Monday, April 19, 2010

Consignment , Earth Week, and Claude McKay

Ah...consignment stores...a beautiful compliment to thrift-store shopping. And, with the economy in its current state, they seem to be cropping up everywhere.

In Port Angeles, I've noticed 3 just this month. There's a new one which comes highly recommended in the bright yellow "Odd Fellows" building on the west end of First Street, another on Fronts Street, nestled in between the blue apartment building and Karen's Frames, and yet another in conjunction with West Side Video by Sabai Thai on the west end of 8th Street.

There are also quite a few in Sequim...two new ones on Washington St. (one in the old Baja Cantina building and another further down on the east side of town).

I can definitely feel a 2nd hand shopping trip coming up next month. A few girl friends, lunch, shopping...all within a budget. Plus, it's like a treasure hunt with an added challenge.

Oh! And today is the first day of Earth Week!!! So here's a little challenge for everyone. I took a class awhile back and our first assignment was to take one large garbage bag and for one week put every item we had to throw away into that bag. The idea was to put as little in the bag as possible by recycling, reusing, composting, etc. And because it is human nature to be competitive, checking in each day and showing the size of our growing bags was incentive for most of us to find alternatives to "trashing" our trash. We really went out of our way to find ways to avoid filling our bags. At the end of the week, we had to take stock of what remained in the bag and discuss alternatives for that stuff as well. A very cool, eye-opening (and habit-changing) activity. It encouraged us all to do a lot of things that many of us do sometimes, but maybe not ALL the time. It made us constantly aware of the choices we were making. And the daily discussions we had just solidified it. So here are a few things it encouraged us all to do:

-recycle (even if it meant packing an item around all day until we could find a proper bin)
-say no to bags when we bought things
-avoid items with lots of packaging that couldn't be recycled
-use our own mugs for coffee/water
-pack our lunches in reusable containers
-buy foods with little or no packaging
-dry our hands with the drier instead of using paper towels in public restrooms
-compost when possible
-eat what we bought or save the leftovers for later

So, happy Earth Week. Give it a shot. You might be surprised what you learn about your habits from your trash - and if nothing else, it might just make you that much more aware of how much waste you create.

And to top off today's post: a favorite poem by one of my favorite Harlem Renaissance poets, Claude McKay - I fell in love with this one way back in early high school...a beautiful rendition of the sonnet:


by: Claude McKay (1890-1948)

APPLAUDING youths laughed with young prostitutes
And watched her perfect, half-clothed body sway;
Her voice was like the sound of blended flutes
Blown by black players upon a picnic day.
She sang and danced on gracefully and calm,
The light gauze hanging loose about her form;
To me she seemed a proudly-swaying palm
Grown lovelier for passing through a storm.
Upon her swarthy neck black, shiny curls
Profusely fell; and, tossing coins in praise,
The wine-flushed, bold-eyed boys, and even the girls,
Devoured her with their eager, passionate gaze;
But, looking at her falsely-smiling face
I knew her self was not in that strange place.

"The Harlem Dancer" is reprinted from Harlem Shadows. Claude McKay. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1922.

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