Thursday, November 20, 2008

Listen at 8:48am for Robin and Sueann

One of the joys of the Morning Edition show is that I have a chance to chat with Robin Rilette about Classical music! Her show starts at 9am and so a little before, we discuss what she has prepared for us. It's a highlight of my mornings!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Good Morning

If you subscribe to Northwest Public Radio's E-newsletter, Connect, you would have known that Gillian Coldsnow is now our Assistant Operations and Programming Guru. Which means, she will not be on the air to greet you in the mornings. Instead, I will attempt to fill in as Morning Edition host. I am very thankful to Gillian, Robin and Kerry for their mentoring. We have a wonderful and supportive staff here at Northwest Public Radio!

I am looking forward to the new challenges and schedule!

I am also looking forward to a local series we are working on. In the next couple of weeks we will start a coversation about water on Morning Edition. Some of the issues we want to talk about include Columbia River Basin Irrigation, and conservation of water.

Do you have any stories or questions about water usage in the Northwest? Have you ever thought about the water as a limited resource?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I Voted

Actually, I voted early at the courthouse. I was wearing a knit cap, fleece and using a knock-off Gucci bag; It was a gift I swear!

I started to over heat in my little voting cubby. Here I am, voting in a historic election! I read the directions slowly to make sure I didn't make a mistake.

Then I planted that "I Voted" sticker on my fleece and felt fantastic!


A black man as president or a white woman as vice president.

Our country moves quickly. The Civil Rights Act was signed in 1968. The Equal Rights Amendment passed in 1972.

Ladies and Gentleman, we may have complaints about our politics. We may focus on what is wrong with our country, but today, well...we've come a long way baby!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fire Alarm, Phone Volunteers Evacuated, Owl Delivers Money

Scene: Master Control at Northwest Public Radio. 3 hours before the end of a tense, yet fun, ONE DAY PUBLIC RADIO PLEDGE DRIVE.

Characters: Thom Kokenge, NWPR's Weekend Edition Host. Sueann Ramella, All Things Considered Host and Kerry Swanson, NWPR's Programming Ops Guru.

Sueann: "Good afternoon! I am Sueann Ramella and with me is Thom Kokenge, our Weekend Edition Host! Hi Thom!"
Thom: "Hi Sueann! I am joining Sueann this evening to help raise the money we need to pay for programs like All Things Considered! Today is Super Thursday, our One Day Pledge Drive! We started the drive this morning and we will end it tonight! So if you have not called in with a pledge of support do so now at 1-800-842-8991! (You already know this number by heart right?)"

Sueann: "That's right Thom! We tried this in the Spring and it was a great success. So here we are, trying to raise a week's worth of funds in one day (nervous giggle) I sure hope we can do it!"

Thom: "We can if we keep up the momentum! We already have....(Kerry furiously writes on the white board our latest numbers....) we already have 1800 calls in! We only need 700 to go in the next 3 hours! So call now and thank you!"

Sueann turns off the microphones and take off the headphones.

Sueann: "OK. Good job! We will stick with the show on the satelite feed for 18 minutes. Then we will cut back in for ...."

Thom: (Looking at Kerry Swanson) "What's up man? You look freaked out."

Kerry: "Uh. The phones are down."

Sueann: "Kerry! Knock it off! You almost had me! (hearty laugh...turns to nervous laugh as Sueann looks into Kerry's freaked out eyes) OMG! He's serious. Look at his face!"

Kerry: "The short end of it is, the phones are down. I will get the whole story in a minute. But for now, ask listeners to pledge on our website."

(Insert suspenseful music with a light drum beat and base)

Sueann and Thom look at each other in disbelief. Thom tilts his head and squints his left eye. Sueann's eyes widen, wrinkling her forehead and her mouth falls open. Time seems to pass V.E.R.Y S.L.O.W.L.Y.

Kerry: "Everything is going to be fine. (Kerry hugs himself and starts to rock back and forth) It's ok. I...I am going to get more information. Sit tight. Remember! WEBSITE!"

Sueann: "Can you check the website too? I'm just nervous..."

Kerry: (Shoots Sueann a, 'How DARE you even think that! Don't curse it' look)

Thom: "Well. We must go on. We can't let the lack of phones stop us from getting the money we need to pay for the programs that everyone uses."

Sueann: "You are right Thom. Our listeners can overcome this and find a way to pledge."

Just then, a white owl hits the studio window and makes a screeching sound as it hovers...repeatedly hitting its body on the window pane, over and over again.

Thom: "Look over there! It's a pledge!"

Sueann: "Thom! Can you believe it? A listener has sent a pledge of support in to us! That's amazing! They must really appreciate the balanced news coverage of the election. Where else will they get the fact checks and information they need to be an informed voter? Let the owl in!"

Thom: (Takes the envelope from the owls sharp claws.) "Mr. Potter in Yakima says, 'I am a big fan of Morning Edition and can't live without hearing Gillian Coldsnow's gorgeous accent in the morning. Thank you for being there for me!' WOW! What a devoted listener!"

Sirens are heard and a fire truck drives down the street. One truck takes a detour and stops right below the Master Control room window. The ladder is extended up to the window and Sueann and Thom watch as a Fireman climbs up waving what appears to be a renewal form.

Fireman: "I wanted to give you this before I headed over to the phone bank. It's my renewal form. Here you go. Look. I know I should be over there finding out why the fire alarm is going off in the phone bank room...but public radio is a priority and since you were on my way...."

Thom: "Wow. Thanks a lot Mr. Fireman!"

Sueann: "Yeah thanks! (looks at Thom) I have to blog about this!"

Just then the studio door swings open. Kerry, out of breath, tries to report what happened to the phone bank.

Kerry: "Wires...Everything fine. People...coming"

Thom: "I think he is trying to tell us something."

Sueann: "Give him some water! OK. Just take your Actually, we have to be on the air in 30 seconds so spit it out Kerry!"

Kerry: "The heating duct had an issue...some wires were smoking...the alarm went off. Phone volunteers are coming over here....everyone ok. Building ok...Will take some time to get some phones in old phone room...tell them to pledge online!"

Sueann: "You're a super producer Kerry! Way to go. OK we are on in 5...4....3..."

Sueann: (super smiley) "GOOD EVENING! (no panic in voice) Thank you for listening to Northwest Public Radio. I'm Sueann Ramella and with me is Thom Kokenge."

Sueann and Thom talk about the importance of listener funded shows, and about international news reporting. They encourage people to make a pledge online at

Sueann: "And if you renewed your membership through an owl or over ladders, thank you for the effort. We really appreciate your annual contributions!"

Sueann and Thom look across the studio to the old phone room. Legions of phone volunteers squeeze into the room. NWPR Staff frantically set up tables, chairs and phones.

Sueann: "It's like a Barry Manilow concert in there! You know Thom, Barry latest album is all about songs from the 70's. It's really good!"

Kerry: "OK. They have phones working now! Promote the phone number! Let's get those 700 calls team!"

Kerry, Sueann and Thom extend their right hands and lay them on top of each other.

Kerry, Sueann, Thom: "GOOOOO TEAM! Huuuugh!"

Epilogue: The team at Northwest Public Radio, including the legion of phone volunteers were able to take nearly 500 pledges of support by hand between the 4-7pm hours on Super Thursday. Nearly 2,400 calls came in on Super Thursday. A little short of the 2,500 goal. The listeners of Northwest Public Radio contributed nearly $259,000 to their favorite programs. It was a GREAT SUCCESS!

It is reported by Bobbie and Dorene of Soap Lake that some faulty heating wiring was the cause of the evacuation of the phone bank building. Dorene reports that she started to feel the smoke in her chest earlier in the day but dismissed this as All Day Phone Volunteer Fatigue. However, Bobbie reported smelling something burning...but every time she tried to speak up her phone rang and she had to take a pledge of support. Both ladies continued to take pledges during the fire alarm!

Quote from caller: "Look Lady. I love public radio too but you have a fire alarm going. I'll call back later. You get out of the building!" Bobbie continued to take his pledge anyway.

Kerry Swanson was awarded a producer medal for the fastest sprint into a smoking building to find out what was going on, and for picking out all the brown M&Ms from Sueann's candy bowl. (She's such a diva!)

But the Grand Award goes to our listeners for their support of Super Thursday!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Reasons to Pledge On Super Thursday

Our one day pledge drive is almost here! Super Thursday is October 23rd. It is a very exciting time for everyone at Northwest Public Radio because we get to hear from you! You are the single largest source of income for Northwest Public Radio. Our shows are literally paid for by you! If you are a member thank you. If you are not, here are 5 reasons to pledge.

1. All Things Considered series on Afghanistan and Pakistan. Why? Because where else will you get 5 in depth stories on growing tensions, military tactics and local reaction from those on the front line? NPR is able to bring you this series, and others, because of your support. Your $35, $50 or $350 pledge pays for our reporters to cover the stories that matter to you.

2. Election 2008 Coverage You heard the debates on Northwest Public Radio. You tuned in to Morning Edition for analysis and excerpts from the debates. You have been keeping up to date on polls and the issues. Most importantly, you learned who the candidates are with our profiles of John McCain and Barrack Obama

3. Even the news junkie can be overwhelmed with researching everything the candidates say. Reason number 3 to pledge to Northwest Public Radio? VoxPolitics. This has been my source to fact check the candidates. What kind of relationship does Obama have with Ayers? And who benefits from each candidates health care plan?

4. One word. Bailout. You have been waking up each morning in October tuning into Northwest Public Radio to find out what happened to the financial sector. Every morning and afternoon NPR brought you the latest up to date coverage on the economic crisis. The best show to give a description of how it all happened is This American Life. The program explains it all with 'The Day the Market Died,' 'Out of the Hedges and Into the Woods,' and 'Swap Cops.' You need the information to make daily life decisions...that's why you use Northwest Public Radio!

5. Real stories of real people. Have you been following the stories of Iraqi refugees in America? Immigrating to American is a wonderful opportunity. It is also difficult. Northwest Public Radio brings you the stories that touch you. Stories of real people in a real world. We take the time to tell the whole story too! 5 minutes, 8 minutes, 12 minutes of commercial free reporting.

These are my reasons to pledge during Super Thursday. Tell us your reasons why you decided to support public radio when you make that phone call on October 23rd! You can also pledge right now and help us get off to a great start!

Thank you for listening. Thank you for supporting Northwest Public Radio.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Fred Flintstone Had it Right!

Have you heard about the Human Powered Car? Watch this CNN video:

This may lead to some very uncomfortable carpool moments. What if Mr. Smith didn't pump his part? Or he forgot his deodorant? I guess that's when you have to think about the planet, the money you are saving and the exercise you're getting.

The car costs $15,000 and will be out in 2009. Apparently, you steer it with your butt. Hilarious! I do not think it comes with air bags...and where is the cup holder for the Super Big Gulp?


Friday, September 26, 2008

The Art of Debate Stand-In

In light of this evenings presidential debate, I thought you would find this article interesting. The Art of Debate Stand-In

Did you know there are debate stand-ins? Stand-ins know EVERYTHING about who they are mimicking. How they act, what they will say, how they may throw a punch. I think of it as the best of political acting!

Listen to the debates tonight at 6pm on Northwest Public Radio!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Idaho is More Open and Agreeable Than WA or OR

Really? According to a study published in the Perspective on Psychological Science, Idaho folk are more open, and agreeable than those in Washington or Oregon; Well, by a few points that is.

Read the Wall Street Journal article on this study and see for yourself!

I was surprised to learn that North Dakota is the most extroverted in the Union! I guess I didn't pick up on that after watching Fargo.

Interactive Map of U.S. of Personality

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

This Is All Your Fault! Now Pay Up!

I have been utterly fascinated by the credit crunch. Eagerly awaiting what institution I will partially own thanks to government bailouts. In my pursuit to fully grasp the insane amount of money lost out there, and how this all started, I came across an interesting blog entry. Captain Capitalism

Who's fault is all this? Obama says Bush. McCain says Wall Street. Most Americans say Alan Greenspan. Then Captain Capitalism blows my mind and says it is my fault!

Whoa! Now wait a minute here. We did own a home and at the height of the housing bubble took out a second mortgage. Why? To play the debt game. Take out a lower interest loan to pay off higher interest loans. The value of our house went from $125,000 to $180,000 in less than 5 years. We were "in the money!"

When "we" turned into "I," the house was put on the market. It sold for far less then what we owed. Luckily, our local bank was able to convert the remaining debt into separate loans. That took several agonizing months, and we didn't always pay then.

It was a classic case of living beyond your means.

How many Americans do so today? Top Economist Says A Lot Do And of those, how many defaulted on their credit cards? Their home loans? Their car loans?

There is plenty of blame to go around. Lenders looking for a commission, predatory loan officers working in an unregulated environment (or working around regulations). But if I was honest with myself, and if other Americans were too, we have to see the greed.

It is so much easier, and feels nicer to blame someone else for our own issues. But can we continue to afford it?

This experience of mine is the reason why I changed my lifestyle. It all came down to two questions: What is real? What do I own? The answers back then were raw and brought me to the basics.

It's time we all do the same.

Here are some links I have found helpful to put money, debt and true wealth into perspective. If you have suggestions, please advise so I can share with other listeners and readers.

Marketplace Money

Financial Peace University

Suze Orman

Oprah: Get Out of Debt

UPDATE: I heard Fresh Air today and found the discussion with Michael Greenberger about the credit crisis very helpful and insightful.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Final Analysis of Dumpster Diving

It is addicting. It is treasure hunting. It can easily become out of control! After 4 months or so of holding onto my treasures from dumpster diving I had a yard sale. Circled in red are items pulled from the dumpster.

And that was just a portion of the items. Remember that I sold a few on ebay and consigned others. I went into this thinking I would save everything from the landfill and ended up with everything in the garage! I never did fix those white chairs with the missing legs. Didn't get around to making a duvet cover out of old jean butts. I never refinished the dresser and instead gave it to a friend. I know she will fix it up because she bought those pretty glass pulls for it! The disco ball is collecting dust in the garage. The broken mirrors have yet to turn into artwork, and the mismatched socks are still waiting to be reborn into dogs.

The cost/benefit analysis says: If you don't have an immediate use for it - or a friend who really REALLY needs it - let it go or recycle it. Just don't store it in your attic or garage. If you bring it into the house, it is harder to get rid of!

Now, if you know you can turn it around and make a little money... Go for it! I knew that I could get something for the table below. I just had to put the legs on the right way! Sold it for $15!

On the other hand, I never did learn to weld so the leg on this outdoor bar stayed bent...and it sat, and sat, and sat until I sold it for $5. Sure, 5 bucks is gas money, but come on? 4 months of looking at it - slowly eating my soul away, and making my place look tacky - was not worth it!

The yard sale was pretty good despite the lack of advertising. Made $160. I would say half of that was actual dumpster diving treasures. If you can have a quicker turn around, this is a great hobby to try out. Otherwise, only take what you really can use or you will have clutter. I did find more pleasure out of giving away dumpster diving finds to friends who really needed them. This next season, I plan to donate most of my finds.

Find out if posting your yard sale signs on telephone polls is legal in your area or not. If you don't know, the Heat may come and visit you. After all, you put the address on the sign! Oops.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Save Gas Drive a Scooter

I saw this: Best Scooters for You at NPR's website and thought you would find it interesting. With everyone thinking about saving gas and energy, scooters seem to be a great idea! Even Gillian Coldsnow, our Morning Edition host, is planning to take motorcycle lessons from Idaho Star. She has shared her enthusiasm for the scooter that looks like a motorcycle.

I like these a lot! But NPR and I suggest you consider the size and power of the scooter. Personally, I am still looking for my motorcycle and know that size and ccs matter!

I was gifted a 1985 Honda Nighthawk 700ccs but it acts like a 1000cc killer street bike. I am afraid of it.

The two times I rode it I felt it say, "Ride me faster you Wuss!" I lugged it in shame. The bike is too much for me and frankly, freaks me out! It was fun at 90 mph (Yes. I know that's bad) on a straight back road until I realized I was S-L-O-W-L-Y slipping off the seat! Came to a stop, tried to park and dropped the bike; New clutch lever on eBay was relatively cheap.

I hope to ride on a smaller, Sueann-friendly, motorcycle soon. Finding the right one will be important. My reasons are to use less gas, and with all conservation efforts there are sacrifices; rain, cold, heat, no radio. But the fun will be worth it! Of coarse, these scooters are really cool too! Especially the type Gillian wants. But it would look funny if I wore my leather gear on scooter! My fashion dictates motorcycle.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Leroy Sievers Has Passed Away: Read Our Interview with Him

I woke up this morning and heard Gillian say that Leroy Siever had passed away. His blog about cancer had helped many survivors and their friends and family try to understand and relate. I had an opportunity to interview Siever. Here is the blog again. Sueann's Interview with Leroy Siever

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Biking Goal and Gas Mileage

Well I made my goal! I rode my bike twice this week and really want to do more! Especially since I got in my Hyundai Tuscon (Gotta support my Mother's homeland) this morning and the E light came on. I thought that was funny. Then I was upset that I would have to buy gas today!

But got over it since the last time I gassed up was a month ago! 300 miles divided by 15 gallon tank = 20 miles to the gallon. A little lower than normal because I had the AC on a lot. 15 gallons times $4.16 = $62 which translates into 12 pints of Coconut Bliss Dark Chocolate ice cream.

Trust me. I can eat it all in a month.

Or a pair of Reeboks! I SO had a pair in 1989! But why buy these when I can find them in a dumpster?

So I saved some money this past month and got great exercise. When I do drive, I keep it at 55-60 mph. It really does help to hypermile. If you didn't read Gillian's blog about it, check it out! And it does help to properly inflate your tires!

Here's an interesting consequence for driving slower! Many drivers are hypermiling and leaving something behind! Don't drink the 'vitamin water' on the side of the road!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Biking to Work

It seems we are all driving a little less nowanddays. A recent report says we are driving 40 BILLION fewer miles now. Are others biking? Or are we walking more? Hear the report: Less Driving, Bumpy Roads
I am thinking a lot more about my transportation. Which is why I decided to bike to work at least twice a week. I haven't been that successful though. New habits take time and well...biking takes time. Personally, life has been telling me to slow down so this may be a good thing to do. I budget an hour to ride to work.

Here is my ride. A nice black Trek bike. I know it is somewhat special because some dudes have said, "Nice bike!" and I paid $500 for it. It was part consumer therapy.

In a recent report on Northwest Public Radio we learned that Washington has one of the highest skin cancer rates in the nation! I was surprised and decided to reduce my risk by preparing myself for biking in the sun! Hear the report: EPA Warns Residents to Protect Themselves from Sun

And I need tunes.

I find I can ride faster with the beats of Janet Jackson, Queens of the Stone Age, Muse, Kanye West, Fergie. I cool down with Micheal McDonald. I am very serious.

8 miles to go. Tunes on. Gear on...I do wear the padded shorts. I find these VERY comfortable! My father took up biking and refers to the shorts as Kotex Pants. He loves them.

I pass some buildings that you don't get to see when you drive. That's the cool part about biking. You see different things. Below is an old split pea factory? They are dismantling it and it seems to me they are recycling the wood!

5 more miles to go!

I watch some cars drive by on the highway. I am totally getting better gas mileage!

Riding is very pleasant. You are multi-tasking! Exercise and getting where you need to go!

Here we are! Pullman, Washington where Northwest Public Radio is!

Check this out! It makes me feel good to know that I saved a little money today and gave my body some exercise.

Isn't it interesting that a few dollars a gallon can create change? 40 Billion miles less driving, more people thinking about their transportation...What have you changed about your habits?

I made it! And a little early because of a tail wind! I usually carry a bag on bike that has my lunch and a nice change of clothes. While I look sporty in my Kotex Bike Shorts...I don't want my co-workers to sing Milli Vanilli to me!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Experiment: Driving Less; Dog Whisperer

First, I have to apologize to you if you were anxiously waiting for me to dig through the grocery store garbage. I have given myself permission to...not do it. I may have disappointed you, but to be my authentic self I must let this go. However, I did do a stake out at the local Bag-Yo-Self store. While there and trying to strategies my attack, I saw a young couple in an old Buick drive right up to the dumpster and scan it! So I have decided to let them have it.

To go along with NPR stories and my experimental themes I have decided to DRIVE LESS!Which means I may be shopping less :( , exercising more :) , saving on gas money and may even feel a slight superiority gained from this sacrifice. I ride my bike TOMORROW!

Above: Photo of my Jr. High years bike. Rode up some big hills on this baby! But my favorite bike was my elementary school bike...a pink Huffy with a huge seat. I think it was a Thunderpuff? Or that may have been my nickname for her. We did a lotta pop-a-wheelies and rear skids! I would LOVE to see that bike again.

Today's Bike... a TREK Bike like the one below. Apparently, a very good bike. I'll share the history of how we met later.

FYI: Gillian Coldsnow is SERIOUSLY considering a motorcycle or super scooter purchase!

About the Dog Whisperer:

I have a new family member named Belle. She is a beautiful, brown eyed black lab border collie mix. She is a big girl compared to my Shih Tzu, Mochi. Belle is an alpha female. Apparently, I am her roommate. Well...that's all about to change! I'm the alpha female now BEEOOUCH! (said with loves and coos and pets and high pitched voice baby talk) Gillian Coldsnow loaned me the Dog Whisperer book, I have the first season DVD AND Robin Rilette is my consultant.

Let's get started!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Time For Some Campaignin!

Obama and McCain Want Me! Even with a mustache. :(

Send a JibJab Sendables® eCard Today!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dating at Any Speed

I heard Morning Edition's story on Green Speed Dating and had a few thoughts.
1. Driving an SUV to Green Speed Dating? Really bad.
2. Isn't finding a partner/love hard enough? Now they have to come with green habits intact?
3. My Speed Dating experience.

It goes without saying that driving an enormous SUV to a Green Speed Dating event is not gonna get you points. Even if you hop out of the vehicle with organic cotton clothes, hemp sandals and your own metal water bottle. That would just be confusing. But this did make me wonder... would it be appealing to a majority of females if the man had no car? One of the guys in the story rents a car when he needs one. Otherwise, he rides his bike. My first thought is: Guy is cheap. No car, no money, no security for me, no go. But he is practicing his ideals.

And ideals and values is what it is all about. Does his lifestyle reflect the ideals and values that you have or want? What is on your top ten list of "Characteristics I Want in a Partner?" (If they have 7 or more they're a keeper!)

I think that becoming "Green" can be taught. That a person can become aware of new habits to help the environment. That people should not be overlooked just because their environmental footprint is bigger than yours. My Mother would say you can "train" them. (shudder) I say you can show them a different way.

I hosted a speed dating event in my little town. There were 12-14 men and women in attendance. I had never hosted one of these before, so I was unsure what type of people would show up.

They were attractive, had secure jobs, and friendly! They all just wanted to get out there in a town that caters to college students. These folks were in the 30s-late 40s and just wanted to find companionship. I discovered that the women who came to the event dressed nicely, smiled and were RELAXED did very well. The successful men had nice watches (symbol?) cleaned up and asked their mini dates questions about themselves. The two most successful people were of average American size. The woman was a size 10-14 and the man was an average Joe body type. This confirmed in me that self worth, self esteem and taking care of yourself is more important than abs and hourglass shapes. I have to add that taking care of yourself does not mean you workout 5 days a week. It means you CARE about how you look and work with what you got.

The one person who had no takers was unpleasant. She looked like she rolled out of bed, was very pushy and angry - I heard her declare her recent divorce to most of her mini dates...I don't think she was really ready for dating of any speed...even bicycle speed.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Even the RICH Dumpster Dive!

Everyone loves a deal and when the deal is...FREE even the wealthiest dumpster dive! Listen to this!
NPR: Town Dump New, Chic Place!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Here are the Dumpster Numbers

Just a quick note to tell you that most of my "department store" dumpster diving treasures have sold on ebay. Craigslists skunked me. So ebay it was and the grand total after shipping costs, ebay costs and paypal costs = $126.88.

Ebay = $126.88
Consigned clothes = $40
Shoes = $10


Now, I still have 2 dressers to fix up, several other pieces of furniture and clothes at area consignment shops that haven't sold yet.

In a nutshell - this takes time. It was all free - but to make $ off it will take time.

I have decided that dumpster diving is like mushroom hunting. You get excited when you come across those morels! Then, if lucky you find a whole lotta morels; you have pounds and pounds of these mushrooms that you love! Then you eat them and get tired of it. Earthy, expensive, tasty morels become boring. So you sell your extras to the coop or chefs and make a few bucks off your hobby. Then you do it all over next season.

Mother Alert:
My Korean mother was over and well...

Mom: (looking around, nose wrinkled...) "Annie, (only mother calls me that) did you CLEAN before Mommy come ober? I mean...serious-uh-ly? It lookie like thurupt store."

Dad: "...."

Me: "Yes I cleaned! couches just look huge in this living room is all."

Mom: (looking at my art work) "Hm." (touches the frame and painting) "Thisuh is fake. Why you likey junk? Did Mommie raise you?"

Me: "Uhm. I am going to make something out of that."

Dad: "....."

Mom: "Annie. No more trash can looking or whatever you doing. Mommie don't likey it."

Me: "Mom. The only dumpster diving thing I have here is...that plant shelf..."

Mom: "I don't like it. Tacky."

Me: "...that painting, these fabulous ugg boots and I sold everything else or gave it away."

Mom: "I have better plant stand Mommie gibbu you. This one (touches it, eyeing it suspiciously because it the trash) is no good."

Me: "Mom. You might want to pace yourself on the criticism. You still have a couple of days to go."

Dad: "hahahaha!"

Mom: (looks at Dad)

Dad: "ha....h....nevermind."

Now, if only I can manipulate her to get that Korean chest and cabinet! Mwhaha ha ha

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Selling What's Thrown Away

Uhm. This has been kind of a pain. Selling things. In fact, I am figuring out that stuff, in general, is a pain. So I have two items I found in the dumpster - CLEAN - mind you, on ebay and one item on Craigslist.

Oops. The Kitchen Aid Blade Set isn't showing up...


I want to see which of these sites is easiest to work with and sell on. Granted, it is not an scientific experiment at all. It is a Suexperiement!

I have made $30 from my dumpster haul. Yeah. I know. $30. But $30 more than I had before right? I sold two pairs of men's shoes and some misc. items at a consignment shop. The furniture hasn't sold at these shops yet. Guess it isn't the season...but come AUGUST I will be loaded! (optimist!)

The other reason I have made so little is because I got lazy. I just threw the treasures into the shop and took a nap. Now, every time I look at the dresser I plan to refinish, the chairs I plan to fix, etc. I take another nap. The weight of stuff is heavy on my back.

I know why we throw it away. We cleanse our environment of clutter and feel good and free of it. Well, until we load ourselves up again with stuff.

And TIME. Stuff takes time to manage, take care of...

With that said. I went dumpster diving again. I found some great women's shoes and jeans. I have an easy answer for these! Off to the consignment shop and to friends.

If I am not going to make a fortune out of dumpster diving - I will at least have saved items from the landfill by donating them to Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc. In fact, I do get perks from this in the form of tax far I have racked up $325 in donations!

UPDATE: I am getting skunked on Craigslist. Possibly moving item to ebay. I have several watchers on my items and even some bids! This may be worth the effort after all!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Warning About Dumpster Diving

Technically it is theft. Theoretically, no one cares. But if someone does and calls the Police you can get a ticket (depending on your town's laws). Now, if you are DUMPING you get a Theft of Services ticket.

I learned this the other day.

No. I didn't get ticketed but a co-worker read in the paper that someone did.

Personally, my diving hunting has slowed down. I took a good look at all the stuff I have accumulated and realized why people throw it out! So I am focusing on fixing things up and selling or donating things off. I just got WIFI at home so ebay, craigslist here I come!

Here is a photo from a fellow Treasure Diver. All items were found in or next to a dumpster. This lucky college student is now fully prepared to study hard! What a lovely desk and they were going to throw it out!

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Story of Stuff: Watch This!

Every wonder how all your stuff got to you, and what happens to it when you throw it away? If you have 20 minutes this is well worth your time!

And for more resources and information visit
The Story of Stuff website

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Robin Rilette's Dumpster Diving Education

Robin: (giggling) "I did some scanning and already found some nice shoes, a handbag and other stuff! We have to go back to that dumpster!"

Robin met me after I finished hosting All Things Considered. I looked at her treasures and noticed the fake Chanel, white, gold chained handbag.

Sueann: "OMG! This is Chanel...fake but sweet!"
Robin: "And look at this cute stuffed cow!"
Sueann: "OK. This was an Asian dumpster. I can tell."
Robin: (curious at my insight) "Oh really? How do you know?"
Sueann: "Saccharin cute overstuffed cow? Fake Chanel, fabulous shoes? Has to be. The only thing that would confirm is a Hello Kitty item..."
Treasure Diving Partner: "Well, then I guess that blows your theory that Asians never throw anything away huh?"
Sueann: (choosing words carefully) "....Well. My mother is Asian and SHE never throws anything away. OK let's get busy!"

Robin was thrilled. She was amazed and upset at what she saw. We hit her dumpster and happen to be by a couple of Sororities. We found beautiful clothes and decoration items. Bags and bags full of shampoo and other cosmetic products - which we left behind.

Robin: "OMG! What is wrong with these people???? This is brand new!"
Sueann: "Shhh! Keep it down man. We don't want to be discovered. "
Robin: "Oh right. I guess I should keep my voice down..."

I went to another dumpster and found some adorable throw pillows. Nicely packed in garbage bag. The dumpster smelled so pretty! Calvin Klein, Bath and Body Works Peony, Liz Claiborne perfumes swirling in garbage. Then I looked up and saw a very disapproving old man. He was standing above me with his arms folded, shaking his head at me. I smiled and shrugged, grabbed the pillows and headed back to where Robin was.

Sueann: "Time to leave. Let's go. There's and old man watching us."

Robin had a very successful first night out and I do believe she has gone out by herself since! She said to me in a giggle, "This is the most exciting hobby I've had in years!"

TDP and I went across the border to Idaho. College was out there and we wanted to see what we could find. Compared to Washington's side - nothing to write about.

I also went to visit family in Puyallup. Took Dad out at 5:30am to see what we could find. I had high hopes for this because of the insane amount of strip malls and major shopping centers.

Nothing. Bone dry.

Dad: (laughing) "It's like going trick or treating and getting an apple out here!"
Sueann: "I am really bummed out man. I really thought we could find some sweet stuff."

Mother: "I didn't tink so baby. Mommy know. In country side (anything on the East of the Cascades) it is more lenient. Here. They lock up. No home-uh-less person digging here."

She was right. We drove to 3 strip malls and one major shopping center and I would say 80% of the dumpsters were locked or of some trash compacting type. Those that were open were filled with real trash.

Of coarse - the rule of dumpster diving is you must visit a dumpster often.

I will let you know how much I make off ebay and or Craigslist when I put things up for sale. I am curious to find out how much one can make, donate and create with this hobby.

NOTE: Our Dear Ms. Coldsnow is lucky. She has biological minions to dive for her - patrolling locations, gleaning treasures! I just want you to know that our Morning Edition host caught the bug too! ;)

UPDATE: Guess what I found? Remember how upset I was about losing a dresser? I left it in an alley and someone took it? Well. I found another one on my way to work! SCORE!

And my TDP was about to buy a used microwave for $20 when I found this for him! Ask and you shall recieve! It was bleeding red sauce but with a little elbow grease we discovered a perfecly fine microwave.

Stories on NPR: Dumpster Diving Treasures as Gifts?

LISTENER CONTRIBUTION: Lisa from Moscow sent me this picture of her dumpster finds!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Taking Her Out To Trash!

I am taking Robin Rilette out tonight for treasure diving. She was curious about my findings and well, maybe my brand new Ugg Boots convinced her too. Retail for $164! Best part? They fit!

Robin: "It just makes me sick what is thrown away! You know what else? It is disrespectful of the person who made those boots. Can you imagine? The person who made those boots is barely making a living wage and some girl bought 'em and threw them away. Unbelievable."

Sueann: "Whoa. You have a great point but on the flip side...what if the Ugg Abondoner is giving the manufacturer job security? I mean...Ugg Abandoner is going to buy another pair in the Fall right?"

Robin: "Good point. But it is so wasteful."

Sueann: "Which is something else I've been thinking about. I heard that companies calculate how many products will be sold at full price, sale price and how many will be, quote, donated. So they have figured how many items can be discarded while still making a profit."

Robin: "And we pay for that huh?"

Sueann: " I guess... unless you DUMPSTER DIVE!!!!" (Sueann does dance in Ugg boots)

But am I hurting the economy? I wanted Ugg boots since...oh it became fashionable for girls to wear huge sweatpants and Ugg boots (so comfy looking and terrible) and I was about to buy some when I was in Australia. But. The price. $150. I could have spent that $150 to stimulate the economy. Is dumpster diving Un-American? Wait! Is driving only one car for 10 years Un-American? Is wearing my 1994 brown leather biker jacket with zippers everywhere Un-American? (Friend recently said, 1980's but still OK. You pull it off.) Because it seems to me that we need to spend to be good citizens.

On another note, I had a great conversation with Rick Finch, Manager of Fac-Ops Waste Management at W.S.U. I asked him about the Move Out Pitch In bins around campus.

Apparently, the waste was noticed and they started this program.

Mr. Finch says the items are shared among several non-profits around the region. When I asked him why not have more around the outlining apartment complexes he said, "Limited resources and time. Our main concern is the campus and immediate areas. It is also a jurisdictional and financial issue. We also have a limited number of groups and they got pretty much all they can handle right now. But in the future, if more groups want to participate and work this we could expand."

Mr. Finch also had a good point about college students. He basically said that students moved their belongings over here one car load at a time - over several years. Then when graduation comes they didn't think that all their stuff had to fit in that same little car!

I'll be sure to post pictures of my Fair, Morning Classical Music Host and Music Director, Robin Rilette in the trash!

Here are some blogs to check out. I highly recommend Everyday Trash to see how the rest of the world survive.

Everyday Trash

My Dumpster Dive Blog

Remember to Take a Buddy - Poor Senator!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Who Stole My Trash? What Am I Doing With This?

Another rule of "Treasure Diving" is to put your booty away and not leave it in the alley...because it disappears. I was upset when I came home and the white dresser was gone. I thought, "Someone stole my dresser! The dresser I worked so hard to shove in my car! The dresser that has been in my family for 2 days! How dare they???"

Then I took a deep breath, looked around and figured they probably thought I didn't want it because it was out in the alley, near the garbage can. Doh!

So Sueann's Supplement Dumpster Diving Rule: Keep treasures away from the curb and store in a secure place.

I'm over it now. Sort of. I am trying to figure out how to fall in love with that other dresser I picked up. The ugly one. I'm sorta imagining it as an arranged marriage that an Asian father set up saying to his daughter, "He has personality if you can get past the looks."

You may have been wondering what I plan on doing with all the stuff right? Well. I WAS going to shabby chic that white dresser...but I have let that go now. Instead I will use an old window and The Other dresser to make some sweet piece of...something.

Some of the pants will become Tote Bags. Like this one I sewed up. You can wear it while riding your bike and it has many pockets to lose things in.

I plan on doing a little anecdotal experiment with craigslist, ebay and local ads to see which leads to a the first sale of the Kitchen Aid attachments.

And then there's the "What Was I Thinking" category of stuff.

I could take the fatigues and sew something...but camo is so 2005! I could make a Fairy Garden with the monster toys I found - have the monsters pillaging the Fairy Village, but I think that's disturbing. So instead, a whole lot of stuff will be donated.

My "Treasure Diving" partner helped save me from a "What Was I Thinking" potential problem. You see...I picked up a Free Organ - Lawrence Welk edition. I thought I could learn to play it, host mini concerts for my friends and maybe play at the Moscow Farmer's Market and have Robin Rilette sing! But TDP (Treasure Diving Partner) had this look of "This is never going to happen." So I called my Dad. He said, "This is never going to happen. Donate it." So off it went to inspire others.

I have to admit that during the "Treasure Diving" I experienced many feelings. Euphoria at the discovery of things I like, disgust at the waste, entrepreneurial dreams, and greed.

Veteran dumpster divers have a great suggestion for this - take only what you need or can pass on.

And leave things for other creatures and humans too.

More to come!