Thursday, July 31, 2008

getting so much [greener] all the time!

Crap. I wrote a long post and blogger ate it. OR I played with the formatting in the html and accidentally erased it. It feels better to blame blogger.

So, let’s see. I was telling you how yesterday was a very “green” day for me and how I keep on patting myself on the back. “yay, carrie! good job carrie! high five, carrie!” I said that a couple of times yesterday…and here is why.

1. yesterday I FINALLY started my composter. I also read about it a bit more and found good info here and here. I’ve had it for a while but decided not to start it until after I moved. I’m glad—you have to drain this little guy every 2-ish days AND I really wasn’t cooking. Anyway, though, this is exciting. AND since it’s a fermenting system using bokashi I can put meat scraps and whatever else in it and it takes less time to be the compost. I think I’m going to maybe need a second one (you rotate them when you let them “sit” for two weeks) or at the very least a crock for the interim.

2. so, I have two cats. And that means plenty o’ litter. I used to use the non-scoopable since it came in bags, but they do better if I scoop. I use biobags for the waste, but I do scoop. And you can’t get tidycats scoop in bags, soooo…I’m going to have a lot of these plastic containers and I’ve been wondering what I can do to repurpose some of them.

Yesterday I figured it out. :)

I used one this morning to collect the water from my tub as it warms up for my shower. When I started the washer I added some of this water to it. I’ll also use it to water my plants, wash the patio and maybe even do the dishes.

When I bought more litter yesterday it was cheaper per pound to buy two smaller containers (14 lb) and I’ll use those to dilute the liquid from my compost, which will make a nice fertilizer until the compost is done. Yay!

3. I ate vegetarian last night. Annie’s Mac and Cheese. YUM!

4. I have been unpacking my kitchen stuff—I did A LOT last night. I’ve been averaging two boxes a day, but last night I did one huge box (equiv of three!) plus one, two, three other smaller boxes. I am quite proud that I arranged and rearranged and rearranged until I was able to put everything in the cabinets, it all fits AND I won’t need to purchase any additional organizer thingies.

5. Yesterday I spent ~$14 and offset our emissions from the trip to/from Tulsa. I invested in the renewable energy sources. Thank you! I am pleased that my necessary wastefulness (I mean, I couldn’t’ve skipped the wedding) has been negated. :)

6. In looking at the composter info I happened upon Crunchy Chicken’s blog. She has issued a challenge—Buy Nothing for the Month of August. I’m going to do it, with a few provisos.

so, here are her rules:
-No new clothes
-No new gadgets
-No new furniture or housewares
-No salon services (except haircuts)
-No new makeup
-No new tools
-No whatever the hell else people buy
-No eating out (yes, this one is new!)

(food, medication and necessary things like, say, new jars, pectin, etc if you're canning are okay)

and these are my exceptions:
-if it is for my house and I've already planned for it it's okay to buy (eg, light fixtures, the organizer thing for my closet, the planters for hanging on my deck, etc.)
-if it is something I've already decided I need to purchase it is also acceptable (for instance, eco-friendly sunblock, the moisturizer with sunblock and the uv-blocking articles of clothing
-if I am out of town I am allowed to eat out (or this trip to c-ville to see mary alise and nicole's bach in a few weeks would be a bust!). Also, I only get to go out to eat once in seven days because my house is in no state to ask friends over
-if it will make me more eco-friendly and I do not already have something I can use in the meantime (for instance, I need an eco-friendly carpet cleaner) then I may purchase it
-going out for beers does not count.
-I may also purchase photos for a)the scrapbook, b)the orders I've gotten and c)the photo contest. And the appropriate matting to go with these items. But no additional frames, stickers, etc.

so, no clothes, books, cds, gadgets, gizmos, kitchen stuff, flowers, office supplies (particularly difficult for me to not buy in august!), shoes, jewelry, etc. yikes.

otherwise I have to buy it today or do my best to wait until september. I'll let you know how it goes. I am hoping to "feed the pig" with my savings. we shall see. I know I'm not being all hard-core and saying "no spending in august!" but seriously, I have now been living in my house for, what, eleven days where I wasn't also trying to move things out of another house. And I've been out of town. There are reasonably necessary items (such as the UV stuff) that I should actually purchase. And a lot of the other things I'll be able to buy with gift cards.

so. I'm going to try it for the month. I'll let you know how it goes. Anyone want to join me?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


so, remember how I decided that maybe I should be an environmental engineer? and now I sorta-kinda are one? (yes, that was purposeful) I mean, technically I'm an Air Quality Engineer by trade, chemical engineer by degree, but I'm like 98% certain that means I'm in the job of an enviro engineer.

um, well. my friend lisa has been encouraging me (thanks for the push!) to get back to taking classes, especially since now I'm in a group that I LIKE and who is NICE to me and my boss is awesome-tastic.

so, I looked online and all the classes I might want to take aren't offered online. BUT there's one that's on tuesdays and thursdays from 830-945. I DON'T want to get up for that, but I DO want my masters. so, I asked my boss if I could do it. he asked his boss.

and dammit they said yes. I mean, yay! but also dammit.

I told him I wasn't 100% sure, but it just seems kind of smart. here is a description of the class:

"Engineering Principles of Air Pollution Control. Introduction to air pollution control fundamentals and design. Fundamentals including physics, chemistry and thermodynamics of pollutant formation, prevention and control. Design including gas treatment and process and feedstock modification. Addressed pollutants include sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, volatile organic compounds, hydrocarbons and air toxins. Investigation of current research."

one teensy problem is that my degree will actually be a master of science in civil engineering. I won't have an "environmental engineering" degree. I can write "emphasis on air pollution engineering" on my resume, but it'll actually be civil. and since there is a hierarchy of engineering, and since civil is "below" chemical, I'm still taking a step up, it's just not as big of one. but then again, no matter what the piece of paper says exactly, I'll still have a masters and it'll still make me more qualified to be an enviro engineer. and it'll make me better qualified for a promotion, too. decisions, decisions.

and, while googling an image to try to spice up this post, (unsuccessfully, I might add) I found this website, confessions of a closet environmentalist. which linked me to a woman who has been living without adding any new plastic to her life. there are other links, too. but anyway, yeah. might be trying out that whole grad school thing again...we shall see.

roadtrip-day 4

oh, t-town.

we slept.
we got up.
we showered.
we talked to granny.
we found out that panera bread is a liar--their breakfast sandwiches aren't "until they're gone." they are until 1030!
we took some drying cleaning in--my dress, one of granny's dresses, etc.
we got gas a a quick trip.
we drove to glenpool.

and I got a haircut! oh, how I love cheryl. she's good people. I kind of freaked out because it was shorter than I wanted (though probably just as long as I communicated) and the bangs were supershort, but it only took me 6 days before it felt long enough. whew!

we left to buy matt a suit and renee some bacheloretty items and went to weber's. man, their root beer is GOOD. I wanted to go to Claud's Hamburgers too--they sponsored my softball team when I was younger and I kind of love them. PS, the first time they made us shirts? The printer messed up and they said "claud's hambugers." no kidding.

hung with the fam and then went out to dinner at chimi's. mmmm texmex. and then played apples to apples at home. there is a funny story, but it is not blog appropriate. you can email me if you'd really like to hear it. also, notice how matt is blurry in the picture of the two of us--he said he liked it that way. and that's adam and his girlfriend courtney. she was nice. she can speed read aloud, also.

and that was our day. despite seeming pretty un-busy for me, it was jam packed, and it WORE ME OUT. I almost almost fell asleep while at my mom's house!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

i know a girl who thinks of ghosts. she'll make you breakfast, she'll make you toast.

~the flaming lips

it was kind of amusing to me in tulsa when I heard my brother's band play this song. and like when they asked adam if he knew who the smashing pumpkins were (he responded "what the hell do you MEAN do I know who the smashing pumpkins are? how do YOU know who they are?" they were like "oh, do you know the flaming lips?" they are eleven years younger than I am and still loving all the music I enjoyed when I was their age. pretty rad. and amusing. you'll see band pics in my roadtrip posts, when I get to 'em.

so, pop quiz...who's the coolest girl in town? first guess, shout it out...that's right, me! because today lucky li'l ol' me got to have a mole removed from my leg! yippee! thank goodness it's already a better experience that it was last time! and and and, if it comes back "abnormal" there's ANOTHER mole/freckle on my leg that I get to have removed. yeehaw!

also, she suggested a new moisturizer for me to use. and I looked it up on the database, and lookie here. a three. I'll take a three! and spf 45, too. unfortunately, though, my regular sunblock, the good ol' 85, doesn't get a good rating at all. I'm going to use what I have and then look to make a switch. I do feel slightly better knowing that I'm not going in any water any time soon, so I am not exposing the ocean quite as directly. y'all have heard about sunblock bleaching coral, right?

oh and, I used this song and title because...for my "wound" I'm supposed to apply vasoline. no neosporin. no antibiotic ointment. just plain old vasoline.

I will get to the rest of my road trip info soon enough. Right now I want to tell you about my week/weekend. Friday night we played sand volleyball at a bar (our team name is nachos grande!) and I almost beat up some people. while there we saw a luna moth--it was HUGE. but that is not why I wanted to beat up people. there were two people, a guy and a girl, who joined our team, and they were DEAD SET on the middle front person (in fives or sixes) hitting the ball on the second hit. So much so that if they were not the front middle, and the ball came within 6 inches of them, they would just let it fall because it was front middle man's job. It was SO frustrating! We played for 4 games and I even tried to be wily and rotate in between the two of them to help mix it up a little.

I mean, I know that people have habits and get used to playing a certain way, but really? they said they'd been playing volleyball for just this season, never before in their lives, and the season has been going on for 5 weeks. In five games (one per week) you have developed unbreakable habits? Isn't the primary goal to get the ball over the net and inside the lines? I even politely said "um, hey listen, this isn't how we are used to playing, could y'all at least yell "I got it" if you are getting it if you're the 2-man? Because really if it's coming right at me? I'm hitting it unless you call me off and give me plenty of time."

awkward. but at least we had fun talking to andrew afterwards.

saturday we got up, went to the farmers market and then went to cosmic cantina with katie, ben, audrey and little sam. I stole Katie's picture because matt's eyes are open in hers! We then went to Zola, this cute little gallery/shop next door. They had LOTS of eco-friendly and/or re-purposed stuff. Don't be surprised if I get you stuff from there in the future! I bought some coasters and a little magnet for chelsea and amos. yay! and then we walked across the street and took pictures of a flower bed. I'd seen it on the way in, but didn't want to be late--and FOR ONCE Matt and I were early. By like a whole 8 minutes!

after that we came home, got our goldilocks on (aka flipped over our mattress) and craaaashed. the mattress is too soft and saggy even though it's not all that old, and we wanted to see if the pillow top is the problem. this way it was TOO hard. I got an egg crate to try, but if that doesn't work either I'm going to have to get a new one. I'm twenty-seven. I should not wake up with an aching back every morning! it has gotten MUCH worse now that there are two people sleeping in it. boo hiss for serta, the mattress is only three years old!

that evening after our looooong nap I ran errands, we made and ate goulash to use up some stuff we had at the house, and we watched serenity. have you see firefly? it is a great but short series that's what serenity was about. if you like sci-fi at all, check it out!

sunday was church and then pictures with the fabys! they were such good sports and we had A LOT of fun, and thankfully the weather held, too! I have only gotten to do a few of the photos--more to come. At some point. I hope! also, matt was a wonderful assistant/holder of things, and I was terribly amused by how well he color-coordinated. :) those sunflowers are from the farmer's market, the hat is mine (it's reversible) and he gave me that basket/bag for our anniversary! by the way, if you want any photography of you and you sig o or children or animals just let me know. right now I'm still taking pictures for basically tips, trying to build my portfolio. I'm having a lot of fun doing it though!!!

Matt left for Augusta after that and I took a looooong nap with gobi and hazel. I was worried when we moved and they were banished from the bedroom (when matt's there) that when they were allowed in they wouldn't want to cuddle. Such is not the case. Gobi even slept on my pillow, which is a rare treat!

And then I watched Witches of Eastwick, ate leftovers, did a little work and went to bed. I'm still reeling from the weekend a little. But thankfully last night I got to have sushi with my dear friend Jennifer, and that was a nice breath of fresh air, so-to-say. :) AND my nice little ross dress for less green dress is going to get even more of a workout. I love it when a $23 dress gets lots of use!

my desk also has some new additions--I brought some of the flowers in, starting using my new coaster and jackie gave me this air freshener. now the flower is ALL orange (it started as white). I'm going to have to take it home though--it's too potent for the office! but it's pretty and I like it!

oh and during my errands I bought these cute shoes on clearance! yay for my small feet! only one problem...the bottoms are slippppperrrryyyyy. VERY slippery. I seriously almost bit it like four times yesterday. but I looked cute!

okay, back to working. and to not thinking about the owie on my leg. oooh AND I might look up the clothing that functions as sunblock for the beach trip, my dermatologist recommended that for nicole's bachelorette. I've already informed her I have to basically hide from the sun all day, but this will allow me to venture out, at least a little...

tonight, air & waste manage assoc officer's meeting and then rock climbing! hooray!

Monday, July 28, 2008

watching what you eat.

some of you might've missed this comment on my "you don't have to be a saint" post.

"misha said...

Yay for the environment!!! I have gone Vegan which you mention vegetarian - did you know that the methane in Cow farts is far worse for the environment than any of our refineries or cars???? Also, we are killing off the rainforest to make more room for pastures for cows and other animals. And did you know that the energy required in farming cows for the meat industry is enough energy to end world hunger? Astounding. I now say "no" to meat.

But I am still behind in other areas. I am just now trying to own my own grocery bags. I can't believe how many other people have already been doing it and I'm just now jumping on the bandwagon."

I've read it as cow's belching and cow's farting, but either way, it's bad bad bad. And I've googled it before, but now I'm googling it are some factoids.

-livestock accounts for 18 percent of global warming emissions worldwide, more than the entire transportation sector

-cattle, bison, sheep and goats burp out a lot of methane that traps 23 times more heat per ton than carbon dioxide

-the difference between a vegan diet and one that includes cheeseburgers is less than 2 tons of greenhouse gases a year -- that's about the equivalent of switching from a Camry to a Prius. With that in mind, eating beef is the worst; then comes cattle, sheep and goat; and then pork and dairy products are relatively less harmful. Pork and dairy hold the same place in the environment?!?

-if you want to change your diet to combat global-warming (and still eat meat), eating chicken is the best thing you can do. Chickens don't "burp" methane and they produce only one-tenth the methane of cattle waste. And, apparently eating a roast chicken dinner is better for the environment than eating a cheese pizza. Going vegan is, clearly, the best. But not everyone (myself included) can manage that switch!

-It takes 22 times the acres of land to meet the food energy needs of one person eating meat than it does for one person eating potatoes.

-It takes more than 13 times the water to produce one day's food supply for an omnivore than it does for a vegan.

-It takes 27 times the petroleum to produce a hamburger than it does a soy burger.

-The annual greenhouse gas output from burger consumption is the equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas output from between four and 13 million SUVs.

I'm sure there is more. LOTS more. Now, I'm not going vegetarian. And certainly not vegan. I have a love affair with cheese, and I can't get motivated to give it up. But, again--could I eat vegetarian or vegan once a week? Or vegan once and vegetarian twice? Yep. Could I only use half of the meat in recipes where it's all cut up? And have ground turkey instead of ground beef, and focus on eating mainly fish and chicken? Sure can. And, um, maybe give up hamburgers totally. I don't have them that often anyway, but...couldn't hurt!

Oh, and, since Misha mentioned it (and it's been on my mind)...if you were only going to do a handful of environmentally friendly things, here are my top ten that I believe are the most important (either because they have the greatest impact OR because that habit will help you to do other things that are environmentally friendly) in no particular order of importance...

1. reduce, reuse, recycle. in that order.

2. bring your own reusable bags with you everywhere. try the baggus if you like. the less bulky the better. use them at the grocery store, the mall, the pet store, you name it. if you forget them don't accept another bag--go get them, carry it in your purse or hands or pocket or come back another time. on the same idea, skip bottled water as well and opt for your own reusable bottle--besides, LOTS of bottled water started as normal old tap water anyway.

3. walk. run. skip. jump. cycle. combine trips/errands. ride the bus. I am bad about this. the move means that the bus route is like 2.5 miles away--farther than I'm willing to walk, especially in the heat. but I do live only 4 miles from work and I coast a lot. :) I am thinking about getting a bike and braving the roads though...we shall see. also, keep your car in good working order.

4. turn off the lights. switch to cfls. utilize the sunlight. unplug your appliances and chargers. be mindful of the energy you're using!

5. don't overheat or overcool your home. and while you're at it, make use of heat sources--let the oven heat escape while it's cooling in the winter and utilize the evening breeze for cooling in the summer. and don't stand in front of your fridge with the door open (Sterling!)

6. watch what you eat--try to eliminate meat, especially. buy produce locally and/or try to grow it yourself! eat veggie (or vegan) when you can--even once a week without meat will make an impact. and buy produce IN SEASON. those strawberries for sale in the winter? they're from far, far away and they only taste mediocre. resist the urge, okay?

7. do a chemical inventory of your home--check out your cleaning supplies. replace any with scary chemicals. but DO NOT just throw the old ones away (or dump 'em down the drain). dispose of them properly and recycle the bottles. use eco-friendly cleaners (shaklee, method, seventh generation) and when possible make your own! you'll be amazed what a little baking soda and white vinegar will do. and while you're at it, get a grip on the chemicals in your personal care products, too. patty shared this website, which helps you identify problematic items!

8. water water everywhere--but we want to have plenty of drops to drink! cut down on your water consumption. don't wash your car unless it really really needs it. take shorter showers. get a rain barrel (if it's legal where you are).

9. if you have to use paper products, use ones that are made from recycled paper. I personally feel that you can't use, say, rags as toilet paper, but you CAN use them in place of paper towels. :)

10. as much as possible, buy used, organic or sustainable.

this is only *my* opinion. there is no RIGHT way. except that it's "right" to do it. :)

roadtrip-day 3

in the lou. st, louis that is...

we slept late. we commented on our non-actually-four-star-although-it-claimed-to-be hotel room. we schlepped our things to the car. we ate einstein brothers bagels for breakfast. we took pictures in union station and out front, too, including ones of anatomically correct statues. I was surprised to see that in the middle of a downtown. why aren't there conservatives screaming about this?!? anyway, the day was sunshiney and we could see the arch, and all was well.

oh, we also drank A LOT of water and researched our next stops while at einstein brothers. I refused to pay $10 for eleven hours of internet, especially when we were sleeping for, oh, nine of those.

then, we went back into illinois and saw the world's largest catsup bottle. matt likes mustard better. :)

and then we went to walmart to replace some of matt's clothes, get some snacks and a back pillow for me and also grab some brewskies--and of course we picked up some summer shandy. we intended to share it with my family, but they'd already stocked the fridge which was a WONDERFUL surprise (and they kept calling woodchuck and mike's hard lemonade "beer" which irritated me, as those are not beers, but moving on)! I also bought a lovely five dollar yellow and white sun hat.

next we found a park--and REALLY lucked out! I needed pictures in Illinois, you see, and we decided to try for a park that was nearby, and I got A LOT. and I wore my new hat. and we got to swing, too. fun fun fun.

then it was on the road again back to MO. we couldn't find the soda bottle in downtown (the one that brought about the name "the bottle district") and decided it was too late to see the rest, so we began our trip to tulsa. but not before we went back to IL by accident and had to turn around! along the way we saw...

and then we went to see...

the world's largest rocking chair.
the world's largest gift shop.
a half-scale reproduction of stonehenge.
and the world's largest fork.

and, of course, we took pictures. The Rocking Chair was by far our fave stop of the entire trip--the people were SO nice, the bathrooms were nicer than our four-star-hotel's, and they let me taste wine. And those pours were generous!!! I was a little tipsy by the end. While there I saw a bottle labeled "American Honey" and inquired about it--and it was Wild Turkey's honey whiskey! After seeing Wild Turkey's distillery the day before we HAD to buy it, and it was inexpensive, too, so we got a big bottle. We walked away spending, oh sixty bucks, and the people acted like we'd just given them a month's pay. I would SO go there if you have the chance. Fanning, Missouri. There are signs. You won't be disappointed!

oh. and matt could not jump high enough to touch the seat. the entire chair is 42 feet high so I'm really not surprised. oh AND we almost didn't even go here--jack couldn't locate it, and we only ended up there 'cause matt saw the signs!

after that, we ended up at the gift shop by accident--we needed gas, turned off and THERE IT WAS! wow-o. And we saw a very beautiful sunset there. we did not get to stop at any of the oklahoma attractions (including another world's largest--the world's largest totem pole) but they aren't too far from t-town so we're hoping to hit them in december!

next was stonehenge, then olive garden for dinner, the fork and the drive to tulsa. we tried to take a picture where it looked like the fork was impaling matt, but due to the light/size/angle, no dice! we got in late late late, but we had an AWESOME day. and then we got to sleeeeep. :)

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