Yes, I’m still here. :-)

It’s been a long time since I’ve written. Life happens. Today I was catching up with Crazy Aunt Purl, and her posts stopped with one in April 2013, without a hint of why. She had such a good following that she wrote a couple books. I find myself hoping all is well with her; that she is so busy living a happy life, she doesn’t have time to write about it.

Made me think about this blog. I know there are a few people who were reading it. :-) Might someone be wondering what happened to me?

Am thinking I will write again. In the meantime, here’s the short version. Things got busy. I could no longer do my posts during breaks at work, and evenings were short. My energy was flagging, and eventually we figured out why. That got taken care of, but it became obvious I needed to slow down a little. Work became more administrative (I like working with clients), and there was no chance of shortening my work week. So I retired. Now I’m trying to catch up with a couple year’s worth of housework and yard work that didn’t get done. And rest. :-)

IMG_0114Today is our son’s 36th birthday. Here is a photo of us when we were both a lot younger. :-) Now he rides his own Triumph. :-) Life goes on.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Is the world a better place because you are in it?

This morning memories of a person popped into my head, and I found myself thinking, sadly, “The world is a better place without you in it.” 

I try very hard not to be judgmental, and I don’t always succeed.  But I can usually find something positive about most everyone.  Having studied psychology, am well aware people tend to be the product of their childhood, and many get a rough start.  I am also aware we can decide what to do with what life gave us.  Understanding why a person acts in unacceptable ways does not give them a free pass to act that way. 

The key is what people do with what they have.  Being a positive force in the world doesn’t require money (although it helps  :-)  ).  Making the world a better place is mostly about attitude — things like smiling at people, being polite, taking responsibility for your actions, being kind, being considerate, picking up your trash, doing your job, that sort of thing.   There are many “lights” in the world who are heroes, and would never see themselves that way.  They make the world a better place.

Is the world a better place because you are in it?

.

PS  I have been knitting, and doing things (like going to Fair) and will write about those — eventually.  :-)    Sometimes there are more things to do than time to do them. 

Posted in family, Random thoughts, social issues | 1 Comment

Bullies: Beyond the school yard

Bullying (from Wikipedia):

Bullying is a form of aggressive behavior manifested by the use of force or coercion to affect others, particularly when the behavior is habitual and involves an imbalance of power. It can include verbal harassment, physical assault or coercion and may be directed repeatedly towards particular victims, perhaps on grounds of race, religion, gender, sexuality, or ability.[2][3] The “imbalance of power” may be social power and/or physical power. The victim of bullying is sometimes referred to as a “target”.

Bullying consists of three basic types of abuseemotional, verbal, and physical. It typically involves subtle methods of coercion such as intimidation. Bullying can be defined in many different ways. The UK currently has no legal definition of bullying,[4] while some U.S. states have laws against it.[5]

Bullying ranges from simple one-on-one bullying to more complex bullying in which the bully may have one or more ‘lieutenants’ who may seem to be willing to assist the primary bully in his or her bullying activities. Bullying in school and the workplace is also referred to as peer abuse.[6] Robert W. Fuller has analyzed bullying in the context of rankism.

Bullying can occur in any context in which human beings interact with each other. This includes school, church, family, the workplace, home, and neighborhoods. It is even a common push factor in migration. Bullying can exist between social groups, social classes, and even between countries (see jingoism). In fact, on an international scale, perceived or real imbalances of power between nations, in both economic systems and in treaty systems, are often cited as some of the primary causes of both World War I and World War II.[7][8]          

This is one of the best definitions of bullying I have found.  Many think it happens only to school-age children, but like domestic violence it is a form of power and control that is used a LOT more widely than people want to believe.  I especially appreciate that last paragraph (I put it in bold).

Gossip can be a form of bullying.  You may not be able to stop hearing it, but you can stop repeating it.  Facebook, Twitter, and other social media are often used to bully, with photos and innuendos.  Employers get away with bullying, because in this economy few people are willing to lose their jobs.  Advertising can be a form of bullying, when they imply you are stupid or “less than” because you don’t use their products. 

People can have any opinions they want, and there is nothing wrong with logical argument and appeals to someone’s better nature.  But when people try to make others feel badly or scared to make them do something, that is flat out wrong.  No matter who does it.

Posted in family, politics, religion, social issues, work, world | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Don’t misuse “gay” and “rape”

Every generation misuses certain words that irritate older generations.  When I was a young teen it was “bitchen” (something great).  But in the last few years they have begun misusing words that have more serious consequences: “gay” and “rape.”

I’ve heard kids and young adults use the word “gay,” such as, “That’s so gay,” when something is bad or wrong.  The original meaning of “gay” was happy or light-hearted.  Now it more often means someone who is homosexual, usually a male.  By using the word as a pejorative, they label homosexuality as bad or wrong.  This is homophobia, and some of the kids doing it do not even realize it.  I’m not going to tell people how to think, but I’m going to call them on their public language, and gay bashing is not something I will ignore.  Usually I say something like, “What do you mean by that?” or “Do you know what ‘gay’ means?”  I ask if they meant to be hurtful.  Then I suggest they use a different word to express themselves.  A couple nights ago I objected to someone using that phrase while we ran a World of Warcraft (WoW) dungeon, and we had a brief, heated discussion about it.  Then we continued playing.  Think about what you are saying, and realize people will not tolerate harassment.

I’ve also heard kids and young adults use the word “rape,” when what they mean is someone is doing something they don’t like (teasing, bullying).  They also use it when they talk about dominating something or someone, which is at least an acknowledgment of the power and control that is at the core of rape.  But rape is not a word to use lightly.  The crime of rape destroys lives, families, cultures, and nations.  It is a brutal act that dehumanizes.  When people talk about the way human greed is raping the Earth, they are talking about serious damage that will last many generations and may not be repaired.  Rape is not a joking matter. 

Last night, again in a WoW dungeon, someone made an offhand third-person comment: “(Character’s name) rapes (a bystanding non-player character).”    I was shocked, so much so that I almost left the group right then.  I should have.   Instead, I called them on their crude comment, and a 15 minute multi-person discussion ensued.   The person who made the comment acknowledged it was crude, but articulately defended himself by saying something to the effect that “rape” is a colloquial term used to mean power and domination over someone or something else.   It was an intelligent answer, but that did not justify using the word in such an off-handed manner.  Rape is not something to speak lightly of.

There is already a lot of hate in the world.  Please don’t add to it by lightly using words in a hateful way.

Namaste.

Posted in family, social issues, World of Warcraft | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

zenhabits’ “Simplify,” by Leo Babauta

I enjoy reading blogs.   Blog entries inspire me, make me laugh, make me angry, make me happy, and help me learn.   Today I added “zenhabits“, by Leo Babauta, to my Bloglist.   The first entry I read impressed me:  “Simplify.”

“Simplify” is only 642 words long, but lists nine very basic ways to simplify your life.  Seven of them cost no money at all, and the other two are so inexpensive they will save you money.  It is beautiful, easy to read, and inspiring.  In a very simple way.   :-)   Please take a few minutes to read it.

Simplify

Posted in family, health, home, Mental Health, social issues, spirituality, Sustainable living | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Waiting . . .

As a child, waiting for that gift-giving occasion when you’ve asked for something special.  Waiting for dinner when you are hungry now.  Being told, “Wait until your father gets home!” when you’ve done something wrong.  Waiting for your parent(s) to stop where there is a toilet, when you really have to go.    We have all had training in waiting.  Children under the age of two years do not have a concept of time — everything is now or never.  Between the ages of two and seven years, children begin to understand time, although it is still for short periods (days rather than weeks); by the time they are eleven they can think in terms of years.  But does the waiting ever get easier?

Research tells us if we had our needs responded to quickly when we were infants and toddlers, we tend to see the world as a friendly place that will meet our needs, and the waiting is easier.  There was a time when they thought that was spoiling the child, and there are still non-responsive parents, so there are a lot of us out in the world who were raised to see the world as unpredictable or unavailable.   For people like that, waiting is much more difficult.

Fortunately waiting is something we can still learn to deal with as adults.  I’ve gotten pretty good at it.  :-)   Women who have been pregnant and had a child get a very basic lesson in waiting during those months of gestation.  Good friends are expecting their first child, and I had to laugh at the photo they posted on Facebook, with the caption, “Let’s get this party started!”  

People deal with waiting in various ways.  Often they use distraction — thinking about or working on something else while they wait.  The smaller the anticipated event, the easier it is to distract.  Having a definite date to look forward to also helps.  But it is those events totally out of our control that become difficult.   I have caught myself thinking I am handling the waiting just fine, when my body begins reacting to the stress.  That’s when I used a variety of conscious meditation and grounding techniques, to let the stress go.  Usually it works.  :-)

What are your thoughts on waiting?  Does it irritate you?  Can you handle it?  If you do handle it, how do you do it?

Posted in family, Mental Health | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

“Larry Crowne” (2011)

Have you ever wanted to “reinvent” yourself?  Maybe realized life isn’t quite going the way you want?  Or life hands you some set-backs, and you think, “What do I do now?” 

I don’t think Larry Crowne (played by Tom Hanks) set out to reinvent himself, but that’s what happened.  His marriage ended, he lost his job (at a place called “UMart” — heh), and he’s about to lose his house.  He wants to work, but it looks like he needs more education, and he’s realizing he may have to expand his job skills.  He goes to his local community college, and between the classes and the other students, his horizons are broadened.  He redefines his idea of the American Dream.  At the end he may be cooking breakfast in “the world’s smallest kitchen,” but you know he’s going to make it.  :-)

The script is written by Tom Hanks and Nia Vardalos (“My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding”), so it is full of humor the way real life is funny.  Hanks also directs the movie.  I’ve been a fan of Tom Hanks ever since “Bosom Buddies.”  He’s authentic, he has class, and I’ll watch any movie he’s in.  Am also fond of the actress who plays Mercedes Tainot, his speech professor at the college:  Julia Roberts.  Have liked her ever since “Pretty Woman,” and seen most of her movies.    Ms. Tainot does some reinventing of her own in this movie, tho’ maybe it is more rediscovering.  Another student, Talia (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), helps him update his image and his attitude.   I’d LOVE to have a personal stylist like her!   :-)   George Takei plays Dr. Ed Matsutani (economics professor) and is a lot of fun.  And Bryan Cranston plays Ms. Tainot’s husband, the sort of jerk you are happy to see get arrested (“I’m just a guy, being a guy who’s a guy!”).  Thing is, none of these characters are two-dimensional — this is a well-written movie.

Last night we watched the deleted scenes and supplemental material, and it reminded me Julia Roberts is also a knitter.  :-)    They filmed one silly thing they did to surprise her, where she walks into a large room and most the cast and crew are knitting!   LOL    Of course, someone else started the projects and handed them out, but a few of the people are actually knitting.

“Larry Crowne” is billed as a comedy/drama/romance.  It’s also a look at life in the United States today.  It’s a fun movie that makes you think.  The DVD is 98 minutes, and rated PG-13 (for brief strong language and some sexual content).  On a scale of 1-5, I’d give it a 4.3.   I really like this movie.   :-)

Posted in DVDs, entertainment, Movies, work | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments