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Showing posts with the label relationships

TBT: How It Started vs. How It's Going... 2010s Resolutions

In hindsight, the year 2020 feels like a weird false start to me. The year that marks the beginning of a new decade isn't supposed to be so... end-timey. I've settled down into that long wait for this decade to truly begin, I hope after the pandemic fades out over the course of 2021. Forget about dramatic resolutions, I just want to make tentative plans again! One of the gifts of 2020 has been a gigantic time-out, a chance to reset priorities, and a lot of time to reflect upon the way things used to be in the Before Times and how much of that we'd like to leave in the Before Times. I like the idea of picking out only the best lessons and traveling light into a very new New Year--bringing forward more wisdom and skill, less stuff and baggage. Today's post is a look back at my weighty 2010 New Year's Resolutions (below, in text that is not italicized) with notes on how those went and how those lessons learned have affected my visions for the 2020s (in italics).   It&#

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

TBT: Men Belong in the Kitchen

Before my daughter came along, my husband and I had a variety of roommates, including a cook who taught my husband the seductive culinary arts! I wrote the post below in the 2000s, when I was gardening, working two jobs, and participating in National Novel Writing Month.  Today, my family still benefits from my husband's crash course in kitchen witchery. On his last day off, he made pizza dough and pie crust dough from scratch while our daughter remote-schooled and I remote-worked. When we ladies of the house finished our work, we joined him in the kitchen and put together some delicious calzones for dinner and an apple pie for dessert. It makes me feel so warm and content to cook with my loves, and to be honest, it makes me feel more attracted to my husband too! It's only human nature. If I may boast a little more, my husband also does almost all of the grocery shopping since the start of the pandemic. And he's great at it. Not every wife can feel such affection toward her

TBT: Full House

Remember when co-housing, roommates, and multi-generational family homes were good ideas? Those living arrangements still have their advantages, but during a pandemic, it is much safer for individuals, romantic partners, and caregiver/dependent units to have their own spaces, amenities, and entrances. I miss the days when that wasn't so. I hope that one day soon, this pandemic will end, and the Great Recession-era post below will once again be relevant... at least for some people, at some times in their lives. I'm sure it is still relevant on well-governed, geographically isolated island nations such as New Zealand and Iceland. Oh, to be in one of those nations at this time! I sure do miss hanging out with my friends and having overnight guests, but in this very particular moment, I am grateful to live in a single-family home with only my husband and daughter and to enjoy the ability to stay put in it most of the time. I sure did not see an out-of-control pandemic coming

TBT: Ditch the BMI and Find Your Hot Spot

This post features Miss Platnum's 2007 hit "Give Me the Food," a delightful anthem for this pandemic time. In all seriousness, food insecurity is a big thing right now, so consider checking up on your friends and neighbors with children or those who may be struggling to stay nourished. Mobile food pantries are popping up around towns to serve those in need, but many families are afraid to go out, deterred or excluded by the need to drive a personal car and wait in a long line, or ashamed of seeking help in the midst of so much need. But there's no shame, ever, in keeping yourself and your family well nourished. It's one of the best ways to express love, for self and others, during this time. My family is eligible to get into one of those lines and pick up weekly trunkloads of food from our school district, but we have not participated yet. We are grateful to have maintained stable income so far. (My husband's hours are reduced, but we are receiving unemplo

TBT: There's No Accounting for Grief

The world is in mourning, for those we have lost and those we might lose. Anticipatory grief has already seeped under the skin of many who have not yet lost a dear one to this pandemic. Because we  will. We all will. We are losing our grandparents, our parents, our lovers, our friends. We are losing our leaders, our inspirations, our muses. We are losing our heroes and our shining lights . And to add shame to trauma, we are not spared from grieving for the least among us, those who never deserved our love in the first place. There is no accounting for grief. Grief is not a choice, moral or otherwise. It is a specter that comes for you, sticky as a shadow, and stays as long as it will. It is not fair or rational or sensible. It cannot be made to follow orderly stages. It is a wild thing, terrible and beautiful. We grieve for those we have no right to mourn, for those we've never even met, for bad men and disappointing women, for stage personas, for fictional characters. We g

TBT: The Freedom in Tribal Connection

Way back in the day, I dropped out of grad school. I was doing well academically but not, let's say, spiritually. I asked several people in my chosen field what we could do about catastrophic injustices in the systems we were becoming experts in, and I received the same answer several times: "Uh, you could call your senator." I was smart enough to know I didn't need a master's degree to do that, so I quit school and began my career working for social justice-seeking nonprofits. For six years, I worked for a statewide activist organization that sent me on some long trips to reach out and connect with people across county and state borders to work toward common goals. One summer, my boss and I took a road trip from the "palm" area of Michigan's lower "mitten" all the way up to the tippy-top of the beautiful Keweenaw Peninsula. We went into mostly rural areas and met with local church leaders and people of faith in humanity, and we gathered

TBT: Staycations from Sea to Shining Sea

During the Great Recession, I wrote about the joys of taking staycations or finding cheaper ways of taking vacations out of town. During this pandemic and economic shutdown, it's time to take it a step even further and think of fun ways to take a vacation from the news and the grocery store hoardapalooza--without actually leaving home. Here are a few soul-soothing ideas for those with planned vacation time this spring and nowhere to go. Below that, enjoy my old Staycations post with ideas for affordable fun when we are finally able to play together in person again. 1. Have a luau or beach party. At home. Indoors. In any season, including (and especially) winter. We've been to a December luau in a trailer park (wearing our bikinis or other beachwear over warm winter clothes) and to a family beach party in the winter at a church. You'll need a great imagination and some crafts or toys, like mermaid tails and fishing games and tactile sand and beachy tunes and lounge chairs