Sunday, December 25, 2016

Recreating Christmas Traditions: Harking Back to Simpler Times

The prickly pair picking kit also includes tongs...
Watching the Black Friday hysteria on YouTube, my heart hankers for simpler times. Having survived the Depression, there was a whole generation who were taught to “waste not, want not.” I remember Nana carefully removing the tape from her presents (not an easy task), folding the gift wrap up and saving it. This drove us grandkids crazy! We were rarin’ to rip into that next package. Even back then, I recall Pastor preachin’ how Christmas had become too commercialized and how important it was to remember the “true meaning of Christmas.” There were even a few Christmases when mom lit a candle on a lopsided Duncan Hines cake while we all dutifully sang “Happy Birthday” to baby Jesus. Sheer torture! I never was much of a fan of cake anyway and those presents were a waitin.’ 

Oh, the wonder of Christmas! Stores decorated in red and gold by November, Christmas music streaming. We were programmed like Pavlov’s dog to start thinking about what presents we should buy or what we wanted for ourselves. Our Saturday cartoon marathon included commercials of kids playing with the latest toys from Mattel. Pages of the Montgomery Ward “wish book” were ear marked in eager anticipation.

I don’t know when it happened, but somewhere along the way how many presents I got (and how personal they were) became equated with how much I was loved. Perhaps it started with the shiny trikes under our Nana’s tinsel tree and Uncle Jim climbing up on the roof and ringing Santa’s sleigh bells. That’s how our new Nana welcomed us into the family fold.

And then there were those beloved Rankin Bass Holiday Specials that taught us that gifts were love. In “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” Kris Kringle sang “Give a little love” to the children as he distributed his gifts. In “Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer” there was a real sense of urgency about getting the gifts to the children by Christmas morning so they wouldn’t feel disappointed or unloved. Even the toys wanted to be loved!

It didn’t matter how poor you were. The message was clear - It wouldn’t be Christmas without presents. Remember the Hallmark TV movie, “The Gift” in which the couple both sold their most cherished possessions to buy a prized gift for their loved one? Even little Laura Ingalls on “Little House on the Prairie” agonized over getting Christmas gifts for her family.

As many of you know, Dan and I got married a year ago - so this is our third Christmas together. We are learning, through fits and starts, how to combine our old traditions with more sustainable ones. Since I’ve been with Dan, I’ve become more aware of how much we waste during the holidays from too much food - to unwanted gifts - to wrapping paper. We usually have a whole trash bag full of wrapping paper to go out with the garbage on Christmas morning.

What if we took a cue from Nana and reused the wrapping paper, gift boxes and bags we already have? We could tie reusable ribbons around gifts wrapped with colorful cloth from my scrap pile! What if we stopped buying the latest Christmas lights and decorations and set up that old Christmas village that was packed in the shed? With a little creativity we could make Christmas decorations out of recycled materials!

And what about all those presents? Even my boys said we should stop buying things they don’t want. What if it didn’t take a gift to make me feel loved? I have to admit that I felt a little depressed because I only got two gifts on my birthday. (One from Dan and one from my mother...)  When it really came down to it, I was lonely because I needed to catch up with my girlfriends. I felt better after I got on Facebook and set a date to meet a friend for a long overdue lunch. 

When I first started writing this blog, my mom called to see what the boys wanted for Christmas. I shared what was on my mind. Before she hung up, she blurted out, “Well, I like to get a little something.” My mom, who is on a limited retirement income feels compelled to get “a little something” for each of her 11 grandkids. To her credit, she often tries to find something creative (like the oil pastels that inspired me as a child). I hate to say it but most of those art sets have been stashed away under other unused toys. (Sorry, Mom!) I know this is done out of love and a need to feel closer to out of town family. I know because I used to get joy from sending Christmas and birthday packages. They often included the latest pics of the boys so relatives would feel included in their lives. I would make some into magnets so they could see their smiling faces every day. So…if I send presents to feel more connected to distant loved ones, why not just call or text them? 

I have always loved Christmas. But looking back it’s not the presents I remember. My fondest memories of Christmas are the sentimental moments of family tradition. Getting together on Christmas Eve, seeing my cousins, the smell of Nana’s homemade chicken and dumpling soup, Christmas music playing. Ah… the music. My happiest memory is bundling up under a cover in the back of an old pickup truck and belting out Christmas carols with my friends from our church youth group. When I grew up, I tried to recreate that feeling with an annual Christmas sing-a-long party. But that’s gotten hard to pull off with everyone’s busy schedules, so Dan and I attend The Loft’s "fabulous" Christmas sing-a-long party instead.

What if our Christmas festivities didn’t revolve around opening presents? What if we found other ways to make people feel loved other than buying them more stuff? What if we gifted our time and attention instead of giving presents?

This year I let my teen boys lead the way. Jeremy wanted to watch his brother’s classic claymation short “Ba’al Hadad Saves Christmas.” That led to us all donning Santa Hats and recording our own hilarious “Qart Qadesh Christmas Commentary.” This was followed by our traditional fondue and cheese dinner. To quote my youngest son, “It was a good time.” 

 We didn’t manage to totally get away from exchanging gifts this Christmas. But Josh and I made a day out of shopping for materials for Josh’s gift – a Roman tunic. I created a prickly pear pickin’ kit out of a reusable bag. (I covered up the TEP logo with felt…) Josh made a clay figure for Dan.  Most of our gifts were actually from the Thrift Store.  I never could master getting the tape off of the wrapping paper. (sigh...) But we did reuse some gift bags and we decorated our makeshift (lamp) Christmas Tree. 

How do we hark back to simpler, more sustainable times? We just need to rethink our consumer traditions. I’m not suggesting that this all happen overnight. Just that we begin to reimagine how we think of gift giving at Christmas. I realize that much of our economy comes from Christmas shopping. But we can put some of that money back into the local economy by shopping local – shopping at farmers markets for local treats, buying art from local artists, special clothing items from local designers, furniture from local carpenters, and jewelry from local jewelry makers… We can buy from thrift stores, resale stores, antique stores, and UPCYCLE. We can make useful and quirky gifts from repurposing household items. We can fix up and paint old furniture. We can give our kids that cookie jar of grandma’s that they always wanted (hint, hint mom…)

You are all welcome to join us in our new holiday tradition of belting out Christmas songs at the top of our lungs or just spending time together! Have a blessed Christmas! 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Welcoming Back the Tucson Water Protectors

Tucson Water Protectors speak about their experiences at Standing Rock.
I have been following the Standing Rock Sioux and the other Water Protectors in their peaceful, non-violent stand against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Energy Transfer Partners, an oil giant with a horrific record of environmental devastation (pipeline leaks and explosions, abandoned oil spills) plans to build a pipeline under the Missouri River that supplies water to 17 million Americans. Water Protectors chant, "Mni Wiconi,  Water is Life” as they use their bodies to block construction of the illegal pipeline. (Thanks to their efforts, the permit was denied.)  Police in riot gear have responded by brutally attacking them with rubber bullets, mace, and water cannons in freezing temperatures. One young woman was blinded by being shot in the face at point blank range. Another woman had half of her arm blown off by a concussion grenade. The Water Protectors have been unjustly arrested, strip searched and held in kennels. Elders have been handcuffed and arrested during prayer ceremonies. This is unacceptable! These courageous Water Protectors are fighting for our water!

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Cannonball Camp. First frost, early November by Eli de Vries 

Unable to pack up and head to their camp in N. Dakota, I’ve done what little I can as a desk top activist: writing blogs, signing and sharing petitions, and reposting drone videos that show what is really going on at Standing Rock. (After 6 months, national news stations finally started covering this historic event when two thousand vets arrived to defend the Water Protectors from police brutality. The local news in N. Dakota is basically a mouthpiece for the DAPL owned police, so the people from nearby Bismarck don’t even know what’s really going on.) I called several sheriff’s offices that deployed officers to further incite the violence. I left messages at the White House, the Army Corp of Engineers, and the Justice Department. All the while, the brave water protectors were sacrificing their livelihoods and putting their bodies in the line of danger - fighting our fight. It just didn’t feel like I was doing enough.

So when I heard about the No DAPL Night at Exo, Dan and I decided to attend to show our solidarity with the returning Water Protectors and to donate money that we knew would reach the people still at camp. 

At this Native American gathering, they opened with a traditional blessing of the Tohono O’odham. They asked the crowd not to record this sacred blessing. Tohono O’odham drummers then performed two prayers: a traditional song and one written in support of Standing Rock. There was a danza in traditional garments. A dancer graciously thanked us for joining them. I felt honored to be included. 

Having had contact with other Native Americans, I was aware of how leery they are of sharing their culture and sacred prayers with outsiders – since they have been exploited in the past. But here they were sharing it freely. I believe this is one of the lessons they took with them from Standing Rock. Indigenous people are drawing strength from their culture and beliefs to embrace their role as protectors of Mother Earth. They are leading the way and welcoming other good-hearted people to join them.

It is beautiful to see them reclaiming their language and heritage. I have noticed at several community events, the Native American speakers greet their people in their native language first before addressing the crowd. To understand the significance of this gesture, it’s important to know that Native American children were taken from their homes against their will and sent to boarding schools to assimilate into white man’s culture. They were beaten for speaking their language or for practicing their religion. Through prayer and love, these courageous people are learning to forgive and to work with others for a greater good - protecting Mother Earth.

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Cannonball Camp signs by Eli de Vries
We were blessed with news from the returning Tucson Water Protectors from the Oceti Sakowin camp. They were there to share what they learned about prayerful, peaceful resistance and to continue their loving quest to protect water, sacred places and all human lives now that they are back home. 

Meanwhile, the fight at Standing Rock continues...

Winter at Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Cannonball Camp by Eli de Vries
Some ways to help... Pull your money out of the banks that are invested in DAPL. Donate to the Legal Defense Fund Help the Water Protectors that are still in N. Dakota get through the hard winter. Share updates about the Water Protectors on social media. And sign petitions

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Making Holiday Gift Boxes from Reused Cards

Ever wonder what to do with your greeting cards once the holiday is over?

By guest blogger Andrea Edmundson, Co-Founder, Upcycle Tucson

Upcycle Tucson is the new ‘creative reuse arts center’ on the west side of town, just across the street from Habistore. Our mission is to keep materials out of the landfill and to educate the public about ‘upcycling’ or creative reuse. We do this by selling inexpensive and gently used arts & crafts materials, offering classes on upcycled art, and selling gifts and upcycled art in the Artists’ Marketplace. ​Right now, we have great deals on new and gently used holiday items like lights, fabric, ornaments, and ready-to-make crafts. But, what we really love is to encourage people to practice creative reuse.
We have weekly demos on how to creatively reuse the materials we sell. Some of our favorite simple projects use holiday cards to make place-mats and gift tags! So many people buy new gifts this time of year. At Upcycle Tucson, we challenge people to use their creative skills to make not only gifts – functional and artistic ones - but to even make the containers in which they are presented. Here’s how to make small gift boxes from recycled holiday cards – perfect for gift certificates, jewelry, and other little gifts.
Follow the directions over each image. We think you’ll be pleased with the result.

1.  Cut the greeting card in half.

 2.  Trim about 1/8 inch off two sides of the plain half of the card.  This is so the bottom of the finished box will be slightly smaller than the top.

3.  Draw two lines from corner to corner to create an “X” in the middle.

4.  Fold & crease both short ends of the card to the middle of the “X” and then unfold them.


5.   Fold & crease both long ends of the card to the middle of the “X” and then unfold them.


6.  Now, make 4 cuts along the creases as shown (I inked them in so you can see better).  You should have a box now that looks like this.


7. Now fold the flaps on each end together and fold the long piece over the end.  You will have some extra, so fold this piece over the top. 

8.  You can glue, tape, or staple the flaps in place.  You now have a box BOTTOM.

9.  Repeat the steps with the pretty side of the card EXCEPT do not trim the two edges like we did with the bottom of the box…this ensures a better fitting box since the lid will be slightly bigger than the bottom.

10.  To finish, line the box with a small piece of fabric and insert your gift!

This is a great way to make a personalized gift but also to reuse those cards that you hate to throw away. The cards will serve at least one more use before they need to be recycled and that is part of what Upcycle Tucson is all about – keeping materials out of landfills and educating people about the benefits and ways of upcycling. To make it fun and a bit freaky, you can even send the new gift box BACK to the same person who sent the original card to you!

We hope you have a happy and restful holiday season. Being creative through arts and crafts is one of the best ways to unwind while being ‘productive’ at the same time. We sell all types of materials, from traditional arts and crafts supplies to quirky things like fake femur bones, rusty horseshoes, vintage Smoky the Bear posters, and more. No matter if you are a metal artist, collage lover, weaver, or painter, we have something for you. We also sell finished art by local artists and offer classes on how to make artistic, crafty, or functional items from upcycled materials. We look forward to helping you have a stimulating holiday season and beyond!

Don't let the Grinch take your holiday trash to the landfill. 

Wasn't that fun! Wanna take it even farther? Check out Alex Kosmider's (from Zero Waste Tucson) ideas on how to  "Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot" 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Showing Support of Water Protectors by Protecting Water

water receding in Lake Powell
I can’t express how grateful I am to the Water Protectors at Standing Rock for risking their lives and livelihoods to fight for our water. Members of hundreds of Native American tribes and environmental activists are putting their lives on the front lines to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline from illegally being built under the Missouri River (that supplies water to 17 million Americans). Many of these tribes, including our neighbors the San Carlos Apache, Navajo, Hopi, and the Tohono O'odham are currently fighting to protect their own land and water from big business.

This fight has become even more urgent and dangerous since the pipeline construction has reached the river. These brave Water Protectors are risking being maced, shot with rubber bullets, being beaten and arrested by militant police in riot gear. Some have even been arrested while praying. They have been strip searched and kept in kennels for trespassing. This is especially traumatic for indigenous peoples because it brings back generations of suppression and abuse by the government and the police. 

Water Protectors canoe down the Missouri River
I am so proud of my friend Elizabeth for going to Standing Rock to help the Water Protectors. She invited me to share her tent. I was really torn about whether to go.  The UNESCO Food and Water forum was that week.  After searching my soul, I decided that my fight is here in Tucson – learning about rainwater harvesting and sharing what I learn. In these scary times, we all need to figure out where our talents are best served. We may not all be able to pick up and go to Standing Rock; but one of the many ways to demonstrate our support to the courageous water protectors is by protecting the water where we live.

CAP water being transported 360 miles uphill to Tucson
It may be hard to believe - since you can easily turn on the tap or the hose - but there is a limited supply of water here in Tucson. We are currently in the midst of a 21 year drought. Nearly all of Tucson’s water is supplied by the Central Arizona Project (CAP) – Colorado River water pumped 326 miles uphill to get to us.  And there is not an endless supply of CAP water. As drought affects more states, there will be more competition for that water. By compact, California has first dibs on that water. Tucson Water is well aware of the shortage. That is why they have incentivized rainwater harvesting with a rebate program.

There is enough yearly rainfall to supply all of Tucson’s water needs if we “plant the rain.” But our current infrastructure is built on an archaic model of flood control that directs our water out of our yards (when it should be sunk into the ground) and into the streets to evaporate. Fortunately, there is something we can do about it: Homeowners and businesses can incorporate rainwater harvesting systems on our lots and yards to restore our aquifers. We can landscape with low-water-use desert plants. And we can all become more conscious of our daily water use and learn to conserve it.

sprinkler watering patch of grass and pavement in the heat of the day
Outdoor use makes up the largest percentage of our residential water use (27%). Once we become aware, we can see all kinds of ways to conserve water. Did you ever notice the little patches of grass along our city streets? Probably not. But each of those is irrigated with sprinklers. Those sprinklers are on timers that often water in the heat of the day (when it just evaporates) or when it is raining.  Our neighborhood park is on a timer – so the grass is watered even when it is dormant. Isn’t this a problem we can fix?  Do we really need all those little patches of roadside grass? All of us can get in the habit of watering our plants in the early morning or evening to keep the water from evaporating. And how often have you seen water flowing down the street from over-watering?  We can educate ourselves about the trees and shrubs we have. Some require infrequent deep watering a few times a year!

native mesquite tree flourishes with runoff water from the street
We can embrace that we live in the desert with its own unique beauty. (I was going to suggest that we embrace our desert plants but that would be painful!) We can landscape our yards with cool desert plants that don’t require much water. There are native plants for nearly every landscaping need (from shade to privacy.) You can learn more about incorporating desert plants into your landscaping at Watershed Management Group and Desert Harvester workshops.

Protecting our water is one of the most important responsibilities of our time. What a great way to show solidarity with our courageous Water Protectors! 

Monday, October 31, 2016

Celebrating the foundation we built on our wedding day

It has been a wonderful first year together. We began our journey towards a more sustainable lifestyle, sharing our adventures on our blog, and becoming members of a community that is working tirelessly to restore Tucson’s ground water and get our rivers flowing again. As the world seems to have gone crazy around us, we find strength in each other and our community.

In honor of our 1st anniversary we would like to share our hand fasting ceremony with you.

[Dan’s mother Beth presided] Dan and Jana will be joined together with the traditional Celtic handfasting ceremony, a symbolic binding of the hands.

Jana and Dan, I ask you now to take one another's hands in yours.

Dan and Jana have chosen the Celtic Tree of Life as the symbol of their relationship. The Tree of Life is dear to them because it represents their eternal connection with each other, their connection with the earth and their community through spirit.

Dan and Jana, taking inspiration from the Tree of Life, may your relationship be deeply rooted in a foundation of love, growing in the light.

As the symbolism of each of the ribbons is explained, Jana’s mother Lorna will drape the ribbons around Dan and Jana’s wrists.

The first ribbon is brown. The color Brown is symbolic of your shared connection with the earth, the home you are creating together, and being grounded in shared values and goals. With this brown ribbon, do you promise to share your lives as partners, always striving for what is best for your relationship?

[Dan and Jana] We do.

So the binding is made.

The second ribbon is blue. Blue stands for the water of understanding, caring, and kindness, so that your love will flow to fill you to your depths, nourishing your roots. With this blue ribbon, do you promise that your heart will always be open to each other, to treat each other with kindness, tenderness, and respect, to strive to understand each other, to consider each other’s feelings when making decisions, to remember and express what you love about your partner, and show them love through words and actions?

[Dan and Jana] We do.

And so the binding is made. 

The next ribbon is gray. So that your union may weather the storms. May the gray water, or the runoff from the storm, nurture your relationship so it grows stronger still. With this Gray ribbon, do you promise to stand by each other through hardships, trials and disagreements? Do you promise to fight for the relationship, rather than to be “right?” After a disagreement, do you promise to forgive and reconnect, to use the confrontation to learn more about each other, to love and communicate better, so that in overcoming the conflict your bond may grow even stronger?

[Dan and Jana] We do.

So the binding is made.

Inspired by the Tree of Life, may your love be ever-changing like leaves through the seasons.

The next ribbon is green. Green, like budding leaves, symbolizes trust in new beginnings, growth, generosity, sharing freely of yourselves. With this green ribbon, do you promise to communicate as clearly as you are able, to share your thoughts with each other, to share your hopes and dreams, as well as your fears and insecurities? Do you promise to listen openly whether the words be good news or bad? Do you promise to always look for the good in your partner’s words? And choose to love each other anew every day?

[Dan and Jana] We do.

So the binding is made.

The next ribbon is orange. Oh, the joy of watching leaves turn yellow and orange, and the happy memory of jumping into piles of autumn foliage. Orange represents sharing the daily joys of life, warmth and light. With this orange ribbon, do you promise to take the time to be playful and happy, to share in and celebrate each other’s achievements, and enjoy life’s moments together? 

[Dan and Jana] We do.

So the binding is made.

The next ribbon is red. The color red symbolizes power and passion in your relationship. May your passion always burn bright. With this red ribbon, do you promise to always feed the fire of your physical passion, to never take each other for granted, to treat your spouse as your lover, to freely express your love and admiration, and always be open to their expressions of passion and love?

[Dan and Jana] We do.

So the binding is made.

The next ribbon is white, adorned with a rose. The rose symbolizes the cherished moment you opened your hearts to each other and discovered your spiritual connection. With this special ribbon, do you promise to nurture your connection with love and light, and not allow walls of fear, guilt, or blame to block your hearts and souls?

[Dan and Jana] We do.

So the binding is made.

The final ribbon is violet – one of the many striking colors of our Tucson sunrises. Violet symbolizes your choice to use your talents and creativity for good. Securely rooted in trust, stems entwined in love, your branches are free to reach to the sky, extending out to the community, sowing seeds for the future. With this violet ribbon, do you promise to support each other’s talents and goals, while working towards your common vision as a couple?

[Dan and Jana] We do.

So the binding is made.

This cord represents the marital bond. It is strong enough to hold you together during times of struggle yet flexible enough to allow for individuality and personal growth. As your hands are now bound together, so shall your lives be bound as one. The binding of your lives are not formed by these cords but rather with the promises that you just made. 

Lorna, please tie all the ribbons together. 

Now Dan and Jana will exchange rings. Jana’s ring features the tree of life. It is inspired by the Tombstone rose bush with its branches forming a Celtic knot and its tiny white roses recalling how they first opened their hearts to each other.

Your two lives are now joined in love and trust into one life. By the exchange of these tokens of your love for one another, so are your lives interlaced. What one experiences, so shall the other; as honesty and love build, so will your bond strengthen and grow. Like your chosen symbol - the Tree of Life - may your relationship always grow towards light and love.

With the power vested in me, I pronounce you man and wife. You may now kiss. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Think Global, Act Local: The 50 Year Program

The news lately has been depressing. Very depressing. A presidential election that becomes increasingly surreal with every passing day, even though it felt like we'd fallen down the rabbit hole months ago. The seemingly endless string of bad news from North Dakota as the Standing Rock Sioux and their supporters fight to protect their land and, especially, our water from exploitation in the name of greed. And, speaking of greed, here in Arizona we have Nestlé colluding with corruptible local officials to buy our Central Arizona Project water, which is brought here from the dwindling Colorado River at a high environmental and economic cost, just so they can bottle it and resell it to us. Sadly, the Arizona Department of Water Resources doesn't find the fact that a company is putting tap water paid for by all of us as taxpayers into unsustainable and polluting plastic bottles to then sell it back to us at all ironic. It's hard not to get discouraged in a world that seems to have gone mad.

What keeps me sane is the realization that the one place we can really have an impact is locally. Here in Tucson we may not be able change national policy, no matter who we vote for. It seems like we can't even affect decisions made 120 miles away in Phoenix. What we can do is implement change at the local level and hope that people will be inspired by our example. Change always comes from the bottom up, not top down. Think Global, Act Local.

What can we do locally? Advocate for better mass transit, bicycle and pedestrian safe streets, and put an end to this madness of building and widening more roads, which has the counter-intuitive effect of increasing the amount of traffic. In another bizarre irony, we face an uphill struggle to encourage more solar power here in sun-drenched Arizona.

One of the simplest things we can all do at the local level is to protect our water. Water is essential to all of us, and must be preserved - especially here in the desert southwest. Less than 1% of the world's water is fresh and accessible. There will inevitably be cuts to the Colorado River water that Tucson relies on for all of its water needs. Why wait for things to get bad? Watershed Management Group has a 50 year plan to restore our perennial river flows in the Santa Cruz basin. Did you know that our major rivers (and many of the streams that feed them) used to flow year round? Some of them still do, like this stretch of Sabino Creek.

Even farther downstream, the apparently dry streambed of Sabino Creek actually has running water just under the surface.

This is because the Sabino Creek and Tanque Verde watersheds are very shallow. As Catlow Shipek, Policy and Technical Director for Watershed Management Group, points out, those blue areas on the map of Tucson are shallow watersheds. We can raise the level of the water in those areas through some very simple steps that all of us can do.

You don't need to install an expensive cistern system to store rainwater or build a composting toilet (although you may be glad you did). Envision coal smoke coming out of the faucet every time you turn it on (since all of the CAP water we get here in Tucson is provided by one of the dirtiest coal-fired power plants in the nation) and you might find yourself running the tap far less often.  We started by turning the shower off while we were soaping up or not running the water while brushing our teeth. We pour our clear sink rinse water on non-food plants in our garden. There are lots of simple ways to reduce water use. Any water we don't use is water that Tucson Water doesn't have to pump from our aquifer or import from the Colorado River.

Can you think of any water-saving habits you can incorporate into your everyday life? After that simple start, you may find yourself wanting to do more. You can enjoy the free Living Lab tour at Watershed Management Group and start thinking about other ways to save more water - like installing catchment basins or a laundry-to-landscape greywater system. You just have to start somewhere.