Archive for March, 2012

Ok, so I have this weird thing for recycling. I like recycling, but it’s also about how recycling works. It’s a complete mystery. I mean, you toss your stuff in the bin and don’t think about it anymore. And it disappears, to be remade into other stuff. That’s awesome. It’s like magic.

But let’s face it, the recyclables don’t just disappear from the bin and miraculously appear as something new. Someone comes and picks them up, takes them to a recycling facility, and there are lots of people involved, and lots of hard work, and a lot of energy usage. And then what? Yeah, I don’t know either….Aren’t you curious too?

I found this interesting video I thought I’d pass on, just in case you’re wondering how all that stuff gets sorted.

Of course, it’s always better to reduce your usage so you don’t have anything to recycle in the first place, but as we work toward that, it’s definitely cool that more and more people see the value of remaking our trash into something else.

So back to my recycling “thing.” In my quest for all things green, I’ve subscribed to the city of Cambridge, MA recycling e-newsletter. I don’t live in Cambridge and therefore can’t participate in their programs, but they’ve got it going on. They recycle just about everything, have a strong framework for neighborhood recycling, and are great about getting information out there. They do school programs where someone from their recycling department will come to your school and give a presentation on how best to support the recycling workers when you recycle. (I used to teach in Cambridge, and my school took advantage of that one.)

And what was in my inbox from them this week? Why, nothing other than an invitation to tour their recycling center in Charlestown.

Here’s what they have to say about it:

Cambridge residents and City employees are invited to tour Casella Recycling in Charlestown and Waste Management’s incinerator in Saugus. No children under 16. The tour lasts about 2 hours and involves lots of walking on narrow catwalks and stairs, close to heavy equipment. If you can’t keep up with a group walking at a steady pace, unfortunately this is not for you. We meet at DPW and carpool. Let us know if you can drive and how many people you can take. Email to sign up and we’ll send more info.

Recycling Tours: 4/10 (early afternoon), 5/17 (early afternoon), 6/6 (morning).  Or, watch a short video at www.zero-sort.com.

Trash Tours:        4/18, 5/22, 6/13 (all early afternoon)

I can’t explain why that sounds so cool, but I really want to go. Hopefully they’ll allow non-Cantibridgian recycling enthusiasts along for the ride too. I’ll have to let you all know what more I learned about how recycling works 🙂


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As another hobby, I also like to do henna.

I’ve heard about the properties of henna as a remedy for various fungal infections, so when I noticed I had something similar, I figured, what the heck, I’ll draw all over it with some henna and see what happens.

I’d had this particular type of skin infection before, and last time, it took about a year of applying a prescription cream over the area about 2-3 times a day, so I knew what I would need to do and I knew it would be a long process. Needless to say, I wasn’t really expecting that much from the henna. I thought at best, my infection would diminish a bit after the first application, and maybe after I kept applying henna every few weeks, the infection would finally go away. But after a few days, the design darkened and there was absolutely no trace of where the fungal rash-thing was.

I was absolutely floored.

I don’t have pictures or anything (seriously. I was not about to take pictures of that), so you’ve got nothing to go on except my word, but it totally worked, and it was gone within about 3 days or so.

I was truly surprised this worked so well, and happy to have saved myself a trip to the doctors office (both in time and money) and a prescription for cream that might work after several hundred applications.  Really, the only thing you’ve got to watch out for is if there’s broken skin involved. I had a little spot of broken skin on the rash where I put the henna, and now have a permanent henna dot to show for it. Henna is apparently permanent when applied to broken skin. It’s really not a big deal to me though, as it’s just a tiny dot. Actually, I’m not even sure I didn’t have a little freckle there in the first place, but I think it’s from the henna.

Henna seems to have some strong anti-fungal properties and seems to be a good treatment for various types of fungal rashes, foot fungus, nail fungus, and is even said to be able to get rid of head lice. I am by no means a henna expert, but I’m certainly having fun with it, and learning new things about henna along the way.

Pretty cool, huh?

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I met someone the other day who drinks diluted apple cider vinegar for her health, and it reminded me that diluted apple cider vinegar works as a specific remedy for heartburn. I can’t remember where I read or heard that, so I can’t cite the source, but it was a good thing that encounter triggered my memory, because I’ve been dying lately from heartburn. A slow, painful death from the esophagus on out. So after that conversation, I went home and tried it. Just a splash of apple cider vinegar diluted in a glass of water.

Now, if you’re not accustomed to drinking vinegar (which I imagine most people aren’t), it isn’t that good. In fact it’s awful. But I can’t deny the fact that the effect was absolutely unmistakably instantaneous. Heartburn gone. Husband’s theory is that it’s so gross it just makes you forget you have heartburn. But whatever the case, it was gone, and so I don’t care why.

Now I do have to say that it didn’t last very long, maybe an hour or so and I was back for another dose of a few sips. But realistically, you have to keep taking those chewable antacids about every hour or so for them to work, and I’d argue that they’re just as gross. So I’ll take the free version that’s already in my pantry.

As an aside, there’s also a note on our box of baking soda that you can mix a bit of baking soda in water and drink that to relieve heartburn as well. In my own experience it doesn’t work quite as well as the apple cider vinegar. It doesn’t work instantly, and it also doesn’t last long. And it’s still gross. So taste-wise, you’re out of luck. And I wouldn’t recommend going right from the baking soda mix to the vinegar one, or you might turn into a volcano.

And I’ve said this before with other health-related things, but here it is again. I’m not a doctor, nor do I have any medical training. I’ve found something that works well for me for mild relief. If you have chronic or severe issues, it might be good to check with your doctor about that.

Anyone else have experiences to share? What works for your heartburn?

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