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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Going home… Part 1

I hadn’t been back to Chicago in close to three years until last weekend. The last time I went back to the Chicago area was when my mother-in-law died. I was there with Husband helping to tie up loose ends, discard old, out of date, no longer needed items to be prepare for selling the house, and to attend the funeral. I was there two weeks, and I didn’t want to be there. The little free time I had was spent watching my parents argue and, when my schedule finally allowed for visiting friends, we couldn’t make it happen. It sucked!

Both Husband and I have complicated families, and we  have felt the effects even miles away. I almost cancelled this trip  a day or two after I decided to book the flights because of the drama attached to going home. Ultimately, I chose to go because my Dad needed an angiogram to further assess blockages in his heart. Knowing that Brother and Sister-in-law had just visited,and the possible severity of the situation, I went but did so on my terms.

One of the greatest and most surprising parts of the trip was on the first day when I spent eight hours with my parents and they both made an effort to get along. First, we ate lunch at Wojo’s, a neighborhood hamburger joint. Later on,  my Dad gave me a lesson in how to hold, load, and fire a semi-automatic weapon with a laser target and dummy ammo. This was lots of fun and gave him great joy the day before he ended up getting a stent to clear  two heart blockages. I was also able to spend a lot of time with my Mom at the throughout  the weekend,  and  we were able to eat Beggar’s pizza while watching the White Sox on Saturday. I wish my parents could be those well-meaning people toward each other more often, and live a happy life together… However, I am grateful to have had that time with them.

I found time to walk around Downtown Chicago for a few hours on Saturday afternoon looking at stores,  visiting a few new places (Maggie Daley Park and Dylan’s Candy Bar to name a few), and to visit the Chicago Cultural Center. My Grandfather took my Brother and I to many events there, and sometimes we would just stop to rest in the café sitting area after lots of walking. This was a tough but good stop for me to make, and  it was great to see some art while remembering Grandpa.

All photos taken by Chrellie

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.

What the future brings… Can it get better?

I have not yet posted anything with regard to the fairly recently 2016 Presidential Election in the United States of America. I have been busy settling into our new home, but also kind of waiting to see how everything will turn out… it’s apparently still not over, not until the Electoral College votes and/or Congress chooses our President. I hope it doesn’t come to that.walking-to-the-future-orange

I have become fairly well informed in the past six years, but there is always more to learn and still a lot that I don’t know.  I feel more informed than the so-called average American, though that doesn’t say much. I was one of the people who did not know that the Electoral College vote is more than a month after the actual election. I followed the election closely, even stayed up until 1AM hoping to hear the outcome, which I got the next morning while getting ready for work. I was pleased and continue to be slightly optimistic that, by the expected candidate not winning, things will improve for the economy, the decent hard-working citizens, and for industries that have suffered by the policies and actions of the past 20 years. Yes, not just the past eight years.

If you have looked at my blog at all, you can probably guess that I am not a Hillary supporter, or a supporter of Sanctuary cities, and that I am for upholding the U.S. Constitution, free speech, securing the border, and avoiding the continuous wars around the world. I can admit that I voted for Donald Trump to break the status quo, in the hopes that he would make good on improving our country, taking care of the Veterans, focusing on the good of our nation, and fixing our problems rather than being the policeman/social worker/handyman of the world. I hope that the powers that be do not take over and create the same problems/ environment/opportunity  for the powerful Elite to take over, not that they haven’t been trying lately and that they haven’t been succeeding for a very long time.

I know people who are on the other side of the political fence, probably a bad pun to use, and I have not been able to take about the election with them. When necessary, I have kept to general news and facts in the mainstream. I can understand where they are coming from, given some of their backgrounds/cultures/family history, but I also have trouble understanding why it would make sense to replicate failed decisions/policies/countries. People are leaving other places that are being ruined by violence, socialism, globalism, etc. but come here and expect to benefit from America while still championing for the U.S. to adopted said policies. If you don’t believe me, watch “There’s No Place Like Utopia” , a documentary by Joel Gilbert. He talks to a group of Hispanic men from Mexico, El Salvador and other Central/South American countries, and they say as much. They came to America for jobs but still want the same policies that killed jobs in their homelands.  Also in the film, Joel interviews residents of Chicago.  It pains me to see people similar to the clients I used to  help continue to be not only hoodwinked by the political machine in Chicago, but also to be continually stuck in the hamster wheel of poverty, welfare and rundown neighborhoods, poor economics, and ignorant of how they have been manipulated. I write this during the weekend that Chicago broke their 701st homicide of 2016, highest since 1996.

donald-trump-cartoon-3I am always hopeful that things can improve, whether its my family’s behavior, that a bad situation can turn around, that people can learn from their mistakes. I am hopeful that people can see the truth, whatever that may be, really the facts. I am hopeful that the Election will peacefully resolve itself without a criminal really winning, and that the guy who made a lot of promises keeps even half of them. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

 

 

 

It’s just sad… Chicago, etc.

So, as I sit down and type, it is 8:28PM CST on Friday, March 11, 2016. Boyfriend and I browse the news online and see that the Trump rally in Chicago at UIC has been shutdown because Chicagoans don’t know how to act. From the few articles I browsed next, it appears that conflicts broke out among Trump supporters,  Bernie Sanders supporters, the Black Lives Matter group, and other groups of people in attendance. I next decide to look at the Chicago Sun-Times Website for local reports and see the news wire feed, which shows that four people were shot in a four-hour time span in four different neighborhoods, with one dead so far.

Reading this news, all of it, really annoys me. I am no longer a citizen of the Chicago area but I grew up there, lived there for most of my  life, and still have family and friends there. I still keep track of the major Chicago news and know that the state of Illinois, which couldn’t figure out how to pass a budget, is broke; that the Chicago Public School system is broke and will likely end up like Detroit, who will soon be unable to pay their teachers; and that the violence problem, which has risen to the murder rates likes of 1999 in the first 80-something days of 2016, will not be solved by protesting Donald Trump nor by inventing more gun laws.

I understand that there is a lot of anger going on right now, but violence is not the answer. Going to an even with the sole intention of starting sh*t with the other people at the event doesn’t solve anything. Chanting “Hail Satan”, which was reportedly heard by Bernie Sanders supports, doesn’t solve anything either – it just shows that you are evil or ignorant. And, I’m confused by the protestors with the flags from neighboring countries… how does that show that you want to be an American or considered an American?   I feel like everyone wants to blame someone and that no one really cares how to solve our problems at large, or even cares what is REALLY going on. I watched a video posted by Kelly Bauer  of DNAinfo.com/Chicago  with a guy dressed like the pope, and the man observantly states that people at the rally are accusing Donald Trump of hate but then turn around and stated that they hate him. RT America’s report include several pictures and video links regarding what took place. Everyone’s anger should be focused on why cities like Chicago are broke, why our politicians continue to lie while selling us a bill of goods, and why we are being manipulated to fight each other.

Every time I look at news involving Chicago I find negative news. I realize that negative news gets reported more often than positive news in general, but the Chicago news reads about the same regardless of the day, with only names changing. I don’t know that Trump is the answer to problems in the U.S., or  in Chicago for that matter, but I know that more violence is not. Oh, and by the way, two more people who shot in Chicago by the time I finished this post, at 9:30PM.