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I’m on the cusp of a massive kitchen/dining room/master bedroom and bathroom remodel and something I’ve always known about myself is coming to even more glaring light – I’m a packrat-collector-of-things kind of crazy. Losing my mom and my grandparents and selling the second house in the country over the past 5-6 years means I ended up with a LOT more sh*t than I care to discuss with anyone and it’s all taking up lots of space in my house. THAT, my friends, is nuts. Granted, I don’t have obvious piles of anything laying around. No one needs to crawl around or over anything to move from room to room, either. I’m unlikely to be featured on an episode of Hoarders. What I do have, though, are cabinets and closets full to brimming with nonsense that I don’t necessarily love or use, but have talked myself into keeping.

I mean, as a vegan, do I really need 100+ cookbooks that also include recipes for meat? Do I really need 4 sets of china (I can keep my mom’s, but do I need the other 3)??? Do I need TWO KitchenAid stand mixers, just because I couldn’t make up my mind between creamcicle orange and fuchsia?? I mean, seriously? Does it make sense to stockpile Paul Mitchell products like he’s going to go out of business next week?

Plan to hear from me pretty regularly for the next 30 days, as I begin to unpack my life and declutter the madness that currently exists behind the many closed doors in my house. My guess is, it will be as much a mental and emotional journey as it is a physical road to less chaos.

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Stop. Just…stop.

Stop blaming kids for school shootings, telling them it’s their fault/responsibility/whatever because they’re not nice enough to their peers. That kind of logic is what society keeps using against women for being abused or raped, too. Victim blaming is basically re-victimizing victims, people. And with that “they need to be nicer” logic, can someone explain to me Sandy Hook? Didn’t think so.

Stop saying all these shootings are caused by a lack of God in schools, because shootings happen in CHURCHES, too, and I’m pretty sure God has those joints covered. And hey, what about all the other shootings that happen nowhere near a school?

Stop saying that we should arm teachers – the lunch lady shouldn’t have to carry a Glock in her bra while she’s dishing up brownies and tater tots – especially since all the cops I see during these things seem to be taking cover outside behind their cars.

Stop telling children that CPR training would be a better tool for school violence than activism, because it’s absolutely ridiculous that grown-ass people think it makes more sense to triage bullet-ridden bodies than to preemptively strike against violence in the first place. (don’t even get me started on the school whose idea it was to arm children with ROCKS against guns – I could honestly puke at the stupidity of humanity)

It is absolutely pathetic that we, as a country, are pretending that these shootings are just freak accidents and not perpetrated largely by a specific group of individuals (you all know who they are, and it’s so obvious I won’t even call them out, other than to say, “How nice it must be to be born with such privilege, that if anything at all doesn’t go exactly your way, you feel it’s your birthright to decide other people no longer deserve to live.”)

So stop – stop making these kids the problem and start figuring out how we protect them from being shot in school or anywhere else. My 6 year old granddaughter shouldn’t have to hide under a desk and “play the silence game” at school so some random cretin doesn’t hear her crying and shoot her when all she’s trying to do is live long enough to grow up.

Today is March 14, a day where kids across the nation are walking out of schools to protest gun violence and where adults are calling bullshit because apparently kids don’t get a say when they’re the ones being shot. I, for one, stand in awe of these kids for sticking up for themselves and each other – the only time anything that matters changes is when enough people say, “This is crap, we’re done, fix it.”

It’s sickening that ADULTS are sending death threats to CHILDREN protesting their own massacres. It’s sickening that POLITICIANS (who I can’t bring myself to call adults, generally) are doing their best to discredit these kids like they aren’t all secretly scared sh*tless that every one of these kids will be voters within the next 4 years. In my experience, teenagers hold grudges for a really long time… like, forevah.

 

Kids – so many of the grownups have your backs and we’re so proud of you. WELL DONE for speaking up about something that really matters. Great job for organizing and speaking in a way so as to make many voices ONE voice. Seriously, way to step up! Keep making yourselves a nuisance, because it’s truly the only way to be heard. And come fall, when you’re old enough, get your butts out there and VOTE.

Be a nuisance when it counts. Do your part to inform and stimulate the public to join your action. Be depressed, discouraged, and disappointed at failure and the disheartening effects of ignorance, greed, corruption, and bad politics – but never give up.”   —Marjory Stoneman Douglas

A title escapes me.

I’m sure you’ve noticed the recent ranty-ness of my posts, and I would like to apologize…apologize-ish. Clearly there is all sorts of unrest is at play, and I can’t change that so I vent here. For everyone and their brother to see. *sigh* Whatever, moving along – nothing to see here. 🙂

Today, let’s focus on what is right and good with the day. Yoga is still proving to be both calming and a challenge (both excellent things). Meditation is still proving to be mostly a challenge. I know that practice makes perfect, but man, shutting my brain up seems so difficult, even after working at this daily for almost a year now. The rest of the “things,” handsful of vitamins and supplements, guzzling filtered water, eating primarily raw foods (primarily vegetables) , getting enough sleep – those things have seemed simple for quite some time, though I still hate cleaning the juicer filter! Someone told me to treat cleaning the filter as though it’s a mini-meditation, but you’ve all just heard how meditation is going for me.

I made the decision about a month ago to stop dying my hair. It’s toxic, I don’t have that many grays (yet), and really, it’s toxic. Toxic. That’s reason enough. Worst case scenario, I’ll have some sort of existential crisis one day and delve back into the seedy underbelly of tinted locks, but for now I’m going to ride out the waves of vanity and see where that takes me. I have officially phased out any and all household cleaning products that aren’t labeled cruelty free and non-toxic, and all of my makeup is finally vegan and natural (“natural,” it turns out though, has varying degrees of “not that bad for you, anyway” incorporated into the adjective).

So yeah, that’s where I’m at right now. Trying to adhere to my now-strict protocol of not watching the news, not peeking at Facebook (which I only do after disasters so I can be mad about “thoughts and prayers,” apparently), and making sure I hold on to any remnants of hope and sanity I can in these troubling times.

Our thoughts and prayers…

I have had ENOUGH of the pointless, weak, thoughtless posts and news interviews where I see/hear people “sending our thoughts and prayers” to victims of shootings. It doesn’t do anyone any good, and frankly, it seems to allow us to all believe we’ve somehow done our part to make things better. “What more do you want? I sent my thoughts and prayers, for Pete’s sakes.” It’s lazy, at best – but at worst, it is enabling more random killings.

Personally, I don’t believe that guns are really the root of the problem here. Assuming the probably uncountable number of guns in the country, there are relatively few shootings (though one shooting is one too many). Guns are merely tools horrible people utilize to get their way or make a point (it’s a really, really messed up kind of tantrum). There is a systemic problem of American (frequently white American) privilege and entitlement. That whole “I matter and you do not” thing. I mean, UGH, the overwhelming sense of entitlement in our country – EVERYONE is Number One; you see it even just driving a car or standing in line at the grocery store. And apparently when some folks feel their Number One status has been infringed upon, “someone hurt my tender little feelings,” or “I don’t like/agree with that person or their way of life,” it somehow grants permission in those people’s heads that it is perfectly okay to kill those who have offended them so. It’s almost like we’re living in a country full of “I’m the only person who is even a person, so taking lives is my god given right because I’m the only one whose life really matters anyway. Serves ’em right for not doing what I do or thinking the way I think.” We’ve stopped seeing other people as people just like ourselves, who are trying to get through their day, their week, their life, as best they know how.

So stop. Stop sending your thoughts and prayers and start figuring out how you can prevent this in your community by being a better, less entitled person, and by raising better, less entitled people.

Okay, so I heard that muttered by a guy on a television program the other night about a project he wasn’t having much success with, and it really shouldn’t have sparked any feminist fire in my belly, but…it sorta did.

I mean, this actually happens – a guy asks a gal out and she tells him no and he keeps on asking. It happens a real whole lot, frankly, and it’s annoying AF. Real life isn’t the movies, guys. If a woman isn’t into you, she simply isn’t, and asking her 100 times is unlikely to change her mind (in fact, it will likely solidify her reasons for declining your request for company). We aren’t waiting around for you to prove how much you dig us, which will in turn inspire a mutual love and admiration. And honestly, you digging us isn’t a guarantee we’re going to dig you back, no matter how politely (or impolitely) you try.

Oh, and not opting to fall for your charms does not make her a bitch, or a whore, or uptight, or frigid, or a lesbian, or stupid, or any of the other ignorant words that fall out of some men’s mouths when a woman isn’t interested. Sometimes the chemistry isn’t two-sided and that’s just how it is.

 

 

Too much travel.

The past two weeks have left me a bit out of sorts – Pasadena last week, Portland this week. Travel for my job means a degree of busy-ness that leaves less time for self-care and too much room for LOTS of crappy food/drink/sitting on my arse-ing. Let me just say that “vegan” doesn’t really necessarily mean “healthy.” Mmmmm! Cookies! Bread! Rose-infused vodka!

Thankfully, I’m flying home tomorrow and won’t have to go anywhere again until late March (I hope), so I can regroup and get back on my better habits track, and hopefully have something remotely interesting to talk about. (also thankfully, all this travel meant I missed the State of the Union address, so I feel I dodged an idiot bullet there)

I hope this finds everyone out there doing well and living at least a little healthier than I have been… for me, I’m feeling overfed, under-nourished, and filled to brimming with the spastic energy that can only come from lack of yoga and meditation. My skin (and definitely my waist) are NOT in optimum shape. *sigh*

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!

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.

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