Merry Christmas! And now, for my resolutions!

Wow! Christmas on a Wednesday – AWESOME! I can take a break from working and cheering tech support/customer support folks who answer my silly questions that could’ve been found in a forum post dated from 2014, but updated a month or so ago – but hey! How would I know they are working today, too?

I can also, in real time, move emails to the “Atodo” list “ABillsTobePaid” OR ‘newsletters to read’ or “DELETE! DELETE! I’m not shopping and I don’t have to again for a few months, so in the trash you go” promotional emails –

(Seriously, keeping a clean email account is how I get by on ‘how many GB I’m limited to on the ‘basic’ plan – 🙂

First – Happy Wednesday (Christmas and a slew of other winter, religious, spiritual and astronomy dates….)

For everyone except those in time zones that mean, it’s not yet Wednesday OR it’s now Thursday – in which case, happy Belated/Future Wednesday

On to Resolutions….

Here’s my early days yet, New Year’s Resolutions:

  • Read books, watch free YouTube video captures of local town halls, and scan for me own “election year” news info to read
  • Continue with commercial free tv so as to avoid political ads
  • Throw any ‘snail mailed’ election stuff in the trash, before reading/reacting –
  • Talk to my neighbors, share what I’m reading, why such and such impressed me, but focus on the challenges faced, NOT on who did what – (i.e. IMHO – all elected officials are rather living apart from the daily work flow, the daily ‘sigh, again?” flow, the “Okay – should we pay the electric bill, mortgage, phone bill or get prescriptions and groceries for one more month?” game
  • I shall not say ‘you, your party, your candidate’ when engaging in such conversations – I will say, instead, “I like (insert focus) about what (you, your fave party, candidate) said about (insert whatever they said or have on their website) but I’m concerned about (insert my concern) as it affects (me, my loved one, my neighbors) and I don’t see that is being addressed – thoughts?”
  • I WILL TRY MIGHTILY to keep neutral look on my face, listen, truly listen and not interrupt with, “Sorry, to interrupt, but I’m going to stop ya right there! How can you say ‘they’ support (insert such and such) when in 1990 they did this? Or the news feed reported this? Or their legislative vote meant this, for me and mine, in 1972? What about that?!?
  • I refuse – REFUSE to be mad at folks who have more education, a better job, more resources and assets than I do – I CHOOSE to do my best to align with folks who are broke on a level different from mine – (All the way from… “Dude! You have no food? A way to get to the doctor? Keep warm?” to “Dude, I’m not really understanding how your biggest fury in life is over healthcare for your employees and whether or not you should keep shelling out $3,000/month to keep up your indoor, house pool/jacuzzi set up you never use – – the employee benefits are a tax write off for your business, the pool isn’t – – or shouldn’t be – unless employees use for water aerobics, physical therapy and pain relief – THEN, YES! You can keep it and straight arrow write it OFF taxes, TOO! See? Problem solved…..)
  • I will research candidates way earlier than I usually do – started doing that stuff in August 2018 – have my spreadsheet all set up and it needs some clean up, everyday/week –
  • I WILL not donate to any candidacy that doesn’t allow me to do a $5 (or $5+transaction fees for online processor) donation – Every penny counts, right? Okay – so $5 without paying the transaction fee, yourself, = 500 pennies – so now, are you serious or not?
  • I may, as the year winds through, send some very pointed questions to candidates as they navigate their campaign and I learn more –
  • I will not engage with candidates who have interns/email algorithms that plop me into auto-email hell and do nothing to answer what I originally asked about – even with a quick answer “Yes, we agree – here’s the link to our official response on that question….”
  • I will share the various reasons I’m interested in learning more about a candidate with my circle – and if they fire in to shut me down as to why I’m an idiot if I like so and so, I will ask them for the reason why – their life experience? Their reading? Publicly available information? Really bad performance in a little town hall in BFE Amercia where some local activist recorded the whole thing and uploaded to youtube.com – without editing or commentary?
  • (P.S. If you watch every town hall a candidate does through the year, that is uploaded for general viewing, by folks who don’t make money from advertising dollars – guess what? You get a really clear handle on recurring themes – :D. Did it in 2016, and I can do it again….I think….I hope…

RE: Citizens United and Pacs, Super Pacs and Mr & Ms. Pacman

So what do email phishers, hackers, Nigerian Princes, PACs and candidates who use some or all of them, have in common?

That shit works – enough of the time, that to NOT do such things is akin to political suicide, simply because, you can’t compete – you can’t do the whole marketing version of “It takes 7-48 times before a person finally gives in and gives you money just to shut you up and go away – -“

And so do I wait for “Election Reforms” and all that hullaboo to take place before I’m actually freed from such things?

Nope – no more than I hope to have $10,000+ to get lame dinner/lunch and shake hands with a candidate or anymore than I wish to carve out a day or too, hotel costs, gas money and time away from work to go to a ‘rally’ and stand in line to get my 2.5 seconds with the tired, perhaps sweaty or ice cold hand of a candidate (who is probably tired, too – of all this smiling and handshaking – face it – how does any candidate make it office without their arm/hand in a sling due to ‘overwork/repetitive stress syndrome?)

Mr & Ms. Pac man were never intended to raise enough money to bully folks into their way of thinking through sheer inundation of ad spots, mailers and time on air – They were meant to do their jobs! Ya know – like leading, and getting out so folks can get to know them (that’s a lot of traveling, meals on the road, extra support in nutrition, etc., so they aren’t 30lbs underweight and stressed out mess when they take the oath and start making decisions that affect us….)

So what happens if we all just say, “I refuse to pay attention to the pro/attack/opposition ads – I will turn down the radio, tv or ignore news/social feeds in order to get my information – I will dig, dig, dig and look at the little things here and there –

Grass roots baby –

What happens if enough folks commit to ignoring the millions of dollars, the foul play, the social media/viral shit that means you better spend 1 billion dollars or more, just so you can make it to the November Ballot and…hopefully win?

I’ll tell you what happens – you, me, we, paint a target on our back for ‘elimination’ from those in the advertising industry, cyberland services and, maybe even the USPS – (ya know, that bulk mailing of advertisements does help shore up our snail mail systems….)

I’m thinking I’m safe enough –

A. No one cares what I think

B. I have a local network of folks who KNOW it’s not working for them, on any level, no matter how hard they work, no matter their party/religious affiliation

C. I do a Christmas gift of food every year to my local USPS –

If you didn’t at least make the attempt to do something nice this year for the local infrastructure that serves you – in some shape or form, probably best you don’t engage – it could go ugly –

Fool Proof Plan?

Of course not – Are ya kiddin me?

But, it is a rather optional plan to try, on meself, this coming year – just cuz, the risks are low, the payoff is nowhere in sight, to my eyes, but seriously, I just time out of my day to right this and I could have been working, instead – – OR I could have gotten my Christmas cards in the mail –

This was more fun to do –

P.S. Comments are open on this post, but I swear to goodness, anyone calls me an idiot or questions whether Satan was my father, Lilith my mother or trucks out the latest Facebook meme to make their point, I will close down the comments faster than anything – –

Cuz, in the end, if the majority of American culture says,

It’s all good as long as we don’t talk about politics or religion”

WTF is left to talk about that makes a very real impact on our daily lives? Our elected politicians make up the rules to be followed for everyday life and our religious (or spiritual) ideologies are what guide our internal compass/our daily actions…

So if we shut down civil conversation on those two levels – we have already lost everything that gave us a fighting chance to working together to SOLVE SOME OF THIS STUFF!

Okay – I’m done – hopefully, I log back in and do a nice, fluffy wuffy post talking about more evolved ideas before this rant stays on my ‘first in feed’ for very long – I usually do this stuff at 3 am, cuz it just gets lost in the clutter of the internet – 🙂

P.S. This post brought to you courtesy of…..

  • Reading the 2001 book “Nickle and Dimed” by Barbara Ehnreich
  • Reading the 2014 book, “Fighting Chance” by Elizabeth Warren
  • Inability to get some earlier titles by Ms. Warren OR Andrew Yang’s book, via my local library
  • An increasing amount of personal correspondence where so many are not looking forward to 2020…here…because it’s an election year
  • An incident yesterday and conversation this morning, that made me realize, being a hermit is really awesome, cool, etc., on the other hand, it lowers my tolerance levels to where I become an entitled arsewipe who is irritated that eating out, and reading the final pages of book before returning it, was interrupted by one who was struggling and another who just wanted the ‘problem person’ to disappear – like, hopefully, forever – – and yes, I choked on my internal irritation and did something that probably wasn’t the wisest choice from either point of view, but really, did it to make both of them to feel small and reassess where they were spending their energy, just then – came home and decided, “Wow! what a jackarse am I?” moment

And woke up to the never ending email feed that doesn’t have an algorithm that wishes to acknowledge my hope of being left the hell alone today – until I need answers in order to do my work or more quickly move through the ‘so called help files that are sometimes updated and other times not” and to save me from 6 hours trying to figure out the forum where users provide tech support to other customers and multiple, arguing options, abound – -:)

Merry Christmas!

Celebrating Mothers this Christmas

Well, yes, you KNEW I couldn’t just post holiday cheer and be done, right?

Today is me mum’s (mother’s, mama’s, mom’s) b-day and she has shared her day with just TOO much other holiday activities and (budget for gift giving) for so many years of her child hood, adult and senior life –

Meanwhile….

No matter how enlightened, evolved and wonderful the men are in our lives

“Why didn’t I just get my dad to come help me chop down the Christmas tree instead of trying to do myself ?!?”

Or….

“I’m almost there – the house is almost cleaned – we made it [insert get together] and was late, with my share of the food, but turned out okay because SHE was running late, too – “

Or…

“Yes, trying to get caught up on sleep, cuz I stayed awake in case travel to us plans got way laid by weather and just wanted to know when folks were safe/on their way/plane had landed and I could wipe that ‘check in on’ off the ‘worry list’

Or….

“The turkey took way longer to thaw than I planned for!” or “my heating element went out in the stove and guests are arriving in 45 minutes ….” or “The child called at 12am my time to say dinner with the new in-laws went better than expected…they were stressed about that for two-weeks, don’t ya know….

All the things that over my lifetime that mean the Holidays have arrived full of graciousness, gifts of the heart and quiet tears, are delivered from the “Mom’s at Heart” of the species – just saying.

Why of course I honor and appreciate the good men out there, but, in my heart – Mom’s and the feminine side of the equation in any person, are the ones that make Christmas, in all it’s full ‘what the holidays really mean’ glory, happen –

So Here’s to you Mom’s at Heart

Mother, Sister, Aunt, Grandma, Mentor, Colleague that always sends cards out on time and makes killer crispy toffee nuts, luscious fudge and/or the delicious potluck meal we all crave, that no one else does just quite as good as yours …

Um, yeah, I’m taking this religious song, in modern version, and using it as a tribute to those who just simply – throughout the year, and go through their own personal version of hell, each year, too, getting ready for ‘the holidays’.

They keep the traditions and beauty of the holidays going – often on no sleep, lots of caffeine/chocolate, but with joy in their heart – 🙂

So do not invite them to join your weight loss plan on January 1st – they are running off of heavy infusions of cortisol, chocolate and alcohol to make such magic happen….and they will get with the weight loss program through pure doing once school starts back up, gardening time arrives and/or those they work for ask for 15 hour days to launch the ‘goals to meet this coming year’ – while they live off of snicker’s bars at their desk – walk with a friend during their break….Back off on the Resolutions – okay?

P.S. – You’re invited to W(h)ine and Cheese party with no dishes to wash, wear your pajamas if you want, at my house in January – the house won’t be any cleaner than it is now, but let me know ahead your faves and you won’t go hungry or thirsty….cuz, I’m a grinch – thus, I’m in charge of ‘restoration’ operations afterward…right?

Oh, also, if you figure out how to keep the tree up year round, dusted and seasonally appropriate without having to dust, move or put up/pack away …share! Cuz seriously, who has time for all that put up/pack away nonsense each year?

Here’s to You!

Merry Merry – From the Grinch

(P.S. For those who don’t know, I was raised in the Protestant, Christian, American version of how to keep the winter blues away and the soul nourished and hope alive during the time that, here, at least, keeps us all indoors – maybe sick, cold and/or hungry – and yearning for summer warmth, green growing things and the annual promise of spring to show up once more – so there ya go –

I go back to Christmas references while illustrating overall values or failings, but never think, that I think, these chosen are the only options to choose from, to illustrate my musings…. :D).

For example: To those in the deep Southern Hemisphere: I’m so sorry you might be in position that requires you to cook up a full Christmas dinner when it’s hotter than hell, outside…

For those near the equator – so you don’t get blizzards just now- so what? I hear tell, the monsoon/hurricane/typhoon season can be just as soul breaking/dangerous – ). You’ve got your struggles/challenges and I’ve got mine – 🙂

Where was I? Oh yes.

Each year, around this time, I find myself at the unique intersection I always do –

Simultaneously in the Grinch AND Happy Holidays! mood….

It’s rather hard to balance these two moods, in conversations with others, at this time of year –

I manage to do it all the rest of the year, because, well, folks are used to me being the ‘well…on one hand…but yet, on another….’ personage.

Well…at least the folks who stick around for very long, who learn it is so, and do not expect me to magically change me, just cuz the calendar says I ought to do something more than change what clothes I choose for outdoor activities….

And so, with that, I leave you with two music selections – nope, make that three – to illustrate the fact – it’s not just the “Holidays” that have me feeling this way – it’s year round – but at least, at the Holidays, I can share some of my childhood faves – 🙂

You’re a Mean One, Mr(s). Grinch

Why yes! I get rather tired of the bombardment to buy/gift this bamboozle, fund that whatchamacallit – etc. There are times when the Whoville folks who pummel me with mailers/email notifications really push me over the edge and make me yearn for my own tiny dog with horns, a big sled, and the capability to slink & snark around houses – not that I’d actually do it – just would be nice to have the tools and skills, to know that I could, if I chose too….

God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman, Let Nothing you Dismay

I grew up from earliest memory, hearing either my Dad or Tennessee Ernie Ford leading the sing-along on this one, thus, here ya go… cuz the things that can lead us astray from being a ‘good person’ are many, varied and a year round proposition- for me?

Lack of sleep, unending emails to BUY, BUY, BUY and increasing costs just to hold the ‘accepted line’ – as well as news articles informing me of what the ‘brightest minds/leaders in the world’ are up to – well – I would just go to the Dark Side, if I didn’t have a “let Nothing You Dismay” song to pull me back from the precipice of Grinchdom…..

But finally, in the end, I always, sooner or later, get to the seasonal song that, to me, rather tells about some year round things one could do – even if it displays how much one must do, to just show up, everyday, and not just on Christmas, if one really wants to ‘make a difference’ –

Alas, most folks, still, despite it all, me included, lose sight of it, in the day to day –

The Christmas Guest

Merry Christmas – Happy Winter Holidays – May your New Year, whenever you mark it, treat ya well!

The Beloved Holiday Tradition….

…of the Christmas Letter.

The past few years I’ve noticed an increase in both the over-the-top cheery Christmas letter and/or the simple photo postcard that sends Holiday Greetings – because folks are ‘too busy’.

On top of that, whether it’s economics, worry over the state of the community/union/world, bad luck/health and/or the rise of social media profiles that seem to show ‘shiny, perfect lives’, I’ve recently heard an increasing amount of ‘sighs…I don’t know how I’m going to…Not sure I even want to… this year…” from many in my circle.

Thus, about two weeks ago, I speed wrote a Sample Holiday Season Letter to cheer up one who was down in the dumps.

It cracked me up so much, writing it, that I’ve gone back to it off and on, over the past couple of weeks, and now?

Well, I’d just like to send out a Holiday Greetings Letter to ya’ll, so that you may (just MAY!, mind you) share in the fun & joy I had while playing with stuff that comes more naturally than learning a gazillion different coding languages…..

I present to you…

The Authentic Christmas/Holiday Letter

Greetings Friends, Foes and Family!

Whew!  What a year!  It started off grand in January, when Mabel scored some magic seeds from Marv’s Poker Parlor.  

During the raid that happened, shortly before she scraped her winnings off the table and was preparing to leave, the seeds were temporarily confiscated, but, with Mabel’s reputation for trying different plants on sandy, drought and bindweed-ridden ground, the local fuzz let her go with a fine, a promise to appear and gallantly gave her the seeds back.

She is really upset to learn it was an illegal poker room and now shut down. She was invited by her friends at the local church Bingo night and while they were all taken in, and are dealing with the loss, they have managed to copy-kat recipe the hot wings served at Marv’s (which are now available at Bingo Nights and better than the chicken salad that used to be served.)

Once she got recovered from the betrayal, Mabel’s paper cup indoor garden trials were shown successful for germination and she promptly made up 10,000 clay pellets for her place and Billy Joe Jim Bob’s  back 10 at his farm, (next state over), scattered them all about while doing the hokey-pokey and WOW! 

By July both crops were going gangbusters and tall enough to rival the famed Field of Dreams.

And…just as soon as DEA determines the THC level, we will know if the Family is sitting on a lucrative crop of industrial hemp OR if Billy Joe Jim Bob is going to jail (the next state over tends to frown on such things, no matter how innocently planted).

Mabel might manage to net a dollar-two-ninety-eight per ton, after paying for all licenses, permits and fees in order to wholesale her share of the questionable crop to a 5th from the retailer commodities buyer, since her place is located in friendly territory for such things.

With all that excitement going on, we rather blew past most summer holidays, what with Mother  being back east to visit the home folk and unable to post bail or give character references –

Billy Bob Jr. came to the rescue and the cost of saving the wayward family members broke his bank account so much, he moved back to the ole homestead in August.

As summer turned to fall, we all found some relief & joy in the early winter weather as an excuse to do nothing, although Billy Joe Jim Bob is happy he is finally able to put all the snow removal equipment he purchased a decade ago, during the extreme drought, to good use.  

With plowed lanes, Mother hasn’t missed very many water aerobics sessions & her physical therapy visits, which she attends faithfully.

(the family has heard tales there are slot machines in the women’s locker room at the gym and her PT is a hunk,  but we haven’t confirmed either of these being the sole reason she is so fervent in getting out to her ‘appointments’.)

What with blowing snow, work schedules, low moods and bank accounts, the Family decided to just skip the holiday nonsense this year.  

With the winter weather, winter blues, physical pain, broken hearts and/or potential charges hanging over all, we’re too busy working to earn fine funds or down in the mouth to even contemplate possibly delaying the get-together until next summer – for who knows what next summer will bring?

However, we just couldn’t bear to not send you something – a card, letter, cyber post – for we decided it wasn’t fair to leave the funding of the USPS, Internet providers and email hosts, all up to the folks with ample advertising dollars, junk mailings and/or a team of hackers & spammers on the payroll.

It just didn’t seem right – so here ya go.

As the season continues to unfold and we visit doctors, courtrooms and Mabel embarks on her jury-rigged homebrew experiments, please pray for our family to greet the new year with some good news on all fronts.

We hope the holiday season brings you what you need and here & there, that which you never dreamed possible but have asked Santa for since you were 3.

Oh – and happy frickin New Year/Election Year, to you, too!

The Family

P.S. We chose to send out physical letters using yellow legal sized note paper, to support the ‘upcycle/recycle’ movement.

Mabel discovered a stash of tablets when cleaning out the workshop & chicken house this past year. When we shook off the dust and chicken feathers, we realized it was perfectly good to use and the natural spatters look just like that fancy stamped stationary.