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So, This is Happening…

November 6, 2017

We’re moving. To Oregon. In 7 days.

I am staring a new job. Joe is getting a transfer. We have a new car. We have a new apartment. We are driving 4 day across the country with two cats. Our apartment looks like a bomb hit it, and I have 5 days to make it all fit into boxes.

I am sick (but on the mend, I think). Two loved ones have passed in the last 6 or so weeks.

I am a crazy hot mess of emotions right now.  And, food is interesting. And working out isn’t a thing, unless you count moving a lot of boxes. The good news is the new apartment has a much better gym. And the outdoor life is promised to be amazing.

Onward to adventure…

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Do People Even Realize They’re Saying This?

December 8, 2016

Abortion.

So, let’s put aside all the arguments about women’s rights and whether or not a fetus is a “baby” for a moment, and talk about another facet of this that I feel like no one really thinks about. Almost all anti-abortion sentiment is rooted in religion  (there are a very few atheists that are anti-abortion, and those arguments are generally rooted in other things that aren’t relevant to this discussion).

The argument goes that 1) only sex within the confines of (heterosexual) marriage is acceptable, and that 2) any woman who has sex is responsible for to carrying any resulting pregnancy to term.

Here goes: Okay, let’s say all women agree with the above (just go with it for now), and all women are Christian. So, from the time a woman turns 38 or so until she’s through menopause, the couple should be celibate if they cannot afford to give birth to and/or raise a child with significant developmental issues (costs for these pregnancies can be much higher, and the resulting baby is much less likely to be adopted)? Christian fellas, are you totally okay with being celibate for something like 15 or more years?

Moving on. Part of many Christian sect’s doctrines is that sex is expected to happen and is a right of marriage (generally, the man’s right). So, if a woman is expected to have sex as part of her marital obligation, but she can’t do so because she cannot carry a child to term (see above, also perhaps they simply cannot afford another child, or–if they’re willing to let it be adopted, perhaps simply cannot afford the medical bills and/or the wife taking time off work to give birth), then she has to choose between not fulfilling her marital obligation, or accepting that she–since clearly, the responsibility falls entirely on her–is putting her family at risk. As abstinence-only folks like to point out, there is no 100% effective birth control.

The mental gymnastics boggle me.

Rants: Stop Telling People to “Just Move.”

December 2, 2016

Seriously. Stop it.

“Just move” isn’t an actual solution to social or economic injustices, which literally always dis-proportionally impact the poor. Which means they don’t have the money to “just move.”  Have you moved lately? Especially to an entirely different area or state? I have. Holy fuck is it expensive.  Breakdown to move more than 100 miles:

-Rental truck. Let’s say you have always lived simply, and don’t have much in the way of furniture (we didn’t, on our last move). Your bare minimum for  2-day rental is going to be several hundred dollars for a small-ish moving truck that you drive yourself. Ours was about $300, and that was a tiny truck we reloaded several times because we weren’t moving that far. Almost a decade ago, when I moved from MI to VA, a medium U-Haul style truck was $2,000. Yes, you read that right. And no, that didn’t include gas.

-Gas for moving. Assume the family has 1 car, which they tow behind the truck. Gas will depend on the move distance, but you can figure that, to move states (say, out of Texas or Alabama), it’ll be $200 or more.

-Move in-fees. Our new, very modest, apartment? Even with our excellent credit and taking advantage of a special? Almost $2,000 up-front to move in. Let’s be generous, and say the family that is moving has great credit and no pets and gets a killer move-in special. For a 2 bedroom in most areas of the country that have jobs of any kinds, you’re looking at $1,500 between first month’s rent and deposits (and that is incredibly low as an estimate, bordering on unrealistic). Which you have to come up with while you’re still paying some kind of living expense where you’re already at. Either with no job or a low-paying one  (because you’re moving to a “better area” for that reason, right? If you were affluent, you’d just drive or fly out of state to access reproductive care,  and you wouldn’t be worried about moving for a job).

-Utility deposits (gas, water, electric, sewer, etc.). Again, even with good credit, our utility deposits were almost $400. Let’s say that’s high because this area is near DC (it’s actually pretty on-par with most other cities, but sure, we’ll stay conservative here). Figure $200.

-License plate and registration changes. 1 car = $100ish.

And all of this is assuming that the family 1) has a job to move to and can start work immediately, so don’t need any savings to live on, 2) can bring all their groceries (including perishables) however far they are moving, so there’s no need to spend any money at all on setting up food in a new place,  3) doesn’t do any pre-scouting trips to make sure that the place their moving into (which they’ve rented online?) doesn’t have cockroaches or rats, 4) are moving into the same situation of support (i.e., they’re not incurring new expenses for childcare because they left behind family that was helping watch the children, etc.).

Now, keep in mind that almost every time I’ve heard this massive load of crap advice, it’s targeted at people whom are adversely impacted by a fiscal or social policy, and by definition don’t have the financial means to compensate for that. For example:

“If you can’t find a job, just move.” Because someone who doesn’t have a job is totally likely to have like $5K laying around to move. Hell, most people I know with moderate jobs don’t have that kind of money laying around, and rental units don’t take credit cards for move-in fees (a credit card someone with a low-paying job is unlikely to have, or, if they do, to have enough of a credit limit on to foot the moving expenses–and what are the chances that, even if they did, they’d be moving to a job so much better they’d ever pay that off?).

“If you don’t like the policy targeting women’s health, move to another state!” Because those women predominantly impacted by the closing of clinics that provide low- to no-cost birth control, PAP smears, and yes, abortions, are rich white women with money to spare? Really? No.

You get the idea. The majority of people in areas that are most effected by policies that impact the poor didn’t choose to move to those areas–they were born there, or taken there when they were young. In many/most cases, they don’t have the means to go through higher education (which would put them tens of thousands of dollars in debt, but that’s another rant) to qualify for a job that would pay to move them (hell, I have “higher education,” and still most companies to not pay relocation costs).

Glibness does not solve problems. Telling someone to “just move” in insulting, and comes from a place of privilege that most people in the areas being talked about do not have.  So, unless you can help foot the bill for those people to “just move,” please stop talking.

All the Things

November 1, 2016

It’s been….a while. 6 years, it seems, since I’ve done a public post (yes, there are private ones, but even those stopped about 4 years ago). As I sit here writing this update, there is white bean and ham soup in the crockpot, chipotle chicken getting ready to sous vide, roasted almonds fresh out of the oven and cooling, and homemade coffee-and-vanilla marshmallows sitting on the counter. Some things stay the same no matter how the rest changes.

After the breakup with Thadd, I just felt the need to pull back some privacy, to stop having to live in the public eye so much. That event changed a lot of things. My whole life, really. It’s not something about which I’m going to talk much, or of which I want to rehash the specifics, but it did catalyze a lot of things. I moved out of Lynchburg almost immediately (because I’d wanted out for years), and back to Northern Virginia. I started working more actively in the wine industry (which has culminated in my current position managing a winery). Friends that had distanced themselves because of Thadd came back into my life, and some friends who hadn’t known anything but he and I as a couple did the opposite. I kept in touch with some of the people I met in Lynchburg because they were amazing, and lost touch with others, because life is busy.

Some changes, of course, had nothing to do with all that. My grandmother continues to decline. Tiri passed on several months after the breakup, and, of the two events, losing Tiri is much more emotional and difficult for me.  The health issues that had been getting worse at my last posting came to a head rapidly, causing an episode that came close to killing me, and a long period of recovery after surgery (and, I’ll need to have another surgery at some point in the future). But, I am fully healed with no visible scars.

I reunited with my dad, whom I hadn’t seen since I was very, very young. Getting to know him has been one of the highlights of the last several years. It’s been continually surprising to see how alike we are, despite having been separated for so long.20160211_092337

I also met someone, and fell in love. It’s a very different relationship than I’ve ever had; and, as Wash once said of he and Zoe, not everybody gets us. It is the most egalitarian partnership I’ve ever had, which means we not only love each other (which is important), but we work well together (which is more important).  Joe and I were married in February, with dad officiating.

Joe came with Lumiya, a young, black cat that reminds me a good it of Tiri. She and Meow, who is definitely now getting on in years, took some time to warm up, but now spend afternoons cuddling on the couch. Meow didn’t handle losing Tiri well at all, so I am happy she has another companion.

lumiya-and-meow

Oh, and I have purple hair.

There is more honesty in my life than there has been in…well, possibly ever. I’ve reconnected with people I missed, but didn’t engage with enough for various reasons. There’s a decent bit of hiking and kayaking happening, though not as much backpacking this year because it was too damned hot. I love the space we call home right now, and how we’ve utilized it.

There are things I miss, that I wish were different. There’s no garden with many rows of tomatoes, peas, and the like. That was a bit of a sanctuary for me, but there’s no space here. This year, there were herb pots on the balcony, and a cherry tomato plant. That helped the urge to tend things a bit. While I have a cheese cave and a spectacular cream separator, I am not currently making cheese. There’s a lack of time, and of easily accessible raw milk. While I am still active and still work out, I do not do so as much as I used to (though, starting next week, I will be teaching classes weekly again, rather than sporadically).  Those things are balanced by the things I do now that I didn’t do as much before: lots of outdoors stuff, for example. So, overall, I am happy with the balance. If I ever win the lottery and can just do what I want sans employment, perhaps I can have all of the things in my life that I’d like; but, until then, I am happy with the choices I’ve made.

I don’t know if I’ll keep updating here. Or, if I do, how often. I like that I no longer feel an obligation to post, but rather can do so when the fancy strikes me. So, we’ll see how it goes.

Changes. Again.

August 9, 2010

So, I am having some weirdness, the cause of which I am not quite sure. It could be one of several things, and now it’s time to try and figure it out. So, back to the strict diet again to see if it makes a difference in my symptoms. Great, right before vacation. Blech.

0 Severe cutback in grains.

0 Serious uptake in veggies.

o Much more fish, nuts, avacados. Much less red meat and pork.

o No soy.

0 No sweets.

0 Minimal/no alcohol.

All this, and possibly a three-day fast. Hopefully, that’ll help me figure out what the h*ll is going on. I am hoping it’s not my adrenal meds that are throwing me wonky, but it could be. I’ll keep you updated.

Continuing..

May 19, 2010

Head over to EE and read all about my time at Will Allen’s Growing Power last weekend. There’s pictures of goats!  They’ve asked me back in June, and we’re working out the details to see if it’s possible.

In other news, I am now teaching cardio for the police academy once a week. This week I kicked their asses with kickboxing. The retired Marine (he was like 25) had problems keeping up 🙂 But, overall, they seemed to like it and all gave it a good go. Next week I may do cardio drills with them, just to mix things up.

And, I got a case of food poisoning from Quiznos. Yeah, I know I don’t usually eat fast food; but, I didn’t have a lot of choice on my way home from Milwaukee. My flight was too early to get breakfast anywhere, and I didn’t get home until dinner time. I couldn’t carry enough for lunch, so I opted for a sub. There’s a longer story here, but suffice it to say that I still can’t really eat and it’s been two days. Dehydration, blech. It’s subsiding, fortunately, but I was damn miserable yesterday.

Speaking of which, I am off to do a menu plan for this week!

The Big Announcement

April 21, 2010

(crossposted from EE)

The airline ticket is in my hot little hands, so I feel pretty safe making the annoucement:

I’ve been invited to teach by Will Allen at Growing Power, Inc May 15th & 16th. I’ll be teaching introductory cheese making with fresh goat’s milk for their “From the Ground Up” workshop series. This is their first-ever cheese class, and I am honored to have been invited to teach it.

I met Will at the recent Growing Power workshop at Lynchburg Grows, and had the chance to talk with him briefly about the food we provided and what went into making it happen. Will, a former basketball player turned farmer, and his foundation were recently awarded the prestigious MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, which is a Big Deal.  This nationally (internationally, actually, as it seems there’s been reports on his work in several countries–thanks google!) recognized non-profit’s stated miss is: “supporting people from diverse backgrounds, and the environments in which they live, by helping to provide equal access to healthy, high-quality, safe and affordable food for people in all communities.  Growing Power implements this mission by providing hands-on training, on-the-ground demonstration, outreach and technical assistance through the development of Community Food Systems that help people grow, process, market and distribute food in a sustainable manner.”

This is pretty exciting for me. A paid teaching opportunity here is wonderful, and I will definitely be blogging it. I’m hoping to possibly even do a podcast, so stay tuned!