From late 2000 through early 2003, I worked as a secretary/receptionist at a small office in the Philadelphia suburbs. The office focused on agriculture and horticulture in the county, and I was the only “city kid” who worked there. In contrast, my coworkers were current and former farmers, evangelical and conservative Christians, white, homophobic, active Republicans from rural PA who weren’t used to anyone different. (I’m pretty sure I was an Affirmative Action hire.)
The job coincided with me discovering and volunteering in the freethought movement. Besides getting involved with groups in my region, I volunteered as the Publications Director for the Campus Freethought Alliance (now CFI On Campus) in 2001 and drove down to DC for the Godless Americans March on Washington in 2002. I didn’t talk to my coworkers about these activities, but my activism was motivated partly by that stiflingly conservative, overwhelmingly religious, homophobic, and somewhat racist work environment.
I dealt with pent-up frustration during the workday by engaging in secular activism on my lunch breaks. Although I didn’t have much experience and my efforts weren’t well-planned, they felt very rewarding. I contacted student groups, made dozens of phone calls, and wrote letters, which is how I ended up with the reply below. Continue reading
I had plans to head to a friend’s house with my sister and her kid to watch the Superbowl on Sunday. Unrelatedly, I decided to do some grocery shopping on Saturday—a terrible mistake. Stores were overcrowded! But while I was out I decided to pick up a box of cake mix so that I could whip up something fun for the event. I picked a lovely purple swirly cake and purple frosting. Why not? I was sure the kid was going to love it.
So on Saturday night, after finishing my outside errands in the frenzied crowds then coming home and tiredly cooking my meals for the week, I decided to get that cake baking over with. Baking is usually a fun and relaxing activity for me, and I generally enjoy making pretty cakes for special occasions. This was my first time with a cake batter swirl pattern, so I was excited to see the finished product.
But this one didn’t come out the way I thought it would.
Posted in family
Tagged baking, family
I really wanted to succeed at this 30-day blogging challenge. But I just evaluated my work hours last week and looked at my available hours this week, and I don’t have time to spend approximately an hour a day writing and posting frivolous articles.
I started physical therapy two weeks ago to treat the Achilles tendinitis I’ve had since May. Appointments take about 1.5 to 2 hours each in the middle of the workday, and when I factor in the driving time, related doctor’s appointments, and 4x/day stretching breaks I’m supposed to take, I lose a minimum of 12 hours from my normal work week that I have to make up at some point. When I realized on Friday that I was sacrificing stretching time to write, I knew I couldn’t continue this challenge. After all, I’m spending $30 for each doctor’s appointment and PT session, so it’s wiser to spend time doing the daily required stretches if it means I will recover sooner. So bye bye to daily blogging.
This writing exercise wasn’t without benefit, though. I put up daily posts for a week, tripling the number of articles I’ve posted this year. It was a step in the right direction! I worked on developing a writing habit and jotted down a few great ideas for future long-form articles. And regular writing helps with posting shyness. I’ll put together the long-form articles in the future and try to post the occasional personal piece to this blog when the mood strikes and my schedule allows.
Now, back to work!
Posted in writing
We’re less than a week away from Halloween! If you had to design a costume that channeled your true, innermost self, what would that costume look like? Would you dare to wear it?
I was going to write about sweatpants, but I have written about this before on Facebook. So I’ll paste what I shared as a Facebook status in January:
The word that best expresses my gender is “Sweatpants.” Continue reading
List as many things as you can that make you laugh.
Okay! In no particular order:
People falling down: I feel a bit bad about this one because bodies are fragile…but watching people trip and fall can be SO FUNNY! That seems truest on TV and online because it’s easier to see the fall occur without a connection to a person getting injured.
Posted in writing
Tagged funny, writing
Choose a photo from your childhood and study it closely. What is going on in the foreground? The background? Who is in the picture and how are they related and interacting? Describe the setting and the furnishings. Make the picture come alive with your words!
Debbie: Are you evaluating a new opportunity?
This is an exercise about being mindful of the projects we choose to take on, by making sure each new challenge or opportunity supports our top priorities. Start by typing out “My top three priorities at this time in my life are…” and answer for yourself.
Then, consider a new idea, project, task, or opportunity that you are investigating, and write out some reflection: Beyond the initial enthusiasm, how much does this opportunity contribute to each of my top three priorities? How will my efforts be returned and when? How much will it COST, in terms of money, time, energy? BE PRESENT. BREATHE. LISTEN. SMILE. DO ONE THING AT A TIME. ENJOY.
My fears have been confirmed. It turns out digital journaling is not what I thought it was, and it’s not what I’m looking to do. Continue reading
Posted in writing
According to Law of Attraction, we attract to our lives whatever we give our attention to, whether wanted and/or unwanted. Describe in one sentence something that is uncomfortable and unwanted for you. Then give 5 minutes to writing about how you would like things to be.
What? These prompts are going downhill fast. Today’s Journaling Challenge message had this information about the prompt’s contributor:
Michael Pearlman, M.D. is a Boston area psychiatrist and Personal Life Strategist with a spiritual focus. He uses the Law of Attraction to help people reveal their Divine Self-Expression and live the life of their dreams. Throughout his journey, journaling provided clarity and insights, and, at a deeper level, a way of listening to the soul. This awakening led him to develop Law of Attraction Journaling. The LoA Journal provides a direct route to Self-Realization via an intentional, meditative journaling inquiry – guiding people to effectively separate their heart’s will from their ego’s will.
Oh my god, no. Continue reading
Posted in writing
Today when you begin your writing, spend a few moments to bring your awareness to your physical experience and tune in to your body. Run an inventory check from the tips of your toes to the top of your head. In your journal, greet your body/tension or feeling. Perhaps ask its name. Then ask what is has to tell you today. What is the message your body has for you? How does it feel? Is there any pain or tension? Is there any sensation you’ve been ignoring? Allow the words to flow. Once your body has responded, ask the next question that occurs to you. Type the questions and answers on separate lines, and indicate which “voice” is speaking throughout the conversation.
Uhhhh…what? After reading that prompt three times I’m even more tempted to throw the prompt out of the window. I was trying to avoid this kind of creative writing assignment…
But damn, Day Two and I already don’t want to do this? Blaaaaaaaah. Okay. I’ll give it a go. Continue reading
A few days ago my acquaintance Bakari Chavanu posted a link on Facebook to a 30-day Digital Journaling Challenge. It seemed up my alley—I’ve considered NaNoWriMo for years, but I’m more interested in blogging and composing articles than in trying my hand at writing a novel. I have mad respect and a slight bit of envy for my cool writer friends who can do that kind of thing. Digital journaling seems easier and more in line with my interests, so sure, why not? I signed up.
Apparently I’ll receive one or two daily journal-writing prompts in my inbox. My plan is to attempt to post one blog post a day, maybe here, maybe on other sites, for the next 30 days. What I write might not fall under the category of “journaling,” and that’s okay ‘cuz it’s my damn blog and I can write what I want. So let’s get started! Continue reading
Posted in writing
I have a casual fascination with pop music trends, those tweaks to the pop formulas that work fantastically for some period of time before pop slides into the next hip set of sounds. It’s interesting to me when some trend is distinct yet ubiquitous—it’s often a sign that the sound won’t be popular very long. For a moment the top hits will display the fad, then everyone will mimic the sound. But trends shift, and distinct trends can quickly sound “so last year.”
Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop,” with its prominent saxophone sounds, started drawing attention in late 2012 then exploded on the charts in early 2013. Over the past year Jason Derulo had hits with “Talk Dirty,” “Trumpets,” and most recently “Wiggle.” All three songs have wind or brass instrument sounds carrying strong melodies during the chorus. Continue reading
Posted in pop
Tagged music, pop