Speak


As this Martin Luther King day approaches, I am compelled to contemplate (and write) about racism and bigotry in this country. With a president that feels he has the right to boast his hatred and utter his disregard for equality it is quite evident that some people still carry these sentiments most obviously.

But a book that I recently read: Tears We Cannot Stop, A Sermon to White America, By Michael Eric Dyson, made me look more deeply into the question of implicit racism. By definition found on the computer it means:  implicit racism includes unconscious biases, expectations, or tendencies that exist within an individual, regardless of ill-will or any self-aware prejudices.

He speaks to ‘whiteness’ in general, not in a way that is scolding, but in a way that most definitely made me look at my privileged life in this country as a white person. Of that there is NO doubt.

It is easy to notice things like what the president did and said: that this is racism/bigotry. But there are other signs that are less clear. The lines become blurred when looking at crime and how media portrays who commits them. Who do we feel as white folk are the criminals? Really, answer that question, then check the statistics. Or how do you feel when you walk down a dark street and people of color are near?

There are tests to see if you have implicit bias (or racism). The results may be surprising to you. I was scared when I took one, afraid that I might not be the person I thought I was or wanted to be. The result was fascinating actually. I guess it may depend on life experience and how much you really believe what you read and see on the news.

Dyson challenges white people in order to make this a world as Martin Luther King envisioned (and many others like him), then we must engage those who say racist things when we hear them. Sitting silent is as good as saying it ourselves. Let people know you won’t tolerate this kind of talk. Use it as a teaching moment if you hear folks spouting incorrect information about black people; let them know you know the truth.

This president is trying to worm his way out of the disgusting words he spoke recently and so will others. It is not being tolerated.

So in the words of MLK, speak up!

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

 

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One


Humans have so many peculiar traits. There are a myriad of cultural, ethnic and race oddities we humans have adopted that allude me. How far in the centuries do they go back and from where do they stem?

For instance: where does royalty come from? Watching The Crown last night, it struck me as, well, silly (no offense to anyone reading), that we as humans actually regard other humans as somehow superior. That their blood is somehow ‘royal’ and to be treated specially; that we should bow down and kiss their hands etc. It struck me as funny.

And then there is the black vs. white situation. We all know the horrors of that situation, not only in this country, but in South Africa too. How do humans come to a place that one race is more deserving than another? Where does this feeling begin?

In Germany, we have an idea where to trace the hatred of the Jews and subsequent extermination of them. But was it really just one man’s idea or is there an underlying theme among humans that somehow we are not all equal? I see a trend.

There are so many examples we can look to in history where one people feels different and better or somehow higher. In some cases, like with royalty, maybe these people are held in high esteem. But in most cases, it causes bad blood  among the groups.

I’m no scientist, but I do know that at our cellular level, and when you cut us all open, we all bleed them same. We all look the same on the inside. We all have a heart, two lungs, two kidneys and a brain, although some don’t use it as well as others. That’s why when you get right down to it, it’s all so foolish that we fight and kill, destroy and bomb, displace and denigrate folks we feel are others. Because really they are not.

They are really us, maybe with a different color paint, but filled with the same parts.

Poem: The Wanting 


Let go of the wanting 

and see where it leads

down dust blown highways

where cactus men point 

and sun burned grasses

to wave scorching goodbyes

The wanting is feral

a scavenger dog

sniffing out treasures

meaty and ripe

It creeps through the cracks 

and appears in the night 

lapping up moments 

chewing on greed

Take a hold of the wanting 

by the nape of the neck

smooth out its fur

give feed to her fury

And let go of the wanting 

to run off

somewhere among 

the tangled 

wild wood of your life

Beyond Our Borders 


Patriotism and the ability to have a deep sense that our lives encompass greater spheres are not mutually exclusive. They can reside within one person at the same time. 

We can appreciate many ideals that were the foundation of this nation and have drawn so many to its shores. These ideals are in the heart and soul of most of us; it’s what makes us American. 

But some of us can also can see beyond these ideals: the bigger picture if you will. The global picture, the human picture. And, to some, it seems this makes us less American. 

We could argue about it–and many do now sadly.  People can feel what they will. And many hold much anger these days.

For those of us, though, that are willing and able to be both a decent American and  to see beyond our borders–then if our only reward is that we remember to have gratitude and love, then I suppose we have won in the end. 

What I Did Today


(Note: This is a political post and could be offensive to some readers)

While I have never thought of myself as very political or extremely patriotic, I do vote and care about what happens here in this country. That’s just because I’m a caring human being in general, most the decisions I make in life, big ones anyway that involve ethical decisions, are geared around trying to be kind and trying to think about the ‘bigger picture’ beyond just me.

Because of this I’ve made lifestyle choices that have often made me seem odd or have put me far from mainstream America. This is fine by me. Live and let live, as long as we are all respectful of each other.

Of course you guessed by now that my ‘politics’, if I have to label myself, is liberal. For many years I didn’t claim either party and simply considered myself Independent, but this just seemed, well, simply too non-committal to me. And I knew I would never affiliate with the Republican side, so one day I decided to become a Democrat. No surprise there, right?

I’m not an over the top Democrat though. Like I said: politics isn’t my schtick.  I’ve lived with Republican Presidents, Senators, Congressmen and all the decisions that they make too. I understand that being an American means: you vote and sometimes your ‘side’ doesn’t win. And then you deal as best you can. You continue to be the best person you can regardless.

But this time it’s different. This time the election has left me cold. It isn’t just a Republican that has won, but someone altogether different. Someone who so many of us simply can’t understand how our fellow Americans wanted as our President. It’s simply baffling….and scary.

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As reports come out now about his personality (narcissist) and his capabilities (turning democracy into kleptocracy), my years of being a side-line player in our political system is becoming harder to be. I am a pacifist at heart, so plunging into the heart of a heated protest is not my style, but I also am a strong believer in our right to be heard.

Today for the first time in my entire life, I wrote political leaders in my state. My Governor and my two Senators. I’m compelled to do something to bring attention to the freight train barreling toward our democracy. It subtly and over time, can be dismantled without anyone really being aware. Unless we are diligent and proactive. Standing by hoping it will ‘go away’ or just play itself out, is a dangerous thing to hope for against someone who is so full of himself as this president.

I’m sorry if I have offended those of you who support this person. I only ask that you look beyond your personal needs (and I know they are real!) to the man behind the words. Many men just like him spouted big words and went on to do horrible things. It’s about personality here, ethics, greed, morality, neediness, hate and ego to name a few. It’s not about political party. He doesn’t represent a political party, or me, or you. He represents himself, his family and his own desires.

This is a very dangerous thing for the head of any country!

So be aware, be kind to others (even if you don’t agree with them), think beyond yourself, read real news (not on Facebook) and notice what he does and doesn’t do, really listen to his words!

Everything important here is at stake. Truly. For ALL of us.

I Pray 


Tomorrow is an important day in the United States of America. I can’t say I won’t be happy when it’s over and done, but I am very nervous. There have been plenty of years that I don’t care for certain candidates running for president, but this year I’m positively freaked out about one of them possibly winning.

It’s a scary thought. I’ve been saddened by the way our country has become such a place of turmoil and divisiveness that creates an environment for such a person.

No one human is perfect for the position, especially in such a complex and torn nation as we are today. Finding harmony with the Congress, the people and other nations makes the job almost impossible for any leader to do successfully.

The best we can hope is that the person coming into the position is a decent person deep within, intelligent with compassion and the ability to be diplomatic. 

Having a big mouth, ego or a narrow view of the world won’t help in my humble opinion. But I am only one vote.

So I pray the majority of people feel like me.

Back Of The Queue


Having been in healthcare in the US for 20 years, I know what a poor system it is and how one must really know how to navigate within it or get lost. Plus one must be an advocate for ones-self or have an advocate, or simply get lost.

Luckily my Mom has me! The elderly in this country are forgotten about in more ways than one, and within the healthcare system is one BIG way. As a friend said: they get pushed to the back of the queue. No-one cares…not really. Many can’t speak up for themselves, have poor insurance (and we all know it comes down to money) and don’t really know what’s going on anyway.

But not only am I a healthcare provider, but I have a big mouth. A bad combination if someone isn’t doing their job. Hey, I’m the best patient  or advocate in the world, if the people are treating patients like they are supposed to do. That’s because I know what it’s all about: how hard the patients can be, the thankless hours, the endless paperwork, the nasty co-workers and crappy management/jobs. I get it all. So I tend to be very nice until you cross the line of not caring or not doing what you are trained to do.

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So when someone gets sent home and everything is still wrong, the person is still way too sick–we have a problem Houston! When the home-care RN comes and finds actual data to back this up and tries to call the Doctors and no-one returns phone calls…. well, you can darn well believe this ex-healthcare provider AND daughter is going to be making some phone calls herself.

And they ain’t gonna be pretty!

Come on people! Are you serious here? Is it really only about the money or what? Does anyone care anymore??

So after a rather FIRM, shall we say, discussion with the doctor’s secretary…she said in a very meek tone: hold on please. Oh, yes, I’ll hold on alright. And then I was put through…imagine that!

I finally got a PA on the phone. And finally some resolve. No, Mom won’t go back to the hospital…ever again as a matter of fact thank you very much thanks to all you people! No, that wasn’t an option. And I don’t blame her one little bit. But after much convincing, she did agree to go tomorrow (instead of waiting until Tuesday) to see her Doctor that did the procedure. Thank goodness… It took some doing because she’s fed up with everything, but I was firm with her too. There is just too much going on and she deserves more. I won’t let them turn their backs on this patient.

She was the boss for a long time, but I am now.

You can bet I’m going into that room tomorrow too. And this time, I’m calling the shots!

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Will I Sleep??


 

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THE OLD HOMESTEAD

It was almost a year ago that I left this wonderful home…now I prepare for another big move tomorrow!! This move will be into a tiny 700 square foot condo. I’ve never lived in a condo situation before. Yet I’ve always longed to be part of a community, to belong to a tribe and a neighborhood. So far, with some lovely neighbors, this wish may come true.

There are many things to do within this community: swimming, work out, walking, trips, games and clubs. It’s just a matter of getting involved. Admittedly, for many years now, I’ve been a bit of a recluse. Hopefully I can get myself out of my shell and more sociable. Work doesn’t seem the place that this will happen, so maybe it’ll be this new homestead.

It was built in the ’70’s and appears to have kept the same sense of that era when folks cared more about those around them. The times when neighbors were really neighborly and knew who lived next door. They work hard to make this happen. It’s not quite a co-housing community (not that cool or expensive), but not unlike. Nor is it totally an intentional community, but with all the rules, one could say it’s trying to be.

I’m hoping my pets will make the transition safely and happily. My dog doesn’t know that he already has a new playmate waiting to meet him named Daphne. He will be thrilled since he lost his brother before we moved. My beagle was old and would never had made the trip or tolerated this weather. My pup has been sad without him.

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BYE BYE BRINKLEY

 

I’m more worried about the cats, but tonight I will put out the little carriers for them to sniff. Maybe with a little added catnip. And at least they will only be traveling twenty minutes this time instead of across the country! They should like this new place, with carpets to vomit on and to sharpen their claws….

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HOPEFULLY THE CAT CARRIERS ARE BIG ENOUGH?

While I didn’t get the little place near ‘the lake’ and it’s certainly not my beautiful lake near my old home, I can still walk near the little body of water (I think) if I want. And, in the end, there are just so many good reasons to go through all this trouble to make another move in a year. Honestly, I never thought I would, but hey, sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do!

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SIGH….THE OLD LAKE….