Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Learning to Drive on my New HHR

In June I traded in my 2003 Subaru Outback for a Chevrolet HHR
My Subaru had been to our mechanic for a serious repair and before that repair could be done the mechanic, a good friend of ours, found another, more serious problem...a head gasket leak......
So...to avoid that costly repair - while I was still making payments on the Subaru, we decided it would be better to just trade it in on a more efficient, new car.
The HHR, while not in the MOST efficent category (most of those are generally unavailable these days - or WAY too costly) is rated at 24 MPG City 30 MPG Highway...and I have been seeing those estimates hit in real life.
I also got a NO interest loan...which made it really affordable...and not only that, but it is COOL too!

And, little did I suspect when we bought this beauty, but she's teaching me how to drive again.
How is this possible when I have been driving since I was 16 1/2? Let me tell you how...
This car - as many of the Chevrolet/GM models do - has a driver information center that gives the driver a whole lot of information...most importantly an INSTANT fuel usage reading and an average fuel usage reading.
I am using the instant readout to learn how to drive more efficiently...and let me tell you that in the 6 weeks I've owned the car my driving has changed signifigantly. One big thing is simply taking my foot OFF of the gas pedal, it's former default position.
When doing that going down a hill the following readout is possible

So, in general I have been averaging 25-27 mpg over all - not terrible when considering the amount of traffic I have to fight if I take the main highway to work...the number of stop lights on the back way to work. On the rare occaision the highway is clear I have averaged more than the advertised 30MPG for the duration of the trip. How do I know this? I reset the Average reading as I pulled onto the highway when I saw it was clear!

True North

Wow! Another post from FoodShed Planet really hit home today.
Finding True North really spoke to me.
Sustainability - Eco-conciousness - there have been so few for so long trying to bring awareness to the myriad issues of what we are doing to the environment & our food supply and what it is doing to ourselves. But it seems that the tide has finally turned.
People who, not 5 years ago would never have been heard talking about "local" or "organic" or even thinking twice about eating another meal from a cardboard box have modified their lives at least a little.

Some use canvas shopping bags - or better yet - homemade bags.
Some hang laundry.
Some mow with a reel mower and muscle power.
Some join CSA's.
Some buy local.
Some drive smaller cars.
Some turn off lights/appliances.
Some use fans instead of air conditioning.

But it is out there in the collective concience now.
Blessed BE!!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Inspiration - Add 2 More

Inspiration comes from many places......
Nature, reading, music, my boys...
Lately a lot of my inspiration has come from bloggers.
My daily favorites being:
FoodShed Planet, Wisdom of the Moon, and Farmgirl Fare.
There are others as well, but I find these three to be a great daily dose of inspiration.

And a couple of nights ago I had a dream which seemed so real that I tried to google the idea that it spoke of.

Pattie of FoodShed Plant, and I have had some dialog about things we have committed to doing being hard, or getting difficult. And it's true. Sustainability and living in an eco-concious way can seem difficult and in fact can be difficult in the certain contexts.

In my dream my idea was to get people "on board" by getting them to Add 2.
Just Add 2 things to your lives that will make a difference.
If you are already doing things to be more sustainable and they have become habit, a part of your life...stretch yourself to Add 2 more. If you haven't started yet, pick 2 things that are doable for you.
You could try re-using your plastic grocery bags/ double them up so they don't tear so quickly and instead of dropping them in the recycle bin on the way into the store, (I know you recycle them :) ) use them again...and again...and again.
Or when you wash your produce you could wash it into a basin or bowl to catch the wash water and re-use the water to water your indoor or outdoor container plants.
Or anything that fits closely with your lifestyle. The idea is to just start somewhere...and then to keep it going.

My current challenge is to find a way to reduce my fuel use. That's one of the Add 2 that I want to focus on next. I need to find people to car-pool with and make a concerted effort to do that. I do already trip-chain and try to shop weekly or bi-weekly instead of daily...but I need to find driving buddys to take it one step farther.

What will your Add 2 be??

Welcome to Chaos!

I've been trying to start this thing for a long time now.
It is very easy to think about what I want to post and get so overwelmed with ideas that I feel I can't get them down.
I've also wanted to bring over my archives from Yahoo360 which went up in smoke almost a year ago now.
It's been easier to segregate my food journal from my garden journal from just life, but I am going to make a concerted effort to get everything in here - including the archives...so this may end up being just another post amid many (I hope)...but at any rate, WELCOME to my home on the web.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mothers Day 2008

Last year a friend emailed me a mother's day greeting that said something like:Happy Mother's Day - you know, that holiday where your family pretends to give you the day off and you pretend to take it.

Well, that's pretty much been my experience up to this year - not to say I didn't do ANY housework today - I still had laundry to do and had to assist with the dinner, but.....
let's start this explanation with yesterday(Saturday). RC has been getting up regularly at 6:30 for several weeks - yesterday was no exception - and it came up in conversation that I said to him he might want to try to "sleep in" on Sunday.
He answered "No Mommy, I need to get up early tomorrow to make you a special breakfast" I really didn't put much thought to that - thinking he probably meant he'd be pouring me a bowl of cereal in the morning....

However, I woke up this morning to rustling noises in the kitchen, then a slamming cabinet dooor...then the smell of coffee...
My 5 yo son RC got up at 6:30 and made the coffee himself - he had "helped" daddy and me make the coffee so many times in the past that he knew just what to do.
He also "prepared" breakfast for everyone. Breakfast was some almonds, yogurt raisins and for daddy and brother ER a whole unpeeled banana each, and for mommy a whole unpeeled grapefruit - "because that's your favorite, Mommy".

After my scrumptious breakfast I got to GO SHOPPING (for my own Mother's Day plants) ALL BY MYSELF and got to pick out exactly what I wanted.
THEN - I got to come home and PLANT THEM!

After supper - which as I mentioned above, I did have to help with...I got to put my boys to bed.

It was the best Mother's Day ever!!!!!!!