Take Care of Yourself

This season is hard on a lot of people. Not only does it bring on financial pressure to travel, to buy food and gifts, but also an expectation of leaves many anxious around their finances. Myself included.

Add on any family conflict. Myself included.

A dash of missing loved ones that died this time of year, or that had birthdays this time of year, or anyone you spent the day with this time of year. It becomes really stressful and lonely. Myself included.

The problem I am having is being stuck in my head too much, and stuck at home too much. I work remotely about 50% of the time, so this isn’t surprising. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t feel isolated or even trapped. Mostly, because I’m not practicing the things I know that are important for a healthy state of being. For myself or anyone else.

So I remind you all to take time to reconnect to what your heart loves and craves. If it’s music, find a concert- even a free one at a church or school. If it’s a social gathering, find a book group with the library or local book store. Maybe try a coffee shop and use meet-up  to connect.

Perhaps you just really want to play with dogs all day? Try signing up as a doggy daycare provider with dogvacay or volunteer with a local shelter.

It’s not easy to know what to do, but there are options. I am currently finding odd jobs t pay bills and connect me with new ideas and people. I am also making an effort to see friends and get back into craft projects that keep me happy.

I leave you with an idea discussed last night, as dinner, with ones I love, BE BOLD, BE BRAVE, BE. Be your own advocate, be a voice of reason, be someone that picks themselves up and dust themselves off and carries on. Be loving, and BE. IF you have a dream, see what it would take to get there, and take a step to be there. Ask questions. Don’t be afraid of learning. Research. Imagine.

And finally, if you are feeling sad and vulnerable and scared, then acknowledge those feelings in a friendly way. As you would to another friend. Hug yourself, drink tea, watch a favorite movie, breathe, and eat well. Hug yourself, cuddle a pet and just do anything to make you feel better.

Sometimes it’s not even making anything better, at times you can’t, but just getting through the day, the week, the month, the year, and working on something better.

Love,

Rebecca Lee Robinson

Land of Enchantment Part III

The final day was spent starting the day with a trip to the last two museums on my list, the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture and the International Folk Art Museum. 

The first was home to a massive amount of history and artwork dating back to prehistory and into modernity. It not only showcased the long story and history of native peoples but also the current conflicts and issues that exist. I especially appreciated a section that called out cultural appropriation and stereotypes in modern american culture.

The plaza outside of the museum was equally impressive and an enjoyable visit all on its own. Full of life-size and larger statues it paid testament to native culture, struggle and existence, a story that often is overlooked and misunderstood.

The folk museum provided a great blend of other stories, and the fact it had a folk-art element meant that it reflected the tale of the average person and not that of another identity. Rooms were filled to the brim of a variety of cultural expressions including miniatures, needlepoint, dolls and much more.

After musuem land it was time to PARTY!

We started the events with a surprise mass, and wedding for my great aunt and uncle. We finished with food and sangria at their home in rural Santa Fe. I got to see cousins that live in Germany and England that I don’t usually see and talk with other cousins I didn’t know too well. All around it was a success and very enjoyable for all involved.

And sadly the next morning ment driving home…until next time Santa Fe!

Part I, Part II

 

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Lifelong Learning- Why We All Should

I was listening to NPR on Sunday, and not that that’s surprising because of all the media I listen to NPR is the most common. Anyway, they were discussing the media bubble that is creating difficulties for NPR to make money and the conflicts of podcasts etc. Which is really interesting and something for another day.

They did say something else that I think may be even more important than that of the money/journalism bubble or at least equally important. They were discussing how NPR and for instance, All Things Considered, was established in the 1970s to promote intelligence and knowledge across the country. To cover minorities and give voice to the voiceless kind of story.  Which I would say they do make real attempts at doing and which is a real reason I try to listen a couple of times a week. Yay *applause*

But then the conversation took a turn to what is the reality of our culture and where real money in the media lies.

Let’s start here, TLC, The History Channel and the Discovery Channel and its subsidiaries were made, in ways, to replicate PBS-style stations. Where there was documentary type learning shows, that depicted and told stories around the world. This is the type of stuff I ate up day after day as a kid. The stuff I loved! Some of it was sappy and a little fluffy like “A Baby Story” or “An Adoption Tale” but other shows that talked about gender-identity and mental conditions or strange medical conditions were fascinating to me. I feel they gave me a more compassionate and thorough understanding to the world. Yet as culture changed and reality TV became more profitable and popular those stations changed to telling those stories.

In the last 10 years we have had Honey Boo-Boo and My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding (an admitted guilty pleasure) and Ice Road Truckers. All of which lack much of the substance of previous shows and station goals. My fiance jokingly calls TLC “The Loser Channel” but I honestly don’t know if that’s too far from the truth. Some of the shows really inspire me to care for people I don’t understand with more compassion, like my 600lb Life, while others leave me buying up stereotypes and inconsiderately dismissing other groups, such as 19 kids and Counting and it’s HUGE sex scandal mess that broke last year.

Ok all of that aside my point is that TV often reflects society like a mirror, and the unfortunate side is that most people embrace this gum-ball machine mess of television of a quarter in and sticky crap that rots your brain out.

What’s most upsetting is that while these shows are consumed and even loved, other REAL programming with great information on radio, TV or other gets bumped out. News even gets mushed up to be click-bait and full of thorough and honest information. Just this week I got into a conversation on Charlie Chaplin on Vice and had the author block me for calling her out on cherry-picking history.

Anyway, that aside I am BEGGING all of you to get out and learn. Something like only 78% of Americans read a book a year. And the number steadily increases for more than 5, 10 etc. There is research to indicate that this next generation will be less educated than any previous, a turnaround from the past. And it’s not just reading that’s important but the ability to think, analyze and understand what is happening around someone.

It’s not even just things that come from a good education but information that can be assessed through alternative means and through independent learning. This means pick-up a book, read a magazine that’s not fluff, have your kids watch a documentary on animals with you. Discuss the universe, have a lunch date with friends and talk about making the world a better place etc. etc. Jump into the fun of learning and take someone with you. You don’t have to make learning your only activity, but make it one that is also a part of your life.

My family, with all its crazy, constantly pushed for learning, and that is something that I will always push for others.

 

Anyone want to borrow a book?

Best,

Rebecca Lee Robinson

Weddings and other nonsense

I love LOVE. I love romance, and stories of two people fighting the odds. I enjoy laughter, and nights in with my partner to watch the x-files. I enjoy sushi dinner dates and picnics. I enjoy rare vacations where we dress up and eat fancy and enjoy each others company.

When it comes to weddings I feel a little twinge of anxiety. Not for others’ but my own.

I have been to a lot of weddings the last three years, I have photographed most of them, been a bridesmaid in one, and attended numerous others previously. So far in my photography career, one couple has already divorced, but the others seem happy and intend to stick it through. I’ve seen dad’s cry, and mothers wear white to weddings. I have seen dress malfunctions and brides that went barefoot most the nights.

tumblr_mzwwkidQBg1t1r1l2o1_400.gifI have seen flower girl meltdowns, and ring bearer run offs.I have seen pretty much every do, and DO NOT in the book. Or even just things that seemed great at the time, but really failed in reality. Regardless of all of this, the truth is that because of working in the wedding industry I think some of the romance has worn off.

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Ryan and I are talking marriage in about 16 months. A fall wedding, because that’s our favorite season. A touch of Halloween because that’s my favorite holiday and the rest is kind of perplexing. I would say Ryan and I are engaged, but he didn’t ask me formally, and that throws people off. We talked about it and both agreed, like feminist adults. We’ll just say we got engaged February 29th for humor’s sake. I had him buy me a $40 silver ring with lab-created diamonds and sapphires  and within two months I had left it in my cousin’s house in Texas….luckily they found it and I will get it back this summer. Because I knew that eventually I would misplace or lose the ring Ryan bought me, and $1000 missing ring would kill me. I haven’t bought Ryan an engagement ring since we’re kind of struggling on this already. I suggested matching tattoos, but he doesn’t like needles…sooo

We have a venue picked out because they do 80% of the work for us. If we buy everyone dinner, the big things for us, then we get the venue. Add on a few more fees for drinks and sounds equipment and flowers and we have found the best deal in town. They serve almost 100% local food, and everything is organic, they also can accommodate our list of weird allergies. And they even decorate with pumpkins all year as they use them in food!

I know who I want for bridesmaids, and I know what they will wear. I know who will stand on Ryan’s side, and who will officiate our wedding. I figure we’ll have matches and cigars for party favors etc. We want a little bit 1920s to our theme.

I think I have even found my dress, and it’s custom made by a company in the Ukraine. It’s silk and gorgeous, and my aunt is giving me crap but I love it anyway.

The hard part about all of this is not the guy and not the planning, I love event coordination, it’s all the other things that come with marriage. It’s the pressure to take Ryan’s last name and to have kids in x-amount of time. It’s the pressure to “settle down” and not want to seek out adventures and fun. It’s pressure to spend a fortune on one day, just to prove to someone that we love each other enough to want to plan a life together. It’s the pressure on women to look their best, and drop 20lbs. It’s the pressure to appease everyone and no one at the same time.

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And this is all probably why I haven’t done something in the last, almost five and a half years with Ryan.

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For someone that also thinks so many of these traditions are just fabrications of a consumer society, which they are, I have a hard time wanting to be happy about it. I don’t want a dress beaded by children that make $1 a day. I don’t want my veil, or bouquets or headpieces to just end up in the garbage. It’s just so hard to imagine spending so much money to have so much just thrown away after. Anyway, does anyone else have stories to share? I’m struggling on this one.

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Here I am admitting my fears in public, when I struggle to admit them to myself. I know Ryan is the one that I want to call old fart, and I can’t imagine living through this mess without him and his daughter by my side. Yet I fear I am not good enough, that I lack something and that he doesn’t deserve a wife with so many student loans, and a wanderlust that could kill a partner. Yet here he is. Long-distance, mid-distance, months apart, still here and welcoming me home.

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One of my feminist idols was wed and in the past out-spoken against wedding mumbo-jumbo. Which brings me some comfort in just embracing what I love and discarding the rest. So maybe I’ll stay in love with my Ryan, plan something fun, and enjoy the moments that surround us everyday as much as the one where we say I Do.

Maybe the reason we as a culture stick together around the idea of the big wedding is that we don’t get many moments like this as a culture anymore. Even a century ago small communities would get together to celebrate each season, they would have dances, new births were greatly celebrated and everyone came to funerals. Today, weddings are sometimes the only chance everyone gets to be together to celebrate, and in this case it’s something very happy and enjoyable. At least it should be. So maybe all the pomp and circumstance really is just a way to say, hey thanks everyone for raising us, for loving us, and helping us find each other?

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Gifts from a grandma

Some of you may know, and some may not, my grandmother recently passed away.

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My grandmother and I, about age 2. 1993

It is a deep and painful experience, not only because I lost someone close to me, but because I lost someone that helped raise me, shared my childhood home, was always one of my heroes and taught me many of the skills and values I hold dear to me.

Continue reading “Gifts from a grandma”