Thursday, October 27, 2016

Oil & Gas: Time to Clean Up

I was reading about the infamous "methane blob" hovering high in the skies over my beloved town of Durango and decided I had to do something about it. My temperment leans more towards Edward Abbey than Bernie Sanders, but a degree in Political Science and four years of working with an environmental protection group has taught me that the keyboard is far more effective than the monkey wrench in the long run. So I went looking for who was involved in trying to suck that gas out of the sky and discovered the website for San Juan Citizens Alliance. They have a short, informative section on the blob, where it is, where it came from and what NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has to say about it, and what you and I, as concerned citizens of the planet earth can do about it. You can take a look at this for yourself here:

The four corners may seem a long way away but the methane is not just in the four corners. Methane is a green house gas and it's currently eating away at our atmosphere, all for want of the oil & gas industry keeping their equipment maintained and up to date. Unfortunately, they don't want to bother with it, because, they're crazy and greedy, so we have to persuade them. By creating federal and state laws. But first, we have to persuade the government to persuade them. What to do? The easiest and most effective thing you can do is use the form letter right there on the San Juan Citizens Alliance site, slightly adapted to not only voice your own concerns in your own voice, but also to distinguish your submission so it carries more weight than the typical form letter, though even a form letter with your signature is better than no signature at all. Do what you want, but, golly, sure would be nice if you could do something, right? Reminder: Go to the website above for the easy peazy form letter.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Durango Rant

It's time for the annual Durango versus Boulder debate. The debate takes place within the hearts of everyone in my immediate family, including, now that she's reached the age of reason and all, my 8 year-old daughter. 

A few weeks ago, I went down and had a banner weekend. I saw all kinds of people I love, and they all expressed great love for me. Everywhere I went there was warmth and beauty. I wanted to go home. I wanted to go home so badly I envisioned my family happily tip toeing around a thousand foot shack just for the joy of breathing in that clean mountain air and snuggling in that odd little community. Especially after I returned to Erie, Colorado where the number of social invitations, not counting trunk parties, can practically be counted on one three years. Either the people in Erie are really busy, or they just don't know what to do with me. I've had parties and when I have them, almost everybody comes, so I'm not completely unlikable, but still...going back to a town where I've established zero real roots, coming back from a town where everyone seemed to love me seemed like a big flag. I asked Darren to call his old employer and see if the door was still open. It is. Urgently.
But then something happened over the last month or so. I became okay with the loneliness because of all the cool things living between the cities has to offer. Denver and Boulder vibrate, and I don't mean that in a vortex-y kind of way. There are constantly interesting things happening and I suddenly didn't mind doing them alone. I actually embraced it. A bluebelt in Taekwondo, the mental strength of surviving and thriving in embryonic waters where most people drown and the physical strength gained from having hobbies that are physically demanding have given me the confidence to go almost anywhere at any time without fear. And after trying to cultivate friendships for three years and having my efforts go unmet, I had to wrestle with the ole is it me or is it them and I've concluded it's them. There's nothing wrong with them. I don't mean that. We're just different kinds of people with different kinds of interests. When outlining the list of dinner party guests, it might be difficult to figure out where to put me. Good or bad, I've never really had a very good social censor. I'll say damn near anything that comes to mind. You just never know what that might be, and if I'm in a bad mood, well, those two characteristics just don't mesh well. I think you have to be a little bit odd yourself to really feel comfortable around me. In that regard, it's probably my loss, missing out on some pretty sweet people. I've tried to tamp it down a bit but when I do, I just feel so inauthentic. So fake. And for some reason, that's worse to me than loneliness. In Durango, no offense me dearies, but their all pretty much oddballs so I don't really stand out. Durango has a bunch of Peter Pan, Never-Wanna-Grow-Ups. And I love them for it. 

And what does Erie have? Well, it's the place between the two vibrating cities. I have a house that I absolutely adore with really cool neighbors in an awesome neighborhood, just a few blocks from an award winning school full of people my daughter loves. New neighbors have moved in and not only is the whole neighborhood gaga for these kind folks but they have three of the sweetest children and my daughter loves them. She finally has friends down the street she can run and giggle with. Any night of the week, I can find something cool to do, although I usually end up doing whatever it is alone. It's a great place to launch my writing career, with plenty of bookstores and cultural events. My husband has a great job with a great company working for good people, though the workload is a bit much and he can't make it to many of Nila's special events, but they are a far better company than a lot of other firms and treat their people pretty well. We can ALWAYS find something new and cool to do as a family and we have a couple of parent night out events we can use when Darren and I want a date. Durango has zero. We'd have to find a baby sitter. That's scary and scarce. We're becoming less daunted by long drives to the places we love but sometimes the traffic to get out of here is unbelievable. I'd like to have a place where i can have chickens and bees and that might be difficult of score around Boulder. I thought this semi-public (if anyone actually read it) rant might help me clarify where my heart truly lies...but damn't. Still going back and forth and it's time for me to wrap this up. If anyone reads this, please feel free to throw in your two cents. 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

10.6.2016 Writing Workout from Pinker's Sense of Style

Crisis conditions are escalating between the United States of America and Russia, or so one Facebook friend tells me. I'd like to dismiss it as a knee-jerk alarmist flinging out a hyperlink to a ratings-hungry "news" site who's source may have no more basis than imagination and extrapolation, except that the source is near unimpeachable. He's quirky, but, dammit, he's also smart. Really smart. Like more than most of the people on the planet. Except me, of course ;).

 And he's an accuracy stickler. He's corrected me more than once when I've had my own outraged, knee-jerk, link-flinging-without-fact-checking moments of weakness. So, unfortunately, where I could just scan right passed most alarmist's posts from biased sources such as or, I knew I had to read passed the headline.

What I read, made me wonder about every moment of my days that squander precious time and energy on reading ingredient labels (except for wheat--no need to suffer immediately), comparing sales prices, saving every penny possible for a future that I might not need to worry too much about. Then again I might.

 The Cold War, the war that was a mental anguish of wondering when, oh when, would the Russians strike and char our bones or the bones of someone we loved, was not so long ago, But one of its lessons may still prevail: The war of mental anguish were years that kept adults and children alike fretfully awake and chronically frightened. And then, through no efforts of our own as individual citizens, but doubtlessly at enormous effort by some frazzled diplomat, the gossamer monster just slowly faded away to be replaced with the next fear that could capture the national attention.

I don't remember what that was,

But now, here we are in 2016 and the malevolent specter of nuclear attack from Russia rises up to frighten a new generation of Americans. For those of us who lived during the Cold War, even if only the tail end, the fright is probably not as powerful. We've heard this all before. We fretted, we cried, we prayed, and nothing ever happened, but we wasted a good many nights lying awake, terrified. Jumping at storm sirens.

But what of the new generation of youngsters who've reached the 'age of reason' but might not have covered The Cold War in their history classes (which, sadly, is more likely than it should be)? They've got to be scared to death. I'm scared enough myself to put at least one end-of-the-world pebble in my store of decision scale pebbles. The world seems mad. But here's the thing. It always has. And right this moment the world is the absolute best it's ever been. There is more freedom, more equality, and less war and crime than there ever has been in recorded history. If we can face down this latest fear-mongering, be it a legitimate cause or not, with a few more tweaks, we may be on the verge of a really cool future.