Sunday, March 08, 2009

Getting through the Week

This has been a week of muddling. And mudding. So much rain and snow and slush that it's been all about keeping feet dry and underneath one and cars de-iced and sidewalks cleared and muddy footprints outside and the warm air inside.

Hubby's pay cut (part of all that crazy California living - 10% pay cut for all state employees!) showed up on this last paycheck, so if the ice and snow didn't keep us close to home, less disposable income did. Because we're in the privileged position of still having enough income to pay all the bills, knock on wood, I have to say that I'm still finding some small silver beading to go with the bad news. I say silver beading instead of silver lining because it's not just one thing, it's little things here and there. And besides, beads are pretty, don't you think?

Watching the news is overwhelming and I don't have any answers but I find my thoughts circling one particular piece of the bigger problem. This bit seems like a koan, or at the very least, a conundrum.

We live in a consumer culture. Nay, a consumer world. Our economic health seems to be tied into getting enough life and confidence breathed back into our national and global economy to allow money to start changing hands again. And yet many people have no money, or far less of it, or are too worried to spend it if they do have it, and so slug, slug, slug goes the circle of cash.

I get that we need to get the logjam of fear and poverty broken up, we need to get the waters running again. But I also believe that the consumer world is a very unhealthy matrix for most of us and I hope that one of the greater silver linings in the larger black clouds we are collectively under, is that more people will grok this simple fact. Is it too much to hope for that somehow when the wheels of industry start to move again, that we've taken the opportunity to switch vehicles? Park the proverbial Hummers and climb into electric cars or a nice sturdy bicycle. Or hop on the bus.

Although the literal switch from gas guzzlers to cleaner transportation is in itself a fine idea, I'm speaking symbolically, meaning we should take this opportunity, if we're in the position to do so, to vote more loudly than ever before for not just a healthier world but a complete international lifestyle change. Vote with our pocket book.

Having far less money to fling about, I think a lot harder about what I'm now spending my money on. If I want cheap, crappy products to sell, buying them will only beget more cheap, crappy products. And the low wage, no benefit jobs they probably generate. If I want organic vegetables to be available, and at a more competitive price to the consumer, I need to buy them now to encourage that industry and those wages to survive. So even though they're more expensive (although surprisingly, already, the price difference is narrowing, even here in our small town), I've been buying higher quality food.

I haven't been buying much else new. I found a few things at the thrift store lately, including an awesome natural fiber crochet sling market bag in new condition, some yarn, a wool shawl, a pair of pants, a green tee, some clothes for the grandkids, some fabric scraps, and.... a bit more I can't remember offhand. Spent under $10 for everything. I bought the newest Dresden Files paperback. I rented a video from our last remaining video store in town. I've been pretty bad about buying a daily cappuccino at Starbucks, but I'm buying the short size (did you know they have a Short size? It's not on the menu, you have to ask for it) and I'm only buying them until I can find the espresso machine I want to buy to make my espressos at home. (Great tip - if you buy a Starbucks card and register it online, when you order soy milk for your drinks on it, you don't get charged extra!) And I got a call today from the local Starbucks manager letting me know she's tracked down the machine I want and it will be here in about a week. Yay!

Except for the fiercest days of the storm, I've managed to keep walking.

A bush was just covered with these little fellows. They were hopping all over the place. It was hard to get one to stay in one place long enough to get his picture taken. I love his little red cap and his tiny feet. If I tried to hold onto a branch like that, I'd just end up upside down.

I noticed the city put up a measuring stick on the side of the bridge where a small stream goes under Main Street. I liked how that weed grew exactly as tall as the measuring stick and no further.

Moon's almost full.

Me wearing my red hat with pom poms on my walk. I like how they bounce and make soft thumping, massaging sounds on my head when I'm in motion.

Crocus unfazed by the snow that just melted. Signs of spring!


Blogger JulieZS said...

Gosh I love that hat so much! And hooray for crocus, that is the little flower that could isn't it? I hope you're right about people rethinking how they participate in our consumer culture, it will require not unconsciously buying just to buy. I doubt it though, people seem pretty well sucked in to how it has "always been." But we can hope, eh?
Hey, did you see I gave you and award?

7:18 PM  

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