My Year of No Shopping Starts Today


In a piece by Ann Patchett published in the New York Times, Patchett tells the story of her friend who made a conscious decision that she had enough stuff.  For one year, her friend did not buy shoes, clothes, jewelry or purses.

About a month ago, I read Patchett’s piece. The idea of a year with no shopping has been swimming in my head ever since.

I cross-posted it and met Facebook friends that wanted to try it, too.

After weeks of thought, I have considered what a year of no shopping means to me. These are my rules for 2018 (although, I’m starting today, Christmas):

  • I will not purchase clothes, shoes, accessories, purses, or jewelry.
  • I will not purchase anything I do not need. Yes, I realize “need” is subjective.
    • This means, I will use up the shampoo in my shower,  my guest shower, and under the bathroom sinks.
    • I may purchase two Dream Tint foundations at Lunatic Fringe during the course of the year if I run out of what is currently in my makeup drawer.
    • I just bought 2 BLINC mascaras and have an unopened Maybelline Big Lash in my drawer. Therefore, I should be able to manage with what I have.
    • I may purchase hair product, but only from the salon.
  • I may purchase services for myself and friends.
    • Self Care is essential. Therefore, I will keep my Align Spa membership and continue to add upgrades.
  • In regard to gifting, all gifts wil be:
    • events, memories, or experiences
    • consumable (like a dinner or a bottle)
    • or, a book
  • Now, about the dogs — this impacts them, too.
    • They will, with my help, be more conscientious about toys, including tennis balls.
    • We do not need any additional toys. But, I will continue, obviously, to stuff KONGS with treats.
  • I can buy plants and flowers for the yard, but I cannot purchase yard art or pots.

To accomplish my goal, I am doing the following:

Hitting the UNSUBSCRIBE button from every retailer (even the ones I REALLY like).

  • Recycling catalogs instead of bringing them into my home (even J. Peterman).
  • Avoiding the seasonal aisle at the market.
  • Wait one week before purchasing anything that I think I need (ex: vacuum). If I wait a week, I may find that emptying the bag on my old Kirby is just as effective.

I believe these rules will work for me. Choose your own. Then, together, let’s see how much time and money we save.

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Being Heidey Hooker by Booker

Welcome Heidey!

Since I am the oldest Hooker in our home, I thought I’d give you a little advice on being Hooker.

Hooker.  It’s a thing. Not everyone can be one.

We are Hooker’s Horde. Mom is not a hoarder.

We’re Hookers.  Being a Hooker means that, like Grandma says, “where much is given, much is expected.”  We’ve been given a lot. We have a warm home, nutritious and delicious food, soft beds, toys, bones, and love. So, we pay it forward. Whenever someone needs a place to crash  or hospice care, they come to our home.

Mom is a little crazy. But, she owns her crazy and her crazy doesn’t hurt anyone else. So, it’s okay.


This is a picture of our mom last year with Faith. Faith crossed the Rainbow Bridge in January. Faith and Houston didn’t like Momma Zombie.  Mom loves Halloween, but we don’t invite trick-or-treaters. We (the dogs) put an end to that craziness.


You should know that mom is a vegetarian. She makes us eat our vegetables. But, she covers them in chicken and chicken broth. Every week she slow cooks A LOT of chicken for us. We have Merrick brand kibble for croutons. Usually, our mornings include yogurt and blueberries.

This is G-ma.

We LOVE the G-ma. On the left, she’s feeding Hef (short for Hefner) from her plate at the rehabilitation center. G-ma is bionic. She has two new knees. G-ma gives us gifts. She REALLY loves Berners because she likes to hug you. The photo on the right is G-ma feeding Diesel some of Jeff’s birthday cake.


This is Uncle Jeff with mom and our “dear cousin Lynn.” She’s more than a cousin. She loves us.

Mom thinks that people should drive respectfully in our ‘hood. So, she put up this sign.IMG_1458

Now, it looks like you may actually weigh more than mom. When we walk, we need to be careful. If we pull mom over and she breaks a hip, we’ll be stuck inside for the winter.

Having lived with 4 other Berners, I can tell you that you don’t want that.  Winter is your season. Snow is fun.


When mom comes home after a long day at school (or, even after 15 minutes), we like to welcome her with confetti.  Nothing shows her how much we love her more than toilet paper confetti.


This, as you now know, is our front door. That’s Honey looking at you. She’s about seven-months-old and we keep asking mom to give her back. But, that’s not what Hookers do. So, Honey is staying. Mom keeps telling us that she will grow up and stop being a “hooligan.” We’re WAITING.

Mom got us a bottle of ZinfanTAIL to celebrate your arrival. The champagne is hers. Apparently, a glass of champagne or red wine (or both) is healthy for our hoo-man.


This is your brand new bed with some brand new toys. The thing is, ultimately we share everything.  We’re Hookers. Your bed is memory foam (just like the family bed). Yep . . . mom is single. We’re pretty sure that’s because no one else wants to sleep with her and six dogs. That’s their loss.


Some of the toys in this basket are special and we haven’t been allowed to touch them for months.


Auntie Barbz sent the Little Prince his own squeaky lamb to herd and the hedgehog princess. Those toys haven’t been off the mantle since Lil P left.

The mittens and the hat (it squeaks) were in the BarkBox that someone sent our Princess for Christmas. Mom put them aside for her to use this year. But, Princess went to join Faith in Feburary. Now, they belong to you because you are a Utah dog.

So, welcome.  You’re a Hooker now.

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MOM-versation about Poop and Driving

ME: Standing in my driveway, holding a roadie that she cannot see since I’m talking to her on the phone.  She wouldn’t even know what a roadie was.

STILL ME:  I can’t chat for long; I have to go to the State Volleyball Championship game in Orem.

MOM:  Well, I hope you’re not driving alone.

ME:  Nope.  I’m getting picked up.

MOM:  Who is driving? I hope they are safe.  Will you all be wearing your seat belts?  Are you coming home before it gets dark?

ME: Mom, we teach high school. We are not in high school.  Tell me about your day.

MOM (chuckling): I was going to tell you about a little joke that we have in the physical therapy room.

ME:  Tell me.

MOM:  I saw that one of the other patients was wearing a badge. When he saw me looking at it, he asked, “Do you want to see my badge.” I looked and it said, “I POOPED TODAY.”


ME: What?

MOM: For older people, after surgery, it’s hard to that.


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A Manic MOM-versation

downloadMOM:  Slow down.

ME (unloading groceries from the car): What?

MOM: Slow down.

ME:  This is my speed.

MOM: You and Jeff move too fast; it’s not healthy.

ME (pausing): What?

MOM: It’s not good. Moving that quickly is unhealthy.

ME: Where do you think we learned it?

MOM:  Your father.


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A Visit from Saint Keri

‘Twas the night before my first day of school, when all through the horde, all the creatures were stirring, chewing, and digging.

Honey, in all her puppy cuteness, decided to dig while I sipped what I thought would be my last weekday wine for a while.


(See, she is cute.)

Dirty paws and a dirty nose meant that the two of us would take a bath. So, I filled the tub in my lavatory. After wrestling Honey into the tub and into the water, I realized the puppy shampoo was in the guest bath.

I told her to stay.

Yea, right.

She did not stay.

While I dashed from the bath, through the bedroom and into the guest bath, Honey followed. Well, it was more like she chased me — dripping wet and shaking water EVERYWHERE.

Diesel, Houston, Booker, Gus and Betty White let me know that someone was at the door.

Snatching a towel, I wrapped it around myself and darted down the stairs.

Saint Keri was at the door with  a BACK-TO-SCHOOL Survival Basket!

What was inside the basket will make me a better teacher.

First, I’ll be happy because I ate a delicious cookie after re-wrangling Honey into the tub.


The “My cat is a Democrat” magnet is already on the back of the Element. People are always shocked to learn that I have cats. They won’t be surprised that they are Democrats.

I’ll wear “Love Wins” tomorrow. (How perfect after #Charlottesville!)  I am grateful for empathetic friends that make me a better teacher.


Gum, lip balm and hand sanitizer — classroom essentials. No one likes a teacher with dragon breath and dry lips.


The wine and drinking buddies will stay at the Hooker House. Coming home to tea, bath ice cream, facial products, and aromatherapy will make every day a holiday when I return.


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Another Maltese MOM-versation

The Newsroom RING TONE calls to me from my phone at 9:30 pm.

MOM CELL (because she refuses to give up her landline and only calls me on her cell phone because my 435 area code is long distance) appears on the screen

ME:  Is she okay?

MOM:  Julie?  Julie? Can you hear me?

ME:  Yes.  Is Betty White okay?

MOM: I have to tell you that I’m spoiling your little girl.

ME:  Good. She deserves it. What are you doing?

MOM:  Well, she didn’t eat all of her food and I remembered how much Diesel like graham crackers so I smashed a half of graham cracker into crumbs and she at ALL of it.

ME:  I bet she’s happy.

MOM:  Well, she didn’t cry as much today. But, when she wakes up, she puts her nose in the air and just cries for you.IMG_1424

ME:  I don’t believe that. I don’t even think she likes me.

MOM:  And, she’s so good about going outside. She just went outside and did a poo.


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A Maltese MOM-versation


MOM (holding Betty White on her lap in the car):  Do you have any idea how old she really is?

ME:  Dixie thinks 20. We thought she was 15 when she came to live with me.

MOM:  Well, I hope she doesn’t expire while she’s with me.

ME: She is going to outlive all of us.

MOM:  What would I do if she expired?

ME:  She won’t.  Her little joints a fluid and her heart is strong.

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