Saturday, January 30, 2010


How much less
could a use less
if a use less

This is my new mantra.

Love the simple reminder to reduce.

Friday, January 29, 2010

No More Whining

Ok, I apologize for the grumpy befuddled "I hate big trucks" rant. Today is just a fun catch up posting, about where I'm at, what I'm doing, and how it all applies to *you guessed it* my life as a burgeoning Human Ecologist.

Today is a new day, and I am POSITIVE POSITIVE POSITIVE.
"I have had about three Red B.ulls in the last fifteen minutes."
(Not really, I think Red B.ull tastes like cough syrup, which makes me throw up a little, but I am caffeinated, and I slept through my first class this morning so I'm a little more peppy than usual... thus the run on sentences. My energy drink of choice [or my caffination process when all nighters with energy are required] is a Canadian brand called Beaver Buzz [weird I know, right?] which tastes pretty good, but then I mix it with Powerade and pineapple juice. Pineapple juice prevents your tummy from getting super acidy, which is always a problem when I pull all nighters, and Powerade keeps me hydrated, which is the worst part of energy drinks, aside from all the caffeine, weird colours and crazy ingredients they pretend are good for me but actually aren't. That's my trade secret, so keep it on the down low, but feel free to use it amongst yourselves and your loved ones.)

What am I up to? Well, I have been working a lot, and getting paid, which is fun! I am definitely feeling the pressure of less time than before, but it's not the same as when I worked on the other end of the city and had to drive there for 8 hours after my school, usually short shifts with some really fabulous girls who respect me, and I in turn reciprocate. I am totally trying to study or work on school junk at least a bit each night when I get home. I also have been working on my personal work project- finding a non profit organization willing to accept the 'damaged' goods from our store. Otherwise they just cut them to pieces so no one can pull them out of the trash and try to return them for store credit, and this whole theory makes me sad like a small emo-child in the corner. I came into the back room one day and I felt this huge ball in my stomach as the manager explained that we could prevent the slaughtering of all these relatively perfect goods if only we had someone with the time to make a few phone calls.


I started my mission by thinking about people I know who work with kids etc who would be willing to use the goods. One of my buddies is working with at risk youth teaching them to sew. Her organization doesn't have the storage capacity to take the goods right now, and since her program just started, the kids don't have the skills to rework the goods yet, so my search continues. My next choice was a shelter that has halfway houses which helps youth get into their own stable living situations, because they may need clothes for interviews or special events and they are just the kids who couldn't afford them. Often the items can't be sold because they have been worn and were returned by persnickety customers who were upset with a tiny problem. So they are SUPER nice clothes, but they have been worn. I still haven't heard back from them yet, so I will be moving on to some other groups soon if that doesn't pan out. Who knew it would take so much work to find people who want to take free stuff? WEIRD. But I will DO it.

(and yes, I am typing this all really fast, and feel like I'm talking at a million miles a second. Feel free to speed read to get the full on Alex P. on coffee experience.)

My Gluten Free World has benefited me as I am no longer covered in leprous splotches. This is a vast improvement. I have discovered that usually the only thing I can order at most restaurants is salad or nachos, and if its a pub or cheaper restaurant the nachos are usually the better choice because no one ever orders salad in those places, so its usually brown and gross. Nicer restaurants often have lots of neat options, but I am finding it way better if I just eat at home. This is good for my pocket book, and just my personal understanding of my body. I also use it as justification to have coffee from the green demon more often, because mocha syrup non fat americano mistos are practically the only yummy thing I can still have without a tonne of work. (Except for the gluten free chocolate covered donuts I found in the freezer aisle at the market down the street. I don't really like donuts normally, but these little bundles of joy were the only thing that kept me from having a melt down a few weeks ago when chocolate was an absolute necessity. And PROPS to my DH who went out and picked up a box this week 'just in case' I want more soon. Because he's Awesome. [capitalized for effect])

I am working on a group project related to hollow fiber sports wear, and this of course involves a lot of petroleum and unnatural based fiber usage. This usually makes me upset, because it's hard to think of all the stuff we are creating which doesn't break down and is just thrown away or not used to it's full capable extent. The other side of the argument is that this clothing is technical, and increases a persons comfort and is very appealing for many reasons, its wicking and durable, it makes exercise a more enjoyable experience. Awesome because health and body awareness are important. This particular Literature review has made me a bit happier. On the downside, I'm having trouble finding the exact papers I need, specifically about hollow fibers in sports wear. Since Human Ecology is such a small portion of the University, a lot of the textiles periodicals which may be useful are ones we have to request on Inter Library Loan, instead of having direct digital access. This is so frustrating since they have to ship the papers from whatever library in our network actually subscribes, which takes more time than we have, since we present on Wednesday of next week (EEEK). Wow. I digress. The good side of being really particular about my search parameters is that I am finding a lot of research about specialty fabrics which are being designed to have these technical aspects, but also to provide additional benefits to the environment like being recyclable (WOW) or even biodegradable (double WOW). The research itself is inspiring, because the textiles industry has long been a little behind in being socially responsible in pretty much every way shape and form (ethical labour practices, environmental procedures in development of textiles and garments, etc. .)
It is so good to see that not only does the industry understand that these items will help the world in the long run, but also that they need to be tested and shown to be just as effective as the articles we are using at this time. Because the research will lead to the production value.

OK. So that's where I am. Onward, Upward.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Squeezing Into the Green World

So, usually I leave my car at school in my parking garage, and use the light rail train (LRT) system or the bus to get around the city. Since I have recently gotten a job, and the LRT hasn't set up that far south yet (to be completed this summer probably) I am unable to do that, since the buses aren't fast enough. This means I drive my car to and from work many days, which is about a 5 minute drive. It's not great for the world, but keeping my car at the school still saves about 15 extra minutes of driving my car to my house, which is across the river.

Sometimes I think the world has become so accustomed to wealth that they now just equate 'doing well' to being a normal standard of living. People don't HAVE to have a truck, but it is a status symbol, a representation of where they are in the world, not caring if it uses more gas in the 20 minute drive home than my little hatchback uses in a drive to Red Deer (yes, Red Deer is a city, it's about 1.5 hours away, and my car uses less than a quarter tank to get there).

Case in point: the parkade I park in is an absolute hazard with the number of exteded cab giant trucks parked within it's walls. They block the driving lane because they stick out so far, and they often take up more than one space in the parkade to protect their precious paint jobs. There is no need for this many students to have vehichles this large, worth tens of thousands of dollars to get too and from school. The attitude that comes with them is what bothers me most. The air of entitlement and lack of common sense and moderation hits home. I also just hate the lack of courtesy to other parkers when they take up too much space. Today, two large trucks were both parked just over the line on either side of a parking space. This is my pet peeve. It takes 20 seconds to adjust your placement of your vehicle, it would take nothing to move over so that you are respecting your own space. These two trucks choose not to, eliminating the possibility of a parking space... except for a wee little car like mine. Now, I can assume that these people were just being negligent and rude, or I can assume they were late for class and so adjusting didnt seem important in the grand scheme of time... Either way, their need to have a huge truck and not be parked well outshone the needs of others, including even common courtesy. So I folded in my little side mirrors and slipped my car into the demi-spot that was custom made for my lil car balancing out the monoliths beside me.

I am hypocritical, ranting about a personal peeve on a page which is meant for eco and ethical ponderings of human ecology. But I can't help but think that this lack of thought for other people may have a larger impact, or reflect the larger scope of things: When a person chooses a product, is it a larger reflection of themselves? Or am I just blowing things out of proportion? The further I write about this stupid occurence, the dumber I feel about how gross it makes me feel, because it is just silly. That said, I just don't understand why people need such huge vehicles when they are usually just getting from A-B, and why these two individuals chose to park so rudely... Do they litter, swear loudly in public places, and unseat the old woman on the bus (oh wait, they don't take the bus... they have the giganta-mobile, my bad). If we cannot deem to take the time to be decent to neighbors, fellow students, etc, how are we to find the capacity within ourselves to be decent to the world, which many regard as a fairly inanimate object?


And grumpy. Sorry about that. I will be adorable later.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Foot Loose and Gluten Free

So.... I have been away for quite a while.

I took a job at a store. I dont hate it, I don't love it, but it's still very new. I am optomistic that things will be beautiful there soon, and I will be loved and adored by all (naturally.) I need to increase my communication with my direct supervisor, because I think I haven't made the best first impression with her. I think I need to up my a-game in regards to clothes...I am a little on the casual side for what they mandate... That said, I have been doing well in my actual responsibilities, so I guess that's fine....

The exciting aspect of this job is that they have internships with their design team or buying team for employees. Which isn't that helpful for normal high school student employees, but for me, who is looking for a way to get into the garment industry... Perfect! Now, all I have to do is impress and impact all the management, and everything will be... fine. Right? (fingers crossed)

Since I took that job, I have received maybe 10 calls about other jobs I applied for. When it rains, it pours! None of them has the same kind of career potential, although many of them pay more, so I have been a bit torn. Maybe somewhere down the road I will regret my decision, but at this time, I am just going to stick to the plan.

The other side of my world, personal and internal:

Over Christmas break, and leading up to that time, I had been having really bad bouts of hives pretty much every day. I have terrible food allergies- seafood, nuts, soy, etc, and am quite careful to avoid all of these things. So the hives were leaving me flumoxed. My sister has celiac, and has been bugging me for quite some time to just get rid of wheat because it's likely the root of many of my problems, and I decided that maybe now is the time.

So I am gluten free. I think it's been two weeks. My hives have been steadily decreasing in occurence. Some mornings I wake up and find patches of them, but they are WAY less itchy.

It may be related to wheat, or it may be just that I'm eating more whole and fresh foods. I don't know, and I'm so relieved that I'm willing to stick with it.

How are you?