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Get Excited And Make Things

I put the book Radical Homemakers on hold at my local library in the summer.  I picked it up a couple days ago.  That's how popular this book is in Portland.

I can see why it's popular.  I've finished the "theory" section of the book and I just started reading the "practice" section.  It's a good read.  It's a seductive read.  Hayes tends towards the virulently anti-corporate, but she also makes a series of very sound points.  More money does not equal more happiness.  Getting rich doesn't matter if we suffer from time poverty.  The things that consistently make human beings happy, like good friendships, relationships, family, and the freedom to pursue our own creative pursuits, suffer and disappear in the face of a sixty-hour work week.

I currently work 15-20 hours a week if you include the time spent prepping for class.  Here are some things that make me happy: dinner with friends, library books, bike rides.  These things don't cost very much.

Hayes also helped articulate why I feel calm and empowered when I'm standing over a pot of beans over the stove.  I don't feel like a drudge.  I'm making something for myself and the people around me.  I'm doing something for myself instead of having to pay someone to do it for me.  Yeah, I think cooking and cleaning can be a feminist act.  I think anything that makes me self-reliant and happy is a feminist act. 

I had the day off yesterday.  I'd worked a 6-hour tutoring shift, no breaks, the day before and I was bone tired.  My job can be exhilarating and rewarding at times, but it's not quite right for me.  I want to teach people how to read books, not how to take tests.

How would I rather spend my time?  Working for two weeks and spending my whole paycheck on a beautiful table from CB2, or taking a two-week carpentry workshop and learning how to build my own beautiful tables?  Spending an hour at work in order to earn the money to buy a 8-dollar bag of organic granola, or spending an hour at home making granola from scratch?

I spent most of my day reading Radical Homemakers and drinking tea.  I made granola with rolled oats, olive oil, honey, pecans, apricots, cinnamon, and kosher salt.  I made a big container of kale and basil pesto that will last me a good two weeks on pasta.  I checked off one of my chores on the house chore wheel.  And I felt pretty damn good about myself.

I'm definitely looking forward to to WWOOFing this summer.  It's time to expand my skills.

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January 2011
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