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Another July 4th! 2019

2 Jul

The 4th of July is a great holiday because it is not necessary to buy presents to show love. It is not difficult to decorate. You really only need a flag. And failing that, you can wear red, white, and blue clothes. That will show your support and keep you from running around naked at the same time!

I am a proud American. A patriot. And that is out of favor with some people these days. Sadly patriotism has been linked to all sorts of bad things, like White Supremacism and somehow, racism? How did this happen? It is horrifying to me to see people turning their backs on this country even at the same time that thousands of refugees and seekers of a better life are trying with all their might to enter it.

This great country has given everyone the freedom to criticize it. And there are no limits to their criticism. But sometimes I wish we could send all these ungrateful people to a third world country just for the weekend. That is probably all the time that they would need to understand. The biggest freedom of all is that ANYONE can rise to any height in this country, and no one will even think it is strange. That is what we do here. We rise, we fall, we have freedom of choice. In spite of all the bad press, we really do NOT have a class system in the United States. You are free to move up and down the scale.

Now it is full summer, and though the weather has been changeable and full of storms. It is sweltering now. Sometimes so hot that you wish you didn’t have to wear clothes at all. My mind is on heat because I am writing this in the middle of the day in my Mother’s house. She is so old that she likes it to be very warm. This house has never been air-conditioned, and it is hot and sticky everywhere inside it. But she is happy.

The rest of us run around fanning ourselves and hiding out in an air-conditioned bedroom as long as we can. Turning fans on and then off when Mother is near. Even the “draft” from a fan is too much for her.

She does not really understand that the 4th of July is nearly here. She has experienced her share of them and more! The changes she has seen in her 101 years of life include the Great Depression, the Second World War, the cold war and the civil rights movement and the assassination of a President and several other leaders. The rise of terrorism and the destruction of the Twin Towers along with the dot.com boom and bust have all happened in her old age. And yet she perseveres and continues to dress in her colorful finery with polished fingernails, and toenails. She wears lipstick to breakfast. She no longer really understands the words in the Daily papers. But she can read those words without using glasses. This is something I, her daughter have not been able to do in years.

Happy 4th of July!

Copyright©. 2019 Bonnie B. Matheson

Care-givers, I hear you!

23 May

Families are full of quicksand, especially as the children grow up, marry and have families of their own. They all develop in different ways. What is important to one branch means nothing to another branch. They may be in direct conflict. There may be a sense of closeness with one or the other group and an impossible distance with another.

Conflict can erupt when the aging parents or remaining parent become truly old and no longer able to care for themselves. In most cases, it is the mother who outlives the father and ambles into old age, illness or dementia on her own. Then it becomes apparent which of the siblings is a caregiver and which ones are not. It seems that typically one child is local and others far away. But of course, this varies.

In nearly all families with more than one child, there is one local and one far distant. The one who “flies in” is generally full of ideas about what the local sibling should be doing. Or worse they fuss about what has already been done. They complain and suggest and disrupt the routine and then, they fly away. It may be many months before they repeat the pattern.

In the meantime, the local sibling may have moved nearby or into the house with the mother. This is because it is the only way the mother can remain there in comfort and safety. Some caregiver children do it all by themselves. Some have part-time helpers. Others need to be supervisors for the 24/7 caregivers and other help. Some parents live in assisted living, some in their own apartments or houses. Others need help taking care of a large property in the way it needs to be taken care of.

That sibling who is nearest or living with the parent may feel slightly or not so slightly irritated by circumstances. The fact is that the far sibling sometimes expects compliance and gives no real appreciation to the one whose life is completely given up to caregiving. The away sibling may exhibit behavior indicating contempt for the one who is there all the time. Believing them beneath consideration, or deserving scorn. This speaks a great deal about their character.

caregiving
Caregiving

People do not respond well to being treated that way. Thankfully most people are very supportive and value the contribution of the stay at home sibling. It is certainly nice to be appreciated and those who give up their lives to care for a parent are actually being very heroic even if they can’t see it themselves. Not everyone could or would do it. It is a strange existence. And in the best of worlds, all the siblings understand this and help each other out.

Copyright©. 2019 Bonnie B. Matheson

Meditations

14 May

I was at an elegant dinner party recently where I met an interesting young man named Devron Johnson.  He spoke with such good sense about the world today, we have continued our discourse.

He emailed me about his writing, asking for suggestions for staying focused (Haha!!! I am not focused most of the time, but I have learned some tricks.)

“I have been studying the Philosophy of Stoicism and the teachings of Marcus Aurelius since I was in middle school…Maybe this is why I tend to see things without too much emotion and clouded judgement.” He said.

Marcus Aurelius, I should have known! Devron is an intellectual. He has an open mind, it is splendid to see such in a young black man of the 2000s.

(Especially in the era of Black Lives Matter, because those people do not appear to read anything except violent, angry material. What interests them are attacks against white people who really are not nearly as prejudiced as themselves.)

The Meditations are marvelous. Perhaps it would be helpful to young people if some schools or parents or police or some form of authority, tried to forbid kids to read about the Stoics. Certainly, Meditations is seditious information because by using it for instruction a man can control himself and therefore he can control others (especially if they have not read it). Perhaps if it were forbidden they would flock to read it and learn some of the greatest lessons ever taught.

Sigh.

Not going to happen, but I am impressed that he read Marcus Aurelius in middle school.  He must have had a mentor or a really good teacher or divine help with his reading. (I am only partly kidding about the Divine help.)
Here is a link to his blog: https://knwhre.wixsite.com/mysite
“As for the not playing victim. Being a victim or playing victim will never help or improve anybody or any situation. I think that is the problem for a lot of millennials (my generation), and ethnicities (specifically Black people) who were once oppressed. Yes there is still racism, sexism, classicism, etc. However, there has been a lot of improvement and it should not be used as a crutch today. “ he added.

I agree with everything he said about victimhood.  Not useful.  And anyone who sees themselves as a victim gives power to the thing or entity by whom they feel victimized.

It is NOT the same thing but there is still some discrimination against women. I have been privileged my entire life and yet even I have experienced it.

And then, of course, there was the sexual harassment which we all grew up with in my time. It was not even remarked upon.  It was just ‘the way it was’.  But most women had their ways of combating it.  Most women were not as downtrodden as young women today appear to believe we were. 

Women stuck together.  Women basically controlled the family, even though the man might bring home the money.  Women raised their sons and daughters and a lot of men practically worshipped their mothers.  Women did OK for the most part.  

It is only NOW when they are educated and independent that they seem to feel like such victims. They have become whining snowflakes. It is unbecoming, to our sex. I have absolutely NO patience with it.  Women are NOT second class citizens. They never were even before we had the vote.  We had our ways.  We have always been able to run circles around men. We think differently. It is a gift or perhaps it is evolution. We have evolved for survival’s sake to know how to protect ourselves and generally get our way.

Copyright©. 2019 Bonnie B. Matheson

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