Monthly Archives: August 2011

Sweating the small stuff

I’ve finally quit antiperspirant. (Mostly. I opted to wear it to a job interview because, you know, never let ’em see you sweat.) It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for  a while. Years, even. But, to be perfectly honest, I was a pretty good sweater in my 20s and I just wasn’t sure my corporate work environment would approve of me walking around with wet circles under the arms of all my shirts.

But now that I work from home, what better time to kick the habit? I’d been planning to go 100% hippie and make my own using a recipe similar to this. But I kept not getting around to making it… which meant I kept using antiperspirant… so in the end I broke down and bought a tube of Tom’s. And that, as they say, is all she wrote.

Except that I’m going to write some more.

I was pleasantly surprised by how little I sweated. I’m no longer in my 20s, which I’ve been told are prime sweat years. (Maybe it boosts pheromone production during our optimum baby-making years? I don’t know.) But using a deoderant only does require becoming comfortable with a little dampness in your armpits. It’s taken me some getting used to since, in the past, that wet sensation usually meant that I needed a shower.  Now it just means that my body is effectively regulating its temperature, and I’m no smellier because of it.

It’s safe to say I’m officially a convert. But when this tube runs out, I’m determined to make my own batch with even fewer chemicals and zero packaging waste.

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Paper Towel Moratorium

We participated in the Change the World Wednesday (#ctww) challenge hosted by Reduce Footprints again this week. On the chopping block: paper towels. We’re not particularly paper towel dependent around here, having a plentiful supply of dish towels, sponges, and cloth napkins. The only real challenge I ran into was bacon. You know, the whole paper-towel-lined-plate-to-soak-up-the-grease thing. I couldn’t quite figure out how to get around it, since I didn’t much care for the idea of sticking in on a  dish towel to degrease. So, I asked the Internet.

Most recommendations were to bake the bacon in the oven on a broiler pan, letting the juices simply drip through. Others suggested to let the bacon drip dry on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet. These are both excellent suggestions, but I needed to render the fat in the pan to use for cooking up some other ingredients. And the recipe instructed me to chop the bacon and then cook it, so I just couldn’t figure out a way to get small pieces to drain. Now, why it didn’t occur to me to just cook the bacon whole, drain it, and then chop it we’ll never know. But I didn’t and the whole house was anxiously awaiting dinner, so I caved and used paper towels. But only two.

Sigh. Bested by bacon.

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No Impact Experiment: Energy and Water

I’m rather insistent that Bug’s summer vacation be educational as well as fun. I’m one of THOSE moms. This week, we’re taking part in the No Impact Experiment, a 1-week carbon cleanse, and learning (hopefully) why it’s important to be more conscious of the environmental impact of seemingly mundane daily decisions. 

We fell a bit behind on our experiment over the weekend because Bug had some social engagements that kept him out of the house. Since this is his educational activity, I decided to wait until he was back home to continue. But to make up a bit for lost time, we decided to do two days’ challenges in one: energy and water.

For the energy portion, we wrote down every item in every room in the house that is using energy (electricity, gas, batteries). I’d show the list here, but it’s long and, really, not that important. Next, we starred those items that we would normally use in the remaining days of our experiment (which was pretty much all of them). Then we decided which items we would eliminate and which we would mitigate. Interestingly enough, it was my iPod I missed the most. I hand-pounded pesto with a mortar and pestle in order to avoid the food processor, and still it was the music I missed the most. Bug reports missing his DS the most. (No surprise there.) We didn’t do anything terribly unique in order to cut back on our energy usage, we just…. used less. It was warm and sunny, so Bug was outside most of the day while I worked. Hand-pounding pesto is about as exciting as we got on this one.

As for water, we practiced our usual conservation techniques: collecting water from the tub faucet while waiting for it to warm and using it to water plants and flush the toilet, letting it mellow when it’s yellow, using the low-flow feature on the showerhead, washing pots and pans by hand so there’s more room for other dishes in the dishwasher, washing only full loads of laundry (which takes no effort, since there’s always plenty of laundry with Baby Jupiter around), reusing the same dishes throughout the day so the dishwasher fills less quickly… again, nothing particularly out of the ordinary for us on this challenge. I did introduce Bug to the water footprint of our food, which he found mildly interesting, and we opted for chicken instead of beef for dinner, but we rarely eat beef anyway. (I could go vegetarian or nearly-vegetarian  myself, but Mr. Legume – a former vegetarian himself – finds that he’s always starving without meat in his meals.)

So, as I write this, I’m realizing we could’ve challenged ourselves more. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I see that we kind of regressed today. Poor planning on my part led to a trip through a drive-through for lunch (which is something that very rarely happens around here even when we’re not in the middle of a no impact experiment) and more poor planning had our garbage production up as well. Maybe we’ve hit mid-week fatigue?

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