Saturday, December 22, 2012

Green? Or just cheap?

There were a few conversations on Twitter today which made me think about my hippie tendencies, and wonder about my true motivations. First, Jonna was rambling on and on the way she does now about cloth diapers and how to wash them, and I chimed in to ask some questions about detergent. (If you have any questions about detergent for cloth diapers, Jonna is the one you want to ask. But, she will tell you to use Tide.) (Don't ask ME, even though I have been telling everyone how easy cloth diapering is for six years now, but did anyone listen? NOOOOOO. Look! I even wrote a manifesto! There are links in my sidebar!) (You should probably know that I am harboring some ridiculous hipster-esque resentment about how I was using cloth before it was cool, but now all these upstarts with bigger internet presences are the experts just because they've done more research than I have and know more details than I do and also talk about it while I do not.)

Right. So Jonna was talking about the problems she had had with pocket diaper inserts, and I mentioned that   a while ago, Ann Marie's diapers were leaking all the time, and I couldn't figure out how to fix it, but I was unwilling to spend much money on the problem because I am in this for the savings. Yes. I hate using disposable diapers because I feel a little twinge of guilt every time I throw one out, but even more than that, I am cheap. All the upstarts' chatter about diapers on Twitter made me think that my problem was inherent in the microfiber inserts, so I looked into replacing all my inserts with natural fiber ones, and you know what? Those cost money. So I wanted to instead use cotton prefolds which we already own, but we don't have enough to stuff all the diapers. Thus we have been stuffing our diapers with either a cotton prefold or two microfiber inserts, and it seems to have solved the problem at a cost of zero dollars.

You know another thing I hate to buy? Wrapping paper. So I don't. First, there is the terrible waste of it, since it's not recyclable. But second, there is the part where it costs money. And I am, as has been discussed, cheap. I am a fan of easy-to-reuse gift bags, but I don't have buy those because they grow in my attic. They must, because I have not bought a gift bag in about three years, and yet there is an absolutely enormous box full of them up there. And for the gifts that don't fit in gift bags, I use plain brown wrapping paper. Recyclable, trendy, and free. At least, I think it's trendy; I've seen a few blog posts with pictures of plain-brown-wrapped Christmas gifts. And why is it free? Because whenever I get a package that used plain paper as packing material, I smooth it out and fold it up. And, man, as I typed that, I had a vision of a stingy old aunt carefully gathering up wrapping paper scraps and ironing it for next year, but I don't care. It's free! Free wrapping paper! And then I use fancy ribbon and they look just fine!

So that is my hot tip for you all. Save the paper that comes in your packages, and never have to pay for wrapping paper again. And next time, I will tell you about how I save twist ties. Or, actually, that's pretty much it. I also save twist ties. Basically, I am your stingy old aunt.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Italian tapas

I went out to dinner last night with one of my best friends from college whom I only get to see every six months or so because she has a baby she works all the time, I have three kids and two school schedules,   and she doesn't drive. But I got to see her last night! We went out to dinner near her house at a restaurant that opened recently near her house that can best be described as Italian tapas. After perusing the menu, we decided to split the bruschetta and the gnocchi with brown butter and sage. We were particularly excited about the bruschetta because it came with avocado. In fact, after ordering I told her that every time I have avocado now I mourn the years I wasted thinking that I did not like avocado, apparently because it looked weird. I used to turn down the guacamole! Just because it was green! Turns out that my friend did the same thing, so we were really looking forward to the avocado on the bruschetta, if only to make up for the lost years.

We were therefore very disappointed when the waitress brought out the bruschetta with a pile of leaves on it.  "I'm sorry," she said. "The chef said that the avocados were too ripe, so he substituted arugula."

Arugula! In what universe is arugula an appropriate substitute for avocado, I ask you? I don't actually know what you would substitute for avocado, but I know that it's not arugula. What was going through his mind, do you think? "Oh, no, the avocados are no good. Oh, man. I have to put something on there. Let's see. What tastes like avocado? Avocados are egg-shaped, have large pits, and are green. Also, 'avocado' starts with an 'A.' Hey! Lettuce is green! But it's not close enough. I know! Arugula! That tastes terrible, but it's green and it starts with an 'A'!"

As much as I love avocados, I hate arugula. They offered to take it back, but my friend doesn't mind arugula so much, and it was easy to scrape the arugula off my piece. So we ordered something else to round it out, and they didn't charge us for the bruschetta, so it all ended well.

Arugula, man. I just don't know.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Minister of silly walks

Ann Marie is on the slower side of walking, in that she doesn't. Nor does she pull herself up. She's been undergoing doctor-prescribed Tummy Time Boot Camp, if you must know. But we're not concerned or anything, although I am anxious to avoid Early Intervention if only because I don't want to have another appointment to deal with.

At any rate, if you hold her up, she sort of flaps her feet around on the floor and thinks she's walking. It is hilarious.

Ann Marie: Minister of Silly Walks from Maureen on Vimeo.