As I reflect on the past 30 days I find pride in my achievements. There is certainly room for more, but its looking like progress.
1. REFUSE plastic – yes NO plastic of ANY kind, especially disposables!
I have successfully made it through the grocery store without coming home with any packaging several times! I wrote a letter to my favorite and only magazine requesting that they stop wrapping the magazine in a plastic wrapper (I totally sent the wrapper back to them). I busted out a jar to take home left over snacks, instead of the offered plastic bag. I do need to work on the refusing part. Plastic gifts, ugh. Marilyn and I have been talking a lot of plastic, I even went as far to show her pictures of plastics in the ocean and talk about one of her favorite sea friends the sea turtle. She’s 3 1/2, but its never too early to encourage her to think outside the box, right? After a fun park morning she fell down on the pavement, cut both knees, both hands, her lip and scraped her nose. She was hysterical to say the least. We had walked, I was not prepared with any sort of emergency kit much less a hanky. We washed with a little water and wrapped her up in the wagon to voyage home with a whimpering child. I had promised her lunch at the new taqueria in our neighborhood and despite her current state she wanted to keep that date. She was still bursting into tears in spurts trying really hard to be strong, but she was losing the battle. They brought us our food and handed her a spoon. She burst into loud hysterical tears, as I calmed her she muttered to me “but mommy its plastic I can’t use it.” My heart melted a little and assured her that it was okay thats all they have and next time we will bring our own. We brought it home, she wanted to make sure it didn’t make it to the sea turtles. I wonder if she has had her “Lorax” moment?
2. Incorporate One Unplugged Night into our Lives – No power, raw food, start with once a month but aim for once a week
We have actually done 1 1/2 of these so far! One was intentional, which I wrote about, the half was an accident, and a little more challenging. We had crashed the Ahern Family snowy vacation and when we all arrived after a long drive the cabin had no power! We packed on the layers, busted out the head lamps and clicked on the cabins only candles (it makes total sense that they don’t provide flame candles in a rental). Missy built a fire, we piled the kids in beds with a ton of blankets and played cards far to late. It was cold and not being “prepared” for a rock cold cabin with no electricity was interesting. My toes were so cold but we made the best of it. We used gas to cook a hot meal – so thats why its a half. Eating raw vegetables would not have been very kind to our little ones who could see their breath in the cabin.
3. Manage Food Consumption – No Beef, Eat Local, REDUCE WASTE!
Robert slipped on the no beef one time, but I have not. I really have only missed it once, while out to eat at our favorite Mexican restaurant. I wanted to devour a carne asada taco with extra cilantro and limes – yum. I opted for shrimp instead and was not disappointed. Its true that seafood has its own controversies but we’re going for progress right now. I’ve made it to farmer’s market every week and have been creating and consuming primarily local cuisine, again progress. Our greatest achievement in this category is reducing the food waste. I am shopping once a week, yes ONCE a week. Its a little challenging, takes a bit more planning, but its going well. Our fridge is so bare on the night before market, I look at it and smile. Entertaining is the hardest part. We spontaneously entertain all the time! A couple weeks ago we had friends over to watch football. I was scrambling, I hadn’t planned on making a feast. What feeds a crowd?? Pasta! But wait they don’t sell it in bulk so I don’t have any…I’ll make it! I have made pasta a 100+ times. No problem. I made a 6hr marinara with my last cans of tomatoes, and created my pasta paste in time to rest. When it was finally time to run it through the machine it squished, blobbed and totally fell apart. This had never happened to me before! I let it rest longer, nope the same effect. Friends were coming in a half hour, I was stressed feeling defeated with no more eggs to start over. I finally gave in and ordered pizza. Thank goodness it did not come with plastic and Robert refused the god awful packaged cheese and pepper flakes. We had fun, but I was definitely in a funk I love to cook for friends. Its unrealistic to think that we will plan every dinner with friends in time for me to shop, however I could come up with some good crowd pleasing recipes that utilize pantry basics. Another item to add to the list.
4. Drive Less/and or Reduce Gas Consumption
Ugh. This is a frustrating one. I had vowed to have one no drive day a week originally choosing Wednesdays only to realize that that is a school day for Marilyn. Her school is within biking distance, but with the rain, freezing temps and the lack of proper equipment to transport her and all her school things this is an unrealistic goal right now. I am also working more! More office days that is, same hours, just now required to be in the office more days a week. So I am sitting in traffic 3-4 days instead of 1 or 2. This makes me want to trade my car in for an electric one. I have started some research, but it gets overwhelming. I need to learn so much more to make an educated decision there. I’ve been trying to take Robert’s Prius when possible to offset a bit of that, progress. There have been four days this month where I have not driven. That is not good, must improve here.
5. Reduce Energy Loss – Shape Up Home Efficiency
We completed an analysis of our energy bill. I have also gotten quotes for an “energy audit”, to insulate our house (we have none!), to put on a “green” energy efficient roof, to convert to solar, and have done some research about clotheslines and more efficient laundry systems (that is where we spend the bulk of our money and use most of our gas). I don’t feel 100% confident in any of these just yet. I have SO many questions and we are trying to wager where the best place to invest is. We have a very specific budget in mind and like most families I want to get the most for every single dollar!
6. Put Our Money Where Our Mouth Is- What are we really invested in?
Aaaahhh I have not evaluated our retirement plan, nor considered where our donations are actually going – I need to make this a priority ASAP
7. Lessen our Pet Footprint – We have three furry mongrels
I have been buying “cookies” in bulk – no packaging! Petco has been so kind about my jar. I’ve also started research about converting to a food with a bag that is at least recyclable or compostable. Its hard to change a dogs food especially since we have a working dog, an older dog, and one with a sensitive stomach. It took us a long time to find the food we have now, so it is going to take a lot of convincing to change it, for everyone not just the dogs. The poop issue is one that we need to make a drastic move on. I have been waiting for Robert to take the initiative but its seems this is going to take a dirty collaboration. Yuck.
8. Take a Political Stand – Voting is not Enough!
I have written 8 letters to politicians and organizations this month!
9. Wear What You Are – What? How? When?
I bought one made in California dress from my favorite local boutique. It was on sale, so the price while a little more than I wanted to spend it was a little easier to swallow. The best part is I love it and it is already one of my favorite pieces. I am trying to create a “Curated Closet” but I have only nipped the tip of the iceberg, more on that to come.
10. Get Educated and Help Educate Others
Does the blog count?? I’ve shared the blog and Years of Living Dangerously with my mom and it has gotten her so motivated she is putting me to shame. She has driven four times in the month of January. She is riding her bike or walking to do her errands. She is lucky to live in a great neighborhood with awesome coffee shops, a farmers market, speciality stores, and a general store within close distance. Plus she has an awesome bike with a cute little basket. Thats one more person taking action!! Whoopee!
*Get Rid of our Garbage Can* – It didn’t make it to the curb twice this month!!!!!!!