Monthly Archives: April 2013

How to wash plastic bags

How to wash plastic bags

I’ve washed used plastic bags for years, but I’m finally coming out publicly with it. Here’s how to do it without creating a greasy mess and getting bags dry in and out before they start to stink:

  1. Set some nice taper candles in holders near your sink on a surface that can take drips. They’ll look nice when you aren’t using them for…you’ll see what later.
  2. Don’t put plastic bags in dish water, or they’ll attract dirty grease and be hard to get clean. Putting the bags in water will also get them unnecessarily wet on their clean-enough outsides. Just set them by the sink until you’re ready to wash them.
  3. Turn your bag inside out on one hand, poking out the corners with fingers.
  4. Use a soapy cloth or soap-filled wand (my favorite method) and wipe all over, then rinse.
  5. Set each bag over a candle to dry for a few hours, turn right side out, and dry again of that side got wet. They away they go into your drawer or recycling bin!
I think these look prettier than bag drying racks.

I think these look prettier than bag drying racks.

Zip bags are especially easy to wash–I reuse them over and over, and have never had a problem with germs. I’ve recently begun washing all plastic bag food packaging for recycling. I have a spot for them in my recycling nook.

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Posted by on April 29, 2013 in How to


Aeropress: a $30 espresso maker that won’t wake up the whole household

Aeropress: a $30 espresso maker that won’t wake up the whole household
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Posted by on April 28, 2013 in Food & Recipes, How to


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God’s Grandeur by Gerard Manley Hopkins

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
    It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
    It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
    And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
    And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
    There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
    Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
    World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
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Posted by on April 22, 2013 in Arts, Poetry and Music


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Fox News: we’re here to help you feel the panic

How about some apps to go with some of that Fox News coverage of  today’s scary events and many more to come? No matter that the manhunt is continent’s breadth away, with these special spine-chills generators, adrenaline release patches, and extra 3D sound and visual effects you too can experience the thrill of danger. Live footage provided by police and FBI, who carry helmet cameras, makes it all seem so real…

I was stuck watching the big screen in the auto service department of our local Honda dealer today–my first chance to watch Fox News up close. Yes, I know–I’m sheltered. It was the story of showdown between law enforcement and the last Boston Marathon bomber. A bit of a culture shock after CBC Radio and NPR News coverage. Anchor Megyn Kelly’s hard, intense voice caused visceral reactions in me, like certain preachers with a yelling style, and I wanted to change the channel, but I decided to take notes instead. Like an anthropology exercise.

She used simple, short sentences with plenty of italics, and made liberal use of quotes, introduced by saying, “…quote,…” for which she gave no source. As in “A man who, quote, ‘has come here to kill people.'” She pushed listeners to engage emotionally, perhaps because there was a lull in the action as she spoke, with the suspect not doing anything, just hiding in a boat. “And now there are women and children locked in their homes. Can you imagine what it’s like, wondering if you could be next?”

Are we really so dull that we need to be led into how to react? Is it like a drug ? What is the most important thing about the news, anyway? I thought it was to get information, perhaps intelligent and expert analysis, then see if there’s something we should do about it.

The tone of serious alarm was even matched by most of the advertisements, the slots for which, I suppose, had been snatched up by companies hoping to make an extra buck because of the atmosphere of fear created by this terrorist manhunt. Buy gold or you’ll lose all your savings due to inflation. Buy the Obamacare Survival Guide. I’m surprised there weren’t any specials on safe room kits for six easy payments of 299.95, double wall thickness if you call today.

I mentioned to the shuttle driver that I was new to Fox and was getting the atmosphere of the station’s coverage. He said Fox was the only news he ever watched. It was evidence that I’ve become less confrontational that I didn’t challenge him on that, even ask him what he liked about Fox. Darn it! Now I want to know! I really am sheltered.


Posted by on April 20, 2013 in Culture & Society, Media


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It’s a Working Man I Am – Rita MacNeil

I got to operate a spotlight in a stage crew for a concert Rita gave at Acadia University in the 90s. Here’s one of her most loved songs, to honor her memory and introduce her music to others.

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Posted by on April 17, 2013 in Arts, Poetry and Music


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Reconnecting with college friends after almost twenty years, no facelift or C.V. required

Ah, a college reunion internet group–a pleasant alternative to posting in one of my alumni magazines. The Kings Tidings magazine is okay–I tended to know or know of many of the people listed in my year range–it was a small, self-contained college–and the accomplishments were usually philanthropic, cultural, and journalistic, and therefore interesting to me. But Dalhousie Magazine had such a self-important air, trumpeting famous alums and trying to sound like the greatest, as if that would attract more endowment funds, but I rarely saw a name I recognized, whether faculty or alumni. I sent in a few news items to each–my marriage, birth of our children, then, well, I never did publish my first novel, get hired by a large law firm, write a play, or even make a documentary, so I stopped keeping them up to date. Here’s what my news would have sounded like:

“Gillian (S ’89, Biology) G built a two-bay compost system, which she uses to teach her kids about decomposition.”

“Gillian (S ’89, Biology) G decided not to further her higher education, but instead to teach her own children from preschool through junior high, without hiring a cook, janitor, or playground supervisor.”

“Gillian (S ’89, Biology) G helped form a community 4-H group, where she teaches gardening, soil science (composting) and drawing.”

I could have sent photos, all dressed up, arms around other composting, homeschooling alumni. You see what I mean. Such accomplishments would send the wrong message to potential donors.

The online alum group I found is for everyone that attended my college in my decade, even those who didn’t graduate (no grad year after names). It lets us connect in any way we choose–be silly, share links and photos, seek collaboration, find out how things really turned out after all these years, urge political action, share personal updates, send good wishes. Already I learned that one friend is widowed, another divorced, and a third was attacked by an axe-wielding terrorist and now serves others from a wheelchair. I look forward to hearing all the good news, too–seeing what choices my fellow students made, whether they live in a similar pattern as then, or have evolved in new direction, if their kids look like them, .

I have undergrad regrets–things I’m not proud of from those years. I wasted some time, money, and opportunities, made unwise choices, wasn’t as caring to people as I ought to have been. The college was in some ways not a good atmosphere for freshmen like me, not ready to guide young people except in academics. But mostly I cherish those four years, have many-peopled and fond memories, and am glad to have been part of King’s. And a part of, I must say, an uncommonly special group of alumni.

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Posted by on April 11, 2013 in Education, Relationships


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How to make your own yoghurt

How to make your own yoghurt
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Posted by on April 11, 2013 in Food & Recipes


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