Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Politics, as usual

Just to be clear, the Senate invoked a seldom used rule to silence a female Democrat in an objection to her objection to a pending nominee for Secratary of State. I think it's a little too early to have to wake up to this mess. But this seems to be the case daily. It's always too early to deal with a misogynistic response to someone pointing out racism. 

Here's another article, which also contains the  letter. 

Monday, February 06, 2017

The Not-so-amazing after all story generator

Because of the positive results I received regarding my writing aptitude, I have really been pushed towards exercising this muscle more again.  It prompted me to purchase a book called "The Amazing Story Generator," an example of one is pictured.   I thought that I could periodically flip to one, share the photo, and then write the very first steam of consciousness story that, well, gets generated.   I'm all set to do this starting immediately, and even came up with a formula to generate the randomness.  (Is it random if there's a formula?)
But this is the first story that generated and I'm already feeling like a failure.  In case there's an issue with the photo, the story idea is "After a bitter custody battle, a gold prospector meets the ghost of Ernest Hemingway."
I don't know anything about custody battles -- my parents made the mistake of staying together and I've never remembered to have children.  (Yes, I know that's okay - thanks,)  But I did see Kramer vs Kramer a long time ago and read "It's Not the End of The World" by Judy Blume, so maybe I can understand some custody battle stuff.  Like, I certainly get that it would be bitter.  I also don't know much about gold prospecting, nor do I care.  I've never understood how one could look at hills and decide if those are the "them thar hills" which house the gold.  And what does water have to do with gold?  If it's just floating in the river, then why can't anyone get it?  And then there's Ernest Hemingway.  Oh, Papa.  I read The Sun Also Rises in high school, though I didn't retain much of it.  Most of what I know about Papa is that his nickname was Papa, he was a big old drunk, had a lot of cats and didn't treat his first wife terribly well.  That last bit only surmised from having read The Paris Wife, which was loosely based on the true story of his first wife.

So, I might have to not be so rigid with only writing about the very first one that pops up, but perhaps one that may speak to me a scosh more.  And clearly, this may not be the very best blog topic since I didn't even get a story for your reading pleasure.  Plus, any story generated is probably going to be much longer than your attention span will allow.  But, perhaps I am misjudging your attention span, dear reader.

Tonight, I head to a local Democratic National Convention chapter meeting and sign up.  I assume I'll have something political to write about after that.  Or at the very least, something about awkward social encounters.  We'll see how it goes!



Sunday, February 05, 2017

Johnson O'Connor

Alina Myers, Kelsey Burke and me at Johnson O'Connor Research Foundation

As mentioned on Deactivation Day 1, I spent a few days in DC last week at the Johnson O'Connor Research Foundation undergoing aptitude testing.  These are the two women who have the awesome job of being aptitude testers and researchers and who were gracious (and amused) enough to take a selfie with me.  As I said in the previous test, I wasn't blowing any aptitudes off the charts, but I do have some strengths.  The two I can't stop obsessing over are ideaphoria and foresight.  Basically, I have an aptitude for coming up with a lot of ideas coupled with an aptitude for being able to see the big picture.  Which means all of those times that I threw big batches of ideas for how to improve my old department, I may have actually been within my wheelhouse.  Except no one would listen.  (Little fish, giant ocean.)  I got the results of my tests from Alina, and she encouraged me to pursue careers where I could possibly focus on one issue and coming up with solutions for it.  (World peace -- go!)
I'm not really sure what THAT looks like, but I like that a renewed focus on blogging gives me at least one outlet for this aptitude.  (PLUS, I finally figured out how to get some photos in here, so there will be a little bit more of a visual break.  Yay!)

It is hard to explain to people what the aptitude testing is and why I wanted to do it.  To be honest, it didn't really tell me anything that I didn't already know about myself to some extent -- particularly the things I lack an aptitude for.  (There is something called Memory for Design which basically directly explains why I cannot remember directions to save my life.)  It helped me to confirm that the things I have always wanted to do and strived to do are within my wheelhouse and why I am interested in doing them. It helped me embrace my strengths and forgive myself for the things I don't excel in.  

If you have the financial ability to send your children to do this, I HIGHLY encourage this. Sometime in high school is most ideal, but even in the first year of college.  It's going to help them get pointed in a direction of a career where they will likely feel fulfilled, and isn't that what it's all about?

Off to watch the second half of the stupid bowl --


Saturday, February 04, 2017

Untangling schwannomas

I have said repeatedly that I am breaking up with Facebook.  I'm going dark.  It's not you, it's me.  I even got a column published about this in The Princess Anne Independent News.  (Note, the article isn't there yet.)  But, the day I thought I had deactivated everything, I didn't.  Unbeknownst to me, I had a dangling chad keeping it from closing.  Ironically, that was a page I created for this blog so I could publish it there separate from my personal page.  Turns out, you can't have a website page without a personal page.  Ay caramba.  But, I delete that and then I deactivate!  As I'm deactivating, I notice that it says I can keep Messenger.  Cool, the people I talk to over Messenger (I'm looking at you Jersey Jert) will be happy to be able to stay in touch.  So, this morning I re-install Messenger and, again, unbeknownst to me, this actually re-activates my Facebook.  Again.  I read the fine print which says that people will still see you have a page and can contact you.  Well, I can't ghost Facebook if it still thinks I'm lurking around.

Breaking up with Facebook may actually be harder than divorcing my first husband.  And I had to do that through a little known law called divorce by publication.

Let me digress a moment...  You know I have a tumor condition that caused my hearing loss.  (There are old posts about it here and here.)  The tumors are called schwannomas and they are sticky and wrap themselves around nerves.  That's Facebook.  It's wrapped around every aspect of my life.

I knew that it was heavily entangled and I knew I was heavily entrenched.  But even I have failed to realize just how much.  During the days that I have been off, I have wanted to log in and see what's going on.  To share one-off thoughts I've had.  To share and react to news stories I had read.  To see the latest event invites.  To see baby photos.  Puppy photos.  Kitten photos.  Any more Biden memes left?

Have you ever broken up with someone and mooned over old photos and emails?  Yeah, uh, me neither.  But I hear that's what some people do and this is how it feels.  Only with 450 of my closest friends.  I broke up with 450 people.

Maybe that's why it's taking so long.  Maybe that's why it's so tangled.

I'm not sure how long I'm going to keep this up.  But it's kind of a fun experiment in self-torture.

hugs for now,

Thursday, February 02, 2017


We have come to a point where it is loyalty to resist, and treason to submit. -Carl Schurz, revolutionary, statesman, and reformer (1829-1906) 

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

I was talking to Scott on the phone tonight and he thought it was nice that Trump went and visited the family of the fallen soldier.  It is, it was.  If only it wasn't surrounded by all of this other shit.  And I guess this was tweeted before the leaked draft of “Establishing a Government-Wide Initiative to Respect Religious Freedom,”

This is exhausting.  

I just cannot understand how we live in a country that is so okay with stripping away so many people's freedoms.  It hurts my heart.  It's why I have such a hard time being okay with Trump supporters.  Republicans generically, I guess that's fine. I say because I want to believe that I understand your ideology.  But I don't.  I really don't.  
I'm not a Christian.  I'm not an atheist though.  I believe that there is a higher power or something greater than us, but I don't think It cares about us or is involved in our daily lives.  I don't even think it is a Being.  But the Universe didn't just "happen", there's some reason behind all of this.  I believe that.  But does that transcend into life after death?  No.  Not that I believe, but I do not know.  I cannot know.  They tell me that's a faith thing....

But here's the thing.  There are all kinds of different "faith things."  And every single one of those faith things thinks that their thing is The Thing.  Even within those faiths, there are different flavors of that faith that think their flavor of that faith is The Flavor.  If there is One Answer and One God, then how do you know its yours?  That faith thing, right?  Well, why is your god that you have YOUR faith in better than that guy's god or that other guy's god?  How do you know you have the right answer?  (From South Park -- "the correct answer was Mormon")

Now we have Donny taking away people's religious freedom.  We already knew he wanted to do that.  He said it on the campaign trail.  First he wants to ban as many Muslims from coming in to the country as he can.  Who knows what happens next?  History teaches us that it's not going to stop there.

Why am I fired up about this too when I don't even practice a religion?  Well, it is precisely because I do not practice a religion.  Maybe they come for all non-Christians next.  And the irony that there were Christians who came to this country fleeing religious persecution because THEIR flavor of Christianity wasn't in line with the popular flavor in the 1600 and 1700s should not be lost.  

Exhausted by all of this, people.  Exhausted.


Challenges of returning to blogging

     The thing I liked about Facebook is that every time I thought of something, I could post it and get your reactions.  I don't miss the reactions completely (I know you love me, why wouldn't you?) -- but I DO miss the immediacy of posting.  Even if it something quick that I am going to expound on later.  That option is now gone, especially since Google did away with the Blogger app.  Or at least the one for iPhone.  Apparently there are some other apps out there to try to close the gap, but there aren't many and they are not well rated.  I'm not sure if this means I will have to change blog platforms or what.  At this point, my plan is just to write and see if I even get into the habit of doing it daily before I go and export to other blogs or start over or whatever.  If I just drift off into non-writing again, then the point is moot, right?
     But, this also means that it is EXTREMELY difficult to upload photos here.  The photo link pulls from some obscure folder on my computer and I'm not quite savvy enough to figure out how to update all of that.  PLUS, again, I'm not sure how diligent of a writer I'm going to be, so why try to solve problems that may not even matter?
    Also, content.  You'll be shocked to note that I will likely be mostly left-leaning political.  That's just how I take my coffee, kids.  I don't want to get into Twitter feuds or whatever over the things I believe.  But -- I also don't want all of my content to just be straight up, "I'm so scared..." all of the time.  This is serving no purpose and why I felt compelled to leave.  (Although, I am actually so scared all of the time.)  Should I focus on just one issue that's important to me?  That's one of the pieces of advice you hear about how to keep your resistance up.
     Here's the thing...  I think I need to hear the news read from a deadpan announcer flat.  Just hear the bare facts of what happened that day and then try not to read it anywhere else or watch anything else.  Because, I am trying to wrap my brain around THIS idea:  When President Obama was first elected in 2008, this is how the other side felt. I do not believe it was to this extreme, because -- again -- he had the 4th highest approval rating of any president since they started rating these things on Inauguration Day.  Trump not-so-much.  So, perhaps the right wasn't quite so in fear of democracy being destroyed.  I mean, eventually they still had their way in doing everything they could to destroy it once they re-gained control of the Congress in 2010 but before that.  Was every news article they read about his first 100 Days just another cause for them to tear their hair and howl at the moon?  Did they really and truly believe that a free democracy would be completely undone by giving everyone healthcare?
     Or was it later -- was it the gays that upset them so much??  That has to be it.  They couldn't stand the idea of people who are gay being allowed to get married.  But then, that happened and the world didn't end.
    Maybe some of you are going to comment and tell me what it is about Democrats that bugs you so much.  Maybe you're not.  I know we have a reputation for big government and taxing and spending.  But, for all you know, that reputation could just be alternate facts.  I am a democrat for social reasons.  Until everyone is treated equally and it's the law that is practiced and just understood to be the right thing to do, then I'm going to continue to be a Democrat.  I am not sure why people care so much where someone wants to pee that they have to pass bills about it, but okay.  Let's figure this out. out.  If you are so afraid that someone could dress up like a woman just so they could go into a bathroom and molest a kid, then you should probably not let your kids go into bathrooms unattended.  Because that could happen now.  You're in luck - child molestation is SUPER illegal, so let's take that person down and leave the trans person alone to pee, k?
     I have said this again and again and again, if you do not believe in abortion, then do not get one.  Do not do that.  Keep all of your pregnancies and I hope that they turn into babies for you, I truly do.  I would NEVER force you to get an abortion.  But why do you care if someone else gets one?  Any woman who has struggled with infertility can tell you that not all fetuses turn into babies.  And there are plenty of women who have babies that they don't want and can't afford, and then you want to shame her for needing public assistance.  Oh, she shouldn't have "gotten herself pregnant" Senator?  Did she just magically do that on her own then?  Birth control is the sole responsibility of the woman, is it?  Then how come you don't want women to get access to free birth control?  You don't want her to get rid of an unwanted pregnancy, you don't want to help her prevent one AND you don't want to help pay for any of the astronomical costs of raising a child?  Yeah.  I'm gonna need you to explain to me about how this is pro life and not just pro getting all up in a woman's business.

Whew.  Okay.  I think I answered the content question.  And realized I'm starving....   Off to explore outside of my hotel...

Deactivation Day 1

There is a specific reason I chose February 1 as the deactivation day.  Actually, there are several.

When my mother was in end stages, February 1 was the day she officially decided to start taking small amounts of morphine to ease her pain and help her die.  It was the beginning of the end.  But, it was also the beginning of the phase of my life that most of us eventually must enter.  The one where we are the ones left without someone standing between us and death.  We have no parents anymore.  We are the end of the road.
      Yes, I know.  That sounds like a doomsday reason for a date selection.  It's not the only one.  Like I could ever just have ONE reason to do anything.  But, it is a date of some significance to me for that reason.
     February 1 (today) is also the first of a mini-break that is completely Heather-centric.  I am writing this from a hotel room in DC because I am here doing aptitude testing.  It's done by a research company that has been around forever called the Johnson O'Connor Research Foundation.  Years ago, my husband Scott did this testing and has mentioned it more than once through the years.  I always thought it was so fascinating how puzzles and games and problems could somehow tell you what you were going to be good at doing -- what you have an aptitude for.  But futher, I thought it was interesting that he did it so long ago and yet still remembered the information he received and how it could see it playing out in his current career.  I have always wanted to do this.  And now, my career is at a turning point.  The job that I current hold will no longer be around as that "department"* is closing.  I am being given several options regarding my future, and they are all generous.  I am trying to decide if I should stay or if I should go, in a nutshell.
     So, when it was announced that the department was closing, shortly after Scott and I were having Mexican at one of our favorite places and I opined that I wish I could take that aptitude testing that he took so long ago to figure out just what the heck I would actually be good at.  He pulled out his phone, beep boop bip and found this site in DC.  Through the magic of work scheduling and the benevolence of a fairy godmother, I have scheduled this testing and just completed day one.
    I won't go into the gory details of each test, but let's just say that I'm not blowing away any measure.  My researcher isn't pulling anyone from other rooms so they can study and observe my extreme magical prowess.  She's just constantly reminding me that there's no right or wrong, no good or bad.  We are who we are.  Yeah.  That's great and all, but I'm Heather Fucking Lee.  I need to be a rock star at something.  Can we just go ahead and find that please?  Thanks.
     And so -- the date was a good choice because I was going to be driving up here and then doing the testing....  Except, now I want to go on Facebook and reach out to friends for recommendations and nightlife and blah blah.  I want to read the daily rants and raves.  I want to tell everyone about this test and that they should schedule it for their kids.
     I didn't go cold turkey social media.  I still have an Instagram.  I still have a Twitter (though I only use that during Big Brother and during Presidential debates).  But those don't seem to be quite the time-suck that Facebook was.  I have slowly started adding some news apps to review, though I can't stay in them too long without feeling my blood pressure go up.
     Still.  I deactivated and I did not die.  I am still here.  As Jerseyjert reminded me, I had a life before Facebook.  (What she fails to remember is that she was probably one of the most instrumental in getting me ON Facebook in the first place, but that's another blog.)  I am progressing.  I am even getting an article posted about this leap in (shamless plug) The Princess Anne Independent News.
Breaking into two posts,


*(I do not like to discuss the specifics of my career here to keep my personal and professional life as separate as possible, particularly given the nature of my current employer.  Please note -- if you make a comment which mentions my company by name, it will be deleted.)

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