Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Greening of the Gaultney Homestead

I’ve blogged before about my desire to be an eco-friendly, vegan goddess. I really do aspire to live simply, without clutter and the distractions of excess. But I know myself well, and a vegan (or even vegetarian) I will never be; and with everything that is going on in my life –
  • Busy job
  • Three demanding classes in grad school this semester
  • Church commitments
  • Maintaining a happy marriage during a season when time together is a rare commodity

– I know it will be a challenge to go balls-to-the-wall “green.”

(If you’re like me, you just kind of cringed at my use of the phrase “balls-to-the-wall.” I can’t help but get a mental image.)

(You probably just did too. Ha!)

I never made an official New Year’s resolution out of my desire to greenify, but I guess it really was early January when we began to implement easy changes to help the environment and our bodies.

For one thing, Brad and I started a sort-of diet. I call it a sort-of diet because it’s not necessarily that we’re eating only certain foods or restricting ourselves, but we have taken steps to eat healthier, less processed stuff, and I’m cooking a whole lot more. We now shop pretty exclusively at Central Market (my Mecca), and buy a lot of fresh fish, tons of produce, raw nuts and seeds, organic dairy, whole and sprouted grains, and the like. It’s definitely ‘spensive, but when we’re not fighting colds, allergies, and flu (?!), we feel tons better than we used to. And I try to buy the most local products that I can. I wouldn’t call myself a locavore, but I’m moving in that direction.

Brad probably wasn’t thinking about the impact on the environment when he took up his latest hobby, but he has begun homebrewing. This is really great for the environment – so much better than buying beer and wine at the store – because of the carbon impact of the manufacturing facilities and shipping heavy glass bottles. So far he has made a wonderful batch of Amarone wine, using my art as the label for his bottles, and two batches of beer which are also QUITE good!

We’ve given up our dependence on paper towels. ::: cue applause ::: I have been a huge Viva paper towels fan since college. If you’re going to buy a paper towel, I have to say that is the most durable, absorbent brand around, and I love how they don’t have stupid doodles of strawberries or puppies on the towel. Just pure white. But we ran out of paper towels a few weeks ago, and I decided not to replenish! This is one change Brad is still struggling with, but I honestly haven’t missed them. I have tons of cute and functional dish towels and rags that do the job. I’d like to think the money we are saving on paper towels offsets our Central Market grocery bills, but… that's probably a stretch.

(In other paper-related news, I've decided to get behind Sheryl Crow's "one square" campaign and use only one square of toilet tissue per restroom visit. That may be TMI, to use a passe phrase, but it really is very do-able, and a good cost-saving and eco-friendly strategy! I thought it was silly when I first heard of it, but now I'm a believer.)

We’ve been recycling for a while now, but I have ramped up my diligence in that area. It’s pretty eye-opening to see how much waste there would be if we weren’t recycling. We fill up our bin at least once a week. (Dallasites, you can sign up here for the city's free recycling program.)

I could write a little more about some of the changes we’re making, but I think I’ve covered the biggies. For the hardcore greenies, this list probably doesn’t look like much, but it’s a start! We’re just trying to be better stewards of God’s earth and our bodies, His temple.

Psalm 24:1 – 5
The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;

for he founded it upon the seas and
established it upon the waters.

Who may ascend the hill of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?

He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.

He will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication
from God his Savior.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Love Editor

The verdict is in: virus, but not flu (my fever isn't high enough for it to be flu); bronchitis; middle ear infection.

But my doctor hooked me up with a prescription for a Z Pak, and as wary as I am of antibiotics, I'm feeling loads better already! So praise God! And thanks truly for all your well wishes. :-)

On to other, non-sickness tidbits...

My brothers are awesome. I love them both as brothers and friends, and my younger brother Brett brings so much fun to our family. He's the trends editor of his college newspaper, and apparently he's moonlighting as a broadcast reporter too. My dad just sent me a video to Brett's first installment as The University Star's "Love Editor -- first name Love, last name Editor." It's fantastic! I'm so proud.

I've excerpted Brett's segment here:

All I can say is, Stephanie Kusy-Wilson and Summer Ratliff better keep their hands off my baby bro's "luscious locks!"

You can watch the full broadcast here, if you're really interested in SG's rejection of an on-campus concealed carry bill:

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Since it's been a while since I've caught you up, I'll give a little update.

I'll start with the most immediate... I am sick as a dog. For weeks I've been looking forward to this weekend for so many reasons. Brad's step-brother, Kelly, was married this weekend. In Florida. On the beach. At sunset. On Valentine's Day. Roooooomance! (By the way, his new wife's name is KELLY! They are the "two Kellys.")

Brad was a groomsman, and we booked a room at the resort where the wedding would be. I was just so excited about a relaxing long-weekend on the beach, surrounded by family. It ended up being a LOVELY wedding, and I couldn't be happier for the new husband and wife!

I only wish I had been feeling well enough to spend sometime enjoying the gorgeous scenery! Most of last week, Brad and I were just feeling yuck. What's weird is that we've been eating healthier than ever -- tons of veggies, fruit, wheatgrass, fish, little fat, little sugar -- but our immune systems are just pokey all of a sudden!

During our flight to Florida on Friday I just started feeling super mooky. It just got worse throughout the day and the rehearsal dinner, and sure enough, that night it was BAD. I won't get into details, but I'm pretty sure I have a full-blown flu. Didn't sleep a wink, thanks to sickness, bad heating/cooling unit, neighbors playing LOUD music, calling security on neighbors, digital clock freaking out any time a phone signal was detected, phone ringing.... etc.

I had slept about one hour by the time Brad woke up on Saturday. He was completely unaware that I had been sick the whole night before (he has an amazing ability to sleep through ANYTHING), and he told me he had a Valentine's surprise for me. That's about when he noticed that I was curled up in a fetal position shivering. He had already paid for a nearby salon to send someone to give me an afternoon of spa treatments in our hotel room. Soooo sweet, but I just didn't think I could enjoy it given my sickly state. But the spa wouldn't let us cancel without paying the full price, so I went ahead with it.

I'm probably the only girl in the world who has ever tried to turn down such a thoughtful gift... I'm crazy. It ended up being just what I needed. A facial, seaweed wrap, and one-hour massage later, I felt tons better. It was enough to get me through the wedding that evening, and I ended up actually having a ton of fun. I was still sick, but not at all nauseous or head-achey. My husband is the sweetest, most thoughtful man I know, and he goes out of his way to make me believe I'm beautiful.

Sadly, the better health didn't last long. I woke up early this morning and was back to my old sickly tricks. The trip home was torturous... I don't know if you've ever boarded a plane with sinus problems, but the 30 or so minutes of descent make you want to rip your own head off. I've had sinus problems on a plane three times: once coming home from Washington, D.C. at age 12; once coming home from Europe at age 17; and of course, this afternoon, age 23. It's just the most explosive, stabbing, shooting feeling through your ears and into your eyes. Anyway. Tears were involved.

Brad took me to CVS on the ride home from the airport where we loaded up with meds, and then he took off for a kayaking trip with his dad and bro in San Marcos. It's probably better that he's not here; I don't much feel like being around anyone, and I certainly don't want to get him sick.
I have a low-grade fever now, aches, occasional waves of nausea, cough, sore throat, a terribly clogged-up head, and some slight, temporary hearing loss. I can't hear anything in the high registry. In the car when Brad would put the turn signal on, I could only hear the low clicks. It's my car, so I know it has HIGH CLICK, low click, HIGH CLICK, low click. And I could only hear the low click.

I'm hoping I'll be better enough to go to work tomorrow, because things have been VERY busy and I can't really afford to miss another day and let my work fall behind. I was out Friday for the wedding, so I'll already be catching up a little. Then I have class tomorrow night, and I absolutely can't miss any class.

School is going well. I love it, actually, and I'm glad Brad convinced me to do it! I do think I bit off a little more than I can chew; I'm taking three classes, and working full-time (full-full-full-time, some weeks :). I'm a little behind in one of my classes, but I plan on spending all next weekend catching up.

More later. This ended up being a post all about me being sick... Sorry... Love y'all.