Make It Yourself

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The percent of the human population working in...

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I’m not advocating for a complete return to an agrarian life.  It just isn’t for everyone, I understand.  Besides, it’s fascist and just plain boring.  And how can we possibly pry all the technology out of the fingers of its adherents for more than a few minutes anyway.  I guess we really cannot in some cases.   

But if we want to keep disease in check and curb the obesity problem in the developed world, we obviously need to make some significant changes.  None of these changes are easy and I realize it isn’t all going to happen overnight.  I’m in a coffee shop writing this paragraph and there is one person behind me talking on the phone, and another texting in front of me.  Were I to ask them these simple questions, they’d probably look at me like I just fell off the nearest psychiatrist’s couch; the questions are simple, the answers are dreadful to many, I suppose.  Such as supporting regional (preferably local) agriculture; organically produced agriculture.  Demanding it.  Genetically altering food-producing plants, and then spraying them with pesticides is no longer acceptable.      

If we all contributed modestly to the solution, it probably wouldn’t seem insurmountable.  It could be extremely difficult, but nothing worth having is worth ease of possession, I believe.   

But with convenience food on virtually every street corner, how do you convince people to start along the different road?  And with patience at a seemingly all time low, how do you even get people to listen.  I know there are times when I myself try hard to extricate myself from a conversation that is sapping me of my time and energy.  Perhaps for me, blogging is that starting point.  People can listen at their own convenience, and perhaps have some say in their own smaller circle of influence.One of the solutions:  Make It Yourself 

For example, try making food one day a week. Pick something easy, and that you really love to eat, and make it completely from scratch. Once a week, every week.  Maybe you’ll enjoy doing it, and cook more regularly, and will reach a higher level of sustainability and health.  Don’t go out and grow all your food at first. If you are so inclined, grow a little of your food, buy organic, and in some cases just do without. If you want a somewhat more inspiring invitation to change, read Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal Vegetable Miracle.    In it, Kingsolver and her family decide to live off the land.  I’ll let you make your own judgments about their efforts.

If what you like is spaghetti, for example, try growing a small amount of virtually everything in the recipe. If you are including meatballs, you probably don’t want to raise a cow if that is cost and space prohibitive. But you can grow (and can or freeze) the tomatoes and the spices to make a sauce. You probably won’t grow the wheat for making pasta. But you can try making the pasta yourself. Doing all of this will slow you down enough to appreciate the process, and since all the food is fresh, you will truly appreciate it.   

It seems, however, that we have  become slaves to what the media marketing circus is selling that we consume fast food ad nauseum, prescription drugs until we are drowning in them, and clothing and technology and other affectations to sell us as pointedly attractive. 

Please give it a try.  Let’s take back the world from those who have chosen to do us harm.

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Phooey on Phone Companies

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With the billions of smart phones out there (I’m not interested, by the way), it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a phone that you can just make phone calls with and, that said, phooey on phone companies.  I couldn’t find a decent phone in the store (no names, I keep promising myself), so I went online.  I found a phone that at least looked interesting.  It kind of looked like a Star Trek communicator.  So I purchased it when I reached my upgrade date.  I still paid an upgrade fee.  Shame on the phone company.  It lasted almost a year.  I had little problems before the 1 year anniversary.  And then I charged it one day, and it just stopped working.  I’ll spare you the details.  I went to the store to see if they might do something.  But shame on me.  I know they can’t do much of anything for you at the store.  They called the company, which I could have done myself, and they sent me a new phone.  It took a little over 24 hours to receive it.  Big deal, they have warehouses everywhere.  That’s the least they can do.  And since I had insurance, I only had to pay a deductible.  For a phone that probably cost the company practically nothing to purchase from the manufacturer.  And yet we still go on paying outrageous phone bills.  PHOOEY ON PHONE COMPANIES.

Not Exactly About Skinny Jeans

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Skinny Jeanz and a Mic

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 I use the scale as one tool to lose weight; many of us do.  But thank goodness for the skinny jeans.  Okay, not exactly skinny jeans; a couple pair of Dickies, size 30 waist.  Currently they are baggy around the legs and although I can cinch up the button or clasp, they are tight around my waist and squeeze my belly, which is not big but it is still there.  I don’t have any grand illusion (or desire) to be skinny like all those skinny boys out there.  I’m 43, after all.  I know I can never get into a pair of pants size 24 or 26 inch waist.  I’d have to lose bone density to get into them, and they still probably wouldn’t be baggy like they are on those skinny boys.  My body wasn’t made that way.  My hips are too big.  But I almost fit into my 30 waist pants a couple of years ago before I put the recent weight back on.  Now they fit less comfortably, but I know with real work I can get back into them. 

I know there is an epidemic of obesity in countries that actually can eat what they want when they want.  I don’t worry about whether I will eat each day, for which I am eternally grateful, but my eating habits aren’t exactly what I wish for.  I have work on that front, as well. 

So I need those 30 inch waist pants to tell me that I have reached my goal.  And it isn’t entirely about fitting into them.  I suppose I could do major diets and weight loss products.  It’s more about eating healthy and exercising to give me all the energy I need to allow me to do most anything I wish and not feel like I need to take any breaks.

If I used the scale alone, I could drive myself a little crazy.  I run, and almost without fail, lose about a pound for each mile I run.  I’m running about 15 miles a week.  When I first lost all the weight, I probably ran more than that.  I shouldn’t say “ran.”  I jogged.  I’m at more of a pace now that I can say I’m running more than jogging.  And then I put most of the weight on, or more, by the time I hit the scale again, which is natural.  I eat enough to sustain myself.    I could really nitpick my weight.  And I know some clothing weighs more than other.  I know I don’t have to check my weight each day, before and after the workout, but I kind of want to know how I’m progressing.  And I’m getting there; this time I will fit all the way into those pants. 

Please Commit to Commit One Selfless Act Today

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The world is spinning way too quickly these days.  I’m sure technology has something to do with it, but I’m sure there are other factors as well.  Even end-of-the-world factors, if you believe that.  But whether you do or not, it is often difficult to find enough time in every day to do all the thing you need to do.  There are undoubtedly thousands of ways to slow time down.  I’d like to offer a suggestion.

 
Please commit to commit one selfless act today.
 
And don’t even concern yourself with whether it has any consequences that you can observe.  If you assume that it will have positive consequences, you can probably be certain that it will.  If we all do so, we might find it to be as self sustaining as the air we breathe and the water we drink, and perhaps we can make such a difference in the world.

  

Prejudice

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You know, we are born and start learning right away.  Amazingly better, I suspect, than any of us can imagine.  We obviously recognize facial expressions and familiar faces and learn some of their names.  We learn about our needs, even if we are unable to directly fulfill them or tend to them.  We start to learn what objects are and how to verbalize them, along with familiar faces’ names.  We learn that words are powerful.  And that emotions are equally powerful.  What I think many don’t realize is that their combination, colored by a powerful influence, can create extreme prejudice.  We need the labels to describe things, and in describing people, but the prejudice can make a bloody muddy mess of them all.  After we are grown and our beliefs are more or less set, too many in the world see things only in something close to black and white.  Either you are female or male, white or black, gay or straight, Republican or Democrat (or Left or Right, or Conservative or Liberal; I don’t know which is preferred these days).  Ultimately we are all flesh and bone, with the same capability to love and hate.  I want people to look at me and not think, “oh *&%#, he’s male, or he’s Democrat (which I’m not actually, but I was as a disillusioned twenty-something), or that I’m balding, etc.  I want people to look at me and think, “what a wonderful, compassionate human being.”  I told the only person I ever argue with that I wouldn’t waste my time arguing if I didn’t care deeply.  I don’t waste my time arguing with people who are intent on being unhappy and perhaps-subconsciously trying to make me unhappy as well.  Every person I meet starts out being a beacon of perfection.  Where they go from there has a lot to do with her or him.

Scars

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I just recently saw that ad for covering up scars.  Little scars.  I personally find scars to be kind of attractive, but I can see why somebody who has been disfigured significantly would want them covered in some way.  I can’t say that I wouldn’t do the same, especially if I were in the prime of my life, still looking for somebody to spend the rest of my life.  But physical scars, like emotional scars, are akin to an alert system.  An opportunity to see the importance of things that you otherwise wouldn’t.  That appearances can create a false sense of the value of relationships. It’s probably easier for me to say this now, at age 43, having grown up in a loving family.  Near the bottom of a large family, I always felt I had things in fairly proper balance anyway, and even when I didn’t, I never felt I had more than I could handle.  Looking at life now, I see scars as an opportunity to learn an important lesson, or to have an important conversation with somebody who might be important in my life.  I have one scar that not a person I know knows how I received it.  It is an inch-long number on the left side of the index finger on my right hand.  I don’t feel threatened by it.  It’s a part of me, and I own it for the better.