Throw Something on the Barbie for Summer

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“You know you’ve made it when you’ve been molded into miniature plastic. But you know what children do with Barbie dolls? It’s a bit scary, actually.”
– Cate Blanchett

I grew up in Los Angeles with a Barbie doll before Mattel invented them. My younger sister, Joni, was a living doll who blossomed into Malibu Barbie with sun-kissed, long blonde hair, tanned skin, and a bikini wardrobe that would rival that of a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model. A few years later she became Disco Barbie in bold-striped, bell-bottom hip huggers with matching crop tops designed by Cher. Then came Flower Power Barbie wearing what has evolved today into BoHo Barbie, the chic version of the former Hippie Chick Barbie. She married Bob Rodenbusch, her real-life Ken, and they raised a family in Southern California.

New at Grand Lake
Three years ago, as Bob (“The Can Man”) is fond of saying, they “gave up the rat race for the human race.” They bought a lovely lakefront home at Grand Lake Grand Lake Recycling in Vinita from their next-door neighbor, which wasn’t originally a part of their “grand” plan but it wasn’t exactly a stretch either.

Joni was Senior Director of Entertainment for Oakwood Worldwide out of Burbank, Calif., close to all the movie and television studios. Her company was the largest provider of temporary housing in the world, as well as one of the first to “go green.” It was also a frontrunner in recognizing the threat of global warming and raising public awareness about it.

She recalls being stranded in traffic on her way to the airport in New Orleans during an emergency evacuation before Katrina hit. She wanted to make a difference when she realized the devastation and lack of preparedness by our government. While in Los Angeles she supported the Habitat for Humanity’s efforts that has had a positive impact in providing housing for displaced residents of New Orleans as a result of Hurricane Katrina.

Her home office on the lake bears a Wall of Fame with autographed photos of celebrities she has directly or indirectly worked with over the years who have made a difference, including Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Jay Leno. Call her Activist Barbie.

Ecological Awareness
Now that Joni is settling into lake life, she has brought with her an interest in ecology and speaks to schools and organizations about recycling and raising environmental awareness. “I’m one person, but one person can make a difference:
“Don’t use Styrofoam (polystyrene). It will not biodegrade in a landfill,” she says. “Break it up and use it for packaging if you do have it on hand.”
“Don’t be lazy and irresponsible and throw your trash into the lake. Plastic bags and fishing line not only litter and pollute our beautiful lakes but also kill marine life.”

On-A-Roll Barbie continues. “The most important thing anyone can do for Mother Earth is to recycle everything possible.” She is happy to see the recycling trend taking hold in her new home state of Oklahoma: “I feel a great sense of pride when my friends visit and tell me how beautiful Tulsa and Grand Lake are.”

“Bring your cans to us (Grand Lake Recycling) in Vinita if it is convenient or to any recycling center which you can find in your local telephone directory. You will get paid for your effort and it feels good to be a part of the solution instead of the problem. It is also a great way for charities, clubs, and churches to raise money.” One of her favorite Web sites for recycling information is
She concludes: “Become paperless by paying bills online and take confidential documents to a local recycler like Shredders, Inc. Not only will you be doing your planet a favor, you will be doing yourself a favor by insuring that you won’t be a victim of identity fraud.” Incidentally, Shredders, Inc. will issue a Certificate of Destruction to their customers. Call (918) 446-8386, or go to
Joni is also a volunteer member of South Grand Lake Lions Club. “It makes my heart happy.”

Where does Vacation Barbie go whilst taking a breather from her “breath-of-fresh-air” lake house on Grand? “Back to Surf City in California, of course.” What goes around comes around.

Grand Lake Recycling, located at 202 S. Vann in Vinita, accepts cans, metals, copper, and appliances. For information, directions, and daily pricing, call Bob at (918) 323-2526.

Have a great summer.

Ciao for now!

Updated 08-24-2009

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