Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Convenience Store Culture

In my early years of work at a local TV station, I barely made any money. I saw convenience stores as overpriced money drains that were taboo in my life. It wasn't until marriage, 2 kids, and a "full on" schedule that I began to appreciate convenience store culture. I found myself and the kids stopping in for a pack of gum, a free ICEE post a game, a milkshake after the beach, and now, a decaf coffee with hazelnut syrup (refills only 85 cents!).

I think I get more than 85 cents worth of coffee.  Even after months of not being in the store, I am recognized and noticed.  I receive a feeling of connection. How does this happen in 2 minutes?  I walk in. I pour my coffee.  I pay.  I walk out.  I make a transaction.  85 cents.  A cup of coffee.  What I receive is a transformation - a transformation gifted by the people who work there.

Who works at my corner convenience store? Really happy people! I recently asked if it was part of the job requirement!  There's the woman from Romania who cleans the counter tops and floors.  She calls me "Special" because she thinks I have an interesting way of dressing. The other day, I walked in the store talking on my cell phone dressed in sweat pants and a t-shirt.  With her thick accent, she said, "Not special." She cracked me up!

And then there's the cashier who greets you with such strong beams of sunshine and joy-filled comments that you can't help but smile for a good 10 minutes after leaving the store.

These employees do this their entire shift!  They remember the regulars making personal comments. They acknowledge the new customer, showering attention.

Walking in the store at various times of day, I feel like I live in Mayberry or maybe I'm in a Cheers episode.  I am beginning to realize that it's not the decaf I like so much, it's the transformational experience that I quickly receive. The jolt of energy is not from the decaf.  It's from the people - the employees create a ripple effect.  It's pretty addicting - and only 85 cents.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Bugs as a Protein Source

In today's newspaper, another story about eating bugs.  As I predicted in 2011, protein bars are among our first sources.  This particular bar has a low protein content!  So, probably not much cricket in it!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Tensegrity Pelvis

Pelvis Tensegrity Model - Check out this model to understand a bit more about the tensegrity lines in the pelvis.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Things Stink Around Here!

Long Pond September 2012
Things really stink around here! Literally!

After two weeks of rain which included the effects of Hurricane Isaac, this is what our pond looks like. See that oily residue on the top of the pond? That's been present now for about a week since the rain stopped and as the water level lowers.

This is what happens after every major rain.  Our pond does its job. It's a storm water retention pond that receives all the road run off. As yucky as it is to look at right now, our pond helps keep our intracoastal waterway and ocean a bit cleaner. The pond and surrounding plants & land serve as a sponge - soaking up and filtering toxins.

In our own bodies, we have a similar watery pond that filters toxins - our liver.  Over the summer, I have been conducting a series of body cleanses. This latest one requires me to take a strong tincture of cinnamon, cloves, peppermint, oregano, orange, grape root & pau d'arco. You think with that combination, I would smell like a bakery in the Fall.  Instead, I stink!  I am now bathing at least two times a day.

Cormorant in Long Pond
I understand that with cleansing, odor is considered normal. I am purifying and cleaning the toxins out of me. As well, I am encouraging healthy organisms to freely swim in my internal sea - just like cormorant, brim, and turtles call our pond home.

Encouraging wildlife into our backyard has been a 16 year project!  When we first moved in, the entire back side of the pond was regularly mowed.  Over the years, we allowed the natural vegetation to return creating a riparian zone. The riparian zone provides an important wildlife corridor in our backyard for bobcat, raccoons, and alligators. These animals have provided hours of enjoyment for us to witness them in their habitat. As I write these words tonight, a giant Luna Moth landed on my office window.  I have seen so much from this window. I have witnessed a hawk swoop down and kill a snake, otters eating fish on the banks, and crows buzzing an owl.

Giant Luna Moth at Window

The current film on our pond reminds me to continue to clean up my act. There's more we can do to decrease the toxic load on our earth's waterways as well as the toxic load in our own internal waterways.  One simple thing is to change cleaning products.  Here's a basic recipe for making your own general household cleaner.

Combine in a spray bottle the following:

- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 3 TB isopropyl alcohol
- 1 tsp. tea tree oil
- 10 drops another essential oil of your choice like lavender, eucalyptus, rosemary, orange, etc.

Fill the rest of the spray bottle with water.

I use this cleaner all over my house from kitchens, to bathrooms, to Yoga mats.  Join me and make a small change. And while we work on cleaning up our act, silently, the pond continues to filter, just like our livers - making our home the sanctuary where life thrives.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Merit Badges

Here it is! My Girl Scout sash circa 1975! I dug it out of the closet after an interchange with a fellow teacher. I joked that, as adults, we should have Merit Badges listing our accomplishments and then we would feel better about ourselves.

I can envision a few adult Merit Badges from my current family life. One would be a Mouth Merit Badge. I see a mouth with tape over it - for learning to keep my mouth shut as my children share their lives with me - resisting my urge to lecture and make everything a lesson. Mouth Badge could also serve for all the times I didn't scream even when I felt like it. I think I could also easily earn a Money Merit Badge - for providing income that supports our ability to own a home and put food on the table. Definitely, I have earned a Mop Merit Badge for all the messes I cleaned up that I didn't create.

What about you?  What adult Merit Badges have you earned?

We all desire to have someone else recognize what we have achieved. The badges, certificates, and trophies have meaning. They help us define our selves.

At some point, I cut off all the badges from my Girl Scout sash. I can not recall when or why. That's reaching too far back into my childhood hard drive. As an adult, I can tell you the year that I dismantled my office "glory wall" with all my TV writing & producing awards. It was when I turned 40.

Every so often, my production work comes up during family dinner. My kids think all I do is talk on the phone, type on the computer, and teach movement (that is really all I do!). My children remain surprised by the "power people" I have interviewed and know on a first name basis. Tonight at dinner, my son was stating that if he started name dropping who his mom knows and the work she's done then maybe he'll earn "cred" (read: credentials for those over 40) in the classroom with his buds.  My husband and I quickly squashed our son's idea with a parental wisdom lecture.

Time does bring wisdom. Yet, I still seek knowledge as I transition through the 5th decade of my life. I chuckle that many of my childhood interests and Merit Badges remain my interests today. I am still fascinated by medicine. I love movement. I am stimulated by captivating images. I relax with needlecraft. I love riding magic carpets and traveling light.

What about you? What do you still desire to learn?  What are you seeking? What's your next Merit Badge?

And then after earning the Badge, are you willing to cut it off from your sash? Can you detach from it? Are you able to find a way to enjoy the learning with out the outward symbol or degree that others recognize? Are you able to freely give away what you learned & earned with no desire of a return to you?

Growing up, I proudly belonged to Troop 872 of the Council of the Nation's Capital. The D.C. area is a fascinating place to grow up and quite messy, too, with conflicting ideas. I remain proud to have roots that sunk deep into the soil of diversity, watered & feed by a desire to be of service in larger ways, branches that extended out seeking light and knowledge from many cultures.

As an adult, I recognize that others may differ in their political opinions and belief system - and true Peace comes from an unconditional acceptance and unconditional love of "other" of the folks "not like me." And my Teacher tells me, I have to love the least desirable - the ones whose names I wouldn't "drop" at a party - the ones who society labels dirty, despicable, undesirable. My Teacher tells me I must be fully of service to the orphans, widows, the dis-spirited, the downtrodden. Those who are unable to pay or re-pay me for my work, these are who I am counseled to remain honored to humbly and quietly serve.

There is no Merit Badge for this. It loses its value and satisfaction if you wear this type of achievement on your sash. Join me to quietly do the work we are each called to do.

Friday, August 31, 2012