Friday, January 27, 2017

You're Gonna Make it After All . . .

Regarding my previous post - I re-read it last night and realized it sounded as though I actually was apologizing for my stand on human rights.

In case there was any doubt:  I do not, and will not apologize for my passion for human rights.  Human rights for ALL.  

Alrighty then.

Well, another piece of my youth has left the planet.  Ask any woman of a certain age who one of her role models was, and the name Mary Tyler Moore will likely show up somewhere in the conversation.

Seriously, who among us hasn't tried tossing their beret in the air?  ;-)

I  kinda think there's going to be a run on black, grey/green and blue yarn, as well as this pattern on Ravelry:  MTM 'Take One' Tam Mary Tyler Moore.

The show's theme is a bright spot of positivity in the dystopian fog I feel like I'm slogging through these days . . .

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

What Comes Next . . . ?

The Women's March on Washington and its sister marches all over the world are done now.  In the United States this was the largest protest of its type ever.   Ever.

If you read this blog, you know that I am a passionate person about any number of things.  One of my readers left a very kind comment recently letting me know that she wasn't going to follow me any longer and why.  I know she's not the only one.  My mom taught me to have the courage of my convictions.  Sometimes that's hard.  I'm sorry that my passion for human rights is causing people to stop following me - and in some cases choosing to not be friends with me any longer - but each of us has to do what is best for ourselves and I understand that. 

I want to share two things today.  First is a chart that made the rounds on Imgur and Facebook last month.  I encourage you to click and biggify this. 

Why am I sharing it? 

Because of the rise of fake news - on both sides of the political fence.  I think it's important to truly educate ourselves on what's really happening here.  Yes, it's comfortable to stick with our own confirmation bias and watch and read things that don't make us uncomfortable.  I don't feel that I have the luxury of that any longer. In addition, the past few days make it more important than ever that we call things what they really are. To that end:

Alternate Facts = LIES

Alt-Right = White Supremacist/Neo Nazi

 Seriously, you can put lipstick on a pig.  It's still a pig.

The second thing I would like to share is actually more than one thing.  10 Actions/100 Days gives us 10 concrete things we can do during this administration's first 100 days to keep the momentum going.  This is going to be key.  One march does not a revolution make  :-)  (but man, it was a pretty awesome start  :-) ).

Also, my friend Michelle at Boulderneigh shared the Indivisible Guide, A Practical Guide to Resisting the Trump Agenda.  You can download the PDF at that link.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Resistance . . .

Friday was a difficult day for me.  For months I'd been hoping that somehow Trump would not actually become the 45th President of these United States.

 . . .

I didn't watch any of the inaugural activities - I heard bits and pieces later in the day, and I saw the photos clearly showing that the crowd was NOT the largest ever.  The fact that the new Whitehouse press secretary held a press conference to insist that - all photographic evidence to the contrary - of course it was, is beyond comprehension.

JesusMaryandJoseph, the inmates are most certainly running the asylum.  I mean, I know I shouldn't keep trying to make sense out of the constant stream of lies and Twitter tantrums that sound like a toddler or a five-year-old rather than the leader of the free world.  There is no sense to be made.  I remain convinced that something is wrong with the man, and as I have watched the last months unfold, I continue to stand by my assessment of the then-President Elect: ". . . unqualified, misogynist, racist, hate-spewing schoolyard bully . . ."

Friday night, after work, there was a protest that was to start at Trump Tower.  Of course the police wouldn't allow us to get near the building, but the protest was peaceful, and the police were great.  I joined and began walking.  It was an amazing and uplifting experience.  I live-blogged it on Facebook, and even did some live video there.  I'm not able to share the video here, but here are a few photos.  I'm going to suggest you biggify them to see them well.

And then, yesterday, Saturday, January 21, 2017, I marched in Chicago's sister march to the Women's March on Washington.  I have never experienced anything like this in my entire life.

First of all - it was 55 degrees, and it was the first sunny day in Chicago in months.  In the middle of January.  Here I am with the three friends I marched with.  That's my friend KniftyRed holding my protest sign.   We took the 8:30 train into the city and were there by about 9:30.

To give you an idea of what a truly magnificent day it was - and how beautiful this city I call mine is - this was taken from the bridge over the trains on Van Buren Street.  The bridge you're looking at is the one on Jackson Street.  The building in center with the antenna on it (behind the diamond-shaped building) is Trump Tower.

Instead of the 75,000 people they were expecting, there were 250,000.  To give you some perspective on that number, Soldier Field - where the Bears play - holds 61,500 people.  This was a quarter of a million people.  It was unreal.  And completely peaceful.  And affirming.  And exhilarating.  And exhausting.  And so very amazing.

I asked this woman the significance of her bouquet.  She told me it was for hope and for life and love, and that she didn't have the words and so she brought flowers.  I hugged her.

There were so many people that the march itself was cancelled - except that we did march anyway, and many more streets ended up being blocked off just to be able to move people out of the park.  Again, done in a peaceful and loving manner.  The Chicago PD - so very awesome in how they shepherded and guided and worked the crowd.  

This is on our way out of the park on Van Buren, heading toward Michigan Avenue.  I had no phone reception and no Facebook for quite some time during the rally.  There were just too many people for the networks to keep up.  Since we hadn't been able to learn anything about the actual size of the group or see any photos, I was stunned as we got to this point to see that Michigan Avenue was completely full of people.  In both directions. 

Again, to put the enormity of the scale of this rally/march in perspective, I snagged the following aerial photo of Grant Park from CBS News.  The red markings are mine. Start at the dots on the left side.  That's where we came up from the train.  If you follow the dots along Congress parkway and on to Columbus Drive, you'll see where we eventually ended up.  The arrow on the far right side is pointing toward the stage, which was at Jackson and Columbus.  We never really heard much, and although the jumbotron was across from where we ended up (where the dots end) we couldn't see it well. It wasn't very jumbo, I'm afraid, and needed to have been a little higher up.  But we could see it a little, and we could hear a little better than when we were still on Congress Parkway.

When we learned that we wouldn't be marching the prescribed route, we began to head out of the park back toward Michigan Avenue.  The red arrow in the middle shows our route back out of the park, and the solid red line shows where we cut across one part of the park - on the pavement - to get to Jackson Blvd., and then out on to Michigan Avenue, where we headed North back to our train station.

On the way to the train, I was able to capture this shot of The Bean.  Its real name is "Cloud Gate."  But everyone calls it The Bean - much to the artist's chagrin  ;-)  Plenty of protesters standing at the rail.

We made it back to the train station, had something to eat there, and caught the 1:30 train home.

I think my favorite chant from both marches was a call and response.

Call:  Tell me what democracy looks like.
Response:  THIS is what democracy looks like.

I believe that we are in the midst of history in the making.  I'm so grateful to be a part of it. 

Saturday, January 21, 2017

A Woman's Place . . .

Courtesy of Mississippi artist, Hayley Gilmore (whose site crashed or I would have linked it).

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

I'm Ready . . .

I will be marching in the Chicago sister march to the Women's March on Washington on Saturday, March 21, 2016.

My shirt came last night!!!  That hat is actually for a friend of mine and is headed to Colorado today.  Mine is on the needles still.

Here we go . . .

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Run the Year . . .

Like I said a few days ago, it's all about me this year.

To that end, I've found an app that is similar to a former version of a popular points counting program, and I'm using my old points calculator and my old program materials to get my food going in a way that is sustainable for me over the long-haul.

I'm avoiding added sugar again in a very big way - I'm too young to have constant joint pain.

And I found a program called Run the Year: 2017 in 2017.  You didn't have to run, you could walk!  In theory, it sounded amazing, and I was going to sign right up.  And then I did the math . . . 2017 rolls out to about 5.5 miles DAILY.  For the entire year.  I'm not a runner so I realized pretty quickly that not only is it not realistic for me to think I could do that, it's not reasonable.  And it's probably dangerous.  For sure I would get injured somehow, and that's not in the plan for 2017.  I'm choosing to remain injury-free this year  :-)

5.5 miles daily equates - for me - to approximately 16,000 steps.  DAILY.  Since I've been working on getting 10,000 most weekdays I thought I might be OK because you know they say 10,000 steps is about 5 miles . . . Except not for me.  10,000 steps for me is about 3.5 miles.  Still I was hopeful (if crazed  ;-D) and then, a couple of days before Christmas, I had a 13,000+ step day and it about wiped me out.  I knew right then that 16,000 steps/day was not going to happen - at least not this year.  You could join the Run the Year program as a team of up to four people, but no one I know was particularly interested in participating - and so I let it go.

My trainer is helping me with my strength training - I still meet with him once a week at the club, and he's created a program for me with a list of strength work so I can do another workout during the week, and a core workout at home.  Based on what we do at our normal workout on Thursdays, he chooses what other exercises I need to accomplish before I see him again the next week.  It means one more day in the gym at the club, and also some core and leg work at home.  Every week.  This is great and I'm really excited about it.

I had an extra session with him on December 31st so we could finish going over all the exercises on the sheet and could figure out which ones I could do on my own, which ones I needed his help with, and which wouldn't work at all because of my torn meniscus.  Then, while we were walking on the track, I mentioned the Run the Year 2017 in 2017 program to him and how I thought it would be cool, but that I knew I couldn't do it myself and no one else wanted to do it.  With no hesitation, he looked me right in the eye and said, "I'll do it with you."


We decided to do it on our own rather than signing up for it on the official site.  We are splitting the miles, and since we are customizing it to fit us, we decided that ALL cardio should count - not just running and walking.  So for me, that's walking, biking, and swimming.  He could easily make the 2017 on his own - he's a runner - but we're splitting it.  That means that I'm responsible for 1,008.5 miles on my own this year.  That breaks out to 2.76 miles/a day.  I rounded it up to be safe, and am shooting for 3 miles a day for the rest of the year.

The first week or so has been a bit of a wakeup call.  Yes, I often get in about 3 miles a day in my general walking around and getting to/from work, but I don't get it every day, and on weekends I generally don't get that many steps in on either day.  Plus, I need one rest day a week where I don't do much of anything (remember, I'm staying injury-free this year  :-) ).  I made my goals last week and I used my recumbent bike to get some additional miles in on Friday so I could have Saturday off as my rest day.  Biking is faster than walking, but it still takes me about five minutes to peddle a mile, so it's a minimum of 20 minutes or so to get at least four miles in.  My tailbone doesn't last much longer than that on the bike (at least not right now).

I'm trying to bank some miles in advance for those days where things conspire against me, or I get sick, or any number of other reasons why I might not get my mileage in.  But I'm very cognizant of it because if I miss a day, then all of a sudden it's not 3 miles - it's 6, and that's tough on my mind to catch back up.  3 miles/day seems completely doable in my mind.  6, not so much.

There's a new page on the blog called 2017 Run the Year.  I'm going to chronicle there if you'd like to follow along. I have a mile ticker there (it wouldn't fit in the sidebar and still be legible  :-D).

Updates will be on Thursdays  :-)

Monday, January 9, 2017

This . . .

Meryl Streep demonstrates again just what a truly class act she is.

It's worth the 6 minutes it will take to hear her words.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

New Year, New Look . . .

Here we are, headed into the second week of the new year and I have decided to redecorate - both here on the blog, and also my body  :-)

I don't generally make resolutions -  I've learned over the years that they usually set me up to fail.  I operate more in the world of intentions and goals, which, to me are not the same as resolutions.

As I do most years, I have some things I would like to get accomplished this year, but my main focus is going to be on my health and wellness.  When you take a good, hard look in the mirror and don't care so much for what you see . . . well, let's just say that I am the only person who can make the changes necessary to care for my body in this next decade of my life.

I was greatly affected by the unexpected death of Carrie Fisher, probably because we were contemporaries.  Her death and the serious illnesses of a number of my friends have made me realize just how lucky I actually am. 

And so, since I would like to maintain my active lifestyle for as long as humanly possible, I've got plans in place both for eating better, and for exercise.  I sit in an office all day long . . . Yeah, not great.

I think the other reason I feel like I can finally catch myself up, is that I just now - after 2+ years of weird health shit - have begun to feel whole again.  So I decree that 2017 is all about me.  You might want to make it all about you  :-)  I think it's going to be an awesome ride - I hope you'll come along with me  :-)

In other news . . . a year after his death, David Bowie released another song yesterday.  It's called No Plan, and it has the same heart-breaking quality of Where Are We Now?

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year . . .

2017 has arrived!

It's been a productive day for me, that's for sure!

I have three 2' x 2' plant stands.  I moved the one out of my guest room when I had a friend staying with me a few weeks ago, and I decided I only needed two stands.  I've downsized my collection substantially, and everything fits on two now.  The third stand has been "resting" in the kitchen for weeks . . . so this morning, I cannibalized it for two shelf lights, and then moved it down to the basement.  I added those lights to the bottom shelves on the two remaining sunroom stands.

I washed some of plant trays, and all the African violet reservoirs got topped off.  I also watered and cleaned up all of the general sunroom plants. I wrote all my thank you notes. I took a lot of trash and recycling out. I washed and Cloroxed the kitchen and bathroom trash cans, and got most of the bar in the kitchen cleared (most ;-D).

The second load of laundry in. All Christmas is put away. The beautiful strings of star lights that have hung in the giant windows on the north side of my house have gone to their Great Reward (after at least 12 years) because too many strands were out  :-(

I chose scrap yarns for the currently trending Find Your Fade pattern (Ravelry link).

A little more cleanup in the kitchen and then it's time for me to put my feet up and work on my PussyHat for the march on January 21st.

Everything else (and there's more . . . ) can wait until tomorrow.   :-)

Happy New Year!

These rolled across my Facebook feed in the past week and I'm keeping them close at hand:

Seize the new year  :-)