Second Take

So, yesterday I wrote about how easy it is to respond to something negatively, and how hard it is to take that extra time to calm down, rethink your words and decide what information is helpful, and which is unnecessary.

It’s not an easy task, and it’s hard to rewrite something that you feel strongly about…in fact, my husband loved the original article that I had wrote. But, I must admit, he’s a stir-the-pot kind of guy.

And so, after lots of thought, a late night Facebook conversation with a friend, and a bit of research, I scrapped a good portion of my original article and started with a fresh page. I included much of the same information, just minus the daggers. And this is what I came up with:

Pink slime. It’s an unfortunate name for a great product that took a giant hit thanks to social media and a misinformed public.

 

Some blame the company, some blame the marketers and others blame consumers. But the truth is, it doesn’t matter.

 

The fact of the matter is that beef is beef. And the product that was produced was some of the safest and cheapest beef that could be purchased.

 

In a world where food budgets are tight and conservation of all resources is coveted, one would think that this particular beef product would be hailed as a great thing – and it should be.

 

But when you refer to something as “slime,” and you throw out incorrect images and saturate the media with incorrect information, well, we’ve seen firsthand what happens.

 

So, why correct the photo? Because if someone were to post a picture of a tomato next to an article about the dangers of apples, wouldn’t you question their research and integrity? But if no one says a thing about it, and people aren’t aware of the difference between tomatoes and apples, they’d never know that the information they are getting is wrong.

 

Here’s why the picture is so important: No one is questioning the safety of the meat. Every medical and food safety organization willing to speak out has backed this beef product. No one is questioning the taste of the product. People have been consuming it for years and never tasting a difference. Simply put, beef is beef.

 

So, if it isn’t safety and it isn’t taste, then what is it? The only thing left is its visual. And when the wrong visual is being used, how can someone make a fair judgment?

 

The “meaty pink noodles” on the plate? They look just the same as any ground beef straight from the grinder. But don’t fear; they lose their noodle look the minute you make them into a patty.

 

Many foods are made from what was once a “waste” product. Take for instance baby carrots. We used to throw away tons of carrots that weren’t fit for supermarket shelves, whether it be from deformity or blemishes, etc. Now those carrots are whittled down and eaten at picnics by the bag. But no one called them “carrot compost.”

 

And Pringles even tells you on its label that they aren’t potato chips. But no one refers to them as “potato paste.”

 

The beef industry for years has improved upon its resources and ability to provide healthy, affordable cuts and types of meat for every consumer. New steak cuts and better use of meat is always a goal.

 

The saddest part of the story? By discontinuing the use of this particular beef product, it is estimated that we will need an additional 1.5 million head of cattle each year. And in a world where conservation and getting the most from every resource is necessary, that’s a loss for everyone.

 

Our ancestors would not be proud. But then again, they didn’t have Facebook.

 

So, how did I do? Is the tone better? Less defensive? What could I improve upon? And please, if you feel the urge to do so, leave a comment on the newspaper’s site, so that they can hear your thoughts and your concerns…we can only change conceptions when we’re involved in the conversation.

Life of a Celebrity

Something that happened to me on Friday had me thinking all weekend about how celebrities handle regular life.

Let me get you caught up: I’ve been feeling like doggy-doo for a few weeks now. At first I thought it was this mysterious rash that came and wouldn’t go away. Then that got better, but I still wasn’t feeling well. I was having other “issues” as well…but I put it all off, thinking that with time, everything would improve. After a month of misery, I finally made an appointment.

I called and they scheduled me for the “earliest” appointment available, which was the last week of July. *sigh* Oh well, I was going to suck it up until I could see MY doctor. Late last week, the doctor’s office called with bad news. Something had come up and my doctor was going to be unavailable for my appointment…could I reschedule? I was leery about what that would mean. I had already suffered through a month of misery, how much longer would it take?

Well, surprise, surprise…they wanted to reschedule for Friday! Yep, a rescheduled appointment that was actually going to take place almost two weeks prior to the original appointment. How sweet is that?!?

So, on Friday I went. I explained to the nurse my symptoms, went throught the pre-appointment gobble-dee-gook, weight, blood-pressure, pulse…and then waited for the doctor. Up until the point she came in, all was textbook. And then, the door opened…

The doctor came in, telling me how much she enjoys reading my articles, how entertaining they are and so true to life. And then she told me how the OB staff on third floor cuts out my columns and puts them up for a chuckle (apparently, once you’ve had four children, the OB nurses kinda think of you as family). She asked about my son and my brother and the rest of my family and after a bit, we got around to the appointment part.

I thought to myself, “How does J.K. Rowling handle this? Diane Sawyer?” Just kidding. But yet, it was a little awkward for me. I mean, after hearing about how she likes what I write, I really didn’t want to tell her that I wasn’t feeling well. I’d hate for the next time she read my column, all she could think about was, “Oh, this is the gal who couldn’t figure out why she felt like doggie-doo.”

Anyway, I got over my irrational thoughts and got down to the reason for the visit…and after some talking, and an ultrasound, it became obvious. No, I was not hitting menopause at 34. No, I was not hitting puberty. No, I am not expecting another child. But I do have a somewhat annoying cyst that is causing all of my problems, symptoms and misery (well, except those caused by the four children, mentioned previously). In six weeks I get to go back and have a recheck…and hopefully avoid any type of surgery.

But at least this time I’ll be better prepared. I’ll have my “handler” call for the appointment, I’ll use an assumed name and I’ll wear shades with a big floppy hat. That should keep it low-key, right? 😉

Wordless Wednesday – The Mind of a 4-year-old

I needed to have a photo of myself yesterday for my new column that will run in the Aberdeen American News. The problem was that I had no one to take the picture…or at least, no one older than 4! Here was his handy work (don’t worry, I finally got one!):

Just about worked, if only centered a little better!

 

Not quite.

 

Something seems to be missing...

 

Well, I do like reading, but...

 

The window did give good lighting, but I'm not there...

 

Oh, almost!!!

 

I'm not sitting in the chair, either...

 

No, but at least your socks are clean...

 

Really close view of sock. Maybe I should just call Dad?

New adventures

Well, it’s official. I’m starting a new adventure in my life. I am officially a columnist for a regional daily newspaper.

Yeah, that’s right, someone is actually going to publish what I write. Hah! 🙂

Actually, I used to work at the Aberdeen American News prior to married life. I typed up wedding announcements and birth announcements and all sorts of community events. I proofread the paper and worked on special assignments. I met some amazing people and I LOVED my job.

But driving an hour one way, starting a new life (and family) with my new husband and having an opportunity closer to home all convinced me that I needed to travel down another path. Fast forward 10 years, and here we are!

My columns will run every other week, starting May 25…and I’m nervous! Aack! But I’m also excited. I have a chance to share my story, share my farm, and share my family with others on a scale that not many are given. How amazing is that?!?

Milk is good for you!

With these guys around, I probably won't run out of stuff to write about!

And to top it off…some of the same great people are still working at the paper. So it’s a little like coming home. In fact, the same amazing woman who was my boss so many years ago will now be my editor. Cool, eh?

Well, I better get to writing down all these ideas floating in my head. I can’t wait!!!

P.S. If you have any ideas, suggestions, etc. you’d like to share, shoot ’em at me!!