Sunday, June 29, 2008
I have played golf. Quite a few times in fact. I think I even own a bag. Unfortunately my attention span doesn't last longer than a few holes and a mad dash in the golf cart.
As you can imagine, the skill level at the TPC River Highlands was monumentally different from my own. Once a year or so I head out the the golf course with Hubby as a wifely duty. He lets me drive the cart (much more fun than a car), reviews the rules and doesn't freak when I "take off" holes.
My biggest tip, if you must attend an all-day golf tournament on a hot summer day and you are not a die-hard fan, is meeting someone with a luxury box. Hubby's company had this elevated, roofed area complete with an always changing buffet, open bar and all of the snickers you could eat. Once I saw that luxury box, my day completely turned around.
My first drink of the day was a diet soda. After watching grass grow for the past two hours I needed a pick-me-up. (Don't fret, the pomegranate martinis weren't far behind) The bartender asked me to kindly reuse my cup for the sake of the planet. This statement made my Gruppie senses tingle. Were the cups made of biodegradable corn perhaps? Had I stumbled onto a greener sport than I had thought?
It turns out that the cups were of the plain old polluting variety. The friendly bartender explained that someone did a study of cup use at these large events and found that each patron was disposing of ten cups.
Ten cups each? So was the event really just trying to save money and had the perfect cover with the recent "green fad?" Maybe helping the planet was just a happy side effect. My take on the situation was money. Money, money, money rules the world. Those cups must add up. Only the icing was green.
Golf has always struck me as a sport that is tough on the environment. Bazillions of tons of pesticides. Lots more water usage. All that mowing. And those itchy collared shirts....don't get me started.
With hubby loving golf and holding tight to the dream that we will retire on the edge of a golf course someday, I have set out in the search of green golf courses.
Audubon International certifies courses that provide wildlife sanctuaries for animals. Nice. But what about the pesticides and water use? Through Google I was able to find low-impact courses in New York, Yosemite National Park and another in Hawaii. Why is Connecticut so far behind on trends? Did I mention my neighbor who wears the Starter jacket?
Hopefully by retirement time we will be able to live on an organic golf course together. If Hubby gets golf can I get my own cabana boy?
Friday, June 27, 2008
Every few weeks the plastic shrink wrapped phone books mysteriously arrive. A few different companies. Many that look the same. They keep coming by the pound.
After today's newest addition I set-out to recycle a stack of phone books as high as my hip that had accumulated in a closet. In my town phonebooks are not allowed to be added in with the paper recycling. You have to take them to a specific facility in the downtown area of my village. Before I left I called the recycling number proved in one of the phone books to confirm the location.
After I dropped Girlie off at a new friend's house, I asked the mom if she had any phone books that needed recycling. The mother handed the phone books over with a confused look on her face...will her daughter be allowed to play over at the crazy recycling lady's house? I have my doubts.
On my way home I swung by where I remembered the phonebook recycling bin to be. Only it was gone.
Now I had to drive home and call the friendly people at the highway department. Sometimes I wonder why they pick-up when they see me calling....again. This time they did in fact pick-up. I was told that the closest phone book recycling center is a fifteen minute drive...each way...from my house. Seriously?!?
Is the town TRYING to make phone book recycling difficult? They allow phone book after phone book after phone book to be dropped on our driveways yet they don't give us an easy solution as to how to get rid of them. Why can't we drop them by the town garage? Why not the town hall? The library perhaps?
By having the recycling bin behind some random phone company building on the other side of town, the town is practically forcing us residents to toss the books in the trash. How many other people are as crazy as I am to go out of their way to recycle something as everyday as a phone book? I bet my reusable, metal water bottle that the vast majority of those phone books will be forever relegated to the landfill.
Back in 2000, my fair state of Connecticut set a recycling goal of 40%. We aren't there eight years later.
Governor M. Jodi Rell has spearheaded the One Thing Campaign in order to promote environmental awareness and help the citizens save energy. That's great Governor Rell, but what can you do to help my town become involved?
Calling all neighbors! I'll swing by this afternoon to pick-up your old phone books for recycling.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
In less than a week of my "beaching it" my middle has already grown and is starting to pop out of my tankini. My senses have been dulled by idle chit chat and chick lit. My leg muscles are weak and I can only comfortably walk as far as the snack bar.
All of my wonderful, healthy meal planning has been tossed out the window. Replaced by take-out pizza and ice cream shaped like a superheros. The kids may have forgotten what a veggie looks like.
When did it become socially acceptable for a 30 something mom to spend her days wearing halter tops and swim skirts while discussing the merits of local nail salons?
One more week until camp starts. Then I'll start hiking, biking and cooking. OK, maybe I'll start slow and buy the one ice cream selection from the vending machine with nuts in it. Nuts are good for you. Right?
Thursday, June 19, 2008
CSA’s (community supported agriculture) has been in the news a lot lately. CSAs are when a small farm sells a share of their bounty to a number of families. This fee is usually due at the beginning of the season.
Today I picked-up the family’s first share of the 19 week season over at Wild Carrot Farm.
The kids and I walked into the barn and were immediately greeted by two friendly farmers. Debbie and Carlen (like George she said) shook my hand and happily introduced themselves. I grabbed by share and off we went. Easy Smeeshy.
Luckily, my share included a newsletter complete with a list of what was contained in this week’s share. Bok choi, cape daisy plant, garlic scapes, kale, lettuce, scallions and strawberries.
So I understand strawberries and lettuce. But the rest of the veggies are more of a mysterious challenge. The friendly farmers must have anticipated veggie-challenged people like me because they included a written description of the more exotic vegetables along with a few recipes. Garlic scape pesto anyone?
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
It's funny, but after reading Dolphyn's blog, I really feel like I know her. The distance between Connecticut and California just isn't important in the Blogsphere.
There is one big difference between Dolphyn and myself. I have been married to my soul mate for the last ten years. Dolphhyn and her soulmate have not been allowed to be married... Until yesterday!
Maybe I'm just a sheltered New England girl, but I find it hard to believe that it is 2008 and all people in this country are not treated as equals. I can't stop thinking about how I would feel if I wasn't allowed to marry my Hubby ten years ago? I knew that he was the person that I wanted and need to be with. The person I wanted to share my life with. I wanted everyone to know! I can't begin to imagine how crushed I would have been if I wasn't allowed to marry him.
Congratulations to the Verbose family!
Sunday, June 15, 2008
As a preteen I shopped at Body Shop because they didn't test on animals.
Again in the preteen years I stopped eating red meat after reading The Jungle by Upton Sinclair.
In my teen years I discovered recycling and reusing bags.
In college I discovered vegetables and living simply.
After a horrible health scare with my then toddler daughter I discovered environmentally safe household cleaners.
And I soldier on....
This week I actually ate the first thing that I grew by myself!!! And it tasted good.
The the lettuce that I planted in a pot on the driveway has grown. The family ate three meals worth of delicious, organic, super-locally grown salads!
Little Guy has even gotten into the farmer act. He will periodically exclaim that he is hungry and run over to pick a lettuce leaf to eat. My sugar-loving guy is begging to eat lettuce because he has ownership in the growing of the lettuce. What's next? Overalls and a straw hat?
I even planted a few more lettuce seeds to replace what has been eaten. If you have a magnifying glass handy you can see them. Cross your fingers and hope that they grow bigger.
My other "crops" in the front flower garden are coming along well with the exception of two seedlings that have been munched by some meanie animal. The only problem with my other "crops" is that I forget which is which. I suppose that when they are fully grown I will eventually figure it out. Green beans and cucumbers should look different...
Little Guy has been asking to plant berry bushes. I really think that he is planning for the next snack time.
Pat, pat, pat on my back...for today.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
*If you want to buy localish organic butter, then it will be wrapped in a non-degradable foil-like substance. The non-organic, far-flung butter is wrapped in waxed paper that goes directly into the compost bin.
*If you want to plant new trees and bushes you will create a ton of plastic waste from the pots. Cleaner air and a more attractive yard now or greater plastic waste and harmful contaminants spewing from the plastics factory?
*If you want to buy organic cream cheese so your son doesn't have an allergic reaction to the additives, then it will be packaged in potentially dangerous and non-recyclable # 5 plastic. The chemical-laden stuff comes in recyclable paper with a small layer of foil-like covering.
I run into examples like this everyday. If only my allergy-fog brain could make those ideas come to the front of the line.
After I ran my blog post I forwarded it off to the friendly people at Horizon Organics. I also included a brief note urging them to rethink their packaging. This is what I received back;
Thank you for your recent e-mail to Horizon Organic. We appreciate your interest in our company.
At this point there are no nation-wide recycling standards. Each state and jurisdiction has different recycling rules based on cost-effectiveness, quantities of the materials in circulation and regional differences.
We are an environmentally concerned company and will always strive to use the most earth-friendly packaging available. Your comments are appreciated and we will not rule out any future changes, but at this point we feel that we are using the most environmentally friendly and cost effective packaging for our products.
Thanks again for contacting the Consumer Affairs Department.
Consumer Response Representative
Gee Metcy, thanks for the canned reply. I wonder if my email will ever get beyond Metcy and to people who can actually make changes.
What can't I have my cake and eat it too???
Of course that would be a big slice of fairly traded chocolate cake made locally with all organic ingredients. And I would eat it with my hands which are completely reusable.
Monday, June 9, 2008
Today the heat index climbed to 105 and the actual high temperature was 98 degrees. Seriously! Didn't my friendly local meteorologist get the memo that spring in New England is not supposed to feel like this?
I just know that I am going to have global warming nightmares tonight...again! Hiking to the Twinkie factory to find the only food left on earth...skin looking like George Hamilton...scary stuff!
Somewhere I read that the vineyard owners from California were buying-up land in Connecticut in preparation for advancing global warming. The climate of Connecticut is supposed to be similar to that of California wine country in just a few short years. Positive = local wine. Negative = world burning up.
So here I am today. Reading about the residents of NYC and how the power they used today was the more than they used any day last year. Demand isn't lessening and alternative sources aren't coming fast enough.
As for me in today's heat: I hung the laundry out to dry. The ceiling fan is cranking. The kids have been shooed away from the TV. And still, here I am dependant on my central AC. The yuppie in me complete with my make-up and dry arm pits is fighting with the granola me and my love of low consumption. Today the yuppie mostly won.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
That was until I watched home videos of myself growing-up...
For as long as I remember my parents have talked about organizing the old audio-free home movies onto a video tape. A few weeks ago I finally rounded-up the reels and had them transferred onto a DVD.
1975 through 1987. Most of my childhood. All viewed in 45 minutes.
Disclaimer: I love you Mummy and Dad. Please don't threaten to write me out of the will.
The DVD started from minute one with me as an infant being fed beer.
Everyone around me, inside and out, was smoking.
This little Gruppie was fed cake and ice cream at six months old.
My father was shown holding me upside down and swinging me back and forth. I was under one and supposedly this was a favorite game of mine.
I was just starting to crawl and my family gave me plastic bags to play with.
...and this is just what was caught on the brief home movie! What could I have possibly blocked out?! Dancing on glass? Lion feeding for toddlers? Lawnmower repair?
So I grew to a normal height, have a normal IQ, all of my limbs are firmly attached. I made it out of childhood OK.
Next time I freak out because the kids are eating conventional strawberries, worry that their brains won't develop if they quit playing the violin or spaz as they ride their scooters without helmets, I need to take a step back and give them a longer leash.
If I made it through without a mental or physical scratch (I think) my kids should be better than fine.
*Hello to Michelle over at This is Metrowest. You and your sister came to my fourth birthday party! Pointed hat and all. Who would have thunk that we would both grow-up to be brilliant bloggers? (wink wink)
Thursday, June 5, 2008
I have learned about far away places like Ljubljana Slovenia, Tallinn Estonia, Viborg Denmark, Hong Kong and the Isle of Man in the UK. Connecticut is getting a little boring. Can I come visit? Anyone? Anyone? Buller?
In the same post I mentioned that Gruppie Girl had readers hailed from forty-nine states. Sorry Utah.
Update: Utah is in the house! Readers from Provo, Lindon and Lapoint have stopped by! Diamond*Diva even took a minute to leave a comment.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
When we bought our home nearly three years ago the yard was a blank slate. The rest of the homes in the neighborhood had been there for the past sixty to one hundred plus years and had yards to match. Lilacs as tall as Big Bird. Pine trees that could rival any skyscraper. Veggie gardens with layers of loose compost that could yield an eggplant as long as Dirk Digglers Dingle.
My poor little yard was sort of green with a bunch of weeds thrown in for good measure. The only plant was the one poor little tree that we planned on letting Little Guy hack down and eventually replace.
I discovered the local nurseries and mail order catalogs. First, was a perennial garden that promised three seasons of colors (lies I tell you). Next were shrubs to keep my power-hungry neighbor from mowing and fertilizing twenty feet into my yard. Then, came more flowers and more shrubs. Finally, lots and lots of mulch was purchased and protectively placed around my tender new plants.
And all of it came wrapped in non-recyclable plastic. Plastic!
In my attempt to cut down on my family's carbon footprint I inadvertently created more waste. The trash barrels were filled to the brim. Oh the guilt!
I know that a few companies sell their plants in degradable containers. I have read a lot about these wonderful containers but I have yet to see one in real life.
Now to the cream cheese question....
Little Guy is allergic to the additives in conventional cream cheese. (weird I know) He can only eat organic cream cheese. So off I go to my local health food store feeling pretty good about myself because not only am I buying organic, I'm supporting a local business owner and walking to the store. Then I saw the package. #5!
Why would the friendly people at Horizon Organics package their organic cream cheese in yucky #5 plastic? Not only is this plastic not recyclable in my town, it may leach into food.
The friendly local store owner Barbra says that she has complained to her distributors with no luck. She is unable to buy another brand at her small shop and Horizon won't change it's packaging.
What is a girl to do? Why am I always choosing between the lesser of two evils in the name of the earth? Maybe a cow would help. Anyone have a good recipe for cream cheese?
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
I can't wait!
A few weeks ago Discovery teased us with a preview of a new network they are launching. Planet Green. Cool beans!
The little ones and I watched a show (or three hours) on the Planet Green network preview. My favorite show is called Wa$ted.
Host Annabelle Gurwitch (haven't I seen her someplace else?) finds families who are wasteful and then breaks their lifestyle down for them to really see their impact. One months worth of trash dumped on the lawn perhaps? Then, the show maps the footprint that this one small family has made on the earth. This particular family's impact was something like 200 times their land mass.
Eventually perky Annabelle teaches the family how to make less impact. She follows up a few weeks later and SURPRISE the family has changed their ways.
Contrived? Yes. Interesting to a family like mine? Yes! Yes!
Looking on the Planet Green website there are lots of other new shows to pick from. Living With Ed is Back! Adrian Grenier has a show...I don't know what Adrian's show is about, but I guess that most any woman from the ages of 12 to 100 is sure to want to watch him weekly. Mean Green Machines should be a big hit with Hubby and Little Guy. Even Bill Nye has his own show on Planet Green.
Back when hubby and I visited Las Vegas we were asked to be lab rats for a show called Reverend Gadget. Flea (I think) from the Red Hot Chili Peppers brought his car into a shop run by an eclectic crew, including Reverend Gadget. The car (maybe vintage) was converted into an electric car. Apparently Flea is very environmentally conscious and has a solar system on his house. The sun collected on his roof would run his car. The show was a really interesting for people who like cars, music buffs and us gruppies. Fingers crossed that Reverend Gadget gets picked-up by Planet green too.
Because 900 channels just isn't enough anymore, today I called my cable representative to ask if I would be receiving Planet Green. The meanie told me that I will NOT be receiving planet Green. He would put in a request to corporate, but couldn't promise anything.
Five minutes later my now friendly cable representative called back to say that he checked into Planet Green and I WILL in fact be receiving the channel starting next week. Channel 113 to be exact for those of you in central Connecticut.
Hmmm? What do you think my carbon footprint will be if I watch planet Green all summer?
Mummy is doing very great! She is home almost two weeks earlier than expected. Mummy is eating and is even planning to walk to the end of the driveway today. All good.
As for myself, I am starting to come back to the land of the living. It is funny how when something really serious happens to someone that you love, how your priorities change. Make-up, writing thank-you notes, reading, volunteering, chatting about all things green....it all falls away. And I didn't miss any of it until today.
Today I made plans with a friend to go to the beach. It's 90 degrees today Dolphyn! I went to the food store. Called an old friend. Threw in a load of laundry. Normal stuff that I haven't had any interest in for some time. (to be completely honest, I still could care less about the laundry)
Thank you to all of my friends in the Blogspehere for reading my rants and sending your kind notes. Thank you to Ruth Dynamite my blog and real life friend for dropping by with a lavender plant to cheer me up. A special thank you to Carolyn and Dr. Martin Goodman for saving my mummy's life!
Back to living the healthy green life!