Big Can, Little Can

One of the things that happened during my time away from writing here was a step towards being a zero-waste home.

I’d always said that it wasn’t possible for us and then postponed working towards the goal because of that “perfection” thing again.  We’d recycle on and off, but never really committed to the ideal.

I guess you could say that my mantra for this year is:

Don’t let perfect get in the way of better, or good, or good enough.

Almost two months ago we got busy.  I researched recycling in our area and gathered information.  We don’t have curbside recycling, but do have a recycling center relatively close.  I typed up a detailed list of what can and can’t be recycled in our area. It’s attached to the top of our recycling can.

And speaking of our recycling can…

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The big can used to be our trash can and the little one our recycling.  They have now switched service.

Our big blue curbside trash can was always stuffed full on pick-up day with at least two more big black bags stacked alongside.

Since tackling our trash problem, we rarely have more than two small white trash bags of garbage each week.  And that’s for eight people living in the house (one in diapers).  I know, cloth diapers are a thing.  I’ve tried in the past and maybe we’ll try again.  Baby steps…

We’ve become more aware of what we are buying.  There have been times that we looked at a product and decided to find an alternative because there was too much packaging that needed to be dealt with.

Driving to the recycling center is kind of a pain, but we are working it into our schedule.  We store the recycling in big tubs (that we already had because of our decluttering efforts).  They stack in the hallways until they are full to cut down on trips.

Our compost pile is filling up and our chickens eat any food that isn’t suitable for the compost pile.  We have accomplished zero food waste.

We aren’t doing  it all perfectly, but we are doing better!

 

 

 

 

The Return of the Crud

I felt sooooo much better yesterday.  I got quite a lot done.  I made big plans for today.

Today, the “crud” returned.  Maybe the cold is gone and allergies have flared up.  The first cedar pollen bud watchers have reported that the buds are popping.  Yes, the allergies are so bad here that we have folks who watch out for this sort of thing.

In any case, the fever is back.  I lay down for a short rest and slept 3 hours.  Nothing much was accomplished…

– other than some school catch-up.

Math is killing us.  We just aren’t making noticeable progress.  I have a pretty stubborn kiddo and if I hear, “I hate Math” one more time…

I’m going to sweetly suggest that we give it another go.  Maybe.

I did spend some time reading blogs about folks who are decluttering and simplifying and reducing waste and growing and cooking all their own food.  No waste. No additives.  All from scratch.  While chopping their own firewood for the stove in the home they built themselves.  With their children who are already doing advanced calculus in 3rd grade.  After hiking in Nepal for summer break.  And making their own laundry detergent to wash their clothes that they make themselves – 100% cotton, of course.

I’m not judging.  More power to them!  I’d be right there with them if I could figure it out.  If I could declutter enough stuff.  If I could get out of debt.  If I had started 30 years ago. If I could remember to water the plants right by my front door, much less grow a garden.  If I didn’t take a 3 hour nap.  If.

But hey!  I’m in a better place right now than I was a year ago.  I’ve paid down over $2000.00 on our debt.  Loads of stuff has left and I’m not hauling it in anymore.  I’m not “running with the crowd” anymore without trying to be more intentional.

I’m thinking about it.

I’m trying.

I’m learning to be “me” and live my own life –

with what I have to work with.

More power to me!

Gone today:

  1. a piece of wall art
  2. two sweaters – one of which makes me look like a melting snowman.
  3. a worn-out pair of p.j. pants
  4. used up some hand-made paper that has been waiting around for years for the “perfect” project.  turned it into guerilla art cards
  5. 11 small bottles of colored glue leftover from an art class and the plastic box they are stored in.

What makes a good story?

What makes a good story?  Interesting questions isn’t it?  In my opinion it ranks right up there with what is good art or what is a beautiful home.  Questions without answers – or rather questions with way too many answers.  None of the answers wrong and none of them necessarily right.

Just questions to think about (or not) depending on your philosophical bent or lack thereof.

I think a good story is one that someone can relate to.  It doesn’t have to find a huge following.  A one person audience can be enough.  I think I’ll go so far as to say that a good story doesn’t necessarily need to find an audience at all.  It may just be a story that needs to be told.

I’m often at a loss to explain why I am writing here on this blog.  To an audience of people I know and even more that I will never actually meet.  Some good people and probably more than a few not so nice people.  Why write at all?  Why risk?  What’s the point?

I have a story.  We all do.  I’m sure that there are people out there with far more writing skill and most definitely more interesting stories to tell.  I’ve never really travelled extensively.  I don’t have a glamorous job.  I’m not rich or beautiful or profoundly intelligent.  I’d say that I’m solidly average.  But, most of us are.

In my quest to live a more intentional life – a life of thoughtful choices – I’ve learned (am learning) to question the wisdom of following the stories of those who appear to be “better” than me.  Those whose life appears to be “more”.  Celebrities who are famous for absolutely nothing that has made the world a better place.  People who talk a lot and really have nothing significant to say.  Damaging stories that make us want more and better – homes, clothes, cars, detergent, hair, personalities, relationships….

I tell my story.

A story of a 54 year old woman who struggles with her weight.  Who can’t eat one Little Debbie snack cake and leave the rest in the box.  Who has been known to eat frosting from a can.  Who buys healthy food, but doesn’t always make good choices.  Who lost a lot of weight, but only because I had a major health crisis to motivate me.

I’m a wife who loves her husband and a mom who loves her children – but I have been known to yell way more than I should have over things that weren’t worth yelling about.  I worry about the things I’ve done wrong and sometimes wonder if I’ve done anything right.

I’m a homemaker that doesn’t always do a very good job of keeping house.  I have hoarding tendencies that I deal with all the time.  I “pile” things and worry more about what the inside of the cabinets look like than the whole house.  I bounce between wanting to get rid of everything and thinking I can pull off a “cozy and cluttered” ambiance.   Sometimes the laundry is done and sometimes we are scrambling for clean underwear.

I worry about the environment and try to recycle.  We don’t have curbside so sometimes it just gets thrown away.  I read a blog about a zero-waste home and wonder what I’m doing wrong.  The best I can do Is shred our junk-mail and use it as chicken coop bedding.  Other than that, it’s rather hit-or-miss.

I wonder what I should be doing to make the world a better place.  Most of the time, I don’t even know how to make my own home a better place.

This story could go on and on.

Mostly, I worry about being enough.  About doing enough.  About caring enough.  About whether it will matter if I spent time on this planet or not.

Is it enough to try?  And fail.  To be average.

I’m going to say yes.  It matters.  It has to.  It’s all most of us ordinary folks have.  We try. We fail.  We try again.

We hope.

We tell our stories so we know we aren’t alone.