Sunday, June 26, 2016

Sunday Snippets: #NoBillNoBreak


(Photo credit: https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2016/06/22/elizabeth-warren-joins-house-sit-over-gun-control/2iuYpoZbfBPHG5rxR8nn1K/story.html)

About goddamned time, Dems. First the filibuster and now a sit in? Apparently old school is the only way to get the Refucklicans to pay attention. I'm actually having a moment of pride for Congress right now.

RIP Goddess Diamond

Exactly. We aren't ashamed at all.

This speaks to me. As someone who has always had a little pot belly, YES.

How to channel anger after Orlando

Look for the helpers

Wonderful woman

This truth

Great idea! Because omgawd, women's nipples are scary

Another day, another black child beaten

Color me shocked

Cause Donald Trump wasn't already horrifying

“It wasn’t unusual for one person to order a thousand at a time.”

Angels indeed

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Book Review: Here's the Plan

One of Seal Press's latest, Here's the Plan: Your Practical Guide to Advancing Your Career During Pregnancy and Parenthood, caught me completely by surprise. For one, non fiction books are hard to get into, harder than fiction anyway. For two, I had several forehead slapping moments of "HOW did I not think of that?!"

This is a guide, in every sense of the word, for women who will be experiencing pregnancy or child rearing. Downey surveyed over 2,000 women on a range of topics, which she broke down into 8 chapters, starting with the specifics of family leave (the author makes it very clear throughout the book to emphasize that it is family leave and fathers and other guardians should use it just as much as mothers), putting an action plan in place for work while out, what happens if discrimination rears its ugly head, various care options, returning to work and tackling change for women in the future.

At the end of each chapter, there is a short section called Worth Remembering, which both sum up and allow the reader to make an action list based on the previous chapter. Downey includes items such as using a plan for your leave as a way to catalog and present your success within the company, both as a way to ask for the next promotion and, god forbid, a way to help fight a discrimination suit; putting any and all pumping times on your calendar while on leave to avoid back to back meetings; and take time to reset both your work and home priorities.

Another refreshing aspect of the book was the gentle non judgement combined with the gentle nudging of fighting for self care. Downey explicitly does not take sides in the sleep or breast feeding debates that can often rage unchecked online. But she does encourage women to talk with their partners about making sure scheduling is on equal footing, especially the emotional labor of planning and thinking about planning, which often defaults to women.

I thoroughly enjoyed the feminist bristling at the term 'mommy brain'. She states:
      "In considering their findings, Dr. Miller and other scientists have theorized that when pregnant women and new mothers have normal cognitive slips, they overattribute them to their 'mommy brain,' having internalized this pervasive cultural assumption." I have never really considered how much the phrase could hurt women, especially when we already apologize for too much in our daily lives.

This book should be required reading for anyone who plans to get pregnant. It is thorough, inclusive and incredibly informative.

(Photo Credit: Sealpress.com)

Monday, June 13, 2016

Savor: Halfway through 2016

I picked "Savor" for my word for 2016 and I think it was definitely the right word.
  • Anniversary photos. I love the look of golden hour shots and hey, I get to pose with a cute guy.

  • I started a moments jar; I'd write down really great moments on a slip of paper and will look at them all at the end of the year.
  • The EL Simplicity Challenge. I really liked tackling a few decluttering items that I hadn't considered
  • Reading this magazine and in the latest issue, this passage stuck out:

I know that feeling of spilling all of your guts about the worst secret you've kept to yourself. Mine? Because of the abuse I suffered and subsequent anxiety (truly a gift that keeps on giving) I didn't think that I was a good person, that I didn't deserve kindness and that anyone in my life, including my darling husband, was only there out of pity. When I told Justin last November (last fall SUCKED), he just hugged me. His unwavering faith in me is something I can't believe I get to have in my life.

  • Being super conscious of putting my phone down to be present. Just last night, when Justin got home, I pulled out the book I was reading and we snuggled in our bedroom while dinner finished cooling on the stove.

I'm looking forward to the second half of the year. After two years of slogging through debt repayment and anxiety, this year feels like a breath of fresh air.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Sunday Snippets: So it's June...

video

This speaks to me on a very deep level.


Hell is too good for this piece of shit 20. MINUTES. OF. ACTION!?

God bless this man

And there it is

Yup!

Respect to this soldier, he’s basically just put his middle finger up to these bigots.

God bless these two How real human beings should act

Female Rage-READ THIS

When the internet loses its shit over what, to many, looks like a single, insignificant incident unrelated to anything else, it’s easy to say they’re fucking nuts. They’re raging over some perceived slight that’s been blown waaaaay out of proportion. That, in truth, is the easier narrative. There’s a reason folks say things like “Women are crazy” to explain away some perceived hurt or slight, because it’s easier than thinking through why that rage makes one so uncomfortable (often because one is complicit in acts that contribute to that rage in some way by perpetuating both sexism and the belittling of women’s voices). It’s easier to say people are crazy than to try to figure out why.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Adventures in Homeownership: Laundry Room Woes

Our laundry was slated for a revamp this summer because about two months after we bought the house, the washing machine sounded like a freight train every time it ran. And then it started leaking. We had to buy a tray to put under it and then it was leaking so bad that I had to drain the tray fully after every cycle.

Tres annoying.

Then when I got back after my massive work conference, I was doing laundry while working from home when I hear a clunk. Puzzled, I walk to the laundry room and see smoke pouring out the back of the machine.



When we took it apart, we were greeted with this:


Turns out, a seal had busted (which had also housed ball bearings) so the machine was off kilter, hence the noise and water just dripped slowly onto the motor, frying it.

There was no use fixing it, with that much water damage (I'm honestly surprised it lasted this long), so we scooted out to pick up a new one. Literally.


Yes, that is a 1986 hatchback carrying a washing machine on the roof.


Our oldest cat was also a fan of the new metal box.


Another reason we wanted to redo our laundry room. All the leaking/overfill from the tray soaked under the tiles. (And for some godforsaken reason, previous occupants put a strip of shag carpeting. In a laundry room.)


But now, we have a new washing machine (finally succumbed the HE revolution, but bonus of that, since we saved all the paperwork, we get to include that with taxes next year since it's an Energy Star appliance). And it plays a little tune when it's done! And there is no center agitator, so my bras are safe again!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Book Review: Spark Joy

Marie Kondo's follow up/companion to her best selling book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, both expands and refines her tidying message and methods.

The book is broken down into three sections: KonMari Master Tips, The Tidying Encyclopedia and Life Changing Magic. The first section touches upon expansion of her message; how to find that "joy spark" when none of your possessions do at first glance, how to keep going through the work, adding joy back into your house ("It's far more important to adorn your home with things you love than to keep it so bare it lacks anything that brings you joy") and life after you finish purging and storage tips and techniques.

One of the useful tips she includes is about tools;

"A simple design that puts you at ease, a high degree of functionality that makes life simpler, a sense of rightness, or the recognition that a possession is useful in our daily lives--these, too, indicate joy."

As someone who was just recently gifted a very well crafted hammer after years of using one that was duct taped together, I completely agree with this sentiment.

The second section is how to tidy or store those items that don't often spring to mind (ski poles, bulky sweaters, cell phone charger cables, etc) but she also includes step by step instructions with diagrams for the every day items. And rather than worry about doing it 'the right way', Kondo expresses throughout the book the idea of taking her message and honing it to work for you.

An interesting point that I hadn't considered fully that she explains, is "the more textual information you have in your environment, the more you home becomes filled with noise." And she means labels on the laundry detergent, bright labels on your bathroom supplies, etc.

The third section is the shortest, but like her first book, so gentle and touching. Kondo reiterates her original message but elaborates on the finer details. She wants the reader to enjoy their life and she knows that many people can't because they are bogged down, literally in some cases (she has one client who has a staircase of books that Kondo must gingerly climb up), with stuff that they don't love. Part of why tidying works, Kondo says, is because "tidying up means confronting yourself". It's easier to bury emotional baggage that you don't want to confront in cute stuff around the house.

One of the most touching passages in the book is toward the very end:
"Recently, an expression that keeps coming to mind as I work with my clients is mono no aware. This Japanese terms, which literally means 'pathos of things,' describes the deep emotion that is evoked when we are touched by nature, art, or the lives of others with an awareness of their transience." We only have but so long on this planet. Why not spend our days with the things and people that we love? That is the message Kondo wants to impart upon her readers and clients, "what really brings joy to our lives is savoring daily life, instead of taking it for granted."

A worthy idea indeed.

(Image credit: Amazon.com)

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sunday Snippets: Work Trip

I flew out on Thursday and won't fly back until early dark thirty tomorrow. But! This overtime check is going to knock out my first student loan. Which is what I will keep telling myself through 17 hour days.

Way to go Churchill Ya racist douche

Formation Shutdown of Lake Shore Drive in Chicago

Poet Elizabeth Acevedo nails the hypocrisy of anti-choice advocates

Sandra Bland’s Mother Speaks At Congressional Caucus On Black Women & Girls

Republicans burn their voter ID cards to protest Trump

If you need a kitty in San Fran

What It's Like to Live With Only Bottled Water

The only thing city water is good for, Gail says, making an observation I heard from several people I spoke to, “is flushing the toilet.”

This poor guy Trying to do the right thing.

Utter jackass Christian, my foot.

Much better version


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Love List

Haven't done one in a while and thought why not?


  • Picture of the top of my new (to me) desk. My mom is downsizing and I got the table she used as a nightstand.
  • My utter addiction I have loved thrift stores since I was a tween and now online consignment? I've gotten four new dresses, a pair of jeans and a gorgeous polka dot button up.

  • Speaking of polka dots....


  • We got anniversary shots taken for our sixth wedding anniversary last month. Our photographer, aka awesome badass Abby Grace shot this one. We are eagerly awaiting the rest because she also shot film (be still my I should have minored in photography in college heart).
  • Saying goodbye to debt. By my 30th birthday, we will have knocked off three more debts, including my first student loan!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Why Do I Continue to Watch TV Shows That Break My Heart: My Memoirs

There have been two shows in the last years that started wonderfully, but have broken my heart. No, The Walking Dead isn't one of them because I will probably watch that show until the wheels fall off, if only for Richonne. The moment either of them die, I'm gone.

Bones, I haven't watched in five years. I ranted about the last episode I watched here. I loved that show for the first three seasons and even some of the fourth season. The pilot starts out with the main female character demonstrating how much of a bad ass she is; smart as hell, tough but still vulnerable (ie, women can be well rounded) and not afraid to take a bat to someone who needs it.

But by the beginning of Season 6, they have the same female lead saying things like, "I had to rescue myself because you weren't there to save me."

(Image credit: http://animaljam.wikia.com/wiki/File:POlar_facepalm.jpg)

I was gobsmacked. They completely watered down her character and pretty much the only coming out of her mouth after that were cliches and awkward stereotypes, not to mention evidence of shoddy character development.


Castle

Again, an amazing female lead. The show may be called Castle, but everyone who watches knows that Kate Beckett is actually the star. Again, smart, tough, human! Even better, when she ends up with the male lead, she still retains her sense of self, including one episode at the end of Season 6, where a major story line is resolved. She is wonderful to watch in that episode.

And her partner is wonderful for the first few season; a dedicated father to his daughter (so many touching and REAL moments there), a friend and a son.

Season 7 was iffy but I was willing to go with it.

And then Season 8 happened. I knew they were getting new writers, but I didn't think it would go down in flames like it did. Poorly rehashed storylines that had been resolved wonderfully already, stupid character decisions that made no damn sense, etc.

And now Stana Katic (Kate Beckett) wasn't brought back for Season 9, nor was her best friend, Lainey (also kick ass woman in the show).

DEAR WRITERS, STOP MAKING ME CARE ABOUT CHARACTERS BEFORE YOU UTTERLY PISS THEM AWAY.

And that goes for both tv/movie and books. Don't make me, as a fan, invest in something and then royally fuck it up.