I start each week with a clear idea of what I will write and more often than not that will change in a minute as I see something that starts my mind wandering. And that happened Tuesday morning.

I was walking my dog in the park around 6:30 a.m. It was wonderful. The birds were singing – including the wild parrots – the temperature was cool and the air had that early morning fresh smell. As I walked everyone I passed was friendly and smiling. We all greeted each other with a “hello” and continued our walk. My dog stopped to sniff every single rock, which in “Rock Crescenta” is quite a lot of stopping, but none of that mattered because I was in these beautiful natural surroundings and life was good.

As we made our way to the park I saw so many people enjoying the morning. There was a woman sitting on a blanket reading Scripture out loud to no one but the trees, two people were playing badminton, friends were walking with each other, young kids and older adults were running and friends laughing as they slowed down from running to walking. As I looked out over this tranquil scene my mind immediately went to the scene just before the nuclear explosion in “Terminator 2 –Judgment Day.”

“Why?” I thought. Why can’t I simply enjoy this view of people enjoying themselves?

Well, the reason is because I was a child of science fiction and, as I have grown from young adult to old lady, the one constant has been sci-fi. It is actually a state of being. Those of us who love science fiction love not just the story but the story behind the story behind the story. We sci-fi groupies knew how to go down that rabbit hole long before the arrival of the Internet. We are always waiting for the other shoe to drop. So this idyllic park scene was reminiscent of the one in “T-2” where Sarah Conner (Linda Hamilton) dreams of children playing on a playground in LA. She begins to scream but no one hears; she then sees herself as a waitress (her other life) with her son without a care in the world. Then a bright light and a nuclear bomb destroy it all. She wakes and realizes this was not just a dream, it was a premonition. As I walked through the park, and the temperature rose, I realized the “bomb” I was worried about is not one that will go off and destroy everything immediately. Instead I was worried about the somewhat slow rise in temperatures, the extreme rain and extreme dry conditions and all the weather woes we will see as human-caused climate change affects us all.

At the end of our walk, my dog was panting as it was considerably hotter than when we began. I tried to turn my mind to happier thoughts. So I thought of Barbie.

This weekend we had a family trip to see the movie “Barbie.” I sat next to my daughter-in-law and we had this wonderful bonding cry as we related to this amazing film not just as females but also as moms.

For those who have not seen the film, as always go see it, but spoiler alert – don’t read this section:

America Ferrera gives a monologue that is heart stopping. It starts out as, “It is literally impossible to be a woman” and then continues to say why. It is so on the mark it first made me angry that this is still the case and then made me sad because this is still the case. It made me think of my grandmother who fought to be heard as a woman, my mom who struggled in a man’s world, myself dealing with artificial barriers in my many careers and now my daughters and daughter-in-law, who may have to deal with a fewer barriers to get into a career, but every day they have to continue to fight to be taken seriously as they walk that literally man-made fine line between being too smart and being called a b**ch.

This film actually walked a line of its own from being a very funny comedy to bringing a serious subject to light, and it was done in a masterful way. And I liked that is honored moms. It made being a mom not a sacrifice but a choice and that was just perfect.

Not spoiler: Sci-fi fan watching “Barbie” with all of its emotion had me thinking about climate change and what we have done with all this plastic. After all, “Barbie” lives in a plastic world.

Most plastics are produced using gas and oil that contributes to global warming and damages the environment by contaminating oceans and harming marine life.

Plastics are something society has become dependent on. It is in everything, including our clothes. Some plastics we see but some we do not including micro-plastics that float in the air and are in our food. A recent study by Rochman Lab and collaborators at the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks, as reported in, found that not only are micro-plastics found in the fish we eat but was found in the stomach, fillet and liver of the fish they researched. That means not only do they have micro-plastics in them, they also pass through them (i.e., via poop).

“Without interventions, the annual flow of plastic into the ocean is on track to triple by 2040 to 32 million tons per year or the same weight as 600 Titanics according to a 2020 study funded by Pew Charitable Trusts,” according to an article in Time magazine.

So when I watched “Barbie” and later went to the “World of Barbie” museum in Santa Monica, I saw a lot of plastic. And herein lies a dilemma that I faced as a young mom and that families are facing now: how to be environmentally responsible and still give our children a childhood full of toys like Barbie that are important in their development.

“Play is essential to development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social and emotional well-being of children and youth. Play also offers an ideal opportunity for parents to engage fully with their children. Despite the benefits derived from play for both children and parents, time for free play has been markedly reduced for some children,” according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Obviously kids can play without plastic toys but it is difficult to find those toys and if you want to buy toys that are made of recycled plastic nowadays it is ridiculously expensive. However, just like at the end of many sci-fi films, there is a glimmer of hope.

In 2019, Mattel, Inc. (the maker of Barbie dolls and many other toys) stated a goal of achieving 100% recycled, recyclable or bio-based plastics materials in both its products and packaging by 2030. In 2020 Mattel debuted its Fisher-Price Rock-a-Stack made from sugarcane-based plastics and packaged in 100% recycled or sustainably sourced material.

Barbie has been the toy that has changed with the times and is continuing to do so. Maybe if Barbie was a sci-fi film it would end with those few Barbies and Kens lucky enough to survive their global destruction to start anew as they begin to build their new Barbie World … with recycled material.

According to the World Meteorological Organization and European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, worldwide July was the hottest month on record – not just the hottest July but the hottest month.

We will be seeing a little break from the above normal temperatures for today and Friday but the weekend will see another heating trend continuing through the weekend.

“The hottest [days] will be the weekend,” according to NOAA meteorologist Ryan Kittell.

We may see a slight dip in temperature next Tuesday, but not by much.

It does look like the heat will be dry and the little bout of humidity we saw earlier this week will be gone.

Today and Friday will see temps in the mid to high 80s; Saturday, Sunday and Monday temps will be in the high 90s and then back down to the high 80s on Tuesday.