Random Saturdays – Propaganda & Bias

One of the phrases I loathe is, “Now more than ever”.  It applies to plenty of things, but I’m tired of hearing people use it the same way that they use, “literally”, which is to say that they misuse it.  This phrase has been used in so many discussions about biased news and propaganda, as if both of these things are brand new and started in the 2016 election.  The U.S. used propaganda in WWII to get people to sacrifice things like nylon stockings to help the war effort.  We also used it to make people paranoid that Japanese Americans were out to destroy the U.S.  Nazis used it to convince people that they were just trying to make Germany the great country that it deserved to be.  Propaganda and bias have been used in plenty of elections in America’s past, by such celebrated presidents as Roosevelt (Teddy and Franklin).  During the American Revolution, guess what the Americans and the British were doing?  They were fighting with words just as much as they were with weapons.  Propaganda and bias are just things that exist because people with opinions exist.

I wouldn’t even blame it all on social media or reality t.v.  The internet and social media give people immediate access to events across the world.  Whether it’s Arab Spring or a hilarious cat meme, it’s all there before the eyes of the world for immediate viewing and enduring saturation.  As for reality t.v., I never thought it would last.  Thank goodness I didn’t bet on that.  I just think that “Reality t.v.” is a complete misnomer.  Reality is waking up too early to go to a job that stresses you out so that you can come home and pay bills that you hate for things that you barely get to enjoy because you have to go to bed to get four hours of sleep to go back to the job that you hate.  That is reality for those of us who are lucky enough to have jobs that actually pay our bills.  Nobody wants to see that.  Reality t.v. has been around in different forms for years.  People love to watch other people.  Have you ever heard of a little musical called, “Chicago”?  It’s based on actual events that happened in Chicago that involve people being wrongly convicted or freed for crimes based on how well lawyers could sway the opinions of the press, and therefore, the public.  This was decades before Al Gore invented the internet.

None of this is to say that I think things in the world are fine as they are and nothing needs improvement.  There is so much at stake right now, in my city, state, country, and around the world.  If anyone has taken a U.S., European, or world history class, you’ll notice that the nationalistic movements growing in popularity around the world closely mirror similar movements in the past.  Those movements had some positive results, but mostly catastrophic results from which the world will never recover.  This is why it irks me when people act as if all of the divisiveness between political parties, world leaders, etc. is something new.  If anything, I’m worried because none of it is new and we have seen this before.  We fought through this before.  We survived this in the past and said that we would never allow ourselves to get to this place again because we are now enlightened.  Yet, here we are…again…

By the way, I am not citing sources of actual facts, quotes, etc. because this isn’t a political blog.  This is just my place to sort through some thoughts about things going on in my life and there aren’t enough people who read this to make it an effective platform for me to use it for anything other than rambling. So, I do not feel that I’m being hypocritical in this post by voicing my opinions while not citing facts and sources.

I have toyed with the idea of sharing random facts of the week on here, sources and all.  I might still do that.  The facts may or may not have to do with politics, but I’m not sure.  I always forget what I want to write about as soon as I sit in front of a blank page.

Random Saturdays – Winter Cleaning

Part of my workout routine has been to clean the house.  I live in a house that is way to big for me.  It’s way to big for my cat and me.  It’s even way to big for my husband, my cat, and me.  We have the kids 8 – 12 days out of the month, and that is the only time that the house seems like the right size.  When we have people over for birthday parties or holiday meals, the house feels like a good size.  Most of the time, though, it’s too big.

Most of the time, it’s just Ben and me cleaning, too.

We don’t make the cat clean because she’s spoiled.  The last time we had the kids, we made them clean upstairs (their area) on Saturday so that we could spend the rest of the weekend having fun.  We also told them that if they cleaned, we could try to go to the farm the next weekend that we had them.  So, they worked hard, we worked hard, they argued, they whined, they cried, and they finally got the upstairs clean.

Other than times like that, Ben and I don’t really spend large chunks of time cleaning because we don’t have large chunks of time to spend on cleaning.  Mostly, I keep the dishes and clothes washed, clean the kitchen counters, and try to keep things fairly organized so that anyone in the house can find anything he or she may need at any given time.  Before company comes over, we try to clean the toilets, swiffer the first floor, and clear space on the tables and counters.  Then, I greet everyone at the door with excuses and apologies for how dirty the house is.  Does this sound familiar to anyone else?

I am trying to develop healthy habits, including not being sedentary for too long.  So, I try to get up every hour or so and run in place.  Then, it occurred to me that I could also do spot cleaning in order to be active while also being productive.  The first spot cleaning is heavy duty, but spot cleaning afterwards is much easier.  As it turns out, cleaning burns alot of calories and works alot of muscles that I don’t use when I’m sitting in a chair staring at a computer screen.  Weird, huh?

I don’t think this house will ever be clean from top to bottom until the day we sell it and move.  The spot cleaning makes such a difference, at least as far as my emotional well-being.  I think it also helps my allergies.  It definitely adds to steps on my Fitbit.  I might buy some stock in Swiffer soon.  Those little cloths come in handy in so many ways.

 

Random Saturdays – Happy New Year!

Today is the first day of the Year of the Fire Rooster.  This is especially exciting to me because I am a Rooster.  Ba-kawk!  It also gives me another opportunity for a New Year’s post.  I haven’t posted anything since before Christmas because I was on vacation, and then got sick, and then became very busy trying to get back into the swing of things.

January hasn’t ended yet, and it seems like my calendar is already packed to the gills – places to go, things to do, people to see, bills to pay.  Recently, Minecraft told me about how this school year seems to be flying by faster than any other school year.  He couldn’t believe that it was already Christmas and his birthday is just around the corner now.  I told him that the first time I had that feeling was in the 4th grade.  Every year since then has seemed to go by faster than the year before.

I haven’t made any real resolutions this year because I am constantly battling with my health and constantly trying to figure out how to put more than 24 hours into the day.  I did sign up for the Run The Year 2017 challenge with Cathy.  I’m trying to be more active for the sake of my health.  I’m sick so much of the time, but I don’t want to sit around when I’m not too sick to be active.  I’m hoping that will help me feel better more often so that I can enjoy more time with friends and family.  I also learned over the holidays that I tend to be GO-GO-GO!!! one day and then need to rest the next day (or two) to recover.  If I do that, I don’t seem to get sick quite as easily.  If I’m not sick as often, then I’ll have more time to enjoy with my friends and family.  It’s the closest solution I’ve found to putting more hours into the day.

I wish that I were healthy, that I could just wake up, work out, go to work, eat healthy, take some vitamins, and call it a day.  I’m tired of beating myself up over the fact that I’m not like that, though.  I recently signed up for some newsletters and videos from Dr. Christiane Northrup where she talks about accepting your limitations and the signals your body gives you.  If your body tells you something, then you should listen.  It doesn’t mean that you’re weak or flawed, and acting on those signals will make you healthier and happier in the long run.  I felt like that was The Universe telling me that I’m getting on the right track with self-care (finally).

Since I am a Rooster, this year is supposed to be unlucky for me.  I’m just going to ignore that and try to wear red socks when I work out and red PJs when I’m recovering.  If anyone has any better ideas, please let me know, especially if they involve getting more sleep or eating more cookies.

新年快樂!

Random Saturdays – Christmas Treats

Christmas is not even here yet, but I have partaken in many a Christmas treat.  Allow me to share some of my favorite goodies that have helped me fatten up and stay warm this Christmas season.

Caramel Apple Praline Cookies – Central Market
Someone at work brought these to our team and they were so delicious!  Dried apple pieces, caramel, chopped almonds and pecans…If it weren’t for all the sugar, they’d be pretty healthy.

Chocolate Cherries – Marich
These are dried cherries covered in chocolate.  The cherries are soft and the chocolate is smooth.  They’re so rich that I can’t eat more than two at a time.  How crazy is that?!

Holiday Popcorn Tins
It doesn’t matter what brand it is, I love popcorn.  I love the holiday popcorn tins because they’re cute and they usually have flavors you don’t get the rest of the year either.  Oh, and they’re everywhere.  I went through two tins (almost entirely on my own) before I stopped because my gums were torn up and the only popcorn left was maple and bacon flavor.  Even Blackish shouted out to the wonderfulness that is multiple flavors of popcorn in one container.

Jacobsen’s Danish Butter Cookies – World Market
These cookies are everywhere are Christmastime.  My beloved husband turns his nose up at most brands because they only have one kind of cookie with the giant sugar crystals on them.  Jacobsen’s has three different kinds of cookies with the giant sugar crystals on them.  Eseentially, they’re all made of the same cookie dough, but in different shapes.  Something about the sugar crystals makes them feel more special, though.

I’m too hungry to continue this list now.  Let me know if I forgot anything particularly yummy so that I can eat it!

Random Saturdays -Christmas Songs

I LOVE CHRISTMAS SONGS!!!  I do not love listening to them before Thanksgiving.  The day after Thanksgiving, I listen to 90% Christmas music until the new year.  Here are some of my favorite versions of some of my favorite Christmas songs.

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Judy Garland.
Most of my Christmases growing up were a bit sad.  It was just my parents and me, and they were usually doing their own thing.  Other than opening presents, I was alone.  My grandfather passed away right before Christmas when I was finally old enough to earn money to buy him a Christmas gift.  I’ve spent many a Christmas day completely alone, with no family or friends.  Anytime I have been lucky enough to spend Christmas with my loved ones, I truly appreciate the time because I know how precious it is.  This song completely sums up all of my emotions about Christmas.  It is my absolute favorite Christmas song.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings – Bare Naked Ladies & Sarah McLachlan
These were always solid Christmas songs, but it wasn’t until I heard this version of them that I really fell in love with them.

Santa Bring My Baby Back to Me – Elvis Presley
Elvis.  Christmas.  What’s not to love?  This song is just da jam and makes me wanna sing and dance.  It really gets me into a celebratory mood.

Carol of the Bells – Straight No Chaser
I was trying to figure out which version I should put on here because I also love the Vienna Boys Choir performing this.  Straight No Chaser does such a clean and pure version, though.  Since the song was originally meant to be acapella, it seemed like the best choice for this list.

That’s What Christmas Means to Me – Stevie Wonder
Have you ever worked retail at Christmastime? It’s not fun. Mostly, it’s the Christmas songs that drive you crazy, even if you love Christmas songs as much as I do, because they play the same 10 songs while being open longer hours than usual. I have had to work retail at Christmastime with this song on the playlist and it was the only song that I was happy to hear every single time it blared in the store.

Blue Christmas – Porky Pig
It’s hilarious!

Random Saturdays -Christmas Decorating

Oh man.  I have been such a procrastinating fool about decorating.  To be honest, since we moved into this house, it’s been a struggle to finish unpacking while keeping the house clean.  Decorating has been on the backest of the back burners for awhile.  Since we didn’t have the kids for Thanksgiving, though, I wanted to get Christmas decorations up for when we first got them in December.

At first, three plastic bins and a few smaller boxes seemed like alot of decorations.  I guess I was still thinking of my single days of living in small apartments with the cat because the more decorations I put up, the less decorations it looks like I have up.  How is that possible?  Is this house growing as quickly as the kids grow?  Did I move into the Tardis of Tardises?

Decorating for Christmas this year also reminded me, yet again, that I’m old.  I never used to understand how people could spend so much time looking over fake plants or getting excited over plastic flowers.  I’ve already bought 3 different kinds of fake greenery to go with the box of fake greenery that I already had.  What in the world is that?  I really don’t even understand why that makes me happy or how that makes it feel like Christmas, but it does.  I’ve used the real stuff and I actually do not prefer it because that crap has to be watered, sheds on the floor, makes me sneeze, and then I have to throw it all out anyway.  The fake stuff seems less wasteful.  It blends in well with the bonsais and bamboo that we keep the rest of the year too.

Some of the decorations in the collection were made with the help of the chillrens over the past few years.  Other parts were just Ben and me going, I’m an adult with a job, so I can finally go into debt buying the crap I wanted as a kid!”

Decorations I’ve bought:
Ceramic Tree – I couldn’t find it online, but we bought it at Cracker Barrel.  Ben and I both got stupid excited over this tree.  It had a train that drove through it, played different Christmas songs, and had changing lights.  Oh yeah, the kids love it too.  It looks kinda like this one, but was not nearly as expensive.
Fake Berries – I don’t know why I think this stuff is so pretty, but I do.  It’s honestly hard for me not to eat these.  They just look so pretty and delicious.  I wish I had enough to fill the whole house with them, like some kinda Christmas candy forest!

Decorations I’ve made:
Ho Ho Ho banner – This was pretty quick, but not quite as easy as I thought.  I decided to write the letters myself instead of printing them out, which is why my banner isn’t as pretty as the one I pinned.  I still think it’s cute, just not cute enough to put up on Pinterest.
Snow Man Door – Lego helped me make ours a few years ago.  He also named it, “Shuger”.  He’s a better speller now, mostly.  This was another one that looked quick and easy, but was not quick and was only mostly easy.  That’s Pinterest for ya.

Decorations I’d like to buy or make:
Snowflake Table Runner – I remember learning to make paper snowflakes in the 1st grade.  I got very sick the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s, but I spent alot of time in December and January making paper snowflakes, wetting them, and sticking them to the windows.  This seems like a version of my snowflaked youth.
Elaborate Wreath – Of course, it would only be complete with an elaborate porch.  See how the red reindeer looks upon the grand wreaths with awe!  Gaze upon the door that is too pretty for a mortal hand to knock!  Be gone with ye, but return when you are bearing gifts of cookies!

I buy most of my holiday stuff after each holiday, when it’s all on clearance (at least 50% off, but preferable >75% off).  I’m still discovering the sale goodies that I found last year.  Hopefully, we’ll be done decorating the house by the end of this weekend and I can go back to focusing on keeping the floors, countertops, and dishes clean.

 

 

Random Saturdays – Thanksgiving Guide for Aliens

We do not have the kids this Thanksgiving (and I’m writing this post before Thanksgiving).  It took longer than normal to figure out what we’d do for Thanksgiving this year because we didn’t have to figure out when we’d pick up the kids, what activities they had, what activities our friends and families had, and how to be as efficient with our time as possible so that everyone got to see the kids and nobody’s friends or families were forgotten.  When we realized that we wouldn’t have the kids this year and that nobody had offered any solid plans for us to add to the calendar, we had no idea what to do with our time.

I had been talking to some friends about their different plans for the holiday and I read many articles in magazines and online about how to plan a stress-free Thanksgiving or how to deal with the stress of Thanksgiving.  There are also plenty of articles on how to decorate, clean, and cook for Thanksgiving.  I love Thanksgiving!  I love that we, as a country, set aside a time to be grateful for anything and everything.  If an alien visited the U.S. during Thanksgiving, though, how would we explain Thanksgiving?  I mean, there’s history with Pilgrims and Native Americans and whatnot, but that would mean nothing to an alien.  How do we explain how we celebrate Thanksgiving now?  The obvious answer is that we’d compile a list of Must Dos and post it on the internet for all the aliens to read.

Thanksgiving Guide for Aliens

  1. Figure out when the most people are the most available.  Is everyone off on Thanksgiving?  Would meeting the weekend after work better?  Does anyone have child custody, probation, or Mogwai time restrictions that must be followed?
  2. Find a location big (or small) enough to hold the available people.  This could be someone’s house, a restaurant, or the neighbor’s backyard since they have a better landscaper than you and are out of town this week.
  3. Make a menu.  This is really important because the timing of everything else depends on when the food will be ready to eat.  My family always had Thanksgiving dinner.  Ben’s family always had Thanksgiving lunch.  I’ve even heard of Thanksgiving brunch.  It really doesn’t matter as long as the person cooking and the person arranging the location for eating are on the same timetable.  Everyone else can do whatever they want as long as they don’t make the person cooking wait to eat.  It’s even better if everyone makes a little something so that no one person has to do all the work.  I say this (a) having made entire Thanksgiving meals from scratch by myself because my perfectionist attitude and my tastebuds told me to and (b) my antidepressants now make me really unmotivated to do much of anything 90% of the time, despite my tastebuds.
  4. Cook, travel, gather, and eat.  Don’t argue (or fight) over something dumb.  This is a time to enjoy family, friends, and food.  As long as you have a sliver of one of those, then you’re doing well.  Don’t instigate arguments.  Don’t be snarky.  If someone says something snarky to you, ignore it.  I always feel sorry for those people because they are bursting with so much negativity that it just spews from their mouths like stinky farts.  Also, if you’re with your loved ones, then it’s safe to assume that they did not mean what they said in a way that would hurt you.  They either have diarrhea of the mouth or it sounded better in their heads.  Even if you know this person just likes to complain and pick arguments, consider it a mouth fart and be glad that you don’t mouth fart.
  5. Sleep.  Watch the parade.  Watch football.  Play games.  Eat way too much.  Read.  Go for a walk.  Enjoy this time because it will be a memory in the past before you know it.

That’s my guide to Thanksgiving for aliens.  There’s no need to thank me.  I just like to volunteer out of the kindness of my heart to check things off the Alien Invasion Preparedness List.

H A P P Y   T H A N K S G I V I N G !

Or Happy Random Thursday if you are not in the U.S.!

Reviews -Chelsea Does, How to Be Single, and Dr. Strange

I haven’t done a review post in quite awhile.  With the Thanksgiving holiday coming up in the U.S., it’s a good time to watch some t.v. and movies.  Here are a few suggestions on what to watch.

Chelsea Does – This is one of Chelsea Handler‘s series on Netflix.  I turned it on while cooking dinner, thinking it would be something funny to listen to in the background.  I ended up having to start the show over once I finished cooking so that I could really pay attention to it.  My favorite episode from season one was about Racism.  She did a brilliant job of exploring America’s complicated and difficult relationship with race.  Chelsea Handler is hilarious, intelligent, and honest.  Expect to hear adult language and maybe see a boob here or there while watching the show.

How to Be Single – When I saw that Rebel Wilson and Leslie Mann were in an ensemble cast movie about being single, I knew that I’d watch it, but I didn’t have high expectations.  I can’t remember the last ensemble cast movie that I’ve liked, much less one about single ladies dating around.  (Oh wait, does Sisters count?)  It was on HBO Now, which meant that I didn’t even have to leave the house or put on pants to watch it.  It was a good movie, though.  It has plenty of cliches, but attacks them in different ways.  It’s not like other rom coms. SPOILER ALERT – At the end of the movie, all the women do not end up with handsome boyfriends/husbands who finally validate the women’s existence.

Dr. Strange – If you’re on the comic book movie bandwagon, then you have to go see this.  If you have no interest in comics, any of the books based on comics, action films, or Benedict Cumberbatch, then do not see this movie.  That’s really all there is to it. If you have the option, you should probably see it in 3-D because the visual effects are basically a character in the movie.  I was worried about this movie because Dr. Strange is, well, strange.  I love his story, but I wasn’t sure how it would translate to the big screen.  The movie is less than two hours even though most of the Marvel movies are over two hours.  How in the world were they going to explain the crazy world of Dr. Strange?  I was pretty impressed with the movie, though.  As soon as it ended, I wanted to watch it again.  I’m hoping to be able to see it again before it leaves the theaters.

Well, that’s it for my reviews for now.  There are plenty of great movies out in the theaters and ready to stream right now.  Use the holidays as a time to relax and catch up on some t.v. as well.  Or, you know, don’t.

 

Random Saturdays – Welcome Holidays!

The holiday season is here!  If you’re old like me, you find yourself saying, once again, “I can’t believe it’s already November.  Where did the year go?”  If you love the holiday season like me, you are also excited that the holiday season is here.  Canada has already celebrated Thanksgiving, and Halloween and Election Day have just passed in the U.S.  The next big U.S. holiday is, of course, Thanksgiving.

The holiday season is also the birthday season in my world.  From October – March it’s a non-stop birthday celebration.  I used to be one of the few summer birthday people that I knew.  Now that I’m married, half of the family have birthdays during birthday season, and the other half of the family has birthdays in the summer.  I’ve always felt sorry for people who had birthdays around the holidays because their birthdays are overshadowed by the big holidays, especially if you’re born around Christmastime.  That’s why I try to make a point of giving separate Christmas and birthday presents to Christmas babies.  Plus, there are so many great sales during the holiday season that it should be easier to shop for holiday season babies.

Oh and shopping.  There’s the neverending fight between shopping vs. meaningful holidays.  I really don’t think that they are mutually exclusive.  I believe you just have to be aware of the meaning in holidays and you have to try to share that meaning with others when you are giving gifts.  This is especially tricky with kids because they are naturally inclined to just want stuff, lots and lots of stuff.  If we don’t teach them to be grateful for what they have and to think about what they can give and do for others, then they turn into ungrateful adults who have the nerve to think they can actually criticize gifts given to them and favors done for them.  That is the type of attitude that kills the holiday spirit and turns everything into a debate about the “true” meaning of any given holiday in a bad way.

This was our first holiday season together. The kids are about twice the size as they were then. My stomach is about twice the size s it was then. (From left to right: Dora, Lego, Ben, Minecraft)


I am American and I celebrate Thanksgiving.  I love the food.  I love time off from work.  I love spending time with my family and friends. When I plan Thanksgiving at my house, I always try to do it as low key as possible, but then find myself stressing myself out by trying to cook everything perfectly and make the house look immaculate.  I do it to myself.  Not once has anyone ever criticized me for not having enough food, the right food, a dirty home, ugly decorations, etc.  It’s all in my head.  With the kids, I’m trying to be more aware of that and remember that if I stress myself out over this crap that doesn’t matter, then they will learn to stress themselves out over crap that doesn’t matter as well.  Just as bad, they may start stressing others out about crap that doesn’t matter and think they are entitled to criticize the cooking and entertaining abilities of others.  So, I’m trying not to pass stress and judgement on to my kids.

Then there’s Christmas.  Let me say now that I am not Crhstian but I do celebrate Christmas.  I grew up Christian, spent many years in a crisis of faith, and have finally found myself in a good spiritual place, the details of which I am not going to delve into during this post.  I celebrate Christmas because it’s what I grew up with and it represents a time of giving and spending time with loved ones for me.  When I had the Great Santa Claus Crisis around the age of 10, my mother told me that she believed in Santa Claus because he was the spirit of giving.  So, no matter how old you were, you should always believe in Santa Claus.  No matter how much or how little you got in your stocking, you should always believe in Santa Claus.  I decided to adopt that belief as my own.

We just had the kids write their letters to Santa because we won’t see them much in November and we wanted to make sure that Santa had plenty of time to get their letters.  They asked for some surprising gifts, but also had interesting conversations with Santa.  Dora was concerned that Santa might not like the milk and cookies she wants to leave for him.  Minecraft told Santa that if he were lucky, he would get cookies and milk.  Lego just wanted to know if Santa and Mrs. Claus were doing okay up in the North Pole.  They all decorated their letters with colorful pictures and included phrases like, “Santa’s #1!”  Three years ago, their letters to Santa just told Santa what they wanted.  It might not seem like much, but to see their thought processes go from “Here’s what I want,” to “How are you. Here’s what I might do for you.  I think you’re great!” is pretty cool.  They also helped each other write their letters, with no help from Ben or me.  We did have to get onto them once for arguing over marker colors, but they worked together well otherwise.  Now, I can add cooperation, mental growth, and emotional growth to the great things that Santa represents for me.

As I typed this, it was about 6:30 AM and I had been awake for three hours with a terrible headache.  The kids were just picked up for school by their bio-mom and Ben had just left for work.  The cat was running circles around the house, chasing invisible toys.  The Excedrin has moved from making my head a bit numb to making me rather dizzy and the cat has begun her grooming routine, signaling that she is ready to curl up with me for her morning nap.  I’m going to take the cat’s advice to end this post and get some rest.  I hope that you are as excited about the holiday season as I am and that it holds as much meaningful promise for you as it does for me.  Happy Holidays!

To Vote or Not To Vote

November 8th will be my 5th opportunity to vote for the president of the U.S.  That means that in my voting life, I’ve only been able to vote during some really jacked up elections with extreme issues and world problems on the line.  The first election during which I was old enough to vote was Bush, Jr. vs Gore.  There was so much wrong with that election – the candidates, the Nader “throwaway” votes, voting system scandals, etc.  This election time, the U.S. is voting on Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump or a bunch of other people who have no chance of winning.

How did we get to this place???

We can speculate from a logical standpoint, from a historical standpoint, from a political standpoint, or from a ridiculous standpoint.  The truth is, none of that matters.  Those are our choices and there’s no going back now.  Due to the lack of support behind either candidate for most Americans, I think we are going to have record low voter turnouts this year.  That makes me pretty sad.

Women have had the right to vote for less than 100 years in the U.S.  The country was established over 200 years ago, but we’ve only been able to vote for less than half of that time.  Women outnumber men in this country.  A woman is running for president this election term.  Most of the women I know (who live in the metroplex) are not voting.

That’s not to say that I think that women should vote for Hillary Clinton just because she’s a woman.  I just think that they should vote.  Even if you think it’s a throwaway vote, it’s not.  Find someone on the ballot whose record supports your values as much as possible and vote for that person. That is the best way to get out of this two system voting party craziness that leaves so many Americans feeling like their votes don’t matter.

More importantly, there are other offices and issues on the ballot that will affect your everyday life directly.  Don’t let the presidential election overshadow local elections and propositions that will affect your housing taxes, education policies, local businesses, and even the cleanliness of your drinking water.  It’s not too late to learn about all of the other important issues on the ballot and vote.  You don’t have to pay money to vote.  Voting doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll have to do jury duty (even though it’s your civic duty and you should be proud to be included in the process no matter how much of a pain in the butt it can be), and you can take notes into the voting booth with you so that you don’t have to remember exactly how you want to vote on every issue or seat.  Here are some great resources to help you navigate your local elections and issues on this year’s ballot:

League of Women Voters – Don’t be fooled;  this isn’t a women-only resource.  After women gained the right to vote, they wanted to make sure that everyone had the opportunity to make informed choices.  So, they switched gears from suffrage to voter education.  They do a great job of questioning candidates on issues and providing answers on common voter questions.  Just go to the site above and enter your address to find info for your area.

Local Newspaper Websites – The Dallas Morning News has a great Voter Guide, and if your values align with that of the paper’s, you can even see which candidates they endorse for each office.  If you enjoy more independent magazines and newspapers, look up their websites and they can help you find candidates and issues that align with your values.

Google – Type in Voter Guide 2016 and you can search for early voting guidelines, voting locations, ballot issues, etc.  If you’re wondering about a specific race, candidate, or issue, type that into Google and off you go.

Whatever you do, don’t think that your vote doesn’t matter.  It does.  If everyone who didn’t think her vote mattered actually voted, we could see more options on the ballot and politicians would realize that they are directly accountable to their constituents.

Since I’m in Texas, I’m going to offer a couple of FYIs for my fellow Texans:

  • Early Voting is October 11 – November 5.
  • Statewide elections are being held for important positions like Railroad Commissioner, State Supreme Court Justices, State Appeals Court Justices (this is where your Making of a Murderer and the Serial podcasts addictions matter!), and House Representative.