Friday, April 29, 2011

here's a thought...

Here's a thought...Why did I never think of this before?

I've been having trouble focusing while at work and actually having to do some number crunching and thinking. I work in an open office right now and this morning it was particularly noisy and distracting. So, I put on my headphones and put on some classical music on pandora. My other stations I've had set up before were still too distracting, but classical music was enough noise to help me ignore the other noise around me, but not too distracting.

I guess I've always thought of pandora as more current music, but it's got classical as well. Why had I never thought of this before?

Friday, April 22, 2011

"check" (insert finger swoop here)

Fresh Tracks...Half Marathon

Last fall I ran the Boulder Half Marathon! I completed it! I was so excited to do it and yet hated it at the same time. I now understand the runner's high, but I also know that running is not my passion. I guess you could say this accomplishment was on my personal "bucket list". I've always had this mental list of things that I think would be neat to do or learn and this made the list.

After tearing my ACL in high school, I got into running to stay active. I've always stayed at that level until last year. Slowly, the idea to see if I could do a half marathon came to mind. I had never pushed my body that much and a part of me wanted to just see if I could do it. It's amazing to see what your body can really do!

I can't say that I'm jumping out of my seat to run another one soon. I'm so glad I did it, though. I know now that I can push my body further than I ever thought. I realized how fun it is to work toward a goal like that for months and I realized how fun it was to say that I accomplished something new!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Responsible Living Roadblocks Where You Live

If you've been following the craziness that is the Morris world in the last six months, you know that we have recently moved to Tennessee from Colorado. It has been an adjustment in a lot of ways, almost all good adjustments, but there are some challenges. Now, Colorado has a reputation for being fairly sustainable and earth friendly, and well, the "south" really in a lot of ways does not have that reputation. I've been pleasantly surprised at how responsible our immediate environment has been in Nashville, but there still are some roadblocks.

So far, I feel challenged to live sustainably where we live and I am torn between if it is something about living in this part of the country or the type of living situation we have now. Let me share my inner struggles...

I want to recycle, but our condo building does not have recycling, just garbage pick up. Blame Living Situation!
My solution: I have found more public recycling bins down the area that I "covertly" dump a bag here and there in or drive over to the recycling center to drop it off. One of our grocery stores has separate bins for plastic, aluminum, etc that I will use, but it is hard to remember to take this stuff over. I mentally have this on my list of things to research for the building, because I've heard other people voice this need for recycling pick up as well. It could be an easy solution...(i hope)

I want to recycle glass in my covert recycling efforts, but the local recycling pick up service won't accept glass. Blame the city!
My solution: avoid glass? collect glass up in my small home until I have a good enough amount to take to recycling center? I'm still working on a solution to this one that makes sense in our full life.

I cringe every time I throw paper out at work. Blame workplace environments!
I know that even in Colorado this was a problem, and it bothered me there too. A lot of small businesses just see recycling as another expense to add to their long list - or are too busy running their business to think about it. If there is non-confidential information on a sheet, I will take those papers home to use for basic printing needs at home. I also cut up the sheets into quarters and use as note-paper instead of sticky-notes.

I want to bike to work since I'm so close! Blame the south!
I tried this once so far and it worked ok, but if the day was any hotter I would have been too sweaty to feel good about being at work. Blame humidity! I guess this will be a winter pasttime now that I live in Tennessee.

Nashville seems really progressive and actually very similar in urban mentality as other places I've experienced, but it's interesting to see roadblocks to living sustainably that you never even thought about had you never lived there. Not that these roadblocks are excuses. There are roadblocks all over the world for living responsibly: no matter where you live.

I believe we are stewards of this earth and therefore should take care the resources we have been given. Plain and simple. I may not always succeed in this and often times, yes, I am wasteful. But, I refuse to be content in that. There is always something else I could do or not do to live more resonsibly.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Fresh Cleaning: Vinegar

I love the idea of switching over to natural cleaning techniques. It's hard to think about making your own cleaners when you work full time and are going in a gazillion different directions when you aren't working. While I'm not 100% converted to using only natural cleaning products yet, I have found white vinegar to be so helpful and easy (and cheap!).

It's this easy! I went to the dollar store and bought a couple spray bottles. Then, I filled them with 2 parts vinegar and 1 part water and labeled them with a piece of tape. I keep one bottle downstairs and one bottle upstairs. At first the smell reminded me or dying easter eggs, but now that I use it more often, it just makes me think of "clean"!

There are tons of sources on the web and in books at your local library to find ways to use vinegar and other natural cleaning products. I recently stumbled upon this site for uses for vinegar specifically.

Hopefully this helps you start and continue your path toward safe cleaning in your home!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Simply Organized: Plastic Bins

How do you stay organized when you like to try new things and your husband does too? One of my best solutions so far: plastic bins. Depending on the size of your hobbies, you can use whatever size works best. In our case, I buy the 20 gallon plastic bins from the hardware store.

We have now collected about twenty bins already that house anything from our electrical cords to camping gear to extra sheets. I like to buy the bigger bins because I know I will have plenty of space for multiple items. To go out and buy a ton of bins might be a big chunk of money all at once. I have simply bought a few bins here and there as I have needed them. Don't feel pressure to have it all perfect immediately. Our homes are a work in progress!

Why I love these bins?

* they are strong! (much better than cardboard boxes)
* they can easily stack and store in an organized way
* I don't have to look at what is inside of them if I don't want to (I tend to buy the opaque containers)
* Since we have moved a few times in the last few years, I feel more sustainable since I'm buying a permanent moving solution, rather than buying boxes I'll dispose of later
* I feel good about having important mementos in them since water can't get in if there is a flood in the basement
* it's easy to just grab the bins we need for an excursion, like when we go camping, we just grab the camping bins and everything is in one place
* everything I need is in its own bin. everything has their space and I know where to go for that item!
* plastic bins are easy to reuse over and over again over the years

Fresh Tracks

There's something so beautiful and exciting about the untouched blanket of a snowfall. Even if there is a path hiding below the snow, your footprints are making the path as you walk across it. YOU leave your mark. We have so many opportunities to make our own fresh tracks in our daily lives.

Thanks for joining me here at Fresh Tracks! I am a person who is always learning and creating and growing! Sometimes maybe too much! I often feel like I have too many hobbies to delve completely in all of them, but I love learning new and different things. I love learning from others out there and maybe some of my thoughts and ideas can inspire you to create and try new things too.

I also get really excited about the LITTLE things in life. I'm a simple person really - ok sometimes, not really - but I strive to be. But really, the things that bring most joy are the little things - like taking a walk right after a perfect snowfall. Thanks for joining me in my adventures!