Monday, March 13, 2017

Snowmageddon 2

Last month I wrote about snow.  I was making fun of people comparing the forecast last month to the Blizzard of '78.

Today I'm the one complaining about the forecast, and I'm using terms like snowmageddon and snowpocalypse.

The forecast is for 10-20" or 14-18" depending upon where you read the forecast.  Compare this to just over a week ago when we were running around in sweatshirts and it was 60 degrees out.

I'm ready for winter to be over.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Snowmageddon

I was working with a student in the school cafeteria where I was subbing yesterday.  We could hear the kitchen and custodial staff talking about today's snow.

They were comparing it to the Blizzard of '78.

{sigh}  [insert eye roll]

The forecast on Wednesday morning was 6-12".  This morning it was upped to 10-16".  We woke up to clear roads and no snow.  But it started snowing light later on.  This is a somewhat quick moving storm and will be over by this evening.  We have weather technology, weather websites, weather on TV, and social media to let us know the conditions.  It's not the Blizzard of '78 which lasted over 3 days and dumped more than 20" of snow where I lived in MA.  Yeah, I'm old enough to remember actually tunneling out the front door of our house.

I'm laughing at terms like Snowmaggedon.  Several years ago we had snow storms like this on a regular basis and the snowbanks were taller than my husband's pick up truck.  Today's blizzard is the first big storm in a long time.

So I'm laughing at the hype, staying home - and hopefully you are too.  Schools cancelled last night and many businesses announced they were closed or would close early today.  There are some awesome organized snow ball fights being organized on Facebook and perhaps you might be thinking cocoa, with marshmallows, might be the beverage of the day.  We have amazing resources to keep us abreast of the conditions and to help us stay safe during the storm.  The plow drivers are happily making money and we can all groan about the shoveling we'll do later.  I'm cooking today and getting ahead on work.

It's not snowmaggedon, just a nor'easter.    Stay safe.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Opinions

We all have opinions. We base them on fact, conjecture, experience, and hearsay.  But we all have them.  The difference between opinions today and opinions 10 or 20 years ago is that we all see each others opinions on social media.  Like my blog, or your Facebook post.

I have friends who have all sorts of opinions. Some I agree with, some I don't, some I really wonder where they got them from.  But we're all entitled to our opinion - that's what makes us all beautifully unique.  If we all had the same opinion on everything we'd probably all be pretty boring.

Which brings me to this past weekend.  The Women's March.

Based on my own Facebook feed I have seen it called amazing, enlightening, shameful, and pitiful.  Again, we all have our own opinion.  But I think some people missed the point.

This was not just an American Women's March on Women's rights.  This was not a Women's March against President Trump. This wasn't an abortion rights march or a pro-Planned Parenthood march.  Although these are some reasons that some may have marched.  But it was not the principal theme.

This was an International Women's March for ALL women for many, many different reasons.  Women and men outside of the US marched as well.  They were marching for politics, theirs and ours.  They were marching for equality, equal pay, and safety.  I read a great post over at globehoppers.com that discussed the marches and some of the issues people were marching for in different parts of the world.

I've seen friends post asking why are we marching and calling attention to other issues in the world around us. Aren't the crimes of human trafficking all over the world a more important cause that we should be protesting?  Yes, those are horrible things and we should be doing more to stop them.

There are many positives and negatives in our world, we all have opinions on them.  And they really can't be changed all at once.  But each small thing we do can help lead to greater good.

Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance. ~ Robert Kennedy
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/ripple.html

I applaud the people who are willing and brave to march to create dialogue and change.  I am honored to have friends with strong opinions that I might share or disagree with.  These conversations and actions have the ability for us to see there are more than one opinion.

What makes me sad is the friends who seem unwilling to see that there is more than opinion and that although our opinions may vary, they are the correct opinion for us.  And maybe the anonymity of social media makes some of us more vocal.  Although I know I have friends who will say exactly what they post. I know I am not alone when I can write that I've changed my opinion on many things over time because of experience, facts, or situations that have made me realize a different viewpoint.

So my summation is this: Be the change you want to see. Rather than complain about the actions of others, do something to be the change for good.  Be kind, be respectful, and agree to disagree.  Take positive action to improve the lives or situations of others in a non-violent manner.  You have an opinion - what can you do to create the change that you believe in?

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

2016 recap

Despite my best intentions, I did not get caught up on blogging during school vacation week.  In hindsight I have to wonder,.. why on earth do I think I will get work done or caught up on things when everyone is home?  Chalk it up to good intentions.

I did spend the week thinking back over the previous year.  I'm not pessimistic, but it wasn't the best of years.  We lost my mom to cancer and spent most of our summer driving to visit her in hospitals and at her home.  The world lost some amazing artists and we saw friends posting about their struggles or losses.

But on other side of the coin there were a lot of good things that happened in 2016 as well.

I was able to chaperone the PHS Band trip to Disney with Becca.  Becca applied to college and we all watched the mail come in.  She was fortunate to receive scholarships to her top choice schools and we watched her graduate in June.  In August we brought her to school and she loves college.  She finished the semester with great grades and today I'm driving her back for her winter semester.

Micaela had a small exhibit of her artwork at our local library and I think was very surprised by the positive comments she received on her work.  She interned for a week at a local art camp and her work is impressive.  We've been to 2 college tours and she was really impressed at one of the schools.

We've bridged from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts this spring and Jacob attended Boy Scout overnight camp this summer.  It was his first time away and surprisingly enough I wasn't too worried about it.  I think those boys wore the same clothes all week and he came home covered in bug bites (because bug spray makes an excellent flame thrower apparently....) and super happy.  He had a great time!  This fall I was able to chaperone a 3-day hiking trip with his class and was super impressed with him.  He lead part of the hike and was encouraging the kids who really didn't want to be there.

I posted on Facebook a few months ago that I've been a scout mom, sports mom, and band mom, and I've now become a dance mom.  Sophia started ballet this fall.  She's asked a few times over the past year and I looked into it this fall.  I gave her a choice of soccer or ballet ... and she chose ballet.  She really enjoys it.  She also began playing the saxophone this fall.

Despite the craziness of our summer we managed to fit in a 3-week camp job and some family day trips.  For a family that never really traveled before, after last summer's college tour vacation we've begun doing more family adventures for which I am very thankful.  While we will all grumpily remember discovering that the city we wanted to visit was not within walking distance of the train station, we did get to find the quirky small museum that was nearby.  We had fun on public transportation and visited some great places.

We had ups, downs, and a whole lot of in-betweens.  I've been reflecting on these for this past week and am really looking forward to 2017.  It can only get better.  I write that not from a place that says we're mired in a low spot, but that we will continue to move forward to the adventure ahead.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Post election thoughts

The thoughts expressed here are solely my own.  I feel the need to state that up front.  I'm striving for neutrality and fairness.

3 days ago we voted.  As in any election, only one candidate can win.  Unlike past elections, the response has been quite different this time.  This whole election cycle has been different than most, a large part of this I feel belongs to Facebook, Twitter, and social media.  Another part of this is how we perceive everything we see on a screen as truth.  Whether that screen be in our living room, on a desk, or in our hand.  This was not a clean campaign on either side.  And many non-candidate groups ran their own negative ads or portrayed the candidates out of context.  I personally found it hard to judge the positive merits of the candidates while being overwhelmed with the negatives.

More so in this campaign than in others I think we have made our decision and judgments based on the character we see of the candidate from words and actions that we have seen on a screen.  Possibly knowing (or not) that the presenters of that information only want us to see what they want us to see.  And this is what is making it harder for those whose candidates did not win.  Fear of the reality of many of the phobic or unkind (I'm not a fan of the word hateful, although it can apply) statements made by candidates is not being weak or unreasonable.  Unkind statements about the supporters of the candidates who did not win is not necessarily a move in the direction of a unified and supportive country either.  What we need though is a unified hope that the unkindness being shown currently and in the past will not be the reality in our future.

I've seen friends online who have been mad, happy, sad, gloating, despairing, or complaining about the others who do not feel as they do.  I think this is what upsets me the most.  I posted something similar to this on Facebook, and I don't think anyone has unfriended me yet.  But I'm purposefully not reading the posts of some of my friends because I don't think they realize how hurtful or despairing their words may seem or how out of character they seem to me as I read their posts.

Another thought is that we are often braver posting things online than we would say in front of a large group of people.

Maybe because I'm laying low today recovering from the flu, I looked up both candidates speeches after the election.

Donald Trump's acceptance speech posted on CNN

Hillary Clinton's concession speech posted on CNN

I could not find text of concession speeches for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein.

After reading both speeches, reading one of Bernie Sander's post-election posts, and reflecting upon the past few months, I've decided on a few things.  And yes, I originally voted for Bernie Sanders.  However, that does not define who I voted for this past week.  I visited a few candidate review sites and took some online polls that showed me candidates whose platform matched my opinions on the issues.  It was pretty eye-opening for me.

Our country and our government is more than just our elected President.  We have a democracy with a systems of checks and balances.  It is not perfect, but it is not a dictatorship.  Laws and rules are discussed and voted upon in our Senate and House of Representatives.  Choosing our Senators and Representatives is as important a decision for us as is our vote for President.  If you are unhappy with something - contact your Senator or Representative.  Make your voice heard.  Complaining without taking action is like yelling into the wind.  No one is really going to hear you.  Same for regional or local concerns.  Have you attended a meeting in your community? Have you met your Selectperson, Town Counselor, Mayor, or Representative?  Have you volunteered in your community?  Complaining about something, or making negative posts on social media, is not solving anything.  Show up when your elected officials hold a meeting.  State your opinion, vote at local and regional elections.  Honestly I think one of the things that sometimes irritates me the most are the people who complain about things who refuse to get involved in anything that will bring about a solution to what they are complaining about.

Volunteer in your community.  Do something to make your immediate world a better place.  Okay, I know that sounds like a line from the Girl Scout Law, and you're right.  Make the world a better place is part of the Girl Scout Law.  I'm also a Girl Scout leader and I honestly believe that each and every one of us has the ability to make our communities great.  That's one of the reasons I volunteer with Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, in my town and at my kids schools.  Step up, you'll be surprised at the new friendships you'll make and the differences you can make in your community and in other's lives.

Show empathy.  It's not that hard.  Being upset that your candidate did not win is not a result of 'everyone gets a trophy for participating' that I keep seeing on Facebook.  The difference this time is that not everyone was online as much in past elections as they were in this one   People are more willing to put their feelings out there, show empathy.  I'm trying to stay neutral here, but phobic, racial, and sexist statements hurt and are frightening.  Many of us know that, some folks just don't.  Using this type of language and actions are just inappropriate and can violate someone's rights.  The rights that we all enjoy and are reminded of today.  It's Veteran's Day and many fought to preserve our rights to free speech and our right to be upset or overjoyed.  Be respectful that my opinion is different than yours.  Show others the respect that you expect others to show you.

Respect and honor that each and everyone one of us is different.  I know I'm mentioning respect twice, but I think it needs to be said twice.  I am honored to consider so many diverse and wonderful people to be my friends.  I am also thrilled that we don't have the same opinions on everything.  Its our differences that make us beautifully unique.  We need to cherish, honor, and respect those differences and not try to destroy them.

Play nice in the sandbox.  Or more accurate - play nice on social media.  Stop bashing each other.  This goes for everyone, not supporters of one candidate over another.  Play nice in the real world as well.  Would you be so quick to make a rude political statement to someone in line at the supermarket as you would on Facebook?  Don't be so quick to judge someone's beliefs or opinions based on their gender or appearance. How I look does not always represent who I voted for or what I believe in.

So to recap:

  • Get involved.  Express your opinion in a positive forum for change.
  • Volunteer.  You can make your community a better place by volunteering and being involved.
  • Show empathy.  Respect others.
  • Respect and honor our unique differences.
  • Play nice. Don't judge others without knowing them.

I'm sure I can come up with more thoughts, but these are enough for now.  I'm saddened by the vitriolic comments I see online and hope we can all honor each others difference to move forward in a positive direction.

Peace, respect, honor, and cherish each other.     gailk