Capitalism is the Heart of Christmas

It’s not God.  It’s not Jesus. It’s Money.

And that’s not a horrific thing.  It’s an annoying thing if, like me, you dislike crowds and don’t particularly participate in Christmas.

But this is the season that feeds the Western Economy.  Indeed, because of globalisation, it feeds the world economy.  It’s the engine of spending that employs most of us in one way or another.

I find this idea that there is a war on Christmas amusing.  The strongest power in the world is firmly entrenched in the idea of Christmas.  The power of money.  Christmas isn’t going anywhere.

Even today, most Christians have melded the holiness of the day with decorating, buying, cooking and commenting on people who say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas.

But, sadly for those who still think it’s about religion, Money is all about leveraging for more money.  And so it’s inclusive.  It wants there to a gift giving Hanukkah and it wants Kwanza to be about gifts as well.

Mark my word – it wants Mawlid to be about gift giving too.   Someone, somewhere is working on a way to change a festival for Mohammed’s Birthday into a retail bonanza.  Christmas used to be a festival holiday too.  Now it’s a season of shopping.

AND I bet if they pull it off, the division between Muslims who celebrate Mawlid and those who don’t will disappear.  Because big business always trumps religion.  ESPECIALLY if it can somehow leverage religion into it’s drumbeat.

100 years from now imagine the incredible booming economy that would exist if we could add in a gift exchange for 2 billion Muslims!   Imagine if you gave it a nice unique set of colors and symbols that they would display each year, creating entire industries out of decorating for the holiday.   Almost everyone benefits when the economy is booming.

 

 

Advertisements

I need a list

of things to do when my brain is functional.

Inside my brain are a dozen or more nagging things I should do .  Things that don’t get done because during the brain stillness, I function on a rail.  I do the habits. I walk through the day by doing the next habit.  I focus on conquering the small stuff.

But depression is not a static state and when it moves into the zone of normal I very often get less done than I should because I can’t really seem to put my thoughts into gear to get those nagging tasks done.  I can’t remember them.

I think I need a list.  It has to be on something easily accessible.  So when the nagging thought shows up, I can put it immediately on my list.  Thus removing it’s anxiety from my head.

And when I realize I am in functional normal mode, I can grab the list and do something I wouldn’t normally get done.

I also need the list to be already set up as a functional to-do.  Ie – task broken into it’s component parts.

I will try to do it on one of my phone apps I think.  Although I find writing things down easier, I no longer carry any pad of paper.  I have a phone after-all.

But breaking down the task means it can’t be an app like Remember the Milk.  It has to be a proper to do app.  But that will be an additional electronic nagging rather than a place to put my nagging thought that safely removes it from the anxiety place until I can do it.

I think finding the right app might end up being the first thing on the to do list?  Or at least figuring out how to make an easy app like Milk work for this.

Anyway – that is my current state of mind.  I need more lists in my life.  My brain is way to full of holes.

I bought a cat tree.

I got it quite cheaply compared to most of the cat trees you see, which was why I bought it.  No doubt it’s not as high quality, but…

Anyway, I bought it online in a fit of kitten love.  Then 24 hours later… it occurred to me to check how heavy the delivered box would be.  50lbs.  Huh.  OK.  I can lift that I guess… Up two flights of steps.  I guess.

Then it arrived.  The box was very large.  I was NOT going to be able to carry it.  But I triumphed.  I got out my two wheel cart, essential tool for all single people, tied the box to the cart and pulled that damn box up 2 flights of steps.  And didn’t kill myself by falling head first down the stairs.

Now it’s a box in my living room.  It’s still not a cat tree.

Apparently, cat trees don’t just happen when you open the box.  ASSEMBLY IS REQUIRED.

Assembly has not shown up and the box been waiting since Tuesday.

Saturday – the traditional day to celebrate the Assembly is Required footnote.  I think Assembly must show up today because the cats are currently entertaining themselves by stampeding through the apartment like buffalo.

Happy Cat Stampede is a sound that I personally enjoy, but it is my understanding that other people do not.  And I am going to assume that the downstairs neighbor finds the cat stampede to be annoying.

Hopefully if we assemble this cat tree they will focus their play on the tree and do fewer stampedes at 6am.

I doubt it though.   Maybe she’s deaf.

For the 1st time in 7 years I put up Holiday decorations.

I strung lights around my front window.  I’m rather proud of that step into normal behavior.  I haven’t involved myself in Xmas since my mom died.  But I feel more human and interested in making a pretty place for myself.  So I pulled out a box of lights I bought in an after Xmas sale, with the vague idea of making some kind of decorative element for the bedroom.

Now I need to watch the kitten and how he treats them.  He and Bijou were on the balcony while I put them up.  It’s a beautiful sunny warm winter day and kitten hadn’t been out on the balcony much.  Bijou supervised.  NO GROWLS!!

But I think it was serendipitous because then they weren’t involved in putting up the lights and didn’t see them bouncing about like a toy.

You know.  I really am a WHOLE lot better than I was 5 years ago.  It’s been a long VERY slow slog that feels like nothing gets better.  But it really does.  And it has.  I doubt I will ever be Mrs. Mental Health.  But I’m getting to be Mrs. Mental OK Sometimes.

Maybe I will buy tiny tree too.

Meet Rebel Tim

rebel tim day one

He is about 14 weeks give or take.  I got him from a woman who runs an informal rescue out of her pet supply store.  She can be counted on to have at least a few kittens and cats needing homes.

I introduced him to Bijou who is acting traditionally by hissing and growling as is prescribed by millennia of custom among cats.

Tim is not very impressed by her threats and has explored the entire apartment thoroughly, eaten a good dinner and now feels it is time for a cuddle.

BUT there will be NONE OF THAT.  Boundaries have been laid and he is not allowed to get on the bed.  Indeed, I have also gotten growled at for inviting him.

Tim and I are properly chastised.  We might seek solace in the dining room.  Where cranky pants calicos aren’t staking arbitrary claims to space.

I am hopeful that they will come to a completion of this cat meeting ritual sooner rather than later, if I just stay out of it.  But it’s hard not to participate in having a new kitten!

But I got the kitten for Bijou, not for me.  So.  I will attempt… Probably unsuccessfully… not to lavish a ton of attention on the kitten.

The Dentist – a lesson in depression management

My mouth is a disaster.  A disaster created by lack of maintenance which is a byproduct of depression.

When the stillness of depression overtook me I didn’t go to the dentist.   My teeth are not great – very prone to cavities and so they need regular attention.  But I didn’t go.  Until a painful tooth pushed me there and I had to have the tooth pulled because I didn’t have the money for the root canal.

That was the first of 3 teeth I had pulled in that fashion over 6 years.  Those were the only time I went to the dentist.  All of them were visits to the Urgent Dental Care.

But the painful teeth wasn’t the worst.  The worst was a cavity in my front tooth that was visible as a divot on the side of it.  It made me feel shame.  It made me feel like I couldn’t go on interviews because people would think badly of me for having a hole in my tooth.  It made me ashamed to see old friends and family.  It was a huge mental monster in head.

The last tooth I got pulled was earlier this year.  The dentist was very kind.  He suggested we tackle my mouth one tooth at at time.  He didn’t suggest a regime of dental cleanings or plan a giant trip tick of my mouth problems.  He just said – when you have some money saved just walk in.

And that’s when I realized that this was how I could make it work.  The Urgent Dentist is obviously more expensive than most dentistry, but not exorbitantly so.  (at least this practice.)  But they offer something that is invaluable to me.  They work 7 days a week, 5 of them until 10pm.   They encourage walk ins.

Convenient hours is a huge plus and when it’s tied to walk in it works with my brain dysfunction.  It takes a whole lot of self talk and consideration and aborted attempts to get me to the dentist.   And when the moment gels – I can just go.  No need for an appointment – just go.

An appointment would create a whole new layer of problems.  I would miss appointments if my brain moved into stillness at the moment the appointment came up.  That would make me a persona non-grata with a dentist.  And I would create a larger thing out of potentially missed appointments than they might in reality be so I would just make that into a reason not to set up appointments.

Yesterday, a Sunday afternoon, I walked into the dentist and got my front tooth fixed.  It felt like a triumph.  It’s been a source of shame for years and now it’s fixed.  In an  hour.

It’s not the dentistry tradition I grew up with.  And so it never occurred to me that I could do my dentistry by just walking in, but I can.  So, now for the next few years, I will be saving money and when I have enough, doing next tooth.  By walking into the office when my brain will allow it.   I am not rich.  But the extra money is more than worth this benefit to me.  I wonder how many other people would benefit from it.

 

 

Being Fated to Cats…

One of the drivers where I work watched someone dump a kitten at the side of the road, so she stopped and saved it.

It was a tiny tiny tuxedo baby boy.

Very upright and busy.

I have an irrational belief that cats find me. That every cat in my life is fated to be part of it.

I’ve been mulling a second cat.  I’ve had 2 cats my entire life until the last 5 years or so.  Lily, my last cat, did not enjoy other cats and for awhile I was barely fit to take care of her so we were fine, just the 2 of us.

She died last summer and after a bit another cat arrived to fill the utter void that claimed my life when she left.  Bijou.

I was quite sure I was still too hurt about Lily and couldn’t take on another cat, and then someone posted on Tumblr that a local cat needed a home.  That seemed like Bijou was supposed to be mine.

I think Bijou is a bit lonely.  And I feel quite guilty about this.  But 2 cats is, in fact, twice as many cats.  So I have been mulling and not doing much about it.

So anyway, while I was dithering, the driver walks in with this kitten.  A kismet kitten.  So I offered to take it.  But another driver was more excited and had recently lost his cat and had no cat, so in the end I didn’t bring home a tiny tuxedo kitten for Bijou.

I don’t believe in fate.  But nearly every cat I have taken into my life has been a sort of kismet of that nature.

Even when I picked up a cat at a shelter 25 years ago, I was convinced that I was going get a gorgeous calico kitten, but this bossy brown tabby literally climbed up my arm when I reached in to get the calico.  And he just kept climbing in my lap and pushing over the shy calico, who had no real interest in me. So I took him home.  Chester picked me.  I just showed up and followed his instructions on the matter.

I suppose another cat will show up soon enough. I think a kitten will be the safest thing to blend into our home, but damn they are busy.   It’s hard to guarantee to good meld if you introduce 2 adult cats to each other.  In a big space it’s not as crucial, but we are going to be in a one bedroom apartment.  It will be cozy.  We must get along.

But kittens.  They are so adorable for like 20 minutes and then you realize – they require a lot of monitoring.  Kitten proofing is necessary.  That kitten walked around our office for 10 minutes, and tried to bite cords, nearly fell off a desk, and for about a minute we couldn’t find him at all until he emerged from behind a desk covered in dust bunnies.  Tail high, jauntily walking around oblivious to any and all possible consequences.  He really was adorable.

Possibly Bijou would take on the mentoring role and keep a kitten in check.   Well, we will see what fate brings.  Not that I believe in fate.  I don’t. tuxedo kitten

Except with cats.

 

I have no room left in my brain for empathy over mass shootings.

I can no longer process it.

My empathy doesn’t matter, of course.  Indeed, the dead people don’t matter.

All that matters is that people get to keep guns.

It doesn’t matter if people die because of guns.

What matters is that people have a free right to own a gun.

That’s all that matters.

I just read that 20+ people died and I thought Yup, seems normal.  Unsurprising.

Tomorrow more will die.

Yesterday a bunch of people died.

Next week, last month, next year, 2 years ago.

None of it matters.

That was crystal clear at Sandy Hook.  The US defined itself that time.

There is no moral good in the owning of guns, but people cling to it like it’s the fire that light’s their souls.

Kids mean nothing compared to the ability to own a gun.

Hobbies and Fear

That’s all that holds up their position.  But they keep winning.

It’s obvious that nothing will stop them.  They will cling to their belief and their fear and their bizarre need for a gun and insist that had nothing at all to do with the ongoing national crisis of humans needlessly dying.

There is no fixing a bias like that.  It’s too deep.

People will die tomorrow and the News Media will make money on it.  And the Gun Manufacturers will make more money with every mass shooting.

It’s the insanity of these Fucking United States.  May the hell fires of the Universe obliterate us.  We certainly have earned it.

Creepy Behavior

Friendly Man walks into the room and asks a woman he finds attractive if she she was up all night with her boyfriend.

Friendly Man walks up to a woman at work and tells her she looks hot today.

Friendly Man walks up to a woman he knows casually and give her shoulders a rub.

Friendly Man walks up to a woman and asks her if she’s ever been to the Porn Shop downtown?  They have a sale on today!

I could probably fill a post with these generic examples, or the women reading this could fill up the comments with the hundreds of examples of behavior that is frankly part of a normal life for  woman but is CREEPY BEHAVIOR.

Women are expected to think that all these things are compliments to us.  And many of us have internalized that expectation.

And because it’s supposed to be a compliment, a woman who raises any issue on the subject will be perceived as a bitch.  Unfriendly, rude, hysterical, feminista, hard to work with, angry,… the list goes on.

But believe me, we KNOW that we will be considered the bad guy in any effort we make to keep men from giving us unwanted attention.  And the vast majority of us say nothing during those uncomfortable moments.  Some have become so inured to the culture they manage to feel complimented.  But most of us feel the creepiness wafting off the guy like a stink.  But we will still give an awkward laugh, a stilted comment or an abrupt change of subject.

If you are a straight man, and you want to avoid being a creep, run your interactions with female acquaintances or casual friends through the following filter – Would I say this to a man?

If you wouldn’t say it or do it to a man, don’t do it to a woman you aren’t romantically involved with.

It’s really that simple.

If you are fine with women thinking your a creep, calling you a creep when you leave the room and just generally agreeing behind your back that you have a creepy stink, then ignore the advise.  But one day you will run into someone who will call  you a creep to your face.  And believe me, they will only be echoing the words that have been said behind your back dozens of times.

If you want to approach a woman for a possible romantic encounter, treat it just like you would treat approaching a friend to do a thing neither one of you have done before.  Not your best friend, just a guy you know but don’t socialize with.  That level of distance and and friendly deference to their situation and interest in the thing.

Don’t use movies as your playbook.  We do not want to be “pursued” when we say no.  There is a reason we call that stalking, it’s because it feels predatory to us.  You only hurt any future chance you might have had with that kind of action.

Creepy behavior is so normalized that we pretend it doesn’t exist.  But it does.  And it’s harassment.  But no one wants to say that.  Women certainly don’t because we will NOT be looked on favorably for saying it.  And men don’t want to because there is a indefinable sense of entitlement to treat women as beings designed for their pleasure.