Monthly Archives: January 2009
I admit, I’m a budding gardener. And it is so exciting that the time to order seeds and plan this years garden is upon me! Last year I ran upon a great book, Animal, Vegatable, Miracle a little too late to start a full-fledged garden, but that didn’t stop me from getting a few seeds to germinate in my less-than-desirable soil. The tiny eggplants we grew were scrumptious– so much better than those store bought monsters. And that has incitd me to do better this year.
I’m going to do more eggplant, but I only need a plant or two for what we will consume. I want to try to grow some baby greens for a salad mixture, mainly because those bag mixes are so expensive and I never seem to finish them before they get all slimy. Carrots are definatley on the agenda and I want to try to grow them into next winter using cold frames. Supposedly carrots get so much sweeter when it gets cold because they start converting their starch into sugars. I’m not a raw tomato fan, but I do love pasta, so I’m going to try my hand and some Roma and other sauce tomatoes. And some beans, lima, pea or green beans.
I still remember helping my mom shell limas and snap green beans when I was a child. Those kinds of earthy memories stick with a child, so I want to give my kids a head start at growing their own food later too!
This is bound to be a learning experience at any rate. I know almost nothing about plant pests and problems, soil requriement, pruning and harvesting. What I do know is that growing some of my own food will save my family a little money, help cut down on the amount of fossil fuels burnt by trucking in my food, and help the environment a little at the same time. I’m thinking of it as my own little victory garden– only the cause is for my life to be a better one in general.
I know I’m not alone in watching CSI: Las Vegas, CSI:Miami, NCIS, or Numbers failthfully. They wouldn’t be hit television shows if I was the only one watching them. But I have to wonder how many other women out there like me, want to star in their own real life investigative drama. I don’t mean on TV. I’m not bad looking, but it take more than blonde hair and blue eyes to make it to the boob-tube. I mean in real life, as a career.
I’m a thirty-one year old mother of two grade-school age kids, with a husband who spends half of his time in the woods hunting one beast or another. I work full-time in a cubicle profession. I take classes when my life can handle it. I can shoot a gun and rather enjoy the sound of a two-liter bottle exploding as I empty my clip. I even took the course that is required for getting a concealed weapon permit in the state of Virginia. I am very intuitive– I notice quickly when a person or situation just doesn’t seem right. Logic is my friend and I abhor things that just don’t make sense to me. I love to learn about other cultures and I believe in the sanctity of law enforcement. So does that make me a realistic candidate for some type of law enforcement career, or am I just daydreaming like every other mother out there who wants a career that Hollywood has deemed interesting and psuedo-glamourous?
The time to swathe our heads and necks to protect from the biting cold is definatley upon us. And my current stock of scarves is lacking in warmth and quirkiness….so I began the ritual browsing. And low and behold, I found several scarfaliscious scarves over at Orginal Good.
I couldn’t make up my mind, so of course I got all three. Now I’ll be as snug as a… well, you know… a Fashionably Quirky Gurl!
All of these are fair-trade. All of these are hand-made. The back one is even alpaca! I feel better knowing I’ve got more scarves on the way to balance out my wardrobe. And who knows, if the temperature keeps dropping, I might need to wear them all at once! (If you want them for yourself, just click the pic to get to Original Good’s site)
Anybody that either:
A) Has children who seem to make the number of dishes in your sink quadruple
B) Hates doing dishes
C) Currently buys plastic cups for whatever reason
..Needs to read the blog I just posted on One Quirky Gurl. I found these great fully biodegrable and Compostable (my garden will love these!) cups. Less dishes to wash, without the guilt of clogging the landfills. Same cost as grocery store plastic cups. Its a win-win, really. I only wish I had thought if it
I just put up a blog about the book by Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and I wanted to share it with everyone here too.
And In case you’re wondering, being a LOCAVORE, is all about eating locally to better the planet, better yourselves and to support your local farmers and growers. Still not sure what I’m talking about? Go on over and read the review… or just get the book. You won’t be sorry
The desire to procreate, in some, is so strong that it creates a sort of tunnel vision in the afflicted. One can’t see beyond trying to make a baby, and they never stop to think about what it will really be like once said baby has in fact, arrived.
I don’t mean to demean the whole carrying-on-the-family thing. Hey, I’m as guilty as the rest of people that once had a dream, and in getting that dream, got a whole lot more.
All I ever wanted to be was a mother. In high school I had things I preferred to study, side-passions that I took interest in, but as for what I wanted to “do” with my life, well, I only had one goal: Motherhood.
When I hit college, my career-track never wavered. I’ve dropped out of college three times, and I still have almost a year left of college if I am to ever get that danged illusive degree. But, I digress.
I just had to become pregnant, incubate a little being for nine months, and be the best darned mommy that ever existed in the course of the entire world. I would be nurturing and patient, gentle and soft-spoken. I not only got my wish, I got twice—I found out I was pregnant again just a few sleep deprived months after my first son was born.
Motherhood has turned out to be nothing like I imagined or hoped and everything that I didn’t realize I had asked for. I’m ashamed to admit, that I really didn’t think this whole motherhood thing through. I like my quiet time. I need my privacy. I want hours on end to be creative and introspective. And now that I have two children under the age of 6, I have none of the things that I want or need to maintain my true self or my sanity.
Now, my idea of quiet time is reading a book so engrossing that I somehow manage to tune out the circus of creatures running amok in the living room. Now, I receive privacy almost never, and especially if the quest for privacy involves anything to do with nudity or bathroom tasks. It seems that I went to sleep in a typical suburban house and woke up one morning in a hippie commune.
And now, this long-term reality has collided with what I once expected of motherhood, and I’m wondering why in the hell I didn’t think this whole motherhood thing through at least a little bit.
I blame it all on the hormones and their apparent conspirator, genetics. You see, it is in the very nature of our species to procreate. It is in our best interest to pass our genes along, because if we don’t, the human race could die out.
Maybe that’s what happened to the dinosaurs. One gigantic green mother turned to the other females munching on broad tropical leaves and said “I can’t believe I thought I wanted this” nodding to her five-hundred-pound darling dangling by sharp teeth from her ample backside. And another turned to her and said, “You are so right! So what if Junior fell in the tar pit last week! When Herman comes to me with sweet-talk and Sangria, I’m just gonna tell him that I’m done having tail-biters. He’ll have to go find another womb to curse!”
So it has to be, because no other explanation would suffice, that my genes and my hormones blinded me, lulled me into the motherhood fog, and completely shut down all sense of rationality and reason that I had. No normal person, if they really knew what the next decades of their lives were to be like, would willingly walk into that dank, dark abyss.
And do you want to know the crazy part? I’m feeling the lull of the fog again, rolling deep and opaque around me, shielding me from the shrieks of babes and the hiding the mountain of dirty laundry. My genetics and hormones are teaming up against me again. Dear God, I want another one!
How can I fight it? Even if I could find the words to plead my case, they wouldn’t hold any weight against the survival of the species. My biology has spoken loud and clear, and it always has the last word. Better to just make nice and ride on through it, with the hopes that nature will be kind to me…
Thank God for genes and hormones. Without them, I wouldn’t exist to curse the condemned play-room, or scrub spaghetti off of my brand new suede couch. And I wouldn’t have a son who runs to me with another one of his oddly insightful observations, or have a daughter who buries her tear-stained face in my chest when the mop-headed little boy at school calls her a whiney-butt, again.
I just put up a post over at my other blog One Quirky Gurl regarding my newest way to read, which is great for the environment, saves me tons of cash and gives me time to read instead of wasting my time driving to the bookstore or digging through the library for something, anything that I haven’t read yet. It’s the Kindle, and electronic reading device from Amazon.
Here’s a teaser from my blog:
I’m a self-proclaimed bibliophile. Of course, I don’t have to proclaim it, one just need to see my house– baskets, bookshelves and cardboard boxes full of box nestled in various corners of my humble abode speak volumes on my Literal addiction all on their own. And like any addiction, loving to read does have it’s down falls…Needless to say, I wasn’t surprised in the least when Oprah recently was quoted as saying how much she loved the Kindle device. But I had to smile, because I loved it first
(eCo)nscious Market is a self-proclaimed “For-Benefit” online commerce site based in Boulder, Colorado. They tout that their products are the finest ecologically and socially responsible products available, and the company donates a minimum of 10% of every purchase to a non-profit organizations. The even go so far as to let the buyer “hand-pick” the program that receives the donation funded by their purchase.
A sampling of organizations that are listed on the eConscious Market include:
-Urban Sprouts: uses school gardens to help youth engage in school, eat better, and connect with the environment and each other.
-The Jane Goodall Institutes works to protect chimpanzees and their habitats, supports community-centered development projects in ecologically-significant areas, and engages youth in making a positive difference.
-The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people.
-Global Culture of Women Project, Celebrating the global voice of women ~ a beautiful revolution.
-Bead for Life, eradicates extreme poverty by creating bridges – Ugandan women make jewelry out of recycled paper and Americans open their homes and hearts to buy and sell the beads.
And that’s just a tidbit of the charities benefiting every time someone shops. And the best part of it all? You won’t feel bad for shopping, and the merchandise on this site is amazing.
I fell in love with sooo many things here, that if it weren’t for the money of mine making its way to charity right now, I just might be feeling the lightness in my wallet
This Large Stingray cuff, made of 100% recycled materials.
Or this Vy & Elle Portfolio crafted from Recycled billboards.
Or their cool line of 100% recycled notebooks. I AM a sucker for office supplies, I know.
I found this terrific resource for those interested in checking up on the companies they buy from every day. Over at Coop America, you can check out companies like Coca-Cola, Avon, Borders, General Mills, J. Crew, Nestle’, Target and Walmart– and see how well they fair in treating their employees and the environment.
Want more interesting tidbits from the Responsible Shopping tool over at the COOP? Always obliging, here you go:
-In October 2007, Indian authorities raided factories in New Dehli that produce clothing for the Gap and found children as young as 10 working there.
-Barnes and Noble has used its influence to secure favored status with publishers, making it increasingly difficult for small booksellers to compete. The company paid $2.35 million to settle an antitrust lawsuit for this practice. (Well Crap! I love to browse there! Lesson learned, support your independent booksellers.)
-General Mills has done some great things including committing to the use of whole grains in all of its cereals and investing $2 million to create 150 jobs at Siyeza, Inc., a company where ownership stake opportunities are offered to employees.
Although they have partnered with conservation and expedition groups to mold itself as a proactive company concerned with protecting the environment, in 2006 National Labor Committee report revealed that a factory sewing t-shirts for L.L. Bean subjected its workers to extremely long hours with no sick leave or health benefits, paid wages below the legal minimum, denied some workers 60 percent of pay legally owed to them, and had unsanitary and unsafe working conditions.
According to CoopAmerica, the mega-corporation Walmart has been underperforming for some time. Go ahead, see for yourself.
In the past, I used to be one of those people that aschewed “Tree-huggers”. I blame it on the era in which I was raised. I would hear the grown ups talking about this group, or that one, and how they were taking away our rights and lively-hoods by their loud campaigning and alarmist reports.
In many, this sense of disdain for organized environmental groups lingers. For example, yesterday I send out an email throughout my company to announce I now had a bin for aluminum cans to be recycled, and if anyone would like to contribute I’d be happy to take ALL the cans they could throw at me to the collection center at the local SPCA (who gets a meager stipend from the recycling company, thus benefiting the environment AND the local stray animals). Not too long after that, I get at least three similar comments within a twenty-minute period. “What, are you becoming a tree-hugger now?” and “Don’t tell me your an eco-nut” were the gist of things.
My response? A genuine smile and a reply akin to “I drink the soda and just don’t feel right throwing them away. It takes no more effort for me to haul them to the recycling center than to the landfill. It just makes sense.” Sneaky right? Combating age old prejuidices with logic is very hard to argue against. No emotion, just plain old common sense.
So, realizing the tides are turning, I decided to do a little research about some of the tried and true environmental organizations, starting with the Sierra Club which has been around since 1892.
1. Explore, enjoy and protect the wild places of the earth.
2. Practice and promote the responsible use of the earth’s ecosystems and resources.
3. Educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment.
4. Use all lawful means to carry out these objectives.
With over 1.3 million members and supporters, I’d say that the Sierra Club has the power of the people standing firmly behind their ideologies. Even now, the Sierra Club is hard at work to re-power America using smart energy initiatives, protecting endangered species and the land they depend upon, funding campaigns and research into global warming, clean water initiatives and soooooo much more. You really should hop over to their website and take a gander at all of the information, interactive maps and resources they have to offer.
Remember, no emotionality needed, just pure and simple common sense.
Interested? Just click the banner to the right of the screen. Yes, the Sierra Club has earned a spot on this little site
A Spot of Good Scarf
These cozy scarves really hit the spot! Each piece is crafted in Nepal by artisans of Sana Hastakala, an organization started by UNICEF that helps underprivileged artisans through business and community development projects. Empowering artisans to support their families and learn valuable skills – that’s good you could spot from a world away!
* 8.5 x 81 (in.)
* Wool and Felt
* Hand Wash
* Fair trade and Unique
* Handcrafted in Nepal
These beautiful journals are handmade by a family in the village of Tegallalang, Bali who have mastered the craft of turning nature’s litter into art. The family collects leaves, twigs and dried fruit from their garden to create the covers and make the recycled paper using a kitchen blender.
* 8.25 x 7 x 0.75 (in.)
* Waru and Kapu Kapu Leaves with
* Recycled Paper
* Fair trade and Unique
* Handcrafted in Indonesia
For more from World of Good:
Joy-Full Goods Multistrand Necklace
Adorn yourself in good cheer with these multi-strand beaded treasures! Each piece is handmade by artisans of Tara Projects, a fair trade organization on the outskirts of Delhi, India. Tara Projects creates employment and educational opportunities for local artisans, and is a leader in the movement against child labor. Now that’s something to be joyful about!
* 18.75 (in.)
* 2.25″ Extender
* Glass Beads, Brass Chain, Wire
* and Clasp
* Fair trade and Unique
* Handcrafted in India