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.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

How Volkswagen Proved a Very Important Point

On Monday, Volkswagen admitted that they designed and installed an emissions system on their diesel vehicles that intentionally lowered emissions results to pass state requirements when being monitored, then returned the emissions to a higher level after being disconnected.

If you don't live in an area that requires smog checks, you may not know what this means.

In Nevada and many other states that have issues with smog, before you can register your car annually, you must submit it to an emissions test.  Smog testing facilities (which is it me or is there one on every corner until you need to have your car smogged then suddenly they disappear?) connect your car to their computer, run a test and you either pass or fail.

It is to reduce air pollution. Las Vegas is in a valley and during certain times of the year, the air turns brown and it is difficult to breathe.  Los Angeles has this issue as do many other urban areas.  Limiting emissions has a huge impact on air quality.

So Volkswagen- also the maker of Audi & Porsche- intentionally designed their diesel cars to fake out the test.

In normal running conditions, their cars exceed the standard.

On purpose.

They did this on purpose.

Try to put your head around this.

A large corporation intentionally created technology because they did not want to comply to air standards.

And it's not just the US EPA that is having issues.  This is a global issue.

They did it because quite simply they don't give a shit and the rules don't apply to them.

What's going to happen to them?

They file bankruptcy.


Shareholders lose out.

The poor people that have their cars are stuck with cars that don't meet standards and they can't sell.

They intentionally were poisoning the air.

Just like when Ford, a few years back, decided that rather than recall the Explorer because the tires they put on them caused them to tip over, it was more cost effective to pay out the death claims.

Your life is work x on a spreadsheet.  Because they made a mistake they didn't want to fix. 

This wasn't even a mistake.  This was designed to do exactly what it did.  Which is what truly makes my jaw drop.  The audacity is breathtaking.

I'm sure people will yell that we need more regulation and oversight to stop this type of nonsense.

But there IS regulation and oversight.  That's how these things are revealed. 

A few whistleblowers put their lives and livelihoods on the line and say "Hey... you need to check this out.  This is wrong."

And it takes a few times and a few investigations to find that yes, a major auto manufacturer absolutely with intent and knowledge devised a system to avoid compliance with the law.

How on earth do you regulate THAT?

That's morality.

Corporations are out of control.

In the US they officially have more rights than people.

They can manufacture toxic fertilizers and nothing happens.  They bury the evidence and with bravado challenge people to take them on-- they have legal teams.  What do they care?

We write more laws.  They continue to break them.

We had financial rules in the US.  They were broken.  Society is still recovering.  Corporations are fine.

But you can't legislate morality.

You can't. 

At some point, people need to realize there is a right and a wrong.

Because there is.

The executives at Volkswagen not only screwed the environment, they screwed every single one of their workers.  Every person on the line.  Every sales person.   Every service rep. They screwed their customers who are stuck with cars that aren't compliant and they can't sell or trade in.

Hundreds of thousands of people are impacted.  People who trusted them the most.

And. They. Did. It. Intentionally. For. Years.

"We really screwed up."

You lied and cheated.

You are immoral.

You are unethical.

Toyota's floor mat issues- that was a design flaw.  It happens. 

This.  This was something entirely different.

This is what happens when corporations run the world.

The rules no longer apply.

It becomes a catch-me-if-you-can society.

This was not a mistake.

The mistake was in getting caught, in their eyes.

They would still be doing it if they could

And do you honestly think this is the ONLY thing they cut corners on or lied about?

Because my guess is, it's probably not.

Because whether it's gouging prescription drug prices, polluting rivers, not paying employees- they don't care.

Because they are corporations. 

And corporations are not people.

And it's time the people that are running them are held accountable. 

Because they do know better.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Yes, I Really Do Use Reusable Shopping Bags

I'm not an environmental nut by any means, but we do a few things that are green to offset what isn't.

For example, we (meaning my husband)  replaced our low water front landscaping with nearly xeriscape.  But we put in a pool.  But our water bill is less than at our old house where we had grass.

When we built our new home, we opted for the energy efficient package.  But we built a new home.

We are looking into adding solar to our home.  But we are doing it so we can use more in the summer and not feel guilty.

We recycle most of the water bottles we use.  But we use disposable water bottles.

I like to think that we take a little here... put a little bit back there.

I hosted an event for clients a few years back at our local nature preserve.  I was worried the presenter would talk about wearing hemp clothing and turning off your lights at 6 pm. 

He didn't.  He said "Hey, if we all reduced our consumption by 10%, taking into account world growth & development, that would be all we each needed to do.  You don't need to go off grid and grow your own food.  If you have to drive the soccer team, get an SUV, but then use reusable shopping bags."

So that's the big change I made.  We really do try, but the reality is, we are big ol' earth consumers.  We do more than most but not enough.

But something is better than nothing.

The shopping bags have really been the easiest thing to do.

The funny thing is, that unless I'm at Whole Foods, it's always a thing.

I remember using them at Target and the cashier kept trying to ring them up.  Then he put them IN a plastic bag and put the light on for the manager to come help.  After I tried to explain that they were my shopping bags - "I know... cool"... he kept trying to find 'the code.'  They said ALBERTSONS on them.  Should have been a clue.  I honestly think he was stoned.... I also think that may have been his last day.  I was laughing too hard to complain, but I think the manager didn't find it quite as humorous as I did.

I also find that while at Whole Foods they will fill them to the max- because they hold a LOT- most grocery store baggers will only put a few items in them, as if they were the cheesy plastic bags. I always say "You can add more...." "Oh, I don't want them to be heavy."  "That's fine- I actually prefer to carry less bags... well alrighty then... guess that one cantaloupe is fine all alone..."

My dislike of baggers is pretty intense by the way.  Bananas with canned goods will actually make me yelp.

I know this because I did.  "Well they are both heavy."

I've NEVER left the grocery store with unbruised bananas, unless, like a crazy woman, I've carried them out on my own.  Throw my kids in the bag but do not mess with my bananas.

But back to the bags....

It is quite the conversation starter.

"How do you remember to bring them?"

Well, I have lots of them.  I keep a stash in the trunk of the car.  It's really just part of the routine.  I forget them about 10% of the time.

"I would never remember them."

Put them in the front seat?

"Those are so cute!  Where did you get them?!"

Here.  They are right there for $1 behind the cashier.

"Oh look- it's those bag things!"

I think they are called bags...

"Hey wait- you get a discount because you use your own bags?"

Yes.  So you are kinda buying those crappy plastic bags every time you shop. 

"Don't they get dirty?"

Yes.  But we have a magical potion called soap & water that cleans them.

"That's so cool that you do that!"

Sure.  I am cool.  I am super hipster chick.  Not.

But I truly am surprised at the attention they garner.  They are bags. My friends in NYC always had their own.  It's really not a big deal.  Most foreign countries use them as well.

They are bags.

Today I found out that I get extra perks on the gas bonus points!  Woo hoo!

So my eco-friendly bags help me fuel my V-6 AWD car.

Again, the balance and irony of my life continues.

Today I was at a store I don't frequent and I commented that with the gas perks, I was surprised that more people didn't use them.  The clerk as me where I was from  so I replied "Whole Foods."

But to be honest, I am surprised that more people don't use them.  I don't know if people aren't aware that most stores give you a 5 cent credit-- which isn't much, but it also means you are PAYING 5 cents for those crappy bags (and I say crappy because when we do get them, I use them for pooper scoopers when walking the dogs).

I'm not preaching- I'll save that for putting the carts back in their place-- seriously, people, what the hell?  put the freaking carts back in the corrals-- but if you have a few bags that you've accumulated, I highly recommend making it part of your shopping routine.

Yes, it's supposedly eco friendly, although I don't see how big a factor it makes (20 bags a week will not reverse climate change) but honestly, they are so much easier to use.

They don't sever your arteries when you have 3 on your arm as you walk in the door, purse falling off your shoulder, dogs jumping on you and your family asking "Do you need help?"  They hold a ton more crap making it easier to carry in your groceries.  You can save a little money.

They are also, apparently, a great way to start up a conversation with strangers who will think you have your crap together. 

Anything to perpetuate the myth, sounds good to me!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

September 10th

September 11, 2001 was the most horrifying day I can remember.  I was so far from my friends in New York.  I didn't know if any of them or their families were near the Twin Towers.  My cousin was in the Pentagon.  I didn't know if he was okay. 

I was so far away.

So far.

It happened in slow motion.  On TV.

It felt unreal.

For many of my friends it was real.  They ran.  They watched in horror.  They smelled it, heard it, felt it.

My cousin's office had been moved the day before- he was one of the "lucky" people in the Pentagon that had moved offices the day before the plane hit the exact spot where he had stood the day before.

I was awakened by my very soon to be husband who said "Hey- a plane crashed into the Twin Towers in New York-- you should watch it- I have to go--" he gave me a kiss and left.  I turned on the TV and immediately watched the second plane hit.

It was unreal.  On TV.  Far away.

Like so many, I felt helpless and in shock.

But fourteen years later, one of things that bothers me is that I don't remember September 10, 2001.

I was getting ready to be married in a month.

The market was crazy.

I was stressed.

But I don't remember what I did. 

I'm sure I went to work. 

And the reason it bothers me is because it was the last day things were normal. 

And I can't remember it.

My son who was born a year later, is writing a paper on stories from 9/11.  It made me think about life "before."

He will never know how much fun it was to great people at the airport at the gate. 

He has always removed his shoes before flying.

We have been at war his entire life.

He has never known peace.

And for the life of me, I cannot remember what I did the day before things changed.

What did peace feel like? 

The rest of the world has war.  Not us.  That was something in history books.  Parents came home from Vietnam and we were never going to war again.  Love, Not War.  No one thought we'd be attacked.

And honestly, for fourteen years, it feels as if no one even knows that troops are still deployed and in harms way.  That the threat continues to be real.

That my children's lives- both of them- have never known anything else.

And I cannot remember what I did on September 10th.

I barely remember the before.

How can I share with them the vague memory of peace, if I can't remember it?

The helplessness stayed.  I live around it.

It's the new normal of my psyche.

I always tell my children I love them as they leave for school- the school shootings reinforced this.

I kiss my husband every night, tell him I love and then a quick prayer of thanks-  Thank you for everything I have- my family, my health and all the love in my life.

Because tomorrow if it's the freeway I'm driving on collapses, or the plane I board explodes or the hotel where I'm attending a meeting is where they decide to attack next, they'll know I love them.

That's all I can do.

I don't know that I did that on September 10th.

Because I can't remember before.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

My Day Today

Today was one of those normal kind of days.  In fact, it actually started out fairly good except for the fact that I'm not feeling well.  Nothing serious- more on that later.

The kids were ready on time.  It was an early drop off for my son so he wouldn't have to walk with his/my trombone to school.  My daughter and I are back to our traditional weekly coffee date.

We went to Starbucks and it's pumpkin time!  I did comment that it was too early but I loves me some Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) with just "half the crap" as I like to order it.  And a pumpkin scone.  I limit myself to one each season.

The girl and I chatted.  Had fun.  Took a funny picture in the PSL logo in the door and determined that it stood for Pretty Sexy Lori.  I'll let you be the judge.

In fact, the morning had gone too well.  Even when I dropped my daughter off, she said "I feel like I'm forgetting something...."  because let's face it, when does life ever go this smoothly?

But it was.

When I got in the office, I asked my assistant Julie if she had ever had mornings that had gone TOO well.

Hers had as well and she completely understood the amount of stress caused by not having stress.

So I get to work and honestly, I really started to not feel well.

I should also explain that it takes a great deal of pain for me to go to the doctors.  Largely because I knew exactly what it was and the thought of sitting in a Quick Care (ironically titled) while I wasn't feeling well with the potential of catching 10,000 different illnesses for something I knew I had.... grrr.  Usually, I suck it up and self-cure with things like onions, honey and in this case, cranberry juice (every woman now knows exactly what was going on). 

But first I had lunch with some colleagues and a Girl Scout nut training session.  Or as I joked "I gotta go learn about the girls' nuts" because I am 12 and nuts is a hilarious word.

So I got to lunch and my colleague brought another colleague.  Which meant it really was going to be a working lunch after all.  And my issue was making me a little uncomfortable and I was starting to get a bit of a fever.  But the third colleague was very impressed with my practice management systems- "Wow- you're really good"- and it cheered me up.  So then we ate and I started to joke around about my kids, puberty, parenting- which is ALL hilarious- and he said... and I quote:

"You are as funny as Tina Fey.  Seriously.  Your timing.  Your wit.  You're hilarious."

As funny as Tina Fey.

Do you know how HUGE a compliment that is for a nerdy, funny girl?

What Christie Brinkley was to the cheerleaders in the 80s, Tina Fey is to the smart, funny chicks that dated band geeks, now in their 40s.

Had I died at that moment (which was a possibility as my fever was getting worse), it would have been a life well lived.

And. It. Came. From. A. Guy.

He not only knew a female comedian, he clearly thought she was funny. 

And now it was off to the Nut Meeting.  There is a system that is used called e-nuts.  So there I sat, grossly uncomfortable for reasons referenced above, trying really hard NOT to say something inappropriate. 

And I got there late and then had to leave to pee- twice (and if you are still not picking up on what my issue is....). I'm certain they thought I had a drug problem from my fidgeting and frequent departures.

We finished early, I checked my email and was nothing crazy going on without me and I thought I really need to get to the doctor.

And off I go to the Ironically Named Not Quick Quick Care.  I couldn't find a parking spot initially and I thought "If I don't find a spot, I'm just going home...." but then one opened up.  I also was starting to sweat and I really needed to get some medical attention.

Of course it's like a freaking crazy pen.  Truly.  I find a seat next to a young mother with her baby.  Babies LOVE me.

Not this one.

I do my smile, wave thing.  It usually KILLS.  This kid looked at me and started shrieking.  Awesome.  I made a baby cry. 

After she was called up to fill out her paperwork, she did not elect to sit by me.

My next form of entertainment is the lovely older couple and their brother (?) who is clearly not okay mentally.  He was wondering around the parking lot and I thought he was homeless.  There was a newspaper next to me and he grabbed it.  "He likes to read," she said, "It keeps him calm."  Well alrighty then- read away.  It was better than the pacing. 

But then she starts reading.

Out loud.

At a reading level of a second grader. 

And then she started commenting.  About the President.  Negatively.  Somebody should fire that guy.

I'm going out on a limb and saying these folks were utilizing some government assistance programs.  Which is completely fine- I'm glad they have them- but I don't think the black guy is the root of their issues.

Then they moved onto to Syrian refugees- oh wait- I meant "those terrorists."  Umm.... I think they were running from the terrorists, but hey, what do I know?

So this continues on and on and on for AN HOUR.

I pee two more times.

Then I move because the cadence      is    too   much   and   the  big  words  are cu  cumbers  cumbersome.

And I sit next to this freaking adorable little girl- about 3 or 4 and she has Twilight the pony.  Now I know my ponies because my daughter IS Pinkie Pie pony.  She's forced me to watch more shows.  The little is quite impressed with my knowledge of Pony Land.  Apple Jack- I know her- she works on the farm.  This kid is STUNNED.  So I text my husband and ask him to have my daughter send some pictures of her ponies.

I'm the coolest adult ever.

The baby lady is now convinced that I'm a pedophile. I moved near her new spot.

We are into hour 2.  The pony talk is starting to wane as is my phone battery.

I am now fascinated by the mom with 2 kids who has managed to not say a word to them for 2 hours.

Then her phone battery dies.

So we chat going into hour 3.

I get triaged, the nurse laughs at my situation "well when the cranberry juice didn't work...." and I get to wait some more out in Crazy Land aka The Lobby.

So I finally get called back, read a little WebMD magazine, take a nap (I'm not kidding) and the doctor shows up.

I loved him.  Anyone who starts off joking about and the fact that he may or may not be on the autism spectrum is okay in my book.  Then after we chat, he diagnoses me by saying "Well, let me officially diagnose you with what you already know you have..." He then explains that one of the drugs I will be taking will turn my pee orange "But if you have a blacklight..."

and I stop him and say "Go on... we just got one over the weekend"... he pauses realizing this is an odd coincidence as well...

Apparently, my orange pee is going to look super cool with a blacklight.  I am now envisioning the entire family gathered around our toilet checking this out.  Because we will totally be all over this.

I mean sparkling, glow in the dark pee-- does it get any better? 

Then he says "It has been a pleasure.  It is so nice to talk with a normal person."  And I explained that having sat in the lobby for nearly 4 hours, I completely understood.

And then the nurse apologized for making me wait for so long for something that I already knew what was wrong but hey- it all worked out.  I made some new friends.

I got home, we had dinner and then my daughter proceeds to tell me that she told her science teacher that she had taken a DNA test like I told her to (they are studying genetics and biology and I thought he might find it interesting) "but he didn't say anything..." So I asked if she had told him that she had taken a DNA test to test her ancestry- and she replied "No... why?"  Because I'm guessing that her teacher now thinks we are going to go on Maury Povich.


And to add a cherry to the top of the sundae, as I was tucking her in she commented that she was having trouble sleeping because she kept thinking how awful it would have been had our cruise ship sunk this summer and her teddy bear had been trapped on board.  Last year they studied the Titanic.  Clearly this is a rational thought, a month after the cruise.

Because this is how my days go.

I pee.

I have some pumpkin coffee.

I get told I'm as funny as Tina Fey.

I make nut jokes in my head.

I make a baby cry.

I talk Pinkie Pony.

I learn that in 2 days my pee will glow.

And the entire PTO thinks I'm looking for the baby daddy.

This is my world.