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Showing posts with the label drag

TBT: Song of the Apartment

Leading up to the Great Recession, from 2006 - 2008, my husband and I lived in a cheap downtown Lansing apartment. While we don't miss the apartment itself, we do have some fond memories of our time there. Yet looking back from where I sit now (a cheap house in an affordable, diverse, beautiful, and comfortable suburb), I realize that living in a low-income apartment can be a much more healthy, safe, and dignified experience in a community that cares more about its poorest residents. By "cares" I'm not talking about feelings so much as actions and physical realities. I mean municipal-level design, planning, and implementation of social services that raise the tide and lift all the boats. In a more humanely run community, people of humble means don't have to choose between laughing or crying at all the drama in their own lives and their neighbors' lives created by untreated mental health and substance abuse struggles and lack of access to basic needs. There is

$Monday: Can You Breathe?

You can't earn or save money if you can't even breathe. One reason why "it's expensive to be poor" is that people who live in lower-income neighborhoods don't get enough clean air to breathe . I've demonstrated that " You can't afford a poor diet ," and it's even more obvious that you can't give up oxygen to save money. Poor air quality destroys productivity , and the terrible costs of air pollution are mainly borne by the individuals who suffer health conditions, disability, cognitive impairment , and premature death due to their lack of access to clean air. Before the pandemic, air pollution caused mostly by fossil fuel burning was killing about 200,000 Americans a year , and now it is accelerating American Covid deaths by over 15% . Meanwhile, cries of "I can't breathe" draw our attention to escalating police brutality and our federal government militarizing Brownshirt-resembling forces against its own citizens who a

TBT: Get a Second Opinion

Ouch! The story in the throwback post below was a painful lesson for me to learn as a young woman. I'm better off now, with a family practice I trust and more experience in effective self-care . The problems with our national health care situation have... let's say, not resolved since I wrote this, so it's still on us citizens to keep on advocating for federal change and also for ourselves as patients at the same time. Godspeed, fellow humans. Take care.   Get a Second Opinion Poor and fabulous friends, take care of yourselves! You can't completely trust our corrupt health care and insurance systems to do it. Health care providers are human beings just like everyone else. Most of them are people who entered the field of health care because they wanted to take care of others. Most of them, I'm sure, are good people. But even good people are... well, people. People who can be influenced by profit margins and unconscious prejudices that could be harmful to u

$Monday: Foods for Beauty

For skin-deep beauty, the foods we stuff in our faces are more important than the products we slap on our faces. I started college as a bony, anemic teenager with flaky skin, brittle nails, frizzy hair, and terrible acne. After a couple months of near-constant access to an all-you-can-eat cafeteria serving a wide variety of foods, I became the proud owner of breasts and a nice booty, smoother skin, strong and shiny nails, and thick hair that felt good to brush. I also noticed that I didn't get bad breath as often, and I had more energy, a sharper mind, and better moods. All of these effects not only made me feel better inside but made me undeniably more attractive on the outside. In hot weather, I still have a problem with lower appetite, and I constantly struggle with anemia, but my teen years were the worst. My adulthood has never been as busy and demanding as high school except when my daughter was a baby. In high school, my schedule was so busy that I did not have adequate ti

TBT: Fabulous Fake Beauty

When I was a teenager and a young adult, everything we now understand as "drag" thanks to RuPaul--outfits, makeup, hairstyles, accessories, ways of holding ourselves and moving and speaking and any other ways in which we intentionally manage or change our physical presentation to others--was condemned as FAKE. It meant you were a poser, a liar, an object, or an inhuman lump of plastic. In one of my college classes, a douchebro declared that guys lying to girls to get them into bed was equivalent to girls wearing makeup. Both practices were equally sinister, dishonest, and manipulative. The cool girls, with their peeling burn/tans and caked-on hangover concealer, nodded and made serious facial expressions to acknowledge the deepness of this thoughtful thought. Oh, how times have changed. "We're all born naked and the rest is drag." -RuPaul Andre Charles Now all of us who aren't conspiracy zombies or flaming turdbags are wearing literal masks when we go

$Monday: Corona Summer Self-Care

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 st

TBT: The Best Free Medicine (Hint: Not Hydroxyclean)

It's not Hydroxyclean. Or any kind of disinfectant. Or hydroxychloroquine. It's not anything hocked by our joke of a president. But it is jokes about that and anything else that makes you laugh instead of rage. Humor has become more important than ever to my family's mental and emotional health during this global crisis. My tastes may have matured (or... something) since my days of watching Sacha Baron Cohen movies--now I prefer watching YouTube shows Trixie and Katya Save the World (WOWPresents) and I Like to Watch (Netflix) and following @knee_deep_in_life on Instagram. My husband and I laugh so hard we cry over a well-timed fart joke. Our nine-year-old daughter is a bit more sophisticated, but she shares the dark side of our sense of humor; we all adore Christina Ricci's iconic portrayal of Wednesday Addams. The news is, as usual, full of horror that isn't funny. Right now, the two main themes seem to be pandemic tragedy and racist violence. My husband and

TBT: Fine Art and Free Drinks

This post makes me nostalgic for the Before Times. I think we can all agree, at this point, that there are no good virtual substitutes for going to a show or drinking with friends. Virtual museum tours and Zoom happy hours are the instant Nescafé of fun. It's still enjoyable to listen to recorded music, watch movies, and read books at home, but there are some activities that I'll wait to resume when it's worth it--when humans and artworks can mingle in meatspace again. Way, way back in the day, not just before the pandemic but even more so before parenthood, my husband and I reveled in real-life experiences of art. We went to gallery openings and closings to encounter sculptures and paintings the good old-fashioned way. We interacted with art, walked around it, caught it from different angles, smelled it, touched it when appropriate, heard the way our footsteps echoed in the space, chatted with others about it face-to-face, and stood in awe of the mind-blowing difference

$Monday: Work Out(side)!

I love finding ways to get richer and healthier while saving time, and doing manual labor outside is one of those ways to kill lots of birds with one stone (figuratively! We love the birdies). I've never had a gym membership or an indoor exercise machine, but I've always had a push-reel lawnmower! I figure, why not get a serious, sweaty, HIIT-style workout while getting my daily doses of fresh air and sunshine and saving money on gasoline and/or lawn care services? Ha! Like I'd pay for lawn care services. We're not fancy lawn people, as you can probably gather from my photos. My other "backyard," though... I try to keep it strong. Hauling firewood up a hill is excellent strength training. My husband and I used part of our pandemic stimulus to invest in an electric log splitter. Now we can finally clear up some of the wood that's been piling up since the Epic Ice Storm of 2013, when many big trees around our property were damaged or felled o

$Monday: Minimize Necessities, Maximize Luxuries

Minimize waste, maximize taste. Cancel your bills, indulge in your thrills. Lower your maintenance but raise your standards. Live a little like Grandpa John. During this global crisis, when danger comes not just from the virus itself but from the boredom of the bourgeois who are already threatening to riot over their right to golf and jet-ski ( organized by far-right domestic terrorists who are trying to use this crisis to scapegoat Asians, Black communities, and women to build support for the Trump 2020 campaign ), I think of my late father-in-law, a.k.a. Grandpa John, and I wonder which of his witty, choice words he would use to comment upon all of this. Grandpa John survived plague, famine, exile, the Holocaust, child slavery, poverty and its related violence in Hamtramck, domestic violence, street violence (more than a dozen stab wounds with a rusty steak knife, for example), several strokes, and a car accident resulting in a traumatic brain injury that left him sometimes unable

TBT: The Home Atelier

You may have heard about intrepid patriots and loving volunteers sewing face masks and donating them to hospitals during this time of shortage. This is a lovely phenomenon, although homemade masks do not provide the same level of protection as N95 respirators and other gear that some doomsday hoarder jerks have taken out of circulation, surely causing the deaths of untold numbers of medical professionals. (If this is you, my impulse is to tell you to burn in hell. But that wouldn't help either; instead, there is still time to repent and donate your hoard of N95 masks to your nearest hospital and then sit in your room for at least three weeks sewing your own cloth masks for yourself, in your own favorite colors and patterns.) Long, long ago, when I wrote about sewing at home, I planned to get a nice sewing machine and learn how to use it. And I did acquire a nice sewing machine, and my friend Lisa did give me lessons on how to use it. My first garment was a maternity dress. And t