Awakening in the Nuclear Era

 

Image from Today

 

Yesterday morning, I went to yoga. Afterwards, I stopped at Wal-Mart to grab a couple of pairs of new jeans, then went home and had a bowl of clam chowder for lunch. Afterwards, Oakley and I went shopping for his food for the week or so, then we took a ride on the back roads winding through the currently bare farmland under the crystal blue sky. We tried to walk, but there was just enough wind to make the elements uncomfortable. On the way home, Oakley and I made a stop at a drive through for coffee (me) and an ice water (for him).

A gloriously ordinary Saturday.

As we drove around, I bounced back and forth between WCPT (progressive talk) running the highlights of the past week and a couple of music stations. Once home, we tuned into “America’s Test Kitchen” as we usually do on Saturday. I didn’t hear about this false alarm until fairly late in the day.

My stomach lurched in a way it hadn’t since I was in high school and college. I came of age during the Reagan years with the whisper of the siren lurking in the back ground, wondering daily if today would be the day that the final war started. The better part of those years were spent wondering if I was going to live long enough to graduate and why bother with school work if in the end we were going to to be vaporized into oblivion.

At the time, an insidious group called Young Life, one aimed at “saving” teenagers (it’s Campus Crusade for Christ Junior) began infiltrating my high school with messages about the end of days and the Rapture and Aramgeddon.

Between their interpretations of a book I had little use for and living with an alcoholic WWII veteran parent long steeped in USA right or wrong, my anxiety ratcheted up to a level where I was frozen in real time. I stopped doing anything of real substance, mostly spent as much time in my room as I could dreaming of better days, if possible.

Somehow I still pulled off a high enough GPA to get accepted into college and enough financial aid to do so.

Maybe I was supposed to live.

I started planning; I started dreaming of a future for myself. Granted it was the one that young women in the 1980s were supposed to have, but it was a dream, anyway. I wanted a stable home, a family, and all the rest of the things that I was brainwashed into thinking would make me happy.

Things between the US and the then USSR sort of relaxed until my junior year in college.  Events included a passenger airliner shot down for crossing into USSR air space. That was followed by a lot of saber rattling between Washington and Moscow.

Maybe not.

I shut down again. Would I not live to get out of college? What was the point?

In desperation I ended up engaged to an Air Force NCO who ended up being a dumpster fire of a partner.* He didn’t help at all by going into details on what would happen if we did get nuked ; he subscribe to end of the world cult thinking; he played head and heart games on a daily basis including the ever popular “if you loved me you would______” (insert soul destroying action here) while I searched for jobs near the bases he was likely to be transferred to for his last posting.

Suddenly, the tensions relaxed again between Ron and Yuri. Sergeant Dumpster Fire dumped me after demanding that I marry him within 48 hours  or our love was going to die (thanks to the Mystery that it did). Eventually the job, the home, et al  fell into place of their own accord.

For a long time, the threat of nuclear war was a non-issue, but now with the Dotard in Chief playing “mine is bigger than yours” with the not-the-most-stable-meal-on-the-shelf Dear Leader coupled with a vice president who subscribes to the zombie death cult interpretation of Christianity and would love to have himself and his fellows raptured away before the bombs drop, it’s been thrust to the forefront.

Again.

My prayer is that the “football,” the briefcase with the codes, gets kept very far away from the Oval Office until we can get someone more stable and wise in there. My hope is that Congress gets overturned this fall–if we live that long.

In the meantime in addition to letting Senators Duckworth and Durbin know my thoughts while working to get Rep. Hultgren out of office, I will get involved with peace groups as best I can from here in the hinterlands.

As all this shakes out, I will do yoga, enjoy my new jeans, and walk Oakley.

 

*To my family and friends who read this: I lack the words to convey the regret that I feel for the pain and grief I caused you by letting myself get manipulated into this relationship. “I’m sorry” doesn’t begin to cover the regret and remorse. I don’t know if I can ever really forgive myself, either, for the part of my life wasted on this person or for the damage done to other relationships.

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Food Insecurity 101

From Quoteaddicts.com.

 

 

(note: If I could go in the quote and put brackets around “childhood,” I would…because no one should go hungry.  Period. End of quotation.)

Let’s start with a definition of food insecurity here.  According to the USDA, 11% of US households along with as many as 20% of children struggle to meet the basic need of nutritious food. 8% of senior citizen households struggle to keep themselves fed as well.

It’s not just people on the ends of the life spectrum. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reported that 1.7 million US veterans made use of SNAP and local food pantries. Thanks to disability and a lack of truly decent jobs on their return, they end up in that hellish place where they have to decide between food, medicine, and bills. (The VA doesn’t do as much as you might think. One of my close friends is in a running battle with them on behalf of her husband, but that’s a long story for another entry.)

However, you can help. Yes, you, Gentle Reader, and I will be beside you. Beyond tossing stats and facts around–important for educating yourself and others–and beyond making contributions–vitally important for providing resources–the most important step you can take is reminding your congress rep about these issues in a phone call or email. If you have the misfortune to live in a district (like WI-01 or IL-14) with a rep who thinks the new tax bill that favors the extremely rich is just fine and dandy or is apathetic to the needs of the constituents, then work on getting them out of office.

No one should make a sacrifice for their country and have to choose between bills and food.

No one at the end of their life should have to, either.

And the parents of the people at the beginning of their lives shouldn’t have to, either.

No one, under no circumstances. Ever.

 

 

 

Inauguration Day Notes

First semi-poltical thought of the day: does anyone else think that the actor who plays Thomas on “Downton Abbey” looks like former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich? Or is it just me?

Two governors ago, I know. I still wonder when the feds will make a dedicated Illinois politicians’ wing at the Terre Haute prison.

Be those as they are….at roughly noon today, Bruce Rauner was sworn in as governor. I watched the ceremony, listened to his speech. I dearly and desperately want to like him, but I have too many doubts. As soon as someone says “job creation,” I get this little icy shiver running through my veins since it comes at the cost of social service programs and the environment.

There’s also a question of a pending lawsuit concerning some nursing homes that he owned. Now, granted that the residents usually don’t get out alive, but the suit alleges dangerously understaffing on a regular basis to save money, leading to deaths from neglect and abuse. He spoke of making sure that the net was in place, but that doesn’t synch up with the image of someone who allegedly rode off to one of his luxury vacation homes on the backs of the most vulnerable.

Yes, we desperately need jobs, and we need a small business friendly climate to provide them. There’s the proposed fracking in southern Illinois. I need to do more research, but it seems to me that jobs coming in at the cost of earthquakes and toxic waste is too high.

What we really need is someone who can make sure that taxes are going where they are supposed to go and not into the sinkhole between O’Hare and Lake Michigan. I hope Gov. Rauner can stand up to House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago area) and remind him that there’s a lot of state beyond the tollways ringing the Windy City.  Some years ago, Hubby was active in a group that tried to get property taxes in our county reduced. One eye opener: much of the revenue goes into the Chicago public school system.

The other: voter apathy. The group dwindled from a couple of dozen active participants to just Hubby and two of the leaders. Hubby, exhausted and burned out, finally walked away.

What else can be expected when only 20% of eligible voters in our county do so? It’s how many of the party holders who give conservatives a bad name ended up in office.

We have four years in front of us. We can’t recall him, but emails and letters to let the elected know what’s on our minds are in order. For every phone call or letter, there are ten people who are in agreement, but can’t or won’t pick up or log on for whatever reason.

I’ll be in touch soon, Gov. Rauner.

The Focus on What One is For

Yes, I know that occasionally, one has to shock the populace to rouse them from complacency. The problem is when the shocks come so frequently that they inspire apathy rather than action. Numb is not good when it comes to speaking out on behalf of the vulnerable such as senior citizens, children, and animals. Posting information to raise awareness is one thing, but graphic images are another.

As an antidote, antitoxin to the horrific pictures of mistreated animals, several friends posted a Facebook game where participants like a status that indicates a desire to break the endless chain of pictures of dead, dying, or abused dogs. If you like the status, you’re assigned a breed, then you post a picture of a dog of that breed and the above status on your timeline. 

We need to be aware of the capabilities of the dark side. But we also need to hold onto hope and have faith that good and decent humans are out there somewhere. 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go find a picture of a Scottish wolfhound.

 

 

The Courage to Change What I Can’t Accept

T-24:30 and counting.

This level of fatigue and brain fog is unacceptable. So are the mood swings, the sleeplessness, the heavy periods. 

T-24:25 and counting.

I’m not thrilled with the weight gain, either. Part of it my own doing, granted, from stress eating when my mother in law went through her last year on this side, trapped in the revolving door of what passes for health care for the elderly in the US. Part of it stems from attempting to comfort myself after Orion crossed the Rainbow Bridge. A lot of it has to do with this last act in the monthly dance of the hormones.

T-24:17 

So tomorrow, I give something different a shot. Inspired by the quick and positive results that Oakley had with his herbs, I made an appointment at the local acupuncture practice. Many of my friends who live in town have had good results. It is worth a shot. 

T-24:15

I want to stay as far from synthetic hormones and more commonplace medicine as I can. At the time of her death, my mom was on high-estrogen birth control pills. She smoked. She had little relief from them. The heart attack that claimed her life happened when she was 51, just a few months older than I am now. 

That is totally unacceptable. 

I have too much to do right now. I have an e-mag; letters and emails to write concerning the environment for the generations to come; crossposting and reposting to do for animal rescues on Facebook; and a dog to care for. I don’t have time for fatigue, for draining periods, or to slip the veil of tears.  

T-24:05

I’ve done my research, so I have a rough idea of how tomorrow’s appointment will go. Curiosity has overridden fear. What changes will be suggested otherwise, I don’t know. I will let curiosity lead the way.

T-24:00