Monday, January 26, 2009

Going Green #2.

I think that there have to be rights and wrongs for what is good and not good for the environment. These facts are not up for debate. What they are however seems to be left up to the experts (and experts always seem to have “opinions” not facts). Where are the facts and why are the facts for how to be environmentally sound not published everywhere? There are hundreds of books and blogs about being green out there now. Most of them have opinions of what people should do – but little on the factual side. Some facts that I will stand behind though, it is always better to reduce buying and overuse, reuse whenever possible and for sure recycle. Recycling is something that the government or industry needs to put more money into though. A lot of places (like here) don’t have true recycling facilities, so they just landfill the stuff and plan to dig it up when they have the means to deal with it. It would be a lot better (even if it meant sorting out recycling more) if they could use the methods that currently allow local recycling centers to not only recycle but also then manufacture new goods (or ship off recycled materials that can be used). In the paper this morning there was an article about recycling locally and they say that only 3% of all trash is recycled here. They have been trying different techniques to get people to recycle – but it just isn’t working like they thought it would.

When looking at reduce, reuse and recycle what does this mean for the average person? When at a hotel do you use the same towel your whole stay? Do you refuse water when out if you aren’t going to drink it? Do you cut down on disposable things? Here is a current list of things that I can think of in my home.
• Toilet paper
• Paper towels
• Whip ums
• Q-tips
• Bathroom cups
• Napkins
• Plastic dishes
• Togo coffee cups
• Trash bags
• Tissues
• Ziploc bags
• Coffee filters
• Paper
• Bills
• Magazines
• Catalogs
• Any packaging for food, water, soda or other perishable

I’m sure the list will get longer the more I think about it but for now these are the ones I can think of off the top of my head. Out of this list – what could I really get away without ever using? Is it possible to never use another togo coffee cup, plastic silverware, or paper napkins? What about when you are traveling??

Running through the list this is what I think. I can’t live without TP, but I could go single ply. I could live without paper towels. I could live with whip ums. How would I clean my ears without q-tips? No one needs bathroom cups. Jury is still out on napkins. I could do without plastic dishes, togo coffee cups as well. Although I would have to carry around a real mug at all times. I love to just stop for coffee. I can’t live without trash bags. What would you do with your trash if you didn’t have them?? I have cloth handkerchiefs as is – although when you are really sick they suck. I re-use Ziploc bags … but I’m not sure I could live without them. I try to re-use paper as much as possible … but not possible to live without. We have stopped using coffee filters. I can’t stop bills, but I got paperless when they let me. I recycle magazines when I’m done. But, I guess I could live without them. I call in each and ever catalog I get and tell them to stop sending me paper catalogs. They just won’t. I have no idea what to do about food packaging – other than not buying food that is heavily packaged.

So, what do you implement in your own life to live without to help the Earth?

Weekend from my weekend.

This past weekend was short (2 days) and action packed. Courtney came up on Friday. We hung out and got ready for the weekend (sorting out gear and stuff we needed). Saturday morning I got you early and had John attach the bindings to my new shaped skis ... moving on from my old straight skis. Then Court and I went down to ABQ. We had to do some shopping (Target and clothing shopping). Had a late lunch and then went to a hockey game. We left ABQ late and got home around midnight ... after watching the game. 7am Sunday morning Jon (a friend of Court's who stayed over), Court and I went up to the mountain. It was crap skiing. Super icy and not terribly fun - but we got a good half day in. Then my nephews came over to play video games. Courtney helped me around the house and then left. Two days and I'm exhausted.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Go Green?

First off the term “green” bothers me. Who created this word? Why is being aware of your surroundings considered green? Kermit is the only thing that should be “green” (and they have even stolen him). Where to start on a topic that infuriates me! For a long time, the past 20 years probably, people around me have not cared at all about what is happening to or with the planet. I would lump a lot of people into this short sightedness. I started the first recycling program at my high school and even did fund raisers to buy up acres in the rain forest (much to most people chagrin). People thought I was a toss back to my fathers live and let live attitude (which now some people might even call hippy). I personally know people who think that global warming isn’t real, the ozone can’t be damaged and fossil fuels will never run out. I have been watching as the number of people who do things that are “green” increases (because it is currently the in thing to do). Even if I don’t agree with why they are doing it – I’m happy that peer pressure is making them do something good for the world.

I got to wondering what the current accepted “green” methods were and what green propaganda was being pushed as the lowest hanging fruit for newbie’s to the act of environmental protection. I’m sure you would guess that shopping bags are on that list – let’s ignore them for now. The first thing we will look at is the napkin.

The age-old debates of paper vs cloth.

In digging up information on both paper and cloth napkins, I found that decided what is better for the environment is hard and a personal call really. Here are the facts. Paper napkins (even if they use recycled paper) require energy to make (all be it most of the bi-products are currently used as energy in paper/pulp mills), energy to ship and are a single use item. But, they decompose. Cloth napkins require washing and laundry detergent using resources that can be scares (like here in the desert where I live). Did you know that the average washing machine is 35-45 gallons of water per load? A four-person household using a napkin at each meal will do one load of napkin laundry once to twice a week (depending on how soiled the napkins are). That is 35-70 gallons of water and of course electricity. Green advocates will say that when you have to buy something, then you aren’t being green. You want to reuse as much as possible and spread out the manufacturing costs on an item over time. So does that mean that someone who lives in the desert uses cloth or paper or the sleeve of your shirt?

The questions and answers for how to deal with a large problem are always more complicated than one first thinks.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Winter Flowers

Today was a wonderfully warm day. 50 degrees or so. But, what is fantastic are the flowers that are in the house right now. Mike bought me one and his mother bought me the other. They are both in bloom right now and smelling incredible.

Monday, January 19, 2009


While catching up on some news this morning I saw that a new creature was found. These types of articles also spark my interest. A new carnivorous sea squid. Ahhhh the wonders of the sea.

On a slightly less interesting and maybe less strange, I'm in a review process for Amazon (where I get stuff before it is releases to the public and I write reviews for it). Normally there are some interesting things - but this past weekend I found out that I'm getting my favorite authors new book (Christopher Moore). I was yipping all the way home in the car. It isn't released until February sometime ... and I'll get a pre-released copy free. I'm such a lucky girl.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Cats Fancy.

On Thursday night, after bringing Bend home from the vet and settling in for the night, we noticed some bird feathers in the living room. We crawled around to find more feathers under the bed - but still couldn't find the bird. Turns out the bird was under the sofa (we think it tried to get away from the cats and just died under there). Mike is going to investigate the enclosed porch to see where they are catching them. But, we are pretty sure it is Moab that is doing it (she is the best hunter). Look at what is in her toes.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

New Games and Life.

Night before last I got a new game for the iPhone. MewMew Cat Tower. A Japanese game where you stack cats. It is amazing fun and creates fun terms (such as, my cats are 8 meters high!)

My dad is still in the hospital (in Arizona). They figured out that they gave him a bad drug combination, he had a blood clot in his neck, and he was putting too much pressure on where they cut into him which was causing problems. He is feeling much much better and seems to be in good spirits. Thanks for all the concerns.

Bend goes back down to the vet today. There is something wrong with his kidneys. They aren't sure exactly what it is, but they are going to put him on some medication for hypertension. They want him to have a full bladder when we get there ... note to all cat people "You can drag a cat to water - but you really really can't make them drink!" Ah the joys of sick kitties. I wonder if I could stack a Methow, Bend, Moab cat tower ... and who would be on bottom??

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Winter Days.

Winters in Los Alamos are pretty nice. The temperature is normally around 40 degrees. It is normally really clear outside and there isn't much of a wind. This said, I read in the paper this morning that they believe we are done with snow for this winter - which is pretty upsetting (can you get too much snow?).

I heard on NPR that the 2008 word of the year was picked. It was bailout. Maverick was in the running though.

This week is Official Bad Girl Holiday - Man Watchers' Week. You are suppose to get the girls together and take to the streets in force!

While listening to the news on the way to work I had a question. Why is it that most people look for the bad. You hear the stories and people report on death, failures, pain and suffering. Why are we into this? Why can't we broadcast about hope, love, fun and happiness? Are these not stories that are worth radio time?? I notice the same thing from people in every day life. They like to hear the stories of people who are getting divorced, deaths in the family, dismemberment. WHY?

We still haven't heard from the vet about Bend and Moab.

My father had neck surgery last Thursday and is recovering slowly. VERY very slowly. Hopefully his is back in the swing of things soon!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

2 ..... 0 ..... 0 ..... 9!!

Well 2009 is more than just "the future". And what have I found/learned thus far.

#1. Moab is missing the last vertebra in her back and there are nerves that are suppose to attach there. This is why sometimes she has issues in the bathroom.
#2. The vet in White Rock was an idiot and Bend has other issues and should have NEVER been on "mood" drugs.
#3. Delicious 9 grain bread could always be better with 10 or 12 grain bread.
#4. If you put whole nuts in your office people will eat them.
#5. Running in place is never a good replacement for the wood.
#6. I love my friends. Great friends and family make the world a better place!

This year is off to a great start.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

On The Mountain

Yesterday Dana, Mike, Ray and I went up to the Santa Fe ski hill. It has been forever since I've been on skis and it was a very interesting start to the day. We left Los Alamos at 7:15. Got to the mountain. Mike rented a snow board. Dana and I changed into our boots, got our passes, and tested out my old school skis (a.k.a they aren't shaped and are very long). The first couple of times I tried to turn I noticed that it was much much harder than I remembered. But, by lunch time Dana and I were flying around the mountain and having a blast. I can't believe I've been away from them for so long!

Happy 2009 everyone!