On Demand, Without Apology

Standard

I listened to an amazing podcast last week from the women of Hysteria, who drop a pod every week with their perspectives on what’s going on in the news and the world. They are part of the Crooked Media family. I know, I post so much of Crooked Media’s media that I seem to be a stan, and to be honest, I am. I listen to most of their stuff, don’t agree with absolutely everything, but I always learn something.

This episode of Hysteria was called Abortion On Demand, No Apologies, and it is where I got the title for this post from. Erin Ryan and Alyssa Mastromanoco begun wuth a conversion about last week’s news and outrage and then Erin is joined by Grace Parra, Megan Gailey, and Dana Schwartz who all share very personal, and very poignant stories of their experiences with abortion and reproductive health. It is something that affects all of us every day. It’s very emotional for the podcasters as well as for me the listener. I was transported alongside them and I was touched deeply by their words.

I’m pro-choice, but that is all I will offer by way of my own opinions. The women of Hysteria really lay their experiences on the line. I’ll leave it to them to share their stories. 

One thing that was said however that I do want to share, and it stems from the Me, too movement, Times Up, Male politicians who know nothing of women’s bodies regulating them and passing laws that are not only Draconian, but also physically impossible to enforce (reimplanting an ectopic pregnancy in the uterus is one example). Whenever a man, and it is almost always a man, decides that an embryo is more valueable than a real live women, women all across this country need to rise up, protest, and in doing so are forced into a retraumatization of their original hell, whether that is rape, incest, abortion, or any other trauma faced. They are expected to bare their souls, and then they are often ridiculed and the men are often astounded that what happened to them is real, and they are sorry, but not sorry enough to let women control their own bodies.

I really don’t know which is worse – the original trauma or the reliving each and every time a politician decides that women need their help in making medical decisions. They relive the trauma, and there is no apology for them in their living nightmare.

Please hear these women.

On Demand, Without Apology Link to Podcast, originally airing May 23, 2019..

Where Are My Bootstraps?

Standard

​Unless you live in Massachusetts where it’s Patriot Day, today is Tax Day. If you’re just filing your taxes now, you’ve realized just how much the Republican Tax Scam screwed you over. Sure they raised the standard deduction, but they’ve taken away most of your itemizations through limits. We somehow managed to do okay despite our taxes rising by over one thousand dollars. In fact, married filing joint is only $100 less tax due than a single person making nearly the same amount. I believe the only reason we didn’t owe was because we were already having too much withheld. Our motto is live on less, so we can repair our house and car in the spring.

We reached our health insurance’s maximum out of pocket in 2018, and we still couldn’t deduct our medical. Or our taxes, mortgage interest, or the little we give to charity. Good thing we don’t give to charity for the tax deduction; we give because it’s the right thing to do when you have more than someone else (even if it’s not that much more).

We have two kids at home and in school and one out on his own, and while he’s been pitching in with his own expenses for quite some time now, his moving out didn’t lower our expenses. He is still on our phone plan, our automatic toll payments, our AAA, our health insurance, and we don’t begrudge or judge him for any of those things. One, it’s cheaper for all of us, and two, it’s what a family does. One day I’m sure I’ll be on his phone plan.

The main point isn’t that I don’t want to pay taxes; I do. It’s my responsibility as an American citizen to pay my share. What I don’t understand is how we allow the wealthy to avoid paying their taxes. I don’t understand how teacher are not allowed to claim school supplies on their taxes, but if you have a private jet, the gas is deductible. It’s absurd that we continue to allow this to happen.

So that’s my rant. Despite it, my taxes were mailed last week, and with no savings, now we’ll struggle until our refund comes and I can pay back the private loan I took out, maybe I can get a pair of glasses that I’ve needed for over a year, pay for half of my hearing aids before they decide to send those to collection, but there will be no new roof (again, this is year 3 of waiting), no smooth driveway (which isn’t as luxurious as it seems – the more it sinks, the muddier it gets, the icier in the winter), no toilet in our upstairs bathroom (a necessity in a family of five), no oven for another six months to a year, no fridge which should have been replaced when we moved in and were lied to about its age.

We have it good, but it still hurts to say no to your kids for something as innocuous as a trip to McDonald’s or a candy bar for no special occasion. I don’t want to spoil them with European vacations, but it might be nice to take a long weekend to Niagara Falls or Washington, DC.

I truly am grateful for what we do have, and appreciate how lucky we are, but sometimes it’s important to let the people who don’t understand “real life” know what is going on in most of America – your neighbors, your friends, your kids’ classmates. I wish the Republicans in Congress would see this, but I’m not sure they’d care to be honest.

I’d like to close this with a link to a 2014 article that is still relevant today about how the realities of living inn bootstrap America and how most daily annoyances are catastrophic for many people living paycheck to paycheck.

A Friend in Need…

Standard

Last week I briefly mentioned that a friend of mine passed away suddenly. Nick, and his fiance, Morgan were my teammates on our annual Gishwhes scavenger hunt. I had known Nick for just over three years.

Nick was a fun, caring, kind person; one of the kindest I’ve had the privilege to know and his family is devastated by his loss.

Morgan’s sister set up this Go Fund Me to help them and give their family a little peace of mind until any benefits from Nick become available. They are in the process of moving to a new state, a new home, and new schools for the kids. And, of course, they will be doing all of this while they are grieving and healing. To say this is a stressful time would be an understatement.

If you can share this Go Fund Me, I would thank you, and if you can afford to donate, every little bit helps and is appreciated, please do.

Continue reading

Trump Used Her Slain Daughter to Rail Against illegal immigration. She Chose a Different Path.

Standard

We all have choices that we make on a daily basis on what kind of life and world we are leaving for our children. One of my intentions this year is to be conscious of what I take in and share.

This is more than a feel good story.

Mainly, because there is nothing about any of this that feels good. A woman has lost her daughter. A boy has lost his parents (in a different way). And our country has lost its way.

I can only  hope that it’s not too late for any of us.

Link to article

Link: Lin-Manuel Miranda Answers 20 Questions about 2016

Standard

One of the most positive influences on me, and society over the past couple of years has been Lin-Manuel Miranda. His Hamilton: An American Musical blew the doors off Broadway, and his Twitter is a beacon of positivity.

Enjoy this bright light in the cold, dreary winter of January.

Article

First Week of Lent

Standard

Why Do People Fast for Lent? (a view from Vox)

As the first full week of Lent comes to a close, I thought I would talk about some of the difficulty I’ve been having during this year’s time of reflection. It really has been a struggle to find what I want to make of this Lenten season.

On Sunday last, I finally decided, after four days that I would give up bread for Lent. Not all bread products, but the delicious, soft, warm, fluffy bread. Then on Monday at my friend’s funeral reception, I ate a roll. It was not unintentional. I wanted the roll, and I took one. I probably would have had two, but since I knew that I had succumbed I didn’t want to compound my misstep. I do plan on going to confession on Saturday, and I plan on abstaining from bread for the rest of Lent.

I could not decide on what would be a meaningful fast. Everything seemed hollow and superficial. I thought of the other items I’d given up for Lent in the past: diet Coke, ice cream, and McDonald’s breakfast burritos. For some reason, I feel like chocolate should also be on that list, but I don’t recall actually giving it up. Perhaps it was on the list of options in the past.

Should I give up all three?

No, that would be crazy, and near nigh impossible. The abstention is supposed to be thoughtful and somewhat difficult, but I don’t think it’s supposed to be impossible.

I finally decided on bread for a few reasons:

1. I eat way too much bread. [But it’s sooooo good.]

2. My doctor wants me to eliminate bread and sugar and empty calories from my diet. I did this for three months last year and I lost almost thirty pounds. Then, I got lazy, gained it all back, and then some, and I feel much more crappy.

3. Bread would be not impossilbe, but it would also be challenging, and the benefit at the end of forty days would be both physical and spiritual.

So, bread it is.

I am also adding to my Lenten “diet”.

1. I’m returning to the 9am daily mass when I don’t have a prior commitment. On the other two days, I’m planning tea and meditation and/or prayer.

2. I’m keeping a Lenten journal.

3. I’m speaking out, but trying to do so in a more diplomatic way.

4. I’m finding me, and being me more often.

5. Prayer, fast, alms. I’m thinking more about the particulars of Lent, and how to carry Lent throughout my year.

I am also reading Not By Bread Alone. It is a reflection book very much like the Advent one I liked so much.

I am going to try and cook one meal a week. I have been poorly disposed to cooking for quite a while now. Some of it is depression, and some of it is that I haven’t done it in so long, it feels weird to start again.

I have many retreats/workshops, mainly at the Dominican Retreat Center that give me so much spiritually and through fellowship with others.

I’m less self-conscious about discussing my differences with many of the Catholics I know. I talk about growing up Jewish, which not everyone knows, but it really relates to who I am today, and how I approach my Catholicism. I talk about my feminism without as much embarrassment as I used to have. I defend Hillary Clinton and the Democrats, diplomatically. I embrace my allyship of LGBT, especially youth and trans people who need more allies. I accept and embrace my thoughts and beliefs on reproductive rights, even where it diverges from doctrine.

As a funny way to end these thoughts of Lent, as a Jewish person, and yes, I still consider myself to be Jewish as much as I’m Catholic, I find it funny the dietary rules of Lent as compared to Yom Kippur. During the twenty-four hours of Yom Kippur, our fast was no food or drink, and typically most adults would spend the entire day in temple in prayer. I would only take water with my medicine and I only ate when I was pregnant. But Lent…you only fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and you abstain from meat on those days as well as all of the Fridays in Lent. But only if you are under 59. And a Catholic fast is one normal sized meal, but as many as two small meals with no in between meal snacking. I think water is acceptable throughout the day. This seems so easy to my Jewish mind.

I also know that it’s the thought that counts, so while I am partaking in these fasts and abstentions, I am reading and reflecting, meditating and contemplating, and drawing closer to G-d without all the hub-bub of food getting in the way.

Lent is a slow down to discern what is important, and to set goals for the rest of the year after the celebration of Easter.

This is only the beginning of the time in the desert, but it is not a trudge, but a slow pace to get to the other side better than before, and the first steps have been taken.

May your fast be easy.