Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Something for the environment...

Living in Europe, I think I might be exposed to a little more environmentalism in my every day life than I was at home. In Belgium you will be fined if you do not sort your recyclables form trash! In Dublin, McDonalds has drop boxes for battery recycling. In Portugal there weren't any simple trash bins. Every bin had 4 parts...plastics, glass, cartons and trash. In my house there are toggle switches for every outlet in the house so that even if something is plugged in (such as the stove) the power can be turned off when not in use. We have to turn the hot water heater on and off before and after showering. At the Patagonia store, you can even recycle your clothes. The grocery store prints on your receipt the percentage of your purchase that's Irish grown/raised/produced.

Have you ever calculated your carbon footprint? Your carbon footprint is a representation of the effect your human activites have on the climate based on the amount of greenhouse gas produced. This is measured in units of carbon dioxide. If you want to feel guilty about the way you live try this... http://www.earthday.net/Footprint/index.asp My carbon footprint is rediculously high because of all the air travel I do. (Sorry World)

So, I'm going to stop flying any time soon, I don't have a hybrid car, and I forgot to turn off the hot water heater this morning. I'm pretty sure we have to live our lives without feeling guilty, but we still have to be good stewards and take care of what we've been given. The world happens to be a pretty big thing to take care of! Here are just two things that are worth looking into.
Those curly-q lightbulbs really do save a lot of energy. They aren't that expensive anymore and you can get them in different strengths to match the light output form normal lightbulbs. Plus they last forever or something close!
Tide coldwater detergent is not a hoax! It's got enzymes in it (which are biodegradable) that break up stains in cold water. The enzyme will die (actually they denature) in hot water. In europe it's referred to as biological detergent and it's quite popular. Most brands have a biological version.

Those are the things I can think of for now. I'll keep a list of things I think are worth looking into and you can let me know if you have things you think are worth looking into.

Take care and keep in touch.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

10 minutes at a time...

Today I ran a 5 mile race. Here were my thoughts...

Pre-race: I haven't run 5 miles since...right...this is just asking for failure. Well, there are walkers. I can always join the walkers. No. You will run. Oh great! I have to go to the bathroom. Bad timing. There's no time now. Dang it. Now I have to run 5 miles just to get to the bathroom! I'll just run it 10 minutes at a time.

Mile 1: I hope I can keep pace without my ipod. Those ladies are twice my age and wearing spandex pants. Hmm...well...more power to 'em. I wish I had my ipod. You know, you can always tell the good runners, but the mediocre runners like me...they all look like athletes so they are hard to pick from the crowd. Humph. How do people run without music blasting in their ears? Ok, so far so good. It's cold, but surely it will warm up soon. Oh good...mile 1 in 10 minutes almost exactly!

Mile 2: I can run 3 miles. If I can get through this first two, then surely I can coax myself through 3 more. Woohoo...half way mark! The rest is all downhill. Well, except that it's not down hill. It's uphill. That stinks. Hey, I know where I am now. Home is just down that road. I could cut out now and be home in 10 minutes. That's not going to work, my bike is at the start line. Drat. So how much further? Hmmm...Martin always said to focus on your arms when your legs get tired. Maybe that will help. Yeah! There's the 2nd mile marker. 10 minutes and a few seconds. Not bad.

Mile 3: Ok, now I just have to make it 3 more miles. I can do that. I've done it before. Pace is right on track. At this rate, I have to run for 30 more minutes. 30 more minutes! I wish the pavement was even. Maybe the sidewalk is more even. Nope. Ok, this is kind of fun right now! I'm starting to pass a few people. Uh oh...mile three is a slow one. 10 minutes and several seconds. Pick up the pace!

Mile 4: Well, I've officially run my farthest in Ireland. Any bit over 3 miles is a Ireland record I wonder if anyone else in this race can say their cross training includes rock climbing and ballet! Ha! Here's hoping uniquely trained muscles and enthusiasm make up for lack of endurance! Some old fart directing race traffic just told me to put some effort into it. Jerk! I am putting effort into it! I thought those guys were just supposed to say things like "Good job! Keep it up! You're almost done!" Again, just over 10 minutes for that mile.

Mile 5: Only a mile left. Alternating the focus on legs and then arms seems to help take my mind off the rebelling muscles. I've come this far, there's no stopping now. Still have to go to the bathroom. Ha! everything is in miles and now they have an 800 meter mark. What's 800 meters? You shouldn't mix metric and imperial units in the same race. OK. Put the peddle to the metal! There's the finish line!

Finish Line: 50 minutes 16 seconds. Not competitive by any means, but at least I ran the whole thing. I think I'm going to collapse. Oooh. How nice. Old ladies passing out water and snacks. Maybe I'll survive after all. Now, who wants to race me to the bathroom!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Is this really Ireland?

There's been no rain in Dublin since last Sunday. I'm starting to wonder if I'm even in Ireland anymore! I can't complain though. The sunshine is more than welcome to stay!

The house across the street just sold and there are people moving in. I'd like to meet my neighbors who have 2.9 million euro to spend on a semi-detached house! Yes...that's right...2.9 MILLION!!! The house was in shambles and a developer bought it and 'flipped' it. The house two doors down is on the market for 1.5 million. It's not worth much, because there is no back or front garden. Isn't that amazing? This may be the only time in my life that I live in a million dollar neighborhood!

A friend of the family is in Ireland on Business this week, so I'll visit him for the weekend. He works for Eli Lilly and their plant is down south in County Cork in the city of Kinsale. I've not been down south yet, but I hear it's beautiful. There's a rugby tournament this weekend, so we're going to that. I have about a zillion guide books for Ireland that should help give us ideas for the rest of the weekend.

I'm working on being the most physically fit American in Dublin. In addition to rock climbing, I've started ballet again. I just take two classes a week, but it's a great workout! I'm also running a decent amount. Running is not usually my cup of tea, but lately it's been fun. I even signed up for a 5 mile race for next weekend. I've been running 2 and 3 miles on a regular basis. I'll have to kick it into high gear on Monday and then hope for the best next weekend.

Other than that, there's nothing to report.

Keep in touch!