Monthly Archives August 2015

The Soap Slip Saver

On the first Thursday of every month I have lunch with my gardening mentor Andy Anderson. He is a grand guy with well over 30 years of experience as a soil scientist and general plant expert.

At our last lunch I told him that I was starting a weekly blog and that I had a mind to begin with the way that I used the last slip of soap in my shower by fixing it to a new bar. He immediately gave a deep chuckle, for which he is famous and said “I do the same!”

I really didn’t think that I had come up with a new idea but it felt really good to know that someone I knew and respected so much was also a soap slip saver.

If you are not a member of this “exclusive?” set, may I suggest a hint or two?

It helps if the unused bar has a slight concave base and matching curved top. As it gradually wears away it tends to retain its original shape.

When the time comes it is easier to keep on lathering until it’s almost too late, it’s easier to fix.



My example here is almost too large and needed to be warmed and scrubbed with an old toothbrush…no longer in use…but could always be re-employed if you have used a word that you have come to regret?

When the newly joined are left overnight I find they do well, even when secured one after another, again as shown.

So, what’s the point and why start a blog with such a mere slip of a thing?

I want to explore, with you, ways in which we might become a less consumptive people…alive, as we are, at this pivotal point in the history of our planet.

I really don’t care how apparently small and incidental the subject may be. It’s not the attainment that matters it’s the direction. After a good number of years paying attention to what I and my wife Treena eat, I have come to the conclusion that there are no good and bad choices…the only thing that really matters is…quantity and its calories. Eating less is almost always…best.

I don’t want to leave a lifetime of food experience behind but I do want to move on a bit and have a back and forth discussion (with you perhaps?) on how we might find ways to consume less, share more and by all means try to do less harm to both ourselves, those we love, our immediate community and beyond that…to this incredibly complex, beautiful and fragile planet.

I intend to make this as personal as possible and, as a result to avoid two major traps.

I do not want to be an ANGRY activist who declares anything as totally negative, reason and moderation should always be central to this exchange. I also want to avoid preaching at you. We live in a remarkable time where we still have, for the most part, the freedom to observe what others do (as in flash of silver examples) and choose to join in or not.

There will be a time when, if we do nothing, there will be regulations that strongly urge us to consume less…let’s get there before the rules begin?


UPSTREAMING…the motive behind the ‘movement’

Last week I launched this blog with a ‘mere slip of a thing’ about saving a tiny piece of soap.  It was the most minor, almost incidental example of a personal choice that reminds me, every time I shower, that there are new opportunities, every single day, to consume less, share more and do less harm…what I have come to call ‘Upstreaming’.

Today I want to lay out my reasons for this quite personal choice and why I should like to share this journey with you. Since I don’t have all the answers it seems like a good idea to ask a couple of questions.

Do the present ‘circumstances’ of the world demand any special action from the present population?

Is there a generally perceived problem facing the entire human race?

One overarching issue appears, at least to me, to be the population, which now stands at 7.3 billion and is increasing by about 14 million a year.  By 2042 we are projected to reach 9 billion and to flatten out at 10 billion by 2064.

Water would appear to be the immediate critical issue and this is rapidly effecting basic crops and the energy generation that requires vast amounts of water for both steam and fracking for shale oil and natural gas.

Industry will likely suffer from these disruptions and, as a result, fewer goods may be produced and the demands of those coming out of poverty will be harder to satisfy. This could lead to social unrest as comparisons are made between competing cultures on the web and elsewhere.

Peace and goodwill toward all men is therefor unlikely, especially if we continue at our present pace of consumption. Major evidence of this trend will, I believe, become obvious by 2020 and critical by 2040.

Is there any action that can be taken to slow this decline in the quality of human life on this planet?

Indifference could well be the primary cause of the possible decline that faces us. Many are satisfied with the status quo…(for the most part), providing that we advantaged people can heat and cool and feed ourselves at reasonable prices. We may be aware of the increasing threat to those less fortunate but we can see little logical reason to believe that a decision to curb our use of basic resources would have the slightest impact upon ‘those other peoples’ lives.

I strongly believe that there is a solution and it is centered in the word RESILIENCE.

If I begin with my own self-interest and seek out regular habit patterns that may harm me, either physically, emotionally or spiritually and decide to make changes that are of benefit to my own life and those whom I love. Then move beyond my immediate self-interest, to embrace with compassion, those who are obviously at risk and to do so in a committed, consistent manner. Then I would begin to see the global risk factors addressed, even though the effect would be minimal. Others may at least see me as a ‘Flash of Silver’ encouragement and that is how movements begin.

The great obstacle to this idea is the word IMMEDIATE and this is the urgent demand made by our present communications systems that facilitates the modern marketing machine that drives consumption beyond our global ability to sustain such growth.

As a result I feel that there is a motive that can change my perception of the world for the better. To learn how to love my neighbor as myself and in so doing to seek how to do less harm to my family, my community, my world and myself and to work toward a return to resilience in all things, as apparently, was the original design intention?

This then, is my purpose as I commit to heading upstream on purpose, with you?

My slip of soap reminds me of this commitment every day and I get to smile as I lather!


Graham Kerr
Mount Vernon, Washington.
“I believe that I shall see the goodness of God in the land of the living”


64. Return To The Redd

Slow down to do what? Slowing down makes so much sense in our ever speedier world but slow down to do what?  Surely, as we have the time to ponder…we may become aware of a new, bold, focus and purpose for living? Have you found renewed purpose after taking the time to slow down?

Neighbors: We can catch up on the world news in just one keystroke but what do we know of our neighbors and their needs of us?  Are you somehow “connected” to your community and aid its resilience?

Answers and Awareness: In our case we believe the answers we have received from one small voice amid all the babble of our times. Our lives reflect that belief…at least we hope they do. Does your life reflect your awareness of what you have come to understand as the truth?


63. Community

Despondence: When the economy “tanks” it is easy to pick up on a general mood of despondency. Somehow it is the wrong direction? Does your attitude follow the Dow Jones average?

Happiness: We discovered that “happiness” results when one becomes involved with our neighbors/community and collectively aim to make a positive difference. Have you joined up with others to make life happier somehow?

Time or Money or Both: Giving is often a matter of writing a check and mailing it. Hands-on service is much more time consuming. Have you chosen to give both your time and your financial support to someone?


62. Topless In Tennessee

Choice…big or small? Numerical or financial success is always measured. Ways that suggest the greatest return beckon; yet the less attractive path can lead to greater understanding. Have you chosen a less promising option…and succeeded?

Housing by the inch: We planned our final home by the useful square inch. No wasted space but enough room to breathe! Have you opted for a smaller space in which to live…and love it?

Appearance (from the street): Once again I had a choice. One in which we were ready to move into a manufactured home. Are we able to set aside what our house looks like after years of being house-proud?


61. Walking In The Light

Childhood pain: Certainly tough things happened to children and the pain inflicted can last a lifetime. We, in our youth, can also add to the damage done. Could some of your memories be…mistaken (not all…just one or two?)

Damage control: It had been years since I had lied and nobody would ever find out the truth. I knew, however, and I needed to set the record straight. Is there someone, somewhere, that you need to see and with whom you could be reconciled by the truth?

Recording faith: The dear church folks made a record of what they thought might have been a direct “word” from God. Have you experienced a “thought” so powerful that it felt like it could be from God? What was that?


60. Pulling A U-Turn

Outer image: Does one’s appearance matter when it is more a matter of “content”? Do you think that your chances of success are improved by what you wear?

Fast U-turns: It’s relatively easy to let circumstances lead us to pull fast changes. It’s harder…but better (?) to slow the process down as much as possible. Have you ever made a slow (extended) U-turn? How did it play out?

Depth of understanding: I wanted our viewers to get enough real understanding and not just “skip” something by them. Has speed robbed us of our “depth” of understanding?


59. The Irritant

Core Purpose: Our Mini-Max idea was designed to minimize risk and maximize flavor. It was less entertaining than my Galloping days and years ahead of its present day popularity. Did you have a great idea that was ahead of its time?

Snapping point: Very little of benefit ever comes from impatience! I had finally had it and went to the courts to defend myself. Nobody, eventually, won! Have you avoided litigation by being restrained and patient?

Reconciliation: We reached a settlement but not reconciliation. I deeply regret that fact and should have made an attempt. Is there still time for you to seek for reconciliation with someone who was once a “good” partner?


58. The Penultimate Plan

A simple request: It began simply enough but it had a life of its own when once the “profit motive” was embraced by all. Did you ever decide to “go beyond” your well-considered plans and did that result in a situation like ours?

Dependency: We began our return to the media as a way to be free of the need to be supported as a non-profit. Our choices led us into a total dependency that held us up for many years. Have you ever felt such a sense of obligation? How did you get free?

Lighting strikes…twice? Our early success became everyone’s expectation. I was apparently the same man…but what I now did was so different! Can “change” sometimes mean that we are less successful?


57. Up, Up and away

Faith alone: By some it is considered the “gold standard” of sincere belief…to “let go and let God”. In our case it had been more a matter of presumption than faith. Have you presumed and suffered an adverse consequence?

Halving the risk: It is a place to start; simply list the possibly risky foods and half the serving size. Fill the plate with the beneficial foods you love. It works! Have you ever tried this kind of overall portion exchange –did it work?

Willingness: It really does take “two to tango”. I needed Treena to fully understand and be willing to make the creative changes she did…wholeheartedly. Have you “agreed together” with someone else to make major changes?

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