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What a week.  I think many people were shocked, expecting Hillary to win.  The RNC got it wrong thinking the Don could never beat all in their wide array of candidates.  But he did.  The DNC got it wrong in thinking Hillary was unbeatable against Trump – it’s HER TURN for God’s Sake!  America is READY to elect a female president.  Even I thought for sure Hillary would win.  I would never have believed Trump would garner as much support as he did.  And why is that?  I believe in large part, it’s because I spend most of my time talking with like-minded people who all believed Trump was too racist, misogynist, arrogant, belligerent, potty-mouthed – name your trait – too SOMETHING to really be a viable choice.  But, like many, I was out of touch with where a lot of America is today.

At first I was in shock.  I was angry thinking that I live in such a racist, sexist society that they would elect this A-hole.  But then I started listening to what some Trump voters shared and thinking outside my sheltered and privileged existence.  I realized that many who voted Trump were a lot like me in that they wanted change.  Big Change.  I wanted Bernie because I am sick of politics as usual, protection of the wealthy and corporate and continued disenfranchisement of the poor and colored.  Bernie was all about CHANGE.  And guess what?  Trump was too.

Democrats, especially highly-schooled Dems, and the media alike were confident that Trump could not be our President.  He was too rough, had no tact, was too likely to start nuclear war.  Surely no one would vote for such a hot head.  But they did.  Almost as many people voted for him in this country as voted for Hillary.  The vote was much closer than I expected.  And again shows that politics doesn’t work.  The Electoral College does not represent the will of the general population.  Based strictly on votes, Hillary would have won, just like Gore.  But she didn’t.  And Trump played the game like a pro.  I also suspect that the low voter turnout was part of the reason Hillary couldn’t bring home the bacon.

We’ll never know if Bernie would have landslided Trump but we do know that he at least represented big change and that was what America voted for even with such an inexperienced and unstatesmanlike candidate.  The DNC definitely did not read the tea leaves correctly, which is a bit unforgivable seeing as how Obama was elected twice with his Hope & Change slogan.  Maybe they figured enough Change had happened and what Americans needed was more of the same.  The DNC was wrong.  Whether Trump will turn out to Make America Great Again or simply represent his own best interests remains to be seen.  But many had become so desperate that they felt they had to take the chance that he might help make their lives better.  So they voted Trump.

A friend told me of her neighbor who voted Trump after getting her insurance estimate for 2017.  Her monthly payments will go from $165 to $485, which is completely unaffordable.  [I’m not sure how the government can charge you a penalty for not purchasing something that requires such a high percentage of your income.  We’ll see how that goes in the coming year.]  Anyway, this woman saw Trump as her best hope.  There are people who’ve lost jobs, homes, insurance coverage, even family members in the current political climate. They want to have hope for better jobs, better representation in government, CHANGE!  Trump promised change.  Hillary promised much of the same.  But many people have had enough.  They can’t survive if things stay the same.

I have some friends who are losing their minds over this election.  They want to protest.  They are living in total fear of what will come.  And it’s surreal to see people who have been astonished at the redneck pushback on Obama now basically doing exactly what those people did when they were living in fear of a black president.  On the other side of the aisle, there are people who have criticized Obama without end, saying he should be impeached, who now say, “We need to support the President we elected.”  If it wasn’t so insane, it would be comical.  In fact, I do have to laugh.  But it’s not a belly laugh.  It’s more of a laugh that says, “Seriously, people?!?”  Will we now see Dems become the Party of No?  Will we continue to see gridlock in DC?  Based on early data, it appears the Dems have now adopted the same tactics and phrases as their opponents did 8 years ago.  I’m guessing their Democratic Representatives will perhaps soon take the same steps as their comrades across the aisle have taken in the last 8 years.

One thing to consider is that, with Hillary not pulling the voter turnout we needed to win, lots of down-ticket candidates also lost.  The biggest effect this will have for most of us in in local politics, state level on down.  One difference from what we have today versus what Trump can expect in 2017 is that he will have a majority in both the Senate and the House.  So if he wants to do what he has promised, that should make it easier.

But is all hope lost?  Well, I’m not going to waste my precious days sitting in that boat crying.  For one thing, there is not a lot I can do about the results.  I cast my ballot and had my say and things didn’t go my way.  And life will go on.  In the grand scheme of things, I don’t have a lot of control over most of it anyway.  And anyway, at this moment… Obama is STILL The President.  NOTHING HAS CHANGED YET!  For all we know, Trump could be tried and convicted of rape before he gets sworn in (though don’t hold your breath on this one as I’m sure his lawyers will keep pushing out those court dates until he’s sworn in as President and then he’ll be safe for at least four years).  Or, he could die – he is an old white dude who isn’t in the best of health.  Those kind of guys keel over all the time.  No one knows their days.  So Trump may never become a sitting president.  But he likely will.  [Though I have some inkling that the Republicans might have him taken out so Pence can be the one sworn in, they may very well wait until Trump has a chance to show them what he’s got first.  Taking Trump out will always be an alternative.  We’re good at assassination.  Just ask Argentina, Libya, Iran.  But maybe they’ll just assure he gets prosecuted prior to his assumption of the office.  Then he and Noriega can share a cell in the Prison for Deposed Leaders.]

But let’s say he does make it to the Oval Office (assuming he won’t think that’s too drab a place for his gloriousness).  What will he do?  Let’s take an honest look.  http://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/article/Trump-s-ambitious-100-day-agenda-staring-at-10610762.php

  • He promises to implement term limits.  I personally think this would solve a LOT of the problems in DC.
  • He also will require a 5-year waiting period for legislators to become lobbyists.  Again, I like this idea as this is a source of much of our problems.
  • He wants to implement a 10-year $1T (yes, trillion) infrastructure project.  I’ve been saying for years that we need a new CCC program.  Maybe it will be something like that.
  • He’ll repeal the Affordable Care Act, but keep the part about staying on parent’s plans until age 26 and stopping companies from rejecting for pre-existing conditions. As this has become the Unaffordable Care Act in many ways, this might not be all bad.

[Are you seeing yet how he looked so attractive to so many Americans?]

  • He promises to repeal (he’s back-stepping already on some things and I suspect, like Obama, will find it’s not so easy to just have things the way he wants them to be) re-negotiate NAFTA and Canada is already on board.  Well, again, NAFTA has resulted in a lot of problems for citizens in all the North American countries so I’m guessing this might help them (though the rich business owners who seem to be the main winners in the NAFTA game may not be happy).
  • He’s against the TPP – also a good thing to be.

So, are you with me in starting to realize that he was quite appealing to many Americans?  Now that I’ve taken an honest look at his plans, I’m starting to see how they could hold the nose and vote for Hope & Change … regardless of his racism and comments about pussy grabbing.

So Trump doesn’t believe in climate change.  It’s probably too late for us to really save Miami at this point anyway and no one else seems all that enthusiastic about making the real changes it will take to make a difference so… not such a big loss.  Hell, the government forces of OUR CURRENT GOVERNMENT are supporting DAPL in their fight against the Lakota Sioux who are on the right side of the climate change debate in their stance to KEEP IT IN THE GROUND.  Obama has done nothing to protect these people in their fight or put a stop to the insanity of big oil in this case.  So really, will Trump be much different?  And besides, the President doesn’t really have that much power anyway.  There is a system of checks and balances, or so they say.  And if he does, I’m guessing there will be some people standing against him.  Perhaps the mobs protesting some of Trump’s new ideas will make the crowd in Cannon Ball, ND look tiny.

So what’s a person to do?  First, keep it in today.  Hug your family members and focus on sleeping/eating/working/pooping – just like you do every other day, regardless of what the world at large is up to.  Remember to be kind because some people are dealing with terminal illness, or a really horrible period, or just feeling like their kid/husband/mother hates them and there is not much reason to live. In other words, there are lots bigger problems to have than worrying about some potential future that you may never live to see so why shit on today thinking about that bullshit?  Enjoy the sunshine.  For goodness sake, global warming is giving us one hell of a summery fall so why not enjoy every sunny day you can?

I, for one, am moving to the woods where I will begin my adventure with trying to live a sustainable life in earnest.  I find it a little interesting that this move coincides with such a crazy change in American politics.  I wonder if perhaps Dan & I were not blessed with some kind of finger on the pulse of the Universe to be in this space at this time.  Anyhow, in pursuit of this venture, I was blessed to have a soap-making lesson with good friend Beth Jansen this past week.  It was a fascinating process and much more forgiving than all the books and articles I’ve read on the process have led me to believe.  How did we do it?  Well, since you asked…

We began with a jar of 100% lye from Ace Hardware – $3.85.  We put this into 4 cups of water in a glass bowl, stirring it in slowly in a well-ventilated area.  No, we did not use respirators.  And we survived!  [Note: Always use glass, stainless steel or plastic – never aluminum, when making soap.] We then heated about 12 cups of old used fat (lard from making doughnuts, bacon grease, etc. – any kind of hard at room temp fat will do like bear or deer grease.) – FREE!  Well, worthless unless you’re making soap anyway.  We want the two pots we have to be at the same temperature – hopefully about 95-100°F – before we mix them together stirring the lye mix into the fat, again slowly.  [We were on a time crunch so I’m guessing we were right about at 100° when we did our mixing.  And our soap was fine!!]  While the two mixtures were cooling, we had mixed up the good stuff: 1 c. oats, two large aloe shoots, 1 c. goat’s milk, some fresh sage and lemon grass, and some dried rose petals. When you’re blending in tough materials, like lemon grass, cut it into small pieces to make it easily blendable.  [We added a bit more goat’s milk later as it was clumpy when we tried to pour it into the fat/lye mixture – you want it to pour, not clump into the soap mix.]  We added this concoction into our soap pot and then we began the stirring.  We stirred and stirred, waiting for the mix to cool and thicken.  This takes a LOT of stirring. Remember, SLOW STIRRING.  It’s good to have a seat.  It’s also a good time to think pleasant thoughts about all the people you will bless with this soap and maybe even put a few wishes for luck, love and happiness into your brew.  You may notice the soap liquid is whitening (cooling) more at the top and you will need to pull up from the bottom as you stir.  But NEVER beat the mix.  Always slow and steady stirring. Eventually, the mix will thicken to a point where when you pull up a spoonful and drip it back into the mix, it will not go right back into the mix but will instead create a small droplet ball of soap on the surface.  [Or so says the recipe.  I have yet to experience this as we were, I think I mentioned, on a time crunch.  So we did the next step a bit prior to reaching this point.  And, again, our soap turned out fine!]  So the next step is to pour the mixture into a shallow box that is covered in a plastic bag.  Over this, you place slats of wood which will hold up a second plastic bag and then some wool blankets which will keep your mix as warm as possible.  Because, after trying to cool your mix to the point where you can pour it into the form, you now want the mix to cure as hot as possible – so we slow the cooling with blankets.  Once the soap is hardened (usually about 24 hours, but in our case about 10), then you cut it into squares and re-cover it to cure some more.  After another 48 hours, remove these squares into a box lined with paper where they are all separate and allow them to sit for 30 days to be fully cured.  This recipe will make enough soap for a year’s worth of washing for a small family.

Now I know what you’re thinking… what’s a Hippie like me need with soap?  I hear you!  But I actually will shower at least once a week.  And I do like soap, especially soap I can make myself.  I’ve used some of Beth’s soap having been the recipient of a gift bar some time back.  I can tell you it lasts for a long time!  And it will suds you up in a lovely and moisturizing way.   I plan to make more of my own and try different ingredients and techniques so I can give Beth some reports on what I learn.  And maybe I can teach more people to make soap once I get some batches under my belt.

Dan and I made quite a bit of progress again this weekend at the Harn.  It is becoming a real home just in time for the move this week.  We now have a bed in the bedroom area having moved all the construction and tools out last weekend.

We have a wide open kitchen which was able to accommodate a new “island” we made by putting castors on the bottoms of my old craft cabinets – I love it.  And we moved a bunch of other furniture around to make things work a bit better.  Now I can continue with the unpacking and organizing.  The truck fits in the garage… just barely.   And with the wonderful weather, I was able to split some wood in almost no clothes.

We’ve got about three boxes of stuff for the giveaway and I plan to find even more stuff to downsize as I go.  Lucky (our cat) will keep me company as I figure out how Life at the Harn will work exactly.  It will be interesting to see how cooking, dishwashing and laundry work.  For the meanwhile I will be heading to the laundromat as our plumber is booked through the end of the year (and we don’t yet have a washing machine).  But sometime before spring I should be able to do laundry at home.  I will keep you posted.

Some people say I’m “running away to the woods” as if I’m an ostrich burying my head in the sand now that the political climate has taken such a turn for the worse.  Many think I’m going to isolate myself and hole up for the duration.  But I have every intention of being a part of a new community – as yet to be determined.  And I have lots of old co-workers who will verify that this move to the woods has been the plan for more than 10 years.  I think some of the old SDI crew really didn’t think I’d ever leave but then… I retired! And now that Dan and I have gotten the Harn to a livable status, the real work of living a bit more simply starts.

And hey, there’s always a chance that the renegotiation for NAFTA may include a renegotiation of the Louisiana Purchase and thus, I would immediately become a citizen of Canada (I assume Quebec will take ownership for France due to proximity).  I may have to learn to speak French!  But what about you, my friends in Indiana and other parts south and east?  Don’t lose all hope.  Obama could still declare Marshall Law and take away all our guns thus allowing him to stay in power indefinitely.  Bwuahahaha!  Just as the Republicans have always feared!  Stay Vigilant!! Tomorrow is a new day.

And from Danny: 67 days ‘til Trump Time… He’ll put the Bully in Bully Pulpit.

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