Tuesday, May 20, 2008

good charlotte...

Several months ago, we opened the big slider door to the screened back porch and enjoyed the fresh air for a while. Later that evening I was watching TV and took a quick potty break. As I walked through the kitchen and into the little vestibule where our bathroom is, I was surprised to find some new wall art! On the arch of the entryway, just like she belonged there, sat this beautiful bright green lizard. She had clearly viewed the open door as an invitation into the house.

A quick chase ensued, with me eventually winning (I think!), although by this time, the little anole was scared witless and covered in fur discarded by the dogs and cat who live here, which apparently accumulated on her during her frantic escape attempt. I washed the little beauty gently under the spray faucet and placed her in the aloe plant outside my back door.

I would have put her in the screened room again, but I feared two things: 1) her eminent demise at the paws of the cat, and 2) her not getting enough to eat. To my surprise, she made her own way back to the screen room. That was evidently right where she wanted to be, despite the risks of thing 1 and thing 2.

My little friend and I have had quite the relationship these past few months. During my brief visits to the back porch, I would see her cautiously watching me and studying my every move lest I decide to bathe her again. On one occasion, I screamed frantically as my Big Boy tried to make an appetizer of her, and several weeks ago I bought her flies and mealworms when she appeared to be getting too skinny. A few days later, I noticed her looking happy and healthy again. Whether it actually had anything to do with the flies or the mealworms, I'll never know.

I went out to water plants earlier today and found my friend, clearly distressed, on the floor of the porch. I tried and tried to save her, but she died in my hands a short while later. Here my heart is, aching for this poor creature, frustrated not to know why she had to go, and lonely at the prospect of not seeing her again.

In a modern day twist on an old literary classic starring a spider and a pig, she appears to have left me a gift before her passing... or more appropriately, two. There, in the corner where I would normally find my friend, are now two little miniature versions of her. While I never got around to naming their mom, I already know what to call them... Thing 1 and Thing 2.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

everybody loves the 80s...

Saturday, May 10, 2008

hey mamas...

And anyone with a mama...

It has been way too long since I've pumped out any new art, but that doesn't keep me from stalking my favorite artsy websites.

One of my favorite how-to sources is Lisa Vollrath's Go Make Something. Her Ten Two Studios site always has cool stuff, too.

Lisa will frequently offer these awesome free image downloads for different holidays, and Mother's Day is no exception. If you've always wanted to try altered art, but weren't sure how to find images, check out her current giveaway.

If you're quick, you can even put something together to give mom tomorrow.

Friday, May 09, 2008

why i heart publix...

Is it wrong to love your grocery store?
I just ran up to to grab some lunch, and of course, forgot to take my reusable bags. I picked up a few more while I was there (I needed more bags anyway) and headed to check out.
The clerk rang up my bags first and handed them to the bagger. Take notes, Target Girl! Then, to my amazement, she handed me a small square window cling TO REMIND ME TO BRING MY BAGS INTO THE STORE WITH ME!
Oh, Publix. Get out of my head!


and i... i took the one less traveled by.

This coming Monday is the Buddha's birthday. It also marks the beginning of a journey for me.

I'm shaking things up and turning things around.

This blog has always been a mish-mash of random thought-clearing and tales of the day-to-day. It has also served as a road map of sorts... recording where I've been and where I'm going. That is not going to change. I am, however, going to focus more on where the path is leading me now.

Right now it's leading me to bed... I think I'll follow.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

...green alert.

We have been running around a lot lately. A lot.

Unfortunately, that has meant a lot of meals at places that we really should not be eating. Today, however, we decided to stop sprinting about for a bit and actually sit down to eat. Not in a car, either.

It was during our loverly, leisurely lunch that I had an idea. Sitting in the lounge area of our local Chili's provided just the opportunity I've been hoping for. I recently started harassing my friends to gather wine and liquor bottles for me. I plan to use the bottles to edge a huge flower bed I'm working on in the backyard (to disguise the dog poo composter!).

The problem is, I'm very much an instant gratification kind of girl (I know, I know. I'm working on it! I promise.), and the idea of having to work on this project bit by bit is killing me. Do you see where I'm going with this? Maybe Chili's will let me take some of the bottles they otherwise send to the recycler!

There was just one problem with my perfect plan: Chili's doesn't recycle their glass. I found out after talking to the manager on site that although they collect the glass bottles seperately, they're thrown into the dumpster with all of the restaurant's other trash.

The good news in this is that even though he's "not supposed to" save bottles for me, he will. He just asked me if I could come up on both Saturday and Sunday mornings to collect the weekend party crowd's castoffs, which of course I am more than willing to do.

What's bunching my panties right now though is the thought that this is just one little restaurant, in a huge chain of restaurants, in a massive industry of waste. The idea that these companies are not recycling on even a minimal level is jaw-droppingly shocking to me.

I plan to do something about this. As soon as my garden bed is complete.


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

my how they grow...

I was at the hospital today for some routine tests, and directly across from me in the waiting area sat a brand new momma and her four-weeks-old-tomorrow baby girl.

I watched with awe as that precious little bundle worked away on her pacifier. Her features were so perfect... and so tiny. While I was studying her, she was intently memorizing every inch of her young mommy's face, and her little hand was molding itself around mom's pointer finger.

Did that take me back.

I truly remember holding my brand new baby boy like it was yesterday. I loved the way the side of his little head fit perfectly against my chest, with his head nestled snugly under my chin. In fact, I'm pretty sure he spent the better part of his early childhood in that position. I loved the way he smelled. I loved the way he looked at me. I loved the way he would hold my pointer finger just like the beautiful little baby across from me was doing to her momma.

Fast-forward sixteen years, and here I am now, sitting in the passenger seat while he drives us onto 295 and over the Buckman Bridge. Yesterday I waited while he got his braces taken off--for the second time. This Friday night I'll sit proudly in the audience while he makes his improv debut at a local nightclub. Monday I'll ride with him to his first class of the Summer A session at our local community college where he is a dual enrollment student. I'll listen intently at some point soon when he tells me the latest information he's found out about joining the Marine Corps. It's all part of the bittersweet moments of being a mom. They don't stay in your arms forever.

Just your heart.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

momma's got a brand new bag...

I think I am leaving the high-paying world of homeschool mommery for a new profession as an author.
My first book title came to me today. Coming soon to the NY Times Best Seller list near you: "Don't Wear Your Nose Ring to a Pulmonary Function Test" and Other Pearls of Wisdom for Aging GenXers.
There will probably be a chapter on how it's not cool to say "Grody to the max!" anymore and another on why low-rise jeans should be left to the GenNexters.
I'm clearly still working a few things out. Perfection takes time, people.

...the chicken came first. it's official.

One of my favorite new reads is Crunchy Chicken's blog. I have spent the past several weeks reading through her old posts in an attempt to get as up-to-date on her world as possible. I am a big "Comments" reader, too, so this was no small task!

Since secular issues are such a big part of my world, I began to wonder where Crunchy and her faithful readers fall on the belief scale. I guess it goes back to my "labeling" issue! For whatever reason, though, this query began to nag at me more and more. Mind you... it wouldn't really change anything for me to know someone was Christian, Hindu or Atheist. Like many other things that needle away at my mind, this was just a curiosity; not a necessity.

Lo and behold, I checked in with the Chicken today to find she had received my telepathic message! It made its journey all the way from sunny Florida to crunchy Seattle!!

I'm giving her query some thought, and I'll be penning my own response: "Do your religious views (or lack of them) directly drive your desire to limit consumeristic desires in your life?"

Friday, May 02, 2008

on a related note...

As previously mentioned, I frequently (re: always), forget to take my reusable shopping bags into the store with me. After today's infamous Kohl's trip, we headed to Target.

We were only picking up a few things, but we had enough on our list that I knew we'd fill at least a bag or two. With this in mind, I grabbed two of the Target reusables and added them to the cart.

While we were checking out, I was distracted by the electronic payment pad (WHY can they not standardize these things?!?) while the clerk did her thing. I looked up just in time to see her putting the last of our items into plastic shopping bags... including the reusables!

As politely as I could muster, I asked her if we could instead put our stuff into the reusable bags. She happily obliged and then put the discarded plastic bags into her trash.

Some days you just can't win.

kohl's hates the environment.

OK, not really. But I have your attention now, right?

My efforts to live a greener life have definitely changed my way of thinking about certain things. One of these "things" is trying to eliminate plastic shopping bags from my world. While I have surprised more than one clerk with my request to not use a shopping bag for my purchases(eventually I will remember to actually take my reusable bags into the store with me when I shop!), I have never had one flat out refuse me. Until today.

Collin and I were out running errands, and one of our tasks was to find him some sleep shorts and a lightweight blanket for his bed. We headed to our fancy new Kohl's to see what we could find, and a bit later we headed for checkout with two pairs of jersey shorts and a microfleece blanket (already conveniently packaged in a plastic bag).

As I paid for our items, I told the clerk I wouldn't need a bag. She looked at me like I was nuts, and then informed me that she had to put my items in a bag. I questioned this by saying, "I have to take a bag, even though I don't want one?" She again informed me that I did.

Keep in mind... at this point I am standing less than twenty feet away from the exit. I have a receipt in my hand. While she agrees to sticker the blanket, I have to take the shorts in a bag. I relent and leave the store.

If you've ever been to a Kohl's store, you know they have two entrances. We had parked near one entrance and exited via the other. While we walked back to the car, I found myself getting more and more irritated that I had to take a plastic bag. Instead of continuing to the car, I walked back in the other side of the store.

I asked the clerk if I could talk to a manager. She was already waiting on a call from the manager for an issue at her register (that's a whole other post!). The phone rang and she proceeded to describe Situation #1 to the manager. She added before hanging up that there was a lady there who wanted to see her. I offered an explanation, saying I wanted to speak with her about why I had to take a plastic bag when I didn't want one. Situation #2 was relayed to the manager thusly: "She wants to know why she can't have a plastic bag anytime she wants one."

I kid you not, I had to re-state my complaint three times before it was translated properly to the bodiless manager.

She responded that I shouldn't have to take a bag if I didn't want one but that this was something she'd have to research. The clerk I was talking to told the manager this was an issue that needed to be addressed staff-wide, because she had previously helped customers who didn't want bags either. I am supposed to check with the manager on duty next time I go in to see what the final verdict is.

For anyone who thinks I made a mountain out of a molehill, here's my take on what went down. I was not at Dillards or Sears, or any other type of store where I might make a purchase and continue to walk around the shop. I was going to pay for my stuff and walk directly to the exit. I even asked if I could put the shorts in the zippered bag the blanket came in. No. I had to take a Kohl's bag. They don't sell Kohl's reusable shopping bags, so I couldn't purchase one of those to put the shorts in.

To the clerk's benefit, she saw this as a security issue. Loss Prevention officers might not know that I had actually paid for the items I was leaving the store with. If I choose not to take a bag, and a security guard approaches me about exiting their store with merchandise in my hands, I am going to be more than happy to show said guard my receipt and cooperate with whatever they feel they need to do (within reason, of course) to feel comfortable with the fact that I am not trying to rob them blind.

Anywho... for a company on the EPA's list of Top 10 Retail Partners in the Green Power Partnership (they're ranked at a VERY impressive #5), I was more than surprised by this incident. I'll definitely be checking back in with the management to see what the official stance is.

Stay tuned.

please don't.

Let's, for a moment, forget how wildly inappropriate a cross would be at this point for anything commemorating my life. Let's also not put any energy toward my demise. You know... power of intention and all that.

BUT, I think we can agree that the time will inevitably come when my precious life force will cease to bless this planet. All I ask is when that void occurs you not "honor" me on the back windshield of your car.

There are plenty of things I see on a daily basis that befuddle and confound me, but as of late, none perplex me as much as the plethora of the In Loving Memory of...'s gracing rear car windows from here to Kalamazoo*.

If you happen to have one of these, or have any understanding of why someone would even want one of these, would you please give me a call? I would love to actually understand this phenomenon.

I do not really want to use the phrase "cheapens the memory of" in this post, but it's hard not to. What is so special about plastering a loved one's name, date of birth and date of death in adhesive vinyl on the side of your car? I know we all grieve in different ways, this just seems like such a burden to bear... every single time you get in or out of your car. Plus, they always bum me out. Especially when I see a really fresh death date.

When you want to remember me, go to the beach and listen to the gulls. Or check out when a sea turtle nest might be hatching, and go help the little buggers make their way to the sea. Hell... tip back a margarita while listening to Buffett or Marley, preferably someplace warm and sandy. You do have to call it a "Stinarita" when you order it, though.

If you must, go ahead and sticker me up. I can only hope it will be on your hybrid.

And I'll thank you in advance to not ask me how window-cling headstones differ from memorial tattoos. I haven't quite figured that one out yet.

*Editor's note: I have not actually traveled to Kalamazoo lately. And by "lately", I mean ever. That's what we writers call a "literary device"**.

**I think that's what it's called. If you're a real writer, smile smugly to yourself if I'm wrong and get on with your day.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

...green is the new black.

If you haven't heard, I'm going green.

And a little crazy on the way.

I have friends* who felt it necessary to shake up my comfortable way of living and perpetual state of ignorance by recommending several "crunchy" blogs they read. They had no idea the beast this would awaken.

As I write this, there's a show playing on TV called "Wa$ted", where the host and her do-nothing side-kick confront people about their carbon footprint and then offer them tips on how to reduce their eco-impact. I'll leave out the part that the host is incredibly annoying and horribly inept at pretending to be Carrie Bradshaw for their cleverly titled debut episode, "Sex and the City". The tips they're offering are pretty run of the mill, but it's cool to see others engaged in the same pursuits I'm following.

In the past month, I have added two composters to our home: one for food and yard waste, the other for dog poo. I also found an awesome little stainless steel canister for my counter top top that holds my compostable kitchen waste until I can take it to the outside.

I switched from using a roll of Viva every two-three days to using cotton bar towels and 7th Generation paper towels for those times when only a paper towel will do. Two weeks later, I'm only halfway through the roll.

I double-checked the list of what we can recycle in our county and found out there was stuff we've been throwing away that can go to the recycling center.

I have stopped depending on plastic shopping bags and either use reusable bags, or take my purchases without a bag.

I ran out of shampoo and conditioner this week, so I replaced them with Burt's Bees' much more eco-friendly Pomegranate and Soy products (I tried unsuccessfully to find the shampoo bar). While they still come in plastic bottles, these are 50% PCR (Post Consumer Recycled plastic). The company has a goal to be at 100% PCR packaging and 100% natural products by 2020.

I also began honoring my inner Diva. (If the fact that diva is capitalized means something to you, then you know what I'm sayin'...)

Adding these changes to the stuff I was already doing is only the beginning, I'm sure. Day by day, change by change, it will all make a difference. I'm afraid I'm just getting started... and that is not an apology of sorts but a genuine expression of fear about where life is taking me right now!

*Italicized for no other reason than that the jury is still out... trust me, they are wonderful, amazing and kick-ass women, but I may well end up naked in a corner, rocking myself back and forth, wracked with guilt over the state of the planet.