Friday, January 23, 2009

Finishing What I Started

Wonderings from the EcoWonder...

First of all, thank you to JessTrev & all the Green Superheroes here at the Green Phone Booth for the warm welcome, I am happy to be here!

Awhile back, I stopped blogging. Not because I wanted to, but I simply ran out of time. My scattered, somewhat unorganized last few posts on EcoBurban were a good indicator I was running out of steam. I hadn’t run out of things to say, I still had plenty to say. The economy had me pinned down, I couldn’t breathe, I was struggling to find balance. Going back to a full time career with four boys at home had me beat. I gave up the fight.

And then, I got an email. From a green superhero. I was busted. Sooo busted. If I answered the call to join this superhero and her caped crusading friends, it would mean ‘fessing up. I would have to admit that I hadn’t finished what I had started. I let life get in the way of being green. I have a snack bin full of individually wrapped granola bars for my hungry boys to devour after school, my refrigerator holds little tubes of yogurt and string cheese for packing lunches, my dryer hums constantly after work drying loads of laundry I wish I had time to hang instead. I told the superhero my story, certain I wasn’t qualified to wear a green cape, but she insisted my shade of green was just as good as any other.

We’ve still held on to some of our green habits, the really easy and affordable ones anyway. Paper towels are out, dishtowels are in. Recycling is easy, packing homemade lunches much cheaper and turning the heat down even further down means more money in the bank. We asked for zoo and museum memberships for Christmas and we pass on expensive dinners out. Sometimes being green is cheap and easy, other times it is not.

Sure, we can dream of building expensive raised garden beds to grow our own food or getting that fancy under the counter composter to make our own dirt. We wish we had both the time and the resources to tackle a CSA or take part in a community garden. Sometimes I am too tired to catch the shower warm up water, make a meal from scratch or search 17 thrift stores for the perfect black work skirt when I know the Gap at the corner has one on sale and in my size. Today my library books are overdue, I let my four year old take a sudsy hot bath with water all the way to his chin and my boys ate nachos and Gatorade from the school lunch line.

There, that’s it. My dirty, working mom, not-very-green secrets. OK, so there’s more, lots more… But, with your help, I hope to continue to make changes - one day at a time.
Today I’m donning a green cape (OK, so if I actually had a cape, it would probably be some sort of lime green shade, found on the clearance rack at Nordstrom, but it would be organic cotton... I try, I really do! ) and I’m ready to take on the next challenge. The EcoBurban Mom officially has become a superhero - The EcoWonder.

The EcoWonder is a different kind of green superhero. She might throw a yogurt tube in your lunchbox, but she will be the first in line to organize a recycling program for the Little League. She’s been known to bang out 6 loads of laundry in 3 hours - yes, using her high efficiency washer and dryer but with local, handmade, biodegradable laundry soap. She’s not perfect, but she’s juggling 4 kids, a full time career and still trying to find a little time to make a difference on this planet. She’s great at making compromises and understands that the journey you started sometimes comes to a fork in the road.

When I came to that fork in the road, the Green Phone Booth was there at the corner, waiting for me to leave EcoBurban behind and continue on my journey as The EcoWonder. Catch my random thoughts, rants and musings here at the Green Phone Booth each week, together we can finish what we started. I'm looking forward to being part of this wonderful group of green superheroes!


Green Resolutions said...

Yes, thank you, yes. "I do try." Me, too! Let's all just do the best we can, support each other to keep trying, and remind each other that we are not perfect. Even you superheroes :)

JAM said...

I'm glad you're here now - I've missed you!

greeen sheeep said...

Life is a constant struggle of balance. We all need to realize that nobody is perfect; don't beat yourself up, don't give up, just do the best you can. I think you will be a perfect fit. Welcome to the booth!

Green Bean said...

Fantastic post! I think it is so important for us all to realize that none of us is perfect. That it is enough to try. I don't think there are enough voices like yours out here and I'm so glad that you are willing to share your challenges and victories with us.

Green living is wonderful and satisfying and everyone should do it. But truth is, not everyone can. Green living takes time. A lot of it. As you point out, some green changes are easy, inexpensive and don't take much time. Others, well, not so much. It's all about balance, about discovering new ways to do things.

Thanks for climbing inside the booth, individually wrapped granola bars and all. :)

Anonymous said...

Wow, you said it, sister. Thanks for articulating my own frustrations so articulately. Sometimes I feel I could do so much more if only there were more time or I were more creative or had more energy, money, etc. I have the desire but not the resources for. Still what we do do is good, worth it. Thank you. Saying it makes it bearable to just do my best and accept the limitations of that.

JessTrev said...

Aw, great first post! And don't have any illusions that the rest of the supersheroes (ok, I will speak for myself) are perfect! I think regardless of our schedules, we all juggle the level of challenge we can manage. I love your attitude and your honesty - it makes you more heroic, in my book. I remember when I morphed about 18 mos ago from an organic-buying, green-cleaning recycler into something a little more intense (!) I thought to myself: if I can improve by even half, that has a huge impact. Focus on the stuff you do do, don't wear a hairshirt for the stuff you can't deal with yet. It's still 50% better for the planet! Welcome, welcome! I am so excited to hear your voice.

kale for sale said...

I've let the catching of warm-up shower water lapse as well and I don't have kids. But now I'll restart that habit and catch it for both of us. You've got your hands full and I'm glad you're here.

The Purloined Letter said...

Sounds like you will fit absolutely perfectly here! Welcome!

eco 'burban mom said...

Awww, shucks! Thanks, everyone. I'm glad to be back, thanks to this wonderful group of women that asked me to return!

I can't wait to catch up with everyone! See you around the booth!

Anonymous said...

I like that you keep it real and that you feel my frustration on thrift stores. I wish I had the time to search them all but I don't... While traveling last week I saw a Salvation Army store that was packed! I knew I had to stop in and managed to find a great 100% cashmere sweater for $4 and an Anthropologie cotton shirt for $3. Not if only there was a thrift store like that near me...

The Pirate Farmer said...

The other day I told my middle child she was taking the easy way out. She looked me dead in the eye and said "well, sometimes you serve us frozen pizza in a box". And I said "yes, but at least I recycle the box!".

Glad to see you blogging again! ~ib mommy

Amaya 5 said...

So glad you are back. I've missed reading your blog. But it's certainly not easy to juggle it all, so this should be a good balance for you. It is definitely more of a challenge to be green and eco-conscious when you are always on the go... and in winter when you aren't seeing as much green on the ground. At least for me. But you can do it, and you will prove that if a working mom of 4 can, anyone can!
Go get your green on, girl!

debra said...

welcome back! it's good to know your limitations...believe me, if i'd recognized mine 2 months ago there would not be chickens in my spare bathroom while i hunted up frecycle materials for building the "perfect" coop! it would have been ok to go to hardware-r-us and actually purchase the wood i needed. chickens don't care where they live. they care about food and getting fed. smart girls. it's easy to start out like gangbusters and want to make every change we come across. the reality is that, for many of us, every change isn't feasible. we make the ones we can and let others make the ones they can and a community.. we make a difference.

Anonymous said...

Thank you thank you thank you. I have 3 kids and am somewhat recently "singled" (like "widowed," but not), and it all just gets exhausting. Today, like many days, I thought, "Forget saving the earth - I need to save my kitchen!"

Help us find that balance.

Also, I love your shoes & bag!

ruchi aka arduous said...

I'm so glad you're back!! I missed you!!

And, girlfriend, three cheers for the world of living imperfectly green. :) We can't do everything, but together, we can make a difference anyway.

EcoBurban a.k.a. EcoWonder said...

Green Resolutions - I think that's what I was missing the most about blogging, the support from others!

Jam - Thank you! I'm glad to be here too!

Greeen Sheeep - You're right and balance is something I have struggled with in many areas of my life, I need to understand that sometimes almost-perfect is just as good as perfect!

Green Bean - I'm glad you said that! Green living does take time, more than I had anticipated and it's wonderful to know that even though I might not be able to devote time to planting a huge garden or catching my warm up water, I'm still sort of green!

Chris - I agree, there are so many things we would love to do right now, but don't have the money or time. Building a raised garden isn't in our budget at the moment - and if it was, chances are I wouldn't have time to maintain it - so the Farmer's Market and grocery store will have to do!

JessTrev - Being 50% better sounds like a goal I can work toward achieving. At least it feels more realistic to a tired mom!

Kale - Thanks for catching my warm up water! I won't feel so guilty tomorrow... :)

Purloined Letter - Thanks for having me here in the booth!

Badhuman - I feel that frustration often with thrift stores. I do well for my boys, they aren't picky and pretty much jeans and t-shirts will do. I have a hard time finding respectable work clothing at thrift stores and driving around all day to find clothes to wear to WORK, isn't how I want to spend my day, so Gap, here I come!

ib mommy - That's funny! My kids justify their pop purchase from the corner store by telling me its "local" because it's made in Detroit. In a way, they're on the right track...

Amaya - I think blogging once a week will be a better way to balance blogging and will help me remain accountable to all these green superheroes!

Debra - OK, that made me laugh out loud! I can only imagine chickens in my bathroom! I will keep that in mind the next time I am thinking about biting off more than I can chew!

Anonymous - There are days when I think the same thing. Just do whatever I can do to get through the day. I figure spending time with my kids is more important than spending an hour stressing out about hanging and drying my clothes. Sometimes, that clothes dryer means I can read with my 4-year old or play games with my older boys. Totally worth it!

Ruchi - I missed you too! I am glad to be back, in my wonky, imperfect, peanut butter on my best dress shirt sort of way! :)

Going Crunchy said...

Yeah you. I've always enjoyed your blog. Nice to see such strong women teaming up to make a great blog! Shan

Jenni at My Web of Life said...

I am so right there with you - somewhere in the middle. With 3 children, it seems like I am just doing what I can to stay sane! I know that I have so much more that I can be doing to be green. My main goal this year is to get the house and our lives more organized so that it is easier to make green choices daily. Thank you so much for being one of the voices that is realistically in the middle but striving for more. I can absolutely relate!


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