No More Empty Fortune Cookies!

Friday, June 17, 2016

After Orlando, Speak Up and Speak Out

I've bit my tongue and held my breath since Orlando. I've quietly unfriended more than a few people after seeing their reactions and reading their comments on it. I don't need that toxicity in my life. I haven't the time nor patience for it anymore.

 I've developed a new-found respect for many who have stepped up and spoken out in ways I've never seen or heard them do before. And I personally thank them, each and every one.

But all is not cherries and roses.

I'm amazed by the number of people who are loudly outspoken about loving their LGBT friends and call upon their peers to do so as well, and then quote bible scripture supporting their position of love, only to then share a post from their famously anti-gay pastor who resides in a multimillion dollar mansion. A man who loudly and unabashedly preaches about the evils of Islam, and who blames all Muslims for the actions of the few terrorists.

These same people will say, "You can't blame all guns for the actions of one bad guy with a gun!" They decry, "Don't blame all Christians for the words of a few who don't practice my Christianity!" But they will openly blame all Muslims for the actions of one bad Muslim.

I am amazed when they say "Putting laws and restrictions on guns won't stop bad people from doing bad things!" But they are screaming at the tops of their voices about needing laws to prohibit any Muslims from entering our country. Blaming President Obama for Orlando, citing his not stopping Muslims from entering the country, disregarding the fact that this man was born in New York.

Homegrown. He was American. He was one of us.

My dear friends and family, stop. STOP! Take a step back and look at who you are quoting. Take a listen at your service this Sunday. When that murderer turn pastor starts preaching about the "sinners" who died in Orlando, remind him he too is a sinner. When that murderer turn pastor starts talking about the evils of Islam, remind him of the evils of his beheading that elderly woman in Texas so many years ago. When that homophobic, misogynistic, xenophobe starts talking about how God hates homosexuals, remind him that God also hates hypocrisy, murder, and greed. And remember that it was people exactly like Mr. I Killed That Lady But My Daddy's Friend Was My Judge So I Got Off The Hook, preaching their hate and intolerance that led to the awful massacre in Orlando. Remember that it was people just like you listening to people just like him who became radicalized and committed atrocities.

It amazes me when many of these people chant Trump 2016! While they boast of deleting the intolerant, bigoted friends who made snide comments about Orlando.

They have disabled children, bisexual, transgendered children, gay children, mixed race children...and yet they chant "Trump 2016!

And don't you dare tell me how you really don't care one bit about politics, but figure Trump is nothing more than a business man, and hey, wouldn't that be great fou the country? And then turn right around and say you'll never understand how Germany let Hitler gain power and control. You no longer get to speculate about that old German woman, and which side she may or may not have been on.

If you want to love and support your LGBT friends and family, stand up against religious intolerance, bigotry, and incendiary speech, even if it comes from your pastor, your family member, or your favorite politician.

Take a good, hard look at your pastor and your favorite politician, and honestly ask yourself if they are practicing the love and tolerance that you, yourself are demanding of your peers. And if not, please, please, please call them out on it like you have your facebook friends, and then go find a politician and pastor who's views and speech align with that which you feel in your heart is right. Otherwise, you are complicit in their incendiary behavior that leads to more and more and more of this violence.

Think about that.
Take it to heart.
And please, please, please take corrective action. Lives depend on it.


http://www.nashvillescene.com/nashville/a-grieving-son-finds-no-justice-on-rev-maury-davis-path-to-redemption/Content?oid=1201523

https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2011/11/10/pastor-past-host-anti-islam-conference

http://www.snopes.com/2016/06/15/pat-robertson-orlando-shooting-comments/

http://www.nashvillescene.com/pitw/archives/2009/06/04/pastor-maury-davis-gay-bashing-and-muslim-hating-a-christian-birthright

http://www.people.com/article/trump-orlando-shooting-obama-republicans

http://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2015/11/26/donald-trump-mocks-reporter-with-disability-berman-sot-ac.cnn

http://freebeacon.com/politics/the-time-donald-trump-treats-women-respect/


Sunday, June 5, 2016

How do you holiday?

USA Today says that every country in the European Union has at least four weeks of paid vacation time per year, by law. FOUR WEEKS!Here in the land of the free, the greatest country on earth, we get zero guaranteed paid vacation time. Absolutely none. When the retina specialist told me that I was going blind sooner rather than later, he also told me to "go out and travel! Make a list and see what you can while you can! Do it now. Don't let anything stop you. Your time to see the sights you want to see is very limited. Enjoy it while you can."I laughed and asked him if he was going to fund my travels. I know he was only trying to help, but for a person in my financial condition, meaning a person who lives paycheck to paycheck without much buffer in between, he was only adding insult to injury. I can't afford to go home, to Tennessee, to see family and friends. I can't afford to go to a cabin for a weekend without sharing the cost with 6 other people. How am I supposed to travel and see things before I lose what's left of my sight? HOW?My job is perfect for traveling. I can do it from anywhere as long as I can connect to the internet. Easy enough to manage in this day and age. The wife's is a different story. She's chained to her desk Monday - Friday. No telecommute opportunities for her. Oh, she has ample vacation time available to her, but trying to get approved to take any of it is a fucking joke. And if she could get the time off approved, where in the fuck could we go with our limited budget and car that needs brakes and tires and a tune up first, when we can't even afford to get the brakes, and tires, and the tune up? At this point, I'd take a nice meandering drive through Amish country with a stop off somewhere for lunch, and I'd consider that a god damned luxurious treat. Meanwhile I watch all my friends, year after year post travel pictures on facebook, and I wonder how did they afford that with children to care for? How did they get time off work to go to the beach? I don't understand how we can't make that happen, while so many others can. Sure, they get tax refunds each April, while we scrape together what we can to pay in what we owe yet. I want to travel. I want to see those places I haven't seen in years. I want to see the places I've yet to see. It's been a few years since the last time I was able to take a vacation, and that was with a family group, for just a weekend at a cabin an hour and a half away.
Sometimes I want to scream, "I'M GOING BLIND, GOD DAMMIT! TAKE ME TO THE FUCKING BEACH! I WANT TO SEE THE OCEAN JUST ONE MORE TIME!"or, "PLEASE, just let me see the fucking Rocky Mountains for 1 day, for fuck's sake! Just ONE DAY!"Is it that so hard? My sight is vanishing, and along with it are all my chances to see things like the slopes in Denver, or the northern lights, or an elk...But who would I scream at? It's no one's responsibility to make sure I get to go places and see things, but my own. No one else is responsible for that. It's my own problem that I didn't end up wealthy, well educated, and ready to take on the world. It's my luck of the draw that I got all the bad genes and get to lose my sight. And it's my luck of the draw that the only person I'd want to travel with is tied to a desk at a job that won't allow her to use her vacation days. And it's my luck of the draw that our combined income barely keeps our heads afloat as it is, much less trying to afford to travel anywhere. No wonder Americans die young. We're stuck at our desks for 8+ hours a day, sitting and staring at an LED screen, then we're sold garbage that's labeled as food, and then we're paid a fraction of what we're worth, and we never get to relax and unwind,and when we do, we're breathing in toxic, polluted air. If I was a religious person, maybe I'd pray about it. But I'm not, so that delusion of hope through prayer is absent. So now what? Nothing, I guess, except come here and write about it. 


"I said Venice, and you heard Vegas. Now I say either way, baby, let's go..."


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Just. Keep. Swimming.

Often times I seek out change. I'm hard wired that way, I like variety and alternate views.
Other times, change seeks me.

I try to go with the flow and accept whatever change may take place, and remind myself that every change that has occurred in my life, no matter how hotly contested by me at the moment, has always, eventually, become the very best thing that could have happened, in the long run. 
I try. 
And that's really all I can do. 

I have two big changes facing me right now, and they were both presented to me on Tuesday. One I'm super excited about, the other has me gut wrenched and nervous. 

First, the company that I've been freelancing for has asked me to take on a full time role as managing client accounts and providing training, instruction, support, and assistance to our clients and their end users who are using our software.

I'm super stoked and slightly terrified, but more than anything, I'm grateful that I've been handed this opportunity to do the stuff that I love to do, and to do it for a company that I really enjoy working with. Learning the software well enough to teach it to end users is scary for me, but my boss insists she has "full confidence" in my ability. I'm glad someone does.

The other change is of the more sinister-seeming variety. It seems that we may be forced into making a move abruptly, in the very near future. There's a possibility that our landlord is selling the house we rent, and with that, a possibility that we will be forced to vacate. Nothing is set in stone, so I may be freaking out over nothing...then again, I like to be prepared for the worst.

We've rented here for almost five years now, and have never been late on the rent, not even once. That stands in our favor. But, we lost our house a little over five years ago, when we surrendered the deed in lieu of foreclosure, and that still plagues our credit rating just as badly as if we had let them actually foreclose. It was difficult finding someone to rent to us with two large dogs and less than ideal credit, and I expect it will be difficult again this time. But just as that situation of losing our house was so difficult to go through, once we landed here and found this house and she got her new job, we looked back on all of that and said, yeah, losing that house in Tennessee was the best thing that could have happened to us. We're here, we love it here, and we're happier. I also suspect that this move, if it happens, will be much the same.

I applied for a mortgage loan, but I got denied. My credit score is 15 points lower than the minimum required. My poor decisions earlier in life, my relatively recent disability, my student loans, and being self-employed for the last several years as a freelance agent have all put a damper on my credit rating. It takes time to rebuild credit ratings, and apparently time is not something we have a lot of right now. I'm more than a little bit stressed over it all, but I know that whatever happens, eventually we'll look back on it as having been the best thing that could have happened. There's a million rental properties in this city, and I'm confident we'll find something...but I'm not confident we can find something as awesome as this house has been, in as short of a time frame as it appears we may be given.

But, again, nothing is concrete yet, so all I can do is keep my head down and Just. Keep. Swimming.



Friday, January 15, 2016

Fuck you, cancer!


My friend, my former neighbor, my confidant and my gardening, cooking, and shopping buddy passed away Wednesday morning. She was only 50 years old. 50.



She was much too young, much too vibrant and full of joy to be taken from us. When I was sad, Maritza could always find a way to make me happy about again. When I was angry, she helped me find the humor. When I needed a hug, she was there with as many as it took, giving them freely and often.
The world has lost one of the most beautiful, caring, loving spirits that has ever been known. She was quick witted, funny, and nurturing to everyone and everything in her presence. She never encountered an animal she couldn't help or a person she couldn't comfort. She was one of my very best friends in this crazy, wild world, and she will be missed terribly. To meet Maritza was to love Maritza. If you ever met her, you know what I mean, it was impossible not to find yourself surrounded by her love.

Be free, my dear, sweet friend. I love you!



Monday, December 14, 2015

Made for TV Election Cycles



i·ro·ny - /ˈīrənē/ - noun -
When you look at Facebook and you see that the same people who have posted this meme, also posted memes that say that we need to refuse refugees and that all Muslims are terrorists.

It's getting really, really gross out there. People are all Trumped up on rhetoric and vitriol, and they are steaming mad at everyone and anyone who looks different than they do.

I had a discussion over the weekend with an older gentleman who started talking Trump. He was saying that Trump really understands Americans, and that he speaks to what everyday Americans are thinking. He ranted about how Trump is right to want to ban all Muslims from the country, stating that this is a Christian nation. He agreed that Trump's wanting Muslims to carry ID was pointless, stating, "We already know they're Muslims by their turbans!" And dismissed my recant that not all people who wear turbans are Muslim, and that not all Muslims are terrorists who believe that they have to kill infidels. My objection was waved away like a pesky fly.
I tried to be respectful in my dissent, he's my elder and a much respected person, so I simply countered that I don't think that Trump speaks to average American's sentiment. I don't. I think he speaks to some American's sentiment, true, but they are the fringe. I think that he speaks to the lowest common denominator, and that what he connects with in those people is their fear, and that fear, being promoted and flamed, creates the hatred that we're seeing, which, in my opinion is what drives the anti-American sentiment of so many people when all they see are the Trumped up hate mongers as representative of who we are and what we believe.
I said that I hoped for our society sake that Trump's stated opinions and ideas are not representative of what the average American carries in their heart of hearts. Because if what he exhibits in any way represents the hearts and souls of the typical American, then we're definitely a doomed nation.

I think that we noticed in each other that neither would bend in our views of Mr. Trump, and so eventually he let it go, no longer trying to entice me into further debate.

I have no time for debating Trump's legitimacy, just as I have no time to debate the legitimacy of rainbow winged unicorns living in my backyard. I need to concentrate on things that matter, things that help, things that nurture the better good, the higher perspective, and the common core of loving one's neighbor and of first, doing no harm.

I think that we need to step away from the made for TV election coverage, and look at the real issues and the people who are actually trying to accomplish something more meaningful than spiking their ratings and getting poll bumps from spewing hate and anger.





Saturday, December 12, 2015

Vision Bucket List


Image from Huffington Post
I'm just putting this out and into the universe because that's the only way I know to manifest the things I truly want: Speak them. Dream them. Envision them. And very often, they will come.

New addition to my Vision Bucket List: See the Alaskan Northern Lights.

My cousin and her husband live in Alaska, and they are always posting the most beautiful pictures of the lights on Facebook. I can't imagine what it must be like to be able to look up in your backyard and see that. Plus, there's all the stars in the sky with their photos. Oh, the stars! I haven't ever seen so many stars in the sky. I think that possibly, I'd even be able to see them out there. I can't really see any stars in the sky here anymore. I really miss seeing them. That's one of those things you don't realize how much you take it for granted, until it's gone. I knew it would happen, I braced for it, but still, I miss seeing the stars in the sky. There's just not enough contrast here, with the city lights so close by. Even when The Wifester sees them, I still can't, not usually. I'll only see like one or two, vaguely, while she's seeing a dozen. But I bet I can see them in the Alaskan sky. Possibly in the Arizona desert, too. But I'm running out of time before I won't be able to, even there.

So there it is, Universe. Let's make this happen.

Monday, November 23, 2015

ISO Gainful Employment

So I still haven't heard from the people about that job that I really, really wanted. I'm pretty much making the assumption now that they have decided on someone else. I'm happy for the person who got it, but I'm disappointed, to say the least. I really wanted that one. I would have been the perfect person to fill that role, I believe that with all of my heart and soul.

If it's not meant to be, it's not meant to be, and so I have to let it go now.

I keep looking for something else to do, something to fill my time, allow me to utilize some of my skills, and hopefully earn a living. It's frustrating, looking for work when so many jobs that match your skill set require you to have a valid driver's license and clear driving record. It's hard to explain that while I can't drive, I can certainly take a cab or an uber or catch a ride and that once there, I can find my way to the computer or workstation in need of help. They look at that white cane and they assume that I can't see anything.
They assume a lot of things.

There has to be a company out there who is willing to hire someone with low vision to do a job that is more fulfilling than being a customer service agent. Something better than being a punching bag meant to take all the hits aimed at the company, and that pays better than a minimum wage pittance.
I am capable of so much more!
I yearn to do so much more!
I will do SO much more!

Fulfillment. That's all anyone is seeking in life, right? Fulfillment to some may be a call center job, taking the punches for the corporate heads, and making just enough money to get by. If that's fulfillment to you, then by all means, that's your thing and do it with gusto.

For some people, fulfillment isn't achieved until they have become the best of the best at whatever it is. And that's great for those people who have that kind of drive. Go for it! Set new records, give the rest of us a higher bar to aim for. We all need motivation to improve from time to time, so your unequaled passion to be the best serves us all. But don't let it stop you from appreciating all you've done.

For me, I'm somewhere in between. I don't need to be the best. But I don't want to accept the lowest hanging fruit, either. I need to feel good about the work that I do. I need to feel like I've been helpful in some way. I need to feel like what I've done today made a real and measurable difference in someone's life. I need to improve the world around me, and to help other people find happiness and fulfillment.

I don't get any of those things from the work I currently do.
I really need to find something better, but each time I try, it circles back to me walking in to that interview with my white cane in hand, and them immediately making the judgement call that I will not work out for that job. I can't be the only person stuck in this cycle. Surely not, since blind and visually impaired people are the most unemployed and underemployed demographic of the American workforce population.

So I guess my ticket to fulfillment is going to be in finding a way to change that.
Sounds easy enough!