Nothing makes me feel old quite like when December rolls around and I exclaim, “Wow, December already! The year has really flown by.” Every year flies by when you’re old. Anyway, here I am it’s-already-Decembering. That’s okay though, December is an enjoyable month.
This morning I was reflecting on the fact that I’ve made it through a whole week without any wild drama manifesting and I thought, maybe things are settling down.
That’s when I found the ants.
Viola had been prancing around and making noise in an usual spot, which I initially dismissed as regularly scheduled cat hysterics, so I started brushing her to calm her the heck down. Once I was on the floor I noticed an ant, then another and, and a third ant. Three ants is more than coincidence. I set about murdering them then tracked down the source. The ants are creeping in between the baseboard and the wall in my living room. I stuck duct tape around that stretch of floor-meets-wall and then the murders began. We’re not at full-blown ant epidemic, but I have killed a lot of them today. Now that I’ve contained the problem, I’m mostly catching them when they’re confused and trying to leave. I haven’t seen any come in. On the upside, this has motivated to me to go on a cleaning rampage today. Yay?
Here are some things I read, watched, or bought this week.
Last weekend I read Inconspicuous Consumption: the Environmental Impact You Don’t Know You Have by Tatiana Schlossberg. This book was a total pleasure to read, both in content and style. Schlossberg takes the reader through several big-picture issues like food and transportation and gets into the details of several examples in each category. She asks questions like is it better to eat local food or food flown in from Argentina? The answer to almost every question is: it’s complicated. The main argument of the book is that we live in a complex, connected society. A lot of the issues we deal with stem from our attitudes and expectations as a culture (like wanting our packages to be delivered two hours after ordering or insisting on being able to eat strawberries year round) rather than food or transportation itself. One thing that was interesting for me is how much the content linked with other things I have read this year like Ninety Percent of Everything, which is all about the shipping industry.
Another tidbit that stayed with me from a discussion of using the internet and how much electricity that requires. We (non-experts in technology, I suppose) tend to think of just the devices we use to access the internet when we tally up the power required to use the internet, but that’s not the full story. The internet lives in servers, which are on all the time and have to be kept cold, which adds another layer of complexity to the issue. Even though I know that servers have to be on and cool, it had never occurred to me to link that to the environmental impact of using the internet. The whole book is full of ideas like this that Schlossberg connects together.
Inconspicuous Consumption could easily be a dry read, but Schlossberg’s self-deprecating humor is enjoyable and lets the reader in on how ridiculous modern life is. I highly recommend this book for anyone who has been feeling climate anxiety or who is trying to better understand how our choices impact the environment.
I finally watched Book Smart, which is a comedy about two friends trying to have new social experiences on the eve of their high school graduation. I related to this movie a lot. The protagonists are high-achieving girls who have done everything “right” and never partied or broken the rules. One of the main characters realizes that some of her fellow students she deemed less worthy were accepted to the same top tier college that she was and she is forced to reevaluate her sense of self. I also loved the portrayal of female friendship—it’s something we should all aspire to.
In the quest to use less plastic, I ordered some Stasher bags over the weekend. They are not here yet but I am looking forward to trying them out. I saw them in a list of ways to cut down on plastic use in the kitchen and I’m hoping to use them in place of plastic bags when buying bulk items from the grocery store. I hope they work. It’s tempting to get caught up in the rampant consumerism of being eco-friendly, but at a certain point, we’re not helping anyone by buying a bunch of new crap. It’s an ongoing struggle to find the right balance.
Making Things and Doing Stuff
This has been a low-key week and I’m happy about that. I’ve been relaxing and knitting (not pictured because it’s a secret gift), reading, and enjoying the great indoors this week while it’s been rainy. I usually go through my phone photos when writing to blog to figure out what I did this week, but all I have are cat and book pictures, and a picture of the cookies I baked today.
After all the Thanksgiving mania I did not cook much this week. I did remix my leftovers into some turkey shepherd’s pie and today I made a turkey pot pie. I tossed most of my turkey in the freezer right after Thanksgiving, so today’s pie was not from turkey that’s been sitting in the fridge for a week, don’t fret.
Just looking at this photo has motivated me to eat another cookie, by the way.
Now that things have mostly settled down again (ants notwithstanding), I’ve been trying to get back into my Icelandic groove, in particular. I’ve been working through my flashcard backlog on Memrise (I started the month at 2,500 -_-) and I had class on Thursday, which went well. I’m trying to remind myself of all the stuff I already know so I can move forward. I keep feeling like I’m on the cusp of getting a little better and then something interrupts me. Hopefully I can carry some Icelandic momentum into 2020.
Finally, here’s a cat photo for your nerves.