Animals, Chipmunks Forever, Veganiness

Save the Earth! It’s the only planet with chipmunks.

Last fall I lost my mind and decided to go back to school. I’m now halfway through my Masters degree in Humane Education a.k.a. Learnin’ How to Save the Planet.

Of course, we all know I really just want some more of those fancy letters to add to my work signature.

Go-Jules-Go-signature

Over the past year, I’ve struggled to find humor while bearing witness to the countless atrocities detailed in the coursework. I even considered throwing in the towel on higher learnin’ altogether. But speaking of towels (wait for it) – there’s still hope! On top of the recent move to tiny living, here are some of my favorite ways of ensuring the world’s chipmunks will have many, many years left to thrive:

1. (S)wipe Left on Paper Products

No, no, no. I’m not asking you to trade your TP for twigs. But getting into the habit of using dishtowels as napkins is the gift that keeps on giving! Who wants to dry their hands with 18 pieces of tissue paper anyway?

napkins
WHAT ARE YOU MADE OUT OF?? Necco wafers and sadness???

I love using soft, fluffy hand towels as much as…

2. Bag Lady

I’m obsessed with my reusable bags. Remember this?

home-alone-shopping-bag-fail-o

No more once you switch to sturdy, waterproof bags!

HUED-640-reusable-bags
This is 1/4 of my collection. I may have a problem.

3. From K-Cups to More-than-OK-Cups

Not only do they make gobs of compostable products for any coffee machine, they also sell reusable Keurig K-Cup pods that you can fill with your own coffee, then compost the grinds, for a totally waste-free caffienating experience.

HUED-640-coffee
This is New Jersey. We drink cawfee.

4. Got milk? Yeah, and it’s nuts!

Swapping out any one dairy (or meat) item at any one meal for a plant-based option instead is a HUGE win for woodland critters and humans alike. I know, I know. “BUT CHEESE,” you’re thinking. Thankfully, the plant-based options for milk and cheese are becoming more convincing than ever – check out Chao cheese if you don’t believe me. (For more on the implications of eating dairy, which I know can be confusing – shoot me a note. And here’s a great article with lots of cool charts emphasizing the impact of small dietary changes.)

nut-milk-bag
Then you too can search “nut milk bag” without hesitation at work.

5. Compostest with the Mostest

By far my proudest accomplishment in 2016 was making this composting bin with Babs:

Babs-composting
Booya.

Since then, I’ve upgraded to an item that’s marketed as “the most beautiful composter in the world.” By tossing all of my raw produce, coffee grinds and compostable packaging in there, these bad boys have cut down my garbage by a whopping 75%!

HUED-640-composting-bins
So beautiful, no?

6. It’s the Little Things that Count

Plastic straws, paper receipts, those little stickers on your fruits and vegetables – they really add up! Say “no thanks” when you can and hopefully these items, much like Scott Baio, will soon become a thing of the past.

scott-baio-trump-socks
“Global warming” – chyeah right! He doesn’t even need pants! Photo credit

7. This is Us. Not Buying New Sh*t.

Learning about the materials and energy required to produce every single new consumer good was enough for me to reconsider buying that battery operated armpit hair braider. Even recycling itself -turning those plastic Sprite bottles into a rug, for example- can demand intensive resources. Choosing refurbished or borrowed items will make you the Kevin to Mother Nature’s Kate.

This Is Us - Season 1
I hope you’re not using those wafer napkins to dry your tears. Photo credit

8. Do you have your permission slip?

Because it’s field trip time! Visit your local farm sanctuary and be amazed by the animals’ stories. Did you know chickens experience REM sleep and teach calls to their babies before they’re born? They even purr! So cool!

Dolly-the-Llama
Just imagine what I could tell you about Dolly the Llama!

9. Cabbage Patch Pets

Remember how Cabbage Patch dolls came with those nifty adoption papers? There’s a lot to be said for adoption – skip the breeders and pet stores and scoop up a rescue.

Jules-Cabbage-Patch-costume
I don’t know why you assumed I DIDN’T have this photo.

10. Fork You

Switching to reusable utensils (and dishware) was a “sacrifice” that played in my favor! I dine like a queen at work:

work-lunch
What’s with the bubbly, you ask? It’s Tuesday!

11. Warm Fuzzies

The best thing you can do for chipmunks? Love. Love them, love yourself, and love the land we share.

Chipmunk Smiling
She said “nut milk bag.”

P.S. – Yes I did.

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humor, Just For Fun, Kvetching

Failure is totally an option.

About a year and a half ago, I visited my brother and his girlfriend in Tucson, Arizona. I was eager to see the sights, and after a little coaxing, we drove the long, meandering 25 miles to the top of Mt. Lemmon. Sunny and 60 degrees at the base, there was snow at the summit. Between that and an elevation gain of over 5,000 feet, I never expected to see this:

Cycling_Mt_Lemon
Photo credit

Almost immediately, I began planning my own Tucson cycling adventure. I would bring along my sister and a close friend, and together we too would conquer Mt. Lemmon.

Mt-Lemmon_Wendy-Point_Bike-Ride_Tucson_AZ
Easy peasy. Photo credit

We arrived in Tucson last week with grand plans: Climb a mountain and drink all the beer.

Mt-Lemmon-beer
A flight of brewskies at noon o’clock the day before an endurance event. Duh.

When I asked my sister and friend if they wanted to drive up the mountain for a sneak peak peek, they gave a resounding, “Hell no!” We had recently done some long, challenging rides, and felt cocky confident.

Tour-de-France-lies
Remember this one?

The night before our trek, a man named Robert met us in a dentist office parking lot with three rental road bikes.

Mt-Lemmon-bikes
You say “a strange man asked you to meet him in the bushes just behind the dumpster” like it’s a bad thing…

“Eh, it’ll take you a few hours and three bottles of water to get to the top,” Robert said. “I’ve done it a bunch of times.”

Mt-Lemmon-Jules-water
Okay, Robert! I trust you, Robert!

The next morning, when we finally arrived at the base of the mountain (a 45-minute drive from our AirBnb), I looked at my sister. “Oh my god,” I said. “I left my helmet in your suitcase.” My sister spun around and spotted another cyclist in the parking lot. “Excuse me,” she called. “Are you from around here? Do you know where we can buy a helmet?”

We were prepared to drive to the nearest Walmart, but our new cycling friend, Gary, rummaged in the back of his car and pulled out a well-worn white helmet. Without a moment’s hesitation, he walked over and began fitting it on my head, pulling the chin strap tightly.

“That should work,” he said with a smile and a nod.

“Crap,” I told him. “I almost got out of this.”

Mt-Lemmon-base
Goddamn you, Gary.

By then it was 9:30am, and the sun felt like it was sitting squarely atop my borrowed head gear. We took off and before long, everything hurt. Numb hands, aching legs, and dull chills – everything I’d dreamt of and more.

Two hours in, my sister and I stopped for our 87th break and said, almost in unison, “Well, I can’t breathe and I’m out of water.”

We were at mile 7.

Of 25.

Mt-Lemmon-suitcase
But our cycling gear made it the full 2,433 miles home – right at the weight limit! Which is especially impressive when you consider how much shame was inside.

P.S. – Here’s our friend at the top. She’s a machine. Ain’t that right, KB!

Mt-Lemmon-summit
She was really impressed with the view.

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