Saturday, August 08, 2009

Behind the Mic with Sueann Ramella

Here's a little audio slideshow that was created for our e newsletter, Connect. You can subscribe for free at !

I hope you enjoy this! Turn on the speakers and the captions!

Sueann Ramella Behind the Mic

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Friday, July 24, 2009

Woman Refuses C-Section, Loses Parental Rights

Salon's Broadsheet: Woman Refuses C-Section, Loses Parental Rights

This is a very complicated and confusing story. See if you end up with the same message I did.

That, yes, the court did use the fact that she refused a c-section as the reason for child abuse. Then in appeal they retracted and condemed the first court's use of the c-section... but the court upheld the ruling using her mental condition prior to the birth as the reason for potential harm to the child. The court also used the fact that she, nor her baby daddy, went to court and did not answer phone calls from CPS as proof they are unfit parents... even if they have actually never had the child to parent.

Confused? Me too. I would really like NPR to do a follow up to this.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Spokane Bans Phosphate Soap

I learned that Spokane is the first city to ban phosphate soaps! Phosphates in water increase plant growth - which sounds nice - but in fact, these plants grow so much they can choke bodies of water. When the plants die off they do so en mass and the normal decomposition process in water is overwhelmed. Think of this like a factory that increases it's production of widgets, sends them down the line but only one worker is boxing widgets up. The worker is overwhelmed. (Are you recalling I Love Lucy's Chocolate Factory epsiode too?)

But many of our favorite soaps we have grown up with have phosphates in them. So what to do? Some folks are smuggling their soaps from across the border. This makes me wonder if they are shopping for all their groceries across state lines to get their fave soaps. If so, is the ride out to Idaho worth the time and gas?

I have been a huge fan of Method soap. Good smell, cute bottles, lots of soapy feeling and suds. Give it a try. Sure it is a little more then 99 cents but sometimes we have to pay more for what we really want. And what we really want is clean water. You can find Method in most grocery stores and at Target.

Here's an older report: NWPR News Phosphates Banned in Spokane

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Yard Sale Success!

Just so you know, we made a little over $100 from our yard sale. I would say half of that money came from dumpster stuff. It was really hard to not say, "Oh I got it in the dumpster. $5 please." I honestly think that if we put more time and energy into our sale we could have made more cash, but our goal was to de-clutter and make a little money.

You may already know this if you are a yard sale person, but kid's stuff sells fast! My friend brought over loads of kid toys, clothes, even a high chair and potty - GONE like that! It was a real draw to the sale and probably go people to buy other stuff.

My next project is to create two xeriscape garden beds in the front yard. I did a report last month on xeriscaping and at first thought it was going to be about grasses and plain flowers. I was happy to learn that there are many options for the gardening who wishes to decrease their water use!

As for the beds, I plan to use broken up cement as the stones. This means I get to peruse alleyways and craigslist for discarded cement clumps.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Patterns In Dumpster Diving

I know I said I was not into dumpster diving this year. But when you're good at something you usually want to pass it on. So I took another friend out to see what we could find.

She was excited to hit Greek Row and find clothes. But this outing was all about TVs and Brooms! We found 4 TVs and one, I kid you not, Samsung flat Screen! It was at least 4 ft. long! The screen was cracked and we did notice a load of beer and heavy liquor all around it.

Arty Friend: "Well that may explain what happened. I bet they sobered up after someone kicked their TV."

Me: "Do you know how much this costs?"

Arty Friend: "(giggle) Not the slightest! Our TV is super small."

Me: "It had to have cost a grand."

Arty Friend: "Then they were really pissed after that party!"

Here is a list of things I will never buy as long as I live near a college:

1. TVs
2. Brooms and mops
3. BBQs
4. Hookahs
5. Particle board furniture
6. Lamps
7. Fans
8. Heaters
9. Basketball player sized men's clothing

And if I wasn't particular about scents and ingredients...

10. Soaps: shampoos, laundry, dish and hand soaps

OH! And remember how I just couldn't dive for food. I did this time. Sorta. I didn't take the yaki soba noodles, even though they were pretty frozen. I have some food allergies and need to read labels.

But I did take an enormous can of pizza sauce....

and my Arty Friend took pickles. She used to work at a Heinz factory and this triggered some happy memories for her!

Just like these cameras triggered happy memories of finding AMAZING things in the dumpster for me! (Ugg boots!) The Fuji Digital camera works. Not sure yet about the digital camcorder.

We saw 4 groups of people dumpster diving. We all waved at each other and smiled. A man came up to us and said, "It's must crazy what they throw away isn't it?" He had friends looking out for a futon and frame for him.

We were told that, "While this is not against the town's policies, it is against the college's to be inside the dumpster." So we politely said thank you and left asap. Which the grandma who tagged along with us was not enthused about.

Grandma: "Well. I guess they're worred about lawsuits. We should sign waivers. Look at all the waste. It just drives me crazy what these kids throw away! Someone should contract out with these places and sort through. Take it to Goodwill at the least!"

The colleges do try to minimize the waste and have several donation containers about. However, in my opinion, they are not in the proper locations. In order to get people to donate, you have to make it as easy as possible. That means setting the containers near their front doors - right next to the dumpsters.

But that is a lot of donations containers and a lot of locations Frankly, the colleges would be overwhelmed with the success of it all.

Here is our load!

We are going to have a yard sale and donate the rest. I think my Arty Friend called us "Junk Liberators!"

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Dumpster Diving Spring 2009

Me: "Hey Kerry (my boss) I have something for you son to tinker with!"
Kerry: "What is it?"
Me: "A PS2 (Sony gaming system)"
Kerry: "Really? Cool!"
Me: "I pulled it out of the dumpster."

Me: "Hey Robin! Do you like the rice cooker I left for you in your office?"
Robin: "Did you get that out of a dumpster?"
Me: "Yup!"

Me: "Hey Ben! I got a solid wood table with two broken legs in the car!"
Ben: "Great...another thing to take up space in the shop!"
Me: "I just couldn't let it go to the landfill. I'll find a home for it."

Well, here we are again rummaging through the garbage and "looking for boxes." But this time, I am not that into it. It still upsets me to see perfectly fine things heading to the landfill, but I do not want them in my house.

If you recall, last year I took just about everything that was in good condition. I stuffed the garage with all these things and later had a yard sale. I made a pretty penny but the stuff started to control my life!

The glitter of dumpster diving has been dulled by my mother, but not in the way you think. My folks moved overseas and I had the pleasure (shaking head no) of helping (banging head on wall) pack and move stuff. Tons of stuff...One air container, one shipping container and one very large semi-truck full of stuff. Oh, and there was the ton (literal weight) of donations and trash.

In my parent's defense, this is not unusual. If you have moved your parents out of the family home, you know what I mean. Living in a home for 20 years means you will have a lot of stuff. What is unusual is that my mom was afraid of Y2K and a lover of Costco. We had a lot of powdered milk and obese olive oil jugs to find homes for.

I did realize my love for deep fried food is genetic. My mom had 3 deep fryers still in the boxes in the garage. Or, as I like to remember it, Mini Costco.

My mother is very giving and I was overwhelmed with the shower of material affection. I stuffed a U-Haul full of very nice things. Things that have sucked my will to shop. Things that cry out for maintenance and my attention! Things that are 2inches too wide to fit in my door! Things that will really enhance my life and help organize my 900 sq. ft. home if only I had the room!

Yeah, that is why I am not that into dumpster diving this year. My mother, like always, has filled my needs, and I want for nothing.

So I took a friend and gave her everything but a rice cooker, solid wood table and PS-2.

This is my friend, sad to see all the waste.

Here she is after lifting out two lovely end tables. The glass that go with the tables were gently set inside the dumpster. She shows me the text book, "Social Problems" and we laugh at the irony.

This week, I will take a Northwest Public Radio listener out to "look for more boxes." She's an artist and I am sure she will be inspired!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

And the Season Begins! Dumpster Diving

It was this time last year that I experienced the joys and shock of dumpster diving. This time, I am going to bring along some friends, a caravan if you will, to experience the scavenging. I'll tell you all about it after this weekend.

I also want to share with you what I learned about green and sustainable living from WSU professors and researchers. Let's just say that there's a whole lotta thinking going on so you don't have to!

Back to Dumpster Diving.
On my way to work - 4am - I saw the first budding sign of the season. The solid wood chair with a broken leg, the couch kicked to the curb, the down comforter that cost someone (Mom, Dad?) at least $100.

And the familiar BBQ with gas still attached!

But what I learned from last year is that I can't save everything, so I left the BBQ and chair... but I did take a laundry hamper fold up thing. Why? It was light and I wanted to show my co-worker that the season is on!