Friday, November 16, 2018

TGIF: The Piece(s) Of My Mind Edition

It's anyone's guess what will happen with this post. I'm winging it, just like Blogger and Feedburner seem to be with my subscribers and commenters lately. More on that later. How is everyone? Feeling Blue in The Good Way? Do grab a nice beverage and/or a snack and settle in. Let's begin.

T is for Transitions: And Ticked Off. I'm angry that Blogger is denying any and all Commenters without a Google account. I could allow for Anonymous commenters, but then you'd have to pass the dreaded Captcha, which has gotten nearly impossible. Additionally, I get overrun with spammers. I've started to work with WordPress, but unless I want to pay for their service (which I don't), it's very limiting, clunky, and not very customizable. I am also aware that my email subscribers are suddenly not getting my posts via Feedburner, also owned by Google (who owns Blogger). It's apparent that I need to make some changes, but...I really don't have the energy.

G is for Giggles: Saw this decal on the back of an SUV the other day. Luckily, it was in a parking lot, so it wasn't a danger to photograph it. I found it very refreshing and self-actualized.

I is for Involved: It's so satisfying and encouraging to hear from so many people that they became much more involved in this midterm election process. I had family members who canvassed, phone-banked, put up signs, and wrote letters. I heard from friends who had never before done any campaign work, but this year they went door-to-door or stuffed envelopes. AND! You'll be glad to know that I flipped two red voters to blue. It's astonishing what some Actual Facts and Turning People Away From Facebook And To Credible Information Sources can do. (And some Disgust Of 45*.) Sadly, due to gerrymandering in Ohio, it is not a lot of help, steps. I continue my activism, now writing to voters in Mississippi for their special election, and awaiting any opportunities for Georgia's governor's race.

F is for Fall? What Fall?: I know many of you are reading this in the Icy Tundra that is your neighborhood or workplace. Did any of you ever get to open your windows to the Autumnal Zephyrs of October? Or even September? Or, like me, did you have your windows closed, airconditioning blasting because throughout September it was in the upper 80s and 90+ with matching humidity which continued through the first week of October, followed immediately by rain and temperatures in the 40s and 50s, at which point you turned on your furnace? I swear, I opened all of my windows to "Fall" one time--on a 50-degree day--solely to air out because I could not take feeling like I had been on a Perpetual Airplane anymore. And now, sn*w. Just. Stop.

Okay! Let's see what happens once I put this Out On The Interwebs. As always, I'm everso glad to hear from All Of You.

Monday, November 05, 2018

In Which I Am Both Part Of The Solution And A Small Brown Bunny--And You Can Be, Too!

Oh, hey.

October...let's just say that it was a Month Of Juggling Priorities. Among the many Worthy Things clamouring for my time and attention, this spot never even cracked the Top Ten. Life, you know?

This morning as I strode down my driveway for my daily walk, I noticed a fat brown rabbit hunkered down in my front yard. Its ears were lying along its back, and it was still and calm. It was making no attempt to camouflage itself right there in the middle of the grass, and it didn't move at all as I walked past it and went on my way. I made a conscious effort right then to take a few deep breaths, then hit my pace to get my miles in.

Northeast Ohio is finally full of gorgeous autumn colour, and despite the precarious condition of the sidewalks I traverse, I make sure I look around and completely enjoy and appreciate it. The red is particularly stunning right now, and there are Japanese maples and burning bushes that are calendar-worthy. I've lived in this neighborhood for thirty-three years, and this is the first time I've ever noticed the brilliant almost-magenta oak tree only about five blocks away. Even the gold and orange foliage seems illuminated against the perpetually damp, slate-grey skies we've been under these days.

I'm sure you know that one of the things I've been busy with is The Politics. For months now in the run-up to this midterm election, I've written personal letters to voters in Ohio, Nevada, and Arizona; I've made phone calls to voters in critical states in pivotal districts; I've made small donations to candidates here in Ohio and in Texas, Georgia, and other races whose candidacy I believe in (primarily women); I've taken a voter to the polls, texted voters; and, I voted early. Before all of that, I've been keeping up the pressure as a member of the Resistance since, well, you know when.

It can sometimes feel like a lot. Most of the time, it feels incredibly Empowering. Being part of The Solution always does.

Another good reason To Be Part Of The Solution was eloquently stated in Georgia the other day by Oprah Winfrey. I don't want her as a celebrity president--I think another reality show is most definitely not what we need--but she is an inspiring speaker and makes a damn good point here:

"For anybody here who has an ancestor who didn't have the right to vote, and you are choosing not to vote -- wherever you are in this state, in this country -- you are dishonoring your family. You are disrespecting and disregarding their legacy, their suffering and their dreams, when you don't vote."

If you are a Woman, your ancestors were denied the right to vote. If you are Black, your ancestors were denied the right to vote. If you are Native American, your ancestors were denied the right to vote. If your ancestors were not property owners, they were denied the right to vote. You know what? All of you, probably, had ancestors who were disenfranchised.

I've done everything I can. Now I'm going to take a lesson from that brown bunny in my front yard (still there, now nibbling a bit of grass) and be calm and still. I'm working on tangible projects of Kindness--knitting for Operation Gratitude--that feel relaxing and gratifying.  Not hurrying around, not letting the stress win--those are Daily Objectives.   My friend Shirley would prescribe Practicing Radical Self Care.

Sounds good to me.

Monday, October 08, 2018

What's My Hurry?

For a little while there, I considered taking October off. The weather has been downright shitful, the Politics has been too, and I'm Over It All. But backing down means The Terrorists win, so here I am. I feel like I've been frightfully busy, flinging myself all over the place here in NEO (motto: Don't bother doing your hair; we specialize in heat, humidity, and rain--what Autumn?). How can I have so damn much to do when I'm Retired?

I hurry a lot. It's hard for me to do things in a measured, unhurried way. I think it has a lot to do with when I was teaching and always, always multitasking--doing a million things between classes, like giving kids makeup work before class started, trying to go to the bathroom and still be on time to class, running off a quiz or test at a copy machine that was not broken down, making a quick parent phone call, or grading a few papers so that I wasn't so inundated by all 120+ a day. Everything was rushed, and it became a way of life. It's hard to suddenly slow down after thirty years of hurrying.

And with children--I'm speaking of my own sons--doing things quickly was, at times, a saving grace. It stopped fussing and crying. It appeased hurt feelings. It forestalled toddler tantrums and sibling fights. And, as a Working Mom, hurrying kept kids on The Sacred Schedule. I'm sure so many of you understand that benefit.

Now, however, hurrying isn't really all that necessary, but I still find myself doing it. I start looking at blocks of time in my day and thinking about how I can shoehorn stuff in. How I can combine a bunch of errands and how early I can get them all done so that I can do a ton of other stuff so that I can...what? It's insane. It makes it really hard to unwind. And sleep.

Free time still feels like a sin to me--a selfish indulgence. Why? I worked hard and I earned it.

I have all day most days to vacuum, to plan and prep dinner, to do any number of the little Domestic Goddessing tasks that tuck into the nooks and crannies of my days. But old habits, as They say, are hardest to break.

So I am determined to form new ones: to take deeper breaths more often; to drive more slowly and with less gritty determination; to enjoy the lulls in my day rather than fret about them; and, to read some poetry every day.

And another jaunt North is in order. Getting Away is different than Running Away, don't you think? Things will definitely slow down then.

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