Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Sex! All These Toxic Things I've Done (Part One)

I couldn't wait to lose my virginity - and it all started with Playboy.

I had discovered Playboy (accidentally) when I was about 5 years old. Though, don't worry, I didn't start thinking about having sex until I was a about 14 years old (thinking is the key word there!)

When I was about 5, I had misbehaved (shocking, I know!) and my mother put me in a "timeout" on this brown leather recliner that was my dad's favorite chair. There was a magazine rack next to the chair, so I picked out a magazine and started to flip through it.

I remember being a bit surprised to see naked women in it, but I remember clear as day being shocked (as well as entertained) that there were CARTOONS and they were  naked! (unlike the Sunday Comics in the paper which I'd loved), The comics even had a naked man with his PENIS doing things to a woman. The man looked nothing like my Ken "Barbie" Doll!!!

My mother was horrified to find me looking at it. She grabbed it from my hands and yelled at me.

So, I knew then, this must be something SECRET that only adults knew and, of course, if she didn't want me to have it, then...it meant it was probably something good.

Of course, they disappeared after that, but I later found them when I a babysitter explained to me the truth about Santa (I'll never forgive her for that), and showed me a closet full of presents. I was crushed. I also became a snooper, looking for more presents, and found even MORE Playboys.

That Christmas, when my parents realized I was not surprised by anything, they threatened to take my presents away because they realized I had snooped. Then I explained that the babysitter had told me/showed me the presents. I also told them, because I was angry about their threat, that I found the stack of my fathers naked girl magazines.

After that, the Playboys disappeared.

Now, keep in mind, when I was young, there were only a few channels on TV. And by a few I mean: 3. We would watch the Disney Movie on Sunday nights as a family. I remember Leave It To Beaver, The Brady Bunch, and Gilligan's Island. Oh and I Love Lucy and Candid Camera (my favorite!).

When I was young, life was very, very innocent. The most outrageous show (well, aside from soap operas) was Three's Company, which I was forbidden to watch!

My mother always worked. As long as I could remember, she worked. I was a latch key child since kindergarten. There was only a short time my mom didn't work (I think I was maybe 5th or 6th grade?) and she hated staying home. I hated her being home because by that time, I loved having freedom for a few hours when I got home from school. Mostly so I could roast marshmallows over the heating element on the stove top!

Back to the Playboys.

Shortly after finding the Playboys, my mom sat down with me and we had a "talk." She explained what the "private" parts on a woman and man were called. She explained, very briefly, that babies did not come from storks, they came as a result of mommies and daddies being in love, and someday, she would explain all the details to me. She also showed me this picture of how men evolved from apes.
And for a very young girl, this was all HUGE news. I felt like I was in on some very adult, cool, secrets. I knew something other kids didn't because MY MOM WAS SO COOL.

However. I also was going to CCD at the time. CCD is a religious education program for children by the Catholic church.

So, this whole thing of apes was a bit distressing. Because I'd learned (in CCD) that God created Adam and Eve. Yet my mother had shown me a book that said humans evolved from apes. I had also learned about heaven and that the only way to get to this fabulous peaceful place was by dying. I remember lying awake staring at the white curtains in my bedroom dotted with pink and purple flowers (they were very pretty, I loved them) and being overwhelmed (and confused) by all these very big (and very different) ideas.  In CCD I got in trouble for bringing up the ape to human idea, and at home I got in trouble for telling my CCD teacher about what my mom had told me!
I couldn't win.
Story of my life.

One more thing to note; I didn't have an extended family anywhere near us. My dad was in the Air Force so we moved often. My parents did separate for about a year, and I was sent to live with my Grandmother and Grandfather (who lived in a very very small town in Pennsylvania). There were no Playboys at Grandma and Grandpas house. We watched Lawrence Welk, Candid Camera, and I Love Lucy. We went to church every Sunday. Grandma was home all the time. There, I had a large extended family. I went to a Catholic school (and arrived in the middle of the school year). Of course, I really missed my parents and didn't really understand what had happened between them.

So, not only at an early age had I discovered that girls, when they grow up, grow up to have a voluptous body and women take off their clothes to be in a magazine (that also includes comics) but I also had learned that there was no such thing as permanency/security. One day you are living with your parents, and one day you are living thousands of miles away with grandparents and an extended family you barely know. I had to learn quickly how to adjust, and I also had to learn how to fit in with a new set of friends in school. I had to learn how to belong and be accepted.

My parents got back together and after almost a year, sent for me to come back. By this time, however, they had moved to Box Elder South Dakota, my dad had left the military and we were now living in a trailer. In a trailer park. It was very different from the small cozy home I remembered in Rock Falls Illinois and very, very different from my Grandmothers very large single home in Nesquehoning, Pa.
I hated the trailer park.

But I was very happy to be back with my parents. And now, once again, I was in a new school. This time a public school. Again, had to observe the dynamics of a new class and new kids, and figure out how to belong.

And no sooner had I moved back in with my parents (again, becoming a Latch Key child) before I was, once again, exposed to naked women.

This time, my friend who lived next door (a few years older than I was, and I was about 7/8 at the time) had found magazines under her parents bed. This magazine was far more explicit than Playboy. It was filled with women with huge naked boobs that had milk in them, and the women were squirting men with their milk.

As a young girl, this seemed revolting, horrifying.

But, again, the magazine had been hidden. So that made it something fascinating Even though it was disgusting to me, it was a bit exciting that we had a secret look into an adults world. Though I really had no idea why women had milk in their breasts! My mother had never explained THAT. And I wasn't sure how I could possibly ask my mother without alerting her to the fact that my friend had snooped, found something that obviously children shouldn't see, and perhaps that is where my curiosity about finding information started, after realizing that I'd have to seek the answers to the question on my own, since I didn't want to get my friend (or myself) in trouble.

And then my friend found her father's Penthouse and Oui magainze. Sacre Bleu!

I'd say that finding out there was no Santa Claus ruined a certain childish optimism and mysticism (that children should have!) but seeing a Penthouse/Lactating Boob Mag/Oui at such a young age not only confused me, it was far more disappointing and bleaker than finding out Santa wasn't real.  Is this what I had to look forward too when I was an adult? It this what my parents did? Is this what women did when they grew up? Take off their clothes and do very strange things?

Thankfully, we moved out of the trailer park, out of South Dakota, (away from sticky adult magazines!) and into a wonderful, big (but drafty!) house when we moved back to Rock Falls Illinois.

Finally, Rock Falls offered me some real stability. My mother had another baby (when I was 8 or 9 - I'm bad with remembering dates/birthdays but I can sure remember events!). I attended a Catholic school again. I arrived during the last week of third grade; but the small class was wonderful and though, once again, I had to figure out how to fit in and be accepted, I was very lucky that the kids were all wonderful. I would have some strong, really positive influences.

But it wouldn't take long before I would discover Judy Blume, Jackie Collins, and Madonna would convince me that sex was way cool, boys were everything, and being first is always best. Oh, and also, Luke would rape Laura (on General Hospital!) and then, she would marry him!

To Be Continued....

Saturday, October 8, 2016

All These Toxic Things I've Done...(Intro)

I will be 48 this year.
That is about the same age my dad was when he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrigs Disease in 1996.

My dad was given two years to live and died almost 2 years later on February 15th, 1998.

This realization that I am approaching an age my dad was when he got the news he had a limited amount of time left on this earth (and much of that time would be challenging) - is playing wicked tricks on my mind and is causing me to reflect more on my life than I did in 2014 when I faced a health crisis.

2014 launched me into the world of doctors, medicines, and surgery. It also made me take stock of what I'd done (and not done!) in life. I was convinced I wasn't going to live to see the year 2015. I started to take a long honest look at my life. How did I get to the place I was? It wasn't a bad place, but it could be much better. At my age, I should have accomplished so much more. What I had accomplished was a-lot of hangovers. A-lot of heart-ache. What I had accumulated were a-lot of recipe books. I also had many diaries so I could journal all of the fun things I did in life. Because growing up, the messages surrounding me were all about "living for the moment" "you only live once" "Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere!"

In 2014, I started tracing my life events,  things I had believed, and what led me to believe them. I have learned so much since then, ideas and information I want to share, but have been struggling with the approach.

And then, a few weeks ago, I  found a folder filled with my dad's emails to me. After he was diagnosed with ALS, we started to communicate via the internet. We lived many miles apart, but through those emails, I got to know him better than I ever had the whole time I was growing up. That was the only silver lining to the disease that killed my father (but it never defeated his spirit that still lives on).

Four days prior to his death, I had written to ask him what beliefs he would go out on a limb for.
He answered me the following day, writing; "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." He went on to describe his time in the military. How it helped shaped him. How he never realized how important the USA was until he was stationed outside of the States.

Though I’ve always been searching for the “holy grail that explains the keys to happiness” -  after a my health scare in 2014, after re-evaluating my life; my personal experiences, my scattered successes and horrible, epic fails, and I realized the answers had been there all along; I had to look no further than my dad. He had provided all the examples I needed – but I was too busy watching movies, reading books, and listening to “experts” because what could my dad…my blue jean wearing, football loving, car racing enthusiast, Three Stooges and John Wayne fan, plain old dad, teach me about the secrets to a good, happy, significant, life? Turns out: everything!

When I was growing up, my father  tried his best to be an example of honesty, humor, hard work, harmony, and humility, (all of which lead to happiness) - but I refused to believe that happiness could be that simple (and frankly, it seemed damn boring!). I was busy being distracted, drifting, and under the influence of a society that pushes pleasure, ease, and escape; their ultimate goal is to decay you to save you. And boy, did they have a willing student who eagerly couldn't wait to show how smart, cool, forward thinking, I was!

I know my father worried very much about how I would turn out. He was correct to worry. And I worry about my children. I had a great role model in my father. My children, however, had me, a mother who was trying to be cool, hip, and progressive. I don't know that I'll ever be able to undo the toxic influence that I passed on to them, but I sure can try.

I guess the most honest way to do that, is to start with what I've done, what I was thinking when I did it, and hopefully, my experiences will bring awareness to how our happiness is hijacked, how our confidence is worn down, and how our character and courage have been slowly eroding and what we can do to get back to good.

We all know that life is short. And I've done a-lot of good in my life, don't get me wrong. But what I've come to understand is that the things my dad valued: life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, is not just something you think about; it's something that you must protect, you must understand, you must be constantly vigilant.  Everything I did in life that was promoted to me as "freeing" and promised to bring me happiness by popular culture/society messages, only hurt my spirit, my heart, and only served to confuse me.

My father had the answer to what was right and true. But I wouldn't realize that until he was long gone. I wouldn't realize that until experience taught me. And I wouldn't realize that until I discovered some hidden jems of books that were not (and had not) ever been on any best-seller list, but supported the values and ideas my father exemplified.

By age 50, my father was gone. Lately I've been thinking I need to do more. Time really is of the essence. I have to stop worrying about perfecting each idea, and creating something funny or entertaining.

I want to payback, pay it forward, and honor my father and the men and women who sacrificed and continue to sacrifice their lives so that others may live in freedom. My generation, however, was sold freedom as "free from responsibility, free from guilt, free from consequences."

That is not the kind of freedom that our Founding Fathers, nor the military had in mind when they created and fought for America.

But it's sort of hard to realize that when, everywhere you turn, there is a company, or marketer, or movie, or book, or magazine, or politician, telling you that freedom is about sex, love, drinking, doing drugs, craft beer, craft marijuana, music, sports, and basically, that if you're not out to have a good time, something is fundamentally wrong with you!

I have come to understand that you can still have a good time, and still have common sense, character, and the courage to make a difference. You can refuse to believe the message that you are broken and need to be fixed. Refuse to be distracted by immediate desire and self gratification. Because the weaker you are, the easier it is to influence and persuade you.

All these toxic things I've done, I might not have done, had my dad sat me down and explained to me why virtue is not a dirty word, and how to be on guard and recognize the things that will lead to unhappiness and sow the seeds of disenchantment. But he didn't do that. And after reading an assortment of magazines from the 30's, 40's and 50's - I realize it's because he had no idea how subtly our happiness/freedom was being sabotaged. My father trusted the books I read, and the schools I went to, and the tv I watched, were harmless. And by the time my father realized I was lost in a world where goodness is viewed as corruption, and corruption is viewed as a path to happiness, he could do little to reel me back in. I am as stubborn as he was. But he continued to set and example. And his courage and character, his sense of humor, his determination, and his common sense, have always impressed me and given me something to aspire to.

And now that I understand not only the mistakes I made, but how I was influenced to believe that vice is nice, I hope to help others to be aware and alert. If we truly want happiness for ourselves and for each other, we need to continue to expose the people and ideas that devalue, exploit, and deceive.

If we don't understand the true nature of things and principles like character and justice and goodness, we can't expect them to live by those principles. When people ignore principles, ignorance becomes a glove in which corruption slips its hand.

I think my dad would be relieved to know that I finally wised up and realized I ignored the principles, I paid the price, and I'm taking off the gloves.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Is My Life All For Nothing?

For me, when I write, the challenge is "what if this is all for nothing."

What if the time I spend writing - the books I've written - are all for nothing. What if they are forgotten? 

When I first started to write, it was mostly for entertainment. I hoped to become a "best-selling author" one day. Mostly because all the time I put into writing would be worth something and so I didn't have to depend on a husband or boyfriend or work for a company that treated its employees like crap (though I feel like most companies now treat their employees like crap!). 

Writing is not easy. At least, not for me. Especially in today's culture, where you have to be short and to the point, and somehow be entertaining. 

My writing over the past few years has been less fiction and more writing with a purpose. To somehow restore our character, courage, and confidence. Because though we SEEM like a society that has made much progress, in reality, what I'm witnessing, is a huge decline. A decline in respect for not only each other, but in the way men treat women (and I realize I was part of the problem). A decline in the way people present themselves. I don't feel you have to get dressed up to go out to the store, but the people I see shopping at 2 pm in the afternoon are sloppy, slovenly, and almost seem to go out of there way to say, "Looks are not important; I don't care if you judge me!" But if you think about it, they are really saying, "I do care what you think of me, because I'm making an effort to send a message!"

I am mortified by the older men I know (in their 70's and 80's) that make not only very disparaging remarks about women, but one older married men, is routinely chatting up sex workers on his facebook and sending them money via Western Union! 

 I have filled binders and binders of research on our past culture. I've had fun reading old magazines (from the 30's, 50's etc). I have been able to trace back the slow decline and that has led to our state of confusion (good is bad, bad is good) and illusion. 

I believe I've truly found the answer to what brings contentment and happiness. But I'm so afraid that all this research (combined with experience!) and what I want to write will be lost. 

I stumbled on Rose Wilder Lane's writing. Brilliant! 

Rose Wilder Lane, Isabel Paterson, and Zora Neale Hurston were really the ushers of the Libertarian party. Yet, I'd never heard of them. 

Here are remarkable women from the 30's and 40's and who knows about them? Their messages were messages of "Moxie" and "Self Determination." 

They lived through extremely hard times, yet always had the fortitude and drive to overcome life's challenges. How come we know so little about these truly progressive women?  

So when I sit down to write, I often feel "What's the point?" What if my words get lost? What if I'm wasting my time when I could be doing something more productive like...reading the latest issue of People magazine? 

And I realize my fear of being forgotten, my fear of not making a difference, my fear of being laughed at by the "cool" kids, is the same fear everyone has. 

It's why people join Black Lives Matter. It's why cops become cops. It's why we search out like minded people. We want to belong and be accepted. And yet we also want to make a difference. And show we are somehow unique, individual.  We want our life to have some purpose. We want to be appreciated and loved. If not by a-lot of people, at least a few people. And this wanting to fit in yet wanting to be seen as individual is a fine, fine, line to walk. 

It is sort of like dieting. You know there is an end purpose (to be healthy) - but there is that big glaring fact of life looming in the back of your mind: Life ends. So what's the point of trying to be healthy? Why not just enjoy the pizza and beer and wine? 

And that, is what often stops us from making choices that, in the end, are not only good for us, but good for everyone. And I've found that choosing the difficult path, the path of NO, is actually the path that leads to the most happiness and fulfillment.

Sometimes, we think no one sees us. But you'd be surprised who is watching. And how one act of courage or kindness (whether it be risking your life to save another, or holding the door open for an elderly person) can stick in someones mind, and encourage them to do something courageous or kind. 

So, you might be hesitating to start a project or journey...you might be afraid to put yourself out on the limb and be judged. You might have the little voice inside your head telling you to not bother, because what if it's all for nothing? 

The trick is to get over yourself at the same time you need to believe in yourself. If you have a positive purpose behind your goal, nothing attempted is ever in vain. Your life is not in vain. There are many people I look to as examples on how to be a good person, how to get better, that have no idea that I aspire to be as smart, or kind, or purposeful, as they are. 

You were born with a talent. It might be being vocal, it might be as a photographer, it might be as an organizer; it might be as simple yet meaningful as being a loyal, loving, honorable friend. It is hard in today's culture when the signals seem to be, the more raunchy or self indulgent you are, the more respected you will be. It's difficult to 'do the right thing' when there is no seemingly punishment for doing the wrong thing; for hurting someone. Indeed, it seems that by doing the right thing, you will be punished or shamed. 

Your life is not all for nothing. The mistakes you make, will make you better. The mistakes you make will make someone else better or be a warning or caution or save someone else (hopefully!) from heartache. 

You might look like a fool - but guaranteed, you will get better. You will learn. And you will feel way more accomplished and better about yourself than you do after you've polished off a whole bag of Cheetos while watching a marathon of any Bravo tv show. 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Football, FanDuel, and Easy Money

I play FanDuel.

I am not a hyuge football fan, though I once used to be able to name all the Eagles (that was back in the Randall Cunningham days).

I play FanDuel for the same reason most people play it.

1) It's a Distraction (I could be doing something like organizing my closets or reading a history book).

2) It's Easy Money. Something From (just about) nothing. You can win thousands of dollars from a one dollar entry.

3) It makes me feel like a detective; like I'm solving a puzzle.
Because with FanDuel, the object is to try and figure out which player is going to have a great game. You look back at statistics, you look at game data (who are they playing this week, how has the opposing team been doing, etc. etc.) A-lot goes into deciding the 'perfect' lineup. You only have so much (fake) money to spend, you want to make sure you spend wisely.

Now, I only put ten dollars in and once my ten is gone, I won't continue to play. It does make life a bit more interesting. Especially as I'm a girl (actually born AND identify as a girl), it gives me something to talk about when I'm around guys. Though generally they laugh at all my picks and make fun of me because I still have no concept of what a tight-end does. Also, I still love Tim Tebow and I think it's crap he got a-lot of shit for kneeling to pray on the field and became an outcast; Kapernaick (not sure how to spell his name, and don't really care) takes a kneel to try and divide our country even further apart and he gets on the cover of Time magazine!

Though I enjoy football, and think it's a fun diversion, it also makes me incredibly sad that so much devotion is given to a sport (and I mean all sports in general). If only we paid this much attention to what is going on in politics. If only we voted in politicians who run touchdowns, catch passes, and lead each Sunday in rushing. And if only we cut (or fired) those who under perform.

I wish that more people would "FanDuel" their politicians (esp. the Presidents). Dig a little deeper than what the media tell you. Cross research. Though in this case with the President; you've got one person who has spent her whole life in politics and has done nothing; has been at the center of scandal after scandal. And one politician who is a successful business man. He's had many failures, but at least he fought his way and never stopped trying. And he says things that are not very presidential. But, if you know politics at all, you know that Hillary says things that aren't presidential either, she just says them through PAC's or uses other people to deliver Trumplike digs. So, one candidate tells it like it is, and the other uses someone else to tell it like it is.

FanDuel (and sports in general) is what Huxley warned us about in Brave New World; that pleasures and distraction would be the ruin of society. With the peoples' attention diverted elsewhere, it would be easy to pass laws that restrict freedom; that take more of the peoples' money and resources.

Does anyone know what your local government is doing? I sure as hell don't. I went to a local meeting a few weeks ago and discovered they were voting on things they had already paid for! The township manager said, "Well, I couldn't just wait to get approval." And yet, we have a waterwell that is 2 points below toxic level and they have no idea what is going on.

Imagine if we gave up one night of Netflix, one night of sports, and started paying a little attention to our local government. It's always good to start there and work your way up. Even if you just show up and sit there; it sends a message people are paying attention. A little sunlight sends the cockroaches scattering.

So on this Sunday; enjoy your football. May you win big. May I win bigger. But consider my plea to pay a little more attention to politics (more than just skimming news), esp. your local government; because with just a little investment; we can all win big.

Go Steelers!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Outwitting The Devil - A Book That Positively Changed My Life

Outwitting the Devil by Napoleon Hill is a bit of a strange book, however, it continues to be one of books that changed my life for the better.

It has been so valuable to me. I listened to the audio book version. I kept replaying certain passages, but it was really the information about “drifting” that made me realize how much time I’ve wasted. That having fun was…fun…but for what purpose? I realized the happiest times in my life were times I was making a positive difference in life; when I overcame challenges or met goals I set for myself.
You've heard the old saying: "When in doubt, read the instructions." Well - here it is: The Owner's Manual on how to live a meaningful and successful life.

This book, written in 1938, written by Napoleon Hill over 70 years ago, but "Outwitting the Devil" was not published until 41 years after his death. The concern was that his community and family would  reject him for printing the bold things that his conversation with “the devil” brought to light.
Some parts of the book are no longer relevant in the light of some of the advancements made in 70 years.  However, and this is one of the most important things I’ve realized: the laws of nature never change. Just as H2O will always be water. The causes of failure and unhappiness will never change.

Regardless of what you may think of the way it's written, you'll take something enormously valuable from it, something that could change your life.
I believe the devil in the book is really a metaphor for those who exploit and profit from  fear –, before you think this is a religious book, you'll be interested to know that the devil reveals the biggest, best way he has to take control of people is through religion. This book does not bash religion in anyway, it simply points out that some people use religion as a method to control. Just like some people use the government as methods to control.

The devil confides in Hill: “I break down independent thought and start people on the habit of drifting, by confusing their minds with unprovable ideas concerning a world of which they know nothing. It is here also that I plant in the minds of children the greatest of all fears --- the fear of hell!"
Now, you can think of other things, not just religion, that plays on our desire to “know” and on our fears of being left behind (status!) or “out of the loop” or isolated – and once you realize that all the “drifting” we do when reading Science News, or Behavioral Breakthroughs, or Justice Revolutions, is really just someone (or a group of people) profiting by appealing to our desire to learn, to be just a bit better than others. If we don’t have a solid, firm, understanding of life, it’s easy to drift, to become confused, and to lose focus on the basics of happiness.

This book is one of the most important I’ve read about personal development. Many of the ideas that Napoleon Hill conveys about how our society has allowed itself to be influenced, pacified, or angered, and conditioned into submission.  The part I was most stunned by was the simple yet profound way Hill  tells us exactly why we deprive ourselves from our own initiative and courage to accomplish what we desire.

The concept of 'drifting' hit so close to home with me that I have had to re-listen to the interview over and over again to catch the details that clearly describe the things we do that set us on a path of apathy and hopelessness.
I have read many books that tell us what we need to do to be successful, but few that tell us what the signs are that you are beginning to drift and how you can prevent those from happening.

Think and Grow Rich was one of the first books written by Napoleon Hill and sold 80 million copies and positively impacted the lives of so many of that generation. However, many younger people today don't even know who Hill is, let alone have an understanding of the powerful principles he gifted to the world. The release of Outwitting the Devil (in 2012) is timely because we who are surrounded by the smothering troubled state of today's world need and this is like throwing a kind of a life-line to pull ourselves up.

The points that influenced me the most:
“Drifting”- The danger of drifting aimlessly in life. If I'm watching 6 hours of TV a day or spending my time on facebook  or playing video games,  any other timewaster which is not helping me achieve my goals, I'm drifting. The antidote is focus and maintaining a Definite Chief Aim which keeps me on track and out of the drifting paths.

“Fear”- Fear as one of the great tools of the adversary. Fear is confidence in reverse. Focus on your chief aims to the exclusion of all doubt and fear is replaced by empowering confidence.

“Hypnotic Rhythm”- If you drift long enough, you will be unable to break the habit of drifting. Eat too much and too often, and your stomach expands and you need more and more to fill you up. Watch “porn” and you need to watch more and you need to watch worse and worse in order to become aroused. Drink a few beers or do a few drugs and soon you tolerate a few and need to consume more and more. You get stuck in a continuous cycle. The cycle causes you to feel bad, your confidence plunges, your courage plunges, and you lose sight of any goals. You become a prime targets for exploiters: people who will sell you more of what is crippling you (making them realize THEIR goals) and people who will vow to “save you” (again, other people will be profiting off your continuous cycle of  drifting).
The upside of this is that when you consistently focus on your definite chief aim, on a positive purpose; the power of Hypnotic Rhythm hastens your progress and help you maintains success.

The list of recommendations to transform education in the world from failed institutions of mediocrity to producers of self-directed, self-thinking, and empowered (not entitled) individuals is simple common sense.
Napoleon Hill’s Seven Principles for Outwitting the Devil in Your Life:

1. Definiteness of Purpose

2. Mastery over Self

3. Learning from Adversity

4. Controlling environmental influence (associations)

5. Time (giving permanency to positive, rather than negative thought-habits and developing wisdom)

6. Harmony (acting with definiteness of purpose to become the dominating influence in your own mental, spiritual, and physical environment)

7. Caution (thinking through your plans before you act)

Hill asks the Devil:
able to move with definiteness of purpose at all times?”

The Devil replies: “One must gain mastery over self. This is the second of the
seven principles. The person who is not master of himself can
never be master of others. Lack of self-mastery is, of itself, the
most destructive form of indefiniteness.”
I’ve found this to be so true. It’s why it’s so important to remember that self control, self determination, leads to confidence, courage, and character.

Truly a remarkable book that will have you feeling a bit guilty for watching Netflix, and more determined to make a positive difference and aim toward a goal/purpose in your life.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Thirteen Lessons From Working In A Grocery Store

Marshmallow Crispy Oreos
I have had a million jobs.
It started with a paper route when I was 12 - then baby sitting, and then everything from store detective at Bloomingdales (seriously the most fun job I've ever had). Waitress.  Paramedic. Sales for a Fortune 500 Company. Decorating cakes and cookies in a bakery. 
The one thing I've been consistent at is being curious and researching and writing. 
My writing may never lead to anything. 
I'm okay with that. 
I don't know that my husband is. 
He could end-up being my ex-husband if I don't win the lottery or sell a-lot of books. 
I knew as soon as the wrinkles and gray hair popped up on me he'd poop out!
At least I'm always working though (right?).
I know a few women who stay home and don't even clean or cook  and then bitch when the husband works too much. 
Not that I cook (anymore). And at least I pick up the dog poop in the yard. 
But you'll never  hear me complain that my husband works too much! Or golfs too much. 
The key to a great relationship is to spend as little as time together as possible. I read it in TIME magazine, so it must be true. 

I've met so many people. Learned so much about human nature. And what I discovered is, no matter WHERE you work...from slinging bacon to saving lives; it is always the same. 
Clicks. "In groups." 
Miserable co-workers who bitch about their bosses and the job but do nothing to change it. Employees who WANT to raise their voice and change things, but they have obligations to meet and so, they don't want to rock the boat. But please, if you're not willing to rock the boat, stop complaining about the stagnate sea. Muck it up or suck it up and shut up. 

And it seems the more diplomas and certifications/schooling  that bosses/managers have, the more removed from acting with common sense and kindness they become. My best bosses have been the ones with the least "professional" schooling and the most experience in the field. 
The past year, I worked at a grocery store part-time. That job has taught me much more than I ever expected to learn about human nature. 

Who knew working in a grocery store could provide so much insight to life? 

The Top Thirteen Lessons I've Learned From Working In A Grocery Store: 

1) We are HUGELY influenced by what we are exposed to. This sound ridiculously simple and like plain common sense. But I don't think we are really, acutely aware how influenced we are by the people/culture we surround ourselves with. How greatly it impresses the choices we make. I worked in a fabulous BAKERY and didn't gain any weight! Tortes. Cookies. Cheesecake. CANOLI cheesecake! Gained no weight!
Then I worked at a grocery store and gained almost fifteen pounds. It also gave me huge insight into why we are so fascinated with sex, fitness, sports, and, of course, food.  - I will write more on this in the future. 

2) Old People (I'm talking late 70's and 80's)- have far more pride and determination to remain self-sufficient than most young people I know. 
 Even though they have disabilities, they refuse help to the car. One sweet older lady who suffered a stroke and has only use of one arm, always turns down my offer to help her outside, saying, "Save the offer for someone who really needs it." They set a great example to me and give me something to strive for. 

3) Far too many people abuse food stamps. This is not a racial thing. All colors do it. All nationalities do it. What PISSES ME OFF is, that the senior citizens I described in #2, count their pennies (literally!), and live on oatmeal and fruit. The people abusing food stamps are carrying Coach purses, have manicures, and rack up 300 dollars on shrimp, steak, Cheetos, soda, and snack cakes. It's disgusting. 

4) Criminals have more protection than honest citizens due to lawyers and threats of lawsuits. Our country is upside down:Corruption is ignored or worse, rewarded!  Shoplifters are rarely stopped and even rarely ever prosecuted. You have to be REALLY STUPID to get yourself arrested. 

5) Liberals allow their kids to roam the store and stand on the seat of the carts. This does not apply to all liberals; only the liberals that wear Birkenstock sandals.  And have unshaven armpits. And filthy FILTHY re-useable bags (why can't you WASH these out? Do you realize how many germs they have?) They also rarely donate to charity. They buy gluten free and organic everything. 

6) Conservatives donate to charity almost every-time they come in. I know they are Conservative because they wear USA PROUD hats, send their kids to the local Catholic school, and talk about Trump in hushed, reverent tones. They also profusely thank the physically/mentally challenged baggers even though the baggers often put their cakes in the bag upside down and sideways. Note:*** There are a few customers I have on the "Right"  that are so smug and superior and pretentious (they buy Philadelphia Magazine), they can't even look me in the eye, god forbid they acknowledge me when I thank them and tell them to enjoy their day! They are, however,  the exception. 

7) The self-check out computers make mistakes. Often. 

8) The decision makers at the corporate office are completely, irresponsibly, out of touch with real life. Every solution seems to be: "computerize!" 

9) Low prices are fabulous, but they only get you so far. Customers would pay more to have cheerful, thoughtful, well trained, dependable,  employees. 

10) People are REALLY GETTING TIRED of being asked to donate for a new charity every-time they come in. It's getting out of hand. And employees are just as tired and feel awful for harping after customers to donate. However, employees have been threatened with write-ups and possible termination for not asking each customer. 

11) I'd say half the teenagers stand at the end of the checkout, scrolling through their iphones instead of helping to bag the groceries if there is no bagger. The parent ends up bagging while the kid stands there. Holy heck. This is why we are spiraling down the tubes people! Parents allowing perfectly capable kids to stand around while the parent does the work! See my number #2 lesson. 

12) Oreo's come in a variety of flavors and they are constantly changing. They are available only for a Limited Time. The limited time is a marketing ploy to get people to buy them. It works on me. Every. Single. Time. 
They are the number one purchased brand of cookie.  

13)  Almost everyone buys bananas. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happiness is Freedom. Freedom is Trust. Trust is Character. Happy 4th of July!

I will share with you my recent experience about my broken heart - misplaced trust. But. It is the Fourth of July. So here's a video about why I love the holiday. It does have to do with trust. But today should be a day of celebration and gratitude. Plenty of time for bitching later in the week! Haha.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

When You Trust The Wrong Person

I’m such a sucker.
From dating horrible guys to marrying the wrong guy(s) – you’d think I’d have learned by now who to trust.
But, in fairness, we learn as we go along.
And, in fairness, I recognize danger much more quickly than I once did (perhaps it’s because I rarely drink anymore?).
Perhaps it’s because as I’ve become older, I rarely feel the overwhelming desire for status.
Seeking status is human nature, but it's very easy to corrupt your character for the risk of Being Number One (or, number 20. Just as long as you're not on the bottom heap).
I'd by lying if I said I still didn't care about status, however, not as much as I once did.
I do still care about looking good and striving to do my best, but that’s not about status, that’s about wanting to be the best person I can be. That’s human nature.
For me, being the ‘best person I can be’ also includes warning people when I spot frauds and phonies.
When I have bad experiences.
Yes, being nice is GOOD. It’s wonderful. And 95% of the time, I am really nice. At least, I hope I am.
Being nice is actually EASY. It rarely pisses anyone off (except atheists – they are really never happy anyway. Unless they are watching Star Wars).
Stepping up and disagreeing with or questioning popular organizations or people is not a fun place to be caught in.
But, one thing I have tried extremely hard to do is tell the truth.  Because I want to be able to trust someone else. I want to be able to let my guard down and just enjoy myself, or pursue goals.
I want someone to not only believe in, but I want to TRUST that person or organization. You waste a-lot of energy when you are unable to trust.
You lose focus when you lose trust.
You lose freedom when you lose trust and faith in whatever it is you believed in, because you then spend time chiding yourself for believing in that person (or organization) for the time you wasted when you could have been with someone (or something else).
Your heart breaks.
Isn’t there someone, anyone, anywhere, that will give you a soft place to land when you’ve had turbulence in your life?
And when do you, as a person, stop providing a soft place to land for that person, that family, that friend, that job, that has abused your trust and your heart?
And how can you trust yourself to make the right choices in the future?
Who can you believe in anymore?
Well, I have the answer.
And I also want to admit my latest stupid disappointment – mostly in myself for not having known better in the first place.
And I’ll tell you tomorrow.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Rose Wilder Lane - Moxie Champion

More than 6 years I've been researching political movements and history. I've been reading books written in the late 1930's - to the 1970's in a sort of quest to understand history as it unfolded, through the eyes of people as they were experiencing it.

I'd had a quote about freedom from Rose Wilder Lane tucked in the quote book I created from quotes that struck me along the way as I read.

I knew Lane was the daughter of Laura Ingalls; however, I didn't know she was considered one of the "mothers" of the  Libertarian party.

I started to read her book, The Discover of Freedom, yesterday, June 2. I was amazed at how my thoughts and feelings and ideas imitate Lane's - and yet, I'd had no idea she was such a political (and fiction writer) phenom.

This is what makes me sad about the years I spent doing mind numbing, soul crushing, things; parties, bars, movies, days spent lost watching TV shows (Ok, Friends was not really a loss because we all need a few breaks now and then), reading fiction - and in the last few years: getting hopelessly lost on Facebook (do I really need to spend 45 minutes looking at the 'wall' of people that are friends of friends?).

I keep working on a few different projects and have one major project that I keep refining, re-tuning. It is full of big ideas - big ideas that are very simple. I just wasn't sure how to whittle them down and explain them in relate-able language.

And then I stumbled on Rose Wilder Lane (who's quote had been with me for years, I simply did not seek out information on her nor the book it came from until now) and there was my answer.

No one has ever mentioned her in any of my research. I have Libertarian friends and her name has never surfaced.

How sad!

There were actually 3 women who gave the Libertarian party some street cred: Ayn Rand, Lane, and Isabel Paterson.

I feel finding Lane is the last push I need to wrap up the big project.

I felt I might be insane as I have a ton of binders filled with notes, thoughts, highlights from books, etc. I have notebooks filled with personal essays, and, indeed, blog posts - lots and lots of blog posts. But most of them are scattered (the blog posts) - because I'm easily distractable. Most of us are; we have different people, different hobbies, pulling us in all sorts of direction. It's easy to lose sight of the few things that are truly important.

I was thrilled to learn that Lane had filled over 84 notebooks with her writing at the time of her death (she died in 1968 (the same year I was born) at the age of 81).

Maybe I'm not so crazy after all. Distracted - yes. Quirky - absolutely. Insane? I hope not.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Lindy West - Professional Victim Living in Hypocrite City

The following is a review of the book SHRILL by Lindy West (a WOEman). She is a perfect example of someone who believes MOXIE WON'T. Someone who uses excuses and makes a living being a victim. She is a divider, not a unit-er. 

Lindy West is a Seattle-based writer, editor, and performer whose work focuses on pop culture, social justice, humor, and body image. She's currently a culture writer for GQ magazine and GQ.com and a weekly columnist at The Guardian, as well as the founder and editor of I Believe You | It's Not Your Fault, an advice blog for teens. In 2015 she wrote and recorded a story for This American Life about confronting an Internet troll who impersonated her dead father. She also was listed as "Internet's Most Fascinating of 2015" by Cosmopolitan.com, and helped launch the viral #ShoutYourAbortion hashtag in defense of women's reproductive rights.

“Three aspects of the self betrayer's conduct always go together: accusing others, excusing oneself, and displaying oneself as a victim.”

Oh Lindy Lindy Lindy.
This book is so...sad.
Lindy admits she was raised in a wealthy home with a progressive mother. I can somewhat identify, though my family didn't talk politics, my mom was a product of the feminist movement.
However, like Lindy, my mom was torn between two worlds.
Wanting to be loved and hold on to traditions of romance - and yet wanting to be independent.
I also, in a way, am like Lindy in that I was highly influenced by pop culture. I thought "progress" meant sexual freedom and gratification and putting pleasure on the top of the "To Do" List.
As I grew older, I realized that not only is pleasure fleeting, it's disabling and dis-empowering. It corrupts our spirit and soul - which then leads to what Lindy is experiencing: a very troubled angry person who lashes out and throws everyone under the bus (with the pretense that "it's for their own good").
Don't get me wrong - what is the point of being an author if not being authentic. I 100% believe that it's great to name names and shame people who have mistreated people.
HOWEVER, the theme in Lindy's book is ANTI-SHAMING people! She feels she's been bullied, but then turns around and does the exact thing she claims to be a victim of.
This book is not funny.
It's not empowering.
LIndy claims to be self-confident; her writing speaks to something different: she has no confidence and so she clings to a movement that does nothing but confuse and divide its members.
Of note on being part of the Twitter panel that "seeks to provide a safe place from bullying."
I read Shrill just as Azealia Banks went on a Twitter rampage against Sarah Palin; calling for Palin to be gang raped by black men and assorted other horrible tweets.
Banks was not muted, nor was she kicked off Twitter.
However, Twitter (thanks to the feminist "safety council" in which Lindy is a part of) has been responsible for shadow banning many prominent conservatives who have never said anything as hateful nor violent as Banks.
Chuck C Johnson, Robert Stacy McCain, Milo Y, etc.
The thought of "silencing" any speech no doubt has Ray Bradbury and George Orwell turning in their graves. The party of "progression" is now regressing to the era of book banning.
And if Lindy truly cared about bullying and shaming, well then, she'd stand for ALL women and not just select women.
By the end of the book, I found myself feeling sorry for Lindy. She is confused and being exploited by a group of people who seek power and gain by promoting victimization, by dividing us, and distracting us.
The book is hypocritical, lacks integrity and authenticity. It's hard to believe she is a champion for women when she only comes to the defense of a certain few.

Freedom of speech is the most powerful weapon we, as a society have. Those that control speech control power. The more a society is secure, the more those who want to rule need to divide, decay, district, in order to ‘save.’ And the first thing they target is speech and status. Those that advocate collective rule are distrustful that man is capable of making his own choices.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

I'm Dying (Again)

I am certain that I’m going to die soon.
I have to have surgery to remove my meniscus.
Now, listen, to any other person, surgery like this is not a big deal.
But I am not like any other person.
I am overly dramatic.
I also have a cardiac history which I was assured was “nothing” only to discover upon waking up after surgery to have my breasts enlarged (by far the most ridiculous thing I’ve done) that I went into bigeminy and trigemniy while under anesthesia. I also have a tendency to turn anemic, and I have low blood pressure.
So now, anytime I have to have anesthesia, I freak out.  I still have my wisdom teeth and was advised to have them removed. But they aren’t causing problems, so I don’t want to take the chance of going under.
I was supposed to have a colonoscopy. Nope. It’s not going to happen. I’m never going to do it. Not unless I’m in so much pain that the fear of being in constant pain lessens the fear of dying on the table. Case in point: I had a complete hysterectomy. I took the chance of dying on the table rather than living with the debilitating symptoms.
Now, the interesting thing is: prior to my hysterectomy, I was sick for almost a year.  My blood work correlated to the fact that something was causing my extreme fatigue. I couldn’t take a shower without getting out of breath. Could barely walk the dogs without wheezing. After testing, bumping up my iron, things improved. But in the meantime, the tests had revealed a lesion on my liver, a large diverticulum on my duodenum (I still really do not understand what that means but my GI guy said stop worrying about it, so finally, I did), and a cyst on my ovary that never went away and others that had bled and left scars.
I really became convinced I was dying. And with that in mind, I started to question my life choices. I’d read a series of books that had provided many brilliant insights to how my life might have been more…successful. Might have saved me from a whole hell of a lot of embarrassing choices and mistakes that had been chronic. Would have made me a better parent. A better person.
So I threw a book together as fast as I could and called it “Something that Will Change Your Life.” I took a pen name: Moxie Will (because listen, if people can self-identify as different RACES, surely, I can choose a different name).
I’ve always loved the name Moxie, and believed it fit my personality: quirky, colorful, strives to be courageous. And Will: because I truly believe self-determination is the key to happiness. We makes the human race unique is that we are born with the ability to control our own thoughts, our own attitude. But we’ve been conditioned to believe that we are not capable of making our own good choices. That we are damaged and hardwired to fail; we aren’t really responsible for our actions –we’ll be doomed no matter what we choose, so why not choose pleasure as often as possible!
But as I honestly reviewed my life and my choices, I realized my thoughts had been highly influenced by society: Madonna’s “Like A Virgin” video was released when I was 16 years old. And the articles I read in Teen magazines had less to do with respecting your body by NOT having sex and focused more on “the right of young women to choose to HAVE sex.”
But mostly, it was the books I’d read and movies I’d watched: everything had to do with love. Love was the thing that made the world go around. Finding a person to love you was finding someone who would provide you with a soft landing when the sea of life got too rough.
My parents had been a product of their upbringing and the generation that always sided with adults and placed little value on their kids feelings.
Being the curious and outspoken kid I was growing up; I was often in trouble for question authority (I know, can you believe it?). My parents almost always sided with the ‘grownups.’ – so I was eager to find someone to stick up for me, fight for me – someone like the love interest in almost all the books I read and the movies and TV shows I watched.
Obviously, I didn’t die. I ended up having a hysterectomy and came through with flying colors.
Only now that I was better, the immediacy of getting the lessons I’d learned (so that hopefully, others might make less mistakes and have more satisfaction and happiness in their lives) was not so immediate.
And then my fear of looking stupider than I usually do – which could possibly cause my husband to divorce me (which, would then take away my medical insurance!) – which could alienate my children (who are already embarrassed by ¾ of what I do and say), fear and self-preservation wormed it’s way into mindset.
Also, I was no longer the fun girl. I cared more about striving to be good; to be better, than to be out drinking, partying, shopping, being entertained. To me, learning WAS fun. (Oh my god, maybe I have brain cancer). I focused on history and little known books from the 1950’s and 60’s.
I had all these IDEAS. I have binders full of notes. Full of highlights. Full of writing. Yet, I was too afraid to put anything out there.
I don’t really fit anywhere.
I’m not religious, though I very much respect and admire those who practice.
I’m spiritual in a naturey sort of way.
I’m more Conservative in my values. I believe in tradition. Yet, I’m still, under it all, a rebel who questions the status quo. I’m a huge believer in personal freedom. It shouldn’t be about anyone controlling anyone – it should be about teaching people the value of character and courage and common sense, so that when they are faced with temptations of temporary escape and excessive pleasure; they are aware of the long term consequences to their spirit, their character, and ultimately, their happiness.
When I didn’t die from a mystery disease, when I didn’t die from surgery, a part of my rebel spirit did die.
When I had convinced myself I might be , probably was, dying,  I felt free to be myself – to continue to rebel!
When I woke up after surgery (and it takes a-while to heal from a hysterectomy) I was very aware of my mortality.
When I was young and a rebel; it didn’t worry me too much; I still had plenty of time to find a partner and/or become so successful I wouldn’t have to worry about where I’d live and how I’d survive.
Then I started to notice the crows feet, my body started complaining, and I had not become wildly successful.
I did/do have a partner, however. He was/is getting a bit tired of my creativity AND his buying the groceries. I had my own money, but it was not very much. Okay, it’s actually so little that I have stopped even going to consignment shops, coloring my hair, and avoid any celebration that requires giving gifts (which, let’s be honest, the whole gift thing is WAY OUT OF HAND, even people who can easily afford giving gifts agree with me).  He has been hoping his support will pay off. I think he’s starting to have more hope in winning the lottery.
The bad news is: I need to have surgery.
The good news is: I again, believe I’m going to die during the operation; it gives me an excuse to worry less about making a fool out of myself, and concentrate more on helping people realize what the difference is between a significant life and a superior life, and what long held beliefs and influences are holding them back from true happiness.
The bad news is: I have no plan of implementation. I am not totally focused. I absolutely know I’m going to embarrass myself (that’s good entertainment for you though, right!).
And if I DO die, well hell, hopefully my message will reach many more people much faster and I’ll save the world after all! Or at least the part that isn’t 100% committed to the Kardashians.

So stay tuned. Though I don't have a concrete plan, I DO intend to blog every day until the surgery. To share things I've experienced. I plan on writing about Tinder. Sex. (Okay, I guess they are the same thing). All the Liberal Things I've Done. Hypocrite City. How Forgiveness is Mostly Bullshit. Why we should stop celebrating everything. And much more...

And if I don’t die; then at least I will be farther than I would have been by keeping everything bottled up until I was able to formulate the “perfect” plan. I will know that, once again, I’m facing life in my quirky, somewhat courageous way, and if my husband divorces me, at least I’ll have two good knees to continue dancing through life. In consignment store (but fabulous!) shoes, of course.

Something Wishful This Way Comes...

 Something Wishful This Way Comes...

Would you live your life differently if you knew that one day your deepest desire would be fulfilled?

Hollywood A-List actress Moxie Bleu is wildly successful but lonely. On the eve of her latest movie premiere, Moxie discovers she's been drugged and deceived. When a wizened old woman stops to help, Moxie finds herself confessing she feels like a fraud, undeserving of her fortune and fame. The woman offers a solution to Moxie’s unhappiness and with one wish, everything changes.

1958 homemaker Sadie Cooper is the envy of every woman in the cozy town of Honey Hollow, Pennsylvania. Married to charming Jack Cooper, the mother of two darling daughters, Sadie is well loved by family and friends. Lately, though, Sadie finds she is distracted and a bit resentful that she gave up a career in theater to get married and raise a family. One evening in July, Sadie’s sister, Kitty, talks her into visiting the old antique shop: May Contain Magic. The shop is rumored to be run by a family of sisters that have ties to Salem. Sadie soon discovers the meaning behind the name of the shop: May Contain Magic.

The next morning, Sadie and Moxie wake to find they have switched lives.
Sadie must navigate through the technological advances of the 21st century and Moxie's professional career –which is in shambles.
And Moxie finds it difficult to live in a world not constantly connected by the internet or cell phone - and that being an actress is a piece of cake compared to being a mother and wife.

Diary of Movie Star Moxie Bleu is a story about wishes coming true, the magic of friendship and family, filled with humor and includes a recipe for cookies that will surely bring a little bit of magic into every readers' life.

Available on BN.COM for Nook 2.99

Available on Amazon Kindle 2.99

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Steak. Shrimp. And Food Stamp Abuse.

Two things I know for sure about myself:

1.) I am insanely curious. About people. What makes people tick. What is needed in this life to make for the ultimate life experience. I love going to bars, not so much for the drinking (these days), but for the conversation. People and their stories intrigue me, inspire me, and sometimes horrify me (looking at you liberals!).

2). I don't tolerate bullshit.
     I've tolerated much bullshit in my personal life. Because I once believed you never abandoned family or  commitments. I also had that gene that most women have that believe we can somehow change a person for the better if only we love them enough. (This is totally false as I've learned).

So personal bullshit, I once tolerated, not so much anymore. And I'm not sure if I have less personal bullshit in my life because I don't tolerate it or because I've just been lucky enough to be surrounded by some great people.

However, in my professional life, I tolerate NO bullshit. I do not kiss ass. This has led to me working many different jobs. Which gives me a vast amount of knowledge about many careers.

Worked for a fortune 500 company. Was one of the top producing sales reps. I was told that what made our company different from our competitors was that WE would not lie to our customers. Our company stood for honesty, values.  Then I found out that this was NOT true at all. I couldn't lie to my customers. I had really believed it in the beginning, and so it was easy for me to "upsell" my customers. I believed we were an honest company. I believed we were better. I showed up at 6am for meetings with construction customers. I called one company manager who used our competitor every Friday to ask him to give us a shot at his business. I left very funny (well, I thought they were funny) messages. Every Friday he ignored me and I left a voicemail. Then after 3 months, I missed a Friday. He called me. And after two meetings, he dropped our competitor and went with us.
And then I found out we were ripping off our customers. My sales dropped. I was furious. I was also young. Naive. I left emotional calls to the head of the company. They were worried I would make such a commotion that they offered to buy my silence and I accepted. Looking back, it was not much money, but for a young single mother, it was enough to help me get caught up paying my bills.

I was a paramedic. Loved that job. Despite a really shitty boss. I ended up leaving that job after getting stuck with a dirty needle and my boss never sent in the paperwork - which ended up causing me to wonder if i'd contracted AIDS or Hepatitis for over a month. (I'd have known within 24 hours had he sent in the paperwork as required by law).

I was an undercover store detective. Seriously the most fun job I've ever had. No money in it though. But seriously fun.

Anyway. I've worked many more jobs. I'll probably continue to work many more. For me, the more I experience, the more I understand, the more I understand life.

Right now I'm working as a cashier at a grocery store. I love it. I love the brief encounters I have with people. Most of them are happy (they are buying food, after all!). I learn so much from just a few moments. I can spot the people who will be buying organic. I can spot the people who will argue with me about coupon expiration dates. I can spot the people who will be buying Red Bull and paying for it with crumbled dollar bills and change.

What I can't spot, however, are the SNAP (food stamps) customers.

I can tell you, SNAP is highly abused. And the abuse is not perpetrated by any one race or nationality. (Interesting note, when I was an undercover store detective, the majority of stealing was done by Russians.)

Some of my SNAP customers have jobs. However, they spend over 300.00 each time they shop and they are buying steak, Doritos, shrimp, Oreo's, and lobster.

Then, there was my customers; a very well dressed middle aged woman with a sleek modern haircut (think Lisa Rinna), nails perfectly manicured. She was with her mother - and older woman also smartly dressed. The older woman didn't speak English. They bought high end spaghetti sauce, olive oil that cost as much as 2 tickets to movie, and expensive, organic Italian herbs. Their bill was over two hundred dollars, and I had them pegged for classy Italians.
Well, these classy Italians paid with a SNAP card. I had to try hard to hide my disgust.
I have so many customers that are elderly. They live on a fixed income and make do with a banana, a few slices of lunch meat, and reduced bakery rolls. Often, they have to put an item back because they don't have enough money (usually they only spend about ten dollars).

I see so many families struggling. Watching what they are buying. While the people with government handouts? Top of the line seafood, steaks. Junk food. Gatorade. No store brand "generic" ice cream for them - it's Ben and Jerry's or bust!

And then...there is the couple that I refer to as WPOS. White Pieces of Shit.
She has a Coach purse. An unhealthy obsession with tanning beds. Diamond rings. She's eaten way too many cannolis but squeezes her body into flashy clothes. And her boyfriend. He's a skinny guy. Wears a sports shirts. Too much cologne. Always seems embarrassed to be seen with her. Or perhaps he's embarrassed that they use SNAP each time they buy their Red Bull, steak, and hoagie rolls. One Sunday he was wearing an Eagles jersey and I said I hoped the Eagles won, and he said, "Me too, were on our way to the bar to watch the game."
And then his tubby, overly leathery, girlfriend whipped out her diamond encrusted hand and swiped her SNAP card to pay for their groceries.

Ah, this cashier job at the grocery store. I don't get paid much. But the lessons I'm learning are invaluable. Most of my customers rock. They are awesome and kind and funny. They are eager to share their favorite recipes. Their favorite new ice cream.

The people I work with. Interesting. So many personalities. From the 77 year old man who lost his wife to cancer and is now pushing carts around the parking lot because he has to pay for obscene medical bills to the quiet teenager who works his ass off in order to save money for college. To the manager who makes out with her boyfriend in front of customers. While she's working!

The management...well, that is yet another story. For the first time in my life, I can see where the advantage of a Union might make sense. Though I still believe that if employees stuck together there wouldn't be a need for a union. However, in my richly varied career experiences, I've learned that people are easily intimated and influenced when their livelihoods are threatened. It's easier to remain quiet and under the radar and complain quietly than it is to stand up to people taking advantage of you.

The grocery store is like a blue collar soap opera. I love it.

What I do not love, however, is the abuse of the food stamps. What I do not love is watching as elderly people quietly (never complaining) struggle to make ends meet with a few bananas and reduced baked goods while the people getting help from the government buy shrimp, lobster, and steak.

We need is a complete overhaul of the welfare system. End it. All.
Start over again so that those who truly need it (and I see a-lot of customers that could benefit from Welfare but refuse the help) actually receive it.  With the advances of social media, Go Fund Me organizations, etc, there is no reason that we can't help each other. Take it out of the government hands and put it in the hands of the people, of the local community, local churches, local volunteer organizations.

Unless, of course, you enjoy being abused and used, working your ass off, clipping coupons to save money so that you can supply steak and shrimp for those who use their money getting manicures, tans, and Coach purses and your money for buying their food.

Friday, January 1, 2016

High Profits - The Movie

I don't smoke pot.
But I support those adults who make the choice to smoke pot.
I've smoked pot in my younger days but it makes me super paranoid (after I've laughed my butt off for two hours). It's just something I don't ever see myself doing again unless there truly was a medical reason.
Back in "the day" when I did try it, pot was so much different than it is now. You could trust people. Pot was not very strong. It truly was a weed!
I tell my young family members NOT to try it - you seriously never know what you're going to get off the street anymore.
If/When you try it - do so where it's legal. And try it around people you trust.

Today I watched High Profits on Netflix.
It's the true story that follows a young couple from Breckenridge Colorado from the day pot became legal in Colorado (Jan 1, 2014).

It's truly a fascinating look at how complicated "legal" pot is. How two young adults spend almost all their time working on their business. They don't live in mommy and daddy's basement. They are truly trying to live the American Dream.

It's really no different from alcohol getting its start in America. In fact, I'd say it's much less harmless than alcohol.

Did you know that it was totally acceptable for people to drink during lunch back in the days when alcohol was first legal? In fact, bars used to offer free ham sandwiches for lunch so customers would get thirsty and drink more.

What's amazing about High Profits is that the local city council were all up in arms about this (very cute) pot shop being on Main Street (after they'd already been there for 4 years!). Yet they certainly don't have a problem with bars.

Anyway - this movie is everything that is RIGHT about America. Young people. With dreams. Struggling to make it on their own. Nose to the grindstone. Every time they get knocked down, they get back up.

There is no clear path in the legalization of weed. Caitlin and Brian are truly pioneers. Leading the way for others.

Their mistakes should be a lesson for others in the field. Their tenacity should be inspiration for all.

Oh, and Katherine Grimm? Yeah, she's a real, pardon my language; Super Bitch who deserves to be on Karmas bad side for at least a decade.

One note: To all the Bernie Sanders supporters. High Profits is actually a testament to what happens when there is over reach within the government. Bernie Sanders supports socialism. Socialism is not everyone is treated equal. Socialism is the government decides what is best - which is exactly what happened in this story. It should be viewed as a cautionary tale about why Bernie Sanders should NOT be elected.

This is the facebook for Brian and Caitlin's business: https://www.facebook.com/Backcountry-Cannabis-Co-299470537250/