Saturday, March 31, 2007

Oh, and I forgot to mention...

Guess who got a tooth on Thursday? Clue: she's seven months old today (SEVEN MONTHS. That's not that small) and very gorgeous.....

My Social Life

Want to know what a glamorous Saturday night looks like? I'll tell you.

What you'll need: kitchen equipment to include steamer, pan, blender, food mill, ice cube trays (silicone, of course) and large wine glass; lots of organic fruits and vegetables (a selection could include parsnips, purple asparagus, broccoli, plums, apples, pears and bananas); one second hand kaftan/muumuu purchased at local flea market for $5; and (critically) a bottle of wine (spend about $15 on this; you'll be needing it).

Wait until husband leaves to go upstate to collect car (yes, it broke down again. But it was their fault so they fixed it for free). Put baby to bed. Call brother on stag do (bachelor party) in NYC's most glamorous nightspot just to hammer home the bathetic contrast between your night and his. Put Coldplay or other girly band on the iPod. Pour self large glass of Sauvignon Blanc, then commence frenziedly steaming, blending, pureeing, scooping and freezing first type of organic fruit/veg; wash up; repeat; repeat; repeat...

If you've followed the instructions to the letter, by the end you'll be mildly drunk but will also have accumulated a fairly impressive collection of food cubes to be fed to your darling child by someone else while you're at work.

You see? We know how to party round here. Lindsay Lohan eat your heart out.

Mum, I don't know why you've bothered. I'd much rather just eat balloon ribbons.

Or yoghurt.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Putting pits to the test

Got to be quick because I must get more sleep tonight but thought I owed you an update on the armpit exercise, you lucky people.

So, today was a rogue warm day - warm as in early summer, complete with French windows open and people dining al fresco all over Park Slope (I know this because I went to yoga tonight after Dot was in bed. Have to get some exercise in somehow, don't I). Since I was dressed for early spring (well it was bloody freezing last week), today was the perfect torture test for the baking soda.

And what I have to report is that, even after the yoga, things really weren't too much niffier than they might have been in my Mitchum days. What I found hard to deal with was the unaccustomed and persistent damp sensation which made me feel like I needed a good shower even after I've just had one and then for the rest of the day.

I'm going to see if I can make it to the end of the week. But I don't think I could do this in summer proper. I don't mind looking like a geek with my 'no plastic bags' bag, slightly worn, unfashionable clothes or my packed lunch, but I draw the line at dark underarm circles. Sooo not a good look.

Monday, March 26, 2007


I've just worked out why I find nights in without the hubby so relaxing - it's because the bloody TV isn't blaring the whole time. I mean, in his defence he's only ever watching horizon-broadening, mind -expanding stuff like Countdown with Keith Olberman (ok, that and endless reruns of the Star Wars Trilogy lately. Will it never end?) but there's something impossible to resist about the TV, even if you aren't remotely interested in what's on. And so if he's in, like a moth to the flame I find myself collapsing, enervated, on the couch and getting nothing done.

So tonight, in his absence and with the TV turned off, I was wildly productive - or at least I straightened out the house in double-quick time - and able to think clearly. And as I washed up bottles and baby spoons while waiting for my brown rice and tofu (really) to boil, what I thought was, if I could be more *something* in this life (you know, sexy, witty, tall, thin, clever, rich, whatever) the thing I would want to be more is decisive. Or single-minded; i think they're the same thing, aren't they? Well aren't they?

Ahem. You see, I've been plagued my whole life by indecision. It's the reason I've never been sure about whether I was with the right man (till I met the hubby, natch), where to live, what colour to paint my room, whether to get a fringe (bangs) whether I was in the right job, whether I should move home and so on.

Today was a case in point.

The hubby wanted to meet friends at five at a pub just round the corner from our old apartment so we agreed to meet there for the Dot handover. As I got off the subway in the West Village a mere 15 minutes after I'd left the office and walked to the pub the way I'd walked to our apartment every weekday for three years prior to our move upstate, I thought, 'wow, I got here so quickly. If we still lived here or hereabouts, I could leave work at 5.30 and be home before six, and that 30 minutes off my commute twice a day would mean an extra hour daily with little Dot. And on my days off, the majority of my baby friends would be walking distance away. So why did we move to Brooklyn, again?' This after several weeks of congratulating myself for having made a great move to a much calmer, cleaner, greener, more family-friendly borough.

Then as I got to the pub to find said poor little Dot about to blow a gasket for no reason other than that she just needed me RIGHT NOW (I know this because within five minutes of my arrival she'd stopped squirming and squawking and the steam had stopped rising from her ears) the conviction I'd been smugly harbouring for a while now, confirmed after a very gratifying day at the office last thursday, that what my work life thus far had been leading up to was being a green planner and that actually I was quite lucky that our financial situation meant I'd had to return to work with none of the agonising choosing to do so might have brought and that my days of indecision were over, went right out of the window and I began fretting terribly about what my absence might do to her in the long term. And the idea that going back to work was much easier than I'd anticipated floundered.

Aargh. It'll all be fine in the morning because by then I will have changed my mind again. But surely life would be so much easier if I was one of those people who made up their mind and then stuck to it?

Musings on a Sunday night

So we’re already headed back to the city after a lovely but all too brief weekend in Milanville. I’ll admit that as we arrived on a grey Friday afternoon and saw snow still on the ground, my heart sank a little – I’m so over winter at this point that I couldn’t bear another wintry weekend – but I needn’t have worried. Apart from a blip yesterday afternoon, the weather was gorgeous. This afternoon we had the doors and windows open and when I went for my walk, streams and creeks gushed around me, swollen by the fast-melting snow. The best bit was when I spotted several vigorous clumps of snowdrops peeking through the snow in the back garden. I took Dot over to investigate; she cheerfully shoved a handful in her mouth.

As I had to take the compost out to the compost bin this afternoon, I decided to check on its worm-readiness. To my delight, after months of happening on the same rock-solid pile of broccoli stalks, carrot peelings and lemon rinds with a bunch of nappies on top of them, the contents of the bin were now quite unrecognizable and from the smell of things were all composting nicely. As this is my first ever compost heap I became far more excited than a pile of mouldy vegetable scraps and soggy nappies probably warranted but was also a bit taken aback by the whiffiness of it all. I mean, it smelled like putrifying vegetables. I’m sure when I read the instructions it said this wouldn’t be the case. And it isn’t even remotely hot yet. I think I better do some further research pronto. I was having trouble picturing myself handling the worms as it was, but handling them and a load of really smelly mushy stuff? I hope I’m man enough for the task, as the hubby made it quite clear from the outset that the compost heap, especially the nappies bit, was my affair. I’m sure I’ll figure it out; feel free to post advice.

Speaking of smells, and inspired by a) No Impact Man (who if you live in NYC has been hard to avoid of late, which I view as a good thing) and b) accidentally leaving our deodorant in Brooklyn, I decided to give the home remedy baking-soda-as-deodorant a go today. I haven’t got my kit off yet for a proper inspection, but I don’t think I smell particularly worse than usual and the friends who came for Sunday lunch didn’t seem to notice anything untoward (either that or they’re very polite). Maybe I’ll continue the experiment this week and see how it goes. However, this is all very well in March, but I cannot imagine myself surviving a sticky Manhattan summer without my Lady Mitchum. We’ll see.

So, back to Brooklyn we go (we’re carpooling at least to minimize the gas guzzling). It has been lovely to be back upstate, if a bit weird being an outsider somewhere you’re used to being an insider, and being part-time in a house you got used to being in full-time (the desk looked sad and empty without the hubby's office paraphernalia all over it). But equally, it wasn't awful to leave. No sunday-night blues as yet.

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Town or Country

Hello friends, I'm sorry I've been away for so long. It's been a very busy week, Dot's still up a good three or four times a night so I'm a bit of a zombie, my parents were over and now we're up at the house so there's all that. But the truth is, this life is sudennly so different from the life it was when I started the blog that I'm not quite sure what to write about.

You know the broad strokes: then, I was at home all day with my baby in a cute but decrepit old cottage in the country; now I live in Brooklyn and commute 40 minutes four days a week to a corporate office in Manhattan. Instead of the Delaware River I've got the F train and instead of the organic farm round the corner, I've got any number of chi chi grocery stores.

The weirdest thing is that when I first got here (for we're up at the house for the weekend - aaaah (the sound of me exhaling)) I thought it was much easier being green in the city because I could buy eco-friendly loo roll/dish soap and organic fruit at the all-singing all-dancing grocery store a walk across the street. Ah, but I was inexperienced in matters green then.

Now, of course, I can see that in many ways it's the other way round. Here I can buy food from the local organic farm, much of which generates a grand total of less than five gas miles and all of it less than twenty, plus almost no packaging. I can compost our biodegradable waste, including Dot's nappies (of course thanks to Sarah I can still do all bar the nappies in town). Here I had the time to cook all our meals from scratch, hence no take-out and much less other packaging (now I barely have time to pee). Our wood stove makes for eco-friendlier heat and since it is our house, we have more control here over the electricity source, the water temperature, etc.; there someone else controls these things and something about that makes you lazy, though I'm sure I could get them fixed if I tried.

It doesn't help that I have absolutely no willpower and of course here there was less temptation. For example, when I was full time in Milanville, you would have been unlikely to find me guiltily leaving H&M with a plastic bag containing four items for me and one for Dot from the new organic cotton clothing line which, despite being made of organic cotton, is still a lot of new garments, all flown in from Turkey and a plastic bag. (The clothes are gorgeous, by the way, and at least I resisted the urge to buy any non-organic cotton things, even though lots of them were very nice. Two did make it to the changing room, though, before I got a grip).

There are also a million more packaging-y things for the hubby to buy in town and outlets for him to get plastic bags from and since I'm out at work all day, far fewer opportunities for me to call him out on it until I find three plastic bags surreptitiously stuffed in the bin (along with his tea bags and coffee grounds) and by then it's too late.

Not to mention, if we want to come to the house regularly, we'll be doing that drive a lot (but since there'll be much less mid-weel dricing, maybe it cancels out). Phew.

The other thing that is less clear cut than I expected is that I'm quite enjoying work. I miss Dot terribly while I'm there, but I like using the old grey matter and having the space and time to do it, and I can feel that old demon ambition stirring its stumps. I feel like a traitor even saying it, and when I get home and her little brain is about to malfunction in spite of her Dad's best efforts because she just needs her mum, I hate it.

But some real green progress has been made in the office this week.

The tricky thing there is that I can't really tell you about it because, well, we all know what happens to people who blog about their offices.

So bear with me while things settle down and I work out a way round it.

Till then, my green thing for today? Dot and I had local organic celery root (celeriac) for lunch. And she loved it, adventurous little soul that she is.

Oh, and the thing you've all really been waiting for:

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

No printing

So this is my third week back at work and I just realized that so far I haven't printed a single page. Not one. Admittedly I've only been in the office a grand total of six days but still, I think it's pretty good going. If I think about all the long and involved Powerpoint decks I used to crank out by the pound I would really kick myself.

It hasn't been easy. There's something about reading page after page of complicated charts on a screen that tends to make the eyes boggle (funny how when I'm reading the results of my Google search for organic levis and loomstate jeans I don't encounter the same problem), especially after a night of the Dot-special - her 'four wake-ups combined with partying at 2am on a mummy work night' medley. I do also find I have to concentrate harder for things to sink in, and it's annoying not to be able to scribble all over the margins.

But I'm determined. And on Thursday I'm going to be speaking to the CEO about encouraging my colleagues to do the same. I thought we could introduce page quotas limiting us all to a set number of sheets a week or something, and offer a prize to the department that cuts its paper output the most in a week/month.

Yeah, and then maybe we could have a bake-off followed by sitting in a circle singing Kumbayah.

Well, I can dream.

And what do you mean I'm turning into David Brent?

Monday, March 19, 2007

Diaper disagreements

Something seems to be brewing in the cloth nappy department, and I don't just mean whatever Dot's cooked up.

Basically what's been happenning since we moved in is, I use cloth, Sarah washes them, the hubby uses disposables and we have a silent agreement to mind our own business (I'd like him to be using cloth too but since he's now doing a good 50% of the childcare, I guess he gets to make some decisions too).

Until yesterday.

As I was wrangling Dot into a cloth nappy, he sidled up to me and said, "My Mum was out with [a friend who just had her third baby] who said, why make something which is already difficult even harder by using cloth nappies?"

"But it isn't hard," I replied, as I tried for the 15th time to get Dot to sit still for long enough for me to wrap the prefold tightly round her little thighs, bring the sides together with a handy little widget called a snappi, repeat this step at least eight times till I got it right, stuff her into a woolie cover, stretch her onesie over her enlarged botty and force her trousers back on. "She's the easiest baby in the world and I'm really getting the hang of this now."

He watched the performance with a raised eyebrow then left the room.

Later, as I was getting Dot ready for her bath, my Mum came into the bathroom and closed the door conspiratorially behind her.

"I probably shouldn't be telling you this," she said in a low voice, "But I overheard the hubby earlier telling his mother he's going to put his foot down soon about these cloth nappies."

Blimey. We've got the grannies and the neighbours involved now. Whatever next?

But I haven't seen much evidence of this foot-putting down.

I reckon the hubby's all mouth and no trousers.

BTW sorry for the radio silence - my parents were in town and it was all a bit much. Thanks for sticking with us.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Bags, jeans, blah...

You know how when nobody's looking you think you can get away with stuff? I got to the checkout yesterday in Westerley Health, the totally fab health food superstore near the office, and realized I didn't have a bag with me, and had a bit too much stuff to carry without one. Ah well, I though, I guess it can't hurt just this once and no one at work really knows yet that I'm about to start trying to pass myself off as a paragon of greenly virtue so they won't even notice if I waltz back in with a placcy bag full of healthy snacks.

And then the old bloke in front of me finished paying, bent down and painstakingly arranged his shopping in of those backpack-on-wheels-with-a-handle, knelt on it to wiggle the zip shut and headed out.

After that of course I had to improvise. I stuffed my handbag and pockets full - anything to not be one of those wierd people I keep giving dirty looks to in health food stores because they buy organic food but take it home in plastic bags. Does this strike anyone else as inconsistent? I even got stopped by a security bloke in Wholefoods the other day because I'd stashed our shopping in the bottom of Dot's buggy, bag-free. He thought I was pinching it. Luckily I had the receipt, but you'd think he'd be used to people not using bags.

Maybe it was because of my wardrobe which after six months at home with a baby in the country is perhaps not ideally suited to life in Manhattan. Was it the jeans falling apart at the crotch or the coat streaked with salt, mud and baby sick? I will get some new jeans soon but I need to get paid first. I've been eyeing up the organic cotton Loomstate jeans in a lovely little boutique round the corner but they're the best part of $200. Needless to say I was consequently rather thrilled to learn that H&M will shortly be launching a range of organic cotton clothing including jeans. Oh bugger, because I'm typing this on the hubby's mac it won't let me do proper links (nor to post the pics of Dot I had for you patient people) so if you can be bothered, paste this into your browser:

Should probably hold out for those, then. And while I'm at it I might have to get me one of those tunics, too.

Apparently Top Shop has a similar range in the works so before long we can all be both trendy AND smug.

Not that we weren't already.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Breast Solution

So we're settling in nicely to our new neighbourhood and the brownstone/commune arrangement is working out fabulously. As I type, Saint Sarah is busy washing Dot's cloth nappies in with Peggy's and adding our compost to her compost bin while I, er, I...well anyway...

My three days off work have been great but it's back to work tomorrow. I have my glass bottles sterilized and packed in the mini-cooler ready to go (there are many new frontiers to conquer as a working mum of which the least dignified is surely pumping breast milk in your office. So far I haven't had to attend any high-powered meetings with marketing directors of major Fortune 500 corporations in between sessions, but imagine the bathos of the boardroom to the breast pump when I do).

The reason they're glass bottles is because in between going back to work, moving in, battling a horrendous cold and preparing batches of pureed organic food for Dot, I've been finding the time to obsess anew over the horrors of plastic as they apply to bottlefeeding your baby and storing their food (in case you're interested, all sorts of info to be found here; this link courtesy of Sarah who is as bonkers as I am about this stuff, if not more so). The best alternative I've found so far to the ubiquitos plastic ice cube tray is these food-grade silicone ones; Sarah and I spent hours online last night and couldn't find anything to suggest silicone is bad.

Which is just as well because I also - and I say this tentatively - think I may finally have found a solution to the leaky boob problem in the form of these silicone boob pad thingies. So far so good, anyway.

Gosh you know I am so tired that I think it would be best if I stopped trying to be funny and went to bed now. We think Dot's teething because she's waking up more or less every two hours at the moment. Which means I might get an hour in now if I'm quick.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Oh my god, I am so tired. The hubby's bloody got me drunk again. Well, probably for the best and hey, only one day to go before the weekend - hurrah.

It was weird today. I was back in the same places, doing the same things (though not buying fancy coffee or soup in disposable cups), literally walking the same hallways I've been walking for the past six and a half years, all of it so familiar that I switched into autopilot to the degree that I nearly got on the ACE to the West Village instead of the Q to Brooklyn after work.

And yet it was different because there's Dot. I had that dreamlike feeling again, and spent the first two hours in my (new, bright white, almost furniture-less) office staring at the wall trying to remember what the hell it was I was supposed to be doing. This was by far the longest period of time I've had to myself in six months and in a way I was almost giddy with the freedom (anyone who tells you it's harder going to work than being home with a baby is wrong. Though I'll probably rescind that once work really kicks in).

But you know what? It was also a bit...boring. Maybe it's the blank walls, or the job, or the fact that lots of old faces have left, or simply the change, but as I walked through the door, I could feel parts of my brain that had been firing all maternity leave shut down, ones that I really need to make the green thing happen. A bit like I'd been given a frontal lobotomy on re-entry.

So very little headway made on matters green today - or indeed on any matters at all.

But give me a chance to get over the culture shock and I'll be all over it. If I can just do something about the lobotomy...

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Back to School

Well, this was going to be a deep and meaningful look back at the last six months, the first of Dot's life and by far the best of mine, before the world shifts on its axis tomorrow and I go back to work. I think I had something Important and Very Sentimental to say.

But the hubby seems to have got me a bit drunk on some expensive Zinfandel - probably in a bid to stave off the tears he's been dealing with at bedtime for the past few nights - and the serious stuff, whatever it was, eludes me.

In fact, he needn't have worried. As with most things, I think this going back to work business will turn out to have been far worse in the anticipation than it is in reality. Indeed, if motherhood has taught me anything it's to just bloody get on with things because not much turns out to be as hard as you thought it would be and even if it is, you soon get used to it and then it isn't so hard any more after all. So today, after weeks of hardly being able to look at Dot, let alone sing her a song or get a laugh out of her, without getting all wobbly-lipped (my friend Sally confessed she too has been being a complete drama queen about leaving Paloma, including not being able to look at holiday video clips without bawling. Sally, I'm with you) I suddenly came over all sanguine and no nonsense and decided that if I was going to be a working Mum I was going to try to a) enjoy it and b) be a damned good one.

So Dot and I had a lovely last afternoon with our neighbours in our little commune here in Brooklyn (we've spoken to our neighbours more in the past two days than in the other six years in NYC). Sarah, Peggy, Dot and I spent a jolly half hour in the local health food shop (we can't afford to join the co-op till one of us gets paid). Olive, who's 3 and lives upstairs, dropped in on the way home from school to play us a tune on the harmonica. Sarah then offered to let us add our compost to her bin and came up at 7 to collect the dirty nappies as pre-arranged. After dinner (organic sausages, mash and seasonally appropriate Swiss Chard), I set about sterilizing and packing bottles and breast pump for tomorrow, sorting out Dot's meals for the hubby, washing her toys, making my own packed lunch (didn't think I'd be doing take-out containers, did you?!), getting my school bag ready and selecting an outfit. I also had a little pep-talk with myself about going to the office and making this green thing work come hell or high water. I would even have polished my shoes had I not left the shoe polishing kit upstate.

But now I can't keep my eyes open and I know Dot'll be calling for food in a couple of hours so I'd better get my head down.

Tomorrow the next phase begins.

Wish me luck.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Circa 1993...

Well this is weird. The hubby's down the pub, Dot's in bed and I'm sitting on an Ikea futon in a flat full of someone else's furniture (and our half-decostructed sofa, awaiting the services of Dr. Sofa) lit by a dodgy standard lamp, on my own. It's all very student bachelor pad. If I try really hard, I could almost imagine the last ten(ish) years were a dream.

I like the furnished apartment idea in theory (for my readers in the UK, unlike in London the majority of flats here are rented unfurnished but this one isn't) - it fits the shared ownership concept I blogged about a little while back. You know, share the love and the floral three-piece suite.

But in practice a) it's a bit weird being surrounded by other people's stuff, b) I've just remembered that furnished apartments are where bad furniture goes to die (that and landfill, so it's better than that) and c) I'm wondering if I'm not a bit too old for wobbly chairs, chipped mismatched plates, wooden desks with tubular metal legs and Ikea futons. Especially Ikea futons.

Of course, once we've got our pictures up, our recycling bins arranged and our Park Slope Co-op string bag hanging in the kitchen it'll feel just like home (and also, given that it's a Brownstone in Park Slope, quite a lot like a scene from The Squid and the Whale only Dot's a bit younger than those boys and we don't drive an old Volvo estate - though the idea's growing on me).

I wonder how all our friends in Milanville are getting on? I do miss them, the peace and the fire, but on the other hand it's been great to be able to walk everywhere today - I was out the door with Dot in the sling by 8.30 (completely unheard of for me) - and so sweet having her little mate right downstairs.

Let's see how long the urban novelty lasts. I think it'd be longer if I could be a groovy freelance something loafing around artsy Park Slope coffee shops with Dot and my apple laptop rather than heading to Manhattan every morning at 9.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

It's not adieu, just au revoir...

So tonight is our last night as full time residents of Milanville - at least for now. Tomorrow we move to Park Slope and become just another bunch of weekenders.

I'm blowing very hot and cold about the whole thing. Well wouldn't you be?

And of course now it's time to leave, things here in Milanville are just getting interesting (does this happen to anyone else or is it just me?). Yesterday I was invited by a lovely local couple to join the official Milanville community, which we will most definitely do (I hesitated because I was still being paranoid about whether I was persona non grata in this village but they wouldn't have asked if that were the case, now would they? Also yesterday I received a lovely, positive comment from a local reader which made me feel much better - thanks, whoever you are. Who knew I had a local fan? Terribly exciting). Another lovely chap I've been chatting to when I bump in to him out walking offered to teach me to ride his horses this summer (he somehow guessed I was scared stiff of the beasts; am I, then, so obviously wet? No, don't answer that.). And tonight Will and Grady of Narrowsburg Roasters (the coffee shop) fame took me to the premiere of a movie about local conservation heroes called Nature's Keepers (coming soon to PBS). Here we networked with other local greenies (who make me and Dot look even more like rank amateurs at this game than we already did) and found out we could volunteer with the Delaware Highlands Conservancy - orientation is on April 13th.

These events had the combined effect of offering me a vision of an alternate future in which I spend my days combing the river banks gathering rubbish while deer nuzzle my hand in gratitude, tending my vegetable patch while teaching Dot about conservation and sustainability (obviously I have to learn about it first but that's a detail), networking with other Milanvillers to Keep Milanville Beautiful and trotting about on my piebald steed.

Instead of which I'm going to be doing daily battle with a gajillion other commuters on the dirty streets of NYC in order to sell people things they don't need from the confines of a grey office cubicle while someone else looks after my precious darling girl.

And I'm doing this why, again?

If I was an optimist of course I'd tell myself I could do both. And maybe I can. Plus my masterplan is to turn all our clients green, thereby making a bigger difference than I could by just not buying styrofoam trays of veg in Pecks and haranguing my poor hubby about his light compulsion.

I'll keep you posted about how all that goes. Once I'm back at work I'll probably be posting a bit less often (after all, much as I'd love to chronicle the detailed struggles of a green activist in corporate America, I'd only end up with a lawsuit on my hands and the sack), but you never know. I've become awfully attached to the blog and can't believe people are still reading four months after I started.

And anyway, I'm not going back to work till Wednesday.

In denial, moi?

Deep breaths and we'll take things one day at a time...

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The hubby also pointed this out today:

U.S. ‘stuck in reverse’ on fuel economy
Only two super-efficient cars available, down from five, study shows

...CSI found that the number of vehicle models sold in the United States that achieve combined gas mileage of at least 40 miles per gallon actually has dropped from five in 2005 to just two in 2007 — the Honda Civic hybrid and the Toyota Prius hybrid.

Overseas, primarily in Europe, there are 113 vehicles for sale that get a combined 40 mpg, up from 86 in 2005...

Does this strike anyone else as totally bonkers?

In a strange bit of serendipity...

Regular readers may remember a little while back a friendly commentor inviting me to "get back to the city and blow [my] wad in Barneys" (it was Jan 28th if you'd like to refer back).

Well, I don't think this is what they had in mind, but...

NEW YORK — Barneys New York is embracing green — the "green" movement, that is. Organic and eco-friendly products will be introduced across all product categories in the company's 17 stores, starting with this month's launch of casualwear collection Loomstate for Barneys Green in its 12 Co-op units. The retailer is also planning a green Christmas with store windows, advertising and holiday catalogues displaying an environment theme. While organic apparel is still a small part of the overall fashion industry — global organic cotton product sales were $583 million in 2005, according to Organic Exchange — Julie Gilhart, Barneys' fashion director, said the issue is on designers' radars. "I feel very encouraged because some of the biggest designers are thinking about this," she said. "It's not a trend. A trend is something that dies. It's a movement." "Green" and fashion have at times seemed like an oxymoron. But Barneys is determined not to make green a crunchy, granola affair and plans to make green products a permanent, and growing, part of its offering. The retailer also is trying to introduce style to a category that's traditionally had as much sex appeal as a burlap sack. "Customers have to have great fashion and great style," said Gilhart, who has been beating the green drum at Barneys. "They're not going to give that up. No way." In addition to Loomstate for Barneys Green, the specialty chain is launching two cosmetics brands, one organic and one all natural; buying nonleather shoes from Stella McCartney, and developing its own line of nonleather handbags, said Gilhart. "There will be other things coming in the store," she added. "We're going to be doing a lot for Christmas." Gilhart, who has seen dramatic runway shows and discovered young, talented designers for the store, said the green movement "is one of the most interesting things that's happened in my fashion career. It's going to change the way we look at fashion. It's definitely permeated the Barneys culture. A year ago, I was not asking [designers] where their clothes were made and what kind of compliance they adhere to. 'Compliance' was not in my vocabulary. I really thought organic was something cool and personal I did outside the workplace and never anything that could be considered in a high-fashion marketplace."

As the friend Nina who tipped me off to this said, not that you need an excuse to shop in Barneys, but...

She baa-aack...

...and she's definitely got the post-holiday blues. Well, who can blame her? A little girl can get used to life in the sunshine awfully quickly. Everyone was lovely to her (not that they aren't here too, but she just saw loads more people), it was gorgeous and warm, she got to wear her birthday suit all day long, swim in the sea, and her mum even relaxed enough to stop banging on about being green all the time, which was a blessed relief for everyone.

Dot did, however, go on a bit of a sleep strike. Let's hope she gets back on track now she's safely ensconced on the fab organic cot mattress which arrived while we were away (and was waiting for us literally on our doorstep when we returned along with several other parcels, all of which were of course untouched. Imagine that happenning in NYC. Someone had very kindly plowed our driveway too. Ditto. And I'm not just putting this to mollify my constructively critical neighbours...).
Anyhoo, here's what I know some of you have been waiting so patiently for: the pics.

First up, remember I posted about her tap dancing in delight the first time her feet touched the sand? Well here's what that looked like:

Hee hee! However, she quickly got the hang of things and by day three was so comfortable submerged in the groovy pool of a boutique hotel on a chi chi island in the Bahamas that she was able to affect the studied nonchalance of an old man on blackpool beach:
She loved the Bahamian cuisine, especially the local, er, plates:
And the chance to wear a dress like an actual girl.
Oh yes, this holidaying is serious stuff...
There we go. I might post more later too.
One of the wierdest things that hapenned on this trip was that there was a bit of a role reversal. While I accepted that while on holiday a certain number of plastic bottles and air miles were inevitable and sort of went with the flow, the hubby started saying things like, "We should have kept hold of yesterday's beach towels to save on laundry" and, when ordering dinner, "Is that fish locally caught?" Must have been the sun going to his head - it'll do that quicker when you haven't got much hair to keep it off.
Let's just hope he keeps it up once we get to Brooklyn.
Anyway, I'm afraid I've now got to go now and scratch my bites. It was all going so well till the last night when I got eaten alive - I've never had so many bites in my life. Aargh.
And thanks for your patience while we had a little break. We needed it. And now we're ready to get back with the program and figure out our next green moves.