Monday, April 09, 2007


Egad-it's been almost a month since I last posted. Beyond the usual minor emergencies and medical dramas, I've been bogged down in a swamp of house guests. Obviously I love my family and friends, but each additional person in a home brings their own unique package of inconvenience and needs. Multiply that by two or three and add it to an already packed household... you get the idea.

Indeed, I have fallen off the wagon in nearly all of my resolutions. Before the guests arrived, the little devil on my shoulder informed me that I couldn't possibly ask visitors to sleep on the well-worn linens and slightly flattened pillows that furnished my guest room. The first round of visitors were foodies, so it wouldn't be hospitable to serve them the boring round of tacos and pastas that we usually eat. The little angel that is supposed to sit on my other shoulder had a bad case of laryngitis, so I spent a frenzied day in a linen store that reeked of plastic and a series of exotic markets that smelled like seafood and foreign spices. Not exactly local and definitely not "buy-nothing," but, in my defense, it wasn't April yet.

It's amazing how the best intentions can be thwarted by public opinion and expectation. Culturally, I have been conditioned to believe that hospitality means providing the best possible experience for guests, which translates into yet more of the material excess I am trying to escape. I have also been programmed with a deep-seated need to please. If I asked relatives to sleep on faded sheets and fed them lentils, they would think I don't care about them. And is this the only situation in which over-consumption is socially demanded? Of course not.

So sayeth a woman with a closet full of designer purses and impractical shoes. I am beginning to realize that my six months of forced simplicity can be not just an economical statement, but a social one. If enough people turn off HGTV and buy a goat for a third world family instead of Ralph Lauren pillow cases, how would our world be changed? How would our shopping habits be affected if over-spending was as vilified as cheapness?

With a busy Easter season over and my home as peaceful as a house with children can be, I'm ready to reclaim my lifestyle. Here are a few of the websites that inspire me right now.

Find cheap, organic, and locally produced food in your area, wherever that may be.
Say no to the global glut and support your village at the same time.
Read how I keep my busy world revolving.