Gift Card Grumble

Have I mentioned how much I despise gift cards? The mere sight of the rack full of them at the grocery store sends me into such a rage that I have to plan my route through the store to avoid them. All the resources that go into making that plastic card wasted after a single swipe—if it ever gets swiped at all—infuriates me as much as the effing phone book. According to GiftRocket.com, NINE FREAKING TONS of plastic go into making the 1.6 billion gift cards we give (throw) away every bleeping year. More than 30 thousand tons of CO2 added to our atmosphere a year, just so we can say, “hey, I wanted to make sure you spend my hard-earned money at BigCorp, instead of investing your local community.” I do get the appeal. Cold, hard cash has somehow become tacky, much like the ugly Christmas sweater. And gift cards are just so easy to pick up. I trip over (or steer myself away from) more gift card racks than ATMs on any given day. I swear I saw one in my sock drawer the other day. Or maybe I’ve been hitting the egg nog a little too hard. Beyond convenience, they also convey a subtle “I-get-you” message. By giving you this card I recognize that you’re a Ross-Starbucks-Sephora-Target-Victoria’s Secret kind of person. Sure, in the ancient days of my youth, such sentiments were inscribed in a relic called a greeting card. Hallmark sentiments cost a few bucks nowadays; but gift card itself is “freeeeee,” which is as outrageous a notion as “free” shipping. There’s nothing flipping free, from Earth’s perspective, about container ships, airplanes and delivery trucks moving our cheap, Asian-made goods around the world. But I digress. My favorite hobby. All of which means I never buy gift cards. Except, of course, when I do. I picked one up today, along with a truckload of self-loathing, because it’s what the foster child we “adopted” for Christmas wants. She asked for a few practical things, which I also bought, and suggested several varieties of gift cards. I planned to give her cash in lieu of any gift card, until I found myself tossing that Wild Wings card into my cart. She’s 17, collecting things for her about-to-begin life as an independent adult, and the Mom part of me wants to ensure that she spends at least some money on FUN. And also because I have all the discipline of Homer Simpson around jelly donuts. If only I’d heard of GiftRocket before I tossed that piece of plastic environmental desecration into my cart. A GiftRocket is a digital egift card, available for any business in the US—including local businesses...

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Thanks Giving

Sitting in my office with lovely old Atlas Cedar standing in steadfast loyalty outside my window, my heart is full of gratitude. For the friends with whom I shared an exquisite meal on Thanksgiving. For the great bird and all the plants that gave of themselves to create our feast. For the farmers who tended their flocks and crops. For the truck drivers, the grocers and every hand that touched our blessed meal along its way to us. For the microbes that turned the soil, the bees that pollinated, the rain that fell and all the forces and gifts of Nature that made our meal—and every meal—possible. Today, I’m grateful to be rant-free, thanks to my new diet. Start a diet on Thanksgiving? Yep, I’ve given up Twitter, Vice News and even NPR Morning Edition. Feels as freeing as losing ten or twenty pounds. At least, that’s what I can recall of such a long-ago experience. Makes me wonder why I ever torture myself. Is poking myself in the eye with a sharp needle all that much fun? Or am I just an eco-masochist? Rhetorical question. It’s Sunday evening, and I know what Monday morning brings. Back in the car, taking kids to school, running errands . . . and  tuning back into the world. I’m a news junkie from way back, and I know I’ll turn on Morning Edition as soon as I hit the driver’s seat. My endeavors to quit the news last about as long as my attempts to quit coffee.  Sure, it feels good and all, but where’s the insanity in that? So I’ll sit here in my news-free office with my pal Atlas for a little while longer. . . for at least as long as this glass of Chardonnay lasts.   Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Elephants . . .

Serenely going about my cooking business last night when husband piped up to alert me about the latest Trump-fueled travesty. “Get this, they plan to lift the ban on importing elephant ‘trophies,’ ” he said. I confess that I prayed for a good solid minute that elephants in Africa had joined a bowling league. Not even in my most desperate embrace of denial could I convince myself it was true. “Trophy hunters will be able to bring in elephant ears, tails. . . ” Fingers plugging my ears, I flung myself out of the kitchen door, wailing, before I could hear any more. Sobbing, I flung myself to the ground and pounded earth. ELEPHANTS! FFS. Our intelligent, compassionate Earthkindreds who live in close-knit communities and mourn their dead. Already hunted to near-extinction, this kind of hunting for the trophy tempts me sorely to fling open the liquor cabinet. Surely this grief will be the one that does me in. Spying the shovel I’d abandoned in a failed planting effort, I grab it and start stabbing the ground. This bare patch of earth is hard as a rock, and I have many plants I want to put in before The Rain (oh, please, oh, please) comes back. Use this rage to turn the whole dam thing over. May SOME good come of it. Not that I’m against hunting. Growing up in the Midwest, I’ve known and admired many an honorable hunter. Culling deer and other animals whose natural predators we’ve eliminated seems a compassionate choice. So many will die of starvation otherwise. Summoning the will and the skill to take down the animal to feed one’s family is something I respect. But trophy hunting a species into extinction is no effing honor in my book. It’s as heinous as . . .well, I’m not going to go there because I’m already so mad I fear for my personal safety. Suffice to say that killing any creature to brag about its slaughter rips the lid I’d tightly sealed on my vat of eco-horror. Why, oh, why cannot we agree to share this beautiful planet? Shoveling like the mad woman that I surely am burnt up the heat of my rage. I started thinking about the posts I’d seen of groups working to save the elephants. “Entrust and thank” those who do the work that I cannot.Tossed the shovel and went inside to sit down at this laptop. Found the Elephant Project, a nonprofit with a unique program funding elephant sanctuaries and conservation programs. I dab dewy tears of hope, as I fill out the form to make an online contribution. It’s not the kind of “contribution” I’d really like to be...

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SMH

Let me get this straight. We have president-elect who thinks climate change is a non-existent hoax? A ardent climate-change skeptic to oversee the EPA transition? I can’t even. I now have a burning desire to go out and turn that overloaded, stinking compost bin. More than willing to sacrifice more fingernails. And I’m betting that recent cursing record will not stand. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Moth Mania

I spy a pantry moth staring at me from the ceiling of the cereal cabinet, and I erupt. “This can’t be happening! I did EVERYTHING! By the book!” I pound the counter until I catch the worried look on my husband’s face. I lost four (or maybe ten) days last week, after my daughter insisted that something be done about the pantry moth invasion that I’d been ignoring. I rolled up my sleeves and emptied every cabinet containing food (or signs of moth activity). I tossed all the infested foodstuffs, marching them all the way out to the outdoor bin, far from the house—fiercely resisting the urge to compost any of it. All questionable foods went into the freezer for at least the recommended three days (most are still there). I scrubbed every nook and cranny (with earth-friendly cleaners!). I removed every shelf and washed all six sides, then stacked them neatly in the clean room for the duration of the blitz. I even ferreted out that single, infested pistachio nut which had fallen into the drawer stuffed full of bags. I put moth traps into the empty cabinets and in a defensive line surrounding the few remaining jars and cans sitting in the clean room. I waited a couple of days, checking the traps every few hours. I sprayed moth-repelling essential oils like some haunted house fog machine. After three days without a single moth sighting, I re-inspected the foodstuffs before putting them back into the cabinets. How can there be a pantry moth anywhere in this kitchen??? There’s a message here for me, and I am determined to get it so this nightmare can end. I consider all possibilities, no notion too crazy to entertain (as usual). This bug is mocking me and my beliefs that we can peaceably co-exist. Nature is ‘kill-or-be-killed,’ and I need to stop romanticizing it. Or maybe bug is here to teach me about resilience, finding ways to survive when the environment changes. Pay attention and learn to adapt to eco-upheavals. Or maybe it’s just a moth, and I’m reading waaaay too much into this. Sigh. I never can chicken plucking tell.   Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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