I’ve been inspired by packaging [day 28 & 29]

I’ve been inspired to create an art series, or maybe this will be a new addition to my Excessable series.  The extreme disposable excess in packaging baffles me.  In some cases, I understand where they’re coming from, however that equates to about 10% of my understanding.

mens-shirt-blank-canvasMen’s shirts.  I wrote a blog post about the ridiculous amount of packaging in men’s shirts.  It takes a good 10 minutes to take a shirt out of the package.  I’m thinking Whodini wouldn’t even be able to do it much quicker.

My idea is to use the shirt as my canvas.  I’ll attach all of the packaging to it to make info graphics to educate people about the waste.  Why buy a shirt that’s packaged like Fort Knox, using 13 different types plastic, paper and metal when you can just buy one off a hanger?  Then you can give the hanger back to the store for reuse?  Continue reading

Jellyfish don’t advertise [day 6]

I’m sitting here, drinking my almond milk latte, and thinking about yesterday.  My latte tastes pretty good.  No creaminess to it like my fat-free lattes, but it’s good.  I like that it’s healthy, which I suppose, makes me a quasi hippie.

breakfastBreakfast.  I started the day by cooking breakfast for my kids.  Yes, I can see the shock on your face.  My kids were looking at me like I was from another planet, wondering what alien life form has taken over their mother’s body.

Scrambled eggs and toast.  No, I did not make the bread from scratch.  It came out of a plastic bag.  We’re almost out of it, so we’ll be making our own or buying it fresh at Whole Foods.  Continue reading

It’s like having an insurance policy with no idea of what’s covered

I visited a local agency for help on my homeless journey.  Every church in the area at least mentioned it, most of them saying they support it and that’s where I must go for any help.

This is another journal entry.  I am using the name of the agency, as you would be able to guess it.  They are doing good things there, and like all other agencies, they’re under-resourced.

A trip to the food pantry

I feel the need to go someplace familiar.  I think I’ll go to the library next.  Or better yet, I’ll go to Frisco Family Services.  I’m not expecting much, but I need to see what all the hype is about.  When everyone in town is sending you to the same place, is there really any choice?  I need to eat for two weeks, and this is looking like my only option, besides dumpster diving.  I am reluctant to go, as I know they’ll have lots of paperwork and that makes pretending a lot more difficult.  I have this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.  Pretending to be homeless is stressful.  I can’t image how awful homelessness really is.  I took a deep breath and walked inside.   Continue reading

Should churches lock their doors? [A Facebook conversation]

I decided to post a Facebook feed from yesterdays blog post.  The big conversation here is about churches locking their doors.  Should they?  Shouldn’t they?  

There’s not a ‘one size fits all’ answer to this question.  I thought the conversation was a good one though, so I’m sharing it with you.  There are some other good points in here too.  Is your church doing something good in helping the homeless?  If so, please share it here by commenting below.

Original post:

This is a really enlightening look into homelessness. Jody is experiencing it firsthand as a social experiment and is respectfully submitting what struggles she found. I am learning a great deal.

What stood out to me in this blog post (one of a series) was this:

“I’m not at all offended that all the local churches are sending people to an agency that can help. What I do find a bit disturbing is that none of the churches know that much about it and they’re sending me away having no idea whether or not I’ll get help there.”

To look homeless here is to NOT look homeless. | rethinkgood.com

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To look homeless here is to NOT look homeless.

I wrote so much on my homeless journey, but even with the 100+ handwritten pages, I feel like I just scratched the surface of simply understanding the difficulties of it.  I don’t have a clue what it’s like to really be homeless, yet learned enough to know it’s horrific.

Every homeless person I’ve met or talked to has a different story, yet most of our working class sees homelessness as a place they’ll never be.  ‘Those people’ have addictions, they’re lazy or have some other type of dysfunction.  No matter what their situation, they’re prejudged by many as being a drain on our society.

When asking for assistance, I never said I was homeless because (a) I didn’t know what would happen and (b) it’s somewhat embarrassing.  In suburbia, to look homeless is to not look homeless.  I looked and dressed like I always do, yet I didn’t have access to the same hygiene routines.   Continue reading

rethink homelessness

Let me start by saying I’ve never been homeless.  Rethinking homelessness for me is knowing there are people in really tough situations without a home, and knowing I’m a few paychecks away from the same thing.  I’m a middle-aged single mom, living in a nice suburban home in what is considered to be a wealthy area.  Many people think it’s odd that I ponder this social issue so frequently.

In my community, there are no homeless people on the street corners with cardboard signs, nor are there people living under the overpasses.  There are no visible signs of homelessness in many suburban areas, so does that mean homelessness doesn’t exist there?  How about poverty in the wealthy suburbs, is that non-existent in suburbia?  No.   Suburban homelessness does exist.  It’s an invisible, underground world, where belonging in your own community is a fairytale and where your very existence is illegal.  Continue reading

control time. eat more lucky charms. [minimalist challenge item #189]

[item] A Spanish and an English Lucky Charms cereal box

[purchase info] Purchased new… I don’t buy used food

[time in my possession] Approximately 2 years

[last used] Last time we ate the cereal

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Medium

[destination] Recycling bin

[replacement item] None, well, we might buy some more Lucky Charms

[info] I just found this funny.  The image on the box says “control time with the hourglass…”  There’s no disclaimer anywhere on this box that some little dried yellow marshmallows will not really allow you to control time.  So is this a true time machine?  Being in the marketing world, I found this intriguing.  How many kids are eating these, thinking they will be able to control time?  I suppose we all do control our own time, but can’t we do that without the marshmallows?  If I eat the clovers, will I be lucky and win the lotto?  How about the heart?  If I eat the hearts, maybe people will stop comparing me with the Grinch.  Honestly, I would love to see this in court.  General Mills versus the people that can’t control time, even though they ate the hourglasses.  Oh c’mon!  You know that’s funny.  SNL would be all over this idea!

Control time.  Eat more Lucky Charms.” is the tag line on one of my blogs.  That’s why I was holding on to these boxes.  The one in Spanish has gold embossed letters.  Interesting.

creativity on the fly [day 293]

Since I’m planning on rebranding my blog, I decided not to print up business cards for SxSW.  Yesterday there was a drawing for a book from the Go Virtual session and all you had to do was drop in a business card.  I sighed after reading the sign, then put my brain to work.

I have a coffee cup cardboard sleeve I’ve been carrying with me all week.  Yes, I’m using a paper cup, reluctantly, but I thought at least I can reuse the cardboard sleeve.  Light bulb!!  I’ll write my info on the cardboard sleeve.  I make my regular cards out of recycled stuff anyway, so this is not far from what I would have anyway.  I wrote my info, I dropped it in the bag and I listened to a great session.

After the session, they did the drawing for the books.  The girl doing the drawing had no idea that was in there, but as she was choosing a card, she said, “I’m going to grab this one that feels different.”  I won my choice of the two books AND I got my paper sleeve back.  My little Ecogrip has quite a journey going here.  I think I might need to give it an itizen tag.

Sometimes easy solutions can be found for life’s little problems, all it takes is a willingness to do something.  Not bringing cards probably wasn’t my brightest plan, but they have plenty of recycling materials here and I’ve made several cards on the fly.  Less than one minute of thinking about a solution yielded many great things.  I got a new book, people got to see how repurposing works, my cardboard sleeve is getting a long life, less paper was used, something created as disposable has been used over 5 times now and I have a great story.

If you run into a small issue today, throw one minute at creating a simple solution.  :)

surrounded by plastic [day 247]

Today, just a small collection of odd photos.  These remind me of a joke told by Steven Wright a long time ago.  He says he owns two rare photos, one of Norman Rockwell beating a child and one of Whodini locking his keys in his car.

Photo #1: Protecting the plastic

Seriously?  We need to wrap the plastic recycling bins in plastic sheets, and then place that wastefulness in a box?  What exactly is the purpose of the plastic wrap?  Maybe they did that so we would have something to place in our new recycling bins.

Photo #2: Surrounded

This is an old photo, taken in a motel room on our way to Mexico.  Did I really need a Starbucks latte that bad?  I have my own travel cups, but instead of bringing one I wasted a waxed paper cup, a plastic lid, a cardboard hugger thing and a plastic keep-your-coffee-from-spilling stick.  My roommate had a plastic bag sitting behind the coffee, and all of this sitting next to a plastic sign saying “save our planet”.  It’s a sign to place on the bed if you don’t want them to wash the sheets.  I wanted to place it on the bed, but we were only there one night, and I’m guessing the next guest would appreciate them being washed.

Photo #3: Sustainable styrofoam?

Wow.  What were these marketing people thinking?  Sustainably grown coffee, a beautiful story of how they’re helping the environment, all neatly packaged in a styrofoam cup.  My friend took this photo while traveling on an airplane.  Not like there’s a lot of choices at 32,000 feet above the earth.

These photos are just a few reminders of our disposable society.  How long will it be before our planet looks like a scene from a sci-fi movie?  No, I don’t mean the fun futuristic ones where we all own spaceships, wear silver clothing and have intergalactic space travel.  I mean the ones where people are trying to survive because there’s nothing left.  Yes, this might sound extreme, but is it?

if you gotta go, you gotta go [day 193]

We’re at a restaurant and Joe comes back from the restroom, running toward the table, carrying a paper toilet seat cover.  He holds it up and says, “Mom, can you believe this?!  They have paper thing to put on the toilet seats.  How wasteful is that!”  There’s no genetic testing needed to know he’s my child.   Continue reading