264: Human….or not.

Some days, and under some circumstances, I am not human. This is embarrassing to me, because I pride myself on being pretty reasonable and rational…you know….human.

However, at the advanced age of fifty-mumble, mumble, mumble…..I have come to finally realize that yes, even I (who like to think I qualify as human all the time) do sometimes fall short of the mark. I get mad to the point of imbecility. Really retarded. Like, almost slobbering and drooling.

I am ashamed that I can get that mad.

At least it does not happen often, thank God.

263: Decisions, decisions

I am packing up my apartment in preparation to making a move to another country. The country I have been living in, Morocco, is cold – at least the part of Morocco that I have been living in. Most of Morocco is NOT cold, but on top of the Middle Atlas Mountains, where the little international school I have worked for during the last three years is located, it is cold. Bezeft (Arabic for ‘too much’). So, I have acquired blankets, coats, boots, galoshes, scarves, hats, gloves, sweaters and underwear that is appropriate for this climate.

I am moving to Panama, where my new job and school are located. Panama has a climate that  is 70’s at night and mid-eighties to low-nineties during the day. Every day. The only difference is if it rains. I will not use any cold weather stuff. So, I am having to pick and choose what to take and what to sell off to the used clothing store.

Plus, Morocco uses 220 volt electricity, and a special plug. Panama, due to its long association with the United States during the construction of the Panama Canal, uses 110 volt electricity and the US plug I am used to using. So, I am not taking any Moroccan electrical appliances to Panama, and am selling them off, too.

I had the local metal smith here make for me four shipping crates to ship belongings in. These hand-made METAL crates each cost me less than the CARDBOARD boxes I bought in America that I shipped my stuff to Morocco in. I kid you not. I am going to turn these crates sideways when I get to Panama and stick a wood top on them for my patio tables, or maybe I will use them in my art studio as worktables. Then, if I take another job in another country, I will already have my shipping boxes ready. If I stay in Panama, I will have four nice tables. Till I die – they will last forever.

Still, what will I take that will fit inside the four boxes I had made? What will I sell or give away? What can I replace at low cost, and what can I not get easily there that I should take with me? Do I keep (and ship) that gorgeous sweater even knowing I won’t wear it for at least two years, or sell it? What about that cashmere canary-yellow swing coat I adore, that I found at the souk for 10 dirham ($1.25 US)? And the over-the-knee suede boots?

*sigh*

262: Jokes

Jokes have fallen into bad repute lately. It seems that everyone is offended by any sort of joke there is, unless you count the really, really lame ones we used to tell in second grade, and even then……

I like to laugh. I had rather start any day with a laugh, particularly a Monday, but even on a Friday, things just seem to go better for me if I have had a laugh or two before I have to settle in for the work of the day. That’s why I always check my e-mail first. I understand that SOMEBODY has to be the butt of a joke. Sometimes it’s me,  and sometimes it’s you. It’s like that old adage that some days you are the pigeon, and some days you are the statue – it also works that way with a joke.

Lots of jokes are stereotypical. Stereotypes got established because there was some truth there. Whether that fact is difficult to hear or not is your problem. I can accept and live with that, even when the stereotype applies to me. As an American, Republican, conservative, Southern, Christian woman living in an Islamic country overseas, I get slammed with a lot of them. I understand where they are coming from, and I am not offended, unless it was the person’s INTENT to offend me, then they are just stupid, sad and pitiful, and I usually chuckle ruefully at the silly person they are, and let it go. Life is too short, ya know?

None-the-less, I like jokes. I like to hear them, read them and tell them. Besides, I’d rather laugh off insults and start my day right with a good joke.  So THERE.

261: To All Parents From a Teacher (and a parent, too!)

I am a teacher. For over twenty years, I have been performing this job. It is a calling, yes, but it is also a job. I have learned that usually, not always, mind you, but usually it happens that when I am having trouble with a youngster in class and schedule a conference with their parents, that about 10 to 15 minutes into that meeting, I have to restrain myself from saying, “Excuse me, but this conference is now over. Now that I have met you, I understand exactly why I am having so much trouble with your child.”

Notice I said restrain myself, because that phrase is not one that is particularly recommended, although it is often true. It only makes sense, and it is not meant to be hateful or sarcastic, but instead to be a genuine reflection of the truth.

My child is of my genetic make up. My child is raised in my home, with the other half of his/her genetic make up (at least in my family). There are issues that I, as an adult, still struggle with for myself. There are issues that my spouse, this child’s other parent, still struggles with as an adult – most other adults I know have the same report to make about themselves, as I know very, very few perfect people. SO – here is the clincher: How am I supposed to mold and teach my child to overcome the issues that I, myself as an adult, am still struggling over?????? If I am still trying to overcome this issue myself, how is it that I am supposed to help guide my child to overcome it, too??? This is only logical!!

This is why parents and teachers are a TEAM to help educate and socialize a child. I hope that my child’s teachers might HAVE conquered the issues I struggle with, and can act as a role model for my children in the areas I am weak on. Perhaps they can learn from the teacher what I am not good at teaching them myself – at least I hope so!

260: Ishmael

This is a book, not a diatribe about the Muslim side of the Jewish family of Abraham/Ibrahim. Ishmael is a wonderful story that is far easier to read than Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring.” Ishmael is a gorilla who teaches his human student (yeah, I KNOW) all about how things came to be, and why humans are captives of our Mother Culture. If you can get past the novel’s premise (takes some doing) the persuasive essay that is this book is a pretty good one.

Everybody knows intellectually that we humans are doing a lot of destruction to the planet we live upon and share with countless other species, sentient and not. We already know this, whether you believe in Global Warming or not, as a theory. We ‘know’ this, in exactly the same way that a chain-smoker ‘knows’ that cigarettes stand a pretty good chance of killing you, we ‘know’ we are doing damage to the planet. And we ‘know’ this, and do absolutely nothing to help, and continue doing lots of harmful things.

This is not a diatribe against living a good life, either. I ALSO hate those people who decry harming animals while they are standing in their leather running shoes, wearing their leather belts, and kicking around their leather footballs, basketballs, soccer balls (etc), and eating their hamburgers or bacon and eggs. If you are going to preach, your hands need to be clean, people.

What I am saying is that deciding to help save the planet your feet walk upon is an individual choice, that probably should also be backed up by villages, municipalities, towns, cities, states, provinces, regions and nations – but probably won’t be. Each human walking needs to understand the mathematical concept of exponential change. I KNOW, math, ugh, but bear with me, people, and consider:

Start with one. One becomes two. Two becomes four. Four becomes eight, and then sixteen, and then thirty-two, and so forth, until finally, after admittedly a very slow start, we humans all come to realize that our planet is worth saving, and we start living like we know this fact. We “put out our last cigarette,” and we start living our lives like we actually do ‘know’ this fact.

259: Stop pursuing happiness: catch it

America is real big on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. From the get-go, it’s like they know nobody is going to catch it, we are just forever doomed to pursue it. Well, I don’t buy that. I think the reason that most people are forever chasing happiness is because they have no freaking idea what on this green and blue Earth would actually make them happy. So, they run around in circles, trying on this one for size, rejecting it, and then trying out another one, etcetera, etcetera.

No wonder so many people are not happy: you have to know what works for you before you even have a fighting chance of catching it. Stop doing the urgent things long enough to really focus on the important things, and do some personal research into just what makes you happy. Then, when you go after it, you’ll stand a decent chance of making it happen. (Hint: it isn’t money).

258: Trust and Honor

Trust and honor are words.

They reflect ways of thinking and acting ethically

even when others don’t.

Trust can be killed –

and when it has been, resurrecting it

is a miracle of time and hard work.

Honor cannot be killed.

It can be betrayed

Portrayed

as true when it is not.

Both trust and honor are earned

by those who revere them

and betrayed

by those who don’t.