Monday, July 30, 2012

Action 14: Another Dummy Book

So glad you are here!
I love bookstores.
Recently I stumbled on the isle with all those ‘Dummy Books.’
Here are some that I remember,
Remodeling your Bathroom for Dummies …. It’s about time!
Auto Repair for Dummies …. Hmmm … maybe.
Fashion for Dummies  …. Is that a hint?
Solar Power for Dummies …. Great Idea! 
Religion and Inspiration for DummiesTHAT should be interesting!

I have decided to write my own 'How to book for Dummies.'
Here it is:

How to Change the World
for dummies (like me)

by me

The average dummy book has about 368 pages.
Mine will be a bit shorter.
I’ll stick with two words.
‘SHOP wisely.

The end!

This is what I learned, while writing my book:

If I want fresh air and clean water and healthy land, I need to shop smaller cars, smaller homes and smaller toys.

If I want my money to go so schools and roads and libraries, I need to shop ‘Made in America’.

If I want to continue to baby my dog, because I just LOOOOOVE animals, I need to stop buying tortured pigs from supermarkets …. (who happen to be a lot smarter than my dog!)

If I want wonderful little stores that make me want to hug a stranger, then I need to start my Christmas shopping THERE today! 

Which brings me to the best part of my entire book:

The official, new and improved, NUMBER ONE excuse for going shopping!

Change the World.

Yours truly,  Bena

By the way, I need to reduce my blog from twice a week to once a week.  Juggling life AND a blog is turning out more complex than anticipated.

Oh, one more thing.  I’d love to know what you have decided to shop lately to 'Change the World.'  No pressure …. just an invitation to press that ‘Links to this blog’ button  .... By the way, showing off is ENTIRELY welcome!

Peep and the Parade  by Bena

Just doing my part ….. wisely (more often).

Friday, July 27, 2012

Action 13: Sing!

I figured out how to get a song for this parade.
OK, ready?
First, get in the shower.
Turn it on.
Sing the following:

Don’t tell me they’re too big.  This is America!
Don’t tell me it can’t be done.  This is America!
Don’t tell me it’s just too hard.  This is America!
Don’t tell me it’s too late.  This is America!
Don’t tell me things will never change.  This is America!
(Make up your own great big finale.)

Forgot the lyrics?
Get out of the shower.
Drip all over the floor.
Print the lyrics.
Get back in the shower.
Plaster the lyrics on the shower wall.
Don’t tell me they’re too big.  This is America!
Don’t tell me it can’t be done.  This is America!
Don’t tell me it’s just too hard.  This is America!
Don’t tell me it’s too late.  This is America!
Don’t tell me things will never change.  This is America!

Now go to the kitchen.
Pull out that long dangly extension faucet.
Pretend it’s a microphone.  (Do NOT turn on the faucet!  You are already wet enough!)
Call your dog or cat or kids or neighbor….
Don’t tell me they’re too big.  This is America!
Don’t tell me it can’t be done.  This is America!
Don’t tell me it’s just too hard.  This is America!
Don’t tell me it’s too late.  This is America!
Don’t tell me things will never change.  This is America!

Never EVER underestimate the power of a good long shower.

Yours truly, Bena

Peep and the Parade    by Bena
loud is good ..... LOUDER is BETTER!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Action 12: It's time

I am back home.
I just returned from visiting family and friends in the Midwest.

Great people.
Amazing cornfields.
Wide open horizon.

What an incredible country we live in.

While traveling along hundreds of miles of highway, I encountered two bumper stickers.
The first read,
‘Obama 2012’
I smiled.

The second read,
‘Obama You Lie’
I stared at that bumper sticker with mounting irritation.

Finally, I switched my turn signal, pushed the gas pedal, and passed THAT bumper sticker!

Out of sight, out of mind….

…. or so I pretended.

The fact is, 
my rear view mirror has never been in such heavy use.
When THAT bumper sticker got closer, I accelerated.
When THAT bumper sticker tried to pass, I hit the gas.

I ignored the breathtaking beauty of the road ahead.
I ignored amazing cloud formations spread above.
I ignored my favorite songs, my hopes, my dreams and my joys.

I was so UTTERLY determined to avoid that bumper sticker,  
it occupied my full attention for an entire hour!

Finally, sanity returned.

I realized I have limited time and energy.
I reminded myself that I need to make a choice.
Either I can fight against what I DISLIKE,
or I can fight for what I LIKE.

The fact is, I REALLY like Obama.

In all my life, I have never stuck a bumper sticker on my car.
It is time.

Obama 2012!

Yours truly, Bena

Peep and the Parade    by Bena

just another whisper ....


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Action 11: 15 minutes!

So glad you are here!

Recently, I wasted $4.62 and 15 minutes of my time … 

...... or maybe not.

I sent cards to the following five Supreme Court Justices of the United States of America. 

The Honorable John G. Roberts Chief Supreme Court Justice

The Honorable Sonia Sotomayor Supreme Court Justice
The Honorable Stephen G. Breyer Supreme Court Justice

The Honorable Elena Kagan Supreme Court Justice

The Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg Supreme Court Justice

Here they are:

 Inside each card I wrote, in my somewhat sloppy handwriting,

 “ Thank you     THANK YOU
                     Thank you 
thank you  Thank you
                     Thank you  
Thank You
I just think it cannot be said enough.
Thank you for all of your headaches and heartaches to support
our national health care.”

Then I signed each card, stuck them in a mailbox, and went out for ice-cream to celebrate.

Will my letters ever be read by these brilliant people?
Probably not ……  but then again, maybe.

Maybe at least one of them will read my card.  Maybe the timing is just right.  Maybe my message will give them that last bit of energy to do what is good and courageous in the future….

…. or maybe I simply wasted $4.62 and 15 minutes of my time.

Either way, I decided to celebrate.
I celebrated that on THAT particular day,
I fully understood that I am not responsible for the outcome. 
I am simply responsible for my actions – or lack thereof. 

In the say way, I am not responsible for the outcome of the 2012 election,
but I AM responsible for my actions – or lack thereof.

I am not responsible for the future of our country,
but I AM responsible for my actions – or lack thereof.

I celebrated that in that fleeting moment, I fully understood my profound lack of power and
yet embraced my astounding personal responsibility for the world I live in.

That is a mighty thing to remember.
I keep forgetting.
On the days I remember, I act.  Then I celebrate.

Yours truly, Bena

Peep and the Parade    by Bena

... 'cause it matters ....... 

In case you care to know:

Justice (or Chief Justice) (Justice's Full Name)
Supreme Court of the United States
One First Street N.E.
Washington, DC 20543

Friday, July 13, 2012

Action 10: Whisper

I look at the Super PACs.
I see their billions.
They are HUGE and POWERFUL and FIERCE.

And I am tiny.

I have
bottom, I am going to work myself out of the muck.

I am alive!
I am a woman. (I happen to like that.)
I am nice (sometimes), funny (occasionally), adorable (well, … maybe).
AND I know that $1,000,000,000 doesn’t fill a ballot box.
Instead, PEOPLE do  …  like you and me and millions more!
Super PACs buy billion dollar ads that woo and blame and threaten.
But ADS don’t fill a ballot box.
Instead, PEOPLE do …  like you and me and millions more!
Super PACs buy billion dollar glitter and sparkle and pomp.
But POMP doesn’t fill a ballot box.
Instead, PEOPLE do … like you and me and millions more!

The whispers of our combined voices are LOUDER and CLEARER and SWEETER than all those Super PACs combined.

I could end here.
I often do.
But today I am going to forge ahead …

… because to fill those ballot boxes, we’ve got to keep up the whisper.

There are a million ways to do just that.
I am going to suggest one that works for me.
1. I buy myself a box of envelpes. (White is good. YELLOW is better.)
2. I pull out my address book.
3. I label each envelope with the name and address of a friend.
4. I Live Life and wait ... 
5. ... wait for computer ahHA and LOLs and WOWs, which happen ALL THE TIME.
6. I push PRINT.
7. I write Thinking of You’ on the top of the page.
8. I stuff it in an envelope.
9. I find a mail box.
10. I drop it in.
11. Yes, by snail mail.  
      I am perfectly aware we live in the 21st century.  Yet, when was the last time you opened your
      mailbox and found something other than bills .... something YELLOW with YOUR NAME 
      in handwritingwith a note that read, 'Thinking of you'?
12. Yes, snail mail counts - even in the 21st century.

That is ONE idea on how to whisper. 
There are millions more.
You pick.

Remember, the whispers of our combined voices are LOUDER and CLEARER
and SWEETER, than all the billion dollar Super PACs combined.

Yours truly, Bena

Peep and the Parade    by Bena
whisper .... 'cause together we ROAR.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Action 9: Don on 'trickle'

I would like to introduce you to one of my favorite (imaginary) friends.
Meet Don.
Today, Don is going to visit TTYOT.
TTYOT stands for ‘Train the Youth of Today.’
(And yes, that’s imaginary too.  But who cares.  It still counts.)

TTYOT (Train the Youth of Today) is a political organization committed to feeding the minds and bodies of our floundering youth. 

Let's listen in on Don and the eminent youth trainer from TTYOT.  

TTYOT counselor:      Welcome, Don.  You are our first trainee.  We at TTYOT believe in feeding both the MINDS and the BODIES of our floundering youth.
Don:                            Just so you know, I don’t do Peanut Butter and Jelly.
TTYOT counselor:      Don, FIRST we feed your mind, THEN we feed your body.
Don:                            I like roast beef.
TTYOT counselor:      Don, focus!  Today’s lesson is on being an ‘All around better kind of person?
Don:                            I like roast beef with hot sauce.
TTYOT counselor:      DON!  FOCUS!  Don’t you want to be an ‘All around better kind of person?
Don:                            OK …. shoot.
TTYOT counselor:      Exactly!  Vote Republican!

(silence …. more silence….)

Don:                            You mean give more billions to the billionaires?
TTYOT counselor:      That’s only the FIRST step!
Don:                            But ….
TTYOT counselor:      Then comes the TRICKLE down!
Don:                            BUT ….
TTYOT counselor:      Remember that’s when you can try to EARN IT BACK!

(silence …. more silence …. shhhhhh …. Don is thinking!)

Don:                            BUT someone shifted the TRICKLE!
                                    MY TRICKLE IS HAPPENING ALL OVER CHINA!

(silence …. the TTYOT counselor is counting to ten … 1 ... 2 … 3… 4 ...)

 TTYOT counselor:     Don!  That is VERY bad attitude!

The end.

OK, ok, ok …. I happen to think that’s funny.  (You are certainly welcome to your own opinion.)

This morning I needed a laugh … otherwise I would have started to cry. 
The figures are out.  Romney raised $106,000,000 in June alone. 
That reads, One - hundred  - and - six  - MILLION dollars in June alone. 
That’s $35,000,000 more than Obama. 
Just so we are clear.  That’s June ALONE. 
According to the experts Romney, will probably raise about twice as much as Obama by the time this is done.
Mostly big donors and Super PACs.
INSANITY reigns.
Romney’s folks are saying, ‘the people have spoken’. 
I say, ‘Say WHAT??!!’

Oh, I hear Don calling from down the hall,

 Don:                            I said roast beef!
                                    I don’t  DO  LIVERWURST!

Be there.
If you are one of those fortunate people who happens to have friends, 
invite them to BE THERE right along with you.

(Oh and yes, getting ready right around now, may be a pretty good idea.)

Yours truly, Bena

Peep and the Parade    by Bena
Keep up the attitude …. It may be good for us!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Action 8: Little to BIG

Next time you are in a public bathroom, watch out for the crazy woman.
She is the one who washes her hands for an entire two minutes and then starts all over, because it's not good enough.
That’s me.
Yes, you are reading the blog of a crazy woman – although, I promise it is only temporary.
I just finished taking a class on Microbiology.

Thus the obsessive hand washing.

I learned bacteria are brilliant.
They have no brain.
They are tiny.
And yet they are smarter than me.

They know, ‘little’ is enough.
My problem is, that unless I am absolutely certain I can accomplish the BIG stuff, I don’t even get started.  Why waste my energy?  It’s impossible!  Right?
Bacteria say, “NOT!”
They know, it’s all in the numbers.
The action of one … becomes two …. becomes eight …. 32 …. 189 ….2,242 …. 2,460,829 …. 4,225,988 ....
They know this INSTINCTIVELY!  (and I keep forgetting)

It all starts with ‘little’.
On Thursday I danced around the house celebrating the Supreme Court Decision on Health Care.
That's little.
On Friday I DID NOT FORGET to bring my reusable shopping bags!
That's little.
On Saturday my friend and I walked our dogs.  Remember the volleyball story and voting?     YES, we are still friends!
On Sunday I talked to my kids about an interesting show on NPR about the astronomical US beef consumption.
On Monday I forwarded a silly (although exceptionally insightful) blog to a friend. (hint, hint…)
On Tuesday I saw a great bumper sticker that said, ‘Got hope?’ and I told the guy in the car ‘Yes, we can!’  (We both grew an inch!)

I've decided to learn from the brilliance of bacteria.
I'll do a ‘little’.
And more often than not, that’s enough, ‘cause we are doing it together.

Yours truly,  Bena
P.S. Next week I will introduce you to one of my favorite (imaginary) friends.  
And yes, they too can change the world!

Peep and the Parade    by Bena

Coming up next .... with a bit of attitude.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Action 7: 4th of July

I'm glad your here!

I am excited about the 4th of July.
The birthday of our Nation!
Birthdays are a time to reflect on how far we have come and where we hope to go.

I am starting with a political speech to provide a bit of perspective.

I happen to think it's funny.  
Don't worry, if you don't.
Dear people of America …. On this glorious day ….. JUSTICE, Freedom and apple-pie!  … rescued kittens …. and my loyal folks of Idaho  blame blame …. BlameVote for me.  I GIVE YOU LIBERTY!”

“clap, clap, clap”

I happen to think that's funny ...
..... 'cause it says all the things I DON’T want to hear and puts it on a podium.
I DON'T want to hear a silly pep-rally of 'feel good words', mixed with a heavy dose of blame.
Yet, the real question is not what I DON’T want.
The real question is what DO I want?

What do I need to keep caring?
What do I need to keep standing up?
What do I need to keep speaking up?
Without doubt it comes to one





I need hope that we are moving forward   … step by little step.

And on this birthday of our nation, I will say, ‘Yes, we are’ …. even though at times I feel like I will explode with impatience.

I say, ‘Yes, we are!’

After all,
Little, by little, by little, BIG things get done.

It’s the ‘little’ that get us there.

And that is exactly where you and I are at

Happy 4th of July!

Yours truly, Bena

Peep and the Parade    by Bena