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Today is International Women’s Day. It comes at a time when the gun debate rages and, as women, we have become a huge part of that discussion. We are not only a notably growing demographic in the firearms industry, but we have become the face of the emotional side of the argument for the 2nd Amendment.
As I wrote on Gun Nuts a few days ago, this has become a very emotional debate. For many, it’s not about freedoms or tradition, it’s about the women who don’t want to get raped and the kids who don’t want to get shot. And as I said on Gun Nuts, it may not be right that this is how people are perceiving this debate, but it is a big part of what it has become.
A link keeps popping up in my various social media sites – although my feeds are definitely more biased than most people’s – to Zerlina Maxwell’s appearance on the Hannity Show. I would like to add, before I go further into this, that I am appalled by the reactions of many of the pro-Second Amendment crowd. We should be ambassadors for our sport and our passion and our rights at all times, and dedicate ourselves to promoting safety and self-confidence, and calling this woman names and telling her she needs to get raped does nothing, nothing, for us.
Zerlina Maxwell said, during the interview:
“I think that the entire conversation is wrong. I don’t want anybody to be telling women anything. I don’t want men to be telling me what to wear and how to act, not to drink. And I don’t, honestly, want you to tell me that I needed a gun in order to prevent my rape. In my case, don’t tell me if I’d only had a gun, I wouldn’t have been raped. Don’t put it on me to prevent the rape.”
And I am, frankly, offended by the insinuation. It’s disgustingly anti-feminist, and it’s abhorrent to me that this has become the flag of so many feminist groups.
Let me try to explain.
As a woman, I take full responsibility for myself. I don’t rely on anyone else to do my grocery shopping, make my money or feed my cat. Why on EARTH, then, would I put it on someone else to keep me safe?
I am not going to tell anyone that if they’d had a gun they wouldn’t have been raped. They might have still been raped. They might have been killed. I am, however, going to tell women that they can take responsibility for themselves and keep themselves safe. They have that right. They don’t have to rely on men not to rape them, they can hurt the man who’s trying to rape them. That is strength, that is power, that is equality and that is what I believe feminism should be championing.
Carry a gun, don’t carry a gun, it’s up to you, but take responsibility for your own safety. – ss
I want to add something, having just had a conversation with Zelina Maxwell on Twitter re: this post. I think that she is right about one thing: the conversation about the Second Amendment is in the wrong place. Having a gun isn’t rape prevention, taking one away isn’t murder prevention.
I ran out of milk. Whoops, went to the grocery store yesterday and forgot that it was gone. My bad. But I’ve been craving a peanut butter banana smoothie for weeks and it makes such a perfect breakfast item that I had to have one, somehow, especially since I had just purchased bananas for that precise application.
I ended up successfully making a very tasty, relatively smooth peanut butter banana smoothie. Here’s what I did (very approximately, it was a “throw stuff in the blender” morning):
- 4 ice cubes
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 banana
- 2 heaping spoonfuls of smooth peanut butter
- 4 tbsp agave
I started with the water and about half the agave, blended that all up. Broke the banana into bits, threw that in, blended that all up. Then I threw in the peanut butter, blended that all in. Then I wondered why my smoothie was warm and remembered that I needed to add ice, blended two of the ice cubes in. Then I just kept adding ice cubes and agave until it was the consistency, temperature and taste that I wanted. Basically, it was a peanut butter punch in the mouth.
I figured someone else on the internet might run out of milk some day and not have almond milk, or soy milk, or coconut juice or any of the other recommended items that replace milk in smoothies all over the internet.
And yes, you can replace the agave with honey, I’m just trendy like that.
The first Wednesday of every month, the Market on Phillips Avenue in downtown Sioux Falls, South Dakota hosts a “whiskey society,” and each meeting brings a different type of whiskey: bourbon, scotch, Irish whiskey, etc. and a host of delicious food items.
This month was Irish whiskey, which I’m not regularly a fan of. In fact, I’m a pretty hardcore bourbon drinker and, despite my heritage, I find Irish whiskey to be a bit too “too” for me, if that makes any kind of sense.
One of the whiskeys I tasted last night, though, caught my attention. First of all, there’s the name: 2 Gingers Irish Whiskey. I am one ginger, so I feel like having two more around might be good. Next, there’s the story. Founder Keiran Folliard is an Irish man who has lived just about everywhere, and then for some reason ended up in Minneapolis starting the bar “the Local.” He sold out his 20-million-dollar-a-year bar to his partners, and launched his own whiskey line, and then was bought out by Beam, Inc. A name which you may recognize.
Here’s the deal: It’s a whiskey brewed in Ireland, distributed in Minnesota and, for now, mostly found in the midwest, it has a low price point (you can buy it for $20 online) and it tastes bourbony. Bourbony enough to appeal to me as a hard-core American non-Irish whiskey drinker. Which is interesting, because I’ve found some whiskey review sites complaining about it. My verdict: It’s not for an Irish whiskey connoisseur, it’s for someone like me. Besides, it’s cheap enough that I can tell people to just give it a try and form their own opinion.
Oh yeah, and check out this hilarious video (it’s even better if you’ve been drinking Irish whiskey):
Normally I get off work and I play video games, or watch TV, or read, or go to the bar, or go to yoga, or go wine tasting. I consider these all perfectly normal things.
Last night, I did none of these things. Rather, I caved to peer pressure, and I participated in an activity that I have been trying to avoid for years. My friends, even my own mother, have all told me of it, and the wonders it brings.
Last night… I baked… Cupcakes.
In order to bring myself to terms with the fact that I had appeared to completely fall off the bandwagon I did what any good Irish girl would do. I put whiskey in them. And then I covered them in whiskey sauce.
Well, it was bourbon, but that’s a type of whiskey so my statements stand.
This is a thing.
So, I followed the recipe I linked to above, at least to the best of my ability. I had about three bowls, one spatula, one big spoon, a couple butter knives, one whisk and no standing mixer to speak of. I did have the necessary items to make the frosting look decent, at least.
It took a little dish washing and a lot of arm strength but I got the job done. More or less. They taste really good and don’t look disgusting. I count this as a win.
Here’s bits and pieces of my adventure, mostly in pictures:
The first thing I had to was buy ingredients. I purchased most of them at Hyvee, which is incredibly boring. However, my bacon and my bourbon I bought at my favorite place in town: Look’s Meat Market. This wonderful paradise is full of all sorts of pig and cow and wonderful alcohol, and every bit of it is good. My favorite perk? Bourbon taste while you grocery shop.
Anyway, once I had purchased my candied bacon from Look’s, I had to chop some of it up. Look’s slices the bacon thin, but it wasn’t cut in conventional strips – it looked more like ham. So, rather than the three slices that recipe recommended I did what any girl would do in my situation: I used seven.
Then I put it in a pan and cooked it, and fought off the rest of the household.
The next part is boring, because I proceeded to make cupcake batter per the recipe instructions. I came across the problem where I didn’t have a mixer, and opted to use elbow grease instead, and it worked wonderfully and made me feel better about making something so fatty because I burned 10 whole calories trying to mix soft-but-not-melted butter with dried goods.
The result of this debacle was the sudden inclination to pour myself a drink. So I did. And then so did the rest of the house, it’s funny how that works.
For this project I opted for one of my favorite bourbons, Eagle Rare. Mostly because the recipe only called for a few table spoons, or, when it came to be my turn to add bourbon to my cupcakes, three tablespoons “plus just a little bit more.” That meant I got to
share drink the rest of the bottle!
Of course, just as the frosting was getting finished, one cupcake was pilfered from my batch, unceremoniously deflowered with a dip in the almost-finished frosting and eaten with no remorse. It was a sad day in the land of cupcakes.
Once the cupcakes had been iced I had to make the caramel, which was actually fairly unexciting, but I took pictures because I hadn’t made caramel since I was in elementary school and I was feeling kind of artsy and “wait for it to boil” means “get bored and meander around the kitchen finding ways to entertain yourself” in Shelley-speak. Which meant it was time for another drink!
So, I finished with the caramel, ignoring the “wait until it turns amber” and “don’t pour on the cupcakes until it’s cooled down” directions. My cupcakes were a little melty, particularly the icing.
They were tasty though!
I went to my first yoga class a couple weeks ago at Santosha Hot Yoga here in Sioux Falls, and found myself in my second class yesterday. It was a very intimidating experience for me, as I’ve never really been to an exercise-oriented class and frankly I was afraid of making a fool of myself. Having been now, I encourage anyone to go because a good class will make you feel welcome and will encourage you to return.
The fact is that everyone starts somewhere, and most people have a lot of respect for people who are brave enough to try something new, especially when they are passionate about said new thing. People who are involved in a sport or a hobby, like yoga, want other people to be involved, to enjoy it and to learn and benefit from the experience the same way they have.
Before going, I read the studio’s website carefully to see what I needed to bring: a towel, a yoga mat, capris, a tank top, a water bottle. I went to the sporting goods store and found I could make it out for under $50 with everything I needed.
My first class was a relaxing hot yoga class. My second class was a power yoga class in a hot room. Two totally different worlds! The hot yoga class was awesome because it pushed me but also relaxed me. The power yoga class simply kicked my ass, and it made me feel great.
On Saturday, I’m headed to a workshop at the Dharma Room, where a very nice gal who was in my power yoga class yesterday will be teaching a workshop.
I guess my point is that if you want to try something new you should, because you never know what you’ll get hooked on.
A few months ago I had either the opportunity or the misfortune to change my relationship status on Facebook to “engaged.” And let me tell you, it changes the layout of the Facebook landscape in a very significant way. I can’t log into the social networking site without it being recommended that I like some thing.
Here’s the problem – I’m just not that girl. I just want to get drunk on the beach and sleep all day. Frankly, all this materialization advertising crap disgusts me.
But there is an offender I consider the worst. The “Wedding Diet” ads.
I am not going to go on a “wedding diet,” I am going to get married as myself and continue on my path of being as happy and as healthy as I can for as long as I can - for myself.
Marriage is about a lifetime of commitment, not getting in shape for one day. If you want to be in good shape for your wedding, use it as a chance to commit yourself to a lifetime of good health and good habits, not a chance to do a crash-diet that will make you look skinny for one day.
I’m starting to build my 2013 travel schedule, and to keep everyone up to date, here’s what I have so far:
A lot of people start running, and then stop again, and then start again. Here’s a little advice for people who want to start running, but just can’t quite get themselves to keep at it (I used to be one myself):
Find a Good Program, Set a Goal
For me, running used to mean going outside and jogging down the street until I was breathing heavily. This is no longer an acceptable form of exercise in my book. I make sure I know what I’m doing before I ever even put my running shoes on.
I am a big advocate of the Couch to 5k and Couch to 10k programs, they are what got me started. Now, as a matter of fact, I’m redoing the Couch to 5k program at a faster pace – rather than running at 5.5 mph I’m running at 7. Sprints are a great way to do cardio and the early C25k runs are all set up as interval runs.
The reason the Couch to 5k program is so valuable for new runners is because it starts easy, it builds confidence, and you can set your own difficulty. I will admit that it took me a lot longer than 9 weeks to get to that 5k, mostly because of my own mental blocks. Running intervals was all well and good, but it took me weeks to convince myself I could run for 20 minutes straight.
Running is boring. I used to think that if I ran outside it would be better and less boring. In fact, I used this excuse to never get on a treadmill. Then I started using a treadmill, and then I started running.
Treadmills are great for beginning runners for many reasons:
- You have control over your pace and you can more easily find a stick with a speed that won’t let you over-due it.
- You have control over your environment, so you can’t explain to yourself that it’s “too hot” or “too cold” outside.
- It’s easier to stay hydrated and you don’t have to find a way to carry a water bottle
- You can set a low incline (I recommend around 1%, I’ve heard it’s better on the knees but that may just be hear-say).
- It’s easier to maintain equal intervals on a steady incline at a steady pace.
- You can keep yourself entertained by watching a TV show or listening to an audio-book without having to worry too much about the dangers of running outside and alone. (Running outside with earbuds in makes you a target, and I recommend against it.)
- There are less distractions, and newer runners can focus on their stance and breathing.
I’m sure there are arguments for the other side, but the treadmill is one of the best things that ever happened to me.
We all make a ton of excuses not to do things. The best thing we can do for ourselves is acknowledge them for what they are, but pay attention to them. For example, if your excuse one day is “I feel pretty dehydrated,” run anyway, but then the next run day drink plenty of water the day or morning before.
Remember that you are doing this for yourself and because you’ll feel better in the long run. Each time you force yourself past the excuses and onto the road you’ll feel better and better about what you are doing.
Hold Yourself Accountable
I track all my workouts on Fitocracy. It appeals to my gamer nature, I get points and level up and such. But mostly, I feel bad when I don’t workout for a while. It’s like I’m neglecting something. I also have found it’s beneficial to tell someone I’m planning to work out on a given day; my fiance is really good about, “Hey, weren’t you going to go run today?”
Maybe that doesn’t work for you though. Maybe you want to put posts on Facebook (one of my friends is trying to lose weight and posts his weight every week), or just use something as simple as a spreadsheet. Find a system that allows you to see your own progress and feel good about it. It makes a difference.