Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Decor of Sanity

As a college freshman living in my parents' home, I turned my bedroom into a "Tahitian bungalow" complete with bamboo ceiling. My college dorm room was shared, but it was very clear where the boundary was. My roommate had mismatched bedding, pig shaped lights strung over the window, and mounds of books and paperwork strewn across her desk. I had an alphabetized book shelf at the foot of my Tommy Hilfiger bed and two paper lamps hanging over a tidy desk where even the pen holder matched my color scheme. I have moved literally 18 times since I graduated from high school in 2000, and yet even when all my belongings could fit into my Ford Focus, I always managed to squeeze some style in the back seat. My current must have item regardless of the move is a large mirror with the most amazing vintage gold frame, which has hung in a bathroom, over a dresser, and leaned against several bedroom walls.

My mother may not have taught me about makeup or dating, but she definitely instilled in me an appreciation for keeping a neat home, or usually in my case a space, that is always "guest ready." When I come home it isn't to a space that looks as chaotic and disconnected as my mind often feels. There is an order to things, both in life and in the home, and they are meant to reflect one another. While my mother and I have very different tastes in decor, I think we are both good at creating spaces that are functional and appealing.

This standard often causes extreme tension in my shared space. The only thing worse than coming home to your own mess is coming home to someone else's, be it shoes in the hallway, mail strewn across the kitchen counter, knickknacks on the coffee table, or pet hair caked on the couch pillows. I haven't decided yet if God insists on keeping me at a roommate necessary standard of living to break me of my OCD or if he's just gets a kick out of watching me have mini-meltdowns every time I find my toothbrush holder sitting at the wrong angle on the counter. Either way, I greatly anticipate someday entering a life season in which I can have a place, modest as it may be, where I can create a Zen untouched by less acute sensibilities. I dream of lazy overcast mornings curled up in a breakfast nook with a newspaper in hand, Elis Regina streaming on Pandora, and the delicate scent of freshly cut stargazers competing with that of the steam rising off my French press. I don't care much where you place that scene... In a San Francisco Victorian, in an Ann Arbor loft, in a Cape Town flat... As long as there's a good man strolling sleepily into the kitchen after me, and a genuine anticipation for the job I'll head to a short while later.

On a lighter note! I'll share with you some of my favorite places to score decor bargains! Of course my favorite items are ones I've accumulated through my travels, but there are countless places to find unique pieces locally while shopping on a minimal budget. When I'm in designer discounter stores like TJ Max, Marshall's, Ross, or Nordstrom Rack, I always keep an eye on the clearance racks where I have scored $1 bathroom counter accessories, $5 towel sets, and $20 bedding. Pass up those outrageously priced vintage drawer knobs at Anthropologie and find yourself an estate sale! As tacky as it may sound to some, garage sales are a fun way to find beautiful pieces for pennies. Of course, there is Ikea, where European inspired minimalism descends upon broke college kids and frugal self-decorators alike. I also recommend Z Gallerie for their affordable and trendy decor that carries enough variety to satisfy all tastes and avoids the stigma of having "that Ikea stuff."

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Prop 8 Upheld

Yesterday the California Supreme Court ruled that the state would uphold Proposition 8, banning same-sex marriage. However, the court did decide to legally recognize the 18,000 marriages that were authorized between the court's pro same-sex marriage ruling in May 2008 and the November passing of Prop 8.

Protesters gathered outside San Francisco's City Hall shouting "Shame on you!" and 162 arrests were made. Even larger gatherings were reported in Los Angeles and San Diego.

According to the court's only Democratic appointee Justice Carlos Moreno, the decision "is not just a defeat for same-sex couples, but for any minority group that seeks the protection of the equal protection clause of the California Constitution." I should expect that Moreno is well versed in the rights that are in place for the protection and equality of the LGBT community, and should be aware that they in many ways exceed the rights of straight couples who want to live together outside of a legalized marriage. Most companies now include a clause in their insurance policies allowing same-sex couples to add their life partner to their coverage, a benefit that is not usually extended to non-married straight couples.

In November, Prop 8 was about gay marriage. Today, Prop 8 is about the will of the people being upheld. This is democracy! The people vote and their decision is respected and enforced by the government! The passing of Prop 8 does not inhibit anyone's right to the American "pursuit of happiness" or strip them of the ability to find employment, housing, and health care. It doesn't even ban them from having wedding ceremonies, living together, or raising children.

California, and more specifically San Francisco, has been a front runner in the progression of LGBT causes over the last 30 years, including the securing of equal employment and housing opportunities, and the rallying of support for the fight against AIDS. It is inevitable that eventually same-sex marriage will be legalized and, in my opinion, the sooner that the cause is approached in a professional and strategic manner the sooner conservatives will become receptive to it. Not everyone is moved by masses of drag queens chanting into megaphones and waving cardboard signs. Lawmaking happens in a three-piece suit.