Posts Tagged 'moving'


Like these guys!

Except I am violently ill again during this move and thus not as adorable as these little Fairy Penguins (that I saw last year in NZ, on the Otago Peninsula).  Much more hacking and mucous in my nesting process.  I might have a moving allergy.

At any rate, I hope to be settled and back to caring about the environment soon.

My Failure Trumped By Our Success

So I’ve messed up the every other day thing technically twice now, but this weekend was most egregious.  In my defense, the weather was so mind-blowingly gorgeous Saturday that I could not possibly sit inside long enough to blog.  Instead I picnic-ed up and art-ed out, then had a party.  And today, I had to sleep and start moving.  Yes, I am moving again,  but it’ll be great:  I’m moving in with my friends, Biking Person/EcoCheap and his wife, and we will live a happy green life together for several months until I have to move again.  I’m excited to blog about our household environmental efforts- they have a real compost pile, and a rain barrel! Think I’ll be able to convince them to try my AC-less summer?  (Actually I’m not sure I could convince me to do that again).

But I was not moving all day.  I spent tonight at the Capitol building, waiting to hear news on passing the health care reform.   The crowds of protestors were small (maybe a hundred?  but I am terrible at crowd estimation, and it was dark and they milled around), and supporters even smaller, but a friend and I found some nice people with a radio playing the CSPAN coverage and we listened to the speeches and chatted through the vote and rejoiced at the passage!  and caught the metro home.  It was a wonderful day, and I am sure you will excuse my posting lateness in your excitement at our first national efforts to protect our right to health care.

Photo is of our group gathered around the radio, waiting for the voting outcome.

Doesn’t the Capital look gorgeous tonight?

All purposeful for once.

Progress: It’s Been A While

Hey there!  I moved.  It took a while, because there was also a wedding and a class project in there too.  But the composter is humming away on my new balcony, my herbs are sitting in the window of my new kitchen, and I’ve got my very own separate gas and electricity bills are coming in, so pretty soon I can follow EcoCheap’s excellent example, and switch to wind power!

So, good start- I’ll post photos of the seedlings, which I expect any minute now.  I have checked three times in the past day- nothing yet.

Oh, also!  Biking to work?  I can, as soon as I mentally prepare myself to carry the bike down two flights every morning, then up the same stairs each night.  I’ll be in the weight room tomorrow morning, working on that part.  I imagine this will build me more character than muscle, really.

But the eating-my vegetables thing has been going really well.  I cooked a big vegetarian meal for the folks who came by to help me move- cheaper than pizza.  After the move, I’ve been living off of, well, cheese and crackers, but I’ve cooked two or three other big meals too.  I’ll post the recipe for my most recent tomorrow- pierogies with onions and apples.  Actually, that pretty much is the recipe, but I’ll flesh it out a bit for you, I guess.

The most important thing is, I haven’t purchased meat in a couple weeks.  And I still eat it when I eat out, and when other people cook, but I’m not missing it in my own food prep.  You can thank me later, environment!  Just make my plants grow.

New goals:  definitely gardening, this month.  I might also start harassing my apartment complex to working on the truly pitiful recycling options here.  They have three normal garbage bins for the hundreds of people who live in this complex, and they’re hidden in the back.  Now, I’d like them to fix a few things in my apartment before I get annoying, but maybe I can convince them to at least get recycling depositories in each building, or maybe even bins in each apartment!

Gonna dream big.

Vegetables I Have Known

Specifically, known this last week:

Tuesday: V baked sweet potatoes and steamed some broccoli.

Wednesday: Something tofu-full leftover from a Monday lunch at a Thai place.  There were a ton of vegetables.

Thursday: Vegetarian sushi for lunch.  It saves me both the “sustainable fish?” “raw fish from the work cafeteria?” worries.  I tossed a pepper and onion into the pasta for dinner.  The pepper was aging and a bit soft, but tasted way better fried in a little olive oil with a little sausage and onion.  I learned to not give up on odd-looking vegetables.

Friday: Oops.

Saturday: EcoCheap and his wife had people over for corned beef and cabbage, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day- cabbage!  And I liked it!  They cooked it with potatoes, carrots, and something else- but it was tasty as anything.  Thanks, guys!

Sunday: Is not over yet.  I remain hopeful, but it’s likely I’ll put off cooking anything- too tired to wait for the potatoes.

So far, not terrible.  I haven’t varied my vegetable consumption yet, and I’m still eating meat with most meals.  This is a much easier project when you have a cooking partner, and make enough for leftovers.  I packed lunch twice last week, which is a start.

In other news, I’m moving again.  Yeah, I know, every six months like clockwork, hunh?  I’m hoping this is the last for a long time.  It goes down Friday, so I might not have much time to cook from now to then, so it looks like a good week for raw veggies.  After that, I have a kitchen all to myself, so let the games begin.

Among the Boxes

The move is going very well (my walls are ORANGE AND GREEN!  In the good way!) but I have even more exciting news.  While I was away, Biking Person got a blog!  He’ll be writing about biking and home renovations and I assume lots of other stuff, at EcoCheap.  Go say hi!

Meanwhile, I have some Craigslisting to do.  Back later, with Content.

What I Haven’t Been Writing About

It’s more than all this of course, but here’s the backlog of links I didn’t get you this week.

NPR did a story on how the Post Office research center is looking at alternative fuel, efficient routes, green buildings, and new packaging to reduce their costs and environmental impact. You can read the report or listen to the segment at that link.

Nancy Pelosi is putting climate change legislation on hold until we have a new President- specifically, Obama. She answers questions on the decision and talks about climate change policy with the Huffington Post in a video here.

A club in the UK has a dance floor that generates power.  Rock on.

Remember the mean speculators, behaving rationally and legally inside the market system and driving up our oil prices and making us all sad?  They don’t exist.  Oil’s expensive for “real” market reasons and speculators are having little to no impact on it’s soaring prices, according to a task force combining data from a bunch of US financial agencies.  Well, shoot, now we have to place the blame for gas prices where it really lies- with ourselves, our oil subsidies, our poorly planned neighborhoods, our eggs in one basket…whoops.

US Olympians are prepared for the smog conditions in Beijing during the Olympics, but they’re not too worried about it- everyone has to breathe the same foul air, after all.  Meanwhile, China has begun restricting activities in the city to bring air pollution down to non-embarrassing levels for the Games.

What was I up to in the meanwhile?  Well, the liquor store people are getting to know me pretty well, since I’m there asking for boxes all the time.  Also, I saw Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog like 4 times, and you’d love it.  Odd and illuminating watching that superhero tale the same week as The Dark Knight, which was fantastically crafted (yeah yeah, Heath Ledger incredible wow, but Aaron Eckhart gave the performance of his career, too) and somehow not as scary as this.

Quick Politics Brief

I can take a deep breathe and come back to post regularly now, since I finally only have one apartment again, and most of my boxes are empty and their contents distributed. It’s been a long move, and I’m very glad it’s over. I’ll give you a summary along with the six-month review and March monthly goal I owe you, but not yet.

Tonight, you get a few links to stories from the past week I’ve been itching to put up for days. Guiding theme is legislative.

The EPA released their actual reason for denying a waiver to California and about 16 (or maybe 18, depending on which article you read) other states so that they may pass their own emissions laws, the same week as memos from the EPA’s staff opposing the decision were made public. The agency said in December that they’d deny the waiver, for reasons that would be forthcoming. After over two months, they’ve come up with

“While I find that the conditions related to global climate change in California are substantial, they are not sufficiently different from conditions in the nation as a whole to justify separate state standards,” Johnson [the EPA head] wrote.

The policy director for the National Resources Defense Council called that statement “both factually and legally wrong”. Johnson’s own EPA agrees with the NRDC.

“It is obvious to me that there is no legal or technical justification for denying this,” Margo Oge, director of the EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality, warned in talking points prepared for a meeting with Johnson in October 2007.

While the EPA is taking their bold, defenseless move, the House has passed a bill with a much less certain future. A plan to shift funding to renewable energy resources, paid for by removing tax breaks given to oil and gas companies, passed the House Wednesday. No idea on when the Senate will get to it, but Bush has of course threatened a veto. After all, American oil companies (who are hitting year after year of record profits– not just records for them, but records for any American business ever- and record profits, not just record income, straight-up profits) are suffering badly, and may not survive much longer without those tax breaks. Limping along, suspended by a thread, suffocating under the weight of their own cash, etc. You know how it is. The NYT article on the House bill highlights Republican reasons for opposing it (besides the poor, poor oil companies) (ok, “poor” is a bad word choice), and what doesn’t boil down to “taxes==evil” goes along the lines of “energy prices are high enough, and this will increase our dependence on foreign energy supplies”. I’ll go ahead and call that laughable, considering how dependent on foreign oil resources we already are, and considering that the main gist of the bill is to shift energy production to sources that Americans control, on US soil. Let’s see how the Senate takes the idea before we get all excited, though.

And in a Wired piece, recycling at the Obama campaign! Not speeches (har-dee-har), no, but campaign materials themselves. For those of us who’ve been hankering after a teeshirt, you know that the Obama campaign is trying to fill such a huge demand for their merch that their orders are being delayed by weeks, and the ObamaCycle site is emerging as the most effective way to get posters where they’re needed fast. Considering the political litter all over our corner of Alexandria, I hope more campaigns pick up the idea. Of course, since total inundation seems to be the general goal of the posters, perhaps the best I can hope for is that all those signs end up in a recycling pile by November.

Motion, Sickness

The bulk of my move is finished. It was a bit of a nightmare, since I caught some sort of plague last Wednesday, only it wasn’t the quick violent death plague, it was the lingering hacking plague of delirious pain. As I recall, several of my excellent friends actually moved all my stuff- I remember is waving my arms in an attempt to help, and coughing. Then buying them pizza, and trying not to cough on it. But now I’m here, and my Black Death has subsided to a dull headache and scratchy throat, and I can begin my new practically carfree city life of small footprint living!

Except Alexandria won’t let me park my car for good until I get a parking pass, so I had to drive to work today, and I have to drive out to McLean tomorrow and prove I am being paid to work so I can sign my lease so I can prove I live in Alexandria (still) so I can park my car on the street. Then! Then I can live the carfree life!

I haven’t done the green “coming out” to my roommates yet. I think they suspect something- they’ve been warned I am bringing over my composter, so they have to have some idea. But I waited until I was alone to fish a bottle out of the trash to recycle today, and I assume it’s only a matter of time before I get all uppity about running a half load of dishes/laundry and not using drying racks or something.

I like my housemates very much, and I think this is an interesting fact about their living situation prior to my arrival: Between the three of them, they own 1 spoon, and 1 copy of Rock Band. Or at least, I’ve only found 1 spoon in two days of hunting. They’re all well-adjusted young professionals otherwise. I suppose if I bring my composter and silverware over at the same time, I could just sneak in the former and bide my time about it, since they’ll be so happy about being able to eat soup all at the same time finally?

Progress: Reduction and the Next Step

It would appear that moving is going to keep me from posting as often as I’d like for a few weeks, but there’s a progress report due.

Reducing is going slowly, but it’s still going. Last weekend I took my gigantic pile of random stuff to the Salvation Army, and since then I’ve gathered another pile of stuff. Progress, but not enough, plus I’ve still got caches in 3 or 4 corners. Fortunately, moving is going to force me to finish this all in the next few months. Besides the Salvation Army, anybody have any advice on places to donate things?

While I was cleaning out, I found my (plastic) bag of useless plastics from the Nov. goal. It was apparently stuffed in a box in a fit of guilt, and not discarded.  I finally tossed it- I didn’t get to the pillow stuffing idea, and I’ve made my peace with that.  “Reducing plastic intake” was another goal that didn’t go well- but I have made progress on it since I last reported, actually.  I’ve stopped getting plastic grocery bags almost entirely (maybe 2 in the last month?), I try to buy food and objects with no plastic or the smallest amount of plastic wrappings, and I’ve also given up the thinner plastic vegetable and fruit bags from the supermarket- I just put food in my basket loose now, and wash them at home.  They need a washing anyway.  Reassuring to find myself working on goals after the month is up, but still a long way to go on that one.

Next goal for the month will be composting. I’ve already fired up my unit, with the dirt and the brussels sprout leaves and baking soda and such. Ok, it’s not actually going to be composting, so much as figuring out how to compost successfully with the Naturemill Plus. Twice I’ve had to unplug my unit and leave it on the porch, because the smell is too much to handle. This is either because a) the unit is not as smell-isolated as it claims to be, or b) because I’m doing it wrong. I have a horrible feeling it’s the former (seriously, how could I be doing “put the food scraps in the top part” wrong?), but I need to dig out the instructions again and do some experimentation.

I would have included a picture of what the stuff looks like now for you as a special treat, but I checked and it looked pretty gross, so I’ll wait for a less gross, more successful dirt batch. The last porching of the composter was this morning, since I had invited my future housemates over for brunch and bonding and didn’t want to start our relationship with a noseful. I did show it to them, though, and waft a bit their way- none of them seemed overly concerned. Let’s see how they do when it’s in their kitchen…or, more likely, on their porch.

I’m moving!

In actual reality, not here online. This is part of my January plan to Reduce. Well, it’s part of that, and a whole lot more. The plan was to clean out my clutter, but it got me to thinking.

I live alone in a 1-bedroom apartment, with a relatively large bedroom, normal bathroom, smallish kitchen (though it’ll fit at least 7 people during a party), generous living room, balcony, and a library. Yes, a library- it was the dining room, but it works better lined with books, and who needs dining rooms? My rent isn’t bad, especially for the space I have and the location, and recycling is possible, though in this apartment complex the system is abysmal- exciting trash chutes by every elevator, but only three recycling bins for the entire complex, which is about 7 3-5 story apartment buildings.

Still. I can live in less space, and I want to live in less space. I expand to fill my space, so the only way for me to seriously reduce clutter is to have less space- the stuff I clean out of my apartment now will just be replaced soon, unless I flee. I could just have a stuff embargo- not get anything until this apartment is Spartan. But then I’d just be paying for empty space, and I am certainly not a modernist. No, I want to fill my space efficiently, but I want to fill less space. (For less money).

In looking around for a new home, it became apparent that I would need housemates. After a brief personal crisis (but what if they drink my orange juice or make sounds?), I accepted this idea. And I found a place!

Not only is my new place smaller, I’ll still have my own room and bathroom, exclusive use of three closets (storage space is crucial, different post), and a shared living room and big kitchen and a deck. That’s not the best part, though. I’ll be within easy walking distance of my work, two Metro stops, a weekly farmer’s market, several grocery stores, and Old Town Alexandria- in fact, the house is right on the edge of Old Town. Plus, since it’s in a cityish place, it’s actually difficult for me to drive- the time spent finding parking will make walking more efficient. How sustainable is that!?

Yes, that is actually what my brain excitement has boiled down to. It’s not just a cheaper, cool new place with some old friends- excitement enough, but I bask in how much more sustainable my lifestyle will be when I move. The way I feel about this is akin to not eating store cookies because of the packaging- the perspective is skewed from the way I used to weight decisions, and the way I see most people weight decisions. It’s new to me, but it’s a settling perspective, I’m getting more comfortable with it, and I like the decisions that it’s leading me into. Is this a drug- like runners run because they get endorphin waves- am I on a sustainability high?

I do hope somebody starts making cookies in recyclable packaging.

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