Tuesday, March 29, 2011

If you’ve noticed the daffodils blooming in previous springs at the corner of State Roads 37 and 32 in front of the Noblesville sign, those are the efforts of committed volunteers of Keep Noblesville Beautiful (KNB), an organization working to improve the community through educational and community action programs.

KNB’s daffodil initiative, which began in the Fall of 2009 and is sponsored by Kroger, is a welcome springtime sight in Noblesville. The ongoing project will eventually encompass gateways to the city as well as major thoroughfares. More daffodil plantings should be visible this Spring at the gateway at Hamilton Town Center on East 146th St.

Keep Noblesville Beautiful has several upcoming events, starting with the Highway 37 Cleanup on Saturday, April 16. The Cleanup will focus on the section of Highway 37 from State Road 32 up to 191st St.

On Friday April 29, KNB will be celebrating Arbor Day on the Southeast side of the Courthouse Square by giving away 400 small Red Oak trees and raffling a large tree, starting at 10 A.M. Planting and care instructions will be included with each tree, and Master Gardeners and Tree Stewards will be on hand to answer questions.

The annual Spring Blitz will take place May 21st in the Lincoln Circle area of town, which encompasses 10th Street to 16th Street in the general area of the Middle School. The Blitz is an effort to focus on one particular area and provide help for residents by doing whatever landscaping or upkeep work that needs to be done.

Volunteers or Groups are welcome to help with the Highway 37 Cleanup or the Spring Blitz. Keep Noblesville Beautiful is also growing its membership. Dues are $20 annually for an individual or $25 for a family.

Visit www.keepnoblesvillebeautiful.org or call for more information, to volunteer, or to become a member.

Monday, March 28, 2011

I surprised myself recently when a stranger asked me what I do and I heard the words “I’m a writer” come out of my mouth.

I had never summed myself up in those words before and it felt good to say. The only reason I did is because I’ve been doing this writing gig. But even if I wasn’t writing for publications, I hope I would have realized that I’m still a writer, simply because I love to write.
I recently read a great little article by James Altucher entitled “33 tips to be a better writer,” so here are some of them. If you’re a writer too maybe some will grab you. And if you’ve never considered yourself a writer but love to write, maybe you’ll shift your thinking a little. I’ve added my thoughts after each.
Write whatever you want. Nothing is off limits. Let go of ‘what’s proper.’
Bleed in the first line. Writing should grab people by the heart.
Don’t ask for permission. Leave out ‘in my opinion.’ Just say what you want to say.
Write a lot. Writing is like exercise—daily or at least a few times a week is the goal.
Read a lot. Expose yourself to great writing. Be a fixture at the library.
Don’t be afraid of what people think. If you feel it, write it. There are bound to be others that feel the same. Connect with those people through words.
Be opinionated. Have strong feelings on at least a couple of subjects.
Risk. When you put your strong opinions out there, you’ll open yourself up to criticism and sometimes that’s hard, but ultimately that is the best thing about writing—evoking emotions in people.
Take what everyone else thinks and explore the opposite. Question the status quo—I love to do this.
Paint. Or draw. Explore other artistic endeavors. Since I love hoopdance, that is what I often do.
Let it sleep. Come back to it. Tweak it.
Coffee. Lots of coffee.

See full article here.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Historic Homes of Noblesville--1759 Conner St.

Location: 1759 Conner St.

Owner: Susan Mayes, since 2006

Style and History: Key architectural elements on this cottage include the brick construction, arched entry and sharply pitched roofline. Prudence Darrah built the home c. 1928. At just 35 years old, she had been married and widowed twice. She lived here until 1935, then Russel L. Loser lived here with his wife for 38 years. A druggist by profession, Loser owned and operated the Corner Drug Store in Noblesville.

What are your favorite features? “My favorite features are the window seat flanked by built in bookcases in the living room, the deco front door, the arched opening into the stepdown living room, and the round-topped windows.”

What work have you done on your house? “Inside, I revealed and refreshed all the hardwood floors upstairs and down the stairway, put in new hardwood floors throughout the main floor and painted everything. Outside, I re-landscaped the front yard and put in a driveway, bricked my side yard, leaving squares to grow veggies, and put a pond in the backyard.”

What do you like about this area/neighborhood? “My first day here, two neighbors came to meet me, bringing food and wine. I didn't even know my neighbors in Indianapolis. I love walking downtown to shop, eat, attend the concerts, etc.”

Celebrating the Spring Equinox by the light of the moon

Being the earthy hippie chick that I am, I follow the moon cycles. I learned recently that the Native Americans named the Full Moons of the year as a way to keep track of the seasons. We’re in the third full moon cycle of 2011 right now. January’s was Full Wolf Moon, February’s was Full Snow Moon and here we are, in the Full Worm Moon.

Sounds kind of funny, right? The description I have of it says, “as the temperature begins to warm and the ground begins to thaw, earthworm casts appear, heralding the return of the robins. The more northern tribes knew this Moon as the Full Crust Moon, because the snow cover becomes crusted from thawing by day and freezing at night. The Full Sap Moon, marking the time of tapping maple trees, is another variation.”

And Sunday the 20th marked the Spring Equinox. I happened to have one of my (I’m not a) dirty hippie parties that day, so we not only made something awesome and earth friendly (the ever popular body butter) and drank vodka cocktails, but we also celebrated the coming of Spring together.

My friends Joni and Michelle and I began celebrating the solstices and equinoxes together, which have all incidentally coincided with the full moon since we began this ritual last fall.

The Winter Solstice was a pretty big party and I took a picture of the full moon through the fir tree in Michelle’s yard, and before that for the Autumn Equinox we all lingered outside as the moon rose over us. So to have this Equinox coincide with the Full Moon again was pretty cosmic. I loved celebrating it and making something useful with my friends.

And through this week I think I’ll plant some more seeds for the garden I’m planning, as well as plant some ideas for things I want to bring into my life too. Happy Spring!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Start to Finish--Recycling Cover

Read it here.

Recycling plant like a trip to Disney World for this eco-freak

I got to tour a recycling plant for this week’s cover story. How many people get to climb into the hard hat area of a three story automated recycling sorter? I crunched over broken glass and I felt the little earthquake as the shaker did its job, tumbling and sorting the glass from the paper and cardboard.

It was great.

I’ve wanted to tour a recycling facility for years. I was the kid that convinced my family to start recycling. I’ve been a die-hard recycler ever since.

Noblesville residents Craig Lutz and Laura Blank, who work for Republic, gave me the tour of the 96th Street Transfer Station, also known as an MRF—Materials Recovery Facility. This is where all of your trash and recycling goes until the trash gets hauled to one of two landfills—one near Terre Haute or one near Frankfort. You’ll read about what happens to the recycling.

I could talk all day about recycling but I do have a word limit. I know I’ve gotten questions about phone book recycling, and Republic DOES take phone books. The green and yellow Paper Retriever bins around town DON’T—hence the confusion. If you have any other recycling questions, contact me.

I learned a few things—one is that everything is recyclable if you’re willing to go far enough. Republic simply can’t take everything, such as Styrofoam or bubble wrap, but they do take a large variety of items.

My recycling assignment led me through the alleys of downtown Noblesville, watching and waiting for the recycling truck to come through. I finally flagged it down. Thanks, Roger, for letting me take your picture.

That was fun, too.

I spoke with Street Department Commissioner Len Finchum and learned that 50% of the money made through the recycling program comes back to the city to offset cost increases in the contract with Republic. So, it behooves all of us to participate as much as possible in the recycling program.

One more thing—don’t throw E-waste in the trash. As of January 1, all e-waste such as computer monitors, computers, televisions, printers, keyboards, mice, DVD players, VCR’s, etc. can’t go to landfills or be incinerated (Indiana Code 13-20.5). These items, which contain toxic heavy metals, need to be taken to the Hamilton County Hazardous Waste Center, located at 1717 Pleasant St., for safe disposal.

Rock on, recyclers!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Shop local also includes gas

Forget the vegetable oil, this local crude hits the mark
It’s been almost a year since I wrote a column on a particular brand of vehicle that particularly annoys me with it’s conspicuous consumption and lousy gas mileage. I won’t name names, except to say it rhymes with “Bummer,” and let’s just say I got a few angry letters to the editor over it.

But that’s ok. I don’t mind spurring some debate and I like to make people stop and think, and I also don’t mind for others to express their opinions. It’s good for ideas to be challenged and for new information to be put out there that maybe we didn’t realize before, so I appreciate hearing other points of view.

A few months after the Bummer story, which by the way, had a larger focus of sharing about “greasecars,” that is, cars that are converted to run on Waste Vegetable Oil, (awesome, and I found out there are several greasecar owners around here!) the disastrous Gulf oil spill occurred. I vacationed at the ocean around this time and wrote about how distressed I was about it and, again, got some disagreeing letters to the editor.

In a follow up article where I addressed some of those comments I also offered some proactive ideas—one of which was to buy gas at the CountryMark station on S. Allisonville. Why? Because CountryMark is Indiana’s only American owned oil refining company, using 100% American Crude Oil.

Ever since I learned this about CountryMark over a year or so ago, and I had never gone there previously, I have made every effort to only purchase gas at CountryMark—not only is it a local company but it’s Midwestern oil too, and that fits in perfectly with my ideals of shopping local and supporting local businesses whenever possible.

CountryMark has locations all over the Midwest, including one here in Noblesville. If you are traveling out of the area, check out www.countrymark.com for other locations.

Historic Homes--1567 Logan St.

Location: 1567 Logan Street

Owners: Mel and Nancy Joliff, since 1996

Style & History: This Victorian cottage, built in 1871, has undergone many changes and hardly resembles the original structure. Many of the home's renovations occurred in the early 1920's, when rched openings, a kitchen, full bath, and an additional bedroom were all added. The entryway was altered to accommodate the delivery of dining room furniture. At that time, the house was owned by prominent Noblesville businessman, A. H. Hare.

What are your favorite features? “We love the cottage style. The open feel of the living and dining room areas is great for entertaining and family dinners. Two fireplaces add character, one is a focal point in the living room and the second is, surprisingly, in the finished basement which we now use for exercising.”

What work have you done on your house? “New cement board siding and a total kitchen make-over were our last two major projects. Although we've nearly redone the whole house, when spring comes around, we plan to enlarge and upgrade the main bathroom. We'd love to put one of the porches back on the front of the house. It actually had two porches on the front.”

What do you like about this area/neighborhood? “We value getting to know our neighbors in Old Town. The front porches, detached garages and ability to walk downtown to shop, dine and enjoy events make connecting with them easy.”

Diva Night on the Square

Fifteen merchants on and around the downtown Noblesville Square have teamed up to offer a special evening of shopping, food and prizes to women who come out and join in the celebration. Diva Night will take place Thursday, March 10 from 5-9 p.m.

Peggy Kumler, owner of A Corner Cottage located at 895 Conner St. said of the event, the first of its kind, that “we all worked together and we’re having the best time. We have another event in the works, too.” Kumler is thrilled with the merchant response and participation for the event, so that they can pool resources and offer more to their customers.

When asked “what’s special about coming to Square?” Kumler replied, “everything. It’s historic, we have a wonderful courthouse, and each shop has its own unique feeling. There is something for everybody.”

Flyers listing the events and locations can be picked up leading up to the event at any of the participating merchants, as well as that night. “Shoppers will pick up their punch cards and their maps and then go out and play,” Kumler said.

Merchants include: A Corner Cottage, Carriage House Antiques, J’Ann & Co., Kiln Creations, Linden Tree, Logan Village Mall, Martha Jane’s, Old Picket Fence, Barley Island, Goyer Photo, The Hamilton Restaurant, Indiana Kitchens, Platinum Living, The Ruby Pear, and Uptown Café.

Shoppers and merchants will meet at Barley Island at 8 p.m. for the raffle. Fifteen raffle prizes will be given away, and the first 25 shoppers to meet at Barley Island with their punch cards will receive a swag bag with a gift from each store or restaurant in it.

In addition, Cindy Goyer of Goyer Photo will be photographing attendees against a Hollywood backdrop that evening at Barley Island.

Kumler invites all to come and enjoy themselves. “The stores look so pretty right now. It’s all so bright and cheery,” she said. “We’re just hoping for good weather.”

Contact Peggy Kumler at 770.7577 with questions.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What women want—to be accepted on their own terms

We meet once a month. We are women with vastly different life experiences and in different walks of life. We have been born in four different decades. We are here to remember who we are, because it is so, so easy to forget.

This night we gather in a circle to talk about our bodies. We read from the Women Who Run With the Wolves book by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, the book that I have mentioned here more than a few times. This book is such a vital part of our lives, and the chapter we’re discussing this night talks about accepting and loving our bodies for who they are.

I don’t know if men can relate as much, but women can, to the pressure in our culture to look a certain way. The circle that “the culture” has defined for what is acceptable and beautiful is very, very small, but when you step out of that myopic view and become “far-seeing,” as Estes’ says, you nod and breathe “yes” to her observations that “to support only one kind of beauty is to be somehow unobservant of nature. There cannot be only one kind of songbird, only one kind of pine tree, only one kind of wolf. There cannot be…one kind of woman.”

We have all had the experiences of feeling like we are “too much of this, and not enough of that.” Many have been caught in the cycle of treating our bodies as slaves—slaves to the scale, the measuring tape, slaves to food, to mistreatment and demands. This robs us of our freedom, and also robs us of our creative life. How much creating can we do when we’re so preoccupied with how we look and how others perceive our worth?

Let’s see the body as a teacher, as a repository for the resilient human soul, as our constant companion, and see how it surely deserves our love and acceptance. My hope is that we can disregard the demands of the overculture to be this or to be that, and to instead be who we truly are and to enjoy these bodies that carry us through life.