The Truth About Finding Eco-Friendly Neighborhoods

As we are nearing the last leg of our lease we have to answer some really tough questions in regards to how we want to move forward. For starters, I want to keep my daughter in her school because I do not want to rip her away from her friends. I’ve been searching our neighborhood for weeks now and I have come to a sad conclusion. I do not think the historical district allows solar panels. The historical district is lovely, but going green really is the end goal for us. It is our way of doing what we can to help minimize our impact on climate deterioration. It starts with us!

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So, it’s time to get real about the obstacles of installing solar panels. I love trees, but there are a lot of trees in the area, which in truth, would offer yet another challenge when it comes to installing solar panels. If we were to get a house and by some miracle get an okay for the panels, we would have to remove some of trees. By the looks of it, we would have to remove three or more. I know some people think that the solar panels will offset the removal of trees. However, it is still harming an ecosystem. So, it looks like we will have to look at houses near the medical district.

The area near the medical district is nice, and the houses are newer. We have seen houses with solar panels in at least one neighborhood in that direction. It would add about 10 minutes to my daughter’s school commute each morning and evening. Not to mention, the last time we checked the area out, I didn’t have to worry about creepy follower aggro. I just worry about the size of the backyard. I want to buy a small greenhouse and have room for my dogs. Another plus about that neighborhood is the fact that they are currently building homes.

So far, finding the right area for solar panels isn’t looking as easy as I thought it would be. A lot depends on the location, type of roof, health of the roof and landscaping surrounding the house.

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House Hunting While Black…Please No!

Yesterday I posted an article about house hunting. Over the next month or two I will be looking at houses in my area and trying to get an idea of which houses seem eco-friendly. So, this morning after I grabbed a small bag of donut holes with my daughter, I decided to look at some of the houses in our area. We were trying to see if there were any solar panels in the area right across from us. From out of nowhere I see this black car stall and slowly start to follow us. SO NOT SLICK BY THE WAY.

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It was a version of the car in the picture, just wider and less cool! So, moving on with the story. I didn’t let it stop me from looking because I am a woman on a mission. I have noticed that there aren’t any homes around me with solar panels. This makes me wonder if solar panels are able to be attached to these houses because I should be able to find at least one. I do not know if a HOA would outlaw them, but still the lack of solar panels makes me worry. I didn’t see any eco-friendly devices of any sort which takes away the magical feeling of living in the area. I do not want to live in an area that might not be friendly towards those who want to protect the environment.

Anyway, while we are driving slowly looking at the designs and the top of houses. I notice this car is still following me. It is closer now like uncomfortably close. Like on my bumper darn near close. I’m in my mom mobile which is a little clunker I purchased for local travel. It’s old and I might have a scratch here or there. My husband takes our JEEP to work so I use the clunker to pick up the kids and run errands.

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Okay not that old, but you get the picture. Finally as we get ready to cross the road onto the other side of the neighborhood, the BMW decides to just stop tailing me and turn around. I was a little sad, I wanted them to follow me home, so I could offer some coffee and tea. Oh well, maybe I will get the chance tomorrow, because this little wagon stops for nobody!! Was it because I was black or because I drove an old clunker!!!! Who knows, but I’ll be back!!!!

House Hunting With Climate Change Leading The Way

We all have different opinions when it comes to science. If you are like me, there are certain areas of science I tend to focus on perhaps a little more than others. Over the past two weeks we have started looking for a new house. Our lease ends here around April and it’s safe to say our children seem to like this area. So, now we are actively looking to buy a home within the next couple months ” God Willing” give or take a month or two in this area. So we are focusing on space, sunlight, neighborhood, and the ability for our children to walk around without cars racing down the road.

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Buying a house is a big responsibility and it needs to fulfill all the needs of a family. Yet, at the same time, I want our house to be energy friendly. One of the things I really wanted was a swimming pool, but swimming pools can drain a lot of energy. They can be just as costly as heating if not more in some areas. So, we agreed that a hot tube would be a better bet. Saltwater hot tubs are good, and it turns out they will be friendly to my daughter’s eczema and a good pain relief for my husband’s back. They do not hold nearly as much water as a pool and take up less energy.

Speaking of energy, I love heat. Heating in the winter kills our electric bill. So, we are looking for houses that will be able to support solar panels. I am looking at getting no more than 15 and no less than 7. I am not trying to offset the entire bill, but if I can trim maybe 50 percent of it away, that would be awesome. Our bill was running well over 400 dollars monthly last winter which prompted me to start preparing for winter early. I went out and purchased curtains and other little things to warm up some of the rooms.

Lastly, we will add an eco-friendly irrigation drip system when we find the perfect area. I really suck at growing things, but that doesn’t stop me from trying. So, with all these things really banking on sun light, we will need to find a place with a nice amount of sun. Currently, I am noticing a lack of sidewalks. I never really noticed it before, but most of the areas we have visited lack sidewalks. Technically we are not in a rush, but if the perfect house comes our way, our 21-year-old will live in the house until our lease ends.

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That’s the skinny.

Dave Chappelle Take It Or Leave It

A lot of people are up in arms about Dave Chappelle’s Sticks and Stones Special on Netflix. He has a little bit of everything going on, but above all he has freedom of speech. In many ways people are proving him right in regards to how we deal with hot topics in America. We are a country that prides ourselves for freedom of expression in everyway, but it is only certain ideas that we want to give acceptance to.

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I am not a lover of comedy, but I watched his special. I found some parts to be funny at times, but I also found some of the jokes to be a little too much. I respect his right to tell his jokes without backlash due to nature of his profession. Comedians or jesters have been known to provoke feelings since the beginning of comedy. In the old days they would make fun of royalty by talking about state issues that many would be too afraid to bring up. To some degree that is what Dave Chappelle accomplished with his special.

Some of the hot topics he talked about needed to be addressed. I mean take the LGBTQ topic and really think about it. I find it a little confusing and movement like today. I didn’t see it that way years ago, but after seeing the different branches that have come from the base, it now looks like a movement. It keeps evolving every couple of years. You now have pansexual, skoliosexual, bisexual, homosexual, lesbian, gay, transsexual and queer. I mean what’s next? I do not understand why we have to have so many different names for people liking people. It isn’t that complex, you like who you like.

I think the really interesting part about this current transformation is that people are easily moved to agree with anything. I am kind of scared of what comes next to be honest. Every two years or so we see a new sexuality being added and I think that is dangerous. Today we might not see anything that can harm anyone, but that isn’t to say that things will not change in a few years. It is just very confusing because people championed for rights to be one thing, but then crossed over into something else.

If you champion for rights to be gay, then you move back to being straight or move to be both, then how important were those rights in the first place? It just looks like a movement dipped in confusion. Take that and the ability for people belonging in the group to suppress others and their opinions and it makes things even more confusing. On one hand people want to fight for the freedom to practice their rights to love whomever they want to love, but on the other hand the same people would oppress others to have a difference in opinion.

Yet, at the end of the day, it all comes back to people being able to pick whom they once were. After so many laws were passed to protect the lifestyle, it seems like there is a change once again. I can’t think of any targeted group within history that has given up their rights to be who they are, only to make new terms which bring them back to the person they were prior to the new laws. I think pansexual is a path to walking back to being straight. Which is why I told my daughter to hold off on labels and just take it day by day. If we stop labeling each other and just live, we wouldn’t have to keep trying to justify our choices, we could just simply be.

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Just to be clear, I am not questioning anyone’s right to change, but if people end up changing back to their first sexuality, what does it mean for the laws that were put in place? Was it just simply a lifestyle change?

Special Education And Parents Who Give A Damn

Many years ago when my husband was stationed in Savannah, Georgia I worked at a school. The school was a very good school which educated some of Savannah’s richest families. I didn’t understand the politics involved in education until I started working in the Special Education department. It would become a stark lesson in life about inequality inside the classroom because of status.

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It would be my first lesson in social status division and my first lesson in how schools viewed children with special needs. My oldest daughter at the time was in the third grade. She was invited to two parties within the same week about halfway into the school year. One of the parties was being help at a child’s house in the Landings and the other was being held at a house at a mobile home community.

I remember asking the teacher who worked over me about both areas. I didn’t know anything about the Landings and I didn’t know anything about the mobile home park due to the fact that I liked to keep on base as much as possible. She informed me that the Landing’s party was the party I needed to let child attend. She giggled about the VIP invite and then started laughing about the mobile home invite. She insisted on keeping my child away from the child who stayed in the mobile homes because they were basically trashy.

Time came for the two parties which were held days apart. I decided against letting my daughter attend both parties due to the fact that I didn’t know the parents. I like to know parents before I say yes. However, due to the response of the teacher, I have always looked on schools with a bit of skepticism. I remember the importance the teachers held on children who were in Special Education with parents who had good jobs and the lack of importance they held for children from poor areas.

It really put me on a mission to make sure that each child knew of their importance no matter their parent’s status. I will never forget the time when I was told by a teacher that she would rather have a classroom of ghetto children than teach children under the Special Education umbrella. The sad fact is that parents do not have any idea of how some educators view their children if they have special needs. It is important perhaps more important for parents of children with special needs to stay involved with the schools and to monitor their children’s interactions due to these issues.

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Years later my daughter would get service from under the umbrella because of her ADHD and her ADD. However, those two issues weren’t the issues that would cause her to retreat inside herself, it would be a bullying attack that would hinder her from being able to interact socially. I find myself blessed with the inside knowledge of two things because of my occupational travels. I understand how certain children are regarded due to their disability and I understand how schools do not tell you about the obstacles these children face inside and outside the classroom.

So this brings me to my conversation with my daughter before we went to bed. Last night my daughter entered the room and gave me this very meaningful speech as I gazed out the window.

“Mom, I do not want you to worry about me being placed in another theater class because at the end of the day, I know you believe in me. I know dad believes in me and I believe in me. I don’t need a teacher to give me the green light when I have you guys. If she doesn’t want me in her class, I don’t want to be in it. I’ll just do my best in the new class and prove her wrong.-Ariana

I guess that is the point of it all. It is my support that will protect and propel her. Schools are set on default educations which means they do not always give what each and every kid needs. No matter how much we want to elevate the idea of teachers, there will always be those teachers who aren’t encouraging to all children. So, as parents we must lift our children up when the world tries to bring them down and remember it is our support that gives them wings.

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I Am So Mad Right Now. I Just Want To Cry.

So thus starts the drama for the new school year. My daughter was kicked out of her theater class on the 4th day of school because the teacher seems to have issues teaching children with disabilities. This is my latest letter to the school district.

Ms. Adams,

My daughter attends Temple High School and informed me today that she was removed from her theater class. She stated that the teacher said she would remove children who she felt would not pay attention in her class and Ariana and another student were removed. I find myself concerned due to the fact that last year my daughter was repeatedly paired with children who had disorders similar to her disorder in this class. Instead of the teacher promoting growth, she promoted further confusion due to them not being able to interact with the other students. Often times my daughter would come home in tears because she could not practice lines with her partner due to conflict stemming from the pairing.

My daughter has ADHD, ADD and she struggles with relationships with other students due to an attack that happened four to five years ago while she was on campus. She was attacked by 10 to 11 children when she was in the 5th grade. We have worked very hard with her over the years and theater has always been something she wanted to do. I feel as if she was sectioned off last year and now with her removal from her theater class, I feel like she is being discriminated against because of having a disorder as the other students from last year to some degree.

Now, it is my understanding that she is in another theater class. I need to know if she will be able to learn lines and participate in class? This is a YouTube video to show that my daughter has no issues with being able to use communication. https://youtu.be/fevGVBkPF8o She did a cooking video this summer on making tacos. I will not stand for her being discriminated against because her teacher does not seem to like people with disabilities. It is a violation of her right to not be given the same chance to succeed as other students.

Apparently The other teacher does not really teach theater like the class she was in, so she is being pushed aside.

Why can’t people just be supportive? Why try to teach children if you can’t be supportive of all kids? Does anyone know of any theaters that offer acting lessons in the Austin Area? I support her.

UPDATE 8/27/2019

We were told that the teacher told the administrators that she had an audition to see who was able to stay in the drama class. An audition that my daughter sure didn’t know about. I guess she missed the part about telling the children she would be removing people that she thought wouldn’t pay attention in class. So which was it?

Chair Raiders Anonymous

Get to know the new section on Shellzonit.com called Chair Raiders Anonymous. The inspiration came from watching Hulu and seeing the random liquor adds pop up.

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We thought it would be a great idea to try some of the alcoholic beverages and rate them. In this category we will rate anything from games, shows. alcoholic beverages, to movies in the theater. This will only be a weekly rating with results coming out at the start of a new week.

We will start things off with Kraken Black Spiced Rum. The commercial shows Tom Payne from The Walking Dead sitting at a bar looking like a wet snack! Okay, I couldn’t help it, but with wet hair flowing down into his face he starts to unleash this story which turns out to be about the Kraken. In the beginning of the commercial we thought it was a preview of a new movie then it becomes clear that Mr. Payne is talking about rum.

The Kraken Black Spiced Rum comes in a cool looking bottle that looks like something out of a pirate’s movie. The rum is smooth and the taste of spice isn’t overwhelming. To be honest, it is one of the best spiced rums I have tasted in a long time. I normally only drink coconut rum. My husband who can’t drink liquor most of the time was able to drink the Kraken without incident. Normally he gags when it comes to liquor.

For those of you who have a hard time consuming rum, try mixing your rum with coke. If you get a chance to watch the commercials that stream on Hulu you will see a menu down at the bottom of the screen which will allow you to learn a few drinks with the Kraken. So, all in all, I would give the Kraken a thumps up! It is something that I look forward to buying again and we finished it in our first week. Let me know if you have any other drinks you would like us to try!

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