Sunday, December 27, 2020

Merry Christmas!

Pic of the Week

Against the advice of every civic and medical expert, I traveled for the holiday.  My plane row was empty!  I learned from the screen at my gate that there were 64 available seats on the plane, but only 40 of them were occupied.  So there ya go.

What's going on?

A very Merry Christmas to one and all.  I hope your holiday was filled with joy and cheer, even if it was a totally weird holiday. 

I traveled to Portland to spend Christmas and New Year's with my aunt and uncle and it's been a delight so far.  Lots of time spent reading and doing puzzles and playing games.  

The week leading up to Christmas was spent preparing to leave and soaking up as much holiday cheer as possible. I went for a walk around the neighborhood by my apartment and was disappointed to see that there was VERY little Christmas spirit.  Only about 1 in every 10 houses had any lights at all, and half of the houses that did have lights only had a string or two up.  

What I'm watching

The Great Conjunction!  Did everyone get a chance to see it?  I went down to the beach after work to get a good view only to get home and realize I could see it from my driveway.  Them's the breaks, I guess.  It was still cool to see.  Can't miss an opportunity to check out a once-in-a-century event.

What I'm reading

I finished the Mistborn Trilogy!  Honestly?  Despite it's somewhat dated nature, I'd still recommend it.  Ol' Mr. Sanderson wrapped it up really well.  
On to the next!  Less.  Not something I'd recommend to everyone, but it's a funny, delightful read about an author avoiding a wedding by accepting a bunch of invitations for conferences and teaching positions and such around the world.  And a Pulitzer Prize winner to boot!

Sunday, December 20, 2020

5 more sleeps til Christmas

Pic of the Week

How cute is this festive cactus I got at Trader Joe's?!

What's going on?

Christmastime!  It's only a week away, y'all!

My roommates left town last weekend, so I've had the apartment to myself all week.  It's been dreamy.  :)  I love my roommates, but I harbor a secret wish that someday I'll be able to live alone again.  Until then, I'll enjoy my delightfully empty apartment. 

Not a lot going on around here otherwise.  Pandemic, and all, is keeping things pretty low-key.

I went for a nice, long hike today.  I haven't been out hiking in a while and it was nice to be outside in the fresh air.  The parking was exceptionally busy, but I took a less-traveled trail and there weren't too many people, which was nice.

What I'm watching

I think I recommended this one last year, but honestly, it's so cute.  I pulled it up while working on some Christmas projects and enjoyed it just as much as last time.  Check it out if you haven't seen it yet.

What I'm reading

You guessed it! Book 3!  Despite the fact that this cover makes it look like a romance novel, and the fact that there is pull-quote from the Romantic Times on this cover, this is not, in fact, a romance novel.  It is squarely in the fantasy genre.  Though, to be fair, the two main characters are romantically involved.  Married, even. The system of magic that this particular story uses is called "allomancy" and is basically based on different metals giving people special powers like strength, or emotional manipulation.  For a project, I had my genius kid come up with merit badge requirements for allomancy since he's working toward getting his eagle scout. He did a pretty good job.  I was impressed!

What I'm listening to

Christmas Cocktail Jazz on Spotify.  This is a great playlist to have playing in the background.  Festive, but not intrusive. 

Sunday, December 13, 2020

I don't want a lot for Christmas...

Pic of the Week

Happened to glance down and catch my scooter at 66,666.6 miles, but wasn't able to pull over for another .2 miles to take a pic. Last time I took him into the mechanic, he said he didn't think Phin would last until the next oil change - which will be at 67,000 miles.  I'm now sitting at just over 66,700 miles.  Just for some reference, when I bought my scooter, the salespeople said scooters normally get about 40,000 before they're done.  But I take really good care of Phin. Once he gets going, he still runs pretty well, but he's having trouble starting lately.  January will mark 10 years that I've been toodling around town on ol' Phineas.  I'm kind of hoping he makes it til then.  *fingers crossed*

What's going on?

Pretty low-key week around these parts. Just enjoying time cozying up to Christmas lights and Christmas movies and Christmas treats.  I decided after our project of painting all of the kitchen cabinets that I wanted to give my bathroom a little face lift, so I spent this weekend painting the cabinets in there as well.  I'm very happy happy with the results.  :)

I also got this shower curtain:

So, that was fun. 

Andrew helped a friend move down to LA this weekend, so I got to have lunch with him and his friends yesterday.  We got some killer deep-dish pizza and ate it in a park.  It was lovely. 

There are a couple of airfares that I keep tabs on just to see if anything especially cheap pops up.  Buenos Aires is one of those because I haven't been back since I got home from my mission.  Round-trip airfare down there generally sits between $800-1000.  Right now it's at $440.  I am SO tempted to buy a ticket for sometime in the fall.  I think chances are good that the pandemic will be controlled enough to allow for the travel, but WHO KNOWS?!?!?!  If nothing else, I'll have airfare to Buenos Aires that I can use at some point as airlines are being super lenient about changing dates and if things aren't under control enough to travel there in September, I'd imagine the airline would be forgiving about that.  Thanks for talking through that with me.

What I'm watching

Stop whatever you're doing and watch this immediately.  It was so delightful and heartwarming and hopeful and joyful and GOOD.  If this film doesn't win every costuming award available, it will be a travesty.  A TRAVESTY, I TELL YOU. The costumes, the music, the dancing, this delightful girl child saving Christmas.  It's everything you want and need in a holiday film.  Watch it.

What I'm reading

Book two!  Genius boy is already on book 3.  In fact, he's probably done with book 3.  I gotta catch up.  But there are cabinets to be painted!!!

What I'm listening to


Sunday, December 6, 2020

Cookies galore!

Pic of the Week

Friday was national cookie day.  This was just the first purchase of the day.

Quotes of the week

"This is Greg.  He's very handsome and very nice."
-The kid I nanny introducing me to his friend at the park.

"I accidentally read the whole thing."
-A kid I tutor referring to the 500-page book I'd told him to start reading 3 days earlier.

What's going on?

December is upon us!  Bring on the Christmas Season!  I just bought some egg nog and I am in heaven.  

Got a negative COVID test result this week, which was great.  Gonna get another test tomorrow just to be sure Thanksgiving didn't give me more than a couple of extra pounds. 

We spent a good portion of the week repainting our cabinets.  My roommates started the project over the Thanksgiving break, and we finally got it done.  Took a full week, but it looks great.  We now have a beautiful, clean, sleek, white kitchen. 

What I'm watching

This was really cute and has a rockin' soundtrack. Heads up that the main couple is a gay couple, so if that makes you uncomfortable, I guess steer clear of this one?  Or maybe get some therapy?

What I'm reading

This is the 500-page book I had my student read.  It's good!  It's a fantasy series with magic and whatnot.  I'm enjoying it so far.  I, unlike the genius boy, have not finished it.  I should soon, though, because I told him to start reading the second book in the series...

What I'm listening to

The latest episode of The Mormon Mental Podcast - number 214 - is called "Nuance in considering Late Term Abortion".  The guest is a nurse and midwife who brings some much-needed context to questions around abortion and I found it uplifting and informative. 

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Cherry pie is delicious. Apple pies are too.

Pic of the Week

Yes, we had 11 pies and one pumpkin roll for 16 people at Thanksgiving.  That's how we do.  From top going down: blueberry, apple, cherry, chocolate (made with vanilla ice cream), homemade pumpkin, chocolate (made with fudge tracks ice cream), banana cream, Costco pumpkin, two lemons, banoffee, pumpkin roll. (Also, the title of this week's post is a mnemonic device for remembering the formulas for the circumference and area of a circle - circumference is pi times diameter: C=πd , area is pi times radius squared: A=πr^2.)

What's going on?

Thanksgiving!  Honestly?  LOTS to be grateful for despite the state of the world.  I have a roof over my head with roommates I love.  I have plenty to eat, plenty to wear, a solid network of friends, work I enjoy, and free time for naps and TV shows.  It seems that everyone always has uses for more - more money, more time, more stuff - but I've got it pretty good.

I did a little tutoring at the beginning of the week, got another COVID test, and then headed out to Utah for Thanksgiving - against the advice of...basically everyone.  BUT I was taking precautions to minimize risk before leaving, while in Utah, and after getting back to LA.  Minimal social contact, masks, hand-washing, etc.  I've got a COVID test planned for tomorrow and planning to get another one in a week. Minimizing risk, folks. 

It was really nice to spend some time with family, eat way too much rich food, get some family photos taken, play games, watch movies, fall more in love with my nieces and nephews, and generally have a wonderful holiday. 

OH!  ALSO! I flew in to Salt Lake's beautiful brand new airport, and let me tell you, it was not designed with people in mind.  It took a FULL 10 minutes just to walk from my arrival gate to the front door.  That's probably a half a mile. And the signage was not the most helpful. Maybe they just haven't totally finished yet?  But if they have, just say a little prayer that whenever you fly out of SLC, you don't get stuck at a gate in the B concourse.  And today, on top of the hike just to get to the gate, they had to shuttle us on a bus to then get to the plane, and once we were on the plane, we had to taxi to yet another location to get the wings and tale defrosted before we could leave.  It was quite the journey. 

Finally, it's been a light week on the entertainment front.  Haven't started any new shows, podcasts, books, movies, recipes, or puzzles.  So, in lieu of the weekly recommendations, enjoy these photos of the cattle we ran into on the way to Fish Lake for family photos. 

Sunday, November 22, 2020

The in of doors

Pic of the Week

Went paddle boarding again, but this time on the open ocean!  First time out in the wild.  It was great. Took a little getting used to as the open ocean is definitely different from paddling around the marina, and I got the tiniest bit seasick, but it was also so much fun!  Can't wait to get back out there.

What's going on?

Honestly?  Not much.  With the election over and lock downs being reinforced, there's really not a whole lot happening.  I had a bit of a COVID scare early in the week.  Not really a scare, just had the tiniest sore throat, but got tested and it came back negative.  I never ended up developing a cold or anything, so I'm not entirely sure what was going on, but everything seems to be fine.  Outside of my normal tutoring schedule, I just spent a lot of time watching TV or baking this week.  I even learned how to make ganache - which was MUCH easier than I expected!
I also got in a hike this week.  The view was quite spectacular.  This picture doesn't really do it justice.  This particular hike is in the mountains along the coast and if it's cloudy - like it was the other day - you actually end up hiking up above the cloud line, so where you see those clouds, you'd normally see the ocean.  On the hike I also saw a fox, and a family of quails!  

What I'm watching

I've watched A LOT of TV this week.  Trollhunters, The Queen's Gambit, The Mandalorian, Great British Bake Off, The Crown, The Undoing, Scientology and the Aftermath...and honestly, it's all great!  It's kept me sane for a few days.  I'm going to try and watch less this coming week because my brain just needs a break, but it was nice to have plenty to indulge in while trying to stay away from people.

Who I'm following

Jessica Yellin - Former chief White House correspondent for CNN.  "News not Noise" is her deal.  Great info on politics.

Kinggutterbaby - Infectious disease specialist laying down the facts on COVID.  Also has a pet axolotl.  

What I'm cooking

Butter tarts!  No reason in particular.  I probably heard about them on a podcast or something.  They were good.  :)

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Lunch will be provided

Pic of the Week

Went for a hike this week to a favorite little waterfall of mine.  There are two waterfalls on this hike, and I'd only ever hiked to the lower falls.  It's a really breezy hike, and the lower falls are usually lovely.  This week they were super dried up.  There was still water coming down, but the stream and pool that are usually there were almost gone.  I also decided to hike up to the upper falls this time.  It's a bit of a steep scramble, but still doable.  And once you get to the top, you can actually climb up into the waterfall.  It's pretty cool.

What's going on?

Hope everyone is staying safe during this new spike in the pandemic. Keep wearing your masks, limiting exposure, washing your hands.  We'll get through this. 

I had a pretty busy week out here.  Lots of work this week - which is great! This weekend I helped proctor the national chiropractic board exams.  Pretty boring job, but made some good money for two day's work.  

I woke up the other night in the middle of the night because the lower left side of my back was hurting.  In my half asleep stupor, I was like, " that my kidney?  Do I have a kidney stone?!"  But I think it was just that I'm in my late 30s now and sometimes when parts of my body are in one position too long they get stiff and then when I move, it hurts.  How fun.  

Anyway, that's about it for this week.  Just living that ordinary life.  Work, groceries, laundry, TV.  How are all of you?
What I'm watching

New Season of Britain's greatest export.  It continues to be delightful, heartwarming, and delicious.

What I'm listening to

Reply All episode Happiness Calcluator vs. Alex Goldman.  It talks about something called the hedonometer that measures happiness levels in the English-speaking world using the language of twitter.  It's interesting to see different places where happiness spikes and dips.  They started measuring in 2008.  The biggest spikes are always on Christmas Day.  Take a look at it!  

What I'm puzzling

White Mountain does it again!  Excited to do this one.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

*insert gigantic sigh of relief*

Pic of the Week

It will come as no surprise to any of you that I am ELATED about this news.  And regardless of who you voted for you or how you feel about this outcome, I think it says something that this news caused joyous celebration in the streets literally the world over.

Quote of the Week

"Donald Trump is a manifestation of the ugliness that's in us." 
All of us.  

What's going on?

I think I may owe some of you a bit of an apology.  I got a little fiery in last week's post and it was brought to my attention that I was being a bit of a jerk.  I try very hard to operate in my life from a place of empathy, but I still get sucked into that ugliness on occasion too. So I'd like to start off by saying I'm sorry if anything I've said in the realm of politics has made you feel unfairly judged.  I truly am.  I know that my family and friends are good people trying their best to follow their conscience and live their values.  I've put some thought into what I said and honestly, I stand by the sentiment.  However, I think I could have been a little more empathetic in how I expressed myself.  And even though the election is over and the president has been chosen and so the point is a little moot, let me try to do that now.  

The system of values and beliefs that I have and operate from, which are largely based on a Christian upbringing, are completely and utterly incompatible with a vote for Donald Trump.  My spiritual/religious/moral framework does not allow me to vote for someone like him. If you chose to vote for him, you have certainly done that based on the beliefs and values that you have and operate from.  We both have valid reasons to act the way we have based on our understanding of the world.  When I say that if you voted for Donald Trump, I don't trust anything you have to say about Jesus, what I mean is that whatever system of values you hold as a Christian that allowed you to vote for Donald Trump is not a system of values that I am the least bit interested in.  And to be fair, you probably aren't much interested in a system of values based in Christianity that allow me to be a pro-choice feminist who thinks the prison system is obsolete and that socialism kinda gets a bad rap.

There's a lot more I could say on this subject, and I'm happy to have a conversation with you about it, I'd genuinely be interested to hear how your understanding of your moral principles shapes your thoughts on politics and politicians, so feel free to reach out and let's talk.  But for now let me just say that I'm sorry.  In my opinion, Donald Trump has sown enough division and hatred over the last 4 years, I'm not going to allow him to destroy the relationships I value as well.

Anyway, it was an anxiety-filled week this week.  High-stakes election, record numbers of COVID cases, just lots going on.  I was glad to end the week on a note of joy.

Also this very cute movie on Netflix.  Worth a watch, methinks:

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Eating my feelings til Tuesday.

Pic of the Week

Spending a little time out on the water.  There's a yacht in the marina that I've passed a couple of times that has a full-on garage on board.  You can't see it in this picture, obviously, but it's about two feet to my left here.  It's bonkers.  There's another giant mega-yacht called the Double Down that's hanging out down there.  I looked it up and you can rent for a week for a cool $415,000.  So.

What's going on?

Y'all, I am READY for this election to be over. I realize we may not know the final result of the presidential race for weeks, but man I want it to be done and over with. Interesting fact - nearly 2/3 of the total number of people who voted in 2016 have already voted in this election.  And Texas and Hawaii have already both surpassed their 2016 voter turnout numbers.  Bananas!  Hope you all have voted.  And I hope you voted in the best interests of the most marginalized among us.  

How was everyone's Halloween?  We didn't get up to much around here.  I didn't dress up cuz I had nowhere to go.  My roommates and I got massages yesterday - with COVID protocols being observed by one and all - and my guy DESTROYED me.  For rulls.  I learned that my version of hell is a never-ending, deep-tissue neck massage.  It was painful, but I kind of figured if he was feeling stuff that needed to be worked out, I'd suffer through it.  But when he was done I kind of felt like I needed a relaxing massage to recover from my massage.  We then came home, ordered Indian food, watched The Witches (the new one again, my roommates hadn't seen it) and went to bed.  It was a cozy little holiday celebration.

It seems the pandemic is now fully out of control (despite the White House's claims that it's over).  Not that it was ever in control, but it's decidedly getting worse.  And probably won't get any better as winter approaches.  Hope we're all prepared to hunker down.

Daylight savings is gone!!!  I had a moment tonight where I thought, "It feels so late!" and then looked at my clock and it was 5:30.  

Anyway, hope everyone is staying safe and healthy and happy and all that jazz.  

What I'm watching

This revamp is honestly very fun.  And bonus - I know a guy who wrote on it!  He's a Story Pirate friend of mine.  :)
What I'm reading

Just a heads up that it's political, so.

A Letter to Trump-supporting Latter-Day Saints from a conservative Republican guy.  

Y'all know where I stand on the president.  I can maybe understand how people who lean conservative could vote for him, but to my dying day I will never understand how a member of The Church™ specifically, and a follower of Christ more generally could possibly vote for, let alone support and celebrate him when he embodies none of the things followers of Christ are taught to seek out. And frankly, at this point, if you are voting for him, I don't know that I would trust anything you have to say about Jesus.

*steps down off of high horse*

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Halloween goats to the rescue

Pic of the Week

Look.  At.  These.  Goats!

What's going on?

Spent most of the week in Portland!  It's always so fun to get up there and visit the ol' Woodside clan.  Goats and puzzles and plenty of time to lounge and read and recoup.  Uncle Dan tried to recruit me to work on the goat farm, and honestly I don't hate the idea...

I also got to hang out with a good friend of mine for a day. We had a blast eating too many pastries, watching movies and TV, and enjoying to cool weather.  Lots of laughs and carbs and Australian accents.  

Traveling wasn't too bad.  Everything felt relatively safe and clean.  Alaska Airlines doesn't allow anyone to fly who isn't wearing a mask, which was nice.  

Not much else going on around these parts.  Welcoming the cooler weather, tutoring the children, getting into the spirit of the season with all things pumpkin. 

What I'm watching

This was pretty good!  In a lot of ways it's just a classic remake of the original, but with some fun updates.  There are even some clever nods to the original.  I enjoyed it. 

What I'm puzzling

Monster Banquet from the Vermont Christmas Puzzle Company. 550 pieces.  Aunt Sibby is also a puzzler extraordinaire, so we worked on this one while I was in town.  

Sunday, October 18, 2020

It's a bug's life.

Pic of the Week

Just some friends I found around the house this week.  Top picture is a redback jumping spider who was chilling on my scooter yesterday morning.  He was a big guy, but they're harmless.  That caterpillar is a young tomato hornworm.  He - along with 6 of his friends - was chillin' on my tomato plant.  They've been wreaking some havoc there, so I had to forcibly remove them.  I'd like to give my little plant a chance to produce some actual tomatoes *fingers crossed*.  I also saw a smaller jumping spider chowing on a smaller caterpillar at the park earlier in the week too.  The circle of life.

What's going on?

Welp, I somehow managed to lose my other wireless earbud.  They lasted two months. This is why I bought the cheap ones.  *sigh*

Y'all, the season is upon us!  We're more than halfway through October and I carved my first jack-o-lantern in...a couple of years, I think.  It was fun!  And I think he turned out real cute:

Exciting events from this week:

I bought a paddle board!  I've rented a paddle board a few times, and every time I think, "I really enjoy this.  I should get myself a paddle board."  So I did.  Found a relatively inexpensive one from Costco and went for it.  I took it out for a spin on Friday and it was a dream.  I'm so happy about it.  :)

I signed up to start working the Democratic Voter Information hotline.  It's a hotline that's just there to provide information about where/when/how to vote. I worked one very slow shift, so I haven't really been able to answer any voter questions yet, but it still feels good to be participating in the democratic process in a helpful way. 

What I'm watching

I binged this show in 2 days.  It's so good.  Just a heads up that there's some language, but the show is so full of goodness, and kindess, and forgiveness, and it's so uplifting and heartwarming and just GOOD.  The world needs more shows like this.  If you have access to Apple TV, watch it.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

In which I make my feelings about The President clear

Pic of the Week

Just a little crafting with the roommates.  Our cheesecloth ghosts didn't turn out exactly how we imagined, but they ended up being pretty cute.  Their names are Wilbur, Judith, and Eugene.

What's going on?

We had a few days of really nice weather as a respite from the heat and it's been so lovely.  But the forecast is looking rather warm for the next little stretch.  *sigh*

Last weekend on a whim, I decided to go paddle boarding and remembered how much I really enjoy it, so I went on the Costco website and bought myself a paddle board.  The next morning I strapped it to my scooter (it's an inflatable one) and headed down to the beach.  About halfway there, it fell off my scooter, but was still attached by the bungee chords, and scraped along the asphalt for a short bit.  Put a nice hole in it before I even got a chance to use it.  Luckily Costco has a pretty wide-open return policy.  My new new paddle board should arrive this week.  *double sigh*

THEN I lost one of my wireless ear buds.  It fell out of its case in my front room and I cannot for the life of me figure out where it went.  *triple sigh*

Tutoring continues to go well.  I feel lucky I have skills and work that give me some income during the continued lockdown.  And most of my kids are really great kids.  I do have one who is a bit of a Negative Nancy, which is kind of sad to see in an 11-yr-old, but alas.  

I watched the Vice Presidential debate on Wednesday, though heaven knows why.  I already know who I'm voting for and it really did nothing but raise my blood pressure as we all yelled at the TV.  

Also, a friend shared this with me from a Facebook friend of hers, and while I'm not 100% sure where all of you stand with regards to the current administration, I wanted to respond just in case any of you were confused or unclear about my feelings on the state of our nation:
You see Trump’s arrogance, I see Trump’s confidence. You see Trump’s nationalism, I see Trump’s patriotism. You hear Trump’s unsophisticated words, I hear Trump’s honesty. You see Trump’s racism, I see Trump’s words being misconstrued and twisted by the media daily to fit their narrative. You see Trump as a Republican, I see Trump as a Patriot. You see Trump as a dictator, I see Trump as a leader. You see Trump as an Authoritarian, I see Trump as the only one willing to fight for our freedoms. You see Trump as childish, I see Trump as a fighter, unwilling to cave in to the lies. You see Trump as an unpolished politician, I see Trump as a breath of fresh air. You think Trump hates immigrants, I know Trump is married to an immigrant. You see Trump putting an end to immigration in America, I see Trump welcoming immigrants to America LEGALLY. You see Trump’s cages at the border, I see Obama’s cages at the border. You see Trump with a struggling economy, I see Trump with an amazing economy until the Democrats shut it down. You see the violence in the streets and call it “Trump’s America”, I see the violence in the streets of Democratic run cities who are refusing Trump’s help and call it “Liberal America.” You want someone more Presidential, I’m happy we have someone who finally doesn’t just talk the talk but actually walks the walk. You and I? We see things very differently.
My response?  I am saddened that you haven't learned to spot the difference between confidence (I am good at what I do) and arrogance (I am better than everyone else at what I do).  It's a subtle, but important difference, and Trump unabashedly crosses that line.  
I am saddened that you see nationalism and think it's patriotism.  I also love my country, but not at the expense of people I think "shouldn't be here." 
I don't know how you can tell if or when Trump is being honest.  I'll grant you that it probably happens. Even an broken clock is right twice a day.  But with more than 20,000 documented lies, it's more likely that anything he says is false.  
Trump's racism is equally well-documented, and you don't need the "mainstream media", as you call it, to tell you that.  And let's be clear: ignoring racism, or dismissing it, or sweeping it under the rug is a racist act as violent as any lynching, and 1,000 times more dangerous because of how innocuous it seems.  
Honestly?  I don't see Trump as a Republican.  I have too much respect for the Republicans I know to lump him in with them.  I see him as a politician of convenience.  
Trump is objectively not a dictator or an authoritarian.  Our government is set up so that we don't, and can't have a dictator.  But he cozies up to dictators and certainly has authoritarian leanings and tendencies. He has given us little doubt that he would behave as a dictator if he could.  Mercifully there are checks and balances in place so that he can't.   
I work with children and have for the better part of two decades and I can say unequivocally that Trump is childish.  The very behaviors he displays while being "a fighter, unwilling to cave to the lies," are the behaviors that when children display them, we chastise and correct them.  I and my colleagues are desperately trying - at your behest - to train those behaviors out of America's children.  
Using the phrase "a breath of fresh air" is incredibly ironic given Trump's views and policies on the environment and the measurably negative effect they're having.
When it comes to immigrants, being married to one doesn't preclude you from hating them. Trump has unabashedly shown his contempt for immigrants who are from countries or groups that he deems unworthy. And regardless of when or why the cages at the border appeared, there are children in those cages who have been separated from their families because of the Trump administration.  Passing the buck doesn't solve the problem. I am all for legal immigration because our nation was built by immigrants.  Immigrants are part of what makes America so amazing.  And we should honestly be making it easier for immigrants to live and work here and contribute to our society.  
It's true that before the pandemic rocked the foundations of our society, the economy was doing well.  But the fall of the economy has nothing to do with political parties.  It has to do with individual Americans making decisions to keep their families safe - on both sides of the aisle.  And our economy would probably be back on the upswing more than it is - thus scoring a major victory for the President in this election season - but for his complete and utter ineptitude in handling it - as essentially the entire medical and scientific community will attest to.  
Violence in the streets is not happening exclusively in cities led by Democrats.  I do not condone violence in any form.  But if we ignore and condemn the violence without looking at what's causing it - and no, the cause is not "the radical left," anger and violence are simply manifestations of fear and pain - we're missing the point.  Regardless of how you view the violence taking place, the reality is it's happening on Trump's watch, and largely because of his rhetoric.  
And you're right.  I do want someone more presidential.  Someone who uses the language of unity instead of division.  Someone who inspires confidence instead of fear and confusion.  Someone who lifts people up instead of tearing them down.  Someone who respects our global allies.  Someone who unequivocally and speedily condemns hatred in all its forms. And the thing is, there are people across the political spectrum who can do those things.  There are decent, good, hard-working Republicans you could have chosen, but instead you've chosen to rally behind an infantile bully. 
But mostly I continue to be completely flabbergasted by the fact that Christians overwhelmingly support - and not just support, but celebrate and revere - a man who in no conceivable or objective way displays, demonstrates, or embodies any quality that Christ taught us to value.  He mocks the disabled, degrades and belittles women, lashes out at perceived slights, lies, cheats, insults, brags, boasts, and divides. You've sold your birthright for a mess of pottage.
So yes, we do see things very differently, and more than anything, it makes me so incredibly sad that you see a web of lies and propaganda, but somehow don't realize that you're the one that's caught in it.

What I'm watching

I generally DO NOT like scary things.  I don't like the feeling of being scared.  Not into it.  But somehow my roommate convinced me to watch this with her.  I'm doing okay, because we sort of laugh a lot, but it's still scarier than I care for.  However, I will say that this show is incredibly well-done.  It's visually beautiful, the cinematography is top-notch, the acting is incredible, and the story is interesting. Also, as the story is revealed, it gets a little less scary - which is nice.  If you're in the mood for something festive for the season, and don't mind a little scare, this is a pretty good pick.  I've also watched Young Frankenstein, The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, and Sleepy Hollow - more fun seasonal picks. 

What I'm reading

This is essentially just a short story.  After reading it, I thought, "How on Earth did this become such an enduring part of our culture?" The author literally spends more time describing the food at a banquet than he does the actual encounter with the Headless Horseman.  But it's always fun to read an original story like this.  Highly recommended if you want a quick read for a spooky evening.  

What I'm listening to

This episode explores the idea of really listening and experience the world from someone else's point of view.  I think it's an essential conversation for our times.

What I'm puzzling

Another great thrift store find. :)

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Make him an offer he can't refuse...

Pic of the Week

Rooftop chill with a friend.  What a view.

What's going on?

I watched The Social Dilemma (highly recommend) and decided to take a break from Facebook for a minute.  I logged out on all my devices and honestly didn't really miss it.  I logged back in to check something one day and could feel my blood pressure rising within about 2 minutes, so I think I won't be checking in there much moving forward, and definitely not before the election is over.  It's too contentious with no reason.  Ya know? 

I have quite a load of tutoring students these days.  About half of them are in-person, but the company I work for has put safety guidelines in place, so if families decide to do in-person tutoring, it has to be in a shaded outdoor space and both the students and tutors are required to wear masks.  It's actually quite nice and the families I tutor for have some amazing views in their backyards.

I went to the hardware store this week to pick up some pliers so I could switch out my very old shower head, and while I was there decided to pick up a pot for a plant, but the garden center didn't have any terra cotta pots.  None.  What?  That's right.  NONE.  So weird.  Also, an animal of some kind had pooped in a tray of ground cover.  What a trip to the store.

This week in jobs I'd never imagine having - I went to an observation for what amounts to an extension of my standardized patient job, it's just that these exams are more invasive - teaching students how to give a proper testicular and prostate exam.  Such fun!  Pay's good though.

What I'm reading

Lots of moving tribues to RGB (while also fuming at the blatant hypocrisy of the Republican party in fast-tracking a replacement.  And I just keep thinking, "Hey Christians, ya know who Jesus didn't have any words for?  Gay people.  You know who he had a lot of words for?  Rich people and hypocrites." *sigh*)

What I'm watching

My roomies made a plan to watch this one as they'd never seen it, so I joined them.  I saw this one a few years ago, but didn't actually remember a lot about it.  Interesting film.  We also looked up lots of fun trivia about it.  For example, Marlon Brando wanted Don Corleone to look like a bulldog, so he stuffed his cheeks with cotton wool for his audition and then during filming he wore a mouthpiece that is now on display at a museum in Queens.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Smoky eyes

Pic of the Week

Battle wounds from a fairly epic meltdown of a 7-yr-old this week.  Comes with the territory, I suppose.

What's going on?

We can breathe! Air quality seems to be back to normal.  I was in Utah over the weekend missed the worst of it, but there were still a couple of smoky days when I got back.  Glad things are clearing up.

Been a pretty normal week. Work, food, new cat in the apartment (not mine, but he's pretty cute).  Not doing much other than that these days what with the Pandemic and all.

Terribly saddened by the news of RGB's passing.  Her life and legacy are truly inspiring. 

This week's post is pretty light.  Not a lot going on around here.  

What I'm reading

This is a troubling look at history from the viewpoint of the people who were marginalized, enslaved, massacred, etc.  Important stuff to know, though.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Audiobooks on road trips

Pic of the Week

Stopped for lunch in Barstow and the Arby's was only open for drive-through orders, so I had to go to the gas station next door to use the bathroom.  This was on the bathroom door and made me laugh.

What's going on?

Happy Labor Day!!!  I was going to go hiking, but when I arrived at the trail head a somewhat surly park ranger informed me that all of the trails in the area were closed due to the heat (it was, like, 80 degrees that day, but had been in the triple digits over the weekend).  Any other hike would have been at least an hour drive away and not guaranteed to be open, so I went home and washed my car instead. 

Not much else going on this week.  Work, farmer's market, getting back into an exercise routine, etc. I drove to Utah this weekend for a niece's baptism and had a grand old time.  It was really nice to get out of LA since the entire west coast is currently under a dark cloud of ash and smoke.  Not looking forward to driving back into that.  Looks like it should clear up a bit by Wednesday, though.

I got my hair cut while in Utah. (Thanks Brianna!).  My hair's been growing out for about a year and a half and it just felt like time to go short again.  Changes all around.

What I'm watching

Apparently there's some controversy around this one. The lead actress, Liu Yifei, apparently supports police brutality and oppression in Hong Kong.  Part of the film was also filmed in the region of China where the government is detaining and oppressing ethnic Muslims.  So, not great PR for this film.  But I watched it before I knew all of that.  I've heard some mixed things about the movie, but overall I really enjoyed it.  

What I'm reading

A look at mass incarceration in America.  It seems like if you read this and aren't completely infuriated, you need to check yourself and read it again.

Also saw this gem on Facebook and thought it was quite thought-provoking:

My kids are watching "Les Miserables" tonight and I can't help but think there are a lot of people who love this story and would absolutely hate everything about it if it were set in modern day.
A convict imprisoned for minor theft highlights the plight of the poor and the inequities of the justice system. A single-minded police officer whose insistence on the letter of the law creates injustice.
An impoverished woman whose #metoo moment ends with her disbelieved, cast away from society, further impoverished and forced into prostitution, where she is taken advantage of and ultimately wrung out until dead by upper class johns and the justice system.
These injustices lead to an ultimately failed riot by young people, that is nevertheless held up as an exemplar of the Kingdom of God that is coming.
Even the minor villains are small business owners who are working hard to achieve riches at the expense of the people around them.
And in all of this, the heroes, the only people who provide any help to one another:
* An ex-convict on the run from the law
* a lying churchman who extends grace
* a young rioter
* a prostitute and her child
* a homeless child (also murdered by state violence)
All of this in an unapologetically spiritual, inherently Christian story in which every prayer is answered save one: Javert's prayer that the convict be placed behind bars again.
And the thief is not transformed by prison, which makes him only more desperate, more dangerous. He is not transformed by justice. He becomes a better man, a functioning part of society because of mercy, and because he is invited into the community of faith. Love, faith, kindness, mercy. Justice and rule of law bring only injustice and death in this story.
I wonder in that world if each of us would be cast in the role of villain or hero. Food for thought.