The Mindful Merchant

Shop – Eat – Live – Mindfully

Cucumber Query July 9, 2010

Filed under: cleaning,eco-friendly,friendship,green,non-toxic,stupidity — MindfulMerchant @ 3:04 pm

 

I am one of those bad friends that never reply to FW: emails. You know, the ones that tell the recipient they are special and important. The kind that usually end with threats like seven years of bad luck if you fail to send it out to 20 of your bestest friends in 5 minutes.  No response = doomed for a life of eternal bad luck since not only do I never forward them…I rarely read them.  Delete. Delete. Delete.

 

There are exceptions to my reading though. When my friend Jen sent me a FW entitled “The AMAZING Cucumber”…how could I not have a peek? This forward was about 13 special ways this vegetable can enhance my life.

 

(Now do I have your attention?)

cucumbers No, it is not that kind of email. This one explains the health benefits of eating cucumbers that are full of vitamins and minerals. I did not know that cucumbers were that good for us. I thought they were mostly water and not much else.  Not so! <according to the life changing attachment> It also claims you can prevent a hangover, use it to boost energy and other AMAZING things. Jen sent it to me knowing I am interested in non-toxic cleaning options.  

 

The record-breaking hot temperatures this week meant I spent a lot of time with the kids indoors. Stuck for fun things to do one afternoon I found the old email in a folder and read it to them. We decided to play scientists and test some of the claims.  (Snopes.com says the claims are undetermined)

 

First, we tried to clean pen off the basement wall. No one owned up to writing on the wall with pen, but one of our girls names is Sarah. hmmmm   Here is the before, and the after. It did not completely take away the mark, but it is less prominent. We all agreed it was not an effective way to clean the wall.

 

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Next, we cleaned the mirror using the cucumber before the girls took their showers. It is supposed to eliminate the glass from fogging up. Unfortunately, the mirror was just as foggy after and I really had to work hard cleaning the smears off the glass.

 

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Finally, we took a pair of Daddy’s dress shoes and “shined” them with the cucumber. Let’s just say, my husband had to get the shoe polish out after we were done with them. He was not impressed with the results, nor our justification that his shoes made a significant scientific contribution.

 

I have not tested the rest of the claims because we gave up after those three failing results. I must say that I appreciate when people send me green suggestions, please keep those coming. In this case I recommend cucumbers are best enjoyed in a lovely salad, or covering puffy eyes at a spa.

 

If you receive a FW: titled “The AMAZING Cucumber”, do not get excited. You can delete. Delete. Delete!

 

You’re welcome.

 

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Hockey, A Dog & A Complex June 30, 2010

Filed under: family,special events,stupidity,writers block — MindfulMerchant @ 5:18 pm

 

It took almost two years of debate, planning, pleading, flow charts and a few tears to wear my husband down. He was the last member of our democratic household to vote YES – a dog could join our family. Alice the cat had already cast her vote by responding with two blinks. F.Y.I. for those unfamiliar with cat speak, two slow blinks in a row means “yes” or on very rare occasion “little Jimmy fell down the well”.

June_2010_015 My husband agreed with the following conditions (1) It had to be a male dog since he is already outnumbered 4-1 and (2) He has to pick the name. For those that do not know our family or my husband, this meant only one thing. The dog was destined to have a hockey name.  Poor thing.

This sparked discussion arguments about names while we searched for the right dog for our family. Just to give you insight into my life, here were the top three names back in January:   Lucic ,  Chico Resch ,  Gordie.   Unfortunately, in this house hockey fans outnumber me 3-1.  Poor me.

Our girls suggested the name “Sidney Crosby” after one of their favourite players. Hubby shot that down citing many reasons. Then Olympic fever took hold of our house. For a family that rarely watches television, we had it on day and night. Caught up with patriotism and competitive spirit my husband once again caved and said he would consider #87 IF Canada’s men won the gold medal in hockey.

I suspect most of you know how that turned out. 7 minutes and 40 seconds into overtime…Crosby shoots…he scores…GOOOOOLD! I am not even a hockey fan and I admit that that was a spectacular moment in Canadian sport. We jumped around the family room high fiving and hugging our Olympic party friends. My husband put up his hands to quiet the room. Channelling the spirit of Charlton Heston he loudly announced, “We shall name him Crosby!” More whoops and cheers. Therefore, it was.

P1018102 In early May we welcomed little Crosby into our home. He is a sweet, gentle, puffy ball of fur with a big personality. We all love him…even Alice. Yesterday on my way home from a walk with The Cros, a man stopped me. He looked to be in his seventies, had a cane and a friendly smile. “Excuse me young lady – ” I stopped to chat somewhat pleased…Crosby attracts a lot of attention when we are out with his cuteness.  “Are you walking a pet skunk?” he asked me. Certain I heard him incorrectly I responded with “Pardon me?” “Did you know you cannot keep a skunk as a pet in Ottawa?” the man informed me. Horrified, I looked down at Crosby. He was busy sniffing a tree and luckily did not hear the man’s insulting words. “He’s not a skunk…he’s a dog…a PUPPY!” I explained. “Oh, really?” the man looked doubtful. I was flabbergasted. I scooped the dog up and whispered as we walked away “Don’t you listen to him…you’re so handsome!”  Poor Crosby.

I take away three things from that experience. First, it is important to have eye tests done on a regular basis. Second, there is a possibility our dog might not be the bestest looking dog in the whole world. Nah!  Third, I might look like the kind of woman that would own a pet skunk and walk it on a leash. (yikes)

Anyway, Crosby and I hurried home. I also felt the need to have a shower and give Crosby a good bath. What a strange day that was…

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Oh Canada June 25, 2010

Filed under: Canada,children,family,holidays,stupidity,writers block — MindfulMerchant @ 12:00 pm

 

images Think back to the this past winter Olympics…a time when Canada experienced a swell of patriotism. Wasn’t it great?  I love Canada. It is not perfect…but the more I travel and read, I appreciate this beautiful country.

My brother and sister-in-law live in the United States. Our nieces and nephew have dual citizenship…but I thought of them as more Canadian until the Olympics came along. You can imagine our surprise when brother-in-law informed us their children wanted the the U.S. to defeat Canada  and win gold in men’s hockey. 

“Must be a bad connection J…it sounded like you just said the kids are cheering for the U.S.  (hahaha)  What’s that?  Oh…you’re not kidding…I see.”

<crickets> 

So I sent them a ridiculous email…just ‘cause I love them and I was bored.   I came across the draft recently and thought I would post a modified version since it is Canada Day in a few days…and ‘cause I’m low on writing topics.

Dear J & T,

 

 

Out of concern for the welfare of our beloved nieces and nephew I would like to propose that during your next annual visit to Ottawa, we enrol the kiddies in an intensive crash Canadian Ed. program.

 

Some course options could include…

 

 

 Ode to the Maple – Tree tapping, boiling, trudging through Sugar Maple forests and 24 hours intravenous hydration of pure 100% Maple syrup.

 

 

 Gastro Delights – How to spot the best roadside blueberry pie or fresh corn stand 3 kms ahead.  If time allows, preparing the stomach for poutine, beavertails and maple taffy.

 

 

 The Dialect – Learn the correct intonation and application of “eh” and please…it is Zed not Zee.

 

 

 National Sports – Discover the pride that comes from being called a luger. Understand that men sweep and in Canada, we usually cheer a women charged with “2 minutes for hooking”.

 

 

Composting/Recycling 101   Grow beautiful gardens and lawns despite a municipal pesticide ban. If time permits…how to chase green bins and blue bins down windy/icy roads and resolve the 6:45am weekly curb side debate “Paper or plastic?”

 

 

Tim Hortons Toughen up skin sensitivity and hold a cup of coffee without a “sleeve”. Master the optimistic experience of rolling up the rim and learn what it means to want a “regular” every day.  Earn extra marks for greening it up – bring your own eco-friendly coffee cups.

 

 

beaver Canadian Currency  We value our loonies. Learn how to look rich by adding Canadian Tire money to your wallet.

 

 

Canadian Music Appreciation – Convincingly mouth the words to Oh Canada in English & French.  Study the chorus to The Good ‘ol Hockey Game and fill the gaps with hand claps and whoops. Learn the real lyrics to I’se the B’y and Canadian Railroad Trilogy.  Crash course on how to air guitar to Tom Sawyer.

 

 

Our National Treasures & Symbols  Special focus on The Beaver…and The Bieber. The industrious semi-aquatic rodent once prized for its pelt – the young teen pop sensation admired for his bangs.

 

We need to act quickly.  Canadian patriotism is difficult to retrieve once a person finds “aboot” and igloo/dog sled jokes amusing.  Please let us know if you are still coming so we can make arrangements.

 

Love,

Laura

 

Would you believe they didn’t visit us this spring?  Something to do with a sudden illness…very strange.

Happy 143th Canada!   Hope everyone has a safe, fun and relaxing Canada Day. 

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Mindful Gnome June 4, 2010

Filed under: climate change,community,environment,gardening,stupidity — MindfulMerchant @ 8:34 am

 

blog_stuff_010 Lawn ornaments are not green or good for the environment but they sure make a select group of garden lovers happy. I happen to like lawn ornaments. Go ahead and laugh…that’s o.k.  I know that lawn ornaments are tacky and I rein in the urge to have our yard covered in whirligigs, and bright chatchkas.

 

Some garden art is green, like repurposed bicycle parts, machinery and other recycled objects that artists turn into beautiful pieces. Garage sale finds are another good way to reinterpret and reuse treasures outdoors. A plastic solar leprechaun with a pot of gold that glows (sadly) is not eco-friendly, no matter what the tag says.

 

My philosophy for garden decor comes from unfinished magazine Feng Shui 101 articles at the doctor’s office, brutally honest comments from friends and family, and my husband’s patience limit. This philosophy also takes into consideration maintaining a positive relationship with your neighbours. Community is so important, after all.

 

Here is my approach to lawn ornament placement. blog_stuff_022

 

1. Less is more. Overcrowding is a tacky. Even small clusters are risky – depending on arrangement.

2.  Size matters. If your ornament is the biggest item in your garden…you might want to scale back a wee bit.

3. Save the religious icons and statues for indoors, or at the very least…keep them in the backyard. While I completely respect that amount of devotion, you run the risk of looking like a cemetery or place of worship. (Unless that is a look you are trying to achieve – by all means)

images 4.  Be one with the ornament. Ask yourself “If I were a gnome…would I live under this hosta or stand out in the middle of the lawn in the blazing sun?” Guaranteed you will find the perfect location every time.

5. Please rethink cut-outs of robust women with bloomers showing, fountains of cherubs peeing, a homage to Tweety Bird and other potentially offensive displays.

6. Practice realism. Sleeping bunny on a table = fake. Sleeping bunny placed under a low pine bow = real-ish. Sort of.

 

The other good thing about garden ornaments is that as climate change and disappearing habitat endanger certain species…we can replace them with fake replicas and with proper placement…hardly notice their absence.  That is comforting.

 

 

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Controversial Car Commercial February 11, 2010

Have you seen the controversial Audi commercial aired during Super Bowl XLIV this past weekend?   I had not until I read the blog Retro Housewife Goes Green by Lisa Sharp. She provides a sample of different complaints and opinion.  Click here for a good read.

And now for your viewing pleasure….

Thoughts?

My first reaction was to laugh.  It is a funny car commercial.  Despite my passion for environmental issues and conservation, I think it is important to keep a sense of humour and laugh at yourself once and a while.

Some of the comments that follow the video  and response to other articles floating around the internet are  disturbing and surprising.  I did not realize there was such hatred or fear for environmental action that (seems to) tie into right wing politics like this goodie from You Tube.  “Europe is becoming more and more anti leftist by the day and America is sliding into fascism. The world is turned upside down!”  

The bottom line is that Audi is trying to sell cars.  They are certainly receiving a lot of attention from this video. A marketing success?  It will not win over any green skeptics though…

What do you think?