Potential

Today I’m thinking about potential.  My personal potential.  It’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day and I came across this quote by him.

If you can’t fly then run,
if you can’t run then walk,
if you can’t walk then crawl,
but whatever you do you have
to keep moving forward.

And it made me think about all of the things I allow to get in my way of personal success.  Not just business, but growth as a person.  And how excuses keep us from moving forward.  Also, baggage.
The man was a great thinker.  Cut down in the prime of his life by hate.

Don’t Let the Robots Eat Me Yoshimi

Perhaps I am engaging in risky behavior by telling you that I feel better.  After two weeks of coughing, sore ribs, fevers, chills, aching and feeling like a “wet dishrag” (as my mom used to say) I feel human again.  I still have a little bit of a cough, but I was actually able to walk a couple of blocks today without getting utterly winded.  I even carried a heavy load of groceries up the stairs.  Yay me.

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I wore nothing but jammies and stuff made of jersey knit for the full two weeks.

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I drank gallons of Throat Coat tea and hot lemon water with honey and ginger.   I stayed in an antihistamine and ibuprofen induced haze.  Sometimes cocooned in the blankets, other times throwing them off in a sweat.

Fortunately my sweetheart was a little better ahead of me and was able to do things like run to the store for cough drops and saltine crackers.

Monday night was the first time I’d put on moisturizer, make-up and shoes since the end of December.  It felt nice to put on regular stuff and go out and see friends.  At first I was resisting.  I kept telling Will that I was feeling introverted and it was hard to put on pants.  I’d even tried painting my nails and messed it up.  But he texted me, “I think you’ll feel better if you see your friends.”  So, I hopped in the shower, re-painted my nails and this time they came out ok.

We went by the event we’d been invited to and I actually had a decent time.  I wanted to do a lot of dancing, but I was pretty easily winded, so I wiggled around a bit to some great songs.  One of which I will leave you with.

I did have a hard cider and I thought about Stevie who’d passed away.  Who’s funeral had been that day, and I didn’t go.  I’m not sure I would have made it through a funeral almost an hour from here, but I felt guilty for not going anyway.  So, I said a little toast to Stevie in my head and drank my cider.

I’m thankful to be feeling better.  Wearing regular clothes and eating regular food.  When I’m so sick like that I totally understand how people die from these things.  If it were to go on too long, you’d just want it to be over.  Part of my gratitude is for it being brief enough to endure, but it also sure makes me appreciate feeling well.

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I’m also grateful for a pretty nice view out of my bedroom window.

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And I finally FINALLY managed to finish my New Year’s cards that Will, Jade and I made for about 100 folks.  Man, that was a lot of card assembly and we were all sick the first week of January.  So, I managed to get them in the mail today.  I wasn’t about to waste all that work.

I know my last post was pretty negative.  And I’m not all sunshine right now, either.  But I do feel a bit more able to handle the world right now.

Enjoy this song by The Flaming Lips – thanks to DJ Gina for spinnin’ the tunes and making me wanna dance.

“Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots Pt. 1”

Her name is Yoshimi – she’s a black belt in karate
Working for the city – she has to discipline her body –
Cause she knows that it’s demanding to defeat these
Evil machines – I know she can beat them -Oh Yoshimi
They don’t believe me
But you won’t let those
Robots defeat me
Oh Yoshimi
They don’t believe me
But you won’t let those
Robots eat me

Those evil natured robots – they’re programmed to
Destroy us – She’s gotta be strong to fight them –
So she’s taking lots of vitamins – cause she knows that
It’d be tragic if those evil robots win – I know
She can beat them –

 

 

 

 

Lefty Lucy, Righty Tighty

Suffrage

As I fell asleep last night after finding out that the Republicans now control the Senate.  I didn’t have any nightmares.

To be honest, I was pretty dismayed at first.  Even felt a little choked up, recalling the SNAP cuts last year (Republicans) the closing down of women’s health clinics in Texas (Republicans) and the government shutdown (Republicans) that created some serious consequences for many Americans just trying to get by.  Not to mention cuts to the CDC and health research (Republicans) which during this whole Ebola thing has come back to bite us in the butt.

In any case, I let the flash of disappointment wash over me and I just decided to let it go.  Sometimes a shake-up can be a good thing.

Obviously the Marylanders are tired of all the taxes.  I’m open to thoughts on cutting taxes that keeps children’s and arts programs running.  That treats our disabled and elderly and veterans with dignity and respect.  That keeps our air and water clean.  If there is another way to fund those things or cut the costs of them, I am open to that discussion.  And if Hogan can do that, I’m glad for that.

I also think that a lot of Marylanders would like to find it affordable to retire here and at the moment, it’s not for a number of people.  These are valid questions.  And who am I to say that a Republican governor can’t deliver some kind of benefit to Maryland?

I am not going to be reactionary.  I’m not going to predict a lot of horrible things.

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I’m going to wait and see if these new elected officials really DO care about The People more than they care about money and big business.  Truthfully, I’ve not seen much evidence of that so far.  But there are Dems that aren’t above being bought as well.  And I also realize I can’t know the motivations behind each and every one of them.  They can’t all be horrible, hateful, hypocritical examples of humans like Ted Cruz and Michele Bachmann.  I don’t even like of thinking of other humans in terms of “they” and “me” or “us.”  We’re all human beings.  We all have the same basic needs and desire for happiness.  We have a lot of common ground to work with.

Above all, I mostly just want us all to have an equal shake at our right to the pursuit of happiness, no matter what political party a person aligns themselves with.  Surely that’s not so crazy and is something we can find a few ways to come together on.  This isn’t North Korea.  We have a lot of good things going for us.

Today I saw a news story about police in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida arresting people for feeding homeless people.  It’s true that I think of conservatives as doing this kind of thing.  I don’t know who decided this was a good law or why.  But I did automatically assume it was a Republican effort.  Perhaps that’s wrong of me.  And I don’t want to think ill of people I don’t even know.  But there is a reason that I automatically assume that – and it’s because of history.  The disabled, hungry or poor people in my experience are usually maligned by Republicans.  Is it fair that I think of it that way?  Maybe not.  And that’s why I’m examining why I think of things this way.  I should look at the Ft. Lauderdale thing as simply a Ft. Lauderdale thing and not a larger reflection on all of these newly elected folks who are now in charge of things.  I want  to think they represent me and people I love.  I want to think they care about the best interests of my family.  But at this point I feel like all of the government is being bought and paid for by the extremely wealthy and our dwindling middle class has really taken a hit.  Will these new leaders change that?  I hope so.

SO, I said all that to say this:  I’m just going to do what I have always done – try to be the best me I can be.  I can’t be president or senator.  I can’t fix all the things I want to.  But there are lots of things I can do, for my life and to help with the lives of others.

Let’s try and find the common ground, shall we?

Vote Sister Bitchez!

Ok – so I voted.  I am doing this “Thankful November” thing on Facebook and today’s thankful note was that I have the right to vote and I did vote.  That is something to really be thankful for in a world where women’s voices can be undervalued.  I love all of you, my voting sisters.  And if you didn’t vote, I still love you, but want to encourage you to GET YOUR BUTT OUT THERE in the next election and do your thing!  It’s your hard won right!

The voting place wasn’t even crowded.

I do this thing every time I vote where I put the voting sticker on my face and take a selfie.  Well, I’ve been doing it since cellphone selfies have been a thing, anyway.  I can’t find one of them, but here are the ones I have so far.  I know you’re just DYING to see them!

2014

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2012

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2006

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Holy cow – that was before I started dying my hair – check out how white my hair is NOW compared to this 2006 image!

Easy Black Bean Chili

I just threw together a bunch of ingredients and made a delicious vegan black bean chili.  Thought I’d share the recipe since it’s chilly chili weather now.

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I don’t really measure, so if you are a measurer you’ll have to tinker with the amounts by tasting the sauce.

I cut up four medium size “vine” tomatoes, half a yellow onion and one green pepper and tossed them in the cooking pot (you could do this in a crock pot too!) that had about 3 tbsp of olive oil in the bottom

I let this cook on medium heat for about half an hour, then covered it for about an hour.  The tomatoes made it all plenty moist without adding water.

Remove the lid and mush up any tomatoes still holding their shape.  You don’t have to take the skin off you don’t have to do anything but smash ’em up a bit.

I happened to have three cans of black beans in the cupboard, so that’s what I used.  I dumped in the black beans.  I think you could use pinto or kidney and adzuki beans too, if you wanted to.  Or mix it up with any combo of those you have.  But these black beans taste nom.

Seasonings – measurements are approximate:

3 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp paprika
2 tsp tumeric
2 tbsp dried minced onion
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 tsp fresh ground pepper2 tsp salt

Mix it all together well and add about 2 cups of water and let it simmer simmer simmer while some of the liquid reduces.  I like leaving it a bit like a broth because I put tortilla chips in a bowl and pour the chili over the chips and add some liquid to soften the chips up and eat it like that.  If you want a thicker broth, add a little corn meal and corn starch to the liquid (like a tablespoon) and mix well.

If you are doing this in a crock pot I would just put all of the ingredients in (don’t forget the two cups of water!) and let it simmer on low all day.  When you get home if there is too much liquid, then turn it up to high and leave the lid off for a little bit while you do other stuff.

You could add lots of other ingredients to this to make it yummy.  Like jalapenos and corn, for example.

You can also ad some vegan cheddar shreds if you like – but I am actually getting used to having a lot less cheese in general.

Evolution Devolution Shmevolution

The internet has grown so much I can barely keep up with it.  It’s constantly changing and moving and yet, gets more horrible in many ways.

These days you have to understand that people are allowed to send you death threats and talk about you like you aren’t a real person anymore.  And some “satirical” news stories aren’t funny at all, they are click-bait full of lies that are hard to discern from real stories.  They get excused with a tiny disclaimer somewhere at the bottom of the page if you’re lucky.

Back in the early 2k’s I used to blog sometimes three times a day.  Then I had a group political blog and that was an all day sort of affair, bouncing points back and forth.  Sometimes in a maddening way, until I shut the thing down because of how ugly it could become.  To the point I would wake up in the morning with a stomachache with the first thought being, “What horrible thing is waiting for me on the Cafe site?”

The early days of my “homepages” and blogs were cathartic.  I could unload and blog about my internal struggles.  Struggles about love, about being fat, about raising kids and being a feminist.  About body image, celebrity worship, art and friendships.  It was nice to talk about things and send them out into the universe to be accepted by those with whom my messages resonated.  You could find little niche groups that liked the same stuff as you and you could easily avoid the stuff you didn’t want to see.  Spam was sporadic and ads were easily blocked.

Now, years later the internet is a clusterfuck of rants, ads, violence and everybody is building more and more absurd and angry things for grabbing attention.  There are as many lies and scams on the internet as their are news stories and sincere journaling.  It’s exhausting.

It used to be that people who didn’t like what I wrote just headed on to the next thing.  Maybe once in a while I would get a heckler – most fat haters or woman haters.  With my political blog and the popularity of Facebook, though, a new kind of low and ugly emerged full of nasty insults – calling people “libtards” and whatever the ugly word is for conservatives.  St some point the cracking facade of public decency fell away and death threats and trolling have become more the norm, no longer hidden away in deep recesses of usenet groups.

I feel like Youtube is on its way out for a medium that has much more manners in its viewers.  Ello is on its way in, so we don’t have to endure so much constant advertising and data culling.  We are on the precipice of an era where law will catch up with the digital age.  Where you won’t be able to hide behind fake names the way you once could and if you make a death threat, you will have to accept responsibility, just like “IRL” because now the digital realm IS real life. It’s not just some place to go and connect with people who like what you like.  It’s not just some place to sell your goods.  It is a whole world unto itself that has bled into the rest of our real lives and now is part of it.

I’m sick of the death threats circulating and going unchecked.  Even I, at times, can’t resist the urge to be impolite because somebody is just being rude and negative in post after post after post.  It does not bring out the best in me.

It used to be easier for me to talk about my internal struggles online.  I knew that most people reading it didn’t know me and most of them had no way of finding out who I was, unless I wanted them to.  If they didn’t like me, then the worst they could do unless they were some kind of super hacker was send me a nasty note via my webpage.  But I wasn’t ranting violent and ugly things.  I wasn’t hiding because what I was saying was harmful or hurtful or violent or threatening.  I just wanted to connect with others who liked the kind of art I made or who wrote poems I liked.  And it was unlikely they knew me because there just weren’t nearly the amount of people online back then.

I’m guilty of getting in some online spats – but I’ve never threatened to hurt anybody.  And I try to stick to things I would only say if a person was standing there in front of me.  But this era of ugliness and violence is overwhelming me.  Is it worse than it used to be?  Am I imagining it’s worse than it actually is?  It seems like you can’t get away from it.  And spam is overwhelming and much of it, pornographic.

It used to be that the internet was a much “smaller” place.  Now it’s full of attention-grabbing stuff that has become one monotonous roar of voices.  Therefore people have to do more and more outrageous things to get attention.  People setting themselves on fire on videos and attacking people and shooting things and saying outrageous lies – and for what?  Some clicks.  Some clicks so people will see what they did.  Maybe to make some money.  I guess that’s all we ever were and ever will be.  I need money too.  But I can’t imagine being an online liar and hater just to make some money.  So, I suppose I’ll stay pretty poor because I’m not willing to do the things that you have to do these days to garner attention.

I want to write about art and music and friends and love and growing and changing and health and struggles. I want to talk about feminism without threats being hurled at me.  This world.

The internet could be cool again.  If people could be held accountable for their behavior online as they are in the offline world.  I think that time is coming.  People are getting exhausted of the inhumanity of rape and murder threats and online bullying that makes people kill themselves.  I think in time, this will right itself again and we’ll adjust again…until the next time things get out of control, I suppose.