Wining Wife®

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Category: Current Events (page 1 of 3)

Prayers For Paris

I have no words for what happened in Paris tonight, just an unbelieveable sadness for the French people, all people, and for the families and friends of those who were lost. 

Love, prayers, and peace to all tonight.

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Blog Action Day 2014: Inequality

It’s Blog Action Day, and this year the topic is #inequality.

October 16th is finally here. That means it’s time to talk about inequality for Blog Action Day – at least, that means it’s time to do so here, along with the rest of the world participating in this event.

You know, we shouldn’t only be leaving discussions about inequality to special days or seasons of the world. Inequality exists 365 days a year. Race relations over the past year make blatantly clear just how inequality still affects us each and every day – regardless of whether we’re thinking about it or not.

The thing is, a lot of people would rather not think about it. They’d rather sip wine (or martinis, or beer, or coffee) and not think about the backs that were in the sun during the grape harvest, the children injured while picking cocoa beans, the reason Fair Trade groups exist. And frankly, isn’t that a lot easier than thinking about the fact that while you’re drinking your $100 bottle of Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon, there is a family who would do anything to have an extra $100 for healthy food?

This isn’t to make people feel guilty, but rather, to get them thinking. Sometimes, we get angry when we think about inequality. Sometimes, we’re the dominant class, sometimes we’re not. Disparities between individuals are emotional circumstances – especially when those disparities are due to circumstances of birth like race, class, gender, sexual preference, place of birth, etc.

Everyone has his or her own circumstances. When you walk down the street and you see a transient, there are circumstances that have led to his crouching in the doorway. Perhaps they are circumstances of choice – a drug addiction, alcoholism, debt – or perhaps they are not – abuse, mental illness, divorce.

Think about the way inequalities have affected your life. In what ways may you have benefitted due to someone else’s misfortune?

Perhaps it’s time to make a list of causes to become involved with. I’d suggest thinking hard about what you can do to help eradicate radical inequality in your community. At my blog, Activism My Way, I will be listing some organizations you can get involved with, if you like. The blog over there focuses upon how you can get involved with a variety of causes.

Thanksgiving 2012

Ah the list of things I am thankful for – it’s that time of year again. I like to make sure I give credit where credit is due, and let’s face it, making gratitude lists don’t happen enough – this practice should happen on a regular basis. It’s good, though, that we do have a holiday during which it is common practice to express gratitude.

I begin my expression in a spiritual way, for I am a spiritual woman. I thank you, God, for

  1. God – because God is good, and I’m glad he is always looking out.
  2. My wonderful husband and son. Both of you are always there right when I need a smile – and in totally different ways. You guys keep me going, even when the chips are down. Wining Husband, you’re the most positive, optimistic person I’ve ever met, and I love you for that…and your laugh…definitely thankful for that. It’s freaking contagious. Tiger boy, your smile lights up a room. Literally. I think it has the power to bring the power back on in a black out. You two are both incredibly special to me, and I don’t know what I’d do without either one of you. Therefore, I intend to enjoy every moment I can with you.
  3. Friends and family far and near – I have a LOT of friends, while the number of close friends living far away from me far outweighs the number of friends living close by, that doesn’t make anyone any less special or important in my life. You guys have been a great and powerful force in my life, and I am so, so thankful for each and every one of you for reasons as diverse as the people you are.
  4. My beautiful home. Sure it’s not the cleanest or most organized place at the moment (um…Tom the Turkey kind of took over this week). But that doesn’t matter. I love the cherry floors, the warm walls, and most importantly the memories housed between the “four walls.” It’s definitely a great place to be and work.
  5. My 3 kitties. They make trouble. They can be nuts, but they also are always ready to curl up on your lap the moment you’re starting to feel a bit lonely in the world. It sounds goofy, but Stripes, Lady, and LuLu are great companions.
  6. My career – it’s been a rough year. Last year I was given advice never to go into business with friends. I know why now. That being said, I feel stronger and better than ever when it comes to knowing what I want out of my career. I love writing, I find joy in it, and I’m thankful to have projects to work on that are exciting and fun.
  7. Food – it nourishes the body. Like anything, in excess, it can make one sick, but in moderation, it can be amazing. We had an absolutely decadent Thanksgiving this year. That being said, none of us “stuffed” ourselves, and I’m happy to have the next little while off from cooking duty. Food is tasty, nutritious, and fun to share with loved ones.
  8. Wine – Tonight we started with d’Arenburg’s Hermit Crab with appetizers and our parsnip-apple soup, then moved on to Chateau Ste. Michelle‘s 2008 Ethos Chardonnay with the pasta and then the salad. The main course featured Antigal Uno 2009 Malbec. We plan on opening a port with dessert. Wine can enhance dishes like nothing else. It’s best when enjoyed in moderation, of course.
  9. Movies and old TV shows – there’s no better way to wind down at the end of  a long day (or a cooking marathon) than sitting down with family and enjoying a movie or a fun TV show. Except…
  10. Books – I love books. I love reading books, I love writing, I love editing books. I guess you can say I’m a bibliophile.
  11. Life and relative health – It’s good to be alive. I mean, it means I get to enjoy my family, friends, food, home, wine, etc. Additionally, even though I’m still dealing with quite a few issues from a reaction I had to a medication in March, it’s nice that we’re finally getting to the bottom of what works in terms of healing. I’m thankful for that.
  12. Health insurance. See 10
  13. My camera – it makes it so I can take lots and lots and lots of pictures of our life as it happens.
  14. My computers/technology – as much of a headache as these are, it’s nice to know that they allow me to communicate with others and run my business.
  15. The Internet – it’s great to be able to research foods that are local, in season, and organic. Plus, see number 13.
  16. The vast amount of knowledge available. Sometimes it can be small or overwhelming, but it’s always out there.
  17. Autumn – it’s my favorite season of the year.
  18. All of my clients. You guys rock. Seriously.
  19. Electricity. Without it, there wouldn’t be the lifestyle that we have today. It might look like the TV show Revolution it might look like S.M. Sterling’s Sci-Fi vision. Who knows, I’m just happy it exists.
  20. Sleep – I love sleep. Who doesn’t?
  21. Running – I love to run. It’s been too long since I’ve done a 5K. I’m looking forward to the next one – AND – to training for a 10K.
  22. The couch I currently sit on – because oh my goodness it’s comfortable.
  23. My readers – you guys are pretty cool for reading what I have to say.
  24. Shoes – and for that matter clothes – because, well, I have a bit of a problem lol…and even though I try to not be materialistic, I’m still pretty fabulous when it comes to these things…
  25. President Obama – Because things are getting better, economy wise. I can feel the hill climbing.

I could list so much more. So, so much more. What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? Please post your thoughts in the comments section.

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Life: The Married, Virtually Connected,and Lonely

Another Saturday at home...what do you do when you want to get out and meet people as a couple?

Another Saturday at home…what do you do when you want to get out and meet people as a couple?

Lately, it seems, there has been a strange trend. Rather than going to friends’ houses for dinner parties, going to the restaurant with another couple, or grabbing coffee with a good buddy, people are sitting behind their computers and socializing virtually. While social media has really opened up a lot of venues for keeping in touch with friends from college and high school, I can’t help but wonder if it’s hurting our communities.

Let’s step back for a moment. It’s possible, I believe, to be around someone else often and yet feel lonely. Looking back in time, people have typically known their neighbors, hosted small holiday parties, gone to movies in groups, and had people over for dinner on a regular basis. Coworkers would actually go out together for a few drinks after work – or they’d get together to watch a game on tv.

What do you do when you work from home and your closest friends live hours away?

You step away from the computer. You get involved with your community. You take chances on new people.

Humans, as a group, tend to have a certain comfort level. We like routine, we like stability, and habits are hard to break. However, if we don’t step out of our comfort level, we wind up spending yet another Saturday night, with our spouse, on the couch watching reruns of 90s TV shows on Netflix. While there’s nothing wrong with this – I quite enjoy watching a marathon of Frasier episodes with Wining Husband – it can get kind of lonely, even if the person holding your hand is your best friend.

I know the names of more people who live across the country from me than the names of my neighbors. I know their kids’ names, I know what they did last night. I honestly could not tell you what the names of our neighbors’ kids are, and I have met all of 3 of them. We’ve been living here since February. Part of that is their fault, and part of it is our fault. As renters we just haven’t made a whole heck of a lot of effort to get to know the people sharing the cul de sac with us.

I’m more likely to sit on Facebook chat and post quotes from the most recent episode of Big Bang Theory with my best friend from junior high school than I am to  have said neighbors over for a cup of coffee – much less a glass of wine – and I think the reason boils down to that whole comfort thing.

It also boils down to being busy. With Wining Husband racing toward tenure review next year, Tiger Boy running around between school, friends, youth group, and play rehearsals, and running my own business, sometimes it’s nice to just sit in front of the TV, turn the brain off, and disengage. But doing that on a regular basis is leading to a creeping feeling of loneliness.

It’s not just when you get married. Before I got married, I spent many times going long stretches without hearing another adult human voice – sure there were the corner store guys and the people working at the grocery co-op, but as far as meaningful interactions, they were few and far between – until I met Wining Husband. Instead, I’d sit on my computer, typing away to friends about what was going on with them, miles away.

Sure, social media and telephone convenience can’t entirely be blamed, but they haven’t helped our flat world either.  There are many great things about the Internet. But there’s a beauty in knowing your neighbors as well.

What do you do to meet new people when you’re an adult? How do you make couple friends? Please share your thoughts in the comments section! We need tips!

 

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Commentary: Columbus Day

Columbus-day

Columbus-day (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Columbus day is a very tricky holiday. Ever since I took my college history class, I’ve had mixed emotions about what those of us who lived in the Bay Area called indigenous people’s day.

 

Christopher Columbus and his men did horrible things to the Native Americans he found in the West Indies. (Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States discusses such things; I have no desire to go into the details here.) Yet, knowing this and the fact that such maltreatment has become public knowledge hasn’t changed the fact that this holiday continues to be celebrated in the United States year after year. Moreover, the fact that Leif Ericson  “discovered” America before Columbus did, makes the whole holiday moot.

 

INTERNATlONAL DAY OF THE WORLD'S INDIGENOUS PE...

INTERNATlONAL DAY OF THE WORLD’S INDIGENOUS PEOPLES OBSERVED (Photo credit: United Nations Photo)

 

Then comes the question of whether you can actually “discover” a land that already is inhabited – and has been for years. Sure, that is a highly philosophical question, but one that has repercussions. For, if you “discover” an already inhabited land, what does that do to those already living there? Well, we have some good examples throughout history that illustrate exactly what that sort of colonial mentality from the Western world does.

My question to you: How do you celebrate the holiday? For me, I tend to just continue on as it’s part of the work week. Many businesses do not acknowledge it as a holiday. Please post your thoughts in the comments section.

 

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Woman vs. Woman Has Got to Stop!

English: One of the symbols of German Women's ...

English: One of the symbols of German Women’s movement (from the 1970s) Deutsch: Ein Logo der deutschen Frauenbewegung (aus den 70er Jahren) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The Mommy Wars, competitive work environments, backstabbing friends – what do all of these things have in common? They all center around the idea that women, by nature, are quite competitive folks. Anyone can look in one of the forums on CafeMom and see a fight break out over the littlest things – rear-facing child seats, breastfeeding, schooling choices, the decision to stay home or not to stay home. Even forums and websites dedicated to feminism can become battlegrounds – arguments break out over whether or not someone is “feminist” enough (whatever that means) or whether a woman is a sell-out.

 

It’s time to step back. Look around. Rather than looking for ways to tear your fellow women down, can you find something to like about that person – celebrate or admire even? I’m not quite sure where the woman vs. woman mentality came from – whether it’s based upon a belief that there is a limited number of good men out there, a limited number of opportunities, or on an unwillingness to allow one self to become vulnerable. The truth is, just like in the movie Mean Girls, I bet if we all started talking about our experiences we’d have things in common, insecurities in common, triumphs in common.

 

For one week, rather than focusing on what you can tear down in another woman, see if you can find something to like. If we stop focusing on life as a competition and start focusing on how we can work together, it will be so much easier to get the equality we want! “Divide and conquer” is a saying for a reason.

 

What do you think? Why do you think women are so cruel to one another?

 

 

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Commentary: Talking to Chairs and the War on Women

Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood (Photo credit: filmhirek)

 

So…the Republican national convention…and Clint Eastwood, talking to an empty chair…happened. I’m concerned. I’m concerned for a lot of reasons, the biggest reason is that the Republican party seems totally out of touch with what we need as a nation. That doesn’t necessarily mean the Democratic party gets it either, but at least they try. As a woman, as a woman who has recently had a slew of health issues that have cost us, as a family, a lot of money to try to diagnose, I believe that our healthcare, as in every other nation, should be guaranteed to citizens of the United States. Australia, a land where English criminals were exiled to, even has healthcare for its citizens; you can buy extra healthcare options, but basic care is guaranteed.

 

It seems strange to me to not want to subsidize birth control when you’re a republican. I mean, we need to be concerned about population – for a multitude of reasons: economically, socially, job-wise, health-wise, food-supply wise, sustainability wise. It makes no sense to me that a political party that opposes abortion and welfare also opposes birth control. What should we do with the people who have unplanned pregnancies because they can’t afford the costs of condoms or birth control pills? It’s not enough to say they shouldn’t be having sex. Millions of married couples can’t afford basic contraception. They rely upon unreliable methods (early withdrawal) as birth control methods. Then what happens? Then we have a nation consisting of welfare recipients, which costs more over the long-run than providing free and low-cost birth control options. We could ward off abortions if we provided reliable access and education when it comes to birth control.

 

I’m a member of a different party, and it’s not really relevant to this post. What I do find concerning is the level of hypocrisy I’ve seen in the news reports. I mean, if we want to save money, and cut welfare costs, why not offer free and low-cost birth control options? Otherwise, we wind up paying higher taxes, all of us, in order to support children who wouldn’t be here if their parents have better planned for them.

 

Also, domestic violence is a real issue. I’m over women being victim-blamed for being single parents. So we’re supposed to allow unhealthy men to rape us and beat us? I don’t think so. I would make the decisions I have made that led me to raising a son alone until just a year ago a thousand times. It is so much better my son and I be safe than my son witness his mother being the victim of a crime. Why is it so bad to help women who are unfortunate victims of this heinous crime get back on their feet? Why force a woman who has already been a victim of a terrible, violating crime, rape, to have a child? I’m not a fan of abortion, however, I don’t think that women who have been victims of these crimes should be further traumatized by unwanted pregnancies.

 

I think there is a distinction between “unwanted” and “unplanned” pregnancies. Often those who have not planned on having children will go ahead and have those children.

 

I realize that I’m quite opinionated here. Also, what happened to decorum and maintaining a reputation? It used to be, and I’m not that old, that people actually cared about what people said about them.  Nowadays, it seems like people have lost that sense of maintaining a solid reputation. How can we expect that of our citizens?

 

I’m stepping off my soapbox now. What did you think? Please post your comments in the comments section (and please, be civil to one another. Many of us are all citizens of the same country.)

 

 

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Your Ph.D. is How Old? You Need Not Apply

Doctor of Philosophy

Doctor of Philosophy (Photo credit: lounae)

 

A disturbing trend is cropping up in the Ph.D. job market circuit. Universities are now qualifying that they do not want applicants whose Ph.D.s may be getting “stale.” According to Leiter Reports, there are now some universities asking that people apply only if their Ph.D. has been granted in 2010 or later. This means that those who graduated during the initial collapse of the economy may find themselves without a potential job to apply to.

 

To me, asking that people have a Ph.D. later than 2010 seems to be saying to job applicants that they aren’t worth the bother if say they graduated in 2008 or 2009 if they weren’t employed then, instead of looking at the problem as a holistic one. The reason many graduates didn’t receive job offers is that there weren’t jobs when they graduated. Not only are listings like this ageist, but they also seem to perpetuate the over abundance of unemployment and underemployment for those with advance degrees.

 

If you received a degree and had a difficult time when entering the job market, what would you say if you saw a post like this? Please post your thoughts in the comments.

 

 

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Patriot Day

Patriots’ Day Parade

Patriots’ Day Parade (Photo credit: mcritz)

 

On Patriot Day, we all need to remember that we are all vulnerable. While remembering the tragedies that occurred eleven years ago, why not do something for your fellow citizen. Whether you donate to the Red Cross or the Firefighters’ Fund, it’s important to remember that we are all one community. While your neighbor may play loud music, or your coworker may vote for the “other guy,” it’s important to band together when times are tough. In New York City, and in the United States as a whole, 11 years ago, we were all for a moment Americans. I ask you on this day of remembrance to do something to help someone else. Remember, we are all in this world together.

 

 

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New Blog: Activism My Way

Activism My Way

I’ve mentioned this new project recently when I talked about how important it is to get involved, but I’ve started a new blog focusing on activism and community involvement. This blog features causes, organizations, communities and individuals. Head on over to Activism My Way to find out what’s going on and how you can help to make your world a better place!

We’re also looking for individuals and organizations to profile, and local experts to feature when profiling different cities for resources for individuals who want to get involved. Please contact outreach@activismmyway.com for more information.

 

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