When I lived in res, lots of people used (empty) kegs or stacked milk crates to elevate their beds. This isn't the most asthetically-pleasing, and it just gives enough lift for storage rather than activity underneath, but depending on your needs, it may work. Other residents who tended to do their assignments at the library or on the bed sometimes used their desks as a prop for one end and then used stacked milk crates for the other end - we also had wide windowsills in our rooms that helped to support the long side - and then "furnished" the new small "room" with beanbag chairs, etc. I'd be really, really careful about all that lifting and stacking though! And, obviously, Housing was none too fond of these shenanigans. On the other hand, a few people actually removed the casters (the wheels) from their beds so they sat several inches lower. It actually made the room feel more relaxed and spacious, to my mind. The beds we had were wooden and had drawers built in underneath for storage. Removing the casters made it impossible to open the drawers so mostly it just came down to maintaining a well-pruned collection of stuff.
Since there is some logic (however misguided) to the ripping-up of outmoded or returned merchandise, it may be easier to convince the major retailers to recycle the stuff at the very least. This is pretty obvious with paper products, but textiles can also be recycled if sold/donated to a rag merchant. I found this:
which is a bit meaty but an interesting read. It's a UK website, but if it can be done in Britain it can be done in Canada and the US, too.
The lessons to learn form the article: 1. Quit using paper towels (hard to sell textile rags when everyone uses Bounty)! 2. Keep buying clothing, bedding, fabric, etc from thrift shops! 3. Repair, remodel, revamp (i.e keep crafting!). 4. Choose natural-fibre and/or single-fibre where possible.
Oh... and get a copy of one of Jeanne Lemlin's books. I have one (far away at the moment) called Vegetarian Quick Cooks or something similar - yellow cover, anyway - and use her recipes for all sorts of things. Never had one disappoint yet, and, like I said, I'm not a vegetarian, but I swear by it & have given several copies to veggie friends. Lots of tofu recipes, and she does a good job of introducing it and describing exactly what to do with it.
I've been told that it's impossible to copyright a recipe, but that may have changed or depend on what country you're in. I think it's just a courtesy to credit it, though, which is why you always see things titled "Aunt Lucy's Pickled Herring" or "Mrs Johnson's Fudge Cake". Helps when you're distributing amongst a group, too, so then people recognize the recipes for things they've been served at their friends' houses.
I usually just buy the pre-fried tofu, and then use it the same way I would use diced chicken breast; it has about the same level of flavour (i.e. none). I'm not a vegetarian but I figure I may as well go easy on the chickens if it's just texture and protein I'm after rather than taste. Stir-fries are good, and I also use it in quesedillas (marinate in olive oil, lime juice & black pepper for a few minutes before cooking) sometimes.
Oh - I always knew tofu to be refrigerated in North America, but I have since moved to Britain and it comes in JARS! And tetra-paks! And CANS! My eyes nearly fell out of my head.
I have heard of ground flax being used as an egg-replacement in baking, but I don't know any more about it than that - even whether what you have is the right stuff. I'm sure there's lots online though if you google it well!
Boil your macaroni or penne as per usual, but use stock instead of water to do it. Drain as usual, and then toss in a can of tuna, some verrrrrrrrry thinly sliced red onions, some lemon zest and a squeeze of juice, and some olive oil. If you have flat-leaf parsley around, chop some up and stir that in, too. Pine nuts? Also good. It's a super adaptable recipe as you could chuck in some halved cherry tomatoes or chopped peppers or such, too.
Another idea is to mix your can of tuna with a can of (drained) white beans, some olives, red onions, red peppers and spinach (cooked or not), then dress with a balsamic vinaigrette.
I haven't made it in a while - it's a very summer thing for me - but search for a recipe for nicoise salad, too. It might work, depending on the sort of tuna you have. I only make it when I can get my hands on those smaller tins of it packed in olive oil - usually an Italian brand, usually in delis and better supermarkets. I think it would be pretty terrible with the kind of canned tuna that is really mushy.
Don't forget tuna melts, the most wonderful of all! I got hooked on the "fancy" ones a local cafe made: choice of bagel with plain or dill cream cheese spread on, then layered with the tuna salad (lots of green onions & I think no mayo) and topped with cheese of choice (cheddar for me!). You could layer some spinach in there as well for some more greenery.
A log of goat cheese (works out to about 1/2 cup) - plain is best - softened a bit. Ricotta cheese - about a cup. DO NOT USE COTTAGE CHEESE! It will be icky.
Stir these two together and add a tablespoon or 2 of olive oil, and a splash of white wine vinegar (basically enough fluid to make it dip-consistency instead of wodge-of-cheese consistency). Add salt and pepper to taste, and stir so it's all smooth and blended. You shouldn't have any lumps.
This is really good with crudites (raw veg) and/or crackers.
If you want to make it more exciting:
Saute some finely minced onion (red will look nice) in butter or olive oil until translucent. Then add several handfuls of baby spinach (rinse and pull the stems off if needed) and stir until wilted and cooked down (it cooks down A LOT so you will need more spinach than you think!). Stir it into the dip while still warm. I suppose you could add mushrooms to it at this point also (saute with onions), too.
I get rave reviews every time I make this, in either form. It's not the cheapest, but it is really easy and a little sophisticated, not messy, and well-suited to a smaller crowd (or if you have lots of other food and don't want a vat of dip left over).
I don't think it would be weird! Slightly different scenario, but in my group of friends there are 4 of us with birthdays in September, and we usually just do one big party for all 4 of us at once instead of burning everyone else out with a party every weekend, especially when so many are still students and have back-to-school stuff to do (including faculty parties & stuff!). One year most of us were in different cities because of university transfers, co-op programs and exchange, so we postponed and had a Half Birthday Party in March instead during Spring Break.
I have attended one of these parties, and while the varying tastes and sizes of the gals in attendance pretty well took care of any potential for argument over who got what. The official rule, though, was that if 2 people wanted the same item, each had to try it on and then the rest of the crowd voted for whovever suited the item best. Obviously that works well only if you are all good friends and grown-up enough for everyone to keep her nose in joint if she isn't the winner. We had a fabulous time and everyone went home with at least one "new" item. The added benefit is that you can get rid of things you still have some attachment to - it's going to a good home (a friend's) and you'll probably still get to see it now and again! When I did it, it was with a bunch of gals I'd gone to University with. We all lived in the same dorm and swapped and borrowed clothes a lot then, so it was doubly nice to be doing it again.