11 February 2015

Therapeutic Glass Recycling

Today I finally delivered the glass bottles and jars that have been rolling around in my trunk to the recycling center near my home. Some of you are lucky enough to have curbside recycle pickup. My town offers "blue bag" pickup, but not for glass and styrofoam. I know. Some of you are saying "That's too much trouble", but suspend your skepticism until I submit a wonderfully unexpected benefit of  personal glass recycling.

Of course, recycling is nothing new. Glass from Byzantine imperial times (4th century) was recycled and used in mosaic creations. During pre-industrial times "reusing" was commonplace. As it became easier and cheaper to produce goods, it also became easier (and sometimes cheaper) to throw things away. Recycling became BIG during WWII because of material shortages. Afterwards, "landfilling" became a cheap way to dispose of trash. The environmental movement began in the 1960s and 70s, and Gary Anderson designed the first recycle symbol, which is universally recognized today.


If you're still reading, I'll bet you're ready to hear why I find it worthwhile to gather and rinse all my glass bottles and jars, haul them to the recycling center and sort them into overflowing Green glass only, Brown glass only and Clear glass only receptacles. First of all, I've slowly become more aware of the impact that recycling can make on the environment my grandson will inhabit.

Recycled glass can be back on store shelves within 30 days; or it can be "downcycled" into
fiberglass or other products --see http://www.earth911.com/earth-watch/truth-about-glass-recycling/
The kind of bins at the recycling center behind our neighorhood fire station
(Goodwill also has a truck there and workers will help you recycle or sort-and-dump other items).
Ok, here it is! Why do I recycle my household glass? I find it great fun to have permission to throw things with the express intention of breaking them! There's nothing quite like the melodic clinking-tinkling-cracking-smashing-crashing-shattering song and hollow clanging echoes from the metal bin walls as I wind up for the next pitch and the next and the next. If that doesn't inspire you to recycle your glass, I hope you'll choose upcycling glass over creating mountains out of landfills. For now, I'd rather just improve my mental health by throwing it in the big metal bin.
about half of all glass ends up in landfills
UPCYCLING! glass bottle dragonflies

UPCYCLING! mosaics

UPCYCLING! chandeliers, candleholders
UPCYCLING! Garden path and flower bed border

04 November 2014

What's Missing?

 On Saturday I took down my Halloween decorations. That sounds funny to my ear since I used to avoid Halloween. For most, the holiday is all about candy and costumes and decorations. I've tried to become a good sport about it. After all, I have a seven year old grandson.  People need to have something to look forward to, so TRICK OR TREAT night has become a major holiday for retailers (#2 I've heard).
As I was saying, I put away my pumpkin door decoration and Mickey Mouse (vampire) talking candy bowl and got out my Thanksgiving decor . . . a fun couch pillow with a felt turkey; a tin turkey on the mantle--my favorite done with chalk paint; a tray with a harvest pumpkin and our tradition, a jar of candy corns (still there from Halloween); another turkey candle and mini harvest salt shakers; a straw turkey--actually two straw turkey's (the grass woven one was my mom's); Publix Pilgrim salt shakers and a pumpkin shaped candle as a table centerpiece. It seems like something is missing.

Oh yeah. My fall door wreath has returned and I changed out my Halloween garden flag with a Thanksgiving one . . . that should about cover it. Hmm  . . .
 Oh! I'm in charge of ordering the turkey this year . . . still, is something missing?
Now I remember . . . 70% of those surveyed said they wish retailers would wait to put up Christmas decorations and play "holiday" music until after Thanksgiving. Why don't they listen to us? Perhaps it's because we can't stop long enough to consider exactly what we are thankful for and to whom we are thankful. Don't wait until Thanksgiving Day [hoping to] feel thankful. If you're like me, or the host of Thanksgiving dinner, that warm thankful feeling is probably in the oven.  So . . . I'm going to spend the next 21 days enjoying my fun Thanksgiving decorations, and using them as reminders to actually write down the (many, MANY I'm sure) things I have to thank God for. Will you join me?
(That's what was missing).

08 September 2014

Bad Attitude: The Wonder of "The Taj"

Some people just don't value wonder like they should. My husband is in India for the third time, and was not excited when his team added an extra day to visit the Taj Mahal

"But it's one of the seven wonders of the world!" I declared, as if he didn't know anything.

"I guess I have a bad attitude" he conceded. "It's a four hour drive right after flying eighteen hours" (not counting layovers between the three flights).

"You have to go, as long as you're in the neighborhood," I encouraged. "Most people never get to see any of the seven wonders . . ."

At the time, I didn't realize that the Taj Mahal is actually not one of the original seven wonders of the ancient world. Most of those no longer exist, according to National Geographic Kids.

"The Taj" as it is called by those really in the know, was one of the New Seven Wonders winners in 2000, at the change of the millennium. It was #7 on the list.

When is the last time you saw something that made you feel admiration, amazement or awe? What place would you add to the New7Wonders list? It could be a spot in your own neighborhood. In my opinion, one can find wonder just about anywhere. Don't tell my husband. He already has a bad attitude.

1. Giza Necropolis (Egypt)
2. Great Wall of China (China)
3. Petra (Jordan)
4. Colosseum (Italy)
5. Chichn Itza (Mexico)
6. Machu Picchu (Peru)
7. Taj Mahal (India)
8. Christ the Redeemer (Brazil)

Admit it. You LOVED it!

27 August 2014

My Horse, Patches

1963 YMCA Camp at Estes Park Map  "Blithedale" (8:00), Livery (4:00)

When I was seven years old, my parents, my two sisters and my grandparents set out in two blue Chevrolet sedans for a long road trip from Texas to Colorado. We were headed for the YMCA of the Rockies at Estes Park which has access to hiking, birding, back country camping, horseback riding and fishing in Rocky Mountain National Park’s Moraine Park. I've always remembered our trip as the perfect vacation. I still have a little charm bracelet that memorializes our passage through Texas, Santa Fe, Wyoming and Colorado. Wait a minute. I don't remember being in Wyoming...

Well, I definitely remember the fun of switching cars and getting to sit between Honey and Papa on the front bench seat so cold air could blow right on my face (before seat belts and booster seats). I also remember our hike up to Bear Lake, where there was snow, even in mid-summer. As we were leaving there, I smashed my big toe in the car door and it was a bloody mess. My silly grandmother tried unsuccessfully to comfort me by making up a rhyme: "To Bear Lake, to Bear Lake, to see all the snow; home again, home again with a busted toe."

My strongest recollection is that of my horse, Patches. I've often recounted that every day I would ride the beautiful paint horse on the mountain trails. The reality is that I only rode Patches two or three times at most. And looking at the "Corral" on the map above, it might have been in one big circle!

Recently I heard Daniel Kahneman's TED talk, "The Riddle of Experience versus Memory" as it applies to happiness. He shared his research on the "experiencing self" (what is actually happening in the present), and the "remembering self," (the storyteller reconstructing the tiny bits actually recalled). I will concede that my memory of those actual experiences may be in question, but the well-being I feel when reflecting on that vacation is priceless, especially having my very own horse, Patches.

The best vacation ever as I remember it
My parents' brand new car as they remember it

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