Monday, December 25, 2006

Better Know a Watershed

The old man was out at a supermarket close to our house on Christmas eve morning and saw this animal skitter towards him as he was exiting the car. His first thought was, "Is that a cat?" It was moving fast, ducking under cars and had now veered to a row a bushes to the back of the parking lot. "Man," the old man wondered, "that is some kind of ugly cat!" It was, he discovered after taking a closer look before it jumped into the hedge, actually an otter. We had a good, head-scratching laugh about it when he got home and he surmised the otter was probably young, judging from its size. But where did it come from, I wondered. We talked about various streams and creeks that run through our part of town, and agreed that it must have been the creek that runs behind the supermarket where he was. Later that day, however, he checked the creek and discovered that there was no water in it.

This got me thinking about our water supply and the sources of water for other living things in our area. Above is a map of the Oklawaha watershed which our fair city is a part of. Here is the EPA fact sheet that this image came from. It has all sorts of important information about your water supply. Purdue University also has a cool site called Know Your Watershed which is jam packed with watershed info and a good place to start because they've got a lot of links, like the EPA's Surf Your Watershed and basic information like what the heck a watershed is in the first place (despite what one librarian believes, it is not a place to keep your lawnmower and rake).

Undies I Just Made

Finally finished this pair of underwear for my friend, "P." Her partner is a John Deere fan and I said I would make her a pair of glow-in-the-dark John Deere underwear. Well, that was a year ago. But, with some idle time before Christmas day dinner with the folks and friends, I managed to drag out the half-way finished pair and did em' up with some of the fabulous new elastic I bought at Lace Heaven (they are cheap and have an amazing collection). The John Deere shirt is supposed to be glow-in-the-dark, but I'm wondering if there wasn't a bit of a misunderstanding between actual "glow" or just "day-glo." My apologies for the poor quality of the picture -- one of these days I'll get around to getting a flash unit for the digital camera. I am going to start a gallery of my underwears and you can see the original post about underwear made from t-shirts here.

Bread Wheel of Life

Appropriated this from Nancy Nall. She says in her post, "It doesn’t exactly say 'sleep in heavenly peace,' but it works for me." Me too.

Here is some more background on the ubiquitous bread wheel of Fort Wayne, Indiana. A history of sorts can also be found here.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas eve ponderings

Taking a brief break after dinner with the old man's folks before we go back over to sleep and behold the gift onslaught for DJ in the morning. But, that's not what I wanted to write about. This Christmas has put me in a singularly pensive mood, so it's probably a good thing that we're surrounded by family and friends to lighten me up.
While we sat at the dinner table after enjoying a lovely casserole, Steve Irwin's name came up after a four-month or so gap (maybe because the casserole had surimi?). We all marveled at the life and spectacular death of the Crocadile Hunter. You may remember the old man wrote an observance of sorts about Irwin. With this round of collective head shaking the old man's old man said something to the effect that, "the best thing Irwin could have done to help animals was to stay away from them." I disagree. Say what you will, but he did bring the plight of many species around the world to the attention of the largely somnambulant mainstream and got kids interested in, if not saving many species largely overlooked, at least preserving them to pester at a later date.
At my father-in-law's suggestion I am including a new label for "Requiem for a Hunterweight" -- "pure foolishness," and wish to include a link here to another stingray attack. This was brought to my attention months ago when it happened in October, and I forgot about it until this evening when discussing Irwin. With Irwin it was kind of understandable that he would get stabbed by a stingray after poking it and prodding it endlessly, but with the one that happened to the US dude it seemed a little too random. Or was it? Copy-cat stingray attacks?
I'll probably edit this after the holiday but am posting it now. Thank you, Steve Irwin, for entertaining us and enlightening us. Now to Delicious G's casa for homemade egg nog and other Christmas cheer. Joyeux Noel.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Little Brown Dress

This is kind of a cross between performance art and experiment in accidental environmentalism. Alex Martin made this brown dress (see artist's representation to the left) and then wore it for a whole year as the first of two "Intentional Wardrobe" projects. You can read about them here.
I like this site because Martin freely shares her dress pattern and gives would-be brown dress wearers a little 101 on dressmaking. She makes it seem simple and easy and, by gosh, even I could figure out how to make one from the instructions.
If you take the time (if you have the time, natch) making clothes for yourself and others is a great way to spend it.

Thanks to "B" (once again) for giving me the 4-1-1 on a cool concept.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Ideal Bite ME!

Here's a "blog" entry about "green" ski resorts. I commented here, but this is what I said:
"Ski resorts are a bad idea on the whole because they need to clear-cut many acres of trees in order to create ski slopes and majestic mountain-top lodges. They use up too many natural resources to give rich people a place to play."
Did I totally top the "humane" veal comment for crankiest treehugger?

Of course I was too chicken to give them my real name. These guys have been getting rave reviews on many different blogs and other eco-friendly websites, so am I the only one who thinks they're completely annoying? Maybe I'm just jealous. No, they're really annoying. I'm sure they would be fun to hang out with to do yoga while drinking wine or going to the local rodeo bar.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

End of the Year Busyness

Passings and Goings, or Something Like That
After conversing with Delicious G about the blog, she has come to the conclusion that she has greener pastures to sow, or whatever. Something like that. And indeed she does. She has expressed her continued hope that people will not use the grocery store to buy the necessities of life, and I will endeavor to keep that thread of discussion alive in future posts.
Sigh. That's how it is with blogs. "Hey, gang," you say brightly one boring summer day. "Let's all get together and put together a blog!" And everyone goes, "Yay! Let's do it!" and you are all excited for about 2 weeks and then the person who originally came up with the idea and, ultimately, most wanted to put together a blog in the first place, ends up taking it over or abandoning it completely.
Am I bitter? No, actually I'm not. I came up with the idea to do a blog about environmental living and played around with the idea for months. It was actually getting the support from friends to set up the blog and start posting that was the most valuable. DG was a good friend for helping me get AE off to a great start! Edna was a good friend for coming up with the name of the blog and letting me use it!
So, as the year draws to a close I hope that this finds all my friends and family well and safe and in the appropriate spirit for their chosen spiritual holiday.

Changing from Old Blogger to Beta
While complaining about how I didn't have enough time to blog on AE because of health, school, and hearth, I created a new blog. You can visit it here, but it isn't as extensive as AE and probably won't be, for the most part. It just satisfies my other obsession, Saturday morning cartoons, and alleviates some of the guilt of foisting all of this junky TV on my son by making light of it.
Anyway, when I started SMC I chose to do it in Beta, and this has been a good choice and am now planning on switching AE to the same because of the labeling function, blah, blah, blah. This has anxious-making implications, especially if I lose everything! Well, if Buddhism has taught me anything, it's taught me non-attachment thinking. Kind of. So, I'm going to try changing over. This is as good a time as any and if it all disappears, so be it. I'll start again. It's fun and will give me more incentive to start using my web real estate and set up online digs with (Doug is a great guy for hosting, by the way). Wish me luck!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

Here are the somewhat unsettling results of my inquiry about Old Spice deodorants. What's unsettling to me is that all this time I thought we were being safe by not using the antiperspirant kind!
Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is the first place you want to go to find out how your particular cosmetic or beauty product is rated. From deodorants to eye shadow, this is an important resource for women and men. The campaign just completed an action which resulted in causing a major nail care products manufacturer to stop putting phthalates in their products.
Follow the link for the Skin Deep Report and if you get the page to sign up for updates, you can press the "no thanks" button and still access their pretty extensive database of product safety information.

Ridealong Saga: The Legend Continues

Q: How many bike mechanics does it take to piss me off?
A: Just two, and they're both in the same bike shop!
Well, I finally took the ridealong into the bike shop to have a new axle put in -- the training wheels were digging into the hub (See this blog entry for more info) and it was the only way to make it safer to ride with the training wheels.
You know, on the one hand, the bike mechanic is your best friend. When you're in a spot and don't have the time to change a tire or put in new spokes, the bike mechanic is there to calm your fears and do it for very little money. But there is a dark side to bicycle mechanics, oh yes. I ran headlong into this phenom when taking the ridealong in for the above-mentioned repair.
When I explained to the mechanic why I wanted to put in a longer axle, she immediately started giving me a hard time about it: "well, isn't that going to make turning difficult for you?" and, "isn't that going to make riding more unstable for you?" Duh, yes. But I'm not doing this for my comfort, I'm doing this so my son will better embrace the love of cycling by actually participating in the activity. At one point she went so far as to say I was being unsafe by keeping the training wheels on. Well, as I know from the first set of training wheels I put on the ridealong they were cheap and, yes, unsafe. So, maybe the mechanic had a point. Nonetheless! I'm the customer and as fool-headed as my request is she should just immediately acquiesce (her and her yes-man, bobble-headed crony) to whatever crazed impulse I come up with! Right? This is a free market economy, no?
Anyway, I went back yesterday and got the ridealong. I was mightily pleased with the results, and the mechanic seems to have gotten off her high-bike about the safety of having training wheels on the ridealong. She still had to have the last word, though, and told me she had adjusted the wheels so they wouldn't touch the ground unless we were leaning into a turn. I decided to let it go at that and just be thankful that they had done such a great job and, once again, for so little money.
As soon as we got home DJ got into his elbow and knee pads and helmet and we took a spin up and down our street. What a difference! It was amazing, and DJ didn't seem to mind the fact that the training wheels were up higher than ground level. He had a great time, and I did, too. Everything works great! How exciting, now we can try riding to campus. This is the perfect time of year with the semester break coming up, and my physical therapist gave me the go-ahead to start cycling again. I'm psyched!

Another entry about stinkiness

Okay, maybe I was a little premature in my assessment that I had beaten old Mr. Stink at his nefarious game. Now, a frequent icebreaker for me is "Hey, do I stink?" Try it sometime, you will certainly make loads of friends. For more information on my trials in weaning myself from under-arm deodorants, follow this link.