Five Ways to Make Every Day Earth Day

5 Ways to Make Every Day Earth Day

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Yeah, yeah. We know, we know. (You DO know don’t you?) But if you are looking for some REAL ways to go green and make sure that every day is EARTH DAY then you’ve come to the right place. (I’m like a regular public service announcement!)

Earth-Day

Use Less Plastic

Sure, we all use reusable shopping bags when we do our grocery shopping. (Oh, please, please tell me you use reusable shopping bags. Every time. Or at least almost every time.) But there are other ways to use plastic less.

Reusable-shopping-bags
Your shopping cart should always look like this!

How about marinating your meat in a glass or metal bowl instead of putting it in a Ziploc bag? And don’t tell me it won’t fit in your fridge that way. If it will fit in my fridge it will fit in your fridge. Trust me.

chicken-marinade

inside-refridgerator
My fridge over-floweth

And instead of using plastic lunch bags for chips re-use plastic salsa or humus containers. Or at the very least have your kids bring home their plastic sandwich bags so they can re-use them for non-gooey things like pretzels or dried fruit. Chandler does it. Sadly, Marley does not. Sigh…

And I beg of you, above all else, please use re-usable water bottles instead of throw-away plastic ones. Sure, you recycle the bottles, but recycling plastic water bottles puts a crazy amount of toxins in our air. And if you think it’s healthier you would be wrong. Your tap water is heavily regulated. The water in plastic water bottles? Not so much. That’s right – that “spring water” you’re paying crazy money for (likely more than you pay for gas) can come out of a well down the road from the water bottle factory for all you know. Is washing out water bottles every night a pain in the butt? You bet. But so is brushing your teeth before bed every night and you do that don’t you?

reusable-water-bottles

Use Less Paper

A couple of years ago we started using cloth napkins every day. I love it. Most of my napkins are from my grandmother so they are totally retro. I’ve also found quite a few cute ones at yard sales. I keep them in a basket on a shelf in my kitchen near the table and have a basket next to it for dirty napkins. We usually use one napkin per day each (we hang it on the back of our chair when we’re done with a meal) and I wash them on Sunday and fold them as I sit on the den floor so I can stay awake while I’m watching Game of Thrones -or whatever awesome 9:00 Sunday night show is on- because I am old and tend to fall asleep while watching TV.

cloth-napkins
Napkin station
retro-vintge-cloth-napkins
I love my cool retro napkins!

I have to admit, even though we were using cloth napkins, up until recently I was still a paper towel whore. Spilled milk – get a paper towel. Clean the stove-top, get a paper towel. Eating breakfast on the way to work – wrap it in a paper towel. But a few months ago I cut up my 19-year-old wedding towels and turned them into rags. (I’m pretty sure that’s not a metaphor for the state of my marriage!) I store the rags under the kitchen sink and toss them in the basket with the dirty napkins after I use them. (I will admit that I do sometimes have to soak them in Oxi Clean to get them clean enough, because they can get a little bit greasy and gross.) I will also tell you that if you plan on cutting up some old towels you might want to sew the edges because the edges really fray a lot. But I’m way too lazy to do anything like that.

under-kitchen-sink
For bonus points notice my environmentally-friendly cleaning products

Pick Up Litter

Yeah, you heard me. I walk my dog every day and every day I see trash in the street of my lovely suburban neighborhood. When I see it in the gutter all I can think about is it washing into the ocean and polluting our poor fish (who I might end up eating for dinner one day). So I bring a trash bag with me (yes, a plastic one – shut up!) and pick up the trash. If I find bottles or cans it’s a bonus because I get money back. My kids are semi-mortified by this and call my trash bag my hobo bag, and I’ve sometimes felt a little embarrassed walking around with sidewalk trash – but what’s more embarrassing – picking up trash or passively walking by and letting it pollute our planet?

You didn’t really want a photo of my gutter trash did you?

Plant Drought Resistant Plants

We have a little succulent garden in the front of our house. One day I envision our yard completely desert-scaped. If you want to know the truth, as much as I love my succulents, I don’t really love the entire desert-scape front yard look, but I realize the importance. We have a finite amount of water on this planet and if I’m going to waste it, I want it to be in a too-long hot shower and not on my lawn.

drought-resistant-garden

Hang Dry Your Laundry

When I hang our laundry outside Dave calls it hillbillying up the yard. No, it doesn’t look very classy. But it saves energy and it keeps clothes looking nicer longer. Some of Dave’s tee shirts in the photos below are from the 90’s. (Yes, we’re clothes hoarders people!) I wash our clothes in cold on the delicate cycle, put them in the dryer on low for 10 minutes to get out the major wrinkles and then hang them dry. Labor intensive? Yes. But totally worth it. Disclaimer: I only do this for my and Dave’s clothes. I don’t do it for the kids’ clothes, towels and sheets, or for our socks and underwear (I wash those separately). So don’t get all crazy and think you could never hang dry all your clothes – I’m not saying all of them. But would two loads a week kill you?

hang-dry-laundry
Hillbilly back yard

So there you have it. Five ways to make every day Earth Day. I’d love to hear how you are living green.

Quotes

Do you use quotes? (I don’t mean when you are writing dialog – those are quotation marks silly!)

No, what I mean is, are there quotes from books or movies or (gasp) even TV shows that just resonate with you or have even become part of your family vernacular? Or maybe there is a song lyric (or two) that just speaks to you.

Last week Mama Kat had a writing prompt to list 6 of your favorite quotes but I chose to write about facing a fear instead.

But I’ve been thinking about this prompt because there are quotes that I love. Probably because I love words so much. Sometimes I read words that are so beautiful I can almost feel them in my mouth weighing down on my tongue. I like to hold them there like I would a sip of a bold Cabernet and taste their deliciousness.

I like different quotes for different reasons. Some quotes inspire me. Some quotes are funny. Others make me cry.

Every once in a while one of my friends will say, “And to quote Charlene…” And that makes me feel special. That I said something worth remembering. Worth repeating.

Mark_Twain_life_1900s
Forever in search of the right word

My favorite quote about writing is this one from Mark Twain…

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”

So true. Writing is hard people. At least writing well. I have literally spent hours trying to perfect a phrase or a paragraph (not on my blog obviously) that isn’t coming together the way I heard it in my head. But when it comes – that word that puts it all together, makes it right, makes it flow… That is nothing short of magic. And truly makes all the difference in the world.

anne-lamott
Anne Lamott, photo credit James Hall

Another quote about writing I love is from a Sunset Magazine article called Time Lost and Found by Anne Lamott. In this article Lamott tells about teaching writing and how she tries to impress upon her students that if they want to write they need to stop making excuses and make time to do it.

“Can’t they give up the gym once a week and buy two hours’ worth of fresh, delectable moments? (Here they glance at my butt.)”

I cannot tell you how many times I think of this quote. (Mostly when I’m skipping the gym so I can write.) But making time for everything except writing is so easy. Because writing is hard. (See above.)

So the next time you see me and think to yourself that my jeans are looking a little tight, it’s not because I’ve been blowing off the gym, it’s because I’m taking the time to write. (At least that’s the story I’m sticking with!)

mahatma-gandhi
Be the change…

A quote that inspires me and one that I try to live by is from Mahatma Gandhi…

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.

‘Nuff said!

yacht

And to show you that I’m not really a deep thinker (though I’m pretty sure you already know that) here is a quote from David Lee Roth…

“Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you a yacht big enough to pull up right alongside it.”

I’ve written before about how I don’t believe that money can buy you happiness. (And I don’t.) But I’ll be honest. I’ve had money and I’ve not had money and all things being equal – having money is better. (A lot better…)

the-girls
If you have not read this book you must!

From the book The Girls by the awesome Lori Lansens…

“I don’t want to learn, I just want to know.”

I may not have this quote 100% right (I’ve loaned my book out so I can’t check) but it’s close enough – you get the picture. The Girls is one of my favorite books and this quote stuck with me because it reminds me so much of my daughter Marley. (And perhaps, ahem… maybe more of me than I like to admit.) The coolest thing ever is that some time after reading this book I met Lori (she lives in my town – how random is that?!) and we became friends. I told Lori about how much I loved this quote because of it reminding me of Marley and she said is was inspired by her daughter. (Lori and I have spent a lot of time talking about the similarities of our very spirited daughters!)

Eat-Drink-Be-Merry
Please ignore my unkempt backyard.

“Eat Drink and be Merry”

I have this plaque hanging over my kitchen window. Yeah, like I said, I’m not very deep – but seriously… this quote says it all doesn’t it? Because what is life if you can’t Eat Drink and be Merry? I, for one, do not want to find out.

I’d love to know – what is your favorite quote?

yacht photo courtesy of  Yorick R via Creative Commons

Jump!

Have you ever done something scary? I have. If someone told you to jump off a cliff would you do it? I did.

Seven years ago we went on a camping trip to an awesome campground (with a funny name) called Dinkey Creek located in the Sierra National Forest near Shaver Lake.

There are so many great places to camp in the Sierra National Forest, but it’s not exactly close. The car ride was about four and a half hours long. (But totally worth it. We’ve been to a lot of campsites in California and Dinkey Creek is definitely our favorite.)

Road-to-Dinkey-Creek
This picture tells you just about everything you need to know about our kids’ personalities.

We’d been there the year before and we loved it because we felt its beauty rivaled Yosemite. (Plus, unlike Yosemite, there are no bears!)

Dinkey-Creek

We got a sweet camp site to call home for a few days.

Dinkey-Creek-Campsite

We found an out-of-the way hike to these beautiful granite pools.

Granite-pools-at-Dinky-Creek
Amazing!

Dinky-Creek-hike

There were swimming holes that Dave and the kids swam in. I tried to swim with them but found the water much too cold. It actually made me feel like I couldn’t breathe.

Swimming-hole
BRRR! (My husband is a good sport and one awesome dad to get into that freezing water.

Back near our campsite there was another swimming hole with a natural rock water slide. Kids would take blow-up rafts -the kind you would usually lounge in a swimming pool on- and ride down it.

Dinky-Creek-waterslide
Imagine going down this on a blow-up raft. So fun!

Our beloved dog Pearl loved climbing the big rocks. She loved resting in the shade even more.

cute-border-collie-dog
Pearl Girl taking a rest.

There was also a swimming hole with a big rock that people were jumping off. A BIG rock. It was probably 30 20 feet high. (Dave says 15, but I’m sticking to 20.)

Chandler wanted to jump. He was only nine years old, but I was excited that he wanted to do something so daring. (See photo above!) The water was deep and it looked safe. Scary as shit. But safe.

But Chandler was hesitant. (Who wouldn’t be?) I could tell that he wanted to do it more than he didn’t want to do it, so I told him if he jumped then I would too.

So he jumped.

(Well, there may have been some hemming and hawing and pacing back and forth involved.)

rock-jumping-dinkey-creek
That’s my boy!

He liked it so much he did it again.

rock-jumping-dinkey-creek
After the splash

Afterward he swam back to us and told me it was my turn.

Gulp.

I wasn’t lying when I told him I’d jump, but I wasn’t really serious. I figured he’d jump and feel good about himself and not hold me to my end of the bargain. I asked him if he really wanted me to. He said he did. So I swam to the other side and climbed the rock.

rock-jumping-dinkey-creek
Feeling confident

And then I looked down. Rocks aren’t like cliffs. (Not that I’ve ever jumped off a cliff.) They kind of curve and you can’t really walk to the edge. You sort of have to push off and jump up and out. (In retrospect I should have checked out the jumping situation for Chandler’s sake from the top of the rock before giving him permission.) I stood at the rock and I couldn’t do it. It was too scary. There was no way I could jump.

I looked at Chandler across that water and called out to him, “I’m sorry Buddy. I don’t think I can do it. I’m so proud of you for jumping, but it’s too scary for me.”

And he started to cry.

“You promised,” he said. “You said if I jumped you would jump. You promised.”

And the fear of willingly breaking a promise and disappointing my son outweighed my fear of jumping.

So I took a deep breath. And I plugged my nose (because I’m so graceful).

And I jumped.

Do-Something-Scary

And I will never ever ever do something like that again! (But I’m glad I did it that once.)

*This blog post was inspired by Mama Kat’s weekly writing prompt. The prompt I chose was: Talk about a time you faced a fear. (I hope that was obvious.)

Mama Kat workshop logo

I’d love to hear about a fear that you’ve faced.

The #1 Reason Getting Old Sucks

Yes, in case you were not aware – this thing we call aging (you know, getting old) it sucks. Big time! Yeah, in France older women may be sexy, but they have something in their water that allows them to eat wine and cheese and chocolate everyday (not to mention bread) and still be skinny. (The French women will tell you that it has to do with all the walking and this weird thing called moderation – but I don’t believe them. I think they practice some sort of sell-your-soul-to-the-devil French voodoo over there.)

But I’m getting off topic. (I know – so unusual for me, right?)

Back to getting old. And it sucking.

Sure I can probably think of 5,422 reasons why getting old sucks off the top of my head.

Crows feet anyone? Sorry Botox – you’re just not for me.

My aching back. And my aching feet, my aching neck, my aching shoulders…

The fact that I can’t eat onions anymore without taking an antacid. Really?! 

The inelasticity of my aging skin. Anti-aging lotion does not work people. It. Does. Not. Work.

The size of my pores. Let’s just say if my pores were a colander a lot of .

And I’m not even going to mention the hot flashes, pimples (pimples!), and mood swings (What the F did you say?!) that a certain mid-life-change-that-will-not-be-named (shhh, it’s menopause) brings to the getting old table. Nope, this blog is not about that.

This blog is about the #1 reason getting old sucks. And to illustrate I will tell you a little story. (Because why say something in a few words when you can say the same thing in many? Do not answer that!)

Last week my friend Jennifer and I went out for sushi. And because of the weight gain that can often follow ingesting 1,000,000 milligrams of soy sauce salt (not to mention the fat in the crunchy, creamy cut rolls) we decided (or rather Jennifer forced me) to walk the two and a half miles from Jennifer’s house to the sushi bar. (So yes, that means we’d also have to walk the two and a half miles back.) I gave up looking fashionable (it’s hard to look fashionable in tennis shoes) and good hair (there is a moist marine wind by Jennifer’s house -even though she lives 30 miles from the beach- that makes my hair frizzy) so we could walk five miles and not get fat gain weight after enjoying a nice meal.

It was actually a pretty good plan.

And do you know what happened the next day when I got on the scale? Do you?

I gained two pounds. TWO POUNDS! After walking five miles. FIVE MILES! 

I got my recommended daily 10,000 steps in, but they did not help me. Not one little bit.

And do you know why? Because I’m getting old. And getting old sucks.

Although… I will admit… back pain, pimples, crater-sized pores and all, this aging thing – it sure beats the alternative.

Mean Girls and 7th Grade

Or rather 7th grade sucks. And not just because of the mean girls.

But why am I telling you this? There is a great blog that I read called Mama’s Losin’ It written by an awesome blogger named Kathy (or Mama Kat) who gives writing prompts every week. When you write a blog using one of the prompts you can link your blog to her site and (hopefully) get more reads. Very cool and very generous of her. Thank you Mama Kat!

I can definitely use a writing prompt this week (and possibly every week) as I am coming up dry lately. Seriously dry. Unless you want to hear about my kids’ Spring Break where I planned absolutely nothing and Marley has been sitting around all week watching My Strange AddictionYeah, I wouldn’t want to hear about that either. (And I certainly don’t want to write it!)

So, one of the writing prompts was to write about a 7th grade memory. And since Marley is in 7th grade I thought this would be a good one.

The problem is I’ve been trying to forget about the 7th grade for the last 35 years. (Shut up about how old I am. Shut! Up!)

When I was in 7th grade (Oh god, I do sound old now…When I was your age…), 7th grade was the beginning of Jr. High. There was no middle school back then. It was elementary K-6, jr. high 7-9, and high school 10-12.

And 7th grade sucks. Or 6th grade. Let’s just say your first year into jr. high (or middle school or whatever). Sucks. Big time. Everyone knows that.

For the first time you’re trying to balance homework from different classes. You’re getting pimples. And possibly your period. (Which makes you a weepy crazy over-reacts-to-everything irrational cranky-ass bitch.)

And there are so many distractions. Like boys. And girls who have cuter clothes than you do. (Which is all of them. Except that weird girl in your 2nd period class who came to school Monday in the exact same rainbow top that ties on the side that you wore to school last Friday. Copycat Bitch!) And boys. Did I mention boys? They’re very distracting. Very.

And you start cursing, not only in your head like you sometimes did in elementary school, but out loud. So mean girls (which is all of them -even your former elementary school friends) are bitches and mean guys (which are the cute ones) are assholes. Because you know, you sound so much cooler when you say words like that. That asshole! That bitch!

The popular mean girls are pretty. They have no pimples. Their mothers buy them clothes from Judy’s or Contempo Casuals (the Brandy Melville and Abercrombie of yesteryear) instead of Gemco where your mother buys yours. Some of them sneer at you as you walk by. Others give you a fakey-fake smile and say, “Hi-how-are-you-I-love-your-rainbow-top” as they pass you in the hallways but you hear them snicker and comment on the fact that you obviously only have two pairs of Dittos -and not even the side-saddle kind- as soon as they’re behind your back.

You hate the popular mean girls. But only because you want to be them.

And if you are honest with yourself (but who is at that age) you will admit that you are probably just as mean as they are. After all, you said some pretty rude things about the weird girl who copied your rainbow top to your friends. Not that you have any friends. Not like in elementary school when life was easy.

Because in 7th grade the girls are mean. And the homework is hard. And the cute boys are assholes distracting.

So the only real memory I have from the 7th grade is that it sucked. (But that’s okay – because 8th grade when I kissed a boy and started babysitting so I could occasionally shop at the mall- totally ruled!)

This post was inspired by:

Mama Kat workshop logo

The Wonders of Craigslist

I spend a lot of time on Craigslist. It fascinates me.

I sold my piano on Craigslist. We gave away our kids’ old-dilapidated-please-get-that-eyesore-out-of-my-yard-right-this-very-minute-now playset on Craigslist. I’ve even looked for a job on Craigslist – it’s the best place to find work locally that requires a 4-year degree and 5 years work experience for $12 an hour. (Um… I’ll take a pass on that, thanks!)

Recently we were looking for a new car on Craig’s List. Or rather a used car. Yes, for the second time in less than three years my car was totaled (not my fault – it was parked) and we had the super-fun task of using too-little insurance money to purchase a new used vehicle. Yay us!

You would not believe the photos people post trying to sell their cars. It shouldn’t take a marketing genius to figure out that pictures like this aren’t going to do you any favors:

Craigslist-car
Uh, maybe you could wait 12 hours and try taking this photo again.

 

Craigslist-car-partial
Are you selling all of the car or just part of it? (And BTW – nice thumb!)

 

Craigslist-dirty-car
Are the pennies and shirt included?

 

Craigslist-car-back-window
I’m confused – are you selling a car or showing us how nice the fall foliage looks out the back window?

 

Craigslist-car-upside-down
Does the car actually drive upside-down? Because that would be cool!

 

I’m no great photographer, but people, please, at least put in a bit of effort!

Of course it’s not just the used car section of Craigslist that fascinates me. Oh no! There are so many other wonders to be found. For example: I noticed a Health and Beauty section of Craigslist and wondered what people would sell there. There are curling irons, little-used infomerical purchases (P90X or Ab Rocket Twister anyone?), wigs and wheelchairs for sale. And then I saw this:

massager
What the???

MiMi by Je Joue “personal massager” – $60 (Ventura)

“The one I have is black. Very little use. Clean/sanitized. This holds a charge for 2 hours; will likely need some charging before use. Comes in original box for safe keeping.”

Uh….

A “personal massager” that has has had “very little use?!” Hells to the no people! I don’t care how much rubbing alcohol you dump that thing in – that is a NO SALE! (Though, holds a charge for two hours… hmmmm….)

And if you weren’t skeeved out already – let’s head over to the Craigslist Free Section shall we?

Free-stuff
If it’s free, it’s for me. (Or maybe not!)

 

How about:

craigslist-free-oil
Eeew!

 

Yes, that says two large containers with at least 6 gallons of peanut oil that was used to fry turkey! When it comes to reuse and recycle I definitely walk the walk. Washing out Ziploc bags for reuse? Check. Reusing wax cereal bags for sandwiches? Yeppers. Using someone else’s old peanut oil?! Nope.com. In fact I don’t even reuse my own cooking oil. Look, if you’re that into saving the earth (and I thank you for that) call up the people at usedcookingoil.org and schedule a pick-up.

You can always count on the Free Section of Craigslist to have a nice Curb Alert going. What’s a curb alert? It’s just what it sounds like – when people throw stuff out on their curb and alert the world via a Craigslist post. Saturday afternoons after yard sales are primo times for curb alerts. (I’ve never actually gotten anything from a curb alert, but they intrigue me.)

ANTIQUE* curb alert FURNITURE

craigslist-free-furniture
Just because it’s old doesn’t mean it’s an “antique”

“Pieces from 70’s, 80’s, and possibly earlier 20th century furnishings to bring a unique atmosphere to any home. Some pieces have damaged fabric. All furniture should be sterilized by a professional before use.”

All furniture should be sterilized by a professional before use?! Not just cleaned, but STERILIZED? BY A PROFESSIONAL!!! Even the wooden rocking chair? What in God’s name has been going on on top of that furniture?

And to end this post I think I’ll leave you with this…

Free Shower Doors

“Free Shower doors. Doors only, no track.” (I’m guessing no sideways basketball hoop either.)

Seriously?! It’s too much trouble to prop the shower doors up against the garage and snap a picture with your iPhone? Instead you take half a photo and show me more of something I cannot have?

And the craziest thing of all? I bet you it will be gone by the end of the day.

I must be going now. Time to stop the Craigslist time suck and do something useful. (Like perhaps a game of Spider Solitaire.)