School as a Garden

For the last 4 months I have been working with the school across the street, writing grant proposals, painting planter beds, planning, meeting, promoting, researching, weeding and watering to make school gardens all over the school grounds a reality. This holiday time found me drawing plans for garden kitchens. Today I found this video from Australia heartening.

In a related vein, I read this weekend that Britain's Jamie Oliver has won the 2010 TED prize. Jamie's work with England's school lunch program riveted me some years back. I have never forgotten it and I readily admit this was my inspiration for working on this School as a Garden project in my community. I wish I could watch the whole School Dinners series again.

“Every child should be taught to cook in school, not just talk about nutrition all day. Good food can be made in 15 minutes. This could be the first generation where the kids teach the parents.” – Jamie Oliver

As the TED write up states about Jamie Oliver's projects:
Campaigns such as School Dinners, Ministry of Food and Food Revolution USA combine Oliver’s culinary tools, cookbooks and television with more standard activism and community organizing to create change on both the individual and governmental level.
Oh yeah . . . YouTube

The Heat Is On

Well, for 3.5 hrs early this morning it was. I really thought I'd make it into January without turning on my little space heater. But, just before 5 am I felt so cold, despite my 3 blankets and a throw AND wearing a nightgown. Funny thing was, after 3.5 hours I woke with bright red cheeks from being so toasty.

My neighbor and I were comparing notes about this last week. It is like a game for us to challenge ourselves. The best part is our savings on electrical bills. I would live with much greater anxiety in the cold climates. I lived more than half of my life in northern climates with savage winter winds. Will power, extra layers of clothing and blankets day or night just aren't enough. Not just people, but pipes freeze. Death happens.

I would not like to go back to that without a roof full of solar panels, a wind generator, green roof, insulation, double glazed windows, complete caulking and lots of rugs and heavy drapes. What I am saying is it is expensive to live in cold climates. One exception was my daydream of living in an earth sheltered home. I even wrote a short story once with a full description of that home. I still would love to live in such a place. Meanwhile, I give thanks I am in a temparate climate. And maybe I will make it into the new year without needing to turn this on again.

Refreshed via COP15

I have been watching Democracy Now, broadcasting all week from Copenhagen.  It is refreshing to hear voices of the young, voices of the global south - the developing countries, the activists and 1st nation people around the world. The USofA perspective as seen through the corporate media, from coverage of President Obama (corporate spokesmodel) and the 24/7 fixation on far right or otherwise 'missing the point' views is spinning it's own empire story. This is true within the conference too, with the rich nations carrying on like it is a WTO or IMF gathering - rather than a UN (read: all countries as equal) conference. Leaked information called the Denmark Text, via the Guardian, tells of a plan B wherein developed countries defiled the spirit and purpose of the whole COP15 by meeting in secret and writing a version giving the richer nations the better deal. Big surprise. This is being furiously protested inside and outside the conference. This is real history in the making, by the citizens of the world - not just world leaders. I encourage you to listen to the Democracy Now broadcast from any day this last week or tune in next week.

via Guardian

Reminder: Tonight on the History Channel is Howard Zinn's production of "People's History of the United States." I will have to figure out a way to see this online or at someone's home with a television.

As Beany Reminded Me . . .

This image is one of the best ever. News of troop escalation in Afghanistan makes it clear he is on the same track as Bush. I can't see any difference except personal style, expression and look.

Beany and Mr. Beany visited this weekend. Yes, indeed, it was a great time. Beany fixed my computer while Mr. Beany was off to swim in the ocean. They treated me to an early birthday meal at my favorite slow food restaurant. It was so delicious. The time flew and now I keep thinking of things we never had a chance to discuss. I also got some Southern Indian cooking tips and gifts of Sambhar Masala and Tamarind concentrate. I have already tried these in my lentils and I am in love with this new taste.

Hat tip to Tengrain for image

Waste or Dive

I worked at a local Von's store for a few months in 2005. The waste was frightening.  Serveral days ago I had to pick up some pine nuts at Von's (riding along with my son on his errands). I asked to produce employee when I might pick up produce waste for the elementary school compost demonstrations. She said that Von's does not allow anyone to have the trimmings waste. What kind of country is this United States of America?

Thanks to Wasted Food Source website for California and Texas screening or DVD purchase.

Buy Nothing Day

 It's that time again in the USofA (Europe will do this tomorrow). I am not sure about the rest of the world. Check out Adbuster's site for more information. I believe in this action in concept; that is, a mass act of defiance,  because it is an exhilarating way to experience solidarity. Sadly, it is harder to get a group together on any theme as we are a nation of consumers - easily distracted  with shiny new useless things. I have not bought gifts on black Friday or any December day for most of two decades, so I have eased into my belief this is an easy request. But, I know better. It sometimes takes some years to be free of obligatory gift buying when everything in this market culture equates love and care with December retail. Having said that, it may be easier this year when poverty is smacking down even the most conventional middle class US shopping ethics. I am rooting for anyone who is taking this step. Buy nothing this day or for the next four weeks. Treat you and your loved ones to a Buy Nothing Holiday Season. You will survive. 

Spotted a San Diego event at the Adbuster website. Love the organizer name, Motivated Youth.
The Motivated Youth
Event Details
12:00 pm
Events planned so far: 
A friendly barter event held to support Buy Nothing Day 2009. Bring anything of value for trade or nothing at all. We'll enjoy a nice day in the park away from the mall.
Contact Information
Contact Name: 
The Motivated Youth
Contact Email: 

Courage to Encourage Truth Telling

Update at end
 The following is an excerpt from  a Thanksgiving post from the Organic Consumers Association. The lengthy post is rich with historic details of our food past.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Today, November 26, the Organic Consumers Association gives special thanks to the indigenous farmers and wildcrafters of the Western Hemisphere for cultivating and preserving our food, fiber, medicinal herbs, and biodiversity for thousands of years. We also bow our heads to our contemporary farmers, gardeners, ranchers, farm workers, food workers, cooks, and holistic healers who are following the ancient Via Organica, the organic way. As we give thanks to our organic ancestors and contemporaries, let us renew our essential pledge as organic consumers and activists to protect and safeguard the global commons. Let us pledge to build a healthy organic future of peace, justice, sustainability, and participatory democracy. Let us promise one another today that we will rescue and re-stabilize our climate, clean up our air and water, rebuild our soils, and protect our precious biodiversity from the ravages of "profit-at-any-cost" corporations and indentured politicians and scientists.


Seventy-five percent of the food or fiber we grow today was discovered and cultivated by the native farmers and hunter-gatherers of North, Central and South America.

These indigenous varieties include corn, beans, peanuts, cotton, potatoes, tomatoes, chili peppers, avocados, blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, squashes, black walnuts, pecans, chocolate, tobacco, rubber, sunflowers, and medicinal herbs and plants.

Today, every one of these varieties is threatened by Monsanto, Big Pharma, and industrial agriculture, among others, who are privatizing and patenting seeds and the gene pool, eroding biodiversity, degrading the soil and water, contaminating the food chain, and destabilizing the climate.
My own plans for the day don't include anything special. My son is working and I'm working on a grant. Besides, my heart isn't into it. This year I am struggling with how obvious the US empire is showing all actions in foreign and domestic arenas as transferring all wealth, control to the ruling corporate class. I keep thinking of the piece I read three years ago, highlighting yet another hypocritical holiday masking privilege in terms of honor and generosity. The AlterNet post suggests no thanksgiving, but a day of atonement instead.
One indication of moral progress in the United States would be the replacement of Thanksgiving Day and its self-indulgent family feasting with a National Day of Atonement accompanied by a self-reflective collective fasting.

In fact, indigenous people have offered such a model; since 1970 they have marked the fourth Thursday of November as a Day of Mourning in a spiritual/political ceremony on Coles Hill overlooking Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts, one of the early sites of the European invasion of the Americas.

Not only is the thought of such a change in this white-supremacist holiday impossible to imagine, but the very mention of the idea sends most Americans into apoplectic fits -- which speaks volumes about our historical hypocrisy and its relation to the contemporary politics of empire in the United States.

That the world's great powers achieved "greatness" through criminal brutality on a grand scale is not news, of course. That those same societies are reluctant to highlight this history of barbarism also is predictable.

[. . .] Simply put: Thanksgiving is the day when the dominant white culture (and, sadly, most of the rest of the non-white but non-indigenous population) celebrates the beginning of a genocide that was, in fact, blessed by the men we hold up as our heroic founding fathers.

The first president, George Washington, in 1783 said he preferred buying Indians' land rather than driving them off it because that was like driving "wild beasts" from the forest. He compared Indians to wolves, "both being beasts of prey, tho' they differ in shape."

Thomas Jefferson -- president #3 and author of the Declaration of Independence, which refers to Indians as the "merciless Indian Savages" -- was known to romanticize Indians and their culture, but that didn't stop him in 1807 from writing to his secretary of war that in a coming conflict with certain tribes, "[W]e shall destroy all of them."
Well, in for a penny- in for a pound . . . I'll pile on with the British empire and how it caused the famines of the last several centuries in India. This is my recommendation to read Jill Richardson's fact-filled post at La Vida Locavore, excerpted here.
As it turns out, once upon a time, India could feed itself. The book Late Victorian Holocausts by Mike Davis tells the story of how the British robbed the Indians of their wealth, wrecked their agricultural system (in order to serve the needs of industrial Britain), and then watched as millions of Indian people starved. The book also covers other countries - mainly China and Brazil, but also African nations, and the Philippines. Each nation has a similar story to tell, but for this diary I am going to focus on India.

In the last quarter of the 19th century, there was a series of abnormally strong El Nino cycles. Famine erupted around the world, in each of the places I named above. Some of the disaster is due to El Nino, but the magnitude of the disaster - the difference between a drought and a famine - is manmade.
I think we all should read these three pieces in the cold light of day. I am often confounded at the number of people who say we must support US troops, men and women who offer up their lives for this country. But, if these same people, we US citizens, are asked to be uncomfortable, challenged, or critiqued in any way we rant and wail about our freedoms. We are commanded to be positive and loyal to these orchestrated propaganda holidays. Why is it acceptable that some die and others can't even be inconvenienced? It's a terrible experience for me to gradually pull away the blinders and acknowledge the racist, misogynist, homophobic words and actions that fill the national press, my local blog / city hall and neighborhood attitudes. I can understand the lack of courage, but I simply can't understand the complete unwillingness to encourage. Believe me, I am thankful for the goodness I see, hear and feel each and every week. Without this I couldn't keep believing there is a way beyond. How wonderful there are loved ones to gather together. But, it doesn't license the continuation of celebration for all the wrong reasons. I'd like to think we can encourage each other to face the realities and to remind each other we won't die if we reduce our consumption, eat seasonally, eat locally, stand up to big business/big corporate empire, respect each other's labors and lives.

Update #1: It took me stepping away and coming back to this post to realize how often I presume readers are from this country. I still haven't grasped how thankful I should be that there is a whole world plugged into the internet, not just the USofA. My apologies for such an ethnocentric perspective. It is a common failing of mine - I cringe to admit. What I'd welcome is readership from abroad who let me know about this same kind of issue revealed in other countries. I am indeed happy that the international social justice movement is growing. In the long run, there are millions of the disenfranchised in so-called democracies against the few with all the capital, military, judicial and political clout. Happy thanksgiving for that.

Update#2: I just visited Shakesville with a repeat post from Shaker Renee of Womanist Musings on the same genocide vein as above. Another worthy read as far as truth telling. Go visit. But, I can't resist adding a humorous twist on this heinous tale via Eddie Izzard. I love this man.

Quote of the Day

"There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious—makes you so sick at heart—that you can't take part. You can't even passively take part.
"And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop.
"And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all."

Mario Salvio – Sproul Hall Steps, December 2, 1964
Berkley Free Speech Movement

Thanks to Democracy Now segment on California University walk out actions.

I hate this country

Enron’s former broadband finance chief received one year’s probation, including nine months’ home confinement, for falsifying company books.
"And so this is how justice works in the USA today, that the guy who cooked the books, bringing down the retirement hopes and dreams of a generation, who literally held the state of California hostage (which helped to oust a sitting governor and install Ahhhhhnold and we still pay the highest electricity rates in the nation), this man gets nine months of home confinement.

Meanwhile, some kid from the wrong side of the tracks in just about any American City will spend the rest of his adult life locked up for selling drugs".

Also . . .
Washington, D.C. – Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington(CREW) asked Health and Human Service (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to investigate why the Center for Disease Control (CDC) approved the distribution of the H1NI vaccine to Wall Street firms at a time when the vaccine is unavailable to most Americans.

Recent news reports indicate 13 companies, including Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and Time Warner, have been cleared to receive the vaccine.
The CDC is distributing the much sought-after vaccine to Wall Street firms despite reports of vast shortages. In fact, just yesterday CDC Director Thomas Frieden informed Congress that only 32.3 million doses are available, far less than the 159 million needed to cover those at the highest risk. Given the scarce supply, the CDC has recommended the vaccine be directed only to those at highest risk: pregnant women, infants and children and those up to 24 years, those who care for infants, health and emergency services personnel, and adults with compromised immune systems or other chronic health problems.
All of this is lifted from Mock, Paper, Scissors.

A Model of Transition

I look with awe at the communities who are practicing the transition actions.

Audio Book and Book to Film: The Botany of Desire

Recently I started downloading audio books from my library. It is another attempt on my part to nudge myself back into reading. I am gradually getting a real feel for the novel again. And, I have also enjoyed non-fiction audio books for the sheer depth of covering a subject versus the articles and posts I have become accustomed to reading on the internet. This weekend I finished listening to Barbara Kingsolver, her husband and daughter narrate Animal Vegetable Miracle. I really enjoyed that book.

One of my first books was The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan. I wish the book had been narrated by Michael Pollan as I have come to really enjoy him speak. His thesis is that plants use humans. Our desires for sweetness, beauty, intoxication and control are fulfilled via plants. He illustrates his thesis by exploring the apple, the tulip, the marijuana plant and the potato. Regardless of the construct, I loved the history and the myriad of fun facts to know and tell about all of these plants. It was a really fascinating book.

This morning I was pleased to spot this post at Civil Eats about The Botany of Desire showing on PBS on Wednesday, October 28. I'm not sure I can view it - unless it is available online. Here is a trailer.

Watch PBS full episode here.

Eating the Alphabet

This morning I read the following from Path to Freedom, an excerpt from a presentation by Jules Dervaes and his family.
Swamped with more and more choices (shoes, fonts) but check out the contrast when it comes to seeds it is just the opposite.

Since the origin of agriculture around 10,000 plant species have been used for human food. Today about 150 species make up the diet of most of the world population. Just 12 provide over 80% of our food and 60% of what we eat comes from only 4 crops - rice, wheat, corn and potatoes.

(Showing a power point slide) Back in the 1900 a dollar represented what our grandparents ate in terms of varieties. Today after 100 years of progress what remains of their diet is a lousy 3 cents. That’s a 97% loss. If a corporation lost that in stock value it would be the end of its existence.
Share with you some solutions today.

In fact I did spend my weekend pondering this very issue related to the little elementary school across the street from me. First, I just found out that a grant proposal I wrote with the school's green committee was approved for a small proportion of what we proposed in our School as a Garden plan. The family foundation is granting the school $30,000, with $10,000 each year for three years being the timetable. The elementary school is on fall break so I know nothing more.

Even before I got this news I heard from a parent about a Love Your Vegetables grant parents had attempted last year with no luck. I responded that I was interested, so he sent me what we had. I couldn't get the Eat the Alphabet idea out of my head, so I spent the weekend filling this out a bit. Without going into the original School as a Garden proposal here right now (possibly later) I was wanting to capitalize on the weekly Farmers' Market that takes place each Sunday on the school grounds. We have the perfect opportunity for class projects, lunchroom menus that rally round the concept of Know Your Farmer. We have the perfect setup for this. The sample menu beginnings are shown here (click on these for larger versions) and I am trying to incorporate what the parents used last year as a starting point. I got many of the images and ideas from my own 2008 make-a-(green)plan food posts, which were organized by my year long alphabet format.

On Monday or Tuesday I lost my momentum. Nobody responded to my emails or ideas and the deadline is in 2 weeks. *sigh* I also looked up this month's menu for the school's lunches. Oh woe, where oh where did I think I could start with finding acceptance for the menu items I was suggesting (for the raw, fresh salad bar and for hot dishes made with more diversity)? These kids are offered pizza, chicken nuggets and canned peas every single day. Oh yes, on Tuesdays and Thursdays they have iceberg lettuce and some hot house GM tomatoes and the like - but nothing remotely like what qualifies as excellence. There is a lot of talk on the school website (and all over the internet, USDA sites, education and state children's health etc.) about nutrition. I am more in agreement with my favorite food blogger, Jill Richardson, when she says:
[...]When it comes to school lunch nutritional standards there are two categories of food to discuss: the federally-reimbursable school lunch, and everything else. (The name for "everything else" is "competitive foods" because those foods compete for children's money and appetites with the school lunch.)  [...]
The Institute of Medicine recommendations focus on the actual school lunch, not the competitive foods. The nutrition of the school lunch IS regulated by the USDA... only the standards haven't been updated since 1995 and, as IOM points out, they kinda suck. The recommendations, on the other hand, are AWESOME. My biggest fear is that any changes to school food policy will be based on what Michael Pollan calls "nutritionism:" i.e. regulations calling for lunches to contain specific nutrients instead of specific foods. And, as the people who market Rice Krispies understand, you can take a relatively junky food and fortify it until it appears very healthy (the back of the Rice Krispies box touts all of the nutrients in the cereal, even though it's basically nothing more than fortified refined grains and sugar.) The IOM is totally on the same page as me:

First, the committee recommended a food-based menu planning system that includes limits on calories, fat, saturated fat and sodium. Currently, schools have the option of using a nutrient-based system, which makes it easy to serve heavily processed, fortified food. They can meet requirements for vitamin C, for example, by serving fortified fruit snacks. Under a food-based system, nutrient targets are used in developing the standards for school meals, but they are not used in the actual menu planning. Instead, schools must simply serve items from a number of different food groups, including dark green and orange vegetables and legumes.

I talked about this disillusionment while walking on Wednesday with my kid. It isn't a new state, where I find myself now. I have deliberately stepped away from the most pervasive cultural norms of consumerism, junk food, television, magazines and other sources of the corporate drumbeat, propagandist wall of sound. And I am able to do this with ease because of my age and place. If I were a parent of young children I'd be hardwired to this destructive noise machine that never sleeps. All day every day - yes, in the schools, what passes for news and on the streets. (I just found out that one can get a car free or very cheap if one agrees to have it covered in advertising.)

My heart breaks for parents trying to teach their children anything counter to the big corporate dictates. Yet, my resolution is to keep my own center and focus. I refuse to snuff out my own passion and spirit and will continue to write and dream. I just have to back away from the school somewhat when it comes to investing too much of myself. I want to do the composting and be a garden regular and contribute what I can. I just can hand my heart away. I must always remind myself that many, many of the people all around me go through the motions without a lot of thought or awareness. It is how people try to cope and it is what's encouraged - a distracted race rather than living. These are my observations anyway. So, I share with my virtual community and keep looking for more and more real live indications of change.

See the movie

I saw Capitalism: A Love Story with my son Thursday lunchtime. I wish every citizen could see this movie for a real education. And, I agree with something I read today from Cenk Unger about Michael Moore. He has reframed the conversation:
Michael Moore is doing the same in his move Capitalism. First, he is changing the conversation on who caused the financial collapse in the first place. Most people are acutely aware that it was the bankers, but not the Fox News audience. So, when he went on Sean Hannity's show the other night, he introduced that idea to them and then Hannity was stuck in the position of defending the bankers and blatantly blaming the victims and the poor. Instead of discussing how government was at fault, Moore started a conversation on how deregulation might have led to this mess.

But more importantly, he started a battle for the heart and soul of Christianity. He proposed in the movie and in his debate with Hannity that being on the side of the rapacious rich is un-Christian. He claimed his position is the more Christian position. For so long, the Republicans have simply claimed that they are more Christian without anything to back them up. They just shouted louder. Now, Moore is shouting just as loud.

By putting them on the defensive on how they are not good Christians if they help the rich crush the poor, he has once again changed the conversation. Are the Republicans bad Christians? It doesn't matter what the answer is, that's a question you can't lose with [sic].

 Another thing, U.S. Rep Marcy Kaptur is a woman you have to see and hear. A remarkable public servant working amongst the criminals on Capital Hill.

Having said that, I cringe at the dumbing down, the sentimentality of the film. It is an ongoing argument within myself. For those completely brainwashed by the popular culture, the shallow thinking and hefty emotionalism of America, this film is a fantastic way to change the conversations. Even so, I want to agree with a critical review at Cyrano's Journal.
Moore has an unpleasant tendency of letting his camera linger on the distressed faces of his social victims. The most serious weaknesses, however, involve his continued support for the Democratic Party, and Obama, and his inability to advance any serious alternative to the capitalist system.
Yes, Capitalism: A Love Story is a highly moralistic documentary imbued with Moore's very personal bias. Oh well, it has some real flaws if we expect it to do all things. I hope that at least it exposes those who need to hear some reality outside of the wingers' bubble.

As a post script. I spent money I hadn't budgeted (11 am tickets were $5.50) and also got treated to a delicious lunch I hadn't counted on in my calendar. It was a great day. We then went shopping at Henry's and I got my hair cut. I so wanted to only get my hair cut twice this year. Instead it was 3 times and once for my bangs only.  Counting dollars . . .

There is a post that I should write about the American dollar being abandoned globally. We are headed for the most profound change in a century. I will work to pull together my thoughts. 

Lolcats Image

Moon Sowing

I found myself in the midst of a deeply symbolic feeling ritual . . . I planted clover by the light of a full moon. I sowed the seeds more by feel in the deep quiet and the eerie light.

Let me explain. I am in the middle of my end of year projects. For days I have been purging files. I have already cleared and shredded a 2 foot high pile of papers and check stubs. Aside: I smoked for 39 years and ever one of these papers is has the stink of smoke. This makes the task nasty. Oh, and I am not letting myself go into nostalgia mode. I am so pleased when I have this kind of clarity during purging. It pays to turn to this kind of project at the right time, as anyone who has gotten lost in reminiscence instead of clearing knows.

Having just applied for social security, I am focused on a whole new chapter in my life. I am done with my career in facility planning and interior design. I am done with my own dreams of building a consulting business. Serving the rich (the only market for my skills) is the last thing on earth I want to do. So, this indeed sounds like a ritual of growth, right? It is, but it isn't the one I am writing about this morning. It is related because I had a dilemma in the midst of my paper shredding. I filled a barrel with shredded paper and borrowed a couple more. My plan is to have shredded paper for my wormery, the park compost / wormery and the elementary schools upcoming compost demonstrations. (I adore the idea of feeding worms sensitive, private paperwork.) So, I needed more barrels and bags.

I went searching and found a barrel in the garden filled with black plastic bags full of dried horse manure. I emailed the woman who had secured the manure and asked if I could spread it on the garden so that I could have the bags. She urged me on. I switched gears and turned to the garden work. Some neighbors had laid out two large black plastic sheets weighted with stones and pavers to kill weeds and pathogens. I folded them up and put them away in a shed before opening each bag and raking the manure across the whole garden. I was sweating buckets, but I secured a bunch of bags and the barrel for my mountain of paper shreds.

Shorty after I finished we had rain! The first rain of the autumn was a real surprise (she says thinking of the two loads of laundry I had hanging), but a delicious treat. I felt that the garden was beckoning me to sow seeds in the newly fertilized and moistened earth. Then I remembered I'd awakened the night before with the bright light of the nearly full moon. Well, there you go. I didn't need a coven of sister witches to tap me on the shoulder. I went to bed knowing I'd awake pre-dawn to a full moon. I did wake with a grin. I threw on clothes, grabbed the can of clover seeds donated by another gardener neighbor and walked by the light of the moon to our community garden. The stillness felt sacred. I repeated words of lifting, life and blessing. I stood in the moonlight and envisioned the green abundance of clover to come. It felt so extraordinary I had to sit down and record it. I am still smiling.

Image credit, How Plants Work blog

The Tally

Tomorrow is a big day for me. I will be submitting my application for early retirement via the internet. This is the requisite three months prior to my 62nd birthday. I am one of millions of baby boomers who is going to put to bed any fantasies of 'making it' in this our USofA. The deck is stacked against us. We had our chance to have a different United States. We blew it. My generation allowed ourselves to feel exceptional - just like our country - and that success was our due. We were lulled into complacency by being encouraged to revel in our individuality and enlightened lifestyles. We were assured that this country had the best advantages, security and justice. We were lied to our entire lives and the majority of us bought it. If we were white we believed that the status quo (read: privilege) was the norm. We were raised on lies, myths and hypocrisy. Well, I can't go back and live a different life. But, I can make conscious decisions with the rest of my life.

My energies now are directed towards living the life, building the model that works. I was going to say I do this instead of trying to change the existing model; i.e., political system. I can't really say that because I do believe in looking for chinks in the empire's armor. I will continue kicking against the pricks.

The tally is metaphor. It is about taking stock of my life, my outlook; it is about looking at my 2009 budget to date. I wrote a comment at Beany's blog yesterday.
I have been trying my best to keep my monthly groceries to $100. I also am attempting to spend as though I didn't have the chance to buy beyond a set limit each week.
Well how did I do with my $100/month grocery budget this whole last year?
  1. January - $6.45 under
  2. February - $82.50 over
  3. March - $191.00 over
  4. April - $53.00 over
  5. May - $39.50 over
  6. June - $91.00 over
  7. July - $37 over
  8. August - $18 over
  9. September - $15 over
Pretty crap at keeping within the budget it seems. My monthly budget is $666. But, when I add the groceries overages and the utility and other living expense budget overages - I am $99 a month short (when I average the numbers). I know where the overages are in the groceries. My coffee habit was a minimum of $25 a month. Cheese and breads were another $50. Scale is another issue. When a budget gets down to the nubs like this, the smallest hiccup can really fuck up the whole thing. And yes, I believer there is denial and privilege at play. Even if it is a matter of an extra couple of peaches at the Farmer's market or a cup of coffee while out, I know I feel the absolute right to treat myself. It'll all work out. I am special and I shouldn't have to go without. Right? That's what the great American message is 24/7. Old habits - I'm saturated with them.
And truth is, things do work out. I have been treated by guests, neighbors and my son. I have had the opportunity to make a few bucks here and there to mostly offset these overages. But, let me return to my upcoming retirement. I will be receiving so much more than I live on now - in a relative sense. How will I live differently? What is my budget going to change?

I have been thinking about this for the last couple of weeks. I am planning a bunch of projects for next year - 10 in 2010. These will take every bit of available money I can raise. I will be building my own living lab - a permaculture patch in this little mobile home park. This means I will sustain this budget in order to gradually build this miniature food forest, a self-sustaining urban garden. Some year I will be able to afford to jump off the electrical grid. I'd like to be as much of a closed system as I can muster. I want my living to be an example of walking the talk. I think this baby boomer can find real redemption and purpose in sharing all I am learning with others.

99 more for 2009

Only 99 more days in this year. My very first post in January 2009 was about my being on hiatus from this blog. I thought then it was for the month, but it turned out to be most of this year.

In February I was being prescient, I predicted just that.
Nothing I'd planned at the onset of 2009 has turned out as intended. I am even thinking the hiatus might last all of this year. What I am attempting is for me a transformative step up and out of my world of thought to a world of action. There I said it. So, I am reluctant to drift back into mind-mode just yet. We shall see.
I called this theme, 2009: Let the Sun Shine. It was about getting active first and foremost. And, it was about holding the new political power to their promises of transparency. Well, I was whistling in the dark about that one. I wanted it badly. Almost from day one, the status quo was refortified. Same game as the criminals the past 8 years. This is the biggest disappointment for me. I find deep shame in being from a military empire that is deeply corrupt and a capitalistic system based on slavery and usury.

Shining a bright light upon myself and my own intentions, efforts and perspective was uncomfortable. I wrote:
See, the creepy part is that as I uncover something toxic within myself I see it all around. The light is shining inside and revealing so much and then it is harshly lit all around. That is the nature of self-discovery I have found. So, I get sidetracked being really cranky about others because of my hyper-awareness. . . Akin to standing stark naked in the bright sunlight, getting comfortable in my own skin is the biggest adjustment. And, I have lived most of my life inside my mental perceptions and that is not the most sustainable way to live. My body is getting older, fatter and weaker because I haven't used it fully. Now I am challenging this and find I can't bring along others on this ride. For now it this is mine, all mine.

That was in March.

I also directed a light deep into a painful place in my being - the 20 year anniversary of my beloved Angela's suicide. I took several weeks to write about her whole short life. It was healing. And, that same time period was the beginning of a deeper relationship with my grown son. I placed big demands on him to walk with me daily. We walked and talked and gradually grew towards a different relationship. And finally, I found myself (with his help) on a path towards fitness and strength.

It has been a year in the sun - with my son. A sabbatical from my blog, my gardens, my more analytical side. By July I'd decided to take another sabbatical - from my community newspaper. Although I had written the rough draft for several more issues, I knew that this community isn't interested. And, I am frankly not wanting to keep pouring energy and enthusiasm towards this kind of unresponsiveness. Similarly, I am now only writing post cards to my mother. My son visited Omaha and reported that he thought my letters overwhelm her.

Ha! My neighbors, friends and my mother are all telling me to shut the fuck up. LOL. So, I guess my decisions to do just that are working as they should. I do have some exciting bits from the last month to report, but it is too late and this is too long already. I merely like the sound of 99 in 2009 and couldn't resist writing.

Update: Another slavery story and this one is very close to home here in California.

Quote of the Day

We face a stark choice: we can destroy the conditions for human life on the planet by clinging to "free-market" fundamentalism, or we can secure our future by bringing commerce within the laws of ecological sustainability and social justice. Vandana Shiva

Really good post by Vandana Shiva at Common Dreams today. I wish that I could speak this cogently about cap and trade - and the injustice of it all.

Day before September 11, 2001

There is always enough money to do the right thing - health care, alternate energy, jobs, welfare, schools, organic foods, clean air, clean water, clean food, livable wages. Imagine anything you can for the public good. There is enough money, so don't be distracted. Shut down the war machine.

Labor Day Loss


Does anyone else see the irony of Van Jones - the champion of green jobs - being kicked around by the haters and abandoned by the white house on Labor Day weekend? I for one am glad he got out of this administration with his ethics and dignity intact. I think he is needed as an activist, a community, no national, organizer and one of the only invigorating visionaries around.

Van is the man.

Hey, if he was promoted with Naomi Klein (economy & corporate takeover), Jeremy Scahill (war, torture and shadow army) and SanDiego's own Jill Richardson (food and agri-business) and had a way to be heard night and day, 7 days a week like the haters on corporate media . . . Well, it would be exciting.

Update: I got sloppy and spelled names wrong. *shame* I also ducked any real responsibility for any background explanation or coherent response. What can I say? I haven't shown the respect for make-a-(green)plan and anyone who might read. I'll try to step it up a bit.

“Dr. King didn’t get famous giving a speech that said, ‘I have a complaint.’”
That wonderful line came from Van Jones. It is highlighted in Richard Shetterly's post in Common Dreams, Van Jones is Dead. Long Live Van Jones. Richard Shetterly met Van Jones when he painted his portrait for his Americans Who Tell the Truth series. I used that image when I wrote about Van Jones last year. Shetterly's post is a wonderful read with the same belief stated here, Van Jones will do better for us all outside the white house.

"... the 20th century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: The growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy." --Alex Carey, Australian social scientist

Update, 9/8/9 - Great video by Brave New Films of Van Jones and Carl Pope here.

Obama, the Spokesmodel for Empire

I think very highly of John Pilger, the Australian documentarian, and his films. I used to be able to see his films on Link TV - when I had a TV. He speaks on President Obama as a fake.

My thanks to Cyrano's Journal Online for this.

Today's Quote

"Percentage change since 2002 in average premiums paid to large US health-insurance companies: +87%

Percentage change in the profits of the top ten insurance companies: +428%

"Chances that an American bankrupted by medical bills has health insurance: 7 in 10

From Chris Hedges' post, This Isn't Reform, It's Robbery. Read It.


With the really depressing summer of political three ring troll circus, my austerity mode, slow going change with my fitness routines, no garden endeavor and a lot of mental work before me, I found the following video a balm to the soul. I am so glad there are people in the world doing these wonderful living laboratories.

Oh, and a inspiring quote to calm my political fury was offered by Sharon Astyk from the book she co-authored, A Nation of Farmers.

“The simple truth is that the glorification of our past makes us believe lies. Glorification of our State makes us accept unacceptable things. And yet, there is a United States worth believing in - moments in history in which competing forces of powerful and weak met and creating something decent, something worth treasuring and admiring. It never happened without resistance, but neither was the story always a narrative of good people and evil leaders - it is far more complicated than that.

All of us were taught a state- and hero-centered history that erased too many ordinary contributions and focused our national pride on the wrong things. But we did have that teaching; we did learn that nationalism. Perhaps a large part of our projects is the unlearning of the untruths, but smashing idols isn’t enough - we need to give people who love their country a place to put that love, give those who derive hope and comfort from their sense of the past a past to attach themselves to.”
The emphasis is mine. Sharon's life is a living lab and her post today, though filled with typos and was dashed off, is very thought provoking. It may well be a really challenging jumping off point. I will be watching. I am seriously guarded in my own hopes. I am just not seeing it. So, I daydream . . . (It is better than drugs because I can snap out of it in a moment with a splash of reality.)

Video Via Hecate, that wonderful witch

German Press

Are the Germans; that is, the German press making Hitler, Nazi references about the healthcare clusterfuck going on in the USofA? Of course not, as that is rabble babble paid for by corporatist minions and the conservative hit-groups.

Der Spiegel sums up America’s latest kabuki dance-a-thon in one simple sentence: Americans Want ‘Freedom to Pay Too Much for Inferior Health Care’.

The lack of knowledge is vastly deep in the public and sphere because billions have been spent to keep everyone confused 24/7. Anyone who seeks fact based coverage through our media hasn't been paying attention for the last decade. And this administration has done little to educate the masses. My own opinion is that wealth care has won out over health care for the foreseeable future. This is a chilling realization as this might be the last opportunity to turn around.

Alas, the facade is slipping as Tengrain's graphic illustrates. He adds,

"can anyone think of a single campaign promise of any significance that [Obama] has not walked away from? Yeah, me neither."

quote h/t Tengrain


I learned a new word just now, but I'm liable to wear it out within a week.

an·dro·cen·tric adj

Centered or focused on men, often to the neglect or exclusion of women:

My new word of the day was used by res ipsa loquitur at Echidne of the Snakes blog in the following reference [emphasis mine]:
. . . Judith Warner nails it:
As [Hillary Clinton] circles the globe in coming years, making the case for women’s empowerment, starting with their basic right to be taken seriously, Clinton really has her work cut out for her. And it isn’t just because the situation of women around the world is so dire, and the ocean of problems confronting them — maternal mortality, sex trafficking, domestic abuse, malnourishment, lack of education, lack of adequate medical care, just for starters — is so wide and so deep.

And it isn’t just that her historic mandate — to equally empower the other half of the world’s population, to chip away at the forces “devaluing women,” in the words of Melanne Verveer, the State Department’s new ambassador at large for global women’s issues — is so huge and vague and seemingly overwhelming. It’s also because the tide of trivialization that washes over all things “Hillary” is just so powerful. That tide threatens to drown out anything of substance Clinton might attempt for a population whose problems have long been obscured in the androcentric world of diplomacy. And that’s a huge pity.
Warner is too polite to call out her colleague, Jeffrey Gettleman, for contributing to that "tide of trivilialization." In any case, the rest is very worthwhile.

My own preference would be for Clinton to be the woman leading a humbled United States, now dedicated to world peace and social justice. Sadly, the politics remain US imperialism, military might with plans on AFRICON and what seems like the status quo relationship with Agri-business and the monster Monsanto's plans to take over the world via genetically modified seeds. This is old, neo-liberal politics that depresses me deeply. Having said that, I support Hilary Clinton in the seriously vital social justice issue of women around the world. In this role I want to support her emphatically. The policies I named are totally androcentric. Women all over the planet need more power and authority to ever challenge them. Only when more women are in positions of power to assist other women can this androcentric grip be broken.

Hilary Clinton is an exceptional diplomat and I am deeply proud of her presentation to the world. This woman exudes respect and dignity. In her country, my country, she is scorned and belittled by even my most ignorant and uniformed fellow countrymen. This is a time of increasingly androcentric thinking. No, thinking is not the word, because thinking is absent. It seems to have been replaced by hating. Hating the wimminz. From the Guardian, UK, comes this:

Look what happened to Barbara Boxer, the Democratic Senator, who decided to correct a general testifying before her environment and public works committee who kept addressing her as ma'am. The brigadier general who heads the Army Corps of Engineering presumably owes a bit of his own success to his grasp of the rules of protocol and rank.

"Do me a favour," she told him. "Could you say 'Senator' instead of 'ma'am'. It's just a thing. I worked so hard to get the title so I would appreciate it."

Boxer was vilified of course.

As feminists know, the frightening reality behind what the irritainment industry plays off as silliness, is institutionalized misogyny. Hatred of women isn't simply addressing a woman without respect; it can and does translate into murder. There isn't enough outrage over the violence against women. Twice as many women have been murdered in the last 7 years than US Soldiers have died in war. This according to Canadian journalist Antonia Zerbisias writing about femicide. She quotes from Brian Vallee book, War on Women:"Compare the raw numbers," he writes of the period 2000-06. "In the same seven-year period when 4,588 U.S. soldiers and police officers were killed by hostiles or by accident, more than 8,000 women – nearly twice as many – were shot, stabbed, strangled, or beaten to death by the intimate males in their lives.

As we all know now, George Sodini, 48 – whose racist and misogynist online diary reads like a terrorist manifesto – couldn't get a date, couldn't get sex, couldn't lure any women to his modest side-split furnished with, as he points out in a spooky video, "Couch and chair; they match. The women will really be impressed."

Well, they weren't.

And so Sodini's "exit plan" was to go down in history in a blaze of gunfire, taking as many women with him as he could.

Just like Marc Lépine, who hated "the feminists" so much he slaughtered 14 women at Montreal's École Polytechnique in 1989, just like Charles Carl Roberts who executed Amish school girls three years ago, and, arguably, even like Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho, a reported stalker of female students who took up-the-skirt photos, yet another violent act of misogyny takes place.

No, no, we say. They were just loners, losers, crazies with guns.

There's not enough outrage.

I am outraged. Daily. But, I must not focus too long or hard as it damages me and paralyzes more than it propels me as a feminist. I digress. To return to what precipitated this post on androcentric USA, is the miserable treatment Secretary of State Clinton has had to tolerate with the US Corporate Press and that sound of crickets coming from the White House. Melissa McEwan writes better than any I have read in defense of the remarkable task that lays before Hilary Clinton and how well she handles it.

Unless Americans believe our Secretary of State should be exporting the ideal of demurring to avoid hurting men's feelings, instead of exporting the ideal that institutional inequality is fundamentally unacceptable, there's no reason why her response should be remotely controversial. She should be praised for behaving like a woman who has an unyielding belief in equality; instead she is being scolded like a bad little girl by the national media.

Remember that next time someone wonders if feminism is really necessary in America anymore.

And, you know, it's bad enough that Clinton's unapologetic insistence on being respected as a person and a Secretary of State is being treated like something about which she ought to be embarrassed, but even worse is the utter disregard for why such a posture is important in a place with a rape epidemic. Our nation should be proud of our Secretary of State for that moment. Our nation should be pleased that we have a Secretary of State who stands up for what's right.

Instead, we mock her—and she will probably be forced to publicly apologize, for asserting her equality on an international stage.


It's no secret to anyone who knows me or who reads make-a-(green)plan, I plan on having a green roof. Well, today I read in Treehugger about a plant I want for my green roof. It eats rats! Discovered in the Phillipines and named after David Attenborough. Really, this isn't an Onion spoof.
The BBC describes the newly discovered species as a new kind of pitcher plant. And this one is evidently "among the largest of all pitchers and is so big that it can catch rats as well as insects in its leafy trap." Which makes it a pretty mean carnivorous plant--it catches insects, rodents, and other small animals in its tubes as they tumble down into them. The plant then closes its tube, trapping the prey inside.

I live in a coastal community and we have roof rats. Thanks to some hard working cats I haven't seen any rats - except a dead one left as a 'gift' by his cat recently. But, I am okay with the idea of feeding the plant via any and all rodents.

The down side on my roof would be that killing little birds and insects would be the unintended consequence. And there are millions of possible unintended consequences to the ecosystem that I (or trained scientists) can't even imagine. Of course there is no word in the Treehugger post about when or if the Nepenthes attenboroughii might be available to the US market, so my worries are moot. It does seem like something from a fantasy novel. Funny, I am so opposed to war, bloodshed, violence and killing. But, when it comes to my primal fear - rats - I get a bit crazy. Gotta' work on that.

Update: Not an hour after writing this I looked out my window to see out in the drive, the neighbor's cat sitting proudly over a small dead rat. He then tossed the carcass in the air and did cat attack dance moves. I pulled the curtain. *shudder*

We're Soaking In It

All I can say is I am getting myself stronger. The worst is yet to come. I continue to try and keep myself from slipping into negative mode with gossip, mockery and 'othering' - but it is constant vigilance. I still feel it is of upmost importance to stand up against tyranny, violence and hate. I am still opposed to war, the military and the increasing police violations against civil rights. When I fail in my effort to show respect for those around me, I feel I am going in circles.

Guest Post - Respect

From respectisthehub @ earthfamilyalphaThe title is somewhat clunky, RESPECTISM AND HUMAN SURVIVAL, but the sentiments are worth a broad discussion.

We talk about decreasing war and crime, pollution and discrimination, starvation and the nuclear brink,but if we do not recognize that we are the source of our problems and change our ways, we will meet disaster.

We need an agreement between people who believe in human rights and the fragility of our planet's thin halo of life, that a respectful society is a pragmatic necessity for human survival. Some might choose to call belief in this necessity respectism. Once this initial consensus is achieved, there are at least three steps to take towards building a respectful society.

First, respect for others, self and place must be universally promoted. In other words, respect must be widely and constantly advertised urging each person to respect others, themselves and the world around us, and to fully expect the same from all institutions and leadership.

Second, respect must be based on listening dialogue, honest negotiation, fair settlement and the avoidance of violence whenever possible to settle differences. While every individual and society has the right to true self-defense, the success of a respectful society will ultimately be measured in the scarcity of all types of violence

Third, it is essential to keep the disrespectful from having power over others. Throughout history, certain types of people have siezed power for their own cruel self-gain using violence, lies, fear and subversion of ideals. We must break this cycle, by educating the public to recognize such persons and work together to remove or isolate them from power, be it big or small.

If you think these ideas too simplistic or too idealistic, please ask yourself these questions. Is it better to treat one disease or countless symptoms? Can a promotional campaign succeed with simple messages that resonate? Can we survive without changing our behavior?

If you believe this proposal to be worthy of sharing, please feel free to distribute this text. Ultimately, a respectful society will depend on having enough people working together to build a web of respect. Discussion among those seeking to be respectful is the first step.

Hero: Peace Pilgrim

At YouTube - 1 hr long

I met the Peace Pilgrim more than 30 years ago and was deeply moved by her example. Now I find the heavy Christian framing (especially the cringe worthy music of this video) tough. But I do realize the appropriateness given the life of a woman born in 1908, walking alone across the country in 1953. The context for this kind of in-your-face freedom had to come via the accepted Christian teachings. For all of us wanting to walk the talk of a simple life of peace, with no carbon footprint - there couldn't be a better example. She only wore the clothes on her back, never accepted any money or shelter without it being offered. This makes the Riot 4 Austerity 90% reduction seem like living high on the land.

Thinking about the Peace Pilgrim today, I realize I finally found an American Example of the kind of hero stature for women, for humanity I see in Vandana Shiva, Wangari Maathai and Leymah Gbowee.

An additional note: I failed to make explicit this woman's name, Mildred Norman Ryder, and that the key mission was world peace! This can't be overstated as the United States is attacking countries and plunging the world into constant warfare. If the US isn't fighting, we have bases and we have supplied the weapons or 'consultants' of our preferred side. It is all about power, position and resources and the United States is dedicated to having it all. One lone voice in the US Senate - Russ Feingold is the only one to vote against upping the troops in Afghanistan.

Are You Like Me?

In an effort to put a face on the healthcare crisis in this country, someone has come up with a wristband. Yes, I know that it was a fashion fad several years ago to wear a writstband and it got way, way overdone. But, this spoke to me.

The people wearing the uninsured wristband are spreading a personal message:

"I'm uninsured, you may not know why, but now you know my face. Maybe I look like you or someone you love. I'm uninsured and scared of being without health insurance in this country. Maybe my health is already suffering from lack of health care. Today it's me, tomorrow it could be you."

The state of America's healthcare system is a medical emergency.
This was taken from The Political Carnival. I am embarrassed to admit I don't remember where I first saw this wristband, but I ordered one. And, I let them know at Uninsured Wristband that I lived on $8K a year so I didn't want to pay the $3.99. The wristband came to me in the mail and I am wearing it.

I grieve that most Americans - who rely on broadcast irritainment or corporate print new don't really know what is going on in the big healthcare fight in our country. Dennis Kucinich just proposed a wonderful amendment in the House of Representatives that would give States the right to create single payer healthcare - since the administration and the congressional leaders took universal, single payer healthcare off the table and out of the debate. On Democracy Now a whistleblower from Cigna has come forward and spelled out the corruption in the insurance, pharma industries and the collusion of the senators and representatives in keeping real reform away from the legislature. He has said the Michael Moore hit the nail on the head with Sicko. And, Bernie Sanders, I - VT has been direct in his appeal to Congressional Democrats. Citations maybe later . . I have got to go on a walk.

Update: Even though John Conyers' single payer legislation has been virtually killed, yesterday's news from Dennis Kucinich about this new amendment means single payer is alive. Check out more information at the Kucinich website.

Update 2: I should have mentioned that I hold very little faith that healthcare reform will come to this country in my lifetime. I believe the bill in congress is pathetic as the begrudged 'public' option will be very, very limited. Still, it must start somewhere and the state amendment is still the best news. I do get excited when I hear Kucinich, Sanders and others with the real message. Just finding these voices, words despite the roaring of the fetid wasteland of US media is like a big fat kiss.

Listen Up - The Global South Speaks

G8, G20 or ideally . . . G192. These economic summits are just wrong. 20% of the world's population (developed nations) uses up 90% of the world's resources. The World Bank, the IMF are functioning to increase empire - especially for the USA. I find the insights of the UN representatives from the rest of the world far more salient. I find this especially true for the women and girls in the world - who will feel the brunt of crisis much harder as the days, months and years go by.

The international system (like the US economic system) is broken and this is the best time to chuck it for a better system that serves the vast majority of the world, rather than a small, privileged portion.

That Voice Isn't Me

About a decade ago I first heard of a different way to deal with addictions than AA. Disclosure, I am pretty sure if I had to choose between being a drunk and AA, I’d choose the former. Alcoholics Anonymous has no resonance for me. But, a decade ago I heard of Rational Recovery (RR) and I put it to the test six years ago with beer drinking and smoking.

My one takeaway was the notion of the beast within, or the addictive voice (AV) that relentlessly lets someone know that he / she is thirsty, hungry, tired or some other physical state of need. It is a voice that has probably spoken to humankind through millions of years. It was a survival voice to keep the human body functioning. The founder of RR suggests this survival voice got sidetracked with self-stimulants along the way, and now can treat need for alcohol, narcotics, etc. as a survival need. (I am paraphrasing in the broadest way.)

Anyway, the money lines for me in the RR literature are these:
“Look at your hands, which are necessary to consume alcohol or drugs. Understand that they [you hands] are under your complete control at all times. Your Beast has no power over you; it is a quadriplegic which must appeal to you in order to convince you to drink or to use. Wiggle your finger. Now challenge your Beast to do the same. Get it?”
Because the imagery is ableist language, I think I’d rather substitute a sci-fi or fantasy character like Hal 9000. A disembodied - but reasonable voice (sounding just like my own in fact) that can cause me problems and fear and anxiety, but can’t control my hands.

I was able to use this approach on any number of addictions. There was great care and concern with my approach and preparation to make-a-plan each and every time I wanted to address an addiction. I have gotten lazy and ignored my plans and indulged the AV cajoling me. But, it has never been a fearful or overly shameful process to address and move on past bad habits. This is aided by the fact that I am not working and I don’t have dependents (kids, pets, a relationship or marriage). Therefore lacking these most common hurdles, I can focus my energy and involvement in whatever way maximizes my process of getting past habits.

This January I did encounter massive inertia. And my ‘de-trained’ state; that is, my utter lack of muscle tone, lung capacity, balance, flexibility or energy was unprecedented in my life. Growing older has been an accelerant in this über out of shape state. Not to worry. I am hoisting my hefty frame out the door far more often than not. I am not blogging or writing much this year because I know how easy it is to get snagged back into a comfort zone of writing rather than moving. I am also stepping away from community building for the same reasons, the validation and self-satisfaction these things bring me can threaten my resolve to move into this much overlooked responsibility to build a strong, resilient physical being. So, every day I nudge myself further out of the comfort zone and into the fray.

I am working to envision myself on a bike – daily. I can see myself up early and attending to some domestic, garden tasks, packing some potable meals / water, eating a bite and heading out the door for a host of projects, study, reading, meeting with others and even volunteering. What is keeping me from this is the combination of low energy / fitness and the getting out the door kind of will. I have a couple more habits that just piss me off. Things that render me a prisoner or slave – against my best intentions – to time and energy spent in ways that don’t give me what I long to have or be . . . are in my mind as the next priorities. The internet has so much to give me while remaining my primary nemesis. Plans flit in and out of my mind lately. I will formulate a real plan when it is time. Right now I don’t want to tip off Hal. (In my head it sounds more like Val).

Hat tip to Sharon Astyk for writing a provocative piece today on denial that stimulated me with so many thoughts I had to write a bit today. Her website, Casaubon’s Book does this for me on a regular basis.

Update 7/16: Upon rereading I may have overstated my aversion to AA - if I had to choose between being a drunk and AA, I’d choose the former -using hyperbole.