Saturday, June 24, 2017

Anti Choice

OK I just deleted a comment from one of my social media pages.  It was against a woman's right to choose an abortion and I have no intention of giving that anti woman stance a platform on my page.  But I did have a few things to say about that.

First off I call it like it is, it is anti choice.  It is NOT pro life.  And I know you have all heard the argument that pro life would mean you would also be concerned for a being once it was born, for feeding, housing and educating that life.  But I would suggest it goes further than that, and would include health care for everyone, since everyone was born at some point.  Pro life would indicate an affinity for social programs that would lift people up, make sure everyone is properly fed, not just cheap unhealthy processed food.  It would indicate you want to support education in all forms at all ages, and a living wage for everyone.  It would also indicate that we should be looking at our elder care, retirement and nursing homes, social security and make sure beings are held with the utmost respect and care.  But that doesn't seem to be the case at all.  So I will call it anti choice.

Anti choice for women specifically.  Not anti choice for everyone, because if that were the case they would also be attacking penile implants, condoms, and erectile dysfunction medications.  So let's be clear it is against women specifically, anti birth control for WOMEN and anti abortion.

One of the greatest factors that impacts a woman's independence, social and economic standing and state of mind, is her ability to choose if/when she has children.  So controlling a woman's fundamental choice on pregnancy is, in my mind, an attempt to control women in general.  Punish them for being sexual beings or punish them for being victims.

So yes, anyone that comments "baby killer" on any of my posts about abortion, will have that comment removed.  If you don't approve, you can block my posts so you don't see them, or delete me as a friend.  It really won't hurt my feelings and actually I won't even notice unless you are one of those that feels the need to announce your exit.

If you are so "pro life" as you say, why not stop attacking and blaming, and start working in areas that really matter. Areas where we can lift women up, give women more independence, and more choices. Lets expand medicaid because nearly half of the births in the United States are covered by Medicaid. Lets make prescription and non prescription drugs more affordable, those prenatal vitamins add up.  Let's work on housing for the homeless, feeding all those I see in the soup kitchen lines.  Let's make sure people have the education they want and a living wage, so that these families can take care of these babies you preach about protecting every day.  Let's have real sex education in every school, and contraception affordable and easily attainable.  Why don't we work on making health care real, and everyone enrolled in a health care program, so that people are healthy and happy.

Instead of trying to place women in that dependent, subservient role, why not expand the options available.  Bring real meaning to that phrase "pro life".

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Recycling Plastic Bags

At a recent meeting of the Burke County Democratic Party Environmental Committee, we were discussing the recycling of plastic bags.  Just about every grocery store now has bins for taking your grocery bags to have them recycled.  Which is awesome.  I rarely use the grocery store bags, I take my own reusable bags.  But occasionally I forget or I am out and need to stop at the store and don't have a bag with me, so I do build up a little supply of the plastic and paper grocery bags.  I use them in the tiny bathroom trash cans and I had mentioned that I use them to crochet with occasionally, although that is harder than it looks.  I also used them as covers for my art journals.  I enjoy painting but much of the time I just don't have enough time for large projects so I keep an art journal and try to take 15-120 minutes a day to do something in it.  Nothing specific or planned out, just spontaneous random art that makes me happy.



Anyway, back to the cover, I use the plastic grocery bags and kind of fuse them together for a cover. I start with an iron set at a medium setting, and I generally adjust the heat as I go along.  Cut the bags and layer three bags between two sheets of parchment paper, lightly move the iron over the sheets until they are fused together.  I then add different colors of bags and more bags as I go along to get the thickness I want and the size I need.  Cut it down to the size you are looking for and it is great.  I think it adds to the recycled style of the journal as I use paper grocery bags, cut down, for the paper inside and I use bits and pieces of junk mail and magazines in my work.  So it all feels very recycled and loved.

I use an easy 5 hole pamphlet stitch for the binding, and here is a great video for that, if you are interested.



So here are pictures of my art journal, inside and out.  Sorry for the glare, I took these quick pics with my phone:



















Friday, June 16, 2017

Leachate...what is that?

Do you know what leachate is? No, me neither. I had to look that one up. Leachate is water that has percolated through a solid and leached out some of the constituents.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leachate  Why am I concerned about leachate? In reading through a few current bills before the North Carolina House of Representatives, I ran across House Bill 576, Allow Aerosolization of Leachate. This bill outlines what to do with leachate, or waste drainage water, from landfills. So, let that sink in for a minute, think of everything you throw away in your trash on a daily or weekly basis. Think about your neighbors with babies, or elderly populations. Think about the pets, think about food waste, just think about what goes into the landfill each day. And when it rains and filters through all that waste, the leachate is the result. 

That is the first part of the process. Now aerosolization, involves spraying this untreated leachate into the air, allowing any solid particles to settle and the water to evaporate. Now for a moment, think back to recent forest fires. I know here at my house, even though the fires were many miles away, the wind carried the smoke, making it difficult to breath. And then the ash in the smoke settled on everything. I thought about this when I was thinking about House Bill 576. If this putrid liquid run off from all the rotting, disintegrating trash is sprayed into the air, what keeps it at the landfill, preventing the wind from carrying it to neighboring property? Do I really want this blowing over to my house, settling on the land where I grow vegetables to feed my family, lakes in which we fish and swim? Who guarantees the quality of well water? These are important questions.

I read some more about leachate, wondering how long bacteria and viruses can survive, will that present a health risk when aerosolizing leachate. Really, I couldn’t find much. I did read one research paper from the Environmental Protection Agency (remember this is an agency that has been threatened with elimination) that states "This study showed that live infectious viral agents can persist for days, weeks, even months in the landfill leachate under certain environmental conditions."https://cfpub.epa.gov/si/si_public_record_report.cfm?dirEntryId=335601 

This bill has me concerned. Oversight of this activity in North Carolina falls under the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), here in North Carolina. The DEQ is an agency under attack by the North Carolina Budget proposals, some of our representatives in Raleigh would like to slash the DEQ budget. Is there anyone in Raleigh looking out for the best interests of the people? I am starting to think we need an overhaul of the General Assembly. Find and elect people who care about those they serve. People who have not lost touch with living in a rural community. Maybe it's time for a change. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Birthday Card

OK this is the birthday card that my boys made this year.  I LOVE it.  There was so much thought put into this card and it so speaks to my heart.   Here is the card:


The boys explained it like this... The moon represents their father.  The planet on the left is Mars, which represents my youngest son, Phillip.  He was born March 22 and is an Aries which has Mars as a ruling planet.  The planet on the right represents my oldest son, Dallen.  And even thought he is a Cancer, which is ruled by the Moon, they felt that their father's role in the family was more in line with the moon.  That big shining Sun on the card is me.  And my son said "mom that sun is you because you are the center of this family and you hold the family together."  That sentiment just brought tears to my eyes.  I have such an amazing family, so thoughtful and caring.  It feels so amazing to be surrounded by so much love.  My heart and my house are full of love.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

A Charmed Life

I have been told by more than one person, on more than one occasion, that I lead a "charmed" life.  I think it was meant as a compliment, although I am not positive.  It made me really think about my life.  I would not necessarily think I lead a charmed life.  First off I think that phrase leads a person to believe that her life is not in her own hands.  Like my life has turned out the way it has by chance, or because I had some magical upbringing.  I assure you, I did not.  I grew up poor, as so many of us did.  My parents often times struggled to make ends meet, although they did not discuss financial matters with my brothers and I.  But even so, as kids, we picked up on those things.

I also lost both of my parents, tragically, when I was younger.  I had just turned 29, and my oldest son was not quite a year old when my mother died in a car accident, and I was 30 when my father died by suicide.  I am 50 now, and have no parents or grandparents.  I have navigated parenting without my mother to call for advice or a shoulder to cry on.  Not sure it sounds like a charmed life.

My personality, however, is one to pick up and keep moving forward.  So even though I have had tragedies in my life, I have always worked though those and found the joy in my today.  I can hold grief for what I have lost, and joy in what I have, in my heart at the same time.  I choose not to live in fear and grief, although I have my moments.

I really believe that we make our own choices in life.  I am not one to live with regret, or in a place of martyrdom.  I take my own joy and happiness in my own hands, it isn't up to someone else to make me happy or ensure that today is a joy-filled day.  I do that myself by the choices I make.  I outline my future, I choose how to respond to events, I choose what I want today, I make things happen in my life, I choose my relationships. Not a mythical being, or magic, or fate or chance.

I think relationships are huge. Even as an introvert, the people I choose to have in my life, add to my life, they are people that inspire me, that I enjoy being around.  If a relationship is one sided, shouldn't we be asking ourselves why we continue in that environment.  Not all my friends are alike, they don't think the same, have the same hobbies and passions, they have such differing views.  But they all add to my life, and the joy of my life.  Some are friends that I have had for YEARS, and some are newer friendships.  I just don't hang onto friendships that are draining, or one sided, or feel like they are bringing me down, sucking my energy.  That doesn't serve me well, and it doesn't serve my family well.

So I work hard to have a life I enjoy, that stays on target with my deeper ideals.  I make a point of staying in touch with friends, and seeking out new opportunities for growth and new friendships.  I want to live a joy filled life.  I plan for tomorrow and live in today.  So it might look like I have a charmed life.  But I can tell you that I don't, there is no magic involved.  I work for the life I have, and choose how to respond to situations.

Anyone can live a life like that.  It won't look like my life, it will look like your life.  Take some time to think about what you want in your life that you don't have now.  There are so many books out there to help you see that life, and work out a plan to make things happen.   There is no fate.  Live your joy-filled life.  Live the life that makes you happy and makes other people think YOU live a "charmed" life.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Reproductive Rights are NEGOTIABLE?

"To recap: On Wednesday, Sanders gave an interview in which he said that he “didn’t know” if Jon Ossoff, the Democrat who the day before had earned more than 48 percent of the primary vote in a longtime Republican House district in Georgia, was a progressive......Sanders’s definition of what constitutes a progressive became even murkier when he suggested that the election of Heath Mello, who’s running for mayor of Omaha, Nebraska — and who as a state senator sponsored a 20-week abortion ban and mandatory ultrasounds for women seeking abortions — would represent a “shot across the board, that in a state like Nebraska a progressive Democrat can win.” Not to be outdone, Perez amplified the message that reproductive rights are negotiable for the Democratic Party. " (http://nymag.com/thecut/2017/04/bernie-sanders-and-tom-perez-must-not-abandon-womens-rights.html)

When did the Democratic party decide that women's rights are negotiable?  Women, according the the 2010 census, make up over 50% of the United States population and yes there my party goes, throwing us under the bus.  And how exactly is that "progressive", a term that Bernie Sanders loves to embrace with all his might. When I look up the word progressive in the dictionary I see "favoring or advocating progress, change, improvement, or reform, as opposed to wishing to maintain things as they are, especially in political matters." (http://www.dictionary.com/browse/progressive?s=t) So how can anyone call themselves progressive and not stand firm on a woman's right to autonomy over her own body.  Economic issues are non negotiable but basic human rights to self determination are up for grabs.

A woman's right to choose when and where she wants to start a family, or not at all, are core to her social and economic standing.  Why do men find it so easy to negotiate about women.  Why is it OK to throw 50.8% of the population under the bus rather than take a stand for what is right.  If we were talking about a man's right to autonomy, things would be different.  And, in fact they are.  A man has complete autonomy over his body, to the detriment of women.  Men easily get a "pass" for rape, sexual harassment, and sexual abuse, sexual assault just because they are men.  We excuse this behavior and men are allowed complete control.  And yet women are still struggling for this same basic right.

I think it is crucial to remember this, when we think about the equal rights amendment.  So many people think it has already been ratified, but it has not.  And yes, North Carolina, the state I love and call home, is one of those states that refuses to ratify the ERA.  In doing so, that would mean that women are indeed equal to men, and would have the same rights and protections under the law.  We can't have that happen, can we.

As we erode the right of women to have autonomy with regard to abortion decisions, and contraceptive decisions, we tear at the very heart of what it means to be equal. One day we will wake up and have no rights at all.  We are moving backward. And not speaking the word abortion does not make it go away.

So I would challenge everyone to think about what the word progressive really means before you jump on that bandwagon.  The word is slowly losing any meaning it once had, and will end up in the pile of overused words, like "natural" or "organic".  So watered down that anyone and everyone will be calling themselves progressive.  If you are only moving forward on a few issues, and moving backward on others, aren't you really standing still.  Until everyone has the right to affordable, COMPREHENSIVE, accessible, safe medical care, including everything the medical community has to offer, we are not equal.  Until women have complete autonomy over their own bodies, we are not equal.

Reproductive autonomy is crucial, and not negotiable.  Winning a state while throwing women away is not the way to go.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Common Ground

This T shirt has become one of my favorite shirts these days.  First off my husband bought it for me when we visited Maine a couple of years ago and attended the fair.  I remember this fair (much much smaller) when I was a child and loved it then.  I wanted to bring my boys to see the fair.  So different from what you would expect at a Maine fair.  I just loved it, I want to go every year, although that isn't really possible with all of the other trips we want to make, but you get the picture.  It is wonderful to be around so many like minded people.  Love the whole environment.

But it is also my favorite shirt for other reasons.  It serves as a reminder to me that we all do share common ground.  Not only the ground we walk on, but the community in which we live and the world around us. When we take the time to talk to each other, we will find that we have more in common that we thought, and finding that common ground gives us a place to start to build a relationship.  I have always found the idea of seeking out the common ground to be true, in my family, in my community and with complete strangers. You all know what an introvert I am, so talking to strangers is difficult, but when you can find that common ground, it makes conversations that much easier.

I think we all need to remember common ground, as we go about our day.  In difficult situations as well as the easy ones. Relate to people, build a relationship.  Even if it is a relationship that will only last the five minutes we are together, make it real, make that connection, find that common ground.

Have a great day all!