Apr 4 2011

mom!! the ice cream truck!! [day 312]

I have really come to hate the taunting music played from the ice cream truck, getting louder as it gets closer to my house.  As soon as I hear the fain sounds of it, I know what’s next.  Mom!!!!!  The ice cream truck!!!!!!  My kids know I’m not a fan of the van filled with overpriced, well advertised sugar products, stopping to fill the air with carbon monoxide and invading my territory.  While I was away and had a sitter, they went to the truck.  My youngest, knowing I would not be happy about this, decided to make something good out of it.  He decide to get something that was in a container we could reuse, and he also talked all his friends into doing the same.

We use these little containers in our lunch bags.  I did not end here.  The next time the ice cream truck came by, I said, “No.”  After much deliberation, I decided to have some fun with this.  I let him go out and get some ice cream from the truck.  I think I freaked out my neighbors, but here’s what happened…

 

 

I haven’t checked at Kroger yet to see if they carry Popsicle Shots, but I’ll be checking today.  I’m all about people making a living in creative ways, and the ice cream truck driver is a good way to make some money.  It’s like fast food that comes to your house with dessert.  I never buy this for my kids, I make them use their own money.  If they feel good about the purchase, then I’ll go with it.  I don’t always say yes to the ice cream truck, but I don’t always say no.  Balance.  It’s all about balance.

 


Mar 1 2011

the digital garage [day 279]

I’ve been working lately on cleaning up my digital garage.  Now that I’ve organized all my files, I can’t find anything.  It might have been a mess, but I knew where all my stuff was.  The new system I set up will be good, it will just take a little time to get used to it.

Now that I’m nearing the end of the challenge, I’m realizing I’m outgrowing the one page blog.  I guess I need to clean up and organize my public digital garage?  I’ve made many background changes, and even a few visible changes to trashsociety.com.  These changes are in preparation for a new website that will include the blog.  I want to make it easier for people to find what they’re looking for on the site.  I’ve been using post-it notes to storyboard the new layout.  The blog page will soon be a great resource for humanitarian, environmental and financial information to communicate positive change.

If you have any feedback or ideas, please share them with me.  What would you like to see here?  I’m still in the design process and I would LOVE your feedback.  Thanks for your time and support!  It’s truly appreciated.

 


Jan 6 2011

the green machine [day 223]

I’m really not sure exactly how much money I’ve saved doing this challenge, as I haven’t tracked it, however I know it’s a substantial amount.  I have no debt, I’m not always broke and comparing my finances to last year, I’ve spent way less.  I attribute the savings to these:

  • No retail. Buying things from eBay, craigslist, thrift stores and yard sales saves 75% or more off retail prices.
  • No impulse buys. Staying out of retail stores and practicing the 24 hour rule with my kids (day 140) works great!
  • Smart shopping. For the groceries and toiletries stuff I have to buy, I price shop shop in stores where I know the prices are generally lower.  I try and buy some generic brands and buy things with minimal packaging.
  • Usage. Will I really use this?  Is it something I’ve wanted for a while or something that just popped into my head?  If I haven’t been looking at something for a while, I wait.  If I really want or need it, it will stay in my mind.
  • Trading & sharing. I make trades with friends and share things like tools, yard equipment and things not used frequently.  This minimizes the amount of stuff I have, making cleaning and organizing much easier.
  • Counterculture. We didn’t do Christmas like the rest of society.  No Christmas bills!  It was still a very good Christmas, just different than the rest of the USA.
  • Look ahead. How long will this item last?  What’s the maintenance and upkeep cost?  Is it green?

Looking at all of this, my kids and I made a recent large item purchase.  It’s something we had in our old house and used quite a bit, all year long.  We’ve been wanting one for four years now, since we moved into this house.  The used market on the item has good availability, but difficult to find certain models.  Many are in working order, many are not.  Some require lots of extra money for set up, installation and transportation.  So what is it?  A hot tub.  Continue reading


Dec 8 2010

swept under the rug… and sofa, and table, and bed, and… [day 195]

There’s no possible way any household vacuum cleaner could possibly suck up all the crap on our floors.  It begs the question, “Why do we have so much little stuff and where did it come from?”

First of all, Spongebob seems to be everywhere in our house.  This pile is only the upstairs sweep, as I didn’t even make it downstairs yet.  Yes, I know, it’s a little weird to share my dirt pile, but it does make you think, right?  It’s like trash I Spy or trash art.  Where’s Waldo maybe?  He’s about the only thing that’s not in here.  This motivates me to get rid of more stuff.

Oh, and a quick tip:  When you clean the house, it’s good to put away the vacuum cleaner instead of leaving it next to your bed.  In the morning, it looks like someone standing over you.  :0


Oct 17 2010

flying by the seat of our pants [day 143]

I had an interesting conversation with a guy I met recently in our church group.  Curt lived in Hawaii for a long time, after living in Amarillo, Texas.  We were discussing the “green issues”, possibly prompted from my lack of paper plates and plastic utensils while entertaining a large group of people.  He said when living in Amarillo, he didn’t think much about recycling, as it was never a priority since there’s so much room for landfills.  In Hawaii, that’s not the case.  Space is limited and people living there need to generate the smallest amount of trash possible.

As a society, it seems like we fly by the seat of our pants with things like this, then when it becomes a huge problem, only then to we create awareness and try to fix it.  (Halloween costume?  Check.)  Another guy in our group, Marc, was asking how we can be proactive to the problem of homelessness, which was our main reason for meeting.  Keyword: proactive.  What does it look like to be proactive in environmental and humanitarian issues?  If I answered that in one blog post, it would take me all year to write it.  I’ll take a different approach.

Why am I talking about this today?

Lots of reasons.   Continue reading


Jul 26 2010

surrounded by trash [day 60]

We had our light painting photo safari last night.  If you want to entertain a bunch of kids, give them a box of toys and some flashlights.  If you want to entertain a bunch of adults, give them the same stuff, but add a camera.

So what does this have to do with trash society?  Many things.  First, it’s a great way to have some family and friends time without spending money.  We play with toys we already have and share our cameras for those who don’t have one.  You can see all the pics from this shoot on flickr.

Second, we always find trash.  Sadly, we are surrounded by trash.  It’s so blended into our lives that sometimes we don’t even see it.

A white picket fence… the American dream?  (I took the ‘green bag’ pictured on the left)

I have this quirky feature I just discovered about myself.  I’m always looking down when I walk and I subconsciously look for stuff.  While on vacation, I found a guys wallet stuffed with cash.  I did get it back to the owner.  I found a computer cable, in the dark, on the floor at work.  I always find stuff on the ground.  I have no idea when I started this or why, but I’ll work it to my art.  Last night, I found some trash on the ground and decided to use it in a few photos:

This became a good opportunity for some ‘trash awareness’ with the kids.  We kept the little plastic mountain, probably a piece of a milk jug.

Third, we can teach the kids about art and making statements with the things around them.  We might bring props, but how do they fit into their surroundings?  The above photos are disturbingly reflective of our society and I’ve titled them ‘Protect the Plastic‘.  Kids are the future and what we teach them now will mold their core values.

There are probably many more things here, but those are the highlights.  If you would like to join in on a photo safari, join our Facebook group.

What things do you do to help lessen trash production?  This challenge of not shopping retail has helped me.  Less stuff, less impulse buys, less trash.  :)


Jun 24 2010

the challenge: days 26, 27 & 28 [$4.00]

Not too much to report over the last few days.  I’ve been working a lot, finished some books and spent a bit of time with my kids.

We had some unexpected dental expenses this month and to keep my credit card at zero, I had to pay a little more than usual because of lawn care, my tolltag and car repairs.  I have $4.00 left in my account, and for some crazy reason, that makes me happy.  Normally I would either charge groceries or maybe move some money from my checking account.  Instead, I decided to live with the $4.00 for a while.  We’re eating food from the back of the pantry and stuff from the freezer that… well, just should have been used a long time ago.  No eating out for a while.  I have a little bit of cash, very little, but it’s still sitting in my ‘piggy bank’.  The kids call it my piggy bank, even though it’s a box with Hawaiian girls on it.

I’ll probably move some money over from my savings just in case something hits my account, so I won’t have overdraft fees.  Can you imagine the large part of the world’s population that has to live on less than $2.00 per day?  Have you ever tried it?  I wonder what that would be like…


Jun 21 2010

the challenge: day 25 [what are you for?]

We decided to take a trip down to Waco and go to Church Under the Bridge.  (churchunderthebridge.org)  I so wish it was closer… or I was closer.  A two hour drive to church is a long drive, but for this place, well worth it.  I was excited to bring my kids this time.  I have to admit something though.  I bought a t-shirt at CUTB.  Wait, actually I bought two, one for me and one for Steve.  Yes, they’re new shirts, and we don’t need more clothing, but after some careful consideration, I decided to buy them.  Maybe I’m justifying this purchase, but here’s my reasoning:

  • It’s new, but the money is going to the church, who in turn, helps the homeless.
  • It did not come from a major retailer.
  • When we wear them, it’s a conversation starter since it says ‘TROLL’ on the front.  (not that I need a reason to yap about this place, because I’m all about it)
  • T-shirts are the modern day propaganda.  Instead of a t-shirt advertising expensive clothing stores or a cool graphic, how about a t-shirt that has a message communicating what I’m passionate about?

Church Under the Bridge is great and I’m proud to be a troll!  Also, I came home and cleaned out my closet.  I got rid of all my t-shirts that advertise large clothing retailers and  I have a huge bag of clothing to bring to the thrift store.  Did you know that most thrift stores have voucher programs for people in need and some of the donations go right to people that need it?

You can see the rest of my photos from CUTB on flickr.com.

On the way home, there was a place I’ve always wanted to stop.  I’ve passed by it no less than 25 times, and each time they have interesting stuff outside.  We decided to make a quick stop there before lunch.  I’m not sharing the name of the place, you’ll understand why in a moment.

I always carry my camera, especially to a place that has fun stuff.  I snapped a few pics outside, then we went in.  It was a second hand clothing store, specializing in retro clothing.  REAL retro clothing.  I liked a lot of their stuff, but so did they.  A simple pair of pants started at $30.  A t-shirt that you would find at a thrift store for $1 cost $19 at this place.  Now don’t get me wrong, this is clearly a specialty store, and a trendy shopping experience.  I think they might even make some of the clothing there, which I think it’s great to support local mom and pop businesses.  I walked around and snapped a couple more pics.

The man working there was talking to Steve as I was looking around and trying to keep Joe away from stuff.  I saw a painting I liked and snapped a photo.  A lady came out, quite angry, and made it very clear that I was not supposed to take photos.  I respect that and I stopped.  I really liked the painting and asked how much it cost.  Irritated, she replied, “That’s not for sale.  The clothing is for sale, that’s all.  My kid painted that, just look at the clothes.”  Then Cole came in from outside and she yelled at him to go stay with his mother and do not roam around the store.  Yes, it was time to go.

The man followed us out, still talking to Steve, and told me if he had seen my camera, that he would have said something.  He didn’t want any photos, he doesn’t want the place publicized and exploited.  Interesting, as most people call that marketing, and see it as a good thing.  Now you know why I’m not sharing the name.  I respect his wish to remain unexploited and anonymous.  (yes, I took the photo before they told me to quit and I blurred the mannequins face to protect her identity.)  We stood outside and listened to him rant and rave about war, church, the war church up the street, our screwed up society, teen pregnancy in his town being the highest in Texas and SAT scores being the lowest.  As he went on and on, I was wondering if there’s anything this guy likes?  I now know everything he’s against, although I think if we had stayed for another hour, he probably would have lectured us with his seemingly endless oppositions to the world as he sees it.  I made the mistake of telling him we live in Frisco.  He had a field day with that, as all of the non-tax paying rich people live here and we single-handedly started the Tea Party.

This got me thinking.  I tend to rant and rave when I’m passionate about an injustice or something I see as wrong.  I usually don’t take the time to think before I talk, even though I know I should, and usually regret it later.  Not regrets of saying something, but regrets of saying it well.  When people think of me, I wonder if they think of me for what I stand for or what I stand against?  And if I stand for something, am I taking enough action to help the situation, or am I just griping like the guy at the store?  I want to stand for good things and take action to support those things.  What are you for?


Jun 14 2010

[book review] trolls & truth by jimmy dorrell

This is an amazon.com book review I did on June 5th, 2010.

I’m not sure where I first heard about church under the bridge, but I needed to go check it out for myself. I drove down there with a friend to go to church a few months ago. I can honestly say I never thought I would drive 4 hours to go to church. If you haven’t been, it’s amazing and worth an even longer drive than that one.

When I met Jimmy, I had no idea he was the one that started church under the bridge. He was so welcoming and not one of those “untouchable people” that you can’t find or talk to.

I immediately bought his book as soon as I got back from my visit. He talks a lot in here about bringing church to the people. I’ve seen so many models of this lately, and it works! Talk about some radical Kingdom work.

Jimmy communicates some much needed change in the church world as a whole, but does it in a thought provoking way. I don’t see how anyone could read this and not make some positive changes for God’s Kingdom. And if you go to his church, you’re going to just fall in love with Dedrick.


Jun 3 2010

the challenge: day 8 [borrowing & community redefined]

I put the “community” plan into action yesterday.  I borrowed a small hand shovel from my neighbor instead of buying one.  Now I can plan my Asian Jasmine (which I bought almost two weeks ago) and clean up my yard.  I do plan to buy a few vegetable plants for some empty containers I have.  I have a small spice garden already, and guess what?  I haven’t killed anything yet!  And it’s not an imaginary garden!

If you would like to see another really awesome story about sharing and building community, read Ann’s comment to my day 3 & day 4 post.  AWESOME!

And Caron, thanks for letting me borrow your shovel.  Promise to have it back in a couple of days.  The nice thing about sharing with your neighbors?  We all know where everyone lives!  😉