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2009-03-08icewater1 One morning last week I was lying in bed, rather groggy, just before 5 a.m. Prince Charming gets up between 4:30 and 4:50 every morning, so he was downstairs. Then I heard this strange sound, sort of a jingling. I could tell it was coming up the stairs. Then I heard Prince Charming breathing. I cracked open an eye to see what was making the jingling noise. Just then he said, “You asked for ice in your water, right?”

WHAT?”

Reader, you must understand that I drink a lot of water. I drink it all day long. I drink it before I go to bed. (Thank goodness I have a strong bladder.) But I never, EVER drink water in the morning before something else goes in my mouth. I cannot tolerate the taste of water on morning, yukky-mouth! I must eat or brush my teeth before drinking water, neither of which is going to happen by 5 a.m. on most mornings. This is a known fact in the household. The other thing to know is that I do not like ice water in my giant 34-oz. mug because it STAYS icy forever. I like cool water, but have sensitive teeth. Cold water is not a good thing.

My voice squeaked (because I barely had a voice) out, “Uhhh, no, but thank you!” (Who am I to chastise my husband at 5 a.m. for bringing me ice water?)

Apparently Prince Charming had dreamed that I had asked for ice water. This is strange because he never remembers his dreams. Now that I am thinking about it, maybe he remembers lots of them, but he mixes them up with reality!

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This is what it looks like around my computer these days.  (And a mug of water–icy or not.)

2009-03-03sickBy the way, I just found these cough drops. They are my favorite. EVER. They are not too strong, but they work, and they have a “soothing honey center.” I live for that center!

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Last Wednesday morning found the three females of the house getting ready to go to school. It was in a more relaxed manner than normal for a Wednesday because the oldest female was sick enough that she decided she would not be teaching art that day. (This has nothing to do with this story, but I must tell you that I am NOT the type to cop out on something like that. But Wednesdays are non-stop for me from 5 a.m. – 9 p.m. with minimum 3 different “jobs” or activities, and art is the most draining of all. I knew I would not last in a functioning manner until the end of the day, so something had to go. I have more flexibility with art that the other things.)

I was upstairs herding the girls when I realized an altercation was in process regarding an Ariel music box belonging to Chic (purchased IN Disneyland on Chic’s 5-year-birthday-trip) which Chicklet had apparently broken. This is not the first incident in which Chicklet assumed ownership of anything that suited her and somehow altered it. Thankfully, it was something that was easy to fix, but this did not excuse  Chicklet’s behavior, so it was time for punishment for her crime.

Me: “Chicklet, you know we do not play with anyone’s toys unless they are here, we ask and they allow it.”

Chicklet (meekly): “I know.”

Me: “Do you want to throw away some of your toys or get a ‘spank?’”

Chicklet: “Throw away one of my toys.”

Me:  “Go get something. But I will decide if it is eligible.”

Chicklet ran off and brought back a Polly she had gotten from McDonald’s. NOT eligible! I told her that she needed to find something else. But she could still choose the “spank.” She preferred to throw away toys, so she ran down the hall again.

Chic (with worry and concern all over her face): “A spank would be better!”

Me: “I know, but she does not think so.”

So Chic ran down the hall and commenced to tell Chicklet all the merits of getting a quick spank vs. throwing out toys FOREVER! Chicklet was not moved. The discussion lasted quite some time. She returned with another Polly to add to the pile.  She did not even cry. In fact, she skipped away.

Maybe I need to think of some other punishment.

2009-03-04chicklet

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Sorry!!!

No SkyWatch

or

My World

(or anything else)

posts until I get caught up. I will be visiting you, but there will be nothing here to see for a little while.

For my regular readers, there is a more detailed explanation in the post below.

For everyone, go visit SkyWatch and My World to see incredible and beautiful skies as well as intriuging and interesting places from all over the world. You will not be sorry!

Sorry, no

post today. I’m behind. It’s a holiday. I’m not even home. I will be visiting other My World posts and trying to catch up in my reader later, but I am just too behind to do a post right now.

However, for some interesting tours around the world, go to the My World blog and check out other posts!

I am at the airport with my new laptop.

My  flight will leave 20-something degree (Fahrenheit)  Albuquerque for 70-something degree Orlando in about an hour. I am not complaining except that I will have to paint my toenails.

My laptop has no photos on it, so I will not be blogging while I am gone.

Hopefully some semblance of routine will return late next week.

However, I DO have a laptop, so I hope to do a little blog visiting in my free time… which will not be much because I am going to a stamping event and then visiting a good friend. But hopefully I will “see” some of you in the next few days.

2008-11-23box

I got a wonderful package in the mail this week. WONDERFUL!  It was from Smalltown Mom. I won a giveaway she had. (I actually think I did not intentionally sign up for it, but I’m so glad I won!) I have to tell you that I never win anything, but I have been blogging less than six months and have already won TWO things! I know that is a bad average for some of you, but in the span of my life, it is incredible.

So when I won, Smalltown Mom asked me which kind of candy I wanted. Neither of my choices had ever been in my mouth before, but one was seasonal truffles, and I am a bit of an addict to seasonal truffles of another brand, so I went for that. LITTLE DID I KNOW THAT MORE STUFF WAS COMING, TOO!

Prince Charming brought in the box, which I photographed from about 15 feet away because of my only working camera lens only working in the 200 mm position. The photos are not terrific, but you get the idea.

2008-11-23stuff

I still have an ugly cough, so I am going to have to wait on the truffles a while longer (sugar always upsets the cough), but those socks are going on my feet tonight (thank goodness I get to stay home and be cozy tonight!), and that lotion is going to get initiated on bath night.  I can’t decide if I Prince Charming will make the muffins for Thanksgiving breakfast, or if we will have them on a weekend. No matter. Except for the truffles, all of this stuff was locally produced in her area.

Oh, I still have  yet to tell you why I read Smalltown Mom’s blog! It is because she is funny and REAL. Her posts are not always meant to be funny, but she sees humor in most situations. She has two boys that she loves like crazy, and I know a lot about their goings on from her blog. And I am going to say that being female and having dated my share of “Mama’s boys” in my life, that I think she is doing a great job raising her boys, and they are well-grounded and are not going to drive their dates crazy with their mom connection, even though it is strong. It is strong only in the best way. I love the relationship she has with her sons. 

Thank you Smalltown Mom! I love my stuff,  I love reading your blog and I love your kind heart!

Now for the awards…

First, I’m SO far behind on this. I’m so far behind that I am ashamed to admit how long ago I got this award cannot even do all of the awards at once, or you would be overwhelmed and not even think of looking at the blogs to which I am passing these. I was going to do two at a time for a while, but today I only have time for one.

arte_y_piconourishthesoul

It is the Art Y Pico Award, and I got it from Nourish the Soul. Deb is on a little hiatus right now after having finished being a parent in three weddings (one of them in a foreign country) in the past year. She said she had some projects she needed to catch up on. Ummmm… WHO WOULDN’T?  Anyway, she is a wonderful person and an interesting writer. I was introduced to her about the time she was headed to rehearsal dinner for wedding #2, but had forgotten her clothes. She is quite industrious and inventive. Her posts are timeless, so you can still check her out.

This award is for creativity, design, interesting comment or for contributing to the blogging community. I am honored to receive this award from Deb.

Now before I pass these on, let’s have a refresher on Louise’s Award Rules:

1) There are no rules.

That about covers it. But it means that I am not going to tell people they got the awards. If they are my readers, they’ll figure it out, but my reason for passing them on is so that I can tell everyone whos reads this about some blogs I really like to visit. If you receive an award from me you may or may not acknowledge it. You may or may not post about it. You may or may not pass it on. It’s up to you.

So here is where this award goes, and I hope you will check out these blogs if you are not already familiar with them:

In a Soft Light. Beautiful photography of nature. Beautiful. It is always peaceful to go to this blog.

Ivar Irvig. Stunning photos. He lives in Norway and is apparently outside all the time taking pictures. Probably not, but he has an abundance of amazing shots.

Murrieta 365. More photography. Jan knows her way around a camera and photographs lots of interesting things. Her eye is artistic.

 Where the Walls are Soft. Les can tell a story. She manages to have a lot of stories about other people, too. She has an excellent way of getting it all into poignant and humorous words. For some technical reason which I am unqualified to identify I have not been able to leave a comment there for AGES, so if you go check her out and see the meme, tell her that I am SO with her on #43! I used to have a “Wayne Wall” in my high school dorm room!

UStamp4Fun. I know Amy in real life. That would lead one to think she would not be getting this award! I really do not think I know a stamper who can stamp any better. Really. I love Amy’s designs, but her real talent is taking ANYTHING (someone else’s (like my) bad design or her own spectacular design) and stamping it so well that it doesn’t look like human hands could have done it. She’s that good. And because I know her in real life, I will say that she makes me laugh. She’s all East Coast. She does not mince words. And she’s a redhead. We know I am partial to red hair on women.

Stay tuned. More awards coming to this space in the near future. (But not tomorrow or the next day!)

 

Flag at Visitor's Center in Zion National Park--July

Flag at Visitor Center in Zion National Park--July 2008

When I first started blogging, I said that I would likely not enter my words into the political arena. I have kept true to that, I think. (Although I have left a comment here or there on political posts.) But today these things are nagging me, and I just have to say them.

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But FIRST…

SO much more important than any amount of politics, it is my cousin’s 40th birthday! As is tradition for our family, I have not sent her gift yet (part of it is done and did not require my creating a package, so that was easy), even though it was my full intention to send something exciting and ON TIME since it was her 40th. Maybe if you all go say Happy Birthday on her blog, it will be as good as something big I could have sent. (I even knew what I wanted to do, but now it is too late.)

(I was going to insert a picture here, but I thought an unauthorized one might get me in REALLY big trouble!)

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OK, back to the politics.

Jeri at In the Gutter said something to this tune a few days ago and has earlier said it on her blog–where she basically banned political discussions.

Why do people have to be so NASTY about it? Can people not just express and opinion and not be judged as a person because of it?

I rarely voice my political opinions. For one thing they are complicated. I would call myself an Independent, but there are not a lot of good choices from that category; I cannot fully embrace either of the major parties in our country. A lot of people who know me would naturally assume I would be of one political persuasion because of my lifestyle. Others think the exact opposite because of the things certain opinions of which they are aware. But truthfully, I am a mix of everything–and nothing.

A bigger reason my political opinions are not worn on my sleeve is because of the reactions of people who disagree. This is completely annoying to me because if they disagree with me, I obviously disagree with them, but I take extra pains to not treat those people as lesser human beings because they disagree with me. Those people usually do not go to the same pains on my behalf. (I am tough and can handle it, but it irritates me.)

Yesterday evening, I was walking with my daughters to take one of their friends home. The parents had a campaign sign in their yard. I asked if I could have it tonight so I could use it for a base when I need to put out signs at school. (For our Fall Festival, I made signs and put them on real estate signs that cost me $15 each. One was stolen the first day. I am now trying to collect less expensive signs.) They had an extra and told me they would be happy to let me have all (and they knew where to find some that had been thrown in the street), but they jokingly said I had to put the sign in my yard until the election was over. That was about 26 hours, so I decided I would. I guess I should not be surprised, but the sign was gone this morning. Why would someone want to steal it?

When I was riding my bike to school this morning, I there was a sign that had been twisted and thrown into my path for the candidate opposite of what was in my yard. Why would someone do that?

Why would people put opinions on their blogs that go beyond opinions on policies and platforms, but instead disparage the people who might disagree with them? Do people think there is only one way to look at things (their own)?  Do people think that it is just fine to say all who disagree are idiots, for lack of a better word? Call me crazy, but I think that people of all persuasions come to my blog and most others. I know I would not throw vile comments about those who disagree with me in any way out on my blog. From looking around, I know there are a lot of people who disagree with me, but I like those people anyway. I have met so many wonderful, interesting and considerate people through blogging. Some have political opinions similar to mine, some do not. Some, I have no idea. It does not matter; it is not important to me.

An interesting side note to this is something I have learned from my first grade daughter. Apparently there is quite a lot of political discussion at school. She has asked both Prince Charming and I who we are voting for (although we share common ideals, we do not necessarily vote the same on every single office/issue). We have told her, and she immediately says that is who SHE supports. We have tried to make her understand that she should not support anyone just because we do, or because her friends do, or because of ANYONE but instead to base her support on what she believes. And she is too  young to research and have a belief system that would pick a candidate, but we do not want to cram our opinions down her throat. (I wonder why any parent would.) Anyway, we told her that at school, she does not need to tell everyone who “she” supports because she does not understand enough to know who she supports. I guess she has kept that to herself, but she has reported back who others support. I found it hilarious because I teach these kids once a week. There is a clear division of political preferences. The children who cause trouble in class, refuse to follow directions, do not bring assigned materials to class, etc. are of the same political persuasion. (Or I should say, apparently their parents are. Obviously being 6 and 7 years old, I hesistate to say they have true political persuasions other than those instilled by their parents.) The kids who follow directions, listen in class and clean up after themselves are of the opposite political persuasion.

This was NOT a scientific study, just an observation. It did not include every child I teach. It made me laugh because I would have never predicted such a thing. If only I had the time to pursue a doctorate… I have so many discertation topics rolling around in my head.

I have gotten a bit side-tracked here, but have one more point to make. The BIGGEST reason I do not voice my political opinions is because when I encounter people who do, they usually do it loudly and annoyingly and often obnoxiously. (I am not saying that this is always the case. There have been a few blogs I have read that voiced their opinions in a rational, tolerant manner.) Someday I am sure I will write a post about “negative role models,” but for now I will say that sometimes what I do, or do not do, is because I do not want to be like someone else. My keeping my politics to myself is largely because I do not want to be like many of the people who do not.

So tomorrow, can everyone be nice again? Most everyone is nice most of the time, but then it gets to politics, and it all falls apart. I know I am tired of all of it. I do not even watch television so do not get that bombardment, and I am STILL tired of it.  It bothers me so much that we exert such energy into criticizing one another for our own beliefs and opinions. I believe that energy could be better spent for worthwhile endeavors.

I promise to be nice tomorrow (but I am pretty sure I have been nice in the past) and to almost NEVER post about politics!

World Cardmaking Day was October 4. I am only posting about it now because I want to show you what I did. At the time, I did not have time to post. We had guests in town. It was a special event weekend at church. It was Balloon Fiesta. There was too much going on.

For this annual event (this is the second year I have been aware of it), I have a Pajama Party. I invite all my customers to come to my house in their pajamas from 8 p.m. to midnight where they will find piles of supplies and tools to make cards. I try to have 8-10 different cards. This year I had 10, and I found a few leftovers from a workshop I had done earlier, so I put the stuff out for that.

The rules are they can make as many as they want of any card (there is enough stuff in each pile for 10-20 cards, depending on my supplies and whims) for $1/card, until supplies for that card run out. If one person wants to use up everything for one card and there is nothing left for anyone else, that is fine. No one has done that, but those are the rules. Some people come and make 4 or 5 cards. Some people make 20. Some people make one of everything. Some people only make the ones they really love or know they need.

So what about the giveaway? Well, I have wanted to do a giveaway for a long time because I LOVE giving things away.  I love giving away the produce from my garden, things I bake, things I make, just about anything. I have been hesitant to do so here because I do not want it to seem like I am just trying to get extra traffic or comments or whatever. (Not that I think that is what is going on with every blog giveaway, but I know it can be perceived that way, so I have avoided it.)

But then The Farmer’s Wife gave me an idea by not having people “sign up” through comments, but through an e-mail. So that is what I decided to do. Below I will show you all the cards that my customers made at the World Cardmaking Day Pajama Party (none of which were my original ideas, but I do not think any of them were EXACTLY like the ones I used as inspiration), and if you would like to win one of each card, you can e-mail me (louisestamps at aol dot com)… but there is a catch! To be eligible to win, you have to guess which one was my favorite! (Hint. If I were guessing, and I know ME quite well, I probably would guess incorrectly.) I will choose a winner from the people who guess my favorite correctly.

BUT, since I am not sure how many people will even want these cards enough to guess, and how many of those will guess correctly, you must guess also which was the most popular with the customers. (It is a different one than my favorite.)

If no one guesses either of those correctly, then I will just draw a name from everyone who entered.

Before I show you the cards, let me say that I am not discouraging comments, but in order to enter this contest, you must send an e-mail. I will not take entries from the comments. Back to commenting, I always love your comments, so please do not hesitate to do so if you wish, and if you think I this is cheap way to try to get traffic or comments (though I am trying for it NOT to be), you can let me know that as well. (But please be polite. I am a big girl and can take criticism, but prefer if it is done politely.) I have in mind some other giveaways I would like to do periodically (more cards and also other stuff), but will refrain if it seems to be a negative thing.

So here are the cards!

1 - Die-Cut Pumpkin

1 - Die-Cut Pumpkin

2 -  Fresh Cuts

2 - Fresh Cuts

3 - Harvest Home

3 - Harvest Home

 

4 - Owl Together Now

4 - Owl Together Now

5 - Pretty Amazing

5 - Pretty Amazing

6 - Simply Sent Holiday

6 - Simply Sent Holiday

7 - Stitched Exotics

7 - Stitched Exotics

8 - It's a Sign

8 - It's a Sign

9 - With Gratitude (Leaves)

9 - With Gratitude (Leaves)

10 - Snowburst

10 - Snowburst

11 - Die-Cut Frankenstein

11 - Die-Cut Frankenstein

 

If you would like a set of these (one of each), e-mail me at: louisestamps at aol dot com with:

1) Which one you think is my favorite.

2) Which one you think was the most popular with my customers.

And, it is OK if you want to enter but do not live in the U.S. This will not be terribly heavy so should not cost a fortune to send, but do not expect me to send it the fastest method if you should win!

Since I have a completely insane 7 days ahead of me, I will leave this open through Monday, October 27.

Edited: If you would like to leave a comment, please tell me YOUR favorite. I always like to know what things other people like.

Louise is in another state right now, with the girls, doing some business and visiting family.  I thought I might take this opportunity to put up a post of my own, a “guest post,” as it were.  Not too surprising, I get to read most of Louise’s posts before they get published, and if any typos sneak through, those are obviously my fault (duh).  So this is MY chance…

But this post is about something other than stamping, or food, or bicycling, or SkyWatch, or any of that stuff.  This is about Louise herself — and how she attempts to control certain aspects of her life.  Like most of us, Louise likes to be comfortable (and Louise would insist on me ensuring that we pronounce all four syllables: com-for-ta-ble.  No sloppy speech allowed.)  Anyway, as I said, Louise likes to be com-for-ta-ble.  Unfortunately, the celestial forces that have to align for this to happen are the stuff that Nostradamus might try to write about (not that I buy his scribblings — I do not).  I am just trying to point out how remote, and somewhat cloudy, the exact requirements are for Louise to indeed get comfortable. 

Let’s start with the temperature — in the car, in the house, wherever.  Sure, we all want to be not too hot, not too cold.  Like Goldilocks, we like it “just right.”  And so most of us have a temperature range within which we can be comfortable (say it with me…).  This is true of Louise, but in my experience, the cooler limit is actually above the warmer limit.  In other words, while some of us have a temperature range this wide:

Others have a range like this:

Louise is more like this:

And whether she is hot or cold, air (hopefully of the opposite temperature) CANNOT be blowing on her.  Room fans, in general, are for other people.  Now, this might not be too bad, but I am almost always warm.  I prefer a cooler temperature and sort of like cool air blowing — if nothing else just to move the air around in the house.  Needless to say, this is diametrically opposed to conflicts slightly with Louise’s desires for her immediate environment.  To further complicate this situation and despite her aversion to blowing air, Louise likes to have windows open for fresh air (which I do not mind, if it’s not hot outside).  To be fair, though, Louise is adamant about keeping a freezing South-pole-like fairly cool house — in the winter.  She is “cheap” in this area.   It saves money on heating.

You all know Louise likes to cook and eat.  I am truly blessed to enjoy healthy, delicious food on a daily basis (just check out my waistline).  However, Mexican food is one of Louise’s favorites.  But it can’t be too hot.  Wait, let me rephrase that, it is probably already too hot.  No matter how “not hot” you might think that salsa is, it’s too hot for Louise.  Her palate is hyper-sensitive.  I often have to try some food item, and always the salsa, to determine the level of discomfort it might bring to Louise’s delicate mouth.  Honestly, I can try something in which I can detect no heat at all (none; zilch; zip; nada), and she practicaly has to spit it out because it burns her mouth so badly.  And she loves Mexican food — really, she does.  I’m just not sure how.

And we live in the Southwest now, so you’d think she’d be in gastronomic heaven — somewhere, someone must have mild food, right?  But we live in New Mexico, which has its own style of food, where everything is almost always smothered in red or green chile sauce.  And is too hot.  All of it — trust me, we’ve tried them.  Still, she finds ways to accommodate, and she does OK.  But, whenever she leaves the state, a “real” Mexican restaurant is likely on the list of places to stop.

And Louise also likes to travel.  She’s always up for an adventure — the more off the beaten path, the better.  On top of this, Louise is always going to new addresses in our home town as she shares her passion for stamping with others.  And as much as she likes to go to new places, locally or around the world, Louise does NOT ask for directions.  Ever.  That’s my job.  [N.B.: I think this is one of the reasons she married me.  I'll give the complete list of reasons in my next guest post.]  She does not like to plan routes (again, my job), check weather/traffic (me, too), or make hotel arrangements (even if she is traveling alone).  It sometimes gets to nearly absurd extremes.  If she’s out headed for a stamping event, running out of time, Louise will call ME to look on some online map service to find her destination and route, rather than stopping to ask directions.  It’s a little kooky, but it does allow me to “come to the rescue” on occasion.  So I don’t mind so much.

And I think most of you are aware of how friendly and genuinely compassionate Louise is.  You’d think she would thrive on interactions with people.  Think again.  (Yes, that would be my job.)  Whether it is having to call anyone for anything, or perhaps having to go in to some establishment (store, office, pharmacy, etc.) to actually talk to a person, Louise will exert every effort to find another way to resolve the situation. This means online ordering and paying, self-checkout (one or her favorite inventions) or sending ME to take care of it.  And the simple explanation for my involvement in this?  Because I am the designated “people person.”  You see, in real life (not blog life) Louise is abysmally quiet and shy quite reserved and very much an introvert.  I, on the other hand, am a fully functional human being, able to move comfortably (com-for-ta-bly) among and through society.  People are generally a source of great amusement for me, and so they do not weigh me down much at all.  As a result, the cost is much lower for me to interact with the rest of the idiots in the world humanity, and so (most of the time) I am forced to glad to step in and remove this burden from my spouse.

So, you see, Louise is in many ways a walking contradiction.  She loves people, but deplores interacting with them in real life.  She always wants the temperature to be comfortable (you can pronounce it properly now), but it never seems quite right and no matter what, no air can be blowing on her.  Louise is one of the most adventurous people I know, yet the actual mechanics of figuring out where one is and how to get to the next destination seems to be beneath her.  (Don’t get me wrong. She has a marvelous sense of direction and can read a map quite well. Which she has been known to purchase rather than asking directions, but…) And Mexican food is her favorite; she just can’t eat most of it. 

But despite these potential areas of friction between us, I love how we complement each other (that’s complement with an “e” — we do say nice things to each other, but that’s not what I’m getting at).  Living with Louise is never dull.  I can’t imagine anyone better. 

Unless she looked more like Angelina Jolie.  And were rich.  And really liked football. 

But that’s another post.

by Prince Charming

This post is in response to a prompt from Kelly at *Weekly Anamnesis.*  I like Kelly’s word prompts to help me think of something to write.  She is not picky about when someone uses a word.  It can be a word from previous weeks, which I have done before.  But today I am using “Immediately” which is last week’s word. (But this week’s is not yet up!) Anyone is welcome to use her prompts.  Just go there and follow the instructions. I love to see what different people write about the same word prompt.

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Actually, this post is to tell you that I do not have time to post! Or visit. Or even really keep up with my comments, but I am putting a little effort into that when I can. We have had guests since Thursday, and I have had two stamping events in that time period. The guests leave tomorrow, but Chic has an all-day field trip tomorrow, so time is elusive.

In my last post I mentioned Balloon Fiesta and told you to not get your hopes up because the weather is notoriously bad when I am in town for it. It did not fail me. It was canceled yesterday morning when we planned to go to the mass ascension (approximately 600 balloons heading into the sky over about an hour). The lucky thing for me was that Prince Charming got up at 3:50 and determined it would be canceled, so we did not all get up, drag ourselves at 4:30 a.m. in the rain, only to find out it was canceled after arriving at the launch site. (As we have done before.)

We decided to go to the “Glow-deo” last night and hope for better weather. It was not canceled, so that was good. Below is one picture. Click to enlarge. We had a lot of fun, ate a lot of expensive “food” and did  not freeze, so all was good. I have a whole post on this waiting, but I am afraid I might not be able to post anything until I get back from my trip, for which I leave in two days and return a week later. I hope to have a little time and internet access while away to at least catch up on visiting the rest of you!

click photo to enlarge

click photo to enlarge

This post is a meme hosted by  Sonia at Leaves of Grass. This is not the first time she has hosted Ecological Day (I have been aware of it at least twice before), but it’s my first time. Pop on over and see what everyone else is posting this month! I think it will be fun. Most pictures in this post will enlarge when clicked (and likely worth it.)

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Our mountain on the way to school

Our mountain on the way to school

Last year when Chic started school, I hated whined about complained incessantly about did not like the drive to school. She goes to a private church school, so it means driving. It is less than 7 miles to get there, but we have horrible traffic. Between the traffic and unloading everyone and walking her in and talking to this teacher or that (since I am involved in many school activities) and getting home, the minimum round trip time was 45 minutes. Often it would be an hour or more. I had to do that twice a day, except Wednesdays when I taught art, then I was there all day and it was only one trip. This was/is a serious time drain on my life. 1.5-2 hours a day DRIVING. I cannot get anything accomplished then. (Not even phone calls because a large portion of the trip is in a “dead zone.”) And not being the type to be running around town all of the time, the gas used for these trips to school really bothered me. It wasn’t over $3/gallon yet, but just USING that much gas bothered me. I tried all year to find someone with whom to carpool. Several lived in my area, but none wanted to do it. It was frustrating.

Our mountain on the way to school with moon

Our mountain on the way to school with moon

I wanted to ride my bike–I had a bike trailer–but there were two obstacles. One was that there was not a bike path the entire route, and the part without would be VERY dangerous for a biker, especially hauling a bike trailer. The other obstacle was a giant hill. GIANT. Cars with smaller motors have trouble getting up that hill. How would I ever make it on a bike, hauling a bike trailer? Biking just was not an option.

Summer over, the whole school grind started again, and I was no closer to a carpool, and still had the same obstacles preventing my biking. Until… a rocket scientist (because apparently it takes one to come up with a different idea) had the idea of driving to an area, then biking from there to his work. I started thinking about where I could drive and then bike. Driving part-way is not as good as not driving, but biking part-way is better than not biking at all. So each day after dropping off Chic, I would scope the route. There was a library at which to park, but there was the block in front of it without a bike path, and I was not sure how to safely get to a bike path from there. There was NO parking where the bike path started. Finally I found a sand road between the library and the bike path. Not optimal, but it would work.

Chic & Chicklet in bike trailer

Chic & Chicklet in bike trailer

So a month ago I began driving about 2-1/2 miles to the library and biking the rest of the way to school three mornings a week. I make nine trips to school a week, and am now biking 3 of them. Considering the amount I drive, my guess is that I am using 25% less gas every week. Would I like to do more? Yes. Is more realistic? No. 25% is better than nothing.

My shadow while riding

My shadow while riding to school

Biking is somewhat of an inconvenience, but I have decided that to be friendly to the planet, we have to be willing to be inconvenienced. My phrase for this is “conveniently inconvenienced.” The time factor is fine. I spend only a small amount more time biking to school than I did before with the combination of drive and exercise. The incovenience for us is that we are leaving our house 40 minutes earlier than before, meaning our children get 40 minutes less sleep. I allow that they rest a little in the bike trailer. Also, I have to drive Prince Charming’s truck (mid-size) on those days because I do not have a bike rack on my car. (And am not yet willing to spend the money to get one.) I am not a fan of the truck, but most days I do not have other errands. Another factor is that I have to eat breakfast earlier than before, at 5:45 a.m., in order to allow about an hour before exercising. (My body needs that.) And I cannot get dinner made most of the time before I leave for school (which used to be my goal). There are many inconveniences, but it is worth it. If we wait until being ecologically friendly is convenient, it will never happen.

Edited: After many of the comments, I feel like I should edit this to say that this was not meant to be “preaching” about ecology, the environment, or anything else. Not everyone can do this. My point was that for a whole year I wanted to do it but could not figure out how. Someone else gave me an idea to make it possible. But although not everyone can ride a bike or something similar, we can all do something, but it might require thinking beyond our regular ideas and routines. (Or allowing someone else to put the idea in our heads.)

The mesa with golden morning sun.

The mesa with golden morning sun.

These are a few of the things I have seen on my bike trip. I would be seeing the outdoors if biking around my neighborhood, but some of this would not be seen in my neighborhood.

I love how the petal tips curl on these floweres. (Click to enlarge.)

I love how the petal tips curl on these floweres. (Click to enlarge.)

"Russian Olive" with copper fruit. I've never seen that before.

Russian olive with copper fruit. (I've never seen these in copper before.)

Chicklet loves rabbits. This one posed for us.

Chicklet loves rabbits. This one posed for us.

It got tired of us, but left slowly. (Cute tail!)

It got tired of us, but left slowly. (Cute tail!)

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