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Oh Bother

haveaballoonWinnie the Pooh – I don’t want to take up too much of your time with this, but it’s just too silly to let rest…yet.

The councillors in Tuszyn, Poland  have spent time debating Pooh’s lack of pants and therefore,  the obvious abomination it would be to have Winnie the Pooh be the town’s playground mascot. Tuszyn’s debate has placed the small town front and center on the world stage for their 15 minutes of fame.

My immediate reaction was, ” Seriously? We’re wasting time on our national news talking about Pooh Bear’s dungarees”? Too tired to be outraged, instead of tweeting about it, I laughed. Chuckled, smiled even.

News is such a joke anyway, why not report on Pooh’s pants? If you’re telling us about Pooh’s pants, what aren’t you telling us?

Having started upon the long and winding road of my career as a newspaper reporter, I have an insider’s appreciation of the passive aggressive as well as blatant gagging of the idealized journalistic objective reality of writing for money.

It is no secret that reading the Saturday paper at my favourite coffee shop constitutes an ideal weekend morning. What you may not understand is that I read the paper as a clue to what isn’t being reported, written about, recorded or otherwise documented in popular media.

So I thank you CBC for not being afraid to report on something seemingly insignificant.

From what are you trying so hard to steal our attention?

 

 

 

 

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The Working Class

It's not always easy to find meaningful work.
It’s not always easy to find meaningful work.

The middle class is increasingly being squeezed into the lower class. It’s much like strapping a size 8 girdle on a fat chick. The wee sexy, delicious bits poke out the top end, but the rest just oozes out lower, and is far less tantalizing.

With that comes a broader, deeper, blanketing sense that the world is out to get you. No matter how hard you work, try to save, or hoped your now outdated Bachelor’s Degree would save you, the realization that this is as good as it gets depresses you even more.

Or maybe you don’t reach that obvious conclusion. Maybe you’re just bitter. Maybe you’re too lazy to think about what you read in the newspaper, or don’t see on the news.

But I don’t think that’s the case with you my sweet little dried apricots. No. If that were the case, you wouldn’t be here, with wonderful ole’ me now, would you?

If you work eye-to-eye with anyone (as in any type of customer service, or human services profession), you’re getting the short end of the stick. Someone else is making all of the money, and you’re schlepping their stuff so you can try to pay your bills.

If you were eye-to-eye with the end-user of any product or service, you get the brunt of every interaction. Some are pleasant, and others, well, let me sum it up;

1) People always think that you (personally) are trying to rip them off.

2) That your schedule should revolve around them, no matter what the hour or what the cost to you. (My personal favourite is the line, “Well, I work”, when trying to schedule appointments. I’ve got news for you genius, I do too, and this is when I’m available. ) No one is out to get your personally. We all have our limits.

3) People who disrespect your time. If you’ve set an appointment, you’ve done so for a reason. In other words, you’ve set aside time to pay particular attention to that individual. Being late for an appointment flies in the face of allowing anyone to provide good customer service.

4) Wasting time. If a professional has given you information. That’s the information. Don’t take it to Philosophy-Flipping-101. Just do what you need to do.

5) Leaving multiple messages the same day or within 24 hours for someone just slows down how fast they get back to you. Listening to your annoying 3 minute long whining session more than once is a waste of time, and as annoying as a toddler with a snotty nose and cling-on booger.

A special note to seniors and folks who don’t work…poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on someone else’s. Take up a hobby and make a cup of tea. We will get back to you. No one puts you off because they’re trying to tick you off. At the end of the day, unless you’re a sociopath, you want to leave your work feeling like you’ve at least helped someone, even in a small way.

Just a note to everyone out there who is poo-pooing unions right now; Give your head a shake. Unionized environments are quickly becoming the ONLY jobs that are secure, and can sustain a healthy family and social lifestyle. Don’t fall for conservative government fear mongering. Health care, fair wages and working hours are a right we should not have to fight for again.

Businesses are squeezing every second out of their employees until they burn out. If you have a problem with customer service these days, I suggest you get your saggy butt down to an Occupy event.

These are just a few short examples of how our faltering and bourgeois economy is dividing and conquering the working class. When you meet with someone eye-to-eye, as I like to say, you are meeting with another human being just like yourself, who is as worried, stressed and blessed as you are.

So, remember, if you’re meeting with a person, and their name isn’t on the sign above the business, they’re just trying to get by like you and I. Don’t be an asshole darlings.

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Grace; Clothed in Strength & Dignity

"Nude" by Julian Mandel
“Nude” by Julian Mandel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For a big ol’Buddhist, I have a rather scholarly knowledge of the bible, which some folks in my home town liked to beat each other over the heads with on Sunday afternoons.

One of my favourite biblical-quotes-almost-always-taken-out-of-context is; Proverbs 31:25 – She is clothed in strength and dignity, and she smiles at the future.

Part of Proverbs 31 is an ‘Ode to a Capable Wife’. Wife schmife. Let’s go with plain old ‘capable woman‘.

We live in a culture rooted in capitalism. The collective ‘we’ praises independence and individuality. We also live in a culture where the number of single parent homes is on the rise, and the majority of single-parent homes are headed by women.

Women also happen to be paid statistically less than men for the same work .Even if you’re a starlet. Please see the recent letter to Miley Cyrus from musical legend Sinead O’Connor

You and I may not be mathematicians darling, but it doesn’t take a genius to realize the financial and emotional stress that can affect women who, as my bra-burning sisters before me like to say, ‘have it all’.

Without our network of girlfriends, life would be a lot less tolerable. Proverbs may have expounded on the wonders of a ‘capable woman’, but I think in today’s world, capable translates to grace.

I hate to disappoint you wonderful women out there who think I’m all that and a glass of wine, but I must confess, I too suffer from ‘single-parent-home’ overload on occasion.

Growing up in an environment where money was used as a power and control mechanism,  I have worked hard to not owe anyone anything. I have spent sleepless nights wondering how I will pay this bill or that bill, or make sure there’s enough milk in the fridge.

I have always counted myself very lucky to have not one, but three post-secondary pieces of paper hanging on my wall. I have never, despite sleepless nights, anxiety attacks and a genetic disposition to lunacy, stopped working, and trying to provide for my household.

Despite my work ethic, there have been times when working hard wasn’t enough. Being organized and prepared didn’t stop flu bugs, chicken pocks, pneumonia, torn ligaments, and surgeries.

During those times, my girlfriends have come through. It has always been with great difficulty that I am able to say to someone, “I need your help.” Those are the four most difficult words for me to say. They devastate my pride, and make me feel weak, vulnerable, and indebted to someone else.  But there have been times when I’ve had to do just that.

You will be shocked to know that I was not born with a boatload of natural grace. I know, I know, it’s hard to believe my sweet, delicate flowers.  Life, has an amazing way of giving us what we need, and it has indeed given me a number of challenges.

I like to think that as I age, I meet these challenges with just a little more grace, a little better sense of humor, and a lot more faith.

I believe deeply that if  I maintain my own moral compass through the storms, I will indeed arrive stronger, with more wisdom and grace on the other side.

It was not only my own experience that taught me this, it was the wonderful mentoring of my “Mumster”, and other older, wiser women who had travelled the path before me.

We are all clothed in strength and dignity my  darlings, and if we love one another we shall all smile at the future knowing that we are in good company.

Remember that when you see younger women struggling. Raise them up, help with their practical needs, and be the kind woman whom they strive to become.

Be grace in motion. Be fabulous 😉

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Work Schmirk

Computer cubicles inside the Digital and Multi...
Computer cubicles inside the Digital and Multimedia Center (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WORK – noun, adjective, verb, worked or wrought/ working.

noun
1. Exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something; labour; toil.
Work, you know what I’m talking about right? That  nebulous, mundane thing that folks talk about doing every day?  The stuff you do to pay your bills and take your bi-annual much-deserved vacations?
Work – the very thing that makes some of you wonderful little plums dread Monday morning.
We all work. Whether it’s around the house, or in the yard, or on something we take up as a hobby. Perhaps it’s even your 9-5 pay-cheque gathering activity darling.
Of all the things people say about ‘work’, I think that this quote by the brilliant poet Charles Bukowski describes it best;
How in the hell could a person enjoy being awakened at 6:30am by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress,  force feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, fight traffic, to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?
I have met people who complain about their suffering because they have chosen long commutes over time with their young families. I have also met people who chose to ‘work’ as little as possible and pursue their happiness elsewhere.
Ideally, we all get the opportunity to work at something we find meaningful and feel passionately about.
At the very least we should all work just enough to be able to have time and resources to pursue our great loves; Family, Spirituality and Art.
Stay fabulous my delicate peaches, and don’t let work dull your sparkle.