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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

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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*

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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.”

 

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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