22 November 2016

What Can Be Worse Than Turning 50?

I thought turning 50 would be devastating, but it wasn't. Not when compared to all the other things that happened the first thing in the morning on my 50th birthday.

Every morning, I ensure Macey makes it from the kennel to the back door in less than 15 seconds. This is the amount of time it takes for her to register a full bladder. That didn't happen this morning.

I had been so proud of her, too. She has never made a dropping in her kennel until this morning, the morning of my 50th birthday. Did I mention that I'm 50 today?

Not only did Macey make a rather large deposit, but it was a loose one. She was so distraught over it that she tried to escape it, trampling it again and again. I can only imagine from the looks of things, she must have made several attempts to rid her paws of the foul smelling goo.

This cleanup job would need some forward thinking. The longer I stood there and contemplated my first moves, the more Macey yiped with anxiety. I made a decision. I would clean the ten-pound puppy first, put her outside, and then tackle the rest of the mess in a methodical approach. I was not prepared for the sheer force of puppy power when I opened the kennel door. Macey sprang from her cage and plowed into my arms.

Fuck me, right?

So, I cleaned and disinfected everything, including her squeaky toy and tug rope. I placed a new puppy training pad in the kennel. I brought Macey back inside to feed her. I bumped the glass beaker off the table and it fell onto the ceramic floor, shattering it into a thousand pieces. The loud noise scared Macey. She sprinted across the kitchen to the other side and pissed on the floor.

Now, if you're having a bad day, cheer up! It could be worse. You could be turning 50.

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12 November 2016

Raising a Nation - The Working Class

Charles C. Camosy is an associate professor at Fordham University. He wrote an article at The Washington Post to which I responded with a comment that turned into my own article.

This was Professor Camosy’s headline and lead:

Trump won because college-educated Americans are out of touch

Higher education is isolated, insular and liberal. Average voters aren't.

My comment:

Hello Professor Camosy,

I am an educated U.S citizen and I consider myself in the working class, not an elite with an Us vs. Them stance on everything, including political views. During my undergraduate studies, I recall having to complete some rather diverse courses that clearly were designed to make my educational experience a well-rounded one. I'm not sure how Fordham University designs its programs, so I will just explain my experience and how I've managed to change my point of view on many different topics throughout my life, based on my experiences, and not on any prejudices.

From my undergrad studies, the courses that remained with me throughout the years were those which taught me the different world views of others: American Social Problems, Ethnic Literature, and Western Civilization. These courses taught us how to think about and rationalize other viewpoints which were vastly different from our own.

American Social Problems required the student to argue debate topics which went against their personal beliefs, and their grades depended upon thorough research on the pros or cons of whatever topic they were given in their assignments. We had to debate controversial subjects like affirmative action, welfare, abortion, capital punishment, the legalization of marijuana, and the legalization of prostitution.

It was not difficult to make arguments for abortion one week and then two weeks later argue against capital punishment. In this manner, students were encouraged to research the other side of every issue in order to prepare themselves for rebuttal.  It was not difficult to argue one side while my husband played "devil's advocate" to try and make me falter on my assigned position. In this manner, students were encouraged to argue productively and without feeling like they were being personally attacked. After all, it was the professor who made the assignments.

Ethnic Literature provided many articles and essays written by people of all different cultures, including ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation. These stories were written by authors who tell of their own culture and from the perspective of one who experiences that culture on a daily basis. Through the lens of others, we as students could experience those same stories as we were encouraged to immerse ourselves in those roles.

I won't go into more, but my point is to share with you why I feel that my educational experience helped me to embrace differences of opinions and to respect those who do not experience the same as what I've had the privilege of learning - back before colleges became havens for sensitive elites. For this reason, when I see college protests such as those happening on campuses throughout our nation, where students are upset because of the outcome of our 2016 presidential election, it leaves me a bit concerned. Has academia been in such a decline that students have not been properly groomed to reason outside the boundaries of its institutions?

I’m not stating these things to be negative. It’s when I see news about students being given therapy dogs because they are so traumatized by this outcome, it does beg the question. Does it not?

Are institutions of higher learning seriously insulating our college students from the real world and are they not preparing them for the larger world view they will need for their future?

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09 November 2016

A New Member of My Family - Welcome Macey!

Hello Blogosphere!

I'm so excited to introduce a new member of my family today. But first, I want to acknowledge the end of a very divisive and painful election season.

To some, today is a day of somberness, maybe even despair. To others, it's a day of reckoning and joy.  But either way, it is the first day of another chapter in America. The days leading up to my decision to find Macey were filled with the anxiety of possibly losing America in an election that would make history like no other event in the world. We had the option to choose someone who served 30 years in public office, leading a campaign on steadiness and unity. We also had the option to choose a business man who never held office a day in his life, leading a campaign on cleaning up Washington and rebuilding America. I so wanted change and I was afraid it would not happen. I did my part. I voted.

No matter who you voted for in this election, you remain and will always be my American partners. We are in this thing together, as we were with all Presidents of the past. We will see what unfolds in our future, but I have trust in our political system and I believe hope is around the corner.

With the looming election weighing heavy on my shoulders, I scoured the Internet in search of the one who could make me feel confident and content with my choice, no matter the outcome of the election. When I saw her, I knew she belonged to me.

We had a few names to consider. Those names were carefully bounced back and forth between me and Charles. In contention, Baxter, Dallas, Bella, and Stormy rolled off our tongues.

Looks like a Bella here.

Definitely Dallas.

Stormy is so contrasting to this level of calm.

Baxter is so noble!

In the end, and during the hours that unfolded on election day, I settled on Macey. From the baby names site, and I quote:

People with this name tend to be quiet, cooperative, considerate, sympathetic to others, adaptable, balanced and sometimes shy. They are trustworthy, respecting the confidences of others, and make excellent diplomats, mediators and partners. They are often very intuitive. They like detail and order, and often find change worrisome. They may sometimes feel insecure or restless.

I think in these tumultuous times, I need something like this in my life, and Macey appears in all instances capable of bringing a balance into this family and into my world. What do you think? Comment below!

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