Saturday, November 27, 2021

Floating Faucet of Plastic

Clamshell carryout containers.

Red solo cups.

Plastic bottles.


Take-out utensils: Forks, Sporks, Spoons, Knives....all wrapped in plastic.

This is just a fraction of the carnage the last 20 months of pandemic carryout and ordering in. In fact, single use plastic has been up 250-300% since the pandemic began. As we shifted to single use items to help keep the Covid germs at bay, our consumption of plastic and single use items skyrocketed...which also means so did our waste and our over-reliance on plastic. 

In an effort to show how important it is to "turn off the plastic tap," Ben Von Wong created a 3-story art installation of a faucet pouring out plastic. Ben is known for other environmental installations including ones comprised of 168,000 straws, 18,000 plastic cups, or 10,000 plastic bottles. Part of what he wanted to show in this installation and the number of pictures he took was that "there is no away." We attempt to "throw things away," but this place does not exist. Nor can you "recycle things away." Plastic Pollution is a real problem, and one that needs a solution.

It's actually a really good message to keep in mind as we wrap up Thankgsiving, move past Black Friday (and their weekend deals), approach Cyber Monday, and make our way to Christmas. (Do you really need all of that plastic that's out there, tempting your wallet?!?)

To see more images of all of his installations, check out his website.

Image from, Video from

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving 2021

Cheers to you and yours this Thanksgiving season. May your gratitude list be long this year, and may your health be well. 

If you are looking for some ways to help "pay it forward" this Thanksgiving season, this Yahoo news photo gallery "7 Ways to Give Back and Make an Impact on Thanksgiving" has some great ideas of ways to be of service this season.

Additionally, these old GTG archives might serve some Thanksgiving inspiration for food, fun, flavor, and festivities:

Image created at

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Planning Your Environmentally-Friendly Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of family togetherness. But as with everything, it requires a little bit of planning. Here's an infographic I created to help you get your prep in order to be as environmentally-friendly as you can on Turkey Day!

While you're at it, be sure to check out the "Guest-imator" so you can plan for the right sized meal for all your guests!

Additionally this GTG post from last year has some good tips for planning a zero waste Thanksgiving.

Guestimator image from and infographic created at

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Birthdays & "Be Kind"

Birthdays always put a smile on your face. Especially if you are a kid--what a jubilant day! Your day! But even as an adult, and even as those numbers get bigger, it's that special day all of your own. It's a day of a little bit extra attention, a tad more novelty, and maybe even a surprise or two. If you are on Facebook, you know that they give out birthday notification for your FB friends, and it's touching to see all those people from every corner of your life who took a minute or two out of their day to wish you well. Love or hate Facebook, it's the one thing that they do really well.

I recently had a birthday, and it certainly was the novelty of the day that made it. The kindergarten and the second grade class that spontaneously broke into song when I walked in their doors. The well-wishes from colleagues and kids alike as I walked down the hall (having heard my name in the list of birthdays du jour). My daughter joining us at my son's soccer game with a bouquet of flowers. Birthday cards and gifts that were unexpected. Trips made in the few weeks before and after that were loosely tied to myur birthday to be special visits with special people. I think it's the novelty and the adventures that were missed most during the 18-20 months of the pandemic, where days rolled into each other with a very "Groundhog's Day" movie of each day being on solitary retreat. 

One of the many surprises along the way came from a dear friend of mine who sent me Ellen DeGeneres' "Be Kind" box. The arrival on my doorstep was a good surprise as it was, but I really loved the sentiment that Ellen put into the concept of the box of goodies that came my way. She's been long known for her charitable works and in 2016 she was the recipient of the People's Choice Award for Philanthropy. She was quoted as saying, "It is a little strange to actually to get an award for being nice and generous and kind, which is what we are all supposed to do with one another. That is the point of being human." 

"Be kind" has become her trademark and motto over the years. Approximately 3 years ago, Ellen created her Be Kind Subscription box. I got the Fall 2021 box from my friend. Yes, it's a lovely gift, but the elements in side and the meaning behind them are some of the most beautiful part. I found myself reading the booklet of the box's content and my heart filling up with the humanity and charitable association that backed everything. It had me diving into websites to learn more about these amazing brands that are affiliated with the contents of this Be Kind box:

  • A bottle of ZenWTR -- where the bottle is made from "100% recycled, certified ocean-bound plastic" in order to reduce marine debris. 1% of their sales go to preventing ocean pollution & promoting recycling campaigns. 
  • Earrings from The Sanctuary Project -- Their mission is to provide jobs and job training to women who have not only endured but survived trafficking, violence/abuse, and additiction. 100% of their sales are reinvested in this mission.
  • An organic cotton zippered small pouch from Terra Thread -- Created by the father and daughter team Via and Vizan Girl to create environmentally friendly, fair-trade, carbon-neutral products, where the purchase supports Feeding America. The collaboration with Ellen's Be Kind Box this season will provide 460,000 meals to American who struggle with hunger.
  • Exfoliating bath body scrubber from Daily Concepts -- An organic, vegan, biodegradable soy-based bath scrubber that tells you when it's time to replace when the label text fades. This company supports LAVA MAEX which provides Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay Area homeless folks with mobile showers.
  • Laundry detergent sheets from Miracle Brand -- Zero waste laundry detergent
  • Self care items like the Modern Monet paint by number kit and Rose Quartz bracelet (the stone of compassion, peace, and unconditional love) from Charged Wellness (where you can opt into a donation to their monthly for a discount on your purchase). Both of these companies hold balance, creativity, self-renewal, and rejuvenation central to their mission.

With the holidays swiftly approaching, it may be worth considering checking out a Be Kind box or longer term subscription for your friends or your family....or visiting one of the affiliated companies included here. Next season for Winter there'll be a new box. Might be an interesting quarterly check in to see what good you can do for you (or a loved one) and our world. What a great way to "Be Kind" indeed!

Be Kind box from, Birthday image created at

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Hydrotherapy for the Win

I found myself at a hotel overnight about a month ago. More importantly, I found myself in my happy place. 

The pool.

Our backyard above ground pool has been dying a slow death this past year, with promises from my husband that it has seen its the last year. Threats, but sadly not idle ones. Metal over time rusts; and ours is rusting terribly. It currently is sitting completely empty, drained, somewhat a sad little puppy--and I envision the hack saw isn’t too far away. I'm not sure who will mourn its loss more—me or our Portuguese Water Dog.

I think it’s going to be me.

As I was in the pool this weekend, reunited with the zen that comes to me when I’m in the water, I was in the one place I can truly be in the moment. [I’ve written about this before, more than once.] I do a version of Tai Chi in the water, focusing my movements to my breath. Having taken a Tai Chi class before, I know there are distinct movements in the martial art, so I can’t call what I do Tai Chi. Maybe I’ll call it “My Chi.”

In the water, I can move in ways I can’t on dry land. I don’t swim. But my “My Chi” is a version of water aerobics and knee-lift bouncing/running that would never happen in a world with gravity and the knees I currently have. Lately too, as my knees have gotten worse and medical injections don’t seem to have the magic they once did, my “My Chi” surprises me and what I thought my body was capable of. Gone is the pain, all because of the gentle pressure of the water. I can do more. I can do my calisthenics bouncing for hours in the water, when being on my feet and walking on land hurts far more than I'd like.

Recently as part of some school diversity/inclusivity professional development, we did an identity wheel based around our own self identity focused about a dozen identifiers including gender, race, age, spirituality, and more. After reflecting on ourselves, we went through a series of questions analyzing where we felt we were how it related to our teaching. We then congregated by the identifier in the room that answered that for us. The first question: "Which one of these categories do you think about every day?" For me, it was “physical ability/disability.” For too long now, my knees are a constant thought. What I can I do? What can’t I do? How does it feel? How does it limits the things I enjoy like hiking or even walking? It has me feeling my age and mortality all of a sudden, way more than I like.

As I was in this very simple hotel pool, doing my moves, I felt invincible and energized in a way I haven’t felt since the sunny days of summer. 

I didn’t want it to end. 

I talk often about #BlueMind—both here and in my own brain space. Here in this hotel pool, I realized I was also talking about #BlueHealing as well. Hydrotherapy for the win.

Pool picture from my camera, quoted picture created at

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

TED Countdown Global Livestream

On October 30th the meetings of the minds of TED came together to host and post TED Countdown, a global climate livestream. From their site and in their own words, "Countdown is a global initiative to champion and accelerate solutions to the climate crisis, turning ideas into action.

The timing was not accidental. It happened purposely on October 30th, just the day before the start of COP26 (The United National Climate Change Conference) hosted by the UK in partnership with Italy. Leaders from nearly every nation around the world met in Glasgow starting October 31st for nearly two weeks to discuss possibilities and plans to address climate change. COP26 wraps up Friday, November 12th. If you've heard a little bit about it but want to learn more, they have a very comprehensive website. Additionally you can watch their livestream or recorded events on their COP26 YouTube Channel.

TED's Countdown serves as a prelude to COP26. The "countdown" of mention is their initiative to land on climate change solutions to work toward a future of zero emissions. To start, that will involve a highly aggressive goal of cutting greenhouse gases in half by 2030. To do this, it will require all of us getting on board as changemakers, involving communities, cities, organizations, universities, clubs...everyone!

Given it is now beyond October 30th, TED Countdown Global Livestream is no longer live; however, it is recorded and lives on YouTube. By watching the two and a half hour recording, you'll see experts, entertainers, and activists share lots of information about what it is important to care about climate change. You can keep learning, keep getting inspired, and keep being involved in taking part in making a difference. 

Embedded video from; Image from

Saturday, November 6, 2021

Daylight Saving Time -- November 7, 2021

'Tis the season... not yet the holiday season, but that post-Halloween time when it's so crazy-dark in the morning, making it hard for some of us to pull ourselves out of bed in the morning. It always feels harsh. At least to this kid.

But that all changes this weekend with Daylight Saving Time (for 48 of the US states)--when we roll back the clocks sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning.

I found these two sites rich with several resources:

Free Technology for Teachers is often one of my go-to sites for edtech information. Website author Richard Byrne has a great post with a collection of 6 videos all about Daylight Savings Time. For information junkies who like to learn (like myself), you'll find them all well done and good choices. The 2015 National Geographic one is my favorite, but I loved learning tidbits of knowledge from each one. 

Creative Teaching with Miss Hecht's Facebook Page always has some fun Bitmoji classroom resource boards. You can spend some time getting lost in all of her clickable creations. She created the one below for Daylight Saving Time that are geared for early to mid-elementary-aged students.

Come Monday morning when you are your cherubs are waking up with the sun again, it might be worth watching one or more of these videos so you know why you might be having that slight feeling of jet lag!

Embedded Bitmoji board from Creative Teaching with Miss Hecht's Facebook page., Image from

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Books & Podcasts for Parenting During this Tech-Centric Time

I'm always a fan of a good podcast as we'll as a good book. That's why I was particularly struck with the latest email I got from Dr. Delaney Ruston, Screenagers documentary filmmaker and creator/blogger of the Screenagers Movie website.

Her latest post this week, Books and Podcasts List To Help With Parenting, lists some of both for parents of our tech-centric kids. 

Below are the names of each that she listed, along with a few additions of my own (listed below). To learn more about each title, check out Dr. Ruston's post, or the other links below. [She also includes focus questions with each of her posts.]

  • Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence--by Anna Lembke, MD
  • The Guide: Managing Douchebags, Recruiting Wingmen, and Attracting Who You Want--by Rosalind Wiseman    [Her Website Cultures of Dignity looks like an amazing resource--love their "What is Dignity" video on their site!]
  • Emotional Agility Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life--bySusan David, PhD
  • The recent episode of Freakonomics, The Economist’s Guide to Parenting: 10 Years Later (Oct 20, 2021) 
  • Ask Lisa (Hosted by Lisa Damour)
    • Particular episodes of mentioned by Dr. Ruston:
      • Sexy Social Media. Where Should Parents Draw the Line? (April 13, 2021)
      • How Do You Help a Kid Who Shuts You Out? (September 07, 2021)
  • Talking To Teens: Expert Tips for Parenting Teenagers Podcast (Host Andy Earle)
    • Particular episode mentioned by Dr. Ruston:
      • What to Say to Motivate Your Teen (Sept 5, 2021)

My Additional Recommendations:

Podcasts I love (not specifically for managing tech):
Let me know if you have any others that really speak to this topic!

Image created from