Thursday, January 31, 2008

Relevant Times Radio Divas @ the Studio

Watch a tiny bit of what the Divas do every Thursday morning during their 1-hour radio show on

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Is Print Really Dead? Slow Publishing part 2

continuing on the theme brought up in an earlier post, we are still discussing the fate of ink on paper . . . it is an interesting debate and seems that whatever side you fall on, most are pretty strident in their support of their belief in favor of keeping print on life-support or doing the Kavorkian thing and moving on to the next world (the digital realm).

we as a media company have not come up with any clear cut answers yet. and it is hard to let go of something tangible that feels almost like a child of sorts. the labor involved (which none of us would really miss that much), binds you to it in a special way.

everywhere i went last week there were RT readers gushing about how much they LOVE the magazine. i just smiled and said thank you while thinking - gee how would you feel if i told you it might just go away? i didn't have the heart to spring it on any of these folks as they were so happy and i in turn appreciated and absorbed some of that good stuff. hard to let that go.

we've been turned on to, which could be the next we may have an opportunity to make our video broadcast entry here pretty painlessly. this could help people find our budding website, but can this really replace the magazine for 'on the street' 'hands-on' coverage?

talked to my trusted hair guy, Duane, this afternoon while getting a much-needed cut and color (all natural and really does look great!), and he said that honestly, he would NOT read much on the web and prefers print. he is one of our loyal sponsors of our internet radio show and he has NEVER listened to it. at least he's honest about it! although he said his partner is ALL about the web and surfs and reads stuff from there all day long.

no clear answer. dunno. seems like we (maybe the 'we' is us over 30) just aren't ready to totally let go of print.

we want your input. please weigh in and let us know how you feel in general and if you are a RT reader and/or browser, let us know how you feel about print v. all digital.



Sunday, January 27, 2008

Get Smart.

I got a little smarter today in more ways than one. First, at services this morning at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, I learned that Grist has this great resource on their site called 'How Green is Your Candidate?' - check it out! Hilary is actually rated the highest.

Then we went over to SmartWorld Coffee in Morristown for a cuppa organic, fair trade java and some Go Organics Community Crunch granola - see Chef Judy holding Benjamin who is holding my free bag -- she was giving out free samples of the yummy stuff you can purchase there every day! See some of Chef Judy's sacred recipes in the Jan/Feb issue of Relevant Times.

While there, I got even smarter after test driving this cute new Smart Car from Mercedes-Benz. There I am in the little pregnant roller skate. James is in the doorway in the background. I must say it was liberating to drive such a small car since I usually drive this big Plymouth Grand Caravan every day. I was a little disappointed that it's not hybrid or anything - uses gasoline and only slated to get 40 mpg city/highway! The low-end model is going for about $11,000 -- According to the friendly salesperson (whose name I don't remember), we're the 37th country to get the car - it sells big in Rome. There's a nine-month wait for it, you put $99 down and they start building one for you.
All in a Sunday's work!
:) Jen

Slow Publishing

jen and i have been engaged in a deep discussion among ourselves, our staff, and our partners about the print aspect of our little multi-media empire. we are all about finding the most sustainable ways to do what we do, which includes minimizing the resources burned up to produce everything - money (a vital aspect of any sustainable business), being one of those resources.

although we do everything we can to minimize any negative impact environmentally, printing the magazine is the least 'green' of our outlets. but, we both feel strongly about the need for a tangible product to hold onto and read. maybe we are old-fashioned, but we both still like a good magazine for varying reasons.

the wide variety of ages in our demographic range is one of the reasons we are a multi-media company. we know as well as anyone in this business that there is a huge shift to electronic broadcasting and the younger among us is already there.

this is forcing those of us weaned on print media to start thinking, writing, and editing in smaller bits of information. our editorial attention span is shrinking rapidly. (you can see why i love this blogging thing - don't feel the 300-500 word count constraint here).

jen and i both have a resistance to giving up the print concept, even though it would be soooooooo much easier on us in so many ways. perhaps it represents a loss of some editorial structure or integrity that just don't seem to exist in the same way on the web.

sometimes what we want to say or what needs to be shared can't be said well or distributed effectively through an electronic-only platform.

we were ranting about this friday, when jen came up with a brilliant concept - slow publishing. we are both supporters of the slow food movement and think that in many ways there could be a parellel. the most glaring analogy being slowing down enough to appreciate what is presented and how it nourishes us, where it comes from and how it came into being.

can we really do this when are reading things in 'txt msg' sized bytes of information boiled down to 3-letter initial-cap phrases, like LOL, TTYL, BRB . . . if you want to know what these mean, talk to one of your teenage children or friends. we're eliminating full words, vowels, and of course capital letters in many cases (yes, i'm one of THOSE folks that loves to stream-write casually - guilty.).

not that these things don't have a place and aren't part of an innovate move towards some positive aspects of a new information age, but do we have to let go of everything from the old school? and does it mean i'm old because i still like to read those long, and mostly thought-provoking articles in the New York Times Magazine on sundays (even if it takes me a couple of days to finish them!)?

so much of what we talk about when we share ideas for practical sustainable living is a return to common sense or more traditional ways of doing things, which so often was a simpler and less wasteful way of being. when my grandmother used to carefully and painfully slowly unwrap a gift so that she could fold up the wrapping paper and reuse it, it wasn't becuase she was concerned for trees or the impact of paper production or global warming. it was because she came from a generation that didn't waste because they didn't have the money or these items just weren't as easy to come by as they are today.

okay, enough for now.

how do you feel about 'slow publishing'?


Another GD Walk in the Woods

that's Grateful Dead, not the common expletive often associated with GD.

okay, so last week i pontificated about the benefits of communing with nature as i had a helpful and healing walk in the woods.

THIS week, i marched into the cold wilderness with a different perspective . . .

this past week i experienced a technological miracle and my iPod was liberated from a year in some kind of mp3 purgatory and i was able to not only clear it off to make room for some new music, i was indeed able to upload some of my favorite new music. sounds simple, but in this regard (and perhaps a few others), it has been a frustrating year.

music is kind of like nature for me - it often can completely shift my state of being and have a deep emotional impact on me, almost always in a good way.

maybe it was the sun shining this morning or the fact that it was 7 degrees warmer, but i decided to bring along my personal soundtrack and grabbed my iPod. i wanted a different kind of spiritual experience. i occassionally like rockin down the wooded trail.
i love to set the music to 'shuffle' and see what that randomness brings. i always struggle when a tune arrives that i really don't feel like listening to. i feel obligated to hear it through as if it will feel neglected or rejected if i press forward and leap over it. also, i live in fear that i will give the little electronic brain that lives in the shuffle component the wrong idea. it seems to pay attention to what i like or don't like. i can hear the patterns. i mean, what if i like that music next week and the iPod misinterprets my mood and i never hear the song again? (how about that for drama!)

this morning's shuffle didn't require any inner debate (perhaps becacuse i removed the annoying tunes and uploaded different ones?). i was quite happy to groove along with some early grateful dead at the start of our journey. when johnny winters cued up, i wasn't sure this was somehow appropriate, but i almost danced down the trail and the dog, while perhaps not listening, reponded to my childish glee and seemed to dance along with me. love how the shuffle switches gears on me and i heard a soulful joan baez and a meditative, new agey andreas vollenveider before the little brain in the iPod knew exactly what to do and lit upon one of my all-time favorite grateful dead trips, terrapin station.

by the time it came on, i was on the last bit of my dance with nature, so i slowed down and listened to perhaps one of the most finely produced grateful dead epic ballads brought on by jerry garcia and robert hunter (and probably some LSD). i defy anyone to follow the storyline in the lyrics in one sitting. it is almost impossible to not get utterly lost in the musical side trails. not their traiditonal spacejam, but one that is so carefully produced that it has a mood-altering affect.

so, here i find an added benefit to my natural medicine: meg + nature + good music = excellent mood enhancer, sans drugs or chemicals!

i'm enjoying my sunday so far, how about you?



Friday, January 25, 2008

Testing fun sustainable pet products

one of the best parts of this job is that we get to test and review a lot of products. they just seem to magically show up on the doorstep. some of them we request from the hundreds of press releases we receive, but some we have no idea how they get here!

today, i opened a package from West Paw Deisgn, who are creating durable products for pets from environmentally sustainable manufacturing materials and processes.

i've gotten cool pet products before, but as soon as i opened these, i saw that one was for woody (the golden retriever boy), and one was for spooky (cool black cat). it took them all of 30 seconds to get into action . . .

i'm sure there is catnip in this one!

woody was equally enamored with his and grabbed it AND spooky's toy and within 2 minutes had the squeaker out of his and most of the stuffing pulled out. he likes to pull it all apart and sleep with it - almost like a nest. he will carry around the shell for months (if it doesn't get too nasty, in which case we eliminate it when he isn't looking - i know cruel, but hey, he has others, believe me!).

meg :)

What is Sustainability? an ongoing dialog, part 1

Since we got the ball rolling back in 2006 for this incarnation of Relevant Times, Jen and I and our enthusiastic staff have continually asked ourselves and anyone who would listen - What IS sustainability?

The only thing that is consistent about the multitude of answers is that it means different things for nearly everyone. It seems to vary depending on an individual's priorities, whether it is family, sustainable local economies, sustainable agriculture, eco-home, etc.

Jen and I take a holistic approach to sustainability in that for us it is a lifestyle and we consider the sustainability not only of the various aspects of our lives, but how these affect the community as a whole.

Things can get complicated when we then see how each 'category' in this lifestyle has its 'shades' of green and varying points of entry for anyone who is curious or interested in beginning the journey towards healthy, more whole living.

There are a million different ways to join the sustainability movement - some are judged greener than others, but who are the judges, where exactly are the standards? There are cool organizations like Co-Op America.

The green-extreme folks argue against carbon offsets being bought by mega-corporations as greenwashing, but at these seminal stages of what needs to be generations of change, isn't ANY step towards a more sustainble way of doing things (especially if it does indeed go towards renewable energy sources and research!) a positive thing?

I know I could easily be accused of being a very pale shade of green in certain areas of my life. I simply don't have the resources to get off the grid, nor am I entirely sure I would want to in my present circumstances.

We often have to make hard decisions that sometimes will compromise our ideals in order to sustain ourselves in a rough and tumble economy and ever-challenging world.

We would really love to hear your thoughts on this!


Wednesday, January 23, 2008


My little guy, Benjamin is a big chewer. I swear he was born teething. Of course I shopped the standard baby supply marts for a 'clean' 'safe' pacifier for him, but none was to be found. They were all made of silocone or latex. I was so concerned about what chemicals might leach from them, so I began looking for a good binky for him. Lo and behold, while scanning my latest daily digest of email from the Holistic Moms Network National Loop, I found a post about EcoBinky available at EcoPiggy So I ordered two. These pacifiers are made from pure rubber from the rubber tree, Hevea Brasillensi. The protein that on rare occasions can provoke a latex allery has been removed from the rubber mass of these pacifiers, which means ther eis not risk of latex allergy, no chemical softeners, parabens, PVC or phthalates AND it's not made in China but in the EU. YAY! Benjamin loves his ecobinky and so do I.


Monday, January 21, 2008

an MLK day

"Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted"
Martin Luther King, Jr.
i often feel 'creatively malajusted'. this quote makes it almost seem like a good thing!
i took the time this morning to reflect on the man, the myth, the spirit behind the national holiday that is keeping things quieter than normal today.
of course Martin Luther King, Jr. was not the first nor will he be the last to reflect the powerful message of truth in love rather than hate and peace rather than perpetuating voilence, but like the others who came forth and suffered for it, he knew that to be silent at a time when silence was rewarded and ignorance was an accepted standard would be to deny an inalienable truth.
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter"
Martin Luther King, Jr.
i often wish i had just 1/25th the courage Dr. King had. i'm working on it . . . progress seems slow.
meanwhile, i appreciated the opportunity to take the time to meditate on his message, which no matter how many times i hear it or read it holds some new inspiring aspect.
i encourage you to take the time to watch history in action and see what inspires you today.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Superbowl 42 going green?

okay, so today my family, which includes all kinds of extended family member on 'game' days, shows up for the all-important Giants playoff game.

i tried to act disinterested, but i got caught up in the frenzy as we screamed, lept from our seats, grumbled and yelled at the coaches about how they should do it.

anyone that knows me, knows that i am as true a peacenik as anyone, but i also come from a father who was a phenomenal athlete and who would've played professional football (he was recruited from Colgate) had he not done his patriotic duty by heading off to WWII instead.

so, being a woman of diverse and complex interests, i can't deny my excitement.

jen and i were quoted several times in a great story about green business in the Daily Record today. while ripping apart the newspaper to find our 'cover' story for their new special business section, i came across a piece about the greening of the superbowl. this intrigued me, so i decided to check it out on the official Superbowl 42 website.

must be some monsterous offsets, and they'll need to plant thousands of trees to offset the carbon output!

glad they are making some effort, but not sure if this might not qualify as an example of 'greenwashing'. especially when it is used for marketing/promotional purposes.

what do you think?


Saturday, January 19, 2008

Walk in the woods rant

i've learned a few things over the years, but one that is perhaps the best medicine for most spiritual, mental, emotional ailments is the good old walk-in-the-woods cure.

seems that no matter what time of year or the weather conditions, there is something magical that occurs when i suit up and march out to the nearest wooded path (sans iPod) to get some fresh air and a fresh perspective on things.

despite the cold, muddy/icy conditions, i've been out twice in the last two days - tells you something about my condition!

this morning as i was crunching along on the iced-over mud trying to get into the spirit of this little journey without breaking my neck, i realized how little i have done this since last fall.

as i tried to clear my mind, which seemed a useless effort, i started considering what good medicine this walking in nature has always been for me. sometimes i resist it, but once i get there, i always feel some of the burdens of life lighten up as does my perspective on everything.

i ruminated on the fact that while i felt 'down' or 'sad' or even god-forbid 'depressed' during difficult times in my life, i had somehow found strength through various healthy practices (spiritual connection, good friends, exercise, nature, chocolate . . . ). more than once, well-meaning doctor types have tried to convince me that pharmaceuticals could 'help' me get through these times.

it's been tempting. i've had some serious losses, but i've been fortunate not to encounter anything other than what i consider to be situational or normal depression during these times.

i started to think about how completely depressing our culture really is! no wonder all these anti-depressant drugs are so popular. yes, we have more material things than almost anyone on earth, but our spiritual, emotional, mental state seems to be constantly under threat of broadcasted negativity and fear. i think we are a culture that is so caught up in avoiding the truth about certain things and the pain we'd have to feel to accept it that we just keep running in various ways to push it aside - don't feel, don't think, don't stop. it occurs to me that the boom in the pharmaceutical culture makes sense.

i'm not saying that medicine hasn't saved lives or isn't appropriate for some folks, but i do think we as a society are always looking for the quick and easy way to avoid facing our collective and personal realities. i know i'm guilty of it sometimes, but sometimes i find that going back to basics and good old fashioned common sense helps me get back to some sense of balance in the midst of all the chaos. the woods and nature help me with that. puts me in touch with something more enduring than the fleeting images electronically blasted my way.

the rocks and trees sometimes reflect some sadness from pollution that is affecting them, but other than that, they are a quiet steady reminder that there is life despite the illusion of winter or stockmarkets falling or war or epidemics of obesity and sickness or cancer. somehow nature just keeps chugging along.

i pick up on this and it helps me to realize that i too can keep chugging along.

so, make some time to go out and acknowledge some nature today. good medicine.


Friday, January 18, 2008

Hi there!

Welcome to our crazy, multi-media world. Jen and I are broadcasting a good deal of our personal lives as we strive for sustainability through our professional lives with Relevant Times. Okay, so the bi-monthly print magazine is a production deal that is like giving birth every two months (we can both testify to that as mothers of 5 kids between us!). We've been operating on passion, fumes, and amazing good will on the part of many supporters (incuding our weary and underpaid staff).

We're trying to focus more attention on this very expansive (and more sustainable, less carbon output) electronic world. Have you seen our website? Our fab interactive team has done an amazing job and even more amazing, they have trained us to do most of this on our own now - watch out world!

So, we're planning on updating the website a few times per week and doing more with stuff like this. Sign up for the eNews Updates and we'll keep you posted about some of our interesting guests for the radio show and our latest TV interviews too!

Jen and I really want to interact with more of you. So . . . Post away! Let us know what you want to talk about and what you care about.

We certainly have stuff to say.