Saturday, December 24, 2005

A Perfect Mina Day & The Ghost of a Christmas Bag

Whenever Maya leaves, Mina and I merge. It ends up being a great bonding time for us. And yesterday we spent a perfect day together because we like to do the same things. We ran errands most of the morning, and then I took her to get her nails painted for Christmas. I love to see the nail ladies' faces when she picks out colors. "Oh, do you really want burnt orange?" They look at me and I say, "Hook it up." So, burnt orange on the fingers with snowflakes and neon pink on the toes with snowflakes. Awesome. Me? Nada. I like me a mani/pedi just fine, but my germaphobia increases with age and it would not allow me to take my shoes off in this particular place. With children, they swipe on color in 3 minutes flat, but the thought of putting my feet in their mini cesspool turned my stomach.

Mina and I then went to the book store for an hour, then to the arts & crafts store to stock up for a major project we planned on doing later in the afternoon. We then lunched at our favorite health food spot where Mina can demolish an entire whole wheat black bean and cheese burrito like a champ. We did our grocery shopping and then came home to take the Sisters Pug to the park.

When it came time for our art projects, we laid out newspapers and set up paints. We both knew what we wanted to do, and we started in on our individual projects without bothering each other. She didn't ask me what I was making and I didn't ask her why she needed to put on black lipstick to paint. Mina painted a pair of large wooden lips. And then she made an abstract placard to hang from her door. My art project is a bit, hmm, revealing? For me to explain means I have to reveal an embarrassing side of myself. A side that exists very minimally still. I won't say I'm completely rid of the characteristic, but it embarrasses me.

When the semiconductor industry took off, I made more money than I had ever seen. More money than anyone I knew had ever made. And because I had no concept of financial wisdom, I voraciously spent. Many call it a broker mentality to spend all that you earn, some call it ghetto mentality, but when you've never been able to blow money before, you blow it like a complete idiot. I did, at least. I spend it like I couldn't believe it was in my hands and I thought I had best spend it before I woke up. I followed a cookie-cutter path of obtaining what I thought someone with money is supposed to have mainly in the way of clothes and accessories. I couldn't believe how well made expensive clothes were; they fit and hung beautifully. I bought expensive make up that I felt made a difference. I bought Chanel sunglasses and Gucci shoes. Not a lot, but one pair of each and I snuggled them and cooed and petted them. I felt I had arrived, finally. After receiving a Christmas bonus in 1999, I decided to buy something that I had programmed myself to covet, a Louis Vitton tote. I was so nervous to have spent that much money on one item that I was fanatically protective of it. I vowed to keep the straps the pure beige color. I did my best to wear it like I had always had such luxurious things.

Then the semiconductor market dropped like a stone from the top of a building. The cushy checks evaporated and the down market bred tension and backstabbing. It all went from euphoric to foul. It all became a grind again. And the things that I had bought with labels and sky-high price tags sickened me. I was embarrassed to have been such a fool. I wasn't smart enough to sock away sufficient savings because I was blinded by fancy things. As we downsized our life, the Louis Vitton went to the back of the closet because it only reminded me that I had gotten caught up in such materialist bullshit. When I looked at the bag, I felt that maybe I didn't deserve to make a lot of money because I would only squander it. I am only beginning to feel differently.

Two weeks ago, I spilled soy creamer all up in my purse. I have been trying to buy all vegan stuff including clothes and accessories, which is more difficult than eating vegan, and I hadn't yet found a vegan purse that I liked. I was toting all my stuff in a huge canvas bag I received free with a magazine subscription, which was fine, but the bag was like a black hole. I'd spend ten minutes looking for my keys that were floating . . .around . . in . . .here . . .somewhere.

I decided to pull out the Louis V. because I needed a good purse and because part of my new mentality is to not waste anything. I also want to make peace with my mistakes. I wore the Louis V. a couple days ago, and still I was embarrassed. Not just because it reminds me of wastefulness, but because it's just not my style anymore (I'm not convinced it ever was.) So, yesterday I decided that my art project would be to make the Louis V. more Me. As I set my stray paints before me to deface a very expensive hand bag, my husband raised his eyebrows. Then, because he knows me so well, he said, "Fuck it. Have at it." He said, "Knowing you, people will want to know where to get one." I doubt that, but here's my Louis V., Madness style:

I just want to note that I still love fancy things. I'm not trying to front. I love a well-made piece. I love great jeans. But I finally realized that I only love funky unique items and not the expensive trendy crap. My embarrassment mainly came from feeling like I was a slave to designer items that I thought I should own just because I finally had a little money. My trepidation lingers when I think of how wasteful I was with my money instead of helpful.


acumamakiki said...

What a terrific post! I loved your day with Mina and your husband is right ~ women will be asking where you got your special order LV bag. It looks incredible and you should wear that bag proudly everyday!

I hear you about getting caught up in the 'stuff'. There's a lot of that here in NYC and it was that way growing up in LA. But it sounds like you've found a balance (good jeans really do matter) and again, that purse really is incredible.

Happy Holidays to you and your family ~ enjoy!!

Michelle Fry said...

Your "new" purse is the most fucking awesome thing I've ever seen! I love that you defaced it.

kiki said...

i love the purse

Marigoldie said...

What that is is a Christmas story. I love it.

I have to tell you this: many years ago, my super duper country friend Gina scored a Louie Vuitton purse at a yard sale (rich neighborhood) for a dollar. She looked at me very seriously and bragged: "Fitty cents for the L...fitty cents for the V."

madness rivera said...

Yo, Gina deserves that purse!

A,M & K - thanks for the compliments! It had to dry for 2 days and I would just pass by it, as it dried innocently on the balcony, and I would think, Did I really do that? It's all pretty funny to me.

bettyboop said...

oh, the bag is sooo much better! i hate those LV bags, because, like you said, they are soooo un-original. you are onto something again! have you gotten any comments?
happy new year!!!

andrea said...

these photos of you and mina... so gorgeous. and yes, your painted LV bag rocks the proverbial casbah. that is some freshness, yo.