Typically, on the first Wednesday of each month, we like to pause and take a look at what’s going on in the world around us, sometimes we focus on animal activity, celestial events, and our farmers’ fields and other times we expand the conversation to highlight relevant nature and environmental topics in the news, a discussion of our intentions for the month, and other bits of inspiration.
In the News
Guys, there is something called a bomb cyclone and it’s coming for the east coast. Think hurricane, but wintery conditions. Ick. I moved to North Carolina to avoid winter and here we are talking about temperatures 20-40 degrees colder than usual. Typing that just sent a shiver down my spine. Hopefully, Santa brought that electric blanket I asked for, we’ll see at Russian Christmas this weekend in Saxis.
I thoroughly appreciated this nature in the news roundup for 2018. What to expect in 2018: science in the new year gives you a briefing of what we’ll hear about this year.
Two negatives and a neutral is what we’ll call this segment :
Human impacts on forests and grasslands are much larger and older than we previously assumed. Why does that matter? Well, carbon stocks in vegetation have a crucial role in the global climate system and if we’re going to take climate change and the Paris Agreement seriously, these studies are important for future bioenergy policies.
Boats are threatening the survival of Panama’s Bocas Del Toro dolphins. These dolphins are pretty special because there is a pod of about eighty who do not interbreed with the more common Carribean dolphins. Dolphin watching in the area is increasing, which may work in the dolphins’ favor as it will bring awareness and attention to this small, unique dolphin population.
Lastly, humans are kinda helpful here: Ecologists used maps produced before World War I to recent kelp forest surveys in the Pacific Northwest and found that they’ve been pretty stable over the past century. Read the article to find out why we surveyed kelp beds way back then in the first place, pretty interesting stuff.
If you’ve been a friend of the Schu family long enough, you know the whole crew gets together during the first weekend of January to celebrate Russian Christmas, which takes place on the 7th each year. The date marks the birth of Jesus on the Russian Orthodox Church’s calendar and really that’s where it starts and ends for the Schu fam. We use the date as an excuse to gather once more, which is especially convenient now that some siblings head to their inlaws for Dec. 25.
For me, tea season is all year long, but I find myself doubling up this time of year. If there’s not a steaming mug of tea in my hands, likely I’m walking to the kitchen to procure one. Drinking tea has become one of my favorite daily rituals. Heating the water, picking my favorite mug, selecting a tea, allowing it to steep, reading the tag (kind of like a fortune in a cookie) sipping it in both hands until the mug is empty.. and repeat.
A few details of my tea routine :
- My Mug – I used to photograph for Haand, a lovely local company, and I honestly love their mugs and dishes more than any I’ve ever used. First off, matte glazes. I could end there, but they’re also really easy to clean, they’re restaurant quality, so not easily chipped, and each piece is designed to interact with you and your food in a really delightful way. I use these three pieces every single day: the short large mug, the margay, and the caracal. My friends also bought me this eat, sleep, yoga, repeat mug, which is a great reminder and there’s a little golden smiley face waiting at the bottom of the mug for when you finish, which always brightens my day. So choose your mug wisely, it should bring you joy each time you pick it up and even while you wash it.
- My Tea – Celestial Seasonings is my absolute favorite. I’ve been drinking their brews for years, but after visiting the factory in Boulder, CO and hearing the company’s story (basically a few flower-picking hippies) my love was solidified. They also minimize waste by skipping the teabag string, tag, and wrapper. I also like Yogi Tea because of the little tea fortune and I think Trader Joe’s makes a few great blends, but I really hate that they wrap each individual teabag in plastic. I don’t think I would have even thought of this if it weren’t for Celestial Seasonings. Brands that drive you to be more conscious of how you consume are the best brands, don’t you think? My favorite teas at the moment (some of these are always on the list): CS fast lane, CS sleepytime, CS tension tamer, Yogi Green Tea Kombucha, Yogi Breathe Deep, Yogi Relaxed Mind, Yogi Calming, and TJ’s Moroccan Mint.
- My Brewing – I was a big fan of the teapot for a long time, but last year, I moved in with a roommate who used an electric tea kettle and I must admit I’m totally hooked and it’s the number one appliance I use, second up is my coffee grinder. You can buy a ceramic, stainless, or see-through version. Here’s a super secret teapot trick I didn’t learn until I was 22, you *never* need to take the lid off, just fill up the pot from the spout. Maybe you knew this? Maybe I revolutionized your life? No need to tell me which.
New Year’s Resolution Success Story
It’s nothing major, but last year, a few of us sat around and wrote down resolutions. We then put the resolutions in a bowl, mixed them up, and picked one. The one I received was, “Read a book a month” and funny enough this was a resolution I made years prior, but never fully followed up on. After pulling that resolution from the bowl in 2017 however, I made it a point to always be reading a book or three. I just decided that I needed to reincorporate reading into my daily or at least weekly routine, and I did. Simple as that. I picked up a book and made time for reading again. This is me reminding you that READING IS FUN and awesome and totally worth it and way better than facebook or instagram or whatever else you’re wasting time on (besides this website obviously). Sometimes I find myself reading by way of procrastination, but honestly, that feels way better than scrolling through FB to procrastinate. I actually deleted my FB app over six months ago and haven’t looked back. I log on way less and my life feels full of interesting stories instead of mostly superficial ones. Here’s what I read in 2017.
On that note, are you a resolute person? But really, do you take the time to look at your year and plan for the next or do you treat the shifting from December to January just like you would February to March? I’m a bit of both. I value the pendulum that swings from December 31 to January 1st, but I also feel like each moment is an opportunity to decide to take action or cease bad habits. Did you hear about our Meditative Mondays email newsletter? Just a little opportunity to bring some calm into your atmosphere this year. Join us if you’d like 🙂 or pass it along to that friend who is always running circles in his or her mind.