If you’ve come here for some comfort, for some rosy, uplifting, “tomorrow is another day” inspiration, then you should walk away now, because that’s not what I have to offer tonight.
Unless you took a news hiatus day today, then your day, too, included trying to come to terms with a Texas open carry law that passed even thought it was opposed by 59% of Texans (including law enforcement).
Your day included trying to comprehend a Texas abortion ban that does not include exceptions for rape or incest and that allows – even encourages – private citizens to become vigilante enforcers.
And, your day found you, like me, struggling to accept that the scene of water rushing through the 28th Street subway station (among other, equally horrific scenes) was not a James Cameron film but real life.
Unless you buried your head in the sand (or under your pillow) today, you, too, saw that there were almost 150,000 new Covid cases reported and almost 1500 new deaths reported.
Maybe you also saw that Tennessee (“a surge of the unvaccinated”) now leads the U.S. in new Covid cases, that at one point today, Thursday, September 2, every ambulance in Shelby County, TN was busy. Only 4% of ICU capacity was available for new patients, as of noon Thursday. Children represent the fastest-growing demographic for Covid hospitalizations, and more than one-third of Tennessee children hospitalized for Covid are in Memphis, at Le Bonheur.
(Side note: You want links to read more about any of these stories? Sorry; you’ll have to look them up for yourself. I just can’t even…. Anyway, looking up these stories will do you good. You can do it.)
All of this nasty, depressing, overwhelming bad news? Humans did all of it.
Humans who put personal freedom above common good did this.
Humans who deny science and medicine did this.
Humans – too many of us for this planet to sustain – damaged the planet’s ecosystem, perhaps beyond repair and certainly beyond any immediate hope of turning back.
We did these things that happened today, we humans, and now what’s done is done. There is no undoing any of what happened yesterday or today, and what lies ahead is almost certainly worse, not better. And the selfish, willfully-ignorant, “personal freedoms” crew who deny science, worship guns, and pillage the natural world aren’t going anywhere. They’re outnumbered, these hellscape architects. I know they are. But it surely doesn’t feel that way, not today.
While you won’t get any Pollyanna reframing of today’s headlines from me (at least not tonight), I will suggest, very strongly, that you scream into your pillow, rant to your houseplant (because carbon dioxide feeds it), let all that nasty, angry, bitterness out in a way that afflicts no other human or pet companion, and get yourself to sleep so you can get up tomorrow and keep going.
Maybe, with a good night’s sleep, your anger can increase your resolve.
Maybe a little rest can help you save your energy, so you’ll have the fortitude, tomorrow, not to react reflexively in the face of utterly moronic bullies.
Maybe with a little bit of shut-eye (especially if you’re a Southern woman by birth) you can summon a lethal kind of calm, ready for tomorrow’s battle.
But, whether you find yourself restored by sleep or not, when tomorrow dawns, get up anyway, even if you’re still furious at the unconscionable damage being wrought by a mean-spirited minority. Get up.
Get up, and do your best. The alternative is equally unconscionable, so don’t even go there.
Something Good for Angry Snacking
Are you eating your feelings these days? ISO a spot of comfort from the pantry? I get it. But, for heaven’s sake, don’t eat a bag of fucking Doritos, OK? Spend a few minutes in an easy cooking meditation, and store this little snack in the pantry for when you need it. You’ll feel better, in every way. I promise.
Ina Garten’s Rosemary Roasted Cashews
Don’t like the idea of clicking a link? I get it. Here’s my version of the recipe, which is a little different from Queen Ina’s but definitely an homage to the OG.
1 Costco-sized container of cashews (raw, unsalted)
2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary (you’ll strip the leaves from the stalks)
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2-3 Tbsp. brown sugar
Kosher salt (I add to taste – the original recipe, if made in this quantity, would call for about 1 Tbsp.)
There are two ways of doing this first part: Either spread the raw cashews on a baking sheet and roast them, carefully, in a medium oven for about 10 minutes; OR cook them in batches in a nonstick skillet over low-to-medium heat, making sure not to scorch them. You want them to be a lovely light brown – just a little darker than the raw nut – and very warm.
If you’re using the oven, then you can chop the rosemary and mix the other ingredients while the nuts are roasting. If you’re cooking the nuts on the stovetop, then chop the rosemary and make the mix beforehand, so you don’t burn the nuts.
In a very large glass bowl or Dutch oven, combine the rosemary leaves (chopped), melted butter, cayenne pepper, brown sugar, and some salt (start easy – you can add more later). Dump the warm nuts from the baking sheet or skillet into the mix, and stir to coat. Add more salt if needed.
(And yes, I sometimes do all of this in the skillet, adding ingredients as I go, freeform. But that’s definitely not how Ina does it, at least not when she’s on TV.)
Ina’s directions are to serve these nuts warm. I prefer them after they’ve cooled and set a bit. I dump them right back in that planet-killing plastic container from Costco, and I eat them when I need a little boost.
ALMOST TO THE HALFWAY MARK!
This post is 24/56 in a self-directed challenge to write (or at least post) something (SOMETHING) every day – a birthday gift to me from me, because writing gives me a place to put the clutter that lives in my head.
(Oh my. You kick ass. I meant to write 50 for 50 days starting in February. Then a week after my birthday I decided to write 50 times this year. Now I imagine beginning the 51st day before my next birthday because…) I’m going back to teaching. Palestinian and Israeli literature to seniors. So ABRL is my new mantra (always be reading or listening to helpful podcasts…) Which has me reading Just Mercy (school read) and Mornings in Jenin and Amos Oz and Naomi Shihab Nye and listening to Intractable and Unsettled. And all I can come up with for my first three lessons is something about compassion. Because my god, we need compassion. Even with our rage, maybe most of all with our rage? For ourselves, for our planet, for the other. (I can’t even with Texas right now though. Also, Florida. Then I deep breathe and remember- compassion. Ugh.)
(I think I just replied to your blog post with a blog post…)
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See? You’ve just written. You did it. Now do it again, when you’re ready. The timeline is yours, because you cannot have compassion for others without first having compassion for yourself. I am 💯 right on that point, whether or not I always take my own advice. ❤️
P.S. your little people (who are so big!) look adorable in their first day of school pic
I’ve come to the rather disheartening conclusion that the planet would be far better off without homo sapiens. Fortunately for Mother Earth, we humans seem to be taking care of that and eliminating ourselves via a number of creative self-destruction measures. I just hope that we don’t take too many other species with us.
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I have come to the same set of conclusions, and also this one: these things are true whether I wear despair like a heavy cloak or sing brightly to the morning air while I walk my dogs. So why not choose the latter, every day?
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Very true, Jennifer. All the more reason to live our best life with our best intentions. And to tread lightly and kindly….
Are you familiar with Dan Harris’s podcast, Ten Percent Happier? It’s great. And he’s doing a series on kindness right now that makes me think of you. I’ll try sharing the link here (but if this doesn’t work it should be easy to find) – https://10percenthappier.app.link/CBcNbp7nhjb
It is a sad and scary time. The inmates are running the asylum, and our health and the planet’s health are in great jeopardy. I do what I can, contribute where I think it does the most good, and try to remove myself emotionally as much as possible so I don’t become an angry, ranting person. Cook, quilt, walk my dogs, play with my grandchildren, and hope they find a way ahead that I thought we had already figured out.
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Amen, sister 🙏🏻
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