#iStandWithImmigrants

It’s been said that America is a nation of immigrants. Truthfully, America is a nation of many people, some who were already here, some forced to come as slaves, some coming as immigrants or refugees. A country built on such diverse people, shutting its doors to foreign born people of certain countries, the Statue of Liberty must be shedding tears. We’ve done this before, have we not learned our lesson?

https://www.google.com/amp/www.aljazeera.com/amp/indepth/features/2017/01/times-banned-immigrants-170128183528941.html?client=ms-android-americamovil-us (Interestingly, one of the bans was on people with epilepsy, and another on people with HIV, not all were on people from specific countries, although some were. And the HIV ban would have disproportionately affected people from African countries.)

I remember seeing the Statue of Liberty for the first time when I was 14 years old and we took a family trip to Ellis Island. There are no words, she was breathtaking. Less than a hundred years before then my ancestors saw the same sight from a ship that brought them here. The Statue of Liberty is a symbol for every immigrant and their family down through the generations. If Trump’s immigration ban stays in place the Statue of Liberty is become nothing but a sign of hypocrisy and a lie. 

We can keep our country safe without compromising our principles. We don’t have to alienate or marginalize people because they come from a country that has people who don’t like us. That only creates more people who don’t like us. Think of all the countries that we have had issues with in the past but today have good or decent relationships with, what will our relationship be like 20 years from now with these countries that we have currently banned? Maybe we will still be in the same situation, but maybe we will have moved forward and found common ground. One thing is certain, banning an entire country of people, seven to be exact, many of whom have helped us in the War on Terror, will only move us backwards.

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”


Emma Lazarus (November 2, 1883)

Don’t Make 2017 Another 2016

Another year is coming to an end. 2016 hasn’t been the best year for me, but I can’t complain because when I look around at the world, my problems are nothing compared to what other people have endured. If I died tomorrow I would die poor, but comfortable with a roof over my head and in safety. While I have watched safely from my home as other countries have been torn apart by war and terrorism. I watched refugees flee for their lives, entire cities under siege, their citizens starving. Occupations, murder, and destruction of historical monuments and relics.
And in my own country, I watched as hate speech increased. Anger spread and acts of violence became a common theme to see on the news every night. Everyone was on edge because of the elections, and still are afraid because we don’t know what the future will bring, we were divided and still are. 

The problems of 2016 aren’t going to go away just because a new year is coming. As much as I would like to snap my fingers and make it all better, I can’t. Each one of us is only responsible for ourselves and our own actions, and by the way we act we influence others. Let’s make a conscious effort this coming year to do our best to have respect for others and treat them the way we want to be treated, we are no better than anyone else. We don’t need another 2016. 

The Paradox of Right and Wrong

I am a little confused, can somebody help me out? I believe violence is never the answer. I myself, detest violence. I am not one to anger quickly. People can say anything they like. But I believe in respect or at the very least, non aggressiveness, because defensive people are less likely to listen to you. Words are words to me, they don’t harm me at all, and everyone is entitled to their own opinion, whether I agree or not. Violence to me, is something you only use if you are in immediate, physical danger. Defending yourself or someone else is the only time I find violence acceptable.

So, there’s been a good deal of violence going on lately in America. A lot of it was likely here already, but with the internet and smartphones it is becoming more visible. Some of it seems to be new. Ordinary people who have simply been pushed to their limits, or who are afraid if they don’t act now, everything they value will be lost.

The thing is, although I don’t agree with violence, I do see the point being made. Should people sit back and peacefully allow their lives to be upended, changed, controlled, etc.? What is the threshold for action? When is it too late to act? When is it too early to act? And even if knowing all these, to whom is it acceptable for the actions to be made against? Only specific individuals who have or will harm you? Or to everyone who is connected to the ones who are guilty? Or to simply anyone who is around, if only to make a point? And does violence really make a point at all? And if so, who’s point is being made? Your own point, or is it making the case of those who caused you to become violent in the first place?

As I said, I don’t think violence is the answer. I believe violence only leads to more violence, peace leads to peace. But I also know that sometimes, the peaceful get trampled over, and the ones who do right lose out. It seems to me to be a paradox. So what is right in a situation like this, where we say no violence, yet without fighting we wouldn’t have freedoms or peace? Perhaps there is no right and no wrong. But if so, then nobody is right and nobody is wrong. Or could wrong sometimes be right, and right sometimes wrong? But I feel that right is always right, wrong is always wrong. And violence is wrong. But could I be wrong? If I’m wrong, then what is the measure of right and wrong? When does right cease being right and become wrong, and vice versa?

I am just trying to make sense of the violence because I don’t understand it. At the same time, I do understand it, and I am confused. People shouldn’t be violent. But people also shouldn’t be made to feel threatened enough to become violent. I don’t mean mass murder or school shooting violence, I do not believe anyone could even begin to justify that. I am referring to violence at the political rally’s, more specifically the Trump rallies. It seems to me Trump is nothing, except that with all the publicity that he gets from reactions of his nothingness, we feed the Trump monster. Without us feeding him he would be exactly what he is, nothing. Is feeding the Trump troll with his favorite foods, hate, violence and publicity, necessary to overcoming the Trump troll? Anyone’s thoughts on both sides of the coin are welcome.

The Blame Game

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That’s what this is isn’t it? A blame game. Apparently a child’s life is a game to some people. This week a 3 yr. old boy fell into a gorilla habitat at a zoo in Cincinnati. The mother could be heard on video calling to her child to stay calm, that she was right there. After dragging the child underwater through a moat the gorilla was shot by zoo personnel. The child was taken to the hospital and is now safely at home with his family.

I read about this and thought, “The poor child! The poor mother!”  What terror must have been going through their minds? But despite the mother’s own fear she stayed strong, and calm enough to call out to her baby, to let him know she was there and help was coming. In her voice you hear worry, but you also hear her being strong, for her son.

Others have read about this and decided the terrible incident is either the fault of the zoo, the child, the parents, or all 3. Somebody has to take the blame. Never mind that the quick actions of zoo personnel saved a 3 yr. old. Never mind that the mother bravely talking to the child likely kept him calm, avoiding any additional agitation of the gorilla. Never mind that a 3 yr. old is not legally responsible for ANYTHING, and rightly so. It seems like everyone acted correctly in this situation. And what could have been the death of a small child, turned out pretty much ok, except for possibly some scars and bruises, and the memory of the incident.

And a dead gorilla. I don’t mean to sound callous because I care about endangered species too, but the right choice was made, no question. Blaming a 3 yr. old, or his mother who very obviously loves and cares for him, or even the zoo for the death of a gorilla is not going to bring the gorilla back, or change the fact that they did what they had to do. It is sad that the gorilla was shot, but it is wonderful that a little boy was saved.

For those looking for someone to blame for this accident, look no further than ourselves. Unless you have never visited a zoo (petting zoo’s included) a circus, or anything else that encourages the captivity of animals, then you are off the hook. For the rest of us who have done these things, the blame lays squarely on us. Why do we put animals on display?  Captive animals unable to live in the wild should be in animal sanctuaries, far away from humans. We have webcams and internet now, we can easily view them in their natural habitats without putting them or ourselves in danger. Any captive animals that can successfully live in the wild should be released into the wild to live in freedom. We have torn down their natural habitats, hunted many species to extinction or near extinction, we have caged wild animals and put them on show at our local zoo’s. Then the inevitable happens, and instead of looking at the very factors that made this situation, many people are focused on blaming the victims of the situation.

To me the mother is a hero. The zoo personnel are hero’s. The gorilla also is a hero of sorts, he was not being vicious, he was in his own way trying to protect the child. The villain here is our complicity, complicity in putting animals on display, and at a place where children (adults too) are encouraged to visit. We think we are helping the animals, they can’t survive now in the wild. But why not? Because we took them from the wild and put them in captivity, so that they lost their ability to survive in the wild. If we really are placing blame, let us all take our share of the blame and stop placing animals in these situations to begin with. If we all as a society had not done these things,  there would have been no accident, no child in danger, no scared mother, no tough decision for zoo personnel to make, and no dead gorilla. That being said, I am so very glad that a little boy is alive today, we should be rejoicing his life, not attacking his family.

*Note- I did not identify the child or family involved because they have not only been the victims of this terrible accident, but also the victims of harassment by media and individuals with way too much time on their hands. Although they are identified elsewhere all over the internet, they deserve privacy and understanding.*

The Bathroom Bill

The news is all abuzz over the bathroom bill. What’s in question is whether or not Transgender people should be allowed to use the bathroom of the gender of which they are, and not be forced to use the bathroom of the gender of which they were born.

Honestly it seems clear cut to me. If you live as a woman, the women’s bathroom is for you. If you live as a man, the men’s bathroom is for you. There is no need to complicate it, being born with a penis does not a man make. Likewise, being born with a vagina does not make a woman. And I dare anyone to argue against that logic.

Transgender people have their own experiences and hardships.  But they are no different than you and I in that they are also people, with feelings and needs. They are our families, friends, neighbors, co-workers. We need to stop and listen to what they are telling us. We can’t understand what it’s like to be stigmatized for doing what everyone else freely and safely does, using the bathroom.

Trans people are not in the bathroom to harass you. They are not child molesters. They are not dangerous. The only thing Trans people want to do is use the bathroom safely. Being Transgender is not new, there have always been Transgender people, but being Transgender has not readily been accepted in history. To my knowledge they have NEVER caused us any harm. They only want to be accepted as they are. THEY are the ones being harassed in the bathroom. THEY are the ones being assaulted and harmed because of who they are (they are not the only ones being harmed for who they are, but for the purposes of this post on Transgender people, I speak about them in this instance).

Many people might understand these things, that a Transgender person should be allowed to use the bathroom safely; but be frightened that sharing the bathroom in this way could lead to heterosexual men posing as Transgender women possibly putting women or children in danger. The thing is, nothing is stopping heterosexual men from doing this now. So why would we think they will then? Transgender people use the bathroom with us all the time, and nothing has happened to the women or children because of it.  No one can see chromosomes. We are not the chromosome police.

Women and men have separate bathrooms for safety. This is understandable, as sexual harassment and sexual assault sadly occur often enough for there to be a need for separate bathrooms. So if a Trans woman is at risk of harassment or assault in the men’s bathroom, why shouldn’t they be allowed to use the bathroom of the gender which they are, the women’s bathroom? And the same for Trans men being allowed to use the men’s bathroom if that is where they feel they should go.

Human beings are not always so clear cut. Some are born as male, some as female, some as male knowing they are female, some as female knowing they are male. Some are born with both male and female parts, so which bathroom should they use? And why do we lump everyone into one of two categories, male or female, when we are not all simply male or female as we define it today?

It’s time to get past our fears. Time to learn about things that we don’t understand or don’t know. This is 2016, the world is heading into uncharted territory. Never before in recorded history has there been a time where ALL people were able to be themselves. Still we are not there yet. We have a long way to go. But these are the beginnings, and if we learn to love and accept others for who they are, one day everyone will be loved and accepted. I have a right to be me, you have a right to be you. We all have a right to safety and acceptance. It is that simple.

One more thing. How many of us have ever had to use the bathroom so badly, only to encounter incredibly long lines, or a bathroom that is out of order? I sure have. In the case of a long line you can try to hold it while you stand in line, but you can only hold it so long. Do you stand in the long line and urinate on yourself? Do you go outside and try to find a place to relieve yourself? Or if the opposite sex bathroom has no line, do you run in there, do your business quickly, and leave? The same for an out of order bathroom, do you feel it’s ok to use the opposite sex bathroom if the one for your gender is not working? I have used the men’s bathroom before in these instances even though I am a woman. I have also seen men use the women’s bathroom when theirs was not working (I have rarely seen long lines for the men’s room), and I have taken no issue with this. Why should we take issue with which bathroom Transgender people use? If men and women can use the bathroom of the opposite sex in extenuating circumstances, shouldn’t we regard Transgender usage as necessary circumstances also? When you have to go, you have to go. Men DO use the ladies room, and women DO use the men’s room. Transgender men and women DO use either/or. None of this is new. Transgender people should be allowed to use the bathroom they are most comfortable with and safest using. No one should be stigmatized for using the bathroom.

The Night Sky

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(Jupiter, Sigma Leonis, and the Moon)

The night sky is fascinating to me. I don’t watch T.V. at night anymore, I’ve taken to watching the stars instead. So much happens overhead while much of the world is settled in for the night. There is a beauty in the sky that you will only see if you wander outside and look up. Meteors go too fast for me to snap a picture, and there’s not enough light for pictures of stars or planets, unless they are bright and near the moon, but I always have my camera ready just in case.

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(The Moon and Venus)

If only I had a better camera than my cell phone, I would never go back inside.

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(The Moon and Mars)

To think these things are all still there once the sun rises, yet we simply can’t see them, makes me almost wish the sun wouldn’t rise.

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(The Moon at sunset )

But of course if the sun didn’t rise, we couldn’t see the beauty that daylight brings.

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(Sunrise )

Like the sunrise.

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(Rainbow)

Or rainbows.

Teenage Sensitivity

When my boys were little I just knew I had gotten it right having boys. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a woman, I love girls too. But having been a girl I knew that hormones and girls were not always fun. I figured that with my boys I had escaped the mood swings of teenage girls. Life, as always, gets the last laugh. And boy is life laughing.

My boys are good, they listen and behave for the most part. However, if someone had told me teenage boys were just as sensitive as teenage girls, I would have bet my life that it wasn’t so. And so I learned a valuable lesson, ALL teenagers go Jekyll and Hyde, and over hair at that.

If you have curly hair you know what I am talking about. You simply can’t use a brush on it, it has to be a comb or a pick. But if you’re 16 and the pick and comb can’t be found, it is just as big a deal as losing your car keys when you’re already late. After tearing the entire house apart searching, my son came to me in tears, horrified that he would have to use a brush (we don’t even own one). But don’t fear son, Mom knows what to do! Wet your hair and use your fingers… Never in a million years would I have guessed that this would be a situation that I encountered with my boys. Live and learn, boys are just as sensitive as girls. And be glad that it wasn’t a more serious problem, although it was definitely serious to him.

Shared from WordPress

This is shared from Longreads Blog. It’s not something easy to hear, but we need to be told. If we are going to do something about it we must first know about it. I knew about the iPhone but did not know about some of the others listed in the article. This is a long read, but you can’t lose by reading it, you can only gain knowledge. Hopefully you will join me in using this knowledge to end patronage of these products made by modern day slave labor. We cannot sit back and support these things any longer.

Your Phone Was Made By Slaves: A Primer on the Secret Economy – http://wp.me/p4KhvY-7IR

New Year, New Garden

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Winter is leaving, spring is upon us. I am very excited to start my garden again. Last year was my first time planting a vegetable garden so I will be starting this year out with a little more experience. I saved seeds back from what I grew last year, even though seeds aren’t expensive it’s satisfying knowing your hard work will bring a new bounty. My favorite were the cucumbers, we made homemade pickles with them that lasted nearly all winter. What are your favorite garden vegetables? I’d love some advice on new things to plant this year. So far my list includes: Cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes, lettuce, peppers, squash, watermelon, carrots, sugar snap peas, basil, thyme, cilantro, peppermint, and parsley. Also indoors I’ve grown leeks and green onions year round.