Posted in audience participation, connections, ebb & flow, know better do better, mindset, motivation, parenting, physical health, thoughtfulness

Know better, do better: your dollars

The short version: my goal is to help people be educated so they can make decisions in an informed way.

I am not trying to scare people or to be a downer, though I acknowledge that these days, most of the news is bad news.

The fact is that in a capitalistic society, the main goal is to make money. The people who produce food, who create processed foods, who make cosmetics, soaps, detergents, toys, furniture, clothes are all in it to make money.

Making money is not inherently bad. We need to make money to function in society as it exists. 

But making money has become The Most Important Thing. More important than families. More important than our own or others’ health. More important than honesty or integrity.

As a result, it’s all gone to hell.

Problems in the food supply are real. Problems with the water supply are real. Problems with the chemicals in our personal care products are real. Problems with the chemicals in toys are real. Problems with the chemicals in our household goods are real.

Most of the time, the exposures are low. (Corn, soy, sweeteners including but not limited to sugar are exceptions—exposures to these are off the charts.) But when you put them all together, they’re not low at all.

Is this reality scary? Yes. Does it mean you need to live in constant paranoia? No. Does it mean you need to throw away everything and start over right now? No.

But if we all keep on living as if nothing was wrong, they’re going to keep manufacturing as if it’s OK. We pay the price with our health, our children’s health, and all aspects of the environment.

One step back from that—we can’t decide if we want to make changes or take a stand if we don’t know what’s going on.

So we need to be educated. (That’s my job! To help educate.)

Then we need to speak out with our voices. (If nothing else, online petitions take almost no time to sign.)

But even more than that, we need to speak with our dollars. Because in America, dollars speak louder than anything else.

Posted in audience participation, mindset, parenting

Yelling at kids playing sports

There was a guy at The Kid’s last track meet. We called him Yellow Screamer Guy, because he was dressed in yellow and walked up and down the length of the straight, yelling at runners.

It didn’t matter where they were on the track. Opposite side? Still yelling.

I made a comment that years of yelling at football on TV had prepared him for this.

But really—where is the line?

Many (most?) kids need prompting to work their hardest. (That is not limited to kids.)

Do they need to work their hardest? After experiencing a season of track, I’d say that if you’re not going to work hard, don’t bother doing it.

(I don’t think that about all things—or even most things—and wrote about that here.)

But at the end of the day, they’re kids.

Also at the end of the day, it’s just a race. (Or a game, when applied to most of the not-racing competitive athletics people do.)

I vacillate between “I know I work better at physical tasks when I have someone pushing me, and that was true of me as a kid, too” and “Sheesh! It’s children running races! Calm down!”

(There’s also the facet of judgement on my part. I don’t know his story or the kids’ stories.)

Most of us need some external motivation or pushing to get us to work at our peak and stay there.

Does the yelling make it high pressure? Or just improve short-term performance? (Or neither? Or both? Or some other things entirely?) And does the content of the yelling matter?

As evidenced by the questions, I don’t have any solid resting place in all this—still just thinking.

Either way, it’s probably a good idea to keep yourself in check enough not to be screaming at children who are out of earshot anyway. (Or not children. The pros can’t hear you, either, nor can anyone on TV.)

And that was my resting place, until I remembered a conversation I had with a friend the other day about cultural differences in conversation style. Is my judgment of Yellow Screamer Guy a black/white issue? Completely could be.

So many facets at play.

What do you think?

Posted in audience participation

It’s beautiful outside!

May 20.

It’s in the 60s. Predicted high for today is in the 70s. The current temperature is cooler than the average low for May. Average high is in the 90s.

I could have used a jacket this morning.

People all over the Valley of the Sun are rejoicing in the beautiful weather today. But I encourage you: GO OUTSIDE!

Yesterday was an equally lovely day, and, unfortunately, I spent too much of it indoors. I will not make that mistake today!

Don’t just be glad when you walk to and from your car that it’s nice out–take advantage of it! (Even if that means the parks and trails are all crowded.)

(If the weather is not lovely by you today, save this message for a day when it’s beautiful outside. Especially if it’s a time of year when it’s not typically beautiful outside!)

Posted in audience participation, know better do better, mindset, tips

Produce bags make no sense

Earlier this week, The Climbing Daddy and I tried a new thing. We ordered groceries online and picked them up.

We knew there would be disposable bags (we use reusable) but the amount of unnecessary packaging convinced us that, except in rare circumstances, we’re not going to use this service again.

Set the stage:

  • 12 items
  • 2 refrigerated
  • 1 frozen
  • 1 glass bottle of sauce
  • 7 produce
  • 1 dry goods

Because I walked in to the store to pick it up (which, as it turns out, you’re not supposed to do), I saw the staging area. There are two refrigerators, one freezer, and a set of wire shelves.


When I arrived, they pulled a bag off the shelves, a bag out of the fridge, and a bag out of the freezer.

Three bags for 12 items.

The room temp and refrigerated bags were both paper, but both were double-bagged.

Five bags for 12 items.

The one frozen item—a bag of broccoli—was in its own plastic bag.

I thanked them, took my bags, and came home.

The jar of sauce was in a small paper bag inside of the larger grocery bags.

Six bags for 12 items.

Each produce item was in a plastic bag.

13 bags for 12 items.

This is why we won’t use this service again. (This is why we don’t use the prepped meal delivery services, either. So. Much. Trash.)

But let’s talk for a minute about produce bags.

There is a time when they’re useful. Buying loose green beans, for example. They need something to hold them.

Everything else—why do you use a bag?

I saw a man put a mini-watermelon in a plastic bag. Why?

For produce that you eat the whole thing, including the outsides, you’re going to wash them before you eat them, right? So it’s not a dirt or germs issue. (And seriously, those things have been in dirtier places than your shopping cart and have been handled by who know how many people.)

For produce that you don’t eat the outsides, some people still wash them, but most don’t care about dirt or germs on the skins, so why do you need a bag?

(There’s legitimacy in washing produce that you cut but don’t eat the exterior—like melons or avocado—something I learned when I was immunocompromised.)

Please. Stop using produce bags.

Plastic is an enormous environmental problem. It doesn’t break down. For a short while, we thought that some of it in the ocean was breaking down, but it just broke into small enough pieces that more aquatic life could eat it.

Some areas of life, plastic is difficult or impossible to get rid of. This isn’t one. Just put your produce in the cart without a bag. Even if it’s wet from the “storm.” Just put it in there. Stack the wet stuff together. You can do it.

Acquire reusable bags. While you’re at it, choose bags that are made from natural fibers. Because a reusable plastic bag is better than a single-use plastic bag, but it’s still plastic. Pick up a few smaller drawstring bags for your produce, if you can’t put 5 apples in your cart individually.

Keep them in your car.

“But I always forget them in the car!”

This used to be me until I made a rule for myself that I was not bringing disposable bags—paper or plastic—out of the store. If I forgot my reusable ones, I had to go back out and get them.

It took twice. Leave the cart in the store. Go out to car to fetch bags. Return to store and finish shopping. Pain in the ass. Learn quickly. Especially in bad weather.

Once you get in this habit, you’ll start bringing your bags shopping in places that aren’t the grocery store.

Create the habit, and report back for a pat on the back.


Posted in audience participation, follow-up, food, physical health

Follow-up to the dinner post

Last week, I answered a reader question about dinner. Planning. Dealing with busy evenings. Dealing with low energy.

When I posted it to social media, I asked what others do for quick, easy meals. Here’s what people shared:

  • breakfast for dinner
  • We just had make your own taco night. Fry’s has great vegetarian already-seasoned meat crumbles you literally just put in a skillet and heat up for about 5-8 minutes. I cut up the black olives while it is heating and put out all the toppings and tacos/tortillas. The girls love this and it is so easy and quick! We also heat up black beans for those who may want them as well.
  • pizza on flour tortillas baked in the oven

Great ideas!