In a near emergency we found ourselves in a Kmart, first time in 10 years. Mikey and I stopped in our tracks before this candy display and remembered when these chocolates came in tiny boxes. The super sized world makes me wonder about what is precious. Money is the most abundant and least scarce thing on earth and yet we give it the greatest value (at least for now). The diamond industry spends millions securing the illusion that their cut carbon is scarce. A box of chocolates can hardly be experienced as a precious gift when it's the size of a Honda.
The trick is most easily seen when we were around colors. In certain environments it appeared as if somehow we were cut into the world in black and white.
Luckily when we awoke this morning there was plenty of color in the world.
I remember the day we adopted him from a snake vendor in the east village of NYC. The sales person said that he didn't want to part with this beautiful blue eyed cat and that he was going to keep him for himself. After we offered $50 for the cat he reconsidered his position and asked for $110. We took IO home in a cab to what would be two full weeks of nightmare integration into our apartment with our existing cat Scardy. The two never got along well, but did learn to tolerate each other.
This cat gave us 7 years of his life teaching us that the real pleasures come from everyday experiences of eating, sleeping and bathing. He was friend to all regularly approaching large and dangerous animals in attempt to cuddle. We will miss watching his large belly swing from to side to side as he waddled through the yard. So often we would come home to a cat blissfully rolling upside down with his massive belly exposed.
May you find warm baths, tasty snacks and a macbook to sleep on. We miss you.
Our massive 25 lb white siamese snow shoe kitty didn't make it home last night. He goes outside in our yard each day and just hangs out. We are asking our TorC friends to keep a look out for him. He has a blue collar with his name, blue eyes and is a giant. He was last seen at 8:30pm Tuesday, Dec 19th. He missed dinner and breakfast which has never happened.
(The next step is to find the stuff in your home that is no longer useful to you and fill your gift sack with the goods. Study your goods so you'll remember what your carrying and be able to choose the right gift for the people you meet. If I ever feel that I don't have enough I just start making stuff. This year I found a bag of bells and strung them into bracelets with some suede strands. I gave them to kids and told them that if they ring the bell every day and wish for peace that Santa will give them better gifts.
(OK I admit, I am really into being a holiday elf and droplifting my unwanted goods as gifts. Heres how to do it in steps. Step one: make an elf suit. Our jumpers are made of heavy wool, the coat fleece. Everything is trimmed out in faux fur. My hat is hand knitted, fleece lined. By using the right materials you will always be warm when wearing it in December. My nose flute (for proving I am in fact a real elf) hangs from my neck. My gift sack is also fleece and faux fur. I wear a bell bracelet and carry two copies of books of snarky renditions of popular christmas songs. - Wendy
Illustration © Kate Bingaman-Burt, excerpted
from The Good Life Lab. All rights reserved.
(image: T or C's Old Fashioned Christmas Schedule)
- 1 napa cabbage chopped
- 1 T caraway seed (crushed)
- 1 C whey
- 3 T grey salt
- 1 lg pom (seeds only)
- crush and fill the rest with water
When Forbes labeled New Mexico a death spiral state I don't think they had any way to account for the abundance that is felt by many of the people who live here. For Mikey and I being outside the rise and fall of the national monetary system connected us with abundance. This wealth we found from a more intimate source than we knew in NY when we worked 70 hours a week. We found it in our local domestic economy, we found it in friends and neighbors, community. The stats Forbes quotes about retirees, government employees and folks on welfare hardly say anything about our reciprocity with one another.
Money is different here. Many consider it the low road. Bounties are counted in gifts: food, drink, building supplies, scraps, and knowledge. New Mexicans know how to make things and how things work. But don't confuse our dusty, grease covered, stain spotted clothes with poverty. Many know how to live when there is no system to rely on.
Yes NM is a poor state and sure some suffer. But when the housing market crashed and many cities boasted a 14% foreclosure rate here in Truth or Consequences we had a modest 1%. Why? People live modestly. Fewer invest, fewer are tied to the system and tossed about by its fluctuations.
When Mikey and I pulled out of the market around 2007 we put the cash we had in a savings account earning 2% interest. We used most of our money to buy tools like cement mixers, land, and water. The bankers would say we did the dumbest possible thing. A year later the market crashed and we didnt think it was so dumb. We had nothing to loose. Instead of counting our wealth in money counted the tools we had to build a world with. And we did build a world.
Lately the most glamorous of magazines have been popularizing making things yourself. But I wonder of the people reading those mags, do they have the time? We all know what's coming and its not American's making a mint on the market, its learning how to live when systems we once relied on fail, like the systems that Forbes is known to report on.
I'd give a minute of thought to what it means to be hitched to the national economy and what it means to live outside of it before I let Forbes convince me that NM is a "death spiral state." Admittedly locals kinda like it when we get "bad press." They say things like, "it keeps out the rif raff."
Image: seasonal holiday store selling handmade goods, Monticello NM
I've always wondered if making my own patterns would lead to perfectly fitting clothing. Imagine that? Today I made my first pattern. I can't exactly say that the fit has that oh so perfect feel of being just right. But that's not because it's not possible so much as that I just need to hone my skills. But I did make one darn cool sweater and it fits.
I began by making a pattern out of butcher paper. I simply traced a top I like. Having made this first item I can see what needs tweaking the next time that I use the pattern. I'm on my way.
The big drawback on the little Leatherman Style PS model is that it doesn't have a knife which I really wanted. I put it on the bench grinder and made blade from the file. It only took a few minutes and now seems to be the perfect combo for a daily pocket knife. TSA will no longer approve it for flights, but at least it can be used for everything else.
The Style PS includes the following:
- needlenose pliers
- wire cutters
- flat screwdriver
- carabiner / bottle opener