Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Simple Pleasures: The National Parks

Yes, it’s true, I’m a big old National Parks dork. I read all of Nevada Barr’s Ranger Anna Pidgeon mystery novels. I’ve got the handy-dandy little passport book that I can have stamped at every park I visit. I’m kinda proud of this fact, which probably makes me an even bigger dork. So imagine my glee for the premiere of Ken Burns’ 6 part documentary series: The National Parks: America’s Best Idea on PBS this week (all episodes are also available online as well). Oh how excited a NPS dork like myself is. Say what you want about Burns’ style (that it never changes, that he only seems to interview old white male writers for their opinions, that he’s a narcissist for having his name attached to the title of all his documentaries), he does spin a damn good narrative. And there’s something about his technique of taking photographs that are well over a century old and making them more beautiful than anything the most current and most expensive equipment could take.

Monday, September 28, 2009

No More White Pages…Evah!

I can’t remember the last time I used the white pages… but it was certainly not in this millennium. Yet, twice a year, I still wake up one morning to find a big stack of phone books on my doorstep. For what? Is there really anything in print that you cannot find online these days? is out to stop the needlessly wasteful production of phone books. The stats are simple: 5 million trees cut down each year to make the white pages, $17 million spent on recycling services. A simple solution is the opt-in program, where consumers can personally request the white pages if they want one, while everyone else is spared delivery. Sign the petition at

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Junk Mail

It’s that time of year again, when my direct mail “Do Not Contact” notifications run out. (and yes, I am the type of person who keeps track of when I submit DNC notices. You shouldn’t be surprised by now.) For 11 months of the year, I am blissfully free of those unwanted flyers and newsprint ads for things I could never need (Carpet cleaning? Botox? Clairvoyancy services?). So off I head to and to do my yearly update. (interestingly enough, in the last year they have added a Facebook fan page, a Twitter page and a “Clipper Blog”) No offense to my good friends at the Postal Service (and yes, I do solemnly swear I care deeply about saving your jobs), but the amount of direct mail in this country that goes directly into the trash would probably reforest the 170,000 acres of wildfire-ravaged Angeles National Forest.
For your reduction in junk mail: visit
Clipper Magazine:
Direct Mail Association’s Page: (Good site that covers a whole lot of unsolicited mail that you may be getting. You can select what type of mail you want to get (or not get) magazine offers, credit card offers, etc.)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

So in an effort to practice what I preach, it’s time to start using the book to keep myself accountable. This week, it’s #6 on the Budgeting List (p. 68)…”Waking Up” and realizing what your bills really mean. Case in point, I noticed that my health insurance premiums had DOUBLED in the past year, (and not just because I’m hitting that milestone birthday this year that’s kicking me out of one bracket and into another), so a quick (okay 4 quick… if 20 minutes each is quick) call to the home office and we come to learn that I can knock my premiums back down to previous levels just by removing the “maternity” clause. Things they won’t tell you (should I have to ask if prostate exams are covered too?) It all comes back to know exactly what you’re paying for or else you’re probably paying for something you don’t need.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Celebrate Good Times (jazz hands) Come On!

We’re off and running now! Finally wrapped up the big show and now it’s time to celebrate the rest of life. First up, the ‘West Coast Book Party’—October 3rd. Hopefully lots of old friends will be in attendance, so that I can say ‘so long for awhile’ before heading out on the road again for a 3 month cross country trip and visit to the east coast (and hopefully the East Coast Book Party!) One of the most exciting realizations of the past week is how (finally) I have accomplished something so empowering before my milestone birthday this weekend. It’s kind of a great feeling.

Monday, September 07, 2009

At last: The Simplicity Connection goes live!

Huzzah! After much ado, we are finally in print! Wasn’t quite expecting that it would take 9 years of blood, sweat and tears, but looking back I wouldn’t change how it was done at all. Self-publishing has allowed me to keep control of my creation (and doing my own book layout taught me a new skill that I could probably turn into a small sideline business). It’s a great feeling to finally see something you’ve worked so hard on come to fruition. And as the big show winds up it’s run, I hope to be better about updating and organizing my thoughts. Lots of time off on the horizon, so watch this space!