I am blessed to live in a country where I am free to disagree with the administration, where my vote counts (mostly), and where my political or religious views are welcomed, even when they're "different." The U.S.A. has a lot of room for improvement, but today I am grateful to live here, and to reflect on my fortune.
We started the day with a children's parade in the Admiral district, and Tessa woke up SO excited to attend. We decorated her bike with the items we'd picked up for last year's parade (remember? 4th of July 2007 was at Children's Hospital - no parade for us!), including stars, red, white, and blue streamers, and little cloth flags on wooden poles. Tessa added to this by attaching (with Daddy's help) a pony to her helmet, and a stuffed leopard to the cross-bar of her bike. She wore a red shirt with white polka-dots, a denim skirt, and red, white and blue socks. Oh, and two flag lapel pins. The girl looked good. ;-) Tessa threw candy to the spectators (though in this case the parade participants FAR outnumbered the spectators) and she was in heaven. We ran into friends, and that made it all the better.
In the afternoon, we attended C&P's annual 4th of July potluck. (I made an herbed potato salad that was quite delicious, if you ask me, and added radish from our garden - yummmm!)
And here is where I got green.
I thought, "Okay, if we can potluck food" (which I'm all for), why not bring our own dishes, too?"
At first, I thought it sounded too weird. Nobody ever brings their own dishes to a party, ever. But why is that? Maybe it's time to change the paradigm.
The party provided paper plates and plastic cups and utensils....but our family abstained from using them. We used the plastic dishes I purchased when Tessa was a young toddler (knowing that we'd have outdoor events and didn't want to break glass with kids around), and our old silverware (from my first college apartment!). I even grabbed three cloth napkins. And dessert plates.
And you know what? It was easy. It was not weird, it was not inconvenient, and it wasn't messy....it was easy.
I carried the potato salad in my market basket (available at Marshall's for $9.99 or, if you prefer to pay more, at Bed Bath & Beyond for $29.99), and then piled a grocery sack with the utensils and plates etc. When they were dirty, I just stuffed them back in the grocery sack, and when I got home I stuck them straight into the dishwasher. Now how easy is that?
While others tried to balance their plates without tipping them into their laps as the plates folded and leaked, we had nice sturdy plates. Cute, too. ;-)
(Here's a picture of our plasticware on our dining room table. Thank you to Heather for the beautiful tablecloth, which isn't at all a part of this post but bears a mention anyway!)
So, here's a green suggestion: avoid the disposable stuff. Grab what dishes you already have at home (don't you have some portable stuff lurking in some cupboard?), throw them in a basket, and head to the party. It'll catch on. If I do it, then you do it, then someone else.....it'll be the hot new thing.
Happy 4th! I hope that you, too, had a fabulous day.
PS We were going to bike to Alki to see the fireworks, but after our really busy day we're just not up for it! Tessa THINKS she wants to go, but given how late it is, I suspect she'll be sawing logs when the first one goes off.
PPS According to the numbers on our plasticware, we shouldn't have any BPA in these plastic dishes. I'm still looking for alternatives to plastic dishware, but haven't been able to give up our BBQ stuff because if the alternative is filling landfills with disposable stuff and releasing further toxins into the air to produce more and using up more natural resources on something that just gets thrown away....I can't do it. I'm also not going to carry ceramic, heavy, breakable, expensive dishware outside. I recognize that plastic is NOT my goal, but I'm a bit stuck at the moment, and though we got rid of Tupperware stuff and Saran wrap and don't miss it, this stuff stayed around. I'm hunting down enamalware (you know, the blue/white speckled camping dishes) to use for both camping and picnics, but it may take a while. Plus, we have 20ish plates for BBQs and I don't wnat to put out the cash for more right now.