Sunday, November 27, 2005

Solutions to Affordable Homes

We've been home nearly a month and acclimating to the traffic-choked streets and highways that I traverse is difficult. Why should I complain about the easy access to fine restaurants, excellent grocery stores, shopping spots within five miles either way? Why should I resist the material acoutrements in my kitchen , the space afforded in our home, use of two automobiles instead of one?

Living simply half the year in NY helps me appreciate what I've worked for ( accumulation of material things in a home paid for) and knowing that I can in an emergency or at my pleasure do without these acoutrements. I'm a bit upset over some of the hurricane "refugees" who complain of learning to live in less space or the lack of television in a hotel room--they've not tried mentally to decrease their "wants." Yes, they're stressed from the loss, but at the same time they should reaccess their lives and understand their present living is temporary and make the best of their time.

With the desperate need for housing, this is a good time for architects to design homes that utilize discarded materials. When in Taos, NM a few years ago, I had wanted to learn about building a house made from old tires and discarded soda cans. A company has built a community of homes set in the earth outside the town and all are solar powered and beautiful. Learn about Earthships in Taos, NM and around the globe at Granted, many homes built this way are expensive, but the theory of solar power and using alternative building products are applicable. Why aren't local architects and builders using this same principle? Those displaced already have mortgages and now must face a second one! Who wants to be beholden to two mortgages for the remainder of their lives?

Our daughter recently visited the small Alabama community that contains housing for lower economic families. These houses are designed and built by architectural students enrolled in the Rural Studio of University of Alabama. Amazing what beautiful structures have been conceived with easy-to-find materials. Why isn't this idea being utilized? We don't have many contractors with creative minds. I'm proud to say one architect, Sam Mockbee,(who lived just up the road in Canton) saw that need and started the Rural Studio many years ago. Look at the website for an interesting read.

We need to push the government to strive for economical ways to rebuild homes.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Finding Me Online

Listening to my favorite radio program (Kim Komando, the computer diva) Saturday, a gentleman called to ask if there was any way to get his name off public records, or at least get some profile info erased that is online. Sadly to say Kim offered no reprieve, only to state that the information highway will widen. So today, I plugged in my name with Google...Yikes! There I was, my profiles (with my password stated) with genealogy and camping message boards, my public radio essays...thank goodness I've not made any more ripples!
And then what to my wandering eye should appear---
a couple of other women who share my first and last name!
I have twins in Indiana and Florida! Should I connect? Are we alike?

Curiosity may get me, but for now, I'll leave them alone.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Scrambling to Unscramble

Recovering from several months in the East isn't an easy task. My brain refuses to unscramble the confusion that arises from shifting from one set of directions, friends, and general area knowledge to another. I thought ghinko biloba would help, especially in liquid form, but so far it is as slow as a computer without DSL. I dislike returning to a busy, traffic-choked situation, and I'm unable to function well without being in my woodland retreat. Even Richard has admitted living the way we did for nearly 3 months was far better than he would have expected. He worked on projects around the cabin so well that in coming home he's had a let down. He doesn't want to get involved with anything for awhile. Is that because the weather has turned colder? Is it because we've not unpacked all our belongings we brought home because they were unneeded there? Or is he also having a letdown from an exciting time?

Our only regret is that we didn't have time to socialize with many, many friends we've made over the last three summers. I managed to get in a few lunches with women whom I want to get better acquainted. One is hoping to move to Santa Fe, a loss to me because I've just begun to know her. However, what's to say I won't make a trip to New Mexico?

Two seasons are upon us and there are no children around to motivate us to decorate. What are you doing this year to celebrate Christ's birth and to give thanks for all the blessings you've received?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Leaving Simple Life for Conveniences

Fall colors on the Poconos along the Delaware River as seen from
our Barryville apartment.

If you’ve packed and moved at least once in your lifetime, you promise yourself not to repeat the process often. Before you know it, someone has to move to a new location, another is flooded out and has to rip home down to the studs, requiring extensive packing by many friends, then someone else has to get out of Dodge and you're the only one to help--it doesn’t matter for whom or what, packing is kin to having a bad case of influenza. You're left with no energy and little enthusiasm for EVER packing again.

We've been packing second son’s storage items and moving them to his property and preparing to leave our Sheds. Our packing is putting clothing in a safe box and covering furniture with sheets to keep out dust. We've learned quickly that living simply equates possessing fewer of everything. Our Blazer will be loaded with excess of everything we thought we'd need in the woods, but don't.

Leaving one place for another brings some kind of renewed spirit. Like my cousin’s move from his home of over 20 years to a rental near his son. He hated leaving his cozy home for a trip across town to a new residence. However, he felt a spark of interest in having this new home despite no longer sharing with his wonderful wife, now deceased. We’ll find that spark of interest when we arrive home to greet our cat Bobbisox, admire the autumn lawn, check out our maple trees, walk through the house to remind ourselves that nothing has changed, and finally settle down in our comfortable living room to check the fall schedule of television programs. (After all, we've seen little of the tv set in the last three months.)How quickly will we slip into old habits, renew friendships in the neighborhood, and day by day scrounge through three months’ mail, discarding the gillions of accumulated catalogs. Our NY friends will communicate via email, reminding us how fortunate we are not to be spending the winter in the East.

We have the best of both worlds and we appreciate that fact.