Sustainable Sunday: Plants

peace lily
Photo by Mitchel Lensink on Unsplash

We don’t need a few people doing zero-waste perfectly, we need millions doing it imperfectly.

Lauren Singer*

Plants are one of my favorite gifts to receive and high on the “treatchaself” list. They give you oxygen, are something to care for and watch grow, expedite healing, balance out the invisible chaos of electronics that might be wiggin’ you out, create a calming atmosphere, and look nice.

Swap: Instead of something toxic or environmentally-unfriendly, give or buy a potted plant.

Cut flowers usually wilt and stink within a week or so, so people toss them into the compost or, more likely, the trash. (The issue with the latter is that organic compost creates methane gas, which is bad for our environment.) While flower bouquets are a beautiful art form to look at and make recipients feel special, actively growing plants continue to flower- the gift that keeps on giving. Cut flowers are also 1) typically wrapped in plastic and 2) super expensive. For the same investment you can get a plant that keeps on keepin’ on long after the celebratory event has passed. For Valentine’s Day this year, Rick got me a big, bouncy peace lily, and this week it gave us a fresh white bloom. I say “us,” but I’d bet Rick hasn’t noticed it, so… this week it gave me a fresh white bloom!

peace lily
Photo by Maria Eliz on Unsplash

Plants purify indoor air.

I always wonder about quality of air and the fact that so many humans spend so much time indoors. (Me! I’m one of those people.) I wonder how our lungs are effected by all those dust motes floating around, undetected mold, gas/carbon monoxide, and things like candle smoke (another example of something toxic or environmentally-unfriendly we often give/buy). Plants clean the air in the home, give us fresh oxygen, and flourish with the carbon dioxide we emit. Mutually beneficial, we pair well together.

Plants give you something to nurture and care for.

I have another peace lily, my first, obtained along with a white bird of paradise from a nursery in D.C. when Rick and I lived there. The same day Rick got a tiny cactus he named Spike. He’s very proud of Spike when he remembers he has Spike.

This may sound really sad, and usually when things are really sad they end up being funny to me, and I find this funny, but when I was in D.C. I missed the family golden retrievers (in NYC) so much that taking care of plants was a weak but important consolation. I’d tug the massive bird of paradise outside to get some big sunlight just like you’d take a dog out. I remember one time Rick came home and I grinned and fanned my arm out to present the plant on our little patio. “Look who’s having a nice time outside!” (Somebody get this girl a dog…) HA! Rick appeased me with a “Wow! I can tell it’s having a great time out there.”

I also grew mint, basil, rosemary, and cilantro and what I learned was that there’s never enough cilantro, because I eat it too fast, and that mint does not know how to share and is always inviting itself over to other plants’ houses. If you plant mint with another herb, the mint will put its roommate in a choke hold and commit MURDER. The pot will be a mint-only pot soon. And then, my mint plant had the audacity to grow down to the ground, pretending to be minding its own business, and then pop up on the side of the other herbs’ pot! Anyway, mint needs to be in the plant equivalent of the isolation cabin from The Parent Trap (1998).

bird of paradise
Photo by Luca Deasti on Unsplash

Plants nurture you back.

Being able to eat what you grow is immensely satisfying. When I have a yard of my own, I plan to grow lots of food, or at least attempt to. It feeds me physically but also my soul to care for something and watch it flourish. In the meantime, though, I can only grow things indoors and with limited northern exposure. Sadly, my herbs did not make the move back to NYC. But my original peace lily and bird of paradise and Rick’s cactus he forgets about have lived three places and have continued to grow. Well, I have no idea if Spike is growing or even okay. I think he’s okay. I also got an aloe plant at a street fair for $5 and have used it on inflamed skin and sunburns.

Okay, now for something potentially psychosomatic that I believe in: plants countering the invisible chaos of wifi, cellular waves, and electronics in general. Apparently, plants cancel the positive ions that come from electronics, something that apparently makes people wiggy, charged up, and anxious. I’ve heard of a parent requesting a preschool remove the wifi connection due to it causing their child anxiety, and while I’m not ready to go that far, I believe that level of sensitivity to be true for some. For instance, fluorescent lights give me anxiety. The fact the light always moves drives me crazy and makes me feel like I’m about to have a seizure at any moment. (I’m sooo fun at parties.) When fluorescent lights are reflecting off a linoleum floor it’s even worse. My disturbing high school chemistry lab comes to mind. With cell service and wifi there is so much moving through the air, it kinda makes sense to me that something organic would balance it, even if just in the vein of feng shui. Apparently plants, especially their roots and soil, absorb that chaotic energy.

Plants are inherently healing.

I’ve always had a feeling about physical spaces that inform my inner peace, and plants help calm a room… and me. I found a study on the National Library of Medicine website that finds plants enhance healing:

Findings of this study confirmed the therapeutic value of plants in the hospital environment as a noninvasive, inexpensive, and effective complementary medicine for surgical patients. Health care professionals and hospital administrators need to consider the use of plants and flowers to enhance healing environments for patients.

[Ornamental indoor plants in hospital rooms enhanced health outcomes of patients recovering from surgery]

It’s such a bummer to enter someone’s space with nary a plant in sight. Make a small plant your next housewarming or host gift! Here’s a place to start:

30+ Gorgeous Indoor Plants That Are Almost Impossible to Kill

Next on my list are a couple of snake plants. My birthday’s on Saturday- maybe Rick’s reading this. Rick, are you there? Anywho.

Photo by Kara Eads on Unsplash

One small consumption change for you, one small improvement for our environment. What kind of nontoxic, environmentally-friendly treats do you like to give or buy?

Warmest,
Bailey

*Lauren Singer is an environmentalist who does not generate any waste(!). You can shop her store, Package Free, online or at the brick and mortar store in Brooklyn post-pandemic. Read more about Lauren here, and watch her Ted Talk here– she’s inspiring.


Once a month I share a sustainability tip or an easy swap in consumption routine to better care for the planet. Environmentally conscious change doesn’t always have to be expensive, laborious, or extremely time-consuming.

If you like a photo used, please click through the link in the caption to support the artist.


More on Bummed Out Bailey:
Sustainable Sunday: Detergent
Sustainable Sunday: Carrots
Sustainable Sunday: Ziplock Bags


The best way you can support me is to share my blog with friends! Another way to support is on my Patreon where you’ll find exclusive content. Your word of mouth and contribution mean more to me than you’ll ever know!

To subscribe to Bummed Out Bailey by email, scroll all the way down to the bottom of the website and enter your info into the form. I can also be found on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter!

If you or someone you know needs help right now, please call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.


Last, I leave you with this nice picture of a golden retriever I found.

Photo by Laula Co on Unsplash

Sustainable Sunday: Detergent

Is that not the sexiest, most compelling title you’ve ever read on Bummed Out Bailey?

We don’t need a few people doing zero-waste perfectly, we need millions doing it imperfectly.

Lauren Singer*

We’re talkin’ both dishwasher and laundry detergents, here.

Good Swap

Swap chemical detergents for natural detergents.

Alright, so, you know how I’m poisoning the world by consuming massive amounts of prescription medications that then excrete through my urine, traces of which are never to be fully filtered out of the earth’s finite supply of water, slowly dosing every Tom, Dick, and Harry with a swig of Prozac? Well, our detergents do the same thing, except Tide and Cascade don’t leave you feeling mysteriously balanced like secret-water-SSRIs.

The things humans create and then put on and in our bodies don’t really ever leave us, meaning the royal “us,” meaning the planet. There’s not even a need to use harsh, unnatural chemicals to clean our clothes and dishes, because natural detergents can be just as effective. As a bonus, they’re gentler on our bodies and our ecosystem. You may not know this for a couple reasons:

  1. Hippie-dippy detergent brand X doesn’t have, like, Johnson & Johnson’s dope marketing budget
  2. You haven’t yet broken out into a sad rash from use of conventional detergent

Some brands that I like include Seventh Generation, ECOS, Puracy, and Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day.

Products I’ve used and liked:

Dishwasher:

  1. Mrs. Meyer’s Basil Automatic Dish Pacs
    1. Pro tip: The Mrs. Meyer’s basil scent smells like heaven.
  2. Seventh Generation Dishwasher Packs – Free and Clear

Laundry:

  1. Mrs. Meyer’s Laundry Pacs (Various Scents)
  2. Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent Packs – Free and Clear

Better Swap

Swap natural detergent sold in flimsy, landfill-or-ocean-bound plastic bagging for natural detergent sold in firm, recyclable plastic containers.

Products I’ve used and liked:

Dishwasher:

  1. Seventh Generation Dishwasher Gel – Free and Clear

Laundry:

  1. ECOS 2X Ultra Natural Laundry Detergent, Lavender
  2. Seventh Generation Free & Clear Natural Liquid Laundry Detergent
  3. Tide Pods Free and Gentle Laundry Detergent
Plath

ICYMI: You can’t Plath yourself in a washer. Photo by Lauren Mancke on Unsplash


Best Swap

Swap natural detergent sold in firm, recyclable plastic containers for natural detergent sold in metal or glass jars or cardboard boxes.

Products I’ve used and liked:

Dishwasher:

  1. IF YOU CARE* Automatic Dishwasher Tablets
    1. One of my favorite, easiest swaps ever. I’ve subscribed to them on Amazon for years, and have even secretly subscribed my in-laws to them, too, without consultation, because that’s my creepy, sustainable swapping style. I figure if the tablets keep restocking, maybe the unspoken consensus will just be that some box of random tablets seems to be lasting an unusually long time.
    2. Seriously, I’ve used these tablets on five different dishwashers at this point and they’ve worked on… four. Yes, four, not five. I’m in the non-profit business of honesty, here, and my and Rick’s current postage stamp Upper West Side apartment came with a rinky-dink dishwasher that requires a total, complete rinse of dishes before going in. Truly, I’m not sure what it even does except act as bonus kitchen storage, because it seems it can’t even remove a loose breadcrumb. Rick gets all huffy about it and mostly only hand-washes now (with Mrs. Meyer’s basil-scented dish soap, of course), but I’m still holding on, diligently rinsing my dishes until they appear completely clean before placing them in the dishwasher with fresh hope every time. Anyway, the tablets left a speckled powder residue, and the dishes quite literally came out worse than before they went in. Because my dishwasher’s delicate sensibilities cannot make sense of or process tablets or powder, I reverted back to Seventh Generation Dishwasher Gel – Free and Clear and plan to try Dropps‘ pods next.
    3. *The brand name “IF YOU CARE” gives me the giggles because it’s so quietly aggressive. Like, here’s some cleaning products if you even care about anything, ever, you monster. I like to imagine someone sobbing and saying “IF YOU CARE!” at an innocent bystander. [This asterisked information has been gratuitous.]
dirty dishes

Here’s what my dishes look like fresh out of the washer. Photo by Izz R on Unsplash

Laundry:

  1. Dropps Laundry Detergent Pods
  2. The Simply Co. Laundry Detergent

Nary a touch of plastic in sight! Break down the cardboard and recycle or, in the case of The Simply. Co, reuse the glass jars. (After a good wash, of course) I like to use them to store bulk grains/beans/nuts in the pantry.


Can you make your own detergents? Yes. Might the extremity scandalize/spark suspicion in loved ones/housemates? Also yes. Maybe start with a small swap and then venture to the DIY realm someday, if you like. I know! Make it like a cooked frog in boiling water (etc.)- you sneak new things into your household arsenal and, before they know it, whoever you live with is using soap berries that look like dried up, decrepit figs to assuage stains out of their clothes.

Extra Credit

Use reusable wool dryer balls (scented with essential oil of your choice, if you like) instead of one-time-use, mystery ingredient dryer sheets.

One small consumption change for you, one small improvement for our environment.

Warmest,
Bailey

*Lauren Singer is an environmentalist who does not generate any waste(!). You can shop her store, Package Free, online or at the brick and mortar store in Brooklyn post-pandemic. Read more about Lauren here, and watch her Ted Talk here– she’s inspiring.


Once a month I share a sustainability tip or an easy swap in consumption routine to better care for the planet. Environmentally conscious change doesn’t always have to be expensive, laborious, or extremely time-consuming.

If you like a photo used, please click through the link in the caption to support the artist.


More on Bummed Out Bailey:
Sustainable Sunday: Floss
Sustainable Sunday: Carrots
Sustainable Sunday: Ziplock Bags


The best way you can support me is to share my blog with friends! Another way to support is on my Patreon where you’ll find exclusive content. Your word of mouth and contribution mean more to me than you’ll ever know!

To subscribe to Bummed Out Bailey by email, scroll all the way down to the bottom of the website and enter your info into the form. I can also be found on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter!

If you or someone you know needs help right now, please call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.


Last, I leave you with this nice picture of a golden retriever I found.

Mental Health: Excerpt from my Manuscript “Oh, Brother”

Vanilla

I wasn’t the only one suffering in silence in childhood. Duncan was, too, and like me he also didn’t register that something was actually wrong. Being the classic oldest child, he was impossibly hard on himself and spent the first 19 years of his life swimming against the current, assuming that must be how everyone lives. Being so close in age, he and Alex were best friends and shared a room for several years. When it was time for Duncan to set out on his own, my parents turned the dining room into a bedroom by installing doors on both of its open walls. One set of folding doors opened to the foyer, and the other into the back of the kitchen, far from the other three bedrooms and the rest of his family. Like with their looks, if my brothers had been swapped and Alex had been the one housed in the dining room, he’d still be making vitriolic jokes about it to this day: him being the rejected, neglected child. Mom’s fault. In true Duncan form, though, he now thinks his gastrointestinal maroon was hilarious. We still refer to his room as “steerage,” as if it’d been akin to the lowest fare ticket on the Titanic. Tough luck.

When he was in junior high, though, he hadn’t yet developed the sense of humor that would become so critical to his mental survival. He could hear the distant thud of me bonking my head on my pillow down the hall with my door cracked open as I tried to forget everything. Closer still was the dishwasher swishing just outside his door. Duncan would sneak into the kitchen and sit on the linoleum in the dark, knees to his chest. He’d peer through the 1980s built-in lattice work that separated the kitchen and living room to watch whatever our parents had on TV, likely something Plugged In didn’t approve of. Early on Saturday mornings I’d wander into Duncan’s room and crawl up onto his bed to watch cartoons with him. We all thought Duncan’s early mornings were just a part of him taking himself seriously, but he just wasn’t sleeping. He doesn’t remember a life without insomnia.

Duncan was a dweeb, but he didn’t know he was a dweeb. He was really into Dockers, braided belts that matched his penny loafers, honors classes, and his custom engraved bowling ball. He approached each bumper-free lane with a stoicism and precision typically reserved for people disarming bombs with one second to spare. His temper flared at the first sign of trouble, though, an inner rage that burned so brightly that none of us were ever ready for it. He hated himself for getting a B, and slammed down his remote control over and over if he lost a Nintendo game. Like, flee-the-room-out-of-fear remote-slamming. His childhood frame was feeble, though, and his flying fists were as threatening as wet spaghetti noodles. Holes didn’t begin appearing in the walls of our house until he was in his early 20s.

Alex would’ve called Duncan out on his weird mannerisms and dork tendencies if it weren’t for two things. One, he worshipped Duncan. Two, he really, really worshipped Duncan. When Alex decided in his preteens that he was unable to keep pace with Duncan academically or athletically, his cruelty disguised as humor began to form. When I skipped a grade, he was squashed between two siblings who seemed to effortlessly do what he couldn’t.

[continue reading on Patreon]

Warmest,
Bailey


Wednesday posts cover something that’s top of mind for me that week and are written in a short period of time. This means that editing is not strong. While it’s not my best work, it is my best, unfiltered thought.


More on Bummed Out Bailey:
Mental Health: The Social Toll of Invisible Illness
Mental Health: The Gold of One’s Spirit
Mental Health: The Best Cure for Anxiety


The best way you can support me is to share my blog with friends! Another way to support is on my Patreon where you’ll find exclusive content. Your word of mouth and contribution mean more to me than you’ll ever know!

To subscribe to Bummed Out Bailey by email, scroll all the way down to the bottom of the website and enter your info into the form. I can also be found on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter!

If you or someone you know needs help right now, please call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Mental Health: The Best Cure for Anxiety

Coldplay, but make it millennial pink
Photo by Tonik

Hello! How are you? I hope you’ll… tell me about it, stud(?). Just like Sandra Dee, if we change everything we are to impress a person posturing in a letterman jacket who’s likely going nowhere in life, you will 1) fly away in a car, and 2) resolve all self-doubt personally, professionally, romantically, mentally, and spiritually. That’s the extent of my message this week. Thank you, and good night.

Welp, this post has already gone off the rails.

Typically, my Wednesday posts go up at 9am sharp, so the time stamp on this here post should be a strong indicator of how my week’s goin’. I’ve committed to you and myself, though, to post on Wednesdays, and I wanna keep that commitment. Which leads me right into my point this week. I read somewhere, perhaps in So Sad Today by Melissa Broder, that the best cure for anxiety is thinking of others.

It’s an interesting concept, isn’t it, to take focus off yourself to pull yourself out of the mental meltdown taking place or threatening to take place inside of your head. It’s like when I get upset with someone, like a stranger who cuts you off in traffic or is snippy at the sinks in a public bathroom for no discernible reason (can you tell I had a v specific encounter at LaGuardia? LaGuardia is the place where souls go to die), I always try to remind myself that that person is or once was someone’s beloved baby. I also try to think about the fact that hurt people hurt people.*

ANYway, in that same vein of being on the receiving end of something negative and recalibrating my thoughts, it’s an interesting challenge to try to redirect my focus onto someone else: I wonder how my 5th grade teacher Mrs. Johnson is doing, ’cause she was so good to me when my anxiety was undiagnosed. Is my mom (a flight attendant) in the air right now? Is that UPS driver happy, and would they like one of the cold bottles of water Whole Foods keeps sending me that I didn’t ask for and I now suppose their secret plan all along has been to hydrate strangers? What might I get [person I like so much/maybe even person I don’t like so much] for their birthday? What would make them smile? So on and so forth.

While anxiety has very real physical manifestations, it either starts in your brain OR your brain perpetuates and escalates the situation into longer unrest. This is a trick worth trying, wondering about other people and possibly how you might help them or make them smile. Wouldn’t you want someone to help you or make you smile? One time I was sobbing by the East River, as New Yorkers are wont to do because, waiting for results from my neurologist, I’d convinced myself I had a brain tumor and that this was it, my nerves fried, my adrenaline dumped, and nothing left to give. My limbs had gone limp and I was melting into a park bench like a lumpy black-clothes-clad popsicle in the sun. A woman walking her dogs stopped to ask if I was okay, and I still think about her a bunch. How’s she doin’? Is she okay? I like your dogs! Thanks for checking on me! Sorry for lying to you about whether I was okay! Wish I could send you a Starbucks gift card!

Next time you’re wiggin’ and feel anxiety creeping in, try redirecting your thoughts outside of your body. It might be a crash and burn, or it could be lit, as the youths say. Won’t know til ya try it.

Warmest,
Bailey

*Sometimes I think I need a writing wrangler. Like, someone who’s watching the words and sentences build from my fingers on the keyboard in real time and then they’re like * skrrr! * (skidding tire sound when braking) “We’ve got a, uh, 9-oh-6 violation of severe digression, please resume to your point, ma’am.” Now that I think about it, that’s what an editor does.** But, sometimes digression is kinda funny. Or, at least it’s kinda fun…ny… for me.

**I’m a freelance editor and am actually v good at it. So, I guess I exorcise all of my pent up digressions here on ye olde blog.


Wednesday posts cover something that’s top of mind for me that week and are written in a short period of time. This means that editing is not strong. While it’s not my best work, it is my best, unfiltered thought.


More on Bummed Out Bailey:
Mental Health: The Social Toll of Invisible Illness
Mental Health: The Gold of One’s Spirit
Mental Health: Flip Over Some Emotional Rocks, See What’s Happenin’ Underneath! (Pandemic Activity Idea)


The best way you can support me is to share my blog with friends! Another way to support is on my Patreon where you’ll find exclusive content. Your word of mouth and contribution mean more to me than you’ll ever know!

To subscribe to Bummed Out Bailey by email, scroll all the way down to the bottom of the website and enter your info into the form. I can also be found on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter!

If you or someone you know needs help right now, please call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Mental Health: Flip Over Some Emotional Rocks, See What’s Happenin’ Underneath! (Pandemic Activity Idea)

Hi! It’s been a few weeks since I hit you with a traditional Wednesday mental health post opposed to my and Rick’s goofy videos on mental illness and marriage. I was going to post a new installment of our grainy, terribly produced vlog, but at minute 17 of recording Rick turned to me on camera and said, “Can we do this video again? I don’t like what you said about [something about Rick]. I just don’t think that should be on YouTube. Also, you talked about dancing to ‘Mr. Roboto’ for seven minutes straight.”

Fair enough, Rick. Although I stand by the fact that Styx’s “Mr. Roboto” is the best/funniest song to dance to maybe ever. Wedding DJs consider it a dance floor killer, I consider it a dance floor thriller. Especially since the actual song “Thriller” gives me the creeps now that MJ’s true colors are shinin’ through. Unlike Cyndi, though, his true colors are why I don’t love him. Tough bum out.

Eighties music aside, it’s been one month and two days since my graduation, and I remain on the job hunt. When I was talking to a recruiter, she was rueful af about the fact that, six months ago, she’d had boat loads of jobs I’d be a stellar candidate for but now everyone is on a hiring freeze. Graduating during a global pandemic and civil rights crisis is a doozy! I’ve done the leg work. Even though I know I cannot do anything about the economic climate we’re living in, which includes the job market, it’s still hard to know I am not contributing to my family financially, especially with New York being s’dang expensive. Being in school is no longer an excuse.

To maintain my mental health I’ve been keeping pretty rigid morning and night routines, although rigid doesn’t seem to be the right adjective since that connotes a kind of non-breezy execution. My routines are what help me both start and wind down the day and I look forward to them. I’ve been jogging or doing yoga a couple times a week (sometimes even three if I’m feeling zealous!) and have been keeping busy with job applications, working on my manuscript, and the general minutiae of home life. Never have I had a cleaner shower. Or candied butternut squash.*

Anyway, I just want to say today that if you’re having an issue these days doing something that’d otherwise be no problem, or at least significantly easier, I get it. If you don’t get down, I won’t get down. I mean, I can’t promise, cause Sunday I was in a terrible, smile-less pit of despair, but I will do my best. I hope you’ll keep your chin up the best you can, too, and be extra gentle with yourself and others. Give your loved ones the benny of the doubt and more grace than usual. Rick challenged me to do that, and it actually uncovered a lot of turmoil and a need for support from my loved ones. Flip over some rocks and see what’s underneath.** Check in on a friend or family member who’s usually v strong, and who might be putting on a slight façade.

If all else fails, turn on “Mr. Roboto” for a giggle. Then, turn your freestyle choreo into a TikTok sensation, go viral, get picked up by a talent management agency, and the rest is history. Don’t forget ole bummed out Bailey when you’re famous.

Warmest,
Domo arigato,
Bailey

*P.S. I subscribed to Misfits Market (organic produce that sometimes looks weird but tastes the same) and lugged a 13 lb. box up to my third floor apartment, wondering what the heck I’d done. Thirteen pounds?! Well, we’ve smashed it in less than a week. Plants, ahoy. For real. I even got Rick to eat said squash. Secret: maple syrup and cinnamon. Anyway, highly recommend. Enormous box was $22, and lord knows organic produce at the store ain’t that cheap.

**This reminds me of a chapter title in So Sad Today (by Melissa Broder) that made me lol, something like “Under the Anxiety is Sadness but Who Would Go Under There”


Wednesday posts cover something that’s top of mind for me that week and are written in a short period of time. This means that editing is not strong. While it’s not my best work, it is my best, unfiltered thought.


More on Bummed Out Bailey:
Mental Health: How to Perk up When you Feel Like You’ve Been Percocet’d
Mental Health: The Social Toll of Invisible Illness
Mental Health: The Gold of One’s Spirit


The best way you can support me is to share my blog with friends! Another way to support is on my Patreon where you’ll find exclusive content. Your word of mouth and contribution mean more to me than you’ll ever know!

To subscribe to Bummed Out Bailey by email, scroll all the way down to the bottom of the website and enter your info into the form. I can also be found on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter!

If you or someone you know needs help right now, please call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.