Today is Day #17

My friends and I are still locked out of our jobs.

I am very lucky to be single and have no one reliant upon me. If I starve, I starve alone. But really, I’m not alone because I know there are around 800,000 of us pawns.

I really hate Trump.

But you know who I hate more? The followers of Almighty Trump who won’t do their homework. It’s all such a joke. A sick twisted joke. I can’t even keep up with the lies he keeps spewing.

  • He can sympathize with those of us who aren’t getting a paycheck?
    • He’s a billionaire who preys on people. He didn’t even start out with nothing. He inherited from his father. He’s never NOT had a silver spoon up his a$$.
  • Federal employees support his shut down?
    • I know an awful lot of people affected by this shutdown. No, no such federal employee I know supports it.
  • Federal employees support his wall idea?
    • How many different examples can I give to disprove this? First we can talk Appropriations Law. Next, let’s discuss the homeless situation in America, or the number of children going without food, or our crumbling roads and bridges. How about health care? Then we can talk about water resources and our domestic water supply. Then we can talk about migration patterns of wildlife and their habitat along the border. No, we don’t support the wall – it is a waste of money and makes this country seem like we don’t care about our citizenry. (Well, the White House may not care, but some of us do.)
  • Terrorists are coming in from Mexico?
    • Um, most of the recent mass shootings and horrific acts in this country weren’t from any type of immigrant at all, but rather white men with guns who let fear, hatred and misinformation guide them. (Sound familiar, Mr. Trump?) If you look back as far as the terrorist attacks on 9-11, those men all came into this country on planes, from other continents, if I’m not mistaken. What would a border wall have done to prevent that? Nothing.

When are we, as informed citizens going to expect more from the Trumpettes? When are they going to pull up their Big Girl and Big Boy panties and admit they are believing a myth because it’s easier than learning and admitting actual facts?

Yes, there are ignorant people who want me to feel sorry for Mr. Trump. I’m just not that gullible.

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Shutdown 2018-2019, Day #11: A New Year

It is January 1st, 2019. Last night (this morning), a friend and I rang in the New Year in sweats with a funny movie, an episode of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and plates full of yummy snacks. And a flute or two of bubbly pink moscato. 😉

I was in bed by about 1:30 a.m. and read for a bit. I am working through Sophie Hannah’s (relatively) new Poirot mysteries, which I am enjoying immensly:

At 2 a.m., as I was shutting off the lamp on my bedside table, I heard one of my friend’s daughters come home safely and head to bed. Always a reassuring sound.

Then I woke up at 7 a.m. with pain in my right jaw. (This is on-going, so I won’t go into details here.) I got up and cleaned my friend’s kitchen. Dishes are done, counters wiped, coffee pot ready to go for the morning.

A nice calm way to start off the year. And hopefully, coming down to an empty sink and dishes drying in the drainer will help my friend start the year right too.

Now, on to the business at hand.

2018 brought some changes to my life, with a job promotion and a move to a different state. Given the rather political nature of my job and the agency I work for, what happens every day in Washington, D.C., often affects me and/or my job directly. I cannot get away from it. People tell me to not worry about things I can’t control. That is just a load of bear poop, in my opinion. Of course I should worry. I am forced on furlough and will be without steady income for the near future. Through no fault of my own. This is my life!

But as I was reviewing some of the steps I have laid out for myself in my new bullet journal, I found that I do have one bit of peace: I have the start of a plan. My plan is NOT new year’s resolutions, but more like specific steps and a roadmap, with clearly defined end goals. I just need to have the courage to wake up every day and take one step.

Towards everything I am visualizing for 2019, regardless of the quagmire surrounding me.

One step to start rising above.

One step forward every day.

Shutdown 2018, Day #9: An Opinion from a Friend

I read something today that really affected me. A fellow ranger who is working – without pay – through the shutdown shared the following short opinion essay. I’ll just leave it here for you to ponder:

Why I won’t be visiting a federal agency during the shutdown.

Maybe We The People shouldn’t be out having fun when our government is in a shutdown.

While working the shutdown I’ve noticed some American’s don’t even know there is one. One woman asked why the entrance gate was empty, and when I replied that we couldn’t take money during the government shutdown, she excitedly replied, “I hope the government stays shutdown longer.” Part of the problem with government agencies being forced to stay open during the shutdown (like national parks) is that the people don’t fully feel the pain of government dysfunction and are lulled into not acting. And this is the exact reason parks have been forced to stay open; a recent change from years past. The public does love their parks, and they raised a ruckus in 2013. Sometimes it’s helpful to feel pain. It lets us know we are unwell. You can choose to take a pill, but that might only mask the problem.

I know some people will say, “Why should I sacrifice when this is their problem?” “My family and I already had plans. Do you expect us to cancel them?” “But the park is open.” “Those small resort towns would be impacted if we don’t go.” Here’s why…. First, it would put less burden on the resource while it’s not being properly funded. Second, we can stand in support of our federal coworkers. Third, if businesses feel the impact then they’ll call their local officials. We should collectively feel this ridiculousness. Maybe if enough of us act we can effect change. Maybe you will. I finally did today.

This is why I will boycott visiting the federal agencies and land during the shutdown. Maybe it’s just a small gesture, but it’s one thing I can do to help. That, and call my representatives and the White House…daily.

Very thought-provoking.

Shutdown 2018, Day 8: Why The Wall Won’t Work

This is not going to be a happy post. And I’m sure I’ll make a few people mad. So just read to the end (I would give you that courtesy). I have two general concepts guiding my opinion of the fact that Trump’s “wall” is a total waste of time and money.

FIRST, Trump is well-known for NOT reading studies, policy documents, history document or anything related to back-ground research. Although I’m sure it goes back way before he started running for President, since 2016, numerous advisers, cabinet secretaries and the like have pointed to the fact that he generally goes with whatever he wants at the moment, no matter how many times he seems to change his mind, and regardless of what research and facts dictate. Personally, I would love to point out how his statements earlier this fall during the California forest fires were incorrect. Rakes? Um….. I have a masters degree in forestry and I’ve worked for the U.S.’s public lands for more than a decade. His statements about fires were enough to make me need a hot shower to wash off the emotional dirt.

Although my post today isn’t meant to go into forest ecology or fire science, I have spent some time looking through Trump’s tweets (I actually have a Twitter account, but haven’t tweeted anything in years; I just really don’t keep up with Twitter) and I have yet to find anything of actual statistical significance in his tweets. They all seem to me to just be catch phrases. I see no studies, no statistics, no historical basis for a wall’s success, and I see no specific knowledge on the part of President Trump to back up his statements.

After listening to this man for the last two years, I’m convinced he doesn’t actually care a whit about immigration at all, let alone illegal immigration. He knows one thing: his followers latch on to their own insecurity. Fear can be a powerful motivator, especially for people with limited experience or knowledge. Fear of the unknown is even more powerful. And it is my firm belief Trump absolutely relies on this fear to get his way (which then feeds his ego, and I believe his ego is really his only central motivation), since he rarely provides research or statistics on any topic. So he will tell people over and over that a wall will alleviate their fears. Boom! He has the answer (even if other walls in history and modern research would prove otherwise).

SECOND, there are a set of factors no one is willing to talk about: people see any number of opportunities here. Interestingly, I really am not referring to the refugees or illegal immigrants themselves by saying this.

I’m not sure how many people really want to think about this, but there is SO MUCH human trafficking and drug smuggling into the U.S. I know, Christians especially don’t want to believe it or talk about it, but the black markets for human life and illegal drugs, along with sex trafficking and really cheap goods, not to mention really cheap labor for the agriculture industry (among others) lead me to believe that people in the U.S. will never stop finding a way to get people here illegally, for one reason or another.

These problems run rampant in our society and they are collectively our fault. WE, as a nation, are responsible and must find a way to curb the addition to cheap labor, illicit products and substances, and the like. Now, please don’t tell me that you don’t do drugs, so it’s not your problem. I don’t do drugs either. I have never even smoked a cigarette, much less anything else, however, I believe the market for illicit substances is so prevalent all over the nation that we must work together to solve the problem.

I believe if we stop spending our money and time on such things, the markets will dry up and certain problems will move elsewhere or dissipate.

However, if you look at the war on drugs (or human trafficking, etc.), we focus on the oh-so-evil drug dealers, coyotes, etc. But if these people couldn’t find a buyer, would they stay in business? Similarly, if we don’t take action to affect the people who use this inexpensive labor source, the market will continue to do business and we’ll continue to see people thinking they can get a better life here by doing that type of work.

I should state now that I also believe this is VERY unlikely to actually occur.

Throughout the history of the world, there are countless examples of people sustaining their lives and lifestyles at the expense of others who are deemed ‘weaker’ in some form or fashion. Exploitation and markets are cornerstones to nearly all civilizations.

It’s that pattern we need to break. Walls are just a smokescreen.

Shutdown 2018, Day #6: More of the Same

I spent the morning reading one of the books on my current reading list, The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah. Those of you who know me know how much I love Agatha Christie and her iconic detective Hercule Poirot. I’m not a fast reader, and I only get 4-5 fiction novels read a year — most of what I read is non-fiction (surprise, surprise). But I have been excited to dig into the three new mysteries Hannah has published where Poirot is up to his case-solving, putting his famous little grey cells to work.

I wish I could write that well; I’d love to publish a mystery novel of that caliper.

In other news, the shutdown is still going on, Trump is still in a stand-off with Congress, and I’m still furloughed. But I have completed a bit of knitting, in addition to the reading. Also, as a follow up to yesterday’s post, I have been thinking through more goals, trackers and organization strategies for my bullet journal for 2019.

Shutdown 2018, Day #5: Organization and Goals

I started this morning with the reminder that I have nothing to do. I can’t go to my job (thank you, Congress and the White House), so I need to come up with a plan for my time. I’m used to going and going, between my full-time job, knitting orders, hikes or snowshoes (in appropriate weather) and trying to keep up with the people in my life.

For years now, I have been writing in these notebooks:

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I record everything from knitting pattern ideas, quotes that inspire me, daily to-do lists, grocery lists, and everything else I need to remember or reference again. Most of the time, I don’t even compose at the keyboard when I write and therefore put actual pen to paper, unless I’m just putting a few paragraphs on a blog post. Writing helps me sort out my thoughts, especially when I’m feeling overwhelmed or full of ideas (and therefore can’t focus on any one thing). So everything is just put down in these books chronologically, as things occur.

But over the past month, I’ve been looking into ways to get myself more organized. Even though I write things down, I still have to flip between pages in my black notebooks to find what I’m looking for at the moment.

I have been reading about the bullet journaling movement. Yes, to me it seems like a movement. Like soccer moms who try to go gluten-free even if they aren’t gluten-intolerant. Some of the bullet journaling stuff is just so over the top. But what if I could get – and stay – organized without the washi tape?

Since my current black notebook is nearly full, I bought a new journal – an actual bullet journal. And a couple of new pens. That’s as far as I am going with the accessories and color-coding, although I will probably write some times in black pens as well. I’m surrounded by black pens.

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I spent my morning thinking about what I need to put in my bullet journal for 2019 and how I will organize my book – and what I will still put in my black notebooks. I decided my brainstorming for knitting and writing projects will still go in the black notebooks with blank, unlined pages. My to-do lists, annual goals, budget and linear types of information will go in my bullet journal. I set up my debt reduction plan and financial goals, as well as other big-picture goals for the year and started my calendar pages.

As I travel through my journey this year, and I figure out what works for me, I’ll share some of my pages and hints that have helped me get and stay organized – and accomplish my goals.

 

Shutdown 2018, Day #4 (part 2)….. THIS is why Congress does what it does.

Because people will feel it. And probably acquiesce.

Don’t fool yourself. Congress takes action only to give themselves more power. The U.S. Constitution allows for Congress to hold the power of the purse – i.e. they are the source of legislation regarding our nation’s financial decisions. But make no mistake, they are NOT in the business of doing things that make sense. Every financial decision is meant to either give them more power or remind people who are not members of Congress that they have no power.

To that end, Congress has, for the last century, used America’s public lands – especially the National Parks – as political pawns, withholding or reducing funding because millions of people every year will feel the impacts when they try to visit their parks on a weekend, or summer vacation, or even a holiday (like today). People all over the world love America’s playgrounds. This is why they grow more and more crowded every year. And when Congress limits an input to that love, people intrinsically feel it, even if they can’t put it into words.

This is also why funding for the parks is consistently one of the last appropriations to pass every year (if an appropriation passes at all, but continuing resolutions are a different topic for a different day).

So today, from my perch up on Lily Ridge, as I admired the view of Longs Peak, Mount Meeker, and Estes Cone to the south, and Lily Lake in the valley below me, I enjoyed the calm, sunny afternoon. People skated and slid around on the lake. Others hiked the few accessible trails. Children climbed on the rocks, people laughed and threw snowballs, and still others posed for pictures. Even a woman in a wheel chair scooted around on the frozen lake. It was a sight to see!

Yes, because so much of the park is inaccessible thanks to the #shutdown, it was a bit more crowded and noisy than I would prefer at Lily Lake. But there was a lot of good to see – and if there is one thing I could impress upon folks everywhere, it would be this: we need to have these experiences. We need to build this kind of relationship with the land and resources that allow us the life we know. When we build a relationship to the land, we are investing in our future, working on our mental and physical health, and connecting with our community in a way that all the technology in the world cannot provide.

Congress could not take this experience away from me, no matter how hard they tried.

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Parking was a mess. But I’m still glad I went.