Friday, June 24, 2011

Floor & Fridge & Health & Hygiene

My father-in-law installed new flooring in my husband's childhood bedroom. It used to have a fire-engine-red carpet that my husband picked out himself - when he was 3 years old! The new floor (woodgrain laminate) looks great. But Dad didn't want to put anything back in the room! At all! Mom said that he had kept it completely empty for two weeks, and she finally convinced him to let her put the Christmas decorations inside the closet. He even wanted to keep the closet empty, he was enjoying his hard work & beautiful empty space so much! I don't blame him.

I cleaned our fridge last night. I only had to throw out one thing, a HUGE jar of "apple butter" (why do they call it butter?) that had expired with probably only 1/2 cup taken out of it. Goes to show...economy size is not always the best choice, even if it's cheapest per unit! (I know that now, but I didn't two years ago when I bought it) But I wiped down all the surfaces, lined up every item with the label facing out. And I kept wanting to look at it, haha, admire my work. But keeping the fridge open is much more foolish than keeping a bedroom empty!

In other news, you know that coconut oil deodorant recipe that's been practically viral on the internet recently? Well it SERIOUSLY works. I made Kaden smell the pits of the shirt I wore all day yesterday, and they smelled like NOTHING. It's nothing short of a miracle!

I've had success with homemade deodorant. I also have had success with the "no 'poo" haircare method. I washed my hair with nothing but water or dry arrowroot powder from Feb 9 (the very beginning of my interest in minimalism) until June 20. I decided to wash it, finally, because I became concerned that it was contributing to my allergies, and I was afraid it might smell bad to people who are unfamiliar with natural body odors. On Monday morning I washed with a paste of baking soda and Dr. Bronner's. It made my hair so fluffy!! I'll probably do that a couple times a month now, for those reasons.

Due to my successes with natural hygiene (and man, is it less expensive than "beauty products"!!), and due to my growing distrust of the medical institution/industry, I'm going to be switching to a naturopathic doctor, and trying to learn to manage my asthma and allergies through homeopathic methods. I read about something called the Buteyko breathing method, and I'm really excited to learn more and practice it. If I can manage my asthma by a breathing exercise, I will be so fucking thrilled!!

So that's what's going on with me. Kaden just asked me, across our desks at work, "So, next summer, are we going to get rid of all our possessions and take an RV to Zion National Park?" I was like, "No, we're just going to take a vacation to Zion National Park. But we can definitely get rid of more possessions! I'm into that!"

For about the last month or so, maybe a little longer, I'd loosened my grip on clutter clearing, feeling a little disillusioned with the idea of minimalism. I'm still not absolutely sure that I know what minimalism is, and I needed a break to examine my everyday relationship with the stuff I still had. Now I am easing back into it. I bought some new curtains for our bedroom. Since we moved in in October, we've had red sheers over the standard dirty-white blinds. I switched them to a barely-off-white, and they open up the room SO MUCH. I know buying NEW stuff is somewhat against the principles of clutter clearing and minimalism, but it was necessary to enjoy the space fully. I also moved some furniture in the livingroom, switched the loveseat and the record shelf, which made it really cozy, and also opened it up!

This isn't the greatest picture, but basically the loveseat is facing the window now,
where it was perpendicular to it before, and now the record shelf is fully accessible.

So I'm really happy, and had a HUGE breakthrough using Nonviolent Communication, and I'm so excited about it! This gets a little personal, but I found out among other things that Kaden really needs me to make decisions for myself, without asking his opinion or worrying about whether my choice is the same as his choice. I truly hadn't realized the extent to which I did that, or realized how that shifts responsibility for my choices onto him. I feel very happy and liberated and I am exercising my ability to make decisions already.

And I'm reading in the sun and riding my bicycle as much as I can.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Throughts on Meek's Cutoff

Last night we saw Meek's Cutoff. We are big fans of the other work of the team involved, Kelly Reichardt and Jon Raymond. They also did Old Joy, and Wendy & Lucy, and J. Raymond is one of my favorite book writers. We had been anticipating seeing this movie for a couple months. It finally played at The Grand Cinema in Tacoma this week, and will be playing at The Olympia Film Society July 15-21.

I surprised myself, a lot, by what I expected from a movie. I expected the pioneers to have sex, even if it was just as a fact-of-life kind of point. And I expected the female lead's helpfullness towards an Indian to be revealed as an attraction. I consider myself a smart, skeptical viewer! Yet I expected these things, simply because that is what we are conditioned to expect from a movie, any movie. Spoiler: Meek's Cutoff is not a sexy movie.

I also found myself having to reel my thoughts in with regards to the Indian character. There is a scene where he is carrying a discarded sewing basket. I noticed myself thinking he was childlike and feminized because he was a grown man carrying a woman's sewing basket. OF COURSE he wanted to carry the sewing basket; the woman had earlier fixed his moccasin with tools from the sewing basket. It was valuable to him. I was so shocked by how I immediately made these gendered, racist judgments. And I'm glad I was able to reel it in and realize how absurd I was being.

But it brought me to the question of responsibility: If I, as a smart and skeptical viewer, had these stupid thoughts, imagine what less smart and less skeptical viewers could experience. What was the significance of the sewing basket to the filmmakers? Without being an expert on the subject, I think the Indian's role was portrayed pretty OK. I wonder if they thought of that reaction, that some of the audience would find the Indian childlike and feminized when he is carrying a sewing basket, and if they could have done anything to prevent that reaction.

Beyond these questions and concepts, the movie also brought up the futility of the Oregon Trail! WHY did anyone undertake that? I mean, as a Pacific Northwesterner, I am glad that they did - but still. Kaden said that they probably did it for the same reason people buy new, cruddy cookie-cutter homes in subdivisions today. I was floored. That makes so much sense! It's all for an idealistic dream that isn't thought through.

This obviously is not a movie review, but I will say that Meek's Cutoff is a movie unlike any other. It is likely the most "realistic" portrayal of the Oregon Trail on film. It is plodding; the characters are literally walking the entire movie. When it ended, the group of senior citizens sitting in front of us were joking, "OK, now when does the movie begin?" and they walked out telling other patrons coming in, "Don't waste your time on this one."

Friday, June 3, 2011

To Do List:

To Do List, Summer 2011:

1. Read lots of entertaining books, in the sun, wearing the $1.99 bikini I got from Goodwill.

2. Clean the chrome legs of my dining table.

3. Remove everything from bedroom and thoroughly clean. Get lighter-colored window coverings.

4. Clean & paint FREE outdoor table I carried home from the side of the road last week.

5. Practice nonviolent communication and reduce household stress in every way.

6. Cook tons of good things, especially on the grill.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I love you! (Thursday)

inspired by

I love you Bradford Cox, for putting free downloads on your blog. You make wonderful music. I love your Christmas songs; I love listening to them in June.

I love you Nonviolent Communication class. You are so hard to put into practice, but so fascinating to explore.

I love you music writing, academic and popular. You engage me. I hope I can find some examples discussing music and class relations!

I love you dumb articles about "millennial" college graduates; the meaning of "Middle Class" is going to have to grow and change.

I love you vegan cooking. I'm thinking about actually going pescatarian; the last several times I have eaten meat it has been soooooo worthless and disappointing. But the veggie things I've cooked and eaten have been AMAZING.

I love you hypo-allergenic mattress cover.

I love you mid-century Technicolor Westerns. Thanks for always having Happy Endings!

I love you stranger-girls-I-follow-on-Tumblr. Your posts are so awesome; where do you find that shit!?

I love you Kaden Jelsing, we are going to keep having so much fun!!