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January 2017

This Month In Review - January 2017

I want to start doing monthly recaps on my blog just as a way to see if I'm sticking to my writing goal for the year. So far I'm doing good with my two blog posts per week and feel like I'm settling in to a groove (yes this recap counts ha ha!).

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January was a doozy! Not a quiet month, that's for sure.

I'm still trying to wrap my  head around the circus fiasco of this past weekend with the #MuslimBan and the promotion of Steven Bannon - holy fuck! Let's see what February will bring! It could be good, it could be bad, but it won't be uneventful.

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Change Of Heart and Thoughts on the Women's March

If you actually read this whole thing, THANK YOU!!  I wanted to lay out this transition I have been going through in the last year, it's been awkward and I feel like a hypocrite sometimes.  I'm still trying to finding my place in what I can do.

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At this time, eight years ago, I was not a happy camper.  I thought this country was going to go down the toilet. All the Liberal Hipsters got their way, wouldn't shut up about it, and I wanted to hibernate until it was all over.  People placed the Obamas on a pedestal before doing anything and I was just rolling my eyes the whole time.  I was a big skeptic.   Society became TOO Politically Correct and it bugged me, I blamed Obama. I blamed Obama for a lot of things I didn't like about society, even as I write this, I think I partially blame him for Trump becoming President (there's a bunch of factors there, not just him). 

Anyway, throughout those years I talked my shit, criticized President Obama, and felt like not enough "Change" was happening. Sometimes I came across as a real dick.  In 2012, I was not going to vote for him, I was going to vote for Mitt Romney, even though he was a Mormon and I was concerned about him pushing his Conservative views, he was the Governor of Massachusetts, how bad could he be? I did not feel threatened or disgusted by him.  I changed my mind in the voting booth.  I don't know why I did, maybe I felt like voting for Romney was a waste, that the country wasn't in the position for a shift? I honestly don't know.  Meanwhile, throughout all of this, I remained Pro-Choice and supported Equal Rights. I continue to have both liberal social views and conservative fiscal/foreign views.  This is why I am a registered Independent because I have a hard time following either party to the T.

Once his second term began, Republicans started prepping for 2016 and there were 34,694,842 people running for the Republican ticket, Trump was the joke of the bunch - which isn't easy to pull off because there were a few.  Hillary Clinton was picking up momentum and once again I was thinking "UGGGGGHHHH! Am I even gonna bother voting next time??"  Mitt Romney and John McCain were both weak candidates.  I was hoping for a better Republican candidate because there was no fucking way I was going to vote for Hillary Clinton! bleech! 

Fast forward to the home stretch and it's coming down to Trump & Clinton, this is really happening. Trump doesn't stand a chance, right? I mean the Obamalovers will come out in full force, and then Bernie Sanders happened and threw a monkey wrench in the whole machine (I also blame him but I give him credit for trying to be different).  Early on, I actually agreed with Trump on issues about better border control and the economy and then he started talking about a "wall" and registering Muslims and my gut started to tighten, this ain't right.  And his insults! The childishness!  I watch Clinton take it all and remain professional, I respected that.  I know politics gets ugly and smear campaigns are a regular thing, but Trumps behavior was not what I look for in a President but almost half the country didn't care and elected him anyway.  I sure didn't, I voted for Clinton. Donald Trump made me fucking vote for Hillary Clinton!

The sense of dread I felt Election night was just too overwhelming, I hated it. I never felt this way over a new President before, not for Obama, not even for George W. Bush!  My heart was changing. I'm older, I see things differently.   Are my rights threatened? Personally?  I don't think so but I can see how they are for others, and that's not cool. 

I did not attend any of the Women's Marches that happened on January 21st but I followed closely the news coverage on TV and online, mostly through Facebook Live.  I was so happy to see so many of my friends filling my feed who did march in various places, or from others who also could not attend but still shared their support.  Overall, I am lucky to know such great people. While I bitch about how annoying Facebook can get, my feed was full of a lot positivity over the weekend and I felt hopeful.   That march was HUGE! Or as Trump says, "YUGE!"  I felt it was a little unfair that Pro-Life Feminists were not allowed to march (yes I really said that).  This march should have been as inclusive as possible.  But the images don't lie Press Secretary Spicer, the people came out!  Maybe even more people came out after hearing that horrible Inauguration speech? 

Just because you didn't march does not mean you care less. There is still much that can be done.  One step is to check out 10 Actions for the first 100 Days, which is a new campaign hosted by Women's March. It includes prompts of what you can do now that the work begins now in your communities.

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Shut up Facebook, everything is fine!

Fucking Facebook!! I hate to start a blog post with the "F" word but you know how maddening Facebook can get, especially when politics are involved. I've had to block and mute people because they don't know how to debate and discuss issues like an adult.  You don't have to agree with me, just be respectful, and maybe grow up while you're at it.  I'm not a complete Facebook hater. I'll be writing another post painting Facebook in a positive light soon. I just need to get this off my chest.

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A friend posted an update about something they saw on TV regarding the incoming administration that upset her. A comment was left to just not watch tv, change the channel.  This set me off.  Does saying something like this really fix anything? Comments like this are not helpful or useful, it's just more internet junk.  Ignorance comes in many shapes and forms. I know people who have narrow minded views when it comes to social issues, religion, and politics.  People who would just change channel, cover their ears and go "Lalalalalalalalalala!"

I am trying really, really hard to not avoid these people, because avoidance and burying your head in the sand solves nothing.  I'm not going to change the channel, live in a religious bubble, and avoid politicians I don't like no matter how hard they are to look at, seriously, looking at Donald Trump makes my skin hurt.  I also want to understand why people, especially why women voted for Trump. It would be easy to just call them all racist, misogynist, and ignorant but there's more to it. 

It's almost a knee-jerk reaction to just cut someone off when they tell you to just change the channel, or (my favorite) say your views are wrong because "the church says..." or "the bible says...." GTFO with that, that is not a valid argument for me. I've been getting this argument on Facebook more when it comes to issues with LGBT.   I'll talk about where I stand with religion in another post because it's just too much. 

I can't just say that Trump is going to be a horrible president because I think he literally looks like a bleached out ass hole.  I can say he's inexperienced in politics, point out his flip-flopping, his bullshit and pandering about how things are going to be "really, really great" and it's all "very, very complicated stuff", he's a walking contradiction - you don't know which Trump you're gonna get,  his hot-headedness, he's made many global leaders uncomfortable (especially our allies), he never apologizes for what he says no matter how inappropriate, his unbelievable ability to deflect serious issues......I can go on.  

Don't shy away from those with opposing views but you also do not have to deal with abuse from trolls.  Facebook is FULL of trolls. I was watching live coverage of the march on Facebook and there were trolls leaving comments about women going back to the kitchen, the snowflakes need to shut up, and a bunch of other nonsense which, again, is just more internet junk contributing to nothing.  What I'm saying is, don't change the channel, stay informed and let others know.  If there is an issue you feel strongly about, it is just as important to understand the opposing view which will validate your argument even more.   

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If you're going through hell...

Churchill

This message is for anyone, not just those of us who are feeling a sense of dread today.  I'm sure there are a lot of happy folks walking around today.

A reality-tv star is our President now, this is it. We really need to stop filling our heads with the garbage on tv and the obsession with these fake celebrities and what they're doing.  Instead, we need to pay the fuck attention to what is going to happen in our country. 

While some bad may come from this upcoming administration, I am hopeful that much good will come out of it.  People will smarten up, get involved, get connected, and reach out to others and hopefully come out as a better nation once this upcoming shit show is all over with.  

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Review: Bright Cellar Cheese Experience

Today I wanna share something different than my recent posts, I'm talking about CHEESE! FYI, this is not a sponsored post. I paid for this because I love cheese and I wanted to share that love with you!

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I love cheese, how can you not love cheese? It comes from Milk which is good for you! How can cheese do you wrong?  You can't have pizza without cheese, melt some cheese on French Fries and I'm DONE.  I can snack on cheese for days.   I don't sign up for subscription boxes.  The only subscription I have is with Dollar Shave Club.  Thanks to Twitter, I learned about Bright Cellar's Cheese Experience!

Bright Cellar is a monthly wine subscription service, looking to pair you with wines that suit your taste and introduce you to some new labels.  Bright Cellar's Cheese Experience is the same except it's CHEESE! I took their quiz to find out my cheese match. Their quiz paired me with Brick Original Bon Bree, Sublime Lime Cheddar Armada, Gouda Truffle Marieke, and Quark Clock Shadow Creamery. All produced in Wisconsin.  There's almost no "wrong" cheese but I'd like to learn more about pairing wine with cheeses.  The point is to enhance the flavor of the other.  

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A couple of days later I received a personal note from Bright Cellar thanking me for signing up. How sweet!  My package arrived super quick. The cheeses sizes were quite generous and they were all packed in a climate controlled envelop to keep it all fresh.  And they included a free gift - a jar of Quince & Apple "Peach Chamomile" which goes well with the Gouda.  

Let's talk TASTE!

Guys, I can't pick a favorite from this batch. They are all so good! I grabbed a bunch of butter crackers, poured a glass of Purple Malbec and went to town. I think the wine washed down Quark the best. It's very creamy and a little tart. I would love to top my scramble eggs with Armada with its mild onion and garlic flavor (don't worry, it's not overpowering). The Bree was the most smooth and creamiest that's all natural with no food coloring or artificial flavors, just straight up!  The most potent (stinky) would be the Gouda, it had black truffles and truffle oil which gave it a very earthy taste - maybe my least favorite but I still like it.

If you're curious to see what your cheese match is, take their quick quiz and find out! 

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Do You Enjoy Adult Coloring Books?

I don't mean "Adult" Coloring Books, although those are pretty awesome, but I mean coloring books for adults.  You know what I'm talking about, they are everywhere.  When adult coloring books took off, I thought it was a pretty neat idea and would eventually get into it.  I don't make jewelry nor am I "crafty" anymore, but I still have that creative energy that needs to get out and the "experts" say that this coloring phenomenon has taken off because it is relaxing and a great stress-reducer.  I finally sucked it up and purchased some books. 

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I picked up Edgar Allan Poe: An Adult Coloring Book and Vive Le Color! Japan (Adult Coloring Book): Color In: De-Stress (72 Tear-Out Pages).  I just got started and have shared a couple of colorings on my Instagram but I'll wait to post more here.  

The Japan book is a great size and has a hard back cover so it's easy to hold if you want to color on your lap.

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The Poe book is amazing and very detailed so keep your pencil sharpener handy! 

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I was also inspired to color after looking at Mike's amazing coloring.  Mike started coloring regularly last year and has four different books he works on almost every night.  He posts his finished work on his Instagram @monstermonkey1313.  He's good, really good, like he takes it to another level. He is an expert at shading, blending, and choosing fun color palettes. Here are some of my favorites: 

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This may be my favorite, favorite favorite!  It's from Danger Girl: Permission to Thrill Coloring Book


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This chick is pretty ass too - from NSFW Totally Naughty Coloring Book (Volume 1)


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A page from Haunted Horror Pre-Code Cover Coloring Book Volume 1 (The Chilling Archives of Horror Comics!)


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This is from Art of Coloring Star Wars: 100 Images to Inspire Creativity and Relaxation (Art Therapy).  This is an example of what I mean by a unique color palette. 

 

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Stuck In a Blogging Block?

I don't want to tell you how to manage your blog.  I've already written about how tired I was of everyone with a blog telling me how to make my blog better.  Who writes a blog post every day? I'm lucky if I can hammer out a post out a week although I'm committed to my goal for this year. I am crawling out of my biggest blogging block yet and I thought it would be fun to write about how I did it. 

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Quality was always more important to me than quantity but dry spells are common.  The brain just taps out and I don't know what to write about.  So I take a blogging break, that's okay.  But I'm back and rejuvenated and let the burnt-outness pass.  That's my first tip on how to get out of a blogging block: 

  • Ride it out!  If you suffer from insomnia, they say the harder you try to sleep, the longer you will stay awake.  So....don't try so  hard.  Stop thinking about it. 
  • Read other blogs: Don't flat out COPY someone else, but you may come across a blog post that will trigger inspiration to share your own point of view. Which leads to my next point...
  • Respond to an article you read.  This has been a BIG help for me when I came back to this blog late last year.  That's how I came up with the blog post, Don't You Want To Be A Mom?
  • Draft random ideas & save: I have a bunch of incomplete drafts saved in my blog. Some drafts just consist of random words that I will get back to (eventually). I can quickly access my blog on my phone which is where I store most of my brain storming ideas.
  • Go to a bookstore: I have not done this but I love this suggestion from SmartBlogger

That's it! It's a small list but it's worked for me.   How do you get out of your writers block? 

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Protecting Planned Parenthood

I love Planned Parenthood and support them 1000%. I am so fortunate to live in a state like New York and not Texas where I can easily access their services if needed.  It is so frustrating when Conservatives and ignorant, religious folks try to box Planned Parenthood in as a one-stop abortion drive-thru. They share pictures of aborted fetuses for shock value without regard for how many lives Planned Parenthood saves.  With Congress returning to work this week, I have some concerns.

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Planned Parenthood is one of the nation's leading providers of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, and the nation's largest provider of sex education. Planned Parenthood also works with partner organizations worldwide to improve the sexual health and well-being of individuals and families everywhere.

The reality is, abortions are just 3% of the services Planned Parenthood provides. The bulk of their work is to provide STD & HIV testing, Pap tests, breast Cancer screenings, educational programs to prevent pregnancies, assist with birth control, and so much more.

Why is Planned Parenthood such a threat?!?! The bigger question is, why are women seen as such a threat?  Women are not trying to take over, they just want to be treated equally and live a life of liberty and pursuit of happiness, you know, from the Declaration of Independence.  It is the 21st Century and men are still trying to control what a woman can do with her body, what the fuck?!?

The next administration looks to have a bunch of old, white, men who want to restrict or remove services that could potentially SAVE lives.  In addition to our next Vice President, Mike Pence, the next Secretary of Health & Human Services, Tom Price, wants to end funding for Planned Parenthood.  He's also got some pretty fucked up views about birth control.  He believes life begins at conception (!!!!), so birth control=murder.  While in Congress, he opposed a law that would prevent employers in DC from discriminating against women on birth control or have had an abortion. Face it, the man hates birth control.

From Planned Parenthood's Action Fund blog

Even if you don't need it for yourself, think about your family, friends, and stand up for Women's rights and help Planned Parenthood keep their doors open.

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New Year, New Goals

Did you ring in the new year celebrating? It's okay if you slept through it. I mean it's just another day right? On the other hand,  it's hard not to approach a new year as a fresh start to do or work on something, admit it.  

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Yeah, it's cool to say everyday is a new beginning, that's true.  You don't HAVE TO wait for a new year to start something new, but you can't deny it's a good time to try.  I don't make resolutions but I use the new year as a good time to look at my goals and see where I stand with them. Maybe make new ones? 

What do I want to do more of? Writing.  Yay a "Writing Challenge!"

I love to write, ever since I was little. I'm not the best creative writer. I can't write stories or novels, I tried and lost interest. But I love to write my thoughts and opinions on various things. Maybe words of encouragement.  I've read many encouraging blog posts and articles that have lifted my spirits. I hope I can do the same for someone else. 

What I need, and work best with, is structure. I need to set specific guidelines and also be realistic.  I'm not planning to publish a blog post every day, HA!! Get serious.   I still want to challenge myself so I'm going to shoot for two new posts per week, starting with this one. Which means 104 new blog posts by the end of the year.  I think I can pull it off. 

Have you given yourself a challenge for 2017?

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