Thinking about zero-waste

Not thinking about actually attempting it. Just thinking about it.

Wasn’t it it just last fall that everyone was talking about hygge, and we were supposed to be surrounded by candles and playing cards? What was the “lifestyle trend” before that? Outdoor adventure? Quality time? Or was this the first one to have an official name and identifiable start date?

I recently stopped buying dish sponges, because I find them gross and ugly. Now I use dish cloths and a wooden scrub brush. Imagine my joy to learn that the brushes are part of the zero waste lifestyle! They can be composted!

Fine, except that I had them shipped here. They are made in Germany. Germany. The handle is wood, which I’m sure was harvested with power tools, trucked to the factory, and manufactured by something other than manpower. Sponges…well, I would have just picked them up at Costco while I was already there. The whole package weighs basically nothing and probably cost very little to transport from the factory to the store or the store to my home. But thank goodness I can throw this wooden brush in the compost to break down in twenty years. Don’t ask me about the plastic wrapper it came in.

Of course zero waste require a whole new set of implements. Glass jars, reusable produce bags, more wooden brushes, a drying rack, reusable straws. A travel mug so that when you go to Starbucks you can have them fill your mug instead of getting a paper mug. Conveniently, the coffee beans were grown and processed in the back of the restaurant, which is run on solar energy.

I’m not sure why this is making me so grouchy. I’m not saying that little things don’t make a difference. I also think plastic is wasteful and ugly. Heck, I line a basket in newspaper to give leftover food to the chickens and then put the newspaper in the compost. I use cloth diapers! But showing up to the grocery store with a quart sized jug and asking for olive oil… does not make sense.

Usually I am able to look at a trend and just simply think “that is not for me,” and move on. But this one seems so silly, so unrealistic, and so laced with judgement. Trash is a problem. Our throw away culture is a problem. Rich people with expensive brushes, me included, are not the answer. Do your best. Buy your glass jars. And then maybe stop calling it something it’s not.


Work Harder, Want Less

Whenever I send my kids up to their room to play quietly there is a lot of whining and complaining. “I don’t want to do quiet time!” “Let me stay down here!” “But I need a snack!”.

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But when I send them up to clean their room or get dressed, and I go to check on their progress, they are playing quietly without complaint. They are happy to be doing something that is just one level more fun that what they are supposed to be doing.

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When I have been working hard at home, dedicating my day to truly working and not just wandering around waiting for the time to pass, I am so happy when I have a break to listen to the radio and have a cup of tea.

But if I have been home all day doing nothing, just listening to the radio and drinking tea, I am bored by the afternoon. I want to go out to dinner or go shopping. Just to do something.

When I was in college and I spent my days shopping and going out to lunch, when evening rolled around, I was looking for that next level of entertainment, which meant going out to bars or parties.

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I wonder if that is the problem with so many celebrities. They already have “the next level”. They have don’t have to do any manual labor, they are constantly going out and being entertained, they have money and fame. So all that is left for them at the next level is affairs, drug use, and other addictions.

How many problems could be solved by doing hard and time consuming work. Not because it keeps you busy and makes you tired (although that is good too!), but because the “next level” that you are searching for is simply to relax and read, or occasionally go out to eat. I, along with the children, tend to be very whiny and complainy on days I have sat around doing nothing, even though doing nothing should theoretically make me happy.

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So I am making the effort to put the children to work.  Not because I need the help or because it is good for them, even though it is. But because making them work more makes them happy to just be reading, or playing quietly with puzzles and dolls, or sent outside to dig in the dirt. Doing everything myself and letting them just do what they want means they follow me around, bored, asking for tv shows and being pesky.  Making up activities for them occupies them for a few minutes and then they are on to wanting to do something else.  Enough.

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And I am trying to see the value in my work as a form of entertainment. There is more than just clean and folded laundry and a clean and organized mudroom at the end of every Monday. (Okay maybe not every Monday.) There is a day spent in productivity that helps to keep my greed for ever-more entertainment in check. This reminds me of my parents telling me to go outside in the cold when I complained about it being cold in the house. All of the sudden it will seem very warm inside!

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(Back Before the History, a beautiful and original song.)

Getting what you want will never make you happy.  It will never make me happy at least, because then I am on to wanting the next thing.  So I am just trying to find a way to keep wanting what I have.  Which is more than enough.

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Happy Easter!


Ten Things You Don’t Need at Target (or anywhere)

1.  Embroidered totes for kids toys.

Is there something wrong with shoeboxes?  They’re free, you have them.  You can        always change the labels.

2.  Valentine’s decorations

Must there be another box of junk in your basement?

3.  Sign that says “Eat”, “hello”, or “family”

Try to decorate your house with soul so that it does not have to literally say “home” on the walls.

4.  Tastykakes

I feel you on this one, but no.

5.  Stickers for your planner.

Just get some for your kids and steal one or two if you must.  But sort of a weird trend in general.

6. A fancy crockpot

The old ones are better, and let’s face it, almost everything that comes out of it is gross except beans and chili.

7.  A non-classic book

Request it from the library.  If you still want to own it after that, then okay.

8. Flavored coffee creamer

It is vegetable oil and corn syrup.  Use cream and sugar and get a flavored syrup if you want.

9. That cute scarf

I bet you have one.  They don’t really wear out.

10. Industrial farmhouse anything

The worst.

Sorry!

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