My Earth Monday: No More Plastic Water Bottles

Image: Water bottles by saaby

Welcome to the very first My Earth Monday! I'm stoked - are you?! :)

Before I even announced this project, I'd spent weeks coming up with ideas and ways to clean up my little footprint, and with the help of Green as a Thistle and Simply Green Living, I've come up with a pretty good list.

Now, when starting a new project, you want to start off right with something relatively easy, so for the first task, I perused my list and decided on what I thought was a no-fail activity: No more plastic water bottles.

It's just not enough for me to recycle the plastic water/juice bottles I buy at the local corner store anymore. Why spend money on these scams convenient water transportation devices when you don't have to?

I must confess that I'm not a newbie at this one. Last year, I bought a cute pink reusable plastic water bottle at Starbucks. It ended up not being very convenient - the bottle leaked, and due to its shape and size, it didn't fit in my bag. What a pain!

This time, instead of buying another plastic bottle, I'll be looking for a stainless steel water bottle, to avoid having any plastic chemicals leaching into my water. These babies are lightweight and claim to be easy to clean. Well, we'll see about that.
They are available at my local organic food store, so I'll be heading there this week.

You can do this too! You don't have to go as far as the stainless steel water bottle, but you can certainly get a reusable bottle and stop sinking your money into bottles and bottles of water.

So, who's in?!

Earth Hour: Family Fun By Candelight


Before I post the very first My Earth Monday task, I just had to tell you all how much of a success Earth Hour was in our home!

Roomie and I first thought that the kids would freak out - they're not too keen on darkness like most kids - so, at first, we had the tv on with their favourite video game, Mario Sunshine, playing. I then lit some candles, turned off all the lights, and settled myself at the diningroom table to do some writing.

Remarkably, as soon as the lights went out, the tv suddenly sounded really loud, you know, like that annoying, obnoxious uncle at your family Thanksgiving dinner you wish you could uninvite or yell at to shut up.

Soon bored by the game, Lam and Mini grabbed their crayon box, paper and colouring book from the crafts drawer and hunkered down with me at the table. Finding himself alone at the game, Roomie saved the game, turned off the tv, and joined us with his own writing material. I gathered up some snacks and drinks for us to enjoy together.

The next hour was spent with us talking, eating, laughing and just being a family around the candlelight. It was a rare and special treat.

After the timer signaled the end of our Earth Hour, we decided to keep the lights off a little longer, and Roomie and I extended bedtime.

The kids have asked that we do Earth Hour again. This may just become a regular family activity, and that's just fine with us. Good for the family, and good for the environment.

Earth Hour: What will You Be Doing in the Dark?

Today, March 29, 2008 at 8pm (local time), people all over the world will be turning their lights out for Earth Hour to take their stand against climate change.

It started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia and has now spread the world over, growing into a global movement. My fellow Canadians are participating in a big way with major landmarks going dark for the hour. And you can get involved too!

But how much good will this do?
Supercool math brain, Burton MacKenZie pounded out some approximate numbers on his trusty calculator and came up with a noticeable savings of $39.6K for the US and Canada alone as a result of Earth Hour. Even with his modest assumptions and his area's cheap electricity rate, Burton's result is still significant.
"It won't save the world," Burton says, "but [it] shows how we can make a difference in our world power requirements if we are simply slightly more frugal. Every Watt counts."

So, yes, it's worth it for you to get involved.

What can you do?
Go to sleep early, go to bed early (which is different from the previous... teehee), enjoy some family storytelling, have a late dinner by candlelight, read a book, join others who are also participating in Earth Hour.

Enjoy your darkest hour, and bask in the knowledge that you're doing the world some good.

What are You Watching these Days?

Image: TV by Gilgongo

The TV is always on in this house. We're not necessarily watching, but it's still on, and Roomie constantly complains how noisy it is.

Truth be told, I like the noise. Having the TV on in the background adds to the dynamic energy of my home, especially if it's on MuchMusic. It makes making dinner, cleaning up, and doing other chores much more entertaining.

A few weeks back, my friend Shai wrote a post about her TV watching habits, and it got me thinking about the shows that get me to stop and watch. Not many on the "watch" list, but a lot on the "wish I could watch" list, which was expected.

So, how about you? Do you like to watch TV? What are your favourite shows? Or do you have a TV-free household?

All Time Faves:
Shows I will watch if it happens to come on, or if I'm bored and have nothing else to watch. I will watch the reruns over and over and over... probably into my 100s!
  • Friends - I was the same age as Rachel at the time, so I basically lived my 20s with her, going through the exact same thing at the exact same time. We were even pregnant at the same time.
  • Futurama - Very clever writing that always makes me laugh.
  • * NewsRadio - I can't believe I forgot this! This, to me, is a classic. Excellent writing and excellent characters... a show that was never the same after they lost the late great Phil Hartman... but the episodes with him in them will always be my favourites.
  • * SCTV - They made my Friday nights when I was growing up in the 80s.

  • What I Currently Watch:
    Will tape these for later consumption...
  • Digging for the Truth - I love archaeology & history (I was going to enroll in Anthropology if I hadn’t gone into Engineering), and Josh Bernstein is very easy on the eyes.
  • Small Space, Big Style - I fantasize about having a smaller, lower-maintenance dwelling. I currently live in only 1400 sq.ft., and it's still too big for me.

  • Shows I Wish I Can Catch Up On:
    Really cool shows I watched in the beginning, but I've missed too many episodes to keep up to the story arcs.
  • Battlestar Galactica - I watch the original as a kid, and want to see this. Will definitely get the DVDs.
  • Smallville - I've seen the first couple of seasons, but missed episodes of the next few... now there are characters I don't recognize and stories that make me go 'wha-?'
  • Heroes - Saw the first 5 episodes
  • Eureka - I still catch an episode or two of this... don't need to watch them in order... the lead guy is super cute.
  • Stargate Atlantis - I watched SG-1 religiously and never really got into the first season of this show because of that... now that SG-1 is done, I wish I'd watched Atlantis from the start.
  • * Corner Gas - Canadian humour is among the best in the world.

  • I never got into Desperate Housewives, Lost, and Ugly Betty... And I wish I did because my friends have raved about them. I love watching Home and Garden and Food Network too.
    I still have a ton of movies on DVD and video just waiting for me to watch on a rainy day or a quiet moment. Oh, and because my kids watch TreehouseTV, I get to enjoy shows like Miss Spider and Yo Gabba Gabba from time to time.

    Can't wait to learn about your TV habits!

    * - Updated on March 29, 2008

    "My Earth" Mondays: A New LifeCandy Project

    Image: LIVE EARTH by *L*u*z*a*

    Inspired by Vanessa's 365-days of green and Shai's weekly community projects, I now embark on my own weekly odyssey ... and I'm taking you with me!

    I like to think I'm a pretty "green" girl. I recycle, compost, and try to be a conscious and responsible consumer. But no, I haven't gone anywhere near as green as I could go - as we should all go.

    So...

    Every Monday, I'll be posting a task, a challenge, to further greenify my own little corner of the globe. This task I'll try to incorporate into my daily life, enforce on my poor unsuspecting family, and see if it's something I can do for the rest of my life.

    And then...

    I'll let you know the following week if it was easy, difficult, made my skin glow, or caused my Roomie to leave me for a Hummer-driving, fur-wearing, silicon babe.

    Oh, can I join too?

    Yes, anyone is welcome to join! When you visit here on a "My Earth" Monday and want to participate in the challenge that week, just let me know via comment or via email.
    The following week, I'll list all participants (unless you don't want me to) with a link back to you.

    Can I challenge you?

    Yes, if you have a green idea or product you want me to try, I may just agree to be your guinea pig. :) Just email me.

    Anything else?

    I'll also use "My Earth" Mondays to share cool pictures of this wonderful world we call home (until we get off our big, fat bums and colonize the Moon and Mars), the cultural stories of our fellow earthlings, and other green treats I find.

    So, that's it. I'm charged and ready to go! Hey, I can feel my eco footprint shrinking already. :)

    My Mini's Baby Doll Sling

    Mini decided that she wanted a sling for her baby doll like I had for her brother and her, so I hit the trusty ol' 'Net.

    I found a really easy (and free) pattern by Jan Andrea, who makes great baby slings for non-doll babies too. "Easy" is key, because I'm a spaz on the sewing machine. The last time I made anything more complex than sewing closed a hole in Roomie's parka pocket was when I made a green gingham apron in Mrs. Cordner's Home-Ec class in Grade 7.

    Anyway, the sling turned out really cute! And Mini loves it. She proudly carries her baby around the house, and she's looking forward to taking her baby on strolls down Corydon this summer.

    So, now I'm making a bigger one for her slightly bigger baby doll and another for my friend Harmzie's girl G.

    Yeah, sew one sling, and I'm ambitious and giddy with sewing power... :)

    Happy 1st Day of Spring!


    Image: Flowers in Charlotte by SR4001

    The snow is quickly melting here on the Canadian Prairie, and there are more and more days above 0C than below. Soon, I'll be putting away the parka and using my sarong as a wrap around skirt than a scarf. Yay!

    For me, the start of spring signals me to get my winter garden plans going - but that doesn't mean I can start planting though! We've had snow drop in May, so I must be patient for a little while longer.

    Meanwhile, I'm just happy that we've left the frigid cold behind for another year! It's time to celebrate... again! Yeah, I like to celebrate - maybe today I'll make some of my homemade BBQ marinade for the outdoor grill (the one that usually makes the whole neighbourhood drooling!), make a fruity tea drink, or maybe get some ingredients for halo-halo...

    So, what do you plan to do to ring in the Spring?

    Happy Pi Day!!!

    Image: Pi pie
    Happy Pi Day!!!

    "Pi, Greek letter (π), is the symbol for the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Pi = 3.1415926535... " - Pi Day website

    Why is π so important?

    An old constant used by the Babylonians and Egyptians, pi is used in construction for the building of circular structures, in the design of pendulum clocks, in the calculation of hat size (after measuring the circumference of your head and dividing by pi, size is obtained by rounding to the nearest 1/8 of an inch), and much, much more!

    So, how do you plan to celebrate Pi Day? Try to memorize as many digits of pi as you can? Eat pie? Eat only circular things?

    For more ideas, check out the Pi Day website today!

    Thanks to Albert Bannatyne for keeping us in the know about this special event.

    I'm on the Cover of Cosmo!

    But first...

    Isn't this cool?!!! I love gadgets like this... cool, modern and green.

    A solar powered shaver... I think it would be perfect for traveling, no? It's only 10 x 5.5 x 1.5cm so you can just stuff it in your toilet bag, briefcase or even in your pocket. And you don't have to bring a whole charging unit or go searching for an outlet. Throw it on the dash of your car, and you're good to go. It's £34.99 @ ecotopia.co.uk

    Meant for men, it may not be something women can use. If you try it, let me know... I'm curious... :)

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Check it out!!! This is me on the cover of Cosmo! Yes, the editors have finally come to their senses and called me to be their next cover model...

    Yeah, I wish... :)

    If you want to see yourself as a Cosmo Girl, now's your chance! Just go here, like I did:

    http://www.cosmopolitan.com/fun/cover/

    Setting Up My New Workspace

    It's not ideal, but I love it!

    After almost a year, we finally picked ourselves and our computer up off the floor and created a proper corner workspace, complete with... wait for it... desk and chair!

    As you can see in the picture, among the essentials, we've set up our flat screen monitor (our gift to each other for our wedding in 2000 - it cost us a fortune back then!), games CD holder, my name board from my old cubicle at Nortel, and the absolute must-have: the picture taped to the side of the desk that Mini drew of her and her daddy.

    The work surface used to be the table top of our old rickety computer tower. It's cantilevered off the wall so it looks like it's floating.
    Made of particle board, it isn't the lightest (or greenest) thing, so the kids have been told explicitly not to lean on it. It probably won't fall, but we don't want to risk crushing our legs with a huge piece of particle board or losing our beloved all-about-the-romance monitor!

    So, all that's left on the to-do list for this area are:
    - replacing the desktop with a laptop
    - putting the printer on... anything but the floor
    - a good office chair
    - a desk lamp
    - an inspiration board

    But as is, it's still infinitely better than the old setup, which you can see in this picture of Mini wearing her favourite black and white winter hat and playing on Webkinz.

    Having a good work area is so important, no matter what you do!

    So, how about you? Where do you work/blog/email? Do you have a home office, a corner of a room (like me!), or just anywhere?

    Recommended Reading:

  • Setting up a New Home Office
  • Set Up a Healthy Usable Workspace
  • 5 Steps to a Distraction Free Workspace
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