Weekly Update

This is coming a bit early, because I get on a train tomorrow morning to Maryland.  So next week will be a kind of limbo week like Thanksgiving was, and will be recorded as its own separate little thing.

Oh, and happy Solstice!  Soon, soon, it will stop being dark at 4:30pm!  I will get my light back!

Electricity: I was much better about turning out the lights, particularly the light in my room at night.

One of the moderators at the Riot for Austerity has a daughter who is dealing with some serious medical issues, and some of us volunteered to cut back a little extra so that she didn’t have to worry about using extra gas and such to deal with it.  That sort of situation is what fuel is for.  I wish them all the best and hope that things are looking up for the new year.  It has also been an excellent reminder for me of why we’re doing this.  Yes, I’m doing this because of millions of people who are already experiencing droughts and flooding and food shortages, and so that future generations have a viable planet.  But there is some part of me doesn’t actually believe that those people exist.  There are pretty well established psychological reasons why people have a hard time caring on that level for more than about 150 people, so I don’t consider it a great moral failing that they’re more of an intellectual reason why I’m eating an awful lot of beans and potatoes lately.  However, in a battle between intellectual arguments — however convincing — and primordial fear of the dark, the spooks win.  The fear loses against an actual person that I at least vaguely know, who genuinely could use a little extra resources (so far at least…it might not hold out against a major anxiety attack, but those are rare).  I should really have figured this out by now.  And it was in there somewhere, but I wasn’t using it.  So from now on, I’m going to keep these people in mind as a focus for when I’m tempted to be lazy.  MEA and Sharon’s kids, the friends I have who are dependent on modern medicine to stay alive, the people I worked with in Alaska for my thesis who are desperately trying to hold on to their culture.

On a non-philosophical note, I was happy to realize that it almost certainly can’t be the lights that caused the big jump in our last bill.  If it was, there would have been a correspondingly large drop in electric usage when I unscrewed almost half our lightbulbs.  So until I figure out any other way our usage has increased, I feel safe blaming it on the neighbors’ dryer (it’s been wet and dismal out; it’s not unreasonable to think they’d be drying more things).

Water: Doing pretty well.  I took a non-navy shower last Friday because I was so cold and tired.  It was still a pretty short shower, though.

Heat: Still doing well. Our landlord installed the door sweeps on the doors surrounding the “root cellar”, so that will keep cold in the potatoes and out of the kitchen.  He’ll be along later to install more insulation in the leaky living room wall.  We’ve been doing well at just closing off half the apartment at night, and have sometimes even been eating dinner in Ben’s room instead of the kitchen.

Food: Food is still excellent.  Lots of tasty bean soup.  The sweet potatoes don’t keep at all well in the root cellar though — they’re too mold-prone.  Now we know for next year, and they we caught it soon enough that none of them needed to be thrown out.  Some are currently simmering in a wok full of baked beans for dinner tonight :-)  I think I may pick up a clay baking pot at the Korean grocery store next time I’m there to use as a beanpot.  I do like baked beans, and they’re practical for winter.  The oven has to stay on all day, but that just keeps the house warmer.  I’m still waiting to see when the local food buying club will get off the ground.  Some sustainable local meat would be really nice in this cold.  The Asian greens growing on the windowsill are taking off and becoming nice little plants.  I’ll water them well before I leave.

Trash: I think we produced a bit more this week than usual for some reason…I’ll need to keep an eye on that.  As it turns out, I didn’t order worms after all, which explains why they haven’t arrived.  The purchase must not have gone through properly.  I’ll order them again after I get back, and hopefully the weather will be more cooperative and not freeze my little composting friends.

Consumer goods: I bought a lot of used books on Amazon with some birthday and Christmas money from my grandfather.  With the reduction for buying used, it came to…a little over $30.  Eep.  Well, that’s what checks from one’s grandfather are for.  For presents for other people for the upcoming holiday, it’s going to be a mix of Heifer donations and homemade objects, mostly food.  I’m happy with that; I hope people will be pleased.

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