I'm NOT a Plastic Bag

I am not usually one to covet high end crap that you have to stand for days in line to get or else buy at a ridiculously high price on Ebay. Take the Iphone for example. It is cool; don't get me wrong. However, I don't need it SO BADLY that I am willing to wait for it for hours on end and then pay 500 dollars for it and THEN pay for a 2 year contract, Internet fees etc. All in all, time is money and money is money and that item, as cool as it is, is not worth that much money.

However, when I read about the
"I'm Not a Plastic Bag" bag by Anya Hindmarch (who, by the way, I have never heard of, but apparently she makes high end designer bags) in Time Magazine, I said, "I WANT ONE OF THOSE!" The idea behind the bag is this:Too many plastic bags are being used in Grocery Stores etc around the world and not enough of them are being recycled. This bag, which retails for about 15 dollars is reusable and stylish and so would help eliminate unnecessary waste. In the US alone, an average family uses 1,460 plastic bags PER YEAR, which is about 88.5 billion bags total (in the US) and LESS THAN 1% of all plastic bags used get recycled.

So I got online to buy one. For 15 dollars you can't go wrong. Little did I know that I am not the only one who wants one of these bags. As it is a limited product, there were only a certain amount sold in the US, UK and China, and at this time, they are sold out. You can buy one on Ebay for about 40-50 dollars if you so please. In trying to find this bag, I also learned that the demand for these bags was so high that when they were launched in China, people got trampled.

So I wonder, are people buying these bags because they want to help the environment or because they are a low price point item from a normally high price point designer? I hope it is the former, but maybe it doesn't really matter. By buying the bag and wearing it, they are helping raise awareness around the world, which is equally as important.

A few stats, courtesy of Time Magazine(check out the entire article HERE): It takes up to 1,000 years for a plastic bag to decompose. 12 million barrels of oil are used to make the plastic bags that the U.S. consumes annually.

If you want the "I'm Not A Plastic Bag" bag, but can't get it, try one of these other charitable alternatives.
Working with the U.N. World Food Program (WFP), Presidential niece and model Lauren Bush has designed the FEED Bag — a stylish but sturdy tote bag made of brown sacking and white canvas. The proceeds from the $60 bag go to the WFP, which provided a staggering 16 million children worldwide with school meals in 2006 as part of their efforts to feed the 300 million children around the world that suffer chronic hunger. And Intuition has launched the Market Bag to help educate children in need. For each $85-$100 bag sold, Intuition will donate $35 to the International Rescue Committee. The goal is to raise $175,000 for the IRC's education programs around the world.

And last but not least, if you don't want to spend upwards of 30 dollars on a canvas tote, try buying one from your local grocer, which usually costs about $2-$5. You can still make a difference, one bag at a time, as long as it's "not a plastic bag"!!


Gambling My Life (Savings) Away

Most of my retirement savings is in some way involved in the stock market. So, when the market took a dive a couple weeks ago, so did my future. You are talking to a total non-gambler. I have only "gambled" a handful of times, I mean seriously, I can count on one hand. Each of those times, my budget was about 10-20 dollars. Each time, as soon as my money is gone, I walk out.

However, my retirement savings is different. I can’t just walk out; there is no point in pulling your money out when it is down. And I have a little bit more than 10 or 20 dollars involved. So I sit and watch my dollars melt away like the Wicked Witch of the West…helpless/hopeless…

Which is the problem – I am watching them melt away. It is an obsession. I can’t stop. Help me! I have to check every day to see if I am up or down…and it changes so much. For example: I bought Exxon stock for about 82.00/share. It went up to 85, it went down to 80; it went to 87, then to 79…today it is at 85 again. Go figure.

And I have no idea what I am doing. Should I buy; should I sell? “Should I stay or should I go now?” But, for all this, for the fact that I am losing money right now, it is fun. I can see how people can get hooked on gambling – “just one more game and I will win it all back”… Riiiiight… So, I will keep playing for a while, see what happens, never put all my eggs in one basket and hopefully ride the market back up someday soon.

How "Old" Are You?

When my Uncle Craig turned 30, we went to his birthday party and I remember thinking..."god, 30, that's a lot" (I was about 13 at the time)! Yeah, well. 30 isn't so much anymore. Neither is 40 or 50 or 60 or 70. I went to Indiana and visited some friends of the family. Doug, who is 84, is as fit and as quick and as intelligent as anyone that I know that is 30. Well, he is definitely MORE intelligent than most people I know.

My great-grandma Lou lived to be over a hundred. She survived not one, but TWO sons (both who died at the young age of 60ish). My uncle Jim's parent's just celebrated their SIXTIETH wedding anniversary, which surprised me becuase I didn't realize they were so "old". Tutu is 80 and Papa is 81. When did that happen? How did that happen?

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is becuase my Grandma Barbara just had her 75th birthday. We threw a big party for her and invited the whole famn damily. We ate too much and drank too much and celebrated the fact that she has been around so long and will hopefully be around for many more years to come, and that she will never get old.


11th Year is Already Here?

It seems like just yesterday I was walking down the steps at the fairgrounds in my gown, with "Pomp and Circumstance" playing regally in the background. I was so proud and so glad that high school was over with. Well, no matter what it seems, that day was eleven years ago. To help us to remember that fact, we all got together at Pangaea in Quincy (my home town) for our 11 year reunion.

Why ELEVEN years, you ask? Well, I was under the impression that the class president or vice president or someone like that would, at the appropriate time, get the ball rolling for a traditional 10 year reunion. WRONG. So, after 2006 coming and almost going, a couple of us got together and said, what the hell, we will get the ball rolling instead. I would like to say it was becuase we are the "creative" class in the bunch, but it probably is more like "lazy" or "forgetful" (or maybe "busy").

I got to Quincy in time for the County Fair and Parade, where I ran into some old school chums, who said that there was a rumor going around that certain people did not want to pay the fee to go to the party, so were instead going to meet in the back parking lot (remind anyone of HS?) of the restaurant with a cooler of beer and just hang out there instead. Basically a "tailgate" party for the reunion. You know how sometimes when you tailgate you barely make it to the actual game? Yeah. Pretty much the same. Haha. Apparently some people never change.

After a short pre-party at "The Cap" (one of the three local bars), we went to the reunion, where I was impressed by the turnout. We must have had between 40 and 50 people (out of a graduating class of about 95). Everyone pretty much looks the same, plus or minus a kid, a spouse or a few pounds.

All in all, a great time. No big surprises. We are all still alive and well and hopefully will be able to get together again in 10 years for our 21st reunion (which this time we could chalk up to creativity)!!



Rolaids don't spell relief; finishing does. Actually, after the first dreaded two miles, which are ALWAYS HELL for me (no matter how many miles I have run or am running) I was okay. Until about mile 9, when the soles of my feet (and then my ankles) started killing me! But...the crowd was a godsend, the weather was beautiful and my will was strong enough...to finish the race! I did not do as well as I would have liked, but I did finished, which was more than I really expected this time. SO...here is to the next one...

Don't forget to check out photos >>> here.

I am The Tortoise, Not The Hare

WHEW!!! Made it! That is all I could think of when I crossed the finish line. Actually that is all I could think of when I got to mile 1, and then to mile 2 and then to mile 3...and so on. I kept telling myself that I would just go ONE MORE mile and then I would just walk...

This race wasn't like the others. This time I was stupid; I didn't train. I signed up for the NYC half in April; it is a lottery draw and if you don't get drawn, you don't run. I got picked. And then I went on vacation. And then I got sick and...after that, I just COULD NOT get back into the rhythm of things. I was also missing Mira, my running buddy. I forgot that I am only so self motivated, and then it all goes downhill.

It has been in the 90s in New Orleans. And 98% humidity. Not e
xactly the best weather for training. Well, really I am just making excuses, aren't I? So, all excuses aside, I was determined to finish. We started in Central Park, which was a beautiful run, but very hard for me, as it was very hilly and I have been living in the flats for a while. The first seven miles were in the park. Each mile got harder than the last and, like I said, each time I reached a mile marker, I just kept telling myself that I would just do ONE MORE, then I would pretend my knee had given out or that I twisted my ankle (come on, you gotta have some pride!) and then I would walk (bravely) the rest of the way.

However, as we e
xited the park, we came out on 7th Ave, where there were a bunch of people there cheering us on...then we kept going and ran right through Times Square, where the Good Morning America camera was out and we were all on the big screen...it was like a shot of adrenaline. It kept me going for the next 6 miles, all the way down to the Hudson, past ground zero and into Battery Park. I did not do well; It actually took me about 10 minutes more than it did at my last race. But I finished. And with that, I learned that, no matter what, I CAN finish. But dammit, next time, I won't be so stupid. I will train. And I will hopefully beat my goal of a sub 2 hour half. Here's to running smarter and running faster!

For a few more pics, go here. For more marathon gripes, go here.


Tag. I'm It. Too.

I don't really know how this game works, but I was tagged by my cousin Erin (I think). Rather than running around and around (which, as I have said many a time, would probably be a better idea), this is a literary game of tag. So I am it. Here goes...

Four jobs I have had or currently have in my life:
When I was a kid, I worked for my parents. I was a server of gas, store clerk, housekeeper and all around gofer/errand runner. Then I graduated high school, moved to Sacramento and got a job at Nordstrom, where I worked at the Espresso Bar, serving coffee and danishes to the pre-caffeinated and over-caffeinated shoppers and employees at the Arden Fair Mall. Eventually I "graduated" to the Brass Plum Shoe department then the Ladies Shoe Department, where I sold shoes to the women of the world. I then moved to San Francisco and worked in the Salon (expensive) Shoe Department as a Manager. All in all, I worked at Nordstrom for 8 years. My last and current job started in Florida after the 4 hurricanes and ended (remains) in New Orleans - both involve grants proposals and lots and lots of paperwork...
Four countries I have been to:
Haha. Four, eh? Well I have been to about...25. But the most *recent* four were...Canada, Mexico, Borneo, Portugal...not in that particular order.

Four places I’d rather be right now:
I would rather be fishing. I would rather be hiking. I would rather be at the beach and...in 6 months I WILL be in South America, but I would rather be there right now!

Four foods I like to eat:
Gosh, I can barely name four that I WOULDN'T want to eat! I would really like a chocolate soufflé right now. I love salads, anything involving cheese and any and all vegetables and fruits.

Four people that I would like to tag:
Well, I have no idea if anyone even reads my blogs...and if they do, they don't necessarily have blogs of their own... So, maybe they would post it on myspace or something...Lea, My Mom, Lucy and Sara.

Four people, living or dead, real or fiction, whose blogs I’d like to read and whose answers I would love to know:
If she wrote a blog, I would love to read Bettie Smith's (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn). Also, I would think that Galileo would have a good one. Or Lewis and Clark. Or anyone who had to travel in a covered wagon across the country...like Laura Ingalls Wilder.

So, I guess that is it. NOW - Tag, you are it. Will you post this somewhere? Will you tag someone else?