Happy Sunday:For the Girls

I missed this commercial during the actual Super Bowl, but my boyfriend started describing it to me, and I started crying. To be fair, I’d been fighting back tears since Lady Gaga got on that roof to sing “This Land Is Your Land,” but if I wasn’t already a devout Subaru owner, Audi would be my next choice.

Nevertheless, She Persisted

Yesterday, Senator Elizabeth Warren was silenced by Senator Mitch McConnell during debate over Jeff Sessions nomination as Attorney General. Because Seantor Warren is a badass, she just went on Facebook Live and read the letter from Coretta Scott King she was going to read in the debate. Then McConnell gave women the mantra we’ve been looking for. I had to meme it.

Feel free to steal and share!she-was-warned-she-was-given-an-explanation-nevertheless-she-persisted

Political Podcast Picks

 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m addicted to podcasts. And lately my listening tastes have leaned toward the political.

Here’s the thing, skimming your Facebook and Twitter feeds isn’t really informing you. Even if you’re clicking through to actually read some of those articles, they can only do so much. Sometimes you need more insight or analysis (preferably not of the screaming talking-head variety)…or you just need to have a laugh along with your political chat. That’s when I turn to podcasts.  Continue reading

I’m Going Solar, So Should You

When this publishes I’ll be on my first real vacation in years. Sure I’ve taken a long weekend here and there to go to Maine or down to the beach, but this time I’m actually getting on a plane (which I hate doing) and going to a place where it’s warmer to swim with Manatees and get a wand at Olivander’s. On the Monday after I return a team of guys will show up at my house between 7 and 9 a.m. to start installing solar panels on my roof. I may be more excited for the panels then I am for the vacation. (HYPERBOLE!)

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I’ve been thinking about doing this for a long time, but I was paralyzed by the choices. Over the past year I’ve watched as panels appeared on houses all over my neighborhood. Each house seemed to have a different company on the job. Which was best? I couldn’t decide. Then, a couple of months ago, my boyfriend and I were leaving Home Depot which has had salesmen from Solar City stationed by the door for what seems like years. I figure Home Depot probably did its homework on the company, and since Solar City is now part of Tesla, it had to be a reputable company. Still, I usually avoid eye contact and sneak by, not wanting to get the hard sell, but on this day I was feeling it… So I stopped.  Continue reading

Suggested Reading for MLK Day

518ltrukkylI read Dreamer by Charles Johnson in college and it has stuck with me ever since. It’s earned a permanent space on my bookshelf, where real estate is precious. If we’re lucky, we learn a lot about the history of Martin Luther King Jr. but it’s hard to imagine the pressure he was under. You hear a bit of it in that last speech–the sense of impeding doom. But this book takes a different–fictional– look at the last days of one this country’s greatest leaders. I don’t want to give too much away, but here’s a passage from the Amazon description that got me thinking about the book I’m currently reading:

“While in Chicago for his first northern campaign against poverty and inequality, King encounters Chaym Smith, whose startling physical resemblance to King wins him the job of official stand-in. Matthew Bishop, a civil rights worker and loyal follower of King, is given the task of training the smart and deeply cynical Smith for the job. In doing so, Bishop must face the issue of what makes one man great while another man can only stand in for greatness. “

51flperiwvlAt the moment, I’m reading The Other Wes Moore by none other than Wes Moore. It’s the story of two men with the same name. One ends up in jail while the other becomes a distinguished military officer and writer (who spoke at the DNC in 2008). There are plenty of parallels to be drawn between the two books. How do two men with so much–and yet so little–in common, end up in such entirely different places?

If you’re looking for beautiful prose, the Johnson book is for you. If you’re hoping to peek behind the curtain of reality, the Moore book should be on your list. But I suggest reading both.  Continue reading

5 Reasons to Keep Shopping at L.L.Bean

My boyfriend is hard to buy gifts for. Not because he “has everything”–in fact, it’s just the opposite. He makes an effort to shop ethically, which, mostly means not supporting brands that use sweatshop labor. For the first year or so of our relationship this meant he mostly shopped at second-hand stores or bought things made in America. That’s not easy these days. But over the past few years a handful of brands have made their way onto his “approved” list, and–for whatever reason–they are mostly outdoorsy brands, like Patagonia, that have a commitment to the environment and the workers in their factories.

L.L.Bean is one of those brands. There’s a store not far from my home, and at first, he was skeptical. He knew the company makes their Bean boots in Maine, but couldn’t quite wrap his mind around how the company keeps prices reasonable without exploitative labor practices. Then he had the chance to ask an actual employee, who explained that because Bean doesn’t sell merchandise through third parties and goes direct to consumers it can keep its prices down. Meanwhile, it stays committed to making some of its most popular products in the U.S.  Continue reading

Happy Thanksgiving: No Hard Feelings

I’ve been listening to this song a lot lately, and have yet to get through it without shedding a tear or two. I’m a sucker for a simple song of gratitude. I hope it brings some joy to your day–which may be spent arguing about politics with your family.

And maybe, when you’re done, give some thought to the folks at Standing Rock. Set aside, for a moment, the problem with the pipeline and what it would mean for the environment on a global scale, not just for the people at Standing Rock. It is a national disgrace that indigenous people-or any people–are still being treated this way by the government. If you can’t get away from work to help support them in person, please consider donating.

Saying Goodbye

 

Twelve years ago a sassy little orange cat forced her way into my friend’s apartment and refused to leave. After a brief flirtation with trying to be a cat person, she gave up and I adopted the feline. I named her Ruby (technically Rubia–because she was blonde). I was 23, and living with two roommates. The Red Sox won the World Series that year, and America re-elected George W. Bush (which is pertinent because I stole a bunch of “Bush Country” balloons from the Republican headquarters I had to cover on election night, then blew them up and left them all over the house to freak out my roommate–Ruby promptly popped a bunch and ate one, which she threw up on the way to the vet).

Today, I had to say goodbye. Continue reading

My Halloween Podcast Picks

Happy Halloween, ya’ll! The holiday snuck up on me this year, and I actually keep forgetting what day it is. Like, I still don’t have candy… but I do have some podcasts for you to listen to in order to celebrate the spookiest of holidays!

Since Serial fully sucked me into the podcast rabbit hole, I’ve been exploring a wide variety of genres. I like roundtable discussions, true crime stories, and serialized fiction stories. These three podcasts manage to hit on all of those genres. Good luck, and try not to waste too much of your life listening to these…

62b3a07e4ea6d503edb28f603f6db2c1My Favorite Murder – I’ve been a Murderino for a few months now. You might think a podcast that features two comedians talking about their “favorite murders” would be offensive, but you’d be wrong (and probably have no sense of humor). Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff somehow manage to make talking about horrific murders fun. It helps that their interest in murder is driven, in part, by anxiety about being murdered (something all of us ladies know a little  something about). I also highly suggest joing the MFM Facebook group where Murderinos come to talk about the podcast, but more importantly, telling their own stories. You’d be surprised how many people narrowly miss being murdered. Continue reading

My Latest Flea Market Flip!

Last Spring an old friend of mine was getting rid a dresser–a nice solid piece with some broken hardware and missing decorative pieces. It went from her curb to my shed, and waited there for quite some time. Eventually I decided it would be a good time to experiment with chalk paint and antiquing wax.

That did not go well. I turned a perfectly nice dresser into a dingy, yellow mess. Continue reading

One Woman Book Club: Swamplandia!

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Swamplandia! first caught my attention when I heard about it on NPR (or here). If you’d asked me, I would have said the book came out in 2014, but apparently it was 2011. Time just keeps slipping away…

It took me a while to really get into the book. It made me chuckle and the lovely writing kept me going, but I wasn’t sure where it was headed (which, I guess, is a good thing in a world where so much seems so obvious all the time). But in the end I was glad I stuck it out.

Author Karen Russell told NPR, “The Bigtree family members have created their own fantastical history springing from their alligator-wrestling tradition, but in reality, they’re just the lowly operators of a shabby tourist attraction in a swamp.” Swamplandia! is funny, and weird, and heartbreaking. You’ll find yourself wishing the place was real so you could give the family your tourist dollars… but if you don’t like to see characters you care about punished, it may not be for you.

I ventured on to the web to find questions to help me discuss this latest read. Here it goes! Continue reading