Going Home Part II

In just under four months, I am excited to say that I will be briefly returning to Chicago again, this time to watch the first session of the Laver Cup and to see the White Sox play the Cubs on the Southside.  What a surprise it was when Brother invited me to join him and his best buddy for some tennis and some baseball! 

The trip I took in March brought out a lot of feelings. I had, honestly, avoided going back to Chicago because of the conflicted relationship my parents have and because out of sight, out of mind is much easier than to admit to feelings. I admit, I was pleasantly surprised to have any stretch of time during which my parents got along in my presence; sadly it was short-lived. Though most of the news focuses on the bad things about Chicago and I myself spent a good amount of time voicing my displeasure with the politics and policies of the city and Illinois, It was tough to see all of the places I missed. Watching around downtown Chicago is awesome, with many great places to eat, things to do, and just seeing the buildings. I am truly grateful for the time I had to enjoy the city and to see my parents acting like people, instead of people that hate each other. It was also great to see a dear friend with whom I used to work and to chat with her for a few hours on my last day in Chicago.

I living in Central Texas for many reasons, but the food is not one of them. Many people think that food in the greater Austin area is great, and I beg to differ. To each his own. Also, there are some cool places and attractions in the greater Austin area, but Austin’s downtown is not on par with any of the major cities. You have to go to specific areas if you want shopping, movies, and other activities, and this is not just because it is still a growing city, but rather the way it has evolved. It is my personal belief as well that too many people in the  greater Austin area have a slacker mentality, lacking integrity and much urgency about anything. Obviously we have found enough to like about living in Central Texas that we have stayed for almost five years and bought a house, but one of the best trade-offs is the weather and not having to shovel snow as we did in Chicago.  We both prefer the sun and heat over snow and cold. 

Anyhow, I looking forward to not only seeing parents (we are all going to see tennis together), but my brother and his friend, and that we will get to enjoy our hometown together for the first time in five years.  It’ll be good!

 

 

 

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No place like home…

Going out to have “fun” always sounds like a good idea, right? Then I think about the traffic the crowds, the expense, and if I really want to leave my house… Husband and I are usually in a agreement.

We actually tried to go out and do something last weekend that didn’t involve getting food or running errands, but it wasn’t to be. I suggested that we go to the gun show, just to browse, do something that seemed very Texas-like, maybe even end up with a small gift for my dad – a shirt or something else he would like. So, Husband and I drove the 15-20 minutes to venue, only to end up leaving because there was NO PARKING… not even for someone who drives a small mid-sized car. I realize that a gun show in a lot of places, including Texas, and especially on Veteran’s Day would be a pretty hot ticket, but I wasn’t prepared for it to be that packed. lone-star-2028578_960_720

This is a recurring theme when Husband and I decide to do almost anything in our corner of Central Texas. You can’t eat at a restaurant without a wait, so you change your plans. Then  you get stuck in traffic  on your way there, wherever that might be, and then you can’t even park once you arrive. Over and over and over again, and it matters little what time of day or day or the week.  If you do manage to make it to your destination and park your car, likely you will be too warn out to enjoy yourself unless you got a really early start.   WP_20170211_17_37_36_Pro

I really appreciate just being at home. I’m not the biggest fan of cleaning, but I love hanging out and listening to music, playing with our two cats, or helping Husband cook meals. After driving to and from Austin for work four days a week, there is nothing like just being at home .

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The laws, the violence and our new President…

I have long contemplated writing my own take on what is going on in the USA, especially with regard to Trump, his policies, and the violence going on in many cities.

I voted for Trump, I will admit that, even if I can’t discuss this with friends and co-workers. We talk about many subjects, except for politics, and I turn to my stack of work while they talk amongst themselves. I have some nice friends, but politics is where we separate. My family and I aren’t even on the same page, with varying ideologies. I believe in laws, I believe in the U.S. Constitution, and I believe in the exchange of ideas. I don’t agree with the notion that if you supported one candidate you are a racist, and that  if you supported another candidate that you are a good person in support of rights.

Some people will read this and think I am heartless, insensitive, a racist, etc. I am not. I am, however, sick of being blamed for all of the ways every group outside of my ethnicity has been wronged, and I am sick of the ways each group has allowed ourselves to be manipulated to fight each other over bullshit.  In reality, those in power made bad decisons for a very long time, and now we have a bad economy, lack of jobs, a skewed sense of justice, wars still being fought in multiple countries, and a restriction on the rights of Americans.liberty_and_justice_for_all_poster

I have worked with and befriended people from all walks of life, as I have written about before. I have gotten to know them and learned from them, even while not agreeing with all of their views or decisions. I have worked with diverse backgrounds of people, and I have seen the choices families have may have made out of desperation which have long-lasting negative effects on their children and on their communities . First off, because the parents broke the law, they have shown their children that it is ok to break the law… And we as a country have shown these young people that they might have to follow some laws but not other laws. We have shown them also that, not only do they not have to follow the rules, but that not following the rules allows you to get stuff that other people pay for, and that it is ok to bash people while they are helping you.

I understand that people can fall on hard times. I have had my share of hard times, where I had to figure out how much food to buy  because I was broke. I had poor credit at one point because I couldn’t pay my bills, and I have slept on the floor and washed my clothes in the bathtub because I had a low paying job. I rented an apartment in a neighborhood drug addicts and rundown buildings because it was I could afford, until I could afford to move to a better environment. Boyfriend has also had very hard times, but the only people who could pull us up and out of the hard times was us because we are white, childless people, rather than minorities or foreigners or people with children.  People think that being white exempts people from struggling or suffering or being broke.  Struggling is struggling regardless of race, color, sex, or creed.  People of all walks of life can struggle and suffer, regardless of what the politicians tell you, right Bernie Sanders?

Being that I live and work in Central Texas, I am very aware of the policy battle raging between the governor and the Travis County Sheriff. I follow the local news and the real (alternative) news very closely. I see people walking into my work building to handle their business and I have met some very nice people, while also meeting some people who don’t get it, don’t want to get it, and who will never get it… they don’t want a hand-up, they want a hand-out, expecting someone to let them keep breaking the rules, not assimilating, and taking no responsibility for their actions.  scales-of-justice-glass-effect-800px

I am not against people coming to this country legally and lawfully. My ancestors came to this country from Europe through Ellis Island, including my grandmother, whose family made three attempts before successfully escaping the czars nearing Russo-Poland. I am an Irish/English/Scottish/German/Russian/Polish/Lithuanian/Texan-American. One of my proud moments was visiting Ellis Island 15 years ago to see where my ancestors entered this country.

So,  I am not against foreigners coming to the U.S. and wanting to become Americans. I do not appreciate my country opening the door to people who tell us what is wrong with our country while we give them food, shelter, clothing, etc., while they say it in their language, don’t follow our laws, and while their country(ies) tell us what to do. These countries would not give me or any other American the option of crossing their border and setting up camp in their country because things didn’t work out for us in the U.S. Rather, we would have to have money to afford living there and would still have limited rights, or we would be imprisoned for trying to live there illegally.

I understand helping someone in a truly desperate situation. I have done that many times without a thought, but that would not give someone the right to take over my house, eat my food and tell me what the rules in my house should be. Other countries have laws and rules and procedures that visitors must follow, I don’t think my country should be any different. Other countries get to decide who comes in and who doesn’t, who stays and who doesn’t. I also think that we as a country should be able to protect ourselves against intruders and enemies, foreign and domestic, by way of personal defense and keeping enemies out. I hope to never see another event like 9-11-01, 0r 9-11-12, or what happened in San Bernardino, Ft. Hood, Orlando, Boston, or the events that have taken place in Paris, Berlin, and so many others. I believe that people having the ability to defend themselves would have lessened the loss of life in most these and other terrorist situations. wp_20151108_002

We have started to hear a lot more about the violence that has plagued Chicago for years from Donald Trump and the news media, but society has blamed the guns rather than the criminals and gang members who shoot with reckless abandon, often striking the wrong, innocent target(s).Oh yeah, and the guns are often illegally obtained through straw buyers or on the black market, not usually through legal means (going through a background check and purchasing at a legal firearm distributor). However, it’s perfectly OK  for people angry that their candidate lost an election to destroy property, assault innocent bystanders, burn up vehicles, smash in windows, loot businesses, commit hate crimes, and fight the police. That’s just normal. And, again, I am pro-Constitution so I fully support free speech and peaceful assembly. What I don’t support is for anyone to lash out at other people just because you are pissed off, because you are might be held accountable for breaking the law, or because someone has simply offended you. I get offended everyday and I learned to deal with it, and I have learned to use effective means to hand my grievances or other situations.

I hope that things will get better in this country, and in the world. I hope people do their own research rather than be spoon-fed propaganda by the mainstream media… the same media that covered up some politicians’ crimes, indiscretions, bombing of Middle Eastern countries, political affiliations and business dealings, while openly trying to sway an election, dig up mistakes and oversights, and distort information. I am not saying that anyone who has made it in politicians is an angel, and I would dare that say that each and every one of them has made deals, justified behavior, and done things that most of us could not rest well with. I am saying that for all we have heard about someone’s marriages, flirtations, inappropriate language, and dalliances, we didn’t hear much about similar or worse behavior from other candidates and/or their spouses. poorunclesam

My intention in writing was not to piss people off, but done so in the hope they will realize that there are two sides to every story. So people will realize that the truth is not being told, and that the people who voted for Trump are not all angry, hateful people but are people who want things to improve in this country for all Americans. We can’t help others until we can truly fix our own problems.

Everyday Inspiration… Song list from today’s commute

In response to Writing: Finding Everyday Inspiration, Day Two:

I typically have a 50 minute to an hour and 10 minute morning commute from my apartment to my job in Austin. The commute can be frustrating at times, but I try to distract myself with music or a podcast to make it go by in a pleasant manner.

Today I opted to listen to a station on my Pandora account, which plays a mix of Indie hip-hop and  alternative music.  **** Parental Advisory****

This is a list of some of the  the songs I heard on my ride to work:

1.) Until the End by Breaking Benjamin

2.) Two Pieces of Drama by Everlast

3.) Second Chance by Shinedown

4.) Dirty Girl by Felt (rap)

5.) Rise by Flobots

6.) The Best Day by Atmosphere

7.) Walking Away by Brother Ali

8.) Kryptonite by Three Doors Down

9.) Lonely Road by Everlast

10.) Paralyzer by Finger Eleven

11.) Put Your Lights on by Santana featuring Everlast

12.) Ain’t No Sunshine by Bill Withers

Before I knew, I was at work. Hope you enjoy this mix of music, courtesy of YouTube.

 

 

Mt. Bonnell

Yesterday was a beautiful day in Central Texas with sunshine, a few puffy clouds, low 70’s, and a slight breeze. We decided to take a drive into Austin to see the view from Mt. Bonnell, a landmark that has long been considered the highest point in the city at approximately 780 feet above sea level.

Boyfriend and I have been in and around this area many times but had not known about Mt. Bonnell until somewhat recently. We decided to take our own route rather than the suggested route, which included tolls, and I’m glad we did because our route was full of rock walls, windy roads, and beauty all around us. We split the driving for the days so we could both have a little fun and enjoy the scenery. It’s to believe that this bird’s eye view of the Colorado River and the surrounding Austin area can be experienced so close to people’s houses and apartments.

After a bit of exploring the path around Mt. Bonnell, Boyfriend and I headed downtown to get a snack and continue to enjoy the beautiful day. After a stop at Whole Foods Market, we walked through the west side of downtown and found ourselves along Lady Bird Lake near Auditorium Shores.

Such a beautiful, sunny February day in Central Texas!

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