Monday, May 31, 2010

Feeling a bit angsty today as a former co-worker got recognized with an award. There are several issues resulting in the angst but the main one seems to be 'How come she got an award when I have done better work and never did?'

And of course one reason is I've not followed up and actually applied for the award, during the time I worked there.. Another reason is that at that time I didn't think my work was worthy of an award. In fact, it is only when I compare my work with hers that I find mine to be worthy too. Heck, yeah! Third reason- I've not marketed myself enough. That seems to be critically important today. Especially when you navigate through office politics and different personalities. When you are nice and agreeable and just going abt your business, it probably gets you liked but not necessarily anything else...There are exceptions especially when the management is intelligent and can spot value. But mostly it also seems to be about marketing. 

That doesn't mean puffing up and acting arrogant and jerky. But I am thinking, even that's not too bad. Sure, you're known as an arrogant jerk, but I bet most people wont say that to your face. And most people will bend over backwards to accomodate you, because you're inflexible and are being a jerk. Of course, the assumption here is that while you're also a jerk, you deliver value. The comparision here is a jerk versus submissive person who both deliver value. And there is a golden mean I suppose - the person who is not a jerk but is assertive and makes his talents known, and who also delivers value. 

Again, the question is why is this award so important? It's the recognition. The need for respect and recognition seems to be a basic human need. Especially recognition by someone who you respect, means a lot. 'Vashistar vaayal Brahmarishi' as my mother says. Some people mix this up with the need for love and intimacy and they say that all you need to do is go and have more friends/loving interactions. But the two needs are separate. And I don't know if that's such a bad thing. If most people have this need, it seems to be a part of the basic human condition. 

Saturday, May 29, 2010

What did I do today?

Had coffee and breakfast in the car, obtained from the drive-through on our way to my husband's office and to Kuttipa's play area. Lots of paper and foil and tissues that came with the food.
Drove to our destinations.
Came back and changed Kuttipa into his diapers which are always the disposable types - the ones that will stay in the landfills forever. Toilet training is currently in-progress. Despite my noble intentions, my inherently lazy self hasn't really invested time or effort into cloth diapering. This has been happening for 2.5 years now.
Didn't have time to cook in the afternoon/evening since Kuttipa skipped his nap and was cranky and demanding. So had a melt down early in the evening requiring food ASAP - so pizze picked up from shop with all its packaging.
Not sure what other transgressions I've made today. The breakfast and coffee thing from a drivethrough happens once a week. Used to happen much more, but have cut down consciously.

So what happens if my friend came and demanded that I don't dump diapers into the landfills anymore? How can I in good conscience complain about my friend's lawn chemicals when there is so much bad I am doing?

I can pluck dandelions because I want to. Any other reason would be hypocritical.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

So I went and bought Roundup..

No I didn't! I wouldn't. Even if my entire yard is filled with dandelions, I wouldn't go buy Roundup or any other herbicide for that matter. And the yard is filled with dandelions already, almost entirely. And it's driving me nuts. So I go and behead the flowers (before they turn into seeds) and sometimes I will manage to uproot an entire plant. Which still leaves only about a million more of them left in my yard. Sometimes I pluck away all the leaves hoping the plant will spend energy in putting forth new leaves instead of flowers and seeds. I don't know if this is really effective though. And we tried dumping a bunch of grass seeds onto the lawn hoping the grass will overcrowd the dandelions. So far, I haven't seen any new grass... I know I cannot eradicate dandelions from my lawn but it might be nice to have fewer of them.

Why this war on dandelions? I am not entirely sure. I think I am trying to prove something albeit very unsuccessfully. A friend of mine recently bought Roundup and other such stuff to maintain her lawn and I got very annoyed. Not to her face of course (because I am not like that). But privately, I vent to my husband.
"Now all the runoff from her lawn will enter the water supply and we'll be screwed!"
"Why only her lawn? Surely there are tons of other homes in this neighborhood alone that use all these chemicals. Why are you singling her out?" My husband asked reasonably.

He is right of course. And yet I feel disappointed. I wish I could go tell her to stop using that stuff. But is the alternative a dandelion filled yard? What right do I have to lecture my friend, unless I have a reasonably well maintained yard myself? And hence my war on dandelions...

Let's say hypothetically that I do manage to eradicate all my dandelions and I have a pristine well-maintained lawn and garden? Would I really feel any more confident about telling my friend what to do? I might but most likely, I wouldn't. 'None of my business' I might think. Or I might feel diffident about telling her to spend so much time in manual labour when a couple of sprays in a few minutes can do it.

But of course it is my business. It is everyone's business. We're all affected. But I am too scared to speak up though. So I'll just keep making some more excuses and killing some more dandelions.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Hell in a handbasket

I read this column in NYTimes today.

And it made me depressed and scared. Very scared. The information is not really new but everytime I read about it, I feel panicked afresh. Scared for my myself, sure. But more scared for Kuttipa. What kind of world have we brought him into? What toxins was he exposed to in the womb and what more has been exposed to since then? How has it affected him? Will he grow up and thrive? What about all the other kids on earth? What's been happening to them? Will humans survive despite their own efforts to self-destruct? Is the world going to hell in a handbasket?

I recently went to a gardening centre because we needed some advice on gardening and didn't know where to start. This was a large, large store filled with almost anything you could possibly need for a garden. There were plants of course and soil and seeds and other things you might typically expect. What I didn't expect to see were the sheer varieties of herbicides, pesticides and other cides. Do you hate your neighbours dog peeing on your lawn? There is a chemical for that. Perhaps you didn't want deer on your lawn? Or bunnies? There is a chemical for that. Or birds? Or ants? Or caterpillars? Chemicals, chemicals and more chemicals! Yum!

And then here is the ultimate irony. There were statues of bunnies sipping from a water fountain, Mom and baby deer nuzzling, clusters of birds perched on a branch, etc. I guess after you're done killing all the real animals and critters, you need at least statues to symbolize life in a garden. When you think of a garden, do you think of living growing things or the WMD?

And this is not one particular store. Just walk into any Canadian Tire or Home Depot or equivalent, and you'll see all these chemicals displayed proudly. What's the average consumer to do? The average consumer who doesn't spend his nights reading news articles, but wants something to kill his weeds, bunnies and what not? He pulls some shiny bottle from the shelf (probably the one priced lowest) and hopes it delivers on its promise of killing whatever it is he wants killed? Harmful to humans? What's that??

How does this change? The average consumer is not interested in advice beyond the immediately tangible, Health risks are intangible unless of course his kith and kin are injured. Even then, how do you prove these things? You just blame fate and go back to spray your garden with 'Weed n Feed'.

And that's why I feel so helpless and scared.