Cactus Bed

My posting and blog reading will be limited this week due to the fact that I’m in AZ until Tuesday.  For those who aren’t aware, I’ve decided to go back to school.  I felt it was time to reconcile the difference between what I feel passionate about and my current career path, bringing those two things in line with each other.  That’s just another way of saying, I’m going back to school to learn about sustainable community development with the goal of merging this with what I already do, residential design.  Keeping an open mind that what could emerge may be something entirely different.  The wonderous thing about this adventure is that I’ll be devising my own curriculum and finding local individuals to become mentors for the courses.  It’s crazy, I know.  The school is Prescott College in Prescott, AZ and it’s an adult degree program, hence the reason I’m in AZ.  This weekend will entail meeting my Core Faculty, other ADP students, getting acquainted with the schools ideals and philosophies, and learning how this mentoring thing really operates.

Meanwhile, back at the homestead, the child and E. are having to fend for themselves.  So far, the child has had her first experience with a dead car battery and E. has discovered the perfect spot to unleash the wild pack of dogs we’ve adopted.  Well, there’s only 2, not really a pack, none-the-less, they’re wild.  Tomorrow night, E. and the child have been enlisted to take my place at a gathering of sustainably minded folks from the community.  There will be a showing of An Inconvenient Truth, a presentation from Alabama Electric and Waste Management and open discussion with local business owners about bringing sustainability to Walton County.  That’s where I, er, E. and the child will come in.  Wish I could be there to see how that pans out.  Here’s wishing you two well!

So, not much else to tell right now.  The plane ride was uneventful, except for my own inner dialogue I had with myself about how I was increasing my ecological footprint by flying.  I tried to offset that just a bit by bringing my own water and food, though I was forced to empty my water when I got there (airport security).  That resulted in using 2 plastic water bottles, which who knows if they were recycled or not after they were collected by the flight attendant.  I declined one of the snacks.  They always seem to be a disappointment anyways and I always find it a bit disturbing when I hear the collective rustling of everyone opening their airplane snacks at once.  Dropping into Phoenix was yet another reminder of our excessiveness with it’s urban sprawl rambling on for miles, all the way to the foot of the distant mountains.  Once in Pheonix, I shuttled over to the car rental place when I should have been shuttling my butt to Prescott.  This is a sustainable degree I’m seeking after all!!  By this point I was exhausted and disappointed in myself and realizing that once out of my cocoon (local environment), I like everyone else was plagued and bombarded with continual enticements to consume more.  So when the nice lady at the car rental place asked if I wanted to upgrade to an SUV, I said…well, I didn’t say anything, just wrinkled my nose at the suggestion.  When I thought all was said and done, she chirped in with, “How about a convertible?”  I couldn’t say no to that.  It was 75 outside and the 2 hour ride through the desert is magnificent at sunset.  Somehow, I rationalized the whole experience by reminding myself that I’ll probably drive my Toyota until the wheels fall off and as long as I’m renting a car anyway, why not just enjoy the experience.  I wonder how much longer we/I can go on rationalizing our superfluous choices.  Somehow, I don’t think the fact that I’ve started a garden will cancel out my airplane ride and car rental.       




7 thoughts on “Cactus Bed

  1. Best of luck. I am a huge fan of lifelong learning, and work with mature undergraduates myself. I know you will find it challenging (it wouldn’t be worth doing if it wasn’t) but I’m sure you can meet the challenges and will get so much out of it. You have my admiration.

  2. Thanks Mel & Lauri for your support. So far, it’s everything I hoped it would be. I’m surrounded by people that are as passionate/ obsessed about sustainability as I am. Heh. More later…

  3. Chandra, what is your connection to Topsail Island? I am a reporter with the Jacksonville Daily News (near the island) and think it would be fascinating if you had a house there to do a story together. I read you are in AZ, but let me know if you have a connection here. I am very interested in what you do with your “green” ideas. 🙂 Give me a call if you’re interested in talking! (910) 353-1171 x239. Thanks!

  4. So, you can begin by telling us all that you did not continue writing since you were snatched from the convertible by a giant roadside praying mantis…..thanks for the report. I love the way you write. So, am I back on the street looking for a designer (which of course is not going to be possible to find one with your talent and mindset)? Or can I be your first “homework”?

    By the way, I have just posted a new entry on my blog regarding a very interesting (read: unbelievable for Birmingham) non-profit group that has been formed in Birmingham to make low-income housing not only affordable but also of good design. And also with an approach to improving the complete environment that plagues low to middle income neighborhoods in our city. Check it out. Philanthropy goes modern! I hope to have a chance to sit down with Terry Slaughter and see where will go with this.

  5. hey David ~ I tried to post this on your blog, but no luck. I’ve resurfaced. That’s a great thing to know about, a design firm that is dedicated to enhancing the human condition. That’s where I see my work moving toward, somehow, someway re-connecting communities and improving everyone’s quality of life, not limiting my focus to the affluent. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I, too am a big fan of continuing education- whether it be in a classroom or otherwise… the world is too vast a place to have one’s mind made up about it. I’d say good luck- but I know you won’t need it- you have enough wits, intelligence and drive for the both us.

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