Barnes & Noble on a Budget

Who doesn't love a wide-open Saturday? In between wonderful weekends of holidays, birthday parties and family functions came a whole day with nothing on the agenda. I had plenty stockpiled on the list of things I'd like to do "when I have time," but for some reason, I wasn't really feeling any of it. The only thing I knew needed to happen was planting our ridiculously fast-growing sunflowers in the ground. First thing in the morning, I went outside and started digging. If there's one thing I know after this attempt at "gardening" in Florida in July, it's that people in cooler climates have little to be jealous of this time of year. Wow. The heat was atrocious.

Zapping my energy didn't do much for my lack of the direction for the rest of the day, so I accepted that, while some days are for expending, some are for absorbing, and this day was definitely of the absorbing kind. For anyone that hasn't read The Artist's Way, this is what Julia Cameron might refer to as needing to "fill the well," and the perfect thing I needed to fill my well was a nice afternoon in the A/C at Barnes & Noble, or Starbucks, browsing blogs on the free wifi while sipping a frozen coffee confection. Except that, really, the wifi isn't free - it's included with a $17 cup of coffee. Since I'm a bit broke at the moment, and I can't honestly think of a Starbucks within 25 miles, I packed up my computer and headed to the library.

I'm not ashamed to admit I'm a geek. As a kid, I used to love summer reading clubs and the free events my mom used to take me to at the library. For as long as I can remember, I've loved coming home with a stack of books almost too big to carry, and this hasn't changed all that much. Without anything specific in mind, I wandered up and down the rows of books and pulled out anything that caught my eye, then spent the next few hours perusing the pages of craft magazines, cookbooks, relationship books, DIY, and who knows what else. I'd even snatched up a salsa DVD I spotted out of the corner of my eye. Welcome to my randomness! But somehow, it all seemed to fit that day.

For instance, I read some advice for couples to recharge their individual batteries every day, a little like filling the well. It's hard to give when you're all tapped out, and it's important, even if just for a few minutes a day, to have you space - go for a walk, listen to music, do yoga - whatever it is that helps you unwind. Then you're more refreshed and better able to handle the tasks that drain energy all day.

I borrowed two issues of Paper Crafts magazine, thanks to my friend Gail, who reignited my interest when she started her brand new Etsy Shop and blog, Simply Oney. Last week, I found boxes full of supplies I totally forgot I had and now I want to see what I can do with them.

Speaking of uncovering forgotten stuff, I picked up a book called Throw Out Fifty Things. I can't remember exactly where, but recently I read that the feeling you get from clearing out space and getting rid of old things is very similar to the way you feel from getting new things. This is good news for those of us in a recession. I don't know about everyone else, but the money trees in my backyard don't seem to bearing beaucoup fruit these days, if ya know what I mean. Might be the sandy soil or something. But instead of bumming out about not buying new stuff, I think I'd like to try getting rid of some old stuff and feeling a little bit lighter. Maybe I'll even enter the Summer Home Slim Down Challenge. For inspiring ideas on simplifying and living lighter and with intention, check out Makeunder My Life and Small Notebook.

For a day that started with little motivation, I'm happy with how I made out. That was the best zero dollars I've spent in a while. (Alright, I had 50 cents in fines, which the librarian kindly reminded me I didn't have to pay then. I paid it anyway.) Now I better go start practicing salsa for my So You Think You Can Dance audition.

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