Saturday, January 2, 2010

Bon Jour, Louisiana!

It has been a busy two months since I wrote the last post in this blog. We have had adventures in life!

My husband finished his treatment for Lyme disease (round two) and we were transferred to and subsequently moved ourselves to Slidell, Louisiana.

Though we had hoped to move back to our native Virginia, we quickly discovered that our new home on the north shore of Lake Ponchartrain is fantastic!

We have a little bit of waterfront on a freshwater canal (no alligators - I checked before we signed the lease) and can now seagull- and duck- and pelican-watch over morning coffee. Woohoo! I can't wait to see what birds join the party once I put my feeders up!

One of my first concerns about moving to Slidell was that the area wouldn't have any environmental education opportunities. Silly me! New Orleans is home to the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, the Audubon Insectarium, and the Audubon Zoo, any of which I'd absolutely love to work at. (Are you listening, Audubon human resources people?)

There's also a plethora of wildlife refuges (read: swamps and marshes with alligators - I don't mind working with them, I just don't want them for neighbors - blatantly alligator-ist) and a fantastic botanical garden. (By "fantastic" I of course mean that I'm having fantasies of working there, teaching native gardening and garden photography to students of all ages.)

One major disappointment, though: Slidell has no recycling. None.

Milton had no curbside pickup, but I got used to taking it to a drop off center. Having no recycling at all really hurts. Literally - every time I have to throw away a recyclable, another drop of painful guilt falls into an ever-growing mental guilt bucket.

I understand why there's no recycling - the waste management system is still in knots cleaning up from hurricane Katrina. I'm not mad about it or anything, just terribly disappointed.

So, this will have to be my new year's resolution: to really and truly reduce my consumer footprint. Out of reduce, reuse, and recycle, I think reducing is the hardest.

It's especially hard when you're moving into a significantly larger house and suddenly find yourself in "need" of a lot of stuff.

It's even harder when there are after-Christmas sales everywhere. Everywhere!

So, this is my mission and my New Year's resolution: finding ways NOT to buy things. Maintaining the things we already own. Definitely buying things with less packaging (must find a bulk discount store in the area).

Tips and tricks are welcome, both on reducing and finding recycling options in the New Orleans area (as are job recommendations, preschool recommendations, and restaurant recommendations)!

Happy New Year to all - may 2010 bring us all exciting new adventures in nature and in life!

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