to be there and ready to receive. This spa really is lovely even if it is ala Beverly Hills high-falutin'. This lovely woman from Persia, did my facial. We hit it off right away and although she said she would stay quiet to allow me to relax, we found ourselves chatting quite a bit. I appreciated getting a facialist who has been doing this work for many years and even studied in Milan.

Next, I had my spa pedicure appointment. My esthetician walked me over to meet the woman who was to do my pedicure and we walked over to the salon side, even though I was still wearing only the comfy, plumpfy spa robe. This was not going to be your run-of-the-mill pedicure. There was a large leather chair that was raised (kinda throne-like I noted) that allowed you to put your feet in the swirling whirlpool while the chair massages you. Sweeeeeeet.

My manicurist asked me if I was a church lady. And I said yes, how did she know? Turns out there was a church/clergy convention meeting at the Town and Country Hotel and there were several clergy and spouses coming into the salon for services. Ohhhhhh. I explained to her that I was an independent minister who just happened to be in today.

Talk about your Chatty Cathy... One thing led to another in our conversation and shortly, I realized that I was not really in that chair for me, but for her! We talked about her recent retreat to a Benedictine monastery in Kentucky (I will have to tell Jessi!) that had transformed her. And then the conversation moved into my other area of expertise--animal kinship--and we talked about her beloved cat that made his transition and how that, too had transformed her life. In addition to her love for this creature, she was aware that if it hadn't been for his untimely death, she probably wouldn't have come to San Diego nor pursued the impulse to take a silent retreat at the monastery.

Okay, so it wasn't quite the quiet relaxation I had planned, but it was very nice and I knew that these women had drawn me to them. Especially when I considered how many times the appointment had been re-scheduled. I indulged myself in the silence of the sauna and steam room and went home feeling quite relaxed.

Today, I kept on my task of cleaning things and clearing up. I am still going through some of my mother's things, especially her huge collection of costume jewelry. I found a nice second-hand store here in the 'hood who was willing to look at the jewelry today to see if they would have a market for it. I cleaned and organized each piece and displayed them on layers of wrapping paper for better viewing.

While I was doing this, I continued my process of noting where I was holding onto shtuff. Not only was there a plethora of stuff to toss or give away, as I did so, I was able to uncover further layers of the belief system that created such hoarding.
Yes, some of the pattern was handed-down so to speak, from my grandmother (known as a class A pack-rat); and from my mother, a child of the depression who was raised in severe poverty. Now add to that my generational contribution of not wanting to be wasteful, to recycle and find new uses, and one begins to see-through the literal stacks of shtuff you can't see through or around that has piled up in my house.

One of the next sermons or articles I am going to write is about the habit of hoarding and saving things for a special occasion. Red flag flashback. I recall being at my grandmother's apartment and looking through her drawers and closets as curious children do. And I remember seeing tons of things that were still in their original packaging and never opened. When I asked her about that she said she was saving then for a special occasion. There were beautiful linens and clothes and beauty products, all unopened and gathering proverbial dust.

You know where I am going here... I have found that I have carried on that legacy. Of course, there are times and certain items that one does save for a special occasion -- and then there are times where one is doing it out of a unconscious sense of lack and fear that creates a hoarding or pack-rat behavior.

Aha! for moi: I now understand that some of my obsessive-compulsive recycling behavior is also coming out of a sense of lack and fear. Lack in that I might not have 'it' (there's that it again) later or when I need it. Fear in that the world around me will squander the natural resources so I had better pick up every can, bottle and paper that I can and recycle it so the generations to come will have enough. Yowza.

In this autumn version of spring cleaning, I have found things that I have had since my teens. Almost empty bottles of perfume oils or some cosmetic items that I didn't want to toss because I felt it was wasteful. Crikey --the perfume oils go rancid and the make-up goes bad if not used in a reasonable amount of time. And how many errant socks or earrings have I kept even though the mate is missing just in case someone could use it somehow, some way, some day....

All-rightey then. I have now begun to force myself to throw things out when I identify the item as falling into one of those I've just described. I am even recycling printer paper that has been used only on one side already instead of putting in through the printer for a second use. This may seem unremarkable to you but it is very difficult for me to only use something once. How many Starbucks cup sleeves can one person keep to re-use? We also have stacks of paper that I try to re-use in the printer or for making lists.

In and of itself, either activity is fine and probably does make a difference in the overall scheme of things. And even with my new awareness, it doesn't mean I will stop these practices altogether. However, I have to modify my motivations and be sure I am recycling because it is the right thing to do and when it is feasible. Nor do I have to be co-dependent and recycle for everyone else around me. Like it or not some things are not meant to last or be used for the umpteenth time. Yoohoo, Duchess? Who's your Source?

And in other news, I am happy to say that I put a stream of toilet tissue into the bathtub for an errant spider to find and he/she crawled up and out of the tub safely before I took my shower.

Probably the spider thought today was a special occasion...


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