goingplaceslivinglife

Travel, Food, and Slices of Life


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The Road Ahead

We have a choice, as we do every time we elect a President. We can uphold the United States as a wonderful example of a democratic republic that can change heads of state calmly and smoothly,Image result for smooth transition of leadership or we can have tantrums wanting our own way and fall down into a despotic third world nation experience where the people who perceive a loss of power fight anyone who they believe thinks differently from them.

In the last few weeks there has been an escalation of threats of a “revolution” if Trump loses the election. Organizations and individuals who have publicly endorsed Hillary Clinton have received death threats. A gun shop in Las Vegas is advertising a sale on guns before Hillary is elected. There just is a lot of anger and threats.

Republcian Congressional leadership who have publicly indicated their dismay with their candidate are now promising to block Clinton is she wins the Presidency.  They are promising to freeze, not to work through the things that need work, but to do nothing. That is not leadership in a sane direction.

It could happen. We did it once before. Civil war. This time, though, there is nothing organized or goal for the people who are losing their emotional stability. And yes, if you decide my words and actions are worthy of killing me, you have lost your mind. Is this kind of activity like in Aleppo what will make us great? Image result for aleppo

This nation was established to better the situation in the Old World, where power was held by very few. For hundreds of years people in this country could achieve much, change their lifestyle, improve upon what their parents had. Only recently has this reversed and there are clear signs why.

The people who have made these changes include, among many others, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. His claim he has never held public office does not mean he had no influence. He is one of the players of power and has been for years. So, right now, regardless of who wins the Presidency, not much is really going to improve for many of us and for some of us, things will get a lot worse. The only winners, the same ones as the last few decades, the very top.

Now, I remember my parents complaining about how things were going downhill back in the 1970s. They did not like the attitudes of the “hippies” and protesters against the war in Vietnam. My parents longed for much of what they knew in their younger days. But they also were active in the civil rights movement, clearly recognizing not only that the treatment of African-Americans had long been bad, but actually doing something about it.

So, now, I am carrying the mantle of service. I call out unethical and unequal treatment when I see it. I remind my friends on Facebook that if something appeals to their sense of greed (free something fantastical that is too good to be true) or anger (Hillary did this or that or Donald said this now) that they really should verify before jumping on a bandwagon that will later prove to have flat tires. Image result for first they came for the socialists

And I don’t just sit here bitching and moaning. I am involved. I volunteer in a number of community activities including helping a local candidate in his run for the state legislature.  If we want a better world we each need to be involved. Think globally. Act locally.Image result for doing instead of talking

And, I suppose, I have said enough to irritate the most unstable of people who might be making a list of who they need to take down. A friend told me to back down and stop being so vocal. Nope, I’m sorry. If we don’t speak out early and often, the snowball grows. I will not be quiet.  Another friend told me to arm myself. And I wonder, how much bigger a weapon can I get and use before someone else uses theirs. If that is to be, it will be. I will not live my life in fear.

I will continue to try to appeal to your brain, your intellect, your heart, your conscience. I will try to get into conversation with you to understand your viewpoint and share mine. Image result for buy guns now

I just don’t see many people willing to do the same. That is sad, and yes, a bit frightening.

 


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Love is Blind

We have a candidate for President of the United States of America which, despite some increasing dysfunction, is the voice of the free world. The President is a leader that the rest of the world watches, our allies and the ones that need careful handling. The President needs to be a person the nation and the world can respect.

So, this candidate has said that he can shoot someone on 5th Avenue in New York City and his followers would still love him. Love is blind.

This candidate has said he can not share his tax returns until the audit is over. The IRS says he can share them. He just says the same thing again. And his followers don’t care. Love is blind.

This candidate has said he believes the Department of Education can be mostly eliminated. He also has said he loves dumb people. His followers smile. Love is blind.

This candidate says that climate change is a hoax. That it is snowing so it must mean there is no global warming. (See above statement about loving dumb people.)  That he would eliminate the Department of Environmental Protection.  And his followers cheer. Love is blind.

This candidate says Hillary should have stopped Bill from his philandering. His followers ignore his own infidelities and think he is right. Love is blind.

This candidate says he will bring jobs back to America. No one questions why his own clothing line uses factories in Asia. At the first Presidential debate when asked how he would bring jobs back, he did not answer the question. He has no answer but his followers are not needing one. Love is blind.

This candidate says he is a great businessman which is hard to understand with countless business failures and a number of bankruptcies.  More stories are coming out about how he did not pay subcontractors to the point of causing their businesses to fail. But his followers are not those people so they don’t care. Love is blind.

This candidate has made it very clear that women are valued by their shapely bodies and big boobs. He denigrates women who have pointed out how his behavior is inconsistent with his words on issues.  He did not like how a moderator asked questions during a primary debate so he made a comment demeaning her because she is a woman and has hormones. And his followers, including women, do not react. One told me he didn’t mean it. Love is blind.

This candidate says there are people with good genes and only they should have children. This is only one of many statements he has made that indicate his admiration for Hitler.  But his followers do not recognize themselves. Love is blind.

This candidate made behind closed door deals with Cuba during the United States embargo. He does not act as if laws apply to him. His followers find excuses to not care.  Love is blind.

This candidate thinks there are changes needed to the Constitution, including ending the balance of power between the three areas of government. (See above note about Hitler.) But his followers know only the Second Amendment and nothing more about the Constitution so are not concerned. Love is blind.

This candidate says that more nations should have access to nuclear weapons. In a world with so much anger, allowing weapons of mass destruction in more hands is not a way to a peaceful existence. But his followers are silent. Love is blind.

And why is love so blind?  Because of Killery, they say. Thanks Obama, they say.

These blind people are the ones who claim this is a Christian nation and there should be Ten Commandments in all courtrooms. Can they state them? Do they live by them?

And Jesus made it even simpler….bringing it down to TWO:                                                                        ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart
and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 
And
‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

These blind people need new glasses.  And somehow, the ability to reason better.nohatebig


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I didn’t see that coming

Parenting is hard. Parenting with a partner is hard. Single parenting is hard. Any way you look at it, if you are doing it “right”, parenting is more than full time and you HAVE to put your own ego, your own desires, your own agenda aside.

It was when my kids were two and four years old that it became clear that my job was not my work as a real estate appraiser. My job, much more powerfully important that getting someone’s mortgage to an approval and closing, was to raise those two little pipsqueaks to be healthy, functioning contributing adults. It became apparent when my marriage was on such shaky grounds that the analysis HAD to consider what the kids would be learning if I stayed with their father.

I erred on the side of being “nice”. I told him we needed to separate. I had no plans at that moment for a divorce but I knew the kids needed a healthier environment for their daily life. I allowed him generous time with the kids and had to talk with them quite a bit when he hurt them because their needs were not compatible with what he wanted to do.

And when he filed for a divorce because he wanted to control the situation, I was okay with that. In fact, I was kind  of worried that if he knew how okay I was he would withdraw the petition, but he didn’t.  He told the kids I divorced him. I refused to talk about it with them (until they were adults) saying it was a grownup decision and both mommy and daddy love them.

I read a lot about kids going through divorce. I participated in programs the elementary school offered and we all had counseling sessions together. I was asked in a session, what my goal was. I stated, simply, that I wanted us to get along well enough that we could sit together at school events so the kids only had to play to one part of the auditorium. He said that was not his goal. He never said what goal he had.

And so, at high school and college graduations, we sat apart. Often his family sat with me. Not because they were taking my side but because they were taking the kids’ side. They got it.

He never did. He married again, as I did. And life moved on. The kids are now adults in their 30s and sometimes we still talk about what might have been. They ended up with a new brother with me and two new brothers with him. They are close to my youngest. The other little ones need them, but the new life their father has built has pushed them away.

I got news today that my ex is in trouble. That choices he has made has once again brought him into a world of hurt and he is most likely scared and unable to figure out how things turned so badly.  He has a pathway in front of him that I never dreamed he would take.

My feelings are confused. I know, intellectually, that there is nothing I did or did not do, nothing I might have done, that would have given him a different pathway. I know, intellectually, that his actions must have continued after my time with him with little thought of the consequences.  I know, intellectually, that no one can make this better for him,

However, I am surprised at how much emotional pain I feel. The “what if I had made him do this or that” syndrome is running through my gut. It is a worthless exercise. I know that.

 

 

 


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A story within a story and a concept to consider

Years ago my maternal grandfather would preside over the Passover Seder. For hours and hours and hours he would intone the readings and prayers in Hebrew while my cousin Nancy and I would compare the levels in our glasses of diluted wine and water. It was all but a meaningless process and once Grandpa died and my father started to preside, I asked my mom if we could perhaps use another Haggadah.

“Oh no!” she replied with shock that I would suggest such blasphemy. “This is the ONLY one.”

(unsaid) Really, Mom? This wine-stained freebie from the liquor store where we buy the Manischewitz?

I tried again when Dan and Lisa were really young. “Mom,” I pleaded, ” Can I revise the Haggadah to reduce it to 20 minutes so the kids really understand and participate?”

“Oh no!”, she replied. (Repeat with me) “This is the ONLY one!” More wine stained than ever.

So, when Graham and I got married and we decided to host a Seder I told him a bit more emphatically than I needed to that I would be finding one that worked better for us. He didn’t care, of course. There are literally over 1000 versions of the Haggadah, each very much following the prescribed order, as Seder means “order”, and telling the story of the Exodus from Egypt.

That’s the first story. The second is next:

The story we share at the Seder is not simply what Cecile B. DeMille’s movie with Charlton Heston shows. We talk about what went on in the minds and hearts of the people affected there and then. And then we try to make it into something we can relate to.

IMG_1033I don’t know about you, but I can not relate to working my entire life building the pyramids or other structures.  I’ve done some physical work and I work pretty hard at the food processing business, even when my body hurts, but to FEEL like a slave takes a stretch of imagination. Growing up here in the United States in the 50s, 60s and 70s, my freedoms expanded and my opportunities were ahead, ready for the taking.

And yet, each of us are enslaved to something that we know we would be healthier without. Me, it is easily sugar. Someone else maybe their tobacco. Someone else their wine or beer or pot or whatever. We can identify people in public life enslaved to the concept of power and how that has warped their view of what is healthy.

Once we can recognize that item for ourselves we can begin to think about how it feels to get rid of it. And not by our own choice. That freedom from slavery in Egypt was not desired by many. Afterall, there is some peace found in a routine that is not desired but has no responsibility. To become free means to take on a huge change. And we know most people do not like change.

In the Seders I host I try to get the people attending to recognize their own enslavement and how they (and I) fight the change that provides freedom.

So that’s the second story. And now, to the concept I hope you will consider.

In the news today one of the issues is the brouhaha about transsexual individuals using the public restroom for the sex they feel is their identity. There is so much fear about perverts attacking children.  There is so much condemnation for the wrongness of these people. There is not the loving (supposedly Christian) acceptance that they have a difference we might not understand but can respect.

We also have grave concern, all of us, about ISIS and other terrorist groups and how they seem to be difficult to stop.  It is horrible how a few people continue to flow to those groups from western society here and in the UK. Why? But the more difficult concept for me is the hatred of ALL Muslims based on these extreme groups. The people I hear who are so afraid seem not to recognize that all fundamental ends of all religions have their extreme and narrow definition of what is acceptable and believe all others who profess to practice the same religion but in different ways are NOT that religion. And need to be changed. It is true in Islam. It is true in Judaism. It is true in Christianity. Meanwhile, it seems hate of the others is easier than acceptance of the other.

I wrote a blog a few months ago in answer to a friend about whether I would welcome a Syrian refugee family into my home. You can read it here.  That issue, as well as a myriad of others supporting people who have had incredibly horrible events occur simply because they were both where and how they were are not hard for me.

I merely remember that I was once a slave in Egypt and was delivered out of bondage. It is my modern role to help others who desire to, escape their slavery.freedom


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Getting Dirty in the Gutter

So now we have Presidential candidates comparing hand sizes as an indication of how large their dicks are? What? To put it mildly, if a bit crudely, they are total schmucks. We should not be surprised.schmuck

What had surprised me initially but now I have fallen to a state of dismay, is how many of my fellow citizens are so titillated by this entertainment they do not seem to remember that this contest is not for the biggest jerk in the country but for our President and representative to the rest of the world.  When people say they support Trump because he tells it like it is, it is easy to remind them that they no longer speak to family members who have done the same thing for years. Why is speaking crudely an asset?

As more and more people climb on the Trump bandwagon I am still amazed at those that ignore the fact he has talked about how beautiful his daughter’s body is and he would “date” her….in other words, incest. I am amazed that the photos of his wife with her surgically enhanced breasts exhibited for all of us to see is not a matter of concern over the slutty nature of the woman who could become our First Lady but a gut reaction from men who drool over sexy broads. I would expect the constituency who cuts funding for women’s health clinics and does not want to teach sexual education to kids before their hormones lead them into activities with consequences, that that group of people would be making SOME comment about concern for the gutter level of the Trumps.  (I think this is the same group that scorns the dress code of Muslim women to cover their head or even their entire body.)

But now, we have people who are not really thinking. Maybe this is a horribly true reflection of our education system which teaches for the test and not for the ability to reason. I suppose if you vote for the winner of a Presidential election you might think you won.  You might think you passed the test. But in reality, you may have failed at an important life decision and the consequences of that support may really come back to bite you.

We need to look at those consequences.

For all of you who support Republican candidates who want to bomb the Middle East  because of fear of terrorism, take a moment to think it through. No one seems to take a minute to think who might not like that idea, besides all the innocent people who live there. (I suspect many people here don’t care about them anyway, back to the prior adage that the only dead (fill in the blank) is a dead one.)  But, no one is thinking that if we unleash the bombs, so might anyone else who dislikes us. No one is thinking about how WWIII will start.

For all of you who hate abortion, cutting off access to a legal procedure is not the right choice. Abortions have been going on for millennium. Backstreet procedures have ended up maiming and killing many women. Supporting a candidate who says he will stop all legal abortions is supporting someone who says they will change the law.  You might support that, but realize you are about to kill your sisters. You can start counting dead bodies of adults, I suppose. hanger

For all of you who hate people being on welfare and want to cut programs but look the other way when you notice the homeless in your town, be aware the problem will get worse.  People who say we should have smaller government are usually not active in their communities to work social programs. If we are not going to work on this on a local level, each one of us, then we need some help and that is why the federal government stepped in.

COMPLAINFor all of you who want change but never get off your butts to help make that possible, your comments are not helpful.  Your actions show you really don’t care. You just want what YOU want and are little different from anyone else in that regard. Only if you help work it so the least of us can get more comfortable living and eating and working situation, your bitching and moaning does nothing to help.

For all of you who just buy another gun so you will be ready to join the fight, what are you fighting for? If you think you are going to protect your family, if your mottos include “out of my cold dead hands” then you are not working to building a nation for all of us, but part of what will tear us apart.

For all of you who want the illegals to go back home, go work in the farm fields for a season.  Hell, work for a week…if you can handle the physical activity. And then live on only what you earned. And please, think back to your own family history and try to really understand the motivation for those ancestors who were willing to leave all that they knew in search of a better life. If your family does not know its history, perhaps it’s because there is something particularly unpleasant they were trying to forget. Or something that did not include an element of pride?  But if you can not find the feeling within you to understand why people come here now, you are not reaching into your soul deeply.nationalities_ethnicities_citizenships

One thing is abundantly clear. Over the past 7 years this nation has been whipped into divisions.  Back in 2007 Obama was elected by most of us in the hope of “change”. His slogan, Be the Change you want to see obviously fell on deaf ears. I think people sat back expecting improvement and their choice of talking heads lead them to believe things like medical coverage for all is a horrible idea. Their choice of talking heads lead them to think things should have been fixed in the first year. Their choice of talking heads has helped them forget what caused the issues President Obama had to deal with.

Who benefits if we are divided? Do you know…or care?  If you don;t, you probably are continuing to support their goal. Is that your goal?

So now, we have a clown show and the world is laughing. For all of you conservatives who believe that President Obama degraded America’s world image, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Worse, you will be contributing to it if you elect Trump or Cruz or Rubio. None are the leadership we need on a world stage let alone to bring our domestic situation to a healthier state.  Several nations are considering banning Trump from ever visiting. From Mexico to Great Britain these are early warning signs that a Trump Presidency will not be respected by the world.Trump pnata

We have had a few great Presidents, many of whom were not very popular during their time in office because of the programs they started that affected people in power to help others.  And we have had some that introduced programs that hurt many people living in this nation. Most Presidents were in the middle, not great statesmen but people who tried to at least do no damage.effective leadership

This election we have choices to elect a person with strong ideas of what is right for this nation. So many are out of touch with what we, the people, really deal with. Oh, they learn snippets from those of us who shout the loudest and have a crowd following. But we, the people need to look at the whole picture not just our favorite issue. Who can lead us in our nation and in the world to bring us together in peace and prosperity? Think people…..use the space between your ears, not just your gut reactions. This is important. There are consequences.

 


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What About You?

I’m going to be 62 years old this year. I don’t feel old, most of the time anyway, but I know that I am on the downhill slide now. For anyone around my age, do you remember the TV show One Day At A Time?  The mom, played by actress Bonnie Franklin, goes off for a quiet moment when her daughters have thrown her a birthday party. She looks in the mirror trying to cope. “Middle aged now”, she moans. She was turning 35.

retirement_iaheadSo, here I am pondering my “retirement”. Those of you who know me or have been reading this blog for a while know I started a new business last summer and I am really excited about it. Can-Do Real Food  captures the surplus produce from small farms nearby and preserves the fruit or veggies by canning. Local consumers are responding well and some of the farmers have completely sold out and I am conserving some in order to start the outdoor market in May.

So, I am working, but golly gee, I really am not, as most new businesses, making gobs of money.  Any income I generate goes right back into the business so we can grow. That’s the way it is, because I certainly am not independently wealthy.  So, realistically, we are living on my husband’s retirement and the income he produces as an adjunct professor at a nearby university teaching two courses a year.

I got to thinking about living on retirement income, since it is time for me to make a decision about my Social Security. Some of the Presidential candidates are declaring doom and gloom about the Social Security System. They like to use buzzwords to scare people, like Ponzi Scheme and delayed retirement age. In reality, people my age have nothing to worry about. We will get 100% of the benefits we have accrued through our many many many many many (many) years of working.  Also in reality there are ways to improve the way the funds are secure so no one has to worry much.social-security-benefits-application-form-glasses-calc_573x300

But there is one other reality that needs attention. Social security does not provide ENOUGH to live on.  Oh, if your income was higher than mine all your working life, your payout will be higher. It just won’t be anything like the amount you have gotten used to if you typically spent all you earned.

I’ve been hearing for at least 40 years that each person needs their own retirement account as well as social security. That was the reason why IRAs were introduced in the 1970s. But people are NOT saving. Very few people near retirement age have managed to save more than $50,000 in retirement assets.

So, we have a problem. We have Baby Boomers, the largest age cohort ever born in the US, in or Floridagreenmobilehomeapproaching retirement. Some are living in homes purchased during their earning years but many are renters and some are even homeless. The proliferation of RV parks and pre-fab home construction all across the country point to the need for less expensive housing.

So how do older people manage?  Many need public assistance. Some live with family and combine incomes. Some even move overseas where a monthly social security check can adequately provide for rent, utilities, food and a few other items, especially in a country where medical care is available and comparatively inexpensive. However, this move also results in isolation from family and funds might not extend to provide for visits back here to the US.

So,  in comparison, my husband and I are okay. We’re still able to work and we’re doing things we love. Our energy is pretty good and we just take it slower on those other days. We have access to decent health care and we do as much a preventative lifestyle as we couch potatoes can.  But we are not living the way we did when we had income flowing in from jobs. We have learned to cut back and be okay with less. plan ret

Now, you people in your 20s and 30s and 40s, it is time you check on YOUR retirement savings plan. You can not rely on Social Security the way the government is playing with it to fund wars. You will need to provide for your golden years. If you haven’t started, start. And talk to a good professional, or even meet with a few to find someone who can explain all those acronyms to you and will be patient and caring to help you get to a secure end zone phase of life.


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Family Ties

Following the Christmas holiday I don’t need to tell YOU that your family is……..well, challenged.  I have one myself. I had an aunt that my mother disliked so much she never talked to her brother but, because of family dynamics, I needed to allow her to sing her warble of some song I didn’t even know at my wedding.  I had another aunt who, in the 1950s got a (whisper here) divorce and all we ever heard was “don’t come running home to us if you have problems with your husband.” Not exactly a helpful life lesson.

So, we all have less than perfect families, and if we are true to form, we don’t do such a great job at parenting. We do what we know, so unless you have sought out a parenting class, you will have a tendency to teach your children in the same dysfunctional way you were raised.

In the interest of changing that here are TEN RULES TO BETTER FAMILY LIFE:

  1. Recognize that the reason you love your friends more than your family is because your friends let you do the shit your mom and dad won’t. That doesn’t mean that shit is good. It still is shit. Your parents literally cleaned up your shit as a baby and into your childhood, but  now it is time for you to realize that your actions have consequences and you really need to accept responsibility. When you grow up, your relationships with the long term people who are on your life path AKA your family, will improve.Illustration by Nate Powell.
  2. Let go of anger. We want to be RIGHT! We want others to know they are WRONG! Let it go. It is not a helpful manner of communication. If you really feel strongly that your little sister or your second cousin is on the road to perdition, sit down calmly, maybe with a cup of lavender tea (ha ha) and ask why they feel their pathway is going to bring them the life they want. LISTEN.  They probably will not come around, but at least you’ll understand better and maybe they will turn to you when they recognize they need to change their ways.being kind
  3. Look in the mirror. Recognize your own flaws. Now praise your skills realistically. Understand that each of us is made of the entire ability spectrum. You and your buddies are not the only ones who can do things right. Even your parents get it right some of the time.looking-in-the-mirror
  4. Learn from others. Yup, even that warbling aunt of mine probably had something worthwhile to share with me……hard for me to imagine but I am remembering her with a child’s memory. If you are an adult, you can go where I was unable to perceive.learning
  5. Look at your children. We watched Home Alone again this Christmas and a few things were obvious to an outsider that the family members did not perceive. Be fair when you think over your kids’ strengths and weaknesses. Don’t have them do what YOU wish you could have done as a kid if they are not interested. Help them develop their own interests. Help them learn to read and research. Your-Kids-Look-up-to-You-for-Guidance
  6. Look at your children again. Help them learn life skills like cooking, sewing buttons and hems, how to wash laundry and iron to press a shirt to make a good appearance,  and how to swim.  A man who expects his wife or girlfriend to do all the cooking does not realize the stress that constant task causes. More importantly, he never sees her face light up in pleasure when he prepares her a nourishing meal. A man who can cook is sexy.LifeSkills-750
  7. Look at your children again. Teach your kids to change their oil and their tires. You may not be that proficient yourself. Learn it together. Your daughters too.  Watch your tendency for sexism. Let your sons and daughters learn they can access the entire array of  arts and skills.Nike-Voices-Feature
  8. Tell stories to your kids. Turn off the television and the electronic gadgets. Have one evening a month (or more) when you gather to share the stories of your childhood. Keep it as upbeat as possible. Your baggage with your parents need not be their baggage.  Tell about adventures you had when you were tested and succeeded. Tell about times you thought you could do something but failed and how you responded to that experience. Let them tell stories too. Use a talking stick to pass the right to talk around the circle. talking stick
  9. Explore together. Food is an excellent vehicle for exploration. Move away from what you know. I remember when we visited England for the first time and I asked for bangers and mash at a pub because I had read about it in numerous British stories,. The server paused and then said, “You know that is nursery food?” In other words, for little kids. That was okay, since it was a new experience for me, but it is not okay for you to turn to mac and cheese every few days. Time to learn new tricks. You are an adult now. You have control over your gag reflex and will not barf into your plate. Really. Taste new things. You need not repeat if you honestly do not like it. But your world will open when you explore the amazing variety of flavors from all over the world. 11646-learning-culture-through-food-mexico
  10. Realize, if you change your ways, your birth family members may make some snarky comments. That’s when you get to practice your smile and say, yeah! I’m doing great and I’m proud of my kids! And mean it.keepgoing


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Empty Words without Any Real Meaningful Action

The other day I received a message from someone who was angry that certain words were not used during the Democratic debate. My friend wanted to know what I think about it. Dem debate

I can understand why someone who prefers Republican candidates would notice the absence of these words at the Democratic debate. After all, most not spoken at the Democratic event were used a lot at the two Republican events.  And therein lies one of the profound differences between the people who are enrolled in each party.

The concept of patriotism and liberty is understood but practiced differently. For example, when I lived in the South I was surrounded by people who stood to sing the National Anthem at Little League games. That did not happen at rec soccer games when I lived in Connecticut. But what happened in New England was opening our homes up to refugees when there was a need to escape their countries because of discrimination and fear of death. The welcome to potential New Americans was active. Singing the National Anthem is really nice…..especially if the cheering is after it is finished.jesse-ventura-politician-quote-patriotism-is-voluntary-it-is-aThe concept of the national debt is one few people understand. They know it is horrible. They know it is larger than it should be. They also have no idea what really caused it and how long policies have been affecting it for decades. Most people also have considerable personal debt and live off their credit cards, maxing them out often. Bankruptcies are increasing, as more and more people are trying to find a way to get all their debt forgiven.  Very few people make a budget that works and includes savings. You say you don’t have enough income? Welcome the the problem of the US government where we, the small people, struggle to live on wages that have barely changed in the past 15 years while the top tier not only earn more and more and more but pay way less than they did before Reagan changed the rules.  One reason Democratic administrations were able to reduce the budget deficit (which has increased each Republican administration) is because they close loopholes.  When it comes time in December for the next debt ceiling “crisis” discussion in Congress I know I will hear many people say, “when I don’t have money I have to do without.” Well, help your representative in Congress and inform them which government benefit YOU receive you are willing to give up.  I know when I ask that question at each ciris time, no one ever responds to me.debt_ceiling_word_cloud-e1401716275433

I could do down the list but my point is there is a difference to USING words and living them.

Seriously, I think there are certain messages that we do need to hear from any Presidential candidate.  We need them to be clear about any program they would like to initiate. We need to hear who will benefit and how it will be funded. We need to understand how that Presidential candidate will get cooperation from others in Congress or the states to implement this concept.

We need to hear more than “I will look into all these issues when I get elected” as the most popular Republican candidate has announced. I’m sorry. I want to know my leader will be able to lead.  Hearing a basic plan of action for a problem now is a start.people who careNow, we can go on bashing any and all of these candidates but perhaps first we need to start with ourselves. Back to my spiel, written of before, of living the Golden Rule. Talking a lot about a concept is meaningless if you don’t walk the walk.

So this holiday season, when I see anyone post “I’m putting Christ back into Christmas” I hope they will be prepared for my question. HOW?  And why only at the end of December? Why not live that way year-round?  Few do.

If we can not hold ourselves to a higher standard, what are you expecting to see in our leadership?  And why are you so worried about words and the actions or plan for action is the important part?  Do you ever get the feeling we are only puppets on their strings? That it doesn’t really matter who is in charge because they all manipulate us by using words to incite emotions. Remember to keep your heart attached to your head and think through the words they all say. Is there anything there that indicates a program of action?  Deal with THAT, not empty words.

 


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Let’s Do It Better

Each year, the second Halloween is over, we get bombarded for 6 weeks with the need to be big consumers. The commercials on tv explode, teasing us into believing we just NEED that thing we never thought about five minutes before. The printed ads in the local newspaper or mailed to us via bulk rate paper our house  with colorful pleas to spend spend spend.christmas-shopping-chaos-560x360

If you believe them, Christmas is just not complete without the latest gadgets including technology for toddlers, more boots and clothes for the ladies, more tools for the guys, more makeup and perfume, more ties, more more more.

This year, do it different…..and do it better.

First of all, know your budget and stick to it.

Secondly, make a list of the people you want to purchase for.  Think about their interests, their hobbies, the things that make them happy. Start listening to them NOW if you haven’t been paying attention all year.  And be wise….the latest in fashion accessory for your fashionista may be out of style in a few weeks. Aim for classic to provide long term value.Stress-Free-Christmas-Gift-Master-List

Third, aim for the best quality you can afford. Better to buy ONE gift and one small stocking stuffer than a large volume of junk.  Let’s start teaching about the value of gift-giving as the living symbol of the three wise men.

Finally, buy local. Yes, I know,  it is less expensive to hit the major big box stores. But this year, let’s think about the effect of where we spend our dollars.  Big box stores are national chains with corporate headquarters unlikely to be in your town. So the only employment benefits are probably low paying, possibly minimum wage and maybe also part-time to avoid paying benefits to full time employees.  Many big box stores have corporate deliveries of items from a regional warehouse that does not typically make purchases in your town, so basically for each dollar you spend in that store, only 5-15 cents stays in the local economy.local this holiday

Meanwhile, down on Main Street and in small neighborhood shops you have stores owned by your neighbors. They’ve been there maybe for decades, but probably not.  Our shopping choices killed many downtown stores as we shoppers opted to head to the mall instead.  Many shops are small with eager entrepreneurs who lost their jobs in the recession and are trying to find a way to make a living. The dollar spent there basically gets spent almost in full in your community. shop craft fairIn addition, there are numerous holiday markets and bazaars at this time of year. If you are lucky, you have one in your area that features artist, artisans and craftspeople who produce all the items they sell by hand. Their skill, their talent provides you an unique gift of high value, one of a kind, for that special person on your gift list.  The prices at these markets range from $1 to over $500. I know, I run a holiday market and I see eager craftspeople work hard all year to produce their love in a tangible way. My job is to tease the shoppers to at least come take a look. 

simple gift

Unique might scare you. If you want to be just like everyone else, unique is not for you. But if you are your own person, walk your own walkway, want to stand out from the crowd, this is the place for you.excellence of a gift

 

 


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Passion WITH Thinking

What’s your passion? What gets you fired up enough to get involved?

Me? I have several now. Have had many over my life, but right now there are two that capture my attention.

Awareness of our food and how full of chemicals much of it is and unhealthy results of conventional farming practices can affect health. I learned this only 5 years ago and I am a strong advocate to Know Your Farmer. By eating locally you not only can chose food sourced at places where you support the growing practice, but by supporting a local farmer, you are contributing to a healthier local economy.


But right now, it appears the Presidential campaign season has started and is full swing. Like Christmas advertising that starts the day after Halloween, we Americans are in for lots and lots and lots and lots and lots (ad nauseum) of campaign propaganda. Get ready for the roller coaster for the next 15 months.Donkey_Elephant_Boxing_article

My political leaning is liberal but I read a lot of information from and about all the candidates. I want to know as much as I can about each of them in the hope that any discussion will be intelligent.

I ran into a problem already though. One friend of mine took me to task because he felt I had made a negative comment about Donald Trump and was concerned I was going to get nasty in loading Facebook with negatives. whyattackadswork

The issue I made was that when the two (expletive deleted) guys beat up the homeless Latino man and attributed their actions to Donald Trump’s comments about Mexican immigrants being bad, I reported what Trump’s comment was. And I offered one question.

As you probably know, all Trump had to say at the time was “I will say, the people that are following me are very passionate. They love this country. They want this country to be great again. But they are very passionate. I will say that.”

My comment was “No words about this action being wrong. No concern about the victim. Is this the kind of leadership our country needs?” My friend felt this was negative commenting on my part. I do not think so. I hope to make people think, not just have a emotional reaction.   I do not think what I pointed out is bashing Trump. Bashing him would be saying he is an idiot. He’s clearly not an idiot. He just is not a man who considers all he needs to before opening his mouth.

Now I see several days after his comments, Trump has added “Boston incident is terrible. We need energy and passion, but we must treat each other with respect,” and “I would never condone violence.”

So NOW, after he gets backlash, he has changed his statement to one of more concern.  This is the kind of action I have seen from Trump over the last month. He says a lot of things that have to be later amended. I think this is the way he is and I for one do not want him to be our nation’s leader. thinking clearly

But my point is NOT to point out concern about one candidate. Each gets equal treatment. If I see something that is inconsistent with helping the people of this nation, it needs to be considered.

Some people chose their Presidential candidate based on one issue and one issue alone. Women who claim they are Pro-Life thereby support candidates that are anti abortion without any consideration of other issues of health care, education programs, and job opportunities for the people who are not earning a living wage. Very narrowly defining what is right hides a lot of what is wrong.think abotu results

Passion is great but it has to be able to expand to include all the influences to that issue. Just like I believe the problems in the food system relate to environmental concerns and thereby lend my support to movements to educate how fracking ruins our water supply, how coal mining and the toxic residue of its waste affects the land so things can no longer grow so areas like the coal counties in West Virginia need economic redevelopment, how not teaching our children methods of problem solving and how to handle responsibilities leads to increased escape into drugs….all these side issues are fueled because of my passion for healthy food.

So, my passion at this season is for education and clear thinking. Feel your passion but by all means, use your brain.choice-free-learn-paradox-text-Favim.com-405981