Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ten is a nice round number

Well, my sister and Sharon, who are hardcore, have given up new plastics for a month. I am selfish and hesitant, and possibly also too addicted to Trader Joe's to give up plastics (seriously? shrink-wrapped zucchini?! but it's no problem avoiding their zucchini -- it's the triple ginger cookies! the nonfat frozen yogurt! the dark chocolate covered edamame/espresso beans/almonds with sea salt and turbinado sugar!), so while I wait for tomorrow morning, when I'll talk to Abe about it, I thought I'd talk more seriously about reducing and reusing.*

In our new apartment, Abe and I have made a few lifestyle changes that are a little friendlier and a little frugaler. Some of them are tiny, but Jesus teaches that even the little things matter.
  1. We bucket shower. We don't actually heat the water with the sun, although we maybe should. But it guarantees we use less than 5 gallons for our shower, and we reuse the water.
  2. We use our shower water to flush the toilet. This is sort of inconvenient, but you get used to it when your water bill comes and the billing fee ($2.75 every month? Seriously?) is more than the charge for your water usage.
  3. Abe uses soda cups, old tin cans, and plastic bottles to grow seedlings.
  4. Right now, you'd think we were drunks if you could see our porch. Abe and Josh are saving all their beer bottles and cans, because they're building a tiny house in the woods (a secret house! to match the secret garden!) out of "trash." They salvaged some old tires that they found in the creek, and they've started on the foundation.
  5. We take reusable cloth bags to the store -- when we remember -- and when we don't, we use the plastic bags to line our bathroom garbage can. When we get paper grocery bags, I turn them inside out and use them to wrap gifts. (I am secretly obsessed with wrapping gifts. I might even be happy to wrap your gifts this holiday season, provided one of them is for me and/or you pay me off in baked goods.)
  6. As I mentioned in my backpacking post, I use a diva cup. I know we may be in mixed company who may not appreciate the discussion, but I have to mention it because it is AWESOME after a little adjusting, and I hope to convert all of you. If you want to know more, leave me a message! If more than one person is interested, maybe I can politely ask any male visitors (males? are you visiting?) to go away so that we can have a nice chat with just us ladies.
  7. I charge my cell phone as little as possible, not every night. This may or may not also be good for the battery.
  8. We replaced all the lightbulbs that we could with compact fluorescent bulbs. Living in an apartment, all of our non-lamp light fixtures were chosen for us, and not all of them are cf-compatible.
  9. When we do laundry, we try to dry as much as we can on our tiny clothesline and on our fold-out dryer racks. I admit - the tiny clothesline worked a lot better before we moved and got downstairs neighbors whose cigarette smoke rises up to our apartment.
  10. In spite of the 92 degree weather, we have yet to turn on our a/c. It is hot as blazes in our apartment, so I'm grumpier than Franc at fat camp, but we're making it with the help of our highly technological fan. It has a remote! And an auto timer! (This means you can program it to turn off in 1-2 hours - and we used it all the time before it was 90 degrees at night. I guess we still use it, but now it just means we wake up every 1-2 hours and 5 minutes to start the timer again.) And we do other things to beat the heat - like wear as little as clothing as possible, now that we live on the third floor. We'll cave any day now (I'm thinking Friday) and turn on the air, but when we do, we'll still use it as little as possible, and supplement with fans that we can turn off when we're not home.

*I don't get into recycling so much, because I have the feeling that nothing in the "recycling" bins at our apartment complex gets recycled anyway. Also, reducing and reusing are more convenient and challenging to me creatively.


  1. Hi Karen! I'm really enjoying your blog. I had to click on your diva cup link b/c I was imagining a pink drink cup with feathers on and “Karen” spelled out in rhinestones, so of course, I wanted to see, and possibly get one with my name on it. Surprise! Anyway, despite my initial disappointment, am now very curious about the actual diva cup and think I might try it. Love and miss you, J

  2. Definitely give the cup a try! When you do, you'll be more glad than ever that there are no rhinestones involved. Or feathers.

    My only complaint with the diva cup (along the lines of your thinking when you read the name) is that it came in a very convenient cotton drawstring pouch WHICH IS PINK AND PURPLE AND SAYS "DIVA CUP" ALL OVER IT. It looks like a "Bratz" doll accessory.

  3. Hi Karen! You don't know me, but Jennie told me you were blogging about your diva cup and I got all excited. Do you think they did surveys and focus groups and stuff and the women were all like, 'yes, definitely make the pouch pink and purple and gaudy'?

  4. Wow, wouldn't I like to meet the members of that focus group. (Easy to identify: They would be the ones on the Appalachian Trail carrying pink drink cups with feathers and their names spelled out in rhinestones).

    It must have been the same focus group that picked the name "diva cup." It wasn't embarrassing until they decided to call it that! (Also a misnomer: I've never met a diva who used a menstrual cup. Also, I try not to meet a lot of divas.)

    ps) Lovemonger, your blog is so exciting! I strive to be as adventurous (also to have pretty feet).