My Green City Life


Yes poo
September 2, 2008, 4:36 pm
Filed under: in the bathroom

My shampoo boycott has come to an end… or at least had a hiccup. I decided this weekend that I just couldn’t stand the constantly dirty head feeling anymore, so the shampoo made an appearance in the shower. I don’t think this has to be the end of my No Poo experiment, though, and I definitely learned about my hair and its behavior when unshampooed over the last six or so weeks. Shampoo is not the only way to wash your hair. I recommend experimenting with alternatives or at least decreasing your use of shampoo. Your head doesn’t need to be covered in thick bubbles to get clean!

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No poo!
August 17, 2008, 9:44 am
Filed under: in the bathroom

It’s the great no poo experiment! The “poo” in this case is shampoo, not poop. Going “no poo” means washing your hair without shampoo. For me, the ultimate goal is to get my scalp to regulate its oil output such that I can simply rinse my hair with water in the shower and not look like a greaseball. I’ve been transitioning to this rinse-only method by using baking soda and apple cider vinegar. The first week I washed my hair with a solution of three teaspoons of baking soda to about a cup of water. Then I rinsed with the same ratio of apple cider vinegar to water. (There was a complete water rinse between each solution — no volcanoes on my head!) Each week I reduced the baking soda/vinegar by one teaspoon.

I’ve now finished my fourth week of no poo-ing. It was my first full week of just rinsing with water. I’m not sure I’m happy with the results yet. The first two weeks, my hair seemed just like normal. Once I hit the one teaspoon week, I started feeling greasier even just out of the shower. Maybe I need to give my head a bit longer to adjust. Maybe I just need to get used to not being as super squeaky clean as I used to be with all the harsh chemicals in shampoo that were stripping my hair of all traces of oil. My hair doesn’t look bad, mind you. I just feel a bit greasy.

I will post another no poo update in a few weeks. If you are interested in going no poo, give it a search. There’s lots of info out there about why and how to do it. Personally, I’m doing it to be rid of chemical-laden shampoo and packaging. Also, it’s an experiment, and I like experiments. I think it will be cool if my head can learn to regulate its oil production without outside influence; in theory, it should. We’ll see if that amount of natural oil production is something I like or not. If not, I may consider going back to the baking soda/vinegar treatment, which seemed to work very well for me. Or I may make some shampoo soap bars. I have made them in the past, and they dried my hair out. However, plain baking soda did that too, but the vinegar rinse softened my hair back out, so maybe that is something to try.



End of the summer food
October 6, 2007, 2:12 pm
Filed under: in the bathroom

This morning I made one last half batch of gazpacho. This is a picture of up before the blender made short work of turning solid foods into a delicious liquid. It is now in the freezer, where it will remain until sometime in the dead of winter when I need a taste of summer to remind me that summer will once again return with all its delectable bounty!

Besides being so very yummy and easy to make, one of the great things about gazpacho is that it uses up lots of vegetables that I was over-run with this summer: cucumbers, tomatoes, green peppers, basil and parsley. The only vegetable ingredient I had to buy was the red onion. (Sadly, we got no onions in our CSA basket this year.) And there’s nothing like being able to drink your veggies! Yay gazpacho!



1.6 gallons, baby!
September 6, 2007, 6:56 pm
Filed under: in the bathroom

You may remember that our toilet broke. The pipe that connects the tank to the bowl rusted out, and since they don’t make toilets like that anymore, we had to get a whole new replacement toilet. A month and a half later, we FINALLY have the new toilet! I am stoked (or as stoked as you can be about a new toilet anyway) not just because I am relieved that the apartment complex people and the plumber finally got their acts together enough to actually install our new toilet. I am also stoked because this new toilet only uses 1.6 gallons per flush! Compared to the ancient beast of a toilet that we had up until today, this new guy is tiny! The old one must have used at least three gallons — probably more like five — per flush. Think of the water we won’t be wasting with each flush now! Whew, it feels good to be green in the city!



Up for a challenge?
September 5, 2007, 9:29 am
Filed under: in the bathroom

I have joined Crunchy Chicken’s Don’t Forget To Wipe Challenge, which is all about cloth toilet paper. Oh yes! Out with the paper; in with the cloth! “Ew!” you say? “Gross!” you say? “Nah!” says I. Babies use cloth. People in some parts of the world use their fingers. I’m not going that far.

I dare you to take the challenge or at least think about taking the challenge. Scare yourself! Just try it once. You don’t even have to tell anyone you did it. Here’s all you need to do. Find a piece of fabric — perhaps a square of flannel or part of an old t-shirt. Use it to wipe. Not too bad, eh? (Don’t forget to let your yellow mellow.) Throw the fabric in the wash, and then use it to wipe again. That was easy!



I made the leap
August 16, 2007, 2:24 pm
Filed under: in the bathroom

This past weekend, I visited the Botanical Garden with my mom and one of my sisters. It was beautiful, as always, and a delightful way to spend half a day. The last section we visited before heading home was the Courtyard of the Senses which is devoted to plants that are soft, sticky, rough, prickly, and/or smelly. We had fun crushing all the different leaves and flowers between our fingers and then breathing in the aromas. One of the plants in the soft section caught our attention for a different reason. As my sister put it, the leaves of this certain plant would make really good toilet paper. It got me thinking.

Then today, as luck would have it, we ran out of toilet paper. I thought back to the Botanical Garden and wished I had that plant growing in my bathroom. It was so soft and lovely, so much more sturdy than regular toilet paper. Almost as nice as cloth. *Bing!* That’s the sound of the light going on in my head.

Yes, dear reader, today I made the leap. I cut the sleeves off of an old short-sleeve shirt (because it was there and I really had to go) and had my inaugural cloth toilet paper experience. To make it even sweeter, I let the yellow mellow. 🙂

In the hours since, I have cut up a few squares from an old flannel sheet. I also sewed up a very quick and dirty drawstring bag for stashing the used cloths before laundry day. They all are waiting for me in the bathroom, and I feel very accomplished!



Lessons in toilet-ology
July 24, 2007, 1:40 pm
Filed under: in the bathroom

Our toilet has been leaking for months. It was annoying and kind of gross, sure, but it didn’t seem like a huge problem. After all, it only leaked when you flushed it, and most of that water got collected in a bucket that the cats certainly enjoyed drinking out of. Yesterday afternoon Matt decided that enough is enough. He bought a really big wrench and started to do battle with the toilet. Unfortunately, early on, something happened that neither of us saw coming. A piece of the pipe that connects the tank to the bowl came off. It just fell off, and now there is a hole in the pipe. (The piece that fell off was worn extremely thin. No wonder it was leaking! How old is this toilet anyway??) Flushing was suddenly an inaccessible luxury.

Last night, as we were both starting to do a little bit of the squirming “I gotta go” dance, we decided to learn about the mechanics of the toilet. Thank goodness for the internet. A simple search landed us at a site with all we needed to know, complete with animations of toilet mechanics in action. We now know that you can flush the toilet with the water turned off. It works like a siphon. You just pour water in the bowl, and when the pressure builds up enough, everything in the bowl gets sucked down. It’s a very simple concept yet one that has drastically changed my understanding of a small part of the world around me. Plus it only takes about two gallons of water to flush the toilet this way. With our toilet, a traditionally performed flush takes three or more. As one who is always trying to find ways to conserve resources, I’m think that the flushing bucket may stay in the bathroom for a while yet!