Three things — 8.17.17

Three things I’m loving this week

The Glass Castle movie. I loved the book and, so, I expected to be pretty disappointed in the movie. I was wrong. Woody Harrelson nailed it as did all the other characters, with the possible exception of Irma who just wasn’t as scary as she was in the book, but they didn’t have much time to spend on her, so…I can forgive that.  It’s a movie (and a book) that is both heartwarming and heartbreaking. It’s complicated…like life, and people. If you see it, stay for the credits — there are photos and video of the real Walls family.

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Underground Railroad by Colton Whitehead. I was on a long waiting list for this e-book and it was worth waiting for. It’s one of the few — if only — books I’ve ever finished within the two week loan period allotted to readers.  It was positively surreal to be reading this while the White Nationalists and Neo-Natzi racists showed up in Charlottesville to spread terror and messages of hatred (which is ultimately fear on their part). Imagine for one moment….what would’ve happened if that “rally” was a few hundred black men with torches.  From the book:

 “And America, too, is a delusion, the grandest one of all. The white race believes—believes with all its heart—that it is their right to take the land. To kill Indians. Make war. Enslave their brothers. This nation shouldn’t exist, if there is any justice in the world, for its foundations are murder, theft, and cruelty. Yet here we are.”

Live from San Francisco: How Malls Work public domain

Stuff You Should Know Podcast – Mall Episode. I run hot and cold on the Stuff You Should Know podcast. Some of the episodes are good, some are boring…sometimes the hosts annoy me, but this particular oldie about malls had me laughing out loud on more than a few occasions. One of their best, I’d say. Though….that may be because I was an ’80s kid who spent more than my share of Saturdays hanging out in the “pits” at the Millcreek Mall with my loser friends, a boom box, a pack of Newports (you could smoke indoors then) and Twisted Sister tapes.

Things I’m not loving this week

My God, where do I even start? I can’t. I just have no words for the disappointment and shame that I have for our country’s “leaders” right now. We’re 8 months into this egomaniac’s presidency and we’re on the brink of Nuclear War, colluding with our deepest enemy, health care costs are skyrocketing, and there are race riots in the streets.  I think it’s time to overthrow 45.

There are not two sides to racism and hatred:

 

Worth Reading — 8.16.17

A random collection of articles, blog posts, books, and other things I think are worth sharing.

Detroit Free Press: What’s the Source For White Anger on Display in Charlottesville?

The Guardian: Protest and Persist: Why Giving Up Hope is Not an Option

International Business Times: More than 1 in 8 Americans are Now Alcoholics (America doesn’t just have an opioid epidemic….we have lots and lots and lots of legal addicts, too. Begs the question: Why do so many of us so desperately want to escape our lives/minds?)

50 in Fifty: Animalistic Chainsaw Carving (Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper visits an Erie-co. resident who has carved out a cool career for himself on Route 6).

Three things — 8.10.17

Things I’m loving this week

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8 hours of sleep/vacation. I’m on vacation this week and, for me, the best thing about vacation (especially a staycation) is getting 8 full hours (or more) of sleep. My God, what a difference adequate sleep makes for my energy levels, attitude, and mood. If only I could maintain it when I go back to work, but…that would require going to bed at like 8:30 p.m. and that’s never going to happen, so….

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Perfect weather. I couldn’t have asked for more perfection vacation weather than this week. I’m not a fan of hot/humid weather, so this week with it’s warm, but pleasant temps and lots of sun and big fluffy clouds in a bright blue sky has been…simply perfect. I’m grateful.

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Hollyhocks. I used to have tons of these tall perennials lining my pool fence until one year, they all died. This year, I noticed a plant coming back and it bloomed high and proud. I’m letting it spread it seeds all over the flowerbed in hopes it multiplies next year.

Things I’m not loving this week

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Bad back.  I hurt my back sometime last week. I think it happened from sitting on an exercise ball at work all day Tuesday. I’m prone to issues since I had that “slipped disc” a few years ago. I went to my chiropractor on Friday and felt pretty great until I made matters worse — much worse — on Saturday when I was on my knees trying to flea treat a cat who did not want to be flea treated. I lunged for the cat and as soon as I landed on my elbows, I knew I’d made a colossal mistake. The pain was sharp and immediate…and long lasting. It’s put the kabash on most of my staycation plans that formerly involved doing lots of running, biking, swimming, and kayaking. Sucks. Big.

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This was me Monday morning

Computer/wifi issues. My big plan on Monday was to get up and get all my writing for the week done before noon. But…I spent most of the morning trying to fix the wifi. Sigh. I hate being the house IT person. I determined it was the ethernet cable, but…then, I had more issues on Wednesday, so a new wifi router is being delivered tomorrow. (Thank you, Amazon Prime.)

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Passport photos or mug shots? (They tell you NOT to smile)

Passport hassle/expenses. My inlaws are taking the whole fam damily to Cancun next year — woohoo! So, I’ve been hellbent on getting the girls’ passports taken care of this week and, getting Dan & my passports renewed and….wow…what a PITA! Dan can’t be there when we go to the post office, so I had to get a notarized document authorizing me to get a passport for Lauren since she’s under 16. Yesterday, we ran around getting photos — $46 for three of us — and now we have to go to the post office tomorrow afternoon to apply for the girls’ passports (renewals can only be done via mail…sigh) and fork over about $250 in fees. Sigh.  What a racket….

 

Worth Reading — 8.9.17

A random collection of articles, blog posts, books, and other things I think are worth sharing.

Discovery: Swifts Remain Airborn for Up to 10 Months at a Time (Nature is just….fascinating.)

“Staying in the air keeps you away from many predators, but how do they sleep? Frigate birds have been shown to nap mid-flight, and other species of birds sleep with one hemisphere of their brain at a time, but no such behavior has yet been observed in swifts. The Lund researchers’ data suggests swifts may put themselves into a long, slow glide for a snooze. Swifts climb well over a mile into the air twice a day, at dusk and dawn, and the ensuing trip down could be perfect for a nap.”

New Bedford Guide: Mom’s Dead. Not Sure if Anyone Told You

“There are little girls who are too tired for 5th grade because they have to wake up in the middle of the night and make bottles for their screaming, newborn brother. They can’t do their homework because they have to push a stool up to the stove to try and make some kind of dinner for their younger siblings. They sleep restlessly on the floor with urine-soaked blankets, scratching at their head lice. There are mushrooms growing in the cracks of the tiles on the bathroom floor. Am I making you uncomfortable? Good. It has never been comfortable for them and it will never be comfortable for me, so you can feel it for a few minutes. Those little kids turn into adults and it doesn’t just go away.”

NPR: Can Buddhist Practices Help Us Overcome The Biological Pull Of Dissatisfaction? (The whole posdcast is worth listening to)

Kindred Grace: Building a Home Your Kids Want to Come Home To