Sunday, August 31, 2008

Rita, Katrina, and the Santa Maria...

In case you've been living under a rock for the last week (which I have been known to do for more than a few weeks at a time), you're aware of these two things: 1. McCain picked a woman for his Vice Presidential candidate and 2. Hurricane Gustav is about to pummel, or has already pummeled, the Gulf Coast.

I've been watching this Gustav business pretty closely, as my parents and younger sister were among the two million people stranded on the Texas road-way system about this time of year in 2005. I don't think folks realize what a 'crap shoot' that whole operation really was--basically, people couldn't evacuate if they wanted to. It took the fam fifteen hours to get to Austin, normally a four hour trip. Crazy, folks. The greatest evacuation in Texas history was a complete and utter failure. Not good.

Even though I'm grateful that the home of my childhood is gonna make it through this one, my heart breaks for New Orleans because they're getting it again. And here's the thing: the Gulf keeps getting warmer each year that we shirk our responsibility to protect the environment, which means these storms will just keep getting bigger. And bigger. And bigger. You can only dodge so many bullets. Which Gulf-coastal city will get hit next? Houston, we very well may have a problem... (BTW, check out Mimi Swartz's article "How Green is My Bayou" in Texas Monthly about Houston's efforts to go green...let's keep the trend going Houstonians!)

I'm not trying to preach, folks, it's not my nature. But Lord knows we're all guilty. But it's not about left-right, North-South, Red-Blue, it's just about taking care of this pretty little planet so we can hang out on it a few more years. What's to debate about that? I don't want to go all coffee-house on you but c'mon, guys! PARK that Hummer!

On that note, who's a little freaked about this Sarah Palin move? Tricky, McCain, tricky. I'm not sure who's scarier: Hillary or Palin. Yikes! Discuss... (Or if you're already sick of it, don't discuss. Whatev.)

Celebrity Sightings in Cotati, CA (Pop. 14)

I've recently made a life-altering discovery: the eggs benedict at Redwood Cafe in Cotati, CA. Perfectly soft-poached eggs, thick-sliced ham, crunchy homefries. Delish. Redwood Cafe is a pretty hip little spot that my husband scouted (by 'hip' I mean cool AND hippie, folks). Huge menu, free wireless, good coffee and good food. It's my new little spot. (See, in every town I live in, I have to find a little spot. Past hang outs include: The Monument Cafe in Georgetown, TX; Perico's in San Antonio, TX, Hallie's Diner in Petaluma, CA. Check 'em out.)

One of my fave things about California is that you never know WHAT you're gonna see even in a teensy, weensy little town like Cotati. For example, a bum clown couple carrying hula hoops and wigs at 10 am on a Sunday. True story, folks. That's what the hubby and me watched over a plate of eggs benedict last weekend at Redwood. As if I could make that up.

So this morning, this very Sunday morning over brunch, what do John and I see at our beloved little cafe? A scroungy, un-imposing little man that seemed to catch our eyes because of his unmistakeable familiarity. Scraggly hair, combat boots, a Berkeley t-shirt, a French beret. Just another fellow patron enjoying his breakfast and conversation. A little too cavalier and cool to be a bum, even though he was kinda dressed like one. All I could think was, "He kinda looks like that guy from Erin Brockovich." And Silence of the Lambs. And Philadelphia.

After some intensive Google-ing, we find out that it's this guy:

Yeah! You know who I'm talking about now, don't ya! THAT guy. He's in pretty much every movie ever. And I shared an outdoor dining space with him just this very morning. No, we didn't introduce ourselves as I was adamant that we should allow him to enjoy his breakfast sans interruptions. John fervently disagreed. Now I'm not sure which one of us gets to be right on this one. What would you do, folks?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My Carbon Footprint and Texas Monthly

I recently calculated my carbon footprint. I did so with a smug grin on my face, knowing how below average it was sure to be. I mean how could it not? I recycle. I just made the move to working from home so now I don't even have a daily commute. I turn off my lights and don't have air conditioning and eat organic, locally grown food. I support environmental awareness! I don't even own a printer for goodness sakes. I'm one of the good guys! El-wrong-o.

When my CF was revealed, I was devastated. Two full tonnes over the national average. I thought surely there had been a mistake. Nay, no mistake here. Apparently I am an environmental mercenary.

In my humble defense, it was clear what lifestyle choices sent my score soaring. Confession: my husband and I bought a car last year and my vehicle of choice was a 2000 Jeep Cherokee with a V8 engine and four wheel drive. Don't worry, I'm regretting it now as it's costing $92 every time I fill up. I've repented my sins. However, the real culprit was shocking: my 3-4 round trip airplane trips to Texas. Truthfully, without this unavoidable necessity, my footprint WOULD have been below average. But NEWSFLASH! Air travel wreaks havoc on the environment.

I can honestly say that I had NO idea. But now I do. And it just motivates me to work really hard to counter act the effects of the occasional trips to the airport that I'm afraid I cannot eliminate.

I calculated my carbon footprint at this pretty cool website. The coolest thing about it is that it has TONNES of suggestions for reducing your carbon footprint. You can make commitments on the site as to which steps you're going to take and when. Accountability, folks!

On the topic of environmentalism, you folks ever pick up a copy of Texas Monthly? I know it has Texas in the title but don't judge. It's one of my faves. In this month's issue:

Jim Atkinson goes to the dark side and tells readers to stop hyperventilating about the environmental crisis and just do something about it in "Trash Talk." It's a hoot, folks. And if you kinda want to learn how to compost, look no further. A Texan talking about recycling? Believe it.

Monday, August 18, 2008

I'm BACK and Ginny Woolf

I do feel a little bit guilty as I have not been very attentive to this here blog. I haven't been attending to its basic needs which are...posts. A blog just isn't a blog without posts. But the time has finally arrived and I am now--officially--free of the day job shennanigans. I work when I want with the people I want where I want. There's not much to complain about these days and I should have plenty of time for postings. Awesome.

One of the coolest things about working from home is that you get to have a home office. You also get tons of tax benefits, but they pale in comparison to the excitement of the home office. See, my first day on the job wasn't very productive, mostly because my office was a ghastly mess and I couldn't even begin to think in there. With that, I temporarily had to share work spaces with my husband. After a day of zero--and I do mean ZERO--productivity, I knew that this 'work' could not continue until I had a room of my own that even Virginia Woolf would be proud of.

"A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction," that's what she said. Well, I'm not writing fiction...yet, but I am writing and these days, my home office is my favorite room in the house. In the last five days, I've spent almost 100% of my waking time in this room. Yeah, I love it. And I actually look forward to working because it means I get to be in my ultra-cool space.

In this room, I get to cram all of my coolest Craigslist finds. (Aside: I will never, ever, ever buy brand new furniture. It's over-priced and it doesn't have near the character that my 'garage sale' pieces have. Plus, recycling furniture is a fun and creative way to live green.) For example, my gold velour wing chair with about a million tufts that I bought from a newly-divorced gal in Cotati for $35. Or my gold-leaf, Italianate nesting tables that I got at Skip Domingo's Auction for $10. Or my two ultra-chic, fire engine red, flow form chairs that I've paired with the Duncan Fyfe-esque drop leaf table, er, desk that I bought for $30 dollars from a gal in Santa Rosa as she was getting ready to move to the Big Apple. My husband calls it clash-tastic, I call it eclectic.

Don't work from home but still kind of want your 'own room' to do artsy fartsy stuff like knit, paint, write, make collages from old Vogue issues, or--Heaven forbid--scrap book? Associate editor Amy Shearn for has some great tips for making your own creative space and gives all the necessary props to Ginny for thinking of the idea in the first place. (This website/magazine ROCKS, guys. It's where I found inspiration for my own room. Check it out!)

Pretty cool, huh? By the way, if anybody spies an original Saarinen tulip chair like the one in the picture and/or an original tulip dining table for a reasonable price on SF Bay Area Craigslist, holler at me. Happy space-making!