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6 posts from September 2008

September 26, 2008

Positive spin, pretty please?

I found this article on Yahoo today.  Frankly, I was expecting something much worse...something more along the lines of "not all bags are made with recycled materials" or something about the length of time these bags would take to degrade and for the authors to go on and on with terrible, heart-wrenching statistics and pictures.  The author mentioned these and while I do accept that these statements are true, it should be pointed out ANY bags are acceptable...what about all the free bags we get when we donate to different organizations/join clubs?

Nope, it was really just about the author deciding that a few folks' negative viewpoints were worth reporting.  There was some mention of the bag production, but most of the commentary almost seemed geared toward reporting that people are afraid to reuse, due to public perceptions  of the practice.  Oh, and let's not forget the woman from NJ who (effectively) purchases 40 new plastic bags per week!  Are these folks totally and completely out of touch with reality? 

Who is not reusing the bags?  Who is not taking competitors bags to other stores?  I certainly do!  Target doesn't care where I bought my bag, nor does Whole Foods.  In fact, Whole Foods will donate .05 per bag for each bag you reuse, whether it says McDonald's or Safeway.  Trader Joe's gives you a raffle ticket.  I could give them an "I heart Nob Hill" bag and they could care less.

 In the end, I am saving them money and keeping the plastic (somewhat) at bay.  I will admit the first time I took a Whole Foods bag to Target, I briefly wondered if anyone would care...until I saw another woman checking out, with her Whole Foods bag filled to the brim with items from Target.

I really wish these reporters would do everyone a favor and TRY to put a positive spin on things.  And to the woman in NJ?  Ugh, that disgusts me.  She could easily go to my favorite e-store and get any size bag she wants and many of them.  They are FAR sturdier than plastic, can be reused for years, some give people gainful and sustained employment with fair wages, and don't make you look like you are deliberately trying to trash the environment because you are too good to carry a cloth bag.  Good grief, what did our grandmothers carry? 

Did they get little nasty plastic bags for produce? They rip easily and then what do you do with them? What is wrong with these bags?  Everyone who has seen mine just loves them.  You can use them again and again, they are much stronger, and what is this love affair with plastic?  Aren't their enough chemicals in and around our foods?

Then again, our friend from NJ is loading up the plastic bags with diapers...enough said!  And, yes, you don't have to remind me I used to do the very same thing...live and learn, right? 

NOTE:  Yes, there have been moments when I have forgotten a bag and , used a store bag.  However, by ensuring I keep extra bags in the car, those times are few and far between.  I should also add I would be more than happy to pay for said bag.

I still don't understand why more places in the U.S. don't jump on the "charge for a bag" bandwagon as they do in many other areas of the world.  Bags ran almost 25 cents in Iceland.  One either remembered their bags or managed to stuff a cartload of groceries into one bag...funny how one thinks about it that much more when they bear the cost...and why shouldn't we?

September 23, 2008

Just another Tuesday

The kids were in bed, I was relaxed with Nicky in my lap, legs all akimbo, and I was chatting on the phone. Just discussing moving in, how many boxes we had left (I haven't counted lately), Pete being in NYC to be an AIC for UNGA (watch out, there are way more acronyms where those come from), how my hand was healing (fine, thanks, more on that later), and then he threw out the annual question:  would I be okay tomorrow?

Well, let's see..if I can get the lunches packed, kids to school, Nicky fed, off to my walk (finally hoping to get to my new walking group), see a friend's new house, have lunch with her, get the kids, remember to find a recipe for dinner, maybe talk to Pete (watch CNN & check AP photos...look for the man in black...oh, wait), have time to hit the playground, get homework done, feed Nick several times, make dinner, remind Cait to practice her flute, get kids to bed, remember to check on Cait and make sure she is sleeping and not reading (for the umpteenth time)...well, yes, if I can get all of that done (plus a few loads of laundry, set up the compost bin, and unpack a box), I will be just fine...why?

Oh.  Oh, yes.  Yesterday was my friend Berta's birthday (Happy Birthday (again)!), and I continue to connect the two events...the fact that I had two birthdays to remember, one after the other.  Today (or yesterday, depending on where you are) was/would be Mom's birthday, her 64th, in fact.  The thing is, I am fine.  Absolutely, positively fine.

I know people have been concerned about this day in the past, but really, it has never bothered me asHP7935-435 other days might.  Due to the fact that we were almost never together on her birthday, I don't feel as though I am missing a giant celebration or a party that was an annual treat.   I do miss picking out fun gifts and would love to be able to call her, but I can't.

While some people might say I should be really sad about that, I simply can't spend my time that way.  I do still grieve, but in my own way and on my own schedule.  I don't pick out certain days and decide to be upset just because it is a particular day.  After all, I can't turn back the clock and more importantly, had I been sitting next to her, there would have been nothing I could do.  For whatever reason, it happened.  I have accepted that, and can't dwell on it day after day, year after year.  There are so many people who were hit with far worse things at younger ages or on a larger scale.

So, yes, in a nutshell, I am fine.  I still miss her, but she was not the type who would want me to sit around in a pool of my own tears.  In fact, she would be quite irked with me if I was wasting time crying over spilt milk, instead of say, playing with the cutest 7 month-old on the planet?

Yes, as of Saturday, Nicholas Quinn (Nick/Nickster/Nickelodeon/little guy/peanut/baby peanut/President of Cuteness, etc.) is 7 months old.  I feel as though a lifetime has passed since the little guy "popped" out (ha!) and yet, he is still so soft, sweet and brand-new.  I am so excited about all of the things we have yet to do with him...he's not walking yet (wait a day or two), but can get everywhere by half-crawling/rolling ..he is jabbering away and seems to know everyone by nameIMG_0271[1] (himself, most importantly)...he eats up a storm (LOVES veggies) and sleeps as well as an baby his age. 

Happy?  Yes, he is extraordinarily happy.  So many people have asked me if he ever cries...yes, occasionally, when he needs a diaper change or he is hungry.  For the most part, though, he is just a terribly contented boy with two incredibly loving older sisters.  And, yes, he is still maintains his "Icelandicness"..so blond and those deep blue eyes...

Despite my utterances above, I do appreciate the concern.  Especially given that we always seem to be so far away on days that are special in one way or another, it is comforting to know someone out there is thinking of me.  Happy Birthday, Mom, wherever you are, and Happy 7 months to my sweet little boy!

September 17, 2008

Technical Issues

Due to a minor technical issue, I will not blog for the next week or so.  I may, however, catch up on posting pictures, just not much more than a caption.  On that note, expect more (many more) pictures next week when we welcome our first official visitor Thursday night!


September 15, 2008

Nicky the Cutie...

Well, I guess he 'won' the first part of the contest. I still have to check on the prize (fingers crossed for all-expense paid college education), but thanks to those of you who voted.

If you feel up to risking it one more time, the link is here.  Of course, the other kid is cute, but this is the Nickster we are talking about.  The boy wakes up happy every day, he is such a flirt, and lifts the spirit of everyone around him with his giggles and grins.

So, vote if you want, don't if you don't (and no, I was not spammed, intentionally or otherwise), and let's all think nice thoughts as we do or don't!

Have you unpacked your Flyttekasse today?

We have begun to settle into the house, which brings its own set of issues:  214 boxes worth.  The movers dropped off the HHE (freight from Iceland) on the 4th of September and we have been IMG_0220 awash in cardboard boxes and paper from half the trees in Iceland.  In fact, one of the movers remarked after opening a box, "This must be why there are no trees left in Iceland!"

No joke, the movers in Reykjavik must have used thousands of sheets of paper.  I found a lint brush wrapped in one complete sheet of paper...one rubber lint brush needs one sheet of paper?  I have decided, sadly, that despite the good things it brings, Pete's job is extremely environmentally unfriendly at times. 

On the other hand, the donation center was overflowing when we left (that's good, right?), and we reuse or recycle everything possible.  We are also now privy to the delight of single-stream recycling at our door-step.  Yes, folks, the truck comes weekly to pick up our recycling!  We can put everything from cardboard to soda cans in one cart!  No weekly hauls to the recycling center (which no longer exists in our town), and no worries of cross-contamination (lest we throw plastic bags in there). 

I have to say that for living in one of the lesser green areas (in Northern California), we are still quite lucky.  We get our recycling picked up curbside as well as our yard waste AND a reduced trash bill for using a smaller trash can.  We will have our own compost bin, but if we were living in a house in San Francisco, they would also pick up food waste curb-side.  How awesome is that?

Of course, believe it or not, there are still people who don't take advantage of the system.  I can't imagine why, but everywhere we go, including here, it seems folks are eager to fill up the landfills.  Even those who have a recycling cart or bin emptied at their house...nope, they would rather send overflowing bags of plastic (which will never degrade) to the landfill.  It will be around for their kids, their grandkids...the stuff will never disappear.  Out of sight, out of mind?  Whatever, it is sad and so very wasteful.

In case you can't tell, we have had serious eco-guilt since moving here.  It took so much paper to get us here, then we always seem to need a few new things, and couple that with this part of CA being in the middle of a drought?  From the land of never-ending waterfalls to the joys of water restrictions (recommended, of course). And the true irony?  I switched from the not-so-bad (Seventh Generation/Tushies) disposable diapers to cloth upon moving out here.

Go ahead, laugh and enjoy yourselves!  I know, who would have thought, despite my somewhat inner greenness, that I would ever come around to cloth diapers.  I was Ms. Huggies Coupon Clipper 1998 & 2002. Though now I would like to berate my 98 and 2002 selves for not being more proactive.  Cloth diapers generally get kids out of diapers faster, are almost as absorbent (but who wants their kid to sit in ounces of pee, anyway?), and are generally speaking, much cuter.

So, they do not fill up the landfills...but they do require 4 extra loads of laundry a week, albeit small ones.  However, I have come to the conclusion that it is worth it.  I would rather use the water than send another non-degrading diaper to the dump.  IMG_0232 And, if I don't say so, my little Bumgenius is a real cutie in them! 

Pete, understandably, was not entirely pro on the idea.  However, I picked an AIO (all-in-one) and he quickly came around.  In fact, he now likes them better than the disposables.

They come in different sizes (Nick could be in Medium for months) and no liners to worry about.  The AIOs do it all  and we never have to worry about running to the store in the middle of the night...they are just a laundry load (or two) away!

NOTE:  No, he generally doesn't watch television.  The cable guy had just left and Peter was 'testing' the system after I put Nick on the floor to play (yes, Pete won and we bought a TV, sigh). 

Pete thought this was an amusing shot...I hope no one takes it the wrong way and thinks I want him to love the tube...not at all...just a cute shot of him in the new diap.

September 08, 2008

Clix for Nick

Two weeks ago, Nicky and I decided to surprise Pete with a few six month photos.  We found a cute little place in Concord, and spent the morning with the photographers oohing and aahing over him.  They declared him to be incredibly cute, good-natured, and very photogenic (as if we didn't notice)!

Part of the fun was entering him in the Cutest Kid Contest.  It is a legitimate photo contest through the company, Clix!, and, yes, I had to enter him.  Who doesn't fall in love immediately with those eyes, that hair, the smile, and the sweet disposition?

So, in order to 'win', he has to receive votes.  You may need to register, but you are not obligated to anything (since we have already purchased the photos).  Just click on the link, and you can register and vote for your favorite cutie.

And those pictures I mentioned?  You will see one online, and the rest can be viewed upon your first visit to CA!  Well, actually, a few may be mailed out, but I shouldn't spoil the surprise and say more than that..oh, except the Germantown group:  your rep can pick up in person anytime between 25 September and 4 October!