Posted in Environment, Family life, Uncategorized

Kicking the plastic habit

Ever since a stint living in Germany in the 1990s, I’ve tried to be thoughtful about my use of plastic. Twenty years ago, cashiers didn’t know what to do when I brought my own love_birds_2pkreusable bags to stores. One even called a manager! Could you imagine that happening in 2018? I average one case of plastic bottled water a year. I do keep some in the house (and in the car) in case of emergency, but I never drink it at home (unless there is a drinking water emergency) and I rarely buy water out because I use a refillable water bottle. I buy resealable plastic bags for school supply lists, but lunchboxes I use these sandwich bags and other refillable containers.

With China’s announcement that they will no longer accept the world’s plastic for recycling, I’m looking for more plastic alternatives.  I’ll share a few things I currently do, a few changes I’ve started to implement, and a few wishes. I’d love to know how YOU reduce plastic.

WHAT I DO (in addition to those above):hk048-sap

  1. refuse straws
  2. use glass containers for storage
  3. skip plastic in home decor items
  4. seek out clothing and other fabrics made from recycled water bottles. If you are in the market for a new purse or backpack, I love Haiku bags. I recently bought a second one – not because the first wore out, but because after 6 years, I wanted a different pattern.
  5. shop the farmer’s markets. Less packaging = less plastic.


  1. Switching back to bar soap. This one hurts. I love body wash and hate slimy soap, but I love our planet enough that I’m giving up the bottle.
  2. Bamboo toothbrushes.

MY WISH LIST: (Can you help?)

  1. Alternative to plastic wrap in the kitchen. I want something to protect oddly shaped food (say cut avocados) from the air and to cover bowls of rising bread dough.
  2. A peanut and tree-nut allergy safe place for buying food in bulk. Every single place I’ve seen has potential for cross contamination and I won’t risk my daughter’s life.
  3. plastic free toothpaste.
  4. Lip balm in non-plastic container.
  5. antiperspirant in non-plastic container.

I would love to hear ideas and suggestions from you. How do you reduce plastic in your life? I’m on the lookout for new ideas.

Posted in Family life, First Friday Five, For Writers

First Friday Five – Rediscovering #Inspiration

I’m in a writing slump. I finished a couple of projects shortly before breaking my elbow in January, but new words have eluded me. Part of the blame falls to the accident and side effects of chronic pain and medication. Part of the blame falls to me and the bad habits I have developed to cope with said pain.

Today is the last day of school for my kids. I don’t usually work on new projects when they are underfoot but I do edit. This summer, however, I’m committing to rediscovering creativity. Here are five ways.

1. Coloring. My daughter’s learning about Mandalas in school. The other day she declared “Fifteen minutes of coloring a day makes you more relaxed and smarter.” I’m not sure about the science behind her statement, but here’s an article on Huffington Post  that supports coloring.

2. Attend a classical concert. I’m fortunate that my town sponsors a free concert in the park series. Even better, the world-class Minneapolis Orchestra performs one of those nights. Hearing music under the stars is magical.

3. Get moving. I borrowed my daughter’s bike a few weeks ago and took my first ride in over a decade. I didn’t forget how to ride, but I had forgotten the amazing sensory rush of the air against my skin and the way the sun warmed my t-shirt. The extra oxygen helped too.

4. Play more games, especially ones like Pictionary, Bananagrams, Moose in the House, and Charades, all of which guarantee laughter in my house. I can’t forget #hashtag games on twitter.

5. Travel somewhere new. I live in the Land of 10,000 Lakes and I’ve been to maybe 20.  I find a change of scenery, no matter how small, inspires me to see the world anew.

How do you foster creativity?

Posted in Conference, heroes

March Madness Inspiration

Are you watching the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament?  I am.   I wasn’t much of a college basketball fan until meeting my husband who has been known to schedule vacation days so he can watch all the tournament action.  At first, I thought of myself as a “March Widow,” but after a year or so I decided, I’d see my husband more in March if I cracked open a beer, parked myself in front of the TV, downed some hot wings and succumb to the madness.

Besides, the vast majority of coaches wear suits and there’s something about a man in a suit.  The men on the side line fascinate me.  Some scream or are emotional and their suit coats flap in the air as they jump up and down.  Others are an oasis of calm, appearing unruffled in spite of the high stress, high risk and high reward situation.  I began to wonder about their inner lives and a story was born.

Imagine my surprise this year watching Florida Gulf Coast, a fifteen seed that only became eligible for post season play last year, do what had long been seen as impossible and inevitable.  They knocked off heavily favored Georgetown on Friday and San Diego State on Sunday to become the first fifteen seed in the Sweet Sixteen.  The players on Florida Gulf Coast slayed giants, and as FGC star Sherwood Brown’s megawatt smile showed, they had fun.  As the cameras continued to roll, showing the team celebrations, it also became clear, these guys loved their coach Andy Enfield, a young coach in a suit who projected a calm demeanor on the sidelines, but clearly inspired his team with a positive attitude, work ethic and sense of fun.

This man and this team, I thought, are the real life version of my fictional “Ravens of Corwin College” in one of my manuscripts making the rounds.  I can’t wait to share the story of Kyle, Gwen, and the Ravens with you.

In the meantime,  I’ll be cheering that my Ravens find a home and that the charmers of Florida Gulf Coast keep the madness going.

Sherwood Brown – Image appeared from CBS Sports

Who do you cheer for?