Friday, July 8, 2011

The hunter gatherer in all of us

So I haven't posted in like 2 years. oh well.

I have been thinking about this blog for a while now and I think Ive come to an understanding about us humans. My cousin (and a few of my family members) are hunters. They like to shoot things and have the heads of the things they shoot mounted on their walls. It's scary when you see it and also when you come to the realization that well, he likes killing things so much that he puts trophies of it in his bed room walls... so yes it bothers me and I have been trying to understand it for a long time.
Ok so here is the realization. in the last 2 years of non posting, I have started to have a deep, strong, need to plant things- food things, to eat. Maybe it's because I'm a mom now or that now I have felt the need to set down some roots - sorta speak-. But I dont think that's it. It didn't really start until I began to garden and started reaping the benefits that I really felt the severity of the need to do it. It's like a little bit of a drug that I didn't even know I was addicted to. And now I NEED to do it. I think about it all the time and I really like books about gardening/farming/animal husbandry etc.above everything else.Like an addict would do. And it's not just me, I mean two books I have read lately are about women who have careers and when they start to farm they can't stop and write about how they believe it's ingrained in us somehow as having been farmers for they bulk of human history. I think I understand their point because I have started to feel that too.
I thought that having a problem with my cousin (and others) who hunt for sport was a different matter altogether but now I'm not so sure.
And now there is the realization- Humans were not just farmers, they were hunters as well- some were hunters I must say. And if you analyze my cousin's actions, it's actually a much easier pill to swallow on every level then raising food animals to kill them.
My cousin went to Africa last year- one of these huge game parks that have all kinds of large animals that you have free range and had all of his spoils taxidermied and mounted. Horrified, I asked him about all the wrong that that was about, to try to put him in his place. But instead when I said- "you wasted all that body of meat, in a country that wasn't yours for a head" he said that actually, he fed a lot of villagers with what he shot, and it was all free range, organic, healthy meat.He did them a big favor. I can understand that having lived in one of those starving villages myself. They even helped cut it up and distribute it as soon as it was done.Making the politics of having the game and the park a beneficial one to both the humans that live there and near it. Also instead of letting the people go and wipe out the whole of the animals on the land, by deforestation or over hunting, by having this big reserve it's regulated, it's private and animals actually thrive there even with the hunters. When I said " yes but those were animals in an ecosystem that depended on them" he said, actually, the guide that took him out (and they had to go with a guide) instructed him on the animal to shoot at, that the animal was always the elderly male who was out of his prime, that had no more breeding in him- (just happened to be the big one of the group) but that he never went for a mother or youth.
So after a while I just listened instead of trying right him, because I think I get it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Land of equality?

Last May, the California Supreme court voted it to be unlawful that there be a limit to who could be married. The next day a couple who had been together for 60 years were the first to finally get married. When this happened I had hope. I think, and still believe that California and some Eastern states in the US are setting the tables straight on a lot of issues and this decision seemed to be in line with that. I don't believe that we need to have a say in who can marry. I thought we have been taught that as Americans we are all equal. I thought we got over that when we allowed African Americans and women the vote. The whole sexual revolution and Civil rights movements. Aren't we reinforcing that it is a free country? That America stands for equality and freedom? That no matter what your religious belief you still have the right to pursue happiness? Or did I get that wrong in my first grade lesson on The Constitution? Could it have been that everyone can pursue happiness except same sex couples?
Speaking about religion, I go back and forth on the idea that God is watching. Lately I know for certain He is here with me as this wonderful child develops in my belly. She is strong and I feel her closeness everyday. And so if God is watching and sending us these wonderful new beings to love, I have to believe some of us don't know it. They say they know it and are acting on His behalf by using Him to push their own prejudices and insecurities. Because in November our very forward thinking state of California has on it's ballot a proposition that will reverse the Supreme Court's decision and make it illegal for some of us to marry. Some, not all of us, but some. Like we are divided, like once it was thought that some of us should be able to vote but not all, or like it was thought that some of us should drink from this fountain or go to that school, but not all. I believe that God straightened us out then, that our conciseness and our morality, no matter what our beliefs, allowed us to make our American society into a place more like heaven, where everyone has the right to love and has equal chances to the pursuit of happiness. I hope He is here now like He was then because it is happening again, to a different bunch of Americans but it is the same thing.
I'm sorry I'm not a californian any more. I'm sorry that I won't be there to support my greatest friend in the world when he is told whether he and his loving partner of 3 years can not persue the same happyness that I have.
I guess I should think I am lucky? I guess that I am being told that I should have more rights than other people because I love a man and not a woman. That I should be happy that I am above them? I think about this and I remember a poster that my high school history teacher had hanging on her wall. I think it was to remember the Holocaust, and I know I won't quote it well since it has been a long time since high school, but it said something like: First they came for the communists, but I wasn't a communist so I didn't speak up, then they came for the Jews, but I wasn't a Jew so I didn't speak up, then they came for the Catholics, but I wasn't a Catholic, so I didn't speak up. Then they came for the tradesmen, but I wasn't a tradesmen, so I didn't speak up. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak for me.
I think about my friends who I love and who love me and who have enriched my life, who would do anything for me at a moments notice and have provided me with happiness beyond explanation. And then I think of the people who want to cut them and tell them they are not Americans, they are not as good of people as some are and it hurts, it hurts very badly. I can't even really fathom that someone would want to do that. ... and I can do very little about it.
If you live in California please vote in this election, and please vote NO to Proposition 8.
I also want to encourage our other great states to rethink their previous decisions and to think about what God is really telling us.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

To be or not to be- healthy that is...

I have been volunteering for this charity here in Cardiff called Pedal Power. It's a great thing helping disabled cyclists and generally promoting healthy living and the benefits of cycling. I recently started working for them by expanding their general hire of bikes in a different area of Cardiff- Cardiff bay. I have been working in the bay now for 3 days and it has been slow. I thought because we didn't do a very great job of advertising it before hand and the weather has been a little disappointing to say the least. But we have had a lot of people come and tell us that bringing the bikes to rent to the bay is a great idea and they will have to come another day and rent from us. They have just recently opened a pedestrian/cycle bridge across the bay that has been very popular and so a cycle hire facility there is just want the bay needs. Well I would think.
This is the back of my co-worker Leevon. (Lee) . He is shy of the camera phone especially when what I was really trying to photograph was the little girl selling sweets behind him. Here is a better picture of their outfit.
The woman that is selling here, besides that she isn'a t very nice woman and insisted that she shove her cart right up against our bikes when she had a whole corner to occupy, had her 11 year old granddaughter help her this weekend. Here she is selling candy floss (cotton candy to us Americans) and chocolate covered marshmallows and strawberries. To the normal Bay goer this is a nice sight and everyone loves chocolate especially if it is covering something healthy like strawberries. That's what I thought too, until I have had to operate next to these two for the past few days. I don't think the woman likes the job any more because she is never there leaving the little girl to do all of the selling. The little girl is forever eating the marshmallows and licks her fingers and eats the chocolate too. (You can see the chocolate fountain on the left side of their cart.) They sell 5 marshmallows or 3 strawberries on skewers for 3 pounds (about 6 dollars) a skewer and then ask the customers if they want chocolate on them which of course they say yes, and then the little girl proceeds to stick the skewer in the chocolate getting it on her fingers and then lick them in front of the customer. No hand washing in sight as well. To make matters worse, the chocolate fountain isn't made up of chocolate and milk. I mean I don't know how these things work really, these chocolate fountains, but I was under the impression that the machine heats up the chocolate and you add milk and that's how the chocolate flows, but these ladys, through the course of the day, thins the chocolate down by adding a whole bottle of vegetable oil. Yes, the same type as you would fry in, and yes a WHOLE bottle. No more chocolate added - I don't know how much there was in the mix to begin with- just more vegetable oil.
Now that is ok- I mean fine, ok really bad for you but everyone eats bad for you things sometimes, so what. The part that gets me is that Lee and I are working our butts off, trying to get people to hire these bikes- That cost 4 pounds for an adult bike per hour and 3 pounds for a kiddie bike, and we are struggling to get anyone to hire. We have all kinds of little kids coming up and pointing to the bikes and saying "Daddy, can we go for a ride?" but then walk by us and get in line to buy (for the same price), 5 fingered marshmallows on a stick with vegetable oil.
I mean what??? What kind of parent (and there were many I can tell you- that shop had a line the most of the day) would give a child absolute shit to eat but say no you can't go for a healthy bike ride around the bay? Does that make sense? I have tried to rationalize it the whole day, and finally coming to the conclusions that it is easier for the parent to pull out 3 pounds and give the child crappy food, then to have to be involved by watching the child on a bike or joining themselves on a bike for an hour. Give the kid a lolly and make him shut up. I even had a father say to me... actually this is how it went down... little girl walks up to one of the little pink bikes and says " daddy, can I go for a ride?" and I say "Hey! that bike is just your size! I will give you a free ride on it and your daddy will only have to rent his bike!" ... Then dad says to me picking up his daughter "she can't do that, she isn't strong enough." .. You can imagine the look on the little girls face. I almost called the police I was so angry with that guy, complete verbal abuse to his little girl, tell her she was not strong enough to pedal a little tiny pink bike just her size. And I was giving the girl he bike ride for free!! I mean, if the guy didn't want to rent a bike that is fine, he could have said, "oh no,not today." but instead he chose to tell me no by saying that the girl wasn't strong enough. All day long I help disabled people, sometimes severely disabled people, onto bikes and this guy is saying that his clearly able daughter isn't strong enough. Maybe if I was giving the girl a free "shit-on-a-stick" he would have bought one for himself too?

oh well, that's us I guess.

Oh, one more thing, that happened to me yesterday, that I think fits this blog nicely. The people at the bay that have let us set up shop there have been really nice, always coming to see if we need anything and if we are ok. Yesterday Lee and I were plagued by this very over weight security guard that Lee thought was jinxing us because he kept coming over, looking at our log book with our poor sales and hissing and making faces. He said to me, "you won't see me on any of those either", pointing towards the bikes.
And I said "why not? they are brand new and it's a great day to take a ride"
"I only like things with motors."
"Really?, well don't you like your legs? they happen to be great motors!" I said with a smile and a giggle.
"I have four cars!"
"O... K..., ummmm Why do you have 4 cars? there is only one of you?, I don't even own a car here in Wales and it's fine"
"Four cars is better than one." he said with a look of superiority
Now, at this point, I tried desperately to change the subject thinking of anything other than maybe you should try something other than trying to impress people with how many cars you own- I thought that I was getting hungry and he might have an idea - seeing the size of the man- about where a good place to get lunch. Plus the fact that Lee and I have set up right across the path from this gourmet burger restaurant that at the moment was producing this wonderful smell of burgers grilling.
"Well... hummm... the price of petrol is really high do you know of anywhere around here that is a good place to have some lunch?"
"I don't eat here, this food is too healthy like." As the waitress brings out two patrons their delicious and extreemly NOT healthy looking burgers and chips (french fries to us Americans).
"Too healthy? really?" I asked trying to get him to notice the burgers and fries.
"Yes! and I bet you don't even like beer!" he said with another look of superiority.
At this point I got a little worried that I had been unknowingly demeaning and quickly tried to change the subject again.
"Actually I love beer, I can't have it now though since I'm 4 and a half months pregnant."
"You should have told my wife that when she was pregnant- drank all though her pregnancy!" he exclaimed as if his wife was cooler, more hip and daring than I was.
"Oh... well, I should probably hand out these fliers now..."

Friday, June 6, 2008

Name it!

So what to name the next messiah? That is what Alex and I have been thinking about every night before we fall asleep lately. Its a big decision you know? I mean what if Mary and Joesph named Him Rodney or Clancy or Harry Potter? I mean Jesus Christ is a heavy name was it popular in those days? I mean was there 5 Jesus Christs in His class?
Well this will be our first baby so we should try to pick a good one. We could make one up but then he (or she!) will have to endure years of teachers and colleagues trying to pronounce it and asking "is that Slavic?" Or we could name it after a famous person or a friend- but what happens if at some point they find out Albert Einstein was a fraud or a friend of ours steals a car or robs a bank? Bad karma for the kid. My sister and brother have ruled out a few names because they have dibs for their future children. We DEFINITELY CAN NOT name it some thing that everyone now is naming their kids. I've heard of a lot of Jacks, Olivias, and Emilys lately and although those are all great names and ones Alex and I have considered, its not so fun to have a name that everyone else has. Mom said that Michele or Michelle came into popularity after the Beatles song but before that there were hardly any Michelles. That's why I believe Harry is in the top 5 most popular names.
We could name it something Welsh since it will be born here - that's an option- but we haven't found any yet that we really like and that also aren't so long.
So I'm open for suggestions but reserve the right to comment on names like Barbie, Candy, or anything resembling a porn name.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Oh Devine Christmas Gift from God.

That is two very clear pink lines!
My dearest fans I would like to announce the creation of a new American. Yes, yours truly is creating a human being and I can't wait. I have been slowly spreading the news and have mostly heard "Well that was quick" since Alex and I have only been married not yet 8 months. But thats what happens and we are so excited we cant hold it in. We have nicknamed the baby Jesus, since the due date for this new American is December 25th. My father likes to call him/her Chuy but I think its a bit blasphemous since this new creation MUST be the next messiah. And what a perfect time for REAL leader to emerge to us Americans!! Well, I guess the baby can't be the president of the United states not since will be born in the UK, but I'm glad really, I know for sure now that it wont be the Antichrist. :)
You've gotta keep an open mind about things, since I have no idea in the slightest what this baby will be like. At first I thought it was a boy since my arm pits really stunk bad and I was ready to fight in an instant, but now I'm not so sure. I had a dream the other night that the baby was a girl with blond hair and Alex's eyes but we are going to have to wait. And that is what I have been doing, waiting. I hate waiting. Especially when I feel so sick. One thing I remember when my friend Ellen was pregnant. When asked how she was feeling she said, "Well, I can't ski, I cant drink, and I feel fat and totally uncomfortable." I thought, well, thats secondary, you are creating a human being! Can't you suck it up for 9 months? And now I am eating my words. I really cant tell you how tired I feel and how sick I am ALL the time. It feels like a REALLY bad hangover that wont go away. Sometimes I wish that I would just throw up so I can feel a little bit better. I got up this morning to take a shower and brush my teeth and promptly had to lay down again because just that took all my energy and strength. I'm sure that the only way that I feel comfortable is if I lay on my left side and have to fall asleep fast before my arm falls asleep and I have to adjust in someway. I am wishing for Christmas like you can't imagine. But I am aware that I have a job to do now, I made a pancreas, and 2 elbows last week, that has to take a lot of energy right?
Well all that is great but on top of it all I'm scared to death that the baby made a mistake by picking me at this time. I hope Alex and I can be as wonderful of parents as ours were but I know that its not going to be easy at all especially when we are so far from America and our beloved families. I am glad though that we are here in the UK and taken care of with the Social Health system and don't have to worry about insurance ... yet.
So welcome all to Cardiff, but if you aren't able to get here until next year, there will be three Tumlinson's, or 2 Tumlinsons and one Messiah.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

It's a Bute

Bute Park is blooming FINALLY!! Its still cold here (in the 50's) But its nice when the sun comes out everyone smiles.
Here are some pictures of Alex and I cycling in the park on a tandem bike.

The Henge

Alex and recently went to Stonehenge on our bikes. We took the train to Salsbury and then rode our bikes to the Henge. It was awesome but really weird. We cycled through these great little villages and then all of the sudden we came over a hill and there it was. It's in the middle of a field and there are sheep all around it. There is also a major highway going right through the middle of the field. Totally weird. Here are some pictures...

Friday, April 4, 2008

On the subject

So if you take the Lost quiz on this blog like I did, make sure you aren't like Michael Dawson. After last few episodes of Lost we all have seen that Mr Dawson sucks big time and is working for Benjamin Linus. I just want to make it clear that I AM NOT LIKE MICHEAL DAWSON even though it says so on my Blog. I would never work for Ben. But on the other hand, Sayid said he would never work for Ben but he did in the end...
To much drama.
Maybe I should talk about the Clinton/Obama run off instead.
on a lighter note, my good friend Keri sent me this random picture of a banana fish.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

2 Westbury Terrace

This is our house in Cardiff. I have opened the door in this picture so it seems very inviting for all our friends and family so they will want to come visit. It's on the end of the terrace and our neighbors are really nice.
Speaking of our neighbors, we got a Christmas card through our mail slot this year addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Bush. It was from the neighbors in #12 who we gathered starred as R2D2 in Star Wars because they added a flyer with the card that advertised a "5th annual Star Wars Christmas Event, with guest star Kenny Baker, R2D2" With an arrow to the picture of R2D2 that said "Resides at #12" . I went to meet this Kenny Baker and to thank the Bakers for the card and was greeted by "Oh the American woman!" "I'm sorry, love, I didn't know your name and Bush was the only American name I knew!" Mr Baker- who introduced himself as John (?why?) and his wife Anne had also signed their card "Welcome to the home of the not so brave!!!" and on the next line "Any Gum chum??"
Yes our neighbors are weird I must say, but funny none the less and we fit right in.
The British are also very safe with electricity. - with the roads its much different, they are as crazy as my neighbors but with electricity they are so overly safe it's annoying. every wall socket has a swicth that much be on for anything to work and every plug has a fuse just in case the fuse in the switched socket fails and you somehow get your finger in between the huge plug and the wall. It is against the law to have a socket in the bathroom but put an electric water heating shower instead of using the water heater for the house. BUT! to turn on the shower you have to pull a knob (it's safely a wooded knob on a long string coming from a fused switch in the ceiling) to turn on the power to the shower before you get in the shower and push a fused on/off button to start or stop the water. There is also a longer string with a bigger knob to pull for the lights in the bathroom. Can't be too safe.
This is my bike.There are baskets to go on the sides that aren't shown but are with me pretty much wherever I go. Since we don't have a car I walk and ride all over the place and cart things around in these bags. I love my bike. I hope it doesn't get stolen.