Thursday, January 17, 2019

Try Try Again

As the year began I wanted to try to figure out if I could continue to blog and work on my book about what it like to live in Nashville, be ostensibly a medical tourist in the United States, cope with culture shock being in one's own country and in turn my realization that I had to abandon the belief that I would ever be a full time Teacher again.  So in other words I had a lot on my plate to contemplate.

I started the blog about Green Building and Construction as at the time I had folded one business buying and remodeling homes with my ex and in turn formed a new company that came right on the heels of the 2008 collapse so in turn that led that business to shut its doors before ever fully being open enough to grow into what I had wished.   A stint managing a hardware store for a visionary entrepreneur who had no clue but he had belief and ambition that led him to open the doors  but the Amazon river came literally to the shadow of his door of  led that business to eventually close but that time I had left and gone back to the classroom.  It was more about having better hours  and in turn cheaper housing so I moved and in that process I actually found I liked Substituting.  From that came my writing and realizing I could master the craft that I had once believed I had no talent. Irony after years correcting and editing Student's papers I had not realized I could also write my own.

Then time passed and I watched Seattle schools undergo two more Superintendents and the endless bullshit associated with Education take a toll, then I was brutally assaulted and finally my teeth after endless years of doing my best to keep them failed and I needed to figure out how to fix that and do so while keeping a roof over my head and maintaining sanity while undergoing perhaps the worst series of events that at one point made me question every aspect of my beliefs and history. So I decided to move to at least solve one issue, figure out the rest and perhaps find my way back to school, both as student and teacher.

Well here I am now entering year three and I will be gone shortly after hitting that anniversary and I cannot wait.  I had no idea of what I would expect coming here but like all adventures it has been a mixed bag.  I have not decided what I dislike more about Nashville but the list seems to focus on the grifters, the liars,  and the idiots that rival any member of the Trump White House.  So following politics has become something I do from the pages of newspapers and the national nightly news and the rest of the time I stay away.  When things come not only close to home but never leave something has to give and this too contributes to why I need to leave sooner over later.

Tomorrow we elect a Plumber to the Governor's mansion.  This follows a Prayer service at the Grand Ole Opry which again marks the end to any sense of the separation of Church and State. But that began already last year when every school had to prominently display a sign "In God We Trust" as mandated under state law.  Jesus is very much alive here in the deep red Volunteer state. Again any time Nashville tries to assert its own municipal independence the State promptly circumvents that.

Then we have the issues of education and that includes public vs private vs everything else in between.  There are numerous bloggers, from Dad Gone Wild to the Tennessee Education Report, that do excellent jobs keeping up on the endless scandals, lies and issues facing education here in a State that simply refuses to actually face facts and truths; that what we have always come to believe the foundation of education.  But then again that I have come to learn is the reality of the South the constant beat of the contradiction and hypocrisy.  Again, blame Jesus.

The State's history is awash with scandal, controversy and bullshit that is alive to this day. From the election to our Senior Senator Alexander when he became Governor (this man who professes to stranglehold Government has managed to make it a lifetime career) to the former Slattern Mayor who literally fucked her career away it is a never ending saga of debts, lies and obfuscations of truths that dominate the city skyline like the bat tower that stands above it watching to wait out to send a bat signal where no Batman will come to save the day but actually bats to only further darken the skyline.

So as the I look to the year ahead it appears my plate of meat and threes is fairly full.  I have no idea if when my lease ends if I can stay two months to finish up my dental work or I will have to move to an AirBnb which I suspect is the primary mover of many sales and developments here in the area.  The crappy unit in my building is on contingency as it awaits inspection.  I suspect only an out of state buyer was willing to pay 322,900 for this dump as they have no idea how poorly constructed, maintained and designed it is.  There is no way they would know about the train that stops at the base of the street and blocks you from getting out and in for hours at a day and the endless blasting of horns that accompany this so I suspect this is another move into the short term rental market as no one sane would actually buy and own these.  I live in them and I should know.

Then we have the endless violence and crime that dominates the news here to the point I cannot believe how bad it is with no end in sight and yet they endlessly brag how crime is down.  Okay then. During a conversation last night at my local coffee shop/bar (again that is one plus about living here) I talked about this with a young man who was oblivious to this as he had no reason to be informed and assumed that most crime was largely black on black crime. True but I walked in the door flipped on the news and two women leaving work from the hotel they worked at right downtown were targeted by two new thieves (a man and woman) who asked them for a cigarette and as one woman reached into their bag the two Maced them and then knocked them to the ground, assaulted and robbed them both. These two have been targeting these types of workers the last few weeks and of course no one bothered to inform the public so again this continues to prove my point, it is not safe here.

 Then we have the endless hysteria about Amazon.  The truth is of course vague, unspecific and full of bullshit, the same ingredients that comprise Sweet Tea here.

Amazon expects to hire "several hundred" people in 2019, particularly in the second half of the year. That's according to Holly Sullivan, the company's director of worldwide economic development.
In November Amazon announced it would open corporate hubs in the New York City and Washington, D.C., markets — and also create a "Center of Excellence" at the Nashville Yards development.

Amazon is poised to receive more than $100 million of state and Metro incentives, tied to its pledge of 5,000 jobs within seven years. It is the largest jobs announcement in state history. Even at just half that jobs number, Amazon would rank as downtown's largest company. Amazon has said its jobs will pay an average of $150,000 a year, more than the income of roughly nine of every 10 households in Middle Tennessee.
Amazon describes its Nashville office as "the eastern U.S. regional hub for the tech and management functions" of its retail operations division, led by Senior Vice President Dave Clark. The division handles supply-chain management, transportation, order fulfillment and related activities for a network of 144 distribution centers.
"We are in the early stages of determining some of the specifics. But we do know there will be some technical jobs, and some less-technical jobs, that will offer diverse employment opportunities for Tennesseans," Sullivan said.
A handful of Nashville positions are listed on Amazon's jobs website, though none appear directly tied to the company's new office hub.
For now, Amazon is taking space at one of the co-working centers run by WeWork Cos. Inc. At the Nashville Yards development, Amazon plans to occupy a 20-story office tower at Church Street and 10th Avenue North, near the downtown YMCA. That tower is expected to open in the first half of 2021.

And this is coupled by a rising debt of the City and a Mayoral election that again puts the fiscal responsibility of this fucked up hot chicken mess of a city on its divided, both racially and economically but not politically as this is not a blue progressive city but a nice shade of pink one, further at odds.

Nashville's debt has hit levels not seen in a decade 

The city spent one out of every $10 in government funds to pay off debt last fiscal year, according to Metro's annual financial report.
And debt pressure continues to build. The city continues to borrow to fund construction projects while also facing expense payments delayed during the Great Recession of the late 2000s.
Here's a closer look at some of the numbers:
$3.6 billion: Amount of Metro's general obligation debt, which has funded school repairs, community centers, parks, sidewalks and other infrastructure. It doesn't include big-ticket items like the $623 million Music City Center or the $91 million First Tennessee Park baseball stadium. Those have dedicated revenue streams outside of taxes.
$0: Cost-of-living pay increases for city workers in the approved budget by Mayor David Briley and the city council. There was also $37.7 million less in revenue for Metro schools than had been requested.
$251.8 million: Metro's debt payments last fiscal year, up 44 percent from a decade ago.
32 percent: How much property tax revenues climbed in that same period. Briley has committed to not raising property taxes this year.

 So the reality is that it is staking all of its hopes and dreams on a company who have pledged to bring 5K in jobs over the next SEVEN years.  Sure, what.ever.

Who ends up working here and will the initial jobs be imported ones largely comprised of executives who can fly in and out direct from Seattle via Alaska, work out of WeWork and do most of this offsite?  I guess yes.   The original 250 jobs a year forecasted has now been downgraded to approximately 180.  I have a feeling that meter will drop again by years end.   But here in Nashville this is finally the belief that prayer pays off, literally pays off,  as it is money and gospel of prosperity that dominates the pulpits here. i

Money is the drug and the reality is that even the local investment banks is cautioning about investments particularly in commercial build.  The largest investments are from out of state and they have no sense of this place and have no interest in it other than financial I expect it to only get worse. So I cannot continue to write daily about this and feel good about any of it.  But I have looked to see what issues do I care about and that seems to focus on those closest to me heart - health, aging and gender.

Again the Women's March is facing a new backlash a year into its formation and #MeToo seems stuck in park so I am interested to see if these too fall into the ash heap of activism of the past few years.  I am pleased that the former Parkland Students are going onto college and life and perhaps follow a career in activism that has been fueled by the emergence of women across the country who ran and often without the support of the larger forces that control such systems. I would like to see Stacy Abrams emerge and see where she could fit into a true leadership position that would merge the issues of race, gender and economics in a way that would enable us to have a focus that clearly many of this issues are lacking.   Without cohesion we have division and with division we have nothing.

But what I have found interesting of late is the focus on the aging woman. Funny I don't see this lasting much longer either and frankly any woman who embraces being called a crone or any other negative moniker needs to ask herself is not Bitch enough?  So here again is another women defending her age? Do men do this? I don't think so so I have nothing to apologize or explain. So as I go into this new year I am going to not apologize or explain I am just going to write what I see, think and feel and the rest can go fuck themselves.  I can only keep trying and moving forward for when I stop moving I am pretty much dead. No explanation or apologies needed.

The Joy of Being a Woman in Her 70s

Many of us have learned that happiness is a skill and a choice.

By Mary Pipher
Mary Pipher is a clinical psychologist in Lincoln, Neb., and the author of the forthcoming “Women Rowing North: Navigating Life’s Currents and Flourishing as We Age.”

The New York Times
Jan. 12, 2019

When I told my friends I was writing a book on older women like us, they immediately protested, “I am not old.” What they meant was that they didn’t act or feel like the cultural stereotypes of women their age. Old meant bossy, useless, unhappy and in the way. Our country’s ideas about old women are so toxic that almost no one, no matter her age, will admit she is old.

In America, ageism is a bigger problem for women than aging. Our bodies and our sexuality are devalued, we are denigrated by mother-in-law jokes, and we’re rendered invisible in the media. Yet, most of the women I know describe themselves as being in a vibrant and happy life stage. We are resilient and know how to thrive in the margins. Our happiness comes from self-knowledge, emotional intelligence and empathy for others.

Most of us don’t miss the male gaze. It came with catcalls, harassment and unwanted attention. Instead, we feel free from the tyranny of worrying about our looks. For the first time since we were 10, we can feel relaxed about our appearance. We can wear yoga tights instead of nylons and bluejeans instead of business suits.

Yet, in this developmental stage, we are confronted by great challenges. We are unlikely to escape great sorrow for long. We all suffer, but not all of us grow. Those of us who grow do so by developing our moral imaginations and expanding our carrying capacities for pain and bliss. In fact, this pendulum between joy and despair is what makes old age catalytic for spiritual and emotional growth.

By our 70s, we’ve had decades to develop resilience. Many of us have learned that happiness is a skill and a choice. We don’t need to look at our horoscopes to know how our day will go. We know how to create a good day.

We have learned to look every day for humor, love and beauty. We’ve acquired an aptitude for appreciating life. Gratitude is not a virtue but a survival skill, and our capacity for it grows with our suffering. That is why it is the least privileged, not the most, who excel in appreciating the smallest of offerings.

Many women flourish as we learn how to make everything workable. Yes, everything. As we walk out of a friend’s funeral, we can smell wood smoke in the air and taste snowflakes on our tongues.

Our happiness is built by attitude and intention. Attitude is not everything, but it’s almost everything. I visited the jazz great Jane Jarvis when she was old, crippled and living in a tiny apartment with a window facing a brick wall. I asked if she was happy and she replied, “I have everything I need to be happy right between my ears.”

We may not have control, but we have choices. With intention and focused attention, we can always find a forward path. We discover what we are looking for. If we look for evidence of love in the universe, we will find it. If we seek beauty, it will spill into our lives any moment we wish. If we search for events to appreciate, we discover them to be abundant.

There is an amazing calculus in old age. As much is taken away, we find more to love and appreciate. We experience bliss on a regular basis. As one friend said: “When I was young I needed sexual ecstasy or a hike to the top of a mountain to experience bliss. Now I can feel it when I look at a caterpillar on my garden path.”

Older women have learned the importance of reasonable expectations. We know that all our desires will not be fulfilled, that the world isn’t organized around pleasing us and that others, especially our children, are not waiting for our opinions and judgments. We know that the joys and sorrows of life are as mixed together as salt and water in the sea. We don’t expect perfection or even relief from suffering. A good book, a piece of homemade pie or a call from a friend can make us happy. As my aunt Grace, who lived in the Ozarks, put it, “I get what I want, but I know what to want.”

We can be kinder to ourselves as well as more honest and authentic. Our people-pleasing selves soften their voices and our true selves speak more loudly and more often. We don’t need to pretend to ourselves and others that we don’t have needs. We can say no to anything we don’t want to do. We can listen to our hearts and act in our own best interest. We are less angst-filled and more content, less driven and more able to live in the moment with all its lovely possibilities.

Many of us have a shelterbelt of good friends and long-term partners. There is a sweetness to 50-year-old friendships and marriages that can’t be described in language. We know each other’s vulnerabilities, flaws and gifts; we’ve had our battles royal and yet are grateful to be together. A word or a look can signal so much meaning. Lucky women are connected to a rich web of women friends. Those friends can be our emotional health insurance policies.

The only constant in our lives is change. But if we are growing in wisdom and empathy, we can take the long view. We’ve lived through seven decades of our country’s history, from Truman to Trump. I knew my great-grandmother, and if I live long enough, will meet my great-grandchildren. I will have known seven generations of family. I see where I belong in a long line of Scotch-Irish ancestors. I am alive today only because thousands of generations of resilient homo sapiens managed to procreate and raise their children. I come from, we all come from, resilient stock, or we wouldn’t be here.

By the time we are 70, we have all had more tragedy and more bliss in our lives than we could have foreseen. If we are wise, we realize that we are but one drop in the great river we call life and that it has been a miracle and a privilege to be alive.

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