Monday, February 21, 2011

“Shall we get naked and start the revolution?”

That is one of my favorite lines from the movie Orange County, very funny movie.  Revolution is truly in the air though and it’s not so funny.  Like many I have been watching and checking in daily to see what continues to unfold in the Middle East and Northern Africa.  Who knows how things will ultimately end up; I don’t think we will see any stability in these regions for a number of years from now.   I married into a family of wonderful people who are from the Middle East and I hear firsthand accounts of growing up in repressive regimes and learning how it is to live a life oppressed.   But the last few years have been different. 
Revolution 2.0 – the revolution spread by social media is a different application – one whose creation was bound to appear and yet I think caught everyone off guard. Usually I am more cynical than this – at first I saw this winter of discontent as perhaps a foreign backed uprising.  I even made cavalier remarks on FB about it as if I had some vague understanding of the situation from here.  It turns out that the very ridiculousness of me comprehending this type of discontent and mentioning it on FB is in fact the actual beauty of it.  The globalization of people unfolding and taking shape, once out of its box, will be difficult if not impossible to stuff back down.  The fact that I can say what I want to say on FB, through Twitter and even here in my banal little blog is one of the greatest freedoms we have.  I however do not say everything I want to say.  I have family in a repressive country.  My name is easily tied to them, their internet use, their friends on FB and their twitter messages are scrutinized and although I may not suffer the direct repercussions of my voice here in my country, they may well suffer it directly in theirs.  I understand that my internet usage is monitored to some degree here too.  I think we can look at the Patriot Act for that, but I am not up to anything funky and I really don’t care if the government wants to read about how I decorated my daughter’s apartment.    I understand the limitations of our freedoms in the US – just Google Japanese American Internment in 1942 if you are wondering about the limits of our freedom, having said that, I understand our dilemma of freedom and national security as well. 
The real issue here is that people can now easily see how other people are living and they want freedom.  Don’t get me wrong, I think they want something to eat, a place to live and a job too!  But with this globalization people can see right through a window how it is to be free and not repressed.  People always want to be free, they may not actually know how that will play out for them – the sacrifice and cost of freedom – but they want it, it’s natural.  When people live repressed for decades they come to have little to lose. When you have little to lose you become more willing to risk it all, making you one hell of a formidable opponent.
Once in a board room meeting someone asked my boss – a VIP in the oil industry, if he was ever worried about the helicopter flights he had to take over the Middle East to inspect pipelines and he casually answered “How high can they throw rocks?”  I thought to myself about how long the turmoil in the Middle East has reigned, how little the oppressed people had and for how many generations they were willing to wage their wars and I answered to myself “Pretty fucking high.” 

So, while we in the US continue to download our apps to track Lindsey Lohan’s rehab visits, watch The Real Housewives of wherever on Hulu and post another music video on FB there is another side of the world that is waking up to social media, smelling the coffee and they like what’s brewing! 
I would imagine every long sitting strong-man dictator is a bit fidgety after these last few months and I am sure they are reevaluating a simpler life for themselves.  We have to hope that it is actually freedom that gets ushered in as regimes collapse. We have to hope that the rebels retain enough strength to no longer suffer fools, dictators or other repressive groups and continue with their resolve and heart to form what they want and need to govern.  We as a global society we need to do what we can to open more windows and encourage this global empowerment; because it is in the dark corners and recesses that tyranny breeds. 
I wonder if Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg or Jack Dorsey ever sat and thought about their contributions through to this type of a scenario unfolding. 
I found this article on CNN compelling: Five strangers "friend" a revolution, you may like it too!

My thoughts today,

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Decorating Nina's First Apartment

 Setting Nina up in her first apartment was a lot of fun for both of us during the first few weeks of the year.  We had this rental that became open and Nina needed to move out to the OC so off she went.  The previous tenant was moving out of state and did not want to take all her furniture so she left a lot of pieces for Nina.  Here is a before shot of the living room.  The blue plaid was not to Nina's liking but truly she would have taken anything.  Lucky for her - the previous owners had a cat or dog creature and there was a little fur so her asthma required me to buy the slipcovers.  I mean I haaaad to!!  And I haaad to toss those floral pillows too!!  I found the little scrolly wood coffee table on Craigslist for $35.

I found the slipcovers on major markdown at Target (hello Red Velvet!)  We bought a quart of Tiffany Blue paint and put it to good use on the coffee table and antiqued it up.  The vintage gold mirror was a major find for $40 at a thrift store - real wood and real old!  The bird decal art was from the sale bin at HomeGoods - love that place!  I splurged on the pillows I think at $20 each.  Matt would not let us paint any of the walls!  I don't know why since we are the landlords, but I did not want to involve him much if you get what I mean so I let that go.  I figure you win some and you lose some.

Two girls are sharing the master bedrom which was dismal and dark.  They had left some little wood side tables painted brown - ugg.  We painted those satin black and added crystal knobs.  The lights they left were cute so we kept them.  Got lucky with the curtain panels that were on markdown.  I found a dresser on Craigslist for $40 and painted it white with a black top and added more crystal knobs.  But what we really had fun with was with the large frame wall art that we painted, we call that installation "I aspire to own art one day."

So funny that Nina's desk lamp matched the curtains!
Yes, that is Nina's baby blanket and Minky her bear that she sleeps with...still.  I love that child!
The loepard "D" and "T" are for Dina & Tina and that would be Nina and Brittany's alter egos - two wild Jersey chics! They break into the characters of Dina & Tina when ever the mood strikes - crazy!

The original bath was dark not so fun and that cabinet had to go! 

 I found the scroll iron shelf unit in my home office and donated it to the cause.  It looks much better here.
Since I was closing my store Nina and the girls benefited from my left over inventory of French canisters and various home decor items. 

The dinning room is so cute and really all the furniture was left by the previous tenant.  We added a swag of black and white fabric we found on sale.  I donated the fruit basket which was approved by Matt as it has space for lots of is a Persian thing.

More donated goodies for Nina that were from my store.  Lucky girl.
Please Note:  We detest the Spruce Goose style ceiling fan but could not get Matt to agree to take it down.  Seriously it is ugly and needs to go.  It has a freakin remote and for some reason Matt likes it and will not let us take it down...yet, you know that its coming down sometime soon.  I'll have to work on that.

Nina added her collection of vintage cameras in the back there and I swear there was a full jar of candy when I left!

Nina already had a nice kitchen as Matt had previously replaced the counter tops and appliances, you can not see it in this picture but she has a nice tray ceiling with recessed lights and crown mouldings So we had no work to do there.

Outfitting a new apartment for someone who has nothing was a task but super fun.  We made many trips to the 99 cent store for all sorts of goodies from pot holders to tupperware.  We ran out of money but managed to do all of it for around $400.  I still think she needs some art or something else on her living room wall but we'll get that later, for now she is set and loving her new place and living with her friends.  Most of all we had a blast doing all this together.  I love working on anything creative with Nina!!!

The only problem now is that I miss her and I have to wait until Saturdays to see my girl, I love her so much but I know she is happy and I feel good about where she is.

Now if Bijan would just let me into that Berkley man-cave...just think what I could do!!!

My thoughts today,