You vote for the Problem if you don’t vote.

I’m a bit concerned about this Flouncy Mood I’ve been seeing lately among liberals online.  They are angry at Democrats in Congress for not doing more to stop Trump.  I guess shutting down the government isn’t too far.

I’ve seen quite a few of people express that if Democrat Politicians don’t try harder, they aren’t going to vote for them.   While their views certainly represent a serious lack of understanding on how our government actually runs, it’s also a foolish idealism.

Let’s GET REAL.  LIfe and Politics do not  happen in ideals.  I’m 52 and I’ve never voted for my ideal.

You vote for practical gritty reality.  

You vote for the best option.

Right now, Democrats, whatever their weakness, are the best option.

This is not a game.  Human lives are at stake.  Prancing about refusing to vote for anything but perfection will not save lives.  Voting for the best option, even when not ideal, is what saves lives.

womens-march-sign-1We don’t have time for Moods.  We need to fight with the weapons we are handed.

You vote for the problem if you don’t vote.

Advertisements

The Guilt of a Favorite

Whenever I have more than one cat, I always end up with a favorite.  It’s nearly always the one I’ve had longest.  In fact, I think it ALWAYS is?  I can’t think of an exception.

Anyway, despite only being with me a few months, Bijou, Her Calico Highness, is my favorite.  And I feel really bad about it.

Because on all metrics except possibly pure beauty, Rebel Tim is probably more lovable.  He’s never the one who growls or spits.  Although to be fair, Bijou was universally cheerful and sweet until the arrival the Rebel Tim, so.

But I got Tim for Bijou.  I feel like he belongs to her.  I just take care of him for her, because she’s royalty and cannot be expected to manage his needs. What’s more, I’m pretty sure Her Calico Highness knows that Tim is hers.  He is naturally oblivious.  He just loves her.  And me.  Probably equally because he’s that sweet.

Anyway, it’s not like I don’t love Tim.  But I have a preference for Her Calico Highness.

I am glad I never had kids.  I imagine I would have had a favorite and that would be awful.

So anyway.  This has been the confession of Sara, guilty cat lover.

The lingering death of my underwear

My underwear has recently taken a dive in structural integrity.  It’s old, but it has suddenly developed a lot of frayed threads and even holes.

This is distressing because these underwear, which I particularly like, are no longer made.  Which is a thing in women’s fashion.  Apparently, it’s IMPOSSIBLE to make the same thing for more than 5 years.  Even if it’s just bland boring underwear.  It’s illegal or something?

Anyway – this morning it has become clear: the death of my underwear is being pushed along by interactions with Rebel Tim, the kitten.  Who at this moment is in a such a desperate tangle with a pair of underwear that I’m fairly sure I might have rescue him or, more probably, the underwear.  Claws and teeth are not friends to old thin cotton.

sigh.

I should get up and save that underwear, but honestly, he’s so adorable in his underwear wrap that it’s hard to get behind stopping the behavior.   Which is ANOTHER problem with kittens.

Oprah Winfrey is NOT qualified to be President of the United States

I love her, but NO.

Being more qualified than Trump does NOT equal Qualified. 

Donald Trump is a bar so low a mouse could step across it.  He is not the bar we should measure candidates on.

Can we stop pretending that our government is Reality TV?

It’s not.

Can we stop confusing celebrity with experience and fitness for the job???

We need to fix the system that would allow us to vote stupidly for people because we see them on TV and therefore think this makes them qualified.

It was a nice speech.  BUT BEING PRESIDENT OF THE US is not an equivalent to being a great entertainer or even a great business person.

IT IS A DIFFERENT THING.

We deserve the apocalypse we get if we vote in another celebrity.  I have no patience for anyone who would vote for Oprah Winfrey.

There are great qualified candidates out in the world.  They just didn’t have a TV show or win a golden globe.

You want to drag in a qualified liberal candidate?  Convince Elizabeth Warren to run.  That is what qualified looks like.

Or – how about Kamala Harris – she is probably going to run.  GET YOUR LIBERAL ASS OUT OF YOUR MOUTH AND TALK HER UP.

Or if you prefer men – Tim Kaine.  You loved him as VP candidate, bet you can love him as POTUS.

OR if you like your men old and wildly liberal but mildly delusional – Sanders.

ALL of these candidates are WAY more qualified for the office than Winfrey.

We need to fix this system and put a set of REAL minimum qualifications into the job of POTUS.  Right now you just have to be 35 years old and have lived in the country for the previous 14 years and be a natural born citizen.  That’s it.  Only qualifications necessary.

Having a law background, or some previous government experience is utterly unrequired.  Being able to pass some basic ethical requirements also unnecessary.  We put appointees through a more rigorous reviews than we do the people we put up for elected officials.

We deserve the mess we get.

Money, it’s worrisome

I spend most of my time with a mild background worry about money.  I don’t make QUITE enough to be comfortable.  So I’m always counting, always deciding, always wary of the next expensive disaster.

Right now I’m facing a lot of expensive things and so I’m constantly re-shuffling my funds and re-prioritizing my spending.

What I realized is that it’s not the money that is worrisome.  It’s the uncertainty around it all.

For example – my car needs new tires.  How long can I put that off?  What if I only buy 2 at a time?  What if I got used, is that bad?  Where does one get used tires?

My tooth needs a filling.  It only hurts sometimes… Will that trend be OK for longer than the tire problem?

It’s not so much the money – it’s the uncertainty.  If I knew the answers to those questions, it would be easy to make the shuffling and prioritizing decisions.  But I don’t.

Most of my stress is about things I don’t know.  Because I hate to make the wrong choice.  Sometimes it’s possible to find an answer.  A lot of the tire questions have answers, but the tooth question doesn’t.  Nor does the consequence of not getting new tires in time.

 

 

Noticeable Improvement Plan

Because of my depression, normal everyday tasks often feel huge to me.  In the past this has created a lot of stupid chaos in my life.  Including living in disaster areas, otherwise known as my apartment.

The advantage of growing older is that you learn coping skills.  And one of those skills was to recognize that small improvements over time make A HUGE DIFFERENCE.

So now my goals are tiny and I only task myself with noticeable improvement, not perfection.

The holidays have not been particularly happy for me.  And this has led to me not putting things away and not keeping up on the tasks that keep the chaos at bay.  So the floor around the kitty litter didn’t get swept after I scooped and kitchen counters are littered with ingredients that didn’t get put away and the table is littered with various small gifts I got from work, etc.

The things that slowly turn a home into a disaster area are starting to build up.  So today is my day off and I started to do the things.  But I don’t intend do an intensive clean and leave this apartment in shining order.  I intend to improve the situation in a way that I will notice.  So I swept the floor, I didn’t mop it.  I will clear off the clutter but I won’t dust and polish the furniture.  Next week or next month the improvement task will be polishing furniture or waxing the floor.  But it’s OK that it’s not today.

An interesting thing happens when I look at life as an ongoing process of improvement rather than a defined goal of perfection.  I look for and find a thing that will improve it.   And when I no longer need the thing to be perfect, doing it is less burdensome.  I’m not chasing a fantasy of golden perfection.  I just want to see a difference.  I can find satisfaction in the improvement, rather than dissatisfaction at the perceived ways I didn’t meet the perfection goal.

My brain is very good at twisting things into huge hairy deals.  And I think that was part of what made keeping my environment in order when I was in my 20s so hard.  To 26 year old me the house needed to look like a magazine cover or there was no point to cleaning.  All of it should be cleaned to perfection at once.  So cleaning was a huge task.  And so I put it off and things just kept getting worse not improving.

Now I just want my house to feel comfortable and neat.  I no longer feel any burden if at the end of the day there is dust on the tables.  Because that is a task that can be done tomorrow and no one is any worse for it.

As a result my apartment is nearly always in a fairly decent condition.  It may need to be dusted but there is never so much stuff on the floor that I need to step around it.  The dishes are done and the kitty litter is always kept clean, there is no laundry on the floor and the garbage is always taken out.   Because of that, now when I’ve had a bad month, the only things that need to be done to make it feel better about it will take me less than 45 minutes to sort out.

Noticeable improvements.  It’s the only way to live life.

 

Joyous Christmas to You

It’s a white Christmas in Cincinitucky. Or at least there’s snow on the ground in my neighborhood. White Christmas is a fairly rare occurrence in Cincinnati.

Last night it looked like it was frosting the neighborhood with thick white icing.  The icing snow didn’t stick – too much blowing last night. But there is still snow on the ground. There will be another morning with icing snow to look forward to. It’s the only snow I like. The snow that makes it all look like a postcard.

If the universe was properly organized snow would ALWAYS ice everything like cake. But no. Conditions have to be perfect. And they rarely are.

I thought it was nice though that the Texas snow was an icing snow. It felt so much more like a gift, rather than a problem.

I was born in Puerto Rico and didn’t see snow until we moved to the States when I was 12. My parents insisted that I was much better off having not seen snow, having grown up in Wisconsin and Indiana respectively. But a child always wants what it can’t have. And I thought I was deprived.

Anyway, when I was 12, my father got transferred to Illinois and we moved to the US 2 days after the blizzard of 77. It was cold and there was snow. I was excited to see it.

We arrived into O’hare and all the snow was black. It was horrid. It was dark and cold and the snow was black. And then I got a stomach flu on the drive to Bloomington. So my father pulled over 3 times for me to throw up into dirty snow banks.

I did not enjoy that winter.

The following winter we moved to Connecticut. That was where I saw the snow that I had always dreamed of for the first time. The snow that you see in postcards. It was heavy white wet snow that iced everything in perfect white downiness.

My mother explained to me how snow was different depending on the current temp, the previous temp and wind. I became a connoisseur of snow for a while. Fascinated by it’s varying textures and what produced them. The pinnacle for me will always be the icing. But a hoar frost is a lovely fragile second, even if it’s not technically snow.

College took away all the fascination. There is something about having to trudge a mile to class in the cold, on icy/snowy sidewalks that removes the allure.

 

Optimism is Irrational

I think of optimism as a denial of reality.  Both in it’s modern pop psych sense and in it’s original philosophical sense.

The original philosophy was that We are living in the best possible world.  Clearly evidence abounds that this not true.  But since it was a religious viewpoint it didn’t have to be factual, it only had to explain why the world sucked and to make people think that the world sucking was the best possible thing.   The odd part is that it is so easy to subvert into making your current choice be OK.  So one could do horrible thing or not help in horrible situations and just say – this is the best possible choice because this is the best possible world.

Today though, optimists are really just positive thinkers and so don’t say that this is the best possible world, but they use a variation of it.  They look at the happy side of life in all situations.  But in order to do that, one has to ignore the bad things.  Or one has to manipulate one’s view of a situation to change a negative thing into a positive thing.  So an optimist drops a glass of red wine and says “one less glass to wash!” “I need to drink less, this was fortunate.”  How pleasant and positive.  But it ignores the red wine stain on the white carpet.  The dangerous broken glass that needs to cleaned up.  And if you need to drink less – that is a problem that requires an active solution, not an accidental chance.

When I worked in Corporate America, this positivity thing was toxic.  They would implement a change and if anyone expressed a concern or pointed out a problem, they were labeled negative.  Don’t Be A Complainer!  Be Positive about Change!  As though that would fix things.  But it quite naturally did not. Instead it taught people to avoid pointing out issues. As a result changes were often littered with problematic outcomes that everyone worked around without complaining to anyone who could fix it.  More work but better for your career.   Looking at problems and addressing them fixes it.  Pretending they don’t exist does not.

That corporate positivity is an offshoot of the pop-psychobabble that pretends that if people think positively everything will turn up roses.  Affirmations of positive things!  Project your best future!  Imagine  your best life and it will appear!   It’s not quite the same thing as positivity, but it takes that same delusional manipulation of reality as its platform and just magnifies it 10 fold by including magical thinking.

I think we need to look at life complexly.  I recognize and don’t think that we should ignore the positive aspects of life.  And I think being able to see the silver lining is good. But it is a silver lining in a storm.  It’s not the entirety of the situation.

Optimism and Pessimism are equally pointless projections.  There is value in Reality.  In looking at the entire situation and acknowledging all of it.  In the long run it means positive change.  Because there is no point in changing if this is the best of all possible worlds or if all I do is focus on the positive and ignore the negative.

It’s important to see that same situation can be viewed from different perspectives, as with half empty / half full glass.  Because we need to be aware that all we are doing is changing our own viewpoint, not the situation.  The amount of water in the glass remains fixed.   But being able to see it both ways makes you aware of the flaw of perspective.  If you focus only on how full it is, you may not recognize that you will need more water.  If you focus on how empty it is you may panic and start hoarding water.  If you realize that there are two perspectives you can set that aside and look for larger context.  How much water do I have and how much do I need and what actions do I need to take?

Reality is Complicated.  Simplification doesn’t help you.  Positivity / Optimism is simplification.

There is a cold on my horizon.

I’m surrounded by the cell exploding virus at work.  It started with the boss, but it has gotten a good foothold in the office and I’m just waiting for it to smack me around.

I just sneezed and am now sure I will wake up tomorrow with a sore throat and giant head cold.

Last week on Reddit someone on r/ask science asked why we are tired and weak when we have colds.  And someone answered.  And gave a complete answer on what is happening inside your body when you have a cold.

The only part that counts is that your cells are exploding.  THEY ARE EXPLODING, JIM! Essentially a virus invades your cell, replicates until your cell can’t hold it and then the EXPLOSION!  Now virus is splattered all over the neighboring cells who get invaded and the cycle repeats until your immune system kicks in.  That’s when you start to feel SUPER CRAPPY.  Mucus, fever, inflammation, etc.

It’s our own immune system trying to eradicate the virus that makes us feel like crap.  BUT EXPLODING CELLS.  I never got past that.

I’m gonna assume the sore throat is the cells exploding.  I’m just connecting dots, but if you recall that fire-like sore throat that started your last cold, you will agree that it all makes more sense once you realize your throat is like a battle field of exploding cells.

Anyway, I’m just waiting for the grenades to go off.

What are you doing.

The Difference between Hope and Optimism

Sometimes – Sheenagh Pugh

Sometimes things don’t go, after all,
from bad to worse.  Some years, muscadel
faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don’t fail,
sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.

A people sometimes will step back from war;
elect an honest man, decide they care
enough, that they can’t leave some stranger poor.
Some men become what they were born for.

Sometimes our best efforts do not go
amiss, sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
that seemed hard frozen:  may it happen for you.

I’m not a fan of optimism.  It strikes me as irrational.

But this poem, fully recognizes every goddamn thing usually does go wrong and reminds us that sometimes the world steps forward into the light and things go right. We survie a new day better than the previous one.  Sometimes.

What I find most encouraging is that those sometimes moments seem to have more power than I give them credit for.  Because the arc of history suggests things are improving for humankind.   Slowly creeping toward a place that in the exhausting daily battle of today’s world affairs it seems impossible to achieve.

Fewer children die, more diseases get eradicated or controlled,  there is less war.  It feels impossible to believe but it is true. And it was achieved by just a few people.  A small percentage of us took initiative.  A few people were the sometimes and things got better.   The power of those moments of sometimes is great.

It’s important to remember when the world feels like it is sliding irrevocably into a pit of despair.  There is a crack of light in the distance.  The darkness, while deep and present, is not complete.