Stories We Tell Ourselves

Stories are at the heart of human culture.  Stories are the basis for entire industries.  Stories are the foundation of all fiction writing.  Stories are what we tell our kids, what we tell each other, and most importantly, what we tell ourselves.  We never seem to run out and we never tire of telling the best ones over and over.

When a group of people tell each other the same stories over and over, they grow closer.  They find they have commonality.  There is plenty of grease for the wheels of their society.  When they tell each other lots of conflicting stories, tensions rise; divisions occur.  When they tell themselves one story and tell others a conflicting one, they are generally criminals, liars, or hypocrites. Continue reading

Why Bernie

Pleasant Progressive LogoMore than a few Democrats I love and respect are considering supporting Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential primary election. The Democratic field is all of two people, and the other candidate is a household name with exceptional political pedigree—so the decision to vote for a relatively unknown “democratic socialist” Senator from Vermont is not the path of least resistance. If you’re a Bernie fan, I assume you’ve chosen to support him because you’ve read, you’ve studied, and you’ve differentiated. If you’re on the fence, I ask that you do just a bit more reading, studying, and differentiating before you buy into “feeling the Bern.” I respectfully submit the following six questions for your consideration in this effort. Continue reading

D.C. Reflections, Part 1

Pleasant Progressive1

As most of you readers know, your kind narrator moved from Washington, D.C. to San Francisco, CA earlier this year. Despite the California sunshine and gorgeous views, I miss a lot of my former life in D.C. and never quite adjusted to the cold fog that covers our summer months here in the Bay Area. Continue reading

When A Beer Is Just A Beer

Pleasant Progressive1Over the past few months, I’ve realized that I’m lonely. I have good friends and a fun social life, but as a single lady living far from my family, I’m missing deeper connection—the kind of simultaneously deep and shallow relationship where someone actively wants to hear all of my mundane life details or idiosyncratic thoughts. It’s not really a sad conclusion as much as an interesting one, as it’s allowed for some pretty good insights. Continue reading

Why It’s Way Too Late for Go F*** Yourself

curmudgeon logo2It’s getting pretty difficult to be pleasant in DC these days.  And if you are going to discuss what is going on in DC these days (and who isn’t), it’s pretty tough to be pleasant just about anywhere else either.  If you write, it’s mandatory that you write about what’s going on in DC these days and that means that there’s a good deal of unpleasant stuff being written, “go F*** yourself” being the least of it. Continue reading

Go F*** Yourself And Other Notes

Pleasant Progressive1It took me a few days to mull over what to say about the government shut down beyond a big go f*** yourself to House Republicans. With some breathing, meditation, and a day or two of furlough, here’s the short of it: Continue reading

Getting Cheeky in D.C.

Pleasant Progressive1Here’s a surprising story from D.C.: once the Syria situation pivoted last week, the Senate moved to a bipartisan energy bill and one white, Republican dude Senator decided to singlehandedly derail it with a totally unrelated amendment bashing Obamacare. In this case, it was Senator David Vitter (R-LA) trying to prohibit Members of Congress and their staff from receiving any federal contribution toward their health insurance—bullying his way to collapsing the first (and last) bipartisan energy bill in years. Okay, so that’s not surprising. Continue reading

The Trouble with Lemmings

curmudgeon logo2About a year ago, after deciding that social media wasn’t a fad that was going to disappear any time soon, I joined Facebook.  I did it primarily as a way to reconnect with old students, keep up on what my own children were up to, perhaps find old acquaintances, and trade interesting tidbits with current friends.  As you might imagine, my “friends” list is a mish-mash of the extreme left, the extreme right, middle-of-the-roaders, and people whose only joy in life seems to be sharing a picture of another cat. Continue reading

Knowing How We Know

Pleasant Progressive1There’s something about the experience of being in my own body that does not translate into being able to figure out what I look like. It’s an odd thing to say, but it’s my lived experience. I suppose that most of the time, I have a pretty good sense of how others see me. I hear feedback about how a dress looks or what friends think of certain jeans. I look at photos or I ask questions. Sometimes, though, I’m completely out of whack despite these inputs. Continue reading

At The Garden

To forget how to dig the earth; to tend to the soil is to forget ourselves.

Pleasant Progressive1I tend to a plot in a community garden nearby my house. It’s about twenty feet long and ten wide—big enough to grow lots of tomatoes, lettuce and kale, and squashes that take over toward the end of summer. This past gardening season, I decided the compost pile in the corner of my plot was less useful than the larger community compost piles scattered on the outskirts of the garden. To make better use of the space in my own plot and put that rich soil to use, I built another raised bed in its place. I’ve got some pretty awesome greens growing there now, and I’m really happy with the added gardening space. Continue reading