Grab a Cup & Blanket: Good Reads This Month

Good articles and blog reads this month

I've been doing SO much reading lately, my eyes are about to bug out. I will come across a great blog post or article (are they the same thing?) and think "I'd like to share this sometime" and then forget about it. Not today!

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Things To Do On A Snow Day

Snowday

I am in the middle of a blizzard, I think it's called "Stella" (??), which is impacting most of the entire North East. Where I live is looking to get AT LEAST a foot of snow!!! This is how my bench looked this morning.

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I still love the start of a snowfall.  I don't get to enjoy "Snow Day" since I work from home but it's nice to not have that pressure of wondering how I would get to work or if I should even bother.

Last year I talked about my love of breakfast, reading ebooks, and binge watching my Roku.  Not much has changed but I'll add a few more things to the list of things I enjoy doing on a snow day: 

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I'm still going through my subscription of New Yorker Magazine.  I'm currently 2 weeks behind with their issues.  Once this subscription runs out I'm looking to start another, I'm thinking National Geographic.  Any suggestions?

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Preparing my coffee in the morning has become a different kind of ritual.  It takes longer now, but I can afford the extra time to make my coffee.  I've gotten into grinding my beans which I purchased from Irving Farms Coffee Roasters in Millerton, NY.  It is the only coffee I drink black because it's that good.

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Listen to more records!!  Last Friday there was a Vinyl Record Pop-Up in Beacon, NY so I had to check it out. I found some good stuff.  This is my half of the loot, Mike brought home some good stuff too.  This is a good day to spin some records all day, as long as the power doesn't go out.

My latest vinyl record scores

Are you snowed in today? What are you favorite things to do on a snow day?

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Isn't Everyday International Women's Day?

IWD

Yesterday was International Women's Day, did you do anything?  I must admit I didn't do much, except work - yes I worked.  Honestly, it was not a date I had engraved in my mind as a plan of action, it never was.  I shared some tweets, that's about it.  It's not that I don't care, of course I do!  There are just SO many calls to action now, my head is spinning.  It's kind of like "Earth Day", I don't need a day to remind me that the planet is changing and we all need to do our part to take care of it, it's a part of who I am.  

I do want to acknowledge those of you who did take a stand, marched, wore red, and made a statement. It's great to see the momentum of the Women's March still going strong.  It's important to keep pushing for equality for women and non-binary people in the workforce, education, and right to life.   I guess my problem is wishing we didn't need annual dates as a reminder to be better people, you know?   But I get it, some people are hard to educate or they'll say something stupid like "When is International Men's Day?"  Ignorant people can try to blow it off as fluff, but they can't ignore the issue forever.

So the answer to my question in this blog post is - no, not every day is International Women's Day. We need dates like International Women's Day as a reminder, a history lesson in progress and a measuring stick of how far we still need to go.

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Small Business: Do you get Political on Social Media?

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When I had my jewelry business, I avoided talking about religion and politics online.  I did not want to have separate accounts for such issues so I left it alone.  Now I'm free to write and say what I want - I kinda love it.  It got me thinking, with this change in political climate, what should a business person do who strongly opposes what is going on in our government and their online presence?  I'm not talking about big businesses like Nordstrom or LL Bean.  I mean small business, mom & pop shops, etc. who can't turn a blind eye - especially if legislation changes may impact their business (ie: who they hire, where they get their materials, obtaining a loan). 

You don't want to scare customers away or turn off new ones because they don't agree with you.  When I had Pulp Sushi, I would not have written An Open Apology or You're Not A Feminist? on that blog.  As a business/brand, you have to think twice before shooting off online.  Ask yourself what you think could happen when you post something?  Let's say you sell knitted kids hats, your customer base is mostly moms.  Are you going to share a link to an article is against increasing paid maternity leave because you believe that maternity leave is generous enough as it is?  What if you share a anti-Hillary Clinton meme?  Do these things reflect what your business is about? Is there a chance that there may be a backlash? I said I wasn't going to talk about big business, but it's okay for Anheuser-Busch to make a political statement about immigration during the Super Bowl.  They have been around since 1852 and made the commitment to use their products to promote a better world.  For the most part, they keep the politics off their Twitter and Facebook.  

Let's flip this around. You're a handmade soap seller who locally sources their ingredients and rely on local farmers who employs immigrants, you announce in your shop that a percentage of all sales goes toward the ACLU and Sierra Club, you market your soap as a way to "Wash off 2016 election FILTH!!" (go ahead soapers, you can use that). How about you make cards that say "Orange you glad I didn't grab your pussy?" It is CLEAR that you promote your activism through your products and you are catering to specific group of people, more power to you, your social media can be a part of that branding for your business easy-peasy.  

Perhaps you're ready to make that change and you want to bring more social awareness in to your business. You can introduce issues into your business slowly, maybe donations for sales of one specific item goes towards a cause, and as you promote that item, you can share additional information on social media about the charity or the general cause.  Raise awareness without coming across as preachy. People don't like to be preached too. Just look at the backlash celebrities get when they get political.   While the "experts" say you may be killing your business, I think there is a way this can be done smart and tactfully. You may lose some followers, but you can gain so many more once you provide more meaning to your business.

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My Vinyl Record Soundtrack Collection

It took me a while to jump aboard the vinyl record collecting train.  I honestly didn't think I would be into buying records again. When would I listen to them? I can't burn them to a CD (although there is equipment that can do that) and I can't upload them into an MP3 player (is there something for that?).  But it happened and it started with movie soundtracks, strange.  We have one of those stereos that look like an old radio but it plays records, tapes, and CDs.  It is being put to use!

My Vinyl Record Soundtrack Collection

When I was little, my earliest vinyl record was the Grease soundtrack.  I need to track that down again *mental note*.  My brother also had soundtracks for a lot of movies - Star Wars, Halloween 1, 2, 3, Escape From New York, Jaws.  Fast forward to last year and I've been paying more attention to scores and soundtracks to movies, especially older movies - 80s being my favorite.   Now you have companies like Waxwork Records, Mondo, One Way Static - just to name a few, and they are going ALL OUT on the soundtracks!  Not just the music/score quality, but the whole presentation!  

Here are some of my favorites: 

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It doesn't hurt when the vinyl is nice is pretty too. I'm a sucker for design.  I still have a long wishlist of soundtracks I'd like to own. Some I already have on CD but would like to have on vinyl (ie: Purple Rain) so the collector bug has definitely bit me.

Do you listen to vinyl records? 

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This Month In Review - February 2017

Month_rev

WHOA! This month got away with me as far as blogging goes.  Doesn't help that it's a short month and I had to get a new laptop so that took some time away from here.  I still managed to get some writing in so here's what you might have missed in February:

Last month in my recap, I said let's see what February would bring.  It brought some unseasonably warm weather, more head scratching, and lots of coffee.  I attended my first Town Hall meeting over the weekend with my District Rep Sean Patrick Maloney. It was PACKED!  It was a good meeting, frustrating at times but not because of him but some of the others in attendance. Otherwise, I learned a lot.  Nothing like the screaming you see on TV happening elsewhere but then again, my rep is a Democrat and shares a lot of the same concerns as his constituents.  I'm glad I went and hope to attend more.

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Where Do You Get Your News?

Fake news. Alternative facts. Our President is belittling reporters during press conferences.  The press is the enemy!! Now that Trump doesn't have to fight against Clinton to win an election, he needs to go after SOMETHING, why not the Press? 

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I know President Trump is not the first President to go after the media.  The media that he needs SO badly to stroke his ego. 

My favorite place to work was Newsweek Magazine. I worked there from 2002 to 2008. I was not in Editorial, I worked in Human Resources, but it was a great environment to work in.  Frustrating at times, but now I look back at that job more fondly than any other job.  I used to also work at DK & Penguin Publishing. My first real job was at a Legal Publisher, it sounds boring but it was still a publisher. The point is, I love publishing whether it's on paper or viewing on a tablet - literature, essays, commentaries, news coverage, are all necessary. I hate seeing what is happening with the media right now. I know it's not perfect, and there are biases on both sides, but they are not the enemy and not what is wrong with this country.  I try to use sound judgement before I share a link on Facebook or Twitter.  I see some pretty far-fetched stuff being shared that I don't even click on.

All politicians lie.  He's not a politician. He is the outsider. He is suppose to shake up the system. He's shaking things up alright, and leaving a big mess with no plan of clean up.

Where do I go for news? 

I read the "failing" New York Times (whose digital subscriptions have increased since the election) Politico, BBC News, and I just started reading The Intercept. I have a subscription to The New Yorker but not renewing (I'm just not too into it). I watch MSNBC for breaking news (even though I can't stand Rachel Maddow and Brian Williams), and BBC or Euro News for an outsider point of view.  I don't like CNN. I was turned off by CNN after the Sandy Hook school shooting and CNN was the first to name the gunman, using the wrong name - because the shooter had his brother's ID on him.  Instead of fact-checking, they jumped the gun. CNN has shown a few times that they care more about being first than being accurate, so screw 'em.  I do enjoy their documentaries though, I'll just leave it at that.  I have tried to watch Fox News but they are just as bad at fellating the current President as the other networks were with the President Obama. 

As a Blogger, I love the written word. I love reading it and I love writing it.  There is a lot of garbage online and on TV.  I respect freedom of press, even if it's crap.  But what do we do when people just won't accept facts and believe falsehoods? How do you get through someone who does not accept that the Earth is getting warmer? Who think it's okay to quote Trump's false crime rate statistics or having the most Electoral College votes?  If they are willing to believe trivial lies, what about when he lies about something YUGE - because it's coming.  

Where do you like to get your news from? 

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Don't Worry, Your 40s Will Be Awesome!

Don't worry, your 40s will be awesome

I remember when turning 40 seemed way off.  When my mom turned 40, it was the first time I thought "Oh no, my mom is getting old!" Mind you, she's still alive and kicking 34 years later. 

I have friends in their 30s and are like "Aaaaaah!!! I'll be 40 soon!" I even had a friend who did not want to tell me their age at first, only to find out I'm older than them!  What is it about 40 that freaks people out so much anyway? I will be 42 later this year so I've had some time to let this settle and I'm here to tell you, it's okay, it's actually pretty cool!  

I didn't freak out too much when I turned 40 and I'm totally cool sharing my age. Maybe it helps that I started to go gray in High School?  The only thing I really reflected on was how I let my 30s pass me by. I wrote about that in my old blog.  I just worked too damn much and didn't enjoy myself as much as I should have, it was all just work, work, work. When I turned 40, it was a good time to change my thinking and do things I want and enjoy the little things that make me happy. I don't want to think about how much time I have left. I'm pretty sure I suffer from Thanatophobia so to quote Return of the Living Dead, "I try not to think about dying too much."

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When you're younger, you swear that you'll never become lame like older folks. You are gonna party, stay out late, and always be super cool.  I was never gonna be uncool.  What did The Who sing? Hope I die before I get old.   How did that work out for them?

I stopped being cool before I even got to 40. =/

Things started to turn when the Warped Tour would come around and I had no idea who these bands were. Then all these newer bands started to suck.  There is so much bad music out there now! It was so much better when I was younger, I'll just stick to listening to MY bands.  Holy crap, it happened! I got "old." 

  • I traded hanging out at a bar to being at a coffee shop.  
  • I've turned into a morning person - I never thought that would happen!  
  • I don't need to go out Friday or Saturday night - I'm content staying in and watching a movie and have a nice meal.
  • I'm listening to "older" music (depending on what's old to you). I don't know much "new" music.
  • There are a shit ton of apps and internet acronyms I know nothing about.
  • I listen to my music now at a respectable volume because I can't handle loud volume, I like loud music, just not played loud lol!
  • I can't eat what I want, when I want and not expect to feel like garbage the next day.  You can slow down your body aging but you can't deny that the older you get, the less reckless you should be with your body.

Despite what I said earlier, I'm not old.  Some days I feel old physically, especially when I first wake up, ugh. Here's what's cool though...  

Being in your 40s now is not the same as it was forty years ago.  You can still be silly, go to concerts, play video games, read comic books, wear ironic t-shirts, get tattoos and piercings, color your hair crazy colors, and have quirky interests.  Most of my friends are quirky and unique and I love them for that.  We're all smarter now to make better decisions on how to have fun, enjoy that fun, and remember how much fun we had the following morning.  You may even finding yourself appreciating the smaller things more than you have before - like treating yourself to flowers, drinking coffee and reading the newspaper Sunday morning, or listening to some records over dinner <---this has becoming a thing in my home. :)

Since you're in your 40s, you can also say FUCK ALL to anyone who tries to make fun of you because by now, you should feel comfortable enough with yourself to not have to worry about peer pressure. Let's face it, peer pressure continues way after high school.  It becomes easier to cut people out of your life who just suck energy out of you.  You don't need to impress anyone anymore.  Sure, 40 is a big number and you can view it as a turning point, but it doesn't have to be the start of the second-half of your life. 

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Life Lately...

Lifelately

When I'm not obsessing and freaking out over politics, what else is going on?  

Currently

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Watching: Man In The High Castle.  How timely!  This was on my Amazon Prime watchlist for a very long time and haven't gotten around to watching it until now.  Based on the novel, it takes place during 1962 and it's been 15 years since the Axis won World War II.  The Nazis and Japanese have divided the U.S. into three parts - Nazis control the East, Japanese the West, and a lawless neutral zone in between. A "Resistance" is growing after a film emerges showing a different history of the U.S. winning the war which could lead to the Americans really gaining their freedom.

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Reading: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Marquez.  I'm a very slow reader and my focus sometimes is short.  Márquez is not easy for me to read.  This is my 3rd time trying to read his book.  I have this thing about him, I have a bunch of his books but I have a hard time reading them but I am determined to get through his novels and actually understand what is going on.  It is a personal quest for me.  The story is straight forward, it follows the family who founded a mythical town through generations.  Some of it is a bit whacked and a little child-rapey. On the other hand, I am enjoying my New York Times - Daily Edition for Kindle, I set up just after New Years.  I used to avoid the NY Times because their articles used to be really long-winded but I think they got hip to that after their subscriptions dropped significantly.  Now it's back up and I'd like to do my small part in supporting a business that Trump does not like.

Loving: Pour over coffee!  After my coffee maker died, I decided it was time to approach my coffee making a little different.  Instead of getting my coffee "instantly", I wanted my coffee to to taste GOOD!  Seriously, how often do you clean out your coffee makers? I did not do it enough and I'm always going through filters. No more machines & filters!! Do I get a French Press? There's too many steps involved. I don't mind taking a little extra time making coffee but I don't like too many "steps." Instead I saw the Osaka Pour Over Coffee Brewer and ordered it. I loved it, but it broke in less than two weeks.  So I ordered a Carafe by Coffee Gator

Fighting: Insomnia. Almost every night, I fall asleep without any problem but I will wake up just a couple of hours later. Sometimes I fall back asleep just to wake up again, or I just stay awake.  This has been going on for years.   Some nights are better than others.   I've tried yoga, wine, less coffee, shutting off my electronic devices an hour before bedtime, reading in bed, I just can't get my mind to shut down and REST. 

Doing: Getting acquainted with my new MacBook.  As timing would have it, just as I was planning on buying an new laptop since my home computer is almost dead, the laptop I have for work also died!  So after a week of scrambling, I got a new baby and work sent me a new laptop and I'm getting back on track and also back to blogging.  I had to break my "2 blog posts per week" goal last week (and this week) but I'll get back to it next week.

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An Open Apology

This is in response to reading The Washington Post article Trump backers like his early moves: 'Its what executives are suppose to be' 

Sorry

I'm sorry I was born into a Puerto Rican family in the South Bronx of New York City and there weren't any white people in my neighborhood growing up.

I'm sorry that I went to school with mostly blacks & hispanics and the first white friend I made was in High School. 

I'm sorry you grew up in a small town of only white people and never got to meet a person like me.

I'm sorry if you think my boyfriend should be with someone else because I'm not white.

I'm sorry I live in a Blue State and seeing people from different countries, different colors, different cultures is normal and not something I give a second thought to. 

I'm sorry I don't know what it's like to live in a town like Accident, MD where life is nice and everyone looks and feels the same about almost everything.

I'm sorry if you think I don't care about bringing jobs to the U.S. and keeping terrorist out.  I do care about these things, but they're not the ONLY things I care about.  What else do you care about besides America becoming less white??

I'm sorry that people like you, in your safe, small, quiet bubble town are sooooooooo threatened by Muslims yet you find it offensive that black people think police officers want to kill them. You've probably never seen a Muslim person in your life and never will.

I'm sorry you want to #BoycottStarbucks, you might as well boycott gas stations and convenience stores too, oh wait, that might just be a city thing.

I'm sorry you think the Homeless are being overlooked by Refugees.  Why can't we take care of both? When was the last time YOU gave a Homeless person money? Sit your ass down.

I'm sorry if you think that I THINK you're dumb. I don't think you're dumb, I think living in your little throwback town, as nice as it may be, has shielded you and made you ignorant.  I would LOVE to be blinded by ignorance but it's too late for me. 

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