Friday, April 21, 2017

Reducing & Reusing

Tomorrow is Earth Day. Ways I try to reduce my impact on the environment:

1. Be cognizant of packaging. Plastic is bad, no matter how you spin it. I avoid things packaged in plastic when I can. Do I need produce bags? No. So I don't use them.

2. Don't use paper plates and plastic cups unless we have a large crowd. Which is hardly ever anymore.

3. Tote groceries in bags kept in trunks. I only accept plastic bags when I need trash can liners. If I'm only buying a few things and don't have a tote with me, I say I don't need a bag, thanks. We don't need the plastic bags.

4. Pack lunch foods in reusable bags. These babies can go in the dishwasher.
5. Keep a set of silverware at work so I don't use plastic. I was just reminded I wanted to do this by Steph in one of her zero waste kitchen posts so I'm new to this practice. Since we use more utensils in a house of two people than all the Duggars combined, I didn't want to bring any from home to leave at my office permanently so I got these from Amazon.

6. Glass or stainless steel straws. Sarah got me a glass straw for Christmas a few years back. I added another as well as a set of stainless steel straws so now I'm not throwing them out all the time. The stainless steel ones I bought last year came with cleaning brushes too.

7. Hang clothes to dry. I hang a majority of my clothes to dry instead of using the dryer. When we have a large yard, they'll all be hung out to dry.

8. Group errands together, walk, or use public transport. I schedule my errands for one day instead of multiple days polluting the atmosphere with my car. I take the asshole train to work, and at the shore I park my car and walk or bike everywhere until I leave. I also run as many errands as I can at the shore since I'm on foot or bike and during lunch at work since I'm on foot then as well.

9. Carry drinks in a reusable bottle. I love the S'well bottles because they keep drinks cool all day on the beach even when left in the sun. I detest plastic water bottles. If you are traveling via air, just make sure your reusable bottle is empty until you get through security.

10. Vote for people who know science and climate change are real. 

11. Pick up trash I see on the beach. Enough shit is in the oceans, we don't need our trash washing out there.

12.  Use cloth napkins, cleaning cloths, and hand towels. Paper towels are for dog accidents only.

13. Look for ways to reuse items or donate them instead of trashing them. I do put shore furniture out on my curb at home, but that's because it doesn't last for more than 10 minutes before a picker snaps it up.

14. Don't let the water run. While brushing teeth, washing dishes, etc. etc.

15. Compact fluorescent bulbs. Even though they're ugly.

Areas I need improvement on:
-To go coffee cups. DD doesn't make a reusable cup big enough to hold a large. DD, are you listening? I'd like a reusable cup that holds a large.
-Composting. I don't do it, but I should.

What do you do in your daily life to be more environmentally friendly?

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Thursday Thoughts - got a photograph, picture of

1. Philly friends, today is the 5th Annual Food Truck Pop Up benefiting Dining Out For Life Philadelphia from 11-2 at 13th & Locust. Go forth, eat, and support an awesome cause. Stop by The Tot Cart. If you're looking for a place for dinner (or lunch if you can't get to the Pop Up) that will benefit this worthy cause, check here. You didn't want to cook today anyway, did you? Of course I am working at home today because the guy is coming to fix the oven. I've been without an oven for two weeks.

2. Saturday is the March for Science in D.C., nicely coinciding with Earth Day. There are marches for science in many other cities and suburbs as well. To find one near you, click here. Put your SPF on, grab your sign, and bring a trash bag to clean up after yourself. MFD and I will be at the march in Doylestown. Science plays a very real role in each of our lives every day. To hear politicians enact a war on science and see a trend toward discrediting scientific consensus and restricting scientific discovery is alarming. The March for Science champions robustly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity; calling for people to unite as a diverse, nonpartisan group to call for science that upholds the common good and for political leaders and policy makers to enact evidence based policies in the public interest. How can anyone be unable to get behind that?
3. I love when utility covers are arty.

4. I've not been watching TV. I'm excited for this. I love Harry Bosch.

5. I'm mulling over a number of subjects I feel the need to address in writing but have not reached the point of being able to articulate them in the way I'd like for public consumption. Thursday Thoughts was first published here in February 2012 and has continued ever since because it's how my brain works: all over the place with a little bit of commentary on this and that. If you are a regular reader, you know that my longer posts on one subject are fewer and farther between than my bullet point rapid fire posts. That is the truest glimpse into my brain you will ever get.

6. Articles I liked this week: What Happens When Women Legislate and Fox News finally fires Bill O'Reilly - two decades too late. Article I read but hated because it made me die inside: First Protected DREAMer is deported .

7. I could not stop laughing at this.

8. I need bar soap storage ideas for the shower in our apartment at the shore. My stupid soap dish keeps falling off the wall and besides I like to have two soaps to choose from plus MFD has a soap and I have a face soap and now this sounds like a ridiculous amount of soaps, I know. Anyone? Bueller? Ayudame, por favor. The shower is very tight.

9. Reminder: 10 out of 10 times, you already know. You just don't always listen.

10. E-card of the week: Today is National High Five Day, after all. Yes, there is such a thing. It's also 4/20. Will I ever reach an age where I hear 4/20 and don't think of weed?

Virtual high fives to you.

Linking up with Kristin & Joey 

Stuff, Things, etc.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wake me up when it's all over

This title could apply to a million things right now because there's a litany of items I'd like to be free from when I wake up.

But alas, I'm talking about the ideal sleeping weather.

Perfect, windows open, blankets on, deliciously lovely sleeping weather has made it impossible to get out of bed in the morning this week. I prefer to sniff the sweet air, feel a little chill on my face, turn over, lay a cheek on a snoozing dog's head, close my eyes, and pretend I'm a Rockefeller who can get up when she pleases...don't we all. Instead I've made myself late, forgotten my lunch two out of three days, forgotten my refillable DD cup three out of three days, and not given a fuck about any of it because the extra four minutes in bed was worth it.

Good Wednesday tidings to you. And a happy happy birthday to our fabulous cousin Gail.

Monday, April 17, 2017

TWTW - the one with the warm Easter

Friday shore arrival before 6 pm for all makes me happy. As does picky food for dinner + a solitary beach walk with just my boy dogs because Mae was in her glory with Sean and nanny here. 
Saturday sunrise from the Music Pier + some time on the jetty watching the waves crash into it. My dogs had me up at 4:22 walking around town in my pajamas so I figured why NOT ride down there on my bike? 
Mom & Rich got Brown's donuts and I ate 687 of them and regretted not one bite. Nor did I regret any of the bites I took from the Easter basket my mom made for me. 
Mom, Debbie, and I strolled Asbury. I basically window shopped except for two bars of soap. Rich rode his bike and MFD and Swan went fishing.
We had a relaxing, drowsy afternoon picking at food, lounging with the dogs, reading magazines, snoozing, and watching Sixteen Candles before heading to the boards to walk off all the food. MFD and Sean walked out to the end of the jetty, giving my mother a heart attack but getting really great photos I forgot to steal from MFD. I didn't forget to take this photo of him miming April the giraffe's birth event in Shriver's. 
Sunday morning sunrise from St. Jame's Place + a sweet ass shell find.
Then a lovely, leisurely morning as it warmed up. Rich biked, MFD went to church and then hung blinds in our apartment, the men hung a mirror on the top floor, Sean carried furniture down from the top floor, Mom made dinner and picked up some of it from Bennie's, and Debbie and I finished the contact paper half wall on the top floor.
Then we hit the beach for our first dedicated beach day of the year. When we first got down there, it was hot as a summer's day with the wind coming off the bay.  Debbie was forced to buy short shorts due to the heat. Then the sea breeze kicked in and it was quite chilly so we had to retreat closer to the boardwalk and Rich had to get sweatshirts and blankets from the house. Aubrey's parents were down for the day and sat down next to us totally by accident and we ended up spending the day together. It was great! We came back to the house around 4:30 and ate Easter dinner like we were going to the electric chair. Everyone left by 6:30 and MFD and I shit it down and we're home by 10 with very tired dogs in tow. 
Weekly food prep: breakfast is burritos from the freezer; snacks are power breakfast muffins or celery with hummus; Wednesday night I made turchicken burgers and froze them for this week's lunches and they'll be served with a side of roasted potatoes; dinner is leftovers of which I have a ton and whatever I can pull from the freezer this week.

I'm drowsy from sun and sand and salt air. It was a wonderful Easter weekend with my family in my favorite place. I hope yours was spectacular!

Linking up with Biana at B Loved Boston for Weekending

Friday, April 14, 2017

Oh I could write a sonnet about your Easter bonnet

And of the girl I'm taking
to the Easter parade

When I was little, my Mom used to sing that when she was getting ready on Easter morning.

We dressed up, Easter bonnets included, and had brunch at my Grandmom's where I'd get my picture taken outside every year, weather permitting.
The first photo is my first Easter, April 11, 1977 - I was four weeks old
People always arrived bearing pots of tulips, hydrangeas, and daffodils wrapped in bright crinkly paper. Strawberries and quiche were both always on the table. In the afternoon, we went to Aunt Jake's bearing more flowers and had an egg hunt in her awesome garden. Ham, devilled eggs, and very sweet iced tea were always on the menu.

As the years went on, I stopped dressing up. My Grandmom eventually stopped hosting Easter brunch and we stopped going to Aunt Jake's for dinner.

All traditions change at some point. I have fond memories of the old traditions, but we must make room for new. This is our second year spending Easter at the shore, and I plan to do that for eternity...or until it's time to change tradition again.
Easter Sunday 2016
I might spend the day differently, but I still always buy a hydrangea and plant it. My table always has strawberries on it. And this year my Easter bonnet will be a baseball hat to shield my face from the sun on the beach.

Have a wonderful weekend! What are your plans?

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Thursday Thoughts - Thanks Easter Bunny

1. City scenes this week - Old City on the way to Tuesdays With Toomey and from the front of the Comcast building on the way to the eye doctor.
2. I made the dentist appointment that I've been putting off so I'm expecting gifts from the universe as a reward. Dental fear is real. I also went to the eye doctor this week for the first time since I got LASIK many moons ago. I need a slight prescription, which I'm filling, but I'm also going back to the LASIK people to get them to weigh in.

3. From the gross files:  Sooo I bought this blackhead remover. Well while my pores are large, I don't have many actual blackheads. I used it to try to pop what I thought was a deep zit and ended up bruising my face and bringing a bunch of blood to the surface. I am now the person people look at like oh, that girl was the victim of a crime. I am an idiot. Do not try this at home. 

4. The past two weekends of shore house work wore me out and aside from the contact paper wall on the third floor I'm not doing any shore chores this weekend. Bike riding, beach sitting, and avenue strolling is in my future. And my mom is cooking so none of that either.
5. I'm proud of this blogger for sharing a vulnerable part of herself in an article that will help a reader she doesn't know. I'm glad my brother Stephen has retained gifts he's had since childhood: knowing when someone is feeling left out and bringing them in, noticing mood shifts in people, wanting everyone to be okay and doing what he can do to make sure they are, and just being there. A lot of times men sweep their penchant for kindness to the back of their resource pile, and he never has. Reading this made me really proud of the man he is but reminded me an awful lot of the sensitive little boy he was. Read this: An Open Letter to My High School Teacher. He doesn't like to be the center of attention but I'm sharing it because his former student's message is important. We all have the capacity to light a match for someone in darkness. None of us are alone here. We are responsible to each other: to, not for.
6. Have you seen this opinion piece on how Spicer's ridiculous, insane, and shameful remarks about the Holocaust tie to the white nationalist connections of this administration? I get it, we all have outrage fatigue, but these people and their blatant nazi attitudes do not belong in the White House in any position from chief advisor to press secretary to butler. And if you want to say he didn't mean it like that or he apologized, let me just stop you right there. There is zero excuse for this gaffe and no coming back from it. First, you don't need a degree in anything to know the horrors of the Holocaust and that concentration camps are not Holocaust Centers (that sounds like they were taking a fucking vacation) and that six million people died, many by gas. This is the person we want speaking for the POTUS? You're fired, Spicer. GTFO. Now's the time to use your infamous line, Donnie boy.
7. I'm not a foreign policy expert but it seems hypocritical to care enough about Syrian children dying to bomb their country yet still not want them here as refugees. We will not get into the fact that the children of Syria have been dying for years. It's timely for Cheeto Jesus to fire off missiles when his approval rating is in the shitter, Russiagate is spilling all over the administration, and he owns stock in the company that manufactures the missiles. You cannot continue to ignore the conflicts of interest of this president and how he financially gains every step of the way. Well, you can, but I hope you won't.

8. It's fucking hard to limit political things to one to three items each week. Everything is burning, what fire do I pay attention to first? Russia. Honorable mention: The similarities between Don the Con and Kim Jong Un - both insane rich kids handed everything by their fathers who enjoy playing with nuclear missiles; FBI FISA warrant monitored 45's adviser Carter Page on Russia; the March 27 letter to the US from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights with concerns about bills in 16 US states that would criminalize peaceful protests and violate human rights ( America...the country that was literally built on the back of the right to assemble and protest - and not always peacefully). Picking what to include in this post is like choose your own adventure where everyone ends up with pants full of poop at the end with no extra clothes to change into.

9. Reminder: The most important part of every thing you do is simply showing up.

10. E-card of the week: For real.
Hip hop hooray, ho. You know how it goes.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Show Us Your Books: April reading report

I had a bit of a meh book period. It happens. And it usually means an awesome one is just around the corner. Sometimes I think it's not the books that are meh, but me being in a not super reading mood. I've been distracted. I have to say that the two books I found engrossing this month would not be considered really well written books by critics...but they hit the spot right now. 

Linkup Guidelines:
This link up happens the second Tuesday of every month. The next is  Tuesday, May 9, 2017 
1. Please visit and comment with both of your hosts, Jana & me
2. Please display the button (need it? let me know) or link back to us on your blog post
2. Please visit a few other blogs who've linked up and get some book talk going!

Here's what I've read from the last linkup.

Engrossing Reads

The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman - I figured out what was going on quite early in the book. I do love a boarding school setting though, and I liked the writing. I enjoyed this read. library hardback

No Coming Back by Keith Houghton - This did not go down how I thought it was going to go down at all based on the description. I was horrified at the end but enjoyed the read. Small town, mean hearts, tiny minds. My kind of read. kindle e-book

Passed the Time Just Fine

The Wave at Hanging Rock by Gregg Dunnett - I spent a good portion of this book thinking the wrong thing, which is a good thing in a suspense novel. To me, at least. Kindle e-book

The Night the Lights Went Out by Karen White - This is not my typical genre, but I really enjoyed it. I loved the two main characters and liked a few of the surrounding characters as well. I figured out what was up early on and that made it a little slow getting to the reveal, but it was still not a bad read. ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Girls of August by Anne Rivers Siddons - Perhaps not as deep as the earlier works of Siddons (have you read Outer Banks? that was my intro to Siddons in college and I clung to the prose), but not bad for a quick little read. People SLAMMED her on Goodreads for this book. Bitches be mad at Anne Rivers Siddons. library hardback

The Whole Town's Talking by Fannie Flagg - I adore FF - the Neighbor Dorothy book is one of my favorite reading memories - and after two F'd up books, this was just what the doctor ordered. If you like her, you'll like this. It has that small community love that she is so known for. Library hardback

Marlena by Julie Buntin - Totally screwed describes the lives of quite a few of the people in this novel. I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it. BOTMC hardback

The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond - A totally weird premise, and there were many parts I could've picked apart, but I don't really do that. What you should know is despite the things that bothered me (and a few were glaring) and the suspension of belief they required, I was glued to this and stayed up on a school night to finish it. Free ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Not Worth It
Brother by Ania Ahlborn - W T F. This is a way fucked book, and that is coming from someone who enjoys serial killer reads. This made me ill. The writing was good, but I would not go through it again. No wonder it was available immediately from the library. library paperback

Did Not Finish

Kill the Father by Sandrone Dazieri - I think this one can be attributed to something being lost in translation from Italian to English. library hardback

What are you reading?

Monday, April 10, 2017

TWTW - the one where I loved every minute

How could I not when I was off on Friday and saw a truly spectacular sunrise over a raging ocean? The sky was different every way I looked. My head was on a constant swivel.
After taking arty farty photos on the way back to the house, I packed my things looking like I was setting out to kidnap someone or bury a body and  was out of the house by 7:30 to get some to go coffee and a honey glazed at Drip N' Scoop.
I drove down to Sunset Beach on Cape May Point to see the shipwreck of the S.S. Atlantus and the WWII Lookout Tower. The sea was churning and tears were running down my face from the wind. It was wild out there! I collected some super smooth rocks and got caught in a gaggle of a photography group that peeled out of the parking lot one by one like they were storm chasers.
I picked up porch railing stuff at Home Depot, got caught in the 34th Street Bridge single lane BS for a few lights, and had breakfast at the Airport Diner. THEN. Then then then I got my library card for Ocean City. I was super pumped and had to text Jana immediately. I have no idea why I didn't do this before now since it was free and made me so happy.
Back at the house my Amazon Fresh order had arrived, so I put groceries away, then I hauled all the porch shit out of the car and moved all the furniture that needed to go down from the top floor to the ground floor. When I laid down to take a break after a flight I noticed a hole in the ceiling I need to fix (see my there's a fucking hole in the ceiling face below) and when I stepped onto the porch saw that last week's weather FUBAR'd the light. Add them to the project list. I walked to Bennie's to get a danish and to Piccini to pick up pizza and salad and sat my ass down for the night. My Dad & Carol arrived around 7:30 and Stephen, Aubrey, and Lola came in a little after 10.
So basically I spent my day off on Friday like I would have spent it if I lived at the shore full time. And it was awesome.

Saturday morning my Dad and Stephen stood out in the cold wind for four hours replacing the rotted out porch railings with new vinyl railings. I died inside every time I looked at them so the finished project made me SO, so happy. I'm grateful I could just stand around and watch and pick up trash. They rocked this project. I'm so relieved it's done and I don't have to worry about my niece or the dogs poking their eyes out on splintery wood this summer. I'll continue painting the wood poles and beams and of course I have to paint the concrete.
When Lola got up from her nap, we walked down to the beach for the Easter Egg hunt. So did a shit ton of other people. Lola got some eggs, we walked down by the water, and then we got ice cream - first Kohr Bros of the year. We were going to go out for my birthday but I wasn't feeling it so we ordered from Mario's and waited for MFD and the dogs to arrive. We were all in bed early.
Sunday's ocean was very serene, which makes the top look like glass at a certain point during the sunrise.
I cooked up some pork roll and eggs then we took a walk down to the beach. Aubrey was saving horseshoe crabs, MFD brought a bleeding shark up to everyone's dismay, and Lola wanted to walk Mae by herself. I always bring a few extra poop bags to collect shells and trash in. I hate seeing trash on the beach. Dog poop bags save the day yet again.
My Dad fixed the screen door, brought the mirror down from the third floor, and caulked the shower. He's not for hire, sorry. He also hung hooks on the third floor after I investigated if my contact paper scheme would work to cover up the peeling fish on the wall in the back bedroom. It will, so I ordered the rest and will finish that next weekend. I sent my Dad and Carol and MFD home with cars full of old furniture and rotten wooden railings which I don't think MFD had time to drop off before his first appointment with clients. Whoops. I spray painted crates while the dogs supervised, primed and painted some porch beams, poles, and new wood from the railing install, vacuumed our apartment, moved food out of the house, took the crates up to the top floor, and moved furniture that didn't get home this time inside.
The dogs were pooped and so was I so we retreated inside so they could pass out and I could paint my nails (wet n' wild Megalast in Undercover - seriously, this shit does mega last). I need a pedicure but in a series of unfortunate events the green spray paint pictured above is all over both feet in the shape of a flip flop and that has not come off yet. 
I got home after 5 and portioned out my weekly food prep, which I did fit in this weekend: iced coffee for the shore; egg bake with broccoli & pork roll for breakfasts; baked chicken thighs over rice and roasted veggies for lunches; and two pork tenderloins (one Italian, one some flavor I can't remember, maybe honey chipotle?) for dinners. I'll serve that with mashed sweet potatoes and parsnips. Behold, my container of meat for easy transport home from the shore. 
Other Sunday things: laundry, running the dishwasher, work work, started The Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy, and attempted to scrub paint and spray paint from myself. I am super pumped that both of my major spring projects at the shore (third floor bedrooms and apartment porch area) are well on their way to being completed. Thanks Dad & Stephen for kicking ass this week. It was awesome that the big porch railing project was knocked out quickly in less than desirable weather so we could all hang out and enjoy the beach and boards. Lola Jean is a star and the best behaved child. She's also totally enamored of MFD.

Tomorrow! Show Us Your Books with me and Jana!

Linking up with Biana at B Loved Boston for Weekending

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