Bethesda Loves Katie: Celebrating Our Olympian

August 5th, 2012

The buzz started at the end of June, with an email announcing that a Palisades Porpoise was seeded second in the Olympic trials.  Bethesda had a real Olympian in its midst. Suddenly, everyone knew Katie Ledecky -  or talked about how they knew someone who knew Katie!

Congrats to our Olympian Katie Ledecky

All around town, signs of support popped up.  At the dentist’s office, I couldn’t help but smile at this ode to Katie Ledecky.

Katie Ledecky’s hometown is special. Bethesda is a place where Amazing Things Happen When a Community Pulls Together.

Stone Ridge Girl

Nowhere on race day was Bethesda’s community spirit more evident than at Katie Ledecky’s school. Hundreds of friends, family and fans spilled out of a conference room at the Stone Ridge Upper School to cheer Katie on as she swam in her first Olympic race.

Katie Ledecky watch party crowd at Stone Ridge

There were “Stone Ridge gator” cookies  – in red, white and blue, of course.

Stone Ridge Gator Cookies: Katie Ledecky Celebration

The real Stone Ridge Gator was there too!

Stone Ridge Gator cheering for Katie Ledecky and Team USA

A  beautiful American flag cake waited for the after party.

American flag cake at Katie Ledecky watch party

And, of course, t-shirts. (Two days later, and I’m still wearing mine, a bit less bright white than it appears in the pic below!)

 4GreenPs at Katie Ledecky Stone Ridge Viewing Party

As you’d expect at a Catholic school, before the race there was a prayer.  A prayer whose Amen was followed by screams of “Go Katie!!!!”

Crowd as Katie Ledecky wins Gold

 

The atmosphere? Well, let’s just say I couldn’t convince one of my colleagues to join me at Stone Ridge because as he said, “I spend enough time with screaming teen-age girls.” But since Lauren and I are both former teen-age girls, we knew we could handle it.  Watch this video. The screaming at the end? Yours truly.

Later that night, I watched the NBC broadcast and the irony of the announcers’ commentary hit me. The men sounded worried about the young girl. Of course, I had the benefit of knowing that Katie had won. So I made these notes of their doubts…

“She is so far out there now…”

“She went out so quick..6/10 faster than she’s ever been in her life in the 400…”

“You’re concerned about that?”

There was some banter about how the experienced racers typically work to conserve energy in the long race. The experts were puzzled.

“What’s her strategy?”

You usually lay it off in the beginning…and then get into a race…

“She is so far out there now…[sounding worried and skeptical]  unless she has a lot of confidence…?”

“These wily veterans [referring to all the other Olympic swimmers] know what they’re doing.” 

“Two body lengths ahead!!!”

“Trying to win gold in the 800 free.”

“Just go out and make it happen…”

This Stone Ridge girl  knew what she was doing. She was there to win gold. And she did. Congratulations, Katie!

As for us, after such an exciting afternoon, there was no way I could return to the office. So I picked up my youngest son, and we headed off…Where else? To the Palisades Pool, where next summer he hopes to become a Porpoise, like Katie Ledecky.

Palisades Pool Sign Congratulating Katie Ledecky

 

My Cinchspiration: 4 Weeks, 8 Pounds Gone!

February 8th, 2012

Exactly a month ago, I blogged – yet again – about my new year’s resolution to lose weight.

I’m happy to report that I’ve lost eight pounds in the past four weeks — a healthy rate of weight loss – thanks to the Shaklee Cinch weight loss product line and the constant support of Sommer Poquette, aka Green and Clean Mom, and the other bloggers and  many tweeters in the #Cinchspiration” campaign.

I admit I started this with some trepidation. I wasn’t convinced that a program that consists mainly of high protein meal replacement shakes and bars would work for me. I fretted at the waste of packaging…there I was leaving the CSA with my share, only to open up a meal replacement bar. But you know what? I decided to give it a shot. I would have never tried this had Sommer not offered a free test run, in exchange for some tweets and blog posts sharing my experiences.

But the proof is in the pudding (or the soy shake mix). I just coughed up several hundred of my own buckaroos to re-up in the program for the next 12 weeks.  My new kit arrived today, and I was never so happy to see a new supply of protein bars!

My verdict? Here’s my review of the Shaklee Cinch weight loss program – pros and cons:

Pros:

1. Simplicity – My life is hectic enough without worrying about meal plans or meetings away from home.

2. Fun – Something about the program is fun. The copy in the support materials is excellent – the voice sounds like it belongs to a friend. It’s not dull or boring. It’s real – and fun!

3. Online camaraderie – I spend a lot of my time online – and the fact that I know Sommer and Karen and a lot of the other Shaklee Cinch people made it really easy to believe that this program would work.

4. Variety – Surprisingly, there’s enough variety amongst the various flavors of shakes and meal bars to prevent monotony from settling in. The lemon-cranberry is my fave!

5. Simple Ideas – I grew to love the fact that Cinch recommends a mid-afternoon break for tea and a snack. How civilized. I love my new tea time routine! Much better than grabbing a diet soda!

Cons:

1. I do think the program is a bit pricey, even when compared with meal replacement shakes sold at places like Whole Foods.  That said, I justified the cost by figuring I would no longer be raiding my kids’ supplies of cookies and Goldfish! There – money saved and reallocated to this!

2. I’m still a bit nervous about transitioning away from the meal replacement phase to a more regular diet. I think those wonderful Shaklee copy writers could do a better job of explaining just how that process works — upfront, at the beginning of the program.

3.  Although Shaklee does a lot of positive things for the environment, they could still be a bit more thoughtful with product packaging. It burns me to have to open up a tiny package of tea – such waste! I’d rather have loose leaf tea or conventional teabags.

I have a ways to go on my weight loss journey, so I’ll plan to check in every month or so and let you know how I’m doing….Pray that I finally lose all the weight I want to lose this time around!

– Lynn

Note: This post was written as part of my participation in the Shaklee Cinchspiration campaign. I received a free initial supply of Cinch weight loss products in exchange for sharing my views via my social media channels. As if you couldn’t tell, the opinions here (pros and cons) are completely my own!

 

 

RIP Susan Niebur aka @WhyMommy

February 6th, 2012

Four and a half years ago, I started this blog with a dedication to Susan Niebur, an incredibly inspiring, brave, brilliant, funny, compassionate woman whose many wonderful posts about life with kids in DC introduced me to the world of blogging. Sadly, over time, there were more posts about fighting Inflammatory Breast Cancer than about museum trips, but Susan retained the same joyful voice that endeared her first to Moms in the DC area, and later, to people around the world.

Susan passed away today.

In Susan’s memory, please consider a donation to The Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

RIP, Susan, a woman much loved.

– Lynn

 

Resolving to Make a Difference: Fighting Climate Change

January 22nd, 2012

At the time, it seemed like a long-shot. A carefully staged group of protests in front of the White House, designed to pressure President Obama into fighting the Keystone Pipeline and to build public awareness of the dangers of the pipeline. But as stood in front of the White House and watched my “green mom” friend Harriet Shugarman aka @ClimateMama, join the protest line, I was in awe.

Green Moms at Tar Sands Protest

I didn’t know much about the specifics of the Tar Sands pipeline until Harriet told me and the other Green Moms Carnival members about it.  At first, I wasn’t even sure I objected. Bringing in oil from Canada, as opposed to from the Persian Gulf, didn’t seem like such a bad idea at first.

Then I learned that renowned NASA climate scientist James Hansen had said it would be “game over” on climate change if the pipeline was built.

And slowly but surely, as the news spread, public opinion shifted, until finally, a few days, ago, the President announced his opposition to the pipeline.

But contrary to some reports, it’s still not a dead project. The final reckoning has only been delayed – and who knows who will sit in the Oval Office at that point?

Nearly four years ago, most of us thought we’d see far greater uptake of cleaner, green sources of energy after became president. To be sure, not all of the blame falls on policy makers. The marketing of renewable energy – especially wind and solar thermal – is lackluster. Consumer awareness is still low, and it’s not easy for even the most enthusiastic “green mom” to buy the full range of clean energy products.

We have so far yet to go.

James Hansen can make a credible scientific argument against the pipeline. And he has. But to me, these words of his are most powerful: Einstein said to think and not act is a crime. If we understand the situation, we must try to make it clear. I decided six or seven years ago that I did not want my grandchildren to look back in the future and say “Opa understood what was happening, but he didn’t make it clear.”

I agree with James Hansen. It’s why I stood in front of the White House, shouted “Go, Green Moms! Go Harriet!,” and watched as the protestors were led into a white tent for processing before being taken to jail in the police vans lined up across the square. (It was all very orderly – the arrests having been coordinated ahead of time down to every last detail).

Together, we can accomplish so much. And we have to — for there is so much more to accomplish. Check out the Green Moms’ Carnival on Resolutions to Fight Climate Change, hosted by Amber Strocel of Strocel.com. There you’ll find posts from some of the most engaged green women bloggers — about what we can do, what you can do – so that someday, you can tell your grandkids that you did something to fight climate change.

– Lynn

 

 

Blogging Break is Over, New Year Seems Full of Possibilities!

January 8th, 2012

I’m soooo glad I took a long blogging break to enjoy Advent and the full twelve days of Christmas. We just wrapped up the holiday season yesterday – yes, that’s right, not until Saturday, 7th January …with a trip to see “Merry Madagascar” topped off by a Three Kings Day party with some old friends.

So now that the Christmas cookies and The Three Kings cake are eaten, I’m focused on new year’s resolutions. I tend to make the same ones year after year: lose weight and get more organized.

This year I decided to get more help in achieving my goals.  On the organizational front, I’ve actually hired a coach – and I start working with her tomorrow! I’m very excited about this. I’m hoping to organize my life in its entirety: family, work, spirituality and the greater Green good, physical activity / health /fitness  and then finally, me-time. (Yeah, I know…what’s me-time?)

Back in 2010, I blogged that I was going to “tackle the big one – weight loss.” I even started a twitter feed – @weight_loss2010.  Here it is, two years later and I weigh about the same. So what’s different? Why will it work this time?

I’m hoping that getting better organized – via the coach – will lessen my stress levels. I KNOW I eat when I’m stressed. I’ll eat a very healthy day’s worth of meals and then just completely blow it during the “witching hour” that every Mom knows so well. All it takes is a few handfuls of cookies or  goldfish(R) or a beer (or what the heck, all three!) at 6:00 p.m. to undo all those salads, whole grains, and lean proteins.

I’m trying a new twist on the online support I looked for with @weight_loss2010. With the encouragement of Sommer Poquette, aka Green and Clean Mom, I’ve agreed to join Shaklee’s “#Cinchspiration” campaign. I’m hoping that the combination of online support, Sommer’s infectious enthusiasm and winning weight loss results (22 pounds!) and a free initial supply of Shaklee’s meal replacement shake will be just the ticket to losing weight.

I also made a trip over the holidays to the Reebok outlet to finally replace my old, worn, holey sneakers.  And I also picked up two pairs of very cool work out pants, which I’m wearing right now, since I just returned from the gym.

And finally, as far as this blog goes, you can expect to see a greater emphasis on climate change. Time is running out to reverse the damage climate change has already inflicted – and the weather-related horrors that most leading scientists predict are yet to come. In fact,  “Resolutions to Fight Climate Change” will be the topic of our first Green Moms Carnival of 2012, which will run at Strocel.com on  January 23.

So stay tuned, enjoy the beginning of an exciting new year, and tell me – what are you up to that’s new and different in 2012?

– Lynn

Oh no! My Son’s Growing Up and Changing our Family Traditions!

December 31st, 2011

In years past, I’ve blogged about the beauty of the Advent season  and taking time during the frenetic holiday season to Slow Down and Relax.

This year, I took my own advice, and did less blogging – and working – and more cookie baking!  But we still practiced – or tried to practice – the Advent Calendar tradition I’ve chronicled here the past few years.  Tried to practice? That’s what happened when my nine-year-old ig Boy announced he’s too old to read the Christmas story out loud, and wanted to save all his Advent calendar chocolates for one night. In an instant, one of my favorite Christmas traditions was changed – at least for this year.

I was optimistic that our tradition of celebrating the twelve days of Christmas would hold, though. Until Mr. Grown-Up challenged my assertion that it was the Fifth Day of Christmas – and maintained that Christmas CountDown Calendar was only meant for the days leading up to Christmas.

It’s just one more reminder to enjoy each moment, for as well we all know – they grow up so fast. How have your holiday traditions changed as your kids have grown?  Leave a comment and share!

And if I don’t get another post up today, well, Happy New Year! :)

– Lynn

Holiday Blues Got You Down? A Few Tips to Deal with Depression

December 30th, 2011

Christmas Day may be over, but the holiday season is still in full swing, with New Year’s just around the corner. What happens when “the happiest time of the year” is anything but happy? It’s something the @GreenMoms of the Green Moms Carnival discussed when one of our tribe confessed that she was down in the dumps and didn’t feel like blogging. We all chimed in with advice, and Anna of Green-Talk suggested that if we shared it, our thoughts  might help someone else.

We hope the advice we shared with our friend will make the holidays a bit more bearable if you’re struggling too.

I grew up with a Mom who expected every holiday to be like something straight out of Norman Rockwell’s version of perfect Americana. When it didn’t work out that way, she got depressed.

Here are a few tips that may help you – or a friend – deal with the holidays when you feel anything but joyous.

1. Take it easy. If you’re a blogger, don’t feel you have to post all the time. Stop, relax, take time to do what YOU want to do.

2. See if you can volunteer. Sometimes helping others can make your load seem easier.

3. Seek professional help. Anti-depressants and talk therapy BOTH work. Find out what works for you. If you don’t want to visit a therapist, and you are a person of faith, talk with your rabbi, minister, or priest.

Best wishes to you -

Lynn

Looking for Green Gifts? Better Check out What @GreenMoms Recommends…!

December 17th, 2011

A bout with a crazy strep virus that raged through my household kept me from posting the latest link to our monthly Green Moms Carnival -sorry! This one is on Green Gifts…and there are some fantastic tips from some of the green blogosphere’s top green bloggers. So head on over to Citizen Green, for the Green Moms Carnival Take on Green Gifts.  Enjoy!

– Lynn

How to Find the Perfect “Green” Gift for a Green Gal

December 11th, 2011

“Green” is now so mainstream, that most Americans will have at least one “greenie” on their holiday shopping list. But how do you buy a gift for someone who likes to Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose and Refuse (to Buy?)

Well, you start by taking her preferences into account. This probably means thinking out of the box – perhaps buying experiences, like tickets to a concert or other event, rather than yet another “thing.”

On the other hand, because of the 4Rs, you’ll find many green gals hanging on to items well past their normal lifecycles. She’s the one with the old pair of Uggs (the sheepskin’s nearly worn off), the ancient dish towels, and the cracked iPhone (Gen1 of course).  New replacements are often gratefully accepted! (There you go, my Christmas list is now public, courtesy of this month’s Green Moms Carnival on Green Gifts).

Want to offer something more personal? Think recycled or upcycled chic. Green gals love to support small green businesses and eco-chic designers who market fair trade, organic and upcycled goods.

Here are a few of my go-to sources:

Eco-artware has a fabulous selection of high quality, upcycled jewelry, handbags, and giftware.  The web’s original purveyer of recycled gifts, owner Reena Kazman has been promoting the works of environmentally conscious artists and designers for more than a decade, back when, she says, “people thought recycled meant dirty.”   Reena, a Washingtonian, was one of my first “green” clients back in 2008, in the early days of Twitter.

Greenfest is one of my favorite spots to stock up on holiday gifts. It attracts a number of the country’s top eco-artists and boasts an incredible fair trade pavilion. But alas, there’s no Greenfest right now for those seeking holiday gifts! The next best idea is to check out the Holiday Green Gift Guide sponsored by Green America, the organizer of Greenfest.

One of the featured merchants at Green America is Greenfield Paper, my favorite source for beautiful, plantable seed paper. True greenies know that the “electronic is better” bit has been way overhyped – especially when you consider that most Americans still rely on dirty coal for power.

No time to order online? If you live near Washington, DC, stop by Bethesda’s Creative Parties and check out their extensive line of recycled pens and papers, along with other creative, eco-friendly gift ideas. Located right across the street from community sustainability initiative Bethesda Green, the store’s owner, Tracy Bloom Schwarz, is a big supporter of both Bethesda Green and the local green economy.

I could go on and on with ideas…we greenies aren’t really that hard to shop for!….But please, do avoid plastic items (unless recycled or upcycled) and “eco” items shipped over from China. Need more ideas? Check out the Green Moms Carnival on Green Gifts on Monday over at Citizen Green.

– Lynn

 

 

 

Thanks Again to All Who Helped @GreenMoms #SaveGreenMoms

December 10th, 2011

Some of you know that we had a crisis with the @GreenMoms Twitter feed over the Thanksgiving holiday. It disappeared.

Poof. 72,000+ followers, just gone…in Twitter Hell Account Suspension-Land.  Which, it turns out, is a pretty mysterious place, without any instant communication – 140 characters or not.

It was incredibly frustrating to deal with this, especially coming as it did during our Black Friday carnival.  (We resisted the temptation to think our ill-timed suspension was a corporate plot to block our anti-consumerist messages on the biggest shopping day of the year! Although Lisa of Condo Blues did blog, “Does Twitter Hate Green Moms?”).

But thanks to a lot of support from our friends online  – one of whom, Maryanne Conlin(aka MC Milker), even intervened behind the scenes at Twitter HQ – and a diligent Twitter customer service rep, we finally got our account back on November 30th. On December 7th, I received an email from Twitter support explaining that @GreenMoms had been caught in a spam filter.

It was frustrating on a personal level, and frankly, scary on a professional level. I thought of the many Twitter accounts I’ve launched for clients – accounts that are now lifelines for many non-profits and green businesses.  What if a mysterious “account suspension” happened to them?   Or what if it happened to an activist relying on Twitter for communications during a crisis situation?

Much has been made of Twitter as today’s best source for breaking news and citizen journalism. But can Twitter live up to this ideal if well established accounts can be made to suddenly disappear, with no recourse, no response, no explanation for days? And what of the many organizations that have come to rely on Twitter as an integral communications channel?   As the old saying goes, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Here’s where you can find GreenMomsCarnival on Facebook and on GooglePlus.  Here’s our Homepage, with listings of all of our carnivals. Our next one, on Green Gifts, runs Monday at Citizen Green.