Thursday, May 31, 2007

Low Impact week

Low impact week begins tomorrow, June 1 and continues through June 7.

Here's what I am committing to:
  1. I will walk outside this week for exercise. I will not drive to the Y for the sole purpose of exercising.
  2. I will not watch tv and use computer at the same time.
  3. I will not purchase anything other than food or gas.
  4. I will limit M's tv time to either morning or afternoon, not both!
  5. L will sleep without pull-ups. I will wake him up to go potty. (those are a huge percentage of our weekly trash.)
  6. I will purchase groceries from locally owned stores and individuals as much as possible. (Without having to drive across town for them.)

car-free #3

walked to library

walked to pool

walked in neighborhood instead of driving to Y

UPDATE: end of May--10 car-free errands, 90 more to go.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

transformation, or how 85 minutes on a treadmill can change your life

I completed a 10K this morning on the treadmill at the Y. My time was 85:10. I didn't go all out because I didn't want to be exhausted all day. In fact, it worked out really well because my legs were sore, but not too sore to play some tennis with R and L at the park.

I realized that going back to school is no longer a goal of mine. I am going to finish the MLS program, but I have put the thought of a doctorate out of my mind. I enjoyed spending the evening at the park with my family and want to be able to give them more attention and actively participate in their lives. I realize how much I miss by working on weekends. I will be doing it for at least the next year, and then who knows. I don't want it to be a permanent thing; I enjoy all of us being together!

I have grown in the 2 years since I started thinking about school and doing something with my life. I now realize that I can make homemaking as intellectually challenging as I want it to be. All the things I am learning about (or wanting to learn about)--cooking, gardening (ha!), reducing our eco-footprint, housekeeping--are just as challenging if not more so than school.

I still want to work; it is good for my mind and soul. I like being a part of a community. Seeing people in the grocery store or at L's school that I 'know' from the library makes me happy. It is a small way of building community.

What I have realized is that life is what you make it and school was always it for me because that was all I had to concentrate on and I was good at it. Now that I have other things that need my attention and other things I want to spend time doing, there is no longer room for school. Or, a need for that matter.

To that end, I have decided that a happy family is more important than a 4.0 (which is impossible now, anyway, but that's not a story worth telling). I am striving for a 3.0. This is no longer my life; my kids and my family are my life and they are worth more to me than the satisfaction of an A. School is no longer my calling; that ship has sailed. I am looking for a new calling; one that combines my family and my needs, not separate them.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

stepping out of the box

Today at the indoor playplace I inquired about their recycling procedures. I felt weird doing it, but I am glad I did. It turns out that they do recycle and are waiting for the plastic recycling container. In the meantime, the workers recycle any plastic bottles they see sitting around. The manager made a point to mention that they also recycle all their cardboard and she showed me the sign showing that their cups are made of corn.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

car-free #2

Walked home from Y (3.5 miles)
Walked to upper el school for field day.

Walked to the post office to mail a package.
Rode bike to video store.

Walked to library.

Walked to the mall.

starbursts of progress

*I rode R's bike to the video store tonight. I definitely will not be getting a bike trailer any time soon. I have to get much more comfortable on a bike first.

*I cooked dinner tonight. Salmon cakes, rice, and salad. I cooked enough rice for tomorrow's mean as well. Advance planning! WooHoo!

*I haven't eaten after dinner 8 days out of the last 10.

*I was at the Y at 5:30 this morning.

*Today was a buy-nothing day.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

you can't know where you're going...

unless you know where you are!
so, I downloaded our monthly electric and gas usage stats to see where we are.

the good news is, we are below average for electricity, and right at average for gas.

the bad news is, we are using way more electricity this year than last. I am going to spend the next two weeks really looking at where we can cut back. I have already started unplugging the toaster. Our tv and dvd are connected to a light switch.

My goal for the next year is to decrease our electricity usage each month from the previous year. I would like to have our yearly total for 2007 come in at 5000 or less. Unfortunately, we have already used over 50% of our total.

What to do?
--unplug radio in living room
--turn off kids' cd players
--switch one cordless phone to a regular phone
--watch less tv (L's idea)
--have more stove/oven-free meals
--unplug computer
--install shower start and valve
--do laundry all in one day (to use residual heat from dryer)
--hang more clothes (25% of each load)

I am also going to begin saving gas receipts so I can figure out how many times we fill up and calculate how much we spend over the next three months. Then, we will attempt to curb our driving so that we fill up one less time per month. This may mean me being without a car so R can drive the one with gas.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

car-free #1

Today I walked to the mall with M to get her 4 year old pictures taken. I can't believe that was my first time. The mall is literally a 25 minute walk with her in the stroller. The longest part is waiting to cross a major street.

I not only got in 3 miles walking, but we both got fresh air, she got a chance to relax and think, I got a chance to relax and think, and she spent less time in front of the tv because we didn't have an much time when we got home before school.

The major challenge for me in learning to use my car less is going to be planning. I need to think ahead about what needs to be done, and plan accordingly. I also need to slow down and minimize the things I need to do on car-free days. It will take more time, and I need to remember that so I don't end up frazzled and stressed.

My goal is to complete 100 car-free errands between now and Aug. 31. It shouldn't be hard. Walking to the library
Walking to the pool
Riding the bus downtown
Walking to the grocery store (Yes, this means doing some shopping at a store I really don't like, but I can at least get the basics there.)
Riding the bus to other places of interest
Walking to the mall
Use the local post office (plan ahead to avoid needing express mail)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

points to ponder

If I didn't wait until the last minute to get things done, the 30 minutes each day I spend would be enough. Because I have waited, however, I need to do 3 hours in one day which just isn't practical.

In some moments, I see great progress being made. In other moments, it all seems very overwhelming.

I have to eliminate the fantasy of having an entire week to get everything done in my house. It is crippling for three reasons: 1. it won't happen anytime soon (if ever), 2. if I had an entire week to myself, I would not spend it all working on the house, 3. I don't want to feel rushed; this is a process that will take time.