Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The things you do for a thrill at 60.

Chill folks, I don't plan to blog politics. This is slightly political in that it is about something I did. As a retired science teacher, most Democrats, many Republicans and loads of Tea Partiers, I am concerned about environmental issues.  There are elections and then there is another part of being part of a Democracy which is advocating for issues that benefit us all. Other than that, I am sick and tired of politics. I've thought of not watching the news.

Girls just want to have fun damental rights.

This was a common sign at the Women's March on Washington. Organizers created bus rides from various points in Georgia. One lonely bus left from Macon, Georgia and I was on it. The bus originally left at 10:30 PM on a Friday and were to return at 5:30 am on Sunday. In actuality it left at 8:30 PM and arrived in Washington around 9 am Saturday. The return was around 9 am Sunday.

Now why would I want to go? Didn't I have plenty to do at home?

Shouldn't people just accept the election is over? Well the election is over. I am not contesting who is President. What I am interested in giving my input to my elected officials as to what I think is important. Like I don't want rivers in the United States to have water that resembles green cottage cheese like it does in some Chinese rivers. I don't water to be contaminated like it is in the former Soviet Bloc countries. Good politicians make decisions based on their constituencies input.

I'm a thrill seeker. I have never been a part of a movement. The March was not a Trump protest. It was a declaration of women's rights.

Everyone enjoyed one another. You spoke to all sorts of people. Yet everyone was familiar. Around noon, I sat on some steps and watched many families eating their lunch. Mom, dad, kids passing sandwiches around. A teenager scrunching her face after biting into her sandwich; dad switches sandwiches with her and they continue to eat.

The signs were hilarious and sometimes serious. The funniest to me was a large pink poster with the words "I can see Russia". I also enjoyed the one that said "Don't tampon my country". There were a great many patriotic signs with historical quotes like the coiled snake saying "Don't tramp on me". I go for the humor.

I ate a falafel. It was seasoned chicken, chick peas and rice in a wrap. They put a sour cream sauce on it and some paste. Having to watch indigestion with the double whammy of being on a bus; I chose my food carefully. I had brought several peanut butter and raisin sandwiches.

Law enforcement and emergency personnel were very friendly to the crowd. One took the time to make sure I had the most direct route back to RFK stadium where the buses were parked. I still did not go the right way. A local man walked me to a subway. I took the green line to find the blue line closed down. The entire system was overwhelmed with riders.

Washingtonians welcomed us with open arms. People allowed us to use their bathrooms, recharge our phones, gave away water and coffee. They were so friendly.

Sitting behind me on the bus was a former student with his girlfriend on the bus. They clearly had a great time. They were a darling couple.

The real motivation was knowing it is a man's world. How do I know this? I have an individual that goes everywhere with me and it is my developmentally delayed brother. If information is important, people make sure they explain it carefully to him. In returning to the United States, my mom and I gave knowing glances as the San Diego waitress refilled his soda and ignored us. We were giving the tip. We tipped her well.

It is catching myself in telling the young nurse in my sister's hospital room that nursing was a good profession for a woman. I was thinking of how I was told in my twenties that teaching wasn't everything but it paid well for a working woman. I have no regrets with my choice of profession. I enjoyed it for the most part and the profession broadened me in ways many other professions would not have. Add to that my view of world was pretty naive.

Sexism like racism is roughest in that the most damaging aspects are subtle and hard to put your finger on. I've seen the glass ceiling and I have been put in my place. I was born a humble person.
It's knowing how someone who has fought the good fight in a male dominated profession and has paid a huge price in personal happiness and health to stay there. It's keeping the secret when you have been propositioned by a co-worker. You try not to make waves and yet you sweat possible repercussions to your rejection.

When I see a young person, I want them to do their personal best and not make decisions based on what works best to maintain the status quo for their sex, race or social class. This adds public education to the list of items I advocate for.

I went because of my concern over environmental degradation and healthcare.

With my sister in a stroke rehab clinic, I slipped out of the house for an adventure that was worthwhile. The amount of walking I did was punishing. I stood most of the day or walked. I did sleep sitting up in the bus. I listened to people talking all night the first night. There wasn't a peep the second night. We were in a collective deep sleep.

As a teacher, I agreed with everyone's dad at the dinner table. When a child told me what mom or dad said, I admired how special their parent's were. But this past election, I saw how I straddled the fence and did not say clearly how I felt. I recognized the same pattern in Facebook rants of other people.

I took the following from a Facebook page. This is why I went. I have a right to speak my mind.


But this is the original reason. I was limited by the choices in Wikimedia Commons. I try not to use photos that artists are making a living by selling the rights to.

This is algal blooms in Newport, Rhode Island. The picture was taken in 1970. Although water is cleaner in the United States due to the clean water act of 1970, there is loads of pollution that has been documented.

"ALGAL BLOOM" IN WATER NEAR MIDDLETOWN DUMP INDICATES PHOSPHATE POLLUTION - NARA - 547509

This river is in Taiwan. I did not find any pictures of China. But we have all seen photos of Chinese wearing masks during periods of heavy air pollution.
A contaminated river runs through it, Thirteen Levels (14853426230)

Photo from Poland. Due to lack of pollution controls in Soviet Bloc Countries; almost all water sources are contaminated.
Frombork July 2013 109 href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AAutumn_Tyres.jpg" title="By Tom Thiel (Flickr: Autumn Tyres) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons">  This photo is in Russia. There are comparable scenes in the United States.
Autumn Tyres
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/01/21/world/womens-march-pictures.html

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

There is a great blog called Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, http://withrealtoads.blogspot.com. Then I found the sister site,http://poetryblogroll.blogspot.ca  These writers are incredible. I learn so much just following them.

I went to an event called Storytellers where people just get up and tell a story based on a theme. This past month, it was about borderlines. I don't know how any of the stories discussed the theme. Truth be told they weren't very interesting and my mind wandered. Everyone was there for the same reason as I, to get used to speaking in front of people. Next month, the theme is dirty. So if I think of a good narrative to deliver; the theme incongruity will not be a problem.

I plan to get a deck of cards to play cards with my sister at the hospital. Her dining room table is being moved into our den to put a big puzzle on. We used to do a jigsaw puzzle over Christmas holidays as a family when I was a kid. We always laughed about some pieces had to be taken out and put in the right place. Younger family members insisted if they could make it fit, well ---

My sister is doing fabulous at the rehab. I can tell she is becoming more competent and able bodied. I have my doubts that she will walk again. But being able to transfer and use handicap equipment is good. More importantly being able to live a happy life is better.

Health crisis are the worst. You have no control of the outcome. Being just like new is truly a precious thing. I overheard a study where happiness of individuals was determined more by health than wealth. If you have your choice, I would choose health too.

During some of the footage of people fleeing Aleppo, I saw a man pushing someone in a wheelchair. My burdens seem light in comparison. Geography helps with happiness. I'm glad I don't live in a war torn area or where women have to live such a second class life.

The man roofing my house fell through where the wood was rotting. I hated it. But it was a scraped leg versus a joint injury which will revisit you later in life. It did run through my head, do you have insurance? Luckily, his sister cleans houses for a living so it looks like I can get some help with household chores.

Wealth is another thing. Being solidly in the middle class, it is humbling hiring someone to clean house for myself. Having someone work to maintain my home while I read or watch television or pursue my hobbies once more. I remember when I first taught school, I felt an inner awkwardness in telling students what to do. I remember talking on the phone to a friend and I could hear the vacuum in the background. I asked her if she was vacuuming, oh that is the maid was her answer.

This is a year of change for me. With all the turmoil in politics, change is in the cards for many people. I remember voting for Reagan and the recession that occurred the second year of his presidency. I was laid off from my job.  What seemed truly terrifying led to a better job. I suspect all the political talk we hear are people not prepared to do anything in their need to hold power.

I had my teeth cleaned Thursday, the hygienist was telling me how she thought she would scream if anyone talked politics. What is tickling me now are people trying not to discuss politics. But by what the news is, they are still writing around the topic with their lament. I would laugh harder; but, I understand how they feel. It is hard to let go about things you feel strongly about.

We got a new roof on the house and it looks pretty good. Life is good. Maybe I'll get out. I hope your week goes well.


Sunday, January 8, 2017

Serious Sunday

The longer I live, the more important I think being bluntly honest is.

It is a social skill to hold your tongue. I have held my tongue a lot. Most of the time I have been glad I did in that in learning more, I would have regretted what I said. Not having to apologize for my presumption is the least of the problem, it is just that what you say can never be fully retracted.

That said, I still think just telling it how it is is important. When I taught school, beating around the bush about a child's problem actually exacerbated the problem. My dad said to describe exactly what the child was doing, the parents would recognize it.
Wintertime in Georgia

My dad was right. One year I was fed up with the profession. I had planned to get myself together that year financially, etc and look for another job. At parent conferences, when I spoke to parents, I could hear the soft scrapping of chairs as my colleagues briefly pushed back their chairs afraid of my rhetoric. None of the parent's got mad, they recognized what I was saying.

Yes I did have a few "hard nuts" I could not crack. Like all things, I worked with what I had. Interesting enough, I had several of those children in the night school program I taught at in subsequent years. Those same parents who felt their children were delicate china at one time could care less about their discipline. Children's uncontrolled behavior eventually make their parent's miserable.

There is another type of child that is hard to discipline because of difficult parents. These same children have to foist that parent's anger off of them to you. I told one little girl whose parents made me miserable that I did not remember her. How else do you start with a clean slate on a formerly bad relationship. With a straight face I told her she must have been pretty good, I remember the difficult kids.

Long story short, I taught this child math and when I worked with her individually, she shared how she hid in her bedroom when home. The night school worked well because her mother went into her tirades worst in the evening.

Even though that "white lie" was useful, I still don't believe in saying them. Very rarely do they help.

I had a student that the assistant principal felt sorry for the mom and situation. The boy was a "holy terror". There was no checkmate. I understood the AP's compassion. But, I had that child for about 3 hours out of the seven hour day. Long story short, he got older and into big trouble. Mom had a hard time coping but the situation got way out of hand. It may have gotten there anyway; but, it is easier to stop things in the beginning.

My other feeling about honesty is that we are creatures of habit. I have known people who were very nice, earnest people. I also knew they lied very easily and about matters of little relevance to anyone including themselves. I ran into a consummate liar this past month. I'll use what he had in a story. You have to respect a person's privacy even though you despise what they did. Plus, you can be sued. They may not win; but what a lot of time lost.

Why am I talking about lying. Well, when negotiating with people you lose the truth at times.

The good news is my sister is in a rehab hospital for a few weeks. Hopefully, she will be able to stand and walk some when she leaves. More importantly be able to bathe, dress herself, and use the toilet. Big steps to getting back to a normal life.

Her physical therapist is young. My sister is frustrated with her body and yes there is pain. The physical therapist is good and inept. Inept in that she is lecturing my sister. When you work with children or adults, the more you talk, the less you communicate. Long story short, she wanted to discuss my sister's temper. I did not know what to say. She does have a temper. So do I. So I said, "I guess it is the Irish in us."

If I told her the truth (I felt aggravated with all the pep talk lecturing she was doing), she would have been offended. There would be about a 20 percent chance she would have listened. At that age, I would been the same. So today, I am going to give my sister a pep talk. I'm giving her a glittery necklace to use like a tiara. When she goes to therapy, take off the tiara. You're just an ole Cinderella until the therapy is over. I'm giving her a nicer necklace to wear to remember she can do it.

It's a mind game. When I left yesterday, I worry they will throw my sister out. Hence my visit today will be for another dose of my homemade physical therapy as well as companionship. Hopefully one or both will egg her on.  It's easy to ask someone to suck it up. I just wish her the best in doing it. She has other therapist which I hope will help the physical therapist.

How would you handle this?

I will eventually say something if it persists. It's ridiculous for a twenty something healthcare worker to do all that lecturing about something she has never faced.







Sunday, January 1, 2017

That little voice deep down inside, might be a troll.

My New Year's Resolution is to cultivate my inner troll into a graceful, mellifluous assault of the senses on those so inclined. In short, if I can't say something nice, I won't say anything at all.

I thought it would take me awhile to channel my inner snark. But hey it was there quivering for release. I read a blogpost of a fairly well read, well sold writer. Since insulting people is not the best way to get on their good side, below I have completely re-written their blog post. The gist is still the same.

With the ups and downs in life, great tragedies and good times too. Happy New Years.

My inner snark wishes to reply, "No wonder you're a children's writer, you write blog posts like the average intellectual 6th grader writes book reports. The average 6th grader would write. " Mom pics bad buks a horse croaks."

I know a few children writers who read my blog, and it is not you. However, feel free to write as corny a book report as you can in the comments. It's always nice to know the complexities of life can be summed in a short sentence.

My gosh, political commentators give answers to complex problems in 30 second sound bites. We got a President who can do that now. The only problem will happen if Congress listens to him which probably won't happen. My way or the highway philosophy sounds more like leadership to their constituents.

Thus my favorite poem named Fleas.

Fleas

Adam
Had em.

Author unknown, I wonder why. I might claim the little ditty and charge folks a pence to use it.

My favorite yearbook comment one year was, "May all your ups and downs be in bed." The eighth grade male was incredulous that some girl's parents were offended. It sounded so snappy.

I love to read the comments to news articles. It's amazing how the politically minded can relate anything to the side they abhor.

Man's 20 foot python saves Family from Intruder.

Possible comments:

    " Oh no, the libtards may take away our snakes."
    " Rush Limbaugh ate his neighbor's snake. That's why his tongue is so forked."

In our local paper, it degenerates to "whose a thug". We have a tag team of about five people with fake Facebook pages. They are white and if the person is remotely black, you have a thug and hey let's rant about Obama. Barack HUSSEIN Obama was obviously born on another planet where they invented sin and sold it to the Muslims. ISIS is really the Democrat party.

Then we have the lone black female and sometimes male. What does this tell you about black people? They are for the most part much smarter than white people. It doesn't take the gang of five to say a bunch of stupid stuff, one can do it for everyone. Of course, that one can be pretty tiresome at cocktail parties.

But I digress. Comments could be intelligent at one time. Then everybody started saying whatever they felt like. It was anonymous. Sometimes a troll was born who just disagreed with everyone for the fun of it. Then they tried to clean up Dodge. Afterall, there were too many buy my incredibly valuable artwork cheep links which were malware that could clean your bank account out in no time.

A youth pastor in an Atlanta suburb was arrested for having sex with a fourteen year old parishioner. This brought out normal comments.



Now which one was written by White guy, Black guy, Tea Partier.

My thoughts were, "What, he ain't no thug? or What, no one is calling him a thug? or Why isn't the black guy questioning why this guy hasn't been called a thug? Actually I had a wittier one. But if you don't write it down, you just forget. So I suppressed my inner troll for the sake of being a decent human being.

The answer is 1. white guy    2. Black guy     c. Tea Partier

Anyway, Happy New Years. 2017 here we come.