Category Archives: daily life

Stay the Course

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Nattering Social Justice Cook: Self-Defense Class, Week One

Well, it’s been interesting. Monday, I got up at 4:45 AM and drove over, first making sure I’ve eaten half a protein bar despite my stomach protesting the early hour. Because I’m always anxious about getting places late, I was … Continue reading

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Nattering Social Justice Cook: Defending Yourself

Monday, in the wee and terrible hours of the morning, I’m dragging myself off to the first of twelve women’s self-defense classes, which meet three times a week for the next month.

While I’m not fond of the circumstances pushing the need for something like this, it’s something I’d thought about for decades, so probably it’s good to be going ahead and doing it before I get so creaky that I worry about breaking a hip. As it is I know I’ll be collecting some bruises.

It coincides with a gun class halfway through, since I figured as long as I’m living in a house with guns, I might as well know how to pick one up and shoot it in the case of a zombie apocalypse. (This is an interesting year! So far I’ve added the following skills, all at 1st level, to my character sheet: scuba, lockpicking, coffee roasting. Basic CPR is another I want to add before year’s end.)

Mainly this will be interesting because it’s a big change in mindset. The last time I hit a human being with my fist was, I think, second or third grade. While I’ve played sports, they’ve never been rough and tumble ones; softball, golf, or tennis are more my style. Maybe bowling. I did fence briefly in high school and have always regretted not sticking with it.
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Summing Up July 2017

Over halfway through the year, and here’s some of the happenings for July. Online I taught workshops on Story Fundamentals, Flash Fiction, Writing Steampunk & Weird Western, Moving from Idea to Draft, and Editing 101. I’ll announce September and October … Continue reading

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Nattering Social Justice Cook: Celebrating Rainbow Hair

One of the places recent culture wars have been being played out has been the virtual space occupied by Twitter and its adjacent social media. Examining a particular hashtag or recurring phrase often provides insight into what the topic of the moment is, as well as what tropes and memes are being deployed.

A common adjective in many of the more conservative, alt-right, and Neo-Nazi rants I’ve seen in the past couple of years is “rainbow-haired,” never in a positive sense. It’s usually paired with some form of “social justice warrior,” and often accompanied by an emotional catch-phrase or verbiage like “feels” or “drinking the tears.” There’s a lot of interesting stuff built into that particular fixation. So let’s dig around to find what’s contained in the phrase and its use in this pejorative sense.
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Playlist for Female Leaders

Women in leadership positions face a lot of unwonted and unwanted bullshit. Self care’s important, both physically and mentally. Here, for your weekend, is some music. This is some of the playlist I listen to when walking.
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Nattering Social Justice Cook: Prepare to Ride, My People

To those who have said “wait and see” about the results of the election, so far I have seen the following results and feel that I am sufficiently prepared to venture an opinion.
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Nattering Social Justice Cook: Stay the Course

Like many of you, I was taken aback by the results of the recent election, to the point of depression, dismay, and concern for our future. Part of my past week, though, was spent in Chicago at a conference for nonprofit leaders, and that served as a heartening antidote in some ways.

Part of it was the reminder that our world holds people who don’t know where their next meal is coming from, or if they’ll have a dry place to sleep that night. That there are children who are abused, animals who are tortured, eco-systems being destroyed, nations being oppressed. That so much is wrong. That so much needs fixing. Is it odd to say that was heartening? Because it was so inspiring to be around hundreds of people who have given time and energy and so much more to help others.

It underscored the fact that we are not islands. We are part of humanity, a deep, rich pool in which we swim, and we will either do so or sink, collectively. The question of where to start with that is one that divides many of those who desperately want to fix things. And the truth is this: that helping wherever and whenever you can is fine, no matter what form it takes. The act of helping others enriches our souls and keeps them nourished.
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Nattering Social Justice Cook: DIY Cooking Kits

Within the last few years, an industry has sprung up aimed at people who don’t know how to cook but yearn to do so. The basic model of such companies is that they deliver kits for making a homemade meal: the ingredients, with any pre-work like peeling or trimming already done, and a set of instructions that includes step by step photographs pretty enough to be in a food magazine.

I tried one of these services a year or two ago, lured by a good coupon deal, and did get some value out of it, but cancelled the subscription before they could start hitting me with the non-coupon costs. For someone utterly foreign to the idea of cooking, these might be useful to show how easy it is to create a tasty meal, or for someone scared of failure, they might build confidence. But the amount of wasteful packaging was striking, and that seems a bad thing to me. I don’t like creating garbage, because among other things, it means I must expend effort taking it out, but also because it’s bad for the planet.

The average American generates 4.3 pounds of garbage per day. That’s over a pound and a half over what the figure was in 1960. So we’ve gotten, overall, less efficient rather than more, while at the same time depending on resources that are diminishing.

Every one of the kits came in cardboard packaging around a styrofoam box with two large ice packs. I stuck a few of those ice packs away for re-use but there are only so many ice packs any household can use and they’re not recyclable because they’re filled with some sort of chemical solution. Every ingredient was packaged separately, down to tiny plastic bottles holding approximately a teaspoon of soy sauce. IF I had weighed the garbage against the end result, I would have found the garbage far in excess of the end result.

I think people should know how to cook, because it’s a skill that helps them make their life better in a number of ways. I freely acknowledge that people with few resources will have a hard time cooking, yet be in a position where the practice would benefit them tremendously. There are some low-cost appliances that can be of much use here, like a rice cooker, hot plate, or toaster oven, but using those efficiently takes a certain degree of skill and knowledge. These kits aren’t going to teach people some important basics, such as how to shop economically/efficiently, how to store ingredients, or how to prepare food.
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The Skill of Skills

There are two impulses. One is to leave a legacy. Maybe it’s children or creations, good works, discoveries, or even a legacy of kind acts. There are other things to be remembered for, but those seem the most important. The … Continue reading

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