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Subverting Overconsumption will be getting a wee mention (an indirect one, but fun nonetheless) on CBC Radio One’s Definitely Not The Opera tomorrow between 1 and 1:30pm. It’s part of my friend Krista Baliko’s Juno Takeover. Fun! Unfortunately, I anticipate that my radio voice will, as per usual, sound like a five-year-old’s, but oh well.

xo n


I don’t think I’m really grasping this meme thing, but I’ll take a stab at it:

Adekun tagged me for a 5 things meme, which I gather means I’m supposed to divulge 5 things about myself and then tag 5 other blogs. And then Solnushka tagged me for the Thinking Blogger award meme (thanks!), which I guess means I’m now meant to mention 5 blogs I would nominate for such an award. Am I understanding this right? Is this some sort of exercise in viral marketing? Luckily I’m a good marketer.

I’m going to save time by combining the two. So first come the 5 things, followed by the 5 Thinking Blogs:

1) My favourite genre of movie is Action

2) I’m a sucker for the trumpet

3) This sort of exercise stresses me out

4) I don’t like cake

5) My favourite TV show is America’s Next Top Model (oooh, that one hurts)

Now for some good Thinking Blogs (whatever that means…I’m not entirely sure…but here goes): (not really a blog…well, I guess it’s an artblog…she drew all her purchases for 28 months…and she has an amazing series of Dead Mall photographs…good site) (conflict of interest, yes, but oh well) (year round local eating in Saskatchewan…serious thinking required) (how could I overlook a blog that features such an incredible vid as this?):

xo n

Ok, I guess I needed more of a break than I thought. It’s been a good while since I posted (like, the last post was on the subject of hockey sticks, and now shinny season is well over). A few factors contributed to my long silence: 1) my job is kicking me in the ass and it’s been exhausting and depressing me, 2) buying a house is stressful and expensive; and 3) discovering a creepy ex commenting to the blog under false name and pretenses spooked me.

Basically, whatever was going on over the last few weeks was not good conducive to a positive state of mind, and I had nothing constructive to share whatsoever. Actually, I couldn’t think of anything to say at all. So I said nothing, and nothing, and more of nothing.

But here I am, feeling a little better, and ready to say something again.

For the moment I’ll stick to the celebratory: today I took possession of my house. House buying is so weird. I hadn’t seen the inside of my house for six weeks, and over that time I’d become increasingly panicked and convinced that I wouldn’t like it anymore and that buying it was a bad idea and that it would send me into financial ruin and that my neighbours would be terrible etc., etc., etc.

And then I got there today and it was so beautiful and sunlit, and the snow had melted off the backyard to expose a giant sunny garden plot. And the previous owners must somehow have known that I am buying nothing new this year, because they were nice enough to leave me two kitchen chairs, a plunger, a broom, a snow shovel, a rake, and even a couch!

I love my house, and I can’t wait to move in! And since it’s mine and I get to stock it exactly as I see fit, I’ve decided to bid adieu to the nasty chemical cleaning products that I’ve always known (good riddance Comet, Pinesol and Windex!). So today I went armed with my brand new natural cleaning products and proceeded to lovingly scrub the fridge and cupboards. Who knew that baking soda, lemon juice, soap flakes and water would go so far? Thanks Greenpeace! Check it out:

All-Purpose Cleaner
1/2 cup (125 ml) pure soap
1 gallon (4 litres) hot water
For a clean scent and to help cut grease add 1/4 cup (60 ml) of lemon juice.
This solution is safe for all surfaces, should be rinsed with water, and is very effective for most jobs. For a stronger cleaner, double the amounts of soap and lemon juice.

Scouring Powder
Use a firm bristle brush and scrub with pure soap combined with either table salt or baking soda.
Baking soda alone on a damp sponge is also effective on most surfaces. You can also personalize your scouring powder by adding an aromatic herb or flower. Put the ingredients in a blender and run until the fragrance has infused the powder.
For oven spills, scrub using straight baking soda or combine with the stronger version of the all purpose cleaner.
Remember to wear gloves when scrubbing.

Liquid Dish Soap
Grate a bar of pure soap into a sauce pan. Cover with water and simmer over low heat until they melt together. Add some vinegar to the water for tough grease and to remove spots. Pour into a container and use as you would any liquid dishwashing soap.

Mirrors, Glass and Windows
Wash with pure soap and water, rinse with a solution of 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water. Use washable, reusable cheese cloth instead of paper towels.
I scrubbed my fridge til it gleamed, ate my first meal, poked around and investigated every corner and cupboard. I love my house. Tomorrow some nice friendly folks are going to help me move some belongings in. Then I will treat them to another excellent recipe:

1 part Jagarmeister
2 parts organic root beer

So there you have it. I have lots of other things to say again, so rest assured that you’ll hear from me again before long.

xo n

I’m just about to celebrate 20 weeks of Subverting Overconsumption, bringing me well over a third of the way through my project of buying nothing new for a year. Unfortunatey I seem to have hit a bumpy patch on the road, and though there’s not much to do but keep going, I’m not feeling all that happy about it.

It’s like this interminable Canadian prairie winter: March 1st hits, and what started as just a few months of cold weather suddenly turns unbearable. The thought of enduring one more night of freezing feet or one more wind-bitten walk to work is just too much to handle.

Subverting Overconsumption is feeling similar. It’s not that what I’ve set out to do is that hard – I’ve stuck to my plan, and the result has been a significant increase in my awareness of what I consume, how and why. But at the moment I seem to have hit a wall where everything about it just feels uninspired and irritating.

Case in point: when I moved out of my old place I had to leave the left-shooting house hockey stick behind. Now I’m without, so I’ve tried the regular stuff: posting it to my Wish List and to Freecycle, visiting the local used sports equipment store, etc. But to no avail. No stick wants to find me.

When I had to endure a trip to Canadian Tire to help a friend pick out her own shiny new stick, I couldn’t help wondering what the purpose of me not buying a stick actually is. I mean, my rationale is still rational: though I consume plenty, I like that new goods aren’t being manufactured just for me when there is more than enough perfectly good stuff already in existence to reuse. But the sound of my voice explaining to friends that I can’t come out to play for lack of stick is increasingly grating, and in the meantime I’m getting less exercise, breathing less fresh air, and having less fun for my trouble.

I guess I’m in the whiny phase of Subverting Overconsumption. It’ll probably pass. I mean, I’m certainly not bored with life…there are a million more radical things I want to do as a result of starting by buying nothing new. Maybe I’m just at the part where I realize that what I’ve committed to isn’t enough, but what I think I might want to commit to next is too scary to say out loud. For now I just want a fricking hockey stick.

Sticklessly yours, n

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