Tenacity Rewarded

I did it—I have a job.

It’s not an exciting career job, and I’m not sure there’s a whole lot of room for advancement. But I’m working with a well-established, reputable company, the benefits are great and the people are generous.

I admit I have my moments when I say to myself, “I have a college degree yet I’m doing this menial work.” Those moments don’t last very long, especially since this is a job you have to work at to keep up with, so I’m distracted with the task of getting it done. Not just getting it done, but getting it done right. If I don’t do my job well, it has ramifications for a long line of people.

I realize that, at my age, a lot of people are faced with the same situation, that is, a job that doesn’t take full advantage of their skills, experience and talent. Agism becomes an issue and you take whatever job is offered, regardless of how well qualified you are for higher level work. In my case, a major setback eight years ago kept me away from my career path, and that gap is hard to overcome.

One kind of cool thing is the hours. I’m working noon to 8:30, so I have my mornings to run errands, visit the doctor and write. At least, that’s the theory. It seems I can get myself out of bed at 7:00 a.m., but staying out is another story.

So I have my outlets. I love to write and have three blogs to prove it (although admittedly this blog has been neglected as of late). If you’re wondering, take a look to the right of this post and you’ll see the plug for one of my other blogs, Classic for a Reason—Reviews of Films from the Golden Age of Hollywood. The third is a knitting blog.

Another writing outlet is my writing group. It’s a great group of ladies who have a tremendous amount of experience. We meet every Saturday to share our work. It provides me with the motivation to get up at 7:00 so I can put in a few hours of writing before I go to work, although, as I mentioned before, I’m having a hard time convincing my body that eight or nine hours of sleep is enough.

So I’m doing better these days, and maybe I’ll get back to writing for this blog on a more regular basis. I hope so, because I miss the interaction with all of my blogging buddies (some of you have been very loyal and I am grateful for your friendship).

See you soon in the blogosphere.


 

Advertisements

Shades of Prejudice

Is prejudice so ingrained we can’t overcome it?

I don’t know. I believe we can work past at least some of our racism (or other -ism) when we become aware of it, but is there a residual element that lingers? I was listening to the radio the other day–most likely NPR–and heard an interview where a young man who’d broken away from a white supremacy group still found himself battling the hate. There’s little, if any, support for those who are trying to change their thinking in that situation.

There’s more support for us ordinary folks who sincerely seek to broaden our thinking and become better people. Still, it’s sometimes hard to admit exactly what we are thinking, especially when we don’t the root of it ourselves. Did I dismiss an author because he’s black, or because I thought the premise of his book was trite? Did I think the premise of his book was trite because he’s black? The latter I feel fairly confident is not true. Trite is trite and this was trite.

I’ve experienced a modicum of prejudice in my life because of my Polish heritage. A few weeks ago a friend made some snide remark about how you wouldn’t expect a Pole to have blonde hair. Sitting directly across from us was another friend, also of Polish descent, who is about as blonde as they come. Naturally blonde. She just grinned and I rolled my eyes, but like a game of Mad Libs, I could easily see substituting blonde hair for having a high IQ. I’ve heard that one plenty of times. And it doesn’t take too much imagination to take the Mad Libs analogy a little bit further.

There are shades of prejudice and I don’t know which is worse, the subtle shades or the sharp ones. All I can do is seek the truth and see the shades of difference that make each of us unique and our stories valid.


Photo credit: ©Karen Roach – stock.adobe.com

The Beauty in Instinct

“I went with my gut.”

Perilous words for some. For others, it more likely means a wise decision. It depends in many ways just how informed your gut is about a given situation, and how finely tuned your sense of intuition might be.

I’ve read articles by renowned thinkers that tell us intuition is nothing more than a response to how much we know. I believe intuition can kick in when there are tiny details in our lives that don’t add up, or perhaps do add up to something dangerous. Things we aren’t consciously aware of but our brain registers them nonetheless.

Still, there is something to be said for the unknowable. The renowned thinkers I just referred to were all men, and while I have great respect for their credentials, I think they are missing something. I think there is a sixth sense some people have about the world around them. There is something to the phenomenon of woman’s intuition.

Now it could be that this so-called sixth sense is an awareness of a dimension of existence not everyone sees, hears or feels. It could be a gift from God. Don’t get me wrong–I have a great respect for science. I just believe there is a side of our existence that can only be explained in part by the physical. The rest is a mystery.

I don’t want to limit myself to what the human brain can understand. I believe in God, and I believe that by definition he can’t be fully understand by mere mortals. That’s not to say he hasn’t put things in motion, giving scientists something to discover. Without science, we would be living in chaos.

And going with our gut doesn’t mean there isn’t perfectly logical reasons for doing so. We may not be able to articulate those feelings, but they’re valid. Still, there is the unknown. I’ve said it before in a different context: You don’t know what you don’t know. Time will reveal more scientific discoveries, but there will always be that which cannot be explained.

That’s the beauty of it.


Photo Credit: ©julia_arda – stock.adobe.com

Trust

The security of order, a belief that others will do what society expects of them.

Two years ago we learned, more and more each day, that what many of us suspected–or knew–to be true is a harsh reality. Every day, it seemed, another man in power was accused of sexual misconduct, and while there may have been a woman or two crying wolf (no pun intended), most were credible. They are credible in part because we know this happens.

Early on in the “Me Too” movement I listened to a reporter on NPR, Mary Louise Kelly, interview the head of that organization over the resignation of an executive after allegations of sexual harassment were revealed. She was professional, but you could hear the anger in her voice as she asked direct questions. When did you know…why didn’t you do more….? She was the voice of so many women, and while I’m not going to say she spoke for the victims (because I can’t speak for them), her words resonated with me.

She was also the voice of hundreds of NPR employees, angry and frustrated at being scooped on this story by the Washington Post. I get that anger. It’s a professional slap in the face, as well as a betrayal by those internally who knew this information yet kept it secret. But the larger frustration comes from all those who knew what was going on and were waiting for something to be done.

It’s hard to trust those who just let things slide, no matter how fearful they may have been of the consequences. Well, let me qualify that–fear of some consequences may be understandable, and what you choose to understand is up to you. But ducking your head when you have the power to do something is hard to forgive.

Does the movement continue, even without news coverage? I know that to some extent it does, for a man I suspected of sexually harassing women has just been accused of such misconduct by several women who previously worked for him. I say I suspected him of doing this because I believe I received an objectionable phone call from him when I worked for him. I reported it to the phone company (at the time they handled these things) and was told that under no circumstances would I be told who made the call, but it would be investigated. So I don’t know if he made the call or not, and I never will.

A short time after I reported this phone call I was fired for fuzzy reasons by the man I believe was the guilty party. I reported this to the phone company as well, and was told they would investigate, but I knew that the situation was hopeless.

I hope this man is brought to justice. Circumstances today are much more conducive to action.

In the meantime, all you who face this sort of manipulative, frightening, infuriating behavior, I hope you have the support you need to come forward and point fingers at those who should be held accountable. I know it isn’t easy, and I know accusations don’t always lead to the desired result. Get good counsel.

God and friends be with you.


Image Credit: © Bigstockphoto.com

Anticipation

Thin Mints. Once a year.

Are Girl Scout cookies really better than anything else out there, or do we savor them more because of the short window of time in which they’re available? I have friends who buy cases of them and put the extras in the freezer. Wouldn’t do me much good. No matter how many I buy, they’d be gone within a month.

bigstock-red-retro-tv-set-7338444 [Converted]Used to be you could only watch certain movies once a year, perhaps at the holidays. Mary Poppins or The Sound of Music, for example. Certainly The Wizard of Oz. Annually, that wicked witch had me running to hide underneath the bathroom sink. But it was only once a year, and as scared as I might get, it was an event.

I don’t know how often I’ve seen that the Harry Potter movies are playing on cable television. I’ve never watched any of them, and perhaps part of that reason is I know I easily can watch next week, next month or, worst case scenario, three months from now.

Of course there’s always the DVR to record those movies you think you might want to watch at some point, or the DVD player if you choose to buy them (or in my case, check them out at the library).

There’s something to be said for the specialness of specials. I miss those annual events, like the made-for-TV movie of Cinderella. Not the Disney film, but the one starring a very young Lesley Ann Warren. They remade it several years ago, and it was a decent remake, but not as special as the one you had to wait for annually.

Don’t get me wrong. I like the fact that if I have a favorite movie on DVD I can watch it when I want, or if there’s nothing on TV I want to see I can pull out The Mary Tyler Moore Show. 

Television has changed, and many, if not most, of those changes are good. Still, I remember when “Hallmark made-for-TV movie” meant an Emmy-worthy program. Those Hallmark Hall of Fame films were good, really good. There was a sense of anticipation when you saw them advertised, because you knew it would be a quality show. You don’t see that anymore, at least not on Hallmark.

When we usher in the new, we end up tossing out both the good and bad about the old. Something to consider when we jump on the latest technology simply because it’s the latest technology.

Thank goodness the Girl Scouts are smart enough to build up a demand for their products.


Image Credits: Retro TV Set © Bigstockphoto.com; Calendar and Clock © Stillfx–stock.adobe.com

 

Who’s In Charge Here?

A few years ago a co-worker told me about some research she’d read stating that, if we own cats, our lives are controlled by these feline friends. I laughed at the time but now I’m thinking that study may have been correct.

What’s the first thing I do in the morning? Feed the cats.

Where do I sit? Anywhere the cats are not.

Have I ever changed the channel on the TV to pacify my cats? Of course. If one of them seems agitated by what they’re hearing or seeing on the screen, click goes the remote. Well, sometimes I just mute it for a time.

20190606_185007 MimiIf both cats are showing me a lot of attention, I’m fairly certain that in their furry little minds it’s time for dinner. Even if it’s only 3:00 in the afternoon.

My world is better with my cats, so I don’t mind their control. I do, however, sometimes get annoyed with others controlling my life. For example, my local grocery store chose to stop stocking my favorite juice. I know the manager there so I asked him why, and he didn’t have an answer. They sold plenty of it. Perhaps it was a supply issue, he suggested.

At my job I had to work a series of pretty crummy shifts because of a co-worker who took a whopping eight weeks off for her daughter’s wedding. As you might imagine, this woman is pretty controlling in a number of ways–how many brides would allow their mother that much oversight?

Management approved this time off and couldn’t hire anyone to replace her or they would have been overstaffed when she came back. Not that they should be worrying about that. She’s asked for another three weeks off in the short time since she’s returned.

I don’t know who I’m more critical of in that case, my co-worker or management.

Of course as I gripe about this I wonder if there are areas in which I’m taking advantage of anyone else. I don’t think I am–I’m pretty sensitive to that sort of thing–but you never know who might be muttering under their breath about you.

Anyway, the bottom line is, none of us has complete control of our lives.

I just wish the cats would give me my chair back.

Truth to Tell

A few years ago I was having a healthy discussion with a friend’s husband about some political brouhaha or the other. Now, I like Greg. He’s treated me well over the years, but more importantly, he’s treated his wife, Jamie, like the treasure that she is. We’ve always disagreed politically but have never lowered ourselves when talking about this issue or that. Perhaps we both recognize there is fault on either side.

However, a few minutes into our animated talk I realized something I hadn’t caught on to before: Greg was a proficient storyteller, and he had no issue straying from the truth. As he rambled off some “facts” to me, points I knew objectively to be false, I glanced over at Jamie. Did she know he was lying?

Of course she did. Over the years mutual friends and I have more fully recognized the extent of Greg’s, shall we say, misinterpretation of the facts, but none of us have ever said anything about it to Jamie, nor has she said anything to us. It is understood that this is a fault, and a somewhat benign one in context, nothing of which we need to take issue. Frankly, I doubt most conversations between me and Greg would end any differently if he did diligently adhere to the facts. We would agree and disagree in the same measure.

I need to make it clear that as far as we know, Greg doesn’t lie to Jamie about issues important to their marriage. He limits the falsehoods to certain types of storytelling and political debate. It doesn’t make us question him in other conversations–he has seemingly never exaggerated his children’s success, for example, or for that matter, their failures. He is an honest businessman.

Integrity is a difficult issue to define at times. Some would say if Greg can’t stick to the truth in his storytelling you can’t trust anything he tells you. Knowing him as I do, I trust him. Has he perhaps told me Jamie wasn’t home when she simply didn’t feel like talking? Maybe. But that doesn’t bother me.

I appreciate spouses who can lift their partner up without pulling the rest of us down. This is perhaps doubly true because of another couple I’m friends with who will protect each other to the point of lying in a manner that belittles me. When I know the truth, and you know I know the truth, why would you lie about something just to make a fool of me?

It’s a delicate balance and it’s part of the reason relationships can be so challenging. Our perspective shapes the way we evaluate the veracity of other’s conversations. What some consider wrong others don’t even hear.

We all have to live with the faults of others, but as Millie Helper said in one of my favorite episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show, “People would be pretty dull without them.”

And therein lies at least one truth.


Image Credit: ©saquizeta – stock.adobe.com