New Things

I may or may not make it through this semester, but there is a strategy to surviving some things and it’s basically taking it one thing at a time.

I have some awesome sounding classes this time around. One being Natural History; it’s a science class basically about identifying different organisms and environments of those organisms. The teacher is awesome and seems to have similar beliefs, which is always fun because a lot of people just think I’m crazy, which is fine, but a bit boring at times. His teaching assistant, who teaches the labs is a peach and quite frankly a bit weird, but that’s why I like her. We’re going to get to watch squirrels. It doesn’t get much more interesting than that. Although, the safety presentation she gave us did sound a bit like we might die, but dying while watching squirrels couldn’t be the worst death ever, right?

My other favorite class, Environment and Society, is off to a fascinating start and I’ll give you a loose version of why.

On the syllabus, my professor states that we shouldn’t wear perfumes, lotion, cologne or other strong smelling, chemically stuff because he’s super sensitive to the chemicals. This is interesting to me because my grandmother, mother and I, less than the first two but it’ll probably get worse, are highly sensitive to those chemical things. Then he starts talking about site called Oak Ridge that became to site to build hydrogen bombs for the Manhattan Project in 1942. It went from hydrogen bombs to nuclear bombs. The whole town’s economy runs off this place. Around the ’70s, the managers kind of realized the mercury, 2.4 million pounds to be exact, used from their hydrogen bomb making days is unaccounted for. Basically, they had thrown it into the nearest creek and eventually won itself a spot on the Superfund list. The plant and government covered it up and it wasn’t until five or so years later when an intern started digging around and exposed it. Unfortunately, like most environmental problems, the people were in denial and they didn’t panic and the class discussed why that may of been, but that’s a different thing.

People were getting sick, cancer, ALS, to name a couple of things that were happening. A doctor had moved there and started connect the dots to poisoning from working in the plant. He was bullied by the plant and town, but he continued to help the patients that came to him. Eventually, he left with over $300,000 in legal fees. Some time later, my professor started to work there as an intern. In the middle of internship, he came into work and saw that he office had been taped off as radioactive. When he talked to the boss, the boss told him everything was fine and not to worry. Needless to say, he never went back to the office. Eventually, he had to start seeing the doctor had started uncovering the connection between the factory and health problems. My professor suffers from a variety of health issues, including his allergy to chemical smells, which includes cleaners and air fresheners and other things that are impossible to get away from, and a thyroid problem.

It’s all very interesting because I’ve never encountered someone else with the sensitivity to chemical smells and how he got them was also very interesting.

I’m thinking those two classes will keep me alive through the semester. I hope.

Teens Turning Green

Just as a random fact that I learned on the news today, microbats eat 200 million tons of insects each night. We only recycle 45 million tons of paper each year according to the EPA.  Isn’t that crazy? One bat is outworking our efforts for a year in one night. If you don’t believe it, check it out. SAVE THE BATS PEOPLE!

That’s really wasn’t what I was going to talk about, but I thought you should know. And I actually don’t have a lot to say anyway.

I found a site that aims to help students transition from conventional thinking to a more conscious mindset. It’s called Teens Turning Green and I stumbled onto it because I found a internet advertisement featuring a Go Green 30 day challenge for students.

I don’t usually do these because I have a conscience that never lets me off the hook, so once I’m in, I’m in and I keep that in mind before I agree to do things. I guess its part of the challenge is being challenged, but you just never know. Anyway, as soon as I saw the flier I knew I wanted to do it, no second thoughts. I was hoping to find some more information, but there weren’t a whole lot of examples of what the daily requirements would be, all I know is that they’ll be different each day. I just knew it would help me find out what else I could be doing every day, so I decided it would be worth it.

I know I can do it because I’ve already faced one of my biggest fears and that was to get a bike and ride it school. I was afraid for many reasons. One was I didn’t know if I was in good enough shape to even make it to school. There’s nothing more embarrassing than people being able to see me struggle. There were a couple of hills each way and I didn’t know if I would be able to make it and there would be nothing more embarrassing than sitting in the middle of it, huffing and puffing like an out of shape loser. To be honest, I got there fine, but I had to stop coming back. And yeah, that sucks, but hopefully I’ll get stronger. And now I’ll have to because my parking permit expired for the parking spaces that are actually on campus are sold out and all the other parking spaces are so far away that I might as well just walk from home. Yep, newbie mistake. I’m a loser, but I’ll be one in good shape by the end of the semester. I was also afraid because I thought was going to die from being hit by a car or a heart attack. I’m not writing this from beyond, so I guess it’s safe to say I’ve had a few successful rides. My third reason I was afraid was because I didn’t want to be in school all smelly, sweaty and crazy hair, but to be honest the bike ride add the perfect texture to my beach waves. I sweat a lot because it’s a 100 degrees or more, but that’s just the smell of success, people.

The idea of riding a bike terrified me for many reasons, but I got a bike and rode it several times. I know that if I can do that I can do almost anything. I’ve got until Oct. 1 to second guess, but I already signed it. It’s a done deal.

Anyway, the challenge is 30 days long. It’s aimed at students, but anybody can do it or at least look at the site. It’s pretty cool and has different tips and changes you can make without signing away your soul. I recommend at least checking out the site, but I strongly encourage you to challenge yourself.

That’s my spiel. You can do it. When you start to doubt just remember that someone else is struggling with you and someone believes in you. Good luck!

Friendly Inspirations

A couple of days ago, my best friend called me and she needed help with her speech paper. She said she had been inspired by my upcycling projects. I’m completely flabbergasted. To know why you’ll have to know a couple of thinks about her and our relationship.

There are a couple of things you should know about my friend.

One- we’re almost polar opposites. As far as similar interests or personalities go, we are really not the same at all. She’s positive and I’m….not. She sees the best in people and I…don’t. She’s a drama major, which should tell you that she’s super outgoing and I am….not. The fact that she’s outgoing and I’m not is where I think we’ve always kind of had our bumpy places. I’m  content with just being and she always has to be busy, to be doing something and it frustrates her when she wasn’t. I thought when we went to our separated colleges that honestly I wouldn’t hear from her much after that. It always frustrated her that I wasn’t more outgoing or something and I figured she would find people who were more like her and that would be the end of that.  But that was 2 or 3 years ago and while we don’t talk a lot, I think we’re better friends because of it. I’ve worked on trying to talk more, but I think she has learned to appreciate our differences more, too.

Two- We both love to read. Not the same books, of course, but still it’s something. We both like, somewhat, the same type of movies. I’m more open-minded about what I read and what I watch. I like more action type stuff and she likes more fantasy type stuff, but it doesn’t kill me to watch it. We both loooove chocolate…and dessert. I think that similarity is what held us together all these years.

Three- She loves it when I write her notes. I have always loved to write, but I never considered it as a career until recently. I would usually try to curb it back to one page, but sometimes it was more. I didn’t write anyone else because no one really appreciated them. Writing sometimes brings a somewhat quirky personality out of me and I don’t think a lot of people appreciate it. At first I thought she didn’t like them or care about them because she never wrote back, but later I learned it was because she didn’t like to write. I didn’t know that because she was always so smart and wrote such good papers. And also because I loved to write with every fiber of being and I couldn’t imagine anyone could not like to write. But she loves my notes and she may be the only person in the world who likes my writing. I would love it if she wrote back, but oh well. I don’t write notes on paper any more. I would if we saw each other every day, but instead I send them on Facebook.

Four- She never judges me because of my negativity or cynicism or strong opinions.  People are always telling me that I shouldn’t think a certain way and that I should think that the world is just a bowl full of sunshine and butterflies. I tried to change the way I thought, but it never did work. Partly because I didn’t see anything wrong with having a different perspective. I saw it as honesty and people didn’t like it because they didn’t want to see it. I haven’t told her the worst of it, but I’ve come pretty close. She doesn’t always agree with me, sometimes she does and sometimes she tells me a different way of looking at it, but she never says that I’m a horrible person because of it. Which is such a relief. I don’t want to feel the way I do, but it is what it is and I can’t or won’t change my perception just because it’s hard to deal with. Sometimes I feel as if I’m a bad person because I won’t accept people’s standards. The world should be better. We should be better. She doesn’t make me feel bad. And at this point when I feel more negativity for humanity than I ever have before, this is what I appreciate about her the most.

Five- I mentioned that she’s an extreme busy body. In high school she was in just about every extracurricular ever, except for sports. She was president or secretary or VP or something of most clubs. In college, I think she narrowed it down to mostly theatre or drama type things. She’s also extremely smart. Like straight A student smart. Sometimes I feel a bit unaccomplished, to say the least.

The other day, she called and asked if I would help her with a persuasive speech. She wanted to do it about…..upcycling. She never reads this blog, she hates news and she usually reads for pleasure, so I never expected her to want to read it. Sometimes I post my crafts on pinterest, so she’s been seeing them. I don’t talk to her that much and when I do it’s rarely about anything to do with this blog because I know she’s not interested, so I had no idea that she would be paying attention. She has always recycled and kind of in the environmental thing even before I was, but she does it because she knows it is the right thing and not because she knows all of the science behind it. Anyway, I definitely wasn’t expecting it, but I gave her some resources. I don’t know if she used them, but it got her started.

I’m mostly astounded because she’s never asked for my help with anything. She’s very independent. But she also asked me to listen to her informative speech about the color run.

She said I inspired her to write about upcycling because of my love for the environment and just because it’s cool. I’ll have you know that I haven’t inspired any one in my whole life, least of all her who is almost perfect in every way. So yes, I’m feeling pretty proud of it.

I hope you have a good day!

The University of Dumpster Diving

Yesterday was totally awesome. Like all the other days of my weekend, it started as a bit of a downer, but have no fear my fellow readers…it turned out pretty great.

I’ll skip all the boring depressing stuff and dive right down to the good stuff. Literally.

My parents and I went my aunt’s, my mom’s sister’s, house and we had plans to do some dumpster diving later in the day, but my mom wanted to go check out the thrift stores around down town. Originally we were supposed to go see her on Saturday, but that was before all the depressing stuff happened and as part of our plans we were supposed to go check out their recycling center. They’re center was closed, but because this city is so awesome, it has smaller, I guess I’ll call them, sub-centers, throughout the city. They consist of a dumpster for glass, paper, cardboard, aluminum, tin, plastics, but they’re not the actual processing or whatever centers. I’m not sure what the difference is because our ‘center’ in my city is just pretty much the dumpsters and then they take them to other manufacturing plants and whatnots and then those places process them.

My mom likes to dive for coupons in the paper bins, so that’s what we started out doing. That’s how it always starts. And we always look for wine corks and bottle caps around and what we can reach in the bins. Then my aunt got a little excited and she suggested we go to the other mini-center. We did the same thing again, although this time we got a little more adventurous.

And by adventurous, I mean crazy.

In the tin can bin, we found something that we wanted. It was one of those vintage metal suitcases and I’ve seen made into things like tables and chairs and whatnots. I wanted it and when I want something, I get it.

The bins had lids, so the only way in was a pretty small square hole that hit me just above the waist. So with the help of my aunt and my mother, I hoisted myself up and I got pulled myself into the dumpster. This was my first time actually getting into a dumpster. Usually I just lean over the sides and throw the bags around and dig towards the bottom.  The reason for this is simply because I haven’t had the courage to get in there because once you’re seen then there is no possible way to hide what you’re doing and also cause it’s gross. I just hadn’t gotten that confidence to hold my ground quite yet. Well, yesterday was the day that I got it. But also, I guess I should mention that the place was empty when we first decided this was a good idea. While I was tromping around in the bin (which smelled horribly like tuna by the way) making as much ruckus as a bear in a tin can bin, four cars pulled up. Of course, you can’t just say ‘oh, I accidentally fell in to this bin.’ So, I grabbed my suit case and got the heck out of there. I think it was the first time that I actually didn’t care that there was people looking at me. It was fun. It was a thrill.

That was just the first part. We found a wine tasting place and dove for corks which I use for some projects that I’ll eventually have pictures posted for.

Then we went to the university dorms. The same ones that we went to for the first dumpster dive we did.  We found some awesome stuff. I didn’t think we’d find anything besides food since it wasn’t the end of the semester. Let me give you a bit of advice. Never under estimate the wastefulness, ridiculousness, irrationality of young adults.  We found shirts, shoes, notebooks, plastic plates (which my mom had been looking for for a project that she was working on), books, silverware, two pairs of pants and what looks to be a brand new hoody which has the school name on it. I was especially excited about the hoody for two reasons. One, I love hoodies. Two, this school will be my future university for the fall and they’re clothes aren’t usually the cheapest things ever. I think it will probably be too big, but it’s pretty cool anyways.  I said in my last post that I would be on the search for places to dumpster dive for clothes and so I would like this to be my first suggestion. University/College Dorm Dumpsters!