Thursday, June 12, 2008

Loving and Hating Nature, Tree Hugging, and a Reusable Shopping Bag Rant

I have always had a fascination with plants, I know that it stems from the fact that, growing up, my parents kept tons of plants. Indoor and outdoor, potted and in the ground, we had them all. We had a banana tree that came in every winter and went out every summer (unfortunately now deceased), and many others.

In my backyard we have a wonderful deck with plenty of seating and a yard enclosed by bog old trees, evergreen and deciduous. I love to step out the door on a warm summer's evening, barefoot perhaps, onto the boards soft from years of wear and warm from the day's sun. I take a seat, or perhaps lean over the railing, and then I hear it. The unmistakable sound that reminds me why I sometimes dislike nature. It's a thin, high-pitched humming followed by that inevitable prick on my arm that means I'm being feasted on by my nemesis, the MOSQUITO! Whether I have slathered myself in bug repellent or forgotten completely seems to make no difference. They have little buggy homing devices to find the one square micrometer of skin that I missed. Perhaps next time I should take a bath in the stuff!

Sitting outside quietly, the animals start to creep back into the yard, the birds splashing happily in the birdbath, and the bunnies nibbling on grass. Turning, I look over at my gathering of pots where I planted Spring's bounty of flowers and (fingers crossed) lettuce. It's great after starting seeds to glance at the pot daily and count the new seedlings, young and tender, and water them carefully while shielding them from harsh sun or pounding rain.

On this particular day, I look over, and in the shadows it seems one of my pots is moving. Thinking my eyes are playing tricks on me, I walk over to check. Turns out, there is a little beady-eyed, fluffy-tailed squirrel digging to China in my lettuce garden! Not only does he have the arrogance to help himself to my carefully tended treasures, but as I come closer, he begins flinging soil more frantically, and by the time I arrive he lifts his head to stare at me impishly, all the while kicking soil some more with his rear feet. I am 10 feet away, 5, 2, 1 and this squirrel continues to stare at me. Shocked at his brazen lack of respect for me, I stare back, trying to assess the damage he has done. He turns, flips he tail at me in disgust, and chatters angrily at ME as he strolls away.

My gardening trials continue. Tuesday, I separated a banana pup from my dwarf banana tree, and re-potted it. They have both been doing fairly well. At least the squirrels leave THEM alone! I grew an avocado tree from seed, as well, and it is now about 5 feet tall! Grown simply from the see you get out of an avocado you buy at the supermarket!. Unfortunately we don't have quite the correct climate, and the leaves are not looking very happy. I'll be researching what special care they need, but if not, I'm off to the supermarket to buy an avocado!

Recently I've been interested to read articles on this new (to me) website that I found called TreeHugger. Although I know that it sounds like some kind of enviro-freak website, it is not at all like that. (hehe but I found this picture and I HAD to share.) It just addresses issues such as environment and sustainability, which I firmly believe are things that EVERYONE should at least know about and think about, even if they do not take it to any kind of extreme. We are a very consumer and disposable based culture, with no thought for the environment that sustains us. There are so many simple ways that we can be environmentally aware even without drastically changing our lifestyle, that it angers me to see the people who do not even care to try.

I would encourage everyone to recycle, not litter, and reuse whatever you can. I recently bought some OliveSmart reusable shopping bags, seen here in-use.
(picture originally found at this site, it is not my own.) >>>>

They are designed to be washable and reusable, and they have a large capacity that definitely is as functional as the classic plastic bag, if not much more so. A perk is that it doesn't stick to your sweaty hands like plastic does in the midst of a summer heat wave!

Honestly, I LOVE THEM, and I carry them with me everywhere. And when they get dirty, I can throw them in the wash. Plus, they're much PRETTIER than a yellow Shop-Rite bag! OliveSmart just came out with new colors ( I own the original) and also a smaller (3 instead of 6-bag) pack. Please check out their website, I HIGHLY recommend these bags! For those who own a pet and use their shopping bags to pick up after their pets, the draw to getting free "poop bags" when you go shopping is understandable. But any other use is really a waste. (And now biodegradable poop bags are sold in all pet stores!) Plastic bags take a very long time to break down in the environment, and to simply use them to carry items briefly is a waste, when plenty cheap, and also stylish versions of the reusable bag now exist. Simply Google "reusable shopping bags" and you will get 379,000 results! Some are more expensive, but all are a good alternative to plastic.

Until next time, hug those trees!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Reality Check.

So this summer, I'll be free on Monday and Tuesday, and perhaps Thursday. I'm going to try to set myself a reasonable goal of three posts a week. Let's see how I do with that. My life has been changing so fast it's hard to keep everything straight. I'm heading into my Senior year of college, and I'm terrified. I've also been trying to actively *green* my lifestyle. I know it's the trendy thing to do right now, but I'm doing it both for my health and enjoyment of life, knowing I'm not adding to any problem. I've also gone *mostly* vegetarian. I eat meat maybe once a week, and have been eating soy, eggs, etc as a healthy alternative protein. Also I have found that cutting dairy out of my diet as much as possible, my spring allergies have gotten better! Yay to less congestion! (Like you wanted to know that.) I'm also on a track to lose weight. I've been enjoying wonderful salads and smoothies these days, and the scale is reflecting my commitment! I had so much trouble keeping weight off in college, and I really needed this time to refocus myself onto a healthier track. Well, that just about sums up my Summer goals! More on that tomorrow and beyond!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Back again.

Hello all! I am back at it. I am going to try my blogging again. I stopped during my Fall Final exams, because I needed all the studying I could get in. I kept journaling for myself, the old fashioned way. It's quite therapeutic. If you haven't done it, I dare you to try. I have trouble keeping up with it, but once I start writing, I can't stop! I write in a very stream-of-consciousness type of way when I journal with pen and paper. It's so different than this, in that I use spell check and edit these posts, however they may seem. I look forward to this, and even though right now I'm tired, I'm so excited to work on improving my blogs, and perhaps create something that others will want to, or maybe even enjoy reading on a regular basis! This is a new semester, and with a new semester I find myself feeling much more positive, and even excited to have another chance. Last semester didn't' go so well for me. In fact, it was one of the worst semesters of my College career. But yet I think I learned more about myself in that one semester than in any other, I also proved to myself that subjects I sometimes struggled in I can actually excel in. Goodnight to all. I will post tomorrow if I can.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Day 27: Workload and Juggling Life

So let me tell you. I have so many exams coming up, but I finally think I can handle it. I'm looking and planning, and feeling much better about it. I do, though, still struggle with getting distracted. I have been deciding to study out of my apartment, like the library or the campus center, so that I have less occasion to get distracted. I think it works, but honestly I don't know how to make myself buckle down. I am looking forward to the days I have less classes so I can work more.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Day 25: Irregular

SO I haven't been as regular with posts as I should be or as I planned to be in the beginning. I think that as I get more into the groove it will become easier, but I worry about Christmas Break. I am away from school for a whole month, but maybe I will post from home. I cant' wait for break, because maybe next semester will be better than this one was.