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Unlike most people, I’m not interested in making resolutions at the beginning of a new year. I believe that we should always strive to be better and practice self-reflection. Humans have adapted to this behavior of acting out and then asking for forgiveness. People have truly forgotten how to live in the moment. No resolutions for me, only living in the moments as they present themselves.
Part of learning to live in the moment is believing that you are where you are always supposed to be. Sometimes that is a hard thing to do, especially when nothing is going right, and the world seems to be conspiring against you. Try thinking about it differently. Think that the world is conspiring to move you.
In fact, when life keeps trying to move you and you don’t listen, the lessons you are being taught get harsher until you do listen. If you never learn anything else, learn this.
When it is time for you to move toward something else, the universe conspires to do everything it can to push you along on your journey. We get stuck sometimes. Some of us spend most of our lives stuck. Don’t be stuck in anything. Be willing to change. Change is an important part of life because along with change comes learning.
Some people refer to this as the ability to adapt. Science calls it survival of the fittest’ and it doesn’t always mean physical fitness. Mental fitness is likely to be more important. My father always said, “If you work smart, you never have to work hard.” I wish I knew where he had originally heard the expression because it has stuck with me for my entire life. I’d like to thank the person that he learned it from because it has served me very well.
I’m making a few changes in this upcoming year. As you know, I’m a wanderer.
I’ve been waiting to announce plans that will blow you away. I’m moving to Alaska! Yes, Alaska. You read that correctly.
I have a friend that I’ve known since just before a couple of years before my father died. Jake is a great guy and we used to hang out all the time, doing what 26-year-olds do; not much really, but having fun doing it. We had a lot of fun. He was there for me when my foot was crushed working at K-mart distribution in Ocala, FL. K-mart denied the entire incident, by the way, because my supervisor, Ed, failed to type a written report when I went to tell him about it the accident. I finished my shift, but I developed a horrible limp which turned out to be the tendon being torn from the bottom of my foot.
I walked with a crutch for quite a long time and it was years before my foot felt normal. Jake was the one who showed-up at my door with a couple of bags of groceries for me, knowing that I was struggling without me every even telling him I had little to nothing in the house. He was just always that guy. He’s also gay, but the sort of gay man that most of society never guesses at a glance because he’s big and rugged looking. He looks like Garth Brooks’ younger brother.
He and I lost track of each other through the early 2000s, but I eventually tracked him down again and we have kept in touch through phone calls and text messages. A year ago, he had cancer and went through treatment. He had part of his liver removed and he also lost part of a lung. He’s come through it okay so far but cancer changes people. Life changes people too.
He contacted me and poured his heart out. He’s sick of the rat race, the political crap, the hate crimes, the hatred and anger in the world. He has a void inside him that he wants to fill with something. He’s soul searching like we all do. I feel it too. Each word that poured out of him, I could relate to. Not wanting to date anyone anymore or really want to be with anyone at all, not really caring about partying, pleasing people or compromising what I want for what others want and see as normal.
His words sank in and I felt them more than I heard them. I felt my soul stirring. I wanted away from it all too. There’s a certain peacefulness that washes over you when you decide that you aren’t going to buy into the rat race.
It’s the same as realizing that when you stop interacting with a narcissist and feeding their desire to get in your head for attention that you are happy without them. When they move your stuff, throw your things in the trash, get loud, and demand your attention, ignoring them and going ghost is what makes them the most crazy and gives you the most peace.
I digress. We had a few conversations like this and suddenly one day he asked me if I’d go to Alaska with him. He wants to live more in tune with nature and less with civilization. He wants to hunt and fish and just ‘be’ and I can so relate to that. He also wants to be alone most of the time but understands the sense of security in having people around that you can trust. I said yes.
I had always harbored a desire to see Alaska and we all know here that I don’t just go visit anywhere, I move there. I live there and get to know the place, the people, the places and experiences that are there for me to have. That’s been my life heretofore, but I sense that this move is different. Jake is planning on three of us going but all having our own tiny little cabins and our own 5 acres. That will allow us to have safety and security, while still being on our own.
He is selling his house for the money, and since it was basically a flip house when he bought it, he should be able to sell it quickly and make a handsome profit. That money is buying our 15+ acres and tiny houses. He wants to buy my retirement home, and he’ll deed it to me so that if anything happens to him, it will always be mine.
We’ve discussed whether to be off-grid or not. We don’t really want to be totally off the grid. We’d like to at least have electricity and cell phone service. Outhouses or composting toilets are probably going to be necessary and running water is still being discussed. A well seems necessary, so we’ll see how that shakes out. I’m not opposed to roughing it a little because that just means getting back to basics.
A long time ago, when I took the name Jesse MacGregor-Jones, it was to honor my Celtic roots. My last name came from MacGregor. Jones was my mother’s maiden name, which is Welsh. Jesse is a different spelling of my paternal grandmother, Jessie VanFossen Greer. The name was meant to honor my people because one of the basic tenets of Celtic life and druidism is to always ‘honor those from whom you came’ and I try to do that all the time.
I was born from a long, long line of barbarians, historically speaking. Druidism was the way of life in ancient times and the more I learn about it, the more I relate to it Druids are the people you see depicted on shows like Britannia. Druids were in tune with nature, the moon and the seasons. Druids understood the stars, they were the healers who learned to harness the power of the plant world. Druids kept animals and claimed to hear them speak. Druids were the scholars, the poets, the lawyers of their time. People sought the wisdom of the druids because they were the keepers of knowledge. They were never concerned with wealth or pretenses, only with harmony and they things that would bring them the most peaceful existence.
I identify with much of druid belief and way of life. I also honor animals of all types. I believe that the earth should be honored and taken care of. I feel joy in the changes of season and the boundaries between worlds feel like they are simply portals that we pass through. Magic seems like a good thing to believe in at a time when hope is all we have sometimes. I choose to believe that magic can happen. Druidism isn’t a religion, it’s a way of living your life. I like that, because I’m not religious – at all.
It’s obvious that I’ve undergone a lot of changes since the time I first started this blog. I’m more in tune and self-aware. I feel less of a need to seek happiness and I’m happier with myself. I’m content in many ways. I don’t feel any intense pressure or pain; my emotions are pretty level and my health is good.
I think a lot of my past issues with anger and emotional highs and lows was because my blood sugar was drastically out of control. For over a year now, I’ve been on Trulicity. My sugar was normal at my last A1C check. I’ve not had a normal A1C since 2003 or so. The difference in the way I feel is totally amazing. I’m far less irritable and I’ve also worked hard on meditation and learning to be in tune and aware of my feelings. I’m not perfect. No one is perfect, but I have learned to walk away and not engage in an argument. If something doesn’t serve me in some way, or if it causes me anything other than peace and happiness, I leave it alone.
Just as I have undergone changes, my writing has changed. I know that it may come as a sad realization to some of my fans, but I have no desire to write any of the erotica that I used to write. I’m too detached from that part of self now. I simply have no interest in it. Be it a hormonal change (I’m fifty and beyond menopause) or be it an emotional change due to how I view my place in this world, I’m different and I want to write things that are more substantial. I want to write impactful things.
With that, I’ve been authoring articles again and earning more than I ever have before. I’m doing surprisingly well, in fact. I’m also working on a new book. A fictional novel that is more of a fantasy book with a flavor of sorcery and witchcraft. I’ve never undertaken something like this before but I’m enjoying my research so far and the bit that I’ve written.
I am very hopeful to finish this book while staring out a cabin window, somewhere on the Kenai Peninsula. Cold weather really doesn’t bother me and I’m completely willing to take allergy pills, so I can handle a wood burning fire all winter. I’ll enjoy not being on the internet as much and enjoying the outdoors in-between writing articles. I’m looking forward to breathing fresher air, maybe doing some whale watching, and fishing. I’m anxious to see my totem animal. My totem is the salmon.
Yes, I was initially dumbfounded when the salmon found its way into my meditation over a year ago. I asked why I had been given a ‘fish’ instead of something cool like a wolf. I’m convinced that people who constantly refer to wolves as their totem animals are just picking that randomly because the wolf seems like a cool animal. I wanted my totem to speak to me. It did, and I never questioned it, no matter how unimpressed I was with it.
Several months later, I had a dog training client who was Irish. She told me about the ancient Celtic tale of Finn McCool and the Salmon of Knowledge. I read the story, after I easily searched it up on Google. I was totally stunned. First, Finn is mentioned in his Gaelic name, Fionn mac Cumhaill, in the readings I had done in tracing my family tree. He’s spoken of as if he were a member of the family. The lines of truth and myth were often blurred in Celtic lore.
I realized that I have a personal connect with the Salmon of Knowledge and it moved me and tickled my soul. I’ve been awakening. These stories, coincidences and happenings are awakening me. I’m following my destiny, whatever it may be. For now, my novel is taking shape and perhaps it will be a sensation? I don’t know. Perhaps it will change a life or two, which is equally successful in my mind. Maybe I will simply have fun while writing it?
While in Alaska, I also hope to do some photography. Early in life, from age 15 to 20, I took a two-year course to be certified as a graphic artist, with my focus primarily in photography. I was apprenticed to a photographer in my junior year of high school. I have some publications that I can submit nature and outdoor articles to, with photos. I am hopeful of getting published in a few of these.
That’s it, guys! I’m moving to Alaska. I’m going to live in a tiny cabin with my two dogs (and probably will get a larger husky or malamute to keeps us safer). I will have a home that is paid for, without a mortgage. I will be able to put my roots down in a way that serves me, in a place of MY choosing. I’m not running from anyone or to anyone. I’m deciding for self and it feels fucking fantastic!
So here is to a new year, a season of change and a life ahead of me to be lived. I wish you all the success and happiness that you desire this new year. I hope that you will find what profoundly moves you to be the person you are meant to be. I hope that you find love, not ust romantic love but a love of life and of self. Love is the answer.
The druids lived by three basic tenets: Wisdom, Creativity, and Love.
The National Republican Congressional Committee was hacked in April 2018. When the hack was discovered, by what has been described as a ‘foreign entity,’ it was not immediately divulged. The hack has exposed thousands of emails that were during a period of several months, sent to and from four senior aids. The hacking stopped as soon as the passwords on their email accounts were changed. The F.B.I. was alerted and is said to be investigating this breech of security.
Obviously, with the ongoing election issues and the current arguments over voter fraud, this total lack of security is a serious concern. The NRCC chose to wait until after they lost 40 seats and control of the House before disclosing the security breech.
It seems tobe a mystery as to who is behind the hack. We have twelve-year-old children hacking voting machines, so it could be anyone. All we do know, what has been disclosed, is that it was a foreign entity. It is being said that it was not a large hack. This doesn’t make me feel better. In fact, it is rather upsetting to think that a hack can happen at all, at federal levels. Do we have anyone who is competent in Washington anymore? High school technology students could do a better job.
Politico broke the news of the breach and it is unclear if we would have been told about it at all, had they not. This is a clear signal that both parties are still at risk of interference from outside entities. We should all be concerned going into the 2020 election cycle. The individuals impacted by this security breach were House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California – serving as House majority leader, and Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana – serving as majority whip, none of whom were even aware of the breach until Politico contacted them for comment.
Several times since 2016, talks have broken down between both parties when any new bills have been introduced to guard against election hacking and create better safeguards before the midterm elections. We are now seeing the fruits of not passing any protections or safeguards. Case in point, mail-in ballot fraud that appears to be an issue in North Carolina. This has kept the state from ratifying election results for more than a month beyond the elections. There is no decision yet on how the state intends to handle the issues.
Personally, I have no faith that the 2020 election will be fair or credible. If Trump loses, I don’t expect him to leave without a tantrum. I almost expect military involvement. Part of me even wonders if Republicans wanted someone else looking at their emails. Were they pretending to not know? I certainly do not trust anyone right now, especially Republicans. If Politico had not brought this information to the light, would they have never admitted anything publicly? Are they compromised? Like a lot of other Americans, I’m beginning to think that several senior Republicans are in bed with Russians. They’ve traveled there, they have written letters to them, broken bread with them … what else have they done?
I’m so excited to pop on here and tell you that I’ve been speaking to a publisher about my newest book. It’s going to be an amazing read. All the early feedback has been spectacular. This is a project that has me feeling excited deep down inside my gut.
Finding My Way to Shambhala will lead you through periods of my life before I knew that I had Autism Spectrum Disorder. There is a deep focus on one particular relationship because of the incredible way in which it impacted my life and continues to do so to this day.
I tell, in full detail, what it was like to love someone who as an alcoholic and crack addict. Follow me through the sweet love story where it all began to the deep recesses of mental illness where it all went to hell, and drug me along for the ride. It’s a very real and poignant story about how lives are lost to mental illness and abuse every single day across America.
Addiction is a cruel thing. It steals lives, relationships, and even family members who have to walk away in order to save themselves. When you’re in love with the addict, it’s a black hole of love, anger, fear, anguishing pain, and guilt. When you walk away and leave them to their hell, it will forever haunt you.
Join me on Facebook at @mywaytoshambhala to stay engaged as the book moves through completion, editing process, and publication (I’m already working with a publisher). Join my list of Patreons @ https://www.patreon.com/ShambalaRockFarm and pledge $5 per month as a patron. Then you will automatically get a signed copy of the book during pre-release before anyone else has access! Launch expected in 3 to 6 months!
My life has undergone a vast myriad of changes over the last ten years but it is finding a way to come full-circle in a way I would never have dreamed of. Over the last ten years, I’ve gotten away from writing as much of the erotic, admittedly this is much to the dismay of my fans. Let me take some time to explain that and then bring you up to speed.
Why Did I Stop Writing Erotica?
The answer is really very simple. After menopause, I’m just not as interested. *shrug* I went through the night sweats and the lack of sleep. I was on sleeping pills and was simply exhausted all of the time.
Women in my own life had let me down a lot and whether it’s because of that, or just because I’m very happy on my own, I’m not interested in relationships anymore. Sexual intimacy is not important to me and my life is full of happiness found in living life. Who knows if things will change, but I don’t really anticipate it.
I found that my life was always full of drama when I had women chasing me or I was chasing women and ultimately, I decided that it wasn’t worth it at all. I’ve never been happier.
The Future Calls
I’ve been chasing a dream of off-grid living, learning to live self-sustainably, and building my writing career in more serious places. I’ve been doing a great deal of content for websites, blogs, and ebooks that have been ghost written for others.
I’m earning more money from writing than I have ever earned before and I’m living sparingly, but independently. My bills are paid — sometimes late due to the way freelance workers often are paid — but they are paid. I’m grateful for that.
As my career has done better, I invested in ten acres of property in Maine. As this current administration has gotten more and more out of hand, I’ve wanted to be where I could have one foot out of the country as quickly as I wanted. My land is 2.47 miles from the border crossing station into Canada.
The property has a pond, a well, septic, and an old foundation from a barn and house that are no longer there. The possibilities are truly endless and I’m simply biding my time until early next summer, when I intend to take off for there.
The best part of all is that my best friend from my twenties is back in my life. He recently beat cancer and he’s determined to live some adventures, so he’s coming with me. We have two campers – each approximately 40 feet long, a propane powered generator that can produce enough power for both of us. I have solar panels and intend to add more so that the generator will only be for emergencies.
We aren’t sure how we’ll need to get the well functional, but hoping it won’t be an enormous problem that takes more than $1500-$2000 to get functional. We intend to enclose the campers and add-on rooms to them, with wood stoves for the primary source of heat, because of the condensation that propane heat can cause. The propane will be back-up heat and hot water heat, cooking, and run our refrigerators, which will allow the solar to run everything else in the campers.
Maine has very mild summers – thank God. I lived through 112-degree days this past summer without air conditioning until I finally broke down and bought a gasoline generator to run an air unit.
My plan is to build rocket thermal mass stoves and run the stove pipe around the add-in rooms, and then all the way under the campers to keep the floors warm in winter. They are arctic package campers so this is just insurance.
We plan on skirting the campers with hay, then wrapping that in chicken wire, and stucco over that. It will seal the bales to keep rodents out and prevent mold and mildew. They’ll need to be on a rock trench with vapor barrier between that and them.
In the summer, we plan to grow our own food and can it. We plan on stocking the pond with fish that can be harvested for our own use and possibly selling to any local folks who want some. It will also make for a fun place to toss a line in the water.
I plan on having goats, chickens, and rabbits. They will all provide food, milk, butter, soap, and/or money. Jake wants to raise a cow to have butchered and I’m fine with that but suggested that we do at least two, so that the second one can be sold to pay for raising the first one.
My goal is to purchase a van over the next few months to make it easier to move with three dogs and three cats. Jake will handle getting the campers onsite. He’s already closer to the property so it makes sense for him to do that.
I intend to work as I travel. I’ll be writing some travel pieces on locations I visit. Incidentally, I just had an article accepted for publication to a travel magazine and positively I’m stoked over it!
I don’t focus on LGBTQ issues because it just isn’t all of who I am. I wanted to focus on more serious work, opposed to erotica which certainly wasn’t going to be held next to Thoreau’s work, or find its way into any libraries across America. I’d like to write something that will be in a library, read many years beyond my death. That’s a goal that I am working toward.
Once I’m moved and settled in Maine, I intend to enjoy life and do some writing for the joy of writing and not for the sake of meeting deadlines and a paycheck. I am 52 and when I was 16 I told my mother that I intended to retire by 50. Never being very supportive as a general rule, she retorted, “Everyone says that, honey.” Well, I didn’t make it at 50, but I think I’m going to make it by 55. That’s the goal.
I blog at a site called Vocal more frequently than I do here. At Vocal, you may leave a tip if you like a story and I get paid per view. I have had over a quarter of a million reads here and yet I’ve accrued just $97 which they will not pay out to me until I hit $100. It’s been aggravating to me that they earn as much as they do from ads and I gain next to nothing, so I took my blogging to places that were more fair to the writer. Join me there.
My other blog is simply done under my legal name and I have also become far more comfortable being that person. I’m quite happily controlling my blood sugar, marching as a resistor, and living in my little cabin with my dogs and cats. The coffee is hot, the food is good, and life is great.
It Has Been Said That If You Are Not Correcting Your Course Frequently You Aren’t Living Life To Its Fullest…
I tend to agree. This is why I take these course corrections with a grain of salt and don’t let them bother me. I am sometimes completely amazed at how long I will grapple with a decision and the moment I make that decision and feel good about it, something intervenes and forces me to correct my course.
I’m going to be embarking on another adventure. Life, it seems, is made of challenges and adventures aplenty; despite my foot-stomping declarations of wanting to ‘settle down’ these adventures continue to find me.
Next year, as soon as possible and dependent upon money, I’ll be making my way from Oklahoma to Maine. Not just Maine, but to the very tip of the state, on the border with Canada, near Van Buren, shown on the map above.
I’m excited about a new adventure and I’m hoping to get a camper before I leave so that I can make my way there slowly, stopping along the way to enjoy some parts of the country that I’ve never seen.
The East Coast of the USA is foreign to me. I’ve always wanted to see Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. I want to see Boston Harbor. I am so giddy as I think about all of the places the lie ahead on this journey!
How Did This Come To Pass?
To continue reading, view the original post at my newest blog site:
Let’s do a little catching-up and have some coffee talk, shall we?
Yesterday I had a dental cleaning. My exam was done the week before. I need some old fillings taken out and replaced. I have one tooth that has a stress-fracture from an old filling. We are going to get that taken care of with a crown. I have ‘okay’ insurance. It isn’t fantastic but it’s better than nothing. My dental care will cost about $600 out of pocket once it is completed.
Just over a week ago I was finally able to get my shoulders looked at and had an MRI done. They’ve bothered me for a number of years. I have a high pain tolerance and simply just didn’t have the ability to see a doctor for ‘aches and pains’ until recently.
Turns out that my left shoulder has a small muscle tear in one of the muscles of the rotator cuff, some arthritis, tendinitis, bursitis and fluid in the joint. That was the GOOD shoulder…
My right shoulder has an impingement that will require part of the bone surface of my acromion shaved away. It has bursitis, tendinitis, fluid in the bursal sac, arthritis, bone marrow deterioration, and the same muscle has a major tear that is almost all the way through. It’s hanging by a few threads, apparently. Okay, well that might explain the constant ache I’ve been dealing with, progressively getting worse over five years? I’m a little stubborn. Hey, but I’m tough! LOL
My right shoulder has taken a serious pounding for many years. I was a high school discus thrower, a fast-pitch softball pitcher and had a mean volleyball serve (overhand of course). I’ve since worked with horses, dogs, worked retail, lifted weights for many years, had a run-in with a chainsaw back in 2011 that caused me severe pain (and I’m sure was when I tore these muscles). and I’ve learned to just ‘deal with it.’
I’ll be referred to a specialist and probably have surgery on the right shoulder for sure. I don’t know what they will want to do with the left one. I’m not happy about the down time. I’ve been writing articles for companies in the cannabis industry and enjoy it. I’ve also got property in Oklahoma that I’m planning on building a cabin on this summer, as well as a partnership in land that will be happening in probably June, in Alaska.
I haven’t talked to you all in a very long time. My blood sugar is completely under control for the first time in about 15 years. I am on Trulicity. That stuff is amazing but it makes me have upset stomach sometimes. Other than that, I’ve been able to eat like a normal person, within reason, and my sugar stays very low. It’s great.
Sadly, it is very expensive and not available to all Americans. That is a tragedy. One month of Trulicity is $927 and that is absolutely wrong. I have a cousin who has had struggles keeping his insulin in the house and I have worried about him many times.
People shouldn’t have to make such choices. Right now, I’m not happy with this country at all. I’ve even considered moving to the Dominican Republic. Panama maybe? We’ll see how 2020 elections go. America really doesn’t feel like home much anymore, to be honest.
Actually, the entire world has gone mad hasn’t it? New Zealand, my heart hurts for you. I fear that the idiot in charge of my country is the main reason for this hate. I’m so sorry. I’m exhausted from being angry and sorry over the last couple of years.
I can’t trust my own government and I hate the state of the world. I fear that I’ve grown so numb to it all that the only thing I can do right now is disengage. I have no energy to scream about politics anymore. I just want to get away.
In fact, my plan for my Oklahoma mini-farm is to plant my own food and live off the land as completely as I can. I believe that the food industry is poisoning us all. I believe that cancer is the biggest killer of people today, due to the pollution in the environment and in our food supply.
I’m going to get back to vegetarian, clean-eating again. I enjoyed that period of my life the best and now that I’m getting my body all patched-up and the blood sugar is good, I hope to last a few years longer. I’m actually looking forward to doing some canning. I think we began to decline, as a society, when we began relying on grocery stores for all of our food, personally.
I also don’t understand the way we poison our planet and trash out environment. If you are still using plastics, you’re contributing to the death of our planet. How do you look your children in the eye? Or grandchildren? Upcycle, recycle, buy bulk, and say no to plastic!
So Jake and I are looking to finalize a piece of property that will give us each at least 5 acres of our own in Alaska. Target area is the Kenai Peninsula. He is traveling there in June. I declined to go as I’m in the midst of squaring away the mini-farm here in the lower 48.
Alaska is going to be the real ‘get away from people’ place to go. I’m looking forward to some salmon fishing, to be honest. I’ll be needing a really nice camera for bear photos. Now that I think about it, I’ll be needing some better fishing poles and a kayak too. I’ll be needing a kayak in OK as well. Homestead is very close to a massive lake and state park. I’m hoping that kayaking is good physical therapy because I intend to be doing a lot of it.
No offense to anyone, but I really don’t like people very much. The level of hate, entitlement, the lack of common decency, manners, kindness…. I’m just pretty much over people. I can barely handle five minutes on Facebook without wanting to slap a bitch most days.
Then there are the “mansplainers” who seem to think they know more about feminism than women do. I just can’t anymore. You’ll see less and less of me as I get neck deep in planting crops and finishing the interior of my cabin.
I’ve been single a LONG time, by choice. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been, to be completely honest. There is a lot to be said about being able to do your own thing without explaining anything to anyone. Zero drama. None.
I don’t do drama and I hate bullshit. Some people don’t know how to live without at least one of those; often living up to their ears with both. I’ve never ‘needed’ to be with anyone and I’m happily independent now. I honestly don’t understand people who panic if they are single.
There really is more to life. I’m putting myself first, my health is top priority and I’m going to enjoy however many years I have left on the planet, making sure that I don’t do any harm to her. Leaving a tiny carbon footprint is my goal from here on out.
Just Another Way for Nationalists at to Further Divide?
The word ‘happy’ comes from the word “hap,” which means “luck, or chance, and may imply good fortune. Some of you may have heard the term happenstance? Happenstance synonyms are words and phrases such as, “chance, serendipity, fate, fortuity, fortune, a piece of good fortune, a bit of luck.”
Happy doesn’t seem so bad, does it?
Happy Christmas is the terminology most frequently used in Europe and was the original way Americans welcomed the holiday.
“Merry” comes from frequent usage during the 18th and 19th centuries, respectively. The term was often used as a term for having fun and was a way of displaying the emotion of happiness. Therefore, the two words became very interchangeable in most cultures who ever used the word “merry” for anything. Over time, happy took on the more emotional connotation, while merry became the word for expressing that happy feeling. “Merriment” was the word that referred to the making of merry, which in today’s slang might be referred to as a “party” or as “partying” with younger people.
Standing on Traditions
For those who enjoy fussing about traditions and the terms that are most proper, they should learn a bit about the history of linguistics and look outside of themselves more. The words that you yourself grew up using, are not necessarily ‘proper’ or even ‘traditional’ terms, even in your own country. Just as you may have learned Merry Christmas from the traditional Anglo-Saxon upbringing that came from migrating to the United States several generations ago someone else learned traditional words from their own grandparents who were Dutch. Words also begin to change over time.
The United States of America has become a melting pot of different traditions over the nearly 250 years since its colonization. I will not use the term ‘discovery’ because that is also simply a point of view. Natives who already called this place home never discovered it. If I take a wrong turn on the way to Cleveland, OH and end-up in Louisville, KY, I didn’t discover Louisville. The people who already live there may take some issue with that!
I digress. The song Happy Christmas was released in 1971 as a protest song about the Vietnam War. It was a hit, recorded by John Lennon, with Yoko Ono, and the Harlem Community Choir, based in the United States. John was a famous singer/songwriter who originated from England and grew to fame in the band The Beatles. John was shot and killed in New York City, which had made his home. Mark David Chapman shot JohnLennon in the back, four times, killing him. He was pronounced dead on December 8, 1980. The reason given for shooting John, Chapman had become a born again Christian and found Lennon‘s off-the-cuff statement, “The Beatles are more popular than Jesus” to be offensive. Perhaps if more people did feel that way, the world would be so different today? John preached love.
The song opens with the words, “Happy Christmas” being said to each of the couple’s children from previous marriages. In 1980, immediately following John’s death, the song again rose up the charts and peaked at the #3 spot on Billboard. It has become a Christmas tradition to younger generations. Many living today have grown up with this song , having been a song that was released in the birth of the 1970s and still popular today. This could be behind “Happy” coming back to Christmas?
Why Does It Matter So Much to People HOW You Wish Them Christmas?
The people most often irritated by this issue are those who are most unwavering in their own beliefs, however little facts they use to substantiate their claims. It’s about how it makes them feel. In other words, your feelings don’t matter, only the way in which they perceive Christmas to be is acceptable. These same people are quick to claim disrespect when they respect very little, at the expense of others.
These are the same people who refer to our country as America, never realizing that America is made up of two regions that form a CONTINENT, comprised of North America and South America. We are The United States (of America –you, know … because we are on the North American continent, as are Mexico and Canada).
When these people say things like, “This is how we do things in America!” They are being so haute and boisterous as to claim that every single country located on the continent made up of North and South America also do things that way. Mexicans and Canadians are also Americans in the most technical of terms, the same way in which Germans are Europeans. (It really isn’t rocket science!)
These people really should wake up and realize that the world does not revolve around this country. By now, you would think that we humans would have lost our centrist views. We now know that we are not alone in the world, nor are we probably alone in the universe.
We, as a country, have behaved like toddlers long enough. Now that we have a president who behaves the same way, some of us are realizing how awful we look, and we’d like our country to grow up now, so that we can sit at the grown-up table with the rest of the world. This presidency has been an awful look in the mirror at the worst side of ourselves.
Some of you are spewing , “I will not acknowledge someone who says ‘Happy Christmas’ to me and I will only say ‘Merry Christmas back to them because that is how it is done in America!” I hope that you can one day come to realize how ridiculous, childish, self-centered, poorly educated and hateful you portray yourselves to be. Grow up. Join the rest of in this thing called humanity.
If Someone Wishes You Anything Other Than Merry Christmas What Should You Do?
I’m not the most approachable person in the world sometimes, due to my ADD, my spectrum issues that make me pull back from people, with my auditory processing disorder, and my general need for space, so for what it is worth:
When someone looks at me and says, “Happy Christmas!” I look them right back in the eye and I say ….
When someone walks past me and says, “Happy Holidays” I smile and say…
“Thanks! YOU TOO!!”
When someone at the grocery store tells me that they are Jewish and do
not celebrate Christmas,
I smile at them and I say…
“Have a wonderful and Happy Hanukah!”
I’m a human being, just like them. We are all from the human race. We all bleed, we all have hopes, dreams, fears, and we all cry from pain and grief. If someone takes the time out of their day to wish me something meant in merriment, expressed in good cheer, I am going to receive that gift from my fellow human being with gratitude and love, because the world needs more of that. The United States especiallyneeds more of that right now.
I remember the years after Ronald Reagan very well. My parents were still alive, I was young, and times were different. Times were very different then. There wasn’t access to the news at the spur of the moment because smart phones had not been invented. If you wanted to read the news, you went out and got a newspaper. You put your quarter in the machine on the corner and walked back home, past the telephone booth. In my neighborhood, you waved at the local hooker and gave a head nod to the guy across the street who you knew was selling drugs out of his house. You kept your head down and you stayed out of trouble.
The Early Nineties
The year was 1991 and I had just moved to St Pete, FL. I was working as a waitress in a place that still required me to wear a dress and pantyhose each day. I walked to work or rode a bicycle. I had a car and it was broken down more than it ran. It stayed parked most of the time. It was a brand new Dodge and to this day I won’t own another one.
I had moved to the coast because my parents lived in Ocala. I had not been very wild about the fact that they sold their house and followed me to FL in 1987. I considered it my mother’s final attempt at ruining my life and continuing her efforts at manipulating everything she could. Of course, she wasn’t all bad. As an adult now, I can admit this. At that time, however, I had just come out as gay and she and I were not getting along at all.
The AIDS crisis was in full swing. Being a young lesbian, I was aware of it and was fearful of contracting it myself. Even though it predominantly was an issue that affected gay men, women were not totally safe. I read “And the Band Played On” from cover to cover and was somewhat horrified. It would be many years before that made it to the big screen. Gay people knew. We were living in it, neck deep.
The Real Reagan Legacy
Ronald Reagan didn’t acknowledge the epidemic for what it was. It was never funded. It was, to be blunt, completely ignored. Gay men were dying at astronomical numbers. These deaths were long and painful. Most of the people I personally knew who died passed away from breathing complications – typically pneumonia. I remember one friend the most. His name was Christopher Gomez. Chris was a wonderful person. There were times that he’d see me walking home after work, or on the way to work. He would do a big U-turn in the middle of crazy 4th Street North, stopping traffic in the process, in order to pull-over and yell, “Get in, I’ll drive you!”
He was a nice person. He had dark hair, brown eyes, a pale complexion, and he was short. Chris probably didn’t stand over five feet, six inches tall. He worked as a waiter and he made good money. Like most of us in those days, he spent more on beer and having fun than anything else. We lived in neighborhoods that were seemingly small in the middle of a large city.
I had several friends, a different life back then than the one I live now. I was more social and could more easily deal with loudness and chaotic situations. As I’ve grown older, my spectrum disorder has become increasingly a challenge. I don’t react well to intrusions into my quiet time, I do not socialize outside of the home much because the recovery time for me is lengthier than it used to be. I get grumpy if I feel intruded upon too much. It unnerves me. I do look back on those times fondly, in part because I was able to be social. People don’t realize that those on the spectrum want to be social. We just cannot be social all the time.
George Herbert Walker Bush was our president in 1991. I do not remember ever hating him back then. I disliked his policies and I disliked the fact that we were at war in Iraq. The Middle East has never seemed like a place for American soldiers, in my opinion. Those people don’t like each other, and I don’t think they ever will. Why we have to get in the middle of it all the time is truly beyond me. I am 28 years older now than I was then, and I still don’t understand our constant involvement in the Middle East. It seems a never-ending circle of death for American soldiers to me.
Times Were Hard
My mind still goes back to a time when I held the hands of dying friends, like Christopher, with tears in their eyes, knowing there was absolutely nothing that could be done. Watching someone die, resigned to their fate, is a very difficult thing to when that person hasn’t led a full life. You mourn the years that should have been.You wonder whose lives they should have touched, the loves they should have had. . .
What was extremely troubling, and has haunted the legacy of President GHW Bush, was his continuation of the Reagan administration’s neglect of the AIDS crisis. So many in the LGBTQ community hold them personally responsible for the deaths of countless people in our community. As recently as a year ago I was accused of being a single-issue voter, which I’m not and never have been. The accusation was because of my concern over gay rights issues. That just happens to be a life or death thing for me! As is healthcare. As is social security being there when I am 67 years old one day. As is the housing crisis. As is gerrymandering and voting problems, lobbying, term limits, and a nauseating list I don’t want to focus on at this moment.
I digress. The AIDS crisis is still held against the senior Bush. I have recently seen many people bring this up the last two days. I’ve seen some very hateful things said and shared on social media. I’d be a liar if I said that it didn’t make me sad because it makes me weep for the society we have become. We are just very hateful now!
Human beings are imperfect. Our special qualities have always been in our ability to forgive, to love, and to understand that none of us is perfect. We all struggle with our demons and we all make mistakes. Some of us make bigger mistakes than others. What I base my judgements of people on is whether or not they intended to harm others. I also look at whether or not the individual has done anything to redeem themselves.
Should Four Years Determine Your Legacy?
The patriarch of the Bush family has left behind a legacy of charity work that most of us will never achieve. George HW Bush worked in every way he could to do bipartisan work with Bill Clinton, to bring humanitarian aid to others. He supported and founded the Bush Clinton Coastal Recovery Fund. He also supported the following charities: Covenant House, FC Harlem, Heifer International, Save the Children, Smile Train, United Nations Development Program, and the Vijay Amritraj Foundation.
President Bush was a man who could reach across aisles and do what he thought was best for the country. He lied about his age so that he could fight for his country. He is guilty of imperfection. Aren’t we all? Has he fully made up for the lives lost to AIDS? I’m not sure that he could ever have done that. Is it so hard to believe that in the early days of AIDS many people made bad decisions? They did. It caused a loss of life greater than what it probably should have been. Is the man responsible or was it the era that we lived in? We have learned more and we have moved on. Have we not?
I can tell you that Christopher would say that ‘the guy did a lot of great things the rest of his life. He made his peace with his own God.’ Forgiveness is the only way forward. Today, I’m making the choice to forgive him and move on. While we shouldn’t use our current administration to normalize anything, I do believe that it certainly must be a basis for clarity.
We can say a lot of good things about the senior Bush. We can say that he was a man who made mistakes but tried to do much that was right with is life. We can say that he was a sensitive man, a family man who loved his children and his grandchildren. He was one of the last truly moderate Republicans who could listen and work with democrats. He was from an era that wasn’t all that bad, even though it wasn’t totally good.
The older I get, the more I want peace. I have learned to pick and choose my battles and I’ve learned when to forgive. This is a case that I will choose the latter and show my respect to a man who gave most of his life in service to his country. An honorable member of the armed forces, he never shirked his duties. He knew what decorum meant. Even in death, there is a calm, quiet dignity that we are not accustomed to anymore. I can welcome this return to tradition and values today, with my hand over my heart.
Artwork by Steve Penley. His work is really patriotic and beautiful!
What Is Going On?
Kamalah Harris is going to announce, very soon, whether she is tossing her hat into the ring for 2020. She’s sharp. A lawyer, she is brilliant. She has served as an attorney general in California. She was supported by Republicans in law enforcement there because she was a person who could reach across the aisle. We need that. We need fair, level-headedness that will work for the people!
She is quick-witted and razor sharp. I like her a lot. Watch out for this woman. I will say that many women in rural farm country will not be comfortable with her. The reason why, honestly, is that she is the opposite of the way they are raised. She’s”big city” and the farming communities hate that because they feel left behind by our government.
The reason they feel this way amazes me because they honestly believe that republicans are going to save them. Yet time and time again, Republicans vote for special interest groups and for big business. They always stand with the wealthy. They have clearly shown that their values are not with working class people.
This Isn’t Rocket Science
I hope that people living where I grew up can still understand simple math. I’m not sure of that as we used to have a great school but most of the tiny schools, with low teacher to student ratios, were forced to consolidate. This was mostly due to the strangulation of the education system that also began in the 80s. As small communities begin to shrink and shrivel into nonexistence, because there is no growth, no jobs, no raises, no infrastructure, and no schools, …. maybe they will wake-up and realize that the problems in America are rooted in the wealthy not just taking your money but in keeping it.
It’s very simple; a wealthy person doesn’t need more money. It only takes so much money to live and to survive, the rest is gravy. Even those with yachts and million-dollar toys eventually run out of ideas for spending their money. They refer to is as’wealth fatigue’ and it is a real thing. Wouldn’t you like to have this problem?
What they do is get obsessed with growing their money into more money. The way that they do this is to invest into offshore accounts and banks in order to get tax benefits of places that have lower taxes. When this happens, you are moving money out of the country and out of circulation.
Now the amount of money available in this country is a smaller pile from which we all must pull our share from – including wages and government spending. That money gets taxed and the pile grows even smaller. Bigger companies like Walmart take all that money in,because you need spend it to survive, and they pay very low wages to the peopleat the bottom of the pile. Bigger deficits also mean less for us, as budgets are tightened to make up for it when we have responsible presidents.
Games With America
It plays out like the divorced parent game. Dad comes along, tells you want to hear, has fewer rules, and he gives you want you want more often than not. Mom comes along and says, we must have rules. No, cannot have everything you want and now we must pay our bills. In this scenario, Dad is a Republican and Mom is a Democrat. We remember Dad as a great guy who cared about us, but reality is that Mom was the best, responsible parent who made sure we had things for rainy days. Am I making this simple to understand?
The people at the top, who in the 70s used to take about 20 to 50x the amount that their employees made, are now taking salaries that are 600x what they are paying their lowest paid employees! Sometimes they take more than that because they find ways to pay themselves big bonuses, all while they show a business ‘loss’ for the year so that they pay no taxes.
Since no human being really needs that much money, they invest it …into offshore things that they don’t have to pay taxes on. The pool of cash remaining within America gets smaller each year. It isn’t rocket science. Big businesses have slowly killed America. Even worse, politicians have utterly convinced you to blame your problems on low income families rather than on their corporate greed.
They’ve managed to get you to believe that the wealthy earned their huge salaries and deserve to keep every penny, and any other thought is socialist. No, people, they have conned you. They didn’t earn it. They used corporate tax breaks that they received by paying off members of the House and Senate to put those tax laws into effect. They played the system to steal from America by getting politicians to make it legal. They took from you. They didn’t make those huge profits, they squeezed it from your hard labor. They padded Rand Paul’s pockets and Mitch McConnell’s pockets, Paul Ryan’s pockets, and a hundred other people. Meanwhile, you take the trickle down and smile, while continuing to vote for them because they want to ‘give power back to the states and protect the second amendment.’ What you got is lip service and laid off. Right Ford? Right GMC? Harley Davidson? WV coal miner? Your second amendment was never, and has never been, in jeopardy. Some decent regulations would be nice but that is another article.
Helping Ourselves Out Of This Mess
We NEED to shop small! You need to imagine every dollar that you spend at places like Walmart being put in an envelope and being sent to Russia, or Saudi Arabia, or Bermuda. Yes,it may cost you just a little but, in the end, it will come back to you! Can’t you shop at the local store that is closer to your house? That money is going into a local bank account, will probably be used within your own community to pay bills and find its way back to the employer who pays you.
This is how local communities thrive, by keeping their money freshly circulating in a big circle that doesn’t stop. You grow by finding ways of attracting some outside money occasionally. Tourism is a great example of bringing in outside money. Having a local high school, with home football games that attracts the opposing teams’ fans is also a great example. When you lose your school, you lose your heart, as a small town. Sadly, you also lose revenue potential. In terms of a country, it is the same practice, simply on a grander scale. None of this is rocket science!
I’m going to write to all the United States’ democratic senators and representatives. I’m going to ask them to consider a CAP on the amount of salary and bonuses that any CEO can take from their company. It should be based on a percentage, which means that if your lowest employees get a raise, you can too. The more they make, the more you can make. It means that more money stays in America and it also means that capitalism is still strong. You can control your salary and be upwardly mobile if you are taking your employees too! No more of this capitalism running amok!
Perhaps we even offer a bit of a tax break to the companies that have a lowest paid employee of at least $15 per hour? Maybe that break is structure to be in tiers so that if you start people out at $20 per hour, your company gets a better tax break at year end? Perhaps we say that that amount must be $20 per hour within 10 years in order to keep that tax break or lose it?
The Struggle Is Real
The working people aren’t even really living anymore, they are surviving – barely. Some people aren’t even surviving and if they manage three square meals it is a miracle. People wouldn’t need welfare if they earned enough money! Research has shown that we would spend less on food stamps and housing subsidies, as a country, if companies paid what they should in taxes and pay employees a fair living wage!
Working people, we already know, would spend that money they earn. Folks would go straight out and buy steaks instead of chicken and splurge on that package of crab meat. Parents would sign kids up for after school programs they can’t afford now. Families could all go out to the movies again. Parents would buy more clothes for the kids that they couldn’t afford for school last year. Families would take vacations again – something that has drastically dropped since the 1970s, which coincidentally was a time when auto workers and steel workers were earning $20+per hour. Is it also a coincidence that Walmart got its big start in the 80s?
In the 80s it began to become the norm for businesses to pay themselves outrageous salaries. Families began living on credit cards while corporations sucked up all the actual money. Because of credit, which was a relatively new concept, companies were able to quietly steal the cash and put it into countries like Saudi Arabia, in oil stocks, only it really wasn’t done all that quietly. Thanks to fewer regulations at that time, Wall Street wasn’t keen for anyone to see what was going on. THEY were making enormous commissions on all this offshore investing.
Ironically, all these things were happening in the 80s, as a direct result of another Republican in office who didn’t really know half of what was going on. Ronald Reagan was in beginning stages of Alzheimer’s and it was kept from the public. Suddenly, after years of being heroes, the union was a bad guy. They had “too much power” according to the press releases being fed to the public. It was all setting us up for where we are today.
This union busting became popular and was a mantra all throughout the 90s. Today, unions have less power than they ever have. Wages for skilled workers is at an all-time low. We desperately need skilled labor, but they don’t pay well compared to inflation. In fact, most of these jobs start for less per hour than they did 30 years ago. In 1979, people were being paid $20 per hour to start as floor sweepers in factories that included the steel mill my father was working at.
In the 1980s, the American public was distracted with the AIDS crisis, we were neck deep in theIran-Contra Affair, and politics was a shell game that the American people seemedto stop trying to figure out. When that happened, we opened the door to what we have today. Banks were also digging the country into a huge mess that would later cause recessions; the subprime loan industry being one such example. That came back to bite us in the rear end approximately twenty years after it began. Credit as a means of living better than we ever had would soon become the problem that took us down.
Your recent Trump taxcut was temporary and when you do your taxes this year, you are very likely going to realize that. The stock market went up over the last year, only to lose it all in the month of November. This is because it was a manipulated rise. It wasbound to happen, and the smartest analysts tried to warn you but some of you were so desperate to hear that you could find your way out of this dark tunnel without having to make any personal changes, that you swallowed hard. It will take a huge December to finish off with a market gain for the year. This will be hard when 150K employees have gotten their walking papers this fall from major employers, like GM and Ford.
The current president talks that talk but he walks the walk of the wealthy. He is a white dude who is protecting the other wealthy, white dudes. Look around. People all around you are still struggling. Trump’s father made his money off that housing market and used huge loans to build projects for housing. He then stiffed skilled laborers who built his buildings and then he refused to rent tominorities because it would cause his buildings to drop in value. His son did the exact same thing.
We need to put a cap on the percentage of salary a CEO can be paid in relation to their lowest paid employees. This will guarantee a higher wage for even the lowest paid people. We need to offer tax breaks with CLEARLY SPELLED OUT RULES to avoid things like GMC laying off 15,000 people after receiving $6B in tax goodies and then asking to payout something like $5M in bonus money to CEOs! NO!!! The payouts in such cases need to be percentage based also, so that those being let go receive a portion as severance pay!
I will be voting in 2020. I will likely vote for someone like Kamalah Harris. There are many who talk about running and some of them are great. The primaries will determine which candidate stands out from the pack. I’ll be voting for the person who puts American workers back to work and does it the right way, not by manipulating a stock market via Tweeting. I’ll vote for the person who understands that most Americans can’t afford to invest in stock because they are worried about food, rent, medication, and utility bills – all while caring about the homeless and giving constantly to good charities that keep each other going. I’ll vote for the candidate that remembers that unions are good, and they’ve been there to help families when no one else was.