What I Am Grateful For, Shifting Values & Supporting Locally Made Goods

It's been an interesting Thanksgiving holiday this year.   Sometimes things don't go as planned.  And sometimes they do, but we have a change of heart.

What I Am Grateful For,  Shifting Values, and Supporting Locally Made Goods

We arrived ~ by total fluke ~ to our clinic on Sunday, only to find it completely flooded, nearly one inch of water covering the entire floor.  Wish I had taken more pictures.

I didn't think to take more pictures, as we were busy sweeping out the water that was gushing out from
the water heater, faster than we could sweep at one point.

Our water heater had busted over the weekend, probably on Saturday.  I had planned on getting laundry done and out of the way Thursday morning, or at least by Friday of our four-day holiday respite.  It never happened.  By Sunday, we pretty much had to do it, but did not have enough quarters.  We had wanted to take a soak in the hot tub first thing that morning.  The pool was technically supposed to be open, but it wasn't, so we decided to walk to our clinic first, then come home, start the laundry, soak, then have some of Don's homemade yogurt.

Nice and thick and creamy!

Nice plan.  Didn't quite happen that way tho.

Instead, we got home five hours later, after having had to sweep out the deluge of water, and move all of our furnishings out into another suite.  Thankfully, there was another suite available that the landlord uses for storage where we could put our furnishings!

The net result of our little hot water heater burst was a couple of seriously pooped people.  We did manage to soak in the hot tub that evening, but rather than relax, our day was spent laboring.

So what am I grateful for?

  • I feel very grateful we have the landlord we have.  We couldn't ask for better people.  Amy and her husband helped the entire time, and while it is their building, many landlords may not have been so nice and helpful.  
  • I am grateful we had access to another suite in the building to store our furnishings, as having to get a truck to load and store it for a few days would have been a lot more work, hassle, and expense!
  • I am grateful for the neighboring tenants who also helped quite a bit.  
  • I am thankful we didn't do our laundry on the day I had planned in my mind, and that we didn't have the quarters needed, for we would have missed catching this flood.  
  • I am grateful for Service Pro who work 24/7, and really are professional, reliable folks who are good at wha they do.  
  • I am grateful for the hot tub that we finally managed to soak in by the evening time.  We originally planned to take a nice short walk to our clinic that morning, get quarters, start the laundry, eat some of Don's homemade yogurt, and soak.  I suppose, thankfully, the pool wasn't opened at 8:00 AM as it is supposed to be, or we would have done that first, delaying getting to our clinic to catch the flood.
  • I am grateful to all the local farmers and families who are taking to creating homesteads, permaculture, and grazing animals, as it used to be, to provide better quality food for their own families, and possibly their local communities.  A direction we dream of heading towards ourselves.

Shifting Values

Earlier in the weekend, on Friday morning I had some spontaneous whim come over me to rush off to Cost Plus World Market.  I had not been there in ages.  The specials outlined on their flyer intrigued me.  Lots of buy one get one free items, which I thought could make good Christmas gifts.  Free nice tote and $10 gift certificate to the first one hundred.  (Like I would have been the first one hundred, having slept in later than their special opening time!) However, my initial excitement of spontaneously heading out on a beautiful morning to shop on Black Friday, something I never do, quickly wore off, and was replaced with a subtle growing feeling of cognitive dissonance.

I used to find these 'things' from other countries to be so 'exotic' or appealing.   Lately, however, I've sought to find items made locally, or that represent our American and European heritage.

Ever wonder why we rarely see  European made goods proudly displayed, other than here or there.  Swiss watches (at one time) or chocolate, Italian olive oil or pastas.  Maybe French inspired croissants or pastries.  I did find a pair of little painted wooden Dutch shoes at Goodwill recently.  I grabbed them, just because!  I had visited Amsterdam when I was 16 and had bought a pair as a souvenir back then, but no longer had them.

Even the cool carved Germanic looking nutcrackers ~ another of my cherished childhood possessions that I no longer had ~ World Market was selling were made in China, not in Europe where they originated.

Made in China.  Everything is made in China.

After spending an hour looking around, I grabbed a couple ornaments, a pine-cedar scented candle, and raced home.  I missed my hubby, and wondered why I ran off so fast before we could plan our weekend together, leaving him behind to the yogurt pictured above.

My Angel of Abundance appears to be holding out the shiny, colorful ornament for me!
(Just having here until it has a proper place.)

Love this guy, he's so cute.

Love the pine scent this time of year.  Getting harder to find.  So many other
scents, much of which is super sweet or floral.

I find myself attracted to sparkly, colorful, things, especially those made with natural materials, like wood, glass, crystals, ceramic, and metals.  I usually wait to pick up gifts when I'm at an art fair, or at a store that showcases local talent.  In lieu of that, I thought I'd check out World Market, until my earlier attractions began to clash with my newer values.  After all, it is WORLD Market.  A store filled with goods made pretty much everywhere but here.  (Well, there are some European made food items.)  Why didn't I think of that before I ran out that morning, with some strange hope of being among the first one hundred to receive a pretty tote bag, and $10 gift certificate, two hours after they had opened?

Speaking of sparkly, we did go out to see the tree lighting at #Scottsdazzle on Saturday.

The reflection below the ornament, pictured below.

I believe that where I choose to spend my dollar is the greatest source of voting power I own.  I recently have been feeling adverse to buying anything made in China.   Nothing against the Chinese.  I just have a value of supporting local and regionally made goods, minimizing unnecessary consumption of resources (like 'cheap' oil) and pollution from transport.  I also prefer to support American craftsmanship when able, though I am increasingly realizing that this is challenging.

Everything is made in China, Viet Nam, or thereabouts.

We really have lost a lot of what America once was over the last decades by farming out all of our manufacturing (and farming!).  What are we as a nation proud of producing these days?  At least the Amish are known for their excellent craftsmanship and customer service!

While driving home from World Market, I realized that I went there more to satisfy my younger self's needs to be in that environment ~ happy shoppers, fun Christmas music, lots of candles to sniff, sparkly ornaments to look at, and a sample of Christmas tea ~ while the adult me ended up feeling more conflicted.  Are we all buying things unconsciously, without paying attention to the greater consequences of our choices?  Are we buying because some outside, subliminal force compels us to buy, buy, buy?   Or, perhaps, we shop and bring home sparkly things to (temporarily) fill a void?  Are we aligning our choices with our values?

I looked at their various altar statuary.  Lots of Tibetan or Buddhist deities.  Made in India, made in China stuff.  I used to be so drawn to these items.  Suddenly, I realize that my values have changed.  I admittedly always aligned with some of the Eastern spiritual beliefs, as I did not resonate with what I saw as the spiritual, or rather religious practices of the West.  I resonated with certain aspects, certain holidays, but was never into the dogma, nor much of a church-goer, as I was raised not to be. However, I did always miss not being part of some greater family, tribe, or spiritual group.  I never met my maternal grandparents, and had little contact with my paternal grandparents, or cousins.   My couple of favorite uncles passed away while I was young.  And, I see now how the prevailing ideologies of the day caused me (probably most of us) to shun that which I (and perhaps many of us) were/are most missing.

I've more recently been  learning  that our pre-Christian European people's had quite a spiritual, earth-centered approach to living ~ something I innately resonate with.   I no longer look to the East to find my answers.  I certainly never did feel compelled to trapse across the globe, and go stay in a densely populated, polluted city of India at some Ashram to 'find' myself'.  Never felt compelled to take some epic Eat Pray Love adventure to fill a void, and find meaning.

While I did read many books over the years, and have a little bit of Taoism, Buddhism, and have a degree in Chinese medicine,  I have been looking more recently right under my own nose,  to better understand the beliefs and practices of our collective European ancestors.  Our  European ancestry shares similar roots, origins, and a similarly rich cultural and spiritual heritage to the Eastern traditions, yet very few are aware of this.  We seem to be purposefully in the dark about all things European. Yet the architecture, music, dance, art, connection to the land, seasons, Nature's rhythms, and understanding of our own creation, birth, the tree of knowledge, and so much symbolism and meaning is all by and large hidden from our awareness, yet pre-dates Christianity.  We are talking old.

Most people have no idea what all the symbolism and origins of Christmas (or rather the Yuletide) mean.  Every color ~ all that sparkly red, gold, green, and white that is prevalent this time of year ~  and every detail including leaving cookies for Santa harkens from pre-Christian times.  For years I couldn't wait for Christmas to be over, and really mostly celebrated Thanksgiving.  Now I just want to be surrounded by the smells, colors, and sounds  as the awareness of the symbolism helps it to all be more meaningful, not just commercial.

I am currently challenging myself to avoid ~ as much as possible ~ imported items, and foreign ideologies.   I may feel powerless to change much in the world, yet I can still feel better about my personal choices.  By and large, I prefer to support what is locally or regionally produced, as I think that best supports our local and greater economies, while building national pride, and helping American workers.  I'm not against enjoying and collecting art or furnishings from other countries, however, it is about having a consciousness about the impact of each of our choices.

Admittedly, it can be a challenge when something you need is offered at the best price from a made in China factory.  So, I am willing to choose wisely just those items I know I really want and need, and spend a little more if able to find a descent quality alternative made in America, or possibly made in one of the European countries of my own ancestral heritage.  Just sharing my preference, not necessarily something I expect others to desire as well.

Moral of this holiday weekend story?  Holidays can bring up a lot of emotions, despite extra unplanned challenges.  I often miss having extended family nearby.  I miss being part of a greater community or tribe of like-minded folks who are all there to look out after each other.  The flood gave me a few hours of experiencing how people quite naturally come together to lend a hand when able.

It's important in life to have some sort of compass, or guidance system to help with decision making.

Right now, I'm choosing to purchase as much as I can locally and support our own workers, farmers, and craftsman ~ as feasible.  This has caused me to take notice of many things I could easily ignore, or deny to avoid being inconvenienced.

If we want to be really free, it's important to leave no stones unturned, and be very aware of our intentions and motives behind our actions.  Do our choices align with our values, or not?

Despite what our many parts may feel, there is much to be grateful for.  We can trust everything will get worked out, one way or another.  Meanwhile, we can enjoy the (hodgepodge) remains of our holiday meal, pictured below.

Using up some previously boiled eggs.  Made the Mayo recipe that is from Neanderthal, and also
reprinted in The Trust Your True Nature Low-Carb Diet Plan to make Deviled Eggs.

Last of the turkey in some bone broth from the turkey carcass that simmered for two days.

Turkey Soup, Ginger Turmeric Butternut Soup, Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie on Almond Crust, and some ham.

Made some fresh whipping cream.  Yum!

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