Thursday, February 28, 2008

maybe this is a good project to start planning. my first table is now underway, with parts here and there waiting to be assembled. i'll get a picture together to post eventually.

i've been struggling with the lack of a proper workspace, and then the lack of a consistent income to pay for renting a workspace, which brings me to looking for a part-time job that can cover my needs. today i felt hopeful as i asked at a library and at a coffee shop. the responses were friendly and positive.

let's see where this goes. meanwhile, i'm off to visit my sis for the weekend.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Six Tips for Happiness: Advice from Tal Ben-Shahar.

I'm always drawn to articles that proclaim to give secrets to a happy life. Maybe this one is incomplete but it contains great advice nontheless.

1. Give yourself permission to be human. When we accept emotions -- such as fear, sadness, or anxiety -- as natural, we are more likely to overcome them. Rejecting our emotions, positive or negative, leads to frustration and unhappiness.

2. Happiness lies at the intersection between pleasure and meaning. Whether at work or at home, the goal is to engage in activities that are both personally significant and enjoyable. When this is not feasible, make sure you have happiness boosters, moments throughout the week that provide you with both pleasure and meaning.

3. Keep in mind that happiness is mostly dependent on our state of mind, not on our status or the state of our bank account. Barring extreme circumstances, our level of well being is determined by what we choose to focus on (the full or the empty part of the glass) and by our interpretation of external events. For example, do we view failure as catastrophic, or do we see it as a learning opportunity?

4. Simplify! We are, generally, too busy, trying to squeeze in more and more activities into less and less time. Quantity influences quality, and we compromise on our happiness by trying to do too much.

5. Remember the mind-body connection. What we do -- or don't do -- with our bodies influences our mind. Regular exercise, adequate sleep, and healthy eating habits lead to both physical and mental health.

6. Express gratitude, whenever possible. We too often take our lives for granted. Learn to appreciate and savor the wonderful things in life, from people to food, from nature to a smile.

Monday, February 25, 2008

i've been thinking a lot recently about poverty. the good side of it.

there is a bad side to poverty, too, i know. deep poverty is not being able to afford health care for a sick baby, nutritious food to keep your body healthy, not being able to be warm in the winter, not having shoes and socks to wear when it's cold out.

deep poverty exists in much of the world. it's a desperate existence, which breaks the spirit.

but i've been rolling over in my mind the lifestyles of people i grew up with. their homes were often 2 or 3 rooms, a kitchen and a bedroom or two. an outhouse in the back, and a faucet and sink somewhere in the courtyard. there would be a clothesline, and perhaps an orange tree and a mango tree growing in the yard, along with other tropical flowers.

instead of a living room, there were a few chairs in the yard, perhaps under a tree. on a rainy day, visitors can sit on the beds in the bedroom and chat, but usually they are outdoors. children run and play in the yard barefoot with a tattered and mended ball, sometimes one that has been re-stuffed with plastic bags.

as i try to pare my life back to its most fundamental essentials, these images come back to me vividly. what do i really need? and why should i work to pay for what i don't really want? couldn't that time be more well spent in contemplation, reading, with loved ones. then i could cook, garden, sew, make furniture. i could make what i need, instead of buying.

the desire for a home of my own is intense, but i wish i could own a home like those bolivian simple, so minimal, and so sufficient.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

from a journal entry last year:

oh, algebra, algebra, thou that killest the prophets
and crushest the creative spirits beneath endless equations
fain would i have replaced thee with an excel spreadsheet
or a qualitative graph
but they would not

behold your textbooks i leave to you, desolate
without the contributions of one of your daughters.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

2 movie recommendations

there are so many artsy movies that are truly disturbing, whether it's violence, infidelity, or mentally ill behavior that is being studied. i've decided that i don't need to expose myself to that stuff, but sometimes it's hard to find a good movie that is just warm, uplifting, and fun, while still being intelligent and a little different. here are two recently that definitely fit the bill.

both of these movies are library rentals...they might be a little obscure but definitely are heartwarming and eyeopening. both take a look at cultures that on the surface appear very different from ours, and as we get closer, we see that as fellow humans, we share so much, especially our sense of humor and desire for love.

La Grand Final (The Great Match)

This movie gives us a tour of soccer obsession rising to heights you'd never have imagined. There are lots of laughs and really honest moments.

Ten Canoes

Canoe-making, egg-hunting, story telling, and searching for a wife...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

i would love to make something like this someday.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

it was so warm here today. i sat by the open window and watched the breeze move the curtains.

some of my latest projects

adam alerted me to this, sitting by the road. i'm hoping to strip the paint off and then go from there. i love the simple shape.

on their little table, the plants were always in danger of getting knocked off. this gives them better sunlight. i did a super rustic job, and am rather pleased with how it looks. it functions, and i can roll the blinds down behind the shelf, which is perfect.

i have six of these boards which were varnished when a friend gave them to me. i'd like to strip off the varnish (sanding is too much work) and then use them in a table i've been dreaming of making for a long time.

this desk was given to me by my former roommate. the top surface and the fronts of each drawer are faced in a veneer. i finally realized that that is why i never really liked it.

Saturday, February 02, 2008