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photo by Sheri Dixon

Monday, January 19, 2015

Damned if We Do, Damned if We Don't

I'm a woman. Granted, I'm an older woman who no longer has those 'parts' that get pregnant, but at one time I did. And three times I used 'em.

I really enjoyed getting pregnant, loved every minute of BEING pregnant, survived three natural childbirths (the last one at home), and was/am a passable mother. No one's in jail and everyone is normal-on-the-surface which is as much as you can ask.

So I'm past all that child-bearing mess, but still feel pretty strong kinship to those who are still 'in the trenches'. And those Sisterchicks are suffering.

Here's what we get from about the time we're three years old-

You can be anything you want to be

You are nothing unless you're pretty

Don't be stuck up

Don't be too easy

NO SEX BEFORE MARRIAGE

BOYS WILL BE BOYS

(That one always confused me- so who are the boys supposed to have sex with if girls have to remain virgins and homosexuality is wrong?)

If you get pregnant you MUST keep the baby

If you have an abortion, you are going to hell

Having a baby and being a mother is the highest and most blessed calling for a woman

DON'T ASK US FOR ANY HELP, YOU SLUT!

You're only worth 70% of what a man makes for doing the same job

WHY DO YOU KEEP ASKING US FOR HELP?

Stay at home with your kids if you love them

GET BACK TO WORK!

You are not really happy unless you're married. And Christian. And not a lesbian.

You are nothing unless you're pretty.



And now we're dying. We're dying at a larger rate than women in Lithuania and Bosnia, ya'll. Not from Ebola, or cancer, or being struck by lightening- we're dying in childbirth or complications thereof. The most natural thing in the world for a woman to do- we're dying of it.

http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2010/apr/12/maternal-mortality-rates-millennium-development-goals

Why? Are we really 'the weaker sex'?

Not at all.

So what's the difference between American women and say...women in Serbia?

Access to health care.

Here in the Land of Profit and Free Market, women are penalized JUST FOR BEING WOMEN- we are walking, talking, menstruating and birthing pre-existing conditions.

We're unstable and must be controlled. For our own good, of course. And (surprise surprise) it's the Red counties where women are suffering the most from regressive and restrictive regulations on their bodies.

http://www.addictinginfo.org/2015/01/15/republicans-are-killing-women-us-maternal-death-rate-climbs-female-deaths-rise-in-gop-counties/

But it's OK if it ends up killing us.

At least it's mostly not the pretty ones dying.

PS- My dog is destroying a plastic bottle. Methodically, intensely, turning it into a pile of unrecognizable shards. She is focused and serene. Biting hard is relaxing. I envy my dog.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

We Can't Afford It

The nation is broke, we can't afford to feed poor children, take care of sick people, house the homeless and comfort the old people. We can't afford to invest in roads, or schools, or new technology.

We can't afford it.

But we can afford the hell out of corporate subsidies ("We must take care of the JOB CREATORS!") We can afford to buy and send off drone after drone and bomb after bomb ("For FREEDOM!") and we can afford to do all sorts of other things as long as they don't smack of 'entitlements' or 'welfare' or 'socialism'.

Because that stuff's bad, ya'll.

That socialism stuff...just, *** I think I just threw up a little in my mouth.

Except it's not.

We have entire cities going bankrupt because of a capitalistic free market free-for-all that we're currently in the throes of. Oh, you hear that it's really because of the poor people...those lazy poor people...

So they come in and declare the cities bankrupt and put 'private consultants' in place. And yanno what they do? They part and parcel the whole shebang out to the highest bidder and completely ignore that THERE ARE STILL PEOPLE LIVING THERE.

Because they don't matter. They're just poor people. Those lazy poor people.

But what if? What if the poor people (who happen to live there) were given a voice and the power to effect their own change? What would they do to their city?

Well, it'd all go straight to Hell, that's what. They're poor. They don't have college degrees. They don't have business cards or ties or anything that would give them the authority and wisdom to know what's right for them, for their cities.

Or not-

http://www.geo.coop/blog/co-operative-revolution-reading-pa

This End of America the Capitalist Free Market...this may be what we have to endure- our 'labor' if you will, to get to the other side and onto our next phase of national life.

Maybe we can get it right this time and not be such douchebags to each other and the rest of the world. Maybe.

PS-
The sun came out today. It was glorious. I'm hoping to see it again tomorrow.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Too Big For Our Britches

We all heard it growing up- "Everyone wants to be an American!" "Everyone wants to move to America!" "America is the greatest country in the world!!!" We heard it, we absorbed it, breathed it, lived it, that belief oozed out of our very special little snowflake American pores.

I believed it till I grew up and started talking to people from some of those other countries, who were sort of surprised because, well, they LIKE where they are and wouldn't WANT to leave.

They don't want to be American.

"Outrageous! They're just jealous!"

Are they? What the hell of?

"They can't have GUNS there!"

Ummm...they don't WANT guns there. They are horrified at how often we kill each other by accident and by virtue of passionate moment. Horrified.

"They have high taxes there!"

Yep. They sure do. They also enjoy high wages, universal health care, free education THROUGH COLLEGE, short work weeks, long vacations, all sorts of goodies we don't have because we're too selfish/shortsighted/bullheaded/gullible to do otherwise. Because we're told that to be otherwise would be to give up our freedom.

So we're free.

Free to be underpaid.

Free to be sick.

Free to be uneducated.

Free to be over-worked.

Free to die at our desks because we can't afford to retire.

That's some Freedom there, boy howdy. FreeeeeDumb.

My favorite, of course, is "Well, sure those places can afford all that nice stuff for their people- WE take care of their security! WE protect the entire world!" WE saved all their sorry asses in WWII!"

Somewhere along the line we went from 'benevolent uncle' to 'empire-builder' without missing a beat; seamlessly, insidiously, relentlessly. We bring Freedom to the rest of the world...whether they want it or not. With sanctions and bombs and occupations and drones, we pound 'em with Freedom till they bleed and die, deliver enough Freedom to obliterate their buildings, their people, their societies.

"You sure do hate America! Why don't you just go live over yonder in one o them Scandinavian places if you love it so much?"

I don't hate America. I love America and it happens to be my home, my birthplace. I'm an American and know that the idea of America is still alive, still viable, and very much a good thing. We need to get back to that.

We need to stop being so damn afraid of ourselves that we startle, aim and shoot into the mirror, turn the gun when we hear a twig behind us and shoot ourselves. We're killing ourselves because we ARE each other.

We need to stop being so damn selfish and afraid that someone somewhere will 'get something they don't deserve' and just take care of each other. "judge not..." and "love each other" are direct orders from your Christ, remember?

We need to stop thinking that we are the best at everything and have the only ideas that make any sense and especially we need to stop looking down our noses at the rest of the planet like they're simpletons.

Because they're not. And we need to look at what's working in other places and not have a knee-jerk SOCIALISM COMMUNISM HITLER! reaction because that's just stupid.

We need to stop being stupid. But I don't know if we can.

http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/01/11/country-crazy-inquiring-minds-elsewhere-want-know

PS- One of my friends lost her husband recently. Cancer. That's just the last of several in my little universe and every time it happens I think, "That could've been me. It so easily and quickly and nearly was me." It's going on five years since we almost lost Ward and I remember it so vividly- staring at my sleeping ten year old son and thinking, "What will I tell him? How can I do this alone?" I didn't have to...I DON'T have to. Ward's still here. Not 'by god's grace' but by his own amazing stamina and the skill of the medical staff Ward's still here. It's the little miracle I wake up to every morning and go to sleep to every night.And no matter what else happens every day...it's enough.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

You're Not the Boss of Me

I apologize if you were looking forward to more 'commenting on this here article' blogs and less 'crazy pissed-off old lady rantings' but if it's any consolation, todays is neither.

Because I had an idea. One of those 'just popped into my head and seemed so brilliant I'd never forget it but typed a few hints into my phone...just in case' ideas.

So many ideological discussions go South (or worse)over 'things I'm willing to pay for'. Things I want MY tax dollars to be put towards. Those kinds of things. Some people don't want to pay for anyone else's health care, or schools or roads, or bombs to send overseas to screw with other people's health and schools and roads.

In general, we're told that we all pay taxes for all the stuff we all need and we can't pick and choose.

But why couldn't we?

It's not like the tax forms aren't already confusing enough- just add another section. Right up there at the top they already ask if we want to donate to the campaign fund or some such (I dunno- I just skim over that, giggling).

So here's what we need to do- we need a section on the regular old 1040 EZ tax form, right under where it says 'taxes you paid last year and taxes you still owe' that breaks it down so we can choose.

Please denote what percent of your taxes you'd like to go to each of the following-

Universal Healthcare for all Americans

Infrastructure repair (roads, bridges, etc.)

Your local public schools

Elderly services

Veterans' services

Alternative energy investments

Community and public colleges

Put towards the national debt

Military spending

NASA

School lunch programs

Homeless relief

National parks and wildlife areas

Corporate incentives and subsidies

Please be sure the total is 100. TOTAL AMOUNT MAY NOT BE ZERO.



See? It wouldn't be that difficult and then everyone could give according to their own consciences. Everyone who wrings their hands about the national debt can work to pay that off, everyone who wants us to bomb the shit out of all those 'backwards sand-filled places' can give to that, all us bleeding heart liberals can give to universal health care and national parks, and so on.

Wonder how much would be raised for 'corporate incentives and subsidies' considering Americans now pay an average of $36 towards the food stamp program and over $6,000 towards corporate subsidies. Per year. Every single one of us. See?

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/19844-food-stamps-are-affordable-corporate-welfare-is-not

Fine. I did end up bringing an article in here.

And all this time you thought the bad guys taking all YOUR hard earned dollars were those lazy-ass poor people. Oops.

The point is, WE should be deciding where our tax money goes. And obviously, our elected representatives just up and lose their damn minds once they hit the Beltway.

This could fix that. And my guess is that at the end of the day, the military and corporations would have a lot smaller budget than they do now- and what a shame THAT would be...

PS- Day before yesterday Alec and I ate lunch at a table outside What About Kabob's (a gyro place) and I had to take off my sweater because it was sunny and 71 in January. It was 21 last night. Fifty degree drop in 24 hours. The only saving grace is that it'll come up again just as quickly. Here in Texas winter lasts about a month or so...but just a few days at a time.







Monday, January 5, 2015

...And Thanks For All the Fish

For all the uproar about Global Warming/Climate Change- Is it man made? Is it human-accelerated? Is it even a 'thing' at all or just something the scientists made up with the help of a pile of treehugging dollars? here's something that is indisputable.

Whether or not we're killing the world as we know it (and we are- just in case you were still on the fence about that), we are 100% certainly killing the world for some of our fellow travelers, because we're killing them. All of them. Every single precious one of them.

I mean, lookit this-

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2015/01/dead-grandmother-dream-causes-florida-man-to-snap-and-destroy-spiritual-girlfriends-car/

No. Wait. That one'll give you the heebie jeebies. Lookit THIS-

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/wildlife-news/141231/13-species-we-might-have-say-goodbye-2015?mc_cid=aa67eacf04&mc_eid=d461ac6f14


These are not little things; things that no one would miss like mosquitoes or cockroaches or possums or Paris Hilton. These are 13 arguably more noble creatures than humans, including our much more human-acting cousins the gorillas.

And unicorns. My god- we've just about eradicated the actual unicorns.

Tigers, rhinos, leopards, dolphins...WHAT IS WRONG WITH US?

Poached. Squeezed out. Polluted out.

Genesis 1:28- "And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth."

And Boy Howdy, did we.

I can just see God returning to Earth from whatever great golf course in the sky he's been at for the last few thousand years and walking into what is, for all intents and purposes, the dreggish remains of the biggest kegger in the universe.

Shaking his head, God would say, "And this is why we can't have nice things."

PS- I had an entire weekend at home, ya'll. From Friday 10pm till today (Monday) 2pm I was at home, flat refusing to leave the yard. I'm here to tell you there is nothing sweeter than getting out of pajamas, taking a nice scalding hot shower, and putting on clean pajamas instead of going-out-in-public clothes. Nothing.

Friday, January 2, 2015

New Year's Resolution

I never make these. Because I know in my heart and my head and everywhere in between that I'll never keep them. And yet, here I go- making one in front of ya'll and everybody.

This last year I completely sucked at blogging. I'ma changing that here and now. Twice a week, people. Ya'll will see a new blog twice a week. And at least for the most part, I'ma changing up the format from 'just shit that pops into my head and out my fingers' to 'just shit that pops into my head and out my fingers that relate to this linked article'.

There will also be a post script with something warm and squishy at the end.

We'll see how long this lasts...

IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE A BURNED-OUT WASTELAND

One thing I've noticed in most of the shit-hits-the-fan books I've come across is that when the world ends, the big cities pretty much eat themselves almost instantly...like within hours of (fill in the blank with your favorite zombies, terrorists or nuclear attack). And I have several problems with that scenario.

Oh, sure you can point to New Orleans during Katrina or Ferguson after Michael Brown's death, and I'm not saying that right at the git-go, there won't be people losing their damn minds. But that will be happening whether you're in a metroplex or out in the country. You can't tell me the good ol' boys won't be all gun-happy and the fundamentals won't be all shut into their churches and both groups will fend off anyone else, enemy or not. You just can't. Between small-town mentality and survivalist hermits, in a lot of ways, being in the boonies would be more dangerous than a big city 'when the lights go out'.

Because here's the thing.

People in a big city are used to adapting to a lot of other people and situations- most out of their own personal control. There are many micro-communities in a city in the form of either individual neighborhoods or individual buildings, city people literally brush elbows with each other every single day.

Most things are walking distance- and that is a huge benefit when the world is 'blown back into the dark ages' by zombie terrorist nuclear weapons.

Even lacking zombie terrorist nuclear weapons, some cities are already in practice-mode for the end of the world. Detroit is one. Flint Michigan is another one, and the source of today's hopeful message.

Here ya go- literal food for thought.

http://civileats.com/2015/01/02/an-urban-farmer-breaks-new-ground-in-flint/?mc_cid=0f47f3273c&mc_eid=d461ac6f14

See? Even WITH gangs around and even WITH obstacles, this chick is getting shit done and growing food in a place that for all intents and purposes has given up on itself (by outside observers' standards). I submit that when the going gets tough, and after the initial zombie terrorist nuclear warfare smoke clears, that the big cities will not, in fact, be molten piles of the remnants of the dregs of society and places that even rats will be loathe to habitate.

I submit that residents will pull together, regroup, and get shit done.

As proof, please see these badass grannies-

http://thebabushkasofchernobyl.com/

2015. A brand new year. Lets not screw it up.

PS- The other day was weather-challenged to the max. It was cold. It was windy. It was the kind of gray that pushes on my sinuses and gives me a headache straight down to my knees. I headed out the door and across the foot bridge to let the horse out for her afternoon of eating weeds and looking majestic. I'd crossed about halfway when I was stopped dead in my tracks by the upward rising of a Great Blue Heron lifting silently from directly beneath me. He seemed to use his wings as mere suggestions of flight; they were completely silent and barely moved at all- he was suspended a few feet above the creek and was carried downstream with the current.

As I walked to the barn, the horse was feeling the biting of the wind. She snorted and tossed her mane, pounding back and forth in her pen and into the stall, going from full-speed to zero an inch before the gate. I opened the gate and she floated out, prancing on air and dancing on invisible pillows. Turning her huge liquid doe eyes to me, she came close, closer, closest. I could see every eyelash and feel her breath. She paused for effect for just a moment, then snorted horse snot all over me, wheeled around and thundered up the hill, tail high and mocking.

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