Wednesday, July 30, 2008

In Search of Shorter Showers

The length of my showers has always bothered me (and probably my parents and sister and roommates and...). I have always taken really, really long showers, but I am never standing idly in the water. I am busy the entire time. Get in, get wet, shampoo, rinse, condition, shave, rinse, soap, rinse, wash face, rinse. Thus far I have been unsuccessful in reducing the time. So I'm throwing it out to you all. I would love to spend less time in the shower and use less water and electricity. Any suggestions, ideas, thoughts?

I've been alternating between a bar soap and bath wash with the poof. The bar soap is much quicker, but it leaves a weird sticky residue and makes my skin dry. I feel much cleaner with the poof. I don't know if all bar soaps would have the same effect, or if it's just mine (which is locally made and otherwise wonderful). I'd like to eliminate the purchasing of the body wash because of its plastic bottle.

I usually skip showering once a week. I don't think I smell, but I end up feeling pretty scuzzy by the end of the day. I know I'd get used to it if I did it regularly, but in the summer I'd still have to shave daily. (Curse the genetics that blessed me with fast-growing hair.)

So what's your secret to shorter showers?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Nothing

I didn't do anything terribly note-worthy this weekend. I watched TV. I took the dogs for a walk in the neighborhood. I sat outside and read half a book (not for school!). I watched the dogs compete to see who could eat more Things They Should Not Eat in the backyard. It was a draw, by the way. I thought about many things I'd like to do: go to wine country, go to the waterfall-filled region south of here, go to the mansion gardens west of here, go swimming, but I'm just not up for doing all those things alone. I mean really, who goes wine tasting alone? And so, like always, I did nothing instead.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Cross one more off the list

Today is the last day of this foul class. I am so glad I never have to think about it again (assuming I pass). I hope to do something fun this weekend, but I have a feeling I may just end up crashing on the couch and staring mindlessly at the TV. That and sleeping for as many hours as possible...

This was the last of my general ed requirements. So long, farewell! It's been grand. Not.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Alga Dancing

My classes had been getting so bogged down with theories, accommodations, and strategies that I was starting to forget why I'd wanted to be a teacher in the first place. Today in class we did an activity on different ways to teach vocabulary. My partner and I had zipped through the exercise, and I was standing around in an effort to stretch my chair-weary legs (four and half hours of class is a lot of sitting).

The group next to me was struggling with how to get their imaginary students to remember the word algorithm. I immediately started doing a little dance. When I explained that I was an alga dancing because dancing requires rhythm I got two blank stares. You know, an alga with rhythm? Alga-rhythm? Imagine I was wearing all green? Nothing. Fine. I went back to bouncing around and stretching my legs and wondering how they could not see the connection. They spent another few minutes trying to come up with something. Finally I asked them what an algorithm was, and they launched into a definition of the steps for a math problem (yada, yada, yada). So I demonstrated, again, my example of an alga dancing, but this time I did the waltz and counted out loud. One. Two. Three. STEPS. Now they no longer thought it was stupid (and yes, that was the word that was used to describe my idea) and even used it as their example when they presented to the class. Ha! They did ask me to be a guest dancer. I chose the foxtrot for that.

I want to be the teacher that dresses all in green and dances around the room. Because you know what, no one in my class would forget algorithm if I did that.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Walkability

Melissa from Better Living posted the link for a site that helps calculate how walkable your neighborhood is, Walk Score. You simply enter your address and it does the rest for you. My neighborhood registered at a 31 out of 100.
"25 - 50 = Not Walkable: Only a few destinations are within easy walking range. For most errands, driving or public transportation is a must."
What's a little odd to me is that there are drugstores, grocery stores, restaurants, banks, etc within walking distance. There are not schools or libraries terribly close though. I am embarrassed to admit that I've never walked to any of the localations near me. When I walk in my neighborhood it's with the dogs, not to an outside destination.

Perhaps Walk Score will help to encourage me (and others?) to take advantage of the walkability of where we live.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Math Already Makes Me Sweat

Class number two of the summer semester has started. I maintain that class is no way to spend the warm summer months. When the temperatures soar above ninety and the humidity turns the air into something that you wear the situation only deteriorates.

A portion of this class is being held at a local middle school that, regardless of the relative wealth of the school district, does not have air conditioning in the classrooms. Seeing as how I do not have AC in my home this is, perhaps, not as taxing on me as my classmates. However, when I am attempting to explain integer subtraction to reluctant soon-to-be eigth graders I think we could all benefit from some cooler temperatures.

This is my first experience with summer school (other than that ridiculous movie), so I was much relieved to see the casual nature of the dress code. I've seen teachers in shorts, tank tops, and flip flops. Now that is refreshing.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Better Living

While reading a newly discovered blog, Better Living, I was inspired by Melissa's list of positive things she does towards what she describes as "better living." I came up with a list of my own, which will hopefully be evolving and growing.

Some positive things I do now:
  • buy used textbooks
  • use reusable cloth menstrual pads
  • use sea sponge tampons
  • compost
  • use reusable cloth grocery bags
  • mow the lawn as rarely as possible
  • run only full loads of laundry and dishes
  • wash clothes mostly on cold
  • reuse towels multiple times
  • wear some clothes multiple times before washing
  • buy some food stuff from farmer's market (locally grown/made)
  • buy organic when possible
  • have no AC in the house
  • keep thermostat as low as possible in wintertime
  • have solar panels to assist in heating during cold months
  • limit unnecessary driving
  • walk locally (in neighborhood) almost exclusively to eliminate the drive to more interesting places
  • think before making purchases- do I really need "x" item?
  • belong to Freecycle
  • donate old clothes/household items to Salvation Army
  • eat little meat (no red meat at all)
  • use compact fluorescent bulbs
  • drink tap water
  • use reusable metal water bottle
  • recycle paper, plastic, metal, glass
  • attempt to grow my own tomatoes
  • use reusable cloth napkins
  • not use any chemicals on my lawn or garden
  • read "green" blogs for additional ideas to incorporate into my lifestyle

Some long-term changes/goals:
  • buy reusable produce bags
  • reduce or eliminate paper towel usage
  • reduce kleenex usage (really?)
  • learn to sew
  • learn to cook
  • learn to make more of what I need
  • take shorter/fewer showers
  • use more natural cleaning products like vinegar
  • work closer to home
  • own a more fuel efficient car
  • buy used books (recreational books)
  • buy energy efficient appliances when old ones need replacing
  • grow more edibles
  • avoid big box stores

Friday, July 04, 2008

Just don't get in front of me

I wanted to do something different today. My second summer class starts on Monday, and I fully expect it to be a miserable experience. I refuse to wallow away the whole weekend in self-pity. So I dusted off my rollerblades and headed to the park. Well, actually I didn't dust them off, I merely threw them in the trunk. It's a darn good thing I don't live in scorpion country. It's been at least 5 years, possibly several more, since I've gone rollerblading. The first few minutes were terrifying and painful. I managed not to fall and pushed through the burning shins. I started to get the hang of it again. Rollerblading keeps me humble. Just when I've gotten a good stride going, when I'm starting to feel confident, I hit a twig or a stone or I let my mind wander and my life flashes before my eyes. I must be entertaining to watch, but more importantly, I enjoy the wind in my face and the speed in my legs. Maybe I can add rollerblading to my weekend activities. Clearly, I could benefit from the exercise.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Stolen Tomato

Many weeks ago I bought a patio tomato at the farmer's market. This was to be my first real attempt at growing edibles. There were two plants in the one pot, and I was advised to split them up and re-pot into two bigger containers. Since that would've required a trip to the store, I kept putting it off. Finally I noticed a tomato turning orange. I watched it carefully, checking it before and after work. This past weekend I purchased two larger plastic pots and a bag of potting soil. Now I have two tomato plants! Yesterday morning my first tomato was heading towards red, but when I checked it after work it was gone! I genuinely thought someone has stolen my tomato before I noticed it resting sadly in the dirt next to the pot. The bottom was soft and rotten. Why did my tomato go bad before it was ripe? And how do I prevent it from happening to the others?