Sunday, February 22

A drop in the bucket

Harvard has released its recommendations for changes to the U.S. energy policy. Most of the recommendations center around the idea of approaching this enormous task in an integrated, interdisciplinary way. Seeing as how reactive Americans prefer to be (or just are, whether they prefer it or not), I wonder if stuffing budgets for the right things--carbon capture and storage, increasing building efficiency, renewable energy sources, etc.--will be enough. The report calls for an integrated approach, which would mean a turnaround in how we tackle problems, from reactive to proactive. Might this be just where the debate over the effectiveness of individual versus collective action fall? If we can convince other individuals through personal action to become more proactive, that proactive, integrated way of living can guide our collective action. A pebble that moves a mountain ...

Friday, February 20


"A baby is God's opinion that life should go on. Never will a time come when the most marvelous recent invention is as marvelous as a newborn baby. The finest of our precision watches, the most supercolossal of our supercargo planes don't compare with a newborn baby in the number and ingenuity of coils and springs, in the flow and change of chemical solutions, in timing devices and interrelated parts that are irreplaceable." -Carl Sandburg

Saturday, February 14

Eating local in the New England winters

Eating local can be easy for people with year-round access to farmers markets. But what's a New England girl to do in the snowy, mushy winter? Eat a solid diet of carrots and pray for spring? This article from today's Boston Globe highlights a few local farms that offer winter CSA shares (as well as restaurants featuring locavore dishes/menus). It might be too late for this winter, but learning how to preserve local foods this summer and joining a winter CSA works for next year. This year, you can at least get local meat and local dairy products at places like the Dairy Bar in Somerville if you're interested in eating more local foods.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 10

Let's get crafty

After spending my weekend pouring over thousands of old photographs in an effort to launch my first-ever website (yay!), I have taken stock of my goals. I've wanted to get my portfolio online for years--almost a decade, actually--and now that I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel for this massive project, I'm pondering what other goals I should aim to accomplish this year. Not in a New Year's resolution sort of way, more in a mid-life crisis way. Minus the mid-life and the crisis. A constant self-evolution makes for constant evaluation, and so this weekend it was evaluating my goals.

I want to learn how to knit. I started it up pre-Bean, but stopped when I became violently sick in my first trimester. Now, I want to begin anew, and this time I will recognize my inability to learn how to knit via books or manuals. I'm searching for a cheap, local class for this spring or summer. Ditto for sewing, although I'd like to get my hands on a machine. Freecycle, perhaps. There is so much crafty stuff I want to learn!

Etsy browsing has renewed my goal of getting an Etsy shop up like my friend Jessica. Just today, on a break from work, I saw this amazingly inspiring moss pendant based on the moss and rocks jutting the coast of the Pacific Northwest. Amazing! Adorn Jewelry is the one-woman company behind the moss, and I had to check out her neat website too. If I could buy every necessity in life on Etsy, I would be happy ...

Now I just need to start knitting toys, sewing skirts, and scanning my portfolio in for my new website! Bean might have other plans, though. ;) Speaking of Bean, guess what she said last night while eating some rutabaga and zucchini? "Mama." Not sure if she knew what she was saying, but she said it a dozen times or so very clearly. Does that count as a first word?!

A very happy birthday week to Momma Val! My dear, dear friend ... one of my first memories of her generosity (something I have gratefully experienced many times since, as well) was when she came into work with a glass jar filled to the brim with vegetable soup for me. Just because. The first and only time someone has brought me soup, and for no reason but kindness at that! I love you, Momma Val! May your kindness be reflected back upon you a million times over.

Sunday, February 8

The wall

There are some incidences where my government acts on a minority's agenda and it all just leaves me shaking my head in astonishment. Building a wall between Mexico and the U.S.? Have we really thought this through, guys? People immediately point to "national security," as if that ends any and all questioning. How is that national security more important than, say, the hundreds of miles of unguarded coastline in the Pacific Northwest? Or the thousands of borders we share with the Canadians? Sure, they have a guard stop you along the way and ask how long you'll be gone. You may even have to flash a passport. Guess what, people? Terrorists have passports, too. And a 12-foot fence isn't going to stop one, either. We have to look beyond the superficial reasoning of "national security" and delve deeper. What is this really about? The economy.

But even if we understand the reasoning behind such a fence--which most of us don't--we aren't taking a hard enough look at the consequences. What happens when a town straddles both countries? How would you feel if suddenly a fence was erected across the middle of your town? Or even next to your neighboring town? You couldn't exactly go around it, at least not for a hundred-plus miles. What else could we be spending hundreds of millions of dollars on? Does a fence make a good neighbor? Does it build communities? Why shouldn't we, as a nation, be building communities with our neighbors? Isn't that the best deterrent from crime? A neighborhood watch, so to speak?

In terms of infrastructure, immigrants are still getting through, only now we have to repair the walls they cut and plow through. As President Obama's new secretary of homeland security, Janet Napolitano put it during her time as Arizona governor, "building a 50-foot fence will simply spur the invention of a 51-foot ladder."

What about the animals that trek through the land? We are creating superficial isolation, cutting across gene pools and selection through artificial walls. How will this affect the hundreds of birds, reptiles, and mammals--including the rare ocelot--that roam that border? Did you know that the EPA wasn't even allowed to look into and approve this first, because it came to fruition under the Homeland Security Act?

Not to even mention the symbolism of such a wall. Is it any wonder that Mexicans are angry? Hundreds die each year trying to get in, and this fence just increases the number that will die. It does not deter those attempting to cross the border. Like most American solutions, it is the pill after the disease. It might make your runny nose dry up for a few hours, but it's not going to stop the flu from happening again and again. You have to treat the cause! Why can't we get this through our heads? Is this the gift our generation will give to the next?

Saturday, February 7

Typewriters and spring

I am dreaming of spring. This slushy, mushy ice-snow thing has got to go. Bean is cooped up in the house. I'd like to take a walk for longer than 10 minutes. The dogs are restless. In an effort to convince the gods (a spring dance?), I'm recalling memories from past warmer weather months, and the band Boston Typewriter Orchestra comes to mind. We saw this group live at Somerville Arts Festival and they rock. They all play--you guessed it--typewriters. And sing. Hilarious! Here's a link to an NPR article on them and then their website. You can download some of their songs in both places, if you're interested.