Voices In My Head

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Okay, I know this will sound kind of psychotic, like I am hearing “voices” in my head. But lets face it, we all do. Whether we call it our conscious,ego or intuition; there is something in our heads that from time to time influences and directs us. Usually, listening to this voice can be a good thing except when what we are hearing is negative self-talk about ourselves.

When I first started this “maybe divorce” journey I immediately took steps to change my attitude and my outlook on life. And it helped a lot and for quite a while. But lately I have realized I am slipping back into the negative self talk and decided that I needed to revisit those practices that I began which quieted this negativity. So I am back to “CANCEL, CANCEL, CANCEL”  when I hear negative self-talk, followed by the exact opposite of the negative said three times. It might look like this.

“He doesn’t love you”

“CANCEL, CANCEL, CANCEL”

“HE DOES LOVE YOU, HE DOES LOVE YOU, HE DOES LOVE YOU” or instead I just stop and look around taking note of what I see around me.

“OH THE CLOUDS ARE BIG AND FLUFFY WHITE TODAY. LOOK AT THOSE BIRDS SITTING ON THE TELEPHONE WIRE. MUST BE 20 OF THEM”

I refuse to give this negative self-talk the time of day.

So far this correction of my negativity has been helping to decrease it. By paying attention of what my inner dialogue is saying to me; I am aware of how negativity begets negativity and how negative internal dialogue influences your external life. Once again, I am reminded that living with negativity is such a caustic way in which to live on a daily basis.

As I contemplated this a few weeks ago it occurred to me that I am my worst critic. The “Constructive Criticism” or negative self-talk I indulge in is often cruel or mis-guided. It seems strange that I so readily accept it of/for myself. Because, frankly, if another person treated me the way I treat myself… if that person said the words to me that I say to myself… well, I wouldn’t put up with it. In fact I would probably tell that mean gurl:

“SEE YAH. DON’T LET THE DOOR HIT YOU IN THE ASS ON THE WAY OUT!”

Yet, for some reason, many of us give this negative person who dwells within us too much power. We believe that THEY are on our side and have something valuable to say when in fact they don’t. We treat THEM like they are some sort of expert on how we should live our day-to-day lives. We give THEM the power to guide us regarding how we react to most everything we encounter during our day, when, this type of negativity does not need to be in charge of ANYTHING in our lives. In fact, when we hear it speaking, unless it is doing so with kindness and compassion, we should ignore it. We should refuse to believe anything it is telling us.  And we should “CANCEL, CANCEL, CANCEL” until we cannot hear it anymore.

Why? Because it is only natural that when we talk to ourselves with loving kindness that is how we will treat others. And if we can’t be nice to ourselves it is doubtful others will be either.

So today, be mindful of what you are saying to yourself. Listen and figure out if what is being said is coming from a place of compassion or one of self-loathing. And if it is not coming from a place of gentleness then walk away and leave those words behind. For there is only one you and you deserve to hear about the best of you and not the worst.

So be it.

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An Eye For An Eye

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Ever since I saw this story in 2009, I cannot help but think about it and the ramifications. The story is here:http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/02/19/acid.attack.victim/index.html?iref=mpstoryview

The story is about a young woman named Ameneh who lives in Iran. She was unfortunate enough to have a young man sit next to her in college. He purposely brushed up against her and she was outraged. It was then that he began a two year pursuit of her. He harassed her and threatened her and even asked her to marry him. She however refused his advances.
One day after work she was approaching the bus stop when she heard someone behind her as she turned around she saw him and the next thing she felt was intense pain. He had thrown acid on her face. It immediately burned her entire face, her eyes, her arms and hands. Her mother kept the clothes she was wearing which shriveled and burned too. She was left permanently scarred and blind.

She has asked her government to blind her attacker with acid in the Islamic law tradition of “an eye for an eye” known as qisas. My understanding of qisas is that when used the punishment cannot not exceed that done by the perpetrator. Recently the courts in Iran have denied her attackers appeal and he could at any time be blinded. It is my understanding that he would have acid dropped into his eyes not sprayed on him in keeping with what qisas demands. She says her request is not one of vengeance but so that he can never do the same to another person and basically to show men that they cannot get away with this type of behavior. Human rights activists are outraged. I for one have been sitting on the fence quietly digesting the facts of this case and trying to come to some conclusion, none of which appear very satisfactory to me.

In researching this issue I was stunned to find out that in Bangladesh alone there have been over 2,600 acid attacks since 1999 against woman and young girls. According to IRIN, The UN Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs most of these were a result of land disputes, refusals of love declarations/proposals or problems with dowries. According to human rights groups these sorts of attacks are common in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Iraq and India. Often times women who take their cases to the courts find that they are met with disdain in which they are told that if they had only agreed to what the man had wanted they never would have had this problem.

In many countries women who have failed to dress modestly, meaning that their legs or heads may not have been covered or improperly so according to an arbitrary set of standards; have also been victims of acid attack.

Especially chilling is the story of the 11 girls and 4 teachers attending the Mirwais School for Girls in Afghanistan. On November 14, 2008 three men on motorcycles sprayed them with acid. The act was meant to intimidate the girls of the valley to remain uneducated and to stay away from school. In an incredible show of bravery almost all have returned to school refusing to be intimidated.

In 2002, parliament enacted two laws against acid violence: Under the Acid Control Act of 2002, the unlicensed production, import, transport, storage, sale, and use of acid can result in a prison term of 3-10 years. Those who possess chemicals and equipment for the unlicensed production of acid can get the same prison term.

One doctor sounded an optimistic note: “Since then, acid violence has been showing a rapid decline,” said Shamanta Lal Sen of the burns and plastic surgery unit at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH).

According to ASF, 221 and 192 people were subjected to acid violence in 2006 and 2007 respectively. In 2000 and 2001 their number was 234 and 349 respectively.

Combating the crime of acid throwing is not easy as it appears to be a fairly common occurance in some countries. And little is done to the perpetrators except for them being ordered to make a minimal financial payment as a form of restitution. Two thousand dollars hardly begins to compensate for the intense medical care required when skin is melted and burned to the bone. Further, in a country in which beauty means so much and disability renders one invisable and obsolete, permenant disfigurement is tantamount to sentencing one to death because eventually there will be no one or no system to take care of the victim. First the victim is victimized by the attacker, then often by the courts and finally shunned by society as a whole. And the offender knows all of this and delights in it.

If it is true that prison terms have reduced the number of acid attacks then perhaps it is possible that even tougher mandatory sentences would help to decrease the number of incidences. But then again,perhaps, if Ameneh Bahrami is right, the blinding of her perpetrator may have more of an effect on stopping acid attacks than any laws presently on the books. Furthermore,if she does nothing and he attacks again her refusal to take action will make her accountable to the next victim for their injury.Lest we try to forget the man who is to be blinded is not an innocent man being used to advance a cause but he is the man who knowingly plotted and planned to disfigure and rob an innocent young woman of the life she knew and loved. He succeeded.

According to a story in the Washington Post… More than two weeks ago, Movahedi was led into court by two policemen. He showed no remorse when the court ruled on the case. When the judge asked whether he was ready for his punishment, Movahedi said that he still loved Bahrami but that if she asked for his eyes to be taken out, he would seek the same punishment for her.

“They must also completely empty out her eyes, since I’m not sure that she cannot secretly see,” he said. “The newspapers have made this a huge case, but I haven’t done anything bad.”

Ameneh Bahrami has the right to ask for an eye for an eye and has sound reasons for doing so. First and foremost her attacker STILL doesn’t believe he has done anything bad as quoted in the article by the Washington Post.

Preventing harm to others is Bahrami’s goal and it is a noble one in a country where there is no justice for women. May her goal of eliminating acid attacks be the outcome of her quest and may women everywhere never have to fear such a barbaric act being perpetrated on them or their loved ones.

As John Stuart Mill has expressed, “The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant.”

 

 

Candy Porn

I’ve seen a lot in my life and I have been regarded as very liberal and progressive for most of it. But today, my conservative side began to twitch just a tad before it went into a full ride spasm. Let me take you there.

We were in Boca Raton at a large outdoor mall when we took our tween daughters into a candy shop. Now I have to admit I was oblivious to everything around me as I began to froth at the mouth like a rapid dog contemplating on just what type of sugar fix I would be indulging in. Would it be Zotz, Jelly Bellies, or maybe a variety pack of Gummy Bears? Cherry, strawberry or watermelon became the next most important question of the night. Just as quickly I began to contemplate some chocolate to go with the Port I have stashed in my luggage so if things became a little intense with the diving moms I could take a little nip now and then to say sane and not say something I would later regret.

My head was spinning as I became high just thinking about the many ways of quieting my sugar addiction. That’s  when the grandmother of one of our 12 yo daughters began to have a conversation about something with the clerk. I will say in my own defence that I was too busy shoveling just the right amount of Juicy Pear Bellies into my bag to pay much attention to what was being said.

“Hmmm…..should I get more pear or maybe a little buttered popcorn flavored bellies?” I was muttering to myself when I realized that the conversation had just gotten a little louder and more intense. All of a sudden my senses were on high alert. For goodness sakes just what was going on?

Turns out this company was selling more than your average bear kinds of candy. They were selling this candy:

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And this candy:

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And this too

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And these were the more missionary position tame ones. Suddenly, I noticed there were sexy, outlandish, x-rated candies everywhere I turned.

I have to admit at first that I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. But then I began to see this lady’s point. This was a candy store for God’s sake full of M&M’s, Sweet Tarts and Nerds. This is supposed to be a sanctuary for children where they can start out on sugar before moving onto the more adult addictions of booze and porn. But here I was standing in this store with my 12-yo-daughter looking at chocolate covered pussy cats and big candy dicks and it began to piss me off.

First of all, and straight to Grandma’s point, the x-rated candy was not just to be found in a x-rated candy aisle. No, it was mixed in on every shelf in the store. No matter where you looked (except the big binds that my head had previously been buried in) naughty treats were in plain view for any 5-year-old to see.  Frankly, having to explain to a five-year-old boy why it would not be proper to ask Grandma for a chocolate vagina for Christmas made my bowels tie up in knots. Even worse, I envisioned the child authorities arriving at my door for some comment my kid had made about all the dicks in a box he had under his bed alongside a Hustler magazine made of fudge and a box of gummy bear condoms. I began to seriously sweat with the kind of fear that makes you carry around a baseball bat when you are home alone.

“You know, she’s right!” I thought. What the hell!

A candy store is a place where children of all faiths, ethnicities, and races should be able to innocently prowl the store with nothing on their minds except how they can hide their stash before their mother starts innocently “picking” through it.  They shouldn’t have to endure a peep show on every aisle. They are toddlers, Girl Scouts and choir cherbs for goodness sake. Let them be kids and drool over the sugar, the additives and the red dyes but for goodness sake they should not tempted to drool over sinfully sugary porn candy!!!

So I am calling out the It’s Sugar candy store in Boca Raton. Stop selling candy smut to our youngsters because childhood is supposed to be a safe place where innocence runs amok and camels are free from noticeable genitalia. I would also like to remind you that once you see IT you cannot un-see IT so please put your balls behind the counter where they used to keep Hustler magazines away from us kids and our fathers back in the good ole days when candy shops were candy shops and porn was rated X.

Best Qualities As A Mother

UPDATE

Since B stated 18 months ago that he might want to divorce we have done a lot to try to save our relationship. This includes a Marriage Encounter weekend, his therapist, my therapist and a joint marriage therapist. I have decreased my yelling to a trickle, have kept the house in good shape and have lost weight. Frankly, things had been improving for close to a year but lately I have noticed that we have been regressing. More grudges, less sex, 66% less dialoging, etc. I am a very intuitive person and I “feel” these changes and recognize them for what they are and lately I have been feeling really anxious about them.

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I have never been an anxious person even when I have had plenty to be anxious about. For 57 years I have kept most of that anxiety stuff swept under the rug. But lately, it has occurred to me that as B distances himself my anxiety rises. It is an uncomfortable place to be. Sometimes it even makes me question my sanity because I tell him I am feeling the distance which he denies but then three weeks later at a therapy session he uses the words and admits that when x happened he distanced himself all the while denying my concerns for the past weeks.  It is a crazy way to live.

BEST QUALITIES

Recently, we had a dialogue question that asked each of us to talk about our partners best qualities as a parent. In the allotted 10 minutes I wrote about 7 qualities that B has that I think make him a great parent.

Now I know in dialogue you are not supposed to judge the other’s response because they are based on “feelings.” And feelings may be factually true or not but the bottom line is that they are what they are. So when B wrote about the qualities he admired that I had as a parent it basically came down to the fact that “I cared for my children.” To say I was hurt that this was the only quality he listed was an understatement.

Everyone cares for their children. You care for your dog. You care whether you have enough toilet paper in the house to last the entire week. Caring for your children really doesn’t get any accolades in my book. It is something we all do… even badgers, skunks and probably even one-cell amoebas.

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So I took this to my therapist. She wanted me to write down what I wished he had said about my good qualities as a parent. Here goes:

  1. I wish he had said that I am good about seeing or initiating those deep soulful and meaningful talks when they need them to boost their confidence, understanding of life or just need to express their concerns. I wish he had said he knew that most of the time they seek me out which shows that they trust my love and advice.
  2. I wish he had said that I love my kids fiercely and deeply and that they know that they can count on that love and can trust me to be there for them forever.
  3. I wish he had said that my children know I believe in them and that I think that they can accomplish whatever it is that they set out to do and that by knowing this it will take them far in life.
  4. I wish he had said that he knows I am their biggest fans and that I cheer them on with encouragement when they are lacking the spunk to make that “final touchdown” in whatever it is they are doing.
  5. I wish he had said I am a “good” parent far more often than a “bad” one and that even when I fail it is not intentional or malicious.
  6. I wish he had said that raising six kids, two of whom have autism, would be a tough job for anyone and that it is amazing I don’t lose it every day.
  7. I wish he had said that my kids had experienced so much of this world thanks to me and that if it was left to him they would not have.
  8. I wish he had said that I try my best to teach them the important things that they will need to navigate their lives now and in the future.
  9. I wish he had said that I am “good enough” parent some of the time (which is okay) and a great parent when it really counts.
  10. I give good hugs.
  11. I wish he had said that I encourage my kids to take risks which creates opportunities for them to believe in themselves.
  12. I wish he had said I am an honest parent in dealing with my kids and all the people we have to deal with because of their interests and their issues and that my honesty helps provide desperately needed clarity.
  13. I just wish he had said I am a good mother and he could not manage without me.

And while this exercise was difficult because I kept wanting to explain or add in the negative to balance it all out, I didn’t because this is my gift to myself and a tribute to who I am as a parent. I don’t NEED B to validate it…but it would have been nice.

Complacency

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Throughout almost my entire life I have often taken on what I have “perceived” as injustice. I have fought to change things within the school system for my kids.I have tried to protect my patient’s autotomy and rights. I have stood alongside like-minded people as we protested for change. I have said the “unpopular” thing that has needed to be said but few wanted to. But all of this concern comes with a price. It extracts a huge part of the stillness and the gentleness that you need to go through life without going crazy.

When I was younger I used to look at older folks and wonder why they had gotten complacent and just accepted the status quo. I swore I would never be like that…but I am becoming that way and frankly I think that I might want to. Because the amount of energy I expend trying to right the wrongs is tremendous and I just can’t afford to do that anymore if I want to stay sane and live a peaceful existence.

This reflection is a result of last night when I attended the annual contract signing meeting for our diving club. Sure it’s a small blip in the scheme of things but I had concerns that the owner was not coaching our children as much as was expected/promised and she is the expert as well as a judge. She knows her stuff but she has a habit of blowing off parental concerns or saying things will change and she is not held accountable so nothing changes. So in the meeting I stated that she had missed at least two rotations of 50% of the practices which caused a big to-do with some of the other parents. We are paying a lot of money for these lessons and I want to be sure that what is promised is actually being delivered…which it is not.

Needless to say, I went home totally stressed and disappointed. Some of the parents who felt the same way did not have my back like promised. Sadly, in the end I accomplished nothing and pissed off some people because they are YES men to the owner of the club. And of course there is the unspoken feeling that if you say something it will effect your child’s coaching.  SIGH.

Last night I didn’t sleep well. I tossed and turned for hours and I woke up feeling stressed and unhappy that I took on something that needed to be said but will be paying a price for it.  My peace of mind is disrupted and the “happy place” I have been cultivating inside me for the past year feels anything but. And if I am honest, when I look back the amount of time I have spent fighting the “system,” whatever it may be, has most often not produced the results I had hoped for. And so I have concluded that I must stop fighting the fight because it is so disruptive to my own soul.

I would like to think that despite all of this I will do the right thing if called upon. I think we all do. We like to imagine that we would be the ones hiding our fellow Jewish citizens in our attics should the need arise. But yet, I have to wonder if complacency in the small areas of life soon reach into the larger and more important ones. I wonder too if complacency makes us lazy, afraid, and unwilling to risk our own comfort for a greater and far more important purpose; if it becomes our new a comfortable norm.

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And so today, I am leaning towards incorporating complacency in my life which essentially to me means putting my comfort ahead of everything else and sticking my head in the sand.  It means not rocking the boat, not championing a cause and not trying to fix things. For it appears to me that if you want to cultivate some sort of inner peace you can not do these things.

Frankly, complacency scares and disappoints me, but at my age, unfortunately, so does the fight.

 

 

 

 

Halloween Hooters

Sigh. Today I was invited to a Halloween party. Usually I wait to the last minute to get a costume and as  result I get to choose between two: this and that.

But this year I am getting a jump on things. I’m shopping early and there are so many choices when you don’t wait until October 30th to find something to wear.

In case you haven’t guessed, I am not a big fan of Halloween. I don’t like dressing up in funny costumes. I don’t like slogging my way through drunken people with sharp tails and dull wit, being haunted by Casper the Ghost, and smelly vampires who are dressed as blood-sucking politicians. I also don’t like the fact that evil is personified in the face of an 8 yo slasher who comes to my door. But what I really distain is the fact that woman are objectified no matter what the costume is. Frankly, I don’t know if I am just jealous that I will never look like these women again or if it really does offend the feminist in me. For instance take a look at these halloween designs.

Now, I don’t know about you but the history books I was taught from stated that pirates had scurvy, rickets, no teeth, poor hygiene and lice. Lots of them. And frankly, I don’t know how these poor pirates would make it out on the high seas with such skimpy clothing. Looks like a guarantee for deathbed pneumonia and burial at sea to me.

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I suspect that B would like this one and what man wouldn’t?

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Having a woman grant your every wish followed by a wide eyed “Yes Master” is probably every man’s dream.Of course, this also encourages that harem/polygamist idea that has been  floating around in the back of their heads since they were six too. But frankly, if Jeannie is suppose to represent a Middle Eastern woman she needs to put on more clothes.

The Angel vs. the Devil on my shoulder thing seems to be another men’s fantasy.

 

And one can easily see why they are such popular characters. I don’t know what Bible the designers are reading but it certianly isn’t the King James. Yet, the most gruesome thing of all about these particular costumes is being forced to wear 7 inch heels to a Halloween party…now that is just worse than burning in hell!

I have recently noticed the candy bar costume has come into vogue. The first thing I will say is that she looks like a Mounds Bar not a Snickers. But what bothers me more is that this is obviously the kind of outfit should come with a warning that every leering weirdo guy will hit on you uttering the words “I enjoy eating snickers” as a part of them melts while imagining that they are removing your chocolate coating.

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I also have a problem with the action figure costumes. While Wonder Woman may be able to get the job done I suspect it would be twice as hard when you are having to constantly worry if your nipples are showing and pulling up your bustier between punches. And the cape? Well, it isn’t made of ermine to keep you warm as you are flying through the night sky. And how does she avoid gigantic goosebumps when being photographed in the middle of New York in 32 degree weather?

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Next up…the animal costumes.

 

Okay, as far as I know all of these creatures can give you rabies. That’s bad enough but that zebra tail looks like something out of an S&M show. That rabies/S&M combo seems just as terrifying as ebola. Cat’s or bummies are both very soft and furry…the benefit of wearing these…I don’t have to shave for several months.

I know there are many men who think that women look good in a uniform and these certainly don’t disappoint. I suspect if the Armed Services used these woman as recruiting tools that we would have an overflow of dedicated new soldiers.

Of course there are always those in the SERVICE industry. I tell you what, if all the hospital nurses looked like that they would be filled to capacity (the hospitals that is)

Yes, Halloween costumes for women this year look like what you would wear to a masquarade ball at a sex club. So I decided to take a gander at the men’s dress up gear.

 

Appears that they only have the penis costume which comes in large and larger. I like costume this because it makes it easy to spot the biggest dick in the room very easily and steer clear.

Which leads me to the costume I have picked out. It seems appropriate for a 55 year old woman…not to frilly, not too fancy, it comes in a very slimming color and I don’t have to wear heels or panties!

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Superheroes And Fish

California has little water. What we do have are high mountains onto which snow is suppose to fall, building up a snowpack, which then melts during the warming temperatures of spring. This water is then stored in lakes and reservoirs where it is released into canals from which farmers draw the water they need for their crops. It least it is suppose to work this way but climate change appears to be messing things up a bit.

Off of the “MIGHTY” canals are many small ones that divert the water to specific locations. I live along one of these smaller canals. Usually, the canal is dry except for the months of May, June and July when the water flows from farm to farm and eventually out to the ocean. But it wasn’t always this way. Back in the 1800’s the area from Bakersfield to San Francisco was pretty much a big lake. People traveled by boat up and down this HUGE swath of water that was many hundred of miles long. Then man decided to tame the waterways and all of nature that went with it. I suspect this area was much prettier before man’s intervention.

One of the highlights of my day involves walking along the canal and visiting with my wild neighbors. Every day I see Henry the lizard who darts out from the bushes to give me a hello.  Sometimes I see the graceful white egrets dipping their bills deep into the silt looking for bugs and other delicacies. And on every stroll, I always hear the THA-RUPM of the gigantic bullfrogs which live around the banks of this soothing waterway; its quiet gurgling sounds washing over me and cleansing my mind .

But then the inevitable happens they crank down the trap door which stops the flow of the water. One day I’ll be walking and notice the waterline has lowered. The next it is lower still. Finally, around the pipes, all that are left are small shallows, minuscule bodies of water which the sun is unable to reach and suck dry quite as quickly as the rest.

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And so yesterday, as I took my walk, I went to take a look under the small “bridges.”  To my surprise there were about one hundred 3-5 inch long fish swimming lazily in the rapidly vanishing water. An unfortunate few were floating on the top an impending sign of danger to all that remained. It reminded me of the times in my past, when my life as I knew it, suddenly dried up and I was left  slowly suffocating and gasping for air. I ran home in a panic.

“Come on kids. Let’s go. We have something important to do!” I shouted as I came bounding through the door. “Get the swimming pool net, get the ice chest, get a water scooper and some shoes that can get wet….we are going to save some fish!”

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Of course, the kids looked at me as if I was crazy, like tweens and teens often do. Eye rolls soon followed.

Then Paul asked,” so what will we do with them after we catch them?”

Frankly, I was stumped. But after a few seconds a plan begins to focus in my mind.

“Why, we will drive them to the MIGHTY canal and release them. That’s what we will do!”
And so we headed off to the shallows armed with everything we needed to become the super heroes that we knew we were capable of being. But there was a problem as is always the case with superheroes in these types of dicey situations. In our case …the fish were not cooperating. Every time the net would come towards them they would flit away into the pipe and hiding from our super herculean efforts. Ten minutes went by. Not one fish. Twenty minutes…one floating fish was netted. Thirty minutes…it was so hot we were ready to swim in the slimy shallows ourselves. A hundred fish and we could not catch one.

Finally, like all great superheroes. we decided to look for other good deeds to do elsewhere but we learned an important lesson …you can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped. I guess fish are like humans in that way and stupidity knows no bounds.

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Hatred Has No Place In Politics

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*I usually don’t do political commentary but today I felt I have to as the primary for my state is this Tuesday. If you don’t like it don’t read it.*

There are many times in my life that I have struggled with religion. In fact, when picking a church I have been known to call and interview the pastor about issues such as homosexuality in their church, Christians practicing hatred, and women’s rights. Inevitably, I would get a “Well, we tell people that homosexuality is a sin so we do not marry THEM in our church” to which I would reply that any church that teaches exclusion based on gender, race, ethnicity and sexual identification goes against the teachings of Jesus. I would thank them for their time, scratch them off the list, and then try another.

As a person who has children who are “minority” citizens of this country I have always had a concern about people who hate. Whether its Mexicans, homosexuals, or uppity women; haters don’t just hate one group they are equal opportunity haters against anyone who is “different” from them. I don’t tolerate it but I am surprised by the numbers that do. While this week it may be gays that are the new target group, next week it will be African Americans who experience more than the usual amount of racism that they have to deal with on a daily basis. Somehow, it always feels like we as a country are just a step away from my children being the next group that haters will descend on. This is why Donald Trump is such a concern to me.

The President of the United States is “suppose ” to represent and look out for the interests of all persons regardless of who they are and where they come from. But this week Trump sunk to a new low stating that the  judge who is presiding over his case should be removed only for the fact that he is Mexican American. But it is not the first time The Donald’s bigotry has risen to the forefront. During his campaign he has called Mexican immigrants rapists and murderers. In 1973 and 1976 the Justice Department sued Trump’s company for not providing equal opportunity to African Americans who were trying to rent apartments. He has also proposed a blanket ban on Muslims entering this country. His casino in Atlantic City was fined for removing black card dealers from the floor when a certain high roller arrived because the gambler did not want to be around black people. There are so many instances of Trump’s racist ideas and comments going back decades that it truly amazes me that anyone is surprised when a new attack against some group is uttered by the man.

As a parent I have an obligation to protect the rights of my Asian children. As a human being I have the same obligation to promote the rights of all of my fellow beings on with earth. I might even argue that as a person whose ethnicity has been provided the greatest protections and has been given greater opportunities; my duty is to ensure that those who have not had those chances should be entitled to rights equal to or greater than my own. So when I see a man who promotes hatred, bigotry and racism trying to ascend to the presidency I get uneasy. I get uneasy for my children, for my family, for people of color and those whose religion is different from my own.  I get uneasy because it seems incredible to me that we as a species have still not realized that hatred begets hatred and while you are now “safe” there is no guarantee that you always will be. And having visited an extermination camp, I have seen first-hand what the end results of hatred can be.

A leader who promotes hate of any sort is not a person who will bring unity to a country so torn by diametrically opposed ideas. Unity is what we need in a country as vast and diverse as ours and Trump will not bring it. So if you are thinking about voting for Trump I urge you to think about my children and all the children whose differences may make them vulnerable to attack because the Republican nominee is promoting an agenda which makes being “different” from the white establishment undesirable and if history is to be believed will end up limiting their opportunities. So it is time to take a stand against hatred by using your vote to show that you will not accept a candidate whose platform is mirrored in hate. I thank you as do the millions of families who will be negatively effected by a Trump presidency.

 

 

Gone Missing Two

One of the most beautiful cities in America has got to be San Diego, California. We spent the weekend here because Gracie had a swim meet. The city is warm, clean, and has a wonderful mass transportation system. Architecture here is widely held in esteem and The Gaslight District teems with great places to eat and shops that beckon you in to spend those hard-earned greenbacks.

The aqua blue water sparkles and when you head out onto the open seas often you will find yourself surrounded by super pods of dolphins who love to leap up as if in a synchronized ballet as they chase your boat. Big yachts and little dinghies all line the piers and make me sea sick just watching them as they bob up and down. Yes, unfortunately, I am one of the Dramamine girls.

I had picked up B at LAX airport and we headed down to San Diego together. He had flown in from Florida where he had been on business. The next morning we had the car brought up from the valet so we could put our luggage in it and head off to the event which was a ten minute walk away. When we returned five hours later the car was still sitting there…strange.

B goes up to the valet stand.

“Can I have the keys to my car?” he asks handing them his ticket.

“Is that your car?”

“Yes it is”

“Well, sir, you have the keys. That is why we did not move it.”

“No, I don’t have the keys. You do. You brought my car around so we could put our luggage in it. I never had the keys. Your valet kept them. They were never in my possession.”

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And so it went. No one had the keys to the car. Not a soul. All 200 sets on the board were checked. All 200 sets were pushed so lights would come on. No keys for 30 minutes. ANYWHERE. I emptied my purse just in case. That was a major ordeal but I did find a pair of missing eyeglasses, a coupon for a free car wash, and $7.38 cents in change; so it was not all in vain. But still no keys. Just as the discussion turned to hiring  a locksmith the trunk suddenly popped open…seems the keys had fallen on the floor and had been kicked under the desk. Keys found…crisis solved.

We headed back to LAX where B had left the car. The day he left Los Angeles he was almost late after being in standstill traffic for close to an hour. He raced into the airport,found a rooftop parking space and ran inside but now five days later there was no car to be found. ANYWHERE.

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You have to understand there are a total of seven parking garages at LAX.  Each garage consists of approximately five floors. We started at Garage 4 the one he swore he parked at. He turned white as a sheet when it was obvious that his car was not there and started muttering under his breath. I remained calm.We went through each and every floor hitting the horn button on the key fob. Nothing. Okay, well maybe it was Garage 6. He was in a hurry after all and it was also a garage that served American Airlines. I began to silently meditate.

We drove to the top open air parking where he swore he had been. Nothing. Same procedure…hitting the horn button as we went up and down floor after floor. Again nothing. B is more distressed while I remained calm and murmuring words of love and support. We have now been searching for 45 minutes and racking up fees as we go through each gigantic garage.

Garage Number 5 was our next place to explore. It didn’t have a rooftop but we went through it anyway. No car. B insisted that it was in the area but we had begun to wonder if perhaps it had been stolen by this time. We went to the attendant and inquired if they had anyway of checking what cars were parked where. Seems they did…only you had to know the license plate number and B did not since it was a company car.

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Enough was enough. By this time we all needed to pee. Badly. So we got out of the car, found our way to the bathroom and then joined B as he re-traced his steps. He swore he had come in through a walk-way over the street and when we took the escalator up there it was. We walked back through it and came to an open air parking garage and after searching a minute or so we located the car in a space that seemed to be inaccessible from Garages 4,5, or 6. There wasn’t even a proper marking of the space. WTH?

I have to say I was proud of myself. Whereas in the past I might have gotten frustrated and upset matching B’s angst as it rose. Instead, I made a point to be supportive and calm. While in the past I may have said something I may have later regretted like, “This is why you always take a picture of your parking space so you can find it again,” I remained mute of the helpful advice. So while pieces of me have gone missing (read the post prior to this) perhaps this is a good thing. And when trying to find and put the pieces of ME back together I think some empty spaces may be prudent so they can be filled with some kinder and gentler fragments to complete the puzzle that is the new and improved ME. The ME I CHOOSE to be.

 

Gone Missing

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I recently realized I have no idea who I really am. That is a hard thing to write at my age.

If you had asked me last year who I was and what I stood for I could have given you a laundry list of my good qualities, the bad ones, my likes and dislikes, my truths, my foibles, the things that I tolerated and the things that I could not. Now I have few clues. I am left holding a bag of pieces, a rope and flashing sign which reads detour ahead.

Sometimes I wonder if this is the definition of  a mid-life crisis because it seems as if I am wiping clean the slate and starting over. Only problem… the cleaner doesn’t do its job and all I am are left with is grimy streaks that just muddy things all up and make clarity a rarity.

Supporters of Sigmund Freud believed that a mid-life crisis was brought about by a fear of impending death. I will confess that thoughts of dying do not keep me awake at night but what I want written on my tombstone does.  I guess that is the writer in me wanting to make sure the final sentence of my life is THE perfect one.

Or maybe this loss of “ME” is as simple as early onset dementia. I cannot seem to remember ANYTHING anymore. In fact, I took one of those on-line memory tests and the outcome was SEE YOUR DOCTOR SOON… at least that is what I think I remember. It used to be that I remembered every telephone number in my head nut now I can’t even find the phone. Maybe who I was is now crammed into the junk drawer in the kitchen between the batteries and the eyeglass repair kit. Who knows…but I do know I cannot find myself anywhere.

When Grandma was 85 she told me that when she would walk by a mirror she would think, “Who is that old lady?” because what she saw didn’t match who she saw in her head which was a 25 year old girl. I laughed when she said it but maybe now it is my issue too. What I see doesn’t reflect back who I think I thought I was…that is before I went missing.

It is shocking to me that his has happened. I mean it took so long for me to “find” myself, a self that I was finally pretty comfortable in, only to lost myself again in the prime of my life. I had gotten used to salesgirls ignoring me, the total absence of wolf whistles and having to buy compression socks when I flew. But this…arriving home to a perfect stranger…  I wish I knew her better…it would make life a whole lot easier for all involved.