Monday, March 29, 2010

leaving winter behind

- buy only local dairy
I think I can check this one off as achieved, for the most part. I ended up buying cream cheese the last week of the quarter- but other than that- check! A new dairy farmer has been at the farmers market, so i've increased the locality of the cheese I buy (while increasing the price I pay no doubt) from Walnut Creek (near Cincinatti) to Galliplos (about 20 min south)

- take one out of state, non political, trip
While I did not make it to Michigan, I still left the state and headed to DC with my sister and her family.

- learn to rock climb
Fail. I tried it once with a friend (and made it to the top of the wall!) but it never really worked out after that. I tried to sign up to take it as a class next quarter but didn't get my pink slip in soon enough and it filled up. Blast!

- make bread twice a month
You betchya!

- cook three real meals a week, one with a friend
i at least accomplished this, but likely cooked more often- lovely!

- camp in the cold

- go to two unitarian church services

Check and check!

- work with a community based project (not student based)
No excuses, but this didn't happen either. Yikes.

- read one not-for-school book
Read more than one!! I read (listened really) A Peoples History (Howard Zinn) and NonViolent Communication

- enjoy the moment!
harder to say, I certainly wasn't always able to encompass this- making post graduation plans inherently makes this hard- but i think i stayed conscious of it and enjoyed more moments than i normally would have

- take one trip to visit Ian
indeed I did, on January 14- woo!

- take care of myself, mentally and physically, better
Better than the past at any rate- I ran at least twice a week and skipped school/work at least twice to stay in bed when I was feeling on the verge of illness. I was sick sick 0 times, which is pretty amazing!

- put people first, remember my priorities
another one that is hard to quantify, but i think i really tried to remember my priorities- and perhaps the best example was going on vacation with my nephews during week 10- putting hanging with my family before school!

- continue to reduce the items i own
i have a pretty huge pile of things for the clothing exchange in april. have some serious work ahead of me though as far as getting rid of things still!

- get a passport
well, no. turns out my mother lost my birth cirtificate. which, means i should have gotten a copy of that- which i also failed to do. looks like this one is getting moved to a spring wish list.

- line dry every load of laundry

I did! Not a single load of laundry went in the dryer! (thought, I had to wash a load twice because I was too lazy to hang it up in a timely manner, so i'm not sure it held the conservation standard i was going for)

- do at least one, non transportation
- outdoor activity a week
prior to it being nice outside, i can say on average this happened, but it didn't happen every week. If i include nice weather- then it happened a lot more! I did take two backpacking trips this quarter- so that's a bonus for the time spent outdoors!

(waterfall near our camp site, the first night in Big South Fork, Tn)

- Saturdays are free days. no work, no way.
With the exception of the OSEC steering retreat, I stayed clear of all work on Saturdays. Very successful.

and soon i'll have a new lovely list for spring up!

Friday, March 26, 2010

choosing poverty

on my recent visit to the farm, one thing really struck me. one of the folks who were still around from the good old days had said for the 1st ten years, everyone had to sign a vow of poverty. a commitment to remain impoverished. i feel this needs to be put into context- most if not all of those living at the farm at that time were white middle class youth who were resisting their culture. whether we like it or not, consumerism and suburbia are part of most of our cultures. i've always sort of put culture on a pedestal- something to value, to preserve, and to cherish. but what happens when your culture- my culture- isn't something i can feel positive about?

not unlike many of those who once lived on the farm- i'm preparing to reject my culture. to resist it. as i leave my cushy life in small town america- where my biggest concern is not my next meal but replacing my computer- i see a lot of parallels between myself and the farm folks. i'm basing my soon to be life on idealism. i'm choosing to reject the next step my culture has told me i should take. i am not applying for grad school to spite encouragement form professors, family, and friends and a gpa to allow it. i'm not looking for a 'job' that will pay my bills, that will pay my student debt. i'm not thinking about a lifetime partner, and i'm not dreaming of a wedding followed by children and a house. this doesn't make me better than those who do want those things, who are taking the steps often followed by (soon to be) college graduates.

in a way, i've committed myself to poverty. no, i didn't sign a vow to say i will remain impoverished, but the choices i'm making are ensuring that for my near future. this is my resistance. i'm resisting what i see as a consumer based culture, that values things and money above people and life. is it futile? we'll see.

but perhaps what is interesting and what i need to further evaluate is the privilege i have to reject my culture and choose poverty. to be clear, i'm not saying choosing poverty is 'bad' or that i feel i'm making a mistake. but what i do realize is it takes a high level of privilege to choose to live in poverty. i'm not sure exactly how to explain this. but those who are impoverished are unlikely to chose to remain so. it takes someone coming from a culture of money and wealth to deny it, to resist what would arguable make my life easier (though, i am far from certain it would make it better). i have always had healthcare, meals, and a roof to sleep under when i want it. i'm not exactly removing those things from my future (other than healthcare i suppose- but even then i'll get the healthcare i need from the government), and even if somehow i found myself in a situation where food and shelter were no longer guaranteed,i still have an out. i have a network that would provide for me in a time of need. a family who would feed and shelter me no matter what. in that sense, my privilege runs even deeper, is undeniable, and (luckily) is unshakable.

i'm choosing poverty. i can't yet say i know what kind of toll that will take on me, and i cannot deny that even under circumstance of poverty i will remain very privileged.

i'm not really sure where i'm going with this, but i sort of just wanted to hash it out in my own head i guess.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I just really liked this.

Monday, March 8, 2010