Thursday, November 20, 2014

Half Price Books Donation To VA Hospital

My friend Cyril Miller (my partner in Veterans And Friends of Puget Sound) talked to Half Price Books in Tukwila about donating books to the VA Hospital in Seattle. They agreed that they could give several boxes if we would pick them up and drop them off.
At the Coffee Cart

At the Spinal Cord Unit waiting area

In the Community Living Center
Now, casual donations of small amounts of books to the hospital is no problem, but since these were a couple hundred books, I wanted to be sure that we weren't causing a problem. I contacted the director of Volunteer Services, who also manages donations, and confirmed a few basic rules. We picked up a car load, but I waited til this morning to deliver them because I wanted to get in early and avoid parking problems.
The books were very popular. I took a box to the coffee cart in the basement and started talking with the volunteers there; they offered the use of their supply trolly to move the rest. Here's a picture of two volunteers.
I don't take pictures of patients or staff, because of privacy, but the coffee cart volunteers were o.k. with posing.
There are two main book carts in the building lobbies. While I was stocking one, someone from the Spinal Cord Unit asked if they could have some for their waiting area (there are a great many waiting areas through out the hospitals, in the various clinics). I made a little display on the table there.
I then went on the the Community Living Center, where they have shelves.
When I returned, I saw lots of people carrying books. One patient in a wheelchair had four in his lap; he seemed very pleased. As one of the guys at the coffee cart said, they get more than 5,000 people a day going through the building, and many of them would like a little reading material for while they are waiting.
I stopped by Half-Priced on the way home to show them these pictures. They did a good thing and were happy to see the result. Everyone wins!

A Growler For The Environment #CTWW

The Growler -
An Eco-Friendly Way
To Get Beer!
This week's "Change The World Wednesday Challenge" addressed a topic most dear to me and useful as well: beer.
"If you are planning to entertain friends and family this season, and plan to serve "adult" beverages, do a little research and plan an Eco-friendly bar. Here are some things to consider:
  • Wine is the most Eco-friendly alcoholic beverage. Choose organic varieties which don't include preservatives. While boxed wine may not look classy, it is the most earth-friendly of wine packaging options. Glass bottles would be the next choice.
  • If you're serving beer, cans are better than bottles because they weigh less which gives them a lower carbon footprint.
  • Opt for liquors and wine with natural cork instead of synthetic corks or metal tops.
  • Avoid frosted bottles. Chemicals are used to create them.
  • Look for beverages which are distilled locally and check that the company uses minimal energy and water to create their libations.
  • Serve drinks in glass rather than plastic and use glass straws.
  • Use cloth cocktail napkins instead of paper.
  • Use local, organic fruits and herbs in mixed drinks. And don't forget organic "munchies" to go along with the cocktails.
  • Make ice in an ice tray rather than use the automatic ice maker in the refrigerator. You'll use less energy."
Now that doctors are reasonably sure that a glass a day is probably good for you (as long as you don't suffer from alcoholism, truly a most inconvenient malady) the question is how to consume in a most environmentally-friendly way. As the saying goes: "Save Our Planet, For 'tis The Only One  With Beer!"
Cans and bottles are all very nice, but the best way to get beer ... if you're not going to get it on tap ... is with the "growler" - a large jug that that nice bartender fills for you from the tap. Growlers are re-usable with just  a little rinse, so the environmental cost of packaging is very low.
When I have emptied my growler, unless I am filling it again that day, I fill it with water and close it up. That way, it doesn't get all groudy; when the time comes to fill, I just water the garden with the contents and we're good.
A growler is a small up-front investment (and makes a great gift!!!). You can get cheap ones for almost nothing, and they last a long time. After a while. you'll want one as in the picture, with a large handy handle and a self-capping top. This particular one came from Gallagher's Where-U-Brew in Edmonds (which is a very handy place to try brewing yourself, without incurring the risk of getting all the equipment.) I've used this growler for so long that the rubber seal on the top dried out. This was no problem; I got a replacement for less than a dollar at Sound Homebrew Supply. I usually get it filled at Big Al Brewing, which is a short walk away.
While nothing can beat the taste of beer right from the tap, one you start drinking from growlers, cans and bottles taste like soda pop. It's nice to know that it's environmentally responsible as well!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

4freeCLE: Free Continuing Legal Education! November 16, 2014

4freeCLE: Free Continuing Legal Education!
November 16, 2014

 Rewinn's Guide to Free CLE for Your State 

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