Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Memorial Day, pick-up trucks, and flags.

I live in what was once a quaint, quiet, farm town on a river.  Now-a-days it still has a bit of small, farm town flavor left, but mostly it is a bedroom community with subdivisions full of McMansions.

Our beautiful town square park!

Unfortunately, the main north/south road through town has been expanded from 2 lanes to 4 and now there is a veritable expressway running right in front of our quaint park.

Yesterday, I attended our town's Memorial Day service.  (I am ashamed to say, that until I had children in middle school band that played at the service, I never attended.)  It is held in our town square park between the above gazebo and the memorial to the veterans from our county that gave their lives in war.  The band plays, there is a singer, the mayor and other guests speak--it is a nice remembrance of the many who have died in war.

So I'm sitting in my lawn chair listening to the band and the various speakers on a beautiful day, when I suddenly can't hear what is going on because a vehicle is gunning his engine and roaring past the park (note that this is a 35 mile an hour zone--no engine roaring is necessary)  I am now distracted from what is going on and look over at the highway and this is what I see:

Image result for pick up trucks with flags in the bed

Amazingly this happens not once, but 3 times (yes, 3 different trucks!)  during the service.  I was left wondering if maybe these obnoxious, flag-waving trucks owners would find a better outlet for their patriotism by attending a Memorial Day service instead of the over-the-top, loud, flag display.  I don't have anything against flags or trucks.  What I don't like is when trucks are driven like the road through town (that passes parks and pedestrians walking) is their own raceway.  When drivers trick out their engines and then drive around at an ear-splitting roar, it is just plain rude.  Flags are a symbol of our country and deserve to be flown respectfully not used for an over-the-top patriotic display.  (And as long as I'm ranting--they shouldn't be worn as clothing or decoration either!)

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Dollars for progress; How to defund the Right!

My husband and I are solidly Progressive.  My husband grew up in a once booming manufacturing town among other hard working, Democratic people and I grew up in a rural, small town community among Republicans, the sole voice for the Environment and policies that help people not corporations.  For the most part, we try not to go around causing trouble and arguing about politics.  I dislike arguing and my husband works for a large corporation and would not benefit from progressive politics.  Lately, however, the election of Donald Trump as president has caused us to reevaluate. For obvious reasons people who care about how other people are treated, that people be able to earn a decent wage for a day of work, and for the environment would dislike the election of a person who has no political experience and who's policies and opinions range from moronic to downright dangerous.

So, now we need to take action.  Others have marched and protested, but that is not really our style. We have decided that we will do our best not to support companies that donate to Republican campaigns, that mistreat their employees or the environment, or support policies that favor the wealthy and corporations over people.  This will be a huge undertaking and will require a lot of research, but it is what we feel is the right thing to do.

We are starting with a product that sees its way into our house on a regular basis (after all, the current state of politics has driven us to consume more--so we felt it is the best place to start).


Environmentally, try to buy from locally-owned microbreweries, but first check into their political activities.  When buying from nationally distributed products here are the brands I found to be worthy of spending your hard-earned money on:

New Belgium Brewery produces Belgian beers for the forward-thinking individual. NBB is a wind-powered and employee owned craft brewer located in the United States, distributing throughout the western US. 100% of their political donations have been donated to the Democratic party.  They have extensive, positive environmental polices.  

Boston Beer Company brewer of Sam Adams beer.  Not only have they, almost exclusively, given to Democratic campaigns, the company is American owned.  They also reuse bottles in states that have bottle deposits.   

Heineken is a Netherlands owned company where the beer is brewed,  However, the United States distribution company give mostly to Democratic candidates and have environmentally responsible policies.  

Saturday, May 20, 2017

May Books

Love Warrior

This is a recent Oprah's Book Club selection.  I saw it on the list and thought it looked interesting for two reasons: 1, The description talks about a married women with kids and a family reevaluating her life and since I have recently turned 50, I have been thinking about what I want to do with the remaining time I have left in my life.  Granted, my marriage isn't in trouble, but who couldn't use a bit of attitude readjustment now and again.  Plus, it seems like there are so few books about a woman who is a mother AND also a real person (or maybe I just don't know about them.) And 2, I read that the author uses yoga in her self discovery and that also rang true to me since I have recently started practicing yoga and are currently obsessed with it.  

After I started reading, I almost immediately felt a bit like I had gotten the bait and switch.  A good third of the book was about the author's childhood/young adult hood and her struggles and while interesting and well written, it was not what I was interested in reading about.  (I had just finished Wild after all and this seemed a lot like that.)  Once we got to the story of her marriage, it got better and I truly enjoyed reading about the author's struggles and how she overcame them. I did, at times, wish the author had gone into more detail about their lives, I found myself wondering and wanting to know more--how often did she practice yoga? What did the husband do for work that allowed him so much time at home?  How were they able to afford for the author to stay at home all the while taking expensive yoga classes, attending expensive therapy sessions, etc.?  Money is a real issue in a lot of people's lives and often lack of money accounts for people not getting the help they need.   

Once I finished the book, I was left with more questions, so I went on the internet and **WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD!!!*** was again left feeling like I was on the wrong end of a book bait and switch.  The author ended up divorced from her husband and recently remarried a woman.  Wait, what?!  I'm not sure I would have wanted to read a book about a marriage that, in the end, failed anyway. 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

April Read!

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
This book has been on my self since Oprah picked it for her book club. I started reading it, but wasn't able to get through the beginning where the author was describing the loss of her mother. I have recently been reading books on my Kindle app on my phone, but my phone died just in time for a 8 hour weekend drive to Kansas to see my daughter. So, in desperation I pulled this book out, and I am so glad I gave it a second chance! The book was so well written! I truly enjoyed learning about the author's unusual life, she seemed to me to be very much a free spirit. Just the descriptions of her childhood home with out central heat (in Minnesota!) were interesting. I liked the seamless way the author flashed back filling us in on the events in her life interspersed with descriptions on the trail and her hiking experiences. I can take inspirations from the braveness of the author for my own challenges. I plan to have a movie night and watch the movie soon!

May Books!

Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #1)
This is the first fantasy book I have read in a really long time. I normally read paranormal books, finding fantasy books too much work keeping all the world building information straight. This books, however, was easy to get into, the author introduced the world slowly and on a need to know basis that kept you reading and wanting to know more. I loved the character, Nona and the convent she lived in, both were unique and interesting. I'll be looking for the next volume--hopefully the wait won't be too long!