Monday, August 13, 2007

3 Months

Denial vs. survival.....I'm starting to push the thoughts out of the way when they come at inopportune times. But I'm certainly still dealing rather well, letting myself cry, had two decent breakdowns this weekend . . . just finding myself saving it for less public times. That's gotta be a natural evolution; I mean, people let you weep in the early days, wherever, whenever, but now that a reasonable amount of time has gone by (reasonable to whom is certainly a question), it becomes less seemly somehow to let yourself grieve in public. I know I shouldn't give a crap, and I don't's more a personal choice, especially since my weeping of late seems to come from some deep chasm, making me feel as though I won't be able to stop. So it's better that I'm keeping it to myself for now.

Still, it's a little baffling that it's been 3 months already...normally I'd be pleased that the summer's flying by like that, and I probably would be now, were it not for the fact that the true Florida summer weather seemed to have kicked in finally around August 1...this past week, the heat indices reached into the 100s. It's really been mild for Florida standards up until now this summer (well, to me anyway, and that's saying something, because I seriously loathe this state's weather), and I hope that doesn't mean we're in for a short autumn...autumn is usually a take-what-you-get notion in Florida anyway, but it's my favorite season so naturally I want more of it.

Knitting kimono and hat...naturally didn't get those suckers done in a weekend. Saturday I tidied and puttered, weeded my vast collection of aloe (seriously, KBers, who wants some?!), and then went to Mom's to do laundry, hang, and catch the Suns game with my mom. Really nice time with Mom...we both enjoy the people-watching at a venue like a Suns game, as much or more than the game itself, plus a rain delay lent a blessed coolness to what had been a rather sweaty event. Sunday I cased the local Farmer's Market again, which proved very disappointing, did a small shop for groceries, and relaxed the rest of the day. Luckily my boss is on paternity leave right now, so I've got some time to spare on the baby stuff. He's getting aloe too. >:)

Why was the Farmer's Market disappointing, you ask? Because it ain't real, not by a long shot. I went looking for farmers, and instead found dressed-down retailers, where the supposedly local produce is mixed in with California onions, and bananas, mangos, and pineapple that you know aren't grown in Florida (we're tropical, but not that tropical). It's infuriating...makes me wonder if they sprinkle dirt on the potatoes to make them look more authentic. I'm sure there's a couple of genuine farmers in the mix, but it was also in the 90s and I just didn't have the energy at the time to inquire. It got me thinking hard about a couple of things:
1. Expanding my search to the true 100-mile radius that people use as a barometer when searching for local foods. This would be a slow process, given the gas prices and our financial sitch, but the outcome would be worth it.
2. Performing an audit on the local farmer's markets...thinking up questions to ask them about their operation, where they're located, what other markets they frequent, etc. Kingsolver's book is excellent, but there's definitely a need for something from a lower-class point of view, someone like me who's going to be trying to grow food on an apartment porch and searching for local food sources in an area that's known for citrus and not much else.

I went shopping yesterday with a carefully rationed amount of money, and used my cell phone's calculator to note everything that went into my cart, so that I wouldn't embarass myself in the checkout line. It sparked something inside me...that combined with the inability to buy things I wanted to, because the good stuff costs more. I want to be able to buy the good stuff, the organics and fair trade products, and as much as it requires more money coming in, it also requires we make good and proper use of that money when we have it. Firehouse or Pizza Hut vs. a home-cooked meal is an excellent example; we've been lazy for far too long. I've planned meals the past couple of days...even if it's as simple as "the roast hasn't defrosted enough yet, let's do sandwiches," the difference it makes vs. us standing around going "I don't know, what do you want?" is marked. And if we want pizza, I want the damn ingredients on hand to make it from scratch...I think I'd enjoy veggies on my pizza if they were fresh and I knew where they came from. It's such a neat and simple idea, and one that must pay off in spades in maintaining a level of continuity when you have kids, the idea of having one night, like Friday (because it's a celebration of the weekend ahead), be a make-your-own pizza/burger/sub/whatever night. Why pay good money for something the consistency of corrugated cardboard when you could be treating yourself to homemade sauce, fresh veggies, and meats where you actually have a clue of the fat content?

So. Frigging. Inspired. Next step is reading The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan, and finding a copy of Plenty by Smith & MacKinnon, a BC couple who tried a similar experiment as Kingsolver's clan (a year of local eating). In the meantime, I just finished Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, so I'm going to start at the beginning and read it through again. Most of her husband's essays have links to various websites to learn more about how to positively impact the environment, and it's time for some of her daughter Camille's recipes to get trial runs.

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