Saturday Shares

Watching the season's king tides from the dunes at Gearhart.

Welcome back to Saturday Shares! Here's what I've been reading and thinking about this past week...leave a comment if you found any of this of interest!

  • Sustainability I was repulsed this week to see that Tillamook, the folks who sell cheese and such, are currently bragging about getting Certified B Corp status. Why? Because they are a factory farm cooperative. While they have misled Northwesterners for years about cows on the coast providing the milk, the Animal Defense Fund sued them for their utter greenwashing and animal cruelty. "Located in the desert of eastern Oregon, the facility that provides the majority of Tillamook’s milk keeps 32,000 dairy cows (and more than 70,000 cows total) in inhumane, industrialized conditions...Rather than living freely on the rolling green hills depicted in Tillamook advertising, the cows are artificially impregnated, have their calves ripped from them shortly after birth to stimulate milk production, and are continuously confined and milked by robotic carousels at this cement-floored factory farm." Folks, the term "family farm" is one that is often assumed to be a small, pastured location nearby, and when it comes to big ag, the term is manipulated to include factory farms, feedlots, and a whole lot of BS pretending to care about the environment. Vote with your wallet, and keep Tillamook dairy products OUT of your kitchen. They are just plain bad. Do your homework and buy from companies who truly walk the talk.

  • Equity "The US will never be able to respond to the problem of class until it interrogates...the politically stabilising role of white supremacy in propping up American hierarchies." Oh I do adore Kimberle Crenshaw, definitely right up there with Gloria when it comes to intersectional feminism, and this Guardian interview about her lifetime of leadership, from Anita Hill to Breonna Taylor and beyond. Like Gloria said way back when, the truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off. Amen for Kimberle. Read her, y'all.

  • Creativity I gotta say, once again, I'm tired of parents complaining that they are 'homeschooling' their kids when they aren't. Remote classroom learning is not homeschooling. Helping your kids with their homework is not homeschooling. Yes, they are around, but you are not creating the curriculum. And no, the pandemic is not going to ruin your child's education...if you start to look at education in a new light. If you are blessed to have children home with you, then you have the unique opportunity to not rely on the public school system if you don't want to! If you want to call yourself a homeschooler, than teach your children with excitement and not resentment. No one is forcing you to have them take sub-par classes on a computer all day long - that's you're choice. Unschooling during the pandemic should be considered! Give yourself - and your kids - a break and let them be creative and own their learning experience. Parents complain about screen time yet somehow think it's OK for kids to be in front of a computer all day long? Why not let them lead the way rather than be chained to a desk? As Elizabeth Broadbent said, "unschooling had the immediate benefit of taking a lot of pressure off our children: they don’t feel like they have to do “formal” school, so they’re much more relaxed — important in a time like this where they may be under more stress than usual." Get creative, folks. It's good for everyone.

  • Simplicity Thanksgiving is in a few days and there's no stress. Not just because of pandemic restrictions, but because my husband and I agreed early on that this day wasn't about stress, or expectations, or going nuts trying to make a meal of food we don't particularly care about. Every year we do pulled pork, macaroni & cheese, collard greens, candied yams, and apple pie. It's fun. We cook together. It's just the two of us. And it's freakin' delicious. We are grateful for each other, and after the shit we've been through together over the past nearly 10 years? Our love is worth celebrating. Check out What Are We Grateful For During COVID-19? and write your own thoughts out...or just tell those you care about.

  • Discovery One thing about my quest towards Discovery is to understand why things are the way they are. While some women have the same set of friends from childhood, or college, or work, others like myself have had what I'd call "eras" or "chapters" where friends come and friends go. Similar to that reason/season/lifetime analogy of why people come into our lives - often used to discuss romantic relationships - the concept of why friendships fade (or outright crash and burn) is an interesting one to me. And with that, I must be honest that since I was in elementary school, I always abhorred the term "Best Friend" or "BFF" and how exclusionary it is. I've always had close friends, and sure some are closer than others, but to put one above all others and then make sure everyone around you knows that they are not on that pedestal, it in many ways it hurts the others who feel like they are on a lower eschelon, but also makes the conflict that much harder with expectations. In The Guardian piece by Natalie Kon-Yu, The Myth of the BFF, she talks about how "In film and television, we often see female friendships portrayed in a highly romanticised and unrealistic manner; uncomplicated and lasting forever despite the differences of the women involved," and ignores the devastation of when our close friendships break down. I've broken up and been broken up with, and I've been ghosted in ways that still re-wound my heart if I let myself dwell, from the friend who expected everything of me in stepping up for her, while not being willing to sit with me in my darkest hours of infertility, to the friend who officiated my wedding and weeks later, moved away and was unwilling to stop by my house 10 minutes away before she left town to say goodbye - then set strict guidelines as to how we could communicate (no emails, no texts, no letters...all ironic since we were both writers), or the one who began canceling our plans at the last minute over and over, so many times that I just said enough is enough and walked away, or the one that was one of the few I could call my BFF if I used that term, yet chose my alcoholic ex-husband after the split. And I've not been perfect either - because like the article says "It seems that women are loath to confront one another when a relationship is failing, even if, or maybe, especially if, that relationship is with their best friend," and asked "As teenagers and young women we would spend whole days and nights talking. Why, then, were we so uncomfortable in airing our grievances with one another as adults? Where did the silence between us come from?" I promised myself back in 2014 that I would be upfront with any friendship I wanted to end, and while some results showed me exactly why (in how they reacted) I was ending it, I've never regretted bucking up and telling it straight. We all deserve honesty, even if it hurts like hell.

"In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it's wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.”

~ Elizabeth Gilbert

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