Saving the planet little by little

I’ve started to be a bit more environmentally-conscious in the past year or so. It was watching a show a few months ago around all the rubbish Australia was sending overseas that made me determined to take more steps to reduce my household waste.

Here’s a few things I’ve found helpful:

Beeswax wraps as an alternative to cling wrap or foil. I was sold after I used one to wrap my avocado smoothie. When I previously used cling wrap or a mason jar, I found that the top layer would oxidise. No oxidation after using beeswax wraps! The only downside is that since wraps are precut, it’s a bit awkward trying to fit a massive wrap on a smaller container, for example.

I bought mine from Beeswax Wraps Australia but there are a lot of other sellers out there.

Produce bags to wrap my fruit and veg in. I found that despite bringing my own grocery bags I would still use plastics to wrap my fresh produce in separately. Now I have to make sure I always bring them when shopping.

I got mine from Eco Shop Co, though similarly there are other brands out there.

Rollo wrap. I do a fair amount of baking and have gone through rolls of baking paper. This is a better alternative. (I still have a roll of baking paper left, but have been using it to trace over my sewing patterns.)

Reusable sanitary products. I’ve been using reusable sanitary products for the past 8 or so years. I highly recommend Wemoon, Thinx and Modibodi. (Some of my friends swear by their menstrual cups, but personally I’m a bit nervous to try them out.)

Reusable coffee cups and water bottles. I’m lucky to live in a country with potable tap water. I don’t see the point in buying bottled water, I just make sure to bring my bottles everywhere. I also have two KeepCups for when I buy takeaway coffee.

More ethical household products:

  • Environmentally friendly toilet paper and paper towels. Trying to use less paper towels in general, but it’s hard!
  • Palm-oil free anything (especially soaps), if I can help it. (I’ve been loving Only Good)
  • Environmentally conscious cosmetics and toiletries
  • Repairing things that can be repaired, like my shoes at Roger Shoe Repairs
  • Buying local as much as possible

I have a long way to go, but at least it’s a start!

I’m no longer on social media

A few weeks ago, I deleted my social media accounts.* With the exception of Twitter (which I liked because of the articles people would share) I’d already stopped using Facebook and Instagram in January. Not that I even used Facebook much before that. I figured, I wasn’t using them anyway, so why not delete them altogether?

That isn’t completely true, however. 😛 That’s the easy answer I give people. The truth is, I got caught up in the Bea-Gerald-Julia love triangle. It emphasised to me how I no longer wanted to be part of the social media ecosystem which can become so toxic.

I wasn’t even updated about any of their lives before this. I thought Gerald was still with Kim which was apparently so nine years ago. I also thought Julia was still a preteen. But that didn’t stop me. I’m ashamed to admit I spent more than a few of hours reading gossip websites and tweets.

I think the fact that it all happened online fascinated me. The entire thing, at least in my view, blew up based on a precariously constructed framework of speculations cobbled together from bits and pieces of social media activity.

Photos that appeared innocent at face value were suddenly given new meaning by another post appearing at the same time. No names mentioned, but it was clear that shade was thrown. I don’t even know why I read all those articles talking about which celebrities were on whose side based on photos they liked or social media accounts they commented on.

Each and every little thing anyone posted was dissected. There was no way anybody could win – every single comment was taken negatively by someone out there. Even other celebrities posting about unrelated things had their posts misinterpreted by people thinking they were talking about that. And there were all these Twitter threads of random people giving unsolicited life advice or pouring their hearts out why Julia or Gerald was wrong. Why did these people care so much to spend time writing these things?! And why did I just waste hours reading all of it?!

That’s when I deleted my accounts.

Thing is, I’d already noticed bits and pieces of those behaviours around me, although not to that extreme level. And back when I was using social media, I have to admit I did a little of it myself. Things like looking up people’s online activity and assuming meanings about things where none probably existed. Obviously, genuinely passive-aggressive posts did exist and it was always juicy coming across them (cue “I wonder who it’s for! I wonder what she’s talking about!”) but at the end of the day none of those things really concerned me.

We’d also recently watched the following shows highlighting some of the negatives of social media:

So that’s me. Or rather, not me.

* Technically, I only deactivated Facebook so I could continue using Facebook Messenger.

How to deal with cats?

Shortly after moving, S discovered a previously-undetected cat flap in the master’s bedroom.

A black and white cat, who we later found out was called Chloe, started visiting soon after. She’d prowl around the garden. She’d park herself right outside the cat flap, and tap on it with her paws. When S unlocked the flap, she went straight inside and sniffed around.

Her owner, who lived next door, assured us that Chloe just liked wandering around the neighbourhood. We’d pat Chloe in the yard if we spotted her. And sometimes, when she’d ask to be let in, we’d let her inside and let her sniff around there.

She liked exploring the house. We figured that maybe the previous owner let her in a lot and fed her, because she seemed to want to get into certain rooms.

Anyway, yesterday I was giving her pats when she suddenly hissed, gave me a warning bite (fortunately was wearing long sleeves), gave me the meanest look, then stomped over to the other end of the living room. She continued licking herself until she went out to the backyard.

“Really, Chloe?” one of the neighbours commented as he observed her, as I led her outdoors. He explained that Chloe had actually previously lived there. Five years ago, her original owner passed away, so she got adopted by the neighbour next door. However, Chloe still liked going back to her previous home.

Last night, she was staying outside the bedroom, repeatedly meowing and tapping on the cat flap while we were trying to get to sleep. She was back there again this morning. When I went to the bathroom she went to the windowsill right outside the bathroom, meowing to be noticed.

Now we’re conflicted. S doesn’t want to let Chloe inside anymore. I feel bad. I can’t not give her pats! But I don’t know if she’ll eventually try to exercise her dominion over us…

Let’s bring back the music

It started around Christmastime last year. I was in Melbourne with my folks. The city was live with buskers. They ranged from “typical” musicians playing their electric pianos and guitars, to a man busting out holiday tunes on beer bottles. The experience of listening to beautiful music live (including the joy of the beer bottle man) made me want to get back into playing the piano.

One of my regrets is that I quit taking lessons when I did, a newly minted teenager who no longer wanted to spend time practicing classical music pieces. But no sense crying over spilled milk. At least I can still read notes and now I can buy sheet music of songs I like.

Hoewver, I’d love to go back to my old pieces (yes, even though it was all classical music), but my parents have sold my piano and everything that was attached to it. Funnily enough, I’d like to go through exercises now to get my fingers and my mind back in shape — the same exercises I used to find boring as a child.

Today, I sat down at the piano, after ignoring it for most of the year. There are still some of pieces I can play from muscle memory, strangely — like the first part of Fur Elise and Carmen. I popped out my music folders and OMG but how depressing was all the sheet music I bought a few years ago?! Beautiful, yes, but pretty sad. Songs like The Fray’s Over My Head (Cable Car), Matchbox Twenty’s 3 AM, and Coldplay’s Fix You. I even rediscovered this amazing song I was obsessed with a few 8 (has it been that long?) years ago:

Missy Higgins – The Special Two

But it feels really weird playing the songs — or at the very least, putting in the effort to play them — if I no longer relate to them as much as I did years ago.

Anyway, I felt re-energised after a short stint on my piano today. I’m adding practicing regularly to my half-year resolution list. But first, I need to find new, happier music to play. 😛