Category Archives: Environmentalism

Getting somewhere

An announcement:  I cleaned the entrance to my house today and found four or five pairs of shoes and an assortment of scarves and gloves to get rid of.  Yesterday, I cleared out 115 magazines, books, CDs, phone books and movies to get rid of.  I also found an empty box to keep my recycling in for now, until I can get some better containers.  Hooray, I’m doing something productive with my time!!

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Balance

I try to live my life with everything in moderation.  So when I diet (this comes to mind first because I’ve been doing a bit of it in the last six months), I eat as healthy as I can at home so that when I go out or to someone’s home and they offer something sweet or off my diet, I can accept it without guilt and without being rude.  In this way, it is easier to stay on my diet at home..I have tried strict all the time diets and I fail within a week.  This one has been working since January. 

My home:  I try to keep the major things done so that if someone should stop by unexpected, I won’t be horribly embarrassed by my house.  I have been doing one thing consistently and another frequently that are helping.  Every night, I make sure my sink is clean.  I dry it out so it doesn’t have water spots (this is a FlyLady thing).  In doing this every night before bed, I have to make sure that my dishes are done.  This way, my dishes don’t stack up like they have been prone to in the past.  The second habit I’m trying to include in my life is doing a load of laundry every time I have enough to do one load.  I still make a full load by doing everything there, but by doing only one load in a day, I’m much more likely to do it fully: sort (I actually don’t do much sorting..just if some whites need bleaching), wash, dry, fold, put away.  When I was doing three loads of laundry once a week, too often it was ending up left in the washer or dryer or unfolded in the laundry basket.  This, of course, leads to things going missing (“Katie…do I have any work pants left?” Mike would whisper to me over the sleeping baby and into my happy dozing state..to which I would reply “I don’t know…didn’t you look in the dryer..the laundry basket..on the floor!?”..and so on). 

So I’m making improvements in a few areas.  Recently, though, I have become inspired to change the way I think about the environment.  I may not buy into some thing whole-heartedly, but one thing I can acknowledge is the amount of garbage we produce.  It’s getting a little out of hand.  Sarah McGaughey’s No More Garbage blog has been my inspiration.   We also recently had an art from garbage show here in Fort St. John that was really incredible.  A way to reuse my garbage or recyclables and be artistic at the same time – what could be more perfect?!  In a way, I was doing that all those years ago with my Creating Sara dolls…using old dolls (I never bought a new one from a toy store or anything) and scraps of fabric, nails, pins, old jewelry, etc. to make something unique.

Now I come to the problem.  It is very very hard to balance creating art and keeping a clean house when your house is 800 square feet.  I like my little house…in fact, I love my little house, but without a basement or a free room, my projects end up on my dining room table, on the couch, in the kitchen, and so on.  I would so love to have a house with a basement and a room just for Mommy.  I could spread out, have a few tables that could be paint splattered or cut into without it mattering.  I could keep all my craft/art supplies in one place so that the kids wouldn’t be getting into them all the time.  As it is, I have one tower with four drawers and a small two drawer unit on top right next to my desk in the kitchen.  My yarn is, I think, in my bedroom closet.  My knitting needles are on the coffee table in the living room, behind a picture frame.  My fabric is usually in Jenny’s room, on the unused top bunk, along with an assortment of other craft items that didn’t find a better place.  This means that when my kids are napping or in bed for the night, I am out of luck if I want any of the things in a bedroom.  Currently, I have a half finished rag rug in my fabric container in the middle of the living room (just in case I want it while the kids are sleeping, I haven’t put it away yet), and the dining room table is covered in plastic bags in one form or another, an iron and ironing board and a number of other items that haven’t found their home yet.

My problem is that I can’t seem to balance these things…and now I’ve added another problem.

I would love to recycle everything I can, but where would I put it all?  One option, I suppose, is to use one bin or garbage can to throw everything into and then sort it later (not really a great idea), but what I’d really like to do is have some stacking blue bins to keep everything in.  Then the question is, where on earth do I put them?!  I’m running out of room! 

Just like food won’t solve every emotional problem (or any, for that matter), a bigger house won’t solve this problem.  I know this deep down, but it doesn’t make my desire for more space any less real.

There are a few solutions…but all of them require time and work that we either don’t have or don’t know how to do.  One is to build a floor to ceiling storage unit into my living room wall.  I like the idea, but I’m not sure if it would really be worth it.  We did put up some shelves when my dad came up to visit in May, but they’re up so high that anything stored there is best left there unless I have a stool to stand on all the time.

I’m griping.  Meanwhile, baby is crying in his bed and there is lots that could be done around the house.  Bah, humbug.

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Filed under Art, Environmentalism, Happiness, Home Sweet Home, Kiddos, Life, in general, Mi familia, Rants, The H Word

Itchy Fingers

My fingers are itching.  This isn’t the right place for this sort of writing, but then again, I am still a messy housewife regardless of what I do with my time. 

My fingers are itching because I am feeling an intense need to be creative.  I’m learning how to reuse things and make new material out of old..I feel like starting a rag rug or sewing melted plastic bags together to make tote bags or painting or…well, there are all sorts of things because not only are my fingers itching, my brain is, too.  I feel as if it’s actually literal.  And it’s late.  Too late to stay up and do all these things because Mike has to get up and go to work in the morning, and Elias will probably wake up in six hours and I will be exhausted tomorrow.  This is normal for me – I’m a night owl, I always have been.  Since having my babies, I have become ready for sleep earlier and earlier in the day, but I still get these bursts of creativity late at night.  Why don’t they happen while my kids are napping in the middle of the day while Mike is still at work?!  It just doesn’t seem fair to me.  And now, this will be all the creativity I can have today, because unfortunately, I really do have to go to bed, if only for my poor husband’s sake.

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Filed under Art, Environmentalism, Home Sweet Home, Life, in general

Time for another one..

Yes, that’s right, it’s been far too long since I’ve written.  In part, it’s because I don’t want to admit my failure at cleaning my house.  I made a bit of progress a while back, but the only thing I’ve done consistantly is keep the sink shiny (Babystep number one from FlyLady) and keep the dining room table clear enough to eat supper at every night.  I suppose this is progress in a way, because for the longest time, we were eating regularly on the couch, and usually watching a movie while we ate (which is not a good habit to get into). 

 I’ve been spending far too much time on the computer.  I know it’s true, but I don’t know how to do anything about it.  There is just so much on the internet.  For instance, I’ve started following Lose Weight With Me and I love it.  This guy knows what he’s talking about -healthy living, rather than “lose weight fast”, which is what I’ve been doing for the last six months.  He’s candid and helpful in his posts.  Also, I’m addicted to Facebook.  Yes, first it was MySpace, then I discovered that Facebook seems to cater more to grown ups.  I get really tired of some of the stuff on MySpace..although I still use it.  Also, most of the people who I always wanted to have a MySpace (and didn’t), have Facebook.  So there you go. 

I feel like I am severely lacking in creativity today.  One good thing about today is that I discovered (through the blog mentioned earlier) an awesome video by Mika – Big Girl (You are Beautiful), and then started looking for more of his music – I LOVE IT!!  I like a lot of different kinds of music, and I’m not usually into pop, but this is a good kind of pop – the kind that makes you smile at the lyrics and want to dance.  Seriously, it’s hard to just sit here right now with some of his music in my head.  Well, except that the front shade is up, which means that if I started dancing, the neighbors would see me.  On that note, you know the old saying “Dance like no one’s watching.”?  Well, the only way you’ll catch me dancing is if no one really is watching.  I hardly ever dance around Mike.  Jenny and Elias are an exception…they love it when I dance (oooh, Mommy’s funny!!). 

Also online – I found an instructional video for making fabric from grocery or trash bags.  I have tons of these things, and I fully intend to make use of them and make some reusable thicker bags to take shopping with me.  I am so tired of throwing away plastic bags (it makes me feel guilty).  In direct relation to this subject, I also found an interesting blog: No More Garbage  I wonder if this couple has heard of melting bags together to make fabric….I’ll have to leave them a comment.

I think changing my diet and aiming for better health has made me more aware of other parts of my life that need changing.  For one thing, I want to start recycling more.  I am not an environmentalist by any means.  In fact, as some of you may remember, I once wrote a poem called “The Anti-Environmentalist Nightmare” which Brandi turned into a song for me.  However, when I start thinking about the amount of garbage we produce every month and how much of it could have been recycled, I feel guilty (I said that earlier, didn’t I?). 

I think this is also where the desire to clean my house comes from.  I’ve been throwing stuff out left and right – whether I’m actually throwing it away or giving it to a thrift store, I have gotten rid of a lot of stuff lately.  Clothes that I haven’t worn in ages, old journal entries or sermon notes that I don’t want or need anymore.  I gave the Action BC thrift store about four bags of clothes recently and I still have more that I could get rid of (I’m just sure of it, even though I haven’t gone through any more of it yet).  There are certain areas, though, that are very difficult for me to clean up.  Bills, paperwork, junk mail…it all usually ends up laying around so long I lose track of what’s new and what’s old.  This can turn into a real problem over time.  I need to have a system, I know.  I need to have places to put all that stuff so that it doesn’t get forgotten.  So far no word on whether we will have to pay a late fee on the gas bill I lost at the beginning of the month. 

I could keep writing, but I may actually try the plastic bag melting idea and I can’t do that and be on the computer at the same time (it’s a good thing, too, I need a break!).

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Filed under Environmentalism, Home Sweet Home, Life, in general, Mi familia, Music, The H Word, The Interweb

Another Day & Another Argument with Today’s Parent

Well, morning came again, and my eyes were incredibly heavy.  Elias decided that the waking between seven and eight routine wasn’t working for him anymore, so he moved it up to five.  Ugh.  Not only that, but it wasn’t exactly early when we went to bed last night, but the kids were in bed by eight-thirty.  My tactic for getting Elias to sleep through the night in the first place was ignoring him.  Eventually, he stayed asleep long enough for me to call it “sleeping through the night”.  So this morning I tried the old way and kept drifting off to sleep in the interim times when he decided to suck his thumb.  And then just as I would have the lovely feeling of sleep, he would cry.  Eventually I knew I would have to get up and feed him, or I wouldn’t get any more sleep.  So the last three hours I slept this morning were done with a baby at my breast.  It doesn’t actually make for the best type of sleep.

On another subject entirely, I got my issue of Today’s Parent magazine yesterday and there were two articles I paid more attention to than others; one on living environmentally friendly and the other on potty training.  The first obviously encouraged readers to use as little water and energy as possible, to buy products that won’t produce garbage, to use non-chemical cleaners and lawn fertilizers.  The second encouraged readers (in a nut shell) to not bother trying to potty train your child until two.  One part of the article actually mentioned a “parenting expert” who doesn’t recommend starting until the child is three.  There was a small blurb on diaper free babies (see diaperfreebaby.org), but the rest of the article focused on how important it is to wait until a child is “ready”. 

So my argument is, why not start early?  So far it hasn’t harmed my daughter, and she’s closer to being fully trained than most kids at two.  I think of my mehod as gentle potty training, starting early and spreading the training out over a long period of time, also not giving rewards (other than verbal praise) or punishment.  I started putting Jenny on the toilet when she was around a year; using a toilet insert rather than a potty chair.  We had a few months where we didn’t do much, but I tried to get into a routine of putting her on the toilet when she got up in the morning and before she went to bed at night.  In the beginning, not much happened; occasionally she peed, but nothing more.  She was still in diapers all this time, until around April when I started putting her in underwear on occasion.  At some point when Mike was still playing hockey every Sunday night (before the end of March), she pooped for the first time on the toilet.  I would have loved to finish before she turned two, as I was potty trained by eighteen months and it certainly didn’t scar me, but I decided I didn’t want to push it – Jenny is a very independent little girl.  The only real defiance I’ve gotten from her has started in the last few months; the closer she got to two, the worse it was.  My theory is that at home, she doesn’t like her play interrupted to go to the bathroom.  We have certainly had some accidents, but with a little diligence on the part of whichever parent (or grandparent or aunt) is with her, she doesn’t really have very many accidents.  She knows what to do when put on the toilet and when we are away from home, often tells us when she needs to go.  She also has started to go a little in her pants and then say potty and go more when taken to the bathroom.  Obviously she’s learning what it feels like when she starts to have an accident.  And the big argument usually given by the “experts” on why to not train early is that it will be bad for their self-esteem.  So far, so good; I don’t notice anything emotionally wrong with my daughter just because we started training early. 

So back to the reason I mentioned the environmental article.  If they’re so keen on reducing garbage, and one can assume that most people who leave their kids in diapers until they’re three (or older) are using disposables, don’t they realize that their theories on training aren’t lining up with their ideals for the environment?  Even if people were using cloth diapers until the age of three (which I can’t imagine they’d want to do), there are still environmental tolls because of what the diapers are usually washed in.

It’s not like I’m an environmental nut, or even an activist of any sort, but really, if you’re going to have articles like that in the same issue, think about it first.  It’s an obvious double standard.  Environmentalists and self-esteem mongers usually both fit the bill of liberals, but here they are, directly contradicting each other.  It’s ridiculous if you ask me. 

 I know.  No one asked.  That’s okay, I like to give my opinion freely.  In fact, I might just write a letter.  I say that every month, and I still haven’t done it.  But maybe this time I will.

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Filed under Environmentalism, Home Sweet Home, Kiddos, Life, in general, Mi familia, Rants, The Potty Train