Not OK to talk about

Today, it’s bad form to say anything about gender that was the popular view twenty years ago. But it’s very acceptable to criticize religious choices.

Thirty years ago, socially acceptable norms of discussion were the complete opposite.

There seems to be a rapid change of pace in what’s OK to talk about and not talk about.


And then there are areas that are never acceptable.

Many years ago, I was flying to California with a leader I respected — and respect — a great deal. The flight allowed us to talk more freely than our normal daily work life would ever permit.

He mentioned how some people needed just a few tweaks to their personal style for their image to be improved. But neither he nor I could ever mention those tweaks to those style-deficient individuals.

That would be crossing the line.


Heather and I have several years of experience at the game of parenting. We’ve learned a few things during that journey. But the opportunities to share those lessons are few. We fear accusations of being proud or not understanding the other side.

Lead by example” only has so much impact. Sometimes a deficit and later a positive change need to be spoken about.


Thankfully, there are always outspoken individuals. If it weren’t for them, change would rarely happen.

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The real costs of what you use

Here’s a fresh look at our use of resources, using mustard packets as an example…

When someone picks up too many mustard packets to go with their sandwich, they are causing a whole chain of excess waste:

  1. It takes labor, fuel, fertilizer, water and wear on farm equipment to grow mustard plants.
  2. Labor costs, fuel, wear on trucks and roads, wear on trains and tracks, or wear on planes and airports all go into transporting the ingredients for mustard from their sources to the factory.
  3. There are labor costs, factory space, machines, electricity, water, plastic and much more that go into producing mustard packets.
  4. Labor costs, fuel and wear on trucks and roads all go into transporting mustard packets from the factory to the distributing warehouse.
  5. Labor costs, fuel and wear on trucks and roads all go into transporting mustard packets from the distributing warehouse to the restaurant.
  6. Fuel and wear on vehicles and roads go into transporting mustard packets from the restaurant to your home or office.

You are right in thinking that all of this has to happen whether someone uses one mustard packet or four. But if everyone grabbed just one mustard packet instead of four — or one paper towel instead of four — the whole system would slow down and there would be fewer trucks on the road, less pollution and so on.

Join me in pausing to think about ways we can use just what we need.

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Forgiveness

It happened during my college years. We were great friends, and then our relationship ended because of a situation I did not create.

Only this week, I realized I had not forgiven him.

Since that forgiveness, I have not experienced a huge weight being lifted.

That change in my heart did not change our relationship. (I can’t reach him. He’s not on Facebook nor LinkedIn. I even spent some time on one of those pay-to-see-someone’s-profile sites and couldn’t find him.)

But at least I’ve made peace with my own heart over what happened.

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Toothpaste Museum

Not everyone knows that I run a toothpaste museum. If you go to Google and type in: “toothpaste museum”, you will see my site as the top result.

One of my sisters and I started exchanging toothpastes many years ago. (Since Amy lives in Belgium, she has access to vast swaths of toothpastes that are unknown on these shores.)

And it went from there.

Friends have brought me toothpastes from all over the world.

So you’ll have to check it out here.


p.s. The Museum “lives” at my office. I feature a new toothpaste every month. If you’re in the neighborhood, drop by.

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De-polarize

Today’s world seems to be marked by deeper and wider rifts than ever. In my short lifetime, it’s worse than I have ever seen it.

As a kid, I remember the Vietnamese and Russians being our mortal enemies. They were a world apart from my suburban existence, so I never thought that much about them.

Nowadays, Republicans are mortal enemies of Democrats — and vice-versa. European nationalists are sometimes not on speaking terms with their Muslim neighbors.

What can be done about this?

An even better question is, what can I do about it?

Here are a few ideas to help build bridges and not fences. (And please feel free to voice your own ideas in the comments section.)

  1. Think of someone that you see each week who you’d not normally talk with. Strike up a conversation by asking a simple question. “What has been the best part of your day so far?”
  2. There’s a person who you see every week who believes differently than you do about something that’s important to both of you. In a very nice way, ask them, “What influenced your decision to think that way?”
  3. You see that person who makes your blood boil again. (Let’s call them, “Adolph.”) Think of something about Adolph that is amazingly good. If you can’t do that, talk with someone you respect who knows Adolph well. Ask that respected friend to share one awesome thing about Adolph. Then think about that thing the next time you see Adolph. Go so far as to say, “Adolph, I heard from [respected friend] about your ability to [do something amazing]. Tell me more about that!”
  4. Think about that thing someone does that drives you crazy. Think about why they do that. Their reason might make total sense.
  5. Think about what you do that might drive others crazy. Stop doing it.
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350 iPhones

a house made of iPhones

It takes only the amount one would spend on 350 iPhone X’s to buy a decent house in Denver.

Or if you go for the base model, the iPhone 8, it’s like buying 500.

Somehow the (350 = a house) equation staggered me.

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And that’s why I ride

sidewalk in the autumn, greenwood village, colorado

I took this iPhone photo during my bike ride home, the other day. It was just after 5 pm.

November 4th marks the autumn time change. My ride home will require lots of lights and reflectorized everything.

But until then, I’ll enjoy the ride.

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Drawn to texture

a sea of toys at a charity shop

I love patterns.

Tha artistic side of my brain loves how zooming out on a sea of similar things creates a montage of uniformity with vast contrasts.

If you’ve looked at the masthead of this website, you’ll see a set of patterns that I found interesting. (Click on “Shiny Bits of Life” at the top. Then hit the refresh button on your web browser to see them all.)

Life is a montage of experiences and memories. They pile up and build a texture of thoughts and actions that make up who we are.


Footnote: I took this photo at a local charity shop. Sadly, these toys will mostly eventually end up in a landfill.

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Take the stairs

stairs signs

Walk right past that elevator and find the staircase.

You’ll be benefiting your health and humanity:

  1. The small break in your day will stimulate your mind to perform better when you return to your desk.
  2. Moving your body up and down those stairs will get your heart rate up and help you to live (slightly) longer.
  3. Your lungs will want more oxygen, so you’ll breathe deeper.
  4. The added stress to your legs will actually increase your bone density.
  5. Your refreshed mind and body will make you better company for your co-workers.
  6. It’s a quick and easy way to add at least a little exercise into your day.
  7. Taking those steps will help you lose weight…  a little bit is better than none!
  8. No special clothing is required.
  9. Elevators use a tremendous amount of energy. Riding solo vs. taking the stairs consumes enough energy to power your stove for three hours. (Well, I’m just making that up. But it does take a huge amount of energy to move that giant chunk of metal up and down the elevator shaft.)

 


Disclaimers:

  1. If you work in a skyscraper, this does not apply. Use your good judgment. At least you can take a few flights of stairs up and down when you need to use the necessary room.
  2. Some buildings handily lock their stairways for security purposes. (What happens when there’s a fire?)
  3. Not everyone can take stairs! But you can take a break, anyhow. Just look away from your screen for a bit.
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Be like Italy

bare floor with carpet removed

You’ve been there…

…the Italian-American restaurant with fountains, fake distressed stucco on the walls and ceramic tile roof portions inside.

It’s an imitation, just like Las Vegas imitates reality with their New York and Egyptian themed hotels.

It’s not a bad thing to bring those places to people who may never get to visit the real thing.

But let’s be genuine.


My office building has been undergoing a renovation, mostly because flood damage meant they had to replace the carpets and baseboards anyway.

During the few days between when the old carpet was ripped up and the new carpet was laid, the bare floor was exposed. Then I saw a beautiful patchy, distressed, stucco-like pattern.

Why not leave it that way and skip the carpet?

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