Archive for March, 2010

This past weekend, I took part in Earth Hour, a worldwide movement to show support for planet earth. An estimated one billion people from 120 countries participated, turning off non-essential lights for one hour. This included government and corporate buildings, landmarks like the Vegas Strip and the Empire State Building, and regular citizens like you and me.

In the midst of Earth Hour, I looked out of the window and noticed that nobody in my neighborhood was participating. When I posted on Facebook that my lights were out, I got a text from a friend letting me know that all his lights were on. Seriously? Not only are you not participating, but you have to rub it my face? I’m sure he did it just to get a rise out of me – and it worked.

I was cautiously hopeful when, at 7:28 p.m., the people who live behind us had all their lights off. But then at 8:30 p.m., as if on cue, they turned on all their lights! It was almost as though they’d decided to rebel against the movement. I’m pretty sure they were just another clueless couple that didn’t even know about the event. These are the same people who believe they live in the middle of nowhere and are super loud at all hours of the day and night. That’s another whole topic, though.

I’m thinking Earth Hour wasn’t publicized properly; even my husband didn’t know about it. So I can’t get mad at the whole neighborhood for not turning out their lights. I can, however, get mad at people in the neighborhood for putting out a recycling bin, yet throwing out multiple water bottles (yes, I can see through the yellow city trash bags). And I can also get mad at the waste-producing families who pile eight or nine huge garbage bags in front of their house, yet don’t even bother recycling.

Okay, so not everyone wants to go completely out of his or her way to save the planet. But when the city makes it so simple by providing you recycling bins and picking up your recycling curbside, why wouldn’t you do it? Take advantage of what your tax dollars are paying for! And when it’s as easy as turning off your lights for one hour, what’s stopping you? Complete laziness? Total disregard for the environment? Think of it as saving pennies on your electric bill. Maybe that will motivate you.

Now I don’t want to turn this post into a bitch-fest, so here are some ways you can lessen your impact on the environment, courtesy of the Earth Hour website:

  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent ones.
  • Recycle paper and plastic, instead of using the trash.
  • Read news online, instead of buying paper copies.
  • Grow vegetables during the summer.
  • Bicycle or walk to work or to run errands instead of driving.
  • Take the bus or train, instead of driving long distances.
  • Unplug appliances when they are not in use.
  • Lower the thermostat to cut back on heating during the winter.
  • Insulate and eliminate drafts to get the most out of your heating and cooling.
  • Plant a tree to help filter your air and to provide shade

And now, after reading this, you have no excuse to NOT turn out your lights for Earth Hour in 2011.

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You’ll soon find out that many of my posts will have something, if not a lot, do to with our dog, Max. I could go on forever about him, but I’ll keep things short and sweet for now.

This morning we took Max to a new vet, one who has been recommended to me by a couple of people. And since, in the 10 months we’ve had Max, no vets have been able to solve our main issue with him, we figured we’d give this new one a shot.

Unfortunately, this new vet came to the same conclusion as the others: Max has allergies. To what . . . ah, now that’s the million-dollar question. But the vet’s pretty sure it’s myriad of things, one of which is food. This diagnosis is not music to my ears, since allergies in dogs is one of the worst things to treat, mainly because you have to go through a system of trial and error to determine what your dog’s actually allergic to. And if he’s allergic to multiple things, like food and house dust, it’s a pleasant time trying to control his exposure to the allergens or “desensitize” him to them.

Changing Max’s diet hasn’t worked in the past, mainly because every diet has had a flaw: they weren’t completely pure and simple. There was flax, or grain, or something small that could have set Max off. This new vet is pretty sure his suggested diet will do the trick – or at least confirm whether or not Max has a food allergy. What is this miracle diet? Boiled white potatoes, of course!

Sounds appetizing, right? Potatoes for breakfast, dinner and everything in between. The vet believes that four weeks of this potato diet will tell us everything we need to know. If, after four weeks, Max’s skin is a lot better, then we can start adding back one ingredient at a time, starting with a protein. If, after four weeks, Max’s skin is unchanged, then you will find me hanging from the rafters.

Eventually, I’ll explain the whole story of Max. But for now, I’m too busy boiling potatoes.

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I recently started reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma: the Secrets Behind What You Eat by Michael Pollan. I chose the “young readers edition,” because I’m so young at heart. Actually it’s because I was in such a rush to get the book and spend my gift card at Borders.com that I completely ignored all book information except for the publish date. I thought that since it was the newest edition, it would have the latest vital information that wasn’t in the earlier editions. Instead, it has lots of cool pictures and a really large font. And hey, that’s cool too. I’ve always been a visual learner.

The reason I purchased this book, and a couple others like it, is because I’m on a quest to find out as much about what goes into my food as I can. And it’s not just about what I’m eating and my own health. It’s about the world I live in, and how the creation of this food impacts it.

This all stems from the fact that I’ve always had a soft spot for animals and the environment, ever since I was young. Unfortunately, loving animals and the environment isn’t just about adopting a dog and recycling, one of which I did and one of which I currently do. Don’t get me wrong, these are steps in the right direction. But there is so much more. This blog is partially to document what I learn and spread the word. I need a place to organize my thoughts, so that it doesn’t all seem so overwhelming. After all, change doesn’t happen overnight.

You’re probably wondering what all this has to do with me being corny. I’ll get to that now. It’s partially because I’m my father’s daughter. But it’s mostly because I am what I eat. And, as I’m reading the above-mentioned book, I’m learning that corn, or some derivative of corn, is in almost every processed food I put into my body. Even though I never eat corn on the cob, I’m eating corn when I eat cereal, desserts, condiments, candy, non-dairy creamer, sauces, etc. Even meat.

What’s the big deal? So I eat a lot of corn, without even knowing it. How does this relate to animals and the environment?

Oh, you will find out! You’ll find out about that and so much more. Just be patient.

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There are so many reasons I shouldn’t watch American Idol.

  1. Ryan Seacrest’s “THIS is…..American Idol.”
  2. Randy’s “It just wasn’t good for me for you dog”
  3. Kara in general.
  4. Ellen. I like her as a talk show host, but she’s just about as useless as Paula was, except she’s not drunk and amusing. She compared someone to a ripe banana. Come on.
  5. The fact that I actually said to myself before watching the first episode of this season: Tracy, brace yourself to be really pissed off all of the time.

Yet I still watch. The show hasn’t even officially begun and I’m angry. Why? Because two contestants who should have been in the top 12, Lilly Scott and Alex Lambert, did not make it. Instead, two babies made it through. I will admit that the guys in general just aren’t good this season. But Lilly Scott being ousted in favor of Katie Stevens? It just doesn’t make sense to me.

Maybe Lilly should be flattered that a pathetic show like American Idol didn’t work out for her. Now she can go back to Denver having been exposed to millions of people who absolutely love her and the fact that she isn’t your stereotypical karaoke singer. (Because, let’s face it. American Idol is just a glorified karaoke bar without the booze.) I hope Lilly doesn’t let this get her down, because she’s way better than that. In the meantime, the grandmas can go back to voting for Katie and Aaron, who would be better off finishing their sophomore years of high school.

And yes, I’ll still be watching the show and continually whining about how much drives me insane.

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I really didn’t want to start a blog until there was a point to the blog. You know, a theme, mission, genre, whatever. Like the American Idol judges tell the singers week over week: You need to find out what kind of singer you are! Okay, so I’m not a singer, per se (you should be grateful for that), but the concept’s the same. I can’t start a blog without purpose. A friend told me this morning that contrary to my thinking, now is a great time to start a blog. I just left Corporate America to work from home as a freelance copy editor, proofreader and writer. I spend hours with our psychotic dog, Mr. Max. I have many gripes with the world we live in. Instead of whining to her about the state of the world (and my mind), why not publish it for everyone to see? Plus, as we all know, people in general like hearing, or in this case reading, about other people’s struggles. Now you can enjoy reading about mine.

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