On the Agenda

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Rainbows and Meatballs

Right now there is about three inches of snow on my porch. It's the first decent sticking snow we've had all winter, and it's beautiful. It kinda makes me want to go to bed and wish for Christmas.

The new experience of the day today was my attendance at the local Rotary Club. I went as a guest of my coworker, who attends regularly on behalf of our organization. The first thing that struck me was the homogeneity of the group. The overwhelming majority was of one race, one gender, and on generation. It really makes me wonder what is going to happen to groups like Rotary and to all the good work they do when this generation ages out -- maybe something to worry about sooner rather than later. Nevertheless the food was delicious (Swedish meatballs are one of my favorites), the student-of-the-month presentation was heartwarming and the program was interesting. One of the Rotarians had recently spent some time in Tanzania, visiting churches and a brand new hospital.

What I liked most about his presentation was the photo slideshow. After many study abroad and mission trip spiels, it never fails to amaze me how colorful and bright and clean these people's clothes are. First off it makes me think that if we all still used the sun instead of dryers, that products like Clorox2 would not be necessary. Second, it makes me kinda jealous of this whole form of expression that they have that we do not. I know that people in the Global North use fashion to express themselves, often to a fault, but it doesn't match the colors and the symbolism and the importance that cloth and pattern has for people in poorer parts of the world.

Of course this isn't the only message I got from Rotary today, but it was the part that stuck with me. In other news, my friend Anoop Desai made it to the next round of American Idol. Normally I am not a fan, but it's pretty exciting when you're watching every montage for a familiar face. Rock on, Anoop Dog. Peace.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Canvas Bagging It

Just an intro note to start with: Normally I get my images from the Creative Commons search on Flickr, and I post the username of the photog and a link to the CCLicense. I generally post these very small. But this time I really wanted to point out the image and the great project behind it. So click on the link about and then click back through all the previous posts. I thing it's a wonderful idea, and her little playing card paintings are so adorable!

Other than the Lunchbox Project, what I really wanted to highlight is the concept of the waste-free lunch. I know it's definitely not a new idea (I have vivid memories of an American Girl accessory set that involved a red gingham napkin in a lunch pail... but after a short search I'm either crazy or they've stopped making it). But for some reason I'm taken in by it anyway.

All our ziploc bags seem ridiculous. Even the paper sacks seem ridiculous. Even the most irresponsible youngster manages to bring his lunchbox home more often than not (I would think), but for some reason we still pack in containers that we easily can toss afterwards.

The two companies I have seen do this well (and the things I really want to buy and use every week) are these: Laptop Lunches makes a sort of Americanized version of the bento box. They include the outer box and four smaller inside containers, plus a tiny little container for salad dressing, etc. The whole kit comes with some silverware and a book about packing healthy lunches. Unfortunately all the lunchbox books out there are for parents trying to pack lunches for their picky children. This is frustrating as I am neither a child nor a picky eater, at all. But the Laptop Lunch book also has some good grocery-buying tips, etc.

The second thing I think is awesome are these fabric alternatives to ziplocs. I came across some in a store downtown this weekend that carried some with a water-resistant lining and a snapping flap, but I kinda like these velcro ones from Plum Creek Mercantile. Plum Creek also carries these cool bulk bags that you can take with you to the store. I'm really trying to buy certain foods in bulk this time. Between the wasted packaging and all the wasted or simply stale food and spices, it just doesn't make sense to buy conventionally packaged foods. Lucky for me we have a great natural foods store that has an excellent bulk section. I even got my soy sauce in bulk, and I think I paid like 97 cents for it.

So just a bit of an eye-opener/cool trend that I wanted to share. Developing my wish list and my shopping list. Healthy food, healthy planet. Peace.