Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Listen...listen...listen...

We all just want to be heard right?

We all feel like we are interesting and we have important things to say and we just want someone to listen to us.

I see it all the time online and in person and in articles and in books and on TV. It's universal. We all just want to say what we think and have someone listen.

Number one reason marriages fail? Lack of communication. That lack of communication can then manifest itself in to other things that look like the reason the marriage failed. Infidelity. Money issues. Disagreements in how to raise the kids, where to buy a house, when to change jobs, on and on. But at the root of all of those other problems? Lack of communication. If you aren't talking to each other, and listening to each other then problems happen. Then the problems get to be so big that they can't be fixed just by listening. Not anymore.

Think of the last big argument you had with a friend. What caused it? Why did it get so big? At any point did you say, or feel like saying, YOU AREN'T LISTENING TO ME!

Because that's the real key right? Not just that we all want to talk, but that someone needs to listen. Not just wait their turn to talk.

Just witnessed an online exchange where someone went in and erased all of their offensive posts so it looked like they were being attacked out of the blue by people who disagreed with their original post. Then they get to play the victim, you weren't listening to me! You are just so mean, you filled in your own nasty thoughts when I didn't say anything like that! Well except you did. And they took screen shots of one of the worst so now what? You shared. We listened. You're an asshole.

But how often does that equivalent happen in the off line world? Where you are in an argument with someone and they try to tell you that they never said what ever horrible thing it is that they said. You can't screen shot it, or rewind the tape to prove it, so it becomes an even bigger fight. You said that, you know you did. Own what you said or I stop listening to you.

And when we stop listening to each other we stop caring about each other.

Politics has its own special way of dealing (not dealing?) with this. On the right you get the people who refuse to talk about issues. There is no racism. We will not talk about it because by talking about it you cause it. You are the problem! On the left you have people who are so concerned with the "correct" way to talk about it that they end up doing the same thing. We can't really say racism because that's a trigger word and anyone who has ever suffered from an incident could get really scared if you say that word, so... So what? Now we either refuse to talk about it or we have to be so careful in how we talk about it that we give up? Both of those options lead to the same road. Nobody talking, nobody listening, and nobody fixing things. And both sides yelling that it's the other side's fault.

Then there are the times where politicians apparently weren't even listening to themselves talk. Meet the Press back in the Tim Russert days was brilliant at this. He would interview someone on an issue and then pull up their own quotes about the same issue that were the opposite of what they were currently saying. Oh how I miss that man. The Daily Show has filled that gap a bit, but since they are doing it as comedy and outrageousness it's not quite the same punch as seeing the person sitting right there confronted with their own words. Are you listening to yourself? Why do you expect us to listen to what you are saying when you don't really even believe it yourself?

Then there is the lie.

When you have taken the time to listen. Really listen to someone. And you find out that they have lied to you? How inclined are you to ever truly listen again? You might try. You might really give it a go, but there is that voice in the back of your head that snarks here and there..."Oh really? Are you sure? Is this true? Not like you would ever lie to me right?" How many times can someone lie to you before you stop ever listening to what they say? Sure, you hear them, you acknowledge them, you might even find them interesting, but are you really listening?

So next time you are watching an interaction, say a round table discussion or a televised debate, pay attention, really listen. And see if the people involved are really listening to each other. Or if they are just waiting for their turn to talk.

The next time your child wants to tell you about their day really focus in and listen to them instead of just waiting for them to take a breath so you can remind them of whatever chore needs done.

The next time your spouse shares a story about their day look up from your phone, stop thinking about what's for dinner and listen.

And when you have something to say to someone? Make sure you believe it yourself. Make sure it really is the truth. Make sure it's something you want them to hear.

Listen...listen...listen..

Monday, June 29, 2015

Overwhelmed...

Okay, we are reaching the end of June, halfway through the year and I am assessing where I am with my yearly goals.

And I am still behind.

I need to reach 105 blogs by the end of July to be caught up. Today's blog will put me at 82 so I need to write 23 more between now and then to get caught up. Not ahead, caught up. And as you might have noticed I've been writing something every day for a pretty good stretch here to get that close.

I am currently 3 books ahead of schedule for my reading goal, however I need to read 6 books between now and the end of July to keep on track. Looking at the break down I scheduled myself for 7 books a month. Seven? Every month? What was I thinking? Well I guess I will be revisiting Sandman this year after all. Cranking through those again should pad my...I mean....help me reach my goal. Yeep.

What I am realizing is that I was feeling pretty dang optimistic at the beginning of the year. When I swung from the thought of let's not have any goals at all this year to oh that's a bad idea, I need goals let me make some goals... I might have swung a little hard!

So I'm already thinking of next year and when goal setting comes along. I think maybe not so much a year without goals next year, and definitely not a year with what the heck was I thinking goals but some sort of middle ground. Or really something else entirely. Like a goal to do something completely new, not on my radar at all, some new skill or new activity, or something...

And yes, I totally see that because my current year goals are feeling really overwhelming right now I am deflecting by looking at next year already.

So right now my goal should be to keep plugging away at this year before bugging out on next.

How often do we do that? Decide that our current situation is too much to deal with so we look to something else? Still needing to deal with what we have going on, but it feels like too much so we decide maybe later. Or maybe never at all. Granted, these goals of mine are all self imposed. Nothing will happen if I don't reach them. I will just say, well that was a touch unrealistic and move on. My job isn't hanging in the line because of them. My life isn't going to change if I don't get all of the blogs written and books read that I said that I would. It just doesn't matter in the grand scheme of life. But it's still something I'm striving for. Something that I want to do. Something that seems pretty out of reach right about now.

How many other times has that happened? Where I have been working toward something and the realization hit that I might have just bitten off more than I could chew? And how many times did I distract myself with something else instead of dealing with the issue? How many times did I not? The times I put my head down and just kept plugging along. And can I make this feel like a bigger victory than just reading and writing when it's done? Can I weave it in to a "you did it!" narrative?

23 blogs
6 books
5 weeks

Let's see how I feel then...

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Same..same...

Sultry days fragrant with the blossoms of summer flowers
Bees buzz lazily romancing the blossoms
Slow trickle of moisture running down a tall glass of tea
Eyes slowly closing dreaming of the ocean

Hot, sticky day, lilacs causing itchy eyes and runny noses
Stinging bugs making a feast out of sweat slicked skin
Condensation leaving pools of mess everywhere you rest
Wishing you were at the beach, any beach

Kids playing games of hopscotch, basketball..
Water balloon fights and running through the sprinklers
Hearing the distant sounds of a musical tune
Ice cream! It's the Ice Cream Truck!

Chalk powder everywhere, skinned knees
Mud and water tracked over the freshly cleaned floors
What now? Oh it's almost dinner time...
Why does he always drive by at 6?

Summertime and the living's easy...

When is the first day of school again?

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Gotta get those dots...

The original weather forecast for today put as 100 which is miserable hot no matter where you are but when you are of the belief that anything over 85 is torture it's really the pits. We are in a really hot stretch. After a crazy warm winter that led to no snow pack which means the state is dry. Well dry for Oregon, not like California dry which has been doing this for a few years now, but dry. But the heat and the dry makes it look like a bad bad fire season and miserable summer on the horizon. Which means that I will be whining about the heat all summer long. Brent is really excited. He's not a big fan of the whining. He could have said on more than one occasion, "You grew up in the desert for goodness sake!" Well yeah, sure, but I left it....

So yesterday when I picked him up from work he asked what the weekend plans were and I said, "Laying around whining about the heat?" he wasn't on board for that so I told him my plan B. Get up early and go up to Multnomah Falls and hike to the top before it gets too hot then we can go from there. See, I have to get those dots and if I don't get them early when it's not as hot the odds of me getting them late when it is are slim to none.

Since he's very supportive in most all of my wacky obsessions he was on board for an early hike so off we went.

In all of the years we've lived here I've never actually gone to the top of the falls. We have either been with people who couldn't make it all the way, the trail has been rained out or the bridge has been bashed in by a boulder. So I've gone to the mid point but never all the way up. Brent and C went a few years ago when Kim and Dave were visiting but it was the weekend Dad died so I was back in Albuquerque and missed it. Today I was going to the top! The sign says it's a mile and the trail is mostly paved now so it should be easy peasy lemon squeazy right?

The bottom. Normally we go to that first bridge and turn around. Not today!

Oh wait...11 switchbacks? Uh oh...

Looking down on the parking lot and lodge from about halfway up. I might have been taking pictures to stall.

Wait a second...you said the whole hike was a mile, how can I be only at 7 and be at a mile??

No matter how exhausted sometimes a side trail must be explored.

Because then you get to places like this one. 

This is standing at the top of the falls looking down. Wheeee....

Little falls and pool above what we think of as the start of the falls.

Time to head back...Back up the stairs...oh my...

Just to show a little perspective on one of the switchbacks and how steep they could be.

Looking back up at the falls from the bridge area. Made it!

So the mile sign was a lie. And considering it tells you it's a mile from the base area and from the first bridge I should have guessed that...I was just too focused on doing it. Bring water. Go when it's still cool outside. Expect to sweat like a pig. But also do it sometime if you can. It's gorgeous.

And just to be humbled a bit, Dave did the hike before he got his knee replacement surgery. If I had felt like giving up at any point that would have stopped me. I won't be out stubborned!

And? I've got all my dots...






Friday, June 26, 2015

It's a good day...

The first blog I ever wrote was in reaction to Oregon Ballot Measure 36 which amended our state constitution to define marriage as being between one man and one woman. I was sick to my stomach when it passed. Just so sad and upset. So I wrote a quick blog. It was on another platform and has long been gone, but it was the first ranty blog I ever did.

I can remember thinking there was no way it was going to pass. How could it? Nobody I knew was going to vote for it. And yet, it passed. And the state I lived in put wording in to our constitution that some citizens were less than others. I was sick. I cried.

That was overturned last year and I was so relieved. It spent almost 10 years on the books and it was finally gone. And I cried again. Relief and joy.

Today was even better.

Today it doesn't matter what state you live in, where you were married, what your neighbors think or the church down the road believes, you can get married. Freely. Openly. With all the rights that brings with it. Marriage equality.

I was in the car when the news came out. When the first reports of how SCOTUS had ruled hit the air. And the tears started. I am really glad that I was pulling in to the parking lot of the gym as I heard because I couldn't have stopped crying if I wanted to. Tears of joy this time instead of sadness. Relief that the ruling was on the side of more rights, not fewer. Joy that friends who were married in states where it is legal now didn't have to worry about job transfers or even out of state visits. That their marriage was now legally recognized no matter where they went.

My Facebook feed has been filled with joy today. People sharing the news over and over again. It's huge. It's amazing. It's important. I have liked so many status updates I'm afraid Facebook will think I'm a spammer and deactivate my account.

A few years ago talking to C I told him that I didn't see this happening in my lifetime. That the bigotry was too entrenched. I am so glad I was wrong. The sea change that has occurred over the past decade is astounding. And the changes will keep coming. People will see that everyone is the same. That we all strive for the same dreams. The same hopes for our future and the future of our children. We will get to the point where it will be odd to think of a time that this was even an issue. I am so looking forward to that time.

Now, I'm not naive. I know this ruling isn't going to change hearts overnight. Hell the murders in Charleston and the debate over the Confederate battle flag this week should show us that deep held bigotry doesn't just go away. But the shock over the murders and the call to take that flag down do show us that change keeps rolling. It keeps coming. We just have to keep pushing.

But today? Today I am just happy. I am smiling. I am crying. I am filled with joy.

Equality.


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Still a work in progress...


A few years ago I wrote this really enlightened blog about being kinder to myself and realizing that I look fine. And how I was going to do better at it and all of that good stuff.

And I realized today that you never hear about that from me. You hear about me saying my workouts are frustrating because I'm not making the improvements I want. You hear me talk about dieting and the frustration in finding that balance between the incredibly strict diet plan I would need to follow to stay at a low weight and the enjoyment I get from eating the way I want to eat. But I haven't said that I still try to be kind to myself and flattering to myself.

I do. I still try to practice that. Some days are easier than others, I will give you that, for sure. But I still try to make sure I smile at myself in the mirror. I still try to make sure I wear clothes that make me feel pretty. I still try to give myself the compliment I would give to other people. And today is a working on it day so you get pictures and examples.

Why is it a working on it day? The workout and diet frustrations I talked about earlier. I have two big old zits that are making me insane. I'm almost 47 years old for fucks sake I shouldn't have gray hair, wrinkles and zits. So when I realized that I was doing the harumph harumph harumph I took a deep breath and started in on the positives.


See those shadows? Those are muscles. I'm not flexing here, that's just lifting up my arm and I can actually see muscle differentiation. And that flare out at the side? More muscle.  My arms and lats are coming along nicely. 

See that arch? I really like my eyebrows. I couldn't be half as sarcastic as I am if my eyebrows didn't do this wicked arch.


Okay, this one needs a longer explanation because it's kind of a plus and a minus shot. I wanted to get the full skirt in as well as the shirt. I love a swishy skirt. You all know that. And this is one of my favorite shirts. I call it my Greek Goddess shirt. See the straps and the way they twist? It's very Greek to me, and the color reminds me of green goddess salad dressing so it's my Greek Goddess shirt. And it's also quite flattering for my figure. Which is where the minus of this shot comes in. I tend to take shots from angles where my curves are downplayed. The eyebrow shot above? It was cropped to get just the eyebrow but the whole shot shows a lot of cleavage. It's not something I would generally show. Even though I rock a lot of cleavage usually. My friends tease me about the accidental cleavage shot all the time because I will crop and turn and angle to make sure that the first thing you see in a shot ISN'T my boobs. So I downplay them. But the truth is I love my big boobs. They are lovely. They flatter my big hips and my big butt. They give me balance. And they rock in my Greek Goddess shirt.

So there is a front shot of the shirt. Big boobs and all. And it shows the full curve of my figure. Big boobs to the smaller waist that flares back out to the not as small hips. The same curve goes on from the side. I have no angles, I am just a collection of curves stuck together. And that's perfect for me. I'm built for comfort not for speed and that suits me just fine. 

Work in progress. Someday the positive self talk days will be the only self talk days. I'm sure of it. But until then I will keep reminding myself that...

I'm good enough, I'm smart enough...and doggone it...people like me. 


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

More Stories...

I've been meaning to re-read Elfquest for awhile. One of those things that I kept thinking about but not doing. Then I realized I was 5 books behind in my reading challenge for the year and thought, I can make up 5 books and get a little bit of padding by tearing through the 8 Elfquest books. (I keep picking up these 800 page books so instead of getting credit for 2 books, I get credit for 1 even though I'm still reading a ton!)

So yes, it's gaming the system a little, but it's my game so it totally counts. If I get behind again I've been meaning to revisit Sandman as well so I'm covered there.

Okay, so anyway, I've talked about the books before. That I really think as much as anything else they shaped my world view. My belief systems. I was young enough when I read them the first time, published every 4 months as comics, waiting ages for each new issue instead of being able to devour them in a few settings like I do now, anyway...young enough when I read them the first time that they really resonated with me.

I was never in to Dungeons and Dragons and honestly (and I know this is sacrilege) I found Lord of the Rings to be dull. But Elfquest? Those were my elves. Especially the Wolfriders. Maybe the Go Backs a little...but mostly the Wolfriders. I had a crush on Skywise, I thought being a healer like Leetah would be incredible but Nightfall was who I wanted to be when I grew up. I spent a lot of time reading and re-reading those books. Writing fan fiction in my head where I was part of that tribe. Cutter's quest was my quest.

Reading them again is like rediscovering an old friend. There is still comfort there. Knowing what happens, where they end up, who makes it and who doesn't. The stories are familiar. Being older I see that it's all the same story that we all tell over and over in all of the big stories. The hero's journey right? But Elfquest was my first real hero's journey. The first one I felt the earth move for when I read it. The first one that didn't just entertain me, but changed me.

Now the funny thing is that on Goodreads you rate books after you read them. Five stars is the top. So far I've re-read three of the books and they are all four stars. You would think that for something that shaped me as much as they did they would have to be five right? But nope, they get four. Four is really good. The illustrations are beautiful. Though there is no wonder between Barbie and the Elves that I have never been happy with the way I look, why can't I look like pretend things? The story is good. But it's a little weak. Not something that I noticed at 10. And part of the weakness is due to the original format. There are reminders all through out the story of what has come before, but they are awkward, a character will think to himself, "Oh that's why there was an owl in the woods." I get it, you want me to remember the owl from two issues ago, or 5 issues ago, but trust your reader to remember. Or to go back and rediscover it on a second reading. (The Harry Potter books are great for that, re-read them all and follow clues you didn't realize meant something the first time through) But because of these awkward asides the story is just really good instead of great.

But as a whole? For the series? For the way it shaped me? For the resonance it has held in my life? I give it the full five geek stars. It's my lodestone. My holt. My soft pretty thing. And I will howl for the tribe in my dreams...

And I will catch up on the books I am behind in my Goodreads challenge. Whew...

And I still wouldn't mind growing up to be Nightfall.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Flip a coin...

So I cannot decide if I should stick to my guns and write the ranty blog that was forming in my head this morning or let it go and watch the video of the puppies again. The puppies were awesome and made me laugh. So I keep leaning toward them...

But...

Well that's sort of the problem that I wanted to address in the blog. See, I'm not sure anymore if people are woefully uneducated or just willfully ignorant. I think the truth probably lies someplace in the middle, but I'm not entirely sure.

Watching the interviews with people and reading the responses to stories on that flag being flown in South Carolina has been head shakingly frustrating. People trying to say that the Civil War has nothing to do with slavery. That the choice of the KKK, the Dixiecrats and the segregationists of the 60s to adopt the Stars and Bars as one of their main emblems has nothing to do with racial intimidation.

And I know people who will try to argue with me on those points. And I just can't even with them. Just can't. Read what was written in the declaration of secession by South Carolina and their rallying call to get other states to join them, no wait, excuse me, not just other states, other slave holding states. "we ask you to join us in a Confederacy of Slaveholding states." Does that sound like it wasn't about slavery? You can scream states rights to me all day but the state right they wanted was to hold on to their slaves. 

It's like the American South is the only place where the losers wrote the history books.

And then there is the moment where they will tell you that other states NORTHERN states had slaves. Yes they did. You're right. And they will tell you that NORTHERNERS were racists. Yes they were. And BLACK PEOPLE even owned slaves. Yes they did. And guess what? NONE OF THAT FUCKING MATTERS IN THE BALANCE OF RIGHT OR WRONG! Seriously. I don't give a fuck who did what when, owning people is wrong. Discrimination is wrong. Flying a battle flag of an army that fought to keep the right to own people is wrong. And if you cannot understand that there is something seriously wrong with you. 

It's a sign of southern pride. Okay, why? What are you proud of that that flag represents? Why use that? Are you proud of the war? Of the fact that your ancestors fought to keep slaves? Are you proud of the treasonous history? Or of the fact that they lost? Which part of it fills you with the most pride, exactly? I'm curious here. Or is it some romanticized Gone with the Wind bullshit story you tell yourself about the good old days? Because, spoiler alert, they weren't good for everyone.

It's part of our history. That's another one. Well, sure it is. It's a big part of our history. And as such we should learn about it in school. We should see evidence of it in museums. We should understand that the wounds from that time, then Jim Crow laws that followed it, up to and including current attitudes today were all shaped by it. And denying it? Saying it wasn't what it was? That's not history, that's fantasy. And it's a dangerous one. It's one we see scars of today. And especially last week when a young racist with a stars and bars fetish went in to a historic black church and killed 9 people. You want to tell me again about how it has nothing to do with racial intimidation? 

It's not that he didn't understand what that flag means, it's that you don't. 

Are you woefully uneducated or willfully ignorant?

Now I'll go watch the puppies again....

Monday, June 22, 2015

Ch ch ch ch changes....

So this morning at the gym the "news" shows were all a buzz over the President using the n-word in an interview. And not "n-word" but THE n-word. And oh my gosh, how could he? And what does it all mean? And....well did you listen to what he actually said, because he was pretty clear in what he meant. Here let me quote the CNN article about the podcast:

"Racism, we are not cured of it. And it's not just a matter of it not being polite to say nigger in public," Obama said in an interview for the podcast "WTF with Marc Maron."

"That's not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It's not just a matter of overt discrimination. Societies don't, overnight, completely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years prior."

That seems really clear to me. But I know that for a lot of people they will stop at the use of the word and then make their own left turns and try to argue points that weren't made.

But the thing that had me nodding along was the idea of change coming not in what we say in public. That isn't where true change comes from. True change comes from what we say in private. What we say when we think only people who agree with us are listening. What we really feel. It's like the questions people ask, "If you knew you could get away with it would you...." If your answer is ever yes I would to that sort of question then you know what you truly feel. Because doing the right thing shouldn't be predicated by the audience.

You get a glimpse of it on Facebook. When people like a page, a meme, make a comment, that they don't realize is on a public setting so it goes to all of their friends. So you see a glimpse of them that you wouldn't otherwise. The things they would never say to you. The things they only feel comfortable saying around other people who feel the way they do. The things that let you get a glimpse at their true heart.

It's not what we've learned is and isn't polite conversation that marks true change, it's when we wouldn't use it at all. When it is completely out of the realm of possibility for you to think that way let alone say those things...that's when change has happened.

Racism.
Homophobia.
Classism.
Sexism.

You name the issue and I will tell you that knowing how to act in public doesn't mean anything until you change how you feel in private. One might hopefully lead to the other, but it doesn't always.

So ask yourself, what are you saying in private? Or to people who you know think the way you do? What are you saying in those instances and are they things you would feel comfortable with sharing in an open forum? Face to face with someone who doesn't feel that way. And if you aren't, if you have two sets of words, two sets of attitudes, ask yourself why.

And then fix it.

That's when true change happens.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day!

Father's Day is a tough one in our house. We haven't really ever celebrated it as a big deal. We don't do what I call the made up holidays. Mother's Day, Father's Day, Valentine's Day, none of them get a big celebration. C usually buys us a nice present, which is lovely but unnecessary, we wish each other happy day on "our" respective days and then let it go. I do make sure to send flowers or some sort of gift for Mother's Day and as both of our fathers are dead we don't have to do that for Father's Day.

Which is why it's a tough one. As you all know my dad died the week of Father's Day. One of the worst memories of that week was sitting in the living room of my mother's house when the UPS guy delivered the gift I had gotten for my dad for a day he wasn't alive to celebrate. It was horrible in a way I cannot even describe. And it was also the last Father's Day gift I bought. Brent's dad passed a few years before my dad so that was that. But it's not like the day stops happening. It keeps coming. And we still don't have our fathers around. So it's tough.

But as we both had dads, and Brent is a dad, I didn't want the day to pass without at least something...

So...to all of you dads out there...

Happy Father's Day to the dads who are soft...


The dads who let you do things mom never would...


The dads who start you on a career path young...


The dads who let you go to follow your dreams...


The dads who teach you not to take it all so seriously...


And the dads who coached you through life...


To all of the dads out there, happy day, we love you.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Sunshine...

Sunshine


Walking along sun dappled sidewalks
Gentle breeze rustles the leaves
Spring flowers perfume the air

Children waking to a new adventure
Early morning dog walkers nodding their hellos
The smell of breakfast cooking coming from sleepy houses

The world comes awake to golden sun
The day stretches and yawns
A sleepy Saturday begins

Lovely
Sunshine
Peace

I guess I won't kill anyone today...

(still working on getting over that bad mood)

Friday, June 19, 2015

Moody!

I am in a really foul mood today. Started yesterday and has just built. There are reasons. Racism. Ignorance. Injustice. Politics. Propaganda. Big things. And other reasons, big to me. Helplessness to make something happen for someone I love. Unfairness. Ignorance there too, I believe. And biological reasons. Hormones and lack of sleep.

All of it adds together to put me in a bad mood.

I hate being in a bad mood which just adds to it.

It gets all cyclical. I don't like being pissed off so I am even more pissed off.

I have very little patience for people so the people who might be able to cheer me up are ignored so I don't unleash my acid tongue on them.

Because when I am in a bad mood I can bring you along with me. And I don't want to do that. Because who wants to be in a bad mood and worse yet who wants to be responsible for someone's bad mood?

But you know that mad that you get when everything else just makes you madder? When the world is conspiring against you to make you furious? That's the mad I'm at now.

My conditioner bottle broke. The twist top just twisted right off. But not all the way off, just halfway. Enough that I can't get conditioner out of the bottle without death defying maneuvers. And normally this would be met with an "Oh well, I need to buy an empty bottle to put this in so I can use it up." But this morning it was met with a long string of colorful and creatively grouped swear words.

The guy who raced over to the hamstring machine ahead of me at the gym got a glare, and then another one when because he dashed in front of me and I had to move on to a different machine to keep working TWO MORE people got in ahead of me on the hamstring machine. And what the fuck, people, for ages I've been the only one to use that machine. What is with all the hamstring love now?Nobody works their hamstring. It's a forgotten muscle. Go back to your quads and leave the hamstrings for those of us with balance issues....

I did put on my best polite manners for the old guy who wanted to chat. Even though I had to look around a bit when he greeted me with, "Hello there, young lady, how are you today?" Oh yeah...to the 75 year old I'm a young lady. But I don't chat during workouts so he got 5 minutes of polite conversation and an, "Enjoy your workout" from me and I count it as a win. Just so you know he has been ignoring his upper body workouts, doing more cardio and keeping up with his yoga, but really neglecting the upper body. He is English, doesn't have an accent any more because he's been here so long, but he's English. Do I watch football? Not a lot of Americans do, but he played when he was younger. Proper football, not American football. He has had good luck with his knees which is nice because he just doesn't want to have to have a replacement. He also greeted about 4 other people in that time frame so I'm guessing now that I've made his RADAR I will not be off the hook for more meet and greets during work time. Joy.

And don't even get me started on the idiots on the road. People should learn how to fucking drive or at least get out of my fucking way and if you can't do the fucking speed limit on this fucking road then take a different one. It's fortyfuckingfive not thirty you fucking slow ass Subaru driver! Or you know...something like that...

The Starbucks website is so poorly designed I can't even with it right now...

I want to dive face first in a plate of brownies but I also would like to lose more than a halfafuckingpound in a fuckingmonth so that doesn't seem like a good fucking idea now fucking does it?

And...well...there you have it. I'm in a bad mood.

Good fucking luck to all of us...we're going to need it.


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Worry...

Are you a worrier?

I read an interview with Stephen King when The Langoliers came out where he said that he believed there needed to be a certain number of people who were afraid of flying on each plane. That it was their worry that actually kept the plane aloft.

Are you one of those people that thinks that you keep bad things away by imagining what might happen? When a loved one leaves you think they might get in a horrific accident and you think that by worrying about it you keep it from happening? That it's when you relax that the bad things happen?

Don't get too comfortable.

Keep your guard up.

Ever vigilant!

Or are you chill? Calm, cool and collected? Don't worry about tomorrow, each day has worries enough of its own. Worrying about a problem does no good. If it happens it still happened and worrying about it did nothing to prevent it. And if it doesn't happen then you wasted all of that time being worried for nothing.

Take it easy.

Calm down.

Relax.

I've done and been both. The calm one and the worrier. Sometimes about the same problem. Sometimes in the same day.

I think, though, that I tend to worry the most about a problem when I should be doing something about it, or at least feel like I should. I don't tend to worry about things that are totally out of my control. I can't affect those. So they might get a passing bit of concern (will the weather hold for a flight that needs taken, that sort of thing) but I don't really obsess about them. When I find myself doing the worry circle it's usually something that I have some sort of control over and am just not doing anything about. It becomes like guilt, an actionable emotion. Am I worried about money while at the same time spending a little extra on nonsense? Am I worried about my weight while at the same time reaching for the cake? Am I worried about a health issue while not calling the doctor? Those times seem to be for me when the worry starts to build.

It's a trigger to do something. Don't worry, act.

As a parent of an adult I've had to shift my worry cycle. I can be concerned about C's life, but I can't really worry over it because I have no control. I can make suggestions for him, point out things he should be paying attention to, but then I have to just let things go. He will live his life and make his choices and at this point I'm not included in the decision making as anything more than a possible opinion. But when he was younger I worried a lot more. Am I doing the right things? Am I making the right choices for him? Because I had control. Or at least some.

So I tend to worry when I have control and not worry when I don't. Which seems really backwards now that I think about it. Why worry if I can change things? And shouldn't I worry more if things are completely out of my hands?

Maybe I should be worried that I worry about the wrong things....

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Take it on faith...

Thinking about my mother's faith after our phone conversation yesterday. And a picture that my sister posted of Dad where she talked about what a great man of God he was. And thinking about a friend who posted about her religion and how different it is from theirs. Then read a story about the SBC issuing their latest proclamation on "you can't make us accept gay marriage any more than we accepted interracial marriages!" (though eventually they did, after apologizing for the whole pro-slavery stance that they were founded on...but quibbles...) Add to that the news that American Gods is going to be made in to a television series and I have religion on the brain.

Religion is always interesting to me. Not just because I was raised very religious and left the church. Not just because I am the only member of this generation in my family that is not religious. Not just because I have lived in parts of the country that are extremely religious and now live in one of the least religious cities in America. Not just because I have friends who represent all sorts of different faiths. Not just because I find that often I know more about someone's religion than they do. They have the faith part of their belief down, but often have no idea about certain parts of their religion's history or even important passages in their religious books. Or even how closely most of the world's religions hew to each other. How much they borrow from each other. Not just because often someone will say that they are a certain faith and you ask them the last time they went to church and they have no idea...

It's not interesting to me for just those things, but those things add to it. It's interesting to me because I enjoy a good story. And most religions have good stories. Not just the creation myths, but the actual story of why that faith is practiced now. Most religions aren't as old as people think they are. At least not the form that they are practicing. They like to think it's tied in to some ancient belief but most often it's only a few hundred years old. Protestants? You think over 2000 years ago...try around 500. That's a big difference. There is usually a "yes but it CAME from antiquity..." story that goes along with it. Neo-paganism is a big one for this. It's all a recreation of what they think was practiced before, but they don't really know. They just believe. The whole faith thing. And then there is Mormonism which isn't even as old as the United States. Though part of their story includes a visit by Jesus to this part of the world as well as his hanging out in what's now the Middle East.

See? The stories are interesting.

The problem I have with religion is when people want to force their stories on me or in to my legal system. That's when I get in arguments and have issue. But for the most part I think if you have your religion and your faith and your beliefs and they bring you comfort, that's great. What ever you have in your life that brings a level of joy to you that doesn't negatively impact others is excellent. And I know for a lot of people that is their religious belief. But to me it really is just a story. And your story isn't any more important than someone else's story.

That's important to understand. You have to realize that you are sneering at someone else's implausible story while holding on to yours. Why do you think that there is any more chance of Noah's Ark being an actual thing than a tribe of ancient Israelites making it to the new world in a pre-Colombian age? You accept your own stories and reject others. I get it. But it doesn't make your story right and their story wrong. It just means that's the story you believe and the system you bought in to.

That's what it's like to look at religion from the outside peering in. I see that your stories are great for you, and their stories are great for them, but none of them make a whole lot of sense when you break them down. But they are still interesting to read.

I do love a good story.




Tuesday, June 16, 2015

It's all still relative...

Called my mom for her birthday today. Eighty three years old. Happy 83rd birthday to my mother. Conversations with her have always been interesting and as she's aged they are sometimes really entertaining...

What did we talk about? The prison break in New York. She's just glad that C has graduated and is not up in Vermont anymore because they might be hiding out there. She also is pretty sure it goes much deeper than just the one woman helping them. Cutting through a steel wall is noisy. How did no one hear them? I happen to agree with her. I did think for a minute when they talked about Vermont that I was glad C wasn't there (though even if he was still in school he would have been home on break, and he didn't spend a lot of time just traipsing through heavily wooded areas where criminals might be hiding, but I still thought it) and I cannot believe that they cut through steel walls and steam pipes without anyone hearing them. Crazy.

Her new phone. She had stopped answering her old phone. The only way you could get in touch with her was to text my sister and wait for a call back. It was odd. My sister had said she got mad at her phone and was done with it. Oooookay. Not the weirdest thing my mother would have ever done, but still odd. So anyway yesterday we all get a text with a new phone number for Mom so ta da new phone. Come to find out she didn't get mad at her phone she got mad at the shitty customer service at Verizon. When Dad died she and my brother took in his death certificate to get his contract cancelled. They tried to charge her $250 for an early termination fee. Let that little piece of fuckery settle in a bit. So when they were impressed upon that that was not going to happen they got the extra line removed and Mom listed as the primary. Which stuck for about a year and then they put Dad back on it and started raising her bill every few months. She went from a $30 phone bill up to an $80. And when she would try to cancel they wouldn't let her. Finally she got it cancelled and ordered a new phone from AARP. It's just a phone, she doesn't do anything but talk on it, which is SO weird, that's like the last thing I do with a phone...but anyway. She didn't get mad at her phone, she got mad at Verizon. Which I totally get. I left them a few years ago because they were horrible at customer service.

We talked about the family dinner last night. She's concerned about my aunt and uncle driving across country this summer. She doesn't think they should be driving that far. But she's not sure she should call their son and have him talk to them. She knows it would piss of my uncle but she also knows she would feel lousy if something happened to them and she didn't say anything. I told her it was a hard call to make. When do you tell someone it's time to give up the car keys? Which she then told me she only drives a very little now, and only on back streets, and very carefully. I guess she was worried I might reach through the phone and snatch hers away.

While we were talking about my uncle's balance she mentioned hers is not so good all the time. She said she does okay in the house because they have so much stuff there is always something to grab to steady herself. When she goes to the grocery store they always park close and she gets a cart to steady herself. I suggested one of those little push cart type things that are part walker, part place to sit to rest which led to the following exchange:

"We have two of those, we have a big one and a little one and a wheelchair."

"Oh, okay."

"Marshall uses them. Well he used them."

"He doesn't really use them anymore."

"No, he gets around just fine now."
And we both laughed...

Because why wouldn't you joke with your mother about your dead dad on the anniversary of his death?

Then because we were on the subject of health and death we talked about her new chemo treatments. She is doing well on them, she has another scan at the end of this month so she will be interested to see how everything looks. Though she thinks she should have just come with a zipper since they have to look at her insides so often...I've often thought it would be nice to have a seam so I could adjust my weight easier.

One of the nurses she sees often (she gets an infusion once a month) recently lost a family member and Mom talked to her about it and about how she (Mom) knows that her time could come at any point now. The nurse said she (Mom) seemed to have a really good attitude about it. Mom said she told her that of course she did, she knows exactly where she is going so why wouldn't she?

Which made me smile. Because for her it's true. She believes that eventually God will say, "Ruby?" and she will "go home" and she will see Dad again. And be reunited with the three children they lost and other family and friends that are just waiting for her. So she's really calm about the whole thing. I'm also really nonchalant about the thought of dying. But for different reasons. There was a point before I was born where I wasn't. I just wasn't. There was no me. And that doesn't bother me. Or scare me. Why should I be bothered or scared of the opposite end? There will be a point where I stop. Where there will be no me. And to be scared of the after would mean that I should have been scared of the before, and well, I wasn't. So when it happens it will happen and life for everyone else will go on. And if I've done a good job with my life part of me will stay with them. Which is all you can ask for.

And then she needed to go run errands. I told her to have fun and she laughed, "It's a thrill a minute!" Which is totally something I say to Brent when I tell him about the exciting trip to Target I took.

So to recap I talked to my crazy mother today and got her wacky take on the world and we agreed on the prison break, Verizon phone service, inappropriate humor and dying...

So....yeah....


Monday, June 15, 2015

Just starting...

All right, I have finally finished the two books on shame that I was reading. Jon Ronson's So You've Been Publicly Shamed and Jennifer Jacquet's Is Shame Necessary? The two books approached the subject of public shaming from different angles. Ronson's book was about individual people who had been shamed and Jacquet's book was more about using shame as a tool toward corporations to influence their decision making.

I wanted to read them because I was starting to feel more and more uncomfortable with the way the online world seems to handle shaming. Someone makes a lame joke over Twitter and people get out their virtual pitchforks and it turns to blood sport. You see pictures posted on your Facebook feed, "Share this image of this person doing this bad thing that I have zero back story or corroborating evidence for but share it and potentially wreck this person's life anyway." Differences in opinions are treated as unbreachable problems instead of points to start a discussion from. And not just unbreachable as in fine, we disagree and will always disagree, but SOMEONE is wrong and must be bashed into submission.

At least verbally. But not entirely I mean let's throw in a rape threat if you are a woman and a death threat works for everyone no matter the gender.

It's all a bit much don't you think?

And yet, there is a place in the world for shame. A little healthy shame keeps us in line socially, we should be concerned with how our actions affect other people. Reminding companies that they need to be good stewards in their quest for profits is a good use for shame as well.

But it's so easy for it to get out of hand and cross the line. I don't think one bad joke, no matter how distasteful you find it, is reason for someone to lose their job. Wouldn't it be better to say, "hey, the reason that's not funny is because...." and point out that the person/group/thing they are making fun of isn't really all that funny. Instead we declare them the worst, just absolutely the worst and they are shamed. And doxxed. And threatened. Because they misspoke. Or even if they didn't misspeak, and they did intend to say something off color, did the virtual pitchforks make a difference?

Did it change their belief system? Did it bring them to another stage of understanding? Or did it just scare them in to silence? And give people ammunition to use in the argument against the growing legions of people speaking out against the thought police? Which, yes, the thought police are always out there, bullying people in to silence, but they aren't a reason why you shouldn't be able to tell someone when they are being an asshole and should have a little shame.

See how complicated it ends up?

I'm still thinking about it all and will write more later on the subject, but here is the start, the just finished the second book what do I think now that I've seen a few other opinions on the subject, good and bad?

Where is the line? Where is the good vs. bad point? Where is the speak out or shut up measure? When is mass shaming appropriate? When does it lead to positive changes? When does it just hamper discussion? I have a feeling I will never reach a solid yes or no stance but as most things in my life it will be fluid and totally depend on circumstances.

But it's good to think about. To question. To understand why you do and do not do certain things.

Shame....

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Reaching...

So I wanted to write a blog a day until I caught up with where I should be by this time to reach my goal. Or course when I decided to do that my font of fiction works in my brain shut off. So I've been struggling with nonfiction everyday. Something to write just to get words on paper. To stretch out the old fingers and take them around the keyboard. To make sure I am continually writing because writers write. And all of those things I keep telling myself to make sure I sit down and do this every day.

And there have been a few things to write about, which is great, and there have been things I could write about but I've been balancing between a really good mood and fighting off the bad mood that could hit ('tis the season) and so I have avoided writing anything that could bring on the gloom. Which isn't great. Because once the couple of things to write about were exhausted and the things I just can't even right now have been avoided I'm stuck with a blank page.

So what does that leave? I could tell you all about what I'm doing right now. I mean, besides the blog frenzy catch up super writer force choke the words on the page part...

I wrote about the new workout program. That's still plugging along. Not losing any weight, but also not feeling like I've been beat with a stick after the workout anymore either. Of course tomorrow I increase my weights so we will see how long that lasts. Using the Misfit Shine to encourage over all activity. Gotta get those dots! Starting tomorrow I am going to increase my points goal on that as well. I was avoiding doing it even though most days I hit my goal pretty easily because I don't want to be THAT active on the weekends. I like a lazy weekend. But I realized I can just change the goal on Saturday morning and put it back on Monday morning. Viola! Problem solved. Dual goal system. Sticking with 1200 points for the weekend, moving to 1400 for the weekday. I've also decided I am going to try and keep my streak alive until we go to New Mexico in July. Unless I get sick, or hurt, I think I can do it. The biggest challenge will be right before NM when Brent is in Germany and I will have to be active on a weekend without him here to encourage me.

I'm working on the Rosetta Stone puzzle still. It's really slow going. I gave up for awhile because it was just too hard. So it just sat on the table, an outline with nothing else. Been plugging away at it again this week and I've gotten about 15 more pieces in...not even kidding. It's really freaking hard. The pieces are all really close in color and they are small enough that the difference in language isn't always easy to see. And even if I can say, of for sure this is Greek, that only means it will be someplace in the lower third of the puzzle. It's hard is what I am saying here. When I am finally finished with it (maybe by my birthday?) I will really feel like I've accomplished something.

I'm getting a little bent out of shape with the whole new adult coloring craze. Not just in a hipster, "Dudes, I've been doing it for years" sort of way though there is a touch of "Really? A trend? How about a thing that some of us just do?" but in the one of the reasons I've always liked it is because it's cheap. A box of crayons and a book, less than $5 for HOURS of entertainment. Now books are getting more and more expensive and pencils and crayons are getting fancier and more expensive as well. And sure I could just stick with my old school tools but some of the new stuff is SUPER cool. But still...trendy means more expensive and that bugs me. I will just wait for the tide to roll back out and on to a new beach and pick stuff up on clearance I guess....

Still cooking with Blue Apron and enjoying the recipes there, though I have been thinking about shifting the way Brent and I eat a little so that would mean stopping the service. I haven't decided for sure yet. So many studies point toward Mediterranean as the way to go, but it's not as high in protein as Brent likes and it's not as high in cake as I like. So...I'm torn. Actually I'm not torn so much as resisting. I know I should switch. I know it's better for us. I know it hits the heart health that is a concern in both of our families as well as the brain health I am obsessed with. But...cake.

Let's see what else...
Summer movie season is in full effect and I'm trying out the movie a week approach. Or at least sort of trying it out. I think we already missed a week after I decided to do one a week...so one a weekish...ANYWAY...it means we are probably going to see things we might have skipped otherwise, but I love going to the movies so even if there are a few clankers in there it will be fun over all I think.

And tonight is the season finale of Game of Thrones so I am rushing through this to post it and put it up on Facebook before I have to stay off the internet so asshats with no self control or care about their West Coast friends can watch a show without it being spoiled....

And done! Whew....

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Nevermind...

We watched Montage of Heck last night. It was interesting. But not really enjoyable. If that makes sense.

I have to admit I was not a fan of Nirvana when they first came out. They struck me as whiny and petulant and just all around pains the ass. Years later I could appreciate the music and did like it more for awhile until our alternative station did an all Nirvana all the time stretch and then I was over it again. Now they are hit or miss for me. I have to be in the right mood. But I was never a huge a fan. And especially not a fan of Kurt Cobain.

Last night I was reminded why. I have a real problem with junkies. I know it's a disease. I know it's a sickness. I know addiction is really hard to shake. But I also know that often junkies are just assholes and the addiction is an in addition to, not an entire problem in and of itself. Selfish, liars, mean and nasty. Junkie. Kurt Cobain seems to fall in to the realm of he would have been an asshole anyway and heroin just helped him along that pathway. (see Nikki Sixx)

Kurt Cobain is the same age as Brent and I are (he's a few months older). His daughter is a month and a half older than Christopher. So while Cobain was supposedly the spokesperson for his generation and we were clearly his generation the whole time Nirvana was huge he most certainly didn't speak for me. At the time all I thought about him was quit whining and grow the fuck up. Oh how awful for you to be hugely successful and people want to interview you. Oh how terrible that people who bought your album want to see you on tour. What a real shame for you. Please show up and be a dick to the poor person who is paid to try and get an interview before your show.

Watching last night I was right back there. I always felt like he was trying to be a grown up with important things to say while we were actually being grownups and it bugged the shit out of me that we were supposed to somehow fall in to that grunge what ever man...sort of demographic. And when he killed himself? I was pissed. Not because the world lost this huge talent which is what I was supposed to feel, but that he left his baby with Courtney Love. Though after seeing the video footage of him needle nodding while holding Frances I'm not sure he would have done a great job parenting anyway...

But I was so mad. How could you leave your child like that? With someone you knew had issues? I was just angry. And yes, I know, I was totally projecting since I had a baby that age and could never imagine leaving him voluntarily. And yes, I know, my stance on suicide has shifted dramatically since I was in my 20s. But when you are brought back to where you were your new attitudes have to catch up.

So watching last night I got a sense of why he was the way he was. His life was more than a little messed up. His parents did a lousy job of helping him through it all. There were issues early on that should have been addressed and dealt with. I would guess he had some serious demons he was self medicating away. But he was still an asshole. Talented sure. But being a junkie didn't make him an asshole, he was already there. Being a junkie just made him a junkie asshole.

So then after the movie when we went to bed I had a dream about the last junkie I tried to help. Brent and I were sitting at a table with him and I was saying, "I get that you are a junkie. But really you're just an asshole and I've found a program for you to stop being an asshole, if you are ready to take it."
So now I'm thinking there needs to be a rehab program for assholes more than for junkies. Fix the addiction to being an asshole and maybe the junkie part will go away as well...

It's a thought.





Friday, June 12, 2015

Arting...

I've talked before about how I wish I could draw or paint. I can see the pictures in my head, even how they would be done, but I don't have the talent to move that picture to my hands. It's just not my creative talent. Stick figures. And often they are a little wonky...

Right now there is a BIG canvas. It's a pencil sketch, or could even be ink, but it's all done in black and white. The canvas is covered with a giant sketch of a room. One side of the canvas is much darker, much gloomier and the other really light. Even though it's the same room.

On the dark side there are shelves and they are overflowing with books, and loose paper, and knick knacks. There are piles of things on the floor. Books lying open in the middle of the floor. Lots of things that look half done. Just stuff everywhere. And shadowy. Dark.

The other side of the room is bright and light. There is a window where you can see outside to a forest scene. Trees and maybe some birds. There are book shelves, books, and knick knacks but they are neat. Everything is ordered. Probably as much stuff as the other side, but it's all very tidy. All very kempt. And lots of white space between things so it all looks bright.

In the middle of the room is a desk. It's sort of straddling everything. Transitioning from the dark half on the left to the bright white of the right.

The bright side of the desk has an old-fashioned typewriter, a neat stack of paper sitting next to it. A line typed on the sheet rolled in to the machine.

The dark side of the desk...underneath it...there you see her?

There is a fairy. Wings tucked in at her back. You can see her looking out of the picture at you. In profile. Head tilted, gleam in her eye. Book on the floor next to her hip. Stack of broken pencils at her feet. Hands grasped in front of her tightly...piles of crumple paper covered with scribbles all around her.

I can see it so clearly.

If only I could draw.

The picture...

 and the muse away from the dark half of the desk to the light....



Thursday, June 11, 2015

Break out...

So I've been watching a few stories about the prison break in New York. There is speculation that a woman who worked in the prison tailor shop had a relationship with one of the prisoners and helped them in their escape.

What makes you look at a convicted murderer and think, yeah this is a good catch? Some of the stories say that he was an attractive man and very charming. I've seen the mugshots so I'm going to have to disagree on the attractive. And as a con I would guess there is a pretty good shot he was charming. A lot of really horrible people can be. It helps you get away with things if you are charming. There was also a rumor that he is very well endowed and that's why. I have a more difficult time believing that one than the charming. Being impressed by a big dick is really a guy thing. Sorry, but it just is. Most women really do subscribe to the it's not the size of the pencil but how you write your name theory of penis sizes.

But for me when I heard the stories though I thought, how lonely was she? I mean that has to be it right? How lonely was she that he was able to charm her like that? To convince her to help them break out of prison? She ended up having a little nervous breakdown over it and missed the final piece which was the get away car, but she most likely got them the tools and every thing else they needed to get out. So she was on board there for awhile. With no one in her life to tell her what a bad idea it was. No one to give her that piece that was missing so he was able to slide right in and convince her that this was a good idea. How lonely do you have to be for that to happen? (follow all of that with an allegedly, who knows maybe she didn't have anything to do with it at all and the prison is just scapegoating her because they left power tools lying around unsupervised)

I don't really have more for this blog. Just that thought. How awful to be that lonely.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Your money, your problems...

So Franklin Graham has moved his bank account away from Wells Fargo because they ran an ad featuring a lesbian couple. (apparently the real reason might be a little more financially motivated but that's his publicly stated reason) He's also called for other Christians to boycott them. As well as Starbucks, Nike and Tiffany's because they all pay advertising dollars to promote the gay lifestyle.

Okay. Get down with your bad self, if that's what you want to do. I don't give money to the Salvation Army, the Boy Scouts (though that might shift here soon) or Chick-fil-A for pretty much the same reason just swinging the other way on the issue. I vote with my wallet. It's the way it should be done.

Now I would disagree with Mr. Graham on specifics. The ads from those companies that have gay couples in them aren't done to promote the gay lifestyle (which you all know I hate that phrase anyway, but I'm using it since he did). They are doing the ads to encourage gay couples to buy their rings from Tiffany's, to do their banking at Wells Fargo, to grab a cup of coffee from Starbucks, to wear a swoosh on their shoe. Same thing ads featuring straight people, or people you are just left to speculate wildly about their sex lives are meant to do. Advertising for a business is done strictly to promote a lifestyle that includes using that business.

But that former ad exec quibble aside, again, I have zero problem with Mr. Graham, or anyone else, not doing business with someone who they think doesn't share their values. It's okay. It's your money, spend it where you want to. Don't spend it where you don't want to. I don't care. I really don't. You can even encourage others who share your belief system to do the same. Though good luck on this one, especially convincing women of a certain age that Tiffany's is bad. Trust me, I've had this discussion, there are people who won't give up their chicken sandwich no matter if the devil himself was slinging the waffle fries. But let your wallet follow your beliefs.

Now, I do care if businesses want to deny services to people based on those beliefs. Like if Nike started saying they would no longer sell shoes to Christians. That would be a problem. Or if Tiffany's told me as a middle aged woman I could no longer get a blue box with a white ribbon because they were only going to sell to young people. That would be an issue. And don't even get me started on what I would feel about Starbucks denying anyone the opportunity to get caffeinated. That would just be cruel and unusual punishment.

As an individual you get to decide where to spend your money. Who to give your charitable donations to. Which chicken sandwich you are going to pay for. Those are all your choices. Vote with your wallet. Now if you get a chicken sandwich, you also have to pay for it. You agreed to that when you ordered the food, because that's the law.

As a business serving the public they get to serve the public. And depending on where they run their business there are laws around whom they can and cannot deny those services to. And they get to follow those, because they agreed to it when they got their business license. That's the law.

It's really pretty simple right?

Oh I know...I can hear you all laughing from here...



Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Be a fan not a fanatic...

Before I go any further in this blog I want to warn you. There will be a Game of Thrones spoiler. It's from the most recent TV episode so if you haven't watched it yet, don't read any further. And it's not happened in the books. But it appears that it's coming. That this is one of those where George RR let them know what was going to happen soon and they already put it in the show. So if you don't want the books spoiled don't read any further. We clear? SPOILER ALERT has been issued...venture further at your own risk!!


Okay? Ready?

One of the bonus things that comes with watching Game of Thrones is watching how outraged people get the next day over the episode. About what brutal thing happened. The interesting part to me is how arbitrary the outrage seems. A few weeks ago Sansa was raped on her wedding night and people freaked out. Not that she was raped necessarily, but that SHE was raped. See in the books it's a different character. And from what I've gathered it's a much more brutal and depraved scene. But because it was Sansa people were outraged. Okay...

This weeks outrage is another one like the Sansa story-line for me. We knew it was coming. The signs had been there all along. The character told you exactly who he was and what he was willing to do. And yet, Monday morning people are freaking out because it was too much! How could he? How could they? Oh no...

See one of the characters sacrificed his daughter to his god. Burned her alive. It was brutal to watch the scene. The actress that plays (played?) Shireen was incredible on the show and this scene was outstanding. For a child actor especially she is brilliant. And because she has been so brilliant and because she is Stannis' daughter every part of you was sure that he would back down. Because you would right? Anyone normal would. Even though we've seen Stannis burn people alive before. Even though we know he killed his own brother. Even though we know his wife is just as big of a religious fanatic as he is. Even though we know all of these things we are still shocked. Who sacrifices their child to their god?

Well a lot of people do.

Maybe not in such a dramatic way, but it happens all the time.

A few weeks ago we were at a wedding for friends of ours. For one of the brides the family she had there consisted of one blood relative and then all of the "family" she has picked up through the years. Her parents weren't there. They have no relationship to her. Because she's a lesbian. They sacrificed her to their god you see. Now the other bride had all of her family there. Lots and lots of family. Her grandfather officiated the service. They prayed and blessed the union. They welcomed their daughter's new bride in to their family as their own. They thanked god for bringing the two of them together and for the love they have for each other. They did not sacrifice their child to their god.

You see?

In my family when my nephew came out friends of my brother and sister abandoned them. Told them that they couldn't be around such sin. This is after my brother and sister stood by them when the male half of the couple had been accused of a heinous crime, by the way. Heinous. They stood by them during that, but a gay son? Oh no, not going to happen. They sacrificed the child to their god.

In many religious families over the years the second sound you heard after coming out was the door slamming behind you. Kids got kicked out of homes. Disowned. Disavowed. Or sent away to "counselling" to "fix" the issue. They were sacrificed to their family's god. It's getting better, but it still happens.

In the church I grew up in our youth minister was a pedophile. When it was discovered he was banished from the church for being gay. Yep. They called him gay and sent him out in to the world instead of calling him what he was, a pedophile, and calling the police. And they felt this was the right decision to make. According to the church elders his sin was that he liked boys, not that his crime was he abused BOYS. And the scandal that would have hit the church if he had been prosecuted? No way they were going to let that happen. They sacrificed their children to their god.

I was also raised with the belief system that I was responsible for not only my own sexuality and sexual thoughts but those of every man around me. Men are so weak, you know. Just the sight of me in a low cut blouse could cause their rapist nature to overwhelm them, and really could you blame them? I mean, cleavage. It's why when my attempted rapist wanted to shut me up all he had to say was, "No one will believe you. I will say you led me on." And he was right, they wouldn't have. See they had sacrificed their girls to their god.

The reality show family going through the wringer right now? 19 Sins and Counting? Their stance is summed up with a few talking points, it was over the clothes sometimes, it was while they were asleep sometimes, some of them were too young to even know what was happening, we asked around and a lot of boys in the church were doing the same thing...They sacrificed their daughters to their god. The "help" they got for their son? A summer job, basically. Well and I'm sure they prayed over it. The girls? They got a lock on their bedroom door. Which is all good and everything, but I want you to think about that for just a second. Every night as you go to sleep make sure you lock your bedroom door because your molester is right outside. You need to make sure the boogeyman doesn't get you, because we aren't going to. We've sacrificed you to our god.

Lot offered up his daughters to be raped. Abraham took Issac to the mountain to sacrifice him. The entire Christian religion is based on a father sacrificing his son.

So really was that scene about a fanatic sacrificing his daughter to his god really all that shocking?

I wish it had been.






Monday, June 8, 2015

Pure distilled me...

I read someplace that as you age you become more and more you. You shed the bullshit, the unimportant things, the things that never quite worked out for you and just become more and more you.

I see this happening to not only me now, but to a lot of my friends as well. The voices we used to keep in our heads seem to leak out a lot more now. The opinions that we would have thought twice about sharing when we were younger we let fly at every chance. And I wonder sometimes if this is a good thing.

I mean, not where I'm concerned, I know with my own things it's great. I am just becoming even more awesome. But with some of my other friends? The shit they say? The positions they take? Oh my god...they are insane. Do they even understand that they are saying that crazy shit out loud? Where people can hear them??

Okay, I'm kidding. Sort of.

There are times when I hear a friend say something and I think to myself, there is no way you can actually believe that. But then I look back over our years of knowing each other and I see the pieces that were always there. The times they said something that was sort of coming up on that opinion sideways. Just testing the waters. Now they are in full voice about it and I have to say, okay, yeah, I should have seen that coming.

And I kind of wonder where it's all going to lead to. Do we all reach that "You kids get off of my lawn!" moment where the people who distilled down to our opposites are just let go? Or will we grow old together yelling at each other about how wrong the other one is? I would guess there will be a mix.

A few weeks ago I went to look for an old friend on my Facebook list. I hadn't seen a post by her in a long time and normally this time of year she's fairly active. Well as a surprise to me we are no longer friends. That's why I wasn't seeing her things. We were never FRIENDS we were always friends and our politics have never matched up. I had noticed over the past few years that she was becoming even further away from center and my guess is she noticed the same about me. She just reached that "I can't even" point towards me before I reached it towards her.

Because I am even farther from center on a lot of things than I used to be. And I was pretty far away to start with. But as I've gotten older I've lost all of my tolerance, or pretend tolerance for hateful bullshit. I've become more and more aware of my lack of patience for people who treat others badly. And I've become much freer with pointing out the times I think someone is being an idiot. Though there are still times I try to just let it go.

I'm not completely firm in a lot of areas, I still think there is more of me to be discovered. And along those lines I have very little patience for people who are so sure that they are always right they cannot even entertain a different point of view. A closed mind cannot let in a new thought. And I cannot be around people who are unable to take in more information when it's available. Decisions change based on information we have right now. If you are never going to let yourself experience new information you are stuck. I have no interest in stuck.

So who am I now? What am I becoming as I distill down to pure ME? I'm kinder than I was when I was younger. I'm more open minded (that probably has helped with the kindness). But I'm also less tolerant of bullshit. And I have no patience at all for willful ignorance. Which is making sort of a weird mix right now. Though, I've never been able to abide by rudeness or stupidity so I should have seen this coming...

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Choices...

We are at a few crossroads right now. Trying to decide on things are BIG (in our world at least) decisions to make and wanting different things fairly equally. It makes making a choice really hard.

When George died I said I was waiting a year before I would get another pet. Well, this week is a year. I still miss that little shit head very much, but it's not like when Sampson died and we got George and Gracie right away. I wasn't ready for them. As cute as they were, they weren't Sampson. Now if we got a new pet they wouldn't be a replacement. They would be a pet.

Out walking this morning in Washington Park and we passed quite a few people and their dogs. Portland is a big dog town. Not that the dogs are big, though some are, but that we have a lot of dogs. And a lot of dog friendly places. To the point that people are truly insulted if they can't bring their dog in to your store or restaurant. Dogs are important out here. And truly both Brent and I love dogs. I always had dogs growing up. And we've talked about getting one now that we (I) have time to really give to taking care of one. And with my new dot obsession (Misfit Shine) taking the dog for a walk absolutely guarantees dots on the weekend.

And of course I love cats. I think personality wise you just can't go wrong with a cat. They always have an interesting one. And it can change multiple times in one day. They want attention when they want it. They want to be left the fuck alone with they don't. Yes, I totally understand there is a reason I am drawn to cats, but we don't usually say it out loud.

So anyway, we are at a year now. Do we get another pet? Or two? Maybe a dog and a cat this time? Get them both young so they can be friendly instead of hate each other. And here is the big confession. I really like not having pets. There is no litter to scoop. No poop to pick up. No vomit to scrub. No vet trips or vet bills. No impatient feed me nudges on weekend mornings (well Brent still gets them but at least it's just me and not a whole menagerie). It's really kind of nice. The house stays cleaner. We can spend the day or the night away from the house and not have to worry. And when we go away for a weekend or longer there is no pet sitting to have to arrange. It's really been kind of sweet.

So I say no pets. Not right now.

Then I see a picture of a kitten. Or a new puppy out learning to walk on its leash. Or an older dog sitting in the shade while their owner drinks coffee and I think....it would be nice to have a pet again. They are such good companions. Really good motivators to get out and do stuff. We should totally head to the pound today.

And then there is the house. Yes, I know. We have made the final decision on the house at least a hundred times. Today out hiking we passed along the edges of the houses built in the middle of Washington Park. Brent asked if I wanted to walk through the neighborhood and see if anything was available. I just laughed. There is nothing in there we could afford. They are gorgeous though. And set in the woods. Just perfect. And when I cook in this kitchen and have no exhaust fan so my whole house ends up smelling like smoked meat it drives me crazy. So those things make me think, we have to move! And I know Brent really wants a place with outdoor space. And out of this neighborhood. And he wants the kitchen vent as well, so he doesn't have to listen to me bitch anymore. So we just have to move.

But then we look. And to find someplace ready to move in to that we want we are looking at about 2.5- 3x what our place is right now. So maybe we buy someplace cheaper and do a big remodel. Great idea. But then the base is more than what we owe now and we have to add the remodel costs to that. So our monthly nut is going to be much higher. And is that really what I want to spend our money on? I mean we are at the point now where a weekend trip down to California just to see friends get married was within our grasp. As well as a trip back to NM. And a trip to Austin. And a possible weekend in Memphis. And a few trips back to Michigan. And hockey tickets, and BAA tickets, and football tickets...do I want to start cutting back on those things just to have a few things in the house I don't have now? So we absolutely don't want to move.

So that's where we are. We are for sure moving and getting a dog and a cat and staying put with no pets so we are free to travel on a whim.

Also, don't bother asking your husband what you should blog about when you are stuck for ideas. His response won't surprise you, but it won't be as helpful as he thinks it is....

Friday, June 5, 2015

More balance...

I started a new workout program this week. I wasn't seeing the results I wanted from what I had been doing so I made a change. Bought a book on the anatomy of workouts, they detail the actual muscles and movement so you can really focus on what you need done. They had a fitness test included and after doing that I decided to do their overall workout. It's a good balance of upper and lower body. Added some cardio and a few extra stretches and I was off to the races.

And I have discovered that I am way out of balance.

See this particular routine has pushing exercises as well as pulling. I am not really good at the push away. The pulling in? Three times the weight at least. On Monday as I set up the chest press machine I picked a fairly low weight, I thought, and laid down and pushed and...oh well that's not going to work. So I moved it down a bit. And...nope. A bit more...a bit more...Okay...so what is the least amount of weight I can do on this machine? And then it moved. Holy shit...well that's humbling.

Especially the next day when I felt like my arms had been taken off my body, thrashed around a bit and then reattached. Backwards. They were better enough today that I tried moving the weight up a little bit. Ummm...no.

So on Wednesday as I was working out doing a pull in at the high weight and dreading the move to the push away I thought...Well it kind of fits your personality anyway. I've always been better at bringing things in than pushing them away. I want to touch things. To feel them. To hold them in my arms. To have them. Even things I know I shouldn't have I grab and pull in. Cake. If I didn't pull in so much cake I wouldn't be pushing out so many reps at the gym right?

Anyway, I thought it was kind of symbolic.

But I still need to get the balance in my muscles back. As a former LMT I know how bad it is for you to be out of balance. It pulls your entire body out of whack. So I am working on it. It will eventually get there. Or at least get closer.

Then I started thinking; wouldn't it be wonderful if there was a simple balance test for everything else in life? Like one of those Buzzfeed quizzes maybe. You could take it and then look at the answers and see where you are not paying enough attention. Sure it might hurt a little, but it would get better as you focused on those areas a bit more. Everyone talks about needing balance in their lives, right? How do you make sure you are actually achieving it?

So there's your homework assignment. Look at your life. What is it you really want to do? What do you feel you need to accomplish in your day to feel balanced? Now what are you actually doing? Where are you out of balance? Work on those areas.

You might have to start on the lowest weight, but you'll get there...