Obligatuesday to Impromptuesday


All the planned parts of today sucked.  Not in any actual way, but just in the way that living as an adult usually does.  We’ve all had those days.

When I got home from work, I mentioned my sushi craving and Buddy mentioned how he likes to enable (and he needed to buy new shoes).  So new shoes and sushi happened.  And because we had sushi, we had to have Coldstone.  The unplanned part of the day went swimmingly.

On the drive home, I started wondering about modern versions of Hell.

For People Who Spend All Their Time on Their Phone:

You are at a live performance of your favorite band in the largest stadium in the world.  Then you find out that due to impending hearing issues, the band can no longer play at full stadium volume.  Fortunately, the first 10 rows will be able to hear the whole thing fine.  Everyone else, including you, can live stream it on their phones.  But the reception is iffy and everyone has different quality phones, so all around you is the cacophony of buffering videos all out of step with each other.  The tickets are non-refundable.

For People Who Can’t Follow Simple Traffic Laws:

You are stuck behind a slow person in the right lane, so switch to the left lane.  And get stuck behind a person driving even slower.  You can’t get back into the right lane because there are too many cars going too fast.  Then the interstate widens by a lane, so you quickly get into the left lane.  And get stuck behind a person driving even slower.  Bonus: If you stay in the right lane, there is construction that closes the right lane and no one will let you in.

Also, if you lived in the Hampton Roads Area there will be an accident at the HRBT which forces you to reroute to MMBT.  Where there is another accident.  But it’s okay because the HRBT is cleared now.  Oh, no it’s not.  There was another accident.  And if you try to take the JRB, it will always be opening for a stream of cruise liners ferrying all the people you ever hated in High School.  Waving happily.

For People Who Post Clickbait:

You will try to watch a video on YouTube.  But you can’t ever get to the video because there are non-stop ads.  You can’t skip the ads.

For People Who Lie On Online Profiles:

You can never finish the eHarmony questionnaire.  Ever.

For People Who Overshare on Social Media:

Every time you try to send a text, you send a dick pic to your grandmother.  Even if you don’t have a dick.  Every text you receive will say “You have multimedia waiting to download.”  It will never download.

For People Who Are Rude to Retail/Service Employees:

You will work retail on Black Friday.  Every day.  Everyone will be rude to you.

For People Who Steal Credit Cards/Identities:

You are on the phone trying to fix something (cancel a magazine subscription, change your name on a record, update your address, etc.).  There is an exhaustive menu that includes none of the options you need, so you select the option to speak to a representative.  But it takes you to another menu to try to narrow what department you need to speak to.  Every time you ask for a person, it takes you to another menu.  When you finally get through to a person, regular business hours are over so no one answers.  This happens every day, regardless of what menu options you choose.

Racist/Bigoted Conspiracy Theorists:

You were right.

For People I Don’t Like:

It’s your day off, the only day you get to sleep in and relax.  But someone rings your doorbell at 6:00am to sell you aluminum siding or windows or security systems or lawn care or meat from a van or magazines.  If you don’t answer, the next visitor will be a Jehovah’s Witness.

Anyone else have something?  Share your special modern Hell in the comments.

(Credit for half of these go to Buddy as well as the words Obligatuesday and Impromptuesday.)

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Thursday? Again?


Well, not for another 6 minutes.

I now have 4 hats for sale on Etsy, which is probably too many.  But I like making them and it delays the time when I should try making another purse.  Which involves measuring and cutting and sewing, all things not nearly as natural to me as crochet.

I’ve averaged 3 workouts a week so far.  I missed a week last month due to migraines and work schedules, but doing 3 plus a weekend jaunt is at least a step in the right direction.  Buddy wants to do weight lifting on the weekends, which I’m all for (except for the going-to-the-gym part, necessary but yuck).  Turns out, weight lifting helps burn fat better than cardio.  Makes sense, but puts the lie to half a dozen years of Army thinking.

I haven’t been writing, or thinking of writing this week.  I’m gonna knuckle down to some research, though.  When writing a historical-ish story, one needs to know a little bit more about the time period than what one gleans from Jane Austen novels and period films.  Also, when creating a semi-alternate universe, one needs to build the roots of the present in a fictional past that is plausible.  So in order to write about super humans in 1800’s England, I have to look back to other formative time periods, like the Protestant Reformation.  And I also need to brush up on the Napoleonic Wars (most of what I know comes from Alexandre Dumas and some fantasy novels).

This is actually good news because I will finally get to use something I learned in college.  RESEARCH.

Bollocks.  Now it’s Friday.

 

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The Race Problem


We need to talk about race.  Because we have a race problem in this country.

That’s actually a load of crap.  We don’t have a race problem.  Race doesn’t exist.  It is simply a variation in the amount of melanin in the skin.  Race has no more effect on a person than eye color or hair color or flat feet.  That’s genetics, and while science is not certain how much genes effect personality, most agree that we don’t make complete carbon copies of ourselves merely through genetic contributions.

The problems we face are cultural.

Travel to a new country.  Good.  Now look around and get shocked by the weirdness around you.  Train stations in Japan are clean.  Space bubbles are significantly reduced in South Korea.  English food is awful.  The French are rude.  The languages are different, the food is different, hand gestures, common courtesy, all vary from place to place.  What doesn’t reliably vary?  Race.  A black German is still going to speak German and ride the reliable public transit systems and drink German beer.  He’ll wear German clothes and have an opinion about politics and have behavioral traits which are deeply entrenched in his environment.  Being black doesn’t change the fact that he grew up in the country, learned the traditions and history, and has developed an identity in an environment completely different than someone of the same skin tone living in Africa or America or Asia.

A long time ago, mankind was born and had a hankering for travel.  As he travelled, he evolved to fit his environment.  This is why we all look different.  People from cold climates are pasty because they don’t see the sun ever and people from warm climates are dark because that protects them from cancer.  Simple.  And because there was no internet, he didn’t keep in touch with his old relatives.  So after a few millennia, he didn’t recognize his own species and thought he was meeting new animals which he of course thought himself superior to.  And then he defeated his enemy using superior technology and enslaved him.  This happened a lot throughout history.  Like, A LOT.  I mean, it’s pretty much the same story throughout human civilization from the Sumerians all the way to modern history.  The immorality of slavery has only really been recognized by the majority of the first world for only two hundred years, if that.

Well, a new world is “discovered,” and people are sent to colonize it.  The funny thing about these people is the presumption that they were superior to every other variation of humanity.  They were more civilized, culturally and technologically.  Or so history tells us.  I guess.  It seems more likely that they were just better at popping out babies in high enough numbers that a third of the population could die of plague and they were still over crowded.  Over crowding leads to technological advancement as a means of providing for a population that couldn’t be supported otherwise.  Anyway, a bunch of people show up with fancy weapons and deadly germs.  Some of them sex up the locals which is why the lands conquered by the Spanish early on are still mostly brown in skin tone.  Further north, the conquerors were not so eager to plant seeds.  See, the northern Europeans were never conquered by the Ottoman Empire, so they could still feel superior to brown people.  Plus, there are religious factors in this.  The Spanish and French and Portuguese were nominally Catholic, which advocated conversion through procreation.  The English, Germans, and Dutch leaned harder toward Protestantism (with varying levels of crazy).  For most that meant doing the opposite of decadent Catholics, as hard as possible.

These are all factors, among all kinds of other things that I am not qualified to speak on, which lead to much of North America remaining pale in skin tone.  Cultural differences clashed and instead of mingling with the natives, the natives found themselves evicted from their lands before the concept of land ownership was even a thing for them.  And this misunderstanding between two tribes (the Europeans and the Natives), baffled both sides.  Europeans say, Hey, that idiot sold me this land for a handful of crappy beads.  Natives say, Hey, that idiot gave me shiny beads because he thought I owned the land.  Have you heard of the countless people who were scammed into buying the Brooklyn Bridge upon coming to America?  Same deal.  The only reason the trope of stupid savage stuck over stupid pale face is because stupid pale face had bigger numbers, bigger guns, and small pox.  (Ask me some time about my theory concerning the US/Native relations and how they could have been fixed.)

Again, the differences between the two tribes were cultural.  However, humans are visual beings.  Strong visual acuity is how we survived the jungle when every other species was still being tricked by the camouflage of apex predators.  We conflate visual patterns with behavioral patterns.  Orange stripes mean something is trying to eat me.  Brown skin means someone is obviously a dumb savage who needs to be civilized.

And when Europe started exploring the world because they were out of room (since plagues were no longer effective and the apex predators were reduced to fancy throw rugs), they went out to explore the world.  New worlds were discovered, Yay new resources!  New people were discovered, Yay new work forces!

What I’m getting at is that the European tribe spread out, killing and enslaving all other tribes in order to keep resources for itself and become stronger.  And when they had conquered everything, they set up trade systems that moved these new resources where they were most needed.  And some of those resources were people.

Somewhere about this time, the Enlightenment happened.  Cultural revolution all around.  Mankind wants to be great again, like the Ancient Greeks and Romans.  Up until this time, slavery was just a thing that happened.  It wasn’t right or wrong, it was the natural order of things.  Yeah, it sucks for the slaves, but they lost.  So, you know, they get it.  But then the winners effed up.  They got greedy.  They made slavery a permanent condition.  It wasn’t something you could work your way out of any more.  And somewhere along the way, they stopped viewing it as the winners and losers.  Morality started wedging into the argument.  The Enlightenment made it really difficult for those “superior” thinkers to look at slaves and not see people.  In order to remain the good guys, the narrative had to change.

People were slaves because of their culture, which was too uncivilized to survive without a benevolent overseer.  People were slaves because they were evolved to be so, otherwise why would they be so good at manual labor?  People were slaves because God wanted them to be.  That’s how he punished the Hebrews, after all.  And eventually, we get to where the people who are slaves are not really people.

Millions of people are ferried across the ocean and forced into a 400-year breeding program that privileges strength, durability, coordination, and loyalty (though not to the overseers).

The slaves were treated as subhuman, as alien, and as pets.  Above all, they were treated as separate.  There was a strict cultural divide between the slaves and the rest of the population.  So instead of being a part of the community, valued and respected as a cog in the machine that kept everything running, they were foreigners.  And you might be wondering why a slave would ever be valued and respected.  My answer is a long history of slave revolts.  Sure, you can crucify seventy of them along the road to Rome, but then you still have to get more slaves.  In working societies, slaves were considered property and property was highly valued.  In the societies that failed, human property was disregarded as less valuable than rarer commodities, like livestock and gold.  An overabundance of supply, you could say.  Which leads to devaluation.  Unfortunately, while devaluation of those other commodities is an economic inconvenience, when a large population of human beings become expendable, they respond like people rather than livestock.  Abuse an animal and you’ll get kicked or bit.  Abuse a tribe of people and they forget their place.  Horses don’t have the opposable thumbs required to slit your throat in the middle of the night.

THIS IS WHY WE HAVE A RACE PROBLEM.  The conflation of race and culture, the complete separation of the slave “tribe” from the rest of the nation, and a massive superiority complex all contributed to the development of a culture that is alien to the majority (which is only the majority because of a ridiculous preference for sexual partners with a fear of sunlight and a penchant for freckles and skin cancer).  The division of tribes created cultures born out of completely different roots.  Again, my world traveler analogy.  You are about to travel to a foreign country, but first you brush up on the culture (if you aren’t a typical American) so that you don’t commit a social faux pas accidentally.  Some perfectly normal hand gestures here are serious insults in other countries.  Or you just show up, talk loudly so everyone is sure to understand you, and act offended when the waiter spits in your wine because in his country you called his wife the c-word.

Oh, but the slaves were freed so long ago, why haven’t the cultures integrated?

Um, yeah, they effed that up, too.

Congratulations!  You are the last in a long line of people who have known nothing but hard labor and subjugation.  You have no formal education, speak a dialect that is both distinctive and nearly indecipherable to the privileged elite, and you are still considered a lesser species by a majority of the people around you.  But you’re free now, so get off my land and start working for a living.  Did I mention that you will be reviled because your freedom is a daily reminder that we lost and thousands of our sons spilled their blood for nothing?

Former slaves stuck together for safety.  Because all the high-minded laws didn’t stop the lynching, burnings, rape, and systematic abuse.  Not to mention the fact that freeing the slaves didn’t give them rights.  They were still foreigners.  So the cultures continued to diverge to this impasse we still have.

Black people aren’t getting shot because they are black.  People are getting shot because their skin tone has been conflated with behavioral patterns attributed to a specific culture.  Instead of learning about and accepting that culture as part of the rich heritage of this country, it has been branded as violent, uncivilized, uneducated, and inferior.  Why?  See above.

Skin tone is incidental in culture.  Granted, having a specific skin tone means someone can automatically claim a specific culture.  When I embarrass myself on the dance floor or tell corny jokes, it’s because I’m white.  When I enjoy a wide variety of ethnic foods, know all the words to a rap song, or like big butts and am unable to lie about it, I don’t suddenly stop being white.  But somehow a person who exhibits traits too divergent from the dominant culture isn’t authentically black (or Asian or Hispanic, etc.).  You’ve heard the terms: Oreo, Twinkie, Coconut, Wigger.  These are oddities because their appearance no longer fits with the cultural expectation.  And in converse, a person who is most certainly divorced from a culture can still claim it if their skin tone is applicable.  Think of any politician who has tried to claim street cred.  I understand the struggle this community because I am (brown or whatever), even though my privileged upbringing took me completely out of the environment that defines your culture.  Vote for me because I am also a minority, though I clearly haven’t suffered the same way you have or I would be where you are looking at a political candidate spewing the same nonsense I am now.

Or in another line, I can’t believe that guy’s a star quarterback because he is black, and while dark-skinned people dominate athletics in this country (possibly due to that horrendous breeding program I mentioned earlier), traditionally their leadership skills are undervalued since the black culture is so obviously inferior to more civilized peoples.  And a woman who is unbelievably rich, supremely popular, and highly influential in the highest social circles can still legitimately claim a deeply felt connection to poor, undereducated, underemployed, and systematically underprivileged people because she is “black.”

Does this make sense to anyone?

I’m tired of hearing “White cop kills black person.”  Police officer kills a person.

This is not an All Lives Matter thing.  It’s called Black Lives Matter because skin tone is still the dominating influencer of prejudice.  It is assumed that a darker skinned person will have behavioral traits that are considered undesirable by the people in power.  Which is dumb.  African American Vernacular English is symptomatic of lower intelligence, right?  Actually, no.  Embracing and learning cultural differences is how we grow as a people.  That means we stop seeing cops as the enemy so they stop seeing us as threats.  Because when you are in a hostile environment, you’re going to be edgy, which leads to more violence than anything.  That’s the visual conflation again.  A uniformed person is an enemy because they’re plotting against us, watching us so they can catch us doing wrong.  They’re supposed to be protectors, not bullies.

Please.  This isn’t a white vs black thing.  This is a dominant elitists vs the systematically disenfranchised.

So stop.  Stop claiming that black people are stirring up trouble.  That they’re all on welfare and drugs.  Stop telling them that they should straighten their hair to fit in.  Stop telling them that they need to act white in order to be taken seriously.  Stop claiming that full lips are only attractive on white women.  Stop using genetics to justify superiority.  Read To Kill a Mockingbird for clear examples of how skin tone doesn’t dictate the moral superiority of anyone.

Stop.  Playing.  The.  Race.  Card.  You are not your skin tone.  You are a beautiful person.  And if someone treats you differently because of your skin tone, it’s because they’re an idiot.  The fact that I bear the physical markers of a tribe that lived in a dark cold place for several thousand years doesn’t mean I’m going to be the ideal candidate for a white collar job.  Seriously, that would be such a bad thing for me.  Those rare times I reveal that I don’t have rhythm, I can blame my ballet training, which heavily discouraged my learning to get jiggy with it.  Corny jokes and bland dialect are both gifts of my Midwestern upbringing.  And the reason I’m not getting a “tribal” tattoo any time soon has less to do with me not wanting to look like a pretentious white douchebag and more the fact that my tribes were more into blue face paint (but also that other part).

And hey, stop simplifying the complexity of human behavior down to juvenile stereotypes.  I’m just getting tired of the whole conflict.  I know it is difficult to overcome the behavioral programming, but seriously this is the only way we can get right with God.  Love your neighbor.  Not your black neighbor or your white neighbor or your Christian neighbor.  Not only the neighbor who lives next to you or the neighbors on your street or the neighbors who vote for the same guys or the neighbors who like the same teams or wear the same clothes or speak the same language or WHATEVER.  Love your neighbor.  Got it?

Good.  I feel a little better now.

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So it’s been a week…


Last week did not start off well.  Sunday night I developed a migraine that I clocked at a level 8 in pain.  Sensitivity to light, unable to concentrate on anything, unable to sleep, and eventually nausea and vomiting.  Yeah.  I tend to get migraines once a week on average.  So maybe I go three weeks with nothing and start thinking I’m getting the hang of this.  Then I get a bad one that goes away for a day and then comes back for two.  Or I get little ones if I didn’t hydrate enough after a workout that can be killed by drugs if I catch them early enough.  But Sunday to Monday was rough and it pretty much ruined the whole week.

I didn’t sleep much that night, but when I did sleep, which is something.  And I felt better the rest of the day, though not at my peak performance.  The problem with the really bad ones is that I have to tread carefully afterwards.  I’m careful about what I eat, for instance, keeping it to simple foods that are low in sugar and salt.  And I stay away from aggravators, like coffee or greasy foods.  It also means that I drink more water and I don’t even think about exercise until my system feels strong again.  So no working out Monday.  And actually, no working out the rest of the week.

Part of that was my work schedule, which was a little full.  And as much as I tell myself I can fit in a workout after work,  I have yet to finish a 5-hr shift standing up and felt the overwhelming need to go for a 4-mi walk or spend an hour on body combat.  And the whole waking up in the morning for a workout thing just doesn’t work for me.  That’s not to say it won’t ever work for me.  Just that it hasn’t since I left the Army.

The other part of my no-workout-week is that it was a down week for me.  I get ups and downs like everyone.  Last week was a down.  No energy, no motivation, no drive.  An overwhelming sense of blah when I got home.  I had nothing to write about because it would have been day after day of “I didn’t feel like it so I didn’t.”

Then this weekend hit.  I got to do some things that really turned my energy around.  I finally saw Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.  I loved it.  However, I was very disappointed in Matt Smith’s performance.  He is the first and only actor to have ever portrayed Mr. Collins in such a way that I didn’t loathe the smarmy pillock.  I felt sorry for him and found him quite funny and unintentionally cute.  To be fair, they did cut most of his absolutely revolting marriage proposal and quite a few of his other offensive behaviors (I believe in the PPZ book, he is a gluttonous pig, and he’s certainly more focused on tallying up his inheritance in the original novel).  I had a lot of fun seeing it with some of my old school friends who could appreciate it as people who have definitely read the original, whether they enjoyed it or not.

Buddy and I did not go for a walk this weekend, or last weekend.  Last weekend, we were busy and lazy.  This weekend, we got up too late on Saturday and it was too bloody cold Sunday morning.  (We did not celebrate Valentine’s Day because we don’t celebrate fake holidays and I have a special place for that one in the deep recesses of my cold, dead heart.  We did go out for dinner, but that was only because we didn’t feel like cooking.)  Monday there was snow on the ground.  SNOW.  And it was raining.  We did go and see Deadpool Monday morning at the IMAX.  It was impeccable.  The action sequences were fantastic, the dialogue was witty, and Ryan Reynolds is a master.  A lot of people can play a smart ass.  He’s been playing the same kind of character since Van Wilder.  However, his brand of smart ass is clearly covering for his pain and Reynolds knows exactly when to let the act slip.  It’s remarkable how much he can portray, even when he is strapped down to a table or his face is mostly obscured by prosthetic makeup.  THIS is the comic book movie we needed.  It’s what movies like The Punisher should have led us to.

Yesterday, I had a dental appt to get some crowns put on over the root canal molars.  Hooray.  On the plus side, the fact that the two teeth they were working on were essentially dead inside meant they didn’t have to numb me, so I didn’t spend half the day feeling like a stroke victim.  I spent a good part of the afternoon training with the education director at the store to be her assistant, which should be interesting.  I’ll get to up my work hours without feeling like I’m stealing hours from my coworkers who might need the money more than I need the relief in boredom.

And when I got home, I changed into workout clothes and went to try out the Les Mills On Demand free trial I got in a fit of optimism last week.  There’s an app for it, but not for our TV, so I have to do screen mirroring with my phone because the internet browser on the TV is just awful.  I decided to do a quick 20-min workout since it was nearly 7.  And proceeded to get my ass handed to me.  It was a high intensity workout, exactly the kind of crap that I used to hate in the Army.  You know what I’m talking about, probably.  It’s the type of thing your friend who is really into exercise gets you to do because it’s “for every level of fitness,” but when the instructor gets started you just freeze like a deer in the headlights because even the modified exercises scare the crap out of you.  They tell you to go at your own pace, but your pace makes you feel like you’re in one of those prescription drugs commercials where the world is passing you by because you haven’t asked your doctor about the miracle drug that will cure your emphysema provided it doesn’t kill you first.  Also, you look dumb doing the moves and feel dumb and self-conscious and just want to quit because this is STUPID and EMBARRASSING.  But Buddy was watching and being encouraging so instead of crying, I finished the video with several modifications of my own (including an entire track of EFF THIS NOISE).  And today I am in a lot of pain.  But I did yoga to stretch out.  I might have to do yoga tomorrow.  And the next day.

Buddy even convinced me not to give up on the high intensity workout entirely.  It is good to break up your exercise sometimes with things like that.  It’s easy to get into a rut or get complacent.  In order to continue progressing, you change things up.  This is actually why fad diets seem to work.  You shock your system and lose a ton of weight, but then your body adjusts and the weight comes back.  A good diet might start with a shock, like limiting the types of foods you eat to only non-carbs.  Ideally, though, it should work you back to a healthy balanced diet over time.  Because your body actually needs carbs, just not in the amounts you’re used to, maybe.  For me, I’m going to stick to my Body Combat.  But I promise to toss in the high intensity workout every once in a while.  Especially if I getting cocky.

I forgot to mention that I’ve developed a cold this week, which would normally limit my capacity to function as an adult.  I may not have changed out of pjs today (yoga is pj friendly, right?).  And I mostly napped on the couch and crocheted and drank copious amounts of tea.  But I don’t feel like I wasted the day.  I managed to make my appointment for an oil change and verify how much my crowns are going to cost AND I emptied out the dishwasher.  And I’m writing.  So, pretty successful when we do the numbers.

I know I didn’t write at all last week, but I was working on something.  I’m building more of a foundation for my Regency Heroes stories, which involves going back to at least the Protestant Reformation.  That’s not when super humans first appeared, since my story is based on these people being present throughout all of human history.  But it is an important time period because it represents a shift in the public opinion toward them.  The Roman Catholic Church turns against them leading to mass extinction of gifted people in Catholic territories.  This stance is yet another in a long list of grievances that Reformers have against the Church.  Anyway, it’s been an interesting intellectual exercise.  More to come once I’ve done some actual research.

I am now eleven minutes late for bed.  Good night and wish me luck for this week.

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Please don’t read this


I can’t sleep.  I’m angry.  About politics.  And when I’m angry about politics and can’t sleep and decide to write about it, I really don’t want you to read it.  Because you will learn things about me that I don’t want you to know.  So please don’t read this.  I just need to rant for a bit and I’m going to say some blatantly rude things, probably swear a lot, and definitely disappoint some of you.

Are you gone?  Good.

Before I say anything, let me illuminate you to an aspect of my character that you may not know.  I am a pessimist and, in general, a misanthrope.  I really and truly hate people.  A person is great.  A person I can talk to, discuss things logically, agree to disagree, or even agree to agree.  A person I can tailor my subject to or adjust my language for.  A person is a human being I can connect with and recognize as a fellow person.

People are noise and madness and stupidity.  They are simple ideas shouted out until nothing else can be heard.  People are inane catchphrases used to infantilize complex social problems.  People are Us and Them, not Me and You.  People are faggots and bitches and niggers and crackers and wetbacks and wops and micks and pinkos and ragheads and retards and squaws and rednecks and kikes.  Did I forget anyone?

But we don’t use those words anymore.  It’s not politically correct.

Let’s dissect that phrase.  Correct means right, yes?  And Political comes from the Latin politicus, which means “civil, of the state, relating to civil polity” according to wiktionary.org.  It just means being polite to everyone.

NO IT MEANS YOU ARE MUZZLING ME AND INFRINGING ON MY FREEDOM OF SPEECH.

The connotation of political correctness has come to mean not saying anything that might offend people who might be important enough that their vote makes a difference to you.  It means that politicians don’t say anything without talking to a board of advisors first.  They don’t make any statements or take any stances on anything without first doing half a dozen polls and town hall meetings and waiting until essentially everyone else on the planet has already said it first.

This muzzling of politicians is not political correctness.  This is actually a phenomenon called sucking up to the people who might get you your six figure paycheck for the rest of your life.  Politicians can’t say anything because whatever they say, however obscure or offhand or even in jest, will be scrutinized ten ways to Sunday by the media, social and otherwise.  There will be video sound bytes of that person contradicting themselves twenty years ago.  There will be mountains of proof that they are actually untrustworthy hypocrites.  The Obamas were criticized for having fried chicken on vacation because the First Lady had been the champion for healthier lifestyles for American children for the past eight years.  And having fried chicken on vacation made her FULL OF SHIT.  This level of scrutiny is NON-STOP.  All day, everyday, there are cameras and microphones in their faces.  There are people who spend their entire day following the social media accounts of people they despise in the hopes of finding ANYTHING to call them out on.  Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert made highly successful careers out of mocking the people who spend their entire days scrutinizing the tiniest actions of politicians by doing the exact same thing but as a joke.

It is kind of funny how people are so tired of “political correctness” when we are the ones who propagate it.  The politicians only do it because it works.

Surprisingly, though, people are sick of being lied to.  Which, in case you were wondering, is NOT polite and therefore not correct.  This attitude is so obvious among the common man that even politicians picked up on it, which is frankly a miracle.

The answer is (apparently) OUTSIDERS who aren’t politically correct.  (A political outsider is someone who hasn’t been corrupted by the system and yet still knows how government works.  An outsider in this reference is merely someone without any experience in the job field they are seeking to find employment.)  And strangely, the so-called “outsiders” aren’t outside anything except their depth.  They are still independently wealthy elites who have no actual concept of what life for a normal person entails.  On the plus side, being independently wealthy means that they aren’t beholden to shareholders, so to speak.  They don’t have to make deals with corporations and lobbyists to raise the monumental funds required to apply for a job that should be the one career option available to anyone in this country, according to our kindergarten teachers.  Funny thing is, that amount of wealth is also referred to as “fuck you” money, because it means you are beholden to no one.  Yes, even the voters.  What I’m trying to say is TRUMP DOESN’T GIVE A FLYING FUCK ABOUT YOU.  None of them do.  You are a means to an end and not even that.  At the end of the day, your vote doesn’t count for shit.  If you’re lucky, the people who make the vote for you in the Electoral College will pick the same person you did.  Or we’ll have another miraculous incident where the popular vote doesn’t match the vote that counts and oh well, isn’t that weird?

Every fucking election cycle it’s like this.  People get really fucking hyped about their candidate.  They post memes on social media that glorify their guy or demonize the other guy.  They cover their cars with bumper stickers to show their support.  They argue about how their guy is going to save this country and the other guy is the Antichrist.  And they wear their “I voted” stickers with pride as if it makes a difference.  It’s depressing.  The worst part is, this is the biggest scam in the entire political system.  They convince us that our voice matters.

I’d like to point out that the “most powerful man in the world job” that all these suits are trying for is not all it’s cracked up to be.  Congratulations, you’re the president of the richest nation in the world.  You made a lot of promises to get here and you’re going to spend the next two years arguing fruitlessly with the House and the Senate for all those changes you wanted to happen before giving that up because it is already time for you to start campaigning for reelection.  Oh, you’ve been reelected!  Congratulations!  You still can’t do shit because a few hundred people who have been running this government for most of your life don’t like you.  That’s the real joke.  It doesn’t matter who sits in that chair.  Our forefathers didn’t want dictators so they balanced one person against 535 people on one side and 9 judges on the other.  Sanders wants to give us free college and healthcare.  Yeah, not gonna happen.  Trump wants to bomb the Middle East to embers.  Good luck.  I don’t know what the other candidates want or say they want.  But I’ll say it again, just for clarity.  IT DOESN’T MATTER.  Hillary probably just wants us to like her.  And we won’t because she stayed with her philandering husband and she reminds us of our nagging wives and there’s something wrong with her emails.  And Ted Cruz is Canadian.  CANADIAN.

Sorry, I got off topic.  We were talking about political correctness.  The highest praise for Trump appears to be that he isn’t politically correct, which is absolutely true.  It is also why this aspect of his personality is the most highly maligned by his critics.  You see, when you make bigoted remarks, which are any phrases that insult an entire section of the human race based solely on one factor, such as your race, gender, cultural background, or nation of origin, you are not being politically correct.  You are being a bigot.  And what is scary as that the praise for such statements, for his honesty, is based on the phrase “he’s saying what I’ve been thinking but have been too oppressed to say.”  His supporters aren’t blind to his bigotry.  They share it on some level or another.  And I don’t mean to say that they are all evil or anything.  They see a complex problem and give it a simple solution.  Illegal immigration?  Build a wall.  Terrorist attacks.  Ban Muslims.  It’s all so simple, but no one wants to say it for fear of offending people.

Remember that phenomenon where politicians say what the voters want to hear in order to get elected?  And how that has come to mean being politically correct?  Trump is actually more politically correct than every other politician in the race, by that definition.  He’s saying exactly what the people want to hear.  Just watch him pander to the Evangelists by misreading the Bible.  It’s embarrassing, but he need their votes.  And yes, half the nation is appalled by what he says.  But those aren’t the people at his rallies.  And when you’re in a crowd of 10,000 people then you are no longer a person.  You are People.  The answers are simple.  The enemy is clear.  The heroes wear capes.  And you don’t have to see the PERSON anymore.  And it can’t be wrong if all these people are with you.

Oh, but at least he’s honest, right?  He doesn’t hide who he really is.

And that’s it, is it?  That’s all we need from a man that’s going to represent our country to the world?  And if who he really was turned out to be a transvestite, would you still praise him?  He’s not, but what exactly are you praising here?  That he doesn’t feel any shame over racist or sexist remarks?  No shame.  No remorse.  Nothing.  That’s just who he is.  Oh, so he’s that embarrassing uncle who’s always telling the lynching jokes and thinks women are asking for it.  Or that buddy who thinks that since you deployed to Iraq, that you might like his latest towelhead conspiracy.

And doesn’t honest mean more than just blurting out the first thing that pops into your head?  Doesn’t it include admitting your mistakes?

Do you understand that there’s a difference between refraining from saying things because their unpopular and refraining from saying things because their FUCKING OFFENSIVE?  Why is it offensive?  Usually because it is a gross generalization that isn’t true.

Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslim.  For instance.

My rebuttal: EVERY MASS SHOOTING IN THIS COUNTRY FOR THE LAST TWENTY YEARS, with maybe two or three exceptions.  The IRA.  Neo-Nazis.  And, if you ask any devout Muslim, anyone who uses the Quran to justify terrorism.  (I do not want to hear about the violence inherent in the Quran unless you want to hear about the entirety of Leviticus.)

Mexicans are rapists and thieves.  White people are entitled and racist.  Women are too emotional to be in positions of authority.  Gays are going to hell.  Hipsters are just yuppies with beards.  Southerners are all Bible-thumping lunatics.  People on welfare are lazy.  People with mental illnesses are weak.  Politicians lie.  Bikers are thugs.  Foreigners hate us because they’re jealous.

Not all men are rapists, but all rapists are men.  FALSE.

Not all bigots are Trump supporters, but all Trump supporters are bigots.  FALSE.

Not all dogs are pets, but all pets are dogs.  FALSE.

See?  I can do false equivalencies, too.

I’ve also heard it said that Trump has strong leadership characteristics.  He could be a benevolent dictator.

From what I’ve seen, leadership is not a skill required of any candidates.  And what people call leadership, the brash, forceful attitude that says, “I’m in charge, do what I say,” is exactly the kind of behavior that abusive relationships are built upon.

Why do women date assholes?  Well, they confuse the blustering behavior with self-confidence.  And the problem with blustering is that it is covering a fragile ego that needs to abuse others to maintain its superiority.

We have a man who debases instead of debates.  He insults rather than answering criticism.  He calls people names and refuses to play by the rules and complains that it’s not fair because they cheated.  He blames others for his failings.  Someone else wrote that tweet.  They stole the vote from me.  The moderator was mean to me.  The critics are all stupid.  They’re all liars and just jealous.  This is not leadership.  This is the guy you date because he tells you no one else will have you.  And when your friends say to leave him, he says they’re all whores and cows and fat pigs.  And when he beats you, he says it’s your fault because you made him angry.

Army Analogy:  I was taught many acronyms, but this one is true.  LDRSHIP.

  • Loyalty
  • Duty
  • Respect
  • Selfless Service
  • Honor
  • Integrity
  • Personal Courage
When you talk about leadership qualities, that is what you should mean.  Leadership isn’t yelling the loudest.  It isn’t belittling those beneath you.  It isn’t making promises you know you can’t keep.  It isn’t sitting there in your thousand dollar suit and telling me I was lucky I wasn’t raped in the military because that’s simply what happens when men and women work together.  It isn’t being my friend until I turn my back.  It isn’t talking about strong Christian values right before you tell the poor and hungry to look somewhere else for handouts.
There is no fixing this mess, the broken system, the corrupt politics, the infighting and bickering and complete inability to work.  No amount of money or bombs or glossy photographs will fix this.  Your reality TV circus, with the debates and the mudslinging and all the bullshit, won’t mean anything this time next year.
What do I want?  I want corporations to be corporations, not people.  I want the billions wasted in campaigning every year to go toward bettering our school systems and health systems.  I want people with mental illnesses to be treated, not marginalized.  I want a system that works instead of a mill for bureaucracy and greed.  I want power without corruption.  I want political correctness to mean being respectful instead of being muzzled.  I want people to be treated like PERSONS.
It bothers me a great deal that there are people out there who can look a person in the eye and decide they aren’t a person.  That they are a monster or an animal or an object.
I want the anger and the helplessness to go away.  I want to be rich like they are so I can stop worrying everyday.  That’s what they don’t have.  Nagging anxiety and self doubt.  At the end of the day, a pricey car repair or an ER visit won’t deplete their savings.  A surprise pregnancy won’t derail plans for higher education or a nicer house or a better job.  Despite all the money that goes into campaigning, none of them are going bankrupt because it’s not like they’re spending their own money.  If they fail to get the nomination, they’ll still be rich.  In fact, for some of them, all the attention they get now will only make them richer.  How exactly do they understand about making a living out of $7.50/hr when they can waste billions to not get a job?
All this is why I don’t vote.  So, by someone’s logic, I shouldn’t complain since I don’t do anything to change the system.  By participating in the system.  Which is rigged so that nothing I do can change the system unless it is a change the system already wants to make.
The problem with this subject for me is that there is no catharsis in discussing it.  Sometimes, writing it out makes me feel better.  But politics, the whole messy subject, just makes me feel defeated and angry.  It’s an awful cycle.  And I can’t seem to claw my way out of it.  It’s 4:30, I’ve written 2600 words, and I’m still not sleepy.

 

 

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15AM00000052011 · 05:06

Humorous Tidbits


You’ve seen that meme with Boromir.

Boromeme

From now on, this is called a Boromeme.

Also, any time I see Potters Rd, I’ll say it like Draco Malfoy.

I’ve been considering getting a tattoo recently.  Nothing big or anything.  Just a little something on my back that I won’t have to look at when it stops being pretty.  The downside of this plan is that I know how addicting tattoos can be.  I have many friends and family members who got one little tat and ended up going back for more repeatedly.  I started joking about going so far as to get sleeves and Samoan trousers and all other sorts of nonsense.  When you live on a Pacific island like Hawaii for a while, you’ll get introduced to the rich and beautiful Polynesian culture, which includes the intricate tattoos worn by the different tribes.  Go to a luau and many of the male dancers will be covered head to foot in traditional tats.  I decided to call the leg tats Samoan trousers the other day, because I usually saw them on the Samoans at church and I had just been talking about tattoo “sleeves.”

Important note:  If you call them Samoan trousers, you are an ignorant white devil and should not be getting them permanently inked into your pasty, soulless skin.

I think that’s all I have for humor right now.  I didn’t do anything today except sleep in, have coffee with a friend, begin another purse, and take a nap.  Also, I shared a Chocolate Chocolate Chip mini Bundt cake with Buddy after dinner.  Kind of makes me wish I had an excuse for wasting this day, especially after having such a long talk with everyone about healthy eating and exercise yesterday.  Starting again tomorrow.

 

 

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Tuesday


Today was a better day.

My brother-in-law recovered his missing cat, which was quite a birthday present.  It was a beautiful day.  I did a Body Combat workout this afternoon.  I taught three people how to crochet.  I talked to my mom for a looooong time.  Lots of good things.

Mom and I talked about the whole “getting in shape” thing.  And I told her probably the same things I’ve told her a million times before, some of the same things I mentioned yesterday.  When you have a lifetime of bad habits to correct, you have to make an entire life change.  I also got some clarification on her “numbers don’t matter” post.  She wasn’t just talking about the numbers on the scale.  She was talking about all the numbers.  The calorie counts and the minutes on the elliptical and the reps on the weight machines.  She wanted to do the things that felt right to her.

I say AMEN to that.  Sort of.

The numbers still don’t matter.  There are two general types of people in the “getting healthier” arena.  There are the numbers people and the freelance people.  Numbers people love to focus on the numbers.  They are highly analytical and keep notes on everything they eat and every exercise they do.  That is one way to do it.  Freelancers hate numbers.  They only seem to discourage because they never seem to equal the amount of work being done.  Counting calories makes them feel dumb.

The method that works with freelancers is more artistic than analytical.  It’s about perception.  They do what they do because it feels right.  It makes them feel better, accomplished, energized, etc.  The numbers don’t come into it because there is almost no direct correlation between numbers and results for them.  The numbers are arbitrary, but the boost in stamina and the excuse to shop for smaller clothes shows them all the progress they need.

And this is where the “sort of” comes in.  A person spends their entire life doing what feels right to them.  They eat food that they think is healthy.  They aren’t glued to the couch all the time.  They don’t think of themselves as having an unhealthy lifestyle.  But at after a while, they cannot deny that they are unhealthy.  Either a doctor or a friend or family or their own reflection says this isn’t working.  What feels right isn’t good for them.  The trick then isn’t to point to a bunch of arbitrary numbers and say BECOME NUMBER SLAVE.  The trick is to change the perception of “right.”

I know I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating.  The brain is a powerful tool and you can use it to trick your body into being healthier.  Forget everything you know about eating healthy because the healthy you grew up with simply isn’t.  See a nutritionist and learn what foods are good for you and why.  The benefits of foods vary based on lifestyle.  If everyone ate like Olympic athletes without the benefit of Olympic athlete workouts, everyone would be morbidly obese.  Yet no one can call them unhealthy.  If you are on the low end for physical activity, then your body isn’t using the carbs you’re eating and simply turns them into fat to be used later.  Your body doesn’t know that you aren’t going to be starving over winter due to lack of game and grain.  All it knows is that it’s getting stuff it isn’t using now but could use in an emergency.  Fat is the lifeboat of the body.  The body saw Titanic and clings to the lifeboats just in case of icebergs.

So perception.  Freelancers want to do stuff because it feels right.  When Freelancers want to get healthy, they have to change what right means.  Right means craving almonds instead of potato chips, putting spinach in everything, and finding new ways to make chicken breast taste like anything else.  Right means being about to brag about your workout instead of feeling guilty that you skipped it.

F*ck counting calories.  I am aware that some things are bad for me because they have a lot of calories.  So instead of calculating how many lattes I can have before I need to add a mile onto my walk, I rarely drink them.  Same thing with donuts and chocolate and popcorn and potatoes and pasta and all the other foods that through research I have found to be bad for my lifestyle.  I don’t care how many calories I burned on my workout or what the scale says.  No machine can accurately calculate the former and the latter has more to do with where I am in the month than anything else.

Army Analogy:  When I joined the Army, I weighed in at 108 lbs.  Was I healthy?  NO.  I was underweight and fat, and no that isn’t a contradiction.  When I left Basic Training, I weighed 120 lbs.  Was I fat?  NO.  I was fit for the first time in my life.  Throughout my 20s, the less I weighed, the less healthy I was because I was losing muscle and gaining fat (the latter weighs less than the former).  Entering my 30s, my body is starting to change gears, because that’s what bodies do.  It makes me glad that I started eating healthier five years ago.  I don’t have as much adjusting to do in that department.  Exercise is a whole other problem, but I’m working through it.  That bragging thing is paramount to my success, actually.

So Freelancers, use you’re artistic side to make your lifestyle change.  Leave the numbers to other people.  Just keep these things in mind:

  • Portion control: Small plates help you control how much you’re eating.  Healthy food is only healthy in the correct quantities.  Don’t go back for seconds.  EVER.
  • Ignoring numbers isn’t the same as being unaware of them.  Know what things to avoid entirely, like high sugar/salt content, complex carbs, starches, and animal fats.  It’s often a lot easier to avoid bad foods altogether than try to figure out how much is allowable in your diet.
  • Just because we aren’t counting doesn’t mean we don’t keep track.  You don’t have to detail every ounce of peas or every sit up, but making a note of what you ate (and how you felt afterwards) and when you worked out can be helpful and encouraging.
  • Keep things interesting.  Yes, chicken breast is a permanent fixture on your menu, but it doesn’t have to be boring.  Get NO SODIUM spice mixes, like Italian herbs, Chinese 5-spice, Cajun spice, and curry powder.  Explore the wide range of microwave steamed veggies (just avoid anything with sauces).  Buddy and I hit the broccoli section pretty hard.  Veggies are GOOD for you.  And no, potatoes are not veggies.
  • Have a Buddy.  This person is not your babysitter.  This person is also working toward health goals.  This person will share with you all the failings of her week and then listen to yours without judgment.  This person will cajole and complain during the Zumba class that neither of you really wanted to go to, but thought might be fun to give a chance.  This person will be accountable to you and you to her.  This person may have to be imaginary.

Freelancers, you will do the right thing not because the numbers say it is right, but because you have decided that it is right.

 

There, I think I’m done soapboxing for tonight.  I’d like to thank my Mom for listening to my BS tonight since talking to her helped me clarify some thoughts I’ve been having on this subject.  For those of you who think you have it bad, I want you to know that my Mom is doing everything you are on an artificial hip.  That’s struggle.  As always, Mom, you are my inspiration in so much of my life.

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Oops


We had our 4.1 Anniversary this weekend (anniversary of our court wedding).  And thanks to the 2 $25 Olive Garden gift cards we got from our parents for Christmas, we only shelled out $15 for a full lunch at Yardhouse.  You should have seen the happy dance we did when we saw Yardhouse on the list of restaurants those cards work for.  It was pretty epic.  Nothing against Olive Garden, which is a fine place to get reliable Italian food.  It’s just some places are expensive enough that gift cards are much appreciated.

Anyway, here is my honest review of Yardhouse.  I do not like eating there.  It is noisy and dark and they seem to be understaffed because the service is always slow.  The staff is incredibly friendly, though.  They always get gold stars for enthusiasm and flirty attitudes.  And it is pricey.  We gave a generous tip, but even so it was a $50 meal for two people and Buddy didn’t even get a beer, which is kind of a big deal there because it is a microbrewery named after their signature “Yard of Beer.”  So why were we so excited to eat here?  This is why:

That’s crab, lobster, artichoke dip, three different kinds of tacos, and a lamb burger.  The food is AMAZING.  I forgive many things for good food.  This is why I have a love/hate relationship with this restaurant.  Hate eating there, love the eating.  But, if you have a group of people who love trying good beer and don’t really want to yell at each other over the TVs and the raucous sports fans, it’s the place to be.  Also, if you just love food and don’t like talking to people.

Now normally if we get an appetizer we split an entrée.  This is common sense for a couple of reasons.  Portion sizes for normal meals are huge in this country, far bigger than healthy portions.  While I love eating until I throw up as much as the next American, it’s just not a good idea.  It’s also a good way to feel like we’re getting a full meal without breaking the bank.  Appetizer to snack on and then managing to eat the entire dinner instead of leaving half of it on the plate.  That was not our strategy Saturday because we had gift cards and we went on a walk that morning, which was great for building an appetite.  We managed to clean our plates quite well.

After lunch, we walked around a mall to aid in digestion before making the drive home.  There was a brief stop for Anniversary cupcakes:

Ethereal Cupcakes

We didn’t eat those until dinner time, when we were finally hungry again.  For the rest of our special day, we watched TV and I made a purse.  Then before we went to bed Buddy did his usual tally of receipts to make sure they matched up with what the online accounts said.  Which is when the evening turned.

Someone had withdrawn $483 from our checking account from an ATM just over a block from where we got cupcakes.  So we called the bank.  We thought maybe someone had swiped Buddy’s number when we got cupcakes, but it turned out someone had a copy of my card and had walked right up to the machine and used my PIN (first try) to access our accounts.  I’m hoping that someone just used a skimmer to get my info because the only other explanation is that someone I know has the tech to copy my card and found out my PIN somehow.  The bank actually asked if we shared that info with anyone.  Um.  No.  Not ever.  That’s my Personal Identification Number.  As in mine, no one else’s and an actual secret to everyone else, including my husband.

That really soured the evening.  I slept badly, too, because I was incensed.  Sunday, Buddy went to a beer tasting and I stayed home because I was cut off from my funds (unless I wanted to use the checkbook, yuck).  I (mostly) finished the purse I was working on.  And I broke my chocolate ration.  By a lot.  I ate 6 squares of a Ghirardelli salted caramel dark chocolate bar.  Which is 6 times my limit.  That’s the Oops.  That and the fact that I didn’t do a workout today.  My excuse is that I didn’t want to wake up this morning and I didn’t feel like it when I got home from work (feet sore and laziness).

The other day, my mom posted an Oops as well.  Previously, she had had a revelation about fitness.  It isn’t about numbers at all.  It’s about improving how you feel.  I was incredibly pleased about this.  Losing weight for her has been a long struggle and that kind of mindset can really help.  Then she posted an Oops where she gained 4 lbs and felt awful physically and it sounded like she was giving up on her revelation.  This is a bummer, but mostly because she’s still associating numbers with failure again.  The numbers don’t matter.  There are so many other factors to take into account.  The numbers are just another factor.  The goal should never be numbers because they aren’t enough.  If they were, then bulimia and anorexia would be medically sound ways to lose weight.  The goal is being able to keep up with the grandkids and feeling energized and living a long life.  And to get there, you have to change.  Not just your activity level but your diet and your mind.  You have to make these changes, not because you hate your reflection but because you love yourself.  Because you are a temple for God.

You also have to accept that mistakes happen.  Every day, every hour, all the time.  We are incredibly flawed and making big changes is incredibly difficult, especially if we are changing habits that have been in place for decades.  Those are habits of thinking as well as acting.  If you spent your whole life telling yourself that you’re fat and useless, you’re not just going to turn around and be all “positive affirmations” all the time.  So instead of focusing on the mistakes and the guilt, find a way to drop them completely.

Here’s my Army analogy.  When we were learning to shoot at the range, we were taught the “Sh*t, F*ck, D*mn” strategy.  You have two minutes to shoot 20 pop-up targets and the ONLY way you’re going to get a good score is if you remain calm and focus on the fundamentals they taught you.  When you miss a target, you go “oh, darn” and move to the next one.  Otherwise, you’ll get frustrated and miss more targets.  And you treat every target the same way, whether it is an easy 50m or the dreaded 300m.  It pops up, breath in, breath out, squeeze (the trigger).  Doesn’t matter if you hit it because there’s the next one.  Breath in, breath out, squeeze.  Did you miss the “Fast Freddie” (50m target that pops up for a second)?  Oh, well.  Don’t miss the next target because you’re too busy beating yourself up.

Yes, I binged a bit on chocolate and I missed a workout.  Oh, darn.  That was yesterday.  Tomorrow is a new day.  Breath in, breath out, squeeze.

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Is it Wednesday? Already?


Busy week, I guess.  I’m sure you all want to know how the resolutions are going.  The easy ones are fine.  Still sticking to 1 ounce of chocolate a day and we haven’t had donuts since last payday.  I did go out for coffee with a friend last week, but I had just been paid for babysitting so technically that was a payday.

The coffee resolution may not make sense to you in the way it was presented.  Most people give up or cut back on things because they have too much of them.  When I was drinking soda, I’d give it up for Lent to break a 4-can-a-day habit.  But coffee and I have a pretty good relationship.  I rarely have more than 1 cup a day, mostly because cream and sugar in high quantities tend not to settle well in my stomach (I have a very slight lactose intolerance).  And coffee shop coffee makes me jittery more than anything I drink at home.  My guilty pleasure of getting a Dunkin Donuts coffee never got out of hand, but I got into the habit of picking up a coffee and donut before work two or three times a week, depending on how the week was going.

And giving up donuts in that frequency is a good idea.  Donuts are bad for you.  Carbs and sugar, that’s it.  Plus more sugar.  And hopefully caramel syrup and caramel-filled chocolate bits on top.  And a cream cheese filling.  Soooo bad for you, but soooo good for the soul.

The real reason I cut back on coffee outside of my home is because I was raised to be practical.  I don’t like to waste money.  And to be clear, I mean the little money.  Those are the tiny purchases everyday that only make a difference when you add up the savings over months or years.  So when I was drinking soda, I bought 12-packs and brought a stash to work rather than spending a few cents more on a bottle of soda.  In a way, that helped me cut back when I did start weaning off soda.  There’s a mentality where you convince yourself not to buy it because you have some at home.  And by the time you get home, the craving has passed.  Or you forgot what book you wanted to buy (and didn’t because you can totally get it for cheaper on the internet).  The fact is, I was wasting money buying coffee when I have a perfectly good Keurig at home.  Plus my choice of coffee beans, ground in the coffee grinder Buddy got me for our summer anniversary.  And my Truvia packets, which I love because Truvia tastes sweeter than sugar so I don’t use as much.  And my favorite creamer which I mix with half-n-half to cut down on the sugar content there as well.  And most importantly, I have a dash of salt to add in case my coffee tastes bitter (this is not weird, salt blocks the bitter receptors on your taste buds).

So I really shouldn’t be wasting my money on coffee at Dunkin when I have optimal coffee conditions at home.  And furthermore, if I’m going to pay for coffee, it had better be fancy.  It’s going to be from an actual coffee shop, not a national chain masquerading as such.  And since that coffee tends to be pricey, loaded in calories and teeth-rotting sugar, I better make it a rare treat rather than a daily ritual.  Thus the resolution.

If I’m running late and don’t think I have time to make coffee before work, then I’m not getting coffee and I’ll just have to muddle through.  And if I get to that intersection where going straight takes me to work and going right takes me to Dunkin, I’m going straight to work.  Even if it turns out I do have time for a quick trip to the drive thru.

And I admit that this is a very boring post.  Unless you are dealing with little addiction problems and are looking for ways to ease up.  This is a pretty solid method.  It works for me with chocolate, too.  I get cravings so I always have some kind of safe (as in dark) chocolate at home.  I don’t impulse buy candy bars at the gas station.  I get expensive candy bars at fancy stores and then I hoard them for emergencies.  The only reason I had to instigate a ration this year is because I got a MOUNTAIN of fancy chocolate for Christmas and I am a weak, weak woman.

This method does not work for everyone or for every minor vice.  Chips, for instance, will disappear in one sitting.  And Buddy does not have the same hesitation to buy stuff that we have at home.  He loves lemonade ice tea (a very specific brand, which I love as well).  It’s a good substitute for soda on car trips.  On long road trips, we couldn’t always find it so when we did, I would grab a few extra bottles to last us for the rest of the day if need be.  I would drink one.  Buddy would drink the rest before the next gas stop.  Sometimes, having it on hand is worse because it takes away the inconvenience of having to go get it (an excellent deterrent).  This means that we don’t keep chips in the house and I’ve resisted buying the pitchers of lemonade ice tea I’ve seen at the grocery store.

My advice, figure out which applies to you.  If you impulse buy, keep a safe supply at home.  Safe means either a healthy alternative or small portions.  If you impulse snack, keep nothing in the house and allow cheat days.  Very rare cheat days.  No more than once a week and keep the parameters specific.  A friend of mine went on a strict diet which involved counting every calorie, but she had a cheat day once a week.  But she didn’t binge on chocolate cake and double bacon cheeseburgers.  She had rules that prevented her cheat day from becoming the day her diet was completely negated.  Make rules, write them down, and don’t feel guilty if you break them.  Say oops and move on.

The rest of my resolutions have been a bit spotty.  I did Body Combat Saturday and Monday, which was great.  I mean Saturday sucked, but Monday I not only wasn’t painfully sore like I was after my first session, I managed to tough out most of the workout.  I’m still not at full intensity, but I have another couple weeks with this version before I should need to switch to another video.  I didn’t workout yesterday because I had work and a pretty horrendous migraine, but today Buddy and I went for a 4-mile walk in our neighborhood.  It was cold, but the roads were clear.  And I didn’t hear my watch go off when we hit 30 min, so we had to up the pace on the way back.  We actually managed to beat our pace by a whole minute.  Just so we’re clear, we walk for thirty minutes and then turn around.  I mapped out the route I take and if we get to the end, it’s just over 4 miles.  Pretty simple.

I got to judge a craft competition for the local Women’s Club today.  Which involved looking at the amateur works of a bunch of nice ladies.  Most of the categories only had one entry, but I did feel a bit like a sham.  I had to choose the best among several very fine nature photographs, which was really tough.  The knitting was easier because, while every entry was very nice, one was a spectacular original design.  Over all, I got to look a bit like a professional crafter and be aware that most of those ladies could sew circles around me.  I got to call upon some of the stuff I learned in Art classes and found myself very grateful that my Mom taught me a little of everything.  At least I knew enough about everything to see fine work when it was in front of me.  And no one threw tomatoes at me for not picking their entry for a blue ribbon.  Also, free lunch.

I hope this satisfies everyone’s need to know the intricate details of my oh so exciting life.

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Update on a Saturday


Slow start today.  Buddy had a difficult time getting me up.  He woke me because he wanted to know who was chasing me.  I was having a bad dream and it was the sort I needed to finish, if that makes any sense.  By the time I did get up, it was snowing again.

I used to love snow.  When I was a kid, it meant sledding and snowmen and building slides and fortresses out of the 10-ft tall piles of snow the plows left in the City Hall parking lot.  If we were lucky, it meant a day off of school.

I didn’t live in snow for 3 1/2 years when I was stationed in Hawaii.  I usually missed the snow when I visited home, but I can’t say I ever actually missed it.  I missed the season changes.  Constant green gets monotonous after a while.  Then I got stationed in Alabama.  It got colder than I was expecting for the South and we did have a big snow once (about 3-4 inches that stuck around for a whole week).  But that was it.  I drove home through snow a couple of times.  It was a bit annoying but not a big deal.  Then we got stationed in Virginia.  Now I hate snow.

EVERY FREAKING YEAR it snows here.  Every year.  It isn’t a bad snow.  No blizzards or white outs or anything.  Maybe two or three serious snowfalls, no more than 6 inches.  And I don’t know if you’ve noticed on social media but we’re in the middle of SNOWMAGGEDON, apparently.  Now, further north in DC (a scant 3 hrs away), they’re getting 27 inches.  Here?  Same as usual.  4 inches, maybe 6 after today.  So I’m experiencing my annual “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU JUST PLOW THE FREAKING ROADS AND LEARN TO DRIVE AND YOU WON’T NEED TO STOCK UP ON MILK AND BREAD AND PEOPLE CAN KEEP GOING TO WORK SO THE GROCERY STORES AREN’T CLOSED SO PEOPLE CAN’T GET MILK AND BREAD” episode.

The roads are a mess.  Why?  Because there are snowplows sitting on the side of the road because…well I don’t actually know why.  But we did pass three or four on our way to the grocery store this afternoon.  We drove on unplowed roads.  They didn’t put down sand, let alone salt.  And since no one is driving because “Virginia drivers are crazy in normal conditions, I don’t want to risk it in the snow,” the natural melt that happens when there are lots of cars on the road on a day we get above freezing (like today), simply doesn’t happen.  Less traffic just means the snow gets packed down so that no ruts form.  Without ruts, it is really difficult to tell where you are on the road.  So the roads aren’t safe for a dozen reasons, mostly incompetence and media-fueled panic, so businesses are closing early so their employees can get home safe.  Those businesses aren’t exactly posting online that they are closing early for the day, so we made our cautious way 45 min to our local store only to see a paper sign on the door stating that they had closed an hour ago.

Well, good.  Take care of your people.  Good thinking on your part and God bless you for your consideration to your employees.

Don’t mind me over here, screaming obscenities and chucking shopping carts into the stupid snow because I need to make soup because it is cold and I MUST.  I am out of patience over here.  This is DUMB.  No, we don’t get a lot of snow here.  But we DO get it, reliably, every year.  The entire state shouldn’t shut down because of a few inches (which is anything less than 6, in case you were wondering).  Especially if you know the storm is coming a week out.  You, whoever you are, should have the snowplows ready to go before it starts.  As soon as you see precipitation, there should be salt and sand on the pavement.  Don’t sit on your freaking thumbs and cry about how it never does this so you don’t know how to respond.  You do know how to respond because half of the country deals with this every year and you can ask them what they do when a storm is coming.  I guarantee they don’t sit there staring at the mystical white stuff coming from the sky.  They plow it and get on with their lives.

And here are some tips about driving in the snow, which I understand is a tricky skill that is difficult to develop when you only see the stuff once or twice a year.  I grew up driving in this crap.  Snow and ice has been the cause of several accidents in my family.  These tips are only for snow-packed or icy roads.  If there is pavement in direct contact with your tires, stay in the ruts, keep two hands on the wheel, and TRIPLE your following distance.

  1.  Go slow.  Starting and stopping.  In fact, on icy roads, don’t stop if you can help it.  My car is awful on slick roads, so I come to a rolling stop at stop signs (whenever it is safe) and at lights, I stop well back from the light so I can inch forward until it changes.  If you lose momentum, you might get stuck.  When the light turns green, however, let your wheels roll forward naturally before you hit the gas.  Basically, just hesitate an extra second between the brake and the gas.  If you just hit the gas, you’ll skid or dig in and get stuck.  Also, cars coming the other way are going to skid through the lights because they’re afraid to brake, so definitely hesitate before you go through lights.
  2. Don’t brake if you can help it.  Let friction slow you down whenever you can.  The light turned red way up there?  Foot off the gas and coast.  If you must brake, be gentle.  Tap the brakes and release.  DO NOT slam on your brakes.  If you have to brake fast, tap and release and look for an escape route.  Do not assume that you can stop.  Assume you can’t a be prepared to leave the road to avoid hitting someone else.  Slamming on the brakes means skidding into the car in front of you and all the cars in front of them.
  3. Don’t tailgate.  In icy conditions, you want lots of space between you and everyone else on the road.  Double or Triple your following distance.  That might sound extreme to you, but how many people actually keep to the 2-second rule?  Yeah, no one.  Lots of space means no sudden stops due to other drivers.  When they stop ahead of you, you have tons of time to slow down regardless of the road conditions.
  4. Stay in the ruts.  This is the opposite to safe driving in the rain.  The ruts act a lot like train tracks, forcing your tires to follow a route of least resistance.  It makes changing lanes tricky (expect skittering from your tires), but it makes for smoother driving.  The downside is that if the road hasn’t been paved or the ruts aren’t worn down to the road, you’re basically driving on snow that is getting packed down into a fun layer of ice.  So don’t drive too quickly and keep both hands on the wheel so you can feel instantly if your tires are losing friction.
  5. Are you starting to skid?  DON’T PANIC.  Also, don’t slam on the brakes or spin the steering wheel to compensate.  If you catch it early enough and aren’t driving too fast, all you have to do is take your foot off the gas.  Then gently apply gas until you get back in control (little pulses only).  If you are going fast, do the same thing.  Foot off the gas.  The best thing is to just let it go if you can.  Professional drivers usually just spin off the track rather than try to stop the skid, which is fine if they have an airfield of space to work with.  You probably won’t.  So don’t speed, stay off the interstate, and hope you don’t spin out.  I’ll be honest, high speed spin out scares the jeepers out of me.  Best to avoid it. (Buddy, who also grew up in Snow Country, says to steer into the skid, which is the opposite of what you think you should do.  This is sound advice, if you can remember that.)
  6. What else?  Hmmm.  Keep your lights on.  Use your turn signals.  Keep cat litter in your car to help you get unstuck if need be.  Be hyper aware of the road under your tires and the people sharing your road.
Well, perhaps if we stopped thinking of ourselves as the South, then maybe we’d be prepared for reality.  Attention Virginia!  You are not the South.  You don’t serve sweet tea everywhere.  There are no gangs of old ladies mobbing yard sales at 6 in the morning.  And you get winter every year.  I have lived in the South and this ain’t it.
After lunch, we watched Enter the Dragon, which was excellent as usual.  And it inspired me to do Body Combat again, since I was finally not sore from my bout Tuesday. On Wednesday, I did a 20 min session of Beginner’s Yoga to stretch out.  I hate yoga, so that goes to show you how sore I was.  I was still moving like an old woman Thursday.  Yesterday, I was scheduled to work 5:00-close, so after babysitting, I baked bread (that I couldn’t buy because of the panic lines at the store) and sat down to work on a crochet project, prepared to leave a half an hour early to get to work on time.  Then my boss called and said we were closing early because of the storm so I needn’t come in.  Yes, it was snowing pretty heavily, but it wasn’t that bad.  I finished my project (except for tucking in the ends) and ate an extra piece of chocolate because BOO SNOW DAY.  I didn’t do as well with BC today, but I did do it.
I think Buddy was bummed that we didn’t go for a walk in the snow, but I just can’t.  I don’t have snow boots, for one.  So I could wear tennis shoes and have my pants soak up to the knee.  Or I could wear my boots that have wedge heels and are not at all made for walking.  And I just don’t like snow any more.  So I did BC and he shoveled the driveway.  And after we showered, we made a shopping list, found out that the Commissary closed at 2 (it was nearly 5 at the time) but saw no notice that our secondary grocery store was closing.  So drove there, saw it was closed, were very irritated, came home, made really awesome penne with meatballs and roasted red pepper sauce, and then watched Birdman.  It was weird.
So eff you snow.  Best stop this nonsense before I head to work tomorrow.

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