Day In The Life Of Best Of Mother Earth

This post is for this month’s Green Mom’s Carnival.

When our host Beth Terry of  Fake Plastic Fish, someone devoted to living a life with less plastic suggested the topic, I found myself thinking — shoot — what am I possibly going to say?

When I think of my day to day.  I don ‘t think of myself as hugely green.  I think of myself as me and sortof  green.  I say advocacy because I am not a green expert by any means.  Sure – I am earthy, grounded,  someone who marches a different beat to an unusual drum, yes – someone who used cloth diapers when noone else did.  I’d like to think I am exampling greenness at some level.

I also have a strong component of  green self criticism.   I find the task of green insanely overwhelming.  For myself, I do the best I can.  I feel guilty about my lack of almost all the time.  It’s just not enough.  I feel like a whiner about it

I think of those who example exemplary greenness and I then  find I am green with envy.

They do green things I haven’t even begun to consider or simply are not willing to do

Allow me to explain myself a bit …

My uncle authored a book in the late 90’s .  It was about homesteading in the 40’s in Ontario.  He was from a homesteading family of twelve, apparently there were more but some just didn’t survive.  Their family life was hard. Day in and day out hard. When I think of my uncle I think of of someone who was  mindful, brilliant, and very very funny. He always took an institutional daily walk.  He brushed his teeth with baking soda.  Slept in a sleeping bag on the pool table.

( maybe because his nieces took his bed while they were visiting – ha! )

He was a character! These were impressions from knowing him as a child – we  ever so occasionally saw he and my aunt in the summers.  I just adored him.  His writing was very cerebral, warm and heart wrenching.  Big big words and mega long sentences!! Reading his book as an adult made me wonder more about him. Who was this man?

In the book both of the main characters die.  They  completely don’t survive their flight from life in the city.  The ending of the book totally pissed me off.  This reaction really made me think.   I thought to myself  – who am I fooling – I live a la-la fairy land existence.  I could NEVER homestead.  I’m a bed and breakfast girl.  I am embarrassed to say this, but it’s true.  I love bed and breakfasts.  What does that say about me?

Well — I could spin it to sound like the choice to frequent bed and breakfasts is “better” than staying at a Holiday Inn for about a zillion reasons.   It’s not the point.

I was raised suburban.  We were not dripping in suburbia and certainly not as affluent as some – but we were the cream on the block in comparison.

The years I lived in the big city — how urban was I?  Not very.   I stuck to things very safe and very familiar.

Fact is –I am a suburban white chick.  AND I still like things to be convenient.  I am noticing this more and more about myself and I don’t like it.

What does this have to do with my day to day?  It has to do with being comfortable verses being uncomfortable and trying a bit harder.  There I said it.

I feel I fit into the “like most”  or I do what is “comfortable” category.

Nothing exceptional about my greenness.

So what is the day in the life of Mother Earth really like ?

I live by natural light and follow the sun

I wake up in the east and cook dinner by the west

Twenty two windows in my little home means absolutely everything to me

I work from home.  Often I don’t leave my home for days.

I do this because when I do leave my home it ends up costing me money.  If you don’t run errands, do coffee or have a social life you save money.

Sounds sortof sad, but there are times especially in this recent year where I had to think that way.  I had to say no to what many folks take for granted. The price of a cup of coffee for example. Or the budget for one tank of gasoline a month.

When I do go out I  stack my errands and try and make the most of my being out and about

I do everything to choreograph my about town farthest place first

errands on the way back.

You will not find me running out for a single something.

I drive a compact car.

It’s eleven yrs old – has very little mileage on it comparatively.  I fantasize about a cool looking car. Had one once and felt like a million bucks in it.  How is it a car can make someone feel so groovy?  That car didn’t survive a car accident.  I did and I am still groovy!! I still adore the color of my current vehicle.  That makes me happy. A simple thing, but it does.

I shower when I have to be social.   Or when I have to wash my hair.  I currently live alone so perhaps if I had a life partner I might bathe more.  Sad again – I know.

I’d like to use less plastic in the personal care department but have so far failed at this miserably.  I still need to write about the demise of the baking soda experiment.   I do use products that are immensely concentrated and plant sourced.  However at some point the bottles do end up in recycling.  I wonder constantly why manufacturers can’t reuse bottles.  I’d even pay to ship my bottles to right back to them.   Especially if it meant they could find a way to use them again.

I think to myself — how did we do things before plastics??  Couldn’t we go back? How can cigarettes be produced when clearly they cause ill health/ death.

How are so many awful chemicals allowed?  Can’t we just say no?  Can’t we just stop?

Makes my head hurt

I eat at home.  Cook scratch.  I prefer this and I believe at many levels this is my strongest green practice.As a young mom I had way more zeal about this, now that my nest is empty I admit to have gotten lazy.   I store in glass. This year I stopped buying anything in a can. I miss tuna, artichoke hearts and mandarin oranges.  Just don’t eat those things anymore.    I support local farmers when I can.  Sometimes I have a timing issue – like,  I run out of eggs when the market is six days away.  Sometimes I fall into the buy all in one place I despise grocery shopping with all my might rut.  This would be the suburban white chick in me.  I have noticed that a full fridge is a comfort thing for me.  I rarely throw any food away.  I  eat quite a bit of raw foods.  I buy organic when at all possible and  I’ve been using a market bag or paper/ re-use for 25 years. I have not mastered the buy things not stored in plastic thing, nor have I gotten rid of all produce bags.  I do re-use them over and over and over.  I want to get better at this.  To buy cheese w/o packaging is a longer haul mileage wise and very pricey. This doesn’t make sense to me and  I can’t give up cheese.

( MORE suburban white chick )

I garden moderately.  Have to say this years is looking successful! Budding and positively edible! Very new to me. Happiness is peppers, flat leaf parsley, basil, summer squash and several kinds of tomatoes. Lettuce ? Not so good. Radishes?  We’ll see!!

I stack a mean dishwasher. Running it full to the max, gosh maybe twice a week.  I use all non-toxic bio-degradable cleaning products.  I ran out recently of a scouring paste I absolutely love and looked up when I had bought them. ( I purchased two in 2004!!!  ) Those little container lasted six years! Either I don’t clean enough or that stuff is mighty concentrated. I wash clothes – full loads – or when I run out of  wares.

I downsized my living space last year. I work out of one room of the house.  I only have those lights on.   I unplug stuff daily. Turn off things.  Use the power strips with switches to monitor things that leach electricity.  I have mixed feelings about those curly light bulbs.

I run air conditioning high to keep the humidity out of my work space not to wear a sweater inside.

I run the heat low and wear layers.

Because I work at home – my attire is often pretty darn casual.  I have a few outfits for being “out” or looking professional.  I am not a clothes hound or a shoe hound.  This saves me money.  I have a few basic black shoes that I usually wear until they shred.  Same thing with my underware. ( is that too much information?)

I occasionally feel compelled for a new something, a feel better blouse.  A new lacey bra.  I often often often talk myself out of this.  I find if I don’t go into a store I am not compelled to buy.  This to date has been my most useful non-buying strategy.  I gifted holiday this last year completely from thrift and second hand shopping at the cost of $75.  This made me feel absolutely terrific.  I love to gift and buying second hand is one way to make purchases mindfully.  When I use to practice a less caring consumption model I cringe at what I use to spend.  I also admit I bought some pretty useless throw away crap.  My furniture /home decor is all second hand. I go to the library.

I spend much of my day to day on the phone ( 2800 cell phone minutes monthly – yikes! )

Just so you know – I so don’t hold that phone to my head.

Or I am writing, writing writing!

Between my job/job, my freelancing or my hobbies ( photography) I am often at my computer.

For my well being and the super duper budget plan I stretch on my living room floor and walk in the park daily – pretty organic

I am a tenacious recycler.  I return my egg cartons to the farmer. I put my garbage to curb if anything once a month and not because the can is full.  More so because it’s stinky.  Inside my home my garbage can is lined with a paper bag/ or items are wrapped in newspaper and tossed

I don’t invoice.  I don’t do snail mail customer communications.  I go through little paper – what I did use this last year  was in relationship to the purchase of my home, or school loans for my kids verses my day to day operations.  In years past I took on online bill paying, and generally a paperless office.  I fail in that some of my ability to process numbers requires me to have papers in hand – tangibly verses being online.  I recently got bifocals perhaps this will help some of my online reading.

I just realized my new glasses are totally plastic.  Gosh – I could have considered metal frames and didn’t even think of that. Beth — why were you not sitting on my you can do better in the plastics reduction category shoulder and reminding me ever so gently?

I clean with rags and have from forever, and since 1996 I have only used 58 rolls of paper towels.  (I actually counted – isn’t that queer?) In comparison to most that’s amazing.  My need for paper towel use that was strictly pet excretion/barf  related.  Now that the pets are gone – I have no idea when I will use a paper towel.  My only roll left will probably last me the next 10 years!!  Once that’s gone I’ll use newspaper.

I have a green wish list.

Do you?

My worm bin was on that list – how exciting that someone gave me one in recent months!  It’s finally producing amazing organic matter.  Ways to reduce plastic is tops.  I wish to learn how to make my home more energy efficient. To afford a bicycle is another, and to find one used that is ergonomic to my injury is also on the list.  To garden more.  Eat more from my garden!! A “look good” rain barrel.  ( I know) A clothes line. I’d like to meet more of the local farmers and understand more about eating seasonally/ our local food movement.  To teach others how to cook from scratch. Or to educate the slow food movement to more people.

In my day to day life I am blessed that I don’t battle a commute, the expense or the polluting of that.  My days are very flexible.   While I am regimented in my writing, posting and client communications.  I am not tied to the clock as most are in their work.  I know my disposition needs this lack of structure and freedom!

All said and done I am not sure how green this message really is or how it shares my day to day.  It is mostly just what I wanted to say.  I don’t want my readership to think I am making fun of those that are white or from suburbia.   I really wanted to emphasize that I am often just like everyone else.

I think the point over and over is taking steps one at a time.  AND to be OK with what one  is one willing to do.  I read this post and it feels like one big wah!  I will example this by saying at this moment I can’t give up my cheese.  However if I find a way to do that and it’s convenient.  I’ll be the first to stand in line.  How totally stupid that sounds.  I could just get off it and give up cheese and see if I survive.

( a lovely illustrating  image would go here but right now I can’t upload images.  Something goofy going on here at the blog )

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12 Responses to Day In The Life Of Best Of Mother Earth

  1. Love your post! I love looking into someone else life and strangely am addicted to it. I’m sure most of us feel the same way. Turns out, you think a lot like me. Keep up the good work and I look forward to your next post.

  2. I love that the comment that you wake up to the east and cook to the west.

    • Thanks Jennifer – growing up my childhood room and the kitchen were both west and i just remember being drawn to the light. In recent times I found the morning light also invigorating. Makes sense somehow!!

  3. Hi Karen,

    I read through your whole post and it actually made me wonder: is Karen okay? Because to me, it didn’t completely sound like you. So I hope you are doing well. Like you, I have had to make some crazy economies in the name of getting my business off the ground without taking on debt. Most people don’t understand, and the choices you make are often alienating, anti-social because frankly, it costs money to have a social life! I remember when I bought my first house and had to save like a fiend – I had no money left to go out (and this was a big deal because I was a single gal with a lifestyle to match). My best friend insisted on picking up the tab for dinner and invited me very often…. In situations like this, I will say that you definitely learn who your friends are! Take care, Lynn

    • You are perceptive Lynn and very very sweet. I am transitioning in so many ways and some are harder than others. Mostly I am terrific and am really lucky to have some terrific friends. YOU included!!

  4. Amber says:

    I am totally a suburban white chick, too. Totally. I am reaching the point now where I’m starting to see that I have to step outside of my comfort zone. I don’t really like it. I hope that I will get better at it.

    And I do have a green wish list. It has a bike and a bike trailer on it. I would love a bike and a bike trailer.

  5. Condo Blues says:

    I’m a suburban white chick too and I don’t think we should feel the need to apologize for it not being our green ideal because there are so many ways to live a green life. My family homestead still stands (alas not the soddy but the wood building that replaced it) and had relatives that told me how awesome it is to have indoor plumbing and electricity instead of the pure homestead life of living without.

    • i guess i use the phrase as a reference of comfortableness, of generally having so much provided for, or that some — certainly not all take so for granted…it’s the apathy that gets me — love that you come from homesteadyness — and that we each can have room for our own green ideals.

  6. Your day sounds lovely and I can relate to so much of it! Well I would love to live in the country with some sheep, chickens (and/or ducks) and things like that. 🙂

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