Friday, February 29, 2008

Darn You To Heck, Crunchy Chicken!!!

I have eaten foods involving bacon for three meals straight. Lunch? Also involves bacon? Dinner? If you guessed, bacon, it's what's for dinner you would be correct.

See, once upon a time I threw a party and Honda brought bacon as part of a bacon-wrapped dates appetizer. Except that she bought too much bacon so after the party was over there was a whole packet of bacon leftover. Which Honda left in my fridge.

Where it stayed.

For days. And weeks. And weeks.

And finally the other day I looked in my fridge and realized that my bacon was about to expire!!

"Oh no!" I cried. "Crunchy Chicken will flay/filet me if she finds out I threw away an ENTIRE packet of bacon!"

And so it was that I set into the kitchen and started making use of the bacon. And then I did eat said bacon.

And the first bacon dish was delicious.

And the second bacon dish was too.

But by the third bacon dish, I wondered if I could *hear* my arteries clogging up.

So I packed up my turkey bacon chili and started to hand servings out willy nilly to any and all takers.

The moral of the story is: don't wait until the day before your food expires to cook it.

The end.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

To Buy or Not To Buy

Last night, Ecogeofemme wrote a comment that got me thinking:

I have kinda wondered about this. I think of you sometimes when I buy things. It will cross my mind that I could probably do without the thing I'm buying and I think "Arduous wouldn't buy it". Sometimes that thought makes me put the thing back on the shelf. :) In a way, I'm glad to know it's still a little hard for you because somehow it makes me feel less bad abut myself for being a consuming loser. I'm not sure how that logic works...Are you going to start shopping again when the year is up? If yes, do you think it will be fun or make you feel guilty? Are you going to write a book about it?

First of all, I think it's important that I'm honest with all of you. Yeah, a lot of times, I'm a reasonably happy non-consumer, but there are days when I'm not. I have also been known to over-compensate by buying more food than I really *need* just because I desperately want to buy something. I also buy more experiences these days, like concert tickets and theatre tickets, partly because not buying stuff means I can afford more concert tickets, but also because buying concert tickets gives me that momentary "thrill" of buying something.

So my point is, yeah, sometimes not buying stuff is hard. It's not always hard. And Beany's experience which she also commented on has been similar to mine. The less you shop, the less you desire to shop. And I've found that for about 90% of the things I covet, I forget about them a week later. Even the Wii, which I really want, I know I wouldn't play that often. I know I'm better off just playing it occasionally when I go to a friend's house. As for the baking dishes and mats, I obviously don't REALLY want them or I'd find them used. And that's what not buying new does to you. It makes it harder to find stuff, because you have to go to Craigslist or Ebay or garage sales. It's still not that difficult. But it's more difficult than going to the mall or Amazon or what not. Which means that when I buy stuff, when I go through the hassle of searching for something used, I know it's something I really want, as opposed to just a whim.

Which leads to the question, what am I going to do when my year is up? And the answer is, I don't know. I've had moments where I thought I'd go on a shopping spree, and others where I thought I'd keep up the non-consumerism. Obviously I can't keep it up to the rigidity that I'm maintaining now. I'm not buying any clothes until August at all. Eventually, I'm going to have to buy some clothes. They might be used, but I'd still be buying. And as I'm never going to buy used socks or underwear, I'm eventually going to have to buy new clothes sometimes too.

I think in some ways I could do okay as a more or less permanent non-consumer. I was never a huge shopper to begin with. The things I really like to buy are things like books and CDs that are widely and easily available used. But I feel a little guilty about buying all my books used. I've enjoyed many a book since August, The Omnivore's Dilemma, Not Buying It, Garbage Land, etc, and not one of those authors has seen any money from me. That seems ... wrong somehow. Music is a little easier. I can buy music off of iTunes and the artists receive their royalties. But, it's not the same thing as buying a CD from a member of the group after their show at Spaceland. Buying off of iTunes is necessarily impersonal. That doesn't mean it isn't worth the savings of plastic cases and plastic CDs. It probably is. But I think it illustrates that the politics of not buying are more gray than black and white.

I think, regardless of what I decide come August, that what is important is to be a mindful consumer. A lot of the tips you read about on financial/debt blogs are relevant to everyone. If you want to buy something, sit on your impulse for at least a week. If you still want it after a week, buy it. If you're like me, after a week, you'll have completely forgotten about whatever it is you wanted to buy.

I want to always think about my purchases, and ask myself if I really *need* them. This is tricky because I know I'd probably win a gold medal for rationalizing at the Olympics. But I have to be honest with myself. Will I use this every day? No? Once a week? Once a month? If the answer is fewer that 2-3 times a month, then I probably don't *need* it.

And ultimately I have to keep in mind, that you can't take it with you. Ultimately it doesn't matter if my pans are Calphalon or not. What matters is the time I spent with my friends and family. What matters is experiencing the art that makes the world a more beautiful place. What matters is living life, not accumulating stuff.

So no matter what I decide in August, I won't choose to be the same consumer I was a year ago. Because even if I buy, even if I buy new, I will be buying with my eyes wide open. And I think that's the important thing.

Oh, and no plans for a book. But if someone wants to offer me a publishing deal, I won't turn them down. Just sayin'.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I Have Over Five Months Left?!?!

All the kool kids have a Klean Kanteen. I want one! Also, I really desperately need socks. Socks that have mates. Sniff, sniff.

Look how cute! I know I have a messenger bag, but it's so PRETTY and NEW!

I want a Klean Kanteen, and a new dress, and a SOAP SLEEVE and a square baking dish and those magical silicone baking mats. And glass bowls, and damn it, I want a Wii. With Guitar Hero 3.

I know I do not need more things. I know that I have too many things. That things are cluttering my life. That you can't take it with you. And most of the time I'm fine with that. Most of the time I'm happy not buying things. I like that I can afford to donate more. I like that my savings account is building up (albeit at a glacial pace.)

But, sigh. I'm not going to lie to you guys. Some days it's hard.

Some days you just want to buy.

Stress Less

Well voting is still ongoing for my March challenge. But because I LOVE challenges and am a HUGE SUCKER and also Freeze Yer Buns is basically over, I am also taking on a challenge from Chile- The Stress Less Challenge.

February has been a bad month for me and the stress has brought a return to bad habits like eating a couple pre-packaged frozen dinners. Bad for me, bad for the earth. I attribute this to stress and bad time management. Of course, I am not entirely to blame- I couldn't really anticipate having to be away from home last weekend, but I still spend too much time tooling around on the computer when I could be ... doing anything else.

I have also been doing other very bad things including skipping meals, not exercising, not doing any yoga, and having bad sleep and nightmares because of it.

Chile is asking that we all take 30 minutes a day to do something to de-stress whether it is exercise or yoga or meditation etc. I'm going to formalize this a bit more.

For the month of March I'm going to do some cardio exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes 4 days a week. Cardio helps clear my mind, it helps me sleep better at night, and it's healthy. It's also really important for me because I have cholesterol issues.

I am going to do yoga for a minimum of 30 minutes once a week.

I am going to eat three meals a day Mon-Fri. Saturdays and Sundays are excused because I love brunch.

I'm going to take five minutes before bed every night to think about what I'm thankful for. I am shamelessly stealing from Erin here but it sounds like a good thing to do. And I'm hoping it will lessen the nightmares. (Last night I dreamt I had both leukemia and HIV and that I was literally a few days away from dying. Pleasant no?)

I am going to restrict my internet use to two hours a day on Saturdays and Sundays. So I can still use my computer to say, write the novel that I've been putting on the back burner forever and ever, but I can't use it to aimlessly wander the internets all day.

I think that's all. It's going to be difficult for me to accomplish, but I have high hopes that it will lead to an improvement in my quality of life, and that it will free up time for me to do things like write or read books or practice guitar or cook.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Poll Time!

Okay, here are the two options I've come up with for my March challenge:

MaLoFoMo- The Local Food Challenge
I still really want to do this challenge. It's a little shameful that I live in sunny Los Angeles and don't go to the farmer's market for my food. In my defense I've been really busy with volunteering and various other things on Saturday mornings which is when the local farmer's market is held. But excuses, excuses, I know I could probably still manage to get there at least once every couple weeks. I think my goal with the local food challenge would be to make one local meal per week. Maybe I'd do it up and have people over for dinner every week for my local meal. Book of the month: Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.

MaArAcMo- The Armchair Activist Challenge
I got this idea from Beth at Fake Plastic Fish. I'd basically commit to 15 minutes of "armchair activism" per day. I'd use those 15 minutes to sign petitions, start my own petitions, call my congresswoman, or call local businesses and ask them to change unenvironmental practices. I've realized that small political acts like signing petitions do make a difference. And this challenge would be in keeping with my goal of "opting in" more and making a larger difference. Book of the month: Breakthrough by Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus.

And here's the poll. If you have a different idea, feel free to leave it in the comments.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Return to Normalcy

I'm back. I'm exhausted, but fine otherwise. The service was perfect. I managed to speak without crying. And now it's back to regularly scheduled life.

Of course there are only four days at February left, and FeGROCMo has been pretty much derailed. I never managed to put stuff up on Ebay, and the clothing swap that was scheduled for yesterday had to be postponed.

So I am going to try and get set up on Ebay, and I am still going to do the clothing swap sometime in March, but other than that, I'm going to let it go and declare FeGROCMo pretty much a wash. I did get rid of some stuff, and I did put up some other stuff on Freecycle. I did read, "Not Buying It." And I guess given the circumstances, that's going to have to be good enough for this challenge.

Meanwhile, the battery for my iBook is defunct. Which means I probably need to go out and buy a new battery. I was hoping I could wait until August, but I don't think I can go five more months. I don't think a used battery makes much sense though, so consume I must. I am going to put it off as long as I can though. Because I am lazy.

And I am now taking suggestions for my March challenge so feel free to put any and all thoughts in the comments. I have a couple ideas in mind, but I would love to hear from you guys.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wanting More

Thank you all for your well wishes. Yesterday night was a particularly bad night for me, and you don't know how comforting it was to read everyone's comments. I really cherish all of my blog-friends, even if I don't know you all in real life!

Anyway, yesterday I was in a kind of bad place where I was like, "What's the point of it all?" and "Why does it matter if we recycle if my friend just died?" But today I'm a little more in my right frame of mind, and the truth is, if we care about our loved ones, if we care about our children, or our grandchildren, or our friends, or our parents, we have to realize the impact the environment has on these people. My friend who passed away had leukemia that had been almost completely asymptomatic prior to Tuesday. Now, I don't pretend to know what gave her cancer, or what could have prevented it, but I do know that there are carcinogens all around us. In our plastic bowls, in our dryer sheets, in our household cleaners, in our hairspray.

Why? No, really, why? Because non-toxic solutions do exist. So why do we allow these toxins in our environment? Why do these toxins still fill row after row at Target? Why doesn't our government regulate this more stringently? Because, here's the thing. You can make a non-toxic dryer sheet. And some people might buy them. But by keeping toxic dryer sheets on the market, you are implicitly saying, "It's okay. There's nothing wrong with this dryer sheet."

I'm reminded of Jane Smiley's brilliant work, "A Thousand Acres." It's a retelling of King Lear, but there's a twist. It's set on an Iowa farm, and a great deal of the tragedy of the piece stems from the toxic environment of the Iowa farm. I'm not going to spoil it for those of you who haven't read it, but seriously, pick it up at the library. It's a fantastic read, and Smiley received the Pulitzer for it in 1992.

Our government currently seems to be ducking its head in the sand and ignoring the very real, very large environmental problems that exist. They cater to businesses by not enforcing stringent safety and health standards, by allowing known carcinogens to stay on the market, and then they turn around and cut funding for cancer research and other scientific endeavors. And it's bullshit. I'm sorry to swear, but it is. And we shouldn't put up with it, and yet, we do.

And I just want to go up to the American people and shake them. And say, this is not right. We don't have to just go along with this. Judith Levine put this so eloquently in an interview about her book, "Not Buying It." I'm paraphrasing here, because I don't have the book on hand but she said that we Americans don't want too much, we don't want ENOUGH. That instead of demanding more vacation time, or universal health care, or affordable daycare, or paid maternity leave, etc etc we're settling for an iPhone and credit card debt. And it's true.

Let's think for a moment how different it could be. What if, after September 11th, the government hadn't asked us to go shopping. What if they had raised taxes instead? Now, look, taxes aren't fun. But neither is government debt. So what if the government had decided to raise taxes for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq or to increase homeland security instead of going into debt? Or what if the government had decided to prevent recession by increasing government jobs a la the New Deal instead of sending us all rebate checks. What if Americans woke up and realized that we're getting a very raw deal right now. That we deserve better than this. That education and health care and the environment are more vital to our happiness than this year's boots.

And that's why I'm an environmentalist. That's why I'm a non-consumer. I don't want less. I want more.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Celebrating Life

My friend Shorty passed away on Friday. It was completely unexpected; as far as we knew she was totally fine on Monday. So I'm going to take a second to do a little PSA: guys, you never know what's going to happen when. Make a plan. Keep a written record of your passwords, especially if you do banking etc online only. Write up a living will. I know it feels silly and morbid. Get over it. My friend was thirty years old. (And yes, this advice is as much for me as it is for everyone else. When my dad passed away unexpectedly a few years ago, I swore I'd get all this together, and I didn't. This is another reminder that I need to take care of all of this. Now. Okay PSA over.)

The memorial service is on Thursday, which meant that I decided to stay in town this weekend and attend my friends' S&D's wedding, and I'm so glad I got to go. It was lovely to have many of my close friends around me (including ScienceMama and her adorable Bean.) The ceremony was beautiful, if bittersweet for me. When the rabbi explained to us that that the breaking of the glass is a symbol for the fragility of life, I got all choked up. But I reined it in, so that I could offer my mazel tov to the bride and groom. And then we drank champagne, and toasted S&D repeatedly, and hit the dance floor.

And on Thursday I fly to the Midwest. As difficult as the past few days have been, I keep trying to focus on all the wonderful memories I have of my friend. I want to celebrate her life, which was so vibrant and filled with joy. She was one of the most energetic, ebullient people I've met, and that's what I want to remember. I want to remember her love for Dave Matthews and Big Ten football. Her passion for the world around her. Her obsession with NPR.

I am so lucky to have had her in my life for the past ten years. She was a dear friend, the best roommate, and an amazing person.

Wherever you are, my friend, I miss you, I love you, and I will always cherish the memories I have of you. Requiescat In Pace.

Friday, February 15, 2008

And The World Keeps Turning

It never fails to shock me that the world keeps spinning on its axis, even in the face of tragedy. I remember that the morning after my dad died, I was vaguely surprised to see the newspaper so full of ordinary, mundane news, when clearly the world would never be the same again. And yesterday I couldn't believe how much news there was on the election, yes the same election I've been obsessed with for months.

But I don't care about the election right now. I only care about my friend. And I want to be able to Google her name and get her current status, instead of you know, her Linked In profile. I keep obsessively checking her blog. Why? I couldn't tell you.

I think this might be the slight advantage to public tragedy. In a public tragedy, everyone mourns with you, and you can watch CNN for updates. Of course the downside is that you get politicians trying to out-do each other in their empathy for you, and CNN is really only reporting your tragedy because tragedy brings higher ratings.

Anyway, I'm still in LA for various reasons and I feel totally helpless. Of course as a friend pointed out, I wouldn't be any less helpless were I out there. And it sucks. It sucks to sit and wait and to not be able to do anything. This is the advantage of being religious, and I'm not a big fan of organized religion, but prayer is definitely something to *do.* A way to feel less impotent.

Sorry for the bleak nature of this post, but this is really all I can think about right now.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Bad Stuff

One of my best friends is in the hospital right now. It's a whole long story, but basically, she's not conscious, she's hooked up to life support, and things aren't looking super good right now. So yeah. I'm alternately googling scary medical crap and looking up flights to the Midwest. So that's my story. Happy Valentine's Day, eh?

I'm not particularly religious, but if any of you are, would you mind sending some prayers out there for my friend?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Today I got an email from Red Envelope: LAST CHANCE for Romance. Sheesh, Red Envelope, I think I'll survive somehow without your $40 mile high kit thanks. Seriously, and I don't really mean to take this blog into R-rated territory, but apparently everyone else is doing it, do you really need to spend $40 so that you can have ess-ee-ex in a tiny germy bathroom? I really don't get why everything for Valentine's Day has to be so manufactured-romantic. In my humble opinion, chocolates and a teddy bear don't say romance so much as, I-didn't-put-any-thought-into-this-so-I-picked-this-thing-up-at-the-Vons. I love presents, both giving and getting, but I feel like the point of Valentine's Day is often to give presents that are designated romantic, as opposed to giving something that your sig-o will actually appreciate/wants/needs.

In other news my friend Honda IMed me today to tell me that her mom was getting rid of some kitchen stuff, so she snagged a gingerbread man cookie cutter for me. So, yay! No more having to hand cut from paper templates! We're so excited that Honda decided we might need to make summer gingerbread men in bathing suits.

And yes, summer has come to LA. I'm hoping we still see some rain, but last night I was wishing for a fan instead of a rice sock. So technically, there's six weeks of Freeze Yer Buns left, but, I'm going to start preparing for Heat Yer Buns Summer edition, and am on the look out for a used fan.

What else? Project No Waste is going poorly. Somehow I ended up with a loaf of bread that went moldy in about four days. I don't know how that's possible because normally bread keeps at least a week, but it meant I had to throw away about 3/4 a loaf of bread.

And Trim the Fat is going worse. I signed up with pretty much one goal: to reduce the time I spend online. If you've guessed that I've made barely any progress you would be correct. I *have* been spending less time online when I'm not at the office, but that's only because I've been going out a lot. When I get home, I still make a bee-line for the computer.

Next on the agenda for FeGROCMo? Paring down my purse collection. Someone once said that you are either a purse girl or a shoe girl, and I am definitely the former. I have WAY too many purses, but I love them so, so much. So this is going to be a tough one for me.

Oh! Remember the wine corks in my garbage diary? Well, the illustrious Green Bean tipped me off to a place that will take back your wine corks! Check them out.

Okay, I think that's all the updates for now. Any questions?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Building Community Through Freecycle

So I ended up posting my portable CD player along with the miscellaneous cables and cords on Freecycle. And the next day I had a woman eager to take all of it off my hands (except the phone cords. No one wants those for some reason.)

She came to pick them up, and we had a 5 minute conversation about where she used to work and where I used to work and it was so ... nice. And it made me realize that Freecycle isn't just about saving stuff from the landfill (though that's a wonderful thing.) It's about building community. Because had she gone to the store to buy a CD player and an ethernet cable, she probably wouldn't have spent 5 minutes just chatting with the store clerk. And when she left, we both thanked each other. Me, I was thankful that those darn cords and cables were finally out of my hair after seven years. And she, she was grateful that she didn't have to go out and buy new stuff.

I did end up keeping the mic though.

Monday, February 11, 2008

You Like Me, You Really Like Me! Sniff!!

Chile nominated me for an excellent blog award. This might mean my sucking up has paid off, and she decided to nominate me because I called her a genius, but I'm choosing to believe that she actually does like my little old blog. So, thanks Chile. I really appreciate it, because you know, coming from a genius, an excellent blog award means a lot!!

Anyway, I'm really tickled to receive this award. I haven't been blogging very long, so this is the first award I've ever received for my blog, and I'm really happy that people actually read what I write, and even enjoy it! This blog has been a wonderful outlet for me, and I feel blessed to have you all as readers. You guys rock!

Now with this award comes the munificent privilege of handing out awards. So here are ten blogs that I think deserve the excellent blog moniker. I read a very diverse group of blogs, so I tried to divide up the awards among various categories.

Classical Geek Theatre- I completely admit to being a CGT groupie. But the truth is, if you are interested in music, or more specifically, the LA music scene, CGT is a must read. His detailed reviews of independent artists and his love and enthusiasm for music in general make CGT an extremely welcome and necessary addition to the panoply of music blogs on the interwebs.

Crunchy Chicken- Crunchy has been racking up Excellent Blog awards like Ellen Degeneres racks up Daytime Emmys, and with good reason. Crunchy's blog is one of the best environmental blogs out there: she's funny, smart, and courageous as hell.

Green as a Thistle- What I love about Vanessa is the sense of fun that exudes from her daily posts. She treats living lightly as a great adventure. Plus, she has awesome hair.

Car(bon) free in California-
Charles is one of the most thought-provoking enviro-bloggers out there. In addition to posts about living lightly, Charles also highlights green technological advances, and he never shies away from discussing the politics of global warming.

Hypoglycemiagirl 366- Hypoglycemiagirl's photoblog is well worth checking out. As a budding amateur photographer, I am wildly jealous of the awesome shots she gets every day.

A Mad Tea-Party- Mad Hatter just returned after a month-long posting hiatus, and I am so glad she's back! Check out her "Viruses are Cool" series. She manages to write about her field in a way that's accessible to laypeople like me.

The Bean Chronicles- 'Intimate,' 'gorgeously written,' and 'tear-inducing,' are all adjectives I'd use to describe The Bean-Mom's blog. Her most recent haiku is a favorite of mine.

Blogging Away Debt- I think this is one of the first blogs I started reading, and I still read it religiously. Tricia's candid account of tackling debt, and the verve with which she approaches such a feat make this a must-read.

Is it completely biased of me to pick Mother of All Scientists and On The Move? Probably. Is that going to deter me? Nah. Yeah, ScienceMama and Annie and I have been close friends for 15 years. But their blogs speak for themselves. They're just both damn good writers. Annie could write a two page ode to Diet Coke and it would be the best thing you'd read all day. Her wonderful, witty posts about her travels make me miss her like hell. ScienceMama writes so poignantly about the Bean and motherhood that I feel like I am getting to see the Bean grow up even though she lives miles away.

And that's ten. I could have easily picked another ten more, because each and every blog I read is wonderful in its own way. I encourage you to check out these blogs, and really all the other blogs on my blogroll (which now that I'm thinking about, I should probably update.)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Our Patriotic Duty

I started to read Judith Levine's Not Buying It this weekend. I didn't expect I'd like it that much. I assumed Levine was younger than she is, and I kind of figured that she would be more of a cheerleader for the non-consumerist movement, trying to "convert" people to the fold. Since I'm already a non-consumer, I didn't think I had much to gain from reading the book, but I wanted a book for this month's challenge, and this seemed to fit the bill.

And now I am so glad I decided to read the book. Because while Not Buying It is a personal account of Levine's year off from shopping, but it's more than that. It's about the societal, moral, and philosophical implications of non-consumerism as well.

For example, Levine reminds us that after September 11th, Americans were exhorted to do our patriotic duty and shop. What does that mean? What did it mean?

Honda and I moved to Los Angeles three days before September 11th. On the morning of the eleventh, I was sleeping on a futon mattress on the floor when a friend called with the news. Still half asleep, I didn't understand the gravity of the situation. "But everyone's all right, right?" I asked.

"No, Arduous, two PLANES hit the World Trade Center. A lot of people just died."


I woke up Honda and we wandered around our half-furnished apartment wondering what to do with ourselves. Our cable wasn't installed yet, so we couldn't watch CNN. Finally, we decided that we should go to the Red Cross and donate blood.

I am completely and totally terrified of needles, so I don't like to give blood. But that day, that was all I wanted to do. It was all I could think to do to help my country. So we drove out to the Red Cross. Where they were no longer taking donations for blood. Droves of people had been donating blood non-stop all day. "Make an appointment to come back in a few weeks," they told us.

We never did.

Instead we watched the president as he called on us to go forth and shop. So we hit the stores. On the late afternoon of September 11th, Honda and I bought our fridge. We bought mini-flags to attach to our car antennaes. And later that week we went to the mall, and I remember feeling pride, as I carried my multiple shopping bags with me. I felt proud to be an American and proud that I was "doing my bit" by going shopping. Oh, the shopping was with a sense of irony, no doubt. I was self-aware enough to realize that being told to shop after such a calamity was at the very least, a little odd. But I never REALLY unpacked why exactly shopping in the face of tragedy was so bizarre. I never really thought about how I desperately wanted to help my country, and how sad it was, that the only opportunity I was given to provide such help was ... to shop.

Friday, February 8, 2008

FeGROCMo Update

Well it turns out that it's a lot harder to rid my apartment of unnecessary crap than I would have thought. Part of this is because I'm trying hard to find good homes for my crap, instead of just letting it go to the landfill. And part of it is that, well, when you're not buying any new stuff, it's hard to let the old stuff go. Ohmygod I can't get rid of X even though I never ever use it because what if I decide in a month that I really WANT X and then I won't be able to BUY IT noooooooooooooooo!! 

Yeah, that's what I've been going through for the past few days. Still I have made some progress. I took a bag to Goodwill a few days ago.

And then I started going through my desk. I got rid of the floppies in the Drawer of Anachronicity. (Yes, I just made up a word.)

But I haven't really decided what to do with the tapes. I mean, I never really listen to them because well, they're tapes. But I *do* have a stereo with a tape player, and a lot of the tapes are tapes that Annie sent me my first semester of college so they have sentimental value. They remind me of Annie and they remind me of those first few months of school. So ... I haven't gotten rid of them. 

And then there's this:

My first response, was, "Hey I have a mic. Cool!" And then I thought, "No Arduous, you are not keeping that mic. It's been sitting in this drawer unused for 7 years. And then I saw all the other wires/cables in the drawer and I started to stress out. I am not a technological moron but seriously, I don't really know what half of these things are or why I need them. Which is why every time I move, I just cart these things along, because ... why? Am I suddenly going to realize what one of these weird cables is for? Am I suddenly going to need them?

So I can probably get rid of all of this stuff, but guys, I really don't know what half of these chords are for. So how do I get rid of them? Do I take pictures of them and post it to Craigslist, and just hope someone else knows what they are and what they do? I dunno. I have a bad feeling that some of these came with small portable electronic devices that may or may not still own. Which means that maybe no one wants any of these. Which means ... I might have to start looking into "innovative" uses for cables. 

Infestation of the Sock Gnomes

I have a problem. Specifically a sock gnome problem. You might have this problem too. See, my apartment is infested with sock gnomes. When I'm not at home, they sneak into my sock drawer and steal my socks. Except they don't like to steal a whole pair. No, that would be too easy. Instead they like to steal one half of a pair. Leaving me with dozens of partnerless socks.

It's a sad state of affairs, and I've tried everything I could to rid my house of this sock gnome infestation, but they're just too hardy and wily! So instead, I've resigned myself to the sock gnomes and have come up with various things to do with my orphan socks.

1) Wear them. If I'm wearing tall boots, or ankle boots with jeans, my socks aren't noticeable. So I just wear mismatched socks.

2) Use them to dust. I used to love these disposable feather dusters, but they're not so environmentally friendly. So instead, I pull a sock over my hand, dust, and then throw the sock in the washing machine.

3) Use them to make rice-socks to keep me warm at night.

4) Use them as a carrying case for an ipod. (Pick a cute mismatched sock for this one.)

5) Use them to make sock puppets. Okay, I don't do this. But I hear Phoebe Buffay does!

6) Use them instead of paper towels. Since I don't use paper towels, I desperately need more kitchen cloths, but since I can't buy new stuff, I've been using socks at times to clean up spills.

7) Use them to hold change. I have a cup for this, but when I want to take the change to Coinstar, I used to put the coins in a Ziploc bag. But since I am now reusing my Ziplocs, and don't want that grime on a sandwich bag, I put the change in a sock.

8) I haven't done this, but I could send extra orphan socks to One Small Step.

9) Use them to smack other people when they annoy me. :)

10) Keep em in the sock drawer in the vain hope that one day the sock gnomes will return my socks.

Cindy W, thanks for inspiring me to write this post!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Responsible E-cycling

I've been trying to clean out my home office, so that I can give any supplies I don't need to my volunteer organization. But what I found the most of in my desk? Electronic waste. I had about 15 floppy disks, 2 cell phones, and a portable CD player.

The portable CD player still works just fine, so getting rid of that should be easy. I can post it on Freecycle or give it to Goodwill or Food on Foot. But what about the cell phones that don't really work and the floppies?

Well, at first glance, the sensible answer seemed to be to take it to a center that recycles e-waste, right? Except, that a lot of these e-waste recyclers send this electronic waste to poor countries like China and India. So you have to do your homework and make sure that your e-waste recycler is not just transporting hazardous waste halfway around the world to be some other poorer country's problem.

Luckily, I found a really convenient company called GreenDisk GreenDisk, an e-waste recycling service that does not ship e-waste overseas. So that's where my floppies and used cell phones will go.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Me Me Me Me Me Me

Green Bean tagged me for a meme so I have to tear myself away from the non-stop political coverage.

Here are the rules for the meme:

Archive Meme Instructions: Go back through your archives and post the links to your five favorite blog posts that you've written. ... but there is a catch:

Link 1 must be about family.
Link 2 must be about friends.
Link 3 must be about yourself, who you are... what you're all about.
Link 4 must be about something you love.
Link 5 can be anything you choose.

I think this is a great way to circulate some of the great older posts everyone had written, return to a few great places in our memories and also learn a little something about ourselves and each other that we may not know.

Post your five links and then tag five other people. At least TWO of the people you tag must be *newer acquaintances so that you get to know each other better....and don't forget to read the archive posts and leave comments!

And here they are:

LINK 1 (FAMILY): In December, I was vacillating between getting my cousin a used book or a new book. I finally decided on the used book only to have a new book arrive. Oh well. "One is Silver..." is about that dilemma, but it's also about an important "teaching moment" between my grandfather and me. Check it out.

LINK 2 (FRIENDS): Like almost everyone else doing this meme, I don't seem to have too many posts about friends. So I chose this post, "If You Whine ..." because it's about my friend Honda and how she is awesome because she gives me stuff. Read it all here.

LINK 3 (ME): This was an easy one. I chose "Ce n'est pas une blogger." In it I explain why my name is "arduous." There's also a picture of me that I swear is EXACTLY what I look like in real life. Here's a link.

LINK 4 (SOMETHING YOU LOVE): Something I love? What do I love more than my diva cup? Okay, a lot of things. But I do love my diva, so here's my post about it.

LINK 5 (FREE CHOICE): "DeSloFooMo- Shoot Me Now." I couldn't resist.

All right. Now I tag EcoGeoFemme at The Happy Scientist, Beany at One Size Fits All, Jennie at Just A Girl, Cindy at Organic Picks and Jennifer at Tiny Old House. Apologies if I accidentally tagged someone who's already done this meme or has been tagged already.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


If you live in a Super Tuesday state, go vote!

I went this morning before work, and was disappointed to find that almost no one else was at the polls. Hopefully all my neighbors are slackers who are going to vote after work.

Also, on the way to work today, I saw more Edwards signs than Obama and Clinton signs combined. Weird, no?

Monday, February 4, 2008

Freeze Yer Buns- Part Whatever

Anyone else participating feel their resolve slipping lately? I was really good all through December, and never turned on my heat. Then in January I turned on my space heater for a half hour. But last night, the weather dipped down again, and I just couldn't deal so I turned on the space heater for a few hours.

It's not so much that I turned it on, as it is that I *know* that it's been that cold before and I didn't turn on the heat.

I suspect that I might be slipping partly because its just tougher to keep a (heat) diet going as the months wear on, but also because I gave myself 15 cheat days when I started this project. Since I've used so few, it's easy for me to say, "I COULD deal, but why NOT use a cheat day." So I think I'm going to drop my allowable cheat days to 10. Which gives me 8 more cheats left. But there are less than two months to go, so I think I can do it. I hope.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

We Interrupt This Blog

I'm just kind of speechless and infuriated all at once. I guess I should be used to this kind of crap by now, but I'm not.

From Media Matters:

On the February 3 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday, panelist and New York Times columnist Bill Kristol said the only people supporting Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D-NY) presidential campaign "are the Democratic establishment and white women." Kristol then asserted that "it would be crazy for the Democratic Party to follow an establishment that's led it to defeat year after year," and added, "White women are a problem, that's, you know -- we all live with that." After fellow panelist Brit Hume responded, "Bill, for the record, I like white women," Kristol said, "I know, I shouldn't have said that."

WTF!!!! Are you KIDDING me with that? "White women are a problem, that's, you know-- we all live with that!" Well, geez, Bill Kristol, I'm so sorry you have to "live with that" but you know, if you had a fight or something with your wife before going on air, I hardly think you have to drag ALL WHITE WOMEN into it.

Anyway, I guess I should be oh-so-flattered that Bill Kristol doesn't include us brown women as part of the "problem," whatever "problem" that may be. But I have a feeling that if Bill met me, he'd probably have a problem with me. And that may or may not be because I'd probably give him a big old slap across the face.

A Little Bit Better

Thanks for the well wishes guys. I'm feeling better today ... I clearly ate something bad yesterday but I woke up today and felt okay if a little unsteady. I decided to skip the Super Bowl party and instead did my taxes while watching "Legally Blonde." Sometimes you just need a day or two off.

Anyway, I haven't been able to get into the cleaning out of the apartment this weekend. I did shoot an email to the program director of my volunteer organization to see if she wanted any of the office supplies that I want to get rid of. I'm starting to realize that cleaning out my apartment is going to be much harder than usual, because I want to get rid of stuff without throwing stuff in the trash.

Saturday, February 2, 2008


You know you've become slightly obsessed with Crunchy's No Waste project when you're throwing up for the 3rd time and you idly wonder if because the food wasn't really digested it counts as food waste.

Too sick to start FeGROCMo. Hopefully I'll be feeling better tomorrow and I can drop off a load at Goodwill.

Friday, February 1, 2008

You Say Tomato, I Say Tuberculosis

I just want to state for the record that I practice non-consumerism. That's what I call it. I don't call it non-consumption, because consumerism is the buying of stuff whereas consumption is what killed Ruby Gillis. I mean, I guess I also practice non-consumption, but I'm not necessarily about to take a stand on it. Unless you're getting on an airplane.

February Challenge- FeGROCMo

Since February marks 6 months of my 1 year experiment with non-consumerism, I decided to get back to the thing that started all the craziness.

So my February challenge is February Get Rid of Crap Month, or FeGROCMo for short.

Because while not consuming new things is all well and good, it's not enough to simply not consume. I've benefitted in the past 6 months from people selling their used things- whether it be a board game or books. And thus, I think it's important that I also try where I can to pare down, and let other people enjoy things that I have that I don't really use that much.

So, I'm going to get on Ebay! I'm going to get bags for Goodwill. As for the stuff that no one is going to want, I'm going to try and figure out what's the best way to dispose of that junk. And for the stuff that I keep, I want to get it organized so I don't end up with two bottles of mouthwash or 6 containers of floss.

I've also found the reading I've been doing each month to be an invaluable part of the challenge. In December I read "The Omnivore's Dilemma," and in January I read "Garbage Land." This month, I'll be reading Judith Levine's "Not Buying It."

So that's what you guys have to look forward to this month. The anal-retentive organizer in me is really excited to start.