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Dashwoods preening in front of the door

Dashwoods preening in front of the door

Well if the first week of the new president’s administration is any indication, the next four years are going to be beyond craptacular. I enforced a media blackout on myself yesterday because I couldn’t take anymore. And then when I was listening to the news this morning and NPR had a story about all the immigrants and refugees (with visas and papers!) who are now in limbo, some of them already at US airports, I burst into tears. And in spite of the sun finally shining after a week of gray skies, I still feel like the clouds are over my head.

I know y’all don’t come here for politics, and I know and expect not everyone agrees with mine, but I can’t pretend everything is hunky-dory. I respect that everyone has different opinions and life experiences and ideas about how to reach certain goals and even different ideas about what those goals should be. Just like it would be boring if we all liked the same books, it would be boring if we all agreed about everything. So I am totally ok if you only show up for the books and skip posts that are about other things. I am ok too if you want to respectfully disagree. I am conflict-averse, I want nothing more than everyone to get along, and in the past have kept my thoughts to myself. But I can’t do that anymore even if you might wish for me to.

We are all human and none of us is perfect. I don’t know everything and neither do you. Life is a journey and I aim to learn and grow and be the best person I can. That means I sometimes might be an ignorant twerp about something. Know that it is not intentional and feel free to —kindly! — enlighten me. So there you have it. I hope we can all still be friends. I will be sad if we can’t, but I will also try to understand.

Well and so.

An effed up week. It is so effed that I am having a hard time getting my head around it. Where do I start? What can I do? I feel like I am running around from fire to fire and spitting on it which is utterly ineffective. I saw a tweet by sci-fi and fantasy author Elizabeth Bear in which she said (in essence) that we as individuals can’t dedicate ourselves to all the issues, that the best thing we can do is to choose one or two and focus on that otherwise we will be ineffective and in danger of damaging both physical and mental health.

It strikes me as true after a week of frantic petition signing, tweets and Facebook comments to my city’s mayor, my representatives, and even the president himself (I tweeted Trump about the #FuckingWall and no, he did not respond but I hope to someday have the honor of him blocking my account. How can I tell if he does?). Because I am only one person and have a full time job and limited time and cash, I can’t run around spitting on all the fires as much as I might want to.

So I have been thinking about that Elizabeth Bear tweet. Where do I want to focus my energy? The environment, especially climate change, food, water and land use issues. Surprised? Didn’t think so. This does not mean I don’t pay any attention to immigrants or black lives or women’s rights and other important social justice issues, only that I will do for those issues what I can, when I can. The thing about my chosen focus though is that in many ways it encompasses pretty much every social justice issue out there, not all of them, but a big chunk of them.

Many years ago when I began gardening I saw it as a hobby, a fun thing to do with the bonus of fresh tomatoes and the sweetness of just picked, perfectly ripe strawberries. But it has become more than that. Gardening has become a radical act. Digging up my lawn, growing my own food, saving seeds, improving my soil, growing perennials and other plants for pollinators (my garden is a bee, butterfly and dragonfly sanctuary), and always looking for and learning new ways of caring for my little plot of land. I still bring a lot of resources in from outside, but I am getting better at needing less. I think my urban yard is too small for it to ever be 100% self-sustaining, but more and more I am finding ways to obtain the inputs I need from local sources.

And it isn’t just about my own garden. The Hiawatha Food Forest proposal to create a food forest available to all instead of a polluting, resource gobbling public golf course is making good headway. It has obtained some small part of the golf course on which to begin planting a fruit and nut orchard. Planting is slated to take place on Arbor Day, April 28th, and I will be there!

I also recently learned that the Longfellow neighborhood, practically next door to my Nokomis neighborhood, is a transition neighborhood. Of course their gardening meetings happen on Saturdays which are my cycling endurance training days, but I am trying to figure out ways I might be able to attend meetings and make a contribution there. They even have trainings to help people start their own transition groups. As an introvert and someone who is shy with strangers, the idea of trying to organize a transition group in my own neighborhood is terrifying, but I believe it needs to be done so it might, eventually, have to be me.

But I am doing all sorts of terrifying things these days it seems. Will it ever get easier and less scary?

To help my spirits today I began doing newspaper pot origami. Seed starting begins in three weeks so it is time to get ready. That reminds me, I need to order the grow lights I found at the home improvement store.

Zwift volcano route

Zwift volcano route

In my cycling life, Zwift opened a new course this week that makes riding on a trainer less dull. This new course goes through a volcano! The course is a circuit and has a lap counter, perfect for criterium racing. And, when you have the fastest lap time, you get to wear an awesome volcano jersey for an hour or until someone else beats your time. I got to wear it for a little while yesterday.

All this work on the trainer will, I hope, pay off come August 5th. What is so special about that day you ask? Well, check it out: Minnesota RAAM Challenge. Yes, yes that is my name there as a women’s solo rider for the 200 mile race. Am I crazy? Probably. But I am also pretty sure this is something I can do. I rode 114 miles/183 km in six hours on my trainer yesterday so I am over halfway there. I know trainer miles do not equal actual road miles, but I train harder with speed and elevation so when I get on the road it will hopefully even out. It is still cold and icy on the outdoor roads and I don’t expect to venture outside on a bicycle until the end of March, but that will be here before I know it!

Because the internet was apparently built for cats, and who doesn’t love a cute cat photo? Here is Waldo giving a blissful Dickens a bath.


Be safe out there and don’t forget to practice kindness on yourself and others.