You Know You're Middle Aged When........

you know you're middle aged when:
1) you begin to read the fiber count on food labels
2) you know all of the songs on the car commercials
3) you actually cut off the kernels from corn on the cob
4) you not only impose a curfew on your kids, you impose one on yourself
5) you bring ear plugs to concerts
6) conversations about the weather actually become quite interesting
7) you once laughed at those "help me i've fallen and i can't get up" commercials. now you don't find them so funny.
8) those times where you must choose between sex and sleep, you now choose sleep.
says a wise sage
as we age
the lines they appear
but have no fear
for the years shall find you
this is true
bringing forth the chance
to sing, learn and dance
to share love in a new way
whether thru work or play
yes this is the time
to run barefoot in the grass
before father time comes
and kicks you in the ass.
(c) 2006 & 2003

you've got to be kidding me.......

i couldn't make this shit up even if i tried........here's another quoted passage from yet another ridiculous employment ad:
maximum hours 29, most of the time less. hours and shifts vary weekly. must be available for day or swing shifts.
the pay for this enslaved to the system position? thirty cents above minimum wage. oh yeah and there's a background check and you gotta pee in the cup. can't smoke or drink caffeinated beverages either. (i'm not a smoker but for this kind of ridiculous slavery, i'd sure as hell need some sort of vice.)
so let me get this straight. i would have to be available day and swing shift hours. my schedule would vary from week to week. and the most hours i would be working, despite having to be available 16 hours of the day every single day, is 29??? oh yeah and i get thirty cents above minimum wage too??? WOW! where do i sign up????
i've seen this position (and others similar to it) repeat itself every few months or so over the past few years. here is what i would like to tell this particular employer (and all others who have similar insane expectations): hi. my name is nina. i'm a person, just like you. and just like you, i have a life. and bills to pay. i also have the need for dignity and respect. a need for equality. i also have a need for a regular schedule. it enables me to plan for things outside of the work environment. remember that i will only burn out if your world becomes the only one i participate regularly in. and i am sure you wish for me to stick around for the long term. that is what largely leads to your business being a success.
i would very much like to work for your organization as i believe in the work you do. so let me make you an offer. i will work for you. the following are my needs to complete the deal: 1) a livable wage. i have estimated that to be $12-$14/hour. if i perform my duties well, i will want regular (annual) cost-of-living increases and wage increases. 2) a pro-rated benefits package. i am willing to pay for some of this out of my own pocket given this isn't a full-time position. 3) a regular schedule. 3) trust and respect that is given and not earned. it is up to me to retain a good standing with you. this means that no, you may not have my blood or my urine and no, you are not free to perform whatever background check you wish to perform without my specific consent. 4) a relationship that goes both ways. i am as interested in you as you are in me. it is equally as important to me that i feel good about what i do and how i fit in and what you provide for me as it is for you to feel good about what i do, how i fit in and what i provide for you.
i am sure we can agree upon this. however, if you choose otherwise, you need to be aware that you will likely continue to see employees enter and exit on a regular basis. and i will continue to read your ads, sigh and shake my head as i say "no way. absolutely no flipping way........"


thank god tomorrow evening marks the start of a much needed and oh so deserved vacation. ever have one of those days when you realize, before even leaving your house, "i should just stay in bed today!" yep--been one of those days for both myself and my sweet.
what was supposed to be my payday, yesterday, left me empty-handed. bank hadn't received any deposit (i'm on a direct deposit system). i called my employer's payroll office. what followed was a bureaucratic red tape nightmare. at first i was told the problem was with my bank. uh, nope. bank shows nothing coming in from your end, which was to have been done yesterday. i was finally able to get the person to do a little bit of digging, whereupon i was told my contract renewal paperwork was turned in late, thus my paycheck had not been processed, therefore no direct deposit. wait a minute, i said, i turned in my paperwork on time. gave it to my supervisor. oh, it was finally received--just late, i was told. so what about my check?? i asked. well that i cannot tell you, i was told. call e. she will be the one who will write you your check. and where can i reach her? i asked. call your department, i was told.
ok, so i call my department and i'm told "oh, e. works for another department." ok fine, i said. may i have her number? so i call e. heard a piercing ringing in my ear and realized 'ah, fax number.' so i call back my dept. and say hello dear, it's me again. you gave me a fax number.
so i was given a different number and finally got through to e, who told me she wasn't the one i wanted to speak with. i would have to speak with l.
by this time, i was ready to spit nails. instead, i asked, "how do you people get anything done around there?? none of you seem to know what the other one does. all i want is my paycheck, which i was supposed to receive yesterday. what i want to know is what can you do to make sure i have it by 5pm today?" to make a long story short, i am picking up my paycheck tomorrow morning. it's the soonest i can pick it up and it's the only way i can get it into my hands.
spouse had a similar day, although he's still having to swim through the muck where upon i was able to finish up by early afternoon.
vacation...............vacation.................vacation..............'tis my mantra for today....
other misc. interesting items.........book i'm reading.........here are some quotes:
"...in the united states, income and wealth inequality is greater than in any other industrialized country in the world." hear that all of you 'america is the land of opportunity for all' drum beaters??? income and wealth inequality is GREATER than in any other industrialized country. these stats come from a variety of sources, between the years 1999-2002.
"the richest 200 people in the world have wealth equivalant to 41% of the world's population." (united nations development program, 1999) forty-one percent. unfuckingreal.
"household net worth has declined dramatically since 1983."
"tax rates for the wealthiest americans also continue to decline as their wealth increases." (this little quote comes from the congressional budget office, 2001)
"great social costs arise from these inequities, including threats to economic development, democracy, quality of life, the exclusion of people from full participation in society, and the social well-being of the nation." (kawachi and kennedy, 2002)
"inequality limits people's freedom to develop their capacities and capabilities to the fullest." (sen, 1992)
AMEN! america does not provide equal opportunity for all. it never has and under the current system, never will. anyone who claims otherwise is a blind fool--or rich. capitalism creates wealth and profit for the few while dismantling the lives of the rest. a new system is needed NOW. N O W


Thoughts On Ending Poverty

For years now people have discussed ways to end poverty. Quite often these folks are rich, part of the group who control the wealth on this planet or at least have a big and thus unequal share of it. It's often seemed hypocritical to me to see celebrities such as Oprah and Bono talk about ending poverty when the very lifestyle they lead is one the planet could in no way sustain if everyone were to live such a lifestyle, not to mention they drive away in their limos, fly away in their private jets, and return to one of their many gargantuan homes. I laugh when their supporters say "but they give away 10% of their income". I laugh because it is so very easy to give away 10% of your income when you're a millionaire or a billionaire. I'm not denying the work they do. I'm just saying it isn't enough.

Education, these wealthier folks proclaim. People need to become better educated to end poverty. Some folks like to proclaim that people simply need to take advantages of opportunities in order to put an end to poverty. Both of these opinions are naive and short-sighted. In the U.S. alone, more persons go to college than in past generations, and yet poverty continues to increase. As far as opportunities, I would ask "and where are they?" Millions of jobs have disappeared from our economy and have yet to be replaced by jobs of equal pay and benefits. Many of us have jobs we don't enjoy or at the very least, tolerate. We have talents we would much prefer sharing for an income, only to do such would mean we would sink into poverty (or sink further into poverty) or become homeless because the competition is so tough or because there simply isn't enough value placed upon or need for such talents. You can do it, anyone can do it, these folks proclaim, those who have quit the rat race and found a successful, financially abundant lifestyle doing what they love. Not as simple as they think. The current system in place makes it extremely difficult for these eccentric types to find a place. I should know. I've been struggling for years to find my own spot and have unfortunately had to continue working at jobs I tolerate and keep only because I need an income to help pay the bills. Sound familiar? Good. Please keep reading.

The way to end poverty as I see it? Here are some ideas. One is to redistribute the wealth. I know that's a sensitive topic. People don't like to share their money, even though we cram this philosophy into our children's heads from the time they enter kindergarten. It's often felt a bit strange to me to train our children to share only to send them off into a world that, overall, does anything but except for in times of crisis. Redistribute the wealth. Kind of takes the air out of the balloon of rugged individualism. Do it on your own. You're worth this and I'm worth that. Obviously what needs to accompany the action of wealth redistribution is a change of consciousness where we truly live all of the religious and God talk we so love to spout about love and kindness and compassion and fairness. (2,000 years after this visitation from the man Jesus and we still haven't fully understood his message.) We truly put the value where it belongs and that is on people, on you and me. We redefine worth as well and in doing so, realize each of us plays an equally valuable role out in the world, whatever it is we are doing. We discover what it is we love to do and we have a system in place that pays us, at the very least, a livable wage according to what the cost of living is in the particular area. A livable wage means an end to the minimum wage rubbish. It also does away with the class system. That's right. No more classifications of wealth. The well being and happiness of people becomes the new profit (or perhaps prophet).

I believe the people could become open to these ideas. The government and corporations and lobbyists that created the current system to begin with would likely have a problem with them, though. These types love power, typically love money instead of people, love to control. However, as cold and uncaring as they can appear to be, I still believe in the goodness that is within them. I still believe in the power of the spirit, the human heart, the power of evolution of the mind and spirit. When one can break free from the rigid rules and judgments we are trained to blindly obey, this opens the heart and mind to the wisdom that is within (although be prepared to deal with the intense anger and pain you are likely to feel). Something powerful happens in this natural state of being. You look into the eyes of those around you and you see yourself. You see the connection. And you know we are all truly equal. All truly worthy. There is nothing to prove. Nothing to fight for. It is in this state of being in which we need to be striving for. For when we do, there will be no need for domination and control. No need for poverty or a class system. No need for a power base and no need for separation. It will be one heck of a mountain to climb and it will be chaotic at times, but it is doable.


celebrity thought police

apparently rob reiner has gone public to request mel gibson do some soul searching for his supposed anti-semitic comments as well as his anti-semite views as supposedly shown in his passion for the christ movie.
i don't know what is more offensive to me. racial comments or the judgements from others saying what THEY think the racial commenter ought to do, as though they are free of such thinking.
it's become very popular these days to support israel. support the jewish community. when anyone speaks out against them, even on a political level, you're an anti-semite. it's easy to attach a label onto someone but it doesn't do a damn thing to allow the conversation to continue. in fact, i would say labeling is a form of censorship.
how odd it was to me as well to see mr. reiner's words, about mr. gibson needing to come clean as to how his own views were reflected in his movie the passion. his supposedly anti-semitic views. my question to mr. reiner would be: and your point is??? whose views wouldn't be reflected in such a film? and who is to say it's anti-semitic? i saw the movie. i was a practicing catholic until a few years ago. i am also 1/2 jewish (lineage only). personally, i found the movie slow going and too graphic for my tastes. glad i only rented it. however, i didn't walk away thinking this was an attack on jews. mr. gibson portrayed the movie according to his belief system. if the story as outlined in the christian bible is true, then some of the jewish faith killed the man named jesus. depicting this as such, how can that be anti-semite? i know i certainly don't look at jewish people today (myself included) and think or say "your kind killed my lord". however, i know there are people who do so just as there are folks in the black community who look at whites and think "your kind brought me here and made us slaves".
i would say those in the jewish community who become so offended as a result of this movie also may benefit from a good soul searching. perhaps they are anti-christian in their own way. and that's ok! geesh people--it's OK to have those negative views about others of different races and religions. i don't see how it's NOT possible to walk this planet and not hold some stereotypical or racist view. the important thing is to stop pointing the fingers and engage in honest dialogue. that is how the healing begins. anything else is simply anger in action. and that accomplishes nothing.


a little bit of field burning smoke won't kill ya.......

apparently things got a leetle out of hand today when a local farm decided to field burn. assholes. that crap they put out into our atmosphere, damaging our lungs and irritating our throats and nasal passageways, is bad enough when they burn legally and when it's controlled. however, people mess up and today was no expection for mr. and mrs. farmer. i returned home to find my house filled with a hazy, smelly smoke. wtf??? i thought, closing up the windows and turning on the fans. the smoke filled my street and neighborhood. i called the non-emergency police number to ask what was up. i was told a field burn approximately 20 miles from town had been improperly lit and was therefore spreading all over the place. "this is ridiculous! i have allergies and my sinuses are burning like mad right now!" i said. i was given the number to lodge a complaint, which i immediately called. i was surprised to get a live person. 'is this the number to complain about the field burning smoke that's now entered my house?' i asked.
yep, i had the right number.
'so what happens once i give you my complaint?' i asked.
government worker says all the information is compiled and sent to the governor at the end of each week.
'listen, i've been lodging complaints like this yearly for over 6 years under NORMAL field burning conditions. and i have yet to see our current nor our former governor address this unnecessary practice.'
i was told 'oh the governor takes these complaints very seriously.'
it was then that i asked 'and how much are you paid to push that propaganda?'
hey--he hung up on me!
so i called our trusty local paper, hoping they may be willing to write up a piece about the incident from the perspective of those of us who had to breathe this smoke. well sad to say there likely won't be an investigative piece coming out of this, even though i suggested otherwise. but there will be a little blurb in the paper about it.
a little blurb. whoop-di-doo. the same level of attention our state government has given the issue of field burning.
about what i would expect................


things that make my heart smile

i thought it would be nice to counter my previous post with a list of things that truly open up and warm my heart......
*my doggie, holding a ball in her mouth, looking at me with her head tilted and her ears perked.
*looking into my sweeties eyes
*chocolate and macaroni and cheese (not together though! although.... hmmmm.......)
*those dreams i have where the struggle ends, the power base has collapsed and all are truly, equally, at peace
*e-mails from my nieces and nephews, simply saying "i love you auntie"
*along those lines, visits with nieces and nephews
*a baby or child's giggle
and the one, last thing that makes my heart smile........
*L O V E

things that make me go "yeah right...wtf ever"

*models in magazines with quoted captions saying "i know real beauty comes from the inside" when the entire advertisement is geared towards looking at this woman who has no wrinkles, no blemishes, perfectly shiny hair, perfectly straight, blinding-white teeth and not an ounce of noticable fat or cellulite on her. oh yeah and she is never over 30.
*counselors and psychologists who like to say certain behavior is acceptable and certain behavior is unacceptable. (i want to know who gets to decide so I can get on that committee! driving on a cell phone and watching fox news would fall under the unacceptable category for sure.)
*anything that comes out of bill o'reilly's mouth.
*any promise that comes from an employer.
*food nazis (the vegans) who say "no honestly you will LOVE tofu!"
*the landlord saying "ok. leak is repaired!"
*men and women stuffed into bland suits who say with no emotion "the economy is improving. the numbers are up. unemployment is down."
*any person who says "all you need to do is vote and write letters to your government officials to make a change in the system."
*whenever anyone in the medical profession says "this will only hurt a leetle bit".
and finally, the #1 thing that makes me go "yeah right, wtf ever":
*the religious freaks who say "i love you" but then say "you're going to hell" upon hearing of my beliefs--all with a smile on their face. the american way. insults with a smile.


Holy Crap!

just when you think religiously-based discrimination can't get any worse........
after reading this article, if you wish to send your comments to the "me scared of girls" reverend, here's the churches website addy: www.nnyinfo.com/firstbaptist/
you can also check out his blog: www.baptist13601.blogspot.com
he may appreciate some comments as it appears he hasn't received any (at least going back to the first part of july). must be lonely when you are a dumbass.......


fuck is a good word isn't it

looking around at the books and videos i have checked out from the library. all focusing on NON VIOLENT COMMUNICATION. something i am passionately interested in. someplace inside that is. my approach lately though in dealing with people i consider inconsiderate or abusive is the flippant "fuck you" approach. inside my mind, a small voice is reminding me of the books and tapes i have. here's how ready i am to embrace these techniques. i told that small voice to "fuck off" yesterday.
why am i in this state of mind? i feel tired. i feel apathetic. i feel so intensely angry. i simply feel deeply saddened. the question is, can i break free of this? do i force it? do i just allow it all to be? just be me? me in all of my "fuck off/fuck you" glory? maybe it isn't such a 'bad' state of mind. maybe it's more common than i realize.
as i heard today, 'fuck' isn't a bad word. it's an adult word.
good thing it's still not on some new governmental "words you must never say" list. i plan on using it for a fucking looooooooooooooooong time.


more adventures with my local city government

earlier in the week, i whined about a new 'fee' inserted in my water bill. transportation maintenance fee is what the city is calling it. well, puking my venom online wasn't enough. i wanted to puke this venom, er, speak with an actual city official about this little 'fee'.
so i called up our local utility office. i was surprised at how pleasant the receptionist was. he didn't sound like a robotic drone. i've called the offices before. whenever the woman has answered, she is about as exciting as a turtle.
i politely said i was calling about the transportation maintenance 'fee' and wished to speak with someone in charge. (ok, i didn't actually include the quotations when saying the word 'fee'. i cannot call it a 'fee' without adding the quotes as a sort of qualifier. in my mind it is a tax being it's coming from my pocket and going to the city to provide for services. and i wasn't given the chance to vote on it.)
i was immediately put in touch with someone. an actual live person. no voice mail to talk into. so blah blah, i stated my reason for calling, stated my upset over such a 'fee', and said i had some questions. live person said, "i would be happy to answer your questions."
well, anytime i let someone know i am upset and have some questions......and when this someone says they would be HAPPY to answer my questions, i immediately know i am dealing with someone who has a script in front of them or is going to speak a lot of gobbly goop.
"how is this fee determined? i have assumed it's based on my water consumption. is this correct?" i asked.
"actually, it is a flat fee and it's based on road usage. we did a national study and determined the average amount of time the average family uses the public roads, determined by how much time they spend in their car, driving back and forth to work, to school, to run errands, etc. from there we took the number of households in the city and came up with this amount. we also conducted a similar study for businesses in the city," was the response.
"what if a family rides their bike? what if the family doesn't own a car?" i asked.
"the family who uses their bikes, or walks on foot or uses the bus, all use the roadways," was the response.
"you mean to tell me people who ride a bike or walk for that matter have the same damaging effect on the roadways as does a car?" i asked.
"well no," was the response.
"so you are telling me that i am paying the same fee as a family who owns 2-3 gas-guzzling monster size vehicles?" i asked.
"yes," was the response, followed immediately by "i realize this doesn't seem fair. however, it would have taken us tremendous time and utilized tremendous resources in order to determine every family's particular transportation methods and how far they drive, etc. we decided a flat fee was the best way to go."
"even though it isn't necessarily the fairest," i said.
"you could say that," was the response.
"sounds like the typical government plan to me," i said. was there sarcasm and resentment brewing in my voice at this point? i believe there was.
"so tell me, why wasn't i informed about this earlier? i would have liked to have had the chance to voice my opinion," i said.
"oh, we advertised this on the local cable channel," was the response.
"we don't have cable," i said.
"well, we also put this in the city newsletter a couple of years ago," was the response.
"you're assuming i lived here a couple of years ago," i said. (i really did live here a couple of years ago--but i don't always read the city newsletter. i just wanted to make a point.)
"well we also put out this plan in numerous publications. we really did do what we could to spread the news," was the response.
"you know, the best way would have been to have attached a note to the actual water bill," i said.
"that would not have been feasible being the old water bills were very small until two months ago," was the response.
"that's a very convenient answer," i said.
this time there was silence.
"i'd like to ask you a personal question," i said.
"a personal question?" was the response.
"yes. a personal question," i said.
there was some hesitation. "all right," was the response.
"have you received a cost of living increase on a fairly consistent basis?" i asked.
"that is personal. and to answer your question i will say that i have seen my salary increase on a fairly regular basis," was the response.
"thank you for sharing that. now let me share my story. my income has actually declined 18% in the past 5 years. you see, i used to work for a local company that went out of business. since that time, i have had to settle on jobs that pay less. the competition is unbelievable and most of the available jobs are low end service type jobs. i haven't seen the city address these facts in any of one of the newsletters."
i was growing upset, so i took a breath and continued on.
"what i am saying is that i cannot afford another basic living increase. do you have any idea what it is like to live in this city, or this society for that matter, without having a secure little well paid job? private or public job for that matter? do you have any idea what it is like to see 50% of your income go to the high cost of housing in this community?"
i was on a roll, so i took another breath and trudged on.
"you want to see more funding for the streets in this town? QUIT WASTING THE MONEY YOU TAKE FROM THE PEOPLE. put a freeze on your salaries and start living more modestly like many of the citizens in this town. and begin demanding that the federal government stop stealing from the state and local governments so that they can fund their ongoing agenda of global domination. I AM POOR, lady. I AM POOR. and I CANNOT AFFORD FEE!" i looked around for a cigarette at that point, even though i don't smoke. give me something to inhale, my brain screamed.
there was silence on the other end for a few moments. finally came the response.
"i understand," was spoken in nearly a whisper.
"you can only understand it if you are living it," i said quietly.
"do you have any other questions?" i was asked.
"no," i said. then as an afterthought i said, "but i do have a lot more to say. and i am not going to be quiet. not anymore." then i hung up.
i later thought about this conversation. the government employees aren't the only people who piss me off these days. it's ANYBODY who doesn't see what is happening. anybody who doesn't see the work force enslavement. the greed. the gut wrenching, disgusting assault on the whole idea of the american dream....the home ownership, the savings, the retirement, the children, the family, the whole white picket fence bullshit of a lie. and the people who hurt me the most are people like my folks. my secure in their big homes folks. my folks who profited off of the housing and stock market booms. my folks who were able to create the american dream on ONE INCOME. one meager little office manager type income. back when employers gave ya benefits. lots of 'em.
it is these people who hurt me the most with their callousness. for you see, they are aware of what is going on. they comment on it. and they see me living it. and what do they have to say? "i wouldn't want to be in your shoes. i am just lucky the world was different when i was your age," upon which they return to their nice big comfy home.
:::deep sigh:::
honest to god.........at this stage in my life i simply do not know what to do anymore. it's all so overwhelming. too overwhelming. i'm not a rugged individualist. i used to be, or least i was good at pretending i was. now i'm just simply tired. when you're in quicksand, sinking, calling out for some help, looking around for some way out, a different way, a better way, you keep hoping someone will come along and will say "i see you" and offer you their hand.
faith. hope. words that are hard to digest lately. but other than my anger and my pain, it's all i feel i really have to rely on. and i am clinging tightly to them. i just don't know how much longer my grip is gonna last...



i woke up this morning with that word running through my mind. "labels".
we as a society, as a world, have labels for just about everything, don't we. we most especially like to use labels when defining people and behavior.
"hey, he cut me off in traffic. he's an idiot!"
"she cheated on me. she's a liar!"
"my landlord raised my rent. he's a greedy bastard!" (used that one yesterday myself.)
yep, it's something we all do. however, accepting that isn't good enough for me. i want to know WHY we label people. at the very least, i want to know why i do it.
i think i have the answer. or at least an answer. i'll take my own example above--the comment about my landlord. it is true, he recently raised our rent. and as a result, i walked around yesterday, fuming, calling him a greedy bastard (and other choice words) both to myself and to others.
as i thought about this, i thought ok is he really a greedy bastard? i don't know why he raised the rent. while i find it unfair and am understandably frustrated that my income isn't going up to match the cost of other rising life expenses, is there something else going on inside of me that keeps me in this state of anger, labeling people whose behaviors i don't like?
the more i thought about this, the deeper i dove into the depths of my heart and my feeling place, i realized that i simply feel sad. overwhelmingly sad. i know life can be different. i know there is no need for greed. no need for poverty or suffering. i know there is no need for housing to be too expensive for so many. i know there is "enough" for everyone.
when you know life can be different...when you know it in your bones...when you no longer buy into the mantra "that's just how things are", something happens to you. you wake up to the illusion you've been living. that is when disillusionment sets in. and it's not a pleasant place. it feels heavy. the energies of despair and apathy permeate. some days it seems as though all i am capable of doing is watching the sky, my heart feeling so very heavy, while shaking my head now and then as i wonder "why?" over and over again.
maybe it's time we begin to explore our anger and the labels we so quickly slap onto people and situations when we are angry. there's something deeper beneath. there's a truth waiting to be explored. your own unique truth. my own unique truth. it's a scary place to venture to and i cannot guarantee it won't be without pain. a lot of pain. but there's also a sense of empowerment when you awaken to a truth. and awake, we can accomplish a lot more than if we were to remain asleep.
your anger is telling you something. take the time and listen to it.