Live Free (and Compost) or Die

Today Mary and her kids showed me around the great state of New Hampshire.  I've only ever driven through New Hampshire on my way to the outlets in Kittery, Maine so it was nice to see what treasures lurk just off the highway.

Mary's kids are on Spring Break (Winter Break?  I don't know.  Some break the whole state has off.)  We decided we go to Dover to a children's museum her kids like.

We got to the museum and I fit right in.  New Hampshire are my people.  I've said before I dress/look like a plus sized model in an Eddie Bauer catalog - pg. 92 to be exact.  The moms in New Hampshire look just like me.  I was welcomed into a cocoon of fleece and canvas and sturdy, practical shoes today.  It was like coming home.  Ahhhh....no over achievers, right?


Wrong.  New Hampshire has a different kind of OAM.  Maybe we can call them OA Earth Moms.

Damn it, I don't fit in here either.

I first realized this at the museum when I overheard some crunchy, baby-wearing moms trading organic homemade baby food recipes.  OK, not so abnormal.  Even Kansas has some moms this crunchy.  Except just about every mom in there was talking about homemade baby food or reusable diapers and I didn't see one ZipLoc bag of Goldfish crackers.  Shit.

I went to the restroom and as I sat on the throne doing my business, I was suddenly plunged into darkness.  Apparently if you don't move for a long enough period, the lights go off automatically.  I shifted my weight and the lights came back on.  I had to do this two times and I wasn't even constipated - imagine if I was there for a long haul!

When I was finished with my work, I turned to flush the toilet and I was met with a list of instructions as to how best to handle my waste.  Flush up for "liquid waste" and flush down for "solid waste."  In Kansas our toilets barely flush, so this newfangled thing was way too confusing for me.  I decided to go with the immortal words of Bernie Focker:  "If it's yellow, let it mellow."  Call me "Super OA Earth Mom" - yeah, that's right, I won't even flush.

After the museum (which by the way is super fun and if you live here with children, you should totally go) Mary and the kids and I headed to Portsmouth for lunch.

Portsmouth is a very cute, adorable hamlet by the ocean.  There were lots of nice stores and historical sites to see.
We read all the little plaques in town telling us historical facts like George Washington gave a speech from the balcony on the top of this building.
We found this friendly little spot after getting lost.  You had to park outside the gates and you could only walk on the blue line. 

Here is the beginning of the blue line.  You follow a sort of zig zagging path across the parking lot, in front of the building up there and over a hill to a revolutionary fort.  It was freezing, but the kids could have stayed there all day.  It's amazing what you'll find when you take a wrong turn!
After our sightseeing tour of Portsmouth, we were hungry and we decided to find a place to eat.

If New Hampshire is green, I think Portsmouth might be the Green Capital.  I felt this immediately when we walked into a local yokel sandwich spot for lunch and I proceeded to take more than my fair share of napkins.  I felt like everyone stopped eating and watched my display of excessive napkin taking.  I was dining with two little kids, for goodness sake, and peanut butter and jelly can be messy stuff!  Ten napkins probably wouldn't do the job, but I was too nervous to take more.  My fellow diners looked at me like I'd clubbed a baby seal in the middle of the restaurant.

I sat down and tried not to draw attention to myself and my egregious pile of napkins.  Two moms were sitting across from me and without losing eye contact with me, one of them reached down into her (organic cotton?) bag and pulled out a cloth napkin.  She snapped it open with authority and draped it across her lap as if to say, This is how we roll here in Portsmouth, you troglodyte.

I wanted to say:  I can do better than that.  In Kansas, we don't even use napkins, we just lick each other's faces clean like cats and then use our sleeves to wipe off anything that's left - no additional laundry to waste vital resources.

After a few minutes, everyone went back to their lunches and left Mary and I to ours.  In the end, we used 17 napkins (Mary took a turn getting more so that I wouldn't look so greedy and we were afraid to whip out Wet Wipes since they're not biodegradable).

Then it was time to clean up our mess.  We walked to the trash can(s) and we were met with a sight we've never seen in Kansas.  Not one, not two, but THREE refuse bins.  Luckily, these came with instructions and pictures for us or we would have never done it right (I'm still not convinced we did it right).

The first was:  LANDFILL - There were pictures of potato chip bags on this one.  I tried to throw our 17 napkins in there, but luckily Mary stopped me and pointed out they were NOT in the picture.  The second was:  RECYCLE - This is where our plastic water bottles and glass juice bottles went.  The last was COMPOST - We put the remaining pb&j in there, the leftover chips (sans bag), my lobster bisque soup (which was a tad disappointing) and the 17 napkins.

I felt the whole restaurant holding their breaths while we read the instructions and placed our refuse in the appropriate receptacle.  When we were done I heard a collective sigh.  Phew.  At least no one yelled at us.

In Kansas, we recycle in our homes, but never in public places and I barely know 5 people who actually compost for real.  I only started recycling about 2 years ago, because Gomer guilt tripped me into it and my HOA dues pay for it.  I am very used to recycling now and I do a pretty good job at it.  I even take my dad's 40 lbs of newspapers from his house to my recycling bin!

The composting thing is beyond me though.  The idea of a steaming pile of food scraps in my backyard is more than I can handle.  I know, I know, you'll say buy one of those buckets that holds it all, but I'm way too cheap to buy those things.  And what will I do with my compost?  I don't garden.  I guess I could spread it around my bushes in my yard, but I will always imagine I see a chicken bone sticking out there.  Won't this stuff compost at the landfill just as easily as it will in my backyard?  Please tell me yes so I won't feel so bad.

All in all, my visit to New Hampshire has been great.  I loved seeing Mary and her family.  I loved going to the movies (yes, it was worth it - The Descendants is fabulous) and the historical (and shopping) tours we took.  I really loved seeing moms in fleece.  I just wish I could be an Over Achieving Earth Mom so I could really live here - that is one over achieving mom I could work at harder.

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103 comments:

Rebecca said...

I have to confess, I do cloth diaper and I did make all my son's baby food (not all of it was organic). But I also have a plastic bag of Goldfish crackers and Cheerios, I will not be carrying cloth napkins in public (or using them unless it's Thanksgiving or something), and there is no way I'm going to compost in a subdivision. Hopefully you don't want to punch me in the throat. :-)

backyard composting crunchy mom! said...

clench your fist and get ready to punch. . . "According to a more recent study by the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans generate roughly 30 million tons of food waste each year, about 12 percent of the total waste stream. All but about 2 percent of that food waste ends up in landfills; by comparison, 62 percent of yard waste is composted. And consider this: The rotting food that ends up in landfills produces methane, a major source of greenhouse gases."

Jenny said...

If you are staying another day, you should visit the forts in Kittery, there is no blue line and they are much more laid back! But thank you for describing perfectly NH!!! It's an amazing place to live!!

SconnieGirl said...

I used to live in Dover/Portsmouth. I can totally relate. I am not at all a crunchy type and I, sadly, don't wear fleece very often, but I wear a hoodie just about every day. This stuff was just starting up there when I left the area. I would not fit in at all nowadays. Where did you have your lunch??? I loved going to Kittery too, but mostly for the Crate and Barrel outlet and Yummies.

Jessica said...

I think I love you even more after reading this!

NorthernGirl said...

I must have missed the Over Achieving Earth Mom Tutorial, even though I've lived here in NH all my life. Maybe the trend just hasn't made it to the northern part of the state. I won't mention my recycling habits for fear of upsetting the OAEM's that will most likely chime in on this, but I will say I can't imagine composting. With my luck I'd do it wrong and fill my tiny little garden with some weird food-born disease. Not to mention the bears and skunks in my neighborhood would have a field day with it. Glad you enjoyed your stay!

Kerry said...

I am a recycling/compost/landfill educator in California, and you passed our waste sorting test with flying colors! Here, we have weekly curbside compost collection along with trash and recycling, so you don't have to have one of those annoying stinky piles in your backyard.

Keren and Joe Jackson said...

I, too, cloth diaper and make all of my daughter's baby food. I also send disposables to daycare and use them on trips, AND I often have a container of some kind of processed snack food (i.e. goldfish crackers, Cheez-its, string cheese, etc.)

Richelle.T said...

I am from NJ, where there is the "recycle bin" and the trash can, but recently uprooted my family to Oakville, Ontario..Canada... phew talk about Green Capitol! They only allow you to have 6 trash bags, every 2 weeks.. if you have more, they won't take it. And They have regular trash, recycle, and compostables.. it took us about 6 months to figure out where the hell to throw our sh*t out in our own home. When you move here they give you a HUGE chart to sort things out that you can hang on your fridge.. everyone cooks organic.. EVERYONE breastfeeds until their kid is AT LEAST a year old ( I have no problem with breast feeding.. but I formula feed my baby.. and get looks as if I am purchasing crack for her when I buy it).. and if you don't figure out their complex trash sorting system... you may be publicly stoned...

faithhopelovefaith said...

We too just started recycling about a year ago at the demands of our 14 yr old. Which shocked me since she is the worst culprit for wasting energy that I know! I made baby food when the kids were babies but that and recycling is as far as this non-crunchy mom has gone. I have a friend who is so into "saving the earth" that she charges her kids every time they leave a light on. Now that is a concept I could buy into!

Pam said...

My mum lives in England and neighbours will snitch on you if you put things in the wrong recycle bins outside your house! I would have to serious words with a neighbour like that. I do recycle and compost and I mutter under my breath about the amount of packaging on everything but do not take away my kitchen roll, napkins or disposable diapers. Two kids and two dogs just create too much goo.

Molly said...

I like composting better than recycling. It's a major pain with having to take the glass to a bin as you drive along with glass clattering. I won't even mention how I feel when I dump the glass in & it makes a horrible breaking sound.

I get a secret pleasure out of putting banana peels, vegetable scraps, etc. in our compost bins. I'm not hardcore. I would never put in soup (what if it had chicken broth & attracted rodents?). I've never seen anything but worms & bugs in my bins.

Christel said...

Richelle...that sounds like a damn good down with people who care about the earth and perhaps those little breastfeeding babies can someday actually grow up and have enough earth to have children and compost and garden themselves!

Jen said...

See, I could probably get on board with curbside compost collection.

kzedmonds said...

We have one garbage can in the kitchen...and everything goes into it. I did make my own babyfood, but it was not organic...it was basically whatever we were having for dinner thrown into the blender. She was fed formula from birth as a supplement to breast feeding. I use cloth napkins at a fancy restaurant, and like you I take handfuls of napkins for my one child everywhere else. I did give in to the reusable lunch stuff, but it's plastic and I am sure it does not get the nod of approval from the OAMs.

Anna said...

Sounds just like home- Germany! Everyone can and should recycle. It's Not a rocket sience. It is Easy and so much better for our environment. Some Americans should get over their laziness and just do it! New Hampshire, I am proud of you!

Cagey (Kelli Oliver George) said...

I love, LOVE New Hampshire. My husband lived in Hanover when he came to the US for grad school. When he first took me to NH, I simply fell in the love with the state. A few vacations later and we decided to get married there (Bretton Woods) and honeymoon there (all over the state)

However, apparently, you and I have had VERY different experiences in the Land of Those Who Live Free or Die. Jeepers!

Anonymous said...

I've always heard those statistics, but doesn't compost let off methane too? Now I'm going to have to go do my research and see if I can't help the earth. *sigh*

maarmie said...

I recycle, compost, used cloth nappies and made every ounce of my daughter's baby food. But I hardly consider myself to be overachieving and I don't feel i'm particularly green. Just liberal, less wasteful than average and on a low income!

lovetoread600 said...

I'm just not totally sold on recycling. Exactly how much energy goes into collecting, transporting, and converting newspaper into brown napkins? Sounds like a wash at best (truly radical thinking, I know). I live in Boulder, CO although I'm not sure how I passed the test and was admitted into the colony. Talk about a bunch of tree-huggers: http://www.dailycamera.com/boulder-county-news/ci_20046933?IADID=Search-www.dailycamera.com-www.dailycamera.com.

Joanna said...

New Hampshire sounds like Seattle. We often have three public bins (and at least 2, always), and organic, locally produced stuff is....preferred? I used disposable diapers, felt bad about it, but decided I was only having 2 kids and was so green in other ways that I could be okay with it. I only have paper napkins because I'm required to send them to preschool with my son; otherwise we do use cloth ones. I like it better anyway, and it's not much extra laundry at all. Also, if you ever do compost, just don't put the meat it in or it will stink AND you'll get maggots! Go ahead, punch me in the throat, but the state of our planet scares the hell out of me and I'd like to punch people in the throat who do absolutely nothing to stop the bleeding and only add to it with every single purchase and choice. It's hard to do everything when you've been raised as most of us have, but add one thing a year, and it really starts to add up after a few years.

Nepsi said...

I must have lived in a different NH or times have changed... also there are some of us who babywear and use cloth diapers but also love wet wipes and zip lock bags. I guess I am half-assed crunchy then.

Cara said...

I recycle but don't compost for fear of attracting animals from the woods behind our house (plus I'd never keep up with it). My office cafeteria uses a similar trash system and is totally confusing. This Portlandia skit made me feel better. After your experience, I think you'll appreciate it: http://youtu.be/HLJYQaoLgag

Leslie Danovich said...

I guess you would call me an overachieving earth mom....I compost, but I also garden...I recycle everything I can. Hell I even freecycle....Yes, I give and take unwanted goods from others...Once you get the hang of it, it's really not that bad...

Anonymous said...

to answer your question, NO, these organic scraps will not just compost in the landfill (sorry to disappoint). Compost needs air to breath and do its thing. In a landfill, things are compressed and buried so there is no airflow. Also, in a landfill, all the bacteria necessary to properly compost/decompose the organic material is killed off by all the toxic chemicals and what not.

Anne Kimball said...

Loved this post! The way you described them woman snapping open her organic bag to whip out a cloth napkin was priceless.

And so glad you enjoyed The Descendants. My sister was in it! She played Matt King's (Clooney's) friend Kai, the chick he confronted about his wife's affair: http://bringingboryahome.blogspot.com/2012/02/oscars.html

Anonymous said...

We've got weekly curbside compost collection here in Portland, Oregon. And we've got hoards of overachieving earth moms too.

Kelly and Sne said...

Oops - you caught me. I never thought of myself as an over-achieving Mom but I am finally guilty of a punch (though I will take it gladly for the cause!). I am an "earth mom" that lives in Kansas (in your neck of the woods nonetheless). Of course it could have been the time I spent living in California that influenced me. But I am that person who not only pays for recycling (or paid for it when it wasn't included in the trash pickup fee) - I also COMPOST in my backyard (p.s. composting chicken or any meat is not recommended as it attracts varmits). That said, now that I have kids, I don't turn the compost pile nearly as often as I used to.... I am also that person that, while walking my dogs in the neighborhood each morning, picks up all of the recyclable beer cans, water bottles, etc. that get strewn along the street and carries them home to recycle them (versus throwing them in the trash can at the park). And I am also that person who, after we finally got recycling at the office, picks out everybody's plastic bottles from the trash after meetings and transfers them to the appropriate recepticle. I am also that one who is completely disgusted by the stuff that people throw out (that could be recycled or donated) around here and even more so by the fact that locals are protesting being 'forced' to recycle (see my comment in "Got a Punch") since our local landfill is filling up faster than expected. Ok - I don't go so far as to use cloth diapers or cloth napkins - there is only so much time in the day. And I don't purchase organic foods as often as I'd like to - there is only so much grocery budget to go around. But we have only one earth and I'd prefer to keep it healthy for my kids - just like I keep my kids healthy. And teach them to do the same.

Deanna said...

Curbside composting is a fantastic idea; cities could collect, put in a huge compost pile, then sell the finished compost back to homeowners for their gardens! Brilliant!

Deanna said...

See, I cloth-diapered, breastfed, made my own baby food, used a sling, etc. But here's the difference: My motto is "Do What Is Best For Your Family." Ain't my business. And don't try to legislate my garbage.

My husband is actually the compost fanatic in our house; we have a small suburban garden, and he uses an old blender for our fruit/vegetable scraps. Keeps animals out of our pile and there's no smell (except for right after we add the used hops when we brew beer). My vegetables usually turn out well, and it's free, so there's that.

Plus, for a family of five, we only have two bags of garbage a week. (And I am a firm believer in paper towels, yo.)

Siobhan said...

I have found my family becoming more green in the past year or so, mostly due to funds. It's cheaper for us to use cloth napkins (at home) than paper towels, and we compost bc we had SO much going in the garbage it felt like we were changing bags every day. I hope to do more gardening, but am seriously novice about it. I don't do organic bc it is so expensive. I live with a mindset of do what you can & every little bit helps.

Jana said...

I saw an episode of Bullsh*t about recycling where Penn and Teller wanted to see how many bins they could get people to commit to using. The guy from California got to about 7 color coded bins before he said it was too complicated.

You've nailed it with NH.

Cheryl said...

I am not crunchy at all. My SIL who lives in Portland, OR is ultra-crunchy. I think she would fit in perfectly in NH. ;) Thanks for giving me a good laugh and making me feel that I am not alone.

Jamie said...

Over achieving is so damn tiring! I have so many other things to do - you know, other than sort through my trash and determine which way to flush if I have diarrhea. Seriously - how do you figure that one out...just curious. Anyway, I commend you for wishing you could be more of an over-achieving mom. I, however, am quite comfortable in my flannel jammy pants, pickin up the kids from school and throwing all my trash in the same bin. =) UNDER ACHIEVERS UNITE!

The Jones Family said...

Ew gosh...that sounds horrendous. I too formula fed and see nothing wrong with it.

Anonymous said...

New Hampshire sounds a great deal like Portland, Or. I'm all for doing what you can (and what you can afford) for the environment, but often people practice eco-religion and use it as a means of feeling superior. The other moms at my daughter's day care wouldn't speak to me because I didn't use chlorine free diapers. No lie.

Anonymous said...

Did you eat at Me & Ollies? I frequent the Children's Museum and I'm proud when I remember to bring a plastic bag full of unhealthy snacks. We're not all like that. I do have a closet full of the clothes you describe but I don't compost and raise chickens. Glad you had fun.

Mama Moo said...

I'm probably going to get a lot of hate, but I don't compost,Our area has only recently started allowing food waste in the yard waste bins so I may work on that soon. I recycle because it cuts down what is in my garbage but not everything. The recycling is really picky and I can't always remember what goes in the bin, and on a couple of occasions I put something wrong in there and they threw it back into my YARD! It wasn't intentional and the garbage can was right next to it, but they felt they would send a better message by making me have to collect out of my yard and my neighbor's yard.

I visit a friend in W. Washington and even after visiting for years and trying to follow the rules about waste I still get scolded by them on a daily basis about what can go where. Treating me like the sh*t in the waste bin right outside your door doesn't make me want to join in and separate the snot out of everything, it makes me want to do just the opposite. Then punch you.

Donna said...

I live in the town next to Kittery! I wish I knew you were closer, I would love to meet you!

Donna

Kathy McClellan said...

I'd love curbside composting, but alas, we don't have it here in MD yet. I compost and it's actually pretty easy. I have been doing it for two years and have yet to have the bin fill to the top with compost. I just keeps breaking down. I love it. I also love cheetos...

Donna said...

LOL! Just finished reading this post! I live over the border from Portsmouth, 5 min over the bridge. This is hilarious to get the viewpoint of people from out of town! Yes, most moms I know are overachieving green moms. I guess I'm just used to it by now. I don't even think about recycling, I find it impossible not to do it. I encountered one of those toilets for the first time just last spring. Be glad you didn't visit the White Mountain park area, they are just outhouses and don't flush at all!
I hope you enjoyed your trip, and I hope you come again!

Kathy McClellan said...

You are damned no matter what you do. I used to get dirty looks for breastfeeding in public. I had friends who got dirty looks for using formula. You're screwed no matter what you do. :)

Anonymous said...

Dear All: Recycling is bullsh*t. It's a waste of time, money and creates more toxins than were created to originally produce the items.

Watch this, then read the study they reference. You'll toss your recycling bins after seeing how you're being scammed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZTrJi9l3CM

Maura B said...

Jen: I agree with Donna and I don't even know her! You should have let us know in that you were going to be here, we would have used the power of social media to do a flash lunch with you as our guest. We could even have had everyone bring their own cloth napkin) Some day I just know we'll all be able to say we knew you when. Damn I shoulda read your posts earlier in the week; of course, this week, I was "too busy"
Enjoy your stay

Anonymous said...

It is amazing how much garbage people produce. I don't recycle nearly enough, but live in an area that doesn't even have a place to put certain types of items like cardboard. We do composte, but only fruits and veggies, no meat products. We have a big yard though and it is way over in the corner, away from the house. I do garden so it comes in handy. I try to be good to the earth, but can't stand the self-riteauos folks that feel all superior with their "I take better care of the earth than you" attitude. I wonder what the actual environmental impact is of using 10 paper napkins versus one cloth napkin that has to be laundered. Probably not as much difference as people think.

Tekglr33 said...

You would just die in Germany. We have a compost trash, a recycle trash (plastic and cans), cardboard/paper trash and then an everything else trash. These are all picked up curbside on the same day of the week but they pick up different things each week. 3 plastic trash bins, 3 different colors & special yellow bags (for the plastics). The there is glass. That is it's own beast. You pay a deposit on glass bottles of stuff (like beer and liters of soda) that you buy at the store so those go back to the store to get your deposit back....the deposit actually costs more than the beer itself. The rest of the non-deposit glass (food jars, wine bottles, etc) you have to drive to a recycle bins which are in major store parking lots or the center of town. There are 3 colored bins-one for green glass, one for clear glass and one for brown glass. (Seems like a pain I know except it is actually very satisfying to be the one that takes the glass. There's a little hole you throw the bottles through and they break when they hit the bottom of the dumpster....I find it to be a bit of a stress reliever to hear the smash).

Why bother with all this? Because if you put "not trash" in the trash and they see it they just won't take your trash. They actually have an instruction book for what goes where. I'm used to it now but it was a real challenge when we first got here. When you separate it all out we actually have very little that is actually trash trash. It will be weird when we return to the States and everything goes in one or two bags.

krissyteach said...

I live in NH and feel equally unsure of myself when I go out to eat in some areas of the state. Not all places in NH are that extreme, but you did go to two places that may attract "those" moms. I live just outside the Seacoast area and there does seem more pressure to keep up with the Joneses. It's a beautiful area to visit, but intimidating to live in. You know the woman who had her cloth napkin at lunch is using rolls of paper towels behind closed doors and driving a has guzzling SUV, leaving her carbon footprint around like Hansel and Gretel's breadcrumbs.I usually take a bunch of napkins for my kids to use, and take the rest of them that are unused for life's unexpected moments in the car.
"Gomer, Aldopha, We're not in Kansas anymore!" Glad you had a nice time with your friend. Safe travels home. Next time, let us know when you are in town. We'll flash lunch you and clean house with paper napkins.

Cricket of Tripping Tuesdays said...

I've never seen anyone recycle or compost in a public place either; however, I do it at home. I recycle milk cartons and cans, but I always forget about the newspapers and paper products. So I'm a halfsy, not a fullsy granola. Kudos to you for actually remembering paper. I use ours for starting fires in our wood stove. Oh, and the hubs has a compost receptacle in the backyard, but he only puts vegetable remnants in it, like potato skins, our juicing remains, and the like. Hmmm. Ouch. I just re-read this comment. Maybe we ARE becoming a bit fullsy granola?

Anonymous said...

LOL! A lot of energy goes into the recycling process...much like the whole cloth diaper vs. disposable diaper debate, it all evens out in the wash...pun fully intended. Not that you can tell a tree-hugger that without getting punched in the throat!

Heather said...

I live just south in Massachusetts but my parents live in Vermont. If you think it is bad in NH, head a state over. I was at a parade there over the 4th of July and was surrounded by freaking hippies. I am talking hairy armpit, non showering, bare footed, BO smelling hippies. They had there kids not even wearing diapers, let along cloth ones, just letting them go where they pleased. Oh goodness I can still smell them!

About this Bad Mamma said...

I live in NH. I do love my fleece and I compost but the whole sort your trash at the restaurant always throws me. Portsmouth used to be much more laid back.

Ericka said...

I live in NH. Two things 1. I do home care and I read your blog before seeing a patient today. I had to laugh to myself when I noticed she has a coat closet full of fleece vests in every color of the rainbow. 2. I'm wondering where you had lunch. Portsmouth seems to be more crunchy than other places. I live on the sea coast about 20 mins from Portsmouth and I am nowhere near that crunchy. A cloth napkin from home??? PLEASE! I hope you enjoyed your visit and you come back to visit us in NH again.

Melissa said...

Hysterical. I think I know which sandwich shop you ate at. I live in NH and I have to admit, Portsmouth has become somewhat "snotty" over the years. Beautiful area or not, I sometimes feel judged when I go there. A group of us girls went out on the town for a bachelorette party wearing black dresses (nothing extremely far above our knees or revealing/tight) in the summer and were called "sluts" ... Now, we may or may not have been carrying a ginormous inflatable smiling penis, but that's besides the point ;) We were called this as we were exiting a club (by a bouncer) ... not like we were waving the pecker around in a fancy restaurant (and we weren't the only ones with an inflatable "item"). The bouncer said something along the lines of: "There are kids out who could see that, you f****** sluts!" .... it was 11pm ... put them to bed! And also, why are you so concerned about the children, when rotting language is spewing out of your mouth?! We ate at a crunchy sandwich shop the next day and had to hunt down napkins....yikes!

Jess said...

Richelle.T, I just moved back to Kansas from Oakville, Ontario! I lived there for six years. I actually liked having the green bin. It took awhile to get used to but I really felt like I was doing something to help the environment. Now, I feel guilty putting my food waste in the garbage can.
I'm surprised about the dirty looks when you buy formula. Most of my friends there formula fed. Hang in there! It is actually a very nice town to live in. If you haven't already, check out the Oakville Newcomers Association. They have a mom's and tots group that was a life saver for me when we first moved.

Hey Mon! said...

@Kathy McClellan - speak it! You just can't win as a mom of young children. Or older children for that matter. Everyone has an opinion.

Donna Saville said...

We live in scenic south Jersey, and here we JUST got recycling for comingled glass/plastic/tin and for paper products (with no food waste on them. Composting is alien (although I'd love to try it). I mentioned Cloth diapering my twins and was whacked on the back of my head by my best friend. She whacked me twice as hard when I mentioned making baby food for them. I have plastic ziploc for EVERYTHING in my fridge, although I try and use reusable containers when I can. We just recycled all the building materials to the local scrapyard for almost $400 in profit though, so that's kinda neat. ;D

Kim Flaherty said...

We're not all like that! :)

Next time you're in the good old 'Shire visit North Conway. It will be just the right mix of fleece, sorta crunchy, beautiful scenery, and SHOPPING!

Mandie said...

They would kick us out the second we stopped the car! I am from the deep south... Louisiana. Pure cajun and we use napkins, hands, shirts, whatever is close lol...

It would be funny to see their reaction :)

LatteLover said...

Yeaaa Portland! Although the curbside composting hasn't made it to Beaverton yet... Here's hoping!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a fun trip. I'm a napkinaholic as well, the more the merrier. I've experienced a similar gronola lifestyle here in the oh so dirty world of South Korea, they recycle like crazy. Even McDonalds has seperate sections of the garbage can for cup, lid, liquid, food waste. It's quite confusing, especially if you put the wrong item in the wrong place. That's when you get the stink eye in a foreign language.

Anonymous said...

Because of a landfills design is doesn't allow the foodstuffs to compost or rot away, so it just takes up space. When it comes to methane concerns- I know that having it gathered in one spot (say a landfill for instance) creates a concentration of methane, unlike a compost pile in a back yard has less concentration of methane so isn't as dangerous. Now knowing these things you'd think I'd try harder at composting. But I don't like I should because I'm busy as fuck and that is a LOT of work!

Anonymous said...

if you don't recycle you go to hell.
at least thats what the OAMs told me

Anonymous said...

LOL, also from the South and am SO glad I am! I recycle plastic, cardboard and aluminum and all food scraps go down the disposal. Composting is disgusting and I wouldn't do it even if I knew how. I also could care less what any of the over-achieving crunchy moms think of me. I pair my Toms with my designer denim and donate old clothes and shoes to people who need them. I volunteer for my PTO and am my kids mom. I love living in the Deep South and wouldn't move north of Birmingham Alabama if someone paid me! I love reading all these stories and posts, though. It is interesting and fun to see how different people are. I appreciate all the OACM who do all they do to save the world.

Anonymous said...

You made me laugh out loud when you wrote we lick each others faces like cats...that's how I feel when I visit my sister in the Outer Banks here in NC. They are very crunchy there. No plastic bags at the stores and I was forced to make my 3yo niece an organic sugar free pineapple upside down cake for her birthday because feeding children sugar there is like offering them rat poison. My niece and nephew call dried fruit "candy"..they don't know any better and I'm not allowed to tell them. I put my foot down for my nephew's bd and made him a big gooey sugary fire truck cake. You should have seen the Dad's offering to eat the leftover pieces the kids couldn't finish. I poke fun at my sister all the time but it is a nice way to live...I actually love it there. We joke about my secret paper towel use (I bring my own when I visit) and about closing the blinds before I whip out the Bounty. I also laughed about the flushing part. I had to get used to my sister and her not flushing every time. I was horrified at first but now I'm less prissy. Hey, when in Rome I guess. The water is very expensive because salt water has to be processed in a special way that is costly. Anyway, thanks for this really funny blog. I plan to pass it on to my sister. She will love it!

hcvallad said...

Eddie Bauer???? You're killing me!

Split3ways said...

Ha, this reminds me of another blog I read about eating healthy, cutting out sugar and preservatives. This chick even grinds her own wheat. Anyway, they gave out chips at her kid's school today and the ppl that follow her are all up in arms about it. I'm all for trying to be healthier but these women take it to another level.

Anonymous said...

Huh...I never thought of my parenting styles as part of the OAM category...in fact just the opposite...I breastfeed because I'm too lazy and too cheap to mess with formula (of course because of all the health benefits too, LOL), I cloth diaper because I'm too cheap to spend $80 a month on diapers (and because they don't leak), I baby wear because I'm too lazy to hold her with my actual arms (or fight with a stroller), oh, I also co sleep too...again way to lazy to get up in the middle of the night :) So, if all of that qualifies as an OAM I guess I'm guilty..I always just thought of it as cheap and lazy :) I've always been kind of jealous of the over achievers so I'm kind of excited to be put in that group LOL

Savanna said...

I didn't feel like reading all the comments like I usually do, but I HATE people who use cloth diapers, make their own baby food, and buy organic. Makes me sick. It made my day when I heard on the news the other day that organic baby formula had high levels of arsenic in it. I wanted to yell ' boo-ya ' to all the mothers out there who think they are doing thier kids good and saving the earth.

TahiraNisa said...

We have curbside compost here in texas!!!.It surprises me to hear about where it isn't!

LizaJane said...

We started composting last spring/summer. The catch is that I am a cheapskate, so rather than buy an $80 compost bin, we bought a plastic tote and my husband drilled holes in the sides to allow air flow. We don't put in everything you can (who has time to shred paper for it, and you won't catch me saving finger nail clippings [yuck]), but for sure our food waste goes in. My husband totally digs seeing the stuff breaking down which means he gets the job of turning it now and again. I am excited to put it on our veggie garden this year!

Bonus, it reminds me of my great-grandfather who used to threaten to thrown people on his compost pile if they misbehaved (misbehavior including beating him at card games!).

Anonymous said...

I don't compost either, and I live on 14 acres in the country! But if I could swap my food waste for fresh veggies or flowers, I'd probably be motivated... http://blog.harvestpower.com/an-organic-swap-compost-for-flowers/

TNMom said...

I didn't even know curbside compost existed!

TNMom said...

Crap, guess I gotta look into getting a bin or two. Though here in the country, I'd have no idea where I would need to take the stuff to actually have it recycled. :\
LOVED the part about licking eachothers faces! LOL!!!!
Devan

girlgoesgreen said...

I think I need to move to New Hampshire-the lack of earth aware people in south jersey is driving me crazy! (I'm pretty sure the face licking done here is not for the benefit of the environment!)

Becky said...

I compost. Not for my love of the earth, but for my love of my garden. It's suppose to be all natural things, but when I turn it, I usually find matchbox cars and McDonald's toys in it. Oh well.

Briana said...

Same here Rebecca. I do what I can, and that's all that matters. :)

Michelle McCleod said...

You know, I would've just very loudly said, all while not looking at napkin lady "It's such a shame they haven't petitioned restaurants here to use cloth napkins like we have back in Kansas."

That would have totally messed with her head.
M

Anonymous said...

That would be great if we had some place to recycle....

I would love to be able to recycle. We live in Tennessee. The most recycling I've seen is either done on farms that do their own composting or at minimum just glass/plastic from the rest of the trash.....

Charli said...

My husband is from NH. Born and raised. His whole family is still there, which means we go out there(from Chicago) about three times a year. In the summer we usually spend a week on the seacoast. While there we always go into Portsmouth for a day or two.

What you saw? Never seen. Never experienced. And I've eaten in Portsmouth many times.

I honestly don't equate NH with being super crunchy. Hell, I always thought of it a little of the opposite. My inlaws are considered well-off, but their condo association doesn't even have a recycling program. It's bizarre.

Anonymous said...

Wow... When this whole tree-hugging, crunchy, Birkenstock-wearing, long-stringy-gray-hair-is-sacrosanct, judgemental garbage started really becoming a religion up here in the Vermont/New Hampshire region, I rebelled. Purposely took more napkins when they were present. Left my reusable grocery bags unused and took plastic in their stead. Even discarded a plastic water bottle or two into the trash to watch them go dig it out when I walked away! Their "natural" personal hygiene often just leaves me wanting to provide a brush and a bar of soap AND a razor(for the "ladies") as I walk past them.

Faron said...

I made my own baby food, used cloth diapers, make my own homemade cleaning products, and just about die when anyone leaves something plugged in when not in use! I think the difference is I don't talk about it to anyone who will listen. I just do it because that's what I feel comfortable doing, and it doesn't bother me when people don't do those things. I think people who brag about doing those things are doing it more for the recognition than and real convictions and that's annoying. Those are the people I want to punch in the throat.

Anonymous said...

True, true! We are lucky, here in california, there is a truck that takes our yard scraps and compost items away to a composting site so we don't have to deal with the mess or chore at home! Thank you to waste management.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like Popover's! That place is great!

J. said...

I feel like you just described every dinner outing I have since I've moved to Oregon. I'm from the midwest, and was completely new to this save-the-earth live-green philosophy...My first year here I was constantly getting in trouble for not recycling enough (so I forget sometimes!)- and I'm not sure I'll ever get the hang of the trash/recycle/compost bins found everywhere. I think it's great that people are so passionate about saving the earth or whatever, but when they shove their lifestyle down my throat and give me those condescending stares...Well, it makes me want to punch someone in the throat.

Jenderella said...

In St Louis, our zoo is the greenest place I've been and it has the fancy toilets, as do some malls (I think that's the other place I saw them). I have yet to see more than trash & recycle options in public, but I haven't been back to the zoo since summer. I recycle and am almost the only one in my family and my in-laws who really does it with any conviction. The biggest thing the rest who even attempt mess with for the most part is aluminum cans. My grandma did train me at an early age to toss things like stale cereals/crackers/bread, etc out "to the birds" in the backyard. I take it a step further and toss apples that are mealy out for the deer and whatnot and leftover pizza for the raccoons. We live near a state park and get lots of wild visitors, so I rarely see leftovers for more than a day when we toss things out. I have yet to have wildlife digging in my trashcans since they know the food is likely not there. Also, when my snake ignores her dinner (we thaw frozen rats from the pet store for her) i toss those in the back yard for hawks & wild snakes to eat. I have an exterminator come regularly so I don't have problems with insects or rodents in the house (which I would do whether I threw food out or not), and honestly have never seen an indication that I am in danger from anything but the aunts that seem to plague everyone I know these days. Actually, my exterminator is pretty convinced our foundation was poured on top of an ant colony, so they'd probably be an issue either way. The point is I think you can be a green mom without having to be OA Green mom, but I see signs popping up here in the midwest that we're headed that way too... Is that really SO bad?

Kristianna said...

I love your blog, but I have to say, I think you're way off the mark with this post. I would never glare at someone for not doing all I might choose to do, and I don't do other things people who're more over the top then I do, but I'm proud my community (I'm in the Bay Area) is working to help reduce some very bad problems the 'use and toss' mentality our society developed has created. Yeah, I am still trying to figure out the right can to put some trash in some places, but I also hope soon our refuse company will give us wet compost boxes along with the recycling and green waste carts. My family of 5 has plenty of room in our smallest size 'trash' cart every week and I'd love to see that improve even more. This planet is our only home at this point. Learning how to do better is not a choice like playing with stupid elves and pretending they're making messes at night, KWIM? It's kind of vital. I'd like my great grandchildren to think their planet doesn't suck ass. :)

Kristianna said...

Oh, but I do have to add this: I was confused by the refuse bins at the McD's near my house when we went a couple of weeks ago. The only choices were recycle or compost, and I had to puzzle over it for a moment. However, we don't go there often, and I know to kind of presort it on the tray next time I treat the kids to Happy Donald's (my 4 yr old's name for the place) as a bribe to behave. ;)

Amy said...

I'm from Portsmouth... you must have been at Me and Ollies... hippie sandwich capital of P-Town. There are sooo many great restaurants here, it's too bad you weren't here for longer. I love my town and who can honestly say that?!?) I hope you enjoyed yourself... and i would have never stared at your napkin taking situation... but then again, i don't eat there. They give pretzels with sandwiches and I think that's weird.

Anonymous said...

I was thinking the same thing. My husband is from ME (an entirely diff place in many ways) but we both spent a LOT of time in NH while growing up, continue to vaca there now and visit my in-laws that also live in NH (Concord/Lakes area). While there are pockets of the OAEMs all over New England I don't think the NH has an especially high number of them. VT might but there a plenty of folks that don't have an environmental clue.

Monkey's Mama said...

Move to Seattle and they pick up your yard & food waste so you don't have to compost it yourself. They do it for you - and in the Spring they give you a couple of bags free if you come and pick them up. It's amazing how small our trash can is now - who knew? But I still have to stop and read all the different cans when we go out because they are always changing the rules.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Vermont sounds more like Seattle than New Hampshire. By far the most environmentally friendly of the New England states. Southern NH is pretty crunchy (Dover and Portsmouth for instance) but it gets significantly less so the further north you head. My parents still throw all their trash in one bag, and the town dump still burns trash when the land fill gets too full.

Lady Goo Goo Gaga said...

ugh - I would not last in that town at all... I hate people like that -
Compost on your own time for god sakes....

Anonymous said...

Pretty sure people in Portsmouth shave... as a matter of fact, I'm a very well cared for girl. Nails are painted, hair is straightened. And we are proud of or clean town. you won't be walking around in a dump here, like many other places in the US. If you don't like it, maybe you could move?

solo$12 said...

Thankfully our city just picks up our big recyclying bins every week so it's easy peezy. I thought of this post this morning. Been up with the kid since 5:30 cause of a belly ache so I figured I would be productive. I have "organice, free range" chicken baking in the oven for tonights dinner....yes, at 7 a.m., I have no idea what "free-range" means but I am "that mother" this morning....LOL. That was the chicken Trader Joe's was selling so I bought it. :)

Sara Hawkins said...

Our city has curbside recycling. I did make baby food but drew the line at cloth diapering. We try to compost but I am afraid of the bins (i do not like bugs), our city will be implementing curbside compost pickup in the future which would make things easier on me.

Ashley Fuchs said...

Guilty as charged. I am a mid-level OAEM. But I am in recovery. For the record, though, even though I compost, that means I toss food in a pile in my backyard and ignore it all year. When I need dirt, it is magically in there instead of having to buy it at Home Depot, and my trash can, which I never empty more than once a week, doesn't stink. I use cloth napkins because I am cheap and I don't want to buy paper. And the 3 can recycling system at Whole Foods makes my head hurt every time. Being Green can be a good way to be healthier and save money, but it should not become another excuse to make us Moms feel superior over one another.

Rory Bore said...

we have very little choice but to be super Green around here. the school sends all lunch garbage back home in the kids' lunch totes. Thanks for throwing that half eaten container of OPEN yougurt back in folks! appreciate that.
And our waste removal company only allows so much garbage at the curb. They won't take away leaf and yard waste any more but once per year --- which happens BEFORE Christmas, so unless you haul your live holiday abomination to the dump yourself, it sits in the backyard all summer.
However, I do love the compost. I love that all that stinking rotting garbage is not in my house under my sink messing the sweet smell of my soy (eyeroll) candles. And since I do garden, then it does come in handy for great soil. I had my super earth friendly MIL buy me the container when she saw me dump a whole Thanksgiving meal of scraps in the regular garbage bin. For shame.
and score.

Autumn Cabral said...

I could definitely get on board with a curbside compost collection. I doubt that will happen in TX though :)

Diana Pratt said...

I live in good old NH and I can proudly say that I don't compost and wouldn't wear comfortable shoes or fleece if my life depended on it. Portsmouth is THE crunchiest place on the planet. Beautiful, though. Our NH is a wonderful place to live, I must admit.

Kristi Phillips said...

When I lived in Oregon, Portland had those toilets and I actually really liked them. I grew up in San Diego which is full of trash and pollution, and when I moved up to the Pacific Northwest my Husband introduced me to recycling. It's like a habit for me now. I don't have a compost pile but if I throw a can or bottle into the garbage can, I feel like I have just killed a litter of puppies.

Katie said...

I live in NH...Portsmouth is its own entity. The rest of NH does not roll like that I promise you.

Splash90 said...

I grew up in FL and moved to NH 10 years ago. We loooooovve it up here! It's progressive in all the right ways, and old-fashioned in all the right ways. There are like zero Douchey Dads, Dolce moms or Absolutely Appalling Offspring here! I haven't even met any over-achieving moms, though I'm sure they're out there. Seriously, the moms are super laid back, the dads are super involved, and the kids (even teens) are super mature and polite! It was quite a change from Central Florida, which now that I think back on it, very well might be the mothership of people you'd want to punch in the throat.

I didn't notice more crunchy people up here than there, but I did notice that virtually no one here cares about fashion, which is sort of a relief! I do know one OAEM, and one OAE non-mom, who would make the women in your story look like underachievers. I made (most of) my own sometimes-organic baby food. I used cloth diapers but took disposables on trips. I've done some composting but didn't stick with it -- yet. But my views on the environment didn't come from living in NH but from the environmental science classes I took in college, and also from my first boss who gave me the recycling bug.

CP said...

If you go inland, you can see people cutting down trees just to throw them in the garbage while burning coal. New Hampshire is the antithesis of crunchy. Heck, even go like two miles out of downtown Portsmouth and you'll see douchebags "rolling coal" in their lifted pickups.

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