Monthly Archives: April 2013

How recycling can be good for your health

How much stuff do you need? Why not let it do some good for someone else?

How much stuff do you need? Why not let it do some good for someone else?

Every time I move I get rid of things, and after 10 moves in 15 years, I’ve gotten rid of a lot of stuff!

I joke about wanting to be prepared to move to “the home” with only my knitting and a couple of books. But what to do with things I enjoy but for which I no longer have room? What’s the best good I can do with things I really like but no longer need?

Besides giving a few items to family, I’ve decided to take a number of bags of good but used clothing and household items to Goodwill Industries.

The Goodwill donation center and store is just two miles away, but I didn’t just want to drop off bags and boxes because of convenience. At (about-us) I learned, “Every 33 seconds of every business day, someone gets a good job, with help from Goodwill.”

I started thinking, I could give “the thing” to someone I know – who might enjoy it but already has plenty – or give it to Goodwill.

Goodwill is more than a resale store. From its website, “Goodwill works to enhance the dignity and quality of life of individuals and families by strengthening communities, eliminating barriers to opportunity, and helping people in need reach their full potential through learning and the power of work.”

I didn’t know and what I’ve learned makes donating that much sweeter.

Goodwill puts people to work in their stores. Store revenues help put people to work in business and industry. In 2011, Goodwill helped 216,000 people find meaningful employment.

When I moved back to Indiana in 2011 I was shocked to read on the bill of lading that I had 7,720 pounds of stuff. ALL THIS, after making donations, holding a time-consuming garage sale and selling the big furniture with the house. With this year’s spring cleaning I’m digging deep into closets, the basement and cabinets to continue to downsize. It lifts my spirit to donate to Goodwill.

I’ve heard nature abhors a void. Making space by giving away things I love but really don’t use allows room for other gifts to come into my life. What kind of gifts? Peace of mind, the knowledge I’ve done some real good for someone else.

If you’ve lived in the same place for many years, chances are you’ve accumulated more stuff than you know what to do with. Start by going through one closet at a time and only keep the things you need. Pass the rest of it on to Goodwill, or Habitat for Humanity’s RESale shop or the Salvation Army or the women’s shelter or the church garage sale or … you get the idea. I guarantee giving away your no-longer-used items will make you feel better.

On the other hand, and this might be hard to read, hanging on to stuff you don’t use can cause dis-ease. It breeds bugs, accumulates dust and the clutter can stifle. Ask yourself why you feel the need to hang on to these things. Dig into why you’re attached to your stuff. Do yourself a favor and let it go. Let it help others.



How to be happy seeing the dentist

Arriving early for a 2 o’clock appointment, I grabbed the key with the purple toothbrush and walked down the hall to the Ladies. Resting a bit inside the clean, modern stall I began to realize how happy I was to be seeing the dentist.

How is it possible, you might ask, and rightly so. “Happy to see the dentist” is not typical. In fact, earlier this week a nephew posted on Facebook that – in spite of a diagnosis indicating the contrary – his dentist asked him if he wanted a root canal anyway. (Sure, and may I have a colonoscopy with that?)

While my bottom teeth are being reorganized, I'm finding even more reasons to be happy about life.

While my bottom teeth are being reorganized, I’m finding even more reasons to be happy about life.

But my happiness wasn’t about dental procedures – this visit was just a monthly progress report and to pick up Invisalign trays 5 and 6 – what made me happy was realizing with gratitude and great joy some things I so often take for granted. In less time than it takes to rinse and spit, I had these thoughts:

  • Wow, so grateful for being healthy enough to drive myself to the dentist! To afford a car, gas and the three bucks to park on Wrightwood RIGHT IN FRONT OF a green parking-money machine.
  • My appointment is in Lincoln Park where I lived for more than 20 years. I had two apartments and two condos within six blocks of this office. This neighborhood is home to me and it feels good each time in I come back, in spite of green parking-money machines.
  • Ted Gehrig is my dentist deluxe. Not only is he highly competent and skilled, he’s a great guy! Always upbeat, gracious, smiling, sharing what’s going on in his life and with his family. I figure he’s been taking care of my choppers and me off and on for more than 25 years. He told me recently he doesn’t have plans to retire. “People retire from work. This isn’t work. I enjoy it – so what’s to retire?!”

An added bonus to visiting Dr. Ted is that I get to have lunch with downtown friends and family, or stop by the Shedd Aquarium to visit a leafy sea dragon, or pick up some Meyer lemon olive oil at Old Town Oils.

I can honestly say that even if I was seeing Ted for a drill and fill, I’d be okay with that. He and his team do a great job of making sure their patients are comfortable. But it’s about more than teeth; it’s about finding joy in the everyday. Turning a visit to the dentist into a trip down gratitude lane.


When Chicago was our suburb …

Growing up on Chicago’s south east side in the ’50s and ’60s, I thought we lived in the big city. We were no different than the city kids with – as far as I could tell – the same governor and the same mayor and baseballs teams and radio stations.

So why last week while watching WTTWs “Remembering Chicago Again” did I feel like an outsider?

Thanks to growing up next to Chicago, I watched Miss Frances and Ding Dong School. Had my very own Miss Frances tray – boy, I wish I still had THAT relic.

My old friend Miss Frances (photo thanks to Craig's Lost Chicago.)

My old friend Miss Frances (photo thanks to Craig’s Lost Chicago.)

Do you remember Miss Frances?

Wikipedia said her show first aired in 1952. We must have gotten our first TV soon thereafter. What a warm memory, balancing a bologny sammich and a glass of milk on my special green, half-moon tray – replete with Ding-Dong School stickers AND a groove for crayons, which also served as a milk-catcher in case your glass happened to tip over en route – to have lunch with Miss Frances.

We were city kids, weren’t we?

Otto Kerner was our governor, as far as I knew, and Richard M. Dailey was mayor. We listened to WLS and WCFL, traded Silver Dollar Surveys, went to concerts at the International Amphitheatre to see – well, YOU might have gone to see the Beatles, but Mickey and I went to see Paul Revere and the Raiders!

My dad said Chicago was OUR suburb. After all, living in Robertsdale, Indiana we were closer to State and Madison than a lot “official” city kids.

I remember after a hard morning with Miss Collins and my Franklin School kindergarten class, I got to ride downtown with my dad to pick up bowling shirts. He was the area distributer for those cool shirts with the colored vents, plus most of the other team shirts and jerseys you saw around Whiting. It was a quick 20 minute ride up the Outer Drive – before the Skyway was built! Why would I think I lived anywhere but Chicago?

Weren’t we city kids? Waking up with Howard Miller on WIND every morning. Because of him I know the words to so many old songs. I often imagined myself winning big on Name That Tune. Continue reading