Some Condescending Bull Honky

I’ve recently come to Twitter for my primary social media fix. I can follow who I want; read what I want; listen and learn, and don’t have to deal with the bs on my fb feed.  This change came last September, on top of the heated election climate, I had one of those naive moments when, after reading about the first kneeling during the national anthem, I felt a strong and genuine, “Hell Yeah! You GO sports dude!” and I posted about it. But to my ridiculous surprise, this post generated blow-back from my social media realm. (I haven’t unfriended everyone who disagrees with me).  The worst were the ones who came at me (and this was just about 3 months after my dad died) with, “How could you disrespect your dad’s service to our country by supporting this disregard for American sacrifice?”  Yeah. Bless Their Hearts. This should go without saying, but I AM respecting my dad.  My dad served so that I have the right to support political expression of my choosing, especially the kind that shines light on systematic oppression, including the oppression of people who continue to serve.

Fast Forward a year later, this topic generated my first twitter “blow up” yesterday over the following tweet:

Screenshot_2017-09-25-10-04-57-1

I sat, admittedly obsessed, watching this epic #TakeAKnee protest unfold throughout the day. On my own twitter page (and I have less than 100 followers) my tweet received over 1100 likes and was retweeted a couple hundred times. I touched a nerve. I wanted to, because it is something I have followed closely for the last year. But in touching a nerve, once again, I wasn’t fully prepared for crazy talk.  So, for those offended by  #TakeAKnee,  I just want to address a few things.

  1. DISRESPECT:  A lot of tweeters (and fb people) want to talk about ‘disrespect’, expressing their opinion that I am and others are disrespecting veterans and troops by supporting #TakeAKnee; #TaketheKnee; disrespecting the flag; disrespecting the national anthem.  No. Sorry (not sorry) but you are wrong. So wrong. What is being intentionally disrespected is unchecked systematic violence, especially police violence, against people of color in his country. This is anti-system; a system that has gone unchecked for too long. The flag and the anthem are only symbols.  And towards the comments about the flag, particularly, “I fought for the flag.”  Did you fight for the flag or for people the flag represents?  #TakeAKnee does not disrespect our military.  It has nothing to do with military troops at all, unless you consider the number of ex-military, suffering from PTSD who are currently employed as police officers.
  2. “The Covfefe Queens”:  To the women ranting about our troops, specifically “Covefe Queen”, I am guessing you live in a predominantly white community, in your 50’s, attend a predominantly white church every Sunday, and are an unfortunate victim of opiod addiction and/or alcohol addiction (red wine or box blush- maybe box white), as evidenced in your garbled, unchecked ranting.  I’m sorry for that- sorry this society encourages it.  But I’m not sorry you are offended.  I encourage you to read more about BLM. Reach out to someone different from you. Take a deep breath or ten.
  3. The Condescending middle-aged white dudes:  Most questions came in the form of, What do you know about service!?  Well, I am a daughter of a serviceman who gave 20 years of his life so that I could express, and support others’ expressions, of a brand of Patriotism that targets righting the wrongs of our history. The patriotic act of saying Hey! This shit isn’t what this country purports to be about. Things must change in the way we police our society.  Participating in a Peaceful Protest is a courageous act of love for one’s country and the people for whom you stand.
  4. Lazy assholes:  These liked to say, “Tell us, oh smart one. What does it mean?”  followed by a lot of name calling that was comical.  Well, read my twitter wall.  If an answer to that question is really being sought after, dive on in and read my retweets of articles and previous comments about said subject.  What I think it means is pretty evident from there, all the answers right under your noses.  But that question is just some condescending bull honky right there.

Kneeling during the national anthem this IS a form of Peaceful Protest whether it is offensive to some or not.  Whether someone respects it or not. AMERICAN CITIZENS WHO SUPPORT #TAKEAKNEE ARE JUST AS PATRIOTIC AS THOSE WHO CLAIM TO BE SO OFFENDED.  This is not a contest. I think the entire country should take a knee every time they hear the anthem play until every officer who committed murder is brought to justice, and until Trump is out, BECAUSE I love my country.

Peaceful Protests are patriotic.  It is an elegant expression of resistance.  Forced “patriotism” is called oppression and makes assumptions about servitude. To Take a Knee during the national anthem is to refuse and resist, especially in a sport worth billions whose corporate entity takes millions in taxpayer dollars to advertise patriotism to a national audience(though they’d like you to think it’s a public service).  It is irrational to say “Keep your political views out of the workplace” when said workplace is forcing you to accept generic ideas of patriotism. Who cares how much the players are paid? It is their right to kneel during the anthem.

Many Vets support #TakeAKnee. Many Community organizers support #TakeAKnee.  There are police officers and fire fighters who support #TakeAKnee. Taking a knee during the national anthem has come to symbolize protest against police violence; against the systematic oppression of people of color; and yet another call to dismantle inherit bias built-in to the structure of this Nation.  If one prefers to stand, that’s on them.  But acts of patriotic courage come in many forms. Just because one is offended by a wealthy (black) sports figure kneeling during the national anthem, this does not place them in a position to judge what is, or is not, an act of patriotism.

Advertisements

The Most Blissful Aspects of Coloring that Help Ease Depression

Finding time to actively be in the moment is important for good mental health. Coloring can help put you there. By setting up a routine to create a focused experience, we allow our mind to shift gears out of out of the negative thought patterns in which we often get stuck. When we are deliberately focused, we experience a different state of mind. In this mindset, we are less likely to ruminate over things that happened in the past, or worry about the future.  Life is richer and more rewarding  when we choose to live in the moment. Coloring is a simple, low cost way to engage for a period in practiced mindfulness and possibly experience a brief second of bliss.

  • Coloring helps fight stress and elevates mood.  If you are feeling run down and spread too thin, think about spending a few minutes engaging in an activity that forces you into a state of mindfulness, a non-judgmental state of focus in the moment. After a few minutes coloring, you will find yourself engrossed, in the flow to the finish.
  • Coloring can help us to experience clarity of the mind.  If you are trying to remember something, like where you put your phone (memory issues are often a side effect of depression), the answer will come to you later when you’re doing something else entirely. Something mindful, like coloring.
  • The experience of coloring can take you back to the (sometimes not so) gentler days of childhood. It provides a bit of escapism from an overactive brain. When you’re coloring, you’re not really thinking about anything else. In that moment, you almost go back to being a kid again.

Below is a linked coloring page for your enjoyment and a book review from 6 years ago.  If you haven’t colored in awhile, print this  Birth of Venus coloring page from http://www.thecolor.com and run get yourself a medium of choice- crayons, markers, colored pencils- whichever you prefer.  I loved, and still love coloring.  The smell of  fresh crayons, the fine tips of colored pencils, or that saturated tip of a fresh, fine-point marker, right out of the box, these put me on the path to relaxation.  I love the first mark on a page, that bright shot of color, and a quite moment of focused flow.

After coloring, maybe you feel really relaxed. Maybe you want to read a good book.  Maybe that Birth of Venus page you just printed and colored got you thinking about Botticelli and Florentine Renaissance art. Art History fiction is cool in that it sets a scene of possibility in an actual time and place.  The Botticelli Secret by Marina Fiorato is The Da Vinci Code meets The Birth of Venus.  An Italian girl escapes with her life after she accidentally discovers a secret while modeling for Botticelli. I even wrote a review on Shelfari about this book, that is how much I enjoyed it. Then GoodReads took over and Shelfari is no more, but that is a complaint for another time.

On May 28th, 2010, after finishing this book, I wrote: “I love this book- It had action; adventure; mystery; romance- I was skeptical for the first 50 pages, or so. But if you love Tracy Chevalier, or Fortune’s Daughter by Isabelle Allende AND also love a good Dan Brown book on the beach, (i.e. you love to read and aren’t a literary snob) then you, too, will probably love this book. It really draws you in with good pacing. The end is great, as well, and when I put the book down, my first inclination was to write Marina Fiorato and tell her that I think she is fantastic!”

Finding the coloring page for The Birth of Venus brought up a memory of that book and how much I enjoyed it. So color away and take some time to think about art and where it comes from.  Like coloring, a good book can really transform your mood.

The Botticelli Secret by Marina Fiorato– check it out here!

*Next time you are subjected to a family dinner at Olive Garden or Applebees, ask for a box of crayons and pull out some home-printed Coloring Pages and go to town.

*A quick gift- a few coloring pages printed on quality paper, wrapped in a bow with a few fancy felt tipped markers.

3 Most Popular Viewpoints Reckoning Life After Death

Nearly all people who are religious believe in afterlife, reincarnation, heaven and hell, or the soul.  These are the Top 3 most popular viewpoints regarding what is happening with my dad right now, who has been dead for 28 days exactly.

  1. Christianity: So my dad, along with 2.4 billion other people, was a Christian. Obviously what he would have wanted is Heaven. According to his beliefs, he is hanging out golfing in the best style, beyond any perfect golf experience imaginable, with other Righteous Christians who loved golf.  On this course, every game is a new perfect game as one waits for the Resurrection of the Dead and Life Everlasting and the return to the New Earth, a Pangaea of golf course perfection.
  2. Definitely not a Muslim, and in fact, fearful of Muslim terrorists infiltrating our borders- yes, I am embarrassed by this fact and I blame it on his being a middle-aged, over-medicated veteran and a viewer of FOX-yet if 1.7 billion people who practice Islam are correct, then my dad is very restless in his grave right now, awaiting a golf tourney in Jahannam, where it is hotter than Death Valley at Noon on Tuesday. In August. No worries. My dad loved the heat. What he didn’t like was double-bogeying every hole. Here he would be condemned to suffer a bad game of golf for all eternity. Which is why I know my dad isn’t there because he lived a good life and deserves a good next whatever…
  3. One billion people believe the Lord Krishna who said that just as a man discards his old clothes and wears new ones; similarly the soul discards the old body and takes on a new one.  This would explain the progression of animals that tried to get into my parents house in the 4 days following his violent, sudden death. I have no doubt that my dad will have more good karma than bad karma in his next lives to come.

I fall into a combination of religious ideas. Intellectually, I know nothing about these ideas and I don’t practice religion, but I will lay out for you the sum of my  honest beliefs.  Death is not the opposite of life. Life IS everlasting. We are all trying to find our way home, we humans just have different ideas of what that home looks like. And maybe the end of everyone’s spiritual journey looks like they want it to, but a million times better and after all life lessons are learned.  Taking that in to consideration, any current view held on the afterlife is very limited. Ask me again if you see me hanging out in  Sheol or Hades awaiting my own day of reckoning.

The soul belongs to the spiritual realm which originates with God. A soul is born again and again, until it can merge back with God. According to the Sikh scriptures, and the 30 million people who believe them, the human being is the closet form to God and the best opportunity for a soul to merge back with God. “Nothing dies, nothing is born, everything is ever-present, it just shifted form”.  The soul is never born and never dies because it is a part of God and hence not subject to life and death. We are just changing from one form into another, climbing the higher planes of existence until we reach that perfect state and become whole once again.

My dad has moved on; shifted forms; entered a new realm to continue to work through the karma that has troubled him. He will get home.  Maybe we will even arrive together.

Zero Six Sixteen of Twenty Sixteen

My dad died suddenly 1 month ago this week.  That is what is obit read: Suddenly.  He was 61. In fair health. His car swerved off the road and hit a tree. Probably due to a seizure.  About 200 yards from the street that my parents live on. A short walk. According to the M.E., it was over instantaneously. Lights out, dad.  Game over.  I am grateful for the last 5 years most of all, and the time we had together.  Mostly driving in the car, singing and laughing.  A lot of our good times happened in a car.  I wish I could hear him laugh just once more; that is my special grief these last few days.

Grief is a wild fire; some days it consumes everything in its path, and some days it’s contained.  Firefighters of my mind circling the grief zone: a burned out shell of a crater in my being that was once filled by the lively spirit of my dad. These mental heroes hose down the borderlands, watching for the hot spots to flare up- coals simmering beneath a surface wet with tears.

If you are grieving, or know someone who is, give yourself or that person the space you need to express your sadness and loss. Journaling and meditations are helpful. Overeating and over-drinking, probably not so helpful.  Speaking from experience, I am not only sad, but also feel like shit, physically.

Hang in there. We will get through it.  I believe my Sweet Bird- poor two and a half year-old, suffering from a grieving mother- when she says, ‘You’ll be ok, mommy.’ Then she puts her arm around me and kisses my head. I allow her comfort to wash over me and quench another hot spot.  We lay there together and watch a movie in bed, snuggled under a blanket in the cool air-conditioning and I know she is right and my dad would say the same thing. I will be OK. We will all be OK.

Lavender Compress

My Little Redbird

My Little Redbird

My sweet Bird is a winter baby, so I wasn’t surprised when it hit 100 degrees and she broke into a heat rash.  The eczema-like rash crept down the back of her little neck, spreading over her shoulders.  To help calm the itching, I placed a cloth soaked in cold lavender water on her neck throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday, and then in the evening Friday night, Monday and Tuesday.  Her neck looks so much better today!  It could be that the rash ran its course as the weather has cooled a tad, but I think it was the added TLC of the cold compress.  She laid so still while I held the compress on the affected spots, I know it brought her relief.

 

2 cups cold water

3-4 drops Lavender Oil

1 clean and soft wash cloth

Place the drops of lavender in to two cups of cold water.  Put the wash cloth in the water to soak,

then ring the cloth out and place on affected areas.  Repeat as desired.

The Mable Nay Way

july 17

I need to get back to the basics and structure my day around these 7 core “accomplishments” :

Meditate

Exercise

Write

Clean

Take Vitamins

7 fruits/vegetables

Cooking Meals

My goal  is to go 90 days in a row where I accomplish all 7 of these daily ‘TODO’s’.  I think too much about how to do things and then wind up not doing anything at all.  When I get into a routine, that is when I accomplish the most.   I’ve been in this routine before, and I rocked.  But I get into slumps, and I’m in one again.  I need to start- 1 day, Day One, checking off each item listed above- that is momentum.  Day One = momentum.  Moving forward. The Mable Nay Way.  I’m just going to keep saying that because I like the way it sounds- The Mable Nay Way.  Right now my way is the lazy way.  There is no progress in being lazy.  I have had 4 Day One’s in a row.

I have a plan, I just need to start.  “Ok, go.  Do it! You can do it!”  This is the coach on my right shoulder.  “Let’s sleep and eat and watch tv.”  This is the high schools stoner on my left shoulder. I often find myself leaning left.  I am much better at Pinterest than picking up.  Much better at take out than a cook out.  It’s just some nights, you know? Some nights you just want to put the baby to bed and lay down on the couch and have someone feed you and change your diaper, because you never want to get off that couch again. And other nights you want to put the baby down and have some friends over for cocktails on the back porch.  Some days. Some day.

I will start tomorrow.  Or maybe the next day.  One of these days, oh world of the wide web, you will hear me cheering my 90 day accomplishment.  Just you wait and see.

 

Change the Scent of Your Life

My apartment is a whole National Park full of animal, earthy smells.  A chicken carcass rotting away in the trash can; dirty diapers piling on top of it.  Dirty socks left in the living room.  More dirty clothes in the bathroom. And although we took care of the trash before leaving for vacation, each scent left its print and we closed the house down to trap them there.  Coming home from vacation to these musty, old smells left me feeling down and I thought to myself, I need to create a fresh house scent!  I need to Change the Scent of My Life!  And then I spiraled into a whole marketing business crazy ideas because I loved the phrase, Change the Scent of Your Life so much, but that is for another blog post.  How my mind wanders.

scent of homeI love entering a home that smells wonderful.  That comforting feeling makes me want to hang out in that space.  I love smelling food when dinner is cooking.  I don’t like smelling food  previously cooked.  If you live in a newer home, your smell is probably more pleasant than a home that’s housed many families, each a thread weaving a tapestry ode to the Smells of Life.  My apartment has housed many families for many decades, and these families tended to stay a long time.  We’ve been here for 11 years. The tapestry’s in tatters; it’s not the freshest smelling place.

Scent is the first sense that’s activated when we’re born and is deeply connected to our emotional state, making the sense of smell a far greater influence on our behavior than we realize. I want the smells in my home to say, Hey there, Mable Nay! Hey there husband and Redbird!  Let’s all chill out together and relax and breathe clean, good smells!

I want to make my own fragrance because A. I can and B. Plug Ins and store-bought sprays kind of freak me out.  Although I’m sure the chemicals in those aren’t concentrated enough to cause any serious health damage, these products wind up as waste in landfills, as well as money in the pocket of corporate America.  I prefer to make my own soothing scent.

After doing some research into combinations of essential oils and mood, I decided on oils that would conjure serenity and good vibrations,  and create a scent that when people walk in my home they think, wow! this house smells good!

When combining essential oils, I like to use the 30-50-20 solution: 30% Top notes/50% Middle Notes/20% Base Notes.  And I rarely mix more than three oils at a time because I am a beginner and I like to keep it simple. Don’t waste your oils!

The 4 oils I have chosen to experiment with are:

Frankincense– Base – Woody/Spicy

Ylang ylang – Base/Middle – Fresh/Floral

Lavender – Middle/Top – fresh/herbal

Bergamont – Middle/Top – fresh/citrisy/slightly floral

Project in Process:

First combination: I will mix ten drops consisting of Frankincense, Ylang ylang and Lavender and let them melt together for 24 hours or so.  I will sniff and adjust until I find the right combination, and use it for my house spray; 10 drops of essential oil per 8 ounces of water.  I highly recommend playing with essential oils; mixing them up and finding  a scent to enhance the mood of the home.  You can find a lot of information on essential oils on AromaWeb.

For my house spray, once I find my perfect combination, I will spray it in every room and let it soak into the curtains and the walls and the wood.  Hopefully, we can freshen things up around here.

 

A Toothsome Smoothie

Smoothie2I am excited to participate in a recipe assignment – #beautydetoxrecipe  – as a part of Kimberly Snyder’s Beauty Detox Community.  I read her first book a few years ago, The Beauty Detox Solution, and found it practical and inspirational.

This blog assignment is to make a smoothie.  I happen to love smoothies and haven’t been eating very well, and could use a good dose of fruit and herbs.  I got to thinking, what fruit and herbs pair well together?  And then I googled it. If interested in Fruit and Herb pairings, the Blog ‘Organic Authority‘ is a good place to start, and the only place I ventured because I felt satisfied.

I chose parsley as my base green herb because it is easily accessible on my back porch.  I did a quick little search to see what suggestions Organic Authority had for me for parsley:

Parsley is one of the least “sweet” of the leafy herbs, but it still pairs with certain summer fruits. For best results, use parsley with tropical fruits and rich, robust seasonings like ginger. Pair with:”

Bananas
Coconuts
Grapefruits
Mangoes
Pineapples
Summer melons

This is looking good already!  I have bananas, ginger and parsley .  I could make a smoothie just out of this, and a a squeeze of lemon from the half of lemon in my fridge.  But I want to do a little more.

Smoothie1

Smoothie Recipie

1 banana (I almost always have bananas, fresh or frozen)

1 mango (took the Redbird on a walk and picked up at the corner store)

1 lime worth of juice (took the Redbird on a walk and picked up at the corner store)

a handful of chopped parsley (growing in the neighbor’s herb garden)

1.5 cups H2O

Throw ingredients in to high quality blender, and here’s where I give a shout out to my Vitamix, and blend until smooth.  If you are particular, put parsley and ginger in first with water. Blend on low, then add mango.  Continue to blend and increase speed, then add banana, and finally add lime juice, then blend on high for 30 seconds to one minute.

Enjoy! This made a mouth-watering smoothie, reminiscent of a delicious margarita!

Dear Travel

Travel pic

Blue Angels- taken from our roof in Chicago during an air and water show.

When I was young, I always pictured my life with you, Travel, moving around the world as nomads- hoping trains and freighters, writing stories about our adventures together.  That relationship, like many of youth, did not pan out. Although I love my life now, I wouldn’t mind reviving that passion between us, Travel.  I miss our sense of adventure.

I WANT to have the relationship we always dreamed of having, but I have a few modifications now, Travel.  I mean, I’m older, much older, and I have responsibilities.  Sure, I have a good time on vacation.  But I don’t LIKE the actual act of traveling, unless it is a roadtrip with days and days ahead to drive.  I like it when you are good old RoadTrip Travel.  But Airplane Travel, being around you gives me horrible anxiety.  Embarrassing amounts.  It’s like I think you are going to beat me in public, Airplane Travel. It’s like I expect you to give me a big old black eye while everyone stands around and stares from the eyes in the back of their heads, because they don’t want to look directly at me,  and these bystanders are shaking their heads against their own fears of an Airplane Travel beatdown.

And now, with RedBird, well, you don’t even take pity on me.  You just go on being your old Airplane Travel rude self.  And yet you make my heart race and I feel sweaty when I’m with you, and you almost always take us to an awesome location.  I just wish we had more time together.  Correction, I wish I had more time for Vacation.

That is how I want it to be between us now, Travel, you escorting me to my True Love, Vacation.  There, I said it.  Dreams change.  Don’t cry, Travel.  Maybe we’ll end up together when we are old.  When I have more time to spend with you. I’ll say a little prayer for the possibility.

Simple Like a Country Song

It’s a rainy Saturday morning; 10:30.  Redbird is napping.  My love is working for the weekend, as he often does and it works out because we require very little daycare.  The roof is leaking through the bedroom and kitchen ceilings.  And I have to make a confession I love Blade Shelton.  Or Sheldon.  I need to look that up.  And I think I might love country music.  This is something I never even considered, but I might be a country girl.

20120723_211701When I am home alone with Baby Bird, and here is another confession, we watch a lot of You Tube music videos.  Once we watched an entire Beyonce concert, and let me tell you, Beyoncé PERFORMS! I don’t really know many Beyonce songs, and I could never afford a ticket to her concert, but I’m sure it’s worth every penny, if you like good concerts.  I don’t really like going to concerts that much.   But on Saturday, when trapped in my leaky apartment alone with my daughter, I feel like I can have my own, comfortable, private showing of YouTube videos and orchestrate whatever concert I want.  And today, it is a concert of Modern Country Stars.  And I am lost in a long story of simple country life.

Maybe it has to do with spending ages 14-26 living mostly in Nebraska, where I actually rode in the middle of the front and in the back of pick-up trucks, listening to Lynard Sknyard yelling, Turn it Up!”  Beer bonging in headlights from cars and trucks blaring Steve Miller Band.  Bonfires by lakes and rivers and in cornfields.  Nights spent like this drip country into your soul, like an IV of morphine, making life seem simple and happy.

“Rain makes corn; corm makes whiskey; whiskey, whiskey gets my baby feeling frisky, washing all our worries down the drain, rain is a good thang.”  Some lyric by an experienced country song writer. I would agree.  I like rain.  I will let it remind me to keep life simple, like a country song.

“An ocean sky with white-capped clouds that made driving to you a high seas adventure.  You’ll always be Nebraska to me.”  A lyric by me, an inexperienced song writer feeling the soul of simple.