Dec 13, 2016

"Books serve to show a man...

...that those original thoughts of his aren't very new after all."

-Abraham Lincoln (supposedly)

I've never really been into numbering my posts and some months I have trouble thinking of titles so I google "quotes about books" and this one made me laugh so I thought I'd share.  :P

As for the books, after burning myself out pretty hard with self help last month (and keeping up with the news lately) I really needed some fluff.  And then after the werewolves, steampunk, and fantasy, I finally managed to get back into more diverse genres.

♥♥♥♥♥ - Loved!



Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes (audio)

I didn't even know who Shonda Rhimes was, so I had no expectations going in.  Awesome story and you can tell she's a writer because her words just flow.  So poetic and pretty, in addition to being an incredibly inspiring read.  In addition to loving her journey as she learns to say "yes" and let new opportunities in, I thought she had a ton of great insights into feminism, race, and the balance between weight loss and self love.  (Side note: she reads the audiobook and her voice sounds nice and gives the story a very personal feel so I recommend listening if you like audio at all.)


The Best Damn Marketing Checklist, Period! by Stoney deGeyter (kindle)

5 star for pure usefulness, not for being a fun read or anything.  If you're not a web designer, you can just skip over this, but if you are, TONS of good information for improving your website and ranking higher in searches.


The Girl with Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee (paper)

Such a good story!  This is written by a North Korean defector and it's fascinating to see how the regime maintains power, how they indoctrinate people from an early age, and how much effort it takes for citizens to change their mindsets even after deciding to leave the country.  I also know very little about Asian societies, so it was very educational.  Example: I figured once you got out of the country, you'd be good, but since very few other neighboring countries want illegal immigrants, it's just about as dangerous after leaving as it is to stay.  I was absolutely blown away by how resourceful and courageous the author was.  Highly recommend to everyone, both for a good story and to learn more about the other side of the world (assuming most of the people reading this are in the US).

♥♥♥♥ - Liked



Beauty and the Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell Allen (paper)

I was slow to get into this but once I got my mind into romance mode it was a lot of fun.  Steampunk, mystery, vampires and shapeshifters, all good stuff.  Minor pet peeve: all the mechanical issues could be solved by fixing the "cogs."  Not terribly convincing that the characters know what they're talking about.


Heartless by Marissa Meyer (kindle)

I didn't realize this had come out until I was browsing Amazon in search of something light-hearted (tee hee).  Sooo good.  I don't know that I loved it quite on the Lunar Chronicles level, but it was a great story with a very unique twist on the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland.  A little dark and incredibly creative.



Soulless and the rest of the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger (kindle)

I laughed my ass off for the first five pages of the first book.  I was prepared to declare this the best book series of all time, but unfortunately the rest couldn't quite keep up with that promising beginning.  Still very, very good.  The humor was right up my alley and, like Clockwork Beast, I loved the steampunk world.  These felt like they had a little more substance to them as well (hence reading the entire series), and the only, teeny, tiny little thing that bothered me was a description of someone's pregnancy, because, like the "cogs" from the other book, it was fairly inaccurate.  I don't know why this bothers me in a world with vampires, werewolves, and automatons, but I really just want my authors to know their shit and you are not feeling any babies "sloshing around" a couple months in.  Additional note: the first book has a couple of raunchy scenes, but the rest are pretty tame - I'm not sure why there's such a disparity but I thought it was fine with or without them.


Scandalous Women by Elizabeth Kerri Mahon (paper)

Very interesting read!  Basically mini biographies, each lady got 5-10 pages about her exploits and I really liked that it wasn't a one-sided depiction.  The author is very frank about their flaws, as well as their virtues and all are fascinating.  Although I was definitely more intrigued by the women I didn't happen to learn about in school (sorry Cleopatra and Anne Boleyn).  New favorite: Eleanor of Aquitaine (mother to King Richard and Prince John - often caricatured in Robin Hood stories), who not only freed Richard from captivity when already in her 60s but remained politically active and influential all the way up until her death.  Basically, she was a badass in her youth and didn't let age prevent her from continuing on that way.


These is My Words by Nancy E. Turner (paper)

I said in my Goodreads review that this was bittersweet and it really was.  Far more realistic than your average pioneer adventure story, and, at times, a lot harder to read because you just want good things for these people and life was harsh back then.  It makes me feel like a huge woose for some of the things I whine about.  I did feel some disconnect from the author near the beginning but as she matures and improves her writing, that feeling went away and I was wholly engrossed in her life, even the minutia.

♥♥♥ - Ambivalent-ed



Self-Inflicted Wounds by Aisha Tyler (audio)

I had no strong desire to read this - I just needed something to entertain my brain during certain work tasks and this fit the bill.  Not particularly exciting and no real takeaways, just an occasionally amusing read.

♥♥ - Mildly Disliked


None!


 - Did Not Finish or Wanted to Burn in a Fire



Rising Strong by Brene Brown (audio)

NOT a "want to burn in a fire" book.  That would be way too harsh.  But yeah, I was 40 minutes in on the audiobook and I still had no interest in what she was talking about so I gave up.  I felt like she spent a ton of time telling us what she was going to talk about without actually starting it.  I know she's all about anecdotal evidence, but I had yet to hear any anecdotes, so I gave up.  If anyone feels strongly that this was a mistake, let me know and I'll give it another go!


The Superior Wife Syndrome by Carin Rubenstein (paper)

Sooo... I feel like the concept for this was good.  I don't think the author is alone in noticing that there's a large chunk of women who have made strides towards equality in the workforce, but continue to shoulder most of the burden of child-rearing and housework despite being wage-earners.  But the way she phrased and explained things was weird (like using the phrase "superior" to mean basically a sucky, unbalanced marriage with "nonsuperior" wives being the ones who are happier and have better marriages) and her explanations dragged on and on and on.  Way more detail and far more examples than necessary for the most basic concepts.  I got about halfway through before I started skimming, trying to find parts that were relevant to me (since I am nowhere near a "superior" wife - Ryan and I split things pretty damn evenly thus far in our relationship and equality is important to both of us) but even when I did, I just didn't agree with the way she wrote about them, so I gave up.  I honestly feel like you'd be better off reading Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus, which has actual tips for better communication and fixing pretty much exactly the problem she's describing, without all the extensive analysis of how the problem came to be in the first place.

Currently...
Reading The Nightingale and waiting impatiently for January so I can start Erin book challenge 6.0!  Oh, and I have The Feminine Mystique from the library, so that might end up being an airplane book next week because it's almost 600 pages.

Challenge Updates


Jenn Self Book Challenge

I'm going to count Year of Yes as a "mindset" book, in addition to Best Damn Marketing for "career," and Scandalous Women for a genre I don't normally read and give myself 45 points out of 175 (since I apparently mathed this out weird when I made my challenge).

What have you been reading?  Have you read anything from my list and what did you think?


Linking up with Steph and Jana
Life According to Steph

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Dec 11, 2016

Weekly Wins

I was hoping I'd feel like I had it all together this week and a plan to get things done calmly and in a logical progression next week.  Alas, shitteth doth happen.  So I was sitting here looking at this empty post thinking, "Every single night felt like I had accomplished nothing" but when I really thought about the week as a whole, I found some successes after all.

The Wins!


Biznass

  • Went to a networking event, didn't die.
  • Followed up with someone from said networking event and will be doing brunch in January to talk about collaboration opportunities!!!
  • Figured out what to do for "package" options on my website and now just need to finish making graphics for them.  Also came up with a better passive income idea, though that's really not a priority just now.
  • Started using Trello (so beautiful) for project management and re-organized the horrendous mess that my Google Docs and task list was becoming.

Health

  • Rediscovered a prenatal yoga video that hadn't been all that exciting earlier on but is a really good fit for my current level (aka lack of) flexibility.
  • Was really bad about reporting in to my accountabilibuddy (sorry Kristen!) BUT I have managed to work out at least 5 days per week the last couple weeks, so that's good AND I'm starting to bump up my overall workout times to 20-30 minutes instead of 15 (which was lazy, but I needed to make it easy to get started).

Happiness Project

  • Finished all the home organization stuff (take that, entry closet!), and made progress with Christmas-y cheer.  I'm having trouble finding stocking hangers, so I'll have to take to the Internet for that one.
  • Also finished my marketing book (about time!) and made a list of the changes to make to my website so I can do it all at once instead of in small pieces.  (I have a privacy policy page now - whaaat?  So formal and professional.)

Personal

  • Offered to help out with my favorite Meetup group since the classes they're running for the next couple months aren't things I need to take (intro to HTML, etc) but I want to keep seeing people and making friends.  So we'll see if that goes anywhere.
  • Have made time for some social things but not enough to feel overwhelmed (about one per week or every other week seems to be a good fit for me).  It's nice to find my balance.

Thoughts and Plans for This Week

  • Run around like a headless chicken trying to get everything sorted before vacation next week?  Does that count as a plan???

What victories did you have last week?  What's in the works for the upcoming week?


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Dec 6, 2016

Happiness Project Month 4: Get Shit Done!

Shouldn't today be Show Us Your Books day?  I really wanted to talk books today but since that's not an option, I will instead address this happiness project thing that I have totally flaked on.

Month 3 Update: Self Actualization


Affirmations

I think I said them about 3 times.  I'm about burned out on this aspect, so I'll skip it for the next month.

Resolutions

I only had one and that was to spend 15 minutes a day on at least one of my projects.  Big fat fail.  But I think I know why.  I think it was too vague.  I tend to do better with a specific task to check off each day, rather than "work on ___" or "exercise ___ minutes."

To Do

  1. Sort and purge old photos - I made progress.  Ryan was awesome and let me sift through my physical photos and show him funny old high school memories, which made it easier for me to let some go.  I never take them out and reminisce on my own, so I don't need them, but I wanted to share them with someone before I said goodbye.  So physical photos = done, and digital photos I made it through 2011 and the "old" folder which was everything from before I had my own camera.  The good news?  2011 was the year I thought I might become a photographer and (I think) the only year with hundreds of scenery pictures to sift through.
  2. System for memory keeping - Nope.  In part because I never finished the photos part.
  3. Passive income project - It took me all month to really come up with an idea that made sense to me.  'Cause sure, I can sell templates, but what makes it any different than any other templates you can buy from Theme Forest or on Etsy?  Then I thought of making branding packages which would include logo, business cards, and social media setup, in addition to the template.  This makes way more sense for me, personally, BUT it's hardly "passive" income because people are going to need to customize all these things and, with the exception of a WordPress website, I don't know how to set it up that they can handle customization on their own.
  4. Set up Etsy shop - Again, dependent on the previous step so no.
  5. The book - Decided to let this go.  I waited too long and my idea has floated away.

In Conclusion

My brain has felt really scattered and all over the place this month.  Business really died down after the election (and it took me a while to recoup and get back to it, too) and the house is messy and things are generally a bit blegh.

But I'm starting to feel better and I don't want to be or feel blegh anymore, so I think what I want to do for month 4 is the thing that will help the most to make me feel more content.  And no, that's not the month of "fun" I was originally planning.

Month 4: Get Shit Done!


This will be less interesting to read about, but it needs to be done.  I'm going to tackle the photos again, but I'm going about it a different way.  And I only have 2 weeks to work with because on the 21st I'm flying out to California to spend Christmas with family.

No affirmations, no resolutions, just getting down to business.

To Do


  1. House - The state of my house is often a reflection of my mental state.  I know putting it to rights will galvanize me, so I want to do it first.  A) Reorganize entry closet B) Set up new crib, dispose of old one C) Decorate for Christmas!
  2. Sort Photos - I've broken this down into years and picked days that I know are relatively open to work on this.
  3. Get Photos Printed - Easy enough once I finish the 1st step.  Should be a one-day task.
  4. Baby Book and Scrapbook - Instead of going solo, I'm going to enlist Ryan to help me.  Both for accountability and because it will mean more later.
  5. Finish Digital Marketing Book - I've been reading this in small doses because there's sooo many tips I want to utilize, but I need to just get it done and stop spending every other day tinkering with my website.  Batching.
  6. Make Specific Business Goals - Instead of reaching Wednesday and thinking, "Hmmm, what do I want to work on?" I want to go back to setting goals and planning my week on Monday.
  7. Business "Packages" - I need to think on this a bit more, but I don't think I'll be opening an Etsy shop (because of that whole needing customization thing), but I do want to design examples for a "Website/Social package" and a "Complete Branding package."

That's probably more than enough.  The goal (similar to last month) is to start the new year feeling decluttered and fresh and ready to start mentally preparing for big life changes.  (I have a huge stack of parenting books just waiting for me.)

It's crunch time, ladies and gentlemen!

What are your last minute tasks for the year?  Anything you're in a rush to get done before the holidays?


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Dec 4, 2016

Weekly Wins!

My brain feels completely scattered lately.  I wasn't even going to post this and then I remembered my first bullet point under "biznass" and I still wanted to brag about it, sooo...

The Wins!


Biznass

  • Months after finishing the project and getting paid for it, a client was finally ready to put her website up online!  Naturally the deployment wasn't as smooth as it should have been so I spent a few days troubleshooting and now it is up and beautiful!
  • Followed up with some clients about invoicing.  I absolutely hate doing this so the victory here is following through instead of just taking the loss since the invoices aren't all that expensive.
  • Finished my FB ad campaign (got 16 new "likes" on my page, decided I'm not sure that quantifies as any great success, and probably won't pay more money for that unless those 16 people end up being very engaged and interested fans), and started a Google ad campaign (we'll see how it goes!).

Health

  • After a slow start to the week, got some good workouts in!  A good mix of biking, (light) strength training, and yoga.
  • Did I already tell you guys how amazing my pregnancy workout leggings are?  They're amazing.  The most comfortable things I have ever put on my body.  I wish I never had to leave the house.
  • Have some (very modest) meal plans for this week.  Back to healthier eating! (until Christmas, because Christmas!!!)

Happiness Project

  • Still deciding what to do about this.  I should be switching from "self actualization" to "fun" but I really didn't do self actualization at all and I feel too mentally cluttered to be all, "la la la, let's ignore life and plan fun activities instead."  Maybe I'll do a "get all the shit done before the year ends" month so I can relax a little in January.

Personal

  • Survived a birthing class!  I know, this does not bode well for the actual birth, but oh my goodness.  Do you know how big 10cm is?  Have you seen a demo of an epidural or a c-section???  For the c-section, they cut open the first layer of skin, part the muscles with their hand, and then cut open the uterus.  Watching (even in cartoony simulation form) made me wince.  I know too much!
  • Instigated the next brunch group meetup for later in December.  I'm just barely getting to know these ladies, but we had a ball last time, talking creative topics (and movies and pets).
  • Was frustrated with a couple conversations I'd had with people, realized I was doing my usual "bottle it up and avoid that person until I feel better" BS, and decided to just be straightfoward and tell them what was bugging me.  One didn't respond and one responded much more positively than I anticipated and wasn't awkward about it later.  So overall it's probably a healthier way to deal with conflict than to go hide or fume or pout.

Thoughts and Plans for Next Week (aka This Week)

  • Erm...  I'll let you know when it's over.

What victories did you have last week?  What's in the works for the upcoming week?


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Dec 1, 2016

Quarterly Goals - Winter 2017

Well... this season is just lame.  No better way to put it.

Autumn Seasonal Goals (September, October, November)

1. Try something new each month - Check!

September: ocean kayaking & cohosting kiddie sleepover, October: comedy club, November: massage (technically I've had one before but it was a hot stone massage and I didn't like it.  This was MUCH better).

2. Finish Zelda, Twilight Princess - Check!

And it was glorious!  I can still count the number of games I've played all the way through on one hand, but it always makes me feel accomplished to finish one.

3. Passive income project - Meh

I started...  Yep.  Just barely started.  What happened to November again?

4. Go to archery! - Sort of?

Ryan and I went to the archery club's Halloween party and "volunteered," intending to help with clean up.  They didn't actually need much help but it was nice to chat with some people.  As for actually going and shooting, I don't know, I don't really care anymore if I make time for it.  Ryan's the one with the membership (and expensive equipment) so it's not like I've invested all that much in the hobby anyway.

5. Write 60 pages in story - Newp

Decided to let the story go.  At this point I think I'm really just feeling more nostalgia than actual desire to do it.

6. Toast house training - Semi check

Shortly after making this goal, something seemed to click in Toast's little doggy brain.  We've been gradually expanding her freedom, and she's doing really well!  We started off leaving her out while running errands and moved on up until she was making it for the whole workday.  So far so good!

7. Finish sorting photos - Nuh uh

I have sporadically sifted through a couple additional trip folders, but I'm nowhere near completed.  I fully regret the days when I thought I might be a photographer and took hundreds of scenery pictures.

8. Family scrapbook! - Nada

Um yeah... apparently our family doesn't need to be documented.  There's always Facebook, right?


3/9 - Pa pa pa pathetic.  That's all I have to say about that.

Winter...

Winter Goals

  1. Broaden My Cultural Horizons - I really like the Southern Poverty Law Center's message about education being the solution to hatred and prejudice.  I can't do a whole lot about other people, but I can continue to educate myself, which I plan to do through books and events that are outside my norm.
  2. Attend 1 Networking Event Per Month - My client market (local Delaware businesses) is just not online, so all my beautiful Instagram photos or money spent on Facebook ads is just not going to pack the same punch as actually going out and meeting people.
  3. Try Something New Each Month - Same as usual.
  4. Have a Baby; Don't Freak Out - Yeah, basically this is a reminder to myself that starting February I have no idea what to expect and not to set high expectations for all my amazing accomplishments the following months.  Also I've totally had adopter's remorse immediately after getting both dogs and both times it turned out to be ok and I fell in love with them and can't imagine ever going back and not getting them, so I need to remember that when it gets stressful and overwhelming.

Do you make seasonal goals?  What are you planning for this winter?


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Nov 29, 2016

Gifts as a Love Language

I've had trouble explaining to people why I don't want gifts for various life occasions.  For example, even before we decided to elope, I was determined to tell our guests, "NO GIFTS."  And we're talking about having a baby party in January (not a shower, because, again, "NO GIFTS").  Someone asked me, "Is it because you want what you want and not what other people will get you?"

That made me feel bad.  Like I think I'm too good for other people's gifts or something, and it's not that at all (heck, at this point most of our baby stuff is secondhand).  I don't want gifts because it feels materialistic and contrived to me.  Gifts is the love language that means the least to me and while I'm happy to accept them from people who I spend a lot of time with and express affection in other ways as well, I don't want to ask for gifts from people who I don't know as well.

I think it feels fake to me because my primary love language is acts of service (and probably 2nd would be quality time).  So if you don't spend time with me and you're not willing to do favors for me, a physical gift just feels pretty meaningless.  And I'm not a huge fan of gifting things to other people for the same reason.  I don't feel like we're "friends" unless we spend some time together.  So how can I ask you to show up to this party and give me shit?  And are you asking me to come to your party/shower/whatever because you want to spend time with me or just because you want my money?

I'm self aware enough to realize this mindset is just mine and not everyone shares it and not everyone has gifts as the last on their list of ways to express affection.  And I'm trying to be open-minded to the idea that to other people, not giving a card for special occasions can be a big deal or that Christmas gifts are expected rather than a perk to an already special day.

But I still can't bring myself to make a registry and then share it with everyone.  Sorry, gift-givers!  It's not you, it's me.

That being said, here's a list of "gifts" I'd really appreciate:

  • An offer to babysit sometime next year
  • Hang out with me AND the baby after it comes so that I don't have to find a babysitter
  • Plan an outing so I don't have to (I get so sick of the endless "What should we do?  Where should we eat?  Does anyone have any ideas?" that inevitably follows a suggestion for a group hangout.  Either contribute an idea, vote for your favorite, or don't say anything. It's like the "yes and..." rule for improv actors.)
  • Spring cleaning.  Do you ever just want to talk to someone while you clean?  I do.  Even if they sit there and don't help, it makes the chores go by so much faster.  I seriously used to cajole Sister3 into sitting on my bed while I tidied my room back in high school so I could chat with someone.
  • Talk books with me.  Super extra bonus credit: read a book at the same time so we can compare notes the whole way.
  • Talk to me about something I posted on the blog.  Far more of my IRL friends and family read than I realize and it always means a lot when someone mentions a blog post.  Plus, a lot of the topics on here are things I'm really interested in or feel strongly about and don't necessarily get to talk about in everyday life.

Notice a pattern there?

And even with physical gifts, there's always going to be some I treasure more than others.  Did you spend time making something with your own hands?  Sure, that's a "gift" but it's also an act of service.  You're speaking my language.  Is it a gift based on an inside joke or something we talked about previously?  There's a tenuous link there to quality time, which adds a whole layer of meaning for me.

I've actually been asking friends and family about their respective love languages, so I can be more thoughtful when I do want to do something nice for them.  If their language is gifts, I'll try to think of something appropriate to buy, if it's quality time then I want to spend more time with them or make more of an effort to chat on the phone, and so on.

Some people just don't know and then I'm stumped (like Sister3, whom I have decided has her own unique love language of food photos).  And some of the languages are harder than others.  Like someone whose primary love language is physical touch?  What do I do with that???  "My gift to you is this hug."  Bahahaha!

Anyway, I'm starting to ramble so I'll cut myself off, but what do you think?

Is it easy for you to accept gifts or do you prefer non-tangible gifts?  Does your love language have an impact on how comfortable you feel giving gifts?  Do you know what your primary love language is?


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Nov 23, 2016

What I Hope People Receive From Me

This was supposed to be posted during Alyssa's challenge, but I got a little, erm, distracted (cough, abolish the electoral college!).  But I still like it and I'm posting it now.

..............................

There are a lot of things I wish I was and a lot of things I'm trying to be, but I know I haven't achieved all of the latter, and I'm not the best person to gauge the former, so I'm adding caveats to my answers for this.

I hope that...


...while I can't always match your level of enthusiasm, I do provide some stability when you need a calm force to rely on.

...while I don't always know whether you want support or advice, I provide thoughtful, helpful measures of either when it's made clear to me which you'd prefer.

...while I don't join in on alcohol-fueled fun anymore, my presence is still enjoyable to be around (and the DD services are useful).

...while my emotions sometimes run away with me, I can tell the difference between logic and emotion and let you know when I need space to let irrationality run its course.

...while I do have strong opinions, I can handle dissenting opinions from other people and that you aren't afraid to speak your mind around me.

...while I can be a crabby, judgmental jerk in my own head, I manage to set that aside and treat people fairly.

...while my self help books can be a dull topic for everyone else, I'm becoming a more well-rounded and generally better person every day.

...while I've made my fair share of mistakes and we have our differences of opinion, my parents are proud of me.

...while I'm not perfect and I've got plenty of mistakes left to make, I provide a good role model for my child.

...while Ryan and I are somewhat set in our ways, we will provide a fair explanation of all the options that are out there and not force our child to conform to our standards.

...while this introvert needs some personal space, I manage to be there when it matters most.

...while I tend to babble on about myself too frequently, some of the things I say are useful or entertaining.

What do you hope you are to other people?


Linking up with Alyssa's Back to Blogging challenge.

alyssagoesbang

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Nov 22, 2016

A Letter to the Mysterious People Who Comprise Our Electoral College

Since the election, my attention has been pretty firmly riveted on abolishing the electoral college altogether, but I've talked to a few people about the possibility of the electoral college NOT voting with their states.  "Faithless Electors" if you will.

I thought going against the state majority was contrary to the reason the electoral college was set up, but there is some evidence that that's what at least some of our founding fathers had in mind when they set up the electoral college.  To prevent the average, uneducated American from making horrible mistakes (which at one time I would have said sarcastically, but my opinion of our country and its inhabitants isn't what it once was).

I've never been one to use custom or "what some dead guys thought about this" as the reason to do things a certain way, but I think we're reaching a point where any option available to prevent this outcome should be examined and attempted.  Especially as Trump continues to add people to his administration that are racist, xenophobic, and outspoken white nationalists.  As he builds his tax plan that benefits the wealthy and hurts the lowest income brackets, contrary to all his promises.  As he surrounds himself with the very lobbyists he was promising to clear out.

Basically, the outlook continues to bleaken (not a word but it should be so I'm leaving it), and we need to utilize any solution we can to end this ridiculousness.  Sister2 is currently involved in her own letter-writing campaign to the members of the electoral college and I found her letter immensely compelling, so I'm sharing it here:

.............................................................................................

Dear Electoral College Member,

I would like to personally thank you for your service to our country in this essential role. We as a nation are grateful to you for accepting this weighty responsibility.

In the words of Alexander Hamilton, the Electoral College was designed to ensure that “the office of the president will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.” The founding fathers foresaw the results of this election and created a fail-safe to protect our nation: You.

The presumed president-elect is unfit to lead our nation. He has neither government nor military experience, which proves dangerous to our national security. One hundred and twenty two GOP National Security Leaders wrote an open letter “united in our opposition to a Donald Trump presidency,” which cited his “swings from isolationism to military adventurism within the space of one sentence,” among other concerns. Leading economists predict that his proposed tariff policies on China and Mexico will spur a recession in the United States and cost Americans 4.8 million jobs. He has promised to use torture on prisoners and civil liability to attack the free press, both in violation of the Constitution. Before the election, unprecedented numbers of Republicans were dropping support for Trump, and not a single living President endorsed him.

Donald Trump emerged from this election to a deeply divided country. Given his inexperience, it would have been prudent to surround himself with wise and broad-minded advisors. Instead he has appointed alt-right extremists and lobbyists to high advisory positions. Donald Trump is not capable of governing this country fairly or wisely. He is not capable of uniting a divided nation.

The American people call upon you in this unprecedented time to do what is right for our great nation. This situation is precisely what our founding fathers foresaw and created the Electoral College in order to prevent. NOW is your time.

YOU have the power to save America. Choose not to vote for Donald Trump. You can place your vote for a qualified Republican; you can vote for Secretary Clinton; you can abstain. Do what feels right, but you must vote your conscience!

If the Electoral College was intended to solely vote the way of the state’s popular vote every time, then we would simply tally the numbers based on state popular votes and call the election. This is not the case. Instead, our founding fathers purposefully placed living breathing humans with free will in this role. Not only do you have a choice, but you have a duty to the American people.

You have a chance to take a bold and principled stance and change history for the better. This will be your legacy: you saw a clear and present danger to America and you stood up to protect our great nation. We are forever indebted to your service.


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Nov 21, 2016

30 Week Pregnancy Update & Thoughts

What's this?  A non-political post?  Yes, friends, I have finally succeeded in thinking about something else.  I know, quite the accomplishment.

So you know what else is crazy?  I'm 3/4 of the way done!  Definitely starting to get excited now and definitely feeling pregnant.  We've had baby movement since about week 22, which makes it both more real and surreal at the same time.  I've had a few of these moments, "Whoahhhh, my body is, like, growing another body."


Clothes

I like my pregnancy clothes and I like looking pregnant (though I feel cheated by my lack of pregnancy boobs - I was quite looking forward to that particular physical change).  I remember the first couple months when I was so sure that I wouldn't be showing up until the end and now I laugh at that naivete.  What did I know?  (For the record, I am 100% sure that the entire process of parenting will include more laughing at my past misconceptions.)

Cravings

There was a solid week where I wanted olives all the time.  I'd eat them first thing in the morning right before starting my breakfast smoothie.  Delicious.  Another week I came home with old bay boiled shrimp even though I normally hate the stuff (old bay, not shrimp).  Ate it right from the package.

What it's Like

Physically I mean.  I'm sure everyone's so different emotionally that there's no point in describing that part.  Mostly I don't feel too much different.  As excited as I was to feel the first few movements, you adjust to that pretty quickly and I mostly don't even notice anymore unless the baby does something weird.  Like every once in a while it'll roll over (or somersault or something) and that kind of feels like someone's shoving a giant marble against my stomach and turning it.  There's other days where I'm achy, inside and out.  Sometimes my skin hurts or is itchy and sometimes my insides feel hollow or scraped out, kind of the way you might feel after a bad period or after puking all night long.  Which is kind of funny considering I'm the opposite of empty!

None of which is to complain.  I realize I've gotten off really (really, really) lightly with the symptoms so far and I am immensely grateful for that (knock on wood that the sciatic pain doesn't resume immediately after writing this).

The Serious Stuff

In another vein entirely, I've noticed that even as I feel "more pregnant," I find my brain moving onto or back and forth between different topics more easily.  It's become more a fact of life than something that needs to be discussed and pondered over.  I've been keeping busy with my happiness project and business projects and generally running my butt into the ground at a time when other people might advise me to relax, enjoy the last few months of non-parenthood, take a babymoon with my husband, etc.

That sounds nice and all, but something's driving me to keep picking up the pace.  I think it's partially an irrational feeling that I need to get as much "done" as possible before the baby comes, since I don't know what life will be like at that point, but I think the other part stems from a fear I've always had about being a parent.

I don't want to lose who I am.

I told my mom this and she laughed at me and I've since (mostly) made my peace with it.  Yeah, my blog might change, yeah I might be a dull conversationalist for a while, and yeah, I'll probably be obnoxious on Facebook with 20 versions of the same picture that I think are all exquisitely unique and special.  But I still don't want to stop living.

I recently needed a photographer for a client.  I'd taken photos for him in the past and, frankly, it was subpar work and I don't want to be responsible for (and charging people for!) work that I'm embarrassed by.  "No problem!" I thought.  I know tons of photographers - previous classmates who'd built their own freelance businesses.  I messaged around and I could not find a one to take on this client, because they'd all gotten married and had kids and didn't have the time.

Now I'm not here to denigrate anyone's choice to stay home with their child (or cut back on their workload), but it still shocked me.  These women chose a field that they loved (or so I thought - I could be wrong) and they poured their hearts into these businesses, and then to give it all up?  I love my business, and I can't imagine myself without it.  I want to think I have room in my heart and schedule for work and a baby.

It reminded me of one of Sheryl Sandberg's points in Lean In.  She talks about women leaning back to make room for family before they even have a kid.  She mentions how incredibly difficult it can be to leave your child to go back to work and if you've leaned back and missed out on opportunities, then there's not a whole lot to entice you to return to a job that is probably less satisfying than it would have been if you'd stayed fully engaged.  She advises you to instead "lean in."

So I guess that's what I've been doing.  Leaning in to life and work and trying to make sure that there's plenty of both still waiting for me on the other side of motherhood.  Both for me and my child, because I want to provide a multi-faceted role model for him/her.

If you've been pregnant, what weird symptoms/cravings/aversions did you have?  If you haven't, is there anything about pregnancy you're curious about?  AMA!


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Nov 20, 2016

Weekly Wins!

Another meh week so rereading the positives is nice.

The Wins!


Biznass

  • Forced myself to go to a networking event, even though I really, really wasn't feeling it.  It was fine once I got there.  It's not like I made amazing new contacts, but I gave out a couple cards and got some practice at this whole chatting with strangers thing.

Health

  • Made real meals!  We have been hardcore slacking in House Wellson these last few weeks, so even cooking frozen pre-prepared fish with rice and beans was a win for us.
  • Managed to get in some morning workouts and (with one exception) workouts were all 15+ minutes.  Looking to keep increasing that number over the next couple weeks (I had to start small to get myself to do it at all).
  • Got some workout pants that fit!  I've been resorting to pulling waistbands below my belly, which isn't great for mobility and, uh, pants staying on.

Happiness Project

  • Nada.  I dunno.  Either the election drove this thoroughly from my mind, or what I'm learning this month is that I don't care about my personal projects.

Personal



  • Ryan's aunt shared this image on Facebook and it might have been what I needed to hear about now.  So I pulled my head out of my ass and actually wrote some non-political blog posts for next week.
  • We left Toast out for 6 whole hours while we were gone and she didn't pee in the house!  She's, like, a grown-up dog now.  She's also been doing this thing where she follows me to the kitchen or closet or whatever closed in space and then sits with her back to me facing the open area.  I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be protecting her back or if she's guarding me, but it's oddly endearing.
  • Called my state senators to let them know my stance on the electoral college, Bannon, and Trump's other latest appointees.  (Here's an article about how to get your legislators' attention, if you haven't seen it already.)  I was weirdly scared to do this so I'm proud of myself for getting over it and calling.

Thoughts and Plans for Next Week

  • WordPress class/meetup and then food and family and not worrying about accomplishing anything!

What victories did you have last week?  What's in the works for the upcoming week?


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Nov 17, 2016

Oh, To Be "Great" Again

"Make America Great Again!"  People chant, murmur, and repeat this reverently, but what does it even mean?

I was trying to make a joke about this with a family member, pointing out that "great" can mean good or it can mean a large quantity of something, good or bad.

But to a lot of people "great" seems to be a quantifiable measure of something that our country is apparently lacking and can be given back.

According to Trump, our country was last "great" in the 1950s, which is fantastic news for his favorite demographic: older white males.  Not so much for the rest of us, if we women don't wish to return to the kitchen and minorities do not wish to return to "separate but equal."

I've also heard that great means "not being a joke like we have been for the last 8 years."  Are we a "joke"?  What does THAT mean?  That other countries laugh at us?

Who fucking cares???  Is our country at the core just a bunch of middle school students who are afraid of what other people think of us?

Yes, it would be ideal to have a strong economy.  Jobs = improved quality of life for everyone.  Having the respect of other nations is useful if it means we're safe from attack, but as I recall the last time we were officially attacked was prior to this 8 year period during which we have apparently been considered a joke.

The promise to make America "great" is just hype.  A bullshit promise that will provide a great fallback when the more concrete (but equally ridiculous) promises fall through.

"Sorry that wall isn't actually logistically possible and I can't actually force another nation to pay for it, but hey!  We're making America great again, so it doesn't matter!"

"Oh, what, my new tax plan actually hurts middle and lower class and helps the upper class?  Well that's unfortunate, but don't you worry.  It's all a part of the plan to make America great again!"

I don't know what your definition of "great" is, but if it's "of ability, quality, or eminence above the normal or average" that's not something we can just vote or petition for.  We have to decide what qualities qualify us for greatness and actually work towards obtaining them.

And maybe instead of spending so much time worrying about who might be coming into our country, we should focus more on having a country that's worth entering in the first place.  Why don't we aim to be "great" in things like overall happiness of our citizens (Bhutan)?  Why not most stable economy (Switzerland)?  Lowest unemployment rate (Japan, if we're just counting first-world countries)?  Most peaceful (New Zealand)?

How about just a president who doesn't outright lie to us, or worse, not realize that he's lying because he doesn't even know what a president is capable of?

But no, silly me, obviously not being laughed at is the primary goal.

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Nov 16, 2016

Electoral College History and Our Impact On Its Future

As much as I'd like to return to business as usual, I don't seem to be capable yet.  Other people keep themselves busy or immerse themselves in positivity to handle grief - I problem solve.  Although, when I finally get my head on straight, I absolutely plan on telling you about Year of Yes, which was an amazing read/listen and talks about various issues that are relevant at this particular moment.

My excessive sharing of various petitions about abolishing the electoral college mostly met with approval (or silence, which is fine).  But on Facebook an interesting conversation emerged that gave me pause for thought.

A couple people pointed out the basis for the electoral college.  To prevent small, rural states from being completely overrun by the cities, who had/have little to no understanding of the needs or culture of those communities.

At first glance, this made sense to me.  They are very different worlds and, a fact I was highly unaware of, about 80% of the population lives in urban areas vs only 20% in the rural ones.  So we have to give the rural states something to help them balance this inequity, right?

I was thinking in terms of land usage, and economic factors and things that would directly affect localized areas.

But another commenter reminded us that there are tons of different minority groups, and tons of ways to "split up" the country.  Why was this one group being given an extra say and not any of the other minority groups?  And that reminded me, "Oh, duh.  It's not about just land use.  It's not just about protecting one group's homes or culture.  It's about the rules that govern ALL of us and determine what our personal liberties will be."

Why should the minority decide for the majority who they're allowed to marry, whether sex ed or religion should be taught in schools, who is allowed to enter the country, what rights a woman has to her body, and on, and on, and on.  These are issues that affect all of us, not just one minority group or another.

The only way to be truly fair is to give every single individual one voice and to do our best to not silence any of them.  And the electoral college simply does not accomplish either of those goals.

And honestly, I still have trouble seeing how the electoral college truly gives more power back to those rural communities and small states.  Sure, everyone is guaranteed 2 votes, but after that it's determined by population anyway.  AND THEN you effectively silence up to 49.9% of the voters within that state by forcing the entire state to vote one way or the other.

Delaware's got 3 votes and we're a "blue state."  No conservative voice here matters and no presidential candidate is going to waste their time on our local issues.  Wyoming also has 3 and is a determinedly "red state."  Same goes for them.

All the electoral college does is give power to the "swing states."  How is that a better solution?  Why are we ok with silencing all the conservative voices in California and New York and all the liberal voices in Idaho, Kansas, and Nebraska?

Another blogger pointed out to me that because of all the silenced voices and people not bothering to vote, the cumulative impact of eliminating the electoral college might not even be a shift to the left side, because more people would come out to vote.  I don't think that's a bad thing!  Everyone should want to vote.  Everyone should feel like their voice matters.

There are other possible solutions.  Young Turks gives a pretty comprehensive overview of the situation and (in my opinion) covers the issue from all sides.  By simply splitting the electoral votes so that they don't have to all go to one party, we allow everyone within a state to have more input.

But I still believe the electoral college, in any form, is outdated and unjust.  I almost feel like the petition to have the electoral college vote for Hillary despite Trump "winning" their votes is cheating the system and the real answer is to change the system BUT it would accomplish 2 very excellent things: 1) The electoral vote would actually represent the popular vote and what the majority of people in this country want and 2) It would make Republicans angry and they would finally agree with us that the electoral college needs to go.

Even if the electoral college by some miracle caves and accedes to the popular vote, it still needs to go.  As Slate.com refers to it, this "watered down Democracy" is an outdated institution that sticks around only because of the support of those who are given unfair advantage by it and apathy of those who ought to do more to oppose it.

There's a lot of anger and discussion and social media attention to the issue right now, but if we really want change, we have to keep on this issue even after Trump becomes president.  Even if the electoral college changes its mind and elects Hillary instead.  We have to do more than just send out angry tweets and we have to do more than just sign petitions (although I personally think that's a fantastic starting place and you can do that on Change and MoveOn if you haven't already).

So what's next?  I wish I had a more inspiring, exciting answer that would thrill you into action, but I don't.  We write.  We email.  We call.  We tell our legislators what we want and we hope that after they've heard from enough of us that they do something about it.

National Popular Vote makes the email portion of it fairly easy.  Just fill out their form and hit send.

Last week I asked you for 15 seconds of time.  This week I'm asking for a whole minute.

Email for change?

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P.S. I wasn't a huge fan of the form letter options National Popular Vote provides, so here's what I wrote:

Subject: National Popular Vote Should Determine President

"The system we currently have in place gives an unfair consideration to the voices of rural, white communities. Considering the sheer number of other minority populations, it seems unjust that one group would be raised above another and their voices given more consideration. In addition to that inequity, the all-or-nothing system for allocating electoral college votes effectively silences up to half of each state's population.

Everyone should have the right to make their voice heard. The only way to do that is with a national popular vote."

Nov 15, 2016

Trump's America - the Rationale Behind the Fear

This post isn't for my blogger friends, or my immediate family.  This post is for anyone who might happen to read this who doesn't understand the strong negative reactions to Trump's victory.  Who thinks Democrats are being ridiculous and all this fear-talk is a bunch of bullshit or whining.  Who wants to talk about the hypocrisy of riots breaking out by the people who "supposedly want love, not hate."

Dear Trump-Supporter,


I'm doing my best to understand you.  You could have voted for Trump for any number of reasons on a sliding scale of distastefulness to me.  You may have voted out of fear of the Democratic candidate, over desperation that your own needs weren't being met, or out of the hope that change, any change is needed for our country.  You might have wanted to "shake things up" or you might be in favor of a businessman who will, in all likelihood, make laws that favor other wealthy businessmen.

It might take some time, but I'll keep trying to understand why you feel the way you do.  So I hope you'll take the time to understand why those of us who are upset by this turn of events feel the way we do.

I'm Afraid of the Things Trump Will Do


I know an illegal immigrant.  Actually, I know and have known quite a few, but for this post's purposes, I'm just going to discuss the one I know best.  You see, he's married to one of my best friends.

I'm afraid for both their sakes.  I'm afraid for their daughter who might shortly be losing her father.  I'm afraid for my friend who might soon be facing the difficult decision of losing her husband, or taking her daughter to Mexico, where her education will be set back years by her inability to speak Spanish and her opportunities will be minimal.

You might be saying to yourself, "Well, if he hadn't broken the law to come here, that wouldn't be a problem."  And yeah, that's true.  But he did and he's here and he's working 70 hours a week at a crap job for crap pay that no American would stand for in order to support his family.

"Why didn't he just stay in Mexico?"  There's an article on Cracked that talks about the desperation in poor, white, rural areas.  That's hardly a unique kind of desperation.  I would argue that the US is largely responsible for Mexico's decline in economy and rise in unemployment, thanks to NAFTA.  But even if you disagree, what would you do in that situation?  Just sit and accept your quiet despair?  Accept that your life will never get any better?  Or take action, any action, that offers hope to you and your family, even if that action happens to be illegal?

"He should have just gotten a work visa."  Yes, wouldn't that be nice?  But if you think that's a thing that's easy, or even possible, for an impoverished Mexican worker to acquire, you've forgotten how privileged American citizens are.  We can go pretty much anywhere with just a standard passport.  But people wanting to come in here?  The rules are just a tad bit different.

Similarly, the difficulties in acquiring a greencard (one of the first steps towards citizenship) are prohibitively difficult even after marrying a US citizen.  He would have to leave our country for an undetermined period of time while his spouse proved her ability to provide financial support and the simple fact is she can't.  They need both salaries just to get by.  And if it was ever discovered that he'd been in this country illegally, or some other factor negated his eligibility, there's a good chance he'd never get be able to return, by any means.  Coming over here illegally is not a piece of cake.  It's an expensive and dangerous process that people undertake out of the desperate hope for a new life.

And all the should haves and would haves in the world really don't matter when it comes down to the facts: he is here, he has a wife and child, and he is supporting them.  Remove him from the picture and you have a broken family without a father who will, in all likelihood, be reliant upon government assistance in order to survive.

Tell me how that's better.  Tell me who's going to fill in that less-than-minimum wage, maximum hour job.  And tell me how many restaurants won't simply go out of business because their profit margins aren't too low to pay minimum wage.

That's a personal example and I'm sure you don't feel their pain.  You don't know them.

You may not know any immigrants, legal or otherwise.

You may not know anyone who is afraid of having their marriage nullified and illegitimized, simply because they fell in love with the "wrong" gender.

You may not know anyone who is afraid that they may soon be put on a registry based on their faith.

But I hope you know someone who's different from you.  I hope there's some diversity in your life.  Both for your own sake and so that you can understand and empathize with the other side.  Because that will help you understand my next point.

I'm Afraid of the Things Trump's Presidency Encourages


I don't think anyone can deny that Trump has said many, many pointed things, vilifying various minority and ethnic groups.  He has degraded and minimized women and immigrants and minority groups and Muslims and, honestly, I'm not even sure who else because I've been doing my best to ignore his campaign for the last year.  Chalking it up to celebrity gossip about a man who could never possibly be elected.

But now he has, and with a platform like that, what kind of message does that send to our country?  Obviously Trump has no control over what his followers do, but when he responds to violent incidents by referring to the instigator as "passionate" or the victim as "deserving" what message does that send?  He can't help that the KKK has chosen to endorse him, but what does it mean when he ignores all opportunities to renounce the group?

To me, and to a good portion of Americans, it feels like Trump has been deliberately cultivating hate during his campaign.  Strong feelings are the best way to recruit people.  Passionate, angry, hate-filled people don't always make the most logical decisions.

So now that he's won, it's done 2 things: 1) Told minorities, immigrants, and women that the country cares more about... I'm still not sure what, than it does about their safety or welfare and 2) Showed the worst of Trump's supporters that that behavior really is ok and endorsed by America.

That was probably not your intent.  If you're reading this and haven't already left a nasty comment, you're probably not some hate-fueled monster who's hoping for a return to the 1800s and white, male America.  But can you at least see how that feels to other people?

Hate crimes are up.  Many of them directly reference Trump's victory.  Regardless of how you or I feel about, there are people who have fed into Trump's platform of literal and implied bigotry and who now feel that his presidency gives them free rein to exercise that hatred.

"But the protesters are doing violent things too!"  Yes, I know.  There are protests all over the place and some of them have turned violent (3 that I know of, but possibly more).  I'm not condoning that, in any way, shape or form.

Hate is a natural response to hate and it's very easy to get carried away with fear.  I don't condone the riots and I don't think they accomplish anything, but I can at least understand the emotions that led to them.

The hate crimes I don't understand and I never will.  And they scare me far more, because at the end of the day, the rioters will be arrested or go home and settle down and once again become normal people you can reason with.  The racists, the white supremacists, the bigots?  Not so much.

I hope, I sincerely and perhaps naively hope, that this, like the riots, is temporary.  That it's all a short-term response to a highly-charged, emotional election.  That the police and government will crack down and show everyone that the change of president has not changed the standards by which we live.

But so far it's not something Trump has cared to address.  And in this case, as in much of his campaign, silence is as good as endorsement.

So yeah, that scares me.

I am white, from a white, privileged family (although my father might argue that he had to fight to get to where he is now, but I certainly didn't) and there's a good likelihood that none of this will personally affect me.  But I am terrified for everyone who is at the whim of this man, and his followers, endorsed by him or not.  I am terrified to live in an America where this is the norm and I feel utterly helpless to do anything about it.

I am grasping at straws for one useful thing to do or say and I'm coming up short.

Like everyone else in our country, I just have to wait and see.

And that scares me.

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Nov 13, 2016

Weekly Wins

I was tempted to skip this post this week and pout and say, "There were no wins this week."  But, like I posted on Thursday, we do need to move forward and to work on being better and making better things happen in the future.  And, seriously, we need to focus on and look for positive things now more than ever.

The Wins!


Biznass

  • First income through Waves!  Omg, it was so smooth and beautiful and I love this website so much.
  • Uhhh... yeah that was about it.  Not my most productive week.

Health

  • New (and far more strict) accountabilibuddy!  Kristen is awesome and signed on for this and messages me with grim, teeth-baring emojis and motivational messages even on the days that she doesn't work out.  It's been awesome.
  • Cardio this week! (not a ton but something!)  And grocery shopping.  And just a lot of things that really fell to the wayside the last week or two.

Happiness Project

  • I decided to let go of my book project.  This feels almost like a loss, but I think it's good to be honest with myself and admit that if it's not important enough to make time for now, it never will be.  Plus brain space freed up to focus on other things.

Personal

  • Only cried for 2 or 3 hours Wednesday morning.  Ha...  Yeah, I know.  It was a rough day.  But I feel good about finding personal causes and takeaways instead of just sitting back and letting it devastate me.
  • On that note, some of the discussions that have come out of the election hype have been good ones.  Both for my edification, and helpful ways to move forward and support those groups who have been and, in all likelihood, will be even more marginalized under our new leadership.  (Jezebal has a good list of causes to support - I chose immigration reform and women leadership.)

Thoughts and Plans for Next Week

  • NOT get into any political discussions at work tomorrow.  We're all friends on social media anyway, so we might as well have our terse, unpleasant conversations via digital means.

What victories did you have last week?  What's in the works for the upcoming week?


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Nov 10, 2016

What Now? How to Reunify

I was reluctant to return to business as usual today.  It felt... wrong.  I wasn't ready for the discussions to end, for us to just return to our regular lives and pretend that this massive thing hadn't just been dropped on us.

Settling back into a normal routine felt wrong, so I looked around for things I could do moving forward and, as is so frequently the case, someone wrote this article before I could.  Yes and Yes posted 9 Real, Actionable Things We Can Do About Trump.

Ignoring all political affiliation, it's a great article because the author focuses on how to weather the storm that is not just a president you may disapprove of, but the general political turmoil our country has found itself in and the deep rift we're feeling between each other.

In my post yesterday, I talked about feeling bewildered and shocked and saddened by the idea that so many people voted for hatred.  And surely some of them did.  But maybe, just maybe, some of the Trump supporters voted the way they did because they have felt misrepresented.  Because deep down, they were as scared of the Democratic candidate as Democrats are of our new president.

Ryan and I were joking about the kind of dystopic futures we could potentially be facing with each leader (Trump's was basically a return to white male America and Hillary's was big brother-esque).  For us it was a joke, but maybe the fear guiding the votes for this election were very real and maybe people were voting against the candidate they were most afraid of since they didn't have one who actually represented what they wanted or hoped for.  Maybe they were imagining those dystopias and trying to avoid them at all costs.

It's what I'll keep telling myself anyway.  Stephen Colbert talks about that fear.  He talks about the fact that 55% of Democrats are afraid of the Republican party and 49% of Republicans feel the same way about the Democrat side.  He talks about spending less time on politics and more time on the things we do have in common.  And he ends with a plea to make sure we never have another election like this one.

I've seen people share posts on Facebook commenting that unfollowing and unfriending each other isn't going to accomplish anything and just deepens the divide.  And I agree, to some extent.  Obviously I don't think you should stay friends with people who are actively spreading hatred and prejudice and that's not something I plan on tolerating either.

But if someone has some reason for voting Trump that is legitimate in their mind and it doesn't have to do with the various minority groups they dislike or the individual human rights they want to suppress, then I will do my best to be tolerant of that.  To respond with understanding instead of judgement.  Obviously love would be better, but I'm only human and I have to work with my limited capabilities.

I'm not quite with Colbert on putting down all the election talk and going back to regular life.  I think things need to actively change to avoid future elections like this one.  I think we all need to educate ourselves and be more involved in the primaries.  How are we supposed to have better options if we don't get out there and tell the government and the stupid two-party system which options we prefer?  Obviously they're not capable of making good decisions by themselves.

I have no idea how to go about changing the two party system.  But I do have a gripe with another political institution that I think is antiquated and unnecessary.

Abolish the Electoral College

I know several people who said, "It doesn't really matter."  In reference to their vote.  Because it doesn't!  Our individual votes do not matter and this year, as in past elections, the popular vote did not choose who our next leader would be.

If you wanted Trump as president you might be wondering what's in it for you.  But I honestly think this is an issue that every single person who bothered to vote should agree on.

Our votes should matter.

We do not need an electoral college to vote for us.  We live in a digital age with information readily available at all times.  We are capable of researching and making decisions for ourselves.  The electoral college was formed to prevent the large states from completely dominating the small ones.  But has it?  The number of electoral votes per state is based on the population anyway BUT unlike a population of individuals, the electoral votes all have to go one way or the other.

What is that about?  Not everyone within each state agrees, and if you happen to live in a "blue state" or a "red state" this effectively negates you.  Republicans votes in a Delaware election do not matter.  Democrat votes in Kansas do not matter.

This strikes me as incredibly wrong.  An idea based on positive values that has gone horribly wrong and that we keep around simply because change is too much effort.  Trying to figure out how to change it is too much effort.  Doing anything is too much effort.

If this election and our current political atmosphere has taught us anything, it should be that the cost of our inaction is now too high.  Yes, effort.  It sucks.  But we need it, from you, from me, from everyone.

And this is part of the reason I don't want to shut out all my Republican friends.  Because I need you and there are still things we have in common.  This is one of them.

Petition for Change?

That's the question I've been asking people on Twitter who have used the hashtag "#AbolishElectoralCollege".  Some of them have even responded, which is nice.  More importantly, the Change.org petition has jumped over 10,000 votes since last night (which I would of course like to attribute to my own efforts, but I'm sure other people had the same thought and found the petition at the same time I did).

There are 3 petitions that I know of.  Change.org has the most votes currently.  It takes about 15 seconds per petition to sign.

Do Petitions Even Work?

Honestly?  I have no clue.  I'd love to believe that they do.  But, as a friend pointed out on Facebook, we've tried this before and nothing came of it.  But you know what else?  Doing nothing will always result in nothing, so I don't see the harm in trying.

It takes 15 seconds.

Petition for change?

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Nov 9, 2016

Apathy & Hate - Deciding How to Respond


I don't think I have anything that has already been said, and probably better, by someone else. But after months of saying, "It'll all be fine" I guess I can't stand the idea of sitting around and continuing to pretend everything is ok. I feel incredibly naive for my opinion up until I awoke on Wednesday morning, because I truly believed that this was not a possibility.

I believed that the fact that Trump had come so far was because no one thought he could make it and they weren't taking it seriously. I thought when the time came to vote, people would wake up and he'd lose in a massive landslide that proved he never should have been there all along.

I believed that third party votes would be at an all-time high. I don't necessarily agree with all the criticism of Clinton, but it's an opinion I can understand and respect, and if you'd rather vote third party, I'm all for it. Show the government that we want more options and that the two party system is broken!

But that's not what happened. Not at all. Third parties combined took maybe 4%. So all these people whining about, "We don't have any good options" did what exactly? Just didn't choose anyone? Wrote in bullshit Internet memes. As Alyssa put it, "spat on the right to participate in democracy that not 100 years ago women were being jailed in their fight for."

I understand that people were upset. I understand the desire to protest what you feel weren't good options. But sitting by and doing nothing and allowing this to happen? Yeah, I'm sad and more than a little disgusted that that was how people chose to deal with the situation. "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men should do nothing."

I'm also astounded at the sheer number of people who actively voted for hate.  Who listened to Trump's platform of misogyny, xenophobia, and racism and thought, "Yeah, that's what I want for our country."  Who listened to bullshit promises about building a wall that Mexico will pay for, and thought that not only was that a good idea, but that he has/will have any power to deliver on that promise.

I shouldn't have to explain to anyone why Trump is not a good candidate. I seriously thought he was making that perfectly clear all by himself over the last year.  But obviously there are a significant portion of Americans who look at all this hatred, this incompetence, and this fountain of empty promises and think, "Well, at least it's not a woman."  People who legitimately think that an email scandal is the equivalent of or worse than sexual assault charges, and that experience ranks less highly than "speaking your mind."

As a woman, it feels like a personal blow to me, even though I'm sure that's not what was running through people's heads when they were voting for Trump (with the possible exception of his KKK endorsers).  I'm sure everyone who happens to be a minority, immigrant, and/or Muslim feels the same way.

I've been reading posts like Jana's about what this means to their children. People with biracial or minority children who have to explain the logic that went into this man getting elected. How to explain that the bully won, and that our country chose him. I saw a news clip from last night that said, "This is white supremacy at work."  And you know what?  I don't disagree.  She points out Trump's winning strategy: finding all the pockets of hate and fear in our country and whipping them into a frenzy.  Our mistake?  Underestimating how many and how large those pockets are.  Trump's slogan should not be "make American great again" it should be "make white male America great again." But only if you don't happen to be a contractor or small business owner, because then he'll skin you alive to make a quick buck.

I'm trying not to be bitter.  Sad yes, and bewildered, and scared.  But I know bitterness and anger, disgust and more hatred aren't going to help.  I was prepared to bury my head in the sand and pretend this wasn't happening, for the next 4 years if need be. But then I saw a few people's rallying cry. Yes, it's a huge blow, but we need love more than ever. We need each other more than ever. Michael shared a great tweet at the end of her post, "Often our greatest courage is just getting up after a long night & persisting in doing good for others, serving, helping & never giving up." Audrey Louise reminded us that Trump's America isn't hers and extended her love to all those who might be feeling the lack right now.

My favorite post is my sister's, which I've screen captured to give her some semblance of privacy.


I'm a little ashamed that my first impulse was to run and hide but now, reluctantly, and perhaps begrudgingly, I'm admitting these people are right. Giving up on our country, escaping to Canada, or burying our heads in the sand for the next 4 years aren't going to help anything.

As hard as it is right now, I'm not deleting my news feeds or social media accounts. I might refuse to discuss politics in person but I am sure as hell going to keep educating myself on the issues and voting, even when it feels pointless. I'm going to research until I figure out how the primaries work and what I have to do to be allowed to vote in them, even though sometimes it feels like the government is purposely obfuscating information about our election process. And if you're a vote-abstainer, I am going to give you shit until you go get registered.

Inaction and apathy are the two things our country really can't take any more of right now.

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