Thursday, August 30, 2007

Still Rain!??!?

While this is the subtropics, it's an area that doesn't get much rain usually. In fact, for the last 2 years rain was almost enough to shut down the city. Now? It rains every single day and rains enough that the water backs up in the streets. Life no longer stops, we just muddle through.

The rain has perfected its timing, too. It waited until I was 2 blocks from home (walking to the school) to start raining. Too far to really want to turn back and get in the car to park 3 blocks (or more) from the school. But had I known the deluge it was going to turn into? I might have seriously considered driving.

The kids have not yet had a real recess. Hyperion's teacher is a saint, she's keeping it together with a class room full of hyper 7 year olds (her reputation as being THE teacher for high energy kids means that us parents of high energy kids request her) - hyper 7 year olds with very little outlet for their high energy.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Children and Environmentalism

When I first met Mr. Gaia he introduced me to the idea of zero population growth (ZPG) and told me he never planned to have more than 2 kids. I had always thought 4 seemed like a good number, but I agreed with him that our planet was in crisis and we should have only 2 kids.

In my head in the stars view, I was sure that one of my children would be a girl. Ever since I was 7 I've dreamed of the day I'd have my own daughter (why yes, my childhood did suck, why do you ask?). I've planned and accumulated items based on the idea of passing them down to my daughter. I specifically had my mom make my wedding gown in such a way that it would be easily altered so that my future daughter could wear it in her wedding if she chose.

2 children later and I don't have my girl. I love my boys with all my heart, but my heart cries out for a girl. Hyperion has it figured out (he doesn't seem to feel that it in any way reflects on him, thank goodness) and has guessed that when I wish upon a star it's often to have a daughter.

This is where dreams and environmentalism butt heads. I agree intellectually with Mr. Gaia that ZPG is necessary and desireable. I know intellectually that even if we did have another child, it's just as likely to be a boy as a girl. But emotionally? Yeah, it's not so clear.

I would be open to adoption, but Mr. Gaia isn't. He's happy with our current family and feels that it is absolutely complete. I don't feel I can discuss it with him because I knew all along that he only wanted 2 kids. And, of course, with adoption it's still the same crapshoot. You can't say "I want to adopt a girl" and presto! you get a girl. You get what comes. Now there are things you can do to stack the odds in your favor - you can adopt from China, for instance. But adoption is expensive and international adoption is even more expensive, and even then you can't be assured you will have a girl. Plus, you get an older toddler and not a newborn - so formula would have to be used (I can easily relactate, if I spend time with babies I get the tingly let-down feelings and can easily express a few drops). My reluctance to use formula also prevents me from fostering a child (and really, I don't think I could take care of a newborn day and night and then give it back to its parents - which is another issue with domestic adoption).

So a few weeks ago when I was down? This is why. My period comes around and it's a reminder again that there will not be another baby. Ever.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Green TV

Okay, so watching TV isn't exactly green, but watching TV can help you become more green.

Living With Ed just started its second season on HGTV. Mr. Gaia and I love to watch Ed and Rachelle. We occasionally get good ideas for how to live more lightly on Earth from the show.

The Green on Sundance. Different shows every week. Including one that we especially like - It's Not Easy Being Green.

Of course, these shows help us to see just how far we have to go. It provides us with ideas and helps us to see that we aren't all that odd.

I'm happy to report the first day of school went well. Both kids seem to like their teachers and their classmates.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Back to School

It seems that every year there's that one item on the school supply list that you just can't find. This year it's red-checking pencils. We have quite a few red checking pens left over from last year, but no pencils. I refuse to shop at WalMart, so they'll start school with pens. Next time I grocery shop, I'll check their school supply section. I don't hold out great hope for them, though, they had last year's list when I went to look there. I also refuse to pay shipping prices to order something online.

The kids didn't really get any new clothes. My mom bought them some for their birthday and co-worker gave them some hand-me-downs. Their closets are bursting at the seams, so they didn't need anything new. They haven't hit the age where they want to make sure they wear new clothes on the first day of school.

Despite the rain we've been getting (almost daily) I've managed to get the laundry done with just a little bit of dryer usage - to fluff my nice bouses and to take the last edge of dampness off the clothes on the line that hadn't had a chance to finish drying before it rained again. I'd say about 15 minutes of dryer usage. I would think that would have to be less energy usage than an iron.

Tonight we cut Hyperion's hair. It went from a Dorothy Hamill crossed with a pageboy to an extremely short style that he wants to try to spike. I don't know that his hair will spike, it is really, really, really thick and fine. We can try to spike it, but I think he will be disappointed. Oceanus opted to keep his long skater-boy hairstyle.

So, for better or worse, we're back to school tomorrow!

Saturday, August 25, 2007


My alarm went off this morning and I hit snooze. And apparently kept hitting snooze.

At 7:47 I woke up and saw the time. I have to be at work at 8:00. Yeah, the words that came out of my mouth weren't too nice.

I was dressed, made-up and hair reasonably neat by 7:57. Breakfast was McDonald's drive-thru on the way to work (which is where I called and told them I'd be about 5 minutes late depending on traffic). And I was. Which, I think was pretty good. Less than 20 minutes from the time I woke up to the time I was at work. I used to do that when I was in college, but I didn't wear make-up then.

I was discombobulated all day long. I finally got it together about 2:00. What a wasted day!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Bug Hill update

Well, school starts next week. We in Bug Hill have been getting ready (okay, I haven't done diddly squat, but ...). I've been asked to remind everyone that donations of any extra supplies are always welcome. We need to remember that we have a high proportion of low income students who will likely start school without all the needed supplies.

I'm trying to decide whether to cut Hyperion and Oceanus' hair. They both have long hair. Oceanus' looks fine, but Hyperion's is so thick it looks oppressive and heavy. It's also inclined to smell. Technically, long hair is against dress code, but theirs doesn't touch their collars so it's okay for a little while. It's against dress code because "it's distracting". Well, it's only distracting because it's against dress code and somewhat unusual. I imagine the first girl with short hair was distracting, but we got over it. My theory is that if more boys had long hair, it would no longer be distracting. It's the same theory I had about breastfeeding - especially breastfeeding in public. I think I'll keep it trimmed just enough to be above their collar and call it good. Unless, of course, they ask to cut it. Hyperion can't decide if he wants it left alone or not.

I know the preacher's wife is more than ready for school to start. The twins are keeping her so busy - they're just starting to roll over now and they've learned to link rolls to move around the house. She's really going to have her hands full. She plans to send them to school for breakfast as well as lunch - which we all agree is a great idea.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Walking School Bus

The Walking School Bus project is a national project designed to help communities develop a program for walking kids to school.

Around our school we are known as "that weird family that walks". Mr. Gaia walks them to school in the morning and I walk them home in the afternoon. On one occasion last year, I walked with some boys who were walking home.

This year, I want to see if I can spur some other families to start walking. Our neighborhood is actually pretty safe for crossing - the only issue is the occasional train. There are sidewalks (unusual these days) and crosswalks.

So, I'm going to print this information to give to the principal and the PTA president. If you've started or participated in a similar project, let me know!

No hurricane here

We did get some bands of rain, but nothing much. It appears that most of our friends in the Yucatan managed to survive with minimal damage - there was some flooding and water damage, but they'll be open for business in a week or so.

Do continue to remember them, though. Most of them are operating on the edge and a week without business could be crippling.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Waiting for the hurrricane

At this point, we aren't even in the cone, so we should feel safe, right? But it doesn't work that way.

The Red Cross issued a voluntary evacuation for our area, but I doubt most people are leaving. Where will we go? How will we afford to lose time off work and stay in a hotel? Especially if the hurricane actually hits where they project (instead of here)?

So, this is the waiting game. Checking weather underground every few hours to see what the latest projections show. If we evacuate, it will be Tuesday or Wednesday before we leave and really, we won't know until then whether we will or won't.

Do be praying for our friends in the Mayan Riviera. They are pretty much guaranteed a direct hit. They were hit by Emily and Wilma in 2005 and are still recovering from those. If it does hit, there will be a donation link on this site, so if you have any extra, please share.

Friday, August 17, 2007

My wake-up call this morning:

This is what we awakened to at 7am this morning:

Wild Parrots

Turn your sound all the way up to get an idea of what it sounds like from my bedroom window.

(If you know how to add utube video to play without navigating away, please let me know)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Rockin' Girl Blogger

Tanya gave me this Rockin' Girl Blogger award. And now I get to pass it on!!!

Since I can't pass it back to Tanya, she won't be on this list, but that doesn't mean that I don't think she's pretty "Rockin'".

So, without further ado, I present to you my winners (in no particular order):

Grace because she's just too cool. I really want to be like her with her talent with fibers and her science smarts. Seriously, girl has it going on with the science.

Rani for her creativity with clothing and for her great eco-tips. Seriously, if you want to get more green, you should check her out. Plus she just writes well.

Jenny because she is living the green life and is willing to share it with us. She introduced me to Wardrobe Refashion.

Sally because she writes about cool places and she loves cats as much as I do.

An Honorary mention to all the bloggers at Wardrobe Refashion. I'd award them all but there's just too many.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Surprise Father's Day

I'm not sure how we managed it, but we managed to surprise Mr. Gaia. I'm very impressed that both boys were able to keep it to themselves. Of course, I didn't tell them the plan until Friday.

Mr. Gaia had a great day.

I mixed up some bread for the solar oven (finally a sunny day!). Of course, I got distracted and used gluten instead of the softer whole wheat flour (I usually mix 2 different grinds). I realized it when I took it out of the mixer to knead and it was tougher than a brick. Crap!! So, I quickly heated some more water, started mixing another batch - with no gluten this time - and then mixed them together. I'm happy to report the bread is really good, just a tad bit chewy, but a soft chewy. I've got a loaf in the freezer ready to pull out and bake next sunny day.

After we put the bread in the solar oven to cook, we decided to go to some furniture stores. Mr. Gaia and I haven't had a bed in 7 years. We have just had our mattress and foundation sitting on the floor. We also haven't had a dresser or chest of drawers in the same amount of time. I have open wire shelves to hold my clothes. We've decided we'd like to look more grown up. So we went to 3 different furniture stores, but none of them had what we want. We like simple, clean lines. Mission style is always good. We did find a lot that had the simple lines we wanted but the pieces were "Texas sized" and would be overwhelming in our room, not to mention that they would block our windows.

Then we went to Sam's to walk around and have lunch. That reminds me, I have to send an email to corporate. This Sam's never has Dr. Pepper on the weekend, or ice. How freakin' hard would it be to realize that you ALWAYS run out of Dr. Pepper and to order an extra canister? To make it worse, they never post an out of order sign on the machine - so you waste what little ice you can manage to get by having it covered in jet water. Today she told me the sprite and powerade canisters were empty too. None of them had out of order signs. Can you imagine the poor people that thought they got Sprite? At least with a cola you can tell the color is wrong.

Then we came home and the boys played on a Slip 'n Slide. These are so not fair, no one over 100lbs or 5' can play on them. Of course, it is wasteful of water so it's a good thing we aren't in a drought this year.

After they'd played for a while, Mr. Gaia sent them to the shower and mixed pina coladas for us.

Then he opened his gifts - a beer butt chicken cooker and a board game - The Game of Life. When I was a kid, my granny wouldn't let us play games with dice. So my mom bought us this game to take to her house (we still had Monoply, etc at home). Let me tell you, the game has changed since I was a kid. I swear I remember retirement was either rich or poor house, now it's comfortable or rich. It was a fun game to play with the kids and it provided some good teaching moments. Oceanus bought a house when he was a starving artist with a salary of $20,000 per year. He had to take out a bank loan. At the end of the game when he was last, we talked about how much money he had spent to buy his house. Hyperion was in a hurry to finish and kept treating it was race to the end. We'd explain that like real life, longer was better. He came in 2nd last.

I'm in a down mood

Does anyone have anything amusing to share?

I'm sure this mood will pass soon enough and at that point maybe I'll bore you all with the details. But for now, I'd like something amusing to jolly me along.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

I hate cleaning

I just went Mommie Dearest on my kids. Mr. Gaia doesn't think we can assign them chores until he and I (emphasis on the *I* part) are able to set a good example and do the chores we wish to assign regularly.

The fact that I am overwhelmed by a demanding job and the chores I do stay on top of apparently isn't good enough. The fact that he isn't doing much to help, isn't good enough. Until "we" maintain the house and "set a good example" "we" can't assign chores to the kids. Well fuck that.

The kids were gone for Father's Day. I decided to surprise him with a Father's Day tomorrow. I figured part of that would be a nice clean house. But it has become enough of a sty that I can't possibly do it myself. So I assigned the kids some easy tasks - help fold the laundry, put your own laundry away. They are almost 9 and 7 - more than old enough to do these tasks.

I walked into their bedroom and the closet floor is full of clothes. I get it. I did it myself too when my mom said "go clean your room". But I didn't tell them to "clean their room" I told them specifically to put their clothes away. So tantrum #1 of mine.

"We" finally managed to get all the laundry folded and put away, so I went into their room to give them specific instructions about what to clean. See, I learned from my mom - don't give a generic instruction. There were clean sheets on their chest of drawers. I hadn't gotten around to folding them. I specifically said "these are CLEAN" and then said "fold them". I came back by a couple of minutes later and they were on the floor. Again I said "THESE ARE CLEAN!!!!!! KEEP THEM OFF THE DIRTY FLOOR AND FOLD THEM". I did a few more taskes and came back and the sheets were again on the floor but this time they were laying/standing on them. Wallering on them on their dirty fucking floor. I completely lost it then. Tantrum #2. This time they were told that they WOULD start listening to me the first time, period. I told them if I told them something was clean and then came back and found it in the floor, they would be doing all the laundry, by themselves. They will start listening to me.

I don't have high standards for cleaning. Really I don't. But I'm tired of never being able to have someone over. But, I can't do it myself. I don't make the mess myself and damned if I can clean it myself. And "setting a good example" by cleaning up after myself ala FlyLady doesn't do shit in my house. They see me clean up after myself and I swear it becomes a good excuse for them to make an even bigger mess of their own.

No more. Mr. Gaia is going to get with the program and stand back as I assign them chores. I am not the fucking maid. He feels put upon because when the house is cleaned he does do the majority of it (he is 1000x better at cleaning than I am). Well big f'ing deal. If he would just stop telling me that I *can't* assign chores to these two able bodied boys, then we wouldn't have to have marathon cleaning sessions and he wouldn't have to do the majority of the cleaning then.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

I'm really worried for our country

People I trust are starting to agree with me that a depression is inevitable. I've been thinking this for the last 8 years or so, but I am, by nature, a pessimist.

Now, I work in the legal field - doing a mix of foreclosures, probate and estate planning (with a few other things thrown in). I figure my job is fairly secure. Foreclosures will not stop - they're only going to increase. People will continue to die and Wills will need to be probated. People will continue to need Wills, powers of attorney, living wills, etc - and people who don't get them will create even more expensive legal issues.

Mr. Gaia works for the state. I hope that his job is secure. I feel like it is, I figure the worst they will do is freeze any raises, even cost of living increases, and refuse to fill positions as they become vacant.

But I worry about our savings, etc. We've been pretty smart and stuck with credit unions. I feel credit unions will survive even if banks start to fail. Credit unions tend to have more stringent requirements for loans. In fact, in the past we've had difficulty being approved for some loans through our credit unions and we never asked for anything we couldn't afford. But where it is saved won't help if the dollar continues to tank.

This is why, more than anything else, I've been concentrating on becoming more self-sufficient.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Bug Hill update

It occurs to me that I haven't given a Bug Hill update in a while.

Megan is finally in her 2nd trimester, and being the suggestible person she is, she immediately started feeling 100% better. I think she would feel even better if she'd switch to maternity clothes, but I remember wanting to wear my regular clothes as long as possible, so I understand (of course, I was pregnant in the mid to late 90s when clothes were not nearly as fitted as they are now).

It's so stinkin' not, no one is doing much. The city has seen an increase in weed abatement notices. All this rain coupled with all this heat has made the weeds and grass grow 2 feet overnight (or so it seems). No one feels like working in their yards to get rid of the weeds. Whole neighborhoods are having parties to work in their yards and meet the city requirements.

I harvested my first volunteer watermelon. It was pretty small, but the vine had shriveled, so it wasn't going to grow anymore. It tasted about like you'd expect from a volunteer watermelon. It actually tasted a lot like my first watermelon this season. Edible, but really not that good. The second watermelon is a lot larger and the vine is still green and pretty. So there's hope. That vine has a lot of pretty flowers on it, but they apparently aren't getting fertilized - there's no baby watermelons appearing as the blooms die.

All the church kids are back from their various camps. School starts in 2.5 weeks. Parents are scrambling for school supplies and trying to decide if it's worth forking over big bucks for new clothes that the kids won't be able to wear until December (by which time, they will probably have outgrown them).

The local elementary has asked that I remind parents that they always accept donations of extra school supplies. If you can afford to buy an extra package of lined paper, or glue or box of crayons, they will be put to good use.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Paper Beads

I saw a cool piece on Wardrobe Refashion. One of the contributor's used security envelopes to make paper beads. This is a great recycling project and if you look at the patterns on the paper you can see how lovely the beads will look.

So, today while I was at work and sitting on hold, I grabbed my scissors, a security envelope, a glue stick and a large paper clip. I stretched out the paper clip to use as my roller. Then I cut a long triangle out of the envelope. I coated the printed side of the paper with the glue stick and started rolling (this is different - most instructions say to do the backside, but I wanted to do the front and it worked out well). I then wrapped the paper around the paper clip, starting with the wide end. I left one end of the paper clip in a hook shape and made sure the other was bent at a 90 degree angle. I used the hook to hang it over my desk container to dry.

I still need to string them on waste string and figure out what to spray them with to preserve them. I doubt the glue will last long enough to make a wearable item.

When I came home I found some security envelopes with green insides. Yummy! I love green.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Sara has a great post on reducing consumption.

A few years ago someone I know ridiculed recycling as "not worth it environmentally". I agreed that recycling alone won't do it, you really do have to reduce and reuse to make a difference.

Mr. Gaia and I were talking this weekend about how low maintenance I am. I spend very little on clothes, makeup and shoes. I wear things until the wear out and then keep them around with the idea of someday doing something with them.

We're not perfect, but we are working on it. I doubt we'll ever be as minimalist as Sara, but I plan to use her as a role model.

Rani has been working on reducing the number of clothes she has in her possession. Passing clothes on to someone reduces their consumption as well. She's challenged her readers to post a list of clothing they own. I'm working on compiling my list, but I'm embarrassed by it. My only excuse is that a lot of my clothes are really old - like 20 years or more.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Happy August!!

August is a busy month for our family - birthday wise. We have lots of birthdays in August between my family and Mr. Gaia's family.

So this weekend we had a mini-birthday celebration at SeaWorld in San Antonio. I'm sunburned and my legs hurt miserably (I really do need to find a pair of shoes that actually fit my foot, my current ones have the arch in the wrong place for me).

Mr. Gaia decided to make this MY birthday weekend (my birthday is actually in a couple of weeks, but this weekend worked best) so he and the boys gave me my presents this weekend. They were really sweet and I have some fun stuff to mess with. I had hinted for a digital camera but I waffled about it enough that Mr. Gaia decided I didn't really want one. I may buy one myself anyway for my real birthday, if I get some bday money. It would be nice to be able to post pics on the blog.