7 Quick Takes – More Green Life Hacks!

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I was going to write actual content, but I’m still in the process of getting rid of my stuff and putting the stuff I do want to keep in boxes so that I can drag it over half a continent.  So, you get more Quick Takes!  These are all things I did that are good for the planet but also made my life better somehow.

1.  Blackout curtains.  I bought these several years ago after I interviewed for an overnight job.  I didn’t get the job, but they still turned out to be a good investment.  To wit:

  • In the summer, my bedroom is significantly cooler than the rest of the house.
  • As the name implies, blackout curtains make everything darker than Donald Trump’s heart, which is excellent for my light-sleeping DH.
  • They look classy.

2.  Wooden blinds.  We originally put those up because my DH was sick of the aluminum venetian blinds we had.  In addition to removing the student apartment vibe, the wooden blinds shut out more light (and thus, heat), which means our living room is cooler than it used to be and my poor old air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard.  (My current paranoia is that the 20-year-old AC will bite the dust some time between now and when my house is sold.)

3.  Install a programmable thermostat.  Why run the AC or the heat at full blast when nobody’s home?  During business hours, ours is set for 2 degrees higher in summer and 2 degrees lower in winter.  It’s amazing how much difference that little change made!

4.  Eat less meat.  The reasons why meat is bad for the environment and why factory farming is bad in general are too long for this post, but thisthis, and this are good places to start.  If that doesn’t phase you, consider the health benefits of less meat.  I’ve mentioned before that I cut back on meat because I was worried about heart disease, but did you know that cutting back on meat can also decrease your risk of colon cancer and breast cancer?

5.  Use natural light instead of electric light.  That was this post of Jen’s.  Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t gone back to candles all the time.  But this has made me more productive – e.g., “I should get that laundry folded now while the sun is still on the east side of the house and the bedroom is light” or “The sun is coming in at that one angle that makes everything look dirty; time to clean the kitchen!”

6.  Drive less.  Actually, this is just something I’m looking forward to doing.  Currently I drive 40 minutes each way to work; I’m hoping for next house to be less than 15 minutes from my job.  (No, we don’t have a place to live yet.  More on that in a later post.)  Anyway, less time behind the wheel sounds like heaven right now.

7.  It’s not Friday, but we still need a song!  This week’s song is “A Change Would Do You Good” by Sheryl Crow.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t the Lyceum!

Hangin’ Clothes in the Hot Sun: How a Clothesline Can Help You Practice Christianity

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Clothes hanging in Sydney, Australia, late 1930s. Photo by Charles F. Walton, taken from Creative Commons.

About a year ago, I was feeling guilty about my commute’s effect on my carbon footprint and bought a clothesline.  I figured it would assuage some of my guilt, and hey, it’s hotter than Hades out there, might as well use all that radiant energy for something other than increasing my risk of melanoma.

It certainly did help with the carbon footprint (although cutting down on commute time will do much more).  However, hanging clothes on the line gave me some interesting spiritual insights too.

  • Hang-drying clothes teaches you patience.  If I’m using my dryer, I can get through five loads in a day.  With a clothesline, it’s more like three, and you can’t guarantee the clothes will actually be dry when you go out to check on them (especially if your summers are humid, like in the Midwest).  But the more you check, the longer they take.  Patience.
  • Hang-drying clothes allows you to practice Redemptive SufferingY’all, I hate hot weather.  I hate standing there getting all sweaty, I hate worrying about sunburn, and I count the minutes until I can get back inside my air-conditioned house with a cold beverage.  DH thinks I’m crazy and I’m sure the neighbors are laughing at me whenever I go outside with a laundry basket.  So why do I keep it up? Because women throughout the world have to do this same thing but don’t have air-conditioning to go back to when they’re done, and they probably have a hundred other chores to do in the heat that are way more strenuous than anything I’m going to do today.  Dealing with these small indignities gives me something to offer up for them and anyone else who is struggling.
  • Hang-drying clothes gives you more appreciation for nature.  You’ll never have as much gratitude for a breeze as when the heat index is 119 F (48 C).
  • Hang-drying clothes gives you time with God.  It’s quiet, it’s meditative, and if you leave your iPod off and listen, you just might hear something important.

So, this summer, give hang-drying your clothes a try.  But put sunscreen on first.  :)

7 Quick Takes – Too Much Stuff

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1.  I’ve blogged about simple living, but you know what’s the best way to put your money where your mouth is on that subject?  Move to a new time zone.  When you ask yourself, “Do I really want to take this on a 1500 mile journey?”  you find that you don’t actually need as much stuff as  you thought you did.  This week, takes 2-6 are all about stuff I’m getting rid of.

2.  Books.  Holy crap, DH and I have a lot of books.  Our idea of a fun date is dinner and a trip to the used bookstore.

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While a lot of our books will be going with us, there are also quite a few that were good but we don’t need to read them again or were not as useful as we thought or just really, really bad.  This goes double for textbooks… why on Earth did we save our textbooks? Did we think they’d revoke our Nerd Cards?

I can hear the technophiles now: “Get a Kindle or a Nook!”  No.  DH’s Kindle is one of the things we’re getting rid of. We read books to relax and we read screens for work.

3.  Christmas tree.  At the risk of sounding like a Grinch, the artificial Christmas tree is going to Goodwill.  It lists to one side slightly and we’ve never been able to get it back in the box and still close the box.  We’ll get a new one in December.   (I would love to have a real tree but I’m allergic.)

4.  Exercise machine.  Who thought buying this was good idea?  Who cares?  Everybody thinks they’ll use these things, but nobody does… unless you’re interested in buying my exercise machine, in which case you will totally use it and you need to come buy it from me right now.

5.  Furniture.  I have a lot of furniture that’s in good shape but isn’t used often, like my papasan chair:

Seemed like a great idea in college; not so much later. Photo from Wikipedia.

Seemed like a great idea in college; not so much later. Photo from Wikipedia.

Luckily, I live in a college town with lots of college people who’d love this stuff.

6. Electronics.  Good grief, I don’t know how I wound up with all these video and computer games I don’t play and other gadgets we don’t use.  Nintendo DS, XBox, games… out with all of it!

7.  It’s Friday, so we need a song!  I still need to find a place to live in New City and here’s a song that will keep me from freaking out.

For more Quick Takes, visit Bonnie at A Knotted Life!

Quotes from Laudato Si That Prove the Pope is a Hippie

So, Pope Francis wrote an encyclical and in America, the political right wing is all butt-hurt about it. Why doesn’t that commie leave science to the scientists, amiright?

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Um… well, moving right along, let’s check out some quotes from this moonbat’s encyclical! I’m sure we can expose him for the tree hugging commie destroyer of the Church he is!

“The destruction of the human environment is extremely serious, not only because God has entrusted the world to us men and women, but because human life is itself a gift which must be defended from various forms of debasement. Every effort to protect and improve our world entails profound changes in “lifestyles, models of production and consumption, and the established structures of power which today govern societies”

That’s just the sort of bull I’d expect from a Marxist like… Saint John Paul II?  The guy who helped defeat communism?  Crap, that was him.

Um.  Right.  Well, anyway, I’m sure I can find something else in here…

“The deterioration of nature is closely connected to the culture which shapes human coexistence.”

Man, what a bunch of tree-hugging crap!  I bet he wants us to sit around holding hands and singing Kum Ba Ya with… Benedict XVI?   You know, the one the media used to call Emperor Palpatine?  He said this originally?  Dag, yo.

Well, I’m sure there’s something else…

“Due to an ill-considered exploitation of nature, humanity runs the risk of destroying it and becoming in turn a victim of this degradation”

That’s just the sort of thing I’d expect from a no-good pinko like… Pope Paul VI?  Yeah, Pope Paul VI.  You might remember him from such encyclicals as Humanae Vitae.

So either all our popes have been pinkos, or somebody hasn’t been paying attention.

Disclaimer:  This post has been sarcastic filler fueled by wine and posted as a place-holder until this blog’s author can get an actual review up.  Also, I know that Pope Francis only has a technical diploma and not a master’s, but I’d still take his word over Rick Santorum’s on science… or just about anything else.

7 Quick Takes – 7 Reasons God is Good

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Today’s quick takes are all reasons why God is good all the time.

1.  The Universe: making it: He did.  And that’s pretty awesome.

The Flammarion engraving, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The Flammarion engraving, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Now, some of you might respond like this:

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But hey, if we didn’t have the universe, we wouldn’t have:

2. Cartoons!

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3. TNG. I am a Trekkie. I regret nothing. double_facepalm_tng1

4. Gardens and everything they produce:

Photo by Flickr user Burgundavia

Photo by Flickr user Burgundavia

Borage - a lovely but unruly plant that attracts pollinators.  Photo by Flickr user Terrie Schweitzer.

Borage – a lovely but unruly plant that attracts pollinators. Photo by Flickr user Terrie Schweitzer.

A picture taken by me that's actually good!

5. Badasses like these guys:

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Wish I had Mr. T at these Masses.

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6. And I wouldn’t be able to tell you the main reason I’m praising God today:

I GOT THE JOB!!!!! WE’RE MOVING!!!

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7. Since it’s Friday, and God is awesome, have a song:

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t the Lyceum!

Answer Me This – Father’s Day Edition!

Father's Day

I promise actual content will return soon, including a review of a certain encyclical.  In the meantime, here’s Answer Me This!

1. What’s the best thing about your dad?  I have to pick just one?  In that case, I’ll go with the fact that he’s a loving and kind man, and one of the most generous people I’ve ever known.  He’s left me some very big shoes to fill (literally as well as figuratively – he wears a size 12).

2. If you’ve got kids, what’s the best thing about THEIR dad? (If you don’t, feel free to substitute your grandfather or another father figure.)  Since I don’t have kids, I’ll talk about my grandfathers.  Both of them served in  World War II (one in Europe and one in the Pacific).  Both of them worked hard at whatever jobs they could get to support their families and went without for their children’s sake.  Neither of them went to college, but both encouraged their children to do better than they had done.  My maternal grandfather taught me to love nature and my paternal grandfather taught me how to tell a good joke.

3. What’s the best advice your dad ever gave you?  “You don’t have to be big.  If you’re smart and hardworking, people will look up to you no matter what size you are.”

4. What’s something you have in common with your dad?  We’re both nerds, we both have a creative streak, we both love being Catholic, and we both have short fuses.

5. What’s the manliest thing you know how to do?  It’s a toss-up between changing a tire and fixing a toilet.

6. Who is your favorite fictional dad?  All right, I know Bill Cosby turned out to be a pervert in real life, but I always loved Cliff Huxtable.  He was funny, he was loving but strict, and he was an adoring husband to Clair.

For more Answer Me This fun, visit Kendra at Catholic All Year!

Answer Me This!

Answer Me This summer

1. Any big plans for the summer?  If it’s God’s will, moving.  As you read this, I am on the West Coast preparing for a job interview tomorrow!  I am still sending out resumes frequently, so even if this one doesn’t work out, I’ll get in somewhere!

2. What is the strangest thing you believed as a child?  That once I turned off the light, there would be Black Widow spiders all over the floor of my bedroom.

3. What is your favorite amusement park ride? Honestly, none of them.  I’m scared of heights and I get horrific motion sickness, which makes amusement parks very UN-amusing for me.

4. What’s on your summer reading list?  Ooh, good one!  I need to re-read bits of the Ball Blue Book before I start canning again, and I should get to St. Faustina’s diary.

5. Have you ever fallen asleep in public?  Yes.  Despite the aforementioned motion sickness, I tend to fall asleep on trains.

6. What is your favorite smell?  I really love the smell of cigar smoke because at family gatherings, all the men get together and smoke cigars.  The smell of pizza cooking is a close second.

For more Answer Me This fun, visit Kendra at Catholic All Year!