I try to be green for a while

One thing that I love about Boulder is that it gets me out of the house, quite literally, and moving. The reason for this is that everything (almost) that we might want to do is within walking distance of where we live, or accessible on a bus route. Now my great fear in this particular post is that I will start sounding like some naive eco-person whose interest in saving the earth comes from a desire to be fashionable as much as it does from a concern for the earth. I am like this sometimes, unfortunately — buying massive amounts of reusable grocery bags, and never bringing them back to the grocery store. Buying, buying — anything with a green or eco label on it.

Another manifestation of this outlook in myself is the long-held and firmly entrenched belief that public transportation is a wonderful way to lower the amount of carbon emissions and other pollutants in our atmosphere — for other people. Therefore, with this post, I am publicly admitting to the beginning of a great experiment for me: we are attempting to spend this month in Boulder without renting a car. At any rate, those things are so very expensive, even if you get a tiny little economy model. You can practically buy a new car for what it would cost to rent one for a month. Besides, Boulder is currently the capital of eco-chic, with lots of convenient bus routes. These have cute names like Hop, Skip and Jump. There are a few more, like, I believe, Boogie down Broadway (a well-traveled street here). They actually go to places that I want to go.

I have no idea if this is the case back in Cincinnati. Yes, I know perfectly well that there is a big public transportation system, all buses though, no subway and not yet a streetcar for downtown. I have no idea if they stop at convenient places, because the closest they come to my house is about a mile away. I know this is unfashionable to say, but I am not walking a mile to get a bus, regardless of how much I save on gas.

I think most people have similar attitudes: I’ll try to be green as long as it doesn’t inconvenience me much. Or at all. This is a great stumbling block for the drive to make us all greener and more energy-efficient. We don’t mind it unless our sacrifice will have a chance of jolting us out of our usual ruts. So, I am determined now to give the bus a try before I run screaming to the car-rental agency.

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Just the sort of morning

It’s just the sort of morning that we all want to spend at home, enjoying. So I spend it inside, typing on a laptop. Green light filters down from all of the trees.

I have to stop looking through Zappo’s for walking shoes, and walk. Walking doesn’t exactly need special outfits. Many of my neighbors might be surprised at such a statement, though. They figure, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth buying a special suit of clothing for.

Lunch downtown with the Librarian, but not at the actual Library.

Powerlessness and power

I must start out this blog post by admitting a thing that might make me either very popular here in Cincinnati, or, possibly, unpopular: we have electrical power at our house.

Ever since Monday’s infamous “deluge” by the remnants of hurricane Ike, with huge windstorms and much power outage, the most common question around here is “Do you have power?”

We came home, slowly but surely, yesterday, to find out that we did have power at our house. We came home slowly because, on Sunday when the windstorm hit, we were in a plane in the region of Knoxville, flying home from Ft. Lauderdale. Thus, since the Cincinnati airport was closed, we were rerouted to Atlanta where, as you saw, we stayed the night.

Further slowness in our arrival was caused by a huge fallen tree totally blocking a street leading to our house. So we had to walk the last quarter mile, dragging suitcases behind us, suitcases whose wheels are now probably permanently embedded with twigs from said tree. Several people stopped their cars to say hi and to welcome us home. Our friend Steve and Peter’s friend Betsy arrived at our house as we did, to help check on things.

Amount of damage: many twigs in yard. Many still-green leaves. Two limbs from giant oak broke, one fallen on our roof, and one still hanging from the tree. Apparently no damage to the roof, not nasty damage anyway.

So here we sit, listening to the not-storm (i.e. quiet) out of our window, with the frequent addition of power saw sounds in the distance.

Words of One Syllable Dept.

So that explains about the food…

FOXNews.com – Experts to Probe Mysterious ‘Little Green Man’ Lights Seen Over London – International News | News of the World | Middle East News | Europe News
UFO experts in England Thursday called for a probe into this summer’s “Little Green Man” sightings — as one was spotted above a TESCO supermarket.

The August change

The local trees, a few of them at any rate, like the buckeyes, which get leaves first and drop them first, are starting to change color a little bit. They are turning a paler green, in preparation for the yellows to come next month.

There is definitely not the uniform lushness of deep green that there was everywhere in June.

I make a point of spending hours outside, sometimes writing, usually not, in order to store up the feelings for winter, when I will only rush out to the porch long enough to get Sophie inside, or to pick up a few more logs for the fire. I want to remember summer as the natural state of things, not winter. With the long, cold spring we had this year, it’s going to be difficult, but I think I’m up to the task.

Blogging more later… must wake up the chihuahua now.

Tuesday happenings

Tuesday happenings are not thick on the ground here. However, we will refrain from describing how the Velcro on our wallet is wearing out, and will point you to some actual thinking being done this morning (while it’s actually still morning).

Sisu helps me figure out Obama’s campaign strategies, and Maggie’s Farm provides me with enough links to keep me thinking the rest of the day.

And, party on, everyone!

Thinking about a sentence

We went to see Atonement today, and it was absolutely wonderful. I suppose I could write about it, but I don’t intend this to be a movie review.

What is important to me now is its subject: no, not “love gone wrong” or “betrayal,” but that of getting the story right, like the Old Briony (portrayed by Vanessa Redgrave) does at the end, in her interview, giving out the last bit of truth.

I want to write a big think fantasy novel, like the ones you see in bookstores with either too much green or too much purple on the covers. Or I want to write an amusing comedy of manners, or I want to write a cozy British murder mystery. But none of this is the sort of thing that can happen, yet. What I have to do is get the real story down on paper (on screen) first.

To that end, I have written A Sentence, that is simple, and staring at me, and infuriating me already. No, you cannot read it yet. I just had to figure out a few things in writing first, and now I must go write some more.

A Monday morning of waiting

Other Patti and I sit here, each waiting for different things and people. I am waiting for the Zoomtown repairman to arrive, whose duty it will be to fix my ADSL connection which has not been connecting for over a month. Good thing I have a cell card for the laptop, I say.

Other Patti waits for our window repairman. We have leaded glass windows on the ground floor. The repairman said he had to special order some screws, and that that would be the reason for his delay. You can special order screws? Who knew? This opens a whole new vista for me, where uncertainty lurks in regions where I didn’t even know there were regions.

Good thing I have a cup of tea to contemplate this all with. Peter got me a great heap of green tea for Christmas, so this morning, I am nourished by my own child.

Hacking my shoes

Yesterday, I got myself two new pairs of shoes. The soles were nice and new, all textured rubber and Vibram and form-fitting. One pair is even totally vegetarian: rubber products and cloth. I didn’t know that you could get vegetarian shoes, but evidently it’s its own category in the shoe world. Maybe my shoe-buying subconscious is trying to go green. I wonder even if there is any proof (probably there is) whether vegetarian shoes require fewer resources than leather shoes.

As I was walking out of the store with big package in hand, I flashed onto a memory of a ritual that my father and I would enact every time that I got new shoes when I was a girl. This was back in the days of the early and mid sixties, when they still made shoes with real leather soles. If you’re too young to remember these, a key fact to remember about your new shoes was that shiny new leather soles were extremely slippery, allowing you to have an embarrassing skid or two even on innocent-seeming rugs.

I would, in this ritual, head to the den and get my new shoes out of their boxes and wrappings, and he would get the pair of scissors from their holder beside the phone in the bar room. With each shoe in turn turned upside down in his hand, he would score the sole up-and-down, crosswise, diagonally from the left, then from the right. Always that order. Then, if the heels were leather too, always the case on those wonderful old leather loafers that I can never quite find any more, the pattern would be repeated on the soles.

This didn’t make a whole great difference to the slipperiness of the shoes, but they got a good head start in getting properly scuffed and textured and, my father hoped, safe.

And this was me and my dad, hacking my shoes. I don’t know if we have real leather soles any more, not if you’re not Manolo Blahnik or the like. Certainly, I wouldn’t take the points of a pair of scissors to Manolos. I have that much sense in my head at least.

So that was just a small bit of memory, and of missing my Dad again. Been a while since I thought of him for a sustained period.