Best thing about my essential worker husband having Mondays off? Getting to enjoy places in almost complete privacy that are normally crowded by tourists! While that wasn't the case in summer and fall, as we approach the start of winter, it's become freakin' awesome...particularly since nearly everything that's not a big box or drive-through is closed here on Mondays. Above are a few shots snapped at Fort Stevens State Park, about 15 minutes' drive from our house. It was pretty mild for a December morning, and brought me back to the days where all I could do was see everything around me as black and white images (my fellow photographers will understand this).
Anyhow...welcome back to Saturday Shares!! I've decided to make this biweekly instead of weekly, as there's just so much I have become eager to share now that I'm moved over to the Wix platform from Wordpress!
Sustainability Did you know that the STUFF that humans have made now weigh more than the ENTIRE PLANET? Yeah, crazy. Check out this article in The Guardian about that and how "every person in the world is responsible for the creation of human-made matter equal to more than their body weight each week." And then think, do you really need to buy that crap this holiday season? Or would you be better serving the Earth - and its inhabitants - by using that money to help lift up others in greater need?
Equity One of the great privileges of my life has been to meet Negro Leagues Hall-of-Famer Buck O'Neil, back when I planned a fundraising event during my year in San Diego back in 2001 and he was our featured speaker along with Curt Schilling and Jerry Coleman. I grew up on baseball, so getting to plan events for a nonprofit rooted in baseball was a dream come true, and 19 years later, learning how the Negro Leagues have finally been recognized as part of MLB made me cheer! Change may be well past due, but I'm glad to see it's happening (not to mention the sports teams who have the integrity to recognize the error in their ways and change their names).
Creativity Getting creative with our finances has been the story of this year as my business tanked and, while we were fortunate enough in the beginning of our marriage to have done enough contingency planning to ensure that if I couldn't work, he could support us, we've still had to make some significant changes to our plans for the future because we don't have that extra cushion now that our income has reduced by almost 90%. With that, we made the decision to drop our health insurance after I sat down and calculated how much we spent on premiums, costs of the services received, and total out of pocket we spent...and it turns out we spent DOUBLE out of pocket than the combination of premiums and what was covered. My husband's employer has the combined sucker-punches of not only not contributing a dime towards spouse benefits but also having crazy high deductibles AND considering everything outside our county as 'out of network' so my annual eye surgeon follow up after my 2017 surgery ends up being paid out of pocket. Our prescriptions paid in cash are not much more than a copay, so there's no savings there either, and the premiums are so cost-prohibitive that it's simply not worth it to think of it as 'catastrophic' coverage. Anyhow, so with that we are going back to insurance-free living like I did from 2012-2014 before we were married, and upping our focus on our health via food, exercise, and emotional well-being. Along with that, knowing affordable backup plans is important, so the article How to Get Affordable Healthcare Without Health Insurance is bookmarked for us. One of the biggest things I learned several years back is to, whenever possible, order labs online and go to one of their participating draw sites. Although out here none have sites, we can combine a future trip into PDX with a trip to a lab, ba-da-bing!, and still save hundreds and hundreds compared to going through a hospital!
Simplicity "Instead of putting all our excitement and expectations on a single day in December, we can spread out the joy throughout the season, focus on favorite traditions that don’t break the bank, and most of all, just enjoy family time." (source). What a concept! We've always been pretty simple during the holidays, choosing to go with our hearts each year whether that be to do a few gifts, a stocking, or skip that part of the tradition. I have white lights for the windows and ornaments collected since I was kid, but we don't force ourselves to feel like we "have" to do anything we aren't up for each year. This year we're continuing our tradition of "cooking a different country" but rather than the 8 course meal I'd come with earlier in the season, after realizing that my husband would have to be working the day before and after, I gave myself permission to change my mind - now that's a gift! - and we're going to spread this over a few days. (More on that meal plan in a separate post!) We've grieved a lot this year about several areas of our lives changing beyond anything we could have predicted, and because of that, avoiding certain triggers while still planning special Winter Solstice-inspired holiday. My honey and me? We're each other's family and we'll do what gives us peace as we prepare to end the year and start afresh in 2021.
Discovery Most of us Generation X'ers - at least here in America - get how much Reagan effed up the country, but with the propaganda around about him, he's been put up on a creepy crazy pedestal. Just like stories were suppressed about Trump's rape of a 13 year old girl that came out weeks before the 2016 election (should we be surprised considering he and Epstein were BFF's?), very little has been said about how Reagan raped Selene Walters back in the day or about his racism or his slow, deliberate efforts at dismantling democracy and shitting on minorities and women. So with that, I'm watching - no matter how much I'd like to forget the SOB - the docuseries on the Reagans.