Archive for September, 2009

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

7 things you still don’t need to know

If you thought Monday’s re-post was a little bit about me (yeah, I know I said it was, so how could you not think that), check out this useless information.  Most of it’s still true too.  Not that I’m fickle or anything.

I’ll be back Friday with all current issues.  I bet you can’t wait.

(By the way, Thing 3 is my favorite.  And I wish I hadn’t written Thing 5.  I’d rather be publicly humiliated by talking about my food waste.  Now I should rename this post 9 things you don’t need to know.)


I’ve got Twitteritis.  Or at least a twitter-bug.  I spend far too much time (just ask anyone who doesn’t twitter) in inane conversation of 140 bits or less with friends and family.  And what has it gotten me.  Well some of you, dear readers.  Which I am eternally grateful for.  But in addition to that?  I got tagged to do this post.  And it has nothing to do with the Compact.  At least not yet, maybe I can weave it in before the end.

My good twitter-friend @jamield convinced me it would be a good idea to write a post listing 7 things most people don’t know about me.  She was doing it.  Heck, apparently lots of people were doing it.  All I had to do was ask 7 other twitter-people to do it.  It’s like a chain-post-tweet thing.  Can you tell I’m doing this off the cuff and don’t have a list in my head yet?

Okay, here we go…


Thing 1) I’m a Shaquille O’Neal fan.  I have been since his early days.  I listened to his first attempts at rap music. I’m really glad he’s a good basketball player and didn’t need to rely on that as a sole career. I even follow him on Twitter.

Thing 2) My favorite singer is Eddie Vedder.  For those of you that actually know me you probably think this is just a lame attempt at sucking up to my husband so he will do something nice for me.  But it’s really not.  True, he’s the reason I listen to Ed as much as I do but I have come to love his voice.  I could listen to him every day.  It’s the gravelly (?), sexy, rock-ish voice that soothes my savage soul.

Thing 3) I lived in a treehouse for almost a month.  Not as a protest, as a free residence which just happened to be in the woods.  It was a long time ago.  I was a lot younger.  I could climb trees.  A lot of friends were camping that summer.  One particular friend built a house with a door, a window, a bed, a stove and a front porch.  It just happened to sit 10 feet above the ground.  I sublet it for a month.  I’m really glad I did.

Thing 4) I was supposed to be named Tiffany.  Thankfully my grandmother stepped in and forbade my drug induced mother to do such a thing.  (No offense to any Tiffanys out there.  It just doesn’t suit me.)  Grandma nicely insisted suggested that I be named after my grandfather.  Luckily he wasn’t named Horace (it is a family name).  He wasn’t named Leigh either.  That’s my middle name.  I love my grandfather but when I decided I wanted to change my name I chose my middle name.  My mother was less than thrilled.  I’ve thought about that a lot in the naming of my child and future offspring.  Don’t give them names you don’t want them to use.

The Princess Bride
The Princess Bride

Thing 5) I’ve had plastic surgery.  Not intentionally.  I mean, I meant for the doctor to do what he did, I just didn’t go in for plastic surgery.  I had to have sinus surgery.  In through the nose.  Did you know they can perform rhinoplasty while they’re there?  Neither did I.  So when the doc told me I said “sure, just take off that little bump”.  It took 2 days to recover from the rhinoplasty and 3 weeks to recover from the sinus surgery.  It’s the X + Y factor.

Thing 6) One of my all time favorite movies is The Princess Bride.  I even owned it once.  (Sas-ymama if you’re reading this, I’m sorry.  I don’t know what happened to it.)  It’s not just the fantastically romantic story or the fact that my husband will now say to me “As you wish”.  It has some of the funniest dialogue I have ever heard.  It’s a classic for-the-adults kids movie.  Anybody want a peanut?

Thing 7) My favorite food is mac and cheese.  Yes I know, there are truly wonderful things out there like lobster and a perfect rare filet mingon, not to mention sushi on the whole.  But really, when I think of my favorite things mac and cheese always comes to mind.  And I have to confess, I love Kraft Deluxe Mac and Cheese in the blue box (the one with the weird bag of cheese spread) more than any other.  I’ve had some really fantastic stuff (yes you @jamield) but I’m just being honest.  It’s a childhood thing I guess.  Just one of those things I can’t let go of.  Kind of like I can’t let go of eggplant.  It is without a doubt my least favorite food.  In all it’s forms.  I don’t like it.  Please don’t make suggestions, I’ve had it again and again.  I will teach my children to try everything at least once.  I’ve tried it.  Yuk!

Well, nothing about the Compact but don’t you feel like you know me better now?  Wish you didn’t?  Just be glad you’re not one of the seven I tag.  Unless you are.  Then good luck!

Monday, September 28, 2009

another look at recycling

We’ve been having an amazing time on our West coast road trip.  Even Toddler L and Baby S have been enjoying themselves.  At least that’s what I’m telling myself.  I’ve also been enjoying the time away from the computer.  A week without internet has been great for the whole family.  But I miss all of you.

Just so you don’t miss me too much here’s a re-post from January.  A little look into my life.  I hope you enjoy, I’ll be back soon.


Recycling should be second nature by now.  Unfortunately not every city, town or landlord agrees with that yet.  We are lucky enough to have a nice big trash bin right down stairs for all of our refuse.  I even went so far as to ask about recycling before we signed the lease.  “Don’t worry, they separate it” I was told.  Perhaps it was my desire to get settled, move forward, make a decision, whatever, but I bought that line.  It wasn’t until after we had moved in that it started to niggle at me as slightly unbelievable.  But being the trusting soul I am I kept playing along.  I was even so nice as to separate out the recycling items from our regular trash so those hardworking garbage plant workers wouldn’t have to open the bags and dig through our dirty tissues and food scraps for the empty cans.  After my year of trying to be good about reusable bags I decided enough’s enough.  I wasn’t buying the line anymore and something had to be done.  I was ready to do more and it started at home.  Unfortunately, the other tenants in my building aren’t so environmentally guilt-ridden as I so a mass protest to the management was out.  That left me to figure out my own solution.

A quick internet search and I was able to find my local recycling collection center.  Walser’s to the rescue.  I wasn’t looking for my 5 cents per bottle, I just wanted to know my stuff was actually getting recycled.

off to recycle my waste

off to recycle my waste

So I loaded up the car.  This was actually two weeks worth as I didn’t make it over last week.

bye bye recyclables
bye bye recyclables

All I had to do was unload my bags and I was on my way.  Except I waited to see the staff check to make sure I had properly sorted my items.  And I got a tour!  I was so excited to be dropping off my recycling and here I was going to get an inside look into where it all goes?  Hot diggity.  I wanted in!

mixed paper
mixed paper

I wanted to see where all my paper cereal boxes and tissue cartons were going to go.


And how about piling all my plastic bottles and containers into this big puppy.


Take a look at all the computers they had stacked up ready to ship out.  They go through tons of these.  Literally.  In fact, just last week, in one day they got 44 televisions.  And they’re considered a small operation!  I’m just glad they’re big enough to take my junk.  All gone.  Gone to become someone else’s headache.

metals (yep that's a full refrigerator getting the proper heave-ho)
metals/appliances (yep that’s a full refrigerator getting the proper heave-ho)

Did you know that so much of what we recycle here in the U.S. actually gets shipped to CHINA for recycling.  That’s right.  They put it in big containers and ship it to factories in China to do whatever it is recycling plants do.  But the factories in China don’t have the same labour laws, works standards or emissions controls that we do.  So in the end, how much is it costing the environment for us to recycle?  But not Walser’s!  They make sure all of their e-waste, metal, paper and plastic is all regurgitated right here at home.  Well someone else’s home.  I just got it out of my home.  But you know what I mean.

I’ll see you next week Walser’s!

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

weekly accounts


A big part of my keeping to a budget has been menu planning.  Each week I take a look at what’s in the cupboard and decide what to make for dinner each evening.  Breakfast is every man for himself and lunch is dependent on whether the husband is home or not.  Planning dinners has allowed me to shop sales and make sure the food we buy gets used and not thrown away.  Plus I love to find recipes and then ignore them when I cook, the menu plan gives me a starting point.  So let’s see what’s on for this week…

Saturday – clean-out-the-fridge scramble

Sunday – HOHO

No menu plan for the rest as we leave for Portland on Monday.  Gone all week.  Looking forward to a week of no cooking.  Or at least no real cooking, hotel room lunches don’t count.


We are using a system that is somewhat based on $80/week for grocery and non-edible and the $50 a week budget.  Each week we calculate how much we spent overall and I announce if we are under or over budget.

eating out – $125.01

grocery – $117.37

grocery non-edible – $14.57

We had a very active week.  Which equaled a lot of eating out apparently.  So what were all the groceries?  I did not create a shopping list and am paying the price.  Literally.

Friday, September 18, 2009

food waste


Every week I talk about food waste.  Why?  Other than it’s so cool and fun?  In the hope that it will make me aware of how much food (and money) I’m throwing away when something gets tossed in the garbage and not eaten.

Americans waste more than 40 percent of the food we produce for consumption. That comes at an annual cost of more than $100 billion.    via Wasted Food

Kristen, over at The Frugal Girl started documenting her food waste in March 2008, added pictures and then challenged her readers to join the fight.  Don’t be a Grouch, keep it out of the can.


This week’s waste gave me the hee-bee gee-bees.  For real.  First was the rice.  I thought a bug had found his way into the bag.  Then I picked it up and found lots of little flying bugs in what appeared to be a sealed bag.  I can only imagine the eggs were already in the rice.  Gross.  Gross.  Gross.  The only flaw in my theory is the same bugs were found in my wheat germ.  And here they were trying to escape.  Straight to the garbage, do not pass GO.  I’m not that squeemish but lots of bugs in my food puts me over the edge.  I don’t know what the bugs were, where they came from or what they eat.  They don’t seem to like dried beans or coconut as those twist-tied bags are bug free and everything else seems clean as well.  Could the manifestation in 2 bags simply have been coincidence?  I guess I don’t really care as long as they are gone.

Unfortunately there was more waste.  Rice pudding.  Again.  I felt so bad the husband threw out his rice pudding last week, so I used some leftover rice and made a batch.  It wasn’t bad the first night.  Some days later I opened it up and it was definitely bad.  Note to self: eat more dessert.  (Yeah right, just kidding.  I don’t need a note for that.)  And finally a piece of cornbread that had been in the freezer for months.  It tasted terrible the night I made it and I kept hoping for a recipe that would mask the taste.  No such recipe has yet to appear so I finally tossed it.

I’m not proud of this week and after having to put it all up here I feel like a bit of a (gourmet) loser.  Congratulations Frugal Girl, public humiliation achieved for another week.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

helpful tip #4


Who knew a banana was good for more than just eating?  Of course the peel is good for the compost bin but check out all the other uses for this often tossed food container.

1. Help Your Garden Grow: Bananas are naturally high in potassium and encourages plant growth. Use banana peel or puree entire banana and bury with soil.

2. Shoe Polish: Use the peel to make your kicks nice and shiny.

3. Stop the Itch: Rub the inside of a banana peel on a bug bite helps itch relief.

4. Pain Reliever: The oil in a banana peel will help relieve the pain from burns and scratches.

5. Wart Removal: Tape a piece of banana peel on a wart, continue until it’s gone.

6. Make Houseplants Gleam: Just like peels can shine shoes, they can also be used to make the leaves of plants shine.

7. Removing Splinters: Similar to wart removal, tape a piece of the peel over the splinter. The enzymes will help dislodge the splinter and heal the wound.

Apparently there is a use that involves chemistry and smoking but I’m not going to promote that craziness.  You’re on your own if that’s your thing.

via re-nest

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

eco-me cleans up


Eco-me has created some really great packaging for all natural household cleaners.  So all natural in fact you already have them in your house.  And some of you are probably already using them to clean with.  (Oil, vinegar, water and baking soda.)  There’s even a DIY kit so they sell you the great packaging and you provide your own ingredients.  Minus the secret mix of essential oils.  I’m just not sure a mix of tea tree, lavender, lemongrass and rosemary are worth the cost of packaging and shipping the packaging.

If these products help some people kick the toxic habit then I’m all for it.  (Apparently they work really well, but you probably knew that.)  I just hope I can have a brainstorm idea to make money selling people what they already own.

Do you use essential oils in your cleaning?  (I’m collecting recipes so I don’t have to buy the packaging.)

via Design Mom

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

funky lunches

funky lunch

Super cute, right?  Thanks to Toddler L’s choosy eating habits I may be resorting to this style of sandwich making soon.  At least it will be a good release of creative energy.  And a good use of my homemade bread.  Plenty more cuteness here.

via Design Mom

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

my not shopping challenge


Ugh, I just had to go to The Gap to make an exchange of some gifted items.  So hard to see all the new cool sweaters and scarves.  My true weakness.  Walking past the window of Anne Taylor didn’t help my weak knees.

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Monday, September 14, 2009

taking a stand

tv easel

We don’t have a TV.  That’s why we’re forced to eat at a favorite pizza place when the husband’s favorite football team is playing.  It’s a hardship all around.  But if we ever do decide we need a TV I’m definitely going to remember this idea.  I bet I could even find an old easel on Craigslist.

Monday, September 14, 2009

no impact, man

no impact man

I missed the L.A. screening by a mere two inches.  Has anyone seen this yet?  I’m hoping to get to a showing in Pasadena when it opens on the 18th.  Anyone planning to go?

Although I don’t think Colin would approve of the distance I’m driving or the movie-going itself just to see his story.  Irony.