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

 

The Great Green Halloween Grinch

November 1st, 2011

Now that Halloween is over, I’ll confess.  For the past few weeks, I’ve been biting my tongue to keep from sounding like the Great Green Halloween Grinch.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Halloween as much as anyone. Dressing up in costume, trick or treating, and childhood memories make it one of my favorite celebrations. I’ll even admit to owning some hideously tacky Halloween stuff like this “Frank the Monster” (purchased at Lillian Vernon in my pre-green days).

Tacky Halloween Decorations

So what’s turning me into a Halloween Grinch? Waste. Over commercialism.  The virtual disappearance of time honored traditions like Trick or Treat for Unicef and Bobbing for Apples. The appearance of Halloween décor that rivals Tacky, Tacky Christmas decorations.   Retailers shipping back pumpkins – before Halloween – to make way for Christmas décor.

To be sure, there have been incredible strides in making Halloween more “green.”  In just four years, Corey and Lynn have grown Green Halloween from a regional event to a nationwide costume swap and more.

And yet….. during “green Halloween” twitter chats, sustainably minded “green moms” wonder how to “get rid of” all the candy their kids bring home. The SwitchWitch, who takes Halloween candy away and replaces it with a gift, is a popular option. The First Lady suggests letting kids keep their candy for a few days before confiscating it. Dentists advertise “trade in” plans – $1 for each pound of candy turned in. And there are organizations like MoverMoms who collect candy to send to the troops.

Why are we spending so much money on something that we’re disposing of the very next day? I just don’t remember all this angst as a kid. My candy stash lasted for months. If parents talked about getting rid of candy, it went over my head.

This morning, I heard on the news that Americans spent $7 Billion on Halloween candy, costumes, decorations and more.

How much of that $7B could be redirected towards truly important things that we value, rather than items that we throw out days later?

I know, I know…I sound like a Halloween Grinch. Told ya. That’s why I kept quiet for so long.

What do you think about how we celebrate Halloween?

– Lynn

My Subaru’s Totaled, So I’m Going Car-less….For Now

October 10th, 2011

Two totaled Subarus in five years: what are the odds? Thank God, we’re all fine, and no, neither accident was our fault!

Two weeks ago, a Jeep slammed into our 2001 Subaru Legacy. Our four-year-old was in the backseat. Ironically, that’s where his big brother was sitting on Mother’s Day, 2006, when a huge deer ran into the front of our 1999 Subaru wagon. (I was sitting in the front seat, very pregnant at the time. Thank God — and Subaru — we were all fine!)

The insurance company totaled the car because it would cost more than “the car is worth” to fix it. Says who? Talk about a waste, from a sustainability perspective!

So while we will get $9,000 or so to replace our Subaru, it’s hard – no unthinkable – to replace the car we bought new with someone else’s old car.

At first, I took it as a great green challenge to go carless. After all, we live near metro, I walk to my office, and the school bus comes to the corner. It was just the other week that I turned down a corporate Zip Car membership. Maybe time to reconsider?  Or what about BlaBlaCar, a ride-sharing service that cuts carbon – and costs?

But the thought of trekking several blocks with a sick kid in tow to grab a Zipcar to get to the doctors made me realize I didn’t want to give up the convenience of a car in my driveway, ready to roll.  And BlaBlaCar, regrettably, is not yet available in the US.

So now I’m back to square one, thinking about what to do next.

What about you, dear readers? Does your family get by with just one car? How do you do it, when you live outside a city center?  Am I crazy to think about trying to survive with just one family car?  (DH  uses the wagon for his commute).

Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

– Lynn

Green Weekend Ideas: RSVP Now for Bethesda Green Gala

September 30th, 2011

It’s unusual for someone from “the burbs” to hear Washingtonians whispering about all that is going on in Bethesda.

But it’s true.

So I’d be holding out if I didn’t remind you, dear readers, that it’s the last day to RSVP for tickets to the annual Bethesda Green gala, coming up on October 5th, from 6 to 10 p.m. at The Roundhouse Theatre. You can RSVP here.

I’ll be there. Will you?

– Lynn

Back-to-School Adjustments and Homework Hassles. How’s it Going?

September 21st, 2011

I can’t be the only parent who feels like once the kids go back to school, I’ve got a new, demanding job.  Demanding jobs are great, but I already have one!

It’s a lot to deal with, whether you’re

  • helping a child adjust to the new teachers’ styles;
  • figuring out which battles to fight and which to let go;
  • coaching a kid through an ever increasing homework load;
  • stumbling upon an MCPS website mention that the school year has been shifted by one day (with no other notice!); and
  • the list goes on…

Tweeting about Homework Battles

I don’t remember things being like this when I was a kid. Then again, my mother was a divorcee, a working Mom who didn’t have time to provide much oversight of my school activities.   I was a latchkey kid before the term was invented.

There are plenty of kids like that here in Montgomery County, Maryland, where 44,000 students qualify for the free lunch program.  But how do they cope?  As early as the second grade, homework assignments become so complex that it’s a frequent topic of conversation in even the most upscale neighborhoods.

The school system does provide a “homework hotline,” accessible via cable TV — which we don’t have! –  or through the computer — which we try to avoid, due to its distractions.

For many in the more affluent parts of the county, the solution to homework hassles is private tutoring. An increasing number of parents shell out $45 for group tutoring and $75 or more for individual tutoring. And it’s encouraged by some of the teachers (although officially they’re not supposed to suggest tutors, I hear).  I know this is going on nationwide. My friends in San Diego tell me about their “homework nanny.”

And my online grumbling about homework hassles did lead me to a wonderful site called School Family, along with some much needed morale support on a rough day.

How’s back to school going for you? Leave a comment and share!

 

The Fifth R….Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle…and When All Else Fails…

April 3rd, 2011

With Earth Day approaching, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the 4Rs (Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle).

When you look at this brush, what do you see?

Baby Bottle Brush

An old baby bottle brush that should have been thrown out when baby stopped bottles?  Thrown out?!

Didn’t I mean recycled? Well, that would be nice, but unfortunately baby bottle brushes aren’t typically recycled by municipalities…they’re incinerator bound.

So how do you reuse a baby bottle brush when there are no more baby bottles?

Pass it along to someone else in the new baby stage? Sell it at a consignment shop?  Hmm…I don’t know what things are like in your neck of the woods, but here in Bethesda, the odds of a new Mom buying a used baby bottle brush are just about…nil. Although it’s easy to sanitize a baby bottle brush, used baby bottle brushes just don’t pass the ick test…

So here’s where the 5th R comes in to play….Repurposing….

The Fifth R...Repurposing

After all, when the babies are grown, there’s much more time to kick back and enjoy a glass of wine!

What have you repurposed lately?

Leave a comment and share!

– Lynn

 

 

When It’s Not What It Seems: The Murder at Lululemon

March 21st, 2011

On Thursday, I quickly put up a post about a community gathering in memory of Jayna Murray. A friend from Bethesda’s Mindfulness Center had asked me to put the post up, emailing me that“the women at the Mindfulness Center have been close to Jayna and all the workers at Lululemon.”

No longer. The murder victim’s co-worker, Brittany Norwood, was arrested on Friday and charged with the slaying. She’s due in Montgomery County court today.

Like so many in our community, I was horrified by this senseless tragedy and then incredibly shocked to learn that one of the “nice girls” from Lululemon may have committed this crime.   Perhaps it’s ghoulish, but I wondered what she looked like – I wondered if I had seen Brittany on Bethesda Row.   I searched for images of Brittany Norwood, and turned up two that seemed like fits, but as I tweeted Friday night, I was afraid to post the images in case I had identified the wrong person.

It turns out I hadn’t identified the wrong Brittany Norwood – biographical details since revealed by the news media, and her sad looking mug shot match the images I found of a pretty young woman partying in her FaceBook picture and a wholesome looking woman in her college soccer profile picture.

We tend not to think of women as murderers. It’s far easier to imagine brutal “masked men,” as Brittany had claimed, even when logically we know that the odds of “masked men” sneaking into a store on a well traveled street are extremely low.

I wasn’t originally going to post these photos of Brittany Norwood, but I wondered if they would stay up online. And sure enough, they’ve been removed from the websites where I found them. Facebook profile deleted. College soccer shot gone.

All the public is left with is an image of Brittany Norwood in a mug shot. An image that is what she became…but doesn’t reflect all that she was..and doesn’t remind us, like those other images do, that things are not always as they seem.

How sad.

Bethesda Community to Gather at Candlelight Vigil in Remembrance of Jayna Murray this Friday Evening

March 16th, 2011

Lulelemon Shrine Bethesda

 

Our community has been rocked by a random act of violence:  the senseless attack against two beautiful young women, yogis who radiated peace and happiness through their work at Lululemon Athletica.  I was asked to post the following to help get the word out about a community gathering this Friday evening in remembrance of Jayna Murray.

Community Gathering in Remembrance of Jayna Murray
and in support of our friends at Lululemon and our Community.

Friday, March 18, 2011
8:00-9:30 pm

We will gather at The Mindfulness Center at 8:00 pm, with an open forum for remembrances and prayer, in celebration of the life of Jayna and in support of our friends at Lululemon, and the healing of our community.  This will be followed by a candlelight vigil to Lululemon for song and prayer. Dr. Deborah Norris will lead us in meditation, and Rev. John Love will lead us in prayer.  Counselors will be available at The Mindfulness Center throughout the week.

Deborah Norris, Ph.D.
Founder, The Mindfulness Center
4963 Elm Street, Suite 100
Bethesda, MD  20814
301-986-1090
www.TheMindfulnessCenter.org

Director, Psychobiology of Healing Program
Psychologist-in-Residence
American University
http://www.american.edu/cas/faculty/dnorris.cfm

 

My Top 10 Tips for a “Green” Labor Day Weekend (And Don’t Forget the Laborers, esp. The Freelancers!)

September 3rd, 2010

Every year, my Labor Day post focuses on eco-friendly tips, but never before have I blogged about the real meaning of Labor Day. So this Labor Day, I’m adding a plea that you think about the many people – contract workers, freelancers, bloggers, writers, and others – who work hard but often don’t get paid for their labors.   As Crain’s New York Business reported this week, “the seemingly simple process of getting paid has emerged as the No. 1 problem facing self-employed workers.”   If you’re someone who works with self-employed people, or if you are one yourself, I urge you to read “Ugh: The Free in Freelance” and to check out the campaign run by the Freelancers Union.

labor-day-comment-10-701884

So this post is a little late..because I made sure to pay the independent workers I employ before putting it up. Would be a little hypocritical otherwise, wouldn’t it?

And now…on to my top 10 Tips for a “Green” Labor Day weekend.

1. Just about the first thing people think about on Labor Day is firing up the grill. This year, skip the burgers and beef hot dogs . The production of beef is a major contributor to three of the four  global warming gases   — carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane.

2. What to grill instead? How about grilling up some wild caught salmon instead of the usual beef?  If you’re at the beach, head to your local seafood shop. If you’re in my neck of the woods – MoCo near DC – check out Whole Foods fantastic saleon Marine Stewardship Council certified salmon, now $3.50 off per pound at $13.49 per pound at the Friendship Heights Whole Foods.   (And if salmon isn’t your thing, how about pasta salad, potato salad, or organic soy-based corn dogs?    Here are some other Labor Day recipe ideas).

3. Need a new grill?  My favorite  tips on solar-powered and other “green grills”are here at Diane MacEachern’s Big Green Purse blog.   And here’s a another great grilling tip courtesy of homespace – when it’s time to clean up, use good ole baking soda, water and a wire brush. Skip the commercial cleaners with their decidely un-earthfriendly chemicals!

4. If you’re still using charcoal grills, reconsider. The prices of gas grills have dropped dramatically – I’ve seen them on sale for just $95 at KMart  – and they’re a more Earth-friendly choice than charcoal.

gas-grillphoto

5. If you must use charcoal, Diane MacEachern suggests using lump charcoal instead of briquettes, which may contain coal dust
and other additives. Diane says to look for hardwood briquettes from forests certified by the Rainforest Alliance’s SmartWood program, or lumps made from coconut husks. Cow boy Charcoal, sold at Lowe’s, Trader Joe’s and under the Whole Foods 365 brand, makes chunk charcoal out of wood leftover from furniture making and construction.

6.

mowingphoto

Need to mow the lawn to make your yard look beautiful? Forget about conventional gas and electric mowers. Go retro with a good old fashioned push mower. Not only will you help to save the planet, you’ll get real exercise too! If you must use gas or electric, how about sharing a mower with your neighbors? (And if your little one wants to copy you, you can borrow the neighbors’ plastic mower. Yes, both mowers in this pic are borrowed! Talk about Reduce, Reuse, Refuse!)

7.

led-redwhite-bluephoto

To some folks, a party’s not a party is not a party without lights. Thankfully, there are more and more  choices for LED lights, including these patriotic red, white and blue starred LEDs I found at Strosniders Hardware.  (No, I didn’t buy them, but they’re cute, aren’t they?)

8. Consider  recycled paper plates. I found the ones pictured above  at my local Giant grocery store in Bethesda, Maryland, and I’ve also seen them at “Party City” stores. They’re priced comparable to  regular paper plates. They’re cute and an eco-friendlier choice!

green-party-warephoto

9. When dusk comes, and you head inside, open the windows instead of turning on the air conditioner. You’ll save money and the environment!

10. If you’re heading back home to the big city after enjoying time at the beach, you may want to check out the local farmers markets and grocers. We pick up organic and local fruits when we are in smaller towns that enjoy a lower cost of living than our big city home town.

Have a great holiday weekend!

Lynn

How Selling My Babies’ Stuff Gave Me The Baby Blues

August 14th, 2010

It should have been a simple business transaction: clear the clutter, post the old baby things online, and use the money for a trip to one of those kiddie-meccas.

But as I tweeted here, all of a sudden I began to feel…sad…emotional…melancholy. Oh my God, I had the baby blues all over again!

Those gorgeous brand new nautically themed sheets, rug, and comforter  I’m selling?

NEW NAUTICAL BEDDING & RUG SET COMPANY KIDS – $300 (Bethesda )


Date: 2010-08-13, 5:21PM EDT
Reply to: sale-pg2fb-1897302032@craigslist.org


I spent more than $500 on sale (trying to forget how much, but I just doublechecked on line, and this didn’t even include shipping) on a gorgeous set of nautical, boat themed bedding for my second child. (Buy this for a first born, you may be too tired like I was to make the curtains!) Never used. Includes a rug, comforter, 2 pillow cases (still in plastic), pillow sham (in plastic), six sets of sheets (my plan was to make curtains from four of them), with all in plastic save one. Very high quality from Company Kids. Not stocked by them any longer. Also includes a matching lamp that broke but will give it to you in case you wish to have it repaired. Also selling a Chicco high chair, Today’s Kids Baby PlayYards (2), and many other high quality name brand baby/kid items. Come get them all at once!

image 1897302032-0

PostingID: 1897302032

What was I thinking? Maybe I could have had a second child, gone back to work, and made curtains as planned. But start a new business, live the entrepreneurial life, enjoy two kids and a husband – and make curtains for a perfect little nursery? Fuhgeddaboutit!

The glider. Oh, the glider. Those long, never ending nursing sessions. The late nights. And the stuff that got on the glider. Why did I wait so long to really polish it up? Now it was gleaming – and ready to leave the house!

Dutalier Glider & Ottoman (Off-White, Dark Wood) – $150 (Bethesda)


Date: 2010-08-13, 3:16PM EDT
Reply to:rrors when replying to ads?]


FS: Neutral colored (off-white) Dutalier glider and Ottoman in good condition, only used in non-smoking home. Wood is dark cherry. The fabric has a very light pearl white-on-white leaf pattern. Loved it — it goes with anything – perfect for boys or girls!
Pick up near downtown Bethesda. I will also be posting other baby and kid stuff, like a nice highchair, baby gates, and clothing, so let me know if you need more! All high quality!

image 1897044191-0 image 1897044191-1

Just after posting everything, I ran to a potluck dinner at my “little one’s” preschool. There I saw a newborn, just six-weeks-old. How adorable.

baby_Booschool

It reminded me that my own “baby” is not a baby anymore.

BooBackpackphoto

The baby stuff really has to go.

And as my husband slid his arm around me, looked at the baby and said, “If we were ten years younger, we’d have a third,” I laughed and said, “If I was ten years younger, I’d still be of advanced maternal age!”

Today, a lovely young DCUrbanMom came by to pick up the glider. Her husband, a tall, strapping Navy man, carried the glider out to the car. I gave her a mini-download on green cleaning and all the lessons I’ve learned since I started my journey to figure out when it made sense to go green and organic. I handed her some left over organic baby salves from a former client.

And as she drove away, I sniffed a bit and realized once again, that time goes by too quickly. And they’re babies for far too short a time.

(And if you want to buy a bunch of great stuff, let me know! )

– Lynn

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