When TV collides with life: Trump, House of Cards, FBI & CSI Cyber

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Quick note to start – yes, I am still training and fundraising. In fact, it would be fabulous if you would throw in $30 to the cause. I pretty much need $30/day for the rest of the time to meet the minimum. Also, things are starting to hurt a little. I’ll save that for another update (really!).

Project Athena Harbor to Harbor – $1,800 needed, please help!

And now, on to the main event!

These are the thoughts rattling through my head in recent weeks.

The first, I realized while watching the story about the FBI and Apple unfold that my impression of the whole scenario was being influenced not by any actual knowledge I have, but by the TV shows I watch! As I would read how the FBI needed Apple to create a back door hack into an iPhone that had been used by one of the San Bernadino terrorist attackers, all I could think was “But why? Can’t they just hack it themselves?! They do it ALL THE TIME on CSI Cyber!” You know, just throw the phone at Crummy and he’ll just type away madly on a keyboard for 20 seconds and VOILA! Phone unlocked! That’s all real isn’t it? Seriously I have just been SO unimpressed with the the REAL agents did here – asking the county to change the password and somehow not knowing how to get the backed up data or perhaps even locking themselves out of it? Meanwhile, since it was the guy’s work phone, not his personal one, I seriously doubt there’s anything on it worth having. At this point I am pretty much leaning towards being happy that Apple is standing their ground. Makes me feel pretty good knowing that darn little pass code I have on my phone is so impenetrable!

As an aside, can we talk about how damn awful CSI: Cyber is? I got suckered into watching it since my son and I are addicted to all things CSI and we were feeling major withdrawals when the original one wrapped up. I liked that they transitioned the Ted Danson character over form Vegas to DC, but from the absolutely atrocious episode that aired most recently, it looks like he is now out of there. I swear he probably went to the producers and said “Dear god, please write me out! The writing and acting are pitiful! I don’t need a paycheck this bad!” I mean, CSI: Miami was not anything fabulous either, but at least they seemed to be writing that one with tongue firmly planted in cheek. That’s why the Horatio meme of making a dramatic statement and then sliding on sunglasses is still going strong on the internet! But Cyber has NO CLUE they are bad. They are just…really really bad.

Meanwhile….House of Cards Season 4 dropped. WOW. No spoilers, but I pretty much think I loved this one as much as Season 1. Like most I totally binge watched, though I did spread it out over 3 nights. Here’s the thing though: some of the “Holy shit did they just DO that?” bite was somewhat diminished by what is happening in our very REAL election this year!! Every time I would think “No Presidential candidate could get away with THAT sort of theatrics/scheming etc.”, I would think to myself “Oh yeah. Trump.” That man has broken every single rule of class, decorum, leadership, respectability….whatever you want to call it. At this point I don’t even care what his policies are, I am just stunned at what he says, the vitriol he incites, and now the way his own supporters are behaving at his events. I mean (and this isn’t a spoiler)…there is a segment on House of Cards when an old picture of Frank Underwood’s father standing next to a Grand Master of the KKK is blown up and draped over a billboard in his home state of South Carolina. As always, Frank wiggles out from under what would normally be an End Of Your Campaign moment. But THEN…I immediately flashed to Donald Trump being endorsed by David Duke (he of the modern day KKK/White Supremacy movement). I remembered the many times when he, personally, has re-tweeted statements made by known White Supremacist leaders. Just today there is an NPR story about a family who has never been involved in politics who is now phone banking for Trump. The images show the woman with tattoos on her hands depicting the Hitler 88 symbol and the white supremacy associated star. And is ANY of this sticking to Trump in a negative way to devalue his campaign? He claims he doesn’t know about “any of that” and he simply manages to bluster louder than the people who deign to question him. And does it impact his campaign? Hell, from where I sit it seems to be HELPING him to have latched onto these sorts of voters because damn if he didn’t win a bunch of states again yesterday!

Please take note that in House of Cards, it was about the character’s FATHER’s association with Klansmen. This is directly about the candidate himself. In real life!

I just….really…don’t understand how the GOP 2016 campaign has turned into something LESS shocking than House of Cards! Are we living in a reality TV show?

Please tell me a President Trump would really NOT be worse than a President Underwood?

Just my .02 – I’ll go back to either working or walking now.

 

 

 

Where I’ve Been

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I feel like I should be putting up a “Hello World” post as I have been away from this space for so long.

I’m writing in here now to summarize a week that has been rather mind blowing which is also a culmination of the past 18 months or so which required my full attention in more ways than I could imagine, but which meant that blogging was no longer an option.

So here’s the things I’ve been doing really since about the summer of 2013 which was the beginning of Alex’s senior year – a deep dive into ME and sorting out what it is I want to do with myself as an Empty Nester (aka: the rest of my adult life):

  • yoga
  • mindful meditation
  • chi gong
  • visualizations
  • affirmations
  • journal writing – some deep dives (over on my Torrey Pines Reflections site at one point + nightly gratitude and/or moments of fun + joy
  • working in a group with a coach who specializes primarily in mindful weight loss, but who has become a friend and life coach for me
  • re-opening myself to spirituality – still quite secure in my non-belief in any one God who must be worshiped, but completely open to the unexplained energies of the universe. It’s a faith in the connectivity of all people that thrives on sharing love.
  • Decided to treat a current moderately annoying health issue naturally – no hormones or surgery for 6 months. Herbal solutions and acupuncture instead. I just want to get to menopause as non invasive as possible!
  • stopped being paid to write
  • started a bookkeeping business
  • both boys moved out (youngest off to college so intermittently temporary, but still…)
  • bought tap shoes, an instructional dvd and a portable dance floor and started practicing again
  • invited a roommate to move in – no rent – just because I believe in her, in what she does, and because she was in a really shitty place that was preventing her from reaching her goals. One year plan. She’ll be on her feet again next summer.
  • pulled away so many layers of decades long frustration & insecurity around my ability to have and keep peer related friends
  • completely shifted my mindset about wealth – no longer working from a position of scarcity, but instead from a position of abundance. I now know I can generate it and I am learning to trust myself on how best to use it to reach my dreams
  • For the first time ever this week, I was asked what my Big Dream is – then I was told to cross that out and dream bigger!
  • My Big Dream is to stop working at my day job when I turn 60. That’s nine years from now folks!
  • I’ve learned that I CAN make that happen
  • I’ve *finally* identified when I know to be my purpose in life (coming shortly)
  • Through all of this I’ve learned that my partner is the exactly who I need him to be and I am amazed and grateful beyond belief that NONE of these rather big shifts in my mindset have intimidated him in any way. HE recently commented on how much he loves what I’ve done.
  • I am no longer Crabby Lucy who would rather *not* deal with people.
  • I’ve *loved* meeting each new small business client.
  • I believe in the possibilities – all of them! I started this second business with the idea to have 3-5 clients and maybe make ab extra $500/mo.I have 11 right now. I should have 14 by the end of the month. That’s $2,200/mo right now. Mind=blown! I feel like I still have room to add those other 3 (in contacts with them currently) and one more for sure.
  • I’ve read more self-help/spiritual books than even in my life and I soak them UP!
  • I’ve learned to love myself. I mean it. Yeah, there are still times when one of those nagging Inner Mean Girl (great book!) voices pops up, but I’ve gotten pretty good and re-directing those.
  • I’m working now on truly hearing and listening to my intuition. I do need to trust it more, and I will!

So – my purpose: In my mind one of the reasons that I was often perplexed at why I so often flailed and failed at making friends is because I knew in my HEART that I am the best damn friend you would ever want. Really. During one of my journal writing sessions I just completely took ownership of that. NOTHING makes me happier or fills me with more joy than seeing the people who I love achieve their dreams. Cheering them on brings chills up my spine and tears to my eyes every single time. The same joy I felt rooting for my sons translates over to my friends at the same level. So I will do *whatever* I can to help them cross their own personal finish line. If THEY are committed, then I will look at what they want and figure out how I can help – small or big it doesn’t matter. It takes a village and I am IN IT with everyone with all my heart. It’s why I have the roommate that I do. And now I understand completely that it’s why I am loving every aspect of the bookkeeping business. It’s why I have always loved my day job at the non-profit university (our product is educated people – totally on board with that mission!) I’m supposed to be using my talents in stewarding wealth for entrepreneurs so that their flow of wealth has a clear path so that they can reach their Big Dreams. I work WITH them, not FOR them and they know I am there to lift them up. I tell their story with numbers 🙂 I was already kind of articulating that in my Getting To Know You phone calls or face to face meetings, but now I absolutely get the whole picture. The bottom line is that both my Material Wealth AND my Spiritual wealth are filled in this process. When I lift YOU up, I am lifting myself up as well. I cannot do any of this alone – so why should you?

Where you can find me

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After a lot of years juggling many different things that I both wanted, and needed to do in addition to my day job, now that the high school years are over, I am taking a break.

While a few other opportunities to fill the time that was released when my volunteering & sport shuttling/school nagging ended, I am letting them pass.

It’s time for me to give myself permission to simply be. No guilt. No pressure. I cleaned up my patio & bought some chairs and a small table and I intend to sit out here doing whatever I want. Listen to podcasts, read books, read twitter, facebook, write, bird watch, nap – whatever!

Lessons Learned

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In no particular order other than what pops into my head as I ponder this topic from events of the past month or so:

  • Change is a constant – remember that new office we moved into in late summer? Well, I received notice on a Monday afternoon that we had to vacate it starting Thursday. I had less than 48 hours to view and approve floor plans to build cubicles in a similar space upstairs. It’s smaller, still has windows, and my area has a corner window, but I also lost the most space. Oh, and this is also most likely temporary. 6-9 months perhaps just like the other room. Yay! (that was sarcasm).
  • Australian teenage rugby players are a lot of fun to host as they travel to play teams stateside. Wait, make that *heaps* of fun to use their terminology.
  • When sharing a rental car on a long road trip, and a hotel room with your teenage son, you should probably not both eat chili in a bread bowl. Ever. From ANY source, but specifically not from the food court at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. FYI.
  • It sucks to be steamrolled. I was fired from a job for the first time ever and over something I did not do. I am no longer writing blog posts for Blogmutt. From their end, they seemed certain I had plagiarized an article. From my end, I pushed back many times since I had NOT. But, they have a zero tolerance policy on that topic (which makes sense from their business model standpoint) and unfortunately I happen to have experienced that their owner is not the most pleasant sport who gave me no benefit of the doubt for even a second. So I am done with that and at first I was going to pursue another paid writing gig, but then I thought better of it. I’m taking a break on that for now and only writing for fun because it did start to be a chore (and at only $8 an article and still taking me 30-60 minutes to write it wasn’t worth it).
  •  It is NOT a good idea to run during a Santa Ana heat wave. Not even a normally easy 3 miles on your local trail. 20oz of water consumed by mile 2.7 and I was struggling mightily.
  • It’s a Small World After All – oh wait…ear worm warning! I know, too late 🙂 A high school classmate emailed me because HER son is also going to UNM this Fall. It will be nice to know someone else there on drop off weekend!
  • Sometimes, you have to be a bit insistent that you are no longer a football liaison/volunteer. I’ve graduated. I don’t want the emails and no, I will not attend the continuing fundraiser planning meetings every week again this year. Say it with me again: I’ve GRADUATED! Tag, you guys are it. Happy to answer one off questions, not sitting in meetings anymore!
  • Be careful who you ask for a good recipe using fresh vegetables. Make sure you are asking a similarly minded, similarly time and money pressed mom who understands what teens will eat (or not). Otherwise you may get a suggestion such as this which I shall not be following since it involves a blender which I don’t have and am much too lazy to consider cleaning after use – I do appreciate that she includes frozen fruit though-  A for that effort, but can you tell she hasn’t had her first child yet?:

“I find that smoothies are an excellent way to get the younger lot to eat healthily. They disguise the vegetables perfectly! Fruit is an excellent way of masking the vegetable taste in a smoothie but it’s best to add in at least 50% veggies, especially the dark green ones as they are nutrient rich and will prevent the sugar highs. Try blending 2 cups of leafy greens with 2 cups of frozen bananas or frozen berries with 2 cups of plant based milk such as almond milk. You can actually make your own almond milk by blending 1 cup of almonds with 6 cups of water. Drain the milk through a nut bag”

 

  • No, I wont be making my own almond milk.
  • Since I wont be blending smoothies from scratch or making my own almond milk, or writing for anyone else, or attending football meetings, that means that I can instigate the Merry Merry Month Of May again! Aren’t you excited? I found a list of blog post ideas that I will surely ignore at least 1/3 of the time (No, I wont be making and sharing any craft ideas for Pinterest!) that should at least inspire me to write *something* semi-entertaining every day.

Home stretch

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I feel like my whole life this last 10 days has been hyper focused on getting me to tomorrow. Tonight, 17 & I went shopping for shirt/tie/dress pants for him. I am happy to report that he is not afraid of color! Also happy to report that after he was set free to meet his dad for dinner, I found a new top for me to wear tomorrow night that will not clash with the colors he chose when we are photographed together 🙂
Mostly I’m happy to report that the jersey repairs are done. My last preparation task is to pick up a gold marker to write in the name of the next Parent Spirit Award recipient on the bullhorn.
Also happy that I had some time to snuggle with cats before bed:

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It’s a Hard Knock (Volunteers’) Life

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For the new visitors who don’t know me, I have an insane habit of raising my hand to volunteer to help out my son’s sports teams/leagues even though I happen to already have a full time job and run a house with 2 cats & 2 sons all by myself.

My hand seems to go up without checking in with my brain when people ask “Can anyone help out with….?”

THIS though – this has to be the last year, right? Senior in high school – final football season and all that. I knew when I volunteered to be a co-parent liaison that it would take up most  all of my spare time.

And now the season is over, and there is just the year end dinner to coordinate. That did fall most heavily on me since the lead liaison had to travel for work this week. Fine – I knew what it entailed, and I was absolutely OK to juggle it all. I have spent quite a bit of time even at work exchanging emails with people and trying to get RSVP’s to the dinner and collect payments. 17 has been a huge help in collecting money from other players each day at school. We called him the Swedish Mafia Collection Agency 🙂 At this point all of the families know that I backup the other liaison when she is out of town, and I’ve done that 4-5 times now since June.

And yet….

This morning, I receive an email from someone asking me if a) I was already planning on getting the other liaison a gift and arranging with the coach for her to be recognized and then b) if not, could I please send out a message to the other families (minus the main liaison of course) asking for $10 to be handed in on the night of the dinner and then c) could I go out and buy a gift card or a nice card with the (anticipated) money collected?

(blink)

(blink)

Um, yes, I know this sounds petty and small, but…WHAT ABOUT ME?!!!

Did you not notice that I have been the one bombarding your inbox with updates on the dinner? Did you never pay attention to the other weeks when I was the one emailing team updates and asking for game day volunteers and soliciting donations for the team? Do you not remember that I have been listed as co-liaison all freaking year in every email sent out??!!

How about the other 55 families? None of you can lift a finger to figure out how to thank BOTH of us on your own?!!

Steam….out…my…EARS.

But…I took a deep breath, then politely replied that No, I had not had a chance to think of that, and yes, that is a great idea, but hey – since I’ve been covering for her all week could you PLEASE PLEASE handle the task of thanking her? I’ve still got to send in a final head count to the hotel with payment for the event after contacting the last 4 families who have been AWOL. Then I have to secure a place for Monday night for the senior moms to build shadow boxes for their players, then I have to finish gluing back on the missing letters on jerseys, then I have to log all the checks I’ve collected, then I have to pick up spirit wear from another mom to put together gift baskets for team support staff and coaches gifts, then I have to buy a fancy gold pen to write in the name of the next recipient of the Spirit Award bull horn that’s been in my house all year (gotta admit I’m gonna miss that thing!), then I have to take my player to buy a button down shirt and tie for the event….so NO, I cannot take on even ONE MORE task even one as important as thanking our liaison. Who DOES deserve all our thanks because after just this one week in her shoes (forget the other times I filled in), I am in AWE of her skills!!

PHEW!

OTOH, I have absolutely perfected my begging/pleading/cajoling/harassing skills via email, text and phone this week. Got *every* damn family to at least reply about attendance, secured payment from all but three families as of tonight but with arrangements made to get those tomorrow AND I got us a house for the Monday night gathering. SCORE!

Moving on….here’s a photo I had to take tonight of the teen for his official rugby ID:

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Tomorrow I get to watch his first match. At the edge of Ocean Beach. In the cold. And wind. And rain. Yippee…new sport?!!

NO – I wont be volunteering for anything more than helping to setup the field before home games!!

It’s quite the thankless job…good thing I do it for the boys, not the parents.

Scenes from the past week

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I’m taking an online writing course through Coursera and the assignments the last two weeks have been to describe scenes. We had to specifically use a certain number of sentences and parts of speech and such, but I thought “hey, since that’s the way I am thinking right now, why not share scenes?”

Seriously, just like when I first started on twitter and I found myself constantly thinking in 140 character bursts, this class has me thinking in “scenes”.

So…

Scene 1:

Thursday night, I came into the house after a day at work when I was thankful I did not take the head off of the temp employee working with me. Thankfully, I vented to the August moms group instead, took a deep breath and tried to come up with a more mature strategy for dealing with her than simply yelling “Shut the hell UP already!!” You see, she talks to herself. And not under her breath. For some reason that day she was super duper loud and all day long. I gave her a new lease to add to the database, and I swear to all that is holy, this woman read it OUT LOUD. Then she talked her way through highlighting the critical parts. I had my head phones on and was listening to music, and I STILL heard her. Anyway…the point is, I came into the house wanting CALM and QUIET.

Begin laughing now.

27 was in the throes of a cold bad enough that he was running a fever so I told him to get in his room, keep his germs out of my kitchen and just text me when he needed anything. 16 came home on day two of a slight shoulder strain from spring flag football practice and needed to hop back on the ice machine after a shower. I made dinner, fed the cats, and was just settling down on the sofa to watch TV with the ice bound teen when my phone rang. It was my friend who is acting as the main liaison for the football team. We had some forms we needed to finalize to present to the high school foundation board on Friday. She was updating them on her computer while we talked through the necessary edits.

At some point I was sitting on the foot of my staircase so that my talking didn’t disturb 16, when 27 texted that he needed ice water and then 16 stated he was done with the ice machine time. One on my left, one on my right and another in my ear, all needing something from me at once.

I couldn’t help but laugh.

Scene 2:

Tonight – oh, I had been looking forward to tonight for two weeks! At the pizza party a couple of weekends ago, I found out that the same guy who hosted the party conducts yoga classes for the neighbors on Tuesday nights. His garage is converted into a yoga studio, and it is a little slice of heaven. For 75 minutes I was stretching every tense muscle and breathing deeply and listening to calming music and, yeah, focusing kind of hard on learning how to do the poses properly, but at the end it was magical.

He turned the lights down, and there were these beautiful blue and green pinpoint lights floating against the dark ceiling like stars drifting across the sky. The music was even more mystical and calming than it had been during the class. He told us to focus on the parts of our bodies that had been stretched and opened up and…all I could do was lose myself in those twinkling lights. My breathing slowed as he instructed us to try and do, but it was just so wonderful to let my brain GO. I wasn’t sleepy – I’m still not – it was invigorating!  I was completely mindful of my breathing and focusing on the green dots. Who knows why staring at a colorful, starry, sky is so perfect for my brain to get it to slow down. It was the same sense of calm I get when I am on a ship, leaning over the back railing losing myself in the churning water as the boat moves through the open ocean. The brain stops firing in a gajillion directions and slowly brings it’s own waves down to the rythym of the water, or the moving lights.

Tuesdays are my new favorite days of the week.