Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Blogaversary X

Yes, children, it has been ten years since I first logged onto Blogger. Sharing my brain scramblings with all of you. Inflicting earworms. Making up new words and adding new meanings to established ones. Poems. A novel. Pictures of cats. Thanks for showing up. Thanks even more for commenting. My most viewed post was back in April, garnering over 3300 views and 13 comments. Happy tenth blogaversary to me!

Wouldn't You Like to be an Activist, Too?

Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut needs our help. Sign on here to add your name to the list of citizen activists in support of his legislation that will overturn the recent executive order known as the Muslim Ban. Our brothers and sisters have been showing up at airports nationwide since last week to protest this most vexing order that discriminates on the basis of religion. Even the lawyers are voluntarily showing up to assist those travelers that have been stranded by the order. Even the lawyers. I may have to change my tune regarding lawyers. 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Hitting The Wall

No, we're not running a marathon. But it does feel like there's a long road ahead of us. And it would be ever so much easier to traverse if we got rid of some obstacles that are blocking our way. This is where the rant starts, so if you're looking for a tasty recipe or home organization hack, you won't find it in this post. The obstacle I refer to is White Male Privilege. Which isn't on its own a bad thing. Not recognizing that your life's path has been made smoother because you have benefited from it is where I have a problem. I ran smack dab into that wall called WMP earlier this week in the form of a whiny diatribe from, you guessed it, a white male. Who happens to live in a very red state. He's quite worried about not being able to keep his guns. He no longer gets to voice an opinion concerning a woman's right to choose without getting some blowback from women he knows. Because, I expect, he doesn't have a uterus. He's fearful of bringing up who he voted for in November's election due to the fact that there might be those within earshot who would ask him why he did it. He's a married, college educated, father of two who has for the most part lived among people who look just like him. Did I mention that he's a white guy who has lived his entire life in a red state? And suddenly he has some awareness that not everyone else has it as good as he has? And this, rather than making him realize that a good part of the reason he's had it pretty good is because he's a heterosexual white guy in America, makes him pout because his position at the top of the heap is being questioned. By women. By people of color. By people who aren't, gasp, straight. By people who think that road to success ought to be made smooth for all of the people who live here. Particularly for those who are marginalized or don't have a voice. My totally unsolicited advice to him is a flat-out get over it. Good for him that he has a pretty nice life with a job, home, access to health care, family, and decent schools for his kids. But it takes nothing away from him if others achieve that, too. It takes nothing away from him if others need some help on their way to these accomplishments. And, yes, I'm one of those damn bleeding heart, socialist progressives who think the government ought to give a hand up to those who need a little extra help getting there. He may think he did it all on his own, but in my experience nobody manages success in anything without some assistance from others. That's a vital component to living behind the veil of WMP, thinking you did it all by yourself. And not recognizing that in reality, you didn't. That's what keeps the facade of WMP, or any other position of privilege, intact. Ignorance that you have benefited from it. Once you are aware you are privileged, the only decent thing to do is own up to it and stop laboring under the illusion that you're a better, smarter, harder-working person than those who aren't doing so well. Show a little gratitude for where you are in life. And for the Goddess's sake, stop whining.

Not Really an Apology

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Another Project Completed!

Way back last year, the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend, I attended the Indie Arts Greeley Winter Market. Jill and Liz were along for a fun afternoon that included lunch and shoe shopping. Shoe shopping that was interrupted by holiday carolers. But back to the arts thingy. So many lovely things under one roof! I kept going back to a booth selling prints and after much mulling I narrowed it down to two that just had to come home with me. Only now, two months later, have I found appropriate frames and hung them up.

They both ended up in the dining room, though at first I wasn't sure where this one would go. The larger frame demanded more wall space than where I thought it could go in the living room.

                                               Close up!

This print of a sailing ship was the piece that drew me in. I hoped it would fit in an arrangement with the brass plaques that also depict sailing ships. Sometimes things just work out. Every day this quirky little house feels more like home.

If you like what you see, go here to see more of the artist's work.

Do Not Disturb

As you can see, Newton is thwarting my attempts to make up my bed today. Cats have no understanding of housework or other human routines. Unless, of course, those routines involve the feeding of cats. Or giving them attention. Or scooping their poop. 

Welcome to Critical Thinking 101

Click on the graphic for a larger, more readable version.
At last! A class in critical thinking where you can get an A+! Use the cheat sheet. Really. It's okay. Download it to your phone or tablet or print it off for handy reference. Let's leave 1984 in the past, where it belongs.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

All is Well

Sadly, I have lost another friend on Facebook. For my political, feminist, all-inclusive beliefs. I messaged him to see what was up, and his reply was pretty angry. The thing is, I used to be pretty on-the-surface on social media. But over the last few months I realize that I don't care much about the surface shit. I'm interested in getting in deep and knowing what you're about. He isn't, and that's fine. I think I'm at a point in my life where I have no interest in wasting time and energy and effort on relationships that aren't meaningful. I like to get to the heart of the matter. I prefer the quiet company of a kindred soul to small talk. This was the message I sent in reply:

I'm not telling you how you should think, I'm communicating how I think. You are free to disagree or scroll on by. I don't judge, I just want to try to understand. I don't really care how you voted, but it's clear that we all have to live with the consequences of how the election turned out. For better or worse, we are all in this together. Normally I don't get into political stuff or religion here on social media. I save that for close friends and family. But like many, recent events have made me realize that the reason we are so divided is that we have kept quiet inside of our own comfortable little bubbles. I want the best for everyone, and that includes people who are marginalized. People who are of different colors, religious beliefs, and sexual orientations. We are all whole people, with dents and scars and stories and that's what I love about my friends. If all we were was friends on the surface, I want you to know that it meant more to me. I was a guest in your home when your daughter was a baby. You cooked a lovely dinner. I remember being at a loss and so scared when your wife was in that car accident. We were misbehaving cohorts at the-company-that-shall-not-be-named and we'll always have have the lovely bonding experience of being fired from there. Do what you must to keep your sanity. I wish you well.

Thank You, Mr. Webster

I don't know about you, but I think meaning 3, in its entirety, should be in bold face. things worn out and of no value; useless matter; trifles; rubbish; nonsense. This public service message has been brought to you by Webster's Unabridged Dictionary.

Every Sperm is Sacred

In reference to yesterday's post, I stand corrected. I will plead that the previous post was correct on a technicality since only six women are in this photo. Last time I checked, it takes about six women to accomplish a great deal more than seven men. Particularly in Washington. Please go here for the full story. Now go back to whatever much more important thing I'm certain you were doing.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Sunday, January 22, 2017


Print. Clip. Put in your pocket.

Anonymous Says...

I listened as they called my President a Muslim.
I listened as they called him and his family a pack of monkeys.
I listened as they said he wasn't born here.
I watched as they blocked every single path to progress that they could.
I saw the pictures of him as Hitler.
I watched them shut down the government and hurt the entire nation twice.
I watched them turn their backs on every opportunity to open worthwhile dialog.
I watched them say that they would not even listen to any choice for Supreme Court no matter who the nominee was.
I listened as they openly said that they will oppose him at every turn.
I watched as they did just that.
I listened.
I watched.
I paid attention.
Now, I'm being called on to be tolerant.
To move forward.
To denounce protesters.
To "Get over it."
To accept this...
I will not.
I will do my part to make sure this great American mistake becomes the embarrassing footnote of our history that it deserves to be.
I will do this as quickly as possible every chance I get.
I will do my part to limit the damage that this man can do to my country.
I will watch his every move and point out every single mistake and misdeed in a loud and proud voice.
I will let you know in a loud voice every time this man backs away from a promise he made to them.
The people who voted for him.
The ones who sold their souls and prayed for him to win.
I will do this so that they never forget.
And they will hear me.
They will see it in my eyes when I look at them.
They will hear it in my voice when I talk to them.
They will know that I know who they are.
They will know that I know what they are.
Do not call for my tolerance. 
I've tolerated all I can.
Now it's their turn to tolerate ridicule.
Be aware, make no mistake about it, every single thing that goes wrong in our country from this day forward is now Trump's fault just as much as they thought it was Obama's.
I find it unreasonable for them to expect from me what they were entirely unwilling to give."

My own personal footnote. I neither hate nor vilify anyone who voted differently than I did. I do expect however, that when they see that the current President and administration have no intention of carrying out the promises from their campaign, that they will join the resistance and push back to create a country that is truly responsive to the expectations and needs of its citizens. We all deserve better. And only through our actions will better things happen. You may have voted for the current President, but we are all in this together.

Open Letter

Dear Kellyanne Conway,

Since you are dismissive of the 2.5 million people worldwide who participated in the Women's Marches yesterday, let me share a secret with you. I was on a bus with women who are Republicans who did not vote for you and do not support the agenda of the current administration. I met women and men who did vote for the current President and now regret it because they do not support his agenda.

I was one of over 100,000 who marched in Denver. So please share this little fact with your boss in the White House. We all have the phone numbers of our Senators and Congressmen programmed into our phones. We will call those numbers, send emails, and sign petitions to fight anything he puts forward that marginalizes or harms any American Citizen, our environment, or our standing in the world.

We are determined to be active on the local, state, and national level to challenge your politics of exclusion that we do not support. I have experienced the collective energy of the masses who will work to make progressive policies powered by love, inclusion, and fairness into law.

I proudly bear the title of Nasty Woman. I am not alone. We will keep pushing back.


Carla VanBemmel

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Stop With The Quizzes Already!

I think I answered seven or eight questions. None of which I felt were particularly revealing. The results are in, however, and it seems that my dominant personality trait is wisdom. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, wisdom. Wisdom. 

Your answers reveal that wisdom is your most dominant personality trait. You approach situations and challenges with a level head and use logic when making decisions. Your many experiences in life have made you an intelligent and practical individual.

The graphic that accompanied this dubious proclamation is a mildly creepy skull. Though the bright color blasts and the roses in the background offset this dominant creepiness a bit. I suddenly feel a bit of a kinship with Mr. Spock. Wisdom probably helps with the living long and prospering thing.

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Passing of an Era

I'm remembering eight years ago, Barack Obama's first inauguration, we tuned in at my place of employment. There was a large, flat screen tv in my department that normally displayed the ongoing work processes, but my supervisor gave her permission for us to watch this moment in history unfold. My clearest impression remains of watching the then 7yo Sasha fidgeting just a bit during the ceremony and dancing her way along the route between her parents. I'm going to miss President and First Lady Obama so much. They graced the White House with dignity, class, and inclusion for every American.

Thursday, January 19, 2017


Be a Literate Person

Our future as a country, and as a species, depends on it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Calling All Pussies!

This Saturday I'm joining over 16,000 other concerned, activist Coloradans in our state's Capital to march. To show solidarity. Strength. Conviction. To celebrate that we're here, we're organized, and that we are not going to go quietly into hiding to weather out this next administration. We're watching, we're paying attention, and we have our Washington reps' numbers programmed into our phones. Oh, and a friend made this way cool hat for me. It will go nicely with my tshirt that recently arrived in the mail. Meow!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Grip of the Grippe, Part Deux

I have gone shopping in sweats. I know, you're shocked. But the coughing phase of my cold has set in and I had no Nyquil. In the past the only thing that lets me sleep during the coughing phase is to be deep in a Nyquil coma. So I went to Target in my sweats with a knit hat pulled down over my head. Let's be honest, I would have gone unshowered and in my jammies for the drugs. I believe this is called desperation. One thing I do appreciate about living here is that Target is ten minutes away instead of an hour away. The nice girl at the checkout asked me for my birthdate, you know, for the drugs. I rattled it off between sniffs. She looked a little shocked. I expect with my frightful, mid-cold appearance she expected me to have been born well before the mid-point of the last century. So. I am home. I have taken my cold medicine and am rehydrating with Dasani black cherry sparkling water. I am going to park my arse in my big, comfy chair with a blanket and, probably, a kitty and slip into some sweet Nyquil bliss. Good night.

Monday, January 9, 2017

In The Grip of the Grippe

I do apologize for such lazy blogging two days in a row. This nasty cold has snatched away my ambition on all fronts. Pardon me whilst I drink yet another cup of herb tea and resume binge watching Last Tango in Halifax.

Sunday, January 8, 2017


Bloom where you're planted.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Holding the Bag

When things happen in threes I feel compelled to write about it. On New Year's Eve, my heart was warmed by observing a man confidently holding his wife's fancy evening bag while she was dancing. Earlier this week I was amused by a friend who was minding his wife's purse in a waiting room while she was undergoing a procedure. He was proffered a number of compliments on it while he waited. I happen to think this is a fair trade-off for the numerous times a man asks of his handbag-carrying significant other, can you put this in your purse for me?, when an item does not fit in his pocket. I was remembering a shopping trip with my SIL Pam a number of years ago, we were looking at purses in Dayton's. She had her eye on a cute straw bag with leather details but was undecided about taking it home. I shared with her my practice of test-driving a purse. Meaning that I sling the strap over my shoulder or hang it on my arm and take a walk through the store to see if I bond with it. She liked the idea and laughed. Her indecision was due to the fact that my brother, her husband, Cullen, was not there to offer his opinion on the purse. Since he is often obliged to hold her bag when they are out together, he likes the opportunity to approve its purchase before she buys it. I found this bit of information about my little brother both touching and hilarious. All I have to say is, men, if you love your woman, hold her purse when asked. It makes you appear gracious, confident, and secure in your masculinity. Especially if it's pink.

Medicare For All!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Soup's On!

This picture is from three years ago, but it's pretty much the same dinner I prepared last night. Social media reminded me that I have made chicken tortilla soup and corn muffins on January fifth twice in the recent past. With last night being the third time, therefore charming, incident, I am declaring that henceforth January the fifth shall be known as Chicken Tortilla Soup with Corn Muffins Day. Eat spicy, eat hearty, stay warm.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Brain Has It

Jack Speer used to be this calm, deep voice of reason that filled the airwaves on the hour with news updates. Which, by the way, he researches, writes, and edits right up until air time. A real journalist. I felt reassured by his matter of fact take on the world whether I was in the car or listening online. Now that NPR is doing live headlines on Facebook with a video feed I have completely lost my mind. I have an enormous crush on Mr. Speer. He's attractive in that nerdy, I'm wearing glasses and a sweater, I belong to Mensa sort of way. I especially enjoy the Q&A after the headlines when he goes deeper into the stories of the hour. Yesterday afternoon, I was quite taken with how he would repeatedly pick up and put down the pen on his desk during the Q&A, as if it were somehow magically assisting his thought process. This confirms what I have suspected about myself all along. Yes, I am attracted to intelligence. I wonder if there is a twelve step program for sapiosexuals. I need a support group.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Shaking Things Up

Yesterday the most productive thing I did was order pizza. Yay, me. Today, when any reasonable person looking around my house to determine what needed to done, they likely would have given the thumbs up for the packing up and putting away of the Christmas decorations. The key words in that sentence being reasonable person. Instead, I opted to rearrange the furniture in my office. I know, my priorities are definitely not in order. Although I'm really enjoying the less congested, more open space in here. And I have eliminated the annoying problem of glare from the windows on my computer screen. Plus I dusted and vacuumed. In the process of cleaning and rearranging, I did take down the Santas which were displayed in here for the last month. So I ended up being a little bit reasonable. Even if it was unintentional. 

Monday, January 2, 2017

Life Lesson

If a particular behavior is deplorable in a man, it is equally deplorable when a woman engages in the same actions. Awareness of how reprehensible it is and doing it anyway is worse. When the awareness of how reprehensible it is arises from the fact that you have had that very thing done to you is doubly worse. The score is not evened up, the hatchet is buried that much deeper. Let's always go high when they go low, no matter who the us and them happen to be. And hope that this action brings us all to a higher level of humanity and grace. Shit begets shit. Cast pearls instead.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

My Oxymoronic Life

I'm not one for New Year's resolutions. Neither am I one for your standard five year plan. I cringe when I hear the question where do you see yourself in five years?. What I am is a ponderer. And questioner. A list maker and checker-offer of listed items as they are accomplished sort of person. Yes, I have heard the label overthinker tossed in my direction. Which I do not claim. I give a notion as much rumination as is required, no more, no less. Sometimes I push the more pesky ponderables to back burner status. Because there isn't enough information or adequate time has not passed or I need to find a place of comfort and safety before I remove the lid from that particular pot. So. In the last few days I have had alone time in the car and in a hotel room and walking around among strangers. Time to consider and ponder problems and situations, and whether some things actually are problems or are merely situations. And if those problems or situations are mine to deal with or someone else's. As 2017 begins, though mind you this is not a resolution, I find that I am enamored of the concept of living a purposeful life. This new year in a new house and a new community makes me mindful of roots and how best to establish them. After my first thirty years of thirty-plus addresses and a second thirty year stretch at a single address, I'm thinking this third act of my life will be something in-between. Perhaps wandering, with roots. Sounds interesting. Really very fitting, I have a habit of inhabiting opposite ends of a given spectrum at the same time. Here's to the new as well as the old, and finding a space in the middle where it's clear what should be abandoned and what deserves being embraced.