Saturday, November 22, 2014

apartment #4 in 3 years

we moved again. in may. i mentioned it here but i haven't posted any photos or said much about this new place. i finally picked up my camera and took a few photos.

our house is currently clean because a few days ago jared came home from working a long day riding his bike in the rain and decided he would spend the rest of his day cleaning the house. not because he cares much for a super clean house, but because he knows i care very much for a super clean house. he went to the nines. he dusted, swept, mopped, and scrubbed every corner of this place. i hope i never take him and his outstanding devotion for granted. because he is in every sense of the word, a keeper.

we talk to each other about how much we love this apartment all the time. we love the brand new kitchen. we love that it has a dishwasher and that we have about three extra hours a week to spend doing anything besides hand-washing dishes. we love that the entire apartment is hardwood and tile. we love that it's a century old. we love the tall ceilings and crown molding. we love the original tile in the bathroom. we love the little bit of exposed brick and the original dark finish trim. we love the furniture and decor we've collected and whittled down over the years.

we pray to god together every morning. and i can't help but say the exact same prayer each day. i'm grateful for my husband. this apartment we live in. our good health. our jobs. my opportunity to go to school. our friends and family. our cat. our bright future. this is my daily prayer. i'm grateful for these things, and please god, don't take them away. i try to find ways to help people and i ask god to help me notice those who need help.

and sometimes i help in obvious, immediate ways like giving someone a ride or sharing my lunch. but i think helping others can also be a longterm service we offer. i think it can involve being a noble, honest person day-in and day-out. it can involve consistently giving the benefit of the doubt and consistently looking for the best in others. i try to remember that after we offer our daily prayer.

photo notes: notice that our dining table is covered in neatly organized bike parts. notice the rubik's cube on our coffee table. notice the note, "you're doing BETTER than you THINK". the pumpkins and gourds. little symbols of my husband that i love.

Friday, November 21, 2014

love letter to the blogging community,

it's 1:28am as i begin writing this.

i'm ruining my day tomorrow by staying up this late.

but sometimes ya just gotta.

this has been mostly a journal for me the last few years. i love keeping a photojournal but it just hasn't happened this last year. life's been all about school and i've just plain taken less photos this year. and that's okay. because life is good when you takes photos, and life is good when you don't.

but why i'm here is because i want to say thanks. even though i would keep on writing and publishing my thoughts and photos even if not a soul read this blog, it's still so nice to have the blogging community. it's good to have you guys around. i love reading your blogs, looking at the photos of your lives, the staged ones and the candids, the mundane daily life photos and the exotic vacations. i love to steal design ideas from you, i love to copycat your work and then try to internalize it and produce my own original content. i love your enthusiasm for creativity and that no matter how much i slow down, you guys keep on chugging out content.

let's keep in touch. because i like you, blogging community.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

here is my testimony today. on the mormon fast and testimony sabbath day.

i believe my voice is one of the greatest gifts i have. i believe in using my voice to speak up for those without one. i believe in empowering the under-powered. i believe in myself. i believe in working hard for a meaningful cause. i believe in the power of love.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

i used to spend so much time writing, making lists, sorting out my thoughts and feelings, my plans, and my dreams. but the last few years have been different. dust is settling a bit more. i'm more sure of who i am and what i want. i know what it takes for me to be happy and healthy and i know how i feel about situations and relationships.

i've figured out when i'm being treated with respect, when i'm treating others right, and when things are not going the way they should. it's more efficient now. i don't need to spend a bunch of time sorting out my thoughts and feelings because i already know how i feel and what i want even before i meet people or before life even happens.

life lately has been a well-oiled, but enjoyable routine of school, babysitting, grocery shopping, doing the laundry, napping, and cleaning our apartment. i'm concerned that things have become a little too easy and that i'm forgetting to thrive. i'm forgetting to make lists and dream and set goals and big plans. i've been so focused on graduating from college that i've sort of forgotten about everything else.

i'm always bubbling with desires and ideas and dreams, though. they are just simpler lately. instead of spending so much time plotting how i can travel to foreign countries, i've spent more time dreaming about a relaxing sunday afternoon in the park.

Monday, October 20, 2014

power to the people! (i love you, john)

"every dollar you spend...or don't a vote you cast for the world you want." -l.n. smith

i have changed in many ways the last few years. college has had a lot to do with it. noticing the ways i've changed is the best evidence that college has positively impacted my life. i hope the positive impacts will continue to reverberate throughout my life.

i've been deeply affected by the idea of consumerism and it's relationship to large corporations and the dwindling middle class. during my college years i have felt very much a part of the 1%. for all of 2013, i worked at planet fitness, a barely-above-minimum-wage job. i should not have worked there at all and absolutely not for as long as i did. i had my reasons. it was completely flexible with my school schedule and i needed that that year. it was a two minute bike ride away from home. it was a mostly low-stress work environment. i was casually looking for other opportunities but nothing just right came my way. working for a large company (that treats it's lowest level employees like peons) taught me a lot about the economy.

it taught me that i want to work for people and organizations that enrich their communities, rather than rob them. it taught me that i want to spend my dollars supporting local businesses first and thus strengthening myself and my home, rather than weakening it.

planet fitness was willing to pay me as little as possible for as much work as possible for as long as i was willing to work there. planet fitness had no interest at any level of the organization in improving the world by helping people. i am not naive to think that planet fitness is evil, or even the only company that functions this way. in fact, most companies thrive by valuing profit above people.

someone could read that last sentence and tear it apart by saying that all companies HAVE to value profit about people to stay in business, because they are just that--businesses--not charities. but i must disagree. i have worked for organizations who value people above profit. and as a consumer, i gladly spend a few extra on local products whenever i can. it's a delicate dance, but i will never be an employer who values profit above people.

it makes me sad that many americans are making rich the very corporations keeping them poor. but for many people, there seems to be no other choice. in some cases, there aren't. but in others, there are some solutions. i could suggest education, both as a vehicle to obtaining and creating better jobs and as a way to improve intellect. i cannot sing the praises of education enough.

another way that i have felt empowered in this inescapably corporate world is minimalism. i have chosen to let go of the white knuckle grip of consumerism. it is natural to desire possessions. it is very human. but in general, americans let it go too far.

for too long, i let my desire to own control too much of my life. i've been realizing the last few years just how how high the cost of consumerism really is. it's terrifying how constant and deep-seated advertising is in our lives. little by little, i've been loosening the hold consumerism has had on me. i have found myself shopping around a store only to realize i don't need any of it. i have been purging my home like crazy, as i have mentioned here before. it's actually been quite startling to realize:

i don't want things.

i want memories. i want experiences. i want healthy food. i want functional furniture and clothing. i want happy, healthy bodies. i want conversation.

i don't want to buy stuff.
i want to improve the world.

so that's just the thing about consumerism. it's not only disempowering to individuals, but it slows the progress of humanity. we could spend our time, energy, and money helping others or improving the world. but often we spend our resources on disposable products that don't help people in meaningful ways or improve the world. actually, our ravenous consumerism of crap directly damages the environment and in most cases involves slave labor. but both of those are entire blog posts of their own.

allowing myself to be content with what i already have has been life changing. i am less jittery. i sleep better at night. i feel free. consumerism hurts most everyone involved, while minimalism benefits anyone who tries it out. consumerism is a prison. the only people who benefit are the few at the top.

the key to saving the middle class are both minimalism and shopping local. power to the people! (2014 really needs it's own john lennon.)

Monday, September 8, 2014

i'm declaring it now:

if i pass my classes this semester it will be by just a hair.

some might read that and think i am setting myself up for failure. actually, just the opposite. if i soared in all my classes, i would be failing at what really matters in life. i wouldn't get as much sleep as i need, i wouldn't have as much time to spend with my husband, my house would be messier, i wouldn't get nearly as much exercise or any at all, my brain would be completely bogged down by perfection.

instead i am reminding myself that at graduation, my gpa will not hardly matter at all. but in a year from now, it will matter that i spent time with my husband, that i rode my bike through the mountains on the weekends, that i invited people over for dinner, that i threw holiday parties, that i had time enough to listen to my subconscious yearnings, that i spent entire evenings burning candles, painting my nails, and watching tv. it will matter. because a life is not a life without those things, i'm certain of it, and i don't care if all of academia disagrees.

now some people can do both. but i'm convinced those people do not have jobs to go to or apartments to maintain or laundromats to wait at or balconies to lounge on or people in their lives who they absolutely must spend time loving. i don't know for certain though. but i'm the one who chooses my life. i choose it to be well-rounded and i am choosing meh grades from here on out!

in the name of living!

writing from my heart, because i am stuck at home with the flu, i think

yesterday i told jared i had those sharp pains in my inner organs that always precede the stomach flu. he replied that i always claim to have the stomach flu. he was right. but i told him, this time, this time it's for real. those sharp inner organ pains do not lie.

about 11pm the nausea set in and we decided to call it a day and turn out the lights. i laid there and whimpered for an hour because to me, nausea is the absolute worst that my body can experience. give me a head cold for a year over a day with nausea. oh but get this, head cold symptoms were setting in at exactly the same time as my stomach flu symptoms. i finally got my brain to focus on slow, deep breathing enough to fall asleep.

by 6am i was wide awake and dry heaving again. barf-pocalypse hit around 7am and round two around 8am. i forced myself to fall back asleep hoping i wouldn't wake up until that same time the next day when it had all passed. it's a universal law that one can only be nauseous for 24 hours, right? with my head cold symptoms and my barf symptoms, i'm officially diagnosing myself with the actual flu.

isn't this the weirdest time of year to get the flu? or am i wrong? i thought flu season was winter to early spring? either way, the flu does not care what time of year it is, the flu attacks and it attacks hard. so of course i didn't sleep the day through, instead i woke up at 11am, all groggy from oversleeping and feeling just slightly less nauseous but a pounding headache had ensued. i remembered someone said to eat yogurt when you have flu symptoms, so i did and i'm not so sure about it. and for the last two hours i have laid in bed looking at pinterest and ignoring the stack of textbooks burning a hole on the bed next to me. because when you're feeling terrible, do you really have to put your brain through the unpleasant as well? also, jack, our cat, has not seemed to mind or notice that i am sick at all. but i guess that's cat for you. when it comes to being sick in bed, dogs totally win.

so speaking of college, it seems that everybody loves college. and i can sometimes hop on that train, but most of the time it's unpleasant and i wish day in and day out that it was over and that i could be done with it already. and most days i just want to quit. sticking with it for this long has required a good deal of determination that i didn't know i had.

while lying in this bed, looking around at the same objects in my room all day today, and throughout the day most other days, it makes me want to live with less. why do we seem to think we need all this stuff? how does it all accumulate so quickly? i have become acutely aware in recent months how we think we own our possessions, but in reality they own us. i think about this a lot. some objects are exempt from that idea though, those that are both timelessly beautiful and provide a real utilitarian service on a regular basis. for example jared's antique dresser. we bought it two years ago and it has not once come into question as something that really, truly needs to be there. it is beautiful, it has stood the test of time in both style and strength, it durably does it's duty day-in and day-out.

plants. that vintage lamp that always hangs out in our bedroom, no matter which apartment we have. our bed. mirrors. our wool living room rug. the good bowls i bought last week. candles. the items that your eye almost doesn't notice, that you don't seem to hate but you forget to love, the pieces that do their job so well that you forget they are there at all. those are the items worth keeping around.

you can ask my husband, almost every single morning when i am getting dressed, i inevitably find one or two items in my closet with which i can finally part and yank them down off their hangers and toss them from our bedroom to the front door, which is the designated place for items that need to be donated. the above photo is actually a few months old and many of the clothes hanging up are already long out the door.

even though i don't have any energy, the thought of moving my body from a horizontal position makes me sad, and i'm sure my nausea and pounding headache will revive full force, i'm thinking about standing up and parting with about half of the wardrobe i have left. oh and i plan to sip chicken broth and watch amelie.