Tuesday, September 30, 2008

And So It Begins

So, in light of my last post about wanting to lead a better life, one of simplicity and ecological responsibility, I've done an "audit" of my habits and my apartment.

Here is what I found:

First, my front door has a fairly large gap along the bottom. Sunlight leaks in and when winter rolls around, all our heat is sure to leak out. Not only will that make it harder to keep the apartment warm, that's going to make for one giant CO2 footprint! I'll have to be sure to call or email my landlord and let her know of this problem and I'll have to do it soon! It's already getting chilly.

Second, there is only one light switch for the light in the kitchen. And it's all the way across the room by that leaking front door. That makes for bad habits where I leave that light on ALL NIGHT because I hate walking across that dark room to turn it on and off. I have a flash light to help me through the dark, but it makes for spooky lighting, so I tend to abandon that method.

Third, just lights in general. I'm terrible at leaving my bedroom and hall lights on for no reason at all. And in the morning, I tend to forget that the bathroom light is still on. VERY bad.

Also, when it's warmer out, the fan in the living room gets turned on to help cool things down, which is fine! But then we go to bed with it still spinning outside our CLOSED bedroom doors. And if it's warm enough, we have our very own box fans running at the same time.

Another thing, I tend to leave the TV on all the time. I get too involved with my music, dancing and singing for hours, or remembering there was a band I wanted to check out. So, I get nothing done. TV tends to be my background noise of choice, but that uses up lots and lots of energy when maybe I should just get use to silence.

Finally, appliances in general. I leave a lot of appliances plugged in when not in use. Coffee maker, laptop (fully charged, still plugged in), my hair dryer some mornings, my heating blanket (trying to wean myself off that, but it helps reduce my aching hips), cell phone charger, LOTS and LOTS! Including a CD player and iPod I don't even use anymore (in favor of my laptop.)

My goals for the bigger picture and the approaching winter is to make sure i winterize my apartment. The house I live in was built in 1896, so the windows are niiiiiiiice and leaky. Not to mention that front door I already mentioned. My landlord just replaced it and the workers left that gap in there. It's only in 40's and we're already freezing our asses off.

So, I've done my audit. I've keyed in on my problems. The next step is to work work on reversing the bad habits and finding products/methods in which to seal up our leaky windows and save on heat while reducing the CO2 footprint I leave behind.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Start to a Brand New Future.

I've been watching "An Inconvenient Truth" over and over and over again. I just rented it for the first time. It's not that I didn't want to see it, didn't think it worth my time, or said anything that was relevant or untrue. It was just that I already knew global warming was a problem. I knew it and I didn't think there would be any information I hadn't already heard before.

And I was right.

What I wasn't expecting was how compelling and beautiful Al Gore is. I wasn't expecting him to feel SO STRONGLY about this issue, that it would radiate through my tiny television screen and shake me so hard, that it would bring me to tears.

He put me to shame.

But shame is a powerful motivator. You feel terrible and that lights a fire under your ass to change your thoughts, your heart ... your life.

What seems like a lifetime ago, i went through an extremely hard time in my life. One of the hardest I'll ever have to go through. Having spent most of my life with undiagnosed depression, the cheerful facade I used to hide behind took a hit I could not recover from when my 2 1/2 year relationship fell apart. It was the only thing holding me together and with out it, my life was in shambles. I was forced to face many factors in my life that helped contribute to my problems. Lost, I spent a financially crippling year unemployed turning desperately to school as a way to find myself again.

But I had spent the years of my life, where a young person typically forms their identity as an adult, in a relationship with a man who expected me to lose myself in his dreams and goals and life. And since my past was so full of sadness and pain, I gladly did so and abandoned myself.

And when he left me, for a woman he felt who could better melt away into whatever he wanted, I was left with not only the empty shell of who i use to be ... but with the shell of a girl, frozen in time from when I first let myself be lost. I had no direction, no focus, no dreams, nothing. I had NOTHING. School became impossible with no direction or idea of who I was. So, I dropped out. A lot.

And that year of unemployment and semester after semester of dropping out, I saw places so dark and felt things so painful, it terrified me, shamed me and pushed me to climb out. no matter what.

First thing I vowed to myself: never enter a relationship like that again. ever.

Second thing I vowed: fix yourself. now.

Third: GROW. Never stop for anything, or anyone.

Last thing I vowed: never let yourself fall as hard as you just fell ever again. never. ever. ever. end of story.

I set out to live a life of independence. To remember always, I must have a HEALTHY relationship with first, myself, then my parents and family, next my community, then, in time, a man. And the only way to enter a relationship that will last and be healthy and wonderful, is to be that individual and to have a life. A good life. With my own goals and dreams and hopes. And if I live in accordance to those things and keep myself always growing to be that person, then a man, the RIGHT man, will grow into me and my life. He will compliment me, not complete me, and I will have a life he will want to share WITH me, not give me.

This has been my life for a long time. A looooooong time. For 3 1/2 - 4 years, I have remained single. Seeking to make myself a strong person. An INDIVIDUAL.

And I feel, at 27, I have reached the point where I am strong. An individual.

But I have yet to find the life I want to lead.

The time I spent in Madison was lovely. I grew up there. I have almost all my family there, all of my friends. Great resources, an amazing art scene. But change must be made in my life. There must be MORE. I've outgrown my home town. Things were so tight, I could hardly breathe.

And just when I thought I was going to scream from being in Madison, my friend Natalee needed a roommate for her move to Milwaukee. Milwaukee was probably the LAST place I wanted to move to, but I love Natalee. She's one of those people who understands the importance of personal growth and she's the only person I know who can change and grow as much as me. Probably more.

Also, she's a person seeking to make the ecological changes in her life, to make less of a negative impact on the earth. Something I've been aware of, but haven't really known how to do myself.

And as luck would have it, we accidentally found ourselves living in Riverwest, a small neighborhood/community of DIYers, artists and politically aware people. People aware of the impact we have on our environment, who seek to change things.

And I sit here, tucked into this amazing little pocket of beauty and change, Al Gore's voice resounds in my head:


This ... is not just a good question, or a compelling question. It is THE question. This is my compass that points me to North. This the question that both grounds me to reality, and give wings to my future.

How SHOULD I spend my time on this earth?

I tell myself every day, my goal is to live a GOOD life, an HONEST life, full of love and balance and peace, then I must live a life of simplicity. economically and ecologically. my life must be spent being an example to others that we CAN modify our lives to reduce our carbon footprints and our waste.

I've already gotten rid of my car. In madison, I took the bus on a daily basis. In Milwaukee, i walk every where. The last bus I was on was the Badger Bus that took me home to Madison, and before that, it was late July.

Unfortunately, I have yet to eliminate my footprint, by shopping locally, I am terrible at turning out lights (my roommate spends her weekends - thursday through late sunday night - in Madison, so I feel vulnerable.), i leave the TV running to create back noise and I'm guilty of leaving a lot of appliances plugged in that do not need to be.

I need to start setting goals for myself. One by one, knocking these bas habits out of my life. Turning off my lights, no matter what, I am perfectly safe with out them on. Unplugging anything doesn't need to be plugged in, shopping less and less at Pick-n-Save and more and more at the Co-Op (which is hard, since it is pretty darn expensive!).

I need to transform my life by starting small, then going big. And this means my life in the more distant future. Having a marriage and family that reflects these choices. Living in a community that supports this way of living. Starting a culture of youth that makes choices our parents should have made when they were younger, by making them now.

This is the life that lies ahead of me (and of you and of all of us) and this is how I will spend my time on this earth.

My family has always told me my legacy will be the family I will someday have. My goal today is to ensure that this someday family is one that makes the biggest impact it can ... and that is by not making one at all.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Tickle My Pickle

I think I really need a tumble blog. Or whatever you call those things. Because, I don't ever really anything to SAY anymore (thanks to twitter, uhm, @lilteapot btw), but I definitely have things to SHARE.

I'm gonna look into that, but for the time being, I'm probably going to make this little do-hicky thing of a blog WANNA BE into a make shift tumble blog thing.

SO, things I've been looking at on teh interwebz (oh no she di'int!)

Senator McCain's daughter, Megan, has a really great blog that I love. I'm not really a supporter of the republican party ... in fact, I think I'm more of an independent, really, HOWEVER, I am for sure a supporter of people who are smart and have voices. And I think Megan has a voice worth taking a look at. It's political, but only by default, seeing as how she's on the campaign trail with her father, but really. This blog is about being a daughter who supports her father and I'm in love with it.


Her blogging style is really easy to follow when you're busy. She has 3 elements to it. A short blurb about what's going on and how she feels about it, a "song of the day," which I think is almost always country pop, and then she has pictures. Lots and lots of really great candid moments with her family.

Check it out! Really! It's worth at least once glance through.

Another website I've been on lately is Wordie It calls itself "flickr, but with out the pictures." So, basically, you're collecting words and lists of words. The people who use it are HARD CORE and it's actually very difficult to follow. Be prepared to see words you never knew even existed and be sure to keep wiki up. You'll need to look up a majority of the words. I'm in the process of making my own profile, I'll post more on that later when I'm done.

Otherwise, I've been on Etsy shopping and finding lots of amazing things. If you're unfamiliar with Etsy, it's an online store where artisans and crafters make home made gifts, upload their wares and sell them for usually, VERY reasonable prices. It's like a 24/7 craft fair. I love it.

Here are some of the things i've found:

This is a felted scarf that I MUST have. They're about $38, but can be a little more expensive if you've got more beading or design to them. Felted yarn is extremely warm and these designs are unique, feminine and totally practical. You don't have a long, snaking scarf to deal with. Just a wrap that hooks together and you are good to go.
Get yours from Rudman and Etsy

Also, I love these:

They're flatware sets that are made of wood, not plastic. You take them with you when you eat at a fast food or casual dining restaurant. They come with a fork, spoon, knife, linen napkin and sometimes with chopsticks as well. Some sets come with antique metal ware, some sets are for two, while others are for children. Its a great way to reduce our waste and they make adorable and affordable gifts.
Get yours at Ponyup at Etsy

I love Etsy. Don't forget to check out their entire site.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Kicking Ass, Every Day.

Time flies when you're making a new home for yourself, huh?

Things have gotten a lot better since I last blogged. For one, my roommate moved in. That was nice! Now I'm not totally alone all the time. I've been using my stove. HA! Maaaaaan, I've NEVER had a gas range before! It was a little scary. I've been taught that the moment you smell gas, GET OUT and here I am lighting gas on fire??? The first couple times I'd get a little sick from the smell, but now I don't smell it at all. My oven still is not working. Not that I plan on baking much, but I totally want to make some shrinky-dinks, ya know?

I have plans to take a crochet class and I'm pretty excited about that. I'm learning how to use GIMP, so I can make a portfolio to submit to a local school for graphic design. That's been really tough. I'm really struggling, but I'll figure it out.

I've been on twitter like crazy of late. I've found so many amazing people to follow, it's really cool to look at one person's twitter page and just link from person to person to person and it's all very endless and inspiring to meet people like you who are out there kicking ass every day and documenting it.

Time for a nap, I'm feeling sick.