A few good white men

Lately, I’m sickened by the sight of angry, white, American men. I think it’s bullshit that they have all the power in this country, which has given them a podium to whine and bitch from about their supposed lot in life.

Here’s a visual, if I haven’t been descriptive enough for you:

Image result for charlottesville va protestImage result for trump cabinet

 

My optimistic nature, however, is getting the better of me. Fact is, there’s plenty of good white American men out there. Men who are respectable and respectful. Men who have goodness in their hearts. Men who do not hesitate to speak truth to power in their own special ways. So let’s hear it for a few of these dudes.

Al Franken

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So Al and I go way back. To 2010, specifically. Hubs and I attended an event with another couple in support of a new candidate for U.S. House of Representatives in Winona, Mn. We lived in Wisconsin at the time, but as admirers of Al’s work in congress not to mention SNL, we were there to see him, not the candidate, Tim Walz. So after Al gave a short speech and the four of us had wandered into the reception hall, I got a chance to meet Al in person. We had just read his book “Lies and the Lying Liars that Tell Them”,  which we got him to sign later that evening.  I was making a bee line for the cookie tray because free cookies, duh, when I realized I was face to face with Al. I couldn’t not say anything. But I couldn’t think of anything actually intelligent to say. So I stuck my hand out and said “Hi Al” with a stupid grin on my face. Then I proceeded to tell him I lived in Wisconsin so I wouldn’t be voting in Minnesota. But I added that I did indeed hail from Minnesota. I’m sure he was super impressed. Hubs and I have been listening to his latest audio book “Giant of the Senate”. Best quote so far in this book (we are on Chapter 3) : “Just because you are right doesn’t mean you have the right to be a jerk”.

Anyway, I remain a fan of Al’s to this day. I sincerely hope he stays in politics. We need more guys like him there.

Weird Al Yankovic

He’s the guy that made being weird cool, don’t you think? And he does a great job of satirizing American politics. Political satire is an important tool  coping mechanism these days, dontcha think?

Al Gore

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My favorite champion of the environment. Instead of enjoying a quiet retirement after leaving his job as VP in the White House, he chose to take up the most important cause of all: educating the public about climate change: what it means and how we can fix it.

Here’s to three great Al’s, courtesy of one of my very favorite Paul’s:

 

 

Movies that should be made

This post is courtesy of a conversation Hubs and I recently had where we concluded that despite having approximately 488 channels on our Direct TV, not to mention Amazon Prime, this time of year there is very little television we are interested in viewing.

I know-total First World problem right? 

I do realize that we are quite fortunate to even own a t.v. and have the ability to afford our monthly Direct TV bill. 

With the lack of truly engaging, creative, entertaining television happening in this moment, I’ve come up with a few ideas of movies I would happily consume if ithey were to exist. Movies that could be seen on the big screen or the little screen (once they were put on cable or Amazon Prime, or whatever channel we may add when the temps fall and we just want to stay in)

  1. A movie about Amelia Aerhart. Starring Hillary Swank, Michelle Williams, or Maggie Gyllenhal in the title role. It would include what we don’t yet know about her life after her plane crashed. The History channel is planning a documentary on this. That’s a good start, I think.

She may have survived the crash

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2) Biopic of Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara. They were married for 61 years and worked together as a comedy team for several of them. They were opposites, him being Jewish, and her being Catholic. She made the decision after they married and  gave birth to their first child to convert to Judaism as per Anne: “I wanted my children to know who they were”. I believe they had quite the love story. I think it would be extra special if their son, actor Ben Stiller, played Jerry and perhaps Emma Stone could play Anne.

Jerry and Ann article

3) Biopic of the love story between Paul and Linda McCartney. Michael Sheen and Cate Blanchett would be my top pics to play these two. I’ve always loved Paul’s music, not only from the Beatles of course but from his second act, Paul McCartney and Wings, along with his solo ventures. I think of Paul as being the ultimate optimist. I have the impression that he was the “cheerleader” within the Beatles. And only an optimist and probably a hopeless romantic would marry again after losing the love of his life in 1998, not once but twice. And I feel like we haven’t learned much about Linda over the years at all. I think Paul and Linda had quite the love story, and I’d like to see it on the big screen. This song, written by Paul for Linda, is why.

My Love

My curious mind would love to know any ideas of t.v. shows or movies you’d like to see. Please share!

Work in progress

So, for the last several months, I’ve been randomly coming up with ideas for blog posts. I keep them in my draft folder under the title “Great Big Writing Ideas”.  It has come in handy for me when I am plumb out of ideas of what to write about.

Today is one of those days. I’ve got bupkis. Just fleeting thoughts about songs or artists I want to share my appreciation of. Or op-eds I’ve read that I have my own take on. But nothing that feels really right. Nothing that flips my switch, so to speak.

So instead of picking one topic, artist, or political opinion (I suspect my readers may be getting tired of me and my political opinions and frankly I might be too), I’m going to share with you snippets of ideas and in some cases just thoughts, feelings, or personal affirmations which I’ve jotted down in my draft folder.

Lily T

6/27:

Write from the heart.

Pixar’s next blockbuster: How the body is the clean up crew. The bad guy is the disease. The heros are the doctors, scientists, and some politicians.

 

7/6/17:

My purpose is to inspire and empower!

The path is fraught with unknown obstacles and dangers.

Follow your curiosity for Pete’s sake…

8/4/17

New mantra : You are not in a hurry.

8/8:

Next blog post: The entertainment I would consume if it existed.

Spitball first. Thanks Liz Lemon. gif of her here.

A variety show that serves to educate the adult public about important issues of our time. With puppets and music. And comedy.

8/26:

Another post could be about alternate meanings for K.I.S.S. that I  may or may not expound on.

Like: salacious, serendipitous, spiritual, scandalous, shocking. 

Words: RESPECT. PERSERVERANCE..HUMILITY.KINDNESS #bigimportantwords. GIVE EXAMPLES.

8/29:

For the love of God, edit everything above this line! Done as of 8/31.

Ok next post: DC. Then couple friends. Then Pinterest. Then Polly’s preview, potentially.

-Polly needs to get political again. ASAP!

-Write about Colorado

-Food. Zucchini lasagna. Trempeleau County and the damn cookbook.

As you can see, I’m all over the place. Thanks for indulging me once again, folks.

I think I know what my next blog post is going to be now…

Key word here is “think”.

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4 Points from a discontented Polly

I have so much to say. About so many things. Things that are important to me as a woman. Things that are important to me as an American. Things that are important to me as a thinking, feeling, hopeful, yet still discontented human on planet Earth.

My discontentment stems from a multitude of bad news. From our so called President, who according to me anyway,  only truly cares about the almighty dollar, to biblical level weather disasters like we are currently seeing the catastrophic, human effects of, to the news of people dying at far too young ages from cancer, as my Aunt Connie (the personification of the term social butterfly), who we lost this week at the age of 64.

I believe very strongly at this moment in time it behooves me, as it should behoove us all, to get real about what changes are needed to begin the uphill climb to a better reality for all of humankind.

It’s time for Polly to climb up on her soapbox. 

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Here I go!

Here are a few things that I believe in my heart and mind need to happen to give every one of us a brighter and healthier future:

We need to push for positive political change. Most importantly, I believe we need to change the electoral college system. We need our government to better represent all Americans.  And we need to greatly improve our voting system so it’s easier to vote and harder for our system to be attacked by foreign entities. And we need to do all we can to increase the number of Americans that vote. Maybe that’s through employers allowing people time off to get to the ballot boxes. Or increasing the numbers of locations where people can vote. But certainly it will involve having multitudes of volunteers in every state getting people registered to vote. I’m down for that, how about you?

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Climate change-it’s real. The vast majority of scientists are in agreement with this.  We have the responsibility for our children’s and grandchildren’s futures to address it head on, by investing in alternative energies,  such as solar and wind power. Coal is not the way to go. It’s the past, not the future. It seems to me that our government and private companies ought to be putting their heads together and collaborating on a plan to train workers in the field of alternative energies. To me, it’s a no-brainer.

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It simultaneously breaks my heart and angers me every time I hear a story of someone who has gone bankrupt because of medical bills. This simply should not be happening. Not in America, or any other country for that matter. “Go fund me pages” should not be the answer when someone has the misfortune of becoming sick. I for one am more than happy to pay higher taxes if it means cancer patients and their families, for example, can focus their energies, mentally and physically, on treatment instead of having to worry about losing their life savings and/or their homes. Along with my endorsement of “health care for all” (a single payer system), which seems to work pretty darn well in other countries, I think more of our tax revenue should be spent on medical research to actually cure diseases like Cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s (just to name a few). If America’s great scientific minds can figure out how to send a man to the moon, cure polio, and build artificial hearts, there is no reason to believe we can’t also find cures for devastatingly debilitating and deadly diseases such as these. I believe if the proper amount of funding was available for medical research, we could eradicate them all.

I firmly believe that more federal funding needs to be allocated for mental health services. There’s just been so much trauma inflicted on so many people due to war, natural disasters, violence due to terrorism and hate/ignorance in my lifetime. I think we as a country have dropped the ball on this. I can’t imagine there hasn’t been a huge increase in cases of PTSD, drug/alcohol addiction, anxiety and depression in the past several years due to all the social and political turmoil in our world, not to mention our engagement in wars that seem to have no end in sight. There’s a shortage of mental health professionals and that needs to end. Not only that, but the costs of mental health treatment I believe keep it out of reach for many. We need to have an abundance of trained, compassionate, professional mental health practitioners ready to meet this challenge. Perhaps the government and private entities can work together to create incentives for folks to pursue careers in the field of mental health? That would certainly be a good start in my opinion.

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There are certainly many more issues I believe we as Americans need to pay attention to and push our government officials to comprehend and find money to compassionately address. I could go on for days.

 

 

 

Me & my Songbrain

I have what can only be described as a “songbrain”. How it works:  a certain word or phrase will be used in my presence, or a mood will strike me and a song starts up between my ears. It’s like a have some kind of jukebox that clicks on just the right song to match what’s going on with me emotionally in the moment. I don’t have to will the song to play, it just does. 

Now, readers who are familiar with my blog surely understand my deep and abiding love for music. I have been known to wax nostalgic about music from my growing up years  like I did here: Song Stories

I’ve also shared my love of making Google playlists for myself, like I did here: Music Therapy

Suffice it to say:

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Bottom line

 

This is the song that runs through my head on days when my 50 year old body is crack ‘a lacking and I forget what I came down to the kitchen pantry to get. Today, truth be told, is kinda one of those days. Thank the good lord I have a massage scheduled later.

 

This is the song in my head when I’m feeling sassy, playful, and I’m having a particularly good hair day.

This is the song Hubs and I could very much relate to when our spawn were, at 14 months apart, in the throes of those oh so fun teenage years. It allowed us to daydream for a bit. Thanks, Fastball.

This is a song I recently discovered while listening to The Current, a MPR station out of the twin cities, which has a show on Sunday mornings entitled “United States of Americana”. This is a song that really makes me think and feel. Now when I am reading or watching news reports about young black youth being harassed, beaten, or killed (as in the case of Trayvon Martin in Florida), I hear this song in my head. “With a pocketful of Skittles”. That line, to me, is the essence of the entire song. He was just a kid.

“My Sweet Lord” by the late, great George Harrison is so beautiful to me. It comes to mind for me when I’m feeling present, aware, and grateful for all of the blessings I have in this life of mine. It’s both comforting and worshipful to me.

Wednesday’s weird-ish wisdom

In honor of it being Wednesday, and on account of having a head full of snot (I hab a heb code at the bobent) along with a shit-ton of half baked blog post ideas in there as well, I write this post today. True focus is eluding me.

There. I have successfully lowered your expectations. Now things have nowhere to go but up, right?

Like all of us, I am a work in progress. I am also subject to change. Call me flaky. Whatever. In my 50 years on planet earth, I have nonetheless developed some amount of wisdom.

I always enjoyed Oprah’s column “What I know for sure”, which was planted at the end of each monthly magazine her empire churned out. It may still be a feature, but for whatever reason, I no longer subscribe. Anyhoo, here’s my own personal take on it:

What I think  I know for sure:

That we all need something to look forward to. It helps motivate you to get out of bed every morning, put one foot in front of the other, and navigate the ups and downs of daily existence.  Even if that “something” is  just a cupcake you’re going to enjoy on your afternoon break at work. Or a dinner out with friends. Or a family barbeque. Or a church picnic. Okay, secrets out. Food is indeed my biggest personal motivator. 

That not all my blog posts are as good as I think they are as I hit that “Publish” button.  Which sucks. But it also pushes me to pen a better post tomorrow. And the next day. And the next.

That regular exercise, even my moderately paced 25 minute walks around my neighborhood, makes me feel better and more capable, both mentally and physically.

That children in preschool and elementary school should be taught compassion in schools. As an actual part of the curriculum. We need more of that wonderful shit if we are going to have the good future we all want for this world.

That it is of extreme importance to me as a creative writer and human being on planet Earth to maintain my sense of curiosity about all things, big and little. My feeling is that if I lose this essential part of myself, I will cease to exist. Because I would die of boredom, of course.

That I will never regret starting this blog. I figure at the very least, it will be considered a legacy for my spawn and any spawn that have spawned or will spawn from my spawn. And if I made anyone laugh, that’s just the frosting on the brownie.

brownie

That the most depressing phrase that seems to be trending is the following: “It is what it is”. The only upside, according to me, is if you allow it to turn into this one: “Let it Be”. Because sometimes that is the best and most simple thing you can do in a situation in which you feel you have little to no control.

That the concept of a “Gap Year” for 50 year olds, of course should most certainly become a thing. I speak from experience. Nothing could have been better for me, upon moving to Colorado one year ago, than pressing the pause button on my career. I’ve had time to work on improving myself through reading, volunteering, and creative writing via this blog. I can see much more clearly now.

Okay, my song brain has kicked in, so I will just leave you lovely folks with this…and you can sing along because the lyrics are attached!

 

1 Mantra, 7 ways

Call me crazy, but I believe in the power of a good mantra. When you have one (or two or 16) that you connect with, not just in your mind, but in your heart and soul, you have an ability to focus on what’s most important to you.

KISS.

This is my most used and helpful mantra. What I think is especially fabulous about it is just how ridiculously adaptable it is.

Many of you already are aware of the  translation of this acronym as “Keep It Simple Stupid”. That was how I glommed onto it initially. You see,  I have a fantastic ability to overthink everything in my life-from what I should have said to so and so, to what I should wear to church on Sunday, to what kind of part time job I should seek. Geez, if only overthinking was a skill I could get paid for. I wonder how much I could get an hour for that? Perhaps it’d be a salaried position? Maybe I could get paid extra for not taking health insurance as I can stay on Hubs plan? Okay, there I go again. That was not useful. Deep breath….ahhhh…KISS…..

Okay, I’m good.

Other ways I use the mantra KISS:

Note: I have determined that I will refer to the last “S” in KISS as “stupid” very sparingly. Because I think it’s important to be kind to oneself.

Keep it silly, sister. Because I firmly adhere to the notion that in order to have a successful, meaningful, and happy life, one should not take anything too seriously. Or anyone, for that matter.

Keep it specific, sister. This one came to me while I was using my wicked crafting skills  creative energy to put together my very first vision board. I firmly believe that having a physical picture of what you want in your life increases the chances of it becoming reality. For instance, instead of affixing a picture of, say, a wine bottle or grapes to my vision board,  I affixed a picture of Napa Valley because that is a place I very much wish to visit with Hubs, asap. Seeing it every day will keep it fresh in my mind, which is good because, I am 50.

Keep it sincere, sister. Bottom line-I’m just going to be me. I will continue to write (and live) with my heart in the right place. Which happens to be on my sleeve.

Keep it succinct, stupid. Yes, I know this sounds super boring. But not nearly as boring as it would be for you, dear patient readers (or anyone I am conversing with in real life),for me to ramble on, stream-of-consciousness style, taking my sweet, pokey time in getting to the damn point. It’s the opposite of verbose. An adjective that has been used to describe me (and sometimes, unfortunately, my writing) which I truly abhore.

Keep it smart, sister. This is possibly the most challenging use of this acronym for me. Because all my life I’ve struggled with feeling that I’m just not that smart. Thankfully, the successes I’ve had in this life along with the people I love who love me back, have helped me to no longer be hyper-focused on it. Keeping it smart, sister, is important to my writing.  I believe that if I’m going to put my opinion out there for the world to see, especially if it’s about current events, I need to know what I’m talking about. That’s why I spend time doing some research if I’m not fully confident that the opinion I’m preparing to put out there is based on facts.

Keep it sassy, sister. Because. THIS.

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So, fellow mantra users, which ones work for you?

Tales from a 51 year old optimist transplanted from Wisconsin to Colorado. Finding silver linings, lifting others up, sharing positively good stuff

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