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, August 24, 2014

Trying to Write in a World that Knots my Stomach

I haven't been blogging much.

Well, I have.  I just haven't published them.

I'm angry at the no do nothing Congress.

I'm angry that my country is so divided when the world clearly needs us to be united.

I'm angry that we had meth heads in our bath tub.

I'm angry that there are meth heads.

I'm angry that the meth heads are in such a bad place that to be honest, I don't know how they get out of it.

I'm angry that large corporations treat their employees like shit.

I'm angry that our local school system appears to be completely insane.

I'm angry that people fight over which religion is the best religion.

I'm angry that people mistake religion for morality.

I'm angry that we had a crap appraisal on our house.

I'm angry that because other people didn't pay their mortgages, now I am being treated like a lying thief in applying for a mortgage.

I'm angry that when people try to do something amazing like the Ice Bucket Challenge which raised over $50 MILLION, people bitch about it.

I'm angry that 99% of the things people write in comment sections are pure vitriol.

I'm angry that every time I try to watch the news, I want to yell.

I'm angry that the news doesn't seem to care about sources or journalistic integrity and I don't even know if what I watch or read is even remotely true.

I remember watching the global celebration as the year 2000 rolled in.  The fireworks.  The festivals.  The amazing unity that we all felt.  We were all on the same sphere spinning through the universe as one.

And then 9/11 happened. 

And then the financial markets collapsed.  Twice.

And people became bitter and angry.

And I tried to make the world a little lighter by writing funny things.

But honestly, I give.  At least in the US people seem committed to their misery.  God forbid that you point out that life really isn't as bad as it seems.

People won't budge in their misery and hatred.

Rather than me bringing people up, it just brought me down.

When I watched the global video of the song "Happy" I smiled.  Because we all are far more alike than different.  Because we are human. 

Yet people bitched about how annoying the song is.  A sweet song written for a cartoon about love and joy with a catchy beat.

People bitch about their kids.

People bitch about their husbands.

People bitch about their jobs.

And slowly but surely, I have been getting pulled into the quagmire of negativity.

The more I wrote, the nastier I sounded.  I was adding to the drone of hate.

So I stopped.  I tried to be funny.  And when I wasn't, I just stopped.

I was out.



You've heard the saying "Not my monkeys. Not my circus."

Well, I felt like getting a sign that says "I'm not the monkey in your circus."

Because there were actually people who were mad at me for not being my normally perky self.  In a "What's up her ass?" way. 

It. Was. Exhausting.

With Robin Williams passing, I rewatched a number of his movies- "Dead Poets Society" being one. I originally watched it when I was 19 and heading off to college, after I had gotten back from a year in Ecuador.  It stuck with me.

I also love poetry.  It started with Dr. Seuss grew to Shel Silverstein and then many others.

We read a little Walt Whitman in high school- I didn't understand him.

But during my junior year I did an internship in Atlantic City.  I took a humanities class at the community college and we read "Leaves of Grass."  At 22, I was the youngest person in the class.  To hear welfare recipients who were on grants to get degrees, retirees who were auditing the class for free, recovering addicts trying to change their lives-- to hear them discuss Whitman... well, that was better than any Ivy League poetry class every could have been.  Truly.

It was phenomenal.

It was perfect.

I sat and I listened.  To people who had lived life and sucked the marrow from its bones.

Whitman suddenly sounded very different.

So when I rewatched "Dead Poets Society" and he gave the speech about how poetry is about the essence of being human and quoted Whitman-- it hit me that I wasn't appreciating the beauty in my life. I was letting life suck the marrow out of me (For those unfamiliar with the movie or the poem, it's used in the Apple commercial)

But with the anger and stress I've been feeling lately- the out of controlness of life- it helped me to refocus a bit.

I control my life.  It is a privilege. 

Most of the items on my list were and are completely out of my control.

There will always be angry people out there. 

I am choosing to not be one of them.

I know this is all over the place- but it's because so is my mind. 

I'm tired of all the hate.  I'm tired of worrying about things that I can't control. 

I shared with a friend recently that I really try NOT to worry about things because I want to make sure my bucket is full when the shit really hits the fan and I do need to worry.

I need to refill the bucket with hope.  With optimism.  With appreciation for the amazing, beautiful life and the funny, wonderful friends and family that fill it.

And no one explains that better than Walt Whitman.

O Me! O Life!

By Walt Whitman
Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?

That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Yes, My Husband is Just a Teacher

My husband is a teacher.

That often garners responses that range as wide as "He's a Super Hero" to "Oh."

In fact,  I like to tell the many stories of times the Mommy Mafia would accost me on the playground and say "Oh... you work?" as if I were a leper.  I would usually say "Yes.  My husband is a teacher."  And then they would nod and go "Oh... I get it."

As if we were close to starving to death on his meager wages.

More on that in a minute.

So yes, my husband is a just a teacher.  He's not an administrator.  He might go that route at some point, but honestly, right now, he loves what he does.

He's one of THOSE teachers.  The kind that kids remember for years to come.  The one that gets an obscene amount of treats and notes during Teacher Appreciation Week.

He cares about his students.  He cares about his classes. 

He is frequently frustrated.  He's had over 50 kids in his class.  In fact, his school even was used in example by President Obama during the last presidential debates.  He has had kids sit on the floor the first few weeks until Count Day-- when they see who is really showing up and who is simply in the database- and they can reschedule the students.  Then he will have often have 40+.  But at least they will have desks.  Unless everyone shows up.

He sits through training classes on whatever the latest and greatest system is developed by people who maybe taught a year or two.  Every year, it seems, there is some new method on how to teach.

He hears about test scores and their importance.  Of course, he doesn't teach a core class, so no one really cares. 

He stays up at night making interesting lesson plans.  He makes notes when he finds something that might be useful to use at some point.  He has some fantastic colleagues that share information and experiences.

He stays up inputting grades because he has very little time during the day to do the paperwork.

His classroom is where students and teachers come for lunch.  To hang out.  To chat.

I usually have the opportunity to watch him teach once or twice a year (I get to be a guest speaker on economics or money management sometimes).  It's amazing to watch him work.  He keeps the kids captivated.  They love him.  He makes it fun.  I have a crush on him all over again.

I've had a few of his students work for me over the years.  Today, my intern was sharing with another intern how great a teacher he was-- I was beaming.

And yes, I make a few dollars more than he does.  But honestly, by the time you throw in his time off, his pension, his health insurance- it's a better gig than most corporate jobs.  Seriously.

Plus, he gets to pick his kids up every day after school.  They have their own little routines.  He spends the summers with them.  How many dads get to do that?  As they've gotten older, he's really gotten attached to his time with them. 

He works in a career that most people think they can do-- and when they try, most fail (like the attorney who refused to accept any help from anyone and then walked out during the work day... or the retired military officer who never came back after Thanksgiving...).

So to sum up, yes, my husband is just a teacher.

He changes young people's lives.  He has time for our family.  He loves what he does.

And that's pretty darn cool from where I'm sitting.

Have a great school year, Papa Bean!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Comment Sections Online

I wish so very much that online newspapers and news websites would get rid of the reader comment sections below the articles.

It may end up being the saving grace of print materials because quite honestly, the comment sections make me sick to my stomach.

There is Facebook.  There is Twitter.  Comment all you want.  Be as hateful as your little evil soul can muster if you choose.

But why does CNN, CNBC, Yahoo- any online "news" source - feel compelled to open the forum up to Joe Moron from Idiotville, USA? 

What purpose does it serve the universe?

Joe Moron has nothing useful to contribute.  If he did, he would have gone to journalism school and learned to write.  Or perhaps even picked up basic sentence structure in the third grade.

I read the news to get information.  I read editorials to get opinions.

The comment sections have no purpose other than to destroy my faith in humanity.

Nearly everyone I know has gotten into an online pissing match with some jackass they don't know.  It's a time waster.

And here's the thing-- on social media sites, it's fine.  It's what they are for- to chat, discuss, etc.  But when every online magazine started opening up every article to every jackass with a log in, it ruined it.

If I read even the most basic article on something like the best way to pluck your eyebrows into a perfect arch, the comment section will start with a few comments on "Hey, I tried this...." or "One thing I learned..." or "Be careful of..."

But then JzzyGirl497 will make a nasty comment like "You dumbass..."

Then Mom2Sara will respond with "That's inappropriate."


And so on and so on.  And Mom2Sara is probably in tears.  Her husband is pissed. 

The point of the article long lost.

I would say I was exaggerating, but I'm not.

And here I sit in Nevada, getting angry at JzzyGirl497 who is probably the baby mama to Joe Moron and I've wasted my valuable time on this planet giving this a thought.

All I wanted to know was how to pluck my eyebrows.

If I elect to comment on a post on a social media site, like Facebook, I accept the possibility that I ca be attack by any fool with access to the Interwebz.

If I'm reading an article from a major publication, my input isn't necessary to the world  If they had wanted my opinion, they would have contacted me for a quote.

Online comment sections have become the adult forum for bullying.  It's annoying. It's disruptive.  It's rude.

It brings out the worst in people.

Remember when AOL first started?  You could go into chat rooms with like minded fools and say whatever you wanted.  They even would block or kick the big morons out.  Now, comments seem to be overwhelming sites.

I completely stopped reading my hometown paper online.  There are people who viciously attack others in what seems to be a side profession for them.  I would mistakenly make a comment from time to time on an article and a few days later would see that apparently my silly comment had started a war.

They talk about how divided the world is.

I blame the comment sections.  They are full of vitriol and hatespeak.

We don't need it as a society.  There are enough wars going on.  We don't need to fuel them with our alleged "intellectual" debates of uneducated, opinionated fools.

Again, what is their purpose?

I just want a news source. 

So please, if you are a major news publication, will you do me a favor and delete your comment sections?  If people want to comment, they can write a letter to the editor with their name and address- just like in the old days.  You know 10 years ago.  Feel free to set up a chat forum for members (you need $$, so charge a fee) and the bobbleheads can fight it out in the back room, away from the rest of us.

I have more important things to do.

Like pluck my eyebrows.