Sunday, July 10, 2016

Sunday Snippets: Fuck

Just fuck. It's all I have left anymore. #AltonSterling #PhilandoCastile

Hate violence disproportionately target BLACK transgender women

Post 9/11 era was a scary time to come of age

It's raining. On my face.

Faith in humanity

Believe us, Canada, we want him to stay too.

"They took his life for no reason."

#GynnyaMcmillen

Disgusting

But Norristown had what's known as a nuisance property ordinance. Her landlord could be fined and have his rental license suspended if police were called to the property more than three times in four months for "disorderly behavior." Unless, that is, he evicted his tenant.

After that first warning, Briggs — who also had a 3-year-old daughter — was reluctant to call the police when her boyfriend beat her up. But one night, when they got into a fight, he slit her neck open with a broken ashtray. When she woke up in a pool of blood, her first thought was not to dial 911.

Navajo Artist Creates 'Make America Native Again' Hats to Critique Donald Trump's Campaign Slogan

US Trans Military Service Ban Repealed!

 Mariana Sosa noted bitterly, “You should start talking before you fire murderous bullets, not after.”

Muslim Doctor Shot and Stabbed on His Way to Pray at Texas Mosque

Adorable pony

The kitty gets to keep his job!

But institutional racism is imaginary, right?

Saul Williams speaking on Democracy Now I have loved him since high school. It's long but worth it.

“Iran is for all Iranians. Iran is me and my mother. My mother wants to wear a scarf. I don’t want to wear a scarf. Iran should be for both of us.”

Reactions to Alton Sterling

A Black Woman Police Officer Calls Out Racist Cops in Heartbreaking, Furious Facebook Video

The True Story Of How Stephen Colbert Met His Wife Will Melt Your Heart

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Summer Loves

Certain things will always remind me of different seasons. For summer, when I'm not swatting mosquitoes (awful little bastards), these are the things that make it feel like summer.

(Photo Credit: imdb.com)
Die Hard with a Vengeance is a classic summer film (the original Die Hard being the best, of course).





(Photo Credit: Wikipedia)
I adore the new version of this story and it's a perfect summer film.


Cicadas. Is there any sound that is more quintessential summer?


(Photo credit: Netflix)

First season of The Walking Dead. Oh yes. I re-watch it every summer. (Back when there was actual character development....we miss you Frank Darabont).

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Book Reviews: Shrill

I can always appreciate a good Slurpee reference and Lindy West, in her memoir, Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman includes one in a triple whammy:

"only now once a month hot brown blood just glops and glops out of your private area like a broke Slurpee machine. Forever...Don't worry, to deal, you just have to cork up your hole with this thing that's like a severed toe made of cotton..."

Which pretty much sets the stage for the rest of the book.

Lindy West is a phenomenal writer and covers abortion, aforementioned periods, being fat, misogyny in comedy and vitriol on the Internet. Half the time, the reader has to laugh because she is goddamned funny and the other half, you suck in your breath because shit, that's too real.

"it was just part of the lifelong, pervasive alienation from my body that every woman absorbs to some extent. Your body is never yours. Your body is your enemy. Your body is gross. Your body is wrong. Your body is broken. Your body isn't what men like. Your body is less important than a fetus. Your body should be 'perfect' or it should be hidden."

One of the most touching moments (and there are many, including tearing up toward the end when she speaks beautifully about her father and the subsequent troll encounter) is when she starts to realize she doesn't have to hide her body (even though it was fat and not the 'ideal' size) any longer:

"What if my body didn't have to be a secret? What if I was wrong all along-what if this was all a magic trick, and I could just decide I was valuable and it would be true? Why, instead, had I left that decision in the hands of strangers who hated me? Denying people access to value is an incredibly insidious form of emotional violence, one that our culture wields aggressively and liberally to keep marginalized groups small and quiet." (Emphasis mine)

Value being denied to people is one of the main themes that is referenced throughout the book and she delves into just how pervasive it is. Her words, throughout the book, are a rallying cry; both for those who are disenfranchised, due to race, body size, or gender identity and against those who seek to shame, humiliate and even kill those who speak out.

She tackles the subjects, matter-of-factly, bluntly and sometimes humorously, but without being overly dense. Abortion rights and how she "believe[s] unconditionally in the right of people with uteruses to decided what grows inside of their body and feeds on their blood and endangers their life and reroutes their future" are discussed with the same ease as her landlord once walking in on her in the shower with insurance appraisers (which lends itself to the fact that the word boners and insurance are uttered in the same sentence).

She ends the book talking about world building and how saying no can be one of the ways that happens. "I say no to men who feel entitled to my attention...I say no to religious zealots who insist that I'm less important than an embryo...It's a way of kicking down the boundaries that society has set for women-be compliant, be a caregiver, be quiet-and erecting my own."

An absolute necessity in American society today and if I may add one final thought: A-fucking-men.

(Photo Credit: Amazon.com)

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)