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Archive for the ‘going green’ Category

And now my research into offsetting one’s carbon footprint truly begins….
So happy for the breathing room for the boys, however, and hoping for the car pool effect to take effect soon.

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meme time – it really has been quite a while, so when Whirlwind tagged me, I was sort of relieved
5 Random Things About Me

1. I am a peak oil believer and bought a book about raising poultry to prove it. If Sharon can’t convince you, I’d be surprised. But don’t go read her if you are going to totally freak out, because as she often says, you can’t unknow things.

2. I seem much more organized than I really am. Seriously, I hide it well.

3. When I got to college I was just so tired and overwhelmed by what my own home life had been, by the strange culture of the particular school I went to that I had no paradigm for, that I simply gave up on several things I really loved in high school. I just couldn’t quite keep all the balls in the air and it took me a while – at least a year and a half – to feel even moderately functional there. It didn’t ever occur to me during that time that the problem was not me. I slept alot. Matt and my in-laws to be kept me fed, otherwise I don’t remember much. Thinking about this today because I really haven’t written much about this yet. I think it might be time to try.

4. I am bad at personality type questionnaires and such. I rarely find just one answer that resonates strongly enough with me that I don’t question it. I’m not sure what this means, but it doesn’t seem good. This makes me seem wishy-washy, but anyone who knows me would tell you that I am rather strong willed and a bit fiery. Maybe I just hate multiple choice?

5. We joined a church planting team in December and are moving to Northampton, but I haven’t blogged about it at all yet and I don’t exactly know why that is. It is actually really great stuff and I am really, really happy about it and the church is going to be a wonderful, messy place, way out of the box creative and not really what any of us think of when we say church (And by us I mean suburban protestants), but perhaps because I know so much more about what it will not be than what it will be – because it is still imaginary to a great extent – I just don’t know what to say. This is a huge move for us (not distance-wise, but culturally and it is the first out of state move for our family of 5.), so we are nervous as well about finding work and a home – because the economy just keeps us wondering & our budget week to week finds us in the red as often as not. So, perhaps I’m just keeping nerves at bay when I research keeping chickens.

5 Places I Want to See Before I die (okay, this meme is getting a tad melodramatic) This list would be just great, but seriously, mostly I am looking to going away with just Matt for the weekend of our anniversary. We don’t have to go far, just down the block is okay…

1. back to Burma
2. to Ireland with Matt
3. to Israel (and really all the Mediterranean would be fine)
4. to India with my sisters
5. to any place we could vacation happily with all three boys and have adventures with them.

That’s it, if you haven’t done this one (in a while) self-tag yourself! In other news, today is Wednesday. I am planning a big post for Flashback Friday because the funniest thing happened to me when I took Thinker to viola tonight. Tomorrow is Thursday, which is the last day of preschool. I will be wearing black as a sign of my protesting Memorial Day being so early and seemingly robbing all the mommies of just two more days of three year old preschool. We will miss you, Mrs. LP’s teacher. We love you very, very much. Also, if you are looking for a way to help victims of the cyclone in Burma, World Vision has been on the ground in Burma for 40 years in that country. Your money will help victims not the military regime ruling the country. For anyone who has reservations about donating to a specifically Christian organization, please know that World Vision does not require anyone to profess the Christian faith in order to receive help.
On that note, good night!

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meme time – it really has been quite a while, so when Whirlwind tagged me, I was sort of relieved
5 Random Things About Me

1. I am a peak oil believer and bought a book about raising poultry to prove it. If Sharon can’t convince you, I’d be surprised. But don’t go read her if you are going to totally freak out, because as she often says, you can’t unknow things.

2. I seem much more organized than I really am. Seriously, I hide it well.

3. When I got to college I was just so tired and overwhelmed by what my own home life had been, by the strange culture of the particular school I went to that I had no paradigm for, that I simply gave up on several things I really loved in high school. I just couldn’t quite keep all the balls in the air and it took me a while – at least a year and a half – to feel even moderately functional there. It didn’t ever occur to me during that time that the problem was not me. I slept alot. Matt and my in-laws to be kept me fed, otherwise I don’t remember much. Thinking about this today because I really haven’t written much about this yet. I think it might be time to try.

4. I am bad at personality type questionnaires and such. I rarely find just one answer that resonates strongly enough with me that I don’t question it. I’m not sure what this means, but it doesn’t seem good. This makes me seem wishy-washy, but anyone who knows me would tell you that I am rather strong willed and a bit fiery. Maybe I just hate multiple choice?

5. We joined a church planting team in December and are moving to Northampton, but I haven’t blogged about it at all yet and I don’t exactly know why that is. It is actually really great stuff and I am really, really happy about it and the church is going to be a wonderful, messy place, way out of the box creative and not really what any of us think of when we say church (And by us I mean suburban protestants), but perhaps because I know so much more about what it will not be than what it will be – because it is still imaginary to a great extent – I just don’t know what to say. This is a huge move for us (not distance-wise, but culturally and it is the first out of state move for our family of 5.), so we are nervous as well about finding work and a home – because the economy just keeps us wondering & our budget week to week finds us in the red as often as not. So, perhaps I’m just keeping nerves at bay when I research keeping chickens.

5 Places I Want to See Before I die (okay, this meme is getting a tad melodramatic) This list would be just great, but seriously, mostly I am looking to going away with just Matt for the weekend of our anniversary. We don’t have to go far, just down the block is okay…

1. back to Burma
2. to Ireland with Matt
3. to Israel (and really all the Mediterranean would be fine)
4. to India with my sisters
5. to any place we could vacation happily with all three boys and have adventures with them.

That’s it, if you haven’t done this one (in a while) self-tag yourself! In other news, today is Wednesday. I am planning a big post for Flashback Friday because the funniest thing happened to me when I took Thinker to viola tonight. Tomorrow is Thursday, which is the last day of preschool. I will be wearing black as a sign of my protesting Memorial Day being so early and seemingly robbing all the mommies of just two more days of three year old preschool. We will miss you, Mrs. LP’s teacher. We love you very, very much. Also, if you are looking for a way to help victims of the cyclone in Burma, World Vision has been on the ground in Burma for 40 years in that country. Your money will help victims not the military regime ruling the country. For anyone who has reservations about donating to a specifically Christian organization, please know that World Vision does not require anyone to profess the Christian faith in order to receive help.
On that note, good night!

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The hours my children spend awake in my care fly by like thoughts that whiz through brain. I catalog to myself the things I will do when they are asleep, at school, playing nicely on their own, outside with their dad, older, all in school all day, at college. The things include paying bills, cleaning out the frig, batch cooking homemade chicken nuggets, fish sticks, meatballs -various proteins needed urgently by three growing children – building up my business for doula services and childbirth education, finding a replacement for myself in my little church childcare job that has become too much, returning phone calls, calling for insurance cards that actually have our doctor’s name on them, planning a birthday dinner for a friend, putting the laundry away without interruption, actually knitting an actual something, printing out photographs, understanding our video recorder, calling clients, finding clients, planning a weekend away with my husband.

In the odd moment when both little ones are asleep and Thinker still at school, I make a cup of tea, peruse a few blogs, all the while thinking I’m not really blogging now, so I’ll come back and read more later, comment later, write an actual blog post later, then check my email, any news of the world, the bank balance, chat on the phone while making a dent in the kitchen tasks, think about gardening, get tired, realize time before the kids wake up is short and I had better do something or nothing so it doesn’t feel like nothing happened during that window of time. Rarely does any of what I meant to do get done. Rarely does it occur to me during nap time to actual clean out the garage, batch cook anything. My productivity it limited to basic household upkeep and my relaxation dwindle to drinking a cup of tea while it remains hot and perhaps seeing if the Colbert Report is still on my TIVO.

The kids wake. The warm sun calls us to the yard, the amazing little creek that runs through it – and all the leaves and sticks that require my attention. The work occupies my mind, which is helpful. I tend to get bored. I find it hard to have no occupation, but reading outside while they play tends to have very poor results. My full attention on policing all matters of childhood seems to make all sibling relations much, much worse. I flit from containers that require potting soil, to removing the source of all spring boo-boos – all the sticks that seem to breed overnight, to leaves that need raking into the creek, a project which then task the boys to pushing them down stream between rocks, timing little leafy boats, pine cones and smaller sticks. It floats, it floats!

I had set aside some money for a spring clean up, but ended up sending it towards famine relief in Africa. The upshot is that I’ve spent hours each day working land that yields nothing but some perennials and grass. We are under some obligation to keep this yard in good condition. We do not own this home and its owners will be back to it in the blink of an eye. My mind whizzes with thoughts of a victory garden. Aside from the rocks and tree roots this place calls for a friendly little suburban homesteading. The work the yard maintenance requires of me is a shabby sort of productivity – with little to show for it besides green lawn, and not a stellar example of that either.

When it has recovered from its winter of branches and fall of leaves, I shall turn my attention elsewhere – to a little container gardening on the south side of the house, in front of the cut and come again perennials & the not yet leafing lilacs. We shall have littering of vegetable there and up on the deck, and perhaps, a compost of worms and muck in one of the dark shady corners where the overgrown woods invites wild turkey and other critters of the suburban forest.

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This book is not about fear. At least it shouldn’t be. It’s just that there are a few issues in the world of all things green and greener that I am handling (like cleaning), a few I feel I can’t afford to handle (like organic free range, pure food) and a few more that I have really not handled at all (like what’s in the baby soap?)
Follow me over here, where I ‘m reviewing this book in light of LP’s delays and SPD!

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Almost. It was very, very close. I catalog for your review the following battery requiring gifts:

*musical caboose: this toy is so awesome and beloved by the toddler that I cannot even begrudge them the noise it makes, nor its inevitable need for a new battery. Most of all, I love it because it inspired one of the most incredible acts of generosity in our household. It was a gift of an auntie to Little Puppy, but Little Bear is so charmed by it, that not even LP will take it from him – and in fact, he will offer it up regularly when they play together. The spirit of Christmas past, present and future are resting well this day.

*dance-a-tron floor mat that connects to TV – sent by my grandmother who shops on QVC! Ack! – it’s a bit of a battery hog (4 AAs) and doesn’t work great. I expect to “lose” this item in our next move, or something. However, it may last through winter and provide some indoor execise for boys so I will purchase 4 more rechargeable AAs – which at least can be used in many other things and we already have a charger for them

*battery operated Thomas and Percy at the Quarry – this toy is rather loud, also purchased on QVC! Ack! and has some small bits (the rocks, actually) that are slowly disappearing – which will make the toy much less fun than it is right now. I am hopeful that no one will eat the rocks and it will last us 6 to 8 weeks. In the meantime, they boys all love watching the train go around the track in a way that excites only them, to me it is only slightly more exciting than watching grass grow – and considerably louder. In its defense it requires on one AA battery. Not bad for something with so many moving parts.

In other environmental news, I did not purchase any gift wrap this year – everything was carefully and prettily wrapped in bits I saved from last year, plus half a roll that had been left from the year previous – also I had recycled ribbons and gift bags – which I saved again for next year! Hurray – all this is living in a rubber-maid bin that lives right next to the bin of ornaments and Christmas themed books and music. Though I did still wrap things in paper and other consumables, I was happy to call a halt to spending lots of money on things that landed in the trash later, so I hope I can find more creative solutions in the years ahead as these bits and scraps I’m saving lose their luster. I do love to see shiny, nicely wrapped packages – and I think everything looked good this year.
I recycled everything within and inch of its life, carefully sorting out different types of cardboard – some gets flattened and stacked, other bits get flattened and bagged with the mixed papers – and sorting out paper from boxes and sadly throwing plastic bags of air in the trash as we can only recycle 1s and 2s (which is pathetic and a whole other post…). Still, I managed to do it and all was hauled away by the appropriate truck on Saturday. Thanks be to God.
My next plan is The Great Toy Sort of 2008 – in which I shall donate, bin up, distribute various things the boys in the house of needs new batteries are no longer playing with – and hide in the tops of closets various toys to begin The Great Toy Rotation of 2008. Less general stuff, more value, more time spent with the gems of toys we do have – these are the simple toy-related resolutions I have for next year.
As for our delightfully non-battery operated toys, you’ll be getting sneak peeks of them in an upcoming series of posts related to Little Puppy’s sensory integration issues – and those wills start appearing on Saturdays or Sundays so that I can have alliteration, which is important (maybe): Sensory Saturdays? Sensory Sundays? I’m not sure yet.

Happy New Year!

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I always look back in August. I always look ahead in August. This month in my family we have looked back and ahead in celebration of two birthdays (husband’s 35th and his dad’s 70-somethingth.) The week following we looked back at 9 years, or so, of consciously parenting -our oldest confirmed in his existence by way of two bluish, purplish, pinkish lines. We looked ahead to the year he will turn 9, last year of single digit and so many other small things. I look back to August a year ago, coming upon a Christian theologian talking some sense on TV and – right there, half asleep on my sofa with a baby next to me – reclaiming faith as a separate and distinct power from the political games being played with it in our culture at this time. I look ahead to the years of future joy this will bring me as I am able to share and celebrate my beliefs with my children and others without feeling shame.

A year ago today, still weeping with fresh grief for the tragic anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in our southern states, I watched a movie that lit a candle in a dark corner of my mind. More importantly, for me, it changed the way I felt about the world around me. I began to feel that it was a small, fragile place that required my loving attention. This movie did more to change my tiny, seemingly routine acts of daily life than any larger religious or political force or movement ever has. The volcanic shift inside me is just beginning to overflow into life and action. I look behind me, and I look ahead. At the far distant parameters of what I can predict about my future, I can see the influence the movie has had on me and mine 3, 5 and 10 years down the line. It was An Inconvenient Truth.

Now, I will tell you something truly revealing about myself. I am a suburban mother of three and I do not own a minivan. I will allow you a moment to recover from the shock. My boys are crammed into the back of a Subaru, like sardines but louder, is what I say to make myself feel better about all the tickling and poking. We badly need something bigger. I’m sure the day will come, but I just keep hoping that something fuel efficient vehicle with a third row will be designed just for me, perhaps a hybrid, something sleek but spacious yet economical such that someone could buy it for me for my birthday…and also, I wish for world peace.

Still, that was an easy one. We’re really too broke to deal with our car situation anyway. My daily grind, my environmental discipline these days, reminds me of a spiritual commitment, to tithe, to pray, to meditate, to fast, to forgo, to sacrifice. One does these things solely for a benefit that can’t be held in one’ s hand. Learning to clean with vinegar and baking soda proved to be both easy and incredibly money saving. Giving up paper towels, very much harder to do, and let us not discuss diapers here. I. just. can’t. But, I might in the future…I just might. It’s the learning to deal with the nitty gritty moments of it that I’d like to discuss here.

This is a not abnormal scene in my life:
Baby needs motrin for teeth. Oh, we need a new bottle, nothing in this one. Okay, rinse it out in bathroom sink. Check the bottom of the bottle: it’s a 2, 2s go downstairs. Put bottle on bathroom counter. Okay, open new bottle. It’s in a small cardboard box. Thin filmy plastic surrounds it. Deep breath. I cannot recycle this plastic here, yet. Deep breath. It goes in the trashcan in the bathroom. Small cardboard box – small ray of light, I can recycle this. It has to go downstairs to recycling. Open motrin. Dose fussy baby who then requires nap. After nap return to bathroom, retrieve recylcling from sink and take downstairs. Paper recycling, locked under kitchen sink in paper bag – I’m running out of paper grocery bags requested by my recylcing company for mixed paper -I’ll have to remember to not take my cloth bags to grocery store tomorrow. This is hard to remember. I just spent months training myself to always take them. I’m confused. Okay, stay focused, take the motrin bottle to the recycling bin in the garage, toss it on top of the beer bottles.
End scene.

Time for another true green confession: I grew up a city girl and continued to perceive myself through this lense. But just recently, I’ve felt a little bit of an urge to solve my perennial suburban dissatisfaction by going a totally different route altogether, by packing it up and heading towards a greener pasture, a tiny homestead with a big garden full of veggies, a laundry line and compost pile somewhere out the back. It’s a totally new direction for me, looking ahead to what may come of all this, rather than to the city life that is functionally behind me – though still has my heart and taste buds in many ways – I assure you, many people who have known me for a long time are deeply shocked to hear I might consider keeping animals of any sort. But, fresh eggs! Imagine.

I’ve begun to teach myself to appreciate the work that goes into taking care of this place I live. I’m starting to see myself as someone both capable of and obliged to do this work to the best of my ability in this time and place. (I now give you leave to discuss diapers. I will pause.)

The chores have become for me an exercise in mindfulness, of doing the steps, each in its turn, aware the result is bigger than the steps. I bring to this process a history of silent prayer, a little yoga practice and the mindfulness training that one teaches oneself for natural childbirth. Becoming part of the process, knowing the result is bigger than me and my tiny actions -much tinier: a motrin bottle chucked on a pile of beer bottles, the tending of green things, the delicate balance of shopping bags, paper recycling, vinegar rinse in the sink, three boys squashed together in tub, in a car, laughing, loving, bickering, squawking, looking hopefully ahead to a planet with glaciers, mountains, rain forests, desserts, birds, fish, and trees.


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