Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!: 12 Resolutions

Happy New Year! I had the thought that I would make a new resolution each month. Since we all seem to forget our resolutions after 2 to 3 weeks anyway, I figure a month with each resolution should suffice. (The true trick will be can I remember to instate a new resolution each month? Good news is, just thinking about a list of challenges, I’ve already come up with 9.) January I’m going to start with a goal to decrease spending by 25%. (I’ll base it on October’s budget, mainly because I’m 2 months behind in reconciling my receipts!) A lofty goal but after hearing so much of other people’s money troubles and the fact that I have a week of unemployment coming up and the writer’s strike starting to hit me where I live (well, where I work) I thought I would do a little preemptive scrimping and see if I could manage to get back down to a streamlined spending plan. NPR keeps dancing around the word “recession” and I know this strike will have a ripple effect through the industry even if it ends tomorrow. So far so good, 1:35p and I haven't spent any money yet!

'Tis the season...For a good book.

Holy mackerel, it’s the end of the year again… and what better way to celebrate for a big old dork like me, than to countdown the top 5 eco books (in my humble opinion) of the year.
#5: The Green Book: The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time, Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen. Lots of celebrity testimonials such as Will Ferrell and Cameron Diaz. A quick read with lots of simple “going green” tips for everyone.

#4: Get Satisfied! How 20 People Just Like You Found the Satisfaction of Enough, ed. Carol Holst. Okay, of course my pals at Simple Living America are getting a shout out, but the book is truly a great example of how simplifying your life can lead to happiness. I’m so proud of SLA for taking the book from concept to reality, in just a year! Yay team!

Plenty: Eating Locally on the 100-Mile Diet
by Alisa Smith, J.B. Mackinnon. Couple Smith and Mackinnon decided to try eating only ingredients that were produced within a 100 mile radius of wherever they were for an entire year. While it was never an easy task for them, their journey was very intriguing to follow.

#2: This Moment on Earth: Today's New Environmentalists and Their Vision for the Future, John and Teresa Heinz Kerry. My favorite political ecology book of the year (Sorry Al…) The Kerry’s style was very accessible and gives more productive examples of ordinary citizens doing good in the face of climate catastrophes.

Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future
, Bill McKibben. I’m not shy to admit that McKibben is one of my all time favorite authors and heroes, so when he releases a new book, I’m a little biased. But bias notwithstanding, he gave us all something to think about this year with his thoughts on how to reevaluate how we spend money as a society and return to localized economies.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Post-ho ho round up

Just back from good times with the east coast peeps, and another fine festivus for all involved. Got some good eco and simplistic gifts this year:
• a bunch of shopping bags so I really never need to worry about choosing between paper or plastic again.
• Gift cards to my favorite place in the world Trader Joe's (my peeps know how much I love the practicality of groceries!)
• Some great comfy yoga pants by Green Apple Active made from bamboo fabric.
• A pair of L.L. Bean Wicked Good shearling clogs that will last forever because of the Bean's great life-time guarantee policy.

I don't need much but even the simplest simplist enjoys some presents once in a while, especially when they show how much you know and care about the person.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

'Tis the be frazzled.

Phew! Finally coming up for air after a hectic couple of weeks—working 25 of the last 27 days and feeling overwhelmed—"how on earth am I going to get everything I need to get done?!?!" After making list after list, day after day and not seeming like I was accomplishing much of anything I finally took a step back and put my simplicity skills to work. I went down my list and asked "Does this absolutely need to be done? And if it doesn't get done, what will the ramifications be?" And believe it or not, a type of peace descended. When you realize that very little truly needs to be done. Remarkably I was able to accomplish more when I stepped back like this. Feel almost like the I can enjoy the season more now that I'm not so crazed. So a happy and peaceful holiday to all!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Tis the Season

I refuse to admit that Christmas is coming until at least December 1st. Those retailers who start airing holiday commercials November 1st will never get my business (this year Wal*Mart got a special e-mail message expressing my disgust). And I force my coworker who insists on starting the carols in mid-September to keep the headphones on at all times. I think 25 days of holiday cheer is plenty of good tidings for anyone to handle. I will admit I was not as strong on Black Friday aka “Buy Nothing Day” to those in the know and went out and had my oil changed, bought a couple subway tickets and some fabric to make new kitchen curtains. I’ll try harder next year I promise. But back to the holiday at hand, I’ve fully decorated here, lights strung and card clothesline ready for cards to come filtering in through the season. My favorite decoration is a very simple one, created long before I was the hardened super-simplist that I am today. Constructed back in the go-go 90’s from a page-a-day Earth Day calendar, I cut small Christmas tree shapes out of the pictures and strung them together with string. A very simple idea but each year it brings a smile to my face when I pull it out of the box to hang up. I like to remember the ‘seeds of my simplicity’ and know that anything I could buy in a store wouldn’t make me feel as warm as this simple holiday reminder.