Monthly Archives: January 2008

small changes. big affect.

In a post I did a few days ago, I chatted about things I am doing to reduce energy use and consumption in my life now that I have a kiddo. In addition to the comments on the post, I received several e mails from readers expressing enthusiasm for things they do and things they now feel inspired to do. I love it. We are all connected; everything is reciprocal. It is heartwarming and hopeful. I think it is easy for us to feel overwhelmed by all the environmental problems and in a meandering, guilt-laden thought process, ultimately decide to do nothing because it is easier to do what we have always done. So, I am going to create a list of small, totally doable, no excuse not to try it items on the side bar of this here blog. These are things we do at my house that are super easy. Please leave me a comment to add something to the list! Read more on small changes. big affect….
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my first run with bug as a human

Yesterday I ran with bug and Alice. This was no small endeavor and I feel great to have done it so I can say that I have and move on to becoming better at it. As I was readying for the Run I was tempted to leave Alice at home. I know. I didn’t do it and would like to say with certainty I never will. I can say with certainty if I ever I do I will lose sleep over it. It was an effort. For starters, I need more stuff–something to which I am adverse–the needing of more stuff when it comes to running. I like running for its purity and simplicity. No fees, equipment, racks for carrying equipment, passes or needing to learn to do it. Anyone can run anywhere at any time. Items needed for run with dog pictured above.================================================= Items needed for a run with bug and dog pictured above.================================================= It is different with a bug and I feel like I need my maternity leave just to master the nuances to a jogging stroller that pulls to the right and a dog that pulls to the left. I yanked the stroller out, suited bug up and readied myself, all with Alice shaking her booty in anticipation. It would be cool if the giant boob thing would settle down. Seriously, two sports bras that require tugging and compressing my milk-laden girls to get in and an apprehensive peeling off the flesh to get out. In addition to an extra bra, I needed an absorbent product in case I had a relapse of the squirts, I needed to map my route considering the proximity to construction sites (porta pottys) and my cell phone in case something terrible happened (the worry of a terrible occurrence has seemed to grow exponentially since I birthed a human). And we were off, heading east on 10th Street, the brilliant and deceptively unwarming sun to my back. Within six minutes I was thankful to see the first porta potty option approaching. I realize I will need to get used to hitting the pause button on my watch and to not caring what rogue construction workers think of my circus. I hooked Alice to the stroller, unhooked bug from the stroller and entered the plastic unit. Holding bug and hovering over the frozen hole while Alice incessantly whined was…new to me. The run went well. I wasn’t expecting to be able to say that. The stroller actually boxes Alice in a bit and prohibits her from the tireless I must sniff that dog’s butt pulling that nearly lifts me off the ground with frustration. We ran for 40 minutes and not even that slowly. It was a good run. I am running the Portland Marathon in October. I need a goal like that. I want to run with bug in her stroller but I am worried about the extra obstacle. Maybe once I get my groove on it will be fine. Maybe I will run the first half with her or the last few miles or something. I imagine that she is comforted by running. It was, in fact, a big part of her very early existence. Read more on my first run with bug as a human…
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I want my kid to have polar bears.

I know I sound kinda preachy in this post, but this is something I feel strongly about. I hope to offer my research and thoughts as a resource for those interested and to hear additional ideas too as I am always interested in other approaches. I got pregnant in March. As with anything that finds its way into my microcosm, I became a dork in learning all things about pregnancy, my body and parenthood. There is a thread present in all my research: consumption. It is something we have to consider as procreators. What kind of world are we preparing for our new little primates? And, how can I be a thoughtful, conscientious and proactive mom? After watching An Inconvenient Truth a while back, Andy and I made some decisions to cut back. One change we made was to keep our front porch light off at night. Andy said, I want my kid to have polar bears. I have always been interested in and, according to many, overly concerned with, what I use and how I move about in my environment. I think recycling is a civic duty and people who don’t should be fined. Seriously, it is SO easy and if you took one trip to the land fill, you would be appalled with all the detergent bottles, aluminum cans and white paper that is wrongfully churned into a scar in the earth. We use cloth napkins in my house and only wash them once a week or so. I like running because it doesn’t require gear (save for shoes and a rockin’ sports bra) and driving somewhere. I grow my own food as much as I can. I say no to early every bag in favor of making two (gasp) trips to and from my car or carrying my own tote. And since July 7, 2007, have turned down 52 plastic bags. We never wrap any trash in plastic. Blah blah–I am hooked on treading lightly. And I am always thinking of new ways I could do more and be better. Maybe I am a bit obsessed but now I have a bug and there is a whole new importance to all of this. Today, I talk specifically about how I am approaching this new world of energy use and garbage production, how it amplifies when having a kid and my thoughts on decreasing my contribution to the dump and energy use. :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::Scary stuff about diapers The average person goes through about 6000 diapers for one kid. Disposable diapers NEVER EVER decompose. Or 500 years some say. But still. Diapers by volume constitute 2% of all garbage from residential areas and are the third-largest source of solid waste. Eighteen billion diapers are thrown away per year according to the EPA. Because cornstarch and absorbent acrylic gels are added to disposables, they are un-recyclable. Some argue that the production and cleaning of cloth diapers consume more energy and that diaper delivery trucks consume gas, therefore making a pro-disposable argument. I disagree: Cloth are reusable and if the user doesn’t care about stains, a mild detergent and a little water go a long way. And one delivery vehicle making the rounds to twenty houses versus twenty individual cars trekking to Costco and Target dissolves that arguement. And, without disposable diapers, I wonder how many fewer garbage trucks and landfill vehicles we would need. We use cloth diapers with diaper covers. And those who claim that disposables are so much easier with a newborn I cry bullshit. We used cloth right away and like anything, such as having a kid, it just takes some getting your groove on. It is so easy and we found the covers we like so leaking isn’t an issue and if they leak, big freakin’ deal. We just hose her little hiney off in the sink. And, for the inventors of the diaper genie and those who use them, please consider what is worse: a trash can that is a bit smelly (breastfed poo hardly smells at all) only when you open the lid or your great grandkids not having a planet to live on? Perhaps that is hyper thing to say but I just cannot imagine how one could justify placing a plastic diaper in a plastic bag in another plastic bag. And tossing it all in a plastic trash can to be picked up by a huge, gas-guzzling truck and hauled to a canker in the earth. And, I recently discovered we can be more efficient with the cloth diapers. Bug enjoys peeing when being changed, so we keep the dirty dipe in place and let her go on it while we ready the new so we don’t dirty another. This saves at least 10-15 diapers a week. Also, the covers we use (these too–and they are made in Canada) can be rinsed and dried if dirty. They rarely, if ever, need to be washed in a machine. And, wipes can be used so sparingly. Hey, we have to wash our hands anyway. I haven’t done it yet, but it is easy and way cheaper to make your own disposable wipes. I have been planning to make my own, reusable wipes and will let my declaration here serve as my accountability. There are a lot of different methods for storing and saturating cloths, I will use a spray bottle filled with this: Read more on I want my kid to have polar bears….
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first post-bug run

I ran today. I ran regularly for the first five months of pregnancy and then about once or twice a week until about seven months. When I set out on this snowy Sunday afternoon, I was a little nervous. And super excited. But not as excited as Alice. I opened my cedar chest to access my running clothes and Alice was in my bedroom within seconds. She was cautious at first because my ski clothes are also stored in the chest so I could still be not taking her with me. But, when I grabbed my shoes, her measured enthusiasm burst. She could hardly breathe she was so psyched. I didn’t attempt the jog stroller yet. Bug hung with her papa. Best take it one step at a time. I am, after all, a faller. After about 11 steps, I felt something familiar: the squirts. I had the squirts when running while pregnant but they are worse post-delivery of a bug. So, I had been running for three minutes and was nearing Amy‘s house thinking I best take a potty break when I realized the issue was much larger than that. I returned home and squeezed every last drop from my bladder, promised myself I would add “kegel exercises” to my list of Resolutions and set back out. The second time was much more successful. It was snowing and I really love running while it is precipitating. It is my favorite because not very many people are out on the trails and I feel so alive pushing through cold, bright flakes or thick, soupy rain. I had grabbed a poop bag and secured it in the waist of my spandex. While trotting along singing my running song (Click on that link. It is worth your time. I sing this song nearly every time I run.), I realized I had lost the bag. I felt bad for littering but kept on running. I have never taken three and a half months off from running in my entire life. It went surprisingly well. I felt fab cardiovascularly. My body is different. My hips are narrower. My boobs weigh approximately 19 pounds each. My belly is doughy. I was stiff. I haven’t practiced yoga or even stretched since bug’s birth. Another item for the Resolution list: take care of my muscles. My knees ached and I wondered if it is because I have to refamiliarize myself to the pounding or if it is because my body needs to get used to its new self. I ran with Alice. I was slow but I don’t think she cared. When I got home I laughed out loud when I realized I had not littered and that the poop bag had made its way to my groin area. Yup. I had been running all about town looking like I had an enviable package. We ran for 36 minutes and 47 seconds. I am glad the first run is over. Read more on first post-bug run…
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resolutions

Resolutions have become this nasty little virus that sneaks into people’s brains and convinces them that if they don’t complete any certain nearly impossible task, then they have failed miserably and cannot attempt said task again until the next New Year. I am reclaiming the Resolution. It is basically just a little goal. Something to strive towards and hopefully accomplish or, if not, learn from it. And get off yer lazy ass and try again. I turn 30 this year. 30 seems so round and sexy. I figure, I deserve some Resolutions. My eight Resolutions for 2008: Read more on resolutions…
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