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TBT: Elitist Salad (Be a Carer, Not a Karen)

The politics of home gardens change as abruptly as the weather in a Michigan spring, don't they? I wrote the "Elitist Salad" post below during the reign of Michelle Obama, when opponents of Democratic women went ballistic over Mrs. Obama tryin'a tell people to eat der vegibles. Remember the screaming? The First Lady was compared to Marie Antoinette, and Hitler, and Satan, and the childhood trauma of your mom making you eat broccoli. Salad greens were labeled "elitist." Setting aside the obvious fact that Michelle Obama forced no one to eat a single vegetable, I found the outrage over elitism hilarious, as the granddaughter and great-granddaughter and probably thousandth-great-granddaughter of subsistence farmers, who... let's just say, were not elites. Now that we are in America's next recession, the outrage against a Democratic woman who is trying to keep people healthy is coming from... Karens? Karens who cannot bear to live without access to gol

$Monday: Death During Pandemic

There's no way around it, only through it: Grief won't wait until the pandemic is over, but traditional funerals must. So what do we do if a loved one dies before the pandemic ends? In some ways, our options are limited right now. For some mourners, the restriction on choices will lift some of the burden of complicated decision-making that sometimes follows a death. It's also a silver lining, for economically stressed survivors, that the expenses of elaborate funerals are also on hold while they are not allowed, and no individual family member can be blamed for not putting on a big event. At the same time, being unable to gather in person to share hugs, memories, and tears and to perform the rituals that normally give us comfort is an emotional hardship for most people. Plans of all kinds are disrupted, canceled, or put on hold right now. Moving plans, career plans, vacation plans, birth plans, death plans--none are ever completely reliable, and now it is true mo

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

$Monday: Springtime for Self-Care in the Fall of Capitalism

Business as usual is canceled. The whole world is coming together to focus on one priority: flattening the curve. Most of us are coming to the realization that our one job now, while we stay at home waiting for our $1200 payments and $600-a-week unemployment bumps to roll in, is to pull up our big girl sweatpants and take good care of ourselves so our medical workers and critical service providers don't have to do unnecessary work. For most of us, our job now is not about making money or productivity but about reducing consumption and personal need. Beloveds, it's backwards day. Some people are wondering, how do we do our part when we can't go shopping for designer yoga pants to wear at the gym and get facials and magic crystals and... ? One silver lining of this crisis is that it's forcing us to take a hard look at what's truly important and true and what's capitalist phony baloney. Money and health are not always exchangeable. Self-care is not consumerism

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

$Monday: How to Get the Most Out of Your Groceries

Many of us have, by now, stocked up on enough groceries to last us two or three weeks. If you're like me, you chose to save money and maximize health by purchasing mostly whole ingredients rather than heat-and-eat processed foods. Now, to make those groceries last as long as possible, the key is to minimize waste by controlling portions and consuming things in a logical order. If you're not used to cooking and eating this way, it will take some adjustment to accept that you can't just eat whatever you feel like, whenever you feel like it. This is a great opportunity to learn old-school home economics and develop an appreciation for down-home cooking. If you commit to these habits, you will eventually get used to it and start to find real pleasure in the process, and these kitchen witchery skills will keep you healthier and wealthier long after the pandemic has ended . Yesterday, I had a hard decision to make. Our batch of Scharffen Berger chocolate chunk cookies dwin