P.S. I made a few test videos last week in preparation for the 20th anniversary of my blog, and they can be found on my YouTube channel if you have nothing better to watch.
It’s Thanksgiving week and I am officially overwhelmed. Not only am I still fighting my usual chronic health problems (I need to call two of my doctors tomorrow for some follow-up information), but I also have a lot of other things on my plate right now. I haven’t written about most of them yet (not being secretive, just waiting for the dust to settle), but they have been dominating my time nonetheless. And of course the holidays are front and center right now which doesn’t make anyone’s life any simpler. First of all, there’s Thanksgiving on Thursday. I am running a combination 10K/5K turkey trot in Dana Point that morning, and then heading to dinner at my best friend’s house in Pasadena in the afternoon. In order to make the food preparation a little less stressful I whipped up my homemade cranberry sauce last night. Two batches even – one with diced apple and pear, and one without (to cover everyone’s dietary requirements). I also signed up to make a couple of desserts so those have to get done by Thursday afternoon. ‘Tis the season for time-consuming holiday obligations! And that’s nothing compared to the rest of the year. I swear time speeds up starting on October 1st and the next three months pass in the blink of an eye. As much as I love it, this time of year is very difficult. The shopping, the parties, the decorating, the eating, the travel, etc. Even with most of those activities being thoroughly enjoyable, it all piles up. And I’m already fighting exhaustion 24/7! So in an effort to minimize the drains on my already dwindling energy reserves, I am taking a break from blogging until January. Since I still have quite a few subjects that I want to write about I will continue to craft posts whenever I find the time and inspiration, but I don’t plan to publish anything until 2019. Hopefully this respite will make the last six weeks of 2018 a little bit easier. So here’s wishing all of my readers a lovely Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. Let’s make the rest of this year the best it can be!
Life has been getting harder lately with my not yet fully explained medical problems. I sleep an unbelievable number of hours, which means that I miss a lot of work, and I hate it. My boss and my co-workers have been very understanding, but that doesn’t make me feel any better for not living up to my own professional expectations. It makes me feel lazy and helpless, but trying to force my body to do things it doesn’t want to do hasn’t been at all successful. It’s so frustrating. I feel like I should be able to snap out of it and make myself feel normal again, but of course that’s ridiculous. Something is physically wrong with me (maybe several somethings) and I have to find the solutions before there will be any improvement. In addition to missing work, I haven’t been able to take part in too many enjoyable things in my free time either. In a previous post I mentioned cancelling my recent Disney World trip, but that’s not the extent of the losses I’ve suffered. I also decided that I wasn’t anywhere near healthy enough to go to Las Vegas this weekend with my girlfriends for the Rock N Roll half marathon. On top of all that, I cancelled a business trip to Florida next week that I was really looking forward to. As I’ve said before, I know this situation is temporary, but that doesn’t make it any less miserable.
As far as my search for answers goes, there have been a few developments since I last wrote about my health. On Wednesday I decided I needed to see my GP about the possibility that my antidepressant is at least partially responsible for my overwhelming exhaustion. There is an outside chance since one of the potential side effects of Lexapro is drowsiness. I was fortunate to get an appointment to see a nurse practitioner that same day, but the outcome wasn’t at all what I expected. The nurse decided not to change my medication, at least not yet, but he ordered some additional blood work to test for autoimmune diseases instead. Even if progress is slow, I was very grateful to see a medical professional who was concerned enough about my well being to go down a completely different path of investigation and not just throw more drugs at my symptoms. I had to have four vials of blood drawn, though, and it was more of an ordeal than usual. The technician had to tap both of my arms to get enough blood for the tests. I very nearly passed out when he was done! That’s not all I did this week either. I also completed my second sleep study last night. Overall it was much more pleasant experience than the first one (better facility, better room, slightly better night’s sleep), but still not an activity I’d like to repeat. (Although I’m sure I’ll have to before this is all over.) Hopefully this one night’s discomfort will provide my neurologist with enough information to take the next step in my journey to a diagnosis. I have an appointment with him after Thanksgiving to go over the results. Maybe the blood work by my GP will provide some insight as well. I should find out this week. I’ll let you know the outcome of this waiting game when they are available.
“I find it poor logic to say that because women are good, women should vote. Men do not vote because they are good; they vote because they are male, and women should vote, not because we are angels and men are animals, but because we are human beings and citizens of this country.”
-Jo March, Little Women (1994 film)
I wasn’t surprised to find out that my least favorite blogger is against a woman’s right to vote, but that didn’t keep me from feeling disappointed by it. Even though it’s been nearly 100 years since the 19th Amendment was ratified, there are still people in the United States that think those of the female persuasion should not cast ballots of their own. I suppose that’s not a huge surprise given the diverse society we live in, but you almost never hear those folks expressing their wildly outdated opinions anywhere that the general public can hear them. Kind of like racism in the days before our current disgrace of a president. We all knew racists existed before he came on the political scene, but they were keeping their mouths shut to avoid derision. It’s sad how times have changed and empowered racists in the last few years. But I digress. Actually, the digression isn’t as off-topic as I would like. Around the 2016 election there was a scary and disheartening hashtag permeating social media – #RepealThe19th. Men (and maybe women too) who recognized that Trump would be elected president by a landslide if only males voted figured that one way to achieve their desired outcome was to float the idea of rescinding women’s suffrage. Pretty despicable by 21st century standards, but Trump tends to bring out the worst in people. Speaking of which, here’s what my least favorite blogger had to say about women voting a week before the 2018 midterm election.
“What are my thoughts on women voting? I have been asked this frequently. I am not a fan at all. Women overwhelmingly vote Democrat. They vote for big government to take care of them which means higher taxes and more laws and regulations which means less freedoms. They vote for free health care and abortions. They vote for leftist policies which are highly destructive to the family and culture.”
-My least favorite blogger, 10/29/18
So her initial gripe is that women vote Democratic, as if it’s a sin to disagree with her personal beliefs. Heaven forbid that we use the brains that God gave us and come to our own conclusions! Turns out my least favorite blogger does indeed vote, but only the way her husband tells her to. Thinking for yourself is just too much of a destructive feminist principle, I guess. Believe it or not, I don’t need a man to tell me my own mind, thank you very much. Even when I was married I didn’t consult my husband before heading to my polling place. We might not have had the greatest relationship, but he did trust me to make my own decisions in that area! Another one of this lady’s objections to women’s suffrage is that females vote for “free health care and abortions.” This is both an oversimplification and a gross inaccuracy at the same time. I don’t know anyone who believes that there is such a thing as “free” healthcare. We’re not stupid; of course we know that our taxes pay for anything subsidized by the government. What we’re striving for is more affordable coverage for everyone, especially for those who aren’t lucky enough to be covered through their employer or privileged enough to pay for it out of their own pockets. And although Jesus would most definitely be a proponent of caring for the sick and the poor, somehow my least favorite blogger disagrees with attempts to actually do so. And while we’re at it, let me say one last thing – absolutely no one is pro-abortion! Instead we Democrats are pro-choice, meaning that a woman should always have the safe and legal option of ending a pregnancy if that is her decision. Abortions are never taken lightly, even if opponents insist that they are, and often terminating a pregnancy is the hardest, most gut-wrenching decision a woman or a couple will ever make. Taking that option away would be a step backwards for this country. Bodily autonomy is something that males have enjoyed since the beginning of human history, but it is something females are still trying to achieve for themselves. We have come a long way, but there are still inequalities that need to be reconciled. This is one of the reasons I vote!
In conclusion, the United States government was founded with the concept of the separation of church and state, and women were granted the right to vote via the 19th Amendment to the Constitution in 1920. If someone wishes to abstain from voting for any reason (religious or otherwise), that is their choice. However, no one has the power to enforce their beliefs in a manner that prevents me from casting my ballot and voting for any candidate I want. As an American woman who wants to have a say in the governing of my country I mailed in my ballot for the 2018 midterm election back in October. I did my civic duty and made my voice heard. What a concept!
“If rape becomes legal under my proposal, a girl will protect her body in the same manner that she protects her purse and smartphone. If rape becomes legal, a girl will not enter an impaired state of mind where she can’t resist being dragged off to a bedroom with a man who she is unsure of — she’ll scream, yell, or kick at his attempt while bystanders are still around. If rape becomes legal, she will never be unchaperoned with a man she doesn’t want to sleep with. After several months of advertising this law throughout the land, rape would be virtually eliminated on the first day it is applied.”
-Roosh V, “How to Stop Rape”
Back in 2015 the man who wrote this (who makes a living telling men how to pick up and have sex with women all over the world, by the way) proposed making rape legal in private property. So if a man takes advantage of a woman in his own house or in hers there would be no repercussions. (Or vice versa. I acknowledge that there are women who rape men as well.) First of all, have you ever read something so disgusting? I could devote an entire post to describing how much I despise this jerk for writing such a sexist, misogynistic, backwards “article” dripping with male privilege, but instead I want to make one particular point. The major fallacy in this dude’s hypothesis is that rape happens because women aren’t vigilant enough. Obviously he’s not female or he’d know that his underlying premise couldn’t be more wrong. Women already go to unbelievable lengths to safeguard our bodies and our property. Let me tell you a story about what happened to me this spring, which I briefly mentioned a couple of weeks ago.
On my way home from boot camp I stopped by the grocery store. It was about 9 PM so it was dark, and there were very few cars in the parking lot that late. Seal Beach is a sleepy little town at heart so things get quiet early around here. After I made my purchases I walked out of the store to head back to my car. I looked both ways as I went outside and I immediately noticed that there was a man standing to the right of the door. This fact by itself wasn’t cause for alarm, but then out of the corner of my eye I saw that he started following me. I recognized the possible danger right away because women have learned to observe our public surroundings in order to ensure our safety. That’s why I wasn’t oblivious of the risk I was facing simply walking 50 feet to my car. I increased my pace and got to my car as quickly as I could, climbed inside (unceremoniously tossing my bag of groceries onto the passenger seat), and locked the doors. My heart was racing. My potential assailant walked around the car to stand right next to my driver’s side window and wave at me. He was obviously targeting me or else he would have just kept walking. In all likelihood he was simply a homeless man wanting a handout, but after scaring the crap out of me I didn’t give him the chance to ask. I reversed my little SUV out of its parking space like I was in “The Fast and the Furious” and got the hell out of there. It was a terrifying situation, but luckily I didn’t experience any negative consequences. Other women in similar situations are not so lucky.
I don’t know how I could have possibly been any more vigilant. Not to mention how ridiculous it is to place all of the responsibility on my shoulders in this scenario. As I read in this article on Odyssey, “And, why is it the woman’s job to constantly be on high alert? Why can there be no push for rape to stop, so that she can live without fear?” Bingo. That’s the objective of the #metoo movement. To shift the blame from the victims to the perpetrators, where it rightly belongs, so that women feel safe to come forward and make reports when they are attacked. That’s the direction our society needs to go in order to achieve true gender equality. It’s sad, but we still haven’t achieved a culture where males are consistently held accountable for their despicable actions towards females. If a woman is sexually harassed or raped by a man he should be punished for the act, and the victim shouldn’t have her life ruined for coming forward and telling authorities. However, Roosh V is advocating taking our country in the wrong direction – back towards the end of the spectrum where a man can do no wrong. We cannot allow this to happen. Listen to women when they tell their personal stories, believe women when they say they have been victimized, and don’t let their claims get be swept under the rug!
How is it November already? It really snuck up on me this year. October was pretty much a blur, and then Halloween was over in the blink of an eye. Needless to say, I will not even be attempting NaBloPoMo in 2018. I completely forgot about my annual 30-day webpage update challenge until yesterday, honestly, and by then it was already the second day of November. Far too late to post anything legitimate for the 1st. So the pressure to flood the internet with any and all of my innermost thoughts for a month is off the table this year. That’s a relief! There are far too many other, more significant things to worry about. 2018 has been quite a mess so far and I’ve had a lot on my mind lately. Mostly my health because my body is trying to drive me insane. Luckily it doesn’t seem to be killing me with cancer or some other degenerative disease (at least not that I’m aware of), but I’m still having a rough time. I’m simply not sleeping properly and it’s negatively affecting every facet of my life. In an effort to fix that, I have a second sleep study scheduled for next week so hopefully at least some answers will be forthcoming. At an appointment last week my neurologist said that he didn’t want to just throw more medications at the problem until he has more data. He wants the sleep study to check for “everything,” whatever that means. I’m sure that the bottom line is that I will have another thoroughly miserable experience, but I’ll happily endure it if that means getting one step closer to normality. Not only have I not gotten a good night’s sleep in maybe years, but there have been more tangible losses as well. I’ve missed out on more things than I can count. For example, on Tuesday when I woke up in the early hours of the afternoon I panicked. I had missed yet another day of work due to my unknown medical issues and, in addition, I was literally sleeping away the precious hours before a couple of rapidly approaching events. First of all, Halloween was less than 24 hours away and I had done very little to prepare for the annual chili cook-off at work. It’s one of my favorite days of the year and I hadn’t even made my own chili yet. But that was minor in comparison to what was coming next. I was supposed to fly to Orlando on Thursday for the Wine & Dine half marathon weekend, but how could I possibly justify that? I’ve missed way too much work already, my sleep pattern has been erratic at best, and my life in general has just been too chaotic recently. I couldn’t perceive any scenario where going on vacation, even to Walt Disney World, was a good idea right now. So I made the hard decision to cancel the trip I’d been looking forward to all year. I’m disappointed to not be there this weekend enjoying myself, but I’m actually feeling much more relaxed here at home where I can rest and catch up on what I’ve been missing. Nothing is 2018 has been easy so far, but I’m hopeful that better days are on the horizon.
“In order to want to get married and have children, young women must be willing to sacrifice their time, energy, and maybe even their gifts, and most young women don’t seem to want to do these things. They also must learn to be a help meet to their husband and serve him by learning to have a meek and quiet spirit if they marry. They must learn to sacrifice their body, time, and energy to raise godly offspring which is difficult. Yes, marrying and bearing children requires a lot of sacrifice that many young women have no desire to do these days, sadly. (It’s heartbreaking to me.) Instead, they would rather sacrifice their time, money, and energy for a career that may keep them from marrying and raising their children, if they do have children.”
-My least favorite blogger, 9/13/18
I’m sure no one is surprised that this was written by my least favorite blogger. Yep, I continue to read her posts periodically in order to find inspiration (more like irritation) for my own writing. An unlikely spot for a feminist to find writing prompts! Funny enough, in the post I grabbed this excerpt from she used an image of the space shuttle to represent “women’s trajectory towards worldly success.” It’s like my least favorite blogger wrote this with me in mind. Well, here’s my response. Are you out of your freakin’ mind, lady? Why must women sacrifice the gifts that God gave them just to get married and have families? Men don’t have to do this. They are allowed, or rather encouraged, to use the full extent of their talents out in the world to earn money and support their loved ones. But for some reason fundamentalist Christian women are taught to ignore their innate abilities to submit to a man and raise as many children as that man desires. This is an archaic way of thinking, not just in 2018, but for at least the last century. Why would God give females intelligence, skills, and passions if he wanted us to ignore them? Why aren’t we simply born with the bare minimum needed to be wives, housekeepers, and mothers? Because not all women are meant to walk the same narrow path! To prove this you don’t even need to look outside the Bible for all of the examples you could ever need. Of course, everyone has to make sacrifices during their lifetimes, but there is no reason that women need to set aside everything that makes them unique in order to have a man put a ring on her finger. Fortunately, even among the usual comments praising my least favorite blogger for her assertions, I found plenty of other women who objected to the restrictions laid out in her blog post. Here are a few of my favorites.
- 9/11/18: “Sometimes God’s plan doesn’t include marriage or it’s not in the time frame of early 20s. I’m certain that God wouldn’t advocate for simply marrying someone just to stay home and not be in the workforce, instead of waiting on God’s best. You can’t claim to speak for God and say that everyone who’s not married is simply seeking their own way…God designed us with different gifts and talents, hence there is no cookie cutter age for a life plan of marriage.”
- 9/13/18: “If your only message as an older women is to tell younger women their only calling is to serve a husband and bear children than you’re putting your own God in a box. What he calls a woman to do is between Him and her.”
- 10/1/18: “Only God can tell an individual what His will is for them, so nobody can possibly know what God has planned for someone else’s life. Not all women are called to the same thing. God does not call every woman to marriage and kids, and I can definitely see how it would be off-putting to many women for you to say that you know exactly what God wants them to do with their lives. You can’t know God’s will for anyone but yourself.”
Luckily I know that my least favorite blogger has no way to enforce her beliefs upon every woman of childbearing age. Ladies who disagree with her can rest assured that they won’t be locked inside their homes with only a mop and bucket to pass the time. Nothing can force them to use their brains only for keeping their houses clean and their husbands happy. In this day and age females have nearly limitless options so never let anyone tell you otherwise!
I wrote a number of blog posts about items I purchased as retail therapy in the first half of the year, but since then I’ve been trying to stop that trend. Not only is retail therapy expensive in the short term, but I have some longer term events and goals that I need to save for. However, I am still prone to bursts of emotionally-fueled web browsing, which leads to filling up my online shopping cart with all sorts of things on my favorite sites. However, when I get to the point in the process where I actually have to make a monetary transaction, cooler heads prevail. I remember that I don’t need any of the items I compulsively clicked on, I remember the reasons why I’m trying to save money in the first place, and I clean out my cart without spending a dime. This method has been pretty effective, but I haven’t been 100% successful, especially since I’m a sucker for a good sale at Old Navy or cosmetics recommended on Buzzfeed, but in general my spending is way down these days. Instead, my Amazon wish list has gotten to be about a mile long, and my folder of bookmarked webpages is growing by the day. I still have my moments of weakness, of course, so thank goodness for generous return policies! I’ve ordered articles of clothing that either don’t fit properly or look terrible on me so they’ve been sent back. No harm, no foul. On the other hand, some items (specifically dresses) have turned out to be beautiful and I giddily added them to my wardrobe. Oops. At least I’m going to be well dressed this fall! I’ve also splurged on some unnecessary (but ultimately wonderful) beauty products. I seem to keep finding extremely tempting things that way. (Maybe the solution to superfluous spending is taking a Buzzfeed break? Something to think about.) For example, a tube of retinol night cream that may or may not be making any difference on my nearly 40 year-old face. I’ll let you know when I finish using the whole thing. Same goes for some E.L.F. Vitamin C serum that I ordered. I use it everyday, but I have no idea if it’s doing anything. I’m a sucker for these beauty trends that might ultimately be placebo effects. Most recently, I bought a bottle of way too expensive magnolia and pear scented Crabtree & Evelyn body lotion that turned out to be so great that I stocked up when it went on sale a few weeks ago. At least that wasn’t money wasted! Still, I’m attempting to curtail all needless spending so that I can save the money for bigger things. More on that in a future post. Here’s hoping I can be stronger than my trigger finger when I’m inclined to buy something I don’t need.
P.S. But with all that being said, the one thing I’m not actively attempting to restrict is 2019 race registrations! There’s no way I’m going to deprive myself of the physical and mental benefits of running!
Earlier this year a woman posted in the Seal Beach Facebook group to warn residents that her daughter had been followed down Main Street and into several different shops by a man she didn’t know. Her instincts told her that there was something off about the situation so she pretended to take a photo of the man, causing him to quickly flee the scene. Fortunately for this young woman the story has a benign, although unsettling, ending. And most of the folks in the Seal Beach FB group agreed that she was lucky and had handled the situation well. For the most part, our little town is incredibly safe and I have rarely been fearful for my security. But to reiterate that dangerous situations still happen, even in our sleepy beach community, I told a condensed version of a story where a man followed me in the grocery store parking lot late one night. (I’ll expound on this is a separate post.) Here is how the FB comment section unraveled afterwards. (Note: Last names have been removed, and I have edited the comments somewhat to keep the narrative as brief and to-the-point as possible.) The bottom line is, follow your instincts and believe women when they say they have been targeted!
- Lauren: “I had a man follow me out to my car in the Pavilions parking lot one night. Fortunately I saw him and got in my car quickly and locked the door. He stood next to my driver’s side window and waved at me. I believe he was just asking for a handout, but I didn’t give him a chance to say anything. Once I got home I called the store and told them about the situation.”
- Josh: “Personally, I’d rather enjoy life and deal with situations as they arise and not be on constant alert, believing everything is a threat. Terrorism works because the actual harm is statistically small (3k people died in 9/11; 35k people die every year in car accidents alone), but the emotional reaction ruins people’s lives, ruins entire economies. Bad things happen, but not very often, statistically, and media that implies that bad things happen all the time is, in my view, salacious and manipulative.”
- Lauren: “Unfortunately as women we have to be vigilant or we are vulnerable. Take a look at the comment I made just before yours. I was not a victim because I was alert, recognized the situation, and got myself to a safe place. Others are not so lucky.”
- Judi: “It’s easy to feel this way when you’re a man. You have no idea what it’s like to be a woman – we have to be ever vigilant and aware. That’s not to say we have to live in fear and paranoia, but for us, the threats are very real. Sex trafficking aside (which is also an increasingly growing threat) – 1 in 4 (or more likely 1 in 3) women are sexually assaulted in their lives. Don’t deny or diminish our experience as women, you really have no idea.”
- Josh: “You should become aware of any sudden increase in immediate physical risk to you (or your family). But that is not the same as ‘increased vigilance,’ which I am thoroughly against. Increasing vigilance decreases the threshold for threat detection. This might seem safer, but you pay for it. First, you live a more stressed life. Second, you run a higher risk of false positives. If everyone becomes hyper vigilant, society as a whole suffers. Seriously, if you want to actually minimize your risk of harm and not just make yourself stressed: be extra careful crossing the street and never ever drink before driving.”
- Lisa: “Josh, first of all, I’d like to address your lack of grace. This was a warning, which is a reminder to be ‘more aware.’ Your comments have intruded and quite honestly lacked any compassion to this topic. Secondly, because you’re a man does indeed make it feel ‘minimized’ by you. Obviously you have a right to feel the way you do and have your judgements but because the nature of this awareness is scary – is not the right time to blast your thoughts of ‘mass hysteria.’ Sir, I have been prey to this type of situation and also was a victim of a mass shooting! There is no harm in saying keep your eyes, and ears open, and look for your exits. If you disagree, then give grace and get off the thread. This I guess, doesn’t apply to you.”
- Lauren: “Josh, you have every right to live your life in whatever way you wish. And so do we. The fact is that you cannot understand the female experience if you aren’t one. I don’t live my life in fear, especially in Seal Beach, but I am still aware of my surroundings. And it has served me well.”
- Josh: “I will not raise my daughter to live in fear. You are welcome to do as you like, of course. Sharing my view is no more or less intrusive than you sharing yours. Cheers and may reason prevail over emotion.”
- Lauren: “And may real-life experiences open our eyes to what is actually going on around us.”
- Judi: “Josh – I do actually understand what you’re saying and to some extent, I can agree on certain points, but you’re off base to not acknowledge that sex-trafficking and also generalized threats to women and children are very real. You may be able to assess risks based on statistics and even empathize with a person’s experiences in life, but that doesn’t give you the authority to speak to the experiences of women in the same way I – as a white woman – can’t speak to the experiences of a black man navigating life in our society. There’s a difference between being aware, knowing our individual risks, and being smart about how we handle those vs. living in fear. I’ll opt everyday for the first two for myself and to teach that to my children. My husband and I were discussing this recently when we parked at the mall. We parked in a not-well lit structure at dusk. I told him that if I were alone, I never would have parked there knowing I’d be returning to my car after dark. That really gave him pause and he said he’s never given any thought to where he was parking based on lighting or the time of day. Exercising caution about where I park and teaching my daughters to do the same is being aware of our risk and being smart – not living in fear. There’s a difference there that you don’t seem to be delineating between. Why wouldn’t I want to become aware of a sudden physical risk (one that may cause me harm), as you suggested, than use extra vigilance and take precautions to not end up in that situation in the first place?”
- Mark: “Josh, big difference between ‘situational awareness’ and being ‘paranoid.’ I would suggest you get up to speed with human trafficking numbers. The vast majority are young women, and it’s a lot more than 100. California, Texas, and New York have the highest numbers. San Francisco and San Diego top the cities in CA. It’s real, and it’s getting worse.”