The End of The Year as We Know It

December 14, 2017 at 10:20 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

Hey look! I broke another record for how long it’s been since I posted on my blog! I’d say my New’s Year’s Resolution will be to post more often but that’s not exactly true as I’m really just happy to be posting today. And I’m kind of sick of the idea of New Year’s Resolutions, so there’s that.

Anyway, here we are at nearing the end of yet another year. I don’t know about you but 2017 has felt like the longest four years of my life. A lot has happened, both good and bad, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t post a general recap. This is not only for my loyal blog readers who have been eagerly anticipating my return (read: my mom) but also to document this year before we get into a nuclear war with North Korea or Trump has such a tantrum that he just hits that red “Destroy the World” button by mistake and everything online (and offline, for that matter) is lost forever. So here we go.

A little over a year ago there was a stretch of less than a week that changed my world (and the world in general) forever. It began with the Cubs winning the World Series, which was crazy and momentous and exciting and unbelievable all rolled into one. That was a Wednesday night. Thursday Scott and I drove to Indiana and Friday we had our wedding rehearsal. Saturday we got freaking married! And everything was wonderful and happy and joyous and seemed right in the world. Then that following Tuesday, Donald Trump won a rigged election to become President of the United States and the happy emotions of the last few days shifted pretty damn quickly.

That was November. December was a blur of shock and disbelief as we went into and through the holidays. The beginning of 2017 saw Scott and I take our honeymoon to Thailand and I’m not going to lie, it was hard to come back to America knowing what we were walking into. Then the inauguration happened and crowd size sparked the first of many stupid lies. Then I rode almost thirty hours on a bus over a weekend to march with about a million other women in D.C. and ignited a movement.

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Truth.

And that’s how this year began – a roller coaster of emotions and new realities that I may or not have been ready for, not that it mattered. The new year also brought a completely new challenge for my sister and I as we realized our father was suffering through early onset dementia and his living situation was no longer sustainable. I spent months researching and navigating the red tape of social security, Medicare, Medicaid, senior healthcare in general, assisted and independent living homes, the transfer of assets and any other bureaucratically bullshit that was thrown our way. I obtained all kinds of medical records and hired attorneys and my sister and I became Power of Attorney for our father while also taking over his finances and just about everything else. We moved him across the country over Easter weekend into his new home and then a few months later moved him to his final resting place (don’t worry, he’s not dead yet – just in a different apartment). So that’s been…interesting…especially since our history with our father isn’t exactly full of sunshine and rainbows. I then spent May moving my own damn apartment to a new place essentially next door and then June and July were full of coordinating my office move of about 1100 people into a brand new building. Oh yeah, then I sprained both my ankles at the beginning of July and was on crutches for a few weeks. That didn’t suck or anything.

Scott and I were able to take another small trip to Colorado in August and then in October I flew to Louisiana to help pack up my dad’s parent’s house as they were moving into an assisted living home too (just hundreds of miles away from dad…we should’ve thought about lumping them together to get a family discount but hindsight is 20/20). I also spent October interviewing for a promotion at my company while essentially working the new position and my old position at the same time. Then I was made an offer for what is essentially the job of my dreams! No pressure, right? I started that in November and haven’t really stopped since (because clearly every part of 2017 up until then was quiet and relaxing).

All of this has taken place with the Trump Presidency looming darkly in the background. This means that on top of everything else, my fellow citizens and I have had to worry about things like our healthcare being ripped away by politicians, our safety being threatened by wars with other countries we don’t support, our rights being squashed by those who are ignorant and fearful, our environment being damaged and climate change being ignored, our freedom of speech and internet being taken away and our democracy being threatened by our own damn President. I’ve been appalled, horrified and embarrassed by what’s been coming out of the White House more than I ever thought possible and so much has happened that I feel like I have PTSD from news alerts coming through on my phone. That said, I’m still calling my senators and writing emails and marching and fighting in the little ways I know how. Because as crazy as this year has been, I will nevertheless persist. Things like the current wave of outrage at sexual harassment in various industries and this week’s Democratic election results in Alabama are giving me hope. This year hasn’t been easy but we’re all still here and I feel like I’m more resilient than ever.

Hit me with your best shot, 2018. I’ve taken some self defense classes this year and I’m ready to hit back.

 

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One Month Down

February 23, 2017 at 1:10 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

So, we’ve had a new President for just over a month. To show my dissatisfaction with the backward policies, discriminating executive orders and general douchebaggery that’s coming out of the White House, I marched in Chicago on the one month anniversary of the Inauguration.

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We need a leader, not a creepy tweeter!

I was not alone. Scott and I ran into a few friends at the beginning of the rally and we managed to lose them in the march. At one point, they were an entire three city blocks behind us as we all marched down State Street towards Federal Plaza, so that gives a small indication of crowd size. As we rallied before the march started, the entire crowd parted to let through a chanting line of Muslim men, women and children who were all embraced and supported by the group. We were proud to march with our immigrant neighbors and stand by their side and everything from fair and comprehensive immigration policy to upholding LGBT rights was stood up for.

We’re not stupid and we know that marching might not change the things we want to change. But we’re still showing up and voicing opinions and people are mobilizing to stand up for their beliefs like never before. Personally, I’m still writing postcards and making phone calls to Senators and other members of Congress and I’m still trying to financially support nonprofits where I can. I’m holding people accountable and I’m more politically aware than I have been in a long time. And I’m not sitting down or shutting up. Our current administration has made it clear that this will be a marathon and not a sprint and even though I truly hate running, I’m sticking with the race.

FULL DISCLAIMER: I was NOT paid or reimbursed in any way for my marching, chanting, protesting or blogging. Neither was anyone else at that march – we just really are that upset.

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Now What?

November 18, 2016 at 11:22 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

I’ve had a hard time posting lately because the last three months or so have been a complete roller coaster of emotions for me. The death of my first grandparent and unfortunate news about my dad’s health were difficult things to deal with and they were juxtaposed with the happiest day and night of my life – mine and Scott’s wedding! The support, love, joy and pure elation we felt that day was something wonderful to be surrounded with. Everything was perfect – and then the election happened. I really do try not to get too political around people who may not want to hear it, but life has not been so rosy after I learned that Donald Trump will be our next President. I’m not going to go into the multitude of reasons why I think this is a terrible, awful, really no-good idea because there are plenty of other people out there talking about that. So instead of focusing on the worry and fear that I feel, I’m insteading choosing to focus on what I can do about it. And here’s what I’ve come up with (so far):

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  • I’ve started monthly donations to Planned Parenthood (in Mike Pence’s name…which put a smile on my face), the ACLU and the Sierra Club. I’m not able to give tons of money but every dollar helps.
  • I took a self-defense class, because I feel helpless and impotent and have some legitimate fears about the safety of myself and my loved ones over the next few years. I’m not exactly Rambo now but it was empowering and I’m going to go back for more.
  • I’ve purchased a trash-picker-upper and will be using it to gather the garbage in my neighborhood. Eventually I’m going to rally my neighbors to do the same – we may not be able to clean up Washington but we can at least take care of our own backyard.
  • I’m continuing my volunteering with the food pantry and the Field Museum. I decided long ago that two causes I feel strongly about are education and poverty, specifically hunger awareness. Volunteering at the pantry and the museum allows me to literally get my hands dirty while making a difference.
  • I’ve called my local congressional representative  to tell them that I’m opposing Trump’s pick of Steve Bannon as his Chief Strategist and urging him to pressure Trump to remove this known white supremacist from the White House.
  • I’ve bought bus tickets for myself and Scott to attend the Women’s March in Washington DC over Inauguration Day weekend. It’s going to be a long weekend spent mostly on a bus but we’ll be there to stand and march with others promoting equal rights. This isn’t a protest but instead a rally to unite women and those who believe in minority causes.
  • I’ve talked about this. I’m talking about this right now! I have refrained from getting into long Facebook arguments because I don’t feel that’s very constructive and instead I have talked with my friends and allies about what we’re feeling and what we’re going to do about it. I’m also trying very hard to keep in mind that four and eight years ago the other side was feeling like I do now. Some of the hate and rage I’ve been seeing from the left is very reminiscent of what I saw during the birth of the Tea Party and it’s scary. It’s also not something I want to be associated with. Not that staying positive and not spewing hate is easy – I want to rant and rave with the best of them but I’m trying not to do so publicly. I would rather put forth an effort to be the change I want to see.

There’s more coming. And even if Trump turns out to be the best President the country has ever seen, the things I’m doing now will still be beneficial in the long run. I believe there’s always been more good in the world than bad and I’m going to do my damndest to keep that true for as long as I’m around to fight!

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Pale Blue Dot

November 10, 2016 at 3:23 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

My wedding was perfect and magical and wonderful and beautiful and everything that Scott and I could have asked for and more. I’ll probably write more about it later so you can share in our excitement! We were euphoric and oh so happy, floating idyllically on Cloud 9 for days…well, for four days, to be exact. Because not long after we got back, the election happened.

I know people have different viewpoints and opinions and I really, truly try to abide by the whole “live and let live” ideology. That said, I take offence when others try to shove their own personal beliefs down my throat and I take even greater offence when the newly elected President of the United States is…well, who he is. And has done the things he’s said he’s done with little to no remorse. I honestly feel like our President-elect is a misogynistic, racist, narcissistic, arrogant, ignorant terror of a “man” and he scares the hell out of me. So I’m trying to process the roller-coaster of emotions I’ve felt over the last few days and it’s proving to be difficult. It’s even more difficult to imagine what the next four years will be like but I’m trying to stay positive. When that doesn’t work, I think about this:

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If you can’t read this, Google “Pale Blue Dot” by Carl Sagan. Better yet, watch on YouTube.

This isn’t the best time in the world but it’s certainly not the worst. And no matter what happens, no matter what is or isn’t done to our planet and for our future, this pale blue dot will continue to be a pale blue dot for a long time to come. The types of mammals around to witness it might be in question, but this Earth will be just fine. At least that’s something.

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