Category Archives: Environment

Oops50: To Cruise or Not to Cruise

Moi Zip Lining

The idea of a cruise first came to me in a dream while my husband was recuperating from a hip replacement last year.  I dreamed about being waited on hand and foot and not having to wash dishes, do laundry, cook or even think about cooking.  So, after my Dad passed away last April, my sisters and I decided to take a cruise with our husbands as a way of spending time together and not having to work at it.  And since my Dad loved cruises, we settled on a cruise for our journey together.

Norwegian Star

We boarded the Norwegian Star in Tampa Bay (Feb. 5-12th) and sailed to Honduras, Belize, and the beautiful beaches of Costa Maya, and Cozumel in Mexico.  I have to admit, right from the beginning, I was struck by the customer service.  For example, when we first boarded the ship, it seemed like thousands of people were boarding with us and not only was the process quick and organized, the staff smiled all the way through it and were amazingly friendly – nothing like the airport scene where personnel often act like they are doing YOU a favor.  Everyone I came into contact with on the ship seemed to have one priority – to make sure all passengers have a comfortable, relaxing, and fun time.  If the crew was faking it, they did a great job.

What did I like?  I loved sitting on my private balcony listening to the ocean and keeping the door slightly ajar at night so I could hear the sound of the sea while falling asleep.  I loved sitting on the upper deck in the quiet zone reading, uninterruptedly, Deborah Reed’s new novel,  Carry Yourself Back to Me.

And, I loved the excursions on land.  We zip lined in the rain forest in Belize and later with headlamps on, we floated in tubes through the Mayan cave system.  Other days we relaxed on the gorgeous beaches sipping margaritas and pina coladas.

Coupe Car Cozumel

And when we were at sea, there was the spa with hot tubs, hydrotherapy pools, and cushiony lounge chairs looking out at sea.  Of course there is the dining and endless buffets culminating in the last night’s chocolate buffet.  And, should you get bored, there are endless musical shows that aren’t too bad.

Chocolate Buffet

What didn’t I like?  Just too many darn people – almost everywhere.  I also didn’t like not having enough time once we docked to truly explore any one place.  Basically, you get a sampling of what the country might be like.  It would have been fun to spend the week in just one place but clearly cruises are not designed for that.  All in all, the best part of the cruise was spending time with my two sisters who I don’t get to see enough and of course, not having to cook, clean-up or do anything but visit.

The Brown Girls Cruising

Sadhvi Sez: The Holiday Season is upon Us AND update on the Delaware River Fracking

Carrots, Kale, and Fall Salad

Good news! The vote November 21st on whether to move forward with the fracking on the East Coast, totally affecting the Delaware River Basin, has been postponed. And of course, just recently so has the Keystone one that would come down from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. I can let out a long sigh of relief. I called people, including President Obama’s telephone number, and Joe Biden’s too (after all, he is from Delaware). It was kind of intense. But, it seems that all the hype (Thank You Josh Fox) helped to put off (maybe forever?) what would be a huge mistake.

And while many of you might not even be aware or care about that issue, I am sure that all of you can feel the hyper energy of the Holiday Season – it has begun!

This year, the Christmas food and even decorations are out before the Thanksgiving things in the grocery store. And yes, even Santa is working overtime and came yesterday to visit with the kids at a festival nearby. Poor kids.  They will start to think that Christmas is before Thanksgiving.

I just want to slow down even more. And take walks with my dog alone, eat comfort food, and bake.

I went out yesterday to take a look at my garden to see what was going on since I hadn’t been out in a week or so…just caught up in other things.

I’d planted some carrots this past summer. I could see that the carrot greens were very nice looking; bright green and robust.  I had forgotten about them!  Which is what I really like about growing carrots – they are always a surprise, quietly growing underground all summer, and come fall, they are ready. I pulled a bunch and made a good soup with them, giving our rabbit, Brownie, the robust carrot greens. I think I saw him mouth, “Thank You”.

The Late Afternoon Fall Sky

I won’t be doing any family things for Thanksgiving…just helping out with the Swiss Chestnut Roaster, and cooking meals and keeping the order and balance in our life.

To finish out this week’s post, and in case you have a moment to click and close your eyes for a few minute’s, here’s some music by Shastro that I really like.

Shastro's Tantric Heart

Ho Ho Ho!

Sadhvi

 

 

 

Sadhvi Sez: Save the Delaware River Basin and Abigail Washburn

SADHVI

These days I am increasingly aware of how much information I take in while not reading newspapers nor having any TV to watch.  It’s all from the internet.

So, with this post, I want to share a personal sigh of relief:

President Obama has delayed the Keystone XL Pipeline! Say thanks, and ask him to reject it once and for all.

And to bring awareness to another MAJOR issue that is going to affect a whole lot of people.  People who happen to be my family.  My friends.  Maybe yours too?

It’s about a decision to start drilling in land that will affect the Delaware River basin after a long moratorium.  Not just one drill, but a LOT of drilling.  Just the idea that lots and lots of fracking is about to occur, and that the Delaware River basin is going to be affected by all the chemicals that will flow into it makes me nauseous.

I could pretend that it’s all awesome and that it won’t be that bad, but instead, I choose to bring awareness to it.  And for those of you who are afraid of awareness, don’t be.  Because in times like this, it’s OK to to notice and say that the Emperor is not exactly fully clothed.

You might not be able to physically participate, but you can call to say something.

Call the Governors from the member states and President Obama Monday – Friday from 8-6pm.

Just tell them,

“Hello, I am calling you to express my serious concerns about hydrofracking.  Please Don’t Drill the Delaware!”

Governor Christie’s office:609-292-6000

Governor Cuomo’s office: 518-474-8390

Gov Corbett’s office: 717-787-2500

Gov Markell’s Wilmington Office: 302-577-3210

And the White House comment line: 202-456-1111

In case you don’t really feel like it, you might after you watch Josh Fox‘s video of what is at stake.

SAVE THE DELAWARE from JFOX on Vimeo.

And lastly, I was listening to some NPR on the radio in my car the other night, and a singer came on and spoke, and then sang and played.  She is not a newbie to the music scene, but she is new to me.

Abigail Washburn.  I really liked what I heard. I felt comforted.

And these days, it is about finding the balance between being aware of how fragile it all is, and moments of comfort and joy.

Wishing you Well,

Sadhvi

 

 

Co-Housing: On the Way to Wolf Creek Lodge

Bob Miller

One of the things I love about blogging is the ability to meet people anywhere – anytime.  When Sue Counts (guest blogger) wrote about co-housing a few weeks ago, we got tons of emails and comments from readers everywhere.  One such person was Bob Miller, and the next thing I knew, I was inviting him to be a guest blogger – our first male blogger on Oops50!  Thank you, Bob. 

Annice

My wife and I became members of a co-housing community called Wolf Creek Lodge earlier this year.  The lodge is currently under construction in Grass Valley, California.  We expect to move in sometime late in 2012.  We have chosen Wolf Creek Lodge as an appealing environment for our senior life style.

Future Wolf Creek Lodge

The conventional American living environment can be hostile to the senior species.  They want community, walking access to stores, entertainment and recreation.  They want low maintenance, sustainable housing.

Community is important to me and my wife.  Earlier in our lives we found this at our workplace, through our children’s activities, our extended family, our church and sporting activities.  We no longer go out to work and our children are living their own lives and our older family members have passed away.

We watched our parents become isolated in their later years.  We believe we can do better by taking action now before change becomes challenging.

Who's Slowing Down?

At Wolf Creek Lodge we will have our own condominium-style apartment, one of 30.  However, we will also use the common room, living room, patio and gardens.  We will invite friends to stay in one of several guest apartments.  We will stroll on the adjoining trails, walk to the nearby shops and enjoy the cultural activities of Grass Valley.

Community will be at our front door.  Most evenings we will dine in the common room sharing cooking and clean up activities.  We will join others over coffee and relax on the patio.  We will continue to ski, bike and hike in the northern Sierra, which are only an hour away.

What a Ride

We realize that as the years pass we may become unable to drive and our physical capabilities may become more limited.  The Wolf Creek Lodge environment will continue to work for us.  The lodge even includes an apartment for a care-giver, should we need extra help.

Wolf Creek Lodge is a creation of its evolving community.  The community worked with the architect on the design to oversee the construction and formulate the processes which will guide the members’ common activities.

Already, months before moving in, we are enjoying the community.  We are in constant electronic communication with all the other members and attend the General Meeting in Grass Valley once a month.  My wife has a key role on the landscape committee reviewing the planting plans and identifying members who want to work in the gardens.  I help on the marketing and technical committees.

Under Construction

On the marketing committee I am working to find people to join us and fill the remaining 6 apartments.  It’s fascinating to talk to potential members as they try to understand this co-housing concept.  They pay us repeated visits to decide if they want to spend the rest of their lives with us.  They finally take the decision and pitch in.

We do not really know what it will be like to live at Wolf Creek Lodge.  We are working hard with our new friends to make it happen and having both fun and challenges along the way.

Bob Miller is currently a ski bum in Truckee, California.  Born in England of an English mother and a Scottish father, he moved to Scotland at the age of 11.  After graduating from Glasgow University with a degree in Physics he married Claire, started a family, and moved to the Boston area in 1978.  Bob’s career was in the computer industry.  Since his retirement, he moved with Claire to Truckee.  Besides skiing, he rides his road bike and hikes in the Sierras.

 

 

 

Senior Cohousing for Baby Boomers!

Sue Counts

My friend, Sue Counts, retired three years ago as the Director of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Watauga County after more than 40 years in government.  During her tenure, Sue initiated educational programs in the areas of sustainable tourism, sustainable energy, Hispanic outreach, and women in agriculture.  Sue says, “At this point in my life, I’m seeking a better life for the Baby Boomers who are entering that stage of their lives known as ‘the senior years’.”  So, when Dene Peterson, the founder of ElderSpirit Community came to Boone a few weeks ago to talk about her life’s work, Sue was there attending meetings about the possibility of creating such a community in Watauga County, NC.  She graciously shares important information on “Retirement Housing.”

 

IT’S OFFICIAL!  We are now in the “ERA OF THE GOLDEN BOOMERS!”.  On January 1, 2011 the very first Baby Boomer turned 65, and 10,000 boomers will turn 65 every day for the next 19 years.  This gigantic generation has transformed America as they have passed through every stage of life…..and housing for the elderly will not be any exception.

It's Official

Co-housing communities if you will!  These communities bring together the value of private homes with the benefits of more sustainable living.  That means common facilities and good connections with neighbors.  All in all, they stand as innovative answers to today’s environmental and social problems.

According to Charles Durrett, author of Senior Cohousing Handbook — 2nd Edition, A Community Approach to Independent Living, “No matter how rich life is in youth and middle age, the elder years can bring on increasing isolation and loneliness as social connections lessen, especially if friends and family members move away.  Senior co-housing fills a niche for this demographic — the healthy, educated and proactive adults who want to live in a social and environmentally vibrant community.  These seniors are already wanting to ward off the aging process, so they are unlikely to want to live in assisted housing.  Senior co-housing revolves around custom-built neighborhoods organized by the seniors themselves in order to fit in with their real needs, wants, and aspirations for health, longevity and quality of life.”

Elderspirit Community

The ElderSpirit Community at Trailview in Abingdon, Virginia is the living example of a community of mutual support and late life spirituality.  It is the first mixed-income, mixed ownership Elder Co-Housing Community in the United States and in this capacity it is making its way as it “walks the talk.”  The founder of ElderSpirit Community is Geraldine “Dene” Peterson, a “spry” woman in her 80’s who recently received the “Lifetime Achievement Award” at the 2011 National Cohousing Conference in Washington, DC.

Dene Peterson

At eighteen, Dene  Peterson left her parents and ten siblings to join a convent. She ultimately chose to leave the religious order, but her spirituality remained deeply rooted. In 1995, at age 65, she created the ElderSpirit Community in Abingdon, Virginia. Inspired by a Danish model, Peterson wanted to form a co-housing retirement community that would allow friends to live together in a collaborative and supportive setting while also offering some of the autonomy of private dwellings.  Peterson also envisioned an alternative to institutional long-term care, a place where community members would have the emotional support of their peers as well as the necessary medical assistance to live out their lives at home.  Using a creative patchwork of funding from public and private resources, Peterson raised $3.5 million, and her vision materialized.  Construction of the 29 residences, common community building, and a prayer room was completed in late spring of 2006 and houses both the moderate and low-income.  The model has gained national attention, and an ElderSpirit outreach extension program in now helping to plan similar communities in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Kansas, and Virginia.

The ElderSpirit Community is dedicated to making possible new opportunities for Elders in the 21st Century.  The ElderSpirit Community values are: To live in a community of diverse spiritual paths; To give and receive support in relationship with neighbors in community; To belong to a community who make the decisions on how they will live together; and To encourage each other to live simply and care for the earth.