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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Die-Ins and the Misguided Efforts for Change

I wanted to avoid this topic, but this is something I feel strongly about. Today the King of Prussia Mall is going under siege for a "die in." The goal is to shut down the biggest mall on the East Coast. NBC posted Shoppers Beware: Die-In Protest Scheduled for King of Prussia Mall. I had to leave a comment (sadly, they're Facebook only comments and had to sign in as Wesley Bear):

You know what's wrong with this world? These people are what is wrong with this world! Protesting is DOING NOTHING! If they want to make a difference, these people should be MENTORING at risk kids like Michael Brown, the 12 year old boy in Cleveland and the one in New York. Michael Brown was ROBBING (yes, ROBBING and BURGLARIZING are two different things - robbery is with violence, burglarizing isn't) a convenient store and failed to listen to orders; the 12 year old did as well. Seriously, when you're holding a replica of a gun and an officer tells you to put it down, why wouldn't you listen? Especially with the world we live in nowadays... with all the shootings happening, I could see why someone would be worried and call the police to report someone carrying a gun at a playground. Are people that oblivious? Anyway, it seems like a lot of children nowadays are unguided or misguided. Change starts at home and if they can't get it at home, mentors can help to teach kids that their actions have consequences. Mentors can help these at-risk kids feel wanted or at least prevent some of them from joining gangs or living "the gangsta lifestyle." The problem with my generation is there are too many people with the "IDGAF" attitude- they don't care about themselves or the people around them; they don't think their actions (whether positive or negative) have consequences - everything has consequences, we don't live in a vacuum. It's not a law enforcement problem,it's a generation problem of people thinking they're entitled to certain things.

Of course, even with help some people still do turn out bad. I think if that happens, the logical choice wouldn't be blaming others, then inciting violence (like Michael Brown's step father saying, "Burn this to the ground!" Really? Why would you want to destroy your community? Why would you get people excited to do that? or these parents traveling the world to incite violence and rioting)... why can't they instead look and say, "You know, something went wrong. We need to work together to prevent others from doing such and such." I think that would be a more civil response to these events then protesting and saying we should kill all law enforcement (I've seen that around a lot). There are some bad cops out there, but not all are bad. We don't live in a civil society and to make that change because society should be civil, it starts with teaching respect of people around you, not acting like entitled brats, and working hard to be the best person you can be. Until people can talk like adults and stop acting like three year olds throwing temper tantrums and people realize the victim mentality doesn't work, we'll get nowhere. I do believe these protests aren't really about peace, but people feeling sorry about themselves and thinking "I'm going to stick it to the man!" I think these protesters should get a life and do things for others.



I truly believe that. The other week I sent an e-mail to a former professor because this professor wanted everyone to get involved. Not me, I don't think these are necessary because Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and the other guy in New York were breaking laws. I think universities are a huge problem spreading the ideas that cops are the enemies and people are entitled to things. No, we need to stop playing victims - no one is owed anything in life, you work for it and earn it. I truly do believe, and it's not only with black people but many disadvantaged people of all races experience this problem as well... but we even see it with "privileged" people too, young people are not guided or misguided. They're not taught as young children either because the parent or parents didn't care or they were busy trying to support their family so the kids became latch-keyed kids. Many kids today aren't taught we need to respect our elders and respect our law enforcement. A lot of these at-risk kids aren't given any help because schools aren't what they used to be - schools have become test mills and it's teaching towards the state assessments. I truly do believe a mentor or mentors could help a lot of at-risk youths. Kids and even teenagers want to feel important and I think having a positive role model at a young age is VERY important. Sadly, I think a lot of these kids idolize the wrong people or lifestyle. I think a mentor could make a difference in turning away some kids from the "gangsta" lifestyle and maybe correct the "IDGAF" (for those of you who don't frequent Twitterland or Instagram... "IDGAF" stands for "I don't give a fuck") attitude that seems to pervade a lot of young peoples' thoughts nowadays. Seriously, that attitude is destructive (I personally learned that one the hard way) because it shows you have no respect for others around you, including yourself. It shows you don't care about their feelings or safety. It's a two way street - if you want others to care about how YOU feel, you should care about how THEY feel as well. As I said in the comment on NBC, every action has a consequence - we don't live in a vacuum where everything is consequence free. We effect everything around us and only people who don't care would view it as the opposite or someone with a victim mentality (us against them mentality).

Of course some people do turn out bad - you can do everything and they still turn out badly. It happens and it has always happened. I think the responsible thing to do in that case would be acknowledging, "Yes, what my child did was wrong and I'm sorry for what was done. We need to work together to prevent other kids from going down that path" instead of starting riots, destroying businesses, inciting violence, threats of killing law enforcement because they "deserve it." No. No one deserves to be murdered just because of their job. These protests aren't about inconveniencing people to show how black people are inconvenienced - again, something that shows victim mentality - but most of them are started just to be destructive as possible. I know it's not easy being a minority whether it's black, Asian, Hispanic, woman, gay, whatever. We all have struggles... but it's working to overcome those struggles and being the best person you can be by being a law abiding citizen, by being a decent human being. I truly do believe that is what is lacking nowadays - the wrong role models and people thinking they're entitled to everything. These are the things that make a civil society too - being able to sit down and talk constructively, not throwing hissy fits like toddlers. In that sense I'm not talking about these protesters, but the government and even society in general.

I do think there are some bad cops out there, but a majority of them are good people who really love their jobs and want to help out people as much as they can. These protesters and race baiters paint all cops to be racist "pigs" who only want to kill the black people. That's the farthest from the truth. I really like what someone else commented because I think it sums up this post perfectly:

A good way to teach non-violence is to start at birth teaching your kids to respect one another and the officers that protect the law. Pants Up, Don't Loot. If you don't break the law and disrespect the orders given and the officers giving them you can breathe easy. I never had a problem with an officer when I respond with intelligence, courtesy and respect. The same is almost always returned in all walks of life. These people laying down breed this culture of disrespect and misplaced anarchy. Perhaps most of them are parents that failed or just ignorant white people who think that these people getting in trouble aren't racist themselves as well. After all hate breeds hate. But what do I know other then common sense. Laying down in the street does nothing. 14,500 blacks were killed by other blacks since Trayvon Martin. More blacks killed other blacks in this country then US soldiers lost in Afghanistan. Yet the police are the problem?? Some people will never move forward after all these years. So many have helped, so many are lost. If you can't treat your own kind with respect how do you demand others to do t?


Of course, you're free to disagree with me because disagreement is part of civil society too as well as logical discussion. As a daughter of someone in law enforcement, I see things through that lens. But I also see things through another lens: I guess how I was raised, I was taught to respect everyone around me. Like the poster above, I was taught non-violence starts with respect of my elders, law enforcement, those who serve our country and being a decent human being.

Friday, December 19, 2014

How to De-Stress Before Christmas

6 more days until Christmas, y'all! And it's currently Hanukkah and it's a week before Kwanzaa. This is the time of year when people start stressing. Here are some things one should do to stress less.


1. Take a deep breath and list out everything you still need to do. Do the most important things first, especially those that take a lot of time. Quick things should be done last.

2. Laugh and remind yourself that not everything has to be perfect. The need to be perfect brings a lot of stress.

3. Have fun and enjoy the holiday season. Reminding yourself this time of year is supposed to be joyous helps.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Thankful Thursday 12/18/2014

With only one week until Christmas, I feel thankful for the following...


The telemarketing job didn't work out - didn't have the right internet connection. So I'm looking for a 2nd job to go along with the library. The beginning of the week was depressing, but I received half of these cards this week and it cheered me up. Besides the one from Treiva (former boss from WCU) and one from Patrick, the rest were from the Snail Mail Group on Writing.com. I've been a member of Writing.com for 8.5 years and up until 2011 I was somewhat active on that site. I met a lot of great friends back then, some who have since died. This year I became more involved on Writing.com, joined some groups and made some wonderful friends. Writing.com was started by a couple who live in Lehigh Valley, PA (only an hour away from me). It's still very friendly and it's a great place. I'm glad I joined the Snail Mail Group and had the opportunity to be a pen pal with members all over the world. :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Meanings of the Holidays



My friend Pam posted this to Instagram this morning and I agree with the Grinch's sentiment. I'm a fan of Dr. Seuss's How The Grinch Stole Christmas and the original movie. I truly do believe that Christmas and Hanukkah are more than just gifts. I think the true spirit of the holidays whether you're Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindi, Wiccan or whatever, is love and togetherness. I don't think the true spirit of holidays are bought, but they are felt in whatever special way you experience them. I think we all forget about that and the Grinch is a great lesson.

Last night I watched A Charlie Brown Christmas, another favorite of mine. Like the Grinch, there is another important lesson about the holidays. The holidays aren't about capitalism, but togetherness and being thankful for what we do have. That's symbolic of Charlie Brown's measly tree and after Charlie Brown thinks he kills the tree (the true meaning of the holidays) and walks away crying, that people come together and reflect the true meanings.










We also decorated the tree on Sunday; although mom decorated most of it, it's still my favorite time of year:



I love this one of me.












Me in 1999 when I was in fourth grade. I had such a baby face - other than that, my face still looks the same (except 15 years older)!

My Packers ornament and dad's Ravens ornament.


All I Want...

For the past month I have been blogging about gift ideas for readers to use for everyone on their shopping list. By now most of y'all have probably finished and I'm almost there myself (waiting for dad's DVDs to be shipped to Walmart... hopefully tomorrow!). I really liked Kiersten's  blog entry for today and for those of y'all who are still unsure of what to get for someone or even what to put on your personal list, here is a list of things I've been adding to my list over the past month.




Detroit Tigers Game
A ticket to see a Detroit Tigers game at Comerica Park in Detroit. I'd love to see a Tigers game and I would love to see a Tigers game. Sadly, when I visited Detroit last year - Tigers were playing a game away. :( I want to see the stadium too and meet Paws. I love Paws and I would give him a big hug. 


Scrapbook Supplies
I've been scrapbooking a lot lately and have been running low on my scrapbook supplies. I find scrapbooking to be therapeutic. Stickers, paper, other odds and ends. 


Jeans and Pants
I've lost a lot of weight and my jeans/pants are way too big for me now. I wear a size 14 now and they're baggy. I might be a 12, but with jeans and pants, I need to try things on before I buy.


Dresses and Skirts
Okay, I love wearing dresses and skirts. That's the one girly thing about me. From baby doll dresses to business casual. For skirts, I love everything from punk skirts to business casual. 

Case of Faygo
I love that soft drink. :) It's so good. If someone got me a case of Faygo for Christmas, they would literally be my best friend.

Cute Odds and Ends
I started this wish list when I was trying to move. Although I won't be moving until I get another job that will help me save and let me proceed from there, I still add to it. Why not? I'll need it someday and there are a lot of nice things like this , this or even this.

Dammit Doll
I love these dolls! :) I first saw these dolls in a Hallmark in Roseville, MI... then they were everywhere in Memphis, TN too!




Twiztid Jersey
I ended up buying one for myself as a gift for myself. I can't wait to get it. :)


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Letter to an Organ


Letter to an Organ
In your next key I wish you’d sing
Silent Night and Joy to the World;
how you play, and the chords you ring,
not only X-mas, but Man In the Box twirled:

making the room come alive again
as students in the hall stop and listen,
to my clumsy playing, but you help it win;
tears in their eyes and mine in the lights glisten.


I learned how to play the organ in 2011. West Chester University is known for their music program and when I learned they offered lessons (not graded or accredited... lessons like what are given to grammar school kids) on how to play the organ, I signed up immediately. Sadly, I could only afford three lessons since it was $65/lesson, but I had unlimited access to the organ room and I would practice daily - between breaks from class and breaks from my university job. It was a good form of therapy for me. I knew how to read guitar tabulature, but I didn't know how to read music. Dr. Greenlee, my instructor, had to teach me how to read music and then she taught me how to play the chords on the organ. I started playing the organ in September and she had me learn Christmas music. I suppose Christmas music is easy for a beginner. I learned how to play Silent Night first, which is one of my favorites. I was playing Silent Night everyday and I kept thinking, "It's September! I'm getting into the Christmas spirit early!" She then taught me Joy to the World, but I didn't play that as much as Silent Night.

When lessons ended, I taught myself how to play O Holy Night and Amazing GraceAmazing Grace is another favorite song of mine. In October, I thought as I was pounding away at the keys: "I should make a Christmas album to give to people! I'm not the best, but I think they'd enjoy it!" I recorded the following songs (these are the YouTube videos, but I actually recorded these songs and burnt them onto a CD for family members, the few friends at school and then I shipped them to my Midwestern and European friends):

Merry Christmas 2011

Silent Night  
Silent Night (Vocal)  
Silent Night (chords)
O Holy Night  
O Holy Night (Vocals)  
Joy to the World  
Silent Night (Acoustic)  
Silent Night (Electric Guitar)

People seemed the enjoy the CDs. I was actually proud of myself, minus the singing (I can't sing to save my life), because I actually produced a CD. I was proud of myself for learning the organ, for learning how to read music and I was happy with my effort. It made me feel good about myself and it made me feel good because I love playing music. I think I might have made my own track for an Arabic project.



Monday, December 15, 2014

Card Making Ideas

With only ten days until Christmas, I know everyone is looking to send out cards. Here are some ideas for cards.

Making them:
Making a card is simple. Get a sheet of paper, draw or design it however you feel and write your message inside. Here is a video I made yesterday:


Anna made me this card in 2001.


Online:

I love CardStore.com. I sent out a bunch of cards from there last week because they had the best selection and I could send them to friends from that site. It's easy to use as well.

Go to CardStore.com and click "Make Card."

Choose the card you want to send, click and then click "Make This Card."

Design the card, hit addresses and send. Fill in the addresses and your address, pay and it's sent.


Hallmark has these options as well, except I was having issues with Hallmark last week and that's when I found CardStore. American Greetings has a great selection, but they are either e-card by e-mail or print and send yourself.

Buying Cards In the Store:

Of course you can always buy a card. :)



Good luck and happy card shopping! Card shopping can be just as tedious as gift shopping. :p