Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water
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The month of November is a gateway to winter and festivities. In Tucson we have had a very mild warm fall season with generous amounts of rain. It is predicted to be an El Nino winter which will bring additional rain to the dessert. Our desert is green and lush right now and the weather has been superb for a string of lovely outdoor parties and events. We look forward to a neighborhood pot luck gathering this weekend to savor the place and the people where we live. This is the season to be jolly outside in Arizona. It is perfect for bike riding grilling or hiking.
At this time of year we switch wardrobes and perhaps change our activities. I began a tradition of cleaning and clearing for the holiday season last year. The big purge of wardrobe items was by far the best gift I gave myself because it keeps on giving in the form of a happy closet. This year I have fewer things to discard, but am taking a look at using and appreciating absolutely everything I own. There is no reason to store and care for stuff that no longer is useful. I also need to be aware of all the memberships and subscriptions I have that need to be rationalized. I need to evaluate to be sure I am not over cluttering my membership reality. Like clothing in the closet, if subscriptions are crammed in and too crowded they will not be noticed or appreciated.
This Thanksgiving I want to feel grateful for my extreme good fortune without creating too much waste. I want to prepare highly gourmet cuisine for the whole month that thrills, satisfies, and does not end up in the compost bin. I have improved my food prep skills to avoid waste but can still step up my game. I still need to cut down on portion size for the two of us. I believe that pulling off a month of healthy tasty meals we both enjoy will be a better use of my talents than making one big meal with too many leftovers. We like to go to Govinda’s vegetarian buffet for the Thanksgiving meal because it is good and you can usually have a photo shoot with a live turkey on the patio. That sets me free to find ways to make the rest of the month delicious. If you have any seasonal recipes you want to share, please send them this way. I will be cooking up a storm, just not an excess. Stay grateful, gentle reader.
Arcs of time and industry ebb and flow with innovating thrills
Cabinets filled with medicine bottles offering colored pills
Return the reflection with irony and mysterious vague glance
Rusting in the basement of chance, iron predators sing and dance
After thought of swimming in polluted water to the ship of rules
Most of the company parted in haste to avoid the jeering ghouls
Manufactured waste, canyons created by exhausted greedy souls
Sharply cut into the landscape, drill deeper holes, impossible goals
Ride the poetry train in April by reading, writing and hearing more poetry. Find new poets to enjoy here.
Americans have started to rebound from the culture of excess. The Tiny House Movement is a valid reaction to the waste and lack of awareness of the past. It is a growing trend with new options sprouting up all the time. There are rolling versions that replace the old trailer model of mobile home. There are plans to build your own as well as contractors who specialize in this kind of construction. The biggest advantage I can see is the tiny amount of time it would require to keep it clean. It would be impossible to leave any clutter I should imagine, since you have to see it constantly if you are not organized. I am so far from being able to contain myself like this. I own a barn and have an entire extra lot in which to garden. I do think it is an admirable goal, so I have started to think about what it would take for me to get tiny. I must start by selling many of my treasures that I no longer treasure. How hard would it be for you to go tiny?
During this December of deletion it has become abundantly clear to me that waste of all kinds can be nipped in the bud by simply defining it. I, for instance, have not been willing to admit that owning 5 times more clothing than can be worn in a year is wasteful. Hoarding and waste are the exactly same thing, but hoarding is waste without boundaries . This shocking realization has deep meaning in my closet, in my office, in my kitchen, my garden, my barn, and even in my social life. The most notable waste that can be eliminated is time spent seeking more acquisitions. If you don’t need anything, is it not a waste of your time to go around trying to mindlessly acquire something, just to be consuming? Even more devastating to my health and happiness is allotting my space to extra junk. I pay taxes, insurance, and utility bills to basically own the space in which I keep all my gear. Although I am not approaching the level of the hoarding crazy people on reality television, I see no reason to continue owning extra stuff I never use. I now define that as a waste of my time, energy, and space. As the hoarder in the video explains, the junk is like a barrier or a wall created to hide himself from the world. All possessions can be treated as self-limiting boundaries, from your Mercedes to your expensive signature haircut. Marketing is the process of changing the desires of the people to match what is available in the marketplace. In itself, it is not evil. Something has changed our attitudes about consuming to the detriment of our society and economy. We are building a landfill to heaven.
When I was a child we never thought of wasting energy, or carbon footprints, or even about world peace. I grew up in an industrial era during which producing goods and shipping them around the world was exciting and considered to be the highest and best use of time and resources. Owning things was very important to my parents. Pride of ownership was a distinct value they impressed upon me. They were both very seriously into wardrobe, theirs and mine. They had super high standards for tidiness and order that would not allow them to acquire more stuff than they could store. The material world was in balance because they did not mistake quantity for quality. I rejected their materialistic version of reality, but ended up with plenty of material goods anyhow. It is time to examine, eliminate, and most importantly be vigilant about portions. Time, interest, talent, and resources need to be spent in the right proportion. As we head into the darkest time of the year it is my goal to emerge with a highly organized and clear space. There is much to do.
The current uproar at the IRS highlights the much misunderstood function of granting tax exempt status and enforcing it. I have gone through the process of obtaining a 501C3 permit to run a non-profit corporation, and can tell you it is exhaustive and thorough. Like Medicare fraud, there must be pros who go about cheating and defrauding the system from within. Tax exempt status is given to legitimate corporations willing to go through strict accounting documentation to prove that they are satisfying the mission they stated in the original application. By submitting in good faith to this non-profit status scrutiny they are subject to a review of their activities constantly. Applying for the status is technical and rigorous, as it should be. Keeping it is equally serious in nature.
Going completely commando, soliciting donations from the public without any IRS permit or reporting of the donations whatsoever is the highly lucrative method that has been used in my neighborhood for many years. They have begged openly for donations of food, money, items, and labor. They ask for public support to store prepare food in a residential condo to be served randomly to presumably homeless people they find in parks. No laws are obeyed, from zoning, to health code, to revenue laws. They openly ask for donations on the internet, although multiple law enforcement agencies have been informed for many years of the crimes. This self-appointed charity does not feel the need to obey any laws because no laws are enforced. The lack of interest of the government agencies could be seen as negligence. You might believe, if you love conspiracy theory, that since these charity folks presumably vote liberal democratic tickets, they are allowed with the collusion of our local government, to break all these laws. That is too silly.
I don’t believe there is a conscious effort by government to allow crime to take over the neighborhood. My impression is that public servants feel resentful about serving the public. When opportunity arises to feel powerful through corruption, the loyalty of any public servant to act for the benefit of all concerned is questionable. This is where mental illness diagnosis is important. If only insane and or incompetent people are left to run the government, the government will continue to act against the citizens’ best interests. I do not think we have good or effective governance. I do not trust that the money collected by the IRS is well spent. I have always paid taxes, and benefit from no loopholes. I pay taxes knowing it must be done. Waste and corruption are not what I want to buy with my tax dollars, but they are all I see on the menu at the moment.
What are the factors that leave the bitter and putrid taste we have in our mouths from the election year? Some feel the Supremes let all the dogs out when the allowed superpac money to influence us without disclosure. I believe we know which interests support which candidates, so the secrecy is not the issue exactly. What I notice this year is that wounds are the stars of the show. The festering rust belt unemployment wound is pitted against the draught stricken farmer wound, or the immigration wound, with the neediest winning temporary, meaningless attention. Like siblings in a poverty stricken family who must srcap for everything, childish whining leaders of the government constantly remind us of the undeserving nature of the other side of the aisle. We know never to believe the statements they make or the reason they employ. We know they are all in the pockets of the lobbyists. Nobody has any faith that the greedy, out of control people who spend our tax money have any principals that do not bend for funding. Our government is corrupt, which means that we pay for a lot of action that is destructive rather than productive.
The congress likes to tell the story that they make sausage. They throw all the requests together in order to make laws that will pass both houses. The lobbyist funding that influences every vote speaks much louder than the public interest. The public interest has no lobby, and therefore is not powerful enough to take a senator out to a fancy lunch or ball game to discuss the public’s point of view. The federal government has not had time to do it’s job for years because it is campaigning all the time. The need to feed the political machine to keep the candidate on the trail starts and ends with corporate and industry lobbies built for the purpose of creating legislation favorable to partisan causes. This is why the sausage is always full of disgusting unknown substances and crazy consequences. Nobody is the wiser, since the bills generally are almost impossible to read or comprehend. Nobody expects these laws to be enforced. That is what seems to me to be the big bitter joke.
The most important factor that creates that bitterness is lack of enforcement. The lawmakers put on some Kabuki theater of right and wrong through legislation wars. In the meantime, we maintain gigantic agencies with so little oversight and supervision that nothing works. All these laws on the books require offices full of civil servants, and buildings, vehicles, and infrastructure. None of them seems to require enforcement. The civil servants drive around in the civil vehicles ignoring fraud and corruption. They are concerned primarily with the benefits of their jobs, the continuation of their jobs, and doing as little work as possible. Enforcement is the least of their concern. Since the elected official who is in charge of the office is absent campaigning, waste is the word of the day.