Recycling Rant…

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April 5, 2014

Today I’m going admit something that is probably not socially acceptable. Some people will be disgusted, some people will be outraged, but maybe, just maybe, someone will understand.

So I’m going to say it… here goes… (Dramatic pause…..)

I’m sick to death of recycling!

There, I said it.

Having said it let me explain. We live in an apartment townhouse complex and we use the Blue Box system for recycling.  There are several clusters of communal Blue Boxes scattered over the property. Each cluster has one box for newspaper, two boxes for other kinds of paper including cardboard and two boxes for clean, let me say that again …Clean… plastic and glass containers.

The plastic that is allowed in these boxes has to be marked with a recycling icon that contains the number 1,2 4, or 5. Nothing else is allowed. All cardboard boxes are to be flattened and folded. So I’m always miffed when I cart my squeaky clean containers that have the correct marks, neatly folded cardboard boxes and properly sorted newspapers out to the Blue Boxes only to find that they are stuffed with containers that are half filled with rotting food. Plastic bags of kitchen waste. Large cardboard boxes that have not been flattened and are now filling both of the  Blue Boxes designated for paper so that I have no room for my stuff.  As well as a whole host of items that are not suppose to be in these Blue Boxes. One day someone filled one of the boxes to overflowing with clothes.

This January our city started the Green Can recycling program for all food waste which in theory is a great idea. I must admit that I feel slightly less guilty when those last two slices of bread Green Can (1)go moldy because I know they will be composted and it feels a little less wasteful. However that was January. When it was very cold. When garbage tends to freeze so it keeps nicely between pickups. The weather is starting to warm up and I’m dreading how the Green Can program is going to play out at the height of summer when we have people here that can’t or won’t follow the simple instuctions for using the Blue Boxes which have been around for years.

It will be a stinky mess however the local crows are going to be delighted.

On top of all that I’m just tired of processing items for recycling. I’m tired of washing and drying little plastic containers and their foil lids. I’m tired of peering at badly blurred numbers in the recycling icons and trying to decipher just what the number is. I’m tired of recycling piled up at the end of my kitchen counter waiting to be carted out to the Blue Boxes. I really wish I had the cupboard space for those nifty pull out recycling centers but we have a tiny kitchen and barely enough cupboard space for the stuff we need to keep. I’m tired of the pile of recycling, that does not go into the Blue Boxes, sitting by the front door waiting to go into our tiny storage shed.

Chris and I recycle a lot more items than what the Blue Boxes take. We have given over a fair bit of square footage in our little shed to house recycling bins for these items. There is a group that sets up a recycling depot every third Saturday of each month, rain or shine. We pack up all the soft plastics, styrofoam food containers, hard plastics that do not bear the magic recycling marks, and a bunch of other stuff and take it all down to this recycling depot. Then we pay between $5 and $10 for the privilege.

Remember, I did warn you that this was a rant.

Chris and I have been recycling for over thirty years because we really do understand the importance of it. We understand that the planet is drowning in plastic and styrofoam. That so many creatures die a slow death because they got tangled in plastic or tried to eat it. That shorebirds mistake plastic bottle caps for small stones and swallow them to help with digestion, but the plastic doesn’t work like small stones and the birds can’t digest their food. The list of horrors goes on and on. I really do understand all of this and even though I am sick and tired of recycling I will continue to do it.  Faithfully.

I just keep thinking that there has to be a better way.

We recycle (1)




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Epiphany: [ih-pifuh-nee]

:noun, plural epiphanies.

:a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.

This is a short meandering little blurb about nothing much..

Epiphanies are something I’ve given a lot of thought to over the years because I’ve had a few.  They have been simple ones that really only relate to me and my views of the world. I’ve had a few that revealed a truth that I wasn’t aware of or perhaps didn’t want to be aware of. The physical reaction to my epiphanies is what makes me realize that I am, in fact, experiencing an epiphany. For me it is like a zap of electricity that runs through me and centers in my stomach then sits there like a rock. An undeniable truth. That is how the serious ones hit me. I’ve had a few very non serious ones. Often these epiphanies are solutions to a problem that I’ve been puzzling over. I suppose some would call those an eureka  moment. I call them little epiphanies.

I’ve had a couple of little epiphanies in the last few weeks. A rather odd one was where it hit me just out of the blue that my printer would not print white. I think I was making beds at the time then pow, instant printer knowledge. I know that that fact is probably common knowledge around the world but it wasn’t to me. I’ve always viewed a printer as an office tool, now I see it as a very fun crafting tool. Yes, I know that it is a bit of a stretch to call that an epiphany, little or otherwise but… my blog my rules. Get yer own blog!

The second one was about growing older. I’ve been eyeing my 61 birthday advancing on me at a rather alarming rate. As I watch it’s advance I’ve been wondering when one becomes Old. When I was a kid 60 plus was viewed as ancient. Now I don’t feel that way. Most days. I do know that the ‘me’ looking out through my eyes is not as old as the packaging those eyes are attached to. Sometimes I will unexpectedly catch my reflection and the person looking back startles me.

I’ve changed so much.

Which brings me to my other little epiphany. I think most of you at some time in your life have found yourself thinking or saying ‘He sure is a grumpy old man” or “What a miserable old woman”.  I know I did. I often wondered why getting old did that to people because it had to be some physical or mental change that brought it on. Well having reached a point of some kind of ‘oldness’, I now know physical age has nothing to do with it. It is the experiences on the journey to being old that does it. Of politely putting up with too much crap. Of politely listening to too many people demanding your time or your money.

I was raised by my family to be polite. I spent years in retail where you were always polite no matter how obnoxious the customer was being. It was as impossible for me to hang up on someone being rude to me on the phone as it would be for me to pull off my own arm. I had years of programming preventing me from being anything but polite.

I have changed.

I hang up on sales people before they have said three words. I shut the door in the faces of religious solicitors. I have stopped using the word sorry unless something is actually my fault. That last one was hard. Starting a sentence with “I’m sorry…” was a very bad habit of mine. So now I know why old people are rude or grumpy. They are that way because they have been dealing with garbage for a very long time and they have simply had enough.

I know I have.

P.S. Before writing this I had no clue how to spell epiphany. I’ve got it down pat now.







Sideshow Bob

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This is Sideshow Bob, our 25+ year old Christmas Cactus. Sideshow measures over 40 inches across and weighs almost 50 pounds. It likes to put on a full display about three times an year but never at Christmas.

I couldn’t resist showing off my Christmas Cactus while it is in full bloom. If you have ever watched the Simpsons you will probably see why the plant was given the name Sideshow Bob. I took this photo and measured Sideshow right before making this post. The plant measures close to 40 inches across and is reaching the 50 pound mark. It is hard to capture in a photograph just how big the plant has become but it is one hefty plant.

I bought the plant over 25 years ago at our local supermarket. It was a sad little thing with only 2 sprigs, one fading bloom and had been reduced to .99 cents. It was the last tiny Christmas cactus that didn’t go home for the holidays. So I brought it home and gave it a spot on the windowsill. Over the years the plant has suffered from too much water, not enough water, too much heat, not enough heat, dust and general neglect. Through it all Sideshow has soldiered on.

One summer I got it in my head that the plant might be happy outside in the sun. So I set it up in a nice sunny spot in the garden where it promptly got badly sunburned. I thought I had killed it. It was brought back inside to recover and there it remained for a couple more years. I like putting my houseplants outdoors in the warmer months and didn’t want Sideshow to be the exception. We have a north facing patio which only gets a bit of early morning sun and a few minutes of sun late in the evening. Since I wanted the plant outside but didn’t want a repeat of the Sunburn Incident, I decided to try putting Sideshow out on the north patio. The rain washed away years of dust that had gotten deep into the plants recesses and the plant soaked up the gentle morning sun without getting damaged.

Sideshow exploded! It started growing.. and growing.. and then it started blooming. Not the pitiful handful of blooms that it used to put on but a full, eye-popping, spectacular display with huge flowers. Sometimes you could barley see any green because the entire surface was covered in blooms.

Now Sideshow is carted outside every May, once the nighttime temperatures are warm enough and is brought back inside after the first light frost, which is usually late October early November. It always feels like Spring has officially started when Sideshow migrates out to it’s spot on the north patio. The migration ritual begins with furniture being moved to create a clear pathway, doors opened wide and the dog shooed away so my husband Chris can hoist up the plant and make a run for the door. Poor man. Chris dreads these moves because the plant is getting too heavy and the width makes it very awkward.  However we will continue on with this ritual as long as we can because the effort results in the plant doing as many as three full blooms a year.

Who could resist such a beautiful reward.

Sideshow Bob and Buddy


Sideshow's Winter Bloom
Sideshow Bob’s Fall Bloom, November 10, 2014