Again, With the Cleaning

So, here we are in the middle of Fall Cleaning Season.  What fun!  When you have a puppy, you get to observe just how unorganized you are.  All those piles of “stuff” that have been hanging around for far too long (why the heck don’t those pesky pixies take them away, anyhow?).  It’s worse now than it would normally be, thanks to Covid-19.  Like many people, I’ve spent some time going through old things with the desire to give them away, however, no one is accepting them at this time.  My local Transfer Station has a Swap Shop, but that is closed right now – the Swap Shop, not the Transfer Station (thank goodness).  So, now I’ve got an abundance of garbage bags full of things to give away, and nowhere to put them.  And, we all know how overly interested puppies are about bags of stuff, or anything else we don’t want them to stick their little noses into.

I have to admit that my house is in disarray.  Why?  Well, depression, stress, anxiety and apathy are all reasonable explanations.  I’m sure I’m not the only one dealing with some mental issues right now.  These times that we are living in are very stressful.  It’s not easy to deal with all the problems we’re all facing.  While I’ve been trying to focus only on what I can do, depression is a rather persistent issue.

That being said, I’m trying to organize what I can.  Finding different places to put my bags of give-away stuff is a priority until I can finally drop them off somewhere, so that they can be re-used.   My closet would be ideal, but I’ve got to deal with some of the other “stuff” first.  See how there seems to be no end to this?  I feel like I’m running on a hamster wheel and there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

My goals for this project are really focused on the things that I can do right now.  So, closet organization, re-homing those bags and just a general clean-out.  How are you dealing with fall cleaning?  Let me know in the comments below.  Maybe you’ve got some great ideas related to organization.  I could use some help in that direction, so share your knowledge. 

Looking at Change in a New Way

Like many people, I’ve been stuck in a rut for the past, oh, six months or so.  Why?  Life has become even more complicated, upsetting and enormously scary.  I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of not attaining goals, and just trying to get through each day in a healthy manner. 

I’m not talking about changing my routines to keep myself and my family healthy…I would never do that; however, I’ve got to make some changes, and I came across this quote and realized that this mental attitude is the one that I need right now.

I’ve been looking at change in a backward manner.  Backward as in looking at the things I want to change, but not working on new ways to go through life.  In other words, I’ve been looking at everything as to how to change this or that, but not putting anything new in its place.  Why don’t I just start living the life I want? 

I want to write more fiction – so instead of trying to figure out how to do that, why don’t I just do that?  There will never be a magical time during the day for me to write – after all these years, I know without a doubt that isn’t going to happen.  I just have to do it. 

Instead of waiting for the people who use the upstairs bathroom to clean it (they don’t) and having to clean it when it’s absolutely disgusting why don’t I just clean it three times a week?  Are they ever going to clean it?  No!  This is something that I absolutely know for sure – they are never going to change, but instead of waiting to see if they clean it, I can just go ahead and clean it.  The more often it gets cleaned, the less time it takes.  See, a new way of thinking about it, changing my attitude, and goal accomplished!

Building something new from the old is a good thing.  Of course, I’d like to change my life in huge ways, but those changes can’t happen yet – many other things need to happen first.  However, there are many goals that can be accomplished on my way to major goals.  If I stop fighting the old, I will make way for the new. 

Focus on what you can do and just do that.  Don’t wait for that magical, perfect time…it’s never going to get here – that time has never gotten here in all the time that I’ve been waiting, so why should I spend my precious time waiting for something that will never come?  Focus on building the new.  Small goals fulfilled create confidence, happiness and joy.

Adopting a Rescue Puppy

I’ve had six rescue dogs.  Most came from shelters, and all were over six months of age.  I’ve never had a small puppy that I needed to house train, etc.  Now, I’ve got a two-month-old puppy, who had never been outside until I brought him home.

What the heck do I do?  I’ve bought a pen for him, since the crates were so expensive.  I thought that this was a good idea, and with a little tweaking it’s working fine.  My husband and I made a top for it, so now it’s more of a crate than a pen.  He seems to like it, and goes and lays down on the bed when he wants to take a nap. As far as potty-training is concerned, he really doesn’t understand, but if I get him outside in a timely manner, he does his business outside which is the point.  Of course, he misses his siblings (and Mommy) – there originally were nine puppies, but one was too sickly and died.  However, the remaining puppies are all doing well, and most of them have been adopted locally.  Since his foster mom lives up the street from me, we will be going there for play-dates with the two puppies they have adopted.  Their mom is still there due to her on-going heath issues, so Percy will be able to see her, also.

His foster family named him Percy, for Percy Jackson of the Olympians fame, since these books were some of their favorites.  I’ve listened to most of Rick Riordan’s audio books and found them extremely good.  So he will be known as Percy forever and ever.

Once again, this is just another thing I’m doing without knowing what I am doing.  If you have any advice please share! I can use all the help I can get. Wish me well, and I’ll keep you updated on our adventure!

September is a New Beginning

It may seem odd, but even though my school-days are long behind me, I find that I look forward to September and tend to treat it as a new beginning.  Maybe it’s the official end of summer, or the fact that I’m looking forward to my favorite season – fall.  I’m not sure, but by the end of August I’m done with hot and humid weather, and looking for those cool, crisp days.  I often will make myself a list of goals that I want to achieve between now and Christmas, and I feel more invigorated about new goals at this time than I do at the New Year.

Probably one reason that for my view of September is that it’s my birthday month.  This year is a little more special than most years, as I’ll be celebrating my 60th birthday.  To be honest, last year I was completely freaked out by the thought of turning 60.  I don’t feel sixty years old, and I don’t even look it.  I thank my Swedish heritage for my baby-face.  However, once the Pandemic hit, my perspective completely changed.  I consider it to be an achievement to have made it to 60. 

So, am I where I wanted to be in life right now?  Absolutely not!  Am I saddened that I’ve not hit those goals that I had all those years ago?  Of course I am and I don’t think that I’d be human if I wasn’t.  However, when I look at all the things that I’ve gone through in my almost sixty years, I realize that the fact that I’m a functioning (mostly) adult who has been married for  almost 35 years, raised two children to adulthood, weathered some terrible emotional and physical storms, I haven’t done badly at all.  I’m trying to be proud about what I have managed to survive instead of focus on all those things that haven’t happened yet.

I am also focusing on the idea that 60 is the new 40!  Yes, I live in the land of de-nial, however, I’m not alone here, and I’d much rather focus on the positive than the negative.  Negativity will get you nowhere, but positivity is your friend.  One of the things that I’m focusing on right now is positivity -I hold it close to my heart and dip into positive quotes and thoughts numerous times every day. 

As far as my September 2020 goals are concerned, the biggest one is to stay alive and healthy, as well as do what I can to keep my family healthy.  Another goal is to get back into my exercising and all some more Pilates to the mix.  And, as usual, adding new vegan recipes to my life.  Of course, writing is a big goal that I’ve been working on for a while now, but do need to make it more of a priority.

How about you?  Are you working toward your goals, or is sanity the most important one?  Your mental health is so important.  I hope that everyone is doing well and keeping safe and healthy.  As always, share your thoughts and concerns below.  We are all in this together.  Let’s do what we can to be positive, kind and loving.

The Importance of Mental Health

To be a healthy person, we need a place to live, a good diet, exercise, health care, and mental health.  Are you doubting your mental health?  There is unrest, economic instability, and injustice throughout the world right now.  This is not to say that these things aren’t usually happening, because unfortunately they are, however, they are happening on a much larger scale than usual.  The stresses of life are rising, and our abilities to deal with these issues on top of a pandemic is being battered. 

Do you feel like you’ve just had more than enough and can’t take anymore only to wake up to the morning news and discover everything has sunk to a new low?  Yes, that’s the way I feel, and I don’t know about you, but I admit that I’m not coping well at all.  So, what should we do when we feel that our mental health is on the downside and our coping mechanisms are no longer working?

This is something I’ve been asking myself for a few weeks now, and I decided to look for answers.  Some things are simple, talk to others about your feelings; take some time out of your day to think about the good things you are grateful for; look for happier things to think about; eat healthy food; get enough sleep on a daily basis; and exercise.

These seem too simple to work, and sometimes they don’t.  Anxiety is a terrible thing.  It can mess with your sleep patterns, encourage you to eat unhealthy food and forgo your exercise.  It can lead you down the rabbit hole of despair and depression.  And, it will impede your will to dig yourself out of the rabbit hole. 

So, here are a few things for you to try that may help.  Get outside.  I know it’s hot, so maybe just in the morning go out and look at the sky, blow bubbles (yes, I actually have been known to do that); and if the weather permits go for a walk.  Every morning I go out and enjoy the fact that I’ve got tons of birds in my yard (I’ve been feeding them all summer) along with lots of squirrels (that I’ve also been feeding on my front porch).  The birdsong is a constant during the entire day, and it really brings me a lot of joy.  It hasn’t cost much, but the happiness that has been added to my life is worth every penny.

Eat plenty of fruit and veggies.  Drink lots of water.  Look up new recipes and try them out.  This occupies your mind with something new and gives you a creative outlet.  Creativity is a wonderful thing.  Find a new hobby, do something new.  I’ve been listening to books on RB Digital (which is free from my library) and embroidering again.  

Since I have a hard time falling asleep due to an over-active mind, I get ready for bed, lay down and listen to a funny book.  I don’t listen to anything depressing or upsetting, just something with humor.  After doing that for a while, I will settle down, close my eyes and say my affirmations.  That usually works and I am able to finally fall asleep.

If you try everything that you can think of and are still have difficulties, please call your doctor.  You may need professional help.  And that’s okay.  Just as your health is an investment, your mental health is important.  Take care of yourself because you are worth it.

Health is an Investment

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In this week’s Sunday paper, I saw an article touting health as an investment.  While I agree that keeping yourself healthy is indeed an investment, unfortunately the point of the article was to sell you all kinds of medical tests and pharmaceuticals to help you attain health or prevent possible diseases through pharmaceuticals only.  There was no mention of diet, exercise or mental health. The point of this particular article was to persuade the reader to ask their doctor for the mentioned pharmaceuticals – which I found to be suspicious, since it appeared to be a news article but really was just peddling sales for drugs.

While the article itself was lacking, I was really taken with the thought of health as an investment.  However, it does not have to come at a high cost.  In order to exercise you don’t need to have a pricey gym membership.  Fitness Blender on YouTube has free videos for you based on various fitness levels.  These you can do from your home.  Walking and hiking are low-cost options.  If your neighborhood is not the best for taking walks, you can walk on a school track for free.   There are plenty of places to walk, even if it’s just walking around your neighborhood.  My daily walk is usually done around my neighborhood.

Now, as far as diet is concerned, I myself am a vegan and this is the diet that not only I, but many scientific peer-reviewed studies agree is the healthiest diet.  That being said, I don’t spend tons of money on the very easy quick prepared vegan foods.  Beans, rice and either fresh veggies or frozen veggies are easy and cheap.  When there is a sale on canned goods, I buy a ton of canned beans (white, black, pinto, chick peas, etc.).  I am lucky that I’ve got two huge cupboards in my cellar to store my various amounts of canned goods and bags of rice.  Again, I just buy when items are on sale.  Fresh veggies and fruit are usually whatever is the cheapest and in season.  This is not an expensive diet.

Mental health is equally important.  This is an area of healthcare that is especially abused.  Not everyone has the insurance coverage to pay for this area.  And, this is a shameful part of the U.S. healthcare system.  That being said, there are many other shameful things about healthcare in this country.  However, mental health should never be overlooked.  For years we’ve had health insurance that did not cover mental health.  My husband recently got a new job that does provide insurance, and maybe I should look into this aspect of it.  With all the stresses that are going on right now, I feel that this single topic is huge, and will write a post dealing with this in the future.  But again, look into your mental health while taking care of your diet and fitness.

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So, health as an investment does not have to be expensive.  Share in the comments how you invest in your own health.

 

Growing Strength

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So many of us are in difficult situations right now.  Health issues, financial issues, injustice issues, along with the myriad daily problems we all deal with every day.  Life seems to be getting tougher each day, and there is no end in sight.  Problems are easier to handle if there is an end date, but for right now, there is no end date.  We have to take each problem as it comes while at the same time acknowledging that we have no idea how long this will last.

It’s so much easier to white-knuckle through issues when we do know that it’s only for a specific time-frame.  But with no time-frame in place, the problems become bigger and more difficult to wallow through.  As I am writing this, over 700,000 people in my state, including me, are without power.  So yes, this is a pain in the as*, but of course there is an end-date to it.  This won’t last week after week, month after month.

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What to do when there is such uncertainty in our world?  Once again, we need to take a step back, slow our thoughts and our minds down, take a breath…or two, or three.  Focus on the things that you can deal with, make a change to, and concentrate on doing that.  Narrow your focus to the things that you can change.  Don’t dwell on all those other problems that you cannot fix by yourself (of course, take actions like signing petitions and writing letters), but don’t let that be your only focus.

Keep moving forward.  Organize your home, write down your goals and attain them.  Go out into nature and breathe in the calm and beauty found there.  Take care of yourself and your loved ones.  We will make it through this.

A Work in Progress

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We should all by moving forward in our lives.  Life is more than going to work, taking care of our families and paying bills.  Due to the way our social structure is set up in the U.S., we pretty much live our lives like this.  But always remember, we were put on this earth for a purpose, and that purpose was not to pay bills and consume products.

One way to become a work in progress is to find something that you’re interested in and invest time into that.  Even if that time is spent on the way to or from work, it will add to your life in numerous ways.  Keep learning, keep doing that hobby, keep making yourself a more interested person.  Become who you were meant to be.

Let me know in the comments below about what you are working toward.  What your hobby or goal is.  Become the best you.

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School During a Pandemic

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Are you planning on sending your children to school this year?  I’m aware that much of the U.S. has decided that it may be safe to send your children to school, but do you believe that?  I know that I don’t…I really don’t understand how this can be done safely, considering the little money, resources and time school districts have in order to do such a thing successfully.  So, what are you going to do?

My children are way too old to go to school now, but I do have a history of homeschooling.  After I discovered that my fifth-grade son didn’t have his own math book (there were only 20 math books for the entire fifth grade), I decided to home-school both my son and daughter the next year and continued to do so until sending them to high school.

This was a huge decision, and both took way more work than I thought it would, but resulted in fun, learning and a much better relationship with the two of them.  So, what made me feel like I could do it?  Not only am I a huge nerd, but I’ve got a B.A., B.S., and a M.A. in English.  My Mom was a teacher, so I felt that I was aware of the pitfalls and I really wasn’t as intimidated as I probably should have been.  Teaching your children is hard.  It puts you in a place where you need to be receptive to learning with them.  After all, none of us know everything!

I spent an entire summer figuring out how I wanted to teach – more hands on and integrative teaching, and what I would need.  Since I’m no good at math, I knew I would need good easily explainable math and science books.  Also, since I like ancient history, I got books on Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt and Greece.  These were life-savers since they included science, math and art projects.  We built an awesome (if I do say so myself) water clock from ancient Egypt.  We also read myths from all three cultures, so that was part of our reading curriculum.  Every year I continued to get input from the two of them as to what they would like to study, along with what the school was teaching that year.  I didn’t want them to miss anything.

While not everyone teaches this way – there are many places where you can just purchase curriculum, I really enjoyed planning our own projects.  One of my favorites was watching college lectures made by an expert in King Arthur lore.  I learned as much as my children did, and enjoyed the journey immensely.

There are many places where you can find help if you decide to do this yourself.  Let me know how you feel about sending your children back to school.

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Far Left (Antifa) Fascism?

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Can the Anti-Fascism movement be fascist?  That’s what some politicians are claiming.  However, who and where did this come from, who paid for this idea to be put forward, and why is it being used against people who are against fascism?  How can you be anti-fascist, but be fascist at the same time?  I thought that I would look into this fascinating idea, and I have to say that I was not surprised at all by what I found.

One of the places to find this idea is Reason.com which is funded by the David H. Koch Foundation, and the Sarah Scaife Foundation.  Both Koch and Scaife are affiliated with most, if not all the large Libertarian Think Tanks.  David Koch, along with his brother, have been leading influencers in the Republican Party (it is estimated that they have given over 1.5 billion dollars to extreme conservative groups, including the GOP).  The Sarah Scaife Foundation also contributes extreme amounts of money to the far-right, including anti-immigrant and Islamophobic organizations such as The Center for Immigration Studies and the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_activities_of_the_Koch_brothers

https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Sarah_Scaife_Foundation

This is why Reason.com has pushed an agenda of Antifa supposedly being a fascist organization.  This idea has spread far and wide and is being touted by Trump.  So now that we know who is paying for this idea to be spread, lets discuss whether or not it is a legitimate stance to take.

Scholars have agreed that fascism has core elements that need to be agreed upon to make the organization fascist.  These include:  Nationalism – and using large amounts of money to make the nation stronger and more powerful – this national strength makes the nation “good”; Allegiance to a specific group of people that are thought of as superior in some way or another; Propaganda – various news outlets that promote only one view and denigrate opposing points of views (including facts); Support of a leader, regardless of what that leader does or says;  and the “beauty of violence” as perpetrated against the “others”.

https://www.livescience.com/57622-fascism.html

So, does this sound like Antifa to you?  There is no “group” known as antifa.  It’s basically a bunch of different people who loosely agree on various subjects such as equality for all – including LGBTQIA; BLM; Indigenous Peoples’ Rights; health-care for all – including reproductive rights; higher wages; equal opportunity; immigrant rights; and inclusivity.  I’m sure there is more, but this a loose list.  There is no superiority, no nationalist viewpoint.  It’s a “we are all here together” and “we are all one” view of the world.  Most importantly, there is no one leader in charge.  As such, there is no media outlet that they own creating propaganda in order to push their agenda on others.

https://theconversation.com/what-or-who-is-antifa-140147

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/06/what-is-antifa-trump-terrorist-designation

 

So, if we use this idea of fascism against those who say Antifa is fascist, what do we find?  The answer is some damning evidence.  The conservative party (GOP), is quite nationalist – after all, their most powerful member ran on the platform of “America First” and “Make America Great Again”.  This party is almost entirely made up of white people, many of whom are aligned with members of white supremacist groups.   This also gives them a “leader” to whom the GOP has basically pledged allegiance to regardless of what he says or does.  For example, just look at Trump’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the chorus of Republican Congressmen/women, who continue to support him.  Furthermore, the GOP has multiple media outlets that push their agenda, including, but not limited to, Fox News.   They have also spent extraordinary amounts of money on the military, spending $738 billion in just one year.

https://prospect.org/civil-rights/republican-party-getting-even-whiter/

https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/security/reports/2020/07/01/482414/white-supremacy-returned-mainstream-politics/

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/feb/29/paul-singer-elliott-management-twitter-jack-dorsey

https://www.defensenews.com/congress/2019/12/19/pentagon-finally-gets-its-2020-budget-from-congress/

Finally, to come to a conclusion, the GOP itself has a long history of being against anyone who is “different”.  How have they done this?  By fighting against Civil Rights, LGBTQIA – refusing to fund a cure for AIDS, equality, etc.  These examples are endless – the fight against equality and healthcare for all is an on-going battle that I quite frankly am tired of fighting – but they unfortunately are not.  So, if Antifa is a loose group of people who are not part of any one organization, do not believe in Nationalism, have a leader, nor media outlets producing propaganda and have no way of building up a military, how are they fascist?  Answer, they are not.  However, their detractors are.

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