Stacking Wood

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We took down three of our big trees two weeks ago.  My daughter and I spent a week clearing up the debris from this activity.  Now, it’s time to stack the wood that my son has been splitting.

So, on Wednesday I spent four hours lifting and stacking wood.  This was insane and unsustainable – I’m not a young whippersnapper, even though I’d like to think so.  When I woke up on Thursday, I realized that I was acting like a short-distance sprinter, when I’m actually in a marathon.  This process is going to take about a week and a half, not a few days.

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Who said stacking wasn’t an art? Wish I could figure out how to make this.

Well, what will I do?  After all, I had two truck-loads to unload on Wednesday.  How will I keep up?  Today when I stack the wood, I’m doing it with help.  Instead of working by myself all day, I’ll be waiting for my daughter to help – after all, the dishes still need to be washed, the toilets cleaned and the bills paid.  Unfortunately the maid hasn’t been seen for days.  (Oh, reminder, I’m the maid!)  The other changes I’ll be making is that every morning when I’d be working out, I will instead be stacking wood.  This fresh-cut wood is excessively heavy, and is a great work-out, as my sore muscles can attest, and if you’re worried about my cardio, I’ll still be walking the dogs.

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Wish I could do this

So, wood marathon, here I come!

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War on Women Part 4D – Violence – Social Issues Series

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This is my last and final section in my War on Women articles.  In this section I’ll be talking about various means of violence done to women.  To make my own life easier, I’m going to be focusing on the U.S., as I’ve done from the beginning of this series.  I recommend that you go out there and inform yourself about the abuses that women all over the world face on a daily basis.  From rape to harassment on the street, women are under siege.  When a society has a statistical result that includes a woman being assaulted every 9 seconds, there is something wrong, and that something is not women and how they act, that something is the way women are regarded, treated and personified.  http://www.ncadv.org/learn/statistics

In the U.S. we have reduced women to body parts.  https://storify.com/bvalderrama/how-woman-are-portrayed-in-the-media

This has led to the all-encompassing question regardless of what a woman has accomplished: “Well, that’s great, but what does she look like?”  These attitudes have led to the statistics stated above – every 9 seconds a woman is assaulted.  When you make another person an “other”, you also open the door to treatment which is immoral.  As an extreme example you can look up the de-humanization of the Jewish peoples by the Nazi’s in Germany.  If you think this is too extreme as a comparison, have you looked at advertisements and commercials lately?  Reducing humans to body parts is de-humanizing.  Not only do we see this on t.v., in movies, etc., but it is also “taught” in churches – where a man is told to “control” and “force” his wife and daughters to “obey” him by using fear and dread.  http://www.alternet.org/sex-amp-relationships/christian-marriage-adviser-use-fear-and-dread-control-your-wife-god-intended

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/26/quiverfull-movement-facts_n_7444604.html

These movements rely on the ability of the husband to “control” his wife and children, specifically the female children.

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Then, there is the other part of the war on women which is one of the more despicable ones.  The movement, which to be fair, has been on-going for a long period of time.  Whatever happens to a woman, it must be her fault – be it rape, domestic violence, or street harassment gone violent.  From telling a woman that her actions caused her rape, to refusing to even send in rape kits to be tested, once a woman is violated, it seems that this violation continues from taking her statements, taking evidence for the rape kit, and then refusing to test those rape kits.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/03/08/1498013/-Texas-Republican-wonders-how-many-times-a-pure,-sober-sexual-assault-happened?detail=email

http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/3/16/1502248/-Idaho-sheriff-objects-to-mandatory-rape-kit-testing-because-majority-of-cases-are-consensual

http://www.alternet.org/gender/us-becoming-terrifying-nation-women?akid=14100.302291.tFZQiQ&rd=1&src=newsletter1052977&t=6

Included in this, are the instances of when a woman refuses to respond to a man’s harassment, and then that woman is either “simply” attacked, or she is both attacked and murdered.  This discussion should also include stalking and cyber-bullying, these are both acts of violence toward women.

https://victimsofcrime.org/our-programs/stalking-resource-center/stalking-information

http://madamenoire.com/594447/female-comic-brutally-beaten-after-rejecting-mens-advances/

http://whenwomenrefuse.tumblr.com/tagged/news

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You can continue this discussion by reading the following links to chapters from the book Bully Society: School Shootings and the Crisis of Bullying in Americas School’s by Jesse Klein.

https://books.google.com/books?id=qbUqS34F8l0C&pg=PA57&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=3#v=onepage&q&f=false

https://books.google.com/books?id=qbUqS34F8l0C&pg=PA1&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=3#v=onepage&q&f=false

https://books.google.com/books?id=qbUqS34F8l0C&pg=PA97&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=3#v=onepage&q&f=false

In the future I will be addressing the issue of sex trafficking.  Although this issue is indeed part of the War on Women, it also includes boys and children, and I feel that it deserves its own article.

So, do you indeed feel that there is a War on Women?  Have the links that I’ve provided during this series been informative and interesting?  Let me know what you think.

 

Change is Hard

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I thought I’d just share a little about my progress and add some positive quotes to help anyone else who is on a transformation quest.  For a long time I’ve been an all or nothing type of person.  As an example, I’ve thought that if I don’t get up at 4:30 every morning and work out it means I’m a failure and I shouldn’t ever work out.  All or nothing.  Of course that kind of thinking just dooms you to failure, since I find it’s impossible to always get up that early.  Life happens: you may not be able to fall asleep until 2 in the morning; maybe you’ve got a cold…etc.  So, are you supposed to just stop?  Well, that’s what I did in the past – if I wasn’t perfect, I’d just stop.  So, what am I doing now?  I’m putting on my big girl panties and dealing with it.  So what if I missed a day or two, or even three?  No one is perfect, so why should I be expecting perfection of myself.  After all, I don’t do anything else perfectly, (as anyone who has eaten my dinners can attest), why should exercise be the only area of my life where perfection rules.

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 Change is a choice.  We all make choices every day.  I’ve finally realized that I cannot change the people who I live with.  I can’t change their choices, their attitudes or even their habits.  The only person I can change is myself.  So that’s what I’m doing.  I’m being the change that I want to see.  I’m a work in progress. Even though I try to respond with patience and love, I sometimes get upset.  But I’m learning.  I’m not responding with a raised voice.  When I’m trying to have a conversation and if the other person only wants to fight, I’ll walk away.  I won’t engage past the point of raised voices.  I am not responsible for what others say or do.  That’s their choice and not a reflection on me.  Others have choices too.

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Live your life.  Change yourself if you’re not happy.  If you feel stuck with a situation ask yourself what you can do about it.  I’ve found that my unhappiness comes from being disappointed with myself.  If the same is true with you, find out what you can change and act on it.  Life is too short to be unhappy.

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Happy Earth Day, everyday

Monkey Toes and Flying Avocados

WARNING!  So I am climbing up on my soapbox today.  I always try to be as upbeat and positive as I can with most of my blog posts.  I feel like my blog is my creative way to express myself and the things that are truly important to me.  Being vegan, (there I said it and I managed to get to the 4th sentence before mentioning it) I feel like I try to be as in tune as possible with animals, my health and our environment.  A lot of my post convey this.  But this post may seem a little “in your face” but that is only because I am super passionate about the topic.  I am by know means against things like Earth Day but I don’t like it when people are hypocrites and/or oblivious to things around them.  And I think a lot of the issues stem from…

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Happiness This Week

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This was a busy week.  We took down a couple of trees on Sunday, and have spent the rest of the week cleaning up brush.  My son will be splitting it and my daughter and I will be stacking.  Since we’ve just cut it down, the wood won’t be used this coming winter, but next winter.  A friend of ours will be leaving us some wood to process for this winter.  Hopefully we’ll be able to get it all done before the weather gets too hot.

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Since we took the trees down, my willow tree should be getting both more sun and more of the ground water.  The poor thing was overshadowed by a large tree.  We are rapidly getting to the point where we’ve cut down all the trees that need cutting.  Of course I say that every year, and my husband manages to say more trees need to come down.  Thankfully we’ve got a wooded lot right next to us, and across the street.  They’re both owned by an environmentalist so I know he’s not planning on selling anytime soon.  It’s nice to have some wildness around.

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We’ve had great weather all week, and I’ve managed to go for a long walk with my dog most days.  We are lucky since there is a mini-farm; a horse-riding place; and we often see wild turkeys.  The male turkeys have been displaying to the totally uninterested female turkeys.  It pretty funny – they get all puffed up and chase after the females, who look so disgusted.  There is always so much to see.

I’ve gotten my Spring Cleaning plan in place and have actually found some time to get started – in a small way.  I also managed to clean out two cupboards in my basement and reorganized them at the same time!  Baby steps, but steps nevertheless.

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And, I’ve written another chapter in my children’s book.  Now I’ve got to get it printed out and work on the illustrations.  I hope my friend likes it once it’s done.  So I guess I did get a few things done this week.  How has your week gone?

 

War on Women Part 4C – Reproductive Rights – Social Issues Series

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Are reproductive rights a right?  Do women indeed have the right to control what happens to their own bodies, or do they have to do as they are told by the government?  What a question.  If we turn that around, do men have the right to control what happens to their bodies or do they have to do as the government tells them?  Does this sound strange to you?  Is the answer different?  If you did indeed answer those questions differently, why did you?  Is it because women don’t know their own minds?  Do they need men to tell them?

Here is an interesting fact.  In the U.S. abortion was legal and commonplace until around 1880 when most states outlawed it except in the cases when a woman’s life was a risk.  http://www.ourbodiesourselves.org/health-info/u-s-abortion-history/  How is that for an informational tidbit?  This change was due to a few things, including the eugenics movement; physicians wanting to replace and control midwives; and men wanting to control women.  There are now extremely restrictive laws in many states forcing women to travel 100’s of miles to obtain an abortion, or force them to have invasive procedures done to their bodies before they can have an abortion.https://www.guttmacher.org/state-policy/explore/overview-abortion-laws

Not only are women’s rights to their own bodies being denied, but in a variety of ways they are portrayed as simply a “host” to their fetus. As such, they seem to have lost their human rights.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/24/steve-martin-virginia_n_4847959.html

 

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But this war is not only on abortion, it’s a war on female contraception.  Opponents of female contraception actually shut the federal government down.  Over birth control – a little pill that helps woman for numerous medical issues including:  making periods lighter and less painful, mitigating migraine pain, helping control endometriosis; control imbalances caused by polycystic ovarian syndrome; and it lowers the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancers.  http://www.webmd.com/sex/birth-control/features/other-reasons-to-take-the-pill

Also included in this, are the representatives in government who do not want women to have any access to birth control.  Now, according to our Supreme Court, your boss can deny you birth control.   This is of course, based on their religious “rights”; which now are more important than women’s rights to health care.

https://www.plannedparenthoodaction.org/blog/supreme-court-bosses-can-deny-birth-control-coverage-employees

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Another aspect of this attempt to control women’s bodies includes the backlash against teaching sex education in schools.  This includes the idea of arresting and jailing teachers for teaching sex education http://www.care2.com/causes/kansas-republicans-want-to-jail-teachers-for-teaching-their-sex-ed-curriculum.html

In states where there is no sex education, opting for what is called “abstinence only” education – promoting the idea that any sexual activity outside of marriage is “bad” and shouldn’t be engaged in, the rates of sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy are on the rise. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/10/06/sex-education-zimmerman-book/73453030/

I’ve included some more links for you to read at your leisure.  What do you think of the bills that have been brought forth in states and the federal government to force women to give birth to dead fetuses; to jail teachers for teaching sex education; to allow a boss to decide whether or not you can use birth control; and the rates of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases in states with abstinence only policies?  Have any of these impacted your own life?  Let me know.

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2016/03/29/3764266/new-pro-life-law-could-literally-kill-women-who-attempt-to-obtain-an-abortion/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=tptop3&utm_term=4&utm_content=53&elqTrackId=d6e1cf0b8f8d4387bd371576c43ed3c2&elq=6b05a186537945488f9604bcc294a69a&elqaid=29613&elqat=1&elqCampaignId=5318

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/03/29/1507654/-Utah-lawmakers-find-a-new-way-to-punish-women-for-having-abortions?detail=email&can_id=33a6e04e358e81459584c8279f70dccd&source=email-time-for-these-two-democrats-to-go&email_referrer=time-for-these-two-democrats-to-go&email_subject=time-for-these-two-democrats-to-go&link_id=9

 

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/03/31/1508687/-Woman-forced-to-give-birth-to-stillborn-in-Texas-because-of-Women-s-Health-laws?detail=email&can_id=33a6e04e358e81459584c8279f70dccd&source=email-stop-rachel-maddow-is-not-basically-fox-news-and-dozens-of-good-democrats-arent-corrupt-shills&email_referrer=stop-rachel-maddow-is-not-basically-fox-news-and-dozens-of-good-democrats-arent-corrupt-shills&email_subject=stop-rachel-maddow-is-not-basically-fox-news-and-dozens-of-good-democrats-arent-corrupt-shills&link_id=7

http://www.politicususa.com/proof-war-women-2

https://www.plannedparenthoodaction.org/blog/supreme-court-bosses-can-deny-birth-control-coverage-employees

 

Oh No! It’s Spring Cleaning Time!

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I don’t know about you, but the idea of spring cleaning has me running for the hills.  It could be that my dogs put nose-prints all over my downstairs windows or that since I live in a log cabin and heat with wood stoves the logs get dusty over the course of the winter (and yes, I do vacuum them).  Or, and this is a big or, every spring I try to do a clean-out of all that “stuff” that I have just hanging around my house.

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I really like the idea of minimalism, it sounds so good; however I can’t quite get there.  As an example, I managed last spring to contain all my kids’ school projects into one shirt box.  It was hard, but I managed it.  I do have several of their projects framed and hung on my walls, but consolidating the boxes of art-work and reports into one box?  Talk about emotional.  What made it easier was that neither of them could understand why I was hording it.  It all just meant so little to them.  And again, last fall I went through my closet and gave away bags of clothes to Good-Will.  Some of them were from my office work days and even if I do lose all the weight I want to, my hips will just never be as small as they were pre-childbirth.  That was a challenge.  I had looked so good in my work clothes.  Notice the word “had”.

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This spring my main challenge is a corner in my bedroom that’s become the place to pile “things” that I don’t know what to do.  Apparently I expect myself to make some kinds of decisions.  How horrifying is that?  I still have no idea what I’ll do with it.  My house has very little in the way of closets and cupboards.  And certainly no place to just put “stuff” in.

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What are your priorities for Spring Cleaning?  Are you going to spring clean?  When my kids were young there were a few years that I “missed” the usual cleaning time.  Instead I tried to do one room a week.  That actually worked out fairly well.  How do you decide to give things the old heave ho?  Has anyone tried minimalism, and did it work out for you?  Let me know.