Wednesday, July 31, 2013

People I don't follow on Instagram

  • Boys whose entire feed consists of pictures of themselves looking in the mirror.

  • Men whose entire feed consists of pictures of themselves looking in the mirror.

  • Girls whose entire feed consists of pictures of themselves looking in the mirror.

  • Women whose entire feed consists of pictures of themselves looking in the mirror.
Wait - I'm sensing a pattern here ..
  • Anyone who posts pictures of their weed.

  • Pictures that put guns and money in the same photo.

  • People who put major profanity on every other photo.
  • Men who take pictures in front of the mirror grabbing their crotch.

  • Women who take pictures from above, looking down at their heaving bosoms.
I will almost always follow:
  • Cats

  • French Bulldogs 

  • Pretty pictures.
Yes, on Instagram I indulge my "show me cute or pretty" inner self.

And even though I am a cat person through and through - I have fallen head over heals for Frank.  Oh take a peek, you know you want to. He is more adorable than an animal has a right to be.  He has an older brother named Manny who is also quite cute, but I've always had a thing for the younger ones.


** Edited to add - Some jerk hacked Frank's account on Instagram and all his pictures were lost.  I am SO sad about this!  There will be a new account but many photos were lost.  What do hackers get out of this?  I don't get it.  Here's the new link to see how cute Frank is!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Friday, July 26, 2013

Someone broke into my house ...

... and dropped stuff on every flat surface!

I mean, how else does THIS happen??

I mean really, who keeps everything from a chamber pot to a crock pot on their kitchen island??

Really need to check the locks.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Oh, hell no!

I am so disturbed.  For the last couple of days my heart has been heavy and my thoughts have been
troubled.  I suppose it is related to the George Zimmerman trial and the killing of Trayvon Martin.  But it really stems more from a blog post I read, written by a woman who bills herself as "an angry black woman".

She is very well spoken and has obviously given a lot of thought to all of this, what she wrote was not off the cuff or a rant.  It sounds like she is ex-military which I respect very much, and well educated.  She is also very thoughtful, and believes whole-heartedly that she is doing the very best for her child.


Her 6 year old son at learning about slavery and Abraham Lincoln inquired of his mother whether people still hate them - and if they are still slaves.  She put off answering him directly until she could think about it and came to the conclusion that she would tell her child that yes, people will hate him because of the color of his skin.  And yes, they are still slaves because of white privilege and a culture of intolerance, basically.  She went on to talk about how America is not there for her or her son, for gays or Muslims or pretty much anyone other than male, white, Christians.  In her eyes America is a pretty bad place to live if you're not a white guy who worships Jesus.

Normally I would not comment on a post that is so diametrically opposed to my opinions or experience.  But this disturbed me so much I felt compelled to.  I said how sad it made me that she would teach her son that people hate him - and I said she could not speak for me or anyone else, any more than we can speak for her.  I do not hate people because of their differences.  I try to take people on a case by case basis.  And white privilege?  I have been reading up on it the last few days because I wanted to see what different people said about it, see several perspectives and really try to understand - even though I can never truly relate to it.  And my opinion (as unpopular as it may be to say it out loud) is that I am sure white privilege existed 30 years ago.  But if it exists now it is because of the culture of victimization and perpetuation of things like "yes Honey, people hate you because of the color of your skin".  That culture says to me - that no matter what I say (I don't hate you), or what my actions are, down deep I really do hate people who are black, brown, or different from me culturally.  I don't even get a chance to like or care about them right from the get-go because I have white skin and light eyes.

The irony does not escape me.

I went on and said that yes, some blacks are feared because of some of the hip-hop and rap culture of violence, and the thug life they promote.  They take pictures of themselves with guns, drugs, and sing about killing cops and having sex.  Not just a few have been arrested for drug and violent offenses.  No shame in it, either.  Many youths emulate these people and aspire to be cool and tough and it is foreign to many people like me.  And it can appear quite frightening.  But we are not supposed to react to that - if we are frightened or nervous around say - 3 young black men with their pants down to where, hats on sideways and gold in their mouth - it is obviously because we are racist, not because the boys are throwing an attitude that is meant to be threatening or aggressive.  It is because of their manner, how they represent themselves that we might give them a wide berth.  You could take a wonderfully gentle and smart guy and dress him like that and show him how to display the attitude - and he would look scary too.

But I'm not supposed to say that because I am white and that would be racist.

There is so much involved, not the least of which is poverty - and so many kids being raised without fathers in the home.  Welfare has arguably caused the death of the family unit - for many in poverty. So I cannot even come close to writing about all that is involved with race relations in the U.S.  I just think we have made a lot more progress than is recognized or acknowledged.  And passing down the message of hate from one
generation to the next perpetuates an evil we have been trying to eradicate for years and years.  Why do people who believe they have been oppressed, want to pass that down to their kids?  One thing is clear, racism is learned.  Children do not come out of the womb hating people.  And while our culture is still not where it should be, teaching children that racism is automatic is simply wrong and will not allow those children to move past the issue of race.

I mentioned how President Obama being elected by whites as well as blacks should show something.  But when I object to something the president does - I am accused of hating the black man in the white house.  Truth is, I don't give a damn what color the man is, I think he's as close to being a socialist as any president we've ever had!  Nothing to do with his race.  But it is assumed that anyone who thinks Obama is a bad president is a racist.  It's that automatic assumption again. So what does that make people who think George Bush was a bad president?  Not automatically racist, that's for sure.

The blog post talked about encouraging her son to make something of his life, how he can be something other than (white approved careers) a rap artist or an athlete.  She also talked about how he will have to fight for it, will have to be twice as good as the white men he may be competing with, how he will have to be strong and work harder - because he is black. She spoke on teaching her son to be a good and moral man which is certainly a good thing. But the message that he is hated does not go hand in hand with all the good things she wants to teach him.

And it's sad.

Not racist and not hated
Her son will go out into the world with a preconceived notion that nothing will ever be easy or fair for him.  That he will be hampered by people who he believes view him as "less than".  And what does it do to the psyche of a small child to believe from 6 years on (true or not) - that people view him as inferior?  What does that implant in that young man's brain, no matter how many good things he is taught as well?  How will he ever be able to like or trust whites if he believes they hate him?  That generational message is what turns so many things into racial issues when they really aren't.  It is a perception.  Like the George Zimmerman trial - blacks believe Trayvon Martin was profiled and killed because he was black, even though there is no evidence to show that.  While many whites (or white Hispanics as the news media calls George Zimmerman) believe he might have been profiled - but not because he was black.  Profiled as a youth out at night in a dark area close to buildings that had been broken into recently.  It was raining and he was walking slowly, with no urgency which drew Zimmerman's attention to him.  George Zimmerman saw a kid who might be a burglar.  He didn't see a black kid until the 911 operator asked him what the race of the person was. That Trayvon Martin was killed because he was black is an automatic assumption that has nothing to do with the facts.  But it is taken as truth.

There is an automatic response in certain parts of the black community, that when something bad happens - it is because of racism.  And when that card comes out - the facts of whatever it is - go out the window and the story is clouded by hurt.

I learned on Twitter the other day (the main source of information these days, right?) that "blacks cannot be racist because whites started it all with slavery"!  Slavery?  Really?  An abominable thing, certainly.  Worse than that, incomprehensible, I can't even describe what a horrible thing it was - the very idea of owning a human being.  But it's over.  I cannot pay for something I had nothing to do with - forever.  I cannot pay for a hatred I do not have for someone.  Jim Crow?  Horrible. But it was never part of my reality, my experience as an American.  That doesn't discount other people's experiences, but the younger generation that is still using it as a shield - did not experience it either.  And being an oppressed group historically does not exempt that group from being racist now.

I am not racist, I do not hate groups of people because they are different from me.  There will always be cultural differences where many times we will not understand or relate to each other.  But hate?  No, not on my part.  Resentment?  If I am honest I have to say yes, resentment because I am accused of something because of history, for the actions of others. I am accused of something I cannot disprove - and I am damned tired of it. I cannot carry that burden because it is not mine to carry.  It is history.  And we need to move forward and learn from that history, never forget and never repeat it.  But punishing the white community for the sins of their fathers does not heal the wounds.

No one can say that racists do not exist.  There are still ignorant and repulsive people out there who just don't learn.  But it's not institutional as many believe, and certainly not automatic thinking simply because someone is white. It also does not make racism right for blacks - because they were discriminated against in the past.  Bad acts in the past do not excuse bad acts in the present or future.

My comment on the blog post was totally negated by telling me I had missed her point and ignored her reality.  But isn't that what happens when I or others like me say we are not racists?  We practically aren't ALLOWED to say it and we certainly aren't believed.  And if some member of the black community does believe us - they say it doesn't matter anyway because we still benefit from unearned privileges because we are white.  And many times they are turned on by the black community.  Sigh-h-h.  Makes me wonder if we can ever get past this.

I carry something around in my purse still on the lined notebook paper I copied it onto in high school.  No idea where it originated from now, but it reminds me of this woman's son, in a way.

I don't cause teachers trouble.
My grades have been okay.
I listen in my classes,
And I'm in school every day.
My teachers say I'm average
My parents think so too.
I wish I didn't know that,
'Cause there's lots I'd like to do.
I'd like to build a rocket.
I've a book that tells you how;
And start a stamp collection;
Well, no use in trying now.
'Cause since I found I'm average
I'm just smart enough to see
It means there's nothing special
That I should expect of me.

Tell a kid he's average and what pushes him to excel?  Tell a kid he's hated, what reason would he have to disbelieve it and break the cycle?

Seriously, I have been walking around for a few days with this knot in my stomach as my thoughts go back to the idea of teaching a child that people hate him because of his color.  It is not my experience.  It is that lady's experience and her reality.  I cannot tell her how to raise her child or what to teach him.  But I can feel grief at the idea that while she believes she is imparting wisdom that is helping him be prepared for life, she is really handicapping him and not letting him have his own experience and create his own reality.

If allowed, he might find his reality very different from hers - and that might be progress.

*Footnote for Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton
Not friends of the black community

There is another class of coloured people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs — partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.
Ch. V: The Intellectuals and the Boston Mob (pg. 118)
~ Booker T. Washington (1911)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Issues. We all haz 'em. RIGHT?

It's officially been one year since I started my new job. There have been consequences that were unexpected and probably unwarranted, that I need to work on.

Working at one place for 25 years, you develop a reputation as maybe a good worker, a friendly person, someone who is worthwhile - or not I suppose.  After that period of time the way people view you is not usually as shallowly as when they first meet you.  They know you for how you perform your job, how you treat people, and have long ago learned who you are and not just who you seem to be.

In my case, I went through many changes at that place of employment. I worked there when I went through my divorce, I lost 25 lbs and gained 35, lost 40 and gained 50 over the years.  I worked at night and during the day, worked with different groups of people in different positions.  Adjusted to at least 10 different bosses.  My hair was halfway down my back and blond streaked, all the way to about an inch long and red in color. People I was close to left the company and new people came.  My kids graduated from middle school and high school and went on to college.  My Mom passed away, my daughter got married and I bought a house.  Life moved along.

Leaving that job was like a divorce.  A traumatic one.  It was a place I thought I would retire from, having given it my best and being proud of how I had performed.  Instead, things went downhill and I used the analogy of being in an abusive relationship.  Whatever they did to me, no matter how many times, I would still stay and say "yes sir".

There were several breaking points where I wanted to jump but it wasn't until a new opportunity fell in my lap that I actually did.  Had to put on some really big - big girl panties to do it, but I did it. It felt GREAT!

But there were things I did not anticipate.

I forgot what it's like to make a first impression, and to do it from the standpoint of being 25 years older, much heavier than when I was the new person before, and being the only person in the whole company (it's small) without a college education.

Can you say insecurities?

I can't say that I have done anything in the last year to shine, to be worthy of notice, to be commended for.  I am doing my job but the fact that I don't already know everything by virtue of experience, and the fact that it's not as easy for me to learn new things - frustrates the hell out of me.

And then there is the guy with the fat comments.

See here.

At my old job I would have been like - kiss my a$$!  But at my new job, I am not confident enough in my position, in how I match up to my coworkers to have that attitude.  So I am having a little crisis of confidence right now and it makes me mad because that is not who I am.  Still - not feeling great about myself and you know what?


Now I just need to figure out how.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Cheeseburgers do a body good! ( alternatively titled - cat lady talks cat )

Riley is 20 now.  He's bony and cranky and sleeps a lot which is probably quite normal for a cat his age.
But recently he started losing more weight than the doc was comfortable with so I needed to address that.

His cat food has been upped to the point where he gets at least twice what the other cats do, and his reward for his Monday vet trip has become a stop at McDonald's on the way home to pick up a cheeseburger which he loves. Giving him a quarter tablet of an appetite stimulant in the morning is a regular thing, and a package of hot dogs in the fridge are there just for Riley. He gets to lick the ice cream bowl and anything that has contained some kind of cheese product. He is enjoying his old age!

One of the last visits to the vet - they had to feel his belly to make sure he wasn't constipated - he had gained so much weight!  You wouldn't know to look at him probably, he's still a skinny old guy, but not like before. He still tends to look rumpled and and squinty and disgruntled a lot of the time ...

And his Yoda ears crack me up.

He has to be on my lap all the time ..

.. and if I'm not petting him, he's asking why!

He stalks me while I'm eating ..

.. and sometimes helps himself when I'm not looking!

Wheat Thins!
He enjoys his Monday cheeseburgers ..

... and synchronise sleeps with Norah.

Sometimes he shares space with Abby ...

.. sort of.

Mostly - he's as happy as a crabby ol' man cat can be these days!

.. and since we lost Jake - I can't help but give Riley as much attention as I reasonably can.  And what's a few cheeseburgers between friends, anyway?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Google sucks but I'm over it.

So what did you end up deciding on to replace Google Reader?  I ended up choosing NetVibes.  I was able to mess with it and get it to look and work as close to what I was used to - as possible.  I have been using it for a few weeks now and I am perfectly happy with it.

I have never been good with change, but good thing I took Google at their word and found a replacement because when I clicked on the reader today there was a polite message thanking me for stopping by.  Did I mention how Google sucks?  Anyway, I am surprised I have adjusted so well, I hope everyone else who relies on their reader as much as I do - has been able to find something to their liking as well.

And oh by the way - Google sucks.  Me thinks they have gotten too big for their britches.

Monday, July 1, 2013