Tag Archive for fire

Once You’ve Unwrapped Those Gifts….

DON’T BURN THAT GIFT WRAP IN YOUR FIREPLACE!  The metals and ink in much of the paper cause many fires each year and send harmful particulates into the air we breathe.

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[For more easy, money-saving, Earth-friendly tips, download a FREE copy of Green Riches: Help the Earth & Your Budget. Go to www.Smashwords.com/books/view/7000 or your favorite e-book seller and download to your computer or e-book device. Totally free, with no strings attached.]

Use Your Brain and Your Heart

You may want to give in to charitable appeals for recent tragedies, like mass shootings, earthquakes, and fires.  But don’t just follow your heart–engage your brain. Be sure those donations do some real good for real people rather than enriching scam artists or CEOs.  Clark Howard offers some tips:

  • Don’t give cash. Legitimate charities will take a check.
  • Don’t give out your credit card, bank account or personal information to telemarketers. If you want to donate, initiate the call yourself.
  • Don’t fall for Internet appeals if the cause does not look legitimate and doesn’t check out. Make sure to do your research!
  • Expect specific information. Ask what kind of relief this organization is going to provide. Don’t accept vague explanations.
  • Check out the charity with national, state, and local authorities. Established charities register with the Internal Revenue Service. You can search for specific non-profit organizations on the IRS website: irs.gov.
  • Beware of newly formed organizations. If the charity is new, you may have to rely on your relationship with the company or sponsor of the organization to determine whether you trust the group.
  • Report abuses to the nearest Better Business Bureau and the State Attorney General’s office. Both are listed in local telephone directories. You can also report abuses to the National Fraud Information Center at (800) 876-7060. NFIC also has a web-based complaint form at www.fraud.org.

And here’s one of my own:  Check to see how much of your donation will go to charitable work as compared to administrative costs (including CEOs) and fundraising costs.  Look them up at www.CharityNavigator.org or the Better Business Bureau site www.BBB.give.org.

For more tips on donating, check out Clark’s Donation Guide.


We’re in the middle of feel-good Spring.  It’s the time when we have Spring-Cleaning Fever.  In the process, we notice repairs that need to be done and hazards that need to be un-hazarded.  But what about people who are incapable of doing those chores?  You probably know an elderly or infirm person who lives alone and doesn’t have aware family nearby.  Or a single mom with her hands full with work and children.  And you probably can spare a Saturday afternoon for a visit and safety check.

You can check locks on his windows, doors, and gates, tighten their screws, and make sure they work properly.  You can test her fire, smoke, break-in, and medical emergency systems and put in new batteries.  Or replace burned-out light bulbs (house, porch, outside security light) and frayed electrical cords.  Move those flammable items from around the water heater, furnace, gas range—anywhere there’s a flame.  Clean debris from the clothes dryer (from drum to where the air vents outdoors)—a big, often overlooked fire hazard.  I have more safety ideas if you need them.

Take your kids to help.  Not only will the recipient of your labor be safe,  but also your children will learn that we need keep others in mind and look out for each other.


Woman, Light a Fire!

Violence! Fighting! Rock-throwing! Vandalism! Fires!  These are common events at marches and protests.  There were 470,000 or so people in the Women’s March in DC (and many, many more in other cities, including my home town of San Jose, CA).  And what did they do?  The raised their voices to express their demands for justice, peace, and equality in our country. Women carried signs related to a multitude of social justice issues and expressed their displeasure with a President who has promised (and has already started) to set policies that they see as perpetuating social INjustice.  They sang and chanted, gave and listened to speeches, discussed issues with  those around them, became more and more determined.

They did not riot. Or destroy property.  Or attack each other.

My daughter and granddaughter attended.  My apolitical granddaughter decided  that giving up a planned snow trip and enduring the several-hour bus ride from their New Jersey home to DC was worth it, that this was an historical and meaningful event she wanted to participate in.  My daughter, more political, agreed, and off they went.  See pictures below.

There are several lessons here.  First, women united can light a fire that makes a difference.  Second, the next generation of adults care about the human family.  Third, protests can be peaceful, and they should be if participants are to be taken seriously.

I’m proud of my family’s involvement and of all the 470,000 people in DC and all the others who showed up and spoke up.


Planned Parenthood/Targeted Death

This whole attack on Planned Parenthood has me in a quandary.  Personally, I don’t like abortions.  I would very much like, in this imperfect world, to see abortions a thing of the past.  However, I question the logic of the actions of some people who share my feelings.

How can you claim to want to save lives, then take lives (physically and/or emotionally) by bombing, shooting up, or setting fire to Planned Parenthood clinics?  How can you destroy the lives of medical staff who have nothing to do with abortions as they serve poorer women’s basic health needs (e.g., exams and mammograms)?  Without health care, these women are in danger of sickness and death.  For that matter, how can you endanger the lives of the very unborn babies you’re trying to save?  You never know for sure if a pregnant woman is present, not for an abortion but for prenatal care that she couldn’t afford to get elsewhere?  How much control do you have over the bomb fragments and debris or the bullets you shoot off–enough to be sure a person just walking past the facility or police officer  doing his or her job isn’t maimed or killed?

I just don’t get how those lives are any less innocent or worthwhile than the unborn life you want to save by violently attacking an entire clinic.  Isn’t all life sacred?  It should be.



Hope for Pregnant Workers

There’s hope for pregnant women.  They’re often fired from their jobs because of “unreasonable demands,” like taking bathroom breaks, needing to keep a bottle of water nearby, or having to get help with lifting heavy loads.  (These are actual cases.)

Today, Senators Bob Casey and Jeanne Shaheen are introducing their Pregnant Workers Fairness Act in the U.S. Senate.  It isn’t proposing that employers make major concessions, just the same reasonable ones afforded to people with disabilities.  It would be illegal to fire a pregnant woman for needing such small accommodations.

Since May, when Rep. Jerrold Nadler brought this bill to the House, it has gained 100+ co-sponsors, plus support from a variety of organizations– public health, business, women, workers, and religious.

Sounds like a no-brainer to me.




It’s a little confusing, but it had to happen–pendulums being pendulums.  It seems that people are discovering that all those tax cuts and breaks for the wealthy are destroying their middle-class everyday services, such as police and fire protection, schools, and libraries.  They want those services and are willing to pay for them.

This is leading to a new attitude: anti-anti tax cuts.  It’s so serious in Kansas, a staunch Republican state, that people are saying they’re ready to vote in a Democrat for Governor so they have a chance at recovering the services they want and need.  Kansas farmers are really upset, but many other citizens are also watching their state go broke.  They see less and less money coming into the coffers while all the belts have been tightened so far they’re binding up people’s vital internal organs.

The anti-anti tax cut attitude is spreading.  It will be interesting to see how many of the 30 states currently with Republican governors stay Republican after the next election or if that party decides it would be wise to pull back on their current tax stance.



The High Cost of Lint

The clothes dryer is out to get you.  It pulls fuzzies off of socks, collects pet hair and threads, and gathers whatever else it wants in order to create…LINT!  And more LINT! This seemingly harmless substance results in 30% more energy used and, therefore, your spending $40 or more a year (depending on what your utility charges) that could have been spent on something else (or saved toward a new washer/dryer).  It’s also a fire hazard, because fires are started more often than we’d imagine by lint-clogged vents.

Show the dryer who’s boss…clean out its lint filter and vent (from drum to outdoor outlet) at least twice a year.

Leaf 6

[For more easy, money-saving, Eco-friendly tips, download a FREE copy of Green Riches: Help the Earth & Your Budget. Go to www.Smashwords.com/books/ view/7000, choose a format, and download to your computer or e-book device. Or download a free copy from your favorite e-tailer.]


“Just” a Gunshot

“We thought it was just a gunshot or something.”  That’s a quote from Gilberth Cab, a man who was displaced by the Bayview District (San Francisco) apartment fire last night.  Has hearing  gunfire become so commonplace in our homes that we refer to an unknown loud noise as “JUST a gunshot”?



Earth-Friendly Tip: Clothes Dryer

Love your clothes dryer.  Clean the lint filter often and the vent (from drum to outdoor outlet) at least twice a year.  This results in 30% less energy used (up to $40 per year!) and guards against dryer fires, which are usually caused by blocked vents.

 Leaf 6

[For more easy, Eco-friendly tips, download a FREE copy of Green Riches: Help the Earth & Your Budget. Go to www.Smashwords.com/books/ view/7000, choose a format, and download to your computer or e-book device. Or download a free copy from your favorite e-tailer.]