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Monday, May 14, 2018

expectation is the mother of disappointment

I don't know if that is a quote that Socrates already claimed, but over the last week or so, that thought grew and bloomed into what I am guessing is going to be some kind of vital pithy saying that I'll throw out there every once in a while (mostly for myself, but for days that I am waxing eloquent it could also be shared with those feeling like a bag of crap - pardon me while I pat you on the back with this broom).

Quite frankly, I don't suppose it is something very comforting.  It basically blames that disappointed person when they already feel quite terrible already.  I do not like this aspect, but I think if you can walk around that to the other side and examine this under logic, you can hold it to prevent at least some future disappointments.

If you think about it, when you have no expectations, you really won't be disappointed in what comes out of life.  If you can perceive it in this way, you can almost be an amused bystander as things happen to and around you.

I am generally an optimist.  I do not find any joy or use in approaching life with a dark curtain pulled over it.  I don't see this as helpful, except in rare instances that feel like they will upset the very balance of my entire being, and in that case, I will purposely imagine the absolute worst possible scenario so that whatever does happen, it is sure to either meet or exceed my expectations in a good way.

What I am about to suggest to you is going to sound depressing, but I can assure you that if you take a good look at this, it actually yields pleasant results.

Here is a dreadful example from my own very exciting life.

A couple months ago, I was preparing for a speaking engagement. I had been doing some over the winter with good success - I was meeting a lot of people I didn't know and getting great feedback.  I went to a new venue and had to do my own marketing and promotion (gah, horrible). 

I figured I could pull in maybe like half a million tremendously interested people who would be basically shoving each other out of the way and risking being trampled like it was Black Friday at Best Buy.  I imagined my books selling out and basically becoming a millionaire while famous people asked me if I'd like to sign up for either becoming the next greatest comedian or someone who should have an honorary doctorate at Harvard for my groundbreaking presentation skills and information.

The day was going to be great.  I had my outfit picked out, my sister and friend were going to help me with admission and book sales, and I was looking forward to being able to hold a microphone (BECAUSE I LOVE MICROPHONES).  Early in the morning, a friend told me he couldn't make it.  Sometime in the afternoon, I got a text from a friend saying that she couldn't make it that night.  A half hour later, I got another text from another friend saying the same thing, but for a different reason.  An hour later, I got another text with the same message.  After person number 6 or so, I still had a very optimistic outlook.  It was fine - they have things going on or they are not well, it will work out, plenty of other people will still come and it will be fantastic.

I mean, facebook said it would.  Just LOOK at all of those people who say they're coming!  It will be great.

We scurried around and set up the room and the tables and the projector and my laptop and the microphone, the books were set up, the clipboard with the names of people who were coming were on it, ready to be checked off.

Although there were hardly any people there, I figured they must be coming later.  They're just late, lots of people are late all the time.  I'll start anyway because I said I would start at 7:00 and I will.  I walked to the front of the room and looked out at the audience.

Terrible news and spoiler: I was not about to become wildly rich and famous this night.

This was when it hit me.  In this audience were a pile of people related to me (thank you), a few people who must have just felt sorry for me but wanted to support me, and a very small handful of others.

This is it?  This is it!  Oh holy crap.  So, I put in all of this work for nothing?  I'm not even going to have enough money to cover the cost of this room.  This is unbelievable! 

 And then, the blind rage and insatiable fury welled up inside from the depths of my soul and I could barely see straight.  I am not sure because I have blocked it from conscious memory, but I think the only reason I got through the first fifteen minutes of that presentation was because I was reading slides like some sort of  unsocialized seventh grader who had to do the first public speaking presentation of her life but who really preferred to spend most of her time hiding in books or under tables or perhaps, more suitably, rocks.

Now, I don't know about you, but what made this exceptionally worse was that this failure got to be full blown in front of my family, who now would be permanently scarred with the embarrassment of having to be related to me FOREVER MORE, who really must be dying to sneak out to the bathroom in a nonchalant manner, but then just run full speed out to their cars, drive to the nearest bar, and get black out drunk at the thought that this was a branch on their own genetic chain and there was nothing that they could do about it except conveniently forget to invite me to the next family reunion and sharpie my face out of every picture ever taken with them.

After the first fifteen minutes, when I had begun to accept my distressing and unpleasant fate, I began talking to myself instead of listening to myself. 

Now you listen here, missy.  You stop this nonsense right now.  Suck it up, buttercup.  I don't want you to express one more second or iota of this blind rage out of your face that you are experiencing because even though apparently tonight you are not going to become wildly and insanely famous, there are still people in this audience who deserve for you to take a cliff dive out of your own head and give them the information that you promised, and without the boiling ears and the facial expressions that are basically plain as day written on your face that you are going to go on a psychotic spree immediately at the conclusion of this presentation.  Whether you like it or not, you are going to stand up here for the next 45 minutes, and even though you would like to throw the microphone across the room and go bananas, that is not going to happen.  There must be ways that you could prevent this from happening again, so you will fix this later, but for now, rub some dirt on it and do this.

While this was undoubtedly the worst presentation I have ever done in the history of my life, I did learn some things from it and was reminded of other things I knew before, namely that:

1.  You can't take anything personally - you have to have thick skin for being in front of people and if you want to achieve anything of any worth at all.

2.  People flake.  If you've done direct sales, you live with this on a daily basis.  Expect it, it's not personal.

3.  Asking people to pre-register is a better idea than crossing my fingers and hoping people will show up.

4.  Being a wildly successful and famous person takes more than five minutes of effort.  Unless you're that kid yodeling in Walmart.

5.  Remember why you're doing what you're doing.  I got into health coaching and writing because I wanted to help people.  I really wanted to be able to help them change their lives.  I was tired of seeing people suffering from preventable issues and not getting answers or feeling that they are heard regarding their chronic health issues and lack of energy and brain fog from who they were dealing with in the medical community.

6. Some people have really good advice, even when you don't want to hear it.

It took the gentle words of dear people to help me to be able to pick this up and look at it again without wanting to scream, and without feeling judged as a complete and utter failure in all aspects of life to walk through this and try to make change for the next time around.

The next speaking engagement I did was wonderful and vividly reminded me of why I do what I do.  I walked in without expectations, telling myself that the people who would show up that night are the ones who were meant to be there - whether there were 3 people or 300, they were the ones who were supposed to be in my circle that day.  They were supportive of each other, asking questions and helping each other.  We made connections and laughed and learned from each other.  I walked in thinking that I am here to help, and I will help in every way that I can.  I walked out having connected with many other people, making new friends, and with opportunities to expand my business and to genuinely help other people.

Oh.  Yeah.  How about that.

Our lives are saturated with things that we might not prefer, but if we can back up, there is space to look at things through a different perspective.  Although my situation is embarrassing and makes me want to erase it from the hard drive of my memory, I shouldn't - it is a place for me to learn something.  I hope that it could be used to help others to learn the lesson without having to go through it. 

We are not alone in our disappointments.  They fill our days.  People will fail you and not be who you want them to be.  You will find yourself in places you wish you could rewind and do over again.  In this, I've been thinking about a very well-known passage in the letter that the apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth - you've likely heard it, it's about love.  It says that you can do all of these heroic deeds, like letting yourself be burned as a martyr, to selling every last possession you have and basically living like a monk in a hair shirt, but if you don't have love, you're nothing.  You've basically wasted all of your efforts.  You could be the most amazing understanding genius and be a person who possesses all faith, but you will gain nothing.  It goes on to say that love endures all things and love bears all things. 

Here it is directly:  

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.  Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

So let me encourage you to bear all things and endure all things.  When people are idiots, you can bear all things through love.  When you wish you could sell them down the river, love endures all things.  When your life is so stupid and you would like a reset button, endure all things.  When things are not going the way that you had hoped and are so far from the things you wish for, bear all things.  These things have been done for you already.  You have been the idiot.  You have been the one who should be on a raft floating down the river. 

I mean, good thing you aren't right NOW, I mean, that was before.  We are clearly fixed of all idiocy at present.

(Literally just wait five minutes and I'll have another story on tap.  Don't you worry.)

Peace, love, and endurance,
Ms. Daisy

Thursday, February 15, 2018

on volatile dehumanization

We stand at the junction of two paths.  Floods of people are going to the left, floods are pouring off to the right.  They are convinced they are going the right way.

They try to prove how right they are and they start by yelling at the other side, telling them how stupid they are.  This (remarkably) doesn't seem to convince them, so they dehumanize them, writing them off as less than human (maybe like 3/5?) and suggesting that they are a scourge on humanity and need to be disposed of.

Then strangely - I'm sure it's not at all connected - there is an uprising of violence.  This isn't a time to connect and see why or what caused it, it is a time to shift more blame, stand taller on the soapbox, and to yell louder.  This is advanced and successful communication.

The horrors of the past are filed under the fact that those old timers were ignorant.  They were slave traders, not seeing others as human.  They were greedy little pigs, seeking gain for themselves, running others over, letting nothing get in their path.   They were awful in their push for more land, dehumanizing the native people, raking them over the coals into a trail of tears.   They were influenced by old ideals and they do not resonate with us.

But we are faced with it now - it's not just relegated to our history.  It's here, saturated in lust as people are bought through the sex trade and human trafficking.  It is saturated in a hunger for power and land conquest.  (Does this story seem new to you?)

The ship is sinking and we're arguing about the curtains.

Do you remember how to have a conversation?  Do you remember how to listen?  Do you remember how to disagree without hate?  Can you keep your passion without losing your mind?  Can you hold an idea in your hand and turn it over intelligently?  Can you respectfully return it?  Can you use social media and remember that there are humans on the other side of your flippant words?

The people on the "other side" are people.  When you treat them otherwise, you are the slave trader, you are the one standing behind the Cherokee mother, swaddling her baby, poking her to keep moving west, you are the one buying a half hour with someone's daughter, chained to the bed.  

Every atrocity could only be committed because the psychology allowed for another group to be seen as less than human, as idiots, as maniacs, as ones to be subdued, as worthless, as a waste of space, as disposable trash.

You stand on the dark side of history when you participate this way.

You were made with intelligence.  You were made with compassion.  You were made for connection.  You were made to use your talents to love and serve others, not to amass a tiny, temporal kingdom. 

It does not mean that you must bow out of the conversation.  You have a voice that ought to be heard.  In order to hear, you really ought to listen.  

Every idea that isn't yours isn't a personal attack.  

Every belief someone holds that isn't reflective of your own is not a pointed insult.

There is so much poison out there.  You can drink it.  You can make more of it.  You can spray it all over your house, your land, your children, and bathe in it.

Or you can retain your intelligence with magnanimous poise and nobility, genuinely listening and seeking to understand.  

You will be written into the tapestry of our history for future generations.  Which side will you be standing on?

Peace, love, and get it together,
Ms. Daisy

Friday, February 9, 2018

Coconut Elvis Granola and Evil Canola Oil

You may already know this, but I am not a superfan of cereal.  Most of the time I feel like it is a little bit of a worthless thing, but that is because it is mainly marketed as something you eat for breakfast and it is (usually) loaded with sugar.  I am a strong advocate for eating something savory in the morning (after your 16 ounces of water, obviously) as it sets the tone for your palate for the rest of the day.


Sometimes you hear something that just inspires you.  I used to eat cereal.  Growing up, that was breakfast.  If I was lucky, it was going to be Lucky Charms (with as many marshmallows as I could possibly get).  As I got a little older, I thought I would refine my tastes with muselix or granola.  You know how that is - it's the fight in your mouth.  The challenge of the hard clumps that cut the top of your mouth - really, I've heard it said that there's nothing like it to wake up to (except maybe a good set in the chlorine).

Because I never buy it, my children think that it is Christmas, their birthday, and Superbowl Sunday all in one if we have cereal in the house and they end up acting like they are some kind of deprived and starving animals and eat it for dessert and the $6 box is gone in a day and a half.  (Well, that was worth it.  Not.)

Today is some sort of snowpocalypse and everyone is out of their minds.  People aren't going to work; children aren't going to school.  Instead, they are playing video games, skiing, and going to trampoline parks. 

This was the day that the granola was destined to be made.

I had a recipe from a friend that was called "Elvis Granola".  Out of all of the people I know, this friend is the all-time world champion of granola eating, so I knew that it was going to be legit.  This "Elvis Granola" contained peanuts and chocolate, so even though it was basically dessert, I figured it was worth a try, even if that try was going to actually be dessert and not breakfast.

There was only one problem.

The original granola recipe called for canola oil.  Excuse me?  Canola oil?  No.  No way, José.  As if I would use poison in my recipe! 

What's my problem with canola oil?  Well, first of all, approximately 90% of canola oil is made from genetically modified ingredients and sprayed with Roundup (glyphosate - made by Monsanto).  Glyphosate is a known carcinogen.  That looks like a bunch of cancer all over the place.  I'll pass, thanks.

The other problem that I have with canola is that it is inherently modified.  Canola oil wasn't invented until the 1960s in Canada, and it was invented because of a demand for a cheap oil (olive oil had a price point that was too high for manufacturing of faster foods).  It was derived from the rapeseed plant (within the mustard family).  Using it as rapeseed oil without hybridization led to a host of issues mainly because of its toxic levels of erucic acid (which can also be found in other members of the Brassica family, but has high concentrations in rapeseed and canola), like blistered lungs and skin. 

Good news, though.  It is used to make paint because it will adhere to wet metal, which is great for ocean vessel applications.  Mmm, practical AND tasty.

By 1978, chemical companies figured out how to get the erucic acid levels lowered a bit so that we could escape the pesky business of lesions on lungs and other problems, and so they could market it to manufacturing as a cheap alternative. 

In 1995, the brilliant scientists found a way to inject the DNA with a bacteria so that it could be resistant to Roundup, making it possible for farmers to spray mass amounts of Roundup on their fields, killing all of the weeds, but the canola plant would survive.  Genius?  Yes.  Diabolical?  Probably.

Canola oil is highly processed and also very reactive to heat, light, and pressure, causing oxidation.  (That means rusting in your body.  That means premature aging and degenerative diseases like cancer, Alzheimer's, dementia, and WRINKLES.)  When canola oil is heated, it produces high levels of butadiene, benzene, acrolein, formaldehyde and other related compounds.  Have you heard of any of those?  Yeah.  Poisonous carcinogens.  Awesome.

This study shows the unfortunate side effect of how canola oil decreased levels of vitamin E so drastically that some animals died.  (They supplemented vitamin E to see if and how that would help.)

Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, I decided that I would sub out the toxin for coconut oil so that when my offspring saw homemade granola and decided to go on a wild binge, I wouldn't be contributing to their early deaths.

Here is what I did instead.

Coconut Elvis Granola

Preheat oven: 275 F.

 Mix these guys in a pan: 1/4 cup organic coconut oil, 1/3 cup maple syrup, 1/4-1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter,  1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon.  Stir.  Cook a few minutes until you think it isn't going to do anything different.

 While that is simmering, get a big huge bowl (Pyrex for vintage feels) and dump in: 4 cups organic oats, 1/4 cup ground flaxseed, 1/2 cup unsalted peanuts, 1/2 cup sunflower seeds.  Mix it all up.

Dump the warm liquid into the dry crunchy.  Mix all over until everything looks so happy.

Pour onto two stainless steel (seriously, do not give yourself Alzheimer's with the aluminum baking pans) baking sheets and spread out.

Bake for 20 minutes, rotate pans, bake for 20 more minutes.  You may need a little longer than that, but check it at the 40 minute mark.

Let it cool.  Add a bunch of non-soy dark chocolate chips.  I like Enjoy Life brand because they don't have any allergens.  This is how I made it the first time, but I would add shredded coconut to the final mix because dark chocolate and coconut are bae together.  It would benefit the overall flavor to double the peanut butter and make it 1/2 cup instead of a wimpy 1/4.

I did not eat this for breakfast, and I won't because I am an egg and toast kind of girl, but it is an amazing dessert.  I poured it over my organic, grass-fed, whole milk plain yogurt and ate it until I thought I might make myself throw up.  Moderation?  I doubt it.

If you try it, let me know how you like it.

Peace, love, and actual granola,
Ms. Daisy


Monday, January 1, 2018

Weight Loss on the Winning Team

Well, lovies, we've made it.  2017 has been cleared off of our plates and we're here with a fresh start, a new calendar waiting for you, blank, and ready.  The first day of 2018 greets us with the promise of new hope, dreams, and aspirations.  Will you focus on self-improvement, sanctification, connection, your health, being intentional and present, dropping addictions, loving more, enjoying your littles, learning something new, or a combination of all of those? 

Or perhaps you resolve to not make resolutions.  You've failed in the past and you aren't about that useless nonsense of flipping a calendar and waving a magic wand, hoping that you will magically change into someone new. You know yourself well enough to know that change comes slowly, and not because it is tradition when the Gregorian calendar tells us so. 

Whatever camp you find yourself in on this day, perhaps you are like many of my clients and friends who find themselves not quite exactly where they'd like to be physically after the head-on collision they've had with the holidays.  It all starts so subtly.  An extra bag of candy from the grocery store at Halloween because they've got a 2 for 1 sale slides quickly into the eating frenzy and near bake-off of Thanksgiving, which careens us smack into Christmas and Hanukkah, at which point we have given up on the voice of moderation because "it's the holidays" and we'll deal with that later, but now is the time for enjoyment!

Ah yes.  Enjoyment.  January 1 comes and that luster of "enjoyment" looks like you staring at yourself in your mismatched plaid pajama pants, gazing disgustedly at your puffy face, your unshaven bits (PSA: Hey guys!  It's time to shave those beards!  No, seriously - the homeless look is now officially out of vogue - unless you're a millennial, then whatever, man, go back to your microbrewery in the basement.  We won't bother you while you so creatively express yourself.), and a pile of glorious lumps you have somehow managed to acquire over the last few months.  You look aghast, wondering if it is the lighting or if, please God no, let me not really and actually be this hideously ugly.

Okay, that's it.  I'm not going to say it to my friends or on facebook, but bruuuh, I have got to do something.   And so it begins.  You start to reel it in just a little because you know you cannot go on like this. 

But what will work?  What will bring the success that you crave?  (Hint: It's not taking my locker at the gym.) 

Will it be to swear off cookies for the rest of your life?  Will it be to sweat it out on the ellipitical for three hours a day everyday for the unforeseeable future (a.k.a. until Valentine's Day when they have candy hearts and boxed chocolates for sale)?  Will it be to make chard sandwiches for breakfast to punish (I mean, reward) yourself?

If you even have an inkling about the nature of our complicated brains, you will know that these things can only work for a short time.  They are not sustainable (especially the chard sandwiches - right, Court?).  We are desperate little creatures sometimes and we will resort to absurdities to climb out of our panicked states.

I am not all about that cray cray thang.  I believe in making sustainable change slowly, and making it a lifestyle (want more?  Hint: YES, YOU DO.  Check out my book on Amazon: Just One Thing: Simplifying the Mystery of a Healthy Lifestyle.  You can snuggle it on your pillow or frame the cover and hang it on the wall.  Blow it up to poster size and put it next to your mirror with a speaking bubble that says, "YOU CAN DO EEET!"  Or just read it.  Any is fine.). I want you to be able to actually enjoy your life with a cookie, but not be a slave to the sugar god.  I want you to be able to look at something (even though it looks completely delicious) and shrug and be able to say, you know, right now I'm just not feeling it.   Contrast this with the feeling of you holding that third cookie in your hand, biting down, chewing, and thinking, I don't even really want this.  What am I doing right now?!  

What works?  In my health coaching practice, there is one thing that brings a glowing highlight of attention to what is going on in your life, and where you can study yourself to make good and lasting change.  It isn't exercise (although you ought to exercise).  It isn't swearing off foods exactly.

It's a food journal.

What?!  Yes.  A food journal.  Let me propose something to you.  I know it may seem wild, but just hear me out.  I believe that there is a potential that you may have slight cognitive dissonance between what you think you are eating and what you are actually eating, and you won't be able to bridge that gap until you put it in black and white and see for yourself.

My awesome clients have come back to me with amazing revelations.  They see that they are desperately in love with tortilla chips.  (This is actually a recurring theme among many of them. Read: YOU ARE NOT ALONE.)  They see that they are eating about a micro-ounce of protein all day and it suddenly dawns on them why they feel like they got hit by a truck and have energy swings like a cross between a Nanny 911 toddler and your 16 year-old self raging through a tornado of severe PMS.  They see that they are surviving on McDonald's and coffee during the day, cheese and crackers for dinner, and three bowls of ice cream before bed.  They realize that they are drinking a lot more junk than they thought they were (whether that is the poisonous Coke Zero or Tito's vodka or vanilla caramel lattes from Starbucks). 

You can do this old school - pen and paper.  You can get an app.  (And if you do, for the love of all that is good, do not bother tracking your calories.  Counting calories is so Jane Fonda era.  What counts is that you're eating real food.)  You can do it throughout the day.  You can do it at the end of the day.  You know what will work for you.  I also recommend that you write down a few other things in your food journal: how much sleep you got the night before, your overall mood (on a scale of 1-10), if you took any vitamins that day, and your stress level.  Those things will give you a broader picture of  what is going on in your life and how your body is responding to things.

Exercise is great and has many benefits for mental health, brain plasticity (by creating BDNF), preventing Alzheimer's, dementia, and increasing overall good mood, but it will not erase and repair your five donut a day habit.  Food is first.  In my personal guesstimate, I'd say that weight loss is 85% your food and beverage choices and 15% exercise.  Exercise comes to tone up the flabby.  Exercise is how you get that solid six-pack, but you won't even find that six-pack if you buried it under six layers of bagels and Pop Tarts.  Hear me: I do want you to exercise, but I want your exercise to be effective.  It is a lot easier to keep something up when you are actually hitting goals and making change than when you shovel ice cream down your pie hole and put yourself back ten steps.  You're fighting yourself and that is a losing battle, no matter how you look at it.

I want you to win for 2018.  I want you to smash goals.  If you're still breathing, you life isn't over.  Your race isn't finished.  It is not time to give up.  You've got stuff to give.  You were put on this planet to do something, to help others, to give your talents to change the world.  That is a lot easier to do when you have energy, a clear brain, and a body that works optimally.  No, it's not everything.  Your eternal soul will long outlive your shell, but what you do here and now makes a difference for eternity.  Embrace it and go get it.

Peace, love, and let's do this!
Ms. Daisy

p.s. If you'd like to work with me and have someone come along side of you and cheer you on and guide you toward your goals, get in touch with me.  It is an honor to watch people grow and change and become who they have wanted to be.  I'd love to help.  (Send me an email and connect with me:  I do Skype as well as in person programs.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

maybe not me, too.

Perhaps you have seen it on facebook - the horrible "me, too" on your female friends statuses, a mark signifying that they have been (in some way) sexually assaulted or harassed. 

The first time I saw it, my eyes widened.  Oh no!  My poor friend.  I thought, "How bold of her to stand out in the face of rape.  She is brave!"  And then I saw another, and another, and another, and another, and another.  My sad face emojis were everywhere.  What on earth!

After seeing about fifteen of these statuses, I thought, "Wait, am I mistaken?  Am I understanding this clearly?  Are all of these people saying that they have been raped?"  Or is sexual assault not rape?  In my head, assault is a violent and brutal action taken against someone.  Defining it further by explicitly calling out "sexual assault" is the equivalent of rape in my mind. 

But maybe they are focusing on harassment.  Maybe they have lost their job or felt threatened that they would by a male co-worker or boss.  Maybe it's like those 70's movies where the dude is grabbing people's butts and pinching them and winking at their secretaries.  I have never seen that in person, but maybe I'm not in that culture or maybe I'm just an oblivious moron.

So I thought about it.  By the grace of God and his mercy, I haven't been harassed and I haven't been sexually assaulted.  Maybe because from my sophomore year in college until I got married, almost all of my friends were male and they were a barrier to the bad guys.  My brothas from anotha motha stood by me and kept an eye on me and any guy I dated knew that I had a pack of homeboys who would step up and pay them a visit with a baseball bat (if I didn't do it first) if a situation warranted it.  It was never needed; mercifully, I didn't date guys who crossed the lines I drew. 

But the truth is, I do have a few friends who were raped and some who were molested, and the actions of those men are deplorable and horrifying, but that is not the vast majority of my friends.  This is not to be discounted.  The men must be called to account and justice ought to be served to them.  What of the masses saying otherwise, though?  What is going on?

Perhaps the definition of harassment is wider in the minds of the rest of society and I am unaware.  Maybe they don't mean just rape.  Maybe they are including when a guy yells out his window at you that you're hot.  Maybe they're including when you walk into a grocery store and a guy mumbles something to you.  Maybe they mean when a guy walks over to you because he thinks you're good looking, calls you beautiful, and gives you the extra money on his expiring gift card to pay for gas because his tank is full and he can't use any more.  Maybe it's the vast and interesting collection of weird stalkers you have that they are tossing into the pile.  Maybe it is the honks and yells you get when running and biking.  Maybe it's when a guy lets out a loud and exaggerated swear word with his buddies as he looks you up and down as you pass his table in a restaurant trying to make your way quietly to the bathroom.   (Simma down nah, dawg.)  Maybe it's the guy at Costco who writes the line on your receipt and tells you that you have the most beautiful smile he's ever seen and he says he has seen a million.  Maybe it's the guy who takes your fingerprints and tells you that your scent is oh so pleasing and relaxing (no, my patchouli just reminds you of smoking down, bruh).

Here's the thing, and don't kill me for thinking this way.  In order for me to truly feel harassed, I have to own these things.  They have to get under my skin, they have to bother me, they have to define me, and they have to make me a victim to the whims of weirdos.  Weirdos are weird, and they can keep it.  I don't absorb it.  What they're saying is on them, not on me.  I do not feel victimized and I'm not a victim.  I am amused at their oddity (and I'm glad I smell good, to be honest).  They have to live with their weird little selves and their wild swears.  I am doing my own thing and it doesn't include them.  They are a blip in the day and they're gone.  If I can avoid them, I will, but if I can't, they are nothing to me. 

I don't want a culture where the appropriate men are terrified of speaking to women at all.  That's idiotic.  Say what you want, I have enough sense of self to keep your opinion outside of me.  We're on this planet and we need to work together.  We all have our quirky ways.  If you individually offend someone, let them tell you, and fix it with that person.  Some people are more sensitive than others.  Yes, you need to not be a total bonobo, but for the love of all that is good, let's work this out one on one and not blanket society with the thought that all men are rapists and all women have been raped.  Men are not all evil.  (Well, they are because they are inherently sinners, but I don't mean that if you have three legs instead of two, you're a vicious predator.)  Women are not victims. 

I am thankful for the good men in my life - from my high school and college homies to the husbands of my friends, to the bros at church to my fellow athletes in the water and in the sport of triathlon, to the many males in my family and even the random strangers who have helped me in crisis - you are good, quality homies and I luh you.  They bring admirable qualities to my world that I very much look up to.   I am concerned that they are being demonized because others are total butthead sociopath jerkwads.  If speaking out for what is right is what we're after, then I am here to speak up for them.  I hope that their character speaks for itself to all they are surrounded by, but in case they are only seen as a male power-hungry potential rapists, I want to stand in the gap for them and say they're not all like that.  They're not even mostly like that.  The weirdos are few and far between and they are the glitches in the gene pool.

For those who have been assaulted, there is no excuse for those men.  You are precious and they are wrong.  They have something wrong with them, and you didn't deserve it - not under any circumstance.  I am sorry that it happened to you and I wish you would have been protected from that situation and from them.  If I could reach you, I'd give you a hug, and then I'd like to find them and blowtorch their faces off.  They are horrible humans, and I'm sorry you experienced their depravity in that way.

Peace, love, and hugs,
Ms. Daisy

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

eau de chlorine

up in the morning
while it's still dark
bathing suit pulled up
put the car out of park
drink a bunch of water
and off to the pool
quiet down the expressway
man, swimmers are cool
trudge in the locker room
unpack lock, shampoo, towel
if you take my locker
i promise you a scowl
good morning to the usuals
lined up and ready to go
fifteen minutes of warm up
then we start the show
75s, IMs, maybe a few timed swims, 
all out, for time, just don't quit
kick sets, pulling,
and get after it
3000 yards later
you put in an hour
 crawl out of that pool
you earned your shower
you didn't wake up to be average
at this time of day
you're characterized by amazing
in every way
there's a fight inside
every swimmer's heart
and sometimes butterfly
is a work of art
so get up and push it
do what you need to do
be super amazing

 i admire you

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Facebook Breakup (again)

Social media is quite the thing, isn't it?  If you're not in the mix of it, you're what the rest of everyone would deem as either lucky, crazy, or just busy with other things.  Personally, I have a love-hate relationship with social media (mostly hate, but whatever...well, except for Instagram.  Instagram is bomb.), with hating facebook at the top of the list.

Why do I jump in and out of it?  Why do I do this to myself?

Quite frankly, I always hate it, but sometimes I participate in the madness because I need it for business.  It's hard to be able to reach ~500 (or however many) people every day otherwise.  You can toss something out and get a good response almost all of the time because the people in your tribe want to support you and help you.  When I ask for help, they are there to back me up.  When I am feeling hilarious and like I need to get on stage, I pop on and say the funny thing I heard that day and then yay, oh yay, I get the laugh face.  I love the laugh face.

But what is the cost?  I'd say about one gajillion billion pounds of wasted time, energy, life, and motivation.  I scroll through that sucker like nobody's business sometimes because for crying out loud, if you miss that your friend had a death in the family, you are going to be an insensitive jerk.  And what about the people who are having health problems?  You want to be there to support them for that.

To be honest, if you think about it, most of it is not that - most of it is people writing the ten concerts they went to, the meowquiz (or whatever it is), the passionate politicos, and pictures of people's children (playing soccer/football/baseball/etc.), dogs, coffee cups, inspirational quotes, and dinners.  (Don't get me wrong, I love pictures of dinners.  I will stop and look at that, no joke.  I'll be analyzing it...hmm, you think that was cooked in avocado oil?  Is that a Teflon pan?  For heaven's sakes, these people are using a Teflon pan.  Do I say something?  Do I compliment the food and then tell them it would have tasted better in a cast iron pan?  Am I seriously looking at a picture of someone's dinner for like three minutes right now?  Good thing this isn't a waste of time...)

Then there is the fine line between what you can say and what you can't say.  Do you want to be all political?  Do you want to be obnoxious?  Do you want to be hilarious but potentially offend people?  So then what can you say?  Am I going to have a boring page of saying nothing?  I can't bear the thought of that, but I don't really want to offend my friends, either.  Can I say what I want but in a way that won't offend them?

Okay, okay, okay, this is getting a little out of hand.  What if I just have it to comment on other people's pages?  What if I just kind of hide in the background and randomly comment?  You know what, I'm not a hide in the background and randomly comment kind of girl. I'm more of a let's-see-if-this-crazy-thing-can-be-worded-so-they-know-I-still-love-them-while-I-say-something-totally-bananas.  Yeah, that's still a time waster.

So, I'm out.  I am on the facebook fast.  I've purged it from my life.  It's nice, I have to tell you.  I don't have to check it, I don't have to wonder.  I don't have to think, "Did anyone think that little girl who can't stand slow walkers was awesome?  Did I get like 99 likes or what?  Are people congratulating me at finding such a winning video?  Are they reposting it because it is literally the best video they have ever seen in their life?"  (Which, BY THE WAY, that video was seriously the best ever.  Watch it.  Are you type A?  This was you as a child.  In fact, this is you now, you just know how to conceal it better.  No joke.  This kid is my hero.) 

I apologize to all of my dear friends who have to roll their eyes and my ups and downs with social media.  I know, I'm sorry.  It's tedious and horrible to watch someone go in and out of a relationship like that, but I really can't help it.  Sometimes it just must be done, no matter the longing and call it puts out to you.

Yes, at first it's hard.  It's like, wait, what do I even do when I go to the bathroom now?  Slowly but surely, you can find coping mechanisms to deal with the new changes.  They are hard and you don't like them, but since you've committed to the change, you have to just bite your lip and get through it.  Thank you, sisu.  (There are harder things in life.  There are things that make you wonder if you really want to wake up in the morning.  Dumping facebook should not be one of them.)

Do I miss it?  I miss the connection, yes.  I really do.  I miss how easy it is to get in there and find someone to reach out to.  People are posting funny things and some need the kind of help that you provide.  That's the hard part.  Not being able to swoop in and be that hand for someone.  (Although, if you're reading this, please, just call me.  You know I'll help you.)

But on the other hand, just imagine your level of productivity.  In fact, I have to tell you something.  I got down to ZERO emails in my inbox as a result of this change.  I'm ahead in all of my work, and I even attended a PTA meeting, where I gave my opinion on not letting teachers have traditional desks (thumbs down - are you trying to kill them?). 

Have you ever thought of it?  Have you ever wished you could just give it all up and ditch social media entirely?  It really is possible.  It's the fastest way to lose 1000 pounds, or at least that's what it feels like.

I dare you to try.

Peace, love, and Luddites,
Ms. Daisy

p.s. Just because I'm gone doesn't mean I don't love you.  I do.  You know I do.  xx

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

a letter to my progressive friends in the wake of the election

My dear friends,

I've been up and down the newsfeed today and I've seen it all: people rejoicing, people unfriending, happy dances, profile pictures changed to all black, people thanking God, and people asking the question, "Why?!  How could this happen?"

If you really want to know and understand, I will take a stab at it.  My voice doesn't speak for everyone, so take it with a grain of salt, but I'll make an attempt to show you what's going on on the other side.

I'm caught in the juxtaposition of landing between all of these things because of my own beliefs - I'm a third party person at heart, but I run in the circles of the blue and the red and I have a glimpse of the pulse of both.

Here's the deal, my progressive friends, and it comes down to a few things - first, you have to understand that some people just really really hate Hillary and would prefer to elect Kermit the Frog and Barney the purple dinosaur over her.  When they see her, they have a visceral reaction.  Her very face causes them to roll their eyes.  You know, like how you feel when you see Trump?  Yes, like that.  They hate her for many reasons - they hate her because she is establishment, because she behaves like she is above the law, because she is entangled in murders, and in human trafficking children.  If they're really passionate in their disgust, they hate the way she laughs, they think she is not medically fit for the job, they hate it when they hear reports of how her aides are treated, being lashed by her sharp vulgar tongue (Yes, I know, your blood pressure just went up and you started listing the offenses on the other side.  You have that right.  I'm just explaining.  Don't get upset.  Or do, it's up to you.  I'm just trying to lay it out for you to understand.).  They hate her stance on late-term abortion, they hate how she would undermine freedom by seeking to remove personal protection from people's homes, they hate how she picks fights with Putin - and in doing so, in their opinion, is seeking out World War 3.

I heard an interesting poll result last night when watching the beginning of the results.  The anchor on NBC said that out of the undecided voters, when it came down to it, they chose Trump two-to-one over her.  This should speak volumes about the fact that many people didn't necessarily want Trump, but they just absolutely hated Hillary that much.

Other people who voted for Trump not only disliked Hillary, but they actually loved Trump.  I know, you don't get it.  But here is why they did: he is the real freakin deal.  Because of the way that he spoke (albeit in an unpolished, crass way), people related to him.  He was finally not someone who was going to bow to the establishment.  He said things that you're not supposed to say, but that are things that may be overheard at a backyard barbecue.  He says what he thinks without filter, so people trusted that because he didn't care if you liked him or not.  He brought himself in full form, and some people ate that up.  They liked his policy, they liked his guts.

I can hear you now - the racist, homophobic, etc. comments are not okay!  I actually think that 89% of Trump supporters agree with you.  But they also believe that he's not racist or homophobic.  (Don't stroke out, just listen.)  You point to the idea of building a wall as the very epitome of racism, but Trump supporters are looking at the other side of it: nationalism.  Protection of what is ours in these United States.  That is the methodology by which they believe we can uphold nationalism, and a viable solution.  It's the angle.  You can take it from either side.

The mainstream media expressed themselves last night in shock and horror, but many of their comments were shockingly derogatory - blanketing that the majority of his supporters must be from rural areas, must be white uneducated men, and must have showed up in droves.  They could not wrap their brain around that anyone could like him, but that is because they are not listening.  I do not live in a rural area, but I'm not in the middle of the city, either.  I'm in the burbs, and in the town in which I live boasts a very high percentage of residents with advanced degrees, with a median income of $87k annually.  I drove up and down the streets, and the majority of what I saw were gigantic Trump signs.  I saw a few Clinton ones, but far less than those for Trump.  This city is also proud of the fact that we have residents from all over the world living here.  If the pollsters would have called this town, I feel that they may have had different feedback than what they were getting elsewhere.

This is part of what it comes down to - many of the people entrenched in the media are surrounded by people who are just like them.  They did not take the time to seek out opposing viewpoints, and they didn't listen.  They were shocked when they saw states coming in for Trump.  I was not shocked at all.  I asked them, "Where were you?  Where have you been?" 

I know this seems unfathomable to you, but the feeling you had in your guts this morning was the same feeling that many people felt 4 and 8 years ago.  Just as you are ready to count down the days until he will not be President anymore, people have been counting that for Obama since he got in.

What does this mean?  I think it means we need to start listening to each other.  Yes, in anger we can say accusatory things - and I have heard plenty of those statements today.  A vote for Trump has been said to be a vote for hate. I think that is true - that people hate Hillary that much.

So that's it.  That is what I understand.  I heard a lot of you shouting in the dark and I couldn't stand it. 

Don't give up hope, dear people.  We're in this boat together.  Hug your people, do your thang.  It's going to be all right.  We're America.  Remember the Olympics?  We're on the same team.

Unless you're moving to Canada, I mean.

Peace, love, and no matter who you are, I am pretty sure nobody expected this result today,
Ms. Daisy

Saturday, October 22, 2016

me vs. waffles

I woke up this morning happy.  I saw the sun dancing through the leaves (despite the fact that it is fall and they are turning to yellows, oranges, reds, and browns); the chill outside of the blankets was not totally intolerable.  I was thinking about the blessings of the lovely people who are braided into the tapestry of my life and I decided that nothing could stop me.  Nothing could kill my happiness, not even my nemesis.  The unspeakable would not thwart me today.  I stood strong and spoke my intention firmly, you shall not succeed, you will not beat me.

I was going to make another attempt at waffles.

No, this may not sound like anything to you, but that is because you are normal.  The way that I make waffles is nothing short of being considered some sort of minor life event near worthy of marking it down in an online diary (ahem, like this).  As you can imagine, I am certainly not going to open some box of waffle mix and throw that onto some poison non-stick Teflon plug-in waffle maker.  That would be way too easy.

When I make waffles, it has to be a well-thought out, conscious decision.  The challenge that I am about to take on could quite possibly flip my switch from happy to irate in under an hour.  It is with this in mind that I summon sisu, pull up my big girl panties, throw on my Wonderwoman tank top, and get after it.

I want to eat as real as possible - it just tastes better, and you get a lot more nutrition.  This may seem slightly more complicated, but that's not where the challenge lies.  Grabbing eggs from the chicken coop and using a grain mill to make my favorite blend of flour brings a level of satisfaction that I don't consider a bother at all.  Instead, the challenge comes from the tools that I have decided to use, and the resulting mess that is nothing short of legendary.

Let me introduce you to the very impossible cast iron, stove top waffle maker.  It's small, maybe 8" in diameter.  The very useless and poorly thought out handle is about 4" long, which is just the right size for you to burn your hand even with an oven mitt on.  I bought it online, which is great for a better price, but is a bummer because it was not seasoned.  (The rest of my cast iron collection was purchased at antique stores - that is the way to go.)  This is where things get complicated.  Impossibly hot cast iron short handled waffle makers over fire combined with unseasoned insides and sticky batter makes for an interesting form of frustration.

It is with this in mind that you must use a bit of science (yay, science!) to have at least one successful waffle out of your gallon of batter.  The first waffle on this waffle maker is a bust; quite frankly I don't even pretend to hope anymore, although it has been so long since I have made waffles (due to this frustration) that a dim hope dared to spring up inside - fear not, it was quashed the moment I opened the waffle maker to check its progress.

The science is simply this: use a crap ton of coconut oil all over the inside of the waffle maker (even though the recipe has ONE FREAKING CUP of butter and you would think that perhaps just by that fact, it may not utterly fail - but you would be mistaken) - so much coconut oil that every person in the house comes up to you individually and asks you if you are also making popcorn (no). 

My family knows the history of these waffle challenges and they used to have quite a pile of negative responses when the waffles weren't working. 

Kid 1: Mom, are these burnt?  I don't want any burnt stuff on my waffle.
Kid 2: This one is kind of falling apart, Mom.
Husband: Maybe you should just get a waffle maker like your mom.

Hey, I have an idea!  Maybe you all should just shut up.

But now because I have shut down all waffle making for at least a year (no soup for you!), upon the announcement of "I am making waffles today", I received nothing short of accolades and positive reinforcement.

Kid 1: Wow, Mom, that sounds great!  I am so hungry!
Kid 2:  I bet these will taste great, even if they are falling apart!
Husband: You're making waffles?  (pause - was it in fear?  I'm not sure.) Oh, I was hoping you would!

I pulled out my mom's recipe that requires separation of eggs and the folding in of stiff-peaked just-layed-this-morning egg whites (because go big or go home, right?), milled a perfect blend of oat, spelt, and winter wheat flour, melted a cup of butter in the cast iron pan, and crossed my fingers.

First waffle:  Seriously.  What even the heck is this.  No really, what is this?  Gooey mess conformed to every freaking crack on both sides of this burning hot cast iron mess.  Separate the two sides, scrub down over the sink with a brush.  Start over.  I had a feeling you would be a fail, but this is of epic proportion.

Waffle #2: Add coconut oil to the top and bottom of the waffle maker, watch the oil ooze out onto the stove when you flip it over.  Add batter.  Set timer.  Holy crapola, man.  No.  It's bad, but not as bad.  Re-scrape.  Kid #2 enters and remarks, oh, that's okay, Mom!  I know it looks crumbly, but I'll eat it.  I bet it tastes really good.  God bless you, child.  Take this from my sight and never speak of it again.

Waffle #3:  Add even more coconut oil to the top and bottom of the waffle maker.  Scrape the waffly bits from the cracks and crevices.  Cross fingers. Pour batter, set timer, flip.  Burn hand only slightly.  Watch as the melted coconut oil mingles with the rebellious crumbles of what was supposed to be a waffle around the gas flame on the stove.  Pray that you do not burn down the kitchen.  Waffle 3 is a better success than the first two, and I am gaining hope.

Waffle #4: Add so much coconut oil that you think that just by standing here in front of this, you're absorbing it into your skin.  Imagine showering with a Brillo pad.  Watch the stream of melted coconut oil pour all over the stove when you flip the waffle and burn your hand (yes, even with the oven mitt).  Watch how the oven mitt seems to catch fire while you're wearing it, if only for a second.  Muse to yourself that cooking is an adventure.  Have the first successful looking waffle peel from the sides of the ridiculous waffle maker, start thanking Jesus aloud for this unexpected mercy.

Waffle #5: Look into the Costco-sized vat of coconut oil and be impressed with just how much you've used, and then use a lot more.  Pour batter, set timer, watch as the simmering crumbles of ex-waffle dance in the puddles of coconut oil beneath the waffle maker, surrounding the gas flame.  Make a mental note of where the fire extinguisher is.  Begin thinking through the step-by-step plan of how on earth this is ever going to be cleaned up.  Waffle #5 peels off without a challenge and children are coming up to cheer me on.  You did it, Mom!  Look at that!  I'm too happy about it to be bothered with what must be (on some level) patronizing comments. 

Waffle #6-10: Use even more coconut oil because this is the only thing making these stupid things not glue themselves to the side of the pan, give up on the thought of ever not having the kitchen looking like some weird tropical hurricane sped through here on its way directly from a waffle factory.  Amuse yourself with the steady cheers of the peanut gallery who are singing the praises of your waffle-making skills like you just simultaneously painted the Mona Lisa and won the Olympics and the lottery.  Decide that maybe this isn't so bad...

Until you finish and start cleaning it up.  Good thing I have Norwex.

 It was a heck of a fight, and it was a close one, but I'm sure I won this one (like a good kick set).

Peace, love, and pass the butter,
Ms. Daisy