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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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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!*

I ventured into the realm of grain-based milk a few days ago, and I must admit my first foray has not been a smashing success. I followed all the directions to make oat milk “not slimy,” only to be met with a jar full of something akin to cream-colored phlegm. I mean, after soaking them, I rinsed those oats for what seemed like 30 minutes!

Anyway, I imagine I will try again at some point in the far, far, far distant future, but for now, I’m a bit battle scarred and skeeved out. I’ll be sticking to my tried and true soy-based and nut-based milk for a little while, until all the yuck finally wears off…

Oh! And the good news is that all is not lost – I can still use the “oat milk” in the bath for silky soft skin tonight (because you can bet your ass I’m not going to be drinking it).

Taking it Personally

I’ve noticed for quite some time the increasing entitlement of Americans – this affliction is, in fact, something I’ve struggled with from time to time myself. It’s that whole, “I don’t want to wait; I want what I want and I want it right now, even if it stands in your way of getting whatever it is you want” thing and it’s something I acknowledge and work on consciously. We are all so very, very important to ourselves, are we not?

For instance, have you ever been in the grocery store and someone hasn’t moved quickly enough when you’ve asked, ever so politely three whole times, for them to please excuse you so you can pass by them or so you can look at something they’ve parked their cart in front of and that they aren’t even looking at? I mean, how long does it TAKE to read the label on a box of cereal, and who even DOES that – am I right? So, you either stand there, arms crossed and toe-tapping impatiently, thinking all sorts of awful things (like what a cretin they are for purposely ignoring you, and if only they could have a heart attack right there in front of their stupid Wheaties so you can get on with your busy day), or you stalk off, muttering unpleasantries just loudly  enough so they can hear how unforgivably they’ve inconvenienced you. How DARE they, anyway – don’t they realize how very, very important you are?! Aaaand you end up carrying the indignation with you throughout the store, glaring holes at that person every time you come across them in a new aisle…

Does any of this ring any bells of familiarity?

So, maybe that person IS standing there on purpose to make you wait (they were there FIRST, for Pete’s sake, so WAIT, sucka!). I’ve noticed that Americans have gotten even less kind, less friendly, and more likely to do ugly, spiteful things just for the sake of doing them. We ARE all “the most important person,” after all. Maybe that person honestly didn’t hear you the all those times you politely asked them to move their buns, so it’s all a big misunderstanding. Maybe that person isn’t really in as much of a rush as you are, so they aren’t inclined to move until they’ve finished reading that label, even if it DOES hold you up for 2 whole seconds.

In the instance of any of these “maybes” I set forth this challenge: SO WHAT?

Erm…say what?

True, human beings are a nuisance – a bother, if you will. But as a card holding member of humanity, that means that I’m every bit as annoying to someone else as they are to me (and the same goes for you…and you…and especially you). I’m not the “most important” to anyone but myself, just like whatever it is someone else is doing isn’t really all that important to me. I posit that in general, no one is trying to bug anyone else – we’re just doing our own thing, absorbed in our own version of this world, and not intending to impact anyone else’s day in any way at all. It isn’t intended to be personal, even if it impacts us in a personal way.

Armed with this outlook, I’m more able to let sh*t go, and more able to feel peaceful in situations that otherwise would have made my blood boil. I take a deep breath and I make myself smile and wait patiently for my turn or I smile and come back to the aisle later. The key here is acknowledging the utter lack of my own importance in the grand scheme of things, which makes everything seem so much less serious.

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