If we do not permit the earth to produce beauty and joy, it will in the end not produce food, either. Joseph Wood Krutch

Friday, April 13, 2007


Like so many Americans, she was trying to construct a life that made sense from things she found in gift shops. Kurt Vonnegut
Wow, isn' t that true. Wander any garage sale and you will see this is true. Along with the requisite books, exercise equipment and old clothes are the plates emblazoned with cable cars or shot glasses that say "Wyatt Earp" or "Johnny Red" or some such. Each of them was bought so as to bring back memories of those fine moments when we finally escaped the prison of our world and had a little fun. Now its worth twenty-five cents but you'll take a dime if someone offered. Right? Why do we do this?

I have a drawer full of this kind of stuff. Prizes from battery packages, souvenirs, things I am sure will be "collectors items" someday. Yeah right. Am I nuts? Dust collectors is all they are. I even have a drawer with no less than 200 pens in it. You never know when a crowd might show, each needing a pen, so they stay in the drawer waiting for that day. I guess that answers the question about "Am I Nuts?"

I am now following the advice in 30 Days to a Simpler Life by Connie Cox and Chris Evatt and drawer by drawer I have been unburdening my life of these things. Three piles, "Keep", "Toss" and "Give Away". I e-bayed a few things and then bought a few books on how to live simpler. I honestly don't know. I am indoctrinated in consumption. It is going well though and each time I get rid of things I feel just a little lighter and the Goodwill gets a little richer. I don't yet miss any of it and I am trying hard not to replace it with more junk.


I have also been thinking a great deal about paper recently and since we went out to eat last night at our favorite place "The Laughing Planet Cafe" I was more aware of the amount of paper I was mindlessly consuming. It was dreadful. I ordered a burrito bowl which had no paper wrapper but I found myself, without even thinking, filling up a little paper cup with salsa at the salsa bar then picking up paper napkins and bringing them back to the table. I didn't give it a second thought until I got to the table. It was just a habit of consumption. Worse yet, when I wanted more salsa I didn't return with the same cup. I got a new one! More mindless consumption. OK, so you're saying "Don't beat yourself up, it was one napkin and two little cups." True, but if everyone uses the equivalent how many trees must die for a few minutes of my convenience so it can end up in a landfill somewhere. Millions?

There is a very good book by Wanda Urbanska and Frank Levering called "Nothing is Too Small to Make a Difference". It is this book that began to wake me up to my own consumption habits years ago. I am not as far along as I would like to be but I am taking more diligent efforts now. I highly recommend this book as a starting place for anyone that wants to simplify. Anyway one of the points in the book is that every step we each take individually makes a difference. Regardless of how small. Use one less napkin per day, that is three-hudred and sixty-five this year. Use one less paper salsa cup each week, that is fifty-two this year. It all adds up and makes a difference. Imagine if the whole world adopted this viewpoint.

By the way, if you live or visit Portland Oregon make sure you try "The Laughing Planet Cafe" on Belmont. You won't regret it and five bucks will get you a decent meal.

Well, that is enough of my early Saturday morning ramble. Signing out.


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