Saturday, July 30, 2011

Be Kind.

The Denton Women's Collective is growing, and I'm so grateful to be a part of this amazing group of ladies! We focused on two movements this month-

Visit www.operationbeautiful.com  to see this amazing website!

Operation Beautiful encourages us to leave post-it notes in random places, as a way to uplift a complete stranger. Ideal places are:
Gym Lockers
Inside Menus
Inside Brochures

I was eating lunch this week at a restaurant, and when I went to the restroom, I noticed the only framed image was an advertisement for liposuction. Beneath the framed image were brochures advertising "that body you've always wanted," so I had a great time placing these on the frame and inside each brochure. 

How ridiculous to advertise to women right after they eat?! What, we can't even enjoy a meal without feeling like we should have the fat sucked out?! 

Visit http://findingkind.indieflix.com to see what these girls are all about!
Finding Kind is a documentary/movement encouraging girls to be kind to other girls. The "bullying" problem has definitely escalated with technology (texting, Facebook, MySpace, etc.) and the way girls bully one another often inflicts more long-term damage than the way boys do. We have a tendency to be less physical and more manipulative. I must admit I was guilty of this a lot in high school! It is instinctual for girls to "size up" other women at school, work, etc., and start insulting them. We use names that put eachother down ("bitch," "whore," "ugly," "thunder thighs,") but get enraged if a man uses these names to insult us. What's the difference?! If we're going to demand respect from men, we must first demand it from OURSELVES. 

Always being kind is actually quite difficult. We don't have to like everybody, but we must be better at being KIND. My favorite quote from the documentary was:

"We can't all be beautiful, we can't all be smart, we can't all be talented. But if there's one thing we CAN all be...We can ALL BE KIND."

Our goal is to get this film to the kids in our area. Reach out to high schools and middle schools, and let girls know that the things we say have repercussions. 

If you are interested in joining our cause, come to the next meeting. You can ask to join the Facebook group, "Denton Women's Collective," or message me for details on the date/time of our next meeting. It feels great being a part of something larger than myself. We are growing as a collective, and I couldn't be more thrilled!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Meet Stella

I'm glad George and Frankie found this sweet wandering pup, and not a coyote, or a dog-catcher.

Estelline, TX, Population: 145. Yikes.

I've posted on Craig's List.

I went to the vet; no microchip.
Until we know more, this sweet homeless baby remains curled in my lap.

And she might just be our newest addition.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Life Well Lived...Vol. 3

In case you haven't seen my first or second posts, let me catch you up to speed. A girl who I have never met before named Kelsey came up with this great idea about ditching the bucket list and creating a list of things that have already made her life "well lived." My friend Rachel brought the idea to her blog, and inspired me to create a couple of my own. Instead of hoping for wishes that are not promised to us, we are focusing on accomplishments that have already blessed us.

This week, I have decided to break the rules slightly. Rather than mention why my life has been well lived...I'm going to bring to light another life that was incredibly inspirational. I never knew she existed, but Ann Vance Thurmond has inspired me everyday this week as I was engrossed in her book, "Yesterday's Butter."

Don't go looking for this book in stores. There are only 200 in existence. I currently have the 64th copy, which was given to my great-grandparents, Joe and Ina Thurmond, in 1984. She married my great-great-uncle. My father's mother is Patsy Thurmond-Van Meter. Her father's brother married Ann Vance. I found this book at my parents' house, while looking for old books to put in a birdcage I restored and decorated. By the way, to see a how-to-blog on making your own birdcage decor, click here.

Upon finding this book, I set it aside from the others, and thought I'd read it prior to putting it on display. What intrigued me, you might ask? The first page. The introduction.

Finally, to my great-grandchildren now and those to come in other generations who might like to know how people lived in my time.

She was born in 1894.

The book consists of short stories, and ends with poems and pictures. I was absolutely fascinated with her way of sharing her story. It was concise, frank, honest, and endearing. Her words put my life in perspective. She actually churned butter. She had to walk to fetch water to wash her hair. Her family's mode of transportation was horse-and-buggy. She describes many fascinating little stories, and I could honestly devote an entire blog to her book. I thought I'd focus on just a few of my favorites, to keep this post concise, and explain why I believe her life to be one that was well-lived.

An original poem expressing her love and admiration for sunsets. She viewed them as a gift from God, and they inspired her. I think we are all innately meant to feel this way, and technology and accessibility has easily distracted us from the simple pleasures in life.

One of her original poems. I'd love this framed in my home! What a great reminder. Applicable then, applicable now. 

Finally, I'd like to share a short story. This one is called "Flying With An Umbrella..."

As a child we would dry our fruit on top of the roof which also covered the porch area of our home. We would put a sheet on top of the roof at the porch section. We would slice the fruit and lay it on the sheet to dry in the sun.

It was my responsibility to put the fruit on the roof. I would climb a ladder to the top of the porch and either a brother or my sister would hand me the fruit to be dried. I would make my way over to the sheet, spread out the fruit, and then slowly climb back down the ladder.

One day I thought of an easy way to get down from the roof. "Why not try to fly?," I thought. I had an idea. I took the big black umbrella from the closet. This was a family umbrella used for rainy days. Slowly I climbed the ladder and stood near the edge of the porch roof. Then I made a big jump. However, my flight from roof to ground was very short and very disappointing since I quickly discovered that the umbrella turned completely inside out during this experiment. Once I landed on the ground I went to straightening the umbrella back so my parents wouldn't know what I had done. I knew they would think it was a foolish trick.

Ann Vance Thurmond lived to be in her nineties. I never met her, but feel like after reading this book, I am not a distant relative at all. I am so grateful for her story. She had a beautiful and happy childhood. She went to college. After paying off her debts, she married her "sweetheart," my great-great-uncle, and had three children. Looking at her family tree, I see she had eight great-grandchildren in 1984. I hope on some level, she knows that her life was one that inspired. 

Well done, Ann Vance Thurmond. Well Lived.

How To Make a Birdcage Beautiful.

I'd like to first thank Angelica, my deceased parakeet, for being such a great pet! 
My first pet (that was all my own), you were so much smarter and loving than the average parakeet. Your memory will live on! Thanks for the 9 years of memories!!!

Start with a birdcage-this one was from Canton, and housed my parakeet for 9 years. HOSE THIS DOWN AND SANITIZE! 

These are free paint samples. Pick out favorite colors to add a little "pop." 
Decoupage and Hot Glue.
Moss/Filler. These were leftover; I got these bags from Michael's for my butterfly costume at Eeyore's Birthday Party.

BOOKS! You can actually fill it with whatever you want, of course, but I was inspired by old books.

Hot-glue a piece of paper to the base of the birdcage. I also hot-glued the grass around the edge. There isn't a right or wrong way to do this, but I liked mine rather loose; I thought it appeared more natural and less forced.

I laced some filler through the bars, and didn't even need to use an adhesive. If edges pop up, you can use decoupage.

Try layering. I laced the light green moss, then put some tree-bark on top (with hot glue). 
I burned the edges of the paint samples to make them look less rigid.

Putting the books in required more arms than I have, so I wasn't able to take pictures. The tray in my cage slides in and out, so I slid it open about halfway, then with my right arm, put a book in, and through the open door with my left arm, posed them how I liked. Once I was done, I closed the tray. I topped the cage with a miniature bird's nest and robin-blue egg, because it matches my apartment! You could put anything on the cage to make it uniquely yours.

Finished project!

I put it on top of the record player, which is currently out of commission because it needs a new needle. I'd rather the record player work, but until then, I like the way it looks at least!!!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hipsters vs. Hippies...

Anybody remember the scene in Mean Girls showcasing the different tables/stereotypes in the cafeteria?

(I know this is not politically correct, but I find it hilarious)

"Jocks, Plastics, Cool Asians, Asian Nerds, Girls Who Eat Their Feelings, Girls Who Don't Eat At All..."
Photo credit: http://30.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_l6ca068EDk1qcb58yo1_500.png

Even after high school...even after college...labels continue to float around. In the past 5-10 years, a new sub-culture has emerged. Alas, the HIPSTER. I see the hipster as another fleeting trend, it is just what happens to be "hip" now. I think most people group "hipsters" and "hippies" into one category, but I  feel the need to CLARIFY between MY definitions of the two, and also explore my own self-identity.

I think of a "hipster" as fulfilling two key components-FASHION and APATHY. Now with those two coexisting, the FASHION element must be apathetic. For instance, ask any hipster, "Sweet Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shirt, where'd you get it?" and you KNOW you're going to hear, "Thrift World/City/Land." In other words, "Insult it all you want, I didn't pay anything for it!"I don't think I've ever heard a hipster admit to BEING a hipster, because by labeling oneself, the apathy component of being a hipster is sacrificed. 

The stereotypical fashion component?

Boy Hipster: Mustache. Skin tight jeans. V-neck graphic t-shirt. Multiple bracelets. Rides a bike. Smokes Native Spirit tobacco cigarettes. 

Girl Hipster: Long, unkept hair with feathers. Big sunglasses. Headbands (Hendrix style, but don't expect her to know any Jimi Hendrix songs). Long messenger-style purse. Skinny jeans with a top from Urban Outfitters. 

I actually really like the trends. I think most guys look great in v-neck shirts (skin tight jeans? not so much...). I love the headbands and sunglasses, and wear them often. 
(Sidenote: I wrote a post about my sense of style a while back, that you can read here.) 
The reason why I don't consider myself a "hipster" is because they are so apathetic! I'm entirely too passionate to identify with this counter-culture movement. 

Most hipsters don't vote...sure, they might (in their PBR-induced-drunken stupor) go on and on about how much "government sucks" and if they have any political leaning, it might be left, because it's "cool." But ask them issues. They won't have an opinion, because having an opinion makes one vulnerable to criticism of that opinion. Hipsters are too insecure to stand with an opinion that could be insulted. 

Hipsters typically aren't religious or spiritual. They're too cool to open up about deep topics, where their personal opinion could be insulted. Plus, the entire objective of the hipster is to NOT conform. Religious institutions typically preach a set dogma, and opposing opinions aren't usually welcomed (although, I attended a panel discussion at the FUMC in downtown Fort Worth, and found this congregation very open-minded in regard to evolution/creationism)

If you're at a show, you'll notice a hipster stands with their hands by their sides or crossed. Huge distinction between hippies and hipsters? Body stance at a concert. Hipsters are "too cool" for any performance, and standby as a boring observer. Hippies don't mind looking like an idiot, dancing around and singing along, and likely don't know how idiotic they look in the first place...

I think this article really sums up the evolution of the counter-culture movement. As author Sarah Jost says, "In the 1950s, the Beat Generation renounced a focus on material possessions and conformity in favor of a life of bohemian creativity and experimentation." In the mid-1960s, the Hippie Generation followed the way paved by the Beatniks. They, too, rejected materialism, and openly experimented with sexuality and drugs. The Beatniks looked to authors for inspiration, the hippies looked to music. THINK WOODSTOCK. Also, throw in the Vietnam War, and you have an automatic bond of people who oppose the war and support peace. Jost continues, "In the late 1970s, as the Vietnam War came to an end and the civil rights movement had seen its biggest victories, the Hippie culture began to give way to the Punks....Punks were anti-establishment and, in a shift from the Beats and Hippies, focused on the individual rather than community...aggressive music, moshing, and torn, harsh dress....AND NOW WE ARRIVE IN THE PRESENT (emphasis my own), and the Hipsters....Unlike previous generations, however, it seems as though Hipsters don't stand for, or against, anything at all..."

Well said, Ms. Jost. My biggest complaint of the hipster culture is the lack of passion, or DRIVE, to do anything! I admire the hippies, despite their sex-crazed and drug-induced lifestyles, for at least standing for something. And while I don't feel one label can describe my personality, I feel like the Gay-Rights movement in my generation is similar to the Civil-Rights movement of the Hippies in the mid 60's. Also, continuing in the Civil Rights movement, the first time I was able to vote for President, I worked diligently on the campaign. I marched, made phone calls, and attended meetings. Electing the first African-American president EVER is such an accomplishment for this nation, and I feel privileged to have had my opinions heard! Of course, one could also closely relate Vietnam to Iraq. Thankfully, my generation didn't get called to duty through a draft system, but I know many friends, and have family, who are STILL waiting for their loved ones to return from the middle east. Throw in awesome music festivals such as Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, and Austin City Limits, and I see why one would closely relate our generation to the hippies. I'm just saying I'd rather be related to a peace-pushing, music-loving, politically-active HIPPIE than a boring, apathetic, hipster.

Photo credit: Madatons.com!

Poking fun. I don't think Hipsters really turn into Hippies. And I don't think all hippies look like this ridiculous stick figure. Hippies typically at least value education (contrary to the apathetic hipster, who thinks they are just too cool for school), and pursue their passions. Hippies are doctors, lawyers, and business executives. Nurses and teachers. Moms.
Photo credit: http://www.geeksaresexy.net/2010/05/07/apple-hipsters-beware-from-hipster-to-hippie-in-6-steps/

And now, a couple personal hipster rants-

(1) I think the feathers are REALLY cute. I do. I even considered getting them put in my hair!!! But I have a friend who has her cosmetology license, and can buy things wholesale. These feathers have been backordered for MONTHS. And to catch up with the recent trend, roosters have to pay the price. I don't judge someone who wears the feathers-they probably didn't even think about it-but being vegetarian, I think wearing rooster's feathers just to look cute would be a little ironic. 
(Read the article from the NY Times here)

(2) The Native American headdress is a cultural and beautiful item.

On Native Americans.

I've been to the Osage dances, with my boyfriend and his family, and have seen actual Native American clothing. My friend, Whitney, had a full-ride to the University of Oklahoma because of her Hochunk descent. On a runway, in a photoshoot, or at a costume party, the headdress can be worn by anybody without my sneering remarks. But at a music festival? Regular house party? To the grocery store??? On a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, Caucasian nonetheless? Please. I'm probably going to stare at you. I'm not trying to be mean-you're asking for it. CULTURAL SENSITIVITY, people. Again, with the apathy. Hipsters can wear a headdress and not think, nor care, about the way pioneers treated (and the way Americans STILL treat) the group of people that was here FIRST. Trail of Tears? Anybody?...

Photo Credit: http://urchinmovement.com/2010/05/05/hippies-v-hipsters-the-generation-the-revolution-died/ 
In summation, I think there is a desire for a lot of people to counter the culture. To go against the norm. What I find ironic, is that the recent "hipster" culture is a trend. I've heard many people say "hipster" and "hippie" are interchangeable terms, and I don't find that to be the case. I also don't think of myself as either of these terms, nor do I consider myself a "prep" or a "jock." I'm just a 24 year-old registered nurse. I happen to have a free-spirit. I love my family. I'm in love with my boyfriend. I love music (ranging from folk to rock, R&B to rap, classical to jazz, and even...GASP, indie rock! But I'm not a hipster, I promise). I am interested in photography, politics, and spirituality. I love and defend animals. Above all, I'm a peaceful and PASSIONATE human being! I don't partake in the drug or sexual experimentation (hence why I'm able to sit in front of a Mac and blog for a few hours...), so I don't like the label "hippie" which limits all that I can be. I'm LINDSAY.ELISE.VAN METER. And I'm changing, slightly, everyday, to become a better version of that girl.


*You can hear other viewpoints on hipsters/hippies on this Facebook site.

*My friend wrote a post in May after being called a "hippy" in a derogatory tone...and you really ought to read it here: WHEN RACHEL GOT CALLED OUT.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Casey Anthony...

In the words of prosecuting attorney Jeff Ashton, "It actually got weird at times...like a sporting event, with people on teams..."

Are you Team Guilty or Team Innocent-Until-Proven-Guilty-Without-A-Reasonable-Doubt?

At the end of the day, an INNOCENT-WITHOUT-QUESTION little 2 year old girl is dead. And no "Guilty" verdict would have changed that daunting reality.

It's all anybody can talk about today-"Can you BELIEVE that verdict??" I can't help but stay glued to the TV as more details unfold. It's really quite sad how famous this case has become-and what will be the most sad is if Casey Anthony ends up making her living by promoting her image and name, because the media made her a famous villain we all love to hate. I can see it now...

A Book Deal....$500,000.
Lifetime Movie.....$250,000.
ENDLESS Interview Opportunities.....$1 million in licensing agreements

I will say this before Casey Anthony walks free tomorrow (and I'll be shocked if she doesn't...). If a mother were to lose her child-whether she murdered her or NOT-she would want to put this trial behind her and move forward. These past 3 years, if she is innocent, would have been a living hell. As if the monstrosity of losing your child to an early death isn't enough...to be accused of murder simultaneously would be an absolute atrocity. If she makes so much as a dollar profit as a result of our twisted desire to watch her family drama unfold, then both she and the buyer or subscriber are to blame. That means if the book comes out...or a movie is playing on TV or the theaters....I will not read it, watch it, subscribe to it whatsoever. I wish I weren't already as interested in the news coverage-but at least, to my knowledge, their ratings are all that are going up, and not Casey Anthony's checkbook.

The prosecuting team, and all the fans who cheered for Ashton for the past three years, all felt inclined to ensure JUSTICE BE SERVED. It's not right for Caylee to have been killed, so the woman who killed her must die as well. This stance makes me question the death penalty altogether rather than the actual verdict, and pundits say the jury might have ruled the way they did because of the death penalty. Isn't that counter-productive?? What if the prosecutor had gone for a lesser offense than first-degree murder? When a juror returns to normal life, they have to then live with the decision of murder. From the beginning, the prosecution team took this stance, and so they picked a jury of 12 people rather than 6 people. All it takes is ONE PERSON to say, "No way," and she is not guilty. It's harder to get all 12 people on the same page..."EXECUTE HER..." than it is 6 people, and had the prosecuting team gone for life-behind-bars, I think they could have gotten it.

Do I think Casey Anthony killed her daughter? Yes.

I'm able to separate my emotions (though only for about 3 seconds before feeling tears well up in my eyes imagining the look of terror Caylee probably had on her face) and say that I acknowledge this case was lacking evidence that was sufficient for the DEATH PENALTY.

Furthermore, I realize that taking on a stance of protecting Caylee does not necessarily mean you have to think Casey Anthony deserved the death penalty. On the other hand, those who feel the jury made the right decision ought not parade around with joy and enthusiasm, let us remember...the girl is dead. There is no joy in that. Nobody, including the defense team, "won." I was disappointed in the public celebration by the defense team of lawyers in a glass window, toasting champagne.

I've seen and heard very harsh stances on either side of this case...it seems to be divided and the Prosecuting Team is also known as Team: Justice for Caylee. The opposition, of course, is Team: That Is Our System, and argue that if there is not hard evidence, you simply cannot make the decision to end somebody's life. What I wish more people would realize...neither stance, despite however righteous you might feel, is going to do a bit of good. The only way any good can come of this, is if a law is passed preventing this from happening in the future.

Whether you think she did it or not...or whether you think she deserved the death penalty or if justice was served...we all know Casey Anthony was not the best mother. Of all the proven facts, the worst is that she knew her daughter was missing for 30 days, and did not alert authorities. If Caylee's Law passes, that omission of information will become a felony. The jury would most certainly have convicted Casey Anthony for this at least, instead of letting her walk free tomorrow. I'm honestly shocked this is not already a law. I always take the defense of the defenseless-animals, children, people with disabilities...it is our duty to protect them, and executing Casey Anthony does not protect anybody. Urging your representatives to pass this law will.

In the meanwhile, I have dedicated time to praying for Caylee, this family, and all families that deal with this amount of heartache and despair everyday without the media attention...and I selfishly pray it will never happen to me.

Do What You Can To Prevent This From Happening Again.

Photo Credits: WestOrlandoNews.com (edited in Picnik.com)