Trying to raise my kids the best I can

Friday, July 18, 2014

My instinct was right

A new study shows that careful deliberation is better than going on instinct.

Generation X and Y

A response to Judith Price's editorial: "Young adults need to get more realistic".

This editorial is the last in a long line of articles I've read suggesting that generation x and y have an entitlement complex. I completely disagree and I'm speaking out.

Let me tell you about my generation. I grew up in an era in which we were sold pipe dreams about our future. College was a given; heck, Ivy League at that. We'd climb the corporate ladder. We'd enjoy the fruits of technology. But then we became adults. Many of us went to college and came out with exorbitant, suffocating loans. The grants available in the 70s are not the same grants available to my generation. In those days the maximum Pell grant covered 3/4 of college costs. Today the maximum award covers about a 1/3 of the cost. In recent years most of my friends just plain couldn't afford college and didn't even attend. (Many of them are better off than their debt strapped counterparts).

The price of my cheap little apartment in Lowell went from $350 in 1997 to $900 in 2000. Nearly a 300% increase in 3 years. My generation didn't benefit from the housing value wave that our baby boomer counterparts rode; a convenient source of income to tap into.

When I graduated with my RN last year the economy tanked. All the part time and retired nurses when back to work to supplement their family's income. The jobs for new grads are few and far between. After the grueling rigors of nursing school, I have yet to find a job.

As a result of these economic realities many of my friends have severely delayed childbearing. A costly decision for a generation to make. One that, perhaps, contributes to a sense of slow maturation.

That's the raw deal my generation got. How are we handling the hand we've been dealt?

I can't speak for everyone but I'll tell you a little about myself. My family lives in a small apartment. But we don't feel sorry for ourselves. We enjoy each other's company; a silver lining to the close quarters. No one misses every cute little thing my one year old does. Love abounds.
Our grocery budget is tight, but we're resourceful. I'm not too proud to cook a big pot of rice and beans; in fact, it's a favorite. We're also farming a quarter acre plot in Dracut this year.

Is my generation lazy? Tell that to my friends at the package handling job who faithfully work, bringing home only $100 a week. Tell that to my best friend, a single mom and VP of operations at a multi-million dollar corporation who works her butt off day in and day out.

Another theme I've read frequently in articles is about the lazy, selfish young adults who "won't leave the house". Certainly every situation is unique, but my when my kids grow up I welcome them to live with me, or at the very least, next door to me. I look forward to baby sitting my grand kids and being there for my adult children. And when my old, frail body fails me, I know that my kids will reciprocate, because we've always maintained that close family bond. I don't expect the government to pay for my final years as the older generations seem to.

So the next time you think of generation x and y, you should think: resilient. Not: entitled.


Brandon breakdancing when he was little

I just discovered this! It's really old!

And I have a video of Dimitri breakdancing at about the same age. I'll try to add that to the post later.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

TuPac is Alive

The CIA has hired someone to write interesting and sometimes hilarious tweets for them. Such as last year, when they said, "We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet." On July 7th 2014, they tweeted "No, we do not know where Tupac is." The reason they wrote this was because, if Tupac were going to come back, that would have been the day. (Explanation for that is towards the bottom of the post.) Tupac, hiding out - still alive? Sounds like the pathetic hopes of desperate fans. But when I started researching the evidence I found it to be very convincing.

You have to be somewhat fanatical to actually research the details of the death, but if you follow him in the slightest, four things occurred over the years that left you scratching your head, thinking, "That's really odd. Could he be alive?" - which is why the general public has actually accepted it as a possible theory. The first incident was the release of the music video "I Ain't Mad at Cha"  days after his death, recreating his death and showing him in heaven.

The second peculiar thing was that, year after year, they kept releasing new albums from him. His voice is unmistakable. After a while it became difficult to believe that he had that many albums unreleased before his death.

The third head-scratching-event was the song "God Bless the Dead" which came out in November of 1998: two years after Tupac died and a year and a half after Notorious BIG died. In this song Tupac says "Rest in peace, my m*********** Biggie Smalls." Notorious BIG, Tupac's biggest rival, and hip-hop's greatest loss outside of Tupac, was originally named Biggie Smalls and everyone knew this. This statement was explained away by saying that Tupac had another friend named Biggie Smalls who had died a long time ago.

The fourth thing that fueled rumors of his being alive was his performance in 3-D hologram at the 2012 Coachella concert. Just watching it is mesmerizing, but from a purely analytic standpoint, technology isn't at the level yet of being to produce that from mere video footage. There has to be a stand-in actor to create it. Also he says "Coachella": meaning that to create that there had to be an identical look-alike and a voice-doppelganger.

Let's get to the nitty gritty.

Major evidence:

  • The height and weight on the coroner's report are not even close to accurate for Tupac. A family friend happened to do the autopsy and then promptly retired.
  • The picture of the autopsy is missing his most recent tattoo.
  • Tupac was reportedly doing well and about to be released from the hospital. The next day he died. The following day he was cremated (very unusual for an open murder investigation).
  • There were supposedly 1000 sightings of him in Haiti, called in to the police, in the days following his death.

Possible motives:
  • Evade impending jail sentence
  • Evade death. In his thug-life code the first rule he wrote was, "All new Jacks to the game must know: a) He's going to get rich. b) He's going to jail. c)He's going to die." Tupac was smart. He knew he wasn't invincible. He had already been shot five times. 
  • Make a splash by coming back
  • Outwit his enemies as Machiavelli advised in the book The Art of War
  • But most of all, he was tired. His mother explained in this video: "He was tired of fighting, tired of being vilified, tired of being called things that he knew inside himself he was unable to be..."

Was it plausible?

  • This, to me, is what convinced me that he is alive: because they had the means to pull it off. Tupac's entire family was heavily rooted in the Black Panther party. In November of 1979, Tupac's aunt, Assata Shakur, was busted from the prison in which she was serving a life-sentence.  Despite being one of the FBI's most wanted, she was never caught and in 1984 she was granted asylum by Cuba, where she still lives today. If they could do that, then, yes, with all his money and connections, Tupac could too. If he is alive, it is assumed that he is in Cuba.

Then there's this...
  • If you rearrange the letters of the title of the album released days after his death it says: "OK on tha 7th u think I'm dead, yet I'm really alive" .
  • His memorial services were canceled without explanation.
  • He always wore a bulletproof vest... except that evening.
  • He asked his body guard to go in a different car that night.
  • He was shot 4 times but the person sitting next to him was "grazed once".
  • The album that was released a few weeks after his death did not anywhere say, "RIP Tupac Shakur  1971-1996."  It did, however say, "Exit 2Pac. Enter Makaveli." He chose this name based on the 16th Century philosopher and war strategist, Machiavelli, who advocated staging ones death to evade one's enemies.
  • The cover of that album was Tupac on a cross.
  • The music video in that album, "Hail Mary" features a cracked gravestone that says "Makaveli" and there was a hole in front of it. 
  • In 1997 Tupac raps alongside Scarface in a video, featuring him crucified, falling and then getting up. 
  • There are innumerable quotes from Tupac of him rapping about his death and/or resurrection. Like, "I've been shot and murdered", "But I'm back reincarnated", "Fans can't understand my ghetto slang, so I evade and plot and plan a life of better things", "I heard rumors that I died, murdered in cold blood, truamatized pictures of me in my final state. You know mamma cried. But that was fiction. Some coward got the story twisted.", "evade the cops cuz I know they coming for me. I been hesitant to reappear, been away for years", "brother getting shot, coming back resurrected".

Why return July 7, 2014?
Tupac was really into numerology. Seven was his number. In my opinion there is a good chance Tupac is alive. If I had to put a number on it I would say a 77% chance. 
That said, there is barely any chance of him coming back. Because if he were going to, last Monday would have been the day. The number of that date was 7-7-7 (2+0+1+4). Tupac was into numerology and he has left an enormous amount of hints of the importance of the number seven. Also, Makaveli, the identity he took on the album immediately succeeding his death, was a character who faked his own death and came back at the age of 43, which is the age that Tupac was on that date. Also 4+3=7.

The main argument I had against his death being faked was that he had too much to say. He was too much of a civil rights leader to be silenced! As I wrote this blog post I found that those beliefs of mine only gave credence to the faked death theory. It struck me as I typed what his mother said, "He was tired of being called things that he knew inside himself he was unable to be." 

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Solitary Confinement

I believe that solitary confinement is a form of torture and I am appalled that it is legal in the USA. Some prisoners are condemned to it for years. I have had the random thought (and this is the sort of thing that makes my boyfriend say that I have too much time on my hands and I need a job)...anyway, I have had the random thought, "what would I do if I was put in solitary confinement"? ("The hole" as my ex used to refer to it). How would I fend off insanity? Avoid coming to the point of smearing my own feces everywhere? (A common outcome.)

I decided that, to maintain sanity, I would have to come up with a very strict schedule to maintain everyday. And hopefully sleep a lot. Luckily I need an abnormally large amount of sleep*. That would be, perhaps, the one situation in which that is a blessing.

So here is the schedule I have come up with... With meals interspersed throughout as they are served. And naps. (Also, depending on the length of sentence I am not opposed to taking advantage of any opportunities to commit suicide that may arise.)

  • Wake up
  • Sing 26 songs in a row - one with a title starting with each letter of the alphabet
  • Between each song, perform an assigned exercise - push-ups, squats, running in place, etc.
  • Try to remember something I once knew, like the capitals of each state or names of world leaders or an event from my past
  • Pray for every possible thing and person that I can think of
  • Write some of my memoir in my head
  • Whenever the urge hits, think about people I hate and revenge I would take if I ever get out. (lol)
  • Play a game that I have invented
  • Try to notice something new about my surroundings
  • List everything I am grateful for (I imagine, by a certain point it would look something like this: I am thankful my toe doesn't hurt. I am thankful my ankle doesn't hurt. I am thankful my calf doesn't hurt. I am thankful my knee doesn't hurt. I am thankful my sciatic nerve doesn't hurt.)
  • Retell a story I once knew -a fairy tale, a movie I once saw, a Bible story, a book I read - a new one every day
  • Ask the C.O. who hands me my meal what happened in the world yesterday

That's all I've come up with so far. Feel free to contribute your own suggestion in the comments.

*I maintain that since the brain processes newly learned information during sleep, my need for so much sleep is necessitated by my brilliance. ;)

Thursday, July 03, 2014

I weigh in on Hobby Lobby

This case is huge to me. Here are four reasons why (in no particular order)...

1. It has already been used to allow companies to deny regular birth control (which are also used for a long list of non-reproductive purposes; for instance to treat endometriosis)

2. Justice Alito says the new ruling doesn't apply to blood transfusions or immunizations.
My response:
In the the words of Justice Ginsburg, "Approving some religious claims while deeming others unworthy of accommodation could be 'perceived as favoring one religion over another,' the very 'risk the [Constitution's] Establishment Clause was designed to preclude... The court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield."

3. I am passionate about the fact that healthcare is a human right. If this pushes us towards universal healthcare, then that's a silver lining.

4. Corporations are not people!!! Between this and the Supreme Court rulings over corporate political donations... there are just no words for the ramifications of this.
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