Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Sitting in the Passenger's Seat

Boy, no one can prepare you for this.  I can remember my own graduation as a kid.  It's all so exciting marching to Pomp and Circumstance wearing your cap and gown. Teary and elated, but now?  Oy vey, as a parent of two graduating seniors....There is no preparation for this feeling and what is ahead.  Proud of my two, oh yes.  Excited for what is ahead of them? Most definitely.  They are prepared to go off so I know that we've done a fairly good job.  I think that both have a sense of right and wrong, good values.  And truly, I couldn't be more proud of the people they are growing up to be, but...there is so much sadness too.  

The change, we, parents, are about to embark on is bigger than anything that I've ever experienced because I am sitting in the passenger seat for the first time.  I have to let them fly away and see the world.  If I ever felt like I am on the other side of the hill, this may be it.  This is not a pity party.  This is just all new experiences for us all.  I will definitely handle it differently than, say, my spouse.  I have devoted the past 25 years thinking about having children, struggling to have children, finally having children, watching them turn from infants to young adults, trying to teach them what is important in life (though not always feeling that I was successful there).  They are still evolving.  So am I.

This is a thrilling time and a very sad time.  Everything now is the last one. The last high school show.  The last art show.  The last choral performance. The last Class Rep meeting.  The last class. The last prom.  The last track meet. The last everything high school.  Yes, that's how it is supposed to be but experiencing it as a parent is a whole other ball of wax, that's all.  Though I don't have any sense that my parents felt that way at all.  Times were so different.  We are far more involved in our kids lives than our parents were that maybe their way was a bit easier to handle these changes.  I have no recollection of parental tears from anyone's parents in 1977.  Here, I know that there will be plenty of parents shedding tears, so I am in good company there.  Many of us will be facing empty nests when our kids go off for their next chapter.  I have thought about this day for four years and still don't know what tomorrow may bring.  

So, people, if you have any words of wisdom, if you have ideas, if you have any thoughts you want to share, I'll take them.  I know that I will be alright it's just a road not travelled yet and not sure how to get there.  

Please re-post, re-tweet or forward to a friend.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Haters Gotta Hate

If you had told me a few years ago, maybe even as recent as a month ago, that I'd be writing about the virtues of the Kardashians, I'd probably tell you when hell freezes over or when pigs fly, but...I'm here to tell the tale.  Listen,  I know there is so much hate for the Kardashians.  I'm guessing that most of the haters have never even watched one episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians ever.  The haters hate all the over exposure.  The haters hate that they seem like they have zero reason for fame.  The Kardashians symbolize the extreme celebrity craze with little talent.  Recently, an entrepreneur created an anti-Kardashian app so you can block anything Kardashian from your social media.  That's how hated they are by many.  

If it weren't for my daughter, I probably never would've tuned in to their show.  I, like the haters, judged them for all of the obscene amount of social media, tabloid articles, fashion magazines, etc.  It was too much and it all began with a sex tape.  Kris Jenner, the matriarch, took her daughter's 15 minutes of fame and spun it into a multi million dollar empire.  These women aren't dumb.  They aren't lazy.  They are a fiercely loyal and loving family.  They fight, bicker, make up, forgive.  You can see it all.  It honestly is not what you think it is.  I know the haters have never watched.

So, now the family is dealing with the most real life situation.  Their Dad, Bruce Jenner, is transgender.  Have you heard about it?  (wink, wink) Diane Sawyer did an incredibly raw two hour interview (really 80 minutes without commercials) a few weeks ago.  Now, it was the family's turn.  Keeping Up With the Kardashians was a two parter this week dealing with their own feelings about their Dad and husband.  It was honest, open, painful, funny, and an inside look to what families of transgenders go through. Bruce Jenner sat down with each of his girls and they asked many questions.  It wasn't easy to watch. I struggled watching.  I shed a few tears. This is very real.  

We have heard so many horrific stories about young transgenders with no support or compassion from family or friends ending their lives, tragically.  Trying to stop the pain.  Watching the Kardashian/Jenner process opens up all the conversations families must go through if they are trying to understand.  (The glaring omission in these on- air discussions is Rob Kardashian.  One can only imagine that this is just too much for him since he's been struggling with his own demons). 

So, here we are.  To all the haters, what if this is the Kardashians true calling?  What if we all had to suffer through all their publicity and attention seeking to get to this? What if, because we can watch the struggles of a family dealing with a transgender Dad, a life is saved?  Clearly, the love and understanding is far greater than many families would have, but there are many lessons of unconditional love here.  I have found this so unexpectedly moving. It really is an amazing development in America's most pre-judged and hated family.  Maybe the haters should try it.  You may learn something.

Sidebars:  The Voice is almost over.  Tonight's the finale.  They are all great.  With the exposure they've all had they are all winners.  The Bachelorette started their new season last night.  It begins with two bachelorettes and the bachelors get to vote for the one they want.  I hate the twist.  I know, it's the Bachelorette, but it takes the power away from the woman.  It denigrates them just a little bit more, when they should be in the power position.  Of course, no one ever learns from season to season or just life, someone got belligerently drunk.  Got kicked off night 1 by Chris Harrison. Good riddance. The NBA finals continue tonight.  Go Golden State Warriors!!!! Go Cleveland Cavaliers!  It's Tuesday. I hate Mayor DiBlasio more every day.  I didn't pre-judge. Enjoy!  :-)

Please re-post, re-tweet, or forward to a friend.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Distorted Capitalism

With all the terrible urban uprisings and murders,  There's been a lot of talk why such a huge percentage of young black men were filling up the jails for non-violent crimes.  Well, once again, I came to the conclusion, capitalism.  With the influx of privatized jails, there became a need to fill up the cells.  Now, clearly, I watch a lot of television and many law shows have shown the added corruption with kickbacks to help fill the jails.  I am not saying that's what is happening, but the corporations that own the private jails are making money hand over fist.  Jails are overcrowded and they have to keep building.  Is that the road we want to take?  Why in the world did anyone think that making jails a profit making business was a good path?  Isn't it antithetical to the desired outcome?  Don't we want less people in jails?  Are these jails helping anyone rehabilitate?  Get the inmates education?  Preparing them for their return?  Nah.  Just throw them back out on the street when their sentences are up and hope for the best.  It's a joke.  Seriously, a profitable business???  Hello?? Does that make any sense?

Another profit making business only good for the corporation...standardized test makers.  What a bloody racquet that is.  My kids have only had to take one test a year, but it wasn't really important to their progress in school because it's private school, but for all the kids that are in public's ridiculous.  The point is that the test making companies have found a huge well of money.  The students are getting robbed of a real education because more and more school districts and governments are relying on scores for a measure of learning and financial support.  It's a crime what is happening in schools.  It is restraining teachers creativity and students interest in learning.  

The other profit making tests?  The SAT and the ACT.  The must-do college entrance exams. Another joke.  I have no idea, unless you soar at standardized testing, how a 16 or 17 year old can do well on these tests without tutoring.  It is pouring so much money down the drain.  I never knew it was a billion dollar business until my nephews started going through the college process ten years ago.  All I could do is shake my head.  Colleges and universities should stop using them as a source of accomplishment.  It's not.  If you do great, that's great but it's after hours of studying and practicing, so what's that showing?  Isn't ones GPA and personal references more of a snapshot of the calibre of achievements?  What a waste of money.  I do know there are institutions that have stopped requiring the tests, but I would love to cut these companies at the knees and have all the colleges stop using them as a measure of success.  If your child goes to a bad testing site, that effects the outcome.  Not all sites are created equal, particularly in urban areas.  Some schools are old and have teeny desks, some schools are gloriously brand new with light and large desks.  It does matter.  So what kind of measure is it, really?  

These profit-making corporations are making money on the backs of vulnerable young people.  Does that make them heartless bloodsuckers?  Well, yes.  Why do we allow it?  There are so many companies making money on the vulnerable.  Don't get me started on healthcare and pharmaceutical companies.  Before anyone says it's Obama's fault, it isn't.  Healthcare has always been a problem once money got involved.  Pharmaceutical companies want to be repaid for all their research money invested.  That's fair, but isn't there a limit?  Maybe they should calculate all their expenditures and once repaid, costs can be reasonable.  I don't know. What I do know is that the older I get, the less pro-capitalist I become.  There has to be a better way, but I am not sure that we can put the genie back in the bottle (otherwise known as executives/shareholders).  You know how the song goes, "how you gonna keep 'em down on the farm, after they've seen Paree?"   

Sidebars:  The Voice is getting down to the semi-finals.  And then there were 5.  It was a shocking ending to Tuesday's results show.  Before we got to the end, they brought back past contestants from previous seasons to perform.  Seriously, I have watched each and every season, but for the life of me I only recognized two and one of those was last season's winner.  What does that say?  Well, it's already been pointed out year in and year out, that The Voice hasn't produced any lasting stars like American Idol. What The Voice does is bring you into the process, so sitting at home you can really learn from the judges.  No stars created yet other than the judges.  Dancing With the Stars has become so over-produced.  They have added too many professional back up dancers that it often detracts from the "star" couple.  NBA playoffs continue on.  Rooting loudly for Golden State Warriors and the Clippers!!  Come on!!!  San Francisco Giants and the New York Yankees must be surprising baseball lovers.  Both have started shockingly strong.  I know, I know, many more games until the post-season. Enjoy your day!  Don't take the ones you love for granted.

Please re-post, re-tweet, or forward to a friend.