Wednesday, September 26, 2007

terracycle wins. sort of.

the folks at scotts-miraclegro seem to have caved entirely in the face of overwhelmingly negative press coverage of their lawsuit against terracycle, our favorite worm poop kings. they all but dropped the lawsuit, even tho they're spinning it like a settlement.

i like to think npr's feature was the rock that broke scotts' face.

i secretly wish that the lawsuit would have gone to court, so that tom szaky and team could come out as the clear winner. but this is a good consolation prize: they won't spend millions of dollars on litigation, and instead can invest in developing more worm poop products.

speaking of worms, my own are doing well. they eat a lot and make lots of highly nutritious fertilizer for my houseplants and garden.

i know my readers are riveted to this story, so i'll keep the terracycle updates coming!!!

Monday, September 24, 2007

yougurt containers for smarter kids

as you may know raisingdc loves KIPP!!! so we have signed up, and hope you will too, to collect yogurt containers and soda bottles and ship them to terracycle. terracycle will give $.o5/soda bottle and $.05 or $.02 for yogurt containers depending on the size of the containers. when you sign up, just choose KIPP DC. just think if the colonial ward decided to do this, how much waste would be saved and how much cash could start flowing into this awesome school.

Program Statistics:

269 spots available

31 total participating locations

This program is only available in CT, DC, DE, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, VA, VT and WV

the bottle brigade is hurting:

The Bottle Brigade Needs Your Help to Survive!

The Bottle Brigade™ needs a sponsor and we need your help in finding one! The Bottle Brigade has been hugely successful. So successful, in fact, that our small start up company can barely support the costs and labor needs associated with running the program. Recently the Bottle Brigade reached an amazing 4,000 locations in a little less than a year and a half! We never imagined it would become so popular, so fast. We were doing really well until a change in shipping policies caused by rising gas prices and shipping companies switching to dimensional weight this year. The shipping of our boxes has tripled in cost and because of this we are forced to scale back.

The Bottle Brigade is designed to help teach children about the importance of saving the environment and conserving resources. More then half of our locations are primary schools and teaching these young kids to "reduce, reuse and rethink" is a vital mission of our program. However we simply cannot continue to grow this great program without financial support. With a sponsor we can continue to sign up locations. Sponsorship would help us clear out our waiting list of hundreds of locations. It could also help us to develop an entire recycling and reusing curriculum to send to participating schools!

So we need your help to save this program and allow it to reach its full potential! Here are just a few of the benefits of a sponsorship. The sponsor's name and logo will be on every one of the 10,000 plus boxes we send. The boxes are usually located in high traffic areas. In addition, the sponsor would be credited in every press release that it single-handedly helped save the Bottle Brigade program. This year to date TerraCycle has been mentioned in hundreds of articles (Audited Bureau of Circulation of over 66 million impressions). Most importantly a sponsor will know it's helping America's children save their future. If you are interested in the sponsorship or know someone who would be interested, please review our proposal and press release in the following links.

Word document detailing the sponsorship opportunity
(please be patient, this is a large file)

Sponsorship Press Release

what i do when i go on business travel

Healing body & soul

Christian clinics expand to include outreach program

By Amos Maki

Friday, September 21, 2007

Three years ago when 60-year-old Juanita Fields was plagued by persistent low energy, she sought help in the emergency room.

The multiple ER doctors who treated her couldn't diagnose her problem, but on a visit to the Christ Community Health Services clinic in Orange Mound, doctors determined Fields had diabetes.

"Right away, they started treating me and giving me the right medication," Fields said. "I'm still following my directions and my diet."

Since its founding in 1995, Christ Community Health Services, a nonprofit focused on fulfilling the physical, spiritual and emotional needs of the poor and under-served, has helped thousands of people like Fields.

Now, Christ Community -- which has four clinics that offer services ranging from adult, newborn and pediatric care to obstetrics, gynecology, dentistry and pharmacy -- is extending its roots in Memphis by buying a new building near the fairgrounds that will house the agency's community outreach program.

"I think we're really pleased that we're able to serve more people and we're gratified by the support we've received from people in the business and philanthropic communities," said Burt Waller, executive director of CCHS. "Our first seven years in existence were really lived on the edge of financial ruin, so that makes us feel a great sense of humility about our success."

Christ Community is also drawing the interest of federal officials who think it could serve as a model for other faith-based and community health organizations that receive federal funding.

"This is a stellar community health center," said Kimberly Konkel, associate director for health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, who recently toured two Christ Community clinics. "I wish we had more like it."

Unlike some other health care providers to the poor, there is nothing poor about the services offered at Christ Community, Konkel said.

The experience begins when you walk in the front door, Konkel said. The bright, clean center in Orange Mound resembles a clinic you might find in the suburbs, not one that caters to the poor and uninsured.

"When you walk in here, the clinic doesn't look any different than a normal, full-service clinic," Konkel said. "Everything is nice, and that's not always the case when it comes to community health centers."

Konkel said appearances can be crucial when it comes to getting people to come to the doctor for diagnosis or treatment.

And if they're more likely to get care at a community clinic such as Christ Community, Konkel said, they're less likely to go to an emergency room.

"The people in this demographic are usually going to emergency rooms," she said. "We hope we can allay those costs with this kind of preventive medicine."

Konkel and Mike Costigan, director for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives at HHS, said Christ Community has done a remarkable job leveraging federal funds to attract more funding from the private sector.

"We're trying to teach these groups to develop these kinds of partnerships," he said. "How do you build those relationships and fund-raising so you don't have to rely on us?"

CCHS receives about $1.2million in federal funds each year to support the operations of its health centers and another $600,000 per year to support its outreach programs.

Leveraging the federal funds was crucial to opening the Orange Mound clinic. In 2005, CCHS used the federal funds for operations to win a grant from the Assisi Foundation to build the clinic.

"We had the funds and capacity financially to operate a center that would break even financially, but what we lacked were the capital funds," Waller said.

They also use private donations to attract federal funds. For instance, the Baptist Foundation funds the organization's mobile clinic, and CCHS used that funding to attract federal grant money for an expansion.

"It works both ways," Waller said. "We're very opportunistic and creative and that has resulted in us being viewed positively locally and nationally, which gives us the ability to do a lot of leveraging."

Christ Community's outreach programs also have been recognized nationally.

In 2006, along with institutions such as Yale University and Columbia University, Christ Community was awarded a $150,000 grant by the Office on Women's Health in HHS to enhance its Heart of a Woman program, an educational effort focused on preventive heart health care for African-American women. Christ Community was the only community-based primary care program to receive funding.

"It is a very positive commentary about how we do our work and how our work is regarded," Waller said.

-- Amos Maki: 529-2351

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

turns out i'm into sensitive


What Kind of Guy Will You Fall For?

You would fall for the sensitive guy. You'll find your future man wherever turtlenecks are sold. He will have depth, introspection, and a disturbing knowledge of musical theatre. And he may be a little weird. But hey, while your girlfriends cry over broken hearts, you'll be having Shakespeare read to you every night.
Find Your Character @


20 years ago i snuck around aimee's house with lots of toilet paper and wrapped it around trees with some friends to tell her happy 16th birthday. who knows why that is a "nice" gesture but i did it. she was becoming a good friend. i had taught her some chess, she had taught me some mormon doctrine. we were as different as night and day, black and pink, mod and preppy. but our friendship continued. a year later i became mormon. we took off to byu. then we went on missions. she fell in love quickly after returning from her mission (or maybe sooner :)) and i have yet to fall in love for the long haul.

when best friends marry it is scary. you either get to add a new great friend OR lose your best friend all together. thankfully, i got a new wonderful friend curt. aimee has gone on to rear a family of soon to be 5. we are still pretty different. i live in dc. she lives in gilbert. i am a fed. she is a mom. i am liberal, she is conservative. etc. but we are still wonderful friends. the best of friends. our friendship is wonderful because it has lasted so long, though so much change but we are always there for each other.

thanks aimee for being you. for being 36 while i am still 35. for sharing so many wonderful moments and being someone i can always share the cruddy moments with too.

here's to another 20 years. hopefully by then we will have thrown in a couple of extra ferris birthdays. here's to bocce balls and flag burnings (and their constitutionality); trips to the river; closing our eyes; babies being born, break-ups, sickness, health, and on and on.

loads of love to you!!!!!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Dare to Give Washington a Vote

The New York Times

September 18, 2007

Dare to Give Washington a Vote

It’s time to end the embarrassing servitude of Washington, D.C., which is denied true democratic representation. The city of 550,000 taxpaying Americans currently elects a member to the House of Representatives who is allowed to debate each and every issue, yet is denied the right to vote on the fate of any of them. The House has approved a bill that would give the D.C. shadow delegate voting power, and it now faces a make-or-break decision in the Senate.

The bill — the product of classic political horse trading — would enlarge the House by two seats: one for D.C., a likely Democratic representative, the other for Utah, whose population growth justifies a seat that probably would go to the Republicans. Opponents continue to raise constitutional issues about the district’s not being a full-fledged state; proponents offer counterarguments about Congress’s long history of dominating, even dictating, the city’s precise political freedoms. This will likely end up in the courts, but what could be closer to the ideals of America’s democracy than giving D.C. taxpayers their long-denied representation?

The Senate will vote today on whether to clear the measure for debate by invoking cloture to block a filibuster by opponents. A minimum of 60 votes is required, and it would be a grim echo of segregationist history if the Senate denied this opportunity to advance the district’s voting rights. No less relevant is the current history of the Iraq war waged in the name of promoting democracy overseas. President Bush has threatened a veto of the measure, so a 60-plus vote would be a potent signal that Congress is determined to promote American ideals in America’s own front yard.

but then this....

Senate Republicans Kill DC Voting Rights Bill

A bill that would have given District of Columbia residents their first-ever member of Congress died in the Senate on Tuesday, dashing hopes of finally gaining full voting rights after a 206-year wait.

Senators voted 57-42, just three votes short of the 60 needed to move the measure forward. The bill would have created two new House seats: One for the city of about 600,000 people and one for Utah, which narrowly missed out on a fourth seat after the last census.

Monday, September 17, 2007

more from flight of the conchords

i can't stop watching these so i am subjecting my blog to more of my favorites...


Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros

la double quincenera de dianna

the douglas' arrived with 3 suitcases full of decorations for the party
not little carry on suitcases
big huge suitcases full of stuff

a suitcase full of plastic coconuts, palm trees and pineapples for drinks

becky and lindsay in action.

lindsay was in heaven with all these decorations.

jolanta and lindsay making a plethora of cupcakes

becky, john and michael cleaning the backyard.
i won't let anyone sleep at my house without working, apparently.

once the backyard was cleaned, the lights went up. notice that the lights are pineapples and plam trees. there are also chili peppers and sunshines.

people even risked their lives to get these lights up.

michael in a tree
becky working like a banshee

daddy and daughter taking a break.

check out how interested joda is in michael's pontifications.
between mike and tom, there was never an awkward pause in a single conversation all weekend.

the house is coming together
please note all the drinks behind michael

lindsay made the most delicious chocolate cupcakes with beets
it was so so good, i was going to put the recipe, but i don't have it
so if you want it, let me know

we then ran out to get pinatas
(you know it is a good day when you are running out for pinatas)
please note how much nicer that tree's planter box is
thanks john!

the pinata getters
olivia, dianna, and me

the douglas clan that came to the party
4 brothers and in-laws and nephews are missing.

who knows why we are smiling! perhaps because we know we'll get a 3 hour break while the guests are actually at the party. then, it's back to work.

the quinceanera, or birthday girl.

then the party began. we decided to really feed our guests
root beer
yummy juice
herb tea
shredded beef*
shredded pork**
refried beans
tortillas de arizona (thanks mom)
and lots of fixin's

this guy kicked off the party

holly and ben, most likely discussing how super-clean our backyard is.

cupcake mania

please note isaac's awesomeness about cupcakes

sarah's mom came all the way from seattle for this party

tomicah and ando always slip into hungarian every time they're reunited.
i'm glad we brought them together again

todd, jenn, olivia and kari in the psychedelic green doorway.

bethany, simone and camille.

the pinata gets attacked by a rusted metal rod covered in duct tape.
no one would let us spin dianna around because there was too much potential for injury

even with the blindfold off she can't get the thing to break

at least she has good form and looks like a model doing it

tom douglas, bearing ice cream cake

how cute is this cake?

then the clean-up.... this is only 1/5 of the mess in the kitchen, not to mention the rest of the house and yard.

dave and kimber stayed to help clean
they deserve a badge of honor,
free meals,
and respect for the rest of their lives for staying
dave's hands were total prunes from washing dishes.

the festivities died down today after the douglas' left for home. it was an awesome weekend. i am really glad we could celebrate dianna. she celebrates so many people all the time, i am really happy we could take a moment and let her know how much we love and appreciate her sunshine-y take on things. we need more diannas in this world for sure.

* the beef recipe
6 lbs of organic grassfed sirloin tip roast
8 cloves of garlic
3 cans of green chilis (diced)
adobo seasoning
1 C water

peel garlic cloves and shove into the meat. heavily dust the meat with adobo seasoning. place in crockpot. add green chilis and water (with about 2 tablespoons of salt). cook on low in the crockpot for about 10 hours

separate beef and juice. reduce juice to about half volume. shred beef. pour reduced juice over beef. serve.

**the pork recipe

1 organic grassfed pork loin roast

½ can apple juice concentrate (in frozen section)

1 liter Dr. Pepper
1 jar chipotle sauce (preferably La Victorian brand)

*put these 4 ingredients in crock pot on low all day (10-12 hours)

when pork is done cooking, transfer to a bowl then shred with a fork. cook the juice down so that some of the water evaporates, to about half of the volume. pour over meat

*** the salmon recipe

big hunk of wild salmon filet
2 cup fresh lime juice
3 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup olive oil
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
whisk together lime juice, salt, and pepper and add oil in a slow stream, whisking. then whisk in cilantro. if you can, let sit overnight.

wrap fish in aluminum foil but don't seal it off, leave the top open. pour on the generous. bake on 350 for about 35 minutes. until fish flakes. serve

dianna is 30!

we had quite a fiesta the last few days celebrating our dear dianna's 30th b-day. i am going to give you a play by play and will include some recipes. if you have requests for recipes that aren't here, please let me know. i found this recipe for chocolate chipotle cakes and thought it would be the perfect combo of deliciousness and utility, seeing as how i have about a million tomatillos. i wanted to have them at the party, but lindsay wisely assessed the difficulty of the recipe and decided that it should not be attempted at such a large scale. she made them last sunday, and they were delicious. however, i think there was a slight (read: huge) misunderstanding about how much an "ounce" of chipotle powder is. so we had REALLY hot cakes. they were tasty and would have been awesome if the kick weren't so intense..

they are pretty, but deadly.

boca negra chocolate chipotle cakes

1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus additional for greasing ramekins

1 cup sugar plus additional for dusting

6 medium dried chipotle chiles* (1 oz)

6 tablespoons fresh orange juice

10 oz Valrhona semisweet chocolate (56%) or fine-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

4 large eggs

4 teaspoons all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

Special equipment: 8 (4-oz) ramekins

Accompaniments: sweet tomatillo sauce; vanilla custard sauce


Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 325°F.

Butter ramekins and dust with sugar, knocking out excess.
Toast chiles in a dry heavy skillet over moderate heat, turning, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Discard stems, seeds, and ribs, then soak chiles in hot water to cover until softened, about 30 minutes. Drain, reserving soaking liquid. Purée chiles in a mini food processor or a blender, adding 2 to 3 tablespoons soaking liquid as needed to form a paste. Force paste through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and discard solids. Set aside 1 1/2 tablespoons chile paste and freeze remainder for another use.
Bring juice and 1 cup sugar to a boil in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Pour hot syrup over chocolate in a large bowl, stirring until chocolate is melted. Add butter and stir until melted.
Add eggs 1 at a time, whisking after each addition, then stir in chile paste, flour, and salt. Divide among ramekins and bake in a hot water bath, uncovered, until just firm and top is starting to crust, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer ramekins with tongs to a work surface and let stand 2 minutes.
Unmold warm cakes directly onto dessert plates (they will be difficult to move once they adhere).

Cooks' notes:

• Cakes can be made and unmolded (while hot) up to 2 hours ahead and kept at room temperature, uncovered.

• If you have limited counter space and are baking cakes ahead, unmold cakes onto a baking sheet lined with a nonstick bakeware liner (such as Silpat) and transfer to dessert plates.

Makes 8 servings.

we all had to recuperate from the cake for most of the week ...

dianna's actual 30th b-day.

she had to work the overnight...freakin' npr! so at 9:30 she came over and we opened presents.
included was a calendar with photos of tunisia, that can also be found on this fine blog.

phone calls poured in with well wishes for a new decade

we decided to go shopping. it was dangerous!
this is nordstrom where this guy sang an american idol version of "happy birthday."

they didn't give her a birthday discount on her shoes, and they're uncomfortable.
i am not sure what message nordstrom is trying to send?
but the soulful singing made dianna happy
we then went to vietnamese food then for mani/pedis at my favorite spot on columbia pike ($35/mani-pedis with the best massage chairs ever), then to rei for some cycling gear.
we were supposed to eat sushi, but dianna had been up too long and started getting really tired. we ended up at pizza--it was good, but not as good and lindsay missed sushi again

dianna and i have been training in our heart rate "zones" ever since taking a vo2 test this spring. we're supposed to get retested every 3 months, but it's expensive and we're lazy. we finally got retested on friday.

dianna getting tested--this mask is measuring how much oxygen goes in and out of her lungs. her heart rate is also being monitored.

notice those blurred legs. she's really flying!

me and my bike getting VO2 tested.
that is sue at the computer. i'm thinking that she may be my new coach.
i am so excited about my test! this is the warm up--no oxygen-measuring mask, yet.

the 15 minute test begins.

it is very rigorous, because you have to reach your maximum heart rate..


we went on a 50 minute ride in virginia in our new zones

it totally changed my riding -- i think it will be tough but great.

then we went to costco to get stuff for the party and i, like a genius, locked us out of the car.

we lost an hour of our perfectly timed day--we missed the play we were planning to see and kinda got crazed from hunger.

we spend friday night deep cleaning my and dianna's houses--her parents were staying with me, and her brothers mike and tom and her sister jo were staying with her. they were delayed 3 hours in atlanta, and didn't get in until 12:30
it was good to have extra time to clean, but we got super tired we didn't get to sleep until 2.

back up at 7:45 to make more food for the quinceanera.