Monday, April 21, 2008

happy earth day, friends.

hey all ... just wanted to pop my head in and say happy earth day! and a great big Thank You for those of you reading and praising my new blog. I don't think too highly of it yet, as I've just started my dive into more simple living, but it's nice to be encouraged while I have one foot in the door. The blog, I'm sure, will get better and more detailed/introspective with time. It's a nice departure to have a separate blog from my LiveJournal, where i write about everything under the sun pertaining to my life. Here, I can just write about the sun. ; ) Really, though, because this is something i become more passionate about on a daily basis, it's good to separate this chunk of my life and really begin to develop it as i grow, both as a "consumer" of modern living, and as a philosopher of sorts.

I have been doing a lot of reading lately about plastics, and wanted to share both some disturbing articles about the proliferation of this popular food/drink storage trend, and some healthier alternatives. Please pay close attention especially from now on to the recycle symbol (three arrows in a triangle) on the bottom of your plastic containers. If the numbe inside that triangle is 3, 6, or 7, please please recycle it and find another alternative to your storage. I recently learned that my much-beloved Nalgene water bottles have probably been leaching plastic into my drink, and have resigned myself to discarding (i.e. recycling) them. Of course, though plastic numbers 1, 2, 4, and 5 are "safer," we should strive to store things in glass or ceramic whenever possible. For those with children, I've put some good glass/ceramic alternatives here (i.e. the sandwich wrapper). And I've also learned to get your cheeses or meats away from plastic wrap the second they've been purchased, wrapping them instead in biodegradable, unbleached wax paper.

So without further ado, here are the links:

In honor of Earth Day, which is today, I couldn't resist sending these links to everyone, if only for your own personal information. please feel free to forward them to friends.
enjoy the links below .... happy earth day!

Karen (we use the cleaning products in our school ... i highly recommend them to you - they are super-concentrated so you use much much less, organic, and come in biodegradable packaging) (this link has a really cool, kid-friendly sandwich wrapper for only $7!! I prefer the red gingham myself). (they have kid-sized bottles, too!) (good baby bottle link)

the last page of this article has some decent tips:

and here are some of my reasons for going yet more green: (definitely read this one)

Friday, April 18, 2008

earthquake in kentucky

i was woken up this morning by my first-ever earthquake! i don't remember waking up, but all of a sudden i was sitting up in bed, it felt like i was on a train, and my dresser was rattling like it does when the cats jump off it. i thought it was just me, but then my friend from Indiana called, he felt it too, my roommate woke up and heard the dishes rattling, then we discovered it was all over the news. 5.4 magnitude centered in illinois. scary!!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

a good, mindful reminder.

If we could abolish knowledge and wisdom
Then people would profit a hundredfold;
If we could abolish duty and justice
Then harmonious relationships would form;
If we could abolish artifice and profit
Then waste and theft would disappear.
Yet such remedies treat only symptoms
And so they are inadequate.
People need personal remedies:
Reveal your naked self and embrace your original nature;
Bind your self-interest and control your ambition;
Forget your habits and simplify your affairs.

recent nature

This weekend, Mary and I drove to Lexington to escape Louisville for a bit.

Here is some of what we saw at the University of Kentucky's arboretum.

Of course, it's still early in the year, so there wasn't much in flower.

They have an entire section for medicinal herbs, and one for cooking herbs! How neat.

In any case, though it was overcast and didn't rain. Afterwards, we went to a local coffeehouse for lunch and reading and, for me, nearly napping. what a comfy couch they had! enjoy the pictures and be inspired ...

(the castle wasn't actually part of the arboretum ... but it was a beautiful sight to behold on the Bluegrass Parkway driving home through horse country ...)

behold my favorite observation ... compost! one of about four piles I saw.


here are some great simplicity quotes i've found and wanted to share:

Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things. ~Elise Boulding

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction. ~E.F. Schumacker

To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter... to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird's nest or a wildflower in spring - these are some of the rewards of the simple life. ~John Burroughs

The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life. ~Robert Louis Stevenson

Maybe a person's time would be as well spent raising food as raising money to buy food. ~Frank A. Clark

Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. ~William Morris

How many things are there which I do not want. ~Socrates

Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you. ~Lao Tzu

We can tell our values by looking at our checkbook stubs
Gloria Steinem


clearing the brush from my path.

I've been somewhat ashamed to post here recently, due to choices I've been making because the "simple life" is not yet second nature. Which at face value is fairly ridiculous, because we're all making the slow transition -- it actually did take Rhonda, my favorite blogger, many many years before she got where she was going, fates bless her -- to a healthful, less-stressed
(for cash and time) life.
So here is my valiant effort, on official record, to begin again.

Today was a getting-back-to-basics day, in many ways: a great meeting on my progress at the school. I feel as if for the first time in my life, I am not afraid to stay planted somewhere for a while. Ironically, that's liberating. From what, I'm not sure. The pressure I put on myself to find the right thing? Who knows. Also, today I took a three-hour adventure, most of it walking. It wasn't to a very nice park, strewn with litter and flooded with water, and the road there had no sidewalk and i shared road space with semis and blowing horns, but i did get a nice lunch i'd packed of watermelon and a peanut butter sandwich with orange marmalade. yes, i picked some of that up at whole foods today. i've always wanted to try it. i find it fairly bitter and it doesn't match so well with PB ... hm next time, with cheese, maybe?

As much as I find myself wanting to rehash those silly, unecessary purchases of mine, I won't digress. I will only look forward. We all slip up ... after all, this is a lifetime we are trying to reverse! I only hope I can be as amazing as Rhonda and SouleMama when all is said and done. Creating a happy, simple life surrounded by color and the smell of freshly baked bread. After all, life is about simple pleasures. I'm glad I'm learning this so early, as they always say "youth is wasted on the young" and I believe they are right!

In the past week, I have made the acquaintance of someone wonderful who I believe has serious potential to provide quite a partnership for me, the likes of which I've never come across before. I'll leave it vague for now. We are meeting as friends and that's essential. But my soul is astir .... this could be ... well .... we'll see. : )

Tomorrow, I am going to visit the local zoo, and also bring a lunch to eat with me there. Should have today's perfect weather again, then rain the rest of the week. What is it with myself, vacations, and rain?!

things that have made me happy lately: elephants. new music. wind chimes. pottery. the company of friends. restorative yoga. walks. gorgeous weather. reorganizing my upstairs. saving $100 toward my Alaska trip.

be well, friends. namaste.

p.s. One thing I learned in yoga class this week was whenever you hear a bell tinkling (even if it's the bell in your car reminding you to wear your seatbelt), it's a good opportunity to bring yourself back to the present moment, and focus on just your breathing. a good, deep breath, even, in and out. be grateful for it, and for your life. what a great and simple way to slow down!

Friday, April 4, 2008

short post.

well, after a disastrous week of spending, i'm back here. I don't even want to rehash the details, but at least the purchases did include some very cheap indoor planting items : gnome, metal tin, and tiny shovel. i'm very upset with how i did this past week: but i know coming to the simple life takes longer than a few weeks to achieve entirely. it's hard when you are temporarily sharing a very tiny apartment with someone else and it feels like stuff is just piled on top of you, to not feel truly "home" and to want to get food, or coffee, elsewhere if just for the fresh air. or when you still just can't get it together for the mornings cause sometimes you are too tired at night from working two jobs you just want to unwind. especially when unwinding begins at freaking 11 p.m. argh. hopefully i won't need the waitressing job in the next school year. we'll see. that will also help in my quest to lead a simpler life. i won't have as much ready cash on hand to blow through ... and more time to enjoy quieter activities: crafting, walking, yoga, reading. making dinner at home. taking naps! ah, a few more months to go ...

i'm determined to take pictures soon of the beautiful trees blooming here: magnolias and cherries. magnificent! if only the rain and cold weather we're having would go away ...