Author: LindaLee

Midday Matinee – You’re Late!

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. Every family group and every work team seems to have at least one person who is chronically late. What is up with these people? Perhaps the late ones are just wired differently and it is a matter of understanding. Perhaps they are so present with and focused on the people they are with that it is really a strength that they forgot about the next commitment. Late ones represent the true power of a minority. If a group has decided to car pool to an activity that they regularly share and the same person is always late, the rest of the group is forced to wait on them. The group may moan and groan but they wait nonetheless. If this is a family unit the complaints range between grumbling and thoughts of rage. The on-time group spends their waiting time dishing the late one. In business settings, the ‘time is money’ argument always comes up. I have watched teams institute fines, lock the doors at exactly the stated start time, try to put timeliness in as an objective and thus hit them in the pocketbook and try to shame the late one to get with the program. None of these really work well for sustained behavior change. I have...

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Midday Matinee – Stuff

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. PBS broadcast a series based on the book Material World: A Global Family Portrait by Peter Menzel, Charles C. Mann and Paul Kennedy. The authors had representative families from around the world take all their possessions out of their homes and photographed them with their stuff. Clicking on the first link will show you the photos from China, India, Japan, Mali and the US. A certain amount of stuff may be necessary for basic survival. Backpackers today carry a kitchen, a shelter, bedding, extra clothing, a first aid kit and food. I can hike for a week starting out with 40 pounds and meet my needs in comfort if not in style. John Muir used to “take only a tin cup, a handful of tea, a loaf of bread, and a copy of Emerson.” It didn’t take him 40 pounds of stuff to walk the Sierras but then he knew about edible plants. Some of his jaunts lasted months. Life may metaphorically be a long journey, but most of us don’t want to take it as a long backpacking trip. Most of us don’t want to be the homeless person with what they own in a shopping cart. Which brings us to the questions, “How much stuff do we need?” and...

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Midday Matinee – Informed vs. Overwhelmed

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. I am a news junkie who was raised to believe that being informed about current events was part of being a good citizen. I am occasionally overwhelmed by the sheer volume of ‘news’ available. Thank goodness that I am not inclined to keep track of pop culture and celebrity news. I think tracking Charlie Sheen would do me in. I have found myself looking for news out of Japan that speaks to the volume of destruction and homeless people. In spite of their powerful nation status, they need our help. I understand that the nuclear reactors make good video and good disaster type news. I also understand that nuclear fallout plays into a set of fears that were nurtured in many of us with the atom bomb scare and duck and cover drills. Why else would there be a run on potassium iodine on the west coast of the US in spite of fairly consistent medical warnings against taking it prophylactically. Why did people stock up on Cipro during the anthrax mailings? There is something almost immoral about a news formula that scares the crap out of us and then brings on a medical expert to tell us not to be scared that way. Finding news that scares and overwhelms...

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Morning Feature: Cost, convenience and carbon; traveling in the US.

In evaluating my transportation options, I wondered if there were options more in keeping with my progressive values than simply hopping in my car. We talk of breaking our addiction to oil. Could I make a start? (More) I could live without a car in most European cities and perhaps some East Coast US cities. Living without a car in the Midwest would mean choosing a place to live based on primarily bus service. Our mass transit within many urban areas is not rich with choices. The choices between even major cities is even less plentiful. I am currently in Nebraska and my family is in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. I have driven the 400 miles (about 7 1/2 hours) twice this winter and will probably take one more short jaunt before I move to my summer camp hosting job in the north woods of Minnesota. I decided to see if I could save money and reduce my carbon footprint by not driving to Minnesota. Here is what I learned. Taking the Train First I tried the Amtrak website. When I was a young girl I took the train from Minnesota to Nebraska with my Minnesota Grama. I love riding the train so this was my first choice.  Passenger trains no longer travel between Minneapolis-St.Paul to Nebraska. I would need to go to Chicago and then to Minnesota. I would,...

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Midday Matinee – Getting the Red Out

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. I will start this story with my purchase of organic beets. I love beets. I have only bought them at farmer’s markets so I was tickled to find them at the supermarket. A quick check of the food network gave me simple instructions for roasting them in the oven. I wrapped them in aluminum foil with some olive oil and rosemary and put them in the oven. I sliced them, added some butter and ate my feast. In all or nothing fashion, I gorged on the beets and they were the main course, or more accurately the only course of my evening meal. The next morning I noticed that the water in the toilet bowl was bright crimson. I did not immediately connect this color with my all beet dinner. In fact, I wondered briefly if I should be alarmed. Not being much of an alarmist, I pushed it to the back of my mind where all scary things go until ready for further thought. By noon, I had figured out that the color was definitely beet red. Apparently an all beet dinner, while cleansing in its own way, wasn’t my best idea ever. I giggled as I thought of all the Rand Paul toilet jokes. I started wishing...

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