PJ’s Diary: My Mom Is So Weird

I’ve been wondering for awhile now what happens after me and Bunny falls asleep. I used to think that everything stops until I wake up again, but now I’m not so sure.

image

I spend hours and hours creating a high quality mess, and then it gets cleaned up while I sleep – it’s almost like Mommy & Daddy are still awake and doing things without me, but that can’t be right, can it? I mean, without me around to play with they just shut off like my fishie lamp, right?

So the other morning I decided I needed to get up early and investigate. I roared like a dinosaur to let my mommy know it was time for her to get up too, and let me tell you she took her sweet old time coming to rescue me from my crib! But she showed up eventually and we had a nice snuggle and a bottle.

Then she tried to tell me to play with my toys, and moved my Lego table across the room. I got a funny feeling that she’s done this before, she knew just where to put it to leave a big space on the rug. Then she pulled out this fun runway that she’s apparently been hiding from me. She said “OK, PJ, be a good boy and play so Mommy can do some PiYo.” But all I wanted to play was “crawl back and forth on the runway” – it’s fun, you should try it sometime!

image

I wasn’t done crawling yet, but Mommy scooped me up and popped me in my bouncer! I was mad for a minute, but then she put my buddy Mickey on and we were totally cool. I made her use the little TV to do her exercise, Mickey just can’t be squished like that Chalene lady can!

image

Mommy was doing some pretty weird stuff while I was watching Mickey, but she seemed like she was having fun so I just let it slide. But afterwards, she made a yummy shake and wouldn’t share any of it with me, can you believe that?

image

I think my mom is pretty cool just the way she is – nice and soft and squishy to hug, just the way I like her! But if she wants to keep doing these weird PiYo things and get real strong so we can run and play, that’s OK with me I guess. And maybe I’ll give it a try, I think I can do this Crouching Crow thing –

image

Oooops, falled over!

10 Minute, Zero Guilt Dinner Recipe

Fridays have become our adventure days here in Neverland! Today I and my friend Marisia took our littles for their first visit to Chanticleer Gardens. Her 2 year old enjoyed the flowers and exploring the beautiful stone carvings, but PJ’s Diary entry would just read “Meh!”

image

Too bad kiddo, this is one of Mommy’s top five favorite places in the Philly area and you’ll be spending a lot of time there! Although Marisia and I did decide that we need to make a sans enfants trip back there soon to drink in all that artistic inspiration.

image

So after our trip to the gardens, I was wiped out but I really didn’t want to take the easy easy out and go out to dinner or order in since we indulged in our favorite Mexican restaurant the night before. And then I remembered that I had everything to make a fast, mostly veggie dinner. Score!

I pulled out my new Veggetti (handiest little thing!) and spiraled up some delicious squash.

image

And then I pulled out my trusty bag of baby spinach, a chunk of Parmesan cheese, snipped some basil off the plant on my windowsill and tossed in a handful of walnuts. I threw everything in my food processor and pushed play.

image

After the pesto was done,  I sautéed my veggie noodles in a splash of olive oil then tossed everything together.

image

Voilà! Dinner on the table in less than 15 minutes! The pesto pairs well with regular pasta too – my husband doesn’t care for the veggie noodles too much, but he does like the pesto when I use it on pasta.

Here’s the recipe:

Veggetti and Spinach Pesto

Ingredients:

1 medium sized squash per person
Olive oil
2 cups spinach
About 10 basil leaves
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup walnuts

To make:

1 – Spiral cut the squash.  Sprinkle with salt to absorb the excess moisture and set aside.

2 – Combine spinach, basil,  cheese, and walnuts in good processor bowl. Stream in olive oil to desired consistency as processor runs.

3 – Sauté cut squash in olive oil for 5-7 minutes until just cooked through.

4 – Combine noodles with pesto and serve!

image

And seriously, go spend an afternoon at Chanticleer. You won’t regret it!

12 Things I Do Buy Now (That I Never Thought I Would)

Last week I shared a few things that I have started pushing my cart straight past in the grocery store. But of course clean eating is about more than eliminating processed foods, it’s also about eating more of the good stuff.

I’ve found this to be a gradual process, which started for me when I first began making PJ’s baby food. As I looked for new foods for him to try, I made that fruit or vegetable part of my regular meals for the week as well. I have since started buying baby food for him because I could never master the consistency of meats especially, but he usually prefers to eat off of my plate now, and that is my biggest motivation to keep honest about my clean eating – it’s kind of like being pregnant or breastfeeding again without all of the pain and suffering. Win win!

Here are 12 of my favorite “discoveries” that will be on the menu for this week:

From the Produce Aisle

image

Collard greens – A lot of people told me that Napa cabbage makes a good substitute taco shell. Sorry to say, I did not find this to be the case lol. But I found this recipe for a chickpea avocado taco in a collard wrap, and am going to give the leafy shell thing another try!

Turnips – These are surprisingly good substitutes for white potatoes in soups. They have a similar texture and absorb the flavor of the broth, and I really like using them this way.

Brussels Sprouts – This is my new veggie to try this week. I’m going to see how they turn out roasted, which is one of my favorite ways to prepare almost any vegetable.

Avocados – I used to buy one or two for a specific recipe, and now I find myself wailing “Oh noooooo, I ran out of avocados!” on a fairly regular basis. Salads, wraps, sauces, dips, everything is better with an avocado or two. And PJ’s favorite – blend one with a banana for a creamy, yummy treat! (Don’t tell him, but I’ll be making him Popsicles out of this mix later today!)

image

Bok Choy – I mentioned last week what a delicious soup this makes, but it’s also a great sir fry ingredient for a super fast and healthy dinner.

Squashes – I’ve always loved zucchini, but am discovering a whole world of delicious squashes now. Spaghetti squash, and spiral cut zucchinis are helping me get through my love of pasta. This little Acorn squash is going to get roasted up with some olive oil and parmesan – yum-O!

Tomatoes – Wait, what? Yes, tomatoes. I’m sure you don’t need serving suggestions for these, but I have personally always hated them and am just starting to cook with them regularly. I figured if I’m brave enough to try Bok Choy and Brussels Sprouts, I can try eating more tomatoes too, right?

In The Pantry
image

PB2 – Another new thing to try this week, I hear it is amazing especially when added to a protein shake!

Black Beans – These fall into a category of things I have bought before but never really knew how to use. But now I add them to soups more often, and have a couple of good, quick taco recipes to throw them in. Yay for protein!

Quinoa – I’m still not fond of this on its own, I prefer the texture of couscous honestly. But where I’ve really come to use it is in recipes that call for ground beef (like chili or meatballs), I substitute half the beef with quinoa to cut down the fat and still have a nice hearty meal.

Bulk Nuts – These are some of my favorites. I used to just buy the package of overly salted, greasy, roasted nuts. But the bulk aisle had much better options available at pretty reasonable prices.

Tahini – Check the organic or international foods aisle for this one. It’s the main ingredient in hummus, and other sauces. It kind of tastes like unsalted peanut butter in my opinion, and one small tub lasts a good long time in the pantry.

What About Drinks?
image

Of course sodas are the first thing to go when you’re eating clean. And lucky for me, I love coffee, tea, and water. But that does get boring sometimes and processed powder drink additives are not in my clean eating plan! I also notice myself becoming more sensitive to dairy now that I eat and drink less of it, so I’ve started buying almond milk for my coffee and love it.

My Shakeology gets a mention on both lists because I really never thought I would become a daily shake kind of girl, but I am a convert for sure. I confess that I kept a container of my grocery store brand, which has now been completely untouched in my pantry for several weeks! I find that coconut water mixes better with the shakes than the plain, and doesn’t have a very strong coconut flavor. I made a shake this morning with the vanilla powder, coconut water, blueberries, and couple of basil leaves – it was totally amazing. And the best part is that if I hadn’t thought so, there’s a 30 day, bottom of the bag money back guarantee on the Shakeology.

So there you have it – 12 of my personal favorite new staples on our clean eating adventure. What new foods have you discovered lately? Please tell, I am always looking for new ones!

PJ’s Diary: Going to the Zoo!

I woke up with my cranky pants on this morning. I didn’t want my breakfast, or my toys, or even my juice. Mommy said I better change into my happy pants real quick so we can go to the zoo with Sammy, but I couldn’t find them anywhere!

image

Maybe she forgot to wash them?

I got it together anyway though, and we went on a ride to the zoo! I was so excited to see my buddy Sammy and his Mommy Nikki!

image

We met birds that flew right by my ear and made me laugh, and I helped give a giraffe his lunch!

image

I tasted it first, it wasn’t very good. It’s the kind of thing I usually feed my mommy, but it seemed like the giraffe liked it. My new friend Reuben helped Louis the giraffe eat lots of salad!

image

Then I met an iguana!  Ohhhhh boy! I thought he was going to eat my little piggies but Mommy said he couldn’t come through the glass. He had some silly monkey friends that made faces at me too!

image

I liked the turtles, but Mommy said I couldn’t keep them. Booo!

image

Sammy and I had a little chat while Reuben played on the big kids playground. We weren’t even a little bit sleepy, but our Mommies said it was time to go home.

image

I don’t really know what happened after that. I just rested my eyes for a second, and next thing you know I’m in my crib with Bunny and Michael and Stinky. It was the weirdest thing!

I hope we go back to the zoo soon!

PJ’s Diary: Not For Mommies!

If there is one thing I am sick to death of hearing, it’s “No no PJ! That’s not for babies!” It makes me put my mad face on rawwwwr!

image

My friend Michael and I had a little chat the other day and we’re real mad that all the good stuff is “not for babies.”

“TV buttons are not for babies!”

“Yucky floor lint is not for babies!”

“Throwing toys in the potty is not for babies!”

“Toasters are not for babies!”

“Riding without a car seat is not for babies!”

Well, we have had enough of this unfair treatment, and we want to declare a few things as Not For Mommies.

Bananas are not for Mommies. All mine!

Cell phones are not for Mommies. They are for kissing Nana, everyone knows that!

Privacy in the potty is not for Mommies. We can’t throw toys in there, you can’t… whatever it is you do in there. I’m not real sure about this one.

Sleeping in is not for Mommies. It’s ok if Daddy does though, we’re generous like that.

Eating dinner is not for Mommies. This plate is not your plate, this plate is my plate. Especially if there is salmon on it. Yum!

Grown up books are not for Mommies. We must insist that you read only the Sandra Boynton collection, over and over, for the rest of your lives.

image

Exercising is not for Mommies. What if I need a big hug, or a boo boo kissed? Do that downward facing dog stuff on your own time! (Michael disagrees with me on this one, and he does a pretty mean plank, don’t you think?)

image

So there, mean Mommies! I hope you learned a lesson and about telling us all the good stuff is not for babies. I’m just gonna go check out this extension cord now…

Darn it.

How To: Set Up Goal Jars

First of all, I want to say a big thank you to everyone for being so supportive of my clean eating post! I was a little nervous about starting to share about this health and fitness journey we’re on here, but I felt so great after many of your responses that I’m feeling good about sharing more along the way. So thank you for that 🙂

I saw a project on Pinterest in the fitness category awhile back that was intriguing. And like the menu planner, I knew it needed a little tweaking to work for me. It’s been a work in progress, but this feels like a good time to share about it anyway.

The original project has two matching jars painted with a variation of “Pounds To Go” on one and “Pounds Lost” on the other. They’ve got marbles in them to represent pounds or half pounds and as you lose weight, you’re supposed to move a marble from one jar to the other. I tried it once, and it ended up being just another way to fail because I just don’t shed pounds easily and it was depressing to stare at that full jar every day.

And then I realized that I was going about it all wrong, and I could use some of the skills from my job to put together a version that would work better for me.
At work, I keep a dashboard of all our marketing campaigns. I track how many people see each message, how many people visit our website, how many call or email us for more information, and how many ultimately make a purchase from us. Our main goal is, of course, to make that last  number as big as possible, but – here’s the big secret – you can only do that by making changes to the other numbers. There’s no way for me to make an extra 50 or 100 people make a purchase. But if I can place a message in front of 10,000 people and 1000 of them visit my website, where 100 of them contact us for more information, and I do that over and over and over again, I will get my 100 new customers. The more you look at the numbers and figure out where you are falling behind in that conversion to the next level, the better you’ll get at knowing where to make changes to help boost the process along.

So, I took that idea and put it in a jar that lives next to my jewelry box, where I see it every day. I added pearls to represent inches I need to lose to fit into my long term goal dress size. Then I added stones to represent pounds to lose along the way to my long term goal. And last, I added a penny for each of the 30 sessions in my workout program.

image

Every day after my workout, I move a penny from the “goal” jar to the “done” jar. And on my check in days, I move stones and/or pearls over for any inches or pounds I’ve lost.

At the end of my first program, my done jar had 30 pennies, 6 pearls, and 4 stones in it. If it had just had those lonely little stones in it after all that work, I probably would have quit. Again. But making the work part of the goal itself made a huge difference for me.

I didn’t feel like I had failed because I only had 4 stones, I felt like I was really making progress because my “done” jar was starting to fill up. So I gave myself the reward I had promised myself for finishing the program, and added 48 more pennies to the “goal” jar for the workouts in my next program.

I have rewards planned for myself as I move those stones and pearls too, and it feels really good to see that pile of pennies stacking up in the bottom of the jar! I’m already thinking about what program I want to do next – any suggestions?

What keeps you motivated? Does it make a difference if you are at a point where your goal seems far away, or right around the corner? What kinds of rewards do you give yourself for meeting your goals? I’d love to hear about them all!

PJ’s Diary: Fall Down BOOM

I’ve got this weird feeling about my legs. They’ve been perfectly good crawling pistons for months now, but all of a sudden I think maybe … they can do other things.

image

It all started with the dishwasher. I just love dishwashers, don’t you? They’ve got so many fun things to pull out and throw on the floor! But it was so hard to reach them all and one day I said “PJ, let’s stretch these leg things out and see if we can get up high enough to grab that Mickey Mouse plate over there.” And it worked, oh boy!

image

After that, I took over the coffee table – did you know that cars go real fast when you push them? And then…tragedy. I put my foot on a Lego and it hurt so bad I let go of the coffee table and fell down BOOM right on my butt.

image

You know how I know falling down goes BOOM? Because my Uncle Caleb taught me all about it. Sometimes I stand up just so I can sit down and say BOOM. It’s so much fun, you should try it sometime!

Sometimes I get tired of falling down BOOM, and I wonder whether my feet can do anything else fun. Mommy and Daddy use theirs to jump over the gate and visit my kitty friends, but I just can’t figure out how they do it.

image

I like it when Mommy holds my hands when I stand up, but then she tries to get me to move and I’m all “Whoa whoa whoa, slow down babe, I’ve got a perfectly good set of knees right here!”

image

Sheesh. Parents. What are ya gonna do? Me, I’m gonna stick to crawling as long as I can. BOOM.

6 Things I’ve Stopped Buying At The Grocery Store

PJ may have just noticed that we’re eating clean in Neverland, but there have been some gradual changes happening for awhile that went right over that cute curly head! A big one is in the way we grocery shop. I’ve mentioned before that planning ahead and cooking extra foods on the weekends is a key part of how I manage to get through the week.

For my new friends (hello!), I’ll recap that on the days I go into the office, I work 10 hour days so that I have an extra full day off with the little man. This is great in many ways, but being able to consistently get a healthy dinner on the table isn’t one of them. In the winter, I rely on my Crock Pot and casseroles that can be made in double or triple batches and frozen. Now that it’s too hot to run my oven so much, I’ve been having to adjust.

image

Chicken & Bok Choy Soup - easy, delicious, and freezes well! Leave a comment if you'd like to see a future post with the recipe 🙂

I’ll admit that this was not a smooth transition. We went through a few weeks where we ate out or ate a lot of convenience foods, and I felt much worse for it. But things are getting easier, and I feel like I’ve finally got my mojo back to share some of my survival lessons learned with all of you lovely people!

My best summer plan ahead tool is our grill. I do all of our meats for a week at the same time – and we actually have a bigger variety than we did during the winter because of it. Last night, for example,  PJ and I had grilled salmon and Paul (who is not a big fan of seafood) had pork chops – and it took next to no extra time, and didn’t break my “one family, one dinner” rule because I was already preparing multiple recipes. Win win! And now we have pork chops frozen to eat another night next week!

image

The other thing I’ve had to work past is how to shop for and make quick prep meals without compromising our whole foods goal. Here are 6 things I’ve completely eliminated from my grocery store shopping list:

image

Honey Cashew Oatmeal - way better than anything you find premade in the cereal aisle!

1 – Oatmeal Packets

Oatmeal is one of my favorite breakfasts. It’s easy to pack, keeps me full almost as well as eggs, and can be dressed up so many ways. I stopped buying premade packets and started buying rolled oats (in bulk when I can get them). Every few weeks, I make up my own packets in snack size baggies. I put a half cup of oats into each baggie, add any dry ingredients, and write on the bag with a sharpie any wet ingredients to be added when I’m ready to eat it. I usually do two bags of each flavor and store them in the pantry. Check out my “Rise & Shine” Pinterest board for the recipe pictured above and some of my other favorite varieties!

image

Thawed frozen rice, leftover chicken, and a can of black beans make a great burrito in next to no time!

2 – :90 Rice Packets

For awhile, I bought these so we could have a quick side dish when I heated up a pre-made dinner, or to use in casseroles to save the time of cooking rice before baking. And then one day it occurred to me to try cooking a BIG pot of rice and freezing it in smaller portions. I let it cool, then divide it into quart size freezer bags which conveniently hold about two cups each. Squeeze the air out of them and freeze flat. Saves space, and I only have to do it once every month or two. I cook the rice with chicken stock and add any other flavorings when I reheat it.

3 – Hummus

This is a favorite snack in our house. Even the baby likes it! But a small container is fairly expensive, so it used to be an every now and then treat. Then I discovered the awesome blog 100 Days of Real Food and purchased one of her recipe collections, which included a recipe for hummus that is to die for. That particular collection isn’t available right now, but if you follow her blog I am positive you will find several other similar recipes that can replace pre-packaged staples in your grocery order.

image

4 – Lemon Juice

This one may be pretty obvious, but I’ve made it a point to cut out lemon juice and lime juice from bottles. I buy in bulk when they are on sale, run them through my juicer and freeze the juice in cubes. Bonus: it makes my kitchen smell amazing!

image

5 – Salad Dressing

I’ve been eating a lot of salads since the weather turned it up a few notches. And I’ve found that it’s much better and easier to make my dressings than buy them. Like oatmeal, the varieties are endless – pear and arugula salad with a cinnamon pear vinaigrette, anyone? Although my go to favorite is to just splash together some olive oil, lemon juice, Italian seasoning, and a dash of salt. It goes well with just about everything, including this delicious turkey wrap with avocado!

image

6 – Protein Shakes

This is a newer one, and a surprise even to me. I have resisted protein shakes as I’ve been getting further into clean, whole food cooking. I was all “Why do I need that when I’m eating all these different proteins, fruits, and veggies already?” Buuuut, I decided to listen to a friend of mine who has had some pretty amazing success with the Beachbody program, and added shakes after my morning workouts.

Holy breakthrough, Batman! I actually found that a shake early in the morning helps me snack less the ENTIRE day. But because I’m stubborn and skeptical, I started out with grocery store shakes to save some money. They made a difference, but eventually I took the plunge and ordered the real thing (Shakeology) and I feel better on a whole different level. One of the things I love is that the ingredient list derives nutrients from actual food and tells you what they are.

You can’t get Shakeology in a store, but if you want to check it out, here is my Team Beachbody site that has everything you need to know about them. [Disclosure: I am an Independent Coach for TBB and receive a small commission if you decide to order anything through this site.]

I hope that you’re all having a great summer so far, and would love to hear what your “hot weather” coping strategies are for preparing healthy meals, especially if you try to cook ahead like I do!

PJ’s Diary: Babies Against Clean Eating

Mommy says we are “eating clean” this week. I think this is a terrible idea. The best part about eating is getting real dirty!

image

I don’t mind all the good, fresh veggies, I even made her give me a yummy scallion to munch on – it went real nice with my peanut butter and banana sandwich!

image

And the eggs with tomatoes, fresh basil, and turkey bacon – deeeeeeelicious!

image

But how am I supposed to enjoy my food if I have to keep it clean all the time?!

image

I think I’m gonna go to Great Grandma’s house for the week. She understands me.

image

So how about it Mommy? Pack me up some yummy veggies and fruit, and I will go where they appreciate a good mess and aren’t stingy with the ice cream!

image

But …You’re coming with me, right?

Defying the Gravity of SCOTUS

I firmly believe that there is a Broadway song for every occasion. That when what you feel is much too big for words alone, you need music and a powerhouse singer to get it out. That’s how I’ve been feeling all week.


[GLINDA]
Why couldn’t you have stayed calm, for once! Instead of flying off the handle — !

I hope you’re happy
I hope you’re happy now
I hope you’re happy how you’ve
Hurt your cause forever
I hope you think you’re clever!

I was taught, many years ago, that our court system is supposed to represent the interest of justice (saaaaaaay, do you think that’s why they’re called Justices?!)

image

[ELPHABA]
I hope you’re happy
I hope you’re happy too
I hope you’re proud how you would
Grovel in submission
To feed your own ambition

[GLINDA & ELPHABA]
So though I can’t imagine how
I hope you’re happy
Right now

image

Do you think this case was really about 4 specific prescriptions? Or about whether you pay for them pre-tax as part of your compensation or deducted premiums or post-tax in cash? Or is it about whether someone in a powerful decision making position has the right to make a religiously based judgment and pass it on down the line regardless of the faith or beliefs of the individuals in that line?

[GLINDA]
Elphie, listen to me. Just say you’re sorry!

You can still be with The Wizard
What you’ve worked and waited for
You can have all you ever wanted –

[ELPHABA]
I know
But I don’t want it – No!
I can’t want it anymore

It is not “beside the point” to note that the insurance plans in question here cover Viagra and Cialis without batting an eye. The relevant part there is that men are able to make decisions about their sexual health informed by their own needs and their doctor’s recommendations. But the sexual health of women is subject to higher scrutiny – that it’s a-ok for an employer to make a moral judgment before a woman even enters a doctor’s office about which medications are appropriate.

image

Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I’m through with playing by
The rules of someone else’s game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It’s time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes
And leap…

It’s time to try defying gravity
I think I’ll try defying gravity
And you can’t pull me down

I have been alarmed many times in the past few years about legislation and proposed legislation regarding pregnant women – laws in Arizona would have legally defined pregnancy as beginning two weeks BEFORE conception. This is part of a medical definition, but making it a legal definition is a whole different ballgame.

image

And don’t even get me started on “personhood” laws that could have landed me in jail while I was pregnant with PJ for ::gasp:: being in a liquor store with intent to purchase alcohol. Never mind that it was for a party, and I’m a good hostess who doesn’t expect other people not to drink on my account – if these “personhood” laws had been in effect, the store clerk would have been a mandated reporter and I would have had to prove that I was not planning to get wasted and harm my child.

image

[GLINDA]
Can’t I make you understand
You’re having delusions of grandeur?

[ELPHABA]
I’m through accepting limits
Cuz someone says they’re so
Some things I cannot change
But till I try I’ll never know
Too long I’ve been afraid of
Losing love, I guess I’ve lost
Well if that’s love
It comes at much too high a cost

I’d sooner buy defying gravity
Kiss me goodbye, I’m defying gravity
And you can’t pull me down!

I don’t often write about feminist issues, partly because I see the kind of hate that is directed toward women who do, and partly because I know that my opinions on these subjects upset people that I care about and I try not to do that when I can help it. But here’s the thing – if more people like me, who care about women being full and equal members of society, not just capable of but trusted to make our own decisions start speaking up, maybe the point will come across.

image

Glinda, come with me. Think of what we could do -together!

Unlimited
Together we’re unlimited
Together we’ll be the greatest team
There’s ever been – Glinda!
Dreams the way we planned ’em

[GLINDA]
If we work in tandem

[GLINDA & ELPHABA]
There’s no fight we cannot win
Just you and I, defying gravity
With you and I defying gravity

[ELPHABA]
They’ll never bring us down!

Well, are you coming?

It isn’t just career feminists, who study and write about these issues every day (and kudos to them for doing it, I wouldn’t be able to handle the stress!) who should be involved in this conversation, engaging with the anti-feminist movement. Everyone should add their voice. Do you think that 4 of the 20 most effective contraceptive methods are morally wrong? Start writing about it, share your point of view, and back it up with your research. You never know who will read it and be informed by it when they need to make a decision.

image

[GLINDA decides to stay behind.]

Here’s where it gets tricky, though. Taking your opinion and writing it into legislation says “I don’t trust you to make the right decision about your health and your family.” It says that you feel your position is so weak that you need muscle to back it up. Or that you think women aren’t capable human beings who can evaluate their needs and their options as fully as men can.

image

[GLINDA]
I hope you’re happy
I hope your happy now that your choosing this –

[ELPHABA]
You too–
I hope it brings you bliss

[GLINDA & ELPHABA]
I really hope you get it
And you don’t live to regret it
I hope you’re happy in the end
I hope you’re happy my friend

There is nothing wrong with having religion guide your life – many wonderful people do amazing, good things in the name of God. I support several organizations both personally and professionally that help support women who choose to continue an unplanned pregnancy. I think they do great work, and I am happy to see women thrive in situations that started out scary and uncertain – women like my own mom, who had me very young.

But there has to be a recognition of where personal beliefs end, and where public policy begins. For myself, I don’t need access to abortion services. And I don’t feel a need to get into a debate about what kind of circumstances are or aren’t acceptable for someone else to seek one, because you can play the exception game all day long and get nowhere. So how about this groundbreaking idea – recognize that women are fully capable human beings, who can evaluate their own needs and circumstances, seek out information on points they’re unsure about, accept the counsel of their support system, their doctor, and their conscience, and make a decision without the input of their congressional representation or their boss.

image

[ELPHABA]
So if you care to find me
Look to the Western sky!
As someone told me lately
Everyone deserves the chance to fly
And if I’m flying solo
At least I’m flying free
To those who ground me
Take a message back from me!

I am extremely disappointed in the Supreme Court for ruling that employees have less individual autonomy than the corporations they work for. This Court has proved over and over (Citizens United, McCutcheon, Hobby Lobby) that it believes in the Golden Rule above all else – they who have the gold, make the rules.

image

Where is the Justice in that for individuals so unfortunate to be the employed rather than the employer? Did I miss the section of the First Amendment that says “This is a weighted right – by accepting a paycheck, you agree to be governed by the $peech of your betters, and are now free to practice their religion as they see fit.”

Tell them how I am defying gravity
I’m flying high, defying gravity
And soon I’ll match them in renown

Lots of people responded to the outrage over this ruling by saying “Don’t like it? Don’t work there! Find someone who shares your own beliefs and work for them, or start your own company and make your own rules!” (Can you hear the hymns playing at the “start your own company” line?) My BFF Anne had a great point to make about this – should we really need to ask in an interview, along with job description, salary, and benefits questions, about the personal religious beliefs of the company owner? Has it really come to that? And will job applicants have court protection if asking those questions gets them into trouble of any kind?

image

And starting a company is a great option – for everyone. All it takes is a great idea, right? Anyone can do it! No experience in sourcing, production, bookkeeping, marketing, law, finance, or customer service needed, just start your own business and then YOU can make decisions about your health care! Maybe you’ll even be lucky enough to find someone from that lower class species of Job Seeker to make decisions FOR in a week or two! And with all that money that will start rolling in the minute you let people know you are a Job Creator, you even get free speech in election years! Hot dog hot dog hot diggity dog!

image

Hot dog, hot dog, hot diggety dog!

And nobody in all of Oz
No Wizard that there is or was
Is ever gonna bring me down!!

Or maybe, just maybe, employees are people too – with religious beliefs of their own, and the desire to participate in their own lives and society regardless of how much cash they have to contribute to election campaigns. They may even have ::stage whisper:: sex lives.

image

Bringing up the other medical uses for birth control is important, but misses the main argument – that women’s bodies and medical decisions are held to different standards of scrutiny than men’s are. And that is what the executives at Hobby Lobby and the SCOTUS five got wrong.

image

At least someone got it right.

[GLINDA]
I hope you’re happy

[CITIZENS OF OZ]
Look at her
She’s wicked
Get her!!

image

All you need to do to see why I hesitated to post this are read the Facebook comments on any article on the case. I’ve referenced some of the tamer themes here, but there are plenty of worse ones out there if you care to see what people have to say about women who think like I do. Or you could read through the #YesAllWomen conversation. Hopefully, it makes you uncomfortable.

[ELPHABA]
Bring me down!

[CITIZENS OF OZ]
No one mourns the wicked
So we got to bring her –

[ELPHABA]
Ahhhh!

[CITIZENS OF OZ]
–Down!

But hopefully, it also makes you think.