The Fire In Me Smolders

They say outside today is a Red Flag Day. It’s 40 to 50 MPH wind gusts and only 20% humidity. Our area hasn’t received enough rain for the season. Put it all together and I guess that adds up to: duh, stupid people should try to remember not to throw their cigarette butts on the ground or burn brush today. I say “stupid people”, because that seems like a no-brainer to me.

So, just because someone “planned” to burn their brush pile today, or “planned” to have friends over for that outside fire with wieners and marshmallows, they’re still gonna do it. Why? Because that’s how they planned to do it, and by golly why should they change their plans just because the wind didn’t cooperate? I say, they’re stupid. It’s very easy to change plans and just do it on another day, but humans don’t like change. They like to make plans and stick to ’em. Why, it’s rude not to, right? Dumb-assess. It might not burn down YOUR house, but gee it could put your neighbor’s house in jeopardy. Or a person, like the fireman that has to be called, because of your stupidity.

When I say stuff like this people look at me like I’M the one who’s rude. Like there’s no possible way one cigarette is going to start a fire. I’m sure all the dead people in California feel that way right now. Try to say that with a straight face to their loved ones.

Just because we live in MN doesn’t mean we don’t have wildfires. In 1894 we had the worst one in Hinckley that killed 418 people and destroyed 12 towns and burned 350,000 acres. That was a drought year like this one and the fire was started by a small brush fire. In 1910 the Baudette fire also burned my small hometown of Roosevelt killing 42 people 300,000 acres and other small towns. It was a drought year and was started by sparks from trains going by. Let’s skip to modern days to the Ham Lake Fire that burned 76,000 acres and was started by a campfire. How about the 2011 Pagami Creek, Ely Fire that burned 93,000 acres that was started by drought/lightning. All of the MN wildfires in drought years have been started from things you would expect: sparks from trains, campfires, small brush fires, lightning and cigarettes.

As I sit here writing this I spun over to google just to check on the stupid humans. Sure enough, there’s a fire on the DNR website that burned 400 acres about 100 miles from my current town, cause: human. I just sit shaking my head. It just takes a “special” someone to go out and (“not” think) and play with fire when the winds are blowin’.

The 2017 western wildfire season has been unprecedented in terms of large, long-duration fires. As of Sept. 15, the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) reports a total of nearly 49,500 wildfires this summer with almost 8.4 million acres burned. I wonder how much of that was, cause: human. Yes, I realize a lot of it could be started by lightning or sparks from, well, anything. Realistically though, humans just live too close together and don’t have enough space between their homes and their stuff and fire-fuel. In a drought there is “fuel” everywhere. Our homes are just too close together and flames just jump from one roof to another in a chain effect like a cartoon image of an animated flame-thrower just grinning from ear to ear telling his mom, “look ma, no hands,” as the flames are effortlessly jumping from house to house in a giddy little dance.

It just makes me smolder inside as we continue to encroach on more wilderness to build more housing complexes without thinking ahead about fire season. Contractors, construction builders, and city planners should take these things into consideration prior to building. People will just keep moving into these area of housing as long as we keeping building them. It will take education, as always, to make people understand how to keep your home fire safe. A large buffer around your home between your home and your outside stuff and any wilderness “fuel” and the next home is necessary. We can’t just keep on building houses within arms reach of each other. The high loss of life will just keep continuing until we learn our lessons.

Yes, Nature will be nature and continues on through fire and renews itself. Stuff can be replaced. Even homes can be replaced. I just think the 7 billion people on this planet could use what’s between our ears to think more often, educate better, and maybe figure out how to continue our own species without taking out the others on all those acres. I don’t know the answers. I just know, cause: human, makes me smolder.

#forgottentimes

Spending quality time with good friends. Do teen-aged girls have the market cornered on this? Is this phenomenon a thing of the past, passed by now by the electronic age of “smart” gadgets that have human beings “talking” to each other over screens instead of actual face to face. I mean, actually using their voices, vocal cords, not text speech or an electronic or computer voice over a screen or microphone – even if they’re in the same room – to have an actual conversation for more than 10 seconds constitutes quality time these days.

I am so incredibly happy to have just had several hours of delightful conversation with two ladies. I got out of my house, away from all screens, and had actual face to face time with friends. It was a reminder of how comforting it can be to be around people with similar likes/dislikes, activities, and situations. It was relaxing to just be able and sit back to enjoy laughter and tears about topics such as our kids, jobs, and even just life in general.

Too often in this age everything is about rush rush rush. Getting everything done as quickly as possible. We have drive through fast food places, drive through pharmacies, drive through coffee places, drive through banks, and even drive through liquor stores. Almost everything we do can be done on a screen that fits in our pocket, almost everything we need can be delivered to our doorstep, and much of what we use can be thrown in the garbage. American Society is about: hurry up, take no care, take nothing personal, care for no one, throw it out.

Whoa, slow it down! I think we all need to slow it down and take the time to make a big effort to make sure we mark it on the calendar right now to force ourselves to be with family and friends and away from the screens, the drive-throughs, and the garbage. We NEED to take days to cook slow food. Make an actual meal at home to sit at a table and eat with guests and enjoy great conversation. Send left-overs home with those we care about to enjoy later.

We allow ourselves to get too busy with work and family life. We don’t make time for friends and volunteering. That’s backwards. Family life is more full when it includes friends and community efforts. I don’t care what you do. Walk the neighbor’s dog once in a while for Pete’s sake. Yes. I suggest you know your neighbor. Gasp! What a concept! Shovel the driveway for the elderly couple down the block even though they don’t know you and they didn’t ask. Don’t take any money for doing it. Just smile. Make new friends. Guess what? You weren’t on a screen for a few minutes, you got some exercise, and you made someone’s day.

The world is full of things to do besides our jobs and the smart phones. GO see a friend. Yup. Just. Go. Do. It. I did. I’ve missed it. Yes, I’m the one without a job. I know she’s a busy person with a job and teen girls who keep her on the run. It makes it very difficult to grab any time to get together. I finally saw her car at home when I was on a run to get milk. So, I just simply stopped by. Is that rude? Maybe. Was she busy? She didn’t say she was. She IS the type of person to let me know if she is. A few minutes later another friend of hers came over, too. The three of us chatted for several hours. Not only did I get to see my friend, but perhaps I made a new one.

It had been quite a while. In fact we had only seen each other I think once in the past year or two. We follow each other on Facebook. We “like” each other’s posts from time to time and might post a comment here or there, but we just couldn’t find time to get together. We also each had things going on. Some pretty serious things to deal with. A few years ago we had a falling out over politics. I still have some reservations that we will never see eye to eye about some pretty heavy stuff. However, I think we really could have helped each other deal with and been there for each other with these serious things we’ve gone through in the past few years if we hadn’t been so stubborn.

We’re not besties, but I sure do miss the fun times and the conversations. We used to have game nights and movie nights and heck, just sit around the fire nights. It’s nice to have girl’s nights. Ya gotta have some time to have the ladies to chat with, adults to sit and dish with, when all you’ve got at home is a house full of teen boys. I’ve had a house full of teen boys for years now. As a single mom I’m really missing chatting with adults! Chatting through posts on Facebook just doesn’t quite do the trick.

These teens can have their screens. They are forgetting how to communicate. They are forgetting how to BE human beings! I fear humans will lose the ability to actually verbally speak if technology takes over “speaking” for us through screens. I mean, these kids today can be sitting right next to each other and not face each other or verbally speak to each other. They will still text on their phones to talk to each other! It’s amazing to watch. Actually it’s scary.

They can take their screens and shove it! I thoroughly enjoyed my live time with my lady friends tonight. Here’s to doing it more often! (Glasses clinking!)

No Longer On Call

I don’t have the right to cry. Right? When a woman has allowed herself to be used, per her choice, does she have the right to feel like shit?

We tell ourselves we know what we are doing. We tell ourselves we are big girls and old enough to make our own decisions. We tell ourselves we are independent. We tell ourselves that we can take care of ourselves. We tell ourselves that we too can have a relationship where there is just sex and no strings attached. We tell ourselves we can do anything a man can do. We tell ourselves lies.

Is it really a case of; what’s good for the goose is good for the gander? Can we do it? Can a woman really just have sex without involving feelings and emotions? I’ve heard some guys say men can be friends with women and not think of them in a sexual way, and I’ve heard some men say it’s impossible-that men can’t be JUST friends with any woman; they HAVE to think of them in a sexual way at some point. So, for men can sex just be sex even if you’re a friend too, or if you have sex with a friend does it ruin the friendship for sure?

What about the boy toy? Can a woman just have a guy she calls just for a booty call, or will she eventually develop some sort of feelings for the guy or think it’s some sort of friendship?

What I’m getting at is: why the hell does a woman eventually feel cheapened somehow by all of it and guys don’t? Why does a woman still feel lonely after a night of meaningless sex, and guys don’t give a fuck? Why do guys think less of the woman who is the booty call and go on looking for Miss Right? Why do women demean themselves and do the booty call and hope maybe this guy will like me when they really know what the hell it is? Why is it OK for guys to do whatever they want and get applauded for it by other guys, but women get called sluts by guys and women both? Why is sex so confusing?

Why does everyone just have to be made so lonely and made to jump through hoops and feel like shit. Hell, people kill themselves over this stuff. Why is this so hard? Someone has made all this into a game, and it’s not very funny. This big cosmic joke isn’t making anyone laugh. Finding someone to love should be fun. There should be laughing and fun.

Different cultures and different countries have different ways of doing all this. There are places where sex is revered. Sex can be magical. Sex can be sacred. It can bring you to the heights of mystical places if you are with the right partner, you are relaxed, and you can thoroughly enjoy yourselves. It doesn’t have to be a rush job that lasts 10 minutes. There are ways to even make orgasms last for over half an hour or more.

Fewer people are even having sex these days. OK, so the teens are still “hooking up,” but even the college age crowd are hooking up less frequently. The days of free love from the 1960’s are definitely over. It seems everyone is just too cynical about love and relationships. Gee, I wonder how that happened. It couldn’t be all the games that people play, could it? Well, I’m not playin’. This chick is tired and lonely. Been used and abused for too long. Game over.

The Walrus in the Room

Yes, I know the usual adage is about the Elephant in the room that nobody talks about, but there is another more sinister “animal” out there that lurks in the shadows that has come about. Some crass people do talk about it, but those with compassion and courtesy and who were taught “if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all” will keep their thoughts to themselves.

Not all of us were born with the genetics to look like a supermodel. We don’t have the willpower to eat like a rabbit either and nibble on broccoli and celery all day long either. The idea of starving myself just to placate the mass hysteria of what a woman “should” look like according to some stale male ideal is just NOT in my mind’s selection of best hits.

Being born with a genetic disease that causes my ribs to form a barrel that sticks out a bit more than the average Joe, it can make me “look” a bit heavier as it squishes my fat out the bottom. You can also look at every person on that side of my lineage and we all look the same: short, squat, and big tummies. No matter if we are in great shape physically or not, we carry our weight in our mid-section. Yes, we look like pears, or Walruses. Average sized heads on top and not necessarily overly large breasts (there are of course some, we’re not cookie cut-outs,) then the big middle, and slim back down to the legs, with these flappy things called arms sticking out on the sides.  Sound like a walrus?

So, OK, if we gain weight and get overweight, we gain it in the belly area. Nutritionists and doctors will tell you this is the bad area to gain weight. We already have medical problems due to the Osteogenesis Imperfecta, now add the heart disease issues. I also have fibromyalgia and arthritis. I am supposed to work-out, get exercise. When you’re in chronic pain what kind of exercise can be a good question.

Yoga anyone? People with big breasts complain about trying to do yoga saying their breasts get in the way. Try doing some of those poses with a belly you can’t get around and joints that won’t move. I’m not saying I don’t want to move them due to pain. I’m saying they WON’T move. Some of them have been broken too many times. Calcium build up or bone spurs cause them to NOT move. Sometimes there may be pins, screws, plates, or rods in the way. So, how am I supposed to lessen the big belly? I am not going to starve myself. We must modify yoga poses. We still get some benefit from the poses. It’s still better to do what we can, than not do any of them at all. On days when there’s not too much pain stopping us. You ladies with the big breasts? Bring it on! Bunch of complainers.

“Oh I can’t find a bra to fit.” Oh whine. I can’t find parts for my wheelchair that I can afford. Cry me a river.

Sorry. I get carried away by what some people whine about in our first world problems. I keep looking until I find what I need, because I can. WE can, because we live here and not in a 3rd world country.

Anyway, next try: swimming? Try to find swimsuits for walruses and then actually go out in public wearing them. The same goes for the clothes in the yoga classes I s’pose, but I just wear sweats there. I don’t go in for the skin tight yoga pants and tiny workout bra in public. What’s the problem? People! Yes, they DO talk. Apparently they didn’t listen in Kindergarten when they were told it’s not polite to whisper about what people look like. Heck, some of those people will talk out loud to each other about what you look like. It’s not nice.

Who said workout pools and spas and yoga places were for fat people? Do you see a lot of fat people there? Not usually. They are full of skinny people wearing the latest workout fashions built for size zero people. Know what else they do? They take pictures and send them to their friends on social media! I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to end up “trending.” Even if you go to the beach to try to do your workout in a lake or river you have to deal with rude adults and children. “Look at the whale trying to workout!” No, I am a walrus.

Tai Chi Chih can be OK, if not a very good cardio workout. If you haven’t heard of it it is a series of 19 movements and 1 pose that together make up a meditative form of movement to which practitioners attribute physical, personal and spiritual health benefits. Obviously this is a lesser physically stressful version of Tai Chi. This can be done by the elderly in nursing homes, so I should be able to do this, right? Sometimes the nerve pain in my shoulders can NOT even handle this! Doing Tai Chi Chih on one particular day sent me to the floor in excruciating pain. OK, I could do the leg stuff, but not the arm stuff. It really sucked. Kinda hard to get to the spiritual health benefits when you’re on the floor “praying” for the pain to stop.

I have pah-lennnn-teeey of physical therapy exercises I’ve learned over the years that I’m supposed to do at home. Just need the willpower to do them. You know, this is why yoga and all those other things are done in groups. People like to do things in groups. Part of it is about the socializing of it all. Actually being able to GET OUT OF THE HOUSE would be nice once in a while. I know, a person learns what PT they are supposed to do one-on-one with the therapist, then they are supposed to keep it up at home. Boring! Why can’t they get together with other people who are supposed to do the same type of PT and do them in groups? We could tell each other if we’re not doing them right. Breathe right. Tighten our core. Get some needed socialization, too. The best part; no one to be there to mock us!

You know what those walruses sound like, that barking sound they make? They can get really noisy when they are in a group. When they are in a collective group they are called a herd, pod, or huddle. They do indeed sound like they may be mocking each other sometimes, especially when they call each other out to fight. Maybe I’m not the walrus. Maybe the dark animal lurking amidst our society that makes us feel not right according to the way we look are the walruses, lying around in their huddles mocking everyone by how they look. Their “barking” is annoying and I say we ignore them, dress however we want, and exercise however we can. If they’re the walrus in the room, then what animal am I?

I’ve Found Bigfoot!

Now, before you get all excited and start waiting for me to download great pics of this thing I have to warn you-it’s not what I expected at all. As they say a lot in Hollywood movies, “I thought you’d be a lot taller in person.”

For starters it’s a She and only about 5 ft. 1inch tall and lives in MN. She doesn’t really have a very big foot at all. Only ’bout a size 7 1/2. I guess she could kick your ass with it though. It would depend on just how badly you had pissed her off and what day of the week it was and what the weather was like. She can get a little ripe. That depends on several factors. Apparently taking a shower can be painful.

OK. OK. I give up the gag. You’re too smart. Yes, it’s me. I can get as hairy as the Hendersons (insert movie reference.) It’s really not my fault. I blame the Osteogenesis Imperfecta! I blame the fibromyalgia! I blame the Joint Hypermobility Syndrome! I blame my gad dern body. It just doesn’t want to obey. I have several medical/physical issues that cause chronic pain.

Chronic pain can cause even the most mild human being to roar like a forest monster. The poor cashier at the grocery store won’t know what hit them when I’ve been through their isle on a bad pain day in a hurry to get home to my comfy chair. The phrase “bit their head off” comes to mind. Sound a little bit like a grumpy hairy monster-like fellow?

The fabled beast has been noted to walk funny, or have a rambling gait. I have no idea why HE does, but my mobility problems are because I have bone spurs all over the place and arthritis in my joints. That causes me to walk slowly, rambly and funny and makes people get mad at ME! Well, toot toot, go around me if yer in such an all-fire hurry. Geesh. I try to stay close to the side if I’m going up or down stairs just so people CAN go around me, but I still have to listen to their grumbles about my slowness. On the days when I’m in a wheelchair; holy cow are people rude!

I’d like to see the big furry guy in a wheelchair. I’m betting no one would be rude to him.

Even if he smelled like a boy’s locker room. Well, I don’t get THAT bad. There are times when I have to go a few days without a shower. I just can’t lift my arms high enough to wash, or I just can’t climb over the side of the tub to get in. Especially in the summer this can lead to some smelly situations. I can’t afford to have A/C, so my house averages about 90 degrees Fahrenheit. You can understand where I’m leading about the smell? A few days, or weeks, of sweating in my bed and not being able to change the sheets by myself…you get the idea. I don’t even think the Yeti would want to come cool me off.

Without being able to wash means, yes I also can’t shave my legs. Good thing no one is currently running their hands up and down them except me. To put lotion on! Wow. Get your minds out of that gutter! So, anyway, I am quite furry and alas the Bigfoot sighting. It’s been a while now. You know what it looks like when you’ve had a cast on your leg and you get it taken off? You grossed out now? Well, it’s not THAT bad yet. Just thought I’d give you a fun visual. LOL! Not quite man-hairy, but not very lady-like either.

This is no way for a single woman to live. THIS is not very “come hither-ish” quality to catch a good date. Ya think? How ’bout that bigfoot? Think I could catch him? He might be available…

Don’t Ask Me how I Am

 People don’t really want to know how you are when they see you and say, “Hi, how are you?” It is just a greeting. They really don’t want an answer. Not an honest one anyway. They don’t want to know how you are really feeling, or how your day has been. It is supposed to be met with another, “Hi, I’m fine. How are you?” Whether you are really fine or not. I must be very weird, because this has always bothered me. I never know how to answer. I can not just say the required, “fine.” In fact, I seethingly hate the greeting all together!

It requires a lie as an answer! No one is “fine” every day of the frickin’ year! I have a problem with lying. I just can’t do it, so I can not answer this greeting. I might reply, “Oh, Hi. How are you and ?’ and simply skip an answer altogether or just say, “the usual.” Let them guess. I try to not use the greeting when I run into friends I see.

I might ask “how is your day treating you so far today?” The difference is though, I actually mean it, and I do want you to answer. I like to take the time to know how my friends are doing, even if their answer might be negative or sad. Here in the U.S. of A. we are always in so much of a rush. “How are you,” is supposed to be used as a quickie greeting with a quick response so we can make a quick getaway. We could learn something from our Anishanabe neighbors about  slowing down a bit to find out how our friends and family are really doing, honestly really doing. Taking the time to stand on the street when we see them and really mean it when we say, “Hi, how are you today?”

I guess I also learned that from having a foreign exchange student in my home. Europeans take a lot of time around meal times to talk to each other and really check in with each other about how they’re doing, what’s going on in their lives. When they see a friend or family on the street it’s like a reunion! Hugs and kisses, then lots of talking, and then more hugs and kisses, even if they saw each other only days ago! I really miss Eleonore. We had a lot of great talks.

Well, when you see me at the mall, please, I’m not being angry or bitchy or rude when I don’t answer your, “how are you” as you quickly say “hi” as you continue to walk past, I just know you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to chat. I’ll smile and nod, but I am “the usual.”