Sunday, January 02, 2005

Well here we are again. I'm leafing thought my most recent Sierra club magazine and snipping out the articles I find interesting. One quote from the editor of ReadyMade magazine I found very interesting:

"... linking environmentalism to denial and compromise is an old stigma that the movement has to shake off... (y)ou have to give people a reason that is more concrete and tangible than saving the earth. They might feel powerless to do that, or they might not think the earth needs saving."

Got so angry when I got to the bolded part (my emphasis) - But then I realized that she wasn't saying that people were thinking fashion and home decorating were more important than saving the earth, and, reading on, I realized that she was right to say that this is an overwhelming thought - one person saving the world? And to be truthful, humans may be short sighted, but there isn't a lot of things that will truely doom the earth to cease to be. What a lot of people are working towards is preserving the earth they remember, for sentimental or environmental reasons.

Anyway, I'm planning out my year, looking through the outings with Sierra club to try to make my travel plans more environmentally sound. Last year I went to Maine, Kentucky, New York City and the lake Erie Islands. I started this year going to the Walleye Madness Walleye Drop at Port Clinton where they lower a huge fish down a rope. I love these little town festivals like Punxy Phill. I bought a Christmas ornament from the Kiwanas and a perch sandwich from the Knights of Columbus. I would like to make it to Portland this year, perhaps Texas to visit my Aunt, goat-packing through Wyoming, Paris with my friend (low priority), Florida Keys with my sisters, California to visit family, and on the "w/in 5 years" list I have Appilachian trail, Iceland, Scotland, Hawaii and maybe sometime Japan, Arizona, Mexico and Alaska.

Also looking at service oriented trips - tracking mountain lions, surveying pronghorn habitat, lookout tower restoration... and I realize why I haven't done any local Sierra trips this last year. Sure, I would be cutting back on travel emissions and leaving less of an ecological footprint staying close to home - but when you live in Ohio and all the trips are less "let's go whale watching on a pristine beach!" and more "let's remove invasive garlic and mustard plants from a bog!" you can kinda see the difference in "wow" factor. Thus relating back to the "we gotta make the environmental movement sexy" quote. 'Couse if you live in Ohio, you realize that sex appeal is not a top priority most of the time - mostly you're trying to stay dry and warm. So what does Oregon got that we don't?

Okay, moving on, Belle Lettre 4 is not out yet because I lost WORD off my computer. I damn Microsoft and HP and Norton. But also all the lame-Os who flooded my hard drive with spyware. May the curse of wild garlic be upon you and your family! Anyway, I have to go on Ebay and try to find an affordable copy. So yes, the issue will come out eventually, and it will be the last issue for now. It served its purpose, my little 'zine, to help me to solidify my style if not to learn how to reach deadlines. It helped me to remember how to rush things, and also how I can get a lot done in a short amount of time, but how things really are better after revision. Ya I learned a lot. But why don't people submit things when they say they are going to? Huh.

I'll admit that a lot of my brainpower was converted to stress in 2004 in regards to the environment, politics, women's rights, and more. So on the first day of 2005, I decided to go shopping and try to be as guilt free about it as possible. I am proud of a lot of choices I have made - I walk a lot, I purchased a car that gets good gas mileage and was made by a company that has done a lot of good work being environmentally sound, but I did buy a new car as opposed to a used one soully for the sake of having that experiance once in my life. I love my car (The Velvet Pea), and I realize that it makes me happy to play my music through her humble tape deck and take her far to the ends of the earth over the paved interstate system.

So I went shopping and tried to coordinate my trips but, because it was technitcally a holiday, it didn't work out quite as I'd hoped, but I was okay with that. I wanted to go to Chipolte but they were closed, so I had a surprizingly good fire-grilled salad from BK. I went to pick up my photos from Marcs but they weren't in yet (I'll call them today to check before I go. ) I did buy a lot of medicine that I'd used up over the course of the year for pretty cheep at Marcs and got myself some wine as well. Then I tried to go to my two co-op-y places but they were both closed as well, so I ended up doing most of my shopping down the street at the local Giant Eagle. Giant Eagle has been a supported of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo for a few years now, and so I felt okay shopping there. Also they have good tilapia. I ended up spending over $100 but I got organic eggs, apples, oranges, milk and chicken. I would have liked to go to the local market to buy produce and bread, but it too was closed, and I have enough staple foods now that I will be able to go there some other day once I eat up all my banannas. Plus, I have to admit that the "one-stop-shopping" was a real time saver. I was able to finish cleaning the house (it had not been cleaned since before Chirsmas), put gas in the car and talk to my fam and friends on the phone. Plus, it gave me time to type this ramble!

I currently do not have a TV, which has opened up a lot of free time as well. It's not really by choice- ours blew up and we were watching a little 6" screen for a few months. I will have a new one soon, and will be happy. I missed it - I missed watching movies and having the tv on while I do crafts and layout and drawings. I watched way too much junk when I went home for Christmas (trying to cram in time to watch all of the holiday specials lead to watching reality tv to remind myself how awful it is.) That was a regret, but also, I can now safely say, with examples to back up my argument more than the assumed hearsey, that Nanny 911 is a total piece of crap waste of time.

It is little things like this that lead me to believe why "modern homesteaders" usually do not last very long while living off the land. I think my parent's tried it, and I think at one time I thought it was the logical escape from a world gone mad. But when you realize how much time it takes to

tend a garden,
grow all your food,
can all your cucumbers for pickles,
sew all your clothing,
tend your animals every day,
conserve every ounce of energy,
cook every meal... discover quickly how hard it is to weed and grow food in soil if you don't know the acidity of it, or if its too rocky or sandy or how it is difficult to get your compost pile built and working and how there is a lot of shade in the world, usually right where you want to put a garden, and with shade usually comes tree roots, usually right where you want to put a garden, and you realize how much you really eat and how hard it is to have food year-round, and how sick you are going to get of tomatoes and dried beans and how pickles aren't even that good for you, how you're going to get so sick of wearing the same clothes that you'd rather go naked, and how long it takes to make something from scratch, and how loud and anoying animals can get and how much they need to eat and excercise and how much waste they make, and will you really be able to take an axe to Roy the Rooster?! And what types of wood will burn the best, and what about the soot and air polution and how much wood will you have to chop, and what if you chop off your leg, and do you know what it takes to plan three meals a day for more than a month or two and how much oatmeal can you really stand and on and on and on....

SO - no, I am not going "back to the land." But I will make choices that lead me to a comfortable life, both bodily and spiritually. I will probably have those loud and noisy dirty beasts at some point, because I love animals and am inspired by the challenges and the fact that there is a living breathing creature counting on me to muck their stalls and feed them. And the egocentric want of displaying my lovely creatures at a county fair. I would love to have a life where I could spend most of my time at home, caring for critters, cooking mostly homemade stuff, writing and being crafty and inventive and recycling and so on. But there is a lot to like about modern society - washing machines and electric heaters and computers (even if they have gnomes in them), stay fresh milk cartons and TVs and compact flourescent lights - to like.

I hope this little bit of blabbering will help to set me on a more productive and optomistic vibe for the new year. I'm ready to have some more fun.

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