Holiday, corruption, drug resistance, sleep & happiness – in that order

Last post in a while. We’re off on family holiday in Portugal tomorrow morning and I’m not bringing my ailing Mac-baby. It will rest in our safe. Don’t try to rob our house, we have alarm and neighbourhood watch ;-)

Politics:

American justice is a strange phenomenon. I’ve never liked the fact that judges are elected directly by the public. It appeals to a kind of ambition that a judge should not have… This story from the New York Times confirms your worst suspicions! Had it been a film, you would probably have judged it incredible, had it been a book it would have been written by Elmore Leonard.

Environment:

Sometimes I have discussions with people about why one should buy organic household products. I do it because I want to do my teeny weeny little bit to not add more to pollution than necessary to that very limited resource of ours, water. It’s not just me flushing less chemical sludge into the sewers, it’s also the factories producing the products I use. I must then live with the fact that it’s more difficult for me to keep my whites white and that my clothes don’t smell like a meadow of lilies. Here’s an article from the Guardian referring to a study, which has shown that many household products like shampoo and cleaning agents contain substances which further the development of certain microbes in water, which in turn spread drug resistant bacteria into the environment (=us).

Science:

Worry dolls. Picture from Wikipedia.
Worry dolls. Picture from Wikipedia.

Sleep, that lovely thing we do every night and think little of when we get enough. Anyone who has suffered from prolonged sleep problems or who has small children and a job knows how important it is and how terrible it feels when you don’t get enough. Even when it’s only a few nights. Scientists are still working to understand sleep, but here’s an article which tells about short- and long term consequenses of sleep deprivation. Get your sleep while you can! I have a sleep tip for those of us who will lose sleep over worries: In South America they use “worry dolls“, tiny little dolls to whom you tell your problems before placing them under your pillow. Something happens when you voice your concerns. Sometimes they disappear altogether, other times they are just put into perspective. If you don’t have access to worry dolls (who has?), try writing your worries on a piece of paper or a note book before you go to sleep. It works more often than not. At least for me.

Happiness:

On Twitter someone recommended this very seasoned blogger, Lisa Williams. That was just as well, because she has a most interesting post about happiness, a whole new take on the subject. If you’re half as interested in the subject of happiness as I am (who isn’t btw?), then you’ll enjoy reading Lisa’s little insightfull post. I’ve written about happiness previously. Here latest.

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Powerless

At 9 o’clock this morning the power went. Not just in our flat, but in the entire neighbourhood. And it stayed off long enough (around 2 1/2 hours) to make itself felt. What was there left to do? Mobile phone still worked, so could talk, text and also browse web, post on Facebook and Twitter. But that’s not really what I want to do between 9-11, which is normally my most productive time of the day. So I went to the gym, which is far enough away so it wasn’t hit by the outage. On coming home, the power was back on – and so was the heating, brrr it got cold very, very quickly! We have central heating, but that too needs electricity!

A good chair, a warm shawl, something worthwhile to read and a nice cup of tea...
A good chair, a warm shawl, something worthwhile to read and a nice cup of tea...

Husband and I talked about what we REALLY need, how we would enjoy – or not – living in a more frugal society, if that indeed becomes the reality as predicted by James Lovelock.

In such a life we wouldn’t be entirely without electricity but would have to prioritise what we want to use the limited amount on. Main priorities:

Heating (incl. hot water), light, fridge, computer, Internet access, washing machine.

Picture from Agathyme.com
Picture from Agathyme.com

Although it would be quite a change, we believe we could live happily with a gas fired AGA, which would produce heat in addition to food (besides taking up half the space in the kitchen…). I already bake all bread myself, so would just have to get friendly with the AGA. Electric kettle, toaster, Kitchen Aid & hand mixer, microwave, clothes dryer, dishwasher, hair dryer, electric razor, TV, DVD-player, game consoles, stereo etc. we decided that we could live without. Some with more regret than others. The computers, the mobile phones and the digital cameras could all be charged via some of the better solar chargers out there.

If we had our own house and garden, we could have solar panels on the roof and probably generate enough power to heat the water we needed. Also, we could grow our own vegetables, we did that in our house in Denmark. Besides being enjoyable, the veg tastes better and it’s healthier. If we also had a greenhouse, we’d be able to prolong the season a lot.

Most houses and flats today come without a larder. For the younger readers I’ll explain that a larder is a smallish (or big, in a big house) cool and dry place where you store foodstuffs. If you had a larder, you’d only need a fridge half the size of the ones we have today, because lots of the things we put in the fridge, don’t need temperatures that low. It’s only really milk products, fish and meat that need such low temperatures.

Could go on like this, I guess, but what’s my point? My main point is probably that we’re so d… lucky to live in such affluence where everything we need comes out of sockets, taps, shops etc. All we need to do is pay… And as long as we have the money, we pay, but maybe we don’t think enough about the other kinds of currency we’re using when we gluttonously devour all the things on offer?

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So so sad and so so frightening

I used to grow these in my garden (echinacea) and they attracted scores of bees and butterflies.
I used to grow these in my garden (echinacea) and they attracted scores of bees and butterflies.

Just read in yesterday’s Times about the plight of the (bumble)bee. I’ve read about the trouble of the bee population diminishing rapidly before, but this article, in such a conservative paper, really spells it out so there’s no misunderstanding it: If nothing is done – and maybe even if something IS done – the bee and the bumble bee will be extinct in Britain 8 years from now. Eight years! In evolutionary terms that in the blink of an eye!

If there was ever a really good and totally tangible reason to buy organic products, this is one. For more reasons than one: To reduce pollution with fertilizers etc. To encourage the exchange of crops from one year to the next. To encourage the re-entry of clover, which is apparently the most important crop to attract honey bees.

So come on now, all you out there. Buy organic! Not just baby food, but everything you can lay your hands on.  It’s not always easy and I myself could do much better. I also realise that for some people it’s not an option for economic reasons. But I know that a lot of my readers could easily afford it if they so chose! Quite a lot of the foodstuffs that we can’t get in the organic versions in the supermarkets, we could buy online if we could be bothered. And here in England we can buy lots of lovely organic stuff at the farmers’ markets. But if we at least start by buying the food basics organically, it’s a start. So organic fruit, veg, bread and flour. And organic chickens, veal, beef and lamb.

And you garden lovers out there! You’ll be first to suffer, because a certain species of bees, specialising in fertilization of so-called deep-throated flowers like foxgloves, irises, red clover etc. are almost already extinct and their southern European brothers, which are being imported to take their place, don’t have long tongues and thus can’t fertilize the above mentioned flowers. So throw your fertilizers in the bin and get out there and do your bit for the bee!

Take out the time and read the article if you think I’m exaggerating!

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