Friday, October 26, 2012

Reasons not to toss your coffee grounds in the trash

If you drink coffee, you most assuredly know that thew grounds make great compost. Hey, many coffee shops even bag the grounds for you to take home to the garden.

Maybe you're a coffee drinker who doesn't garden or have a compost, so you've been throwing the grounds in the trash. But wait, you DON'T need to close that incredible resource up in a plastic bag where it will never get a chance to biodegrade!

Before I get creative and scare you off, let me first say that if nothing else, you can just pour coffee grounds down the sink. Rinse out that French press, shake out that paper filter...whatever you have. (If you're using those coffee pods, let's take a moment and think about two things. Number one, you have NO CLUE when that was ground, so your coffee is NOT it's best. Number two, for home use those pods are on about the same level of wastefulness-monetary and environmental- as Bibsters and individually wrapped potatoes. ) Give your pod machine to your local comic book store, yarn shop, or social group and get a press).

You can also put those grounds to use on the way down the pipes. Coffee grounds are great for cleaning cast iron- they abrade, help season, and don't cause rust.

Your skin LOVES coffee. Have you noticed how many "age-defying" skin products contain caffeine? If you can afford those fancy products, go for it. Or, you can exfoliate and tighten by scrubbing your face with something that at best was going to enrich your garden.

What's even better than that? A full body, coffee and coconut oil scrub. Every time I finish a bottle of coconut oil, I dump that mornings grounds in the jar, shake it up, and scrub my whole body in the shower. Moisturising AND invigorating!

Finally, coffee grounds are great for scrubbing hardwoods. Yes, you'll have to sweep after, but your floors will look so good, it'll be worth it!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Leaving Mundania

It's easy to see why this book practically jumped off the library shelf at me.

For most of my adult life, I have been part of one or more communities that put on costumes and leave the real world behind. At different times it's taken different forms. It was in my early adulthood, pre-kid days that I participated in the form Lizzie Stark writes about in her book : larping. Larping started out as an acronym: Live Action Role Playing: but has since evolved into a word in it's own right.
Back in the day, I used to play Vampire The Masquerade (in case you were wondering, I was a Gangrel) I had custom fit, dental grade fang caps made (I still have them) and spent hours at a local game store developing my character. When I started making babies, it became next to impossible to do those things, but when my youngest child was 6 weeks old I went to my first Renaissance Faire. I didn't go in costume that first year, but I soon started collecting garb for myself and my children. Later, about 5 years ago, I joined our local Starfleet International group (which feels like a form of larping; we put on uniforms and play ourselves-in the Star Trek future)Then, three years ago, I took my younger two kids to our first ComicCon. The next year my daughter and I went to the first Geek Girl Con , and she never misses out on a chance to put on a costume. And then there s the low key larping my youngest child and I do as we walk along- usually some amalgamation of Skyrim and whatever TV show is striking his fancy.

As Ms Stark discovers in the course of researching her book, putting on a costume and the persona that goes with it can be cathartic , freeing, and can help some people cope with the stresses of life. The book looks at the history of larp, and the differing forms it takes in the US and in the Scandinavian countries (where larpers can apply for government grants) . Not only is "Leaving Mundania" a wonderfully affirming book for those of us who larp or cosplay, it would be a great read for anyone who thinks we're crazy, Satan worshippers, or perpetual children.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Busy weekends demand a productive Friday

I don't usually post about the minutia of my day to day life because-really- who wants to read about that? But this weekend is not just busy, but also has some important things going on.

Whenever I have weekend plans, I try to work extra hard on Friday so I feel neither guilt about leaving all those things to be done, or overwhelmed on Monday when all those things have to be done. I'll be up in Seattle for much of tomorrow, with my beautiful daughter, visiting with some lady friends (both from Canada- one originally and one still- and first met both via an online mothering group). Since Supergirl will want to go to art club at the comic book store on the way home, my dear husband will be making chili in the crock pot, so we can just eat whenever we get home.

Sunday is busy too- church, but instead of my usual work for the first service and Sunday school, attend the second service, there is one big service because Grace is celebrating a huge achievement; donating over 3 millions dollars to fight world hunger since 1975. Luncheon after, too! The at 5 is public catechism, the last hoop for our confirmands to jump through. The DM will be there to with us. Then, at 7, bell choir for Turbo.

What that's meant for today: finishing up our school week. We are well on our way to that, due in large part to the hard work the kids have put into it this week. (Also due to much of Turbo's curricula still not being here) .For me this includes writing next week's lesson plan, and recording times of high school classes. I've also been researching the Tacoma School of the Arts, as Supergirl is interested in an arts high school. (If she gets in, how will I weather going from three to one kid being home schooled? Stay tuned). I'll need to go print an application out, even though I never got around to taking the Boy's Running Start application out of my backpack.  Later, I will take the Boy for the final bit of school for him for the week: interviewing the sample guy at Trader Joe's for culinary arts. I've also been doing ALL THE LAUNDRY (4 loads) and unloading the dishwasher that Turbo filled and started. In addition, I called the heating guys AGAIN, as the heater started making a loud, continuous noise last night and only stopped when we turned off the breaker. I moved stuff around in the garage so I could turn on the breaker long enough for the receptionist to hear the sound, then did some garage organizing while I was at it. (Yes, I know there should ALWAYS be a clear path to the breaker. tell that to Mr "one phone call away from being on "Hoarders").
AND a last minute revision of next week's lesson plan, as I got a call from a lady at church asking if we'd help pack Lutheran World Relief school kits on Monday. (With MOPS on Tuesday that has me running a 3 day school week next week- see, I can be flexible!).
And lastly, grocery shopping and the boy off to help at the homeless shelter tonight!

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

I really don't know why

I don't know if the difference is a male/female one, an employed/at home one, or just a matter of personalities, but some of the most perplexing conversations my husband and I have revolve around the question of why.

"Why is there a green hoodie on the roof?"
"Oh, the boys were fighting and Turbo threw it up there."

"Why is the back door off track?"
"Because some kid opened it wrong." (Or maybe, if I'm feeling both honest and snarky, "Because our back door, like most of our house, is a piece of crap.")

"Why can't they open it properly?"

Honey, I don't know. I really don't know.

I'm not a psychic. I can't read the kids' minds. If I could, don't you think I'd magically know the words to calmly,peacefully, make them recognize my wisdom? Don't you think things would be broken less and few squabbles would erupt?

Now, I recognize that looking into your kids' motivations and Making Them Feel Heard are  good, proper, psychologically correct* parts of parenting. I *do* try to listen to my kids about the big things. The truth is, however, that the  constant fighting between our sons have put a big dent in my willingness and ability  to do that. So has the wall of denial that springs up when I want to know who broke something, who ate my treat, or who made that mess. I stopped asking why, and just started insisting that the fight stop, the mess get cleaned up, and treats get bloody well left alone.

(*not that I care much about head-shrinkery. I have pretty much lost all faith in psychology in the last 7 or so years)

I'm sure that makes me a lesser parent, but not worrying about the why has  greatly reduced my stress. I've taken to replying to my husband's "But...why?" with "Why don't you ask (him/her/them?" . Hopefully he'll take the hint one of these days!

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Pizza Party Rage

I'm sure it would shock people to hear anyone speak out against the ubiquitous and much beloved pizza party. After all, everyone loves pizza (well, my grandmother claimed not to, but I always suspected she said that to be contrary!) it can be cheap,  and doesn't require utensils.
But anyone who lives with food intolerances knows that sometimes pizza is no party. Two of the most common reactive foods are dairy and wheat... the two most important ingredients in a standard pizza. Ordering in pizza for a party can be fraught for many other reasons- it may contain soy (another top reactive food); it may not be suitable for people who keep kosher or halal, and  it sure to be unsuitable for vegans. I have several friends with allergies to nitrites and nitrates, which are in almost all the cured meats on delivery pizza.
Even if none of these are an issue, good pizza isn't cheap. People who like their food to actually be tasty  may not enjoy delivery even if they don't have food issues.
Of course, if you know everyone at your party is fine with the pizza you plan to order, go for it. If you aren't sure, or if you KNOW people with food issues will be coming, please give it a second thought. I can't tell you how many times I have opted out of a social event because I knew pizza ( or lasagna, or another thing I can't eat) was going to be the main course. I know I'm not the only person who has done this. I can always bring my own food, but truth be told, unless it's a potluck anyway, that kind of sucks. Pizza could be an option among many (I have some hints about feeding a wider range of people here )or, if you know one or two people with dairy or wheat issues will be at your pizza party, you could ask them what frozen pizza they CAN eat and offer to provide it to them ( at no extra cost, if there is a buy in) .
Better yet, plan an event around a salad or deli bar, where everyone can compile their own plate and make sure everything on it fits their needs.