Category Archives: Opinion

Pet of the month club: animal fostering is fun!

Porcellino PigThis is a picture of Guinea Pig Porcellino (little pig in Italian) and her babies that we fostered for the Humane Society. She was pregnant when we first brought her home, and we fostered her through her pregnancy, birth, and 2 weeks afterwards so she could wean her babies.  What a lot of fun!

Some people choose to foster all animals, others choose just dogs, cats, or in our case just small rodents (rabbits, hamsters, and guinea pigs).  When you decide you want to foster, Continue reading

Boring, practical investments are exciting again

I’ve been thinking about the word ‘investment’ lately.  20 years ago, when I was first married, my husband and I went to a financial planner because we DIDN’T have much money and we wanted to be wise stewards of what little we had.  We got started putting money in a savings account, then added bond and mutual funds, and a little while later started IRAs so we’d have something saved away for retirement… pretty boring stuff for newlyweds, but right up the alley Continue reading

Nurturing yourself by taking time to heal

Many times it’s those people who don’t think they are heros who teach us the most about bravery, kindness, and life.  A good friend of mine, Laurie Larsen-Caesar, is in the midst of radiation (after going through chemo, then surgery…yup, she’s had the whole 9 yards).  Often we see cancer as a battle, a fight.  We want our friends with cancer to Win.  We want them not to be in pain, so we send our love, prayers, cards, food, and wonder if it’s enough.  Wanting to do more but not knowing what.

Recently my friend posted this blog entry:  “I’ve been resting, Continue reading

Why do our celebrations encourage a race to the bottom?

The other day a friend posted on facebook that he cooked up potato skins with cheese and bacon for Thanksgiving.  When his friends reminded him that turkey would be better for him (he’s had heart surgery and his health has been touch-and-go) he responded he doesn’t like food that’s better for him.

A young mom  described her drinking binge, and how ill she was today.  Her partying friends retorted,  “I’ll drink for you!”  Another has a family history of alcoholism and “needs to drink to feel sociable”.  Her addiction is placated by her friends.

A middle-aged woman trying to lose weight confided in her friends that cheese is her downfall  Continue reading

Pumpkin Pie leads double life

This is the best pumpkin pie ever.  I  invented this pumpkin pie recipe when my kids were small so they’d eat more beans and veggies.  In fact, this basically is a pumpkin/tofu/egg casserole disguised as a pie.  We always double this recipe to make 2 pies.

Pumpkin/Tofu/Egg Casserolle (Pie)

2 large eggs Continue reading

Throwing stones isn’t helpful

Be constructively engaged in a solution, instead of throwing stones from the sidelines.

Free pet snails are low maintenance

If you’re looking for free and easy pets, check the yard.  A few years ago my daughter found these large and colorful snails in our garden.  We had a glass fish bowl laying around, which my daughter cleaned every week, putting in fresh grass, leaves, and sticks from outside.

These photos were taken without the cheesecloth cover rubber-banded on top.  You’ll need to have a breathable covering on top so your pets don’t crawl out and become escargo for other animals in Continue reading

Thought leader Tobias Schmidt asks some very good questions

On Nov 12, 2012, at 10:36 PM, Tobias Schmidt wrote:
Hello Ms Hughes
my name is Tobias, I’m a graduate student at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, and together with three classmates I am working on a research piece about the sharing economy (i.e. everything related to renting, re-using and of course: swapping). In our project (which is supported by the municipality of Vancouver) we try to relate all findings to the question how municipalities can support or accelerate the growth of the sharing economy. My part is to focus on the cities of Portland and New York, both having a good and innovative reputation concerning this Continue reading

Build-A-Building: The all-in-one doghouse, chicken coop, playhouse, shed

Imagine a backyard building system that was so easy to put together and take apart that a 5th grader could do it.  Imagine instructions you could download free online that were as accurate and easy to follow as IKEA or Lego kits.  Imagine not having to get rid of the dog house, the shed, the chicken coop, the play house when you were done with it…. but instead be able to re-form the components from the old building you no longer use, into a new building you CAN use?

Wouldn’t it be great if you had re-usable, interchangeable building pieces that you could reconfigure as your needs changed?  Let’s say Continue reading

Nice guys finish first

I like nice guys.  The #1 thing I like about my husband is his kindness (followed closely by his humor, and also we can’t forget his dashing good looks).  I’ve noticed some of my younger friends have their eyes on the nice guys too.

One young lady asked me ‘is it weird that I like the teacher-looking type?  I mean, the nice slacks, dress shirt, slender, glasses, serious kind of guy who is employed in a regular job?’  Not all women are after Indiana Jones or Magic Mike.  In fact often that kind of devil-may-care or I’m-to-sexy-for-myself behavior is a turn-off. Continue reading

A better roof (possibly with a rain water purification system)

I have an idea I want to share to create a non-toxic, food-grade roof, since we need a new roof for our modest Portland Oregon home.  I want to replace my aging roof with shingles made of a non-toxic food grade material to provide clean rainwater for watering my edible landscape, and possibly for emergency drinking.  My current patch-job asphalt roof is made of petro-chemicals, which flake off into my rain barrels, which then is used to water my edible plants.  The roofers, builders, and rain barrel sellers I’ve talked to say there is no such thing as a non-toxic food-grade roofing material that is reasonably priced and would work on my home*.  I’m looking for a product already in use possibly elsewhere in the world, or a company willing to invent/sell a food-grade roofing product for a reasonable price.

Why are roofs made that pollute clean rainwater? Everyone living in Continue reading

Why do we poo in our fresh drinking water?

With the scarcity of clean drinking water in the world, why do we still poo in our fresh drinking water? Modern sanitation has wiped out diseases and stuff, and it’s convenient to poo in a toilet, flush, and have a stream of water wisk our load away  quickly out of sight.  But this system was developed when clean water was an endless resource, and times have changed.

Here’s a few things for thought leaders to mull about.

1. We could use gray water instead of fresh water Continue reading

Jumping into the abyss

October 31st, 2012, I’m jumping into the abyss.  Starting a new blog.  Attempting to capture new and better ideas that will be a muse to other thought leaders.  There are so many people making a positive difference, but it seems like we rarely hear about them with all the cacophony of news that caters to violence.  Violence won’t make our world – or our own souls – better.   So that’s why I’m starting this blog, to create a haven for thought leaders, innovators, and others seeking an alternate source of better ideas.

Recently I was sharing with a neighbor about a non-toxic food grade roof  idea I’d entered in a contest.  She basically told me that my ideas are odd.  She also posed that toxins are everywhere and there’s nothing we can do about it-  that maybe I should stop wasting my time/energy working on clean roof projects.

That got me to thinking.  She’s half right.  I’ve got all these ideas to make the world a better place.  But I don’t have an engineering degree.  I don’t have deep pockets.  But I am curious, and I’ve had successes in implementing some of my ideas. I have a diverse group of friends and family with differing talents and abilities (including my good friend above).   It would be great to find a group of like-minds when it comes to better ideas and thought-leader thinking.  So, I’m starting this blog to put my ‘odd’ ideas out there and see who bites:)  Hopefully others with odd ideas will be encouraged to  make the world better one little talent, one little kindness, one little idea at a time.