weekend rain, and sun

What I learned this weekend: that clothes on a clothesline do not dry in the rain. That clothes left overnight on the clothesline, dry or wet, end up as playthings for raccoons. That wet clothes that get wetter in the rain will break the clothesline.

Now I have just one clothesline. Quite annoying.

Because it rained on Saturday, I saved a lot of energy by not doing much laundry, and attempting to hang out what I did wash…when it wasn’t raining. That didn’t work so well. Hey, live and learn.We did not use the heater at all this weekend, though it was chilly and damp (relative to the rest of all y’all in colder places). Socks, sweaters and blankies…lots of snuggling with library books and recyled cats and cups of organic loose leaf tea. (Mr Husband’s version was hot tea and a cat and the ongoing football games. Go, Bears.)

I got our local CSA (local farmer produce) box on Friday — which I’m starting to order again now that our garden has finished, and by getting it Friday, we no longer have that weekend-with-no-food problem that quickly leads to telephone-for-takeout syndrome. So instead, we ate well this weekend, with fresh strawberries, black grapes, apples, bok choy, celery, and more vegies than I can remember. All of that was local and organic. Yum…

The teenagers were out riding their fixies (fixed gear bikes) in the rain, which must be fun, since they have no brakes and have to skid to stop. They came in, a horde of them at about 6:30 p.m. I happened to have a jar of pesto in the cupboard, so made a vat of green spaghetti, a big salad and pulled a Safari’d foccaccia out of the freezer. As soon as they were eating dinner, I whipped up a quick coffee cake for dessert, with cocoa and walnuts on top, since we had nothing else to offer. Coffee cakes bake quickly, like 35 minutes, so before long the kids were eating warm cake with melting chocolate and chopped nuts. Mr Husband and I had our pasta with the last of the homemade garden tomato sauce from earlier in the week = no waste!

We had to feed all these kids again in the morning, so out came the wafflemaker and I made a fruit salad with seasonal fruits — persimmons, black grapes, apples, oranges. Yum. Plus a boatload of eggs. One of the teens actually got up and made coffee so it was hot when I came down. A miracle!

I made another pass at my living room, eliminating all the rest of the crap piles — ALL of them, and had my LR in order for a writers’ meeting Sunday at noon.

We had another clean-out-the-fridge soup on Sunday with a couple of packets of udon (thick Japanese noodles), our fresh bok choy, some mushrooms and onion from the fridge, and leftover chicken breast. I left the chicken in a dish next to the pot so that the vegetarians among us could eat soup without meat, and the omnivores could have it or not. We finished the weekend by sorting a big pile of laundry and *Putting It Away* (in our room, another miracle!) and watching a movie from our DVD collection. Free fun!

So there you go. Happy Monday, all.

Weekend Warrior…


Getting ready to do a fat lotta nothin this weekend, which is not how it will turn out. I know I’m having a fledgling writers’ group here on Sunday to get them kick-started. It will be fun to help them gain some momentum. That means — gulp — clean up the living room and bake something.

The Boy was ill all week but no one else here is ill, so he must not have been too contagious. Health-wise, I’m gonna try to make it to yoga tomorrow. I may get a financial report out of the way if I’m in the mood, although I tend to procrastinate on those items. Also planning to streamline a couple of bills by combining with Mr. Husband’s accounts. That will save some bucks. I offered to take Daughter #3 to Berkeley for some shopping so that may or may not happen. She may not *want* to go shopping in Berkeley with me. (Why not? I’m cool…aren’t I?)

My usual weekend chores include laundry, which, when it is sunny, enables me to hang clothes on the line. But it is supposed to rain this weekend, so it will be more energy-costly and not as aesthetically or physically pleasant. I really enjoy hanging out the wash — and taking it off the line when it is dry and sweet with sunshine and scent from the Bay breeze. I even like that “cat’s tongue” feel of the sun-dried towels. My pal Katy (The Nonconsumer Advocate) calls them “spa-style.” So much more elegant than “sandpaper rough.”

Also probably some baking of bread or snax of some sort, ironing, and some cleanup. Believe it or not, these “chores” are how I relax and have fun, after a week of chasing news stories and following elections and hauling kids and dying of exhaustion and burnout. I doubt there will be any gardening because of the weather. Besides, I put down a nice layer of mulch last weekend — using gorgeous (free) autumn leaves. They’ll melt into the soil over winter and keep the weeds down and the roots warm as well. Mulch — it does a garden good.

Um. Not much else. Maybe some sleeping and eating. No juice fasts this weekend. Not good for my blood sugar. But a good snuggle with Mr. Husband and the cats and all will be well. Saturdays. Gotta love ’em.

Eco-Mama’s Muse

…or…My Eco-Conscious Day: An Accounting

Drove the Boy to school. NOT eco (but not late, either)

Drove home and rousted college daughter out of bed and into car on the toe of my boot: NOT eco. Not late for class, but almost.

Brought my lunch to work, consisting of all the stuff I put into two kids’ lunches for the past three days that they refused to eat = half a container of Annie’s bunny crackers, half container of raisins, raw carrots and pea pods (organic!) in a Tupperware without a lid, container of cinnamon organic baby cereal (good snacking). Plus assorted stuff in my desk at work (crackers, hot cocoa mix). VERY eco and NO WASTE (though not super healthful)

Took my coffee to work in a mug= VERY eco (decaf!)

Dropped my car at the auto place to investigate the CHECK ENGINE light (this is the “good” car so we had to deal with it ASAP, as the other car is about to die). Estimate $80. Vehicle maintenance = eco.

Walked halfway to office from car place but got picked up by coworker. VERY eco

Worked like mad dog, as usual. Made deadline, went to meetings, etc. Usual day….until the phone rang from the auto place. My gas cap was slightly loose. They tightened it for me. NO CHARGE. VERY eco (and bonus points for supporting a local business that in turn took care of me when I needed it)

Continued working until 5:05 when I couldn’t find my car keys and realized that — I forgot to pick up my car and they close at 5! Called and begged them not to leave yet.

Grabbed large purse (from Goodwill), canvas bag (replaced briefcase, much more eco), and empty lunch container (reusable!) and ran a mile and a half in gold, sparkly flip-flops ($3 from the Dollar Store, made in China = NOT eco) — Overall balance of this item = eco
Thanked car guy profusely, got into car all sweaty and drove home, changed into another blouse, organized dinner for 3 Teen Grrrls from the pantry, went back out to teach a class at the Adult School. Drove = NOT eco. But extra income necessary to avoid further debt = eco.

Handed out double-sided info materials in class (using recycled or found paper from bin at work, and double printing even though it messed with the copy machine and annoyed my coworkers.) Semi-eco. (Paper = bad. Recycling = good)

Used chalkboard instead of expensive hi-tech computerized overhead projector that I couldn’t figure out. Energy saved! VERY eco!

Taught a roomful of interesting local people how to promote their upcoming events = enjoyable, if not eco

Stopped at local grocery store on way home for milk; did not buy anything except milk (local dairy) and cranberry juice for daughter. Did not buy chips, ice cream or candy. Wanted to, but didn’t. Brought own bag from the car = eco

Came home and wanted to go to bed but Mr Husband (who was out with the Boy and two feral neighborhood kids being semi-raised by very old grandparents, at an Oakland A’s game — for which we were given FREE tickets) was out of shirts for work, so ironed three (to give him a choice) and discreetly listened in on teen conversation in family room = eco

While ironing, discovered that teens (who in another community might be as likely to bash in mailboxes with baseball bats just for fun, if we had that kind of mailboxes and they had a car and a bat) were laughing, drinking water (really), debating the merits of alarm clocks vs the body’s natural rhythms, and — wait for it — doing a giant jigsaw puzzle. The TV was off.

…and then I woke up.

No, just kidding. It’s all true. VERY eco.
Dinner at last at the computer as everyone goes to bed and I get to eat my long-awaited cold cereal (my favorite dinner)…Priceless.

about Pebble Beach, a bit late

We spent Labor Day weekend at Pebble Beach in a McMansion, or maybe it is just a plain old mansion, I don’t know, not having that much experience with mansions of any sort. I’d like to say it was a bit of a test of my ability to relax and enjoy myself and try to keep my Compact (environmental and frugal) ideals intact. I wonder if any of y’all have had this experience — where you’re so busy looking at the waste/energy usage/and whatever is the opposite of green and frugal that you can’t enjoy whatever it is? It feels very Puritanical in spirit to me…trying to “judge not” and instead, judging madly. I won’t say it’s a good thing, or a bad thing. It just is.

We were invited as guests to a friend’s guest house in Pebble Beach, which is a pretty fabu place to go no matter who you are. The 3-story house was SO fabulous that, as our friend Steve said, “I couldn’t afford the batteries for that house” — just the batteries alone, for all the TVs, full sound system, gas fireplaces in every room, etc. It was luxe to the max. To quote Jimmy Buffett, we were like “gypsies in the palace.”

I had to SHUT OFF the Compacty voice in my head or it would have made it impossible to have a weekend at all and made all of us miserable (Mr Husband asked me to let it go for the weekend). I have to struggle with the evangelical side of this passion here. BUT — the good thing is, this house was pretty energy efficient, encouraged recycling, etc. We didn’t use heat or AC, brought our own snacks for the ride there and back, didn’t go shopping, walked on the beach at Asilomar and collected beach glass, which I love, and admired the natural environment (we found a live starfish and saw a huge dead sea lion — yikes!). There wasn’t much else we could do except sleep, look at the ocean and knit. We did all of the above (but Mr H does not knit.).

Mr Husband was in heaven because of the TWO giant screen HDTVs (back to back on adjoining walls) plus TVs in every room. I thoroughly enjoyed the deep tub in our rose marble bathroom (each bedroom has its own private bath – x6) and took a couple of baths where I soaked and read — that is luxury to me, since we don’t have a tub here (the kids do but it’s full of kid-stuff and kid-juju, not very relaxing to soak in it).

The house was well supplied with a full bar, wine cellar, full refrigerator and pantry — fresh fruits and milk, etc for us — and a Viking 6-burner stove for cooking if we felt like it. They gave us robes and slippers and all the necessities like toothbrushes, etc. I didn’t quite feel up to playing the grand piano — it was all a bit intimidating. The view from our bedroom (as big as our living room at home) was of the Pacific Ocean, through a window as large as a 2-car garage door. We were just speechless. This house has its own elevator, sauna, hot tub, exercise room, library — un-freaking-believable that people actually live that way all the time!

We had such a good time, and were able to relax with our friends, had a good seafood dinner on the wharf in Monterey with our dear friends Steve and Stella. Thank you, Steve and Stella!

Now we will return to our normally scheduled programming.

The Amazing Patrick’s Triathlon

Yahoo, he did it! Here’s Mr Fabulous Husband swimming, biking and running on Sunday in Belvedere-Tiburon — he’s our hero!

Getting ready to get in the bay — brrr! He’s the guy in the sleeveless wetsuit, center. Above, getting out at the end of the water course.

Getting onto his bike, left. Coming into the finish, below.

Crossing the finish line (left) and taking a well-deserved Gatorade break after.