Friday, December 13, 2013

Sex and the Single Christian (Woman)

If you believe that ‘fornication’ is the second biggest ‘sin’ in the world, then please don’t read any further.  Okay, I take that back.  Instead, move your cursor a little to the right and please join this blog, then you don’t have to read anymore…….today.  But do return, because a future topic will most likely not offend you.  Those of you who are interested in a different perspective and are willing to read with an open mind, stay with me.  Now remember that I’m speaking from a secular and scientific point of view, so we won’t agree with each other on every point. 

Physiological needs are crucial to one’s survival.  They are air, food, water, sleep, homeostasis, excretion and sex.  Let me make this clear:  we NEED these seven things in order to survive – in order to live.  Do we have to get them every single day?  Although they are vital, NO.  But human beings cannot go without any of them for too long a period before something goes awry.

However, for some unknown reason, single Christians are lead to believe that they can do without sex.  I’m not making this up.  Single Christians breathe, drink water, eat food (and church people eat a lot of that), sleep (especially during sermons), maintain homeostasis and excrete (usually after church buffets); but as soon as they engage in sexual encounters, they immediately feel guilty.

In some churches, if two young people of the opposite sex are spending too much time together, right away they will be pressured by church leaders to marry so that they don’t get tempted to ‘fornicate’.  For single Christians, breathing is called breathing; food is called food; water is called water; however sex is called fornication, a term that carries so much stigma that no one wants to admit doing it.

These leaders don’t care if the couple is mature enough or financially stable enough for marriage; all they know is there will be no fornication taking place under their watchful eyes.  They don’t instill in these young people that marriage is not only about love and attraction and that compatibly, compromise and empathy play a huge part in any successful marriage.  No way.  Their agenda is not the couple’s everlasting happiness.  It is making sure that they do not engage in illicit actions.

In some churches, if an unmarried woman gets pregnant, she is banned from the church altogether or prohibited from taking part in certain actives and leadership roles.  However, the other single people who are engaging in sexual activities, but have managed not to get pregnant are allowed to take part in any and all activities.  After all, they have been lucky enough to keep their activities in the dark.  Some churches go as far as to remove the ban once the woman gets married.  So, all other ‘sins’ that she partakes in go unabashed, but that one, whoa.  If a single Christian woman has a child out of wedlock, she carries that guilt with her for the rest of her life.  Living with shame and guilt forever seems like a tad bit long, just a tad.  Now, you Christians know better than I, so correct me if I’m wrong, but Mary wasn’t married to her baby daddy, and nobody ever gave her a hard time.  Do I hear an "Amen"?  No?  Too soon?

Although I am not a Christian and cannot relate 100%, like every other church going adolescent/young adult, I have thought about taking that step.  However, several things kept me from taking the plunge.  And sex is NOT even one of them.  Just the idea of living my life as someone else is enough to deter me from being a serious member of any religious organization.  Are you telling me that I’ll have to stop laughing at crude jokes, and I’ve never met a rude joke that I didn’t like.  Are you telling me that I’d have to feel guilty every time I told a white lie, slipped a baker’s dozen, gossiped, laughed at someone, thought something negative of someone?  And I’m not implying that that is all that I am.  I’m saying that with my good comes my not so good.  Why?   Because I’m human!

To me, being a Christian seemed like hard work, and I just pictured myself always forgetting not to drop the F bomb in inappropriate places.  Sure religious leaders tell you that it is okay to come as you are because only Jesus is perfect, and then in the next breath, they remind you to strive to be like Him.  Right away, that is a set up for failure.  I was born with a conscience: I do not need a conscience police every time I do something.

For instance, and this is completely hypothetical.  Suppose I purchase an electric deep fryer and try it twice, but realize that making my homemade fries in my own pot taste better.  Suppose I decide to return the deep fryer to let’s say, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and the cashier/manager is the person I go to.  What if I’m in hurry and when he inquires if the item was used, I decide to say no?  Now remember this is all hypothetical.  Then suppose when he opens the box, and visions of fries, oil and burgers are flying through the air.  Then what if he gives me a look, like “Seriously dude!”  Then what if I hypothetically say, “Oh I just put oil in there to try it.”  Then he hypothetically responds, “You were going to get your refund anyway.  We just wanted to know if we can put it back on the shelf.”  Now if I were a Christian, I would feel guilty for a long time and beat myself up; but since I’m just Myra, if that were to happen to me, I’d just laugh it off and say, “Oh well.”

Digression aside, I’m still amazed at the number of people who still frown upon an individual, especially a woman getting her grove on, if she is not married.  Am I the only person who realizes that lack of sex can lead to insanity?  Yeah I said it, and I’ll say it again.  Show me a person who is not having sex, and I will show you a crazy person.  I’m not saying that everybody who is crazy is not having sex.  I’m just saying that every time a person goes crazy, lack of sex tends to be involved.  And if she is a Christian, it’s just a quicker way to insanity.

Of course I don’t have any scientific proof.  I just know that growing up, whenever someone went deranged, it was usually due to a combination of two factors:  too much religion and too little sex.  Again, I’m not implying that every religious fanatic who is sexually deprived will become insane.  I’m just saying that after witnessing a few people from my village who lost it from too much religion and too little sex, the writing was on the wall.  They usually quoted scriptures, cursed God and pranced around naked.  You do the math.

I still cannot figure out why sexually active, grown, single women find the need to hide their acts from others.  Don’t they know that sex is as important to humans as oxygen?  Don’t they know that they can still be good Christian women and continue to serve the Lord?  What is up with all the guilt?  What is up with all the crying on the altar? 

Now please don’t read too much into my words.  Don’t assume that I’m the biggest sex fiend there is and assume that my husband is the luckiest man alive.  Please don’t go there because like most mothers and wives, I still have chores to take care of that make me very tired at nights.  I’m just saying that if I was a single, grown, sexually active woman, I cannot imagine who on this earth would make me feel guilty about being who I am.  And certainly not those pastors who expect the church to be their personal harem, but that’s a different post altogether.

Maybe it’s hard for me to wrap my head around it all because I haven’t been single as an adult.  And I don’t want to appear insensitive, but these non-virgin, adult, Christian women are really not fooling anyone.  Am I going to believe that because they are church goers that they are celibate?  I know it sounds real cynical.  Maybe I’m a cynic, but I’m also a realist.  The adult woman that probably has the least sex is the married one.  So who is her husband going to get his grove on with?

I know this is not dinnertime topic, more like men’s locker room topic, and not the topic for the married mother of three young children.  But again, am I the only one who is tired of all these taboos that we have to live by?  There are enough laws to obey that can actually put people in jail.  I have no time to remember the ones whose main purpose is to make life more comfortable for other people and more stressful for myself.  But just like I don’t expect people to drink dirty water when they are thirsty, or food from a pig sty when they are hungry, I’m not saying that these women should be promiscuous.  All I’m saying is if a grown woman thinks that she has found someone that she wants to share her body with, it is her prerogative because perspectively speaking when you gotta go, you gotta go, and when you gotta come, you gotta come.

Monday, December 9, 2013

It’s My Birthday, And I’ll Cheer If I Want To!

So it’s my birthday today, and I did something my mother never got the chance to do.  I turn 44.  Not only me, but all her children made it to 44; but since I’m the youngest, I feel like we have all escaped her tragedy.  Death is a very powerful thing.  All negative energy is powerful, but death is in a class by itself.  My mother accomplished many things in her short life.  She experienced good, and she experienced bad.  I never in the time that she was gone, ever lost sleep wondering, “Will I be as hard a worker as she?  Will I be as wise as she?”  But for some reason, for years, I feared that I too might die at a young age, leaving my children to grow up without a mother.  And consciously, I know that worrying doesn’t help.  I know that there are some things in life we cannot change.  I know that life is going to be what life is going to be.  Unfortunately, subconsciously, fears always creep in.

Many people think birthdays are just another day.  Some even think birthdays are only for kids.  And others refuse to even acknowledge their own birthdays.  They dread the fact that they will be one year older.  What they don’t realize is every day they become one day older, so really when that birthday arrives, another day is not going to make that much of a difference in age.  But I’ve always loved birthdays because they are unique.  A holiday is for everybody, but a birthday is just for that one person.  And it doesn’t matter how many people are celebrating on that day, it is still for the individual.  But more importantly, when you realize that amidst everything that was taking place in the world, your mother put it all on hold to ensure that you were safely delivered, then how can a birthday not be a special day?

Although people are living longer in these times, many are also dropping like flies.  We all know someone who was fairly young and thought to be healthy, and the next thing we hear is that individual has suddenly died.  Sure every day should be celebrated, but a birthday is the pinpoint to mark that one has completed yet another cycle.  When I was employed outside the house, I did not work on my birthday.  That day was for me to reflect and take stock of my life, not for me to be stressed on somebody’s plantation, making more money for him.

So forget about getting older.  Please, I know the feeling of staring at the reflection in the mirror and wondering where the younger version of what I see went.  Enjoy your birthday because you only get one a year, if you were lucky enough not to be born on February 29, or quite frankly if you are just lucky.  I’ve said it already, but I’ll say it again: birthdays are cool because without one, it means that you are no longer around, and perspectively speaking having a birthday sure beats the alternative.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Paul Walker Dead At 40!

It is always weird when celebrities die, especially suddenly and tragically.  Some people feel like they know them because they have seen them so often and know so much about them.  Some people feel like their lives and those of said celebrities would have never intertwined, so it is a non-issue.  Some people get depressed and mourn their losses.  Some people think, “Who is that?”

I’m not a big fan of movies like Fast & Furious.  I probably watched the first and second ones, in bits and pieces.  Personally, if you have seen one, you’ve seen all.  But to each his own, because I can see myself watching The Best Man - Nursing Home Days.  Yup, I can never get enough of that cast.  So I don’t begrudge people who feel a sense of loss at the passing of Paul Walker.  I, too, invest in certain celebrities and think of them as friends in my head.  One thing I will say about his passing though is this, “Such a waste of some good eye candy.”  Don’t know him like that because I don’t watch a lot of his movies, but I knew who he was, and he certainly was fine to look at.  So that was my shallow moment!

At any rate, this post is not so much about him, but death in general.  When I was 25, I went to my aunt-in-law’s funeral, and I was amazed when some cousins said that was the first funeral they ever attended.  By then I had been to more funerals than weddings.  Granted they did not live in Antigua and wouldn’t have been to some of the funerals I had been to; still that was astounding.  I attended an old spinster’s funeral in my early 20’s, and I believe it was that event that changed my mind about funerals forever.  Since then, funerals have become more lavish, but twenty years ago, I had never seen anything like that.  Her funeral reminded me of the wedding she never had, with the balloons, though black, and all the pomp and substance.  From that day, I vowed to have a funeral as low key as possible.

Every time someone mentions his funeral or death, coincidentally about a week later, everyone else is planning it or talking about it.  I’m not usually superstitious, but I’m not taking any chances, so knock on wood, cross my fingers, cross my heart, the whole nine yards – I’m referring to 59 years from now.  Okay!  Anyway, when my time comes, forget about the flowers, forget about the ceremony, forget about the expensive casket (that might be the cheap side of me talking), forget about people flying in for that day.  Please, please, please, don’t make my funeral (which will occur sometime after December 2072) more eventful than my life.  Love me now.  Visit me now.  Call me now.  Think about me now.  Cherish me now.

Whether you believe that there is life after death or you believe that we are just worm food, I don’t think there is anybody who would enjoy a more beautiful funeral to a beautiful life.  I know this is one of my big pet peeves, but I really get annoyed when someone lives abroad and has no time for her relatives back home, but for the funeral, she returns with her brood and make a huge spectacle of herself.  I might be wrong, but I’m sure Granny would have preferred a visit or two while alive.  Just my opinion (as if there is ever any other), but Granny is not really aware that the funeral is taking place.  This is just for the survivors. 

Or the family members might say, “He had such a good send off.”  Again, I think he would have preferred some of that money used on airline tickets, clothes, flowers and food to cover his living expenses for a month or two or three or four before his death.  Call me cynical, and yes I’ll answer, but using that money for a casket that is going to be rotten in months or years, I don’t really know what they are made from, and I really don’t want to know, could have been better used on the actual life of the person lying in said casket.

So yes, I don’t care if I’m buried in a box, just not a saltfish box.  Heck, I don’t even care if I’m buried, cremated, frozen.  It really is not a big deal to me.  What I care about is life.  The lives of my family, my friends, my neighbors, people in general.  People who were subjected to work on Thanksgiving Day instead of spending that time with family.  (You know I was not going to let that go immediately.)  People who are devastated in natural disasters, but not just while the cameras are rolling – their lives before and their lives after.  People who are subjected to live without proper healthcare, attend subpar public schools, live in subpar housing.  Basically, the lives of my fellow men.

There is nothing more important than life, and all the things that make life worthwhile.  Love, family, laughter.  When I explained what a wake is to my children, my daughter said, “I don’t want anybody having a party and having fun if I’m dead.”  My sentiments exactly.  Have a party for me when I’m alive.  Celebrate my life when I’m alive because perspectively speaking, when I’m gone, the celebration is just for you. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Words Have Power......Bad Words

Whenever I hear people say words have power, I cringe.  I do so because I think it is a ridiculous statement on some level, but I keep it to myself because, to each his own. 

My remarkable memory can be a blessing or a curse… others.  Whenever someone wants to recall an event from long ago, I’m the person to ask.  However, when I remind someone of something promised eons ago, he or she is not happy that I still remember.  I can recall things that happened when I was three years old.  I hardly forget anyone’s birthday or anniversary.  I can account childhood stories and events clearly.  But for some reason, lately, I have been having some difficulty remembering the names of simple, everyday things like bowl, chair, or foot, just to name a few.  Shoot, sometimes I don’t even remember my kids’ names, but most parents don’t.  A while ago, I went to the doctor, and when I returned to the car an hour later, I could not find my car key.  I didn’t remember having it in the office – as if I would remember.  I emptied my bag.  I looked all over the front of the car.  In a passing glance, I noticed something familiar.  For a second I thought to myself, “Why am I seeing pictures of my children?”  Lo and behold, the key was still in the ignition!!!  It could be serious; it could just be stress; or it could be too much multitasking.  I don’t know.  So occasionally I joke and say, “I hope I’m not getting Alzheimer’s.”  I did that once in the presence of the wrong person and was thoroughly reprimanded, “Go ahead and claim that for yourself!”  To which I replied, “Well the good news is, I won’t know.”  Then I heard, “Don’t you know that words have power?”

That really got me thinking.  How come bad words have power, but good words don’t!

Like if I wake up one day and tell everyone to address me as Halle because I’m so beautiful, no one would say, “Sure, Myra.  Words have power; and now that you mention it, you do look like Halle Berry.”  Instead EVERYONE would laugh, to my face at that.  Once, [back in the day when I had a real job…I know; being at home with the children is a real job, (wink, wink)] one of my coworkers told me that I looked like Jada Pinkett Smith.  I didn’t see it then.  I don’t see it now.  I’ll never see it; but sure, I’ll take that compliment any day because I’m a big fan of hers, and she is so damn gorgeous.  She could do well with a few pounds, but that is neither here nor there.  It’s probably our small stature and big personality.  Now! Now!  I’m not saying that I’m all that; I’m just saying that although we are small, we are not timid.

Anyway, when the one co-worker said I looked like Jada, instantly another close coworker replied, “I don’t see it.”  I didn’t even get the chance to enjoy it!  So how is it that every time someone mentions something negative, and it comes to pass, it is because their words have so much power; but when someone says something positive it is followed by echoes of “you wish” or “in your dreams”?

If words really had that much power, then how come I don’t look like Halle Berry?
If my words were so strong, how come I’m not eloquent like Oprah Winfrey?
How come I’m not Mitt Romney rich?  I don’t want to be Bill Gates or Warren Buffet rich because I’d feel compelled to share.  But Mitt Romney rich?  It’s mine; mine all mine - for my children and my children’s children and their children.  I kid, I kid….of course I’d share.

And I’m not going to deny that calling someone a bad word can have some serious negative repercussions, especially if done repeatedly.  I for one feel badly when my children irritate me, and words that I would be ashamed to say in the presence of sailors pour out; but thankfully, they love me unconditionally.

On the other hand, although I don’t think positive words have power either, per se, I don’t understand why people dismiss them more than they do negative words.  And I admit, I cringe when I hear people say, “You can do anything you want if you put your mind to it.”  Not really.  One can do most things if one endures the hard work, but we can’t do everything just by thinking that we can. Sure it’s okay to dream, but once the dream is over, you need to get up off your ass and make that dream a reality.  Ask Oprah Winfrey!  Many people didn’t think she was going to be just Oprah, but she proved them wrong.  However, she didn’t prove them wrong by sitting on her behind, saying I’ll show them.  She proved them wrong by doing whatever it took to become the first black, female billionaire.

And, I can just imagine Oprah at her heaviest claiming that she will be a billionaire and no one taking her seriously.  Yet at the very same time, if she had uttered her fears of contracting diabetes, many people could certainly see that as a possibility, even though some would rebuke her for even thinking it.

Back in high school, before every test I would say a silent prayer, and every single time I received the results, they were always the same.  The times I studied hard, I did well.  The times I didn’t study much or didn’t study at all, I did miserably. 

Speaking of which, there is the height thing.  I always wished I was taller.  Not like 6 feet because it would be a tad bit difficult finding a guy taller than I.  And to each his own again, but I just prefer taller guys myself; but for me, five feet, eight inches is ideal.  Growing up, it didn’t matter how much I wished to be taller, it didn’t matter how positive I was about being taller, it didn’t work.  Don’t believe me?  1) Check my height and 2) pray for something that is not in your DNA!!!

Oftentimes, we let superstition, religion, karma cloud our rationale.  Two people say the same thing at the same time, they rush to see who first says, “Jinx! Knock on wood!”  Someone is stuck in a bad job, a bad relationship, a bad neighborhood, she prays to God endlessly for a better job, a good husband, a nice neighborhood.  Not a praying man?  Then usher your words to ‘the universe’ in the hopes that good will come upon you.  But perspectively speaking, the only time words are powerful is if they are backed by powerful actions.

Friday, October 25, 2013


I am so not trying to make light of the situation of missing and exploited children, or anyone for that matter.  These children usually have worried parents, and anyone missing presumably has family going out of their minds searching for them.  I, for one, would be pushed off the edge that I’m currently on, if one of my children goes missing.

I am also not challenging the fact that the authorities questioned a Roma couple in Greece about a blond, green eyed girl that they claimed to be their daughter.  Just this past May, a man in Louisiana went shopping at Wal-Mart with his daughters.  He picked his wife up and upon arriving home, they were met by police who questioned them relentlessly.  Apparently he was white, so Wal-Mart shoppers and employees assumed he was abducting the girls.  For now, let’s forget about the fact that an abductor would mostly likely snatch one child and not three.  Also, in February of 2012, a man was cuffed and detained for what any wonderful grandfather would be praised for doing – hanging out with his granddaughter.  Why?  Because he was white, and she was black, and police do not take reports of child abduction lightly.

And please don’t compare this to white celebrities adopting black babies.   They don’t need any proof since the media bombard us with their stories, coupled with slide shows of their activities.  And no, I’m not going to question if these adoptions are sincere or if they are their latest accessories.  It is surely not my business.

So it really doesn’t bother me that people who see something that they think is out of the ordinary alert the authorities, because really who isn’t going to blame herself if she sees something and doesn’t say something, when something amiss is taking place?  And there is so much to say about the fact that although this little girl’s photo has been displayed over the international media, NO ONE has put her hand up to say, “That’s my baby!”  Again, that is neither here or there.  There are people to handle such matters.  The Roma couple has no proof that this is their child.  They are allegedly changing their stories which would give any reasonable person pause.

I’m not even troubled by the fact that another blond haired, this time blue eyed girl was found in Ireland among the Roma people causing them to get a bad name.  Look, we’ve all been there.  Timothy McVeigh bombs Oklahoma City – all skinheads get a bad rap.  OJ Simpson is accused of killing his wife and her friend – all abusive football players get a bad rap.  DMX cannot stay of out jail – all pot-smoking rappers get a bad rap.  Ted Kaczynski becomes The Unabomber – all child prodigy turn paranoid schizophrenic recluse get a bad rap.  We all have to live with some form of bigotry and prejudice.

Here’s what bothers me: the US authorities getting heavily involved.  Possibly the same authorities that have told the families of missing children that they are doing the best they can, that their hands are tied, that they have used all possible resources.  Yet, they can find time to investigate a possible abduction thousands of miles away.

Another thing that is getting under my skin is that this little girl is being hailed an “angel”.  No one, besides the people with whom she has been living, knows her enough to call her an angel.  And how can she be dubbed an angel, when no one has ever seen an angel?  But I suspect that if a little black ‘angel’ was found living on a Mormon compound nobody would question it.  Who am I kidding?  They probably still believe black people are cursed and would not be seen within a 1,000 miles of them.

At any rate, two positive things came out of this: the Gypsies, like everybody else, now have a politically correct name, Roma; and I no longer have to wonder what would be the outcome if a black couple adopted a white baby.  (Note to self – cross that off your bucket list.)

I hope these missing blond light eyed girls are reunited with their loved ones, but perspectively speaking, what I yearn for more is that every missing child is granted the same resources as those two girls, who were never reported missing in the first place.

Monday, October 21, 2013

When Will I Get Over Buying Facebook For $40?

Yippee!  I finally get to share my vast knowledge of investing with you - my readers, my friends, my peeps.  Okay, fine.  A degree in Finance & Investments does not an expert make.  And working as a financial advisor for one year in 2008 when the market crashed causing me to lose my job certainly does not help.  But I have been buying stocks since 1998, so with this 15 year old hobby, it is my pleasure to entice you with my wisdom.

So my investment strategy is to buy and hold – I’m not interested in buying shares in a company today and selling them next week at a profit.  My intention is simple:  I buy reputable stocks and hold them until I retire. (Okay, that was when I started in 1998 and had a job.  So don’t judge me now because I don’t work.)  But since you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket, I didn’t want to buy just blue chip stocks – stocks from well known, large, financially sound and established companies.  And for the same reason, I didn’t want to buy into one or two industries only.  When I started investing, tech stocks were the craze, but it seemed like every time a tech company had an IPO – initial public offering – when a private company decides to sell shares to the public to raise money – the owners got rich but within a matter of months, the company goes bust and all the little investors lose their money.  So back then I just stuck with companies like Microsoft, Intel and Cisco for the technological portion of my portfolio.  They had been around for a while, and I could afford their shares.

In 2004 when Google went public, the price was $85 a share.  I probably could have afforded a couple shares if the funds from dividends – money companies pay you to own their shares – were in my account.  However, I was quite busy raising small children and not paying attention, so I did not put anything extra in the account for that venture.  Plus I was not in the mood to lose money on a fad.  But after Google shot off like a rocket, I wished I could turn back the clocks.  That baby is now worth about $1,015.  So even if I had bought just two shares, I would have had an unrealized gain – unrealized because I wouldn’t have sold them, so it would just be a gain on paper – of $1,850.01.  You cannot forget to include the commission of $9.99 I would have paid to buy the stock in the first place.

So I missed the Google bandwagon.  I also missed the Amazon and Priceline crusades.  Now IPOs are real tricky.  In the case of Amazon, underwriters – the investment bankers that assess the price of the new stock – thought the initial share price would be $18, a jump from $12.  When it unveiled, it was $30, but it had dipped by $23 at the end of the day.  Amazon bottomed to $5.51 in October, 2001.  That I could have easily afforded, but Amazon is not a blue chip company, so I was not taking that risk.  It is now worth about $325, so you know I want to kick myself every time I think about it.

As they say, hindsight is 20/20.  

Priceline went public in March of 1999 with a price of $16.  It fell to $1.30 in December of 2000.  Today, it is worth almost $1,100.  Again, Priceline is not established so I was not meddling with it.  Can you imagine if I had bought Priceline for $25 and it then fell to $1?  Of course I would have kept the shares I purchased, because I invest for the long run and I have to weather whatever storms come my way.  But that certainly would have caused me months, years of agony.  On the other hand, since I would not have sold them, I would be beaming right about now.

Therefore when facebook announced that it was going public, Myra was not going to play it safe and not get in on the action.  I determined that I was going to purchase 100 shares for $22 each.  I transferred the money into my investment account, and by I, I mean we, because my husband and I are a team, but for argument’s sake, let’s just stick with me.  I waited and waited.  I listened to the noise.  The underwriters changed the anticipated initial price several times.  They questioned the value of the company.  They went back and forth. I listened to some.  I ignored others.

On May 18, 2012, facebook went public.  It was a Friday, so my husband and I went to the gym.  I delayed leaving the house because there were some technical difficulties with the IPO, but then decided it was out of my realm.  By then it was announced that the initial price would be $38.  As I worked that treadmill and stared at CNBC, I saw the stock doing some acrobatic moves.  It went as high as $45 and by day’s end, it settled at $38.23.  I had some moments of panic, but in the end I was glad that I changed my buying price to $40.  With that increase, I was only able to get 85 shares.

For the next few days, weeks even, the neurotic individual that I am, I questioned if I had made the right decision by not sticking with $22 a share.  Over the next few months, I no longer questioned, I knew for sure I had made a terrible mistake.  That stock dipped all the way down to below $18 in September, 2012.  For months, every time I saw the red in my portfolio to show the loss, internally I pound my head on a wall.  Why didn’t I listen to my gut?  Why didn’t I trust my initial price limit?  Why did I change my mind?  And because I’m so anal, seeing 85 instead of a round 100 angers me more.

Currently facebook is pricing at around $55 a share, so my red has finally turned to green.  But you know me – I calculate how much greener it would have been if I had stuck to my gun.  I’m not impressed with the realized gain, because it could have been so much sweeter hadn’t I blundered.  I would have been so proud of myself if I had gotten it right.

And it doesn’t matter that I miraculously bought some shares of Apple at $80 in January of 2009, and they are now worth about $525 and went as high as $705.  It doesn’t matter than I have more gains than losses altogether.  It doesn’t matter that things could have gone the other way, and facebook could have kept going up after that initial $38, and had I not paid $40, I could have missed it.  None of that matters.  And the fact that when I finally retire (yup, I’m young enough for a few more acts) - and my fixed social security income doesn’t suffice, that it won’t matter if my stocks are at a round figure or a weird odd number because when paying for bread, milk and heat head my priority list, paying $40 instead of $22 for a stock a quarter of a century ago won’t be important.

I went through this whole financial spiel to illustrate that in life also, we have to stop beating ourselves up for that one thing that didn’t go as planned.  So what if you wore a light cashmere sweater to the Antigua Day Festival over the Labor Day weekend because you thought the temperature was going to drop like it usually does in the Poconos, but Harlem sweltered until midnight?  It still doesn’t matter if you had initially intended to wear a sleeveless blouse, but after seeing your husband wearing something heavier changed your mind.  So what if you spend weeks looking for the perfect watch for your husband’s first Father’s Day and when you finally present it to him, you suspect that he doesn’t really like it, and the store has a no refund policy?  So what if you worked hard to convince your son to try out for the school’s basketball team, and he refused, and you both later realized he would have easily made it?  So what?

Every time we change our minds from one thing to another and the first thing was the right choice, we beat ourselves up forever.  Unless we are psychic, there is no way for us to always get it right.  We need to forgive ourselves more and move on with the imperfect choices we have made because perspectively speaking, this is life, and we are all entitled to make a few mistakes.

PS:  Twitter is going public soon, trading under the ticker symbol – abbreviation that uniquely identities each stock on the market – TWTR.  I plan to make a modest investment, then let the chips fall where they may.  In the long run, if I hit, I hit; if I miss, I miss.  You can’t win them all; and you can’t lose them all!

Monday, October 14, 2013

I Love My Husband, But…….

My kids put a smile on my face every single day.  They are literally the reason why I look forward to each and every day.  Of course hubby still puts a smile on my face, but a different kind of smile….if you know what I mean.  And I know that everybody thinks that their children are the funniest, but these kids crack me up daily.

Just today we went to the dentist, and already there is a chuckle attached to the trip.  My husband’s dental plan doesn’t reach as far as Pennsylvania, so we have to trek to New Jersey for a dentist.  Every real job I’ve had, has provided me with a great dental plan if nothing else, but for some reason his dental plan sucks – every other benefit is wonderful, except the dental.  Let me find out that the person in charge has really bad teeth and wants everyone else to suffer!

Personally I like this dentist.  Yeah she is quick, but I think she gets the job done.  The kids think that she is a bit rough, but I don’t like being in a dentist chair, so the quicker I can get out, the better for me.  She also has the worst receptionist in the universe, but we get what we pay for, so I don’t expect a miracle.  My kids have been spoiled with the goody bag with a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, fluoride, crayons, and stickers; but this is just not that kind of establishment.  And don’t expect one TV with cartoons for the kids, and one with news for the adults either.  This TV is set on FOX, so just live with it.

So needless to say, some people in my family are not impressed with the dentist.  Look, we once went to a dentist who had a bad case of halitosis, which made me wonder if this woman was right in her head.  I mean is it too hard to practice what you preach and use the products in the office?  I hear I’ve been known to exaggerate, but when I researched what other patients thought about her, although shocked, I was not surprised when someone mentioned her bad breath on the review page.  If she was a more pleasant person, maybe people wouldn’t have been so put off, but her attitude gave her breath some stiff competition. 

Anyway my youngest went in first, and when he returned, he looked at me, wrinkled his face and said, “I need to see her dentist diploma!”

He is a pretty smart kid but tends to be lazy with his reading.  A few weeks ago we were going to the store, and I told him to read to me on the way.  He was not happy about it, which showed in his delivery.  He used the gloomiest, flattest, huskiest voice he could summon to read quite an interesting story.  Annoyed, I stopped him and insisted that he read with more gusto.  Fifteen minutes later when we exited the car, my daughter whispered, “I don’t know why you wanted him to read out loud.  He sounded awful.”  I told her that he has to practice his reading, so that is one way of doing it.  We completed our transaction and were heading to the car.  Before opening the door, his brother said to him, “This time when you read, please don’t sound like somebody shot you in the kneecap.”

When these two boys get together, it is literally on and poppin.  Two weeks ago, they were talking about going to The Old Oaken Bucket football game when my youngest said to his brother, “Just so you know, we probably won’t be hanging out together.”  He was shot with a look that yelled, “Trick, I don’t want to hang out with you!”  Hardly ever fazed, he came over by me and whispered, “I just wanted to give him a heads up.”

So he insisted on playing football or what I call play-play football, instead of soccer, or what I call real football.  We tried to persuade him that football was a ridiculous sport, but all his many fans convinced him that because of his speed and agility, he would be perfect for the sport.  I gave in because when he bugged me the last year, I was not ready to put up with the time and energy that football entailed.  I mean, these kids are playing outside in all kind of weather conditions.  The parents are sitting down and watching this spectacle, and it’s just not that serious.  However, I’m glad he did it this year because the weather has been awesome for the past several months, give or take a couple of days, so I was able to get some tennis and walking in.  But it would have been nice if someone had alerted us that this age group has had a losing streak for the past six or seven years.

The first game his siblings and I attended was quite boring to the point where my eldest dozed off.  I had noticed for a while that my son wanted to quit the football team, but I am of the opinion that if you start something, you should finish it; and if you beg for something, then you should definitely see it through the end.  The only hint he dropped was when he asked, “There is no refund, right?”  Of course he was not factoring in all the gear I purchased, but I had made up my mind to let him play so he could get it out of his system, once and for all.  I heard him complain that they were playing in the dark, which he thought was ridiculous because there were moments when he didn’t see anyone and then bam, somebody appeared in front of him.  To be honest, I am happy that he is one of the smallest on the team, so his role is limited, because some of their opponents sometimes weigh as much as and over 200 pounds.  And I kid you not, I went to one game, and this one kid must have been about 6 feet 4 inches and rumored to have weighed 320 pounds.  My son weighs about 80 pounds, wet.

Sometime last week, he was getting out of the car when two of his teammates passed by.  One of them said, “I hear you don’t want to play football anymore.”  Homeboy didn’t even pretend that he was going to sugarcoat anything – didn’t even wait to think about a response.  I heard, “Yup, you got that right.”  I said, “You really don’t want to play?”  He replied, “That is the most degrading sport ever - a bunch of kids running around and beating each other up.”

On the other hand, my daughter’s humor always catches me off guard.  One day I mentioned to her that I always pictured myself living in the Italian country side riding my bicycle to the market to buy fresh produce.  She looked at me and said, “How do you know if you lived in Italy that you wouldn’t be living in the slums?”  So the other day I reminded her about it, and as I thought about it, I pictured myself on the bicycle, with serene music playing in the background.  When she made her remark, the music come to a screeching halt.  I relayed that to her.  She smiled, looked at me and said, “Don’t worry, Mommy.  I won’t let you live on the streets.  You can live with me.”  And with an evil laugh and a villainous look, she continued, “Under my rules.”

Some people don’t have children by their choice, or by nature’s, and I’m not implying that their lives are not as fulfilled as mine.  I’m just saying that perspectively speaking, my life would not have been as full without these three little people who make every single day brighter. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Because Today Felt Like a Good Day to Write

The temperature in the Poconos is currently 81°.  No joke!  It’s October, early October, but it is still fall.  And normally the average temperature is about 65° at this time of the year.  It has been like this for about two weeks, so you know that everyone is in a great mood.

So after I left the doctor’s office, I decided to go to the mall to window shop.  No joke!  I can window shop.  I parked my car at the entrance so I could walk to the other end and simultaneously exercise.  I was in no hurry to get home.  The only thing on my agenda was cleaning.  Who feels like cleaning in this weather?  Not me.  That’s for sure.

First off, let me just say I was five minutes late for my appointment.  I waited about 20 minutes in the waiting room, which is unusual for this office.  Then I waited almost an hour for the doctor, very unusual also.  Did I get mad?  No way!  I took the time to check my messages on email and facebook.  I am so glad I gave in and joined the rest of the world and bought a smart phone.  Best invention since the wheel. J

So as I’m at the mall browsing, I knew IZOD would have something on sale that I could appreciate.  There was a golf skort that I could wear for tennis.  I’m in no hurry so I took four colors and two different sizes into the dressing room.  The smaller ones actually fit me.  I was feeling risky so I decided to visit stores that I don’t normally patronize.  I was surprised to see that American Eagle Outfitters had something I actually liked.  Three tops later, I realized this was getting serious.  At this point it wouldn’t hurt to enter White House Black Market.  They always have good things on the outside, but I can never bring myself to really liking anything once I got inside.  But today, what did I have to lose?

Not only did they have jean shorts in my potential size for $9.99, but my eyes fell on the cutest baby pink skinny slacks ever.  It was two sizes smaller than I had been wearing for the past few years, but you know how we women get.  “If I can just squeeze into them, I will convince the saleslady to call all the nearby stores for my size.”  Well my first surprise was when the shorts in my usual size were too big.  The optimist that I am, I always go to the dressing room with my current and old sizes, and today the smaller size fits better.  Then I put those pink pants on, and they were made for me.  No joke! 

They were $19.99, and I figured, why not.  Now you know this is Miss Frugal so since I’m too busy to go anywhere, why spend money on clothes that I won’t be wearing and might not fit when I actually have somewhere to go.  The saleslady thought the shorts were $14.99, which promptly caused me to correct her.  Then she thought the pants were $29.99.  Now it’s the only pair in this store.  It is probably the only pair in all of the stores because it is on the sales rack.  (As if I had to point that out.)  I said to myself, “Self, you are always finding bargains, so it is no big deal if you have to pay an extra $10 for something that you just got to have.”  The lovely saleslady got all my information since she was now going to hook me up with future discounts and birthday coupons.  After she entered the code, magically, the machine spitted out $9.99.  No joke!

Could this day get any better?

Of course I went to Au Bon Pain and got sandwiches.  I’m already on a roll, why stop!  Plus how could I explain to the children that I only bought their favorite sandwiches for myself?  As I left the mall almost $100 poorer, it dawned on me that this was the first time in about a dozen years that I had gone to the mall and had not bought anything for my husband or children.  And it felt great.  No joke!

Now let’s put this into context.  Some of you drop $100 on a wallet, but if you know me, you know there is no way I’m spending more money that I could put in said wallet.  Again, I hardly go anywhere so it would be pointless to spend money on clothes just to store in the closet.  And I am not one who looks forward to paying full price for anything.

So as I got into my car exactly two hours later, I thought about sharing this joyous day with my facebook friends when I realized I had so much more to say, that this called for an emergency blog post.

I live less than 15 minutes from the mall, and I know that the road is being fixed in a few places.  A few days ago, I had to wait a whole five minutes for our lane to get by.  But what the heck, it’s not like I had anything pressing to do.  About two minutes into my drive, I’m the third car in the line to be stopped, but who cares.  I spend the time responding to facebook messages.  Then one of my new favorite songs comes on, and I’m dancing to Blurred Lines.  Now if you know me well, you would know that me sitting and dancing is a prettier picture than me standing and dancing.  So it was a win-win situation. 

Oh, I was listening on my smart phone because if you have been paying attention, you would know from prior posts that my ride is a bit jacked up, so the radio doesn’t always work.  But today, I turned all the negatives into positives.  Because I am listening to iHeartRADIO, I get to choose the stations and the songs that I want to hear.  Then I turn my window down since I would be waiting for a while.  Guess what?  My window worked.  Yeah, part of the jackedupness is the driver’s window doesn’t always work.  But at that moment, it was working. 

Could this day get any better? 

After Blurred Lines, I changed the station to hear the end of Roar, and then Same Love comes on.  All my favorite songs are just being played back to back.  Now this post is rant free and controversial free, but apparently my favorite songs didn’t get the memo.  iHeartRADIO slipped in and out during Same Love, but again I turned that negative into a positive and that song lasted all the way home through the detour. (Yup the bridge is closed.  It is not a real bridge…just a Pocono bridge, which is really a bump in the road.  But they are repairing it, so I had to detour to get home.)

As I got home, 30 minutes later, I wished the hammock was still up so I could chill in it, but then I realized I could just use the outdoor chair I sit in to watch the children play sports.  It has a canopy, so it’s perfect.

The only thing that was missing from my moment was not being in my sky blue BMW convertible, but perspectively speaking, what I sacrificed to be in a jacked up Dodge minivan is totally worth it.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Aging Has Its Benefits

Just like anything else in life, aging has its pros and cons.  I am just not as quick or active as I used to be.  I don’t have as much tolerance for salty, junk food.  I can’t eat as much as I used to and not gain weight.  I have to pluck my beard.  And I know I shouldn’t complain because I might see about five or six hairs every now and then while some people get five or six a minute.  Speaking of hair in unwanted places, the most annoying thing about aging has got to be seeing gray hair in unexpected places.  Yes, I am definitely going there.  What!  Am I the only one willing to admit this?  Wait, are you telling me that I’m the only person here who has gray nasal hair?

However, there are so many things that I appreciate about getting older.  I know right, who would have thought?  The best thing has to be not caring what others think.  When you become a certain age, you just don’t care anymore.  Not that you don’t care what people say or think, per se; you are just too old to give a damn about it.  And you can say exactly what’s on your mind without fearing what others will do.

And how about seeing the world in shades of gray and not just black and white anymore?  Back in the day, I hated when slow drivers were in front of me.  I wouldn’t hunk my horn because that is downright rude, but I would certainly huff and puff.  Now I just wait for a safe chance to overtake, then go about my business.  I have realized that the driver could be old and feeble, which I hopefully will one day be, since it beats the alternative; ill, which I have been and have had to drive; a new driver, which my children will soon be; or a driver who has had a traumatic experience and is afraid to drive – been there.  If my children are in a hurry and expect me to tailgate, I calmly remind them that had we left earlier, we would not have been in this situation.

Then there is taking things into such clear perspectives that I am able to play out scenarios in my mind before events actually happen, which would enable me to be better equipped to handle them.  For instance, if I find my husband in a restaurant with another woman, I don’t think I’ll be as fazed as I would have been many years ago.  As much I love to eat, I’ll probably ask them for some food and join the conversation.  Okay, not very likely because he is not a restaurant person, but you get the drift.

So let’s suppose I come home and find him in our bed with some strange woman.  Man, if I’m tired, I’d probably say, “Guys move over.  Lemme get some rest.  You know how those kids have me ragged.”  Okay, again not likely; he wouldn’t be that dumb to use our bed.  But today I would take a deep breath and give him a chance to come up with a flimsy excuse, while a few years ago I might have accidentally spilled some gasoline on the bed, then accidentally dropped a lit match on it.

And not too many people or things surprise me much anymore.  I think due to the fact that I had gone to more funerals than weddings by a certain age, and because my own mother died so young, news of people dying don’t shock me as much.  I admit every now and then, I’m still taken aback by a sudden death or two; but mostly not.  And one annoying phrase I avoid is ‘untimely death’.   No one dies before his time.  When someone dies, that means that his number just came up.  When Dick Clark died last year, I was surprised when people expressed shock.  Seriously?  The man was 82 years old.  Had suffered a severe stroke seven years prior.  Not to mention that he had lived a full life.  What!  Too soon?

Watching the rewards of the fruit of my labor is quite appealing.  This is just the beginning, but it still feels good.  Just the other day my youngest informed me that he is getting annoyed with a parent who constantly complains about the coaches.  I listened, but didn’t think too much of it.  A couple days later, he resumed the conversation.  Then he said, “If he doesn’t think he is doing a good job, why doesn’t he do it himself.”  I almost shed a tear!

Realizing how short life is and not sweating the small stuff are great things about aging.  I confess I’m a huge fan of Judge Mathis.  Looking back I should have just stopped watching him because over the years, nothing has changed, except for the guests and his bailiff.  The problems are the same.  The people even have the nerve to admit that they watch the show and should know better but never think it’ll never happen to them.  It makes me wonder if they only want to be on TV because there is no way I’d sue somebody for $200.  I won’t even get angry if somebody didn’t pay me back $2,000 - would not lend that person money again, but I won’t lose any sleep over it.

In my teens I would never have done this; in my 20’s I would have felt self-conscious doing it, and in my 30’s I would have felt judged doing it, but as a 40 something year old woman, I leave my house nonchalantly braless because not only is it liberating, but this might be the last decade that I’m able to do so, and perspectively speaking I refuse to let anyone rob me of those moments of pure, unadulterated bliss.

Please Don't Call Me That

So my new obsession on TV is Investigation Discovery or ID.  If you are a fan of shows like Dateline, 48 Hours, Unsolved Mysteries, and the like, then this channel is for you.  ID runs those types of shows all day, every day.  No stupid infomercials cutting in at 3 a.m.  No way, José.  They have enough crime and passion to fill 24 hours with shows like Deadly Women, Bad Men, Nightmare Next Door, Wicked Attraction and Evil Twins.  And the worst thing is, as soon as one show ends, another one instantly begins.  If you have ever sat down at 7 p.m. to catch an episode of Law & Order on TNT back in the day, then you know what I mean.  From the time you see Created by Dick Wolf and you haven’t gotten up, the next thing you know it’s 11 p.m. and you are hearing the “Chung-Chung” sound one last time.

The thing about me and my obsessions is that they are quick and they are intense; but honestly I’m so fickle that they don’t last long.  [Case in point:  I wrote this post about six months ago, but never published it.  I cannot recall the last time I watched ID.  Don’t think I’ve watched that channel all summer because I was so busy with the children.]    Anyhow, I’m totally jealous of folks who have been watching the same soap opera for 30 years.  Well, I’m jealous that they have such stamina, commitment and loyalty; but I’m not jealous that they have been watching the same nonsense for most of their lives.  But who am I to judge?

So I’ve been obsessing with this channel, and when my insomnia kicks in, I simply put the TV to channel 285 and eerily whatever story is on lulls me to sleep.  But lately I notice that I’m getting turned off.  It’s okay to watch Criminal Minds on Wednesday nights, but these real life stories are making me a tad bit paranoid.  And we know I don’t need any more paranoia in my life.  [Guess this explains why I haven’t watched ID for a while.]

Anyways, I was watching an episode of Fatal Vows where an 18 year old got married, had a baby and became a housewife.  Bored with that lifestyle, she turned to stripping.  Sorry, exotic dancing.  When she proceeded to bring her work home, her husband was not impressed.  He went to his father for help, and his father had a meeting with the young couple.  Her father-in-law and her cuckold of a husband convinced the young lady to stop stripping and go back to being a housewife.  She relented, but after a while, she secretly returned to stripping and ultimately killed her young husband for either the insurance money, her new man or her freedom (it’s always one of those three, hence I can’t recall), so she could proceed with her exciting life.

As I watched this episode, I totally empathized with this young lady……..sans the stripping and the killing.  I never imagined that at this age the highlight of my life would be going to BJ’s Wholesale Club to grocery shop.  Don’t read too much into this because I’m not that complex of an individual.  I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy the pros of not working.  I’m just saying that I don’t enjoy the cons of staying home.  That’s all.  But I feel like we’ve been down this road already, so you know my stance.  If not, it’s this - the mundane tasks just don’t do it for me anymore. 

But before I go off on the wrong tangent, let me discuss the topic of this post and list what I don’t like being called:

Ø  Housewife – Why isn’t a married, female accountant called a housewife even if she is the main person responsible for running the household?  She lives in the house.  She is the wife.  Even as a child, I never liked that term.  When I saw it on my birth certificate for my mother’s occupation, I was highly offended.  After all, she did so much more than take care of the house.  Maybe it’s me, but every time I hear that term I picture a woman in a housedress, holding a broom and wearing a headscarf/head tie.  And I know I don’t cover my head at home, and I use a vacuum mostly, but still, it just doesn’t represent who I am.

Ø  Homemaker – I know people think it’s an upgrade from housewife, but homemaker conjures up an image someone in construction gear actually building a home.  Plus if the house is where you live and the home is where the heart is, doesn’t the entire family make the home?

Ø  Full-time mom – I don’t care where a mother works.  I don’t care how old her children are.  Once a person is a mother, it’s a full time job.  A mother is always thinking about her children, always thinking about what she has to do for her children.  And don’t get smart and ask what about deadbeat mothers?  You and I both know there is no room for them in this conversation.  So back to the topic at hand, even if the children are in day care or in school while the mother works, once she gets home, she has to be there for them full time.

Ø  Stay-at-home mom – Where the hell is the mother supposed to stay?  On the job?  Even that accountant lady who works 60 hours a week stays at home, doesn’t she?

Ø  Domestic engineer – This is just a fancy name to appease people like me who are offended by housewife.  I’ll sweep, mop, cook, chauffeur the kids, but you all know I will not fix any machinery or engine that has the propensity to spark.

Ø  Domestic entrepreneur – Even I joined the band wagon some time ago and coined my own term because basically, I wanted to feel like all that I do at home is more important than just taking care of the house and the children.  I mean when I stayed up late all those nights in college, this was not the career I envisioned, so I had to prove a point.  And since I handle the family’s finances, among other specialized tasks, then shouldn’t I get a bump in title?

But I’ve been at home long enough and have reconciled to putting N/A next to occupation when filling out forms because I cannot find a suitable term which encompasses my role.

And I hope you have figured out that my main point is not to belittle the ‘profession’; instead it is to point out that I don’t like labels.  Labels seem to give some people wrong impressions of what others do and who they are.  And I don’t like it.

If you have to call me, call me ‘Myra’.  If you don’t know me, then call me ‘Miss’.  If you have to refer to me, then ‘young lady’ or ‘lady’ is fine because perspectively speaking, if you call me “Ma’am” we are going to have another problem.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Why America Can Never Be the Middle East’s BFF

Please remember that these are my perspectives, my opinions, my feelings; so there is no need for a disclaimer, no need to state the obvious.  Okay?  Okay.

The secondary reason why America is the Middle East’s biggest infidel is because of its hypocrisy.

America complains about the way women are treated in the Middle East and about China’s human rights practices, then does nothing to control how inner city youths are being treated by the police.  In most major cities, the police have the right to stop men, young and old, question them, and frisk them, just because they are black or brown.  They stop them while driving and search their cars, just because of the color of their skin.  Somehow black and brown men equal suspicious men.  America still has not gotten past its history of slavery.  It still has remnants of Jim Crow laws, and many Americans still think that this is the best place on Earth.  America pretends not to notice, and no other Western country is speaking out strongly against its ills.  But for some reason, America always finds time to stick its nose in the Middle East’s business.

It claims to be the Land of the Free, and sure, people are free to say anything most of the time.  But even in this Land of the Free, even if you are not brown or black, some of the little freedoms that other countries take for granted are foreign to America.  Try urinating next to the tree you plan to cut down and burn in your own backyard without getting three different permits!  You are just not always free to do as you please in these great United Sates of America. 

Look, people are free to believe what they want to believe, what they were taught to believe and what they see fit to believe.  However, as an Antiguan American I do not subscribe to the fact that America is the bestest, mostest, perfectest place in the Universe.  I do think it’s a cool country, just not the it place…no place is.  And since no American has lived everywhere on the entire Earth, how the heck they can judge theirs to be the best is beyond me.

However, the primary reason why BFF America will never be to the Middle East is religion, or rather religious freedom.  No surprise here, right.

Many Americans want everyone to conform to their ideologies while negating everyone else’s.  They don’t get that religious freedom means that we are all free to practice our own forms of religion.  In this country, the founding fathers believed in freedom of religion, but nowadays people think it’s just freedom to follow a specific kind of Christian religion.  They see it as being free to impose their religious views on others, but others are not free to impress their “cultish” religion on them because after all, there is only ONE true God.

I really don’t get it because religion is supposed to make people more loving and compassionate; instead too many religious people are narrow-minded, spiteful and filled with hatred.  Don’t believe me?  When was the last time you or someone said or thought about another member of your church, “I can’t believe she calls herself a Christian.”  But what people don’t realize is that churches, religion, Christianity don’t necessarily change people.  Our DNA was formed way before we ever step foot in a church.  Sure some people can adjust certain characteristics, but typically, the nice people in church were always nice; and the not so nice people in church were always mean spirited.

But speaking to the core of religion, here is another thing that baffles me: the idea of anyone being blasphemous.  That concept is totally absurd because there are too many religions, and people worship too many different deities.  However, disrespecting someone’s religion or religious leader or God just for the sake of disrespect, is equally ridiculous.  And why anyone would think that their religion is better than someone else’s is even sillier.  Of course as civilized people, we find it outrageous for some Muslims to resort to murder just because some idiot made some low budget movie disparaging the Prophet Muhammad.  If someone made a joke about God being way too old to have a child with Mary, I don’t think any Christian would propagate violence.  He might be offended; he might think the person is a jackass; but he will not see it as grounds to take up arms. 

As a little girl, I loved the beach so much that my grandmother told me that if I bring a crocus bag to the beach, I could sweep it up and take it home; then I’ll have my own beach in our backyard.  I had no reason to disbelieve her.  And for the longest, I reminded my mother to bring a bag whenever we visited my grandmother.  I eventually forgot about it until years later when it dawned on me that for all those years, nobody, not my parents, not even my siblings, ever pulled me aside and said, “Kid, you know that’s bullshit, right!”

For those of you who think I was gullible, you probably also think that those martyred suicide Muslim bombers who believe they’ll get 70 virgins when they get to heaven, are just as nuts.  And you most likely think that those Hindus who believe that when they die, they will reincarnate again and again for eternity are just as ludicrous.  Yet for some reason, you don’t think that going to heaven and consuming milk and honey forever is preposterous.  First of all, not all, but many Christians are a tad bit overweight.  Don’t know if honey and milk will do it for them.  Second of all, that diet doesn’t seem too balanced to me.

I hope this post doesn’t sound like a ranting tirade because perspectively speaking, everyone’s religion is just one spaceship away from a cult; so everyone, just calm down and stop thinking that your religious shit doesn’t stink. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Empathy – Yea. Sympathy – Nay.

If you know me well, you know that I’m a political junkie, well was.  For a good while, my TV was fixed on MSNBC, all day, every day.  I knew politicians as well as tabloid readers know their celebrities, as well as kids know their video games.  But lately I am so passed politics.  I still love me some Obama.  I mean look at that swag – the walk, the salt and pepper hair, the way he says Pakistan.  How could anyone not be in awe of him?  Oh yeah, he managed to get some good work done, with his hands tied behind his back.  (Look it up yourself – this is not what this post is about.)  And I wish the government would spend more money on infrastructure and less on wars, but that is neither here nor there.

But the point I’m making is that I’ve known who Rob Portman is for a while, and boy was I wishing he would be Romney’s running mate.  Can you imagine two vanilla guys trying to oust Obama and Biden?  Again, this post is not about that.  The reason why I brought up Rob Portman’s name is because finally there was some colorful news about him.  Did I mention that this man is B-O-R-I-N-G?

So in March of this year, Sen. Rob Portman (R) announced that he supports same-sex marriage.  It is not unusual for a politician to support same-sex marriage lately.  It is not even unusual for a Republican politician.  But it is a bit unusual for a CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN politician to support same-sex marriage.  And it is even more unusual for a conservative Republican politician who was a co-sponsor of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to do so.

I didn’t have to wonder long why this politician had evolved.  And really I don't even have anything against anyone evolving their views regarding same-sex marriage and same-sex relationships.  After all, too many of us grew up in churches and communities that condemn such.  And it is usually after we are mature enough to think rationally for ourselves, can we encounter this evolution.

But get this.  Sen. Portman found out two years ago that he youngest son was….wait for it….wait for it…  His baby was gay.  How was that possible?  He was a good father.  He was a good Christian man.  His other son and daughter were normal.  How could that be?  He kept that from us for two years, and after getting used to the idea of having a gay son, he realized that he would be responsible for preventing his baby from living as happy a life as his other two children.  Because of Daddy Dearest, Little Willie (oh I don’t know if that’s what he has…I just know that his son’s name is William) might not be able to marry and live happily ever after with the person that he loves.  And how can Daddy be happy if Little Willie is not?  Since Daddy had the power to do something about it, Daddy did.  Daddy made it known that it is now okay for same-sex couples to marry.  After all, the Supreme Court was about to overturn DOMA, and Daddy was willing to sacrifice his other conservation Republican friends to make Little Willie happy.

And did you know that many people called Sen. Rob Portman brave?  Brave my ass.  Brave he would not be for announcing this two years ago when William sent a letter to him and his wife, although they lived in the same country.  Brave would have been Sen. Rob Portman (R) NOT supporting DOMA in 1996 while thinking that all his children would be heterosexual.  Brave would have been Sen. Rob Portman announcing to Congress and the entire world that everyone should be able to love and marry who they want.  And I can just hear some of you, “What’s next?  Marrying children.  Marrying your immediate family.”  But I’m just here to suggest to you that people who are attracted to members of their own sex are not automatically pedophiles or crazy.  And I don’t want to be hypocritical and assume that people who are in love with their parents/siblings are crazy, but picturing myself with my father gives me the heebie-jeebies, and that, my friend, is downright CRAZY.

Bill Maher has posed this question a few times to which no one is brave enough to give an honest response.  Why have gay rights evolved so quickly (and I know it might not have seemed fast enough for gay people) while civil rights have remained stagnant after so many years.  There is one answer to that question.  People like Rob Portman and Dick Cheney, who also supported gay marriage back in 2004, have openly gay children.  Newt Gingrich has a gay sister, and in 2012, while trying to become the 45th President, was pretending that same-sex relationship was an issue for him.  Come on, Newt.  You have no principles.  You have left every wife for the next, the first while she had cancer and who was also your Geometry teacher.  Your last wife is the same age as your daughters, who you were having an affair with, while trying to impeach Bill Clinton.  So let’s just keep this among people who really believe the shit that they spiel.

But as you can guess, none of these Republican politicians have black family members.  They probably don’t have any real black friends.  They certainly don’t have any poor friends.  And that is the main reason why they cannot relate.  They have no concern for the disenfranchised because they know no one like that.  Not in their family.  Not in their neighborhood.  Not in their circle.  Not in their church.

And unfortunately they cannot sympathize with people to whom they cannot relate.  As soon as one of these politician’s children gets married to someone black, and there is a half black grandbaby involved, only then (after a while of course) will they be able to see black people as that…people.  According to presidential loser Gingrich’s take on homosexuality, “It is in every family.  It is in every community.”  Until black people are in every family, every community, every church, every school, everywhere, they will never be given the same inalienable rights, because perspectively speaking if you can’t see, it doesn’t exist.