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Be the Change #33 – Social Media Break

I’ve decided to take a break from technology for the next few weeks.  So this blog will be suspended until some time in September or October.  There are several reasons for this decision:

  1. 1. Most important, my husband is starting to complain that I spend more time with my phone than I do with him.
  2. 2. I am so busy both at home and at work that I’m falling behind on things that I really ought to do, and a tech break might help me catch up on some other things.
  3. I feel like my attention span is getting shorter, and that really bothers me.  I’m getting too used to the quick hits of information that you get on the internet, and losing my ability to read deeply, which I used to love to do.
  4. I have started suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome. I used to smirk at the right-wingers who got themselves into a lather over Obama (and yet….you still have your guns, don’t you?).  I’m getting the same way about Trump, though, and it’s not healthy.  Being on the internet just feeds it because I can’t get away from all the horrible stuff he does, and I can’t ignore it.  I feel like I need to get a grip.
  5. My BRAND NEW computer is running about as slow and freezing about as often as a 90-year-old nun, so I’m just angry at all technology and I’m going to try to ignore it for a while.

I’ll be back. I’m just need to take a break for a while and start feeling like a human being again, instead of a deranged cyborg.


Be the Change #32 – On Charlottesville

The violence and hatred exhibited in Charlottesville last weekend were shocking and heartbreaking to most Americans.  Anyone who hasn’t been in a cave or a coma knew that our country was dividing along ever more partisan and angry lines, but the brawls and the tragic death of Heather Heyer still left us wondering what’s happened to us and how much worse it can get.

Many of us were further dismayed by President Trump’s insistence that “many sides” were to blame.  I wasn’t there, so I don’t have an opinion on who “started it,” who was armed and who wasn’t, or whose “fault” it was.

But I have an opinion on who was right and who was wrong.

The people carrying the Nazi and Confederate flags, and shouting neo-Nazi slogans were wrong.  Flat-out, end-of-story wrong.  Because their whole reason for being in Charlottesville in the first place was wrong.

You can’t agree with slaveholding, racial superiority, or any form of racial or ethnic discrimination and claim to support American values.  The monuments that the Unite the Right groups were defending honor and glorify men who took up arms for the purpose of continuing to hold other human beings as property.  That was wrong.  Granted, they were men of their time, but we know better now and we shouldn’t honor their cause.

Don’t ask me if monuments to Washington or Jefferson are coming down next because, after all, those men were also slaveholders.  Washington held the Continental Army together and therefore gave us our country.  He willingly left office after two terms when he could have been king, and therefore gave us the notion of peaceful succession.  Jefferson gave us the very idea of our country in the Declaration of Independence, and our cross-continental reach with the Louisiana purchase.  We honor Washington and Jefferson for those contributions, in spite of their status as slaveholders.

A monument to confederate rebels is different.  It explicitly honors those men for something they did that was reprehensible:  rebelling against our country for the purpose of continuing to hold other human beings as property.  The monuments show them in their military uniforms, often with weapons or on horses ready to go into battle.  The monuments honor them because of their fight to keep other human beings in bondage.  That’s the difference between a Confederate monument and the Jefferson Memorial.  That’s why the Confederate monuments should come down.

In the months to come, there are likely to be more protests, and more counter-protests.  There may be more violence, probably on both sides.  But to say both sides are equally wrong, just because both sides throw punches, is to miss the main point.  One side is fighting evil ideologies of the dark past.  The other is fighting on the side of evil.

NOTE:  This post is an expansion on a Comment that I posted on my friend Debbie’s Facebook page.  Debbie is to the right of me politically, and the comments on her post ran the political gamut.  I was heartened by the fact that Debbie’s original post, and all the comments, were well-thought-out and respectful.  There was disagreement, but it was civil.  There was no throwing around of terms like “racist” or “libtard.”  That’s the kind of dialog that we desperately need.

Be The Change #31 – Change your diet (week 4)

I’m just finishing week four of my experiment with eating less meat.  I estimate that I cut my meat consumption at least in half over the course of the 4 weeks.  I have to confess that it’s getting harder, though.  My meals are starting to feel repetitive.  I’ve asked my daughter and son-in-law for a vegetarian cookbook for my birthday later this month.  They’ve both been vegetarians for years, so I have confidence that they’ll select something good for me that will help me to keep this going.  I also think it will get easier when fall comes.  Al and I love soup and risotto, and we have many vegetarian recipes for both that we enjoy.

I confess ahead of time that I am taking a business trip in September and a 2-week vacation in Canada in October, and will probably eat a little more meat than usual on both of those trips. 

This will be my last blog post on the topic of flexitarian diet.  Overall, it was easier than I thought it would be, and I think it is healthier both for me and for the planet, so I will continue it. 

Here are this week’s menus.  As before, I am happy to provide recipes for starred items upon request.  Vegetarian Experiment Week Four

Be the change #30 – Change your diet (week 2)

Week two of eating mostly vegetarian.  Still not finding it hard at all.  I don’t miss the extra meat, and Al has been fine supplementing his meals with a little more meat as he feels the need.   Note that I haven’t given up my most-beloved indulgences:  a glass of wine with dinner almost every night, and dessert after dinner.  Our desserts aren’t usually fancy:  a dish of frozen yogurt, an ice-cream sandwich, a little dark chocolate.  I like to bake, though, and I will bake us something indulgent every week or two.  Last week I made tarte tatin for bunco and there was a little left over.  The week before I made a cherry pie.  Here are the past week’s menus:  Vegetarian Experiment Week Two.  As always, I am glad to provide recipes for starred dishes.

Be the Change #29 – Change your diet (week one)

I found a quick calculator that helped me to estimate my household’s carbon footprint.  Ours is about 12 tons per year.  Want to know yours?  Check out this LINK

Twelve tons seemed like a lot to me.  It takes about 63 trees to offset that much.  In the fall, we have so many leaves to rake that it FEELS like we have 63 trees on our little suburban lot.  But we don’t.  So, I researched the top ways to reduce your footprint…

1.       Cut down on air travel.  One round-trip flight between New York and San Francisco creates a warming effect equivalent to 2-3 tons of CO2 per person. 

2.       Walk or ride public transportation as much as you can.   Even if you drive a small car, and only drive 500 miles per month, your car is spewing about 1.7 tons of CO2 annually. 

3.       Eat a vegetarian diet.   

4.       Have fewer children.

Too late for that last one!

I admit I love to travel and will not be reducing my carbon footprint that way any time soon.  I already drive a fuel-efficient car and take public transportation to work.  But, I’m really worried about climate change and, in the spirit of my ‘be the change’ theme, rather than complaining about Trump pulling out of the Paris accord, I decided to try eating less meat.

My daughter and son-in-law have been vegetarians for years, so I know first-hand how do-able it is.  And I’ve never been someone who has to eat at lot of meat at every meal.  But, I do enjoy meat, so I just didn’t think I could go vegetarian, much less vegan.  I decided to try reducing my meat consumption by about 70%.  I’ve been on this flexitarian diet for a week now, and I’m not finding it hard at all.  And I lost a pound!  But, better yet, I’m reducing our carbon footprint by almost a ton per year.  I’d encourage almost anyone to try this.  I’ll publish my menus weekly for the next several weeks, and can provide recipes for starred items on request. 

Here’s a link to this week’s menus:

Vegetarian Experiment Week One







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