Saturday Share taking holiday

Hi Friends,

It is getting to be THAT time of year. You know the one. First is Thanksgiving, which is actually one of my favorite holidays. It is all about gratitude. There should be more of that in all of our lives. It also tends to be about food and gluttony, though in recent years, I have not over-eaten, so that’s been less of an issue. 

After Thanksgiving, the Christmas season roars to full attention. Though I like aspects of Christmas, becoming less of a “thing” person in the decade or so, I often find myself getting overwhelmed with it. I dislike shopping, even if it is for people I care about. I have decision fatigue just thinking about the holiday. 

My husband and I have managed to get 90% of the gifts for our nieces and nephews online, which has cut down greatly on the shopping. What a relief. But there’s still the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.

This year, there’s the hustle and bustle of finding paid freelance work so that my hubby and I do not end up eating cat food for Valentine’s Day… LOL! Just kidding, it’s really not that bad. But if you know people in the market for science writers, please send them my way via this Link. Thank you, y’all are the best.

OMG. I found this hilarious photo HERE.

For now, I need to be focused and disciplined so I will continue to read my usual favorite blogs, but I will probably not pick up any new ones. I am putting the Saturday Share on holiday until after the New Year. 

Sometimes we must focus on what is essential, and eliminate the rest. I shall try to do that, and have plenty of time for what matters most. My best to you and yours. I hope you have a lovely and safe holiday season.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

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How does Art help us live creatively?

It’s Friday, and Fridays are for fun, says my realtor friend Teresa. She has a beautiful photography blog at http://stpaulphotos.com/ in addition to her St. Paul Real Estate blog, also lovely with great advice.

I was reflecting on the past year and a piece of art which I acquired (~about a year ago, I think). I still need to frame it. It was in one of my favorite coffee shops in Bemidji and it caught my attention. I told my husband I needed to have it. The price was only 2-figures and I bought it as an early Christmas present for myself.

It reminded me of the creativity explosion that I had set loose in my life, once I decided that I could write every day for a short time, even if I had a full time job. Though I only gave myself 30-45 minutes a day to write (more on weekends), I found myself looking forward to it daily. I give Chris Guillebeau a lot of credit for this, since I learned about how easy it is to start a blog from his Side Hustle School podcast.

Explosion art
Art from Dunn Brothers Coffee (Bemidji) exhibit – I wish I had the artist’s name!

This art piece also evoked for me a feeling of that “spark” we get when a new idea comes tumbling out of our fingers onto a page. There’s juice to that feeling. It lights us up and allows for greater energy to attend to every other thing in our lives.

Today I celebrate my first project contract after leaving my corporate job – yay! Even though it is a small project, I trust it will lead to more work. I had such enjoyment working on it today. I felt profoundly grateful for the opportunity. I never really imagined I would be putting my science writing and research skills to good use (that voice in the back of my head said: do people really make money that way outside of big companies?)

So happy right now for all the little choices and decisions that led me to this place. What are you grateful for this weekend? 

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

 

Any Upwork gurus out there?

Hi Friends,

I am working on submitting freelance proposals on Upwork, and there is an “art” to it. So I spent more time than usual on the quest for paying work. Unfortunately I needed to curtail my internet reading for a bit to really focus on getting my offer refined.

Thus I am taking a holiday from the usual Saturday share post for the pure practicality of need to eventually drum up some freelance work. I am sharing instead my profile from Upwork for your perusal and critique. If you have any comments on how to make the blurb more attractive or appealing, I appreciate your marketing eye.

upwork snip.JPG

AND if you know of anyone looking for this kind of service, by all means, send them my way with this link!

Getting a few reviews of short projects will help me get some ratings and have a better short at longer-term projects. I am willing to negotiate some great deals for clients who are willing to provide reviews and feedback.

Much appreciated, friends. The holidays draw near and even though I shall explain to my family that their gifts will be quite inexpensive this year, I would like to travel again (someday) in 2019. So I am getting on the ball rolling on this “gig pilot” to see if I can make it work.

Cheers & happy weekend,

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

Deeply flawed

I heard a news program today describe the two presidential candidates in 2016 as “deeply flawed.” They were commenting on the fact that a lot of millennial-aged people who voted in 2012 did not vote in 2016.

I get it. I do.

I was a big fan of Hillary, and I knew she was a flawed candidate. You know why? Because nobody is perfect. Because anyone who has been in politics for any length of time has made lots of public mistakes. I guess I’ll argue that a candidate that has openly bragged about assaulting women, or has committed treason by inviting Russia to hack our democracy has deeper flaws than Hillary. But that is a matter than can be debated, and I am biased.

People are messy. People are imperfect. Democracy is messy. And yet, I still prefer it to any other alternative. We need to show up and make our voices heard. 

deeply flawed

Democracy is a team sport. Even if you are on the bench, you still have to take a position at least during elections. Abstaining means the same old, same old people.

If you want that, fine. If you want to maintain our democracy and assure that all people continue to have their rights protected: VOTE!

I hate negative ads as much as anyone, and I am grateful the election will be over in one week here in the U.S. Make a decision. Show up at the polls. Even if you don’t vote for all the offices, at least find out your local candidate race (for Senate or Congress) and vote for that one.

Are any of us without sin?

I doubt it. Which means: we need leaders, flawed or not. If you want better, run yourself. 

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

(end soapbox rant)

 

 

Fridays in Fall

It was a beautiful day yesterday so I went for an extra walk. ‘Til the season in Minnesota when we can have snow or rain or lovely weather some days. When the opportunity strikes, it is always nice to get out there and enjoy the fresh air and bathe in the beautiful Fall colors.

Happy Friday! Enjoy your weekend and get outdoors weather-permitting.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

brilliant-fall-red-e1539896689748.jpg
View from a street in St. Paul near Tula Yoga & Wellness

Dance as rhythmic sunshine

On Wednesday morning it was rainy and gloomy for a fourth straight day in the Twin Cities. It can be get cold here, but usually we do not have days and days of rain on end. Winter may be icy, but there is usually sunshine intermittently. “Clear and cold” is often the forecast in January, February and March, when it is not snowing.

Even snow is more preferable to me than days and days of rain. Okay, yes. A couple of cloudy days doesn’t usually spoil my mood but 3-4+? Oy. I treated myself to some extra light box this morning. Though I had not slept very well and suffered some insomnia, I was truly NOT going to miss my Zumba class with Ruth at Tula Yoga and Wellness!

Zumba
Photo credit link

I have begun attending Zumba twice a week since I returned from vacation in September (there’s a Monday night class) and I find that I am learning faster in practicing more often. I make no claims at being “good” at dancing. But we dance to upbeat Latin, Reggaeton and Pop music that is super fun and energizing.

I told Ruth this morning that her class is like rhythmic sunshine to brighten up our day! Indeed, after the class, I felt happy and energized. Every class, as I am learning how to dance, beginning to feel the rhythms and getting the footwork down, I am building some “muscle memory” on the routines.

My determination to learn to dance this year is going very nicely since I started out with the foundations class back in June.

Dance is teaching me many new things:

It reminds me how much I love good music, and moving my body is a natural extension of that.

It does not matter if I do it perfectly. I am a beginner, and I am in it to have fun, get exercise and feel more comfortable in my body. Yoga was a big part to starting that process, but dance is a great extension to that.

Putting all the things together at once is not always possible for me, and that’s okay. Sometimes I have to master the footwork before I can add the arms. Sometimes I miss a “shimmy” or my hips are slower to catch on to a particular move, and I need to ask for a demo of a more challenging step. No matter, it’s all part of learning.

Dance is about expressing joy physically. When I was too self-conscious to let myself dance, I missed out on that. But now I am just making up for lost time. At 44, I feel really good about that!

Cheers,

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

 

 

Edginess

I write this reflection with a feeling of edginess in my body, and unresolved tension in my throat and my heart related to recent political events.

The confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh feels like yet another assault on women. I realize that the circumstances surrounding the testimony of Professor Ford had some unconfirmed facts. But it haunts me to know that our political and legal systems have added to the most important court in our nation someone who’s character I would deem unfit for this appointment.

My question now involves what my role will be in the next election, and in future political activities. I know that until we have a shift in power, and more women and others who are underrepresented in this process, we will continue to fall short of the ideals of this nation.

Years ago I was very active in electoral politics. I volunteered with campaigns, managed a winning city council campaign, and I engaged in phone calling and door-to-door voter outreach. This is despite my introvert preference to do the “quieter” types of activism, that do not involve meeting large numbers of new people.

Kavanaugh confirmed.JPG
Photo credit link – BT News

In an earlier era of my life, I felt a sense of urgency in my activities. While I still feel urgency in some ways, my activism may take another form this time around. I went back to my master’s thesis on “Mythical Condensation in Electoral Politics” completed in 2006 to review some of the ideas I had then about what is happening today.

Much of it still rings true, particularly on the polarizing effects of our political discourse today:

I argue that political candidate success is a function of mythic condensation or voter consumerism rather than issue positions or leadership competence.

Yes. Today, more than ever these concepts apply to the political realm. Back in those days I used discourse analysis and drew from the disciplines of linguistics, social psychology, media studies and political science to make my argument.

The 40-page document took a great deal of effort for me to “birth” at the time. But I look back fondly at having the privilege to think and write that analysis. Myth and metaphor continue to be relevant in how we construct our political truths. We use cognitive frames to interpret the world while conveniently ignoring facts.

Neuroscience explains how our choice of language shapes our beliefs. And myths “naturalize” what is historical artifact. Rhetoric and imagery appeal to our emotions, while realities are constructed of symbolism in which polarities seem to thrive.

For now, my question of what I will do in this final month before the next election remains unresolved. The edginess remains.