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Scattered Thoughts

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United-States/South-Carolina

 

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  • Amy Polen
  • December 14, 2017 11:02:55 AM
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A Little About Us

Part personal, part political, part observation. I'm not quite a bleeding heart liberal, but I won't hesitate to call people out if deserved.

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It’s Time to Learn to Play Chess

I have no idea who said it initially, but I’d love to give credit where it’s due, if someone knows. “Democrats play checkers. Republicans play chess.” For those unfamiliar with the quote, it’s a reference to the long-term strategy Republicans have used to take control of state legislatures and to take over DC. Trump landing … Continue reading It’s Time to Learn to...

I have no idea who said it initially, but I’d love to give credit where it’s due, if someone knows. “Democrats play checkers. Republicans play chess.” For those unfamiliar with the quote, it’s a reference to the long-term strategy Republicans have used to take control of state legislatures and to take over DC. Trump landing in the Oval Office wasn’t an accident. It was the result of years of gerrymandering, voter ID laws, and a push to ensure that older white man continue to control both the state and federal governments. And no one (Democrats!) stopped them.

There’s a very interesting website that shows the progression of party control for states over the past 10 years. In 2009, there was a pretty even split among Republican-controlled states, Democrat-controlled states, and split states. In 2018, the vast majority of states were controlled by Republicans. And yet, in many of these states, the population is not overwhelmingly Republican. I can’t use my own state, South Carolina, as SC doesn’t require party affiliation as part of voter registration, so we’ll look at Alabama, which has obviously been in the news for stomping all over women’s rights last week. Approximately 52% of Alabamans are Republican or lean Republican. Approximately 35% are Democrat or lean Democrat. But 3/4 of the Alabama House is Republican, and 3/4 of the Alabama Senate is Republican. Why? I’ll give you a hint. Alabama has been involved in court battles about gerrymandering districts. The result was that last week, the 25 Republican men in the Alabama senate voted to ban nearly all abortions. It didn’t matter that women in the senate voted against it. The deck was stacked.

The Alabama law was passed with the intention of going before the Supreme Court. We all know the law is unconstitutional. However, for the first time in years, there’s a conservative majority on the Supreme Court. There’s a conservative majority because of a stolen seat (yes, I’m looking at you, Mitch McConnell). Again, the deck was stacked. This was planned. It was planned so well that most of us didn’t even realize what was going to happen. Oh, we suspected, and there was a lot of mansplaining about how we didn’t need to worry our little heads about abortion rights, but we didn’t think it would be so blatant or quick.

My own state tried to pass a heartbeat bill. It made it through the House, but didn’t get through the Senate before the legislative session ended. I have no doubt that they will try again next year. Will we be ready? We managed to turn a Congressional district blue last fall. We have to be ready, because the alternative is too terrifying to contemplate.

It’s time to play chess. #youknowme


Aging Gracefully… or not

I’d like to say I’m one of those women who has chosen to age gracefully. Except I don’t think I am. I’ll say it out loud, I’m 44. We’ll pretend that I didn’t start to tell someone recently that I’m 43, lol. Getting older is not for wimps. We gain weight. It’s harder to lose … Continue reading Aging Gracefully…...

I’d like to say I’m one of those women who has chosen to age gracefully. Except I don’t think I am. I’ll say it out loud, I’m 44. We’ll pretend that I didn’t start to tell someone recently that I’m 43, lol.

Getting older is not for wimps. We gain weight. It’s harder to lose said weight. We find previously undiscovered aches and pains. It’s no longer advisable to make a 12-hour car trip and get back to normal life the next morning, but that hasn’t stopped me from trying. If I make it until 11 pm before falling asleep, that’s a late night. I gave up waiting on the 20 year old to get home from a late shift or an evening out.

I have a few wrinkles. I really wish I had worn sunglasses when I was younger, to avoid that crease between my eyebrows. I’ve sought out some makeup tips from my daughters. By the way, makeup brushes work better than sponges or applicators, and face primer is a good thing. You’re welcome!

The only part I really hate about aging is gray hair. That might have something to do with the fact that I’ve been finding gray hairs since I was about 18 or 19. I’m not sure how much gray I actually have in my hair, because I’ve been dying it for quite a few years (it may or may not be coincidence that I started dying my hair when the younger kid was a toddler). Gray looks terrific on some people. I’m not a fan of it on myself. It’s coarse and wiry and stiff, and it seems to be mostly concentrated in one area front and center. However, a couple of weeks ago, I forgot to buy dye, and I was too lazy to go back out and buy it, so I’ve decided to see what happens. So far, I don’t hate it.

I reserve the option to change my mind.


People Will Buy the Strangest Things

One of my day jobs is working for a liquidation/wholesale business, managing online sales. One of the online avenues for that is eBay. I’m sure by now, nearly everyone has tried eBay at least once, which is how I know that people will buy ANYTHING on eBay. It’s no wonder that you sometimes hear stories … Continue reading People Will Buy the...

One of my day jobs is working for a liquidation/wholesale business, managing online sales. One of the online avenues for that is eBay. I’m sure by now, nearly everyone has tried eBay at least once, which is how I know that people will buy ANYTHING on eBay. It’s no wonder that you sometimes hear stories about outrageous listings, such as a baby T.rex skeleton, because people will BUY this stuff. How do I know this? Because I’ve sold some pretty bizarre things, lol.

Like cow antibiotics. Because apparently, some animal medications don’t require prescriptions.

A flamethrower. This may have been one of my favorite items that sold. Who DOESN’T want a flamethrower? Okay, officially, it wasn’t called  a flamethrower. I believe it was actually called a propane torch kit, for killing weeds and overgrowth. But it was a flamethrower.

A unicorn head. Oddly enough, that was not sold during the usual Halloween costume time of year, which makes me wonder about the purpose of it.

Sex toys. Really, I’m not sure what to say about this, other than I get the reasons one might choose eBay for purchases, lol. I had never actually seen anal beads before that.

Hunting and fishing supplies
Now, I don’t hunt. I also don’t fish. I grew up around both, and I live in an area where both are important to people, so I get it. But… something that smells like doe urine? It’s a gel, and you can put it anywhere you’d like to attract deer. Interpret that last statement however you see fit.

A duck decoy bag. I know what duck decoys are, I just didn’t know that sometimes people tote around a huge bag of them. It was a bag large enough for 20, and it sold within a couple of hours.

Crazy expensive fishing line. Like I said, I don’t fish. My dad used to, though, and I’m pretty sure that he never spent $150 on fishing line. Does it reach out and grab the fish? Entice them like a siren’s song? I don’t understand, but someone bought it.

Other Weirdness
Testosterone supplements. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t know that I’d buy testosterone off of eBay. They always sell quickly, though.

Beard shampoo. And a beard brush. I didn’t even know that was a thing. Obviously, I don’t have a beard, so maybe that’s why. Can I just say that I’m glad my husband doesn’t have a beard? Don’t flood me with comments about how I’m bashing beards, it’s just personal preference.

A 5-foot tall Darth Vader. That spoke. Need I say more? Actually, yes, I do need to… that thing was a nightmare to package up for shipping, lol.

On a related note, light sabers. Mostly red, but we have the occasional blue one. If you know Star Wars, you know what the colors mean.

And finally, something I’m glad didn’t exist in stores when my kids were babies, lol. The Windi Gas and Colic Reliever for Babies. They really do make everything, don’t they?

 


10,872 Steps to Grow Your Blog… or to Make Sure You Never Write Again

Something that many bloggers struggle with is how to get more followers. Hint, hint… please follow the actual blog, not just the social media for it! It’s hard. Even after spending a year or so as a ghostwriter for a SEO blog, I struggle with it. It’s a very, very slow process. So I got … Continue reading 10,872 Steps to Grow Your Blog… or to Make Sure You Never...

Something that many bloggers struggle with is how to get more followers. Hint, hint… please follow the actual blog, not just the social media for it! It’s hard. Even after spending a year or so as a ghostwriter for a SEO blog, I struggle with it. It’s a very, very slow process. So I got the bright idea that I should join some Facebook groups about blogging. It seemed like a good plan, join a group, get a few tips, get introduced to some other blogs, and get to share mine. Right?

Not so much. For starters, the first group I was approved to join, I had requested to join a month ago. I’ve been in Facebook groups, and I’ve been an admin in groups. It should not take a month to approve a new member. If it does, you’ve got issues. Maybe a time-management blog would help.

I was approved for two other groups, bringing the total to three. By noon today, I had left two of them. Why? Because there were so many rules to follow that it made my head hurt, lol. In two of the groups, only admins could create posts, and those went something like this.

Instructions for Facebook Posts

  • Leave ONE direct link to a Facebook post you want people to “like.”
  • <!– You may leave a link up until (insert arbitrary time here)
  • You must like the Facebook links of everyone else in the thread. All or nothing, don’t comment if you don’t “like” all the other links.
  • Visit each link and “like” it.
  • Show you’ve done the above by liking each comment here. You cannot continue to another thread until you “like” every single comment, and you must do that by the following day.

Exactly how many hours do they think I have to spend on growing my blog? I mean, if it was wildly successful, I wouldn’t need to spend my days working or doing freelance, and then I would have those hours to follow intricate instructions. Of course, then I wouldn’t need a group to help me grow my blog, lol.

That was the first group. The second group for which I was approved had those specifics PLUS something called “group learning units,” which were required. There was a notation by these that stated, “Admins can see your progress through the units and posts.” Now, I try not to take myself too seriously, although I usually fail miserably, but this seems a bit extreme. Don’t we have enough issues with Facebook keeping our info safe, without having to think about a Facebook group watching over us?

The end result has been that I removed myself from those two groups, and I’m at least temporarily sticking with the one group that hasn’t made it so complex that a person with a bachelor’s degree can’t manage the very, very, detailed guidelines. So maybe my blog won’t be growing much, lol.


Life With a Chronic Illness

I have a chronic illness. Not uncommon in the United States, since almost half of Americans have some kind of chronic illness.  Specifically, I have Inflammatory Bowel Disease, which affects approximately 1.6 million people in the US. I was originally diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in 2004, and for various reasons, the diagnosis was changed to … Continue reading Life With a...

I have a chronic illness. Not uncommon in the United States, since almost half of Americans have some kind of chronic illness.  Specifically, I have Inflammatory Bowel Disease, which affects approximately 1.6 million people in the US. I was originally diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in 2004, and for various reasons, the diagnosis was changed to Crohn’s disease several years later. Now, I fall into the more generic label of IBD, because symptoms sometimes overlap. Some people have periods of remission, and I have had long periods of remission in the past. However, I haven’t been in complete remission, meaning the total absence of symptoms, for several years. It’s under control and stable, but not in remission, and I’m okay with that. It took me a long time to accept it, but it is what it is.

Having a chronic illness changes your life. I’m one of the lucky ones, in that my disease is not severe and has responded well to treatment. I haven’t required any surgeries, and my only hospitalization was when I was first diagnosed. I’m on an absurdly expensive medication, and I’ve made some necessary changes in my lifestyle to accommodate my disease. For example, I avoid raw vegetables and certain high-fiber foods. I miss salads. I love a good salad, with lettuce, eggs, croutons, chicken, ham, the works. I occasionally have a non-salad, without the lettuce, but it’s just not the same. Sometimes, I slip and eat something I know I’ll regret later. Yesterday was not a great day, as a result.

The most frustrating part, though, is being tired. Fatigue is a big thing with many chronic illnesses, even when you’re otherwise symptom-free. I spend most of my days tired. Sleep and I have a complicated relationship. I don’t sleep well, which can exacerbate chronic illnesses, but there’s also research that shows that chronic illness may be part of the reason that some people don’t sleep well. I can push through for a time, but it eventually catches up with me. For example, when we go on a vacation, it can take me weeks to get back to a normal level of tiredness. In my case, there’s no specific cause for it. My blood tests all look good, so it’s just something I have to live with.

So yes, it IS possible for someone to get 8-9 hours of sleep at night and still take a nap. To my friends, it’s not that I don’t want to see you on a weekend. It’s just that I need more sleep!


Push/Pull of Life

I was a military wife for many years… no longer, we didn’t get divorced, just left the life, lol. The husband has gone on to other jobs, which have involved some travel, but not nearly as much as the active duty Navy lifestyle. Some years, he’s been gone a lot, while other years have only … Continue reading Push/Pull of...

I was a military wife for many years… no longer, we didn’t get divorced, just left the life, lol. The husband has gone on to other jobs, which have involved some travel, but not nearly as much as the active duty Navy lifestyle. Some years, he’s been gone a lot, while other years have only had one or two week-long trips. Even though he still has to travel for work, there are perks to being a civilian. Such as being able to cut short a trip and fly home when when there’s an emergency. Phone calls. Facebook. We didn’t even have reliable email during his Navy days.

So having seen both sides, I can definitively say that it still sucks. It’s stressful. On him. On me. On our kids. Some trips are less stressful than others. For example, it’s easier to deal with being in the same time zone than dealing with being 15 hours apart. There are actually some common emotional stages that go along with military deployments, and to a lesser extent, longer civilian business trips. It just took me a little while to recognize it.

I thought we had left that part behind. Guess not. The good news is, if you recognize yourself in those emotions, just know that you’re not crazy. At least not for that reason, lol.

 

 


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