Betsy Robinson, author of funny literary stories about flawed people, is a perpetual seeker of truth.

From books to music to theater and fine art, from online TV to DVDs, this blog takes a look at current culture through a spiritual perspective — with a touch of humor.

Materials under the "review" tag are a mix of free review copies (books, DVDs, etc.) in exchange for a review, to library copies, to materials and tickets I've paid for.


A Really Bad Hair Day (Feb. 13 blog)

The Art of Collapsing (Feb. 6 blog)

Life is only temporary says Evan Handler (Jan. 28 blog)

The New World of Finance (Jan. 28 blog)

All about growing up in a cult (April 16 blog)

Fierce Giving (Jan. 8 blog)

(Copyright © 2008-2014 Betsy Robinson. All rights reserved)

Notes from a Crusty Seeker

Itty Bitty Matters

August 18, 2009

Tags: compassionate wisdom, healing, Cost Cutting, fun

There are three pertinent pieces of background to this story:
(1) I am allergic to tomato plants;

(2) It takes approximately 500 years for a plastic bag to decompose in a landfill;

(3) Anything that demonstrates a determination to stay alive is an object of my admiration.

“Make sure not to let the plant touch your clothes,” warned Nurse Mia, my neighbor who has joint custody of our tomato plants because they live on her terrace. Nurse Mia is brilliant. Not only is she a budding nurse anesthesiologist who will keep people alive during the careful administration of Propofol, but she diagnosed my tomato plant allergy by using the Socratic method on my endless bitching (see June 18 blog).

Two of our four tomato plants had expired due to too-small pots or the new tomato fungus blight, or a combination of the two. However, one of the ostensibly dead plants looked a little bit juicy to me, so I decided to prune it to see if it would come back.

A Short Discourse on Plastic Shopping Bags
Because I am an environmentally conscientious person, I have stopped taking plastic shopping bags for my groceries, so I don’t have many left and I do my best to reuse my stash. There is a problem with this. One needs to transport one’s refuse from one’s fifth-floor walk-up apartment to the pails in front of one’s building. To do this requires a bag, unless one is insane.

I am not insane. I used to deposit a whole plastic bag avec refuse into the big plastic bag in my building’s pails, resulting in the addition of 500 years of landfill crap. However, now that I am a conscientious P.C. individual, I deposit the contents of said bag, then reuse it (the bag, not the contents).

Back to the Tomatoes
Being a conscientious P.C. person with allergies who has a brilliant nurse for a neighbor, I wore my industrial-strength, non-decomposable, yellow rubber gloves to prune yesterday, then I packed the dead stuff in a bag which I left in my hall until I was ready to travel downstairs to the garbage pails … which I did much later in the day … sans gloves.

It took two cups of coffee and freezing-eye-mask therapy before I could open my swollen eyes this morning and reconstruct the events of yesterday. Ah, those itty bitty lapses.

In her new book, Our Stories, Our Visions: Inspiring Stories from Remarkable Women, author Zoë Sallis recounts a tale told by Wangari Maathai, the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize:

There is a huge forest fire, and all the forest animals flee in terror — except for the hummingbird. Back and forth, back and forth the little bird flies, transferring drops of water to put out the raging fire. The other animals think this is pretty ridiculous, but the more they mock her, the harder the hummingbird works. “What are you doing?” ask the animals. “The fire is overwhelming, how can you make a difference? You are too little anyway.” How does the hummingbird respond? “I’m doing the best I can,” says she.

My conclusion? Itty bitty stuff matters — be it the touch of a toxin to an allergic skin, an effort to recycle one bag, one juicy branch of a dying plant determined to live, or the intention of a tiny bird.

Selected Works

Big Moose Prize-winning novel
a funny, sometimes sad, story of negotiating life without a clue

New on Kindle--a funny book for foodies who are committed to self-change through self-awareness
an epistolary memoir ... sort of
A funny and moving little book for anyone who's had a mother or struggled with being human.
anthology of stories and plays
includes Darleen Dances and stories below

1-act play

short story
the problem with worrying about the future

true story
Why I don't believe in death.

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