Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Green Gift Guide

See the Current in Noblesville story here.

Sometimes it’s the little things that mean the most

By Krista Bocko

I recently made a meal and took it to a family I know that needs a little extra love and care. It really wasn’t a big deal (though it sort of is to me, which I will get to), but sometimes the little things can really mean so much. After all, it was just one meal, but when I look back at times when I have felt most cared for, it’s when friends made and brought me food when I really needed it, like after having a baby.

In the grand scheme of things, this meal took just a little effort, but, being somewhat prone to kitchen mishaps, taking on the task of feeding another family in addition to my own (which is challenging enough!) is not something I really feel equipped to take on.

Why do I do it? Because meals have meant so much to me, I feel compelled to ‘pay it forward’ in the very same way. Food touches people deeply. It’s such a primal and fundamental need, and to have that need taken care of, even for just one meal, is such a blessing.

So, not letting on to this family that I don’t love to cook (though they read my columns so I guess the secret is out! I hope you liked your meal), I set to work and pulled it off with only minimal incident. I pulled up to their house at six p.m. that night with three dishes and they were so grateful.

I’m happy I could do that small gesture of caring for them. Most of us don’t realize what a difference we can make in the lives of others. I want to be more aware of opportunities I can take to show people that I care, and I hope you will, too.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Want a savings tip for Black Friday? Don't shop

As Thanksgiving and the frenzied countdown til Christmas approaches, here’s a radical thought: I’d like to institute a Noblesville Buy Nothing Day.

Instead of falling prey to the Black Friday ads, grabbing credit cards and heading out in the middle of the night to wait in insanely long lines to score some crazy deals and spend too much money, how about doing the opposite, which is to reject consumerism and vow to not get sucked in to the commercial hype? All of that is ultimately empty anyway.

Buy Nothing Day, which is celebrated internationally, was first organized in Vancouver in September of 1992 as a way to reflect on over-consumption. Five years later, it was moved to the day after the American Thanksgiving, one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

Admittedly, it’s pretty easy for me to avoid the Black Friday feeding frenzy, because a.) I am cheap and don’t like to spend a lot of money at one time b.) I don’t like to shop c.) I don’t like to waste my time in lines d.) I don’t like crowds, especially shopping crowds and most especially holiday shopping crowds and e.) I try to reject over-consumption every other day of the year anyway.

Plus, all of that plastic bag consumption makes me crazy!

I would much rather stay home and be with my family, or visit friends and neighbors, or do something otherwise meaningful. (I’m sure I’ll be working in a little post-thanksgiving running and hooping in there too.)

Now, I’m willing to bend a little bit on the Buy Nothing Day concept, because I would be willing to venture to the downtown square or elsewhere in town  in order to shop the local businesses.  I will always choose to shop the independents before the chains if I can.

Soul Man: Cicero jazz guitarist digs deep to evoke a certain sound and feel in his music

By Krista Bocko

Current in Noblesville

His father provided the tools and his mother offered the advice.

And guitarist Steve Newby added the passion for music that would drive him to live each day to the fullest.

“Enjoy now,” says Newby, the Cicero man who will display his musical talents in a return appearance to Noble Coffee and Tea Co., Friday night. “I play music, and, if I get hit by a car crossing the street on the way home, I hope the show was good.”

Growing up in Lapel, Newby was one of six children born to James and Mary Newby. His father had the philosophy that if there were musical instruments around the house, the kids would learn them. His mother said, “Stevie, get in there and learn to play that guitar.”

At age 11, that’s exactly what he did.

The self-taught musician was fortunate to have been around some talented musicians at a young age. Influenced initially by country guitarist Chet Atkins, he eventually shifted to jazz musicians such as Lee Ritenour, Earl Klugh, Martin Taylor and Brian Setzer.

One of the reasons for Newby’s penchant for jazz is the improv aspect of it. Forget about theory. Forget about the American heritage of it all. A jazz musician doesn’t play like that, says Newby.

“It’s literally right off your head,” he explains. “There’s a chord chart. But all that stuff you hear? Most of that’s not written. One guy I played with did an 11-minute solo. There’s no way (it was written down). That music would go from here to the river. You just let it go from your soul.”

A favorite on the Indy jazz scene, Steve Newby and Conversation Pieces first played in Cicero Coffee Company more than 20 years ago. Coffee shops such as the welcoming coffee shop on the square remain a favorite venue.

Donning tuxes and with the promise of delivering a show “so fresh it’s still wet,” drummer John Schilk and jazz organist and Westfield native Chris Bales will join Newby Friday.

There’ll be no admission charge for the show, and the band will be playing for free.

“Everybody does it because they just like to do it,” Newby says. “When you walk into a club or a coffee shop, you’re getting musicians who play because they want to be here. They have a story.”

The story is an important element to Newby and it’s reflected in his music.

“I try to capture a very heartfelt rendering of the music,” he says. “Most have a very deep meaning, either from the words or something that triggered that through something in my life. Life’s journey has offered me times that weren’t so good, like all of us.”

“When I play certain songs it evokes a certain feeling in me. I’m able to capture that exact feeling, and I’ve surrounded myself with people who have stories also.”

Newby will introduce a new song, “There Will Never Be another You,” Friday night. First published in 1942, it was written by Harry Warren and Mack Gordon for the musical "Iceland” and has been recorded by many, including Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra. Newby’s rendition will be an arrangement with improv as inspired by jazz creativity.

Guests will also hear “The Nearness of You,” written by Indiana’s Hoagy Carmichael in 1938. Glenn Miller had a huge hit with “Nearness” in 1940, and Norah Jones brought it to the forefront in 2002 on her multi-Grammy-winning “Come Away with Me.”

“There’s a lot of depth to those songs,” Newby says. “I’m not interested in flair, speed, flash. I want people to go away and say ‘What was that?’

“I read the eyes in the crowd. I keep it moving and fresh and hit it and leave it. I’ve looked into a crowd and have seen people crying. To me, it’s like ‘I win.’ They win.’ ”

Steve Newby & Conversation Pieces

When: 7 p.m., Friday.

Where: Noble Coffee & Tea, 933 Logan St., Noblesville.

Admission: Free.

Info: www.reverbnation.com/stevennewby or search for Steve Newby on Facebook

Hamilton County’s best-kept secret

Every Saturday night a music happening takes place “in the middle of nowhere” and guitarist Steve Newby is often in the middle of it.

People flock from Indy, Kokomo, and surrounding communities to see a six-piece jazz band infuse a nostalgic old building, atmosphere and crowd with its special sound. The venue is the Atlanta Music Hall, about 20 minutes north of Noblesville in Atlanta.

“This is fulfilling for me and offers something to people who come to hear it,” Newby said. “The community gains from it in the fact that there’s live music. There’s not a lot of places like Noble Coffee or Hedgehog Showcase (in Arcadia) or Atlanta Music Hall.”

Shows in Atlanta are from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Saturdays, and open jam sessions are on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. There is no cover charge, but donations are accepted to assist with the operating expenses. Coffee and soft drinks are available for purchase. The hall is located at 135 W. Main St. For more information, visit http://www.theatlantamusichall.com/.

Candlelight Holiday Home warms to crowds for second year

By Krista Bocko
Current in Noblesville
If there’s anything better than an inaugural event, it’s the “second annual.” That means whatever happened the first time worked well enough to do it again.

And so it is with the popular Candlelight Holiday Home tour which again will take place in conjunction with Main Street’s First Friday Event Dec. 3.

Tour chairperson Joni Corbett had no idea what kind of attendance to expect last year. But she is planning for at least this year’s crowd to match last year’s attendance of 350.

"We were pleasantly surprised when last year's inaugural tour exceeded our expectations. This year we plan to build on that excitement by adding a fourth house and inviting additional retail shops to take part,” Corbett said.

The second Candlelight Holiday Home Tour, presented by the Noblesville Preservation Alliance, is set for Dec. 3 from 5-9 p.m. Luminaries will light the way to the homes and welcome visitors into four warm and welcoming historic private residences, all located on North 10th Street within walking distance of the Courthouse Square.

Four downtown shops will be participating in the event by showcasing their holiday wares in these special settings. Each participating shop will be decorating a home, and décor items will be available for purchase the night of the event.

Tour stops include a circa 1837 brick Federal/Italianate home, a Traditional style home built in 1941, a circa 1920 wood frame cottage, and a Dutch Colonial built in 1919.

Tickets prices at $5 for adults can be purchased on the Courthouse Square that night. Children 10 and under are admitted free. Advance tickets will be available beginning Nov. 26 at A Corner Cottage, 895 Conner St.; Larames, 942 Maple Ave.; The Linden Tree, 856 Logan St.; and Old Picket Fence, 894 Logan St.

Proceeds from the tour will fund NPA projects, such as the new homeowner façade grant program which will award $3,000 a year to historic home owners in the city limits for exterior improvements.

Visit www.noblesvillepreservation.com or call 317.73.4549 for more information.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

They Have It

You can always get what you want at Noblesville’s oldest continuously family-owned package liquor store.By Krista Bocko
Current in Noblesville

Four years ago, L.A. resident Bryan Glover returned home to Indiana for a family visit. He left with a whole new career as co-owner of a family business.

Call it fate. Call it perfect timing. Glover, frustrated with corporate America, had just “done a foolish thing” by quitting his corporate job. Being passionate about wines, and trying to figure out what to do next, he wrote a business plan to open a wine bar. He brought it with him to Indiana to get his uncle Myron’s opinion. Myron Glover, the owner of Mr. G’s Liquors in Noblesville, was in the midst of renovating the store. The plan included expanding the store’s massive wine department and, being a wine enthusiast, Bryan was excited.

So, when Myron casually suggested that Bryan consider becoming involved with the family business as a co-owner, an agreeable Bryan started making plans to move back here after almost 30 years in L.A.

“It sort of just evolved into ‘you know what? Maybe this is a really good idea. This is a great opportunity. Perhaps I can put this other idea (the wine bar) on the back burner and really get involved with this next generation of Mr. G’s to keep this family business going,’ ” said Bryan.

Mr. G’s was founded in 1977 by longtime Noblesville residents and family members Elijah, Wayne and Myron Glover. Over the past three decades, the store has evolved into a 5,000-square foot package liquor store that outgrew its previous two locations.

When Mr. G’s was founded, there were only two other package liquor stores in Noblesville, and those were the only places alcohol could be purchased. Today, the competition includes superstores, grocery stores and drug stores.

Mr. G’s takes their mission to provide great selection and customer service seriously.

“We’ve been around here a long time,” said Bryan. “A lot of our customers have been coming to this store for years, and we know them by name. We’ll carry your beer to your car for you. People like to feel special, and we try really hard to make them feel special in that way.”

“We want to have the products that our customers want,” Myron added. “There are always new products that are coming out so we keep our ears open for that.”

It’s no coincidence that the business newsletter is called “We’ve Got It.”

“If there’s something you want that we don’t have, we will get it for you,” Bryan said. “People know that ‘those guys will get me what I want.’”

Mr. G’s is like a candy store for alcohol buyers, with surprises and delights around every corner. The wine department, with many exotic and Indiana wines, is extensive. The store also stocks an array of trendy, craft beers, as well as seasonal products such as Pumpkin Spice Liqueur.

Mr. G’s offers individual bottles of craft beer for customers to build their own six- pack. General manager Kirk Baird, who has been with the store for 32 years, is an expert on them.

“We can’t possibly taste everything (in the store),” Bryan said, “but Kirk probably did taste the beer.

“There’s a lot of thought that goes into craft beer selection. There’s something different for each thing that you’re trying to do. If you’re sitting on your patio on a hot summer evening, the kind of beer you may want is very different than if you’re inside by the fireplace in December. ”

And if a customer is overwhelmed with choices and doesn’t know what to choose?

“We can tell by that look in your eye that you don’t know what you’re looking for and we make an effort to talk and make suggestions to you,” Bryan said. “We really try very hard to get to know you in some way and remember when you come back the next time what it was that you tried.”

Mr. G’s

2209 E. Conner St, Noblesville

Hours: 9 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-12:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Tastings every Saturday and sometimes Friday from 4-6 p.m. Open Thanksgiving Day 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Info: 317.773.3471, www.mrgsliquors.com

What’s hot

Craft beer -- Particularly IPA’s, Stouts, Belgian style ales

Wines -- From Chile, Argentina, South Africa and Spain

Spirits –Vodka’s flexibility for mixing makes it a versatile choice. Irish whiskeys, Kentucky bourbons and Canadian blended whiskey are also popular.

Ready-to-Drink Cocktails—Skinny Girl Margarita made with Agave Nectar. Low in calories.

Locally produced brands at Mr. G’s

Distillers: Heartland Distillers, makers of Indiana Vodka and Prohibition Gin (Indianapolis)

Wineries: New Day Meadery (Elwood), Oliver (Bloominton) and Easley (Indianapolis)

Breweries: Barley Island (Noblesville), Sun King (Indianapolis), Brugge (Terre Haute), Upland (Bloomington), Three Floyds (Munster)

Mr. G’s favorites

Red Wines

Kaiken Ultra Malbec - $19.99

R. Gassier Les Piliers Syrah - $14.49

Santa Ema Reserve Merlot - $11.99

Routestock Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon - $19.99

White Wines

Snoqualmie Naked Gewurztraminer - $12.49

Loosen Bros “Dr. L” Riesling - $11.49

King Estate Pinot Gris - $16.99

Toho Chardonnay - $15.99


Ommegang Abbey Style Ale - $7.99/bottle

J.K. Scrumpy Organic Cider - $6.49/bottle

Sun King Osiris Pale Ale - $10.99/4 pack

Three Floyds Gumball Head - $9.99/6 pack

Thanksgiving dinner picks

Mr. G’s tried and true options for the dilemma of what to drinks to serve with Thanksgiving dinner:

White wines – Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Riesling and Gewurztraminer

Red wines – Pinot Noir, Zinfandel or Syrah

Sparkling wine – Sparkling Vourvray or California Extra Dry

Beers – Amber ale, brown ales or Tripel ales for traditional turkey.

Scotch ale or Porter for smoked turkey.

Weizen, dubbel ale or dark lager for ham.

1 part vanilla or plain vodka

1 part Pumpkin Spice liqueur

Coat rim of glass with cinnamon-sugar. Combine ingredients in shaker with ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into martini glass and serve.

Corn syrup: sweet devil in diguise

The label on the bottle of ketchup at the grocery store proclaimed “NO High Fructose Corn Syrup”. It cost more than the others, but that’s the one I bought. I refuse to buy anything with High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) in it, or knowingly anyway, since sometimes I don’t notice until reading the label later.

HFCS is in the majority of breads, jams, jellies, yogurt, juice, cereals, candy, crackers, syrups, ice cream, applesauce…and the list goes on. In recent years HFCS has been implicated in the rise of obesity.

Now with the bad rap it’s gotten, products are being advertised as NOT having it, as in the ketchup example. Some soda companies are even reverting back to how they used to make soda—with real sugar.

In light of this, the Corn Refiner’s Association, realizing the ramifications of HFCS’s bad reputation, have renamed it “corn sugar.”

If you’re anything like me, you’re wondering why HFCS is in just about everything, instead of sugar. According to the “corn sugar experts” (www.sweetsurprise.com), HFCS provides “consumer benefits,” such as sweetness equivalent to sugar.

Which begs the question, why not just use sugar then? The answer, though you won’t hear it from the corn sugar experts, is that HFCS is cheaper than sugar, and products made with it have a longer shelf life than products made with sugar, which appeals to food manufacturers.

Neither one of which have anything to do with consumer health or benefits.

Sugar and HFCS are also processed by the body differently. I’m personally wary of anything chemically altered and mixed up in a science lab and presented to me as equal to sugar, which is at least naturally derived. And ultimately of course, limiting sugars and sweeteners is the best for our bodies, which are often overfed yet hungry for real food.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

‘The world is yours; be the one who stands out’

By Krista Bocko

I’ve always loved words. They amaze me in that, when strung together like beads on a string, they can form lovely, complete, and succinct works of art.

There are so many strings of words (aka quotes) that speak to me, and I collect them like crazy. Here are some words that I love, with the theme of living an authentic life.

First, this thought from American poet Clarissa Pinkola Estes, author of “Women Who Run with the Wolves:”
“The world is yours. Be, if you like, the one who stands out. The one who goes where others do not. The one in the picture to be circled in red as ‘not likely to be found here.’ Like any Aunt Edna. Anywhere. Any time.

“You were born free. Take it back. Take it all back. It is fine that you take up plenty of space on planet earth. Despite addled nay-sayers to the contrary, it always has been so that you were meant to be."
And these thoughts from American business magnate and inventor, Steve Jobs, co-founder and chief executive officer of Apple:
“Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.

“Your time is limited, so, don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma , which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

No, those aren’t my words but I wish I had written them because they certainly speak to me.

Historic Homes of Noblesville--1082 Maple Ave

Location: 1082 Maple Avenue

Owners: the Dawson family

Style & History: This home, built in 1909, is an American Foursquare, aptly named because of its shape and floor plan. This 2 story home has wide eaves, a hipped roof, and a wide front porch. The house, along with the home beside it, was built as a rental by Mary Craycraft, widow of Daniel Craycraft, who owned what is now known as the Victorian House and Carriage House, at 1095 Conner St.

What are your favorite features? “Even though I purchased during the winter, the garden is what sold me. The previous owners lovingly created a “cool old house” and preserved its character. It is not lost on me that this house has stood for over one hundred years, and I wonder what the walls have witnessed.”

What work have you done on your house? “I purchased this home in February of this year, so currently I’m just trying to make this house my own. I know little of gardening, so I am learning to maintain it.”

What do you like about this area/neighborhood? “It brings back memories of living in older homes with a front porch growing up. I can share with my children what was and is important to me: casual parties on the porch celebrating a birthday or quiet time on the porch swing. We’ve almost made an art of seeing how many places we can walk to.”

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Triple players--Local musicians push musical boundaries with new ‘Typewriters and Tarantulas” CD

                                                          image by Lucky Willow Photography
image by Melissa Glenn Photography

By Krista Bocko
Current in Noblesville

They had no name, and they didn’t know how to play their instruments.

But that didn’t stop two friends and a fellow guitar teacher from forming an eclectic, acoustic trio for accordion, upright bass and classical guitar that pushes the boundaries of genre and resists definition.

Call it “jazzpop Eurofolk,” for a lack of a better label. The Noblesville-based Tonos Triad does. Tonos (an ancient Greek musical concept about tension and pitch) and Triad (a three-note chord) is a name the threesome gave themselves when they needed one for their first gig in 2007 at an annual dinner for the Noblesville Preservation Alliance at Forest Park.

The name stuck, and four years later the threesome is poised to release its second full-length recording, “Typewriters & Tarantulas” at a CD release party Nov. 5 at Radio Radio in Fountain Square, near downtown Indianapolis.

“This new album has pushed more of those boundaries,” says Aaron Ransdell, the trio’s bass player. “We’ve got a reggae-ish vibe, the drop-D heavy metal, funk, and mixed in with that funky trilogy is a cowboy thing -- some rockabilly.”

It’s definitely a long way from the “Irish-sounding drinking songs” Ransdell and Noblesville resident Rod Schindler played four years ago. “That’s all we knew,” said Ransdell.

Schindler bought his first accordion for $80 out of the back of a van in a Steak ‘n Shake parking lot in Anderson. Ransdell, an old friend Schindler had known since their days as security guards at the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 2002, met guitarist Yevgeny Baburin when Baburin brought his guitar into the music shop to get it restrung.

They all had guitar -playing and teaching in common, but picked up different instruments for the band.

Influenced by the accordion-guitar-violin group Tin Hat Trio, Schindler chose accordion (he has since graduated to a full size vintage accordion he purchased on eBay). Ransdell wanted the experience of playing a fretless instrument, so, he began with the cello and later switched to upright bass. Baburin had never played classical guitar, and a guitarist wasn’t even in the band’s original plans, but “Yev has a unique style and similar tastes and was a good fit,” Ransdell explained.

Schindler, who teaches guitar (wife Amy teaches piano) at Schindler School of Music in Noblesville, plays mandolin and drums, in addition to accordion. He enjoys the process of collaboration in building a song.

“The fun thing about it for me is figuring out what the instrumentation is going to be,” he said. “ The band’s energy and passion for what they do is unmistakable. When asked why they do this, Ransdell responded: “Why wouldn’t we do this? We get to wear suits. We look cool. Playing music is what I have to do to feel like a person.”

“There are no agendas,” added Baburin. “ It’s just for people’s enjoyment.”

And the most difficult thing about what they do?

“Getting paid for it,” Baburin answered with a laugh.

Fountain Square, with its First Friday events that draw foot traffic, art, artists, musicians and people that “get it,” said Schindler, and the band considers it somewhat of a birthplace.

“It’s where we got the idea for putting the band together,” added Ransdell. “It’s where we met the artists who did our (album) artwork. We played in coffee shops and started building a fan base.”

On the other hand, the band is just as comfortable playing in a club as in a symphony hall like the Hilbert Circle Theater, where the band will play a series of dates next spring. That’s quite a leap from the early days when the trio played anywhere it could for free with a repertoire of only five or six songs -- repeating some of them the same night.

“We used to have to constantly seek out bookings,” recalled Ransdell. “Now people come to us.”

Tonos Triad Trivia

Artist William Lawson, who lives in Wheeler Arts Community in Fountain Square, designed the cover for “Typewriters & Tarantulas.” He collects them both.
Aaron Ransdell calls his upright “Val,” short for Valencia.
For more information and to purchase the new CD, visit http://www.tonostriad.com/
CD’s are available for online digital download, for purchase at the show at Radio Radio at Indy CD & Vinyl (www.indycdandvinyl.com) or at Luna music (www.lunamusic.net).

CD release party

Where: Radio Radio, 1119 Prospect St., Indianapolis

When: Doors 8 p.m., show 9 p.m., Nov. 5.

Cover: $5.

CD’s: $5 at the show.

Opening act: The Accordions with magic and comedy by Ryan Siebert at intermission.

Website for Radio Radio: www.futureshock.net

Schindler School of Music

What: Founding their school in 2004, Rod Schindler teaches guitar and Amy Schindler teaches piano to more than 60 students of all age and skill levels. “Our business model is different from the drop-and-drive music stores,” said Rod Schindler. “We know our families pretty well. They come here to sit on the porch. There’s room to sit and listen in and not be obtrusive. Parents can walk downtown. That was part of my vision, to give lessons in a place where I would like to be.”

Where: 1039 Logan St., Noblesville

Info: 317.774.8228, theschindlerschool@gmail.com

Rates: $20 per lesson, sibling discount of $5 per lesson

In review: my eight great causes

Over the past year, I’ve stirred up a little fury with my thoughts on a few controversial topics. Vaccinations? No sticks, please. Circumcision? Go natural. And, perhaps, divisive topics: Hummers and the oil spill. What a waste. What a shame.

To celebrate my first anniversary at Current, my editor thought it would be a cool idea to compile a review list of some of the hot button causes I have championed – a couple of which he reminds resulted in a few cancellation threats which were eventually quelled.

Here goes everything:

1. Reduce/Reuse/Recycle/DIY. I’ve written about include reusable bags, glass straws, line drying, cloth diapers, the tradition of curb shopping that I want to revive, my hippie parties where we make our own body care, and, of course, recycling. No Hummers!

2. Vaccination. My 2-year-old, if we followed the CDC vaccination schedule, would have received 27 sticks so far for a combination of 37 vaccines, an average of 1.5 per month. I can only foresee even more vaxes being added to the already (over) full schedule. Research and challenge with questions.

3. Birth matters. My first column here was on homebirth, which is a valid option for women who want to seek out the alternative to hospital birth. I think all low-risk women would do well to consider it, and there are homebirth midwives that serve this area.

4. Shop local. These business owners are the people who live and work and give back to your community. It’s so much more satisfying to shop local than to funnel more dollars into yet another chain store or restaurant.

5. Circumcision. More controversy here, but again, it’s worth questioning why this cosmetic procedure is even done with (in most cases) no medical reason.

6. Breastfeeding. Mothers should feel comfortable nursing their babies anytime, anywhere, without fear of harassment, embarrassment, or references to it being ‘creepy’.

7. Community. Here’s to block parties, house parties, book clubs, supper clubs, and just visiting on porches with neighbors. I think we all crave community and are somewhat at a loss to regain what we know intuitively that we’re missing in our lives. I’m trying to make efforts to help create it in my neighborhood, and so are my friends.

8. Soulfulness. I guess this is what it comes down to: being willing to question and change direction when necessary, seeking to go deeper relationally with yourself and others, and being your authentic self.

Thanks for reading me, whether you agree with me or not I just want you to think about it.