Walking your city

Picture of running shoeI recently found an app that got me thinking. ‘City Walk‘ divides your city into sectors, with your goal being to walk all the sectors in your city. There are fancy leaderboards and your progress is magically tracked by your phone and gremlins in the sky.

I think City Walk is a fun idea. I’ve lived in a Seattle suburb for 20+ years and City Walk got me thinking about walking my city. All of it. I can get a city map and walk different areas each week or month, marking off the completed areas.

Walking is a great way to learn an area. You might drive a route every day, but you see different things when you walk. You notice things that are overlooked when you’re speeding through life.

Walking has so many benefits…

Want to escape your busy life? Walk. Want to lose weight? Walk. Want to decrease stress? Walk. Want to solve problems? Walk. Want to reconnect with nature and your community? Walk.

It’s simple, free, and available to all. Walk your way to better health and well-being.

One street at a time.

How about you? Have you walked your city?

My photo blog post for today:

Picture of trees at dusk

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1000 awesome things

Awesome things are, well… awesome. Neil Pasricha has an fun blog called 1000 Awesome Things. Neil’s posts will make you smile as you think about all the amazing things in life. There are thousands of awesome things in life. And most of them are free.

Awesome things such as…

Which got me thinking about awesome spring things such as…

  • Eating an ice cream cone on a sunny spring day
  • Going sock-free for the first time in months
  • Eating local strawberries (so sweet!)
  • Drinking iced coffee in the morning sun
  • Enjoying a cold beer after an afternoon of yard work
  • Buying local produce at the farmer’s market 
  • Receiving a homemade Mother’s Day card
  • Daydreaming about summertime

How about you? What do you find awesome about spring?

Millions and billions and trillions of glasses

I went to a movie and was handed a plastic bag with 3D glasses. The glasses were nicer than the old cardboard variety, but I was mildly annoyed by the plastic bag. Why are plastic glasses wrapped in plastic?

After the movie, movie-goers can drop the glasses into a cardboard box for recycling. Recycling? Glasses that were worn once are melted down to make new glasses? Seems silly. After my conversation with the theatre staff went nowhere (was I really the first person to ask about the recycling?), I tried the Web.

The Internets revealed that every day some 700,000 Real-D glasses are shipped to a cleaning facility in LA where they’re sanitized, repackaged and shipped back to the theatres (not sure why this is called recycling, but perhaps reusing or washing doesn’t sound sexy?)

Some smaller companies handle the 3D glasses differently. Dolby, for example, has 3D glasses and they suggest that theatre owners buy something called a dishwasher. The glasses are washed onsite and reused. Simple.

I hope that more theatres will install dishwashers (and use compostable food containers).

In the meantime, I took my 3D glasses home to save for my next thrilling 3D experience (no shipping or repackaging needed).

Are 3D movies here to stay?

“There are hundreds of glasses, thousands of glasses, millions and billions and trillions of 3D glasses.”

Maybe I’m old school, but I like regular ol’ 2D. No special glasses required.

[Wiki sayz: Millions of Cats is the oldest American picture book still in print (1926).]

Frugal and fun party idea

My daughter became a Bat Mitzvah last weekend. Bat Mitzvah parties come in all sizes and flavors. We wanted to do something different and of course inexpensive.

I came up with an fun way for my daughter to celebrate with her friends – a photo scavenger hunt in downtown Seattle.

The mission: find and photograph as many scavenger list items as you can.

We had four teams of six teens and one amazing adult team leader per team. The team that photographed the most items (on the list), won a prize – OK, everyone got a prize, even if it was only a Hersey’s kiss.

We used public transportation to keep us together as a group and avoid parking fees. Most of the clues were in and around the Pike Place Market and Westlake Center. Some were fairly easy to find – like a stroller, a hot dog on a stick or an ice cream cone. But some proved to be more difficult – like a fish tank.

The winning team could not be shy. To find everything on the list you had to ask questions. Do you know where there’s a fish tank? Can I take a picture of you for a scavenger hunt?

After 1.5 hours of walking and sleuthing, we returned home together by bus and the sky gifted us heavy rain (remember this is Seattle).

We rendezvoused at our home to eat pizza and watch scavenger hunt pictures on our TV. A winning team was announced and the party was over.

The scavenger hunt was a big hit; a memorable event for a young woman turning 13 in Seattle.
 
Here are some things from our Seattle Scavenger Hunt:

A bench with someone you don’t know sitting on it, a fountain, leopard outfit, Pez dispenser, fish tank, slice of pizza, picture of everyone in your group wearing a hat, Elvis, a honey bucket, a flag, someone in your group with a fluffy white animal (most likely stuffed), a security camera, a blue rose, dog on a leash, something Hello Kitty, UW sweatshirt, a lightning bolt, Seattle postcard, a street performer, your group on a stage, an escalator or intertwined in a human knot…

You don’t need to spend much money to have a fabulous party.

Do you have a frugal and fun party idea?

Green police

My daughter watched the Super Bowl this year and I missed it (aw shucks). When she returned home I asked her which commercial was her favorite. Her response?

The Green Police Ad:

My daughter thought the Green Police ad was clever. What if disposable products were illegal? Is it absurd or a possibility? Does the ad help or hurt green initiatives?

Is the ad effective? 

After saying the ad was clever, my daughter added “I wanted the car for a second.”

Oh no! The ad was very effective. We don’t need a car, not to mention my daughter can’t drive. Still, she wanted the car for a second.

Ah, the power of advertising. This is why companies pay millions of dollars for 30 seconds.

What do you think? Does the ad help green initiatives, hurt them, or just help sell cars?

Join us! ‘No Impact Man’ in Seattle

I’m a huge Colin Beavan fan. I just devoured Colin’s new No Impact Man book, and now I can’t wait to see the documentary about the year Colin and his family lived a non-traditional, green lifestyle in NYC. The movie trailer is fun and the book is thought provoking and inspirational.  

Join me and Betsy Talbot from Married With Luggage for an intriguing, entertaining and inspirational evening (yes, I think the movie will be all of these things and more).

  • What: No Impact Man 
  • Date: Friday, September 25
  • Time: 7 pm
  • Where: Landmark Theatre in Seattle

No Impact Man trailer

Is it possible to have a good life without wasting so much?

I think the answer is definitely YES.

Out with the DVR

Once upon a time, my DVR (digital video recorder) was important to me. My DVR recorded things and let me watch them when I wanted, without commercials. Total bliss. Then time passed and my DVR lost its luster. My life changed (a divorce), tv became less appealing and my kids outgrew the PBS kiddie shows.

So in May of 2008 I pulled the plug on DirectTV and tv altogether, since we can’t get broadcast tv.

My original thought was that we might go tv-free for the summer. But then summer sailed by and we just kept pluggin’ along tv-free.

Now sixteen months later, I ceremoniously removed the DVR box from my closet and put it on freecycle.org. I got four enthusiastic responses in five minutes, so my DVR is going to a good home.

dvr

What I find interesting about this experience is how tastes change. I once watched an hour of TV everyday. What I once thought was indispensible is now dispensable.

What will be next?

Now I spend an hour a day on my Kindle. I read books, magazines and blogs (although most of my favorite blogs are not on the Kindle). And it seems indispensible. At least at this moment in my life. But what about five years from now? Will I be putting my Kindle on freecycle?

How about you? Have you reconsidered what you once thought was indispensible?

Thinking of pulling the plug? Check out Life after cable: Broadcast TV alternatives for alternatives to paid television programming.