Sunday, December 14, 2008

Here comes Santa Claus

As another year quickly speeds to a close, once again I'm taking time to reflect and wonder what my greater purpose on this planet is. My biggest purpose is to be a good mom to my kid, but it's not my only one.

Sometimes it seems my other purpose is to be a messenger. With that in mind, I've found two links I think all my readers should visit at least once: The One Dollar Diet Project blog and Styrophobia website.

I'm not green. I drive a car that runs off old-fashioned petroleum-based fuel, with no hybrid option. I ride a motorcycle the same way, as opposed to a bicycle. I choose plastic over paper because plastic has handles. I dream of a day when I can build a home with solar panels and a yard harnessing wind power and a garden water feature that utilizes hydro-electric power. More simply, I just wish I could remember to take those recyclable bags I bought into the grocery store so I can quit choosing plastic.

The more I learn about my planet, the more I want to know. One thing I've come to realize though is that we can each do something mostly painless to improve our wasteful habits.

Normally this time of year I'm ranting about the commercialism and material gluttony of Christmas.

I'm not a complete Scrooge. I still believe in the spirit of Santa. I believe in giving... but I believe that it takes more than one day a year to be a spirit of anything. Otherwise it's just a salve to ease a guilty conscience. But I digress.

This year, my spirit of Santa is giving something back not just to my community, but to my planet as well. While I stuff the back of my car with glass beer, wine, jelly, and salsa bottles that have been accumulating... so that I may go trade them in for approximately 50 cents to the recycling center, I am also bringing to you two foods for thought this holiday season.

The One Dollar Diet project takes a look at what it's like to eat on a dollar a day and is an ongoing journey to answer questions including "what does it cost to eat healthy in America". Styrophobia is a site dedicated to replacing the use of restaurant styrofoam with bio-degradable products. They are a Hawaii-based company that offers a complete line of alternatives, as well as educates the reader.

My gift to all of you this year is a season rant-free, combined with the two places I'd like you all to visit: here and here (repeated from above). May you find more meaning this season that in some gift-wrapped gift under a decorated tree. May you find an intimate kinship not only with your friends and family, but with the world around you. If you'd like to give me a gift, please find a place you can give of your time and yourself and make your community a little bit better.

Monday, December 01, 2008


I got to live out my lifelong dream of swimming in a waterfall. Well, mostly, in the "this will have to do" kind of way. The waterfall was a 45 ft. tall thing, throwing water and sticks and such into the pool where I swam. The pool was guarded by lifeguards, so that stupid people couldn't climb the rocks and dive in, nor could they try and swim up right into the falls themselves. This kept those sticks from being hurled right onto their heads.

Now, to get to this wonderful thing, I had to hike 3/4 of a mile into Waimea Valley. That is not a big thing for most people, but most people walk with ankles that move. Mine do not, when wearing my braces. So after plunking along up and down the valley trail to the falls, I was nearly in tears. Some of that was due to the emotional excitement I felt at getting to swim in the falls, but quite a bit of it was pain as well.

Just before the final push down the valley to the falls was a snack stand. They sold juices and teas and waters for $2 and up. By the time you get there, you are thinking that $2 is a real steal. I also asked him if I could get a ride back out of the valley. Ya know, help -- a rescuing as it were. He said ask the lifeguard. So I did.

I was seated at the stadium seating at the falls. Apparently it used to be used for a dive show and hula exhibition*. Now it's a place to put shoes and towels while swimming in the falls. Anyway, I was seated there, unlacing my bulky afo's/ankle braces, and he asked if I needed help back out. God bless him. I answered that indeed help would be wonderful, and he guided me into the water and arranged it so I woudln't have to walk out. He even arranged for the whole party to travel with me, which is not normal.

I played and splashed and swam with my munchkin until we were too cold to stay in. Then we were gloriously whisked out by a golf cart. It was not the whole do-it-yourself experience I would've savored, but it was beyond words.

Waimea Falls. I got to swim there. As in, actually in the water at the site of a waterfall. It'll very much "do".

*Used to: according to the lifeguard, the cliff diving/hula show doesn't happen anymore.