Wednesday, October 26, 2011

On Not consuming, DIY and happiness

Hello to you!  I hope as the season is turning cooler, your health remains.  That is not so for lil Miss Sabine sadly.  She has been acquiring what I call mini-colds over the last couple of weeks.  By that I mean, she has a few symptoms randomly on various days - but then is fine again.  Until today, or should I say last night.  She was hacking all night long.  Poor little puff (hair reference). 

I woke up (seems like) each and every time she coughed.  I didn't have the sense to consider that maybe her room was dry and contributing to the hacking!  Of course, the next day, I got online and looked for some health tips.  You know; immunity building, fighting colds, etc.  It was there I learned about the almighty humidifier.  One would think I would have either thought about it or knew it deep inside my soul since I grew up in Minnesota where the heat is blasting for about 6 months out of the year! 

Alas no.  But knowing and doing something about it become a tad bit more complicated in another country.  First you must translate the word to English so you know what you are shopping for and then attempt to grasp the differences between the models which are all about 3x the cost as they would be back home - but not necessarily good quality.  (Coffee makers for example will average around 75 bucks - and they are worth about 20- if that!).  Don't even get me started on the cost of garbage cans or kid's toys!  Anyhoot, then you think about going to the store.  Imagining bringing a big box on the metro while with a toddler makes me shudder.  Could wait until the weekend and go with the hubby and car and when the hoards of shoppers saturate every square inch acting like the assholes people are when in over-crowded conditions.

Anyway, as a tree-hugging enviro extremist that I am, most of this doesn't really matter since we buy probably 85% of our household everything used.  For reasons of anti-over-packaging, re-using rather than landfilling, (not) fair-trade practices and general feelings of satisfaction when getting something at a fraction of store prices - just to name a few, this is the way to go.  However, there are just a few things that probably even I, wouldn't buy second hand for health reasons and a humidifier is one of them.

But then, low and behold - the internet has once again provided me with an idea that I might have actually come up with myself before the internet existed.  I mean, seriously, am I the only one who goes straight to my good old mac with a problem before even considering a solution myself?  Particularly as it relates to Sabine, the collective mind-hive on the web has definitely taken the place of what could have been interesting live conversations.  Yeah, these are the things I am thinking about these days.  Tangent alert:  AND that is because I recently read ON THE INTERNET that the happiest people socialize SEVEN HOURS A DAY!  NPR's interview with author of ""Thrive" by Dan Buettner. 

A Happy Blue Moon and Pirate.  Happy Halloween!
Well, I am way below the required amount of socializing (with people who can talk) to be thriving.  Apparently, Buettner is specific that socializing on-line doesn't count!  So, all my comments on Huffington Post, my gmail chatting etc. are not making me happy.  I guess I could have figured that out myself.  Bearing that in mind, I have taken on the task of getting out there more and being on the phone more too.  Last weekend, I went to a friend's ethereal and truly splendid music performance, the next day a party and the day after that, another party!  And there is no denying it, after the weekend I felt pretty happy!   Oh, and as long as I am talking about happiness.  If you have never heard of The Happiness Project - go. click. bookmark. subscribe. and bask in the wisdom from both Gretchen Ruben and the people who comment.  Absolutely worth your time - and you will think about happiness in new and profound ways.

DIY spicy humidifier
Okay- back to the humidifier.  I was delighted to be inspired to use stuff we already have in order to put moisture in the air.  AND, even cooler - DIY humidifier can also be used to make the apt smell cozy! 

The crock pot with:

purified water, orange peels, cinnamon sticks, vanilla extract, cloves, nutmeg and ginger. 

I am sure there are plenty of other very nice things that could be included like mint, lemon, apple pieces - maybe even chocolate or cocoa!  Anything that smells good when warm I suppose.  If you have any other ideas, let me know.

Happy Sabine!  

So, tonight, I will put the crockpot on low in Sabine's room - and hopefully this DIY method will do the trick and everyone can get a good night sleep and wake up happy :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The absolute coolest carousel in the land of carousels!

Was gonna attempt to fill in the blanks of the last two weeks, but will instead just add a few highlights and then get on with the present!  Each day I wrote my blog entry, unfortunately in my head - not on my computer.  A couple of things have changed making my computer leisure time more scarce - and they are good!  For one thing, I have started going to bed earlier.  Second thing, I have started my French classes.  Still too early to tell what I think since the real teacher was absent for the first two classes.  And, I have been busy - both with living, learning and homemaking.  However, blogging is something I enjoy doing and something that I do for expression.  It is like journaling (without the real private stuff) and with colorful photos that I like.

I wrote the above paragraph two days ago!  What the hell?  Well, anyway ... I can now say that I love my new French teacher.  It takes about 45 minutes to get there and 45 minutes to rush back - for a class that is 1.5 hours!  But I am glad to be back in the saddle, c'est sure!

Old school boats on a perfect day
Soooo, several weeks ago we went to a really cool boat festival.  Don't ask me where exactly, I just know it was in the Loire Valley.  There was nautical stuff abound, people in costumes singing jigs and environmental awareness building displays filling the street.  As always, to see the pictures larger, click on them:)
A floating mermaid

These ladies were the wonderful singing drinking songs.

Some guys performing music on the water front, but really I am intrigued by the guy carrying the dog.

Old-school kids games
More boats.  The guy in blue was reading.

Another cool carousel, but not the coolest.

The thing that really, really, really impressed me the most the entire day was this absolutely ingenious old-skool amusement ride made entirely of drift wood and powered by parents either peddling a bike or riding a see-saw.  The music was live and was played by one talented man, whom I guessed had perhaps designed the beautiful organic carousel.  I thought Sabine was too little to go on the ride, but then I found their website and learned it was designed for 6 months to 6 years!  Check it out - they have a lot of cool stuff going on besides just this ride:

"Beasts of the Alpine"  The COOLEST carousel ever!

Eco-friendly, peddle powered by parents

Live accompaniment: either accordion, piano or sax.

The drift wood carousel is, for me, the stuff dreams are made of.

The elk taking a little girl on expedition.

Flying with the eagles and riding another mountain creature.


Since pictures can't really do this unique apparatus justice, here is a one minute video of the merry-go-round in action. I can't seem to post the actual video so you can,  Watch the carousel in action! (live accordian too!)