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A Brand New Year!

So, 2018 is starting off with a bang – accidental ballistic missile announcements, idiots eating laundry soap, the orange Cheeto-in-Chief still in office and spewing hate and ignorant nonsense, and Net Neutrality being overturned in December, and all the menfolk whining about how it’s a bad time to be a man (what with all these women finally coming forward to shine a bright light on the BS they’ve been forced to put up with all these centuries… I dunno. I think sometimes that perhaps this country’s dumbness is starting to get to me. It bums me out, because I am completely aware of the many blessings bestowed upon me, simply by being born in the First World. I know I’m lucky for the most part. I do. But some days…

I mean, how does one accidentally hit the “Holy sh*t, we’re about to die” button? Is it sitting right next to the “Here’s today’s forecast” button? “Cloudy with a chance of mushroom clouds?” Or maybe it’s next to the “Check my Facebook status button” – “North Korea has un-liked you.”

And the soap eating – everyone is talking about the appearance of the pods because they’re looking all candy-desserty and stuff, or blaming kids in general for being hellawicked stupid (which, frankly, is hard to argue when it comes to this). But for whatever reason, it seems to occur to NO ONE that instead of changing the detergent pods to look less sexy that maybe, just maybe companies should make laundry soap that isn’t toxic (or at least less toxic, I guess, since people seem to really enjoy a good chemical soup in this country). Then, kids just get a piquant, lathery mouthful much like we got as kids for swearing, instead of trips to the ER or funeral parlor. Sure, it’s a crazy notion, but then, I’ve always been a bit of a nutjob-out-of-the-box thinker like that.

I won’t even go into any of the countless reasons the current government not only disappoints, but downright pisses me off, other than to say, “Hey world – I voted and I most certainly did not vote for or support this guy in any way. I’m stuck with him, just like everyone else. Yes, I’m totally embarrassed about it.”

Net Neutrality – I want to know why 83% of Americans polled were in favor of Net Neutrality, but THREE people at the FCC decided for ALL of us that it wasn’t something we actually wanted. We are constantly being told by the people WE employ that the things we think we want aren’t things we want (or deserve)(or should be allowed to have) at all – “You want the plain vanilla cookie kids, not the chocolate one with frosting and sprinkles like you said you wanted. Trust us. We’re, like, super smart and stuff, so we should decide these things for you.”

Guys – I love you, you know I do. Like, really. I want you to know that women aren’t saying “All men.” But I also want you to know that there isn’t a woman (or girl) who has ever breathed oxygen who hasn’t been made powerless or subjected to harassment (or worse) by one of your friends (or your brother, your dad, your son, or YOU). I know, when there are zero repercussions to behaving badly, it’s difficult not to behave badly, but you need to do better. You need to BE better. Saying things like, “Boys will be boys,” cheapens all of you. It makes you appear weak and stupid, and nearly all of you do not deserve that kind of rep. This is a good general rule of thumb: if you don’t want some man bigger and stronger than you are to say or do something to you, maybe you shouldn’t be saying/doing it to women. Just sayin.

Now, rant over. Back to the zen-ness of the pieces of my life I actually control. I’m still juicing every day. Still practicing yoga and meditating every day (or nearly every day – a girl gets busy from time to time). Still doing all the things to keep myself as mentally and physically as healthy as possible. I did add a couple of chunky-butt pounds over the holidays, but they’re nearly gone, and would be completely gone if I didn’t have all this work travel to contend with. Restaurants are rarely as health conscious as I can be in my own kitchen, ya know? Two more weeks of that, and then no more trips until March, I think. Whew!

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I’ve been hearing again this year, the harrumphing of folks complaining that they aren’t “allowed” to say Merry Christmas anymore, and I have to wonder where they are getting this type of feedback. I mean, I’m not a Christian, but I still happily alternate between “Merry Christmas,” and “Happy Holidays.” Never have I yet come across anyone who is grumpy about “Merry Christmas,” though I’ve quite inadvertently kindled a couple of ugly rants over “Happy Holidays.”

See, most of my friends are either atheists or pagans or Hindus. Each of them are capable of graciously accepting holiday greetings from any religious background, but today a girl I work with, whom I just told “Merry Christmas,” smirked and covered her mouth with feigned innocence and asked, “Are we even allowed to say Merry Christmas anymore??” I avoided waxing philosophical with her, since it suddenly strikes me that perhaps the problem isn’t with political correctness or inclusiveness at all, but rather with an imaginary issue being intentionally perpetuated by the very people who are claiming to be snubbed and marginalized and for whatever made-up reason in their heads, not allowed to say “Merry Christmas” anymore.

So hey, how about this – say “Merry Christmas” if it is what matters to you. I don’t know a single person who will call you out on it, because MOST people of different beliefs are aware of the sentiment behind the statement, which has little to do with politics or religion, and more to do with, “Hey, I recognize you as a fellow traveler on this hunk of rock. I hope your winter holidays are filled with love and happiness.”

 

A post about not much

Gosh, has it really been over a month since my last post?? November is apparently a BUSY month for me. 🙂

Thanksgiving was more wonderful than usual, even – we hosted 25 people at our home for the holiday, and the weather was unseasonably warm so we had a bonfire in the yard for people to sip cocktails and beer over while waiting for dinner to be ready. You don’t appreciate having lots of functional entertaining space outdoors until you’re nearly overrun with humans for an evening. And if the food was delicious, but the company was even more so…

I did some (minimal) Black Friday shopping, put up the Christmas tree and decorations, and tried super hard to feel the holiday spirit with all the warm temperatures and sunshine (I don’t know that I’ve succeeded on that count). But, the tree IS up, and once there is a chill in the air, surely it will feel like Christmas then.

Yesterday was my birthday – I’m for sure leaning stronger toward 50 than 27 these days. (smile) It’s something I don’t dread, though, aging. I figure for a grandmother of 4 (soon to be 5), I’m remarkably well preserved. I was putting on my makeup yesterday and the smattering of snow-white strands through my dark hair were kind of pretty, really. Sure, I’m likely to dye them to cover ’em up for a few more years, but I can see being completely whitehaired and fine with that… someday.

I will wrap this post up with a quick and completely off-topic observation about politics/politicians. Too many of us think of the folks in the White House and Congress (and various other institutions) as “our leaders.” Please remember that all of these people are our PAID REPRESENTATIVES, our EMPLOYEES, and they need to be reminded to start acting accordingly.

Total miscellany

Holy cats in pajamas, kids! It’s going to drop into the teens in sunny Colorado tonight, which probably doesn’t sound kuh-RAY-zee to anyone who doesn’t live here. I mean, it’s almost November, right? Except it was 84 degrees at my house yesterday, so today’s chill feels a bit chillier than it otherwise would. The weather forecast says we reached our high (52 degrees) early this morning and it’s only gonna get colder from there. And guess who wore a dress…

All that cold nonsense aside, I’m awfully glad for autumn’s arrival. Sure, the pool still hasn’t been winterized (turns out I’m a procrastinator – who knew?), and there is raking to be done in the yard, but all these reds and golds and browns on the trees, on the ground, and in the flowers in my gardens make me want to snuggle up with a latte and a plaid blanket to read. Nothing wrong with THAT, right?

In the spirit of autumn-and-pending-winter, I’ve started doling out my Thanksgiving invites. I have quite a few people to reach out to yet, but shopping lists are in progress, serving dishes are already being assigned to mains/sides/desserts, and I’m trying to find some sexy vegan cheeses to serve alongside the meatless sausages, roasted veggies, oil-cured olives, and figs on the critter-friendly “charcuterie” board. The goal here is to make everything sneakily vegan, with the exception of the turkeys (which someone else will have to make this year, if anyone wants to eat them – it won’t be this gal, ever again). I am adding more menu items (beet salad with grapefruit – WHAT??), and planning my BIG REVELATION, so it’s all got to look and taste fancier even than normal, if I’m to convince people that the vegan “stuff” is more delicious than the turkeys (so hopefully at some point we can skip them entirely). Last year, the only non-vegan items at the table were a few sticks of butter and the birds (a secret I’ve kept to myself up until now, since my family is hella persnickety like that).

What is it about fall that makes me feel so motivated to DO stuff?? But not today – today, I’ll be at the office until the snow starts to fly, at which point I will hop in my car and make the long, long, long trek home to warmth, safety, and “almost weekend.”

Freedom

free·dom
ˈfrēdəm/
noun
  • the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.
  • absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government.
  • the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.
I found this definition of freedom online – there are many like it.
It has occurred to me that Americans might be better off if they were to consider (and remedy) the plethora of reasons that our NFL players are kneeling during the National Anthem, than to spend so much time being outraged at the actual act of kneeling.

I’ve always been a “stander,” since my grandfathers, and my dad, and my uncles, and my friends, and my brothers, and my brothers-in-law have all served in the military, and frankly, because that’s how I was taught to perform all through school and it has always seemed to be the thing to do at the time. I love being an American, and I can honestly say that I live a pretty darned good life here. BUT I firmly, unequivocally believed my grandpa when he told me that as a 2-war veteran (WWII and Korea), when he left his wife and baby girl stateside, in his heart he was fighting for everyone’s right to be free, including when it meant they did something he maybe wasn’t able to understand. And a free people cannot be forced to stand for jack, Jack. 

So, hey, don’t watch football if it bothers you so much that men are asking our country/flag/anthem to mean what it’s supposed to mean, equally for all of us. The flag is violated every way from Sunday all the daggoned time (cut into pieces for bikinis or boxer shorts, tossed into the garbage on disposable paper cups, utilized in parts for logos…) and the anthem is massacred by nearly every well-meaning person who sings it and tries to “make it their own,” and it seems highly unlikely most of us are standing at attention during the anthem in the security of our own homes (let alone when standing in line at the game for beers). I don’t think any of these things mean someone hates our country or our military (which, really, are not synonymous – “country” is all of us, “military” are the proud folks who protect all of us, and who are also part of all of us).

I hate football anyway, so if the ratings go down to where I never have to see another mention of football again, that’s fine by me. But I will say that it seems awfully lazy to ignore the bigger picture here, which is that not everyone is being treated equally (or even halfway fairly), and some folks are wisely, bravely, peacefully saying, “Hey, that’s just not good enough.” Just because YOU aren’t impacted in a negative way by how some of our fellow Americans are treated, or aren’t treated that way yourself, doesn’t mean you get to decide that NO ONE is treated unjustly.

I’m fully prepared to have a few dissenters boycott my blog, and I’m perfectly alright with that. If freedom of speech isn’t a cornerstone of your belief system, you’re in the wrong place anyway.

Outside the Lines

I have been writing and rewriting a few posts this week, basically ranting about politics and the subsequent crazy that is currently running this country/world, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I just…can’t. It fills me with too much frustration, hatred, and overarching vitriol that frankly, I cannot give voice to well enough without sounding like a complete nut job maniac. So, I’ve scrapped them all, and instead I am going to try to put things into a more positive light.

Let’s pretend we’re all colors in a coloring box – not the cheap box, but the big-assed, 64-crayon set that was the stuff of fantasies for everyone my age way, way, way back in the day (I realize there have since been created even larger sets, so feel free to imagine more crayons, if you like). So, back to the point. We’re all crayons, and we’re all living in this one BIG box – none of us are the same (orange, purple, green) but many of us share similarities (magenta, crimson, plum), and ALL of us have things in common (labels, the fundamental building blocks of what we’re each made up of, our individual value to the world at large, our united strength, and the fact that we’re all stuck in this same box).

Everyone has a space in the box, but sometimes one of us scootches a bit too far over, and leaves someone else without room. So, if everyone wiggles just a little bit, and that guy gets back in line, we can all fit again. We all deserve to be included in the picture we’re drawing, too, but sometimes it isn’t clear where each of us will be best suited – that is the time when we all come together to sort it out, so no crayon gets left behind. And if anyone wants to color outside the lines, that’s just fine – most of our best works come about that way.

I don’t know if any of this resonates at all, but in my head today, it’s making perfect sense. Be kind. Be accepting. Forgive if you need to. Apologize if you should. Empathize with someone whose life-narrative is different than yours. Consider, for a moment, that you might be wrong. Make room for others who aren’t exactly like you, because we’re all more alike than we know, and we’re all stuck in this same big box.

Commute, sch’mmute

I had to commute to the office this morning, which always leaves me a bit of a pouty mess. I so rarely have to do it, and now I’m a bit spoiled. Besides, yoga at 4am is sooooo much harder to commit to than yoga at 6am. BUT, since yoga is key to my commuting sanity, I yoga’d it up. It seems I forgot to meditate, however, so there’s something else I will need to tackle tonight. *le sigh* I suppose not coming to work smelling like nag champa incense isn’t a terrible thing.

Shoot, where was I? Oh, right!

I got myself yoga’d and showered and hair styled and makeupped and dressed and green-juiced (and I fed dogs, cats, and chickens, watered my dining room houseplants, and paced aimlessly before I could even force myself out the door). But once I got to my car, something miraculous was waiting for me – ICE on the windshield! Now don’t get me wrong, in a few short months ice on my windshield will be the bane of my existence, but right now, for the very first icy-scrapey noise of the wipers on the glass this season… it’s heaven. Really.

It did remind me that we are going to have to winterize the RV and the pool sooner than later, and while that is a bit sad, it’s also time – time for autumn’s chill and cozy scarves and buckets of chai with coconut cream. Oh, and I’ll be doing a bunch of (vegan, of course) baking to stave off the cold, so I can avoid turning on the furnace for just… a… bit… longer. Not so long that we can see our breath in the air, but for long enough that our bedroom in the morning still kind of feels like waking up in our motorhome. (hee)

Okay, I’m off and running again. At least today will fly past and I’ll be back on the road to home before I even know it. I hope everyone has an amazing day – these days, we all need more of those.

Hope still exists.

I have played things very close to home lately, since the outside world is seeming crazier by the day. Surrounding myself with quiet in the place where love lives feels so fundamentally wise when the world outside has gotten so angry and so ugly.

While the planet seems to be holding its breath to wait for the next shoe to drop, while we all wait along, here is what *I* will do: I will project peace with every breath. I will promote kindness with every deed. I will feed who needs feeding and protect who needs protecting. I will honor ANYONE who is brave enough to kneel when everyone else stands, and anyone who stands when everyone expects them to crumble.

What I know is this: where there is love, where there is compassion, where there is the commonality of our very existence, fortitude may be found and hope still exists.

surely that time is now.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om

That is it for today. Blessings, peace, and love to all.

Restoration and Recuperation

Well, I’ve found myself in a bit of a health pickle this week – nothing major, but definitely unusual for me these days: I. Have. A. Nasty. Cold. After feeling all impervious to cooties, too!

While we all know that colds are caused by a virus, I can’t help but feel the changes in my lifestyle have left me far less susceptible to “bad” germs for quite some time. I mean, germs really hate healthy bodies! So, I will attribute my overall lack of immunity to this particular virus to a gross underachievement of healthy living last week. I ate dairy (yeah, I know…ewww) and I didn’t practice my yoga or meditate. I didn’t swill down a single, solitary veggie juice and my diet was packed full of refined sugars and flour (or at least, “packed full” by my recent lifestyle – I suppose a piece of cake or two isn’t really overindulging by typical American standards, but Oh! The bread!) I DID, however, thoroughly enjoy a visit from my ‘rents (Dad and Bonus Mom), and hanging out with my grandbabies all week, so I suppose the price for all that happiness is relatively minute.

Anyway, after all the lovely loved ones departed on Saturday, Sunday rolled in and I have felt like kuh-RAP ever since (perhaps even deservedly so). My head is throbbing and my throat hurts, I cannot put together a halfway logical thought, and I’m virtually drowning in snot (TMI, sure, but it is what it is). Time for a little TLC, some ginger shots, a bit of carrot/mandarin orange juice, and a whole lot of restorative yoga, my friends.

*fingers crossed all will sort itself out, posthaste!*

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