In Praise of Stuff

I was all up in the Kon Mari thing last year, but these are the questions I ask myself now about stuff:

• Would I buy this again today?

• If I threw this away, would I need to spend money I don’t have right now to replace it with something better?

For me, those are better decluttering questions than “Does this spark joy?” Because if you’re not going through a joyful period, but you’re feeling industrious, you can find yourself in an echoey room with no couch. I may not feel joyful about my couch, but I need to sit down, and I don’t have a spare thousand dollars in my account.

Yes. I’ll sometimes buy subpar things because I need them. Then I just tell myself “Well, if I find the perfect, most beautiful tablespoon measures later, ones that make me feel like dancing in the rain, and I can afford them, I’ll get those and give these to someone else. But tonight I am baking cookies.”

I don’t need less stuff to be happy. I just maybe need to mop more.

The Pussy Project

pussyprojectfriends

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks editing the interviews for Helena Price’s political series The Pussy Project. It’s fifty interviews with women who support Hillary Clinton’s bid for the presidency.

I’m so proud of the results, especially because the perfectionist in me was yelling “too fast! too fast!” while we worked. Here are excerpts from a few of my favorites, and links to each woman’s full interview:

lydiapussyproject

Lydia, 25
Software Engineer
Florida

“Hillary is being judged on the small number of mistakes she’s made gaining decades of experience, while her opponent is being judged on his potential despite no experience at all. It’s the same struggle women put up with every day. Our demonstrable experience is deemed less valuable than the unproven potential of a man.”

nadiapussyproject

Nadia, 31
Social Media Director
New York

“Because of this election, we’re talking about how we view women in power; we’re talking about the double standard; we’re talking about men interrupting women; we’re talking about so many problems that usually have a pink fence around them.”

artipussyproject
Arti, 35
Product Manager
Illinois

“I’ve served in the U.S. Army. I am a daughter of Indian immigrants. And I’ve been asked ‘what terrorist country are you from’ while walking down the street with my family.”

dianapussyproject
Diana, 30
Designer/Veteran
Texas

“I joined the Marines out of high school. I went to war. I voted to re-elect President Bush so he could “finish what he started.” That little bit of anger that started on 9/11 was a part of me now, and I wanted someone or something to pay.”

“Mr. Trump is one man with his views. I’m more concerned about his many supporters who have helped pave the way to his rise, particularly those who take his view of the world to the extreme.”

abbypussyproject
Abby, 25
Data Analyst
El Salvador/Utah

“My mom always had two or three jobs just to get me into a good school, and my dad worked from morning until night so that my brother could do sports in school, and I could be involved in after-school programs. Also so they could buy all the American Girl books I loved — I have always considered myself an American girl, I’ve never had another home-country.”

“Some of my earliest memories were with my parents, while they cleaned for businesses after they got home from their second or third jobs. I don’t believe they slept very much.”

More good interviews:

Evany
Alexandra
Darby
Emily
Michelle
Meghan
Rachel

If you’re having rough feelings about how things are going down politically, consider doing a little work toward the outcome you want to see. This project has made me feel better about this election than I have to this point.

Here’s to the first woman president of the United States of America.

Nasty Woman T-Shirts

The debate made me feel panicky and furious. And so we registered I’m With Nasty.

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We made Nasty Woman T-shirts,

nasty-cap

and Nasty Hats,

nasty-pin

and Such a Nasty Woman pins,

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and Make America Nasty pins (Michelle’s idea, because she’s a genius).

50% of profits go to the Hillary for America campaign. We’re paying rush fees to get them to you as soon as we can. Let’s fight this man who thinks no one respects women… more than him.

America, I’m with Nasty.

Duolingo

duolingo

If you’d like to learn another language in your (limited) downtime, the Duolingo app is incredible. It has quick, simple practice sessions that let you accumulate the basics fast. You can set it to how many minutes a day you want to practice, and it tells your percentage of fluency at the end of each practice session. It front loads the commonly used words and phrases, so I’m at 14 percent after only two weeks. So motivational and gamelike, try it!

(Thanks, Swissmiss!)

Today I Found Out

Do you read Today I Found Out?

I came across it when I was wondering why people can live in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the bombings there.

So much interesting stuff there. Like:

How astronauts used to secure “life insurance” before their missions.

The story of the Japanese soldier who fought WW-II for 29 years after Japan had surrendered, because he didn’t know.

The oldest bit of intact human feces is on display in England.

Having a nine-year-old boy in the family has intensified my enthusiasm for a good poop story.

Sidewalk Editorial Cartoon

In my recently gentrified neighborhood, a young, bearded white guy blocks the path. His stance is wide, his feet planted, phone affixed to his ear. He folds his arms.

At his back a blind black man approaches, tapping his cane. Hearing the other man’s voice, he pauses uncertainly, tries one direction, then the next, and finally inches around him.

The white guy never notices.