My husband calls this her "satan dog" look :)
My husband calls this her “satan dog” look 🙂

Happy Happy Happy 2015!!  Here in the Rose City, it is chilly but the sun is shining, people are out and about with their dogs and kiddos in the park, and we are beginning the annual January obsession over what we want to plant in our garden this year! (Hey it’s closer than you think!)

Here are a few tidbits I’ve discovered in this week’s internet stumblings that I thought might be of interest…

* Take advantage of all those winter root vegetables and make latkes! The article Lotsa Latkes, No Need For Potatoes got us thinking and we made some awesome vegan parsnip latkes, using flax seed and water as the egg replacement and cornmeal instead of flour to make them gluten free as well. YUM! We are not a vegan family but try to make meat more of a delicacy instead of a “staple” and it’s gone a long way in encouraging more creativity in the kitchen and using more local, whole foods.

* A few folks might remember I was leaning towards trying out horticultural therapy a couple years back, and decided after reading one of the textbooks that it was a bit too landscape design-y for my skills and interests. However, I am happy to say that after going to their intro session with my friend who at the time owned the neighborhood nursery, she actually decided to enter the program through PCC and is just finishing it, and is now interning over at EarthTones Music Therapy as their first horticulture therapy! This nonprofit is so cool, and it was great to hear about a friend finding success combining nature and people, so I thought I’d share 🙂

* I’ve always been kind of “meh” about TetraPak, but since our local curbside recycling program takes them, haven’t wigged out too much. However, after reading blogger Treading My Own Path‘s post, Why TetraPaks Aren’t Green (even though they’re recyclable), it’s pushed me over to completely avoiding this type of packaging altogether when I shop, now that I understand the components of their packaging. For those of you who aren’t clear what I’m referring to, think of all those boxed soup, non-dairy milk, chicken broth, wine, and other products – those are TetraPak. I only buy a few a year (a weakness for Pacific Natural Foods’ red pepper tomato soup that I know I could easily make myself), but every bit counts. By the way, as a side note, it’s important to remember that regular milk & juice cartons ARE recyclable with your cardboard (they haven’t been wax-coated for many years), so don’t throw those in the trash!

* Want to measure your water usage? Just discovered the water footprint calculator from the awesome Renaissance Gardens blog I’ve been following for eons (psst! check out her Farm Friday posts for those city kids like me who wax poetic about that kind of thing…). It’s in the metric system, so use a handy-dandy converter online to help your brain out there 🙂

* Sea levels are rising, we all know this. Here’s a map put together that shows what our maps will look like if/when the polar ice caps melt. It’s not that unrealistic, y’all.

* Women, I know at some point in time some man has told you to “smile!” when you walk by him on the street as you are lost in thought. And most of us want to kick that guy. Do they do that to other men? No. And of course the catcalls that men only do when you are alone or with other women (never when accompanied by a man). What Lurks Behind the ‘Harmless’ Catcall is a great piece that calls out the bullshit that we’ve been dealing with for far too long. As the author says, “Perpetrators need to start questioning why they embarrass and objectify women on the street and this can only come about when their actions are challenged.”

* Another great piece on unschooling. Whenever I think of the current system, I think still of the fact that it was more supplemental to my education in life more than anything else. I am grateful for my writing instructors and for my chance to create in the darkroom. But for the most part, the greater good I got was from the travels I took with my family to various places around the country, to the wide exposure to books from an incredibly early age (and not just children’s books! I read everything I could get my hands on!), to exposure to the national and world news, to spending time in the garden, the kitchen, and in the great outdoors. And so in our beautiful city, where there are a wide variety of options from public to charter, from homeschool to unschool, and hybrid combinations to boot, we are definitely considering this option. While, like the author, we don’t like the term “unschool” – to me it is a term that acts as if there is no learning involved – we do like that this can be a great option for those who are committed to lifelong learning and ensuring their children find benefit through gaining academic, creative, and interpersonal skills in ways that work best for their own situation.

* “Everyone is winging it, some just do it more confidently.” One of my favorite quotes from a New York Times piece, What You Learn in Your 40s, that I recently stumbled across, referring to one of the many things you realize by the time you hit this decade. The other one for me I particularly connected with was, “By your 40s, you’ve gotten better at spotting narcissists before they ruin your life. You know that “nice” isn’t a sufficient quality for friendship, but it’s a necessary one.'” One of the biggest accomplishments of my first year in this new decade was learning to stand up to people who had become too toxic to belong in my life, and establish boundaries, or in some situations, take graceful steps to end the relationship. (And, as things often happen, you learn very quickly that you definitely made the right decision when you let those people go.)

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.
— Albert Einstein


5 thoughts on “EcoGrrl-icious

  1. I homeschooled my son in middle school and my daughter from 4th-12 grade. Both got into and graduated from college (not the “top tier” schools but those schools weren’t for them anyway). I always took a relaxed approach, making sure they studied enough of the subjects that were required by colleges but also allowing them to pursue their own interests. When we lived in the city, we took advantage of the performing arts center, the zoo, the aquarium, the science museum, the art museum,and took weekend field trips, plus we were fortunate enough to take international vacations. I think they got far more out of homeschooling than they did public school. That said, not everyone can do that and it makes me sad to see our public schools disintegrate due to the flight to private and charter schools. (Thanks again for the shout out. .)


  2. I too homeschooled my boys from ages 9 and 12. They have gone on to be productive and relatively happy (is anyone completely happy?). While we began with a bit more structure due to the regulations in our state the boys helped to decided what they would learn. It only took a year to realize I could unschool and still abide by the school districts requirements so that’s what we did. It was amazing to see my sons come back to life and find hobbies and interests they had no time for when in school with loads of homework.


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