elections and such

Glory be and praise Jah — the election is over and I can finally stop thinking about it. In the news biz, we don’t have the luxury of not caring — we have to follow this stuff and write stories about it (fair coverage for all candidates) and so on. I was counting the days til the election was over so I could sit quietly and think about nothing in particular. Glad to know I can finally do so. (. . . ) –>

I must say, I am tickled and delighted about our President-Elect Barack Obama — though he has inherited a boatload of difficult tasks (um, war? economy? deficit?) from the past administration and it won’t be easy to turn the world around. But I’m guessing he’s the guy to do it. We cried and toasted with Champagne and lit fireworks Tuesday night, thrilled that we can turn the page and try something new. The old wasn’t working, and it has pushed us into scary waters. I feel grateful that we live in a nation where we all get to vote and that every vote counts. God bless America! (–>

And the chickens! Don’t forget the chickens. Now veal and pigs and chicken will have more room to grow in their little cages. That is also good news — but we’ve cut way back on meat anyway and are leaning toward making meat a seasoning rather than a slab to be tossed onto every plate at every meal. I have been reading Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food and also just finished the somewhat radical journal called Plenty, in which two Canadians ate only local food for a year — and created the 100-mile diet.

Reading both of these books has energized me to become something of a food warrior. No more sodas in the house. No more chips, junk food and HFCS, no more hydrogenated anything. No more bananas. No more imported peaches in January. (Not that I was doing that anyway…)Today I ordered a small farm box for Friday pickup every week, virtually guaranteeing a 100-mile bunch of produce all winter, from a local purveyor. I won’t do it in summer because we have so many vegetables that it makes no sense to pay for them. And we have lots of produce frozen and canned from our garden which is, hello, like the 20-foot diet rather than 100 miles. I would love to go to the Alameda farmers’ market but it takes place on my busiest workday, Tuesday mornings. Grr.

I’m really excited about it and looking forward to starting a new year of Compacting (not buying new/little to no shopping) and conserving, using solar power for many things (preserving veggies and fruit, making tea, drying laundry), continuing to make our own (“fast food,” lunches and dinners, various breads, beverages, cookies, snack foods, etc.)

And…treading lightly on the earth. We have only one. Better treat it kindly. Payback is a mo-fu. And global warming backlash is just the beginning.

* * *

Last weekend I did not go to any events I had planned to attend: the Matt Nathanson concert with Moni at the Warfield, the last performance of Bat Boy: The Musical at the Altarena Playhouse, the Lincoln Brigade documentary premiere in SF. We had tickets ($$) and everything. But I stayed home, and Mr. Husband stayed with me. General exhaustion and constant drama have sapped my interest in going outside the homestead for much of anything. In my busy world, home keeps me happy and I just don’t have the juice to go out. Especially when you look at my evening schedule (after a full day of work at the newspaper 5 days a week):

Monday – women’s group, Albany or Pinole, 6:15-10:13 p.m.
Tuesday – every other week, school board – 6:30 p.m. til whenever it finishes. Or yoga, if I can make myself go.
Wednesday: Teaching writing or sustainability classes at the Alameda Adult School, 2-3 times a month, 7-9 p.m.
Thursday: Yoga, if I can make myself go; or therapy appointments if I can make myself go (by this day of the week I’m ready to drop).
Friday: evening softball continues, through end of November (since April); plus I have a weekly phone call at 6 p.m. with my leadership team (1 hour).

Add in the pick-ups and drop-offs for kids coming and going, meetings, events, appointments…and also home-cooked meals every night (see above: 100-mile diet and better living through eating actual food, not reheated chemical goo)…Can you see why I am not so keen to dash out to whatever it is on a weekend?

Can I please just stay home and play in the garden?

I like to stay home and do my laundry, and cook different soups on the stove, bake a loaf of bread or muffins for breakfast. I like to pull weeds in the garden and take walks or ride my bike. I like making desserts and casseroles and boiling up beans for the vegetarians to eat during the week. I make cat food in the Crock pot or a batch of tomato sauce from the last tomatoes. Sometimes I get to fix holes in knees or sew on buttons. I usually irons shirts on Sundays and listen to classical music, or Bob Marley and Jimmy Buffett, or nothing. Silence is golden.

If I can read a bit before bedtime, if I can scratch my cat’s belly in the sun, if I can sit in the hammock with one or two of the kids and laugh, if I can snap a green bean off the still-producing vines and eat it in the garden, hallelujah. That’s a moment to celebrate.

And if I get a minute to close my eyes and breathe deeply, that’s a moment to be grateful.

What are you doing to save the earth? What are you grateful for? Leave a comment or e-mail me. I’d like to know.

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2 Replies to “elections and such”

  1. Gratefulness: i am grateful to find that more folks then just those in our bay area oasis wanted change….and that we all helped elect a fine human being to lead the efforts in becoming a kinder, gentler nation again…i am so grateful that i am almost ready to begin saying the pledge of alligence again…but not quite…not until my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters have full rights to full lives.

    Saving the earth: i am really sticking to my word and not excepting plastic bags at stores any longer…i can easily remember to take the clothe bags to the grocery store but sometimes i find myself out and about with nary a bag and i am getting comfortable say no to plastic bags and juggling my purchases in my bare hands!

    thanks for asking, kris

  2. Get down on your knees, woman, and give thanks for living so close to the Capay Valley, Gilroy, Napa and Salinas! KC is just a wee bit further from such fantastically fertile and gastronomically adventurous places; were I to do a strict local year-round diet, I’d be pretty hungry come about December. Being a locavore is a luxury that you are uniquely situated to enjoy, my dear woman!

    But you asked about gratitude, not attitude. So… I’m grateful for my housesitting gig (woot! won’t be homeless until March!), my incredible family (Julia messed up her absentee ballot application, and FLEW IN from Boston using her own hard-earned college dollars to vote in her first election!), the 63.4 million voters who agreed with me about Obama, beautiful rainbow wool to knit with, gal pals near and far and new and old, and that particularly spectacular red-gold tree across the street.

    Saving the Earth… well, I happen to believe that Nature bats last. What we want to save is our own pasty white asses, and to do that, we must quit fouling our nests. The whole stewardship thing kinda irks me, to be totally honest. We belong to and depend upon this place much more than it belongs to or depends upon us. It’s kind of like those “save the Earth” notices at hotels… be honest, it’s about saving money and giving the appearance of being green and marketing, not really at all about the water or resources (just look outside at the pool if you’re in doubt). So let’s at least be truthful about our motives. What are we doing to clean up our mess and lessen our impact upon the land we share with others, both in and out of our species? I try to drive as efficiently as possible and keep my car in good condition (and most of my married life, we’ve owned only one car), eat low on the food chain, not use poisons in or out of my home, eschew plastic, follow the reduce/reuse/recycle principles, generally removing ourselves from commercial culture via no TV/thrifting/making things ourselves, researching major purchases for environmental impact and durability instead of impulse buying, teach my kids to enjoy and respect the outdoors and all living things, support renewable energy projects and policies, buy bulk and cook from scratch, try to live within my relative space as best I can (eat local food in season or grow my own, support local businesses instead of huge corporations, keep indoor temperatures as close to outdoor as tolerable, walking/biking instead of driving… sadly, several of these are not possible in my current housing situation, though)… generally, trying to fulfill my unspoken social contract with the rest of the human race to not consume more than my fair share. Sometimes it’s pretty hard not to feel martyrish among the McMansions and SUVs and Walmarts and megachurches that litter the Midwest, though.

    Damn. The attitude snuck back in there. I’m gonna go indulge in some not-local chocolate and work on my NaNoWriMo project now. But despite my grumping here, it’s so good to hear from you, beautiful!

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