Blog Action Day 2010: Water

Friday, October 15th, 2010 at 9:40 AM | Category: Leftovers, Life Tips, Meryl's Notes Blog 8 comments

This post joins Blog Action Day 2010: Water.

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of “water”?

Maybe you think… Scarce. Critical. Dirty.

A large pile of half-pint Poland Spring bottles
Image via Wikipedia

Me: Wasteful.

Since reading an article on water in the early 1990s, I’ve been drinking at least 64 ounces of water daily. For years (still does), a big drinking cup with a lid has accompanied me at home and at work. When I go places, I always figure out how to have water with me. The how depends on where and how much I can carry.

One thing stays the same. The water content. It’s always store-bought water.

It’s about taste. Not about thinking bottled water is better than tap water.

Because we need water, I’m trashing the planet. It pains me to say this especially when you have African women walking over 40 billion hours every year to gather water, and it’s often not safe drinking water. And to make matters worse…

“17 million barrels of oil are needed to manufacture those water bottles, 86 percent of which will never be recycled,” writes Tara Lohan in Well, at least, I recycle every single bottle. But I still feel bad.

I’d love to save money and avoid piling up on the trash by drinking tap water. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the last time I lived in a place where I can stand the taste of tap water. In the early ’90s, we had a water cooler. In the late ’90s, we tried the filtered pitcher route. My fridge has a built-in filter, but it fails to filter the taste.

People challenged my taste buds, and the bottled water brands I like won every time. However, some bottled water brands lost. Evian did.

I feel bad about buying water instead of using tap water. Goodness knows, I’ve tried to drinking from the tap. Whenever I did, I didn’t drink enough water. You know humans need water just like we need to breathe.

Maybe it’s time our cities figure out how to improve taste and some of us may finally stop buying bottled water, or at least cut down.

A side note: Washing our hands is one of the best things we can do to fight illness. Yet, it takes 20 seconds of hand washing to ensure we have clean hands. I recently read somewhere that antibacterial hand cleaners don’t do as good a job as soap and water.

Clearly, we need solutions to help us stay healthy without using up a lot of water.

How do you conserve water?

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A Pink Ribbon Story

Monday, October 4th, 2010 at 11:26 AM | Category: Books, Leftovers, Meryl's Notes Blog 3 comments

Today’s post joins the WOW-Women on Writing Blanket Tour for Healing with Words: A Writer’s Cancer Journey by Diana M. Raab, MFA, RN. The book includes Diana’s experiences, reflections, poetry and journal entries, in addition to writing prompts for readers to express their own personal stories. A survivor of both breast cancer and multiple myeloma, Raab views journaling to be like a daily vitamin — in that it heals, detoxifies and is essential for optimal health.

Diana, the author of eight books, spent 25 years as a medical and self-help writer before turning to poetry and memoir. She teaches creative journaling and memoir in UCLA Extension Writers’ Program. If you comment on this post you’ll be entered to win a copy of WOW-Women on Writing Blanket Tour for Healing with Words: A Writer’s Cancer Journey. To read Diana’s post about breast cancer and a list of other blogs participating in Diana’s Blanket Tour, visit The Muffin.

I received a postcard indicating mammogram time had arrived for the second time. I called the mammogram office, scheduled appointment and forgot about it until appointment time. The time came for the appointment. I headed to the hospital with my two boys and spent the waiting time making sure they stayed out of trouble and reading a book. The staff called me in, did the mammo and we left. No big deal.

A letter came within a week stating I needed to schedule a follow up appointment because the doctor saw something on my mammogram. The letter pointed out that the majority of women who have a follow up have negative results. I studied that sentence trying to force my brain to accept it and go about my day.

Instead, fear took over and took me back to my first apartment in Alexandria, VA. I had been married for a month and homesick. It was the first time I had lived outside of Texas and college didn’t start for a couple of months. Not long after we married, my husband received his first out of town assignment. The summer was an exciting yet lonely one. Married and living in a new place with nothing to keep me busy. I had been to Washington, DC a few times and didn’t feel the urge to do the tourist thing.

Mom and me

Mom and me, August 2010

My mom came to visit around that time. We sat down to catch up when she announced she’d be having a lumpectomy and radiation for a small tumor in her breast.

In spite of knowing many women, both survivors and dead, you think this will never happen to you or your family. It does. She has had clean mammograms since roller coaster of a year in 1989.

The technician took the spot check xrays, which don’t differ from a regular mammogram. Same machine. Same playing with the breast like it’s flour dough except with a human attached. Same squeezing it flat. Then I had to wait for the doctor to review the results. Wait. Wait. Cry. Wait. Think about something else.

The technician escorted me to another room for a sonogram. The xrays still showed a suspicious area and the sonogram would provide more answers. The sonogram lasted longer than a typical pregnancy sonogram, and this was one I didn’t want. Both the technician and doctor rolled the instrument all over the breast for at least 10 minutes. Watch screen. Wait. Cry inside. Look at ceiling when eyes tire of looking at screen. Wait.

At least an hour and 30 minutes passed by this point. The doctor pronounced me in the clear stating this would be a new baseline mammogram and I’d have to follow up in six months. Get dressed. Think thankful prayers. Appreciate the staff for being thorough even though it was an inconvenience. Escape the darkness of the mammogram clinic outside on a typical hot and sunny Texas summer day.

How have you been affected by breast cancer?

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Links: November 2009. Seriously? Edition

Friday, November 6th, 2009 at 11:43 AM | Category: Books, Leftovers, Links, Meryl's Notes Blog, Social Media, Tech, Writing 4 comments

Congratulations to Kim Priestap! She won a copy of Claudine Wolk’s book. Stay tuned for more books!

Wanted: Dallas area company in need of personable and experienced IT manager in hardware and networking (just about everything except software development) among other things. I have just the guy for you. 🙂

Articles with valuable advice…

And for fun because we’re allowed…

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Links: Somewhere between Columbus Day & Halloween 2009 Edition

Friday, October 23rd, 2009 at 9:49 AM | Category: Leftovers, Links, Marketing, Meryl's Notes Blog, Social Media, Writing 2 comments

Congratulations to Rich for winning a copy of No Limits.

One Halloween long ago...

One Halloween long ago...

Articles with valuable advice…

And for fun because we’re allowed…

  • @tweetsofold: Follow @tweetsofold for fascinating and funny headlines from old timey newspapers.
  • Is It Normal?: We all have questions (not me, of course — heh) that make us wonder whether we’re normal… but we don’t have the courage to ask. Now you have a place to find out.
  • 25 Inspirational Pumpkin Carvings: Death Star is most impressive — can’t believe pumpkin didn’t cave.
  • Top Ten Mouthwatering Museums: Chocolate… Do not view on empty stomach unless you don’t mind raiding the nearest pantry or convenience store.
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Family Relationships: Parental Influences

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009 at 8:58 AM | Category: Books, Leftovers, Links, Meryl's Notes Blog 1 comment
Dad the Good Humor Man

Meryl's dad, the Good Humor Man in Brooklyn, NY

And now for something different. Don’t worry — it’s not a regular occurence. You’ll still get your writing, networking, teching and other stuff next time.

Today I’m participating in a mass blogging! WOW! Women On Writing has gathered a group of blogging buddies to write about family relationships. Why family relationships? We’re celebrating the release of Therese Walsh’s debut novel today. The Last Will of Moira Leahy, (Random House, October 13, 2009) is about a mysterious journey that helps a woman learn more about herself and her twin, whom she lost when they were teenagers. See the widget below to read three chapters of the book.

Visit The Muffin to read what Therese has to say about family relationships and view the list of all my blogging buddies. And make sure you visit Therese’s web site to find out more about the author.

Unless you’re a multiple, you’ve probably wondered what it’d be like to have a twin. I have. The closest most of us singles come to having a twin is meeting or hearing about a doppelganger. I’ve encountered one … twice.

The first was at an event when someone said I looked just like a relative that she almost mistook me for her. The second time happened when I came across a phone ad that I thought I blanked out on a modeling assignment (HA!).

As soon as my dad found a copy, he showed it to everyone claiming it was me. That was Dad. He took pride in his three kids that he’d bragged about us as much as possible. We never needed to worry about bragging — we had Dad for that. He was a fabulous guy. Born and raised in Brooklyn. Sold Good Humor ice cream. Had a football scholarship that he didn’t take. Went into the Air Force, which led him to Fort Worth where he met Mom.

Dad had one annoyance. He could act obnoxious at times. “Ow, my arm hurts,” I’d say.

“Want me to cut it off and make it feel better?” he’d reply. He’d often say, “Drink coffee! It puts hair on your chest.”

Sometimes he didn’t know when to quit.

And that’s a trait I’ve gotten from him! I find myself saying stuff like that to the kids, but at least I know to stop right away. I can’t imagine how it comes across with my deaf accent — maybe not funny at all. So I’ve learned to add “I’m just kidding” whenever I joke around to make sure people know I’m funning with ’em. I’m trying to cut it out even though it’s often me being playful with the kids.

My middle child also acts this way. And like Dad, he doesn’t know when to quit.

So yes, I’ve encountered the dreaded, “Oh my gosh, I am my mom!” or “I’m channeling Dad again!”

This kind of explains why some kids from abusive homes turn around and become abusers themselves even though they hated it as children. I’m just grateful this behavior is more of an annoyance than something serious. Besides, it can be funny sometimes.

How have you found yourself copying your parents or other family members? How do you handle it?

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Links: Labor Day Weekend and Proximidade 2009 Edition

Friday, September 4th, 2009 at 6:35 AM | Category: Business, Leftovers, Links, Meryl's Notes Blog, Tech, Writing 7 comments

Talented writer Thursday Bram presented me with a Proximidade Award, on the condition that I pay it forward to eight bloggers. According to the rules of the Award, I am to chose bloggers who are “exceedingly charming, blogging friends who aim to find and be friends” and include the following text in my post.

“I am grateful for an opportunity to award this to a few bloggers who are very special people. I include the following bloggers who may have received this award in the past but I’m sure won’t mind receiving it again.”

My eight choice are as follows:

  1. Christina Katz, and her blog The Writer Mama
  2. Karen Swim, and her blog Words for Hire
  3. Brad Shorr, and his blog Word Sell
  4. Joanna Young, and her blog Confident Writing
  5. Tim Beyers, and his blog The Social Writer
  6. Robert Hruzek, and his blog Middle Zone Musings
  7. George Angus, and his blog (yes, I know he received it — but notice we can do it again!) Tumblemoose
  8. You, and your blog [your awesome blog]

And for fun because we’re allowed…

  • Wordoid: “Wordoids are made-up words. They look nice and feel great. They are good for naming things.”
  • 10 Weirdest College Mascots: Aw, Fort Worth’s TCU is on there. I went there over 10 years for speech therapy and attended my freshman year in college there. The mascot costume is a little weird, but not the mascot itself. While growing up in Fort Worth, I’d see many horned frogs. Unfortunately, they’re scarce now. Nonetheless, the list shows stranger ones than froggies.
  • 10 Coolest Pens: I love finding pens that write smooth without the squeakiness of a fine pen.
  • Q-Block: Create 3D Pixel Art [Link: makeuseof]
  • Printer Choreography: Who knew printers could dance? Warning: Lots of trees involved [Link: makeuseof].
  • 12 Steampunk Gadgets and Designs: Ooh, cool looking PC.
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What I Learned From… the Plant World

Saturday, August 8th, 2009 at 10:24 PM | Category: Leftovers, Life Tips, Links, Meryl's Notes Blog 6 comments

Purple Sage BushI lived in my first and second houses in Washington, DC. We had to move to a second home because the first had to undergo renovations.  (Why they put us there in the first place, I don’t know.) The second house had a small empty flower bed in the front whereas the first didn’t. So we primed the dirt and planted rose bushes. Why we picked them, I don’t remember.

Those bushes blossomed and then some. They grew unwieldy. Gardening and plants weren’t my forte, so I struggled to figure out how to trim the bushes so they’d take on an uncluttered look. On the other hand, it amazed me that we grew a flower bush.

Bigger Flower Bed, Bigger Troubles

Then we moved into our first owned home. This time, we had two average-sized flower beds. They’ve undergone a couple of landscaping jobs and never to our satisfaction. The latest, we planted too many sage bushes. We love them; they’re great for Texas weather, low watering, stalwart and best of all, they require little care. Of course, you can’t help smile when you see them covered in purple. We miscalculated how big they’d grow.

They overtook our sidewalk in front of our door. Nope, not allowed. Those had to go. When the sages bloom, they scream for the bees to come visit and the bees respond.

With a few allergy sufferers in my household, we don’t care to find out if someone is allergic to bees the hard way. So out went some of those sages. We still have a few — away from the sidewalk. Now both flower beds sit half empty with nothing but rocks.

Unwelcome Visitors

And weeds that broke through the covering and rocks. Those weeds! We had the black covering and everything. They still broke out of their jail of dirt and out into the daylight without a care if it rains or hails. Despite its evil plans for uglifying my flower bed, I admire the weeds’ strength and determination to be prickly and strong.

Think about it. Weeds are simple plants that bug the heck out of us. Its only purpose in life is to come charging out from under the earth despite any walls or coverings in the way. We all experience frustrating days where it feels like one problem appears after another. If weeds can make it, we certainly can and many have.

I’ve heard many stories of how people overcame horrors and barriers in their lives to come out stronger for it and staying positive.

I’d rather substitute weeds with people and that’s a story we can learn from. Besides, people wouldn’t mess with my flower bed.

Flower bed remains a half blank canvas. We’re hoping to figure out a small, simple landscape that needs little watering. Oh, and triple covering.

P.S. The backyard landscaping has zero plants, lots of rocks and some big rocks as decor. And what do you know? Weeds made it through, too.

Robert Hruzek’s What I learned from… inspired this post. Hat tip and thank you, Robert.

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Links: Independence Day 2009 Edition

Friday, July 3rd, 2009 at 8:18 AM | Category: Blogging, Books, Business, Leftovers, Links, Meryl's Notes Blog, Tech, Writing 1 comment

Happy 4th to Americans and Happy belated Canada Day.

Email going around with this. “At 5 minutes and 6 seconds after 4 a.m.,on the 8th of July, this year, the time and date will be:

04:05:06am on 07-08-09

“This will not happen again until the year 3009.” You can say the same for the ones coming in the next three years:

05:06:07am on 08-09-10 (2010)
06:07:08am on 09-10-11 (2011)
07:08:09am on 10-11-12 (2012)

It’d be cool to have one of these birthdays.

And for fun because we’re allowed…

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Inauguration Day 2009

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009 at 7:59 AM | Category: Leftovers No comments

I share today’s birthday with many friends. Having a inaugurabirthday makes it easier to remember special days like today. My fondest memory comes from 1981 when we watched the inauguration in social studies class. A TV in the classroom was an occasion in itself.

We saw the hostages freed from Iran and exiting the plane. We watched Reagan take oath with Mrs. Reagan looking on.

While we didn’t see many babies named Ron or Nancy, it wouldn’t surprise me if the following comic comes true in a classroom in 2014 (click to view larger).

First Day of School 2014

I love that many parents take their heritage in consideration when they name their kids these days. It adds to the diversity that’s America.

My hope for this year is that thing economy turns around for the better and see more efforts to make peace and green our world.

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Links: 2008-12-24

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008 at 1:06 PM | Category: Leftovers, Links, Meryl's Notes Blog No comments

All fun links because we should all take a break no matter what we celebrate. Apologies for no Kwanzaa stuff. Couldn’t find anything fun. Happy Chanukah! Merry Christmas! Happy Kwanzaa! Happy Everything!


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