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Tigress by Ellen Tsagaris
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Ellen Tsagaris' The Bathory Chronicles; Vol. I Defiled is My Name
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Wild Horse Runs Free
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With Love From Tin Lizzie
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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

In Praise of Books

At this time of almost New Year, I would like to comment on the new family kindle, nothing personal, it's a fun little gadget, but rather that steer me to the F.451 bookless world of the paperless future, it has made me want, even lust for, my books even more.

I know, this is a blog for living green, and so it remains. I urge everyone to do her part, to make what can be made, to recycle, to thrift shop, to compost and waste not, but I make the argument that books can be lent out again and again, hence the continued popularity of book shops, used book stores, paperback traders, libraries, etc. I also note that, horror of horrors, books can and are recyled at the ultimate end of their lives, and they can be composted, turned into craft materials, other books, paper, art objects, etc. The plasic kindle, alas, along with its droid, blackberry, computer, netbooks, ipad, iphone and assorted bretheren, will find their way into the landfill, where they do not break down, with all our precious personal information just waiting to be retreived from their abandoned little harddrives.

My books are beautiful, and well-loved, and well illustrated. They fill every nook and cranny that the dolls do not; they are my constant companions, along with their sibling magazines and journals. True, I go through and find new homes for some, usually to my students, sometimes to my local book keeper and paperback trader, a few to the Goodwill or to charity, but I never throw them out. I have saved mildewed books, burned books, chewed up books [compliments of my late, great dog, Smokey, who liked to teeth on hard bound vintage volumes], I've reconstructed books, and my oldest is a 1759 Bible. My oldest paper object is a page from a 17th c. King James Bible.

I love to hold them, to see them on my shelf, to annotate them, to look for the in book stores, to take them with to class to show. I can't get that satisfaction with my kindle.

Besides, it really wasn't my present; I was suckered in that way. It was meant to be for my husband, too, and our 12 year old comandeered it. I've had it five days, but today is the first time I could look at it.

I'm sure it will joint my walkman,watchman, lap top, casette recorder, dvd player, and stereo one day, in the appliance and gadget museum or graveyard. It should be in the Smithsonian one day, too, in the folly section, next to the pet rocks and fondue pots. Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas! Many good tips for organic cooking and food shopping on PBS's "Create." Also, On Jacque Pepin's Fast Food and Rick Steve's Europe,many tips for using local ingredients and recipes. Resolve to go greener this year in 2011; look over what is available in local stores for food, but also for recycled paper, craft products, fashions, cleaning supplies and electronics. There are bargains to be had in local coops and natural food stores, especially in organically grown teas and spices that can be bought in very small amounts, but that make all the difference in taste. Also, more and more places have indoor farmers markets all year that offer free range chickens naturally colored eggs.

Think of toasting the new year responsibly with local brews from local wineries and breweries, or drink sparkling ciders. Also, review Every Day food, TV, radio, and magazine, for ideas of how to use leftovers.

I recommend our other site, too, Dr. E's Doll Museum, and the wonderful dolls made by our good friends at Uneek Designs. Please visit her Etsy site if you haven't yet! They are fantastic, and I plan to feature mine in a lecture I'm giving this May to our local AAUW on dolls representing historical women.

Merry Christmas to All! And now, to write those cards ....

Monday, December 20, 2010

More favorite things

My list continues, Happy Holidays, and Happy Solstice tomorrow, to all!

1. Christmas, Halloween, Holiday sweaters; they aren't ugly to me! These go with holiday jewelry and accessories, and all will comprise a picture book I'm compiling.

2. Shoes.

3. Socks of different themes and types.

4. Necklaces and rings; if I don't wear one of each every day I feel naked and unkempt.

5. Starbuck's double-shot on ice, made at the stores. Coffee in general, very dark chocolate, Dark Mays, Viennese truffles, Godiva anything, Fannie May coffee and ice cream.

6. Baskin//Robbins Jamocha Almond Fudge, and Creme de Menthe

7. Pitchers ice cream; we miss you! Downings Chocolate Marshmallow ice cream; we miss you!

8. Baking

9. Cooking from my mom's recipes, my grandma's diretions, Sra. Norniella's Black Beans, and my cookbooks.

10. Telva magazine.

11. Doll Castle News

12. Gunne Sax

13. Anything Laura Ashley

From Consumer Reports Dr. Santa's Health Blog; we all need it!

Dr. Santa’s 12 tips for a healthy holiday
Yes, my name really is Dr. Santa. (It’s Hungarian.) I like doctoring around the holidays—my name makes it fun, and a lot of important health issues come up then, too. I hope this series helps you navigate the season.

TIP 9 Don’t be a holiday heart attack

It’s hard to sugarcoat the statistics: You’re more likely to die of a heart attack on Christmas or New Year’s than any other day of the year. Why? It could be a lot of things. Stress. A particularly high-fat meal. Shoveling snow. Substandard care in an emergency room staffed with a limited holiday crew. But my guess is that denial plays a big role.

Denial, after all, is pretty common over the holidays. We want lots of laughing, all the meals gourmet feasts, and everyone a picture of health. In other words, we think life will take a holiday. But it won’t. You want to believe that slight pain in the chest is just heartburn and not worth making a fuss over. Right? Wrong.

Precisely because heart attacks are so common around the holidays, you should be especially alert to these warning signs:
Chest discomfort, including pain, pressure, squeezing, or a feeling of fullness in the center of the chest. The symptoms may wax and wane.
Pain or discomfort that radiates to one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
Sudden onset of shortness of breath, even without chest discomfort.
A cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness.
If you think you’re having an attack, call 911. Then chew and swallow a regular-strength aspirin.

Of course, it’s even better to avoid heart attacks in the first place. So take these common-sense steps:

Avoid overindulging in food or alcohol. The risk of an attack appears to double in the two hours after a particularly large meal.
Get a flu shot and treat any respiratory illness immediately. In frail folks, those infections can sometimes precipitate an attack.
Minimize emotional stress. Negative emotions, such as anger or stress, trigger the release of hormones that can threaten your heart.
Bundle up outside, since cold temperatures can increase blood clotting and cause blood vessels to constrict.
And take it easy when exerting in the cold, too—whether it’s shoveling snow, or playing with the grandkids.

—John Santa, M.D., M.P.H, director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center

TIP 1 Don’t shop till you drop: How to navigate the holidays in a stress-free and healthful way.

TIP 2 Lights, ladder, and candles: Avoid holiday accidents.

TIP 3 Dr. Santa’s stocking-stuffers.

TIP 4 What not to get for the holidays this year: A cold or the flu.

TIP 5 Over the river and to the ER: What to do if you get sick while traveling.

TIP 6 Raise a toast—but not too many.

TIP 7 Stuff the goose—not yourself.

TIP 8 Difficult holiday conversations.

From Green Mom's Blog, as Tweeted on Twitter

Holiday Waste Reduction Tips by Katy Farber, Green Mom; couldn't have said it better myself!!

(Here's some great holiday waste reduction tips from The Central Vermont Solid Waste District. I particularly like the idea of wrapping presents in old maps. I never thought of this and have way too many old maps in my classroom.)

With the holidays upon us, we offer the following waste reduction and recycling information for the two topics District staff receive many questions about: wrapping paper and Christmas trees.

Wrapping Paper, Tissue Paper and Trees

Americans use 25% more paper between Thanksgiving and January 1 than any other time of the year. Here are some tips to limit your resource use, from the CVSWMD's online Residential A-Z Guide to Waste Reduction and Resource Handling.

*Reuse wrapping paper (and ribbon) over and over.

*When its useful life is through, some can be recycled with mixed paper. All wrapping paper EXCEPT metallic and foil varieties is accepted with other paper. Please make sure all ribbons, bows and other package ties are removed before recycling. If you receive curbside pickup, contact your hauler to make sure they will accept it.

*Use other wrapping ideas instead of wrapping paper for gifts. Old maps, children's artwork, and cloth bags make nice wrappings, for instance.

*If you really want to use new wrapping paper, seek out recycled content papers. Just one of the likely many places you can find it: www.buygiftpaper.comChristmas Trees

*When you are ready to get the tree out of the house, seek out local recycling and composting options.

image: by litlnemo on Flickr under Creative Commons
Posted by Katy Farber at 6:00 AM Email This BlogThis! Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Google Buzz
Labels: green holidays

Sunday, December 19, 2010

My Favorite Things

I just watched Oprah's My Favorite Things Encore show. She gave away some extravagant and spectacular gift, though not many really got me excited. I wonder how many people in turn regifted or even sold their favorite things on eBay, and if she paid the gift tax as well. The way people were crying and screaming, I would have thought the Messiah had come once and for all. So, after the access to excess, I decided I would keep a random list of my favorite things.

1. Anything my mother made,knitted, sewed, recorded, bought for me, drew, or wrote. She was the most creative person I'd ever known, and with her mother, the kindest. Even when she died, she left things she had been crocheting for me.

2. Memories of things I did with my mother, summer drives around the neighborhood that involved stopping for a coke at Mcd's, or a Whopper Jr., shopping at McCabes, and lunch at the Mezzanine, buying goldfish from Woolworths, and a bowl and all that went with it, then setting it up at home, walking through Boston and gettin lost in The Tenderloin, touring Williamsburg, bargaining for treasures at doll shows, walking The Boardwalk at Santa Cruz, all these and more. Just sitting at night watching "As Time Goes By" and drinking coffee, wrapping presents at Christmas and making Baklava, her walking me to kindergarten roundup or to my grandmother's house, she and I making a tent in my backyard and having a picnic with sandwiches and oreos, or afternoons after school at Marie's Party shop.

3. Violets, especially when they first come out, and May baskets full of the white one's my Grandfather planted over fifty years ago.

4. Early spring, and planting bulbs and flowers with my nieghbor. The first good day I can take out my lawn spikes and lawn statues.

5. A string of good yard sales, where nothing is over $1.00.

6. When all my bills are paid/caught up, and I can go out and "junk" or see yardsales.

7. Coffee at my favorite coffee shops, a good cappucino.

8. Stores with signs showing what you can compost or recycle.

9. New yarn for scarves and knitting projects.