We celebrated Earth Day with Marcel at a library in San Jose, California. He gets quite excited on the subject of Geography, and has since he was 2 years-old. It started with a fascination for maps and globes, and grew to include flags, culture, music, and regional elements. He was invited by the library to set up a Geography booth at an event showcasing an African theater group called Oriki.
As you can see, he really enjoyed the drumming (he's listening closely to the instructor). He learned techniques of drumming with roots in Ghana and Mali; Mali, in West Africa, is credited as the place where the blues originated. The teacher was wonderful, teaching them African words and dance steps. Many of the performers are from Nigeria and told us that the younger generation in their homeland aren't interested in their own folk culture anymore; that they have western leaning values. He expressed sadness over this, as some of that culture - like the drumming - has so much significance in terms of real human interaction. I would surmise: if you don't interact with humans, on a very basic humane level, then you can't be expected to have much mercy for the earth either.
Marcel also had some great interaction at his booth; sharing geographical wisdom and handing out flags to children and adults. It was a sweet and inspiring day.
You may be interested to learn about how much energy is used by our home electronics when we think that they are "off". Check out this article from the BBC: Energy Cost of PCs On Standby.
My mother sent me this lovely image; her garden in Portola, California on Easter Sunday. I post it in memory of Tom Cat who died just before Easter. He is buried in this special place seen in the photo. I give thanks and honor to these superior creatures we call cats. Happy trails Tom.
"Grimm connected the 'Osterhase' (Easter Bunny) and Easter Eggs to the goddess Ostara/Eostre."
"According to Bede (c. 672 - 735), writing in De Tempore Ratione ("On the Reckoning of Time"), Ch. xv, "The English months", the word easter is derived from Eostre, an Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring, to whom the month of Eostremonat, corresponding to our April, was dedicated:
"Eosturmonath has a name which is now translated "Paschal month", and which was once called after a goddess of theirs named Eostre, in whose honour feasts were celebrated in that month. Now they designate that Paschal season by her name, calling the joys of the new rite by the time-honoured name of the old observance."
What is secure in Bede's passage is that the lunar month around the month of April in the Julian Calendar was called the Eostre-monath. And as the Christian tradition of Easter, which has also fallen in April, arrived in some Germanic-speaking regions, the people named the then-unnamed Christian day after the festival, that is, in English as Easter, and in German as Ostern. It is alleged that remnants of Eostre's characteristics can also be found in the Easter Bunny celebrations, based on Jacob Grimm's research into connections between the 'Ostern Hare' and the Germanic Ostara, which he believed to be another name for the same goddess." -- above text from Wikipedia
My tiny bunny, playing hide-and-seek in the living room.
I haven't gotten my menstrual migraine; yet. I'm walking on eggshells, counting my blessings, and crossing my fingers. While I've been in the red, so to speak, I missed being able to post my red colors for Saturday. Here they are...
Here is a photo of a ceramic vent on Monet's house that I took a few years ago.
I said in my last post that I would write about Utopian Neighborhoods, and on this green day I think it's appropriate. A couple of years ago I had an idea about getting together with neighbors and helping them to make a transition to nontoxic home and garden products. Recipes were to be provided on how to make your own pleasant smelling and nonirritating potions. My hope was that other neighborhoods would join in and the idea would spread far and wide. Well, I bowed to unresponsiveness in my Santa Cruz neighborhood. People embraced the "idea" enthusiastically, but when it came to making time in their schedules things fell apart. Was it merely a utopian daydream?
I encourage you to browse the list of Eco-Home Cleaning books in the right-hand sidebar. If you only buy one, I suggest the title pictured above.
One of my favorite recipes for an all purpose cleaner: 2 gallons hot water 2 cups white vinegar (make sure it's made from grains and not petroleum derived alcohols) 10 drops pure essential peppermint oil
Use on linoleum, tiled and wood surfaces, stainless steel sinks, toilet seats, and plastic finishes (such as telephones). Use also for soap rings in the bath or sink, and film on shower walls.
Vinegar is a disinfectant, and peppermint is an antibacterial and antiseptic.
Important note: If you have cats be aware that their livers cannot metabolize the compounds in essential oils and liver damage could result.
Above: a green toy store in Paris.
Happy spring cleaning. Now, I'm going to go listen to Greenday!
I was delighted to find this article on the Marie Claire Maison site showing various small living structures: a treehouse, a yurt, and la roulotte immobile (gypsy caravan) to name a few. There is a company in Saint Remy de Provence, Les Verdines, that refurbishes gypsy wagons and sells them. A page on their site reads, "...Provence, a land bearing the footprints of past gypsies..." The footprints. I've been thinking a lot lately about how big my footprint is - my footprint on the earth. How much physical space do I take up, how many resources do I use up, how big of a dent do I make? April 22nd is Earthday. It seems such an absurd notion. Like Mother's Day - one day to honor them - and then what? For the rest of the year go back to taking them for granted?
April is also Use What You Have Month. The gypsies knew how to do this. Yes. I will make the effort. I will say that when I do need something "new", like a pair of pants, a lamp, sheets, etc., I go to a thrift store. There is so much excess across the globe that if all manufacturing ceased today we would have enough stuff to last for generations. This goes for cars as well. Stop making more cars. New cars are inferior to the old anyway. I drive a used Volvo 240 and do my own mechanical work. This Volvo model and the early American cars were built to last. And talk about using what you have...look at how the people of Cuba have been able to keep the American cars from the 1940's and 50's on the road, using a tree sap elixir for brake fluid and fashioning body parts out of scrap metal when need be.
I do try to coordinate my trips to the thrift store so that other errands can be accomplished along the way, or in the same area. I attempt to combine at least three errands in one trip. It's an instinctive practice of mine, to try to cut down on being another car in traffic, another car making noise, another car spewing fumes and using up resources. Best of all, I take public transportation whenever possible; and my son enjoys it so much.
Of course, another huge use of petroleum products is in the making of plastic goods. Resisting the convenience of using plastic food containers for instance, and choosing to use glass instead, not only reduces your use of petroleum products but is also healthier for your body. I know that many of you make your own fabric toys so I won't go into plastic toys. You're already ahead most people on that. Congratulations! In the next post I will write about Utopian Neighborhoods; an idea of mine from a couple of years back, that relates to the books in my typelist called Eco-Home Cleaning.
Having said all of that, I am not a puritan. I make an effort though to tread softly.
I will close by offering up two more "blue" photos. Above is our Russian Blue, NELLA; and below is a vintage car I captured in Paris.