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What I Learned on My Facebook Vacation

February 2, 2017
What I Learned on My Facebook Vacation

Recently I took a little break from social media, and this is what I learned on my Facebook Vacation. I needed a break from social media, but mostly I needed to get off of Facebook. Facebook is where I do most of my socializing. 

Don’t judge, you probably do too, or maybe you’re fond of Pinterest, or you hang out with the folks on Instagram. Doesn’t matter, they’re all the same. None of us actually get out anymore. And that’s too bad because there’s a whole big world of people doing things and NOT arguing about politics or calling each other Nazis or Libtards.

What I Learned on My Facebook Vacation

In my week of self induced banning from Facebook I learned that people in the real world don’t commence a conversation with friends by demanding they unfriend each other because one of them may or may not approve of the other’s opinion – which is really just one of them trying to show all the other people in her timeline that she is bold, brash, right (though not “right” or “alt-right”) and mostly virtuous.

I learned that people can go out together and have fun. They can shop, walk, talk, share a meal, laugh, sing, dance and never, ever mention politics, or mock Steve Bannon’s or Kellyanne Conway’s looks.

We used to be a melting pot but now – thanks to identity politics – we’re black, white, hispanics, women, men, lesbians, gays, transgender, cis something or other, religious freaks, atheists, republicans, democrats (republicants, libtards, republikkkans, fascists, Nazis), white males, white women of privilege (which is apparently not only a joke, but also a huge redundancy). We are every group there is out there, we are different. OMG we are nothing but our differences. 

Except we’re not. We used to be Americans. Those who were immigrating here – they were known as people who wanted to become Americans. 

And in the real world, we’re just people trying to get through this crazy ass amusement park ride together. We’re human. We make mistakes, we dust ourselves off, get back up and try all over again. 

I love Facebook, I’ve met some great people there, but I prefer the real world — where we have to look each other in the eye while we discuss the issues of the day, where the nuances of conversations are not surrendered to emojis and 140 characters. Where we actually care about each other. 

And especially where we aren’t just trying to tear each other down so we can build ourselves up for the approval, or “likes”, from those who have more followers than us.

But mostly what I learned on my Facebook vacation is that we aren’t all assholes (in real life). Some of us, most of us, are actually decent people. Even the ones with whom we disagree (go fucking figure!). 

 

Blogging Dumb Shit I Do How Did We Survive? Minnesota Things I Really Like Writing

A Little Song, A Little Dance, A Little Seltzer Down Your Pants

January 28, 2017
A little song a little dance a little seltzer down your pants

This past week Mary Tyler Moore passed away. The first thing that popped into my head, upon learning of her passing, was “A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants”. That was the phrase from the eulogy of Chuckles the Clown that got Mary giggling during his funeral. If you’ve never seen it, you can see the scene here, it’s hilarious even without the context.

A Little Song, A Little Dance, A Little Seltzer Down Your Pants

I grew up watching The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, Maude, Rhoda, Carol Burnett and all those other fantastic shows of the 70s. I was young, 9 or 10 but I knew instinctively that the writing on all of these shows was phenomenal. It never occurred to me that I could write for a sitcom, but I learned a lot about timing and telling a joke from these shows.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show was a show my whole family watched together. Do families even do that anymore? With so many ways to consume television I think the experience has been lost.

When I was a kid the TV was commonly referred to as the Boob Tube. Parents, teachers, scholars, doctors, etc… all believed it was rotting the minds of our children. And it probably was. I know I spent a fair amount of time watching TV. From After School Specials, Saturday morning cartoons, and finally the Saturday night lineup on CBS, I probably clocked in a good 25 to 30 hours a week. I’d have logged more if we had another TV. 

Mary as a trail blazing woman didn’t impact me much. Most of the shows back then had strong female characters who didn’t take any bullshit. They were smart and self sufficient and didn’t expect anyone to take care of them. For me, that’s just the way women were. 

I was more impacted by Mary as a Minnesotan and made the trek to the IDS Center when I was about 14. A couple of friends and I took the bus to Minneapolis to hang out and ride the infamous escalator. Yeah, at 14 we just got on a bus to visit another city – unaccompanied by an adult. Do kids do that today?

Because my mother was pretty much confined to the living room couch, or what we eventually called “The Judy Room”, most of my family memories took place in front of the TV. The characters on these shows were family. 

Mary, Mr Grant, Ted, Murray, Rhoda, Bob, Carol, Maude, Archie, Edith, George and Weezie – all of them had an impact on my upbringing, but it was sitting around with my family, sharing the experience of these shows, that will stay with me forever and fondly.

So thank you Mary, and everyone else, for being part of my family.

A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants!

 

Dumb Shit I Do Events How Did We Survive? People politics Things that piss me off WTF?

It’s the End of the World as We Know It

January 18, 2017
it's the end of the world as we know it

If you’re like a good chunk of the US population, and probably a large percentage of the rest of the world, you probably think that come Friday, it’s the end of the world as we know it.

Or maybe it will be the end of the world? Who knows, maybe shortly after Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, he’ll make a grab for the football and set off the nukes. 

Unless you’re living under a rock you can’t help but notice that people are losing their shit about the inauguration. Joe Biden is worried about the fracture of the “liberal world order” due to Putin, Glen Beck has seen the light and is now holding hands with Samantha Bee, Marc Lamont Hill is saying some of the most foul things and still no one is really covering it – let alone outraged by it (so I guess in that regard nothing has changed), and some dude actually lit himself on fire in protest of Trump

What the ever loving f*ck?

And it’s only Wednesday. I would imagine things are just getting started with regard to crazy and overly dramatic.

I don’t know if it’s the end of the world as we know it. It probably is. I mean, isn’t it always? Something comes along and changes the trajectory of things – whatever they may be – and things change accordingly. The same could have been said if Hillary was the person being sworn in on Friday. Things would be different. Though, probably not as different as they are with Trump win. 

Of course, that’s also why he won. 

But what about the Russians?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, they hacked us, and we are rightly outraged and are doing everything possible to make sure it doesn’t happen again, but there has been no evidence that anything they did actually changed the outcome of the election. So…..

I’m sorry, I got distracted by the auto arguments.

People wanted change, that’s why Trump won the election. Now, it might not be the change you wanted, but that’s why we have elections. We don’t let just one person, or one group, choose who the next president will be. Sorry, Rosie, not even you get to choose for all of us

My Facebook feed is filled with people so anxious about the peaceful change of power that they literally have “taken to bed”. 

I would love to take to bed, but I have to work. I’m super thrilled however, that we live in such a wealthy nation that people have that option. I mean think about it… we have so much wealth in this nation that someone can “take to bed” for a day or more because they are simply upset about who won the presidency. They either don’t have any responsibility, or they are so well off that they have others to pick up the slack while they “take to bed”. 

What isn’t there to love about that? What a wonderful country we have that we have so much flexibility. Talk about first world problems.

Seriously, I am getting away from myself.

And I don’t even like Trump!

The thing is, I’ve seen this all before. That’s one of the great things about hitting the mid century mark, there’s not much you haven’t seen. I came of age during the Reagan years and I remember everyone freaking out that he was going to accidentally nuke Russia or some other unfortunate country. It didn’t happen then and it isn’t likely to now.

Will he make changes?

Yeah, duh. That’s why he’s getting sworn in and Hillary is not. I said that already, I guess.

He’s probably going to make a lot of changes, and all of them will be attributed to his sense of greed and desire for power, same goes for all the republicans. It’s going to be a long 4 years, possibly 8. 

To be continued….

How Did We Survive? Kids WTF?

Clowns Banned from Halloween

October 6, 2016
clowns banned from Halloween

Let me get this straight, clowns banned from halloween because they creep people out too much?!?!?! Apparently out east clowns have been banned from Halloween because of all the recent creepy clown sightings this summer and fall. Mind you, no one has been hurt by these creepy clowns, but they freak people out enough that the powers that be in Connecticut have prohibited children from dressing up as clowns in all 48 New Haven schools.

Clowns Banned from Halloween

“Unfortunately, clown-themed posturing has been a growing trend throughout the country, particularly on social media,” said the New Haven school district, which enrolls 21,500 students, in a statement on Tuesday.

Clowns are scary, therefore we can’t dress up as clowns for Halloween.

Ummm….

Isn’t that the point of Halloween? To dress up as something scary?

Again, with all of the recent creepy clown sightings in the last few months, all have been hoaxes.

Why the hell is everyone freaking out? People in my generation have been terrified of clowns since the stories of John Wayne Gacy were whispered at every campfire and slumber party. Clowns are creepy as fuck, and that’s why they’re so fun to dress as for Halloween.

Even Stephen King said people are overreacting. Stephen King, the author who gave us Pennywise, the creepy clown from his novel IT.

“Hey, guys, time to cool the clown hysteria,” King tweeted on Monday, “most of em are good, cheer up the kiddies, make people laugh.”

Having clowns banned from Halloween is like banning candy from Halloween or banning the movie Elf pretty much any time of the year because it is always on somewhere.

What good will banning clowns from Halloween do anyway? If perverts really are dressing up as clowns in order to entice kids to come with them (clearly they never got the memo that clowns are creepy and most kids would run from them anyway) what’s to stop them from dressing up as Darth Vadar, Captain America, a Transformer or even Elsa from Frozen?

I think the people out east have underestimated perverts.

Apparently clown masks sales are up 300% since last year. So even though clowns have been banned from Halloween, at least out east, expect to see them all over the place on Halloween night. You may even see a couple of them through November 8th.

Food How Did We Survive? Reviews Things I Really Like

Instant Pot – Does it All and More!

August 15, 2016
Instant Pot Does it all

Have you gotten an Instant Pot yet? Seriously, what are you waiting for? The Instant Pot – does it all and more! I love this thing almost as much as I love my children. It makes life so much easier and Amazon has it on sale again!!

Let’s back up a bit in case you’re like me, and had no idea what an Instant Pot was.

The Instant Pot is a really safe and polite pressure cooker from Canada. It’s got not just one, not just two, but 10 proven safety mechanisms. If you’ve cooked with a pressure cooker you know that they aren’t always safe. I’ve exploded a couple in my time. In fact, it was a rite of passage growing up. My dad gave me a pressure cooker when I moved out. The kind that goes on top of the stove. I’d seen him explode one once or twice so I was prepared. It didn’t help. Good thing I wanted to paint my ceiling again anyway.

So safety is important. Just look at how wonderfully safe it is!

Did I mention polite? It’s Canadian so it has to be. Still, the box cracked me up. American products are all like plug me in and hopefully I’ll work right. Not this lovely Canadian Instant Pot, it’s saying please and thank you all over the place. Also the instruction manual, it’s got a cheat sheet since it understands no one ever reads those things. It’s also got a website which is really helpful with tips, tricks and recipes.

Getting back to safety…. The Instant Pot pressure cooker is safe, it as a release valve on it so you can let out all of the steam and not burn off your face or blast beef stew all over your kitchen ceiling, two really important features.

You may have seen those infomercials on late night TV where the guy cooks a metric ton of chicken wings in about 5 minutes. That’s the Power Pressure Cooker, the American version of the Instant Pot, though truth be told the Power Pressure Cooker could have come first, I don’t really know. It is the pressure cooker I had before I got my Instant Pot. I loved it, it is a great product (you can see a great compare and contrast of the two pressure cookers here), but my son borrowed it from me when he hosted a group of friends and I haven’t seen it since. So instead of buying another of the same I wanted to try the Instant Pot, and I am so glad I did!

So, what all does the Instant Pot do?

Instant Pot – Does it All and More!

  • Slow cook
  • Rice
  • Soups
  • Chili
  • Oatmeal
  • Stews
  • Hot dish (casseroles for you non Minnesotans)
  • Yogurt (seriously, you can make yogurt in this thing!!!)
  • And basically anything you might cook on the stove or in the oven you can cook in the Instant Pot for a fraction of the time.

Cooking with pressure allows you to cook foods faster and to retain their moisture, unlike conventional oven cooking. Because you can do it all in one pot, you save yourself all kinds of cleanup. Because you can do it in a fraction of the regular cooking time there’s no excuse to feed your family healthy meals because you didn’t think ahead and pull something out of the freezer so now you’re grabbing your keys and heading to the nearest drive thru.

Life Changing Cooking Appliance

Instant Pot (and pressure cooking) has been a thing for a couple of years now, but recently Amazon put it on sale for its Prime Day at something like $69. Normally it sells for from $100 to $159 (with the Power Pressure Cooker running about the same), so at $69 it’s a bargain, hell buy two, you’ll use them.

I got the Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker, 6Qt/1000W a couple of weeks ago (it’s the larger version, the one that makes yogurt) and have cooked in it almost every night. I’ve made pulled pork (20 minutes), Shrimp Alfredo (7 minutes), baby potatoes (7 minutes), and my favorite, a cheesy smoked sausage hot dish. All were delicious and so easy to prepare.

Instant Pot meals

The only drawback that I can see to the Instant Pot is that you cannot can with it. It’s too small at only 6 quarts (you need a 10 quart vessel to can properly). The Power Pressure Cooker does have a canning feature, so if that’s what you’re looking for be sure to check it out. I don’t can that often (though I would like to), so I’d use my huge ass canning pot if I needed to.

Have you gotten your Instant Pot yet? What did you think about it?

Events Food How Did We Survive? People

Open All The Stores On Thanksgiving!!

November 19, 2014
Thanksgiving turkey

I love Thanksgiving. Let me just get that out there first. I love Thanksgiving. It’s the perfect holiday. No gifts, great food and wine, family and friends if you’re lucky (and sometimes if you’re not) and of course pie. It’s just like 4th of July but without the mosquito bites, sunburns and fireworks. I love Thanksgiving, I really do. So don’t hate me for saying what a lot of people (and big bad corporations) are thinking – Open all the Stores on Thanksgiving.

If you’ve been around the internet of late you’ve noticed a growing murmur of people trying to ban shopping on Thanksgiving, they even made this badge that you can post on your blog or share on Twitter or Facebook.

NO-shopping-on-thanksgiving

It’s a great idea and who doesn’t want a Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving? How could stores like Best Buy, Sears or Walmart ruin this image of family joy and togetherness? The thing is not everyone has a Rockwellian family. Some people don’t celebrate with family for all kinds of reasons. The rest of us just drink through the holiday, which can make it most enjoyable.

Forever people have had to work on holidays. It’s a drag if you have to but someone has to sell the gas, cigarettes and lottery tickets and someone has to man the emergency rooms across the country. That’s how it’s always been until maybe ten years ago when they started offering deep discounts on cheap TV and crappy laptops.

The birth of Black Friday ushered in all kinds of craziness. People got up at the crack of dawn, or worse, never went to sleep on Thanksgiving, so they could fight crowds of people looking for a deal.

I’ve never been to a store on Black Friday. Usually on Black Friday I’m sipping coffee, watching Love Actually or It’s A Wonderful Life and getting ready to run another load of dishes through the dishwasher leftover from the night before. I may or may not be nibbling on some leftover turkey.

Before Black Friday became a thing there was the day BEFORE Thanksgiving. This was the big day for shopping. Grocery stores, hardware store and stores that sell things like linens, flowers, and anything to make the house look nice got a rush of business from those of us who waited until the last minute. You’d have to fight for the last bag of Pepperidge Farm stuffing and you’d be lucky if you got a can of jellied cranberry sauce.

Ocean Spray Cranberry SauceSome people refuse to eat the Jello-like, can-shaped mass of cranberries because it looks so fake. Not in my house, this is the preferred kind of cranberry sauce because it makes such a satisfying slllluurrrrrpp when it is finally released from the can and falls onto the plate. In recent years the Ocean Spray company has taken it upon themselves to change the design of the can. Now you have to open the can from the bottom because the top is really the bottom and is curved in such a way that it can’t be opened with a can opener. I don’t know who was asleep at the wheel when this engineering feat was implemented but it was a stupid idea. You can’t get the jellied cranberry sauce out of the can without venting the can. With the new design you have to stick a knife in it and it ruins the beautiful ridges created by the can making the sauce almost too mutilated to put on the table. It’s not even suitable for the cry table at this point.

But I digress.

The problem with Thanksgiving before Black Friday is that if you forgot something like butter or whipped cream you couldn’t just run to the grocery store to pick up some more. You had to go to 7-11 and get hosed for a pound of butter. And, if you were low on booze and aunt Helen was coming for dinner you were simply out of luck. You’d have to let her at the good stuff.

So I’m all for opening the stores on Thanksgiving but earlier, like the whole day. In fact, open the stores on Thanksgiving morning, all of the stores, and let people get their shopping jones on. Get it out of their system at the same time all the people planning on hosting a not so Rockwellian Thanksgiving can make one last trip for butter, eggs and some nog for aunt Helen. After they’ve gotten their TV, crappy laptop or the current years Cabbage Patch Kid they can sit down and eat turkey with all their friends and family.

We still live in America, a place where Freedom rings and Liberty sings, right? I know, having the stores open on Thanksgiving means people who work in those stores can’t be with their families. That’s not true, they can reschedule their holiday like all divorced couples have been doing for decades. Life isn’t fair, there are always people who have to work on holidays. If they really didn’t want to work on Thanksgiving they could look for a job that wasn’t in the service industry.  I’m sick of political correctness dictating everything we do in this country.

Why is this even being debated and boycotted? If you want to spend your Thanksgiving shopping then by all means have at it. You’re putting more money into the economy and probably more than you can afford – if that isn’t he American way I don’t know what is. If you don’t want to shop on Thanksgiving spend it with your family or on the couch binge watching episodes of Game of Thrones, that’s a nice family show, right?

Spend your Thanksgiving anyway you want. That’s the great thing about the holiday, it’s about being thankful, it doesn’t matter what you’re thankful for, just as long as you are. And if you aren’t thankful for being lucky enough to live in a country where you can afford to blow off your family so you can spend money you don’t really have on crap you don’t need I don’t what there is to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Stores that are open on Thanksgiving:

Walmart

Kmart

Sears

Macy’s

JC Penney

Target

Best Buy

Kohl’s

Toys R Us

Sports Authority

Staples (You know, in case you just have to get some paper clips or a three ring punch)

Stores that will be closed on Thanksgiving:

Ace Hardware

Barnes & Noble

Patagonia

Dillard’s

Crate and Barrel

Neiman Marcus

GameStop

Nordstrom

Bed Bath & Beyond

Burlington Coat Factory

REI

Events How Did We Survive? Viruses

Is It Time To Worry About Ebola Yet?

October 15, 2014

Is it time to worry about ebola yet? Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve heard about ebola and how it has made its way to America. A few weeks ago a man named Thomas Eric Duncan flew to the US from Liberia. At the time he did not have a fever or any symptoms of the deadly disease but within days of arriving in the US Duncan started experiencing symptoms consistent with ebola and reported to the hospital. Even though he told hospital staff he was from Liberia, a place battling ebola right now, he was turned away. He returns a few days later with worsening symptoms including projectile vomiting and diarrhea. Duncan dies 9 days later and becomes known as patient zero.

Since then two nurses have tested positive for ebola and are being treated. The CDC is on offense and the news media is having a full on panic about the disease.

Is it time to worry about ebola yet?

Let’s look at a few other facts about ebola before we start to panic.

1. Ebola is only contagious when an infected person is experiencing symptoms of the disease. Symptoms include fever, headache, joint pain, muscle aches, vomiting, diarrhea and eventually bleeding out through multiple orifices. The problem is ebola starts out like a lot of viruses that are common this time of year.

2. Ebola is not airborne – yet. Currently you can only get ebola if you are in direct contact with the blood and bodily fluids of an infected person. It is not airborne at the moment but viruses mutate all the time so it could happen.

3. Ebola has an incubation period of between 2 and 21 days.

4. There is no treatment or cure for ebola only supportive therapy is currently available though there have been encouraging signs for giving the antibodies from recovered ebola patients to current sufferers.

5. Ebola has a high mortality rate. Sort of. In West Africa where the disease has killed over 4000 people the mortality rate is about 70%.  7 out of 10 people who present with ebola will die from it. The CDC and other Western doctors believe the mortality rate to be less in the US because of the sanitary conditions of the hospitals and that in the US we outsource funeral preparations – we don’t prepare the dead ourselves and thus never come in contact with their bodily fluids.

So, knowing those facts does it mean we should panic now that a second nurse has tested positive for the ebola virus?

The short answer is no. Unless you are in direct contact with someone with ebola the odds of you coming down with it are pretty slim. Could we have an outbreak of the ebola virus? Sure, and we probably will. Many officials are warning that more will become infected, most likely hospital workers like the nurses who have tested positive so far. Even if we have a larger outbreak of ebola the disease will likely burn out rather quickly. Because if the short incubation period and because you can only pass it along while suffering from symptoms the disease will not become the pandemic that other infectious diseases have become. For example AIDS has a much longer incubation period and someone can spread it without knowing they are even infected. It’s not like that with ebola.

Still, ebola is pretty scary, shouldn’t we panic just a little?

Sure, fear isn’t a bad thing and if that means you wash your hands more often that’s a good thing. However, worrying about ebola isn’t going to change much of anything. There isn’t much you can do if it becomes a full on outbreak so worrying isn’t really going to help. My suggestion is to watch the Walking Dead from the beginning and make a few preparations in the event of a worst case scenario. Have some bottled water on hand, have some packaged food on hand, have a plan to get out of the city because that’s always where the shit goes down first. Know where your loved ones are and buddy up with some badass people if you aren’t willing to push a knife through someone’s skull.

 

How Did We Survive? Kids Minnesota

Rain, Rain, Go Away — Please?

June 23, 2013
rain

It’s been raining here in The Twin Cities for the past ever. My basement barely dried out from the winter thaw when it was flooded again by all the rain.

We’ve had storm after storm, the thundering kind, and one of the dogs is not too happy about them. Night before last the power went out in St. Paul. It was out for about 4 hours. It went out just as it was getting dark outside and since one of my children had used all the flashlights at a recent sleepover and didn’t bother to mention the batteries were dead we had to use candles, cell phone lights and glow sticks I picked up at Walmart for a buck for our upcoming camping trip to Mount Rushmore.

Oh, and the LED Christmas candles* that I had left in the windows upstairs.

Within minutes there was whining about the lack of internet and TV. It didn’t matter that there was still a Nintendo 3DS, the iPad and a smart phone to keep entertained. Apparently those devices aren’t as much fun without the internet and since no one ever bothers to charge anything besides me the fun devices were all low on battery power.

So we tried playing a board game.

Remember those?

Or as my daughter called them bored games because they are so boring.

We played Mastermind but that created more frustration than relaxation.

Eventually the daughter decided that she was going to go to bed because there was nothing to do. It was hot (the air conditioning was out) and we were both getting a bit crabby. Five minutes after going to bed the lights came back on which made it was worthwhile to stay up.

I worry about this generation of kids who don’t know what to do with themselves when there is no power or they are out in the middle of nowhere. My daughter has trouble opening things like jars, bottles and those pull off tabs on some cans like tuna and single serve apple sauce. I try to encourage her to work at it because I fear one day she will be the sole survivor on a deserted island with nothing but cases and cases of bottled water which she can’t open on her own.

We’re going camping soon, across the country, and if I have learned anything from this little experience it’s that I need to be sure to have an electrical hook up where ever we camp.

I hope it stops raining soon

*These aren’t meant to be used as a light source but the kid likes to walk around with them and they can’t get burned or dripped on.
Events How Did We Survive? politics Things that piss me off

9/11 – For A Brief Moment, We Were All Just Americans

September 11, 2011

September 11th 2001, September 11th 2011, 9/11 ten years later, remembering the victims of 9/11, New York terrorism, World Trade Center destruction, Terrorist attacks on WTC, The collapse of the World Trade Center I’ve written about 9/11 over the years, where I was, what I was doing and how the events of the day overshadowed my own hell I was facing, if only for a while. I’m not going to rewrite that piece nor do I want to highlight that 9/11 memory in the Tribal Blogs 9/11 Tribute I am participating in.

It’s been ten years from that horrible day in September and at times it feels like it was yesterday. I can pull up the emotions I was feeling, the ones that are still so raw, very easily. I can recall the smells of that fall day, the sounds, or lack of sounds since the planes had been grounded, even what I was wearing. The day is burned in my memory even though it blurred into many days as I sat transfixed to the TV trying to make sense of all the horror.

I don’t want to write about that day for many reasons but mainly because I want to move on. I want to focus on the positive instead of the negative, and that day, while horrible, was filled with heroic moments. The months that followed 9/11 changed us all for the better, briefly.

September 11th 2001, September 11th 2011, 9/11 ten years later, remembering the victims of 9/11, New York terrorism, World Trade Center destruction, Terrorist attacks on WTC, The collapse of the World Trade Center. 9/11 changed us in many ways; if you didn’t have a cell phone before the attacks you had one after them, we found our American flags and flew them proudly, we stuck magnets on our cars. For a while, at least, we didn’t distinguish ourselves by race, gender, sexual identity, political party, or nationality, we were all just Americans.

I can’t remember when it stopped, but it did. We are no longer just Americans, we are Democrats or Republicans clinging to ideologies that have no room for compromise or even understanding. We’ve become dogmatic about our beliefs and damn anyone who doesn’t hold the same ones. The people who hold different beliefs from our own are racist, stupid and Nazis.

I don’t know when it happened but sometime in the last ten years someone drew a line in the sand and we all took sides. Blindly for the most part.

I’m still horrified by the events of that day but I remember thinking we had learned something from it, as a country. We had learned, again, what it was to be proud of our heritage, that we were a melting pot of so many different nationalities, religions and beliefs. That we were different, and that was what made us Americans.

I’d like to get those feelings back, I’d like for us to be proud to be Americans again.

I get mad when I think about this; how petty we have become in the last ten years. How we use the anonymity of the internet to call people who don’t hold the same beliefs names that are foul. How easily we can become angered by our politicians and President, and how they don’t seem to see themselves contributing to the problem.

September 11th 2001, September 11th 2011, 9/11 ten years later, remembering the victims of 9/11, New York terrorism, World Trade Center destruction, Terrorist attacks on WTC, The collapse of the World Trade Center, statue of liberty American Flag, Images of Americans, what it means to be American, American Images, American Symbols

We are Americans, we should be proud of who we are and what we represent. We, by virtue of nothing more than birth, are born in the best nation on this planet. We have forgotten how utterly lucky we are. We have lost our humility and in that process we have become arrogant and cruel.

No wonder people want to fly our planes into our buildings.

We are like children who don’t understand how good we have it and can only complain about the things we don’t have. Yeah, our economy sucks right now but we still have the ability to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and make something of ourselves.

We have to stop calling each other names, we have to take pride in the work we do and the good works we do, again. We have to help one another and we have to stop expecting the politicians to solve our problems. It’s time to take back our country, be proud of who we are and that our best days are still ahead of us, if we stop hating on each other.

How Did We Survive? Send Jen on a Vacation Things that piss me off

Perimenopause and Zoloft Part 2

June 16, 2011

This is a two part series on perimenopause and antidepressants, specifically Zoloft. If you missed the first one you can catch up by reading Perimenopause and Zoloft.

For those of you who didn’t bother to read the first part, here is a short recap. For months I have been experiencing mood swings. I’m 45 years old so I figured I was probably going through some hormonal shit. Menopause is a big secret, no one seems to really know what it’s all about and the mothers who should be telling us this sort of thing aren’t as open as we are. Plus, my mother is in a nursing home with no memory left so she isn’t much help. Menopause is the word we use to describe “the change” that takes place as women age and basically become infertile. In actuality menopause is the time after periods have ceased for 12 months. The word Menopause is just a marker for the time after the change has taken place. Perimenopause on the other hand is anywhere from 3 to 12 years where women’s bodies, specifically hormones, change from normal to messed the fuck up. Perimenopause is when the hot flashes and night sweats start and when the hormones are really whacky.

Makes being a male look pretty good doesn’t it?

So, after experiencing all kinds of crazy mood swings, fits or rage and depression I called my doctor who suggested I try Zoloft for perimenopause. He had read several studies that said antidepressants seem to alleviate a lot of the symptoms of perimenopause.

Sign me up!

Let me back up a bit. I’m not the kind of person who fixes things by taking a pill. I have been on antidepressants before, for about a year, but that was because my OB/GYN strongly suggested it. I was three months pregnant and my ex husband had walked out. He eventually came back, which only made things more chaotic and unstable. My doctor figured the Paxil he gave me would help keep me calm and help with anxiety. Now of course we know how dangerous it is to take Paxil while pregnant or nursing but at the time we didn’t. I was on the lowest dose possible and never really noticed a change in my mood. I was in a stressful situation and I knew it would resolve itself with time. I didn’t want to take the antidepressant but I also didn’t want to threaten the pregnancy with my anxiety and depression. I had already lost several pregnancies as well as had a still born child so I was inclined to do whatever my doctor told me to do. My daughter shows no signs of adverse affects from the medication.

When I was on antidepressants before I felt weak. Not physically but mentally. Surely I was not the only woman who was going through a pregnancy on her own. I beat myself up for taking a pill to fix what was either not fixable or at best a shortcut to having real therapy. I didn’t bother with real therapy because there was nothing I could do to change the way my husband felt, I was just trying to do the best with the hand I had been dealt. I didn’t think a therapist could have done anything to make it better. I’m still not convinced of that. My experience with marriage counselors has been this: you spill your guts for 35 minutes and then they ask you how that make you feel and what you think about it. You don’t even get the full hour. Call me crazy but when I’m paying someone $150/hour I expect them to have the answers.

So I have had some experience with both therapy and antidepressants. When my doctor suggested Zoloft my concern was how long I would have to be on it, what it was like to get off it (it sucked getting off Paxil) and would I gain weight?

It was the Zoloft and weight gain that I was most concerned about.

My doctor said he didn’t think taking Zoloft would cause weight gain, he thought I would see a weight loss because I would be more motivated and less depressed which would likely cause me to make better choices about the food I was eating and he thought I would become more active again.

He called my prescription in to the pharmacy, took some of my blood to check my thryoid, made me schedule another appointment in a month to see how things were going and sent me on my way.

Of course I got back in my car and cried like a baby for about ten minutes. And, of course I am not really sure why I was crying. Relief? Probably.

He started me on a low dose, and then wants to slowly increase it over the next week so my body and brain adjusts properly. So far I have been taking Zoloft for three days and even though I know it takes a few weeks to feel the effects of the drug I also know I respond really well to the placebo effect and so already I am feeling much better.

I googled perimenopause and Zoloft and found a million different articles on weight gain and Zoloft. This scares me a bit. I also found a few articles or posts from people who had been prescribed Zoloft and actually lost weight, so much that they had to discontinue the medication. I’m hoping this will be what happens to me. So far I am down ten pounds since Monday but I just know 7 of them were caused by bloating.

Being a woman just rocks.

I’d love to hear your horror stories or success stories with menopause and perimenopause. You can even share your experience with antidepressants if you want. I know I am not the only one to experience all this.

 

 

Events How Did We Survive?

Earth Day 2011

April 22, 2011

 

Today is Earth Day, 2011!

April 22nd 2011, Earth Day, eco living, save the planet, what are you doing to save the earth, how many beauty products do you wash down the drain each day

Yesterday my daughter and I watched the National Geographic special The Human Footprint. We’d watched it when it first aired a couple of years ago but because my daughter is learning how to conserve energy we watched it again.

I was amazed at the amount of things we use daily in our lives that get thrown away. Just the part about washing all our beauty products down the drain was an eye opener.

So I got curious and went into my bathroom to count all the various products I use on a regular basis. Things like soap, shampoo, lotion, nail polish, deodorant, make-up (there are tons of products there) and hair care products (even more in this group). I counted 19 products I use every day! And I am sure there are many more that I don’t use daily but certainly weekly like nail polish, nail polish remover (I use these every Saturday during the Tribal Blogs Slumber Party), foot cream, hand sanitizer, eye drops, face masks, and the list just goes on and on. Worst, most of those products get washed off at the end of the day and end up in our rivers.

So here is my question, how many products do you use each day?

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