Friday, May 28, 2010

Giving up the Hard Juice

I'm writing to you today from Command Central, the newest technology hub in East Lansing! Alright, so it's technically a glorified computer desk with a television atop the highest shelf. But, hey, at least it's got internet and cable. It boasts cool, below-ground temperatures... in my basement.

Everyone needs to begin somewhere.

Sean and I are embarking on a new challenge. Taking it a week at a time (my caveat), we'll attempt to stop eating out. No big deal, right? Sean's a thrifty, creative and talented cook, so we'll have plenty of meals and leftovers to carry us through. In that respect, the hard work is already done. Still, we spend a lot of time and money "eating out" around town. Dominos is across the street from us. Quality Dairy (which is considered an eating establishment in this experiment) is a block away. I walk to work on a path which parades me past two coffee shops and a myriad of local restaurants and bars. When we're on the other side of town we like to stop at Culver's (*shudder*) or Cracker Barrel.

I don't know if this will work.

I drink a lot of coffee. I'm fine with giving up restaurant eating, especially fast food. It's the loss of COFFEE that I fear will be my downfall. True, we have a good (semi-broken) coffee pot and a sporadic supply of delicious fair trade coffee beans that my dad imports green and roasts at home, from Sweet Maria's. And yes, there's a free supply of coffee at the bookshop, as well. I can manage to get from our home to the shop without visiting any of East Lansing's fine coffee establishments. I think.

I know Ellen from Grand River Coffee better than I know my neighbors. I met Bob Fish, American hero and co-creator of Beaners (Biggby Coffee), and was starstruck. The average large coffee in this town costs $2.00. Two dollars for a cup of life-sustaining juice from magical beans, imported to Mid-Michigan from afar. Sold! Granted, more often than not I find myself clenching a more expensive drink than I expected to buy, but that's marketing! I'm an important part of the local coffee-buying population, and I'm throwing in the towel.

What we're not giving up are the drinking establishments of East Lansing. To the average 24 year old living in one of America's most alcohol-focused college towns, this is good news! I think I'd rather keep coffee and give up the spirits, though. Ah, well. At least I have Boobs and Beer, a Michigan brew blog, to keep me informed.

I made my own coffee this morning, but I'm going out to lunch with a friend this afternoon. Hey, we haven't started, yet!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Less-Trampled Path

So here's the deal. I'm back to blogging again. And once again, I'm serious about it (haha). I think this time it might stick. True, I've said this before. There's truly only one way to find out.

Sustainability is quite the catch-phrase these days, in this post-millennial, greenified world. First there was Al Gore, then Elphaba. Next, Lady Gaga will premiere her new Lady Gaia costume and become the first (?) international Green Revolution icon. I was a history major. I know all about using the figure of a woman as the symbol of a true revolution. I'm down.

I'm so “down,” in fact, that I'm prepared to put it onto the vast Internetverse. I know that Blogs are rather Old-School. Still, I shall persevere. Given my circumstances, I'd consider this a rather advanced personal technological achievement. Don't mock me. Just keep reading!

In trying to trace the root of this sudden zeal, I realized a few of the doubtless numerous and otherwise unnoticed influences upon my life. My new husband, Sean, is something of a zombie aficionado. What began as a kitchy interest and collection theme has blossomed into a fully fledged state of paranoia regarding the (most definitely real) zombie apocalypse. I'm yet skeptical, but anything is possible. Or, maybe this sprouts from his interest in the spread of diseases and epidemiology.

He's truly not insane, I promise. Or, are we both?

We've both recently graduated. In college, I became very involved in things. I worked at the library and joined a few honors societies, which I had some part in governing. I was a bit of a departmental starlet, although it seems very awkward (yet right) to call myself so. Harlot, sometimes. I studied creative non-fiction under one of the most influential women of my life. I became the aforementioned history major, in addition to majoring in English. I was on the fast-track to a career in retail and freelance, most likely.

Goodness, how true it's become!

I started to make friends with a fascinatingly diverse group of people. I found the most excellent mentors and academics available, there. And even more – they're actually invested in their students as individuals and future colleagues. It was flattering, startling, and emboldening. I'm truly lucky/blessed/______ to have been where I've been.

It goes deeper and deeper, I'm realizing while I write and reminisce. I used to spend my playtime, nearly every day, outside under the Texas sun. My dad's a gardener. Really, each relative I'm fortunate enough to have has influenced me toward this in some way or another. Really, all of you. Thank you.

Ah, I'm rambling. If anyone cares about the rest of the story, comment one day far into the future and I'll tell you more. I don't have time to dawdle!

What's in the Green Bag:
- Obama Zombies: How the Liberal Machine Brainwashed My Generation, by Jason Mattera
- Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future, by Bill McKibben
(I found this through a recent NYTimes review of Eaarth, and am simply stunned by the number of things I do not know, or simply have not paused to consider!)
- The End of Nature, by Bill McKibben
- The Age of Missing Information, by Bill McKibben
- Green Guide: The Complete Reference for Consuming Wisely (endorsed by NatGeo)
- Worms Eat My Garbage, by Appelhof (Sean's book, and by a local author!)
- Watershed: The Undamming of America, by Elizabeth Grossman
- Meditations from the Mat, by Gates aand Kenison
- A Few Brass Tacks, by Louis Bromfield
(I just happened upon this at work, and was astounded by the "Apologia" at the beginning. I'll post a version of it soon!)
- The Sunflower Forest: Ecological Restoration and the New Communion with Nature, by William R. Jordan III
(Ecological Restoration. Now, why haven't I heard of THIS before?)
- August Celebration: A Molecule of Hope for a Changing World, by Linda Grovner
(Another wildcard find from The Curious Book Shop!)
- The Bill McKibben Reader: Pieces of an Active Life

One of my major problems is handling the barrage of information coming down all around me. Learning about so many new things at once is exhilarating and overwhelming. I'm coping with it in the only way I know how - by writing. My journal has become a good commonplace book over the last few weks, but I can recognize a situation which calls for a keyboard and forum.

The time, dear reader, is now.