July 14, 2010

Easy Ways to Save Gas

Posted in Money, Travel tagged , , , , , , , , , at 6:54 am by Liliana

Too many cars!

Too many cars!

I am not an austere person and enjoy the pleasures of life gladly and readily. But I hate to waste.

I am of the philosophy that the more we save for the future generations, the easier and better their lives will be.

And really, it doesn’t take much effort.

With the oil spill in the Gulf preoccupying the world, cars have been on my mind quite a bit this summer.

I know that most of us are not going to stop driving. I know I can’t. I have to drive to work every day – there is no public transportation available on that route. But there are still small steps all of us can take. When added up, they make a difference.

Regardless of the kind of car one owns, there are ways to drive more efficiently.  Over the course of a year, this starts to add up. Not just in money saved on gas, but also in conservation of natural resources and less pollution of our atmosphere.

Try these tips and see what happens:

Control acceleration – When you slowly and steadily accelerate to your desired cruising speed, the vehicle works more efficiently and needs less gas.

Empty the trunk – Many of us carry stuff in our trunks that we don’t actually need. By making our car lighter, we could be saving a lot of energy in a year.

Turn off the air conditioning – The use of air conditioning can increase fuel consumption by up to 10 percent. I know it’s too hot to talk about it these days, but just remember this fact for the future!

Keep your car well maintained – Your car should be serviced at regular intervals. Dirty oil is bad for the air, and it also requires more energy for the engine to work as it should. Sensible maintenance can also save you from larger repair bills in the future.

Slow down
– The faster your car moves the greater the drag it creates in the surrounding air.  A reduction of twenty miles per hour in your regular highway speed can yield measurable savings in a year.

Coast to a stop – When you see a red light or stop sign coming up, coast to the stop instead of hitting the brakes when you get there. By doing so you will save money in both gas and brake replacement and also keep the environment cleaner.

Avoid the Drive-Through – A fast-food or bank drive-through requires you to waste fuel as you wait in line for the pickup. Parking your car and walking offers a better alternative.

Check tire air pressure – Properly inflated tires can reduce fuel consumption by up to 3 percent and allow your car to roll more efficiently. Remember not to inflate your tires too much; excessive air pressure in tires is dangerous and should be avoided.

Drive when you have to – One of the best ways to drive greener is to simply not drive. Combine chores into one trip or walk and ride your bike whenever possible.

It would be very hard to follow each one of these tips all the time. Do the best you can. Every single change in our lifestyle makes a big difference for the future of our children and the world we all live in.


June 27, 2010

The Oil Spill

Posted in Breast Cancer, Cancer, Children, Cleaning, Health, Money, News, Travel, Weather tagged , , , , , at 6:46 am by Liliana


"Make my hands respect the things you have"

There is a great environmental tragedy happening in the Gulf of Mexico and it affects our entire planet.

I wanted to address the issue, to acknowledge the unprecedented affliction, torment and suffering, but my words feel inadequate and shallow.

What can I say that hasn’t been said? What wisdom can I offer?

I will let this beautiful Native American Prayer speak for me. It says everything, and much more, that I wanted to express.

Native American Prayer

Oh, Great Spirit
Whose voice I hear in the winds,
And whose breath gives life to all the world,
hear me, I am small and weak,
I need your strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes ever behold
the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have
made and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise so that I may understand the things
you have taught my people.
Let me learn the lessons you have
hidden in every leaf and rock.

I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother,
but to fight my greatest enemy – myself.
Make me always ready to come to you
with clean hands and straight eyes.
So when life fades, as the fading sunset,
my Spirit may come to you without shame.

(translated by Lakota Sioux Chief Yellow Lark in 1887)

Source: http://www.sapphyr.net/natam/quotes-nativeamerican.htm

June 15, 2010

Market Day

Posted in Food, Friendships, Health, Money, Recipes tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:06 am by Liliana

Market Day

Market Day

Grocery shopping in modern supermarkets is not one of my favorite chores. In fact, I don’t like doing it much at all.

But I love, LOVE, shopping at our local farmer’s market.

Maybe it reminds me of my childhood. My mother, sister and I went shopping several times a week at the nearby farmer’s market in Belgrade. Mother carried a large wicker basket and my sister and I carried little wicker baskets. We bought food that smelled tantalizing and tasted delightful, was in season, ripe and delicious. We had our favorite farmers. They let us try samples. They told us what was best. They gave us ideas on how to prepare new dishes.

I am lucky to live in a town, here in Michigan, that has a lively farmers market. On Wednesday and Saturday mornings, from early March until the end of December, it is the center of our downtown area. For me, going there is a gratifying adventure.

I usually try to be at the market by 8 am, not only so I can find a parking spot easily, but also because the selection of the seasonal bounty is not picked over yet. I quickly walk through the aisles, look over the offerings, compare the prices, and greet the farmers I have gotten to know.

Frequently, I meet my friend Ann at a nearby café, for coffee and some much needed girlfriend conversation. Ann is not just one of my dearest friends, she is my market buddy. We drink hot coffee, share a delectable pastry, and talk about anything that comes to mind that particular morning. Then, we go to the market together.

I haven’t found a wicker basket I like, but I always carry several canvas bags so I can store all my purchases. I always bring cash, mostly in small bills. Farmers don’t take credit cards or personal checks. I don’t’ haggle with farmers over the prices. My grandparents were farmers and I know how hard these people work for a living. I talk to farmers, just like my mother did. I ask them what they recommend. When I don’t recognize a particular vegetable or fruit, I ask about it. Sometimes, I get new recipes.

Our market has a lot more to offer than fruits and vegetables. I frequently buy fresh eggs (from a lady everyone calls grandma,) artisan cheeses, meat (from an Amish family,) flowers (from a friendly lady who makes beautiful wreaths,) herbs, coffee. I bought a large leather bag from a woman who designs and makes them from the softest leather. At Christmas time, we come here to buy fresh trees.

I miss the market terribly during those dark, cold winter months when it is closed. But when spring arrives Ann and I are ready.

May 24, 2010

Relay for Life of Canton, 2010

Posted in appliance parts, Breast Cancer, Cancer, Good people, Health, Money, Organization, RepairClinic.com tagged , , , , , , at 6:52 am by Liliana

Relay for Life of Canton, 2010

Relay for Life of Canton, 2010

Last weekend, RepairClinic.com participated in the Relay for Life fundraiser in Canton, Michigan. This is an inspiring event that celebrates the lives of people who have battled cancer, remembers loved ones lost, and fights back against the disease by raising money for research. All the money is donated to the American Cancer Society.

At the Canton Relay, teams of people camp out at our local park and take turns walking or running around a path surrounding a small pond. This is the second year that RepairClinic has participated in this event and we all find it very moving and inspiring. The event starts with the survivor’s walk. Participants stand on the sidelines and cheer those who have battled the disease. I always cry when I look around me and see young children, mothers with babies, middle aged people, senior citizens. No one is immune to this disease. Still, as hard as it is, there is healing and comfort in the support and cheers from other people, in their love and encouragement.

This year’s Relay was a huge success. These are the official numbers:

The Relay For Life of Canton celebrated 347 survivors, had 1,283 participants, honored the battle of over 3,630 loved ones with luminaria and raised $248,062 for the fight against cancer! We exceeded the community’s fund-raising goal by $8,062!

RepairClinic thanks all of you for your help.

May 5, 2010

RepairClinic.com Raising Money for Cancer Research

Posted in appliance parts, Breast Cancer, Cancer, Good people, Health, Money, Organization, RepairClinic.com, Work tagged , , , at 9:13 am by Liliana

RepairClinic.com Outreach Committee

RepairClinic.com Outreach Committee

RepairClinic’s Health and Wellness committee held a fundraiser luncheon for all our employees yesterday. They were helping our Outreach committee raise money for Relay For Life®.

The American Cancer Society Relay For Life® is a fund-raising event that gives people around the world a chance to celebrate the lives of cancer survivors and people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease. Relay For Life® raises much-needed funds and awareness to help the American Cancer Society save lives from cancer.

At RepairClinic.com, our Outreach team has been collecting money for Relay For Life® for a number of months now. We held three fund-raising luncheons. RepairClinic donated a large number of items for a popular employee bargain sale (we raised $896 there). Different individuals in our group have been doing their part to inform their families and friends and raise money that way. Our goal is $2000. We are slowly getting there.

For yesterday’s luncheon, we had a healthy spread – a lovely salad bar with lots of toppings. This was on the menu:

  • Fresh, crisp lettuce
  • Baby spinach
  • Several kinds of rolls
  • Meats: turkey, ham, salami
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Vegetables: onions, cucumbers, tomatoes
  • Beans: garbanzo, black and sunflowers seeds

For dessert we had brownies, lemon bars, a number of delicious cookies.

Our lunch was a success and we raised over $345.00 towards our goal.

Relay for Life is taking place Saturday, May 15th and Sunday May 16th. Our team will be there the entire weekend. Please help us with your donation!

April 26, 2010

RepairClinic.com – Advice on Living Green

Posted in appliance parts, Health, Home, Money, RepairClinic.com tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:12 am by Liliana

 Drink Tap Water

Drink Tap Water

Whether going for a walk or taking kids to soccer, many of us habitually reach for a plastic water bottle to take along. Our society seems to be addicted to the availability of a bottle filled with water at all times.  What cost is our environment paying for this convenience?

According to the Earth Policy Institute, transporting bottled water for long distances involves burning massive quantities of fossil fuels. Nearly a quarter of all bottled water is transported by boat, train, and truck. In fact, due mainly to packaging and transportation, it costs more to drink bottled water than to put gas in your car – up to five times more.

And this is not the only cost.

The Container Recycling Institute reports that eight out of ten plastic water bottles used in the US are not recycled.  They end up in landfills or as litter in parks and along roads. According to Sierra Club, about 66 million bottles are being disposed of every day!

What can you do?

  • Stop buying bottled water.
  • Use tap water instead – it is healthier and better regulated (local municipalities must comply with strict government standards from the EPA for water purity, while most water bottling companies are regulated by the FDA with  fewer restrictions.)
  • Save money – water bottle companies are charging as much as 300 – 1000 times what that same water would cost if you just turned on your own faucet.
  • Buy a filter – if worried about the purity of your tap water, a water filter will help. Most recently designed refrigerators already have a filter in their water and ice dispensers.

Every person makes a difference. It feels good to do one’s part.

April 23, 2010

Building a Raised Garden Bed

Posted in Food, Garden, Health, Home, Money tagged , , , at 7:03 am by Liliana

Raised Garden Bed

Raised Garden Bed

Growing fresh herbs and vegetables provides a wonderful sense of pleasure and accomplishment for many people. By planting your own garden, you can save money as well as grow produce that cannot compare in taste or freshness with vegetables bought at supermarkets. It is a wonderful feeling to walk out of your kitchen and pick fresh tomatoes for your salad. Or fresh parsley for your soup. Or some berries to go with your yogurt.

Raised garden beds are easy to make, plant and maintain. Here is a short lesson on how to go about building your own.

Decide how big you want your garden to be. If you are unsure, start with a 4×4-foot square.  It is a manageable size and easy to reach on all sides. Then level the ground by raking it so that your raised bed will lie flat.

The supplies you will need are: four one-foot-long 4x4s for the corner posts; four four-foot-long 2x6s for the side rails; and four two-foot-long 2x2s for the center stakes.

Once you have your supplies, position your 4x4s at each corner of the square. Then align your first 2×6 to a corner  post. Line up the next 2×6 at a right angle to first. The ends of the 2×6 boards should be level. Make sure the rails form a right angle by using an angle-square. Then screw the two side rails to the post, making sure that the ends of the rails are even with the sides of the posts. Check again to be sure that the frame is square. To make your frame sturdy, place the four 2×2’s at the middle points of the outside walls. Pound them into the ground until they are level with the sides of the bed. Fasten each stake with a screw.

Fill your raised bed with rich, black topsoil and mix in some compost or peat moss, You are now ready to plant.

February 28, 2010

Earthquake in Chile

Posted in Earthquakes, Good people, Money, News tagged , , at 8:59 am by Liliana

Earthquake in Chile

Earthquake in Chile

Terrible things have been happening around the world. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; earthquakes in Haiti and Chile; tsunami warnings down the entire Pacific coast; and many other natural and man-made disasters. It is hard not to be afraid, anxious and stressed. What does one do?

My way of dealing with things that I am afraid of is not to turn away. I think that apathy and indifference help no one; compassion and everyday acts of kindness make this world a better place.

We can all do our part. Whether cleaning our neighbor’s snowy sidewalk, saying a kind word to a child, or sending a check to Chile, we all have great power to do good things.

If you are able to help the people of Haiti, Chile or those in our own country who are in need, please consider:

American Red Cross -http://www.redcross.org/

Every little bit helps!

February 15, 2010

Job Loss

Posted in Career, Family, Good people, Money, Work tagged , , , , at 8:02 am by Liliana

Joe - on to a new adventure

Joe - on to a new adventure

Last week my brother-in-law, Joe, lost his job. He has worked for a book retail company for fifteen years, but business has not been going well for a while now. These are transitional times, and crossing  junctures is never easy.

Joe is close to fifty years old and he has invested the best years of his career in an industry that is becoming outdated. What does one do? Joe has many talents. He is a masterful and creative writer, an excellent judge of books and he speaks several languages. He has proven to be a patient and understanding manager, and he gets things done. But he is also a kind and gentle man, full of empathy and limitless capacity to see into the souls of others. He is honest to a fault and the duplicity of corporate dealings has left him drained and disillusioned. He is ready to move on.

So, even though Joe’s job loss is frightening and disorienting for him and his family, it also feels like an opportunity. Now he can consider what he would really like to do with the rest of his life and not just settle for the easiest answers. For the last few years Joe has been deliberately analyzing and appraising his alternatives, trying to bring his options and  his affinities to the same page.

Somewhere on this journey of discovery, Joe realized that teaching has always been a part of his life. His mother was a teacher and this is a calling that has always appealed to him. This insight has made all the difference in easing the transition and Joe has decided that he wants to  be a high school teacher. His managerial skills came in handy in researching the program that is right for him. Today, he heard that he was accepted into the University of Michigan Education Program (MAC.) His family is convinced that he will be a glorious teacher.