Friday, November 30, 2012

People Simply Empty Out

In 1969, a publisher told Charles Bukowski that he'd pay him $100 each and every month for the rest of his life as long as he quit his job at the post office and become a writer. Then 49-year-old Bukowski did just that. 

Then, 15 years later, Bukowski wrote this (for more letters, see here) letter to the publisher, John Martin, explaining his joy of escaping full time employment.

If only we could all be so lucky...

8-12-86

Hello John:

Thanks for the good letter. I don't think it hurts, sometimes, to remember where you came from. You know the places where I came from. Even the people who try to write about that or make films about it, they don't get it right. They call it "9 to 5." It's never 9 to 5, there's no free lunch break at those places, in fact, at many of them in order to keep your job you don't take lunch. Then there's OVERTIME and the books never seem to get the overtime right and if you complain about that, there's another sucker to take your place.

You know my old saying, "Slavery was never abolished, it was only extended to include all the colors."

And what hurts is the steadily diminishing humanity of those fighting to hold jobs they don't want but fear the alternative worse. People simply empty out. They are bodies with fearful and obedient minds. The color leaves the eye. The voice becomes ugly. And the body. The hair. The fingernails. The shoes. Everything does.

As a young man I could not believe that people could give their lives over to those conditions. As an old man, I still can't believe it. What do they do it for? Sex? TV? An automobile on monthly payments? Or children? Children who are just going to do the same things that they did?

Early on, when I was quite young and going from job to job I was foolish enough to sometimes speak to my fellow workers: "Hey, the boss can come in here at any moment and lay all of us off, just like that, don't you realize that?"

They would just look at me. I was posing something that they didn't want to enter their minds.

Now in industry, there are vast layoffs (steel mills dead, technical changes in other factors of the work place). They are layed off by the hundreds of thousands and their faces are stunned:

"I put in 35 years..."

"It ain't right..."

"I don't know what to do..."

They never pay the slaves enough so they can get free, just enough so they can stay alive and come back to work. I could see all this. Why couldn't they? I figured the park bench was just as good or being a barfly was just as good. Why not get there first before they put me there? Why wait?

I just wrote in disgust against it all, it was a relief to get the shit out of my system. And now that I'm here, a so-called professional writer, after giving the first 50 years away, I've found out that there are other disgusts beyond the system.

I remember once, working as a packer in this lighting fixture company, one of the packers suddenly said: "I'll never be free!"

One of the bosses was walking by (his name was Morrie) and he let out this delicious cackle of a laugh, enjoying the fact that this fellow was trapped for life.

So, the luck I finally had in getting out of those places, no matter how long it took, has given me a kind of joy, the jolly joy of the miracle. I now write from an old mind and an old body, long beyond the time when most men would ever think of continuing such a thing, but since I started so late I owe it to myself to continue, and when the words begin to falter and I must be helped up stairways and I can no longer tell a bluebird from a paperclip, I still feel that something in me is going to remember (no matter how far I'm gone) how I've come through the murder and the mess and the moil, to at least a generous way to die.

To not to have entirely wasted one's life seems to be a worthy accomplishment, if only for myself.

yr boy,

Hank


Pretty eye-opening, isn't it? I know this letter speaks volumes to my J + me. 
Still brainstorming ways to stay full + unafraid. 

Until next week!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thursday Tunes: Winter Song

I have always been a huge fan of The Head And The Heart and this song is no exception. 
The video is beautiful and the title "Winter Song" is so fitting for the feeling lately: " Summer gone, now Winter's on its way." 

Oh, and I also want to ride the Seattle ferris wheel now (despite my huge fear of ferris wheels).

Enjoy my dears! 
xo

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Gifts That Give Back

This holiday season it is important to remember how lucky most of us are in our daily lives. 
Thankfully, J + I don't really need for anything. Sadly, that is not the case for all other people or animals. Try donating a gift or your time to charities this season (and always), because not only will you help out our world greatly, but your heart + soul will be rewarded. 

Below are some charities. initiatives* that are doing amazing things to help better our world:

1. Adopt A Gray Wolf - Wolves suffer not only from habitat loss, but they also endure revenge killings for attacks on wild stock.Your donation supports WWF's conservation efforts worldwide. You'll be helping fund scientific investigations, habitat preservation, and other programs to preserve many of the most endangered animals on Earth. 

2. Krochet Kids - Empowering the women of Northern Uganda and Peru with the assets, skills, and knowledge to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. The women make handmade crochet hats, scarves, stockings, etc. to improve their lives and communities. 

3. Farm Sanctuary - Help support Farm Sanctuary's efforts to end farm animal abuse through investigative, legislative and legal actions, public awareness and humane education projects and direct rescue and shelter of farm animals. Adopt an animal or go to one of their sanctuaries to take a vegan cooking class!

4. Water Partners - Provide a safe water supply for the more than 1 billion people in developing countries who wouldn’t have it otherwise. For every $1 spent on clean water and sanitation, another $8 in costs relating to unsafe water are avoided.

5. Soles4Souls - Collects new shoes to give relief to the victims of abject suffering and collects used shoes to support micro-business efforts to eradicate poverty. Soles4Souls has delivered over 19 million pairs of shoes in over 125 countries both for crisis relief and to support micro-enterprise projects (and in turn, kept more shoes out of the landfills).

*Before you donate to a charity, ensure that it is a group that deserves your gift and will spend it properly. Large charities should spend 80%+ of what they raise on their cause (not paychecks or overhead).

"Recognizing our shared humanity and our biological nature as beings whose happiness is dependent on others, we learn to open our hearts, and in so doing we gain a sense of purpose and a sense of connection with those around us" - Dalai Lama

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Malaise Cardiaque

This post is a hard one to write.
On Black Friday, around 9:30 PM, I received a call from my aunt informing me that my father was on his way to the hospital with the signs of a heart attack. Despite the fact that my parents' house is typically never empty, he came home to an empty house and decided to drive himself to the hospital. Although the closest hospital didn't have a cardiology unit, they transferred him to another hospital about 30 minutes away.

J + I actually beat my dad to the second hospital and got upset when they couldn't locate him in the system and we didn't know where he was. When they finally took us back to a cardiology waiting room to wait for updates on his condition and location (such a nightmare), they sent in a chaplain to sit with us. This may be SOP for cardiac issues, but it was very scary.

Finally he arrived at the hospital and the cardiologist on-call went to work immediately (since so much time had been wasted in getting my dad to the hospital). We were taken into a back room and told that my dad was fine, but that he had 100% blockage of the largest artery in the heart and they had to put in a stint in. After a bit of recovery time, we were able to see my dad in the ICU.

He is now home and on his way to recovery. 
I am so thankful that he is better and that he gets this second chance. I am so grateful that this story, his story, has a happy ending. My father is a lucky man and we're all so lucky to still have him.

During these holidays, try to focus on those you love and spending time together. Life is honestly too short to be bitter or hateful. Each day is a chance to love and to be the best version of yourself.
I love you so much Dad.

"Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: now" - Denis Waitley

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Kilim Pillows

In an effort to make our living room more colorful and cozy, I've started slowly replacing our current pillows with some kilim-covered pillows. I love the pattern variations and colors!
From what I've seen the best place to find these pillows at affordable cost is Ebay. Just note that most sellers are selling just the pillow cover (one-sided). It is also important to remember that these pillows aren't the most comfortable, soft fabric but they sure are easy on the eyes.
Are you also all about the kilim craze?
[1234]

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thankful

It's officially Thanksgiving week!

We had a very productive weekend doing work around the house: landscaping, chalkboard crafts, washed sheets, etched window tints, mowed/ mulched the yard, etc. We also enjoyed some great food: Mellow Mushroom, Panahar, and homemade vegetarian chili + jalapeno cornbread muffins!

Since it's the time of year to reflect on things we're thankful for, I decided to make a list + share!

I am thankful for:
1. My better half, J ♥
2. The sweetest hound/ mutt that ever lived, Townes
3. Family
4. My dear friends
5. Cabin weekends
6. Fire pits
7. Running our first 5K in 2 weeks (strong is the new skinny!)
8. Anything mango

What are you thankful for?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Bed Peace

In 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono held a bed-in for peace. The bed-in was filmed and made into a documentary. When the documentary was released online, Yoko Ono released the following message:

"Dear Friends,

In 1969, John and I were so na├»ve to think that doing the Bed-In would help change the world.
Well, it might have. But at the time, we didn’t know.

It was good that we filmed it, though.
The film is powerful now.
What we said then could have been said now.

In fact, there are things that we said then in the film, which may give some encouragement and inspiration to the activists of today. Good luck to us all.

Let’s remember WAR IS OVER if we want it.
It’s up to us, and nobody else.
John would have wanted to say that.

Love, yoko"

I absolutely love John Lennon (read more here and here) and love that this documentary is online and free. Also, with the holiday season here, it's officially time to listen to Lennon's "Happy Xmas."


Hope y'all have a wonderful, peaceful weekend!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tree Elves

The talented brothers behind King of Pops have now come up with another great idea for the holidays!             They've started a business, Tree Elves, that delivers live, potted Christmas trees to Atlanta homes or businesses. The great part is not only that they deliver, but after the holidays they will pick up the tree and it will be replanted! The trees are Leyland Cypresses and they include care instructions with the trees! 

After the trees are returned, the Tree Elves "will donate a number of the trees, host planting parties to beautify our neighborhoods, and sell some to local landscapers."
Make sure to place your order by December 20th!

KeepCup


With Thanksgiving a week away (!!!), it's hitting me that it's officially time to start buying gifts! KeepCup cups would make the perfect gift for those environmentally-conscious folks in your life. Truth be told, they'd be a better gift for those who aren't very green so that maybe they'd be encouraged to be more mindful of their wasteful ways.

In my office, the company provides Styrofoam cups and it blows my mind how my coworkers can be so careless; for instance, I've seen people use a cup for their coffee and then use another cup to pour the coffee back-and-forth instead of using a straw to stir the coffee and creamer! That's a rant for another day!
My favorite part about the KeepCup is that the customer choses the size and color (of the cup, lid, band, and plug) for their custom cup! KeepCups are microwave and dishwasher-safe too! 
Since June 2009, KeepCup users have diverted an estimated 30000 tons of disposable cup waste from landfill, that's about 2 billion disposable cups. A KeepCup compared to a disposable paper cup (including coffee) sees a: 36-47% reduction in global warming, 64-85% reduction in water use, 91-92% reduction in landfill waste annually.

It's a double win this holiday season - reduce waste and give a great gift of a KeepCup!

xo

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

We LOVE.

I'm feeling very giddy today, because my J comes home after being gone for 4 days!
I realize that 4 days is nothing, but the house has been so quiet without him. 
Despite staying busy with lovely friends + family, I'm ready for our little family to be cuddled up together.
Townes is ready for his best friend to be home too.

See you soon honey! So thankful that as of tonight, you will be "in [our] house".
I love you x infinity + 1

Wishlist: Scarves

Scarves
Now that the leaves are almost all fallen and the temperatures are dropping, I cannot wait to bust out my scarves! I actually want to try making a pom-pom scarf...maybe a girls' night craft!

What's your favorite type of scarf? Cowl? Wool? Knit?
xo

[Scarves]

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Say Yes


I really enjoyed this article from the Huffington Post. The author points out 18 different things that you should say yes to. 

The article's author states that, "the sometimes overwhelming pace of modern life can make it tempting to operate in a default no mode. No to weeknight plans, no to the spontaneous drink or coffee with a friend, no situations or projects that are challenging but might ultimately help us grow. When you say yes to something -- even when it can be time-consuming or intimidating or difficult -- you open yourself up to a payoff that can make you question how you even thought about saying no." 

Lord knows that somtimes J + I fall victim to saying "no" too frequently. Here are some of my favorites from the article and some potential new "yes" situations in our near future!

1. A day spent in your pajamas
3. That salted caramel ice cream sundae (I may be saying yes to this too often lately, if I'm honest)
10. An electronic diet
17. Dinner with an older person in your life.
18. The idea that things are going to work out (read more about my need to say "yes" to this here)

Did any of the things on this list stick out to you particularly? Hope you say yes!
xo

Monday, November 12, 2012

Dipped

 Considering I spend 8+ hours every day in my cubicle at work, I love having bright + colorful things surround me. I wanted to add a plant that would be low maintenance and would thrive in the sunlight (my desk is on the window so it gets a great deal of light). 

I found this succulent arrangement at Home Depot while running errands this weekend. It was a steal at $5.98! The yellow container looked rustic with some imperfections, but I wanted to add another accent. 

Here's the plant container before:
Materials needed include acrylic paint, painter's tape, and a paint brush.
 I put the painter's tape around the vase to have a template for the area to paint and then added the mixed paint.
I applied the first coat and then waited for it to dry completely before painting on the second, final coat. Due to the vase's shape, the line around wasn't perfect so I did have to free hand the edge a bit once I removed the tape.
 Voila! 
I really love the look of the added color. It is so pretty that I even questioned whether or not to bring it in to work or leave it for our home. Not a bad project for $6, huh?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Home

Happy weekend! 
After our peaceful + relaxing cabin trip last weekend, it got me thinking about what makes me the happiest.
I reflected on the things that I don't need in my life (stress, anxiety, material things) and the things that I do need (J, Townes, family, friends, passion, and a fireplace). 
It is always the small things that bring the greatest joy. Cooking together, laughing, creating things with our hands, reading, and friends - these are the things that keep me young + happy.

We are still looking for our paths, the right jobs (whether they exist already or how to create them), the quickest way to pay off our house/ save money, and staying true to ourselves. Despite the search, it feels pretty amazing to be able to enjoy things together...like coffee in bed (Johnny Cash had it right). It's awesome to at least know that our family is a happy one and we love each other's company...every minute, everyday, and every season. 

"Where we love is home,
Home that the feet may leave,
but not our hearts.” 
― Oliver Wendell Holmes

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Pendleton for Him

pendleton for him
After posting my favorite Pendleton pieces for me (see here) - I figured that I'd share some awesome pieces for the boys. I think the sunglasses are amazing and would look incredible on J. The great thing about Pendleton products is the stylish look and quality of their pieces; however, their stuff is very pricey. #WorthIt!

Which piece would look best on the man in your life?
xo
[pendleton for him]

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Featured Artist: Lillianna Pereira

These collages from the talented Lillianna Pereira are incredible. The different layers and images are so captivating. Make sure to check out her flickr page for a huge assortment of her work.
Guess I should have stuck with doing collages after middle school, huh?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day 2012

Happy Election Day! Hope you all get out there and do your part by voting!

This is a big election and the outcome will greatly affect this country. If you don't vote, you can't complain.

"Politics, it seems to me, for years, or all too long, has been concerned with right or left instead of right or wrong" - Richard Armour

Monday, November 5, 2012

Pendleton For Her

Pendleton for Her

Happy Monday!
It sure is hard going back to work after a laid back weekend in the north GA mountains.

A few weeks ago I got lucky and scored the Pendleton Levi's poncho above - for $19 at TJ Maxx! I wore it this weekend in the mountains to stay warm and it looks perfect for Fall.

I thought I'd share some of my other favorite Pendleton items (I am a huge fan - see more here)!

xo
[Pendleton for Her]

Friday, November 2, 2012

Wash Your Spirit Clean

Happy Friday folks!


"Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean." - John Muir

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Stubbs + Knobs

 
Three years ago, J + I inherited this beautiful hutch cabinet from his grandparents. 
Inheriting this piece was bittersweet since it was after the passing of Granddaddy. Not only is this hutch special, because it was in Nana + Granddaddy's home for his whole life, but also because J's great grandfather Stubbs (Granddaddy's father) built it! The craftsmanship is very sturdy and this piece is by far the heaviest [and favorite] thing in our home.

We have discussed refinishing the wood at some point and possibly the mirror since it is very old and cloudy, but we figured we'd start with a mini face lift by replacing the knobs.  The original knobs were black with circular grooves. 
We took a trip to Hobby Lobby and saw that their knobs were all 50% off (perfect timing) so we bought the 8 knobs needed for this project. We wanted to pick out some knobs that had an antique feel but we also wanted to brighten up the piece. We decided on these blue-green metal knobs and couldn't be happier with the final result!
Voila! 
It's so wonderful when a cheap and quick project completely changes the feel of a room. Although we didn't plan for it, the knobs even compliment the wall color perfectly!
 

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