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(I almost can’t write this, I still feel intense shame.)

There were two times in my my life when I was poor enough to feel actual physical hunger. The first was when my parents first separated and I was living with my mother in a commune in Berkeley (CA).* I’d been wrested from a typical middle-class (white) suburban lifestyle full of meat and bread in unlimited quantities and thrust willy-nilly into a hippie commune. No sugar. Homemade bread. No meat, except when we killed a chicken or rabbit. Nothing processed.

I hated it.

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Seven ago today I began a process of deliberately poisoning my body; in the medical profession this is called chemotherapy.

It was the toughest thing I have ever done in my life. Partly because it wasn’t a one time even, but a whole series of sessions. And it got worse as time went on.

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Last night’s class was on Deity, and I found myself talking about how Kali is the one Deity I have a hard time with. I spoke about how I’ve done dark god/dess work for years as part of the class cycle, and quite a bit of it touches on Her, but I still have trouble.

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On Dec 23 I was crossing the street on my way home and was hit by a car.

Said like that: how terrifying and scary!

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(I’m gritting through these last days of Mercury retrograde . . . looking forward to the release coming!)

In a conversation with someone the other day I was asked how I feel about AI. My first reaction was ‘Terminator!’, my second was from Jake Stonebender (I can’t remember the exact quote, but it was along the lines of “why do we view AI with such suspicion?” and then proceeded to present an AI of charm and joy and grace.)

But what it comes down to is this: Why do we need AI? what is the purpose?

Answer me that, and I’ll tell you how I feel.

Because let’s face it: doing science for the sake of science isn’t always a good idea.  I mean, we could theoretically give cats opposable thumbs so they can open doors for themselves . . . but I’m convinced they would just light matches all of the time and therefore end up burning down the house.

What a tough year for the world.

I could write a maudlin post about the end of America as we know it or about the many deaths of celebrities we used as role models. It would be easy, and I suspect many better writers than I are doing so even now.

I choose to instead share my plans for the coming year. Particularly how I will be dealing with what I expect will be an overwhelming flood of *NEED* from so many causes and places I believe strongly in: ending racism, women’s equality, gay rights, protecting animals, caring for children, and supporting our civil liberties.  Not to mention the periodic outbreaks of violence and natural disasters that will claim my time, energy, and money.

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I eat a lot of eggs for breakfast, pretty much every day in fact. During the week that usually means I’ve created some kind of ‘bake’ — veggies, maybe meat, probably some cheese, covered in an egg/milk combination and then baked until the eggs are set.

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It took almost 18 months, but I finally broke my write-a-blog-post-every-week streak. Ah well, guess I’m not perfect.*

To be fair, breaking the streak meant traveling to Paris, San Francisco, and then Georgia within a month, along with some personal things that I’m not ready to share here (yet), so it wasn’t anything small that broke the mold.

So, here I am, catching up a bit.

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I woke up this morning with some thoughts rumbling around.

Many of us are being called to step away from our boring lives and do something just a little bit more to make our worlds safe again. This is a call to change, one happening on a much larger and more obvious scale than previous occurrences. If you’ve ever wanted to participate in history, rather than reading about it, the time is now. We have LGBT rights to retain, systemic racism revealed that must be dismantled, a climate on the brink of devastation, and a huge number of people in danger of losing what little support they have for staying alive.

It’s overwhelming.

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Ok, I had to get ‘creative’ for a few categories, but I have successfully completed the 2016 reading challenge!

I love to read, I also read for a living (thanks Facing North!). So you’d think these reading challenges would be easy.  .  .

Here’s is the complete list:

A book based on a fairy tale — Cinder, Marissa Meyer
A National Book Award Winner — The Blue Sword, Robin McKinley
A YA bestseller — Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs
A book you haven’t read since high school — Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks
A book set in your home state — Fire Touched, Patricia Briggs
A book translated into English — The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson
A romance set in the future — Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishigurp
A book set in Europe — The Art of the Con: The Most Notorious Fakes, Frauds, and Forgeries in the Art World, Anthony Amore
A book that’s under 150 pages — In the Night Kitchen, Maurice Sendak
A NYTimes bestseller — Dead Heat, Patricia Briggs
A book that’s becoming a movie this year — Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs
A book recommended by someone you just met — Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-up Bubble by Baniel Lyons
A self-improvement book — Yoga Therapy for Stress & Anxiety, Robert Butera PhD, Erin Byron MA, Staffan Elgelid PhD
A book you can finish in a day — Venus Envy, Rita Mae Brown
A book written by a celebrity — Don’t Try This At Home: Culinary Catastrophes From the World’s Greatest Chefs, Various (bonus: — Steps in Time, Fred Astaire, extra bonus! The Measure of A Man: A Spiritual Autobiography by Sidney Poitier)
A political memoir — Madam Secretary by Madeleine Albright
A book at least 100 years older than you — Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman
A book longer than 600 pages — Summer Tree, The Fionovar Tapestry (book 1), Guy Gavriel Kay
A book from Oprah’s Book Club — One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
A sci-fi novel — In Conquest Born, C.S. Friedman
A book recommended by a family member — Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss
A graphic novel — Grendel Omnibus, Matt Wagner
A book published in 2016 —Leonard, My Fifty-year Friendship With A Remarkable Man, William Shatner
A book with a protagonist in your occupation — Personal Finance for Professionals by Susan Berson (yes, this is stretching it . . . but how many books feature an Administrative/ HR professional as the protagonist?)
A book that takes place during the summer — The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
A book and its prequel — The Naked Sun, and Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov
A murder mystery — The Family Vault, Charlotte Macleod
A book written by a comedian — Bossypants by Tina Fey
A dystopian novel — Ready Player One, Ernest Cline
A book with a blue cover — Anodea Judith’s Chakra Yoga
A book of poetry — Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman
The first book you see in a bookstore — a blank journal
A classic from the 20th century — Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
A book from the library — You Have it Made, Ellie Krieger (cookbook)
A book about a culture you are unfamiliar with — — Dead End Gene Pool: A Memoir, Wendy Burden
A satirical book — The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
A book that takes place on an island — Frommer’s EasyGuide Kauai 2016*
A book guaranteed to bring you joy — Taltos, Steven Brust

*what?

How are you doing?

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