Many are calling it dark times that we are entering. We have at the helm of our country a mentally unstable man-child unfit to lead a troop of Boy Scouts, much less a country. Dark times, indeed. I still cannot wrap my head around the fact that all this is real. I have found Trump a nauseating human since he became a name in the news decades ago. I never watched his reality show and at the time could not understand how he landed that. He's a vile human. He has zero class, much crass, with an adolescent ego that cripples his ability to function as an adult. He stands against much of what I stand for. He stands for much of what I am against.
The fact that he could mock that reporter who has disabilities and it didn't matter to his supporters, was a demarcation line that once crossed, left us spinning in an upside down world. He lies. He denies he lies. He denies he lies about lying and lies some more. His supporters say he tells it like it is. I'm not sure Trump knows up from down most days and somehow his supporters won't allow themselves to see how incompetent he is.
As you watch this video of Michelle Obama, you can feel her pain. She is a remarkable woman possessing everything good that Trump lacks. I could not have pushed through this day had I been in her shoes. I can't stomach listening to one word Trump says. I can't stand to look at the man. I could not imagine what it would have been like to hand over the country to this buffoon.
Let the Record Show
JANUARY 19, 2017 / JOHN PAVLOVITZ
Let the record show that I did not consent to this.
Let it show that I did not vote for this man, that he did not represent me, that I did not believe he was deserving of being here, that I grieved his ascension.
Let History record my objection to him, to the ways he humiliated women and vilified Muslims and threatened protestors and disregarded people of color.
Let it record my repulsion at his tremendous cruelty, his lack of compassion, his contempt for dissension, his absence of simple decency.
Let witnesses mark down my disgust at the way he boasted of infidelity, at how he ridiculed a disabled reporter, at the way he attacked female opponents for their appearance, at the way he marginalized immigrants.
Let it be remembered that I did not look the other way when women accused him of assault, when the reality of his Russian alliances came to light, when he refused to share his tax records—though large portions of the American media and its people chose to.
Let it be remem CLICK TO READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE
I read this on social media and it sums it up well.
"Please understand that I am not mad at you because Clinton lost. I am totally unconcerned that you and I have different 'politics.' And I don't think less of you because you voted one way and I another.
No, I think less of you because you watched an adult mock a disabled person while addressing a crowd and still supported him. I think less of you because you saw a candidate spout clear racism day after day and still backed him. I think less of you because you heard him advocate for war crimes and still thought he should be given the reins of government. I think less of you because you watched him equate a woman's worth to where she landed on a scale of 1 to 10 and still got on board. I think less of you because you stood by silently while he labeled Mexicans as criminals and Muslims as terrorists.
It wasn't your politics I found repulsive. No, it was your willingness to support someone who spouts racism, sexism, and cruelty almost every time he opens his mouth. You sided with a bully when it should have mattered most, and that is something I will never be able to forget."
"Dan Rather, former CBS Evening News anchor, has released an elegant, tragic statement about the Donald Trump presidential inauguration that occurred today at noon. He sums up the collective anxiety that is gripping the majority of Americans as we enter into the great unknown. Rather elucidates the reasons why the American people are faced with so much uncertainty heading into a presidency, when normally the incoming president is transparent." ~ Occupy Democrats
And so it begins.
Of the nearly 20 inaugurations I can remember, there has never been one that felt like today. Not even close. Never mind the question of the small size of the crowds, or the boycott by dozens of lawmakers, or even the protest marches slated for tomorrow across the country. Those are plays upon the stage. What is truly unprecedented in my mind is the sheer magnitude of quickening heartbeats in millions of Americans, a majority of our country if the polls are to be believed, that face today buffeted within and without by the simmering ache of dread.
I have never seen my country on an inauguration day so divided, so anxious, so fearful, so uncertain of its course.
I have never seen a transition so divisive with cabinet picks so encumbered by serious questions of qualifications and ethics.
I have never seen the specter of a foreign foe cast such a dark shadow over the workings of our democracy.
I have never seen an incoming president so preoccupied with responding to the understandable vagaries of dissent and seemingly unwilling to contend with the full weight and responsibilities of the most powerful job in the world.
I have never seen such a tangled web of conflicting interests.
Despite the pageantry of unity on display at the Capitol today, there is a piercing sense that we are entering a chapter in our nation’s evolving story unlike one ever yet written. To be sure, there are millions of Donald Trump supporters who are euphoric with their candidate’s rise. Other Trump voters have expressed reservations, having preferred his bluster to his rival’s perceived shortcomings in the last election, but admitting more and more that they are not sure what kind of man they bestowed the keys to the presidency. The rest of America – the majority of voters – would not be – and indeed is not – hesitant in sharing its conclusions on the character and fitness of Donald Trump for the office he now holds.
The hope one hears from even some of Donald Trump’s critics is that this moment might change him. Perhaps, as he stood there on a grey, drab, January day, reciting the solemn oath of office demanded by our Constitution, as he looked out across what Charles Dickens once called the “city of magnificent intentions”, he would somehow grasp the importance of what he was undertaking. Perhaps he would understand that he must be the president of all the United States, in action as well as in word. Perhaps, but there has already been so much past that is prologue.
There is usually much fanfare around inaugural addresses. They are also usually forgotten – with some notable exceptions. I think today will be remembered, not so much for the rhetoric or the turns of phrase but for the man who delivered them and the era they usher us forth.
Mr. Trump’s delivery was staccato and there was very little eye contact as he seemed to be reading carefully from a teleprompter. His words and tone were angry and defiant. He is still in campaign mode and nary a whiff of a unifying spirit. There was little or nothing of uplift – the rhetoric of Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Kennedy, or Reagan. We heard a cavalcade of slogans and one liners, of huge promises to “bring back” an America – whatever that really means to many who look at our history and see progress in our current society.
The speech started with a message of an establishment in Washington earning riches on the back of struggling families across the country. It was an odd note, considering the background of many of his cabinet picks. President Trump painted a very dark picture of the current state of our nation, beset by gangs and drugs and violence, regardless of what the data shows. His words swelled with his economic populism and the nationalism of “America first.” The applause was sparse, and I imagine many more being turned off, even sickened, rather than inspired by what our new President had to say.President Obama looked on with an opaque poker face. One could only imagine what he was thinking.
It bears remembering that one never can predict the arc of a presidency. It is an office that is far too often shaped by circumstance well beyond its occupant’s control. Those challenges, wherever and however they may rise, now will fall on the desk of President Trump. We can only see what will happen. We hope, for the security and sanctity of our Republic, that Mr. Trump will respond to the challenges with circumspection and wisdom. Today’s rhetoric was not reassuring.
Our democracy demands debate and dissent – fierce, sustained, and unflinching when necessary. I sense that tide is rising amongst an opposition eager to toss aside passivity for action. We are already seeing a more emboldened Democratic party than I have witnessed in ages. It is being fueled by a fervent energy bubbling from the grassroots up, rather than the top down.
These are the swirling currents about our ship of state. We now have a new and untested captain. His power is immense, but it is not bestowed from a divinity on high. It is derived, as the saying goes, from the consent of the governed. That means President Trump now works for us – all of us. And if he forgets that, it will be our duty to remind him.
Rather’s final two sentences are a reminder that we need to maintain hope for our great nation’s future and not be beaten down by Trump’s authoritarian rhetoric. Like it or not, Trump is our president and we are not going let him act otherwise.
ORIGINAL SOURCE of this article.
EMPLOYMENT CRISIS HITS DENVER, COLORADO - PLENTY OF LOW INCOME JOBS WITH NO WAY TO AFFORD LIVING THERE
In the local newspaper today it stated the average selling price of a single family home this year in Denver is over $400,000.
Single-family homes are up 15.9 percent in value in metro Denver the past year. At $338,600, the average cost is out of reach for many first-time buyers.
So I did some research and calculations. The monthly payment on a 30-year mortgage at 4.25% plus interest and insurance is approximately $1,988. (That's assuming you were lucky enough to qualify with only putting down $33,800, which is 10% instead of the usual 20% required.) A couple -- both wage earners -- each making two and half times the minimum wage, still could not afford to buy a home in Denver. A household needs $36/hour to qualify.
So what does it take to rent in Denver? I know from personal experience, the average rental rate for a one bedroom, and nothing terrific, is around $1,300 a month. The rental industry requires proof a tenant makes 3 to 4 times the cost of rent. That means a tenant must net about $28/hour assuming only 3 times the rent is required. One person would need to make 4 times minimum wage to rent or a couple would each need to make twice the minimum wage. Where are those jobs? Few and far between.
This is why Denver is having an employment crisis. It's on the front page of the Denver Post today. Nearly everywhere you look, companies are hiring. The problem is they are not paying enough for people to live in Denver or the Denver metro area. Where are the 4 times minimum wage jobs? Even for college graduates, the jobs aren't out there. Take 20 minutes to read through the want ads under "all jobs" and you'll get proof of what people are paying. Most are not paying a living wage. And what a living wage is, might surprise you.
I found a job in the legal field requiring a college degree with a paralegal certificate who can speak Spanish and English that pays $15.38/hour after taxes. At that wage, he/she won't qualify for an apartment. Even a $1000 studio (a rare find) requires a minimum income of $3000 a month up to $4000 a month. If a person is hugely lucky, maybe a studio apartment could be landed. Maybe. And just how long does this person work at this job to save enough to buy a home? I don't need to do the math to tell you that this person in this job, and even in this field, will not be able to save the $40,000 to $80,000 it takes to purchase a home, nor will the pay rise high enough over the years to ever qualify to buy a home unless prices go down or wages significantly increase.
Here's another job, but it only pays minimum wage to start. That's $7.25 / hour in case you didn't know. What does a minimum wage earner net after 40 hours a week for one month? It's right around $1,000. One thousand dollars is supposed to put food on the table and a roof overhead, but you can clearly see that just doesn't do it; not even close. Add in utilities, a phone, co-pays on medical care, personal products, must have household products, transportation expense, a bare minimum business wardrobe and eating out once every two months. Even twice minimum wage doesn't get a person into an apartment, much less allow for these other near necessities. We haven't even begun to talk about quality of life, we're still just trying to survive.
Back to the guy hiring for the legal position. He says he is a doctor and an attorney. Where does he expect employees to live? Not only where but how?! (I paid $7/hour to my employees in a retail shop in the 1990's!!) His ad in part reads:
"Candidates should be well spoken and present well. Prior experience is preferred. Bilingual (spanish) is preferred as well. We do have a fairly large spanish speaking client base. Solid references and a stable employment history are also pluses. Our Firm is a team of all-stars and only all-stars seem to fit in with us. We are looking for a high energy, team players who are motivated to go above and beyond traditional standards. We are looking for candidates with a proven track record of success and those with superior computer skills. You must have a positive attitude and be excellent at talking with clients, adjusters, attorneys and your colleagues. You must also have attention to detail. If you frequently have typos in your work product, you should not apply."
Here's some good news. I found a job on Craigslist that pays $19 - $20 hour + overtime. Yearly, at the higher end of $20/hr it comes to a net (after taxes) of approximately $33,800 a year. If this person could find a studio for $933, he/she could take this job. There will likely be no hope of ever owning a home, but at least this person could work very hard and afford to stay in Denver, and with a lot of overtime, maybe save to rent a one bedroom place eventually.
This on-your-feet-for-8-hours assembly job at a factory requires:
• Able to pass a background check. No felonies.
• Able to pass a pre-employment 9-panel drug screening.
• High School Diploma or GED, education verification.
• Reliable and dependable.
• Hard-working with good work ethic.
• Able to stand for 8+ hours.
• Availability to work overtime as needed.
• Able to lift 50lbs on a regular basis.
•Able to bend and twist on a frequent basis.
• Good written and oral communication.
• Previous Forklift, Wave, and Overhead Crane Experience.
• Hand Tools Required.
• Able to work in a factory environment, loud noise, high speed equipment while maintaining a safe work environment. Steele toed shoes/boots required.
I could give you job after job and after job examples of how what's out there isn't a living wage.
Tell me what your reasons are for not supporting a $15/hour minimum wage? You can't rent an apartment in Denver on $15/hour job or even on $20/hour if you want a one bedroom. This country needs to wake up and see the reality of what's going on with the majority of people. If a business can't make it while paying $15/hour, then they shouldn't be in business.
Coincidentally, on the day I write this post, there's a disturbing story in the paper about a project to help Denver's homeless. The headline reads:
10 arrested after building 'tiny homes' for the homeless in Denver park
"Today (October 24, 2015) hundreds of people came out to Sustainability Park in the Curtis Park neighborhood of Denver to build a tiny home village where three urban farms are being displaced to build an apartment development," activists said.
A statement by activists read, in part:
"In explaining why they had chosen this site on which to establish the village, the group recounted how the Denver Housing Authority, which owns the property, has torn down hundreds of low-income housing units, and after allowing the Urban Farming Cooperative to use the land for a few years, has agreed this year to sell the land to a private developer, who will build multifamily housing that will support gentrification in Curtis Park but be far beyond the reach of those for whom the Denver Housing Authority is supposed to exist."
"As if you could kill time without injuring eternity."
~ Henry David Thoreau
The following was taken partly from a July posting of mine last summer, but it seems apropos to begin thinking about again.
As you head into your weekend I'll leave you with these thoughts.
Time is precious, but don't always feel the need to fill it with activity. Try being reflective and find your own way of being meditative. I have no doubt you'll find new value in your time if you do.
For those going the speed of light to get everything done -- slow down. Make time for quiet. Try listening to the sound of your own heart beat or breath. Find the silence in your life. Let your thoughts, those that are buried deep within, percolate to the top of your conscious mind.
American culture makes people obsessed with being so busy and feeling value only when their day is jam packed and when they've got their to-do list all checked off. Time is worth so much more than that.
Explore new ways to experience time and you'll be finding new ways to experience life. Such a simple concept, isn't it?
The expression 'killing time' rubs me the wrong way. Time, and how we spend it, is what makes up our life. 'Killing it' or 'wasting it' or being so busy it flies by, can't be done to time without doing it to our lives.
[This is a repost from May of 2011]
Sometimes it takes a minute to load. (A veces se tarda un minuto en cargar .)
The contamination begins with a small paper lying in the street . It is in your hands , put garbage into its place.
BEST SELLING AUTHOR, MICHAEL SHERMER, WRITES ON HOW BELIEFS ARE BORN, FORMED, REINFORCED, CHALLENGED, CHANGED AND EXTINGUISHED
[This is a repost from 2011]
A new book by Michael Shermer is coming out in a few weeks - THE BELIEVING BRAIN: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies - How we construct beliefs and reinforce them as truths.
Source for what follows: http://obcconnect.forumotion.net (Thank you, obcconnect.forumotion.net, for your blog on this book. Fascinating stuff. To my readers: please visit the source of my blog post.)
In this work synthesizing thirty years of research, psychologist, historian of science, and the world's best-known skeptic Michael Shermer upends the traditional thinking about how humans form beliefs about the world. Simply put, beliefs come first and explanations for beliefs follow. The brain, Shermer argues, is a belief engine. From sensory data flowing in through the senses, the brain naturally begins to look for and find patterns, and then infuses those patterns with meaning. Our brains connect the dots of our world into meaningful patterns that explain why things happen, and these patterns become beliefs. Once beliefs are formed the brain begins to look for and find confirmatory evidence in support of those beliefs, which accelerates the process of reinforcing them, and round and round the process goes in a positive-feedback loop of belief confirmation. Shermer outlines the numerous cognitive tools our brains engage to reinforce our beliefs as truths.
Interlaced with his theory of belief, Shermer provides countless real-world examples of how this process operates, from politics, economics, and religion to conspiracy theories, the supernatural, and the paranormal. Ultimately, he demonstrates why science is the best tool ever devised to determine whether or not a belief matches reality.
“Michael Shermer has long been one of our most committed champions of scientific thinking in the face of popular delusion. In The Believing Brain, he has written a wonderfully lucid, accessible, and wide-ranging account of the boundary between justified and unjustified belief. We have all fallen more deeply in his debt.” –Sam Harris, author of the New York Times bestsellers The Moral Landscape, Letter to a Christian Nation, and The End of Faith.
“The physicist Richard Feynman once said that the easiest person to fool is yourself, and as a result he argued that as a scientist one has to be especially careful to try and find out not only what is right about one's theories, but what might also be wrong with them. If we all followed this maxim of skepticism in everyday life, the world would probably be a better place. But we don't. In this book Michael Shermer lucidly describes why and how we are hard wired to 'want to believe'. With a narrative that gently flows from the personal to the profound, Shermer shares what he has learned after spending a lifetime pondering the relationship between beliefs and reality, and how to be prepared to tell the difference between the two.”—Lawrence M. Krauss, Foundation Professor and Director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University and author of The Physics of Star Trek, Quantum Man and A Universe from Nothing
"Michael Shermer has long been one of the world's deepest thinkers when it comes to explaining where our beliefs come from, and he brings it all together in this important, engaging, and ambitious book. Shermer knows all the science, he tells great stories, he is funny, and he is fearless, delving into hot-button topics like 9-11 Truthers, life after death, capitalism, Barack Obama, Sarah Palin, and the existence of God. This is an entertaining and thoughtful exploration of the beliefs that shape our lives."—Paul Bloom, author of How Pleasure Works
"The Believing Brain is a tour de force integrating neuroscience and the social sciences to explain how irrational beliefs are formed and reinforced, while leaving us confident our ideas are valid. This is a must read for everyone who wonders why religious and political beliefs are so rigid and polarized—or why the other side is always wrong, but somehow doesn't see it."—Dr. Leonard Mlodinow, physicist and author of The Drunkard’s Walk and The Grand Design (with Stephen Hawking)
"We might think that we learn how the world works, because we take the time to observe and understand it. Shermer says that's just not so. We just believe things, and then make our world fit our perceptions. Believe me; you don't have to take my word for it. Just try clearing some space in your own Believing Brain."—Bill Nye, the Science Guy ©, Executive Director of The Planetary Society
"The Believing Brain is a fascinating account of the origins of all manner of beliefs, replete with cutting edge evidence from the best scientific research, packed with nuggets of truths and then for good measure, studded with real world examples to deliver to the reader, a very personable, engaging and ultimately, convincing set of explanations for why we believe."—Professor Bruce Hood, Chair of Developmental Psychology, Bristol University and author of Supersense: Why We Believe in the Unbelievable
I don't know about you, but I look forward to reading this book!
I first posted this when it came out in 2008. It was brilliant then and still inspiring now.
Tell the House of Representatives to take the first step to passing the Business Supply Chain Transparency on Trafficking and Slavery Act of 2014 (H.R. 4842) by holding a hearing. This bill requires large companie_s to publish how they prevent human trafficking, slavery and child labor in their supply chains. SIGN HERE
I've been campaigning against 21st Century slavery for nearly a decade. GoodWeave came to my attention in 2010. Click on the image above to go to a short video of Sanju's story. Take the pledge to not buy rugs without the GoodWeave label or a trusted label guaranteeing the rug has not been made by child slave.
FAQs from the GoodWeave website:
About GoodWeave Certification and ISEALWhat is ISEAL?
How is GoodWeave working with ISEAL to create standards for the GoodWeave label?
What does it mean to say you’re developing better standards?
Were the existing standards inadequate? When will the new standards be final?
What is the loom inspection process?
Do looms and importers pay a fee to use the GoodWeave label?
About GoodWeaveWhat is GoodWeave's mission?
What does GoodWeave do?
Who founded GoodWeave, and when?
What are some of GoodWeave's successes?
Where does GoodWeave operate?
How can I support GoodWeave?
About Purchasing a Certified GoodWeave RugHow can I be sure my rug wasn’t made with child labor?
Will I pay more for a GoodWeave certified rug?
Is there a difference in quality in a GoodWeave certified rug?
Where can I buy GoodWeave certified rugs?
What if I'm working with an interior designer, architect or local carpet dealer?
About Child LaborWhat is child labor?
What is the economic impact of child labor?
Isn’t it true that children in poor countries must work to feed themselves and their families?
Aren’t children allowed to work in some countries?
Some child weavers work at home, side by side with other family members. Aren't they better off than child weavers in factories?
Isn’t carpet weaving less dangerous than working with machinery or chemicals as some children do?
If children are forced to leave carpet weaving, won’t they turn to crime or prostitution?
In many countries, carpet weaving is an ancient and honored craft. Why deny children this form of cultural and intellectual expression?
Industry FAQsHow can selling GoodWeave certified rugs improve my business?
Is the demand for GoodWeave certified rugs expanding?
How does the GoodWeave certification process work?
Who carries GoodWeave certified rugs?
I work with a range of rug vendors. Is it a problem to sell GoodWeave certified rugs and non-certified rugs side-by-side?
What’s the difference between GoodWeave and other labeling initiatives?
What is the importer’s financial relationship with GoodWeave?
How do I become a GoodWeave licensed importer?
How do I source GoodWeave rugs for my showroom?
How will being a GoodWeave Lead Sponsor support my sales?
What if an importer tells me that their rugs were not made by child labor, yet they are not GoodWeave certified?
"Getting the experts and materiel into West Africa is difficult as many airlines have canceled flights to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Shipping lines are refusing to dock at the countrys' ports." by
Ebola Supply Shipments Delayed By Transportation Issues
EXCERPTS FROM ARTICLE:
NORTHAM: Much needed medical supplies are rolling into humanitarian organization in the U.S. and elsewhere, but getting the equipment and medicine to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea is not so easy. Jarrod Goentzel is the director of the Humanitarian Response Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His group, working together with the Boston Children's Hospital and the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, compiled nine pallets or about a ton of supplies - protective gloves, masks, goggles and boots and chlorine to keep the equipment and protective suits clean. Goentzel says they're desperately needed supplies.
JARROD GOENTZEL: I've been seeing reports of people, you know, for the mask and the head cover, they've been cutting things out of other materials. They've been fabricating their own personal protective equipment in many cases. This is the kind of equipment that, you know, we can't send too much of this in some ways.
NORTHAM: The pallets were picked up by freight forwarders on August 15, but sat at JFK Airport in New York for more than two weeks because airlines had begun canceling their flights into the countries hit by Ebola, severely curtailing the delivery of equipment and international healthcare experts. David Nabarro, the U.N.'s senior coordinator for Ebola, says isolating Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea complicates the response. READ FULL ARTICLE
After an 18 year marriage crumbled, followed by several tries at relationships that ended with guys addicted to porn or lying or both, I came to cherish being single. I wasn't at all good at attracting good men, but I became very good at being happy living alone. I discovered I like my own company. I like being with my own thoughts.
I can wake up on any given day and feel the peace, the fulfillment, the conflict free zone that swaddles me, and I breathe easily knowing that I can choose to do exactly what I want that day without asking permission, without consulting someone, without compromising, negotiating or giving in or up something.
All the energy that was once devoted to making a relationship work, and it is work if you try to do it well, is now expended on my passions: photography, art, writing, blogging, reading, learning and activism. No more arguments. No more waiting for someone who is chronically late. I don't need to get along with someone else's friends and family. I don't have to go to parties I never wanted to go to. I don't have to deal with the dysfunction of another human being. I don't have to explain myself. All that energy that went into the struggle of connecting with someone, is freed up for creative endeavors, and of those, I have many. This is bliss. Truly bliss.
Four to five months out of the year is spent in remote mountain terrain close to 11,000 feet (3352.8m) where there's no cell service and no land lines. There's no electricity; only my solar. Water is hauled in. The nearest part-time neighbor is a mile away. Grocery stores are 45 miles away. I thrive in the solitude. I have a satellite, so I have Internet for connectivity to the outside world.
People ask if I don't miss sharing my life with someone else. When I was married, my husband did not like traveling, hiking or camping, or doing many of the things in the city I enjoyed doing such as going to plays or concerts. I backpacked solo through Europe for two months when I turned forty. At another stage in my life I went back to Europe (had a boyfriend after my divorce) and traveled solo again for over a month. Between relationships, I backpacked through Asia for 5 months -- again, solo. I've never had a partner who would or could travel with me. As for all the other ways couples share their lives, I'm at a place in my life, where the trade off of not having that is so worth all the other things that being solo provides. So by way of a long explanation, no, I don't miss sharing my life with one special person.
In BRAIN PICKINGS WEEKLY, an email came to me today, and in a flash of synchronicity, it had a lead article about living alone. Here's an excerpt:
How to Be Alone: An Antidote to One of the
I spend little time thinking about my single status. It's such an integral part of me. I don't long for anyone. My singleness is a non-issue. People will ask if I'm dating anyone and when I say, no, I also add that I'm not looking. When I say I'm happy without a partner, I don't think most people relate or even understand. Some people probably think I'm fooling myself. What they may never grasp is that I'm as devoted to being single as someone else is devoted to their partner. The bottom line is I have no room for someone else in my life. I'm not needing to fill a void. There's no hole in me. I simply have no desire to merge my life with someone. I've done that and now I want independence. I thrive alone. I don't want to cook for another person. Cooking has never been my thing. I don't want to share the remote. (I don't have a TV, but the concept is still there.) I don't want to mingle finances. I'm not only comfortable in my own skin, I like my own company. Being alone is not lonely for me. I'm not a man-hater by any account. It has nothing to do with that. There are some gorgeous men out there - inside and out - but it's not about that. I just love being single.
At the same time, I can relate to people who love being married. I once did. I wouldn't have traded being married for anything. I loved, loved, loved having someone in my corner, someone to rely on and wake up to. But what I loved, in my situation, never really existed. I thought I was in love and living with the love of my life and that he was faithful and honest and real. I was wrong. It was a hard lesson, but a lasting one. I have no regrets. I harbor no resentment. I just picked up the pieces of my shattered life and began rebuilding a life much more aligned with my soul. Once you let go of everything and start over, amazing things can happen. But you have to truly let go in your heart of hearts.
As I thought about blogging on this topic, I did some research. In the 1950s, traditional marriage was seen as the “only culturally acceptable route to adulthood and independence,” according to historian Stephanie Coonz in her book Marriage, a History. In fact, the year I was born, 1957, a survey came out where 80 percent of Americans responded that people who preferred to remain single were “sick,” “neurotic,” or “immoral.” I had no idea there was such a stigma! "By 1978, only one-quarter of Americans still felt it was morally wrong to choose to live without a partner," wrote Janelle Nanos, in her article SINGLE BY CHOICE.
I read where some people are trying to come up with another term for the kind of single who are single by choice. In one article, they were referred to as trailblazers. Personally, I don't feel like a trailblazer and I don't need a new title. Where I'm at as single by choice, is just that. It's where I'm at. If blogging about it helps others to gain a better understanding, then that's good. If someone doesn't like it, doesn't approve of it, wants to judge, that's their thing. It won't bother me.
In experiencing solitude, British author Sara Maitland writes:
"I got fascinated by silence; by what happens to the human spirit, to identity the personality when the talking stops, when you press the off button, when you venture out into that enormous emptiness. I was interested in silence as a lost cultural phenomenon, as a thing of beauty and as a space that had been explored and used over and over again by different individuals, for different reasons and with wildly differing results. I began to use my own life as a sort of laboratory to test some ideas and to find out what it felt like. Almost to my surprise, I found I loved silence. It suited me. I got greedy for more. In my hunt for more silence, I found this valley and built a house here, on the ruins of an old shepherd’s cottage."
LIGHTWEIGHT, PORTABLE, POWERED BY THE SUN
I will update as I learn more about these inspiring tents. It'd be wonderful to see a non-profit project launched where thousands of people sign up to weave these tents and send them to the Syrian refugees.
"Design is supposed to give form to a gap in people’s needs. This lightweight, mobile, structural fabric could potentially close the gap between need and desire as people metaphorically weave their lives back together, physically weaving their built environment into a place both new and familiar, transient and rooted, private and connected. In this space, the refugees find a place to pause from their turbulent worlds, a place to weave the tapestry of their new lives. They weave their shelter into home." From Abeer Seikaly's website.
I came across this article when I was reading about the Syrian refugee crisis. According to Stephanie Nebehay, as of Aug 29 (Reuters) three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries. "Many remain trapped by the advance of Islamist militants or are having difficulty in reaching open border crossings," the United Nations said.
"Syrians desperate to leave their war-engulfed homeland are forced to pay hefty bribes at armed checkpoints proliferating along Syria's borders, or to smugglers, the U.N. refugee agency said." This was reported by Stephanie Nebehay.
The record figure is one million refugees more than a year ago, while a further 6.5 million are displaced within Syria, meaning that "almost half of all Syrians have now been forced to abandon their homes and flee for their lives," it said.
"The Syrian crisis has become the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era, yet the world is failing to meet the needs of refugees and the countries hosting them," Antonio Guterres, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said in a statement.
Today, I wrote to the designer of these tents and asked where they are made available to purchase and if they are available for the Syrian refugees.
"Drawing inspiration from traditional basket weaving techniques and the flexibility of snake skin, the designer uses weatherproof fabric drawn between durable, curved plastic tubing. This creates a structurally sound tent that can handle both compression and tension loads. The double-layered fabric tent skins are also hollow, allowing for weatherproof entrances and for water piping and electrical cables to run between the layers. While the design is scalable, the models shown are five meters in diameter and 2.4 meters high." Quoted from:
"Silence has long been confused with neutrality, and has been
"All that is necessary for the triumph of
evil is that good men do nothing."
- Edmund Burke
There are times when people don't want to get involved, don't want to take a stand, or don't want to speak up, and they mistakenly believe their silence makes them neutral. While most people don't enjoy conflict, there are many who loathe it to a detriment. Conflict is part of being human, yet it doesn't seem to come natural to be good at facing it. And when conflict comes with injustice, some people often back off even more. I have a difficult time relating to those people. I was raised to voice my opinion and I'm wired to speak up. Keeping my mouth shut is much more challenging.
Make no mistake. There's a time for silence and it has tremendous value. But timing is key. It's much like the Serenity Prayer: 'Accept the things you cannot change; change the things you can; and have the wisdom to know the difference.'
The point here is to have the patience for silence when it will not improve upon understanding, yet the strength to be a voice when it must be heard, and know when it's best for each.
Many a heart has been broken by words left unspoken. I read that somewhere and it stuck with me.
The next time you choose to look the other way, not wanting to get involved, I hope you remember the words of Dr. James Obrinski, "We are not sure that words can always save lives, but we know that silence can certainly kill." Let that soak in.
This article was inspiring. While I don't see much of this type of journalism in the United States, it's exciting to know it's happening else where around the globe. The author of this article, Anya Schiffrin, has written a book called GLOBAL MUCKRAKING, which looks like an interesting read. See link to the book below.
From the Huffington Post article: "For investigative reporting, injustice is the gift that just keeps giving. While so much of the business side of journalism remains in flux, fine reporters with an investigative urge are finding ways to shine much needed light into the parts of our global lives that the powerful would rather keep in the shadows. These may be tough times, lean times, difficult times, but don’t be fooled: they’re also boom times. There can be no question that, if you’re a reader with access to the Internet, you’re living in a new golden age of investigative journalism." READ FULL ARTICLE
As I was reading excerpts from the book, Global Muckraking, I was inspired to google Nellie Bly and read her story about infiltrating the Blackwell's Island Insane Asylum in the late 1800's. Her story was first printed in the World and later made into a book that is available free in its entirety online. The link is provided below or here.
If you want to read a free online version of this book click here.
"..... in what can only be described as an utterly cynical marketing campaign, ASDA are now selling bee-killing neonicotinoid pest sprays – but promoting their sale by giving away free packets of ‘bee friendly’ garden plant seeds," wrote Simon Mitchell on his website.
So what did Simon do?
He produced free stickers that say THIS PRODUCT KILLS BEES. His hope is that you will download and print onto self-adhesive stickers " to ‘correct’ this disinformative marketing ploy in ASDA and other shops and gardening centres that abandon responsibility to the environment in preference to profit."
The idea is to simply stick these stickers onto products in shops that kill bees, in order to inform other customers who might not realize that this is what they are doing by purchasing the product. GO HERE FOR YOUR OWN FREE STICKERS
People have asked me how I came up with the name ‘livehonestly’ for a website. It was the summer of 2006. My brother had just died of cirrhosis of the liver. I was visiting my mother, helping her with all that follows a death in the family. Dealing with the loss of a talented, intelligent brother who got lost in a bottle for his whole life left me heavy-hearted while examining my own life. There are many ways to waste away. My brother did it with booze. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to do it by inaction, by not going after some of my dreams. And I had a long list.
I’d given up my apartment the month before and was looking for something exciting, if not also meaningful to do with my life. I bought one of those everything-you-always-wanted-to-know books about volunteering overseas. I devoured it in two days. Between that book and pouring through the internet I found it. I found the place I would begin my journey: a trek to the base camp of Mt. Everest while raising money for orphanages in Kathmandu. I didn’t know what I would do after that or where I would go or even how long I would be gone. But I had a starting point. I was headed to Nepal. (I actually had to find it on the map first.) I was floating with excitement.
My to-do list seemed unending. One thing I knew for sure was that I wanted to design a website where I could record my travels. Ultimately, I was hoping my journey would help me discover what kind of non-profit I could start. I was interested in stopping human trafficking, particularly helping children being sold into sex slavery. I asked myself many questions and the one that seemed to resonate most deeply was: What is most important to you? It was simple. Honesty. I learned it from my parents. They taught honesty in everything they said and in everything they did. They walked the talk. So, it became my epicenter and my compass.
To live honestly means much more than just truth in words. It’s a whole way of life. It’s about honoring the path you’re meant to take and taking responsibility for the choices you make. It's about being self aware, and always wanting to learn more.
It’s about getting back up when you fall no matter how often or how hard. It's being strong enough to ask for help and caring enough to give without being asked. It’s respecting yourself and all other living creatures. And your word is who you are. It has to be unconditionally trustworthy. Living honestly is about recognizing when ego might steer you off course and when fear is blinding you or stopping you.
It's about a life that lives WITH the land not OFF the land. It's about balance, fairness, and treading lightly on this planet. It's caring that products are made by slaves and caring that people are starving and not turning a blind eye to children abducted for sex or forced into being soldiers in a war they don't want to fight. It's caring more about people than money and offering a helping hand when it's not only Christmas or Thanksgiving. Living honestly makes for the best relationships, the best work product, and it breeds all things good.
It’s the most nourishing way to live for yourself, for others and for the planet. The caption for my website was inspired by two other aspects I believe are critically important for living a good life. That's when I coined: Live fearlessly, compassionately, and honestly. Feel free to email me your thoughts about what 'living honestly' means to you. _________________
About the photo: I took this picture of my 7-year old elephant, Gao, at my 3-day mahoot elephant training in Thailand. He was so adorable. When we traveled through the jungle down steep slopes he would pin his ears back to hold me on!! On April 23, 2009, I emailed Supat the Director of the conservation camp where Gao lives to see how "my elephant" was doing. Supat wrote back that he "is greatest and calmest tusk elephant at the camp". He also corrected my spelling: Kaew (pro: Gow).
Finally, Colorado gets a chance to require labeling on foods containing GMO. It's nonsense that we have to fight to know what's in our food. It shows the power of money.
GMO food labeling initiative approved for Colorado ballot proposition
By Jesse Paul
The Denver Post
POSTED: 08/20/2014 12:16:42 PM MDT
UPDATED: 08/21/2014 08:24:54 AM MDT
A proposition seeking the labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms will be on the November ballot, the Colorado Secretary of State said Wednesday.
Signatures were verified for the ballot initiative — Proposition 105 — according to the group, meaning the question will go before voters in this year's elections.
"We did it!" Right to Know Colorado, which is backing the effort, said in a Facebook post.
The proposition is now one of four that will be on the November ballot, including one asking voters to recognize unborn children as persons and another establishing an education fund financed by expanded gaming at horse racetracks.
Artists seem drawn to all that leaves a mark in life however small it might be. This mark might be but for an instant the way certain smiles flash glimpses of a person’s soul through the eyes. Artists seem drawn to capture prints in the sand, rust on metal, paint that’s peeling, and lines on faces. The artist in turn, creates an interpretation of the mark and leaves his or her own mark through photos or paint or drawings or music. Others experience this mark and are touched, perhaps even inspired and in turn leave their own mark. This is one way we witness the cycle of life in all its wonder. It leaves little doubt in my mind about the interconnectedness of all things….
Whether it's old paint on metal, rubber, or wood, the way it peels and cracks can leave a beautiful abstract image worthy of framing.
Re-post from March 27, 2010:
"Especially now when views are becoming more polarized,
we must work to understand each other across political,
religious and national boundaries."
— Jane Goodall
If this isn't a Gilded Flicker, please let me know! It might be a Northern Flicker? I'm just learning....
When I first approached this bird it was on the ground digging. I'm guessing it was making a place for a nest. After it flew away and joined its mate in a nearby tree, I examined the ground and found a small cave like hole dug out of the earth. I'll have to read about these birds (I hope I have identified them correctly) and see if they have nests on the ground. I'm brand new to birding. What utterly fascinating creatures they are! So much beauty too. No bird belongs in a cage....
A re-post from March 2010:
Shake it off. Easy to say, not so easy to do. But it's key to inner peace, which is key to happiness.
So much is out of our control. So much doesn't make sense. And a lot of injustice and unfairness surrounds us. Accepting that and learning to let go, truly and deeply let go, will help you through the rough times. I speak from experience. Lots and lots of experience. My hard earned letting go skills serve me on a daily basis. And yet there are still times I fail. It's something I find must be worked on constantly and quite consciously.
Here's something to practice on a daily basis. Begin by being aware of your thought process. How many times do you allow your thoughts to be negative? How many times do you go over something you said or that was said to you and allow the pain to wrap around you? How often are you judging and feeling anger, resentment, and frustration? Start to be aware of how your thoughts are linked to the emotions you're feeling throughout your day. Self awareness is the first step.
The mind is very powerful. If you begin to rein in your thoughts when they go dark and negative, and stop them at the door, you'll also stop the rush of negative emotions. I'm not talking about creating a state of denial. But if the thoughts have no purpose other than reinforcing your feelings of being a victim, or of injustice and insanity, then why continue allowing them into your mind? Why entertain these thoughts?
Accept the negative and focus on good thoughts. Your energy will change. Your energy will strengthen you. If something CAN be done about the negative things going on in your life, it will come from being positive and concentrating on what you can control and on things that feed your soul versus things that feed your pain and anger.
Lakota Instructions for Living
Friend do it this way - that is,
whatever you do in life,
do the very best you can
with both your heart and mind.
And if you do it that way,
the Power Of The Universe
will come to your assistance,
if your heart and mind are in Unity.
When one sits in the Hoop Of The People,
one must be responsible because
All of Creation is related.
And the hurt of one is the hurt of all.
And the honor of one is the honor of all.
And whatever we do effects everything in the universe.
If you do it that way - that is,
if you truly join your heart and mind
as One - whatever you ask for,
that's the Way It's Going To Be.
passed down from White Buffalo Calf Woman
PLEASE VISIT THIS INSPIRING WEBSITE:
I'm an artist, writer, photographer, private investigator and an activist in small ways.
"Turning indifference into making a difference."
A labor of love website devoted to animal and human rights, and better living. A place to be inspired ...
My LADYBUG book is filled with beautiful images & inspiring quotes. Click here for more info.
I visited the Tiger Temple in Thailand & later found out it is under investigation for tiger trafficking and animal abuse. Read full story. In 2015 it was raided. More than 100 tigers and protected bird species in Wat Pa Luang Ta Bua, popularly known as the Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi province were impounded by authorities following complaints that the temple was alleged to engage in illegal wildlife trading.
"The moment one gives close attention to anything,
even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious,
awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself."
~ Henry Miller
DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS helps people worldwide where the need is greatest, delivering emergency medical aid to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters or exclusion from healthcare.
Read about life in the woods with Chippy & the crew...