March 31, 2009

not so simple

I've had a subscription to Real Simple magazine for over a year now, and I really like it. It's probably aimed at a demographic 10 years ahead of me, so a lot of the articles have to do with time management or children or quick family meals... but I like the look of the magazine, the creative uses for ordinary objects they come up with, and the creative pieces and essays that guest writers contribute.

Recently, though, the magazine didn't exactly live up to its title. This is the corner of the front cover:

....and, I expected something somewhat predictable: 2. plant a tree, 11. give someone a hug, 26. write a note to someone who wouldn't expect it, etc. etc. But here's an example:

It was a list of stuff you can purchase for under $20.

Cute, yes.

...but joyful? Are you serious? Crap to waste your money on that will yield maybe 10 minutes' worth of entertainment, and then what? How long is this brand of "joy" supposed to last?

It amazes me that, even in the midst of circumstances that SCREAM "money is not everything, money is transient, money does not make us whole", publications like this one still turn to it as a source of comfort and happiness, and recommend it to the rest of us. If you're down, spending UNDER $20 will pick you up! Simple as that! How did I miss it?!?!?!

Maybe if I had received this particular issue on a different day, it would have flipped by me unnoticed. But lately I've become acutely aware of just how much the world of retail is not for me. I could go as far as to say I'm morally against it, but that might be too strong. I just have so many misgivings in a typical day at work... the push to encourage people to sign up for credit cards (more debt is a super idea!); the push to get people to buy just $1.50 more ($1.50 worth of stuff you don't need!); the push to get people to spend money in general, in a time when most of us could use a reassessment of what we spend our money on.

Most days I don't think about it in such broad terms. Most days it's just a job. But every once in a while, when I read memos or emails or hear about sales updates, something inside me recoils. And I just know that very little of what I'm supposed to pursue reflects Jesus. We're supposed to be friendly and gracious with people, but only with ulterior motives. We're supposed to be helpful and patient, but only in the interest of milking every dollar we can in the moment. I'm growing more and more disillusioned even as I type the words.

But at least I have a job, right?

March 27, 2009

"The bounce has gone from his bungee."

Ohhhhh, I need to get to London for this exhibit.... like, now. The Wallace & Gromit short films and the one full-length one are witty, absorbing, and charmingly English- one of those series that translate both at a kid level and an adult one. "The Wrong Trousers" is my favorite of the shorts.

March 25, 2009

if you find yourself in Estes Park

too late for snow and too early for summer sun, then check out the Stanley Hotel (over 100 years old and the inspiration for Stephen King's The Shining)

check out the wandering (and not shy) elk,

and maybe some deer taking a nap in someone's back yard,
then try to take a stroll through town, lose all feeling in your extremeties because of the chilly wind, stop for some coffee (no visuals, sorry), and find somewhere cozy for dinner.
this is good.

find our dollar bill stapled to the wall in the bar-

only one of 16,000. good luck.

drive back home.

the end.

March 21, 2009

mind game that is hiking

Yesterday we got all ambitious and set out on a 6 mile hike in the Fort Collins area. We both had the day off and wanted to prove we are the kind of people who are interesting and active and do things.

The problem with hiking is this: I think I like it. At least, most of the time I think I do, which is how we found ourselves crawling over rocks, sweating through three layers of clothing, and gasping like drowning people.

Why does hiking always sound so great? And how do I repeatedly forget the experience and fall into the same trap over and over? In the moment, it just feels like some sort of hellish punishment with no end. And this particular trail had enough obstacles involved that there was no pausing to take in the scenery for fear of tripping, unless forced to pause because of the crippling burning in the leg/chest area.

I will say this: the hike had a lovely view at the end going for it. It also had a downhill return trip going for it. Which is, I think, how hiking works its voodoo on me. When my lasting impression is eating lunch on a rocky cliff looking over the hills and eastern plains, followed by a speedy and almost effortless (although ankle-crunching) descent, by the time we get to the car I'm all, "I'm so glad we did that! We are so outdoorsy! I'm not in pain, I just have the pleasantly tired feeling like I spent a long day at the beach!"

Fortunately, we made the wise plan to pay a visit to the New Belgium brewery afterwards, and although it was insanely crowded, and we looked and smelled like a pair of ragamuffins, sampling cold free beer was a perfect bookend to the day. And I will most likely go hiking again.

(I did take pictures, but on my regular old camera, so the film isn't developed yet. Sorry.)

March 13, 2009

Conclusion: I don't see my family enough.

I know, I wouldn't feel this way if we lived in the same neighborhood and could walk to each others' houses... and we even talked about this fact. But my dad's side of the family is so spread out, I really don't know them very well individually- just what I hear in terms of updates through the oldest living generation.

But we had ourselves a wedding this past weekend (much preferred to a funeral) and I loved all 48 hours of it. Even if we were full-on introverts/wallflowers pretty much the whole time.

hey, it's pops...

and robyn and her fabulous glasses...

and uncle ted and jeffrey...

and aunt pat explaining something hilarious...

and aunt peg reciprocating...

...and just today, back home, my hubs and the dog.

water baby.

March 9, 2009

creeping up...

I may alienate most of my friends with this statement, but: 30 Rock is much funnier than The Office these days, and at this moment, it is my favorite. The best lines sometimes sneak by quickly, and after watching most of the show up until now, everything that comes out of Tracy Morgan's mouth is hilarious. I suppose it takes a few tries to get a taste for it, but I still think each episode can stand alone.

(helpful info: Tina Fey's character desperately wants a child. She also loves to eat.)

p.s. is one marvelous website. it's where we watch the current week's Office or Rock if we missed it on tv. because we have rabbit ears. because we are amish.