Wednesday, July 4, 2018

We could just say NO

Today is Independence Day and I’m worried—as I often am—about the horrible things being done in our name, the freedoms being worn away bit by bit, the irreparable damage being done to desperate families, individuals, and our environment.

And let me be frank, this comes from my gut. I don’t claim to have all the answers.

But while we still have free speech and a democracy in place, I think today is good day to remember that the people “in charge” only have the power we give them.

The president can’t stand at every border crossing taring children from the arms of desperate parents fleeing violence, war, famine and persecution. Someone has to do it for him.

The CEO of a mining company isn’t personally going to strip-mine our national monuments for minerals or dump waste into rivers. Someone has to do it for him.

I can’t help but recall the saying that “Good people made the best Nazis”—obedient people who went along with what they were told and “just followed orders”. I hope we can grow to be better than that.

I think we should just say no.

I’m certainly not the first person to come up with this idea. Maybe people are afraid or forget this is an option.

And of course, it’s hard. And the people whose NO will mean the most are probably facing consequences that any one of us would dread—lack of employment, loss of benefits, or even legal consequences. They have families to support, need to eat and keep a roof over their heads.

So, the other thing we need to do is support people in a position to say NO.

Imagine if families and communities said, if you refuse to do something because it’s wrong, we’ll support you and we’re in it for the long haul.

Imagine if people knew that they would not be alone if they refused to:
  •     Steal a refugee’s child
  •    Create the infrastructure to dump pollutants into waterways
  •    Publicly deny climate change despite the science
  •   Turn firehoses on peaceful protesters
  •   Stay silent when injustice is done

Imagine if, at family BBQs today and through the summer, people talked about what they would do if faced with the choice—and what they would do to support someone faced with the choice.

Families could have a plan. Neighbors could have a plan. Houses of worship and other groups could have a plan.

People could say, if you need to say no:
  •      We’ll call ALCU or SPLC for you.
  •      We’ll look after your family.
  •      We’ll help you look for another job.
  •      We’ll make sure you’ve got food on the table.
  •      We’ll make sure the press knows you don’t stand alone.

The other side is loud and the sheer volume of the hate and fear they spout makes them seem like they outnumber everyone. But quiet conversations of support may be a way to turn the tide. And later, concentrated efforts to make sure that people who are courageous enough to say no to doing wrong are not left to face the consequences alone. Imagine if people felt empowered to do what’s right because of example upon example of people who said no and came out—if not unscathed, at least shielded as much as possible.

I think a lot of us go to bed at night thinking, “there just has to be more of us than them.” And “someone has to DO something.”

Maybe this is something we can do. We can start today at BBQs meant to celebrate all we’re supposed to be.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Hot Weather Tip: Frozen Towels


It's dangerously hot this week. If you're like me, you want to be prepared.

One thing I did today was make some frozen towels, because today it was in the low 90s and tomorrow is supposed to be even hotter.  I made one for each member of my household and that includes pets. I'm not suggesting you wrap a cat in a frozen towel, but the towel could be used to cool off a place your cat like to lay down. Even just cooling off an area of the floor and then removing the towel can give your pet someplace to lay down and dump some heat. For humans, a cool towel on the face or head is refreshing. Draped around the neck, it can cool your pulse points, which helps you feel cooler.

Setting things up was easy. I recommend doing this in the kitchen sink or bathtub.

  1. Get some decent sized towels--I like something thin enough to fold but large enough to drape over a person's shoulders. You'll also need large freezer bags. I find 2.5 gallon bags work great.
  2. Fold the towel so that it can fit flat in the freezer bag. (One towel per bag is my rule.)

  3. Put enough cold water into the bag to saturate the towel. 
  4. When you're sure the whole towel is wet, role the bag to ring out the excess water.
  5. Fix the towel so that it lays flat in the bag again and close the bag, leaving just about an inch open.
  6. Roll the bag again and give it another squeeze. This time seal the bag and leave it rolled up.
  7. The bags will be wet so I suggest laying them on a towel in your freezer, so they don't stick to the shelf.

If someone get's overheated, you'll have a handy way to cool them down. 

And if you're thinking, "I don't need this, I have air conditioning", so did we until about 8:00 last night. It doesn't hurt to be prepared.

One word of warning though, if it's already hot, getting these towels wrung out can take a bit of exertion. Take your time. Take it slow. And cool off if you need to. (I know I needed to!)

Stay safe and have a great summer!


Rolling the towels turned out not to be a great idea. When I do this with washcloths, they are pliable after a minute or two.  But I wasn't able to get the towels wrung out enough. The rolls froze to be rock solid. So, you may want to skip that step.