Tuesday, October 9, 2007

BP Solar Decathlon

There is a wonderful event going on this weekend on the National Mall in Washington DC. It's the BP Solar Decathlon and honestly--of all of the events that go on in this country--this is one most of us can get behind.

In this event that there are 20 university teams from around the world competing to design, build and operate livable, every-efficient, and completely solar-powered houses. BP has been involved in the Solar Decathlon since it's first competition back in 2002, and this year they are one of the main corporate sponsors--and only sponsor representing an Energy company. They are sponsoring this event as part of their commitment to discovering cost effective, clean energy solutions for our everyday living. This is remarkable because it's unheard of among other energy companies--who look to the dwindling future of our natural resources as an inevitable windfall to their bottom line!

Imagine, a big energy company working to save us money in the future! Like I said--unheard of!

There is a fun side to this wonderful event! BP has created a blog in which all of the teams can write posts throughout the competition. There is even an on site reporter giving us the behind the scenes 4-1-1! You can find this fun blog over at www.BPSolarDecathlon.com. You can also read up on the teams. Quite impressive--there are teams from MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Cornell and even international teams representing Madrid, Puerto Rico and Montreal--just to name a few!

I do have to give a shout out to our own team from here---Knock their socks off University of Illinois!!

A Day At The Park

What a fabulous chilly day it was here in Chicago! The kids were in school, but the two little ones and I decided to take a break from the packing and head to the park. It was a PERFECT day for that one.

The park near us has baby swings right next to the big kid swings. Which makes it nice to stand between both Kate and Brett and swing them both at the same time. At other parks I can only push one at a time--and try telling a 2 and 3 year old that they have to take turns!

The 'sippy side' as my kids call it is normally pretty hot during the summer months--and I was happy today that it wasn't. Really--just a perfect day to be at the park--or at least outside! I'll pack tomorrow!

High School Friends

I got a phone call the other day from a friend of mine from High School. I was surprised to hear from her on so many levels--we graduated from high school over 16 years ago--and I only kept up with her sporadically over the coming few years--and nothing recently. Plus, we live out of state--across the country actually. But she found me--and it was really nice talking to her.

She still lives in the old neighborhood. I love saying that--it makes us sound like we are from somewhere more exotic...like Brooklyn or the Bronx. But no, small town heaven in Utah! She is married with three kids--and doing the mom thing. I asked about her family--and really, not much has changed. Her dad is sick-but at 70 years old--that wasn't too surprising. He has maliganant mesothelioma which is something I haven't heard much about. I've heard advertisements on the radio, Lawyers looking for clients suffering from this, but nothing about what exactly it is--or what causes it. So we talked a lot about that. Turns out--there is even a website for it--I will definitely want to look at it as well.

It was fun to hear from her, and as always we left with promises to keep in touch--and not let ten years go by without talking. It was a good call!

Columbus Day

Our neighbors spent the day yesterday getting their "Fall" started. They raked leaves most of the day--trimmed up their flowerbeds and mowed the lawn. Then brought out all of their Halloween decorations-and let me tell you-they spared NOTHING! There are lights--and hay bales--and ghosts and tombstones and people hanging from the trees--all rather ghoulish in my book!

After their hard day of decorating they were up until all hours of the night drinking around their backyard fire table and getting really loud and ruckus! It happens every year--so I shouldn't be too surprised--they just usually do it on the Sunday before Columbus Day--and it isn't a school night. Last night was--and I was ready to call the Police to come shut them up. But I didn't want to think of the possible retaliation that could come from it--especially when the house will be empty for 10 days! Yikes!

The Mobile Web--The Next Frontier

I was reading a couple of different articles earlier discussing the "mobile web". Both of these articles were very interesting--for one--I never really realized that the normal web was different than the mobile one. I've been on the mobile web only once before--I hit the wrong button on my husbands cell phone--and when I saw where it was taking me--I panicked and turned the phone off to disconnect from the web. It wouldn't have been a big deal I'm sure--I just know we would have been charged an arm, a leg and a spleen to be on the mobile web!

So I know you can get to the web via your mobile devices--I just never knew a mobile website would be different! According to one of the articles, US mobile device users are second only to the UK when it comes to browsing the mobile web. Imagine the tremendous open market for mobile advertising--businesses need to get a wap site up and looking good! I'm sure this is one of those times when "If you build it...they will come!" is really true!!

The Countdown Begins

We leave one week from today! I'm still amazed over it! I've started planning what I'm going to pack--very careful not to say I'm packing--because that would give all the impression of organization--which I have none of at this moment!

The kids all need to be packed too--they are spending the week at my sisters house. She does have it a little easier--if I forget something that the kids need--she can always just bring them home to pick it up. Mind you--there isn't a car big enough to fit 8 kids in it--so I really better make sure they have everything they need!

I have located the passports--so for that, we should be just fine! So I'm off to start some laundry!!