Monday, December 29, 2008

The True Picture

Just today an email arrived from an old college friend...an excerpt from Chris Jordan's exhibit..."Running the Numbers, an American Self Portrait". Best you see this for yourself at chrisjordan.com

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Power of Ice

"Crack. Thud." woke me up at midnight. I could not see into the blackness but I could hear them. Every few minutes another, "Crack. Swoosh." or "CRACK. THUD." The rain started a couple days ago but tonight temps are below freezing. I was able to get home on Thursday in the rain. Strange that roads did not get icey but the continual drizzle coated the tree branches with a jacket of ice up to an inch thick. The weight of the water turned ice could no longer be supported by the stiff winter branches. The cracks and thuds continued all night and into the next day. I saw the eery orange glow and heard the moan of strained power lines. Dave woke up about 0400. We still had electricity then so we showered and saved our water to flush the toilet. Then we filled a few containers with water for drinking and cooking. Plus the rain collection barrel on the front step had just refilled with fresh, cold, rainwater. Power went out about 0845. We installed the wood stove a couple months ago. What a blessing! Dave had already piled wood in a sheltered area near the back door. Our kitchen stove is propane so there you go – heat, water, and cooking. We have a generator but Dave had not yet wired it to the house. After we cleared the driveway, we took a drive through the surrounding area. Wow! Power poles broken off. Power lines on the ground. Roads closed. And so many, so many, many broken trees. No businesses were open except two supermarkets, two gas stations (with lines over a mile long). Saturday we drove out west to Gardner to check on one of Dave’s sons and his family. The sad sight along the highway took our breath away. Acres of trees broken or bent to the ground – still covered with ice - brilliant in the cold, clear sunlight…like trillions and trillions of tiny white Christmas lights. Majesty was not sacrificed without glory.

Power came back to our area at 1545 Saturday. That’s about 31 hours. Just heard from my sister-in-law further west. They were out for 52 hours. The report this morning is: the state of Maine most of the 210,000 homes restored, New Hampshire half of their 275,000 homes restored, Vermont still 100,000 homes out, and Massachusetts about half of the 350,000 homes restored. Many of those left without power still have days ahead of them. A convoy of Ohio power company trucks drove by this afternoon on their way to join the repair team.

My first reaction to this whole ordeal was, “Give me my power back.” Then I realized that this was just a warning.

Get prepared for the future now.

And the Lord said to Job, "Have you entered the storehouses of the snow, or have you seen the storehouses of the hail, which I have reserved for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war?"

Thursday, December 4, 2008

CO2 and more

In an article entitled, Carbon Is Forever, climatologists discuss the life span of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.

"The climatic impacts of releasing fossil fuel CO2 to the atmosphere will last longer than Stonehenge, longer than time capsules, longer than nuclear waste, far longer than the age of human civilization so far." David Archer

Andrew C. Revkin at DotEarth pulls together the science and the attitude about carbon dioxide with reference to this artwork:

Marc Roberts’ latest “Throbgoblinsblogtoon (click to enlarge).

And then there's methane...see NYTimes article by Elisabeth Rosenthal, As More Eat Meat, A Bid To Cut Emissions.

Pigs, and Cows, and Chickens... OH MY....

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving

Thankful for life today. Family, home, work, friends, and the favor of God toward us, all of us, through Jesus the Christ. There are many unanswered questions, many looming problems, much suffering which soon will be answered, resolved, relieved.

My song, "For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is in Him."

He says, "Be still and know that I AM God.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Hope For Today

Let's say you are the president-elect trying to prepare yourself to lead the world's nations into a new era of responsible, thrifty, caring, sustainable global communities. Where would you find hope? Outside yourself is my first guess. Experts? Brilliant people? Remember the definition of insanity...continuing to do the same thing while expecting different results. Hmmmm....
Shiny yellow and brown leaves cover the ground. Downpour yesterday and sunshine today confirm that the trees in my little acre have lost 90% of their leaves. Earlier Dave cut up some smaller logs for our wood stove. Then football beckoned. As I stack the freshly cut wood, motorcycles rumble by, probably from the Harley shop a couple miles up the road. (One summer we counted 86 motorcycles in one group passing our house on the way to the Interstate.) I've had my share of muffler burns. Even now our old 1976 Honda 550 4-cylinder is in the shop getting road worthy. Two gas stations four miles away are having a price war. Today $2.07/gallon. Then I cleaned out several buckets we collected rain water in this past summer. We're still experimenting with that. This week Dave will "mow" the yard again - sucking up the leaves, shredding them with the blade then dropping back down. We'll get the garden bed ready for winter. Our little harvest is over. We're still considering a baby-sized green house. These are some of our efforts in transition for what we think lies ahead.

Yesterday I spent time with Janis and the girls. Many hugs and kisses; much talking - Grace explained how the heart (with her hand over her chest) is where love and happiness come from and I explained how the heart also keeps you alive; one book reading - Dora helped Troll be nice; a little eating - pumpkin pie for the first time (definitely with whipped cream); and some shopping. Violet chose a cardboard book about Baby Jesus and the story of His birth with a little yellow button that when you press it plays Silent Night. We were only half way home when Janis told Violet to "quit pressing the button" and Violet..."It started by itself." (The button was only an ON button, not an ON/OFF.) I'm sure she went to sleep that night with the book under her pillow and her finger on the button.

The girls have no idea how difficult life may become. They find love and happiness now in family and faith.
LESSON: The Creator who is Author of our life is Source of our hope.

"The stick, perhaps the most versatile plaything in history, was chosen along with the baby doll and skateboard by the people at the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, N.Y.
...so basic, so unmanufactured, can be a springboard for the imagination, a link to the nonhuman world, and a reason to get outdoors.
Reusable. Recyclable. Renewable."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

HBD to Janis

In a tiny, rural, Wisconsin dairy town, population 200, in my in-laws rented farmhouse my husband and mom-in-law helped me deliver my second baby girl... a classic natural childbirth delivery. Janis came a couple weeks early so I already had a doctor's checkup scheduled for the next day. We kept the appointment. Shortly after I joined the pregnant moms in the waiting room with my one day old baby, my distraught OB came streaming into the room, spotted me, and with her shaky, clammy hands snatched the baby away! Apparently I was the next patient to be seen. The doctor did all the "right" stuff - birth certificate, silver nitrate, PKU, weigh in, and general check up. Janis was perfect.


Now thirty-five years later Janis has two girls of her own, both quite perfect. Happy Birthday to you.






CORNBREAD BIRTHDAY CAKE
1 1/4 c soymilk
1 tbs + 1 tsp white vinegar
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour
2 tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbs baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Grease an 8" square or round cake pan, or line with parchment paper. Combine soymilk and vinegar. Let stand while you mix the dry ingredients. When the oven reaches temperature, pour the soured soymilk into the dry ingredients. Mix quickly, and don't overmix. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes. When done, the top will be golden and a toothpick inserted in center will come out clean. Let stand to cool before cutting.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Buying and Selling in Our Changing Economy

Greenpa posted an illustration of what's happening between buyers and sellers. "Here, from The Financial Post, is a nice clear story about why this stuff matters; immediately.
The credit crisis is spilling over into the grain industry as international buyers find themselves unable to come up with payment, forcing sellers to shoulder often substantial losses.Before cargoes can be loaded at port, buyers typically must produce proof they are good for the money. But more deals are falling through as sellers decide they don't trust the financial institution named in the buyer's letter of credit, analysts said."There's all kinds of stuff stacked up on docks right now that can't be shipped because people can't get letters of credit," said Bill Gary, president of Commodity Information Systems in Oklahoma City. "The problem is not demand, and it's not supply because we have plenty of supply. It's finding anyone who can come up with the credit to buy."
This whole "letter of credit" thing is a little obtuse if you're not a financial freak; but basically both ends of the shipping business are now refusing to trust each other - as they always have- that the money for the ship, and the money for the cargo, is actually there."


Even if you have never read The Revelation, you have probably heard about the symbolic beast who "causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark". Is our current global financial storm setting a stage for such a concept?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Global Economy

"We are living in interesting times. I presume that you have noticed that no progress was made by infusion of enormous amounts of cash into our banking system, and that only as the industrialized nations met and coordinated their efforts was any progress made. That, however, was minimal, and now the president has set an international meeting for November 15, after the election, for the great nations to meet and set an agenda for rules for the global economy, formalizing and authorizing what was a de facto reality in any case, that globalism had already progressed to the point where there is no such thing as a sovereign economy of a single nation, but rather a global economy to which each nation belongs. Thus, step by step, we progress into the world-state." John McCall, spiritual advisor

The Automatic Earth says, "On the international front, there are many miles of dams and dikes about to burst. Denmark joins the list of trouble with a desperate rate hike; Romania does the same. ING Groep loses another 20%, even though it got $14 billion last week. Sterling and the Euro keep plunging (which makes Europeans happy). The Yen is heading for the skies beyond infinity, which takes enormous additional amounts of credit out of the markets, a much bigger issue than you might think. The IMF announces a plan to help developing nations, but even if we were to assume that they have noble intentions -which we don't-, it is too little too late. The Fund is now talking to perhaps a dozen countries at the same time, and it can't seem to conclude any deals. It doesn't want to, it won't, and it can't. There'll be token amounts handed out, but only to countries that agree to give up what can basically be labeled their sovereignty."

"Our societies, all of them, need to spread their remaining wealth, because if they don't, they will fall apart. The poverty this crisis will unload upon our lands will make that inevitable. You either share, or you face street fighting men. Over 90% of the 'money' that makes the world go round is make believe, and it's being renditioned and disappeared at lightning speed, to never be heard from again. In a sense, that's a very healthy development. Yet, the way we are approaching it to date will not end well for many of us. Forget the Wall Street "bloodbath". Unless we change our ways real soon, we are talking real physical bloodbaths."

In a New York Times Op-Ed article on October 21, 2008, A Matter of Life and Debt by Margaret Atwood she states, "As for what will happen to us next, I have no safe answers. If fair regulations are established and credibility is restored, people will stop walking around in a daze, roll up their sleeves and start picking up the pieces. Things unconnected with money will be valued more -- friends, family, a walk in the woods. "I" will be spoken less, "we" will return, as people recognize that there is such a thing as the common good. On the other hand, if fair regulations are not established and rebuilding seems impossible, we could have social unrest on a scale we haven't seen for years. Is there any bright side to this? Perhaps we'll have some breathing room -- a chance to reevaluate our goals and to take stock of our relationship to the living planet from which we derive all our nourishment, and without which debt finally won't matter."

Now how does one interpret all this information? For me, this description of Jesus feeding five thousand hungry followers from two fish and five loaves of bread, best illustrates my view as a Christian Creationist.

"In feeding the five thousand, Jesus lifts the veil from the world of nature, and reveals the power that is constantly exercised for our good. In the production of earth's harvests God is working a miracle every day. Through natural agencies the same work is accomplished that was wrought in the feeding of the multitude. Men prepare the soil and sow the seed, but it is the life from God that causes the seed to germinate. It is God's rain and air and sunshine that cause it to put forth, 'first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.' (Mark 4:28) It is God who is every day feeding millions from earth's harvest fields. Men are called upon to co-operate with God in the care of the grain and the preparation of the loaf because of this they lose sight of the divine agency. Man is glorified in place of God, and His gracious gifts are perverted to selfish uses, and made a curse instead of a blessing. God is seeking to change all this. He desires that our dull senses shall be quickened to discern His merciful kindness and to glorify Him for the working of His power and the blessing of His gifts.

After the multitude had been fed, there was an abundance of food left. But He who had all the resources of infinite power at His command said, 'Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.' Nothing was to be wasted. We should neglect nothing that will tend to benefit a human being. Let everything be gathered up that will relieve the necessity of earth's hungry ones." The Desire of Ages, E.G.White, pp. 367-68, 1898.

LESSON: It is time for us to gather up the leftovers that God has provided and share them.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Wedding

Our oldest granddaughter married this October. Most of the guests were relatives, immediate relatives. Children, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, sisters, brothers, cousins, in-laws too. Don't cha just love it!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Autumn in New England







It's Fall!! Yep, today is Fall. The wind picked up after a cold drizzle and the leaves are coming down. I've lived in Massachusetts for just over thirty years. 2008 is one of the two most colorful autumns I have seen.




If you don't live in the north, then you are unaware of the Internal Seasonal Clock (ISC). Like going to bed at 1000 every night or eating breakfast at 0600 regularly, the ISC ticks away the days until the next season.

Tick, Tock, Buzz! Season change.

All things are right with the world.

We can now prepare for the next season.
WARNING: ISC will be altered by climate change.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Comments on the Financial Situation - Power

As a kid spending summer vacation at the family cabin in northern Minnesota, my brother and sister and I very often played cards on rainy days. War, spades, cribbage, canasta, and whatever we could think up. Even as kids there were moves to be made, strategy to win the game. "You show me yours and I'll show you mine." Who had the most convincing bluff?

As with playing cards, governments in crisis are now planning their economic strategy, their next move. The question is no longer who has the highest card but who can bluff to win. Ilargi at The Automatic Earth blog writes,
I told you: this is not an economic crisis anymore, it’s a full-blown political emergency, and they’re all trying to hang on to "power".

"We see again that every crisis in the aging political-economic-military-cultural unity that now makes the infant globalist world-state is used to shore it up more firmly. Each crisis ties the system together more closely and more powerfully." John McCall, spiritual advisor

A couple days ago while standing in line at Rite-Aid the clerk told the woman in front of me that her debit card had no money. The customer, who could not communicate in English anyway, was confused. She pulled out her Rite-Aid discount card. While the clerk explained that the discount card was not a credit card, I wondered what the woman was trying to buy - it was already in a bag.
How much did it cost? Should I pay for it?

The customer walked out without her item. When I left the building, I saw her walking down the road. As I drove home, I decided to carry an extra twenty dollars that would always be available to whomever might need it.

LESSON: I can't control the international economy but I can respond with assistance to those around me.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Comments on the Financial Situation - Home Invasion

Several years ago my husband decided to take a chance and hire the husband of one of his employees. The man had just been released from jail and really needed a job. Day One went all right. He trained fairly easily. On Day Two when I walked into the shop with my husband, I noticed him doing something in my work space which was next to his but separated by a computer table, chair, and counter. What is he doing? As I approached my work area, he returned to his own. Immediately I looked to the shelf where I kept my purse. It had vanished!!

Well, I marched over, took the box of trash he was carrying, and uncovered my purse in the bottom of the box. When I asked about it, he coldly lied right to my face. Seeing I didn't believe that whooper, he switched his story and expected me to believe him as he denied doing anything wrong at all. I was flabbergasted at his total disrespect for me and how stupid he thought I was. This guy could be a CEO today!!! Wish I had recognized his potential back then. I just fired the guy on the spot in front of all the other employees - no severance pay, no limo, no day at the spa.

Five days later I called the police to report a break in at our home. Most everything of value was gone. They lifted a few partial prints but not enough to nail the guy. Wonder who it was? A potential CEO?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Comments on the Financial Situation - Thomas Jefferson

Though my life moves on seemingly unchanged amidst all the financial clamour, my brain won't let it go. This is more than a bad day at the office. It is more than a poor quarterly net income. More than a profit loss for the year.

It is more than balloon payments and property devaluation. More than the disappearance of retirement investments, plummeting market, and uninsured savings.

It is more than a bad day at the White House. More than not meeting a trillion dollar budget. More than unemployment on the rise to an expected 8%.

Thomas Jefferson addressed the subject of banking institutions nearly two hundred years ago.

"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies . . . If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] . . . will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered . . . The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs."

--Thomas Jefferson in The Debate Over The Recharter Of The Bank Bill, 1809

"I sincerely believe that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies, and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale."

--Thomas Jefferson to John Taylor, 1816.

"We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debt, as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our calling and our creeds... [we will] have no time to think, no means of calling our miss-managers to account but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers... And this is the tendency of all human governments. A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent for [another ]... till the bulk of society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery... And the fore-horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression."

--Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Kercheval, 1816

"Our government is now taking so steady a course as to show by what road it will pass to destruction; to wit: by consolidation first and then corruption, its necessary consequence. The engine of consolidation will be the Federal judiciary; the two other branches the corrupting and corrupted instruments."

--Thomas Jefferson to Nathaniel Macon, 1821.

"It is well to note that the collapse of the mortgage market in the United States was not due solely to the burst of an economic bubble created by many bad mortgages. It was also due to the series of events that began in 2004 with the destruction of so much of the real estate and economy of Florida, the fourth largest state in the U.S. Then came the violence of Katrina that destroyed so much of the Alabama-Mississippi-Louisiana coast, and this year the sequence that culminated in Ike's enormous destruction in Texas, which led to the collapse of AIG, which held much of its value in "derivatives," or financial instruments whose value is "derived" from the underlying mortgages -- much of it on property now non-existent or in ruins.With that collapse came the collapse of the great investment houses, who had much of their value held in AIG's derivatives. And so forth. All beginning with a sequence of natural disasters that were nothing less than judgments on a system that was based on greed and showed no appropriate care for the poor."

John McCall, spiritual advisor

Friday, October 3, 2008

Quick catch up

A couple months ago I imagined myself quitting my job and wrote about it here. Sadly David wasn't sure if I was serious or not. Well, I'm serious now. This past week I started a new job. It's good to be busy in different surroundings learning new procedures with fresh faces.

Over a thousand fresh faces appeared on the beaches of Brazil. Read about it here. These little guys found their way on changing ocean currents. "While climate change has been implicated in melting polar ice caps and the transformation of parts of the Amazon rain forest to drier savannah lands, some scientists say there is not enough data on how weather changes are driving these currents." (taken from the same Washington Post article)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

2 + 2 = ?

This past week hubby and I watched Richard Burton, et al, in the movie version of 1984 by George Orwell for the first time. Read up on our latest housing/investment/banking crisis and go rent this movie today. In our financial atmosphere we breathe in uncertain math until we need to be told the sum of 2 + 2. Could this be the last step down of our once Republic before Big Brother takes over?

No more numbers. It's off to the local orchard to buy apples and tomatoes to can for the long winter ahead. Hurricane Kyle is on it's way to the Maine coastline tonight. What's next?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Abundance/Poverty

A while ago on Colin Beavan's site NoImpactMan the topic of tithing (number 27 on the list) was addressed as part of "40 Steps on the Personal Path to Green".

Colin says,...
It follows, then, that part of environmental living might include tithing to help poverty, at least for the more wealthy among us, a subject that Peter Singer covered with great eloquence in the New York Times Magazine. In his article he wrote: “For more than 30 years, I’ve been reading, writing and teaching about the ethical issue posed by the juxtaposition, on our planet, of great abundance and life-threatening poverty. Yet it was not until, in preparing this article, I calculated how much America’s Top 10 percent of income earners actually make that I fully understood how easy it would be for the world’s rich to eliminate, or virtually eliminate, global poverty.”

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Simpler Bail Out

Let's give all mortgagees their homes outright. The first thing that every home owner who found himself owning his home outright would do is apply for some sort of equity loan or new mortgage. Banks would have balance sheets that balanced and people would have money to invest. Sounds good to me.

Then I found this in my email... too bad the math doesn't add up.

The Birk Bail Out

hmmmmmm............

Iʼm against the $85,000,000,000.00 bailout of AIG.
Instead, I'm in favor of giving $85,000,000,000 to America in a 'We Deserve It Dividend'.

To make the math simple, let's assume there are 200,000,000 bonifide U.S. Citizens 18+.
Our population is about 301,000,000 +/- counting every man, woman and child.
So 200,000,000 might be a fair stab at adults 18 and up.
So divide 200 million adults 18+ into $85 billon that equals $425,000.00 per.
My plan is to give $425,000 to every person 18+ as a 'We Deserve It Dividend'.

Of course, it would NOT be tax free; so let's assume a tax rate of 30%.
Every individual 18+ has to pay $127,500.00 in taxes; that sends $25,500,000,000 right back to Uncle Sam.
But it means that every adult 18+ has $297,500.00 in their pocket.
A husband and wife has $595,000.00.

What would you do with $297,500.00 to $595,000.00 in your family?
Pay off your mortgage, housing crisis solved.
Repay college loans, what a great boost to new grads
Put away money for college, it'll be there
Save in a bank, create money to loan to entrepreneurs.
Buy a new car, create jobs
Invest in the market , capital drives growth
Pay for your parent's medical insurance, health care improves
Enable Deadbeat Dads to come clean, or else
Remember this is for every adult U S Citizen 18+ including the folks who lost their jobs at Lehman Brothers and every other company that is cutting back.
And of course, for those serving in our Armed Forces.
If we're going to re-distribute wealth, let's really do it...instead of trickling out a puny $1000.00 (vote buy)economic incentive that is being proposed by one of our candidates for President.
If we're going to do an $85 billion bailout, let's bail out every adult U S Citizen 18+!
As for AIG, liquidate it. Sell off its parts.
Let American General go back to being American General.
Sell off the real estate. Let the private sector bargain hunters cut it up and clean it up.

Here's my rationale. We deserve it, and AIG doesn't.
Sure it's a crazy idea that can never work. Maybe???
But can you imagine the Coast-To-Coast Block Party!
How do you spell Economic Boom?
I trust my fellow adult Americans to know how to use the $85 Billion 'We Deserve It Dividend' more than I do the geniuses at AIG or in Washington DC .
And remember, the Birk plan only really costs $59.5 Billion because $25.5 Billion is returned instantly in taxes to Uncle Sam.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

To Whom It May Concern

As a small business owner in the U.S. my husband has received a multitude of correspondance thru the years from investors, marketing firms, vendors, creditors, and management consultants. Several times a year a letter arrived through mail, fax, or email asking for his assistance in moving a large sum of money through his own account which could earn him a large commission. It read much like this business letter I found posted on JediMomma concerning the current financial blowup/breakdown.

From: Minister of the Treasury Paulson
Subject: REQUEST FOR URGENT CONFIDENTIAL BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP

Dear American:
I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.
I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.
I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transactin is 100% safe.
This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.
Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to wallstreetbailout@treasury.gov so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

Yours Faithfully Minister of Treasury Paulson

For more detailed information see The Automatic Earth.

LESSON: When meeting someone addicted to money, don't give them your bank account number.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The U.S. Economy

Credit: Jack Ohman, The Oregonian

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

M...O...N...E...Y

We each take home our paychecks, figure our budgets, give some to charity, pay our bills, eat our food and heat our homes. What if tomorrow it was gone? Instead of a devastating hurricane of wind and water knocking out power for weeks, we had a typhon of play money. Your paycheck was worthless, no money for mortgage, or food, or fuel, or family. What's your backup plan?

Jedimomma's blog shares some insight into the current problem with money.

Paul Grignon's 47 minute animated presentation of "Money As Debt" tells in very simple and effective graphic terms what money is...
(Google MONEY AS DEBT to watch the video from video.google.com)

For current details of today's financial situation see Automatic Earth.

Certainly the Beast of Empire grows more rapidly every day.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Family, Who Are They?

A couple decades ago in a conservative Christian church you could find me on Saturday mornings with a group of children up to four years old. We sang, told stories, played with props, learned to give money away for missions and prayed together. My soul laughed every week. I loved it. Once as we were singing about family and holding dolls representing different family members, I looked at each child with their family in mind. We were singing about mom, dad, sister, brother, grandpa and grandma, but some of these children in front of me were foster kids, some were from single parent homes, some lived with relatives. So our song about family began to change.

Today I am particularly thankful for family. Last week our youngest grandson and his mom stayed with us for a few days. Holding that squirmy, two-month-old hunk, listening to him breathe as he slept on my shoulder, whispering a one way conversation as Papa rocked him to sleep, watching him smile into his mother's face, hearing him coo his questions about life...all elements of the glue that holds families together. Our oldest granddaughter is getting married next month. It is probable that our next grandchild will be a "great" one. The beauty of that idea replaces regrets of growing older.

Kindergarten began last week. Grace brought home her first teacher's note. One comment on behavior read, "We have been encouraging her to get the things she needs in the room on her own, rather than telling other childern to get them for her." That's my girl. Not afraid to take charge. Several times when mom asked what she had learned in school that day, Grace replied, "Today I learned to be nice." (Again!)

LESSON: Seek to know each family member as an individual person that you love.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Food Rehab Boot Camp

Food Rehab Boot Camp establishes the philosophy of food attitude much like Sharon Astyk's post establishes the philosophy of neighborly love.

GOALS

1. Admit you need help controlling your eating habits
2. Admit that help is available
3. Seek out that help
4. Surrender your current eating habits
5. Follow a designated plan (use the buddy system if necessary)
6. Practice the plan until "no" is as loud as "yes"
7. Graduate to independent eating choices

Last spring David and I jumped into the idea of converting to sustainable living in place, right here at our place, while we're working. Thought we'd just add vegetable gardening, water conservation, composting, starting plants from seed, rain water collection and storage, energy conservation, healthy eating, sharing our experience, etc., to what we already do. I started recording our progress in this blog. OK, all went well - for a couple months until the trouble began.

Our new and former life styles began to crash into each other as the opposties fought for dominance. New/old, unfamiliar/comfortable, chaos/order, empty/satisfied. We had jumped into all these new activities without enough education and experience to insure a successful change in life style. Further, as additional personal events added stress, our effort to change faded.

Since appetite is basic to all areas of change and we eat several times a day, we decided to focus on food. By getting down to basics - David found a diet with simple menus all set up for us - we could learn to discipline ourselves, to say "no" and carry it out, thus strengthening our ability to change our habits of eating and eventually our habit of living.

Right now we are still on the buddy system, helping each other say "no" to any food outside the diet plan. David has lost several pounds and both of us feel better. Soon we will be practiced enough to make significant progress on Chile Chews Discretionary Eating Challenge. (see button on sidebar)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Food Rehab

Hi, my name is Wildblues. I'm a foodaholic.

In the course of our spiritual journey we discovered the spirit-mind-body connection. When one of the links is weak, the whole chain is weak. The health of the body lends to the health of mind and spirit. With over 59 years of habitual do-what-you-want-to attitude as far as what and when to eat, making an improvement is not so easy.

With the help of ChileChews Discretionary Eating Challenge we made a decision to change our eating behavior. Well... That's like sending a soldier into battle without boot camp. So we've put ourselves into Food Rehab. This boot camp for healthy living is a concentrated effort to weed out intemperate habits and learn to just say "no".

No, no, no, no. That's what I said this morning when I lifted the kitchen compost container to look at it more closely (thought I saw something moving inside!) Underneath it were dozens of large black ants from the planning committee trying to agree on how to create an entrance to the colony through my formica countertop.

Panic, run in circles, and scatter. That's what they and I did.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Whys and Hows of Changing Your Diet

Lately between trips, family, and working, much thought was given to asking what motivates and effects an individual's dietary change. While I'm getting my thoughts into cyber words, these two links offer food for thought.

Powering Down
Chile Chews

Thoughtful eating.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Mosquito Olympics

In the past month I've had opportunity to judge the Minnesota mosquito and the Maine mosquito in an up close and personal competition. Both Minnesota and Maine mosquitos are strong contenders in the following catagories:

Largest
Stealthiest
Most Eager Feeder
Fewest Exploratory Landings
Highest Successful Bite Rate

The Minnesota mosquito is by far the Largest of the two mosquitos. In a few more years it will be difficult to tell the difference between the Minnesota mosquito and a black wasp.

Though the Minnesota mosquito is large, with size comes sound. So the catagory of Stealthiest goes to the Maine mosquito. The continual whine of the Minnesota mosquito hovering around a sleeping bag has caused the loss of many hours of sleep. The Maine mosquito is compact and quiet.

Using the whine and scoot method, the Minnesota mosquito can be annoyingly persistant in its pursuit of blood. However, the Maine mosquito takes the Most Eager Feeder catagory with its skill at going up sleeves, under brims, inside glasses, and flying through breaks in fabric.

Inherent in the whine and scoot method of attack is the false assumption that many bite sites were rejected before a satisfactory site was located. Therefore judgment in the catagory of Fewest Exploratory Landings was quite difficult. The Maine mosquito's method of the land-bite-two-step and the Minnesota mosquito's whine-and-scoot tied for top honors.

The Highest Successful Bite Rate catagory required a huge sacrifice on my part. Counting the number of smushed mosquito bodies without a blood smear and comparing that to the number of smushed bodies with a blood smear was most unpleasant. Then of course the number of welts with no smushed bodies with or without blood smears had to be tallied also.

This is when I quit judging and cried for insect repellent!

Thank you Lewey's Eco-Blends Insect Repellent. A few drops on the attack zone and wow what a relief. The biting stopped and the little critters were gone.

LESSON: Decline any invitation to judge a competition that requires my personal participation.

PS. Displayed on a picnic table by the side of the road on our way home from Maine today, we spotted bat houses for sale. We bought one.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Corny Weekend

Yesterday we packed up the van and headed out to see grandkids in NH. On the way we stopped at a small farm stand to pick up some corn, tomatoes, whatever. And there they were. The large burlap bags of corn fresh from the field. Dave and I had talked about purchasing several dozen ear of corn to freeze. Today must be the day. We bought two bags, loaded them into the van, and took off for NH. A lovely day indeed. Grace and Violet Elizabeth helped Nana husk the corn for dinner. They love this job because there's no way they can do it wrong. Slow, maybe. But not wrong. They ate their fill of corn. So sweet.

What an end to today! Severe thunderstorms yet again. Right now. Right here. It's hard not to feel guilty with this abundance of fresh water when others are worried or thirsty. Earlier this morning we were working on our tan while we husked eight dozen ear of corn. Processing corn is messy so we set up outside the back porch close to the hose and the kitchen. I blanched the cleaned ears for four minutes in boiling water. My smallest canner easily held a dozen at a time. Then I hauled the blanched ears outside and dumped them into a pail of cold water. Dave would take a cooled ear from the bucket, stand the ear upright on a nail, and cut the corn off the cob. One quart-sized freezer bag held corn from eight ears which gave us a total of twelve quarts of corn. Everything cleaned up well with the hose (and rain, the thunder started just as the last bag snapped shut). Hopefully this should last until next August. If not, we'll adjust the quantity for next year's process.

Time to check on local peaches, pears, and plums for canning.

LESSON: Working together is way more fun than working alone.
(Oh, and, just a little note. Raw corn kernel guts are organically compatible with human eye balls. Totally non-toxic.)

HAPPY 37th to JENNIFER!!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Things I've always wanted to see...

Still thinking of my wonderful vacation in Minnesota, several subjects come to mind. Food for one. If you find yourself driving in Minnesota and go through Cloquet, you must stop to eat at Gordy's. Let me just say fresh red raspberry milkshake...

Of course bald eagles always come to mind. We have a few eagles here in Massachusetts too. One winter while driving to work, I watched an eagle flying low over the Wachusett Reservior next to the road as crowded sticky snow flakes fell to the ground. Several times in my life the sighting of a bald eagle has been a sign of assurance in difficulty to me.

I mustn't forget Sunny, our constant companion. She's a six year old ivory lab who loves to swim and dig rocks up off the lake bottom. Don't ask me...

But there are two things I've never seen in all the years I've been around. Even my kids have been privileged to see moose and the northern lights. But never me.

Check out the mom and baby moose.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Minnesota in summer

The Northern Lakes Raceway (Hwy 35) is the fastest way out of the Twin Cities to peace and quiet. After a side trip over to Spooner, WI, to visit Dad's grave site, we drove to Duluth. As we cruised the highway through Duluth, a deer ran out in front of our truck and bounded across the interstate. From there it was north to Birch Lake...

Birch Lake borders the portion of Minnesota called the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. The BWCA is said to bring peace to your heart, renewal to your spirit and quietness to your mind. For me it is coming home...back to where I belong.

This is the view from the dock that I looked out on for the past week. If this photo was larger, the bald eagle's nest would be visible. Last year we watched two baby eagles, Puff and Jeff, feel the air currents as they spread their wings in preparation to leave the nest. Mom and Pop were always attentive coming and going with food and encouragement. Sadly, this year, there were no baby eagles to watch. The heavy snow last May fell after eggs had been laid. Mom eagle never left the nest even when she was buried in snow, but the eggs did not mature.

Charlie and Charlotte, the resident loon couple, were not successful either. In fact as we canoed our end of Birch Lake, we only saw one adolescent loon with its parents. However, late one afternoon, while sitting on the dock alone, I watched and heard a loon batchelor party. After much verbal calling and apparent discussion over where and when, five adult loons congregated within the view of my binoculars. After much circle swimming, they began taking turns diving. When one would dive the other four would look under water until the first one surfaced next to the group. What on earth was going on underwater? I suspect some loon show-off moves.

Despite the lack of eagle and loon babies this year there were an abundance of ducklings bobbing around the lake shore. The water was perfect temp for swimming so swim we did. I had been warned about the size of the mosquitos this year but the mammoth dragon flies took care of them. All in all it was another refreshing visit home. God is Good.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Going Up North


Tomorrow's lift off is 0600. I'm on my way to this cozy, comfy, cabin. My sister and sister-in-law and I plan to relax for a week. A little canoeing, a little swimming, a little fishing, perhaps some boating, crafting, and leisure reading. Hope you're all enjoying July.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

What's Going On Here?


We harvested our first radish... pretty puny, huh? We just began gardening in earnest this year. The lesson of building up the soil has hit hard and firm. So we decided not to be discouraged about what is or isn't growing and concentrate on future growing seasons.

Don't get me wrong we are harvesting a few things. Here's a picture of our first whole meal which includes new potatoes, fresh onions, home-churned butter, strawberry jam from local strawberries, red raspberries from our own patch, and whole wheat bread from home ground wheat. Delicious. Tastes better when you produce it yourself.

Dave sharpened up the Stihl to open up more sky for the tomatoes. Right now our raised bed only gets about three hours of sun a day. So while we are just getting a few baby green tomatoes, others are harvesting. When I get my techno-act together, I'll post a slide show of this year's first delimbing when Dave's son removed the large limb hanging over the house.


Life grows in other areas too. This is one day old Nicholas with Grampa. He's a real beauty. Pretty sure he has the making of a News Anchor already. There have been a series of birthdays too. Birthdays are important to celebrate especially in a large family. Every year each member of the group has a day to be the center of attention. We all just celebrated our eighteen year old granddaughter's birthday and she leaves home for an out-of-state college in two weeks. Recently Grace turned five. Yesterday Violet Elizabeth turned three. She thrilled to blow out all three candles by herself. What fun is this!

HAPPY 58th BIRTHDAY BARB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, July 14, 2008

APottoPeein



Time for a little catchup. We're back in town, back to work, back to thinking change in life style. Although we didn't fully celebrate Crunchy's Golden Showers Garden Party, we have a new addition to our bathroom appliances. Apottopeein. This handy little "appliance" has a screw on lid and can hold up to a half gallon of liquid human fertilizer concentrate -- urine. When diluted with water ten parts water to one part urine, it offers nitrogen to garden soil. Already plants around my yard and garden are smiling with the green glow of new nitrogen. It's so easy, always available and doesn't cost a thing. (My particular pot, a former storage container, was nabbed and recycled into its new prominent position as Apottopeein.) I recommend this simple and natural way to fertilize your outside plants and shrubs. You may however prefer the upscale glass version of Apottopeein available wherever you find one.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Rest

"...I tell you not to worry about everyday life - whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn't life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren't you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lillies of the field and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?"

"So don't worry about these things saying, 'What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?' These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today."

Matthew 6:25-34

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

With Grace

My five year old granddaughter drew me a picture of the inside of her brain today. Believe it or not this is the second picture I have of the inside of a brain. The first one is an oil painting that my oldest daughter created while in rehab after a car accident which left her brain injured. Today she doesn't remember painting the picture, but I do...

The second one was a four color crayon drawing done in a restaurant on the back of a kid's coloring page. Earlier today while I was pushing her on a swing in her back yard, she asked me, "Nana, why does my body feel funny when I'm afraid?" We had a short discussion on how your brain thinks but because your brain is part of your body, it effects the rest of your body too. After a couple hours through all her activity, she was still mulling. Then she said, "Nana, don't look I'm making you a surprise." Oddly enough the shape and size of the drawing was similiar to a real brain. I asked her, "Which place is the fear?" She pointed to the black area about the size of the hypothalamus. "What are the other areas?" The little thalamus-sized green area was for "what I'm going to do". There were two larger hemispheric-sized areas. The red one was "where ideas come from" and the purple one (her favorite color) was "where I decide what to draw".
Meet Grace....

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

What makes you care?

What makes you care about those around you? Your family, your friends, your community. What makes me mourn my father's death? What makes me burst with joy at the birth of a grandchild? Love you say. OK.
What is love then?

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

This definition comes from a Biblical letter written by Paul to the first century Corinthians in an effort to encourage them to live a life based on love.

For numerous decades we have chosen to narrow the range of this love to ourselves and those whose lives contribute directly to our own. Here we are today living the result of this selfish choice. More and more talks, blogs, interviews, articles, books, conferences, international summits, and innovative thinkers are addressing global crisis issues. Energy. Climate Change. Water. Food. Disease. How can we fix it? If we can't fix it, how can we make the transition? What will the transition look like?

What if in the beginning we were created as a perfect match? The Earth created for mankind to prosper and live on. Mankind created to live together as they managed and maintained the Earth. What if mankind decided to divorce this matchup and do his own thing? Eventually what made them a perfect match would disappear. The unmanaged Earth would lose its ability to prosper mankind. The self-absorbed mankind would lose his ability to manage the Earth. All this because mankind chose to deny their Creator and His purpose for them.

What makes you care today about the lifestyle transition that lies ahead of us? Love. If you didn't love, you would not ask, "How can we all transition together?" You would ask, "How much can I get for myself?" Let's choose to love.

Monday, July 7, 2008

It's A Boy

And the cycle goes on...

Number fourteen arrived today, this afternoon, five hours ago! The little bundle (7lbs.13oz.) will most likely be our last grandchild. That's eleven girls and three boys "...where the women are strong, the men are good-looking and all the kids are above average".

Can you feel my large smile?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

DAD

My father passed away earlier this morning. Eighty five years old. Suffering with dementia for the past couple years. Living in a nursing home where his dedicated wife visited him every morning.
In 1943, two months after graduating from the UofM with a BA in Mechanical Engineering, Dad left for his midshipman training at The U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. Within a month of completion, he married my mother and both left for Penn State Univ. for Diesel training, then Solomons, MD, for amphibious training. He hitched a ride via submarine to Texas where Mom met him. Shortly after, his LCI(L) landing craft launched from Galveston for the Pacific where Dad served as the engineering officer for three years in WWII. After his tour of duty, Dad and Mom lived in Annapolis where I was born. Dad worked at the USN Engineering Experimental Station until his mother took ill in 1950. Pregnant with my sister, the family returned home to Minnesota. Honeywell, Inc. hired Dad in their aeronautical division where he worked on fuel management systems used on the KC-135 jet tanker and helped to adapt the gyroscope for guidance systems in aircraft. His last proposal before retirement as a project engineer was for ring laser gyro guidance systems in air and space craft.

Dad and Mom raised three healthy, happy "meat-heads" and a series of dogs. They attended PTA. Every year Dad brought a strobe light from work to make the Haunted House at the grade school carnival a great success. He swam with us in the summer time at Little Boy Lake and built us a raft for diving. Swimming remained a favorite of his as he still competed in a senior division just a few years ago. Dad enjoyed hunting and fishing. Once he took me with him to "catch the big one". And there it was looking up at Dad after following the bait up to the boat. An instant later, it was out of sight. Awesome.
He and Mom square danced at the summertime neighborhood block parties. He loved music and could whistle many big band tunes. Perry Como, Andy Williams, and later Yanni were favorites. He didn't play a musical instrument himself but encouraged each of us to learn to play. He cleared the snow off our ice skating pond and tested the ice each season. The first time I ever cooked supper was with Dad when Mom was in the hospital. Tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. The sandwiches burned, the soup boiled over but Dad made it all OK.
Family vacations always brought us further out of the city. Itasca, Black Hills, Yellowstone, Glacier, Badlands, North Shore, International Falls, and camping with friends. Camping at Devil's Hole is the vacation I'll never forget and never repeat. A couple of his hobbies lasted all his life...birdwatching and model airplanes. Dad loved birds. He attracted pheasants, chickadees, red headed woodpeckers, purple finches, bluebirds and an occasional black bear!
He guided, he counseled, he encouraged, he loved. I miss him.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Quit It Now - Cold Turkey

It's not neat. It's not pretty. But, oh so effective.

When choosing to change an addictive behavior, "cold turkey" is a most effective method to accomplish the STOP step of victory. That's where I am today. The MAINTAIN step in victory will be a later post.

Tuesday morning I woke up with "the stomach virus that's going around". Felt like death to me. Both ends exploded leaving me dehydrated and too weak to do anything but nap for two days straight. Five hours passed before a tiny ice chip no longer brought on nausea. My skin was flushed and hot, my pulse rate and blood pressure high. The headache, the gut pain, even my rib cage was too sore to touch. After twelve hours a cooling, lukewarm bath eased some of the discomfort. Never thought Gatorade would be my drink of choice. Did you know that if grape Gatorade, which is not purple but blue, is all that you are ingesting, your poop, what little there is, is bright green? Anyway, the point is the STOP step of victory over an addiction.

The addiction I am trying to quit on the Quit It Now Challenge (see picture link) is comfort eating in the evening. Well, what better way to lose the urge to comfort eat than a bout of vomiting with diarrhea? Takes that whole appetite thing right away. As an added plus to the situation I couldn't have my morning comfort of hot coffee either...the incredible headache with no pain meds in sight. Going cold turkey on two addictions at once, definitely not something I chose for myself. And yet, I did, after the fact.

That was Tuesday morning. It is now Saturday evening. The BRAT diet (bananas-rice-applesauce-toast) is over. The bod is back to normal. No, better than the old normal...no caffeine and no evening comfort eating. Thankfully The Creator's surgical tools are sharp and precise. The addictectomy was a brilliant success! Patient is feeling great, feeling free, feeling blessed and very grateful.

LESSON: When you pray, both the process and the answer may be different than you expect.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Flooding in Iowa

An old friend of mine lives in Iowa. She contacted me with information about what's happening there. How quickly clean drinking water can disappear even when there's plenty of water around. This quote is part of an article published today by Associated Press Writers on yahoo news:

Iowa's worst damage so far was in Cedar Rapids, a city of more than 120,000. The Cedar River crested there Friday night at nearly 32 feet, 12 feet higher than the old record set in 1929. The river had dropped more than 3 feet by Saturday afternoon.
Murky, petroleum- and garbage-choked water inundated three collection wells and threatened the fourth before several hundred volunteers staged a last-ditch sandbagging operation.
Water lapped to within 3 feet of the improvised, 4-foot-high wall surrounding the brick pumping station before it began to recede. Two portable generators, one as big as a semitrailer, roared around the clock to keep the three pumps inside running.
"It's the little engine that could," said Ron Holtzman, one of several people who came to watch the operation Saturday from a nearby foot bridge.
Residents not forced to leave their homes took the warnings to conserve seriously.
Kathy Wickham, 65, was collecting water from the dehumidifier in her basement and has been bathing from the 6-inch-deep enamel washbasin she used as a child on the farm.
"I grew up without any running water, so I'm going back to my childhood," she said.
Raejean White posted bright yellow signs at all six entrances to the Preston Terrace Condominiums that read: "If it's yellow let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down."
In Catherine Holt's household, there are nine children ranging in age from 2 to 17 — including four teenage girls. She said they're making do with baby wipes and water stored earlier in the week in milk jugs and soda bottles.
"So what if it stinks?" said Holt, who closed off one of the family's two bathrooms and forbade the children from using any faucets. "This is so minor compared to what other people are going through."

Additional comment: check for information on the business of drinking water at No Impact Man.

DO OVER

Chile, I need a do over.

For the past ten days my performance in your Quit Now Challenge, quitting an addiction for the month of June, has been weak and pathetic. Oh, I have plenty of excuses - really good ones. In fact my excuses are so good that I had to ask myself where addictions come from.

What makes an addiction? A donut isn't an addiction. A television isn't an addiction. A beer isn't an addiction. These items are inanimate and insignificant. So what turns them into powerful addictions? My answer? Repeatedly choosing the same behavior until that behavior becomes habitual. That habit becomes automatic. That automatic, thoughtless behavior becomes a life style in which free choice is surrendered and the life is taken over. Can addiction be reversed once the addict yields to an automatic, thoughtless life style?

The new path to freedom and independence from the trail of addiction requires stopping, turning, and starting again. But, how can the addict make new decisions if the ability to choose is gone? I believe there is one choice no one can give up. That cannot be taken away. The choice to choose.

The theme of this blog, Choosing to Change, began with a desire to change my established suburban-type life style to an Earth friendly, eco-conscious, crunchy* life style. My husband and I expanded our vegetable garden, started educating ourselves about the environment, bought energy efficient light bulbs. But now I'm up against my addictions, my thoughtless behavior. Now I need to stop, turn, and start again. I choose to change.

*According to the Urban Dictionary, crunchy is an "adjective used to describe persons who have adjusted or altered their lifestyle for environmental reasons. Crunchy persons tend to be politically strongly left-leaning and may be additionally but not exclusively categorized as vegetarians, vegans, eco-tarians, conservationists, environmentalists, neo-hippies, tree huggers, nature enthusiasts, etc."

LESSON: Choosing to change begins at the very heart of who you are.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Golden Showers Garden Party

This new challenge is right up my alley. They call me The Pee Queen at work - I deal with pee all day long (along with other bodily fluids). We humans live off the land we ought to give back to it. Normal, healthy urine is sterile. It contains the waste products of your body's metabolism. Should be a natural fertilizer. Join in the challenge. If you don't have a vegetable garden, use your diluted urine as fertilizer for your flowers, grass, shrubs, whatever. We're going to use some collected rain water to dilute - 10 parts water to 1 part urine.
See info on the Golden Showers Garden Party.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Water rights

Both of them loved their walks through the area forests. This particular trail was new to them. He fashioned dead branches into walking sticks while she photographed the wild flowers. When they came to a pond, she said, "Let's jump in." He replied, "The water might be cold. We don't have any towels. I'll look for an OK To Swim sign." She jumped in. Still looking for the sign, he heard her cry, "Help! I can't swim." As he reached out to her with a walking stick, she managed to move in toward him. They learned the rescue process together from opposite ends of the stick.

Within the past few months Nestle Corporation proposed to my town and the neighboring town a purchase of the water rights for the reservoir and underground aquifer that supplies many residential wells including mine. After much legal talk and several town meetings the proposal was denied. A Nestle spokesperson, assuring all that their operations would only take water we wouldn't need, let us know they intend to continue their courting for the water rights. I object. But not because I'm afraid of running out of clean drinking water (which is a possibility for all of us). Not because I begrudge others getting the water they need. But because Nestle would profit from selling it. I'd rather give it away.

Additional comment: check for information on water rights at No Impact Man.

Amid all the talk of climate change and peak oil, going green and eating local, we often overlook water. We cannot live without it. Today with 90' humid weather, person after person is arriving at our emergency room feeling weak, dehydrated, passing out, etc. This is after one day of tropical heat - not months or years of water table change or decline in water quality. One day of inadequate water effects the body chemistry. Throw in an pandemic of some kind with insufficient clean water and no one will care about the price of gasoline.

"Gramma, why are those buckets of water in the bathroom?"
"Just a minute and I'll show you."
I walked into the bathroom, closed the door, peed, then called my five-year-old grandson in for a demonstration. He was too curious not to come in.

"These are buckets of water from my bath last night or from Grampa's shower this morning. We save the water so we can use it to flush the toilet."
We proceeded to pour and watch the toilet flush.
"That way we can use the water twice before it goes down the drain."
He studied the bucket then studied the toilet then ran out of the room.

Down the hall he was telling his mother, "Mom, you can save our bath water before it goes down the drain and put it in buckets and dump it in the toilet and it will flush and we can use our water two times!"

I know this isn't great, ...but it's great. Our tiny effort to make ourselves and others more aware of their water useage actually impressed someone, even if he is only five years old.
Of course the best moment was when his mother asked me, "So how do you pour the water to make the toilet flush?"