Category Archives: Politics

Alternative Transportation and Me

On account of having one car between us at the moment, I often find myself choosing to call an Uber to get me to and from work. Hubs has much farther to go to his office than I do, so it makes sense for him to have the car most days.

One of the things I learned quickly about Uber is that they have a rating system. It goes from 1-5, 1 of course being crap and 5 being quite top notch. Oddly enough, this ratings system is for both drivers and riders. I can’t help but imagine if the servers at all our restaurants had the opportunity to rate us as customers, just as we rate them when it comes to how much of a tip they get. I think perhaps if that was the case, there would be a decent percentage of folks banned from dining establishments, or at the very least given a red flag type of warning to the servers assigned to their tables.

Anyhoo, according to Uber, thankfully, I am a 4.97. That’s essentially an “A”. The only thing that perhaps could be preventing me from achieving the elusive 5 star rating as an Uber rider is my inability to be at precisely the right spot when my driver picks me up. Because I’m frugal and always choose Uber pool, this means that the driver is going to collect me at a destination convenient for them, and not me. Meaning I have to walk, say a block or two, and park myself on the northwest or southeast corner of whatever the designated street happens to be. Except I am directionally challenged. As in, I have really no clue about north-west-south-east. I’m more of a right-side left-side or tell-me-the-nearest-landmark kind of gal. So I make my best guess instead, which typically leads my driver locating me at the last possible second because they are looking for me at the northwest corner  as opposed to the southeast corner where I am standing.

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As an extrovert by nature, and a curious one at that,  I typically employ the following mode of chit-chat with my Uber drivers. It goes something like this:

Me: So do you like driving for Uber?

Driver: (always) Yes, I do.

Me: Is it your full time job?

Now this is where it gets interesting. More often than not, it is not their full-time jobs. Some are insurance agents. Some are realtors. Some are small business owners. Some play in rock bands on the weekends.

One of the more dynamic Uber drivers I’ve had was a woman in her late 50’s. In a previous life, she lived and worked in New York City. She was an investment banker there, as I recall, and she left NYC for Colorado after going through a years long sexual harassment suit which she won. Uber was her side hustle. Her main hustle was starting a non-profit in conjunction with the NFL (or was it the NHL? Or the NBA? Something sports related), aimed at mentoring poor, at-risk kids. Teaching them compassion. I wish I could remember the name of her non-profit. She reminded me of Carol from the Walking Dead. Who was also a bad-ass.

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My worst Uber experience was the crabby guy who complained incessantly about how difficult it was to find me (I was smack dab in front of the building), because he apparently first went to the incorrect entrance. His car was a bit of a junker, there were crumbs everywhere, and the worst bit was that he was listening to Rush Limbaugh. So here I was, strapped in for a good 20 minutes, forced to listen to Rush (would have much preferred the band) complain about all of the supposed rapists, murderers, and assorted criminal types coming through our southern border. As a special treat, a young white teenage male called into his show to complain about how his adoration of Mr. Limbaugh and his ilk was not understood or appreciated by his peer community. Instead of hurling and/or launching into a diatribe about the legit reasons why this misguided youth wasn’t getting the feels he desired for his backward political views, I opted to have him drop me off a bit farther from my destination so I could get the hell out of that car quicker.

Another Uber driver I rode with told me how she had to quit a job she had for close to 30 years and find another job that was flexible for her schedule, which included raising her two elementary aged grandkids with her husband. Being an Uber driver fit the bill for her. She shared that her once beautiful and very smart, college-educated daughter had fallen prey to a very bad man. A man who introduced her to hard drugs. Her daughter lost custody of her children due to her drug addiction and now this Uber driver believes, but isn’t certain, her daughter is now with a much older man, living in a rathole of a trailer, doing drugs. I couldn’t help but think to myself, as this woman was no more than 2-3 years older than me, that this could have been my life. Our oldest spawn made many a questionable choice between the ages of 18 and 21, and she got knocked up at 22. Thank the good Lord this pregnancy and her determination to get her ass back to college and finish this time put her on a healthier path.

Another Uber driver pointed out that he was only driving me a mile away. He offered, in his lovely Indian accent, (as I’m enjoying the exotic music and marveling at the cleanliness of his car and how delightful it smelled), that I could easily have walked to my destination. My (lame) comeback was that then I’d have to get up earlier in the morning. Of course I couldn’t deny that he was completely correct. So now whenever I need to go to this work destination (since November, I am housed in two different buildings at the direction of my boss’s boss),  I now walk there. Unless of course it’s freezing rain out or simply too hot (both relative rarities in this climate).

Suffice it to say I have been enlightened and entertained by my Uber experiences.

Anyone else out there have some Uber experiences to share? I would love to read about them!

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Hopes on Election Day

Today is election day and I’ve made the decision to stop biting my writing tongue and speak my mind.
I’m grateful that I live in a state where the ballots are sent early, making voting extremely easy. I filled out and dropped off my ballot over a week ago. I did my civic duty, as I hope every single one of you reading this right now has done or will be doing at some point before the polls close in your state later today.
I believe that the United States of America is sick. We need healing. We need change that will benefit the masses. We need to right this ship. Or at least change it’s direction enough so that the momentum is too strong to avoid landing, eventually,  but not too far in the future, in a safer harbor.
Here is what I am hoping for as a result of today’s mid-term elections:
  1. That we as a collective vote for candidates who believe in fixing our health care system. The ones who will work tirelessly to ensure that when all is said and done, the days of our fellow Americans going bankrupt and losing their homes because they got sick and couldn’t pay their astronomical health care bills is over. The ones who will fight tooth and nail to ensure that those who don’t quite qualify for Medicaid but also don’t have the ability to afford to purchase health care on the exchanges, will have quality, affordable (free would be the ultimate goal) health care.
  2. That my fellow Americans will vote in the candidates who will make it a priority to draft and/or support common sense gun legislation. So that we no longer allow hateful, troubled, confused sociopaths to purchase guns to mow down innocent people for no good reason whatsoever.
  3. That we together, as proud Americans who are all here because our ancestors immigrated here btw,  will elect leaders who will work to fix our broken immigration system. The leaders who will protect the dreamers. The leaders who will have compassion and respect for those who are escaping ungodly horrors in their home countries, to come to a country that has the promise of turning their lives around for the better and gives their children a brighter future.
  4. That we vote in candidates that respect women and their reproductive rights. The candidates who are not willing to allow Roe vs. Wade to be overturned. The candidates who understand the importance of the health care and education provided by Planned Parenthood.
  5. That Americans vote for candidates who accept the fact that climate change is real. The ones who take it seriously and are not in any way beholden to the fossil fuel companies. The ones who will work to enact laws to protect our environment and save our planet before it’s really too late (and we are almost there from everything I’ve read).
  6. That we elect candidates who understand that there is a serious problem in this nation with both meth and opiod addiction. The candidates who will address these epidemics in a holistic, meaningful way through legislation, increasing access and funding for treatment, and supporting access and funding for mental health, which is often the underlying cause of these addictions.

Believe me when I say that I think there are other important issues we need our elected officials to address to set America onto a better, healthier path. This list of hopes I have for today’s election is by no means complete. My list, however, includes the issues that I feel need to be addressed first and foremost in order for real, positive, change to begin to occur.

Now I’m going to carry on with the rest of my day and try not to bite all my nails off worrying about what the election results might be.

I voted, and now I’ve purged. I invite you to do the same.

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Seedlings and Randomness

Recently, I accidentally deleted all of the content in my “Seedlings” draft within my blog. I was innocently reviewing it for the millionth time, in an attempt to mine for some writing gold, and while going crazy with cutting and pasting content into other drafts I started, suddenly it was all gone. Blank as hell.

So now I’m sorta starting at square one. I do have a few little nuggets of the content from my “Seedlings” draft tucked into a few different other drafts, but the vast majority of it is gone. As if it never existed.

This means that I have to take a serious gander at the 15 other blog posts I’ve started and stopped. This is something I am starting to do at this moment in time. We’ll see where it goes.

But for now, let me get a few random things off my chest. A few (which is all I have left) “seedlings”, if you will. Thoughts and feelings that have been rattling about in my brain and in my heart.  Some things I want to expand upon on this blog when I’m feeling gutsy. Or overwhelmed. Or thoughtful and pensive.

  • Observation about myself: Negative people suck me dry. I need to find ways to fill up my soul and creative spirit directly after being immersed in their gloomy muck for more than 2 hours (give or take).
  • I ought to write a post about expressions. Ones I frequently use, ones I hate, and ones I ought to use more. Considering the times and all.
  • Why I almost titled my blog “Dumb Ass 2 Wise Swan”.
  • Sometimes I wonder if other bloggers tell people that they have a blog. I generally don’t. But why?
  • I hope that we can all agree that no one, regardless of political party, gender identity, sexual orientation, weight, economic status, or emoji preferences when texting friends or family should be judged for expressing their opinions or interacting with others in a manner authentic to themselves. With the exception of those who have committed a crime or were intentionally cruel to another human being. Then all bets are off, IMHO.
  • I have a very strong urge to pen a political post. I’ve been suppressing it for some time now. I’m feeling overwhelmed (I’m guessing I am in good company, right?) by the barrage of bad news lately. Overwhelmed by the seemingly never-ending joke of a presidency we are subjected to on the daily. However, I feel like if I did go hog-wild with my political opinions, 1) I’d for the most part be preaching to the choir, 2) it would not have a positive impact on the world at large, and 3) my Facebook blogger’s group might kick me out. So, at least for the time being, I will refrain from publishing purely political posts. The one thing I will say, which is of the utmost importance is this: VOTE! Our futures, as well as our children’s and their children’s futures, depend on this one simple thing.
  • In keeping with the random, unexpected, stream-of-consciousness theme I’ve got going here, I am publishing this post today. The day I started it and the day I finished it, instead of sticking with my regular Wednesday morning time slot.  I think I’ve only done that once or twice since I started blogging. So here’s to shaking things up a little!
I would love, love, love, to hear your random commentary today (or any day for that matter). What is it that you want to write about, but haven’t yet?

Mid-Week Random Ramblings

I have got so many ideas of things I want to write about swimming about in my head right now. And as I have mentioned in previous posts, I am an over-thinker. Which means I have a tendency to be indecisive.

What does this mean to me, today, right here, right now? I think it means that I need to go random with this particular post. Bear with me, patient readers. Once I get this out of my system, I will be able to put the final touches on the next couple of one-topic posts I’ve got waiting for me in my draft folder. 

True story: On Monday,  I didn’t allow my driving anxiety to get the better of me. I actually drove myself through Denver for a work meeting and then home afterwards on I-25 just at the beginning of rush hour.  I told myself that I could pull over at any time but I didn’t end up doing that even once. Heart pounding, palms sweating, mind racing, I pushed through and stayed the course. And I got home in one piece. Driving anxiety truly sucks, but now (here’s me being brave) it no longer means I won’t drive on I-25 or any other freeway for that matter. Not anymore. Gone are the days when I purposefully map out my route to avoid all freeways. I just have to accept that the anxiety may creep in and try to mess with my head. And keep moving forward in spite of it.

Later today,  I’m getting a major hair cut and color done by my lively, one-of-a-kind hairdresser, Angel. I’m bound to give myself whiplash from flicking my head back and to the side to keep my bangs out of my eyes if I don’t. I’ve had essentially the same haircut and style now for the better part of two years and with summery temps on the horizon, I think it’s time to go even shorter and lighten things up.

On a totally unrelated note, I’ve been thinking that it’d be some sweet justice if the con-man/bully/hypocritical/liar/fool-in-chief (no need to name names here, right?), ends up being taken down by a woman, or shall I say women, that he has undoubtedly wronged. This would further cement by belief in karma. I mean, something has got to happen for this all to come to an end right? I’d much prefer it be because of his lecherous, immoral, and sexist behavior (and of course because Mueller and his team have got enough to prosecute for obstruction of justice and God only knows what else)  than a nuclear war. Just saying.

I was awestruck this past weekend watching some of the speeches given by high school students at the March for Our Lives. Their poise and passion blew me away. Emma Gonzales will go down in  history as the voice of this movement, largely because of her purposeful, meaningful speech, which included a long period of silence equal to the amount of time it took for the gunman to kill 17 people at her high school on Valentine’s Day. I pray that we will see some common sense gun legislation very soon. All of our kids deserve this.

I’m really digging the new book I’m reading about finding your soul song playlist. The writer, Jessica Myler, points out that all of those self-help books that so many of us read focus on thinking positive thoughts. Which is all good and fine, but, as she notes (and I am paraphrasing here), feelings need to go hand in hand with these thoughts to be powerful enough to manifest true happiness. This concept really clicks with me. From my perspective, it’s all about the way the words and the melodies work in tandem to evoke emotions which inspire and energize me to create, to communicate, and to be a force for positive change.

I’m feeling that a blog post about my Google playlists will be coming soon. Or one about dieting and food. Or one about travel. I hope you all will stay tuned.

Happy Hump Day!

 

 

For the kids

One of my Facebook friends shared the address for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, urging everyone to write a letter to the students. I knew right away that this is something I could do. It’s actually the least I could do.

Question for myself is what will I say?

I will surely offer my condolences. Offer my support. Ask how we as adults can specifically support them. I want to urge them to not grow weary of the fight; to soldier on despite the crap the jerks of this world may try to throw at them. Urge them to practice self-care so they can stay emotionally strong. These kids have been foisted into the spotlight, due to an event that they never in a million years could have imagined happening to them. Heck, I read that Parkland, Fl was actually voted the safest city in Florida in 2017. I can’t imagine the shock this was to the entire community.

I believe with the right encouragement from their elders as well as their peers, fighting for common sense gun control could just be the beginning. Our society is sick; there’s an underlying mental health crisis that needs to be comprehensively addressed. Coming up with solid steps to address our nation’s mental health crises may just be the next thing these kids could tackle.

As I’ve been reading online, the kids of MSD high school-actually all the high school kids today-they’re smart. They are savvier with social media than the rest of us. Social media is the primary tool with which they work to affect change. I think it’s important to encourage them to continue to use this powerful tool in a thoughtful, strategic manner. Now this is obviously the parent in me coming out, but I worry what will become of these kids from MSD High School. Will some of them take advantage of their sudden fame and sell out to become famous douchebags with their own YouTube channel? Will some of them crash and burn in other ways due to the stress of trying to change the world? That’s the stuff I worry about. I want these kids to keep their wits about them. I wish for them to stay health, to stay strong.

Isn’t that what we should all be wishing for?

My letter may not make a lick of difference to these kids. However, perhaps if we, as their elders, all commit to penning letters, signing petitions, providing support in financial ways, and casting our ballots for political candidates who we believe will support legislation that actually advances these kids’ causes, great changes may come to fruition.

Please join me in writing letters to and for these kids. It’s a good start, don’t you think? And it really is the least we can do right now.

Random and Uncategorized

 

Lately, I’ve been wondering where Shameful Sheep, the blogger named Blair, has been. She seems to have taken a hiatus from the blogosphere. I hope she is okay. She’s such a good egg.  I miss her witty anecdotes and funny stories. She sometimes pens “random as shit” posts, like this one. Today I’m feeling extra indecisive about topics to blog about, so I’m going to take a cue from Blair and unload some thoughts I’ve had recently about stuff. So here I go….

If I could be any one of the Trump family members, who would I be? I’d pick Tiffany. Because first and foremost, she seems to be out of the fray. Kind of like Barron (but he’s just a tween so he should not be in the fray in any capacity. That poor kid. I hope he has someone in his daily life who is kind to him).  Tiff has no official titles at least that I’m aware of.  She seems to have a cool mom which I deduced not because she married the Donald (massive error in judgement no doubt),  but because I watched her on DWTS where I learned that she’s a super health nut and very fit for her age. I thought she generally just had a cool vibe about her.  It seems to me that Tiff is able to pretty much do as she pleases (go on tropical vacations, hang out with celebrities, stay in swanky hotels) while the rest of her family makes asses out of themselves in the Oval Office.

Hubs has been encouraging me to share my blog publicly on Facebook. I’ve been a chicken when it comes to that. While it very well could boost my stats, I’m worried that some off hand remark I inadverdently made in one of my posts would make them think less of me. That they’d think I’ve lost my marbles or worse yet, that I’m a massively untalented writer. On the other hand, they have the power to choose not to read my blog posts. Just like I have exercised the power to screen calls on my cell phone and not answer when I don’t want to talk to whoever it is that is calling.

Speaking of Facebook, I find it interesting, maybe even a little surprising, that my favorite Facebook friends are actually my cousins. It’s weird because I can’t honestly say (okay, with like 3 exceptions) that growing up I was personally close with any of them. There’s a lot of reasons for that: many of them lived far away so I didn’t get to see them but once, maybe twice, a year. And many of them are either much younger than me or much older than me (on both sides of the family). On Facebook, they often make me laugh and teach me a thing or two about our family’s history that without Facebook I would be completely unaware.

Two things I feel like I really struggle with when I’m working on blog posts are 1) coming up with an appropriate, catchy title and 2) deciding what “categories” to check. I’m intrigued by the “uncategorized” category option. I feel like that for better or perhaps worse, that one word captures my entire blog. Sometimes I post about my passion for music, once in a while I throw a recipe in there, sometimes I can’t help but get all political on your asses, and sometimes I just write about what or who is in my heart in the moment. I’m all over the place, I know. Kind of a hot mess, but hopefully in a good way. I could go ahead and just pick one lane (cooking/baking, music, relationships, politics) and go with that for eons, but Geez Louise, that would be such a yawn fest after a while.

Because I’m stubborn and maybe a little cheap frugal, I primarily rely on a combination of RTD (city bus) or Uber to get to and from work each day, instead of buying a second vehicle. I can’t fathom forking over 1/3 to 1/2 of my monthly earnings for a car payment and insurance. It’s been, to say the least, interesting to use alternate transportation. The Uber drivers vary so much. I’ve ridden in tobacco scented cars with crumbs on the floor and pristine cars where the driver offers me a free bottle of water. I’ve had some drivers who seem to have zero interest in chit-chat and some who have essentially talked my ears off (I prefer the latter). Yesterday, I missed my second bus, which was to take me to my volunteer gig, because the first bus was delayed. Why you ask? Because one of the riders on that bus was arrested. I watched the drama unfold from my perch at the bus stop, about a block away. When I finally was able to board the bus I remarked to the petite, female bus driver that there had “apparently” been some drama. She explained that the dude was intoxicated and “laid his hands on me”. As a result, I ended up having to cancel my volunteer gig with the food bank. But at least I didn’t have to deal with that drunk fool myself like she did.

Random shit happens, right folks?

Why Oprah shouldn’t run in 2020

I along with I suppose gazillions of people on earth watched the Golden Globes last Sunday night. Oprah’s speech was a major highlight, as she inspired us all with hope for the future. People cried, cheered, and many took immediately to Twitter, declaring “Oprah for 2020”.

I get it. If the election was held today, I would vote for her. She has earned the trust of the American people by her inclusiveness, her honesty, and her integrity over the span of many years. And I suspect she’d probably win by a wide margin, especially if she was running against Trump. 

While I could just as easily pen a post declaring the reasons why Oprah should run,  I maintain she shouldn’t run for POTUS.

Why, you ask? In a nutshell, I think she’s got more important things to do. I also suspect that in her heart of hearts, she doesn’t want to be POTUS. I’ve heard her say multiple times in interviews that she has no interest in serving our country in this capacity.

Oprah is an expert, in my opinion, of lifting others up. I loved that unlike some people, she used her podium in this speech not to talk about herself and her own accomplishments, but to lift up the #metoo movement, making sure to note that this movement includes women from all fields, all walks of life, who have been sexually abused or harassed by men in power. She lifted up Recy Taylor  (who I had never heard of before this-thank you Oprah) and Rosa Parks. She emphasized the need for all of us to speak truth to power in these tumultuous times. She said what I think we all needed to hear.

You see, Oprah has exquisite judgement of who it is that deserves our attention. Our support. Our loyalty. I think we need to pay close attention to who she champions as our next political leaders. The female leaders that have political experience. The female leaders that have the right combination of heart and intellect. The female leaders who have the vision to move our country forward, in a positive direction.

Oprah has the financial means and the social influence to shine a bright light on whoever our next candidate for POTUS should be.

That should be her role. At least for now. I would suggest that whoever is our next POTUS, that she appoints Oprah to her cabinet, perhaps as Chief Advisor. That’s something I could really get behind.