Tuesday, February 21, 2017

In Science I Trust...

I believe in science.

I believe in the scientific process.

I believe that large groups of scientists in agreement should be believed.

So that means that for now I believe that vaccines are safe and a boon to public health.

For now I believe that a large component of climate change is man made. Human exacerbated. Made worse by things we do. How ever you want to phrase it.

For now I believe that GMO's aren't bad for my health.

I say for now on all of those things because that's how science works. If new information comes along, and that new information makes a difference in what the studies show right now, and that new information causes the consensus of scientists studying that area to change their minds then I will also change mine.

Science isn't a dogma. It doesn't require you to have absolute belief in something no matter what. As new information comes in things can and do change. It doesn't mean the science was wrong. It doesn't mean you were wrong for believing it. It means that with what you knew at the time was the best decision to make. Science is flexible. But it's also practical. When large groups of scientists are in agreement the odds are very strong that the science is sound and should be believed.

I am more likely to agree with scientists who have studied an issue than with Judy whose cousin Freddy had a perfectly normal child until BOOM autism. And so vaccines. Am I right?

I am more likely to agree with climate scientists than with a congressman holding a snowball in chambers who also happens to be a benefactor of donations from Exxon. And for that matter I am more likely to be in agreement with climate scientists than I am with people trying to tell me that they are all part of a giant conspiracy to funnel money in to alternative energy while they ignore the fossil fuel industry pumping LARGE sums of money in to lobbying for fewer regulations and bad science.

I am more likely to agree with the medical profession who sees no difference in the nutritional value and no detriment to modified food than a non-modified food and no extra nutritional benefit to organic foods as a whole. Now I might still choose to eat organic due to other reasons, but I do understand that I am not getting a vegetable with more vitamins, I'm just getting one farmed in a different way.

And because I believe in science, I believe in all of the science. So when you mock a climate change denier but I know you are an anti-vaxxer I give you side eye. When you mock an anti-vaxxer and I know you are a non-GMO warrior I wonder which leg you think you are standing on. When you mock the non-GMO people but also think climate change is a myth meant to sell more solar panels I just shake my head. You are picking and choosing your science. You are saying these experts should be treated as experts but these guys? Total fraud and part of a giant conspiracy to keep us unhealthy, poor, cold? So I don't think you should mock one group of tin foil wearers while adjusting your own hat.

Now I get it. I have some things I believe that come across as pure hooey. For instance I believe the Universe talks to me. When I need to do something. When I am ignoring a problem. When something in my life needs to change, I believe I get signs from the Universe pointing it out. Now I will say that if we sit down and talk deeply about it I will tell you what I truly believe is that it is my subconscious noticing things and communicating with my conscious mind in such a manner that I don't notice it, but I notice it. My subconscious is chewing on a problem and is sending PAY ATTENTION signals to my conscious mind. The same way that you might pause for a second before stepping out in the street and suddenly a car comes whizzing past. You noticed it, but weren't aware of it, it happened so quickly. So your subconscious mind was saying, hey wait up here for a second and by the time your conscious mind noticed the car was by you and you were feeling like the Universe protected you. Yeah, it did. Through your own systems. It's just more mysterious for me to say I believe the Universe talks to me and so I phrase it that way.

So again, I believe the science. When the science changes I re-evaluate my beliefs and make changes as necessary. I don't believe in anecdotal evidence replacing scientifically sound studies. I try really hard not to argue with you about it, not because I think it's cool you believe hooey but because I understand that me telling you it's hooey isn't going to change your mind. I've been down that road a few times and I also have the scientific studies on belief systems to back me up.






Friday, February 10, 2017

You Mad, Bro?

I know I am not everyone's cup of tea. I am a strong cup of coffee for the most part. And though, I think, everyone wants to be liked more than disliked I am okay with people not liking me. I don't need you to like me. There is a pretty famous quote, "Your opinion of me is none of my business." Now, I would attribute that quote to someone but I can't find a definitive answer as to who said it first. It's been credited to Elanor Roosevelt, Deepak Chopra, Paulo Coelho and many others. So I won't say as so and so says, because I don't know that what I would share would be right so I won't say that. Which is one of the things that annoys other people about me. And I know that. But your opinion of me is none of my business. My business is to be me. And you can take that or leave it. That's your business.

This morning someone on my friend list posted a fairly standard passive aggressive Facebook post and I thought, "Hunh, I'm pretty sure that's about me." And it bothered me, for a little bit. I came to my usual conclusion on those things which is if you don't want to address the issue directly it can't really be much of an issue. I worked out and saw it again after that. Re-reading it I thought it probably wasn't about me after all because it would have been a wrong conclusion to make from the actions I took so it must have been directed at someone else.

Now that's why I say it was a fairly standard passive aggressive post. They are like horoscopes. Just vague enough that you can read in to them things that apply to you. Or that you think they think apply to you. But not specific enough that you would always be 100% accurate. They are tricky little things.

So I made my own post about it and ended with a joke, as is my way, and also a reason why I annoy a lot of people. In the discussion that followed I had a conversation with a friend on how she would have handled it, and she would have asked the person if it was about her. That's not my way. If you have a problem with me it's your responsibility to either get over it or tell me about it. Now I'm not saying that if you come to me and say, "I do not like the way you turn everything in to a joke." I will stop making jokes. But what I might do is make sure I tell fewer jokes around you. Or delete a post that you felt was inappropriate (if I made it on your timeline, if it was on mine I would kindly show you how to hide specific posts). I'm not going to change who I am to suit your needs, but I might, depending on how I feel about you, temper my personality around you at times.

But one of the things I told my friend is that I don't generally take things personally. If I am taking it personally and getting my feelings hurt then there is something going on that I need to pay attention to. This morning it was my breakfast hadn't caught up to me yet and I tend to lean toward hangry at those times. I also know that I am operating at half annoyed right now as soon as I hear the news for the day. So once my blood sugar leveled and I had some time to just walk I was fine again and didn't take the post personally. Don't take it personally. Most of the time it's not about you. Even if they say it's about you, it's not about you. It's about how they are reacting to you. Same goes for you when you are mad at someone else. It's not about them. It's about how you are reacting to them.

Don't get me wrong, there are people out there who will always get the reaction from me that I can't stand them. Even then it's not about them, it's about me. I am sure their mother loves them. I just don't.

You will be a much happier person in life if you do that one thing. Don't take it personally. Person ahead of you in the grocery line is rude? Don't take it personally. They probably had a really crappy day that started with a passive aggressive Facebook post and no time to go the gym. It's not about you. It took me a lot of years to understand that and I got so much happier on a day to day basis once I did. I highly recommend it.

And that is the other reason I don't generally confront someone over a passive aggressive post. I just can't take it personally. Not for long. I'm not going to court the drama and potential for a fight by asking. "No it wasn't about you but it begs the question why do you think it was??" Meh..if you are mad at me you need to address it with me. We have options. When I get mad at someone I make the choice, is it worth talking to them about this? And worth it can mean a few things, do I think it will make a difference? Do I think they will change their behavior? Do I think it will make either one of us feel better if I say something? Or is it really not on them but on me? Am I hangry? Am I hormonal? Am I bugged by something else so something that normally wouldn't bother me is bugging me? Is it temporary? Am I mad about a situation that isn't going to last? Why make a fight that can leave a permanent mark on a temporary inconvenience? Is this an area where we will never see eye to eye on so it's just best avoided all together?

It has to be important for me to take the fight. And there is a difference for me in a discussion or debate and a fight. I love to debate and discuss ideas. I am passionate about a lot of things, another thing people find annoying about me, and I will debate with people who hold equally passionate but opposite views. And as long as we are talking about the subject, even if the discussion gets heated, I don't take it as a real fight. It's a "fight." If you can't and it gets ugly then you fall in to the "I'm sure your mother loves you" category and poof... So I get mad. I do fight. I even stew sometimes. But then I get over it. Remember it was never about me. Stop taking it personally and move on.





Okay so here is my other confession on this subject. Not only do I know I am not everyone's cup of tea but sometimes it amuses me to go be coffee around them. Another reason why people find me annoying. I have people in my life that I annoy. Crazy right? I know that I annoy them. I can see in their reactions that I annoy them, and yet they stay. Now I get it, sometimes you sort of get stuck. You have too many friends in common and the person is just annoying not actually hateful so it would be A DEAL to dump them. Sometimes your mother would be mad at you for being rude in dumping a family member so you are stuck with them. Sometimes there are other redeeming qualities that balance out the totally annoying ones. So I get it. We all have people on our lists that aren't our favorites but are there for whatever reason. But if I know you've kept me yet I annoy you there are times I am doing that thing that you hate just because you hate it and your passive aggressive status really is about me and I am deeply and highly amused by that fact.

I am often a strong cup of coffee when all you want is tea.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Education?

I was coming in here to write a blog about something entirely different and then the announcement came down the line that Betsy DeVos was approved as Secretary of Education and I just sort of stopped in my tracks. I mean, I knew it was going to happen. When the count came down to tied and Pence is the tie breaker you know how it's going to go. But there was still hope that one more Republican would understand one small fact:

She's unqualified for the position.

I don't care what your political leanings are, I don't care what you think about school choice, I don't care about any of that. I just want to make perfectly clear that she is totally unqualified for the position. She has no background in education. None. She has no experience with public schools. All of her children went to private schools. She has no teaching, no administrative, no local school board experience. None. She runs a company whose very foundation is built on faulty pseudoscience. She is an advocate for using education as a way to advance "The Kingdom of God."

She's unqualified.

But she's rich.

Fabulously rich.

And she made a lot of donations. She owns the fact that her family (at the time, in 1997) made the largest soft money donations to the Republican party and that she expected to get a return on her investment.

Well, congratulations, Ms. DeVos, you got it.

 Too bad our children are the ones who will pay.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Bored...

“I’m bored…there is nothing to do anymore.”

“You’ve never been bored.”

“I know! But everyone is playing without me now. I don’t have anything to do.”

“Nothing? Really?”

“Nothing. I swear. I looked everywhere.”

“Well you can’t play here. I’m working on something important and you will just mess it up.”

“Fine!”

Chaos hated to be bored. What was she supposed to do? Her toys had decided to play by themselves and sadly they were doing more damage than she ever could.

Maybe it was time to rest and let her sisters take over.

Once they calmed things down she could start again.

But for now she was bored.

She wished she had never taught them how to fuck things up on their own.

They were actually better at it than she ever was.

Though she was Chaos she always tried to keep things slightly orderly. Enough that people thought they could make sense of the patterns.
But there wasn’t really a pattern. Just enough order to pretend there was.
But now that they were doing her job for her….nothing but chaos. No order. No reason. No sense.

Just madness.

Destruction.

Would it lead to that again?

The last time things had gotten out of hand they had to wipe the slate clean and start again. They thought it would be easier with people than it had been with dinosaurs.

And at first it was…it was fun to teach them things.

But now?

Now all they remembered was how to wreck everything.

And that was no fun. Not even to her.

And she loved to wreck things.

They were no fun.

So maybe that was the answer.

Time to wipe the slate clean again.

Maybe next time they could just have fish.


Friday, January 27, 2017

Shout it out loud!

"I'm losing my voice for no apparent reason."

That was the status update. Now a few months ago the responses to that post would have been along the lines of oh no, take care of yourself, drink tea and honey, watch for blah blah blah...Today? There were a lot of political leaning posts about losing your voice. Feeling like you aren't being heard. Realizing that maybe you didn't have as strong of a voice as you thought all along. When Trump was elected I made the "joke" about at least I had experience screaming in to the abyss and I did a call back to that post.

Because sometimes that's what it feels like. Just screaming in to nothingness. Trying to get someone to hear you. Just to listen to understand what you are saying instead of listening to respond. Listening to reach a common space instead of listening for a pause so they can talk now. It's frustrating.

Yesterday I went on a bit of a tear. I had reached my maximum nonsense level and responded to people, called them out on things that didn't make sense. Tried to make them question what they were saying. Of course they were trying to do the same to me and I did not walk away from those conversations nodding that "But Hillary" is actually a really good reason to ignore what Trump is doing so I am sure I made no difference for them either.

And it does amaze me how things flip. For 8 years those same people have insisted that pointing out things that Bush did had no bearing on a discussion about things that Bush did. We were all supposed to assume that the day Obama took office there was no war in Afghanistan. No war in Iraq. The economy was fine. The housing market stable. After all each president starts with a totally clean slate right? When it was pointed out that there were actual things that needed dealt with right away, things that started with Bush, or earlier (though for some reason they were cool with the things that could be traced to B. Clinton) you were told, "Bush isn't president! Stop blaming Bush!" But now...well now we are supposed to sit back and understand that anything that Trump does is okay because H. Clinton would have done worse.

Think on that. Obama has to take full responsibility for things that a man who was president actually did while Trump gets a pass because of things you imagine a woman who isn't/wasn't president might have done.

But Hillary...

I'm also having to laugh at the group that has been decrying "all of this political correctness that is RUINING  America!" who have now all of a sudden decided that they are SHOCKED and APPALLED at pink pussy hats. And CANNOT believe the coarseness of language that is being used! Okay, one, the pink pussy hats are literally cat ears. They are a play on words, yes, but it's a play on the words that the man you voted for said. You are more offended by women wearing hats than you are a man saying he can just grab a woman's genitalia and get away with it. Let that sink in for a second. And the language you are so worried about? Just think of it as locker room talk and let it wash right past you.

I get it, there is a both sides do it argument. Everyone is an asshole. But dammit, own that shit. I am so tired of the self righteous stance of each side pretending that their own shit doesn't stink. That somehow political dissension for the last 8 years (solid, there was no give him a chance period) was somehow patriotic and now it's just childish and a crybaby response to not winning an election. Are you fucking kidding me?

And we went through it with Bush the younger. The forced patriotism. The you are either with us or with the terrorists. And it's worse this time. And it's only been a week.

Give him a chance.
Wait and see what he does.
It won't be that bad, we made it through Obama you'll make it through Trump.

And you know what? I might just make it through Trump with nothing directly affecting me. I don't need to worry about unplanned pregnancies. Brent has a good job with good health insurance. My marriage is 30 years old and based on a long standing right. But it's not about me directly. It's about my friends who can already be denied housing in certain states because they are gay. It's about them watching a man take a position in the highest law enforcement agency in the land who co-sponsored a bill allowing people to discriminate against other tax paying Americans based on their personal religious beliefs. It's about families being torn apart. It's about people being deported to countries they haven't lived in since they were toddlers.

And let's look at that one for a quick second. There is right now a march going on in DC that is a right to life march. One of the tenants of the anti-abortion movement is that you cannot punish a child for the decision of a parent. Right? That's the argument against having an abortion in the case of rape or incest. I grew up with this, I've written about it, don't think for a second a true right to lifer believes in exceptions for rape and incest. Anyway...the argument is that no matter how violently that life was created it was created and so must be honored as such. You cannot punish the child for the sins of the father. Although...unless...except...for children who were brought to the US by their parents because they wanted a better life for them. They are here illegally and the Dreamers act must be repealed and those, now adults, need to be sent back to places they don't remember and didn't have a choice on leaving or staying.

And that wall? All of a sudden the $15 billion to build a wall is cool. After 8 YEARS of stupid memes about money being spent here or there instead of to house the homeless and take care of veterans. Okay. Where is your meme now? $15 billion is a lot of money to help veterans. Don't you care anymore about that being where all of our money should be spent? I mean, a wall is nice and all, gives you someplace to hang your art, though Trump is dismantling the arts programs as well so maybe not...

Conservatives were worried that Obama was going to come for their guns and their ammo (going on a buying spree which caused a shortage of ammo which made them all yell "See!! There is already a shortage of ammo!!") when he never said that he would. I am concerned about a man in office who has said he will do things like ban Muslims, build walls (even though the majority of illegal immigration comes from Asia and it's people overstaying VISAs but whatever right?), who put a VP in place who believes that women do not have a right to choose their own healthcare and the government should read a bible to decide who gets to be married. A president whose right hand man is an alt-right mouth piece. A president who will not release his tax returns and has convinced you that it's no big deal that he owns property, owes money, has ties to foreign countries that we can't see because he won't release his tax returns. You were worried about a manufactured birth certificate scandal that was pushed along by the current president and are mad at me for questioning the legitimacy of this president because Russia actually helped him take office. You are concerned about a massive voter fraud operation which has been investigated numerous times and found to not exist and I am worried about gerrymandered districts that are being ruled unconstitutional by the courts.

You were worried about whispers in the dark and I am worried about speeches made in public.

Sure, both sides do it.

Sure, it's never any different.

Sure, I should just hush up and deal with it.

Sure.

That's going to happen.

Sure.


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Adorable...

When I came back to work for the ad agency as an account manager one of the reasons my boss thought about me for the job was because "I wasn't so uptight."

He had a list of other reasons. One of them being I built and maintained the tracking systems when I was keeping the books so I understood the nuts and bolts of the account. Another being I was good at working with a variety of people. I had spent years translating between him and our media director after all. See, they were incapable of understanding each other. They could be in a meeting saying the exact same thing, just using different words, and they would fight. I would have to do the whole, "What I'm hearing is..." to get us out of there with no blood shed. He also thought I was smart and capable and could handle the account so he could run for the hills after my first week on the job. Which I didn't know until my first week back on the job.

But one of the reasons he gave me was "I wasn't so uptight." Meaning I wasn't going to freak out when the guys in the co-op called me sweetie. Or asked me to get them a cup of coffee. Or when before my first meeting (I had only been back at the agency for 3 days at that point) he told me that if I thought I was going to be lost to just wear a shorter skirt than normal and no one would notice. I wasn't going to take it personally, I wasn't going to give him or them grief. I wasn't going to get mad like "those young girls." And he was right, I wasn't. I had been in worse. I used to work at a car dealership and they were the worst. The salesmen, the shop guys, much worse.

And I didn't care that one of our co-op members called me young lady for 4 years, in fact I thought it was sort of sweet that he thought I was young. When one of the guys said, "Be a good girl and get me a cup of coffee," I responded (with a smile), "I will, if you promise to be a good boy and not get your snack crumbs all over the place." I knew that part of my job was smiling and being nice. Listening to men judge women by if they were "professional" or not. "She's always been so professional. Not flirtatious at all." But never hearing that about the men. "He's always been so professional. Not flirtatious at all." Being a "dame" almost a "dude" so cool, so laid back, not uptight.

And honestly it didn't bug me. I was too used to it as the norm for it to bug me at the time. It's just the way it was.

What did bug me was listening to my ideas get ignored until a deeper voice presented them. What did bug me was a creative director who took credit for my words in copy. What does bug me is seeing men still pretend that these sorts of things never happen. Never happened at all. That women in the work force today have never seen it, lived it, experienced it.

But this week I've seen the best. I've seen men get freaked out about a march. I've seen men try their best to diminish what the women (and men) who gathered did. I've seen a lot of fuss over something they keep saying they don't care about. And it's adorable. Their little lower lips all pouted out. Their precious snowflake feelings all wounded because someone did something that wasn't about them. And the worry that maybe this might actually mean something.

It's so cute.

Precious.

Adorable.

Women, don't take it personally, they are sometimes a little uptight.




Thursday, January 19, 2017

Privilege...

I know I've blogged about this before but I just need to do a quick one to get it out of my head again. And to keep me from yelling at someone about it...

I really do understand the frustration some of you feel when you get called out on your privilege. I really do. I feel it myself. People look at me, upper middle class, middle age, white woman, and they make all of these assumptions about me. They don't know me. They don't know where I came from. They don't know my struggle. They don't know anything but they give me a whole group of labels. And then they are shocked that I don't fit those labels.

People assume I have a four year (at least) degree from college. They are shocked to find out I don't. I have an associates degree in accounting and another two years at a trade school to get my massage therapist license. But I worked in a field where everyone around me had a degree. I worked my way in to my job through back pathways. Experience. People seeing me in other jobs and realizing I had the skills to handle the position even without the paper. But the assumption is always that I have a four year degree.

I grew up poor. I've met the repo man. When we moved we took our house with us. Brent's grandmother was livid that he was marrying that trailer park girl. People are shocked by that. Shocked when I say that they don't understand what being poor is like, but I do. They are shocked that I can tell them any number of things that I STILL do because I grew up poor. From eating habits, to squirreling away cash here and there so I have a back up if the credit card gets denied at the gas pump.

People always assume I'm married and have children. That's true. But they are usually shocked to find out that I got married at 18. And not only that I got married at 18 but that I wasn't pregnant when I did it. It goes back to them assuming I was in college at 18. Not newly married, working fast food and then retail, living pay check to pay check with my military man husband. That doesn't fit the label they have assigned me.

They assume they know my religious beliefs and that they are the same as theirs.

They assume they know my political leanings and that they are the same as theirs.

Just one look at me, just a cursory glance at my life right now and they have a whole checklist of things they assign to me. And that list starts to fade as soon as they hear the first, "Fuck that shit" come out of my mouth.

But understand this, that is privilege. Right there. The fact that the labels I get attached to me from one quick glance are all mostly positive.

We form our labels for people based on personal experience sure, but we also form them from what movies show us, what books tell us, what the news portrays as true. It all filters in there and so every single time we see someone we have this labeling system that goes in to place. As a middle class, middle aged, white woman, I have a set of labels people give me. They aren't really fitting in my case. So I try really hard to keep that in mind when I meet someone for the first time and those labels that have been programmed in to my brain start to slide in to place. My labels aren't right, why would theirs be?

But my privilege is that my labels aren't negative.

Not everyone has that privilege.

Pay attention to what assumptions people, the media, the press, the politicians make. Look at the labels they assign. And question them.

That's what putting aside your privilege means. You got positive labels. Even if they don't fit. Someone else got negative ones. Assume those don't fit either. Assume NOTHING you think you know is true. Because it probably isn't.

And then wonder how your life might be different if instead of your positive labels you got the negative ones.

Then you might just start to understand your privilege.