Bits and Pieces of Thoughts While I Think on my Next Bit o’Fiction

First things first, or at least things that excite me – My English teach really liked my video game essay. There are a few teensy things I need to clean up, mainly a few awkward word choices and left over “on”s and things from my massive number of edits. Once I’ve done that, she wants me to enter it into an essay contest that happens at the school every year. The winner gets $50 and entrants get to put their name out there for teachers to get to know. When it comes to more subjective classes like English, psych, etc. I feel it’s important to have your name associated with the idea that you are a good writer before you enter a teacher’s classroom. Perception means so much and teachers are more willing to gloss over errors if they already “know” you can write, as humans are wont to do. Even my current teacher did something like that for my 2nd essay when I had two really bad cut/copy/paste-based errors. She didn’t take off points for those like what I would have expected her to because she knew that they were editing fails, not writing fails, if that makes any sense.

I’ve been trying to figure out what I’m going to use as my topic for my next argument essay, but haven’t really had anything stick out to me. Well, I’ve got two things, but I can’t decide if I really can argue either of them effectively because I am just a wee bit passionate about them.
The first is equal marriage rights. I’d end arguing for a case that would include marriage licenses being granted to two or more people above the legal age of consent who are willingly entering into the civil contract regardless of gender, sex, procreation status etc. Most people have an issue once the “more” part is added in, and to be fair, with the way current laws are written that affect civil marriage law contracts it would get really convoluted and tricksy. Especially things like inheritance and social security benefits and whatnot. Especially if the primary bread winner/head of house passes or decides to divorce one or more of the other parties. What happens to the rest of the contracts? Are they will that primary person or binding amongst all parties? Oy, such a headache and the primary argument against such marriages.
The second is abstinence only versus full disclosure sex ed. I (luckily) grew up in county that taught full disclosure sex ed by default and started in fifth grade. Yes, parents always had to sign permission slips to say “sure, teach my kid about sex” or “find them something else to do cause I want to be the one to educate them about sex” or not educate them as the case would likely be. I think I only saw maybe three kids not have permission to be educated in sex ed from fifth through twelfth grade. That’s pretty awesome in my opinion, especially considering that it was a requirement for every year of school up to high school and then was taught in bio and two or three other classes that were required for graduation.
Anywho, the point is that I feel pretty strongly about these topics, but think I could maybe argue either one of them. My teacher did give me the okay to write my essays on more divisive topics should I choose to because I could “handle” them maturely. On the other hand, this next essay is going to be sent out to the rest of the English dept. and I’m not sure that I want to write about anything so politically charged, no matter how well written, and be known as the student that is too opinionated/liberal/socialist/controversial at the end of my first semester of school.

On a completely unrelated note, I’m excited about the weather here. We’re supposed to get a pretty decent amount of snow between tonight and tomorrow night and I have nowhere to go and no one to meet until Wednesday morning, which means I get to just enjoy the snowfall. Huzzah! Pretty weather will be nice.

Sheriff Maketa: “An Injustice Against Our Citizens”

Sheriff Maketa: "An Injustice Against Our Citizens".

On Monday March 4th, 2013 the legislative branch of the Colorado House and Senate set a terrible, terrible precedent for how the citizens of Colorado and their concerns can be overridden and ignored in favor of politicians and party agendas. On a single day, Monday the fourth of March, five seperate gun control bills were set for public hearings by the state Senate. One day only was set aside for some of the most controversial bills that have been proposed in years. The next closest would probably be the Civil Unions bill that was passed without much, if any, fan fare this morning. While individual bills are scheduled for only one day of hearings, bills like these would normally be set on different days so that citizens have greater opportunities to make it these hearings and testify. Not everyone gets to, but usually it is a first-come, first-served deal. If you get there early enough, you’ll most likely be able to testify. Again, that was hot how these hearings were run.

Sheriff Maketa, a man who has reason to be very concerned about these bills and the legislative process, described what he saw on Monday. “…On numerous occasions, bills similar in nature were set for hearing on different days to ensure opportunity for anyone to participate in the deliberative process. On Monday, this didn’t occur. Instead, gun bills were simultaneously scheduled and of 25 plus sheriffs, only one could testify per bill. Hearings were split so bills heard simultaneously were on different floors, even though all were heard by senate committees. Rules for testimony changed three times from Thursday afternoon through Monday at 10:30 am, when hearings began. … Minutes after I signed up to testify, I learned a different process would be utilized and testimony was based on three categories: experts, preferred witnesses, and public witnesses.” (Emphasis added by me.) It seems to me that all these changes were specifically implemented to prevent citizens from voicing their opinions. They were blocked from representing themselves before their legislators. I would go so far as to say that the multiple changes in procedure, holding the hearings on the same day, and even creating different categories of speakers where committee members designated “expert” speakers were all designed specifically to prevent testimony against these bills.

“Later, I phoned a member of our legislature and expressed concern for what I had witnessed; changing of rules, time limits, new classification of speakers to establish priority and most of all the number of citizens who made the journey to the Capitol in hopes of being heard. I was told the rules did change several times and that this was very unusual. These changes were driven by the majority leadership, Senator John Morse, and the chairperson of the involved hearing committee.” I am appalled and ashamed at what the Colorado Democratic party, the current Senate and House majority, has done. I am a registered member of the Democratic party but am seriously considering severing my ties with them because of how they are treating the voters that elected them to office.

Maketa continued, voicing concerns that I truly believe we all should take a very close look at. “…I recognized the injustice that was unfolding before my eyes. Citizens of Colorado were prevented from participating in the legislative process. Their rights had been overridden by the agenda of a few members of the State Senate.”

I think what disturbs me the most of this entire process is that this is a new precedent that is being established by a party that I voted for. I helped to elect some of them into office and now am watching the government take large steps towards ignoring me and fellow citizens entirely, unless we agree with them. Did I go to the hearings on Monday? No, but it wasn’t due to lack of desire. I had classes that I could not miss and am now under the impression that it would not have mattered. My voice would have been silenced with the other estimated one thousand people that attended Monday’s testimony hearings.

Are there other methods for making my voice heard? Yes, I can email or call my representatives. I can attend town hall meetings. Would that have really made a difference here? No, because the representatives for the district(s) I live in are both Republican and voted against all five bills. I could have contacted other representatives, those I did vote for in previous elections for example, but they do not have to listen to me any more than other state representatives at the national Senate and House have to listen to me. I am not part of the slice of their state that they represent and therefore am not as important to them, at least not when we are talking about an issue that is so decisive and split down party lines like this.

Will I be making my concerns knows to all of the state representatives currently serving? Yes, I will. Again, the precedent that they have set is one which has the potential to lead to a government ruling class which is above the citizens they “represent.” I am aware that I am possibly using a slippery slope argument here, but I also believe that I am justified in being so concerned. I hope I’m not the only one. If you also believe that what has occurred here is wrong, please add your voice to mine and speak out against what has happened. It doesn’t matter if you agree or disagree with the gun control bills themselves. They are but minor players in this particular concern. I am much more concerned about my rights and my voice being ignored and silenced. I believe you should be too.

On the Question of Children

I have several friends who either have children or are trying to have children. I have friends who don’t have children and will never have children. I have friends who are undecided. I am asked weekly whether my husband and I will have children. All this has led to the question of children and the uncertainty of that future to be forefront in my mind. It has led to worry and wistfulness and pondering and uncertainty.

You see, I don’t know what I think about having a child/children myself. Not anymore at least.

When I was growing up it was always a forgone conclusion. When people grow up and get married, they have kids. It just happens. Hell, I didn’t always imagine the married part, but there was always the option of adoption or being a foster parent or something. I think it was Angels in the Outfield that made the adoption/foster parent option prominent in my thoughts off and on. As I got older and discussed future plans and whatnot with friends in middle and high school it also was “when I have kids” not “if I have kids.” There was the assumption of being a mom.

However, I never really thought much about what that would mean and how it would impact my life. It was always something I would just work through. If it was me and my boyfriend/husband, awesome. If it was just me, alright, I could do that. Even if I didn’t know how it would happen or when or whatnot, I just assumed I was going to have kids, I was going to be a mother.

There of course was fear as well. I was scared that I would handle disappointments and the trouble that kids get into like my father did. My brother and I were actually pretty settled kids. We didn’t cause too much trouble and could be eventually wrangled into doing chores and did well in school and didn’t really have friends that got us into trouble any more than we managed on our own. My brother was a bit more trouble than me, but still in the grand scheme of things, neither of my parents were the recipients of that universal karma that their parents threatened them with. Regardless, my father scared me and I could not imagine doing that to my own kids, but since it was something I had seen and grew up with from a young age I also was aware that I could very easily have learned those patterns and it wouldn’t be easy to avoid them and avoid swinging the completely opposite direction. Even with that there was still a “when” not an “if.”

Then I married Matt, my ex, and I discovered that my language and concept of children changed. I couldn’t really imagine children with him. It wasn’t right. It took me a few years to sort that out. Before then it was always a “maybe” or “someday, but not now” or “we’re not certain.” Which isn’t really surprising in hind-sight. I had trouble figuring out if I could actually see much of a future there anyway, though that also took me a year or two of thinking to determine that it was what I was thinking and why it was a problem.

And now I’m with my husband. I could easily imagine him as a father, a goofy and silly and awesome dad that would make most kids excited when young and *facepalm* but secretly be pleased when older. I like to think that I’d be a similar sort of mom. But he is at best neutral regarding kids though I learned last night that negative with the potential for a neutral opinion. He has never really had an urge or desire to be a father. If his girlfriend/wife wanted children then he would work with that, but his opinion is that they are noisy, are troublesome (not his exact words, but that is my impression) and require a lot of money and he could spend that on toys instead. Though he does agree that the toys kids have are kind of amusing, just not as cool as the type of kids he gets as an adult. He also doesn’t much like the whole first 5 or 6 years as they are not capable of taking care of themselves at all. With most animals, that phase only lasts a few weeks or months and then they’re capable of being self-sustaining. If it would make me happy to have children and that happiness would not be satisfied by a puppy/kitten or some other new pet, then he would be willing to look into the possibility with me. As it is, he is happy with just us and doesn’t see the need for anyone more.

This new information has left me even more uncertain. I can’t say that having children would make me happy. I can imagine that there would be joys, but it would be a different set of joys than what we would experience if it were just us. Again, I never really imagined life without kids, but I also never really actually imagined a life with kids either. I also have to take into consideration that my husband would rather not have children if the decision were left entirely up to him. I would not want to force my decision upon him – if something were to happen to me then he would be left as the primary provider for children that he had not thought about until I more or less forced them upon him. Also, there is the possibility that he would eventually resent them, the time and effort and money and trouble and energy that is required to raise children. He could come to resent me and/or the kids and that would be very troubling for me. And since my thoughts are still “if” about one quarter of the time then that would indicate I’m not certain enough to ask him to go with a decision which he is mostly against.

It’s funny in a way, there are times when I have wished to have kids and become nostalgic for an imagined future/life. I also really enjoy children and hope that with my experience at work and willingness to learn and all that good jazz that I’d do alright raising kids. Not perfect, but at least no more likely to make mistakes than other educated parents. And other times I do not have a desire to raise a child in this world as it is and am aware that in order to raise a child the way I would like to it would require a lot more effort on our part than what I received for certain, and likely more than he received while growing up as well. I guess that’s part of the whole educated thing.

Even with all that fear and uncertainty, if I really let myself think about it, I’m both relieved and disappointed when I do a monthly pregnancy test-yes, I am that paranoid that my birth control is not 100% effective-and the result is negative. There’s still that majority of my thoughts that have reverted to “when” thinking now that I have actually found my husband and feel like it’s something we could make work if we so chose to do so. There are still worries, concerns and a lot of what-ifs that would go with becoming a parent, but they aren’t so scary anymore. Just worries and concerns and what-ifs that always come with new experiences and a different sort of life than what I’ve ever experienced.

But… I still don’t feel like my opinion/decision should override my husband’s. Generally speaking, in a debate if there is no clear “winner” than the negative side, the side arguing for no change, is determined the winner and no changes are made. It’s similar with voting – someone with a neutral opinion would vote for no change and it would count the same as someone who was strongly against a change. There are two of us, if we have opposing opinions then the one arguing for no change or the least amount of change would be the “winner” or however else you could term it. Of course there are exceptions for strong opinions and whatnot, but for huge life changing things like the decision whether to have kids or not… that’s not one where one strong opinion should override the other.

*sigh* There’s really no easy, clear, or simple answer. This is not something that a coin flip, eenie-meenie-miney-mo or rock-paper-scizzors(lizard-spock!) can solve. Maybe just writing all this out will help me to be able to discuss my opinion a little bit better and I can stop freaking him out with really broad and open-ended questions. That’s probably the best I can hope for at this time. Well, that and the lesson not to spring such heavy, open-ended questions on him at dinner with no context… *blushes*

Deaf or Blind?

I admitted a patient to one of the residential houses today who is deaf. It was an interesting experience and sent me back a few years time to when I worked for the Mental Health Center of Denver and worked with four different deaf patients, all of which also suffered from Mild to Severe Mental Retardation.

It also set off a thought wave that I’ve caught on several different occasions. If I had to experience being blind or being deaf, which to me would be the least difficult way to navigate the world?

This was a really easy question for my husband to answer – he would rather be deaf. He could not work in his field and be blind. He also would not be able to read books, work on a computer or any number of other things that he needs his eyes to do, but does not need to be able to hear. He also made a very good argument that it is much easier to introduce medical and scientific interventions that are more capable of replacing various parts of the whole system related to hearing sounds than interventions for most any part of the system related to sight. The eye is more complicated than the ear, which is really saying something since the ear is a very delicate and fine piece of work by itself.

I have to agree with him that in the modern world being blind is probably more of a handicap than being deaf. But, as I experienced today, the one thing that gives the strongest argument for “choosing” to be blind is that being deaf means a significant loss of the ability to communicate with the world at large. This means far more to some people than to others. I could not do the vast majority of my job as it is now if I could not hear and therefore easily communicate with my co-workers or my patients. At the same time, if I were blind, I could not do most of my job either. Too much hinges upon being able to quickly and easily navigate computers as well as be able to speak. Hell, nursing in general requires all five senses to be able to do a complete assessment, even as a psych nurse I use all my senses (though I sometimes which my nose weren’t involved…) and so I would have to conclude that if I were to be either deaf or blind, I would be stuck with finding a different career.

So, I stand where I have found myself every time I have evaluated this question – I have no idea. Do I give up easy communication, music, and the easy ability to have a general idea of what is going on around me, even behind me? Or do I give up colors, the ability to easily manipulate the technology of today, fewer bruises from bumping into things, and being able to see everything that is around me?

Today, I lean toward choosing to be deaf, but tomorrow I will likely say I would rather be blind. Honestly, it makes me appreciate more and more just how lucky I am to be able to correct my vision with glasses or contacts so that I can see the beauty in the world around me. I am blessed to be able to hear everything around me from the annoying hum of the TV to the gorgeous music in the background to the sound of my husband’s voice. I am blessed to have two legs of even length with feet with five toes each and two arms of even length with hands with five fingers. I have a heart and lungs and liver and kidneys and stomach and all my other organs that function normally and my brain is at least of average intelligence and capable of abstract and forward processing and thinking.

I am blessed in so many ways and I often don’t even think about it. Today though, I am aware of just how lucky I am and today I give my thanks to the universe for giving me this gift.

News, Politics and My Thoughts

First off, I apologize if there are any obvious spelling errors or changes in direction. My cat, Shadow, has determined that she will sit on my lap whether I want her to or not. Seeing as how my cats more or less determine what I am allowed to do while I am at home, this is not a big surprise.

Anywho, the point of this post is regarding my recent decision to listen to the news more frequently, primarily because I was tired of only finding out about things weeks after they happened and being completely uninformed regarding national and world news. It is hard for me to acknowledge that I don’t know a whole lot about important (or what seems important now) matters and I like to be involved in such conversations.

This has been both an interesting experiment and a bit frustrating depending upon which way I want to view it. It is an interesting experiment because I am able to take part in more conversations and feel a bit more educated about things that are going on. For example, today I was able to actually take part in a discussion with my father regarding the failed North Korean missile launch. I felt pretty good about it at the time and even now feel like my decision has already demonstrated benefits. It is frustrating because more often than not I only get to hear the morning and evening commute shows and they often will have the same news on repeat for at least a day, if not two or three. They even use the same sound clips from “on-the-ground” reporters, so there is really no new information and I get bored and will channel surf.

I am also disappointed in myself for not being able to tolerate listening to “right-wing” talk shows. Even when I try to commit myself to doing so just so I can understand what it is that people whom I may not agree with are hearing and what influences their thought processes I am unable to listen for more than a few minutes without getting disgusted by what seems to me to be logic fallacy after logic fallacy. At least with the NPR shows and hosts they tend to at least make some small attempts at bipartisan or even non-partisan reporting. Not too mention the fact that when they have guest interviews with people who identify as Republican or Libertarian or Tea Party or whatnot they don’t go off on some tangent or rant or ask obviously leading questions or whatnot. It seems far more “fair and balanced” than what I have heard from Fox News supported shows.

And then you have the benefit of the BBC news reports being aired at the same time as people in England get to hear it. I believe it starts somewhere around 8 or 9pm at night and goes through at least 2 or 3 am MDT, which is early morning for England. The stories that they report on are fascinating, as is the perspective that they give, primarily that it appears a news organization is capable of reporting with fairly low bias. I also get more world news via their broadcasts which makes me a happy camper since that was the entire point of this adventure.

The major downside though is my tendency to get flummoxed by the reporting that’s coming out of the national presidential/primary campaigns in the US. Both sides are irritating me, both sides are demonstrating just how out of touch they are with the general populace and the number of people in the general populace who actually agree with most of what is happening in Washington or at the local state level is starting to disgust me. It’s bad enough to have to listen to politicians try to dictate how I can live my life, but the number of people throwing their opinions as facts at me has also increased and I am just about done with it.

In the mean time though, I will continue listen and try to understand and engage in conversation because ignorance is not bliss and is not something which should be forgiven. Not today when it is so easy to make yourself informed of the goings on in the world and in the nation. I also don’t believe there would be many people willing to just go with what their neighbors or friends or pastors or politicians tell them about what is going on. Maybe, just maybe, we would be able to have real power to influence policies that actually reflect the changes in society rather than what society was like 10, 20, or even 50 years ago.

That may just be wishful thinking on my part though. In the meantime, I will continue to listen and think and discuss and work on very slowly encouraging others to do so themselves.

Daily Post: How do you Decide to Decide?

Now, this topic seemed sort of silly to me when I first read it. How else do you decide besides just, well deciding. Then I thought further on it and realized that I decide things in a weirdly different way from others that I know. I use hunches, I use random decisions and pay attention to random signs around me that I sometimes feel that the universe tries to use to get my attention for a variety of reasons.

I think that last one is the one that tends to get me the weirdest looks. I’m a relatively logical person in just about all parts of my life, and quite rightly so. I’m a nurse who is looked to for coming up with unique viewpoints and decisions using common sense type approaches that aren’t necessarily clear to others. I’m one of those people who can follow the more interesting paths of logic that lead to a brand new “ah ha!” moment.

However, there are times when I will pay more attention to what’s going on in the world outside of me and finding things that mean something to me and use those as signs for whether I’m using the right sort of logic, whether I’m going in the right direction. It’s sort of a long-term game of hot-cold that I use to help and steer my decisions depending upon what I’m feeling and sensing and understanding. Since I’ve been learning to pay attention to the signs and actually interpret them in a way that makes sense to me. Since I have done so, I’ve managed to find the man of my dreams, (quite literally!) have found a way to start getting back on my feet financially, and am so much happier in general than what I have been in over five years.

I don’t really know how to describe what I know means “hot” and what means “cold” in my own interpretation of what’s going on in the world around me. I wish I could. It would make things so much easier since there are far too many times when I would really love to be able to explain the “why” of a particular decision. Especially when someone who doesn’t use such ways to make decisions asks me how in the world I managed to come to that conclusion. It’s frustrating sometimes, but considering that I spend so much of my time with people who are able to view and understand such alternative thinking. I suppose it’s why I get along with them so well. And why they found their way to the same line of human-centered work that I have. It all works somehow, right?

Anywho, this is awfully late, and I do apologize for that. No Broncos game after work and dinner to distract me tomorrow, though there will be dinner with the family, so the next observation or daily post may be just as late. Or early depending upon how you wish to interpret such things. :-p