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I am female.  I am a feminist.  I am 44 years old.  And yet, deep inside me there exists a fourteen year old boy, perpetually stuck at the age of fart jokes and puns and snickering at people doing silly things.  He’s the one who points and laughs when I sho... http://www.amnottheonlyone.com/freds-turn-the-stazor-the-most-awesome-weapon-ever/
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The latest spin from the GOPis that women are being ‘brainwashed’ into thinking that there is a Republican war on women, and that, by the way, it is ‘scary’ and ‘unfair’ for the President to remind the Supreme Court that... http://www.amnottheonlyone.com/naked-republicanism-and-the-response-of-republican-women/
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Mitt Romney thinks people are not entitled to food. Got the germ of this from Shakeville, here.

Those who exist in the category of ‘people’ include:
English: Hungry Children from Vienna – Oil on canvas – 55 x 45 cm – Private owned, Oslo Deutsch: Hungrige Kinder... http://www.amnottheonlyone.com/people-not-entitled-to-food/
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Work on Balance and Happiness
As those of you know who have seen the noticeable dearth of posts in the last year, I love my job, which is an emotionally exhausting but fulfilling job. And yet, I’ve found myself at the beginning of burnout several times in the last year. So what is someone... http://www.amnottheonlyone.com/balance-and-happiness-during-the-work-week/
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Originally published at Am I the Only One Dancing?. Please leave any comments there.

Before Foreplay

My Love (Photo credit: Jennuine Captures)

Seventeen years.

When we met, both Husband and I were skinny. Actually, I was slender. He was skinny. And we were dirt poor. And we had one kid, not two. And we had twice as much energy and half as many responsibilities as we do now.

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Last Week’s Pay Forward

Thank You

Thank You (Photo credit: mandiberg)

Before I talk to you about how awesome The Hunger Site and its affilliated sites are, first an update on last week’s pay forward:

Adelheide was able to get her immediate needs met and was even able to pay forward some of the money people sent her to another individual who had unexpected medical bills and needed a hand.

My sister Janet was able to get badly needed new pair of glasses, which will allow her to drive next week to an interview she has which potentially could solve her money problems once and for all.

Both of them asked me to extend a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to everyone who participated, and I’m going to add my own ‘thank you’ to theirs.

Thank you! (I’d put fancy flash curlicues here, but that would be obnoxious)

And Now, The Hunger Site!

The Hunger Site Button

The Hunger Site Button (Photo credit: amishsteve)

And now, on to this week’s pay forward. I decided to highlight a site I have been aware of now for at least a dozen years: The Hunger Site. Formed in 1999, its concept is simple. Click on a button every day, and money is donated toward world hunger.

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My Etsy Giveaway (I love this stuff!)

Etsy

Etsy (Photo credit: Scott Beale)

Etsy has been around for a few years now. It provides an international marketplace for handmade and vintage items, including allowing shoppers to search for local options.

Often we want to buy stuff that supports our local merchants, but we just don’t know how to find it. Etsy takes many types of artisans and creates a place where you can find good art wherever you are.

There’s something here for everyone. If you are a crafter yourself, check out the beautiful and quirky notions, and luscious and nubby and yummy yarns, and soft, touchable rovings, and other unique findings for crafters.

If you like the unusual or truly bizarre, follow Regretsy.com as they curate the wonderful strangeness of stuff that some people find valuable. Regretsy also has a regular feature on cheap reproduction goods that sneak their way onto Etsy periodically. Well worth a look.

If you are looking for clothes, or furniture, or linens, or jewelry, or dinnerware, or — you name it , Etsy has it. My Etsy giveaway is completely paid for by me and I don’t have an affiliate relationship with them. I just think they’re really awesome and you’re bound to find something you like.

So please, enter as many times as you like, spread the word and share the joy of my Etsy giveaway. Etsy has localized shops worldwide. Let me know if you have any problems using a US originating card elsewhere.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(p.s. If you win, I reserve the right to publish the name or handle you provided when you entered to comply with any applicable laws on my ‘list of winners’)

(p.p.s. Husband has suggested that we should give away our fifteen year old son Overthinker for our next offer. Thoughts?)

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Diving off the Cliffs Below the Walls of Dubrovnik

Diving off the Cliffs Below the Walls of Dubrovnik (Photo credit: adametrnal)

I Pay Forward at the Grocery Store (randomly):

Today at the grocery store I waited (and waited) behind a very young couple who were carefully counting out WIC voucher foods and food stamps (this being the end of the month). In the end, they found they had to put back a couple of oranges, some strawberries, and some corn on the cob.

I asked their permission, then I paid for the extra items so that they could have them. It didn’t cost me a lot, just five bucks, and hopefully stretched their food a bit farther.  I asked this couple to do the same for someone else someday, when they can (yes, I have read The Magnificent Obsession, several times. Why do you ask?).

I try to pay forward whenever I can. For me, paying forward is an investment in the world I want to live in. Sometimes, like this time, it is an impulse. Other times, its along the lines of planned charitable giving. It’s an inherent part of the shared joy integral to my life.

Your Weekly Opportunity to Pay Forward:

Starting today, I am going to provide my readers with a regular feature every week, pointing out worthy causes for them to pay forward. There is never any obligation. If you don’t have the ability or inclination to help any particular person or cause I point you to, that’s fine. I would greatly appreciate you sharing this post, liking it on Facebook, or tweeting it, to find others who can help. The share buttons are up there at the top of the post. There you go!)

The first two people for pay forward are known to me (one intimately). They have both given me permission to ask for help on their behalf, and I thank you in advance for any help you can offer. 

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Ten personal commandments

Once upon a time I came across a meme on LiveJournal asking people to identify their ten personal commandments.  I like memes. When people participate in them, interesting thought experiments spread across the world.

I took the assignment seriously and took perhaps a full week to think about what ten principles I would like to live by. I wanted them to be universal, to apply in addition to rather than instead of a religious belief, and to address both harm to self and harm to others.

Here is what I came up with:

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I was exhausted last night and didn’t get my post ready for today. Here is something interesting and useful about the empathic nature of society to tide you over until I get home from work tonight and finish my post on Wrath, the first of the (Christian) Deadly Sins.

I’m interested in your thoughts on his reasoning (RSA Animate has tons of thoughtful videos out there… I invite you to ‘waste’ a day wandering through them.)

Also, this:

Empathy and Civilization

Cover via Amazon

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Ion having depression; dandelion seeds blowing in the wind Have Depression

I am not owned by my depression but I am affected by it.

I battle it into submission, and sometimes it battles me into retreat

Having depression means I have to take enormous care to eat right, get the sleep I need, and balance my life. and that I am sometimes completely incapable of eating right, sleeping right, or balancing my life.

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Conversation about Content

My sister in law Ann, jumping for joy.

I was having a conversation about content with an old friend. ‘They say,‘ she said, ‘that websites should be focused on one narrow topic.’

So I  decided to build a website deliberately left as broad as possible within the general theme of living life fully and with compassion toward others and attention to the issues around us. You know, ‘shared joy’ and ‘shared pain’ and ‘shared life’. All that jazz. (Thanks again, Spider Robinson, for the inspiration.) Go contrarian me. My friend laughed, and then decided it was a good idea after all. 

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Cool friends who make stuff

I have been so busy today completely reorganizing and categorizing the site (look, see? much easier to navigate, more relevant categories. Really nifty, if I say so myself) that I don’t have time to write a real post. So instead, I’m going to introduce you to my cool friends who make stuff. If you like it, please buy it, and support small business.

This post was originally spawned by filkertom (Tom Smith) who writes and performs filk songs (no, not folk, filk — they are based off science fiction and fantasy, done in a folk song style). What he linked to wasn’t actually his (oh, the stars, the STARS! and the link plays music, too,) but in payment for pointing me to it, I’m linking to his buy stuff page at his website. Making music costs time and money. Please buy his stuff or subscribe to his streams. And I dare you to watch this video without laughing:

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Living with HIV

Pretty Red Ribbon Gear

My sister is living with HIV.

I don’t remember when I got the call, perhaps six months or a year after my mother died, so in 2000, maybe even late 1999. I know that all the open wounds from Mom’s death hadn’t healed yet and none of us siblings were very close at that time.

She was crying. Actually, she was totally, utterly freaked out. Or maybe that was a later conversation, after the reality hit. She’d tested positive. There’d been a workplace accident, and she’d gotten blood in an open cut on her hand.  And now she had a deadly disease. And I was stunned, and devastated, and utterly helpless.

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Mindfulness

(A mindfulness meditation exercise. Get comfortable, and begin).

Shh! Close your eyes again, and now wake up slowly. Imagine.

It is the hour before the dawn. There are a few birds chirping.

You hear a car drive by, but only one, and its very quiet, as if it is trying not to wake you.

Someone has brewed coffee. You smile, knowing it will still be hot when you get up.

But not yet. 

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Playing the Lottery

To say I have mixed feelings about playing the lottery is to put it very mildly. I once watched a woman spend fifty dollars on lottery tickets in the middle of a very cold winter while she and her daughter were wearing clearly inadequate clothes for the weather. I’ve heard the snarky geek saying a thousand times ‘Lotteries are a tax on the mathematically challenged’.

And yet, every time there is a really big payout, I go buy a ticket. Just one. I always buy it at least a day before the drawing. And then I begin to daydream…

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Your argument is invalid:

Neil Patrick Harris and Puppets. It’s a web series. Awesome.

Oh, and don’t feed the trolls at YouTube.

Neil Patrick Harris and Puppets

Have a great rest of your day!

 

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‘Tis the season to make a wish list of gifts that you really, really wish someone would buy you because you would never spend your money on that for yourself. In the spirit of the season, here are a few things that I think are beautiful, adorable, or just plain cool:

Goes with anything, pretty, reminds me of the dance of life. I love jewelry. I don’t love fine jewelry, because I’m brutal on it and tend to lose or break it. But I love good costume jewelry and handmade beadwork.

Wish List

From Cultural Elements. I would wear this every day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cap’n Reynolds, Zoe and the rest. Great company for a winter day or two. Firefly just makes me feel good. And determined that good shows like this one get a good run, instead of a few measly episodes.

Wish List

Curling up in front of the TV with my Husband watching these? Any day.

 

Klimt‘s Three Ages of Women. Just Lovely. I have a gallery of women’s images in in office at home, and this would be right at home there. Okay, ‘gallery’ may be too strong a word. ‘Collection of random art with female images that I almost can’t see through the clutter’ might be a better way of stating it.

wish list

One of my favorite bits of art. Would love for my office at home.

Wish list

Xperience Days offers a walking tour of New Orleans flavors in the French Quarter.

Oh, and this. Oh my god! This. Unfortunately, this is the largest image they had on the site, but really: Walking around New Orleanson a food tour? I’m in! (Followed by some serious blues searching after dark? Magnificent!)

I am in love with the company that offers this tour, Xperience Days. They sell interesting experiences, everything from spa days to skydiving to driving a race car, and their packages start at under $100. There are a couple of local packages I intend to try very, very soon.

 What is on your wish list?

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anger and forgiveness

Tbird is the guest author of this post about anger and forgiveness. She recently completed her conversion to Judaism after years of study. Originally from New York, she now lives outside Denver Colorado and has a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from Colorado State University in Fort Collins. She has also been my friend for many years and is a constant inspiration to me. I hope you find her as inspiring as I do. 

Many belief systems call on us to seek out one another’s humanity, even in the darkness of people. We are asked to find a spark in the people who would hurt us or others.

The Quaker belief is that every life has value.

Universal Unitarianism holds the principle of “affirming and upholding the inherent worth and dignity of every person” at the top of their list.

As humans in the West, we are constantly told to be good, be polite, be kind to strangers, know compassion, let go of anger, and forgive. This is hard to reconcile when we know there is evil in the world; there are people who hurt children, murder neighbors, or think it’s a good idea to barbecue live kittens. How are we supposed to be nice, to affirm the inherent worth of such people?

In Judaism, the good and the bad both have a place. There is room for both anger and forgiveness.

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Help to use RSS-feed

I got a shock the other day when I discovered that despite being one of the older and easier ways of finding things on the web, more than half of regular internet users polled didn’t know what RSS was, let alone how to use RSS, and less than 20% use it regularly (and darn it, I can’t find the source that shocked me. Help please?)

How to Use RSS

RSS is really simple to use. In fact, two thirds of ‘RSS’ are ‘really simple’, and the whole thing is ‘really simple syndication’. You can even use it inside Facebook, though honestly I can’t recommend that any more, now that Facebook has decided that it knows better than you do which of your friends and pages you really want to see. (More on that later).

It’s a huge time saver, and available in mobile as well as large formats.

Imagine for a second that you can put together your own magazine of your favorite sites on the web, automatically updated for you every time there is a new post, and attractively arranged for you to read on your choice of dozens of different formats. There is no need to imagine – that’s what RSS is.

This is how to use RSS:

  1. Choose a feed reader (that’s what you call the magazine). The most popular one is probably Google Reader, but there are lots of others out there, most of them free. Pick one that suits you and set up an account. I like Google Reader because I’m already signed in to Google most of the time anyway, can be adjusted by a ton of various browser extensions, and has built in a feature called ‘Reader Play‘ that makes it feel even more like a magazine.
  2. How to use RSSStart adding feeds. Feeds are updates to your favorite blogs and websites that will now be automatically be delivered to your reader. Do you see that nifty orange and white icon up in the top right hand corner of my website? (The one that looks just like the one to the left, there.) That’s an RSS icon. Click on it, and it will invite you to add my feed to your reader, and give you choices as to which reader you use. A second click confirms your choice (it’ll navigate you away from here, so be sure to come back).Look for more feeds. Most websites have a feed, but not all of them are nice enough to make sure that their orange and white RSS icon is easy to find. So you can download extensions for Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Chrome to make it easier.
  3. Read RSS on your phone or tablet. I use an Android app called NewsRob on mine to read my Google Reader account, which is synced between my phone, my tablet, and my computer. It has a free version, but I like the benefits of the paid version enough to have upgraded. There are lots of others for Android and Iphone around as well.
  4. A word of warning: If you use an RSS feed reader on your work computer, your IT department will see it as you browsing hundreds of websites, not one. You really don’t want to be in the position of explaining to your boss that you’re just skimming headlines looking for articles to read on your break (even if its true). I bet you can guess how I learned that one.

So why not Facebook? Don’t get me wrong. I like Facebook. I think, on balance, it’s more helpful than not despite some jerkishness on the part of Zuckerman et al. But Facebook started, in spring of 2012, to decide for you which of your friends and pages are valuable to you, on an algorithm that isn’t close to perfect. It had two purposes in this.

First, it was trying to ensure that you saw first the articles you wanted most to read – your closest friends, your favorite pages – but second, it was increasing revenue for itself.

It is now significantly more expensive for advertisers to use Facebok. It used to be an ‘organic’ way to discover new pages, where you just kind of ‘naturally’ picked them up. Now Facebook deliberately makes it harder for you to find new pages, and the owners of the pages need to pay Facebook for the privilege of making it easier to find them.

I don’t blame Facebook for wanting to make a buck. They’re not in it for charity, after all. But speaking as someone trying to get people to read my website, they are now a very expensive option, rather than an inexpensive one, to let people know about my site.

RSS doesn’t exactly advertise my website or anyone elses’, but it does make it really simple for people who already want to read it to find the new articles I post nearly every day. Really simple syndication – and yet most people who are on the web haven’t figured out how to use it on a regular basis.

Oh, and if you’re curious, my own RSS feed of other peoples’ stuff is fed to the left hand column on my site pages (‘below the fold’ a bit), listed as ‘blogroll’, and the most recent couple of articles are linked on my curated life page (which, unfortunately, is glitchy because of the app used to set it up. Looking for better. Help?). Feel free to add any or all of them to your feed. Happy reading!

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