Monday, August 31, 2009

Gag Me With A Spoon!

I was recently at a meeting where a bunch of women were discussing ice cream. Flavors, textures, brands. One woman started to describe how she eats her ice cream.

"I only eat ice cream with a plastic spoon! A regular spoon gets too cold and doesn't allow you to really taste the flavor. Try'll never go back!"

The women began to oooh and ahhh. I started to gag. Was this woman serious? She was buying bags of plastic, non-biodegradable, chemical-based utensils because silverware chilled her lips and tongue? Really? Where does she store her metal spoons -- in the Arctic?

I imagined all of these women running to the store, buying plastic spoons, grabbing pints of ice cream and eating like they'd never eaten before. And then, haphazardly throwing the spoons away.

The Pacific has the infamous island of plastic (that floating mound of trash the size of Texas). New York would have a sculpture of plastic in Central Park. "Form of a Giant Spoon!"...The Wonder Twins would say.

Unfortunately, I didn't know these women well enough to say anything...not that that has ever stopped me before. But it was a professional organization and I thought that I'd better keep my mouth -- which avoids plastic spoons like the plague -- shut.

Ironically, that night, John wanted an Italian Ice from the corner deli. As I reached into the freezer to get one, I saw these little "to go" Ben and Jerry's and Hagen Daaz cartons that had a little plastic spoon right in the lid. Companies like these are touting better ingredients and sustainable company practices but they're not considering the packaging. That's half our problem!

We create so much waste! Take a frozen dinner. The box, the plastic film and the plastic tray. Even though the box can be recycled, the rest goes into the landfill. Let's hope that Swanson's doesn't start including a knife and a fork.

The plastic spoons made me realize that convenience, waste (and now apparently taste) and global warming all go hand-in-hand. I told John we had no hope if what got people excited was plastic spoons.

The next day, as I ordered my lunch, I made sure to ask the cashier to not put any plastic utensils in my bag. "I have my own, thanks!" I had brought my own metal utensils from home. As I took my first bite, I could only hope that I didn't burn my mouth on the fork or wind up with my tongue stuck to the spoon.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


I want to thank Ri from Music Savvy Mom for having me as a guest DJ yesterday. It was so much fun!

And I want to thank Kathleen from Brutalism (an extremely funny blog!) for recommending me!

You both rock!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Hey all!

I'm a guest DJ today at Music Savvy Mom!

Please visit the site, check out my playlist! She plugs The Green, The Bad and The Ugly and I'm really, really excited about it! AND it's a great site!

Hope the music inspires you or sends you down memory lane!


NOTE: If you're wondering how I put the playlist together...she asks you to hit "shuffle" on your iPod and the 1st 10 songs that come up is your playlist for the day!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Oh, the Things You'll Find...

Last weekend, my friend Jen and I participated in the Barefoot Wine Beach Rescue Project. I first heard of the project from the Surfrider Foundation, of which I'm a member.

Particpating in a beach clean-up was on my list of things to do this year so this was the perfect opportunity!

The clean-up was being done on Rockaway Beach. We'd never been to Rockaway Beach so that in itself was going to be an adventure. It's a very nice beach with a lot of surfers, kids and picnics. And when I say picnics...these people know how to put out a spread! Fried chicken, chips, name it. A recipe for lots of trash. We had our work cut out for us!

As soon as Barefoot and Surfrider set up their tent, we were in line to get our trash bags and gloves.

They sent each of us in a different direction. Jen and I were to go south and concentrate under the pier.

We moved slowly along the pier picking up little things here and there. Mostly cigarette butts and small pieces of styrofoam. Our bag was surprisingly...empty! This was a good and bad sign.

The good sign was that people were actually cleaning up their trash. Much different than my past few beach experiences.

The bad sign was that there was so much little stuff! All those little things can end up being eaten by fish and seagulls and in turn make them sick or even kill them.

We were starting to get a little nervous because our bag was so empty. It looked as if we hadn't been doing anything!

Then, we started finding some things that were...interesting. We uncovered some sort of, uh, love nest. It was complete with a comforter, food, water and a radio. Jen found women's panties stuck up into the boardwalk and I found men's boxers buried partly in the sand. We didn't go near them.

As we reached our turnaround point, we knew that we had to change our plan. We could not go back to the table with a half-empty trash bag. We moved closer to the water and asked people if we could take their trash. Some were appreciative while others thought we were trying to throw away their sand toys (I assured them we had no interest). And some even thanked us for our hard work.

We made our way back to the table and as it turned out, we had the biggest bag! We were very excited. As we joined the others who volunteered that day, I felt elated. Our 10 or so trash bags that sat together on the beach were proof that there are people out there who are willing to make a difference.

Fast forward to the other day when I was at the beach and something scary was floating in the water. Everyone stared but no one did anything. Then a woman reached in and pulled out a plastic bag and carred it to the trash. I smiled.

Photo: Jen takes the gloves off after our clean-up.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Letter & Response to The Grove

Here is the letter I wrote to The Grove (as talked about in the post "Doors Open-Global Warming Activated" below) followed by their response. It's a start.


To Whom It May Concern:

Recently, I was in LA and visited The Grove. I love The Grove and was very happy to be there. That was until I walked by Crate and Barrel and felt this huge blast of cold air. I realized that they had their air conditioner on full blast with the doors open! Then I looked around and many stores were doing the same thing! Anthropologie had an entire glass wall open!!

Did you know that according to the US Department of Energy, heating and cooling systems emit tons of carbon dioxide into the air each year giving a hand global warming!"

It's like a refrigerator...every time you open the fridge door, the cool air that is keeping our food cold seeps out, while the warm air from our room seeps into the fridge, warming our food and causing the fridge to work harder which in turn uses more energy. Now, because the fridge is working harder to cool off the warm air we just let in, the coils in the back of the fridge heat up causing the room to get warmer therefore requiring us to turn on our A/C. It's the same concept for cooling the outdoors.

In New York City, there is a law against this practice. I'm wondering if this is something that The Grove's management could enforce.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Meredith Forbes


Dear Ms. Forbes:

Thank you so very much for taking the time to submit your feedback regarding your recent experience at The Grove. We appreciate your concern for the environment and the information you have provided regarding US Department of Energy requirements. Your feedback has been provided to The Grove property managment team for review of current and desired practices. The Grove is dedicated to providing a safe and entertaining environment for our guests, and your feedback is greatly appreciated.

If we may be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us at 323-900-8000. Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you again soon at The Grove.


Kellee Mendoza
Corporate Director, Guest Services

Doors Open-Global Warming Activated

I live on the sixth floor...a walk-up no less. It gets really hot up there but we try not to keep the air conditioner running. We do keep a fan on to keep the air circulating for ourselves and Bailey, our dog.

One day it was particularly hot and I walked into our kitchen to find John standing in front of the fridge, door open.

“What are you doing?” I screamed.

“Uh…I'm just cooling off for a minute.”

“With the door open? Do you know how much energy you’re wasting?!”

The door was already shut before I had gotten the sentence out. But I continued with my lecture:

“Every time you open the fridge, the cool air that keeps our food cold seeps out, while the warm air from the room seeps into the fridge, warming our food and causing the fridge to work harder, which in turn uses more energy.”

His face began to lose color.

“Now, because the fridge is working harder to cool off the warm air we just let in, the coils in the back of the fridge heat up, causing the room to get warmer, therefore requiring us to turn on our A/C."

He looked like he wouldn’t open the fridge again, ever, even for some food.

“Forget about our electric bill,” I added. “According to the Department of Energy, heating and cooling systems emit tons of carbon dioxide into the air each year contributing to global warming."

I haven’t seen him do this since.

But he wasn’t the biggest problem.

I was in LA recently, attending the LA Shorts Film Fest. I was in a film, Go Fish, that opened the festival (a little plug!).

I visited The Grove while I was there. The Grove is an outdoor shopping mall with a trolley, dancing fountains and a farmer’s market. I love it.

As I was walking around, enjoying the warm sun, I suddenly felt a cold breeze as I walked by one of the stores. I turned to look and realized that its doors were open. I looked around. Most of the shops had their doors open. One store had an entire glass wall that was open! And each one also had its A/C going full blast.

The Grove had turned into a giant refrigerator with its door wide open! (And the role of John was being played by the Governator).

I walked into the store and asked the salesgirl why they had the A/C on with the doors open. She stared at me blankly. I went into a couple of other stores, but nobody could answer my question. I continued on my way, back to my car...seething.

When I got back home, I Googled “leaving A/C on while keeping doors open.” Stores actually do this deliberately to lure customers in from the heat, in the hopes that they will then stay in the store and spend money.

I was surprised to learn that New York City has a law against this. The store gets a warning, then a $200 fine if they repeat the violation. The bad part is that the store must be at least 4000 sq. ft. and must be a chain with 5 stores or more. Oh well, it’s a start.

I’ve since written a letter to The Grove stating my concerns (I've posted the letter and response in a separate post in case you're interested). I’m not sure how much good it will do but it’s a start. Who knows? Maybe the next time I’m there I’ll get to do my rant for Arnold . . .