Sunday, March 30, 2008

An hour of darkness.

Sydney started this trend a year ago. Trying to spark some interest in the green movement this city, in conjunction with the World Wildlife Fund, turned off their lights for just an hour. Resulting in a 10.2% energy reduction. Maybe numbers do nothing for you. This picture might make a bigger impact.
I have been to Sydney a few times and think the city has a magical charm. It may be because I experienced my first Olympic Games there. Those two weeks, in 2000, I was riding a natural sport-induced high that made everything sparkle....but it could have just been the lights! Look at the way the lights reflect off the cloud cover illuminating the whole area!

This year cities across the globe participated along with Sydney. Creating a tidal wave of darkness that crept across the world for a day. I wish I had been up north to see them turn the lights off on the Golden Gate Bridge. Hopefully I can catch it next year. :)

Here in Long Beach, my apartment remained dark. No lights. Not even for my roommate's boyfriend who wanted to take a shower after getting to our house after work. Hee hee.

After spending time in the dark for an hour, I am far more conscious of extraneous lights than I was before. You really don't need many. My parents have been aware of light usage since I was little. They would go around reprimanding us for leaving lights on. Even now when I go home, I often I think they are not home, only to find them watching TV with not a single light on in the house. I think they mainly wanted to save some cash for the family when I was a kid, but they were also ingraining in me the hippie vibe I carry around now as an adult.

I have jumped on the Green Train. I have bought a Prius, which was expensive but I believe worth it. My team and I recycle the plastic water bottles we use at practice. And now I use a lot less light at home. Leaving fewer carbon footprints every day......

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Earth Hour

Help save our earth! Participate in Earth Hour tonight. Just sixty minutes. Turn off your lights.
It is easy and free.

Click here for more info.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


There were two things I was hoping to see on our trip to China this week. And I have seen them both!

1.Blue sky.
It does exist here! The day we flew in I was expecting haze, and smog far worse than LA. We exited the airport to find a light breeze, blue sky with little fluffy white clouds, and a clear view of the surrounding city scape. As far as first immpressions go this was first rate. 

First observations from the bus were that while things are definetly still under construction here, it looks like the Chinese are well on their way to getting things in order for the Games. There are so many freshly potted trees and plants lining the higway and streets on the route from the airport. Thousands of baby plants are being protected and reinforced by sticks and netting. Just to make sure they make it through their first few months and are still growing come August. Could this be the reason the sky was so clear? All those plants pumping oxygen into the Beijing air has to help....but not enough to make it this nice. 

It has been two days since we got here and the air quality has not stayed as pristine as the day we flew in. :( Today in the bus on the way to practice there was 10 times the traffice we experienced yesterday.....Ah! Today is a Monday. Back to work for everyone. Which means the factories were closed two days ago for the weekend and no one was driving. That definetely made a difference in the air. Some are now taking pictures everyday to mark how much worse the air gets every day. I have a feeling by Friday we will not be able to see the building across the street.

2.The Great Wall of China
Is truely impressive. The section we saw was in the Juyongguan Pass. It was about an hour outside of Beijing. We had an hour to climb as far up the steps as we wanted and explore the watch towers situated every so often along the wall. I think a really cool trip would be to back pack and hike the entire length of the wall. But I think the Chinese governement may throw you in jail for such things.

Pictures to follow....I didn't bring the cord to upload them to my computer!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Its WAR!

In Novemeber, during a spectacular session of retail therapy at Target I brought home a beautiful $12 piece of floral flare for the front porch. Coming home to a drab cement wall was not boding well for the chi and I though this little number was just what we needed.

It was dark when I got home. I put the plant on the cement wall just outside our door while I took all the rest, of my probably unnessesary (you know how that $1 ailse can suck you in) purchases, inside. I came back out and saw there was a tag sticking out of the side of the plastic pot which was totally unsightly. Thinking the pot would be more substantial than it was, I tugged hard on the tag to break it off. Being that the pot turned out to be very flimsy plastic and I am SO strong, the backlash force as the tag broke free sent the pot over the cement wall falling 5 ft to the grass below. OOOPS! Looking down on it from above all I could see was dirt everywhere, plant parts in dissaray, and the stupid plastic pot sitting on top of it all. 

In my training induced brain retardation it had taken me a good 20 minutes to pick out just that plant from all its friends in the garden center. I had picked it because it had the biggest and brightest red flower in the center of the pot. And that was now at the bottom of a big ol mess. I ran down there, and in the dark, scooped up the dirt and shoved the plant parts back in the pot. The next morning when I could see my hurried handywork, I realized that I hadn't done that bad a job at repotting the plant....but that beautiful big red flower in the center......was broken off where the stem met the plant. I vowed that this poor plant had had enough trama in its short stay at my house and I would do whatever I needed to help it flourish.

With regular grooming and lots of water it has done just that.....thus becoming a healthy plant beacon in our front yard. Which has attracted EVERY snail in the Long Beach area. They have taken up residence in my plant, feasting on it at will. Every morning I will check underneath all those pretty flowers and find at least six! At first I was nice to them, simply taking them out and dropping them the five feet to the grass below. I naively thought it would take them a long time to make their way back to the pot. HA! The next morning they would be back! Little poopers! Now I throw them into the yard next door. And one bounced off the neighbor's steps and bounced into the street. Maybe that will teach the darn gastropods to invade my plant.

I think I felt bad for the snails at first because I thought they did something good. If they had at least ONE redeeming quality, I still may. But no. I read up on them and they are just slimey, eat plants, and destroy gardens. 

If there are a few casulaties of war as I throw them FAR away from my plants....well, it happens. Anyone have any other good strategies for ridding plants of snails....that aren't poisonous chemicals? Do tell green thumbs out there.