“You’re not to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it.” ― Malcolm X, By Any Means Necessary
Reading the news this week has been one long continuous headdesk. After claiming that Secretary Clinton couldn’t be trusted with classified information, President Trump…simply divulged classified information to an adversarial power. Once again he also threw his entire messaging team under the bus, after they’d gone out of their way to discredit the early claims of the leaked story, by not only confirming that this actually happened, but that he was perfectly within his rights to do so.
Let’s be clear. Of course the president CAN do and say a lot of things, but that doesn’t make it a good idea much less sound policy. I would like to politely posit that had 44 or alt-45 discussed classified information of any kind with a generally-deemed hostile government, some of you reading this would be foaming with fury right now. Add in any of the extracurricular details and I’d fear for some of your blood pressure levels. I’ve written before that I don’t believe many Americans understand how much of our government’s functionality is not codified in law so much as respected through precedent. This is a textbook example of this theory.
Editor’s note: I typed that above bit on Tuesday. By Thursday…look, I tried to summarize, but here:
Then this was Friday. I’m tired, kittens, here are your links. I’m sure we’ll check in with MORE breaking news again before the end of this weekend. Good bleeding lord.
Interesting editorial on the difference between conservativism and what the author calls “anti-anti-Trumpism,” or the desire to see liberal positions mocked and trolled more than genuinely pushing for conservative political principles in action. I don’t agree with everything here, but I do see enough of this general attitude to take it as anecdotally true. And if we’re all more concerned with poking the “other” in the eye than actually arguing our own cause or beliefs, then we are well and truly ******.
“Above all, I would teach him to tell the truth. Truth-telling, I have found, is the key to responsible citizenship. The thousands of criminals I have seen in 40 years of law enforcement have had one thing in common: Every single one was a liar.” – J. Edgar Hoover
The news is shifting hourly at this point but at time of typing, the President of the United States fired the head of the FBI this week–ostensibly for his poor handling of the Clinton email saga but more probably because he refused to pledge personal loyalty to the president and was seeking to continue the investigation into the connections of then-candidate Trump’s election campaign to foreign nationals with an agenda of disrupting/influencing the election.
People were hiding in–excuse me, among–bushes, Ms. Conway reappeared after being lost to the world for several weeks, the memes are writing themselves at this point.
Most recently, the president has tweeted (a phrase I am sick to the teeth of reading much less typing) veiled threats towards the now-former FBI head, sort-of-threatening to to reveal supposed recordings of conversations…that are unlikely to have taken place in the first instance–though watch this space. It it 2017, after all. Meanwhile his own statements of the timeline which lead to his decision to fire Mr. Comey have blatantly contradicted that of his supporting team. Meaning that he’s an idiot or a liar. Again.
This week in Mormon news, the LDS church announced it was ending a century-long partnership with Boy Scouts of America. A very interesting development since the scouting program has effectively functioned as the learning and development organization for boys in the church for years. Girls have their own achievement and goal-based organizations, which don’t have an equivalent level of parity or recognition outside of the church structure. It will be interesting to see what the Church puts in place for young men, another outside organization or an internally created one.
I wandered lonely as a cloud That floats on high o’er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host of golden daffodils; Beside the lake, beneath the trees, Fluttering and dancing in the breeze. – William Wordsworth
I’ve been saying it forever, but I mean it: we do not go on enough vacations. Here in the UK, in addition to national holidays, I have about 25 days off a year as part of a typical contract–ditto Jeff. We are piss poor at using them.
We blame American work habits and norms. To this day I cringe whenever I submit a time off request, as if what I’m doing is somehow shameful or looks lazy. Over the past nearly four years that we’ve lived here, we’ve been so bad at taking holidays that Jeff has been able to sell back a few every year to get a bit of extra money…but last year we hit the limit of that and so much of his time off allocations have piled up that we have to either “use it or lose it.”
We are awful at holidays…but we are getting better.
For the April long Bank Holiday weekend, feeling absolutely stir crazy and needing to get out of the city, I booked us a few days in the Lakes District in Cumbria. Initially I had grand ambitions of trying to organize a quick mini break to Europe, but the onboarding as part of a new short term contract quickly took over most of my life and energy and before I knew it, the Bank Holiday was upon us. Jeff was deep in the bowels of tax season and working 12+ hour days meaning that while he too needed a holiday badly, I needed to plan this one. A quick burst of research and reservation making, et voila!
The Lakes District has an abundance of natural beauty and has been a popular visiting spot since the Edwardian period. In spite of being an admittedly tourist spot, it remains charming. There is a thriving but tidy local economy that makes getting around the cluster of lakes and villages that makes up the area easy and affordable, and a blend of indoor amenities like shops, B&Bs and restarants to supplement the outdoor nature of the holiday spot. It’s a famous hiking district with peaks and hills for the adventurous/fit, with lots of woodland walking trails for the more moderate/lazy. We took advantage of both the outdoors and food–copious amounts of tea were drunk and more than one excellent meal eaten in between boat rides across Lake Windemere, multi hour hikes along shorelines, walks through the villages where some of Britain’s most famous poets lived and wrote, and general meandering.
The fresh air, long walks, good food (we ate so much local cheese, guys), and time away from the city. It was exactly what we needed.
In case you are interested, we stayed at Mylne Bridge House which is a charming B&B run by a married couple who serve an absolutely scrumptious breakfast! You’re about five minutes from the high street of Windemere and a half hour leisurely walk from Bowness-on-Windemere on the lake itself. Highly recommended!
“Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .” ― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
15 years ago I met a girl in an airport bathroom (a story that I wish I could say was more scandalous than this auspicious beginning implies). We were on our way to a week long political youth conference in DC and New York, along the lines of model U.N. but I maintain cooler, that turned out to be a great time and we stayed in touch afterwards. A decade and a half later, we are still in touch and make time to see each other whenever our travels take us into one another’s orbit. She’s come to London a couple of times in the last three years, including this past weekend, when she arranged a fab dinner party to introduce Jeff and I to two other couples as well as the guy she’s dating. No surprise, we loved them all.
It got me thinking about friendships, specifically friendship in adulthood.
Growing up military brat, there was always a fluid nature to many friendships. Depending on where I lived I was surrounded with and went to school with other brats and, given the nature of the work, it was likely that one of our parents would be shipped across the country or the world in less than two years from the time we met. As a result, I and many brats I know tend to be able to make friends very quickly. We are more likely and able to progress through the phases of friendship quickly–we need to! The emotional intimacy and sustaining fun of friendship is a requirement of life, but we didn’t always have time to spend years and years cultivating relationships. We tended to single out the people we would get along with quickly, join forces quickly, and stay bonded until divided by circumstance.
On the flip side, when a friendship was broken up by a government directed move, it was often the case that it simply came to a successful end and didn’t continue. There has been an uptick in thinking and writing in recent years about “friendship breakups” but I’ve not really experienced this phenomenon in a negative way. Most of the friendships I’ve had that ended came to a natural and organic close as a chapter in life (shorter than most civilians due to the nature of our parents work) ended. I grew up partially before the internet and finished university before mobile phones became the pocket sized universes of information they are now, so this undoubtedly contributed to friendships winding down too. In an age of Whatsapp I imagine things are different now; they certainly are for my siblings–my 11 years younger than me sister seems to be operating in a totally different world than I did. I dread to think of the disconnect if Jeff and I have kids!
I don’t want to suggest that I grew up with a “disposable” attitude towards people, because that’s not accurate. But I am used to the idea that not all relationships are supposed to be or need to be permanent. Sometimes you need certain people at certain times (and vice versa), the need ends, and you both move on positively.
In adulthood, however, without the crucible of adolescence, school, sports teams, or other social tools made to get people together into groups, I don’t find as many opportunities to forge new friendships. I’ve stumbled into a few incredibly rewarding ones through blogging (hi, Caitlin!), work, and travel, but it’s a rarer thing now. It takes more work and effort than it did in a Department of Defense high school scene, and of course these days I have a partner, a full time job, errands to run. So do they! Adulthood is busy, and it can be hard to find the time to grown and nurture new friendships. On the plus side there are now more tools than ever to stay in touch with the people I already have in my life–it’s a rare week that doesn’t include a transatlantic call of some type. In my childhood, that would have been an expensive and complicated thing, these days it’s the touch of a button.
Alternatively, I have a handful of friends that I made years ago that were and remain the vital relationships of my life. My two best friends I made in middle school and, scattered as we are, I plan on them being in my Girl Squad until the day I die. One has asked me to be the executor of her will, she’s also been slated as godmother to any hypothetical children since before Jeff and I got married–before you ask, he’s 100% onboard. He refers to X. as his sister-in-law because he knows she is family to me and has been since I was 12 years old. Katarina is my other squad captain. We are the guardians of one another’s secrets, mutual cheerleaders, and constructive critics. We’ve been reading each others’ writing for the better part of two decades and one of the proudest friend moments of my life was being asked to be a first reader of the manuscript that landed her an agent. I am a ridiculously fortunate woman.
But I still appreciate the opportunity to meet new people and check in with pals who may only flit in and out of my city once every few years. We may not talk every day or even every month, but we bonded for a reason and can find a lot of joy in circling back to one another.
“In science it often happens that scientists say, ‘You know that’s a really good argument; my position is mistaken,’ and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn’t happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion.” ― Carl Sagan
This week, the president wondered aloud why we couldn’t have “worked things out” and avoided the American Civil War (slavery, dude. Other satellite issues, yes, but almost entirely slavery). Then Republicans, after years saying that Obamacare was passed too hastily and without proper review–passed a new health care bill in under an hour of debate, without hearings, without a CBO score, which most experts and professionals (including the vast majority of the medical field) don’t support. K. Bette Davis acts out my feelings for us.
Here are your links, kittens, because good stuff happened and needs to be shouted out too.
This uptick started when I was working at a police department in the US myself and was being monitored as a threat. I find it terrifying and, in my opinion, baffling to see organizations like this effectively create what they purport to be defending against: rogue teams who pick and choose which laws they think should apply to them, act (or at least plot) wildly outside or against governments, and believe that violence is an acceptable way to achieve their political and social aims. We have a word for this: terrorists.
Good lord. The scary part is I can completely recognize so many of the impulses and urges here (I’ve given in to myself more than once), and I can see where this trend and problem is coming from. Separately, I love it when Racked does longform.
“We don’t need to have just one favorite. We keep adding favorites.” ― Lloyd Alexander
Samurai Jack, Season 5. This is one of my favorite cartoons of all time, and a wonderfully stylish one at that. The series went off the air several years ago, but the creators have revived it and injected some new life into the series while still remaining very faithful to the aesthetic and style of their original series. I’m loving it. The network punked viewers on April 1 by dropping a new episode of Rick and Morty instead of the anticipated Jack episode, for which I magnanimously forgive the creators as I love Dan Harmon’s wacky romp through cosmic nihilism deeply, but I’ve been eating all the other episodes up with a spoon.
It Cosmetics CC Cream. I’ve been road testing this formula all month and I’ve been highly impressed with the coverage and the fact that it lasts on my face all day where many foundations wear off (particularly around my jawline). It doesn’t have as wide color a range as any modern line should, but in terms of payoff, it’s beats far more expensive products I’ve tried.
Agatha Christie’s Poirot. Hardly a new favorite, but I’ve been rewatching old episodes this month and reliving the genius that is David Suchet. Sometimes it can be a real pleasure to rediscover and indulge in trusted pop culture stand bys.
Bite Prismatic Pearl Creme Lip Gloss. I picked up these this past month and while I could wear them as casual toppers on more temperate lipstick shades, I confess that I prefer to wear them at the weekends in full metallic force. Inspiration: Mad Max.
The Ordinary by Deciem. I’m currently testing this current media darling of a skincare brand and I have to say, I get some of the hype! I want to finish my full test period before reviewing all the products I picked up (most of them for under £10 each), but thus far I have some very good things to say. Deciem also recently announced a serum-style foundation that immediately incurred a massive waitlist so it will be a while before I can test that myself, but I fully intent to. A brick and mortar store appears to be coming to the Covent Garden area in the near future as well, so keep an eye out for more talk about this brand in the future from me.
“You gotta have style. It helps you get down the stairs. It helps you get up in the morning. It’s a way of life. Without it, you’re nobody. I’m not talking about lots of clothes.” – Diana Vreeland
Style Month is at an end and I’ve enjoyed writing about it from the perspective of consumption and choice. The comments have been fantastic and I’ve had a lot of fun. ButI didn’t accomplish everything I wanted with this particular project, largely due to the very happy fact that I got a new and unexpected work contract (hurrah!) but it’s given me a lot of ideas of how I want to do future month long projects or topic assignments. It frustrates me to have a “vision” for a project and not feel like I’ve seen it through, but looking back through my stats and comments, I’m pleasantly surprised to see how much engagement I’ve had with this series. Which means of course, I want to do another one at some point! Do let me know what you’d be interested in reading about and discussing; I’ve got a few ideas following your feedback from my Money Month project as well.
I ticked off a couple of minor 101/1001 goals and made progress on some long term ones, but the next month will be a bit more relaxed. Apart from my responsibilities with my new contract, we are planning a trip to Paris in June with friends that is where we are going to put our only big spending in May. I’m going to be continuing to build on my Money and Style Month themes by using what I’ve got, and doing a new personal savings/spending goal to knock out a whole credit card by the end of next month.
I have no idea how we are a quarter of the way through the year already, but in spite of some background stresses, and occasional bouts of imposter syndrome and anxiety, I’m really happy with the progress I’m making on so many of my goals!