Have you seen the plastic Bag Monster? I see it all over the place. Blowing down the street, clogging the gutter, floating in Lake Merritt, and even hiding in my own kitchen. I shot this quick footage of a Bag Monster battle taking place on the steps of SF City Hall last November:
But seriously. I’ve written about plastic bags before, and I think that most folks reading this blog already have strong opinions about them. But recently, I’ve come across some stories on the web that sum up the problems of plastic bags eloquently and comprehensively, and I’d like to share them with you, as well as a story of a guy who’s out busting the bag monster in a way that’s humorous and attention-getting.
The first story is Plastic Bags Are Killing Us from Salon.com. It was forwarded to me by Green Mary, a woman I plan to write more about later. This article starts near my home with a description of a group fishing plastic bags out of Lake Merritt… Read the rest
“I saved Latin. What did you ever do?” — Rushmore
So (I find myself beginning almost anything I write these days with the word “so”. I may have picked it up from my high school Russian teacher, my favorite teacher ever, who was German. Or it may be a translation of “Hwaet”, the Old English word that begins the poem “Beowulf”, which can be and has been translated a hundred different ways, but basically means, “Attention please, everybody! I’m telling a story here!”)
So, those of you who have been reading FPF for a couple of months might remember the post I wrote during Beth’s absence on a retreat (and for the constantly multiplying new readers, here it is) in which I lamented the amount of plastic waste at the law firm where I work as an assistant librarian, especially the number of Firm-provided bottles of water consumed, despite the availability of delicious filtered,… Read the rest
This dish is about 90% homemade. I didn’t lay the eggs or grow the vegetables or make the butter (although I could have using Crunchy Chicken’s instructions) or broth. But I did everything else by myself. And just to be clear, the reason for including these weekly recipes is not because I’m a great cook, as some other bloggers truly are, but to show that if a novice like me can cook from scratch with minimal plastic, then anyone else with the desire can do it too.
So, this meal is actually 3 different recipes combined: ranchero sauce, refried black beans, and whole wheat tortillas. Oh, and the fried eggs, but you can probably figure that part out for yourself. (Can you?)
(modified from Emeril Lagasse’s recipe.)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped white onions
A bunch of chili powder and dried cayenne pepper (this is the main deviation from the original recipe, which calls for bell and jalapeno… Read the rest
Michael called me at work tonight to say he’d just heard that Clif Bar has a new program to take back its plastic energy bar wrappers and “upcycle” them in a partnership with Terracycle, the good folks who got sued by Scotts Miracle Grow for selling worm poop compost in recycled soda bottles and claiming it was better. (I’m sure it is better. Sue me.) In a joint effort, which I would have known about last week if monitor problems hadn’t kept me from reading all my email, Terracycle will send free prepaid energy bar wrapper collection envelopes to anyone who signs up for the Wrapper Brigade Program and will then manufacture them into “unique accessories and other upcycled products.” And Clif Bar will donate .02 per wrapper to the charity of your choice.
Sounds good right? Well, it didn’t sound good to me. In fact, I got all huffy about it. “Oh great!” I ranted. “Like anyone needs a … Read the rest
I have a confession to make. I have developed Greedy Blogger Syndrome.
How do you know if you have GBS? Here are the tell-tale signs:
You check Google Analytics, or your analysis tool of choice, 100 times a day to see how many visitors have clicked on your site. When the number goes up, you get happy for 5 seconds. Then, you check it again.
You check your Technorati rating 300 times a day to see if there’ve been any changes within the last 5 minutes. When your rating goes up, you get happy for 5 seconds. If your rating goes down, you get unhappy for 5 minutes until you check it again.
You check for new comments on your blog several hundred times per day. When someone writes a nice comment, you get happy for 5 seconds. Then you check and see if anyone else has written something.
You worry about being “scooped” by other bloggers who learn new information before you do. (Darn you, Life Less Plastic
, for figuring out you can wash dishes with bar soap… Read the rest
Mmmmmmm… Happy Valentine’s Day. Here’s a nearly plastic-free recipe that Michael first made for Thanksgiving and then I recreated this weekend. Enjoy.
Curried Lentils with Yams & Swiss Chard
Based on this recipe from the NY Times.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1-1/2 teaspoons ginger powder (Recipe calls for fresh ginger, but we didn’t have any in the house.)
1-1/2 teaspoons garam masala
1-1/2 teaspoons curry powder
4 cups “Better Than Bouillon” broth mix
2 pounds yams, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
1-1/2 cups dried lentils
1 bay leaf
1 pound Swiss chard, center ribs removed, leaves thinly sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Finely grated zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1/2 lime
Notes on ingredients packaging:
1) Lentils purchased from bulk bin at Rainbow Grocery. Zero packaging.… Read the rest
Couldn’t resist the above. In our house, we quote Napoleon Dynamite whenever possible. Clearly, this post has nothing to do with Pedro, but everything to do with protected sex. And despite the fun title, this post is going to be more serious than yesterday’s, so once again, consider yourself warned.
Looking over yesterday’s post on using olive oil for lube, I realized it was written from a totally married hetero-centric point of view. Which makes sense, considering this is the blog of a married woman in a monogamous het relationship. I don’t worry about whether or not using olive oil will break a condom because, like my kitties, I’ve been fixed. But you can believe that if I were the parent of a sexually active teenager, I’d be harping on them night and day to use a condom every single time and would make sure they had access to as much water-based condom-friendly lube as they wanted. (Oh, what an annoying, creepy… Read the rest
Happy Valentine’s Day week. We’re all adults here, right? If Burbanmom can make the astonishing admission that she and her husband like to do it (gasp!) then I’m prepared to grab that ball (NPI) and run with it. Warning: this post gets a wee bit explicit. Read at your own risk.
So I’m sitting here looking at a #3 (PVC) plastic bottle of Liquid Silk sensual lubricant. The long list of chemical ingredients includes many parabens: methyl paraben, butyl paraben, ethyl paraben, propyl paraben, as well as the preservative BHT. And this is what Michael and I are putting on and in our bodies each time we get extra specially close. The Skin Deep database gives it a provisional moderate hazard rating of 4, which is not what I’m looking for when I get in bed with my guy.
Now, I know there are natural, non-toxic water-based lubricants on the market: Firefly (formerly Nude), Good Glide, O’My Natural Lubricant, Love Lube, Sensua… Read the rest
I was planning to write about DIY hair care products this week. But so far, my experiments have been less than successful. Take, for example, the sugar water hairspray, exhibit left. Here’s the recipe:
Dissolve 1 tablespoon sugar in a cup of water. Boil 3 minutes. Be sure the sugar is completely dissolved. Add 1 tablespoon vodka and 2-3 drops essential oil of your choice for scent. Pour into a spray bottle.
The instructions should also have said, “Keep out of the reach of ants!” But then, I guess the writer figured most sane people are aware that sugar attracts ants. Just to clarify, this hairspray ant invasion happened a month BEFORE last week’s sugar incident. You’d think I would have learned. And you would be wrong.
So, about the hairspray. It didn’t work anyway. Still looking for a plastic-free alternative. But that’s not what I want to talk about in this post.
What I want to talk about is letting go of … Read the rest
I tell ya, vegan-hood is not far away. We made this lentil loaf over the weekend and served it to a couple of friends. Let’s just say, there weren’t any leftovers. The only animal products were one egg in the lentil loaf and a bit of butter in the potatoes, which could probably have been omitted. You’ll see why.
Recipe 1: Red Lentil Loaf
(Based on this Food.com recipe.)
1 cup dried red lentils (Purchased from bulk bin at Rainbow Grocery w/ my own bag. Zero packaging.)
1 cup rolled oats (Purchased from bulk bin at Rainbow Grocery w/ my own bag. Zero packaging.)
1 whole egg (Carboard egg carton. Usually I can return these to the guy at the farmer’s market when he’s there.)
1 cup cooked quinoa (Purchased from bulk bin at Berkeley Bowl w/ my own bag. Zero packaging. The original recipe calls for brown rice, but we were out and the quinoa worked out fine.)
1 cup grated carrots (Purchased naked. No bag.)
1/2 an onion, diced (Purchased… Read the rest