You Can’t Recycle That!

I’ve written a couple of articles on recycling (floppy disks and CD’s)  but how much do I really know about it?  Less that you might think.  Recently, I have been challenging myself – trash or recycling?  And I have been doing some things totally and utterly wrong.

Our trash hauler sorts the recycling trash … and that means we don’t have to  ~  but we do sort into the two main categories, recyclable or not.  In our house, it’s still difficult to keep different buckets, or bags in the kitchen to place these items into and it’s not going to happen at all if we have to walk around the house to the appropriate bin each time we use something.

recycling containers for glass,paper and plasticBut do you realize (I didn’t) how much you hurt the entire process when you throw something into the recycling bin, that should go in the regular trash?   The key word here – contaminate.  Just one item can contaminate your entire recycling bin contents – to the point it just goes into the regular trash and landfill and you’ve wasted your efforts? 

I am guilty of making the following mistakes,  so I’d like to “recycle” the things I have learned and use those experiences to educate someone else on what you should or should not recycle.

First, my biggest mistake, and on my priority list to fix, is using plastic grocery bags to both hold and then throw away my recycling.  These bags aren’t the type of plastic they want in the plastic mix at recycling plants, and worse they get stuck and gum up the works on the belts.  Since I make it worse by tying them closed – I am potentially making all my recycling efforts null and void. These bags need to be recycled at the grocery stores where they have specially marked containers for them.  Those containers keeps all that “type” plastic to one location and yes, although it’s not a “great” recyclable plastic, it will get recycled.

Next, I really didn’t know that some places cannot recycle/do not accept packaging from frozen foods – because the cardboard is wax coated.  This type of cardboard packaging is made to withstand moisture in order to protect the food that is inside.  Cardboard and paper are usually recycled using water to create a pulp, but paper sprayed with wax will not break down into a pulp for recycling.  Sometimes these can be sorted out of the recycling mix, and sometimes the recycler just “trashes” the entire can/truck/load containing them because most buyers of the paper don’t want the “contaminated” waxed cartons in the loads they are purchasing.   In fact any packaging made with foil, glossy, glazed or lacquer coatings need to go into regular trash.  This includes candy wrappers, pretzel bags, juice boxes and ice cream cartons!

And it really is all about selling these items in bulk to those who can and will reuse and remake them into more consumable products.  In fact, without those buyers, there wouldn’t be programs to keep these items out of the landfills.

I really thought by now we’d be able to recycle just about anything and so most of my trash is going into the recycling bin – but as you can see I was wrong about the plastic grocery bags and frozen food containers.  As I read advice on several sites about recycling I came across some other things you should not put into your regular recycling.  I am still hopeful someday we’ll find a way to recycle everything.

The list you still can’t recycle include wire hangers, paper towels, napkins or tissues, ceramic mugs, pottery, styrofoam,  photographs, molded plastic parts, pizza boxes, Chinese food containers, heavily dyed paper, plastic bags and wraps, household glass (think windows and mirrors) or cosmetics.   All these things still need to go into your regular trash.

One last thought, although you can’t recycle everything on trash day, there are many things you can recycle in non-conventional ways.  It pays to keep thinking outside the box and finding new ways to reuse those items.

Could it be a Coincidence?

COINCIDENCE, FATE,COLLECTIVE MIND,DIVINE INTERVENTION OR JUST CHANCE?I have heard so much talk recently on TV shows and in books I read regarding coincidences.  Usually their view is that there aren’t any ~ and then the characters of these shows or novels use that information in a positive way to solve the crime, issue or problem that is part of the story.

But, I still don’t understand why they keep saying there are no coincidences.  I actually experienced an unexplainable coincidence yesterday. 

Background – I have a cell phone for emergencies, and I don’t even give out my number.  I never know where the phone is (usually) and so I never answer it if someone calls me. When I do have it and need to use it, I am lucky if it’s charged.  You get the idea, this phone is not the center of my life and I prefer to go about my day without the interruptions it can cause.

Yesterday at exactly the same time – 1:00 PM both my husband and I happened to text my son about his computer.  Not only hadn’t we spoken about doing it, or even about the computer, we were in totally different places unaware what the other was doing.  For me, it was an amazing coincidence because I had to think about doing it, find my phone, check the battery power, lookup my son’s number and then text.  That takes time for me and some effort.  Yet both phones show each text gone out at exactly 1:00 PM.  Next and maybe a bit stranger, was the fact that my son happened to be on break at work at the exact time of the texts, and was surprised to get texts from both of his parents about his computer at the same time.

And if you are to believe the “no coincidences” theory, what does that mean? Are the events of our lives really objective or subjective?  Is there a collective mind, or consciousness that we can tap into?  Did we somehow know he’d be on break; did we know he needed to know about his computer; did we both sense the same thing and react at the exact same time?

In the last few years things like this been happening to both my own family and others that I know.  More and more it seems to point to the fact that there is a collective consciousness where we can tap into others thought patterns, emotions and actions.   Sometimes, I do really just know something is going to happen, in advance.  So, I started telling others what I felt before it happened.  I’d tell them what was going to happen and when (like within the next 10, 20 or 30 minutes this will happen).  I am sure they were skeptical at first but when it just kept coming true I knew I had validated those feelings as being accurate (since I now had credible witnesses to back it up).  

Once I even predicted a house was going to blow up — and I didn’t do it by saying that house is going to blow up — that’s not how I “felt” it.  We were driving through an old neighborhood and I said if I had that house next to mine (think salmon color, like pink flamingo’s) I think I might have to blow it up.  I was joking of course.  That very night a house blew up!  It wasn’t the ugly house, but the nicer house I was referring to when I said “if I lived there”…. right next door to the ugly house … but it blew totally and completely.   Luckily the family that actually lived there was not home!   I didn’t even know about this incident till about a week later in the local newspaper, and I seriously had a hard time believing it.  I made my husband drive by there again to check it out, and sure enough it was the exact house.

Another time, when we were looking to buy a house, we found one my eldest son and husband loved.  But as we stood outside the front of the house, I said — we cannot buy this house as it is covered in blood, don’t you see it? (Of course they didn’t)  It turned out the home inspection showed at least 3 different issues that would/could kill someone who lived there and he urged us to take immediate action and notify the homesellers as they were in actual and current danger from electrical fire, gas leak explosion and carbon-monoxide poisoning.  We gave them our $450.00 home inspection report at no charge to try and save them from any one of those things actually happening to them…and we didn’t buy the house!

Many scientists have reported that coincidence “incidents” are more pronounced and more visible in people who have a strong emotional bond such as identical twins.  That bond allows them to build an increased capacity to deeply understand each other’s thinking and be able to predict and react to the other without the other being present.  But what is it that makes two people do the same thing at exactly the same time, or gives someone the knowledge in advance of an event that hasn’t yet happened?  Why did we drive down that street that day, or look at that particular house to buy? Just a coincidence or more?

It still amazes me to hear of these types of coincidences.  But, because I have experienced so many unexplained things myself and because I react to things based on strong immediate feelings that seem to be accurate, I am thinking there might be something to the collective mind theory ~ where information flows freely to those that have access to it.

By the way, my husband of 40 years now takes no chances.  You may think it’s hilarious, but if I even say “Why are we going down this street?”, he will immediately take another route.  I always ask him why, and he always says, I have lived with you for 40 years, if you are asking you know something and we aren’t taking any chances.

What do you think?  Want to hear more about my personal experiences with this?  Have any experiences you want to share?

Homemade Artisan Rye Bread

Let me first say… I do bread.

The learning – for me – took a few twists and turns but eventually I learned how to deal with yeast.  In the beginning of my journey my loaves were just plain gorgeous, as were my yeast coffee cakes – however no one could eat them.  They weighted about 2 tons out of the oven and the only result back then that I could guarantee was that I would have another beautiful piece to varnish and use as a doorstop.  Oh, we laughed heartily back then about all those gorgeous “mistakes”  I made.   

I couldn’t seem to follow a recipe and get a result that we could actually eat.  Finally I was able to master the yeast – get to understand what it wanted from me to perform it’s best and what I needed (without fail) to do to insure it worked as it should. 

And then… I could say – I do bread.  And I still do bread and cinnamon rolls, and other items containing yeast without hesitation.  I started making bread because of my allergies.  It seems most commercial products contained some form of corn.  I am allergic to corn, and also fructose so that I cannot have anything containing either corn or fruit.  When I found this out and started reading the labels I knew that I needed to start making bread for my family all the time.  

Fast forward to today.  My favorite breads to make today are the Artisan breads. When making Artisan loaves – especially the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day from Jeff Hertzberg, MD and Zoe Francois or the No-Knead Breads from Jim Lahey and Sullivan Street Bakery – you discover just how easy and fun making your own fresh baked bread can be.

I really wanted to try the rye bread… so here is my first attempt at Artisan Rye Bread!

This recipe is from the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day Cookbook and is slightly adapted because I cannot use either the cornmeal for sprinkling nor the cornstarch for the cornstarch wash they recommend.  If you want their recipe and to know about those two items, you will have to check out their book for that information.

I am listing the names of the ingredients I used because I have found that sometimes, the actual brand will make a difference in the finished result.

3 Cups Lukewarm Water (I made my 100 degrees)
1 1/2 Tbsp Fleischmanns® yeast
1 1/2 Tbsp Morton® Kosher Salt
1 1/2 Tbsp caraway seeds (plus more if you want to sprinkle them of the outside)
1 Cup of Organic Whole Grain Rye Flour from Arrowhead Mills®
5 1/2 cups Gold Medal® All Purpose Flour

rye process for artisan bread

Mix the rye and all purpose flour and set aside.  Next mix the caraway seeds, the yeast, and the salt into the water in a large container.  Once mixed, add in the dry ingredients.  Do not knead.  Just add them in and stir them to combine them.  Once done, set aside covered with a towel and allow to rest at room temperature for about 2 hours. 

I actually went back to the dough exactly 2 hours later.  Dusted the surface of the dough in the storage bowl with flour, and my hands and parchment paper, grabbed about 1/4 of it and dusted it while making it into a ball and then oval to put onto the parchment to rise for about 40 minutes.Rye bread done and sliced

In the meantime, I preheated my dutch oven at 450 degrees.  I used this method instead of the pizza stone, and water method to get a crispy crust because I cannot do the cornstarch wash.  If I wanted caraway on the outside of my bread I would roll my bread dough in the seeds before putting it into the dutch oven.

Once it’s oven ready, I quickly open the dutch oven, throw in the bread – slash a few deep cuts into it and place back the lid.  I cook it for about 20 – 30 minutes and then remove the lid.  I cook it for an additional 10-15 minutes for that nice brown crust to form. 

Remove to cooking rack and wait till it cools before you cut it!  This recipe is a keeper for me. The bread is delicious and the preparation is easy and quick. I can’t wait to make the remainder of the loaves (the recipe can make about 4 – 1 lb loaves!)




unsubscribe from email, subscriptions and other junk

Unsubscribing ~ shouldn’t this be pretty easy?  Certainly not annoying?   But no, it seems unsubscribing isn’t “just click here” anymore.

For one thing advertising rates and other factors are determined by just how many subscribers a magazine, a blog, a newsletter, twitter or facebook page has acquired.  It isn’t quite as simple as that sounds, but it is a number calculated using the number of subscribers, the demographics of the subscribers and other factors.  If your subscribers go down, less people will see the advertisers’ ads and the ad revenue for the publication will also go down.

Here’s some ways a publication might keep it’s numbers up and maybe even get you as a subscriber.

  • Subscribe people who don’t really want the publication.

Major magazines, for example, often offer a sweepstakes or giveaway to entice you to enter and when you enter – even though you aren’t fully aware it’s happening —- you are subscribed.   Normal sweepstakes can’t require you to purchase anything, and certainly this method is deceptive and should be a violation, but it continues to be employed by many major magazines.  Sometimes even if you do check you don’t want their publication, it doesn’t mean you won’t get it.  After all your name adds to their subscribers and that increases their revenue. The good news, if there is any, is that you can cancel your subscription, online or by mail.  You have to wait a few days and go online to unsubscribe, or wait for the bill. Once you have the bill, all you need to do it write “cancel” across it and send it back in.  Which leads to the other reason they employ this trick – so many people think they are “stuck” and cannot cancel (worrying about credit score, and such)- that those people wind up keeping  and paying for the subscription.

  • Ignore people who want to unsubscribe

This specifically is aimed towards the political newsletters.  You know who you are.  I have unsubscribed at least 10 times and I still am getting your messages whether I want them or not.  Another offender in this list is the one that tells you that you will be off the list in 2 – 14 days – meaning by the time you see and realize we didn’t unsubscribe you – we will have also bombarded you with our message every day for 14 more days….and then you have to try to unsubscribe again.

  •  Make it hard to unsubscribe

By law, there needs to be a button that allows someone to unsubscribe from your email based newsletter and advertisements – commonly called spam.  To keep people on their list, they don’t let them see the button, don’t put a button or make it go “nowhere” once they push it.  When the unsubscribe link goes to a page with an error, it becomes a hassle and time consuming, so the recipient gives up.  There are many companies employing this tactic – but the worst one is a company that has made the “unsubscribe” information the same color as the background of their advertisement.  So technically it’s there, you just can’t see it.

 All these ways are unacceptable, but fairly common practices.   My advice is if you want to unsubscribe, let the publication know that you do – by calling or sending an email.  If you cannot get anywhere let them know you are reporting the email as spam and will continue to do so until they stop sending it to you.  If even that isn’t working, block their URL so that you don’t get their mail at all.  Eventually I do believe the consumer should win this battle.