Farewell to 2018

The holidays are amongst us, and for us it is a joyous time of year. Kids are buzzing, family will make an appearance or two, and the house is filled with the smells of hot cocoa, popcorn, and gingerbread. I’ve been spending my evenings wrapping presents in front of reruns of Downton Abbey or a favorite Christmas movie. Often reflecting on how I have changed this year. It hasn’t been my most positive planet fighting achievement, my greatest career advancing, or my most productive by far, but it has given me new insight on what I really want.  

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The kids and I on Thanksgiving

The year started with little sleep and seems to be ending with little sleep too. Somewhere in the middle I did actually sleep but those days are foggy now. The kids have had some crazy colds so far this winter, and one turned into a long long ear infection for baby. Little sleep makes for a crazy mommy and gives me little motivation to get through daily tasks much less concentrate on changing the world. I did find some time to campaign for candidates and propositions I believed in around the country, voted for the underdogs, and registered some new voters during the summer season. Though many did not win it felt good to fight for my beliefs and hope for change.
The UN report released in October made my skin crawl and I haven’t really recovered. I find myself standing in the kitchen worrying. Worrying about the future, worrying about how I will protect my children, and if I am so blessed – grandchildren. My mom and I discuss these topics all the time, and I am always jealous of her naivety when she was a mother. Sure she had her own worries of the time, but we ate frozen beef taquitos without stressing that they were contributing to global food shortages and possible the end of life as we know. Its heavy but its true. As a result I have become totally and completely obsessed with Vermont. My grandmother would tell you I am a true California girl and I would never last more than a half hour in her home town of Crookston, Minnesota, but I have run my husband ragged with theories of why we need to buy land elsewhere. He told me the other day, that he did not want to talk about Vermont anymore. He is to the core a completely rational male, and I to my own core a worrisome mother, on this grand topic, you might want to call us oil and water. We are both incredibly stubborn so we shall see who wins the argument. But I can’t stop thinking about an escape plan. Where will we go with California burns up? Dries out and there is not enough food? Where will you go?

It is now as I write this that I realize that all this anxiety and lack of sleep is causing me to eat. Eat very poorly I may add. I have never in my entire life – including my juvenile years, have I consumed so much sugar. At one point I was eating half a pint of ice cream a day. I overheard Robert at a party we were hosting, telling friends and family in his own way how amazed he was by the amount of sweets I was consuming. His family usually has more dessert then dinner so that is saying a lot. Then a visit with my mom turned into an obsession with chips, granted it was during the horrendous fires, but still chips? My brother brought us bags of basically “organic” Doritos and ever since I have completely been fixated on crunchy nacho disgustingness. I know they aren’t good, but I can’t stop eating them. Literally bags full a day. Missy asked me if I was a stoner with a laugh. (for the record I am NOT). Every night after I put the kids down and before I attempt to clean up from the day I open a bag of chips, a pint of ice cream, or a candy bar (or two) and go to town. Its totally embarrassing, hopefully being honest about it will make me stop. All this junk has contributed negatively to my garbage can, my waistline, my teeth and I’m sure my health. I partially blame the fact that I don’t get to market enough anymore to stock up on veggies, but who am I kidding.

Kindergarten has shaken up our house in so many ways. We have a blossoming sounding out counting queen on our hands and it is so fun! She is going through too much paper but her fire to read and write is amazing to watch. Her school while she loves it has been a bit of an eye opener and a shock to me. It’s not progressive, and it has really shown me how far away we are from change actually happening. Disposable water bottles at EVERY event. Major resistance on nearly everything environmentally conscience except a push to recycle….helllllllooooo does anyone listen when they are talking about these tariffs? Recycling is now a joke! There have been parents who throw a fit when useable plates and forks are used for kids parties instead of disposable options, like really? District officials who refuse to consider other options when it comes to the way technology is implemented in the classroom. These amongst other events outside of the wonderfulness that is happening in the classroom, make me long for that Charter Montessori I let myself be talked out of. I knew better, another life lesson about how I need to always trust my gut. There is a strong American culture out there that I have always felt isolated from. Now I feel it nearly everyday with this school and it can be a total

downer.

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Making gingerbread cookies and a house decorated with our left over Halloween candy.

Bringing it back to that kindergartener and the blossoming she has been doing. I am helping to create a group of Daisy Girls Scouts who will change the world and fight for our planet. That has been a lot of work, but fun work. I never thought I could geek out on patches before, nor that this ex-fshionista could love a rainbow uniform. The last week I have made a conscience effort to put away my phone and endless influx of news and opinion articles to spend some quality time with the big girl while her brother is napping. We’ve been sewing, creating, and cooking and it has made my heart burst with joy. I love her so and its so exciting to watch her grow. We had spent nearly two weeks this fall locked indoors because of smoke and dangerous air quality. It contributed to my anxiety about what our future will hold, but also made me hyper aware of my time with these little munchkins. As we were driving through the smoke to get back home after trying to escape it I found myself apologizing over and over to them both. Finally Marilyn asked me “why do you say that? you didn’t make the smoke.” She was right, I didn’t, but my job is to protect her, and I felt so hopeless. I’ve contributed to this mess. Now, I feel like I can’t protect her from this, it’s beyond me. More of a reason to be obsessed with moving or escaping to somewhere else.

2018 had some wonderful moments and some rough ones. I wasn’t necessarily the best climate activist, but it has helped me see what is most important to me right this minute, my family. I need to do everything I can to combat this devastating change to ensure that my babies are able to have a place in this world, but I also know that I need to be totally engaged in them. The guilt from letting my work load slack, I have to let subside. That’s not where I need to be. I need to be at home with my kids and together we need to work on changing the world. I know that my place is with them right now, and there is so much that we can do together. I am starting to feel confident that going into 2019 I will have the energy, even without the sleep, to fight for them. I am their mom, it’s my job.

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Meal Planning

Life is crazy busy. Kids. Sports. Work. School. Politics. Saving the planet. Most days I’m either spinning or completely lost in the fog. I know I am not the only one. Meal times are completely and utterly challenging! I found myself going out to eat far more then necessary because I would look in the cabinets to find there was nothing I could conjure in less time then it would take me to drive to a local spot.  Rather then reach for a box of frozen wastefully wrapped not so healthy “food” I have found my savior on a scratch piece of paper. Continue reading

PACT

mls-rdw-17-1505335824When shopping for a somewhat picky man with a mostly lean 6’6 frame, amazonian arms and legs, not to mention shoes that could be used for safety rafts the task is difficult, throw in the environmentally and humanely responsible curve ball and its enough to want to jump ship sans the size 15s. Its a wonder he refuses to do it all. However in my adventure to find responsible lines for my post here I came across PACT and here is what we found. Continue reading

Part 2: Lightly Robed

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People Tree was one of the lines highlighted on the film as doing the right thing. Their items are well made and stylish with good price points, win win!

In my last post I explored on the horrors of the fashion industry and this world of waste we live in. Report after report from NPR to the parent tour we recently did for Kindergarten highlight levels of anxiety and depression as a concern for almost everyone. We are constantly bombarded with terrible news and often feel powerless to make a difference. Fleeing Syrians, lead in kids drinking water, shootings, robberies, children obducted, animals abused, it goes on and on everyday. Its easy to throw your hands up, retreat to a bubble, and refuse to do anything because you CAN’T do everything or worse internalize it and let it fester inside causing depression and anxiety. Stop. Stop right there. Look closer because you can almost always do something. In this blur of fast fashion and never ending consumerism what can one little person do in their own homes? Here’s a good start. Continue reading

Part 1: Closet Case

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Rana Plaza building collapses killing 1,134 garment workers five years ago today. 

I scrutinize every piece of food that enters my mouth. I make 90% of my cleaning products. My garden is full of both beneficial and not so great bugs. You’d be hard pressed to find a package in my pantry. My driveway and walkways are adorned with weeds. My medicine cabinet is sparsely decorated with a mix of local, organic, and homemade natural remedies. Even my laundry practice is over thought and responsible. But open the doors to my 1950’s closet and you will find a mix of fast and slow fashion, with a heavy emphasis on fast fashion. Why is is that I have flipped so many aspects of my life but put little thought or energy into the very clothing that covers my body 24 hrs a day? Though I believe I really have always known what was going on behind these brands, it has really only come to the forefront of my thoughts in recent weeks. Can you say hypocrite??? Continue reading

One Thing You Have to Do Today

IMG_9234.JPGOn Wednesday I had the privilege to attend the listening session on the EPA’s proposed Repeal the Clean Power Plan. I was so impressed by the diversity of attendees all pleading for the EPA to keep the Clean Power Plan in place. From Doctors to Lawyers to Religious Leaders, Scientists and even representatives from PG&E there was no shortage of passion in the room. I was also not the only mom with a baby strapped to her chest, which I was pleasantly surprised about. Our very own Missy spoke to the panel bringing enthusiastic fist pumps, “good jobs” and many tears from the audience; it’s amazing how two strangers with a common goal can hug and cry in an unknown space. The theme was strong, we are busy professionals juggling families, jobs, and life yet trying to convince a big government bully to do their job. Their job that is supposedly to do the right thing by the environment. Now we can get into a heated political rant, believe me I am ready with my economic facts, but rather lets focus on what YOU can do right now.  Continue reading

Oops – Cheers to 2018

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How does one hit publish and have an entire post disappear? Of course this would happen to me. Especially considering getting here has been a struggle given the chaos of the holidays with a big dollop of new baby who prefers to sleep attached to me. I’ve called it my “maternity leave” and am finally coming out of the smog since our journey to see the giant sequoias filled me with fresh air and a fresh perspective.

The holiday hangover was real this year. Theodore arrived early November and then the chaos of the holidays hit. I was bound and determined to not let it get to me, but a mix of hormonal uncertainty and holiday anxiety is not really a recipe for success. I absolutely voted with my dollars, but issues like wrapping paper, battling the awful plastic fight with those horrific gifts from family that refuse to respect our lifestyle, resisting the urge to buy more things because it has been ingrained in my head since I was a wee tot, and making sure that that capitalist Santa guy was bringing my kids enough “stuff” haunted me.  I did manage to find everything on the big guys list used and no one new the difference. For the 26 kiddos on my list I purchased books from our local bookstore and opted for some jammies made of soft organic cotton and not made in China. For wrapping paper I made reusable fabric bags from scraps of fabric left over from old projects, this was a bit ambitious and I’m not sure I can recommend this for a new mom next year.  We also hosted a vegetarian nearly gift-less Christmas Eve and it was quite lovely. We didn’t master the art of refusing, still having a hard time convincing my husband on that one, so in our bathtub you will find a peeing plastic baby doll and a plastic singing tea cart in the box in our living room (I keep trying to trade that one for something less hideous). How do people avoid these things? I can’t imagine Jess Brown, Simone LeBlanc or  Erica Tanov deal with singing plastic hideousness, what is your secret???? (these are my lifestyle crushes in you are unfamiliar 🙂 )

2018 Started out better than 2017 ended though. We had to cancel our vegetarian new years brunch due to a kid with a horrifically high fever, but soon after we jumped in the car and found ourselves in an amazing coniferous forest filled with emerald moss, eggplant bark, rusty needles, and the most amazing trees I’d ever seen. I didn’t realize this was a bucket list item for me, but it totally was. If you haven’t been, go, go now!  The kids loved it too. Don’t get me wrong there was a fair share of four-year old complaining, but once we discovered the trees and gave them the space to actually play amongst them Missy’s daughter screamed out “there’s so much to do here!” while running in and out of a hollowed tree. We might be doing something right after all. Fingers crossed.

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I felt incredibly small standing next to these ginormous beings. Standing there looking up I couldn’t help but be perplexed that my small self could have a greater and devastating impact on the environment to the point of harm of these spectacles. That hardly seems right and fair. It really put into perspective how important it is to change. I’ve gotten so many questions about whether or not I will continue on this journey and honestly there is no way I could ever go back. I will never shop the same, or eat without consideration of the journey but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I learned so much last year and feel I can only go forward from here. We plan to continue our 2017 resolutions but take them a bit farther and continue to add to them. For example  instead of just giving up beef I am becoming a ceremonial omnivore. I am only eating meat on special occasions and exploring the world of vegan cuisine. The native people didn’t eat meat everyday and neither should we.

More items to tackle in 2018:

Finally build that curated closet, once my waistline goes back to normal of course 🙂

Putting all the investment research to play, and donating to more organizations that are truly doing their part in action and education.

Getting more political. This I am least excited about, but last year I learned this is the most important one, so alas here I come.

Continue to instill these values in my kids. This may be the most important one.

Hold my community accountable. Why are the public schools not composting? Why are there only trash receptacles at the park? Why are some places still giving out plastic bags? Come on, we call ourselves a “green city” but really??

Shop less, but when I do shop shop small. Period.

Make this process more beautiful. Being more ecologically minded doesn’t have to be granola and frankly it won’t appeal to the masses if it is. How can I make these everyday small steps be Pinterest ready? If its beautiful more people will join in. #jarporn

And the list will keep growing and growing. In 2018 we must keep moving, time is running out. Will you makes some changes for the better this year? Will you join us? You don’t have to make your own laundry soap, but maybe instead of buying Tide in plastic you can change to something eco-friendly in cardboard? Or even better hit up the bulk section? If we all make small changes it makes a big difference, don’t do nothing because you can’t do everything. Please.