Friday, April 25, 2008

And Now For Something Completely Fluffy

I got this idea from my favorite Logan librarian on whose blog I shamelessly lurk.  Here are seven guilty pleasures.  (Remember I said guilty.)  Only, here's the twist.  Five are true and two are totally false.  Do you know which is which?

Air Conditioning.  I am fully aware of the damage to the environment and my green reputation - but I hate sweating.  I like nothing better than driving my small SUV with the AC cranked.

Red Wine. Because cooking with the stuff is pure bliss.  The smell sends me every time.

Playing possum when the baby cries at 3am - I love winning that one!

Cheese Crunchies - They are my crunchy, cheesy crack.

Dr. Laura - Sometimes you just need to hear it the way it is!

Cosmo - It makes me feel so dirty, but the tips are worth it.

Bodice Ripper Romance Novels - No one will ever, ever, ever actually see me reading one, but it doesn't mean that I don't.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day - Why Bother?

Today, April 22,  is Earth Day.  A day when tree huggers, earth lovers and kooky environmentalists everywhere pledge to do more to help our ailing Mother Earth.   This special day was initiated in 1970 by Senator Gaylord Nelson in an effort to educate and inform the general populace about the growing environmental problems facing our nation and the world.  Today, thirty -eight years later, we have to wonder if it's done any good?  

When it comes to the trend of "going green," does it make a difference?  Sure, I changed a few light bulbs and have started carrying reusable grocery bags.  I recycle here and there and at times try to conserve water.  I dream of purchasing a hybrid car one day.  But is that enough when on the other side of the planet, my twin in China or India is undoing all of my small efforts.  (It is estimated that even if the U.S. reduced its CO2 output by 25% this year - which would take a HUGE effort, China will have increased theirs by the same amount in only nine months.) 

Or what if I turn my life upside down in an effort to reduce my CO2 emissions.  I could plant a big garden and get rid of my car, start biking everywhere, eliminate meat from my diet and become a "locavore."  I could trade in my dryer for an old fashioned clothes line and start wearing sweaters instead of turning up the heater. Then would I be making a significant difference?  Frankly, probably not.  Because of the enormity of the problem, one person's carbon footprint will probably not shift the balance one way or the other.  

So again, why bother?

Well, here are a couple of reasons why I think we still need to care and make a bigger effort.  You may or may not agree with my reasoning, but then if you have a better idea let me know.  There are millions of people out there much smarter and wiser than me!

How about simply to set an example?  If enough people bother, we could set off a chain of events that changes our way of life.  Let's go viral!  30 years ago, Wendell Berry, a Kentucky farmer and writer, argued that the environmental crisis would have to be addressed first at home.  He was impatient with people who wrote checks to environmental agencies but didn't actually do anything at home.  (Think SUVs, McMansions, etc.)    Here is what he said:  "Once our personal connection to what is wrong becomes clear, then we have to chose:  we can go on as before, recognizing our dishonesty and living with it the best we can, or we can begin the effort to change the way we think and live."

As member of the LDS Faith we believe that we will be held accountable for our actions, and that we are stewards over the earth.  I hear far too often, oh, we've made such a mess of this planet already, only God will be able to fix it.  And while that may be true, it doesn't let us off the hook.  I can't imagine our Heavenly Father saying to us - by the time you got to the planet, it was too far gone; therefore your actions didn't matter.  Not going to happen!

In fact, if we look at the counsel of the prophets - they have been very environmental at times. The greatest example of this is the counsel to plant a  garden.  Planting a garden may sound very benign, but it is one of the most powerful things an individual can do to reduce his or her carbon footprint.  But more so, to reduce our sense of dependence and to increase our understanding of our relationship to this beautiful planet. Whether you have a large backyard garden or a few small pots on the balcony, gardening teaches us that our relationship to the planet is not a zero-sum game.

Here's another idea completely in line with the gospel.  Observe a stricter Sabbath.  Once a week completely refrain from economic activity, no shopping, no electronics, and where possible no driving.  Imagine if everyone in our nation went back to that practice once a week! If we all turned off the tvs, computers and "crackberries" and we walked with our neighbors to worship instead of driving to the mall- it would be amazing.

When it comes to environmental "sin", I am as guilty as the next person.  I am still attempting to align what I do with what I know.  But I am willing to take it one small step at a time.  This year I have pledged the simple act of eliminating plastic grocery bags from my life.  It's been a little painful to start because I am not yet in the habit of always having my reusable bags with me.  But it's getting easier.  I am also trying to observe the Sabbath more strictly - to turn off the computer and the television.  We are too far from our ward building to walk, but we can eliminate unnecessary driving.  And we are growing a small garden in pots by the driveway.  

So that's why I bother.  I know that my efforts are small and probably don't change the planet, but I might change my neighborhood.  (A few neighbors have started growing their own veggies next to ours.)  And lest we forget, it is by small and simple things that great things are brought to pass.  

My hope is that this year - you can be bothered to change just a little bit too.

Happy Earth Day

Friday, April 18, 2008

Good Times

Last night Addi's school had a family art night.  The school partners with the Art Armory, which sends volunteers to the school to work in the classroom every year.  This was an Armory sponsored event.  They had three different stations for the kids, crown making, leaf prints and bug sculptures.   Elias was so proud of his hat and his clay "capper".  He wanted to carry that caterpillar to bed and to music class this morning.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Waiting is Over - temporarily, until it is replaced by new waiting just waiting to happen.

Douglas started a new job today working for Sony.  He's doing the same type of work - post production.  This time the show is a 30 minute sitcom.  Unfortunately it doesn't pay that well and it's only through June.  On the upside, he's working at the Paramount lot in Hollywood which means he doesn't have to drive 2 1/2 hours every day. This means we will actually see him in the evenings.  Yeah!

And . . . his documentary is almost done.  The time between jobs was a real blessing in that regard - he was able to complete the shooting he needed to finish the project.  So after a bunch more steps (believe me, it takes forever to finish a film!), the final step will be to submit it to a bunch of film festivals and keep our fingers crossed.  There are several submission deadlines coming up in the next month or two which gives a deadline to aim for.  Wish us luck.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Waiting for the Light

For me, life seems to work in fits and spurts of activity.  Most days are fairly boring.  Get the children dressed and fed, Addison off to school, dishes done, groceries purchased.  Most days I have time to complete a crossword puzzle, read blogs, or waste way too much time playing Boomshine. (yikes!) Only occasionally do I have days where everything seems to happen at once - PTA meetings, volunteering at school, toddler classes, people coming over to your house (that's the hardest one - can you say, quick, hide everything in the bedroom?) Young Women activities, and so on.  But not this week.  This week has seemed to pass by in slow motion, one day blending into the next.  This week, the theme of my life is waiting.

I like waiting for some things.  For example, waiting for bread to rise or cookies to bake.   I love waiting and watching as the seeds in my garden begin to sprout.  I don't mind waiting for my children to wake from naps. Sleeping children are absolute bliss.  This week I waited for Addison to run a 5K with her father and I waited for Charlie to discover the rabbit we were house sitting.  The poor cat, when he finally did discover the rabbit, he took off running for the hills.

Then there are the things I don't like waiting for.

Waiting for the next disc from season three of Battlestar Galactica.
Waiting for the next new episode of Lost.
Waiting to lose the baby fat (this may be more of an ignoring than a waiting? not sure.)

This week I waited for Mason to cut a new tooth (his third).  Most of this waiting took place in the middle of the night;  waiting for the crying to stop, waiting for him to be soothed back to sleep, waiting for the Tylenol to kick in. Waiting to lose my sanity.
We are also still waiting for a new job.   Douglas has a few contacts that are promising, and we are waiting to hear from them.  We are also waiting to see how long our finances can withstand the drought.  Speaking of jobs, I'll also be waiting for the results from my TB test so that I can start substitute teaching a few days a week. 

I'm also waiting for my voice to go back to normal.  I seem to have a bit of laryngitis this week. Rather than having a sexy, husky voice - I am told I sound more like Marge Simpson's sisters.   How nice. 

And I am waiting to hear from you.  Help me out - what are you waiting for?

Monday, April 7, 2008

Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve

Yesterday we took a field trip to the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve.  Each spring, since moving to California, I have wanted to go see wildflowers.  Something has always gotten in the way, but not this year. We packed up the car and drove an hour and a half north to Lancaster and then west to the reserve. 
As you are driving out from Lancaster you can see hills in the distance that are awash in a strange, almost unnatural, salmon orange.  Then you pass the sign that says 11 miles to the reserve and you are even more amazed by the blaze of color you can see from this distance.  

Admittedly, we are not the smartest crew, visiting a poppy reserve during peak bloom season on a Sunday afternoon.  (And by telling you that, you now also know we skipped out on the Sunday afternoon session. If Douglas doesn't get a new job soon we'll all know why.)  Let's just say the reserve was crowded! It was also very windy.  But despite all the drawbacks - it was beautiful.  Here are a few pictures.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Societal Dilemma or Not?

Lately, I can't stop thinking about plastic bags.  They are a pernicious evil that everyone in the retail business wants to push on me.  Oh, you want to buy a bottle of water - here let me put it into a plastic bag for you.  At one store when I asked for paper, the bagger actually put my paper bag into a plastic bag.  They must have been worried that I wasn't doing my daily part in contributing to pollution and global warming.    

As a family we are going to try to completely eliminate the use of plastic bags this year.  So now we have some problem solving to do.  Do I have to give up freezer bags?  And what should Addi carry her sandwich in - perhaps a retro waxpaper wrap?  I'll need an alternative in the produce department for my apples and loose carrots.  And what about the meat department?  No more placing my meat in individual little plastic bags.  Then there is the dry cleaners - do I have to stop using their services - heaven forbid! Clothing retailers usually offer plastic bags as well. Target (one of my most frequented stores) doesn't offer paper bags.  And then there is the garbage bag question - what do you replace those with? 

I'm not sure yet how we will solve these dilemmas.  My guess is that we will probably discover that there is no dilemma - that it is all in our heads.   We'll start carrying reusable bags and feel slightly superior to "regular" shoppers as we're buying our disposable diapers and carrying them home in our cloth bags.