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The Best Laid Plans…

So far 2009 has not been a banner year for improving the sustainability of my living habits.  I suppose, on the bright side, I have little room to go anywhere but up from here!

Here’s what my first week has been like.  First, I rang in the new year with one of my very closest friends and her family.  Now that sounds earth friendly enough, until you throw in exactly where we celebrated the year end: the Great Wolf Lodge indoor water park. This place is probably one of the most extreme examples of capitalist culture that I have experienced in a long time!  To say nothing about the volume of water the place uses, although apparently the water park uses one third as much water as the rest of the hotel thanks to their recycling system.  I’m not sure that’s very comforting.  Bonus: I am still trying to get the chlorine out of my pores; nothing like a free full-body chemical peel with which to start off a new year!

That said, we had fun..


A truly unique experience…

On January 02, my mother and I went to Toronto.  We did take public transportation, and we managed to minimize take-out containers and plastic bags.  However we ate out for several meals.  

First stop, we went to my mother’s hair salon where I had my hair saved from its last cut (my mother can now look at me without cringing).  Next we went to the Art Gallery of Ontario to see its new building and exhibits.  The building is lovely, and I thoroughly enjoyed both the Canadian section and the drawings section.  I love unfinished sketches, and there were many to admire.  

(Hi Mum!)

After dinner (Thai food, yum!) we went to the Eaton’s Centre until it was time to leave.  I was pleased that I found myself not at all tempted to buy anything.  At least not until we went into William Sonoma.  Kitchen supplies… one of my serious weaknesses.  And it was in this state of weakness that I made my first new purchase of the year: a Lodge cast iron skillet.  

Did I need it?  Arguably, yes.  I don’t have a skillet of that size and had been making all my stir fries and such in the bottom of my big soup pot.  But could I have found it second hand?  Probably.  I only thought of that after I walked out of the store, clutching my new purchase and still somewhat dazzled and drooling.  On the bright side, it had no packaging other than a tiny tag attached to the handle, was only $36 (about $100 less than I was expecting, hence the impulse purchase) and it’s definitely a once in a lifetime purchase.  My grand kids will inherit it along with all the rest of my cast iron cookware.  No more teflon coated pots or pans for me!

January 03, I had to buy meat for the dogs.  I was out shopping with my parents who refused to drive across town to the butcher I like, and my only option was to buy grocery store meat that came on styrofoam trays.  Ugh.  They do recycle the in Niagara, unlike London.  A small consolation.  

January 04, I stayed safely at home or in the woods and didn’t buy or consume anything industrial other than some food at my parent’s house.  A friend dropped off a late Christmas present which consisted of several jars of her home canning.  Yeah!  Maybe that balanced out one of the packages of meat?

January 05 I went to the Mac store and bought an external hard drive for my computer.  Cost: $169.  Ouch.  My computer is starting to have problems and I have to reinstall all the software.  I can’t risk losing everything, and so backup is necessary.  The content of my hard drive will no longer fit on half a dozen key drives and really requires a proper system for backup.  Having lost everything on my desktop three months ago, I decided that I really needed this purchase.  Could I have found it second hand?  I don’t know that I would trust anything refurbished for this task.  Maybe that’s just an excuse.

Having fallen fully off the wagon, I then drove to Starbucks and had tea and a (really awful) croissant.  (why do I keep buying those?)

January 06 I drove back to London, and now I’m home at last.  Since arriving home I managed to stick to my guns and not buy anything new or eat any industrial food.  Two days and counting – yeah me!  (note: plenty of sarcasm here)  Actually, it was much tougher than it sounds, if you can believe it.  Yesterday I had to take the dogs to the chiropractor, and on the way home the roads were blocked by an accident.  I got home 10 minutes before I needed to be at work, without having had dinner.  Tough call, but I decided to be late for work and eat at home rather than be on time and purchase food there.  I was only 15 minutes late and, considering the snow squall I struggled through to get there, no one seemed to mind.  

Today I also got very hungry while on campus and forced myself to walk home feeling slightly faint rather than buying a muffin or something for the walk.  A few more days like this and perhaps I’ll remember to bring food with me when I head out.


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