27 March 2009

Parrafin Candles - Are They Bad?

Isn't THIS a loaded topic? I mean, come on. I sell candles - paraffin candles, in an attempt to make enough money to stay home when my maternity leave is up. So this topic is very near and dear to my heart, and has caused me some deep thought and will require further soul-searching if I am to continue.

Here's a quote from a blog I read, Crunchy Domestic Goddess:

"For those of you not intimately knowledgeable about standard paraffin candles, paraffin is essentially hydrocarbon, or a heavy alkane fraction distilled straight from crude oil. Even if 80% of your electricity comes from coal and fossil fuel fired power stations, burning candles is very polluting and certainly very greenhouse gas and carbon dioxide emissions intensive, even more so than electric lighting. In other words, for every paraffin candle that is burned to replace electric lighting during Earth Hour, greenhouse gas emissions over the course of the one hour are increased by 9.8 g of carbon dioxide."

This quote is actually from Crunchy Chicken. Thanks.

So - in an attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, people may burn candles. But in this process, they actually contribute MORE to pollution if they burn paraffin candles. Ouch.

I've had my reservations about paraffin for a little while, now. I've wondered, since PL's candles burn clean and nothing is left in the container when it's gone, WHERE DOES IT GO? I can see the benefits of beeswax candles. And maybe soy, but I have yet to do any research on emissions in that respect. Burning ANYTHING is bad, I imagine.

Hmmm. To sell or not to sell? Kind of makes my entire life into a big hypocritical mess, doesn't it? Thoughts?

18 March 2009

Greywater Usage?

I've been mulling over our water consumption for quite some time. This issue of dwindling fresh water supplies has me in a tizzy, to tell you the truth. Which has led me to question WHY THE HELL we, as a society (North Americans), use fresh, clean, pristine water to FLUSH OUR TOILETS!!! Do none of you see the problem with this?

Our fresh drinking water is not on infinite supply, people!

So. I have come up with a solution, which will help appease my guilt-wracked brain, and, in addition to other water-saving ideas that I've been following for years, will help us to limit our own unnecessary water usage.

I will unhook the water supply to my toilets. I will remove part of the drain pipe beneath my bathroom sinks, and install a large bucket beneath each of the aforementioned sinks. When the toilet needs to be flushed (using the when it's yellow, let it mellow..." rule), we simply pour some of the greywayer into the toilet so that it self-flushes, and then top up the small amount in the bowl.

This is in addition to other water-saving actions we take: (please disregard the terrible misuse of punctuation)
-turn the faucet off while brushing teeth;
-"if it's yellow, let it mellow; if it's brown, flush it down" rule;
-10 minute showers are not necessary-get in, wash off, rinse, get out. (Better yet, turn off the shower while you soap up!);
-while running the water waiting for the water to heat up for shower/sink, catch that water in a bucket to save for pet or plant watering. (This is something I don't do YET, but plan to implement.);
-don't fill the sink up with water in order to wash the dishes - AND don't leave the faucet while doing the dishes just so you can rinse them without having to turn the tap off and on - BEN!!! (I already follow this rule, it's the convincing-my-husband part I have to work on); and
-wash laundry only when there is a full load; and then, use the appropriate water amount (not having a high-efficiency washer may be best with washing cloth diapers, but it uses a lot more water) AND there may be a way to re-use the grey water from washing clothes (but not diapers!)...hmmm

Do any of you consciously attempt to reduce your water usage? Do you do anything different from what I've listed?

07 March 2009

A Dog's Life

Harley has been here for a week and one day, now. We had him to the vet yesterday, who checked him out and gave him his shot. Harley has a bit of an ear infection - in both ears, so he was prescribed an antibiotic ointment. Not including the cost of the medication, total charges were well under a hundred bucks, and that includes a fecal analysis, to ensure he doesn't have any parasites that he could pass on to Delilah. That's a helluva lot cheaper than I paid in Guelph for vet visits. What's up with that? This Staples Vet Clinic is pretty awesome. Spread the word!

Harley and I have been walking using the umbilical method - instead of holding the leash, I make a lasso and it goes around my waist. This way, he learns that I am in control, not him, and he can't jerk my arm out of its socket if he pulls suddenly. My brother has been using this method with his dog Kilo (a female Anatolian Shepherd Dog/Husky Cross) and has seen vast improvements with her pulling. Basically, the idea is to do this umbilical exercise with your dog for as much time as you can, each day, during your normal INSIDE daily activities. You walk around as you would, at the same pace, etc, and ignore the dog. This teaches the dog to look to you to see where your feet are going to be, and this in turn teaches the dog that YOU are alpha, the pack leader, and you control where he goes. This is a great theory. We'll see how it works. So far, we've done 3 or 4 walks with him attached to me, and today was twice as good as yesterday. I have yet to do any in-house umbilical exercises but that will start tomorrow. Wish us luck!

01 March 2009

Relief From Grief

Some will say that to get a new pet so soon after the loss of one, a person is merely reacting to the grief. I would disagree.

On Friday, after 4 days filled with unspeakable pain, I brought home the newest member of our family. Harley is an 11 month old King Shepherd/Border Collie cross, a very friendly neutered male who is filled with love and affection.

Harley (whose name both Ben and I dislike - I don't think we should rename him, but Ben disagrees) is gentle with Delilah, gets along well with other dogs, and knows his basic commands. He can sit and stay, although distractions are a difficulty at this point, shake a paw (both sides), lay down, and fetch. Releasing the fetched object is a little bit of a tough one right now, but we're working on it.

We got Harley from a guy (Jason) who has recently separated from his wife-when they split, she moved to an apartment and he kept Harley. Unfortunately, Jason works a lot and didn't feel he had the time that Harley needs, so he posted an ad to Kijiji on Thursday, looking for a new home for Harley. Friends of ours forwarded me the link, I responded, and we made arrangements to meet the next day. The rest is history.

I'm still sad about Tyler, but Harley has helped me start to heal. He distracts me, makes me laugh with his antics and youthfulness. He's a big lug and so eager to please. He's very good looking on top of it. That doesn't hurt.

We went to the dog park late this afternoon. It was FREEZING, very windy and snowing. Delilah, the only one who stayed warm, was in the carrier under 3 layers and fell asleep against my chest. We watched Harley interact with several other dogs. He is fairly submissive but not timid, and he played with all the other dogs there, at one point or other. When we got home he went straight to his new cedar-filled bed and crashed. He's been there ever since! Tired puppy. We'll likely be going most days, hopefully it warms up soon!

I will post pics of Harley as soon as I am able. All the pics we've taken since he got here are still on the camera, beside the pics we took of Tyler in her last few days. When I can bear looking at them I will upload them all to the laptop and publish them.

Thanks to all who expressed their condolences and offered support.

My Weightloss Progress