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Seven Things About Me

  • I don’t normally do these “about me” memes, but I’ve had several requests both on Facebook and Twitter, and I actually  had a couple of things running around in my head to say. I’m posting it here on my old blog because it doesn’t really fit in with my regular blog. Otherwise, this is a defunct blog that I no longer post to. But, if I sound interesting, please visit my regular blog at http://technoearthmama.com!
  • I’m the oldest of six children, 3 girls and 3 boys, alternating in age – girl/boy/girl/boy/girl/boy.
  • I like to do things like gardening and sewing, but I have a hard time with the middle part of these things. I’m good at planning and starting things, and I like producing things, but I often get stuck or unmotivated in the middle. Especially with sewing. I tend to make mistakes and have to tear things apart and start over. Everything takes 2-3 times as long as they instructions say it should, and it gets frustrating.
  • I love children’s and young adult novels and biographies. Most of those in the house belong to me rather than to my children, including Beverly Cleary, Madeleine L’Engle, Maud Hart Lovelace, L.M. Montgomery, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Louisa May Alcott and more. I usually re-read these at least once a year. I do share them with the kids now.
  • I’ve also read a good portion of the Star Wars novels that are out there, although I think it may be time to retire the series. They’ve stopped being interesting. Or maybe I’ve just read too many.
  • I have two favorite places in the entire world. One is the Girl Scout camp I attended, worked at, and directed, Camp Arrowhead. The other is Lompoc, CA, where my father grew up and where my grandmother still lives.
  • I have visited Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, Minnesota, Michigan, and Illinois. I have never been outside the U.S., even to Mexico or Canada.

I’m also not tagging anyone. Feel free to thank me. 🙂

I’ve moved!

Thank you, loyal readers, for your visits over the past several months. I’ve enjoyed your comments, and am glad to have “met” many of you here.

However, I’ve decided to move my blog to my own domain.

Please visit and bookmark my new blog site at http://www.technoearthmama.com.

More Car-free News

Willamette Week reports on a family on a low-car diet, courtesy of ZipCar.  They’re not totally car-free, but they’re not using their personal car — just bus, bike, feet, carpool, and the occasional ZipCar.  

This is really appealing to me.  I’d like to be car-free.  We don’t, however, have any ZipCars near us.  So far, ZipCar hasn’t seen any need to serve East County.  So I’m still hesitant to actually sell the car, as there probably will be times when we need/want one.  I will also have to convince my husband that we can do it.

Anyone have a car-free story to share?  Or a link to a good story?

Non-Portlanders, bear with me — this is a local issue, but it’s probably the sort of thing that may come up in your area too (or perhaps it already has).

Summary of the situation:  I-5 crosses the Columbia River between Oregon and Washington.  The bridge there (actually two side-by-side spans) is in need of repair/replacement/expansion due to age and increased traffic. The current Locally Preferred proposal (so designated by six local partner agencies) would “replace the existing Interstate Bridges to carry I-5 traffic, light rail, pedestrians and bicyclists across the Columbia River. The new bridges will not have a bridge lift. They will carry three through-travel lanes and up to three auxiliary lanes for entering and exiting the highway in each direction. Like today, northbound and southbound traffic would be on separate bridges.”

Problem:  Naturally, not everyone agrees with this plan.  Some think it will just encourage more car traffic and urban sprawl.  Some think we shouldn’t bother with light rail, just cars.

Why am I thinking about this today? President Bush has just designated the I-5 bridge replacement as a high priority project, which will make it happen much faster.

What I think:  I’m strongly in favor of alternative transportation.  I think we need to get out of our cars — and yes, I need to do better with that, too.  However, we aren’t going to eliminate all car and truck traffic.  In fact, one of the main reasons for fixing the I-5 bridge problem is that I-5 is a major truck route, transporting goods up and down the west coast.

We also need to have a safe crossing for the cars, trucks and busses that are on the road.   We don’t need a bridge collapsing into the Columbia River.

So, I think we do need a new bridge, along with the promised pedestrian/bike/transit upgrades.  As far as preventing increased congestion and sprawl goes, I think that’s another matter entirely.  We do need major lifestyle changes — but we’ve got to convince people in some other way, not by bottlenecking traffic or by allowing a bridge to fall into disrepair.

However, the issue is even more complex than thatOther potential problems include contamination of Vancouver, Washington’s drinking water resulting from bridge construction, air and noise pollution affecting residents near the construction site (many of them low income), and possible effects on endangered species of fish in the Columbia River.

After reading all of that today, I’m still somewhat reluctantly in favor of the current proposal.  I think it best balances the needs of area residents.  I do think the project managers should be required to take all possible measures to protect the environment and area residents, though.

The timer is ringing for dinner! I gotta run. But please go watch this video:

http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/64ad536a6d

Just heard about this from one of my tweeps — an open-source solution for global warming.  I’m on a deadline, so didn’t look closely — but if you have time, take a look and report back on your thoughts.

http://www.cquestrate.com/

I haven’t been commuting to work recently, as I haven’t been working.  I’ve been laid off for almost two weeks now.  My interest in biking and bussing hasn’t waned, though.  I’ve been taking some short rides to the park and the store, and I’m planning to fix up my bike a bit, although I don’t want to spend too much money on my piece of JC Penney junk.

So, for your reading pleasure today, I’ve got two pieces of alternative, car-free transportation news.

First up, the city of San Francisco plans to require businesses with 20 or more employees to provide some sort of transit benefit.  Their choices would be:

  • Provide employees with transit passes or vanpool reimbursement,
  • Provide door to door shuttle service for employees, OR
  • Provide pre-tax transit reimbursement accounts for employees (similar to health care or child care reimbursement accounts), so that employees can use pre-tax money to pay for transit passes.

Although this would be a requirement for employers, participation by employees would be optional.

According to SFGate, businesses actually agree that this is a good idea.

Moving north to Seattle, Mayor Greg Nickels has announced Car-Free Sundays for several neighborhoods in August and September.  No, not every Sunday — just one Sunday for each street.  Reactions are mixed, says the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.   “We might as well close for the day,” announced one restaurant owner.

Oh, give me a break.  If you want people to come to your street that day, make it an event!  Have a street fair, or some special entertainment, and publicize it.  People will come.  People may be more likely to come!

Mayor Nickels apparently said (not specifically in response to the above), “It’s just for one day, just chill.  Get out of the car and walk.”  OK, how old is this guy?  He sounds like me.  “Just chill” comes out of my mouth several times a day.  Oh, wait, I forgot, I’m old now, too.

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