21 December 2011

Texting Here and Texting There...

...texting almost everywhere.
  • At the intersection: the crossing guard, after the kids have all gone by (and only after, I hope)
  • In the coffee shop: people at the same table texting other people instead of talking to each other
  • At the beach: the dog standing ankle-deep in water watching the guy texting, waiting for him to play
  • At the wheel of the car: driver swerving into one lane or the other, or drifting forward at the red light
  • At the wheel of the stroller: mom or dad pushing with one hand, or in suspended textimation, not having noticed the light has changed.
  • In the synagogue we didn't end up joining: teenagers everywhere
  • In the classroom, particularly in the first few weeks of a term: students, until they get the idea that I really mean "no texting"

06 December 2011

Greenest Christmas Tree

Okay, I give; this is an easy one for me since I don't celebrate Christmas.  We have two menorahs; one comes from The Mate's family and the other was a gift to The Offspring several years ago.

A few years back I bought a package of window-cling Hannukah decorations because The Offspring was glum about the lack of Hannukah glitz to be seen in a city full of Christmas decorations.  Yeah, they're plastic -- but we're not eating out of them, and we've been reusing them now for at least three or four years.

Recyclebank wants you to know about the pros and cons of live, cut, and artificial trees.  They make a couple of out-of-the box suggestions; those are what I'm intrigued by. Decorating a tree that lives out in your yard is a possibility if you have a yard with a tree in it.

Decorating a house plant intrigues me the most.  It would need to be a fairly hardy plant in order to tolerate stuff hanging off it; I think attempting to decorate any of the plants clinging to life in my own apartment would be the end.  But if your thumbs are greener than mine, would you consider making miniature ornaments and carefully decorating, say, a ficus or a cactus?

What about decorating a hat rack, or putting some branches in a vase and hanging decorations off them? Or get the Charlie Brown Christmas Book and Tree kit, and begin an annual holiday tradition of decorating that tiny tree:
Am I clueless? Let me know what you think.

05 December 2011

The Offspring's Pick

I was trying to figure out how to divert to good works some of the money usually spent on holiday gifts to The Offspring, and (I'm slow) eventually it occurred to me to talk to him about it. 

First he wanted to know if he was still going to get some presents.  Yes.  Then he wanted to know what charities I had in mind, and I told him about Toys for Tots and the Heifer Project.

"The ASPCA," he said.

Okay then.  That's where that's going.

I'm now thinking that the same conversations with other usual gift recipients might be the way to go, rather than trying to choose on their behalf.


Also: check out this good article from Treehugger on connections between household budget and sustainable living.  The most important point, I think, is that actions on an individual level (switching to CFLs, forgoing the cheeseburger, even buying an electric car) are not going to be enough. 

We need to work toward systemic change, toward changing the ways that everything from local governments to international businesses work.

04 December 2011

Holiday Shopping

Jenny The Bloggess and Nicholas Kristof at the New York Times have some suggestions for places to make donations instead of giving gifts.

Jenny writes that she buys a bunch of toys every year and takes a picture.  The toys go to Toys for Tots and the picture goes to her parents.  I love that idea.

My own parents have been making donations for several years now to a school in Nicaragua and to the Heifer Project in the names of various family members.