Archive for January 2012

Computer Gaming Problem   Leave a comment

One of my goals set back in August was to cut my TV watching down to 2 hours during the week and 2 hours on weekends. That was the explicit goal. The implicit goal was to read more, and get to sleep on time easier. Well, I made the explicit goal easily; but missed the implicit goal by a long shot. How’s that? Well I gave in to a computer game itch. I have a somewhat addictive roleplaying game on my computer that I’ve been playing for the last 10 years. I found version 2 way back when and pretty much spent ALL my free time playing it. At the time I had an absolutely horrible job and was depressed, so the escapism it offered was a relief. Even playing it for hours every day, it still takes several weeks (months?) to finish a game. Version 3 came out and I played that for a while, but then I met Mike and life got busy. Eventually I found out that version 4 had come out, read the description and caved in to get it (these are cheap shareware games). I played it a couple of times and then set up a couple challenging scenarios that out-challenged/bored me so I stopped playing for a while (we also started househunting, which might have factored into the stoppage). The files were all still on my computer, but I was effectively ignoring them. Then this past summer I found out they are now on version 6. The itch started, and eventually I gave in a revisited those two challenging scenarios that I had given up on. One of them turned out to be pretty easy, but still has sucked up all my free time and not-so-free time since October. I only just finished the game.

Now I am faced with a dilemma. I cannot let myself get sucked into this game again after we start a family. It is not possible to play for 10 or 15 minutes, I’ve tried many a time, the minimum sitting is more like 30 minutes. And I know myself and my history: I get sucked in and neglect other things in my life. The obvious solution is to delete all the files from my computer, right? But what if I get the itch to play a game like this again? Can I trust myself to be strong enough for a couple decades to not give in? Or would it be better to leave the game on my computer with all my hints, guides, and notes so that I don’t risk starting something new from scratch? I’ve been thinking about it for a couple of days and I’m going back and forth. I could honestly use third-party perspective on this.

But while I decide what to do about the time-suck that took my free time after cutting back on TV, I will enjoy playing with my reward for cutting back on TV anyway: a small electric chipper/shredder. After all, I did meet the explicit goal, and implicit goals only count if the explicit goal failed.

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Posted January 31, 2012 by mayakey in goals, musings, self-care

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TerraCycle: Awesome Idea But How Exactly Does It Work?   Leave a comment

The November/December 2011 issue of the Green American (Green America’s periodical) is about plastics, including disposal of them. One of the sidebars is about TerraCycle, a company that recycles/reuses various hard-to-recycle waste like candy wrappers, cheese packaging, and Solo cups. I had heard about TerraCycle before and thought it sounded like a really great idea, but I hadn’t had a chance to use it until recently. Unfortunately, I still haven’t.

My opportunity was Bear Naked granola bags. A while back I started splurging on Bear Naked granola for my cereal when I got a coupon for it, because it isn’t sweet like most of the other granolas in the store and actually tastes really good. On the back of the bag it tells you not to throw it away because you can either send it back to them or recycle it through TerraCycle, so I kept the bags. All four of them. Unfortunately or fortunately, I transitioned to just putting chopped nuts and fresh blueberries or other fruit and don’t anticipate buying granola in the store for a very long time, if ever. Maybe I’ll experiment with making my own so that I actually like it and don’t find it too sweet or unhealthy. During my winter purge this past year I found the small pile of bags and decided that it was time to get rid of them. According to their website there are two options for “sustainable disposal”: sending them in to Bear Naked and getting swag in return, or recycling them through TerraCycle. For the size bag that I had, I was six bags short of being able to get a reusable grocery bag that I don’t need. So I looked into TerraCycle and ended up horribly confused. I guess you need to sign up with a brigade (or start a new one) and then you can send stuff in for recycling. But I didn’t want to sign up to join something just to get rid of four bags. I guess the minimum amount to send in is actually 5 bags, according to the blurb in the Green American. I would have loved to find out who has a brigade and I would have happily sent them my bags in order to support their organization since they can get money back from turning in items. But I couldn’t find that information without signing up, and again, I had no interest in signing myself up for something for this one-time exchange. So apparently TerraCycle is a great idea…if you are or know of an organization that can collect items to send back, or if you go through enough of the items yourself to justify signing up. Unless of course I’m not understanding the process.

Sadly, my four bags ended up in the garbage. It’s unfortunate since the sustainable packaging program, along with the granola not being really sweet, is why I bought the Bear Naked granola in the first place.

 

Posted January 23, 2012 by mayakey in environment, food, resource use

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Can Something Be Unknowingly Stressful?   Leave a comment

Alternative title: When other people insist that something is stressful, but you don’t think so.

This past week we went to the doctor for a fertility consult and are starting to do some testing since we’ve passed 15 months of trying (technically 12 months + 3 months off due to gallstones/gallbladder surgery) to get pregnant. In addition to discussing testing options, the doctor suggested that while it has been very helpful that I’ve been charting so that I know I’m ovulating, I should stop because it is stressing me out. Apparently it happens all the time that people stop charting and then get pregnant because the charting is “stressful”. When we walked out of the office, though, I told Mike that I have no intention of stopping charting. I think it would be WAY more stressful to not chart than it is to chart. In fact, the month that we moved into our current house I didn’t chart and it was incredibly stressful for me because I felt lost in my own body. It was like someone had taken away one of my senses, and I didn’t like that experience. Am I missing something here?

I got introduced to Natural Family Planning/Fertility Awareness Method by my friend, and started charting more than a year before we started trying to get pregnant. I was immediately hooked! The self-knowledge and self-understanding that comes with observing fertility signs is an incredibly wonderful experience to me, and I intend to continue charting through menopause. So observing my fertile signs and charting is just as much a part of my day as brushing my teeth, and occupies about as much of my mental state. Taking my temperature in the morning doesn’t require any more thought than to roll over and stick the thermometer in my mouth when my alarm clock first goes off. (It’s a zen alarm clock, with chimes at increasing frequencies following the golden ratio). Checking cervical fluid is just a matter of observation throughout the day. Sure, there’s a little bit of stress related to timing sex during the fertile phase. However it seems to me like it would be more stressful to do so without  observing fertile signs and having no idea when your body is at its most fertile. And I also question the idea that I experience more stress around the time when I might get my period than someone who’s not charting. It seems like we’d be going through the same emotions regardless since most women have a sense of how long they usually go between periods.

This is probably partially a personality thing, after all I am definitely an engineer and someone who wants to be intimately knowledgeable about/involved with myself and my health and wellness. Maybe there’s also a difference that I didn’t start charting when we started trying to get pregnant for the purpose of trying to get pregnant. This doctor was not the first doctor to suggest that charting may stress me out as my naturopath suggested the same thing about a year ago. Unless I’m in total denial or completely missing something, though, I do not feel that observing my fertile signs and charting is causing stress in my life and interfering with my ability to get pregnant. Is it possible to have other people tell you that something is stressful for you and yet not experience that thing as stressful? I think so, obviously, but I’d love feedback.

Posted January 15, 2012 by mayakey in conscious living, health, pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, self-care

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Compost Trials: From 5-Gal Bucket Compost to 5-Gal Bucket Worm Bin   Leave a comment

Even though I had declared the 5-gallon bucket compost experiment to be a failure back in May, I never emptied the bucket into the compost heap. I had no plans for the bucket; what can you do with a hole-y bucket? So it just sat there, and functioned as one of the edges for the compost heap for the last several months. No longer.

I’ve really been wanting to start vermicomposting, aka, composting with worms.  A while back I had managed to talk the man-who-doesn’t-like-anything-that-doesn’t-have-four-legs into letting me vermicompost as long as it was in the garage and not the dining room like I originally wanted. I’ve heard that if properly managed there’s no odor, and the closer to the kitchen the easier to use, but since I can’t convince him that the worms aren’t going to escape it stays in the garage. However, a worm bin, even one made of plastic storage bins, is pretty far down on the house wish list, and I didn’t have any suitable containers to make one for free. Or so I thought!

Then at the Green Festival in November I acquired some worms for free! I went to a vermicomposting workshop where the presenter was giving away a few containers of worm castings. She had collected the worm castings in a hurry so they still had a few baby worms in them. When I got back home I put the bag aside and wasn’t able to get to it for over a week so I thought I’d probably killed the worms. Lo and behold, though, when I peaked in there were a few full sized worms wiggling around in there. I punched a couple holes in the container and threw in an old piece of lettuce. Fast forward a month to around Christmas and I peaked in again to realize that the lettuce was gone and the worms still alive. But they couldn’t stay in a clear plastic snack-food container forever, they needed a home upgrade.

That’s when it occurred to me that the 5-gallon bucket with holes in it could work as a worm bin. I hope. The original holes are quite large so I’m hoping that I don’t lose my few worms through them. The hole-y bucket has holes on the bottom and sides, and I drilled a few more (much smaller) holes on the side to make sure there will be enough ventilation. I grabbed another then-unused 5-gallon bucket to use as the moisture collector. The outer bucket is wider than the hole-y bucket so I didn’t need to drill ventilation holes in it, but if it had been the same dimensions I would have drilled a row of ventilation holes in the sides below where the bottom of the inner bucket would be. Instead I propped the inner bucket on some scrap plastic bits and there’s a narrow annular space between the buckets. I put a really thick layer of dampened hand-shredded newspaper on the bottom since I didn’t want the worms to fall through the drainage holes, added a few rotting lettuce leaves, strawberries, tea leaves, and a well crushed egg shell (or as well as I could crush it), and dumped the castings container and worms on top. I don’t mind sacrificing that worm gold fertilizer if it means I’ll get a head start on creating my own. After topping it off with some more hand-shredded newspaper and another good misting, I created a lid with a peace of plywood we had laying around.

Now I just have to remember to check on them occasionally. At this point they’re not going to create much fertilizer since I’m starting with just a few worms, literally. It’s more of a test run to see if I can keep them alive before I actually order my first pound of worms. I’m really excited at this.

Posted January 9, 2012 by mayakey in gardening, unshopping

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Shalom   Leave a comment

Shalom

Shalom doesn’t just mean “peace”. Look it up, Google it, or Wikipedia it. Shalom means so much more than the English word “peace”. Shalom means wholeness and wellness as well. Shalom encompasses individuals, nations, and the entire universe.

Happy New Year to all.

Shalom

Posted January 1, 2012 by mayakey in centering, musings, spiritual practices

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