Friday, November 21, 2014

Brats, Dogs and Less Savoury Stuff

There's some people trying to rebrand us military Brats.  (If you aren't a Brat you may want to skip the rest of this)  They want to change our name to Champs (Child Heroes Attached to Military Personnel).  The Brat community is in a huge uproar over this for several reasons.  The primary one being we never asked to be re-branded and have our identity taken from us.  We are proud of our Brat label.  We find it offensive to be called heroes.  Those who serve are heroes, not those of us who were along for the ride.  The people doing this present themselves as a non-profit out to help civilian kids better understand Brats.  Truth is, once you look past the smoke and mirrors it's a for profit company, who has trademarked the name Champs and is currently touring Europe on the USO's dime.  It's unclear what civilian children they are reaching in overseas DoD schools.  To add insult to injury, neither of the people pushing this rebranding are, or have ever, been associated with or a part of the military life.  Brats in both the US and Canada have started some pretty strong grassroots movements against this.  Anyone wanting more information on this, message me. 

I have a new dog, Jake.  He's a small, 2 year old mastiff mix....small being a relative term.  He's 64 pounds.  For a mastiff, however, that's practically tiny.  I'm not sure what his history is except that he was an owner surrender.  It's very obvious though that he received some really good training.  He's completely house broke.  He has not picked up anything in the house except for the toys and bones I have specifically handed him.  He's made no attempt to get on any piece of furniture, instead quite content to lay on the floor or his bed.  He is already crate trained even.  Personality-wise, he's a sweetie.  Loves to play, though I will need to do some work with him on roughness.  Typical big dog; he doesn't realize his size.  Also have to break his tendency to jump up on people.  He knows "sit" but isn't consistent with it.  I'm not sure what other commands he knows yet so I'll be testing that this weekend.  He also needs some training walking on a leash.  Overall though, he's been a really good boy and he is still a bit of a puppy, after all.  

I've come to realize I have a lot of friends who truly don't understand what a political moderate is.  It's rather amusing.....and a bit sad.  The idea that someone can have both liberal and conservative views, depending on the topic, simply does not compute with them.  Typically what happens is if I disagree with them on one item, regardless of how many I might agree with them on, they immediately throw out the "you're just a liberal/conservative", the choice being whichever they consider to be an insult.  And then there's the topics where I completely understand both sides and happily ride the fence.  Sometimes I'm afraid my liberal or conservative friends' heads will explode.  How could I possibly think anyone can or should find a middle ground compromise on something?? Perish the thought!  However, the truth is, we moderates do exist.

It also amuses me when my liberal and conservative friends use the words of politicians to prove their point to me.  Seriously, in case anyone who knows me has missed this, let me spell it out clearly right here.

I am an Independent because I do not believe in, or trust at all, either the Republicans or the Democrats.  I do not believe a single word that comes out of any of their mouths.  I do not believe any of our elected officials are interested in the welfare of the American people.  I do believe they are concerned about their personal political power and pocketbooks.

Oh, and using Ted Cruz as your basis for good political me that's pretty much like using Jim Baker as your basis for good religion.  Has this man EVER made a wholly honest statement?

Friday, October 24, 2014

A Brief Update

School is definitely keeping life hectic.  My goal is to be ready to take finals next weekend and be done with these two boring classes.  To accomplish that I've got to pretty much write my research paper this weekend.  Pulling A's in both classes.  In fact, in the hated Environmental Science class I've gotten straight 100's.  Considering I actually quit reading the text book assignments three weeks ago, I'm not sure what that says about the class.  Next term I'm going to attempt three classes.  Hopefully this won't require me to give up sleep for eight weeks. 

I am making an attempt to get to the gym three times a week for at least a half hour of cardio, if nothing else. I've also discovered they have a yoga class I'm contemplating trying.  I've talked before about my desire to, once in my life, run a 5k.  Sadly, my knees have completely rejected the idea.  So, I've modified my goal to one my knees can accomplish; complete a 5k walking, with possibly occasional jogging moments, in 45 minutes or less.  This means I've still got some training to do before I'm ready.  Currently I'm doing 2.5k in 35 minutes.  So I've essentially got to cut my time in half.  And I really want to complete this goal before I turn 51. 
Joy, want to do this with me?  Anyone else who'd be interested in being ready for walking a 5k with me by September of next year is welcome.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

How much kool-aid did you drink?

One of my classes this term is Environmental Assessment.  It's a required class for me but just let me say now I don't particularly care for this class.  It's not about the type of environmental assessments I do in my job.  This is a class geared toward environmentalists...the whole 'save the earth' thing.  And if I read the UN quoted one more time I'm going to scream.

Now, don't get me wrong, I agree the earth is in trouble and we have a responsibility and need to change how we do things.  This simply isn't a subject I'm interested in studying, that would be why it's not my major.  And I have....issues....with the UN.  But here's what gets me the most about this class....some of the people in it are freaking scary!  I read their posts to the discussion boards and it goes way past my normal "aren't you precious" reaction and more towards the "Please tell me you aren't allowed to vote!!!"  I'm floored by how many people think our government should implement forced birth control and a program like China's one child.  To willingly give up that kind of control of one's body and life to the government is just...frightening to me.

But then, I never have been a big fan of kool-aid.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Catching Up

Hard to believe it's half way through September and summer is almost gone.  Can't say I'm sorry to see it go.  Some people have had a summer of fun, summer of excitement, summer of relaxation.  For me, it has been a summer of loss.  I've lost loved ones, friends, pets...even lost a friend because of losing a pet.  Toss in a hospital stay and bad news for a friend and it's been an emotionally brutal summer for me.

The bright spot in my summer has been returning to school and proving to myself I could not only manage work, school and home on my own but I could excel.  Well, at least at work and school.  The home front has taken a bit of a beating as far as house and yard work but I'm slowly getting those back to my acceptable levels.  I have 11 classes left to complete my BS.  It is a bit surreal for me to be so close after so many years of wanting this.  Of course, I'm already having the MS debate with myself.  I think it will end up coming down to the practicality of if I can afford to take on the cost of it.

My birthday present to me is a 40" flat screen TV.  It replaces my 22" tube TV.  Yeah, I've been a little behind the times when it comes to TVs but watching TV isn't a big deal for me.  Now I just have to figure out how to move the old TV out of the living room without giving myself a hernia.  Jeesh that thing is heavy.

My Navy brat roots have been kicking in lately with the moving bug.  For those who don't understand this, it's a common thing for kids who grew up moving constantly.  We have a tendency to continue that trend as adults, getting antsy after a few years in one spot.  I've been trying to combat it by making changes in the house, re-arranging rooms, new curtains, going to paint some walls.  What I really want to do is take a trip somewhere I've never been which in the US would mean just about anywhere east of the Mississippi River. 

I miss Shepherd a lot.  I miss the companionship.  But I've been resisting the urge to get another dog.  For now I simply don't need the added responsibility or expense no matter how much I want one.

So that's the highlights of my life for now.  Next school term starts Wednesday so I'll be super busy again.  Here's to an improved second half of 2014.

Friday, June 27, 2014

A moment to take a breath

Whew, I have submitted the last of my assignments for my first term back in college.  Good to find out I still love school as much as I always have.  The only thing harder now is time management.  With a 12-hour work day, a house to maintain, a yard to keep mowed, the other miscellaneous life things that need done and 2-3 hours of home work a night, time to relax and have some fun has rapidly disappeared.  I joke that my life has become a four-letter word: Work.  It's either at work, housework, lawn work or homework.  I do have 5 days off work starting next Wednesday.  Sadly my plans for those 5 days is to catch up on the work I haven't had time to do.  I have door and window trim that needs sanded and painted, a mailbox that needs fixed, a spare room that needs put into order and a yard that desperately needs cleaned up and weed-eated.  And all my floors seriously need a good scrubbing.  A weekend away to nowhere sounds like heaven right now but I need to save my money for a trip to NC in August for my best friend's wedding.  Other than being perpetually tired I do love being back in school though.

My cat has become a problem I'm not sure what to do with.  She has discovered the dog door that let's Shepherd into the back yard to do his business while I'm at work.  Up until recently she's always been an indoor cat.  Now I don't really care if she goes out and enjoys the great outdoors...some battles just aren't worth fighting.  My problem is she has started bringing dead birds into the house....three so far in the last day.  This is not something I cool with nor want to deal with on an on-going, regular basis.  I just don't know what to do about it.  Anyone out there need a good mouser for their barn?

It is obvious I have absolutely no understanding of the World Cup.  They send teams that lose to the next round and teams that win get sent home.  Kind of reminds me why I decided decades ago that accounting wasn't the right field for me....debits were good and credits were bad....  Seriously, I'm an INTJ.  I just want things to make sense.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tarnished Sterling

You have to be totally cut off from the world to not know about the alleged comments the owner of the Clippers made recently. I'm hardly a sports fan and couldn't even tell you what sport the Clippers play but I've been bombarded with news about it.

There is so much wrong about this whole thing I hardly know where to start. I guess I'll start with a disclaimer: None of my comments made here should be construed in any way to mean I support racism. Nor have I heard anything regarding Sterling's reaction or comments to all this.

The first issue I have with this whole story is how it came about. Some unidentified person allegedly taped a private conversation between two people without their knowledge and then, I'm assuming, sold said audio tape to TMZ....a bastion of responsible reporting. <insert sarcasm here> As far as I know, based on the news I heard this morning, no one has yet to verify whether the tape is authentic or in fact Sterling. Everyone is in such an uproar over what is on the audio tape that no one seems to be asking the questions I'm curious about. Has anyone bothered to confirm the tape is real and not some spliced together piece to generate outrage towards an easy target? Has anyone actually verified it is Sterling on the tape? Why is no one outraged about the method this tape was obtained? I mean seriously, how much skeevier can a person get than skulking around, taping private conversations for profit. Makes me feel a need to take a shower just thinking about it.

Next there is all the talks about sanctions and other ways to punish Sterling for his comments. Oh wait...that's right, these are only alleged comments because no one as of yet has bothered to verify. So we're all ready to tar and feather a man based on unproven allegations.

Then there is the irony and hypocrisy components of this story. Let's face it, Sterling has a well documented history of racism. I don't think that's up for debate by anyone. This leaves me to try and understand the moral outrage of the NAACP; a group that was about to award Sterling a Lifetime Achievement Award. The NAACP is awarding a known racist with an achievement award? Achievement of what; being a lifetime racist?? And now they act all shocked and appalled and are no longer going to give him the award. I have no issue with that but I do have issues with the hypocrisy of the whole thing.  I do have to give the NAACP kudos for one thing. They have said they will also be returning all monies Sterling has donated to the organization. I suppose that does offset a bit of the hypocrisy of the award.

The sports world itself is also being highly hypocritical. Again, its been no secret this man is a racist. A fact the sporting world has apparently been willing to show a blind eye to for all these years. So why suddenly act outraged now?

Bottom line, Sterling has the right to say what he wishes, whether we like it or not. If in fact he did make these alleged comments (which I'm guessing he probably did) then he will have to bear the consequences of those comments. As I've said before, the First Amendment gives you the right to free speech. It does not however protect you from the consequences of those words.

If we really want to stop this kind of behaviour though maybe its time to start holding accountable those who allow such behaviour whether it be because of an 'old boys network' or not wanting to lose a golden goose. In my opinion the hypocrites who have allowed or ignored his racism for the last 30 or so years are just as guilty of promoting racism as Sterling is.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Scraping By

Virginia Democrat James Moran apparently feels there is a problem in Congress.  They don't get paid enough.  According to him "a lot of members can't even afford to live decently in Washington."  Add to that the horror that their pay has been froze for the last three years and this poor guy must be just barely scraping by. <insert sarcasm and eye roll here>

Congressmen make $174,000 a year.

Here are my thoughts and suggestions for Congressman Moran to help him in his plight of poverty.

1. Congress is so out of touch with its constituency it's sickening and you are the new poster child for this.

2. If you can't live "decently" on $174,000 a year maybe you need to take a cold hard look at your lifestyle.  Maybe you need to pare it back a bit and learn to live within your means.  Maybe, just maybe, your perception of what is "decent" living is a bit skewed........or disgustingly distorted.  Seriously, as a federal employee I make significantly less than you do.  I don't live in a mansion or drive a fancy car.  I'm not above shopping at a thrift store or picking up something free off Craigslist.  I consider my lifestyle decent though.  And that's even with you freezing my pay for the last three years.

3. No one is forced to run for Congress.  If you don't like the job or the pay associated with it, go find a different one.  (Moran has actually announced his retirement.  The poor man is going to have to start living on a fixed income of at least $174,000 a year.  Makes your heart break for the poor guy, doesn't it.)

4.  If you are finding that measly $174,000 a year simply isn't covering your needs you could do what a lot of your fellow Americans have had to do....get a second job.  7-11 is always hiring.

The arrogance of this guy is sickening and just one more reason we need to completely clean house in this year's election.