Thursday, April 30, 2009

Going Slovak

My mom is the Greenest person I know.

As “being green” has become more trendy, my family and I have started to make some changes… okay, I have made some changes, and my family is slowly following. I have been unplugging the tv at night, switched to cleaning products that are “green”, try to use rags instead of paper towels, use totes at the grocery store instead of paper or plastic. My husband just sort of rolls his eyes at me and (for the most part) goes along with it. He is quick to show me that unplugging the tv just saves pennies a month and isn’t thrilled that I am paying three times as much for “green cleaning products” that don’t clean as well.

One day after deciding to reward myself for doing a "green job" cleaning the kitchen by buying a $4.00 organic coffee from the coffee shop 5 miles away that I drove my kids to in our mini-van it struck me… this is ridiculous! I am such a creature of habit, and so spoiled that I take things for granted. My parents didn’t.

My mom doesn’t wear Birkenstocks, eat granola, and I don’t think she would be caught hugging a tree but she is “green”. As a child she used to annoy the snot out of my sister and I “saving”. She would carefully remove wrapping paper from a package so she could reuse it (and reuse the tape too), sit in a dimly lit room to “save electricity”, run all her errands all at once to “save gas”, reuse plastic bags, make her own cleaning solutions, she would never dream of BUYING water… trust me, the list goes on and on and on! At the time I would of told you that we “lived like poor people” and, in reality I am not sure if we really were or not.

We didn’t have excess of anything. We didn’t have lots of clothes, or toys, or food that was thrown away. We didn’t eat pre-packaged or prepared food, we had a garden. We played outside a lot. We played with dirt, and went on walks, and climbed trees, we didn’t drive to a park.

My goodness! My mom was one of the first environmentalists and I didn’t even know it. We used to tease that the things my mom did were “Slovak”. My grandparents were immigrants and saved to support their families back Slovakia. When my mom, for instance, would re-use wrapping paper we would call it “Slovak wrapping paper”, or if we wore clothes that were thrown away or given to us it was from the “Slovak store”.

So, today I have decided to “go Slovak!” I am going to make my own coffee, plan my errands and use less, just like my mom did (and still does). While being “green” seemed like something I would have to research (we never bought books growing up), going Slovak I think comes pretty natural to me, and probably most of us. Hmmm… I think I better call my mom and thank her for taking such good care of our planet.


  1. I think your mom was (is) more interested in SAVING green....

    Please don't start eating furry yogurt and keeping your salad dressing from 1987 too, though. Some things weren't meant to "go green"

  2. While I doubt that I could get used to liver, heart and tongue, I could take other lessons from my grandmother. Like making a chicken last for 3 meals...even 4 if I make soup from the carcass! And I (try to) grow a garden, like she did. I conserve laundry detergent; but that's more to save money. She once told me, "As a young wife, I was darned if my husband's money was going to be set on soap!" But she wasn't Slovak; Lithuanian.

  3. Sorry. Didn't realize my daughter had signed in. That comment just above is from me!

  4. Remember when we were in sem and we'd wash Ziploc bags and talk about how nice it would be when we had money and could just use new ones? I still wash mine.

    I can't believe you'd spend that much on coffee (not to mention the gas to get there)! I miss your "fun" coffee--you know, where you'd grind it and make frothy milk and put chocolate sprinkles on top. We'd watch Pinky and The Brain and play hearts.... Ah, the good ole days!

  5. I'm green, real green. I like green so much I do everything I possibly can to keep it in my pocket.

    I admit I don't do intentionally do one patooty thing to help the environment. But oddly enough, a frugal, common sense lifestyle is more "environmentally friendly."

  6. I'm trying to go green. I've bought the canvas grocery store totes (but I forget and leave them at home when I go out). I'd buy "green" cleaner... but I don't really clean my house that much. I had a garden, but the rabbits ate my cucumbers and tomatoes. (In my garden I grew only cucumbers and tomatoes) I guess the most green thing I do is listen to I-Tunes or myPlayist on my computer instead of having the music channel on the TV... like I do now.

    Okay, apparently I'm not trying very hard. Thanks for the wake-up call!

  7. I think it's great that you are trying to do more "green" things. I am trying to as well, but this brings to mind another related subject. I know some very conservative Lutherans who despise people talking about "going green" because they see it as a liberal political issue pushed by Democrats. I guess I can understand why they associate going green with liberalism, but using reusable grocery bags and trying to reduce waste is not a political issue to me. It's something that everyone should do and has nothing to do with politics. It really bothers me that these people (who are young enough to know better) poopoo everything green simply because they are Republicans.

    I mean, I'm not out there hugging trees or anything, but I don't think we're supporting the Democratic platform by hanging up a mug rack at church instead of using styrofoam cups every week.

  8. P.S. I got to enjoy some of Brenda's "fun" coffee last fall and it's one of the things I am looking forward to this June! :)

  9. Lesa - can wait to share some "fun coffee" w/you again (although, I am sure you can make it better, ms sbx).

    Lesa that is EXACTLY my point! YES YES YES! Anytime I talk to Tom about "going green", he thinks it is a political thing, and plans on leaving the biggest carbon footprint possible. BUT - if I tell him we are "saving" then he is okay w/it. Like using a mug would SAVE money by not having to buy styrofoam :) Really, that is how I get around things, once I call it saving, he is thrilled. Now... that being said... how do we teach our kids that SAVING (be it the earth, or money) is a good thing? I keep thinking about the words "good stewards" - I'm not even sure I know what that means, but something along that line. WAIT - it sounds too "happy clappy" for Tom, so he would probably go crumpling up styrofoam cups just to not be - any suggestions?

  10. Ele - again... YES... that is what I am saying. I remember you writing something about all the ways you and your family save money - VERY GREEN!

    I think we have (or had) gotten into spending money so freely, that we didn't care about waste, be it food, cups, gas, whatever. I think YOU should share MORE about what you do - I think people would TRULY be impressed. And, I could probably use a refresher course (although, I still won't drink dry milk).