Friday, September 30, 2005

What's up with the Beaver?

On my 18 mile drive home this week - over the course of 3 nights, I saw:
5 deer (a pair yesterday and a set of 3 Wednesday)
4 wild turkeys - yes, just wondering on the side of the road - and they are HUGE
1 beaver - standing on the side of the road, eating something as cars zoomed by.

I'm completely amazed at the beavers. They can be spotted along major roadways standing up just watching traffic or nibbling something (buttered popcorn?) as the cars fly by. They don't seem afraid of cars yet, I've never seen one squished on the side of the road. I have however spotted:
squirrels (countless, not including the one Paul hit)
1 deer
2 skunks
2 racoons
1 opossum

In the city, I saw dead pigeons and the occassional rat but for the most part, that was the wild life and building managers usually took care of most of the fatalities.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Drink Up!

After our move and finally being able to take a shower I mistakenly drank some water and before I could gag it out, realized that I actually tasted something other than chlorine - it actually tasted good! I enjoy writing about restaurants, food, etc. but what about plain old tap water? Most of Ridgefield is on well water unless you live in the 'downtown' like we do then we're on city water. New York City, like Rome is among the few cities in the world where the city water is actually very good and by filtering, you're losing good flavor. I did a bit of research and found that there are signficant aquifers in Ridgefield and it is shared with (i.e. sold to) New York City.

Now that we live here, I wonder how much money we'll save from not having to buy bottled water or Brita filters. Sadly, I am also trying to remember how long it has been since I stopped drinking tap water and why I thought that was acceptable.

Friday, September 23, 2005

We did it - we've committed ourselves to a huge debt and now have in our posession a beautiful 60 year old house key and I couldn't feel better about it. We are back at the apartment (no longer appropriate to call it 'Home' right?) and are hanging out preparing to pack up everything tomorrow and spend the night in the new place. We'll be back here on Monday morning to meet the movers. I'm honestly a little bit bummed - I was planning on painting the door a blue color - I call it Scotish flag blue but you can call it English pub blue, and the house literally across the street that is being remodeled, just painted their door that exact color. I think it would be a bit much for two homes to have blue doors in a part of the country where all of the other doors are red. Not only that but it wouldn't be neighborly. I figure, it makes it easy for him to say "1/2 way down the street, it is the house with a blue door". So, now I'm thinking "Kelli" green.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Oh, For the Love of Dog!

A note from Betty's favorite website:

Dear Dogster member,
It's been three weeks since Katrina slammed in the Gulf Coast of the U.S. Along with the rest of the country, we've been confounded by the scope of the devastation, yet emboldened to do all we can to ameliorate the losses and to help life begin anew.
We are so impressed with the efforts our members and the rescue organizations have made to coordinate relief, fundraise, increase awareness and foster stranded pets. We really wanted to share how impressive this effort has been and how proud we are of our community for its hard work. We'd also like to share our deepest sympathies for all victims, animal and human, of this tragedy.

You must all know the disaster has left thousands of dogs and cats stranded,scared, and in need of evacuation. Rescuing, reuniting and fostering these animals will take the efforts of the whole country and months to complete. Running Dogster & Catster has given us a very broad perspective of the animal rescue efforts thanks to the many emails, forums posts, and direct communication coming to us from our 125,000 members. It is our hope that by collecting and sharing some of this information with you, animals will be helped.

With food needs mostly met, for agencies like the ASPCA, Humane Society, American Veterinary Medical Association, Animal Welfare Institute, and many, many more the primary need is meeting the long-term housing needs of the displaced animals. The hurricane and the flood that followed destroyed many shelters in the New Orleans area. Temporary shelters have been established but their resources are overwhelmed and rebuilding efforts will simply take too long.

What is needed is urgent assistance moving rescued animals to safe havens out of state. Animal welfare teams have rescued thousands of animals from the streets of New Orleans and throughout the Gulf Coast region, but thousands more remain stranded and it's a race against the clock to help them. With federal agencies and law enforcement agencies overwhelmed with the human dilemmas, animal welfare groups and civilians are the last lifeline for stranded pets. Along these lines we would like to say "Paws Up" to two organizations who recently helped in this area. The North Shore Animal League and one of our sponsors, Dad's Pet Care, successfully chartered a 737 and airlifted over 100 pets to safety Thursday morning. Well done.

Organizations like the ASPCA still need your help both financially and by volunteering your time and energy! Visit our Katrina site updates page which lists all the organization we have so far confirmed are doing excellent work on the ground.
http://www.dogster.com/site_updates.php?p=197

Also, you can use our "Hurricane Katrina" and "Adoption & Rescue" forums to share more relief organizations and helpful information with the whole community. We will keep our special Katrina forums up until the last pet is reunited with its family. http://www.dogster.com/forums/?t=82904

Since this is now a national problem, you can also call any local SPCA or most any animal shelter and just ask... "What can I do to help?" Chances are there is something you can do in your home town right now that will help heal this tremendous wound.

Sincere thanks for all you have done and all you will do. We're lucky to have you as members!

Thank you and may all animals be happy and safe,

Ted, John & Steven
Dogster, for the love of dog!
http://www.dogster.com

Happy Thursday! I'm running on about 20 hours sleep for the entire week but as of 5:00 today I am a free woman (for 5 days). Tonight is my Friday and although I could stay home and get some quality sleep to rest up for tomorrow's house closing - I think I need to hit the rockin' (corporate) party city of Stamford one more time before we bid adieu to it as our hometown. Cheers!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Free Speech it aint

Living in NYC you run across people with loudspeakers on a regular basis talking about how the world is going to end soon, how there were beautiful girls inside a particular Times Square venue, and in Union Square there are regular protests for everything from taxes to animal rights and I know that most of these people don't have permits. So, when I ran across the news story that New York City Police arrested a Cindy Sheehan event organizer and cut short her Union Square (hence the name) speech because she didn't have a permit to use the loud speaker, I have to wonder, what is happening to our freedoms. Living in NY you learn fast that you're going to be exposed to, well, everything. Everything you love and everything you hate is going to be in your face whether you like it or not so you just get used to it. Sometimes you stop to listen in on these events and other times, you just keep on walking... So, if Cindy Sheehan can't make her point, who can? NYPD used to look the other way on stuff like this but if they are abiding by the rules... when will they start arresting people at candlelight vigils that are often held there - I mean, that's having an open flame, right?

Monday, September 19, 2005

Organic carpet?

One of the first things to do once we take posession of our new home on Friday is get some carpet (runner) installed on the stairs. If you've ever seen a bulldog go down stairs, you would understand why. Betty's center of gravity is in her neck so basically, in order to go downstairs, she falls and catches herself with each step. It is not graceful. In addition to wanting to assist her, leaving the stairs wood means that she could scratch them up in a matter of weeks. My point of all of this is that if I'm going to be painting with organic paints it seems silly to bring in toxic padding and carpeting. Is there an organic carpet company that does installations? I've considered sisal but am told that it can be slippery so it isn't advisable for stairs. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

It's a small world after all

After a weekend of packing and having to wake up early for a 'first thing' meeting, I woke at 4:00am realizing that my life has become very small. It occured to me that aside from day trips or weekends in the city, I haven't taken a vacation all year! We've been so focused on the house, learning my job, etc. I've completely left myself somewhere...back... there (pointing behind me). It is during these times where I lose myself in the present that I start to get stressed out and default to my astrological sign, the crab - I just want to hide in my shell until things are safe. That time never really comes on its own so I need to make it happen. From this vantage point, it is easy to see how people become narrow minded. If you don't allow yourself to be exposed to new, different and slightly uncomfortable experiences, you're playing it too safe. This isn't only applicable to me though, I sense our president, for example, although he travels heavily, doesn't like to have new experiences. The same could be said for our (new) friends in North Korea or anywhere else in the world people are surrounded by like minded people. It's a slippery slope.

The world isn't going to stop if I'm in my shell or not so I may as well get out there and catch a current to something new.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Yeah, we're packing.

Not Texas style... we are literally packing today. What a process. If you want to come over and help, let me know. We'll take you out for pizza or wings afterward.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Cheers! It's Friday!
Paul just handed me a shot of J├Ągermeister... quality stuff that I enjoy when I want to black out (just kidding, Mom). We're toasting to the end of a very busy week and a weekend of packing and commissioning at church. So, Jaeger always gets me in trouble (read: fearless) and reminds me of my life long friend, Cheryl and I going to see Chris Isaak in Seattle 5 years ago. We started out at a dive bar across from the theater and somehow started talking with 4 guys that were going to the show too. We order a few rounds, we're laughing and we somehow end up in the front row of the show pissing off lots of girls in low cut tops. We were dancing and having a great time when one of the guys picked me up and handed me to the bass player that was reaching out for me. Strangely enough I had my Courtney Cox moment dancing with Chris and the band. No, I didn't dance that poorly (I hope). They seem like nice enough guys that are just playing the music they love. I pulled up my friend Cheryl and soon after, others joined the stage. Twas a strange evening especially considering that although he seems like a cool guy, I'm not a big fan of his music.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Has there ever been a better reason to go to London than the fact that more ales are being produced now then ever(okay, since 1971)? If only we weren't in the middle of a house closing. Drat.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Hey girlfriend, stop before you eat that organic apple and take off that toxic lipgloss!

Do you know that the products that you use to scrub and scour your face and slather on your body do not require FDA approval? It is up to individual companies to monitor what they put into their products but more often, cosmetic companies focus on marketing and packaging to sell an image. Makeup is all about fantasy, right? It is about projecting a highlighted image of yourself to the world. Cosmetic companies know that and lead spoon feed it to us. Now, I'm the first to admit I've (over) spent a bundle on high end makeup because it is fun (and a fun part of being a girl) but there is an alternative. Check out cosmetics from your local health food store - the display might not be as inviting but the reality is, mocha brown is mocha brown. There are two companies that stand out as the leaders in high end beauty products: Aveda and Origins. They not only care about your skin but they also respect animals and refuse to test on them (by the way, that incredible Pantene hair care line is not only a huge chemical offender but they also do a lot of testing on animals!) Aside from that, try boutique product lines or old European style products that stick to their old world recipe and have incredibly hip packaging. One of my favorite stores was Merz, in Chicago's Lincoln Square, they are online and in the last two years, opened a branch in the Loop inside Marshall Fields. AMAZING product lines and very fun. Guys, don't fret, you may not find Steel-Breeze-Suck-Your-Body-Dry-Antipersperant but there are some great natural shave creams and deodorants. Give it a try.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

What about your Seventh Generation?

While I was cleaning the shower (with baking soda) today, I was wondering about the environmental impact of Hurricane Katrina on the planet. Then it hit me, the waste that you and I produce on a daily basis must far outweigh the impact of such a natural disaster. When you go to the grocery store, do you say 'plastic' when asked (most stores don't even ask these days) because they are easier to handle than paper? Do you know that these bags aren't recycleable and there are warehouses filled with 'returned' bags and stores are holding them until someone figures out what to do with them? Countries such as Ireland, India, Germany and Kenya are starting to ban them for this reason. I carry 2 canvas and one European style 'net' bag when I go to the grocery store. In Seattle, the grocers always knew what to do with them and even gave me a .10 cent discount per bag. It's not much but at least they were recognizing my effort. Out here on the east coast, I have literally had baggers put the groceries in plastic bags and then in my canvas bag. Most often, they look at the bags searching for a bar code and ask if I want to buy them. So, what if more people used canvas bags? What if grocery stores really encouraged people to use them? The average plastic grocery bag that you use for 1 hour, will last 1000 years, a canvas bag is cotton or hemp so it will last you a good 10-20 years of use. Think about how many bags you could save from a landfill. Better yet, just as the Native American philosophy goes, think of the everyday choices that you make and the impact it will have on the next seven generations. Why not spend $10 and be proactive? Your kids(7) will thank you.

While you have your Sunday morning coffee and before you open the paper, please take a moment of silence to reflect on 9/11.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Hey, it is Friday which means it's open iPod night

Things have been busier than normal lately and tonight kicks off the start of our move which is happening on the 23rd!!! We're spending this weekend packing. SWEET. Yeah, we're really looking forward to it. So, I'm planning on heading home, pulling on the jeans, Birkinstocks and cracking open a bottle of Hen's Tooth cask conditioned ale and making some sweet potato fries to dip in dijon mustard. I'm not sure of the music that we will be playing but I'm kind of in the mood to keep it simple and listen to Tom Petty. That is unless you can suggest something more appropriate to play...?

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Now, I'm not trying to, excuse the pun, beat a dead horse, but the animals of New Orleans need serious help. Please consider donating, volunteering to provide foster care to the animals that will be dispersed throughout the country or if you have experience handling animals, volunteering time to transport the hundreds of animals being shipped out of the area. From what I've read, the ASPCA is doing a good job at feeding and helping the animals in need. Please consider helping in some way. PETA is also involved and can provide some great information, stories and letter templates to send out to your government officials but if you're not vegetarian, be warned, they don't hold back.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Workin' with da' Youts (part two)

Tonight we met up with the two other people that are going to be part of the youth group organizers. We will have two Sundays each month for one and a half hours for each session to meet with the group of an estimated 8-15 kids. I have NEVER done anything like this and like I confessed during my initial meeting, I ran from any form of organized religion when I was in junior high and high school. But sometimes my friends brought me along. The churches scared the shit out of me. These are kids that are from reasonably balanced worlds that I could not relate to and I always felt that people could see right through me and 'knew' that I didn't know anything about the world. Crazy, isn't it? So, here I am an adult that has been asked to be someone that won't preach but will just be there to invite the kids to open their minds to the world. Our goal is to have them to know that they may leave religion or explore other faiths as young adults and if they want to come back, the congregation will welcome them. We to make sure they know that being Christian means not judging anyone for their own religious beliefs and the worlds religions are full of similiar messages of love and faith. Our pastor David said it best tonight. He said we can learn from the beauty of all of the other religions, they all have something to offer... They're all good except for the ones that ask you to fly planes into buildings.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Got good news?

Today is not only the day after Labor Day and the unofficial end of summer but a day where I felt like anything that I've allowed to fall through the cracks has reared its ugly head and slapped me in the face. Add to this news out of New Orleans, an uncle with mere days left to his life and I'm in need of something positive. Dogs in cars usually works well but today I am looking for something more. I need a true life story about a reunited family (including pets), a politician being honest, or a baby being born. Got good news? Bring it on!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Yearn like a teenager in love

As my sunburned husband is in the kitchen making me a mojito, we're listening to Interpol and I can't help but think that Turn on The Bright Lights is the best album released in the last 10 years. It is this incredible sound that makes me feel completely yearning for something yet full of emotion. We started listening to them in 2002 after we moved to Chicago and saw them live there in early 2003 they were a bit too tight but I'm hoping the more they tour, the more loose and comfortable with the audience they will become. I suppose it is an organic process for musicians to learn how to play live. If you're a pot head, you should love this music and if you're like me, a sucker for music that moves you, you'll love it. It moves me in a way that is similiar to jazz or for some people, the opera. You just have to listen to it and you're there with the band on a nasty old couch drinking cheap liquor and under dark lights. If you're from New York, NYC will touch you.

Politics Schmolotics

I don't like to get political on my blog but this does relate to my earlier posts of New Orleans and what is happening in the Gulf States... may God help us if that size 7 isn't in stock because you DON'T want to see Nazi Condi when she's mad.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Sorry we can't respond to your post right now... 'cause we are at the US Open!!!

Watch for us on TV... in the grandstand. We are putting the hairy week behind us and thinking about tennis for today. Have a wonderful start to your Labor Day Weekend.

Friday, September 02, 2005

How strange it is that I cannot eat blackbeans or onions without getting 'itchy' yet my body is totally happy if I have a bologna, cheddar and mustard sandwich. The body is a crazy vessel.

Bring Home the Troops... To Help Clean Up New Orleans!

I hope and pray that by the time I wake up tomorrow morning, there will be a glimpse of recovery in NOLA. From the sounds of things, food and water is starting to reach people at the Superdome. It is a start. It is interesting that although our thoughts are rightly with helping the refugees and cleaning up the city, many of the worlds people are offering help but also giving the President an "I told you so". But Bushie does what Bushie wants to do despite the fact that just because we've staked our claim on this land doesn't mean we're not all children of the planet and bare some responsibility to its health.
God help us if anything else should happen in the next few months that should require emergency personnel anywhere else in the country.

The BIG Mess in the Big Easy

The people left behind in NOLA are truly Americas poor, Americas weak and Americas hungry. There are 'thugs' that are corrupt, only because they never knew they had an alternative. The victims of Katrina have become victims of their brothers - people from their own neighborhoods and their own streets. The poor are stealing from the poor. It is completely tragic what is happening and I pray that there is some peaceful resolution for these people and know it is a long shot. This is about being an American and realizing that we've looked the other way for too long. There are open wounds in every city and it just so happens, salt is being rubbed into NOLAs. I hope that I and other people watching this event unfold from afar can figure out a way to make a positive change to correct the imbalance.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

WE ARE IN!!!

The little house in the middle of the street is going to be ours... we're so excited!