Today I lost a bet with myself

I’ve had a pool going for a couple of years now as to whether Georgia would first recognize gay marriage (aka “marriage”) or legalize cannabis.

With the Supreme Court likely to rule soon in favor of enforcing the former, I’m intrigued that a bill just passed to also begin the process of making way for the latter.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal on Friday said he would sign into law a bill that would make the Peach State the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana, continuing the rapid expansion of cannabis into the Deep South and underscoring a dramatic shift in pot politics for social conservatives in the US.

I was the only participant in my pool, so financially it’s kind of a wash. But historically? 2015 is shaping up to be a pretty interesting year.

via How ‘marijuana refugees’ brought legal cannabis to Georgia –

Keep Your Laws Off My Body? MS Edition

I hear cannabis can really be of benefit people with neurological conditions like my own, and those fringe hippie wacko slackers over at the American Academy of Neurology agree.

I’m too sick and tired to get my hopes up, but boy, passage of a bill like this sure would restore some of my faith in our elected officials.

Well, not MY elected officials, because my candidates never win. But somebody’s elected officials, bless them.

“The science has been in for a long time, and keeping marijuana on Schedule I — with heroin and LSD — is ludicrous,” Cohen said in a statement Tuesday. “I am pleased to join with Congressman Don Young in introducing this important bill to bring the federal government in line with the science and the American people, respect states’ rights, remove the threat of federal prosecution in states with medical marijuana, and help our citizens access the treatments they need.”

via Historic Medical Marijuana Bill Gains Momentum.

Cool Find: Toddler Sand Tools

I’m planning for the boys’ easter baskets to simply be some sand/water toys and tools. And a little chocolate, but mostly just a couple of toys.

The weather will be warm enough to finally play outside with the water table. And if the enthusiasm with which they’ve been going after the dog bowl is any indication, they absolutely cannot WAIT to get their hands wet.

What I’ve already found, though, is that most of the readily-available sand toys are too big for a young toddler to easily play with. At the sand space at the park last weekend, Felix picked up a shovel with a head bigger than his own. Frustration followed. No good.

Some alternatives I’d considered:

  • Kitchen utensils. Sure, I have some they could use, such as spoons and measuring cups, but I’d prefer dedicated play stuff so I can keep my dedicated kitchen stuff.
  • Bath toys. While they have some cups and such in the bath, I think they’d prefer that those remain available for every bath time.

Enter these great “Sand Tools” that I spotted (ok, more like boughted, amirite?) at Michael’s today.

They get a demerit for being plastic.

But they get credits for being only about 6 inches long and having really good proportions for little hands just developing fine motor skills.

Give them another credit for being “just” $4. Sure, I had a flash of panic in the store because $4 felt like a lot compared to the thrift prices I prefer. But cooler heads prevailed, and i rationalized that $4 for a 4-pack still clocks in around dollar store territory, making them reasonable enough. It is a holiday, after all, said Scrooge McMom.

Let’s add one more credit for being colored, packaged, and sold in a gender-neutral style, just because so damn few things are, and especially at the cheapest end of the spectrum.

I only bought one set for them to split, but if they work as well as I expect, I’ll be back in a month to find another so everybody can have plenty to choose from.

For others interested in tracking these down, I found them hanging on a lonely strip of impulse buys just before the checkouts, not part of any larger seasonal or thematic display.

As for you: seen any good buys lately? Bonus points for links and/or samples. :)

Squeaky wheels

It is currently my greatest hope and most fervent fantasy that once the boys get words, the toneless whining will stop.

I am clinging so tightly to this hope that my fingers are bleeding. At least now they match my ears.

Why I Take Lots of Bad Photos and You Can, Too

I started to comment on ktmade’s recent post The Montreal Botanical Garden (or Why I Take Photos) because I admired her both willingness to listen to the voice inside as well as the stunning photos from her visit to the aforementioned Garden.

But when I hit, say, 250 words and still hadn’t finished, I figured it’d be more neighborly to retreat to my own soapbox to finish up.

 A snap from my current photo challenge, #instamarchlove. Details at Elegance and Enchantment.

Aside from a couple of elementary school photo projects, I never took a lot of pictures until I got my first iphone, about 4 years ago. It was so easy because I always had it with me, and not having to develop film meant there were zero barriers to clicking away and seeing what came of it.

Then a few months after I got my phone, I lost most of my vision for most of a year. AWKWARD.

In the time since, I’ve really come to appreciate how taking photos (1) validates that I can see something and (2) helps frame and focus my attention in the moment.

That photo lacks composition? The lighting’s off? TOUGH. I came, I saw, I snapped.

And since my sight could go again at any time, I’m going to darn well keep snapping away until then. And maybe after then, too. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it and stop to take a picture.

Taking pictures often and in quantity also pushes back a stubborn perfectionistic streak that I’ve been trying to snuff out since elementary school. I think of the koan about the art teacher who tells half the class that their only assignment all semester is to make one single vase. The other half of the class’s only assignment is to make as many vases as they can during the semester.

What we’re to believe is that the quantity-over-quality kids — through dint of practice, repetition, iteration — also turned out the best vases, while the single-vase kids either just made one shitty vase or (more likely) ended up rocking in a corner somewhere, paralyzed by the pressure.

Sounds plausible, anyway, and not just if you’ve ever seen my stunning paralysis skills. I read in a best-of National Geographic issue a year or two ago that “A photographer shoots 20,000 to 60,000 images on assignment. Of those, perhaps a dozen will see the published light of day.”

Well, shit.

If even bumbly-old unartistic ME took 60,000 photographs, surely at least 10 or 12 would be decent. At least 30,000 of them would probably even have the lens cap removed!

I’m not great at math or photography, but it sounds like it’d be impossible to shoot so many photos and not come up with something decent. Just by chance.

And you know what? I think it’s true. I take dozens of photos on an average day, sometimes over a hundred. The more I take, the more I can edit out. The more I can edit out, the more strength I see in those allowed to remain.

Even if nobody else sees the cutting room floor fodder, I know that I’m keeping, and sometimes sharing, my best. The Best of the Best, even.

Finally, the flow of life these days is just too deep and wide and swift to stop and verbalize, to tell and retell. So photos have become my favored alternative. It’s still storytelling, just different, and sometimes better. I love that my boys will have more memories to look back at than I do/did.

So yeah, ktmade, don’t start apologizing. I promise not to, either. Now, say “cheese!”