Saturday, March 22, 2008

Barack Obama for President

It's time to get political! :) Can you believe the election is just a few months away?

I wanted to let you know that I am supporting Barack Obama for president. I think he is our best shot at real change in this country. I have donated to his campaign and I am also making calls to unregistered voters to try to get them to register to vote, and to vote for Obama.

I encourage you to check out his website and read up on his policy positions and background. I really think he is the best choice for our country. He rocks!

Here are links to learn more about his positions on the three things that I think are most important in this campaign:

The Iraq War

Health Care

Global Warming

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Five years of war

Five years. It is hard to believe that we have been at war that long. The picture to the left is of me and Cecile in 2003, protesting the start of the war in a massive demonstration in SF. It makes me so sad to look at it. How can the war still be going on?

I attended a candlelight vigil in Mountain View last night that was put on by MoveOn and Mountain View Voices for Peace. We had a good turnout, about 50 people with signs and candles standing on the corner of El Camino Real. We had an amazing response from the cars driving by. Over half of the cars honked in support or gave us a thumbs up or a peace sign. People shouted "thank you!" and "bless you!" out of their car windows at us. What a contrast to the protest that I organized in 2004 in Mountain View where almost no one honked. In 2004 we even had one guy shout "You're a bunch of COWARDS!" out the window at us.

After we had held up signs and candles for about an hour, we got together to listen to the vigil organizer, Karen, speak. She told us how her son was killed while serving in Iraq four years ago. Ken would have turned 30 last year--along with Vince and I--if he had not been killed. It was heart-breaking to hear her story. It haunts me. She asked us to do something everyday to end the war. I told her that I would. As we were packing up from the vigil she shook her head and said, "We don't want to have to be here next year."

Monday, March 10, 2008

Eatin' Local

Spring is in the air, finally! This winter has been terrible here in the Bay Area. Everyone I know got really sick--myself included. I spent much of January in bed with multiple bouts of cold and flu. So it is very exciting to have a chance to get into the garden and get out to the farmers market! My other big resolution this year is to eat locally as much as I can. It is really scary when you realize how much of the food we eat come from countries located THOUSANDS of miles away. How can that apple possibly be fresh if it was shipped from Chile a month ago? I challenge you to take a look at the food you eat on just one day and see where it is from. Then, try to incorporate some local foods into your diet. You don't have to go whole hog (pun intended). But it is a great idea to support local farmers in your area, reduce the use of fossil fuels to ship your food around the world, and eat healthier, fresher produce. The folks at '100 mile diet' have put together a great website about eatin' local. Check it out here.

My favorite way to eat local is by shopping at the Sunnyvale Farmers Market. Vince always makes a bee line for Acme Breads. You can find me in the line for fresh tofu (!) at Toofu and then we meet up at Happy Boy Farms. Did you know that butter lettuce actually tastes like butter? That carrots can be as sweet as honey? I didn't know these things until I went to the farmers market.

We also get local organic produce delivered to our house every two weeks as we can't get to the farmers market every weekend. The folks at Capay Organics do a really great job. For 29 bucks you get a huge box of food. And it forces us to cook at home, because we don't let anything go to waste. We can actually cook with kale and radicchio now, though we are still struggling with mustard greens. Does anyone have a good recipe for mustard greens?

And of course, our garden is the ultimate source of local grub. We start planting next weekend and I will keep you posted.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Buying nothing in 2008...or at least buying used

My new years resolution--ok, Chinese new years resolution--is to try to not buy anything new in the Year of the Rat. Here are my rules, which were inspired by the cool folks at the Compact.

1) Buy as little as possible new. (medicines, food, and hygiene products don't count, you will be happy to note)

2) Stay away from stores and online shopping. They are just there to tempt you into buying what you do not need.

3) Use Goodwill, craiglist, garage sales, used book sales, to buy things used, when you need them.

4) Recycle as much as possible, and give away things you don't need to Goodwill so that others can use them.

5) Tell people that I am trying this, so that the idea spreads and people start thinking about what their purchasing decisions.

I really like the way the compact folks sum up their reasons for not buying things:

"1) to go beyond recycling in trying to counteract the negative global environmental and socioeconomic impacts of U.S. consumer culture, to resist global corporatism, and to support local businesses, farms, etc; 2) to reduce clutter and waste in our homes (as in trash Compact-er); 3) to simplify our lives (as in Calm-pact)"

I have found in the last month that it has been really easy to follow my rules 95% of the time. But I fell off the wagon a couple times:
  • new sunglasses from walgreens when I could not find them used
  • new suit at outlet mall when I was in a pinch for a client interview
  • fabric at Joann's for a sewing project
On the positive side, I have been getting a good response from the people I talk to about my resolution. My mom was really cool and gave me a used sewing tool as part of my birthday gift. My sister and I have a great used clothing exchange. One of my coworkers started shopping at Goodwill.

I will give you a Compact update every few months so you can track my progress. But stay tuned to my blog...I am trying to add new posts on a regular basis now!