Embrace, Not Ban… Knowledge is Power

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “No, Thank You.” If you could permanently ban a word from general usage, which one would it be? Why?

This prompt really strikes a cord with me, which you would guess if you have read any of my past postings. I am a pro-liberty, pro-free speech kind of person who would never support banning a word.

clker.com
clker.com

Once the powers that be start banning words, controlling speech and ideas, re-writing history, and limiting individual freedoms, society has started to give away their ability to think, express, and interact with others the way they see fit, whether they offend someone or not. Wait a minute, I think I’m too late because this has already started happening!

books.simonandschuster.com
books.simonandschuster.com

Likely my opinion offends someone, just as someone else’s opinion likely offends me, but that’s fine. I can learn from someone with whom I disagree, and may learn more from that person than from someone with whom I agree, because I will have to consider a difference experience, knowledge base, lifestyle or culture, even if I still decide to keep my original opinion. I can try my best to see life from someone else’s point of view but I can never be that person – I am not in his/her skin, wearing his/her clothes, walking in his/her shoes, anymore than someone can be me but we can connect on a human level and attempt to meet each other where we are.

I am not for erasing the past because each of us has one, but I am for the truth of what really happened, sharing the truth, and learning from it so I can teach someone else a truth that may prevent future mistakes, whether mine or someone else’s. Part of the problem is that the truth often gets distorted, especially on the grand scale of life and society. Looking up the history of something can be tough because everyone who has written an article or a book has an agenda, just like the politicians that pull form history to perpetuate their policies and the news outlets that create a buzz worthy story so that we flip to their channel.

Banning a word will never fix any problem and will, in fact create more problems. Banning items and pieces of history doesn’t take back what has happened, and it creates disrespect when it was mean to solve a problem of disrespect. We need more expression not less. We need real people to think for themselves and share their ideas with others, rather than looking to people who are trying to tear us apart when we should be banding together against the injustices they are pushing upon us.  Americans should be coming together to fight back against government policies that are hurting all of us rather fighting each other. We should be protecting our rights, instead of give our rights away.

moviepostershop.com
moviepostershop.com

If you haven’t read George Orwell’s book “1984“, I highly recommend it. I read it a few years ago and I was amazed to notice some of the trends in both the book and current society. This book talks about BIg Brother, cameras watching you everywhere you go, “Thought Police’, people being disappeared, government propaganda… it might shock you when you realize what is going on in our world today. Another book I would suggest is “Fahrenheit 451” By Ray Bradbury. It hurt me very much as a lifelong reader and lover of books, and it scares me to think that many important books could be altered, erased, and /or eliminated because they provide knowledge that is inconvenient for us to know because knowledge is power, as the saying goes.

Don’t ban books, words, thoughts, art, history, statues, flags, etc. Embrace the freedom to share with and learn from others before we no longer can.

© 2015 blogdaysofchrell

Red Pill, Blue Pill… and choosing food for mind and body

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt from 08/21/15: “Red Pill, Blue Pill.” If you could get all the nutrition you needed in a day with a pill — no worrying about what to eat, no food preparation — would you do it?

Buddha's Brew TangerineThe short answer is no,  because I would hate to give up my favorite foods and drinks, including coffee, Boyfriend’s chocolate chip and double chocolate peanut butter cookies, and the wonderful dinners that he prepares us out of simple but healthy ingredients, pizza, hamburgers from Mighty Fine, fresh squeezed orange juice, Buddha’s Brew kombucha, and many other tasty items.

courtesy of infowars.com

My next answer is that this reminds me of Alex Jones, the well-known alternative media man from Infowars.com and Infowars radio, who talks about taking the red pill or the blue pill to know the truth or to stay in the dark about the reality of our world. He often plays a clip from the movie The Matrix, with Morpheus offering Neo a way to learn the truth for himself.  Before you leave my page due to mention of a “conspiracy theorist”, I urge you to check out Infowars.com because it is a great place to find out what is really going on in the world and the articles usually offer supporting links so you can do more research. Ok, now back to food.

I am skeptical of quick-fix solutions in general, and I am assuming that this nutritional solution would be produced in a lab, likely making it chemical based and/or genetically modified. Not that I am a perfect, healthy eater, but I try to avoid regular consumption of fast food, modified, GMO, HFCS, artificial dyes/colors/etc. whenever possible.  I don’t eat McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Whataburger, KFC, or any of the other similar restaurants because of the quality and content of the food. The place I fall down on this the most is at work when the department is celebrating a birthday or holiday, and I decide to have the piece of cake, despite its foot-long list of ingredients.

Boyfriend's cookies going into the oven
Boyfriend’s cookies going into the oven

Boyfriend and I have done our research and have learned what we can and should eat based on how our bodies react to food. We do not react well to the fake, “pancake syrup” given for your waffles or pancakes at many restaurants, often feeling sluggish and tired after dousing our food with high fructose corn syrup. Both of us were really excited to find out that Kerbey Lane, a Central Texas restaurant that serves breakfast 24 hours a day, has both “pancake syrup” and the real maple syrup, which they will give you if you ask. We are willing to pay the extra dollar for real maple syrup, and we are both happy that this restaurant sources a lot of its ingredient from local farmers.

Food is really important for nourishing your mind, body, and soul. I realize that food serves a purpose and is necessary for each of us to survive, whether it is tasty or not, and whether it is affordable or not, but being able to choose your food is satisfying. I have taken people to get food at a food pantry as a function my job, and I have delighted in seeing people be able to choose between chicken noodle soup and sirloin vegetable soup, or between wheat bread and French bread. Food takes us to another part of ourselves through our senses and our memories, good and bad.

rutamaya-mediumroast-I remember cutting vegetables with my grandmother and eating cucumbers while I helped her cook, and that crosses my mind when I am making myself a salad. Tasting one of Boyfriend’s wonderful chocolate chip cookies makes me feel loved and reminds me of making cookies to share with others while I was growing up. Each and everyone of us has a story about a meal, a place he/she used to go for family celebrations or a smell that would permeate their home at a special time. Why would we completely give that up for convenience in pill-form, when eating at McDonald’s is bad enough? The conspiracy theorist in me is sure that the powers that be already have the idea for us to consume our nutrients and whatever else they feel is good for us in the form of pills, capsules and other devices with no other choice sometime in the future.

Until then, I will eat my salads, my golden scrambled eggs, grass-fed beef or bison, seasoned organic chicken with Brussels sprouts, home-made cookies, Ruta Maya coffee with Mill-King organic whole milk and other tasty items made with real ingredients that make me happy, if nothing else.

© 2015 blogdaysofchrell

My comfort… my cat buddy

 

On August 16, 2014, we adopted the most loving, playful adorable kitten, which Boyfriend named Boo. I can’t believe a year has gone already gone by!

2015 copyright blogdaysofchrell
2015 copyright blogdaysofchrell

There was a young, female cat that we used to feed in front of our apartment. We weren’t looking for a cat but took a liking to her, and we began leaving out water and giving the cat food when she came around. Kittie, as we called her, was very cautious of us and we believe that Kittie must have been abandoned by someone living nearby.  Kittie delivered a litter of four females in April 2014, and was trapped six weeks later, so she could be sent to a barn cat program. Boyfriend trapped her litter one by one, found a rescue group to foster them, and we later adopted the runt. Two of Boo’s sisters were adopted by different families, and her Alpha sister is believed to have been adopted by the cat foster family.

Boo has grown into a strong, adventurous, fun-loving cat. She is our daily entertainment and our greatest comfort. It’s hard to remember what life was like before Boo, and we couldn’t imagine life without her!

Happy Anniversary, Boo!

© 2015 blogdaysofchrell

At a loss…

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Helpless.”

I can handle myself, in my humble opinion, and I have stood up for myself on many occasions in my life and in my career. You learn how to do that growing up and working in Chicago. I am usually a problem-solver and I have learned how to handle difficult, angry, sometimes psychotic, somewhat hostile people, coming out physically unscathed, though often mentally exhausted.

Helpless, I am not. At a loss for words or actions, yes,  especially when dealing with people while on an uneven playing field. This happens when I am dealing with narcissists, people with stubborn and/or irrational thoughts (who may or may not be family), and people who receive the perks of favoritism and a friendly relationship with authority. In this case, you just learn to cut your losses and keep your mouth shut if possible. The words will either fall on deaf ears or blow up in your face. You are going to get trouble if you try to fight fair with a dirty fighter. It can be best to wait until others see the truth on their own, in the right “AHA!” moment.

Take it from me, you will not get into the heart or mind of someone stubborn or set in their ways anymore than you will someone who is intoxicated or intent on not seeing the truth.  Some people, especially in a work environment, are willing to take drama  from someone who always has something to say, jumps up first, and then wears him/herself out to play hero so they can keep doing what they want. in other words, they get the job down but create drama along the way that is brushed off onto someone else. I have worked with someone like this. She volunteers for everything, gets overexerted, has to take time off because she gets sick/kid gets sick/something came up/etc., asks you to cover and then takes credit later, possibly throwing you or someone else under the bus for the accolades.

I realize that when you work with a group, not everyone will view life through the same lens. You will agree on some things and disagree on others. You will learn what to leave out of pleasant conversation at lunch so you don’t offend anyone, as I have, though it’s perfectly ok to offend me.  I don’t expect that everyone will like me, or even get a long with me, however, I expect you to engage me in a bit of conversation if I am sitting at the table with you and another person. No one should feel like they are not at the table, or that they are observing strangers, as I have will at lunch with colleagues.

courtesy of quotesthoughts.com
courtesy of quotesthoughts.com

Rather than feeling helpless, or more like at a disadvantage, I try not put myself in that situation again. I do my work, I will speak to this person through email/text, and I will avoid any chance for phoniness that is not required by the department.  Funny thing is that I have been an advocate for youth and adults for years, teaching them how to be assertive and how to advocate for their needs. Yes, you should stand up for yourself, especially against blatant injustice, violence, mental anguish and other varieties. You should protect your body, mind, property, and self-respect.

Sometimes protecting your pocket trumps your self-respect until you can find another place to fill your pocket. I tried to be open with a boss earlier in my career when she asked my opinion and encouraged me to express concern. This lead to me receiving a memo the next day asking me to decide if I wanted to remain employed with that agency. When I stated that I did, I was told that my decision would be considered… so much for open and honest communication. My legitimate safety concerns were held against me, so I left. Fortunately, this was at a time when I had few financial responsibilities. Your best option might be finding the right person to advocate for you, or both of you, maybe a person with some authority or opportunity to put a bug in the right ear.

What are your suggestions for dealing with a difficult co-worker, someone with a “hero” complex, or someone who charms people and takes advantage of it?

© 2015 blogdaysofchrell

Back to the routine… queue up the motivation and the green tea

I arrived back in Texas a little over a week ago. The drive back went fairly smoothly, and Boyfriend and I arrived in time to unpack, get a decent night’s sleep, and have a whole day to run errands before going back to the routine. We were both very tired from the driving, the business and stress of everything  while we were gone, the lingering uncertainty of Boyfriend’s family affairs being resolved. I had interviewed for another job prior to our departure and correctly guessed that I was not chosen when I was not notified within two weeks as I was the chosen candidate would be.

courtesy of coolimages4free.com
courtesy of coolimages4free.com

I had time away from work, two whole weeks of it. Although I didn’t focus on the positive in my previous posts, there were some good moments spent with my relatives and with Boyfriend’s relatives at a few get-togethers we attended in between business matters. Overall, though, I did not return refreshed as I would have from pleasure travelling and yet, I used up all and then some of my “vacation time.” Thankfully, Labor Day is less than a month away, as it will be my only extra day off for a while unless I get sick…

courtesy of iherb.com
courtesy of iherb.com

My employer and staff with whom I work directly were accommodating, which was  great, considering I asked for a lot of time off on short notice. My co-workers covered my workload, but there is always more than enough to go around and more than enough waiting for me to return. I have been trying to get back in the swing of things… but I am tired. Mentally, emotionally, physically worn out. The stress of my life is clashing with the stress of my job (conflicting work styles, complex cases, desire for new opportunities) and my only choice is to keep going, really. Yes, I know that I am choosing to get up everyday, choosing to go to work,and choosing to do my job the best I can. The alternative is not do any of it and lose the little I have… NO!!! I have learned that a cup of green tea piggy-backing on my morning coffee helps me focus and that listening to classical music while I do my office work keeps me a little calmer, so I guess this is what I need to do. I know that continuing to look for opportunities is something I need to keep doing, and I need to be grateful for what I have… sometimes that just isn’t enough, though. I found something meeting this criteria and it didn’t work out this time, maybe it will in the future. I am the person usually comforting, motivating, or problem-solving for others, and I could use a little right now myself. Boyfriend does a great job and a friend or two back home commiserate and laugh with me by phone every few weeks. Everyone has their own bag of stuff that they carry around, even me, and sometimes they don’t have room for more.

Photo0033I think it’s time for a new routine. More writing, which slowed in recent weeks. More walking and exercising, which gives me a way to channel feelings. Maybe even a little mindfulness so I can build up my tolerance to life’s daily, umm, challenges. Please feel free to offer suggestions…

© 2015 blogdaysofchrell