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My Version of Eco-Terrosm

It Spring time and that means the turtles are on the move.  I don’t know why they feel the need to cross the street in order to woe a another sexy turtle mate successfully.  I don’t know why they can’t date a turtle from their side of the road. But they can’t, so  they must cross the street.

And every Spring I see the thing that absolutely enrages me.  People run over turtles. It’s horrendous and completely avoidable. If you can’t avoid hitting a turtle you should not have a drivers license.  If you do it on purpose, you’re going to Hell.

This was my frame of mind last Spring when I came up with a new plan to save the turtles.  Alex didn’t know what was going on when several boxes of plastic turtles arrived via Amazon Prime.  The first box had 100 tiny turtles in a plastic bag. They were adorable, buy only the size of a quarter.  They were too small for my plan.

I hit pay dirt with the next delivery, six perfect, life like plastic turtles, hand painted from Germany.

At first Alex was fascinated by my plan to save the turtles. Then, as he watched me carefully insert a big fat nail into the beautiful plastic turtles his fascination turned into fear…for me.

“I’m gonna put this on the side of the highway. If people run over a turtle they’ll get a flat tire,” I announced.

Alex laughed, then realized I was serious. Really, really serious. “I’m pretty sure that’s against the law.”

“Who’s gonna know?” I shrugged.  “I won’t put them near out house.”

“Seriously, this is a bad idea, Diana.”

“We’ll see,” I said in my best “casual I’m not gonna do it voice”. I didn’t want him to be arrested as an accomplice.

Eco-terrorism suits me. So, this Spring, if you see a turtle looking for a hot date. I suggest you do everything you can to avoid him.

The Refugee Crisis and My Husband’s Sock Basket

We have two sock baskets. One for white socks, one for black socks. All the white socks belong to my husband Alex. Most of the black socks are my son’s.  This system has worked perfectly for years. Until yesterday. Alex appeared in the living room with his sock basket. It was nearly full.

“Half these socks aren’t even mine,” he said and dropped the basket.  His are plain white Haynes calf high.He started sorting the socks.  There were “his socks”, socks with holes that got thrown out and the “others.”

The “other socks” were the white socks with pink or blue around the top. White socks that were ankle high and made by New Balance or Polo, tube socks and girl socks.  “They don’t belong in here with mine, they’re different.  This basket is just for my socks.”

“You’re being super prejudiced .” I teased him.

“Yes I am, I only like my kind of socks. Sorry.” But he wasn’t really.

When he finished there were three piles. His, those to throw away and “the others.”

He took his basket and left the room. And I was left wondering what to do with the poor “others”. Most of them were still perfectly good socks. First, I matched up the ones I could, there would be a home for them.  But what about the rest?

They’d been kicked out of their home and now had no where to go. No one would accept them simply because they were “different.” I felt guilty throwing them away, but boy, there were a lot of them. They were refugee socks, without a basket.

This behavior doesn’t surprise me from Alex. He’s Hungarian and Hungary typically doesn’t want refugees. They build concentration camps, surrounded with barbed wire and dogs. Refugees can stay there or leave the country and go somewhere more welcoming. Hungarians are all about taking care of Hungarians. Screw the rest of the world. They forget in the late 1950’s they were the refugees, running from Russia and seeking asylam in America.  Alex is a very good man but that sentiment runs deep in his blood.

So, what do I do with the remaining 27 refugee socks? I’ll probably end up throwing them away because there’s no basket or drawer that wants them. They are the lost “other socks.”

As President Trump said last week. “Who knew this stuff was so complicated.”

*Please let me know what you think.  Your feedback means everything.

Sometimes The Kid Is Right……I Guess

This week at work I had  a yellow legal pad page half filled with deals to close and projects to finish for clients.  I realized for the second time there were literally too many to get finished in four days so I did what Sandor, my 14 year old, told me to do. I “put first things first.” That’s right I prioritized my list. It’s not rocket science but it made my week a lot more productive and financially rewarding…in a big way.

Sandor, who is in 8th grade, is part of a public charter school.  And much of the schools new focus has been Stephan Covey book the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  Sandor and I debate the seven habit some times. Number seven is “Sharpen Your Saw,” meaning keep balance in your life. do the things you love like yoga or yodeling instead of working all the time.  Any time Sandor wants to lie in bed and watch stupid videos on youtube he tells me he’s “sharpening his saw.”  And I call BS.

“Putting first things first” is one of the rules we agree on. We talk about it every now and then, usually when I’m driving him to school and he’s got a lot of projects going on.  But this time, he was the one who reminded me on Monday night when I was griping  and complaining about all the stuff I had to get done, in just a few days.

Maybe I should listen to that kid more often. Except when he tells me one shower in three days is plenty.

If you want to read the book you’ll find it on Amazon for less than five dollars, if your lazy and want to check out the seven habits in less than five minutes here’s the Wikipedia link. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_7_Habits_of_Highly_Effective_People

 

Let me know what you think and as always you are welcome to share this post.

 

 

Words I’m Not Allowed To Say Anymore

Recently my youngest son said these words, “A girl at school told me my eyebrows were on fleek.”

Me, “Huh?”

Boy says,”On fleek, it means on point or good…something like that.”

An hour later I tried to use the term. “Honey, dinner was on fleek, tonight.”

“Sorry mom, that’s not working. You probably can’t say that.  Sounds too weird.”

Vocabulary is a bizarre thing.  It can make you seem cool or really really old.  Slang words come and go so fast by the time adults figure them out they are out of style.

Hearing an older adult still using the word “bling” is embarrassing and painful. Bling faded out at least ten years ago. If I used the word “cheddar” in place of money my kids would probably push me out of a moving car.

I remember how horrified I was when my fifty year old mom said , “Vice President Dan Quall  ‘delish. I’d scoop on him.'”  Noooo!  Everything about the sentence was wrong, especially her use of the term “delish and scoop.” Grosss!

So this year when I looked at the new words in the dictionary I told myself to be cautious.  I’m not gonna jump up and tell a client not to “throw shade” at me if they treat me disrespectfully.

I’m not going to tell my husband his idea for fixing a lamp with duct tape is “weak sauce” and I’m not going to accuse my co-worker of a “humble brag” when she tells me she “only volunteered at the homeless shelter twelve hours last week.

The one word I might hang onto is “microagression”. Because that’s legitimate. Microagression is subtle or unintentionally saying something that belittles a minority or group.  There’s an older  guy at work who constantly refers to women as “you girls.”  He says things like, “Well you girls just couldn’t understand how important it is to change your oil on a regular basis.” Hey, I’m not a girl and of course I understand the importance of oil changes. He doesn’t mean to offend me but man he pisses me off.

It’s fun to study the new words and phrases, but if you’re older than thirty be careful. You’ll end up sounding older than you are, I’ll have to give you the “side eye” then “ghost.”

PS…I learned yesterday “on fleek” is already out.

 

Bad Manners At Taco Bell

My youngest son has a good friend with terrible manners.  He’s a nice 14 year old boy, kind and generous to  a fault, but this kid almost seems proud of his bad manners.

After I spent twenty dollars at Taco Bell for fried chicken tacos, quesadillas and tacos made out of Doritos, Sandor said, “Thanks Mom, that was awesome.”

Then he shoved his friend, Jake.  “Say thank you, chicken butt!”

Jake shoved back”What ever.”

I’m pretty sure I sighed and rolled my eyes.  We’d been through this before. “Alright Jake, I’m not unlocking the car and were gonna stand here in the parking lot until you say thank you.”

He smiled at me, his shaggy hair nearly covering his eyes. Then he looked at the ground and mumbled something I literally couldn’t understand.

“Nope,” I smiled at him. I was playing hardball. “Not good enough.”

Sandor didn’t even mind me calling his friend out.  Jake’s terrible manners made him a little crazy.

Finally, Jake looked at me. I didn’t know if he was gonna flip me off or say something nice. “Thanks for the food.”

“Perfect,” I said as I gave Jake a big bear hug.

We have a serious rule in our world about good manners. Sandor is the youngest of four and the rule is pretty well etched in stone. If you are rude or disrespectful, you can’t come over. But I understand some parents don’t have the same obsession, so if I like the kid, and I like Jake a bunch, I try to work with them. I figure it’s “my house my rules.” And when Sandor goes to hang at a friends house, their parents get to make the rules.

Once everyone was buckled up I turned off the radio.  “Jake, good manners will make your life way easier.”

“How? My friends like me for my jokes, they don’t care.”

Sandor said, “Dude, you’re not that funny.”

Jake and I both ignored the comment. “Here’s the deal Jake, if you have good manners teachers will like you more. That’s makes your life better. If you have good manners parents like you more. Then you get invited to go to more cool places. Cause in the end it’s my call, not Sandor’s, who we invite over or take to the movies or laser tag or whatever.”

“Yeah, we took Sam to Florida with us because he had good manners,” Sandor added.

“And think about this,” I was on a roll with a class A lecture. “If you get pulled over by the police, and you will get pulled over and you have good manners there’s a way better chance he’ll let you off with a warning. If you’re a punk with bad manners he’s gonna definitely give you a ticket.”

At that point I made myself stop, even though I wanted to keep on going. I was on a roll. I turned up the radio and let the boys ignore me for a while. But I was still thinking.  It’s easy to teach good manners if you start when your child is young. Then people praise them for having good manners and the circle starts rolling.  But once a kid turns into a teenager it get’s tougher.  They resist. Jake almost seems to think good manners make him seem weak.

Maybe if we explain how good manners can benefit them, kids will understand. Maybe.

I got out of the car to let Jake out at his house. He was about to climb out of the back seat when I said, “Thanks for coming over, Jake.”

He stopped. He knew it was a trap. Then Sandor leaned over and whispered something to him. Jake got out of the car and mumbled, “Thanks for having me over.”

Then he gave me another sheepish smile and a hug.

Now, if I can just get my son to stop burping like a monster in front of me.

Jpeg

I’m trying to figure out if people actually read my blog…..so…

**I’ve got five free Be Nice Bumper Stickers for the first five folks who post a comment on the blog.  Just email me your address and I’ll mail your bumper sticker!

 

Am I Racist?

I try not to be racist, but the truth is every single person on the planet is a little, I think.

Yesterday, I was in the post office, patiently standing in a line behind four other folks. To my right there was a young man who was Middle Eastern. He was tall, probably 6’2 and wearing grey sweats. And he had a long black pony tail and a great big bushy beard. He had head phones and an I phone. I watched for seven or eight minutes as he walked around picking up different envelopes then putting them back. He picked up various sizes of shipping boxes and put them down and he kept looking back, at the front door.

When it was my turn to approach the counter I looked at him and smiled, “We’re you waiting in line?”

He just shook his head and said “no.”

Once I left the Post Office I sat in the parking lot and wondered what I was supposed to do. For fifteen years we’ve been hammered with “If you see something, say something.” and the dude was acting weird.

Had it been a black, white or Hispanic guy I would not have even considered calling the authorities. But he was Middle Eastern, it was a post office and I was worried.

But reporting that young man for being what I thought was “suspicious” could wreck his life.  If he was investigated it could appear on job back ground checks, maybe it would keep him out of grad school or mess up his housing situation.

I was doing everything I try not to do. I was judging him, I was racially profiling him, I was thinking like a racist.

But I’m human…and that’s the problem. We are all flawed. Are our thoughts or actions more important? I don’t know.

I can only hope, someday, when God takes a look at my track record he doesn’t judge me by my actual thoughts. And I hope the youngman in the Post Office can forgive me.  I hope you found your envelope.

Are Christians Nice?

crossHuum. I know we are supposed be, but I keep running into folks who are devout Christians but they just aren’t very nice and that really throws me for a loop.

Nice sounds like such a wimpy,soft word, vacuous and lame but it’s a very important quality.

We all know what “nice” means but I looked it up just to be sure. Nice means “giving pleasure or joy.Kind, polite and friendly.”

We as Christians are supposed to be nice to everyone, not just people who are just like us.  I keep running into Christians who are not kind, friendly or polite to the boy at Sonic who is Goth and wears mascara.   They are not nice to the very effeminate, over weight boy who works at the Smoothie place. They are not friendly or kind to the woman in line at Walmart wearing the head scarf or the Hispanic man cutting their neighbors grass.

Parents and preachers, I think, need to teach the talented jocks, the beautiful mean girls and the cool kids that they are not acting like a Christian when they bully, taunt, tease and harass.

But some of the people, kids and adults, who are not kind, are still very quick to tell everyone they are Christians.

Here’s the thing. I believe God loves all those people previously mentioned, the Goth kid, the fat kid, the immigrant, the guy who just got out of prison, just as much as he loves you are me. And I think it breaks God’s heart when we are not “nice” to all of his children. Thankfully, God is not as picky about who he loves or we would all be in trouble.

Last week at WalMart the cashier was a 40 year old black man with a speech impediment.  He was slow and the lane was backing up because of his disability.  The woman in front of me, wearing a big silver cross, had to repeat something several times because he didn’t understand.  Then she looked at me, obviously annoyed, and rolled her eyes.  I wanted to punch her in the face.

Maybe she was a Christian but she was not a nice person.

But I think I have an idea.  Preachers, pastors and parents need to teach their children to be Christians and be nice. We need to stop assuming kids instantly understand being Christian means you are supposed to be nice, kind, friendly and polite….to everyone. We need to teach our children, from a very young age, that it is their duty, as a Christian, to be kind to teachers and hobos and waitresses, to those who serve the public and those of other races and beliefs,  to be kind to everyone, not just to people who are like us or we agree with. And we should do that because Jesus asked us to.

I know I fall short every day. I get mad at myself sometimes when I act ugly. There’s a guy  who works in a store I frequent. He drives me CRAZY, I mean really really bugs me. I just want him to stop talking and stay out of my space. But that’s my problem, not his fault and I have to remind myself that God loves him just as much as he loves me.

And when you see the goth kid, with the giant gauges in his ears, holes big enough to put a shot glass in, the big gold ring in his eyebrow and tattoos all over his body…..God loves that boy too, just as much as he love you.

When you see the kid with the tank top and jeans sagging down so low you can see his red checked boxers, running across the street, against the light. You might not agree with his fashion decisions but God loves that guy a whole lot too, just  as much as he loves you.

Christians are supposed to be “Christ Like”  and Jesus was nice.

But I will try every day to teach my kids to be nice to their family, to those they love and those they don’t understand. Because we are all God’s children. So teach it and be it….Be Nice.

 

 

“Stop and Frisk” is for Idiots! or how to make kids hate cops forever

friskImagine for a moment that my son, Sandor, who is about to turn 14, his adorable girlfriend and his best friend, Sam  are walking down Central Avenue in Hot Springs, Arkansas.  It’s Saturday and they are going to see a 2 pm movie.  They laugh and push each other as they walk toward the movie theater.

A police officer pulls up next to them and gets out of the car.

“Hold up a second. I need to talk to you guys.”

Sandor looks at his phone, he doesn’t want to miss the movie.  His girlfriend suddenly  looks pale  nervous. She squeezes his hand. He squeezes back.

“I need to see some ID.”

They all shake their heads. “We’re only 14, we don’t have any ID. We’re just going to a movie.”

The officer smiles, but it’s not friendly.”Well, I guess you’re gonna be a little late late. We got a call about some kids spay painting a building just a few blocks from here. One of them is a blond. Where are you guys coming from?”

“Our house, right up the street.”

The questions go on and on an on.

“What’s the address?”

“Where are you going?”

“Who are your parents? Do they know where you are?”

“Where were you an hour ago?”

“Is that paint on your jeans?”

“Why are you in such a hurry?”

Sandor isn’t as nervous now, but he’s starting to get angry. “It wasn’t us, we’re going to the movie. Seriously. You can’t do this. We weren’t doing anything wrong.” He’s wondering, why is this cop hassling them?

“Yes sir,” the Officer says. ” I can do this. I need both you to put your hands on the back of my car.”

“Why?” Sandor asks and his girl friend starts to cry a little.

“Just do what your told, kid,” the cop says and pushes both boys against his car.  He kicks their legs apart, really wide.

The girl friend pulls out her phone and starts to call her dad but the police officer says, “Please put you phone away.” The girl does what she’s told.

The officer runs his hand up and down their legs, inside and out, around the waist band of their jeans. He reaches inside Sam’s boots, then checks the front pockets of their jeans and the pockets of their hoodies.

A car load of teenagers honk and holler as they pass by.

Then the officer gets a call on his radio. He says, “Don’t move” to the boys. Sandor is so mad and humiliated, he wills himself not to cry in frustration.  He wants to hug his girlfriend and tell her it’ll be ok.

He can read the words on the side of the police car “Protect and Serve.”He looks at Sam, he wants him to see those words too. But Sam is gone. His face is ashen  blank, absolutely empty. His eyes look as though he’s shut down.  Sandor knows that look. It’s how Sam looks when he’s beyond angry, when he’s thinking about revenge and getting even. It’s his game face. Sam never lets anyone see his real emotions. But he never forgets.

The officer returns, “Alright guys, your good to go. They picked up the kids working on another building. Stay out of trouble.” And then he’s back in his squad car and gone.

Sam and Sandor don’t know what to say. But now, at the age of 14, they both hate and fear cops.  The officer humiliated, embarrassed and violated them. He made them feel weak and powerless in front of the entire town, in front of the girl, and for no reason. This feeling will never leave the boys.

That’s what the “Stop and Frisk” policy does to young men. I understand it might lead to a lot of arrests. But      “Stop and Frisk” will to turn an entire generation of African Americans, Muslims, Hispanics and whites kids against law enforcement. The officers will never be trusted or respected. Just feared and hated.  And that’s not what cops want.

“Stop and Frisk” is a lazy and easy way to make arrests. But it will destroy any hope of having minority communities work with the police.

Our Law Enforcement Officers deserve better and our young people will demand better, or seek their revenge for being humiliated.

 

  • This story is one hundred percent a work of fiction.

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