Monday, March 27, 2017

Monday roundup

A woman writes about her nazi grandmother.
My grandmother heard what she wanted from a leader who promised simple answers to complicated questions. She chose not to hear and see the monstrous sum those answers added up to. And she lived the rest of her life with the knowledge of her indefensible complicity.

But in her willingness to talk about a subject few members of her generation would, she taught me the vital importance of knowing better.
What is it about The Handmaid's Tale that so resonates today?

When it comes to jobs, there's quality as well as quantity.

On self-care via leisure.
When Charlotte Perkins Gilman experienced post-partum depression, her doctor prescribed the now-infamous “rest cure.” She was to “lie down an hour after each meal. Have but two hours’ intellectual life a day. And never touch pen, brush or pencil as long as you live.”

This prescription made Gilman so much worse that she began to talk of suicide. Eventually she separated from her husband, traveled, got better and wrote “The Yellow Wallpaper,” a story about the horrors of lying in bed all day. Virginia Woolf was also prescribed the rest cure, also hated it, and also went on to write about it in disparaging terms, in “Mrs. Dalloway.
This starts out okay:
It’s a tough moment to be a woman shopping for business attire.
But wait...
The store does not offer discounts or use promotions, which have practically become table stakes in the apparel business. Its $200 to $300 price tags are an invitation to middle-class cubicle warriors to change their mind-set about shopping, to scoop up investment pieces rather than constantly refreshing their wardrobes with cheaper goods.
Um, no, because:
Plus, even though many women say they are tired of poorly made clothes and are ready to shell out for higher quality, MM.LaFleur might find that’s a hard sell for others. We live in a time when consumers are splurging on experiences, when the idea of investing $250 in a dress may be a non-starter for a woman who thinks nothing of spending that kind of money on dinner.
 We make a difference by eating less meat. Also, cows know you're taking their babies away.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Really rambling ramble

My house is a mess, which is fine. Sometimes it’s not fine but right now it’s fine. You know I’m a big believer in decluttering and keeping things tidy. I believe that the external affects the internal, and a tidy space supports a clear mind. But I also believe in picking my battles, and I’ve come around to the idea that sometimes a mess doesn’t matter.

Years ago, there was a moment where I was equally busy and exhausted and my dining room table was a mess. I made a mess of a situation and associated the f* up with the messy dining room table. It served as a lesson to always keep the table clear, within reason. This week, I gave up, realizing that the table had nothing to do with anything. The table is a mess because my week is a mess, not the other day around.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Monday roundup

I probably experienced this in my last relationship, but to be fair to men I've also experienced it from women. We can all do better in trusting one another's feelings.

What's left of one man's life and apartment in Aleppo.

Beautiful story about refugees and chocolate. Canada is lucky to have them, and they, Canada.

Can you believe that (most of) the people of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio voted to keep their water dirty?

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Saturday ramble

It is that time of mood in which I reawaken my inner Outward Bounder and preach the spiritual benefits of physical exertion. Not the mental (and physical) health benefits--yes, everyone feels better when they exercise; rather, the spiritual benefits of challenging the shit out of yourself. I say this as someone who doesn't engage in badassery for the sake of it; I hike and bike because I enjoy it--because it's an efficient way to see beautiful things. In the case of cycling in particular, it's also a way of getting around.

Which is why I have not historically biked to work as often as I might. It's usually too easy not to, even when Metro is late and overcrowded. It just takes more initiative to get on the bike. That's changed a bit with my new/now job: cycling gets me there as fast as or faster than metro, and it's even more trails than streets. And yet, it's been easy to just hop on the train. Until this week, when Safetrack hit my line with a vengeance. My options are cycling, an overcrowded, roundabout metro ride, or an expensive bus that drops me off a ways from the office. And keep in mind that metro is overcrowded on a good day; this overcrowding means waiting for multiple, infrequent trains before you can get on.

So cycling it has been (except one day that I had to stay late and metro home/bus in the next morning). Most of the week, it was enjoyable, even Monday morning when it was very cold. By Friday morning and especially Friday afternoon, when the strong winds were enough to push me and my bike in various directions (especially going over the Potomac), it sucked.

But what I'm here to tell you is that there's power in pushing through that which sucks, and once you've overcome it, it's all the more amazing. You've just done something you didn't think you could do, something you would have wanted to stop doing if that were in option. But you pushed through and you did it. It's an amazing feeling.

Saturday roundup

Shall we leave the red states to their own devices?
The traditional political process was imperfect but it worked.
The travel industry ought to be screaming.
Helene Cooper reports on a woman's presidential victory in Nigeria:
The men fell in line behind Mr. Weah and complained that the women supporting Mrs. Sirleaf were sexist. Given the choice between a soccer player with no credible college education and a Harvard-educated development expert, the top male presidential candidates who fell short of the runoff, with one exception, endorsed the soccer player.
In the meantime, Mr. Weah, honing a message explaining why he, and not Mrs. Sirleaf, should run Liberia, settled on an ''educated people failed'' theme.

But what the men who endorsed that strategy failed to realize was how much that very idea was angering the market women. Those women may not have been educated themselves, but they worked in the fields and the market stalls to send their children to school. Now the men were telling them that education wasn't important.
No woman is surprised that people are more difficult with women.

You can't fight against bodily autonomy and still claim feminism:
If you demand that every girl and woman who becomes pregnant bear a child no matter the consequences to herself, and if you call on the government to back that up through criminal law, there isn’t a lot left to the ideals of equality and self-determination that are fundamental to feminism. One sperm can derail a woman for life. The patriarchal religions that sustain the anti-abortion movement explicitly oppose those ideals and correctly recognize that reproductive rights are what make them possible.
The woman who frantically collected her intruding children out of the room during a Skype interview is not a nanny.
Sustainable seafood, to the extent there is such a thing, has to account for bycatch.
Unsurprisingly, restaurants are the enemy of weight loss. I'm not actively trying to lose weight, but I found myself overeating a lot when I was dating M. (I was also generally sick of going to restaurants).

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Checking back in

I left you last weekend on a sad note, so I should let you know that I'm fine. I think I was fine by that night and definitely by Monday morning. When I saw him on Tuesday--we met up briefly so I could retrieve something I'd left at his place (I'd been prepared to let it go but he offered it to me)--he looked upset, which pained me. He barely looked up from his phone as he handed me the bag, so I didn't stop; I just turned around and went down into the Metro. I felt bad that he felt bad, but I was also out of feelings at that point. By Wednesday night, especially after I relayed the whole saga to a friend before the ballet started, I felt no need to revisit it at all. This friend had shared my cautious high hopes at the start of the relationship, but understood my reasons for being able to let go at the end of it.

At some point, the joy in freedom and more time may turn into an enhanced loneliness, but so far it's all freedom and time. I was thinking during the workweek how less stressful it was to not have to worry about having to leave to meet someone before I finished something. Is that a good freedom--the freedom to stay at work as late as I need to? Having just started a new job, I need that flexibility right now (and I don't end up staying late often). Should I meet someone, I'll manage a way to do both. I know realize the extent to which that last relationship, though mutually convenient in ways, was largely on his terms.

I needed this weekend to myself, too. I don't know where it went. I did briefly think, as I was watching the St. Patrick's Day parade yesterday, that M. would have enjoyed it, and that I might have enjoyed it more had he been there, but the thought didn't pain me; I just shrugged it off. One of the things I felt profoundly during the relationship--particularly when I was happy and hopeful--was how little changed. Sunsets were equally beautiful, not more so, when you enjoyed them with someone you cared about. Movies and plays were just as good or bad. Some things were more enjoyable--for example, it was fun to wander into Katsucon at National Harbor a couple of weekends ago and marvel at the cosplay--but this would have been so with any other companion. And, as Dar Williams would say, I have many great companions.

Sunday roundup

Meat is killing the planet (and people).
A major culprit is the cultivation of soy, which has jumped more than 500 percent in Bolivia since 1991, to 3.8 million hectares in 2013, according to the most recent agricultural censuses. Little of that soy is consumed domestically. The vast majority is processed and exported as animal feed in a commodities trade that serves a global appetite for hamburgers, chicken and pork.
You have to work with the system to improve working conditions and human rights in general, but at what point does the system coopt you?

The travel ban is, unsurprisingly, hurting travel.

Planned Parenthood saves lives.

The deportation craze is a boon to abusers.

What's poisonous and what's venemous?

The Doomsday Clock is a gimmick.

Shakespeare didn't say these things.

Who's not surprised that DC is expensive AF.
The study compared current rental listings with minimum recommended living space and the minimum salary required to pay the rent. According to this survey, no more than 29 percent of a household’s gross income should be spent on rent per month. The minimum amount of space used to calculate and compare rent-per-square-foot is a little small by American standards: 420 for a single person and 797 for four people.
Using those metrics, Washington renters would need an income of at least $57,670 to pay the average rent of $3.33 per square foot, or $1,398 for a 420-square-foot unit or a minimum of $109,756 to pay for an average rent for a family of four of $2,654.
Cute cat, ugly baby.