Archive | October, 2010

Learning to be a consumer

29 Oct

It is really no wonder that Americans are a financial state of crisis, we worship at the altar of consumption and indoctrination into the religion of consumption is starting at even younger ages. Hell, have you actually watched any so called child friendly television? I swear every other minute there is a commercial on demanding that we buy this or that….of course the kiddos want everything they see. In the past year we have started to allow the girl child to watch regular TV and I gotta tell ya, it’s not the programming I object to, it’s the fucking commercials.

If that wasn’t bad enough, I swear the public schools; the one funded by my high ass property taxes is another place that seems to promote the religion of consumption. Now when college boy aka eldest child started grammar school eons ago he attended private school and I was not inundated with requests for money. I paid my monthly nut oooops, tuition and it was all good in the hood.

Now that we live in a small town (well large by Maine standards since technically it’s a city but by most standards it’s a town) my girl attends the local public school and I gotta tell you, I wish they’d just send home a letter telling us what to donate instead of all these fund raising letters. Maybe I am salty since my day job involves raising money but really I do not want to buy the shit you people are pushing.

Last night I came home to a 4 page fund raising letter detailing how we can buy gift cards to support the PTO (parent teacher organization) who admittedly does bring in some of the extracurricular activities that are no longer in the budget such as concerts, etc. It seems that if I buy a gift card for Pottery Barn, the school will get 8% of that $100 gift card. Apparently this is a wonderful new fund-raising tool…I don’t know but I liked when I used to sell candy bars back in school. But I imagine selling chocolate bars in this hyper vigilante nutrition times is a no-no. Yet despite the fact that we are a nation of financial idiots it seems maybe we need to start directing some energy into teaching kids about money and finances. However when schools start having fundraisers that are focused on buying gift cards I will be honest it bothers me. Maybe I would not have been as annoyed if there was not yet another flier telling me if I buy gift cards for one of the local grocers the school will get a portion of that money too. Call me crazy but what about a letter saying exactly how much money the PTO is trying to raise and asking for contributions. I have no idea how much my PTO is trying to raise but they are asking me to shop, shop, shop. Reminds me of folks who bought houses without asking the details and now are fucked.

I wish that I could say what we are dealing with at our school is just a local issues but I have heard reports from parents all over the country who have noticed the increase in fund raising in public schools. Frankly it’s appalling and I am also thinking what about folks who don’t have any extra money? The way these cards are set up you have to buy at least $25 worth, how many folks who are struggling financially will support this even thought they can’t afford it? At least a straight forward fundraiser would allow folks to give something.

Considering that in some cases public schools feels they need to pick up the the slack of parents (which is whole other post) maybe they should think about what they are modeling to kids. No matter what the cause and yes the work of the PTO is good, but mindless consumption is a bad thing. Sure gift cards are a lovely idea and can make for great gifts but at least in my family, we try to keep Christmas low key and gift cards are just not what I do.

PS: Don’t even get me started on those damn Scholastic book sales, I swear I am buying books every few weeks. Ugh

Cooking with BGIM

26 Oct

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that despite the fact I rarely talk about cooking on the blog that I actually cook a great deal or rather as time allows. I am not a very crafty person; I can’t sew, knit, crochet or make anything other than meals and kids. Oh, I am rather good at running non-profits and turning them into financially solvent organizations. But how many folks really want to read a blog about how to make a struggling non-profit organization not only financially stable but to see it actually grow? Yeah I thought so.

Anyway in recent weeks I have had several twitter followers ask me for some of my recipes, even real life friends have asked for a few recipes. So as I struggle yet again with direction for this blog, I figured I would institute a new feature called cooking with BGIM. Like many who read my blog, I work outside of the home, so as much as I like to make everything from scratch the reality is that it’s impossible for me to do that every day. However I grew up with Sunday dinners, that one huge meal of the week where my mother cooked the equivalent of a Thanksgiving dinner every Sunday and often we had friends and family over to share the meal with us.

When the Spousal Unit and I moved to Maine, for a brief period of time I attempted to have my own version of the Sunday dinner but as we had no family or friends to invite over when we first moved here, a huge spread for only the three of us (kidlet was not around at that time so it was me, the Spousal Unit and college boy who at that time would have been called only kid) simply made no sense. I attempted to re-start the Sunday dinner tradition when my Mom died but at that point it was simply too painful and until recently Sunday dinner was just like any other night.

However the kidlet is growing up and with my father’s impending move to Maine, Sunday dinners have made a come back. I have very little family and while my son was blessed to have direct connections to my family, the kidlet has none and the act of the Sunday dinner is a way to share one of the many traditions I grew up with her, to connect her with the ancestors so to speak.

So without further adieu here are a couple of items I have made recently. Last night we had lasagna, tossed green salad with local produce and Italian bread and for dessert pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. These cookies were delish though my attempt at using fresh pumpkin was a bust; in the end I used canned pumpkin puree. My fresh pumpkin adventures are another post…let’s just say I applaud folks who take whole pumpkins and turn them into something edible. It’s easier to make bread in my humble opinion than to make a pumpkin edible.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 cup white sugar (if you decrease this I would not go below ½ cup)

½ cup vegetable oil

1 egg

2 cups all purpose flour (I use King Arthur)

2 tsp baking powder

2tsp cinnamon

½ tsp salt

1tsp baking soda

1tsp milk

1tbsp vanilla

2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F

1. Combine pumpkin, sugar, oil and egg together. In a separate bowl stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

2. Dissolve baking soda w/milk and stir into pumpkin mixture. Now add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix well.

3. Add vanilla and chocolate chips, mix well.

4. Drop by spoonful onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for 10 mins or until lightly brown and firm.

Note: These are soft cookies, also due to a wonky old stove I baked for closer to 15 mins.

 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

A few Sunday’s ago I made apricot orange pork chops with roasted fingerling potatoes and sautéed collards with mushrooms and onions. This meal sounds a lot fancier than it is as far as prep time in part because the chops are cooked in the Crockpot. A Crockpot is a lazy cook’s best friend, seriously in winter mine is used at least 2-3 times a week.

Anyway here is the pork chop recipe

Apricot Orange Pork Chops

6 chops (any kind will do though the meat when done is falling off the bone so after making this several times I now get boneless chops)

1 cup apricot jam

3tbsp brown sugar

1tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp ground clove powder

1-11oz can mandarin oranges

Mix all ingredients well in a bowl, put the chops in the Crockpot, pour mixture over chops and cook 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high in the Crockpot. They are done when the meat is fork tender.

Apricot Orange Pork Chops w/Collards and Fingerling Potatoes

Note: Neither of these recipes are my creations, sadly I cannot remember where I got them so can’t give proper credit but did want to let ya’ll know that.

As a cook, who has been cooking a while I will admit I often take recipes and tweak them to my own taste buds but generally the first time out I will follow a recipe as it’s written unless there is an obvious issue. Happy Eating!

The struggle to become a saver

22 Oct

After a few nights of Nyquil, I seem to be back on the right track. I am starting to think my flu like feeling was less about having the flu or a cold and more my body’s response to the high levels of stress I have been dealing with. I find that sometimes it takes getting sick for me to prioritize and take care of myself, in theory I love the idea of daily self care but at times it’s harder to fit it into the schedule.

This morning found me thinking about money, it has been a while since I have talked money here. I have a confession; I think I am a spend-a-holic. On paper I write the most magnificent budgets, they come across as practical yet in practice I struggle. It seems every trip to the grocery store inevitably costs more than I budget and well an extra $50 here and $50 there starts to add up. I will say though that this month I have accomplished one goal and that is very little eating out. When I feel the urge to eat out I ask myself do I really need this. Will that meal make me feel great or is the bigger issue that I just don’t want to cook? If what I really want is to simply avoid cooking, I have been using up my stash of soups and chowders I keep in my freezer. Tasty, good for my waist line and even better for my budget. The results so far are that I have been able to add a little extra to the savings account and I realized that I have not raided my savings account in several months. Baby steps, that’s what it’s all about for me.

A few days ago one of my employees called me up and decided to forget the boundaries that should exist between employer and employee and long story short, she is grappling with serious financial issues. I had no real words of advice other than if need be I would be happy to assist her with a budget.  Another employee just bought a brand new car that truthfully I wonder how she will afford knowing that she is already tight on cash. Yes a car in Maine is mostly a necessity but a brand new car is not a necessity. Hell, as the Spousal Unit and I are learning even relatively new cars require maintenance hence last month’s unexpected $1200+ in car repairs not covered by the limited warranty we still have on our car.

I work with people who deal with financial scarcity day in and day out; almost 20 years ago I dealt with that same scarcity. The type where you are hoping and praying you can keep the lights on until your next check. While I still have a ways to go financially as far as digging out of debt, I have learned to take care of my 4 walls and keep a little cushion so that an unexpected $100 bill is not a crisis. So many times with the clients that I work with it is truly the little things that take an already precarious financial situation and turn it into a full blown crisis. One of my tricks to building a cushion has been rounding off numbers. We have a number of automatic withdrawals such as Vonage, Netflix, etc. Over the past 7 years I started rounding upwards, a $25.52 bills become $30 and so on, by doing this I create a cushion so eventually you create a decent cushion. I am not by nature a saver and grew up with parents who didn’t teach me about money so I am learning as I go along.

I have also realized that not all bargain style shopping is a great deal. Thrift stores are a great source of savings yet if you go all the time and buy items you really don’t need simply because they are cheap, well you are wasting money. I have taken recreational shopping/looking out of my schedule. It seems to be working. I admit I still struggle with my daily visit to Starbucks or other coffee shops though I try not to frequent these places on the weekend when I have the time to make my own drinks at home.

This past weekend found me dreaming of places I would like to visit, it has been a long time since we have been able to travel anywhere as a family. In part because travel especially from Maine is costly (I swear travel was cheaper in Chicago) the other factor in our not traveling is tied directly to finances, at one point there was no money to travel but also bad spending habits have created a situation where travel is difficult. Yet raising my child in Maine, I see that it is necessary that we travel so that my daughter is exposed to many different types of people and cultures. Much like we find the money to do necessary maintenance on our house, I now feel we must find the money to travel at the very least to see friends and family.

I think having goals with my money makes it easier for me to make the sacrifices necessary to be a good steward of what I do have. Anyway excuse the ramble but with the year soon drawing to a close I am thinking about the changes I need to make when it comes to me and my money. What about you? Do you struggle with money management? If so what are you doing about it?

Last night CNN aired a program Black in America 3-Debt and while I only caught about 40 minutes of the show it was um…interesting to say the least. I think as Black people we get so caught on short term financial goals (new pair of Louboutin’s, etc) that at times we miss the long term boat. I mean if your house is about to get foreclosed on, maybe it’s a good time to downsize your entire lifestyle. Anyhoo, that’s a whole other blog post.

PS: While I am saving, I am still a fair distance away from being able to buy a much needed new computer, consider contributing to the BGIM computer beg-a-thon. It is still happening. At this point if I can raise even half the cost of the computer, I may be able to handle the rest myself.  Just a reminder, as always no pressure.

Sick Days

21 Oct

Excuse the lack of postings, I seem to be battling a nasty bug and combined with a packed work schedule simply am too tired to post. I hope to be back  in a few days with some new musings .  I will also be unveiling my new Tumblr page where I will have daily shots as seen around Maine. I am also toying with the idea of adding some fashion shots to the Tumblr page. Have no fear though this blog is my baby and I will not be abandoning her.

Have a great week!

Open season on those pesky poor folks

18 Oct

Despite the fancy words that the powers to be use to tell us that economically things are getting better in the US, most of recognize a con job when we hear it. The truth is there simply are not enough full time jobs for all the folk looking for them and that is not even taking into consideration all the new entrants into the work force. I suspect we don’t really have a good idea how many folks are jobless or underemployed. I do think it’s safe to say that the go-go days of the early 2000’s are but a distant memory and something we will tell our grandkids about when we talk about how the US went down the tubes.

I do know though that when times get tough rather than working together for the collective good, human nature often makes us hold tight to what we do have and in some cases get quite judgmental of those who are without.

Here in Maine, we are just a few weeks away from electing a new governor and let me tell you its crazy time. We have a slate of 5 candidates running and the 2 major party candidates in my humble opinion leave a lot to be desired. One of the independents is starting to look promising to me but I fear that he will split the vote with the Democratic candidate and we are going to get stuck with the crazy Republican Paul LePage. LePage is crazy, thus far he has shown that anger management is something he lacks and that he often he forgets where he lives since he and his wife filed homestead exceptions in both Maine and Florida. LePage happens to be the general manager of a chain of salvage shops in Maine that while they employ a lot of folks they keep the wages low and don’t offer a hell of a lot in terms of benefits. Yet Mr. LePage talks a good game of how if he is elected he will be getting the welfare cheats off of welfare, in fact it appears that LePage is one of those lucky bootstrap fellas that worked his way up and gosh darn it if he can do it so can the rest of the other poor bastards.

Such talk about ridding welfare of the cheats and making everyone work sounds good and it’s appealing so much so that LePage seems to be emerging as a front-runner in the race. This week the state’s largest paper is talking about the welfare system in Maine and it’s definitely worth a read even if you aren’t a Mainer. I have been working with low income folks going on 15 years now and if I had a buck for every time someone tells me about some person they know on welfare that is cheating the system I probably could take that dream vacation to Paris that I have been dreaming of lately. In all my years of work I can count on one hand the number of folks I thought may have been cheating the system.

Perhaps it goes back to the days of Ray Gun Ronnie when he whipped up a frenzy about the mythical Black woman on welfare driving a Caddy in the 1980’s but for a segment of Americans they truly believe their fellow Americans who receive assistance are just milking the system. Never mind that Bill Clinton killed welfare as we knew it and created in it’s place a safety net program that started off with holes and now has gaping rips. Of course in the 1990’s we were optimistic that the good times would always roll…never thinking about the fact that continuous growth is just not possible and it damn sure is not possible when we ship all the good paying jobs to 3rd world countries so we can maximize the profits for the company owners and board of directors. Oh in the 2000’s we were still playing that game of illusion that all was good but that was before the credit bubble went pop.

Yet it makes folks feel better to shit on the poor and assume they are poor because they are lazy and shiftless…never mind the fact that if you had to live off say $600 a month even with food stamps and reduced rent via a Section 8 apartment how well would you live? No, we want our poor to work hard for their pennies! Go slave away at an $8 an hour job, a job that pays so little that in most cases the worker still qualifies for some type of benefits.

Now the poor are not even being allowed agency to determine their drink choices if New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg has his way. Bloomberg is trying to get permission from the feds to ban food stamp recipients from purchasing soda…look no one is saying soda is a great thing, it has no nutritional value and some might consider it a waste of money. I will be honest and say I enjoy an occasional soda. Why? Life is short and I like to do things that bring me pleasure. I suspect most of us have things we enjoy drinking or eating that offer no nutritional value yet we still partake, otherwise how else can you explain the rise of Starbucks? Very few things that Starbucks offers are truly healthy. Shit, you can go and get a drink with a calorie equivalent to a meal yet as Starbucks is frequented by folks who are middle class and above there is no rallying cry to help those folks. I bet Bloomberg most likely enjoys the occasional latte yet as lattes are the purview of people we figure are financially better off even if it’s simply because they have better access to credit, no one slams those choices.

Nope, we like to make the matter of poor folks a morality issue. If people are poor it’s easier to assess individual blame and assume these folks need guidance or to be told what to do rather than looking at the larger systems that create poor people. That is why a guy who runs a chain of stores that most certainly do not assist folks in rising up from poverty can convince folks he is the guy best suited to cut the fat in state spending. It’s why folks can get behind soda bans all the while sipping on a mocha which isn’t much better and say we care about nutrition.

Perhaps we would all be better off if we acknowledged that unless you are a member of the wealth holding community that our fates and lives are far more intertwined than we would care to admit. Real change happens when we band together and create policies that benefit us all, after all I wonder how many of todays newly poor are realizing that we have insufficient safety nets and that once you tumble into poverty what you need is a hand up and compassion not legislation.

Circle Jerk of Cattiness

15 Oct

 

Blame it on the weather (gray and rainy up in my corner of the world) hell blame it on my perimenopausal hormones. Or maybe just chalk it up to the fact that underneath my warm sunny smile, there is raging bitch that lives beneath the surface. In any event, I am greatly annoyed. We are living in crazy times, crazy politicians, crazy pseudo politicians, extreme cruelty…just loads and loads of bad shit. Yet many of us get online and wax poetic about this shit but the truth is many of us are just as guilty of being part of the madness that threatens the very fabric of our society.

We talk a good game about compassion and care yet the reality is we thrive on madness. Did you ever think about the fact that in social media the stars of this new frontier are often the cattiest and bitchiest folks? Last night I was brain dead after a really long day at work followed by an evening of math games at the kidlet’s school. After we finally got her down for the night I decided to spend some time on Twitter (my new favorite place to waste time online) and I was struck by the fact that even in cyber space we have the clearly popular folks. The folks who get a bazillion followers and follow back at best 25% of the folks following them. That’s cool, no one says you have to do automatic follow backs, hell one of my real life friends is big on letting folks know she doesn’t follow folks back.

No, what I have noticed is that the folks with the most followers are often some of the snarliest folks around, now as a person known for my own personal brand of snark and sarcasm that may be the pot calling the kettle black. Yet the reality is even in cyber space we want our tweets to titillate us. We don’t want the mundane unless its Oprah Winfrey or some other celebrity. No if it’s an average Joe we need them to get ratchet on folks as some of young superstars on Twitter say. I suppose there is nothing wrong with that yet when we look at the physical world we live in and see how folks are living or not living. I think its hard not to see the connection between the cruelty that exists in the real world and the sometimes cruel mob style behavior we can see at times even in cyber space.

Just a few weeks ago I took part in an online campaign that got crazy. People took what they were reading too damn seriously. I admit there were times I laughed but when I took a moment to stand back I was ashamed of my actions. Yes, the woman who stated that campaign may not have  been as informed on the subject matter but as a empathetic person I can’t imagine how painful it was to read folks questioning her choices, her lifestyle and hell even insulting her hair. (what the fuck did her hair do?)

What happened is that we got caught up in a circle jerk of cattiness, without bothering to think of the ramifications of those actions. Problem is that the new frontier of communication makes it quite easy to do this with no regards to the folks we might be roasting on the other side. So as a person who suffers at times from too much empathy I have accepted that my fortunes will not be made in this brave new world. While I bitch at times fact is I am pretty tame compared to what seems to appeal to folks these days.

I like to think that while my corner of the social media world is small it is very rich with connections that last more than just a few minutes. Have a good weekend!

 

Change…how to make it happen

12 Oct

I am in a funk, truth is I have been in a funk for a while. I don’t think it’s see a therapist or pop a pill type funk, I have been there too and this doesn’t quite feel like that type of funk. No, in some ways this funk is due to being a victim of my own success professionally.

Two years ago I took the position of chief executive also known as the Executive Director of a very small non-profit that was struggling financially. It was a good program but for years  had individuals who were great at the programming but by their own admission not great with finding the money to keep the doors open. So when I came on board we were in a tenuous position of needing money so that we could get financially stable. Turns out I am actually pretty good at getting money, in fact almost too good.

Anyone who works in the non-profit sector knows that foundations by and large like to fund programs, they also like programs that reach many folks. So I did just that, I restructured our programs so that they reached more folks, I used my writing chops to secure better grant funding and my speaking skills to get individual donors to dig a little deeper to give money. The results are that I now have a salary that is no longer below average for the area and we went from only having one official paid staff member to four and I am wiped out.

See, this job was only supposed to be part-time but to make all this happen, I have given more and more of myself and like the tree in Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree, I have no more to give at least with not seriously jeopardizing my own mental health. One of the reasons I only wanted a part-time job was so that I could devote time to things that nourish my soul. It’s been months since I last went to a yoga class, my nails are in terrible state and I have a unibrow forming because lately there is never enough time to schedule appointments or make commitments to things like self care.

Every morning I wake up visualizing a day where I will do what I need to do to be well and every night I go to bed disgusted with myself that none of those things have happened. Instead I can’t tell you the last time I took care of me and stress has me engaging in behaviors that are frankly no good long term. I think one of the reasons I spend so much time goofing around on sites like Twitter while I am working is because it does bring a little joy in my life. Yet too much time and it takes me away from the things that are really important to me.

Change. I need to make changes. Yet I am stuck, my job is eating me alive and I feel like every day a little piece of me dies off. Change. I need it to happen soon before I blow my stack. Change. I am tired of Mama guilt, tired of feeling like I am not the best mother I can be to my kids because I am too tired to engage in a meaningful way.

Autumn is often a time where I fall into a natural funk that I never seem to break through until January when the days start getting a tad longer and the winter sun shines so bright on the white snow that you can’t help but smile. I need to smile sooner than January, hell I need to smile like yesterday.

So dear readers what do you to make changes in your life when you feel stuck in quicksand yet you know you need changes. Do you take baby steps or do you just wake up one morning, throw the covers off the bed and say fuck it, today I am making a change.

The computer beg-a-thon continues

10 Oct

Dear Lovely Readers,

I hate to do this to you, after all in these hard times money is tight. But the computer beg-a-thon was slated to end tomorrow however as I have only raised 18% of what I need to purchase a new computer, the beg-a-thon must go on. If you are a regular reader, you know my computer is limping on its last leg thanks to a virus that left my beloved laptop weak and almost powerless. If you are a regular reader of this blog or my work for the Portland Phoenix, please consider making a contribution so I can get back to work and not have to toggle between my busted laptop and the family netbook.

Unlike many bloggers, I have no ads on my blog nor do I have a regular donate button on this blog. Not that there is anything wrong with those things but it’s not for me. However if you do like what you read here please consider supporting the beg-a-thon so that one of the few writers of color in Maine can keep writing. Click here to support the beg-a-thon

Sincerely,

The Black Girl in Maine

Please shut up!

9 Oct

Excuse what is probably about to be a disjointed rant, but I need to work through a few things. If you are a regular reader, you may recall that I was dealing with a staff shortage at my job and needed to do some hiring. Well, I did hire some folks but to be honest I am scratching my head. Maybe I am showing my age, but what is it about the current state of society that makes folks just get diarrhea of the mouth? Diarrhea is described as a condition of excessive frequent and loose bowel movements. As of late I keep running across folks who seem to have this condition when it comes to talking…its uncontrollable and apparently no one ever told them that over sharing is a bad thing. In fact over sharing with people who employ you is a really bad thing.

Case in point, one of my new staffers on her first day decided to prattle on about her broken computer going so far as to ask if I could be a reference so that she can rent a computer. Um…OK. I admit it was awkward after all this was her first day at the job, she is in the probationary period but I said what the fuck. I admit it was also awkward when she called me one day asking about the local library (what the fuck do I look like the damn welcoming committee?) but today her loose lips almost made me want to punch her in the grill.

My organization held a fundraiser and staff and board members were taking part, and well I overheard a conversation that made me think oh shit! My new staffer was telling the board member about her kids, both who have serious issues and going on and on about how she had been married interracially, the challenges, etc it was really a rather inappropriate conversation to have with someone who doesn’t know you.

This was coupled with my other new staff person telling me and a board member how much the kids like her because well… she is great. No, I am not kidding that is what she said, at first I thought she was kidding but then I remembered she actually said how great she is yesterday. Maybe it’s my age but last I checked walking around saying folks just love me because I am great is one of those social no-no’s.

Mind you in my line of work I encounter people on a regular basis who share details of their lives that frankly I don’t need to know. I also have a few personal friends who are prone to over sharing and frankly unless you are a close friend I don’t need to know about your sex life, poor finances, drug habits or any of that. I was raised that the only people you share such intimate details with are folks who share your bed, some family members and friends that might as well be family members. I know as women we like to share intimate details but telling another woman how well your man satisfies you in bed is really a bad idea. Not to say you can’t trust your friends but I learned the hard way years ago when a girlfriend decided to hit on my then ex boyfriend. After all I had shared some details about him that made him quite attractive, thankfully my ex-boyfriend was a good guy and told her to push off but still I doubt she would have tried to hit on him in the first place if I hadn’t offered up such juicy details. The friend in question is still in my life but I keep my intimate details to myself.

In some ways I think our current use of social media has helped break down what used to be good ole fashioned common sense. I mean we can log onto Facebook and share every and any thing with folks; I have a few folks on Facebook who I have had to hide because I do not want nor need to know all those details about you. I don’t think that it’s a coincidence that many of the folks I know who are prone to over sharing online have struggled in finding jobs. Hello!!!! Perspective employers today are using social media to check you out and guess what it can come back to bite you in the ass. There have been many pieces written about this and despite the fact that many HR professionals admit that they do Google perspective candidates, we still have folks who just get online diarrhea and continue to over share.

I admit it is tempting to over share especially online yet I always keep in mind that I never want to post anything that can come back to bite me in the ass and that my online persona is exactly the same as the me you can meet in real life. So for me if I am not willing to babble all the details of my life if we were face to face, why do it online? Look, sharing ourselves with others is a great way to connect with other people but there is a fine line between sharing and over sharing. If ever the voice in your head says shut up…guess what? It may be time to shut up.

Edited to add, whenever someone over shares or worse yet gets nosy with me I am tempted to start singing that line from Ludacris “Get back muthafucker, you don’t know me like that”  Yeah, it’s probably childish but that line does say something when you stop and think about it.

Can’t do nothing for ya brotha

6 Oct

Lately I feel like everywhere I turn the signs are there that as a society we simply do not care for our fellow humans. Seriously, we have become a people that figures it’s every human for them selves and if you got problems well you probably deserve them. In my work, I have been coming across folks who love the idea of helping the poor but….gotta have a but; systems need to be in place to make sure the poor are helping themselves. Despite the fact that here in America we have an economy literally in tatters there is still this belief that people can pull themselves up…damn it, use your fucking bootstraps! Never mind the fact that all some folks have are a busted pair of Payless shoes with Velcro straps. Nope, you and you alone are the master of your fate and if your shit is fucked up then it simply sucks to be you.

I think the folks who most disgust me with this attitude are Christians. This is not about bashing Christians because I am a Christian yet for the past several years as I have struggled with my faith and sought to learn more about the man called Jesus. I see a man that had a great deal of compassion towards his fellow humans, he healed folks, he fed folks and he didn’t tell them to bow down and kiss his feet first. He helped them, plain and simple. Yet thousands of years later we have followers of Jesus who put all types of restrictions on helping their fellow humans, that confuses me. Do these folks not read their bibles? My guess is no, instead choosing to listen to the human who leads their local clubhouse…oops that would be a church.

Yet, don’t get it twisted… non Christians are guilty of bad behavior too. I came across this story today and was stunned. You got a man who didn’t pay his $75 bill to have services from the local fire department and well he had a fire. Only thing is the firemen didn’t do anything to stop the fire from destroying his house. Now I just finished reading an in-depth discussion on the legalities for why the firefighters chose to do nothing and guess what? I say bullshit. Yes, the man should have paid his bill but when humans who are trained and have the ability to help a fellow human and save his house choose to do nothing, it says a lot about us as a people. The firefighters were simply following the rules but sometimes rules are unjust and not worthy of following. Common sense and compassion should trump the rules. Especially when the rules can have negative consequences for our fellow humans.

Just yesterday I was reminded of the rules when I dropped my daughter off at school and since she missed the outside line I had to take her inside the school. The kidlet being who she is, was not satisfied to have me walk her in the building and for her to walk down the hall to her class alone, remember she is 5 and still relatively new to school. Yet the simple act of walking my daughter to her class is against the rules. In order to make that happened I needed to get a visitor pass from the office worker. Never mind that the distance between the office and my girl’s classroom is just a few hundred feet, so I asked for a pass and was met with resistance from the office worker who reminded me that what I was asking for is really against the rules. I hit her with the raised eyebrow and explained this is my child and she wants me to walk her to her class which will only take 2 minutes top. After a brief standoff the worker begrudgingly gave me the pass…guess she thought I was going to back down. But I was reminded once again that sometimes we have rules for the sake of having them, and frankly we as humans need to have the ability to do more than follow the fucking rules. (nothing I have seen at the school makes me think they would be flooded with parents taking their kids to class if this rule were not in effect) This worker has no idea that the past week has been in rough at our house and frankly my daughter was just wanting a few extra seconds with Mom and I needed a few extra seconds with her. Nope, it’s all about the rules.

In order to live in a world that works for us all, I say fuck the rules and let’s find our humanity. Rather than saying we can’t do nuthin for our fellow humans, instead ask what can we do? No matter whom we are, we all have the ability to affect change and change for the better, problem is we are too focused on ourselves.