Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Recycle Yourself!

In the past few weeks, I’ve been talking a bit about what I’m doing to be greener. Several years ago, it wasn’t something I really worried or thought much about. I had other priorities (keeping the lights on, not killing my children, relationship drama). I depended on take-out foods and convenience everything. There weren’t enough hours in the day for everything I had to do. I was just trying to make life a little better for those living under my roof and I wasn’t that concerned about the bigger picture.

There was one thing I did do. I signed up to be an organ donor. It was just a little checkmark on my driver’s license but I also made sure I told my family that if anything happened to me, I wanted them to donate anything that could be used. I also told them to put whatever was left in a box and bury it with a headstone that read, “See? I told you I was sick.”

Don’t have the money to buy organic?
Don’t have time to cook from scratch using whole foods?
Don’t have time to separate your cans and plastics and cardboard boxes?

It’s okay. There’s still something you can do.


Unless your religion forbids it, why not give your body parts to people who can use them once you’re finished with them? From my recent reading, it turns out that humans don’t make for very good compost so why not put those parts in other people who can live a little longer and better because of them.

*I first saw this very cool phrase on one of my favorite blogs, Driving With the Brakes On in a post titled, "A Holiday Reminder." Her husband is an Organ Recovery Coordinator for the Donor Alliance. Driving is not only a supporter of the Recycle Yourself plan, she’s also growing her very own new human.

Friday, March 07, 2008

55 Fiction Friday! March 7, 2008

All the details on what 55 Fiction is and how to play are at the end of the post. Come on, you can do it!


Following her usual Friday afternoon routine, Janie stopped at the grocery store. Puzzled by the large crowd and full parking lot, she went about her shopping. The barren bread shelf should have been an indication but as she approached the empty milk cooler, it all became crystal clear.

The weather forecasters were calling for snow.

55 fiction is a very, very short story of exactly 55 words. It needs to have a character, conflict and resolution.

The Wikipedia article on 55 Fiction is here and some great examples are here.. You can also click on the 55 Fiction label below to see what Wordy Bitch and Wordy Bitch readers have done in the past.
Come play! Add your story to the comments or put it on your blog and I'll link to it. It's fun. You'll like it.

Seriously, what is it about the threat of snow that sends everyone to the grocery store for milk, bread and toilet paper? Getting snowed in means you should eat French toast and go to the bathroom a lot?

I'm having a dinner for my parents and son this weekend and now I'm going to have to deal with all the alarmists. Boo. Hiss.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Publix Embarrassment

I left my shopping cart in the Publix parking lot last night. They don’t have cart corrals. I left it right there. In the parking lot.

I am so embarrassed.

I didn’t want to do it.

I was under the influence of that dreadful condition… being nice.

Let me explain.

First of all, to understand how completely hypocritical I felt, you have to read my rant: Return Your Cart Here ~ or ~ People Irritate Me – Chapter2. I have publicly scolded people for their inconsiderate cart abandonment.

There I was, in the Publix parking lot. I’d just finished my little bit of shopping. Now, since you know I’m all about trying to be greener I was feeling rather proud of myself because I’d even remembered to grab my canvas bags out of the truck. This, in itself, was not an easy task. They were in the covered bed of the truck when I got to the store. They’d slid all the way up and I had to climb up in the truck. I was on my way home from work so I was wearing a skirt and heels. And it was windy. I had to boost myself up on the rather high tailgate (I’m short), then scoootch back, then lean back while holding my skirt down with one hand and reaching for the bags with the other.

Picture it.

Oh, hell, don’t bother.

Here’s what it looked like:

See? Not easy.

I went in and I looked at the organic produce. I didn’t need any of the produce they had that was organic but I did look at it. I did buy a non-organic cucumber because I like a cucumber garnish for my Hendricks martinis and I usually have cucumber as one of my snacks. I’m wandering, aren’t I? Do you see what’s happening here? I hate being hypocritical and I was and I’m just delaying the inevitable confession of my hypocrisy. And yes, it is inevitable. I’m a recovering Catholic and once you’ve learned how to confess you just can’t stop yourself.

I put the few things I needed in my cart, including my non-recombinant bovine growth hormone milk. I didn’t buy the organic milk. I was going to because that was my plan and I do like a good plan. They just didn’t have it in gallon size containers. More containers = less green, right? Plus, while I was blocking up the aisle, debating the merits of organic plus more packaging versus non-organic with less packaging, I noticed something in small print on the non-organic, Publix brand milk: No bovine growth hormones. Seriously. Store-brand milk with no hormones! Score! I’m still planning on trying some organic milk, it’s just going to have to wait until I can buy it a gallon at a time.

I was so pleased to see that the lady in front of me in the check-out line was also using canvas bags. I think the lady behind us was feeling guilty. She didn’t have canvas.

Usually, at Publix, a bagger person brings your groceries to your car and then returns the cart to the store. This eliminates the whole “return your cart” issue. Last night, there wasn’t a bagger person available so I got to bag my own groceries. Really, I’d prefer to bag them myself all the time because, well, because, um. Look. It’s like this. I know the best way to bag my groceries. I do.


I was just about to detail my OCD bagging tendencies but I think we all know that I’m just trying to keep from telling about how and why I left my cart in the parking lot. Besides, that can be a fun little story for another day.


I bagged my own groceries and wheeled my cart out to the truck. I was just getting ready to walk back to the store to return my cart when some (probably very nice) lady in a mini-van pulled up to my parking spot. It was a nice spot. It was pretty close to the store and the weather was getting worse and I could see why she’d want my spot. She rolled down her window, leaned out and said, “I’ll return that cart for you.”

“Great! Thanks!” I said, on the outside.

But, but, I can’t leave the cart in the parking lot! I just can’t!” I said, on the inside.

I really had a problem with this. Yes, I know. I’m a dork but let me explain.

She would know that she’d taken responsibility for the cart. I’d know that she was taking responsibility for the cart. (Of course, I was planning on watching her in my rear view mirror and if she didn’t take that cart in, I was going to drive back around and give her a good scolding.) It’s just that anyone else watching would not know that Mini-van Mom and I had an agreement about the care and returning of the cart. It’s not that I care (that much) about what people think about me, either. It’s that someone watching might not be a regular returner. Seeing another person not returning their cart could nudge them right off the return-the-cart fence onto the “everybody leaves their cart” side.


Still, what was I supposed to do? I had to leave the cart. There just wasn’t another good solution. I carefully positioned the cart so it wouldn’t roll into someone’s car and I got into the truck. Just as I was about to back up, a bagger person walked by. He was heading back to the store. He saw and retrieved my cart.


You have no idea. Well, if you read my rant, you have an idea but, really, the actual shame was horrible.

He’ll probably not remember the inconsiderate woman in the big, honkin’, gas-guzzling truck who just lazily (not really!) left her cart in the lot. My concern was more that it might have colored his whole customer attitude for the rest of the evening. The ripple effect. He might have been testy with customers for the rest of the evening because his perception of the customer had been unjustifiably tainted by my cart abandonment.


I should probably get a hobby.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Oh! Oh! Oh! I'm Having an Organic Moment!

In February, I posted about how It Ain't Easy Bein' Green. I mentioned that I’m buying some organic foods. These posts on being greener are my way of examining, out loud (out blog?), my actions and potential actions. Just writing that I was working on turning off the water while I brush my teeth made a difference. By acknowledging it, my attention became focused on it. I turn off the water now. As in all things, though, I think there has to be balance or there’s a danger of becoming fanatical. Here’s a bit of my balance.

It’s mostly haphazard, this buying of organic foods. I’m spoiled, you see. I’m spoiled by lower prices and prettier produce. Organics cost more. For far too many years, I’ve had to be frugal. I don’t know about you but I haven’t seen many generic organics. Spending more because it’s “better for me” seems kind of vague and hard to defend at times. Then we get to the arguments for and against organics.

There’s the whole “what makes it organic?” argument. There are reports and studies that show that some of the stuff that’s being touted as organic isn’t really organic after all. Then, you get all the conflicting reports about which foods are worth buying organic. Today’s general rule of thumb is that those foods with thick peels we remove, such as bananas and oranges, aren’t worth the cost of buying organic because any of the residual pesticides and chemicals won’t be in the actual fruit. Peaches, apples, and strawberries are a completely different story. The thin skin on these fruits make them worth buying organic. Some fruits and vegetables don’t, for whatever reason, absorb the chemicals. The Wall Street Journal has a pretty good article on “When Buying Organic Makes Sense -- and When It Doesn't”.

Okay. This is embarrassing. I have another problem. It’s part of that being spoiled thing; i.e., prettier produce. Because they’re not sprayed with pesticides and other chemicals, the organic fruits and vegetables have blemishes and spots and potential cooties. I have this nurturing thing going on. In fact, if I were a superhero, my tagline would have to be “Surprisingly Domestic!” I carefully choose the food I buy. Each piece of fruit or bunch of vegetables is carefully scrutinized. No bruises or dents for my loved ones! Cans aren’t dented. Meat is lean. The dairy has the furthest possible expiration date. (This obsessive attitude toward food is probably part of why I need Weight Watchers.) Honestly? A lot of that organic food looks kind of oogy. I should get over that but a lifetime of habit is hard to overcome.

Still, if I pick up something, intending to purchase it, and find out it’s organic, it really does make me feel better about it. I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading about organic meats and dairy (or at least recombinant bovine growth hormone, or rBGH free) and I think that’s going to be the next change in the Wurdibitsch House. rBGH is given to most cows to boost milk production and may cause higher rates of breast, prostate and colon cancer. That doesn’t sound like good stuff.

For my balancing act this month, I’m going to be looking a little closer at the organic fruits and veggies. I don’t know that we’re making the change but I’m considering it. I will be buying the rBGH-free milk and when the freezer full of FoodSavered meat is running low, I’m heading to the specialty butcher. Hold me. I’m frightened.

National Geographic has a quiz on Getting To Know Your Inner Organic Foodie. I liked this quiz because it has good explanations behind the answers. Unfortunately, you don’t get a score. I’m a competitive person. I like scores. I had to go to and rack up some free rice donations (and scores) to get my competition fix.

In the interest of more balance, I discovered some very funny movies to balance out all the organic/hormone/chemical/cootie talk:

The Meatrix!
Be sure to see Meatrix 2: Revolting and Meatrix 2 ½. Leo, Moopheus and their pals explore the meat industry.

After you get done there, head over to Grocery Store Wars and check out Cuke Skywalker and friends as they battle against Darth Tater.