My favorite days are the ones when I accomplish a lot. Tuesday night was one of those nights when I got a lot of things done and felt great. I did two loads of laundry (I do laundry at my cousin’s house, three blocks away, so this involved some exercise too), pulled out my sewing machine and did some more mending, made a good dinner, washed dishes, and decorated my Christmas tree!
I forewent the usual Christmas music accompaniment –my soundtrack was Bruce Springsteen. I’ve also been crocheting a new dishcloth, mostly at work, and working on mending that is too detailed for the machine.
I am now in the throes of holiday festivities, with a holiday party at work last week, a wonderful Hanukah party at Leah’s last Saturday, gathering last night with Matt’s family to decorate his dad’s Christmas tree, and an all-staff holiday gathering today. Right now I'm in the middle of working on more gifts! This weekend will include volunteering at the Jesuit High School Alumni food drive (Matt and his sister both went to Jesuit), a holiday party at my house, a holiday party at another friend’s, running lots of errands, and hopefully attending a Celtic fiddle concert!
My family (Mom, Dad, and brother Tighe) is coming to Portland for Christmas this year, so I am also planning and working logistics for that. They will be staying at my cousin Carol’s house, my apartment is just too small for more than two people! I am excited to have a cozy Christmas here in my own space, and do lots of cooking for my family! I’ve been sadly lax on the cooking front lately, as I haven’t really had much time at home with so much going on in the evenings. But this weekend and early next week I will be a cooking maniac, preparing all the traditional holiday food I grew up with. Strangely, I’m most excited about the chex mix! I also need to make a fresh batch of granola before the family arrives, and will cook Christmas Eve dinner for them.
I’ve made a couple nice inroads this week in terms of living sustainably:
• I put a compost jar in the kitchen at work! I’ve been meaning to do this for awhile and finally got around to it. I will take it home to my compost bin every couple of days, but I feel much better now, since a little part of me dies every time I see orange peels and tea bags going into the garbage. Sadly, this effort is involving a little more education than I foresaw, mostly along the lines of “No, actually, foil-lined teabag wrappers are not compostable.” It is a good reminder for me that composting is not such a norm for everyone as it is for me, and that this is good opportunity to open the minds of my little community of coworkers!
• I talked to my landlord and he has ordered me a low-flow showerhead and an aerator for my kitchen sink. Both of these items, and a lot of other water-saving devices, are free to Portland Water Bureau customers. Those of us who are tenants have to get our landlords to order them, because they are the customers, but I feel like any landlord would be happy to do it, because of the savings in money, if not the lower environmental impact. My current showerhead is one of the 5 gallon per minute ones, the new one will be 1.5 gallons per minute. This will save so much in terms of water and money, and also will make my hot water last longer! The aerator will decrease the amount of water that comes out of the kitchen faucet, without decreasing the pressure. My landlord made it sound like he had ordered these for all the apartments in the house!
Mixed in with all this, I continue to work on my personal statement for my application to PSU and round up my letters of recommendation. I anticipate I will be happily busy now through Christmas weekend! I wish you all the happiest of holidays. May you be surrounded by good friends and family, good food and good music!