Monthly Archives: April 2013

Quirks

Everyone has them. I know it, you know it. Something every person does will get on someone else’s nerves.

I have a problem with patience, so I have this quirk where I will start finishing other people’s sentences.  It’s partly because I have ADD and a million and ten things going on in the three ring circus that is my brain 99% of the time.  And it drives the mister nutty.

One of his quirks, is playing music full tilt, full volume,  full blast.  Personally, I appreciate my hearing a little more, and like a nice medium volume — loud enough to hear all of the vocals and instrumentation in a beautiful harmony but without risking permanent hearing damage or noise ordinance violations. (Mind you in a vehicle setting I’m pretty much the same way, I like to have the ability to blast it out, but don’t feel the need to have an acoustical pissing match with the guy in the lane next to me.)

So, at some point either he’s going to need a sound-proof man cave or I’m just going to need better ear plugs and insulation between the various rooms in the house.

One of my other quirks is also one of my better qualities — my creativity.  The problem with that is, again, the ADD gets in the way and while my creative chaos is organized to my satisfaction, it’s not necessarily the case for anyone living with me.  I’m just hoping to get it a little more under control, because I can see it rubbing off on the princess.  (Though my mom says it’s just that curse all mothers wish on their children — that the kids are just like them.)  Princess is my mini-me, that’s her quirk too.  All the creativity and chaos, paired with a double-helping of hardheadedness.

But … there’s a lot of stuff I wouldn’t have gotten through without either stubbornness or creativity.  It’s our quirks that make us who we are, and help us overcome what challenges are tossed in our path.

Categories: Mommy Mondays | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Procrastination … and politics.

I’m great at it.  In sixth grade, my social studies teacher at Bitburg Middle School informed my mother I had a terminal case of procrastination.  I’ve always worked best under deadlines (probably why I went into news) and tend to put things off until the last possible minute.

Not to long ago, I reminded someone that I put the “pro” in procrastination – and then was called an epicrastinator – because my procrastination was on such epic levels I deserved a new word. 

I’d love to blame procrastination for why I’m about ten days behind on the A to Z challenge, and just now getting to P – but that’s only a part of it.  Teething punk, princess getting through a growth spurt and a spate of general confusion and starting a new job has kind of derailed what little free time I had.  (And my netbook died, so fighting the mister for control of the PC when we both tend to want to be on it at the same time, or spending time together away from connectivity has been tricky.)

 

That said, I’d originally planned to rant about politicians being in the pocket of special interests, particularly on the heels of the failed universal background check law.  I’ve seen the comment that just like NASCAR drivers or pro football (and by that I mean what us Americans call “soccer”) players — senators and congressfolks should wear patches on their suits so we know who’s sponsored them.

When 90% of the country agrees that expanding basic background checks on gun purchases to the gun show and internet (40% of all sales) market, and only 54% of the senate even votes for it, it further illustrates how our democracy has turned more into an oligarchy.

Today, while three- and four-year-olds are getting kicked out of Headstart programs, and state legislatures in Tennessee and West Virginia are deciding to tie food assistance for the poorest of the poor and the most voiceless of our nation — the thing congress had to fix was airline delays at major airports.  In time for their one-week spring break.  Heaven forbid they have to wait like us plebeians.

Thankfully some of our elected representatives have started to speak for those who cannot speak for themeselves, including Texas Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee, who said, “We’ve got to save the traveling public but I ask the question about 5,000 children in Texas that will lose Head Start or the millions of seniors or our military families that will lose the support because we’ve got the sequester.” 

Others said the platinum-level frequent fliers calling their congressfolks and senators got undue attention, since the three and four-year-olds most impacted by Head Start and food assistance cuts aren’t going to call up their reps.  That doesn’t mean children cannot be activists.  (see the second link below.)

Two excellent blogs on this issue come from Crazy Dumbsaint of the Mind – if you don’t follow her, you should (or at least check her out.)

Where West Virginia reps thinks kids ought to work as janitors in exchange for food assistance:  http://dumbsainthood.wordpress.com/2013/04/26/west-virginia-republican-proposes-kids-work-for-school-lunch/

Tennessee tries to tie food assistance to standardized test scores:  http://dumbsainthood.wordpress.com/2013/04/13/awesome-person-aamira-fetuga/

 

I’ve never been a big Whitney Houston fan, but can appreciate her talent as a vocalist.  And I appreciate her sentiment that children are the future.  Maybe together we can try to get our “representatives” to quit lining their pockets with special interest funding, and start moving in a direction that ensures not only our children, but all children have a future worth looking forward to.

Categories: In all seriousness | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Optimism

Some days I’m a sarcastic, cynical, jaded individual.  I’ve seen a lot of the worst of humanity, and it can wear you down pretty quickly.  (See my Justice & Karma blog for some details.)

But other days, there are some days where faith in humanity is restored, where I’m optimistic that my girls will grow up in a world with less hate, less venom, less bias.  More basic kindness, respect, and strength.

I find myself turning into a bit of a Pollyana during those times, finding the bright side of things, in the worst of circumstances.  (For those of you of a certain age, or with parents of a certain age, back in the days Disney had Sunday Night Movies and there was no cable and only three channels, you probably saw the movie.)

ImageThat said, the actions in the aftermath of Monday’s bombing in the Boston Marathon finish line viewing, are some of those little optimistic moments.

I’ve got friends and family who are in the Boston area.  Somehow my branch of Irish Catholic missed it, but there was a commentator today who said Boston knows how to do three things best – sports, politics, and revenge.  That even Yankees put aside their rivalry (as the Sox did after 9-11) to honor the city was a shock, leaving me awed.  Watching clips of the Bruins’ national anthem before the game yesterday was chilling — in a good way.

Watching runners and first responders, volunteers and medical personnel on site as events unfolded.  Literally using the shirts on their backs to administer first aid.  The Pollyana in me thinks of how awesome it was that if the bombs had to go off, they went off there and not anywhere else on that stretch  — where the greatest number of medics, ambulances, and others could be of immediate help.  I shudder to think of how high the casualty count could’ve been elsewhere on the course.  The proximity to hospitals with trained trauma teams was another blessing.  Runners completing the course, then going further to the closest hospital to try to donate blood.  Outpouring of donations to the OneFundBoston.org to help cover needs of the victims.

Of course, that it happened at all is disheartening — that there’s still so much evil out there. But only light will get rid of the darkness.  And I’ve shared a few reblogs and memes on my facebook page about my optimism, that as a nation and human beings, we’re better, smarter, and stronger than a rat-bastard bomber.

 

 

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News Analysis – When the Hell Did Confirmation & Facts Cease to Matter?

I’ve mentioned a few times my news background. While I’ve been out of the “biz” a few years now, for so long, it was such a part of my life and identity. The adrenaline rush – there can’t be any illicit or prescribed drug with a high like that.

Two basic tenants of what “makes news” taught in beginner J-school classes are:

If it bleeds, it leads.

Dog bites man isn’t news, but man bites dog is.

A third basic rule, as rock solid and commandment like, handed down from the AP Stylebook as “the bible” – get two, independent, attributable sources.

In essence, don’t speculate. Don’t guess. Unless you’re Woodward with Bernstein to reign you in, no anonymous deep throat sources. Confirm the anonymous. (And protect those sources whose information has been confirmed and indeed puts them at risk .)

I was appalled and sickened by the coverage of some “news” outlets yesterday in the coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing.

I’m still a news junkie, and like most Americans I was glued to the TV and ‘net, trying to source accurate information.

In the barrage of coverage, I realize just how much our trusted news sources have really turned less from news to entertainment. For example, I no longer have any respect for ABC, Diane Sawyer, or George Stephanopolis. Once they started quoting random Facebook and Wikipedia entries as facts, it was all over. Suddenly the State Farm “true on the Internet” commercial came to mind.

I’m no fan of Fox News, but even they tried harder to a point to get attributable sources. They carried coverage of hospitals rather than the same video loop. Granted – they went back downhill shortly after with a commentator advocating genocide of Muslims in America, and an anchor making comments on the air live in direct conflict with the info scroll.

The weirdest coverage, by far, was NBC’s Brian Williams calling the events in Boston “beyond bodacious.” What the hell? Is he the fifth ninja turtle or auditioning for the Point Break remake?

Overall, I think the best, least speculative and most accurate coverage had to go to Scott Pelley and CBS, and Rachael Maddow/Lawrence O’Donnell at MSNBC. They asked smart questions, got their sources on camera and on record, and refused to speculate (as every arm chair expert, myself included, came up with their own theories) as to who could possibly perpetrate this and why.

Maddow’s coverage also included a segment on similar plots that had happened and/or been prevented in the past 25 or so years.

That they were careful to fact check and not guess, earned my respect (not that they need it).

In this day an age when Justin Beiber’s faux pax at the Anne Frank house lead higher than the nut job with nukes in North Korea — it’s encouraging to me that some reporters are still reporters of news. That for some, facts are still the standard.

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Music

I’m still going ahead with my original planned topic for today, but it’s going to be a much more brief blog.

Starting next week, I’m going to take DeBie Hive’s A to Z music challenge  (http://debiehive.blogspot.com/).  She’s been blogging her A to Z with bands, and challenged some of her followers to join her.  I’m going to take a twist on that and just make my life easier with the top five songs per letter.  

Music has always been essential to my life, as I’m sure it has been with yours.  Certain songs evoke specific emotions and specific memories.  Sometimes it’s the genre or musician that makes it special, or painful.  One of my favorite EDM artists, whose work I absolutely love and I’ve had the opportunity to meet in person, I have too many emotional ties to with a very negative time in my life.  I cannot wait for his new album, and I hope in listening to it with a new mindset, new ears so to speak, I’ll be able to enjoy his work again. 

But we’ll get to that down the road.  I think I’ll start A next Sunday.  In theory that’s my “off” day from A to Z. 😀 

 

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Justice & Karma

I’m a couple days behind in my blog posting, and I’d always intended to combine these two topics as they go hand in hand fairly often.  (Though not as often as they should.)

By definition (from Dictionary.com)

jus·tice

  [juhs-tis] noun

  1. the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness: to uphold the justice of a cause.
  2. rightfulness or lawfulness, as of a claim or title; justness of ground or reason: to complain with justice.
  3. the moral principle determining just conduct.
  4. conformity to this principle, as manifested in conduct; just conduct, dealing, or treatment.
  5. the administering of deserved punishment or reward.

kar·ma

[kahr-muh] noun

  1. Hinduism, Buddhism. action, seen as bringing upon oneself inevitable results, good or bad, either in this life or in a reincarnation: in Hinduism one of the means of reaching Brahman. Compare bhakti ( def 1 ) , jnana.
  2. Theosophy. the cosmic principle according to which each person is rewarded or punished in one incarnation according to that person’s deeds in the previous incarnation.
  3. fate; destiny. Synonyms: predestination, predetermination, lot, kismet.
  4. the good or bad emanations felt to be generated by someone or something: Lets get out of here. This place has bad karma.

In theory, folks should be good, moral beings.  In eastern cultures, it’s because of the belief in karma – a cosmic “what goes around comes around.”  In western cultures its because of Judaeo-Christian belief structures and law, knowing there will be a punishment — justice — meted out for wrongdoing.

Lately I’ve been altering the words to the famous “wheels on the bus” song to “The Karma bus wheels go thunk thunk thunk.”  Recently in my own life, people who’ve tried to make it more difficult for me, and people I know, have made some really stupid maneuvers that are going to come back and bite them in the ass.  

And whether you believe in the concept of karma (that good things happen to good people and bad to bad) or justice (that bad will get theirs) there are times when there’s simply not enough karma, or justice.  Three recent incidents in the news before today immediately come to mind:

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/breakingnews/os-child-abuse-murder-20130414,0,6299638.story

The first, is just gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, and mind-blowing to anyone with a soul, particularly parents.  When I was working in news, I covered three stories like this in a six month period.  Every time Department of Children & Families had been called out about possible abuse, and despite every warning sign that the mother’s boyfriend was abusing the child, they left the child in the home.  And all three were killed by the mother’s boyfriend, ranging from six months to three years.  

You get tired of seeing the worse of humanity — the “crime & slime” as it were.  I never wanted to be that jaded old reporter, drowning my feelings in cigarettes and booze.  I’ve known too many good old news folks who died that way.

There is nothing a justice system can do to this monster that will be a strong enough punishment for his actions against his innocent, helpless daughter.  

The second – the monster in Philadelphia on trial for murder who was “providing” women’s health services and abortions, without training or a license, in a filth-ridden clinic to women who could least afford his treatments.  Regardless of your opinion on abortion, this individual — I cannot call him a man or doctor — should be treated with eye-for-eye justice.  There’s not enough karmic reincarnations as a cockroach to make up for the atrocities he committed.  In my opinion (and I re-posted an amazing blog on the topic last week) this is exactly why access to women’s care should be, as many proponents say:  “legal, safe, and rare.”  The women who went to this monster were afraid to be hassled at Planned Parenthood and other providers.  Pennsylvania is one of the first states to try to limit abortion through TRAP laws.

The third has to deal a bit with “rape culture” as it’s becoming known in the blogosphere.  If you’ve paid a little attention of late – in addition to the Steubenville case, there have been two recent incidents — one in California and one in Canada — where the victims of gang sexual assaults at parties took their own lives after photos taken by the perpetrators during the assaults were circulated amongst their peers.  In Canada, the police investigated but despite confessions and photographic evidence, they did nothing against the perpetrators. Until it became a well publicized story.  In California, the victim’s family is pleading for the police to do the right thing, and they are indeed investigating.

I know the statistics, and while I have never been sexually assaulted, I know women who have been.  I know women who were assaulted at young and teen ages.  I’ve seen the damage.  I have three girls — my step-daughter from my first marriage who’s navigated into adulthood fairly well with her mother’s guidance, the princess (4) and punk (6 months).  

Girls are taught even at a young age that it’s their fault – that they can “prevent” being raped.  They’re taught in middle school and high school that their clothing distracts and provokes their male counterparts, that it’s their fault they attract attention.  (http://feministing.com/2013/04/10/this-is-how-you-teach-rape-culture-to-12-year-olds/)

No, sadly, if a rapist has intent, it doesn’t matter where the victim is or what she wore, the rapist is going to do it.  

What needs to be taught is that it’s not about just a sex act, it’s about control. And what this is, is teaching girls and young women that every man is a potential rapist.

That’s not the case.  I know not all men would rape given opportunity and the idea they wouldn’t be caught.

What needs to be taught to all men, even young men and boys, is the same thing, to a degree, the princess learned her first day in pre-k.  Keep your damned hands (and other parts) to yourself.  A lack of answer isn’t a yes. No answer, is a NO answer.

One may hope karma may take care of these men, but their victims (and all the unknown victims afraid to or unable to speak up) deserve justice.

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Justice & Karma

I’m combining my J & K posts because the themes work well together.

However, sadly, they will be posted tomorrow. Too hard to do tonite via mobile.

I promise I’ll make it worth the wait.

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Why it’s important to keep women’s health care safe, legal & accesible

Why it’s important to keep women’s health care safe, legal & accesible

DeBie Hive – awesome blog today.  This monster’s trial is starting to gain traction in the blogosphere as far as publicity.  I’m appalled it hasn’t made more of an impact on national media than it has.  I cannot call this individual a man, or a doctor – he’s purely a monster.

Please keep comments respectful, regardless of your beliefs.  There’s always room for dialog on my page, as long as it’s done without flames and anger.

Categories: Good Reads, In all seriousness | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Nerdsday Fun Foto

Nerdsday Fun Foto

Because frankly this is indeed funnier than planking or owling or even Harlem shaking.

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Inspiration

I’d considered a couple other topics — ignorance and intolerance, two pet peeves of mine — and instead opted to go with something a little more positive and creative today. 

I’m a Pinterest junkie. I have 57 boards and a gazillion pins. I draw inspiration anywhere.  I’ve always loved photography, art, design and decor as much as writing.  Friends take me shopping with them because I have a good “eye for color”.  (I hate shopping, unless it’s an art supplies store.)  But really, anything inspires me, and I figured I may as well share a few of my inspired creations.

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I think my love for all things nerdy is what gears me toward steampunk designs.  I will have a steampunk-design themed office in my next place.  

I’ve gotten some self-adhesive copper sheeting which I’m going to cover my IKEA laminated table/desk with, then use Rustoleum’s hammered metal paint in rosemary to redo the legs, and have it match my filing cabinets which I redid last year. 

I love this paint!!!

 

 

In addition to the filing cabinets, I got really really bored with my uberpink tape gun.  

Before & After:

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ImageSomething else inspired in-part by Pinterest was a subway art piece (2×4.5 feet) I created for the mister’s future dugout/mancave.  This one took a lot of thinking through and I’m glad he loved it, because boy, I don’t know if I’d do this again.  I don’t know. Maybe for my Buckeyes, or something for the girls. 😀   I rounded up baseball quotes he liked, painted the melamine board in Rays colors with the Rays logo.

I printed the quotes and then used carbon paper to transfer the basic outline to 5×7-inch canvas board, and used acrylic paint to hand-paint the quotes on. I affixed them to the larger board using various sized blocks to give the piece depth.  A couple other mixed media items (enamel paint and Distress Stickles) for texture and voila – wall art.

 (Yes, those are my hobbit toes … surprisingly the only photo I have of this complete was taken with my phone. Bad photographer. Bad.) 

 

I think my biggest inspiration though, is wanting to make pretty things for my girls, family and friends.  Since things home-wise are a little in limbo, I haven’t done this yet for my daughters.  Once we get relocated and things settled, they’ll get their own monogram wall art.  But for Christmas for my nieces, they all got a custom canvas monogram to their own interests.  The tricky one was the teen who loves all things Parisian, zebra, pink, and black. Thank heavens the other girls are still young enough you can have fun and not be quite as grown up. 

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My inspiration lately though, is mostly the beach and my girls.  I’ve been through a lot the past few years.  Had the rug pulled out from under me, then was swept off my feet.  Lately I’ve been in a bit of a limbo (and I don’t mean the fun flexibility of dancing) while things work themselves out and finalize on a couple fronts.  

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My point, I suppose, if I had one, is get inspired. Be inspired.  Create, play, and have fun. Find inspiration where you may, and run with it. 

(if you have any interest in seeing some of my other creative efforts, including some photography & digital design work, my other, not updated in about a year blog is alteredegodesigns.wordpress.com .  Man, I really gotta get on the stick with that.)

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