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We haven’t done it yet, but Chris and I have aspirations to go carbon neutral for 2007 or the very beginning of 2008.  I was telling Joey about it tonight and he said, “well, good luck!  we’ll join you next year!  wish you could advertise with a sign in your yard.”  He continued on to say, “have Joelle walk door-to-door, maybe guilt a few others! ‘we’ve gone carbon neutral to save the world for me, will you too?'”

I had to laugh with his suggestion because it might work.  Today, Chris and Joelle (and Elise in tow) visited some garage sales.  Everywhere they went, Joelle got free stuff.  Aside from the books, she picked out a lot of strange and useless stuff.  A doll with no arm and hair that falls off and an old Christmas bow and ornament that looks like it’s been used on a few too many packages.

In case anyone is interested, we (ok, Chris) did find one site that we liked for carbon offseting.  This was after some research into the gold standard and where our money would best be put to use:  http://www.my-climate.com/ 

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Last night, we had left overs with Nana and Poppy.  Nana said, “it’s just like Thanksgiving.”  I said, “…but we have Christmas decorations out, so it’s like Christmas.”  Anyway, Poppy told us all about an interesting lecture he heard about the diminishing middle class.  Between Joelle’s questions and chatter, I managed to get some of the information.  In the end, Poppy said, “so, there won’t be a middle class in ____ years (I didn’t catch how many years).  Everyone will be rich or poor.”  I responded, “oh no, will we be rich or poor?”  Poppy said, “probably rich.”  I smiled and Joelle said, “who hoo, we’ll be rich!”  Chris said, “yeah, it’ll be like those people we met from Colombia depicted life there – servants will be affordable.  You’ll come home to a big formal dinner every night.”  Nana said, “boy, we could’ve used servants over the past fews days.”

I’m not sure this is the response Poppy was looking for.  In retrospect, I think it’s hilarious that we all had responses like that because we all care very much about things like that.  For my part, I’m so upset and worried about the environment that I don’t have room to think about the shrinking middle class.  Does anybody have any good news?

I love that Joelle had us each go around at Thanksgiving to say what we were thankful for.  I like that tradition.  She actually had us do it at the beginning and the end of the meal.  I have too many things to list to be thankful for.  My scary surgery reminds me every day what I have and what I could have lost.  I guess we need to all concentrate on the good things in life to remind us what we have and what we have to fight for. 

In April,a group of kids decided it would be a good idea to rob a guy and two female companions exiting a performing arts center in West Palm Beach, FL. Unfortunately, that person was David Copperfield.

Copperfield, 50, and two female assistants were walking from the Kravis Center to their tour bus when they were approached by the teens April 23. The assistants handed over money and a cellphone, but the illusionist turned his pockets inside out to reveal nothing, although he was carrying his passport, wallet and cell phone.

I had forgotten about this story until I saw an update this morning. I can’t wait for the Law & Order episode about this case.

We usually try to steer clear of too much political discussion, that’s what Joey’s site specializes in, right?  🙂  In honor of election day, I do have a few comments:

* Wow, I can’t believe Lampson barely won.  I was curious about how hard it was to vote for a “WI” and looked when I voted (even though we are NOT in Lampson’s district).  It’s pretty damn hard, you have to actually use that painful turn thing to get “Sekula-Gibbs” in there! 

* It sure takes some of the fun out of voting when no one you vote for wins.  (Ok, a couple of my peeps won, I’m not a straight ticketer, but let’s just say I could count my winners on one hand.)

* “I think we’ve got this thing won, it’s just a matter of getting it to play out,” Democrat Jon Tester, a Montana organic grain farmer who lost three fingers in a meat grinder, told The Associated Press in Montana.  1.  How did he lose three fingers in a meat grinder if he’s a grain farmer?  2.  Why did we need to know that he lost three fingers in a meat grinder?  Does that change how good of a politician he is?  This election definitely wasn’t about likeability, was it? 

* Tom Delay:  “The Democrats didn’t win,” he said, “Republicans lost.”  That kinda sounds like a sore loser to me. 

A University of Georgia student was arrested for allegedly hitting two people with her Jeep in a McDonald’s parking lot on Saturday. The reason? A cashier opened up a new line and these two people jumped into it before she could. See the entire story (have to register for the one from Athens, GA.)

Yahoo! News

Athens Banner-Herald

I’m not into hitting people with my car, but I do have to say that I really wish more people would go to the “single line” method. The only places off the top of my head that do this are Best Buy and Wendy’s (I’m sure there are others).

Are rope barriers really that expensive?

For those living in Houston, which High School would you consider the most dangerous? Which one is the one that is allowing students to transfer because it has been termed “persistently dangerous”? I’d bet your first 10-20 guesses are wrong. The school is Cypress Ridge in the Cy-Fair School District.

There is a new rule under “No Child Left Behind” allowing states to make their own criteria on what schools are termed “persistently dangerous”:

“In Texas, schools are considered persistently dangerous if they report three or more mandatory expulsion incidents per 1,000 students in each of the previous three years. The rules give equal weight to alcohol violations, assaults, arson and murder.

Sophomore Kouazou Njowo said she’s shocked that her seemingly well-regarded school made the list, while others, such as Westbury High School in Houston, where there was a rape and riot this year, didn’t. (from the Houston Chronicle story (online version no longer available)

They say that 80% of the instances at the school are drug related and that a lot of those are people with medication that do not let the school nurse handle it. However, the actual criteria lists “felony controlled substance”…either they are minimizing the drug abuse problems in the press or the school is reporting minor incidents as felonies, it seems. The last quotation from Ms. Njowo says it all to me. In hindsight, maybe this criteria could have been a bit more specific. I guess making it more subjective could be a bad thing, though.

Side note: This article struck me mostly because I was zoned to Westbury HS (but attended elsewhere because it was “unofficially persistently dangerous”)

So, our neighborhood floods. We weren’t particularly surprised to find that out since a. we live in Houston and b. our sewer systems are older. We knew when we moved into the area that Nottingham was slated for new sewer systems – in 2008. That sounded good when we were moving here. That is until the street in front of our house has proceeded to trap us in our home 4 times in less than a year from flooding. The worst was yesterday. I wish I knew how much rain we had between 8:30 and 9:30, but I noted that the water in the backyard was creeping precariously close to the house. We also started getting water in our dining room from a faulty gutter.

With Joelle watching Dora, I ran outside to start dumping buckets of water from our backyard to the driveway. The water was up to the hardiplank line on the house! I had three buckets and the broom going at full speed. I didn’t seem to be making any improvements. I remembered a physics lesson and tried to rig the hose to start moving water out of the backyard (kinda like the fish vacuum concept). That didn’t work. I knew I didn’t understand physics.

While I was in the front dumping a bucket, a car stalled in front of our house trying to go through knee high water. My neighbors across the street and I, pushed the car out of the street to a driveway. I mentioned how high the water was in our backyard, so Jim came back to see if he could clear our french drains. They were blocked, but they also wouldn’t drain because they drain into the street in front – which was, um, blocked with water.

We’re left with not a lot of options… we may try to add gutters to the back of the house to direct water away from the backyard to the side yard, but I’m not sure how effective that will be. It’s really just a waiting game until they can fix our sewers. I did send a letter to our council woman to see if this could be expedited, but I’m not too optimistic. I sent her pictures of the swollen street…

The picture set is here.

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