Greta

Computers. There are just so many of them that it seems overwhelming at times. So how do we go about recycling them so that in a thousand years the world isn't swimming in old computers? And why don't we do this more often?

For starters, mining is easier than recycling. Recycling requires having more energy than we do materials. Yet this is a one way curve, and recycling will eventually win because the cost for the resources will be higher than those of recycling.

Like with many things the answer is economic, otherwise companies wouldn't be doing it, but how much more efficient is this process? You're still having to burn enough fuel to smelt the metals, then you have to consume enough electricity to allow for the metal transfer plus all of the equipment to use those metals afterward.

But to win back used metals its the same process that is used for a lot of primary silver and gold so there isn't really any new technology here. The process to recover copper and silver from 1980 is almost the same technology used today. The process is the same, but the methods have become more streamlined.

While it may seem strange, these are not the metals that they are trying so hard to recover.

Metals like Cobalt, Magnesium, Copper, Gold, and soon to be Lithium are in a surprisingly limited supply for the purposes of economic mining. Not to mention many of the rare earth metals which are currently vital in things like solar panels, turbines, and medical equipment have been estimated to have less than 50 years of virgin supply.

Basically of all the usages for lithium metal, batteries are a relatively small fraction.

If more car manufacturers adopt lithium batteries a la Tesla, we may see some Lithium shortages in the not so distant future. Lithium prices are low because Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile discovered easily accessible lake deposits, and this is de-incentivising new extraction efforts elsewhere in the world.

Basically, car batteries are an extremely tiny portion of the Lithium market. If they really do catch on as a worldwide replacement for combustion engine transportation, the supply of Lithium will not be able to keep up with demand until adaptation of EVs slows down.

Lithium reserves are deep but not so deep that we can rely on easily obtainable lithium for batteries throughout the century. If we can figure out an efficient way to mine lithium from oceans, then problem solved.

As of today both mining, refining and recycling of metals are energy intensive.

Mining and refining takes more energy because of the transporting and and refining of ore. Scrape material technically takes less energy in regards to transportation because more of the material is the material you that you want than compared to raw ore. The same applies to refining.

So for various aspects of recycling are very economical, it just depends on the resource. Plastic is what is uneconomical due to low petroleum prices.

Greta

When we moved in the smell in the upstairs bathroom was pretty bad. I think that they must have masked the smell when we were looking at the house because I think that it would have been a down point since you can smell it in the bedroom down the hall.

Things we tried:

  • Cleaning the bathroom
  • Dumping a bunch of water down the drain to make sure the P-trap has water in it
  • Looking for hidden mold or dirtiness with a black light

Right now we got it into a state of acceptable with following various advice. Unfortunately the advice that worked the best got mixed in so we pretty much feel like it was a combination of various things that helped us git rid of the smelly bathroom orders.

If you are technical like my husband you could check the pipes yourself, but his uncle is a plumber so this wasn't a big deal for us. Before bringing someone out you could try unscrewing the pipe and making sure threads are clean and then put them back together making sure they are tight and well sealed. Do you have basement or anything you could see where the other side of the pipe goes that is in the wall?

The P trap may not hold water sufficiently to block gases.

This happens in little used bathrooms or those that were not hooked up correctly we think that the latter was the case since it gets used every day.

Some pedestal sinks are built hollow and the overflow drain does allow gunk to accumulate, but even though I had one of those, it never got smelly.

Have you checked the wax seal on the toilet?

Did you have your home inspected? Were there any notes on this matter? You may have legal recourse depending on the terms of your purchase if you end up needing to pay for a plumber.

Greta

I can vouch for banana boxes since they're sturdy. But they have a lot of small openings in them so use them for medium to big items like clothes, books, DVDs or you need to line them.

Greta

I live in a city that has warm summers and mild winters. I also don't need to walk around that much.

I stick to a very neutral palette for my shoes as that helps make shoes more versatile for me, especially since I wear some colour within my wardrobe. I tend to gravitate towards block heels, ankle boots, almond or pointed toes and espadrilles. I struggle to find flat or low-heel sandals that are flattering to my legs. I also struggle with finding 'dressier' flats since I dislike ballet flats and dislike round toes on flat shoes (apart from espadrilles).

I don't ever wear heeled pumps.

  • Beige flat sandals
  • Heeled clog sandals
  • A pair of leather slides
  • Beige open toe booties
  • Beige heeled sandals
  • Brown studded heeled sandals
  • Pale khaki suede sandals
  • Black leather strappy pointed flats
  • Cream and black leather espadrilles
  • Cream and black frayed canvas espadrilles
  • Beige suede ankle strap espadrilles
  • Taupe pointed toe espadrilles
  • Black suede and gold grommet espadrilles
  • OTK boots
  • Black Chloe 'Susanna' ankle boots
  • Black flat ankle boots
  • Tan heeled ankle boots
  • Beige suede ankle boots
  • Heeled black ankle boots
  • Charcoal ankle boots

The Chloe Susanna boots are the loves of my life. I have the color combo you have, and love them so much I'm considering buying another pair in a different color.

Here's the thing though, I've worn all of them at least once a year and love all of them! It's probably excess, but it makes me really happy.

Shoes are like a long term collection.

I have been through many phases of shoes and many geographic and environmental changes and I also have a vast array of needs because of job requirements, hobbies and lifestyle changes. I haven't counted my shoes but I'm guess all in I'm over 150 (?) but I don't regret anything. And I'm still buying more. I'm obviously not a minimalist.

Greta

Sometimes I find myself cooking the same meals over and over and until it starts to get way too repetitive. That is why I like to branch out and try new meals with various levels of success. I love to cook but time constraints make a lot of variety hard.

One of the ways we challenge ourselves in the kitchen is by trying out different cuisines. Last summer, we went on a Greek/Mediterranean kick. This winter we messed around with Indian food. Now we're starting to dabble with Irish and British foods.

We also make up out own chopped challenges when it feels like we have nothing to eat, but in fact have too much food in the house to justify going shopping.

To get you feeling a bit more inspired, though, here are a few ideas that you should try out:

  • shepherd's pie (we made ours with ground turkey)
  • chicken tikka masala
  • tilapia tacos with mango cilantro jalapeño salsa
  • Cuban sandwiches
  • teriyaki chicken stir fry (we used peapods, yellow and red peppers, onion, garlic, and cashews)

I recommend picking a chef and learning recipes from heir cook book, or pick a specific culture and really dive in.

Pay attention to the quality of your ingredients.

A Greek salad made with good tomatoes and real olive oil is infinitely better than iceburg lettuce and store bought dressing . "Cooking" is just as much about paying attention to the source and flavor of ingredients as it is about cooking methods.

As spring rolls around, I recommend challenging yourself by cooking a meal with only locally sourced ingredients to get a feel of a regional dish you could make.

As far as my go-tos?

Korean inspired lettuce wraps work well with Maryland ingredients since we have carrot , lettuce, vinegar, good beef, arugula, etc. gordon ramsay mexican soup is an easy week nighter, as well as his crispy salmon. Frittata is excellent.

Creamy farmers salad with avocado , bacon , homemade mayo dressing (mayo, white vinegar, honey), grapes, lettuce, baby spinach, almonds. Stir fry is a lot of fun if you are good at miss en place or whatever it's called (good prepping with bowls) make sure you have a high smoke point oil.

There's the whole body of paleo cooking that has good vegetable dishes like roasted broccoli with capers and olive oil and roasted garlic. Caiflower mashed potatoes are awesome .

I guess for me. One paradigm is to stop thinking so much in terms of meals and start thinking about what plants and spices you like, and build up from there to make something organic.

Greta

I visit my elderly Mom twice a week, the first visit doubles as a food drop. I cook lots of frozen meals (lunch and supper) which she can easily reheat.

She lives alone and doesn't like cooking for one. Last year I did a number of pot pies which she really enjoyed, I make them for my husband and he takes them to work and heats them up for lunch in the microwave. I did turkey, beef, and fish.

They were all a hit save for the fish.

Photo: eFrog

Both of them agreed that the fish pot pie was the worst. Even though they said that I liked it the best. I had found a nice recipe for it and was enjoying it quite a bit. Though it will be a rare treat that I make for myself. Next time we have a fish fry I will set some aside and make more.

I found it funny since my mother has fairly simple tastes - nothing too fancy, spicy or chewy - while my husband loves fish.

For her any meal that can be microwaved or reheated in the oven seems to work the best. I use disposable freezer containers to keep cleanup easy. Anything with more than just a few steps usually doesn't get used.

Just yesterday I took her a big portion of lasagna squares. I made a big pan of lasagna can be cut up and frozen in individual portions. Soups are easy to freeze- just no noodles since they get soggy, I usually will bag a portion of noodles and include them as a seperate step. That she will do. Chili can be made in the crock pot and frozen in individual servings. There are a bunch of websites dedicated to "once a month" food prep and freezing. Which have been helpful for giving me ideas on things to make.

Some other single portion meals that I have tried with varrying results are:

  • Spaghetti sauce. Noodles should be cooked freshly. Takes 10 minutes or so.
  • Beef stew (Big hit!)
  • Chicken noodle soup, but noodles should be freshly cooked in the broth
  • New England Clam chowder (Big hit!)
  • Beef stroganoff. Sauce can be frozen but noodles should be freshly cooked.
  • Pulled meat sandwiches (pork, beef, chicken) in various BBQ sauces
  • Chicken cacciatore with noodles. Noodles should be freshly cooked.
  • Japanese curry with rice (Total bust, but I wanted to try it!)

I think it is nice and probably healthier than having meals delivered from something like Meals On Wheels. And it gives us a chance to connect. We'll talk about the food and she will make a suggestion or two. It is a moment for us both to share something that we really enjoy.

It was hard for her when my father passed away. They had shared an active cooking life with a lot of dinner parties. My father used to make my grandparents (mother's parents) a spicy lentil soup that was great with bread (since my grandma was vegan due to health restrictions). I found sweet pies and that sort of thing was always appreciated when I make them for my mother.