For the Birds-No Such Thing as Away

Sustainability advocates and others tout the phrase “There is no such thing as ‘away'” when talking about trash or making something go, well, somewhere else. People and things don’t go away, they end up somewhere else. CBS Sunday Morning’s design episode today (May 19, 2013) included a segment on the ‘designer of fine bird houses,’ Tom Burke (Home Tweet Home),

Beyond the elaborate bird house designs, many of which replicate the homes of well-known actual home owners including Martha Stewart and artist Jaime Wyeth, a short portion of the segment attracted my attention. Tom Burke’s ‘design’ studio is in the basement of his Wilmington, Delaware condo. According to the CBS segment, Burke uses the space rent-free in exchange for what the segment writer called “recycling.” Burke uses items his condo neighbors throw ‘away’ in constructing the bird houses. Some commissions are more than $20,000, so you know these bird houses are really the ‘Four Seasons’ of aviary space.

Consider this: if we spent a little time really thinking about whether we need this item or that item, perhaps we wouldn’t have so much “stuff” that we want to go “away.” Circling back to the original thought: there is no such thing as away, how many times do you run out to the store to pick something up, then find a few days, weeks or months later that you had exactly what you needed at the house, apartment, garage or office and really didn’t need to buy something else. You are left with all this stuff that needs to go ‘away’ at some point.

Jane Pauley’s “Life Re-imagined” segment on The Today Show May 17, 2013, featured Barbara Chandler Allen’s non-profit program “Fresh Artists” that uses proceeds from art pieces created by students and purchased by donors and corporate sponsors to fund school art programs that have dwindled in the past 10 to 20 years. A project such as this prevents us from throwing away talent and creativity that is squandered under the guise of funding cuts.

Collaboration, brainstorming and solid team work are ways to prevent things from going away. The old saying, “God closes a door and opens a window.” is a good one; we put willing, able-bodied, creative minds in a room and come up with solutions to problems. We find ways to make programs and ideas sustainable. We connect people so they can listen, talk and share ideas in order to continue and expand programs. We enable others to join the fray and find productive, creative ways to engage others . Whether it’s an elaborate bird house, children’s talent for art or a valuable program teetering on the edge of extinction, when we step up in any capacity we can, the results are indeed sustainable.

 

The Loon are Calling

View from the Moultonborough vacation house

 

It has been a long while since I’ve posted a blog. And that’s really a good thing. My business is going well; my family life has been full and busy and I’ve been around friends more often in work and play. I suppose the major delay in writing again has been hip surgery. That has been a big change in my life over the past nearly seven months or so.

Our wonderful weekend trip to San Francisco in January put me over the top when it came to the pain I was experiencing in my right hip. Doctors advise that when your pain becomes so intense that you can’t get through your everyday activities, then it’s time to do something about that pain. In February, I went literally crying to Doug telling him I was going to do something about my hip pain. He barely knew I had any problem. No one knew. I really lived with the pain day-to-day for several years until it got so bad, I could not sleep at night or walk stairs without intense pain.

Fast forward to May 9th for hip surgery at Rothman Institute. While I experienced major surgery and had a difficult time wrapping my head around that, the pain I had for so long was gone immediately. Since I had continued going to the gym leading to surgery – no matter how painful – this helped my physical therapy in many ways. I cannot imagine what it would be like to not be on board with exercise and strengthening and then have a body part replaced. I was never on a walker as most hip replacement patients are for as long as a week; I was on crutches for two days and a cane for a week. I was done with physical therapy after about eight visits and continued all of the prescribed exercises for weeks on my own. I continue to go to the gym three times a week and am about 95% of where I want to be. The remaining 5% is the healing of the nerves in my upper right leg which remain numb. It’s still a little sore around the incision which I discovered last weekend when I batted a fly off my by slapping my leg. OUCH!¬† So, I’m still careful not to bump into things. The incision itself¬† is healing nicely.

With that major change behind me (literally), I was back to work for the summer months while Adam began his position as a first year aid teaching archery at Camp Robin Hood. As usual, the summer has been a growing experience for him. It’s great to see him happy and enjoying the transition from camper to staff member and doing well. As usual, the summer has flown by. Doug and I had our summer of dates that included trips to Toronto to see the Phillies; a weekend and a day trip in the Chesapeake, and day trips to Brigantine, Barnegat Bay and of course, the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

But what we all work for is vacation. We are fortunate to be able to adjust our business calendars to have a long vacation this year back in the land that we love so much: New Hampshire. We’ll be spending time with my family, then Doug’s, as well as Adam’s friend, Andrew joining us along with my friend, Donna.

What is it about vacation that makes the few days leading to vacation so incredibly stressful. Not that I have as much stress as I used to in broadcasting, but the “to do” list is crazy. All week there have been so many tasks and chores to do; clients all of a sudden need your help and advice on something or other (no worries..that’s a good problem to have) and I just KNOW I have forgotten to do something critical!

Now, I breathe deeply knowing the fresh, New Hampshire air and the beautiful lakefront house is just a couple of days away. The solitary call of the loon will no longer be a memory – I’ll hear that sound at mornings and at dusk; we’ll visit “S’More” Island once again; we’ll enjoy family and friends. I’ll be writing lakeside to chronicle yet another bucolic respite in the Granite State.

 

 

 

 

Summer Adventures -(or how to lose more than 2 pounds in a week)

More than likely, you can’t lose 2.4 pounds in a week without really trying, but it IS a great feat to accomplish in the middle of a holiday weekend. All I can say is – go to the gym – faithfully and eat oatmeal! Other than that, I’m shocked the scale told the story of a wonderful holiday weekend and week.

Our visit to Chesapeake Bay and the North East, Maryland area was outstanding. The joy in Doug’s face as we motored around the head of the Chesapeake and discovered new places to explore was inspiring. We anchored for a few hours around a small island off Havre de Grace, MD and by the time we pulled up anchor, there were well over 60 boats partying in the afternoon breeze (and it was quite breezy!). We took in the local flavors, enjoying crab cakes and fresh salads and the gracious, almost southern, hospitality.

Doug naps after sailing.

After sweating at the gym early Sunday, we headed to Brigantine. July 4th in Brigantine was a scorcher. Those stuck inland really sweated it out, but the sea breeze brought relief and with that, relaxation. Doug and cousin

A.C. fireworks 2010

Sean got a great sail in on the catamaran. It was a bit rocky for me. Dinner with Sean and Shelley was a comfortable affair with their home cooked turkey breast, fresh corn and salad. We went to Sea Point on the inlet between Brigantine and Atlantic City to watch the fireworks, courtesy of the casinos (glad the gambling profits provide a little “free” enjoyment and recreation for some!). After a night’s sleep, we took a long morning walk on the beach, then headed home to collapse.

The rest of the week has been quite busy with work for my business. Despite a busy work schedule, I managed three mornings at the gym this week and three oatmeal breakfasts. I carefully tracked what I ate this week and even over the holiday weekend so I was very careful. The efforts paid off when I hit the scale after the gym this morning with a 2.4 pound loss from last week. Woo-hoo! While staying physically fit is a major goal, losing some weight is also important to me. I’ve been stuck in a plateau for days, and it’s good to see strong efforts pay off.

Now, staying focused with a fair amount of work ahead and the fall semester at Rutgers closing in, I work toward August vacation. While I’ll have to do some work during the two weeks away, I’ll continue the fitness and health efforts that have been paying off.

Never give up!

Going to lunch

I worked for more than 30 years in the radio news business. ‘Tis true I never had a lunch break working radio news. In fact, at my last job, with deadlines every ten minutes or so, I found a few minutes about four hours into my shift to down a little breakfast. When a boss gave me more tasks to do during that period, I mentioned that was when I ate some breakfast. Her reply was, “Are you asking for a break?” I suppose a potty break and five minutes to down some instant oatmeal WAS too much to ask.

Now, I set my own schedule. I can cram four hours work into two or work late at night. Today, I decided to go to lunch. I took a walk down my block dressed in my bathing suit, cover-up, visor and SPF30 liberally sprayed on my skin and took a chair at the neighborhood pool. Some ice water and a cereal bar was all I needed. The scenery consisted of kids from baby-carriage size to teens along with moms and dads. The swim team was wrapping up practice. Little paddlers were getting swim lessons in the shallow end. A refreshing summer breeze cooled us off. I took a mini-vacation with a magazine. The sounds of the pool scene were intoxicating. Care-free with only fun on their minds, in between pages of my magazine, I watched a group of kids in the deep end playing tag; a boy about 8 years old, was watching in delight as his swim teacher showed him how to make a racing dive off the race platform. What a belly-flop! I mentally gave him a “7” for his enthusiasm and the attempt. I admired the patience of the swim teachers as little ones tried, tried, and tried again to carry out the kicking and arm strokes and blowing bubbles. So many tasks to coordinate with one little body!

An hour passed effortlessly and I knew it was time to walk home. My head was clear; my mood upbeat and no one asked whether I was getting all my work done. Granted, tripping and falling over an offset slab of concrete on the sidewalk did annoy me. (Seriously??) I don’t think anyone saw me take my spill and I just have a slightly skinned knee as proof of the klutzy moment. I’d rather take that fall than hear someone ask my if I was requesting a break. Guess what: I’m getting a work break for the first time in more than 30 years. Happy day!