Monday, June 30, 2008

thank you...

Life's been a little hectic lately. Instead of packing my brain with information from the various books stacked by my bed, I pull out Mary Oliver's wonderful volume, and choose one poem. The last lines inspire me to greater simplicity and contentment.


And the waves

gush pearls

from their snowy throats

as they come


over the moss-green,


glass-green roughage ---

as they crumble

on the incline


whatever they carry

in their invisible

and motherly





icy and plump

with waled shells,


for the gatherers

who come flying

on their long white wings---

who comes walking,

who comes muttering:

thank you,

old dainties,

dark wreckage,

coins of the sea

in my pockets

and plenty for the gulls

and the wind still pounding

and the sea still streaming in like a mother wild with gifts---

in this world I am as rich

as I need to be.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I really don't know what I am doing with these plants, but I ate my first tomato the other day, and it was delicious.

Regarding the last post...feeling guilty never does me any good. It just paralyzes and depresses. I'd rather focus on small steps that feel right.

1. Borrow and loan things among like-minded friends. (This saves a lot of money, and it creates an attitude of sharing that I think is very rich.)
2. Buy used. (The thrill of the treasure hunt, for the gem among the junk.)
3. Invent a solution rather than buying a solution (this starts the creative juices flowing).
3 1/2. Remake something you already own.
4. Fix broken things, if possible. See the charm in mended, stitched, re-glued objects. This can be so satisfying...the mended handle on my cherished peruvian basket gives me double pleasure because i was so heartbroken when it came apart.
5. Rescue other people's discards (think of it as adoption). Believe that you can find things when you need them.
6. When you don't want something, give it away, or sell it, instead of throwing it away.

Even if you only do this sometimes, it makes a difference. It takes more time, but the result is posessions that that you have a personal investment in. Objects have have character and history. It's fun! How's that for a more positive spin on the "stuff dilemma"?

Monday, June 16, 2008

the story of stuff

Click here to watch this (it takes a while to load, but it's mind-altering).

It's imperative for us as humans to think about where things come from and where they go. And it's important for us to realize that the price we pay for a purchase is not its true cost to us...that there are impacts that are completely disregarded in the price tag.

It makes me feel sick that people in third world countries are losing their homes, moving to slums because giant corporations that we support are buying the land rights out from under them.

And it is hard to know what to do about it. I simplify my life, I try to buy as little as possible, and recycle as much as I can. But the sheer volume of destruction of natural resources, and then the trashing of the products whose creation necessitated that destruction, and the filling up of landfills...oh us. Of course, we see so little of what we are doing to ourselves, because if we could see...we'd come to a screeching halt, and really question.

And what do we really need, besides food, shelter, some clothes, and love?

Why are we ruining the air and the water and the land in order to have so many silly things?

"The love of money is a root of all evil."

And at what point do we stop worrying about being preachy and just start speaking out about what is happening, and the insanity of this hyperconsumerism?

And what will it take for us to see that we are slaves to the big companies--they employ us, and they pay for advertising to convince us to consume their products, and after we go shopping, we have to work more.

Forgive me for this rant. I just watched the video and got overwhelmed.

Monday, June 02, 2008

next project--dining room table

can you see the similarities between all the tables in these pictures?

i find these pictures online and save them. i try to title the files with the photographers names, but not every time. hans zeegers is responsible for the last two.

i have an idea in my head for this table. and sure enough, i find pictures in my inspiration folder that are almost exactly what i envision (only better).

my project has been to slowly but surely replace much of the furniture in my place with handmade, real wood versions. so far: 2 tables, 1 chair, a bookshelf, a bench.

as far as the kitchen table, it worked out well. it is sturdy, and the linseed (which is actually flaxseed) oil has given in a nice finish. the plastic chairs around the old table have been replaced by roadside finds which i've changed, repaired, and cleaned up.