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Monday, March 28, 2011

A walking contradiction

I yearn for peace, yet when I’m being tailgated I want to slam on my brakes. I want to do my best to help take care of the earth, yet when I read recipes for natural, homemade cleaning products I think “too much work” I want to be a healthy vegetarian and help my family to eat well, yet when I try to think of non-carb recipes I draw a blank or say “gross” I want to spend money wisely, toward the efforts above, and yet I purchase curtains made by children and clothes made in sweat factories and unnecessarily huge TVs.


Where is the balance? How can I change my way of life after years of living the opposite way? I recognize and acknowledge what I WISH I would do, yet I don’t find a way to DO those things. Is it because it seems too difficult? Too expensive? Too much of a sacrifice? Too much work? Too time consuming? Too out of the box? Too overwhelming?


Should I just pick one thing to change? Like making my own kitchen cleaner? Pick one ingredient to change? Like organic beef? Choose one charity to give to instead of buying Starbucks? Change one day to day practice, like using glass containers rather than plastic?


Here are the things we’ve done that I think are steps in a good direction: Buying only organic beef and sugar and fair trade coffee (well, most of the time) Composting Recycling Using “natural” all purpose cleaner from the grocery.


Here’s what I (say I) want to do:


Refrain from using plastic


Make most of my own natural cleaners


Stop buying anything unless I am replacing something


When I buy something, let it be from a respectable green supplier as often as possible


When I get rid of something, give it away rather than throw it away


Give away some of my awesome things rather than just my cast offs


Give money to struggling friends


Give money to respectable charities (therefore researching charities)


Buy organic and as often as possible local foods that aren’t preserved or packaged


Grow my own veggies/herbs


Buy a smaller home-simplify (that is when the market goes back up and our house is worth what it should be!)


Share meals when going out to eat


Keeping snacks and socks in my car for people on corners who need help


Try to fix or repurpose things rather than throw them away


Walk on lunch breaks to get exercise rather than driving somewhere and needlessly wasting gas


What is keeping me from doing these things? If not all, at least some? What would it take in the “perfect” world for me to accomplish all of these things? It’s something I’m going to think about in the next few days. I want to break out! I want to live well! Here’s to figuring out how.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

unbelievable!

Jeff is on Spring Break, so that is exciting item #1. Cade comes on Friday, so hooray for exciting item #2! AND the carpet is down in the basement and the furniture is there and Jeff's built-in is gorgeous. Take a look...

from the top of the stairs


at the bottom of the stairs (there is a big storage closet immediately to the left)


Jeff and Clarence checking out the TV on the couch


to the right, walking toward the bedroom


Looking into the bedroom, which is still totally empty


Looking from the bedroom doorway back at Jeff in the family room

and the built-in stage 1
and stage 2!

Now all we need are pictures, curtains and bedroom stuff. (well, and trim and doors and the bathroom finished, but who's keeping track of all that!? ;)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Think about it

I saw this clip and cried and cried. It brought out emotions and so many thoughts. There is so much going on in the world. So much sadness, pain, hunger, death, hate, fear. But there is also good! People are living, thriving, helping each other. Neighbors lending hands. Communities sharing gardens. Cities building houses. Countries sending rescuers.

This video made me think. Please. When we generalize a group of people based on color, race, language, country. When we characterize a religion with a single word. When we think it's appropriate to make sweeping statements about a person, religion, group of people, HUMANS, men, women, children, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, grandchildren, PEOPLE, let us think first. Let us use our hearts, let us look in the eyes of those people and then look in the mirror. Let us recognize ourselves in them.

I have never been so weary, so sad, so tired and frustrated and disappointed by all the email blasts, the politics from politicians and non-politicians alike, the fear, the hate. Where are our hearts? Where is our love? Why aren't our initial, automatic responses to people, to life in general love? In the wake of disaster? LOVE. In the midst of violence? LOVE. Surrounded by prejudice? LOVE. I've decided to let it come from me first. I'm not going to wait for someone else to be the loving one. Maybe when they see it, feel it, hear it coming from me, it will more easily flow from them. Please, watch this video, and if nothing else, just think about it. It is a beautiful portrayal of a human heart greiving over the loss of another. Regardless of your opinion on his politics or the hearing in particular, I believe Congressman Ellison's testimony is filled with conviction, truth and love.

I realize this is a public blog, and I'm setting myself up for comments. However, if you are going to say something negative or durogatory about Rep Ellison, Muslims, my post, or anything at all, I will not publish your comment. The point of my post is love and I will not sully the message with anything else. I realize the world will never be free of disagreements and opposite opinions. But why add hate? Why not sprinkle our conversations and discussions and even disagreements with love?




you can find the entire hearing here:
http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/AmericanMu

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

or maybe something more subdued?

I'm still thinking through color ideas for the basement. Maybe something with fewer bright colors?














Who knows! I just can't wait!!!


Monday, March 7, 2011

curtains and cabinets

Let me tell you, I'm a girl who loves to change things up in the house. Growing up my mom was often moving the couches and chairs around, and so I love to reorganize furniture. Mom didn't change actual furnishings or decorations much, but I am a bit addicted to it. If you want to easily change the look of a room, try curtains, lamps or rugs. As you all (all 6 of you) know, I am ready for Spring! Soo, that being said, I went out and bought some Spring curtains this weekend. I had one in mind, in the post below, but when I saw it at World Market in person I thought "wow, those are very bright, maybe they would be too bright for Jeff's taste." So I bought 3 sample panels, the one below and two others. We hung them up and Jeff, in his accommodating fashion said "I like the one you like." Come on! He already loved the red curtains we had, so if I was going to spend the money to change them, I really wanted him to at least not HATE the new ones. So he picked. And guess which one he liked the best? The bright ones! I think they look great. Very bright and airy. They will take some getting used to as they really change the room drastically. I think maybe a lighter throw pillow or two may help, but for now the living room is looking very nice :) The pictures are dark, I'll have to take more when it's sunny.
Also, Jeff has been working hard on our new cabinets/built-in/entertainment center for the basement. He spent the majority of both Saturday and Sunday working up a storm. I helped on Sunday, but on Saturday I spent a lovely day with my mom at my parents house. There was a major mishap with the cabinets, which I will not get into, but in the end it all worked out and both husband and wife are once again happy. There is still a bit of building to be done and then we will paint it white but here is the progress so far:

Friday, March 4, 2011

paint? check!

Man alive my husband is awesome. He finished painting the entire basement last night! It only took him 3 days of after school work I think. He is my hero. And of course now I can't stop thinking about ways to decorate down there! Here is a picture from the same view I showed you in this post but all painted! (it is looking from the main room where the couch will be, down the hall where the guest room is). Can't you just imagine the possibilities with this fun, bright color?!


My mind is whirring! Here are a few inspirations I pulled from the wonderful web. I'd love to do bright and colorful down there.




Of course our living room is full of warm, deep colors and now I'm ready to change those up a bit, too. Also I don't want things to be too girly for Jeff, which is tough because I am drawn to flowers and birds! Maybe I'll have to have 2 sets of themes for each area so that I can change them seasonally or something! ;) (just send me some $$ and I'll get right on that!) I'll keep you posted. Jeff bought the wood for his next project, the built in cabinets. He's pretty excited! I'm so proud of him :)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Spring

I don't really have much to say, but I wanted to get that ugly picture down the page a bit! I'm really looking forward to Spring. Of course March and April are our snowiest months here, but it's nice to mix that up with some 60 and 70 degree weather! Painting the basement such a bright yellow is also getting me in the mood!

Here are a few of my favorite things about Spring:
tulips!




leaving the windows open


wearing flip flops!

and of course, our beautiful back yard!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

after the dust settles...

...on my face!


This is a sick picture, but I had to post it. I'm not joking when I tell you this basement project is a messy one! It looks like I'm a crazed person playing an elderly zombie in a HS play and the only thing to make my hair gray and face old was chalk. Nice.
Also, Jeff has already used a whole gallon of paint in the basement! We chose a color that goes with the color "theme" of our house, along the lines of brown/tan/yellow. The main room will be painted Expedition Khaki and the bedroom will be Rye. It's going to be nice and bright down there and I'm super excited about it! Here are the swatches against our table and our floor. They look different here and it looks really different on the walls. I honestly have no idea how you are supposed to find a color you like. They always turn out so different than you think they will. Oh well, these work so I'm happy :) I can't wait to show you what it looks like when it's all painted!