Friday Jams: Connect

In all my 51 years on this earth, I have learned that we all get to walk through this thing called life as we wish. We have choices. We can choose to be sad and miserable because of the past or fucking thrive in spite of it. We can choose to stand around and demand that people around us feed our insecurities or stand in our own power and feed ourselves. We can choose to consume or contribute.

We can choose to get caught up in non-essentials or plow through life with meaning. We can choose to never fully look in the mirror or accept the challenge of change. We can choose to complain about all we don’t have or be filled with what we do. We can choose to insulate ourselves from the needs of others or we can choose to connect.

I dunno, I hope I don’t even have to say what my choices are, I try to live them. When I fall short, I make it right and move on (if it’s worth it.) Yup, worth it. My energy, ALL of my energy, goes into the people; work, and events that contribute to the overall good. And holy shit, there’s a lot of good out there.

We can choose to connect and contribute. I choose to connect and contribute. This doesn’t mean getting along with everyone, in fact, quite the opposite. Because there are a lot of people out there who want to consume to fill the emptiness in them and that’s just not going to happen around here. I choose to surround myself with the most amazing people the world has to offer and thankfully, they find enough value in me to want the same. I am inspired daily by those who contribute in ways I hadn’t even considered and know my talents fall short of doing so. Our entire summer is mapped out to connect with our Highland Games friends and while we feel so fortunate to be able to do these things, we just choose not to live differently. Both Matt and I have done miserable in our lives, miserable sucks. Do happy.

In all my 51 years, I’ve never been more excited to roam the earth and I am so very proud of those around me. I hope I’m blessed with another 51 years…some 102 year old  chick has just set some track records that I have my eye on. Kidding…

…but not really.

Jack White, Connected by Love.

 

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Empower vs. Encourage (aka Use Your Words III)

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False. Non-cunty mature women encourage women. 

What a wonderful, empowered age we live in as women! We can vote; buy our own cars; have babies without those pesky, pain in the ass men; we can fight against sexual harassment when it doesn’t interfere in getting a movie role; hell, we can even bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan! What we can’t seem to do (yet), is get a handle on the ENGLISH FUCKING LANGUAGE!

We are told to EMPOWER!!!! other women (only women. Don’t empower men, fuck them.) In fact, we aren’t just told, it is demanded! As a woman, you MUST empower women (yes, there’s a lot of yelling in this post. Just turn down your sound)! Of course the glaring problem of being bullied into this hashtag is the obvious; I DON’T HOLD ANY POWER OVER YOU IN THE FIRST FUCKING PLACE TO GIVE YOU! 

JHMFC! Leave it to the hashtag generation to fuck up a perfectly fine word that used to mean something. To empower someone is to:

give (someone) the authority or power to do something…OR…

make (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights

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I’ve actually seen in social media where women I know and have behaved in a High School Mean Girl clique sort of way that women must empower each other. Lulz, hypocrite. Hell, even the hubs has seen this shit at Highland Games and he’s a dude who doesn’t even see a piece of garbage that can sit on the floor in front of him for 6 months.

Now, I will admit that the second description of the “E” word is kinda warm and fuzzy. All, “heyyyyyy, here’s something I can do for you.” But no, because to “MAKE” someone else “FEEL” anything (whether it’s positive or negative) implies you have “POWER” over them. Uh hellz no. It took over 40 years for me to stand in my own power, the hell I’ll give that up for any one. Ever.

So what do I do? I’m so confused. I don’t have power over anyone to give (well, okay, I have about 13 more days to empower the Oz man who gets to celebrate his 18th birthday by taking the A.C.T.s. Lucky kid, errrr, I mean young man.) Because as a parent it IS our job to empower our children. My children are fortunate (I hope they see it that way) to have their old mum for 25 and 18 years of their lives. Hopefully they’ll have me for many more. However, one thing I never expect to hear from any of them is, “I wouldn’t make it without you.” See, that would mean that I’d failed to empower them as children when I DID hold some power over them. If I haven’t raised them to make it without me, well, what good was I? No, I am not my children’s best friend. Gawds, do you even THINK I want to know their secrets? Not even a little bit.

I have been in work situations where I am in a position to empower someone. That is a very large responsibility that includes teaching and encouraging and problem solving and a whole bunch of other, hands on actions that are necessary to empower someone. But wait a minute, let’s get back to that other ‘E’ word up there, encourage.

Ohhhhhhh, I can do THAT! To encourage is to “give support, confidence, or hope to (someone).” Well shit! EZPZ. This is useful. This I can do every day, all day (unless you do something that shouldn’t be encouraged, like ignore a piece of garbage that’s been sitting in front of you for 6 months…as an example.) In all seriousness, this is a must. Encouragement, or lack thereof, can form who we are or how we walk through life without even noticing. As non-Disney as my childhood was, when it came to athletics, I was encouraged. It was something I took to, no matter the sport (I was the one who bowed out of soccer early. So let me get this straight-we run from one end of a ginormous field to the other chasing people chasing a ball and I never get to trip or push someone? Nope, I’m outtie.) It’s probably best that we didn’t have Rugby where I grew up, we couldn’t afford the E.R. bills. I wasn’t pushed, I was encouraged. If you want to do this, do it well and we’ll do what we can afford to put you in a good position to succeed. That is something I’ll always be thankful for.

One of the best ways to have a happy relationship? Encourage. Whether it’s a spouse; child; friend; co-worker/client, encourage. I don’t empower Matt, that would imply that I hold power over him and would be incredibly unhealthy. He doesn’t empower me, he encourages me. Constantly. He doesn’t tell me what I can’t do, in fact, sometimes (if this hits at the wrong time;) I get a little frustrated with how flip he can say, “You’ll figure it out baby. Do we have any tortillas?” He’s not being glib, he just knows more than me in that moment that I’ll figure it out. It’s comforting…later. Heehee.

I’ve worked for people who encouraged me to not only be better at my job, but better at life. I’ve also worked for crazy people who loved to publicly embarrass and shame me. Guess which one I liked better and still have some relationships with. To be fair, boss’ can empower. In fact, it’s part of their job. Teachers can be empowering, it’s part of their job. 9 months out of the year anyway. Teammates at a Saturday lifting session? Encouraging. A coach? Encouraging. Because while I will listen and try to do exactly what a coach tells me to out of respect for them and a desire to get better at said movement, I will not give a coach/boss/teacher power over me. In fact, if a situation gets to be discouraging, I’m out. I’ve had this before. It sucks. Where a coach will continue to praise everyone around you but when you, oh I dunno, win a World Championship they say, ‘congrats on your first place finish.’ I mean, I don’t need a stroke job but maybe identifying something I’d worked for years to accomplish means a bit more than just another first place.

Anyways.

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False. Females of all ages can compete with each other and remain not only friendly, but downright encouraging. Just listen to the back room of a meet or the sidelines of a Highland Games. Encouraging each other is as easy as breathing.

The most important lesson in all this, as I see it, is that we get to choose what we encourage. Stop with the hashtag bullying telling someone what they have to do or else they’re not a good person. And probably live your words, that’s a pretty good way to garner respect. Because when you preach on social media how others should live and then walk a completely different path, well, it’s no bueno. (I just started sentences with “And” and “Because”, I’m a literary rebel.) But at least, if you’re going to bullymeme, USE YOUR FUCKING WORDS. You can’t empower me, you have no power. The actual word implies that you do. Fucking duh. I encourage you not to be an idiot. How’s that for encouraging?

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You know a word has jumped the shark when you see something like this:)

I was walking around looking for somebody, and then suddenly I wasn’t anymore.

A.A. Milne

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Monday Bacon: The Other Side

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Why isn’t this guy in more commercials? #nailedit

Years ago, pre-teen Zac and I went rollerblading along a paved path that was bordered by a sludge river and a campground in the shithole town we lived in called Hutchinson. (Yes, it’s a shithole town. I adored the “outrage” President Trump received for calling some countries “shithole countries.” I wondered how many of the outraged vacationed in Haiti and Instagrammed that shit but that’s not the point of today.)

The path was nice and long with very little hills and as long as you could avoid the goose poop, it was perfect for this mom who really never got the hang of stopping or going down hills on roller blades. This particular day, Zac skated ahead (normal) and I slowly made my way (I mean, honestly, it felt like I was going faster than the wind but then, nope.) Suddenly he went down on his knees, tried to grab something and crawled a few steps and moved on. Well, I thought, that was interesting. As I came closer, I noticed a group of campers off to the right laughing. No clue, had to catch Zac.

I got a little closer and then noticed a dollar bill on the path up ahead. Zac had already turned around and was skating towards me when I got up to the dollar and called, “don’t do it!” Uhhhh, whatnow? I then noticed the dollar moving slightly to the right towards the campers and stopped it with my rollerblade. Ohhhhh, I see. It was connected to a weight and a fish line and they were playing the game where they make people look stupid who bend down to get the dollar.

Now, I begrudge no one their camping fun. I love to camp. I miss it, a lot. My bigg hubs isn’t a camper and I’m not up to a weekend of me doing all the work listening while he bitches about everything. That would make me not love camping and I just really want to keep loving camping. I’m trying to commit to two camping outings on my own this summer. I’d be happy with one but happier with two. We’ll see how it goes.

So while I support morning to midnight drinking; eating like crap (actually, we eat like Kings while camping. Tons of meat ; sides, and an occasional bag of Doritos is just fine with me) I will not support you making my son look like an idiot. Sorry not sorry. Like I mentioned, I now had the dollar trapped beneath my rollerblade wheel on the fishing weight they used to on the line to toss the money out. I leaned down; tore the dollar off the string; handed it to Zac, waved and went on my way.

Two very interesting things happened very quickly in that moment. One, there was a lot of laughter from the group (it appeared to have two families worth of party campers.) Some good natured ribbing and all in all, a satisfying finish (especially seeing Zac’s smile with his new dollar.) However, one woman didn’t like it. Didn’t like it at all and she instantly got up off her lawn chair and started screaming to give her child back his dollar. One man with the group told her to stop and sit down but she was pissed. Like, super pissed. She started walking towards the path (a slight jaunt but that’s cool, I can wait) screaming at me and I told Zac to skate on ahead. I got this. I mean, this was all a little less fun but I got this. Two men in the group ran after her, grabbed her and brought her back to their campsite. The only thing I yelled back during her ranting was that my getting the dollar was, “part of the game.” See, cuz it was. You either get the dollar or you chase after it. That’s the game.

But she didn’t like that. She wanted the game only on her terms, making others look stupid and she and her friends laughing at the stupidity. Like I said, I don’t begrudge people their fun. Had I been camping next to them I would have happily ignored the entire thing. But you involved my son, which meant that I am now involved. And here we go! It was pretty interesting and a situation I’ve thought a lot about these last 18 months.

Because right now, the rights of one half of the population seem to be all that matters. The screaming and stomping and temper tantrums of the extreme progressives are something that I can deal with by sitting on my campsite sipping my wine and ignore. EZ PZ. I’ve mentioned before, if you want to go through life so angry and vile, you go girl. Do you. Don’t care. I’ll just be over here loving my life and watching my husband kick ass at work because people are finally able to spend money and his 3 years of grind is finally paying off. Don’t mind a bit.

However, when your temper tantrums and screaming and stomping DO include me or my family, well, here we go! Enter high school football…

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By the way, it is rarely courageous to participate in a crowd. It is courageous to stand on your own principles IN SPITE of the crowd’s actions.

My Oscar has always loved to be on sports teams. He loves them. He likes the continuity of expectations. He likes the camaraderie. He likes the grill outs and laughter. After all that, he likes the sport. My Oz does not eat and breath football. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him watch a game. He WILL be one of the coach’s hardest workers and he WILL contribute in whatever ways are asked of him both on and off the field. But at the end of the season, he’s done. Moved on. See ya next year. Oz has always marched (literally) to the beat of his own drums and fitting in with the clique just because you play ball a few months together really isn’t his vibe. No problemo.

The problem comes when Oz is told he has to follow the crowd and support an action he categorically opposes; such as, kneeling during the National Anthem as a football player. That happened last year during homecoming. It seems one of the members of the football team  who is black was called a nigger at some point not having anything to do with football and the young man told his coach he’s going to start kneeling during the National Anthem. And since they’re a team, they have to support him. (Now, the week AFTER Homecoming, it was learned that the boy was called a nigger by another black youth who is actually a friend. But we won’t get wrapped up in facts. EMOTIONS! That’s what we’re concerned with.)

So there was Oscar, forced to support and encourage an action he finds offensive and unacceptable. But he needs to be part of the team, right? Support the one person who said he was offended but then come to find out, well, not so much. Well, Oz (of course) refused to kneel along with other players. So they were forced to surround the kneeler’s off to the side of the field so the sports fans couldn’t see what was happening. Now, that can seem like a little win/win by some but when you take a kid like Oz, you’ve actually just forced him to CONTRIBUTE to actions that coaches actually know is so wrong that they’re going to hide them from the crowd and use kids to achieve the action. Fuck that.

At least that’s Oz’s current attitude. He had a letter written out to the head coach why he won’t be back for his senior year in football. His Linesman coach has talked him out of sending the letter, for now, but he in no way wants to commit to be part of an organization that forces him to act against his principles. See, that’s the other side of all this progressive game playing. There is an “Other Side” and forcing them to play the game of politics all the way down to high school football or you stomp and scream and temper tantrum to the press about how unfair your life is, is off putting to the other side. So much so that we decide we don’t want to play anymore.

Enter the Minneapolis StarTribune. There was an interesting article this weekend about how Conservative/Republican organizations are disappearing from college campuses, especially some of the most liberal college campuses in the nation and the student leaders of these liberal groups are concerned that there is no one on campus to debate issues in a positive manner. The reason, says the media, is because conservative members don’t support President Trump and are afraid of speaking out. It was laughable. Ummm, could it be because conservative speakers have had lectures canceled across campuses because the liberal left has shut down free speech from coast to coast? That anyone who publicly speaks out in support of not only President Trump but conservative values are instantly labeled a homophobic racist? See, these days there is no tolerance for the “other side.” We go through this game of life your way or no way. What a pathetic little legacy liberals are leaving on the history books of America.

But that’s okay. I’m just over here on the intolerant/racist/homophobic other side. I’ve learned that playing the game has a certain set of rules from one side dictating how things will go for the others. There is no respected dissent, only name calling and temper tantrums. There is no allowance to speak up for your principles, you must follow the crowd. However; again, there is no courage needed in following a crowd. It’s actually very easy, you just step into it and follow. EZ PZ.

Living on the other side, these days, that takes courage.

Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what God and angels know of us.

Thomas Paine

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Use Your Words…Part Deux

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On Tuesday, we were able to participate in a primary election for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. I went in the afternoon during a pouring rainstorm to our new voting venue at the Library to a room full of Senior Citizen volunteers. I’m guessing it was a slow day due to the lackluster voting issue (which actually is quite huge but folks tend to get more upset as to what’s happening in Washington rather than local/state issues) and the pouring rain. Nontheless, I risked melting and ran over during an afternoon break.

One table of volunteers were giving me instruction on putting the ballot into the little grabber machine and then the woman said, “Once it accepts the ballot, it will salute you.” Cool, I’ll wait on that shit. That sounds fun. About 15 seconds later, words came up on the screen that said that ballot has been accepted. So I waited. Eventually, the woman said, “Well, it doesn’t actually salute you, it just tells you the ballot is accepted.”

You can empathize with my disappointment. I mean, I’ve never received a salute before and I was pretty stoked. Some machine I’ve never even met was going to salute me just cuz I voted. Fucking sweet! And then BAM! A cold dose of reality was thrown in my face. No salute. I turned around and said I was waiting for a salute which seemed to annoy HER! Like, okay, I’m totally the crazy one here waiting for a salute when you said I had one coming.

Look people, the word salute means a very specific thing. It means, well, salute. Either A) a gesture of respect, homage, or polite recognition or acknowledgment, especially one made to or by a person when arriving or departing or 2. make a formal salute to. Neither of these things happened. What a rip.

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Benny Hill, the original sexual harasser. Don’t even care, his shit was funny.

I wrote the other day about using our words vs. sharing useless, cruel meme’s that mean nothing except to make yourself feel superior and make others feel like a dumbass. Learn to express yourself with words. I equate a political meme to a grunt from a punky 13 year old who can’t be bothered with actually giving an answer when told to do his chores (Oz tried this once. Once.)

However; when using your words, you need to ensure that they are being used correctly. Lawds (as my girl Liv would say), the amount of stupidity as Crossfit was up and coming because they were relabeling exercises that had existed for hundreds of years. No fucknutt, there isn’t a Crossfit Kettlebell swing. You just took the name that already existed, Kettlebell swing, and added a fucked up way to do it. The other day, Matt was looking for a gym to train at in unknown territory (for those that don’t know, my hot hunky hubs is often a road warrior but since his travels take him largely to the same region he has history on where to find a good gym.) We found a small, black iron’ish gym and he figured he could go there. Upon further reading; however; he would have to demonstrate proficiency in their squat method. Well fuck, it doesn’t matter that any day of the week the man can jump off a plane and squat over 600 pounds, he may be doing it “wrong and not uniform to their methods” so can’t train at this gym. Who’s fucked up in that scenario?

If I walked into a gym and said I needed to squat and the front desk guy started drilling me on which method I used, I’d be hard pressed to stay. See, I used my words. Squat. This would insinuate a back squat where one could assume a rack may be necessary and if I need spotters, I’ll let you know. Because the word squat means just that. (Now, if I need to AIR squat, I’ll just stay at the hotel. If I needed to FRONT squat, I’d probably need much of the above minus spotters. If I needed to GOBLET squat, I’d fill that shit with wine and be feeling super good by the end of the session.) But we don’t have to pretend we’re not communicating. Because I used my words. Squat.

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According to the internet, this is a Grandfather/Granddaughter salute. Pretty awesome, eh?

I have been very confused the last year and a half with so many people of all walks of life getting press time from the MSM because they have claimed that President Trump is mentally ill. Actors; other politicians, even friends have spread this across social media and it confuses me. See, mentally ill has meaning. Many actually. Dementia (if you love someone who had or has Alzheimer’s you wouldn’t joke about Alzheimer’s); Bipolar Disorder; Clinical Depression, among others. Mentally Ill has meaning and is actually a complicated issue to diagnose. To my knowledge, Rob Reiner doesn’t have a license to practice medicine. So why does he keep saying words that have an established meaning and no one in the Mental Health industry is screaming from the rooftops to Shut The Fuck Up? Does it even occur to people that when they label another human being Mentally Ill because they don’t agree with their views or just don’t like them, that that’s actually a pretty big deal? Because there really ARE people who are mentally ill who we can’t make fun of. Cuz that’s not nice, or even accurate. Jeezus, if I can’t call someone who does something stupid but funny a retard, you can’t call someone you disagree with Mentally Ill. IT’S THE EXACT SAME FUCKING THING!

Here’s one that is so despicable (without the awesome Minions); Hitler. People like to say President Trump  is “worse than Hitler.”  Look, Adolf Hitler was a pretty bad guy. I believe we can all agree to that. His policies and reign included millions of murders. When you use the word, “Hitler”, there can be only one. To accuse someone who has not even remotely behaved in such a way (his daughter is Jewish, idiots) is so incredibly dismissive and disrespectful to the victims AND survivors of Hitler I can’t for the life of me understand how easily it rolls of people’s tongues. Just because you disagree with someone doesn’t mean you can immediately begin calling them names that have a very specific meaning. See, we teach this in pre-school and have million dollar anti-bullying campaigns that say so. What kind of message are you sending your snowflakes when you tell them they don’t have to take bullying but then behave as a bully?

I am a woman. This has a very specific meaning. I am married. This has a very specific meaning. I am short. This is rather subjective (I just really love meeting people shorter than me. Sorry not sorry.) I am a mother. Again, specific. I have a dog. Specific. See, there are people who want to live in a world where I can say, “I identify today as a woman of Pacific Island descent but may identify in another way tomorrow who is married but is open to having other relationships because we have an open marriage (we don’t, settle down) and sometimes identify as 6’4 with other day’s 5’5 and some days I’m a mother but other days I identify as a gender neutral role model with a lion who, on other days, is a dog.

Well fuck, that’s super confusing. So I’ll just stick to using my words in the way they were written and HAVE BEEN UNDERSTOOD FOR HUNDREDS OF YEARS. And when I describe other people or things or places, I use my words there too. SCOTLAND is beautiful; amazing, and I drink too much there. My HUSBAND is someone I am legally and emotionally bound to (and super hunky.) My DOG is a dog. I don’t make something it’s not because it makes me feel better to do so and then find friends who also make up new meanings for words because it makes THEM feel better to do so and then go have fun by calling people names because it makes us feel better to do so. That’s not adulting luv, that’s being a childish cunt.

Don’t be a childish cunt.

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.

President Kennedy 

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A son salute’s his father.

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