adventures in sustainability

Doesn’t that sound BORING? Or oxymoronic? Eh, maybe. Kind of like me — boring and oxymorinic most days of the week.

Yesterday was a recovery day, when I did nothing much but read, lie down, eat, read, knit, lie down, rest, nap, eat, and check my email. I needed it. It was good for the body and soul.

Today Mr. Husband is busily preparing for his Jimmy Buffett concert — the one I was also going to until 2 days ago when my sciatica screamed at me. Now, the thought of standing on the lawn for 3-4 hours does not sound like fun. So I’m staying home with the chickadees. 🙁 But we’ve been enjoying nonstop Jimmy tunes for the past week. 48 more hours until I stay home :(.

Laundry on the line — it can be done even when it’s overcast or semi-foggy. The wind will dry your clothes. It is really just a slower process than on a hot sunny day. Very eco.

Tomatoes are still ripening, so I just made some salsa (with our last hot pepper) and have pasta sauce simmering on the stove. The Crock pot has pinto beans cooking ahead for Tuesday’s tostadas. Thinking ahead to what else I can cook, with what’s on hand and fresh in the garden, I’m thinking tomatoes, and also beets. We seem to have an abundance of beets just now. And apples. Fresh homegrown produce = very sustainable. In other words, eco-riffic.

On my front door is a revamped grapevine wreath. I had saved a bunch of hydrangea blooms from our wedding, and last weekend I stuck all the ends of the dried blooms into the wreath. So our front door has a pretty homemade hydrangea wreath on it. Very pretty. And yes, eco.

Simone and I went thrifting last week and scored big-time. Found some fun items for gifties, and also some cute clothes. All are washed, hanging on the line, ready to be rehemmed or ironed. Ironing board at the ready. No dry cleaning. No plastic or chemicals. Just a simple iron, a woden ironing board, a little bit of water (to make steam) and an occasional spritz of starch. Time-consuming — but eco-smart. And actually, better for the clothes as well as the environment.

Cat jumped on my lap: Miss Fabulous FiFi (Ophelia) just landed here, full from her latest meal of homemade catfood. Chicken necks, backs and guts. Cottage cheese, carrots and oats. Salmon oil and kelp. Cooked till everything’s soft and spreadable. Yum. At least for the cats, yum. And guess what? Pretty eco — and better for them than a bunch of corn fillers. FiFi tells me she thinks so by sticking her claws into my knees.

This noon we went across the street to the O Club and scoured the Friends of the Library used book sale. Two of the Grrrls came along, and Mr. Husband, and we walked home with one box and seven bags of books. That was a good $26 spent — and we came home with a couple of hundred books. Simone got 63 just herself. She figures it as 7 cents per book. Mama mia! Gifts, fun reads, how-tos and more. I’m planning to settle down with a couple of piles of books later — after ironing…how eco is it to get used books and divert them fron the Discard pile?

Pretty freaking eco, if you ask me. And reading is one of the most eco hobbies you can have — as long as you’re not buying new pulpy paperbacks that will end up in landfills. Make sure you recycle as much as you can and books are a valuable use of paper. Otherwise, despite my own book-writing ways, books can be a waste of paper. My own opinion, of course. Does anyone *really* need a book about Why Cats Dream or some such? But as I say: Used book sale — taking our own cloth bags — walking and paying cash: ECO? Uh, yeah.

* * *
An interlude just passed where I very eco-mindedly assisted my eco-thinking daughter in making her own dressmaker’s dummy out of an old T-shirt (Goodwill) and some duct tape (she says, thanks, Pa! for the trip to Pagano’s). She put on the T-shirt and I wrapped her in duct tape. It took about 45 minutes and she looked like a mummy–who couldn’t breathe. Then I cut up the back and we pulled her out. Taped it back up, stuffed it with the stuffing from an old pillow, to fill out the contours that exactly match her size…and voila! The Simone-sized dress form.

Alas, the rest of the Fam was out shopping with gift cards at Le Target, and my camera was in the car, so I was unable to document any of the fun. But can you say eco? Can I just pat my girl on the head and say eco-rama!? Like, wow.

And now the fog is rolling back in, and another cat is rubbing at my legs (hi, Delilah) and now in my lap. The chili is in the oven with a cornmeal crust, and green beans from the garden awaiting a rinse and snap and into the pan for a steam bath. Time to go on a bike ride with Mr Husband. Out for a wee spin…whee!


A mathematical date today. A pity I missed 080808, but O-well.

Juggling balls and spinning plates. Tried to have a sick headache last night but was interrupted by life, kids, hunger and a cross-Island junket to pick up a teen and save her from a dark bus ride. But at least I had a chance to catch up with Mom on the phone.

Continuing my quest to be further-Compacty, I found my two fountain pens and got some artist’s ink. I was able to refill both cartridges, one with green ink and one with purple ink, and will be using these at work instead of my colored ballpoint pens. At least, I will try to make the switch. I just realized I was writing with a black ball point to take a message, and that my pens are in my purse.My fountain pens are old friends but I haven’t used them much. One is a no-name brand — something from an art store a decade ago, and the other is a very nice Waterman pen from Mia.

Mr Husband has given me a few quill pens, including one with an amazingly beautiful silver pen holder, filigreed, holding a feather, with a really nice nib. But that requires dipping into ink, while the fountain pens do not need dipping, as they have cartridge. I figure this will get me away from plastic disposable ball points.

* * *
And…it took me too long to finish the post so here’s what Friday morning was like…Guess what we had for breakfast?

We have the double-toaster, extra-wide for bagels. Yesterday I tried to toast some waffles and the left side wouldn’t go down/turn on. This morning I tried it again with a bagel for D#3. Left side didn’t work. Moved it to the right side and it was fine. Followed suit with my own bagel.

Daughter #2 came home from school to make cookies and said the kitchen smelled raunchy. She snooped around a little and found…in the toaster…our mouse friend from the dishtowel drawer.

Yep. Toasted mouse on the left side. No wonder the cats have been on the counter all week.

Say it with me…eeeeeeeeeewwwwww!!!!

wind and its effects

Very windy out here, and so cold. How could it have been so sunny and warm over the weekend and then so chilly for a few days? Hard to keep up. Wear shorts? Wear parkas? Wear both and hope it evens out? One never knows.

The gardeners are watering the lawns outside, because that is what they do on a Tuesday in spring through fall. But the wind is howling. So how much lawn is getting watered? Not much. But at least the cars and houses and streets are getting washed…! Pour some more water down the drains, friends…This seems to me a classic example of bad management — because it’s Tuesday, it must be meatloaf. Or Rome. When it windy, can’t we pull weeds or aerate the lawn or mow something? Trim the hedge? Must we waste copious amounts of (precious fresh) water and still not get the job done? The lawns go thirsty (that we even have lawns is a whole different topic and another bad management issue, but we’ll leave that for another day). But tick it off the list. Tuesday, watering. Done! Regardless of actual results achieved.

Who’s got her crabbypants on? Um. Hmm.

Good news: the lawn tix (lawn!!!) for Jimmy Buffett in October at the Shoreline have been purchased. Want to join us? Buy them now, online, today. They’ll go fast. Parrotheads don’t waste any time. We’ll have a pre-party in the parking lot or nearby hotel room, most likely. Wear your beach gear, and hope it’s warm. Shoreline in October? Not likely. OK, so wear your parka over your grass skirt and coconut bra.

The kittens caught a mouse yesterday. All three of them together. Teamwork! They all took turns licking it, tossing it and losing it to the others. We were so disgusted, watching from the window. Good for them. It’s what comes naturally. But I can’t watch — yuk. Later, they were huddled around my seed basket, which I keep on the patio with all the various veggie seeds and flower seeds, garden gloves, etc, to keep them handy. Something was up. I put on gloves and started pulling items out of the basket. Until EEK. There at the bottom was their little dead mouse friend.

“Bad kitties! Bad! Don’t put your dead mousie in Mommy’s garden basket!” I took the basket out onto the empty space behind the house and tossed the mousie far away. Eeeeew. Yuk. It made my skin crawl. Poor mouse. It wasn’t its fault it was a mouse or in the wrong place at the wrong time, or that the kittens buried it in my basket. But still. It made me squeal. Dead or alive, I’m not a big mouse fan. They can go live happily over there. But stay away from me, and my food.

I’m having trouble typing with a kitten (Norma Jean) on my lap (it was two, but Ophelia got mad and stalked away). Now I’m being licked. Makes me wonder about the mouse germs. Ack.

We are set to cover the Governator Wednesday, and today we’ll kick booty and get the rest of the paper done. My women’s group meets tonight in Hayward; I am begging a ride because (a) it saves gas, (b) it’s smart to carpool, and (c) I had a flat tire yesterday from a nail I apparently drove over, and AAA put on the donut tire, so I don’t want to drive to Hayward til I buy a new tire. So there you go.

Happy Tuesday, all.

back atcha

My kitten Ophelia (O-fie or Fifi, dending on the moment) is snoozing and drooling on my lap. She’s a luv bug. There’s nothing in the world like a snuggle-kitten. Prrrr. (Sorry about that. It’s gushy but it’s true. She missed me. That’s what the drool means.)

After a full day in the garden (ow, sunburned and sore), I am getting ready for the new week. No school all week so the kids are at home, rotating babysitting the Boy every day. We just ate a fine fabulous Easter dinner with ham and all the trimmings, including Husband’s Spanish grandmother’s arroz con pollo with lots of saffron. Delicious. Cousin Colin joined us for the day. Frozen turtle pie (with caramel and chocolate and nuts) for dessert. No real turtles were harmed in the making or eating of said product.

But I’m hearing rumors that I’ll need to chase down for this week’s paper. Might be a challenge with no one at the district offices. No school board this week (vacation time = no quorum), but other things happening: KASE folks will be walking the precincts, PTA folks getting ready for a concert to save music in the schools, and more. Tell me what else you know and I’ll chase it down, too.
I’ll be jamming on the East Bay wineries story this week, with an extension till next Monday (thank the lord, way too much to do to get it done by tomorrow). Next weekend = bound to be busy.

And this week: ruffled feathers to smooth. Ambassadors meeting at the Chamber. Coffee with folks. Deadlines to meet. Bills to pay. Blogs to write. You know. The usual.

Happy spring. I’m so glad the sun is out again.

Eulogy for Elvis

Just to let you know that Elvis the cat went to his rest Monday afternoon, after a long day where it was made clear that he needed to go. Elvis was a very good cat and will be missed by all the Tracey-Rodrigues-Romero clan.

Thanks for all your warm wishes. The Boy and I will be planting a memorial rosebush or tree on the urban homestead this weekend.