changeling: (Default)
I've been re-reading Living the Good Life: How one family changed their world from their own backyard, by Linda Cockburn (and her accompanying website) I first heard of Linda back in July–August 2005, when Steph and I were babysitting a beautiful house in Kingsville (I want to say "cottage" – it was pretty small), living out of home together and for the first time, going vegan, and embracing wholefoods ... and losing weight without trying. There was an article on what they were trying to achieve in Gardening Australia's organic gardening magazine. Later, when the book came out (February 2006), I snapped up a copy and wolfed it down as fast as humanly possible.

The book charts Linda and her family's attempt to live for six months without spending a dollar (barring things like medical expenses and rates). And they succeed pretty well, considering they're in Queensland and it was one of the dryest six months on record in their region (and frankly, probably in the whole of Australia). I found it so inspirational, as if someone had just projected my desires into a book. THIS is what I want to do with my life.

I have since found Cauldron Farm and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, who've also got pieces of the puzzle. These people are all so inpirational. I can't wait until Steph and I have enough capital built up to take our own step.

I just re-took the Global Footprint test online, and my results were pretty good:
CATEGORYGLOBAL HECTARES
FOOD0.4
MOBILITY0.8
SHELTER0.6
GOODS/SERVICES           1.1
TOTAL FOOTPRINT2.9


IF EVERYONE LIVED LIKE YOU, WE WOULD NEED 1.6 PLANETS.

It's slightly bollocks: it didn't take into account (for example) that I eat organic food (fewer nasties getting into the environment, less water use); that we flush the loo with shower water (and sometimes with discarded laundry water); that we switch our appliances off at the wall to avoid phantom loading; that we only switch the TV on about once or twice a week (to watch Robin Hood), that we source our electricity from Green Power; that S and I try to shower together, and briefly, only every other day and that on alternating days we bathe out of a sink; and so on and so forth. Still, I got markedly below the average for Australia – 7.6 global hectares per person, meaning that if everyone lived like that, we'd need 4.2 planets.

Still, it gives us something to aim at, and we're improving, too. We're going to get rid of the car indefinitely in the next six months (the only difficulty will be intra- and interstate morris trips – there we'll either have to rely on other people's goodwill or V-Line) and replacing it with electric bikes. Mine will have to get another basket affixed to it, as my pushbike has, and possibly a basket in front, so that I can market shop if we move somewhere further away than we currently are from a market & public transport. Once we have our own place and are not renting, we'll be moving towards sourcing most of our food (we'll probably still be buying sugar and flour). We also plan on getting a composting toilet, solar hot water, and solar panels for electricity.

And we plan on moving out of the city. I want to smallhold (just like Hugh ...) The current plan is to move to Marysville (she says, having not yet visited it). It's sub-alpine, has more rainfall than Melbourne (currently a BIG factor), and apparently has four distinct seasons and tends to the COLD. This all makes me extraordinarily happy. I have planned on moving to England for years and years, but Steph was moved around a lot as a child, so the idea of permanently relocating again moves her to tears. This way I get an England-esque climate, not to mention RAINFALL, and we'll only be a bit further away from Melbourne than the distance between our parents' places.

I can't WAIT to get started. In the short term, though, we have a couple more pots that need filling, which we're going to tuck in to this weekend. (Hooray! Finally!) And I just might plant some basil in the backyard to let it grow wild.

Further inspiring links:
A cute mindmap of things you can do to lessen global warming (I've printed it and it's going on our fridge)
A link to an organic gardening how-to site (this is mostly for me)
A website giving tips on how to lessen global warming, based in Tasmania.
changeling: (Default)
The "I'm a Mac" ads have jumped the Atlantic. Check out the UK versions. The first two are the best, in my opinion. (P.S. I've seen the Mac stark bollocking naked. Strange, but true.)

The sister-in-law's home today, too. Luckily for me, I have the cheap foam earplugs that S & I got at the Somebody Gypsies Counterfeit Gypsies' gig, and a pair of cheap computer stereo headphones to put over the top to complete blocking out her music with mine. It is an unfortunate fact that both S and her sister like playing a few select songs on repeat, while I cannot stand hearing songs too frequently or for too long a duration. Combine with that (what I consider to be) her abysmal taste in music, and you have lots and lots of unfun coming my way. And, dammit, today I want to use the computer, which means somehow putting up with her music. I choose blocked ear passages.

I tell you what, though. Between the kinesiologist telling me I need to let my creativity out, and Jess giving us each a booklet of writing prompts, and my old friend Issy calling out of the blue and inviting me to a writing group she's running (working through Julia wossnameCameron's The Artist's Way), it certainly feels like Someone (or several Someones) conspiring to Tell Me Something.

Oh, and S & I have taken to a new "vegan" food - nutritional yeast. We started with powdery stuff (the organic shop's assistant hadn't heard of nutritional yeast, which rather made me question how long she'd been working in such a shop), then the parents-in-law found the flakes the next weekend. My current favourite breakfast thing is toast with American mustard and yeast flakes on top. The flakes might look – and smell – a bit like fishfood, but I think it's tasty.

Chalk that up as one more odd food I'd never have tried without this wacky veganism thing.
changeling: (Default)
Check out this. It's a little ditty about a giant green lizard destroying the Earth, and is truly AWESOME. So cool. I think I'm gonna watch it again. My favourite bit is how the lizard has little glasses.

Oh, I'd recommend you watch this. It's very well done. Amusing with a whack of pathos at the end.


So, job. I've applied for another one at Oxbridge, and they gave me a call today to say they had my resume, and didn't realise I wanted full-time work (I'd applied for a part-time position earlier this year, but they ended filling it from within). I think this is a positive sign.

I also applied tonight for an editorial assistant position at [publisher]. They basically want an admin assistant with frills, which is pretty much me ... I wrote three pages on my cover letter. This is two and a half more than usual, but they requested I answer their criteria.

Work continues to both suck and rock. I'm working at a brand new aged care home – temp company 1 sorted it for me without even knowing I had a background in aged care administration. I had a stupid amount of work given to me today, and I couldn't get it all – or even half of it – done. This is what happens when your receptionist/admin assistant is a moron and doesn't think to set up a database (I can no longer direct my snark at the girl I replaced. She is attempting to straighten the office based on what the girl before her left behind. Still, I suspect I am more knowledgable etc than girl-I-replaced. I know I have better spelling. STILL! I will not snark!), so you have no list of resident next-of-kin or staff addresses. This sucks when the manager asks you to send out a letter of introduction to EVERY cognisant resident, all residents' next-of-kin, staff and attending doctors. It also severely sucks when you can't find your predecessor's stash of sticky labels so you have to label the envelopes BY HAND.

But! the people are nice, I'm going to have a ball writing a how-to manual for reception (if I can find the time around the endless addressing-of-envelopes), and the outgoing manager told me that I ROXXOR HER SOXXORS (well, near enough).

I got asked twice today why I didn't switch my (own, personal) air conditioner on. Well, because I was not that hot! Also, I am trying to acclimatise myself to summer by not refrigerating myself. Not to mention the savings in electricity.

Also, one of the RN div 1s told me today that I looked like the perfect receptionist "like out of a book". I think this was meant to be a compliment; I choose to presume that in COMMUNIST RUSSIA (her name is Olga. Surely she has to come from Communist Russia or there is no justice in the world) receptionists are revered above all persons, including presidents. I'm not quite sure how I look like the "perfect receptionist". Perhaps it was my long hem (losing weight has dropped the hem an inch or so even lower) on my skirt – though it is a nifty handkerchief hem! I'm not sure where my chic 20s-influenced curls fit in. I don't know; maybe it was just my glasses.

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