Friday, April 26, 2013

Arbor Day - Did you know?

Did you plant a tree today? Me neither. No space. I suppose I could have a bonsai in my cubicle...

Actually, I almost forgot about Arbor Day until earlier this week I noticed colorful tags hanging from the skinny trees that line the streets of downtown Chicago. Morton Arboretum was advertising the benefits of trees with a bunch of "Did you know" tags that told us why every tree matters. I thought it was neat even though I already did know most of their facts:

 1. Trees clean the air we breathe. Well, duh.
 2. Trees keep us cooler. Yep, made in the shade.
 3. Trees increase our homes' value. I can see how.
 4. Trees help us relax. You're kidding.
 5. Trees make our streets quieter. Noise buffers. Makes sense.

But one was new to me and led me to "learn more at"

 6. Trees make our cities safer. What?
According to the arboretum's website, in areas near trees and natural landscapes, there is less domestic violence and fewer crimes, and people drive slower. Hm. Probably because everyone is so relaxed.

On Morton Arboretum's website (already linked above) you can read more details about all six of those tidbits as well as a few more, so check them out. And, if you can't actually plant a tree to celebrate Arbor Day today, at least go spend some time appreciating trees. Walk past one, admire it, hug it, climb it, talk to it, whatever.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Socks into Arm Warmers

In celebration of Earth Day, let's re-purpose something.

How about those great knee-high argyle socks that have holes in the toes and heels? The important part of the sock is worn thin and pretty much useless now, but the section that goes from ankle to knee never wears out. It would be a shame to waste all that colorful fabric.

And so the socks become arm warmers! This morning, I made it a 30-second project by just snipping across the toes. If you want to finish them off and ensure no unravelling, you'll probably want to sew the edge.

You might wonder what is the point of arm warmers when you could just wear a long-sleeve shirt. See, while I'm biking in cooler weather, my core heats up from the exertion while my extremities remain frozen in the wind. Layering a jacket over two shirts only makes my armpits sweat more. Get the drift? I need more layers around my arms than I do around my chest.

Brightly colored argyle does just the trick. Maybe it will also make me noticeable to drivers.

Shared at Inspire Me Monday, How To Tuesday, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

...and why is there glass all over the sidewalk?

The missing first half of that question, in case it's not obvious in your part of the world, is Where is the warm weather??? But it's April in Chicago. What do I expect? That's why the second half of my guttural yell to the skies—and the title of this post—is the more pertinent question.

Every spring, I wonder this. While I prefer to ride on the generally smoother asphalt of the street, there are some not-so-bicycle-friendly stretches of my suburban commute where I'm better off following the sidewalk, which is generally free of pedestrians anyway. It is there that I always encounter an obstacle course of broken glass, especially early in the cycling season.

People! How hard is it to hold on to your empty bottles until you get to the nearest recycling bin? Even a trash can would be better than the sidewalk! Who taught you it was OK just to throw your trash wherever?

Oh, but I see. You and your buddies were simply enjoying a nice bottle of Jim Beam during your night out cruising and needed to ditch the tangible evidence... By tossing it out of your car window.

Well, you might have avoided an  "open container" violation, but now you owe me five bucks for a new rear inner tube. And then I'm going to report you for littering. Oh, and also a DUI.

P.S. Earth Day is Monday. Why don't you go to Practically Green and see if you can complete at least ten actions by the end of the month to earn the limited edition Earth Day MVP badge?