Friday, February 17, 2012

Tap water and my mixed feelings about being green

I know I periodically go on green benders, where I vow to only eat organic veggies, or use both sides of the paper, or whatever, and then real life smacks me upside the head and it all goes out the window.  One thing I always wonder about as I read green blogs, is, how much of a difference does it really make?

I don't mean this in a, oh, it doesn't matter if I recycle or not, sort of way.  I mean, given all of the chemicals and carcinogens we're all exposed to, is whether or not I microwave my food in a plastic container really going to change my chances of getting cancer? 

The March issue of Good Housekeeping has an article called Is Your Tap Water Safe? The article talks about all of the unregulated chemicals found in tap water.  Among them are sucralose (an artificial sweetener) and atrazine (an herbicide).  I don't drink sucralose because artificial sweeteners give me headaches.  There's not actually enough sucralose in tap water to cause me problems, but the bigger problem is what does sucralose + atrazine + chlorine (or whatever cleaner my waste water treatment plant is using) + any medications I may actually be taking do in combination?

In a similar vein, I just read an article about a whole bunch of other reasons soda is bad for you.  One of them: soda cans are lined with plastic because otherwise the acids in soda would eat through the aluminium can.  Not only is the knowledge that soda is THAT acidic disturbing, but what sort of funky chemical compounds are being created when those acids are reacting with the plastic lining the cans?  I have no idea, but I'm pretty sure it can't be good for us.

The thing is, even though I'm trying to eat better, and give up soda, and use less plastic in general, all of this stuff comes out in our pee and eventually makes its way to the waste water treatment plants which treat the water that we then drink.  A prime example of this is birth control.  Female hormones in birth control are actually found in our tap water because of the process I just outlined.  I'm not sure I need extra hormones--the ones I have are enough to contend with as is. 

So eve though I'm not on the pill, I'm consuming a small amount of extra hormones by drinking the tap water.  And not only is bottled water not necessarily any better, but drinking bottled water compounds the issue of the amount of plastics and plastic-related chemicals in our waterways. 

On the one hand, even if you're super-conscientious of what you put into your body, you may still be exposed to carcinogens in your water.  On the other hand, if you just give up and figure there's no way to win, you're definitely making the problem worse.  I'm not really a fan of, well, I guess we should just all do the best we can and hope things work out sort of approach, but it seems like that's what really needs to happen here.  We all need to actively be healthier and use fewer chemicals, from medicines to pesticides to harsh cleaning products, so that we all have less exposure to this junk. 

I wish high school chemistry was as interesting as these might have made me reconsider my course of study in college.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Etsy site is set up!

My mother sews and quilts a lot, so I decided to set up an etsy site to sell her things, because otherwise I'd have a house full of them.  This is the first thing I've listed: but I'm about to list a few more items.  Please check it out!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Switch Bitch by Roald Dahl

Is anyone else having trouble getting their reviews from goodreads onto their blogs?

This is my review of Switch Bitch by Roald Dahl:
I didn't realize Roald Dahl wrote books for adults, but I stumbled upon this one when I was looking for something else by Dahl and what a treat! This book is actually four short stories, all of which involve amusing sexual adventures, but in the spirit of literary discretion, the sex itself isn't actually mentioned.

The descriptions provided by Dahl struck me as accurate, exact, and clear. You, the reader, sees the scene exactly as Dahl sees it. For example: Across the river there were willows along the bank and beyond the willows and emerald-green meadow, yellow with buttercups, and a single cow grazing. The cow was brown and white."

I don't think I'd say "yellow with buttercups," I'd probably say yellow buttercups, which, while not entirely different, is not the same, either.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

I am my own Larry David skit?

I was at a funeral the other day...see, it already starts off like an episode of Curb your Enthusiasm.

The thing about Curb your Enthusiasm, is that sometimes I find it hysterically funny, and other times I think it's too painful to watch and so I just cringe.

So, at this funeral the other day, I saw a friend from high school who has adopted two little boys.  She adopted them on separate occasions, but they're both three and are 10 months apart.  I commented to her that she looked great and that two three-year-olds sounded like a sleepless handful to me.  She quickly countered, so you're saying I don't look nearly as bad as you thought I would? The trouble with quick, smart friends is that they pick up on stuff like that.  If all of my friends were as dim-witted as I am, no one would realize how uncouth I am.  Of course, they also wouldn't know what uncouth means.

Meanwhile, while hiding from said high school friend so as not to further embarrass myself, I stumbled upon an ex-boyfriend of a friend of mine.  Fortunately, the ex and my friend are still in good standing.  Unfortunately, I didn't know how else to introduce him other than as the person my friend dated before meeting her husband, which would have been fine had there been no one for me to introduce him to, but as it happens, my mom walked over at that moment, and while she's met the person many times, it was quite a while ago.  So of course, this clumsy introduction waddles off my tongue before I can stop it.  Which is really unfortunate as this guy is actually 100% wonderful, just he and my friend didn't work out.  We all had a good laugh about it, but I'm sure he was thinking, Virginia is such as ass...why does [insert name of friend here] still hang out with her?

Evidently, as I have friends, I clearly have redeeming qualities of some sort.  Just none of them* make appearances at funerals. 

*them being my redeeming qualities, not my friends. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Vermouth tastes like ass

I just spent the better part of the afternoon trying to figure out a drink with vermouth in it that I like.

Somehow Captain America and I have a bottle of the stuff in the house.  And it's open, otherwise I'd re-gift it.  And no, I'm not drunk blogging.  I didn't actually drink that much vermouth, because as I've already noted, it tastes like ass.

First, I looked up a number of vermouth recipes online.  There are tons of recipes that call for vermouth.  I selected a handful that either didn't require any ingredients we didn't already own, or called for ingredients that we would use anyway.

Then, on my walking tour of chores...I had to mail a letter, go to the bank, and return a DVD to the library, I went to the grocery store to buy said ingredients.  I was walking because I wasn't feeling motivated to either go to the gym or to go for a run, and figured this would at least get me out of the house.  Also, it was a nice day out, and I was able to try out some new sunscreen my mom gave me that's supposed to be matte.  How's that for multitasking?

So I returned from the store and set about making a Cosmo.  I like martinis, and although the Cosmo isn't my fave (that would be a lemon drop), I figured this would be a good place to start.  I didn't know that cosmos called for vermouth, but I had never tried to make one before, so what did I know?

I just did a quick google search of Cosmo recipes, and what do you know?  Not a single one called for vermouth.  And there's a good reason for that...cosmos with vermouth taste like cranberry ass.

Next, I tried something called Country Club Cooler #1.  This called for vermouth, grenadine, and carbonated water.  This sounded fun.  Sparkling pink drinks always win points with me.  The first go-around of this one, I added too much grenadine.  It didn't taste quite right to me, so I carefully measured the grenadine for take two.  As it turns out, the grenadine was not to blame.  Country Club Cooler #1 tastes like carbonated pink ass.

Finally, I made something called the Christmas Tini, which contained vodka, vermouth, and peppermint schnapps.  I am not a huge peppermint schnapps fan, so this recipe was a little iffy to begin with.  And the result?  Minty ass.  Seriously, it's as if Orbit made crappy alcohol.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, #1)Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was hoping this book would be trashtastic, but it wasn't.

For the first few chapters, I felt like a child had written this book. Then I got into the rhythm of the writing and it wasn't as bad. The book pretty much lines up with the first season of True Blood, but True Blood is more fun. There are two big differences. The first difference is a whammy: there's no Tara in the book. No Tara! Tara actually spends a lot of time driving me crazy, in True Blood, but it seems odd to add a character. Maybe she's in future books. Anyway, the second difference is obvious: True Blood uses the perspectives of multiple characters, while Dead Until Dark is only Sookie's perspective.

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