That’s a misleading title, this isn’t about the Brad Pitt movie, and I’m not screaming “what’s in the box!” But It’s almost Halloween and almost NaNoWriMo and that’s all scary. So it fits.
First, something terrible. We’ll get it out of the way. This morning when I checked out my usual social media spots Facebook suggested I use their fundraise for your birthday function. When I searched through the list of non-profits I could choose to have my friends and family donate to it occurred to me that too many of the organizations hit home. Like, way, too, many. Cancer. Animal safety. Fire recovery. LGBT issues of every kind. Bullying. And those are just the close to home ones. Then there’s wanting to help Houston, Puerto Rico and Florida who have been hit by hurricanes in recent weeks. It was overwhelming.
Ultimately I went with Planned Parenthood, because women’s health has been under fire for far too long and despite all the devastation I have mentioned previously it seems the current administration is hell bent on reminding us it’s a man’s world and women should just be happy we’re allowed to live in it. I also chose this organization because it helps millions of men and women with cancer screening and pregnancy prevention, and prenatal care for those who have no other place to go. Because when they’re not focusing on saving all the babies and persecuting women for having a choice, our government is tearing apart our healthcare system piece by piece. The organization is also a safe place for HIV screening and STD prevention across the spectrum.
Anyway that’s where I’ll leave that. Donate. Don’t. Whatever you choose. I’m all about being pro-choice. And pro-life. You can be both. I promise.
Holy hell it’s the end of October. My kitchen renovation is complete and I couldn’t be happier. I have cooked twice in the new set up and it’s working great. I have access to the things I need and I feel comfortable cooking and cleaning in this new environment. If it weren’t 100 degrees in October I’d be itching to cook more complicated meals, but as it stands right now, the simpler the better in this god awful heat.
The end of October also means panic time for me because NaNoWrimo starts November 1. That’s when I’ll be tasked with writing 1,667 words a day for 30 days. Despite having my story idea ready to go, I’m always nervous about stalling out midway through the process. This week I plan out my background music, remind everyone in my life that I am doing this thing that requires me to be absent more than usual, and try to tell my brain to shut up about how bad I suck at writing, and finishing things.
This is also when I let you all know that this blog will turn into a writing update center for me for a month. In the past I’ve done daily check ins. This year I’m hoping to do it weekly instead. If you follow my social media accounts you’ll see my daily word counts there.
W.O.W. moment of the week (for last week): I survived 3 weeks of kitchen renovations.
I have this pinned on my Pinterest board I’ve named “Truthiness” to remind myself to keep things in perspective. With the way things are going in the world it is tough to remember to be grateful for thing things we have and not take them for granted. It’s hard, in my situation, to stay focused on this. It has been especially hard these past few weeks, as we’ve been renovating my kitchen and my wishlist items have been quashed one by one. Not checked off, quashed. It’s nobody’s fault. It’s fate, it’s life, it’s how I’ve had to live since whatever age it was this disability decided to pick me to live in.
That’s why the serenity prayer speaks to me. Or at least I try to make it resonate in these times. Focus on the things you cannot change and always know the difference. I had a conversation with a friend at my mom’s birthday slash I kicked cancer’s ass party and her perspective on her own situation was a gentle reminder that someone else is always dealing with something worse. I may not get the spice rack I asked for, but there are people in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and Northern California who would really like to just have their houses back. Perspective.
It’s hard not to take things personally when they’re going wrong. It’s also hard to take credit when they’re going right, or more accurately, it’s hard not to wonder where the catch is when things go well. You can have that new SUV but you’re gonna have to deal with the death of your dog, and your mom’s gonna get breast cancer. Deep down I know that these events have zero to do with each other, but in a world where everything is going wrong, it’s easy to jump to terrible conclusions. Stay on target, keep yourself grounded, do not lose perspective.
As I’m being introspective, the universe reminds me how big it is, and reminds me how connected I am to it. I feel earthquakes before they happen. I think of people and they appear as if to tell me they heard my thoughts. It happens a lot when I start getting to far into my own head. When my anxiety level is at an all time high. The bigger picture shows up and taps me on the shoulder. Perspective.
I forgot to add a W.O.W. moment last week so I’ll just say that for the past 2 weeks my WOW moments have been strength, wisdom, serenity and courage. The spices don’t need their own rack.
The world is still in disarray. But it will continue to be tomorrow, and the next day, so I’m gonna take a break from ranting about the state of things in the big world and talk about my own little world.
October is a crazy month for me, and for the last 2 years I’ve been making it even crazier by having renovations done to my house. These are necessary evils, renovations, but still chaos and disorder nonetheless.
So this is the month where hockey starts, baseball playoffs begin, and football is in full swing. It’s also when the Fall TV season gets up and running and that whole summer of “I’ll catch up soon” turns into “oh shit that starts tomorrow? I’m still 13 episodes behind!” It’s also the month where I’m gearing up to write every day in November.
A small sidestep back into the political fray – hockey had its first player protest during the anthem. JT Brown of the Tampa Bay Lightning raised his fist in solidarity with the NFL and others who have knelt or done the same. And I feel slightly better about supporting sports for now. I’ve come to the conclusion that just like in everyday life the sports world has its good people and its bad ones, and if I stopped enjoying all the things I do because of assholes I’d have nothing left.
This year’s renovation is taking place in my kitchen. Like last year’s bathroom project, my little house needed to be better set up for wheelchair me. When I moved in I was still standing up me. What I need now is lower counters, spaces under things like the sink and the cooktop for me to roll under, and places where I can plug things in without having to run an extension cord from my bedroom and cause fire hazards. So we took out the entire kitchen and started over. Or will be starting over next week. And then that’s it. We’re done with making my house suitable for me.
While we’re here, let’s talk about why I found myself needing a new kitchen in the first place, other than the accessible part of it all. A short story. In April of 2016 I went to check out the new accessible SUV Ford and Braunability co-created as an alternative to the mini-van. At that time the test went really well. I got up the ramp without issue and although the seat wasn’t accessible yet, I was assured it would all be set up to my needs. So you can imagine that when I actually got the SUV in July I was shocked to find myself unable to get into it. The ramp was too steep and the seat was a challenge. The search for a solution began and I was able to find wheels that can assist in the pushing of my chair. Ramp problem solved. But that wasn’t really enough, I was still struggling to get into the seat. And I finally decided it was time to do something about my weight, and my strength.
I had been cooking meals for myself and my mom for a few months leading up to this, but I wasn’t as serious about what I made. So I started to cut out a lot of things. Mainly carbs. And I added more healthy choices of meats, along with making sure I made some sort of vegetable as a side. I use a lot of recipes to achieve this. On Pinterest, on recipe sites. And my love for food turned into a love for cooking food. Healthy food.
As soon as the eating was on the right track I moved on to the strength. And in July I started working out with a trainer once a week. A year later I was up to 2x a week. I am stronger, healthier and feeling better than I have, probably my whole life.
I have no idea how much weight I’ve lost, I only know I went down 4 sizes in about 18 months. For me, it’s a slow process, because I’m not always active, and because I refuse to give up everything I love. There’s gonna be some carbs. There’s gonna be some sugar. There may be days where I don’t eat a single fruit or vegetable for any meal. But I’m on my way to better living.
If you’re interested in what kinds of foods I make and where I find recipes you can follow the new tumblr page I created with the Lycon – who’s food journey is different than mine, but also changed her whole diet this past year (spoiler: she went vegan, I didn’t). https://onaspecialdiet.tumblr.com/
In preparation for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) which starts November first my plan was to write a blog entry every day in October. Because I missed day one, and because nothing truly happens in my life, I wavered. But I woke up with a whole lot to talk about.
Whenever there is tragedy anywhere in the world social media feeds become one long “pray for [insert city, country, continent name here]” series of posts. I have questions.
I know that social media does not present a 24 hour look into people’s lives. There are exceptions to this but for the most part you’re not getting to see what people do every second of their lives. I get this 100%. But why pray to whatever deity you believe in after a tragedy instead of asking for help preventing one? And if you are praying for things like peace and love all the time, do you ever ask yourself why no one is listening?
The same narrative comes up every time something like the terror attack in Las Vegas happens. First and foremost it’s the prayers for families and loved ones affected. Then there’s the question of when the right time to talk about gun control is. Followed by whether or not his or her race makes them a terrorist or a disturbed individual. As if there’s a difference.
So today, although my thoughts are with those affected by the most recent tragedy in Vegas, my thoughts are also with those that turn to some sort of religious figure for answers. Especially politicians who have the power to make a change. Posting tweets about your thoughts and prayers doesn’t change gun control policy. You will notice I used the word control here. Nobody needs assault rifles. Scratch that, nobody but the military needs assault rifles.
Thoughts and prayers are never going to stop gun violence. And not one average everyday American needs 19 guns and enough ammo to mow down a nation of people let alone an unsuspecting crowd at a concert.
If you’re going to get on your knees and put your hands together do it in front of your state representative and ask them why they’re comfortable with this much violence. Instead of praying to an invisible being beg a real one to stop this madness.