Saturday, June 30, 2007

Overture, Dim the Lights



Overture, dim the lights,
this is it; the night of nights!
No more rehearsing and nursing the part.
We know every part by heart!

Overture, dim the lights,
this is it; we'll hit the heights!
And, oh, what heights we'll hit!

On with the show this is it!!

I was a big "Bugs Bunny" fan growing up. Do you know this opening song from the Saturday morning show from the late 70's and early 80's? My sibs and I were die-hard viewers! This morning, on the way to her 11:30 a.m. cast call, I was singing this song to Maia. I know it made me more excited than it did her, because she didn't really know what it was about. But I loved it. I sang it three times! :)

This was Maia's first play and she loved every minute of it. I am going to make a more concerted effort to see about any community theater productions she may be able to be a part of this next theater season. It will mean driving for me. I can't say I will like that at all, but this is a passion of my girl's and I want to nurture it if I can.

Maia was and "alley cat." That's her, strutting her stuff, on the right side of Thomas O' Malley.

Posing, dead center here, for cast photos.
We surprised her with flowers, of course!



My brother and his two boys are here for the next week. That will make the let-down from the post-production time a bit easier to take. We're off to Busch Gardens tomorrow and we've got a number of adventures planned for the week. It ought to be fun.


Hope you all have a great weekend! We're off to swim at Grandma's!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Simple Summer Pleasures


We've had a nice couple of days here around Golightly Place, in spite of the lack of rain. That's right. No rain in the middle of rainy season. And no oranges growing on our beautiful tree. Our orange tree usually gives us literally hundreds of oranges from December until the end of March. And these oranges are so juicy that they are a challenge to eat! They are simply scrumptious and so wonderful made into orange juice. My mouth waters just thinking of them! But there will not be any oranges this year. I am praying that this drought will not only end for us, but that it is just a fluke in the normal cycle of things... that it is not yet another sign of the climate change that continues to gradually happen around the world.

Look what I bought today!


Yes, it is the simple things in life that make us happy. I needed a new laundry basket, because I kept stealing Paul's in order to carry the laundry out and back inside. I definitely didn't want plastic and though this was about $6.00 more that the plastic baskets, I like it infinitely more!! It just adds to the whole pleasure of it all for me!

You know, different people have their different chores that they really enjoy doing. My mother, for instance, really likes to fold clothes. My husband likes to be the one to vacuum and some people wax poetic about having their hands in warm, sudsy water whilst they do the dishes. I think about those people whilst I do the dishes... and I try to think poetical thoughts (and use British terminology like, "whilst"), but I do not like doing dishes.

But I love, love, love hanging out my clothes! And I don't even mind folding them, nice and "air-ironed" for me, off the line. Folding clothes just out of the drier is mind-numbingly boring for me, for some reason. But hanging the clothes outside amidst birdsong and buzzing bugs is simply heavenly for me... and even moreso if I can do it barefoot! :)

This pretty picture shows not only my swell, new basket, but also one of the 4th of July skirts my girls will be wearing again this year. My mother's friend got them for the girls at a garage sale last year. I think they must have been clogging skirts or something like that. Anyway, they girls just love them and they'll be in them again this year to wish our country a happy birthday.


Eve has been taking on some newer tasks while her sister is away being an "alley cat." This weekend (though her sister was here), she helped Daddy with some yard work to earn a little extra spending money.


I have been teaching her a little on the recorder and yesterday we began piecing together a crazy-quilt pillow. I've taught her what little I know of sewing on the machine... and, well, we're just figuring it out together as we go along. It's been a lot of fun! :)


Thanks to everyone for all of the sweet comments that you leave and a special welcome to new visitors who have stopped in or are just saying hello for the first time. I love when I see a new name and I always try to stop by your places too. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you're all having a nice week!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Just Talk and Journaling Ideas

My blog has been short of pictures the past few posts. But I like pictures in blogs. So, today's will have a few more to share.

First, though, is a newer blog to me with some great pictures! It was recommended to me by Angie in my comments area. Thanks, Angie! The blog is called, " Eyes of Wonder" and it's really beautiful! I can just hear my sister saying, "It's a bit too 'crunchy' for me, " but if you love that kind of stuff, that simple living type of thing, head on over and check out her blog. I've also linked it in my sidebar.

Maia is gearing up for next week's "Aristocats" play. I am looking forward to it partially because then, perhaps I will not have to listen to, "Everybody wants to be a cat..." over and over and over AND over again! :)



But seriously, she is SO excited and I am thrilled for her! A part - if not all - of her was born for the stage and we are excited that she gets this opportunity. This , perhaps, requires a bit of explanation. We do not currently have a homeschool drama group and I do not have the background to begin one. There are local theaters who offer homeschool classes in the area, but they charge around $60.00 a month. That is something this modest, one-income family cannot afford. This three-week day camp was $350 plus a $50.00 registration fee. I was floored, again, at the cost. Maybe I just need to get used to the exhorbitant prices for these kinds of things. My brother paid $300, a piece, simply to register his twin boys for hockey last year! That wasn't even the cost of ice time, which, I guess cost $1000. His ex paid that, because, I guess, she is the one more passionate about it. His boys love it now, but my brother feels like it is extortion! His other choice is to look like the bad guy if he says no to something they've been doing for years. So, he feels he has no choice, and yet, what could they possibly need to do with that bit of registration information that it would need to cost $300?!

ANYway, we were fortunate enough to get a scholarship, and so Maia is able to have this opportunity. Otherwise, it would have just been another thing we would have had to bypass.

Here are a couple more recent visual journal entries:

My completed May calendar



My upcoming, blank July calendar (there is no calendar for June; it just got away from me)



Last weekend I drew this anhinga who always dries his wings on the same post on the little dock on the other side of the pond. Not the best rendering, but more experimentation with oil pastels.



Jewels, at Eyes of Wonder, showed a bit of her journaling and she often includes just pretty home and garden scenes in hers. I've been keeping a similar journal like that for 3 years now with just clippings of things that catch my eye as I flip through magazines. I was keeping it, so I could learn my own sense of style and delight and so that I might keep my eyes open for particular items when I am thrift or antique shopping.





But Jewels does more journaling around hers and includes to-do lists, and other items that might usually go into a regular journal: passages of Scripture, quotes, poetry, recipes, etc. So, I decided to add some of this element to my visual journal for those days when I just do not feel like sketching (which has been a bit more lately!).






I like this format and think I will play with it more for a while. One thing about keeping a journal like this - or a design journal, like the one I've had for a while - is that when you can't afford to go shopping... or perhaps, you don't want to just go get more stuff, this is a nice outlet for those urges. I began using the design journal when we first moved here and had very little spending money. I was able to collect images and ideas, I didn't feel deprived, and I knew just what I wanted when the budget would allow. You also don't have many magazines taking up space and you have a book full of decorating ideas that you absolutely, personally love! You may want to try a couple of these ideas. I think you'll find them fun.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Home - Part Two - Function


Picture of my bowl - for Kelli

Do you live in your home? Do you really live there?

A trend I've seen in the past 10 years or so - as the real estate boom really began to take shape, was that people were not really living in their homes anymore. I knew a number of people who were purchasing houses with the plan of selling them in two years time - or less - in order to make a profit as the bubble continued to grow. I knew folks who didn't want to paint their walls or would only choose neutral colors - not because they liked them, but because neutral was easier to sell.

Deed restrictions and neighborhood associations are a newer thing too. They are everywhere where I live and this has been one of those bigger adjustments I've had to make. People talk about protecting property values and others nod their heads in agreement. In my opinion, though, that is placing the value of a thing over the value of a person/relationship.

The people I know who live in areas with strict deed restrictions usually have at least one unhappy story of how they were fined for one thing or another or how a neighbor reported a broken "covenant." These neighborhood "communities" are supposed to be "family friendly," yet in what way? Is it "family friendly" to report your neighbor for leaving children's toys out in the back yard? or that their garage door is open "too long"? or that there is mold on the roof or that the commercial vehicle was parked in the driveway and not the garage?

These kind of "covenants" pit people against one another and have put people with petty grievances in the drivers seat. Certainly, it would seem ridiculous to call a police officer to deal with any of these matters, but many don't think twice to report neighbors in much of the same manner to association "authorities." I realize that people supposedly know all about these covenants when they move into a neighborhood, but the simple fact that they exist to begin with is just sad to me.

And why and where did they first start do you suppose? I wonder how much a role decorating magazines and shows have to do with it? I have often said that it seems that people somehow want to appear to be living in a magazine cover photo instead of a home.

But living is messy stuff. Anyone who's ever witnessed a child come into the world can attest to this. I am not suggesting everyone just throw up their hands and begin to live in squalor. All of God's creatures take care of cleaning their bodies and their homes. Nests and dens are kept warm and dry and comfortable. But there is a reasonableness to it and that reasonableness does not come about by having every stick in place and making sure that every nest look exactly like the last one.

I love that God created us - and everything - with such a broad range of differences. I love to see the creativity that can abound in transforming a house into a home; a home with distinct qualities that reflect the nature of its inhabitants. It is disappointing - and boring - when all the houses in the neighborhood look exactly alike - down to the last bush and tree in the yard.

My husband and I receive great pleasure from caring for and decorating both inside and outside our home. What I find even more satisfying, though, is when a house really begins to function well for our family. That is when it seems to become more of a home.

The more self-sustaining a home becomes, the greater connection I find I feel for it. When gardens that produce food for my family are cultivated and harvested, a new connection to place and the land grows along with the food. When special spaces are created in the home to allow for dreams and ideas to come to fruition and manifest, they take on new meaning and value. "Here is where I draw." "Here is where I pray." "Every morning I journal there." "Some evenings I would just go and sit under that tree and talk to God." "Here is where we grew the flowers for the table for her wedding." "Here is where we planted so many tomatoes every year and in there is where Mom and her friends taught me to can them." "Here is where I write and where I play my music."

These phrases don't exist only in books or days gone by. No matter where you are you can consiously make your "residence" into a true home. Make it function for you and your personality and your passions. Don't continually think about resale value. Even in an apartment you can feel at home if you take the time to truly be and live there.

One might assume that those of us mothers who stay at home with our children have an easier go of making a house into a home. After all, one could argue, we are simply there more often. That is not always the case today, though. A favorite book of mine is Karey Swan's, Hearth and Home. In a section she calls "Homemaking Beyond Maintenance," she writes,

"I saw a stitchery years ago that said, 'If a mother's place is in the home, then why am I forever in the car?' Some mothers have responsibilities that take them away from home everyday, but for most of us, daily trips are really unnecessary and can become a serious distraction. I've learned to keep lists and consolidate our trips. I find that I need to remain home for long stretches of time in order to get beyond the maintenance part of homemaking (stuff like cleaning, laundry, and ironing). If I don't stay home, I miss the creative part of homemaking, which for me is needlework, crafting a dried flower wreath, training a young heart, or giving hospitality to a tired friend. Without these I'd go crazy and burnout would become a serious threat."

I love this quote and think of it often. It helps to remind me, some days, of the choices I really can make to slow down and just be. Staying put is often quite difficult to practice today. Similar to taking time to observe the Sabbath, choosing to stay home some days - perhaps especially when we are feeling a bit bored - may, in time open up new possibility, creativity, and pleasure - if allowed the time and space to simply be at home.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Thoughts on Home - Part One - Listening

Some rambling thoughts on "home" today. I have a few things regarding this topic that I have been wanting to write about, so I think I will do this over the next few posts. Today's post is a bit of a twist on the theme, but an important key, to me, all the same.

I was discussing with my family when I was up visiting Minnesota a few things I had been musing about around the idea of "home." They and many of my friends up there know the challenging time I have had with this adjustment to Florida and so I am often asked how things are going and am I liking it any better? Well, yes, I am. Why I am seems to be an intriguing question for myself, because, from the outside, nothing has changed and I have wondered how it came to be?

First, it seems to be that I have been here long enough, finally, not to feel in "crisis mode." This time took me a lot longer than any move ever has before, I think. If you have moved any place for a rather short period of time, this theory may seem clearer to you.

Shortly before I turned 20, I moved from Minnesota back to South Carolina where I had lived the 5 years before my family made the move to MN. My family had fallen on some very hard times and I decided to move back down to SC to live with some friends I had gone to high school with and possibly take advantage of working in a college town (Columbia). I also figured I'd be one less mouth to feed. While my time there holds a few good memories, mostly I was pretty miserable. I was away from my family and struggled to make enough money for both food and rent. I was there for a mere 10 months before I decided to go back home. In those 10 months, though, I have stories upon stories to tell. Everything is quite vivid to me and it seems much longer in memory than 10 months. I was in crisis mode.

Fast-forward a few years into the future when I am happily settled with my husband and growing family back in Minnesota where my entire extended family - as well as my husband's - lived. I was content. Holidays ran together. "Was that last 4th of July or the year before?" It was hard to remember. Time flies when not only are you having fun, but when you are comfortable, familiar and at peace with your surroundings. I was not having to learn new radio stations. I was not having to find where the post office, library, hair salon, a good pediatrician's office, the peanut butter in the grocery store - everything - was!

So it has taken time, because in addition to the new location, I have moved into a new sub-culture. This is the part that has taken the longest to adjust to. But I have,to an extent, made those adjustments and now that I no longer feel in crisis mode, other parts of my life - inner and outer - begin to flourish again. It's like when someone is trying to lose weight or stop smoking. A certain amount of calm, order, and familiarity must be in place in order to do these things.

So it is, I think, with creativity. And creativity - in its many, many forms - is an expression of our selves as well as a reflection of our Creator. It is also, for me, an expression of connection I feel with God. I read a quote recently that read, "Who we are is God's gift to us. Who we become is our gift to God." I think I felt that I'd lost some of that ability. Somehow I'd lost some of that ability to give back - to glorify God by being fully and wholly who He'd made me to be. At least that's how I felt. And while I know that He has never been away from me in these challenging few years I have sometimes - often times - felt quite alone, because I was continually reacting to the new environment and the new culture and therefore had little time, it seemed, to relax into or truly connect with me - the creative, confident & curious part of me that I remembered, but couldn't seem to get back. I guess, the short of it is that I'd lost touch with my authenticity.

Being able to listen again has been, perhaps, the biggest leap this year. This is what seems to be the key. Every time I would listen and then act (the hymn, "Trust and Obey" springs to mind) it would open up new space for me to reconnect with my creative self, my authentic self, and ulitmately, Him. Continuing to trust God and trust that He will lead me down the path that He has for me, rather than the path He has for my neighbor or the paths of anyone else - even if that means doing things differently - is a piece that was missing. Listening to the promptings of the Holy Spirit has led me away from trying to "fit" into places that didn't seem right to begin with. Listening has caused me to stop thinking about the "shoulds" I imagined "out there" and to begin doing the things necessary to care for the real needs "in here." Having the time and having the space to listen... and then having the courage to act has led me back to me. Back to trusting God even more and back to my authentic self.

Listening has brought me here. To this old place. To this new place. Listening has led me home.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Swimming

I. Am. Tired. I don't have a real reason to be so tired today, but I am. My girls were at a slumber party last night and went from there right to another birthday party, so it's not that I've been busy with them. And even though I slept until 9:00 a.m. this morning (exceptionally rare!!), I'm still tired. My friend reminded me of that whole "quality of sleep" thing - that the hours of sleep you get before midnight are much more restful to your body than those after. If that's the case, that would explain it. We stayed up late watching "The Queen" last night. It was a good movie, by the way, but I question the whole Academy award winning performance. To me, Helen Mirin did a whole lot of frowning and thinking. I suppose if that's what they like in Hollywood nowadays, I should count it as an improvement and leave it at that!

Off on a tangent there... ah, yes, so this is supposedly my summer vacation from school. But, really, ...there is rarely a break from it. I don't purchase a boxed curriculum, so this is always the time of year for me when my head begins to swim. I am not lacking in ideas. To the contrary, there are numerous, numerous things my head suggests and my challenge is always to whittle, whittle, whittle it down into a realistic plan that we can all acutally achieve this next year.

I try, of course, to keep the things that went well for us last year, and take away those things that didn't. And then I do silly things like just innocently walk into the nearby Goodwill bookstore and begin scanning the shelves. *sigh*

I picked up this large homeschooling 6th grade curriculum in a book for $2.99 (retail $29.99), the awesome, awesome nature journal book for $1.99 (retail $17.99) and the other two were each under $2.00 as well. Other than the devotional for Maia, the books are for, yes, more ideas. And there are so many wonderful ones in these.

This probably wasn't the task I should have decided to take on today. But I am the kind of person who doesn't like to wait to do things. Generally speaking, I'm not a very good procrastinator. Things bug me too much for that. They just hang over me and I loathe that feeling, so I always tend to be plugging away at one thing or another. Which means I've usually got a number of things going on at once.

Here are a couple of drawings I got done yesterday:

The one on the bottom is the one I drew while I was there and the one on the top was me, taking my creative lisence and having a little fun with it!

Eve and I had a special trip to Starbucks while Maia was a her acting camp yesterday. It is extremely rare for me to go there, because I finally figured out that it was the coffee - even the decaf that i was drinking - that gives me migranes. Now, my migranes aren't anything like what some people get, so it's tempting to still drink it; my love for coffee is so strong. So, it would be pretty torturous to go into any coffeehouse on any sort of regular basis. But it was a treat, so I went ahead and ordered just a small cup of decaf with hazelnut syrup and whipped cream. Aaahhh, bliss! I doubt the one cup will give me any trouble. I just couldn't go sit in there and draw and order a decaf tea, which, for some reason, doesn't give me any trouble. As much as I enjoy tea, it's just not coffee. And, my, what a lovely cup it was.

So, some questions: Are you a coffee drinker or a tea drinker? If you drink both, do you have particular times of the day that you prefer one over the other?

If you homeschool, to you piece your curriculum together? Do you purchase one particular set? Do you - oh-my-gosh-I-could-never-do-this-but-admire-you-if-you-do - put together a unit studies curriculum? Are you more prone to want to read or do hands-on activities? Are you already prepared for next year??? Maybe you shouldn't answer that last one even if you are!! ;)

Hope you're all enjoying your weekends!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Random Bits


So, today, none of the things I plan on talking about ties together in any form of neat "theme," so I'm just ending up with some "random bits."

I'd been in a bit of a slump when it came to my art over the past week or so. Now it is summer. Now I have time. Now I have my creative space ready. And I didn't want to do anything! A new internet friend came to the rescue, though. Molly Jean Hensen is an artist with her work posted on Flickr. Poppins, whom I've met via the Creative Mom Podcast pointed me in her direction. So, I was admiring Molly Jean's work (oh, my goodness, you must look at her felted quilts and books and her altered books and journals - really magnificent!) and left her a comment there. She in turn, looked at some of the things I'd posted from my own visual journal. In one of my pictures, I had written that I do not particularly like working with oil pastels (any more - I loved them as a child). I found them to be a challenging medium. She wrote to me, encouraging me to try a few different techniques with them and voila! Not only was I inspired to try those new things, but it pushed me out of my slump. So, thanks, Molly Jean! :)
I played around in my journal with gesso over the top of my drawings...

... and then tried them on some textured paper.

I'm happy with the results and look forward to playing more with my oil pastels!


Moving on...

I know I mentioned I ordered a Diva Cup. It arrived in two days! From Canada! Fantastic service; fantastic product!! I know, because I needed it right then, and let me tell you, I was simply a fool not to have ordered one sooner. Not only will it pay for itself in a mere 6 months, is expected to last at least 10 years, is SO much better for the environment, it also, made this cycle to be extremely "no fuss, no muss." I'll spare you the details, but if you have questions, feel free to e-mail me. No, I don't work for or get anything from this company. I'm just a seriously satisfied customer.

That's one of the wonderful things to me about sustainable products. They are just so good all around. Good for you and others and usually good for your pocketbook as well.

Speaking of green products, here's another favorite in our household. If you have kitties, you may want to consider trying Feline Pine cat litter. It's made from pine sawdust pressed into pellets. I started using it about two years ago. We have 3 cats and clay litters just did not cut it. The ammonia smell to me was just overwhelming, even with new litter. The chemical perfume smells gave me a headache and I really felt bad for the cats having to go in there and breathe that. Enter Feline Pine. No ammonia smell. I use just about an inch deep of litter that, among 3 cats, gets completely changed only about once a week. We scoop solids, of course, and we can to that straight into the toilet. It's safe for that and then there's no need for a plastic bag. When the pellets have all changed to sawdust by the end of the week, it can actually be used as mulch. I'll put it behind the hedges on the side of the house or under a couple of large plants and then later cover (if it is visible) with a thin layer of wood chip mulch just for aesthetics, because otherwise it just looks like sawdust. Keep in mind, solid waste must be absent. Urine from a cat won't hurt your plants, washes away (along with the smell), and if that grosses you out, just think of all the other animals that traverse through your lawn every day and night, doing what they need to do wherever they choose to do it.

The Florida Extension Service recommends a 1 to 3 inch layer of mulch around all plantings to keep plants healthy and conserve water. Every bag of cat litter I buy, becomes a bag of free mulch! It works for me!

Finally, we are cooking our garden! This weekend, Paul covered one of the beds. We think we are battling nematodes, so we are solarizing the beds this summer. He turned in a bunch of nice compost and then covered the bed with plastic. He put a couple of pieces of scrap wood in the center to form a small peak to hopefully prevent puddling during the rainy season. Hopefully by October we'll have some nice soil ready for planting again.


Hope you're all having a great week. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Company for Tea

I had a friend over for tea today. It was an impromptu visit - the best kind! I love when friends just pop in to say hello for a little while. This gal is a real lady. She looked so pretty in her summer dress and had pulled up her hair to keep herself cool. She stopped by at just the right time. Lunch was over and I was ready for a bit of dessert. Tea fit the bill perfectly! We chatted for a bit after giving thanks to our Father for our opportunity of time together - just her and me.

We chose an Orange Spice tea. It was a new one for her, as she is fairly new to drinking tea, but she really enjoyed it and I was so glad. We had a few cookies that I'd picked up at the market in the morning. They were new ones to both of us, so we just had to sample! Then we had some time for stories! These were old stories, but we hadn't heard them for a while, and the retelling of them was wonderful. I asked my friend if I could snap her picture for my blog and she said, "Of course!" and that she had actually been expecting me to do just that!


My girl, Eve. She is a lot like her Mama. She enjoys tea and ladylike things. She says she'd like to live next door to me when she grows up and be a homeschool mama too. I tell her I'd like nothing better.

Maia is at a drama day camp this week... and for the next two! She will be busy every day from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. getting to explore a creative outlet for all that singing and drama that goes on around the house! She is in her element!

But my girls are close.


Very close. And I know that Eve will be missing her big sister over the next few weeks - even if it is for only 5 hours a day.


I'm hoping we'll be able to come up with some special things for us to do together in the meantime. Today was a good start. :)

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Low Impact Week Update

Well, everyone, how is Low Impact Week going for you? My week, generally, has been going well, but today has been somewhat of an "everything is going wrong" kind of day. Not big stuff, but stuff nonetheless. I am guessing you know what I'm talking about, because these days come up in my lifetime often enough to suppose they don't just happen to me.

So, for the first part of my day today, I thought it was Friday. I realized about mid-morning, when I took my vitamins from my handy-dandy, little vitamin container, that it is actually Thursday. Did that stop me from going to the farmer's market - the one that is only open on Fridays and Saturdays? No it did not.

I tried stopping at another one on the way to the health food store. That market only takes cash or local checks. I really need to start carrying some cash at least. My credit/debit card really isn't everywhere I want to be.

Then on to the health food store. This one is expensive and I only basically wanted some organic ice cream for Eve and some recycled toilet paper. But $4.75 for four tiny rolls of paper and $4.99 for a pint of ice cream was just too much. I grumbled on my way out, wishing that Maia wouldn't have issues with using family cloth and trying to figure out when I would next get to Whole Foods, whose prices look like a bargain compared to this store.

So, you know, I'm trying to buy locally and organically as much as possible and today felt like a total bust with - okay, at least they were organic - lettuce and bananas - but the bananas are from Costa Rica and then I think of all that gas I wasted because I thought it was Friday!

Oh, well, I'm not the only one who gets challenged with this lifestyle, but I'm glad I don't give up and I stick to it. No Impact Man posted today with an update of how some of the changes he's been making are working out - for good or ill. He also posted a couple of days ago about Susan Casey's article in Best Life Magazine entitled, "Plastic Ocean." This was a photo that accompanied the article and the photo was taken by Gregg Segal.


I find it hard to believe that some people don't think that making changes will make a difference. We can use less plastic if we put our minds to it. We can work to keep from bringing it into our homes. Experts say that one of the reasons global warming or climate change - or whatever you want to call it - has gotten to this point is that it is not something that we see every day. Its effects are not in our faces as constant reminders of the damage we do. It is harder to believe that it is actually happening when it is something like Greenland - so far away from us - that is melting rather than something, say, like, smog that would be something we could see and smell - and then agree upon that changes would need to be made.

I hope more people are seeing now. It seems there are more people in the mainstream talking about this crisis now. I hope my optimism is not without merit.

Here at Golightly Place, we have not turned on the air conditioning yet. It's June in Florida now and things are getting stickier and warmer every day. I'm not saying I won't turn it on all summer, but I'm just seeing how long we can go. We are all pretty cold-natured as it is and I do think that we all have acclimated somewhat to the warmer Florida temps anyway. When we do turn on the air, we keep it at 83 degrees F. With a ceiling fan on in the room we are in, we are comfortable. I realize that is not comfortable for many people, but it works for us.

As I type this, I am wearing a damp tank top. Now don't get any weird ideas, okay? I'm telling you this, because it is instantly cooling! I remembered doing this when I was pregnant with Maia in the summertime and it was so much more comfortable for me. If you're at home during the day, it may be an option to try if you're trying to go without air as much as possible too.

One concrete thing I've done this week is that I ordered a Diva Cup! It's long overdue. The thing I was going to be able to get with Mother's Day money fell through, so I went ahead and bought one. It will pay for itself in 6 months and I can't wait for it to get here!

So, those are a couple of things that I've done to reduce my impact this week. It always feels good - even on a day when everything seems to go wrong! :)

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As promised:

Seven Random Things About Myself

I am left-handed.

I have lived in 20 different houses in my 38 years of life.

I eat little handfuls of semi-sweet chocolate chips nearly every day!

I was hit by a pick-up truck when I was 12, broke my skull, and now have a dent in my head (nicely covered by my hair) to prove it!

I am the oldest child of 3 children.

I can wiggle my eyeballs.

I love cherries, but hate any artificial cherry flavored.

Well, that's it. I'm not going to tag anyone, because I've seen this on nearly everyone else's blog already! But, thanks, Alina. I've never been tagged before (that could be number 8) and it was fun. :)

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Twin Cities Treasures

When people hear that we are traveling to Minnesota, one of the first things they'll ask is, "Are you going to go to the Mall of America?" Seriously. Two staff at the airport, as we were leaving, asked if we'd been there. Well, my girls had, because my mom wanted to take her beau, Jerry, to see it for the first time. I, on the other hand, did not go. It's a mall. Yes, it's a big mall and, yes, it has a small amusement park in the middle. Minnesota knows malls. In fact, the first one ever built was in Minnesota. They have to know malls, because unless they are winter sports enthusiasts - which many of them are and which I, heartily, am not - they're indoors much of the year.

But there is SO MUCH MORE than the Sprawl, er, um, Mall of America to enjoy in the Twin Cities.

Minneapolis calls herself, "The City of Lakes." It is true and they are beautiful!

This is a quickly shot, badly framed photo of Minneapolis from one of her popular lakes, Lake Calhoun. If you like to rollerblade, bike, walk, run, etc. you can choose from miles and miles of trails safely interconnecting lakes all through the city. You can visit and picnic nearby Minehaha Falls and then take a beautiful canoe ride down the Minehaha Creek which winds through neighborhoods in the city past Hansel and Gretel houses.

Mom and the girls test the frigid water for swimming possibilities. Nope! Not until July!



Guess what kind of flowers we don't have where we live in Florida! The girls were thrilled with the abundance of blooming dandelions. They had to be repeatedly reminded that they are not so beloved by everyone and to please refrain from blowing the seeds about Auntie and Uncle's yard with the freshly tilled garden beds!


From Lake Calhoun we wound our way nearby to one of my favorite places in Minneapolis. The Linden-Hills neighborhood is a gem hidden between a couple of the lakes. The business district there is small and utterly charming and can be found at 43rd and Upton Ave. S.

If money were no object - and it would have to be - I would choose to live around that area if I ever moved back to Mpls. The only detriment is the regular air traffic overhead, but the whole area is so enchanting to me, the intermittent noise matters little.

The first shop we stopped in was a newer one since I had been there last called "Wonderment." It is a toy store and I'll admit I thought it was a bit odd that they planted it right across the street from the wildly successful, very well known and established, "Creative Kidstuff." But after looking in the window and walking inside, I knew right away how this could be here. It took only seconds for me to recognize the Waldorf-inspired toys and while my heart rate seemed to increase with the excitement and expectation of what might be on the next shelf or around the next corner, I also had such an increadible sense of peace. The soft, wooden clink of the toys, the beautifully hand-carved (and excruciatingly expensive!!) animals and human figures, the rainbow silks for fondling and dress-up, the soft, brightly-dyed skeins of wool for crafting your own woodland characters, child-sized lap harps tuned to the pentatonic scale and wonderfully chosen music floating through the air made it all clear the name selected for the shop.

Eve climbed into the treehouse in the corner of the store:



Maia did too, but I think she was embarassed about being such a "big girl" in the tree. She wouldn't poke her head out for the picture! See the crates of tiny, beautiful, wooden veggies next to her? I love wooden toys!

I didn't really want to leave, but Grandma was ready to move on, so we crossed the street to Creative Kidstuff. Do you love that huge gekko?!


Charming little seats outside the store...

... and a friendly little owl inside. I'm a sucker for owls! Isn't he cute?!


Then we went around the corner to the Wild Rumpus bookstore. Check out the child-sized entrance cut into the larger door!

I had remembered there being animals in the store the last time I'd been there, but that had been a number of years ago. I hoped it hadn't changed too much.

And there she was: a chicken in the stacks! Nope, it hadn't changed a bit!!


She was kind of camera-shy and took a bit of coaxing. Mom finally got her to come out from behind the counter for a bit of head-scratching.

She's not the only feathered or furry friend there though. Notice the two kitties near the back leg of the giraffe? They were in the middle of a serious game of chase when I took this. They were off and bolting around the store!

A tarantula named Harry has a cage at the store. There's also a lovebird named Bonnie, a chinchilla, a ferret, a rat in the floor...

and a pair of cockatiels.


After our Wild Rumpus visit, we headed back up the street, past Creative Kidstuff again, to have an ice cream cone lunch at Sebastian Joe's. Then we headed over to the wonderful Linden Hills community park where the girls were able to play on a pirate ship and hoist and pour sand over and over again. Minneapolis has a wonderful park system with parks in every neighborhood. Most of these parks have free wading pools for the children and this was no exception. It was not yet opened, but they are open all summer.

If you ever visit the Twin Cities, I hope you'll think "outside the box" - the mall box, that is - and have a wonderful time like we did!

**********

Alina tagged me with the 7 Random Things while I was away. I haven't forgotten, Alina. I'll post about that next and give a Low Impact Week update. Don't forget, this is Low Impact week! Try to think of at least one new thing you can do to go more lightly and bless the planet!
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