Waste-Not-Wednesday: Precious Time


Life is too short, and the time we waste in yawning never can be regained.

                                                                                                                         ~ Stendhal

                                                                                                                                   image from morguefile.com

So stop that lollygagging, people, and get to it!  


Waste Not Wednesday: Non-toxic Paint Remover


Because I’m still in limbo waiting for feedback on CLOSE TO HOME,
I’m tackling some long overdue household projects.
Yesterday I stripped the scary green paint from kitchen cabinet doors using
this great non-toxic, soy-based paint remover.

I’m environmentally sensitive, and can’t walk in the detergent
aisle in the grocery store because of all the nasty odors.
The soy-based remover was fine for me with adequate ventilation
(I worked in my garage), and I highly recommend it.
Why use conventional products and expose yourself to a soup of toxic chemicals
that may harm your respiratory system, skin, internal organs, brain and nervous system?

Not to mention the harm to the planet from producing the stuff?

And, because I need to stick with my Write No Matter What attitude,
here is a little home improvement haiku:

So long now, green paint.
Wish you’d come with a warning:
"Best if eyes are closed."


Waste Not Wednesday: Opportunity


Okay, so this doesn’t fall in the environmental tips category,
but this post is not only a reminder to myself but also a way to hold myself accountable.

My kids in Florida PLUS my mate at the office EQUALS writing opportunity.

I have revisions to complete, darn it.
So I am not going to waste this opportunity for making headway on CLOSE TO HOME.

If you see me around the LJ-playground, please send me back to my pages.
But hopefully you’re seizing your own writing opportunities,
and wouldn’t notice even if I started hooping next to you.

Here’s to us accomplishing a whole mess of literary feats today!

Waste-Not Wednesday: Non-toxic Laptop Protection


I love my laptop.
I’m sure you love yours, too.

I wanted to protect my laptop
so went on Ebay and found a dandy cover
for just $9.99 and Free Shipping!

That cover arrived and I tore open the plastic bag.
Massive chemical outgassing.
Gag-inducing neoprene nastiness
(I’ve since learned that neoprene won the Allergen of the Year Award in 2009).

Even after I aired out that sleeve in the sunshine for more than a week,
I still could not tolerate the chemical stench.

Fortunately, I found GreenSmart.

Among other cool products, GreenSmart offers a neogreene sleeve
and a laptop sleeve made from 100% recycled soda bottles.

No fuss, no muss, and even better, no stink.
Today’s tip:  do yourself, your laptop, and the planet a favor by supporting GreenSmart.

Waste-Not-Wednesday: Toilets Revisited

Way back when I posted this about saving water when you flush.

Today I want to share what I learned from a very kind plumber yesterday:

If your toilets don’t flush with the oomph you’d like,
use a wire hanger to knock the calcium build-up out of the hole in the
base of the bowl AND the holes underneath the rim.

Your toilet will flush with renewed enthusiasm.
No more repeated flushings!


Waste-Not Wednesday: Cereal Box Liners

I’ve already posted a suggestion for using waxed paper bags for lunches rather than plastic bags.  But there’s an even greener alternative:  cereal box liners!

(Photobucket isn’t cooperating tonight so I apologize for the mammoth image and ask your forgiveness for any dreams in which you are chased by an enormous sandwich.  Or countertop)..  

Waste-Not Wednesday: Fallen Leaves

It’s that time of year when the leaves jump off the trees and hit the ground. 
Really.  I’ve seen it happen.  I’ve yet to hear any screaming, though.

This past weekend I raked my leaves and scooped them into an empty trash can. 
After each scoop I stomped down on them with my foot to pack them in tighter AND
break them into smaller pieces.  If you don’t have long legs (or an enormous foot), use the rake handle to
stir the leaves.  When the can is full, pour them onto the flower bed you’ve already
sprayed with the hose.  After spreading them around the plants, spray the leaves with
the hose so they’ll be less likely to blow away in the wind.

Leaves are a great mulch that will hold the moisture for your plants plus they’re full
of nutrients for your soil.

When you mulch with leaves:
1) you keep stuff out of the landfill
2) you don’t use a plastic bag that ends up in landfill
3) you feed and protect your plants over the winter months
4) you add fall color to your beds (at least for a little while!)                                                                                                                                                   

Waste-Not Wednesday tip


That’s what I wanted to post late this afternoon.  It was the only thing I could handle posting because although I had all sorts of ideas for today’s environmental tip, I couldn’t wrangle the words.  I just could not wrangle words into a coherent paragraph.  I felt like the world’s worst writer.

Then I forced myself to leave my family for the evening and head to the library with my laptop.

Guess what?  I wrote about 3k words and am now past my JoNoWriMo+1.5 goal of a 38k-words middle grade novel.  Don’t worry, I realize that exceeding my word count goal is about as meaningful as still having checks in my checkbook when there ain’t no money in the account.  But I’m a helluva lot closer.

I understand I’ve got to keep writing until The End.  I’m just grateful I didn’t waste this Wednesday.


Waste-Not Wednesday: Flushing Toilets

Seeing as it’s Halloween and all I considered writing about recycling treats for the little witches and goblins.  You know the recycling I refer to: you’re all out of goodies because someone wouldn’t stop eating, but the doorbell keeps ringing so you dash into the pantry in frantic search of something, anything, to ward off the TP Avengers.  And you spot those granola bars at the back of the shelf plus a few packages of Top Ramen, so you grab those and a couple honey sticks on the way back to the front door in hopes you won’t arrive there to find a burning bag of dog doo.

But you already know the drill.

So let’s talk toilets.  Briefly.

Get yourself a big bucket to keep in your bathroom.  Put it under the tub faucet so it catches the water when you’re warming it up for your bath or shower:

Then use that water to flush your toilet:

Also, we have a plastic bottle filled with water (blue cap at Left) and a plastic container with rocks (next to ball at Right) in the tank.  These displace water so not as much water is needed to refill the tank after each flush.  Just make sure your displacement items don’t interfere with the flushing mechanism.  (If you already have low-flush toilets, I don’t think there’s room for displacement items but you can still use the bucket to refill the tank).


Waste-Not Wednesday: Fabric Softener

I had the idea of designating one day per week for sharing ways my family tries to reduce our impact on the environment.  I’m going to call it WASTE-NOT WEDNESDAY and I’d be thrilled if anyone else would like to join in and share ideas from their households, too.  I’m at about the halfway point of my life expectancy but Wildebeest and Zebu and all your children have a lot of years ahead of them on this planet, and whatever we can do to protect the resources for them and their children (and their children’s children and so on), is well worth the effort.

So I hope you join me now and again in sharing some tips for helping out Mother Earth.

As you can see, my washing machine has a big jug of white vinegar sitting on top.  That’s because each time I wash a load of laundry, I pour white vinegar into the fabric softener dispenser at the top of the agitator-thingy.  We live in Colorado where it’s extremely dry which results in lots of static cling.  I mean LOTS.  However, the vinegar prevents that icky, clingy feeling plus keeps the laundry soft.  Believe me, if it works here vinegar will work in your climate, too.

Why not just use that fancy-smelling blue stuff?  Well, I don’t like liquid fabric softener or dryer sheets because I’m hypersensitive to strong odors.  When I’m taking a walk in my neighborhood, I can smell when someone’s running a dryer with one of those sheets inside and the smell hurts my lungs. 

While writing this post I just did a little googling and found out there’s a good reason why my lungs hurt when I smell that stuff:  nasty chemicals!

Do your wallet and the planet a favor by giving up the fabric softener.  Reach for the white vinegar instead.