Posts

$Monday: Corona Summer Self-Care

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Nobody wants to hang out in a waiting room at the height of this pandemic summer. One of my friends just dodged an outbreak by procrastinating on having her cat's claws trimmed. Now everyone who's been to that vet during the past few days is supposed to do the two-week quarantine routine. Now on top of copays and the usual discomforts of obtaining care for our furry friends and our human selves, there's the risk of catching the cooties. Definitely go and get any treatments that you need, but it's great to not need as many office visits. I'm doing what I can do at home to take care of my own health and have all of my stupid, silly summer fun in relatively safe ways--like having a redneck pool party in the lawn with my daughter and husband.

Here are some other ways I'm staying healthy, safe, and sane while maintaining social distancing and a spark of faith that my kid might somehow be able to go back to school next month:
keeping active with silly stunts like abo…

A 4th of July Playlist for Sh*tposting Haters Like Me

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If you can't beat 'em, join 'em! This year, there is no hope of avoiding loud redneckery, gauche displays of nationalist pride, or even the rising trend of born-again Nazi exhibitionism that are all so hot in the hot, hot summer of 2020. And yet, I've got all these fun childhood memories of the 4th of July, and I have a kid who's excited about fireworks. There's a pandemic, in case anyone forgot, so we won't be able to walk down to the park and join a crowd of spectators for the usual professional fireworks display, so this year we bought some stupid recreational explosives to set off in our own yard.

We plan to pump up the jams, grill some greasy meats, open a bag of chips, park our rusty red pickup truck in the front yard and turn the bed into a redneck swimming pool, then light fireworks out of it until our retinas are seared and our eardrums burst.

Below is my intended playlist of epic metal anthems about America--except the last one, which is an epic m…

TBT: Medical Marijuana

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Raise your hand if CBD oil is saving your life in 2020! Yeah, me too. I am using a small dose of a product by CBDistillery for a few days each month, starting just before my period. That's when I tend to have my worst anxiety episodes, typically occurring in the evening, resulting in acute cramps, nausea, flare-ups of fear that I am seriously ill, uncontrollable shaking, and hours of insomnia. I don't think these episodes are quite the same as panic attacks, though I have had those as well, about a half dozen times since my teens (at random times, not according to a hormone-related pattern).

I started taking CBD oil earlier this spring, and since then I have had only one evening anxiety episode, which lasted only about one hour instead of the usual three or four. I have also completely, 100% avoided the symptoms of summer Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is rare but real and horrible. In past years, I have lost my appetite over the summer and become underweight and severely…

$Monday: Most Affordable Transportation

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I would love to live in a community with high-speed electric trains to cover distances too long to walk. Until we get there, I'll keep on using two of the lowest-cost vehicles to own, maintain, and operate...

1. The bicycle!



Get a proper bicycle at a proper bike shop, and it will transport you around town for many, many years. You can also quit worrying about when it will be safe to go to the gym again, and you'll turn into a total Lady Legasus if you ride often. Still, a bike is not the best vehicle in stormy weather, so we also drive...

2. The Nissan LEAF!

A cute little electric car is a lovely pod of comfort for zipping to work or to the grocery store, and it costs less to maintain and operate than any other affordable automobile. We've loved our sky blue 2011 model, and we'll be upgrading to a slightly newer one this summer (with heated seats!) to reduce range anxiety on across-town trips.

Remember, sometimes vehicles high on nostalgia and low on sticker price can…

TBT: DIY Auto Repairs

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Our philosophy has not changed much since I wrote the post below. After the car we worked on in that post finally rusted to pieces (literally, like in a cartoon or something, because Michigan), we drove a used Nissan Altima (fun but terribly expensive and difficult to repair, even with our DIY ingenuity and locating auto mechanics that we trust) and then made the awesome leap to a fully electric Nissan Leaf. It is such a relief to drive a car without an engine--no gas! no oil! no tune-ups! no Check Engine light surprises! Just the occasional windshield wipers/fluid/air filter replacement. Even the brakes are designed so well that we've never needed them serviced.

Now that the car has reached almost a decade of use, it's getting a little more costly to maintain (though still way less than any other vehicle we've ever driven). We finally had to get the factory tires replaced recently, and the computer that controls the door windows going up and down just died, so we can'…

$Monday: Farewell, Dreams of Flight

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When I was young, even after 9/11 made it a little more scary and a lot less convenient, I loved the thrill of air travel. Nothing compares to being lifted into the sky and jetted across the United States or to another country, another continent even, in just a few hours. And nothing in life can fully substitute for the mind-altering trip of immersing oneself in an unfamiliar culture for days, weeks, or months. Once I started traveling, I thought I'd never stop--I had become a traveler!--but financial constraints and parenthood put international travel goals on pause after my honeymoon. Now that the world has had to reckon with pandemic and climate change like never before, I've accepted that my dreams of continuing to explore the world as a traveler are indefinitely grounded.

For moral as well as practical reasons, my husband and I decided--even before the pandemic struck--that we would no longer make any long-distance journeys until:

1) it was for a critically important rea…

TBT: Our Policing Problems, Finally Changing in 2020

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I don't have an old post to share for today's #ThrowBackThursday because I've kept this blog focused on personal and creative topics while I've engaged with larger political and social issues through my day job for the past 14 years. But let me tell you, after a couple of decades (if I include college and later high school after I made the jump from private to public school) of actively exploring and seeking effective responses to social injustices, it's amazing to see mainstream America finally, suddenly, collectively get on board with the mission of making life better for all of us--centering, finally, those who have been most exploited by our systems of power.

As I write this, there are still folks standing confused on the sidelines. It doesn't make you a bad person to not know certain facts or understand dynamic systems like United States policing (provided you haven't avoided facing those issues on purpose), but it does make you a better person to lea…