Thursday, April 17, 2014

Reflections on Lent 2014

Last year - we had the Lenten Challenge.  This year, I have been focusing on family, health, and new adventures.  Things have been happening fast and quick and while its great to process and be grateful its much harder to convey those feelings into words and viable reflections for the greater good (as in you).  From birthdays (AA and Stinker) to new jobs (me) to growing up and being a big sister (LB) - we have found ourselves at an interesting crossroads in our family.

Lent is really the gateway to Catholic and greater Christian year.  We find ourselves reflecting on missed opportunities and dreams not fulfilled and really how we don't live for and in the shadow of the Cross.  In those missed opportunities, we realize that we also don't embrace the cross God gave to us.

For those who are not Christians or who have no religion (there are more you than you think), you assume that Christianity and faith in general equates a life that shangrila when in fact, faith filled life offers the same ups and downs with a new perspective, a new reaction, and ultimately a new being.  The cross given to individual Christians presents an opportunity to really commune with the Lord.  To ask "why was this given to me?" "how am I to proceed" and finally "thank you because in this cross I see my reality".

This Lent has indeed shown me my reality of life with my family and that life at work.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Washington Team

I have been musing on this post for a while and I just have to push it out.  So we in Coach Land are not fans of the football team in our city.  It is almost a "They who shall be named" atmosphere.  Why?  Cause they are really bad, poorly managed, and yeah…then there is the name.

Why should we care?  Because my children are the very people this team mocks.  My children and their cousins have to endure a life where people may not believe they exist, don't recognize the hand signals - off handed comments - or just ridiculousness is insulting.  I have to tell my children that this part and parcel of that come with being a American Indian/Native American/Indigenous American.  So yeah, I take it personally.

Last October, the really bad management at the Washington Team decided to defend (really poorly) the use of the slur.  In it, they claim they consulted with tribes, in fact AA's tribe (not specific band but overall nation) to conclude that in fact use of the name was okay:

In 1971, our legendary coach, the late George Allen, consulted with the Red Cloud Athletic Fund located on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota and designed our emblem on the Redskins helmets. Several years later, Coach Allen was honored by the Red Cloud Athletic Fund. On the wall at our Ashburn, Virginia, offices is the plaque given to Coach Allen -- a source of pride for all of us. “Washington Redskins is more than a name we have called our football team for over eight decades. It is a symbol of everything we stand for: strength, courage, pride, and respect -- the same values we know guide Native Americans and which are embedded throughout their rich history as the original Americans.

So let's set the record straight.  George Allen, father of the Virginia Senator George Allen, created the Red Cloud Athletic Fund.  That's it.  He didn't consult with the Tribe or the Pine Ridge Red Cloud School.  He created a fund to assist the school.  That's it.  Then there is the argument that the football team was also named after it's first major coach, Lone Star Dietz…problem because That argument has since been debunked by the following:
Here lies the celebrated Lone Star Dietz — in a donated cemetery plot, aside a back road, under a drooping evergreen. A simple marker, paid for by friends, bears only one word that hints at his legend: “Coach.”  Finally, we have found him, the Washington Redskins’ namesake. Dietz coached the inaugural Boston Redskins team 80 years ago, before it moved to Washington. He was a Sioux Indian, and the team was named in his honor, “out of respect for Native American heritage and tradition.”...That’s what some critics of the team’s name and some historians say. They call him an impostor, citing accounts that Dietz was a German American from Wisconsin who wanted to play football as an Indian to cash in on the fame accorded athletes such as Jim Thorpe, his good friend. Dietz also served jail time for dodging the draft during World War I because he falsely registered as an Indian.
Wait..WHAT?  No Tribal Consultation (I know what it looks like)?  No really Indian namesake? Who in their right minds want to be called that anyway?  Sounds to me that someone doesn't like change.

Then around December 2013, word in Indian Country was that Washington Management, namely HE WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED, was visiting various tribes to actually see what the hub bub was about.  Seriously?  So from possibly using a tribe's popcorn to sell at FedEx Field to going to see what health issues really are affective Native Americans, you think "well maybe just maybe they'll get it"…nope.  There was even  word that management didn't really want to highlight to issue only to highlight the issue.  Word came this week that Washington wants to start an "Original Americans" foundation.

Original Americans…I really don't want to go there because that is just as insulting as "First Americans".    What really pisses me off is the fact that throwing money at the problem doesn't solve the first problem which is the name of the football team.  Going out to Indian Country to see issues but then coming back to DC to pat yourself on the back because you threw a few thousand at some tribes - makes you look like a bigger asshole than before you started.  Not to mention that this new  charitable organization's CEO is also a bad manager and bilked the government out almost $2.0 million.  It just keeps getting better and better.

I shouldn't just be the only one stark raving mad on this.  There are MILLIONS of people here in the US and abroad that think this name should go away.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Quarterly Book Review

This year I vowed (hahahaha) to read 40 books.  I figured that after reading 30 very easily that I could totally one up myself….hahahahaha.  Needless to say that I'm very ambitious and now very busy to read or listen to my books.

In short order, I will be giving (or trying to give) quarterly book reviews.  Here is my first go:

RebeccaRebecca by Daphne du Maurier
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Talk about a book that makes you upset!  I read this book in a few weeks and let me just say that I wanted to donate my spine to the narrator because she was SPINELESS. I totally would have fired Ms. Danvers for all her messy operations.

View all my reviews

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Like Alexander the Great?  Like fast paced novels that solve ancient mysteries?  Pick this books

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A comprehensive look of an African American family and their friends.  Betty Jean is a working mother of three, she busts her butt taking care of her grand kids and her husband who is suffering from Alzheimer's.  From the first person narratives of Betty Jean, her sons, her grandsons, her sisters - we see that people face hard choices everyday with the added stress of how our family and friends.  From sons who are in the closet, to grandchildren dealing drugs, McMillan paints a great canvas of a African American family - with members who are affluent, those who are noisy as hell, those who are maintaining.  

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Typical romance novel.  Good beach read. 

Let me just say the "Crossfire" books (the last three listed) are good for a romance read on the beach.  They move fast with really rough (read bad) language and it goes where Fifty Shades should have.  Needless to say very good.  If its not your thing, I get it.  Now back to my books!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The linen closet...

A few weeks ago, I decided to tackle another home project...organizing the family linen closet.
I started with a few ideas...

Nice huh?
Since I don't have a truly obsessive personality, I decided to head on over to my local dollar general for some bins of all sizes.

I chose green because it is soothing and I like Kermit the Frog. I digress. Here is my linen closet now. I would do the before and after but trust me it was a hot mess. I separated items by their owner in terms of hair and skin:

AA got a bucket for his stuff
I got one my hair
LB got one for hair
Fricker got one for his skin
That makes life easier for bath time for the kids. Next I sorted items for lotions and soap (things we all use), travel toiletries, medicinal, mommy only stuff, hand towels, toilet paper, and cleaning supplies.

I excommunicated the actually linens to a cabinet in the basement and sorted and rolled those by room.

Nice easy weekend project.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Failure of Internet Commerce

Photo Credit
In an effort to do something extraordinarily fab for AA, I get ripped off. I was perusing my daily Living Social email (which I have now lessened to a weekly possibly never occurrence) and found a closing deal on designer headphones. Knowing AA loves his music and news feeds at work, I thought great! So I purchased the deal and proceeded to head to the site for instant gratification. I paid my shipping and handling and voila - headphones in time for VDay!

Not so fast!

Two days later I get a call from our OCIO about an unauthenticated breach and unsecured method of delivering payment. I contacted the company only to get a random voice mail but I kept getting emails so I'm thinking okay whoever you are in china needs to quit playing and send my stuff. I call LS back get a refund and use the vendor directly something about overselling its stock.

The reality is that I and thousands of others were taken. The Sunshine Kitty and dozens of other sites that use LS do so knowing this deal retailer does not verify the products it's putting on its market place. It's easy for LS to outsell a product and the vendor to threaten lawsuit and cancel an offering only to turnaround and sell directly to the consumer.

So before I let my tale of woe overtake this post, here are some tips if you run across a not so legit online vendor:

  • Immediately contact your credit company and dispute the charges.
  • Close your card.
  • Contact your state's consumer protection entity.
  • Contact the FTC. Online commerce is interstate commerce and therefore federal jurisdiction.
  • Get worked up and slowly relax because it will be handled.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

From jokes to learning

Last year, people thought I had dirt on my forehead (not funny by the way).

This year I was stopped by some random construction workers asking why I had that mark. So to spare you the embarrassment here is a simplified explanation:

Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of placing ashes (formally called The Imposition of Ashes) on the foreheads of adherents as a celebration and reminder of human mortality, and as a sign of mourning and repentance to God. The ashes used are typically gathered from the burning of the palms from the previous year's Palm Sunday.[5]

So Valar morghulis for all you GoT fans.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Pantry Organization

January 2013, I really started to get into Pintrest.  And I found this:

And I was inspired!  So I got a color - GREEN - and I was off and running!  I choose green because its a calming color, its a go color, and its my kitchen.  Not much to think of after that…huh?  I really got down to brass tacks and purged my pantry of things I don't use and things that were expired.  I know pitiful I don't do this often but I don't.  

From there, I put all the rice and pasta in one large bin.  Chips and goldfish in another bin.  Wine stored on the top shelf sideways.  Baking goods have a box.  Oils and other goods have a long basket.  Its great as I know where to look and train my eye in the dinner prep.  It also helps when I go grocery shop - I know where we're out of couscous, rice, pasta, olive oil, and canned tomatoes (a workhorse in my kitchen).