Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Compassion...or lack there of...

"Compassion is a human emotion prompted by the pain of others. More vigorous than empathy, the feeling commonly gives rise to an active desire to alleviate another's suffering."

Compassion, or Daya, is one of the three central virtues in Hinduism.

Compassion, or Karuna, is at the transcendental and experiential heart of Buddhism.
Compassion is that which makes the heart of the good move at the pain of others. It crushes and destroys the pain of others; thus, it is called compassion. It is called compassion because it shelters and embraces the distressed. - The Buddha

Compassion is more than simply a human emotion in the Jewish mystical tradition of Kabbalah.
"Kindness gives to another. Compassion knows no 'other'"

True Christian compassion, say the Gospels, should extend to all, even to the extent of loving one's enemies.

So where is it then? Where is all this Compassion?? I mean really...every where you look...every sound you hear...the masses around the world seem to have lost their Compassion. And not has Compassion simply been lost...but it seems that people have spiraled in to a state of mind being the exact opposite.

"Compassion fatigue, is a term that refers to a gradual lessening of compassion over time...including hopelessness, a decrease in experiences of pleasure, constant stress and anxiety, and a pervasive negative attitude"

hmmmm....sound familiar anyone??

And this Compassion Fatigue is being rammed down our collective throats thank you Hannity, Coulter, Beck, Limbaugh, Olbermann, Matthews, Will, Maddow, Scarborough, cripes...the list goes on and on. And so does the divisive "I'm Right...You Are Wrong" dis-compassionate rhetoric that seems to be lulling the general populations in to a Compassion Fatigue like no other.

The human psyche can take only so much. So, bring on the Zoloft, Xanax, Effexor, Prozac, Norpramin, Paxil, Klonopin, Ativan, Cymbalta...gee...looks like there's as many meds as there are pundits! Go figure...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

"The Golden Rule"...it comes down to Karma...

The Ethic of Reciprocity, otherwise known as The Golden Rule: "Treat people as you would want to be treated."

Regardless of how you want to word it...what Faith you hold on to...it's all the same:

"Do unto others as you would have done unto you"

"What goes around ~ comes around"

"What you put out...you get back in return"

"That which you hate to be done to you, do not do to another"

"Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself."

"Love thy neighbor as thyself"

For me - it all comes down to Karma...plain and simple.

Karma is defined as a "deed" or "act" and more broadly names the universal principle of cause and effect, action and reaction that governs all life. We can even put it into techie-terminology: Garbage In --> Garbage Out, or GIGO.

My personal belief system is that which is loosely based on the Law of Attraction which basically says that people's thoughts (both conscious and unconscious) dictate the reality of their lives.

I believe we are all made up of Energy. As we all know - there is Positive Energy and there is Negative Energy. I personally prefer to refer to these as "The Warm Fuzzies" and "The Cold Pricklies". My favorite way to explain to people who don't understand what I mean is this:

Have you ever been somewhere...and someone approaches you from behind, and you suddenly feel like the hair on your neck is standing on end. Your shoulders gets tense and you just feel like "UGH". Who ever it was that walked up to you has what I call "The Cold Pricklies". Then they open their mouths and confirm it by spouting off everything that's wrong in their life, their day, their family, their job, their car...whatever.

Now on the flip-side...someone approaches you from behind, and you instantly feel love and almost know who exactly it is who has walked in and up to you. You turn around with a big smile on your face, relaxed and ready to embrace this person (either literally or figuratively). You have been approached by a "Warm Fuzzy". They make eye contact...ask you how your day was...how your family is...tells you "so and so was asking for you"...and wants to be sure your having a GREAT day!

One is filled with Negative Energy...the other...obviously Positive Energy.

I think we are all born with a specific type of Energy, inherited from our parents...but most specifically from our mothers. I believe that our level of energy is also something that is innate. And while I believe we are born one way...I also believe we can alter not only our state of energy, but our level of energy. Some people have to work harder at it than others...but I believe it can be done. I also believe that the Energy we surround ourselves with is a major contributing factor here as well.

So what is my point here....besides just getting my rambling thoughts out of my head on to "paper"? I have a few key points actually:

1. I do not believe there is a God out there that dictates anything, rewards anything or creates anything for that matter.

2. I do believe that EVERYTHING is energy, constantly moving, shifting, altering, evolving, ebbing and flowing.

3. I believe the more Positive Energy in an environment, the more productive, happy and 'ethical' the environment is.

4. I believe the more Negative Energy in an environment, the more non-productive, angry and 'immoral' the environment is.

5. I believe that right now, the Negative Energy is the majority that is flowing through Television, Movies, Video Games, News, Mass Media outlets, etc...resulting in our current state of the Global Community.

6. Finally, I believe that right now is a PIVOTAL moment in time. The Positives or "The Warm Fuzzies" have to rise up and basically take over. Once this happens, we will start to see Positive Energy flow through the Global Community.

We need to start "creating" Good Karma. We need to start "treating others as we ourselves want to be treated." We need to get and share our Positive Energy.

So from now on - when someone asks "How are you?"...tell them "Good and getting better! and YOU?"

Stop focusing on the flat tire you got, or the time your mom said you couldn't go to the movies with "Johnny" or how you can't catch a break. Count your blessings instead. The more positives you focus on...the more positives you notice...the more positive you become....and the more Positive Energy you give off, directly impacting those around you.

And remember: What you put out there...WILL be given back to you! It may not be an immediate or obvious result...but it WILL happen.

Instant karma's gonna get you
Gonna knock you right on the head
You better get yourself together
Pretty soon you're gonna be dead
What in the world you thinking of
Laughing in the face of love
What on earth you tryin to do
Its up to you, yeah you

Instant karma's gonna get you
Gonna look you right in the face
Better get yourself together darlin
Join the human race
How in the world you gonna see
Laughin at fools like me
Who in the hell d'you think you are
A super star
Well, right you are

Instant karma's gonna get you
Gonna knock you off your feet
Better recognize your brothers
Everyone you meet
Why in the world are we here
Surely not to live in pain and fear
Why on earth are you there
When you're everywhere
Come and get your share

Well we all shine on
Like the moon and the stars and the sun

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Seriously bummed out Facebooker...

It pains me to type this - especially since my very last Blog on the topic of Social Networking for Parents....more specifically my 'drug' of choice: Facebook...BUT...

Sadly I'm a victim of a Facebook Account Hijacking. I'm VERY sad...seriously bummed...and obviously quite angry about this. My pictures, notes, information and most importantly my Friends are being held hostage by some entity and Facebook is doing NOTHING about it.

This 'person' and I use that word loosely, somehow got hold of my Facebook login and password. I say 'somehow' because I am VERY tech-savvy. I work in the industry and I know what's what. I keep my information close to home and do not broadcast contact information. But even still...they got me! Obviously - somewhere along the way it's my bad...but Facebook should have my back and right now they don't!

So - in the meantime...all my Friends are being contacted by this person, being told that me and my family are stranded in London after being robbed. They then are being asked for money on the pretense that they will "refund" the money after they "return to the states". I'm banking on the fact that my Friends will know better than to fall for this...but I know that many of them are indeed GOOD friends who are inclined to Help first...Ask Questions later...

I've done the "right" thing...I've filled out their forms...and had Friends fill out their forms and 12 hours later...still nothing. Well nothing from FB...because the Hijacker is STILL communicating with my Friends...posing as me...preying on their good-heartedness and fears. All the while...my main source of communication and networking has been cut off.

All they need to do is make it possible for me to access my OWN ACCOUNT. Simple: they need to restore my Contact Email to MY contact email...and reset my password. How difficult could this be???

Now I completely get that there are MILLIONS of users...and probably THOUSANDS send in Questions and Comments daily...BUT...as a website quality assurance engineer myself, I know that it wouldn't take much for a Developer to put together a down and dirty web application that would allow an Account holder to answer specific Security Questions in order to reclaim their OWN ACCOUNT.

In the meantime - I now am in the debacle: do I wait Facebook out? or do I let the 'hijacker' win and request all my 500 or so Friends to Remove my old account...so I can create a new one in hopes that this person will finally give up and abandon it?

Seriously Facebook - this shouldn't even be a dilemma!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

"Social Networking" for parents...

As I sit and watch Wall*E...literally...for the 245th time...I thank whoever is in charge of this vast universe for my Internet connection. Although I am indeed a Working-Mother...I can also be classified as a Stay-At-Home-Mother...since I do a majority of my hours from my house. I will never complain about this...I never take it for granted and I will be forever grateful to work for an employer that allows this flexibility. However...it does has one drawback...the lack of "normal" adult communication.

Now many Stay-At-Home-Mom's {SAHM's) are in a similiar situation, but it is truly by choice. Mom's who stay at home, work their tails off...but they CAN and SHOULD venture out of the house during their days to socialize themselves and their children. There are countless other SAHM's that they can organize playdates, group play, lunch-dates, walks around the block, etc...with. As a Work-At-Home-Mom (WAHM) it is truly a different scenario. While I have the opportunity to stay with my kids...I am working. I am always tethered to my laptop and blackberry. And while, on occassion, I do "take lunch" at off times to venture around the cul-de-sac or to the market...it's in a hurried and non-social manner. My main means of communication with my co-workers is email and "chat". So 90% of my 'work-day' is spent typing & reading online communication with my adult counterparts, with the sounds of the current Pixar movie playing in the background...along with my kidlets voice while they play out the scenes from their favorite parts...or favorite books.

Once my "work day" is over...it's strictly family-time. Dinner is made and a family-meal is had. Conversation revolves around work & kids. Lots of "tickles & tears" to go around since the kids ages span from 4-14. Then the night ends. The little ones are in bed by 8p...and the grown-ups and the teen settle in for quiet nights. Since I'm a "responsible parent"...rarely do I head out to socialize with other adults after my kids are in bed. So where does my healthy...adult communication come in to play? Yes - occassionaly we have time outside with other families, or a night-out with just me and the hub...but 90% of my life is spent within the confines of my home with my husband being the only other adult I interact with.

Enter Facebook. Something that I've noticed more and more the past few weeks, is people I used to head out for a night on the town with...now settle in for some good old-fashioned banter...but our medium is Facebook. The reason: we all have sleeping children in our houses.

I am a social animal by nature. If I am in your presence I will talk to you. I love to communicate. At this current stage in my life...my communication tool at hand is my laptop or iPhone. I believe that these two "tools" have saved my sanity and kept my mind from being wasted away on one silly TV show after another. Sure I still watch some TV...but the shows are a select few...but without my "online socializing" I would be draining my brain from 8p until bedtime watching mind-numbing shows to kill the time before my next day begins. However, because of Facebook...I have been re-connected with many old friends. I have been introduced to a couple high-quality new friends. I have been exposed to new learning enviornments and opportunities that would have never landed on my lap were it not for online social networking.

Facebook has also allowed for me to be more actively involved in REAL LIFE. It sparks interests, it spurs curiousity and more often than not...it invokes peer pressure to get off your sorry behind and meet that old friend for coffee that you'd never in a million years get to do if it were for Facebook.

I know this is like an advertisement for the Social Networking tool...but it is what it is. Facebook saved me from turning into a hermit. I get my rants and raves out of my system for 100s of 'friends' to see and comment on. I get to have online debates and discussions since most people are more apt to be honest while typing rather than being honest while talking in real life.

There are many who claim us to be "addicts" - but that's not it. "Back in the day" our grandparents wrote letters, our parents spent countless hours on the phone, then it was email, next came texting...and now...we have Facebook. It's all the same...it's a way to connect to and communicate with other humans.

So I lift my mug o'chai to all my "friends" around the world and say "CHEERS!" And I can do it from the comfort of my own home...AND I dont have to spend a dime to do it!! Imagine that...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Waking up furious...

Have you ever had one of those mornings when you wake up...roll over...peacefully take a deep breath...and then as thoughts slowly start to filter into your waking mind...you get slightly annoyed...then ever so miffed...and then it all snowballs into outright anger? It's amazing to me that this can occur in the matter of minutes. Literally one second your taking a lovely deep breath...seemingly content that all is right with the world...but then reality stealthly yet quickly creeps on in. Annoying as hell I say!

Anyway...this morning was obviously one of those mornings. FURIOUS I say...FURIOUS.

My anger is directed at other people's perspective...or rather...their lack there of. So as always...in my search for coherant thoughts...I began my research on the word PERSPECTIVE. I had to decide between 2 'definitions' as to which I would follow:

1. Perspective (cognitive), one's "point of view", the choice of a context for opinions, beliefs and experiences

2. Perspective (psychological), or wisdom

*actually there were a total of 5 to pick from...but for my current focus...pharmacoeconomics, literature and the way in which objects appear to the eye or in drawings just didn't apply :)

Basically doing an e-nee-me-nee-mi-nee-mo...I decided to follow:

Perspective (psychological), or wisdom
"knowledge, understanding, experience, discretion, and intuitive understanding, along with a capacity to apply these qualities well towards finding solutions to problems. In many traditions, the terms wisdom and intelligence have somewhat overlapping meanings; in others they are arranged hierarchically, with intelligence being necessary but not sufficient for wisdom."

A few words jumped off my computer screen: experience, intuitive understanding and solutions.

Experience ~~ I personally define 'experience' as learning by doing. It's how one gains experience. And in order to fully experience something one needs to absorb and grasp a concept or a lesson by DOING.

Intuitive Understanding ~~ I believe that everyone has Intuition...but what many people lack is how to understand what their intuition is trying to tell them. Where does it come from...mainly by experience. Your inner voice is saying "HEY...remember when you did this and that happened..." Again...it is related to DOING.

Solutions ~~ Do you want to solve whatever issue is at hand? or do you want to "ignore it so it will go away"? One's ability to solve problems or even their desire to solve problems is directly tied to DOING. Sitting around and yapping does nothing in creating solutions to problems. The only way to solve a problem is to get up and DO something.

So what does this all have to do with my furious mind this morning??? I'm furious with the LACK of Perspective that surrounds many of us. Meaning ~ I'm furious with the LACK of DOING.

If you want to get something done...DO IT. Don't sit and talk about it...and then in turn whine about what you haven't done. Bitch, moan and groan allllll you want...as long as you DO. Otherwise...quite frankly...would you please SHUT THE FUCK UP!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

SK School System and $$ Woes...

Where does one even begin to rant about $$ woes in this particular economic climate? Every person I know is feeling the belt tightening right now. I thank my father and his practicality that he instilled in me over the years, that I've been able to run my family's finances in such a way that we simply have to "watch" what we spend on...rather than really "cut" what we spend on. If only our towns, cities, states and country could say the same.

But alas...that is not the world we currently live in...so what to do...what to do??

I can say that I know what NOT to do. Our community's education CANNOT be used as the sacrificial lamb for our community's financial disarray. To do so would be shameful, embarassing and more importantly, counter-productive.

The Schools have ALREADY sacrificed enough. As it stands, for the 2009-2010 Budget...the Elementary and High Schools made many cuts...of which the schools eliminated 25 positions and once again re-organized our Middle Schools. Also over the years...programs such as Gifted or Accelerated Education have been lost.

With a proposed Referendum...Councilman Jim O'Neill is looking for a reduction of another $1.3 million dollars on top of what has already been cut. According to O'Neill's proposal: "much of the $1.3 million could come from a pay freeze for teachers and higher health care co-pays"...however...this could only come about if the Teachers' Contract is re-opened and re-negotiated...which to be 100% frank here...WILL NOT HAPPEN.

So what WILL HAPPEN?? This is what WILL HAPPEN:

~ Middle School Ahtletic programs WILL be cut
~ Education programs such as CARES, FCE & SMILE WILL be cut
~ at least 2 teacher aides WILL be cut
~ Elementary Band and Strings WILL be cut
~ Middle School Guidance WILL be cut
~ High School Language, Art and Technology Ed classes WILL be cut
~ Support for our students, such as Psychologists, OTs & PTs WILL be cut
~ there WILL be reduction in Elementary Art, Library & Music

This is OUTRAGEOUS. Having a child in preschool, a child in elementary school and a child @ the high school...I have to scream: ENOUGH!! These kids cannot take anymore.

I have to ask our Community: WHERE ARE YOU??

Where is our Local pride? I know many people who graduated from SK have moved to other areas....but I also know that MANY MANY MANY have not. And add to those who've stuck around...I know MANY alumni who have returned to SK...because "it's a great place to raise a family" and they want their kids to go through the SK school system. But now that we are back here...WHAT HAS HAPPENED?

This referendum won't just affect students in the upcoming school year. The aftershocks of this earthquake will be felt for decades to come. Families who have children not yet school age may think this won't effect them...but they're wrong. The ramifications of this proposal will be permanent, and will be hard pressed to overcome in years to come. Families who have children already out of SK school system may think this doesn't effect them either. Again...they're wrong. The legacy that will be left will be nothing but shameful. And taxpayers who do not have children in the school system may argue that this will not effect them. THEY ARE WRONG. Look at other communities where education is not valued. Look at other communities where school systems are not properly funded. What do those communities look like? Is THAT what you want for YOUR community?

Here is a well written explanation of what is being proposed and what will ultimately happen if Parents, Teacher and Taxpayers sit idly by:

And here is a PowerPoint Presentation as well:

If this referendum goes through, what is left of South Kingstown's once exemplary education system will be thoroughly decimated! And ultimately many parents will be forced to find other options for their children's education...because quite frankly...SK will no longer cut the mustard :(

"VOTE 1 ON JUNE 9th"
Broad Rock Middle School from 8am til 8pm!!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

When exactly did they say: pick me...pick me!!?

Recently I've been pondering: Why exactly is it that people think kids need to 'earn their keep' or 'carry their own weight' or for that matter reward their parents for parenting?

As far as I can tell...the parents are the ones to choose to have their children. Kids don't sit around saying "PICK ME! PICK ME!"

I first started wondering about this when my step-daughter moved in with us 2 years ago. At the time, she had just turned 11. She moved in to a house that consisted of what one would consider a "traditional family lifestyle". A 2-parent house with 2 other siblings...a 4 year old sister and 1 year old brother. Oh and don't forget the 2 dogs and cat :)

In this "traditional family" house-hold, Mom is the home-maker. Mom also works out of the house alongside Dad, but we have the fortunate situation where Mom can do both. So Mom cooks for the family, does the laundry for the family and...oh...well...you get the scenario. So the 11 year old moves in. What does this Mom do? She 100% includes her into their family lifestyle. This means doing her laundry, cooking for her, making sure her things are picked up and kept clean & organized.

The initial reaction is: why isn't the 11 year old 'earning her keep'? She's old enough to do her own laundry, make her own school lunches, clean her own room, etc. But I question that! Is she really? Should she have to? Did she barter in some way, shape or form to be born into this world and should in return be so thankful that she will 'carry her own weight'?

To this I respond with an emphatic NO!! I am the parent. I am the Mom. I am the adult. I'm doing the cooking, cleaning, raising, laundering, and what not for the other children in the house...why...because she CAN should she be expected to at the meager age of 11? Doesn't she have an ENTIRE lifetime ahead of her where she will most likely be doing this for herself and possibly her family when she is old enough?

Why I ask, should this be put upon a child? Why should a child have to be 'grateful' or 'thankful' or 'indebted' for something that, quite frankly, they did not even ask for?!

Now...I'm not saying that kids should not be taught to take care of themselves. Of course they need to know how to take care of themselves (ie: 'carry their own weight'). It would be doing an injustice if a teen didn't know how to make their own bed, or do their own laundry, or manage their time in such a way that they can learn to be on time and respect deadlines.

BUT that does not mean that they should be on their own in doing so. I hear people say that "it's a tough world out there" and "when your older, you wont have anyone to help with..." To that I say BULLSHIT! In 'the real world' you have a TEAM to work with you. At the office...you have co-workers or project managers or team leaders or administrators to assist you in your tasks....to guide you...to make sure you are doing what is expected and right for the better of the Team. If you work at a school...you have other teachers to help guide you, a principal you can go to for assitance or help, mentors, counselors, peers, even students themselves to work together as a Team.

Kids should not be made to feel guilty if they are not rewarding their parents Parenting. Kids should be KIDS. You only get to be a kid for what?...18 years out of ~80?! That's less than 1/4 of a typical lifespan.

We have 3/4 of our life to be adults...to be responsible for ourselves and then for others.

So when I do my step-daughter's laundry, who is now 14, I refuse to think that wrong. I'm doing the 6 year old's laundry and the 4 year old's laundry...and, shit, for that matter my 35 year old husband's laundry...I can sure as shit do my 14 year old's laundry.

I'll clean my kids' rooms, do their laundry, cook their meals, make their school lunches, and drive them to and from any and all social activities. I will put my social needs on hold for them, because this is THEIR time.

I had my time, and when they are old enough, I'll have my time again. But I CHOSE to be a parent. I CHOSE to have multiple children. I CHOSE to have a house where each child was able to have his/her own space. I CHOSE to adopt my pets. Until they are "on their own" and in "the real world"...I will continue to PARENT my family, because that is what I am. I am a parent. That is what parents do.

The only "reward" I expect for this, is when they decide it's time to become parents, they do for their kids what I have done for them. The reward will be, being a grandparent.

We are, after all, a Team!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Stop the comparisons please...

I really wish people would stop comparing the Obama's to the Kennedy's. I mean really...the only thing that is remotely similar would be their tasteful attires.

President Obama and his wife built themselves up from nothing to where they are. They did not have family fortunes, silver spoons or family-pull to get them where they are today.

Jackie was not the strong, powerful woman that we see in Michelle. She sat there with that plastic smile on her face while her husband ran around the town with any skirt he could catch. Michelle is an independent, intelligent woman who does not stand down to her man, and my guess, would be less than tolerant of the mis-behavior JFK publicly displayed time and time again.

President Obama is a man who displays immense pride and hands-on love for his wife and two daughters. He does not walk a step ahead with a trophy family on display in tow. He has his adoration in his eyes when he lovingly gazes into his wife's eyes and does not look past her at the likes of Marilyn Monroe and other starlets.

While it is true, JFK supported and pushed forward many civil rights actions for America's black population...however, in comparing the two as men, husbands and heads-of-family....there is no comparison here. President Obama is twice what JFK could have hoped to have been in the areas of class, taste, pride and respect.

JFK may have been one of the most "popular" presidents of our time...in no way do I want to diminish all the good he did for our country...but when it came to working hard for something you want, and the concept of family-values...the man falls very short in comparison to President Obama...so let's all please get things in perspective here...

Friday, January 9, 2009

I must confess...I'm in love with Will.I.Am

It's A New Day by Will.I.Am

I went to sleep last night
Tired from the fight
I've been fighting for tomorrow
All my life

Yea I woke up this morning
Feeling brand new
'Cause the dream that I'd been dreaming
Had finally come true

It's a new day
It's a new day
It's a new day
It's a new day
It's a new day

It's been a long time comin'
Up the mountain kept runnin'
Souls of freedom kept hummin'
Channelin' Harriet Tubman
Kennedy, Lincoln, and King
We gotta maninfest in that dream
It feels like we're swimmin' upstream
It feels like we're stuck inbetween
A rock and a hard place,
We've been through the heartaches
And lived through the darkest days
If you and I made it this far,
Well then hey, we can make it all the way
And they said no we can't
And we said yes we can

Remember it's you...and me...together

I woke up this morning
Feelin' alright
I've been fightin' for tomorrow
All my life

Yea, I woke up this morning
Feelin' brand new
Cause the dream that I'd been dreaming
Had finally come true

It's a new day (it's a new day)
It's a new day (it's a new day)
It's a new day
It's a new day! (it's a new day)

It's been a long time waitin'
Waitin' for this moment

It's been a long time prayin'
Prayin' for this moment

We hope for this moment
And now that we own it
For life Ima hold it
And I won’t let it go

It's for fathers, our brothers,
Our friends who fought for freedom
Our sisters, our mothers,
Who died for us to be in this moment

Stop and cherish this moment
Stop and cherish this time

It's time for u-ni-ty
For us...and we
That's you...and me...together

I woke up this morni'g
Feelin' brand new
'Cause the dreams that I've been dreamin'
Had finally came true

Yea, I woke up this mornin'
Feelin' alright

'Cause we weren't fighting for nothin'
And the soldiers weren't fighting for nothin'
No, Martin wasn't dreaming for nothin'
And Lincoln didn't change it for nothin'
And children weren't crying for nothin'

It's a new day
It's a new day
A new day
It's a new day
It's a new day!