Category Archives: Peace

Minimalistic Living


First of all, I need to disclose that I’ve edited comments I made in the blog listed below and have incorporated them into this post. After commenting, I felt that I could say more here, but I wanted to include some of those ideas.  Not sure if this is an accepted practice, but heck, they’re my own words.

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This is something new for me; but it’s been hovering around for a while now.  I’m just at the stage of reading more about it, but struggle with something that goes against what we, as a society, are taught. It’s the Minimalistic Lifestyle.  While we are taught that the more material possessions we collect, the better off we are and the happier we will be.  I subscribed to this blog, Minimalistic Living, and read posts about reducing the “things” and clutter in my life.  While I read, I was surprised that I wanted to read more.  DH is always saying that I have TOO much stuff.  I really don’t think he’s right given that we really don’t have too much by way of possessions to begin with.  I think it’s more that we’ve got to manage it better. Both of us are not good organizers at all.  It’s something that I feel I’ve got to do. Maybe it’s a way of regaining some kind of control over my life.

One thing that I feel I have to do, and I’ve resolved to do this, is destashing the bulk of my yarn.  My friends are shocked, but really, I feel myself floundering.  I realize that I have way too much yarn and it’s obvious that I will never use all of it up in my lifetime. Also, I was not an informed buyer.  I did not buy with a project in mind and as a result, I never have enough yarn in my stash to start a decent project other than shawls, cowls, and other smallish projects.  My family are not very keen on receiving woolen garments, so how many shawls or blankets can I make for myself?  For around three years or so I donated some nice items for church raffles, to create more winners than just two or three money winners.  Last time, I was very nicely rejected and so I don’t have that outlet any longer… Their loss, really.  Anyway, I’ve decided that I don’t just want to give it away.  I want to sell my stash to get back at least some of what I paid for it… Quite a bit of expensive yarn.  Getting rid of my yarn also frees up my time for other hobbies like spinning and the product? Yarn.  Ah, I feel like I’m on a tangent, so I’m reeling myself in….

The truth is that I don’t know much about this different lifestyle, but both my husband and myself are uncomfortable with the clutter and that happens a lot.  My apartment, the place I call home, is a collection of mismatched furniture which projects upon me the sense of unsettledness.  I have a nice, largish dining room but from the start, I didn’t want a dining room set.  I wanted open space and so we had a large, mostly empty room for a couple years.  Now there are two six foot lunch tables, shoved together to create a big square table with two vinyl tablecloths.  I have two bedroom pieces in my dining room.  One is an antique dresser that was my grandmothers’ and I simply will not give it away.  I actually used it for a changing table, covered with a lot of towels.  The second piece is another plain dresser.  I’m thinking that once I destash the yarn, I’ll have a place for the stuff in this dresser and maybe I can get rid of it.  A little plan.  Still, I’m uncomfortable with the place.  Ugh… maybe I just hate my life.

I’m wondering what “minimalist” really refers to.  Does it refer to diminishing the quantity of stuff I have, or in how I’m managing what we do have?  Can I get away with just organizing it better; or do I have to actually whittle down everything we have to consider myself conforming to the idea.  What IS the idea?  HA… I’m new to this.  Will I do better by not directly telling myself that I’ll be getting rid of stuff.  The biggest problem will be determining what the non-essential items are.  I love my computer, I love my ipad.  I loved my smartphone until I had to give it up. It’s been almost a year and I gotta say that I don’t miss it at all.  If given the chance in the future, I’m not sure I’d go for the smart phone.  That shit’s expensive and I’m not sure I want to hand over such a big chunk of my money just to have a smartphone.  I think it’s a waste of money.  The contracts, all the charges separated and charged.  The young people probably don’t remember when everything was one flat rate and data was unlimited.  It’s a disgrace what this world is turning into.

My hubby is always saying that I have too much stuff, yet he avoids getting rid of the garbage, non-essential stuff.  We both procrastinate making progress with all this. He keeps old, useless sneakers even after he’s purchased new ones.  He even still wears them and I know, too, because his feet stink to high heaven.  I can smell it through the sheets.  He takes too long sorting through stuff he intends on recycling; while I tend to keep things around because I fear that I’ll need that, whatever it is, almost as soon as I throw it away, and that HAS happened.

I’m realizing that stuff will not make me happy.  I knew this already, and yet, it’s news to me… scandalous! In a way, I feel as if I’m leading a minimalist life right now because our spending has dropped way down to just the essentials like food and when the time comes, school uniform and supplies. I’m realizing that I don’t have to buy new things every time school starts, well, except for uniforms, so I’m not going to buy all new. I’m going to buy new supplies once the old ones either break or until they really wear down.  HA… all this is kind of ironic, given that I have hoarding tendencies.  Just watching Extreme Hoarders on TV gives me the kick in the ass to clear off my cluttered spots.  My MIL was an extreme hoarder. Now that she lives in FL with her daughter, she doesn’t do it anymore. I’ve learned so much from her and I miss her.  I learned to reuse the wax paper bags from cereal boxes. That’s great, clean stuff after you shake it out and I haven’t bought new waxed paper in almost a decade and I never run out of it. I open the bag up at the seams and most times is the perfect size… Or I use them to throw out wet/food garbage (we can’t compost).

Everyone has that one niche, unique to them, that needs to be satisfied, whether it’s electronics, or clothing, or whatever. I think that with the things we don’t want to eliminate completely, there is the responsibility to not get carried away and indulge ourselves past the point that is reasonable.  I have a ton of clothes and this summer, I am seeing that I’m not wearing half of them. I’m so afraid that I’ll need something right when it’s not there. My style preferences change all the time, I wear a different style of clothes to church and have different one to just hang out.  My goal with this is to have a place, a hanger for everything, and whatever doesn’t have a place, needs to get donated somewhere. Since I discovered second hand shops, I’ve made it a point to get my clothes just from there. It’s fun to do and the quality is good to excellent; not to mention the reasonable prices.

So, we’ll see where this goes….

Tuesday Topic on Wednesday

Well, here I am, late again with my assignment, and can’t say that my dog ate it.

Fifth Tuesday Topic
Tuesday, 17 April 2007
When asked about the anti-war movement during Vietnam and at the time, during 2003, Kurt Vonnegut (who passed away last week) said the following:
“When it became obvious what a dumb and cruel and spiritually and financially and militarily ruinous mistake our war in Vietnam was, every artist worth a damn in this country, every serious writer, painter, stand-up comedian, musician, actor and actress, you name it, came out against the thing. We formed what might be described as a laser beam of protest, with everybody aimed in the same direction, focused and intense. This weapon proved to have the power of a banana-cream pie three feet in diameter when dropped from a stepladder five-feet high.
And so it is with anti-war protests in the present day. Then as now, TV did not like anti-war protesters, nor any other sort of protesters, unless they rioted. Now, as then, on account of TV, the right of citizens to peaceably assemble, and petition their government for a redress of grievances, ‘ain’t worth a pitcher of warm spit,’ as the saying goes.”
What do you think of this quotation?
How do you think the modern anti-war movement can rise above the value of a pitcher of warm spit?

What do I think of this quotation? I was too young to remember the details of the wars of the late 50’s and 60’s, but my first thought is, “how did government get so out of control that the people have absolutely NO recourse to do something for change?” The people of government know full well how convoluted the laws are. They know how very little the average person knows about the details of what goes on, let alone know enough to effect change… in other words know enough to play the game.  Somehow people don’t want to get involved beyond their little sphere. THEY KNOW THIS. So, life goes on. Our little bubbles get thicker and more opaque; and we continue to wear our rose colored glasses. Government officials go on their merry way, without fear of consequences. They manipulated the laws for their own benefit. They fill their pockets, put in their time, then go home to the lap of luxury with any benefits that they can grab on the way out.

IF someone from the rank and file population DOES question what goes on, they have no idea where to start, no idea how to effectively follow up. I sort of felt this way this week when elections came up in our city for the Board of Ed and the “question” resolution. I feel as if it’s all a game and that “right” person to vote for was buried underneath a pile of junk mail, smear campaigns and PR hype with the real issues buried way too deep to be recognized. One guy even had his daughter on a “letter from her” that came to our house (several times in one day) on a 8 x 10 glossy. Oooo don’t vote for the “bad people”.

Politics. Is not straightforward any more. Why do we need lobbyists? People turn their heads because politics is like the Gorgon. To look upon her invokes massive confusion and paralysis, your migraine peaking as you turn to stone and crumble into a heap of rock on the floor. Chalk one up for the White House. The people in power are ill-equipped to handle the sheer volume of this population. It’s no wonder that public opinion gets lost in the shuffle. Maybe that is just what they want. Let the numbers rise and while the crowd presses in on itself, government officials slip by unnoticed and exit stage left… or in this case, right. We wake up to, yet a new day. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping and there’s a fox exiting the hen house from the left, right and back, unnoticed until we go out there to look for a couple of eggs for our breakfast only to find a slaughtered country with all it’s precious eggs either broken or contaminated by war. The hens shed their tears, the roosters maimed or dead in the aftermath.

I guess all this just runs around the fact that we, the people, are pushed out of any position of influence that we might have once enjoyed once upon a time, like 200 years ago. The truth is that the politicians enjoy knowing that they control this country, that they carry the “keys”, the mysterious American Rosetta Stone of Politics. We must go through them. Sort of reminds me of organized religion. We must go through the clergy to reach God. In America, we must prostrate ourselves before our Man-God hoping that he will smile down upon us and maybe lower our taxes a little bit, or sign a bill to save our environment…. GRRRRRR that is another hot issue. Everything is just too complicated and every time an average person tries to talk about the issues, the politicians are the first to say, “it’s too complicated of an issue to get into right now. But it’s a ‘conversation’ that should happen~ sometime.” I’m serious, I’ve heard that sort of answer on political talk shows. I hate “conversations”. That is all they are. All talk, no action. I am home more than two years now and have this radio on, tuned into public radio all day. All I hear is partial conversations, punctuated with snippets of callers who are hardly given the time of day. We listeners bring up some pretty good points and nobody seems to want to consider them.

If I had an answer to the last question, I’d be a millionaire… or more. If I get any ideas, I’ll update.

Tuesday Topic

Okay. This one I cannot bear to do. The assignment for today was to simply post a picture of the Iraq War and talk about it. Simple, right? Not so simple. I saw some images tonight that are literally still turning my stomach; yet, if I posted a picture of less impact, less GOREY, that would be avoiding the raw truth of what is happening over there.

I think I’ve already mentioned that, as a mother, I am worried sick that my 2 year old son will be recruited, or drafted in the future. After seeing these pictures, I realize how so out of touch I really am with the realities of the wider world. I wonder at how easy I’ve had it up to now and I wonder when/if the shoe will fall. I feel guilty because I have a good life and there are people out there in the world, in Iraq, who are like me, just trying to live and they live in horror, in fear of that shoe falling every day…. I am so weak.

AND the shoe falls every single day.

Time runs on in our little, private bubbles in the U.S.

How long until our time runs out?

We need to get out of the war.


Tuesday Topic~Very Late

Just realized that I’ve not written yet on April 3rd’s Topic, so I’ll write my contribution now, ironically, on the eve of the Resurrection of the Prince of Peace. Here are the questions:

Third Tuesday Topic
Tuesday, 3 April 2007
Try to imagine yourself as a lifelong Iraqi citizen.
What do you think would motivate you?
How do you think your life would change if foreign combatants left the country?
How do you think you would feel about the United States and other occupying countries?

I can imagine that if I were a life long Iraqi citizen, right now I’d be so totally scared to walk out of my house. I’d be worrying every day if the last person to walk out of the house would live long enough to come back home. I’d be scared that we would need to leave my homeland to escape persecution by every foreigner who was trying to “help” us. I’d want to get involved, but would be afraid to. I’d be a quivering idiot, probably living in the farthest corner of my home, in a closet, afraid of everything.

I have a son, 2 yrs. old; and I’d be afraid for his life. I’d be afraid that a bomb or missile will hit us and he’d be killed. Then I be thinking that maybe living to adulthood for him would be far worse as war and violence has a tendency of warping the young mind. I would fear that my beautiful, gentle little boy will be hardened by a hard, violent life, his innocence being the first casualty to be mourned just as assuredly as his physical body would be.

As I wrote that last sentence, I think that if I could save the young from a fate worse than death, I would work towards that. The young are the future and how we raise our children will affect our future, their future.

How do I think my life would change if foreign combatants left the country? Well, I do not think that life would immediately change all that much. Maybe after awhile, but I can’t see it changing for the better for some time because even if the foreigners are gone, I’d have to contend with my own countrymen who would be scrambling for power at the top. I’d be afraid of my neighbor accusing me of being a traitor just because we had a disagreement. I see these times being very unstable and while I’d have hope for a better day, I would wonder how long that better day would take to get here.

During occupation, I would try to trust those who profess to helping us. I’d try to take each day as it comes to treat them as human beings and not monsters. With that said, I would still not be able to forget that they were the ones in the first place who caused my world to turn upside down. For the better? Only time will tell. Will I be alive when that happens? I would hope so, but hope is a scarce commodity.

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Happy Spring and Baby Oil Fragrance

Sorry for not writing, I’ve not been inspired of late. I also finished my log cabin blanket which is the reason I got to bed at 2am last night and the reason I am up so late today. Today is the Tuesday challenge, so will scoot on over to One Million Blogs For Peace to see what it is and write about it tonight when I get out to write on it.

Happy Spring to everyone out there. Today is the first really mild day we’ve gotten so far. Today is going to be in the 70’s… whoo hoo! Despite our late start (got up over an hour late) we will definitely get out to enjoy the weather. Everything is in sync. I feel okay, Little Drake only has a little rash which we think is due to the fragrance in a new baby oil I bought.

You know, when you see a name that is synonymous with quality baby care, a name you trust and you think everything is good. Safe. Well, recently we saw that was NOT true with dog and cat food with rat poison inside it; and so it is with J&J (Johnson & Johnson). They make these new products with fragrance… lavender, chamomile, some other ones. I wanted to try the lavender one and because the package was purple. I wonder every time I see how companies market their products. The oil, itself, is not purple, just the bottle. It’s definitely more appealing and you “think” you are getting something more, in some way, when you are not. Amazing. The label reads, “GENTLE”. You think it’s okay, but the fragrance is really a chemical and is really only as gentle as the level of tolerance of the baby skin that it’s put on. My son does have sensitive skin, so I should have realized it or just used a little on him. My husband knew what the problem was right away because he also has very sensitive skin. Working at L’Oreal probably adds to his certainty of what the problem was.

Up until now, I had always used unrefined shea butter on my baby’s skin and never had a problem. I used the lavender baby oil two times after his bath and a few days ago, I noticed that he had a bit of a rash, or little bumps that you only notice if you touch them. Today, they do not look worse, he does not have a temperature and he is definitely his bubbly self; so will just call the doctor’s office and they will just tell me to watch it.

I will unceremoniously end my post here because somebody smells of poopie and then we’re outta here!

One Million Blogs For Peace~Tuesday’s Topics

Tuesday Topic
Firstly, let me say that I cannot use spell checker because for some reason I cannot get the visual part of my editor to appear… any mispellings are, of course, either intentional or unintentional.

As you may or may not know, I have signed up ~Dragon’s Yen~ with One Million Blogs for Peace. This is the pledge that I took when I signed up:

“The Pledge
I believe in the immediate withdrawal of all foreign combat troops from the nation of Iraq. I believe in using my blog, in whole or in part, as a tool toward this end.”

It was important for me to write that myself, here. But you can find out what it’s all about here on their site.

Anyway, from what I gather, there are topics we must write about on Tuesdays. With a little more than 2 hours left in the day, I will attempt to do my share.


First Tuesday Topic

Tuesday, 20 March 2007
Think back four years ago, to when you first heard that the Iraq War had started.
Were you for or against the war at the time?
If you were for it, what has changed your mind over the last four years?
If you were against it, why were you against it?

I can hardly remember back 4 years ago when this war started; but I was living in Brooklyn, NY at the time and clearly remember when the towers were hit. I was on my way to work and was listening to the morning show, “Scott and Todd” on WPLJ. They used a tv to keep track of Joe Nolan, the traffic guy and I believe they witnessed the plane actually hitting the towers, live… or when the local news first started airing it. I remember that when I first got to work, I saw dark BROWN smoke over the top of our building. I remember that no work got done that day because the whole company was in the president’s office watching the TV coverage in there. We were devastated.

When we first went to war, I was living at my parent’s home at the time and I remember that I got worried about them instituting the draft. I worried about my nephew, my brother and my fiance having to go over there and getting killed. I am against war for any reason. I just don’t believe that anything can be solved through war. Sure a victorious country will be come the dominant force in the losing country, but what is the world really gaining?

Even though I was not for the war when it broke out, I was hopeful that our troops would be able to pull off what they went there to do~ find Osama Bin Laden. Well, they were not able to do that. It seems as if they have lost sight of that goal and now got themselves onto other things. Maybe that was a false pretense to get our guys over there to do what they are doing now. I don’t know, personally I don’t care… I just want our people home. The more and more I think about it, I want this country to become Isolationist and stay out of the affairs of everyone else on this planet and focus more on the needs of it’s own people. There I said it.

Now it seems as if we are stirring up more trouble over there in Iraq. It doesn’t seem as if the people there even want our intervention or presence. I believe that our presence there just makes things worse. Plus, I believe that each country should work out their own problems, their own government. Okay, so we took some people out of there. Now it’s up to them to govern their own country. I do not believe that we, the United States of America, should tell another country how to run their government, period. If we stay, I believe that the individuals actually running the government have no incentive to really make it work for themselves. They turn to us for MONEY and assistance. Where is that money actually going? It just seems to be a problem that will never get solved. If it ever will be solved, it will be by their own people, people who are actually living there and have a personal stake in how it all turns out.

I hear Moses, in the desert, crying, “Let my people go”

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