Last November, I decided it was time to get rid of the small, ratty, and possibly toxic table-top ironing board we’d been using for years. And by we, I mean Michael. Still haunted by memories of ironing my dad’s shirts in the dank basement laundry room while the crickets chirped and imaginary mice scurried from corner to corner, I avoid ironing as much as possible. Michael, on the other hand, irons his work shirts every week, and I wanted him to have a nice, full-sized board with a non-toxic pad and cover, but I didn’t want to spend a ton of money.
Getting an Ironing Board for FREE
Knowing that I was going to be starting a year of buying nothing new, I decided to look for a secondhand ironing board. I posted an ad on Nextdoor, a social network for neighbors to stay in touch about what’s happening in the hood, asking if anyone had an ironing board they didn’t want.
I would have been happy to pay for it, but one of my … Read the rest
I’m back home from Burning Man and so glad to be able to have my morning green smoothie again. When I wrote that post, I promised a follow up about my blender. Well, here it is.
Back in 2011, I wrote about hanging out with my friend Mark and watching him make homemade ketchup. What I didn’t mention was how impressed I was with his blender.
It’s a Waring Pro MBB518 stainless steel blender. Mark said that even though it only has two speeds, it’s the sturdiest and best blender he’s ever had. But what caught my eye was that there is no plastic at all inside the glass pitcher to come into contact with the food.
See, my current blender, a Kenmore that I’d had for years and that also had a glass pitcher had plastic at the bottom that twisted on and off for cleaning.
I wasn’t crazy about that plastic inside the pitcher, but it wasn’t enough to make me chuck the machine for a new one. And then the bottom started to leak. And … Read the rest
Hello, people and Happy New Year. Our human mom, Beth, is very very busy, so we wanted to help her out by writing a blog post to tell you about the amazing thing we got for Christmas this year. We’re not exactly sure what it is, but mom acted really excited when she opened it, so we know it must be pretty special. (And no, we no longer speak like those Cheezburger Cats. We are 5 years old and have learned proper grammar!)
Anyway, Christmas Eve, Mom came home and started talking really loudly when she saw a big box at the front door. She said stuff like, “Wow. He didn’t use plastic tape or plastic label covers. This is great.” We don’t know what those things are, but we know our mom doesn’t like plastic. And we love boxes, so we started to get excited too.
Mom cut open the top with her keys and was even more excited when she looked inside. She said there was cardboard, twine, paper tape, and only a little plastic…… Read the rest
I just got back from a week on the East Coast doing book promos and visiting family, and all I got was this stupid Facebook photo…
Two days ago, my sister Ellen posted that photo and caption and tagged me. It would have been funny, if it weren’t my Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup can. My first reaction was utter embarrassment (for being caught eating out of a can lined with BPA or some other mystery chemical and even more, for eating Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup in the first place), and I asked her to untag me. Instead, she posted a comment: Just kidding! That’s my soup.
But it wasn’t her soup, it was mine. Granted, I didn’t buy it — I found it in a cupboard in my dad’s house — but still… how can I go around advising people to avoid BPA-lined cans if I can’t always resist them myself? So, after untagging myself and then feeling all weird and guilty, I suddenly realized…… Read the rest
I’m back from my meditation retreat, where one of the common admonishments is “Don’t push the river.” What does that mean? To me, it’s about being in the flow and not exerting more effort than necessary to live peacefully and mindfully in the present moment. After all, the river’s gonna flow whether you push it or not, right? Recently, I’ve discovered that it’s often not necessary to dam the river either. I’ve learned both of these lessons from my cat. And now I’m wondering how we can apply them to environmental activism work.
Bad Kitty / Good Kitty
Arya is sweet and cuddly and naughty beyond belief. I love her mightily, and until recently, have fought with her every single morning for the past two years. She climbs on my desk, and I shoo her off. She crawls under my desk and gets tangled up in the electrical cords, so I shoo her out. Then she’s up on the desk again,… Read the rest
Making my own ketchup has been on my “To Do” list since my last bottle ran out over a year ago. (Clearly, ketchup is not much of a priority in the Terry-Stoler household.) Still, it’s a good condiment to have on hand, and I planned to consult with bloggers Danielle or RobJ who had already started making their own. What I didn’t realize was that just across the San Francisco Bay, my good friend Mark Peters had been making his own ketchup for ages, along with homemade mayo, homemade bread — sans bread machine — and much more. Sometimes I’m so quick to jump online for information I forget about the real life flesh and blood friends who are part of my life. SORRY GUYS! One of my New Years Resolutions is to spend more quality face time with the people I love. And this weekend, I started with Mark.
Yesterday afternoon, I went over to Mark’s house with a bag of tomatoes, an onion, and a willingness to learn. He’d… Read the rest
I spent Thanksgiving week in Maryland with my family.
Here’s a picture of my dad. He has questions.
(Okay, that photo was taken in Hawaii in 2006 — not Maryland in 2011. But it’s nice, isn’t it?)
So we were at the local Giant Foods grocery store last week, and after I whipped out my handy ChicoBag reusable bags from my purse, the cashier said she thought Maryland was going to start charging a fee for plastic bags, similar to the fee in effect in Washington D.C. Turns out she was almost right. Prince George’s County (where my dad lives) wants to impose a bag fee but must get authorization from the State General Assembly. There will be a hearing this Saturday.
When we got home from the store, my dad looked at my ChicoBags and asked, “So I would need to get twenty of those to replace the twenty plastic bags I bring home from the store?”
I explained that reusable bags are stronger than disposable plastic bags, so… Read the rest
The text message I sent my sister Friday night was, “OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There was a rat in our toilet bowl tonight!”
You know the urban legend about rats and snakes and other critters swimming up through the sewer pipes into your toilet? It’s not an urban legend. Not where rats are concerned, anyway.
This story gets pretty gross, so be warned.
We buy Swheatscoop cat litter. It comes in a paper bag, not plastic, and it’s made from wheat, so it’s compostable and flushable. Our cats love it. In fact, they love it a little too much.
[2016 Update: Today, we use Integrity cat litter. Swheatscoop switched to a plastic bag.]
Which is why ever since this incident in 2008, we’ve kept the bag out of reach of little critters.
Wheat litter is flushable (as long as your cats don’t have toxoplasma gondii, the parasite that kills sea otters, which ours don’t) but even still, sometimes… Read the rest
Our cats have always eaten their homemade food out of nice ceramic dishes that we got for free or almost free at a yard sale. (Arya is practicing her scary Halloween demon kitty face.)
But apparently, not all cats are so lucky. Michael came home last Friday and told me his workmate’s cat had developed acne, and that her vet said she should stop feeding him from a plastic bowl. Huh? I mean, I’ve heard a lot of negative things about plastic, but that was a really new one for me.
So I Googled “cat acne plastic,” and guess what: it’s conventional wisdom (although I haven’t found a definitive source) that cats can develop acne on their chins from eating out of plastic bowls. (Dogs, too! Google “dog acne plastic.”)
Dirty Plastic Bowls
According to The Spruce:
Plastic food dishes have long been suspected as a culprit in chin acne. Plastic is a magnet for bacteria and dirt that work their way into scratches and… Read the rest
Dad and I set out on Thursday from Oakland, CA and headed east. I’m trying my best to avoid plastic while traveling, but some things seem unavoidable and others are just accidental.
First of all, we need to carry a cooler for snacks and drinks. Dad likes to have lots of soda. And we are bringing our own snacks (bananas, nuts, bread, etc.) to avoid buying a lot of junk food on the road, although we are not completely avoiding it. In fact, ice cream makes frequent appearances in our itinerary. So anyway, we’re using a plastic foam cooler that I already had, and we bought a bag of ice in a plastic bag to fill it. In the future, we’ll refill the ice from motel ice machines to avoid additional plastic bags.
We also bought.. wait… wait… oh my god…
Okay, now let me clarify. We bought two 2-1/2 gallon jugs of water to keep in the car in case we break down in the desert. We don’t plan to open it except in an emergency.… Read the rest