Perfectly Imperfect, Vintage

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Bottled Water VS Filtered Water

I live in a city where the water in my home stains everything. You know the red grout, the white build-up around the faucets etc... Years ago we bought a filter for the kitchen, exactly like the one pictured. I found the coffee tasted much better and there was no odd odor. I was sick of lugging cases of water home  so I decided I decided to reuse the old soda bottles, I fill them with water and store in the refrigerator.  I use old soda bottle because they are stronger than water bottles. I also fill half way with water and store in the freezer. When I heading out or just want something really cold, I fill the bottle to the top. You can use any bottle even those fancy reusable bottles work well.  
Using a filter is cost effective, Around $20.00 for a replacement filter about every few months or so. I drink 6 - 8  bottles of water everyday so you do the math. You can also use a filtration pitcher and store that in your fridge. 
Chances are that by now you know just how harmful bottled water is to the planet, and yet some people still find it difficult to give up those portable, easily purchased, calorie-free thirst-quenchers. Is it really so much better for the environment to drink filtered tap water than bottled water? And is it safe?
The answer to both of those questions is–you guessed it–a resounding yes. The impact of bottled water on the environment is monumental, wracking up environmental harm from the moment the plastic bottle is made and filled to the moment the used bottle is tossed in the trash. The process of making plastic water bottles sold in the United States alone uses approximately 1.5 million barrels of oil, according to the Earth Policy Institute–that’s enough to run 100,000 cars for an entire year. And that doesn’t even take into account the inordinate amount of oil needed to transport water bottles all over the world–a bottle of Fiji water enjoyed in New York City, for example, would have traveled nearly 8,000 miles from Fiji to New York.
Adding insult to injury, most water bottles are consumed by people outside of the home, where finding a recycling bin can prove a daunting task. Nearly 80 percent of water bottles are not recycled, resulting in 38 billion water bottles clogging landfills each year where they take 700 years to even begin to decompose.
Still, bottled water is the fastest growing segment of the beverage industry, with Americans drinking an average of 167 bottles of water each year, totaling $16 billion in sales. Ironically, while the United States is the world’s single biggest consumer of bottled water, it has reliable tap water available nearly nationwide–that’s something that can’t be said of Brazil, China, and Mexico, which round out the top four bottled water consuming countries in the world. Bottled water retailers are well aware of the quality of our nation’s tap water–in fact, at least 24 percent of the bottled water we drink is actually filtered tap water. Pepsi’s Aquafina and Coke’s Dasani, the top bottled water brands in the country, are two of the brands that bottle filtered municipal water.
So why are we paying for someone else to bottle our water when we could simply filter our own water at home? Bottled water must just taste better, right? It would appear not. Good Morning America conducted a blind taste test of water using its studio audience as guinea pigs and guess which water source was the clear winner? New York City tap water. Yes, that’s right: Tap water beat out Poland Spring and Evian.
Okay, so tap water tastes the same as bottled water and is far less harmful to the environment-but is it safe? It turns out federal standards are similar for both bottled water and municipal water, which is continually tested for contaminants. And for children, tap water is more than safe—it’s beneficial: Unlike bottled water, most tap water contains teeth-strengthening fluoride. To learn about the purity of your local tap water, you can read the EPA’s water-quality reports on the agency’s website. If you’re still concerned about trace levels of contaminants, investing in a good filter for your tap water is a great, inexpensive alternative to bottled water. Storing reusable bottles, such as aluminum Sigg bottles, filled with filtered tap water in the fridge makes it easy to grab a bottle of cold, pure water when you’re on the go.
Here’s the icing on the cake: Once you give up your bottled water habit, you’ll find you have some welcome extra cash floating around your wallet. If each American drinks 167 bottles on average per year, and the average cost of water is $1 per bottle, that’s $167 extra dollars you’ll have to put toward a relaxing day at the spa, new winter coat, or your favorite charity! Looking for donation inspiration? Check out Water Partners International, a nonprofit committed to providing safe drinking water and sanitation to people in developing countries.

Read more:

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Why does America make immigration hard?

Why does America make immigration hard? Read on John Stossel makes some interesting points.

"Move into an illegal-heavy neighborhood and get back to us!"
"Clearly, lots of Americans are mad about immigration. But we libertarians believe that people trapped in horrible countries deserve a chance at a better life and that free trade in labor, not just products, is a good thing."
 Of course, it would be good if all immigrants came here legally. But America makes that difficult.

The government awards 50,000 green cards by lottery, but in 2014, 11 million people applied, so the vast majority never get them.Forbes says a computer programmer from India who wants to work in America legally must wait an average of 35 years. A Mexican teenager would have to wait 131 years. No wonder people give up on the legal approach and sneak in."

How to become a Citizen

Become a Citizen

There are two ways to become a United States (U.S.) citizen – by birth or through naturalization.

What You Need to Know

To become a citizen at birth, you must:
  • Be born in the U.S or in certain territories or outlying possessions of the United States, that are subject to the jurisdiction of the United States
  • Have a parent or parents who were citizens at the time of your birth
  • If you were born outside the U.S., you must meet these requirements outlined by the U.S. Department of State
Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is granted to a foreign citizen or national after he or she fulfills the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). To become a citizen by naturalization, you must:

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Woods Hole Science Aquarium: Woods Hole MA

Resident Blue Lobster

The Woods Hole Science Aquarium is the oldest public aquarium in the country, dating to 1875 when Fisheries Commissioner Spencer Baird invited the public into his research laboratory to view animals and learn about marine science.
Believing that people are entitled to know about work supported by public funds, Baird established a policy of openness in Woods Hole. In 1885 when the federal government built the first dedicated research building in the village, Baird arranged for the new laboratory to include a public aquarium to display marine animals from local waters.
The aquarium thrived in the 19th century laboratory until 1954 when Hurricane Carol ravaged the village. The badly damaged laboratory/aquarium was torn down in 1958 and replaced by two buildings, one of which has housed the aquarium since 1961.
Now well into its second century, the Woods Hole Science Aquarium continues to carry out the dual missions Baird envisioned: supporting fisheries research and educating the public about marine life and marine science.
In the late 20th century, the aquarium took on a third mission: Conservation. The aquarium staff now rehabilitates and releases cold-stunned turtles and provides a permanent home for stranded seals that cannot be released to the wild.
Be sure to check the Woods Holes Science Aquarium webpage for directions and more details. 

We are a small, public aquarium that displays approximately 140 species of marine animals found in Northeast and Middle Atlantic waters. Admission is free, but donations are gladly accepted.
We are open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, year-round.
Seal feedings most days at 11:00 am and 4 pm daily.
Closed all federal holidays. We will be closed Dec. 25 and 26, 2014.
NOTE: The aquarium is a federal building and admission is free; however, we welcome donations, which you can put into a box in the lobby.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Copy That and Roger That

You just can’t help yourself.
After several years of hanging out with service members, you begin taking on certain sayings and catchphrases that are used in the military and integrating them into your own lingo. 
Ever find yourself using a few of these when talking to friends?
1. “Roger that” – instead of “got it” or “okay”
2. “Standby” – instead of “hold on a sec”
3. “Good to go” – instead of “we’re all set”
4. “Get Some” –instead of “go get ‘em”
5. “Gouge” or “skinny” – the insider information
6. “Hard charger” – a motivated individual
7. “Oscar Mike” or “OM” – on the move, meaning I’m on my way or moving out
8. “Got your six” – instead of “I’ve got your back”
9. “Zero-dark thirty” – instead of “first light or dawn”
10. “Squared away” – meaning everything is ready to go
11. “Hurry up and wait” – meaning that you get things taken care of, only to sit and wait for things to progress to move forward
12. “Shit-show” – instead of “things are really messed up”
13. “Mandatory fun” – used when you’re required to be somewhere at a specific place and time, usually a work function
14. “Voluntold”  – when someone appoints you to volunteer to something
15. “Cleared hot” – ready to fire, usually when spoken against someone who is crazy and you’re getting ready to talk to them
16. “FUBAR” – F*cked up beyond all reason.  Things are usually pretty messed up at this point.
17. “Hump” – Going out for a long walk, usually with a pack or gear
18. “Semper Gumby” – meaning that someone should remain flexible to any situation
19. “Big Green Weenie” – when the military rules are out to screw someone over
20. You know how to phonetically spell the alphabet when speaking to customer service reps or others:  A=Alpha, B=Bravo, C=Charlie, D=Delta, E=Echo, F=Foxtrot, G=Golf, H=Hotel, I= India, J=Juliet, K=Kilo, L=Lima, M=Mike, N=November, O=Oscar, P=Papa, Q=Quebec, R=Romeo, S=Sierra, T=Tango, U=Uniform, V=Victor, W=Whiskey, X=X-ray, Y=Yankee, Z=-Zulu

Friday, May 15, 2015

Planning your Vegetable Garden

My plan for my 2015 garden was to get "knee deep in the weeds" and start blogging about - my plan.
As I was online looking for new ideas, I stumbled upon several blogs. You know what, this blog Planning your first vegetable garden is just great. So why should I try to re-invent the wheel?

 Planting a garden with vegetables also gives you the pleasure of savoring a delicious, sun-warmed tomato fresh from the garden. In almost every case, the flavor and texture of varieties you can grow far exceed the best grocery store produce.Plus, growing vegetables can be fun. It's a great way to spend time with children or have a place to get away and spend time outdoors in the sun.
Learning what to plant in a garden with vegetables, and how to tend them for the best harvest, is probably easier than you think. If you plan it right, you can enjoy a beautiful garden full of the fruits of your labor -- without having to spend hours and hours tending it. Planting a garden that includes vegetables and flowers means you've combined natural companions, and that can turn a potential eyesore into an attractive landscape feature. 
Take it slow, don't get overwhelmed with all the information out there. Make it fun - don't make it a job. Most importantly don't spend a lot of money. Most people plant a garden to save money on their grocery bill and eat healthily. I like growing in containers. I use whatever ... from plastic buckets to fancy planters. I don't buy anything I look around my house, my basement and my attic. As long as it holds water - I'm good!  Check out some ideas I have on Pinterest. Start your own Pinterest account and save the idea you'd like to implement. 

Deciding What to Plant in a Garden with Vegetables

Determining How Much Space You Need

Picking the Perfect Spot


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Harold Parker State Forest: Andover Ma

People travel from all around, to visit this Harold Parker State Forest. Peaceful, tranquil and clean. 
Harold Parker State Forest, which lies in Andover, North Andover, North Reading and Middleton, comprises just over 3,000 acres of Central Hardwood-Hemlock-White Pine type of forest. The forest is twenty miles north of Boston and within one hour's drive of three million people. Recreational opportunities include hiking, mountain biking, fishing, hunting, horseback riding, camping and picnicking. The forest has over 35 miles of logging roads and trails and offers quiet seclusion to off-road hikers and bikers. Non-motorized boating is allowed on any of the 11 ponds. No horse, boat or bike rentals are available at the facility.
Park Headquarters
(main office):
305 Middleton Road
N. Andover Ma. 01845
Be sure to read up - loads and loads of information and more maps - located on the Massachusetts Harold Parker  webpage.

The map above  is of the Harold Parker State Forest, part of which is located in Andover. The forest was established in 1916, and was named after Harold Parker, who was a chairman of the State Conservation Commission.

Recreational Opportunities


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Difference between Democracy and Republic

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America,

and to the Republic for which it stands,
one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." 

In the Pledge of Allegiance we all pledge allegiance to our Republic, not to a democracy. "Republic" is the proper description of our government, not "democracy.

A republic and a democracy are identical in every aspect except one. In a republic the sovereignty is in each individual person. In a democracy the sovereignty is in the group.

Republic. That form of government in which the powers of sovereignty are vested in the people and are exercised by the people, either directly, or through representatives chosen by the people, to whom those powers are specially delegated. [NOTE: The word "people" may be either plural or singular. In a republic the group only has advisory powers; the sovereign individual is free to reject the majority group-think. USA/exception: if 100% of a jury convicts, then the individual loses sovereignty and is subject to group-think as in a democracy.]

Democracy. That form of government in which the sovereign power resides in and is exercised by the whole body of free citizens directly or indirectly through a system of representation, as distinguished from a monarchy, aristocracy, or oligarchy. [NOTE: In a pure democracy, 51% beats 49%. In other words, the minority has no rights. The minority only has those privileges granted by the dictatorship of the majority.]

The distinction between our Republic and a democracy is not an idle one. It has great legal significance.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Mount Vernon Park: Lawrence MA

Spring is here and it's time to start posting about things we like to do outside. From gardening to visiting local parks to waterfalls, mountains and all things we love about New England. 

Although, I generally post about places and up coming events all year long on facebook, I'm choosing to post spring and summer here on my blog. Just for easy of access. Things tend to get lost on facebook.  

My inspiration for this comes from a friend, who last year packed her family up and hit the highway. Her goal was "waterfalls." I think she wanted to find every waterfall from Massachusetts to Maine. Not wanting to spend a lot of money, these were budget trips. Apparently there are waterfalls she missed because she recently posted on facebook - that she's making a list and getting ready to head out again.

What a great way to spend time with family and enjoy those hot summer days. I found myself looking forward to her pictures. She kept those of us that were interested informed by posting lots and lots of pictures and I enjoyed every one of her adventures. She doesn't know it - but I plan on stealing (I mean borrowing) her pictures this time around. (I'll make sure not to post her children). Just the scenery.   

But first, even though it's spring it snowed today and it's cold and raw. So I'm going to post about local parks.

Starting with Lawrence Massachusetts which has an amazing number of parks for a very tiny city. I'll work my way to cities and towns around the area as well. There are 32 parks and several more are or will be under construction. The city has receive several large grants to rehab these parks. I'll make sure to post about the 'community gardens' as well.  
 I have since learned - not everyone is welcome here. Picture taken April 12, 2015. 

A little known treasure is a park in South Lawrence - close to the Andover line. This link Mount Vernon Park will take you directly to the city web page. For more detailed information contact the Recreation Department

"Mount Vernon Park, named for the Mount Vernon neighborhood it is found in, is located on Mount Vernon Street between Crestshire Drive and Barnard Road. Mount Vernon Park provides a fun place for people of all ages to enjoy. The park contains multiple fields, a basketball court, and a playground for the little ones. Donahue Field is located in Mount Vernon Park. Donahue Field is dedicated to Redd Donahue for his outstanding contribution to the youth of the City of Lawrence. At Mount Vernon park there is ample parking, and facilities, along with a concession stand that can be opened up for baseball games."
There are some fabulous pictures posted here Cuoco & Cormier Engineering Associates webpage.
They worked with the City of Lawrence to re-vitalize Mount Vernon Park. Mount Vernon Park was an aging athletic facility that could not meet local needs. C&C worked with the City to convene a series of public forums to gain local input and to develop concept plans that allowed the community to maximize the potential of the site.The final design involved the construction of four tournament quality baseball fields with stadium lighting, a multi-purpose community building, a press box, a playground and new site utilities. The new park layout also reduced local safety and traffic concerns by more than doubling the amount of on site parking. The re-construction effort has enabled the City to fully utilize the site and increase its value to the local community.Cuoco & Cormier prepared the concept, design and permitting plans for the project. In addition, C&C developed the construction plans and project specifications for this $3,000,000 effort. Cuoco & Cormier also served as the construction supervisor for the year long re-construction effort.


Monday, April 6, 2015

And When the Snow Starts Melting - Flooding

Over one foot of snow from a N'oreaster (Niko) and 2 more storms on the way this weekend and I'm looking ahead - to the next phase - the BIG picture.

Did you know many parts of the Merrimack Valley (Massachusetts) are in a Flood Zone?

Did you know flood insurance is more expensive than homeowners insurance? Making it cost prohibitive for most.

Did you know that you can only buy flood insurance from the Federal Government? That's right (FEMA) pays those claims.

I live in a "X flood zone" which is a Hazard Zone. I'm not required to buy flood insurance. Nevertheless, I decided to look into it anyway. Because I know no one is going to help me out. 

I was told I must buy flood insurance that is 20% over the valuation of my property - or any claim file with not be accepted.
Less than 60% of the contents will be insured and at 80% replacement cost.
Payment is due in full - when you fill out the application.
But... there is a 30 day wait period before you are insured,

Maybe I should sit back and do nothing and then when a disaster happens - wait for the federal government to bail me out.

It's not just about the Merrimack, Spicket and Shawsheen Rivers overflowing their banks I'm concerned about - it's when the snow melting begins. Melting is a problem for everyone.
And I've been through that once already - there was no one rushing to help us bail out when our basement flooded. NO ONE!
Many where I lived were help but no us. Nope! The fire department was right there pumping out basements - but zero help in my area.

There has to be a better way for property owners to protect their homes - don't you think?

I'm still researching.

Renters - y'all might want to look into protecting your "stuff."

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Parking near a fire hydrant - in Massachusetts

What is the law in Massachusetts on parking near a fire hydrant? How many feet away must one park?

Wonder why I post this, because I have a fire hydrant in front of my home - and people park in front EVERYDAY.   
It is a violation of 350 CMR (Code of Massachusetts Regulations) 5.00 to park within ten feet of a fire hydrant.
Chapter 90: Section 20A.5 of the Massachusetts General Laws (MGL) also discusses fire hydrants and fines associated with parking within 10 feet of one. It states in the sixth paragraph that:

There may be other sections of the CMR and MGL that discuss the penalties for parking within 10 feet of a fire hydrant, which this is illegal, so a lawyer familiar with MA law or theMassachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) should be able to give you more information on the fire hydrant laws.
The penalty for parking within 10 feet of a fire hydrant tends to vary in Massachusetts depending upon the jurisdiction you were ticketed in. Fines range from $10 to $55 though it looks like in Boston and some other cities they can charge up to $100.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Banning sprinkles - it's just wrong

Banning sprinkles  It's a national (global) tragedy.  We should be out protesting this. Write to congress. It's a liberal conspiracy and UN-American. Send out those drones!
 Sprinkles are very small pieces of confectionery used as a decoration or to add texture to desserts—typically cupcakes, cookies, doughnuts, ice cream, frozen yogurt, some puddings, and in the Netherlands and Australia, sandwiches or bread. The tiny candies are produced in a variety of colors and are generally used as a topping or a decorative element.
 It's all about removing trace amounts of trans fats from our diets.
No word on banning Jimmies - shh... let's keep that name to ourselves. If they ban Nonpareils - the French will pitch a fit. 
 In the Northeastern United States, sprinkles are often referred to as jimmies. Jimmies are usually considered to be used as an ice cream topping, while sprinkles are for decorating baked goods, but the term can be used for both.
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