Seventh Generation

As I slowly move toward being more environmentally conscious as well as buying cruelty free products, I’ve been looking for companies that offer products that I use daily.  They’re out there, but sometimes they are very expensive.  While I hate for money to  be the deciding factor on how green I am, these days I unfortunately have to count the pennies.

However, every now and then I’m surprised you don’t always have to break the bank to do the right thing. I needed some dish-washing liquid, and so I decided I’d look in my supermarket’s “Greenwise” section . I love this section because it has a lot of products that are either organic, vegetarian/vegan and of course, GREEN!

I was specifically looking for Seventh Generation, because when I downloaded the Leaping Bunny app to my iPhone, it listed them as a no cruelty company, but they weren’t on the shelf.  So, I looked through the cleaning section and picked out a dish-washing liquid that had the Leaping Bunny logo, put it in my basket and went on my way to look for some ice-cream. On my way to the back of the store, I passed the isle with all the regular cleaners and air freshers and decided to look there.  It turns out they had the Seventh Generation products there, which I thought was odd, but hey who am I to judge their stocking system.  Turns out this stuff was $1.00 cheaper than the one I originally picked up, and of course upon lifting the little tab on the back label, there was that lovely bunny.

Here’s the one I bought:

 

The scent is very nice, not too overpowering, and you really don’t need a huge amount either.   And the dishes felt squeaky clean with just one wipe.  My usual cleaner doesn’t do that which really now that I think about it is kind of gross.  Makes me think they weren’t being cleaned that well before.  Yeesh!  I mean, I know the gang and Sofie haven’t complained, but hey maybe they have!

I’m very happy with this.  Next time I’ll be checking out their paper products and garbage bags.  If their other products are as good as this one in quality, I believe this is the start of a wonderful relationship!

 

I’m giving this a rating of: 4 Tuna Cans! Not just because of the quality and price, but because this company really gets it! You don’t have to harm or kill animals to make a good product and make money, and you can still be kind to the environment!

Morningstar Farms “Veggie Hot dogs”

I’m always looking for different meat substitutes, whether meatless burgers, cold-cuts or hot dogs and sausages.  Finding a really good tasting hot dog type product has been the hardest.  I have tried some good chorizo and sausage type products, but hot dogs, not so much.

This past week I saw a new product from Morningstar Farms which was a hot dog.  I was sooooo excited because I used to love eating hot dogs. I finally made them yesterday and they were deeply disappointing.  So many times people describe food like this as tasting like cardboard.  I wish!  Hell, I’d love to say they tasted awful, but that would imply they actually had flavor.  Really, they tasted like nothing.  The most flavor in my meal was the bun and the mustard.

I will NOT be buying these again. This gets a litter box rating of 4!  Blah!

A sorry 2011 and a hopeful 2012!

I’m sitting at home, as I do every New Year’s Eve.  I’m not ashamed or embarrassed to say this, as I take quite a bit of pleasure being home, with my furries, especially on such a crazy evening.  It isn’t as though I’m the only one.  If you don’t believe me, then ask yourself why the plethora of New Year’s Eve programming?  But, I digress.  I don’t want to harp on what an absolutely shitty year 2011 has been, not just for me but for many others.  I won’t tell you how incredibly disappointed I’ve been at not finding a better job, or that going back on Monday to the hell that is my current position is a fate I don’t wish on anyone, even Charles Manson.

My smallest kitty, Tatiana is at the vets office being spayed.  I didn’t really plan on doing this today, but the opportunity presented itself, and today was the best day to have it done.  Perhaps this is a sign of a greater beginning not just for her, but for me as well.  Tatiana has gone from a skinny, very sickly stray cat, to a very loved 5 pound ball of terror!  She’s going to start the new year a brand new kitty.

I should do the same.  I keep telling myself, things happen for a reason.  I need to go out and get the things I want and not be afraid of making changes.  You know why?  Because those changes might just be part of something great!

So to 2011, I say, “Go sit on a porcupine!!”

And to 2012, I say, “Bring it on!”

Drinking the Kool-Aid

This term has been used for the past few years, mainly in politics, as a sort of a joke. Meaning, when someone has an idea that is incredibly outrageous or ridiculous, they’ve drank the Kool-Aid. Many times you see the user jokingly say the term, often with a little smirk on their face. Honestly, this phrase makes me want to cringe. I have to wonder if those using this phrase realize what they’re saying.

If you aren’t familiar with the real meaning of this phrase, allow me to educate you, and if you have forgotten, take a moment to refresh your memory.

On November 18, 1978, 918 people died in jungles of Georgetown, Guyana.  These people were part of The Peoples Temple, headed by Jim Jones.  Jim Jones formed the People’s Temple in Indiana, in the mid 1950’s.  Jones was a socialist, and he used this philosophy in his church.   People who were part of the People’s Temple loved Jones.  In theory, it all seemed wonderful, and for a time in practice it was.  After some criticism on how his “church” was run, Jones uprooted his flock and moved everyone to Redwood Valley, California in 1965.  During the early 1970’s several more branches were opened in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The bottom began falling out of the organization after a scathing newspaper article was written in 1973, which questioned Jones leadership and what the church was really about.  Some members began to leave and family members of others began to want to know more about Jones and the organization.

Seeing this, Jones decided to move everyone to a place where he would be able to have total control over everyone and everything.  The move came in 1976, and little by little members moved to Guyana.  What started out as a dream turned into a nightmare for many.  On November 14, 1978 Congressman Leo Ryan, after receiving many calls from concerned family members, decided he would go to investigate Jonestown for himself.  He took with him some family members hoping to bring those who wanted to leave home with them, along with a reporter and cameraman.

After a few days Ryan as well as some of those who had traveled with him sensed danger and were asked by Jones to leave.  As they arrived at the airstrip they were all gunned down by members of Jones’ army.  At the same time, Jones and his more loyal followers were reading their own demise.

Contrary to popular belief, this was not a mass suicide.  Many of those people did not willingly drink the cyanide laced “Flavor-Aid”.  The adults were encouraged to give the poison to the kids first, and then themselves.  All the while being surrounded by men with rifles.  In the end, Jones died of a bullet through the head.  It’s never been confirmed whether he shot himself or someone else shot him.

33  years ago 918 people died, from drinking Flavor-Aid with cyanide and not actually what has always commonly been believed to be Kool-Aid.

So there you have it.  The origins of the overused phrase so many joyously use in order to look clever.   Next time you decide to say this, please remember where it came from and the lives lost.

Santa Claus!

Okay, so I HAVE to brag. This is Sofie’s (my Yorkie) first Christmas with me. For those who don’t know, Sofie used to live with my dad and his wife. She was his wife’s dog, and for reasons I won’t go into again, this woman wanted to give her away to a friend when her sister came to live with them and needed constant care. Sofie has been with me since April of 2011, and this is her first official Christmas photo! Okay, so her dress didn’t come out as floofy as I wanted to, and you can’t see the cute rose. Her little tag is sideways, so you can’t see the heart that has her name on it, but look at that face!

I’m telling you, this has got to be the cutest Christmas pet photo EVER! If you are curious, the dress is a Toile Christmas design. I was drawn to it because 1. I love Toile, and 2. it had dogs and cats watching Santa as he put presents under a Christmas tree.

If you aren’t sure what Toile is, here’s a little sample:

She was a little excited, but she let Santa hold her and she sat patiently as we took her picture and picked out the perfect one. Afterward, we drove home in a torrential rain storm and when we got home, she shared some treats with her favorite kitties.

Gardein Mandarin Chicken – Review

One word, AWESOME!

I decided to get a few things at Target this past Saturday afternoon, and in the middle of finding the perfect stockings for my two new furry additions to the family, I realized I needed something for dinner. I love shopping at Target, because ever since they added the grocery section I find many wonderful meatless options either in frozen foods or on the shelves next to some of the dry foods. Thankfully, Target has begun offering some Gardein choices in their vegetarian section. I was reaching for the meatless burgers when I noticed the Mandarin Chicken package!

Of course, I couldn’t just serve this alone. I’d need some sort of side, so I opted for a steam-in-bag broccoli, and added some some boil-in-bag brown rice at home, (can you tell I’m all for convenience?) My entire meal took less than 15 minutes to make. I did however have to improvise a little when it came to the sauce for the Mandarin Chicken. The pouch exploded in my microwave, and I only had about 2 tablespoons of sauce, watered down sauce, left. I add a little honey and some red pepper flakes and mixed it into the chicken as it was in the pan.

It was delicious! This package is enough for several meals if you are cooking just for yourself. I not only had enough for dinner, but I had plenty left for lunch today and dinner later as well. So for less than $6.00, between the Gardein and the broccoli, I managed 3 very tasty and convenient meals. I won’t count the rice, because I already had that.

I love Gardein. There are many meatless offerings I haven’t had, simply because not all markets sell all of their products. I suspect they just sell the most popular. I won’t complain very much though, since I’m happy to be able to find anything from them. If you want something delicious, quick and not too pricey, especially if you are feeding several people, this is the way to go.

Gardein Mandarin Chicken easily gets 4 tuna cans from me!

Sometimes being a pet parent isn’t very glamorous.

You know how sometimes people say having pets is like having kids? It’s true. Especially when it comes to the gross stuff. Let this serve as a warning right now to those with weak stomachs.

Of all of my cats, Vlad is the fastest eater, and this means many times he winds up barfing up what he just ate. This morning was one of those mornings. It’s funny, when I first brought my little 5 pound boy home, anything like kitty poops or barfing would gross me out. Now my boy weighs 16 pounds and quite frankly at this point, it no longer phases me.

This morning he had finagled his way up on top of the fridge and in between Kiska and her plate of food. When this happens, Kiska jumps down to Vlad now empty plate, and I take her plate, split what’s on it in half, and give Kiska half of what she’s left and give Vlad the rest. It’s not totally fair, but Vlad is bigger than her, not just in weight, and in reality, he does need a little more food than she does. Anyway, everyone went about their business, finishing their food and me washing plates as they were all done. I was at the sink, and I heard the tell-tale sound of Vlad getting ready to spew. When I hear this sound, I immediately go into panic mode!

I say panic because Vlad doesn’t just barf, he turns into Linda Blair kitty and what comes out turns into projectile grossness. AND he was on top of the fridge. Not a good place to barf from. I won’t go into what happened the last time he barfed from on top of the fridge. I looked up and he was getting ready to go and all I had was, well my hand. Yeah, you know what happened. He actually barfed on top of the fridge, but close enough to the edge that it came down like hot lava down a mountain. The paper towels were in front of me, but I wasn’t fast enough in tearing a piece off, so I had to block the flow with my hand. Ack! I wouldn’t have been so panicked about it expect my fridge is like most, sandwiched (sorry for using food reference at this point) between the wall and my counter. The space between the counter and fridge is millimeters and cleaning anything between that space means pulling out the fridge, cleaning the fridge and cabinet side then pushing the fridge back, and I had no time for that.

Well, I stopped the flow with my hand and by that time I had some paper towel in my other hand so I managed to sweep the rest up to the top of the fridge, where Vlad was patiently waiting for me to clean up the mess so he could go on eating what was left of his food. He made sure not to barf on the plate. I washed my hands, and it took me all of 5 seconds to clean up. I’ve become a lean mean barf/poop cleaning up machine.

I remember when my friends were always talking about their kids bodily functions when they were babies. This was all the time! I always had to just sit there and listen, not saying anything because I didn’t want to offend them! Not long ago, I was doing the same and my friend reminded me how I would complain about her talking about her kids stuff. I calmly said, “Yes, I complained about it, only after you had bitched and moaned heartily about how much diarrhea your kid had and the color and bouquet. So I think I’m entitled to the same.”

So there!

Freschetta by the slice – review

I bought one of these yesterday at the market. I had planned on having it for lunch, until one of my office neighbors offered to share her lunch with me. I’ll take homemade pasta with sauce over microwave pizza any day, so this was left for today.

As frozen microwave pizza’s go, this actually tasted quite good. I had hoped to find the one with veggies, but other than this cheese slice, the only other one in that section of the freezer had chicken on it.

It was cheesy, and spicy and had the right amount of sauce. Of course the crust wasn’t crispy, even with the special tray included, but I didn’t expect it to be. I have yet to taste any microwave pizza that has crispy crust. This is why I always make mine in the toaster oven, but we don’t have one here at work so I had to make do. The price was incredibly reasonable at $1.99. Really, you can’t go wrong with that.

Regardless of the lack of crispy crust, I’d recommend this for an inexpensive lunch that will satisfy the taste buds. It was filling and I will certainly be trying it again. Next time I will hopefully find the veggie one.

I give this a rating of 3 tuna cans. It really was quite good.

Fall back

We’ve all heard of the phrase, “Spring forward and Fall back.” This is a cute little reminder for us, to know that in the Spring we have to move our clocks forward one hour, and in the Fall they are moved back an hour. The reason we are obligated to do this is because, and studies have been done on this, we save energy. There are tons of sites dedicated to explaining the why’s and what for’s of this perpetually inconvenient action, but frankly I still don’t fucking understand it.

I’m sorry, but all I know is last week I had plenty of light driving home, I was able to keep my lights off longer and when I went to bed, it had only been dark for about an hour. Now when I drive home, the sun is going down, therefore dusk is setting in and my vision is all fucked up. I have to turn my lights on at 4:00pm or else it’s way too dark in my apartment, and I want to go to bed at 6:00pm! Last night it was 7:20, and I had this urge to close up shop, lock my door and go to bed. I kept telling myself, “You’re only 44, you can’t go to bed this early until you are at least 70! I usually go and climb in bed with my furries at around 8:30, watch TV for about an hour or so and then its lights out. Now, according to the clock, which my body hates right now, I have to wait until 8:00pm, which is really 9:00 pm, put Sofie in the hallway with a pee pad so she can go pee, then go up to bed, try to keep my eyes open for another hour, and go to sleep at a time which in actuality is way past my bedtime!

I hate this! I have no problem driving to work while it’s still dark, and the sun is coming up. It gives me a great excuse to buy that Venti Mocha Latte with extra caffeine, because after all, I need something to wake myself up! I have no problem getting ready for bed while there is still light outside. I love that! Give that to me all year round! And if you try to tell me this is for the farmers, I don’t care! Sunlight is sunlight. You can put whatever time you want on it, but it’s always going to come up and go down at the same time, no matter what your clock says. It makes no sense to me to keep moving the damned clock around!

Curse you daylight savings time! Gah1

Zicam – Allergy Relief – Product review

I have allergies. I have seasonal allergies and I’m also allergic to cats and dogs. For the record, I did not become allergic to my cats or dog after I had them, I was well aware of my allergy to them BEFORE I brought them into my life. But, at the time, I had insurance and was taking allergy medication that I needed anyway, so bringing these fur babies into my home was not a big deal.

Today, I have no insurance, and have to pay for my medication without the luxury of a copayment. Because of this, I try to find over the counter medications to get me by until I can afford to fill my prescription. I can only do this with allergy medication, because my asthma medication has no OTC substitute. Yes, I have asthma and have pets. Surprised? Well, not everyone uses the old “I have allergies” to dump their pets. Some of us actually love them and deal with a little discomfort. But, I digress.

I ran out of my generic nasal spray, and until next pay day I have to resort to the OTC stuff. Right now I’m trying the Zicam Allergy Relief nasal gel. I’m not thrilled. Call me crazy, but is it too much to think this will actually work while I’m at home, WITH my pets? I’m at work now, and even though I’m still sniffling and sneezing, it’s not bad. My nasal passages are somewhat clear. But while I’m home, where the actual allergy is hitting me full throttle, nothing. There are moments when I sneeze for several minutes non-stop. Is it just me? Am I the only one this stuff doesn’t work on? I use so many of these over the counter products and they never seem to work.

Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t expect this to work as well as my prescription medication, but I would have thought it would have at least given me some relief! At the very least cut down on the stuffy nose!

$12.00 down the drain as far as I’m concerned. They won’t be getting another twelve from me any time soon.

Sorry, Zicam. You get a 2 out of 4 litter box rating from me this time. I didn’t give it a worse rating only because at least at work I’m clear.