Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Simple Things Stimulate the Muse

It occurs to me, as I sit here savoring the smell of a freshly brewed cup of Americano and pondering the complexity of a slice of toasted Dave's Killer Bread, with just a smidge of peanut butter, that the simple things in life are often the most profound.

I live modestly by choice and by circumstance. I drive an old van, wear hand me downs from my daughter or thrifty buys from the Goodwill. I put out barrels to gather the rain water in the soggy Oregon winter months to water my houseplants and potted plants during the summer. I wash out plastic bags and foil, save rubber bands from the morning paper and carry cloth bags to the market. Simple, really.

I worry about the economy like everyone else. Monthly bills on the rise, groceries, repair bills, insurance. The news from Haiti puts things in perspective but at the end of the day those bills must still be paid. Then something unexpected happens - a piece of toast. That first crunchy bite and each one after that fills my senses and all seems right with the world.

Sure the bills are still waiting to be paid. The crisis in Haiti is devastating and a painful reminder of how precious and precarious life can be. But in the end, it comes down to something simple. A taste, a memory, a smile, a smell, a hug, a tear or even a slice of Dave's Killer Bread. A moment of gratitude and simple pleasure.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Are You Man Enough?

Ever since Seinfeld yelled out on a New York street that someone had stolen his European carry all, it has become fashionable for men to carry purses. Yes, a purse - call it what you will, a rose by any other name is still a rose. Or in this case, a "murse".

Why would they want to? I am always looking for reasons to leave mine behind. More stuff gets lost in them, than is actually ever used. Because we have a purse we think we should carry more than we need and spend more time looking for an item than using it.

I think this is some form of equality for men. We want equal pay for equal work and they want equal carry on luggage. Seems fair, I suppose. But now they will face the same issues women do everyday. "Does this bag match my shoes?" "Oh, I left it in my other European hand bag." "I know it must be in here somewhere." Yes, murses come in every style, color, fabric and size any man could possibly want.

What will they put in these man bags? A hammer or screwdriver? Other than breath mints, what do they need to carry? Cellphone fits in a pocket and they never seemed to have any problem carrying their wallet. Technology is supposed to make our life easier, but obviously it creates more to carry.

But here is the biggest problem with the man bag. Who is going to carry our purse when we our hands are full? Perhaps equality in accessories is not a good thing. Like the airlines, I think we should limit all carry ons. If traveling as a couple - only one bag carries it all and I am all for the man bag being the one. That is what a wise grandma would do.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Recycle Thwarts Reuse

I have been using reusable cloth bags for several years when I go shopping. I even bought bags for my adult children one year as a Christmas bag filled with their presents. The bags come with me when I take my mother in law to the market. I use them to take things to the office, carry goodies to a party or books to and from the library.

The bags live in my car creating a life style change and a habit. But my diligence has brought about an unexpected downside.

A long time subscriber to the reduce, reuse and recycle philosophy, I reused the grocery plastic bags as trash can liners, doggie doo pick-ups and packing material for shipping boxes. Brown bags were reused to line baking dishes, wrap packages and make book covers. Now I find my resource material has disappeared! I have systematically rid myself of these reusable materials by using recyclable bags.

I suppose this is a good thing and was inevitable. I still believe in the cloth bag, but may have to pay for the privilege. But, that is what a wise grandma will do.