Monday, January 19, 2009

Happy Martin's Birthday!

As usual, there are a number of things to discuss today.

Exercise: We joined the local YMCA.

We've enjoyed it so far, although I'm having a hard time getting shoes to fit correctly. I started out wearing my tai-kwon-do shoes and switched to a very expensive walking shoe which started to hurt my feet, so I got some Scholl inserts to tighten up the fit, which lifted my feet enough to rub the heel on the back of the top creating a blister. Now, I'm back to the tai-kwon-do shoes, which aren't all that comfortable for walking, and I'm doing 20 minutes on the tread-mill before using the other machines and then doing walks around the gym for a cool-down. Shoe problems aside, we both feel stronger after an hour here a few times/week.

Juice: Em drinks a fair amount of juice (or juice-like products), or he DID until I started interfering with that process for reasons of too much plastic waste and high fructose corn syrup/artificial ingredients. It was a gradual process, going first from liter bottles of lemonade or punch to frozen cans of juice and re-using containers from other juice-type purchases. I bought 4 64-oz glass carafes from Target this past week. They're unavailable in brick and mortar stores, so they were shipped in big boxes full of packaged air to prevent breakage. They're quite heavy once full, but I feel good to finally toss (for the last time) the plastic alternatives. Note the comparison.

I've been drinking more juice, myself, lately: vegetable juice, grapefruit juice, and a pomegranate/ blueberry blend from Old Orchard. I'm not really interested in juicing my own fruits and vegetables, though, and No. 2 had bought me a juicer a while back that I've never used. Em took that juicer to UPS this morning. We'd placed the unopened box in one of those big boxes with some of that packaged air to ensure it would travel safely. UPS wanted $112.00 to ship it, so Em brought it back home. ????? We'll figure out how to get it to No. 2 next week after we remove some of the excessive packaging.

Obama Group: We've joined with some "neighbors" to form an Obama Group named Attentive Public. While all North Texans, some in the group live in Dallas, some in Grand Prairie, others in other nearby towns. We've gotten together twice so far, and learned quite a lot from some of the people who represent us in government.

Some in our group are volunteering at the MLK Day celebrations this week, but Em and I will be in West Wendover. We leave tomorrow morning and return Friday evening. I have yet to pack for that, so had better finish here soon.

Food Waste: Crunchy Chicken has a new challenge which involves food waste. We toss too much food waste onto the garden plot when we could (with a little creativity) plan our meals around what's about to go bad. I put that thought to use while cooking supper last night, using some garlic cheese with almonds left over from an Obama Group event as the cheese/garlic in a spinach-stuffed chicken breast recipe. I'm still loving that little convection oven even when I use it as a regular oven. It heats way faster, wasting less energy just coming up to temp.

I'm happy to add this banner to the sidebar, and disappointed to delete the banner for Goods For Girls, as Crunchy has shut down that enterprise.

Food Waste Reduction Challenge - February 2009

In combination with this challenge and the "just coming to temp" thought above, I'll be addressing water waste in a more efficient manner as part of this waste challenge. I'm currently putting a bucket in the shower stall while the water comes to temperature, but still a lot of water goes to waste while getting to temperature. I wish we could redirect the water while it comes to temp for a shower, but I don't know how to do that. I will be looking for a shower head that allows for turn off and on after the water's to temp so I can shampoo my hair without wasting water.

Water used in cooking will also be addressed as part of this water waste challenge. Since I use the saved water almost solely on plants, there's no reason why I shouldn't have a bucket for water used to boil potatoes or pasta or in making hard-boiled eggs. If I can keep it clean enough, there's probably no reason why water used to boil potatoes can't be recycled to boil pasta or eggs and vice-versa, although at some point, I think a lot of starch could accumulate in this water. I wonder if starch is good for plants or at what point the water might become too scummy for words.

My sweet potato starts absolutely love our bathroom window. The west exposure gives them sun to grow while still maintaining privacy in the bathroom. I've just moved the second group of starts to that window today (Can't Believe It's Not Butter).
The parsley, cilantro, spinach, and lettuce seeds continue to grow in a south window, but they don't seem to be trying to break any records. I'm growing these looking for an indoor crop this winter, not as starts for the outside garden.

No. 1 and I tried to get together for an underwear shopping trip this month while she was off school and while the stores had underwear sales. We had no luck with that, as her car had some battery-related problems, which I trust have been resolved as today she starts again on the last semester of her internship at the mission in Fort Worth. School starts tomorrow and I don't expect to see much of her until spring break or her wedding, planning of which has consumed more of my time lately than I'd like ... just in the selection of a hotel for the few out-of-town guests. Hoping to get No. 2 involved with the final decision, as she IS one of the out-of-town guests.

Must pack now; I've put it off until the last possible moment while my mind churned the wardrobe options. It'll definitely be a brown theme this year, as the black theme I chose last trip (two years ago) had me falling down on exiting the plane or any doorwell encountered while wearing my black suede Birks. Those shoes just aren't safe enough for travel.

Happy Martin's birthday to y'all.

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