I must admit that before we wrote our book and Black insisted
on having it
printed in the U.S.A. (even though it doubled the cost), I never thought
. I only
focused on price and quality. But even
once I became more aware of buying American, I still didn’t do it often enough. Even when the pandemic, and the associated
supply chain issues limited products from overseas, showed how we’ve become so
dependent on imports.
So, why don’t I do it more often? Well, I wish I had a good answer, especially as I know I should, and I want to. But I’m not sure how to turn my “good intentions” into actions. Especially since all my decisions need to be cost-conscious and products made overseas are usually cheaper.
Cheaper is a relative term. Maybe in absolute price, but you also need to consider quality because something that may be cheaper, but not last as long so needs to be replaced more often, may actually be more expensive. But, the first step is simply getting in the habit of “checking labels”.
And, then understanding your motivation. Are you being patriotic? Is it about job creation? (FYI, without making this an economics lesson, buying American has a ripple effect as it helps the companies making the products and also companies that support them – from suppliers to energy providers to accounting firms.) Maybe it is related to climate change (shipping products across the world increases carbon footprints). Bottom line: How much “extra” are you willing (or can you afford) to pay for environmental and safety reasons? (Many countries can produce products cheaper than we can due to less stringent, or non-existent, regulations regarding pollution, human rights, and consumer safety.)
should ask, as I was recently getting ready for a garage sale of our mom’s things and came across an old metal carrying
basket that I think is for milk bottles.
Although my memory of our milkman
is that he left the milk bottles in a small rectangular metal box outside our
Anyway, my best memory of fresh milk, especially chocolate milk, was going to Dairy Barn with our dad. It was a drive-through; we’d return the old bottles, get our deposit back, and pick up new ones. I have to admit that when my mom started to get milk at our local Waldbaum’s (anyone growing up on Long Island will remember them) in paper cartons, I thought it was a little sad. Plus, I didn’t think the milk tasted as good.
Recently, when I saw some old-fashioned milk bottles from 1836 Farms at my local Kroger, although it was more expensive, I bought one just because it reminded me of my youth. In fact, when I initially told Black I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend that much on milk, she suggested I could reuse the bottle as a vase. And it always makes me smile!
Since you mentioned your grandmother, which makes me feel
old, you may have to ask her to explain what we meant when we teased Red, a
redhead in a family of brunettes, of being the “milkman’s
Looking back, “milkmen” and dairy delivery services were ahead of their time. They delivered milk as well as other dairy products, and seem to be a precursor to Instacart, Amazon Fresh, and all the food delivery services. Not to mention, it was a way to reuse the glass milk bottles (remember, this was decades before recycling was a “thing”).
Regardless, when we taught at KIPP Houston High School, I asked our students if they had ever heard of a milkman. (Most had not.) And then (of course), I followed up with an assortment of other questions … Can jobs become obsolete? What creates new opportunities? Do you think there may be jobs in the future that no one has ever heard of yet? What can you do to be prepared? So, if nothing else, I hope the milkman makes you stop and think …
ostrich by nature, I guess sticking my head in the sand wouldn’t be the answer
you’re looking for. Although,
ironically, I find the less
news I watch, the better. But
a “trick” I learned as a teenager (when I was a kid, I thought it was a
punishment) is taking a nap, even if it’s only for 15 minutes. Sometimes just lying down, even when I’m not
tired, lets my batteries recharge. Other
times, when I have a lot going on in my head, I find a nap, or a short walk,
which gives me the added benefit of a little exercise, gives me a few minutes
of calm. Periodically, I tell Black that
I’m going to try to get away for a few days or even have a “staycation”,
where the objective is to do nothing, but it never seems to happen.
Of course, anyone that knows me knows that movies are my great escape. And, yes, it’s because I love the popcorn. But there’s something about getting lost in what’s on the screen and forgetting the craziness of everyday life. Even if that means my theater degree sometimes kicks in, and I’m analyzing the movie instead of enjoying it at face value.
Asking a workaholic how to relax or escape may seem like an oxymoron, but if you
will accept a “do as I say, not as I do” moment, I would suggest trying to find
balance. Of course, I have a car analogy
– a traffic light.
My escape, though, is through exercise. Although, I recently bought a hammock, which may seem strange for a workaholic living in a high rise. I was intrigued by the company (Yellow Leaf), their Shark Tank negotiations, and their backstory of empowering women by creating jobs that ultimately transform families. So, when I noticed they had a “Hammock Throne” (that is the actual name)that would fit in a corner of my balcony, I ordered it. Little did I know it would become a wonderful way to relax and a great escape (ok, I admit I use it to do business reading).
can tell you that what I think about them today, especially as they’ve
(so many celebrities
proudly display them), is very different than how I used to think about
them! Growing up, I thought
that only “bad people” had tattoos. And I couldn’t
quite understand why anyone would want to permanently “decorate” their bodies. Using needles, no less!
So, what changed? When my oldest daughter, Natasha, was fairly young, she talked about getting tattoos. She’s always been a non-conformist (I wonder where she inherited that trait), but I’ve no idea where the tattoo idea came from. And I never thought she’d be willing to endure the pain , especially since she has an extremely low (as in non-existent) tolerance for pain. Yet, she got her first tattoo on the day of her high school graduation instead of walking the stage. And while it was a simple outline of a bat, in honor of her love of bats , she has continued to get more elaborate ones over the years. And my younger daughter, Sawyer, who’s more like a mini-me and more traditional, totally surprised me when she decided to get her first tattoo.
Red neglected to answer the question as
to whether she would ever get inked.
Whereas I already have (warning:
tattoos can be
addictive). My first tat is
identical to Natasha’s bat, and I asked her permission to copy it as a reminder
of the special bond between us. My second
is the “perfect tattoos” (yes, plural) as it was Sawyer’s first, and we got them
done together. For me, while tattoos can
be beautiful works of art on their own, there is something very special about having
However, you must think about whether you will “outgrow” or regret the tat later. Keep in mind that while tats may have become more mainstream, there is still some stigma. (Some of my older and more conservative friends tried to hide their looks of disapproval when they saw mine.) It is a function of the other person’s age and prior exposure to tats, the specific tat and location (I still find some face tattoos scary), and your work environment.