Thursday, July 31, 2008

Throwing it away

Tomorrow begins a new month, a new opportunity. The irrepressible and always provocative Crunchy Chicken has announced another of her spending fasts. The full rules are on her website, but are pretty simple: don't buy anything all month. Essentials like (non-impulsive)food/food storage materials, medicine, required school supplies, gasoline, are exempt. Toilet paper is probably okay, but the inimitable Crunchy has her own ideas about THAT. No eating out. (I wonder if it still counts as 'spending' if someone else pays?) She will hear public confessions on her website every Sunday from those who fall on their face, so that they can dust themselves off and get back on the horse.

I've never signed up for a 'fast' because, as soon as she announces one, I break out in a cold sweat and start thinking of all the things I simply must buy. Already I am wondering if I could make enough purchases before midnight to hold me through the next month, as if life would not be worth living without "discretionary" spending. When I think about it, I have to admit that spending, like sugar, is one of my addictions.* Otherwise, why would I be so afraid to promise not to buy anything frivolous for a month? Maybe it's time to admit that I am powerless and start climbing the 12 steps.

Go ahead, try it. You can sign up at the Mother-house, if you dare.

*Except that my sugar addiction is even more out of control. My sister says I'd be fine if I could learn to manage my diet as well as I manage my money, which just shows how bad it is!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

(My nephew took this but I was there!)

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I want the lakes, oceans, gulf to be clean and productive when my granddaughter grows up. We need the salty waters for many reasons, both known and unkn0wn because we have no real idea how broad the impact will be if we continue to dirty them. And that's without putting a value on how darn beautiful they are. But even if we can't wrap our minds around the importance of salt water, surely we should understand how important fresh water is to all of us.

Only 2.7% of the water on earth is fresh, and the great lakes hold most of the fresh water in north america -- 84%. So there aren't too many options if we mess up the lakes. The polar caps used to be a treasure trove of fresh water, too, but now that humankind let them melt (oops), our lakes should seem even more precious. Instead, local rivers all over the country are carrying industrial waste, pesticides, fertilizer (lots of it from our green green lawns) and run-off from factory farms into our drinking water. There have been news reports of all kinds of trash, medical waste, corporate and household waste, on the beaches of Lake Michigan, where this photo was taken. There are pcbs in the canals of Lake Saint Clair, closer to my home. My city's lovely Memorial Beach has been closed over and over this summer because of E. coli from unknown sources. And all that in addition to the global warming problems that are expected to reduce the water levels in the lakes.

We are already deeply in debt to China and Japan to pay for 'foreign oil' -- after all, we use 80% of the earth's natural resources to support our lifestyles. Will we need to buy 'foreign water' next, because we've polluted and wasted the water we have here?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I'll drink to that

I read on the Sierra Club's website that Maker's Mark bourbon is using waste products to produce 15 to 30% of their energy, a huge environmental savings. Can it get any easier to support eco-friendly companies?!

I've never had a mint julep, but I guess I could force myself for a good cause:

Crush mint leaves in bottom of glass
Add 1 teaspoon powdered sugar and 2 teaspoons water
Fill glass with crushed ice
Pour 2 1/2 ounces bourbon (Maker's Mark, of course) over the ice
Stir, garnish with mint and enjoy

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

My next door Lillian is a lucky duck -- her backyard floods every year (mine doesn't), and she gets regular visitors that the rest of us miss out on in this Detroit suburb. These guys were exploring her yard last night.

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Fly away home

This week I heard a call on npr for junior scientists to do field work in a ladybug project. I love this project so much, I wish I still had little kids at home. Cornell University is asking kids to find and photograph ladybugs. What a great summer project, and a chance for the little folk to actually make a difference as scientists try to track down some rare little beetles all over the country!

Friday, July 11, 2008

A learnable moment

I had some time to walk with my grandson this week. He is growing up so fast and doesn't need to hold my hand on the sidewalk but he often reaches for it -- and I love it. Besides, on this particular day he was feeling kind of puny, as my brother used to say. Flattering shot of me, huh? But it was a good reminder to me that environmental action can take many forms, including attention to diet. As Michael Pollen says, Eat food, not too much, mostly plants. Can we save the world, or part of it, one cookie at a time? I can see from this photo that it wouldn't hurt to try!