Tag Archives: recycle

Weekend Wiffle Ball and Sushi . . . Oh, Geez!

Wow! What a busy weekend. I did one thing after the other and, before I knew it, it was over. It’s always a bit sad to say goodbye, but it is also nice to start the week off having had a great weekend.

On Thursday evening, I went for a run with my brother, Luke, and sister, Amanda. We hit the trails in Schenley Park and had a fun, albeit sweaty, time. It was hot! I had a bit of trouble breathing the thick air, — even at 6:30 it was still in the high 80s — but made it through the 40-minute workout anyway. Luke is training for soccer and Amanda is gearing up for a marathon, so I was traveling with quite the athletically-inclined pair!

Thank goodness for Anthony, my sister’s boyfriend, who greeted us at the end of the trail with water bottles and Edy’s Whole Fruit popsicles. Yay, for Anthony!

After our run, we hit the Squirrel Hill sidewalk sales where I got a cute sleeveless shirt for $1.00 (Yes, $1.00!!) at Avalon and a used copy of one of my favorite movies, Now and Then, at the Exchange. Both stores are places where you can trade clothing and accessories (Avalon), or DVDs, CDs and records (the Exchange) for money or items of equal value. You can also go in and check out the many items that people have traded in, purchasing them at a much lesser cost than you would if you were to purchase them new. I love the idea of reusing everyday items, and the sidewalk sale fulfilled my recycling dreams! (;

While we browsed, I had a honey green tea with tapioca pearls (boba) in the bottom. If you have never had these babies before, they are quite tasty. They are also pretty high-calorie, –about 100 calories every seven — so I do not drink boba tea often. I did not finish this one because the tea was a bit too fragrant for me.

Friday morning and afternoon was work, work, work and then, pack, pack, pack. I cannot believe we are already moving this Sunday! After many hours spent with the computer and boxes, Dan and I decided to take a short walk (about a 1/2 mile) and do some quick shopping at Whole Foods. We also sat down at one of the tables indoors, cooled off and ate some sushi. Mmmm … this was so yummy.

Saturday was another exercise session on the trails. This time my sister and I walked, and my brother, Isaac rode his bike along side of us. We made a plan to meet on the trails, but completely forgot there was a grand prix this weekend. The event caused some major blockage of the entrances to the trails, and it took about an hour for me to finally get to my brother and sister. I was on the trail and they were not allowed access it. So, I walked by myself until they found me. It was frustrating, but also quite humorous when my sister told me she feigned tears to woo a security guard into letting her on the trail — it didn’t work. (Giggle.) Oh, Amanda! Once I met up with them, we walked for about 45 minutes. My bum was a little sore after almost 2 hours of walking!

Sunday was more packing. I packed the entire closet! I also got rid of a lot of clothing that I haven’t worn in ages and it felt good to purge. Later that night, Dan and I made our way over to my parents’ house for our traditional Sunday night dinner. After dinner, we geared up for a new Shannon family tradition — wiffle ball! I have been a cheerleader the last few times, but this time I joined in and, boy, did I work up a sweat. I typically completely stink at all sports involving a ball, so I was completely surprised when I actually hit the ball! I even made a few runs into home plate. Go me! (Sorry for the dark picture.)

I wanted to focus this post on fitness because I promised to show you more of what I do for exercise. I used to be a hardcore exerciser and, while I am still pretty adamant about it, I have learned a few lessons along the way. One being that it is OK to slow down every now and then. When I was younger, exercise had to be my way or it didn’t count. Now, I have learned that it is OK to not always take fitness so seriously and have some fun à la a wiffle ball game!

I am curious: What is your favorite way to exercise? Has your philosophy changed over the years?

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Filed under Eat, July 2008, Pray, Run

Recycle, Reuse and Drink Cranberry Juice!

So, Wednesday night did end up coming to a close with two of the chewy-licious brownie cookies from Whole Foods. (; I also had a glass of water with about 1/4 inch of 100% cranberry juice at the bottom.

Just a note: The cranberry water is just my way of jazzing up my water a bit. The pure juice is sooo thick that it only requires a tiny bit at the bottom to give the water some extra punch! Something about the cranberry juice is so refreshing and I really enjoy it added to my water once or twice a day. In addition, it’s super high in vitamin C, and research shows that it helps to prevent urinary tract infections. Not that I am particularly concerned about that, but, hey, it’s good to know!

Yesterday morning’s breakfast was a bowl of my favorite . . . Quaker Oatmeal Squares! I love this stuff — just in case you didn’t know that already! I had it with about 1 cup unsweetened soy milk. (P.S. You might notice the Coke bottle way back in the left corner there. Don’t worry — that’s from my younger brother who was visiting on Wednesday. Coke is not a part of the 30-Day Challenge! Plus, I hate most soda. Every now an then, I will have a Diet Coke, but that’s about it.)

Lunch was a small bowl of leftover mac & cheese. This was a really yummy, creamy batch if I do say so myself! But I didn’t have too much of an appetite, so I did not go overboard.

Of course, I did save room for one more cookie after lunch! I have a love/hate relationship with these treats. They are so delish, but I hate having them in the house because they are hard to resist!

After lunch, I continued working until Dan got home. We had a date to go to FreeRide, and left around 5:45. Now, let me explain to you a bit about FreeRide: I had heard about the bike co-op program from a conversation I had struck up with a girl at a coffee shop one day. I told her I loved her bike and wanted one, too, and she told me about FreeRide, a Pittsburgh co-op program where people can go and use old bikes and bike parts to build a new bike. Cha-ching! “That sounds awesome!” I told her. And it was totally up my alley — I love the idea of reusing otherwise discarded bikes and bike parts to make something new.

So, Dan and I — two people who desperately want to start using bikes instead of cars to get from A to B — made it a goal to build bikes before we more to Ohio. Well, once my brothers, sister and her boyfriend, Anthony, heard of the idea, they just had to do it, too! So, now we are all putting together and fixing up bikes, and we are so excited. They went and picked out their bikes on Tuesday evening, so Dan and I high-tailed it to FreeRide last night, so we could get the process started, too.

But don’t go thinking it’s all for free! The program works like this: There is a $15 entry fee, or you can volunteer for three hours before you walk through the shop and pick out your bike/bike parts. Then, once you pick a bike, you take it to one of the volunteers and he or she appraises it for what they think it is worth. Now, you can either pay the price, and then take your bike into the shop and fix it up, or you can “earn a bike.” This means that for every $8 your bike is worth you must volunteer for one hour in the shop.

Pretty cool, huh?

Dan and I paid the $15 entry fee because we wanted to pick our bikes out ASAP! After much looking and deciding, I found the bike of my bicycling dreams. Look how cute she is! I love that there is a rack already attached, so that I can add a basket for transporting groceries and things of the sort. She is definitely going to require some work — I need a higher seat, the wheels need a tune up, etc. — but I am psyched!

Goldie Jr. (I used to have a car named Goldie … Ha, ha!) was appraised at $30, so that means I can pay the fee or volunteer for about four hours. Dan and I decided that we are going to volunteer to pay for our bikes, and that means we may be recruited to do a number of things, including help other people fix their bikes (I better brush up on my bike knowledge!), make phone calls or sort bike parts.

Dan’s “bike,” on the other hand, will require a lot more work than mine, seeing as how it is only this as of right now . . .

See the orange and blue parts of the frame? Yeah, that’s his. Of course, he had to pick the most challenging project — Hee, hee! (:

After spending a bit more time checking out the shop, we decided to head home. FreeRide gets rather crowded after about a 1/2 hour of being open (they were open 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. last night), so if you don’t start working right away, then most of the bike stands are filled pretty quickly. So, since we took time to pick out our bikes, we decided to go back tomorrow afternoon and start working. All you have to do it tag your bike with a number given to you and leave it in to shop for next time.

I am so excited to be able to take Goldie Jr. home!

I am not sure if there are bike co-op programs in your area, but it is definitely worth looking into. What a great way to recycle and reuse, cut back on gas emissions, get a good workout, and have fun!

We didn’t get home until about 8 p.m., so that meant a late dinner. I hate eating that late, but I was happy with our night at FreeRide, so I dealt with it. I did some more work while Dan cooked up something delicious. We had mahi mahi with some sort of wonderful marinade, sautéed veggies and sliced baked potato “chips.” This was a superb dinner and a great way to end a fun night.

After dinner, I could not wait to get to bed — whew, I was tired! It was one of those nights where the distance from the couch to the bedroom seemed like a marathon. But I made it there and totally crashed! I slept for about 6 1/2 hours — still working on doing better with sleep.

And now, here I am typing away to you. That’s the update for now — I gotta go get some breakfast! Until later, have a great day . . . wherever you are!

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Filed under Eat, July 2008, Pray, Run

Save Paper, Save a Tree, Save Your Sanity!

A word to the treehuggers out there: Junk mail is the result of more than FOUR MILLION TONS of paper waste each year. What’s more, it costs $320 million of taxpayers’ money to dispose of that unsolicited mail each year (Source: Gorgeously Green)!

Now, surely there is a better way to put our money to use, don’t-chya think?

Check out these sites for information on how to stop wasting paper à la junk mail. A few simple steps really can make the Earth a better place, and help you to stop getting so dang excited when you think you have received mail of the good kind — come on, you know you do :

  • JunkBusters — This site provides you with example letters that you may print out and send to direct marketers to tell them to not send you junk.
  • Exuberance — A post on this site links you to the Direct Marketing Association which requires you to fill out a form and pay a dollar to get your name off junk mail lists — It’s well worth a buck, if you ask, me.
  • GreenDimes — A cool site that pays you a dollar to stop junk mail from coming to you home. You can have your dollar sent to you in the mail, or you can use it to plant a tree or receive a free issue of a green living magazine. GreenDimes has you enter your address information, and then choose which catalogs and other mail you would like to stop receiving. The service is free and, in case you really want to go all out, there are a few options to choose from that involve a bit of moolah. I went with the basic (’cause I don’t have much moolah to mess around with) and got rid of the 80 hundred catalogs I receive from Victoria’s Secret every week (the green effort was clearly lost on this company) and a bunch of other mail that I think I need, but really do not. It felt good to purge!

A few other key points:

1.) If you are not a computer guy or gal, you can send a postcard to the Direct Marketing Association and it will stop most national mailings from coming to your house. The address is: P.O. Box 643, Carmel, NY 10512.

2.) You can also give credit card offers the ol’ heave ho by calling 1-888-567-8688 and an automated system will take you off all major credit card bureaus for five years. YAY! Like I always say, if I want a credit card, I’ll let you know!!!!

3.) Got a bit of time? Call your bank and credit card companies and tell them not to release your information (name, address, social security number, email, etc.) for marketing or promotional purposes. The federal privacy law says that they have to honor your request.

Whether you choose to make a couple changes or several at a time is really up to you. The point is that you are making a difference — and that is what really matters in making this Earth livable for years to come. So, go on with your bad self and stop all that excess mail! You don’t need most of that stuff anyway, right?!

Recycling one ton of paper saves 17 trees, 6,593 gallons of water, 380 gallons of oil, 587 pounds of air pollution, 3.06 cubic yards of landfill space and 4,077 kilowatt hours of energy.

(Source for all statistics: Gorgeously Green)

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Filed under May 2008, Pray

Just Make One Small Change, You Greenie!

“If I make one tiny positive change today, I consider myself green. It can be as simple as flicking off a light switch or buying an organic apple. My motto is one change makes a difference, and if you can make two, that’s even better!” — Sophie Uliano, author of Gorgeously Green: 8 Small Steps to an Earth-Friendly Life

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Filed under April 2008, Pray

It Really is A Wonderful World After All

While it has become easy to look around at the Earth and point out everything that is harming it, I have realized that I also need to take time to notice all the efforts that are already being put toward saving it.

The thing is, once you begin to focus on the negatives, it becomes quite a simple pattern. But during a trip to Whole Foods today, I recognized that there are indeed many people who are hell-bent on making our world a better place.

I was walking through the parking lot when I noticed the new signs that the store had implemented. They read: “BYOB: Remember Your Reusable Bags.” No, the BYOB is not the kind of your college days; instead, it stands for what you might have assumed — Bring Your Own Bag!

Now, of course, a place like Whole Foods is chock-full of people who are working toward making our planet a better one. But today, they really went all out, including the debut of their blue recycling containers for your home and the announcement of the winner from their art made from recycled materials contest. The design at the top of the post is a poster of the winner — look close and you will see a water bottle and laundry detergent container.

Upon leaving, I also spotted new signs in the parking lot that designate spots for people who drive vehicles that run on alternative fuel. I thought it was an interesting way to reward people who are making a difference with their choice of transportation.

What’s more, I love walking to the bookstore or grocery store, and seeing a line of bicycles outside. I have not yet made the switch to a bike, but that certainly is such a fabulous alternate way to get from A to B. And of course, more and more people are opting for reusable bags instead of paper or plastic. What a fantastic small change, seeing as how according to several studies it takes more than 1000 years for plastic to decompose.

It made me so happy, on this day that recognizes our Earth, to see so many people working to improve not only their own lives, but the lives of others — both present and future. And while many of us, including myself, are imperfect people, it is reaffirming to see that the effort is there.

And that gives us all a bit to lean on, right?

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Filed under April 2008, Pray

Make Your Voice Heard on Earth Day!

In case you have not yet heard, Earth Day is tomorrow! The following are a few Earth Day activities that have been created to honor the day in which we celebrate the very ground on which we walk! Now, I am not one to talk politics amongst mixed company, but the first item on the Earth Day to-do list is one in which people from every political standpoint can take part ….

More Earth Day links:

And don’t forget to wear green!♥

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Filed under April 2008, Pray

Go Makeout with a Few Trees Today

As promised yesterday …

I once had a … well, lets call her an acquaintance in an effort to keep her anonymous … So, I once had an acquaintance tell me that she hates “tree huggers.”

And I thought, “Really?”

Well, hopefully, the earth is around long enough for you to pass that lesson on to your children. ):

I mean, to an extent, I get it. Sometimes all of the efforts for saving the earth and the animals and so forth can seem a bit in-your-face. But when I feel that way, I remind myself that I feel that way because of the fact that these truths are making me uncomfortable; at that moment, I am not yet ready to admit that the earth is falling apart or that it really is unfair to keep chickens cooped up to an extent where they are unable to move for the entire duration of their lives.

So, the fact that she made such a statement — and had made many others of the like — made me cringe. Not because I necessarily think she is a bad person, but because of the fact that she has yet to learn of the the harm involved in such statements.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not perfect. I sometimes buy too many apples and have to throw one away, and I drive an SUV that is for sure not helping the Earth. But I would much rather be a tree hugger-in-training than a person who fails to realize the failings of the world that surrounds her.

Now, am I foolish enough to think that my efforts alone will change the world? Absolutely not. My recycling container in the corner of my kitchen and reusable bags that I take to the grocery store are all just small bits at a time.

But the real questions are: What if no one made any efforts? Don’t all of these little changes make a noteworthy difference? Don’t they all add up to make an even bigger difference?

I am reminded of a story that my mother read to me when I was younger. It is called The Starfish Story, and it is adapted from The Star Thrower by Loren Eiseley:

→ Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”

“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “It made a difference for that one.”

And isn’t that the point?

The truth is, if you set out trying to save the entire Earth, you will find yourself with quite a full plate. But it is the small efforts, the few starfish, that make a difference. And that, for anyone, is a doable cause.

So, I say hate the treehugger, and you are only hating a truth that you are unwilling to recognize. No one is asking you to spearhead the global warming movement. But make a few small steps toward saving this planet, and you will be wrapping your arms around a big oak in no time.


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Filed under April 2008, Pray