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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Moon Over the Gables

Back a few years ago they were flamingos.
As part of one of those urban beautifying campaigns run periodically in cities all over the world, the flamingos were ubiquitous in most of Coral Gables, to the delight of children mostly.
This time around (I am sure the information is already out, but I just haven't had the time to compile it) they are snails.
Huge bright pink or fuchsia (take your pick on what to call it) snails, mostly in pairs, strategically set where local residentes and visitors to The City Beautiful can snap photos, and children can climb on top.
It's actually hard to miss them.
What you most certainly would miss, I bet, is the also beautiful sight of the moon over the Gables at around 8:54 AM on 27 January, 2011.
Hope the pix is good enough to show it right there, about an inch to the left of the building in the background. You have two captions to locate it.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Earth Day MMXI - Every Little Bit Counts

Shopping for household stuff is one of the most simple and non-complicated things for me.
Other than the basic one about, Do I really need this now? there are two main considerations for deciding what to buy. One is, which brand? The other, at what price?
Price usually comes up when you are wondering whether to try a new product. For us all, animals of habit, what usually happens is that we stick with the tried and true. The brand your mother got home after a trip to the supermarket will probably be the one you are gonna reach for at the shelf (provided, of course, it survived long enough in the marketplace.)
Well, that bit of marketing know-how out of the way, let me explain now why I am pontificating on shopping habits and more specifically why I alluded to MY shopping habits.
Here is why?
Because my cooking is practically non-existent, I really don't have many dishes to clean daily. Which also explains why "dishwashing liquid" is not an item I jot down too often on my shopping list. In short, a 24-oz bottle of the stuff is gonna last me for a very very long time.
No matter how little you use, eventually you are gonna run out of said liquid.
One of these days, I did.
And since piling up unwashed dishes in the sink for even a few minutes is totally out of the question (one of my pet peeves, by the way) there was the obligated mental note to stop at the supermarket on the way home and buy dishwashing liquid.
I bought two 24-oz bottles of Dawn!
For a long time now, this detergent has been used by wildlife rescuers to help save wildlife affected by oil (make that crude oil) spills, think Exxon Valdez or BP exploration well disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Dawn does it without causing additional harm to the feathers and skin of animals. It's not a marketing ploy, it was actually a find by wildlife rescuers.
Now, you may say, what happened to not having to do a lot of washing dishes and your regular bottle of the stuff lasting you for a very long time?
That one's still true and it's also why I titled this post, Every Little Bit Counts.
Over the past year, whenever you as a consumer activated "your" donation online, for every bottle of Dawn dishwashing liquid you bought the manufacturers have donated one dollar, up to $500,000, to its wildlife conservation partners, The Marine Mammal Center and The International Bird Rescue Research Center.
Even though the $500,000 goal was already reached, donations are still being added and as of 18:00 EST on Thursday 6th Jan, 2011, the total had climbed to around $557,400.
So, having enough dishwashing liquid to last me for perhaps the rest of the year, I guess I have two choices: cook more, and dirty more dishes, or give it away to a friend or a neighbor in hopes that using this environmentally-friendly product will become his or her (and kin) favourite.
And then wait for the next Dawn campaign, to buy (and donate) some more. For two ways to find out more, on the Web go, here. Or you can also go to the facebook page, here.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

In 2011, Hit the Ground Running

For a while now and though still far from perfect, I've been rather constant with my running.
On average, the so-so weeks see me running at least 5 miles per day [by so-so I mean those weeks where I may run up to 20 miles on the weekend — that is to say 10 on Saturday and 10 on Sunday — and then do the other 15 over three different weekdays.]
On the good weeks, my total may come up to 45 or even 55 miles, especially when I do really well in managing my time schedule.
Most of my running I do on a treadmill, in a gym. It's better on your knees, whatever shape they may be in.
The gym is a rather inexpensive, no frills facility which I chose not only because is close to where I live but also because the sandwich board that advertises it had two words magic enough to attract my attention: No Contract!
When I first started visiting the gym it had been almost four years since last I had gone regularly to a gym. As a matter of fact, I recently joked that as far as I can remember my only running at the time was mostly to catch a departing bus.
My concern was not so much that I would not keep up with my intended purpose of getting in shape. I didn't.
It was mostly around the what ifs.
What if I have to change jobs? What if I move and that makes if difficult to come as often as I want? What if a longer conmute will prevent me from going to the gym as often as I need it?
Basically, why pay for something you are not using — you better believe it, bin dere done dat enough times to justify my concern.
Less than four months after starting my self-training schedule in early January 2009 I was able to run the 5K in the Miami Corporate Race in 34m51s.
Not otherworldly but not too shabby after a prolonged 4 year span of not doing any kind of competitive running.
I didn't run those 3.1 miles in 2010 and don't know whether running the MMXI MCR is in the cards for me this year.
Were it to happen I am more than confident that I would be able to shave off a few seconds off my 2009 time — how about 34m45s, LOL! God willing, that is.
An added benefit to my having been constant in my running over these past two years: I have strenghtened my knees and my ankles to the point that now [as you can see in the attached video] I can run on pavement without so much as resenting the pounding.
I am not much for those dreaded New Year resolutions but if I were to commit to some on this inaugural day of the second decade of the millennium, here they are:
— Stay close to God (and praise and thank Him always) as He wants me to.
— Do as much running or exercise as I can to stay healthy (He'll do the rest, I know.)
— Be more constant in my writing, beginning with my blog.
For Day One, it's working. Thank you, God, for all your blessings.