Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming – WOW – what a ride!!
Thank you West Seattle Blog for helping us in our campaign to have King 5′s Evening Magazine filmed at our home in High Point Monday morning. We live in a Built Green Certified community and home in West Seattle and want every opportunity we can get to help promote healthy homes and living! They had a nice post on their page for us and so far we have 63% of the votes! Please go vote for us!
“When Evening Magazine asked for suggestions, High Point homeowner Wendy Hughes-Jelen was the first to raise her hand and volunteer. She’s also mom to the onetime CityDog cover dog Sophia the Italian greyhound, former foster parent to the Kitty Cornered kittens, and plays in Belles and Beaux, among other things. So vote for Wendy’s house!”
You can vote below or follow this link: http://twtpoll.com/fdolpz
One of my favorite things about the TV show “GLEE” is the mashups the kids do. In fact, the Super Bowl Sunday special episode mashing Thriller by Michael Jackson with another song “Heads Will Roll” which I had never even heard before was AWESOME.
My musical outlet for the past three years has been handbells, and on Sunday we played the first mashup that I can recall since I have been with the group. We play during occasional Sunday services at Tibbetts United Methodist Church in West Seattle. We rehearse on Tuesdays at 7 PM and are looking for a couple more players, so if you are interested let me know! No experience necessary, not even reading sheet music (altho it helps).
I am playing low bass this time, I am 2nd from the right in the back row, I look like I am looking down all the time but that’s because my music book was down on the table so I could have it closer to me because the table I was on was wider than I am accustomed to and I am waiting for my new glasses to come in.
This year I struggled with lack of holiday spirit, space constraints (for the 4th Xmas since we moved into our townhome) and the cut vs. artificial tree dilemma. All of the arguments point to a cut tree being the most environmentally friendly choice (the environmental debate is settled finally). The way our rooms are set up, however, make it difficult to place a tree (we had one here in 2007, the year we bought this townhome, and it partially blocked the entry and the fireplace). Since we are childfree there is no real pressure to go to the trouble to have a tree at all. But I like celebrating the holiday with treasures that we only see for a few weeks each year so I wanted to find a way to do it. But I didn’t want to buy a plastic tree.
When I searched to find a “PVC Free Artificial Christmas Tree” what came up was Aluminum Christmas Trees.net and the information here and additional research pointed to the stainless aluminum tree of the Space Age as the only option. There are also feather trees, which are also quite popular in some countries, but I don’t know if the feathers are plucked from a living bird and I wouldn’t want an animal harmed for decoration. (I try to be both fur and feather free.) The Aluminum Christmas Trees site is the most extensive site I’ve seen and has a lot of history on it. if you are intrigued by the history of American metal manufacturing and/or historical holiday observances, you should check it out.
The more I read the more I got excited about taking this decorating route. I started calling antique stores and found a 4 foot Evergleam Aluminum Tree in the original box at a Fremont antique shop called Deluxe Junk. I picked it up last Saturday (Dec 18), and they also had a replica “Nostalgic Color Wheel” that was used to color the tree since hanging electric lights on it could have caused electrocution if the wires were frayed – and designers also said it ruined the look.
Sure, they are tacky looking at first blush, tho the husband of a friend of mine said on Monday night that “It’s so tacky it’s totally cool!” Some more reading led me to believe I needed a rotating tree stand, so I called around and managed to locate one at Display & Costume in Northgate. I picked that up on Tuesday (Dec 21).
So Wednesday Dec 22nd my mom was here for dinner before going to the Christmas Revels show, so I had her help me put it together. Here you can see how it must be put together from the top down. The center is a wooden dowel wrapped with foil and there are holes drilled at an angle into it, and you insert the wire base of each branch. There were 43 branches, altho only 42 went into it so there must have been a spare. And we did not realize that one in particular was marked “top” by hand and rolled into different paper so then we had to poke around and see if we could find one or two that were different since they appeared to all be the same length when we removed them from their paper sleeves. I found the original instructions online “How To Assemble Your EverGleam Tree”
It went together quickly and it was decorated with a small amount of our current ornaments in short order. We set up the color wheel, got it fitted into the rotating tree stand, and viola! One very environmentally friendly Christmas tree. It was
2) PVC free
3) Didn’t cut down a live tree
4) Fit the space better than a cut or live tree and
5) Didn’t let off VOC toxic fumes from new plastic if I had bought an artificial tree at Target (even a small one would have smelled nasty – and look fake).
6) Can be used again next year – saving me time and money. And it stores in a very small box.
And this is the end result!! I love it!!
My 1960s EverGleam Christmas Tree in action.
This video is of my handbell group that plays at TIbbetts United Methodist Church in West Seattle. We prepared three Christmas pieces this year, and this was our best one, from Sunday, December 19th. Enjoy and merry Christmas to you all!
This is completely off topic, but as a handbell ringer there is rarely good humor video available for this genre of music. In the last few days two have come to my attention, tho, that are worth sharing.
Sophia and Wendy in front of the house on Tuesday, Nov 23, 2010
It’s the 5th anniversary of this blog, and admittedly this last year has been difficult to keep it updated as my personal life and business become more and more integrated in the green sector. Of course this is something to celebrate!! I never envisioned that the concept of green homes and living would go mainstream so quickly and I am very grateful for it.
In 2007 I launched a blog called Green Spaces Real Estate since that is where I wanted to take my real estate business. I wanted to focus on environmentally certified homes.
The view from my home office, where I spend most of my working hours. Early snow this year!
That same year my husband and I bought a home in a Built Green Certified Community, called High Point, staying in West Seattle (we’ve been here since 1997 and love it). Three years later Built Green is a very strong sector of housing in the Seattle area, and a large portion of new homes are built and certified through one of many environmental certifications available, such as Built Green, LEED For Home, or Northwest Energy Star.
Early this year I realized that I put a lot of “lifestyle” informaton on what was supposedly a real estate blog, so I launched a Facebook page called Westside Green Living With Wendy. It’s loosely associated with the blog in that blog material gets shared on this page, but a lot more links and information come out on Westside Green Living than ever appear on the blog since it is material from other sources being shared (not all written by me).
Westside Green Living With Wendy - search for it on Facebook
This was also done so as not to make my Facebook friends run screaming the other direction since I share so much environmental information. If they want the enviro info they can sign up for Westside Green Living. Out of 118 fans on that page, 87 are personal friends, the others are people who have discovered the page through referral or searching.
Then in August we decide to raise a litter of kittens for a shelter and that consumed us for two months. We created a Facebook page to share the process and put up a lot of videos and photos, all of which are still viewable on Kitty Cornered. Now we share pictures or our own cats, keeping the page alive with the intention that we might raise another litter next year. It was a lot of work, we will have to think real hard on that. There are 99 fans on this page, (39 are friends, others are cat lovers and shelter supporters).
This year I also added two more designations to my real estate credentials, Earth Advantage Broker from the Earth Advantage Institute in Portland, and EcoBroker, from EcoBroker International. I’ve been a Built Green Certified Professional since taking 30 clock hours in the fall of that year, but I felt it was time to add some updated information. And the titles don’t hurt either.
Belles and Beaux handbell choir - videos online
I’ve been producing original videos for a little over a year. On YouTube my channel is called Green Spaces TV. The videos are a blend of lifestyle information, gardening and food keeping, real estate, and also the occasional pet video, including our very own “kitten falling asleep” video. I also record my handbell choir performances, which are shared on the Facebook page for the church where the handbell choir practices and performs, Tibbetts United Methodist Church. Not all of the ringers are church goers, only attending on the days the choir is playing during a Sunday service. It’s a pretty good trade off for free music education.
Our careers have been really affected by this recession, beginning in September of 2008. Steve’s been looking for work most of the time, having some contract work interspersed. After having another work contract cancelled early this last July, he just received word that he has earned a position with Steyer and Associates starting December 13th. Of course, a huge positive of this particular firm and position is that he will be working from home. He has a standing work station set up in our home library and we spend our days on the opposite sides of the same wall when we are both working.
I recently ended a 23 month stint with a small regional green real estate firm, 19 months of which I spent managing the daily operations of the office. I had been looking for work out in the larger market but it was difficult to even get an interview (you’ve probably heard this story from other people). So when the company I was an agent at laid off its office manager I stepped into that role on a part time basis. I was grateful because I had committed to sticking out the recession in my profession and this let me spend 100% of my time on real estate. Unfortunately this recession has really stuck around and the firm ran out of money for administrative services at the end of the summer. I kept working for awhile longer but it became clear that I needed to find another source of regular income. What would be better, of course, would to still be able to stay in my profession. So a month ago I changed real estate companies. This time I went big and signed on with a large local office of a huge national firm, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Executive. There are a lot of online webinars and live trainings that have gotten me up to speed on all of the tools available to me as an agent to help Sellers sell their house and to help Buyers negotiate a good deal. And of course, the green initiative is still a large part of my business and Better Homes and Gardens was in alignment with this.
So, in the year we turned 40, we can’t help but spend some time reflecting on our lives and also 13 years of marriage (on December 31st of this year). We’re thankful to still be in our house and to still be together. Both of our cars are paid off and all of our “kids” are healthy (3 cats and one Italian greyhound). With these new career moves 2011 is looking to be an up year for us. And we really need to have a good year because these bad ones have really worn down our positive frame of mind. Our priorities are to stay together, stay healthy, manage to hang onto our house, and then build up savings, start planning retirement, and open a vacation savings account. Our next trip, planned for Portugal, will be paid for with cash. We think we can manage it by 2015!
Blessed Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for a New Year to you all. We would love to hear from you so get in touch.
Well, not exactly – but maybe this is like Snakes On a Plane – our very own kitten horror film.
We’ve been busy this summer, and this is one of the things we have been occupying ourselves with. These kittens arrived in our home when they were a day old (on August 9th), with an orphan we snuck in the next day.
You can’t see the kittens very well in this video, but you can see tons of great pics and all of our videos on the Facebook fan page we have set up called Kitty Cornered (haha).
This year I really focused more on learning what I want to learn, not just learning things that I think others will be interested in. I spent a long time talking to someone about recycled ink cartridges for my home printer, making soda water at home to reduce use of bottles and can (called SodaStream) Gar Lic It, garlic prepared so that is does not burn or make you stink (and comes in flavors like Thai Peanut – just stir it in to rice), scented play clay purchased to save for a Christmas gift for my niece, a neat scarf my husband picked out (probably Guatamala), and lots more.
We visited with our friend Steve Richmond, owner of Garden Cycles, and shot a short video. I really wanted to know what drew him to having a booth at greenfest since his business is pretty busy and has limited bandwidth. His mission was to explain "seed rain", essentially what happens when birds eat berries of invasives in your yard and then poo the seeds out whole somewhere else. This is how ivy, holly, laurel and similar plants spread into the urban parks – even the suburbs. Shoot, the shores of the Green River just hang with intense invasives – not like a healthy river at all. I should probably talk more about this some time. We also shot a short video with him that I will post shortly.
Pictures highlighting today’s activities!
Educational materials about invasive plants effect on our city’s park space
Steve Richmond of West Seattle
There is a bike and trailer in among all these plants. This is how Steve works – by bike and trailer. He doesn’t even own a vehicle. He is in a amazing shape! (He used to play pro beach volleyball.)
Wow what a day! I think I got to almost all of the booths, altho knowing I was coming back on Sunday meant there wasn’t too much pressure. I actually only went to 2 sessions altho I had marked a few more out. The conversations on the exhibit floor were too interesting to walk away from. And there are about 4 pavilions with presentations going on in addition to the formal presentations in the conference rooms across the overpass.
At the end of the day my husband Stephen came and picked me up with Sophia,who needed a walk. It was the first sunny day in what seemed like weeks, so we went to the Olympic Sculpture Park just to lie on the grass. It was a great end to a long day, and my feet hurt!
I do think the nice weather really impacted the turnout at greenfest. There weren’t any lines (except at the Nature’s Path cereal sample booth) and there seemed to be room at tables to sit and eat lunch. Last year it seemed a lot more hectic to me. Last year it also was in March, not June. I think they made a mistake moving it to June. Summer in Seattle means outdoors, not in. I hope next year they move back to an earlier month so the vendors enjoy the exposure they deserve.
So we’re leaving the house and headed down for day two. Steve will be with me today, and I did finally find my friend Steve Richmond’s booth, Garden Cycles, so we hope to shoot a short video. Otherwise I did not really find anything else worth taking the time for video.
I got a little later start than I wanted, but I am here and was in time to hear Mayor McGinn introduce 12 year old Adora Svitak, published author and accomplished speaker. I was really impressed and she has a really good point – we all need to have more of a child-like attitude about life. Anything is possible, don’t let the laws of physics restrict your ideas about how to make a better world!!
Right now I am sitting at the GreenWorks Realty/Trails at Newcastle (#243) by the Green Living Pavilion, where I can hear Laura Sweaney talk about permaculture and an herb spiral she built, and how to plant the plants – the ones needing the most water at the bottom since water runs downhill. I used to have one in my backyard when I lived in Puget Ridge (West Seattle). Now I just grow everything in pots on my porch at my townhome in High Point. I really have trouble agreeing with her idea that weeds are beneficial to her garden, tho. The dandelions mocked me daily and it was frustrating keeping up such a large property (1/4 acre).
I’ve signed a couple of petitions so far, including one for Seattle to have an OPT-IN list for PHONE BOOKS. I hate those damn things showing up on my doorstep all the time. We’re banding together now and trying to do something about it! If you come down here this weekend, sign their sheet!!
Here are a few other interesting things I have seen so far.
Known for being green while wearing pink. Passionate. Animated. Witty. Negotiator. Coach. Truth teller. Community builder. Animal lover. MINI Cooper driver. Handbell ringer. Built Green Certified Professional real estate agent. As a Built Green Certified Professional I serve the entire Puget Sound region. COMMUNICATION POLICY ---> It is best to contact me via email so I get the details on a mobile device. Then use my Accessline 206.686.HOME (4663) which is a voice/fax service.