Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Teach Your Children Well

Ignorance is not bliss.

Young people who are 20 years old should know how to dust, vacuum, do the laundry, and take care of themselves.

If they don't, their parents have failed them.

It is not the school's place, the church's place, the government's place, or my place, to teach a child who is now an adult how to put Pledge on a rag and not drown the furniture in polish. If a 20-year-old doesn't know that, then somebody somewhere along the way failed that kid.

Regardless of sex, an adult (that's somebody age 18 and older) should know how to fix food and clean. Those are basic life skills. If they can't do that, and apparently many cannot, then how in the world do parents expect them to accomplish anything at all?

They aren't going to. And maybe parents don't expect them to. I don't know.

I can't know. I have no children. I don't understand how it is to have the little darlings and to hug them and kiss them and keep them infantile until they are 30. You're right, I don't get that. I don't know why parents would not give children chores or include them as part of the household but instead set them apart as some "other" apparently always worthy of techno stuff and trophies, but never worthy of the time and attention needed to actually raise them to be decent, responsible citizens who are respectful of people around them.

My husband has for about a decade now complained about the young people who come in to his line of work and expect to start out at top pay. They don't know how to do anything and they don't want to learn. All they want to do is play video games on X-box and ride around on fire trucks. They don't understand, or care, that the firehouse has to be kept clean, that the trucks need maintenance, that learning to put out a fire safely requires hours upon hours of training.

Mom and Dad never told them they might have to break a sweat once in a while. It's such a surprise to them when they learn they have to work.

My brother, who is a CEO of a medium-sized corporation with multiple branches, has made the same complaint about young people who come to him for a job. They dress shabbily. They spend more time looking at their phones than answering questions in interviews. Their parents bring them to the interview! Why would he hire a person like that?

If a 14-year-old can't babysit, do chores, bake a supper, do the laundry, and clean up a room, if not the whole house, that child is not a successful kid. I don't care how many As or baseball trophies are in that kid's room. That kid can't take care of his or her self and is therefore a failure in basic self care.

My grandmother was giving birth to my mother when she was 14. Her six children were all potty-trained before they were two. I was potty-trained before I was two. Today I see young mothers on my Facebook page talking about whether or not their four-year-old is old enough to be potty trained. Please. I know a woman who had five kids who taught every single one of them to use the toilet before they turned a year old. They weren't damaged, and neither was I. But I predict a kid who is still pooping his pants at the age of four will be in therapy later in life.

Schools and colleges complain about these things - teachers talk about how little children know, how they can't even take care of basic things like washing up for lunch. Colleges complain about helicopters parents who hover over their children and keep them infantile. Why would a parent want to do that?

We were watching a silly show on one of the science channels the other night about homesteading. This family of four was about to die of starvation because a 23-year-old boy and a teenaged girl weren't helping. The parents were doing it all, trying to chop wood and garden and all the other things it takes to live like that. The kids were, well, playing on their cell phones, I guess. They certainly weren't involved. And that, the homesteading expert pointed out, was their biggest challenge, the lack of involvement by all in the group. It wasn't snow or heat or snakes that was going to do them in - it was the fact that these parents had not given their children a work ethic.

When I was 20, I was married and keeping a house. And I kept a neat, clean home and took care of a garden. I worked full time and went to school part time. I failed to have children, but not for lack of trying. I was sick a lot and I still worked hard.

I realize that was nearly 35 years ago. But some things do not change. People need to be able to care for themselves and their surroundings. And apparently, young people today cannot do these things. These are the same people who one day will be taking care of me when I am old and infirmed, and if they can't figure out how to use a damp mop, then I despair of their ability to help me with a bed pan.

It is not child abuse to give children responsibilities. Every member of a tribe for thousands of years has had responsibilities. Little children from very early ages learned to gather firewood and tend to minor chores; they have done that for as long as humans have walked the planet. And now, what? They're too tender, too soft, or too special to be part of the community?

This is, I think, the result of the "me" generation which has not taken the time to properly raise their offspring. Mothers busy working and fathers busy working apparently haven't the time to teach little Darling how to use the washing machine. Although my mother worked full time and sang in a band on the weekends and we lived on a farm and my father worked full time and sang in a band and we lived on a farm, and I learned that stuff. So well, that's an excuse, not a reason. The reason? It is easier for the parent to tell Darling to go sit in front of the TV or the video game, and Darling learns diddly squat.

I have relayed before various incidents with children in recent years, how they scream and cry, run around in restaurants, and generally act like wild heathens while their parents play Candy Crush or whatever they're doing. They ignore the fact that the kids are creating a ruckus. It all goes back to attention and proper parenting. Letting kids run wild is not appropriate or proper parenting. Parents are creating monsters, not citizens.

I did not have an easy childhood. My parents were tough on me and I resented - and still resent - some of that. But they also gave me a work ethic and taught me how to do the things that a person needs to know how to do, like cleaning and laundry, and for that I am grateful. I never fared well at gourmet cooking like my mother, but my husband and I haven't starved and if I have to I can whip up a decent dinner without too much thought or effort. Even now, while I am ill and under specific doctor's orders not to do certain things, I still work to keep my house clean and things under control.

I fear there are parents out there who will want to tell me I don't know what I'm talking about. But before these parents respond with emotional anger and bristles up, I hope they ask themselves why what I have written bothers them.

Then I hope they wonder if maybe if it isn't because they know, deep down inside, that I'm right.

And if that is the case, then I hope that tonight somewhere some parent takes a child aside, and shows him or her how to sort out the whites from the colors and use a washing machine.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

My Rocking Chair

The week after my mother died, back in August 2000, I marched into Grand Home Furnishings at Valley View and purchased a rocking chair.

For some reason, I wanted - no, I needed - a rocking chair.

I found one that I could purchase straight off the floor and had my husband go up and get it later that afternoon.

I placed the chair and accompanying ottoman where I could watch TV and rock. It was not a place I sat every day, but when I needed a little comforting, I would take a book and spend a bit of time there.

And then two years ago, the sofa broke, and we went through this long saga of getting new furniture. The end result of that was I ended up with a La-Z-Boy recliner/rocker and a living room full of furniture.

So yesterday, my rocking chair went to a new home. Like many of our hand-me-downs, a young firefighter now possesses this. 

A part of me was sorry to see it go, but the room certainly looks less cluttered. Now we have to purchase new end tables and rid ourselves of the old Ashley glass tables.

We are not very changeable, my husband and I. We tend to put the furniture where we want it and leave it there. This living room upheaval has been frustrating (not to mention costly) and I hope that by Thanksgiving we will have the room back in order, with the new end tables and pictures and all back on the wall (we painted in April; the pictures are still in the floor of the spare room).

I think ridding myself of the rocker was an interesting challenge in letting go. It served me for 15 years - and that's a good long time for an impulse purchase of a piece of furniture. It had done its due, and we're moving into a new phase as we age.

Time change. You go from green to tan. But the tan still rocks, so the comfort remains.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Our Great Outing

With temperatures roaming around near 100 degrees over the last several days, the air is tough to breathe and working outside near impossible.

So Saturday my husband took a rare day off from working on the farm. We took a drive.

This is us, getting ready to head out. My husband has a dip
of chewing tobacco in his mouth. Sigh.

This used to the Roanoke County Courthouse, but it is
now part of Roanoke College.

We ate lunch at Macados in Salem. They have good
chicken salad. While we were there, we watched a parade
of vehicles with confederate flags and other decorations
go by.

This is downtown Salem, or what's left of it. I remember it
differently than what it looks like now.

This is the ponds in Salem. I caught a big catfish in there
once during a fishing rodeo.

No trip is complete without a stop at Walmart for something.

Heading into Elliston, the Blue Jay Motel greets travelers.
I always take a picture of it because my great Aunt Ruth and
Uncle Ted once managed the place. Best blueberry pancakes ever.

Christiansburg means cars. We checked on the new Camrys.
Not impressed enough to trade in my 2014.

We drove through Christiansburg downtown.

We came across a car show.

We did not get out because it was really hot.

We went into this store to see if they had any chair
end tables. They did not have what we wanted.

This is what we went to look at it. Yes, junk.

Farm junk. Pieces of stuff that mean nothing to me.

The stuff does, however, mean something to my husband. But
he did not find what he wanted on this day.

And that was that. I slept most of the way home. I don't do well on long adventures anymore. We were out about five hours, I suppose.

Our great outing.

I'll Be the One in a Grave

The quote below is why I expect to not have a long life, given the current events of not only the U.S. but the world. In my opinion, which counts for absolutely nothing, a vote for Trump (who is coming to my area today) is a vote for my death. There will be, as always, those who think exactly the opposite. Not that it matters: I think World War III will come regardless of who holds the reins, though I think the Democrats might take me a small step closer to old age. A Green Party win would be even better, but that won't happen this year. But it will be politics and power that kill me and many others - the sick, the old, the unwell - not Mother Nature's advances upon my person.

Time will tell who is right, though I probably won't be around to see. But I will point out this: We all still have our guns in spite of President Obama. We have health care, if we want it (and I know and understand that you may not be able to pay for it). We can still go to the place of worship of our choosing. We can put our Christmas decorations up in our yard. We can fly the Confederate flag on our own property if we want. We haven't lost any of our Constitutional rights under a black Democratic president - not a single one, in spite of the fearmongering.

You may or may not have a job, but that is not a presidential problem or even a political party problem. That is a Congressional problem and a corporate problem created by a lack of empathy problem on the part of Congress, corporate owners, and stock holders. It is the direct result of the capitalistic system we worship over and above our god (we really do). However, I realize we cannot place the blame where it actually belongs, because that is to admit that we are slaves to the masters we think we don't have. Better to blame the black man in the White House, or the Latinos next door. Because we can't look inside and blame ourselves, because we don't know how to fix it.

We have to share our world with people we don't like - people who think differently, who look different, talk differently, worship differently, and we don't like it. So you or you or you will kill me, in the end, because I don't think like you do, or I am in your way. I get that and have mostly accepted it, though I can't say I like it. I had hoped for a long life, at least another 30 years or so. I've done nothing to deserve to die. But then again, neither have a lot of other people.

Humans are murderers. We kill one another without a thought. It's the animal brain (though I know many think we didn't evolve). But there it is. I have seen this coming since 9/11, this new World War - or maybe it will be an all-out Second American Civil War. Whatever. It is coming - maybe it is already here. All students of the world know this - even the people who don't really think about it know it subconsciously. We also know there is nothing we can do about it. As it says below, some of us are not capable of the violence that the general population can carry out. We end up being the recipients of it.

Go to the link at the bottom and read the whole article. It is worth the time.

"What can we do? Well, again, looking back, probably not much. The liberal intellectuals are always in the minority. See Clay Shirky’s Twitter Storm on this point. The people who see that open societies, being nice to other people, not being racist, not fighting wars, is a better way to live, they generally end up losing these fights. They don’t fight dirty. They are terrible at appealing to the populace. They are less violent, so end up in prisons, camps, and graves. We need to beware not to become divided (see: Labour party), we need to avoid getting lost in arguing through facts and logic, and counter the populist messages of passion and anger with our own similar messages. We need to understand and use social media. We need to harness a different fear. Fear of another World War nearly stopped World War 2, but didn’t. We need to avoid our own echo chambers. Trump and Putin supporters don’t read the Guardian, so writing there is just reassuring our friends. We need to find a way to bridge from our closed groups to other closed groups, try to cross the ever widening social divides."

From: History Tells Us What Will Happen Next with Brexit & Trump

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sunday Stealing: Beach Boys

Sunday Stealing: The Beach Boys' Meme 
1. SURFER GIRL : “I have watched you on the shore, standing by the ocean drawer, do you love me do you surfer girl?” Were you ever interested in someone (other than a celebrity) who did not return your interest?

A. I imagine I was, but that was so long ago that those brain cells have long since departed, flying out of my ears and into the airwaves.

2. BE TRUE TO YOUR SCHOOL : “So be true to your school now, just like you would for your girl or guy . . ." Looking back, how do you feel about your high school days?

A. I was a quiet student who generally stayed out of trouble. I wish I had made more friends but that's the way it goes.

3. FUN FUN FUN : “…and she’ll have fun fun fun till her daddy takes the T-Bird away…” What was the worst punishment you received as a teenager?

A. Since I know some of my family reads this blog, I don't think I will say. It would then be disputed or I would be "remembering it wrong" and I'd just as soon not get into it.

4. I GET AROUND : “Round round get around, I get around” Where did you go on your last long trip?

A. We went to Charleston, SC last fall for vacation.

5. HELP ME RHONDA : “You gotta help me Rhonda, help me get her off of my mind” What do you do to cheer up after a personal tragedy such as a lost job, power outage, or broken relationship?

A. How odd that a power outage falls in there with losing a job or a broken relationship. A power outage is nothing. But to cheer myself up after a personal tragedy, I read or play video games. I remember the day of 9/11, which was a national tragedy and not a personal one, but a tragedy all the same, I came home and played video games on Shockwave for hours to numb myself to what was happening. And when I wasn't doing that, I was glued to the TV, watching the towers fall again and again, knowing all the while that there were firefighters in there (343, to be exact) who had lost their lives.

I also tend to have fake conversations in my head with people who have made me angry, saying the things I wish I had said or had the courage to go say.

6. CALIFORNIA GIRLS : “I wish they all could be California girls. The west coast has the sunshine and the girls there get so tan, I dig a French bikini on Hawaiian island dolls, by a palm tree in the sand” Where are the best boys found?

A. They come from their mother's wombs. Every boy is a best boy until his environment turns him into a not-so-best boy. While I don't discount the possibility of a genetic component for "bad," I think most bad boys are made that way.

7. SLOOP JOHN B : “I wanna go home, please let me go home, ya ya. Well this is the worst trip, I’ve ever been on…” What is the worst trip you’ve ever been on?

A. In 1989, there was a massive riot at Virginia Beach. We had reservations to be there about three days after the riots. We called and were told all was quiet and to come on down. (Remember, no Internet, and we only had two TV stations then.) It was quiet, all right. There was no power in our hotel, and it was so hot and humid I couldn't breathe because of my asthma. The hotel across the street had power and I told the night clerk I was going to sue the hotel and him personally if I didn't get my money back so we could go across the street (I got the money back). Hundreds of stores were closed because the windows had been broken out. The place was like a combination ghost town and military zone. It was a horrible vacation and we have not been back to Virginia Beach since.

This is a timely thing to recall, because this was a race riot that happened nearly 30 years ago. Racism has never gone away, and the issues have only been swept under rugs full of broken glass.

8. WOULDN’T IT BE NICE : “I guess the more we talk about it, it makes it harder just to live without it, but let’s talk about it…” What is your biggest wish?

A. There's always the "I want the whole world to get along" thing, but those wishes, while altruistic, are not doable, as we all know. Personally, I would like to get the clutter out of my house and have the place looking exactly like I want it. But at the moment I'm not strong enough to accomplish that. I could wish for better health but, while I may get some better, I am never going to be all better.

9. IN MY ROOM : “There’s a place where I can go and tell my secrets to. In my room. In my room.” What is your favorite thing about your own personal room or space in your home/office?

A. It's my space and it has my books and right now too much clutter, but otherwise, it's the place I go to shut out the TV and to have some alone time. Plus, Elder Scrolls V.

10. GOD ONLY KNOWS : “You never need to doubt it, I’ll make you so sure about it. God only knows what I feel about you” When was the last time you told a significant other or close relative that you loved them?

A. My husband and I tell each other that every day. He works in dangerous jobs. I don't want our last words to be quarrelsome, and you never know when those last words might come.

11. GOOD VIBRATIONS : “My baby has good vibrations, she’s giving me excitations…” When do you get good vibrations?

A. When there's a sale on at the book store.

12. KOKOMO : “We’ll go to Kokomo. We’ll get there fast and then we’ll take it slow. That’s where I wanna go…” What is your favorite warm weather destination?

A. I don't have one, really, because I don't like the heat. I have been to Myrtle Beach more times than anywhere else, so we'll go with that one.

13. DO IT AGAIN : “Let’s get back together and do it again…” If you could go back in time and gather up your school friends, what would you do again?

A. Nothing.


I encourage you to visit other participants in
Sunday Stealing posts and leave a comment. Cheers to all us thieves who love memes, however we come by them.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Saturday 9: Surf City

Saturday 9: Surf City (1963)

Because Melissa suggested Jan and Dean. Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) When the song was written, "Surf City" was a fictitious town.* Tell us a song that is set in a real place.

A. Elvis Presley's "Promised Land" starts out, "I left my home in Norfolk, Virginia, California on my mind" and mentions several other places. But one of my favorites, and one of my favorite versions, is "How I Got to Memphis" as played by Jeff Daniels on The Newsroom. The song starts around 2:00 minutes in the video. 

2) In the song, Jan and Dean sing about riding around in a 1934 station wagon, which means the car was 29 years old when the song was recorded. How old is your vehicle?

A. My car is two years old.

3) Are you good on a surf board?

A. Nope. I'm an old woman. I do good to get across the parking lot.

4) When you spend time out in the sun, are you careful about applying sunscreen?

A. Yes. Well, usually.

5) Dean's original partner was Arnie Ginsburg. When Dean was drafted into the Army, Arnie didn't feel like waiting so he abandoned show business and went back to college. Today he holds several patents. What is something you wish someone would invent?

A. A cure for cancer would be nice, but there is so much money in *trying* to cure cancer that I doubt we ever find a true cure, unless we get capitalism out of health care. So how about something more down to earth? I know. A way to get the lime out of my hard well water that doesn't involve using a water softener.

6) Jan was a perpetual student who juggled college with recording. He not only graduated from UCLA, he completed two years of medical school at the UC Irvine School of Medicine. Have you ever considered going back to school?

A. I went back to school and received my masters degree in 2012. I would go for my Ph.D. if I thought it would be of any benefit, but it's a bit late.

7) In 1966, Jan was sidelined by a serious car accident. During the years that he was unable to perform, partner Dean became a graphic artist. He designed logos and album covers for Steve Martin, Diana Ross and others. Do you feel you respond most to words, pictures, or music?

A. I respond to all three in various ways.

8) In 1978, CBS made a TV movie about Jan and Dean. If they approached you about a made-for-TV movie of your life, who would you like to play you?

A. The young Kate Jackson from the 1970s, when she was in Charlie's Angels. Or Sarah Michelle Gellar from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Or the young Sharon Gless from Cagney & Lacey. I don't know too many current young actresses. The old me could only be played by the highly esteemed Meryl Streep.

9) Random question:  Growing up, how did you learn about the birds and the bees? (From books/the web, from parents, from your friends...)

A. I am not going to answer this question, except to say I didn't learn it from the internet, I am far too old for that.


I encourage you to visit other participants in Saturday 9 posts and leave a comment. Because there are no rules, it is your choice. Saturday 9 players hate rules. We love memes, however.