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Gender: Female
Hometown: South East Michigan
Home country: United States
Member since: Tue Jul 27, 2004, 01:19 PM
Number of posts: 10,559

Journal Archives

How do you respond to stress? (Introspective.)

I have been watching a silly television show I am too embarrassed to name as it is a "reality dating show". (Yes, I admit it - sometimes I like "mindless" entertainment.) Last week one of the "experts" dissected a situation that really struck home for me and I've been chewing on it ever since.

One of the women was "uncomfortable" in a challenging social situation (completely reasonably, I believe), and she reacted by distancing herself, being a tad snippy/rude, then made obnoxious comments about the other people in the situation who were handling things a little more gracefully.

The expert called her out on her not-so-impressive behavior; she defended herself by saying she was *really* uncomfortable, at which point the expert pointed out we *ALL* get uncomfortable/unhappy at times, and it is our *DEFAULT* reaction that really shows the type of people we truly *are* - and hers was apparently "if I'm unhappy, I'm going for obnoxious/not going to suffer in silence." (I automatically went sympathetic - I am not big on suffering in silence myself! Lol!) He pointed out this should be a "red flag" for a potential mate (dating show!), because we all have tough times in life, and instead of instinctively trying to make things "better" for everyone/be supportive to the other participants in an awkward situation, she went straight to pouty/pissy, and who wants to be married to THAT when times get tough (which, life being life, is bound to happen)?

Ouch. Especially when you find yourself being "sympathetic" to someone!

So now fast forward to "real life" - I have a niece who has been going through a very challenging pregnancy, and her "default" is to be Obnoxious and Nasty to the people who love and care about her the most. As her stress levels have ratcheted up, her behavior has gotten worse, and she has sent vicious text messages to her mother and grandmother saying horrible things to them (completely unprovoked). Both of them will forgive her, which is part of why she has felt 'safe' to treat them so badly, but at the end of the day, their behavior had nothing to do with hers; they have just become her whipping boys, and the less they tried to react (out of concern for her health), the worse she got.

Well, her baby came yesterday - a little boy, two pounds, ten ounces - and the road ahead is going to get worse before things get better; as any parent can tell you, a "problem pregnancy" is stressful, but the NICU changes the entire definition of "stressful" (at least for myself, and every parent I have ever known who lived through a visit there!). And that means my niece is probably going to become Even Worse for a while - which is sad, but really makes me think the "expert" from the show was incredibly insightful.

It is always easy to see things in other people (and my niece and her son are on my mind at the moment), but as I said, I have been chewing introspectively; I am *amazing* in a crisis. I go all "calm" on the outside, and default to my Red Cross training, "order" people to do stuff ("call 911!", and then completely fall apart later. With long term crisis (illness), I am the "practical one" who makes sure there is food and people eat. My tendency is to go "logical" on a situation, and "problem solve" it. I am certainly not EMT/Police/Fire/Military/Medical "crisis" trained, but I do have "basic first aid" training, and I mentally kind of go there/hide my panic and shock. In hindsight, probably why I was an early fan of (Dr.) Howard Dean - he seemed completely "trustworthy" in a crisis, if you know what I mean? Also, I "worry" over things a lot, including things I really can't control (like my niece - sigh).

I look for these things - the "how do you respond in a crisis?" - in my leaders: I was able to support John Kerry for President because, frankly, his military experience told me he knew how to react "calmly" in a crisis. Junior, on the other hand, just looks panicked on the videos of him on 9/11, and luckily nuclear warheads weren't raining down on us, because he didn't know how to respond to "Mr. President, the country is under attack!" Cheney was just a freaking moron, along with most of the rest of the idiots-in-charge in that administration. Their version of a "crisis" was all about money, instead of lives, and how they could get richer, instead of how they could save people (see "New Orleans". And a bunch of the Republicans seem to immediately default to "LIE LIKE CRAZY" even when lies aren't necessary; "I didn't say that!" when the video is pretty obvious.

It might seem rude to some folks, but yes, I do judge the political 'multiple (three or more) divorce/marrieds' somewhat harshly when it comes to leadership roles; if they aren't able to deal with "normal life crisis" (Gingrich and his first wife's cancer) without "running away!" when it comes to "leadership" - if the people who know you best can't trust you to be there for them through good times and bad, or to work things out when things are "tough" and everyone disagrees about seemingly everything, odds are good I can't either. (No, I do not apply this same standard to my friends, but I am also not trusting my friends with millions of tax dollars, the codes for the nuclear arsenal or with the lives of the men/women in my military; my social circle is not in the "political elite" circle.)

I am *exceedingly* pleased with Obama's "crisis" leadership thus far (not saying I am happy with him 100%, of course - I want my pony!). I trust he is NOT going to blow up the planet, and frankly, the last morons with their hands on the buttons scared me senseless (especially after *edit: Rumsfield! went on the television talk shows shortly after 9/11 and was discussing justification for nuclear weapons use - shudder!).

In the end, it always comes down to the personal relationships, even the "imaginary" ones I have with my leaders. Who do I trust? Who *don't* I trust? Can my family trust me? How do I handle life's little crisis? Will my children grow up feeling secure and safe? Will they *know* I love them, even when I am stressed out? Do I support my spouse, my children, and my friends in ways that make all of our lives better during times of extraordinary stress?

My mother (in her 70s) told me today she loves and appreciates me; then she listed several of my character traits she says make her incredibly proud of me. It was an unexpected gift, and it meant a lot, especially as I know she is doing her best to keep an even keel emotionally with the niece/her granddaughter situation. In times of stress, she is a "giver". I told her I love her, too.

Life is short and naturally stressful (at least for me). I hope my default is "kind".

Easter is hard on me. (Not April Fools)

Reason #212 why I can never run for political office.

I am not a Christian, although I respect the teachings of Jesus. With that being said, I was at church with my family yesterday (long story), and it was HARD.


At which point they nailed his ass to a cross because he was "dangerous" -- !!!

The story of the "sacrificial king" goes back thousands of years, and honestly, I have a problem with it. Anytime someone says "let us kill your kid, and good things will happen" I like to think my bologna meter would be going off big time.

I am a Mom. I don't want TO sacrifice my children. I want to sacrifice FOR my children.

But here is the reality: parents have been sacrificing their children for the "good of the community" for thousands of years (and I'm not just talking the Aztecs). The big "not secret" that has killed millions involves sending our children to war. It is considered a valuable career choice, and a necessary, honorable profession.

- Napoleonic Wars: Three and a Half Million Dead.
- American Civil War: Half a Million DEAD.
- World War II: Sixty Million People DEAD.

Let me repeat that: we, the human race, willing send our children into the armed serves where they will be trained in how to KILL EACH OTHER, while other people try to KILL THEM.

To, you know, PROTECT US from the other people who are doing the same crazy thing.

We dress it up with "patriotism" and appreciate their sacrifice - their lives, their bodies and their souls for our "safety" and "protection" - and we particularly ask/demand that they put their opinions aside politically because they need to "trust" that the leaders we elect - both Democrat and Republican - will guard and value their lives, and use the coin of their blood sparingly.

And here we get to the rub of it, don't we? For whatever reason, we have children - OUR CHILDREN - sacrificing their lives. We don't know their names (be honest: name the last ten soldiers who died in Iraq or Afghanistan - can't do it, can you?) and I am *NOT* convinced the world is better off without them growing up, getting married, and eventually dying of old age after long and happy lives. I find it impossible to believe any women who risked her life to give life to a child - "walking through the valley of the shadow" - would believe that them dying of anything other than old age is a good thing.

I wonder *if* we quit thinking of "human sacrifice" as an honorable profession, or simply the price of doing business, whether or not we would be better off as a species. I wonder, if instead of arguing about the right to "keep and bear arms" we spent the same amount of ink discussing how to make sure everyone on the planet was able to to exercise their right to "eat" and "drink clean water", whether or not we could turn our "swords" into "plowshares." I wonder if we trained our armies to build instead of destroy, and spent those funds feeding, clothing, educating and creating, whether we would get closer to having "heaven on earth" instead of hell?

I think of Mary, mother of Jesus, and every mother who has grieved the death of a child, and I do not find myself willing to join their ranks.

I am a mother. I don't want to sacrifice my children's lives, or their health, or their happiness, for any reason, especially for rich old men to get richer.

And I don't think any other mother should have to, either.

I do not accept the necessity of sacrificial killing. There are better ways.

I don't want your children dying for me. I sure as hell don't want mine dying for you.

There has got to be a way to problem solve on this planet that doesn't involve killing each other.

I think we should start with that age old advice: "BE NICE TO EACH OTHER."

It seems like reasonably good advice, doesn't it?

Then again, they nailed that guy to a cross.

I hate Easter.

"That's a pretty stupid idea, John. I'm afraid I'll have to kill you."


This cartoon, which I first saw on a mug that also shared the pithy advice of "Stay Awake, Stay Employed", completely encapsulates the idiocy of trying to change people's minds by killing them.

While amusing on the surface, it just flat out doesn't work.

Which, in my opinion, is why the very IDEA of a "War on Terror" is STUPID.

While killing people with "stupid ideas" may sound like a "brilliant" idea (in that it gets them out of your hair while you figure out what to do with them), reality (that bane of political conservatives everywhere) invariably shows that "short term stupid ideas" like KILLING PEOPLE don't fix "Big Problems" like opposing views on equality, opportunity, or social justice, to name just a few.

"Good ideas" will occur to more people even if you kill off the first few people who come up with them. Example: Think "racial equality" and Dr. Martin Luther King for an example of this (or any of the civil rights workers who were lynched before him). While some holdouts still exist, the vast majority of the country no longer accepts "racial segregation" as APPROPRIATE behavior.

At the end of the day, if you want to "win the war on stupid ideas" you actually have to do something harder than "kill people" - you have to Think Up Smarter Ideas, and then find ways of COMMUNICATING and IMPLEMENTING THEM.

Sometimes that means actually THINKING about why someone would think a "stupid" idea had merit. Example: Think "don't let african american men play football" -- since they were deemed "inferior" (per movies about early integration efforts), the only way to dispel that type of misinformation was to have excellent african american male athletes DESTROY teams of caucasian male athletes, thus proving that athletic ability was not a skin color issue.

In the above example, even though anyone with half a brain *should* have been able to figure out that "skin color" and "athletic ability" weren't related, people actually had to THINK about the problem to solve it, which meant considering Other People's Points of View - even the LAME STUPID ONES.

They had to be taken seriously so the stupidity could be shoved down the throats of those practicing it hard enough to choke on it.

This concept - THINKING - is one many of us might find benefit in using. When, for example, one has a knee jerk reaction about someone else's religion ("EVIL!" perhaps THINKING about the GOOD (feeding the hungry, caring for the homeless, offering support services to victims of domestic violence, providing aid during natural disasters, etc.) that many people do as they attempt to walk their faith might be a demonstration of wisdom. One could then THINK about ways of not throwing the proverbial "baby out with the bath water" approach to blanket shouts of "EVIL!" This is just one of many examples of how THINKING can help make the world a better place, and there are others: not all gun owners are murderous scum, not all rich people are spawns of satan, and men who open doors for women aren't trying to turn them into swooning morons. And, although it pains me to admit it, not all "Republicans" are empty-headed nit-wits bent on the destruction of the human race, not all "Libertarians" are self-involved hypocritical parasites, and not all "Democrats" are wise and benevolent caretakers of the public good.

But THINKING such thoughts is hard work; in truth, it is right up there with "showing respect and courtesy" which many people have a challenging time grasping the concept of, and the LAZY among us usually prefer to demonstrate boorish and ignorant behavior because it is EASIER.

In those cases, perhaps the metaphorical bullet is appropriate: public scorn, shame, and a swift "stop being an asshole" boot-to-the-head? (Maybe there can be a smilie icon made for this?) At the very least, they will amuse the rest of us.

Perhaps these actions can knock some sense into the senseless; they are less messy than other, more permanent solutions, and pre-suppose that PAINFUL STUPIDITY is a temporary condition that can be treated with large doses of education and good sense. I am, by nature, an optimist. I could be wrong.

But I don't THINK so.

I need to talk about my (dead) sister.

She died from complications from Multiple Sclerosis in 2003 at age 39.

Because this is a "political" message board, I am going to share some things about her life that tie into the current discussions about Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid and the people who use and/or "abuse" them.

My sister was on Social Security Disability, and she scammed the system by not reporting when she made money.

She had a type of Multiple Sclerosis called "relapsing/remitting" and it SUCKED. Sometimes she was almost fine. Sometimes she wasn't. Family frequently questioned whether she was "faking it" because when she wasn't suffering from an attack, she could function at a pretty normal level, but when she was "having a spell" she would be almost incapacitated. The attacks could hit suddenly: one day she would be out mowing the lawn, and the next, she would be in a wheelchair. (In hindsight, yes, the correlation seems obvious.)

She received approximately $9,000 a year in income from Social Security Disability; she also received money for her children (with two, probably about $850 a month?), and her live-in boyfriend also received money for taking care of her (I have no clue how much).

When she was doing well, she would work under the table (full time, sometimes more). We knew she was still collecting money from the government while this was going on, and to be honest, there was not a lot of respect for her because of it. I asked her about it once - one tries not to interfere in other people's lifestyle choices - and she explained that it was more about the health insurance than the money; it had taken several years to get approved for SSDI when she was diagnosed in her early twenties, and there was no way she could afford the the medical bills when the next inevitable attack came without assistance, let alone the roof over her children's head, without it.

They lived well most of the time - cell phones (back when they were an uncommon luxury), new clothing, nice cars - in a nice neighborhood, in a house that they were always working on "fixing up." Financially, their life style seemed impossible, especially because her "caretaker" went through several years of chronic unemployment. We suspected that drugs (illegal, and selling her prescriptions) were used to supplement the family income; this was confirmed by her children after her death, but she also shuffled credit cards like crazy, and left behind a ton of unpaid and noncollectable debt because of it. (Not a criticism, by the way.)

Multiple Sclerosis consumed her life; when she was well, there was a near feverish desire to "do as much as possible" for and with her two daughters. When she wasn't, she kept the house dark. Each time she came back from an attack, she was a little "less better" -- the numbness always grew. She had nightmares. She was scared. She was angry. She was defiant. She was hopeful.

And then, three days after Christmas back in 2003, she was dead. She got a cold (just like she always did multiple times a winter) that turned into pneumonia. She died on her way to the hospital, leaving behind two daughters age 20 and 18.

We had all gotten so used to her constantly being sick that I didn't believe the initial call that she was gone. It was too sudden - we had seen her at the family holiday party, and she was fine. We had talked a few days later, and she was fine. Then she was gone.

Yes, she cheated and scammed the system; she played it like a fiddle sometimes. Most of what she needed was the medical care, but the two - health insurance and income - came bundled together. When she was well, in the early years, she could have worked a full time job that wasn't under the table, but if she did, when the "next attack" came, she would have had no income or health insurance. The system really isn't set up for "okay, sometimes I will need some help, and I won't be able to wait two years for you to figure it out, but I want to be as independent as possible, so ...?" It is set up as a "yes/no" and as a taxpayer, I can look at it, and see that it costs *way* too much money, including in personal pride. (She was proud; she knew she was scamming sometimes, but she felt like it was the only way to survive, and by God! she was a survivor!)

Multiple Sclerosis is a terrible disease. She was so scared about being trapped in a body that she couldn't control -- we still lost her too soon, but at the same time, we didn't have to deal with some of the options she discussed about "when the time comes" - and yes, she talked about being control of when the battle ended. It turned out not to be an issue; we all thought there would be "more time."

This week (March 11 - 17, 2013) is national Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week.

My sister was more than a person on Social Security Disability. Yes, she scammed, and I won't pretend she didn't, but I understand why, and it wasn't because she *wanted* to - it was because she had no choice if she was going to make sure her family was taken care of. She was also more than that:

She was funny. She had gorgeous long thick hair that she was ridiculously proud of. She was skinny, and would freak out when the medications made her "puffy". She worshiped the sun, and was always tan. She liked to roller skate when she was young. She loved animals. She was worried more about being a friend to her daughters than a disciplinarian. She loved pretty jewelry. She was good with plants. She was a survivor of an abusive relationship with her ex-husband. She spent eighteen years with the love of her life, who raised her daughters as if they were his own. She was a complicated person. She didn't always make good choices. She loved her daughters, and would do anything for them. She could be the Queen of Bitchy. She could be your best friend. She was my sister, and she never got to meet my children.

She's been gone nearly a decade; there is still no cure.

Jeannette: May 12, 1964 - Dec 28, 2003 (age 39)

This week is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week - http://www.nationalmssociety.org/index.aspx

"Trust Me." (Except sometimes you can't. How do you "comparison shop" for blood work?)

I am of the opinion that capitalism is an insane system when it comes to health care. We have some excellent posts on DU talking about health care issues and associated costs, and I thought I would share my story. (Please feel free to add your own.)

My husband and I went through eight years of infertility treatments. The majority of the expenses associated with this "choice" on our end were not covered by insurance, so we paid out of pocket. This was "normal" at the time, and the local clinics had policies in place to get "immediate payment" for services like blood work and ultrasounds. Trust me when I say that women desperately trying for a child will sign a check for anything "necessary" to achieve that dream, and women trying to get pregnant measure success in only one way: holding a healthy baby in your arms.

Our last attempt (which resulted in my beloved twins - yeah!) was done with an out of state clinic. We picked them because they had some of the best success rates (healthy babies!) in the country, and they were economically reasonable / comparable to the clinics that *didn't* have the same reported success rates. (Delete curses on Ronald Reagan's name for the years of delay in implementing standards of care, and blessings on Bill Clinton for telling NIH to fix it!) The "out of state" system was already well established in our area: we would have "local monitoring" (blood work and ultrasounds) and the "big/important stuff" done out of state.

My local gynecologist had been part of one of the local infertility clinics, and I had gotten pregnant/first miscarriage with her; we had an excellent relationship, so when she left her old practice, I followed her. She continued to be affiliated with a well known and respected hospital, so I went with her facility for blood work.

The new doctor decided to do some extensive blood work just to make sure nothing had been missed previously that could be corrected/would help increase my odds of carrying a pregnancy to term. He ordered a battery of tests, including one to determine if I had ever had a common virus; a large percentage of the population has had it, but it is only "bad" if a women contracts it while pregnant, at which point serious birth defects occur. (Its been years - I used to know what it was, and will look it up if anyone cares.)

The blood work for that test came back so wonky, I was sent back to "bleed again." Again, really *weird* results - so strange, it looked like I not only currently *had* the disease (which typically lasted about a week to ten days), but still had such high numbers two weeks later (with no symptoms ever), that maybe I was a carrier?

I was devastated - perhaps this was the reason I had miscarried three times? If it was true, I would not be able to carry a healthy child to term.

But the doctor wasn't satisfied - the results were just too "out there" - so the whole thing got escalated up the head of the laboratory, and it turned out there had been "a mistake" (made twice), and the results were WRONG.

Just flat out WRONG.

I had never had the disease, and wasn't a carrier. Somebody at the laboratory had messed up (still don't know how), and I had come "this close" to stopping our pregnancy efforts, which would have meant my twins would never have been born.

There is a "Part 2" to this story, and in hindsight, I am grateful for that "reality check" that blood tests can be messed up.

After our "two week wait" (I started doing home pregnancy tests early - and they were POSITIVE!), I went in for my "am I pregnant" blood work. To my shock, I received a call from my doctor telling me that my beta level was showing "38" which meant I was pregnant, but was going to miscarry again. (I needed to see at least "50 or above" for a singleton, "100" meant twins, and "200" was going to mean "more than two".) Eight years, three miscarriages already -- I left work in utter and complete despair -- and then I got mad.

I had a conversation with God (sorry, this is a truthful story), and took some more home pregnancy tests -- all of which were showing pregnant. I was CONVINCED beyond all reason I was pregnant, and "knew" I was going to have twins.

Beta numbers have to double in 48 hours if a pregnancy is going to viable. When I went back for my "48 hour check" I drove to three separate clinics and presented my arm for blood work.

The numbers all came back in the "200 range" - yeah! - and I've already mentioned my fabulous now-six year old boy/girl twins.

I asked the original clinic to "double check" things since it is mathematically impossible for a "38" to "double" to "200" - which is when it came out there had been ANOTHER mistake at the laboratory.

Apparently someone had written my progesterone level "38" in the beta level column, and put the "96" in the progesterone spot.

I had been pregnant with twins the entire time. It was just a lab error.

I cannot adequately explain the horrors of the emotional roller coaster I was riding during this process. There was simply no way I could have looked at the numbers and "caught" the mistakes. The same standard tests were done at every facility, and the price I paid varied between $45 and $200 depending on the facility.

The folks who made the TWO errors I just mentioned were neither the cheapest nor the most expensive, and to this day I have no idea who made the mistakes - a new trainee? An exhausted experienced person having a bad day? A glitch in the computer programs? How the h*ll could I have "interviewed" or "investigated" or "prevented" myself from doing business with the people who made the error? The first one was supposed to be a "one-in-a-million" mistake, but carelessly writing numbers in the wrong column? How many *other* people had this happened to?

Wait a minute: No Clue. And no one else knows either.

You pay your money, and take your chances. You *trust* them.

I paid money, and *trusted* that meaningful, accurate data that would be used to make health care decisions would be provided. In multiple cases, that turned out to be "wrong" -- but there was no way *I* could have figured that out on my own.

In an emergency situation, I wouldn't have had time for "three tries" before getting to the right answer. If I am bleeding to death on the table, I can't count the medical personnel operating, and competent professionals aren't going to "negotiate" with me to save a buck ("I don't need an anesthesiologist, and I certainly don't need an IV!" while they are doing their jobs. And depending on the procedures, one can't "refuse" to use the "in-house" laboratory if you've had some bad experience with them.

There are standards of care that simply need to be "across the board" and my cynical nature says that numbers can be fudged to make a facility appear to be in compliance, which is why auditors/regulators whose paychecks aren't dependent on making people look good need to visit regularly.

And seriously, we need to get to a single payer system. The only reason I knew about the price differences on the blood work and ultrasounds was because we went through it for so long; "comparison shopping" for blood work pricing is just not a reasonable way to spend limited time and energy in most cases.

I think the "for profit" health care system sucks. I hope "Obamacare" is the first step on the road to dismantling it.

But my children? Let me tell you: they were worth it. Totally, utterly worth it.

There is the Ignore feature, but it is hard to use sometimes.

I prefer the standards of Not Being Assholes be enforced everywhere. Thousands of posts on controversial topics - drugs, abortion, politics - and the worst insults I have ever received and my only hides were here in Meta.

4 Men (African American, Pakistani, Russian & Indian) & a White Woman....

were all sitting down for lunch together.

Sorry, there is no punch line. It was lunch with work colleagues.

- One African American man who is an expert in his field.

- One man born in Pakistan, another expert in his field.

- One whose family is from India, another expert in his field.

- One born in Russia, but here forever, who is also a certified expert in his field.

- And one white woman who is *also* an expert in her field. (Moi!)

And we were all having lunch together while we chatted about work.

It was no big deal. It was lunch. Five professionals, all good at what we do, with amazingly diverse backgrounds, all working together, having lunch, and talking about work.

Fifty years ago, it would have been unthinkable. At least one of us would have been candidate for a lynching at such a concept, and the rest - well, odds are good none of us would have been at the table, let alone together.

But it was just a normal lunch. And for one second, when I looked at it through eyes where this wasn't "normal", I was reminded one more time why this is such a great country.

And it made me proud and happy to be an American, because where I work, this wasn't the start of a joke with a funny punchline.

It was lunch.

On Being Mother Theresa.

It is the middle of the night, and I am giving myself a pep talk about an impossible task I have taken on. It is A LOT of work, and the rewards are the opposite of financial. I am regularly asked why I bother, and my religious convictions sound odd sometimes, and frankly, during the discouraging times I question myself, too.

And tonight, I am thinking of inspirational people. Mother Theresa keeps coming to my mind, and the impossible task she took on. And I found myself thinking, "well, it must have been different for her - that woman was a freaking SAINT!"

And the thought just struck me as so ridiculous that I had to share it: she wasn't a SAINT; she was stubborn!

How insulting to her to minimize the good works she did in the world by not acknowledging that she did THE WORK. No one waved a magical wand and made it easy for her; she WORKED. And when people expressed admiration for her, she was impatient with them, and told them they could do it, too, if they wanted to.

I think we - or at least I! - do that a lot. I look at the feats athletes perform, and stand in awe of their prowess. "Wow!" I say to myself. "That is amazing! I wish I could do THAT!" And the athletes, bless them, refrain from pointing out that I probably could do it, if I spent hours daily for years practicing the skills, and sacrificed eating badly for healthier habits, spent less time watching television or playing on the Internet - if only I put in THE WORK....

(Hours later.)

The people I admire and respect for the good they have done and the deeds they have performed weren't handed the admiration and accolades on a silver platter. They struggled, they cried, and they looked at the people around them as if they were daft because it seemed so obvious how to get things done: JUST DO IT. From the prophets to the writers to women who were scorned for trying to change the world (Clara Barton!), the only way people have ever accomplished IMPOSSIBLE things was by DOING THEM.

Today I will work on trying to accomplish three IMPOSSIBLE things. I will take baby steps because otherwise the tasks are just too overwhelming. I can do baby steps for three impossible things without being overwhelmed and discouraged (which sometimes happens when I look at how far I need to travel to complete my goals). One task will be only for my benefit (some healthy changes to my diet on a temporary basis), one for my community (an activist activity), and one for the children who share the planet with me.

I am not Mother Theresa, but I can WORK, too. Maybe someday my impossible tasks will seem easy to those around me.

I just hope accomplishing impossible things becomes a habit.

About the guy who walked into JC Penny's with an AR-15

Because he could and it was legal and he wanted to "educate" people?

It has been bothering me to the point of nightmares.

I am the mother of five year old boy/girl twins, and the Newtown massacre - well, I am NOT over it.

It is my job as a parent to teach my children how to behave, and I don't just mean "manners" - I teach them how to behave around potentially dangerous situations - "Don't touch a hot stove!" - and what to do if they are lost, or the house is on fire, or a tornado is coming.

And now I also have to teach them how to behave around gun wielding lunatics, because it is becoming a societal "norm" that they may have to face.

I am not happy about this, but it is now a necessity. Maybe it should have been before - the Batman massacre really started the discussion for my husband and I - but after Newtown, it is obviously not optional anymore.

We don't have guns in our house. My father had guns - a couple of hunting rifles and a pistol at one point when his work with law enforcement caused him to be threatened (he wasn't law enforcement, but he helped put bad guys in jail, and they didn't like it) - but they were kept put away, out of sight. I am not a "hunter" person, so other than sixth grade "hunter safety", guns are not a part of my life, AND I LIKE IT THAT WAY.

Guns are tools. I get that. Hunting rifles are used to hunt - so why was this fool bringing one into a JC Penny store?

My immediate response would have to be "To Hunt."

I cannot tell the difference between a random madman armed with weapons and an idiot trying to make a moronic point that BY LAW he is entitled to behave like a fool by bringing (charitably) a "HUNTING RIFLE" into a place where the only "GAME" is human beings.

For safety's sake, I would immediately flee the scene, urging everyone else to do the same, but making sure my children are safe first and foremost.

I don't care if it could be considered an over reaction by this fool and his friends. I don't have super secret telepathic powers that enable me to discern "MURDEROUS MAN ABOUT TO GO ON A RAMPAGE" versus "FREAKING MORON WITH BAD JUDGMENT TRYING TO MAKE A STUPID POINT."

He is a man openly carrying a "hunting rifle" where the only available targets are people.

Stoves are hot. Tornado sirens mean seek shelter. Guns are dangerous tools; if you see one where it doesn't belong, get away!

I love my children. That man needs his guns taken away, and if the law can't do it, I hope his family takes care of the problem.

If they don't, there is a good chance the man is going to end up shot.

I don't carry a gun, but the next "non-telepathic parent" he encounters might.

ON EDIT: This is a link to the news story prompting my post. http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=23769604

I am F*CK*NG PISSED. Michigan Gun Laws Written by the Mob?!?!?

I made a couple of phone calls this morning. The first was to our County Sheriff Department to find out if "gun permits were public information."

Per the Records clerk, NO -- Gun Permit information in Michigan is NOT public.

I explained that a newspaper in another state had published information about owners with their addresses, and she said gun permit information in Michigan is "private." I asked who could clarify the point since we had differing views. I also asked if she was allowed to keep "a database of gun permit people" and she clarified that the Michigan Law changed on December 18, 2012 (lame duck session).

She referred me to the Michigan State Police Department. I called and spoke to a very nice person who answered my questions.

I Am F*CK*NG PISSED - and if you are offended by the swearing, I will apologize later when I calm down, because what I learned is borderline INSANE.

NEW RULE: If it is over "26 inches" it is NOT a pistol, and you don't have to have a permit or register it. In Michigan, we apparently only register pistols. AR-15s are considered "rifles". I am not a gun-nut, so they will have to chime in on all of the other "toys" that are "not pistols" because they aren't, like, *DANGEROUS* or anything!

BACKGROUND CHECKS: Only performed on THE PURCHASER and NOT on the other members of the household. I posed the following scenarios/questions -

"ME: So, if I have a felon boyfriend fresh out of prison living with me who is not allowed to buy guns, and I go buy FIVE of them, there is no way to keep local track of the fact somebody just bought FIVE guns, let alone at an address where a felon lives?"

HIM: "That is correct, ma'am."

"ME: So, if I give them to my boyfriend, and he sells four of them to his buddies for cash, you have no idea where the guns are unless they turn up in the commission of a crime?"

HIM: "Ma'am, you aren't supposed to give guns to a felon."

"ME: Yes, I get that, but how do you know I still have five guns? Or more, since you aren't keeping track of how many I am buying, as long as they aren't pistols?"

HIM: "Well, its against the law for you to do that."

"ME: Yes, but do you have any tools to ENFORCE the law?"

HIM: "Um, no."

"ME: So, you just have to TRUST that someone living with a convicted felon who is buying lots of pistols or rifles or whatever *isn't* going to give or sell or loan them to other members of the household?"

HIM: "Uh, yes. Because it is against the law."

"ME: Speeding is against the law! This seems INSANE! Are you saying we have laws but no tools to actually ENFORCE THEM?"

HIM: "Um, yes."

So to summarize --

1) Local law enforcement doesn't get to keep track of who is BUYING guns that aren't pistols.
(Still not sure local/state/federal sharing of information occurs - I was told the feds aren't *allowed* to keep a database of this *critical* information by law.)

2) Local law enforcement doesn't get to know who *has* the guns of any type *once they are purchased*; for all intents and purposes, they disappear into "the zone of we trust you" because why the heck not?

3) Background checks are only performed on the payer who "buy" the guns, and not on the other members of their households, or their associates/spouses/immediate family.

4) If it isn't a "pistol", Michigan law enforcement gets to be "surprised" - even by what the local drug lords are using to defend their property!!!

5) Laws without the ability to enforce them are F*CK*NG USELESS!!!

In essence, we can keep track of COLD MEDICINE PURCHASES because the abuse of them is a threat to public health, but my neighbor can buy half a dozen high powered military quality "rifles" while screwing around with a paroled felon, sell them as if they were garage sale bargains, and nobody gets to know about it until after a crime gas been committed.

These rules have to have been written by MOB LAWYERS. There simply isn't any other logical explanation. Cars and cold medicine get more regulation than "rifles" that KILL ON PURPOSE.

I'm in fume mode. Livid. F*CK*NG. PISSED! Where were the SANE people when these "laws and rules" were being passed?


Oh, yeah - cowering in fear of the MOBBED UP NRA!!!

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