Moving

Sometimes I have these little ideas that don’t get any further than my frontal lobe.

Thoughts are moving. There is something gratifying about typing, seeing the thoughts take shape and find a glimmer of something interesting. This blog is visited consistently by a small group of people who might be a little bit like me-and sharing with all of you might propel my little ideas into something more. Maybe. Then again Maybe not. Either way, who cares.

Ok that being said there is a clash between all of the things I want. So i have some reconciling to do, some planning and some failing. Most likely lost of failing any good plans have a good amount of failure.

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One of the biggest tangible and intangible barriers to doing most things is sweet cash flow. So I am going to outline a few ways that a gal who works part time, loves pretty things and spas, and is a student could save money. In a hope that I will do these things.

Put it away:

1. Out of sight out of mind
Every payed check have a specific amount of money go into a savings account that can not be seen or touched easily.
*currently doing this

2. Cash Back
When a person or machine asks “cash back?”, Say yes and put the 5 dollars in an envelop and save-deposit in savings account monthly.
*not currently doing this

3. Save your pennies
Put your change in a piggy bank. Put your piggy bank is an area you will see daily.
*not currently doing this

Spend less:

1. Make lunches or in my case breakfast, lunch and dinner
Make your lunches for work or school. Making food is always cheaper than buying food.
*I am sort of doing this. I need to think about what types of food to bring. I am gone all day at school and bringing breakfast, lunch and dinner isn’t easy to carry.

2. Buy gas at the same cheap place-everytime
Know the spots that have cheap, quality fuel and go there.
*not currently doing this.

3. Bring tea everywhere
This is life changing. I drink tea in the morning and tea in the afternoon. I bring tea with me everywhere. It is easy to carry or stash in your work desk-do this-it is simple.
*currently doing this

Tactics:

1. Pay in bulk (when you can)
When possible pay insurance for car in 6 month to a year increments. Pay rent, loans, bills in bulk when you can.
*Currently doing this.

2. Only buy things you love
The idea behind this is that you work hard to make money, you should spend it on things you love. I believe in a philosophy of only owning a few things but loving all that you own
*currently doing this

3. Use cash
This is a classic idea. Touching the green will connect you to the physicality of how much you are spending.
*not currently doing this

Ways to relax with out spending money:

1. Take a bath
This is my favorite activity: I pretty much take a bath every day.
*all over this

2. Drink tea
I should come up with something better than drink tea but for now-this is what I got
*currently doing this

3. Cook food for friends
This is a new idea. It will cost a little because I will have to buy supplies but it is a perfect stress release
*not currently doing this

Things that I can spend $$ on:

1. Fitness classes
This is a good investment
*totally doing this

2. Stitch fix clothes
Buy clothes, but buy ones you love and when you have the $$ to spare. Schedule stitch fix once ever two months.
*not currently doing this

3. Spa
I love the spa. There are ways to make it cheaper: make appointments in advance and save 10%, join the spa club to get discounts, buy less products.
*will jump all over this.

Things I should spend less on:

1. Food while traveling
I travel for school and work on a regular basis. It can be be long day and I don’t always pack enough food. Here is my new idea: Bring breakfast: egg or yogurt (something easy for the train), Lunch: protein and vegetable (can be heated up) dinner: salad or sandwich (something easy for the train). If I do buy food-buy delicious food not that weird pork thing from the asian grocery store that is cheap.
*working on it

2. Tea/coffee/beer/wine while traveling
In part because of the traveling I buy chai tea or beer when I am studying or waiting for the train and often wine when I am on the train. I bought a 15 dollar mini bottle of wine last night on the train. Ideas: Bring tea. If you must buy tea-buy cheap tea. Buy wine, on the train, once a week.
*working on it

3. Food at convenient, more expensive, grocery stores
I live right next to one of the most expensive grocery store in town-I googled it. I go to there because it is smaller, quiet, I know where everything is and it’s on my drive home. Yet, that other store that is still fairly close: Fred Meyers, is considerably cheaper. I sort of hate Fred Meyer but in an effort to make it not suck: I will make myself some tea, and shop on a weekday and for other special items: Skagit Valley Co-op (it is expensive but they have high quality goods and it is cheaper than our Bellingham Co-op)
*not currently doing this

This is a good list: most of these ideas are realistic and attainable right now in my life. I will keep you updated how this progresses. Wish you all the luck in whatever you are working on. xo

 

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How do you live your life?

Last month I ordered hundreds of dollars worth of books on Amazon about the meaning of life. Gross right? I actually am thinking I might lay out the strange trajectory of the books that I just read. Some of the books seem like they would be absolutely ridiculous, ahem “The Dance of Connection,” but I can often find just what I am looking for and leave the rest. I am like a scavenger; seeking to find the tidbits that sustain me and leave behind the bits that aren’t as appealing. Here are the books that I have read:

Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time

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Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life

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The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

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Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened

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Man’s Search for Meaning

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The Dance of Connection: How to Talk to Someone When You’re Mad, Hurt, Scared, Frustrated, Insulted, Betrayed, or Desperate

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One Person/Multiple Careers: The Original Guide to the Slash Career

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Social Media is destroying your Social Life

There are aspects of technology that stay on the fringes of society: apps that don’t take off, social media sites that fail, dating sites that are too specializes. Yet there are some sites that have penetrated our society and have become as essential to our social connection as a handshake and eye contact. If you are 18-24 years old you have grown up with smart phones, messengers, man’s best friend google and 98% of you are on social media. 

There is no denying the importance of Facebook and other social media sites. The curious thing to me about Facebook, is that the barrier between life on Facebook and life-is almost nonexistent. I have been hanging out with people and we make reference to something we saw on Facebook. Sometimes I have no idea what is happening in peoples lives but thanks to Facebook: I know they had a baby, went on vacation or had a birthday.

On a sensory level, we can’t decipher the facade of Facebook from the actuality. And what are we exposed to on Facebook?  People post the moments in life that they want to celebrate and share with others, they share the moments that others will ‘like,’ they share images of the person that they want others to see us as. The poster is on the edge of their seat, anxious for comments and attention, and the viewer is scanning photos and updates feeling isolation, loneliness, and envy. Now doesn’t this all sound FUN!??

According to a study on Facebook use: The most common cause of Facebook frustration came from users comparing themselves socially to their peers, while the second most common source of dissatisfaction was “lack of attention” from having fewer comments, likes and general feedback compared to friends.

With 39 million views, check out this film on the subject, look up. ‘Look Up’ is a lesson taught to us through a love story, in a world where we continue to find ways to make it easier for us to connect with one another, but always results in us spending more time alone.

Though on social networks, our “friends” can be in the 100’s, research has found that most people only have a few close friends. Only about 5-8 people can actually fit into our worlds. What is the point of social media, if it makes us hate life and we don’t event have the capacity for all the friends we have anyways?? Lets be fair: social media isn’t all bad. This duo, Bars and Melody, met on social media and they are so freaking cute. In some cases social networks can connect people to a world that accepts them and they can find networks of people, friendships can develop, and music can be made.

 

 

Do you Mean what I Mean?

Do you ever wonder, what is the meaning of life?? Well you aren’t alone. Rates of depression are staggering in the US and especially problematic among women and teens, with 17 million total cases of depression annually. You can bet your prozac that these numbers are just the tip of the iceberg , of a under diagnosed and heavily stigmatized illness.

Brene Brown, has one of the best Tedtalks on the subject and offers a unique explanation for the rates of depression and related problems in the US. She has been blazing the path towards soulful discovery with her blog, books and features in countless media publications. 

I absolutely love what RSA shorts did to a piece of her talk on empathy. It is cute, easy to understand and who doesn’t like watching animals act like humans??

I just finishes a book on the subject, Man’s Search for Meaning, by Victor Frankl.  With almost 5 stars, on Amazon, I had high hopes for this book. After I realized that it was about the holocaust, I thought the book was being sardonic with the title, “Man’s Search for Meaning” and I was about to put myself through torture. I wasn’t wrong in thinking this book will break your heart, but it also has such incredible depth and will  changes your life. It doesn’t find meaning in detachment or apathy, like some of the translated Eastern Literature; it finds meaning in blood, sweat and tears.

According to Frankl, meaning comes from: purposeful work, courage in the face of difficulties and love. 

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I LOVE the way he talks about love

Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. By his love he is enabled to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; and even more, he sees that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualized but yet ought to be actualized. Furthermore, by his love, the loving person enables the beloved person to actualize these potentialities. By making him aware of what he can be and of what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true.

 

*Bread and Butter*

Weekdays are extremely busy for me. I travel from Bellingham to Seattle, sleep in girlfriends bed, snack on breakfast in class, and lunch in front of my computer at work. I don’t get to just settle into my home and be comfortable. So during the weekend, my remedy for the madness of Mon-Fri, is to get comfortable in my kitchen. Admits loads of laundry, cleaning, and homework, I make one hell of a mess in just a few feet of space.

Even though this is the time for me to make a cup of tea, listen to classical, and turn up the oven-I don’t get too cozy. I make food that are “experiments.”

This weekend I  made two very different types of bread. One was amazing and the other was weird.

This bread was amazing.  Gluten free (paleo), pumpkin banana bread. I brought it to a harvest party and, though it looks like mud, it was gone quick and people loved it.

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I ran out of eggs on this first batch of bread (I think our chickens are preoccupied doing other things besides laying their eggs on schedule with my baking needs) and thought I would do a vegan -gluten free bread. Ugh.

The recipe for almond banana bread seemed really exciting. You take chia seeds and let them plump up in water and add them to your bread. The reality, I had to mess with this recipe to try and get the right consistency and it still turned out crumbly and lack luster. The sadder reality, I still cut this bread into serving size pieces and put it in the freezer, thinking I might eat it at some point.

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The lesson that I have learned from this is when all of the comments say. “this LOOKS amazing,” ” I can’t WAIT to make this.” Don’t trust it and don’t make it.

 

*Lady you look Lovely*

I will tell you a little secret. I like to spend a considerable amount of time shopping on-line. I love searching for the perfect color and finding the exact item I have been dreaming about. I get a kick out of pressing ‘add to cart’ and ‘continue shopping’  and then after I have found everything that I have been pining over or after I realize I have just wasted an hour (ahem two hours) of my life, I take a deep breath and I move my curser to the top right of the screen and I close my browser.

My co-workers has impeccable fashion and orders kick ass shoes on-line often. She has them delivered to work and I can’t help but glance over and think, damn I need to go that website. She reminds me of the lovely ladies of Advanced Style. 

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The fact that I haven’t blogged in awhile feels like christmas as a kid. It should be bigger and better than it is; the jello doesn’t set right, the meat is dry, and I end up hanging out with my all-boy cousins who want to play video games. Then at some point it is not longer what is but what it is to me, and christmas become magical again and I, humbly, post videos about old women and fashion.

*heads and tails*

This quarter just ended. Winter. Masters program. 2013. I haven’t written in awhile. I haven’t reflected on much lately. I haven’t had time. Rather, I haven’t made time. I just finished my last final of winter quarter and I took some time to reflect….

This quarter was very different than last. Some good. Some not. Here are some tidbits.

Yoga on Saturdays.

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Meet at least four times with professors and advisors (A+ for effort)

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Rode public transportation 3 times a week (currently on a train)

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made at least 16 granny squares….but haven’t made them into a pillow, yet

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I made friends!!

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shared lots of kisses with my love

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Found an obsession

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Spring is coming and I would like to focus on a few things including…

Work on a project with K

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Have dates with girlfriends: book clubs & craft nights

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work, create (more) and share often

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*Let’s talk ladies*

There has been quite a bit going on politically regarding women’s health and rights. I would like to tell you all about the jams I have made and the infused vodkas and all sorts of cute, easy and fun things. But there is so much that I want to write about and I will save all of the cute stuff for later, ok maybe I can make this kind of cute. Hella pics.

1. women


Here is what I think. As women we are brought up in a culture that thrives on our insecurity. It tells us that we aren’t good enough, pretty enough, smart enough. We read magazine articles and see images that craft what we should be. But we are too emotional, unstable, and crazy. We can’t do certain things because of our sex and we are only as worthy as our sex. It pins us against the world, but the deeper more sobering reality is that it pins us against each other. Competition and judgement aren’t part of our dispossession, they are symptoms of a society that makes women feel that they have to prove their worth. Women competing or judging other women is too often considered a norm in workplaces and in social situations. This is a result of a society that has pushed women down repeatedly and denied their true strengths. I really believe that genuine power and true beauty are a threat to societal social norms. If you make women feel like they are inferior and their worth can only come about through their obtaining the unobtainable they more easily manipulated and ego driven. Thus more easy to control. Validation through social acceptance creates a state of chaos and is at the root of how women are trained to define themselves. In my opinion the most direct attack on women is through other women. This isn’t the most powerful or pervasive but the most direct. We do this through the way we judge them, be-friend them, teach them, talk to them, raise them. And we do this through the ways in which we support them or choose not to.

The political attacks that have fallen upon women and families are an example of using women bodies as a tool. Their bodies can be manipulated and disputed, debated, discussed and ridiculed. They can be judged and demonized for what they are, or aren’t and all of this is through the eyes of someone else.

Often, I hear women say how these issues don’t affect them. Literally, it doesn’t affect them; like, “this isn’t my problem and I have enough problems, thank you very much.” And to that I want to say a million things, one of them is I understand that life is hard and that your life in particular might be very hard right now. But also the greatest movement, in my opinion, out of your own personal problems or struggles is to see yourself in a greater context. That is to see how you (little you) fits into this bigger world and the bigger (YOU).

I think this is our time to stand together as women and not let society define what that means for us.

2. Men
Ok so really men have no business saying what is right for a woman. I am serious.

3. I use to be very fearful of getting involved in anything. I thought this isn’t my fight..” after spending time in Armenia and seeing dynamics of power differently, I feel differently. I understand that those who can use their power and influence to bring about freedom for others, should and must.

I use to also hate flawed institutions and government. Being informed wasn’t particularly interesting because the more I learned, the more I felt disconnected from a society that didn’t represent me. Many people feel that their government doesn’t represent them and many people don’t vote because they think that all of the candidates are all the same and don’t represent THEM. But I see how vastly different the candidates are and how close elections can be.

I use to think, what can one person do? There is SO MUCH wrong with society. As I became more informed, involved and curious, I saw the power in individuals. One person is more than one person, that person is part of a community, family and social structure. Their one voice hold with it the power of their collective shared values and their experiences. Their one voice has the ability to motivate and inspire others and in that choir of voices there is the power to shake up the foundation of society.

It is all of our roles and responsibility to do what we can with our time, actions and resources to make this world better, not worse.

Better: is expansive; it allows for greater opportunities, freedoms, and resources. It is fluid and doesn’t view the world as white or black but sees the complexity, and range, of human experiences. It meets people where they are, and yet invites them to more fully express everything that they already are. It isn’t about limitations or denial, or about what is right or wrong.  It is acceptances of what is and growth through learning. Better is involvement and action and connection to those around you. Maybe this fight doesn’t affect you but if it did you would want your friends, community, and government to have your back and support you in whatever decision you thought was right for you at that time so maybe, just maybe, it affects us all.

*questions and answer*

This is the Proust questionnaire featured in vanity fair.

The young Marcel was asked to fill out questionnaires at two social events: one when he was 13,
another when he was 20. Proust did not invent this party game;
he is simply the most extraordinary person to respond to them.
At the birthday party of Antoinette Felix-Faure, the 13-year-old Marcel was asked to answer
the following questions in the birthday book, and here's what he said:

Marcel at age 13, 13kb gif

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
    To be separated from Mama
Where would you like to live?
    In the country of the Ideal, or, rather, of my ideal
What is your idea of earthly happiness?
    To live in contact with those I love, with the beauties of nature, with a quantity of books and music, and to have, within easy distance, a French theater
To what faults do you feel most indulgent?
    To a life deprived of the works of genius
Who are your favorite heroes of fiction?
    Those of romance and poetry, those who are the expression of an ideal rather than an imitation of the real
Who are your favorite characters in history?
    A mixture of Socrates, Pericles, Mahomet, Pliny the Younger and Augustin Thierry
Who are your favorite heroines in real life?
    A woman of genius leading an ordinary life
Who are your favorite heroines of fiction?
    Those who are more than women without ceasing to be womanly; everything that is tender, poetic, pure and in every way beautiful
Your favorite painter?
    Meissonier
Your favorite musician?
    Mozart
The quality you most admire in a man?
    Intelligence, moral sense
The quality you most admire in a woman?
    Gentleness, naturalness, intelligence
Your favorite virtue?
    All virtues that are not limited to a sect: the universal virtues
Your favorite occupation?
    Reading, dreaming, and writing verse
Who would you have liked to be?
    Since the question does not arise, I prefer not to answer it. All the same, I should very much have liked to be Pliny the Younger.
This questionnaire tells us much about two things, the character of petiit Marcel,
and the amusement of the young in the Belle Epoque.
We see Marcel as a sweet and dreamy Mama's boy, brainy, aesthetic, a young citizen of the world with
much sympathy for the feminine. What he sees in Pliny the Younger, famous only for speaking and writing
letters, is hard to grasp.
What is fascinating about this questionnaire is that it was considered so great an amusement
to very young people in Proust's time. It is hard to imagine a party of 13-year-olds in these times
being quizzed about their favorite virtues, painters or characters of fiction and history.
If the questionnaire were not to smack of exam, it would have to ask "what's your favorite TV show?"
or "what's your favorite band?"
Seven years after the first questionnaire, Proust was asked, at another social event, to fill out another;
 the questions are much the same, but the answers somewhat different, indicative of his traits at 20:

Marcel in his twenties, 12kb gif

Your most marked characteristic?
    A craving to be loved, or, to be more precise, to be caressed and spoiled rather than to be admired
The quality you most like in a man?
    Feminine charm
The quality you most like in a woman?
    A man’s virtues, and frankness in friendship
What do you most value in your friends?
    Tenderness – provided they possess a physical charm which makes their tenderness worth having
What is your principle defect?
    Lack of understanding; weakness of will
What is your favorite occupation?
    Loving
What is your dream of happiness?
    Not, I fear, a very elevated one. I really haven’t the courage to say what it is, and if I did I should probably destroy it by the mere fact of putting it into words.
What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes?
    Never to have known my mother or my grandmother
What would you like to be?
    Myself – as those whom I admire would like me to be
In what country would you like to live?
        One where certain things that I want would be realized and where feelings of tenderness would always be reciprocated
what is your favorite color?
    Beauty lies not in colors but in their harmony
What is your favorite flower?
    Hers – but apart from that, all
What is your favorite bird?
    The swallow
Who are your favorite prose writers?
    At the moment, Anatole France and Pierre Loti
Who are your favorite poets?
    Baudelaire and Alfred de Vigny
Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    Hamlet
Who are your favorite heroines of fiction?
    Phedre (crossed out) Berenice
Who are your favorite composers?
    Beethoven, Wagner, Shuhmann
Who are your favorite painters?
    Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt
Who are your heroes in real life?
    Monsieur Darlu, Monsieur Boutroux (professors)
Who are your favorite heroines of history?
    Cleopatra
What are your favorite names?
    I only have one at a time
What is it you most dislike?
    My own worst qualities
What historical figures do you most despise?
    I am not sufficiently educated to say
What event in military history do you most admire?
    My own enlistment as a volunteer!
What reform do you most admire?
    (no response)
What natural gift would you most like to possess?
    Will power and irresistible charm
How would you like to die?
    A better man than I am, and much beloved
What is your present state of mind?
    Annoyance at having to think about myself in order to answer these questions
To what faults do you feel most indulgent?
    Those that I understand
What is your motto?
        I prefer not to say, for fear it might bring me bad luck.