Thursday, June 30, 2022

Thursday Thoughts - And custodians of public opinion state fact after vainly discussing her rights lay hands off her body it's not your fuckin' life

I am not required to compromise with anyone on abortion and will not. There is not middle ground between people having the right to control their own body and make their own medical decisions and the right of a majority white, male government to do so. Why in the fuck would I be moderate about ripping rights back? No abortion laws on the books period. Fuck off and die. 
Giving myself permission to sit in absolute rage, and hoping you give yourself permission to as well. We said this was coming and too many people thought they knew better and voted for the president that installed three ultra conservative justices that overturned precedent on abortion AND MORE. Still more to come unless the Court is expanded or abandoned. We fucking told you this would happen, the ultra conservatives have been working on this for 50 fucking years, not like there were no fucking signs. This is mostly about abortion rights up front, and if you are not for them, click out of here and out of me. Forever. Do not care to know you, am not interested in agreeing to disagree on bodily autonomy. If you support bodily autonomy and voted for trump, I hope you are doing whatever the fuck you can now to claw those rights back. And I fucking hope whatever you voted for over the right of bodily autonomy was worth it. Was it worth it? Was it?

My reply to anyone who has said, "Have a good holiday" this week has been: What freedoms are there to celebrate? Fuck the Fourth, we are a nation in distress, a police state under minority rule at the beck and call of billionaire oligarchs with a locked government who isn't doing jack fucking shit. Have a good one, now

It's okay to tell anyone who is gaslighting you into thinking this is not a big deal because "it's just back to the states" to fuck off. 
Frustrated and infuriated that we are limited in what we can do as people right now and strangled by minority rule. We should be in the streets burning it down or at the least on a general strike. Fuck calls for civility - gaining rights has never been a peaceful or bloodless exchange. We are not required to tolerate people who do not believe in bodily autonomy and any calls to are fucking gaslighting. You want to be civil? Leave people's reproductive systems alone and mind your own fucking business. 

Our country is not your church. I don't give a good fuck what you think your God thinks about abortion. I feel sorry for anyone who is rejoicing who thinks they are walking the path of Jesus.
How to help within the system we are currently operating in We must first take care of each other - fund abortion. Do not try to be a rogue actor because you feel the need to do something - I get the desire to be part of a "camping" crew but we must use the well established and networked organizations to safely help people. The best thing to do if you are able is open your wallet. Every organization below will take donations right now. If you are unable to donate, share these resources in your networks and encourage others to donate. Links:
Donate to abortion funds: National Network of Abortion Funds
Donate to organizations that provide travel to those seeking abortions: The Brigid Alliance
Know your digital security rights: Digital Defense Fund
Know your options:, Plan C, Hey Jane
Support independent clinics: Keep Our Clinics
Support during or after a miscarriage or abortion: M+A Hotline, 1-8-246-2632 (call or text)
Legal advice: IfwhenHow - lawyering for reproductive justice

How to deal with the government while we live in this rigged system - ask them to pass the Judiciary Act. Tell them to expand the fucking court. Ask people running for office what they will do to protect, expand, or reinstate bodily autonomy on a state and/or federal level. Ask them to expel people in any office of government that took part in January 6. 

Elect other pro-choice, anti-filibuster candidates to the Senate - they are usually democrats. Sorry about it if that annoys you. In PA this fall that's John Fetterman, Tim Ryan in Ohio, and in Wisconsin it is Mandela Barnes. KANSAS RESIDENTS - on August 2 vote NO on the ballot amendment that would overturn the right to abortion. MICHIGAN RESIDENTS - Sign the petition to get an amendment on the ballot in November that would affirm that every person has the fundamental right to reproductive freedom. Sign this by JULY 11. 

Perfect timing for the arrival of this gift from Beth. LOL forever that Fox News made people think anti-fascists were the bad people and encouraged people to vote for the actual fascists.

Do what you need to do to make room for joy, rest, peace, and laughter. And peace the fuck out when you need to. If that includes cutting people the fuck out who tell you they love you and vote for people who are intent on harming you, that's okay. If that includes no longer knowing people who told you Roe would never be overturned, that's okay. Our collective doom scrolling isn't solving anything so might as well get some peace if you can

Find beauty in the ordinary. The barrage of bad is designed to wear you down and make you feel hopeless. There are more of us and we are not required to accept this shit.

Summer meals have entered the chat. Summer flowers, flags, wreaths made by Sue for the shore, and sunsets too.
Philly this week.
Dogs, man. Ben puked in the bed Tuesday morning. Sheets washed and reapplied. Mae pooped all over it Wednesday morning, a byproduct of anal gland issues she had addressed at the vet on Tuesday. Sheets washed AGAIN and reapplied. And Bruce has just been sensitive Gooby trying to recover from the horror of his people going on vacation without him.

What appears beyond the hyphen in Thursday Thoughts titles is what I'm listening to when I'm starting this - this week is Don't Pray on Me by Bad Religion

Monday, June 20, 2022

How To Get Back To Normal After Illness or Injury


Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

When you’ve experienced a serious illness or accident, it can alter the way you feel about a great variety of things. After all, even if you’ve been left with no physical life-changing injuries, it can still be a huge psychological event for you. So how do you go about getting into the swing of things? 

Accept that there is no right or wrong path

It’s not uncommon for people to put a lot of pressure on themselves in these situations. They think that there is a certain way they should feel or speed at which they should achieve things. That isn’t the case. It can be difficult to acknowledge this as we see a lot of stories in the press and online about people who have overcome illness and injury and then suddenly they’re starting businesses, establishing charities, or running ultra marathons. That’s great if that’s what you want to do but maybe you just want to get back to your own life and feel good about yourself. That’s OK too. 

Recovery isn’t always a straight line either. You might feel fine for a while, then have a setback week, months, or even years later. This is normal. 

Deal with the psychological effects 

If you’re involved in a car accident, your injuries may heal but you may well develop issues around traveling by car or driving in a particular area. Getting yourself psychologically healthy should be a priority. If you feel that you need to speak to someone in a professional capacity, then reach out to a specialist or ask your doctor to refer you. 

There are other things you can do to deal with anxiety, including things like CBD oil, cognitive behavioral therapy or learning exercise, and relaxation techniques. 

There are also a lot of support groups online that you can join to talk with people who are going through the same things as you are. It can make all the difference.

Use it as a springboard

Although it might not seem like it, you can look for positives in many situations. For example, if you’ve had a health scare, then you can use this as motivation to change your diet and lifestyle or re-evaluate your priorities to spend more time on yourself with family and friends. Many people find clarity in certain aspects of life they never had before.  

Communicate with friends and family

Having a support network of friends and family around you can be an amazing thing. But it can also have some issues which arise from lack of communication. For example, perhaps you’re feeling a bit coddled and that you people don’t need to do as much for you. Rather than expect them to know this, communicate it early rather than feel resentful. Conversely, if you’re struggling and need help or to spend more time with people, let them know that too. People just want to help but aren’t really sure what to do so they can overcompensate and make you feel smothered, or give you too much space and leave you feeling isolated. 

Reaching out might be difficult but can make all the difference to your recovery.


This post was written with Life According to Steph readers in mine 

Snippets of the weekend 6.20.2022

 Last day of work before vacation. Quick clean out the fridge pasta salad for lunch. Amato’s takeout and birthday cupcakes at Mom & Rich’s. 

A 7 am leave for the shore. House was in great shape. A kid clearly bathed in the hand soap that was full the previous week. I spent 45 minutes sweating and pulling out 24 under bed bins to locate my pillow shams. Outdoor shower leak MFD fixed. Run to Walgreen’s. Pack up our shit for vacation to take home. Spent 1.5 more hours there than I wanted to.

Lunch salad from Reen’s. Shower and a 10 minute lie down. 4:30 pm iced coffee. Hit the road with Stephen & Aubrey for Joe & Shellie’s wedding dinner at Seasons 52 in King of Prussia. It was fun & nice to see people. A quick run through the Valley Forge Casino for people watching and roulette.
Juneteenth, reparations. Bruce figured out we are going on vacation. First pedicure in like a year and first manicure in IDK how long. Some work work. Packing. JalapeƱo popper dip for Father’s Day. A nice dinner at Aubrey’s parents’ as always. This dog! Best dads. First corn off the cob of the season. Carol’s ice cream cake. Happy birthday Mom & Happy Father’s Day Rich! 

Happy Juneteenth - it's not just a celebration or a day off, but should also be a day of reflection and reparations. 

Vacation week! Instagram overload I'm sure. 

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Thursday Thoughts - But if I could give you everything I would all the forests and the flowers and the seas

The cutest, most sensitive, insane, sleepy dog who loves pillows and blankets and sleep. 

Wings for lunch are a work from home game. I would not eat them in the office.

In office day today so of course it's raining. Thankfully there was a reprieve while I was walking from the train station to the office because I am well out of practice of juggling a coffee and umbrella since I rarely go out in rain that necessitates an umbrella anymore. 
Happy birthday Michelle! Michelle's bday was yesterday. We have been through the things, man. For the past 20 years. I met her for ice cream yesterday and we did an in person catch up which is always good. Friends you can turn to for anything are everything.
Bargains. I love when TJMaxx has what I was going for. You cannot beat the deal.
Tis the season.

Appointments. I set my physical appointment, my skin scan appointment, and mammo. Get them set people!

Round 239482348 with Mister Softee goes to MFD. More on that in this caption for those unfamiliar with the long standing standoff.

Attention everyone wanting religion in politics and public schools: familiarize yourself with things other than the 2nd Amendment, which also does not say what you think it says. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." In simple terms, this part of the 1st amendment means the federal government will not establish a state church, or give preference to one faith over another. Your religion is for YOU. Not to govern with or rule with. That is literally the opposite of what America as we know it was formed for. What your religion says about abortion or sexuality is not my care or concern and it does not belong in laws or schools and has no bearing over books. Bye.

Hair appointment means Brother's Pizza. Proximity, baby. Thanks to Kristi for the freshen up and the conversation as always!

Outside my front door. My gargoyle Boudicca and flair. 
What would Ida B. Wells do? A lot more than we're doing. Juneteenth is Sunday, observed Monday. Pay Black people. Close the racial wealth gap.

Preparing for vacation, one million things happening, my brain is a scrambled egg. And the only thing I've wanted to do all week is lay down LOL. Or do things that have been un-done for months but suddenly seem urgent

Strawberry Moon.
Scenes from an errand.

Happy birthday to my Mom on Sunday!

Happy Father's Day Dads! Support to anyone who isn't down with the day for any reason.

What appears beyond the hyphen in Thursday Thoughts titles is what I'm listening to when I'm starting this - this week is The Mtn Song by Rayland Baxter

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

preparing your home for a new precious puppy

Pexels - CC0 License

It can be wonderful to bring a new puppy into our homes, especially if we’ve desired one for some time. That said, sometimes it’s a worthwhile set of questions to not only ask which puppy, breed, and gender is right for you, but also if you’re right for the puppy in question.

The foremost question can be answered via reading insightful resources here, the latter requires looking over your property and pet ownership skills with a fine-toothed comb. 

There’s no need to worry, however, if this is your first pet then learning how to properly care for a dog can be achieved with some worthwhile guidance, the willingness to spend a little, and in preparing suitably.

In this post, then, we’ll discuss how to prepare your home for your new, precious puppy, and what approach you may wish to take when welcoming a new pet into your home in general. Without further ado, please consider:

Your Current Home Arrangement & Family Members

It’s good to plan in advance for how your puppy will fit into your living situation. Remember, dogs aren’t puppies forever, and so it’s important to make sure that they’re the right size and temperament for your house. If you have toddlers, for instance, then it could be that bringing a greyhound into the space, with their often quite enthusiastic disposition, may not be suitable.

However, a fun family dog like a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel or even a Labrador can make a great family pet, one that can be trained properly and be comfortable around your kids. It’s also important to think of the pets you have in the household and if they’ll match well with your puppy. It might take your cat a little time to warm to them, but regardless of what the cartoons say, cats and dogs tend to live in households together in peace; provided they are of the right temprament.

The ability to train the breed, the physical size of it, and also its expense for general upkeep is important are all important to consider. We’ll cover more below:

Lifestyle Preparations

As we mentioned, puppies won’t stay puppies forever, and so it’s very important to make sure we have the kind of lifestyles our dogs may need. If you’re going to be out of the house for six hours a day, then it could be providing your puppy with a friend and bringing two in the home can help them remain occupied during that time.

Planning for lifestyle preparations also means considering how you may need to keep up with the day-to-day living necessities of your dog. Bringing a husky into the household may seem like a great idea now, but as they’re work dogs known for tracking great distances, they need to exercise each day and can become quite irate if they’re not able to run or explore. If you have land in your rural home or a large back garden, that might go some of the way towards providing them ample space to live and exercise.

Lifestyle preparations can also include just making sure you have enough of a budget to look after the animal. Unfortunately, pets can be expensive despite how much we love them, and when they need medical treatment, when you head on vacation and they need access to well-kept kennels, or in order to make sure they eat properly and have all of their booster shots, it’s important to make certain you can justify this within your budget.

Preparing The Household

They say that curiosity killed the cat, but the truth is that puppies are just as curious except without the fine degree of motor control that felines have. Puppies will throw themselves at, up and over anything they can, and so it’s important to make sure they have limited access to your home at first.

This may even mean setting up security gates in the house, often waste-high shutter gates you can use to block off access to certain rooms without closing the door on them is a good investment. These will be best placed at the bottom and top of your staircase, which can prevent your little pooch from trying to climb up or down those steps themselves. Doing so can put stress on their little joints which can cause growth issues, so it’s important to make sure they are protected from their enthusiasm here.

Outdoor Training & Protections

Of course, as you ‘outdoor train’ your puppy in order to help them understand where to ‘perform their business,’ you will no doubt give them some room to run around and have fun in your outside area. To the degree you can control this, making sure gates and even privacy fences are installed to prevent escape, while keeping close observation here, is a great idea. For those who may not have access to a garden, it’s a good idea to keep them on a leash when going outside.

Additionally, utilizing the services of a professional trainer as your dog grows will help them become acclimated to other dogs, and this can help them avoid freaking out, for want of a better term, whenever they see another owner and pet. Your dog needs to learn to operate in their environment, and this means spending time reinforcing the habits you wish to see, or completely protecting against those pitfalls you cannot force out.

Allowing “Familiar Zones”

Like humans, dogs are often creatures of habit. This means helping them become comforted and relaxed in your home will require a few investments ahead of time. To start with, a very comfortable and sizeable doggy bed can help them feel like they have a safe space in your house, perhaps a place they might retire to if you tell them off for misbehavior, and a place they can sleep each night with comfort. A few comforting toys can also help them relax and feel a sense of ownership within that space.

Providing the water and food in the same place each day, the former always available, the latter twice or three times a day depending on your particular puppy, will help them know exactly where dinner is and how to cool off and hydrate even during the midst of summertime. 

As you provide familiar zones for them to feel like part of the family in, it’s also worth preventing them from accessing areas you’d rather not allow them to. This might include never allowing them into the home office, or around the table while your family is eating dinner. It may mean never allowing them to jump up on your bed at night; and never allowing them to sleep on the footrest because their claws can scratch at the finish of the material. Identifying these zones will help you plan in advance. For instance, it may feel tempting to place the doggy bed right next to your washing machine in a utility room, but if you plan to place early-morning or late-night washes in the unit, that could be quite cruel to a little pooch just trying to relax.

Acclimation To The Property

It might sound a little overbearing to some homeowners, but puppies can sometimes feel a little apprehensive in a completely new environment. This is why it’s good to give them little reason to cry or feel abandoned in a strange place. 

Some people even install plug socket nightlights near their beds at night, but you may consider this to be too much. A doggy cage at night can help them stay put and learn independence while still in eyeshot of you throughout your sleeping habits at night, and that can be valuable in and of itself.

Introducing The Puppy To Your Current Pets

In some instances, guidance stipulates that slowly introducing your pets together can help them become more familiar with one another’s place in the property. If bringing in a small puppy into the home of a large dog, for instance, it’s important to make sure they have no reason to show aggressive signs, and if they do, you can reprimand them appropriately.

Some owners achieve this by separating them in different rooms and letting them get a hold on one another’s scent. This way, they can get used to the idea of another animal in the household, before they meet them under your scrutiny. Before long, they’ll be getting on like a house on fire.

Sockets & Plugs & Messes

While puppy-proofing a home is not as difficult as baby and especially toddler-proofing a home, there are certain things to keep in mind. Sooner or later they’re going to find the ‘twang’ of the door stopper, and so using a protective case for that can be important for some. Plug socket covers can protect against wet noses and tongues entering that opening, and of course, laying out newspaper appropriately so cleaning up accidents, which are sure to come, is easier will be a big boon. You may wish to bring up your rugs and freestanding carpets for the time being.

With this advice, you’re certain to prepare your home for that new and loving pup. Please, give them a pet behind the ears for us.


This post was written with the Life According to Steph audience in mind

Show Us Your Books: June 2022, the end of an era

In October 2014, Jana and I decided to start blogging about what we were reading, and we wanted to know if you wanted us to make it a linkup. And you did. Today is the 93rd and final Show Us Your Books post, which have occurred on the second Tuesday of every month since October 2014.  

I’ve put up 924 books for your consideration. We've celebrated birthdays and anniversaries, had charity donations and reader giveaways and readathons, done seven favorite reads of the year linkups in Decembers gone by, saw a lot of you bring babies that have become little readers into the world, made it through a global pandemic that changed a lot of us as readers and gave us a place to discuss that with people who would understand, gained linker uppers and lost linker uppers, lost pets and introduced new ones, watched the world burn around us several times, and shared laughter and book behavior and what the kids are reading and more. 

All good things come to an end, and today is the end of the Show Us Your Books linkup. Jana and I have loved being in an online reading circle with so many of you and we wanted to end it as unceremoniously as we started with a mutual agreement after a number of discussions, and no advance notice. 

We will both continue book talk on Instagram obviously because we are readers and this is just what we do - find Jana here and me here . We'll also use the #showusyourbooks hashtag and invite you to as well. I've been sharing my weekly reads on Fridays in a very non-bookstagram way and will continue that and Jana will continue her lists as well. The blog linkup gets put to bed today, but our friendships and reading community live on. Certainly mine and Jana's as we've been friends since 1995, and it has been so great to co-host this linkup with her for all these years. Thank you Jana!

I hope you continue to read books that you enjoy regardless of who else enjoys them, that you  actively pursue books by Black authors and queer authors and authors from other marginalized communities since you know by now that the publishing industry does not put those authors and their books front and center, that you read to escape and also to understand, that the kids in your life see you reading, that you support your local libraries, that you buy books from local booksellers or online from and not from Amazon, that you read books because that's what you want to do and not because it feels like you have to do it, that you read at your own pace and don't compare the number of books you read to someone reading at a different pace, and that every once in a while you find the golden book that makes your soul sing for reasons you can't even explain and you don’t care to try because it resonated with a part of you so clearly it's like you got your bell rung. 

It's been fun, and it's both hard and easy to let it go after all these years. But retirement looks good on us and in the end feels like freedom.

Here's what I've been reading since the May linkup:

Engrossing Reads
The Girls in Queens by Christine Kandic Torres - Whew. Truthful and cutting at the intersection of gender, race, and class. Difficult subjects but a good read with what felt like a tight yet hasty finish. I can't believe this is a debut novel. I loved the writing and will definitely read more from Torres. Thanks to Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review

The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn - This does not top The Huntress as my favorite KQ, but what a stellar lead character again. I tore through this. OCNJ library hardcover

My Evil Mother: A Short Story by Margaret Atwood - As always, I want the short story to be a novel. Kindle, own

You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi - This is a romance novel, which I don't typically like...I liked this. So that says a lot right there. Some serious, difficult topics but I flew through it and loved the writing. Thanks to Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review. 

The Summer Place by Jennifer Weiner - love a Jennifer Weiner book in May. High drama to kick off the season. Lots of characters made this feel full in a good way, redundancy of events from different POVs made it feel full in a bad way. Overall quick and enjoyable. Thanks to Netgalley & Simon and Schuster for the ARC 

The Hotel Nantucket by Elin Hilderbrand - Elin is hit or miss for me, and this hit. I sat down and read this in a few hours even staying up to finish it in a week that was hard to focus in so that says a lot to me. Great summer read that doesn't require much to engage. Thanks to Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review, would love to also post it on goodreads but continually get an error message when trying to do so, which has happened frequently over the past month

Passed the Time Just Fine
The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill - Enjoyable story within a story. Interesting concepts within both. Suspension of belief definitely required. Thanks to Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review

Write My Name Across the Sky by Barbara O'Neal - Readable, not my favorite of hers. This was a little hard for me to get into. Kindle backlist book

The Golden Hour by T. Greenwood - Found this on my kindle, who even knows how long it's been there or how it got there. Difficult shit in here with an abrupt ending, like the kind you expect there are at least two more chapters but no, there's nothing else kindle backlist book

The Long Weekend by Gilly Macmillan - A little bit of a turd in the pool with this one. There's crazy then there's like...crazy. Still a quick read which gets points, always, post-covid (by which I mean we are still in covid times but like post world-changing March 2020 covid) OCNJ library

What Can't Be Seen (Dr. Gretchen White #2) by Brianna Labuskes - A solid second entry and intense background work on Gretchen. Will read more. Thanks to Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review

Never Coming Home by Hannah Mary McKinnon - This was a great ride that slowed to a crawl in the middle then hurtled toward a finish that was really doing the most. Like, the most. A little quicker in the middle and a little less at the end and it goes up a star. Still a solid read. Thanks to Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review

Neruda on the Park by Cleyvis Natera - I loved the character of Eusebia and the writing was really good. I thought this was going to be about what happens in the first little bit, but it was actually not about that at all. I always enjoy that. Thanks to Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Not For Me/Did Not Finish
It All Comes Down to This by Therese Anne Fowler - Not for me. Maybe in a different time? I like the characters and thought I would really get into this one for that reason and also because I'm headed to Mount Desert Island in a few weeks, but the slow pace is not for the reader I am right now. Thanks to Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review

Linkup Guidelines:
This link up has taken place on the second Tuesday of every month since October 2014 and this is the 93rd and final one. Cheers!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Monday, June 13, 2022

Snippets of the weekend 6.13.2022

Lovely gifts left by our Philly neighbors visiting us at the shore. Friday afternoon off to do a quick down the shore and back for some final house projects including the easiest oven glass cleaning ever thanks to Scrub Daddy Power Paste and the absolute fucking worst ceiling drywall job that will have to last for the summer. Played it fast and loose with a 1:30 pm iced coffee. Love is a terrible thing to hate and voting for politicians who support anti-LGBTQ+ legislation is a terrible thing to do. Primavera pizza. A few hours at the beach, which will be scarce in the coming weeks due to vacations and schedules. Up to my hips in the water, early for June. Windows down, music loud drive back to Philly before 8 pm.

OPI paint the tinseltown red. Lemon and lime in water, always. Boo Boo bear at Mom & Rich's. Missed Luke's graduation party. Wings and cheesesteaks late from George's. Quick overnight for Dad & Carol up here. 
A slow Sunday that my body refused to participate in. The past few weeks of being in the trenches on some shit, running all over, some back issues, never recharging, and various stressors caught up with me so I spent it on the couch. Finished a book I've been reading. Stayed up until 2:30 am to read another in its entirety. 

My desire to do a the weekend that was weekend play by play wanes after what, 10 years of doing them? But I still like weekend touchstones kept here in photos for myself for now. 

Show Us Your Books tomorrow! See you here for that. 

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