Sunday, April 25, 2010

Earth Day

Over the years Doug and I have become avid recyclers. We recycle plastic, glass, aluminum, tin, and paper products. I would say that in an average week we recycle one bin of paper products, two kitchen garbage bags of plastic, glass and tin. We don't have curbside pick-up, so we make one to two trips to the recycle "dumpsters" each week. There are numerous spots around town located in school and grocery store parking lots. Our dog loves to go with us. She takes off for the door at the word recycle or when she sees us gathering the recycle containers.

In the past couple of years we have begun to collect our batteries and old electronics and dispose of them properly, as oppose to just tossing them in the trash. I have to thank Batteries Plus for collecting old batteries for recycling. Last year we gathered up all our plastic planters, the kind you get when you buy plants from the nurseries. Some of the nurseries in our area will take these containers and either reuse or recycle them. Casey's, local nursery and florist, now takes old vases and recycles them. My understanding is that most of the vases go to the local university's art department. The art students break the glass and use it in their artist pieces. I'm thrilled with how resourceful many businesses are becoming in an effort to reduce waste.

During the summer Olympics in Beijing, China, there was a lot of media attention pointing out the air pollution in Beijing. During this time Doug and I began to make a concerted effort to use our cloth bags for grocery shopping. We would tell the grocery store baggers that we were providing our athletes with cleaner air. I have to say that Doug is very good at remembering the bags or going back to the van and getting them. I'm not as good. Now we've spread our cloth bag usage to many other areas of our shopping such as the book stores, Target, and the mall, etc.

My daughter bombarded us with statistics about the use of compact fluorescent light bulbs. She badgered us until we finally began to use them. Last year almost all of our bulbs were compact fluorescent. After two winters of using those lights, I broke down and began replacing them with incandescent bulbs. I cannot stand the dull light output of the fluorescent bulbs. I guess you win some Earth friendly battles and you lose some.

I can't forget to mention the many days of the year when Mimi and Doug walk to school reducing our gas consumption. Something that a few more of us in our household need to do. We continue to look for more affordable ways in which we can be environmentally friendly.

So earlier this year when I heard Ed Begley Jr. was going to come to the university and be part of a lecture series, I was quite excited. His television show, Living with Ed, was one of my favorite shows. I loved the banter he and his wife had and the competitive spirit among him and Bill Nye (the science guy). Although he is extreme in his environmentally friendly lifestyle there are lots of good ideas and information to be gained from this entertaining show.

So when April rolled around I tried to round up some people to attend the lecture with me. Oddly enough no one in my household was interested and neither were my teaching friends. Sadly enough some said, "Who?" So I trudged off by my lonesome to listen to Ed Begley Jr. I was impressed that his message was temperate and non-radical. He basically spoke about how his father's thrifty values and the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970, influenced his Earth friendly behaviors. He described many of the small steps he took over the years that later led to the big changes he's incorporated into his life today. Get this he drove his Toyota Prius from L.A. to Illinois. He highlighted three environmental issues that I think all would agree are problems, air and water pollution, ozone layer, and dependency on foreign oil. Bottom line his message was do one thing to be more environmentally friendly.

Here I am with Ed Begley Jr.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Dreams Part II

In the past few weeks I have had two dreams with the theme of vacation. In the first dream my family and I were on vacation with Rick Springfield (actor/musician). We were in some dusty rugged town much as I would imagine one of the Dakotas. We were staying in a motel. The one story type that you can drive right up to the front door. Rick Springfield was like our personal tour guide, taking us to different sites. I remember that I could never find my camera to take pictures. At one point Rick turns to me and asks when I'm going to take a picture of all of us together. Then, next in my dream, I've got the doors of the van open and I'm crawling around inside the van looking under the seats for my camera. At this point I wake up.

Last week I dream I am on vacation. I'm staying at the house of two men. In my dream I guess I know them, whatever. Anyway their cat is pregnant and they tell me that their cat is going to have puppies. (Didn't know that was possible.) Sometime during the vacation the cat goes into labor. I'm watching her while she is in labor and one of the guys sees that she is in labor and get mad at me because I didn't tell him so he could rush her to the vet's office. So the two guys leave me at the house and rush off to take the cat to the vet. What do I do? I wash the dishes. Once again I wake up.

Crazy huh? I just need a Chevy Chase dream to finish the dream series off.

By the way, It is "Ii" week in kindergarten this week. We were brainstorming lists of words that start with "Ii" and those that have the short i sound in the middle. One of my boys says Italy starts with "Ii". I said, "Oh Italy. I love Italy. I hope to go to Italy one day." This little boy says, "I'll take you Ms Hatch." So maybe I'll take a real vacation to Italy with an exuberant, red-headed, kindergartner.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


I don't know that dreams are a reflection of our life, revealing some deeper understanding of who we are, or providing a prophetic tie to our wakeful everyday life. In the past two years I've become more interested in dreams and after one dream that seemed to plague me, I bought a book about interpreting dreams. The book I bought has some interesting information about symbolism in dreams but mostly it just seems to skirt every thing that its says. Basically it says nothing definitive. I guess that what you get when you buy a five dollar book off the sale table.

Two years ago in the summer right before or after after the 2008-2009 school year started, I had an unusual dream that I eventually remembered. In my dream I was at school in the middle school science room. It was summer and windows were open. There was no a/c. It seemed like there was a group of us teachers sitting in the student chairs interviewing a candidate for a job or watching the candidate's presentation.

I was sitting in the back of the room, leaning back in my chair, and my arm was draped on the back counter. I remember that I was sitting by a particular male teacher known for not being the most involved or positive teacher at our school. I remember thinking that I wanted to sit by him because I was going to slack off and not really participate in whatever was going on.

So I'm kicking back in my chair and I notice that the room isn't particularly clean. The back counter, floor, and cardboard boxes under the counter are kind of dusty and there are some cobwebs around. I suddenly noticed that a cocoon formed on the inside pad of my hand. The cocoon is like the ones we use to have on the bushes of our Memphis home. I use to call the caterpillars "herbies". (When I described the cocoon to my friends, they said it was a bag worm cocoon.)

Anyway I pull this cocoon off my hand and a black worm like caterpillar crawls and burrows under my skin by my wrist. It starts crawling up my arm under the skin. I could literally feel it crawling. In my dream, I grab my arm trying to stop the progress of this creature while getting the attention of my fellow male teacher. He pulls out a pocket knife and he is going to cut the skin above the creature to try and get it to come out from under my skin at the incision spot. I think I'm O.K. with this concept as I'm squeezing my arm tight making a tourniquet. At this point I thankfully wake up.

I remembered the dream when I woke up and it was a little disturbing as I could still feel what it felt like when the creature was crawling up my arm. But I forgot about the dream. Later in November when Doug and I were putting Christmas lights up on our evergreens the branches of one of the trees gently scraped against my wrist (almost like a tickle). I grabbed my wrist and boom immediately my dream came flooding back into my wakeful mind. Let me tell you I was freaked out. I had to stop working, catch my breath, and calm down.

Once I was calm and rational, I continued to help put up lights but pulled my sweatshirt sleeves down over my hands. I was going to take no changes of creatures crawling under my skin.

What did this dream mean? I don't know. I thought of an invasion or being destroyed. My principal who kind of likes this dream stuff thought that the caterpillar and cocoon could symbolize a metamorphosis like a new opportunity or direction in life. She saw it as a positive not a negative. Maybe I was resisting this new opportunity. The five dollar book provided no insight. Did anything come of the dream? Not that I know of, except that it lingers in my mind. I do tend to avoid the science room at school and dusty counters.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Happy Easter

I hope you had an enjoyable Easter with family and friends. We had nice weather until the arrival of evening thunderstorms and tornado watches. All week we had very pleasant temperatures and has instilled the hope that spring has a solid foothold in the Midwest.

I feel like Easter caught me by surprise this year. I hardly felt prepared to celebrate such a sacred holiday. I ignored both the secular and religious aspects of Easter in this last week leading up to Easter Sunday. During Holy Week I realized that I had never listened to any of my favorite "Easter" music, Godspell, Jesus Christ Superstar, or a song Dugger introduced me to, by U-2, earlier in the year called Until The End Of The World. It's a song that hints at the first person voice being Judas. It's very interesting song that I added to my Easter collection. I didn't attend any of the holy week masses or prayer service. I just let it all slip past me.

Now that our children are older we didn't have egg hunts and had a very subdued egg dyeing event. Mimi was the only one interested in dyeing eggs. I can't get my kids to dress up. What ever happened to Easter finery and bonnets?? In addition our church renovation is ongoing and we had mass in the school gym, so it was a quiet simple mass. This wasn't a bad thing, just different. Our priest had to work a little to get some excitement from the parishioners. I felt like it wasn't just me who's heart seemed solemn at Easter. This priest described the Easter meaning as "to follow", to follow Jesus. It made me think in particular of my cousin's wife who had left the hospital to go home to die from cancer. I wondered if she might follow Jesus on Easter Sunday and if her family was ready to let her go.

Our priest also likened our following of Jesus to being on a train that goes into a dark tunnel and not knowing what's on the other side. Now this priest is currently working on earning a doctorate in mathematics so when he mentioned the train I immediately thought of those old math problems. You know those problems where the train leaves the station at a certain miles per hour .... I couldn't resist turning to Doug and saying the priest lost me at the word train. I'm not doing any math in church.

I plan to more fully participate in Holy Week next year. I really missed that time of preparation this year. As I look to the future I'm also reminded of the past. Here is a "warm" memory of an Easter past.