Friday Food. September.

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Last weekend, we attended my cousin’s wedding. We were so excited to witness the next generation beginning their lives. We saw my aunt and uncle who we haven’t seen in years, and it was just a wonderful day and night.

As for food, I’ve been lucky that I’ve never had bad food at a wedding, and this was no exception. In fact, the food that night was exceptional. No pictures of the cocktail hour sadly, but here are some views of dinner.

One note first: The sorbet came with fresh fruit. When I said that I didn’t get a blackberry (I was joking with my husband), my brother-in-law took his empty wine glass and poured all of his fruit and mint leaves into it and gave it to me. Yes, I ate it all. It was delicious.


See below for food descriptions.
(c)2022

L, Top to Bottom: Duet of Sorbet with fruit, Garlic bread, Chateaubriand, Wedding cake (cannoli/chocolate mousse).

R, Top to Bottom: Trio of homemade Pasta, Flower setting (non-edible, LOL)

Election Connection – 56 Days Out from the Mid-Terms

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We are 56 days out from the 2022 Mid-Term Elections.

On November 8, we are being called to save our democracy. This is not hyperbole. We saw what happened on January 6, 2021, and the insurrectionists are still fomenting dissent and looking towards autocrats to lead us. We cannot let that happen.

We need to hold the House and expand our majority in the Senate, and we cannot forget the down ballot races, especially those that guide and oversee our local elections.

In a world where a Congressman (Gohmert (R-TX)) just this week traveled to Miami to present a flag to an insurrectionist who served her time as she was released from custody, we need to ensure that the only people in government are the ones loyal to the US and the functioning of its government and not geared towards and cheering for its sabotage.

These are the races to follow in 2022 and if you live in those states, please vote for the Democratic candidate. Everyone else, if you are able please donate to their campaigns.

Senate
Arizona – Mark Kelly (re-election)
Nevada – Catherine Cortez-Masto (re-election)
Wisconsin – (ousting insurrectionist Ron Johnson)
Mandela Barnes
Florida – Val Demmings (former law enforcement, current Congressperson, so much better than Marco Rubio)
Georgia – Raphael Warnock (re-election)
New Hampshire – Maggie Hassan (re-election)
Pennsylvania – John Fetterman (Lt. Governor, former mayor of Braddock)

Governor
Florida – Charlie Crist (former Governor, already knows the job; not an autocrat)
Georgia – Stacey Abrams (she’s Stacey Abrams!)
Texas – Beto O’Rourke (for the people, gun control, 1000x better than Abbott)
Pennsylvania – Josh Shapiro (current Attorney General of PA)
New York – Kathy Hochul (re-election)

House – on a personal note, I would love to see Elise Stefanik unseated. She’s an inciter to riot and an insurrectionist. Vote for the Democrat, save Democracy. Vote Matt Castelli (former CIA Officer, served as Director for Counterterrorism at Pres. Obama’s National Security Council.)

Visit Vote Save America to learn how you can help in your region and across the country.

Election Connection – 85 Days and Counting

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Wednesday marks eight-five days until Election Day – the all important mid-term elections.

A few things happened today that I want you to be aware of as we head into these mid-term elections. (Unfortunately, I do not have links, but this are easy to google.)

First, thanks to a commited Democratic party, President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act, which goes a long way to meet our climate goals as well as reducing the deficit whlie providing help to families.

Second, the FDA is making hearing aids available over the counter (probably by mid-October). This is crucial, and not just to people on Medicare. I have been using hearing aids since I was 52. It should have been longer than that but we weren’t able to afford it. To get them, I had to see my primary doctor, an ENT specialist, have an MRI, get signed off by the ENT, then go to a hearing aid place to be fitted with hearing aids. The aids themselves were over $5000 without the doctor’s visits and the MRI. We were “lucky” because that year my son was in the hospital and so we reached our deductible in March rather than at the end of December (like usual) and a close relative died.

Third, a 16 year old in Florida has been told in a ruling by a court that she cannot have an abortion. The reason? She is not mature enough to make that kind of life altering decision. But raising a baby, she’s mature enough for that? GTFOH.

Fourth, Liz Cheney lost her primary to a MAGA lunatic, and I’m being somewhat generous by using the term lunatic. Look her up. I’m not a Cheney fan, but at least she’s not part of the conspiracy theorists. She has been an admirable Vice-Chair for the Jan. 6 committee, and perhaps Chairman Benny Thompson can include her as part of the legal staff or committee spokesperson after she can no longer serve in January.

These four examples are only four of the very many reasons that everyone needs to vote in the Election on November 8th. Vote all the traitors, Q-anons, and corrupt Republicans out of office. Vote Blue.

We have the opportunity to turn things around. It will take time, more time than we’d like, but it will happen if everyone buckles up and does their part. Democracy is at stake. Our futures and the futures of our children are at stake.

Visit Vote Save America for ways to help your candidate and Democracy Docket.

Mental Health Monday – Where has August gone?

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At least once a week, I’ve sat myself down and wanted to write and publish here, and more than once a week, I’ve failed. I checked online to see my last publication, and it was way back in July.

Where has August gone?

I stopped subscribing to more is better, so while I do track my writing and word counts, it’s for my own accountability, but I still do not like when plans go by the wayside.

Although last week was a bit of a dip for things.

My priest died nine months ago. My oldest moved after some personal stuff that we’ll call a setback. My middle son is moving out when he starts college. My daughter hates me. Fall memoir workshop was cancelled. And my therapist is retiring.

Okay, let’s be fair: My daughter doesn’t hate me. It’s really just the normal teenage daughter – mother tension, and I did tell her that I’d be writing this, so we’re good. But everything else? I guess I’d say I’m coping.

All our money went to car repairs, house repairs, gas, and groceries. At some point, we know that our kids are not going to want to continue going on vacation with us, but until that day comes, I’m here for it. We’re just doing an overnight in the Finger Lakes and making memories.

I’ve got a master list that I’m working through, and one (or twelve) of those items is publishing a few pieces before we go away, instagramming for the two days that we are away, preparing for the class that I’m teaching in the fall, and reorganizing myself. Not my stuff. Not my writing. Not my clutter, but myself. Where do I want to be in six weeks?

I will let you know sometime in the next week or so, but I am here to also remind you that there is no right way, there is only the way you choose to move forward.

Onward!

Mental Health Monday – National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

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988

Beginning last Saturday, this easier to remember three-digit number is how to reach the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The other number still works, and this is not a new line. 988 will connect you to the existing suicide prevention lifeline. As with 1-800-273-8255, this is not a 9-1-1 call, and will not connect you to emergency services. This is crisis counseling with trained counselors. It may be used for phone calls, texts, and chat.

The Lifeline and 988 (information link)

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) (information link)

Inspire. July.

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I’m not feeling particularly inspired this month after last month’s partisan, rogue display by the Supreme Court, so I will leave you with two quotations that I listened to today on Jon Meacham’s podcast, Reflections of History, both by Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall:

We must never forget that the only real source of power that we as judges can tap is the respect of the people. We will command that respect only as long as we strive for neutrality. If we are perceived as campaigning for particular policies, as joining with other branches of government in resolving questions not committed to us by the Constitution, we may gain some public acclaim in the short run. In the long run, however, we will cease to be perceived as neutral arbiters, and we will lose that public respect so vital to our function.

Thurgood Marshall, 1981

I do not believe that the meaning of the Constitution was forever ‘fixed’ at the Philadelphia Convention. Nor do I find the wisdom, foresight and sense of justice exhibited by the Framers particularly profound. To the contrary, the government they devised was defective from the start, requiring several amendments, a civil war and momentous social transformation to attain the system of constitutional government, and its respect for the individual freedoms and human rights, we hold as fundamental today. They could not have imagined, nor would they have accepted, that the document they were drafting would one day be construed by a Supreme Court to which had been appointed a woman and the descendant of an African slave. ‘We the people’ no longer enslave, but the credit does not belong to the Framers. It belongs to those who refused to acquiesce in outdated notions of ‘liberty,’ ‘justice’ and ‘equality,’ and who strived to better them.

Thurgood Marshall, on the Bicentennial of The Constitution, 1987

Mental Health Monday – Yes, You Read That Correctly

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But it’s Thursday?

Yes, it’s Thursday, but it’s also Mental Health Monday.

With the end of May came the end of Mental Health Awareness Month, but our awareness of our mental health and struggles are ongoing. Along with that, our mental health checkups can happen on any day of the week and this is a good time to remind ourselves of that.

I’ve been absent a bit more than I’d like. Some of that is getting ready for graduation and planning my continuing education class for the fall as well as other commitments, but it is also coming back from my case of Covid. My turn in the barrel with covid was very mild by all metrics and standards, but it still knocked me out for a week. Now, I am contending with an almost ear infection – I say almost because it’s mainly fluid in my ear but it’s not getting better. I may need an antibiotic and I’m not thrilled with the idea, although I am happy for medicine that makes it all better.

Niagara Falls. New York.
(c)2022

So please, check up on your mental health. Randomly if that works for you, or schedule it on your calendar. Decide what ways you will check up on yourself and then follow through. If something seems off, call your doctor or therapist. Even though I’m miles better than when I was diagnosed, I still see my therapist once a month. It centers me, and gives me some things to concentrate on and work towards. It makes me think. What works for you?

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Inspire. June.

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“A day’s work is a day’s work, neither more nor less, and the man [person] who does it needs a day’s sustenance, a night’s repose and due leisure, whether he be painter or ploughman.”

George Bernard Shaw

I’ve been on and off my computer quite a lot and it’s only just come to my attention that my last publication was back in May. While my bout of covid was mild by all standard metrics, it has still taken me some time to return to what my normal is. As our family closes out the school year with a graduation and my formal writing classes finish, I’ve taken on a few new things, both personal and professional. My third child is also joining the summer workforce and planning her junior year. My (draft) presentation for the Cursillo community went very well, and I have a focus for my book’s introduction. I have also been asked to teach a writing class for our local continuing ed program at our school district,

Prior to this and during my covid days I had trouble finding the inspiration to do more than what was essentially required of me. I had commitments that needed to be rescheduled, phone calls to make (and that list is still significant), but during all this busy time, where did I find inspiration?

Inspiration Illustrated:

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Mental Health (Madness) Monday

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Mental Health Madness?

I hear a lot about March Madness, but for those of us with schoolchildren and working/living on a school calendar, it’s definitely May Madness.

Well, it’s not that bad, but I am moving into a very, a ridiculously, very busy section of spring. The next four weeks or so are going to try my patience and my limits and my family’s. Not to mention all of the people around me.

The good news is that I am very aware of this.

Just looking at my calendar is giving me hives, not to mention that I have just discovered that I apparently have some newfound allergies and I am miserable. It’s like a cold, only constant, and there is a croaky frog in my throat. I have been very fortunate not to have had allergies thus far for my entire life, but I guess I dodged that long enough because if this is a cold, it’s nothing like I’ve ever had. Allergies – yuck. insert emoji of yucky face

I belong to a non-profit that is closing its doors, and in these last, waning, sunset, state-legal requirement encroaching days, I have been asked to take over as vice president. Can I say no? No. We’re also in the midst of cleaning out decades worth of papers from the borrowed offices. insert emoji of praying hands

I interviewed last week for a job. It went well. Although they are still looking, I am still in contention. If I were to be honest, after twenty-plus years of being my own boss (apart from my kids), I’m worried both about getting the job and not getting the job. I will wait and see what the future has in store for me. At this point, it’s at the bottom of my anxiety, so that’s a good thing. It’s kind of nice not to be excessively worried about the outcome.

The ending of the school year includes two kids who need to learn how to drive, get summer jobs, take on more chores (what fun!), and one is graduating from high school. How did that happen? I’m not ready. Fortunately, he seems to be, but we’re having a house-guest (my brother) plus coming up with meals for that entire week (and the entire time between now and then), the actual graduation (and parking and seating and what not). There is the school district transportation breakfast that I volunteered for, Ascension Mass, a second Synod listening session (this one for LGBTQ+ issues), finishing up my presentation for my Cursillo team, continuing my spiritual journal (which is coming along nicely), one more writing class, and at least a dozen more things that haven’t come up yet, but they will, I just know it!

As you can see, this is one of my ways of coping:

Write it all down.

Yes, it is on my calendar, so I won’t (shouldn’t) forget any of my appointments, and I have a master checklist, but just spewing it here and getting it out of my system is one step in several of coping with the onslaught of the coming anxiety. I highly recommend it.

My second piece of advice and one of the most important items in my toolbox is water. Drink lots of water. I’m drinking water right now. Stay hydrated. This benefits you two-fold: 1. water is good for you, and 2. when you’re hydrated you are less likely to get a headache. Avoiding headaches will always help with everything else.

Third, stock up on pasta, sauce, and cans of soup. Macaroni and cheese in the blue box is also highly recommended. These are all easy and fast to make, good to eat, and simple to clean up. Even if you don’t want to eat, you need to eat, so for several days a week, make it simple. You can always dress up pasta with frozen meatballs and bread with butter (with or without garlic).

Fourth, find one or two things to skip this week. I can’t tell you what – they would be personal to you, but I’m sure there is something that won’t be a problem missing out on. You decide. Oh, and it can’t be sleep. No missing out on sleep. Rest is just as important as water. Naps are great even if you’re older than three!

Fifth, and last, start your week on a positive note. For me, I’m going to Sunday Mass. Church feeds my soul. I miss it when I’m not there, and I enjoy it when I am. Besides the sacraments, it is truly that simple. Sunday is also the May Crowning for Mary. I may also stay after that and pray the rosary. I know this isn’t for everyone. If you’re not a church person, don’t start your week there – it will only make you miserable. What do you like though? Cup of coffee on the porch? Get out early before the oppressive heat, but you can get out. Tea? A good book? Just quietly sitting while a breeze floats by? Tell me your go-to.

As we keep reminding, May is mental health awareness month, and when May ends in a week or so, we will still need to remain aware of our mental health and how to keep coping during the rest of the year. I’d be happy to hear how you cope and we can share our advice, hints, and tips with each other in the comments.

Wait! Did I forget the haircuts?! Oh well, I guess I’ll add it to the list!

Have a lovely week!