Decision Time

Early voting begins in Florida on October 24.  This election has been difficult for me.  I find both major party candidates repulsive and do not believe any of the third party candidates bring anything meaningful to the table.

Both major party candidates have high unfavorable ratings.  It seems neither candidate is popular with the voters.

So what’s a voter to do?  Is it a matter of voting to make sure the other candidate doesn’t win?  When was the last time you voted FOR a candidate instead of AGAINST the other guy?

I think at this time, when many of us will have to take a long hot shower, complete with bleach, after filling out our ballot, we have to look past the candidate and look at the policies.  Which candidate fits most clearly with the dream you have for this country?  Which one do you think will move the USA in the direction you think it needs to go?

It may be stomach-churning, but we have to look beyond the person and vote for the plan.  Preferably with the adult beverage of your choice.

 

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Groping

After the audio tape was released of Donald Trump making lewd comments about making unwanted sexual advances on women, Canadian writer Kelly Oxford invited women to tweet their stories of being groped.

To her shock, the response was overwhelming.  She received 50 tweets a minute for 14 hours.  I’ll do the math for you..that’s 42,000 tweets in less than a day.  She’s received more than ten million tweets since.

This news story brought up a few memories for me.  Yes, I have been groped.  I was in junior high when a boy I liked came up and touched me between my butt cheeks, not once, but on several occasions.  I told him to cut it out, but he grinned and kept doing it.  I was in high school working as a cashier at a grocery store when one of the bagboys reached out and twisted my breasts.  I was working at a television station in Charleston, South Carolina, bending over to get some paper for the copier, when a male co-worker came up behind me and smacked me on the butt.  Hard.  

I don’t consider myself a victim of sexual assault.  These are things that happened, annoying and distressing at the time, but I moved on.  I hadn’t even remembered that they occured until Ms. Oxford’s tweet.  It made me wonder. Why would I dismiss these events as no big deal?  In the grand scheme of things, they aren’t.  There are women and men and children who have suffered horrendous sexual abuse.  A butt grope, a titty-grab, and an ass-smack don’t even rate.  

I told my husband about these incidents and he immediately went all Knight in Shining Armour, “Who, When, Where was I?”  He never knew, even though we’ve been together for nearly thirty years, because I didn’t think they were worthy to be mentioned.  I have been touched without my consent because I lacked a Y chromosome, ho-hum.  I told him it’s quite likely his sisters and his daughter have been groped too.  I’m sure my female friends have been touched inappropriately too, and if you feel comfortable sharing I welcome you to the discussion.  Stand up and realize we don’t have to accept it just because of our gender.

This news is opening up a bigger conversation, beyond just Donald-Trump-is-a-Pig.  Women are realizing they’re not alone and that it’s okay to speak up.  Men are realizing that this is the norm rather than an aberration. Understanding there’s an issue is the first step to fixing it.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman.  Speak up. We can shame this nonsense, whether it’s a clueless prank or predatory behavior.

Hurricane Matthew

Living in Central Florida, I am no stranger to hurricanes.  Fortunately, we do not live on the coast, so for the most part we are spared the brunt of most of these storms.

In 2004, we were hit with Charley, Frances, and Ivan.  We lost power during all three, the longest being about 18 hours.  Some of my co-workers were not so lucky.  They lost power for more than a week.

Hurricane Matthew skirted the coast of Florida this past week.  We accelerated at work, and I am so proud of how the entire office pulled together to Get Things Done.  Even my boss came in on her vacation to pitch in.  We worked with the outer offices and completed our extra work in plenty of time for me to release the staff early on Thursday so they make their own preparations.

We were lucky at our house.  Lots of wind and rain but no flooding and just a few small branches breaking off. We never lost electricity, but my folks lost internet and cable, and other friends lost power.

The death toll in the United States as of this writing is 17.  In Haiti is is near 900.  This is a storm that will go down in the history books.

Some are saying the media and government overhyped the danger, whether for ratings or to further a climate change agenda.  Listening to Governor Scott and other Florida officials, I believe they made the right call.  Mandatory evacuations keep residents safe, especially if first responders cannot get out.  In such high winds and potential flooding, it is unsafe to send out EMTs and firefighters.  As Governor Scott stated again and again, if choose not to evacuate and have an emergency, you’re on your own.  They simply cannot send out anyone to help you.

I hope Hurricane Matthew is the last big storm we have for a while.  What those of us who live in the paths of these storms have to understand is that the first and best line of defense is ourselves.  Whether it means boarding up windows or evacuating to a shelter, prepare so you don’t have to rely on others to rescue you.

The Power of the Introvert

in·tro·vert

ˈintrəˌvərt/

noun

  1. a shy, reticent person

I’ve always been shy.  Meeting new people was hard for me, and selling Girl Scout cookies door to door was pure torture.  I was eight when we moved to a new house, and I barely remember third grade.  I knew no one, was too shy to make friends, and I barely made a sound.  This was back when classes were in “pods,” four or five classrooms in one big space.  I didn’t dare move from pod to pod when classes changed, and I don’t think the teachers noticed for several weeks.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten over my shyness..somewhat.  Toastmasters helped me with public speaking and addressing a crowd, being a manager has helped me coach and mentor.  I can chat with people I don’t know and make friends.  But unknown situations still make me nervous.  

Shy isn’t the correct term now.  Introvert is.  I have learned to embrace my introvertism.  It’s a strength, not a weakness.

Introvert simply means someone who is energized by alone time, as opposed to extrovert, which is someone who is energized by being with others.  I used to feel guilty when my husband would take the children out and leave me alone in the house.  I enjoyed the peace and quiet.  I thought that made me a bad mother…that I would enjoy being away from my family.  

It doesn’t.  It just means that quiet time is precious to me.  Not having to answer to anyone, to do anything, to go anywhere I didn’t want to.  Knowing that no one is going to make a demand on me for a few hours recharges my batteries.  I enjoy hanging out with friends and family, but at the end of the day, a good book, a glass of wine, and my knitting are just as relaxing.  

Introverts treasure alone time, but it also means we are harder to get out of our shells.  Be patient with us.  You’ll find us witty, kind, good listeners.  We’re happy to meet you for a party or an outing, but we need advance notice so we can prepare ourselves for the demand on our psyche.  We’re not stuck up or snobbish.  We just need a little time and space to be alone and recharge our batteries.

One place where it works nicely is when you pair an extrovert with an introvert.  You have someone who can bring the introvert out of their shell, and someone who can ground the extrovert when their flights of fancy reach too far.  Whether in the workplace or a marriage, introverts and extroverts can balance each other to achieve spectacular goals.  It doesn’t mean one is better than the other.  It means one has strengths the other does not.  Understanding that balance can make the relationship stronger.