Thursday, May 13, 2010

My Country Tis of Thee

Last Friday, during a grueling physical torture session, my therapist mentioned that he had heard that some California high school students were sent home on Cinco de Mayo for wearing American flag shirts to school. It came up because every Friday I wear the same shirt-an American flag shirt, to show support for out troops. A lot of stuff was going on so I didn’t actually get to follow up on it until today, when I watched a video clip on CNN about the incident. 

american-flag-torn-edges-200x121The high school where this occurred is something like 40% Hispanic and the principle felt that the student’s (White)  choice to wear the Stars and Bars on that particular day was incendiary and asked the students to turn their shirts inside out or face suspension. 3 of the 4 students chose to leave school in protest of  being asked to hide their pride in their colors. Maybe it was a bit over the top, but it seems to me that the principle making a big deal out of it has been even more explosive.

I’m not usually the type of person who makes waves or tries to draw any attention to myself and as a parent, would have probably advised my kids not to make trouble.CSA Flag Crossed flag3 We also live in the South and still proudly wear the rebel flag without a whole lot of concern about who we may or may not offend. And that is the bottom line….The principle felt that those shirts, on such a huge Mexican holiday would be offensive. And when people are offended tensions mount and well, we all know what happens after that.

This is not the first time American’s have been asked to tone down their pride and put the flags away. Shortly after 9/11, when American pride was at it’s peak, our flag was everywhere. There was a very strong concern that lapel pins might be offensive to the Arabs in America that many were asked to quit wearing them. So a standard was set, do whatever it takes not to offend non-Americans, even if it means limiting the freedoms American’s are entitled to under the constitution.

This is only serving one purpose. Our country is more divided now than it ever has been. American’s a quickly becoming second class citizens in our own country. On 9/11, Arabs hijacked planes and destroyed our sense of security, yet, my 75 yr old mother is almost strip searched at the airport trying to fly from Florida to Virginia. If only Arabs were scrutinized they might be offended by racial profiling, so we have to scrutinize everyone. It’s only fair. Bullshit, it’s not racial profiling, it’s statistics. Plain and simple. Statistics show that Arabs hijack planes and fly them into buildings in the United States. Not 75 yr old grandmothers. So don’t target the grandmothers, target the fucking Arabs.

Arizona just passed a law that gave law enforcers the right to request proof of residency and the nation is in a uproar. California (detect a pattern) has voted to boycott Arizona. Yep, the whole state. Lets dissect this….Arizona borders Mexico. Arizona has a large number of illegal crossing and a large illegal immigrant population….Statistics show that Arizona is a good place to start getting a handle on the influx of illegal immigrants flooding our system. Aside from shooting all Mexicans in Arizona, law enforcement officers having the right to ask for proof of legal residence is a good start.

Our country has the most lenient policies on illegal immigration in the world. In some countries it’s permissible to shoot your sorry ass for sneaking over the border and people (probably illegal's) in this  country are up in arms over simply being ask to provide proof that they’re here legally. Oh give me a break and get over yourself. If you are so fucking offended by it go the fuck back home. Send me pictures of the happy reception you get back there.

As for me and my Friday shirt, thanks to leap years it’s a really long time before Cinco de Mayo fall on a Friday, but next year, I think I’ll buy a new shirt for Thursday.NancyMoiPearl

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Just Not Blog Material

I read several blogs and follow a couple religiously and I enjoy them immensely. Some people have such a way with words that they can make the most mundane events of daily life worth reading. I am just not one of those people. I don’t have the ability to put my boring, same old same old life into entertaining words.

My average day consist of a 6am wake up call. Snooze button x2 and then up and moving. Get dressed, grab necessities of the day, cell phone, iPod and smokes. If there is coffee take some if not some will be waiting for me at work. I’m usually out the door by 6:30-6:35. I take the same route to work everyday, see some of the same cars everyday. Seeing those same cars lets me know we’re all on time. I pull into the complex, dodge the same people everyday and work my way to my parking space. As I head into my office I extinguish the second smoke of the day, wave good morning to the guys and head inside.

Once inside, I have a few minutes before I can clock in. 6:53-7:07 is clock in time. Say good morning to my male counterpart (who makes the first pot of coffee) turn on my computer, get coffee if I didn’t bring any. Usually the Admin wonders by and good morning are exchanged while I enter my password to get the day started. When I hear the Admin clock in I am reminded that I left my ID card in the car so I go retrieve it and clock in. Let the day begin. For the next few minutes the rest of the office slowly trickles in and clocks in and more good morning are exchanged. During this time I’m usually catching up on the news that I’ve missed while I was sleeping. CNN, NBC-2, New-Press start me off and then AutoCAD and GIS begin the work.

My work consist of drawing plan and profiles of swale repairs in AutoCAD or adding swale repair elevations in GIS. I call this grown up educated coloring. I work in Public Works for city government. When I first started with the city I worked outside in swale restoration, tree trimming, pot hole repair, road shoulder repair, trash pickup and then my education came into play and I was promoted to CAD Operator/Design Specialist. Grown up, educated, coloring. Now I work inside with all the political bullshit. Many of my days are spent with my iPod on so I don’t have to hear all the stuff that’s going on. I go outside more than I should to smoke and I drink way2much coffee but I am a productive member of the city’s staff.

At 3pm my workday is essentially over. I finish up my coloring, rinse the coffee pot and my cup. Scan the most recent headlines and wait for the clock to read 3:23. Yes, I am a clock watcher, an 8 and skate. Out the door, dodging the same guys, home the same route. At 4:30 I go to pick up my significant other, who also works for the city, but 8-5 in a different department. I sit outside and wave and speak to her coworkers until she comes out and then it’s time for the recap of her day. She has much more stuff going on each day since she works in a customer service division than I do coloring.

That’s it. That’s my day. There may be a few variations but for the most part that’s it in a nutshell. Home life doesn’t vary much either. Monday nights we spend yelling at the TV during city council meetings. Right now, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are focused on American Idol. Thursdays=Survivor and Fridays are whatever. There is always the same what do you want for dinner discussion and ignoring the dogs constant barking and whining while waiting for the 6:15 feed time. Then 10:00-10:30 get ready for bed routine. Sleep and start all over again at 6am.

Weekends are lazy. Take this weekend for example. We have a walk thru on Wednesday by the property management company and there is so much stuff that needs to be done, but I can’t seem to come up with any motivation to do it. I see it all around me, but that’s it. I hate people coming into my house. I don’t even invite my friends over. Now I have to allow people in who are actually going to care what it looks like. I can’t stand it. It is completely stressing me out to the point of wanting to crawl in bed, pull the covers up and hiding until it’s over.

There is just nothing worthy in my day to put into a blog.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I Quit

This is not the blog I started a few weeks ago and I apologize to those who were expecting something different. I started the previous blog and before I could finish I got sick and busy and now I don’t remember my train of thought on it so I’ve saved it for a later date.

Instead, you get my concession to the American Government. After 30 or so years I regretfully have to say, you win. The time has come for me to give up my one vice. Cigarettes. Marlboro Lights Despite all the health risks, smoking is something I have enjoyed for 90% of my life. I enjoy the flavor of my brand, the social aspects and up until recently I haven’t minded the price.

When I first started smoking I only smoked a pack a week and could support my habit with less than one days school lunch money. Now, my habit is roughly $100 a pay period (bi-weekly). That’s still something I can “afford”, if I wasn’t stupid enough to be supporting the habits of two besides myself. I work for my money and now that I’ve reduced my prescription drug intake, I don’t consider that too much to spend for the rush I get from it. 

As I age, I am starting to show the signs of long term nicotine abuse and with the price have decided it’s time to put them aside. As I mentioned above, I was sick last week. Just a nasty head cold that was on it’s way out as quickly as it came on. Just a few lingering side effects. The usual, post nasal drip and dry cough. Both of which are aggravated by smoking. And, last night, I was having a bit of a hard time falling asleep and was tossing and turning. I found myself out of breath….from rolling over a few times in bed….OK, I get it!!!!

Now that I’ve made the decision, I’m happy about it. I’ve only had 3 smokes today and I’ve been thinking about all the things that I can do….easier….once I’m over the habit. Mostly I’m excited about rolling around in bed (use your imagination) without getting overly winded. I’m thrilled at the prospect of these lingering side effects going away. Breathing also seems nice. I’m left with a couple of issues though, and I’m not sure what to do about them.

What do I about the two others whom I support, do I become a hard ass and refuse to buy anymore or continue as I have, although limited a bit? Also, what should I do with my $100/pay period or $200 extra a month? Should I put it in savings, or just apply it to other bills?  Money

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Series Of Unfortunate Events….

You know that little snowball that breaks away and starts rolling downhill? Harmless and manageable in the beginning, but as it goes, it gathers more snow and grows. Before long it’s grown so big and is going so fast all you can do is try to get out of its way and pray from something bigger to be in its path. Your hope is when it crashes into that something bigger it will shatter back into small little manageable balls of snow. That has been my life for a year and a half.

My Mom dying shook the solid ground I stand on. I’m not saying I didn’t get shaky and dislodge some of those little snowballs from time to time, but I was aware and quick enough to catch them before they got so far out of control. After Mom died, my axis had tilted so far, I was so off balance , I had trouble catching myself, much less those little snowballs.

All of a sudden, I found myself scrambling around, gathering up medium size snowballs, only one got away and began gathering up tons of snow and speed racing downhill. When it finally got to the bottom, instead of crashing into something bigger and shattering it just stopped. A big blob of snow blocking my path.

I knew the only thing I could do was just to start chipping away away at that big blob of snow with the tools that I had. At first, I had a nice, big axe and chipping away everyday, slowly making steady progress as the big blog was reducing in size. Then one day, when I wasn’t looking, somebody took my axe away and left me an ice pick.

I didn’t give up, I just kept picking away at that big blob of snow with my ice pick. I was so focused on my work that I didn’t notice the medium size snowball slowly sliding down that hill and  into the big blob filling up the holes I had made. Just when I was about to make it through, and be on my way, I looked back, only to discover that I still had a big blob of snow in my path.

Today I stand here staring at the big blob of snow praying for spring to come and just melt the mother fucker….

Chances are slim that a spring thaw is going to do anything to reduce my big blob of snow so me and my ice pick go at it daily with sheer determination. One way or another I will get that big blob of snow out of my way, and when I do, I’m going to invest in a snowplow!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ponder This….

Two stories made headlines this week, one nationally and the other locally, that can, almost, be opposite ends of the taking your kids to work dilemma many parents struggle with.

This is not to be confused with “National Take Your Daughters To Work” day that was politically correct a few years ago.

OK, the first was at JKF Airport in New York City. Apparently an Air Traffic Controller brought his kid(s) to work because area schools were closed due to a holiday or snow day. Audio tapes were made available and one can hear what sounds like a young person directing a JetBlue jet to take off. The pilot (or we assume the pilot) responds and the small person says something else piloty and the pilot answers back. Now it’s pretty clear by the dialog that someone with some extensive air traffic control knowledge has told this small person what to say. So we can also assume that the small person wasn’t looking at that screen air traffic controllers look at and barking out orders. Duh! The Controller jokes with the pilot saying “That's what you get, guys,  when the kids are out of school”.

OK, when I read it, I confess, I laughed. It reminded me of the time when I was in kindergarten and my class was going to go ride Amtrak for a field trip. I was terrified. My step-monster took me out to the mine where he worked and let ME drive an engine back and forth, up and down the tracks until I wasn’t afraid any more. I wasn’t in any danger. The public wasn’t in any danger. Why? Because I wasn’t actually driving the train, my step-monster was. I just thought I was. This small person wasn’t actually directing air traffic, the AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER WAS!! Unprofessional? Oh hell yeah! Should have known better? Oh hell yeah! A crisis in the air? No fucking way.

So now, there’s this big deal, money out the ass being spent to “investigate” this matter. What’s to investigate? The dude fucked up. Punish him fairly and go on with your fucking lives. Nobody died. Nobody almost died. (well except maybe the air traffic controller who had to face his wife). Lighten up people. Times are hard, and this wasn’t the end of the world. Not national, oh hell, international (cuz we can’t keep out mouths closed) news!!!!

The next happen here, locally. Monday morning an 18 month old baby girl had a doctors appointment. Her father picked her up at daycare at 8 am for the appointment. The appointment took longer than the father had planned and in his haste to return to work at around 11 am, he neglected to remember to drop his daughter back off at daycare. Unfortunately, he neglected to even remember he even had his daughter with him. When he clocked out at the end of the work day, walked out to his car, only to discover his baby, in her car seat, dead. Unprofessional (or unparental)? Oh hell yeah? Should have known better? Oh hell yeah! (I wouldn’t want to fare his wife) A crisis in America today? Yes, indeed it is. We citizens are so completely stressed out that we can’t remember the most basic things, not to mention all of intricate details our brains explode on everyday.

As a stay at home mom and now a  frazzled working parent I can feel two sides to these stories. I couldn’t even begin to afford child care today. I am so very lucky my kids are old enough (chronologically) to be left alone. Cell phones have a leg up there; I am never more than a phone call/text message away. There are 3 of them and although they claim to hate each other they really are thicker than thieves. Ain’t nobody gonna mess with one without getting their asses handed to them by the other two. But, I would come just short of stealing and killing to keep them safe, so if I had to take them to work, because I had no other options, I hope my employers would be patient and understanding. I may not be a completely functionally person that day, but I’m there and able to be near if needed and take care of my kids at the same time. I have a responsibility to keep them under control and not let them bother others, if not, clock out, take the pay bite, and go have a picnic with my kids. Allowing this kids to talk on the radio, even with direction was wrong, but not something to get worked up over. The second father was so stressed at being gone longer than planned, worried about the pay he was losing, hurrying and simply forgot. The Mom in me is outraged, hurt, incredibly sad. How on earth could you forget your child? Watch the movie “Something to Talk About” with Julia Roberts & Dennis Quaid. Right at the beginning of the movie the stressed out parents are rushing around with their daughter in the morning getting ready for work/school and the Mom walks out the door without her daughter. A coworker relayed a story to me this morning about his own moment of forgetfulness in leaving his infant daughter home, napping, when he got so frustrated at a home repair gone wrong, that he rushed out the door to the hardware store, only to suddenly remember 4 miles later about his daughter. Rushed home and thank God, she was still asleep. He feels so bad for the father of the dead girl. He knows how easily it can happen.

So, in conclusion, employers, general public, people who don’t matter, relax, take a deep breath and thank God neither father was you or yours. Both will pay for the error of their ways for the rest of their lives, they don’t need your judgment on top of it. Mr. Air Traffic Controller, look back at this one day and laugh when you're playing with your grandchildren in the park. Mr. Overwhelmed Father, I am so very sorry for your loss and the pain that must endure.

Both men just made mistakes and to err is human, to forgive is divine.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Zero Tolerance

A rally cry meaning We’re Not Gonna Take It Anymore. What aren’t we going to take anymore? Sounds vague-It is-In so many ways.

Zero Tolerance eliminates the right to be judged fairly and unbiased. It also takes mitigating circumstances out of the punishment picture.

Mitigating circumstances often come into play when it comes time to punish the guilty for their crimes. Insanity is a very common mitigating circumstance. In a recent local case possible brain trauma, drug & alcohol abuse and mob mentality were used as mitigating circumstances to reduce an individuals responsibility for a series of crimes he was convicted of. Basically believing the mitigating circumstances allowed to jury to recommend a less than typical punishment. Zero tolerance takes that away. Who and why no longer matter-Only Guilt.

Several years back, a local high school senior and her Mom spent a (1 week before graduation) weekend moving. Sometime during the move, a butter knife feel out of a box and slid under the seat in the teenagers car. Monday morning, after students were in class, security was doing a student parking lot sweep. Guess what they found on timagehe back floorboard of this students car? Yep, a butter knife. The student, an honor student I might add, was called to the office and her Mom was called to the school. A representative of the School Board was called in. You would have thought this young lady had run naked down the hallway waving the knife and threatening to kill everyone. Instead, she didn’t even realize the knife was there. The student was expelled from the Collier County School District, was unable to take her final exams, unable to march across the stage with her class or participate in any of the senior class festivities for which she had worked so hard for. This student also had been offered a college scholarship which of course hinged on her graduating. Initially, the School Board was going to allow her to return to school the following school year to take her exams, but I think public outrage caused them to reconsider and they agreed she could return during summer school to take her exams.

Zero Tolerance didn’t allow for mitigating circumstances to be considered because zero tolerances is just what it says it is-ZERO TOLERANCE. Mitigating circumstances in this case are-Butter knife not a machete. Honor student not a thug. Never been in trouble in school or the community. Did I mention HONOR student with a full ride scholarship with a future that doesn’t include being a burden on society? There are several other cases of zero tolerance that come to mind, but it’s one specific story that got me to writing this to begin with.

A 9 year old boy in Staten Island NY was almost suspended after he brought a 2” toy lego gun to school. The fourth grader and a friend were playing image with their lego’s in the school cafeteria when a teacher noticed the “deadly” weapon and the student was taken to the principles office and his parents called. After much discussion the principle decided suspension was not warranted. Ummmm DUH!!!! How is it even possible that any thing other than please put that toy away and don’t bring it back to school was done? Zero Tolerance is the answer to that question. The New York public school system has the same policy that almost all school systems have-Guns, toys or real, are not allowed on school grounds. Failure to obey results in immediate suspension or expulsion from the school district. Mitigating circumstances-That picture is the ACTUAL size of the toy gun that was brought to school. Does it look like it might be real? Does it look like the evil 9 year old was preparing to shoot up the school with it? Give me a break….Common sense has once again left the freakin building.

We (I use that term loosely) have become so afraid of letting someone violent slip under our radar that we no longer use common sense in deciding what is and isn’t a threat. I’m sure we can all remember those violent butter knife assaults that occurred on school campus’ before Zero Tolerance was enacted. Those menacing Lego Assault Rifles have mowed down countless innocent bystanders. What was Lego thinking making those things so compact and concealable? Terrorist I tell you, they’re out to take all the fun out of being a kid.

Now, I had a situation that was the perfect example of why Zero Tolerance was enacted in the first place.

Almost 2 years ago a coworker of mine made some very inappropriate comments on day before we clocked in. While I was sitting outside smoking he came up to me to chat. During the course of the conversation he said, in short, that he wanted to bring a couple of guns in and start blowing people away. He told me I was safe because he wanted me to sell tickets so we could make some dough off it. Now, I had known this guy for a couple years, we’d worked together and for the most part I considered him harmless. On the other hand, he was quite strange and if anybody was capable of that he was. I pondered what he said all morning, talked to some close friends and ultimately decided it wasn’t worth the risk that he was just spouting bullshit. I had to decide if I could live with myself if something did happen, to him or the other people I work with. I told my supervisor, who told his supervisor, who told his supervisor, who called in the Risk Manager, an attorney. I will admit that it bothered me, a lot. It bothered me for a very long time. I took a lot of shit for doing what I did, but non of it compared to arriving at work on day 3 weeks later and there he was, just like nothing happened. He received a reprimand, 2 week suspension without pay and was suppose to apologize to me. In the meantime I jumped every time the door behind me opened. I had anxiety attacks every time he walked through my workspace. I told repeatedly that I over-reacted, he’s harmless, he would never do something like that. They weren’t there, they didn’t hear him or see the look in his eyes when he said it. How dare he put me in that position. How dare he put me in a position when I have to decide if I know him well enough to discern his thought process. How dare my employer not transfer him to another department. How dare they care so little for my feelings and so much for his. If zero tolerance had been used in this case, he would have been fired. But mitigating circumstances were taken into consideration and off into the sunset he walked.

The same week this happen to me 5 elementary students were expelled from school for putting together a list of items they would need to get rid of a teacher they didn’t like.

Zero Tolerance-What a joke.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Warning Labels


When I first started thinking about my next blog I was still on the capital punishment mind set. In our local paper today was an excellent editorial about how much more it cost to sentence criminals to death than to life. Then something else caught my attention and I’ve decided to save the death penalty for another day.

We were sitting on the lanai smoking and joking, and the story was a phone call a coworker received last week for her child’s daycare. Her daughter eats breakfast at home but the first 45 minutes of day at daycare take place in the “cafeteria” so those kids who don’t eat breakfast at home can eat there. The coworker sends in something small for her child  to snack on while everyone else is arriving and eating. The phone call was that she is no longer allowed to bring in anything with peanuts or peanut butter because ONE child has been diagnosed with a peanut allergy. Not the coworkers child, somebody else’s child so now NO children can have those snacks. Am I the only person who has a problem with this?

This conversation lead to a discussion about the new warning labels being put on hot dogs. Did you know hot dogs pose a choking hazard in children? I think lack of parental attention causes a choking hazard. For a year of my youngest son’s life he was a dedicated hot dog eater for lunch. I would cut them up, fold up a slice of cheese and put one on each slice and microwave it. A healthy squirt of ketchup and he was set. The worse thing that ever happened was he now can’t stand the thought of eating hot dogs. My daughter on the other hand choked on an ice cube. Yes, an ice cube. She apparently doesn’t multi-task very well. She was walking and eating ice and it slid down her throat and stuck. Instead of being mean and pouring hot water down her throat I did the Heimlich and it popped right out. We’ve had a lot of fun with that one over the years, but I didn’t look into suing the ice maker manufacturer because my daughter doesn’t know how to eat.


Warning labels have been a source of jokes for many years but I think it’s really getting out of hand. The world really has lost it’s common sense. It’s sad that companies have to protect themselves from stupid people. Stupid has paid off for a lot of people. Sue McDonald’s because you were stupid enough to put a cup of hot coffee between your legs while you’re driving. Like when you ordered Hot Coffee you didn’t think it would really be ummmm, HOT.


What moron looked a at screwdriver and thought it would be “pleasurable” to stick it in his penis? I don’t have one but I’ve never heard of it being pleasurable to stick anything in it.

Ok, enough for now. I’m going to go back and read the book I found several years ago, The Death of Common Sense : How Law is Suffocating America by Philip K. Howard.