Groundhog's Day was frustrating to me in my early digits until I realized that six weeks of more winter was the same thing as six weeks left of winter. Oh, you mean either way it's six weeks of unbearable cold and unfulfilled snow days? Gee willikers, I wish I hadn't wasted my angst on an oversized rodent. Now it's closer to a sad realization that this cold has only lasted 31 days and not 31 weeks.
I think adopting New Year's Resolution for the sake of following in line is completely bogus. So do the perfect Quimbys--Charlotte spent a month traversing across Europe, so there's nothing left anyway, Emily is a modern day superhero, and The King has already talents in wit, smarts, and responsibility--leaving Winifred and I to grasp at qualities to better ourselves while our family scoffs.
Or they should. I doubt anyone scoffs at Winifred, except me (today she called and asked if I was watching the America's Next Top Model marathon and I scoffed and said, "No, I'm watching Real Housewives of Orange County).
It's not the bettering of one's life that is bogus but the need to adopt it on a predetermined date. Instead of, you know, right now. You think, I should de-clutter my life! So instead of cleaning up two weeks before Halloween you wait until January 2.
Winifred decided to keep her mouth shut. ("This year I will keep more opinions to myself.") There was also some tie-in about being nice to people with different opinions, by which she means, when someone says they're going to vote for Obama because they hate women, she'll only launch a verbal counterattack for ten minutes instead of 60. This was a crushing blow for someone trying to blog about her but 33 days into 2k8 and she's failing miserably. (This is the 39th post on The Gospel if its any indication.) See, look here:
I just heard on the news that Caroline Kennedy hasBut wait, there's more!
endorsed Obama! This was a POOR time to make such an
asinine resolution--though I really meant it more on a
Having read Suckabee's quote I realize this is the worst possible year to enact that type of resolution. How ridiculous to have made it. I will attempt just the kindness aspect of the resolution.[Editor's note: the other Quimbys have taken to "#$%uckabee"]
I debated on a couple of ideas before Christmas. I thought I might "use more condoms" after accidentally watching a Tila Tequila special on MTV. "From now on, I'll use more condoms," a Frat boy solemnly promised, and I wondered why he wasn't using them regularly to begin with. Given that I'm a chaste woman, I thought this was especially ironic. Then I thought that I might "do less smack!" as Biscuit gave up smack for Lent one year (she's not Catholic or an intravenous drug user). Neither of these can be repeated to Winifred so I decided that I'd try and lessen my envionmental impact. I have 365 days to change my ways and a year and a half of residual guilt from buying an Ikea plastic bag and intending to reuse it on my consumerist-based shopping trips.
I'm a little smug when I say I've made serious progress.
I decided I'd start right away though. I made serious efforts to read the following books:
1. The Green Book: The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen. Unfortunately with a forward by Cameron Diaz (and William McDonough) short essays from Martha Stewart (pretending I’m Martha: Well I have SOOOO many horses I fertilize all of my organic vegetables—enough to cater my HUUUUGE parties—myself!), Owen Wilson (pretending again: I was like whoooah duuude the environment’s not popular so I’ll tell people I’m not sensitive to those issues when they ask about my Hybrid from Toyota! It’s cool now though because I’m in this book!), Ellen Degeneres, and other MTV-friendly celebrities.
All of it is made from recycled paper, which I think I like the most because it seems ironic and counterproductive to buy a book about saving paper among other strategies. That said, I'm never getting an electronic book because the collector in me needs to savor the space bound novels take, and my love for reading type and paper will never be satiated by pixels, no matter how revolutionary the technology becomes. I knew it would be easier to read a book that waters down the facts (though this is trying: the solutions are calculated without mathematics for readers but instead , "Every additional ten pounds per traveler requires an additional 350 million gallons of jet fuel per year, which is enough to keep a 747 flying continuously for ten years.") Still, the other small tips help me make small gradual changes. I'm already turning off the sink when I brush my teeth, my thermostat is low, and I dry most of my shirts on a rack instead of in a dryer.
2. The Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook: 77 Essential Skills to Stop Climate Change by David de Rothschild
The truth about this book is that I found it in Daedulus on clearance when I was supposed to buy Harry Potter during Harry’s midnight sale. It’s also the truth that I liked the book’s design: as an instructional manual for the globe’s untimely doom the illustrations mimic flight disaster plans and I think that is so cool. But the results of Live Earth are so head scratchingly frustrating—the amount of energy output and trash produced is dumbfounding—that I feel dirty owning it. I went to last summer’s Oregon Country Fair where everything was recycled and vendors did not offer plastic utensils. Silverware was used, washed at the nearby high school, and returned clean for another use. I like that the tasks are rated by time, personal financial impact, overall global impact, and effort, but I hate that the last twenty or so items are impossible (#68 Buy a Camel), that the least frugal have the least effect (#47 Install a Windmill; cost has declined 90% and I love wind power, but it's not happening Rothschild), and the residual hipster-related guilt.
aforementioned recycle center
Speaking of guilt, this cause is increasingly popular. Ew. Today's Washington Post style section listed environmental friendly alternatives to Valentine's Day (may require log-in) and American Eagle is taking up the cause with hand bags urging to recycle and ride bikes. See?
The hideous bag is intended as a 3-in-1. The last looks cute in Easter baskets of lapsed Catholics, Amen.
Whenever I feel dirty I read The Simple Family. I don't have kids and Rachel (who I do not know) is putting in far more effort than I am, but I need to see someone eschew this corporate smiley face plastered among recycle signs, flowers, and unicorns.
Ultimately, I've recycled more (there's no pick-up here, so it just piles six feet high) and bought more biodegradeable chemicals. I've had a 70% Ikea Bag increase, and today I told the checkout girl at Target that I didn't need a plastic bag for my detergent and handed it back. She was dumbfounded but I had one less thing to throw away and lose sleep for at night.
Ultimately when it comes down to it, I'm going to vote for the candidate protecting my rights other the candidate who wants to use paper over plastic, proving I'm not ready to move to Oregon. (Ha, GET IT?)