Ramble ramble

I know I was supposed to do a post about food, but it’ll have to wait. I’m bound to talk about food in this post, so that should count, right? Right. I think part of my reluctance is because I’ve been thinking a little TOO much lately, about everything it seems like, and I’m just trying to cut myself a break. This is my thing, though. I’m hopelessly introspective. This is usually okay with me. However, it starts to drive me crazy when I can’t figure stuff out and my head just goes in circles. Ever since Jeff and I have been talking about how civilization is not and will never be sustainable, we’ve been talking about BIG things. Like, how to we live moral lives in the context of our civilization? How do I make a difference? What should I teach my kids? How do I get back in touch with my landbase? How do I get back in touch with my own humanity? What should I do in terms of activism? Should Jeff and I go start an eco-village sooner rather than later? Should we focus more on urban farming and community gardening? Where do we find other people like us who we can learn from and support in lifestyle, values, parenting, etc.? What the heck should I DO? Yeah. It’s like that. Swirling around in my noggin. 

I’m fascinated by native American history lately. I basically want to apprentice with them 400 years ago, in this very spot, and learn all about how to live on the land and reconnect with that form of spirituality. I want to learn how they made everything and where their sacred spots were. I want to see the wild animals, and watch them interact with them. I want to see how they dealt with their children- everything from potty training, first foods, teaching them not to eat poisonous things, all of it. I want to know how they cut their toenails and how they took care of their hair. Fascinating, I tell you.

I hate that we’ve turned this place into a wasteland. That’s the other thing, I’m kind of ruined for just mindlessly enjoying things lately. Like, there’s this new parking lot in downtown Ann Arbor that I saw with my friend. I forget exactly what it’s made of- something recycled- but it’s porous and allows rainwater to go through to the ground, reducing runoff. This is a good thing, right? There’s a big sign all about this new "sustainable development", and all I can think to say is "Oh, so it’s just less destructive, and that’s what we call sustainable now…" Bah. and Humbug. Jeff was talking last night about compact fluorescent bulbs, and how they are marketed like "Uses 80% less energy" convincing you that you are somehow saving the planet by buying these things. All the while, they take loads of energy to produce and are totally toxic and hard to dispose of. It’s just not the whole picture. I mean, don’t get me wrong, we use them all through our house and I haven’t had to change a light bulb in four years… so that’s cool. I see that. But ultimately maybe we should be lighting candles at night. I mean, I’m starting to look at things in a more honest light. I’m not trying to be a cynic, but no matter how many recycled parking lots and compact fluorescents we have, it’s still not even slowing down the exponential destruction and toxification of the planet. This has been a tough lesson for me to learn, especially considering how much I bought into the whole personal responsibility thing. I really thought that if we all just change our lives and live consciously then we’d make a big enough difference. Now, while I do believe in the great importance of changing my own life, I think the real problem has to do with the corporations that are truly poisoning and wrecking the earth. And they’ve convinced us that it’s good for us. And that we can help. That it’s up to us! That we can buy "green" and make a difference. One person at a time, they say. No, one CONSUMER at a time! Yet THEY are the biggest problem of all. My light bulbs and water usage are not making a dent. They are toxifying our water, and making us pay for it. It’s insane. You know that helpful stuff, fluoride? Well, they’ve got us thinking that it’s good for our teeth. I’ve heard that if you go into your grandparents basement and find an old box of rat poison, guess what the main ingredient is? I wish I was making this up. The fact is that flouride is an industrial waste product that they couldn’t find a good way to dispose of. Like I said, I wish I was making this up. How can we stand for this? That’s been the real issue that’s been weighing on my mind. This needs to stop. How do we stop it?

The other thing that I believe has done damage to this movement is the idea that by stopping these corporations and evil-doers of the world, we’ll be somehow limiting personal freedom. What if people want their SUVs and their Walmarts and their lightbulbs and whatever? YOU can’t tell them what to do. Something that Derrick Jensen said really hit home for me on this subject. He said that it’s about taking away rights that were never theirs to begin with. It’s like someone has come into your home and decided to put tiny amounts of poison in your food, and the food of your family. Not just that, but you’re going to pay this person for this disservice. And you’re going to be convinced that this is what you want. That’s absurd, right? We’d kick that person out on their ass and tell them to never come back again. That’s what these "rights" and "choices" are doing. Fact is, no one has the right to poison someone else’s water or air or land. I can’t think of anyone who would disagree with that, and yet we are all letting it happen in an enormous way. Perhaps it’s too scary for people to be honest about.

Anyway, it’s nice to be able to finally write about this a little. Now pictures. πŸ™‚

The past week has been filled with friends and nice weather. Jeff started prepping the garden for spring, which we probably should have done last month or something, but that’s how we do it around here. Just under the wire. We moved our whole house around, also. I have a before and after series coming that I’m excited about. So much change! We’re having fun and this place feels really homey to me.

Halloween! Vera was a little brown cat. I could’ve eaten her up. It was fun to walk up and down the street with her, she was so wide-eyed and interested. I’m not sure that we’re going to be conventional Halloweeners though. I never celebrated it as a kid, so it’s just kind of unfamiliar, and Jeff and I have thoughts on it that I think will lead us to a fun new tradition. Sort of combining the ideas of harvest and play and dress up, community and creativity, good food, and a sort of Day of the Dead-esque look at death and our ancestry. The one thing I’m not a big fan of on this holiday is all the gore and fear surrounding death. I see that as being somewhat damaging, despite everyone’s good intentions. I want to talk honestly about death and the people who have died, and try to normalize it rather than focus on how scary it is.

The other day at my parents. Tuula and Vera played in the leaves, and I decided to play too. My dad threw Vera in the leaves and she completely disappeared for a moment. I love kids and leaves.

Sweet Tuula.

My favorite. I love Tuula’s struggling-to-get-up face and Vera’s peacefulness.

I recently heard that about 30% of food is wasted by spoiling in the fridge. I am determined to not experience that waste this year. I’ve been finding creative ways to save just about everything- be it in the form of a scrumptious new dinner or just into the compost, I plan to be really conscious of using it all in some way. I’ve started to menu plan, which is actually turning out to be really fun. It’s helping me think about what we have in storage and ration a bit better, and I’m able to see what needs preparation and plan for that so I’m never stuck making mac and cheese or something because I don’t have time. So, this past week we had roast chicken with vegetables (which was so good and Vera ate a TON), chicken salad wraps with the leftovers, sprouted black bean chili (I was able to start sprouting the beans a few days before, also made with homemade chicken stock that I simmered overnight), and last night we had crock pot asian-style ribs on rice noodles with an apple carrot slaw. Oh, and leftover lasagna rolls, pictured below. I cleared out my leftovers (sweet potatoes, squash, misc. veggies) seasoned them well and rolled them up in lasagna noodles. Then I made a simple cheese sauce and added a little ground sausage and garlic to it. I baked it all up and they were a really delicious way to use all the "scraps". Menu planning is kind of awesome, and it’s cool because I thought it was going to be a chore. If I have a spare moment or a meal idea, I just put it on my calendar and then think about the prep that it needs and write that stuff down in the respective slots (soaking oats, beans, etc. or just defrosting meat or something the day before). Tonight I’m making "oat cakes" which remind me of tuna cakes kind of. I mean, without the tuna. It’s a good way for me to use up some of my leftover soaked oats in the fridge. I usually make an aioli for the sauce.They are good. Probably with some oven roasted potato wedges (super easy) and the rest of that slaw. So fun!

I’m still really enjoying the sun.

…and so is Maya. Check out the paw action! I love her, that snuggle pup.

Quote of the day:
"I’ve grown certain that the root of all fear is that we’ve been forced to deny who we are." (Frances Moore Lappe)

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