Finding Peace in 2020

It’s late Sunday morning, and I am sitting at my dining room table. My husband is in our little ‘reading nook’ that we created in our living room reading a book he was given this Christmas with sunlight pouring through the windows over his shoulder. On the Sonos speakers is Metallica, which makes me smirk because not 20 minutes ago the strains of a jazzy guitar and piano echoed through the room… a nod to the eclectic taste of music that fills this house on a regular basis. I look out the open windows through to our backyard, over the grass and into the preserve that is filled with tall grass and a field of trees – some with leaves and pine needles, some without – and I find myself with a quiet mind.

It’s a rare thing these days to have a mind that is peaceful and quiet. Usually, it runs rampant with the thoughts of things I need to get done for work or at home or about my family. A million thoughts a nanosecond, phone in one hand and a venti non-fat mocha, no whip, in the other while walking as fast as I can to the next meeting, office, phone call, whatever. The chaos of working in a fast-paced world of instant information where if you didn’t have the information 5 seconds ago, you’re already too late can be draining on a thousand different kinds of levels and that’s before you add in the trolls, the haters, and the nay-sayers.

So here I sit, Metallica screaming through the speakers at a level much louder than it probably needs to be, looking over a living room now sans Christmas decorations with a husband deep into a book about World War II and still trees outside windows with sunshine filtering in simply… being.

There are things that we sometimes forget to do to take care of ourselves in the process of living our lives and building our lives together with the people around us that are critical, and I ask you to find time to do those things in 2020. We are in for a year of chaos and challenges, and in order to survive without any regrets, I truly believe we must all find a way to be centered ourselves.

Sounds a little bit too “new age” for you, doesn’t it? I know. But they don’t call me an “Angry Hippie” for nothing.

When it comes to politics and religion, people tend to have this stance of “it’s either my way or the highway” and it has already begun to drive major wedges between friends and family alike. Throw in sexual orientation conversations and suddenly families are torn apart and people are disowning each other. Then comes any other volatile “topic of the week” and things continue to grow and fester and suddenly… Well, you get the idea.

All I am asking of you is to take a moment to think before you speak. Enjoy a moment of peace once in a while. Take a walk and remember why you fell in love with your partner. Find some happiness in the company of others and not only hate, anger, frustration, annoyance. Add that to your new year’s goals or resolutions.

2020 is going to be hard enough as it is. Let’s not add to it. As for me, I’m going to get back to posting regularly on here this year as one of mine. The next post will be more normal Jamie and less preachy. Promise.

When Strong is All You Have

A lot has happened in my personal life since my last post. Things are still very fresh and very painful,like abundant stress, tears, death, and loss. It’s been an overwhelming struggle to get through it all, and I know that my story is not unique in any way. Hundreds if not thousands of people go through this kind of pain regularly. What does make my story unique are the things I can’t talk about yet because it’s still too painful to do so.

If you want the whole story, you can head over to my running blog and read it here. What I want to talk about here is a little different. When ‘strong’ is all you have – and it just isn’t enough.

Continue reading “When Strong is All You Have”

Birthday Facts – Chapter 38

Here we go, ladies and gentlemen! As I celebrate the 38th anniversary of the day of my birth, I present to you…. Birthday Facts. This year, I asked for questions from my friends and answered them as well as some others I scoured the internet for in hopes to maybe find some new things to offer up to you. I know these facts can sometimes get boring.

So without any more delay… Here they are.

Continue reading “Birthday Facts – Chapter 38”

What’s In My Media ‘Go’ Bag

I was preparing for Hurricane Irma and taking into consideration the things I learned from Hurricane Matthew, I made sure that I had a laptop from the agency so I could have access to SJSO materials freely. I was also handed a MiFi internet box as well. I put it in my media bag along with the other things I knew I’d need for the time I’d be at the EOC. After work that night, I ran to Target to grab a wireless mouse and a mousepad.

I never really thought about what other people didn’t know until it happened. We had left the EOC to take photos of the damage and destruction of the county, and I had grabbed my media bag to go with me. Sarah, a friend of mine, commented that her phone was running low on battery and without thinking about it, I handed over an external battery and an extra charging cable for an iPhone. There were jokes about how I was prepared and how I should be on their team (they worked for the county, and I work for law enforcement) but that’s when it hit me.

Everyone who is in public information should have a media go bag; a media bag with tools of the trade on the off chance that you find yourself in a position that is outside of a building with electricity. A kit that has essential tools that would allow you to do your job no matter what the circumstances are, one that you can grab at a moments notice and just go when called upon.

I’ve been building my kit since I started here at the Sheriff’s Office, and here is what I have in mine:

Continue reading “What’s In My Media ‘Go’ Bag”

Social Media and Common Sense

I don’t know when common sense became not so common. Perhaps it was lost when people starting using the whole “first amendment rights” to validate the really hurtful and negative things they say. Maybe it happened when we started teaching an entire generation that they don’t need to take responsibility for themselves and that they are entitled to whatever it is they want. Maybe it was lost long before all of that and is something only a select few people really have the grasp of.

Either way, it’s something I have to deal with when I get online and look at the posts people make on social media platforms. It always boggled my mind how people felt so brave behind a keyboard, spouting out their words of hate and cruelty shrouded in the disguise of “it’s just my opinion, lol.” People have this undeniable belief that what they post online is completely safe from repercussions. But the truth is it’s not, and using freedom of speech as your defense is not going to help you.

Continue reading “Social Media and Common Sense”

Here I am, stuck in the middle with you…

Life has been a little bit insane as of late, what with the white supremacists and the Nazi’s demanding whatever it is that they are demanding on one side, and the “bleeding heart liberals” on the other side demanding that those who are screaming that the Jews and the Blacks and everyone else that is being deemed “less than human” need to be shot and killed for their views on the other. Both sides are fighting, screaming, talking over each other in raised voices that are – at this point – screeching at the top of their lungs incoherent words more desperate on being the loudest than being accurate.

Now, before this goes any further, I want to make it absolutely clear that no matter what I’m about to say in the rest of this I don’t agree with the Nazi’s nor do I agree with anything that went down in Charlottesville. I was born and raised Jewish. My grandfather was a POW and a concentration camp survivor. I spent years of my childhood studying the Holocaust for my Hebrew Studies and I’ll be damned if that shit is going to happen again. So please remember who I am as you read these words, because I’m certain that this is going to be considered an unpopular opinion to many.

Continue reading “Here I am, stuck in the middle with you…”

UPDATE: Is the keyboard now mightier than the pen?

It wasn’t so long ago that the source of people’s opinions on things were drafted in letters, then mailed to the editor of a publication or a news show… or pretty much anything. You had to feel very strongly about the situation to sit down and spend the time writing out a letter, digging for the address on where to send it, find a stamp and an envelope and mail the thing out. Then, if your letter was chosen for publication, you might see it in print.

Today, all of that has been replaced with a keyboard and the onslaught of social media and the Internet. Now, if you have any grievances at all – from minor to major – all you have to do is scroll to the “contact” page of a site, grab the email address, and instantaneously send them hate mail; complaining about how much you loathe what they are doing for whatever reason you have. This way, they have the email instantly, and they can get back with you the very same day if necessary. In the world of Social Media, it gets worse. Every post could have an onslaught of both positive and negative comments, and since others are seeing it just as quickly as you are, conversations and arguments explode.

So it seems to be that the keyboard has now become mightier than the pen. Continue reading “UPDATE: Is the keyboard now mightier than the pen?”

How do you define YOU?

Years ago, right when Brian and I got married, Brian lost his job. Not only was it the worst timing ever, he sank into a deep depression for a while that threw him into a tailspin that surrounded with the one question that plagues us all from time to time: “who am I?”

It was a rough time for the two of us, especially since we had just started our married life together and despite what they say about nothing changing but your last name… things DO change. We ended up going through it again two years ago when I lost my job at Channel 4 and I realized I was at the pit of my darkest depression spell yet. It was a rough time for us again, as I had to rediscover who I was without the constant frantic chaos that comes with being in television news as well as going through the steps with the help of doctors and medication to pull myself out of the darkness.

Now I’m watching family members and friends go through the same thing. Only this time, I’m able to look at it in a different way. Since I am not directly involved, I’m able to see and really notice how lost these people are in their lives and what steps they are choosing to take in order to try and rediscover themselves, offer advice if asked and help them along the way.

Which begs the questions: when did we decide that our job or a relationship is what we need to define who we are? And why do we make that the sole thing? When did we decide to let an outside thing be the thing that defines who we are? And why is that allowed?

Continue reading “How do you define YOU?”

Politics, Feminism, and the Former Newsie

I don’t usually talk about politics or the fact that I’m a feminist publicly. Instead, I save it for those who I feel could hold an intellectual conversation and have a healthy debate with me that won’t include name calling and unnecessary bursts of shouting. I’m the kind of person who wants to hear both sides and make a decision based on what I believe and what I feel is right, and not deal with someone calling me ugly names or attacking me because I disagree with them.

Part of that stems from my 12 years in the news business. The only way you can remain unbiased is to do just that: find out both sides and report that. However, in the world of instant information, many people don’t do that. They jump on a bandwagon of angry villagers that are desperately trying to convince the other that they are right despite being unable to hold a decent discussion with facts and points to prove it.

So I tend to sit quietly and watch others, shaking my head in sadness that there is no way we can all have a decent conversation about all of this.

See, the thing is, I firmly believe in equal rights. I’m a feminist that believes that we all should be treated equally and fairly. I’m not an “I can do anything better than you can” feminist, but an “I can do that too” feminist.

I believe that both viagra and birth control pills should be covered by insurance. I believe that women should get paid the same that men get paid. I believe that men should have no say whatsoever on what a woman does with her body. I believe that Planned Parenthood should be supported because of the things they give women who don’t have insurance and need medical exams and medications. They do more of that than anything else.

I also believe that a woman who has sexually abused a man should get the same penalty that a man would get if he abused a woman. I believe a woman who has physically abused a man should get the same punishment that a man would get if he abused a woman. And I believe that people need to stop being so lackadaisical in their reactions when these things happen. Because they do happen. I believe that a woman who sleeps with a student is not a hero but a predator, just like if a man sleeps with a student. I believe that sexual harassment from a woman should be taken just as seriously as if it came from a man. I want men to be able to get paternity leave just like women get maternity leave, and I want them both to be paid leave and protected. 

And it’s not just about men and women. It’s about races, nationalities, sexualities. It’s about HUMANS. Being a feminist isn’t about bashing men, it’s about making things equal across all lines. And I believe that everyone should have the same chances as everyone else. Who are we to take away opportunities from others to be able to make their own decisions? Who made us dictators?

I have a friend who believes that she is less than her husband, and while I disagree with her… she is still my friend. I have a colleague who doesn’t believe in abortion, and I am pro-choice. He is still my friend. I have a large group of friends who decided to vote for Donald Trump, and they are still my friends. Some of those friends are also marching in today’s Women’s March, fighting for the rights of women and minorities everywhere.

All I’m saying is you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. A little bit of kindness, understanding, and intellectual conversation may do wonders in helping us all come to a consensus that will allow each party to find something to be happy about.

Until then, I’ll continue to watch from affair and refrain from burning my bra. This thing was expensive, and I like the color.

 

Life is a Grand Adventure

With a new year comes a chance to start anew and who isn’t excited for a chance to start all over again?

And it seems that now is the time for me to start everything over again. My marriage, my fitness, my friends, and my work… my focus has taken on a different hue in order to make sure there is time for my latest and greatest adventure. Graduate School.

What started out being an inquiry about graduate school ended up being an application, then a application process, then acceptance. Now, I’m a student at the Brian Lamb School of Communications through Purdue University. I’m doing an online masters program and it’s going to be a crazy 20 months, but it will be worth it when I can accept my degree and stand proudly.

Education has always been something I’ve believed in. Asking questions, being curious, wanting to learn and continue to learn is something that you should take pride in. Far too many people don’t take advantage of what’s out there and think they are an expert in fill in the blank here. I find those who ask questions are far more intelligent than those who don’t. And why shouldn’t we want to achieve the best education we can get our hands on?

I digress.

With the new adventure of graduate school added to the plate, my time has become quite important to me. I will need to adhere to a very strict schedule during the work week in order to get my workout in, my work done, my school work done, and still have time to be with Brian at one point in the evening. Then, on the weekends, I plan on spending a good chunk of the daytime on Saturday working on whatever assignment is needed from me. It will be a struggle, but it’s only for 20 months and I know I can make it work.

With a new year comes a chance to start anew. I’m still the same woman I was before, embracing herself as best she can. Now I’m just making the packaging a little bit shinier. I have many goals and plans for 2017, including graduate school, and can only hope to see you along for the ride.

Thanks for sticking it out with me. It’ll be a grand adventure.
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