Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Stingray Shuffle

Florida is full of dangers.  Sting rays.  Bull sharks.  Republicans.

Thankfully, when I was in Florida last week, I survived them all.

The biggest thing I survived was Stand Up Paddle surfing.

I had my first SUP lesson on the Intercoastal Waterway in Jupiter, where my friend took me for one of the greatest, coolest experiences of my life.

There were things I needed to watch out for.  Drifting into the middle of the Intercoastal and falling off my board were my biggest concerns.

But there was a more immediate obstacle as I entered the warm waters…stingrays.

Finally my television watching had paid off.

I had recently seen an episode of Lifeguard where the topic was stingray stings. To avoid them, you have to do the “sting ray shuffle.”  Instead of walking, you shuffle, moving the little buggers along so as not to accidentally step on them.  The scuffling scares them and they swim away, keeping your feet out of harm’s way.

When we were deep enough, I climbed onto my board and after a little while of getting the feel of it, I graduated to the standing position.

I felt so at peace searching for manatees and watching fish jump.  And I got to see some rays scurrying below me.

I was stunned when I lost my balance and fell into the water, but I kept calm and hoisted myself back onto my board.

I’m actually more sturdy and confident in the water than on land.  I’m famous for bumping into furniture, banging into walls, and tripping over things that shouldn’t be tripped over.

When I left Florida, I expected to leave the heat and humidity behind but New York was just as balmy.

Unfortunately, I knew what was coming next.  The dreaded, vampire-energy-sucking air conditioner.

I do not like the A/C.  The noise.  The fake air.  The menace to the environment.  Every year I wait longer and longer to install ours.  But the time had come upon us early this year.

I was just about finished tightening the last screw.  I was ready to settle in with a glass of wine to watch another Lifeguard episode, when I stepped off the two-step stool, lost my footing and came crashing down.

I had three punctures in the bottom of my foot.

I had managed not to be wounded not by a stingray's tail, but by an air conditioner's plug.

Later, as I lay in my hospital bed waiting for the doctor to stitch me up, I hummed new lyrics to a Rolling Stones song:

Hitch hitch hike baby
Across the floor
I can't stand it no more
Now come on baby
Now get into your slide
Just ride ride ride
Little 3-prong plug, ride!
Yeah yeah yeah do the A/C shuffle

Air conditioners aren't just bad for the environment - they're bad for your foot.  I'm heading back to my paddle board where the shuffle is safer.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Earth Day 2012 - A Billion Acts of Green

This Sunday, April 22nd, is the 42nd anniversary of Earth Day!  Join in the Earth Day “Billion Acts of Green” celebration this weekend! Here are just a couple of events happening in Manhattan but if you check out Earth Day’s site, you will find hundreds of events all across our great nation!

Earth Day New York
April 19-21st
Grand Central Terminal
Join in the fun at GCS where there will be exhibits, activities for adults and kids as well as entertainment! Best of all…it’s FREE!

Green Festival
April 21-22
Javits Center North
Saturday – 10-7
Sunday – 11-6
This is an amazing weekend packed with “green” vendors, amazing speakers and sustainable food.
Tickets are $10 for the day or $15 for the weekend if you buy online (a bit more at the door)

In celebration of Earth Day - I thought I'd give you some "green" tips.  Unfortunately I don’t have enough room here to give you a billion tips, so how about 10?

1.  Use a reusable water bottle to keep plastic out of our landfills and oceans.

2.  Keep your own utensils at work and avoid plastic ones.

3.  Change out your light bulbs for LED or CFL bulbs.

4.  Unplug those “vampire” energy suckers like hair dryers and coffee makers.

5.  Use an eco-friendly power strip if you need to keep things plugged in.

6.  Use non-toxic, biodegradable household cleaners.

7.  Eat local, organic and sustainable foods.

8.  Use reusable shopping bags.

9.  Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth or while drying your hands.

10.  Pledge your act of green on the Earth Day website and tell all your friends to get on board!

One person’s actions can make a difference.