October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day

Oh, hey! Am I too late for Blog Action Day? I hadn’t heard of it until right this moment. It's an environmental awareness thing, right? It's not my usual kind of topic (I'm more about rampant consumerism), but oKAY! Paul is playing rummy with the mother-in-law, so I have a few minutes.

Here is what I have noticed about environmental issues and me: If someone asks me to make a huge change or care about huge things, I shut it out. Sometimes I even get angry, or I get completely discouraged about doing anything at all. I think, "My own personal change of heart on this issue is not going to have a measurable effect on the collective actions of multiple nations. Therefore, unless I am going to become an activist--which I am not--there is no point in even paying attention."

If, however, someone asks me to do something in more of a "Do the best you can, because even a tiny thing makes a big difference" way, I exceed expectations. Ask me to swap "just one" incandescent bulb for a fluorescent one, and I'll change every bulb in the house.

I might as well come out and tell you that where I'm going with this is that I use handkerchiefs. Cloth handkerchiefs, yes. I blow my nose into pieces of cloth, yes, which I then launder, yes. Listen, I know this is a lot to take in, and I can wait while you adjust to the idea. If you need a little space to re-evaluate our relationship, that's fine.

I understand. You think it's gross. "You blow your nose into fabric and then save it in your pocket?," you're saying incredulously, if you can talk while gagging. I didn't grow up using them, so it was a hurdle for me, too. At first it felt like wiping my nose on my sleeve, but it didn't take long for it to seem completely normal. And that makes sense: paper facial tissues haven't even been around for 100 years yet, and before that everyone used fabric without feeling weird about it or thinking it was gross. Blowing your nose on a thin piece of paper and then burying it in a hole in the ground--now THAT would have seemed weird and gross.

Where was I? Oh, yes. Doing my part for environmental awareness by writing about blowing my nose.

Handkerchief drawer (oh sure: like I'd IRON and FOLD them!)

Also see: Belated Blog Action Day

27 comments:

MrsGrumpy said...

Hey! I use them too...and now I don't have to feel so squeamish about admitting it because I can say,"So does Swistle..." They are really good for wiping tears too. Not as harsh as tissue and nicer to your makeup. My husband was a die hard hanky user, and it used to gross me out, but then I got to using them too.

Nellyru said...

It depends on exactly WHY I'm wiping my nose. Drippy type allergy nose? Great for a hanky. Nasty sinus infection? Most definitely CANNOT go into the laundry...I'm not sure our washing machine could handle the sinus boogers that happen around here.

The Mommy Years said...

I'm with nellyru on this one ~ great for smaller uses, but those big honking nasty cold noses get tissue around here. I do love a nice clean hanky though. Started those when I realized how good Noodle had it with her burp cloths!

Marie Green said...

I use burp-cloths (a very needed baby object when we have an infant under 6 mo. in the house) to wipe noeses. But only baby noses.

And I've been thinking about trying one of those moon cup/diva cup thingies.

I haven't moved past the "thinking aobut using" stage. I'm still just Thinking About It.

Also, I use Method product from Target.

The end.

Debbie said...

So is the MIL staying at your house in the end?

What was for dinner?

Pann said...

Awesome, where do you get the handkerchiefs? I WANT SOME!

KatieBug said...

My husband would love it if I used a hanky. My allergies have been really bad this year and the tissues don't always make it to the trash. That grosses him out more than a hanky would. :)

Black Sheeped said...

MARIE SWITCH TO THE CUP. IT CHANGED MY LIFE.

You all knew that was coming, so...shut up!

I admit this makes me feel a bit squirmy, but it's not any different from using cloth diapers, etc. And cuts down on waste, so, hooray!

Tessie said...

My mom does the hanky thing too. I might as well, since I end up using the same piece of tissue over and over until I put it in my pocket and it goes through the wash anyway, covering everything with tiny booger lint.

Where do you even GET hankies anymore?

Jess said...

I think that handkerchiefs are better for you than tissues because they don't fall apart so you don't get little invisible pieces of tissue lint in your nose, thus making you have to sneeze again. AND they're good for the environment. It's a win-win situation, really.

jen said...

I know you're probably kidding and you'll make fun of me here but I've gotten into the habit too. I started with burp cloths and now I use little cloth wipes - the flannel/velour kind (we cloth diaper) and I just throw them in the diaper wash. At least when I'm done with diapers I'll have a use for some of them. Velour is so much easier on one's nose too.

Before that, I'd use a dishtowel when I had a cold. I know that's totally disgusting. I also use dishtowels as cloth napkins. I've been looking for some "nice" cloth napkins to keep on the table.

Katie said...

I was just considering thing exact thing yesterday as my allergies were ATTACKING me and I was surrounded all day by PILES of wet, limp nasty Kleenexes. But, I have a problem with the word "hanky." All I can think of is "Christmas Poo" from South Park. We need a new term before I will convert!

Welcome to our World said...

Ah, wiping the tears from eyes from laughing so hard... that was wonderful...

BUT where do you even buy cloths handkerchiefs these days?!??!

donna said...

I never thought of cloth handkerchiefs. But we do use cloth napkins around here. And it's not that big of a deal. We toss them in with other loads of laundry so it's not like we are even upping our water and energy usage to wash them. And I collected them a few years ago, only buying them on deep discount and I haven't bought any since then. We still use the occasional paper towel for a napkin when we order pizza at eat in front of the tv, but usually, we do the cloth.

Oh and we like the fluorescent bulbs, but most of our overhead lights are on dimmers and so far science hasn't come up with a fluorescent bulb that works on a dimmer. When they do, I'll be replacing every blessed one of them.

I know. I'm so crunchy.

Anonymous said...

hankies are PERFECT for allergies. I have seen women's hankies in department stores. But I know you can get men's hankies just about everywhere. BUT I have been picking mine up at estate sales, I love the old styles. I can just picture my grandma using them in the 40s. :)
-Katie

Swistle said...

I totally agree: anything that requires a Nose Exorcist gets disposable tissues.

Swistle said...

Marie Green- Me too on the diva/moon cup issue. Still thinking. I think I'm going to try it, but...no actual ordering yet.

Pann and Tessie and Welcome to our World- They can be a little tricky to find. I get them at Target (or Wa1mart, but meh). My most recent awesome buy was to get a bizillion (ten) packages at 75% off--usually they're about $5 for 6, and they were $1.24. They have them in the men's department, and also sometimes in the women's accessory department if you want the kind that are embroidered with flowers--I have some of those, too. You can get awesome vintage ones on eBay, if that doesn't gross you out.

Jen Never- Mmmm, VELOUR hankies! Now THAT sounds nice! I promise I kid you not: I use actual cloth on my actual nose.

Katie- How about "kerchief" (KER-chiff)? That's kind of cute. I think "hanky" is cuter spelled "hankie." Oooh, or we could spell it "hanki" and dot the i with a heart! I agree: we need a better name. Recyclenex?

Swistle said...

OH! And sometimes they're available in either 100% cotton or a cotton-nylon blend. I like the 100% cotton ones. The blend ones remind me of the one my grandpa carried in his pocket mostly for propriety's sake rather than actual honker-blowing.

LoriD said...

I don't use hankies, but I do use little washcloths instead of diaper wipes. I just keep a spray bottle with baby oil on the changetable with the washcloths, then throw them in with the diapers.

anita said...

I always use hankies...bandanas when it's a BAD cold, and I iron them. I think i'm OCD, but i love the look and feel of a nicely ironed hanky in my drawer.

Artemisia said...

I've never used them, but I am intrigued. For my permanent drippy nose, this sounds perfect. (Tessie - I also re-use Kleenex until they are a wad of yuckiness and end up washing them into little linty yuckiness.)

We are trying to move away from paper towels in our house. We have a dispenser A. rigged up full of old sheets and towels. I still get grossed out by the resulting load of laundry, but hope to make this a permanent "way we do things around here" soon.

mom huebert said...

Wow. I feel the same way you do about feeling that my own actions are not going to change the nations. But, like you, it does help to say that "even a tiny thing makes a difference."

That said, I'm not giving up cleaning my bathroom with paper towels. I got so sick of using and washing rags that got so dirty and hairy. Better a clean bathroom and a wad of dirty paper towels, than a stack of cleaning rags and and a filthy bathroom, at least in my book.

Pregnantly Plump said...

My husband uses handkerchiefs, and I remember thinking it was kind of dapper. One of our friend knocked over her drink one night and Bob was there to mop up with his hanky. I must be easily impressed... I don't think it's gross at all. I've been trying to use tote bags at the grocery store. It's a hassle, especially when the clerk tries to put everything in a plastic bag before putting it in my bag. Anyway, I applaud the hankies.

Stacie said...

I totally missed blog action day, and I'm a cloth diaper using, hybrid driving, flourescent bulb using weenie. But I couldn't get off my ass to talk about it Monday. Oops.

1hot&tiredmama said...

OK - I have to say this. You do know you're using precious resources to wash those hankies AND washing soap, bleach, etc. right down the drain into your drinking water don't you?

We're environmentally conscious people. We use florescent bulbs. We're even building a "green" home complete with a horizontal wind mill that will produce most of our energy.

Environmentally, I'd say tissues vs. hankies is pretty much a wash (pardon the pun)!

Swistle said...

1hot&tired- Yes, I realize there are balancing factors. But hankies take up very little space in the wash (I can add two dozen to a load of wash I'm doing anyway, without affecting the load at all). And I had a box-a-week kleenex problem. Box of kleenex into the landfill v. few extra thin cloths in the laundry I'm doing anyway? I think it comes out pretty strongly in favor of the hankies, even though they do take their own slight toll on the environment--as do ALL our clothes.

Angie said...

I grew up with my father using hankies, but my mother did iron them. That was actually what I learned to iron. I always thought it was ridiculous that I ironed something that my father snotted into.