Precision of Language

Earlier this week, I declared via Facebook that I would be taking a Facebook Sabbatical for the next two months or so. My pro-Hillary friends, for the most part, appeared to assume I was only “going dark” because Hillary would be spanking Trump in the election for POTUS (I am very openly conservative and, while Trump was never my choice for President, I would be voting for him to protect America from the insidious Clinton machine). I explained that my hiatus had nothing to do with the election – but with desiring to be more present for my family, friends, and clients – and that I would deactivate my Facebook page regardless of who won on November 8, 2016. I told everyone to message me if they need my telephone number for future contact and said I would be shutting down November 9, 2016 as soon as my morning court was over.

That brings us to this morning. It seemed all over Facebook people were commenting on the election from the wee morning hours and throughout the morning. No surprise there. However, I noticed a trend from many liberal “Facebook Friends” (FF’s) that they were ashamed to be Americans (some used the word embarrassed) this morning because Trump was elected President. There was also a lot of hate speech about how people who voted for Trump were voting for bigotry, racism, misogyny, sexism, etc. (Because clearly that’s the ONLY way Trump could have won). I ignored the hate speech because, frankly, as a conservative I’m used to people calling me names instead of arguing facts when I don’t agree with everything they say. BUT, the “ashamed/embarrassed to be an American” part was really sticking in my craw. Then I was point blank asked by a friend why people would write such things; i.e.: she understood being disappointed, but ashamed to be an American because of an election?

I decided to answer her question with my own thoughts on that specific group of liberals who were ashamed to be Americans this bright November morning. I wish I’d thought to copy what I’d written so I could simply reproduce it here, but I cancelled my account and then decided to write this post later. C’est la vie. In a nutshell, I stated that I believe there is a fundamental difference between people who believe as I do and people who would write that they were ashamed to be an American. That people who are truly ashamed differ in that they don’t love America in the same way that I do. That they believe America was flawed from day one, unfixable, and essentially needs to be changed from the inside-out (I also wrote to my fellow conservatives not to take any shit about slavery because the Constitution includes all of the Amendments – so no, Whoopie Goldberg, following the Constitution doesn’t bring back slavery). I wrote that people who claim to be ashamed of America this morning don’t fully understand, in my opinion, what it this Constitutional Republic means to the world or what it really means to be an American. And then, to make sure it was clear that I was not referring to people who were disillusioned, or upset, or even embarrassed or ashamed of THIS ELECTION RESULT, I gave the example that when Obama was elected I was disappointed, devastated, you name it. I was worried he would try to circumvent the Constitution any time it was inconvenient. BUT, I was NEVER ashamed to be an American. At the close of my post I said something to the effect of, if these people truly love their country and believe that their way is the right way, then they should be saying what I was prepared to say if Trump lost: the fight for liberty continues.

Compared to the racist/bigot/sexist lingo used by my political counterparts, I thought this was fairly benign and directed at only those liberals that were actually ashamed/embarrassed to be Americans this morning. Well, according to some liberal friends (that the post, if read as written, would not have applied to) I was “speaking for liberals,” I was claiming to be better than everyone else, I was being disrespectful, you name it. Some of these attacks came from people I care about and respect – people with whom I’ve had countless political discussions about our differences and never suggested I was better than they were. Of course, the comments were directed at my supposed attack on anyone not happy with the election results – again, that wasn’t anywhere in my post. But I think people have a tendency to read into and digest what fits a certain narrative in their head. I’ve been guilty of that myself.

I then received a text message from a liberal friend of mine who is not on Facebook, but whose liberal wife showed him my statement. Revealing this discussion (with text typos corrected) may illustrate the frustration I often have with having a meaning read into something that was clearly stated a particular way. I generally write what I mean and mean what I write.  [Brackets are my thoughts – parentheses were used in the actual texts]. For my amusement, my friend will be called MicroAgro:

MicroAgro: Wife showed me your Facebook post about liberal embarrassment. Pretty hot takes, and no mention of the fact that the guy we elected is a FUCKING ORANGE REALITY TV STAR. Seems like a reasonable ground for embarrassment. I’d be equally embarrassed if Trump got elected as a democrat. Who’s your audience?

Me: Then you didn’t read the entire post. It was in response to those claiming to be embarrassed to be AMERICAN because of this election. I have no qualms about being embarrassed that people voted a certain way or even to feel devastated. I was devastated when Obama won. I was not embarrassed to be an American. Read with your eyes, not  your emotion. People who are embarrassed to be an American because of this election have a very shallow concept, in my opinion, of what being an American means. I said the same thing to anyone claiming to be embarrassed to be an American when Obama won. Interesting enough, I only had one conservative friend make such an absurd statement when Obama won. There have been at least 20 liberal FF’s who have claimed the same since Trump won.

MicroAgro: [Walking his outrage back in my opinion – he doesn’t agree]: But isn’t there a difference between saying “I’m embarrassed to be an American right now/at this moment/this morning (since we just chose to have a clown lead our country)” and saying “I’m embarrassed to be an American as a general matter/always/permanently”? Isn’t most embarrassment temporary?

Me: I don’t think there is a difference. They could be embarrassed FOR the country, but not OF it. That’s my opinion. I don’t think it’s shocking. To actually be embarrassed to be an American has greater implications to me than to people that thoughtlessly throw out words with no thought for their meaning. But I think your point again was you’re always right, I’m always wrong. Par for the course.

MicroAgro: I don’t think what you wrote was shocking, but you seriously oversimplified a very complex issue. You haven’t done that in our private texts, which makes me think your Facebook post was intentionally inflammatory. Sort of like your talk radio guys do. You trying to get a foot in the door?

Me: I thought my post was benign compared to all the liberals posting about all the bigots, racists, sexists, and misogynists that voted since that’s clearly THE ONLY WAY Trump could have won.

MicroAgro: People weren’t embarrassed when Obama got elected because he’s not a reality TV clown.

Me: I was horrified by the “couldn’t even finish one term senator who’d never run anything in his life.” Many people were.

MicroAgro: No matter how you slice it, it is very embarrassing that our country got to a point that a guy like Trump even had a prayer of getting elected.

Me: I think it was embarrassing that both of these jokers were all we had to choose from. Still not embarrassed to be an American.

MicroAgro: I think a more honest post from you would have explained the distinction between being embarrassed by our choice(s) and being embarrassed to be an American as a general matter. But a more honest post wouldn’t be as provocative. I get it.

Me: I did. In my post. You didn’t fucking read it! I even gave the Obama example to clearly illustrate my point. You only read what fit your narrative.

MicroAgro: I did read it.

Me: And the commentary? Then how can you not see that I already did what you claim I should have done?

MicroAgro: Bullshit. Nowhere in your post did you acknowledge that you were in any way embarrassed or that any type of embarrassment would be acceptable [not accurate]. You were very clearly saying that people who are embarrassed this morning are un-American. A very talk-radio thing to say.

Me: People WHO ARE EMBARRASSED TO BE AN AMERICAN. I said what I meant.

MicroAgro: You left out a very important caveat, the one you acknowledged to me both last night and this morning. Some embarrassment is acceptable. But including that would have made the post less blustery. Not good for your audience. I understand.

Me: Embarrassment WITH THE ELECTION not with being an American. Your reading something into what was clearly written in black-and-white. And then tried to back pedal your outrage by essentially saying I should have explained it more. I thought Trump voters were the dumb ones and the Hillary supporters were the most intelligent people on the planet. But they need a little more explanation? Reading comprehension must no longer be taught in school. Also, I don’t have a specific audience. Earlier this week I said that I would be shutting down my Facebook page this morning, which I did.

MircroAgro: There is an obvious difference between being embarrassed this morning (“oops, we just did something stupid”) and being permanently embarrassed (“we’re stupid, always and forever”). Again, I understand why you left that subtlety out of your post, but it’s still troubling. No back peddling. I said the same thing in my second text to you today.

Me: You’re making an assumption that they were only embarrassed (this morning) to be an American (which I’m having a hard time believing you actually believe). And considering most used the word “ashamed” instead of embarrassed lends credence to my interpretation of THE ACTUAL WORDS THEY USED instead of giving them the benefit of the doubt. To use your suggestion, maybe they should have explained it more. Precision of language.

MicroAgro: If you really took them to mean “embarrassed generally” rather than “embarrassed this morning,” that’s an unfortunately skeptical way of looking at things [so now I’m wrong for thinking those people meant what they wrote?] If I said, “I’m embarrassed,” would you take that to mean that I’m permanently embarrassed or just temporarily embarrassed by something that just happened? But I obviously understand why you wouldn’t want to give “liberals” (because only liberals are embarrassed by Trump, right?) the benefit of the doubt. Easier to just assume the worst.

Me: If you said, “Holy shit! I’m embarrassed that I got so drunk I walked head first into a stop sign and rolled down a ditch,” then yes, I would clearly read that to mean you were embarrassed by that specific event. If you wrote that “I’m embarrassed that people would elect an orange reality TV show star for president,” then yes, I would read that you were perhaps temporarily embarrassed. BUT, if you wrote “I’m embarrassed to be an American” and then followed that statement up with references to bigots, racists, sexists, and misogynists, I would not interpret that to mean a temporary state of mind.

MicroAgro: Obviously not. Then you couldn’t write antagonistic Facebook posts intended to foment hatred of liberals.

Me: Only liberals that don’t know what words mean.

 

 

 

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Resilient World

“When it comes to the future of the planet – distinct from humanity – it’s also worth pondering the wisdom of the late great philosopher (and comedian) George Carlin:

‘The planet will be here for a long, long, LONG time after we’re gone, and it will heal itself, it will cleanse itself, ’cause that’s what it does. It’s a self-correcting system. The air and the water will recover, the Earth will be renewed, and if it’s true that plastic is not degradable, well, the planet willsimply incorporate plastic into a new paradigm: the Earth plus plastic. The Earth doesn’t share our prejudice towards plastic. Plastic came out of the Earth. The Earth probably sees plastic as just another one of its children. Could be the only reason the Earth allowed us to be spawned from it in the first place. It wanted plastic for itself. Didn’t know how to make it. Needed us. Could be the answer to our age-old egocentric philosophical question, ‘Why are we here?’ Plastic…assholes.'”

~The Paleo Manifesto, John Durant, (Harmony Books, 2013) 289.

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Public Service Announcement: BETTAS

It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything. Much has happened, including my father passing away December 19, 2013 after a nearly 4 year battle with pancreatic cancer. One day I’ll write about him, but today is not that day.

1.5 weeks ago, I thought it’d be a grand idea to buy my daughter a little betta fish. Now, Isla is 3 years old so I understood that there would be MUCH parental supervision involved. In our area of the world there aren’t any betta breeders (that I’m aware of) so we made the short trip to PetSmart. Isla picked out a beautiful blue and red betta. I then purchased the typical one gallon “betta kit” marketed to parents with young children all over the country. Yay us, right? Not so much.

We get Goofy home. I follow all the directions for setting up his tank: start with room temperature water, use water conditioner to make the tap water safe for the betta, rinse everything off (including the inside of the tank and the rocks) with water (NO SOAP!) before putting everything together. We gently slid Goofy into his new home. He seemed happy.

In order to be a good fish grandma, I decided to look up more information on bettas. Wouldn’t it have made sense to do that before, you ask? Nobody likes a know-it-all! The fish was a bit of an impulse purchase; which I think, unfortunately, happens to a lot of parents. So, two days into Goofy’s tenure I started researching bettas. What follows is a summary of my almost immediate descent into becoming a crazy fish lady. I didn’t know such people existed, nor that I had the propensity to become one. Nevertheless….

I quickly learned that bettas should be in a minimum of 5 gallons of water. HEATED water. With a filter. AND, you should only use real or silk plants, not the crappy plastic ones they sell in the store. Crap! Goofy, I’m so sorry! I ran to Wal-Mart (which was the only place open so late at night) and purchased a heater, filter, 5 gallon water tank, and some silk flowers. The only silk flowers available at Wal-Mart were attached to a large rock formation that wouldn’t fit in the 5 gallon tank. I ripped the flowers off at home and used fishing line to tightly tie the silk flowers to a rock. The tank was gorgeous except for a crack in the side. I did what any other highly educated mother would do at 11 PM at night. I duct-taped it! Thank goodness I put the tank on a towel. Guess what? Duct-tape apparently doesn’t work when it’s wet. I learned that the next morning when the towel was soaked, the tank water was an inch lower, and my husband was hyperventilating from laughing so hard at me.

Did I do the fiscally responsible thing and return the 5 gallon tank? Nope. I just went back to PetSmart at bought a 10 gallon tank, another bag of rocks, and a thermometer. PetSmart had a horrible selection of betta friendly fake plants (I didn’t feel up to the task of using real flowers yet). The Petco down the street had a lot of silk flowers to choose from.

Goofy was living in a 10 gallon betta paradise. He was so happy! Whoever said bettas aren’t the most active of fish, probably had their fish in a 1 gallon tank. Goofy was swimming back and forth like a ballerina. I was feeling pretty impressive with my new found betta knowledge. So much so…that I bought a betta for my office: Atticus Fish. Atticus is a deep blue beauty who was also treated to a 10 gallon betta heaven.

The more I thought about it, the more annoyed I was at the big chain pet stores for marketing beta bowls to unsuspecting parents. Granted, they probably wouldn’t sell as many bettas if people knew they had to fork out the funds for a larger tank, heater, filter, etc. but they’re a pet store. Don’t they care about the quality of life for the fish they sell? Or because they’re fish they think it doesn’t matter? I guarantee if I’d put our old 75 pound American Bulldog in a crate made for a Shi Tzu, animal control would have been on my butt for animal cruelty (and rightly so) in a heartbeat! In this case, it’s publically accepted that most bettas are kept in tiny, dirty, unfiltered, and unheated water.

That’s why my (slightly) addictive personality revved its’ engine. I felt like I needed to SAVE THE BETTAS! I purchased two five gallon tanks and added Boo Radley to my office and Rocco to my bedroom. Boo Radley’s tank is a really cool chi-something or other with real plants!

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I continued to add to my betta knowledge and purchased the siphoning equipment to clean the rocks in the four tanks on a weekly basis and some water testing strips. A week went by. The fish seemed happy; although both Rocco and Boo Radley were less active than the other two. I’d read that I should keep the tanks clean to avoid the bettas contracting “fin rot.” I knew I didn’t have to worry about that because I had the coolest, cleanest tanks, right? WRONG! I decided to look up what fin rot looked like so that I would recognize it should one of the fish get it. Guess what? ALL four of the fish had some level of fin rot ranging from mild to moderate. I couldn’t believe it. It turns out they didn’t get it from anything I’d done – they’d all had it when I purchased them! Unbeknownst to me, virtually all bettas sold in the big chain pet shops have some form of fin rot from being kept in those tiny, dirty cups. Egads! I was ticked off all over again. Below is a picture of Boo Radley. You can tell where the fin rot is if you look at the dark (dying) edges of his fins and the places where it seems like the edges are almost torn.

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Now all four of the fish are being kept in separate quarantine tanks while I’m treating their fin rot with aquarium salt. I’m through day 3 of a 10 day treatment program. The poor guys! I’m still cycling and cleaning their tanks while they wait it out in the smaller q-tanks. My co-workers have asked if I need a fishervention🙂 There’s many places online where you can find out how to treat fin rot; this is the information I used: http://bettasplendid.weebly.com/fin-rot-101.html

I think the next time we buy a betta, I’m going to assess the fin rot that will (most likely) be present and immediately put them in the aquarium salt quarantine; this will allow its’ new home to be cycling while the fish is being treated.

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God’s Wife

Morning Story and Dilbert

A little boy, about 10-years-old, was standing before a shoe store on the roadway, barefooted, peering through the window, and shivering With cold.

A lady approached the young boy and said, ‘My, but you’re in such deep thought staring in that window!’

‘I was asking God to give me a pair of shoes,’ was the boy’s reply.

The lady took him by the hand, went into the store, and asked the clerk to get half a dozen pairs of socks for the boy. She then asked if he could give her a basin of water and a towel. He quickly brought them to her.

She took the little fellow to the back part of the store and, removing her gloves, knelt down, washed his little feet, and dried them with the towel.

By this time, the clerk had returned with the socks.. Placing a pair upon the boy’s feet, she…

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A Brother Like That

A Brother Like That.

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Unexpected blessing

So, it’s a horribly crappy, snowy day today in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It was looking really bad after court this morning…basically a white-out as far as I could see. My first thought was, “Darn, when will Spring show up? I’m sick of this weather!” But, then I smiled to myself and decided to be grateful for today’s bad weather. My daughter wasn’t feeling well yesterday and with the bad weather today, her class will not go outside. This is good news! With how crappy she felt yesterday, the last thing she needs is to be outside in the cold for recess (the daycare has a rule that unless the weather is bad or it’s below 0 degrees, they HAVE to take the kids out for 10 minutes). So, in a nutshell, the bad weather today was a blessing in disguise🙂 This is the day the Lord has made! Let us rejoice and be glad in it…no matter how snowy outside🙂

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Cauliflower Lasagne

Amazingly delicious – even better the next day!

Popular Paleo

It’s fairly obvious that I really love Italian comfort foods. Paleo has challenged me to swap the gluten and gooey cheesiness for fresh veggies and lots of spices. This stuff tastes just as good as the traditional recipes, but as one of my best friends says, eating this way makes you want to lick your plate and go back for seconds as opposed to feeling bloated and hating yourself after the meal.

Because Paleo is a grain-free experience, many of us Paleo bloggers try to concoct palatable alternatives for you. Zucchini noodles, gnocchi, tapioca and almond flour crusts… Surprisingly, you can enjoy your grain-based Italian favorites with a few smart tweaks and substitutions to eliminate the stuff that tear up your gut.

This week I played with using cauliflower as a lasagne noodle. It worked! This lasagne is completely grain-free and dairy-free. I layered it with spinach and a simple…

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