Category Archives: Maryland

Greener Choices

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In only a few days, April holds two important ‘green’

days: Earth Day and Arbor Day. I thought it may be

pertinent to make a list of progressive choices for a

healthier lifestyle. They may make the world a better

place, too!

While the Spring sales are still going on, you may wish

to stock up on cloth towels and cotton sheets. Cloth

towels to wipe up things are much better for the

environment than using lots of paper towels. Cotton

sheets are able to be dry quicker, reducing energy

usage, than ones that have polyester fibers.

Once you have stocked up and chosen which ‘rags’ to

discard, consider the following places who welcome old

towels, along with old blankets. Homeless shelters and

battered women’s shelters appreciate clean towels, as

well as ones to wipe up spills. They are happy to receive

donations of clean sheets and clothing items, especially

warm coats in the winter, as well as cotton t-shirts that

are clean for summer wear. Check on their ‘needs lists’

and you may have some of the necessities around the house

going to waste. Local animal shelters also are happy to

receive towels and cloths that look a little ‘raggedy.’

They also appreciate other donations of pet food, kitty

litter and unused leashes. I mentioned this to a friend

who is insisting that she will ‘never own another pet,’

since her beautiful golden retriever died of cancer.

Another ‘switch’ from good choices to better choices,

is to replace your toothbrushes with more eco-friendly

ones. There are ones now on the market made of castor

oil plants instead of petroleum (plastic ones). Look

for BPA-free and recyclable on the label.

I could not believe this figure that I found in the

Central Ohio “Natural Awakenings” magazine! Our library

has them in a stack, labeled ‘free.’ The statistic that

had my jaw drop open, thank goodness too early for a fly

to be caught, was that Americans use 500 million disposable

straws in ONE DAY! The founder of the Be Straw Free Campaign,

Milo Cress, accumulated this horrifying data. As you may

know, at parks, zoos and other natural wildlife preserves,

you are requested to not even drink out of plastic straws.

This is because they have accidentally flown out of trash

barrels, been dropped or otherwise gotten into the beaks

of animals. They can be caught and not able to be dislodged

by the animal, sometimes causing death or horrible pain.

The Ocean Conservancy has straws on their Top 10 list of

debris littering beaches. Paper straws are an alternative

since they do compost within 45-60 days. Otherwise, using

a sippy cup for kids and a twist up or down lid for adults

can keep animals and sea life ‘safe’ from harm of plastic

straws.

Of course, we have covered this in other posts of mine,

where I mention that I walk to the local Delaware Community

Market and also, during three seasons of the year, go to

the Farmer’s Market that is on the sidewalks downtown during

business hours on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings.

By purchasing locally grown foods, whether they are fruits,

vegetables or baked goods, you are supporting the farmers

and you are saving the environment. You carry a cloth bag,

which eliminates plastic or even, paper bags. You also are

getting healthier food choices, which is good for the body.

The planet appreciates your efforts to buy local, since

there is no need for shipping, warehousing, and boxing up

these products. Local purchases save gas!

A great and easy way to go ecological is to buy several

power-saver energy strips. They can be turned off when

machines are not being used. Also, unplugging things like

the toaster, coffee maker or blender can do a lot of good

by such simple actions. Completely shutting down computers

saves more energy than using sleep mode.

The Appliance Recycling Centers of America, in conjunction

with your local electric company, will come and pick up your

discarded appliances. You may find yourself purchasing a

more energy-efficient refrigerator or freezer in the

future, or your old one may just ‘conk out.’

In the states of California, Connecticut, Maryland,

Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont have

pledged to increase production or construction of the

charging stations needed to use for battery powered

cars, plug in hybrids and other ‘clean’ burning vehicles

by 2025. Consider buying one of these, when you have your

old car ‘bite the dust.’

There are companies that can help install solar panels

in your home, making renewable home energy cost-effective,

along with increasing your home’s property value.

There is a company that you may find on the internet,

that incorporates a “1% for the Planet” logo. You also

will find participating ‘green’ companies at Tinyurl.com/

OnePercentPlanet.

Some green tips for cooking are always helpful, sometimes

you may have already read them somewhere else. This can

help remind you of better eco-friendly kitchen processes.

Slow cooked soups and stews, a meal within a pot or pan,

covered to use the heat within the structure, is both

ecological and saves energy when it comes time to wash up.

This can be helpful to the budget, too, since you can use

a less expensive cut of meat, while it tenderizes in the

slow-cooking process. If you are a vegetarian, it is also

a delicious way to bring out the flavors of the foods and

softens root vegetables that need time to simmer.

Lastly, it is also a really nice way to come home, the

aroma wafting through the entryway to your house. In my

case, the hallway leading to my door. I adore smelling

the food that has been cooking on low heat while I have

been away at work!

I sometimes use a covered dish in the oven, which has a

similar economical and ecological purpose.

A company called Microban Europe, UK, has been testing

produce and finding it challenging to keep them fresh.

Unfortunately, I found this fact quite gross! our average

refrigerator harbors millions of bacteria! Yikes! There is

a eco-friendly product, called “The Berry Breeze” in-fridge

automated device. This circulates activated oxygen to

prevent mold, keeping produce fresh longer and reducing

spoiling to save your grocery money.

Another interesting ‘take’ on buying food that is healthy

and ecological, is to eliminate canned goods. I was not

sure I could get ‘on board’ with this plan! I have a limited

budget, so canned goods are more economical for one person.

Instead of a whole bag of potatoes or the singular, more

expensive one potato, I buy canned potatoes and rinse them

twice for the salt and metal taste to be rinsed off. I

then proceed to recycle my cans. There is a woman in the

Natural Awakenings magazine, Hannah Helsabeck, who is

president of WildMintShop.com, who shares “can-free”

meal tips online. Her quote is a positive and thought-

provoking one:

“It takes a little planning, but we can now avoid all the

toxic chemicals used in processing foods and making cans.

Let’s kick the can!”

I say, “Go Green!”

and

“Let’s get become a little more aware of how our actions

affect the environment and consequently, the world.”

This Week in Review: Love Every Second!

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A cricket chorus awoke me at around 6 a.m. today and I felt that I

still had much sleeping to do to “catch up” for the busy week that

had passed! I got up and did the daily rituals, including adding extra

moisturizer and contacts in. One far sighted and one near, to sort of

compensate for not wanting to wear the ‘bifocals’ as long as I can

hold out.

I crawled through the living room, to find that one errant cricket who

had managed to creep through some crack, nook or cranny of my

old first floor apartment. I saw it hop and I crawled slowly to get it,

after all, what is a morning without some exercise! I got it gently

enclosed in the palms of my hand, cupped around it. I made it to the

door, nuts! Who will open it? Not any roommate here anymore…

Daughter off in Victorian Village, preparing for her first Pilates class

in Powell. Dropped the cricket on carpet, opened door, followed

rapid hopping progress to the wine cabinet, got it and set out in

the hallway. There is supposed “luck” attributed to crickets and my

good friend, Jenny, has a nice brass cricket on the hearth of her

fireplace.

Starting with Mom’s weekend, very nice, lots of fun, three meals out

and about six movies watched! We had a grand time, staying up late

and got to see my two brothers, best sister in law, ever, and her

daughter, husband and two children. Emma is about a week off from

my Makyah so we swapped progress reports on their growth and

funny traits. Her newborn, Robbie, is adorable! He has the name with

his initials spelling ROB. Love that idea!

Wednesday, I had to play “hooky” from my long, hard week of down

to only 3 ten hour days. So glad I did that! Grandparents’ Day at Schulz

Elementary School was a ‘barrel of monkeys’ fun! Landen’s class was my

a.m. stop, where we had a male music teacher around my age, leading

these kids in song! We had two great songs, planned to win the hearts

of grandparents and kids alike. First one, we read the words while the

music alone played. We adults knew the tune to “Take me out to the

ballgame” and listened while the kids were using paperclips to read

each word, running along the page of lyrics. Landen did well paying

attention, my mind wandered a bit, but mostly replaying the way we

used to go to a special class for music. Now, of course, the music

teacher ‘travels’ from room to room.

We heard two versions with the words playing and then, finally at

ten minutes of ‘prep’ time, we sang along to the words. The teacher

emphasized, “And its ONE, TWO, THREE strikes you’re out at the old,

ball game!” The kids liked the way he had them use their hands and

fingers to shout/sing the words to that part.

The next song was one he said they had practiced “just for the guests

today to hear.” I did not hear as much enthusiasm for this song, until

we got to the chorus of “La la la la la’s.” (“Sing a Song.”) The words were

recorded by the Carpenters on 10/22/2002.

 

“Sing

Sing a song

Sing out loud.

Sing out strong.

Sing of good things, not bad.

Sing of happy, not sad.

Sing.

Sing a song.

Chorus goes for 18 La’s

La La La La La La

La La La La La La

La La La La La La.

Sing.

Sing a song.

Let the world,

Sing out loud!

Sing of love there could be…

Sing for you and for me.

Make it simple to last your whole life long.

Don’t worry that its not good enough,

For anyone else to hear.

Just sing, sing a song.”

Other ones who have sung it include Nathan Lane on Sesame Street

and Pooh Bear in a movie. The words are very simple but powerful.

We could use this to base the way we speak daily to others, using a

kind tone with simplicity and love. And when we write, “don’t worry

that its not good enough for anyone else to hear!”

Another Carpenters’ song, “You’ve Only Just Begun” worked out to

segue into my First Friday with Bill night. We had a nice dinner at the

old Cracker Barrel, went back to my apt. and parked so we could

“promenade” around town and see what all the crowds were doing.

There were several churches out with treats, a bank with goodies,

and the theme was a pet parade so most shops had their wares out

doors so that the dogs could get a doggie cookie or drink from water

bottles handed out. Kids were getting their faces painted and there

was a band playing out at Brooklyn Heights Restaurant. We saw our

good friends, Sean Duncan and Jamie Reisinger singing at the Old Bag

of Nails Restaurant, too.

We stopped in one of the nice antique stores and listened to a country

band playing. We stayed to listen to a rendition of “Ring of Fire.” Which

led me to ask Bill, my over 30 guitars in his “music room” friend if he

had ever heard Johnny Cash’s version of Nine Inch Nails’ song, “Hurt?”

Bill had not and I told him he needed to check this one out! Awesome,

tear jerkingly moving song with his raspy, ‘whiskey’ voice just touching

all my nerves.

While in our second antiques’ store, we were looking for blue glass for

his daughter, ash trays for his younger woman, and also, guitars. Of

course! We saw three and I am not sure who made them, what kinds

they were but the only one fairly priced was an electric one that had

a good amp included. Bill found a nice, green cut glass ash tray for

his woman and I saw several neat future Christmas gifts for my two

daughters and a nice memorabilia for my Mom, too. Unfortunately,

staying on my budget, will have to count on their being there when

I get back to them.

The reason for mentioning the Carpenters’ love song, often played at

weddings, was we were coming to the Delaware downtown’s closing

time and we ran into the most darling couple. You know I am always

looking for that meaningful love story in my days and nights!

This couple had the young woman standing in front of us in line to

check out, her boyfriend, sitting on an antique chair nearby. They

were talking in a very sweet and comfortable way. I asked the girl who

was closer to me,

“Are you students at Ohio Wesleyan University?”

She gave me a big smile and said, “I am a freshman and we just got here

a week ago.”

I (being my curious, oh you want to say it! All right, nosy self) asked,

“Where did you come from, you have a different eastern seaboard’s

accent?”

She replied, “Maryland. You have a good ear!”

Bill asked what part and he discerned that it was on the western part

in a small town. He talked to the young man as I studied the young

woman’s purchases. She had chosen a porcelain salt and pepper

shaker, with delicate painted pink roses on them, along with a cloth

calendar (like the ones they used to sell on a rod) which had the

year, 1995, on it, along with musical notes on it.

I asked her whether she was studying music and she laughed in the

most cheerful way,

“No, I want to be an astro physicist!”

Both Bill and I exclaimed, “How wonderful (me)!” and “Super (Bill)!”

I added, “Oh, such a wonderful area that we need more women in!”

The young man had told Bill he was not going to college, just visiting

Sunday, to email, text, call and keep in touch but seemed a little sad

about the upcoming separation.

I got wistful, remembering the goodbyes I had said to my high school

boyfriend, Dave. I thought about how we tried to catch up with our

lives over the first Christmas, but how I already had given my heart to

my next  Dave, met on the first day of college. I wondered briefly if he

had been the one to drop me off at college, instead of my parents, if

we would have stayed in better touch. After all, he would have been

with me, eating a meal out and I would not have spied the next Dave

at McDonald’s, I presume. What ‘might have beens’…

The elderly couple who had their checking out process figured out,

but very slowly, got to the young girl’s items. The man wrapped the

salt and pepper in newspaper handing the tag to the woman, then he

took the sticker off the calendar and handed it to her. Finally wrapped

the newspaper bundle in the cloth and bagged it. The young, patient

woman, with such maturity in her appearance, handed her a five

dollar bill and waited for her change. She had just the image of a life

about to burst or explode with all kinds of doors opening.  She handed

a five dollar bill and got her change.

As her boyfriend stood up, Bill outstretched his hand, extending him a

big and hearty handshake. He said, “Good luck and hope everything

works out!” (The young man had been contemplating a myriad of choices

for his future education, including a trade and had shared these thoughts

with Bill. Bill had stressed he had always wished he had chosen the path

to college.)

While leaving the store, I followed them a couple of steps, leaving Bill

to pay for his single purchase. I gave the girl a hug, saying that I wished

her many wonderful experiences and good travel mercies wished to

the young man. I said, I especially hope you like Delaware.”

That led into a short additional five minutes, they both started listing

all they liked about the packed sidewalks for the Farmer’s Market on

Wed. evening and looking forward to the one on Sat. morning, too.

They said that there small town was slowly ‘dying’ due to the ‘big box

stores’ taking away the business of the small shopkeepers. I told them

a shortened version of how I had chosen this town on a map, halfway

between my ex-husband in Cincinnati and my parents in Cleveland.

That I never regretted my decision and two of my three children were

still here, my youngest in Columbus. And six grandchildren, all going

to be raised here, going to the schools. They said they thought it was

just the nicest community to raise a family in.

As they walked out, the door’s bell tinkling, I thought of those words

from the song and changed them to, “they’ve only just begun…”