President Female…does it even matter?

Cartoon of Hillary looking off the notes of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren

Cartoon by Chris Cillizza

There’s a woman running for President, and she has a decent chance of becoming the first female President of the USA.

I am also, technically, female. So there are some people trying to tell me that as a female, I am obligated to support this woman.

However, I do not relate to being female.

You know how in dreams, you float around from place to place and are rarely aware of having a body? That’s how I am in “real life.” Even when I’m doing “female” things like giving birth or breastfeeding, I do not feel female. It’s just irrelevant to me. And so, I really don’t care that Hillary Clinton is female. I vote with my brain, not my vagina.

But let’s compare this to something else: race and ethnicity. I have very little sense of connection to my white, European background. So I get a little confused when people make a big deal out of these things. But in recent years, I’ve learned how much these things matter to some people. For example, thanks to experiences teaching me how black people in America are often unfairly targeted by the police, I understand better how the color of your skin can accord with privilege or a lack thereof.

I’ve also seen how little some of our lawmakers care about legislation that will help female-bodied individuals, and in fact, would be happy to approve legislation that could be downright deadly to women. It reminds me of the old saying that if men could get pregnant, they wouldn’t be so cavalier about trying to prevent abortion.

So, sure, things like sex, race and ethnicity do matter in society. I can understand that intellectually. But in my heart I’m just a soul/mindstream floating around, wondering why we feel the need to label and categorize ourselves. Still, I recognize the privilege I have in being able to see my sex, color and ethnic background as irrelevant. Not everyone can.

What makes females appreciated as lawmakers anyway?  I would argue it because they are more likely to grok the importance of kindness and equality, and they are more likely to understand that we are all in the same boat together. I have seen Bernie Sanders express those things with both words and actions. While Hillary Clinton has a different sort of reputation. So I tend to agree with this author, that the best feminist for president isn’t necessarily a woman.

I’ll leave you with this awesome video:

2015 in Review

2015 was the opposite of 2014. 2014 is when we took our trip to Scotland: I had that trip planned out to the last detail. I knew exactly where we were staying in three different cities, had reservations and train tickets in my hand before we left. It epitomized the way I like to run my life: I know exactly what is going on well in advance with no surprises.

2015 is a poster child for Best Laid Plans Go Awry.

A big factor in that was our 2003 Honda Element, which failed to start at least six times in the last year. It could have been worse I’m sure. After getting a new battery (didn’t fix the problem) and a new alternator (didn’t fix the problem), the car finally was so shot even the tow truck guy couldn’t get it started so…

Mr. Crankypants gets loaded up on the stretcher.

Mr. Crankypants gets loaded up on the stretcher.

It was towed to Lynnwood Honda and dumped like a steaming turd in their parking lot. Finally, it got what it apparently needed: a new starter. That was just a few weeks ago and so far so good. I really hope we are done with repairs on this thing, ’cause our other car now needs about $900 worth of repairs.

Then there was Sketch the cat.


His diabetes returned in June with pancreatitis in tow. After using up three of his nine lives, he moved into Unpredictable Land. We just can’t get this guy regulated (on a consistent dose of insulin that gives him good blood glucose numbers through out the day). His preshot numbers range from 142 to over 500. So some days I think I’m going to test and shoot and then leave the house and do something productive, and instead I end up pricking the cat’s ear repeatedly and worrying if I leave I’m going to come home to a cat in a hypoglycemic coma.

This was also the year I experienced the malfunction of an internal organ serious enough to remove said organ. My gallbladder came out June 30, the same day Sketch went to the ER for pancreatitis. What a life!

On the bright side, although a trip I’d planned to Sravasti Abbey in August got waylaid because of wild fires, I managed to go at New Year’s and it was awesome.

How was your year? What do you have planned for this coming year?


“Super Spinach”

I don’t know about you, but when I buy spinach, I usually want just spinach. But lately I’ve been fooled into buying some spinach/greens blends because I didn’t realize that “Super Spinach” is some sort of marketing ploy.

IMG_7463 IMG_7461

Here we find bok choy, kale, mizuna and chard hiding out in the spinach, like super spies, waiting to see if you can detect the difference in taste.

I can only assume these companies are trying to trick spinach people into eating other greens. If so it works because I have given my unsuspecting spinach-loving ten year old “super spinach” and she hasn’t noticed. The downside to this ploy is when you have a recipe that would benefit from spinach flavor, but would not benefit from the flavor of mizuna, or the farty goodness of bok choy and kale, and you accidentally buy this instead of pure spinach.

Have you experienced Super Spinach or something similar?

“Realistic” Painting

When I was in fifth grade I got a valuable lesson in what makes art realistic. A boy in my class challenged me to a drawing contest: which one of us could do a better drawing of war time, as judged by our teacher. I got out my markers and drew a pretty, colorful cartoonish drawing of a tank and stuff. He drew a scribbled pencil sketch that to me, looked like a huge mess. Who won? He did. The teacher said his drawing, drab and chaotic as it was, represented what war was really like, more so than mine.

Which of these two paintings do you think better represents “war”?

Francesco Goya, “The Third of May 1808”


Watercolor by Kenneth Wootton

People occasionally ask how I get my paintings to be realistic.

Close up of "Dance" by Alyssa McFarland

Close up of “Dance” by Alyssa McFarland


I always say: Paint what you see. The trick is in the seeing.

Let’s look at a so-called realistic painting. What makes it seem realistic?

I would argue it is because most everyone would agree, “that’s what it really looks like.”


Hyperrealistic painting by Patrick Kramer


Now take a subject where the painter has taken a bit more creative liberty. This may be exactly how this painter sees the world, but not with his eyes. He’s filtering what he sees through the lens of imagination.

Noah’s Ark by Thomas Kinkade


What about stuff that doesn’t even look like it’s trying to be “real”? Well then you’ve got a case of the painter perhaps trying to express a new way of seeing:

“Weeping Woman with Handkerchief” by Pablo Picasso


Your thoughts?

Is Donald Trump just pretending to run for President?

Lately it has come to my attention that some people suspect that Donald Trump is not really a serious Presidential candidate, that he’s really just in it for the attention, just pretending to be a bigot, and possibly even trying to destroy the GOP. Despite the media attention and Facebook trending, Trump may well have very few average people actually rooting for him. Since at least as far back as February 2014, people have been suspecting he’s just running for office for the entertainment value of it.

Whether you believe that conspiracy theory or not, you might find this satire article or video amusing.

What do you think?