Thursday, July 02, 2009

The sky... this is one thing I will miss about living here. Not that this particular photo is award-winning, but the sky here tends to be quite outspoken. During the summer, the sunsets last for hours. The winters have very abrupt, very magnificent sunsets and sunrises. In the winter I find joy in watching the sunrise from the bus stop on my way to work. In the summer, the closest we see to a sunrise is the dusk after the official sunset. Clouds. The clouds stretch, reach out, exist, and when they aren't dominating the sky, they showcase lovely light and colour. I will miss Scotland's sky.

Tonight I went to a friend's birthday night out, came home pretty early, and sat on the hospital's ledge at the corner of our street, watching the sky change colours. Joel is at a gig, so I had the luxury of independence and loneliness. Who can feel lonely when watching such beauty? (no offiense to Joel's company!) While I was sitting quietly, an old Scottish woman walked by and started talking to me (as they so often do). She told me she was going to pick some grass for her cat, that it helped her stomach, and went on to tell me about how she so would love to let her cat outside, but the Cat Protection said there was too much traffic. So she settles for bringing her cat grass. The woman told me she often gets grass from Bearsden (just outside of Glasgow), that's how spoiled she is! I love these people who share their life stories for no apparent reason. I will miss that too.
This is Joel, with the rhubarb cake I made on his lap. I don't want to gloat over the fact that he's slowly beginning to like rhubarb, I really just want to show how sacrificial his love is, to be prepared to like rhubarb, for my sake. This is truly a wonderful man, folks. Seriously, have any of your partners been prepared to give up a lifelong adamant detestation of such an assertive food?

Okay, now let's address the matter at hand: The Biggest Kitchen Table discussion. Today is on Living Deliberately, and Money.

Living Deliberately: This is about living with intention, having your life goals in mind in your everyday actions. It is a departure from living for the moment. For me, I first began thinking about this and practicing it in high school. My close friend who acted as a spiritual and personal mentor to me, Lori, taught me about what it means to live intentionally, and caused me to really meditate on this. I believe we do fairly well at this. It is about a balance - not living fully in the future, but living the present while thinking about and preparing for the future. My goals are varied, alive, and I like to think simple. I want to grow my own vegetables - I've started that this year, with windowpots full of spinach and tomato plants. Just a small step, but a step nonetheless. It helps me learn some things slowly, and hopefully in the future I'll have access to some real dirt to grow things in.

Money: Joel and I do well managing our money, out of necessity, and a conviction that 'your money is where your heart is'. We have been given hard lessons to learn in our married life, centred about being dependent and accepting help from others. I hope this prepares us for a future in which we are able to help others in the same way.

We're very careful with our money, and apart from bills like rent and electricity, and my student loan payments, the only thing we really spend money on is food. Food is an area we would like to spend less money on, by making more things ourselves, and growing things ourselves. The spinach has been a success. The main hindrance to making more things homemade is the time factor. As we both essentially work full time, it is difficult to live up to our aspirations We often experiment with this; we were making our own bread for a time earlier in the spring; Joel has made yogurt on occassion; we were in the habit of a weekly from-scratch pizza night.. but when things get busy, these things fall away and we end up buying bread. In that case, we buy nice bread - we tend to buy Polish bread that doesn't have any preservatives - but of course buying things is more expensive, and often not as good quality, as homemade. Both of us look forward to a time when Joel is working, and hopefully I'll have a bit mroe time in the home to do things like this. Food is very important to me (you may have notices). So I look forward to tomorrow when Rhonda looks at the food issue.
Our money goals are essentially: -to eliminate debt (all of the student loan nature) -to have a savings account

I hope this isn't too much information, I know we don't usually share so much on the blog. Anyone have any thoughts about any of this?


Anonymous said...

Your food photos are rubbing off on me! Tonight, I photographed the salad greens I harvested from our garden. Colors: reds, dark green, bright green, freckled, white stems. Textures: thick, thin, lacy, curly, smooth. Shapes: long, round, jagged, trident-shaped. Not to mention the variety of flavors!

There is such a difference in the flavors of home-grown salad greens. I'm getting spoiled by summer.

Mom Shaver

t said...

The idea of a no-spending week isn't too bad -- this life we're living doesn't come with much in the way of leftover monies, so once we get things like milk and fresh produce and such, it's easy enough to go a week without the store. We budgeted before we left home for the odd visit and paying student loans, but try to make do with everything else -- visiting the greengrocer twice a week, buying up whatever is on sale, and planning ahead to when we can afford thing... Which is why our flat has... no couches or chairs. Yet. We figure we'll be able to afford those by September.

We do make all of our own bread, and occasionally pasta, and we like to cook. It would be nice to grow our own veg here, but the plant boxes and lights have to wait until after the couch. :) (It will be interesting to have the food discussion; we probably way overspend there, but...)

How much of this is deliberate? And how much of it is basic broke-ness? Hard to tell. One deliberate choice has been to not get a TV. Renting an empty flat has meant that we've had to fill it from the ground up, and neither of us want to spend the money on TV. We have decent computers and can watch old cartoons downloaded from the internet for free -- and we find it means we may sit and do hand-crafts like knitting less often, but it does help in terms of having more impetus to write. When the winter comes again, we'll see how that goes; it may turn out we need some distraction against the early darkness.

It's tricky, living deliberately, not looking too far ahead and counting on what isn't, yet, while still ...kind of planning. Our goals are to pay off student loans, too -- keep chipping away at them -- and to be open to wherever we're meant to land after being here, and living basically the same as we've learned to live here, in whatever economy. To us, that's the more difficult proposition. To live simply in a place of plenty...

DaviMack said...

Living simply ... is actually an interesting thing. As we've moved so much, each time has been an occasion for us to say that we don't need a few things. The big purge of things was the move from the US to Glasgow, and we're now in our 3rd flat in Glasgow, in just 2 years, and each time has meant simplifying, cutting down, giving away. It's ... strange, really. It lets you know who you really are, rather than letting your things tell you who you are. The important things become truly important: the vases that we own are the 2 truly beautiful ones; the dishes are the ones we'll actually use, or that we love.

That said, though, it comes of necessity, and there's been a lot of cutting down which has been painful. Baking your own bread? Yeah, we bake our own ... but that's about all the baking we do any more. We've got a food blog, and most of what goes on there is simply ... food. Not celebratory food, not exotic food, just ... ordinary food. If anything gets posted at all.

It's part of the price of living these lives, I suppose: things get cut out, winnowed away.

jeremy and lenore diviney said...

Boy do I understand about the money goals. essentially starting your own company, and having two children in sixe years of marriage with one income has been interesting. you wouldn't believe what we paid in taxes this year. I share your goal and will pray for that day when we can both give back to those who are generous to us and to anyone else God calls us to throw money at! hah! blessing on you for sharing and now you know you are not alone. = ) on the food end, I am happy to buy food though I do hope to be more responsible about it. let's just say Jeremy does not share my views on attempting frugalness in the kitchen and would happily eat out every meal I think. ah well, we are all works in progress and if Joel can begin liking rhubarb then I am confident Jeremy can learn to eat in and inexpensively. fingers crossed. . .