THANKFUL WHATEVER DAY

Yes, I usually reserve these posts for Friday, but Talaura and Sarge get here TODAY! We have a full day of sight seeing planned for Friday. I need to fill her full of BBQ and then we need to make sure she gets some National Park stamps on Saturday. Sunday, we drive up to meet her family in St. Joseph for Eclipse 2017 activities. We will be watching the eclipse at the Rosecrans Memorial Airport along with five thousand other people. We will witness totality and stars and I've already started getting emotional over the whole thing because Science! and WOW! So, needless to say, I have a lot of things to be thankful for this week. 

This was the first week of school for kids here and Michael's first week at a new school with new students. I am thankful that he seems to really really like the new place. At least he's excited about being there right now in this moment. I'll take it. I have a meeting scheduled next week with a new yoga studio that just opened up right down the street. I am thankful for the possibility of teaching yoga again. I went to the dentist today for a routine check up and my wonderful dentist went on and on about how great my teeth look. I left with a clean bill of toothy health. I am thankful for that toothy health. FLOSS EVERY DAY! I reached out and scheduled an appointment with a therapist because I have issues that I need to talk about with someone with an empathetic/sympathetic ear. It's probably something I should have done a long time ago, but I am thankful that I am doing it now. Actually, I already feel better just having set up the appointment. 

Mostly though? I am super thankful to have Talaura here for a few days. I want every thing to be super awesome and perfect while she's here. She always does a great job of showing me around New York when I visit, coming up with unique and off the beaten path places to explore. I want to do the same thing for her. I am thankful to be able to return the favor. 

So that's it. Peace out for a few days. DON'T LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN WITHOUT LEGIT ECLIPSE GLASSES ON! Even though all of the eclipse guides say to just watch and don't try to take pictures, I've bought a special lens filter and I'm going to try to take some pictures. If I find myself too much involved, I'll focus only on the eclipse. I promise. I will take a moment to have true gratitude for the moment. 

Happy Thankful Whatever Day!

 

DO GOOD

My friend Jill is a teacher on the Kansas side of the city. I don't know if you've heard, but Kansas kind of screwed up royally when it came to spending with out increasing taxes. Actually they are a good example of what not to do with a state budget (as is Oklahoma, but at least Kansas has well maintained roads). Well, thanks to all of that, the Kansas school system is not even sure how much money they're getting for a budget this year. Any way, Jill sent me a link to a fundraiser for one of her teacher friends who is trying to raise money for alternative seating options.  She knows that I sometimes post things like this on the blog and I said "Sure!".

And okay, I know this isn't a Donors Choose Project. I know that these kids aren't as hard up as some of the others. I'm paying it forward because it is the right thing to do. I've noticed that ever since the 45 was elected, I've started stretching my resources to be more charitable. Ten dollars here. Ten dollars there. I support Planned Parent Hood and Donors Choose. I pay for reliable news from honest to God journalists (not gossip rags). I toss over a donation to causes of other bloggers I follow. Giving financially, even though it is not much, is one easy way to help this country that is in serious need. I mean, what else am I going to do with that money? Pay off my credit card debt? Ha! I'm taking that shit with me to my grave. 

So, if you feel so inclined and want to help out a friend of a friend buy alternative seating for her classroom, just click the alternative seating options in the first paragraph. I plan on giving as soon as payday rolls around. Pay it forward. Do some good. Vote with your wallets! All of the positive things!

Thank you!

BECAUSE OF YOUR AGE

I have a doctor's appointment coming up in a couple of weeks to see how things are going with my cholesterol medicine. To prepare, I had to have some blood drawn for my visit and while I was in the lab, the technician handed me a cup and said "your doctor has also requested a urine sample." I let me lip frown to one side when the technician said this. I had not prepared for a urine test (not because of drugs). I had prepared for the blood draw by doing a twelve hour fast. I only had a little bit of water that morning to wash down my vitamins. I looked at that cup and thought I would be lucky if I could give them a teaspoon. Also, I looked at the cup and the three vials of blood they took from my arm and got a little nervous about all of this testing business. When I voiced this nervousness to Michael, he said "It's probably just because of your age." which made me kind of want to shove him down a flight of stairs.

I say 'kind of' only because I do not have the energy to care for his invalid ass. 

I am not an old person! Forty one is not old! Maybe it's a little bit old. I have noticed that there's an increase in the white hairs on my head. There's a grouping of white that is starting to form a streak through my bangs, but I think it is pretty cool. It's like having highlights without going through the process of getting highlights. But we all know that graying hair is not indicative of age. Sure there are days when I feel like an old woman. I look at the things that have happened to me in my life and it seems like all of it should not fit into forty one years of life. This makes me feel older than my actual years and disappointed that I am not really all that wiser. Then there are the days when I crawl out of bed to the tune of my cracking joints and I have to gimp my way to the bathroom and think "Jesus! Have I been abducted by aliens and returned to earth as a hundred year old woman?" Then I look out the bathroom window toward the skies and beg them to come back and get me and return me back to my supple youthful body. 

As if I have ever had a supple body.

I'm still very much young. I speed to work every day on my scooter. Last week I performed a perfect cartwheel with out incident. In fact, just the other day, I had a total childish impulse to steal something from Target. Our Target could use a little feng shui help in the area of their front doors. When you walk in the doors, the shopping carts are immediately to your left. Four steps across from the carts is that area where they have all those dollar items of kid things and crafts. Immediately to the left of the shopping carts are the exit doors. See...it seems like I've already cased the joint. To replace your shopping cart correctly back in any kind of order out of the way, you have to walk back through the dollar section. On Saturday, I paid for my items in the self check-out line and then pushed my cart towards the door. I paused and looked around at the already scattered carts and decided that I was going to return my shopping cart to its proper place in the cart corral. Then, as I passed a rack of various dollar craft items, I had the most sudden, intense urge to just grab something and stick in my shopping bag. I thought, very matter of factly, "I'm going to steal something." 

I did NOT steal anything, but the urge to do so was so shockingly intense. It was the most compulsive urge that I still can't believe I walked out of there without slipping something into my shopping bag. Something is cracked in my brain or maybe I'm just in a place right where I'm all "fuck it!" I just don't care. Crap...I just realized that's not a youthful feeling. Teenagers care about everything. I don't really care about anything. Well, that's not really true. I care about what I can do in my neighborhood to fight racism; I'm calling my local community center to see about teaching a yoga class there. I care about the environment and equal rights. I care about the masses of uneducated, misinformed Americans because their ignorance led to the election of Donald Fucking Trump as our president. But apparently I don't care if I get caught stealing a dollar item from Target. At least, that is what my brain was telling me on Saturday.

Maybe it is because of my age. Because of my age, I care very little about what others think of me. Because of my age, I have a little bit more wisdom. Because of my age, I'm becoming a klepto. 

SILENCE IS VIOLENCE

I didn't have a stellar high school history education. I remember one teacher in particular who just let us do whatever and often played movies like Red Dawn. We did cover the Civil War, at least the basics, like Abraham Lincoln and states succeeding the Union. In all of the lessons taught to me, the teachers talked about the various things that triggered the Civil War, like state's rights versus federal authority and the election of Abraham Lincoln as the sixteenth President of the U.S. But the most important part of the Civil War, the thing always emphasized, was that it ended slavery. My take away from these lessons was simple. Slavery was (and is) a horrible horrible thing. It is a shameful awful part of our American history. People who fought to keep slaves were awful and cruel and the furthest thing from anything Christian. Villains. They became villains in my mind. 

Lessons on World War II came along soon after. We learned about Hitler and Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. We learned about a bomb so horrible and destructive that countries came together to make a declaration to never use it again. My take away from my lessons on World War II was that Nazis did horrible awful things to people they deemed less than themselves. Color, religion, sexual orientation, not being full blood German, were all things that would send a person to prison camp and death. Somewhere around 7 million Jews and around 1.8 million non-Jewish Polish citizens, not to mentions the hundreds of thousands of homosexuals, disabled people and people of other religions, were killed by Nazis in World War II. Nazis are horrible, evil people. Villains. They are villains.

We have villains living among us now. They are people who believe that the color of their skin makes them better or gives them more rights than those who are different from them. They believe that African Americans should "know their place". They believe that their Christian religion is the only religion and that those who follow any other form should leave this country. They believe that homosexuals should be 'cured' or killed. This group that consists of white men and women are not true Americans. They spread hate and intolerance. They teach this hate to their children. They are a disease. A blight. They are domestic terrorists. Wars were fought to end people like this. 

The very same people who brought violent protests to Charlottesville, South Carolina over the weekend. 

Those men and women, cheering for racism and holding Nazi flags and Confederate flags are domestic terrorists. 

It is my responsibility to speak out against racism. It is my responsibility to stand up to hate. My silence to those hateful actions is to condone racism. This blog is my voice and the best outlet I have in this moment. I am not a public speaker, so this is my public stage. I will not condone or tolerate hate and racism in my family, in my friends and in my community. 

 

THANKFUL FRIDAY

Summer is winding down. The temperatures around here have been very reasonable. Kids head back to school in just a few days. Our house has shifted from the Monday thru Friday schedule with the Cabbage back to the every other weekend schedule. Michael is teaching at a new school that is a little bit further away than the old one. Our mornings have had to shift and change to accommodate for the length of time it takes for him to get there. Routines are changing and though I do not relish the shift in seasons (I am a tropical weather girl), I do appreciate the change in routine. 

Second Noble Truth: The origin of suffering is attachment. 

I can easily become attached to a routine. Set in my ways, is one way of putting it. A disruption or a change in my routine can certainly cause me suffering. Except I know now that it is the attachment that causes the suffering. Being attached to being set in my ways is the cause of suffering. I marvel at the number of times my stubbornness has served me so little or how my silent protests to change have gone unnoticed by those around me because no one hears my protests. Because it's silent. I need pointy arrows (for a number of reasons). Also..I've started rambling. Any hoo, change and shifts in routines is good for me and I am thankful for them. I have come to realize that I have become too attached to my current routine and that I have taken a long enough hiatus from teaching yoga. It is time to throw a new yoga resume together, toss it around and see where it sticks. 

It is time to be less set in my ways. Less attached.

I am thankful for our new TV off at 8:30 rule because I end up reading a whole lot more. This is an activity I used to do more of. I used to devour books. I want to fall back into the habit of devouring books. I am thankful for the lady who did my blood draw this morning. She didn't hit the mark at first, but didn't dig around too much trying to find it. She got it on her third gentle shift over. I am really thankful for the breakfast I got to eat after it all because I was HUNGRY. I am thankful for the 80% chance that it will not rain today. I am thankful for you.

Happy Thankful Friday!

WHAT'S THE FREQUENCY

When we got Alexa, we also signed up for Amazon Music. I spent a couple of days creating a playlist of artists I like to listen to. It is pretty Neko Case and Josh Ritter heavy right now. I am really terrible at remembering band names and who sang what. I have thrown in old favorites like Sting and Morrissey, as well as newer favorites like Arcade Fire and My Morning Jacket (Jim James has made my list of guys who have hair that I want to run my fingers through. I can see a whole photographic series of my fingers tangled in famous hair). My playlist is odd. Just the way I like it.

I remember being very disappointed in my musical choices on the radio during my teenage years because I didn't listen to mainstream music. I wasn't a snob about it. I just preferred bands that didn't get a lot of radio time because they were different and obscure. There was a college station I could barely pick up on the radio. They had an alternative music show that aired on Friday nights at midnight. I would set my double tape deck to record the show and then play the tapes over and over. As an adult, I just listened to NPR all the time with the exception of the brief years of The Spy, an alternative radio station out of Stillwater. It always made me wonder how it was that a band like the Flaming Lips could be born (and reside) in a state that doesn't listen to them. Internet radio came along and changed everything. I now have access to the artists of my youth as well as new sounds in alternative music. 

I tend to get caught up with one artist at a time. I remember buying a new album from someone and listening to it over and over. At that time, in this moment, it was the only music I wanted to hear. I am known to do the same thing with food. Ask my mother about poached eggs every day for a month. I fixate. Recently, I was fixated on the National and Michael hated them. Hated them. If we were in the car and one of their songs would come on, he'd turn it or make fun of it. Michael and I don't share the same taste in music. His playlist is old country and folk and 1980. I pulled the National from our joint playlist and soak them up when I'm on my own. Matt Berninger's deep voice hits me somewhere near my breast bone and I am reminded of sulky teenage moments. If I had heard his voice as a teenager, I would have spent my days imagining that his voice was indicative to his love making skills. Matt Berninger is the guy I would have followed around from gig to gig in hopes that he would notice me. Really notice me. 

I switch back and forth between stations recommended to me because of my recent music choices and the playlist I am creating on my own. The recommended stations are a nice because they introduce me to something new or remind me of artists forgotten. Just the other day I remembered to add some R.E.M. to my playlist. I remember having my first fairly grown up conversation with my brother over the song Losing My Religion. R.E.M.'s music always made me feel like I should be trying harder for something good like the environment and human rights. Beautiful and at time haunting, their music made me feel all things. I added them to my playlist and then started to wonder why they're not still around. What ever happened to Michael Stipe? He's got a really long beard now, does sculpture art, and still dabbles in music.

If you're curious.  

The Cabbage is all the time asking me what kind of music I listen to and I am always at a loss for words. She doesn't understand what alternative means. Occasionally I will point out a song and an artist and tell her "this? this is important. pay attention." I'll turn up the radio and start car dancing and singing, to which she rolls her eyes. If she learns anything from me, hopefully she learns that the unconventional is cool and that sometimes you have to listen outside the radio. 

I ATE THE CANNOLI

She jogged past me as I sat waiting for the light to turn green. The woman was wearing a pink tank with matching tiny pink shorts. A giant contraption on her wrist, held her phone. Maybe the contraption only looked giant because of her ultra skinny arms. The woman was all bones and muscle. I had been watching people happily running along the Trolly Track Trail up to this point in my drive. I looked at each one of them while thinking that maybe I could do that and maybe it just doesn't look like something I want to do. Running is such a big thing here. I see people running all the time. I think about it and my heart sinks a little. I don't see any joy in the action of running. 

I watched Mrs. Bones And Muscle cross the street and jog on. The light turned green and I continued moving forward while still running thoughts around in my head. Maybe I should make year forty two the year of lean? What if I added an extra thirty minutes or hour to my cardio and maybe started lifting some weights? I should stop eating dinners and take the dog for more walks. I thought about that roll I noticed I was sporting in the leggings I had on the day before. Then, I arrived at my destination, a Saturday morning yoga class I've started attending. The teacher is silly and she makes me laugh. It is an advanced class, meaning all the students know how to modify without cues. Not everyone can do Hanumanasana with out blocks. It is a good place for me because it lets me challenge myself without the feeling of being in a competition. Failing at yoga 101. 

I move through the poses in class and I as lower my body to the floor for salabhasana, I can feel my ribs pressing almost painfully into the mat. I come into Hanumanasana and I feel like I am this close to being fully into this pose with out the blocks. I feel long. I feel okay about being more than bones and muscle. For now. Tomorrow I will put on a pair of pants that are the tiniest bit tight around my waist or I'll step onto the scale and see that there is no change from the last time I stepped on the scale and I will be back in the old spot of self loathing. I will be forty two years old in about six months and I am still struggling with liking this body, being proud of this body, not being disgusted by this body. I am the only one who thinks I am fat. Well..me and maybe one other person. 

I know that Mrs. Bones And Muscle looks in the mirror on some days and thinks the very same thing about herself. I know that this is a universal feeling. We are all caught up in the same tornado of mixed messages. Size ten here is a size twelve over there. Clothing stores still use 'plus' size to label clothes and lump them together in one section of the store, usually in the back. You find that section only after you have walked past skinny mannequins sporting slim and fitted outfits. At the same time we are being told that all sizes are beautiful and being healthy is more important than being skinny. Being healthy doesn't sell magazines as well as articles on 'how to lose ten pounds in ten days' or 'five easy exercises to bust belly fat'. Then there are all the scientific reports on calorie restriction and mice longevity. By all accounts, healthy is skinny and there are as many companies out there making money off of selling this idea as there are people willing to buy into it. Lowering peoples' self esteem is a very lucrative business. 

God, I hope we are doing a better job of teaching the next generation that healthy really is more beautiful and what healthy really means. Hell, I wish I was doing a better job of setting a good example that healthy is beautiful. This is what I really should be doing. Not adding more cardio or weight training. Maybe I should be setting a better example, at the very least to myself. Stop feeling guilt for the rare occasion when I eat something not so good for me. Maybe I'll eat more cannolis and bread. 

 

THANKFUL FRIDAY

Last night I had a dream that I was over at Terry's. Every one was there and Terry's house had shrunk to the size of a studio apartment. It was crazy which isn't really all that unusual. In fact I think that all the things that occurred in my dream are things that seem totally natural for an evening at Terry's. We were celebrating Bradley's birthday. Bradley had made tacos, but by the time I got there, most of the tacos were gone. I decided to make myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with two pieces of a fresh loaf of gluten free bread, also made by Bradley. I pulled out the jelly from Terry's fridge and then I had to climb over a bunch of people to retrieve the peanut butter from the living room. I don't think Terry would keep his peanut butter in his living room in real life, but maybe.

I made it back to the kitchen with the peanut butter and set it on the counter. Then I got distracted because someone was asking me a question. When I turned back around, Luke was just finishing up making my peanut butter and jelly sandwich for me. I told him thank you and he didn't have to do that. He responded with a shrug. Then I looked at the sandwich and noticed that the jelly was green. I said "Oh...I was hoping for a berry flavored jelly, but apple is fine. Wait. Is that relish?" Luke looked at the sandwich and said "No...wait. I think that's relish. Oh my God! I put pickle relish on your peanut butter and jelly sandwich!" Then we laughed and laughed. And I woke up. 

It was a pretty hilarious dream. In fact, I woke up laughing and when I think about it, that look on Luke's face when he realized what he'd done, I start to giggle. Also, the absurdity of a pickle relish and peanut butter sandwich is the best ridiculous thing since Talaura's bread sandwich. The comedy in my life seems to center around sandwiches. Today I am thankful for absurdities. From Chris's hot dog straws to Talaura's bread sandwich. Talaura has these two pictures of her in Sarge. One is serious and the other one looks like they're both laughing. When she shows them to you in order and says "look! Sarge is telling me a joke!" it is ridiculous and hilarious. Todd, do you remember Chris's Schindler's bit about just eating one more shrimp? We laughed until we cried over this. The other day, Michael asked Alexa to pay him a compliment but then she announced that she didn't have that skill. When I asked her and told her to install that skill, She told me something about how I'm good at facts or something. Immediately after this, Michael asked Alexa again to pay him a compliment and she said "Ummm. I'm not sure about that." The Cabbage and I busted out laughing. 

I am thankful for those absurd and ridiculous and hilarious moments.

Maybe I should host a sandwich party. 

I am thankful for a text from Amy telling me a story about C-Rip and how C-Rip was talking about visiting me in Kansas City. That she was going to ride with me on my scooter. She'd bring her own helmet. It was the sweetest thing and it came to me on a particularly difficult day when I was fighting demons. I am thankful for the staycation I took yesterday. I finished my library book. I am thankful for the promise of a lazy weekend. I am thankful for you. 

IT SOUNDS LIKE SOMETHING FROM STAR TREK

The Cabbage turns seven in September and she wants to get her ears pierced. We told her if she could go the whole summer with wiping her own butt and washing her hands EVERY time, we'd get her ears pierced. Michael said "If she can't keep her butt clean, then she can't keep her ears clean." I feel like that sentence needs to be cross stitched and hung up in the bathroom. Or any where. It really does apply to most every thing in life. If you can't keep your butt clean, you can't keep your ears clean. I say it in the voice of Louisa. Well, any way, it has been ages since the last time I heard her yell through the bathroom door that she needs "help getting the poop off." Yes, this is a phrase I never ever dreamed that I would hear in my own home. Children are a blessing. 

So the piercing of the ears is going to happen. We all had this big discussion of the best method for getting her ears pierced. Her mom, Michael and I have all had our ears pierced with the gun. I think I am the only one of the three that had problems with their ears afterward. When my ears finally healed, I had a hard time wearing any earrings unless they were plastic or a high grade metal. I couldn't just wear anything I wanted. If I did, my ears would swell up and would be red and angry. I finally gave up, removed my earrings and let the holes grow back. Many many years later, I wanted to wear earrings at my wedding so I had to get them re-pierced. My niece-in-law, Melissa, worked at Claire's at the time. She re-pierced my ears again with the gun. It was very painful, but I have not had a problem with earrings. At least that I know of. I wear the same silver elephants every day. 

Since then, I have learned a lot about piercing techniques. After I had my eyebrow pierced, I realized that needle piercing are much better than a gun for a number of reasons. The needle causes less damage to the tissue, while the gun tears more tissue. The guns are not disposable and it is really next to impossible to get them really really clean. This can lead to infections. If I had it to do all over again, I would have my ears pierced with a needle and not by a gun at the local Walmart. Michael had one ear pierced with the gun, but had let it grow back. He wanted to get both of his ears pierced and I convinced him to get it done with a needle and The Cabbage wanted to witness the whole procedure before actually getting her ears pierced. Monday evening, we all went to Supernatural Body Piercing for a family outing. You know what they say? The family that pierces together, stays together. Or not. Never. No one ever says that. 

Michael got both ears pierced with these tiny little earrings that look like freckles. You can't even see them when you're looking at him straight on because his beard hides them. I decided to get a daith piercing in my my right ear. There is a belief that this kind of piercing can alleviate migraine pain, though it has not been medically proven. In fact studies on this have come back with inconsistent results and doctors suspect that the piercing is a placebo effect. I did not get a daith piercing to alleviate migraines.  My migraines stopped when I drastically changed my diet, stopped eating meat and preservatives and got on a consistent yoga routine (this worked for me, maybe not for you). I got a daith piercing because I wanted it. I think it looks kind of badass. In fact, now I stand in front of the mirror in the mornings with my head turned to the side so I can see that piercing and I give myself a little pep talk for the day. "Cindy, you are a fucking badass!" I almost believe it. 

The Cabbage witnessed it all and she thinks she is ready. Clay, at Supernatural, did our piercings and I cannot say enough good things about him. He gets gold stars alone for just the number of times he changed his gloves and he always removed those gloves correctly. He also had an excellent bedside manner. Actually, all of the staff at Supernatural are pretty phenomenal. The girl at the front desk was kind and patient and seriously on top of things, which is impressive considering the number of customers in the shop. It was busy. They seem to stay busy and she flowed right on with it. We will definitely be back to see them in September. In the meantime, I will just be over here, looking in the mirror at my ear while practicing my rebel punk stare. 

 

YANK YOUR CHAIN

The torrential down pour from last week has just about everyone stressed about their basements. We are part of that group, but we were lucky because our basement has only a few leaks. Our neighbors'  had about two feet of water in their basement. Most homes in Oklahoma do not have basements, which blew Michael's mind when I told him this. "WHAT ABOUT ALL THE TORNADOES!!!!" I explained that we either stood outside watching the tornado, we sit in a bathtub while wearing a helmet or we stuff ourselves into a closet. Any way, I know nothing about basements. Every time I see water in the basement, I want to throw up because I think it is going to cost us a million dollars. Some people are like "basements are awesome!" while I'm all "basements are a hole that your whole house can fall into!"

We would like our basement to be a livable space and recognize that a wet floor is not conducive to our basement goals. All of our research says that the first thing we need to do is some landscaping. Over time, houses settle and sink, creating a moat all around the foundation. This is a perfect place for water to flow into when it rains. The idea is to pile up enough dirt around the house to make a slope so that water can flow away from the house. We have not started this project yet because it is going to be a big project involving a few truck loads of dirt. The idea of it actually makes me slouch. I barely keep up with weeding the vegetable garden. Also, other than the garbage hydrangea and the banana plant, I am not the kind of person who plants ornamental stuff. Landscaping means planting crap to make things look nice and I am not thrilled with the idea of the constant upkeep. 

Second to landscaping, the next thing to help keep water away from the foundation, is to make sure that the gutters are clean and that the water flows easily out the down spouts. This sounds easy enough. Clean the gutters. We do this a few times a year. We hate it and it is gross, but we do it. The problem is that there is a section of gutter right at the corner above our front stoop that doesn't drain properly even when it is clean because it is angled higher on the wrong end. So water just fills up there and pours over the side, the water creating a large puddle in front of the house. I mentioned this to my friend Sarah and she said "We had that problem!" They fixed it by installing a rain chain that directs the water into a rain barrel. That sounded easy enough, so Michael and I decided that this would be our first step to water proofing the basement.

And we have learned a whole lot about rain chains.

You know those really fancy decorative rain chains that you see in the magazines? Don't buy those kind. Yes, they are pretty and they give you the illusion that you will build a beautiful zen garden around the rain chain. If you buy this kind you will be spending around sixty to eighty dollars for something that will not guide water as much as it splashes water EVERY WHERE. You know what works? Chain. Actual linked chain. Michael took our fancy rain chain back and exchanged it for a different fancy rain chain. When that fancy rain chain did the same thing as the first one, we just hung some chain to see what would happen and it was perfect. Michael is taking the second fancy rain chain back today and buying some length of chain. We are pot committed now because there is a sizable hole drilled through the gutter. 

The rain barrel is about the only part of this project that was easy. We didn't want to, nor could we, spend $130 on a plastic barrel with a spigot. Also, those barrels where too big for the space where we need it to sit. So, Michael made us a rain barrel. We bought a medium sized plastic pot, like the kind you'd plant one of those palm plants in. Michael used the drain pan that normally would sit under the pot for a lid, drilling a hole in the center for the rain chains. Then he drilled a hole in the side and installed a spigot. Easy peasy. We attached a hose to the spigot and as long as I stay below the rain pot, I can water the plants in the front yard. We can also just drag the hose out and let the water drain down the front yard if the rain pot starts to get full.

Landscaping and gutters and flooding basements are all things that make me question home ownership. The air conditioner in the living room has also started to make a weird noise. I do not want to replace this with another window unit, but we are not in a position to finally instal a central air unit. Hey Hard Place. I'd like to introduce to my new friend, Rock. The more money we dish out for home repairs, the more I feel like setting the house on fire. After talking to my neighbor about his flooded basement, I get the feeling that he feels the same way. A couple of weeks ago, part of that same tree that split and landed across my backyard fell on his car and totaled it. He's been asking around for estimates on getting the rest of the tree cut down before more of it falls down and kills someone. He rubbed his hand over his head as exclaimed at the cost and how that tree gives him nightmares. I just nodded my head in agreement. 

They lie to you about home ownership being part of the American Dream. It's really part of the American Nightmare. 

THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES

Not too long ago, I was listening to Wait Wait Don't Tell Me on the way to the grocery store. The question up for answering had to do with dragonflies and their mating habits. What does a female dragonfly do to avoid an amorous male? It sounds like a joke right? Like you're sitting there waiting for a punchline and the answer does kind of sound like a punchline. The female dragonfly will play dead in order to avoid unwanted attention from a male dragonfly. She will literally drop out of the air and crash into the ground, arms and legs curled in and body stiff with false rigor mortis. All of this effort is to avoid unwanted attention. Now, here is where the language differences between men and women become so blatantly obvious. When the men participating on the show heard the answer to this question, they all said something like "Man! She'd rather die than have sex with you!" and all the women said something about "knowing exactly how it feels to be that desperate to just be left alone."

Men saw it as the ultimate insult. Women nodded their heads in complete understanding. This particular female male dynamic transverses species. 

Don't get me wrong. I enjoy sex. Regular readers here know that I enjoy sex. I don't see any point in being coy about enjoying sex or pretending that I would rather be eating chocolate cake. The feminists before me paved the way for women to own their sexuality, be proud of it even. I also like to feel desired. Genuine compliments from that special someone just makes a person feel good about themselves. Those are moments of wanted attention, a behavior that also transverses species. There's a species of South African frogs that when the female has eggs ready for fertilization, she doesn't wait for a throaty call from a male. She starts making her own noises to call the boy to her. She lets it be known that she wants attention. As it should be.

It is amazing to me that we have made so many advances in equality and yet a woman still can not go out alone without the worry of being accosted in some way. If you are sitting by yourself in a cafe, you are probably just waiting for someone, got stood up for a date, or you are a sad lonely lady who probably has a bunch of cats living with you in a one bedroom apartment. There is something wrong with a woman sitting alone. It is for some reason, wired into the male brain that this woman doesn't want to be sitting alone. She is most likely just pretending to be working on that laptop. The fact that she is completely ignoring your idea of a smoldering stare and your random attempts at small talk doesn't clue you in that you are providing unwanted attention. Every time a woman steps outside to walk down the street, she is taking the chance that someone is going to yell something at her regarding the way she walks, what she is wearing or something about how she needs to smile more.

This type of guy is the male dragonfly you don't want anything to do with. He's constantly buzzing up, getting in your way, when all you want to do is get to that lili pad on the other side of the pond and maybe catch something to eat. It's really that simple. You are not interested and you are just tired of finding some way of conveying that you are not interested without encouraging more attention. It would be easier to drop to the ground and play dead. The female dragonfly just might be onto something here. I used to think that the praying mantis had it right with sexual cannibalism. Then I read that the female mantis only bites the male's head off while mating if she's malnourished. Also, if it is mildly unacceptable for a guy to cat call a woman, it has got to be highly unacceptable to rip is head off and eat it. 

Sure, I have reached that age where this stuff doesn't really happen to me all that often. Occasionally when I'm stuck at a stop light while riding the scooter, I have to pretend not to notice the guy yelling at me from the bus stop or that dude with his arm laying on his rolled down window who is looking me up and down while picking at his tooth with a toothpick. That's the guy who usually asks me something about gas mileage and 'how much my tank holds'. For the most part, I've joined the invisible women club which is sad in it's own way, but this doesn't exclude me from having the same experience where you find yourself rolling your eyes at that guy who thinks his ridiculous cat calling is going to make you want to kiss him on the mouth. 

No it doesn't. It just makes me want to play dead. 

 

THANKFUL FRIDAY

Michael and The Cabbage got a pool membership for the summer. When they get home, Michael takes their towels and wet swimsuits and hangs them out on the line. That is usually where they stay until the next trip to the pool. I've noticed recently that leaving the towels and swimsuits on the line triggers the rain clouds to drop buckets of water some time around day three of being on the close line. The phenomenon of things left on the clothes line causing rain is becoming almost more accurate than the actual weatherman. These are things that I should pay more attention to, because I left the house Wednesday morning on the scooter. Sure, I noticed that the sky was overcast, but I did glance at my weather app that said there was only a 20% of rain. So really that should mean that there was an 80% chance that is would NOT rain. 

It started raining around lunch time. I was not concerned. I have seen this so many times. The clouds build up, drops a bunch of rain and then clears off well before it is time for me to head home for the day. Except, this time it didn't. There was still a steady rain coming down when I walked over to the gym for yoga class around five. It continued to rain all during class. Then, just as class was over, the rain subsided to a sprinkle. I barely felt a drop as I scooted home. The rain picked up again right after I parked the scooter in the garage. Michael just shook his head at my luck. I just grinned and said "I'm a ninja!" That, and I just have good timing. I am thankful for that brief pause of the rain so that I could scooter home without getting soaked. 

I am also really thankful for this rain, even though it has caused serious flash flooding in the KCMO area. It has been so hot here. Hot enough for me to notice that it is HOT. Usually I roll my eyes the people complaining about 95 degree temps, but this summer we have seen our fair share of a hundred degrees. Throw in high humidity and you would think we had moved to Costa Rica. Terry gave me some of his banana plants from his back yard. When I finally got around to planting them, they looked pretty dead. Now they're thriving. The banana plants are loving this weather. The rain that came through last night though, cooled every thing down to a balmy 85 degrees. I am thankful for the break in the heat.

What else? 

I am thankful for fans. The wind blowing kind. I am thankful for routines. I am thankful for my yoga mat and the time spent on it this week. I am thankful for pizza topped with arugula. I am thankful for you. Happy weekend to all. 

'CAUSE SOMETIMES WE'RE TEENAGERS

Michael and I are incompatible sleepers. I think I've mentioned this before. Chris and I were the same way, though I was less afraid of sleeping next to Chris. Michael has long arms that flail. Any way, one of the many secrets to a successful relationship is separate bedrooms. People are rude and cranky when they don't get a good night's sleep. They also tend to direct that rudeness and crankiness towards the person who caused them to not get a good night's sleep. Michael and I have our own bedrooms. Michael's room has a window a/c unit. Mine does not. During the Fall and Winter, we have sex in my room. During the summer we have sex in his room. This system works well for us. 

The thing that throws a wrench in all of this is the size of our house. We are a two bedroom house in desperate need of a third bedroom. The Cabbage and Michael have been sharing his room, which is fine for now, but the Cabbage is quickly approaching seven. She needs her own space. Yet, despite this, we hem and ha between moving and just making this house work for us. That's because normally the Cabbage is only with us every other weekend. During the summers we have her Monday through Friday every week. This, of course, is usually the time when we start talking about adding on to the house or moving to something bigger. Talaura said to me once that midwesterners are spoiled on space. I couldn't agree more. It is one of the reasons for the hemming and hawing.

This summer Michael cleaned up the basement and basically recreated our living room in the basement with our old couch. He's arranged all of our not-sure-what-do-with left over furniture into a sort of comfortable den. He's got the old TV hooked up to our old Roku and he's placed the a rug down on the floor. There's a side table and a lamp and he's stuffed pillows into a ductless vent that just happens to be right next to my bed to reduce noise. Before, I could hear everything in the basement. (One time I woke up because I could hear a rabbit being tortured by the cat and I swore it was happening in the living room because the sounds were so loud. It was all happening in the cat's dungeon.The cat is a jerk.) Michael's made it really quite comfortable down there and because it is a basement, the temperatures are relatively ambient year round. This is kind of important because a.) Michael is always hot and b.) that part up there about our seasonal sex habits and how there is currently a six year old residing in the bedroom with an a/c unit. 

So the other day, I asked Michael if he thought the basement was cool enough. He looked at me and asked "Cool enough for what?" He can a be bit slow on the uptake sometimes and when he saw the look I'd given he said "Oh!...OOOhhh! I don't know, but we should find out." We told the Cabbage that we were looking for 'important documents' in the basement and then hurried down the stairs while tugging off clothing and giggling like teenagers. Then we soon found out that though we were acting like teenagers, our bodies are not as nimble as a teenager's. There was a lot of "how about.." "yeah, what about..." "wait...no that's not going to.." "maybe if you move..." "CRAMP!" Also, the basement is still kind of a dirty basement. At one point, I touched the wall with my fingertips and then immediately regretted it. So then all I was thinking about was my contaminated fingers. When we were not trying to figure out the logistics of what we were doing, we would have sudden pauses where we would whisper "wait! did you hear that?" and "is that the dog or the kid?" Then we would be very still while we listened for pounding foot steps indicating a child headed in our direction. Turns out the thrill of getting caught does not just apply to being caught by your parents in the basement.

We emerged some time later after finding those 'important documents', Michael with a twinge in his back and me with a sore shoulder. Michael is more determined then ever now to really make that basement work for us and has started talking about futons and some sort of curtain/wall system. Just as long as his vision doesn't include velvet paintings and lava lamps, I'm game. 

IN ANTICIPATION TO PAIN

Ten. Twenty. Fifty. The number of times I catch myself holding my breath in one day. Forgetting to breath or just not able to remember the last breath. I don't know which. I notice it happening when I'm driving. I notice that I do it while setting up a photo. I even notice it while sitting doing nothing at my desk. It is like I am bracing myself for some sharp pain. Like that moment at the doctor's office when you know that you are about to be poked with a needle. You know it's coming. You know it's not life threatening, but you brace for the sting of it. Bracing for impact. That is what this feels like. I am bracing for the inevitable impact. Of what, I don't know. But my body is tensed and ready for it. 

While I am bracing for whatever sharp pain to come, I've been picking at old wounds and letting my thoughts fester in my brain. Every thing makes my eyes prickle with tears. I saw a couple I know at work interacting with each other the way Chris and I used to and the memory of similar moments pierced my heart. I had to go wait out the pain of it in the stairwell. People in the office started a discussion about that baby with the genetic disease that keeps him from breathing on his own or even moving and I have to throw on my headphones and ignore it. I can see it from both sides. I've been on both sides. No one knows more than I do about that desperate feeling of grasping for any hope for some magical cure for a loved one. But I've also been ready to give up all the pain meds to ease suffering. I did not feel like throwing my two cents into this conversation. 

But it is more than just the Chris part of things. That's always there. Dad has been gone for three years now. I only realized it after Facebook asked if I wanted to share a memory of the camping trip we were on when Dad died. I was camping when Dad died, not in the nursing home three hundred miles away, with him. Sure, I'd already said my goodbyes and written my Dad off. He hadn't been my Dad in months. I played it off as if I was honoring Dad more by participating in an activity that he always loved. It was a selfish move. I was there when they pulled the plug on Chris's Dad. I was there during Chris's final moments. I didn't want to watch another person die. There was nothing peaceful or spiritual about watching the life leave a person's body. At least not for me. So I disappeared into the woods and roasted marshmallows on a campfire. 

Why the Hell was Dad in a nursing home so far away from any of us?!? I know the reasons why he was where he was and I understand that things moved too quickly to be choosey about distance. It doesn't make me fell less angry about it all or place blame. I feel the words 'never' and 'forgive' swirling around inside me. Not that there is anyone to blame for Dad's illness. No one poisoned him with Alzheimer's. I do blame myself for not being more involved or pushing for better information. I blame myself for trusting some of the information that came to me. All that doubt and anger causes me to roll my eyes at declarations from some that I can't image in a million years are authentic declarations. I have confrontations in my head, the words never passing my lips because it wouldn't make a difference. Nothing would change. I can't expect others to behave as I would or how I expect them to behave. I can only change how I chose to react to them. 

Maybe holding my breath is the best reaction right now. 

OKLAHOMA IN KANSAS CITY

Misti sent me a message last week that a band they know was going to be playing in KCMO on Friday and that we should go see them. I had heard Misti talk about the band before, but I didn't really know their music. My first thought was to blow it off. Lately, as in the past year or so, I finish a week exhausted. Really, by Thursday I am already thinking about naps and wondering why moving my body is so difficult. When Friday rolls around, I just want to go home and not move from the couch. So the idea of going to a concert on a Friday or doing anything on a Friday sounds totally unappealing. It is also really really hot here. We've been seeing a hundred degree temps with 60% humidity. It's like walking around in a steam bath. I love it but I don't want to move around in it. I just want to sit naked, but wrapped in a towel, with a drink in my hand. No sudden movements.

So I totally surprised myself when I suggested to Michael that he meet me at work on Friday so we could scooter over to the Brick for dinner and a concert. It helped that this band, Annie Oakley, was playing an early show and that the Brick has vegetarian chili dogs. With Fritos on it. And tater-tots. Any way, the food was good and music was nice, which made it all worth tolerating the heat. Annie Oakley are so young, but they have a beautiful sweet and mature sound. Their mom is their manager. I introduced myself to her while the girls were setting up and talked about how small the world really is and how we knew Misti. After the show, Michael and I bought a couple of stickers from them to put on out scooters.  Michael and I rarely have an opportunity to have dinner and see a show. I have gotten choosey about going to concerts partly because of the price of tickets these days, but also because I know I would be going alone. Michael and I don't really listen to the same kinds of music. He's never even heard of most of the bands I listen to. We both can agree on alternative folk (sort of). 

I had forgotten how enjoyable it is to listen to a band in a small intimate setting. It was nice to go to a local bar and hear some sounds from my Oklahoma home.

THANKFUL FRIDAY

Someone asked me recently how long I have been practicing yoga. I had to stop and do some math. I went to my first yoga class when I was in graduate school, near the end of 1998. We had purchased a gym membership and the yoga class was one of the class offerings, along with kickboxing. I started going to the kickboxing classes first and then decided to give the yoga class a try. And I hated it. That first class was ridiculous. I didn't know anything about form or proper alignment. I didn't know any of the poses. I didn't feel like I had the strength or flexibility to do more than half of the poses. I thought was going to hyperventilate from trying to breath in unison with the teacher. There was no sitting in lotus. It was a full on vinyasa flow class. I hated every minute of it. 

That first class made me feel inadequate in so many ways. Mostly I was disappointed because I had assumed that yoga was something that I would have really liked. I have never been the sporty type. You might remember the times I attempted softball and both years ended up with a giant fat lip from getting hit in the face with a softball? I was really good at pulling flags off of belts in flag football, but I think that was just a fluke. I did like kickboxing. There was something very thrilling about kicking that bag hard enough to move it across the floor. Kickboxing made me more aggressive and when that class got a new teacher, it shifted from form and technique to preppy jazzercise while kicking a bag. I wasn't into it any more. That's usually what happens with me and exercise fads. But YOGA?! Yoga should have had my name written all over it. So.. I went back and I continued to go back to this class. I didn't love it, but I started to get it. Of course, knowing what I know now, I would have never started out in an all-levels-gym yoga class. I will tell any one who wants to start doing yoga to start in a beginning basics class. A beginning basic yoga class teaches you how to build a strong foundation for the yoga poses and how to move between poses with ease and mindfulness. You learn the easy way how to do chaturanga. 

My yoga practice today is soooo different from those early days of yoga. Almost twenty years of continuously getting on my mat almost daily and I still struggle with arm balances. I use a wall as a prop in headstand and my feet don't come up over my head in full salabhasana. There are poses that I struggle with often, but I have found joy and beauty in my practice. I love my yoga practice. This is something I can truly be thankful for. I am grateful for this body that has allowed me to continue my yoga practice. I have considered celebrating my twenty year yogaversary next year. Maybe I'll replace my yoga mat that now has well worn grooves from my hands and feet pressing into it daily. I'd really like to go on a yoga retreat. Talaura suggested Thailand. I could do a yoga retreat in Thailand. I've always wanted to do a surfing/ yoga retreat. Maybe that's what I'll do. I would need to start saving my pennies now though. Any way, celebrating twenty years of a yoga practice just seems like a really nice idea. 

I am thankful for a bountiful harvest of purple-hulled peas from our garden. I am thankful for the sudden rain shower that cooled things off for about ten minutes. I am thankful for a clean puppy dog. I am thankful for the bowl full of eggs sitting next to our kitchen sink. I am thankful for you.

GRIT

I have moved just far enough North for the people in this area to refer to me as 'the southern girl'. They look to me to explain grits and butter beans (two things that don't come easy up here). We stopped at a restaurant near Lincoln's birth place where I ate a plate of sides, two of those being butter beans. It was heaven. I've been to a couple of places here that make an attempt at making grits. One place served up a bowl a grits with a slice of American cheese slapped on top. They called them cheesy grits. Sweet tea is something I am also expected to know a lot about, even though I was weened off of the tooth rotting sugar tea in my teenage years. 

The thing is, I've never considered myself to be southern. Yes, I was raised by parents who are southern. They were both born and raised in the middle of Mississippi as were both of their parents and those before them. Honestly, I don't know how far back the Graham and McCool line goes in that area. I could very possibly be unfortunately eligible to be a Daughter of the Confederacy for all I know. I would be very interested to know if we are any relation to the Reverend Sylvester Graham, the inventor of the Graham Cracker. Dad used to hold up a Graham cracker and ask "What is this?" and then after you said "it's a Graham Cracker!", he'd say "No! It's MY cracker!" Then Dad would laugh and laugh like he'd just told the funniest joke. He was the King of Dad Jokes. I was raised by people who were very southern, ate molasses on their biscuits and hamhock in their collard greens. 

This only makes me southern by proxy. I've never considered Oklahoma to be part of The South and I think this is a universal way of thinking across the whole state. Oklahoma is The West. The Frontier. The land of Indians and Cowboys. We are a hardy bunch, built to withstand tornadoes and dust bowls. Yet we can stop and ponder at a hawk making lazy circles in the sky (wink wink). Every single one of us who were raised in Oklahoma have at one time re-enacted the Land Run and performed the musical, Oklahoma. Friday nights are for high school football and Saturday nights are for rodeos. We've eaten loads of Indian tacos and Frito Chili Pie. Ice cream comes from Braums (though I think they're being boycotted right now for wanting to tear down the HiLo, which they should not be tearing down). Most importantly, we know that the best, most sweetest watermelons come from southern Oklahoma. 

I say this because I just ate the blandest watermelon, the third one I've purchased this year. Someone please mail me an Oklahoma watermelon. 

RUGS

The living room rug was the same rug that sat under the dining room table in my childhood home. It is a large braided rug of different shades of blue. Maybe there is a glint of yellow here and there. That rug has to be at least the same age as I am. I don't remember a time when it was not in that house. The braided mix of blues are twisted into my memories just as tightly as it is woven. I think there was a time that this rug was in the den or maybe the living room. It moved around the house depending on my mother's moods. Mostly though, I remember it under the dining room table, the place my family would gather around every Sunday until one by one, us kids flew the nest. The dining room table remained the central gathering place for holiday meals and birthday celebrations and just regular visits, but the frequency of gatherings changed as our family shifted like tectonic plates, forming continents of our own.

I don't know the circumstances of how that rug came to be free right around the time Chris and I moved to KCMO. Mom had put a new rug in the dining room ages ago, but still held on to the blue braided rug, moving it around rooms. Any way, we moved with hardly any real furniture and needed a rug. Mom gave us the rug. Just another piece of hand-me-down home furnishing. I am the Peter Pan of home furnishings. I didn't buy my first couch until my late thirties and even then it was more of a love seat than a couch. Up until then, couches and bed frames and even some chairs where all pieces that friends or family had grown tired of and replaced with something new. Between hand-me-downs and thrift store finds, our house was a miss matched quilt of mid century modern, industrial and 80s style. This Peter Pan has started to grow up and buy her own furniture. Sure a lot of it has come from IKEA, but at least I have put more thought and care into the pieces Michael and I have purchased. Now our style is more mid century IKEA. I still have the metal office credenza that we use for a TV stand partly because I still really like the hidden storage and partly because it is the heaviest piece of furniture on the planet. I was barely able to move it far enough from the wall to paint and even then, I moved it just enough to fit myself and a paint roller. If we one day turn this house into a rental, that credenza will be part of the deal. It stays with the house. 

Our house is morphing and changing. Michael has cleaned out and set up a space for himself in the basement. The Cabbage has six cubes of toys in the bookcase now. Her clothes have taken up one of the large drawers under my bed. That draw needs to be lifted slightly when pulled out so as not to catch on the rug. Catching on the rug causes the screws in the front of the drawer to come loose and eventually the drawer falls apart when being pulled open. I got fed up with putting the drawer back together once a month and took all of her clothes out of that drawer. I gave her two drawers in my dresser. I've spent the last two weeks constantly opening up the wrong drawers in search of my own underwear. I decided that it was time that the Cabbage had her own small dresser, so Michael and I made a trip out to IKEA to see what our options were. We picked out a dresser and then headed down to the first level where I got distracted by the rugs. It was decided that after we had touched every single rug in the department, that we would move the yuck brown rug from the dining area to Michael's new set up in the basement and the living room rug to the dining area. Then we would put a new rug in the living room. 

We rolled out the new rug yesterday. We placed old dumbbell weights on one edge to flatten the end that wanted to remain curled from being rolled into a tube for so long. The weights are lined up along the edge like a fence. Michael and I stood on the hardwood looking down at the new rug. Josephine laid down just on the other side of our 'fence'. We joked about how long it would take her to get out. It is different. I am still getting used to the idea of it in that space with the old rug moved to the living room. I walk across the new rug with my bare feet and notice how different it feels compared to the old rug. The old rug has been worn smooth. You cannot feel the braids in the rug. The new rug has texture to it. You can feel the individual cords that make up the pile of it. It feels nice under my feet.

My house has become our house. It is more layered and textured. A mix of controlled cluttered chaos. A mix of us. 

THANKFUL FRIDAY

My friend, Heather from Oklahoma, was passing through my area one evening this week and we were able to meet for dinner. It was really good to see her face and get caught up on her life. She and her husband Scott had just had their first child right before Chris and I moved. One of the last things we did before leaving OKC was to go over to their house and smell their baby's head and give her an Ugly Doll. I can't believe that child is six years old now. Any way, we had a nice evening catching up and telling stories. All is well in their home and their life is full. Some where along the line the topic of Chris's ashes came up. Heather said that she had been meaning to ask me about them and how I had to be starting to run out of ashes. I told her about seeing an end to it all. 

The first time I opened Chris's coffee can to take out ashes, I thought that I would never reach a point where I would run out. It seemed as though I never made a dent in the amount of Chris's ashes left in that can. It was like a bottomless can of ashes. When I opened it to fill up a container for our last trip, the Abe Lincoln Tour, I felt the spoon hit the bottom of the coffee can. It sort of jarred me. I paused in my task because it suddenly felt like this thing that I do with Chris's ashes was really something finite. There is going to be a day when I run out of ashes and I have mixed feelings about this. I am thankful, though, for the knowledge that one day I will not be posting about the places where I have left Chris. I am thankful that it is just a chapter in my life and that one day I will go on vacation without researching interesting places to leave his ashes. I just keep thinking about that moment in Up when Carl realizes that Ellie's memory book doesn't end with her dream of seeing Paradise Falls. It is a bitter sweet kind of gratitude. Relief to have completed this drawn out memorial and a sadness over to be finally done with it all.

I do still have doubts about my decision for what I do with Chris's ashes. I can imagine running into him in the afterlife and him saying "What the fuck? You've scattered me all over the damn place. This is what you decided to do with me?!?" I easily shrug those doubts aside because he never gave me any kind of answer for what he wanted. Also, there is a lot of humor involved in leaving Chris's ashes in different places. I know he would find the whole thing hilarious. I'm thinking I need to plan something big for that last bit of ashes. Thailand or outer space or maybe that's the Appalachian trail trip. I don't know. I am thankful that I don't look back and think about the things we didn't get a chance to do together, but all of the things we did get to do. These new adventures for me are honoring Chris and his views on life. I am thankful for Michael who has and is 100% on board with all of this. In fact, he encourages me to bring extra ashes with us on trips in case there turns out to be more than one ideal spot for Chris. I am thankful he understands.

I am so, so grateful to have been able to spend time with Heather this week and meeting some her friends. I am thankful for the rain that has broken our heat wave. I am thankful for the purple hulled peas that are ready for harvesting in our garden. I am thankful for my yoga mat. I am thankful for you.

Here's to a lovely weekend and a super Thankful Friday. 

RISING SEA LEVELS

Some times I lie in bed wondering if I paid the bills and how much money we might have in our checking account. These thoughts are followed with worries about my credit card debt and a silent vow to stop using my credit cards. Then I start thinking about different projects at work and the contaminant that keeps showing up in my nanobody staining experiments. The nanobody thing is taking up a large amount of brain space right now. (Last night I dreamed that I was presenting a poster on that project and there was no bathroom handy. So I peed under the poster.) I worry about those people who are less fortunate than I am and who are going to lose their health insurance. Then I wonder if those people even realize that they voted to lose their health insurance. My concern then turns to that young man at a rural middle school who's education is going to be wrecked because school vouchers will pull funding from his school. I worry about how to communicate with people who voted for this current president. 

I worry.

My biggest worry, the thing that really makes me feel the need to breath into a paper bag, is climate change. My reality is that I am always going to be concerned about my finances. So that worry is never going away, but I have a good job with really really good health care. I am not in danger of losing my health care.  Yes, all of the coming changes sucks for the younger generation. All I can say is that I voted in your favor. Sorry. Not all Americans see each other as equals and there's a religious faction that truly believes this country lawfully should be praying to their god and playing by their rules. Actually, this current administration has made it very easy for me to be a selfish human being because I am not going to be hit too hard by the cruel policies that they are in the process of passing. But Climate Change? I can't be selfish about that. 

We are losing Antarctica piece by piece. The latest bit to fall off was the size of Delaware. Scientists can't say for sure how this new iceberg will effect already rising sea levels, but they can say that it has caused serious damage to the ice shelf that is holding back land ice. The more land ice that falls into the ocean, the higher the sea levels. Those of us living in the middle of this country, even rural areas, may not fully grasp the detrimental effects of climate change and rising sea levels. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina displaced 400,000 people. This article has some really good visuals on where all of those people ended up. Those 400,000 people were one city and many of those people were able to eventually go back to their home. Now imagine if that number was 13 million. That is the number of people who stand to be displaced by rising sea levels. 13 MILLION. These people will be permanently displaced, meaning that they will not be able go home. Ever. Think about how this changes your landscape. More people in your rural town means more housing, less space. This will mean more kids crammed into already over crowded schools. Then we have to consider what this kind of displacement means for employment. These people are going to need jobs. Are you willing to give them your job? We have a lot of empty land that we use for growing crops. Will we still have the luxury of keeping that land free for farming?  

I have read my scripture. I do remember something about God telling Adam to be a good steward, to take care of the land and it's animals. I can't help but think that if God really does exist, he's got to be pretty disappointed in the human race (for more than just how we treat the environment). I do what I can. I recycle and pick up trash. I try to buy local and or sustainable foods. When I ride my bicycle, I am riding not so much for fitness but because it is better for our air. I can request that the energy that turns the lights on in my home does not come from burning coal, but comes from renewable sources. My efforts are a drop in the bucket. This is why I vote in favor of environmental protections and regulations that not only protect the environment but the people living in that environment.

Isn't taking care of this planet the 'Christian' thing to do?