Making the Magick happen… HOME SWEET HOME!

I am writing this blog post to honor two special Ladies.  One of them is very dear to me.  Her name is Anna, and I love her with all the love a Mom can give her Daughter.  The other Lady is someone new to me.  Her name is Tara, and although we have not yet met in person, she and her needs were placed in my path by the Goddess, and I happily stumbled upon her, grateful for the opportunity to help her and her family.

These two Ladies are nervous and excited about upcoming adventures in their lives… one being a short 20-mile drive (less than 1 hour), the other being a lengthy 1,170-mile drive (more than 19 hours)!  Regardless of the 1,150-mile difference between the two measurements, these are moves which will link all of us together.

Anna… you are my beloved and precious daughter, of whom I am most proud.  Very shortly, you and your family will be loading-up all your belongings, and you will be heading South to start a new life in Tennessee.  Will we miss you?  Of course we will, but there is no need to be afraid of the unknown.  You have spent vacation time there and enjoyed it; now you can build the next chapter of your life there.  You’ll still have your friends and family here in the North, and with the wonders of the internet you will be able to keep in touch with us whenever you like!  There’s an old round-about chant I learned when I was a Brownie/Girl-Scout, and it goes like this:

Make new friends,
But keep the old…
One is silver,
And the other is gold.

I am positive that this sentiment is true.  It won’t take but a few minutes a week to remember those of us left behind in New York… including Tara!

Tara told me that Anna wants their families to meet for a last bonfire at the property… and I believe this is a great idea!  So Ladies… make those arrangements, and take lots of photographs to share amongst our families.  We have been brought together with the hub of the sacred wheel this time being 42 Dalton Road.  I want to see the handing-over of that special home from one “Lady of the House” to the next.  I’d like to have photographs to frame, display and share which show the trust, respect and new friendships developing amongst our families.

Tara… you and Brian – and your lovely daughters – soon will move into a house that will be your home, just as Anna moved in and made it her home.  We are easy-going folks who believe in the “Pay it Forward” philosophy.  We  have been blessed with the ability to help families regain their balance without stumbling, and ask only that they do the same for others, in the future.

I am so proud of you, Anna… and I am proud of you as well, Tara.

I truly hope that with new beginnings, new adventures, and new memories, that we can develop a friendship that will span many years.

learned to give

Day #72

Image

I turned 58 years of age on May 10th. I have been working since I was 15, although then it was part time at McDonald’s as I had to finish my high school days, and begin and complete 4 years of college. Once I attained my B.S. degree (in Communication Arts & Sciences – Journalism) from St. John’s University, I found my days were filled with seeking jobs, finding jobs, working at jobs, leaving jobs, and seeking more jobs. Work is good. It builds character, it provides income… but sometimes, enough is enough.

Today is Day #72 – the seventy-second day without my having to devote all my time and energy and caring to someone/something not a member of my family… the seventy-second day without having to spend 12 hours of the daily 24 either getting ready to leave my home for work, working somewhere that was not my home, and returning to my home only eat, toil, crash and sleep for 8-9 hours until repeating the cycle again and again.

On St. Patrick’s Day during 2014, my Boss and I were unceremoniously locked out of our office and prevented from doing our jobs by a megalomaniac who is – unfortunately – his eldest brother and landlord, the owner of the building where our business was located. For our purposes here, we shall call that eldest brother Big Dick. Big Dick – besides being a megalomaniac – is a narcissist, a compulsive liar, an alcoholic, and a bully with a filthy mouth who is cheating on his wife with the office manager whom we shall call Linda. Linda is in the process of divorcing her (abusive) husband… for Big Dick… while Big Dick goes through the motions of pretending to divorce his wife (which he has been saying he was doing for over 20 years)! Linda would ask my Boss and me for our opinions and we’d tell her the truth, that it was not good, this leaping from the frying pan into the fire, and that Big Dick had been cruel and abusive to his wife and their 4 children, all 3 of her children are seeing therapists now because of the chaos caused by the selfish adults in their lives, and all 4 of Big Dick’s kids can’t stand Linda’s children (saying they are “just too weird for words”) and they have Linda classified as a “Gold Digger Supreme” who is after their Dad’s money! We can only guess that she didn’t want to hear the truth. She became not only an enabler to her alcoholic boyfriend, but she has begun drinking too much herself, singing the praises of large goblets of wine at extended lunch hours, and fancy martinis while traveling cross-country with Big Dick on the company’s expense account, hoping the paid babysitter would be able to handle things in her absence.

Linda never told the schools that she would be gone, and a babysitter would be in charge during her absence, to keep the kids from their father. Authority figures were calling the office in her absence, refusing to release the children to a stranger and threatening to call CPS, which had been done before. She is going from believing parental abuse was normal – her mother and father used to beat her and drag her by her hair… – to accepting spousal abuse – her husband had broken her shoulder during their engagement, and it got worse after the “I dos” were said… – to having a cruel and ignorant boyfriend whom she sees lose his temper on a daily basis, screaming and cursing at anyone who declines to “do it his way.”

It had become a terribly uncomfortable situation, and my Boss and I believe that Big Dick felt threatened by our friendship, the ongoing arguments they were having, and the truth Linda asked to hear.  Each year, the arguments between Big Dick and my Boss got worse, with Big Dick spending hours playing Solitaire on the office computer and refusing to attend Court appearances.  We guess he thought that locking the door would solve everything, but he never looked far enough into the future.

For awhile, my Boss and I felt free and content – and under his instruction, I filed for unemployment insurance. My Boss promised to stand up for me if Big Dick tried to fight my claim, and the result is that I am receiving the weekly payments I deserve.  Also, it came to pass that no one knew how to handle our files, and the help that had to be hired was nowhere near what he thought it would be. We hear that the doors are always locked and the windows are never open.  The cigars he chain-smokes in opposition to the law and the rank toilet smells his body causes every hour are enough to cause clients to flee the office in disgust.

My Boss had been trying to decide how to proceed with life.  Unfortunately, things became too much for his wife, and totally unexpectedly, she committed suicide a few weeks later. My Boss was the one who immediately felt something strange in the atmosphere, and he found her, but not fast enough to bring back her spirit although he did try. We don’t know why she did it, although we can suspect by the things he and I discussed over the 8 years he and I worked together. She left behind an adult daughter, two very young children, one of whom has special needs… and her husband, my Boss. He is devastated and overwhelmed, and it breaks my heart to see him so confused, angry and hurt. Big Dick is so much the narcissist that he attempted to make the wake and funeral all about himself. It was shocking to witness – and yes, I was there – and my Boss has made the wise decision to cut him out of his life, permanently, and devote all of his time to his children, who need him especially in the absence of their Mom.

In spite of all this… did I like my recent job? Well, yes, I did… very much. I had performed the specific functions of my position for many years at different firms, and I cared deeply for my Boss as you can tell. (We remain caring friends even now, and will remain so.) I felt called to help injured people fight for financial settlements because I was there, once, in that very position (see photos at link, below – warning, some show graphic injuries).

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152018615361992.458755.593281991&type=1&l=3aa7448a07

People would come to us injured, scared, fragile, ignorant… it was for my Boss and me to guide them to a positive resolution. But now, you know what? It’s time for me to guide myself to a positive resolution, to a good place in my life.

I’m amazingly calm about being unemployed. I have lost a great deal of weight (30 pounds, and more to follow!) and I sleep peacefully.  My doctor is pleasantly surprised by my new good health. As always, I still use coupons, buy from thrift shops, and prepare frugal meals. I feel joyous to be able to use this abundance of free time to practice my religion, work in my garden, clean my house, go through boxes of “old stuff” and set-up and decorate my studio where - FINALLY! - I have a personal place where I can work on my art – making “objects” to share, give as gifts, and sometimes even sell. Sometimes collages, sometimes cards, sometimes jewelry, sometimes pretty things that cannot be classified as anything other than “art.”  Finally, too, I can work on my book (a cozy mystery novel).  I just have to get over the negative thinking, that saying I’m writing a book is “pretentious.”  After all, books come from writers, and I’m a writer, so wish me luck, because a book is what it is!

It also hurts, though, because without my income we are unable to continue being the philanthropists we have been… and it hurts, too, being unable to help my Boss fight the incredible pain he feels every day in the home where his wife did what she did to herself, and her family.  It’s easy for me to say “Everything happens for a reason,” but I keep that to myself when he is around. I just know it is the truth, and my family and I will be around to offer him help and companionship for as long as he needs us. It’s sad that the same event caused us to land in such different places.

The Divine Feminine… the Triple Goddess… and a poem for my SisterWomen

h

The above image is from the following website entry:

http://judithkusel.wordpress.com/2013/07/06/the-return-of-the-divine-feminine-and-the-triple-goddess/

Many thoughts expressed clearly and beautifully
in this entry by Judith Kusel are thoughts I share.

This morning,
I was inspired by her writing
to compose the following,
to share with you.
May you enjoy it.

stepbystep

We, SisterWomen all,
need not be
exactly the same.
How boring to feel and see
nothing different,
through the game
we call life.
So much of our value
is found in our variety:
mothers and sisters,
in laughter and sobriety,
teachers and students,
givers and receivers both,
friends and lovers
and laborers in many ways,
along the path we humans walk.
Along the Circle of Life,
through the darkness of night
and the brightness of day,
in sadness and in joy,
we hope and strive to do our best,
then stumble, embarassed, from jealousy,
and recover, relieved, from generosity.
Imperfect and flawed are we,
still we work and rest,
we walk, and run,
we trip and fall,
we reach, and rise up
and call out to those we hope may have
the wisdom and gentility
to meet our needs,
heal our wounds
and share their strength with us
as we learn to cope.
Hold out your hands and offer care,
sympathy, encouragement
to Sisters dear,
then honor yourself, and who you are,
embrace yourself now,
and who you wish to be.
Step by step,
by work and by prayer,
I [re]build myself
I’m almost there…
sometimes hesitant,
or a petulant child,
learning how to walk the miles,
frustrated then, and stumbling again
with skinned elbows and scarred knees
but with millions of glorious memories
all resting one upon the other
like a Jenga tower of hopes and dreams
all of which make us unique,
with value and beauty
shining bright,
a blessed variety
of sacred lights,
all glowing from within.

Namaste.

Some Angels Have Paws

Some Angels Have Paws.

I am sharing this on behalf of my friend, Jules, who has C.P., and is struggling to obtain funds for a Service Dog. 

Please read her blog, and consider making a donation in lieu of a Christmas gift for those of your friends who have dogs or other pets.

Victory for the Maetreum… and ALL of us! ~ “Opening the Floodgates” Dealing with an Openly Bigoted Town, Catskill, New York

maetreum sign

The fight was long, hard and expensive…
but CONGRATULATIONS are in order
as the Maetreum has WON its appeal! 

Pertinent info can be read at the Wild Hunt:

http://wildhunt.org/2013/11/maetreum-of-cybele-win-tax-fight.html

In fact, the case made the front page
of the New York Law Journal yesterday (11/25/13) -

Maetreum of Cybele v. McCoy, 515598

http://www.newyorklawjournal.com/CaseDecisionNY.jsp?id=1202629484850&Maetreum_of_Cybele_v_McCoy_515598

If you’d like to know more about the property and the Maetreum,
both past history and present times, please visit these links:

http://www.gallae.com/

http://centralhouse.gallae.com/

For those of you interested in the history of the property-tax issue,
here are a few links to entries still on the web
which reference the hard-fought
(and for me and mine, rightfully-won)
battle of wills and law.
Some are positive, and some are negative…
but it is only right and fair
to provide fully-balanced information.

(The first is from where I “borrowed” the title for this blog-entry.)

“Opening the Floodgates” Dealing with an Openly Bigoted Town, Catskill, New York.

http://radicalbitch.wordpress.com/tag/msyogyny/

http://www.registerstar.com/news/article_80fc73ba-6453-5e05-ab0f-763a9f8472a3.html

http://danadeilers.com/the-maetreum-of-cybele/

http://womenborntranssexual.com/2012/08/11/palenvilles-pagans-lose-religious-tax-exemption-case/

(photo credit – Cathryn Platine, Viktoria Whittaker)

Roar

wiccanwoman:

This woman is my HERO[INE]. Enjoy!

Originally posted on amanda trusty says:

I’ve written two blog posts in the past month about forgiving my career, and New York City, for the bruising I’ve allowed both to cause me. This 20th blog post, is the wrap up for those two posts.

About three weeks ago, I performed a burlesque piece in a fundraiser for Hawaii Gay Pride.

TeaseShow107

While I literally peeled the words “cellulite” and “suck it in” off my body, as a part of the piece I created in order to share my journey, I thought to myself, “This is Broadway to me.”

I think this video speaks a million words for my journey, and no more explanation is needed, other than explaining that burlesque is an art form where clothing is removed. So you will see skin. You will see all of my passion. And you will hear screams from over 200 people who have shared part of my journey with…

View original 56 more words

Run Through the Rain – King Solomon, Ecclesiastes 3

The original of what you are about to read was sent to me as a chain letter. It had been copied and pasted, typos and all, over and over again, complete with different fonts and colors and e-mail addresses for hundreds of strangers I’ll never know (as that’s what happens when you don’t snip for brevity, and when you forget to use the BCC utility in your e-mail program).

I did not write the brief original, and I don’t know how long it’s been
floating around the `net, but I was inspired to refine parts of it.
I removed some details and added others to render it more “generic”
so it wouldn’t apply only to those with certain illnesses,
or those who followed certain religions.
I saw potential for much more, and so, here it is.

I hope you enjoy it, and that you can enjoy your own run through the rain.

A little girl had been out shopping with her Mom. She probably was about 6 years old, a red-haired, freckle-faced image of innocence. They had been safe and dry inside the store, but now that it was time to run their next errand, it began pouring outside. It was the kind of downpour that gushes out over rain gutters, so much in a hurry to hit the earth that it has no time to flow through the leaders to the downspouts. There hadn’t been any rain in weeks, and so the ground was hard, cracked and dry, and aching to be made wet. The heavy heat of the day was being beaten back by the torrents of water, and relief showed in the faces of those huddled together beneath the awning, just outside the door to the parking lot. Everyone waited, some patiently, some irritated, because Mother Nature had messed with their schedules.

The rainfall was mesmerizing. They all just stood there, lost in the sound and sight of water sluicing across the pavement and blacktop, washing away the dirt and dust of the world. Memories of running and splashing carefree came pouring in as a welcome reprieve from the worries of the day.

An excited young voice was heard, breaking the trance of all who were present.

“Mom, let’s run through the rain,” it said.

“What?” Mom asked.

“Let’s run through the rain!” The little red-head girl repeated.

“No, honey. We’ll wait until it slows down a bit,” Mom replied.

This youngster waited a moment, and then said again, eagerly,
“Mom, let’s run through the rain!”

“We’ll get soaked if we do,” Mom sighed.

“No, we won’t, Mom. That’s not what you said this morning.”
The young girl tugged at her Mom’s arm. “Come on!”

“This morning? When did I say we could run through the rain and not get wet?”

“It was when you were talking to Daddy about what the doctors said!” The woman’s face paled as she looked down at her child. “Mom, you said, ‘If God/dess helps get us through this, then we can get through anything!’ Don’t you remember?”

All around them was silence, but for the sound of the rain.
Some felt embarrassed by such a private moment in the midst of strangers.
They tried to not listen, but that was impossible.

The Mom paused for a moment, and found herself at a crossroads, gifted with a response from deep within. Some might laugh it off or scold her for being silly, for having no discipline, but she knew she was blessed with inspiration, a moment of affirmation in a young child’s life, a time when innocent trust can be nurtured so that it will bloom
into a faith worth having.

“Honey,” she said, “you are absolutely right. Let’s run through the rain.
If God/dess lets us get wet, well – maybe we just needed washing.”

As everyone stood watching, the pair held hands, laughing and smiling, as they darted past the parked cars and splashed through the growing puddles. They got soaked, and the little girl squealed with delight as her Mom swung her skyward before helping her into her car seat. In moments, they were followed by others
who took the inspiration as their own and screamed and giggled and laughed
like children as they, too, ran all the way to their cars.

They, too, had just needed washing… cleansing from the cares of the day, rinsing their worries down the drain in the welcome rainfall.

Like them, may all of you be able to run through the rain.

“To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.”
- King Solomon, Ecclesiastes 3.

happiness

Obtuse, and grateful for it…

I have a close friend who has several mental health issues. For the sake of confidentiality in this writing, let’s call my friend “Lara.” Lara is fighting quite hard to remain (relatively) sane in what seems to be an increasingly insane world, and my Clan and I are there for her.

Lara enjoys regular visits with a therapist and a psychiatrist, and in the past she had attended weekly group therapy sessions in which all attendees were female of body (but some were other-gender defined). The leader/therapist of that group was male, but he was (and is) a cool dude, who simply acted as a guide and referee if necessary, so no problem there.

Anyway, after attending about a year of these Saturday afternoon group sessions, my friend and another woman drew close. (For the sake of this writing, let’s call this other woman “Dina.”) At first, Lara and Dina disliked one another. Lara would tell me how harsh and “in your face” this Dina could be. Over time, they noticed that they shared opinions about certain issues being discussed during group, and spoke up for one another during particularly harsh sessions. They became friendly… they would go to lunch to chat… and then they became friends. It was like having a girl-crush in junior high. They would spend hours together, and then go home, and finally talk on the phone into the wee hours of the night.

At first, I was glad of it. I was able to meet Dina, and she shared with me the details of her life. She has made great strides. She has a right to be proud of herself and how far she has come in spite of her disabilities. The interaction between Lara and Dina seemed to help abate the loneliness each felt in her own life. They discussed their numerous differences, but also their numerous similarities. Many aspects of their childhoods are horrifically the same, and they can spend hours ruminating about past events.

Well, it’s been about five years now, and Lara and Dina have been through a lot of ups and downs, the details of which I will not mention here (as that would be too identifying). I know that friendships can take unexpected twists and turns throughout life, but I have been witness to this relationship crashing and burning frequently, most recently just last weekend.

Last night, I made some time to visit with Lara, just the two of us. She was pouring out her heart to me (again!) about how she is feeling “taken advantage of, used and abused” by Dina (again!). I was taken aback, as I had thought things were better between them (again!). I mentioned that I’d thought their friendship had smoothed out (again!), and it wasn’t as debilitating as it had been at times before (again!). I reminded Lara (again!), “Where did you meet this woman?… in group therapy. Therapy. Both of you were attending group therapy for a reason, and you both continue to see your therapists at the center alone every week. Neither one of you is without issues, and sometimes you both have subscriptions.”

I asked her why she deliberately goes against her mental health plan, why she keeps such things from me and her therapist, pretending that everything is super-cali-fragi-listic-expi-ali-docious when as part of an agreement with her therapist, she has promised to share with me when she is feeling “down.” I asked, outright. And her response? Here it comes. Wait for it.

judgingaperson

“I don’t want you to judge Dina.”

**insert puzzled face here** “What?”

“And Dina doesn’t want you to judge her, either.”

“What does that mean?”

“Dina is already judged by other people in her life, and she is afraid you will judge her.”

**puzzled face continues here** “I don’t get it.”

“What? What don’t you get?”

judging a person

“I don’t get what that means. What does that word ‘judge’ mean?”

And that, my friends, is when I was shrieked at, and was called obtuse. A few excerpts follow.

judge mother t

“You’re in law, you don’t know what the word ‘judge’ means?”

“Of course I know, but what does ‘judging’ Dina mean? Can I go arrest her? Break down her door and take her to jail? Discontinue her disability payments? Take away her food? Evict her? What? What does ‘judging’ mean?”

“Why are you pretending? You know you can’t do those things! You’re not stupid, you know what ‘judge’ means! You’re deliberately doing this!”

Judgement-beecher

**puzzled face continues here** “I still don’t get it… then why is it important?”

“Because you’d be judging her! She doesn’t want anyone judging her!”

Well, this interaction went on for a good five minutes, around and around, with Lara getting more and more upset and me getting more and more frustrated because I couldn’t understand the point. It was a Mobius strip, the same words being said over and over, the same path taken again and again, with no way off.

Mobius_Latch_Left

I’ve suggested to both of them – and their therapists – that their relationship isn’t healthy, but Lara and Dina remain co-dependent, and their therapists and I worry this toxic arrangement may damage them both, especially when they lie about things being just fine. However, that is not the point of my entry today… which is… I still do not know what this “judging” means, and why it is so gosh-darned important!

Thinking back on it now, it would have been better had my mind been clear enough to ask a different question, like “What would be the penalties Dina would have to endure if I were to ‘judge’ Dina?” Regardless, that ship has sailed, but while writing this entry I took a morning coffee/reading break, and was gifted to come across a beautiful and blessed blog entry (thanks, Jes) to aid me as I try my darndest to figure out — WTF was all that about?

My inspiration? This!

http://www.themilitantbaker.com/2013/09/i-never-read-comments-but-sometimes.html

…and after having read it – several times – I see that it offers some clarity and wisdom: to “judge” someone = to hold an opinion about someone… but opinions do not matter… and if opinions don’t matter, than neither does the “judging.” It’s all so much unnecessary worry, stemming from what other people think… what they think doesn’t matter either… and I’d much rather be on this Mobius strip than that other one.

comfy with self

The American Dream… or the American Nightmare?

learned to give

http://www.occupydemocrats.com/watch-a-liberal-economist-school-a-conservative-cnbc-host-on-the-minimum-wage/

I watched this video, and was shocked by the quoted statistics:

“. . . [the] American labor landscape has endured drastic changes in the last 50 years, with over 88% of America’s low-wage workers being ADULTS and 44% having at least some college education. . . [and] the typical American worker who would be affected by a raise in the minimum wage actually brings in half of his household’s total earnings!”

I knew it was bad, but I didn’t realize it was that bad.

I read the comments, too.  One was made by Benjamin Bowman · Big Rapids High School:

“The fact is, that if your working in a $10/hr or less job, there isn’t really a lot to look forward to promotion wise. If your in fast food, you could get promoted to management of some kind. So from $7.50/hr as an employee to $8.50/hr as a manager. Then lets say you do manage to get promoted to GM, well a lot of places are only going to pay you $12-13/hr in the top job you can get in that field. Low wage jobs are always going to pay as little as possible, why should we stand for companies paying full time people an amount so low that nobody can live off it?” – comment posted August 30 at 3:57pm

I started writing a reply, but found I could not be brief.  As I grew more long-winded, I turned it into a blog entry instead.  Then, I noticed yet another comment I wanted to mention:

Adam Montano · Pima Medical, Yuba Com, Storz advanced medical systems:

” “Anyone can work their way up to the top” and ” the American dream” are concepts that these a-hole have turned into weapons against the American people. Until Americans realize that these are just the carrots that are dangled in front of their noses we will continue being what they cons dally want us all to be, their beasts of burdens.” – posted at August 30 at 4:10pm

Gentlemen, there is much wisdom in what you say… more than you know.

I remember my first “real job” – at a brand-spanking-new McDonald’s on Flatbush off Snyder in Brooklyn, NY, back in the mid-70s.  These first-time business-owners were smart.  They chose a location only one block from Erasmus High School, so there would be a guaranteed stream of income and employees.  Fast-food was a big upcoming thing, and the line went around the block for an employment application.  My friend Ei and I were two of the lucky ones first interviewed, then chosen for training and employment.  I worked there 4 or 5 days a week (after school, until closing at midnight), and also on weekends.  We “kids” worked alongside several adults who were performing the same jobs (including my own Mother LOL).  We made up a nice mix of everything – color, race, religion, age, gender, etc. – and those differences were meaningless to us.  We all were staff, we all got paid the same hourly wage, we all worked very hard at what we did, and we all were loyal to our employers (“Rob” and “Roy” – I wonder if you’re still out there!) and to one another… until the employers and their immediate underlings started getting abusive.  They’d spread false gossip, pit us against one another, and cut hours for no reason.  It got pretty ugly, but they were in charge and we needed the money.  Some of us left, some of us stayed.  In that first job, I learned a lesson — a boss (usually) is not your friend.  They didn’t care about anything but filling their pockets… oh… and seducing the occasional cashier, who then might get a raise, and more hours.

A handful of us became “crew chiefs,” “assistant managers,” or “managers,” but not a single one of us ever got past that ceiling into “big business.”  None of us became store owners, which to this day involves a hefty sum of money to buy-into a franchise.  None of us could save enough to make that investment on what we were being paid.  It took every dollar we made to further our educations, and support ourselves and our families.  I can see what the speakers in the video meant about “entry level jobs” and advancing up the ladder from there, but that’s where their wisdom ends.  It doesn’t always happen that way, and sometimes you have to go from ladder to ladder to ladder just to find that first step UP. 

I was lucky, and tenacious.  I attended college (SJU – on grants, financial aid, scholarships and my own cash) but even with a 4-year BS degree, I never got a job in my major that paid much more than McDonalds was paying!  It was frustrating.  Hard work and difficult choices brought me to a place of financial security in adulthood from which I attempt to help others, because I know first-hand what it’s like to need a hand UP and not a hand OUT. 

Nowadays, we find discrimination and prejudice against everyone and everything, but it was easier back then because many of the laws we have today just didn’t exist.  Women?  Check.  African-Americans?  Check.  Muslims?  Check.  Unmarried parents?  Check.  People with HIV?  Check.  A female African-American Muslimah who is a single-mother and has HIV?  Check-check-check-check-check!  The list goes on and on… and on.  The more categories – the more prejudiced (some) people can be.  Oftentimes prejudice evolves into discrimination, which then may fall into the current category of illegal behavior.  Some employers know just how to work around these “uncomfortable issues” as I found out first hand as an employee in the legal profession (a career in which I remain today).

I remember working at one law office, the first one that ever hired me (via a temp agency). It was a husband-wife partnership.  After years of devotion (babysitting their kids in the office while working my job, hemming the wife’s dresses, running their errands on my own time, cleaning the office and its bathroom, emptying the trashcans, etc.) and receiving a take-home pay of $464.75 a week, I resigned… and then was denied wages and vacation pay which were due me. I had to sue for money that was rightfully mine.  I had no idea I should have been receiving overtime pay.  I had no idea that other of my rights were being violated, and that I should have complained to the EEOC.  The money I received from suing my ex-employer went to pay my own attorney.  Once I was paid what I was owed and I signed a release, I could do nothing further about the situation.  The male half of that partnership went on to establish a practice working on behalf of abused employees – like me! – because he found out what a close-call he’d had by not following the law.

I also remember my years working for “the 2nd-largest employment-law firm in the United States,” which represents employers against their employees.  Unions still loudly protest meetings at their offices with huge inflatable rats because they were known as “union-busters” and were oh-so-proud of it!  I’d come home sick to my stomach, seeing how employees were treated as the enemy, and how employers were being taught to get around the law.  It’s a huge, vile subculture, and it disgusted me enough that I quit without a new job in sight.

I’ve worked at other law offices, and have learned useful lessons at every one of them, but the most valuable lesson of all was “KNOW YOUR RIGHTS AND TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF BECAUSE NOBODY WILL DO THAT FOR YOU.”

I work now as a paralegal on behalf of clients who have suffered injuries.  I’ve never been more content, and I thoroughly enjoy what I do. I was led to that career when I, myself, was hurt in 1987. A traumatic accident shattered the lower half of my face. My jaw was broken in more than one place, and most of my teeth were fractured or knocked out. A portion of my lip was severed, and I still have nerve damage. (I have photos. If you’d like to see them, just ask.) The attorney who worked on my behalf in that case suggested I might like to help others, and he was 100% correct. It took a long time for me to find the career which was right for me, and to do my job well enough that my employer is happy to have me. I am paid a salary worthy of my skill set… but my career has nothing to do with the major I studied in college. I do not believe in coincidences. I was led to where I am today. 

I am a few years shy of what is considered official retirement age in the United States, and I’ve been able to save and invest for my future.  Today’s minimum wage earners might not have time enough left in their lives to find – and climb – that proverbial ladder. Some are trying to raise children and/or support their elders while working two or more part-time jobs because no single job will give them enough hours to provide them with medical insurance and advancement opportunities.  Some would rather go to jail (see link immediately below).

http://www.nationofchange.org/sick-oregon-man-robs-bank-one-dollar-get-health-care-jail-1378042832

Sacrificing his freedom was the price Mr. Alsip felt he had to pay to receive medical care, and I am ashamed of my country for forcing such a choice upon him.

The days of working for one employer for a lifetime, and receiving a pat on the back, a handshake, a gold watch and a guaranteed pension are long gone. 

Here is a link to an article about eleven of the battles American workers are still fighting:

http://www.nationofchange.org/eleven-other-things-american-workers-deserve-besides-day-1378217807

It’s sad that employers – and governments – in other countries of the world respect their population more than ours do. So…  “`Murica the great?”  Maybe, maybe not.  I don’t like a lot of what I see these days, and at age 57, all I can do is strive to make my own little corner of my huge country “great” and keep on keeping on, for me and for those others whom I can help.

Eccentricity… contentment… happiness….

normal insult

adjust your sails

From Wikipedia…

Eccentricity — is often associated with genius, intellectual giftedness or creativity. The individual’s eccentric behavior is perceived to be the outward expression of their unique intelligence or creative impulse. In this vein, the eccentric’s habits are incomprehensible not because they are illogical or the result of madness, but because they stem from a mind so original that it cannot be conformed to societal norms. English utilitarian thinker John Stuart Mill (b. 1806) wrote that “the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigour, and moral courage which it contained”, and mourned a lack of eccentricity as “the chief danger of the time”. Edith Sitwell (b. 1887) wrote that eccentricity is “often a kind of innocent pride”, also saying that geniuses and aristocrats are called eccentrics because “they are entirely unafraid of and uninfluenced by the opinions and vagaries of the crowd.” Eccentricity is also believed to be associated with great wealth. What would be considered to be signs of insanity in a poor person is generally accepted as eccentricity in these people. . . . Eccentrics may or may not comprehend the standards for normal behavior in their culture. They are simply unconcerned by society’s disapproval of their habits or beliefs. Many of history’s most brilliant minds have displayed some unusual behaviors and habits. . . . Psychologist Dr. David Weeks mentions people with a mental illness “suffer” from their behavior, while eccentrics are quite happy. He even states eccentrics are less prone to mental illness than everyone else.

According to studies, there are [eighteen? - not all were listed] distinctive characteristics that differentiate a healthy eccentric person from a regular person or someone who has a mental illness (although some may not always apply). The first five are in most people regarded as eccentric:

1. Nonconforming attitude
2. Idealistic
3. Intense curiosity
4. Happy obsession with a hobby or hobbies
5. Knew very early in their childhood that they were different from others
6. Highly intelligent
7. Opinionated and outspoken
8. Unusual living or eating habits
9. Sometimes not interested in the opinions or company of others
10. Strong moral obligations (against infidelity, strong family values, ultrareligious)
11. Mischievous sense of humor

Whoa… THAT’S ME! Content… happy… ECCENTRIC.

being happy king

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