Thursday, June 18, 2015

How a Kickstarter Campaign can save Humanity

I’m sure almost everyone is aware that bees are dying off. When I first heard this news, I remember thinking, “It’s about time, I hate bees.”

Bees have terrified me since I accidentally touched one sitting behind my ear when I was six years old. I thought it was a piece of hair that came loose from my pony tail. It stung me on the bony part behind my ear the second I placed my index finger on it, and I remember it brought on tears instantly. It was then that I decided I hated bees.

So yes, the news of vanishing bees made me happy at first hearing.

My happiness quickly faded after a recent encounter with an activist.

“You do know the bees are responsible for a little over one-third of what you eat, right?” He said.
I laughed it off.

“I mean I know that bees are responsible for honey and pollinating flowers,” I responded, clearly blinded by my ignorance. “Trust me - I can live without my plant allergies acting up every spring.”
He then explained the importance of bees to many OTHER plants.

When a bee lands on a flower, it’s very tiny, but hair body collects pollen off of the plant. When bees travel to various crops, it then transfers the pollen to new flowers, allowing the plants to pollinate (reproduce) with each other. I guess I never put two-and-two together.

 There are plants that MUST be pollinated by fruit and crops that’s quality improves by bees – like the important ones that make the maple almond butter I’m addicted to, the strawberries I look forward to eating every summer, the spinach I put in my salads (or on my hamburger – come on, let’s be real for a second here, I’m not always plant protein and nut butters) – yeah, bees pollinate all that.
Actually, bees pollinate one-third of the food we eat. Bees are responsible for pollination of more than 800,000 acres of California almonds. Imagine the inflation of prices for almonds if pollination declines. According to the Property and Environment Research Center, the retail price of a $7 one pound can of Blue Diamond almonds could increase by about three cents.

The monetary loss of bees is “staggering” according to an article on Mercola, but what’s even worse is the loss to the food supply. This is a LARGE and DANGEROUS threat to humanity.

So what is happening to the bees? Are they just leaving and not coming back? Where are they going? Are the bees dying? Who is killing them? WHY ARE YOU HURTING THE BEES, YOU MAD BEE KILLER!?

I decided to conduct some research to find out exactly what was happening to the bees.

This disappearance of bees is called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). CCD is defined as the phenomenon that occurs when the majority of worker bees in a colony disappear and leave behind a queen, plenty of food and a few nurse bees to care for the remaining immature bees and the queen. 

Why would bees just leave their nest and not return?

The first few answers were common:
-          Parasitic mites
-          Several viruses
-          Bacterial diseases
- you know, the unavoidable stuff that also kills many other living creatures, including humans.
Another great factor of CCD is the usage of systemic pesticides.

Apparently, genetically modified organisms – better known is GMOs – used in pesticides kill off our number one transport of pollen. Who would’ve thunk it?

World leader of GMOs, Monsanto has been under anti-GMOactivists’ watch for the last few years. Yes, they are the people activists like Erin Brokovitch and even Chipotle have been talking about.

If we, as humans, are worried about what GMOs are doing to some of our food, can you imagine what it’s doing to our pollinators?

If bees keep dying off and crops yield only small amounts, and grocers and restaurants sell us food covered in pesticides – how long will it take until we suffer from a human CCD?

That’s actually pretty scary.

No, I got chills thinking about that.

I wondered if there was any way to help protect the bees. Many people have come up with quick solutions, but nothing that has really stuck.

That’s when I got to talking with Erie-native Chester (Chet) Lee. Chet has a patent on his product the Bee Pole. I sort of shrugged his invention off when I first discussed it with him – it’s literally deadwood with holes in it. But it works.

Various species and sizes bees are attracted to different shapes and scents.

According to Chet’s patent, “Some native bees seek habitat in standing deadwood and are actually drawn to deadwood timber by the scent of the CO2 which its decomposing fibers exude. Some of the prior patents have attempted to formulate bee habitats from treated wood and/or paper or non-wood materials. Native bees will not, typically be attracted to such habitats and, hence, efforts to foster propagation of native bees using these manmade materials have proven to be largely ineffective. A queen bee will typically lay between 60 and 60,000 eggs during her three year life span. The queen will typically find a hole of suitable depth formed in a standing dead tree which has been pecked by woodpecker or other bird. She lays a single egg in the cavity and covers it over. The bee will hatch, typically in about 20 days.”

Like human beings, bees need three things to survive – food, shelter and water. If Chet’s Bee Pole is placed near plants and water, he is able to offer all three of those things to bees, allowing them to reproduce and continue to do their job.

With the help of Menajerie Studio in Erie PA, I worked alongside Chet to create a Kickstarter campaign for his project.

It is a really awesome project to be a part of and I hope to someday be able to say that I helped save humanity all by paying attention to the bees.

We can’t singlehandedly stop Monsanto and their use of GMOs, and we can’t exactly prevent disease, but we can help bees propagate and multiply. We can help the healthy ones stay healthy, and we can keep ourselves healthy by eating the crops they grow organically.

Please join me in supporting the Bee Pole Kickstarter. You never know what your dollar can do for humanity.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015


Twenty one.

I met 21 when he was barely 18. He was a little heavier then, not overweight or anything, just baby-faced all around. It was cute. The kind of cute that makes you go, "aww" and pinch their cheeks every time they say "oh yeah, I've drank beer before." I really wouldn't have gone for it then if it weren't for his bad-ass exterior. The kid had a history that made him slightly sexy, like a jail thing or some stunt like that... which was awkward because at the time, he was a total fetus.

Flash forward to 2015, he finally turns 21 and I have this strange dream that he and I were rolling around in the coatroom, grazing in the grass, ripping our clothes off and doin' it on my living room floor. Except it wasn't my living room, it was on the floor of my California beach house on the bearskin rug right in front of a fire place. There was a lot of wine and also like six or seven dogs who unfortunately had to witness it.

Dreams, man. They're crazy.

Anyway, I wasn't going to tell 21 about the dream, because I wanted to keep all humiliation to myself. But I did tell a mutual friend who chuckled - okay, it was definitely more like a giggle - and took it upon himself to tell everyone within earshot. I was a little upset until I found out 21 was curious to know if I wanted to make it a reality.

I didn't.

And then I did.

It happened really quickly and it was kind of weird. One minute I was like, "lol 21 I've already experienced it in my dreams, I don't need it in real life," and then the next I was all, "21, come. over. now."

The first time we hung out alone, we just laid around watching Netflix and talking about our lives. I wanted to skip the self discovery and go straight to the you-discover-me, but I was a little.. nervous. More nervous than I usually am around people I already know. Primarily because he was four years younger than me, and because I didn't know what our friendship could expect from the aftermath.

From there I decided it wasn't going to happen. I didn't need it to happen, I had two other prospects at the time, so what did I need to be fooling around with my 21 year old friend for?

I was fine. I had convinced myself that 21 and I were not a thing and went back to my regularly scheduled life.

It wasn't until a week or two later that flirting and sexual tension rose to an all-time high.

We were at a party and of course, I parked myself next to him on the couch after drinking one too many glasses of wine and a cocktail. We started joking around with one another and soon every conversation became a private one. We left the party with a group of people to listen to a band at a live bar and that's when I'd say I got a little hands-on.

Okay, a lot of hands-on.

Like hands-on in the sense that I took him to a private area of the bar, grabbed onto his man parts and drunkenly tried to dirty talk to him ...which, knowing me, probably came out as a slurred combination of vowels and phrases. "sssseeuuuuvvvahhh doin' it... huzzzaeyuu floor sex haaaaaaahh."

Whatever. He was in.

We got back to my place and when I say "things became a little heated," I absolutely mean it. I'll spare you the details - if you really want an idea, I'm sure there are websites with videos you can watch - but what went down was a blur of insanity.

Now I don't remember about 85% of it, but I remember it feeling something like euphoria. Though 21 year old boys may not have much experience, they seem to understand what they're doing... well, at least this one did.

I wrote it off the next morning as "that thing I drunkenly tried & liked, but probably shouldn't do again because the kids my friend and also I'm 25 and need to be doing this with guys with a 401k and a pension," and went about my business.

I returned to life as I knew it, pretending that night didn't happen, but wanting so badly for it to happen again. And it did. A few times actually, with each time bringing something new and exciting to the table.

I became addicted.

I was addicted to sleeping with a 21 year old. It's super embarrassing for me to admit it now, but I have to tell you once again that it was really good. Like you know how sometimes you hook up with someone and afterward they're like, "wow that was amazing," and you're all, "yeah it wasn't anything to write home about..." - let's just say, after 21, I was pulling out my stationary.

But nothing good in life lasts forever, especially when you're doing the good thing with someone who is making their life plan up as they go.

One day I sent a text saying, "21, hang out later?"

To which I get the response, "We can't anymore."

"Cause I just like being friends. It's easier."


I then ask him to hangout as friends later and he says, "he has plans."

This upset me, but why? Why did I have feelings for 21? I don't even have feelings for 25 or 28, even. Actually, I thought I was a sociopath for awhile because I felt nothing toward any of my gentleman callers. I literally would have them take me out for things I needed and then said, "okay well this is the last time I'm talking to you, bye."

21 got different treatment though, and I think that was the harshest realty of it all.

No wait, the harshest reality of it all was after he told me he had plans, he had the audacity to show up at our mutual friends house later that night - the same house I was hanging out at. Don't be a dick, 21. Don't be a dick.

21 and I currently aren't on speaking terms and I just had to suck it up and move on. I mean, I'm obviously still a little salty my "bye you're relevant - okay now you're kind of cute - oh... now you're just plain sexy" crush had to end with ME sending the 3am "SCREW YOU, YOU ARE A HORRIBLE PERSON" text messages and not the other way around, and it totally sucks I lost a friend - but hey, life is what happens when you're busy making plans. This was to be expected.

... And that's my story about 21. Sorry mom.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Life As I Know It (well as of January 2015)

I'm sorry I haven't been around much. Recovering from ankle surgery in January wasn't fun, but it also wasn't terrible. I got to experience a Cavalier's win by the king himself, and it was the first week my boys JR Smith and Iman Shumpert played for someone other than the Knicks in years. I took my first Greyhound bus by myself from Cleveland to Erie on crutches, and although it wasn't anything special, it was still my first step to being a free woman.

I started rehearsing for Les Miserables at a local theater that was doing a reboot show. I was cast in the ensemble, and I was a little worried that my ankle wouldn't be healed enough to get through. Nearly two weeks before the show opened, I got to travel to the city that never sleeps for a work trip. I had never been to NYC before and honestly had the time of my life. I didn't weep, but I did fall in love. It's hard not to. The way you feel when you're aimlessly speed walking in a boot around Grand Central Station, the way the eggplant Parmesan pizza feels in your mouth at 4am, the laugh the Uber driver makes when you drunkenly yell "TURN THIS UP THIS IS MY JAAMMMM" to every song that comes on on the radio, the way you never have enough time to see all the people you want to see, visit the sights you've always wanted to visit, and find the spots you never knew existed... it's all magic, and it's only in New York City.

I returned home and went straight into Les Miserables, a show filled with a cast who still remembered every word, every note, every move from the last time they did the show in 2012. It made me nervous every day that I wouldn't be able to get it right, but you know what? I worked hard, I tended to my foot, and I performed it. It was a memory for the books.

Sixteen moving and magical shows later, I found myself actually quite sad. I left the show with new friendships and stronger old ones. I found empathy from the story of Les Miserables. As we sang the final words of "Do You Hear the People Sing" on the final performance, I remember exchanging teary-eyed glances with my closest friends who were also sobbing, and feeling a little heartbroken that this would be the last time I would feel this way with these people.

When the show was over, I had difficulty transitioning back to who I was before the show, before the ankle, before the pile of shows I had done prior to January 2015. I started going out all the time - not just on weekends, but weeknights and I would stay up until the wee hours of the morning before going into my regular work day. I didn't mind though. I was discovering me.

I had a quick mishap in love or "really intense" like or something. Just a friend I started spending personal time with, whose presence I actually enjoyed very much. It was stupid. You're not supposed to fall for your friends, and fortunately he broke it off before I committed too much more time or energy into pursuing anything. It did feel like a blow to the head, though... a shot to the heart, if you will. I'm not used to people "dumping" me per se, especially someone I really wasn't dating. It made me feel... kind of low. I spent a week wallowing, and the next week feeling like a slight psychopath - I mean come on, if you don't love me, you're going to have to suffer through me randomly texting you "k" or "cool" when you don't respond to me right away. It's fine.

I finally picked myself up one Sunday and told myself this charade was over. It was time to go back to the gym, time to start eating clean again and time to commit my evenings to another show.

So that's where I'm at right now. Down 6 lbs since May, feeling slightly more active, and cast in two Shakespeare shows. I've put myself back on the market and I have found some great content in the dating scene that I can't wait to share.

Sorry for the long, out of character update, I just had to let you all know that I'm trying to come back guys! Blog should be up and running functionally once again very soon.

Thanks for hanging in there :)