Tag Archives: Observations

Free Speech?

It is already January 12th and this is my first post of the year.  I had hoped to be writing much more than this by now!  Of course, I did not expect to get that nasty, nasty flu that hit mightily this year. Knocked me down for a solid two weeks.  The good news is that I am regaining strength and on the road to recovery and her we go into the New Year, albeit a bit later than planned!

Suffice it to say I have watched A LOT of TV while I was ill.  And I am a news junkie.  And there have been a few tragedies.  Another plane with 162 people crashed into the ocean; at least they will find this one.  Little comfort to the families, but they will be able to bury their loved ones.

And then the terrorist attacks in Paris.  Attacks against cartoonists drawing pictures.  Attacks against free speech. ATTACKS AGAINST WHAT EACH OF US DO HERE EVERYDAY.

I personally don’t agree with poking fun at someone’s religion, someone’s skin color, someone’s ethnicity, someone’s sexual orientation, but I do agree that we all have the right to do it.

There really hasn’t been any kind of free speech in the United States for a very long time.  Anyone who makes a comment about that is racist or bigoted is immediately chastised, and if a public figure, may not be for long.  While, again, I do not like racist or bigoted statements either, does “free speech” mean that there is a right to say whatever, without any ramifications?  Or does it mean that you can say whatever you want, but be prepared to deal with the consequences of your words?

What is free speech really?

 

Class Reunion–35 years and counting

So I broke down and went to my first class reunion last weekend…okay it was my third-fifth class reunion, just the first one I’ve ever really attended. I went to the fifth, but stayed twenty minutes and left. It felt like high school and I didn’t need that again.  It is so interesting to see that little microcosm of society! For the most part, everyone has stopped worrying about “who is better than” and “who has more,” yet there were those “select” few.  You know, the “ones” who still talk to the only the other “ones.”  And they look around the room making eye contact with rest of us lowly minions, thinking that we are pining for their attention.  I noticed them about a half an hour before I left…and I was there five hours.  Someone I was talking to pointed it out to me, so I paid attention.  I realized that there was this “group of four,” not including their very uncomfortable spouses, who were having a very difficult time getting the rest of the mingling crowd to pay attention to them.  They tried a lot of things: they laughed very loudly, then looked around to see who noticed; they all walked to the bar together giggling at whatever, pretending not to look around; and they did the same on their social visit to the restroom.  Their extreme disappointment when no one cared what they did was evident…everyone else had moved on…had grown up…had seemingly left them behind.

It really was good to see people again.  I wish that  more people attended, but who am I to talk, it took thirty-five years for me to attend!  I realized when I got there that I miss the friends I made in high school.  I haven’t seen most of them for thirty-five years.  It isn’t anyone’s fault, life just happens.  I never felt like I fit in then; after this weekend, I know it doesn’t matter anymore.  That is a refreshing feeling.  It is sad that it took thirty-five years for me to feel that way, yet it is great that it happened at all!  I also realized how truly blessed I am to have reconnected with the friends I have since moving back to my hometown.  They have made this transition so much better.  I would be lost without them.  It is good to have this time in my life to reflect on what is important and what is valuable; what is lasting and what is true; what is golden and what is treasured.

 

 

A Three Year Journey, Never Intended

Three years I began a New Life.  Or should I say I began a New Journey in my Life.  A New Journey sounds so much better and more intriguing, wouldn’t you agree?  I would assume it depends on whether it is a Journey one intended to take.

I went home for lunch on a Thursday afternoon, it was August 5, 2011.  I’d been having “episodes” of unknown origin, but they were mimicking TIA’s or mini-strokes.  I had been to the hospital ER many, many times; had more CT scans of my head than I probably should have in my lifetime; and, had freaked out my friends, my co-workers and myself more than once.  On this day, instead of going to the ER, I called my doctor.  I thought that was a wise move, since I was tired of wasting everyone’s time and resources to be told that they didn’t know what was wrong.  The doctor told me I had to see a neurologist and until I did, no more work.  Little did I know that it would take a year, and my insistence at seeing a third neurologist to get a diagnosis and a solution.  Of course, by this time, I had no job, which meant I had to move because I could no longer afford where I was living.  Of course this provoked just a little (sarcasm here) stress in my life, which caused the RA to go out of control.   Additionally, I lost two of my main supports, which were my old neighbors.  I had not planned on that.  I’ve never returned to work and my health is such now, that it seems unlikely I ever will.  Although, I would like nothing better.

There are many details, twists and turns that life has taken throughout these past three years, far too many to mention here.  The life lessons are always the most important; the demons we struggle with and overcome; the challenges we face and win; and the realization of who and what really matters.  I know that these will continue throughout my life, I hope to get better at dealing with them and at letting go of the little things and the things I cannot change.  I am finding that, unfortunately, that also means letting go of people.  There are people in my life who let me down to the point that I can never trust them again; who have shown me their true character and, not that I am perfect, it is cruel; and, there are those who have, at least in their own honesty, walked away from me.  This has been the hardest part of my journey during the past three years.  Or maybe it has been the hurt I have caused others, for I know I have.  I have let people down in ways for which I have many regrets.  I have tried to make amends where possible and apologies when I can.  And tried to do it better the next time.  I guess that is all to do.

It has been an interesting journey.  I have learned a lot about myself, my world and the people in my world.  I have been to the depths of depression and have had wonderful friends to pull me back up.  I have had major health crises that without my friends I would literally not have survived.  And I have had triumphs that my friends were with me to celebrate and share.  What have I learned? That I have the BEST FRIENDS, that I am BLESSED they are in my life; that no matter how dark or lonely some days may get, they will ALWAYS be there, just one phone call away.  I have also learned that I can handle much more than I thought I could, and I really thought I was pretty strong before.  I’ve learned to be more independent and to ask for help only when it is truly needed.  I’ve learned to let the little things go and not stress about them as much.  I’ve learned to be GRATEFUL for all that I have, for it is so much!  I’m learning to ENJOY EACH MOMENT because it is all I really have and to stop expecting things to be a certain way.  It appears that when I can release my expectations, I am pleasantly surprised by something new!  The biggest thing I’ve learned about myself is that I have a lot to learn!  This is good, for life will continue with its twists and turns and how boring it would be without them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Israelis, Palestinians and HAMAS, The Current War, 2014

I have been a news junkie for a long time and I don’t know that it is good for me anymore.  The world, or should I say the news, is depressing.  And the 24-hour news stations are worse.  The repeat the same things over and over and over, usually not even bothering to change the words or the videos.  I have decided this means that I watch it way too much.  I don’t even watch the same station, but go back and forth.  It still doesn’t change.  This post is not really about the media, however, nor is it about my watching too much news.  Nor is it about how in addition to this; I read not one, but two political printed materials.  This is about all the comments I am reading about the current war between Israel and Hamas.

The conservatives are mostly on the Israeli side, while the liberals are mostly on the Palestinian side.  No one is on the Hamas side.  At least no one that I have heard about in the media, and as I have established I pay attention.

I do believe that every country has a right to defend itself.  I mean could you imagine if a country was digging tunnels into the US?  Oh yeah, they are.  And the US went to war with a country who really didn’t do anything to us, no one got upset about that for a long time.  And when we did go to war with the country that MAY have been responsible for attacking us, we haven’t done such a great job.  I don’t have totals, however, I wonder just how many civilians have been killed in these wars. Of course they were, doesn’t anyone remember “Shock and Awe?”

The thing that is causing my anger to rise is that no one is talking about HAMAS, which “everyone” agrees is a terrorist organization that wants to destroy Israel.  People in the US are protesting the death of civilian Palestinians being killed by Israel; and , I agree, I do not like the death toll either.  And it infuriates me that these people cannot get out of this piece of land.  How can this be?  There should always be a way to flee the country.  Not just in times of war, but also for natural disaster or spread of disease.  After all, the supposed “decision makers” of Hamas are not even in Gaza, they are safely in Qatar; again according to the media.  So who is getting killed, the poor Palestinians who are trapped in a no win situation.  And they are trapped with tunnels and bombs that are part of their homes, schools, hospitals and places of worship.  Even if they are not complicit with this, they still may not have a choice with it.  I am not there, I am not Israeli nor Palestinian, however if I was a Palestinian living in Gaza I would have done everything I could to leave there after the first, second, third one of these wars.  If I could have; I have no idea if it is possible.

I am all about homeland and sentimental belonging, however, I am also about life and preserving a “way of life” and not a “place of life.”  That has been a lesson hard learned for me in the past three years.  I am also all about free speech and believe strongly that everyone has the right to say whatever they want, hence this post.  I also think that with free speech comes responsibility for one’s words.  And that one’s words does not give someone the freedom to do things that are irresponsible.  Inflaming situations without giving thought to the ramifications of the escalation, is not helping to raise awareness or even to get out one’s point of view.  It is simply to sensationalize so that they can get their fifteen minutes of fame.  Protesting is wonderful, it has accomplished a lot in this country and in others; violence is not.  It is sometimes difficult to see this however, when countries frequently use violence to settle their disputes and call it war to make it ok.

Is there an answer to all of this?  I don’t have one.  I am not there.  I live on the other side of the world.  And I don’t believe it is the United States fight.  Does the US have a stake in the outcome? Doesn’t every country.  I hear in the media that, “The US has to get involved because it is the only country to have major influence any more.”  So what, just because the US has major influence, does it have to use it?  It seems so, it seems that the US has to use it everywhere, which is why so many countries are “unhappy” with the US.  I understand that everything is global now, there is no way that any country can operate without being engaged with other countries.  I just do not know if that includes telling them how to live.

Now, there is the issue of Russia and Putin, but not today.  I do feel horrible for the 298 people who perished and all the people who love them.   No, not a topic for today; after all, I am missing the Sunday morning news shows…

External vs Internal: Does It Really Matter?

There have not been many external events happening recently, unless you count the illness stuff and I really don’t want to.  Or you count the recovery from illness, which is a bit better to focus on, I guess.  Other than that there has just been a lot of sleeping, watching TV and reading, which I guess does fall into that recovery category.  Internally, however, things are beginning to shift again.  I am feeling the need to get out of the house, not for purely social reasons, although those are important enough, but also for observational reasons.  I need to be observing life–people, places and things–so that I can write.  And I am writing again, oh, I guess that is an external change.  It feels so internal to me that I don’t notice when words actually leave my head and get put on paper…well, on the computer screen.  It is especially nice when they STAY on the screen after I put them there.  Yes, I “lost” two hours of writing the other day, just gone to great abyss of…wherever that shit goes when it goes somewhere!  The important fact here is that it is gone…bye-bye…see ya (NOT).  That was the bad news.  The other bad news is that I can’t just rewrite it, those words came once, not sure they will come again, although I will try.  The good news, I spent yesterday setting up a new writing system (another external change)! So hopefully that won’t happen ever again.  I hope.  At least not this week.  Or this month.  Or this year.

So, I am excited about today because I get to spend it writing.  I really hope the words come.  If not it doesn’t matter.  I have a new mantra…Keep My Butt In The Chair! I say it to myself a lot now.  It is the only way that I am ever going to finish anything! It is the only way that anyone ever finishes anything.  I know I don’t have a lot of stamina and I can’t stay in that chair for long, but I have to give it a try.  You know, one hour of writing, two hours of napping, one hour of writing, two hours of napping, etc.  That is about how life goes, no matter what I try to do.  And somewhere I will slip in my “observation” time.  It will happen.  I just have to keep my motivation and my dream in front of me.  And the other negative crap, self-defeating thoughts, in that great abyss of…

I am also finding that the balance is hard.  The amount of time “required” being alone so that I can gather my thoughts so I am able put words together into a story, along with not being so isolated that I forget how to interact with people.  It becomes easier and easier to become reclusive.  I do miss laughing though!  I find I don’t laugh anymore.  I haven’t for a long time.  And I miss it more and more.  I realize now, that even when I find something funny, I have a hard time laughing at it.  I wonder, is laughing a skill that one learns and forgets?  Or is laughing something that, with enough pain, too difficult to bring back?  Either way, I want it back!  I love to laugh…or at least I used to!  I used humor at work all the time, I was known for it and it worked! I do not know how to get it back, but I do know I am going to work at it.

It seems I’ve made a list for myself:  Keep my butt in the chair; Make observation time; Keep my dream in front of me; Find the balance; Re-learn how to laugh again.

Okay, I’m exhausted just looking at the list!   Is it nap time, yet?

Feeling Blessed

It is so revealing when your eyes open to the truth.  When you see that someone you cared about and wanted in your life for so very many years becomes someone you no longer care to have in your life.  When you realize that “appearances” to them really are everything, that hurting others is really okay.  Calling themselves Christian and being so righteous while making judgments about everyone else’s choices, once again reaffirms the adage “walk the walk, don’t just talk the talk.” I guess today I am feeling blessed that I have traveled the journey I have.  I do not care about appearances; I care about people.  I care about doing the right thing for its own sake.  I care about treating people right.  Not for my benefit, but for theirs.  Just because “it’s the right thing to do.” (quote attributed to Lu)  I am truly blessed that I have had the friends that I have, some still in my life and some not, who have helped me along this journey.  I am a far better person because of them!

To Be (Political) or Not to Be

It has been another week.  This time I have spent it struggling to breathe, dealing with pneumonia.  Another “issue” of having an autoimmune disease is that I catch everything and then can’t get rid of it.  I did avoid the hospital, through begging and refusal at first, and then not calling back for follow-up when I did not recover like “they” said I should.  I got this crap at the hospital, why would I go back there???? That just seems like a no-brainer to me!!  Needless to say, I have had lots of time, in between naps, to watch the TV.  Last weekend an American soldier was brought out of Afghanistan.  I watch a lot of news shows.  I probably need to stop, because I think too much.  I am a thinker.  I process things.  I can chew on a thought until it is reformulated to look nothing like its original concept.  And I listen.  And I rephrase.  And I chew.  And did I mention I’ve been in bed unable to move for about a week now????

I don’t necessarily see these things as political, although they are all happening in politics today (in the USA, anyway).  I think the reason I cannot see them this way is because I worked in Mental Health for 25+ years.  Everyone says we have a mental health problem in this country and I do agree.  Usually, this is mentioned in the area of gun violence.  And we have had that this week, too.   However, I don’t think we will be debating that, as there were not “enough” killed to make it a “mass” shooting “event.”  Once again, I digress.  Back to the point. One  group I worked with in my career was Special Education.  At the time, (dino. ages) it was a separate school for all the kids who could get along with other kids.  They sent them somewhere so that they could all be together and work out their problems.  We had three classrooms.   Ours were divided by age but I think you could divide them any way you want.  We taught them regular education stuff, like other kids…when we could get them to behave.  When we could get them to respect each other.  When we could get them to listen to each other. When we could get them to take responsibility for their words/actions.  When we could get them to get along with each other.  They did not have to like each other, but they did have to co-exist in a humane manner.  At first, we only had them with their own class, as it was too much to expect them to get along with everyone at one time.  Before they left and went back to their home school, however, they had to get along with a lot more children, so they had to learn to interact with everyone.

This was the hardest and most rewarding job I’ve ever had.  I cannot remember having to breakup so many fights; repair so many broken desks, chairs, walls and people;  call so many parents about behaviors; figure out new and innovate ways to discipline/reward behaviors; and ways to fix myself so I could face another day.  It was a challenge.

A disclaimer:  this blog was not in any way meant to be political.  Sometimes, however, human nature takes over and I cannot help myself.  You, the reader, must judge whether this posts political in nature or just about human nature.  I can not tell anymore.

So I’m chewing folks…

Now, the USA decides to bring one of its own home.  Good thing, right.  The USA trades five bad guys. Bad thing, right.  This was gonna happen at the end of the war anyway, if we follow the Rules.  Anyway, not really my point.  But I’ll state for the record I’m glad he is “home” and I’m glad I’m not paying for the five bad guys anymore.  Knowing this country we will just figure out a way to use a drone on day 366 anyway, since we never could prosecute them for anything.

Ok, back to my point, I think…

~ Why, with all the “traceable” electronics in the world today would someone say/write something and then say/write the opposite, while denying that they ever said/wrote the first thing?

~ Why, are so many people denouncing one man for something he MIGHT have done, when there were a RECORDED 20,000 men who did the same thing in WWII?

~ Why, are the “leaders” of the USA allowing the Taliban to create the divisions in this country that it wants to see?

~ Why are there so many people concerned with making sure they do the opposite of what the other guy wants, even if it is the same thing they wanted the day before?

I’m still chewing….

I’m seeing some parallels here: 3 classrooms=senate, house, white house;  I want to do that until you are doing it, then I think it is a horrible thing to do;   I did not do that, somebody else wrote that on there, that wasn’t me; I will never do what he wants, I hate him (even if I wanted to do it 2 minutes ago).

You get the picture.  There are adult men and women acting like Behavior Disordered children.  I know that is not PC, but neither are they.  And I don’t have to be PC cause this is not about politics.  Did I mention the school was for 5-10 year olds????  Hmmm…..  No one stayed there more than year or two….   Hmmm…..

The only negative is that we can’t put adults in “time out,” we can’t “restrain” them, we can’t “de-redirect” them.   We can, however, “discharge” them, which is what the last resort was at the school.  When there was no hope left for any chance of change.

Okay, this is feeling a little political now….