Thursday, November 30, 2006
Hippie Steps -- Week Six

The Slate/Treehugger challenge this week focuses on the Holidays.

According to Slate/Treehugger, the holidays lead Americans, on average, to increase their garbage by 25% starting at Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. All this consumption adds up to a total of more than 25 million tons.

To help the carbon-conscious consumer, Slate/Treehugger offers the following tips to consume less:

• When shopping online or by mail order, consolidate your orders into as few shipments as possible.

• Consider the benefits of buying locally made goods, which aren't transported over long distances to get to you.

• Consider also gifts such as tickets to a play or concert, a museum membership, or art classes.

• Reduce the number of holiday shopping trips you make to save on gas and bring along some reusable shopping bags? Most paper bags are made from virgin paper. Plastic ones are less CO2 intensive to make, but they're still made with petroleum and take hundreds of years to decompose in the landfill.

• If you're sending gifts by mail, choose small, light packages, which take up less space and fuel than big, heavy ones.

• Wrapping paper—usually made from virgin materials—is a large part of the holiday-waste stream. And if it's shiny or sparkly, it can't even be recycled. If every household wrapped three gifts in recycled materials, we'd save reams and reams of paper.

• Every year, 2.65 billion holiday cards are sold in the United States. If you're buying, choose cards made from recycled paper and avoid the shiny can't-recycle kind. Even better is to send e-cards. And recycle the nonshiny cards you receive.

• A deluge of catalogs has probably already descended upon your mailbox. It takes 14 million trees to produce the mail-order books we receive annually. And along with direct mailings, catalogs account for more than 4 million tons of CO2-emitting landfill mass.

• Christmas trees are a topic of much environmentalist debate. Fake trees are reusable but are made from petroleum-derived sources and often shipped from abroad. Real trees, for their part, are typically sprayed with lots of pesticides. And new research shows that pine-tree farms capture less CO2 than the hardwood species they're displacing in some parts of the country. Organic Christmas trees are tough to come by. Plus, of the 33 million real Christmas trees sold in North America every year, many end up in a landfill, emitting carbon dioxide as they rot. If you opt for a real tree, be sure to bring it to a local recycling center, where it can be chipped for mulch or used whole to stabilize wetlands. A better choice may be to purchase a live, potted tree, which can be planted outside after the holidays. Evergreen varieties such as pine, spruce, and fir work well in many regions.

• Replace conventional incandescent holiday string lights with their light-emitting diode counterparts. These energy-efficient strings use up to 95 percent less electricity, last up to 10 times longer, and are safer since they produce very little heat. LED lights are more expensive, but you'll shave a few dollars off your electricity bill and pounds off your carbon weight. And unlike conventional light strings, if one bulb goes bad on an LED string, the rest will still work. No matter what type of lights you use, limit yourself to keeping them on for four or five hours a day, and turn them off at night.

• If you're decorating with candles, choose the ones made from soy wax or beeswax. Both are renewable resources, as opposed to regular paraffin candles, which are made from petroleum.

• For holiday parties, rent real plates, glasses, and silverware (or use your own) instead of using the disposable kind.

My score was 154, which means I've promised to take the annual equivalent of 0.02 cars off the road.

Here are some of the numbers that Slate used in their calculations, which reflect averages:
• Donating a tree saves about 50 pounds of CO2 in a year.
• Purchasing a wind-power gift card from Native Energy offsets 2,000 pounds of CO2
• Joining OurEnergy saves about 139 pounds of CO2 per person per year.
• Switching out three strings of regular holiday minilights for LED lights saves 17 pounds of CO2 per person per year.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Corners of My Home - The Desk

I've been meaning to tidy up my desk area for some time but something always seems to grab my attention or something distracts me from my ultimate goal (Let's be honest -- it is usually the Internets) but after a day of working from home, I decided to take this corner.

I gathered up the mini sweaters I've made and strung them up above my calendar. I hope to add a bulletin board where my calendar currently sits but that will come later.

Then I stacked some glass containers up in the corner of the desk. One of them holds yarn ball labels while another holds some pretty yarn for mittens (these came from my Better Paln of long ago, Sandy). I need to get these mittens made so I can wear them and I'm hoping that if the yarn is right where I can see it, the inspiration will be there for the knitting.

On top of these containers, I propped my iPod and my Artist Model. Her outfit still needs to be completed but for now, her jaunty skirt and cozy sweater work for me.

All in all, my little desk is tidied up and my little corner feels more welcoming!
Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Snow DAY 015

It's a Snow Day today though I am attempting to work from home. It's a bit difficult when I don't have all the files I need though. I'm making it work though since I'm Supergirl.

So last night I promised to tell everyone about my FOUR hour bus ride home but first let me start with Sunday night. It began snowing on Sunday evening and I informed everyone that I would be taking the bus into work as I did need to figure out if riding the bus a few days a week worked for me.

Snow DAY 012

Monday morning came bright and early and my Dad drove me to the Park and Ride. This turned out to be a blessing later in the day but at the time, I just thought he was being nice. The Park and Ride is about two miles from the house so it's not too far to walk, ride your bike or drive but in the dark it wouldn't be very safe to walk or ride ones bike due to visibility and a wee shoulder.

I rode the bus into work and LOVED it! I arrived at work at 7:45 a.m. and settled into work feeling good about my bus experiment. So far the ride in was a success! I could do this!

Snow DAY 010

So I worked and I had Yoga and all was good in the world. I left work a few minutes before 5 p.m. so I could catch the 5:01 p.m. bus. This turned out to be a WISE decision. I caught one bus to the Jackson Street exchange near Qwest field and watched all the Seahawk fans heading to the game. By this time, the snow had started but I was feeling secure because my bus had arrived and so all would be well. The bus headed through downtown and I overheard someone saying that their husband had caught the bus at 4:30 from downtown and was only about halfway to my stop. NOOOOOO! I called my Dad to see where he was in his bus route. He was only a few stops ahead of me and said to call when I got closer to our stop. I noticed the bus was only moving at about 3 mph. We were going nowhere fast!

We got on I-5 around 5:45 p.m. and I arrived at my bus stop at 9:00 p.m. The bus was moving at only a few miles an hour and the bus driver started letting people off wherever they wanted so they didn't have to walk as far. I found out later that Highway 522 which is the main road by my house was closed off and on which is what slowed us down. My parents drove someone home from their bus who had left his car at Northgate Mall. They could only take him to the bottom of his hill though as it was too slippy to get up. Mind you, my parents and this man both lived in Minnesota for few years and know what to do in the snow. It's the ice that one just can't drive in.

Snow DAY 008

So I arrived at my bus stop at 9:00 p.m. and my parents were waiting in the warm car. We stopped by the grocery store for dinner and headed home. I was so exhausted that shortly after 10:30 p.m. I fell into bed and awoke this morning to more ice. We all made the decision to stay home and are now enjoying a Snow Day!

Snow DAY 007

Whew! I'm not sure about such long commutes but I will take the bus again. The ride in was good so I'm sure the ride home could potentially be good too!

More snow pictures are on Flickr.
Monday, November 27, 2006
So Damn Tired

Really one should never have to endure a FOUR Hour Commute on a bus to get home just because it SNOWED!

This story will have to wait until tomorrow for a proper telling. I left work today at 4:50 p.m. and didn't get off the bus until 9:00 p.m.

I actually became bored on the bus and started wiggling! It was just too DAMN much!

Sunday, November 26, 2006
What a Day!

I woke up this morning at 5:45 a.m. and quickly dressed for my half marathon. I knew it would be cold, so I layered on two cool max shirts and my jacket before grabbing a fleece for afterwards since I could hear the rain outside.

I rushed out to my car and headed on down the road. There was SNOW on my windshield which made me seriously wonder if this race was a good idea. Nonetheless, I was in the car which made me committed and I continued on my way. I made a bad directional decision and headed down I-5 and exited off the Mercer Street exit where I sat for over 40 minutes before illegally parking and running to the race start. I bustled about for a few moments and then the race started. We were off!

I kept one eye out for my training partner. We had trained together for so long that not to actually run the race with her would be just wrong. Along about mile two, I started a conversation with another runner and we began running together. She was the perfect pacer for me. We ran and chatted but I still kept an eye out for my buddy. At mile four, we found each other to great joy! I knew we would meet up! Now there were three of us running along. It was crazy cold and the rain/slush wouldn't stop but it didn't matter all that much.

We jogged along through the puddles and the mud. At the top of the Madison hill, Zubin, his people and friends were waiting to cheer me on. They even had COW BELLS! I was so excited to see people I knew. Zubin was dressed as a runner wearing a garbage bag. I so wish I had a photo of that!

We then coasted on down to Interlaken Park and back through Capital Hill. Around Mile 11, Uli (the marathon winner) passed us with racer on his tail.

My training partner asked, "Are we there yet?" I told her it was just a few more miles and we'd be home free!

Around mile 12 people began lying to us and telling us we had less than half a mile to go. They were wrong! We had 3/4 of a mile to go! Seriously that is huge when you are pooped!

We glided into the finish around 3:30 which is about 30 minutes slower than I've ever ran a half marathon but then again I had the most fun ever and I've never run when it was practically snowing before! Also as an added bonus, my car was not towed nor did it have a ticket on its illegally parked butt!

After the running bit, I headed home and was taken to brunch for some tasty treats. Shortly after we arrived home, true snow began! Fingers Crossed! I want a SNOW DAY!

Saturday, November 25, 2006
Saturday Sky

click on photo for larger view

It's a beautiful Saturday morning which is surprising after the gloom and doom forecasted by the weathermen. I am praying this holds out until tomorrow afternoon when I'm done with my race.

Destiny loves the sunny weather today but does wish it was a bit warmer!
Friday, November 24, 2006
Buy Nothing Day

Every November, for 24 hours, Adbusters remembers that no one was born to shop. This year, partly because I have to work and partly because I too believe no one was born to shop, I will be taking part in "Buy Nothing Day".

The important point to remember about this day is that there is more than one way to participate than by just controlling one's spending habits. Today is also a day to think about the cost of excess consumption. This is of greater consequence than a reflection on your credit card bill.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Gobble Gobble

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today I am thankful for a wonderful family, a great place to live, a grouchy cat and wonderful delicious dinner made by Maman!

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving Day!
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Hippie Steps -- Week Five

The Slate/Treehugger challenge this week focuses on electricity.

The electricity we generate is responsible for 38 percent of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, making it the largest single source overall. As demand for electricity has risen, so have greenhouse-gas emissions, increasing by 25 percent over the last two decades, according to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. That's because most of our electrical-power supply comes from burning fossil fuels, natural gas, oil, and, especially, coal, a huge CO2 culprit.

Coal is abundant and relatively inexpensive, so it's likely to remain a prime source for electricity for decades to come. And with operation costs on the rise, power companies aren't likely to invest voluntarily in technologies to reduce emissions. There are low-carbon options: Renewable power sources such as biomass, wind, and solar currently account for just 0.6 percent of electricity production. Hydroelectric power, however, provides 7 percent of our electricity, and nuclear power nearly 20 percent. These sources have other drawbacks, but throw off little or no CO2.

If your electricity comes from a dirtier source (you can find out here), then the energy used in your household may amount to more than twice the greenhouse-gas emissions of an average car. Which leaves trimming CO2 pounds from electricity partially up to you. Distressingly, 40 percent of all household electricity is used to power electronics while they are turned off. Collectively, this squandered electricity (often referred to as phantom power load) equals the annual output of 17 power plants.
-- Slate/Treehugger

They also offer tips on reducing your electricity use which conveniently provides the added bonus of a lower electric bill.

* The typical incandescent light bulb turns only about 10 percent of its electricity into light. The rest is wasted heat. Compact fluorescent lamps energy-efficient bulbs use two-thirds less energy and produce 70 percent less heat. If every American household replaced just one incandescent light bulb with a CFL, we'd prevent 800,000 cars' worth of greenhouse-gas emissions.

I have personally replaced four regular lightbulbs with CFL lightbulbs and am working my way through the house. It seems a waste to throw away perfectly good lightbulbs just because they aren't CFL's.

* Cable and video-game boxes, DVD players, and other electronics can use as much energy in standby mode as a 75-watt light bulb that's left on. If a device offers an "off" option for standby lights, use it. Otherwise, try plugging electronics into a power strip, which you can turn off when they're not in use.

This is something I need to do. In fact, I will go out and get a few power strips this weekend and start turning things off!

* How many times have you left your cell-phone charger plugged in, even when your phone is not? Wall chargers for things like iPods and cameras suck energy out of the socket, even when not attached to their mates. With the national average at five chargers per person, unplugging adds up.

I always unplug my cell-phone charger once my phone is charged up. I also unplug my toothbrush along with many kitchen appliances. I'm happy with with what I'm doing here.

* Rechargeable battery docks for gadgets like drills and handheld vacuum cleaners can draw from the socket five to 20 times more energy than is stored in the battery. Unplug them once tools are juiced.

I'm all about rechargeable batteries and even when I bulk at the inital price I have to remember that over the long haul, I'm saving money and energy.

So I took the weekly quiz and this week I've pledged to take the annual equivalent of 0.12 cars off the road. This calculation was based on the following averages.

* Exchanging three frequently used incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs saves about 150 pounds of CO2 a year per person.

* Unplugging your electronics when they're not in use or using a power strip to shut them down saves about 500 pounds of CO2 a year per person.

* Unplugging external battery chargers for MP3 players, cell phones, and the like saves 213 pounds of CO2 a year per person.

* Replacing a conventional cordless phone with an Energy Star model saves 13 pounds of CO2 a year per person.

* Replacing a refrigerator that is more than 13 years old saves about 50 pounds of CO2 a year per person, and an average of 650 pounds of CO2 per person over the life of the appliance. Energy Star-rated refrigerators use about half as much energy as models manufactured before 1993. Each year, that comes to about the energy it takes to light the average household for nearly five months. So, if you're leaving on an old fridge in your basement to store extra food from time to time, you're adding to your carbon waistline.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
The Knitting Fairy

After knitting the Fetching gloves as a gift for a faraway friend, Meg wore them around, petted them, told me how much she loved the gloves and ooh'd and ahh'd over them. Then she said she just didn't know when she would have the time to make them with all her other projects.

The Knitting Fairy heard her request and has promised her some gloves. From what I've seen so far from the Knitting Fairy, they look good! One has to just love the Knitting Fairy!

The gloves are being made out of one of the colors above, EVERYONE but Meg can click to see how they are coming along so far!
Monday, November 20, 2006
Salt Lake City on a Whirlwind


This past weekend, my parents and I headed out to Salt Lake City to place my Grandfather's ashes in his niche, next to my Grandmother. My dear, dear Father booked our tickets to fly out on the 6:30 a.m. flight which translates to a Grumpy Rebecca getting up at 3:30 a.m. I calmly informed him many times before Saturday that this was a bit early for me and that I was going to hit the Starbucks as soon as we made it through security.

Friday evening as I finished packing my bag, I heard some swearing from the next room where my Dad was printing out our boarding passes. I sensed that this wasn't a good sign and darted into the room to ask him what was wrong. It appears that my Dad booked our flight to leave on FRIDAY morning instead of SATURDAY morning. I told him to call the airline and then to tell Mom about the situation. He rebooked our tickets but instead of flying direct, we now needed to fly through Reno which put us into town a bit later than planned. So that debacle was taken care of and now we have something to torment my Father about for the next two thousand years.

Saturday morning arrived (and I use that term loosely) and we headed to the airport. We arrived at our gate with 40 minutes to spare and used that time to watch people run to the other gates and leaping onto planes with seconds to spare. One scene which provided us with hours of conversation was the gate people announcing the final, final boarding call and telling the wife of a very late couple that she needed to either get on the plane without her husband or rebook her flight along with him. She decided to get on the plane. A full five minutes later, the husband comes strolling up and is irate that the plane is leaving without him. He calls his wife and there was some hand gesturing and the gate lady telling him that she needed to rebook his flight. Ohhh boy!

So then we get on our flight and are told that we are going to wait for a few people since the security line was so bad (it wasn't bad when we went though but then my family is all about the preparing ahead). This lady gets on with her child and says something about not knowing where her husband is. A few minutes later she gets off the plane with her child and the flight attendant is telling her that they can't wait for her husband. Seems like husbands and wives were getting separated at the airport!

We connected through Reno (not sure I ever need to go back there) and arrived in Salt Lake City.

I'm always amazed at how well kept up Salt Lake City is. Their roads are wide, their gutters cleaned and they don't seem to have the plethora of potholes that plague Seattle. As my father put it, "Salt Lake is well scrubbed" and my mother added that it made you want to be a better person.

Flowers at Ceremony

We headed out to the cemetery and had my Grandfather’s ashes interred in his niche next to my Grandmother. The cemetery is lovely and he has a wonderful view of the rockies.

Larkin View

After the internment we spend the rest of the day driving around Salt Lake City so my parent’s could trot down memory lane. I asked if we could head down to Temple Square and so we did. We arrived near dusk and the light was just beautiful.

Mormon Temple

The square was awash with people and the space in front of the temple was covered with brides and their families taking pictures.

Temple Square in Sepia

Saturday evening we had a fantastic dinner before heading back to our hotel to collapse in a heap.

Sunday was spent visiting family relatives before heading home to Seattle. We spent some more time driving around the city and heading down Old Mill Canyon.

Old Mill Canyon

We arrived at the airport and made it through security though I was pulled aside for a bag check. It appears that my telephoto lens and camera charger were bundled up together and it looked, "suspicious". Of course this meant my Mother beat me through security. Darn it!

We arrived at our gate and sat down to await our flight. Everywhere around us were people wearing Xango shirts in bright orange. It looked a bit like a massive cult descending upon us. We soon found out from listening in that all of these people had been to SLC to learn how to sell Xango ala Tupperwear Party style.

So with this interesting people watching opportunity, we boarded our flight which instead of heading directly to Seattle, was making a pit stop in Spokane.

As we headed to Spokane, our pilot announced that we were 20 minutes early which meant we would have 40 minutes to sit on the plane before taking off for Seattle. I wasn’t sure that this was worth announcing but the pilot was quite pleased with himself.

I could see the lights of Spokane below us and then my parents and I noticed that the same lights appeared to be beneath us again. My Dad muttered that we were circling the airport and wondered if this was due to us being early.

Shortly thereafter the pilot announces that we are having a malfunctioning light on the dashboard and that was why we were circling. I decided to ignore this information and not freak out.

My parents decided to mull this over and my Dad then made sure that my Mom and I were aware that the problem was probably related to the landing gear. My Mom announced that her death certificate was not to list, Spokane before pointing out the emergency exit rows to me.

My Dad told me to step over the slow people because, "Politeness is for dead people."

This made me giggle and I told him I was quoting him on the blog. Pretty soon we were all giggling and my Dad was pointing out that not being polite was only reserved for adverse conditions.

Eventually we landed in Spokane and took off toward Seattle. Unfortunately we hit some turbulence over the Cascades which made my stomach lurch around. We eventually arrived home and I again collapsed into bed. It was quite difficult to get up this morning for work but I do have Thanksgiving off so I’m looking forward to that!

Of course, it does sound like Lolly had it a bit rougher on her return home so I shouldn't complain too much.
Sunday, November 19, 2006

Back from SLC

I'm back from Salt Lake City but Blogger is down...I'm hoping that I can post this way to keep the Posting a Day love alive!
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Salt Lake City

I'm off to Salt Lake City (a.k.a. Land of Dooce) for the weekend. I'll be back on Sunday for a proper post.

Until then, Destiny has agreed to guard the blog.

PS This totally counts as a proper post for NaBloPoMo.
Friday, November 17, 2006
Updating the Hourglassing

My NaSweKniMo sweater is coming along nicely. This morning I attached the second sleeve and embarked on the yoke.

I'm inspired to knit faster as I really want to wear this sweater! Only 13 more days of knitting left and I'll be out of town this weekend. I hope to fit in some airplane knitting but I sense that I'll be busy most of the weekend.

Today is so beautiful that I was able to snap a few photos of the trees in the backyard.

The full set can be found here on Flickr.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Hippie Steps -- Week Four

The focus of this week's Slate/Treehugger challenge is on clothing.

Now you are saying, "But Supergirl, what does Clothing have to do with the environment?" and I have to admit that I asked myself this same question when I opened my weekly email from Slate/Treehugger. The email really opened my eyes to how clothing (and this includes my knitting/yarn) is manufactured.

Your closet may not be the first place you'd think to look to reduce your CO2 output. But clothing manufacture involves agriculture, industry, and commerce, so our fashion choices make a statement about greenhouse gasses as well as style.

Chances are that a good portion of what's hanging in your closet is made from cotton. The fiber is tough to grow, so cotton farmers use enormous amounts of energy-intensive, CO2-emitting chemicals and fertilizers. To produce one pair of regular cotton jeans takes three-quarters of a pound of fertilizers and pesticides. Each T-shirt takes one-third of a pound. The farming of organic fibers, by contrast, releases less CO2 into the air and uses 50 percent less energy. Cotton, hemp, bamboo, ramie, linen, and silk can all be grown organically. (And hemp and bamboo are pretty good for your CO2 count, even when they're not organic, because they need little if any fertilizer to grow.) Organic wool, alpaca, and cashmere are also excellent choices. So is lyocell, a textile made from wood pulp. Anything in your closet made of nylon, polyester, or acrylic, on the other hand, comes drenched in CO2-laden petroleum (not literally, but you get the idea).

We're not suggesting you overhaul your entire closet in one fell retail-therapy swoop. Instead, below are a variety of incremental ideas for curbing your closet's CO2 appetite. If only the carbon pounds you shed could help you squeeze into this season's pencil-thin organic-cotton jeans …
• Aside from your refrigerator, your dryer is your household's most energy-sucking appliance. To increase its efficiency and save CO2 emissions, put it in a part of the house that's typically warm. Clean the lint filter after each load and only turn it on when it's full. If your dryer features a moisture-sensor option, use it. This ensures the machine will automatically shut off when the clothes are dry. Better yet, line-dry your clothes whenever possible so you're using no energy at all.

I am going to try to line-dry more of my clothing more often. Not only will I save energy but I believe this will help my clothing last longer.

• If your washing machine has spin options, set it to a high or extended-spin setting. This will ring clothes out as much as possible before you put them in the dryer.

I am going to try this too but only on clothing that won’t be affected by the extra spin. Now the bigger problem will be figuring out how to set the washer’s spin options. I’m sure it can’t be too hard and I think I’m smarter than the washing machine but let’s not count the washer out yet!

• Buy organic. Though there's no government label for organic clothing like the one for organic food, most manufacturers let you know.

Another great idea! This will require some research but I like research!

• Look for clothes that use recycled content. The environmental impact of recycling worn-out polyester into new polyester fiber, for instance, is significantly lower than making that same fiber anew. CO2 savings can be as high as 71 percent in the case of Patagonia's recycled Capilene base layers, and the company's Synchilla fleece is made from recycled plastic bottles.

Another fantastic idea! I love the idea of recycling that you can see.

• Donate your used, unwanted clothing and shoes instead of throwing them away. This averts the CO2 emissions that come from incinerating them or sending them to a landfill.

I already do this because I know that others can use the clothes that I’ve either grown tired of or no longer fit. The only fly in this ointment is that now that Mot has moved away, who will take my stuff to the shelter? MOT! I’m not sure if I even know where the shelter is!

• We don't expect you to go to work in rags, but buying vintage or used clothes is a great way to cut down on the CO2 costs associated with farming and manufacturing.

I used to think that people visited Thrift stores because they didn’t have enough money for new clothing but NOW I see it as a great way to recycle while getting awesome clothing at great prices. Seattle has some wonderful consignment stores and I’ll be visiting them the next time I need a new outfit. Not that I’ll ever stop shopping for new clothing but I do like the option of getting good clothing at great prices just because someone else wore them for a bit.

• Choose quality over quantity. Buying things you'll wear for a long time saves energy and reduces trash.

Mom? Did you write this one? This is something my Mom and Mot have told me for years and they are completely right. If you buy a great pair of pants for a few more bucks but you wear them for 6 years over a pair that you spend less on but wear for only one year, the in the end you are saving yourself money, time and now I’m finding out the environment.

• Choose clothes made from hemp and bamboo. Think you'll look like a hippie? Think again.

Well If I really want to be a Hippie, I’ll need to consider this option.

• Cows create loads of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. Could you buy fewer shoes made from leather, and give canvas and hemp a chance?

Ermmm, I kinda like my leather shoes but I’ll consider this option.

So after reading all these interesting facts, I took the Week Four Action Quiz where I scored 797, which means I've promised to take the annual equivalent of 0.08 cars off the road.

Here are some of the numbers Slate/Treehugger used in their calculations:

• The average American disposes of about 66 pounds of clothing and shoes each year, according to the Gaia Movement Trust. Donating instead of tossing saves about 165 pounds of CO 2 emissions per person per year.

• Using only cold or warm water to wash your clothes saves energy and about 150 pounds of CO2 per person per year.

• Swapping the dryer for the clothes line saves 350 pounds of CO2 per person per year.

• Purchasing an Energy Star washing machine saves an average of 257 pounds of CO2 emissions per person per year.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Something is just wrong with this toy. Seriously wrong but at the same time, just hysterical!

Dora the Explorer Aquapet at Amazon

Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Day 14

OMG! I may have hit a brick wall on posting daily! I have nothing to report from today! NOTHING!

I did do 50 minutes on the ellipse machine and I TOTALLY beat the girl who was trying to out-ellipse me. She crashed after 20 minutes. Sadly though I'm not sure that she even knew we were racing. Any which way, I still WON!

And because sometimes when you hit the wall, you have to go to the cat...

Click to enlarge
Monday, November 13, 2006
Hippie Comments

This past Friday, I wrote about Week Three of the Slate/Treehugger Green Challenge. In the previous two weeks, I spoke about transportation and heating the home while this week was about food.

I was checking my comments (I do love the comments! Keep them coming!) when I noticed this one from somone who selected not to leave their name or contact information. I really wish they had left their contact information or emailed me directly but alas they did not so I shall use the blog to comment on their comment.

"Eating meat doesnt cause problems toxins in the area its the stupid people who drive by themselves in cars in stop and go rush hour." -me | 11.11.06 - 7:22 pm | #

Dear me,

I agree that people driving alone in their cars in stop and go rush hour traffic do have a higher impact on the environment than meat eaters. The Slate/Treehugger Green Challenge specifically notes these facts in their weekly emails and I have found several other sources that agree with this fact.

Slate/Treehugger says that, "Transportation is one of the biggest culprits in human production of carbon dioxide—the source of about one-fifth of global-warming emissions worldwide. In the United States, two-thirds of the oil consumed goes toward powering vehicles. Passenger cars alone are responsible for 25 percent of the greenhouse gases we produce."

I am working to reduce my own contribution to this specific problem but often find that I do have to drive ALONE to work in stop and go traffic. I have pledged to start taking the bus at least one day a week to work but I must note here that in order for me to take the bus to work, I need to take two to three of them and spend about two hours on the bus each way. Unfortunately I do not often have four hours of commuting time in my daily life and so I am working to figure out the best way to deal with this problem while also working toward my own goal of reducing my footprint on the earth. Me, I wish I knew what you were doing to reduce your footprint.

Now as for food, Slate/Treehugger states, "It takes 17 percent of the fossil fuel consumed in the United States to produce the food we eat."

They also say, "Whether you're a carnivore or herbivore also has CO2 consequences. We don't blame you for enjoying the occasional filet mignon. But the average meat eater causes a ton and a half more carbon dioxide emissions for food production than the average vegetarian."

Raising cattle does cause more carbon dioxide emissions than raising vegetables. This is a fact. So again I am reducing the amount of beef in my diet because #1, my doctor has asked me to reduce the red meat I eat while increasing the amount of fish and vegetables I eat and #2, red meat has a higher impact on the environment than other kinds of foods.


Sunday, November 12, 2006
Windy, Relaxing Sunday

Today was another rainy, windy day with a special bonus for me! I ran 13 miles through Alki this morning along Elliott Bay with my training group. It was windy. It was wet. It was long! And now I'm tired.

Actually I was tired long before the run since Meg and I attended the Dixie Chicks concert in Tacoma last night which ended up being a long night. The concert was fantastic and I LOVE the Dixie Chicks. The parking on the other hand was long and we sat in the car after the show for approximately 40 minutes before we were finally able to drive out of the parking lot and onto the freeway. I arrived home around 1:30 a.m. and had to be up at 6:30 a.m. for my 7:45 a.m. run. I sense an early bedtime for myself.

Click to make larger

I spent the afternoon relaxing and finishing up my Meathead Test Knitting. I'm not convinced on the embellishment (the orange square) so let me know your thoughts!

Saturday, November 11, 2006
Saturday Sky

After a rough week of rain, more rain, flooding and rain, the sun dawned today with a promise of a better week. The weather people keep talking about more rain systems though so this promise may be broken.

In knitting news, I finished my "Fetching" Gloves this morning. These are destined for a very dear friend who lives far away. With the post office closed today for Veteran's Day, I'll have to pop these in the mail on Monday.

Friday, November 10, 2006
Hippie Steps -- Week Three

The focus of this week's Slate/Treehugger challenge is on food.

"Food gives us the energy we need to fuel our bodies, of course, but have you ever thought about how much fuel it takes to make our food? Of all the fossil fuel we burn through in the United States, a sizeable 17 percent is dedicated to the production of what we eat. The result is three-quarters of a ton of carbon dioxide emissions per person, and that doesn’t even include the fuel it takes to transport goods to market. Add in processing and packaging, and even organic foods—which rate relatively lower on the CO2 emissions charts—begin to make a mark.

This week’s installment of the Slate Green Challenge addresses the carbon dioxide emissions associated with your diet. Your decisions to buy organic or local foods and to consume a carnivorous or herbivorous diet all have CO2 consequences. We won’t ask you to make life-altering changes, but we will address how you can shed CO2 pounds via your menu choices. Because when it comes to your CO2 profile, it turns out, you are indeed what you eat."
-- Slate/Treehugger

Now Food is something that is near and dear to my heart since I work for a culinary company. I look for organic vegetables and fruit whenever possible (both financially and quality-wise), I shop the local farmer's market, I have reduced my meat-intake and I try to purchase fresh food over processed food at all times.

Still I could do more and I pledged to reduce my beef intake by a minimum of 50%, purchase food with even less packaging and try to buy more local food (food from within 100 miles of my home). I scored 687, which means I've promised to take the annual equivalent of 0.07 cars off the road. Sadly this just doesn't seem like enough to me BUT I know that all the changes I'm making over the entire 8-week challenge will add up to alot.

Here are some interesting facts though that Slate/Treehugger had to share about food:

• Cutting beef out of your diet saves approximately 1,000 pounds of CO2 emissions
per year.

• Bringing your own bags to the grocery store saves about 17 pounds of carbon-
dioxide emissions a year.

• Buying food and other products with minimal packaging saves about 230 pounds of
carbon dioxide a year.

• Becoming a vegetarian saves 3,000 pounds of CO2 a year.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Madrona Fiber Arts Festival

People are really on top of this Festival! I was a bit late to work but got right on the computer at 8:40 a.m. A few of the classes I wanted were sold out but I did get into some really cool classes.

Here is what I signed up for:

Saturday Morning -- Leigh Radford: Shibori Felting
Saturday Afternoon -- Fiona Ellis: Fun with Entrelac & Directional Knitting
Sunday Morning -- Sally Melville: Learning to Love Intarsia

I'm thrilled with my class selections and can't wait for January to come around!

My NaSweKniMo sweater is coming along nicely. Last night I attached the first sleeve and cast on for the second sleeve.

So far this sweater looks like it will be a great fit and I have a strong feeling that I'll be wearing this often. I've even begun to think about what color my second one will be.

Even my sweater agrees that she will be worn often with much love.

**Destiny Update**

Unfortunately Destiny wasn't able to have her ultrasound yesterday as she became unhinged at the vet's office. They called me at 2:30 p.m. to say that they had tried all day to do the ultrasound and that they might need to sedate her. I decided against the sedation as my Dad will take her back on Friday and stay in the room while they do the ultrasound. We'll see if that works. If not, sedation will be used! Little beast! This photo is from last night. She was moaning and hissing at me wih so much love.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Last week, Destiny went to the vet for a wellness check-up and I decided to fork over the big bucks for a Senior Wellness Blood Test. I'm glad that I decided to spend the money now because Destiny is slipping protein into her kidneys.

I'm not exactly sure what that means for Destiny overall but today she is at the vet having an ultrasound to check out her kidneys.

Tonight when I pick her up from the vet's office (they are open amazing hours from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.), I will also pick up some new Prescription food for her. I guess the Iams won't cut it for her any longer.

Destiny is lucky that we live with my parents because she'll receive extra care and love from them. My Dad will be placed in charge of her evening feedings since they will be changing and she'll eat anything he gives her.

Currently I leave out a HUGE bowl of cat food for Destiny and she nibbles away at it. Sometimes she gets a few bits of wet cat food when she asks for it. Now she'll have some dry food out all the time but will have nightly feedings of wet food. The vet expressed some concern about her liking the food but I'm hoping that she doesn't decide to be a picky eater.

So while I'm worried about my kitty, I've decided not to freak out just yet. I might after I hear about the ultrasound and what their long-term prognosis is but for now I'm not FREAKING OUT!

*These photos are ones I've taken throughout the year of Miss Destiny for my Daily Photo Challenge.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
The NaNoWriMo is HARD work

See that nice little graph right there. See how many words I've written since November 1. Yep, 6,163 (the graph may change as I update my words later on). See my goal for today of having 10,732 words or 4,569 more words done. Yep, THERE in lies my challenge.

I sit at my desk with my computer and I STARE into air unable to type a single letter, much less a word! I begin to hate my character and her dog and her husband and her house and then I remember that my inner censor is popping up and that the point of this exercise is to get a ROUGH novel of 50,000 words on the page and that my goal is to get those 50,000 words on the page.

My inner censor is a mean little b*tch. She says that I can't do this at all BUT then I usually win by saying, "Bring it! This is a challenge and I refused to accept defeat!"

SO I have to go and defeat that censor. She won't be allowed to win.
Monday, November 06, 2006
NaKniSweMo Goals and Plans

As many of you know, I'm crazy and I've signed up for three "blog-events" this month. One of which is NaKniSweMo! The basic concept is that you knit an entire sweater in the month of November but Shannon has also stated that, "We don't need no stinking rules!" I embrace the "No Rules" attitude and have decided to set two sweater goals for myself this month which in turn will be able to help me finish TWO sweaters.

Goal #1 -- The Purple Sweater

My goal for this sweater is to finish seaming up the sweater. All that needs to be done is the final sleeve attachment. Once I attach the sleeves, this sweater will be complete. Best part of this plan is that Meg and Jessica will be able to leave me alone!

Goal #2 -- The Hourglass Sweater in Green

I've knit the body of this sweater up to the sleeve and am about halfway through the first sleeve. My goal for this sweater is to finish it up by Thursday, November 30th.

Yep, good goals.

Writing goal for today is to actually finish the 3,058 words I need to write so that I am on track for my 50,000 word novel. Geesh!
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