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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Vibing for My Tribe in Texas

I saw this quote at the Farmer’s Market today at one of the booths.  Your vibe will attract your tribe.  I loved it.  What a quick and clever way to say…if you are yourself, you will find your place.  If not, you’ll find someone else’s place and be miserable!

Speaking of finding myself in someplace that makes me miserable…I’m finally coming to terms with something I’ve been denying for quite some time.  Texas. Hates.  Me.

Here I am in Texas, square peg, round hole, not a yoga studio in 20 miles, no vegetarian restaurants, but a gun range within 5 miles and four donut shops.  I miss Farmer’s Markets!  I miss organic-hippy stores!  I miss a yoga studio around every corner.  I miss fresh sea food.  I miss tree’s and flowers everywhere because the deer don’t eat them.  I miss going bare foot in the grass because I’m not worried about poisonous spiders, snakes, or red ants.  Or ticks FROM THE DEER.  Also, the whole culture is just different.  It’s meat and guns and donuts.  It’s a willful ignorance of healthy living, of our bodies being the only ones we have until it’s done with us.

This is a real-life example of what I mean:   (Overheard a babysitter scolding a young child).

“You need to eat a hot dog instead of that apple and peanut butter, Claire.  It’s healthier.”  

I think she must have heard my brain stutter to a stop from across the room.  Bom, bom, bon booooom.

It’s HEALTHIER!?  A HOT DOG!?  The same food Time magazine just had an article about saying it’s as bad for you as smoking!?  UGHHHH WHERE IN THE WORLD AM I!?

I actually reached over, took the babysitter’s hand and told her, “No, sweetie, no, it really isn’t!”  I explained that apple is a fruit, and therefore superior in almost every way to the heavily processed, who knows what-kind-of-meat-is-in-it hot dog.  That peanut butter is an excellent way to fill up on good fat and protein.  I may not be allowed back to that restaurant again…

I mean, I’m still eating the hot dog but at least I have the good sense to feel guilty about it.  At least I know it’s bad for me!  What do these people eat when they’re NOT being ‘healthy!?’  (Shudder, shudder).  Texas, you obviously need me.  You don’t WANT me, but sweeties you NEED me.  I’ll have you eating eggplant and zucchini spaghetti for supper and doing yoga and going for walks in the neighborhood.  For FUN. 

I’ll even go to the gun range again if you let me sit down with you and explain why our bodies run better when we add fruit and vegetables to the dead animals in our diet.  

Should I have a warning in here that I’m being a little offensive?  

It’s been so great being home.  I’ve only been in Texas for a year but enough that when I came home last week I just felt a big weight come off my shoulders.  The weight of ‘who is packing today at the grocery store?’  Of, ‘will there be another Tornado warning today?’  Of no one to watch Ellie while I get my head straight with some clarifying yoga.

We’re in Texas until Bill retires there isn’t much I can do about that.  I will focus on the positive and let the negative fall away.  All the negative are things I can’t control so I won’t waste (any more!) energy on it.  Over the years Texas will change me, but I’ll change it too.  (Rah!)

Meanwhile I will practice some self-care, and some self-compassion.  I will remember ‘Your Vibe will Attract Your Tribe!”

Here’s Angela’s 11 Steps to Self-Care:

1. Love yourself.  Really, deeply, embarrassingly, with total acceptance of all the parts you hate, love yourself.  You won’t be a narcissistic maniac.  You’ll be a healer.
2. Trust yourself.  If it feels wrong don’t do it.  You don’t need to rationalize or explain.
3. Watch your thoughts.  You’re in control, not the running monologue of negativity you may hear.
4. Understand your words have power.
5. Say yes when you’re scared.
6. Say no when you’re tired.
7. Even when it feels ridiculous, don’t give up on your dreams.  Fight for it.
8. Avoid unnecessary drama when you can.
9. Acknowledge it and see if you can find some peace with it, if you can’t.
10. Forgive yourself.  You’re just a silly human doing your best with what you’re given.
11. Ask for help.  Don’t take yourself too seriously.  It isn’t your job to heal the world, to eliminate poverty globally or to raise those kids alone.  If you look around, there is help.

          I didn’t include ‘don’t choose a hotdog over an apple and peanut butter!!’  But that goes without saying.  Also, maybe, ‘Don’t give unsolicited health advice to strangers’ should be there too.  Even if your motives were sincere.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Transgender Issues in the Shire

I am thoroughly enjoying my visit to the Shire (Home to NB) this month.  It has been quite a healing experience.  Everyone should have a mom and dad like mine.  I haven’t cooked a meal or washed a dish (ok I washed ONE dish) since I’ve been here.  I watched the activity as they cleaned the house today and thought…wow I need a nap.  
And so I did.  For an hour.
When I do wake up the window is flung open so I can hear the birds singing, hear the wind in the trees.  I can SEE the trees from my window because I’m on the second floor.  
Just like the Shire in Lord of the Rings, NB is often more concerned with it’s own local affairs than global ones, neither paying attention to or being paid attention by the world-wide affairs of men.  This is no bad thing.  People here are kind, friendly, and unlike the hobbits New Brunswicker’s are on average quite well educated.  There are 4 Universities and scores of colleges just in NB alone.
ANYWAY.  I say that to say this - since I’ve been home I’ve been asked twice in as many days what I think about the transgender/bathroom issue that’s all the rage in the US.
People are really afraid about this bathroom issue.  From what I can gather they’re not really afraid of men who genuinely identify as women going into the washroom to use the facilities.  They’re actually afraid a pedophile will dress up as a woman, pretend to be transgender, and molest the children.  
That’s when I point out there’s really nothing to stop a man from doing that now, there’s no locks on the bathrooms.  Most of them don’t even have doors anymore.  Also, I imagine a pedophile would find easier, less embarrassing ways to fulfill their dark urges.  And, if it did happen we’d call the police and they’d arrest him and charge him and he wouldn’t be allowed within 200 feet of public washrooms, or malls, or something.  
Lastly…I think if we look past the fear and aversion we can find the true source of our uncomfortableness and that is….we don’t trust MEN.  
No one, not ONE person has said they were worried about a woman identifying as male slipping into the mens washroom and molesting little boys.  No one.  
The REAL fear isn’t about transgender people but that men, born with the male physical parts if not the spirit, will be allowed where our women and children use the washroom.  And we don’t want them there.  Because we don’t trust them.
Frankly, for good reason.
A 2013 global study on homicide by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime found that males accounted for about 96% of all homicide perpetrators worldwide.  Nine.  Six.  As in, only 4% weren’t male.
I managed to find a 2011 arrest data report from the FBI posted on Wickipedia:
Males comprised 98.0% of those arrested for forcible rape
Males comprised 89.0% of those arrested for robbery
These numbers should shock us but they don’t, do they?  It’s a sort of shared insanity.  
If 96% of all violent acts were perpetuated worldwide by men of red hair…would we have as many people with red hair?  No.  Why?  
NO SANE WOMAN WOULD DATE ONE.  Or have their children.  Red haired men would slowly die out. 
Let me put it another way.  Let’s say you have two populations of raccoons.  One with black ridges on their ears, one without.  If the population of raccoons with black ridges committed 80% and higher of all violent attacks what would we do?  
We’d research why.  We’d run experiments and try to figure out of it’s genetic, environmental, hormonal, if there’s some sort of brain anomaly or disease that is only affecting the ridged raccoons. 
Because that kind of behavior would be exceedingly alarming and evidence something is very, very wrong with the ridged raccoons.  We’d probably attempt to control the population.  Put them out of their misery. 
I’m not suggesting population control, less men, less suffering.
Truth is I am married to one.  I have an older brother and a dad who is nothing but the best example of what a real man should be.  Kind, supportive, hard working, loyal and loving.  I just realized for the most part, that describes my husband too.  
My point is…let’s wake up and smell the testosterone.  The guts of this transgender/bathroom issue is clear to me.  We’re not afraid of men who identify as women.  (Although that makes some of us uncomfortable.)  We’re afraid of men going to places our women and children are, places the other men can’t go (or are socially prohibited from going) to protect us.  
Maybe instead of establishing laws in Oklahoma that can’t be enforced (a paid government employee checking for birth certificates at the sinks?) we should be researching why men commit over 85% of all violent crime globally.  GLOBALLY.
This isn’t a female issue.  This is a HUMAN issue.  It’s not as if 96% of men only commit violent crime against women - they’re killing other men too.
So let’s call a spade a spade.  NB/the Shire, I love you.  Mom, you've shown me how to be a good mother to my own children.  Dad, you're the example I looked to for how a man treats a woman he loves.  
Humans - let’s figure out why so many of our sons and brothers turn to violence in the first place.  Maybe stopping to ask why is a good first step.

"An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind."
Mahatma Gandhi

Thursday, May 12, 2016

My Totally Uneducated, Absolutely Based in Nothing But How I FEEL…Two Cents on Current Events or...Bathtub Thoughts

Well it’s that time again - time for me to spout off about things I have no business ranting on about!  It’s ALMOST my favorite thing to do.  I'll call it...bathtub thoughts...

I’m posting early as I’ll be without internet at Ojisaan’s (Grampy Yeh) this weekend, then traveling on home to NB for a nice visit with Nana and Papa.  Wish me luck.  Last time I was at Ojisaan’s I bravely sipped a cup of ‘old world’ medicine (tea) he had created with herbs brought over from Taiwan in a hundred year-old recipe known to give good health.

Is that I thought I was drinking.  

Turns out it was a bottle of whisky filled with random plants he had picked up at a yard sale the week before.  No, he had no idea what those things floating in it were.  He’s a sweet man but he’s a little kooky.

They’ll be no mysterious fluids for me this weekend.  I’ll stick to water, thanks.

World Stuff:

On Trump being the Republican nominee:  Catastrophic.  I predict historians will spend whole sabbaticals pondering and analyzing his rise to popular power and what flavor of crazy from what contingent of the population contributed to it.  And how the good, reasonable people in this country let it happen.

On Bernie and Hillary contesting a Democratic nomination:  Good for you Bernie.  I like that crazy old guy with the wild hair.  I think he’d plunge the US into a debt never before seen in the modern era but he’d do a lot of good for a lot of people first.  We’ll figure out the rest later, right?  

Hillary: Hillary.  Mrs. Hillary.  You are a fighter and a woman of impressive intellect.  I wish you could be more honest more of the time.  I know you feel like you can’t be more real because as hard as this process is on the average white male who attempts it, you’ve got it that much harder.  But how can we judge your ability to lead if we can’t judge who you really are as a person?  Still, I think you’re the most reasonable, logical, less scary choice.  Also, being the first female president, if you screw this up you’re going to set female leadership back decades.  No pressure.  

And that doesn’t just mean to make the non-emotional, based-solely-on-the-facts decisions.  Any man can do that.  (Is my feminism showing?) Women have a special ability - we’re in touch with our own emotions.  (Ba ba ba BAAAA!)  We can read subtext that a lot of men can’t pick up on.  That doesn’t make us weak it makes us wiser.  I hope you use all of who you are if you get to be president.  

Kamau Bell:  Jaw-dropping.  That strange, brave black comedian who went to a cross burning and interviewed KKK members for a CNN documentary.  Let me White React here.  That.  Still.  HAPPENS!?  Holy smokes.  What are we doing about this!?  Why is this still happening!  Where do we find these people!?  Arggggggggggg.  

My Stuff:

Flying alone home to Canada with a 2 year old and a 9 year old dog: Catastrophic.  I predict mind blowing temper tantrums and Ellie probably won’t be very happy either.

Eating food you grew yourself:  Pea’s and onions were good - lettuce tasted the same.  Lettuce doesn’t taste good unless you drown it in Ranch dressing first at which point I can save the digging and weeding and watering already. 

Remembering Grammie: She had her internment this week.  I wasn’t there in body, at least.  But then, neither was she.  I remember her at home, not in the nursing home.  At home and making weak tea and feeding me bowls of sugar with the odd strawberry floating in it.  I’m starting to connect the dots with the origins of my sugar addiction…I thought I made sure to tell her I loved her and to appreciate her while she was here but I didn’t really, or, not enough.  

Because I still miss her and I wish I had been less reserved with my affection while she was there to be embarrassed by it too.

Self Discovery:  Turns out I’m not that mysterious.  I’m composed mostly of Lord of the Rings dialogue and sugar-pops.

And finally, a quote to remind us we all have wisdom and knowledge (and valid opinions!) even if we weren’t educated at Yale and weened on Caviar and milk.

“I have been and still am a seeker, but I have ceased to question stars and books; I have begun to listen to the teaching my blood whispers to me.” 
Hermann Hesse

Sunday, May 08, 2016

The Grateful Couch

I’m working on being grateful.  It's easy to be grateful for your health, and for sweet Ellie-Belle.  She had a birthday yesterday and I may have gone overboard with the balloons and the pink fur trimmed tiara that lights up...It's not so easy to be grateful for things that drive you nuts.

Take the old, poopy brown colored couch and love seat Bill has had since 1912.  They’re ugly and old I want them gone and I'm grateful that….they’re not lumpy.  It better be grateful I haven't 'accidentally on purpose' set it on FIRE.  Ho, HO I'm in a MOOD today!

I saw a turkey vulture this morning perched on the edge of my garden post.  He sat there long enough for me to call to Bill to come see.  I’ve never seen one that close.  I’ve never seen one not ‘cleaning up’ something by the side of the road.  It’s disturbing to see them crouched around their meal but at the same time they keep things clean.  Less diseases that way, less rodents.  They have their own purpose to fill.

I saw one fly across the road last week, they’re a common enough sight around here.  Her wings were tipped with grey and I thought, there is a beauty to them, a glimmer of it.  And now today I see one perched on the post.  Bill joked maybe nothing’s been hit in a while and it’s turning vegetarian in it’s hunger.  He didn’t eat any of my lettuce though.

I don’t know if I believe in signs but enough so that my recent purchase of plane tickets for the trip home made me a little nervous.  Not that it would stop me from going, just because I saw a bird up close I’ve never seen so close before.  One associated with…the less delicate side of life.

There are all kinds of animals around here.  Several people arrived for Ellie’s birthday party yesterday remarked in amazement there was a deer sitting at the edge of the driveway, and he didn’t move when they pulled up.  That didn’t surprise me.  They often stand by the driveway, or leisurely walk across it as I come home, staring at me with ears perked, watchful but not nervous enough to run or even to stop chewing.  The rabbits don’t even run when Toby gets let out to do his business.  He rarely sees or smells them.  He’s not a very smart dog.  Or maybe he’s getting older. 

The squirrels he chases.  They’re a lot quicker than the rabbits are, that is, they’re twitchy.  The rabbits hold still, so still you don’t realize they're eating but the squirrels flit back and forth over the grass looking for special morsels, never satisfied, their movements quick and jerky and sporadic. 

We have two huge picture windows that look out at the garden and the yard.  Most of the yard is not landscaped.  Lots of trees and thick bushes.  A couple days ago I watched two dogs romp into the yard.  A big German Shepard and a tan Pit Bull.  Not for once I wished I had a fence to keep random dogs from wandering in but as I watched them play I had to smile.  They actually…frolicked.  Like puppies.  I guess I’m glad I didn’t miss that.

All that to say…I’m working on being grateful for what I have instead of pouty over what I don’t have.  Toby’s getting older - but now I don’t have to worry about him hurting the bunnies.  I don’t have a fence but, I get to see random displays of doggie-joy.  A fence wouldn’t keep the twitchy squirrels out anyway.  Ellie is getting over her cold and she’s feeling better.  I’m just getting over Ebola but…I have a soft couch to rest on.  

Stupid, ugly, old couch to rest on.  

I want a new dark brown leather sectional with end reclining seats and middle cup and popcorn holder.  Not to be too specific.  Ellie accidentally marked in black ink all over it last week.  Unfortunately, Bill managed to clean it out.  

My summering resentment against the couch doesn’t take over my WHOLE day.  Just every time I SIT ON IT.  I may need another hobby…  

I’m grateful the ugly couch is soft.  

Deepak Chopra says…”Gratitude opens the door to…the power, the wisdom, the creativity of the universe.  You open the door through gratitude.”

I think I believe that.  I just wish it also opened the door to a new couch too.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Ebola, Toddlers, Texans

I have Ebola.  Or a cold, whatever.  I feel like I should be in a level 4 quarantine tent in a field somewhere.  So while my precious is sleeping and I am sneezing, here are a few quick points from my week.

You know you’re a mom of a toddler when:

* You find really clean macaroni in the washer.  (Must have missed one or two!)
* You find stuffed animals beside the eggs in the refrigerator.  (I don’t know why she did that)
  • You find one small pair of socks, size 2T, on every piece of furniture in the living room.  (I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know…)  At least three different days this week she stood on her tip-toes and took her socks out of her top drawer, then carefully placed one pair on each of the cushions of our chairs.
  • You wait all day for nap-time, then after a half hour start to get bored and wonder when she’ll wake up
  • Bedtime is 8:45pm sharp
  • You know all the words to ‘Goodnight Moon’ and ‘Kiss Goodnight’.
  • You talk to an adult who you aren’t married to and suddenly realize you don't have anything to say that isn’t toddler-related.  It’s ok to debate pros and cons of early potty training with someone who’s never had kids, right?
Jerry Seinfeld said it best:

"Having a two year old is like having a blender you don’t have a top for."

Yes, yes it is.

You know you’re in Texas when:

* You’re laying in the closet using a bathrobe for a pillow at 430am with your whole family and the dog because there’s a tornado warning.  (For the record Ellie thought it was the best thing ever.)
  • You go bowling for your husbands birthday (Happy Birthday Bill) and the chairs are covered in cow skin.  (FYI - it stinks.  Yes it does.)
  • You gather by the window to watch the torrential downpour and marvel at the speed in which your backyard becomes a pond.
  • You understand frogs get really excited when it rains this much and your backyard is a pond and that they are very, very, VERY loud.
  • Your friend found a snake on her patio but don’t worry it’s safe because it wasn’t poisonous and it just got a ‘little confused’ by all the rain flooding everywhere.
  • You find a new level of terror for your own personal well being when you hear your friends say things like, ‘Well we’re in Texas now, and everyone else has a gun so…maybe I need one too.’    And you know they’ll get one, but never practice or even look at it until someday maybe they need it and then they accidentally shoot their own family dog.  Or worse.
  • You sweat walking to your mailbox in April.
I’ll leave you with some pure Texan wisdom:

(Be careful) “This old crow has eaten enough field corn to know scarecrows sometimes carry shotguns….I've robbed enough nests to know you can't enjoy eggs if you're picking buckshot out of your behind.”

(That person be ooollldd.  Happy Birthday, Bill and dad!!  You're both really old, ha ha ha.)  “The Dead Sea wasn't even on the critical list when he was born.....He's living on borrowed time and three payments are past due”