Thank you for dropping by!

I truly appreciate that you've decided to share part of your day in my world. I hope your time has been well spent and I've made you smile, laugh or think.





Sunday, July 16, 2017

It's Not Your Politics that Ended Our Friendship

I have friends of all types- young, old, rich, poor, black, white, brown, native, immigrant, gay, straight, bi, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Democrat, Libertarian & Republican.

I like smart, kind, funny people.

Your resume, voting record and bank account don't matter to me.

During the very divided year in American politics, many people that I've known for decades decided to become political.

Normally, that would be a great thing that I encouraged.  I love political debates.

But when people start pretending to be political, have no clue on what they speak and source their information from Alex Jones and Bipartisan Reports, I get irritated.

ESPECIALLY when I show them that they are fake news sites.

ESPECIALLY when I give them information on how to determine if a news source is reputable.

But even that, I can roll my eyes and move on.

What I can't forgive, however, is blatant racism and sexism.

I'm not talking about Trump saying Marcron's wife is in good shape.  An odd and inappropriate greeting from a world leader to another's wife, but sexist- meh.  More like a drunk uncle comment.  He didn't slap her on the ass when he said it.  Baby steps.

Cheering the fact that Trump talked about grabbing pussies... dismissing it as locker room talk... thinking it made him a cool guy... condoning it...


Whether he did it or not is one thing.  I have my opinion.  I wasn't there.  Neither were you.

But cheering it?  Laughing at it?

That's on the people posting & commenting on it.

Because condoning it,  IS disgusting.

You can say "I don't think it happened and he still has my vote."  I'm fine with that. 

You can't say "It's no big deal.  Every guy does that." I'm not fine with that.

They don't.  But YOU thinking it's okay... I'm sorry, I don't want to be your friend.  You're a pig.  I have a daughter.  What would keep you from doing that to her?  I mean, in your mind, there's nothing wrong with it, right?

We found out someone that we sometimes socialized with posted that all Muslims should be lit on fire and burned.

That's a lot different than saying "I support the President's increased scrutiny and delay of visas from countries that have a higher rate of terrorism."  I would reply "What about Saudi Arabia? "  and point out that more people die from domestic violence than terrorism in the US.  I probably won't change your mind and that's okay.  Let's talk about it.

You can say that you think it's wrong for us to take in Syrian refugees. I might respond with facts about refugees or appeal to your humanity.  You can still disagree and we'll still be friends.

But I honestly have no response to lighting human beings on fire.

Because that is messed up.

Really messed up.

You say "Screw people on Medicaid- they can get jobs"- and when I show you data on who those people are- disabled, elderly, etc- and you really, really don't care- not even "Well, there has to be a better way to stop abuses"- you just don't care.

We're not going to be friends.

Maybe back in 1983 when we were in study hall together, I knew you weren't the sharpest knife.  I didn't know you were an asshole.

Now I do.

Bye.

You commented on Obama for 8 years because you didn't like his policy?

I get it.  I didn't like EVERYTHING.  Let's discuss the good and the bad.  We're friends.

You want to debate how he's really a Kenyan Muslim who hates white people?

I can't.  Because that's your hatred based on nonsense.  I don't have time for that.  And it absolutely carries over into every single thing you say after...

I'm sorry. It does. 

I have friends that voted for Trump.  Some regret it ("Wow.  You were right.  He's clueless. I honestly thought he'd quit tweeting.").  Some don't ("I disagreed with Clinton's platform and his inability to do anything is better than her doing things I disagree with completely.")

We are still friends.  In many cases, very good friends.

Because those are POLITICAL differences.

Their vote did not diminish our friendship- at all.  Honestly, it didn't.  I don't think they are fools or deplorables.  They don't think poorly of me for my vote.  One friend jokingly said she happily tolerated my liberal views because I grow tomatoes and make her laugh.  Oh- and we do talk politics.  Happily.  Passionately.  It's fun.

But your pure hatred of Obama and Clinton and Mexicans and "the gays" and Muslims and blacks...

Those are core differences in our values. 

And if we have different values, we are not going to be friends.

My conservative friends and I agree on most things- everyone should have equal opportunity for health, wealth, safety and religious freedom.  We disagree on the policies to get there.

That's fine.

Thinking that you deserve more than someone else because well, you just do?

News flash:  You don't.

Saying ridiculous things is absolutely your right to free speech.

Me, thinking you're an awful person and not wanting to be your friend any longer- that's my right.

This past year, I thinned the herd of my "friends."

Yes, the election brought it out.

But not ONCE was it ever over politics.

It was over our very different core values.


In short-

It never was your "politics."

It's you.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Six Years After My Mother's Day Letter

In 2011, I wrote a letter via my blog to my children.  

Letter of Advice to my Children on Mother's Day

Over the last 6 years as they've transitioned to teenager & tweenager, they've knocked it out of the park.

Dear Skip & Zoey,

You know I haven't been blogging much lately since out of respect for you, I don't want to talk about your lives your lives online.  You also know I've been crazy busy.

I wrote you a letter in 2011 to give you advice, but this year I wanted to thank you for everything I've learned from you during a fairly rough period.

Be kind.
I told you to be kind.  This past year you've seen me get angry.  Angrier than I probably have in the past.  But thank you for reminding me to be kind. 

Skip, during the election, you told me that you were always proud that no matter how successful I had become or how much money I made, I never forgot where I came from and you were proud of ME for helping people less fortunate.  You said you were impressed that I never thought about myself when I voted, but of others.

I didn't tell you this, but that made me cry because at that very moment, I didn't think anyone noticed or cared.  At that moment, everyone seemed to want something else or more from me.  More time.  More money.  More everything.  I was really tired that day.

What you said, gave me the strength to get up and keep going.

Thank you.

Find something to smile about every day.
Zoey, about 2 weeks ago you told me to turn the news off.  You said "All it does is upset you.  Let's just listen to music."

You weren't telling me to put my head in the sand.  You were saying to take a breath and enjoy our time together on the way to school.

You told me I had my funny back last week.  You gave it back to me.  Thank you.

Stand up for what's right.
You both stood up to people who disagreed with you during the election.  You weren't jerks.  You still have friends that are on the "other side of the aisle."   You did it with class.  You didn't waiver.  In fact, we had some great conversations.

I've always told you to have your own opinions- not to parrot mine.  During our conversations, I have no doubt that you believe what you believe because of what you've seen, people you've met, what you believe in.  You are not parrots. 

You can think.  You don't cave in to peer pressure.

This gives me hope.  Thank you.

Show up with your A game when others are depending on you.
Zoey, your dedication to your school projects and working together with your friends has been amazing to see develop.  You take your projects to an entire new level. 

Skip, you decided to take the road less traveled next year for high school rather than take the easy way out.  I know you are nervous, but I know you won't regret pushing yourself.

And when I was struggling this year, you all (including Dad) had my back so I could get a little bit of a breather.  Thank you.

Read.
The last 6 years have been full of reading and talking about books.  You've been reading fiction, non-fiction-- even my favorite-- "MAD Magazine." 

You've gotten me to read new things as well.  Thank you.


Ask a lot of questions.
Thank you for always coming to me when you have a question or a concern.  Whether it's been school work, life question or about what to do with a friend.  You don't take anything for granted. 

Thank you for trusting me and more importantly, trusting yourself.

Participate in life.
Without a doubt, you've both embraced this.  I know that I've struggled to make sure you get to your clubs and practices and rehearsals and have everything you need-- and I know I've lost my cool more than once.

Don't let me discourage you!  Keep it up.  I'm so proud of everything you do.  Thank you.

Fail.
You have both done this so eloquently and not let it slow you down.

You've also let me fail.  And you've never given up on me.  When I've had a bad day, you've both been there to be my cheerleader.  It's meant the world to me this year more than ever.  Thank you.

Be your own boss.
When I was contemplating my professional options this year, it was the two of you that both convinced me that there was no price worth me being an employee.  We all talked about how "Mom" there was to go around.  We all adjusted so that I could spend more fun time with all of you.

Zoey, your exasperation at the thought of me retiring early was hilarious. "What would you do?  You love your business-- that's crazy..." because at the end of the day, you're right.  No matter the price. 

Thank you for helping me stay on track.

Have fun friends.
The last few years, I got rid of a LOT of people.  Most of them didn't even notice.  I love that neither one of you suffer fools.  You taught me that it's important to be polite, but I don't have to be besties with everyone. 

Thank you.

When you get married, make it forever.
What a year we all went through.  All of us.  I am so sorry to drag you through some of it.  You watched Dad and me fight to keep it together.  You both made it clear that you had our backs no matter what.  I'm so sorry you had to go through the uncertainty of this past year.  But I think we all learned so much.  And now that we're back to silly and fun again, I can't thank you enough for hanging in.  A huge THANK YOU on that.

In short, you're both amazing and have made me a better person.

On this Mother's Day, all I can say is thank you!

Love,
Mom

Monday, February 13, 2017

Nevertheless

I had a speech impediment as a child.  People thought I was slow.

Nevertheless, I persisted.

When I finally was tested, they realized I wasn't slow, they moved me up a grade for certain classes.  I was shy and didn't say much.

Nevertheless, I persisted.

When I was diagnosed with severe asthma but I decided to play trombone, I was told I might want to look at other instruments.

Nevertheless, I persisted.

When I was the only girl trombonist at a summer music camp, they immediately gave me the third part to play but realized I was the only one who could play the high notes in the first part.

Nevertheless, I persisted.

When I decided that I didn't want to be a musician, despite being first chair for three years, I looked into studying economics but I was told that women don't become economists.

Nevertheless, I persisted.

When I decided to go to an Ivy League school, I was told schools like that weren't for people like me.

Nevertheless, I persisted.

When I decided to delay attending Cornell University to spend a year in Ecuador, I was told that it was dangerous for young women to travel abroad by themselves.

Nevertheless, I persisted.

When I decided that I wanted to work at Disney World, I was told that students in my major wouldn't get accepted.

Nevertheless, I persisted.

When I signed up for a third year computer programming class my senior year in college despite never haven take a programming class, they told me I would fail and it would destroy my GPA.

Nevertheless, I persisted.

When my ability to speak Spanish, my programming skills and my experience working at Disney helped me to get multiple jobs offers out of college during a recession, including staying on at the university to do research, I was told it really was because I was pretty and would look good on the annual report cover.

Nevertheless, I persisted.

When I spent a summer following graduation consulting in Southeast Asia working with my professors, I was told they would never take a 23 year old American girl seriously in Asia.

Nevertheless, I persisted.

When I declined the job offer to stay in Asia and started a job in NY that I hated, quit and moved to a job in Las Vegas, I was told that I was committing career suicide and would never be taken seriously again.

Nevertheless, I persisted.

When I realized that I was unhappy in my career field and decided to become a stockbroker when only 15% of licensed brokers were women, I was told that I had a 95% chance of failure.

Nevertheless, I persisted.

When I started my own practice at 26, with $8.23 to my name and was couch surfing at my friends' homes  because I couldn't afford an apartment, I was told that I needed to grow up and get a real job.

Nevertheless, I persisted.

When I decided to get married, I was told that it would negatively impact my successful business.

Nevertheless, I persisted.

When I decided to have a child, I was told that I would never finish my graduate degree.

Nevertheless, I persisted.

When I decided to have my second child a few years after receiving my master, and I received a a substantial offer to buy out my business and declined it, I was told that I might want to reconsider because I would be more fulfilled staying home.

Nevertheless, I persisted.

When I decided to continue to grow my business, I was told my children would suffer.

Nevertheless, I persisted.

When my children with whom I am very close came to me because they were upset that their school was canceling activities that they enjoyed- especially the programs for the accelerated students-and I found out it was the principal who didn't want to favor the smarter students and then I found out a whole lot more from teachers and parents, they told me I couldn't get her moved to a new school because they'd been trying for 10 years.

Nevertheless, I persisted.

When the new principal at their school started, I was happy because we had turned down a zone variance and as my daughter's brand new to teaching teacher struggled to maintain classroom control, I took a week off to help her and was told it wouldn't make a difference because the class was out of control and I knew nothing about teaching.

Nevertheless, I persisted.

And each and every time I've been told that I couldn't do something, somehow I persisted.

I was warned.  I was given an explanation. 

In interim, I traveled the world, met fascinating people, learned languages, built a business and have an amazing family.

And the naysayers have sat there and watched and judged and told me all the things I couldn't do.

The funny thing is, I can only see them in my rear view mirror, sitting where they've always been, telling me what it was they couldn't do and trying to convince me I couldn't do it either because I was the same as them.

But I wasn't. I'm not.

Because I persist.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

This is NOT How You Felt When Obama was Elected

Please stop telling me that the world wide protests and denouncements from the Pope and most global leaders are how you felt when Obama was elected.

Either he was a really bad President or your fears were completely misguided.

You thought he was Kenyan and would overthrow the US government.

He was not.  He did not.

You thought he was Muslim and would  close down Christian churches.

He was not.  He did not.

You thought he was secretly working with terrorists and would take away our guns.

He was not.  He did not.

You thought he was a socialist and would force our country into socialism.

He was not.  He did not.

You thought he was racist and would only appointment blacks to run our country.

He was not.  He did not.

What he DID do was work very closely with the prior administration to transition multiple wars and the second worst financial crisis in our nation's history.

What he DID do is sign a bill by Congress to provide voucher health insurance options to more than 20 million people and help states fund their Medicaid programs to help people through the financial crisis.

What he DID do was allow the Congress to write Dodd-Frank to help strengthen our financial system and protect investors.

Was he flawless?  Absolutely not. 

But he was not a Kenyan, socialist Muslim hell bent on destroying Western Civilization.

The current POTUS has yet to disclose the details of his businesses, transfer them to a BLIND trust, provide his tax returns.

In a week he has sparked protests by millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands world wide.

He wants to arbitrarily punish refugees who have been more thoroughly vetted than he has.

He continues to maintain a bizarre relationship with a country that is slowly moving into smaller eastern European countries.

He has betrayed allies and our trading partners.

He has started implement trade policies which could be significantly detrimental to our economy.

President Obama was the editor of the Harvard Law Review. That means he's really, bigly smart about law stuff.

The current guy has no idea of which he speaks.

We already have lawsuits filed against him for violating the Constitution.

So no, under no circumstances is this ANYTHING like electing Obama.

Your fears of Obama were based on alternative facts.  The biggest generated by the man who replaced him.

That means lies.  By a notorious liar.

MY fears are based on what's going on- what he said he would do, what I believed he would do and what he is actually doing.

Give him a chance, you say.

His perpetual Executive Orders being given to him by the real President Bannon are crazy.  He is trying to override the authority of Congress.

Obama's Executive Orders were to not deport people who were brought to this country as children without proper documentation.  He also deported more immigrants than any other prior President. 

He didn't offer to spend BILLIONS of dollars building a wall along a fence that already exists.  Because apparently, there is money for a wall but not for the children covered under the CHIP program that provides them health insurance.  Because Mexican immigrants are rapist and killers- even though there's no evidence to show that's an issue.  And the 9/11 terrorists entered through Canada.

So again, it's not even close to the same.

Your friends were not threatened with deportation in a matter of days after he took office.  There were no benefits stripped away from friends who had critical diseases and may have already hit their lifetime cap.

In fact, your life more than likely got better over the past 8 years but I guess better wasn't good enough and you wanted more.

Or maybe it was because at the end of 8 years, Obama was still black.

Because in 1 week, there has been so much damage done, I'm surprised the Russian tanks aren't already lining up ready to take back their former Soviet States.

Because we would never know.  And based on the bromance, we never will.

I'm all for securing our borders.  I'm for fair trade. I'm not found of our intervention in the middle east.

In fact, in a normal world, I would be a conservative Republican.  But there is nothing conservative or Republican about bullying cities into doing federal work on immigration or adding ridiculous tariffs on products which will only get passed on to consumers, because you think a bigger wall will help.

This isn't a snowball fight.

Regulating women's health products (birth control is once again a thing-- despite Viagra being completely acceptable for public funding) is not conservative.  Telling people which religion they can be isn't conservative either. 

And twittering non-stop-- can you imagine if Obama had done that?  His wife couldn't wear a sleeveless dress without negative commenting.

And we have the leader of the free world writing tweets at 3 am.

Sorry. 

It's really not the same.

If it WERE the same, you would have been out protesting-- and not in groups of 30 or 40- but by the millions like we have been.

Unless you think that's too much work.

Because it is.

So whose the snowflake now?

Friday, January 27, 2017

Hey Mama Bean... Do You Mind...

The Washington Post had a great article on the the surge of people calling themselves part of the resistance.

They pointed out, quite politely, that being engaged in politics isn't a hobby, it's our civic duty.

We the people requires that the people be engaged.

All the time.

Not just every 4 years.

When I was at the gym this morning, the lot was pretty much empty and hardly anyone was there.  The Resolutioners as I like to call them had already bailed.

I hope the Revolutioners don't as well.

Not because I want to overthrow the government- let me be clear.

I actually LIKE my government and my party.  I'm not terribly thrilled with what is going on in Washington (that is the biggest understatement you will probably ever read that I've written), but here's the thing.

The POTUS won.

As much as it appears he is trying to get out of it (seriously- who on earth actually WINS and then says there was voter fraud??  I mean Pence is chomping at the bit to take over so if you don't want the gig, quit), the POTUS was elected.  Period.

I'm not a huge fan of the electoral college but I understand why it exists and how it works and I respect the results.

But it doesn't mean I need to sit back.

Because here's the thing- I never HAVE sat back.  I've always been engaged.

Always.

My birthday is Inauguration Day.  On my 7th birthday when Carter was taking the oath I said "Well, there goes the economy..."  and you know what?  I was right.

One of my earliest memories-- no joke-- is Nixon waving as he leaves the White House.  I also remember the people clinging to the helicopters as we pulled people out of Saigon. 

So yes, I've kinda sorta always been engaged.

My job now requires that I stay up on policies that impact the economy. 

My conscious requires that I stay up on everything else.

Because, as I've posted and written so many times, this is OUR government.  If it sucks, it's because we've allowed it to become that way.

Truly.

It's on us.

So throughout my life as people have said "Why do you worry about that stuff?"  "I hate politics."  "This is all so boring." 

And they usually get the face that I give when people say they don't like reading or hate cheese. 

Maybe it's because my ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War or maybe it's because others escaped facism in Europe. 

I take pride in my flawed, arrogant, beautiful country.  I've been to nearly every state and our natural resources- wow.  The national parks take my breath away.

And having lived and worked abroad I know how lucky we have it.  No one shot at me today.  No bombs exploded.  There was water ALL day in the tap and it was drinkable.  I was able to attend school even though I'm female.  If I get sick, I run down to CVS and pick something up.

That's not the case in so many parts of the world.  While we aren't perfect, we are doing pretty darn well.

But I know it can change on a dime.  In minutes.  Trust me.  Read history books.  You'll see.  If you think the Romans were any different than us, you are sorely mistaken.  Empires rise and fall.

This election stung.  The fact that my friends worked so hard to turn Nevada blue shows that having an engaged electorate makes a HUGE difference.  We are not a blue state, despite what the news kept reporting.  We are a maroon state.  Red but oddly independent which means supportive of individual civil liberties.  We are not a party-line voter state by any means.  We are western and we are wild.  It's one of the things I love about my state the most, in fact.  I love that everyone has to stay on their toes, be engaged or else they are out.

Love it.

I was very proud that our largely Democratic delegation attended the inauguration.  Because when I was asked MY opinion I said "John Lewis should not go and his close associates should not go.  I support that.  But we should go.  We should be there.  They represent ALL Nevada and nearly half our state supported the POTUS." 

But for me, it's been weird.  Suddenly, everyone has awakened and wants to be involved.

Apparently, I am the conduit for much of the activism.

Except, here's the thing-- I know activists.  I know what they do and how hard they worked.  I help.  They made it their lives. 

And when people are showing up NOW- which is better than never-- there is this part of me that wants to shout: "WHERE WERE YOU?!?!"

It's never too late, of course, but it took THIS to make people get engaged?

And I saw the selfies in the pink hats- and that march was an AMAZING show of solidarity, please don't misunderstand me-- but some of them were from people who were constantly too busy to actually DO anything last year.

Wearing a hat and marching is great- but it's the first step.

Will you be here for the municipal elections?  Do you know what's going on in your neighborhood?  Who are your commissioners?  Who represents you in your statehouse? 

Why aren't YOU running?

Go to the meetings.  Start meeting people. 

And please, stop asking ME.

I have been telling you to get involved.

"Mama Bean, we really need to this..."

"Mama Bean, tell me about that..."

Mama Bean is tired folks.  You're all grown ups.  I'm not going to beg you to be part of something.

I don't have a secret key.  I just show up.  And set up tables.  And bring donuts.  And offer advise.  And empty the trash cans. And every once in awhile I say something that hopefully makes a difference.

This past election felt like a giant group project where a few people got stuck doing most of the work and then when we got a D, the kids that never showed up starting bitching about it.

I felt for my teacher friends who picketed, went to board meetings, did everything they could and returned to schools and had to listen to other teachers bitch and moan.  They FINALLY got a pay raise and everyone was excited but I don't think anyone thanked those that showed up.  They felt the deserved it (they did) but I didn't see a lot of acknowledgement of the people who FOUGHT for it.

Because here's how the world works in the US-- if you are an adult, you have a civic duty to know what is going on in your government.  You are have a moral obligation to care for your community as well.

It's adulting.  It's not supposed to be fun 24/7.

Civic responsibility is on ALL of us.  Not just Mama Bean's Political Posse of Friends.  They are really, really tired.

And with that, it's your responsibility to be able to discern the truth from fiction.  And to learn big words. 

I had a friend share a conversation about all the people the Obama "pardoned" before he left office.

He didn't "pardon" drug lords.  He commuted the sentences of drug offenders who were serving much longer sentences than are being given out today.  They are still considered felons.  They served time.

It's all there, information released from the White House.  You can look up every single felon. 

But spreading falsehoods and denying facts when presented with them-- no.  You're a grown up.  Grow up.

We can argue philosophy and have opinions that differ but if given the facts- acknowledge them.

I'm not trying to convince people to be in either party-- but facts are facts.  Interpret them how you want- but the facts don't change.  The unemployment rate was 4.7%.  We can argue why that's good/why it's bad but it IS 4.7%.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes this.  With the data on discouraged workers, worker participation-- all that.  All available.  For free.

If you want the actual facts, you can get them.  Well, for now, at least.  But seriously, don't rely on outside sources.  Go where they get their data.

Because it's your JOB.

It's your job to be knowledgeable, engaged and involved.

Please.

I've been saying that the current POTUS may end up being my favorite for the sole purpose that he got people off their asses  and into the streets.

But then he tweets something ridiculous...

ANYHOW-

So welcome to the club.  Welcome to Adulthood Civics.

It's not too hard to be involved.

Because in order for our country to work, it needs to be BY the people-- not just the lazy kids pushing the work onto the Dudley Do-Rights.

ALL people.  All of us.

Otherwise, well... let me see what Twitter has going....

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Goodbye, Mary

I loved the TV show "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" more than you could possibly put into words.

Between that and listening to "Free to Be, You and Me", Marlo Thomas and Mary Tyler Moore showed me that brown eyed girls with gumption could take the world on and make it a better place.

Of course, I always joke that while I dreamed of being Mary, I really am far more Rhoda- with my love of plants, out of control curly hair and the strong possibility that there is something stuck in my teeth.

But dream, I did.

The series started when Mary left her groom- a doctor- standing at the altar.  She wasn't ready to get married, she had a life to live.

Hmmm... four cancelled engagements for Mama Bean...


She wanted to make it on her own.  I totally get that.

She went to the big city and took a job in an industry which was filled with men.  (The fact that she was the ONLY one on the staff that called Lou Grant, Mr. Grant, well, that was because she respected him.  At least that's how I'll remember it.)

Hmmm... financial services... first woman hired as a broker in our office in 10 years...


And her apartment.

The first time I had my own place- no roommates-- just mine-- I remember the feeling.  And I immediately flashed back to the show.

At the end of the first episode, she's standing there in her apartment, looking around.  Something didn't seem quite right.  Then she hung up her giant M.  She hammered the nail into the wall.  Adjusted the letter.  Stepped back and smiled.

And there I was in 1996, standing in my apartment, hanging up my L.

Everything in the apartment I had purchased with my own money.  Every hanging on the wall I had put into place.

It is still one of my happiest places I've ever lived.  I remember how fresh it smelled.  How neat it was.  How eclectic the d├ęcor was because most of it came from places I had traveled throughout the world.

It was mine.

Earlier that summer, I had attended a training class at my broker's corporate headquarters in Minneapolis.  Or as I called it Mecca.

I was one of 2 women in our smaller training group.  There were about 10 out of the group of 100 in attendance.

Our smaller group went to the IDS tower and we saw the Mary statue.  I made all the men have a quiet moment with me (the trainers were awesome and indulged me- because I could turn the world on with my smile).  Then I convinced them all to do the Mary Spin and pretend to toss a hat in the air-- like she did at the end of the show titles.  Of course they did- I was young and cute then.  And when we went inside the tower, we all did the Mary Wave-- a big gregarious full arm hello- as we went up the escalators.

So yes, I was a fan.  A huge fan.

"Ordinary People" will always remain on my list of favorite movies.  It was the anti-MTM show.  A woman spends her life being a wife and mother.  A harrowing portrait.

The exact opposite of the inspirational show.

"Ordinary People" was my nightmare.  To be dependent and unappreciated.  There's more to that movie, but I don't want to ruin it for anyone.

This weekend, I witnessed a revival of women's rights movements.

And of course, there were the "feminists are ruining America" tirades.

First of all, if you think women are treated fairly in the United States, you need to travel more or get higher self esteem.  We are not.

We are not treated as poorly as other countries, most definitely.  Most highly religious countries tend to treat women as property.

But other countries-- they are far beyond us in wage fairness (those 76 cents to the dollar comparisons are ALL THINGS BEING EQUAL-- and trust me, as someone who worked in HR, I can assure you that female engineers were not being paid the same as male engineers 20 years ago-- it's gotten better, but not much), child care options, parental leave (it's not just for women!), violence against women.

Every 7 seconds a woman is beaten in the United States by her partner.  From 2001 to 2012, 6,488 US troops were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.  During that exact same time period 11,766 women were killed by their boyfriends or husbands.

Where is the real war?

I am a proud feminist. I will stand up for all women to be safe, treated fairly- at home and at work, and to live the lives they choose- either as a mother, a career tracker or both.

Looking back on the show, Mary had so many different female friends- Rhoda, constantly looking for a husband; Phyllis, constantly complaining about Lars; Georgette, the dingy girl who adored Ted; and Sue Anne Niven, the older sex pot.

But Mary.  Mary was who I wanted to be.  So together.  So real.  Always with a new date every weekend. With her friends around her.

She didn't judge or care and I think the show did an amazing job representing all women and their choices.

That's what I grew up watching and that's who I became. 

Independent.  Strong.  Surrounded by friends.  With frizzy hair and something in my teeth. A touch of Rhoda.

My husband and family are part of me, but they are not all of me. 

My 40s have been spent watching friends' marriages unravel.  Mine almost came undone, as well.  But for so many of my girlfriends it was because they never had their "Mary Tyler Moore Phase" as I called it.  They never had their own stuff, their M on the wall.  They were a We before they ever became a Me.  And it had caught up to them.  They felt lost and often blamed their husbands-- who had no idea.

And I'm not saying everyone should ditch marriage and have a career.  I got married.  I love being a mother far more than I ever could imagine.

But I would never give up my 20s- my Mary Tyler Moore phase.

It taught me that I could get through anything- on my own.  I didn't need a prince to come save me- I could be my own prince.

Some of my friends that got married young are extremely happy- they grew up together.  That's fantastic. 

I know it wasn't for me, though.

With my birthday just passed, I'm reflective that I most definitely took the best path for me-- with Mary on one shoulder telling me to be strong and Marlo on the other telling me to be kind.

So thank you, Mary, it looks like I'm going to make it after all.


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Dear Rosetta Stone,

Dear Rosetta Stone,

I've really enjoyed your Italian language program.  Molte grazie.

As you may know, the United States may be ending this Friday.  I am sure you are quite busy with so many Americans trying to learn a new language so they have the option of moving.  

My family and I were perusing your website and trying to decide between ordering the Mandarin Chinese program or the Russian program. 

But after much discussion, we decided that I should write and ask you to consider adding a new language in which we are in desperate need- Trumpanese.

We have tried and tried over the past year to fully understand what our future President and his supporters are saying but we still have not been able to crack the code- or find the Rosetta Stone, so to speak.

I was listening to the senate hearings and I think I may have heard Mrs. De Vos say that schools needed guns to keep out grizzlies.

I'm sure grizzlies must mean something else- like perhaps angry PTA parents- because I cannot in my right mind bring up any data that would support a statement that gun free zones for schools should be overturned by federal law to protect students from bears.  Is this is an issue that the fake news has been hiding?

Also, "fake news"-- I'm confused by this term. Should I believe what I see? I remember quite specifically watching fake news where my future President insisted that President Obama was born in Kenya and was a Muslim.  On the same station which is apparently fair and balanced, they broadcast that many of his supporters were very upset by President Obama's radical minister at his Christian church in Chicago.  Which I guess he attended in between "Muslim church" as they called it?  Or in Trumpanese does Muslim mean something else- like "black man with a funny sounding name?"

Because, once again, I am baffled.

I know the term Muslim is also loosely used with the term terrorist to describe people who shoot people.  Having Muslim friends, again I'm confused.  They are actually peace advocates like Muhammed Ali.  They don't have guns.  I know that toddlers in the US are apparently crazy killers with guns.  Could Muslim also be a synonym for toddler?  Or maybe it's a term to interchange with angry, mentally unstable white males since they are, by far, responsible for more mass shootings than any group.  Even gun toting toddlers.

The use of the term Mexican has confused me, too. I've heard Guatemalans, Puerto Ricans  and Colombians all called Mexican.  I think it might apply to everyone who is brownish with dark hair.  I may be Mexican in Trumpanese. 

The motto of "Make America Great Again" has be completely befuddled.  I can't think of any time in American history to which I would want to return.  Which word is Trumpanese?  Is it "great" which might mean "White Male Dominated" but then "again" wouldn't make any sense because, well, white males still constitute the majority of seats in Congress despite only being 35% of the population and over 90% of the Fortune 500 CEOs.  So does "make" mean "keep"? As in "Keep American White Male Dominated" because that totally makes sense if you don't have any hope and don't want to change things.

As you can see, we are very confused.  Sometimes when the future President speaks it's as if he starts the sentence one way and finishes it another.

If you could ask your linguistics team, do words change meaning in Trumpanese based on the speaker?  If the future President says something it is ALWAYS FACT.  But it doesn't sound like fact.  It sounds like he's making it up as he goes.  When I try to listen, my head hurts.  And I promise you, I tried very hard to listen and to understand.  I can't.

We are desperate to understand what he is saying.

And if you could throw in a math segment.  I know for a fact that unemployment is near full employment and underemployment is at a 10 year low.  GDP is growing.  Yet we are apparently in terrible economic shape?  So is the Bureau of Labor Statistics really just fake news even thought they have reported employment numbers for years and aren't partisan?  Or are numbers not finite in Trumpanese?  For example, 4.7% is really 12?

Another example that I need clarification on is how increasing spending AND lowering taxes creates more money for the government.  We have done that before and it doesn't.  I mean, I think there's quite a bit of research on it.  Does deficit spending mean something different if you are in charge?  I know I heard him and many others when they were very upset with deficit spending. Is it a math or language issue?

I've had some of his supporters tell me their taxes were going DOWN but it would appear they were going UP when deductions are removed to make it "easier."  Does easier mean "rip stupid people off?"I know not everyone is impacted the same way, but their magic math is fascinating- it's like Oprah "Everybody gets a car!"

If there is a special way to calculate that, count me in!  I want a new car, too!

Again, I'm confused.

From what I can gather from the first week in Congress, I'm not the only one.  They are saying one thing- like how important protecting pre-existing conditions for health care coverage is- then doing something completely different.  Or saying "we have a plan" but there isn't.  Maybe the Congress would also benefit from a course in Trumpanese?  I would happily pay.

As you can see, Rosetta Stone, this is a serious issue. With only a few hours to go, I'm going to be forced to listen to this bizarre language for four years.  I'm not going to understand anything that is going on.

If you and your team of experts could whip something up, that would be great.

I know you can.

In the interim, we will focus on learning both Chinese and Russian.


Grazie in anticipo,

Mama Bean