Sunday, October 24, 2010

National Novel Writing Month

It's here!  Well, almost.  It's time for:

The fun begins November 1.  Is your pen ready?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Yes, running can be entertaining...

I became a runner this weekend.  When I started running, I had it in my mind that I could only be a jogger until I could consistently cover a 5K (or greater) distance while running continuously.  Finally, I did it.  3 times in a row, no breaks.  In fact, I blew past the 5K mark.  I am finally a runner.

Actually, I was a runner the moment I turned up the speed on the treadmill and pushed off.  But it took me this long to get over my mental hurdles.  Truly, it was a nonsense rule I had made up for myself.

Well, whatever.  I'm now a runner.  I run.  How cool is that?!

To celebrate, here are some vintage Adidas ads.  Note, this site is not safe for work.  Do not click on this link unless you can do so without repercussions!

Runners, Yeah We're Different

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Running on...

A new personal best today:  I completed a 5 mile run.  Six months ago, I would have said that could never happen.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Compost, the Universe, and Everything

A couple of days ago, the spousal unit was getting ready to dump a batch of gluten-free pumpkin beer that had gone bad.  I know, it was very sad. It had been pretty tasty before it turned, too. Buh-bye, beer!

Anyhow, as he was preparing to dump, one of us (jokingly) said, "I wonder if you can compost beer?"  Since my hands were free, I sat down in front of the Magic Box and googled the subject.  Up popped a very useful website:  75 Things You Can Compost, But Thought You Couldn't.  I wanted to post it here as a resource.  I've already looked at it several times.  Hopefully, we can reduce our garbage output and increase our compost pile.

By the way, yes, you can compost beer.  And dryer lint.  And cotton swabs.  And more.  Really.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Running on...

I have to share - today I reached a personal best.  I started jogging a few months ago, following the Couch to 5K program.  Today I jogged 2.25 miles without stopping.  Yay, me!

Now, a little history here.  I am not a natural athlete.  I've never been a runner.  I like to walk.  I like to relax.  I think couches are great!  But a series of events converged a few months ago, leading me to realize I want to run a race.  I also want to increase my fitness, have more energy, fit into my clothes better, blah, blah, blah.  But mostly, I want to run a race.  Run the whole damn thing.  And finish it. So I started Couch to 5K.  I can walk a 5K, and in fact, I have walked several.  So training to run a 5K seemed like a logical progression.

Since I'm not a natural athlete, and have some old injuries, I've stretched the training out quite a bit.  It's taken me over 12 weeks to get to the week 6 workout.  I have to be very careful about stretching and warmup.  I still managed to strain each knee early on, but they eventually healed and now they are getting stronger.  And they lasted 2.25 miles today.  Now I'm ready for a nap...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Epic fail is epic

April is over, and I didn't work on my novel at all.  Not once.  This isn't good.  Something has to change.

Writing goals for May:

1.  Edit the novel a little every day, or 7 hours a week.  Whatever works. I didn't write at all yesterday, but I put in 2 hours of editing today, so it's a start.

2.  Continue to post at least once a week on each blog.  This one has definitely been easier.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Green Laundry

I celebrated Earth Day by making homemade laundry detergent.  Yes, that's the type of thing I do for fun.  (Don't judge me, lol!)

Anyhow, this was something I've wanted to do for years.  Years!  I've honestly been thinking about this since my first job out of college, which was, um, a long time ago.  Long enough that I could have made many hundreds of batches of laundry detergent between then and now.
But did I?  No.  Can you say procrastination?

So this year was the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, and it seemed like a good time to make some detergent. 

First, I had to research.  Liquid or powder?  Powder is easier to make and store, and it's always been my preference among commercial laundry products.  Okay, that was easy.

Next, a recipe.  I found many, but used this one because it was easy to follow and I liked the pictures.

Then, the ingredients.  That's where it got a little harder.  I found borax at the first store I went, but I had a hard time finding washing soda.  I know, I could have ordered it, but I was on a deadline.  April 22 was looming!  And I didn't want to drive all over, wasting gas.  So I hopped on the InterWeb again, back to the helpful Instructibles page.  There was a comment saying you could call the company and find out where it was stocked in your area.  So I called Dwight and Church at 1-800-524-1328 and gave them my zip code, and found out Arm and Hammer Washing soda was sold at a grocery store less than a mile from my house.  Cool!  Okay, now I just needed the soap.  Fels Naptha and Zote, the two recommended brands, are still proving elusive.  If I want to try them, I might have to resort to ordering them.  But in the meantime, I had read enough web sites and blogs to know that just about any bar soap will work, and Ivory is highly recommended.  So I bought a 3 pack of Ivory bars for $1.07, and I was in business.

I won't bore you with the details.  Read the directions on Instructibles, it works just the way it says.  I think it took about 10 minutes from start to finish, and that includes the time it took to play with the soap shavings a little before continuing.  I haven't done the math yet, but I bought all the ingredients, which will make a minimum of 3 batches (1 bar of Ivory per batch), for less than the cost of one box of Tide (my former detergent of choice).  A batch of homemade powder will clean about 32 normal loads, using 1 Tablespoon per load. 

And the million dollar question:  How does it work?  Surprisingly well.  We don't have heavily soiled clothes, but we do have a 15 year old washer and really hard water, and 1 Tbsp of this stuff handled a load of laundry just fine.  In fact, I made sure to wash my gym clothes, using the sniff test both before (ewww!) and after.  Any (ahem) aroma of exercise was gone.  I pretreat stains, so there were no worries there.  The spousal unit did comment on the lack of fragrance.  He feels clothes should have a "clean" smell, I feel they should have no smell.  But I'm willing to play with some essential oils to come up with a fragrance he likes.

All in all, homemade laundry detergent was a success!  And now we are using fewer chemicals, doing less damage to the water system, and are ever so slightly less reliant on big corporations (except for our washing soda and borax), which is a good thing.  Plus, it's kind of fun to make. The next project will be homemade dishwasher detergent...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monthly Writing Goals - April 2010

Okay, I'm writing this down and posting it in public, in the hopes that peer pressure (positive or otherwise) will force me into following through.

My writing goals for April 2010:

1. Edit my novel, at least 7 hours a week.
2. Write at least one post per week, per blog.

The blogs are coming easier than the novel. Gee, what a surprise! I'm finding it hard to be creative and focused at the end of the day. I've tried writing in the morning before work, but that's even worse. I don't really have any creative juices until, oh, 10am or so.

So I've rearranged my schedule started working out before work. That sucks. I'm not a morning person. At. All. But the benefit, besides actually making it to the gym instead of talking myself out of it while at work, is that I'm usually not thinking clearly enough in the morning to mind exercising. By the time I realize what's going on, and how much I dislike it, I'm already at the gym. And it's too late to go back to bed at that point.

That leaves the evening for writing. We'll see how it works out. I really want to work on the novel. My main characters keep whispering to me, telling me bits and pieces of their story. It's time I listened to them.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A little whine about wine

We are home winemakers. Well, David is, anyhow, and I enjoy the results. (Although I did make a killer Riesling almost all by myself.) So we know a little about wine. And we are always looking to drink learn more.

One thing that we discuss a lot is: If it costs more, is it a better wine? I've read more and more reviews lately that indicate for the most part, you really don't need to pay more than, say, $20 for a high quality wine. And there are many, many more economical wines out there. Got $10? Go buy a good wine and enjoy it!

We proved this recently at the home of an acquaintance that is, for want of a better term, a wine snob. I say this because when you drink wine with this person, he's very careful to let you know that what you are drinking is very expensive. He isn't really interested in discussing the nose or flavor notes or any other characteristics of any particular wine, but he really wants to talk price. After tasting several very expensive bottles at his home, we pretty much proved, at least to ourselves, that a $100 bottle of wine is really not 5 times better than a $20 bottle. (Okay, maybe there are some out there that are, but I have yet to have one.)

And now we have scientific proof to back up our theory!
Here it is. Basically, researchers at the California Institute of Technology, with the help of the Stanford wine tasting group, proved that price influences the perceived quality of taste.

I knew it!

So go out and buy that cheap wine, and just slap a $90 price tag on it. You'll enjoy it even more. Isn't science great?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Friday, March 26, 2010


Upcycling is taking something you would throw away, and making something of equal or better value out of it.


Like recycling. Only more so.

For instance, when you recycle, oh, say, paper, you put your used paper in a recycle bin, where it will sit and eventually be carted away to be broken down and remade into, oh, I don't know, packing material. And that's good, because, hey, packing material is something we all use, and really, does it need to be made out of freshly cut trees?

But what if you wanted to upcycle that paper, instead of just giving it tosomeone else to recycle? You could shred it and make your own paper out of it. There are instructions here and here, or put your own Google-Fu to work. Then dig out that calligraphy set you bought years ago, and make your own cards out of it. Okay, you don't want to make paper out of paper...fair enough. How about jewery? Look at this, or this. Or what about yarn? Or...well, let your imagination roam.

Why is this something I think a lot about? Well, our landfills aren't getting any emptier, now, are they? Besides, it's creative and fun. I can't tell you how many hours I've spent happily making plarn or frogging thrift store sweaters to upcycle into new (and occasionally useful) items. And I'm dying to make the paper beads. Hey, it keeps me off the streets...

So that's upcycling. Gotta love it!

Thursday, March 18, 2010


After an experience I had at work today, I was going to write about how many people there are out there that deserve to be killed. But that seemed pretty grim. So I thought about it for a while, and I decided to look at the glass as half full instead. So I’m going to write about why I don’t kill people. Much more pleasant, don’t you think?

Why I don’t kill people:

1. Love – the love for my spousal unit and my furry critter keep me in line. They might not love me as much if I started murdering. Well, the cat probably would. Until I went to jail and could no longer provide a lap for her to shnooze upon. Then she’d get over me pretty quickly.

2. Cooking – I love to eat, therefore I love to cook. Food used to poison me. Thankfully, I have figured out what I can and cannot eat, and now food is again a joyous event. I have a blog dedicated to my exploits in the kitchen; you can read more at Li loves David.

3. Laughter – I was blessed with a sense of humor. Don’t roll your eyes; a lot of people are born without the humor gene. I know this to be true; I work with quite a few of them. My sense of humor helps me to see that absurd people should be mocked, not murdered. See more at OMG! I LOL’d.

4. Fiber Artistry – my obsession began with knitting. Then came crochet. Now I’m branching into recycling and upcycling fiber, and trying new techniques. You’ll be seeing a lot of that here in the future. I'm completely addicted. It’s gotten so bad that when I'm surfing the net, my spousal unit knows I'm looking at yarn porn.

5. Writing – oh, my gosh, I love to write. Almost as much as I love to eat. Then why, you ask, don’t I keep my blogs up to date? Why isn’t my novel published already, instead of wallowing in endless revisions? Well, writing takes concentration, and time. A lot of it. And these days, time is a precious commodity. I’m working on organizing and simplifying, and hopefully will free up some time soon. Then I’ll see you all at my book signing.

6. Exercise – yes, you read that correctly. Exercise. I never, ever thought I would become one of those people who live to work out. And yet, I’m becoming one of those people who lives to work out! Seriously! I even get up an hour earlier, just so I have the time to go to the gym. (See? There’s that time thing again.)

Anyhow, the above list is why I don’t kill people. But what does all this have to do with simplifying and conservation? Well, I don’t think jail would simplify my life. Going off to live in a tiny space, with no possessions, a limited wardrobe, nowhere to go, no expectations, nothing to do but exercise and write…

Um, wait a minute, that all sounds pretty simple. But they might not let me cook or have yarn in jail. And there's probably not a lot of humor to be found. I don't want to take that chance. I’ll stick with my non-murdering ways.

Monday, March 15, 2010

And the Earth breathes a sigh of relief...

You can't imagine how happy this makes me:

Buh-bye, Hummer!

Seriously, it took this long?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Keep it simple!

Welcome to Simply Nooner!

Follow along as the Nooners try to keep life simple and meaningful. Who knew a simple life could take so much effort? Usually we succeed, sometimes not so much, but we always manage to keep ourselves entertained.