Tuesday, October 27, 2009

On Becoming a Hippie

My husband is slightly startled by the fact that I've become more and more of a hippie since I moved to California. I know that many consider California to be this liberal, granola-inspired land of sunshine, but I haven't moved to San Francisco. I've moved to San Diego. And I moved from Oregon. Prior to living in Oregon, I lived in Montana. And now that I live in SoCal, I've started making my own cleaning products. Go figure!

I have long suspected, for instance, that my shower does not need to be bleached. Yes, my husband gets very dirty at work, but it's dirt. We're not surgeons. We're not eating off the shower floor, and even if we were, I'm pretty crazy about being clean, so it's probably not any dirtier than the kitchen table...assuming you're eating off the floor sometime in between my most recent cleaning and the time my dirty hubby rinses off. But now I'm totally digressing! Many people live under that huge misconception that bleach cleans things. All it does, really, is bleach stuff (if you've ever tried to bleach the deodorant stains in the armpits of white shirts, you'll find that this doesn't work. Why? Bleach doesn't get out the deodorant, which is causing your shirt's armpits to turn yellow when it mixes with your sweat...if you're trying to get oil, of any kind, out of fabric, a good first bet is regular shampoo. Why? Shampoo is designed to get oil out of your hair). Ok, so bleach doesn't clean things. It also doesn't remove soap scum or mildew from the shower walls or hair from the drain. It does kill mold, but so does elbow grease. So all bleaching my shower (or using a product containing bleach) did was harm my lungs. Brilliant!

I'm trying to walk the line between becoming A TOTALLY INSANE HIPPIE NUTJOB and A COMPLETELY NARCISSISTIC AMERICAN CONSUMER. I'm hoping to end up in the range of environmentally concerned person who's paying attention! Conveniently, I have a coworker who's reasonably normal (she's smart, she's funny, she bathes, but she was also appalled at the idea of high fructose corn syrup in her baby food, so she started making her own baby food, which can't be that hard, right? Directions: mash banana! and she just went from there).

So here's a short list of the environmentally friendly changes I'm trying to impose on my life (and therefore the life of my husband, who, so far, has been a good sport about all of this...probably because we have beer and sports center):
  1. Use reusable grocery bags (although I have to remember to bring them other places, like Target).
  2. Use natural cleaning products (which is sort of what prompted this particular rant, although hubby really likes Windex, which contains ammonia).
  3. Buy more produce from the farmers market...the downside of this is that it's expensive, and while organic foods frequently tastes a lot better, they don't last as long.
  4. Eat less meat...meat sits high on the food chain, so it uses a lot of energy to be produced...in fact, I'm thinking about becoming a part-time vegetarian, but this will take some work, namely because hubby burns through about 5000 calories a day (by my estimate), and, well, meat is tasty. However, I've read about "faceless Friday" in which on Friday, you don't eat anything that had a face. That might be a good place to start.
  5. Using less plastic, because, well, if you haven't read about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, you need to go google it right now.

I'm pretty sure that this short list will keep me busy for a while. But if not, I can already think of about a dozen things I can add to it!

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