Do what you can My Friends!
Hey so I received the 'Witnessing Whiteness - The Need to Talk about Race and How to Do It' book. I'm a couple chapters in. This is going to be a bit of a slog. The writer, Shelly Tochluk, is kinda boring. She makes good points in her story telling but they are slow in coming. Between Shelly's long winding stories and my minuscule attention span, I'm never going to get through the next 7 chapters. White privilege is an issue I'm committed to become more 'awoken to' but holy shit Shelly, tighten up your stories! New strategy: Skim not Study.
Do what you can My Friends!
Ecological Refugees. This term has stuck in my head from the Climate Reality Program I attended yesterday. Ecological Refugees are people who are displaced by the result of climate change.
Fires: it used to be that there were 100 acre fires every few years. Now there are a few 100 acre fires every year - displacing hundreds of families. Floods: hurricanes and rising sea levels are having devastating effects on our coastal areas, much of which remains un-livable. Rising temperatures: it recently reached 165 degrees in Iran. (That is NOT a typo!) Crop failures: a coffee fungus in Guatemala causes poor farmers to be poorer and more desperate (think US southern border migration here). Failed wheat crops due to drought: Syrians to migrate to the Russian border looking for food and refuge which sparks a war. This shit is real.
Climate experts say the the changes we are experiencing are the effects of the Earth warming 1 degree. They say we have 12 years before the Earth warms to the critical 2 degrees. What sort of world are we giving with our children and grandchildren?
It's time to act.
Work with your community to committing to 100% renewable energy. The city of Cincinnati Ohio has made such a commitment with a target year of 2030. Stop eating meat (or at least reduce it to once or twice a month). It takes 6.7 pounds of grain and 53 pounds of water to produce ONE quarter pound of beef! Eat vegetarian one day a week (or every day!). Reduce your water consumption. Unplug unused electronics: even off, they draw energy. Drive a hybrid or electric car. Have one no-drive day a week. Carpool, take public transportation, ride your bike. Most importantly: talk to your friends about climate change. Become involved.
Be part of the solution my Friends!
Wedding Soup with White Bean Balls & Spinach
from 'Thug Kitchen - Eat Like You Give A Fuck' Cookbook
This recipe would be easy to adjust to vegan and/or gluten free. It calls for Kale but since I didn't have any and don't like it that much, I used Spinach - which I obviously should have chopped up but - what the heck! It's a bit messy but it's amazingly tasty!
Hope the High Schooler likes it! ...
PS Lifted weights twice this week. Now getting out of a chair requires a really good reason - and strong mental fortitude.
The rules of etiquette no longer require us to be polite (to creepy strangers). Unfortunately, it is a hard habit to break.
Went for a walk with a couple Neighbor-Friends on an amazingly balmy Ohio January day. We walked the bike n hike path through the quarry. It is isolated so, while I will bike there, I rarely walk that section alone. My Friends & I enjoyed a beautiful, brisk 6 mile walk and a wide variety of conversation topics. Super Duper!
Until ... the bike-rider rode past for the second time, stopped and proceeded to tell us everything about his life. Blondie, an avid biker and as sweet as the day is long, complimented him on his restored, really pretty 1977 Schwinn commenting that she used to have a 1978 Schwinn and, because she's polite as fuck, further commented that she would love to have one again. Well, this prompts Schwinney to ramble on about his passion for restoring old bikes AND how he also writes romance novels - set in Europe where the man, progressively, respects the woman, of course. He then insists we take his contact info so we can contact him whenever we want to upgrade (?) to a vintage Schwinn. His name is David. I took his info and passed it along to my companions. (More on how that turned out in a bit.)
David rolls off down the path - finally! He had stopped us twice in our tracks to tell us more shit about himself and his amazing bike in his soft (we all agreed: kinda creepy) voice. We were just getting back into solving the world's problems when we see, coming toward us, a familiar figure on a bike but this time with a DOG running on a leash next to him! Again he stops so we politely also stop. We politely compliment his really pretty dog whom I mentally offered condolences to for having such an icky human. David Master of All & Apparently Nothing tells us he also trains horses and recently got into training dogs. Someone had given him 'Teddy Bear' who he tried to train to work with Alzheimer's patients but didn't work out very well. My question was: "Someone just gave you a dog?" He literally didn't have a dog 5 minutes ago! What the hell? Ick.
We parted ways a third time and discussed how our Creep Radar was at a 10 immediately upon meeting David. Which brings me to the question: "Why the fuck did we give him so much of our time?" We are not required to talk to strangers - especially in isolated areas. It would have been disconcerting had we each been walking alone. It made me worry about my daughter when she hikes alone - though, (smile!) she's a fucking badass like her momma - but still, I worry. (Make smart, safe choices.)
So here's the thing: I listen to a podcast called "My Favorite Murder" https://www.myfavoritemurder.com It's a comedy podcast in which the two hilarious women tell stories about murders. It's not a funny subject but they make me laugh every week. They also say the word Fuck a lot - which I fucking love. One of the things I've learned from this show is: Fuck Politeness. Politeness can get you killed. If you have a bad feeling, listen to it. If someone is making you feel uncomfortable it is not your job to make them feel better or to leave them with a good impression of you. Tell your daughters, tell your sons, tell your friends; If you are in a situation that makes you uncomfortable or you feel unsafe: Fuck Politeness and get the fuck outa there!
One more thing: Facebook reads your contact list. Creepy David came up on my feed as someone I might want to be friends with on FB. I have to admit, he has a great profile picture but No. Delete! Attorney Friend suggested FB also can access texts and email. Not sure if that is true but Holy Shit if it is! OMG! That means I'm addicted to my scary stalker. Fortunately for me and unfortunately for FB, I'm boring as fuck!
Stay Sexy & Don't Get Murdered My Friends (and check out My Favorite Murder podcast!)
I made a list of all the things I am grateful for in 2018. Including all the things I planned to accomplish and actually did. It is a very gratifying list.
The first thing I am always grateful for is safe travel wherever and whenever we go.
I am most grateful that Leia came home. She slipped out of the house on November 6th. She's an indoor cat. She is black and stealthy and skittish. It snowed and rained on and off for days while she was gone. The leaf blower guys were here with their machines to scare her further away. I looked under every deck. Checked every drain pipe. Put flyers in mailboxes and on street poles. Walked miles calling her name. Had panic attacks about her suffering in the cold because I was careless with her. And finally, a week later, there were muddy little foot prints on the blanket I put on the step in the garage. The tuna fish had been eaten out of the can on the deck step. Then I heard a tiny sound. At first I thought it was my knee cracking or my stomach gurgling but she meowed again. I found her under the shovels against the inside wall of the garage. She wouldn't come all the way out on her own. She's a skardey-cat like that. So I, as gently as possible, dragged her out and into my arms. I expected her to throw her paws around my neck and cry with joy at being home. Instead she jumped down, ran to her food and water bowls where she drank for a long time then hid under her favorite covers on the corner of her favorite bed for the next 12 hours. I don’t know where she was all week or how she found her way back. She's as bitchy and feral as ever but boy I love seeing that little cat every day!
2018 was lucky for me! I won the Leg Lamp from the movie 'The Christmas Story'. It's kind of a Cleveland thing. It took me 10 years and hundreds of dollars in donations to the food bank at the Learned Owl Book Store holiday raffle but I finally “won” the Leg Lamp! Surprisingly, not everyone thinks it's as great as I do!
I also won a $600 gift card for carpet - which is fantastic because 2019 is the year of flooring for the Mackay's!!!
Dave & I traveled to Italy with 400 of our best work friends. We traveled to Napa & San Francisco with his college rugby friends. The family traveled to and survived our trip to Maine.
I maintained a pretty regular exercise routine and the foods we eat have evolved to mostly vegetables, lean protein and grains. I've become a pretty great vegetable roaster and salad creator. In fact, one of the all-time BEST compliments I've ever gotten was from the girl at the grocery store salad counter. She said, "I know this sounds weird but I really like your cart." (Meaning it was really, really healthy & leafy!!! So yay me!)
I finally went through all the photos in the basement and purged all the extra sets of blurry photos I've kept for 30 years. For Christmas I made photo albums for each kid beginning with their birth, preschool, grammar school, etc. I included their report cards and any awards they received; added their sports pics and a couple highlights from college. The books are simple but it is fun to see their school pictures collected together in one place. I think the kids really appreciated them.
Lastly, I'm grateful for friendships & wine and the laughter that comes with it. It truly is the Secret to Life!!!
Hangin' out in 2019 Friends!