We Are All His

Before I say anything, let me say that I am a Christian (although not according to some people).  I believe very strongly in God and in Jesus, and I pray every day.  Both God and Jesus are an important part of my day–they are among the most important people I talk to.

But Im starting to see why the Book of Revelations says we will be persecuted–and in a sense, we will be bringing it on ourselves–or rather, the traditionalists, the fundamentalists, the alt right masquerading as Christians–they will bring this upon us.

Remember what I said above about being a Christian?  Well, Im wary around other Christians–I have been for some time, because there have been far too many of the fire and brimstone type that have told me that I am going to go to hell if I dont get married and submit to my husband.

With everything that is going on today, I can see it–and it scares me.  The things that are being done in Gods name that really arent about God at all.  The alt right is coming into power with our president, unless we take action to stop it.

I dont know what the solution is…or even if there is one.  I do know that we need to fight with every breath to remove a demagogue from the White House.  But we also need to speak out, and show the world what a real Christian is–that we are not the alt right.  We are not racist or homophobic or sexist.  We need to redefine Christianity, and focus on Christs love for ALL people, not just the ones in our own image, because we were all made in Gods image–male, female…black,  white, or brown, gay, straight, bisexual, transgender, or any other gender I am missing…old or young, able-bodied or handicapped.  We are all his.  Every one of us.  It is about time we started acting like it.

 

 

 

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A Letter to Donald Trump

Mr. Trump,

My name is April, and I am 34 years old.  I am one of the individuals that will be likely affected by the new bill you are trying to sneak through congress.

I work as a behavioral counselor with children with autism, and I attend an online program through Capella University to get my Master’s Degree in Psychology, with a specialization in ABA.   My current job serves as an internship for my Master’s Degree program.  I do not qualify for health insurance through my company, and I cannot afford to purchase it independently.  I have health services through medical, which allow me to treat my chronic asthma.

I do not have a smart phone, so I cannot eliminate that expense–in fact, I have one of the small, free phones they give out to those with low income, so tell me which expense I should eliminate if my health insurance does get taken away?  Should I stop eating?  Should I not pay my car payment or my car insurance or just not get the oil changed in my car any longer?  Should I stop paying my rent?  Or maybe I should get rid of my internet and give up on school?

As you can see, it is not so simple as getting rid of a smart phone.  I cannot speak for everyone, but a lot of working class individuals are already stretched thin.  Did you know that I run out of groceries before the end of my pay period sometimes?  There are sometimes days, even up to a week, where I spend most of the time starving, because all I have to survive on are peanut butter sandwiches or beans and rice?  My guess is that you didn’t know that there are people out there, in our country, who survive like this.

I need my car for work, so if I were to stop paying my car payment and my car were to be repossessed, I would likely lose my job.  I drive between my clients each day, so the bus is not an option.  As it is, I barely have enough time to get from one client to another even with a car.

I need my apartment for simple peace of mind.  I’m sure I could find a room to rent that is cheaper, I have in the past, but a lot of the people on craigslist that are advertising such rooms are crazy.  Not all, but most.  I feel safe where I live, and my landlord works with me as far as paying the rent, but that doesn’t mean that I can get away with not paying it at all.  And in order to have an apartment that is within my budget, I live far away from my job, which means that I have roughly an hour’s commute each day.

Mr. Trump, quite simply, you don’t know what the working class goes through, because you’ve never taken the time to find out.  Why would you?  Your life has been about bottom lines and making as much money as you can.  But you’re not a business mogul anymore.  You’re the president of the United States, and the working class is the backbone of this country.  You can no longer afford to be selfish and focus only on the needs of yourself and your wealthy friends. We are human beings, and we are not expendable.   We have a right to affordable health care.  We have a right to an education, and we have a right to be treated fairly no matter the color of our skin, our gender,  our sexual orientation, or the level of our income.  We are white, black, or brown.   We are female or male, gay or straight, wealthy or poor.  We are the American people, and we are watching you.

 

 

Thanksgiving at Sea World

This was by far the best part of my trip–it was also payday from work, so that helped.  I had spent all of my money on my vacation, so when I had run out of data for the internet–it was a source of huge frustration on top of everything else, and I wasn’t exactly interested in most of the food I had brought.  I’m only a so-so cook, and survive off of takeout far more than I’d prefer, but then I hate cooking.  But anyway…

The reason this visit was so amazing is because I did the Dolphin Encounter–which I was only able to do, because I had gotten paid.  Now, there are three experiences with the dolphins you can have–dolphin point, which is free.  Generally, you don’t really get to interact with the dolphins–you just get to watch.  The Dolphin Interaction, which is where you put on a wetsuit and go into the water with the dolphins.  And then there is the Dolphin Encounter where you are poolside, but you still get to interact.  I highly recommend it, and if you have an annual pass (which is about the cost of two visits, and you can pay it in installments), the encounter is just under $50 (as compared to the interaction, which is somewhere in the neighborhood of about $250).  I spent fifteen minutes following the instructions of a trainer which had us sign for the dolphin, Bugs, to do tricks.  I, along with the other members of my group, got to interact with her, touch her, and even pose for a few pictures with her, two of which I purchased to bring home with me.  I loved this experience so much, that I think I am going to save up to be able to do the Dolphin interaction next year.

Beyond the Dolphin Interaction, Sea World in San Diego has some rides, including a roller coaster, two water rides, a simulation, and two other rides that I didn’t end up going on.  The roller coaster was awesome, as were the water rides–it was just too cold to really enjoy the water rides fully.  I wasn’t very impressed with the simulator in all honesty.  It was nice, but that is the only ride that I had to wait in line for, and compared to the others, it really wasn’t worth it.

I also saw two shows–the Sea Lion and Otter Christmas Show, and the Shamu Christmas show.  Both were nice, but far from being the highlights of my trip.

I am considering going back for Christmas, because this was such a great way to spend Thanksgiving and to end my birthday vacation, but we’ll have to see what my finances look like before I can make that decision.

 

Kayaking and Snorkeling in La Jolla

I can hardly believe I’ve been back in Los Angeles for a week. A part of me still feels like I’m on vacation time.  But anyway, on the Wednesday after my birthday (11/23) I went on a kayak and snorkel tour with Everyday California in the La Jolla cove.

I had been kayaking twice before this and snorkeling once, but overall this was probably one of my better experiences.  The first kayaking tour I had been on was with the same company–I went on the cave tour, and I loved it.  It was one of my favorites of the things I had done in San Diego in July on my weekend trip.  But I didnt want to do the same tour again.  The second time I had been kayaking was here in Los Angeles over in Playa del Rey in one of the harbors. It was much hardle to paddle-and this had been my first time in a single kayak.

My first snorkeling experience had been in La Jolla as well, but with a different company.  There had been three of us to one leader/instructor, and for this tour, there were nine of us and one leader, but I felt safer with this group and had a better experience, despite less personal attention.  I actually saw this this leader counting heads more than once and really trying to keep track of the individuals on the tour.

The water was also crystal clear–whereas on the other tour, there was no visibility.  I saw a couple of garabaldi on the first tour, but little else–and this time, I could see garabaldi from the kayak the water was so clear.  I also saw some other fish and two seals.  One of the seals was swimming in the water with us as we paddled up in our kayaks–the second was resting on some rocks outside the caves.

I was in a single kayak for this tour, so it was challenging on my upper body, but by the end of the tour, I think I had figured it out.  But kayak surfing….

Kayak surfing is something that can only be done in the ocean and is done when coming back in after the tour.  On the first tour I had done, we didnt kayak surf, because the woman I had shared a kayak with hadnt been feeling well.  One of the guides just pushed our kayak back in.  This time there was not nearly so much time or attention on the kayak surfing, and having never done it before, I had no idea what I was doing.  As a result, the kayak flipped over, and I nearly lost my bag with my snorkel gear–and my keys.

All in all, I enjoyed myself, but I will add this disclaimer–it was very, very cold.  I was I was actually the first one out of the water because I was cold.  Im not so sure I will do this tour again in November.  Snorkeling may be better left for warmer days.

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

I am going to start off by saying that I didn’t really like it.  The thing about the Safari Park is that you have to purchase the extra tours and add-ons to make it really worth it, and unfortunately, when I went, I didn’t have any money.  I couldn’t even afford the $4 cups of lorikeet nectar to feed the lorikeets (I seriously thought they were going to be less and feel that the Safari Park way overcharges, but anyway).

What I did like:

I liked the bird show–I have a thing about birds that anyone who knows me, already is aware of, but I like bird shows.  I like anything having to do with birds (which is why I was so disappointed that I couldn’t feed the lorikeets).

I also liked the Africa Tram.  And it was through taking the Africa Tram that I found out about the other tours and realized what I wanted to do on my next trip there–because yes, there will be a next trip.

For one thing, I will bring money to feed the lorikeets–that is a must.  But I also plan on taking a caravan tour where I can get up close and personal with the giraffes and rhinos and feed them.  We actually passed a caravan tour during the Africa Tram and saw them petting and presumably feeding giraffes.  That’s what I want to do next year.  Here’s hoping I can afford it.

Belmont Park & Hornblower Dinner Cruise

So onto Day Four of my vacation–although now I’m back home and either spending my day sick in bed or at work–I haven’t decided yet, but back to my vacation.  Day Four was my actual birthday, and it did not get off to a good start.  First of all, when I was getting ready to head out the door, it started raining, so I thought I was going to have to change my plans.  I’m like the kids that I work with that I don’t do well with unexpected changes, especially when it is for something like this-where I’m celebrating my birthday for a week.  The rain died down, and I decided to go to Belmont Park (which is an amusement park) anyway.  I was having some internet issues as I attempted to claim my free sandwich at Jersey Mike’s–that didn’t happen.  I tried for a half hour to get my hotspot to connect, and it wouldn’t, so I went on to the park without eating, meaning that I had to have fries when I arrived at the park, which were not very good at all.

The park itself was tiny–consisting of only a few rides, a food court, the zipline and climbing wall, and the laser maze (the laser maze was the best part).  That said, there was no one there, and no lines during the entire time I was at the park.  I did the zipline right away and rode a few of the rides before heading back to my hotel–and I did the laser maze about five times–did I mention that that was my favorite part?

Then it was time to get ready for my dinner cruise.  By this time, I was almost completely out of money, so I decided to take public transportation to get there to avoid having to pay for parking.  I had been down at the harbor once before over the summer and had spent somewhere between $10-20 on parking just that day.  Public transportation was much cheaper.

I missed the train, and had to wait for the next one, but luckily, I was still the first one there, arriving before my 6:30 boarding time.  The dinner was amazing-and they had wifi, so I didn’t even notice that I was there alone.  I spent the entire time writing and scrolling facebook and my email.  Sounds pretty sad, I know, but I had fun.

I haven’t decided yet whether I will do either of these again next year–I liked them both, but I can’t decide whether I want a repeat or whether one time is enough.  I have time to decide though.

Next post will be on Day 5 at the Zoo Safari Park.

 

Aerial & SUP Yoga

So I’ve really been neglecting writing on my vacation–no blog posts about the vacation (except that first day), and very little work on my novel for nanowrimo.  Looks like I won’t be finishing again this year.  I’m having a little bit of a motivation problem, but more on that later.

The point of this blog is supposed to be new things, where I write about my experience (it just turned into a daily burden for a little while).  So this trip has largely been about doing new things.  On Sunday, I attended both Aerial and SUP Yoga.

Aerial Yoga was….interesting.  I wasn’t able to do much flipping around for two reasons:  it was a more restorative class, but also because my back was really sensitive to pinching from the fabric.  The best part was when we flipped onto the silk at the end for corpse pose (and yes, I am familiar with the sanskrit, but I am uncertain as to the spelling, hence why I just chose the English translation).  I liked the class overall, and I’m glad that I did it, but I probably won’t do it again.

SUP Yoga was fun.  I went through meetup.com, so it was much cheaper than it would ordinarily have been.  It was one-on-one, and the lady in charge of it was very nice, and very good at teaching me how to stand on a paddleboard.  It was my first time on a paddleboard, and I tell you, once you get the hang of it, it is really easy–so much easier than kayaking.  The challenge is getting onto the board for the first time, but once you do, and figure out the balancing (which is intuitive) it’s really not hard to paddleboard.

The yoga part wasn’t as fun.  I think mostly because the teacher’s style of yoga was very different from mine. All I really got to do were couple of poses with the paddle board tethered on the beach–I felt that we didn’t really do much yoga-wise.  I would have liked to have done a bit more of a vinyasa flow, but overall, the SUP Yoga was a very good and enjoyable experience, and I definitely plan on doing it again in the future.  It’s a great way to be out on the water, but to stay dry in the cooler months.  (I went kayaking on snorkeling yesterday, and I was freezing a vast majority of the time, so I think paddleboarding is a good alternative).