Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Regarding Caitlyn Jenner

I normally give exactly 0 shits about any member of the Kardashian Clan, but I I have spent the last two days shaking my head at what I've been reading.

"Bruce 'Caitlyn' Jenner is no hero.  The real heroes are cops/soldiers/firefighters/etc."

I feel what she has done takes a certain amount of bravery, and certainly makes her a hero to those in this world who still feel the need to hide what they feel inside for fear of scorn or ridicule.

The amount of hateful, ignorant bigotry I have see from friends and (thankfully distant) family members on my Facebook page has made me disgusted and angry. I hope that those of you that follow me here are more open minded and loving of your fellow humans.

While I personally do not understand what it means to be a trans-gendered individual, and everything that it entails, I have the compassion to understand the struggle it must entail. I do not live it, but I empathize with it. I do know what it is to be different, to be misunderstood, not to feel as though you fit in, to feel wrong, and not know why.

For a long time, I was living my life the wrong way, taking my anger and my feelings of impotence out on other people.

I know what that did to me inside, and I know how free I finally felt when I figured out what my path in life was.

I imagine still feeling like that, and then having a loud vocal chunk of society telling me I was a freak, I was an abomination, I was disgusting and throwing various other slurs at me while I tried to find my footing. Then I imagine someone famous coming out and saying "Hey, I have the same problem. I'm navigating my way through it just like you."

That person would be a hero to me.

Perhaps you have always known who you want to be in life, and perhaps you have never known what it is like to feel so lost. Good for you.  I doubt anyone reading this can make that claim, but if you can, I congratulate you and I implore you to share your secret.

Or Perhaps you have felt lost, but you have a support system. Or perhaps you found your way on you own. Whatever you did, you can take pride in that journey. That what you accomplished is something worthy of being proud of.  This is your story.  You did that.

 What right do you have to deny someone else that right?

Because it's in the bible?

Can you please show me where exactly Jesus said that being trans-gendered is an abomination. Show me where he said being gay is an abomination.

And if you cite that piece of trash Leviticus, you'd better be damned sure you're following all the rest of those other rules.

You know, no shellfish, no mixed fabrics (like Polyester) , no shaving, or sex before marriage.

Despite that, I know it's also condemned in the new testament.  To that, I say:

The Bible may be the word of God, but it was still written by Man and if history has taught us anything, it's that man's fuck ups and crimes against his fellows knows no bounds.

So, no matter what you believe about Caitlyn Jenner, Caitlyn Jenner is still a human being, who has made the decision to live her life as a woman.

Caitlyn Jenner and many others like her struggle every day against hatred, bigotry, bullying and violence. She is not fighting in Iraq. She is not a cop. She is not a firefighter. But she is dealing with some of the shittiest kind of human behavior with grace, dignity and charisma.

... That's more than I can say for the bulk of her detractors.

That makes her a hero to me. Are you so afraid that being kind might make you "gay" that you feel the need to be cruel? Get over yourself. The gays don't want you.

If you feel the need to bash Caitlyn Jenner, then you need to unfriend/unfollow/delete/get away from  me, right now.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Devil's Bathrooms (Alternatively titled "Adding Space and Character to Small Spaces")

Like most apartment dwellers, I had to make peace with the fact that built storage was limited.  We have one walk in closet in the Master bedroom, one hall closet that shares space with HVAC so it's tiny, and one standard sized closet in our spare bedroom.  Our washer and dryer are in our kitchen, so we lose cabinet space there as well.  It's frustrating having no place to put things, to have to make decisions that may require giving up beloved items to make room for functional ones.

After about a week in the new place, I decided I could no longer deal with this madness.  I would tame these devils.  This post is about the one named "Ugly White Bathrooms With No Storage Space".

The problem with taming these devils was that we had no extra money, and I'm not very crafty... but between the Dollar Tree, Goodwill, some savvy  Craigslisting, and a little dumpster diving, I managed to put together, what I feel, are two cute bathrooms.

Here's the master bath (Click on any of the pictures to enlarge):

This is our evil pedestal sink.  No storage.
No counter space.
Here is our built in medicine cabinet, over the toilet.  In the shelf at the bottom I have a picture of me with my furkids, and a couple candles.  This space could be better utilized for storage but I haven't figured out a decorative way to do it yet.  The picture frame cost $2 at walmart because it was damaged, but I just painted over it, and the candles were $1 each.  The vase that holds the flowers was found dumpster diving at my apartment complex.  The flowers at a craft store.  The boxes to the right of the flowers were gift boxes.

On the wall, as you can see, I have pink, orange, and yellow washi flowers that come right off with a little determination.  They came from the dollar store. I used about 3 sheets of them.

On the back of the toilet, I have a pink wire basket I got as a gift (it had lotions or something in it), and it holds a few books, and a decorative bottle of lotion.  Next to that, I have a mason jar with burlap and lace tied around it.  I found this dumpster diving at my apartment complex.  The faux sunflowers are also from dumpster diving at crafts store.

The basket on the floor next to the toilet used to hold a gift from my sister-in-law, and now holds extra TP.  I am all for open TP storage, especially if a guest should be using the bathroom and need some extra.

I have had these towels since I lived at home with my mother.  I have almost donated them to GoodWill a dozen times over the years because all the "Grown Up Advice" articles I read on Pinterest tell me that my linens should be white.  And maybe that's true, maybe they should be, but c'mon... Aren't these colors GLORIOUS??

Besides... the towels in the guest bathroom are white.  That counts for something.



The seven hooked rack on the door came from the Dollar Tree, where it cost, amazingly, $1.

Our bathroom is very small so it was hard to get a good picture of the other side of the room.  I was wedged between the toilet and the wall to get this one.

The shelf on the wall came from Goodwill, and cost either $2 or $4, I can't remember, so we'll call it $3.  The chalkboard was another Crafts store dumpster find, as was the cherry blossom glued to it.  The pink flower pot came from (you guessed it!) dumpster diving at my apartment complex, and the daises were from Dollar Tree, for $1.

The white towel was part of a set my mother bought us when we moved in to our first place together.

The shelf was actually a black-and-faux wood DVD stand I found for free on Craigslist, and I covered with $2 worth of contact paper.

On the top shelf, the glassware is a mix of old candle jars I cleaned the wax out of and now use to store my q-tips, cotton balls, and cotton rounds (which I use mostly to take off eye make up).  There are also three wide champagne glasses (another dumpster find!) which I super glued together and use to hold Tweezers, nail clippers, bobby pins and hair ties.   The shelves are mostly toiletries, but I do use mason jars (more dumpster finds!) to hold disposable razors, our tooth brushes, and a few other things.  Finally, the bottom shelf is the trash can that can from my old room at my parents house.

That's our master bathroom  The total cost?  Less than $15.

Now then, here's our guest bathroom:

This stand is a wonderful thing.  It's probably one of the most useful non-appliance gifts I've ever gotten.  My dear friend Chris gave this to me as an apartment- warming.  It's lived in 2 apartments with me and has served me well.  The tray on the top shelf was yet another dumpster find.  The flowers in the tray came from the dollar store, for $1 each, along with the glassware and potpourri.  The picture frame also came from the dollar store, and holds the poem "I Carry Your Heart" by E.E. Cummings.  The teddy bear was a gift from my grandparents.

The white baskets were dumpster finds and hold spare TP, tolietries and most of our spare towels (about 6, the rest are in our closet).

Because of our lack of counter space (and floor space, there's literally not room for two people to stand in this bathroom at the same time unless one of them is standing in the tub!) I nag D about keeping his toiletries in the basket when they aren't in use, but I know it's a pain to have to take the basket down every time you want your comb or your razor.

Here is the sink/counter in our master bath.  As you can see, there are about 6 inches on either side of the sink.  When you start leaving items out on the sink, it starts to look cluttered, fast.

I'm currently in the process of trying to find the most efficient way to utilize the space under the sink.  Unfortunately, the pipes/hardware/etc take up a lot of space, so most standard under sink organizers haven't fit.  I remain hopeful, however, that something will come to me, through the bowels of pinterest or perhaps in a dream.

I'm not going to show you what it looks like under there right now because it. Is. A. Hot. Mess.

Here's another shot of the sink.  I know, I know, that faux floral arrangement is horrible, taking up space and just generally not a good fit for the room.  I felt like that corner needed a pop of color and this was the only thing I had on hand... but trust me, it's getting replaced as soon as I come across something I like better.  I should probably take the teddy bear out of the bathroom and put the flowers over the toilet, but I do like how he looks there.

...Crazy lady problems.

The vase and flowers were dumpster finds at a craft store.  The soap dispenser and tooth brush holders were a gift from my mom.

My mom is a nice lady.

The bathroom is literally so small I couldn't get good pictures of the other side, but it's just the bath tub.  I'm sure you know what they look like.

So that is our guest bathroom, total cost is less that $10.

Now, as with all of my endeavors, this is a work in progress.  I am actively learning more about interior design, and how to apply it in my own style.  My biggest challenge has always been that I like STUFF and I have a tendency to have too much of it out and on display.  Moving into a smaller apartment has definitely helped curb that, because it tends to get REALLY overwhelming really quickly.

So, if you want to jazz up your rental bathroom, add some storage space, or just personalize it a bit,  but you don't want to spend a lot of (or any) money, here are my tips:

1 -- Check Craigslist.  Your local  CL has a "free" section where you can get items 100% free, minus the cost of gas.  If you're handy, crafty, or just plain determined, you can score some great stuff.

2 -- Goodwill it.  Depending on where you live, you likely have a GW or similar (Salvation Army, thift store) that you can stalk.  Our local GW sees a lot of traffic and the stock rotates pretty quickly.  I've scored some neat stuff there for just a couple bucks.

3 -- If it's your first apartment or house, you are entitled to throw yourself a housewarming party.  And that means you can have a registry.  Put small things on it, like shelves and storage items.  Your friends can help you out a bit as you find your footing.

4 -- The Dollar Tree.  When I was a kid, the Dollar Tree was the place I got cheap Barbies dolls.  As a teenager, it was the place I didn't want to be seen shopping at.  Now that I'm on my own, it's one of my favorite places.  While some stock varies widely from store-to-store (we have about 7 in my town), week to week, a lot of items seem to be steadfast merch, such as those 7-hooked door racks I have (I have one in each bathroom), along with a lot of baskets, buckets, and other storage items.

People will tell you a lot of things about how you should decorate your space, but ultimately, it's your space and it needs to be functional and pleasing to you and you alone.  Hopefully my tips and pictures have helped inspire you to create your own little slice of the world.

Have you decorated your bathroom?  Added some neat storage space?  Want to brag about it? Leave me a comment below and show me, and other readers, what wondrous things you have done!

Sunday, April 05, 2015

What's New in Hobbiton?

Hello Hobbits!

I've been absent for a while, I know, but I promise I will try to be better about blogging more regularly if you'll be better about reading.  Ha-ha!  I digress...

The move to Delaware is starting to agree with me -- I am making some friends, finally!! -- and I've got a little more time to devote to my various passions.  I've recently become obsessed with Dumpster Diving, and through that, interior design.  Nearly everything is my house is second hand, so it's a real challenge making all of those finds come together and look nice.  A challenge, but a fun one.  I thought I would start incorporating that into my blog. The only thing that has me hesitating is that taste is subjective and people can be really nasty about things that aren't to their taste.  Of course, I am saying that after my most recent project was belittled by Reddit (a site I have a love/hate relationship with), so perhaps I'll have better luck on my very own website.

I've also gotten more into cooking!  Every week, D and I host our friends for a day of fun, video games, food and good cheer!  8-15 people fill our house, and I make a big meal for all of us, and we just have a good ol'time.  This has given me ample time to perfect some recipes.  I look forward to sharing them with you.

Stay tuned for more projects, recipes, and general awesomeness!