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Scattered Thoughts

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  • Amy Polen
  • December 14, 2017 06:02:55 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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The Dark Side of Tourist Destinations

I’ve been lucky enough to be able to travel within the US. Not as much as some people. Definitely more than others. I’ve visited some major cities, specifically Honolulu, New Orleans, and most recently, Las Vegas. All busy, bustling cities. All filled with tourists. All with lots to do. I enjoyed each of them, but … Continue reading The Dark Side of...

I’ve been lucky enough to be able to travel within the US. Not as much as some people. Definitely more than others. I’ve visited some major cities, specifically Honolulu, New Orleans, and most recently, Las Vegas.

All busy, bustling cities. All filled with tourists. All with lots to do. I enjoyed each of them, but there were also some very sobering moments, moments that don’t fit the pictures they present for tourists.

Honolulu is, well, it’s Hawaii. How can you not love just about anything in Hawaii? Honestly, I fell in love with it. Too bad my bank account can’t afford it, lol. It’s beautiful, and I love the ocean. However, Honolulu has a homeless problem. Reports estimate that there are between 4,000 and 5,000 homeless people living on Oahu. There are jokes that if you have to be homeless, Hawaii is a great place to do it, but really, there’s never a good place to be homeless. You’ll see them in the parks. There are tent cities where they congregate. They might be asleep on park benches. Officials try to discourage them from the Waikiki area, because obviously, homeless people tarnish the image of a tropical paradise.

Las Vegas is, by nature, a party city. Lights, shows, gambling, alcohol… yes, it’s fun, but it can be a recipe for disaster, and if you hang around the Las Vegas Strip long enough, you’ll see it. Whether it’s the people who are stumbling down the sidewalk after having way too much to drink, or the stragglers who are sitting at slot machines at 3 am, there’s a sense of desperation for some. We had a direct experience with it when we were there. The first night we were there, there were two people arguing in the hallway of our hotel, outside our room. That one didn’t last long, but two nights later, the people in the room next to ours got into a huge, knock-down-drag-out fight. Yelling, screaming, throwing things, and throwing suitcases and clothes out into the hall. We could hear it all, including the slurred words of people who had obviously had too much to drink. If I hadn’t been mad about being awakened at 4 am, I would have felt sorry for them. Look, you just can’t mix huge amounts of alcohol, gambling, anger, and God knows what else, and not expect disaster.

New Orleans was similar, to a point. Alcohol flows freely there, with most restaurants offering to-go cups for your drinks. Bourbon Street was enlightening for me, and I’m not a naive person. I’m not sure the party ever really ended, although if you were out and about early enough, you could see the sidewalks and building facades being sprayed down each morning. The smell of stale beer isn’t a great one. What was most bothersome, though, was seeing children hustling in the crowd. Young children. I’d say the youngest one we saw was maybe 6 or 7 years old. And outside of the French Quarter, you didn’t have to go far to see some of the extreme poverty in New Orleans, including the areas most affected by Hurricane Katrina. The ironic part of New Orleans was that there were signs everywhere, warning of the dangers of gambling addiction, because there’s a casino there. As if the alcohol everywhere had nothing to do with problems.

I know every place has its problems. There is no true paradise. A city is always more than its pretty tourist facade. It’s just kind of unsettling to realize just how deep the problems run in some cities.


I Learned a New Term Today

Today, I learned a new term today, a term that I didn’t even know I needed to know – grief porn, also known as mourning sickness. Yes, I know Wiki is not a valid source, but this isn’t a formal citation. Today is September 11th. For those of you outside the US, I’m not sure … Continue reading I Learned a New...

Today, I learned a new term today, a term that I didn’t even know I needed to know – grief porn, also known as mourning sickness. Yes, I know Wiki is not a valid source, but this isn’t a formal citation.

Today is September 11th. For those of you outside the US, I’m not sure how much coverage it gets now, but 9/11/2001 is forever etched in history, and each anniversary of it is a very big deal. It makes me wonder about other terrible days in history, and how long we, as a country, memorialized those. Did we still have solemn ceremonies throughout the country for 20 years after December 7? So many people died in New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina, but not living in New Orleans myself, I’ve really only heard about milestone anniversaries of it (10 years, for example).

I’ve seen countless tributes, memes, photos, etc, today. Most of which came from people who have no real connection to that day. One was a Remember 9/11 photo frame around a picture of a smiling family, which just seemed incongruous. Another asked, “Do YOU remember?” It seemed… chastising, I guess. As if you don’t remember, you’ve failed miserably. These were from people who didn’t lose anyone on that terrible day.

This is where I put my disclaimer. If you have a direct connection to September 11th, just ignore this post. I’m not talking about you. If you witnessed it up close, I’m not talking about you. If you lost someone you love because of that day, I’m not talking about you. I’m talking about the people who couldn’t care less about the flag the rest of the year, but wave it so proudly today. I’m talking about the people who say, “We were so united after 9/11, what happened?” but have forgotten about the Muslims who were literally hunted down in their towns right after the attacks. I’m talking about the people who suggest that people who don’t openly demonstrate their “patriotism” should leave the country. You know which category into which you fall.

I lived 90 miles from NYC when it happened. The ripple effect definitely extended to our area, and I remember everything about that horrific day. I don’t have to rely on a meme to show that I remember.


Fun with Facebook Edits

I’ll be honest, I spend a lot of time on Facebook. Sometimes for work, sometimes for entertainment, sometimes just because of boredom. But it wasn’t until today that I got prompted to help correct information for various FB business pages. Some of them were easy and just wanted to know if a picture properly represented … Continue reading Fun with...

I’ll be honest, I spend a lot of time on Facebook. Sometimes for work, sometimes for entertainment, sometimes just because of boredom. But it wasn’t until today that I got prompted to help correct information for various FB business pages. Some of them were easy and just wanted to know if a picture properly represented a business, or if a particular business fit into particular category. However, some of them… well, you’ll see, lol.


Goodbye, Summer

I know the calendar still says summer, but since school started this week for the kid, summer is over. Which is a shame, because I love summer. I love not having crazy schedules, and I love everyone getting enough sleep. I love spending time with the kids, since they’re usually pretty fun to be around, … Continue reading Goodbye,...

I know the calendar still says summer, but since school started this week for the kid, summer is over. Which is a shame, because I love summer. I love not having crazy schedules, and I love everyone getting enough sleep. I love spending time with the kids, since they’re usually pretty fun to be around, unless they’re arguing about who took the flat iron and shampoo. I love not having to get up at 6 am. I *really love that.

We try to do a vacation every 2-3 years, and this was the summer for Las Vegas. I could love Nevada and the desert. Okay, I did not love 100+ degrees every day, but there was no humidity, and even after sweating my ass off, my hair still looked good.

I’m not really a casino person, probably for the same reason I’m not a Disney person, I find them just too, too much. But I made an exception for this. I’ve now seen a number of Las Vegas casinos, and you know what? They look just like the casinos I lived near in Connecticut, lol. Different themes, but the same. I will say that Piff is hilarious, and I highly recommend his show.

Outside of Las Vegas is the real beauty, though. Desert, mountains, canyons, and nothingness. Desolate. Stark. Stunning. It was amazing. I grew up in a rural area, but nothing like that. No power lines. No lights. Just a road. We went back again at night, to see the stars. Also amazing. Except for the moon. Yes, the light from the moon actually blocked us from seeing as many stars. And created moon shadows, lol. However, I did get the elusive moon photo that I’ve never managed before! Seriously, it’s actually MY photo, not a stolen stock image.

DSCN2850

One of my favorite things to do as a family is travel. Please do it. You don’t have to travel far. Walk on the trails in your local park. Do a day trip. Find a hidden, beautiful spot close to you. Or fly across multiple time zones and return jet-lagged all to hell. But the experience of seeing something new, that’s what counts.

And now we’re back to getting up early on school days, and fitting in homework, and planning a dinner menu so that we’re not all looking at each other at 5:30 pm, saying, “What do YOU want for dinner?” Blah. I already miss summer.


What Are We Doing?

I give up. Actually, I don’t, but there are times like this, when I’d like to just stop. Trump and the tweets. The blatant racism. Send them back to where they came from? Three of them were born in the US! Then Baltimore. Elijah Cummings, who has done so much more than anyone with the … Continue reading What Are...

I give up. Actually, I don’t, but there are times like this, when I’d like to just stop.

Trump and the tweets. The blatant racism. Send them back to where they came from? Three of them were born in the US!

Then Baltimore. Elijah Cummings, who has done so much more than anyone with the name of Trump ever dreamed of doing.

That would have been enough.

Then El Paso. Hatred is not a mental illness.

And I woke up this morning to the notification on my phone of Dayton. Which I originally mistook for another part of the El Paso story. How fucking sad is that?

What has happened to us? It’s saddening and horrifying. And the people who could do something, they won’t.


My Dirty Little Secret

We all have secrets. We do, right? If you don’t, well, just move on, lol. Maybe you go shopping and hide your purchases. Maybe you go out of your way to avoid a certain person. Maybe you go along with something, just to keep the piece. Maybe you hate mushrooms (this is also me, but … Continue reading My Dirty...

We all have secrets. We do, right? If you don’t, well, just move on, lol. Maybe you go shopping and hide your purchases. Maybe you go out of your way to avoid a certain person. Maybe you go along with something, just to keep the piece. Maybe you hate mushrooms (this is also me, but it’s not THE secret).

My secret… I don’t love Disney. My family knows, and they are horrified by this. It’s not that I hate Disney. I like the characters, and the cartoons, and I’ve even seen most of the Disney classic movies. I’ve been to Disney World a few times, before kids, and then with kids. Which is why I never want to go back there again, lol. Which is just as well, because I’m not sure we can ever afford to go there again, as much as ticket prices have increased.

It’s just too, too much. When you spend 5 days full immersed in Everything Disney, from the hotel, to the perfectly manicured grounds where a blade of grass wouldn’t dare grow taller than the rest, to Mickey-shaped waffles and 50,000 of your closest friends in Magic Kingdom, it’s a lot. It’s not that hard for me to get overstimulated, and Disney World easily does it. I suspect I get a look of horror on my face if someone suggests we go to Disney, lol. I’m glad we went. The kids had a wonderful time. We all had a wonderful time. We went to Magic Kingdom (twice), Epcot, and Animal Kingdom. We saw the light parade and watched the fireworks at closing. We were happily exhausted when we flew back home.

disney

But I’m going to try to never go again.


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