goingplaceslivinglife

Travel, Food, and Slices of Life


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My Father’s Daughter

My dad probably had a file at the FBI because of his quiet but steady leadership activism in civil rights in our town in New Jersey. I really don’t know what he actually did but I do know that lots of people came to meetings at our house at a time when our neighborhood was all white. The visitors stood out.

My father also was active pushing for a new high school and it was an uphill fight because even back in the 1960s no one wanted more taxes.  But together with a group of parents, many who taught at Rutgers and others, like my dad, who had a college education, they prevailed and a new school was built in time for my oldest sister to attend prior to her graduation.

We think about legacy most often as the money and things of financial value we will leave to our children, but let me suggest that this penchant to take desire for change and move into some level of action is one of the legacies my father gave to me.  Other people bang away on their computers expounding their anger, but few actually get involved in a way to try to help fix the system.legacy

It took me a while to grow into it. I think I started waking up about 8 years ago when I became aware how so much of our food system was tainted with chemicals. Preservatives that kept hot dog rolls from molding, even after a month, caught my eye in the mid 1980s, but I was still unaware of the additional chemicals we all ingest when we eat conventionally raised proteins and produce. GMOs are another bugaboo but simply, pesticides and herbicides cross into our bodies.  As their use increased so did, coincidentally, a lot of autoimmune issues, digestive issues, and behavioral issues.

Politics were of minor interest to me. I read the pamphlets from the League  of Women Voters and watched the presidential debates on tv. (My daughter Lisa graduated from her high school in Constitution Hall, the location of many early debates, and I discovered it had no air conditioning.)  But it wasn’t until the 2008 election that I really started doing my own research about the candidates.

I also noticed arguingduring that election season that people who had been close friends no longer were willing to talk to me. They had their political viewpoint and were offended by mine. I never have understood why friends in particular can’t talk through the issues. How else can we understand the “other side”? Surely someone with whom we have a shared history and knows us can explain better than some unknown pundit.

A little over a year ago I met a man running for the state legislature from this district.  We got into discussion and I challenged him to explain himself;  he responded and we chatted. I saw he had knowledge and ideas for improvement for local_issuesseveral things in our community that affect our quality of life. I liked his demeanor, I liked his viewpoint, so I put my action into gear and helped the campaign one day a week.

Getting involved in a local election provides significant information about your town. It actually is a scale where your viewpoint, your opinion, counts.  And yet, few people bother.

Some people vote for President and little else. Some vote for other positions but rarely understand who the candidate is and if it is the incumbent, if they have done a good job.  We complain about the people in Washington not doing their job. Make sure you know who your Congressional representatives are, how they have been voting and work for them if you like them, or for their opponent if you don’t.  Know the same about the people in your state capital, in your county, in your city. Be concerned about the schools even if you don’t have school aged kids. The children are the ones who will be leading this nation day after tomorrow.

Getting involved is actually something each good citizen should be doing.  What legacy will you be leaving?get involved

 

 

 

 

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We’re Closer Than You Think

THEY want us to be fragmented. THEY don’t want us to realize that we have so much in common that we join against them so they continuously feed us news about how we are fighting each other.

It’s time to stop listening to THEM and start listening to each other.

For example, I know you love your guns and I know you have the right to own them. I also know that since Obama became President the NRA and gun manufacturers have had a massive campaign telling you that your guns would be taken away from you.  Hasn’t happened, has it?  So, take a deep breath and join in the discussion the concerned people are having about all these damn killings. We non-gun owners don’t want you to lose your gun. We want the guns that are “out there” kept out of the hands of 3-year-olds (and 8-year-olds offered inappropriate experiences at gun ranges) and we do want a control on the guns getting into the hands of people who use them to express their anger, like estranged spouses or stalkers with restraining orders.  I think you want the same thing. You want this to be a safer place. Join the discussion. We’re closer than you think.gun-safety-poster

Another example: we hear the unemployment rate is way down, and I suppose that the way the government collects that data, it is. But here on the street we feel something otherwise. My own search for a job in the 18 months we have been in Oregon is a pretty good example.  I have a pretty diverse background and years (and years and years) of experience so I have applied to about 50 positions. I have had four interviews. Yup…and the rest? Some never even acknowledged receipt of the application.  Few sent a message about thanks but no thanks. So, I have stopped looking and am starting my own business. I guess that means I am not counted as unemployed any more. But the reality, of course, is that there is still no income generation flowing into our household budget yet.  So, what’s the problem? Well, in my case it may be ageism, the last bastion of discrimination. They can’t ask birthdate any longer but they do ask date of high school graduation. Duh. let’s see, estimate 18 years old at graduation and age 40-some years. Uh huh. Old…into the trash. Or, “too” experienced. One person actually told me I was overqualified and would be bored. No, damnit! It would be easy! I could do it with one hand tied behind my back, letting me shine for you. (okay, bitch bitch moan moan….deep breath move on)  The point is that current government policies (some good, some bad, some indifferent) have resulted in corporations moving their workforce out of the United States (without any consideration other than their profits to what that does to the local or national economy).  Some places have become so automated human personnel have dropped tremendously in the past few decades. And small business owners hire part-time workers at low wages in order to avoid taxes/fees/whatever. Some places have an amazing revolving door with their new hires but still have not caught on if they just raise the salary and be more discriminating in the expertise of the people they hire they could get someone who could do the job.  Pay a bit more so the worker can have ONE job to help the family manage and have energy to come to work refreshed and eager each day.  Offer decent time off for illness/vacation/personal time so the worker can actually get some things done to maintain their own health, for example, thereby being able and willing to be at work with full attention to the job. I know you feel the same way. We’re closer than you think.

technological-unemployment

Technology and Unemployment: The Future of the Labor Market and … pennpoliticalreview.org

Just about everyone I know has grave disappointment in the education our kids are getting. Schools are testing like crazy and scores are supposedly showing improvement but many people can not read (even this chatty kind of writing) and most can’t do simple math. Life skills? I heard recently from a friend who is the director of a social service program at a local church that she is starting a cooking class for very young kids because in many families there are three generations who do not know how to cook and the household has no cooking equipment. How about being able to present and listen to both sides of an argument? By teaching kids how to debate both sides of an issue you help teach them to listen to two sides of an issue.  You know it is hard to listen to people who rant and rave , but a calm presentation of the “other” viewpoint can be a mind opener. You know I listen to you and I know you feel the same way. We’re closer than you think.EmilysQuotes.Com-purpose-reason-learning-score-test-mistake-failure-education-intelligent-Jeannie-Fulbright

I volunteered to help with a state legislative campaign this past fall after meeting the candidate and listening to his position on the issues. I offered to make phone calls to ask people what they thought was the biggest issue facing the state and here was my experience. Each evening I worked I made 200 calls. I reached 20 people. I spoke with five. The other 15 told me things like they “don’t discuss politics” (wait a second–this is the time to do it-I promise NO argument!), “it’s meaningless what I think” (only if you don’t share it), “I always vote the straight party line” (and how has that worked for you in the past?).  I understand that with the Koch brothers buying candidates who will support their agenda, many people feel that national politics no longer is representative of what they think. (Suggestion: don’t vote for those candidate and yes, you CAN find out who has contributed to their campaign.)  I understand that even on a state level the massive amount of money that is now allowed to pour in influences the decision making. On a local level, we still may have time to grab and hold on to our government…but only if you move now.  There is a lot a grassroots movement can do, but you have to move now. There is a groundswell demanding that state legislatures call for an amendment to the Constitution that will overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizen United decision. Your voice is needed now. I know you feel the same way. We’re closer than you think.citizensunited

THEY want us to be fragmented. THEY don’t want us to realize that we have so much in common that we join against them so they continuously feed us news about how we are fighting each other.

It’s time to stop listening to THEM and start listening to each other.

 

 


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Blame It All on Obama

So, I read once again this morning that it is Obama’s fault. Specifically this morning it was about some unhinged individual who took his gun and travelled to Brooklyn to kill some cops. It’s Obama’s fault.

I really have trouble with the President being blamed with all that is wrong. So, let’s examine our own behavior because it is the collection ALL OF US that makes up American society.not me

Do you chose to go to the movies and pay $8 or more to watch bloodshed and violence?  Do you consider it really cool when someone goes around and starts “making things right” by killing and destroying. Then YOU are contributing to the attitude that supports riots after something happens that angers people.Einstein logic

diet-soda2Do you chose to ignore the advice that artificial sweeteners have been a major reason why there are so many overweight Americans with health issues? When you grab that diet soda, YOU are contributing to your own health decline and the crisis we have in the United States with rising health care costs.

Do you chose to drive your favorite ride whenever you want to go without considering fuel efficiency or planning to run all your errands at one to time to minimize adding emissions to the air? Then YOU are contributing to dependence on oil and poor air quality?

Do you encourage your girl children to be “pretty” and your boy children to be “tough”? Then YOU are contributing to gender role problems and all the issues that lead up to the high level of sexual assault and rape on college campuses, discrimination against gays, ill treatment of anyone who is different.

kid in front of computerDo you encourage your children to play with their electronic games to keep them from bothering you? Then YOU are abdicating your parenting to the values others will give them.  Don’t blame the schools for not teaching your kids if you are not teaching your kids.

Do you rant and rave when something gets you angry or upset and blame problems on others?  Then YOU are demonstrating that anger is justified and you are rolling over and permitting anyone who has power over you to control you.

This meme made the rounds on Facebook and so many people "liked" it. What does it say about us when we enjoy seeing a baby encouraged to pose this way? Worse, what does it say about how this child is going to be raised to demonstrate anger?

This meme made the rounds on Facebook and so many people “liked” it. What does it say about us when we enjoy seeing a baby encouraged to pose this way? Worse, what does it say about how this child is going to be raised to demonstrate anger?

WE are society. If you do not like something you need to DO something about it. Yelling, writing a tirade (yeah, even this one) without positive action is only contributing to the anger level.

WE are society. If you see so much is wrong you are at a loss to know where to start, start in your own home first. Teach your children  to strive for excellence, not complacency. Don’t do just enough to get by, aim for the best you can do. Teach your children that respect for others is the way to go.  Don’t teach them to “screw them before they screw you” as one person quoted his version of the Golden Rule.taking-personal-responsibility2

WE are society. Get involved. If the concept of contacting your representative in Congress is too hard, go contact your neighbor. The person next door. Help with a chore. Bring them some cookies. Shovel their walk. Offer to take them to the store. Get to know them.

WE are society.  Stop blaming the President. We elected him, twice. With large margins. Soon we will be participating in another election process. This time, stretch your own thinking and go to a nonpartisan source to read about all the candidates. A site like procon.org which will present facts, not editorials, about each candidate and even provide a questionnaire to see which candidate is most aligned with your thinking. You may be surprised. Be your own thinker next time.

WE are society. You don’t like the way America has become. Change what YOU are doing and set the pathway on the right course.Society-Needs-People-Like-You

 

 


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Not a Good Choice

Election Day is Tuesday and I think most people are in one of three camps:

1-They have taken the time to read about the candidates. They may even have someone they like so much they volunteered a bit on the campaign. They made sure to vote early or will be in line at the polls early in the day. For a MidTerm election, this is about 10% of the population.I VOTE

2-They will vote but they are angry. They feel there really is no benefit to them for either candidate in the biggest election. They don’t know much, if anything, about other issues, including ones in their own town. They may vote for every position on the ballot without knowing anything about the candidates. This is about 30% of the population.

3- They won’t bother to vote. They believe it is all a waste of time. They get very angry whenever anyone asks their opinion about anything because they really have not formed one. They are just angry. This is about 60% of the population.votea

Yup, most people not only won’t vote but they feel they have a right to be angry about the government/country/schools/roads/business regulations/you name it they are pissed about it.

I personally think if you are not part of the cure, you are part of the problem. If you did not get educated about the candidates, if you did not help one you like get elected, if you didn’t even bother to vote, your voice was silenced by your inaction, by your apathy, by your own choice.  vote