Monday, January 26, 2009

Plastic bags - or "Why I may need an asbestos suit to post this"

I went food shopping yesterday and bought a lot of groceries as I also made-to-freeze 4 lasagnes, 3 quiches, 2 custard tarts and some jam tarts, as well as hosting a Hottest 100 Aussie Day bbq today. I purposefully took no reusable shopping bags with me because I wanted to stock up on plastic bags. I got some filthy looks from the checkout chic because of this so I feel like posting about my position on bags.

The average plastic bag is repurposed when you get home with it - you use it to line little bins around the house, to take lunch to work in, to put wet bathers in after the beach or pool, to pick up dog poo, and so on. What is going to happen to these parts of our life when bags are phased out?
  • Take away the small bins and just use one large on in the kitchen, still lined with a plastic bag. Increase use of plastic bags as we won't reduce our volume of rubbish, but just concentrate it in one place.
  • Get a bag of some description to take lunch to work in. Decrease frugality as these will wear out, and will need maintenance and cleaning, and may get lost / left behind.
  • Wet items need coralling still, so more consumption to replace this use.
  • Dog poo collection drops as people (who from my observation are RUDELY incapable of collecting their dog's turds anyway) reduce the amount of poo that is collected unless they are near a bin (which have been removed because they are terrorist threats) and aren't carrying a pooper scooper.
And so on. Plastic is a part of our life - and as a peak oil'ist, and a chemistry graduate, I know that our love affair with it will have to stop soon and it will be horrible and painful. But instead of advocating chucking out the Tupperware and stepping away from the ziplock bags, I'd love some of the trendy greenies out there to get a grip on what actually impacts on greenhouse gasses - and in Australia, for the most part, if you changed the food that you ate, you'd have a BIGGER impact on your footprint by sharehousing, giving up the car (or at least the 2nd one), walking or riding more, and eating locally and in season.

Giving up the plastic bag is simple and pathetic and ineffective and such a lovely case of greenwashing. If the reasons people were saying to ban plastic bags actually had anything to do with the impact that they have on marine life, then I'd be all ears and would bang that drum! But most people are completely unaware of the impact that these have, because the 6 pack plastic beer can holders have been phased out here in Australia and few people think it's a problem anymore.

And for that matter - what do you think the reusable bags are made out of? They are made out of plastics. If they're made from recycled plastic, then that's a lot of energy and water involved in recycling plastic into something else. The bags also have to be shipped from point A (you) to point B (depot) to point C (consolidation) to point D (export) to point E (recycling) to point F (packing) and back to you... which is a bigger impact on greenhouse gasses than just using more bags. And then consider that a plastic bag and a reusable bag hold around about half and twice the amount respectively, but the reusable bag weighs more than twice the others and is BIGGER, so transport costs are higher anyway!

Precisely how green are these things then? Not very, I think.

On the other hand, by removing plastic bags from every shop, you are perhaps forcing more people to think about their impact on the environment. In theory, anyway, as your average pleb is completely ignorant to peak oil, or the impact we are having on biodiversity or resilience in our environment. Removing bags isn't going to reduce consumption, but will increase the amount of $$ we are spending on appearing to be conscious of our impact.
  • And as as aside, at The House of Bun, we have not had bags for 4 or so years, and sell reusable bags (the green ones rock as they are huge and have a reinforced bottom and are square based, whereas the red ones are like a beach bag / tote in construction) bags but still have people bitch about not having bags. We have boxes that are availbale to any customer to pack their purchases in, and still people bitch because they don't have a bag to put things in. But funnily enough, we do get a lot of people who are moving house and want to come to us to get free boxes to move in. I can remember doing that when I first moved house 10 years ago, and now no other store has a box coralle at the front of the store for boxes. Will we see a return to this?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Food ponderings

I live in the Amazing Adelaide, and within a few km of where I live, I have a Foodland, the Central Markets, and the Farmer's Markets. We shop for and eat fresh food most of the time (though of 21 meals a week, we eat out maybe 4 times a week? Monday night, Tuesday night, Saturday morning, and maybe a lunch), and prepackaged food is definitely a treat around here. I have mad cooking skillz (tm) and TheMan makes a mean sandwich and salad (two things which I hate to make but love to eat) and even my quasi-instant food is fabulous! I am a student and ManFriend works hard to support both of us, and so we don't eat spectacularly fancily or at the top end of the range - but we do eat well, and eat vegetables and vegetarian more often than not. We eat on a budget and it can be a bit dull by some measures, but we eat regularly and Identifiable Food.

But I'm currently watching Jamie's School Dinners and am kind of horrified.

Actually - I am freaking horrified. The kids on here eat crap, 5 days a week. (I say this as I'm heating up chips and fish fingers for the first time in abut 6 months, because I feel like it). But the school dinners (lunch) is actually the main meal of their day and many of them eat even more poorly at home. Many of them have no idea what vegetables are - as in, hold up a vegetable and they don't. know. WHAT. they are. No idea what an onion looks like, or what rhubarb or asparagus is.

Ok yes, I know that the video is completely edited to prove a point, and the ones that the kids got right probably weren't shown. But it is scary when you watch what the kids are eating every day.

Jamie fed his daughters leftover chicken and veges with cous cous (? I think) and pureed veges, and his daughters are aware of Food at a very young age, whereas the school children don't seem to have been exposed to foods, so I can see that as a simple pathway to exposing kids to food. Cookies are a sometimes food. So are chips, and sausages, and processed meat, and custard and lots more. But seriously, these kids eat this stuff every day. Their packed lunches are no different which is inicative of their parents not having an idea. Which is even scarier to me because it means it's a generational thing.

The fact that there is a Constipation Clinic at the local hospital made me feel a little queazy. The x-rays of intestines was gross because these are KIDS. It is HEARTBREAKING to think of parents having kids that are in this kind of situation, and to think of their pain and the lack of quality of life and their future...

"If you're hungry, you'll eat" probably won't work on these kids. But that's the apporach that worked when I was a kid because I wasn't GIVEN another option. I was just given food and that's what was for dinner. It wasn't dramatic and wasn't an issue - it was what my parents ate and that was fine. But back then, there wasn't the advertising that there is these days around crap food and fast food and instant food. That is a huge challenge to parents to get involved in

But the last thing I've noticed is that most of the people on this show don't like food. They don't love food in a tactile, get your hands in, slice that vegetable, massage that chicken, squeeze that tomato, sniff that herb. And I don't know how to teach that to people so my hat is off to Jamie for pursuing it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Brief update as my shoulder is sore today...

6 weeks post op. So dot points will have to suffice:
  • Saw the surgeon on Monday. I got another gold star for progress and more admonition to slow down and take it easy. Which is funny because I'm hardly doing the exercises I've been given, and I am still so freaking frustrated with the lack of what I *can* do that I'm hardly pushing what I can do.
  • On the upside, I can drive again (YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY) and go back to work (yay) next week. I can now do all range of movements, which means I can focus less of don' and more on the woah protect yourself feeling. Which is fine, but still frustrating.
  • Unfortunately, when my shoulder gets sore, the rest of my symptoms come back. Sore neck, amazingly painful spot in my trapezoid, pain down hand, sore spot on ribs... and it makes me want to wail because it is SCARY to know that that pain is still there, just out of reach and view. And I am heartbroken to say that I'm having to face up to the realisation that is slow in coming - that no one is going to fiz me. I have to work through the next 12 months of inflicting pain on myself and pushing myself and encouraging myself to be the bext that I can be.
I am knitting though! Did I mention that I've finished my Perfect Sweater a few weeks ago:

More photos on Flickr as always (and there are mousse photos as well!).

And I've cast on an I Do:

as my wedding day is just 10 weeks away and you know, as it's in New Zealand in April, I wanted something extra to go with my dress. We've set a date - for April Fool's Day (01/04/09) (or 04/01/09 for those in North America!). Anyone who knows us will say "yup that's perfect for you" and those that don't will be aghast, and also be horrified that we firstly wanted to do it on Friday 13th but that's in March (too soon) or November (too far) so AFD it is.

I've gone ring shopping, which was REALLY fun and scary because I've never Shopped Specifically For Jewelry before, ya know? The e rings don't count as I was nervous at that stage and just chose what I loved whereas this time around I'm not as nervous. ManFriend isn't wanting another ring at this stage so I've only had to find one for me. I'm thinking of getting one made to "match" my e ring. Will let you know after the date I guess!

I'm wearing the same dress as I wore for my e party, though I'll want to make a shrug to go with it I think, and find some stockings to make it a bit more suited to the weather!

Cat sitting has been organised.

Not sure what else to say really - it's kind of organised, very fun to sort out an o/s trip, but otherwise pretty easy :). Eloping is fun!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Predictions for 2009 - mine, and the world

1. I'll learn how to cut my hair.
1a. I will get a life and enjoy being in the moment.

2. I will attend a homebirth.

3. A nuclear device will be used somewhere.

4. There will be marches in the streets of Australia.

5. Fuel will hit $2/L.

6. Food price rises will outstrip inflation, and unemployment will rise past 6%.

7. I will host a tea party.

8. Rationing will be discussed in the media, and the word "Depression" will be used more frequently.

9. Water restrictions will increase in Adelaide.

10. A focus will be made on eating locally and appreciating what is in season.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Thinking about food and my childhood

Well how's that for a specific post title.

I am in the mood for some simple cooking today. So I had a look on the interwebs for a recipe and found one from my childhood - Weetbix and marshmallow slice. And that's what I'm going to do in a minute once lunch is ready. I am amazed that none of my friends have ever heard of what I think of as a quintiscential Australian food (Weetbix slice that is) so maybe I'll convince them?

It got me thinking (again) about food that I ate as a child. Handmade bread, lots of meat-and-three-veg, lots of eggs, and pikelets, and beef stroganoff, and nasi goreng from a box, lasagne from homemade bolognese, tinned two fruit and icecream, meatloaf, chicken legs, gluten steaks, gluten patties in tomato sauce, Anzac biscuits, ... it goes on.

With the move away from eating at home and towards eating out, where we tend to eat the Same Dish regardless of where we eat, and where eating different cuisine is not the indulgence it used to be.

Oh look - it's a privelege example. Again.

Monday, January 5, 2009

It's a theme...

Rather than a meme. It's an actual post. Inspired by several that are going around at the moment - recent ones from Den of Chaos and Craftastrophies in particular.

2008 was a year of crap for me. In the process of the year, I had a number of crap things happen to me, and when I thought I couldn't get any lower, the world just beat me down a little more. This year I was suspended from my job (not in a Bad Way but in a "we can't keep you on the books so we'll suspend you rather than fire you"), failed a subject for uni because of my shoulder rendering me un'allowed to complete it, thus added an extra year to my course, ran up a large amount of debt, gained weight and losing condition, and got Depressed to boot. Somewhere in there I was also investigated for fraud, had more appointments that I really care to think about, had to replace my manual car and sold my beloved scooter. It was also crap for a number of my friends. One had the rug pulled out from underneath her when her fiance called off their engagement shortly after their engagement party; another had the worst birthday ever when her father committed suicide; and the list goes on.

But all of that fades. Even now, without looking back over diaries and journals, it's hard to remember these things. The stand outs would be surgery, but that was in early December... it shouldn't have coloured the year like it did. But in the end, the year was bid farewell to on NYE rather than the new one being welcomed. I have things to be grateful for - my kitty, my health, my potential, my brain, my sweety, my boss being fabulous about me coming back when I'm cleared to.

We as humans are so quick to remember the negatives; so easily led down the path of listing our flaws and failures rather than our talents and achievements. So for 2009, I will try to focus on the positives. Thanks to Bing Crosby / Perry Como, I will try to do more of this:

You've got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between

You've got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith or pandemonium
Liable to walk upon the scene

Saturday, January 3, 2009

99 things meme

I spent a lovely day yesterday with Kate and Anna and Leah and Zoe and Nicko and Maeve and Susan and at least two other people and two bunnies and enough cookies and shortbread to sink a battleship. It was nice to get out and about but *shakes fist* not when I was simply not. up. to catching public transport, and needed a 2 hour nap when I got home.

Today I had breakfast at 7am (I love early mornings but I'm TIRED people!) and had to send my eggs back as I like poached eggs, and I like them runny - but uncooked just doesn't do it for me. I went to Spotlight and got more brooch back (mountain) s because I can't find the ones I did buy just the OTHERDAY even though I've tidied up repeatedly trying to find them. I got toning shampoo as my hair is white blonde at the moment and tends to go brassy quickly. I bought a pair of Birkenstocks:

as per orders from TheMan and I am SOINLOVEWITHTHEM. I hate thongs with a passion because I can't stand anything between my toes, and these were the perfect gift from my man.

Typing is hard going. Memes are easy. Shoulder is on the mend but clothes folding outdid me today. *shakes fist*

Things you've already done: bold (36.5/99)
Things you want to do: italicize (29/99)
Things you haven't done and don't want to - leave in plain font (33.5/99)

That's actually quite balanced. I've done some stuff and have plans to do some more (which a trip to Paris and Italy would cover off!)

1. started your own blog
2. slept under the stars
3. played in a band
4. visited Hawaii
5. watched a meteor shower
6. given more than you can afford to charity
7. been to disneyland/world
8. climbed a mountain
9. held a praying mantis
10. sang a solo
11. bungee jumped
12. visited Paris
13. watched a lightning storm at sea
14. taught yourself an art from scratch (yarn dyeing and proudly)
15. adopted a child (maybe)
16. had food poisoning (ugh)
17. walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. grown your own vegetables (silverbeet by accident counts, right?)
19. seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. slept on an overnight train
21. had a pillow fight
22. hitch hiked
23. taken a sick day when you're not ill
24. built a snow fort
25. held a lamb
26. gone skinny dipping
27. run a marathon
28. ridden a gondola in Venice
29. seen a total eclipse
30. watched a sunrise or sunset
31. hit a home run
32. been on a cruise
33. seen Niagara Falls in person
34. visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. seen an Amish community
36. taught yourself a new language
37. had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. gone rock climbing (not in the past 10 years but meh - details, details)
40. seen Michelangelo's David in person
41. sung karaoke (sadly not recently)
42. seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant
44. visited Africa
45. walked on a beach by moonlight
46. been transported in an ambulance (is 2007 - twice)
47. had your portrait painted
48. gone deep sea fishing
49. seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris (so now I need to go to France and Italy...)
51. gone scuba diving or snorkelling
52. kissed in the rain
53. played in the mud
54. gone to a drive-in theatre
55. been in a movie (I was an extra in a film filmed on Rundle Street *years* ago - I wouldn't be able to tell you the name of it even!)
56. visited the Great Wall of China
57. started a business
58. taken a martial arts class (tai chi is in my plans for 2009)
59. visited Russia
60. served at a soup kitchen (I'd like to volunteer there for Christmas Day next year)
61. sold girl scout cookies
62. gone whale watching
63. gotten flowers for no reason (I buy myself them though)
64. donated blood (regularly before I got my last tattoo)
65. gone sky diving
66. visited a Nazi concentration camp
67. bounced a cheque (overdrawn an account I guess would be the equivalent here in Aus?)
68. flown in a helicopter
69. saved a favourite childhood toy
70. visited the Lincoln memorial
71. eaten caviar (they're teeny balls of saltiness and not something I'm in a hurry to repeat)
72. pieced a quilt
73. stood in Times Square
74. toured the Everglades
75. been fired from a job
76. seen the changing of the guard in London
77. broken a bone
78. been on a speeding motorcycle (my 17th birthday - a crazy housemate took me!)
79. seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. published a book
81. visited the Vatican
82. bought a brand new car
83. walked in Jerusalem
84. had your picture in the newspaper (I was 5 or 6 at the time)
85. read the entire bible (I was bored. REALLY bored.)
86. visited the White House
87. killed and prepared an animal for eating (fish count here)
88. had chickenpox (I still have scars - it ruined my summer holidays pre year 9)
89. saved someone's life (post partum haemmorhage - just the one so far)
90. sat on a jury
91. met someone famous
92. joined a book club
93. lost a loved one
94. had a baby
95. seen The Alamo in person
96. swum in the Great Salt Lake
97. been involved in a law suit
98. owned a mobile phone (I've had the same phone number for nearly 13 years)
99. been stung by a bee (oddly enough no! Wasps yes, bees no)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

101 things in 1001 days

The Mission:
Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria:
Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on my part).

Why 1001 Days?
Many people have created lists in the past - frequently simple goals such as New Year's resolutions. The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic. 1001 Days (about 2.75 years or 33 months) is a better period of time than a year, because it allows you several seasons to complete the tasks, which is better for organising and timing some tasks such as overseas trips or outdoor activities.

Some common goal setting tips:
  1. Be decisive. Know exactly what you want, why you want it, and how you plan to achieve it.
  2. Stay Focussed. Any goal requires sustained focus from beginning to end. Constantly evaluate your progress.
  3. Welcome Failure. Frequently, very little is learned from a venture that did not experience failure in some form. Failure presents the opportunity to learn and makes the success more worthy.
  4. Write down your goals. It clarifies your thinking and reinforces your commitment.
  5. Keep your goals in sight. Review them frequently, and ensure that they are always at the forefront of your thinking.
And here's my list!! I'll keep you updated for sure!
Bold - Completed tasks!

Start Date: 01/01/2009
End Date: 29/09/2011

Well, I'm going to do it. I'm going to give you a very long list, and in 1001 days I'm going to do them. That's til

29 September 2011

which seems like a LONG time away! But it isn't really...
  1. Ruthlessly clean my closet out
  2. Organise a craft retreat
  3. Write a will
  4. Watch ManFriend graduate as a real Dr
  5. Throw him a party to celebrate!
  6. Become a marriage celebrant
  7. Get my ears pierced some more (3 more times)
  8. Do some preserving
  9. Get married
  10. Finish my Bachelor of Midwifery
  11. Go overseas
  12. Visit my paternal grandparents
  13. Give blood
  14. Save $1000 for baby
  15. Go bushwalking/hiking
  16. Get something published
  17. Eat from the garden 10 times (4 / 10)
  18. Make foot stools
  19. Buy no new clothes for 3 months (within guidelines - there are still things I'm going to need to buy underwear occassionally during that time)
  20. Sort out superannuation and consolidate
  21. Write to 5 people by hand
  22. Shop once a month at the Central Markets for a year (5 / 12)
  23. Plan a surprise birthday party
  24. Take a weekend away with my sweetie
  25. Try a new cuisine
  26. Get engagement/wedding tattoo
  27. Take a photography course
  28. Learn tai chi
  29. Go camping for a weekend
  30. Finish 10 knitted items in 2009 (8 / 10)
  31. Start and keep alive a worm farm or bokashi
  32. Go to the snow for a holiday
  33. Visit Tasmania, Northern Territory or WA
  34. Have friends over for a meal each month for 6 months (6 / 6)
  35. Sew 5 items of clothing and wear them (4 / 5)
  36. Something in = something out for a month
  37. Learn to quilt
  38. Go on a winery tour of the Maclaren Vale
  39. Buy and learn to use a power drill
  40. Bake and decorate a cake a month for 6 months (2 / 6)
  41. Paint 2 inspirational canvases
  42. Take a beginner's piano course
  43. Exercise 3 times a week for 6 months
  44. Instigate a backup process for my laptop
  45. Get 5 singing lessons
  46. Decorate the bedroom wall
  47. Visit someone interstate by surprise
  48. Do a "photo a day" for a month
  49. Cook for a camp
  50. Master 5 fabulous recipes for the crockpot
  51. Do a burlesque class
  52. Have a slumber party!
  53. Buy 5 pieces of lingerie
  54. Catch a train across the country
  55. Go somewhere tropical
  56. Celebrate 4 pagan festivals
  57. Make my handwriting into a font
  58. Go horseriding
  59. Go on a girly road trip
  60. Find a volunteering gig
  61. Convene a festival
  62. Do a pottery class
  63. Go fruit picking in autumn
  64. Sort out my CDs and iTune them
  65. Sort out my books and sell / give away what I don't want to keep
  66. Attend a wine vintage festival
  67. Get pregnant
  68. Get a pair of real stud earrings to replace the crap novelty ones I have
  69. Swim naked
  70. Celebrate my 30th in style
  71. Dye my hair platinum blonde
  72. Celebrate Australia Day
  73. Take 6 'us' photos and frame them
  74. Host a photo scavenger hunt
  75. Make a list of 100 things that make me Happy
  76. Have my innards and eating investigated
  77. Write out 10 family recipes in a cook book and share them with siblings (6 / 10)
  78. Inspire 3 people to make a list like this!
  79. Send someone flowers
  80. Spend a day in a day spa - massage, scrub, pedicure
  81. See someone amazing in concert
  82. Buy a digital SLR camera
  83. Get a cleaning timetable - every two weeks thoroughly, doing the dishes each day - and stick to it
  84. Taste 5 ciders (3/5)
  85. Infuse vodka
  86. Watch 5 musicals
  87. Go away for a trip by myself
  88. Get another kitten
  89. Buy a pair of blue high heels
  90. Make a new friend
  91. Learn how to cut hair
  92. Attend a book signing
  93. Learn how to make great coffee
  94. Learn how to surf
  95. Go to a never-before-visited museum
  96. Buy a cast iron frying pan and learn to cook with it
  97. Go to the cricket
  98. Attend a homebirth
  99. Lose 5kg
  100. Make bread
  101. Write another 101 things list
32 / 100 on 9th September 2010