Archive for money

I, Consumer

Posted in finds, food, shopping, socialization with tags , , , on July 29, 2010 by darcyarts

We are living in interesting times. Our consumerist paradigm is slowly shifting. We are doing things differently than we once did. Our expectations of what we should have and what we should want were molded in an earlier world. One that is passing away.  The internet has changed almost everything. Some changes are obvious some slowly shuddering, rattling and causing slo-mo upheavals that may escape our attention as we continue our work-a-day lives with eyes averted. 

Our mental and even physical geography is changing.  These changes seem to be democratizing aspects of our culture, even our commerce. I expect our consumerist desires will evolve. 

I spend the money I have on the basics — food, shelter, transportation, reading material, music, cinema, art/photo tools and materials and thrift store finds. 

I think I’m still learning about the relationship between work and consumption. Money is a strange beastly mechanism. It freaks me out. I struggle with the one to one relationship spelled out on each dollar. What does money mean? 

Yes, we need money to live. Yes, I have accepted help when I really needed to do so, but money for money’s sake has never been my goal. There are many kinds of enslavements born of wealth. I want to be as free as I can be. 

I work seven days a week but pretty much on my own terms. I feel I still need to buy less, consume less. I know that when the time comes for a change in my lifestyle, when I am no longer occupied with caretaking, I can sell off or recycle a thousand little odds and ends, and move lightly through the world once again. 

I must have lived previous lives of great self-indulgence. I have some strange and disembodied guilt, shame, disgust about possessing giant wads of cash. 

As Andy Warhol said about sex, it’s so abstract. 

Yes, I imagine that great wealth grants a certain kind of freedom but it has a sickening power to pervert relationships between the haves and the have-nots. It becomes a necessity to swim with one’s own kind to avoid the unpleasant aspects of power imbalances — jealousy, envy, murderous intent. 

I have been able to observe a sort of muddy area from my worm’s-eye view. 

I was raised by my grandparents in what would be identified by sociologists as a working class environment. Though we had everything we needed, we were low men on the economic totem pole. I noticed, only occasionally, through accidental encounters with more lavish lifestyles. These were few and far between and the gap was fairly small. There are barriers in place to prevent crossover of from semi-poor world to exceptionally well-off  world. Moving between these worlds has been, traditionally and intentionally,  discouraged. 

If a young man/woman grows up with money and fails to follow the prescribed path to produce $ at the level of his/her elders he/she is in for a very rough transition from his/her privileged world to a less well-endowed reality. That is, if he/she believes that lots and lots of money is the goal of life. They are condemned to a sort of  limbo. Remembrance of all the comforts they had in youth stick with them, taunt them, as they live with less, as they fall just short of what once was theirs. 

It is no easier to make the transition from poor to well off. We’ve all heard the horror stories of  what happens to  big-cash lottery winners. The good news is when Oprah-rich you can hire gurus to guide you through your mass-cash discomfort. New age econo-gurus who will show you how to feel deserving. You can institute all sorts of helping agencies. You can encourage others to do so. You can arrive at the belief that every man/woman is responsible for their own economic enlargement. You can believe that you are helping the bedraggled to step a bit closer to wealth by exposing them to hucksters who will sell them “The Secret” on DVD for $35. There have been times for some of us when $35 was an impossible sum to raise for non-essential goods. 

Can we learn to be happy with something less than the dazzling candy mountain of goods paraded daily before our hungry consumer eye? I’m stuck right in the middle of the spider web. I love to make things. I can’t keep them all so I sell them on the interwebs. I contribute to the vicious cycle of wanting more than what we need. I’m trying to be my own guru. What a sloppy struggle. 

Maybe I’m incapable of paring down to essentials until I have no other choice. Lordy.

I Quit My Job

Posted in socialization with tags , , , on February 3, 2009 by darcyarts

Though my heart was pounding wildly and I felt that all the blood in my veins might evaporate in some mystical disintegration hoodoo, I kept shoving my things into my big black bag — my book of synonyms and antonyms, a map, tea bags, gum, suckers, a small mirror, tiny toy cars I’d found on the “free” table in the lunch room.

I’d already done the heavy removal the last time I was close to believing I couldn’t spend another minute trapped in a senseless power struggle with someone who knew nothing about me.

I tried in a number of ways to cure the bad blood but it only made things worse.

Yesterday, it became absolutely clear that my adversary, someone who prides themselves on their journalistic objectivity, is incapable of applying it in a managerial situation.

When I mention that they may not be seeing things clearly, they become extremely insulted, angry and in my opinion, irrational.

I think about it for a while, I feel the point of no return present itself. I say, uncle. Game over.

I refuse to sign the first “work improvement plan” because it is rife with prejudice and false portrayals.

“I’m not feeling well,” I say.

I sit the unsigned document and final mileage reimbursement sheet  on the desk and walk out the door.I don’t look back.

At my desk I leave my little string of fairy lights glowing — red, amber, green and blue. We are light.

I am truly sorry for the hardship this brings upon the workers who remain but most of them already know the ship is sinking. The smart ones are planning their escape route.

Sweet World

Posted in Art, dreams, etsy, socialization with tags , , , , on September 28, 2008 by darcyarts

Sunday morning here in America.

I woke early and turned on NPR. Listened to Liane Hanson do Weekend Edition. Not too exciting this morning.

In fact it was kind of depressing.

There was a story about an elderly woman nearly tricked into losing the home she had lived in for 20 years. The crooked real estate people nearly auctioned it off. They told her to hang on to the money she had raised instead of depositing it. Then they sold her home behind her back. Luckily she got a lawyer through AARP. Still, the best they could do is find her a reverse mortgage. that means she can stay in the house until she dies and then it belongs to someone else.

But here on Hamilton Street everything has been fine and fancy. The weather was beautiful this summer. Only the fires mucked things up. When the air cleared it was beautiful. The veggies are growing. The bugs are buggin’.

We’ve had homemade  pie, nachos with homegrown peppers, eggplant and rainbow carrots, big fat chickens in the pot and plenty of calls from the kids.

I still have a job and though it often appears that things are winding down there instead of transitioning to a new level I’m ready for the end.

I’ve checked into the rules about taking my retirement funds and looked at California’s laws on unemployment insurance for part-timers, you know, just in case, but I’m ready to roll with the punches and I feel good.

I bought an exercycle last week and rode it five miles first thing this morning. At least that’s what the display meter said. I think it’s a little off. It seemed to go so quickly.

I’m mailing off my grape starlight brooch to a gal in Georgia !

I’ve been making more of these and will post them soon on Etsy.

Check back for a preview in the next few days.

Another story on NPR this morning was about the increased economic hardship for Native Americans traveling to Pow Wows.It has become more difficult because of the increased cost of gas, lodging and the falling sales for crafters who sometimes sell at the gatherings.

Things have slowed down just a bit on Etsy but it’s still a community rich in appreciation, ideas and skill.

I saw the cutest print today. I wanted to buy it right away but I spent $ yesterday on books — Victor Bockris’ updated tome on Keith Richards and Dr. Brian Weiss’ book on soul mates.

MissBrigette is a native Santa Barbaran who attended Cal Arts and now lives in LA.

Isn’t this great? All her other stuff is cool, too. You should check her out on Etsy.

She has a unique style and I like her color palette.

Among my favorite items from other sellers is a really sweet crocheted baby hat. This knittinmama definately has an unfair advantage.

Look at that face!

Here is an Etsy seller AnnieDesign from Ireland.

These are such sweet things and they are hand made by real live people. If we have to choose very carefully from now on where to spend our few extra bucks, as if you hadn’t thought of this before, lets support each other, hand to hand, like back in the day.