Money

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Money is an issue.  Love of money is the root of all evil, or so they say.  Do I love money?  No, I do not.  Would I like to have enough of it in order to pay my bills?  Why yes, yes I would.  That would be very nice, thank you.  In fact, that would be wonderful, fantastic, awe inspiring, and great!  I’ve written before about how money is an issue for my family.  As, I’m sure it’s an issue for most families.

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I have a B.S. and a B.A.  I never worked in my “field”.  I had a series of jobs as a receptionist, secretary, legal secretary and Paralegal.  I never made more than $9.25 per hour.  I only ever enjoyed one week of paid vacation (until I worked as a secretary with a Union shop, the plant was closed for two weeks every summer, so only at that job did I receive two weeks of paid vacation – thanks Unions!).  I didn’t get any over-time pay or time compensation when I did stay late, and this was at a lawyer’s office.  Because I stayed home with my kids (I did care for a neighbor); I was out of the official “work force” for too many years, and the only job I was able to land was as a homemaker/companion; ironically my highest paying hourly wage but at the same time, my smallest paycheck.  These are not jobs that give you many hours.  So, when people talk about wage inequality, low wages and stagnant wages, I truly understand.  I’m living proof of it all.  I may be college educated, but my fellow workers are mainly recent immigrants.  I understand the frustration of working hard for little pay.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKgWmAI4KfI

While wages have actually decreased, the price of things has gone up.  A lot.  Bernie Sanders gets it, Elizabeth Warren gets it.  Mr. Sanders actually had ideas and solutions to the problem.  Elizabeth Warren also has solutions.  Educate yourselves, look into the solutions, and sign petitions, get active, write letters.  Let your voice be heard.  Stand up for each other, after all we’re in this together, together we will either rise or fall.  It’s up to us.

 

 

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Thoughts on Captain Fantastic

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First of all, I must say that I’m extremely “taken” with Viggo Mortensen – I think he’s not only handsome, but an interesting person (odd, but interesting).  I try to watch all the movies that he makes, since not only is he a wonderful actor, but he makes good movies.  Even if I find a movie difficult to watch (The Road and Good come to mind), any movie he makes is definitely fodder for thought.

So, with that in mind, I watched his latest movie, Captain Fantastic, the other night.  There is much to think about in this movie.  A quick over-view of the plot is that a husband (Ben) and wife (Leslie) decide to raise their children “off-the-grid” and away from all the “bad” influences of the modern world in the middle of the wilderness that is the Pacific Northwest.

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Who can argue with this assessment of the modern world?  I actually agreed with much of what Ben and Leslie believed.  Our food is poisoned; social media is invasive; schools teach to the test, and don’t promote much in the way of critical thinking; the pursuit of money and profit at the expense of people is pervasive.  These are all valid issues that should be discussed both individually and in larger venues.  So, with this in mind, the family grows their own food, hunts their own meat, learns survival skills and are almost completely independent.  Everything goes well, until Leslie’s mental illness makes her ability to cope (and live) frighteningly difficult.  Ben seeks help for her from her parents, and she is institutionalized.  While there, Leslie commits suicide.  The children want to attend the funeral that Leslie expressly did not want to have, and the family commences their exotic journey from the wilderness back into “civilized society”.

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However, as with most, if not all, reintroduction’s to “civilization”, they encounter stressful and comic situations.  In the first restaurant they go to, the younger children are convinced that the other people are ill due to their lack of physical fitness and weight.  When subjected to violent video games which their cousins are playing, the children are aghast, even though they all partake in actual hunting of animals for food.  Even though their aunt and uncle allow for violent game-play they refuse to let the cousins hear about the suicide of Leslie, finding no irony that their children routinely “kill” people while playing video games, but are too delicate to hear about mental illness.  This juxtaposing occurs throughout the movie, giving us fodder for the brain.

If you haven’t watched this movie, I hope that you do so.  If you have watched it, let me know what you think of it in the comments below.

 

Yes, I am an Introvert!

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As a child, my family were all extroverts.  I was considered an odd, strange and downright unfriendly child.  Since I loved to play by myself, I was seen as extremely strange.  My mother actually had more than one conversation with my doctor regarding my behavior.  Why did I prefer to go for solo bike rides or read in my room when I could be doing whatever it was the rest of my family was doing?  Unfortunately, my doctor was no help and his solution was for my parents to force society on me.  Just let me say that I’m so glad that my childhood is over!  All that being forced into interaction with other people did, was make me even more introverted.  Once I got to college, I loved to study in the sound-proofed music rooms.  Because I was able to closed myself off for a few hours, I was more likely to be social at other times.  The point was, I got to choose when I wanted to interact with others and when I didn’t.  I never did tell anyone where I was when they couldn’t find me, I didn’t want to share my location with the people I knew, since I needed that time alone.

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I could have said this!

Fast forward to my child-rearing years, when I couldn’t shower, much less go to the bathroom by myself.  There were times that I thought that I would scream for lack of alone-time.  My children have often said that they went to bed much earlier than their peers.  Of course they did!  By the time night-time rolled around I thought I’d lose my mind if I didn’t get to take a breath without them there!  Hence the early bed-time.

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As an adult, I’ve gotten really good at small talk.  My trick is to ask a leading question, listen to the answer, and continue asking questions.  All I have to do is listen and keep the conversation going.  In fact, I’ve gotten so good at it that some people would be surprised if they found out that I’m an introvert. Of course, the whole time I’m talking with them I feel like I want to jump out of my skin and run away.  However social constraints make that behavior unacceptable.

It’s so wonderful that there have been so many articles and books explaining all about introverted people.  I hope that no children are forced to endure the unwanted social interaction that I did.  I’ve left some links for you to read if you want to educate yourself on the introverted people in your life, or find some comfort if you, too are introverted.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201403/nine-signs-you-re-really-introvert

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-power-of-introverts/

 

 

 

Finding Wisdom

I have a difficult time celebrating Thanksgiving.  Remember, I’m Vegan so the food can be more than a little offensive.  This year I’m trying Tofurky for the first time!  I can hardly wait.  Then, there’s the first Thanksgiving thing, that was followed fairly quickly with that genocide thing.  So, here are a few quotes from the Native Americans.

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Here are a few videos of how the government treats Native Americans.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15YAD0Us4N4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBgDt0aWXmQ

Living With Chronic Pain

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As someone who suffers from chronic pain, but chooses not to use pharmaceuticals to deal with it, since I really don’t like the side effects.  Instead I tend to rely on over-the-counter remedies, but usually only when the pain is ridiculously intense.  To tell the truth, I will most likely only use over the counter relief for a headache, but not the chronic pain that I’m in.  In other words, I’ve been in constant pain since I was 39 years old.  Ask me how I like Fibromyalgia.  Please, just ask me.

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How do I deal with the pain?  Well, let’s just say that I’ve gotten really good at my dissociative behavior.  I do use it to the best of my ability.  At night when I can’t sleep due to pain, I imagine that I’m wrapping cotton padding around wherever the pain is.  With each pretend circuit around the pain, it lessens, until I can’t feel any pain at all.  This is something that I’ve been working at for years, and I have to admit that it works.  Of course, I’ve spent countless hours perfecting my technique.  You can try it also, but I don’t know if you’ll have the patience to work at it.  See, dissociative disorder can come in handy at times.  At least that’s what I tell myself.

However, I’ve recently come across some information that leaves me just the tiniest bit concerned for my long-term health.  Untreated chronic pain can lead to many other problems, including less sleep, exhaustion, more stress, relationship and work problems and psychological distress.  I’ve been living with pain for so long, that I can’t even imagine life without it.

At first, I was over-whelmed with the information that I was reading, and went into a tailspin (a usual reaction for me), but then I decided that I had to find some better ways of dealing with the pain.  I’ve gotten to the point that I don’t even look for new information to help deal with my Fibromyalgia issues, which is exceedingly remiss on my part.  Of course, there is new information coming out on a fairly regular basis.  I should be checking it out and seeing if there is anything new that can help me.

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What did I find out?  Nothing really new, however there are things that I should be doing that I’ve let slide.  So maybe that could be why my pain has ratcheted up to a new level.  My work-outs haven’t been as consistent as they should be.  Neither have my sleeping patterns.  I’ve been shorting myself on sleep by staying up really late (I blame it all on the books)!  Then there is the fact that I haven’t been doing my Yoga, or meditations.  So, here we go again.  There are all these “things” that I should be doing, and I’m not.  However, one bright light is my affirmations.  Those have been going well, if I do say so myself.

So, what will I be doing?  Bedtime has got to change.  I now plan for hoping into bed by 10 at the very latest, and getting up every day at 5am.  Working out on a consistent basis is another change I plan to make.  And, afternoon Yoga along with a relaxation meditation to go along with it.  Do you suffer from chronic pain, and if so, how do you deal with it?  Let me know in the comments below.

https://www.painmanagement.org.au/2014-09-11-13-35-53/2014-09-11-13-36-47/178-psychological-effects-of-pain.htm

Looking for a Little Happiness

The past week or so has been a little bit difficult both within my home and outside of it.  However, I’ve been collecting the wonderful things that have happened.

One of them is the fact that my library re-opened and I’ve been spending the entire day on Saturdays there writing away on my NaNoWriMo.  Yay me!  Another good thing was that my daughter and I were able to go to the restaurant Not Just Juice which serves both vegetarian and vegan food.  Yum!

Since the weather is getting a bit colder, I made my Butternut Squash soup for the first time this season.  I’ve been looking forward to making more soups and stews with the cold coming.  What a treat this was after a long Spring and Summer of hot-weather salads and other dinners for the hot weather.  Comfort food here I come!

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As a way to “hide” from the cruel cruel world, I’ve been trying to read more than usual.  So, here are some of the books that I’ve recently finished.

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And, of course to round this all off, there is the lovely little thing called nature that is all around us.  Here are a few of the pictures that I’ve taken recently.

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The Super Moon!

 

What have you been doing in order to find that all illusive thing called happiness?

 

I’m Just a “Little Bit” Broken

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For years, I’ve been having heart attacks on a pretty regular basis.  Of course, I’m not speaking about actual heart attacks, but I’ve been upset on many occasions by the state of the world, the environment and the actions of a few people with a lot of power.  I spend probably a few hours a week signing petitions against this or that; or even for this or that.  Things that really have integral value such as clean air and water, wars and poverty.  That kind of thing.

However, as time has gone on, my stress level has skyrocketed to the point where after the election on last Tuesday I was afraid that I would have an actual heart attack. When I calmly, nicely and quietly questioned some people I know who voted for Trump, they didn’t really actually like (or even know) what he was running on, they simply liked the things that he said.  When asked specifically what things it was that they liked, the response was invariably the hateful things that he said.  Sadly, my experience didn’t seem to be much different from the videos and articles I’ve seen and read regarding the reasons people voted this way.  The most upsetting part of this exercise in futility was in regard to the sad realization that none of the people I spoke with had a clue as to exactly what would be the out-come of a Trump presidency.  They had no idea of what he was going to do – other than “build a big beautiful wall.”    So, I’ve had to ask myself is this the America that I thought it was?  I have to say that I had no idea that so many of my neighbors and acquaintances felt the way they do in regard to race, religion and gender.

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In the end, after all the hand wringing, wondering, and intense depression, there is one question that I feel I must ask myself.  What do I do, knowing what I now know?  There are a lot of people, who, because they feel they have been short-changed (and I do agree, working people have been short-changed – I should know, I’m one of them), have decided to blame those who are just as powerless as they are.  A large segment of our society has blamed the blameless.  What about the banks that caused the 2008 financial crisis?  What about the corporations whose greed has broken down much of our society?  The CEO’s who have finagled ways out of paying any taxes, received many tax breaks and even receive subsidies from us, the working class, paying all our taxes (and then some).  Why have they not been held accountable?  Bernie Sanders, who tried to bring this knowledge to light, was right.

So, again, where do I as a person go from here?  What is the way forward and how do I find it?   My reaction has been the realization that I’ve got to learn how to deal with stress in a much better way.  I’ve got to keep myself busy working on creating a better world around myself.  I’m making a list of some of the things I can do just in my little world.  Of course, I’ll keep signing petitions, writing letters to the editor and voting with my dollar.  I intend to work with the marginalized (whom I feel will become even more marginalized); volunteer work is a great way to start.  However, another one of my goals will be to make my own house a shelter, a peaceful place to retreat from the craziness that those of us who did indeed read the Republican Platform know is coming.  Keep safe, find peace somewhere in your own lives and keep fighting the good fight.  Love each other and have courage!

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http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/trumps-america-racism?akid=14867.302291.KMX_93&rd=1&src=newsletter1066971&t=18