Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Green and Clean for the Holidays

Thank you, Illinois Chapter of Sierra Club, for emailing me the following great tips:

Green and Clean for the Holidays
No doubt will you be cleaning before your guests arrive.  Try mixing up these simple green cleaners that will leave both your house and conscience clean.

All-purpose green cleaner: Combine 2 cups white vinegar with 2 cups water in a spray bottle. You can scent with a few drops of essential oil. As with all acidic solutions, do not use this on marble. It will destroy the finish and can even etch the surface. Another option is 3 tablespoons baking soda dissolved in warm water in a spray bottle.

Vinegar: it naturally cleans like an all-purpose cleaner and also works well as a deodorizer and disinfectant. It is safe to use on most surfaces and has the added bonus of being inexpensive. Improperly diluted vinegar is acidic and can eat away at tile grout. Never use vinegar on marble surfaces. You shouldn’t worry about your home smelling like vinegar because the smell disappears when it dries.

Lemon Juice:
is another natural substance that can be used to dissolve soap scum and hard water deposits. Lemon juice combined with salt is a great substitute to clean and shine brass and copper. It also can be mixed with vinegar and/or baking soda to make cleaning pastes.

Baking Soda:
can be used to scrub surfaces in much the same way as commercial abrasive cleaners. Baking soda is a great deodorizer when placed inside the refrigerator and freezer to absorb odors. Put it anywhere you need deodorizing action.

Salt: perfect for cleaning grungy ovens, this natural abrasive is also great for soaking up fresh carpet stains such as red wine, coffee or ink.

Cloth, not Paper: Think about trading paper towels for cloth rags (old tshirts, socks) that can be reused.  

For more great ideas to help your home and family be healthy and planet-friendly, visit  Sierra Club Illinois Chapter.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Terrorist Trial

I never saw the War on Terror as an actual military action between countries. Rather, it is using our military to fight civil disobedience that has stretched to the most violent end of the spectrum, insidiously sneaking over borders and around the world.

This must be a civil trial. Terrorists attack civilians, and civilians have every right to face the accused, and the accused must be forced to look into the faces of those families they've devastated.

And...the world is watching. This is a "do unto others" opportunity. We know how we want Americans treated in foreign courts. Let's show the world that we will treat foreigners in our nation with the same justice we require Americans be treated overseas. We must show that no matter how heinous the crime, American justice works.

I support President Obama's decision to have the 9/11 terrorists tried in New York City.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Ostrich and the Phoenix went to sea...

Like the Phoenix, everyone has repeated "burning days," and repeated new birth from ashes. The best lesson learned is that life is messy, exhilarating, painful, sweet, frustrating, frightening, amazing - and just as it should be. Too often, people try to avoid the burning days that come with being human, and the more they try to avoid, the slower and more tortuous the burn when it finally comes. Like deferred maintenance in buildings and cars. Or not paying down debt when we have the chance. Avoiding pain is nothing more than a lost opportunity.

We are meant to grow and stretch and push boundaries. We are meant to make mistakes, learn, and try to do better next time. The Ostrich, on the other hand, (and we've all known head-in-the-sanders), tries to deny human nature, afraid of the burn, unable to comprehend the joy of the new life on the other side. A true Phoenix chooses the burn, walks into the fire with her head held high, ready to be cleansed of mistakes and impurities, and walks out a new woman, forged with balance and strength and wisdom, ready to begin her next cycle with a firm step and an accomplished sparkle in her eyes.

The New York State Legislature is about to embark on some rough seas of serious decision-making regarding the State's $3.1 billion budget gap. The Governor has been clear - this time is going to be even more painful than we can possible imagine.  Cuts will be made, and each cut dollar will impact someone...many someones. It takes a Phoenix - someone who has known pain, has made tough decisions for better or worse, who understands consequences and has been there personally - it takes that cleansed-through-fire person's point of view in order to chart the State's pea-green boat toward thoughtful solutions and safe harbors.

Something to think about.