Does it Matter?

This morning’s news feed contained a headline reading:

“Parenting Doesn’t Matter”

Article, Daniel Engber, Slate

No, I didn’t give you a link because I didn’t click to read it mainly because:

  1. I’m no longer the parent of children young enough I am ‘in charge’ as it were and
  2. The title, itself, saddened me.

If I didn’t read, nor do I plan to read, why on earth would I link for you to go do so?!? But, the info is there, should you want to search and read it – ๐Ÿ™‚

For all I know, it’s an article written with an eye towards getting the pendulum swing of helicopter parenting to move back towards the center of reasonableness.

The title did, however, accomplish one thing – it took me back in time to some of my favorite memories……

A long time ago, in a galaxy just over the county line, I worked as a truck stop waitress. The travel complex was one of six owned by a man who lived two states away.

The rumors and stories told to me as a new employee to be hazed, were, to my mind, beyond belief of what was allowed in workplaces in need of adhering to Fair Wage & Labor laws, but one thing was made clear to me, quickly…

The fury of the Boss could explode at any moment, so best keep your head down, do your job perfectly and hopefully, you too, might survive the visit from headquarters.

When the Boss came to town, he came by private aircraft. And piloting his plane, was J.

J was a compact man, handsome, quiet, still and peaceful. He stood in stark contrast to the legendary-for-temper Boss, who, upon arrival, strode in and headed straight for the complex manager’s office with an energy that seemed barely contained.

J, on the other hand, strolled to the back dining room, often with reading material tucked under one arm and ordered a meal or drink and settled in to wait.

The back dining room was normally closed if not needed and was a place where waitresses were allowed to take a standing smoke/coffee break, while keeping an eye on their few tables, through a slit in the folding doors, as long as such breaks weren’t abused and all your work was done.

Such little allowed ‘perks’ made up for the times when tour bus after tour bus flooded in and you spent 8 hours flying from one task to another and went home, drained, and realized in your stupor, you could quit smoking, as your last cigarette was 9 hours ago…..

I waited on J a few times during my tenure there. He always tipped, even though his meal was comped, which, in service folk land, indicates integrity and character more than a firm handshake does…

Because I was a smoker and had prepared for The Visit by spending the shifts prior making durn certain my usual rotation of deep cleaning was all done, again, whether it was needed or not, just so I wouldn’t have to witness a storm inside the building, J and I would often converse while I smoked and he waited.

As you can tell by now, this is a story about J and how talking to him, those few times, greatly impacted my parenting views.

J was well-read & educated, I imagine. I don’t remember ever conversing about his background, where he grew up, went to school or what he did before becoming a pilot….

He was more about asking questions, then listening to your story.

But should you pick any subject or further the topic he introduced via a question, you would find an enthralling conversation partner.

Philosophy, psychology, history, astrology, you name it, when J sat waiting and I could take the time for a break, well, those few conversations were memories to be saved and pressed into Ye Olde Book of Life, to withdraw and muse over later when Life meant I was in need of some companionship or advice.

Time passed, no one got fired that I recall, and then came the day when he arrived, to find me noticeably pregnant and just as noticeably, missing any jewelry on my left ring finger.

J’s eyes were compassionate, and yet, I did not sense any judgement from him as I had encountered in so many other areas of my small rural community life.

He asked open ended questions and congratulated me on cutting down to two cigarettes a day, instead of my usual pack and thought my plan to work as long as I could a good one.

He laughed over my relapse from being a vegetarian back to omnivore because the child had demanded a cheeseburger and the craving had been too hard to resist.

He chuckled over my current love of drowning just about any meal I ate with creamy Italian vinagrette or green chile and said such things were apparently providing nutrients my body needed, followed by his opinion on the virtues of both vinegar and peppers, although he expressed doubt over both sauces being combined in one concoction…

And then he asked me a question that to this day, I do not remember the question, just my reply…

“I just hope and pray I can stay out of the way enough to not mess up this perfect little soul that’s been gifted to me”

He thought it odd I should worry about such things as messing up the child and asked me why I thought such a thing? I answered,

Through observing others, talking to adult friends and hearing about their horrible childhood, so different from mine and what I observed in families around me as a child. The things that wounded me as a sensitive child and sometimes still bother me, as well as knowledge of some of the most terrible parents in the tomes of mankind’s history….

And then he did some of his ‘magic’ through either astrology, tarot or palm reading…maybe a combination of all of the above I don’t rightly remember now… and proceeded to tell me my child would be a boy, a leader among mankind and that I must be very special for such a soul to pick me, for their mother.

In short, he just said out-loud the various hopes, dreams and inner talking to most first time mothers rather give themselves, in order to get their ‘game on’ for the coming two-decades or so marathon where courage, strength and stamina are needed in order to ‘do what is before me to do’.

I thought his prediction of the child’s sex odd, as I had already told him I didn’t know the sex of the child, didn’t want to, didn’t care, just wanted it to be healthy and already had names picked out for either a boy or a girl, and was buying baby stuff in either white or variety of colors, so I’d be set, no matter what showed up.

To this day, I don’t know if J knew more about the child, me or both than I did, but he said it was so and left it at that.

I wasn’t naive enough to buy into all he said, but I was, on the inside, quietly grateful for the external-to-my-own-mind chatter, pep talk.

J left to fly the Boss back home.

I went back to waiting on tables and waiting for the miracle child to arrive.

I do believe, that was the last time J and I had a conversation.

He was right, you know. I had a boy, who became the lead cheerleader and accountability personage in his ‘teen-pack’ of peers. If the universe had told J Morgan would die young, I’m ever so grateful he didn’t tell me that day.

I never forgot what he said – and never forgot my vow, although, through stress, overwork, illness, there were times I messed up and wasn’t the calm, peaceful, sage parent I wanted to be 24/7.

I did learn, through the years, and know in hindsight….

What you do as a parent Damn Sure DOES Matter

But often, it’s more about actively working to not destroy through human failings and leadership failings, the most pure and precious little thing that landed in your charge –

Protect their body when they are too young and inexperienced to know how.

Protect their mind from the trash the world and ignorant folks want to fill it with, until they have formed their own gatekeeper. Guide them in the ways to form their gatekeeper, even on how to have a filter for you and your blind spots.

See their soul as unique and individual, not as a Mini-Me.

Run coverage, blockage or let them rest on the bench and take the field for them when they are outnumbered or outgunned and ask for help.

Let them fail early and often at the small things, so they increase their resilience and coping with disappointment skills as they mature.

Broaden their horizons through literature, history and philosophy, so they understand both how unique they are, and also, they are but one grain of sand on the beach of the cosmos and rarely is there anything new under the sun.

Teach them to follow their dreams AND to listen to nudges from the universe that maybe, just maybe, those challenges or obstacles to the dream are there for a reason….

Let them learn early about other religions, cultures and ethnic groups – especially if you live in a diversity desert.

Let them go to worship with their friends when they are old enough to spot those who would abuse positions of authority and try to bully into them a skewed vision of reality.

And finally, whenever your teenager comes out in the morning, and says,

“Mom, I seriously need a mental health day. My grades are okay, can I puhhhlllleassse just stay home? Or go to work with you today?”

Say yes and lie if need be about the severity of ‘symptoms’ when you call the school.

Then, either at home, or on the road for business, declare it “Our Day of Freedom”, crank up the tunes to sing and/or dance to, and laugh yourselves silly.

And never, ever forget, those morning pleas happen because THEY see what a mess you are getting yourself into and decide to help YOU out, because, in the end, our children are our mentors in the art of “A Human – Being”.

Night-to-Day Dreaming

For the past 2 days, I’ve awoken to have a ‘mash-up’ of music and lyrics in my head, once the total return to ‘earth’ from my night dreams has allowed me to clear through the clutter and ponder the images/symbols sent to me from deep within… my soul? creative brain? subconscious memory? stress centers?

Who knows? I certainly don’t claim to ‘know’….

Before I share with you the real music, I shall share the inner lyrics & music that have recently announced the new day before me, as if my day life were a TV series in need of theme music for the ‘intro’ …..

“4,3,2,1….Earth Below Us….Drifting, Falling…hum, hum, hum….Home…[segues right into the music, lyrics of] “…”She says, ‘I like the nightlife, baby!” She says, “Let’s go” [followed by 3 short laser sounding blasts, loop right back to echoing, haunting, “4,3,2,1”]

cited – my inner daily theme music, just now…. ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s been an odd way to wake up…

I sometimes awaken to songs in my head – I usually know why, or suspect why, or take it as a ‘reminder’ for me to focus on something, or re-experience the creativity/music/movie magic of faves while I plow through the work day…

But never before I have been given such a mash up….

…of songs that seem so unrelated to my night dreams, or daily routines/stressors –

“not really anything to link to in waking life”

Says I to meself….

Which is quickly followed by….

….have I ever before re-entered earth realm with two songs, dim in my memory, mixed together? If so, I can’t recall a time….

Odder still, that one song I don’t even know all the words too, or the full music score of or what it is about, but can hear the full chorus and music of โ€ฆ.

again, me talking to meself….hence the “hum, hum, hum” –

I can hear the exact music, tempo, techno, etc. but had no clue of the full lyrics, nor the story within them, until I was able to find the lyrics by typing in search bar ‘earth below us falling’

The loop-de-loo of song mixes that came unbidden to me as my mind retreated from nighttime to join the not-yet dawned new day, disoriented me -for two? no THREE days – this week…my, where does the time go?

I know where – days descend from early a.m. solitude, creative, building work, into stream of updates, requests, and daily duties that keep body & household fed & cleaned…

This past week of days left me little time during day or evening to dig into, until today, when music & lyrics loop arrived once more, and I just frickin’ MADE the time to explore the whole thing – because, well, it might be important – if it’s this persistent…and I’m tired of it interrupting my ‘quiet creative time’ with nudgings and disorientation

Yup – to make sense of it, I wrote about it – as part of the path of discovery… or perhaps to clear the cobwebs, or re-orient or imbue it with some meaning that is acceptable to inner me….who knows? but this morning’s exercise helped – with all of the above….and now, once I hit ‘publish’ I can get back to regularly scheduled programming, in peace and focus….

The Journey

I easily found the two songs, one of which I did remember the title and artists of, because I went through my period of wearing out “The Cars Greatest Hits” tape – ๐Ÿ™‚

The other, I easily found from partial lyrics, but with unknown to me of music era, time frame in which I might have heard it, or which version/artist, I had to dig a bit deeper – but now… I give you [drumroll or techno intro – your choice…]

The Songs

The first ‘version’ done by an artist that was really popular during my ‘rock/pop music’ phase of life, was not the right one – not the right music – since I looked up the lyrics, first, I then searched BOTH the artist name & song title from the lyrics, and walla! The right music! The right echo! The replica of the beginning loop in my head, found within the chorus…

Peter Schilling, Major Tom (Coming Home)

You can view the lyrics (correct as far as I know….) at azlyrics – Peter Schilling – Major Tom.

But of course, after reading the lyrics and sinking into the music, it’s patently obvious –

I’ve been night dreaming of family, the past, home(s), jobs, and various teachers & mentors that have come and gone during my life.

I figure it is natural at my age, with my perennial love of history – this looking back to glean and ‘re-member’.

I do this often for my shattered self after a period of focusing to much on the ‘doing & stressors of’ external portions of life, and have not spent enough time during those phases, looking inward or ‘simply being’ while I putter around putting infrastructure together to fulfill visions presented in daydreams.

In other words….I’m in the process of ‘coming home’ to myself after a period of wandering in the external world while various, um, ‘lessons’ if you will, I apparently was in need of a refresher course, in order to go forward, showed up.

Historically, I can tell you exactly where I was, what I was doing, etc., when Space Shuttle Challenger didn’t return to earth in the manner planned….

Was that the inspirational spark for Major Tom?? or was Major Tom born into this world earlier and eerily fits with my memories of that time?

I didn’t search further to learn, this morning, thought I bookmarked and did browse through my brain search engine list of memories from various episodes of my life from 1985 – 1989 – and tech bookmarked some other searches to learn more about external events that impacted my personal life during that time frame- which is why I remembered the era, but realized, I don’t know much about the global events that sometimes brought the consequence of their reality, home to my doorstep….

P.S. Updated 26 mins after published – I couldn’t help myself – I found this with rather a timeline(?) of the song – interesting – and older than I guessed, but the article was interesting and loved the header of the website….LOL “Was Major Tom a real astronaut?” from TheStraightDope website.

Visionarily, I can describe to you the current internal landscape and plans of my ‘dream retirement’ life – that likely will never occur, but from which I take pieces and tidbits of the kingdom in my mind and implement where ever I happen to be, just then, in my current ‘realm’ – ๐Ÿ™‚

Which is sort of what I did during my ‘writing time’ early this a.m., before I gave in or up and started searching lyrics, in order to get my mind garden cleaned up a tad – see end of post for more on where the writing of daydream went….

The Cars, Let’s Go

You view the lyrics (again, correct as far as I know…) at azlyrics – The Cars – Let’s Go.

This too, makes sense, now….

As I mentioned before, I have a MO that tweaks and improves, but really never changes – just like bears don’t quit hibernating and trees don’t quit shedding their leaves – my MO may change here and there, as external to me forces change -but in the end, I am what I am.

History proves, at my best, I typically am eager to engage in the external world, or charge onto some battlefield, equipped as I am or sometimes ill-equipped, as the case might be.

The Good….

Sometimes, it all it turns out, I rest on my laurels of some triumph or accomplishment or goal reached, for a time while I refresh meself so I can then charge forth once more…to some new experience or new battlefield I believe needs taken, or held till reinforcements arrive or some last stand that shouldn’t be lost entirely from our collective consciousness….

The Bad

Even when I am equipped, or perhaps nearly equipped, it seems I more often feel rushed and pushed to take action earlier than I deem me fit for such an endeavor – on many fronts – work, home, social, etc.

Is the world speeding up or am I slowing down? or both? I haven’t yet decided on an answer for myself, fully –

The other ‘bad’, if you will, times, I go forth and I get wounded during the endeavor, but stubbornly continue to wander around the field for awhile, trying to find a way to take it or at least hold some ground, while ever more bleeding out of me occurs, until nothing left but the survival mode …which kicks in and…..then….

The (sometimes) Ugly

…I make my final stand -to worn down to care if stance is beautiful, or ugly, or good or bad –

It Just Is…

Says the Universe and enlightened folks

With a ‘don’t care what the answer is or what price to be paid, but this, THIS, has to stop or it will kill me…’ attitude, I erect a large stone wall, and behind it….

I stagger in retreat to Archangel Michael’s medics tent, to take my sweet time to repair, re-member, heal, during which, in my inner garden, Archangel Gabriel shows up too –

Was I raised on the Angels? heck no –

Did I ever research them?

Well yes – – after they just showed up strong and wing spans big enough to envelope me – in different inner scenarios when I was in retreat and in need of healing – in fact – I gave the warrior won the name of Gabriel and thought the angel who showed up as one entity –

Until research led me to separate the one being into two, with their proper(?) names attached- a warrior who guarded the perimeter of my existence when I could no longer fight for myself and a healer/teacher to help me find my way back from the brink….

And let let me once more catch site of the horizon of ‘being re-membered’ and physically improved – doncha know what starts happening?

The stirrings of ‘Let’s Go’ once more sound their eternal inner drum beat….

Therefore – “Let’s Go” may just be doable, a healing way

I’ve been trying to remind myself of this through various monkey brain chatter this past week – –

I have a friend from long ago – who knew the me of my youth – my love of roaring engines, speed and straight-aways –

Whether observing and letting the rumbling of engines wash through me like waves or behind the driver’s wheel and experiencing it all from the sensitive soles of my bare feet against the gas peddle to the top of my head where the wind washes me as clean as a shower runs off my skin and purifies my soul – if it has a muscle engine, torque, aerodynamics and tires that let you scream across the landscape and take corners like an ice skater who flies towards the rink edge and becomes one with it instead of crashing into the glass – well – I’m THERE for the total experience!

That same friend, who, it just happens, moved back in-state a couple of years ago – not far away….

And who, recently, custom ordered the latest Dodge Challenger, and man, is she a beaut and….well….let’s just say….SHE Goes! too.

Here’s the best video of the car – didn’t find one with music I liked, with pure roar on open middle of nowhere or the Salt Flats – if you know of one, share link please…..

And the owner of this magic horse, like a prince charming from some fairy tale, told me to get over myself, quit making things complex and call him when I’m ready for even just a day trip – a visit to somewhere via wide open highways under wide open skies – either as a passenger, or for my stretch behind the driver’s wheel….

Because he remembers, too, the long ago me that gloried in experiencing the power of the ‘beast going’ from the soles of my feet to the top of my head – ๐Ÿ™‚

And this past week, as I gain ever more ground on what had fallen behind, what needs be done for business goals and spring landscape planning/planting time, etc….

….I’ve caught myself compiling an email or PM to him saying, “I am ready to hit the road when you are – please come take me away for a bit in your magic chariot’ –

Because, well, he’s safe – he doesn’t see me as girlfriend material – he simply sees me as part of his history, too – and we are both older and wiser now, but we also know some of each our own battle scars – and there lies between, a space that observes both who we were back in our days of youth and who we are now – no expectations, desires or demands – just ‘let’s go and be’ for awhile – ๐Ÿ˜€

Thus, the writing down of the current day dream was saved in a reusable block (see? I’m getting better at Gutenberg and the power of it, too) for a later post –

Hope this finds you and yours well – safe from flood, illness, fires or drought – or if you are not, I have and hold the faith in your strength and the unknowable grace that often shows up when we are on the edge of defeat from within or without.

Catch you on the flip side –

Tamrah Jo

Creators! Did you know…?

In the flurry of work, challenges I didn’t anticipate, etc., I’m just now, months later, getting back to my ‘regular reading hour’ in the morning – and today?

Jackpot! And I couldn’t wait to share

First article that caught my eye in my Pocket news line-up was this one story from WIRED, Dated January 19, 2019:

He Wanted A Unicorn. He Got…a Sustainable Business

Gumroad founder Sahil Lavingia’s VC Startup to Sustainable Business journey

My fave line?

But, Lavingia says, he felt a responsibility to the sellers on Gumroad. “We were processing $2.5 million every month. Creators relied on that for rent, student loans, mortgage. It seemed wrong to tell thousands of people ‘Hey, because I want to try something else, you’re going to lose this monthly check that you’re using to pay your rent.'”

Wired, 01/19/20 – author Klint Finley

Obviously, if you know me at all, you are thinking, “Oh, I bet TamrahJo fell for that line like a ton of bricks” – and you would be right!

So of course, I had to follow the link to Sahil’s story on Medium….

Reflecting on My Failure to Build a Billion-Dollar Company

Medium Marker, by Sahil Lavingia on February 7, 2019.

There were two areas that really grabbed my attention, and got me own ticker tape parade of observations/ideas, enthusiasm rolling….

[From the “Failing in style” section:Processed volume increasing]

It doesnโ€™t look too bad, right? Itโ€™s going in the right direction: up.

But we were venture-funded, which was like playing a game of double-or-nothing. Itโ€™s euphoric when things are going your way โ€” and suffocating when theyโ€™re not. And we werenโ€™t doubling fast enough to raise the $15M+ Series B (the second major round of funding) we were looking for to grow the team.

Medium Marker, Sahil Lavingia 02/07/19

You are all aware of my biased, prejudiced feelings about VC/Wall Street – i.e. high-stakes gambling – when they win, they win big and sometimes the everyday life of many improves too – but often, everyday folks lose big, and they still win – one way or t’other….

Of course, I assimilate the above via me own little filters and the above becomes, to me, a line that somany know, but few readily acknowledged out loud in our overall hyped up cultural story….

The article continues through (ahem) another of my fave themes…the Hero’s Journey mythology – if you are a Joseph Campbell fan or Star Wars fan why not read Sahill’s journey and then let me know if I read it wrong – to me – um, yup! Hero’s Journey! Textbook!

The hero reaches the stage where they simply wake up, do what needs be done, all while battling their own dark thoughts in attempt to find a creative path forward

See? His story has all the hallmarks of a mythic legend – ๐Ÿ™‚ I do so love when I come across a modern Hero’s Journey in all it’s glory – ๐Ÿ™‚


A spark – a offer – a light at the end of the tunnel – someone offers a deal, that gives them what they want….and…

The hero, well versed in perspectives, ideas, options, given his period of try, try yet again – realizes – YES!

Yup – you really want to go read his full story now, don’t you? I knew you would….. but I had to wax eloquent on the beauty I saw within it, first –

If me writing prose doesn’t convince you, maybe these lines from his story will:

Instead of pretending to be some sort of product visionary, trying to build a billion-dollar company, Iโ€™m just focused on making Gumroad better and better for our existing creators. Because they are the ones that have kept us alive.

Medium Marker, Sahil Lavingia 02/07/19

Without a fundraising goal coming up, weโ€™re simply focused on building the best product we can for our customers.

Medium Marker, Sahil Lavingia 02/07/19

And finally – you wonderful open-source WordPress community….

Soon, weโ€™re also planning to open-source the whole product, WordPress-style.

Medium Marker, Sahil Lavingia 02/07/19

Yes, I signed up to get notices from his blog on his journey – (you’ll find the link at the end of Sahil’s article…)

I took a cruise through the Gumroad website – and while they may move on a future trajectory that puts them in direct market competition with WordPress, I think perhaps not –

And here’s why I’m seriously looking at this as a ‘tool in toolkit’ to help those who come to me for advice, guidance, etc, at looking at Gumroad for selling their creative works –

In Conclusion

You skipped to this heading…didn’t you? :). That’s okay – your time is precious too!

What happens if you, as a creator, take the power of WordPress world and combine it with the tools & community of Gumroad for selling your works?

What happens when, simultaneously, your work lands in front of other creatives that share some of your ideals on overall how the world should work, and choose to support that model & reaped benefits from it…

Folks who, in fact, experienced how it really does work, and oh – how we all wished it worked just a tad or a lot differently?

What happens when you take two companies, each with a dream to fulfill the early promise of the internet, when today, so much of the internet is careening off the rails and being taken over by entities that play by VC/Wall Street rules, i.e.

Go Ginormous or Go Home? That’s my two choices? Really?

Maybe I don’t want to go Ginormous – Maybe I want to have a simpler life, earn my living by contributing in ways that brings meaning and joy to my life and to others – maybe I don’t need or want a jet, gourmet dinners or 50K bottles of wine…

Maybe I figure there won’t ever be a Universal Base Income, nor will I ever retire or live long enough to fund such a thing….

Yes, I know – and is a robust ‘market place’ – full of free, low-cost, some-cost, high-dollar services that really make websites shine in both design and functionality…

However – the more mature & robust…the more tools to assess, choose from – the increase in conflicts between the tools – the increased security hazards, conflicts between the tools and time spent to learn each of them, troubleshooting or time on chat support….

I’m living proof of that change – :).

Are you a website guru?

No? I don’t consider myself one either – I learn more constantly – I recently tried to stretch my skills level to help a friend that had turned to me because help was not to be had for love nor money elsewhere and though out of my range of current skills, over a nearly 9 month period, I read, researched and finally thought, “Maybe I can stretch enough to get this done…”

And I failed – and kept trying long after I should have just said, “I failed” and explored options earlier.

In the end, it turned out as good as it could- I learned a lesson I had forgotten and didn’t lose a friend over the whole deal – I’m holding a small line I already know how to hold, to give them time to find the right person – not ideal, not what I wanted for them and their dream, but best I can do at this time and they graciously accepted it as good enough until we move on…

So I know and have lived through the increasing numbers of people who reach out to me have who have been left between two choices – get a $14,00-$25,000 loan for website OR learn to do it themselves –

In other words – Go Big or Go Home

And Hurry! – Seems rather paltry of a choice, right?

Thank goodness it wasn’t VC turn around/time frames else the Great Pyramid or other grand monuments wouldn’t exist – ๐Ÿ™‚

They could hire staff to do for them – but again, outside the scope of their independent or small business, or non-profit or small town government, labor budgets –

As in everything else where ‘folks are getting left behind’ I have watched it steadily happen here in my local world, too, slowly since 2011, exponentially since 2016 – even with open-source framework and bevy of free themes/plugins

Many tools/marketplaces exist for the independent creative, crafter, author, designer, etc., and so many of the tools and/or marketplaces are like the ocean to the creative’s grain(s) or bucket of sand – –

I will post any follow up information/observations as I sign up to at the very least, keep apprised of Gumroad’s journey –

Be a dear and leave a comment if you are on Gumroad or thinking about moving there – as always, I’m curious and most of my community sphere here is full of creative, get ‘er done folks who might benefit from your perspective, as well – ๐Ÿ™‚

Take care and catch you on the flip side ๐Ÿ™‚

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 – ๐Ÿ™‚

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 – 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 – ๐Ÿ™‚

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 –


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 ?!?”


“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 – “


“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’


“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 – ๐Ÿ™‚

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 – ๐Ÿ™‚

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 – ๐Ÿ™‚

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

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’sย  back 10 at his farm, (next state over), scattered them all about while doing the hokey-pokey and WOW!ย 

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 Motherย  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.ย ย 

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,ย  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.ย ย 

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.