Blog Action Day is Today!

A while back, I signed up to particpate in Blog Action Day, a movement to help people be more aware of environmental issues. Today is the appointed day to blog about saving the planet! Here are my favorite ways to help:

  • Get involved in online campaigns. Together we can make a difference! My favorite sites for activism are Natural Resources Defense Council, Union of Concerned Scientists, and Care2. All are respectable organizations doing quite a lot to help the earth. And they make it easy by providing online tools and easy ways to donate to their causes.
  • Recycle, recycle, recycle! We recycle all we can… junk mail, food packaging, etc. Veggie waste gets thrown into the backyard for plant food, and we avoid using plastic grocery bags by taking cloth bags to the store. Even bread bags get sort of recycled into trash bags for used kitty litter. Here’s a nice post about recycling other stuff.
  • Buy a fuel-efficient car. Our new Toyota Matrix gets pretty good mileage for a car of its size… and we do what we can to keep it running at top performance. For more info, see this article from UCS about Saving at the Pump.

Of course, there are more ways to care for the planet but these are the ones I’m particularly fond of. And once you get in the habit, you don’t even need to think about it too much! Comments on your favorite ways to hug a tree are most welcome.

Food Links

I use Opera for my web browser, and one of its features that I just love is that it will keep your current windows open for you. So, when I exit Opera at night and come back to it the next day, everything I had open is still there. This works for me and against me, because most of the time I have like 20 pages open and it gets to be a real mess. So from time to time I have to go in and figure out what to do with all those tabs… for each page, I try to decide if I should keep it open, blog about it, or close it. In today’s go-round, I found several articles which are related to healthy eating… I don’t want to forget about these articles, so here they are!

The Ten Best Foods You Aren’t Eating

Top 100 Foods to Boost Your Productivity

26 Top Calcium Food Sources

Hope you find something good!

Driving Lessons

Since we got a new car, we gave Bleys our Hyundai Accent (that was actually part of the reason for getting the Matrix). He’s not used to driving a standard, so we’ve been taking trips around the block until he gets used to the shifting and all that stuff. He’s been doing really well so far! The only real problem has been a tendency to go a little too fast around curves.

I found this article the other day, and I think it applies to giving driving lessons…

How to Give Kind Criticism

I’m hoping to make this a positive experience, helping him gain confidence in his driving abilities. If he doesn’t cry from learning how to drive a standard, it will be an improvement over my training and we’ll have been successful!  🙂

Now we can really be IN the Matrix!

We got a new car!! It’s a 2008 Toyota Matrix. Here’s a picture of the love of my life, in front of the car he worked so hard researching and getting a great deal on:

New car!

We upheld the Bloss family tradition and went for ice cream in the new car (forgot the camera for that trip, though).

The buying experience was great at Sun Toyota.  Trav was well-prepared and knew what price we should have gotten, and we did good! It was no muss, no fuss to get the car we wanted at the price we wanted. Now we can travel again!!! Our first longer trip will be down to Haslam’s bookstore this weekend. It’s in St. Petersburg (about an hour and a half drive) and it’s HUGE (over 300,000 books). Hopefully we’ll be able to bring Sadie to Tucson, sometime in the relatively near future. That depends on how Bleys does with his driving lessons. 🙂

Brain Gender Test

I found this really neat test which tells if your brain thinks more like a male or a female:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/sex/

My result was zero, meaning I’m right in the middle. Trav says that’s probably why we get along so well, because I’m not like most women. Hmm! I wonder what his score would be? I would love to know your results – leave a comment or send me an email! Also, here are some more interesting things to do on their site.

Home

It’s good to be home… I really missed everybody here. The cats piled on me for the first two days, but now we’re pretty much back to the normal piling system (which is still pretty often!).

I had been meaning to post pictures of the wonderful wall hanging my brother gave me, so here they are! Each panel is a slab of jasper, and the name of the piece is “Seasons”. Here’s the whole thing:

Jasper

The tint is a little off because I took the picture at night – too many reflections to take a daytime picture. Here’s a shot of each panel:

Spring – This one is especially great because it looks like the frozen Horseshoe Falls in Niagara Falls, which is where our romance officially began.

Jasper - spring panel

Summer

Jasper - summer

Fall

Jasper - fall

Winter

Jasper - winter

I treasure this gift. It hangs right above my computer monitor so I can see it all the time.

Going Home Tomorrow

It’s been a really, really great visit in Tucson!! The wedding was awesome, and it’s been wonderful spending time with my family… we’ve had a lot of fun (well I did, and I hope everybody else did, too). Tonight we went to El Charro for Mexican food, and then to Sunflower Market. Heather bought a coconut so we could try again to open it with the pipe cutter tool Michael has – it turned out a LOT better than the first one we did on Sunday. One side was cut perfectly straight. The other side was mostly straight, and both halves (with a little work) would make satisfactory bowls. Yeah baby!!

Tomorrow morning we’re leaving at 7:45 and will stop by Grande Tortilla Factory to pick up some fresh tortillas for me to take home. Yummy! Then to the airport where my flight leaves at 10:25. I have a two hour layover in Houston (gonna check out Terminal C this time), and then I get to Tampa around 8pm. I can’t wait to get home… I’ve missed everyone a lot. I’m sad to be leaving here, though. I miss my family. So it’ll be a long, mixed day.

Take care, everybody. See you soon my love!!!

Molehills into Mountains

Ok, so the hill I climbed this morning wasn’t exactly a mountain, but since I chose to climb directly up the side, it was a pretty good climb. I was breathing really hard by the time I got to the top! This first picture was taken from a little ways away… the second was looking down at the place I took the first one from:

At the bottom of the hill From the top of the hill

I won’t get to walk tomorrow (Monday) as we’ll be taking Kelly back up to Phoenix to catch her flight. It’s a boring ride but made interesting as always by good conversation. That’s the reason I like to drive places… it’s a good chance to chat, to connect without interruption or distraction.

It’s been a really great trip so far, I’ve had a wonderful time of relaxing and having fun. If Tucson had more water and a cost of living advantage, I’d consider moving back!

The Wedding

Greg & Jeannie’s wedding was awesome!! Everything was just beautiful, the weather was great for the outdoor wedding, and the food & entertainment was excellent. I got lots of great pictures… here’s one of all us kids (click to enlarge):

Siblings wedding photo

The ceremony was beautiful – I was very taken with the way they kept looking at each other, it was so wonderful. You can plainly see they love each other very much… I hope they never lose that feeling. I’ll post a few more pictures when I have more time.

Sunday we’re heading over to Greg’s for brunch, and then … ? Not sure what’s on tap for the rest of the day. Perhaps Ethiopian for supper, or back to Mom & Dad’s to eat all the leftovers we’ve created in the last few days. My belly has been full since we got here, good thing I’m walking every morning! Otherwise I’d weigh 150 pounds when I got back. 🙂

Trav, hope you enjoyed your dinner out. Did you go up to the place on 19? Talk with you soon, miss you lots and lots… seems like everything I do reminds me of you. |*

Pampered

Tonight we went to Jeannie’s spa party and it was wonderful!! We left feeling relaxed and refreshed (I’m sure the margaritas helped a bit hehe). When we arrived, Jeannie introduced us to her friends and we immediately felt comfortable and taken right into their little circle, so that was good. We got to try all kinds of face, hand and foot goo… it all smelled and felt good and wasn’t too stinky. Jeannie very thoughtfully bought each of us a little gift bag which has lotion, foot cream and lip gloss. Kelly went for the whole deal, so she’ll be getting a big bunch of stuff in the mail in a few weeks! Plus there was food and lots of laughing and swapping of stories, so a good time was had by all.

I’m heading off to bed now so I can get up and do my walk first thing. I’ve been touring the neighborhood, seeing if I can remember where this and that person lived. It all looks pretty different now, and I only vaguely remember where people lived. It’s been interesting walking around. I carry a big dowel in case I meet up with any stray dogs. Watch out, doggies!! 🙂

I’ve been having a great time, though I’m starting to feel just a little bit homesick. Today I tried to do my most pitiful meow to the kitties outside, to see if that would make them come over to me (it didn’t work), and it made me miss our critters. And of course, I miss Trav and Bleys! See you soon, guys. Time to hit the hay. zzzzzzzz

Maybe a little curry will warm things up

We went to Char’s Thai Restaurant for dinner and I discovered – I like curry!! Apparently there are three kinds of curry – yellow, which is usually used in Indian food, and then there’s red and green, which is the good stuff. I liked Heather’s green curry a little better than Greg’s red curry with duck, but they were both excellent. So Trav… you know that little Thai restaurant in the same plaza as Sioux City? We should definitely try it sometime. I think you would like it, too.

Tomorrow we head up to Phoenix to pick up Kelly, and then we’ll go to Carolina’s for lunch. Real tortillas!!!! Wish I could bring some back to Florida. They would be too old by the time I get back, though. Then after we get Kelly, who knows what will go on between lunch and 7pm when it’s time for spa night with Jeannie. She said there will be food and margaritas and a lovely evening of pampering. Should be fun!

I better get to bed, it’s waaaaaay past my bedtime. Keep thinking warm thoughts!!

Here I am in Tucson!

I’m in Tucson, visiting for a week. My brother is getting married on Saturday, yay!! It ought to be fun. Trav is home without me, you can read why on his blog.

The plane trip in was uneventful, which is good. I had a giant pile of barbeque in the Houston airport and I have to say, I liked Terminal C much better than Terminal B, which was kind of shabby. When I arrived in Tucson (a few minutes early) Dad picked me up, and on the way out I saw Beverly Harvey who was waiting for her ride to an event she’s attending this week. She’s from Florida, too, so that was pretty cool. Leaving the airport, I noticed the gas prices are about the same as at home ($2.59 per gallon at a place near the airport).

Today, we went down to Green Valley to the the White Elephant thrift store, where I bought 4 cloth napkins like the ones we have except they are butter yellow. At the next thrift store (Animal League), I didn’t buy anything! Then we went to Basha’s Food Store (I got supplies for my breakfast food), and then on to Subway for lunch (tuna sub), and then to WalMart for various and sundry supplies. Tonight we’re going to Char’s Thai Restaurant!! Adventure food!! 🙂

 Gotta run, we’re on a strict schedule. 🙂  Love you, Trav & Bleys!!

Kindness

I love the writing of Brian Vaszily! Recently I read an article on his Intense Experiences web site which told story of kindness, and it prompted me to replace my little green “life reminder note” with a yellow post-it bearing the message: Respond to anger with kindness.

What a powerful statement. If you read the article you’ll see exactly how it can be so powerful. And it can apply to anger of all kinds… anger with yourself, other people, or a situation. I’m hoping by keeping that sentiment in my view at all times (on my life reminder note which hangs right by my computer screen), I’ll incorporate it into my life and make this world a better place.

That’s not food, that’s what food eats!!

I’m happy to report that in the past year, we spent more money on produce than meat. Yeah!! I found this little tidbit as I was doing our tax stuff, looking at the various reports in Quickbooks. Our biggest expense is taxes, followed by food and then mortgage. I could probably spend less on food but I think it’s one of life’s great pleasures and I would rather not skimp too much in that area. Plus we like to eat freshly prepared food instead of packaged stuff, which tends to be cheaper because it’s not real food. For some reason it seems less ingredients = higher price. The other day I was shopping for prunes… the ones with preservatives cost less than the one that was just prunes and nothing else. Go figure!!

The title for this post came via Trav, from Red Foreman on That 70s Show… one of our favorite shows a while back. When Red was faced with eating a salad for dinner, that’s what he said. Heheheh! It’s become a regular joke around here when the subject turns to veggies.

Something to think about

My friend Jane sent this to me (thanks, Jane!!) and I thought it was very good and wanted to share…

Paradox of Our Times

Today we have bigger houses, but smaller families
More conveniences, but less time

We have more degrees, but less common sense
More knowledge, but less judgment

We have more experts, but more problems
More medicine, but less wellness

We spend too recklessly
Laugh too little
Drive too fast
Get too angry too quickly
Stay up too late
Read too little
Watch TV too much
And ponder too little

We’ve multiplied our possessions,
but reduced our values

We talk too much, love too little and lie too often

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life
We’ve added years to our lives, but not life to our years

We have taller buildings, but shorter tempers
Wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints

We spend more, but have less
We buy more, enjoy it less

We’ve been all the way to the moon and back
But have trouble crossing the street to meet our neighbors

We’ve conquered outer space,
But not inner space

We’ve split the atom
But not our prejudice

We write more, learn less, ———————- plan more, but accomplish less
We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait,
We have higher incomes , but lower morals

We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies
But have less communication

We are long on quantity,
But short on quality

These are the time of fast foods and slow digestion
Taller people, and short character

More leisure and less fun …..more kinds of foods …… but less nutrition
Two incomes …..but more divorce
Fancier houses …. but more broken homes

That’s why I propose , that as of today , you do not keep anything for special occasions, because every day you live is a special occasion.

Search for knowledge , read more , sit on your front porch and admire the view without paying attention to the time.
Spend more time with your family and friends , eat your favorite foods, and visit the places you love.

Use your crystal goblets…do not save your best perfume for best…throw a party for no good reason.

Life isn’t only about survival … It’s about joy.

Do not delay anything that adds laughter and joy to your life.

Remove from your vocabulary phrases like “one of these days “ and “someday”
Let’s write that letter we thought of writing “one of these days “

Let’s tell our families and friends how much we love them.

It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye!

I love playing carnival games. I know they’re a ripoff, but it’s fun anyway. Here’s a page which tells you how to improve your odds against the carnies:

Blifaloo.com – Beat Carnival Games

I especially like playing the games where you toss money onto a plate and win whatever it landed in… I don’t know why. It’s not like I need any more kitchen stuff, that’s for sure!! I think part of the attraction is you can play a lot, since they normally use dimes. Is that still true? It’s been so long since I’ve been to a carnival… maybe they make you use quarters now. If so, I’ll not be playing that one! Who else likes the carnival? Leave a comment or send me an email and we’ll make plans to go.

I Have Become… Comfortably Numb

Well, I haven’t, but my fingertips have. Trav’s brother got me an acoustic guitar for my birthday!!! What a surprise. I had talked about getting one, and he went and got one for me. Very exciting! I’ve been following an online lesson for beginning guitar – trying to master those lessons before I try anything more and get discouraged. I’m hoping to have a bit of callouses on my fingertips before my trip to Arizona, maybe I can play a little something! The only thing I can play right now is scales and the first little bit of Dueling Banjos (hehehe) … I have a whole list of songs I want to learn, though. I hope I can do it –  my fingers are kind of short and don’t seem to curl just right yet. Practice, practice, practice!

Trav found a neat site to help me study… Chordbook! It has chord fingerings, a tuning tool and a bunch of other cool stuff. Thanks, dear! And thank you very much, Steve!! 🙂

Shrinky Dinks, anyone?

The other day I found this very interesting craft – you use #6 plastic to make a design and then shrink it in the oven. Very cool! This morning I noticed the sprout containers are #6, so when it’s empty, I’m going to see what I can make from the package. Should be interesting!

Do It Yourself Shrinky Dinks