Life Lessons, Life Updates

Why I Can’t Be a Protester

Let me get this over up front.  I am terribly disappointed that Trump is our President.  I think he is a horrible person who lacks any sort of skills at important traits for civil service such as compassion, empathy and a basic understanding of our political and legal processes.  So, I am by no means a Trump apologist.  But, I will consider myself a Trump-supporter apologist.  And the two are vastly different to me.  So, although I would love to make a cleverly worded sign and adorn myself in a feminist phrases t-shirt on Saturday, I will instead be standing at a table for the Union at our University, answering questions and providing information about the labor protections provided by the Union.  Let me tell you why…

im-not-marching

I feel like a bad ___________.  Fill in the blank.  Progressive.  Liberal.  Feminist.  It all works.  But, I just can’t bring myself to march in Saturday’s protest.  I have a lot of friends who are marching, both in DC and their localities.  And I totally support them.  I don’t think the protests are wrong or should not happen.  In fact, I am thankful that some do feel compelled to participate.  But, it just isn’t for me.

I remember eight years ago, as I was scrolling through my Facebook feed, coming across a former student of mine who posted throughout the lead up to the inauguration and for a while afterward that the world as we knew it was ending due to Obama being elected.  I’m sure most of you have read some of those claims over the last eight years (and perhaps wrote them yourselves).  I liked Obama, so her posts struck me as ignorant and hurtful and totally out of step with reality.  Hers were not the only comments like that on my Facebook feed, they were just the most extreme.  It was easy to dismiss her feelings because I didn’t share them, but I remember being shocked that someone could actually feel that strongly negative towards a President-Elect.

Eight years later, I sit on the other side of the fence.  Now, I’m not comparing Obama to Trump.  Lord knows that Obama has about 100 times more class and compassion and empathy in the tip of his pinky finger as Trump.  But, so far today, I’ve read on Facebook friends’ posts that we should support violent protests in Oakland and other places, including breaking glass and setting fires, in the name of resistance, that we should stop supporting Girl Scouts because they have troops marching in the inauguration and are supporting it by saying they have a tradition of marching in the inauguration, that we are entering a post-apocalyptic era, that we should not JUST not watch the inauguration tomorrow but that we should turn on our TV to a channel NOT showing the inauguration to truly bring down the ratings.  The list goes on and on.  Half of the information is based in half-truths.  The other half seems like the rantings of lunatics.  They are just lunatics who happen to agree with me politically.  If Hilary had been elected, I would be seeing many of the same posts, but from those who I disagree with politically.  It just isn’t healthy the way we seem to frame the debate so anyone who disagrees with us is deserving of wrath and ridicule.  It is all focused on us vs. them.  It is divisive, often for the sake of divisiveness, not solutions or true division of belief or ground.  It exhausts me and saddens me and sometimes even angers me.  I feel like I have to constantly be the voice of reason.  I am drawn to find points of compromise or to point out when arguments are flawed.  But, that also makes me sound like an apologist at times.  And it makes me feel like a bad ________________.

Protests are all about fueling those feelings of us vs. them.  They are all about drawing distinctions – those who are protesting, those who support the protests and those who do not support the protests.  But, that is really an oversimplification.  I guarantee you that there will be groups of women at the protests that I will totally agree with on most, if not all, things.  I also guarantee you there will be groups of women at the protests who I totally disagree with on most, if not all, things.  There will be some involved in protests who use the us vs. them feelings as a justification for violent acts against police or store windows or cars.  There will be some involved in the protests who want to claim the moral high ground and display their oppression as a badge of honor, while ignoring their privilege in many other instances.  There will be some involved in the protests who do hold the moral high ground in their day-to-day activities and who change the lives of people daily and recognize their privilege readily.  There will be some involved in the protests who see it as their “chance” to be “political,” as if we don’t have and make those choices daily.  And because I feel like all of that nuance is lost in the format and purpose of a protest, I can’t find it in myself to want to participate.

I guess I am less afraid of looking like a bad _____________ than I am of supporting something or someone I don’t believe in or support.  I definitely don’t support Donald Trump as President, but I don’t think of protests as demonstrating a lack of support for someone, I think of them as showing support for something else.  At this point, I’m not sure what that something else is.  I feel better waiting it out and trying to make my daily choices more compassionate, empathetic and with knowledge and understanding of our political and legal processes.  But, that means I have to be compassionate to Trump supporters as much as I am to Trump haters.  It means I have to be empathetic to those who do not see the world the way I do.  And it means that I have to recognize that as much as I hate it, the political process deemed Trump the winner and he is President.  We shall see what that means over the next four years, but hopefully, our political process will be able to withstand this low point in political decision making.  I think it will.  I am not preparing for a post-apocalyptic world.  I am preparing for some backtracking in civil rights and, ironically enough, protections against government interference and control, but I am also prepared to see our political process work against extremism, as it was designed to do.

I may eat these words.  I may wish that I had marched with the protesters and drew a more solid line between me and the Trump supporters.  But, at this point, I can’t find it in myself to take that stance.  So, Trump supporters, I will be seen as an apologist for you.  I will try to come from a place of compassion and empathy.  But, Trump, I will not be an apologist for you.  You need to change your ways and act more interested in your constituents than yourself.  You are not our CEO who can hire and fire us.  We are not your employees or your “apprentices”.  We are your constituents.  We expect you to figure out how to do your job without using Twitter storms as a agent of threat.  We expect you to deal with other countries as if there is peace on the line.  We expect you to choose individuals who can do the jobs they are chosen to do.  So far, as President Elect, you’ve done a pretty poor job of all of this.  But, now you are the President.  So, step up and act like one.  Please and thank you.

Life Updates

Inspired…and Fired Up…

I read a post earlier today over at Recipe in a Bottle that has inspired me to come back to this blog.  I keep starting things and not following through on them.  I don’t want this blog to be another one of those things.  So, I’m back.  I’m still in my forties and still wanting more.  I am also still failing on a daily basis.  But, I can still work towards it.

I’ve accomplished some good things this year.  I’ve taken on some new projects that I am really enjoying.  A course redesign that not only brought in some extra income but has also renewed my enthusiasm for teaching.  I took on the troop leader role for my DD’s brownie troop and have been exhausted by it, but in a good way (usually).  I have realized a few things that I want for myself and am willing to work towards.  I’m still a financial disaster for the most part, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel, with credit scores improving, an inheritance that should be finally dealt with in the next six months or so and a pretty significant raise as well as the prospects of selling our place without taking a huge hit (we will lose a lot, but will not be cash short in the sale).  Overall, things are looking up, if not immediately, at least in the near(ish) future.  My hopes are to pay off most of our debt and be able to live within our means from here on out.  There is no reason we should not be able to do it.  It is just a matter of getting our footing before trying to climb up.  At least that is what I think.

I have also realized that I am not doing nearly enough of what I WANT to be doing in life.  So, I’m really trying to figure out how to make that happen.  I’ve realized a few things about myself in the past few months.  Coming as a surprise to me, I think I am an introvert.  It seems strange because I do speech and debate and I like to talk to people.  But, I’m also exhausted by it.  Teaching is one of my favorite things to do, but it also is exhausting because it requires a lot of dealing with people.  But, I love what I do, I just need to realize that I need the quiet time alone as well.  I am never going to be one who really loves to go out with a bunch of people all the time.  I like watching TV and reading. And that is okay.  I spend time with people for much of my life because of what I do professionally, so I don’t necessarily need it personally.  I mean, I have a small group of friends that I get together with every once in a while and that is good for me.  I have realized that.

I have also come to the conclusion that I need to clear house.  This is not a new realization. I have known for some time and I’ve been gradually clearing things out here and there, but I want to get more serious about it.  I feel like there are constant piles piling up…everywhere.  And even though I’ve unloaded a bunch of stuff, I feel like there is so much more stuff to go.  I want my house to be pretty, but simple.  I want to own the things I use on a regular basis and that is it.

So, there you go.  2016 is coming to a close.  I’m ready to continue the changes I’ve made and I’m ready to keep writing on this blog.  I hope you’ll all be good with that!  Thanks to anyone who is still reading after all my silent weeks…

 

Life Updates

Patience is a Virtue

William Langland said that in a poem in the 14th century and we still say it today.  So, it has stood the test of time.  But, it doesn’t mean it is easy to uphold that virtue.  I guess it is defined as “moral excellence”  for a reason.  Tonight, I am a bit short on that virtue.  I am typically a very patient person, but at times, I reach a level of frustration and anxiety and tension that makes me want to scream.  I have reached that level tonight.  And for no real good reason at all.  Overall, today was a good day.  A long day, but a good day.

We drove to my sister’s house last night and stayed the night, allowing us to get up at 4:45 this morning instead of 3:30 a.m. to get to Bean’s heart clinic appointment in Stanford by 7:15 a.m.  My sister was nice enough to go with us, so we got to use the carpool lane and we made it a little bit early even.  The appointment went really well.  All looked good.  I was surprised to learn that her pacemaker is pacing her upper half of the heart 22% of the time and her lower half 9% of the time.  In all honesty, I thought it might just be a precaution and it wouldn’t pace very often if at all.  But, it is pacing almost one quarter of the time!  It is set at 70, so dropping into the high 60s will cause it to pace.  But, still.  A little surprising.  The doctor also said that a transplant may be done before a valve replacement if the right side of the heart becomes overwhelmed by the regurgitation.  So, there’s that on my mind.  Hell, my tension and lack of patience tonight may all be part of a little PTSD that kicks in even when we hear good news, because it often is followed up with disconcerting news (pacemaker is working great and Bean’s health looks great, BUT it is having to be used 22%/9% of the time; the regurgitation does not seem to be increasing or causing her heart issues, BUT it could get worse and could require another open heart surgery for either a valve replacement or a second transplant).  It is a lot to take.  I want to be happy, but it is also tempered.  I’m also exhausted.

In addition, I am feeling overwhelmed again.  I feel like everything in my life happens just a little later than I need it to.  I feel like I wanted so much more done at this point – on my housecleaning and organizing, on my class prep for Fall (good Lord, it starts in just four short weeks), on my finances, on my life in general.  My DH comes home in three days after being gone for five weeks and I feel like I’ve accomplished little-to-nothing.  My birthday is on Sunday and I’m feeling like I don’t even want to celebrate.  I realize this is probably temporary and things will look better when I get up tomorrow and I’ve slept longer and better than last night, do not have to face medical appointments and have two days to get some things done (well, three really because my DH doesn’t come home until Saturday night pretty late).  I need to be productive, not procrastinating. I need to get my #!*^ together.

But, I also feel overly tired and lacking in energy and motivation.  What do you do when it all seems a little overwhelming?  I would love to hear some ideas.  I only have a few more days until my Year of Fun kicks off and I need to get over this feeling of BLAH and FRUSTRATION in order to really have some fun.  I know part of it is probably diet and lack of exercise and who knows what else…

Health and Caregiving, Life Updates, Uncategorized

School Happens

Every semester it is the same thing.  I start out so on top of things, convinced I will be able to keep up with it all.  Then, slowly, things start to spiral out of control.  It usually happens around my house.  Piles start to form.  Papers, mail, clothes that need to be put away, stuff.  Next, grading.  I start to find myself with piles of papers or emails with things to grade.  Oh, and the to-do list.  That starts to pile up as well.  Emails get backed up.  Then, curve balls get thrown at me, but I can’t adjust because of all the piles.

This semester has been a bit better.  I haven’t let the grading pile up too badly yet.  I’m relatively on top of class prep.  But, oh there are piles.  My dining room table.  One of the couches.  Bean’s desk.  Really, any flat surface is fair game for a pile to form.  And they don’t even make sense.  On the dining room table right now is a Sorry game with a magazine on top of it and an envelope on top of that.  There is a ball next to that pile and then another pile mostly of mail items that have been opened, but need to be dealt with in some way.  Then, there is my purse that I’m not currently using because I’m using my work bag instead.  There are some little toys and jewelry from my DD’s birthday party two weeks ago.  On the couch next to me there is a set of “scratch off” cards and little stencils that go with it, my work bag, my DD’s princess bag that she wanted to take to school instead of her backpack today, a stuffed giraffe…

pacing a heart and myself

We found out last week, after a last minute trip to Stanford on Wednesday (my long day at work) that my DD needs a pacemaker.  It was not totally unexpected and the news of how they could do it was better than I thought it would be (no open heart surgery, just a small incision), but it still is a bit of a disappointment.  We will only be in the hospital over night (or at least that is the prediction – last time they said that we were in for four days).  It will mean more doctor’s appointments post-surgery.  It will mean a new thing to deal with.  And it is a new thing in her heart that isn’t working.

I am very happy to have this weekend off to catch up on housekeeping and class prep.  I am very happy to have a lot of weekends off this semester.  I need that.  For sanity.  For the sake of my house and family.

So, life is moving on.  I’m going to try to pick back up with the blogging.  I feel the need to write. Now if I can just MAKE the time!

 

 

Life Updates

999 Channels and Nothing to Watch – and update on my life

Well, I took the plunge back into cable this week.  We had gone totally Roku and some local channels via a really poor antenna, but we decided to dip back into the cable pool to get faster and more stable internet.  Our internet was AW-FUL for the past few months (through AT&T, who I had been with for years, but we were paying for the higher speeds and only getting half the speed we were paying for and that only half the time), so we decided to go with the faster cable internet because they had a great deal for November that lasts a full two years.  So, we now also have cable.  I like this for my DD because she tends to just watch the same show over and over and over and over and over (I would keep going, but I think you get it) on Netflix or Hulu with the Roku.  At least with television, the shows change with time.  I also like it for local news.  We live in a somewhat rural area, so with the antenna we got one newscast three times a day and if you missed it, too bad for you.  But, overall, I noticed after scrolling through the 900 some channels a few times that really, I’m not interested in watching much that is on.  Oh well, I’m sure I will find a few things, but right now, I’m back on Netflix with Murder She Wrote playing in the background while I try to do a million things or more.

We got a new (used) washing machine today.  Much bigger than our last one and I hope it works well because we have a large amount of laundry to do.  Very large.

Other than that, I made it through my first day back in the work saddle.  I helped out in my DD’s class this morning and it was pleasant.  I then cleaned out the garage to get ready for the new washing machine to come in.  I stripped my DD’s bed tonight.  All the laundry has been moved from upstairs to the garage, ready to load, wash, dry, fold and repeat.  I made it through my classes tonight and it wasn’t too bad.  I have speeches tomorrow morning for about four hours straight.  Still working on grading.