Sunday, March 30, 2008

Guerrilla Green

Something inside me has switched on (or maybe off). I have started using guerrilla tactics to make the world greener. I know it may be wrong. I know I'm not old enough to cry insanity. But I just can't stop myself.

Lately, when I have been invited into other peoples homes, I find myself unplugging appliances. Coffee makers, cell phones, fans, you name it. When the host isn't looking... POP. Out go the plugs.

In talking to friends and neighbors I have learned that the communication in our town is pretty sucky. Residents don't know what to recycle. No one is telling them how to do it. So in sweeps "Super Gruppie" (how can I make that name stick?). I have been posting flyers on public bulletin boards. What paper can be recycled, how to dispose of CFLs, when the hazardous waste days are. You get the idea.

My newest adventures in "guerrilla green" involves strategically placing green magazines. I have been leaving my pre-read magazines like Good, Mothering and occasionally a Kiwi in public places like the children's room at the library. While most of the mummy's in the library were reading People, Parenting and other fluff, they are beginning to pick-up some juicy reading that they may never have seen.

Can guerrilla greening change the world? I just may be too passive aggressive to ever know the answer.

I am officially throwing a new green term into the ring. Anyone else out there a guerrilla greener?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A Spoonful of Honey

As I neared 30 my body started changing. Not so much in the fashion of Are You There God, It's Me Margaret but more like Golden Girls. I won't bore you with all of the symptoms because frankly I know you don't and shouldn't care. I do want to share that I developed allergies overnight to, well...everything.

My new found allergies had to have come from another case of my bad karma. Back in college I used to call my roommate "Paul". Like Paul the geeky, drippy nerd from the Wonder Years. My roommate "Paul" was allergic to everything.
sunglasses=sneeze (I think she made up this one)

Now I'm allergic to everything everything under the sun. Evil karma.

animal hair=itch
animal saliva itch

Basically I am allergic to indoor air and outdoor air. Not a pain in the butt or anything.

Since my sudden onset of allergies, thanks again karma, I have been searching for a way to heal my annoying itching.

Many have said that we as Americans aren't eating enough local food with local pollen. Without the pollen we are becoming allergic to foods and plants that we aren't supposed to be allergic to. People aren't supposed to be allergic to food that we need so dearly.

With the spring slowly creeping up, I am trying to trick my allergies by taking spoonful of local honey each day. My hope is that I can reintroduce the local pollen into my body and the allergies will disappear.

My brother taking honey. I'm giving it to the kids. I'm taking it when I remember. Maybe I should call "Paul" and suggest that she take honey.

Anyone want to place a bet on what "wonderful" changes will happen at 40...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Keep It Simple Stupid

Throughout life I have picked up a few pearls of wisdom that have really stuck with me.

On the drive up to college my mummy gave me the pearl, "never leave your drink unattended." I think that we could all benefit from that one.

While in college a teaching professor shared her one theory on teaching. "KISS". Keep it simple stupid! So I did.

I like to think my classes learned something....Time will tell when my former students start to graduate next year. Do you think that they remember how a banana gets to the food store, place value or the capitol of Cambodia?

Living green and living simple go hand in hand.

Simple food.
Simple housing.
Simple clothing.
Simple needs.
All equal a simple life. Right?

What about raising simple kids in the suburbs and planning their simple birthday parties when mummy was a party planner in her last life?

Not so simple, stupid.

I love to pick themes and run. Invites, cake, clothing, party favors, decorations, table...You get the idea.
There was Girlie's sixth birthday where we did a tea party theme. I collected antique tea cups from Freecycle and Salvation Army for the girls to sip from and ultimately take home. Then, there was Little Guy's fourth birthday complete with a tanker truck pinata, shirts and cake. Let's not forget Girlie's red party. Red snacks, red art project, red outfits and red gifts.

This year is a little crazy to say the least. After hubby's back surgery and my mummy's battle with cancer I am not interested in planing an elaborate back yard party. Little Guy has asked for a trash party (can you believe the irony?). He wants an arm trash truck to visit the house and give all of the kids rides. Little Guy must not have received the KISS memo.

This is the year to pull out one of the pearls of wisdom that is lurking in my deep dark memory. Keep it Simple Stupid.

So I did.

I went online and found the website for a local indoor moon bounce gym. I clicked. It is booked. That's it.

Let's call the theme this year "jump" and call it a day.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Girlies Compost Too

Girlie's local elementary school is not what you would call a "green school." Sure I read about wonderful schools where the students grow their own food in organic gardens, bring zero-trash lunches and the environment is always in the curriculum. How do schools fit in a green curriculum with all of reading, writing and 'rithmatic. This "retired" teacher would love to know.

Every month, the local school, hosts a sharing assembly. Each grade presents one part of what they learned over the past month to the entire school community. Songs about the water cycle, creative writing guessing games, spring song complete with sign language. You get the point.

Girlie's class has been studying composting. Guess what? My future environmentalist was chosen to write and recite the introduction for the grade's "Decomposing March." Picture fifty-seven or so seven year-olds chanting about the wonders of compost. I was in heaven.

After class, girlie's sweet second grade teacher pulled me aside to compliment Girlie's performance and to tell me that Girlie taught the teacher a thing or two about composting. How proud can a mummy get?

Does this mean that my Compost Princess will start bringing out the veggie scraps to the bin in the snow? I'll give you a hint. The answer probably begins with an "n."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I Heart Plastic

My family is basically falling apart physically. With problems coming in threes, I've had my fill for a while.

Last week I blogged about my Mummy and her cancer. Hubby had back surgery last week. Memere-in-law was hospitalized with blood and heart problems.

Now, Girlie is claiming to have growing pains. (are those real?)

With all of my family being poked and prodded by what seems like all doctors and nurses in a tow-state area I am actually feeling grateful for....wait for it....plastic.

My water will never ride in plastic bottles. My veggies will not travel in plastic. Few plastic toys will enter through my red door.

Still, I need plastic tubing for IVs. I like nurses to wear plastic gloves when they touch bo-bo's. I understand the need for plastic stitching to sew-up after surgeries. I love the plastic cameras that make diagnosing my family even more accurate.

I might not ever admit it in public again. But I HEART plastic.

Monday, March 17, 2008


For over a year I was happily working out at the local YMCA. It was clean, frequented by lots of other mummys and had a playroom for the little munchies. I felt good and maybe even looked a little better too.

Then the green part of my brain stepped in.

In just driving to the YMCA three times a week I was traveling 84 hours per year. 84 hours! That was insane! So much pollution and wasted time. All so I could bounce around on an elliptical machine and possibly lift a weight or two.

After quitting the YMCA and months of performing "visual workouts", I finally joined the gym closest to my house.

It takes me 90 seconds to drive door-to-door.

Ninety seconds, to and from the gym, three times a week. That's nine minutes of driving per week. Four hundred sixty-eight minutes of driving a year. Only seven point eight hours a year. 7.8!

That is assuming that I drive to each gym visit. My goal is to walk whenever I can.

I went from 84 hours of driving to the gym down to 7.8 hours. That's 76.2 less hours of my station wagon spewing yucky pollutants into the air.

That's 76.2 more hours that I can work out this year....Nah! Probably not.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Cancer Cluster

Years ago there was a lot of talk in the news about "cancer clusters." Picture a map with a pin in the house of each person with cancer. Then picture lots of pins in a particular town or area. Most of these clusters are in highly educated areas. The cause of the majority of these cancer clusters is unknown. Scary stuff.

I am tossing another town into the cancer cluster mix. Holliston, Massachusetts.

In the interest of full disclosure, you should know that I am not a doctor or scientist. I do not wear white. (black is more slimming) My declaration is purely from my own, concrete knowledge.

After over a month of searing stomach pain, my mummy's doctor called with some test results. Malignant cells were found. The doctor is guessing the cancer may be colon, ovary or pancreatic.

This isn't Mummy's first brush with cancer. It isn't even her third. Her strangest cancer was the rare brain tumor that only had been documented in nine young children. This same brain tumor was found in Mummy's spine while she was in her 50's.

So many of Mummy and Daddy's friends in town have been touched by cancer. The energetic childhood friend who lost her battle with a brain tumor. The many, many friends who have battled breast cancer and won. The friend with throat cancer who moved and then the next friend developed throat cancer while living in the same house.

I'm scared.

I do my best to keep nasty chemicals out of the house. I do my best to eat lots of fruit and vegetables. I do my best to move as often as possible. What if all of us keep doing our best to live healthy only to be whopped by some unknown force?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Maple Syrup

Many, many bloggers have been taking the 100 mile food challenge. Basically, they pledge to only eat food that has travelled 100 miles or less to get to their plates. By doing this, these bloggers are not only supporting their local economies, they are also saving lots of energy and pollution from transporting.

To be brutally honest, I am way to cold, busy and tired to only eat food that has travelled 100 miles or less. Sure, it the late summer and fall most of my food comes from the local farmer's market. But in March? If I was a Bree I may have canned the veggies I bought last fall. But since I'm not, how can I start to eat closer to home?

Maple syrup!

The entire family took a little field trip to the local maple sugar house. The experience was like an episode of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood come to life. The farmer (is that what someone who taps trees is called?) came complete with a white beard and suspenders. We all got to see how the trees are tapped and watch the syrup being boiled. Ohhhh. Ahhhh.

My favorite part was the taste testing. Did you know that it takes 14 gallons of sap to make 1 quart of maple syrup? ~That's your fun fact for today kids~

Those sneaky "free" samples ended up luring me into spending the weekly food budget on maple syrup and maple foods. Those sneaky tree tappers.

Guess what's for dinner tonight? Pancakes at 6:15 for whoever is hungry!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

It's My Party

At exactly 6:13 am this morning, my four year-old Little Guy woke me up with a kiss and a whisper of "Happy Birthday Mummy." Very different from my 6:13 am thirty-three years ago.

Thirty-three years ago I was born alone, in an unwed mother's home. No one kissed me happy Birthday. No one took any pictures. Streams of family didn't come to visit. I was alone.

The two plus months that followed are a little murky. I did find out that I was hospitalized for two weeks due to a staph infection probably caused by not having my diaper changed or being bathed. I was severely malnourished and my stomach stuck out. Someone did take the time to baptize me. What did I need more? Food or some holy water?

At two months old I was finally brought home, as I like to say. My parents had been trying to have a baby for years. Finally there was a baby available. Me.

I arrived home to a yard full of cheering neighbors and friends. They all knew how long my parents had been waiting to start a family. A few years ago, a long-moved neighbor dropped by a forty-five second DVD of this homecoming. I treasure these grainy first images of my baby self.

My father was once asked about my birth. He sat and sat and eventually began to worry about early dementia. He forgot. He forgot that he missed my first two months. He forgot that I don't have brown eyes or a flair for storytelling. He forgot that I don't enjoy partying until dawn and I can't throw a ball. He forgot that I like to sing in the car, quietly nurture, have a few close friends and always learn. We have been a family so long, that being adopted has never been in the forefront of his, or any one's in the family's mind. Blood type, DNA, eye color. They aren't the world. Love baby.

I owe a thank-you to my teeneaged parents and their families. They knew that they weren't ready to be parents. They knew that they didn't want to take care of me. They knew that there was a couple, out there somewhere, who wanted me dearly.

Still, every year around this time I feel intensely lonely. Is anyone else in the world thinking about me?

Thank you to my sweet Little Guy for waking me up with the tiniest kiss today. I love you dearly.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Right To Dry

This week the state of Connecticut discussed whether all residents should have the right to air dry their laundry. Many residents who want to help the earth and their pocketbooks are being told that their clean laundry is an eyesore. This seriously boggles my mind.

I taught my former second grade students that "water travels in a goes up as evaporation...forms clouds as condensation...then then comes down as precipitation...yes it does" (were you singing too?) Simple right? Not so simple when you add homeowners associations and landlords in the mix.

There was only one neighborhood in my childhood hometown that had a homeowners association. It was rumored that in all of the homes only white curtains could be hung in the windows and truck were not allowed to park in the driveways. I can't imagine that clotheslines were allowed. It all sure sounded crazy to me as a kid.

I am the first to admit that I am the official crazy lady in the neighborhood. The broken down car in my neighbor's driveway almost drove me to drink (more than I already do). A broken street sign will cause me to call the town's highway department. (friendly Maureen now knows me by name) And you know how I feel about Christmas decorations being left out past January 1st. Still, a clothesline looks beautiful to me.

Clotheslines evoke memories of summers on Cape Cod. Towels flapping in the warm wind. Going into Boston and seeing clogged clothes lines stretched above my head. Visiting my grandparents and watching Grandma Dot hang her laundry in the back yard. These are happy memories.

Back when my little ones wore their cute cloth diapers, I sunned the diapers on a drying rack three times a week. After moving to CT with my south facing front yard, the diapers sunned themselves in the front. No complaints from the neighbors.

Let's hope that Connecticut follows states like Florida and protects the rights of all residents to save energy and money. Protect your right to dry.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Great Outdoors

Somehow I had the thought that I hate the winter stuck in my mind. Shoveling, car accidents, snow, cold weather, coats, boots. You get the picture.

Brilliant eighteen year-old me even decided to go way north for college. My pink jeans and flats didn't cut it up north. The day that I saw a dog walking next to me in the snow and his feet were at my eye level was the day I called my mummy up and begged her to send hiking boots, a flannel shirt and a heavy winter coat. Luckily for me, my college years coincided with the grunge movement. Those four years didn't change my mind about winter.

This season was a snowy one in Connecticut. My Little Guy really likes to be outside, so I signed him up for an outdoor adventure class at the local recreation area that we belong to. One week Little Guy went cross country skiing. He was over the moon!

Why couldn't the entire family embrace the snowy winter and all go cross country skiing. The trails are five minutes from the house. Skiing is free to members and they even offer rentals. No excuses.

The four of us went. And guess what? It was amazing! We were outdoors exploring the quite woods together.

The family went skiing the next day and a few days later and a few days after that. On Monday morning I even went by.

Now I'm hooked! (Disclaimer; you will never, ever catch me in one of those sprayed-on skiing suits complete with fanny pack) I treated myself to an early birthday present of a pair of skis, poles and boots. (only three more shopping days left)

Today my skiing dreams were crushed. This morning stared with lots of rain and the temperatures in the low 50's. The snow is melting fast and furiously. People are smiling with thoughts of Spring. All I can think about is the disappearing snow. I used to be a spring-lover. I can't be turning into someone who loves winter. I can't!