Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Funky Freegan Home Brewing

My boyfriend Eric has made a personal commitment to stop buying alcohol; he already spends less than $5/week on food. Eric's decision was sparked by a sudden inspiration to brew his own drinks from our dumpstered fruit finds. Thanks to our home-brew enthusiast friends Kurt and Sybilla, a home brewing supply store on the West side and an initial investment in equipment, we've bottled our first two batches of hard cider already. Celina (Eric's 10 yr old daughter) labeled each reclaimed beer bottle afresh as "ERIC'S Funky Freegan Hard Cider".

Now the "Raga Jazz Freegan House" (so named for the combination of Eric's and his roommate's respective activities) is brewing alcohol, in addition to all the freegan potluck parties and tons of dumspter food that pass through! My life is too much fun. :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Don't Call Us Saints

Last weekend, the ladies of the LA Catholic Worker community (including me) went on their retreat weekend known as "Women Walking for Peace". It's a funny name for the weekend, since we only walked for an hour on Sunday morning. We did walk for peace, though! It was akin to our weekly vigil (Wednesday Peace March) around the federal building complex in downtown LA. We walked down the thoroughfares of suburbia in sunny Santa Clarita that weekend, holding fast to our anti war signs. Drivers honked and waved and flipped us off.

Holding signs to protest the wars and greed may not seem like doing much (even though we have some type of peace vigil every day), but at least we are showing a dedication to the cause that many others don't have. I like to think that we are a beacon of hope to unspoken pacifists driving along in their cars.

The rest of "Women Walking" was a relaxing time at our 78 year old CW friend Patty's beautiful house in Santa Clarita. We lounged around in the hammock, went swimming in the pool, ate good food and drank good beer. Not a lot done for peace, but at least we recharged our minds and spirits to do the work, however flawed it may be, that we carry on in Skid Row and downtown.

On the first night, we gathered together to talk about women who have inspired us in our lives. The memento for the weekend was a T-shirt emblazoned with the above picture, which is the cover of a movie about our most inspiring lady in the Catholic Worker Movement, Dorothy Day. The title of the film comes from a quote of hers;

“Don't call me a saint. I don't want to be dismissed so easily.”

Monday, September 13, 2010

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Quality Waste

We get a lot of food at the Hippie Kitchen. Most of the stuff is from donations through other organizations, like Little Sisters of The Poor. This is most often the food that stores would have thrown away, but diverted to food banks instead. And that's fantastic.

Some of the food we prepare to serve is brought by yours truly, straight from the trash (it missed a step). The other day, some of the volunteers were commenting that the produce in some of the boxes was in much better shape than usual ("The rotten vegetables aren't rotten today!" said one). And here's the thing: the better quality food is almost always from the dumpster, as in this case.

I have heard it said many times that people in the house eat better now that I live here to bring the freegan food.

What does that say about the waste in our society?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

"That Money Thing"

Change of address: the URL for this blog is now http://funkyfreeganjournal.blogspot.com. I thought that it would make more sense that way.

The other day, Celina (my boyfriend's ten year old daughter), and Eric and I were talking together. She was sharing with us about the house she last lived in with her mom. Celina missed the old house, and knew that the rest of her family did too. "We were happier there", she said, "but we had to move because of that money thing. I don't get it". Her dad then tried to explain the difference in price between the houses they rent, and the necessity of moving out of the expensive place because of changes in the economy and their income. Celina was hanging on to her memories.
"Don't they want us to be content?"
Eric replied, "No, they want to make more money."

Isn't it the truth? Why does human society make things so complicated? I imagine a world in which people did care whether or not others (especially families) were content.

I just finished reading a book (called "Life is So Good") about the life of a Southern man (George Dawson) who lived for the entire 20th century. He didn't learn to read until he was 98 years old, as he had been forced by circumstance to work from age 12 to support his family. In his later years, while writing the book, he reviewed history (now being able to read it) with the young white man (Richard Glaubman) who helped him to write the memoir. In this passage I want to quote, they were discussing the Great Depression of the 1930's and the raised rate of suicides during that time.
I still didn't get it. I asked Richard, "Why did they have to kill themselves?"  
Richard said "They didn't have to, it's just what some people did when they lost all their money". 
"So they was rich to start with?" I asked. 
"Some of them were very wealthy on paper, but when their stock value fell they couldn't pay their debts."
"Wealthy on paper, huh. Yeah, back in those days, when you could get em, I would always take a silver dollar over a paper dollar even though they was heavier to carry."
Richard said, "Well,  I don't know how to explain it. Their paper wasn't even paper dollars. It was just pieces of paper that represented money. Their huge capital losses were really about losing money they never had."
I just looked at him.
"The more I think about it, I'm not sure I understand it so well my self."
I couldn't help myself from saying, "Tell me again how many years of schooling you've had."
Richard threw up his hands, "I never even took Economics 101".
"Well, I never did neither, but I wouldn't go killing myself about losing some money that I never had in the first place".
Richard asked me what I remembered of the '30's. I was there in the thirties alright, but I didn't know too much about a depression. Times was tough, but that's just how it was.