Sunday, May 21, 2017

May is MCS Awareness Month

And boy, am I aware! It's been one toxic month. You can tell how much exposure I've received by how many posts I write. LOL.

It started with the Species Procession with too many people, too much activity, and possibly too much stress. I don't remember perfume or laundry detergent, but often before my body is overloaded I don't always smell it before hand. It's a clandestine poisoning.

Painting with acrylic paints. I use a mask, gloves and glasses as well as protective clothing, and I've tried to be very diligent about keeping safe and yes, this paint isn't as smelly or toxic which is good. Still, every now and then I get a whiff of paint or primer. It's not a smart form of entertainment for sure, but I need a distraction. And I need protest signs. So far it's worth it, but I may need to rethink this.

My new [useless] doctor suggested I head to a shoe store that specializes in plantar fasciitis. They had plug-in air fresheners. Maybe they use them to counteract the stink of those plastic sandals they push on their customers? No, I'm not buying those ugly, synthetic, toxic sandals. Or maybe because they had two stinky dogs roaming the store. So incredibly unprofessional. If 15% of the population are chemically sensitive, these people are either really stupid or don't care about sales. And how many people hate dogs or are afraid of them? People irritate me to no end.

Then there were my Goodwill shopping excursions. I'm not sure what has come over me, but anytime I have some free time I head to Goodwill. I've never realized they have half off colored tags! I have a few things on my shopping list: a hat, umbrellas for protests (I plan to paint them so our protest signs will keep us dry!), overalls (for painting), and anything else I might NEED like a lime green evening gown. Unfortunately, Goodwill uses really toxic laundry detergent. All the stores are the same. Yeah, I bring clothing home and wash it six times, but until the stink is gone every time I lift it out of the washer, I breathe it.

And then there was the umbrella. Excellent umbrella. White with faint pastel pattern easy to paint over. Automatic opening. Not a fold up. HALF PRICE! I thought I hit the jackpot. As I'm standing in line I notice the umbrella still has the original tag. I read it. "Buy Sarah Jessica Parker's perfume and you will receive this umbrella for free." Blah. I don't think anything of it, in fact, I think I even stuck my nose in the fabric. Nothing. Until I get it in my car. Where did this headache come from and why do my lungs hurt and my head is spinning?? The umbrella is soaked in perfume! I returned it, but by that time the damage had been done. I believe this was the beginning of the downward spiral. A real perfume poisoning, not just laundry stink.

Drawing group stinkers. I wrote about them and our last meeting in a previous post. We meet only once every two weeks so there is a break. Most of our locations are outside. Two weeks ago we met at a stinker's home, but I refused to enter because of the air fresheners. I stayed outside and created landscapes. Still, I might have received a hit from air freshener residue or perfumed people I encountered when we gathered.


MCS presentation. There were lots of smelly tourists milling about during the MCS presentation. Whew.

Monsanto protest breathing too much laundry detergent stink.

Yesterday's yard/parking lot sale. OMG. I'm driving down the road prior to the Monsanto protest on a day when it seemed like everyone was having a yard sale and I see a sign. I get closer and it's in a parking lot with LOTS of stuff, not junky stuff, but good stuff. OK, this looked promising. I couldn't help myself. The Cancer Society is having a donation sale and one of their donors is a professional home decorator. She does staging for real estate agents and donates the older linens and pillows she no longer needs for her displays. I bought a beautiful partly silk, cotton backing duvet cover for $3.00! Never used, offgassed and never washed. No stink!

The color isn't great in this photo. It's a really pretty olive with lighter olive embroidery.

Then I saw the clothes! Nearly brand new cotton sweaters and a cashmere sweater! What? You want .25 cents for each? Really? I couldn't resist. Used sweaters that aren't mangled and obviously worn out are difficult to find. I also bought a coat that looked like it might make a good rain coat. Or a secret agent spy coat - it's black and light weight.


And a purse. And a purple pillow. I bought nearly a whole new wardrobe for nothing, unfortunately, the clothing had been washed in toxic detergent so there is a hidden cost. It's not such a good deal if you have to wash everything six times. Bam!!! Hit number 234 (?) for the month. I made the mistake of smelling each garment. This is bad, I know, but some smells aren't washable. Unfortunately the smells that are washable are toxic.  I had to hand wash the sweaters so that's hit number 235, 236, 237, 238, 239, 240....Bam! Bam! Bam! Bam! Bam! Bam! or until the first sweater was thoroughly decontaminated. I gave up on the others, put them in a sealed plastic bag, and ordered some of that EnviroKlenz. I'll write a post on it when it comes. Reviews are hit and miss, but Mrs. Washington says it works and she loves it so I'll give it a go.



Not feeling so good. Easily exhausted. neck hurts like hell, joints a little achy. I just want to lay down and not move for a few weeks. Not as bad as it could be, but I notice I'm much more sensitive to smells now.  Time to slow down.



Yes, I am very aware! I am happy to say I'm not as reactive as I have been in the past, five or ten years ago. I'm assuming the steps I've taken to heal myself have helped. I can't even remember the last time I had an anaphylactic response, skin crawl, rage cycles or other more serious reactions. That is good. Due diligence has worked.






Take That Monsanto!

After the MCS presentation we headed over to the Monsanto protest to join around fifty dedicated anti-chemical company people. I was hoping the beauty queen would show wearing her yellow dress and crown fitting right in looking like a queen bee, but she didn't. They had a few chemical-focused booths on GMOs, fracking, pesticides, herbicides, organic food, loud music, lots of people with signs or t-shirts expressing their opinions, and cute little girls dresses as bees carrying "Save the Bees" signs. This one sported a fine pair of tap shoes and her chanting, "HELL NO! GMOs HAVE GOT TO GO!" was far more passionate and energetic than all the adults put together:



We marched from the meeting place right down main street ten blocks to the community farmer's market. This made me a little nervous as blocking traffic on a busy Saturday afternoon is anything but safe, however, it guaranteed to get attention. This is how it's done. I love this town filled with passionate people who rally every weekend about something they feel strongly about and usually right down main street!


What I found a little contradictory was too many people stunk to high heaven of laundry detergent. Really? Are they that unenlightened to think toxic chemicals are bad, but toxic laundry chemicals are just fine? Needless to say, it became too much. Still, I did my part, marching to and fro with brain fog and nausea wafting over me like a bad flu. Stupid. Maybe my protesting days are over? I keep thinking if it's outside I can stay out of the toxic air stream, but I get hit too often and every little hit compounds into overexposure. I can only take so much....


Out of the Cage

On May 20th I attended the Out of the Cage MCS presentation and rally at the Washington State Capitol in Olympia.


My activist friend received the email announcement above, sent it to me, and exclaimed, "Bring the MCS signs!" So we did bring signs, although it wasn't so much a rally as just a presentation. Yes, we are determined to rally every weekend even when there isn't one! LOL.






The presenter was Mrs. Washington International 2017, Angelique Ashton, who campaigned the beauty pageant with the MCS platform!


She is not chemically sensitive, but her husband is. I was amazed at her dedication and devotion when so many spouses hit the road when it gets too hard. We arrived a little early so she spoke to us privately while she set up her equipment and signage. Very sweet and knowledgeable. She live streamed her presentation on Facebook. Here is the link:

https://www.facebook.com/angelique.ashton.3/videos/10154830298554132/ 

(I can't seem to get this link to link which is why I left the address. It could be because it's Facebook which doesn't always like to share outside its own site, but I don't know. Sorry. I'll try to fix this later.)

Only about nine people showed, but it was a fluke I heard about this so I think getting the word out is difficult. Also, the venue might have been a little too public for most and the unenlightened ignored the signs Mrs. Washington had posted requesting a fragrance-free zone. Anyone with severe chemical sensitivity would have been smart not to attend.  As we sat there, heavily perfumed women wearing dangerously high heels and incredibly high hair were modeling for their boyfriends' cameras and loads of school children were running up and down the capitol steps so the venue was a little risky. One masked woman had to leave early, unfortunately. Mrs. Washington's mission is to spread the word and she intends to meet with state representatives later in the month to speak to them on behalf of the MCS population so the venue selection was strategic. Her audience is the unenlightened. We are just there for support.

I have to say she blew my theory that the flamboyant are the stinkiest. You'd think a beauty queen would stink to high heaven. Not this one! Hooray! Mrs. Washington's website is http://thenakedproject.org

At the close of her presentation she suggested if people have time to join the anti-Monsanto march happening at 2:00pm across the lawn! We can't refuse a good protest.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Stinkers

Have you ever noticed people who wear perfume are often the most needy? Demanding? Flamboyant? Attention-getting? Friendly?

I love my drawing group. It's a rare opportunity for a social life, but there are members who seem desperate for attention, always women. It's easy to identify who they are as they always dress flamboyantly. Bright, attention-getting clothing is always the first clue.

There is one who constantly talks too much and too loudly. She dyes her hair bright red, wears lace-up boots, frilly dresses, and lots of make-up. She arrives early, canvases the location, greeting everyone, and bullies her way into conversations making herself the center of attention. LOUDLY. It's very important for her to whip out her sketchbook to show everyone all the art she's been working on since we saw her last. She is the show, the reason we have convened. I sense she needs confirmation and encouragement to be told she's valuable and loved. She often stinks so I avoid getting close to her. She doesn't come to all the meetings. The last time we saw her she went on and on about how toxic paint is BUT, oh well, I guess I'll just get cancer!! She kept repeating this and laughing as if cancer is the worst that can happen after a chemical exposure. Clearly she's never watched anyone die from cancer and clearly she has never heard of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity which I'm sure would be her ultimate nightmare. But how do I explain this to someone who has no clue and looks at me like a deer caught in headlights when I try? There is another woman who loves wearing bright purple clothing with hats. I do love her creative expression. She also smells but not excessively. She's not as noisy. I have found the amount of flamboyance and noise is often directly related to the amount of perfume they are wearing. She doesn't come to all the meetings either. Thankfully.

During our last meeting another flamboyantly-dressed noise maker showed. I hadn't seen her for a long, long time so I said, "Hey! I haven't seen you for a long, long time!" Perhaps she was moved by the fact I noticed she had been missing or just excited that someone was paying attention to her so without warning she moved in for a hug. Arms up, reaching, grabbing. I hardly know this woman. She seems very nice, but this is unacceptable. I immediately put my hand out and said, "I don't hug." I wanted to say, Don't you dare wipe that shit all over me! There was a tree behind me and people on each side of me so I couldn't move to escape.


She looked at me with such horror. I've written blog posts on hugging so I know this reaction to my hug ban is not unusual after all I am the anomaly, the odd one out, the strange one who doesn't welcome affection even from a stranger. The group had gathered in the sharing circle so I sensed everyone around me was watching because, after all, she did this to give herself center stage as if to scream LOOK! I AM LOVED!! In the past I have tried to keep "Perfume is My Poison" from becoming my identity and mantra, but this was too much. The woman was demanding an explanation with her grief-stricken facial expression.

"I am deathly allergy to perfume."

She stared. I repeated, "DEATHLY. ALLERGIC."

She responded with, "Oh, and I do have perfume on today."

It was all I could do not to scream, YOU DON'T THINK I KNOW THAT? I CAN SMELL YOU TWENTY FEET AWAY!! But I couldn't. People were watching and it doesn't pay to be rude to someone who is trying to be ultra-friendly unless you want to be thought of as a bitch. People just don't get how it makes me feel to be attacked, poisoned, threatened. She backed away slowly and moved to the other side of our circle. I should have walked away, left the vicinity, but I felt compelled not to make a scene and to stay. I went home ill and spent the next few days with exhaustion, nausea and headaches. I need to be more vigilant with these women. After all, I can see (and smell) them coming. There is plenty of warning. Attempting a social life comes with risks.


I think it's so strange that it's always the flamboyantly-dressed perfume wearers who are the huggers as if they need to infiltrate your personal space and make it known they exist. By touching you they mark and claim you. Like an animal. They are also the most needy, most demanding, most attention-getting, of course, the stinkiest, and the most creatively dressed.

So now that I've written this post on stinkers out of frustration and mostly out of anger and I had a lot of fun with the illustrations, I'm having second thoughts. As much as I resent these unenlightened people poisoning me, trying to kill me, and making me sick, they are really nice people otherwise. I remember when I first moved into my house, it was the stinkers who showed up on my doorstep presenting welcome gifts. Anyway, I wouldn't want to hurt their feelings even if they care little for my feelings and well-being. Bottom line, if you try to kill me, I get to make fun of you. However, I'm torn between satisfaction and guilt. I might delete this....


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Spring is Here!

I love spring! I just want to hang around outside all day long. Everything is growing and blooming and it all smells so good.

Here are some garden highlights:


I love my apple tree! Again it has loads of blooms so I just may get a huge crop of gorgeous, ginormous fruits like last year. Check it out now with its lovely branches reaching for the sky. In another couple months loaded with apples those branches will be bending nearly to the ground. It was frightening waiting for a branch to snap, but nothing broke and it bounced right back. I'll prop the bendy branches up with long sticks like I did last year. I can't wait for fresh apples.


Underneath the apple tree is covered with these beautiful violets. I planted about five tiny plants many years ago. They didn't do anything for years and nearly disappeared then last year they spread like wildfire all over the yard, back and front. Like weeds, but I like a pretty weed. They like shade.


I love these purple flowers located under the plum tree. So bright and cheerful.


This year I planted a purple pot. It's just starting to root. I love those weird looking flowers in the front. Like something from space.


Last year this pot had strawberries in it and sorry to say it was ugly. I think I got two berries the whole summer. It might have done better this year, but I don't have that much patience. I replaced the strawberries with red, pink, and orange flowers many will produce vines and crawl. Once it takes off it should be bright and beautiful.


Raised beds are planted with lettuce, radishes, onions, and carrots. This year I planted the lettuce once a month. This row was planted in March. The other planters have seeds from April and May so hopefully the lettuce growth will be staggered and it won't all be ripe at the same time. Last year it was a lot of lettuce to eat at once. It lasted a long time, but I'll see if this works better.


In my smaller planters this year I grew peas and they are doing very well. I thought they would crawl up the lattice, but they keep reaching for the sun which is in the opposite direction. Oh well!



I had some tatsoi seeds left over from last year.


First allium bloom. Love them.


My lilac bush has gone crazy. I think I should have trimmed it back more as it's not as bushy as it normally is, but big. I also transplanted one of my lilac starts from last year. I'd like to have lilacs all over. I think when it comes time to paint my house I'll paint it purple. I love purple flowers. I think the house should match.


Too funny. This is my smaller raised bed planter with onions and carrots. Before planting seeds I checked to make sure it survived the winter and was sturdy. A few weeks later I planted everything, went out the next day, and the whole bottom had fallen out! Not so sturdy, I guess. All the dirt didn't fall out, just a few of the [very wet] bottom boards and about 6 inches of soaked dirt which made the whole bed sink. I didn't want to waste all those newly-planted seeds and I didn't think it would be helpful to drill into wet wood so I just propped it up with unused buckets and planters. LOL! It's holding together so far!

HAPPY SPRING!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Procession of the Species 2017

The annual Procession of the Species was on Saturday April 29th celebrating Earth Day The weather forecast said cloudy, but it started sprinkling before the parade started. By the end of the parade it was pouring rain! Did that dampen anyone spirits? Heck no. So energetic and cheerful. Great costumes, floats and music. Mardi Gras for the northwest!

I go to this parade almost every year. I never noticed the throngs of spectators packing the sidewalks before. It seemed like millions of people and the parade route wound in and out of the downtown streets for miles with people hanging out of buildings to watch. Perhaps I've never noticed because I find a spot and hold it for the duration without really looking at anything but the parade.

My friend suggested we take our protest signs so I got online and found out words and symbols are restricted, forbidden even, as part of the tradition. The organizers are determined to keep the procession a celebration of life rather than allow for political statements or messages. The community is uber-liberal (Clinton won here) so it could get easily bogged down in politics. This could be why a climate change protest wasn't planned in town on the same day to avoid conflict. We did the protest and high-tailed it to the procession. It was a very busy day.

There were quite a few new costume ideas this year:



Skunk Cabbage! LOL!
OlySamba perfomance group were tigers this year.

So Adorable.

These mermaids were giggling non-stop.

Kelp.  It takes a lot of ingenuity to create
kelp costumes. LOL!

Great horns. 

Sunflowers
Poppies.


Love the duck.



Slime Time jazz band. Dressed like snails.
The best music ever and great performers.

I loved these rats. I wish I would have taken a photo of their tails.
Long, pink dragging tails. Pretty funny.


HAPPY EARTH DAY!

April Movie Reviews

*****  Exceptional
****    Great
***      OK
**        So So
*          Blah

Belle is based on a true story about a young woman whose mother was a black slave and father an English noble. She is sent to live with the aristocratic uncle and aunt in England and must deal with all kinds of societal rules because she is of mixed race. Her father dies leaving her a substantial inheritance. The rules of class and wealth are so sleazy with the not-so-rich boys with titles wanting to marry her just for her money. Great movie. Stupid title. Her name is Dido Elizabeth Belle Lindsay and never went by the name "Belle" in the movie so I'm not sure why they'd call the movie by this name. Great costumes and performances. Lots of famous English actors. The actress who portrays her (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) is so gorgeous. ****

Blackbird I had no idea what this movie was about and the writing on the DVD cover was too small to read. There was a photo of a young black man on the front cover so I figured it would be some uplifting story about a young black man. It opens with the young black man singing in a church choir about loving Jesus. Beautiful voice. A little holy for me, but really, really beautiful voice. Then another young black man joins in a duet. OK. Then they get friendly and start taking each other's clothes off. HAHAHA! What the hell am I watching? The choir ladies are horrified and start gasping and swooning.  And he wakes up. He was dreaming. Funny. The whole movie continues along this theme...young black man convinced he can't possibly be gay, praying to his Jesus picture to help him understand, and having wet dreams every night about having sex with other gay men. There was a secondary plot about his little sister who was kidnapped from a shopping mall years before and his mother (Mo'nique) is mentally disturbed because of it. But the sin of homosexuality with a lot of hell and damnation was up front and center. It all collides near the end. Most of the performances were really bad, the writing not so good, but the singing made up for it and the kidnapping plot kept me curious.**

Brotherhood is a Danish film with English subtitles about a neo-Nazi group. It opens with one of them luring a young gay kid into a park at night then they all beat him unconscious. That set the tone. From there it focuses on one young man who resists recruitment then is somehow sucked into their meetings and camaraderie. He fights with his parents about neo-Nazi activity in the area and ends up moving in with one of the neo-Nazis. They become very friendly with each other. At one point I almost turned it off. It was a bit like watching a Trump rally - too much hate and violence directed at any number of minority groups. I kept watching hoping it would redeem itself and end with a "free to be, you and me" theme.  ***

Captain Fantastic is about a man (Viggo Mortensen) who is living up in the woods somewhere in the Pacific Northwest with his six children. They spend their days in "training:" sprinting up mountains, rock climbing, hunting, gardening, military-style exercises, debating, critical thinking, and reading incredibly thick books on philosophy, economics, history and politics. Instead of staring mindlessly at a mobile phone, television, or computer, they play musical instruments.  Idyllic anti-establishment utopian living.  Early in the movie we find out his wife is sick has been gone three months getting treatment. He does his errands in town and calls to find out how she is. She has killed herself and eventually we find out she had bipolar illness. The kids decide they want to go to her funeral although the grandfather blames Viggo for her death and threatens to have him arrested if he shows up. He is torn between fulfilling his wife's last will and possibly losing custody of the children if he is arrested. The kids are adamant and demand their rights. They take their bus and drive to California right past The Evergreen State College's liberalist-leaning billboard. That was totally cool!  Great movie. Fascinating commentary on those who righteously  judge him proving the inadequacy of modern living with their nasty, disrespectful, uneducated kids and questioning the quality of parenting skills and education today. *****

Florence Foster Jenkins is based on a true story about a very wealthy woman (Meryl Streep) who lives for music and is very connected in the music world. She dreams of becoming a famous opera star, takes singing lessons, and everyone around her lies to her about her amazing talent. She decides she's ready to give a concert and her husband (Hugh Grant) has to hand select the audience and buy glowing newspaper reviews. This prompts her to record a record and when that becomes the most requested radio song, she is honored with a performance at Carnegie Hall. What a weird story! Streep was wonderful, but what a WEIRD story. And true!? **

Forever is about a journalist, Alice, who interviews a woman whose husband ran off to a commune after their daughter's accidental death. When Alice's boyfriend commits suicide, she finds the commune. Run by a psychiatrist, it's a place where miserable people have gathered and plan to commit group suicide because they "can't face the world away from this place." Some of their back stories are told. It was a little slow and lacking in clarity for a long time. Interesting. ***

The Graduate  I can't believe I've never seen this movie! I've definitely seen scenes from it. It's about a goofy kid (a very young Dustin Hoffman) just out of college who is directionless and kind of depressed before depression was a lifestyle. He's ruthlessly seduced by his father's partner's wife who is messed up. He's so naive and brainless and does just what she says. It kind of reminds me of Great Expectations. Then he falls in love with her daughter and his indiscretions become public. The whole movie is pretty strange. I bet it was scandalous back in the day. Richard Dreyfuss makes an appearance before anyone knew who he was - he can't be more than 18 years old and it's a tiny one line part. LOL. ***

Great Expectations (2013) The most modern Dickens' film adaptation with Helena Bonham-Carter as Miss Haversham who is brilliant, although a bit crazy and creepy in everything she does. Excellent sets, beautiful photography. ****

A Hologram for the King is about an older salesman (Tom Hanks), divorced and somewhat directionless, who goes to Saudi Arabia to sell the king a hologram program and IT system. The king is a little unpredictable as is his entire staff. No one shows up on time, schedules are flexible, the customs and laws foreign, and country in general anything but the United States. It's a great story about multiculturalism and life's unexpected journey. Hanks was great. ****

Knight of Cups This was way too abstract and existential for me. Christian Bale goes from frame to frame looking depressed or bored or drugged. Not much acting involved or required. There really isn't any dialogue just a narration from any number of people on the absurdity of life. Or something. On occasion Christian narrates how he's wasted thirty years of life not living and then continues to not live for another 30 minutes. Or something. Very morose. Lots of cavorting with women or chasing them around rooms. Great views of Los Angeles, but I've always found L.A. to be very oppressive. Not sure the point and have no clue what the title means. I prefer a story with a plot and a theme. *

Indignation is based on the novel by Philip Roth about a young Jewish-atheist in the early 1950s who goes off to college and falls hard for a girl who is a bit unstable. The costumes and sets were excellent, performances outstanding. Strange story. Interesting ending, thought-provoking, more like the beginning to a totally different movie, but the plot itself never felt like it was going anywhere. Kind of disjointed as if it was trying to say two different things and trying to be two different movies at once.***

Little Miss Sunshine was such a great story about a family, dysfunctional in so many ways but a family who screws up together stays together. Lots of stars: Toni Colette, Greg Kinnear, Steve Carrell, Alan Arkin, Abigail Breslin, and Paul Dano. The husband is an inspirational speaker on winning but he's a loser, the uncle just tried to commit suicide, grandpa is a drug fiend, and the brother hates everyone so he has taken a vow of silence. They take a road trip to California so the seven year old can compete in a beauty/talent contest. Some great LOL moments. I always meant to see this movie, but never got around to it. ****

Louder Than Bombs is about a famous photographer's auto accident death which is assumed was a suicide, but her youngest son who was twelve at the time was never told. He's older now, a little rebellious and messed up. The performances were good, but the story wasn't that interesting and this is coming from someone who loves death themes. There didn't seem to be enough emotion [for me] even with all the disclosed secrets of this woman's indiscretions. At one point I almost turned it off, but I kept hoping it would take a turn or twist. **

The Magnificent Seven is my favorite western of all time so this 2016 version had a lot to live up to AND I had high hopes. Great cast: Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawk, Vincent D'Onofrio . Even Matt Bomer has a part for about five minutes. He must have really wanted to be in the movie!  Chris Pratt played the Steve McQueen role and wow, that man can sit a horse sexier than I've ever seen. Great music composed by James Horner who also did big scores for Braveheart and Titanic. The score has the feel of the original movie's theme which is a classic, but it's just a little different. There is a special feature on the music - Horner wrote seven songs for the movie based on just the script then died in a plane crash as they started filming. What a loss. Great sets and beautiful scenery.  Lots of death and mayhem. I don't remember who died in the original Magnificent Seven, but this modern interpretation is pretty interesting. Also in the original the bad guys were the Mexicans. In this version the bad guy is Peter Sarsgaard who is deliciously evil.  ****

Meant to Be is a Christian-themed movie about a group of seemingly intertwined people, one young man who grew up in foster care looking for his mother, one young woman who was adopted and never knew her mother, one pregnant teenager who doesn't know what to do, and one social worker who wants to help. The performances were adequate and there is a lot of God talk throughout. The individual, interwoven storylines were interesting and seemed fairly predictable, then it takes a surprising, yet moving twist. I did NOT see that coming. The heightened emotion and excessive sentimentality made it easy to overlook the preaching. Obnoxious preaching. Those Christians really know how to sell their doctrine and beat it down one's throat. I think for some it would be a very difficult movie to watch. (I wish I could be more detailed or clear, but I don't want to give away the twist.) ****

Miss Meadows was about a substitute teacher who is in some kind of regressive time warp due to a childhood trauma. She dresses in little girl clothes with anklet socks, has an obsession with manners and good grammar, plays hop scotch while walking down the street, says "Tootle Loo" all the time, has a fetish for tap shoes and tap dancing, and totes a gun in her little 1950s vintage pocketbook purse. When confronted by bad guys: would-be kidnappers, mass murderers, child molesters, or anyone who pulls a gun on her, she unexpectedly shoots them dead believing the world will be a better place without them in it. Great storyline. Love the revenge and strong woman themes. It was a little slow and a few of the scenes seemed out of place and poorly developed. I would have liked to have seen more intrigue or death or depth or something, but the character was fun to watch. I'm normally not fond of Katie Holmes, but this was a great role for her. ***

October Gale is about a recently widowed woman doctor (Patricia Clarkson) who goes to her cabin on a secluded Canadian island. This young guy shows up in the middle of a storm with a bullet in his shoulder and she doctors him. A local man shows up and she tells him she needs to get wounded guy to the marina. He leaves and unties her boats so she's stranded. That is definitely suspicious. The wounded guy confesses he spent time in jail for killing someone during a bar room brawl and the father of the man he killed is out to kill him. She decides she will help him defend the island and she gets the ammo for the rifle. Hmmm...so strange. I mean would you believe this total stranger's story and agree to shoot people for him without knowing for sure what was really going on? The storyline was really weak. Anyway, they wait and the bad guys show up in the middle of a hurricane-like storm in a boat. She doesn't do a very good job defending anything and bad guy (Tim Roth) punches her in the face. He babbles his side of the story which is the exact same story as wounded guy. You'd think someone would lie to create some drama. Nice cabin. Beautiful scenery. OK performances, but very weak story. Not sure the point. No intrigue, no twisty plot, no surprise, no meaningfulness and too many long scenes of introverted pondering. **

The Spiderwick Chronicles is a fantasy movie about a family who moves into an old family house. One of the boys finds a book written by his great, great uncle on the secrets of the magical kingdom and when the goblins' leader finds out all hell breaks loose. Outstanding special effects with the creatures. That pig-like creature was hilarious. Excellent performances from an all-star cast. Sarah Bolger is a great actress. Amazing drawings of fantastic creatures and love all the magic. Too violent and scary for little kids. ****

That Burning Feeling I saw this DVD and assumed it might be brainless and stupid as the DVD case clearly suggested: it's about a man-whore and his bout with a STD. Yes, that is the basic gist of it, BUT it's much deeper than that... He works for a sleazy real estate mogul, has a nice cushy life and sleeps around with women he calls disrespectful nicknames, never getting to know them, and never calling them back. Then he is diagnosed with gonorrhea, sends an impersonal message to all of them by mistake and in turn they email him with expletives, threats and general messages of loathing. He meets a woman who inspires honesty and he goes about reconnecting with the other women to get to know them and to make amends. He discovers women are real human beings. All the while he's on a drug cocktail that cripples him with hilarious side effects. It turned out to be a wonderful story about relationships and living with honesty for a full life. Nice surprise. ****

Touched by Fire is about two bipolar patients who meet in a mental institution become more manic in their association. When they are both released to weather the severe depression after the manic episode, they find each other then attempt to exist without medication to maintain their passion and creativity much to the dismay of parents. What a mess. ***

Walk of Shame was hilarious! Elizabeth Banks is a prim and proper news anchor who interviewed for another job at a station that is very clean cut. She's told she didn't get the job and wallowing in self pity because her boyfriend left her, opts to go out drinking with friends dressed in a slutty yellow dress, gets drunk, and ends up going home with the bartender (James Marsden). Sometime in the middle of the night she finds out she has another shot at the job, but will need to get to work the next day for the interview. She gets locked out of the guy's apartment, her car has been towed, ends up in a taxi thinking the foreign taxi driver is taking her to the towing company, but he takes her to a strip club thinking she's a hooker, and she ends up in the hood. With no phone, no money, no purse she wanders the streets asking everyone for help, but they all think she is a crack whore. LOL. It was hilarious from start to finish. Even the beginning credits feature screw ups by news anchors. The cats were seriously LOL. I think there should have been more cats....****

What a Girl Wants is about a girl (Amanda Bynes) who never knew her English aristocratic father (Colin Firth) since her pregnant mother (Kelly Preston) was manipulated by the rich people into leaving him.  She feels like half her life has been missing and flies to London to meet him. It was very a very sweet fairy tale. Colin Firth is yummy as always. ***


You're Not You is about a woman (Hilary Swank) with ALS and her college-student/musician/failure-at-life/newly hired full-time caregiver and part-time slut (Emmy Rossum). Good story. Not a good way to die. Swank was superb. Stupid title. ***

Climate Change March

April 29th was Climate Change Day across the country. Washington, D.C. had 200,000 marchers. Our normal protest venue had the annual Procession of the Species on the same day which conflicted not in terms of theme, but in RULES so the local march was held in a neighboring small coastal town that has been fighting for quite some time on the crude oil pollution problems besides various other environmental concerns involving timber, shellfish, and environmental protections of the rainforests.




Turn out was about 100. For this tiny town out in the middle of no where, that was actually kind of impressive.


The woman in the photo above is wearing a blue t-shirt that says "Think While It's Still Legal". That would make a good sign!


For the rally we were located in a park surrounded on one side with incoming tourist traffic and on the other side outgoing tourist traffic.



Although the Dump won this area, obviously not the popular vote! One idiot yelled, "Get a life!" One protester yelled back, "We have one and we want to keep it." LOL!



Love the brightness of my signs, but I'm getting too verbose. My favorite sign for the day was "Remember When Lying Was Wrong?". We marched through the tiny town, back to the park, and then my friend and I took a detour and left.

We had bigger plans...

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Counterprotester

On April 22nd, in honor of Earth Day, marches supporting science were happening all around the United States. We have an incompetent president who thinks climate change is fake. Well, he believes anything he doesn't like is fake and then lies about everything else. What a ridiculous man! So anyone who opposes this stupidity (or 60% of the country) are called to protest and support the value of science in whatever way they choose to express themselves.


My friend and I have committed to march and rally in every protest for the next four years or until the Liar-in-Thief is impeached, whichever comes first. I am in charge of signs. She is in charge of dates. Although I appreciate her constant enthusiasm and motivation, she never gets the dates right. LOL! She always thinks there is a march when there isn't and when there is a march, she doesn't think there is. It's been a challenge. She gave me two days to get signs ready for the Science March. I had about a day to ponder and research for design ideas before I had to get busy.

Painting with acrylic paint is toxic, but this paint is durable, and most importantly, waterproof once it dries. The rain here is relentless so there is always a 99% it will rain during any given rally. For health reasons I vowed not to replenish my acrylics so the last of my twenty-year-old supply of acrylics has left me with some ugly colors, colors I never used to use and still would rather not. My early signs with the old paints were ghastly gross. My commitment to protest for the next four years was justification for buying a whole new palette of fresh acrylic paint! So joyous! But toxic nevertheless. These new colors seemed to be less smelly than the old stuff. This could be due to a better more modern formula? Or perhaps because they are newer? Or cheaper with less toxic chemicals? Or just wishful thinking. Good lord, I love to paint! And these bright colors are incredibly inspiring making my signage excessively verbose. I have a lot to say.



So I pondered...how do I feel about science? Science is responsible for inventing art supplies. Hooray for convenience. I love my television, computer, and car. We've made astounding progress in curbing pollution and protecting the environment over the last fifty years. I enjoy water quality except when the chemicals are poisoning me....hmmm.

I pondered through the night...didn't science create chemicals? Perfumes, colognes, pesticides, herbicides, formaldehyde, petrochemicals and car exhaust, water treatments, biological and chemical warfare...just to name a few without listing every chemical on the planet. It's good to have laundry detergent, but didn't science also make it stink?

I felt conflicted. Yeah, science has been good for society in so many ways, but science has also been very irresponsible. If someone gave me the option of giving up my television, car and computer if all perfumes would disappear off the face of the earth, I would make the trade in a heart beat.  I considered not going to the protest. No one wants a negative naysayer marching along side of them. Some of those radicals might beat me up. My friend kept assuring me, "This is really about climate change and the environment. Concentrate on the goodness of science as a fact during a presidency determined to spread alternative facts."

The problem with chemical sensitivity is a majority of the population doesn't have a clue what it means. They don't know their perfumes are poisonous or their laundry detergent might cause asthmatic symptoms in innocent bystanders. Concentrating on the goodness is what everyone does and that only impedes public education. I had something to say. Could I say it without being too negative? Probably not. I tend to be negative as a default.

So. Incredibly. Bright.

Notice the word "HAPPIER". That's my attempt at a positive spin. I am HAPPY, but I could be HAPPIER.

Only one person challenged me. She came up behind, "Excuse me! Excuse me! It's not science's fault, you know."

"Are you thinking chemicals weren't created with science?"

She stuttered, "Well, I don't think the chemical companies are the fault of science." [As if science is a person....]

"Chemical companies use science to create the poisons," I said as I flipped my sign over and pointed to the "Perfume is Poison" sentence. (I have a lot to say so I opt for double-sided signs!)


Flip side. I have the best signs! LOL!

"Well, OK, but it's the greed of chemical companies that are at fault."

I pointed to the "People B4 Profits" sentence on my sign. I love a sign that speaks for itself. I hardly had to say a thing.

"Well, OK...."

We continued discussing perfumes. She said she didn't wear them but she did still buy some scented products.  I nodded while she babbled waiting for a break so I could jump in.

"This is the purpose of my sign. It's not to holler about how horrible science is, but to create conversation. Science isn't perfect. In the wrong hands it has been disastrous. Most chemical companies care only for profits regardless of their products' ramifications on human health or the ecosystem. That's my point. And this is most definitely science, but perhaps not a side of science anyone wants to applaud. I'm glad you voiced your opinion so we could share. If others read my sign and it makes them wonder and think even without speaking their mind, I have succeeded."

We parted at that point. She was my only challenger. It was estimated there were about 5,000 people marching and many were snapping photos of my signs. I'm hoping they would show up on other websites and blogs and spread the word that Chemical Companies are Poisoning Us and Perfume IS Poison. It's all about communication.



As I'm standing at the rally listening to a speaker, someone with perfume got a little too close. Immediately I felt dizzy and nauseated. We moved. This is the risk of group gatherings. I wonder if they even read my sign. Or if they did read it and purposely moved closer? Perfume wearers tend to feel personally assaulted if you tell them they stink. No telling what they might do. That is the risk of disclosure, communication. It's a double-edged sword.

Next week is the Climate Change Protest!