Getting cranky (Day 173)…

August 20, 2007

head lamp

While on this cycling trip a couple weeks ago, I quickly realized how ridiculously unprepared I was for the weather. Despite the gear list advising us to bring warm sleeping bags and heavy fleece jackets, I just flat-out refused to believe Oregon could possibly get that cold in August, and so instead packed this Equatorial +15ºC sleeping bag, which was so thin I actually wore it as a scarf most nights and slept in layers of other people’s sweaters.

I also brought a couple long-sleeved T-shirts I figured would only be needed if it rained or something, and didn’t bother with any hat or warm socks.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Needless to say, I was freezing almost every night. And then, to make matters worse, my flashlight died. It was some cheap thing that didn’t have replaceable batteries, but because it was pretty crappy to begin with, I decided it was time to get a real flashlight. I wanted one of those geeky headlamp ones, too, because it would allow me to do important stuff like s’more assembly and lip gloss reapplication with both hands.

When I went to Grassroots today, I found exactly what I was looking for: the “Dynamo-powered” (ie. crank-up) LED headlamp from Novelty Imports. It said it would never need batteries or bulbs, and could even charge cell phones with the right adapter.

I suppose I could have gone the solar-panelled route, too, but then there’s something a bit more satisfying in producing light with my own energy.


I’m a fan of fans (Day 155)…

August 2, 2007


Today, in Toronto, it was 38 degrees, one of those days when it feels like you’re working up a sweat just by breathing. Without air-conditioning, it was pretty stifling in my apartment, and Sophie was none too pleased either — this was demonstrated by her shedding everywhere, then eating the clumps of fur later as though they’d turned into food, which meant she’d be coughing up hairballs everywhere. Then she decided to pee on the living room rug, poop on the bed and save a little extra where that came from for the doormat. Ah, the companionship of pets.

The thing is, Canadians are very reluctant to complain about hot weather because we spend so much of the year whining about the cold and snow. Indeed, if it were sunny and hot like this all year round, I really wouldn’t kick up much of a fuss. In the mean time, however, I need to find a way to beat the heat, and when I was in Madrid, I noticed most women carried around these beautiful paper fans. You could buy them on practically every street corner for just €2 (is that a Euro sign? Did I press the right key?), so I got one and brought it back home with me.

Now, I know it’s not made from recycled paper and it may or may not come from China, but there weren’t really many other options other than making my own, and I’m just not that crafty.

And while using a hand-held fan in itself isn’t much of a green change, the fact that I’m no longer going to use my electric fan is.

Photo courtesy of this artsy fartsy site

This isn’t working out (Day 144)…

July 22, 2007

I have to confess something: Back on Day 15, when I was training for my 10K run and said I wouldn’t use the treadmill anymore and only go jogging outside — well, if it was especially cold and miserable, I’d often make it a cross-training day and use the elliptical or stationary bike instead.

So to make up for this, I’m going to hereby swear off any electrical forms of exercise whatsoever. If it’s cycling I want, I’ll hop on my bike. If it’s the StairMaster I’m craving, I’ll go find a set of steps to run up and down on. And in the Winter, when the lethargy sets in along with the extra calories from all the mashed potatoes and other comfort foods, I’ll dig out the skates from my parents’ basement or go rent a pair of skis and force myself to get an invigorating outdoor workout.

Showering in the dark (Day 125)…

July 3, 2007

The light in my bathroom went out this morning — it’s one of the few halogens that I unfortunately can’t switch to a CFL — and I didn’t have time to get a new bulb. So instead, I just brushed my teeth and took a shower with it off. I felt a bit silly at first, but because the sun had already come up, I could see well enough to get all my ablutions done without a problem. Then I thought, “Why not do this for the rest of the year?”

I’m not going to put my makeup on without some decent lighting so I’ll switch it on for that, and when the days get shorter in the Winter I might need to turn it on at some point so I don’t start washing my face with conditioner and brushing my teeth with moisturizer. But for now, I’ll be using a little less power for my shower.

‘Da kinks in my hair (Day 123)…

July 1, 2007

hair iron

This is a sort of Ironing Part 2 (that subject line is a nod to this local play, which was moderately entertaining). In short, I’m unplugging my hair-straightening iron for good. Well, if it’s a super-special occasion — like a wedding or something — then I may cave. But essentially, it’s kaput.

I know what you’re thinking:

“Could you have any more hair-related crap?!”

Why yes, actually, take your pick: anti-frizz humectant, curling serum, holding spray, round brushes and flat brushes … I did warn you I was a product junkie.

Anyway, I guess I just felt like a bit of a cheat when I started restricting my time with the hair dryer while still indulging in a bit of flat-iron every now and then to get those pesky front bits straight. But in the name of saving electricity, it’s being strangled with its cord like my heating pad and shoved unceremoniously into my bathroom drawer.

An increase in creases (Day 122)…

June 30, 2007


There’s nothing I hate more than waking up and finding a new wrinkle — whether it’s one on my forehead or one in the shirt I planned to wear to work that morning.

But of course every time I iron my clothes, more electricity gets used, especially because I have no idea how to do it properly and end up taking forEVER to get the job done). Now, I’m not about to show up to a hot date or job interview in a pair of wrinkley, bunched-up pants, but I will be limiting how often I use my iron, as well as how high I crank it.

I’m hereby restricting its use to special occasions and/or crease-prone materials like linen. Furthermore, when I do use it, I’ll make sure to keep it on medium heat and try to get batches of stuff done at once rather than individually.

Image courtesy of WeeRobbie on Flickr

Elevating my green status (Day 108)…

June 16, 2007

I’m not about to go all No Impact Man and stop using elevators, but the more I think about it, the more I realize my lifestyle is pretty low-rise, and thus conducive to taking the stairs. I work on a third floor, live on a fourth floor, go to a doctor’s office on a second floor, dentist’s office on a first floor and most of my friends live in houses or similarly low-level condos.

I usually take the elevator in my building when my arms are loaded with groceries or I’m stumbling home after a late night out, and as long as a bunch of other people are waiting for it, I don’t think I’m consuming that much more energy if I hitch a ride up (or down) with them.

But if there’s no one there and it’s just me with my purse — although, let it be known, the purse is beginning to weigh as much as a small child with all the green gear I’m carrying now — I do feel a bit of guilt. So from now on, I’m going to take the stairs…

Unless: 1) I’ve got my bike with me, in which case I may attempt it but only if I’m feeling spry; 2) I’m going up to a floor higher than 10 storeys; or 3) If I’m with a group of people going to the same floor and can’t persuade them to join me in a quad workout. Also, I’ll still take escalators and moving sidewalks because they’re in perpetual motion regardless.