Living Simply: Being Happy With Less

Alternative Living Spaces, Current Affairs, Family, No Waste, NYC, Surprises

Behind all this back-to-nature, recycling, renovated-school-bus, simple living philosophizing that I do on this blog is a simple desire: to focus on the right things, to be happy. And, of course, to teach (by whatever means) my kids that way of looking at the world.

hankbus42

Photos by Justin Evidon

You may or may not be familiar with the concept of positive psychology — the idea that, rather than focusing on disease and syndromes (depression, etc.), science should explore what people do to make their lives more meaningful and worthwhile. [click to read on...]

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Breaking Society’s Dependence On Corporate Food

Current Affairs, Food & Drink

ZucchiniFlowering

I went on a bit of a rampage a couple of weekends ago, tossing out a dramatic amount of the food in our refrigerator — even food I thought was good. Why? Because I was angry. I had been away and brought back a big jug of orange juice. It was received with much joy and delight, even though we already had orange juice in the refrigerator.

But the orange juice in the refrigerator, (made from a frozen concentrate, but could easily have been freshly squeezed) didn’t come in a transparent container with an expiration date. It wasn’t professionally packaged and hermetically sealed. Nor did it have a shiny happy reassuring logo next to the word “fresh” or anything like that.

Now, for various reasons, this orange juice is probably a terrible example of the phenomenon I was raging against. But it’s still a phenomenon worth an outcry. Here’s what’s going on. [click to read on...]

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Dispelling Texas-Sized Myths

Austin, Nature
Photo by Stuart Seeger and used via a creative commons license.

Photo by Stuart Seeger and used via a creative commons license.

Texas is a mythical place. I learned when I first went to Europe that everyone knows about Texas, and that means most everyone has a preconceived idea of what the Lone Star State is like. When I first went overseas, that Texas myth was helped along by the TV show “Dallas” — and the show also ensured people of every native language knew how to pronounce my name, given that I shared a first name with Pamela Ewing. But, no, I had to tell folks, we don’t all ride horses and have oil wells in our back yards.

Many years have passed since then (thankfully), and I’m much more well-traveled, but I still find that certain myths — incorrect ones — persist. So I thought I’d take this opportunity to explain a couple of misunderstood Texas memes.

First, the ubiquitous “Don’t Mess With Texas” saying. It’s interpreted to mean that Texas is tough, that Texas, as the second-largest state in the union, thinks it’s bound to win every fight. Though there are Texans that think that way, I think it’s important to put the saying in context by understanding where it came from. [click to read on...]

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Spring In The Sanctuary

Kitchen Gardening, Nature, Photography

Up in New York, we kept our eyes peeled for the first daffodils, or tulips, or forsythia (I love that word). But, in this part of the country, there’s one sure sign of spring.

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[click to read on...]

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