Sunday, June 28, 2015

Some Thoughts on the Confederate Flag

If I have been following the news correctly, South Carolina has decided to remove the confederate flag from state buildings. Some people are upset about this, as you can tell by social media. Thus far, my favorite form of complaint is a meme that essentially says "Someone shoots up a church and you want to remove the Confederate flag. People stomp on and set fire to the American Flag and you say that is their right. That is a special kind of stupid."

Actually, the special kind of stupid is that thinking. For one, the confederate flag is not at all the same as the American flag. In fact, the confederate flag is kind of the antithesis of the American flag because the American flag stands for the The United States of America whilst the confederate flag stands for the part of this country that did not want to be united. What's more, you should do your research because I'm pretty sure desecration of the American flag, even just having it on the floor, is still a crime. So, if you are going to post such a meme or status, please let me know who the "you" is that you are speaking about.

I enjoy the arguments for keeping the rebel flag flying. It honors those who fought in the war and lost their lives. Yeah, we have fucking Memorial Day for that. Oh, right, I forgot, you want something separate because you still do not want to be part of the United States. I also like when people argue that it isn't racist. The Civil War began after a long time of arguments and decisions. The catalyst was that the president of the united states wanted to make it illegal to own another human being in any way shape or form. People will tell you that it began because states wanted their sovereignty and that is correct. But part of why they didn't want the government all up in their business is because they wanted to maintain the right to own slaves. Go ahead and google it.

Do you know what my favorite part is about people who argue that we should fly that flag to honor the men who lost their lives? Nazis. Why doesn't Germany fly the Nazi flag on governmental property to remember the assoles who died trying to exterminate Jews and gays and whomever else? I mean, come on, it's part of history and shouldn't those soldiers be honored? Because they did, after all, give their lives in the name of something.

The American Civil War was won by the north, the union, but there are many southern states that have never been OK with that. I had a boss tell me about taking her kid to a school in Alabama to check out a university and when they asked about where the student union was, the person leading the tour got all puffed up and said "we do not have a union." I can't remember what it was called but the term 'union' was not OK.

The Civil War in this country was not based on one single factor but the fact of the matter is that the Civil War is and always will be, a giant reminder of the fact that white people owned slaves. I don't give a fuck what you think that stupid flag stands for, it is a humongous symbol of racism to a ton of people of all colors. And it isn't like people are just now calling to have those flags removed from government property. People have been against this flag for fucking ages but no one gave a shit and it wasn't until something truly horrific happened that the country sat up and listened.

As a sign off I will just reiterate one point; if you think we should keep the confederate flag flying because of the men who lost their lives and because of history, why not have Germany fly the nazi flag as well? Please tell me how those are different things.    

Saturday, June 27, 2015

My Thoughts on Gun Control

Gun control won't work. This is my opinion only, of course, but that is how I feel. When horrific things happen like they did in Charleston and too many American cities before, that is what people yell for, gun control.

It's never going to happen. If it was guaranteed that making guns or certain types of guns illegal in this country would decrease violent crime and murder by 75% or more, the US government would have made that happen a long time ago.

2nd amendment! you cry. OK, sure. Well, it is 2015 and it is the 14th amendment that has finally granted the LGBT population to marry legally in this country. I don't know how long that amendment has been on the books and I'm not going to pretend I do. What I do know is that in my 34.5 years on this earth, the amendments have been thrown out in favor of or in disfavor of shit the entire time. But if we could cut violent crime in a major way by violating one amendment, the US government would have done it.

Our government is not stupid. No one, including me, is going to agree with every decision and there are certain things that our government and governments around the world will be responsible for that are horrible (war, poverty, hunger) but I firmly believe there is no chance the US would not have outlawed guns if they knew that would solve our murder/crime issue.

Do you know when people call for gun control? When some white person takes a gun that was either legally acquired by that person or was taken from the house where that person lived (i.e. they took a gun that was legally acquired by someone else). We don't scream for gun control every day of the week when people of all races shoot each other and kill one another. Google gun death in America and check the results.

Guns aren't, actually, the problem. Nor are people, not in the "outlaw guns and only outlaws will have them" sense.

Let's consider the bulk of people who get involved in long term criminal activity. OK, before we proceed, here is my disclaimer: people of all colors can come from horrible, shitty, impoverished circumstances and make a better life. People of all colors come from wealthy, privileged circumstances and do shitty things. The element I am speaking of is that element that is raised in poverty with no hope.

We all have hope, Simply! We all have a chance because of education and whatever else you want to throw at me. That is sort of true. You can come from a shitty home and have great teachers but if you don't have anyone at home to help and encourage you, it can be difficult.

That is part of the reason gun control will never happen in this country. The "criminal element" is mostly made up of people who have a choice of either crime, which will bring a great paycheck or non-crime which will bring shit. Children who grow up in poverty with families who grew up in poverty and either don't care or don't know how to support and encourage education are the ones that fall through the cracks. That is why it kills me that this country doesn't want to fund education more. "My kids are out of school." "I don't have kids". Bitch, who do you think will be the doctor taking care of your old ass when you are dying?

The reason gun control will never actually happen is because no one wants to focus on the real reasons. We need to have more money towards public education, not just so that we have decent teachers, but so that we can programs for after school. It is not a child's fault that his/her mother/father isn't a great, encouraging parent. No child is responsible for having an absent or negligent parent. Yet, as a society, we expect those children to take care of themselves and make the right choices and get what they need in order to be contributing members of society.

That isn't fair. You tell me, right now, that a child from the age of 5 or 6 is responsible for his/her education and all that goes with it. That is bullshit. Children do not ask to be born and it is not any boy or girl's fault that some asshole had him/her and figured that was their end of responsibility. An adult who decides to live by riding the welfare system and teaches their child to do so is the one to be angry with.

But tax payers don't want to hear that. They don't want to hear or understand that in order to bring violence down in this country, we need to bring opportunities up and that means money. We need to pump more money into PUBLIC schools and PUBLIC programs, those free programs for all kids so that they get not only an education but mentors who help them understand that no matter where they come from, they write their own stories and can be so much more. We need safe places for kids to go to where they can live and learn and just be humans. That sounds ridiculous but let's face it, even in this country, there are children who are not given any chance.

If we start there, if we start by providing education and other opportunities to kids, those kids will have actual, viable alternatives to crime. Where do you think a lot of kids learn this shit? They see older kids doing whatever on the street and they get taught. Remember those kids who would sell Now n Later or whatever at school? A lot of them were being groomed to sell drugs. Because the people they had to look up to were drug dealers.

If we had programs to help kids from every walk of life learn and improve, to help them out and find the right path (liberal art's degree, business science degree, trade school, etc) we would do a lot towards bringing down gun violence because we would be giving our children another choice.

But Americans don't want to pay for it and no politician is going to suggest raising taxes. I don't have an answer for that beyond this: I believe Senators and Congressmen make at least $200,000 a year. I make $50,000. Let's cut their salaries to match mine and start with that for this fund.

Sunday, June 21, 2015


4,084 is the number of new email messages I have in one of my email accounts. I have a TON of email accounts, four personal ones that I remember the passwords to. One is the old address from when I was married (which has the thousands of messages), one is my present one, one is for a Facebook page I am an editor on, and one is for this blog so that my real name isn't attached to it because I'm so paranoid about work and personal life finding each other, making out, and then ending badly. Is that not an absurd number? Both of the number of email accounts and number of new messages in one of them? I think so. But I shall never condense them because then my worlds would collide and that cannot happen.

I made my first Blue Apron meal on Friday, seared cod with spring vegetables and a lemon-mustard vinaigrette. It turned out well and I didn't poison either myself or the Bat so it was a win. Tomorrow I'm making steak and potatoes, which sounds simple enough but, based on the amount of prep work I did today, is more complex than you'd think. I enjoy cooking when the heavy lifting (i.e. ingredients gathering and instructions writing) is done for me. I think this service is going to work out for me and I suggested to the Bat that when we have a weekend with his parents at the new house, I change one of my deliveries to four people so I can cook for all of us. He's on board.

We did not go to the new place this weekend because stuff having to do with buying houses I don't understand. Instead, the Bat helped me change my sparkplugs, air filter, and top up some fluids. I even changed out my windshield wipers so that I can see when it rains. A bit of closing the barn doors after the horse has run out since Texas already went through its 45 days of rain, storms, and flooding, but still, there was drizzle today and it was amazing to have working wipers. It was also awesome to change out my own sparkplugs because now I know how to do it and can do it on my own so long as I have the right tools. Saves a ton of money.

Tomorrow marks four years since I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I was diagnosed after having optic neuritis when I lost almost complete vision in my right eye. I never really forget about that but J and I were emailing back and forth about stuff today and I remembered what it as like when I was going through it. I saw this fat fucking neuro-ophthalmologist who was a total dick and made me cry. I would have J drop me off for my appointments because I knew they would take forever and I didn't want him to see how hard they were for me. I'd have to sit and click a button whenever I saw or sensed a light. Well, when you can't see shit our of an eye, that is difficult. The tech would tell me to click the button even if I sensed a light but every time I blinked I'd have to spend two minutes trying to refocus to see the middle light so it was a nightmare. I'd cry almost every time, trying really hard not to because that would just make it last longer but it was so painful. Between that and having to stay still with my eye open for an optic CT or some such test, it was a horror show.

But here I am now and, for the most part, MS is just there, like my cat. Actually, I worry more about Bubbles more than I do my disease most times. The shots will always suck and I'll always be really nervous about neurology visits and MRIs but it's nowhere near what it was when I was first diagnosed.

For that I am grateful.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Hello Again


I'd like to say I've been busy doing busy business lady stuff but the more honest reason for why I haven't posted in a couple of weeks is because I'm boring and lazy. That's not really true either, not in my opinion, though I can be lazy. So what have I been up to?

Camping! I went to Daingerfield and had a lovely camping trip, though it was a little too hot. I got a bit sunbued and bug bitten but it was fantastic and I got to swim and eat hotdogs and all of my internal clocks reset. Camping seriously is the best. It's always fun to get out of the tent in the morning and find out what the racoons managed to get, thwarting our best intentions mainly because we forget and leave something out for them. And the pit fires at night are awesome, sitting around drinking and talking and just staring into the fire. We were there from Friday through Monday, giving us an extra day and it was so worth it. My mother no longer finds it scary that I go camping (we are town mice so she finds everything scary) but she still can't really believe how much I enjoy it.

The Bat and I are giving it another go, the whole relationship thing. A while back, he realized he had feelings for me that were stronger than he'd thought. Then, recently, I started seeing someone and the Bat decided he wanted to fight for me and wanted me to be in his life. He's been putting in a tremendous amount of effort. He's more open to talking about things, which is huge, and he compliments me and does nice things for me and just shows how much he cares for me. He even bought me fresh cut flowers! Sure, they were from the grocery store but he has a huge stance against that sort of thing, something a lot of guys say these days (they'd rather give you a plant than give you flowers). Why do grocery store flowers get such a bad wrap anyway? I buy them for myself from time to time and I think they are lovely. I don't need or want a giant bouquette and the Bat's flowers lasted for ages. Poor grocery store flowers really are treated badly.

In other Bat news, he has a live in housekeeper. He met this person through a Facebook page he and I work on and she got flooded out of her place in Oklahoma and needed some place to go to get back on her feet. So he agreed to let her stay in his guest room in exchange for her housekeeping services. It's kind of rad because when I go over now the floors and counters and things are clean and it just feels comfortable. I'm tempted to see if I can borrow her but will probably just do a really thorough cleaning of my apartment on my own. That's one of my goals for this weekend and I do mean thorough. We're talking baseboards and cleaning out cupboards and closets. I keep it fairly tidy on the reg but I want a nice deep clean in preparation for the summer.

In further Bat news (what, is this his blog or something?), his parents bought a house an hour and a half south of Dallas. It is a retirement place, which they won't need for quite some time, so it will be a vacation home for the family. The Bat is going to take care of the cosmetic renovations and things and he looks forward to taking me down there some weekends. We are going, with his parents, this weekend in order to take care of some plumbing issues and other stuff. I don't know what the other stuff is but I think I'm helping his mom with things. I'm going to put together my work outfit and am kind of stoked.

Oh! More me news! I signed up for Blue Apron, a food delivery service that sends the ingredients and recipes with step by step instructions for making said recipes. You get three meals a week for either two or four people and I signed up for the two person one because it's just for me and the Bat or, if he doesn't like it but I do, just me. I got my first delivery yesterday and look forward to cooking my first meal. They look delicious and I think it will save me money since I won't be going to the grocery store so damn much (doesn't help that I shop like a child). And it's really cool that they provide all the ingredients because my closest market doesn't have a lot of stuff. I'm really hoping it works out for me and that I enjoy the experience. If I like the recipes but decide to cancel the service, at least I'll have a nice stock of meals I know I like and can just go get the stuff myself. I'm really, really looking forward to this.

OK, that's enough. I was going to write about my job a bit but there isn't much to say other than that I enjoy it. And this post is long enough as it is so let's just leave it.


Monday, June 1, 2015

Once More With Feeling

It's scary, but you can't just succumb to it and let MS ruin everything. Sure, you're going to lose your cognitive function at some point, but on the upside, you'll forget all the bad stuff. That's what I tell myself anyway, and I'm the same age in the same shoes.
That is a comment that someone left on my last post and I've been thinking about it. That and something Spectero said. I'd been posting on Facebook and I was just posting factual things but she told me that she kept thinking "you're better than this woe is me bullshit, stop it!"

That is a good friend right there. She knew I could take it and that it was for my own good. I still think, for the most part, that I was just being factual. But you can bet your ass I've been a lot more thoughtful when posting anything. And when I got the good news about my MRI from this year being identical to last year's, I posted that shit with as much celebration as I could. Seriously, I damn near cried when my neurologist told me. I think he likes me because I make him laugh. After he confirmed that yes, he was serious, I'd said "oh god, when you asked how I was I came very close to saying 'riddled with new lesions and a step away from a wheelchair' but didn't." He laughed his ass off at that. He also told me that yes, I should keep my 401K because he thinks I'll live a long and unencumbered life. The cognitive shit is going to happen, but slowly, and he doesn't foresee me having the physical issues. And this fucker is blunt so I trust him.

But so I'm going to try and push MS to the back of my life and not think about it. I'm not going to ignore it or anything, and I'm not going to be a pollyanna and assume everything is fine if I feel something. But sometimes I am right. I told the neurologist that I don't think the numbness I have sometimes in my left arm is the MS but that it might be related to my thyroid issue (hypo) because I vaguely remember numbness being why I went to my GP and had a blood test that showed I had a fat and sluggish thyroid. He told me I could well be right and explained that when stressed and having MS, some functioning will slacken because other neurons and things have to compensate. The numbness has subsided a great deal since finding out J most likely has sarcoidosis, I have a new job, and my MRI had such nice results.

I didn't go to work today. I didn't feel well and as shitty as it felt to call out so early into my new gig, I've been feeling shitty for awhile and needed the day. It's the weather, the stress of all that news, and being too busy. I need to slow down in my time off and just breathe. It's been nice tonight, making hash browns, doing laundry, and reading. It's been nice being alone for once, not at work, not dating, not hanging out with anyone.

I met a guy a few weeks ago. He picked me up at a bar as Spectero and I were leaving and I ended up talking to him for a couple of hours before going home. We've seen each other a bit and I like him but he's moving too fast. I said as much and he agreed we needed to slow down. He wants to be exclusive but I don't know him that well and don't know if he is someone I can necessarily dedicate myself to because we just don't know one another. I haven't heard much from him lately but that's OK. I'm not going to push it. I'm doing everything I never did before. Taking it slow, speaking up for myself, not trying to please because I feel guilty for not making someone happy. He's seven years older than me, has his own business, has three kids, and hasn't dated in three years. There are other things as well, but it isn't my business to tell. I just don't know, at this early stage, if it is something that will work out. I know it bothers him that I'll see other people but honestly, he knows he has no right to ask me to stop. And I've told him I understand how he feels and that if things seem like they are promising, he won't have to ask me to not see other guys because that isn't what I want. I want to be part of a pair and with someone who wants a life with me.

If it happens, fantastic, if not, OK. But I'm not rushing anything, not this time. That has never worked in the past and we all know the definition of insanity, yes?

I think I'm really going to like my new job. It is stressful because I'm new to it, of course, but I am going to dedicate myself to learning it all and being a damned good employee. I want the person who hired me to know that she didn't make a mistake. And I want to be good at this because I truly do think I can be and I do think I'll love it once I get it all down. There is just so much and it can be overwhelming but, at the same time, it's nice to be busy and have the hour it 12 with me thinking "already?"

So I'm going to try and approach life a bit differently now and see if I can't be happy again. I like being happy.