Category Archives: Life

Why…Are We Still Having These Types Of Conversations?

The USA soccer team, arguably considered the best in the world, is currently playing a World Cup tournament in France. They have won three of the seven World Cups played, including the last one in 2015 and are playing in the semis next week. They have a chance to win a fourth World Cup but it won’t be easy

By comparison, since World War II, the men’s team has advanced past the World Cup round of 16 exactly once. They finished eighth in 2002. They are 24th in FIFA’s rankings and failed to even qualify for last years tournament.

According to audited financial statements from the U.S. Soccer Federation obtained by the Wall Street Journal, the women’s team has generated more revenue than men’s games over the past three years.

So why was the women’s team forced to file a federal employment discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation alleging that although they could earn a maximum of 99,000 for winning 20 friendly games this year, the men would earn an average of 260,000 for the same exact accomplishment.
For winning the 2015 World Cup, the women’s team received 1.725 million from the federation. For its 15th place finish, the men took home bonuses totaling nearly 5.4 million.
According to figures obtained from the Federation’s financial report, the women’s team helped the Federation exceed it’s overall projected revenue  for the year by 18 million.

According to the lawsuit, the women’s player association has proposed a revenue sharing model that would tie player compensation to revenue generated by the women’s national team.

Seems fair  and reasonable to me. Oh, and the men’s national team has issued a statement of support for the women’s team lawsuit and the revenue sharing model.

By the way, this is not just a USA problem. The best female soccer player in the world, Ada Hegerberg, from Norway, has not played for her national team since 2017, protesting what she states is gender discrimination from the Norwegian Federation between how it treats the men’s and women’s team. While Norway has since adjusted their pay scales and bonuses, it’s hasn’t done enough to encourage Hegerberg to return.

So the big question is why? How can an organization who acknowledges that women are generating higher revenues than men, continue to pay women less?

What year are we living in and when will this type of antiquated thinking finally be put behind us?

 

There Was A Time…

I read an article recently about the changes that have occurred in our lives over the past couple of decades. The obvious ones are a result of technology and how we communicate and gather information in our daily lives. But technology has also eliminated other, less obvious items, things that seemed to fade away over a period of time. Things we no longer do.

Like….

Memorize a phone number.

I still have phones numbers memorized but that’s because I’m ancient. It used to be something I always did. Now it’s not necessary. Everything is on your phone or in the cloud.

Use a phone book to book up a business or name

I’m sure there is a generation of young people who don’t know what the “yellow pages” are and have never seen something called a phone book. But for many years, this was the way we looked up  phone numbers and even addresses of people we wanted to contact. This is how we found contractors to do work around the house or businesses for everyday needs. There was no Angie’s List or reviews on different sites to help determine who you wanted to hire. It was the phone book or word of mouth.

Selling your car with a cardboard sign stuck in the windshield.

I’ll still see this one occasionally, parked in some random location with a phone number and price included. But not often. On line sites, including Craigslist took care of that some years back.

Figure out math in your head

Paying cash for something is becoming more unusual these days but it’s always fun to pay in cash and give the person behind the register some change to eliminate pennies or some bills. They stare at their hands in confusion and look back up at you like committed some crime. Alexa does homework for kids sop that simple math is done with a voice request or on a calculator sitting on your phone.

Calling and asking someone “where are you?”

In this age of technology, all you have to do is download a phone tracker app and everyone you need to find can be located. No more wondering how long before they’ll home for dinner. Well, they could be in traffic, but there’s an app for that also.

Telling time by the hands on a clock

There is an entire generation of young people that either can’t do this or have difficulty with it. When I did some substitute teaching, analog clocks were still in some classrooms and I would always have fun asking kids for the time. I could probably write a blog on those responses.

Photo Albums

Sure some of them are still out there and being made but probably not by younger generations. Can you see them printing an image at some local photo shop store, taking 50 or hundred 4×6 or 5×7 photos back home and placing them in a photo album they purchased at Walmart? Digital photography and photo sharing services have all but eliminated that process.

Have a CD or record collection

There are still collectors and purists out there that collect but like photography, music is digital. Napster, (ancient now), paved the way for lots of music being condensed into tiny formats you can easily carry around with you.

Make mixtapes

I still have drawers filled with these and no where to play them. Actually, I think I still have an old boom box somewhere. I used to love finding just the right song to add onto a specific tape. I’d copy them from radios or records. Anywhere I could.

Calling a theatre for movie times

I remember having to call a movie theatre and listen to a recording listing the movies and times they were being shown. Sometimes you’d pick up the recording mid loop and have to wait for it to begin all over again to hear about the movie you wanted to see. Alexa has that covered now.

Blockbuster 

One store left in the world and theres a whole generation of young people who probably never heard the word.

Record your favorite movie or show on tape. 

I can’t tell you how many VHS tapes I still have with movies and shows I can watch anytime I want on any streaming service. I can even pull up a specific scene. I just can’t convince myself to get rid of those old tapes. And I don’t know why.

Watch shows when they’re broadcast live.

I’ve probably done this at some point in the last few months but I don’t remember when and for what reason. DVR and no commercials. A wonderful invention.

Run to the store for a last minute gift

Amazon has taken care of that problem. If you’re near an Amazon hub you can get something the same day.

Cut things out of the newspaper

I used to do that all the time if I found an article I liked and wanted to keep. Copy and text eliminated that.

Send a handwritten letter

Sigh. This is something I wish would never go away. There is something so personal about receiving a handwritten note. I could, and have written at length about this but since some schools don’t even teach handwriting anymore after a certain grade, it’ll be something that is gone soon. And that’s unfortunate.

Looking up the spelling of words in a dictionary

Spellcheck and autocorrect has taken care of that for us, even placing words never intended into spots that create some uncomfortable moments for us.

Using a phone booth to make a telephone call

I don’t remember the last time I saw one, even one that was busted up. I kind of miss them but not the millions of particles of germs that probably came along with the experience.

Carrying cash

Years ago, I gave each of daughters a twenty dollar bill and told them to stick in their wallets and use it only in the event of an emergency. Occasionally I used to ask to see it. Now everyone has a credit or debit card. I think I might have to ask for those 20’s back and go out for a nice little dinner with the wife. But my guess is they’re long gone.

Using a travel agent

Travel agents still serve a purpose if you’re panning an elaborate trip but for basic flights and hotels it’s a do it yourself kind of thing. There are lots of sites that can provide reviews and book flights and hotels.

Getting old checks back from the bank every month. 

Some people still write checks. I even write one or two every month but this too will soon be eliminated. Security does make me nervous but I’ve gotten over it. Most of the time.

So what about you? Anything minor items that you can think of that technology has replaced?

When A Couple Of Days Becomes A Couple Of Months

Sooooo…..how’s it going out there?

Been a while for me. Not that anyone is counting days but my last post was two months ago. That’s a long time without a sound in the blogosphere, especially when there is no justifiable reason. I’m fine, family is fine, (thankfully), weather is getting warmer, another Idol has been crowned, it’s lighter longer, politics is still an embarrassment and Thrones has finished.

And I’ve been gone.

Some people I know were celebrating that fact. Sorry to disappoint you.

It’s one thing to take a planned hiatus, understanding that you need to step away for any number of reasons. But I never planned to take a break. Two days suddenly became two months and I feel like I’ve missed a lot. So why the disappearing act? ( I’ll explain, in case you’re interested, of course.)

Well, March through July is usually a pretty busy time for our immediate family. We celebrate ten birthdays in a very short period of time, all of which have some sort of party. Throw in Mother’s Day, Easter, Fathers’ Day and our wedding anniversary and the days and weekends are pretty full. But then this year came along and we added two communions, two dance recitals, a kickboxing tournament and a college graduation to the mix.

But I’m just getting started.

In March decided to begin two projects around the house, both of which involves contacting contractors, waiting for them to possibly show up, getting quotes and scheduling the work. Two major projects. Call seven people and you’re lucky if three show up. For each project.
Oh, then there was that separate problem with water in the basement around the sump pump and contacting a half dozen people, each of whom had their own ideas and cost on how to fix it. Yeah, that was fun. This last ten months of constant rain has been a blast. Noah’s never around when you need him most

There’s more but I don’t want to wear out my dubious welcome.

Now, I don’t know about you but for me to write anything or string two sentences together, the stars pretty much have to align, and by that I mean, it has to be quiet, not only in the room I’m in, but in my head as well. Crowded mind, cluttered mind.  I’m not from the Stephen King school of writing.
You know those times when you’re moving through the day and you come up with an idea or two for a blog and you write it down so you won’t forget? I was never able to get to a pencil or paper or phone fast enough. And at my age, if I don’t record it at that moment it becomes like the leaves of an oak tree during a nor’easter in the fall.

Now I’m not complaining at all. I know I’m blessed. All the things I’ve mentioned are good things, except the water/weather problem, of course, but the Man upstairs seems to have a different opinion of that than I do. We’ve differed before. That’s okay. We always seem to make up.

We’re only halfway through the party/celebration season but at least the projects are now completed so I feel theres been a little more quiet in my head. A little more focus. Or at least as much focus as I’m capable of. Don’t expect too much.

So, that’s my explanation/excuse. It’s not much but it’s all I have. I know I’ve missed a lot and I’m sorry about that. If you want to break up, it’s understandable, You can even keep the ring. We’ll call it even.

 

Is This Our Reality?

I never realized how much our general population enjoys a good train wreck. As much as we say we turn away and try to shield our eyes, many still enjoy the drama. How else to explain the popularity of some reality shows?

I try to imagine someone sitting around their office or at home playing with their kids and thinking, I’m going to create a show where I place a man and a women in a dangerous, isolated jungle somewhere without any food or water for 21 days and see if they can survive the elements. Oh, and I’m going to make sure they’re completely naked during their time together. Then, I’ll get really creative with the title and call the show, Naked and Afraid.
Nine seasons running with Emmy nominations.

Then there was that person who thought, I’m going to ask a guy who is not married if he wants to meet twenty or thirty women, get to know them, romance them, share intimate moments with them and God knows what else, all while being filmed, in the hopes of meeting his future wife. I’m going to call this show, The Bachelor. It’ll be easy to find these guys and apparently easier to find a large pool of women who are willing to be jilted each week, participate in catfights, compromise themselves, all on camera,  with the hope of finding a husband. And fame, of course. This show is so successful it’s been on for twenty-three seasons and had several spinoffs including The Bachelorette, (of course), Bachelor Pad, Bachelor in Paradise, After Paradise, and The Bachelor Winter Games. (Really)

Or maybe I’ll find some rich women who are apparently bored with their money and families and ask them if they want to document their lives with other rich and bored housewives  in front of television cameras. I’ll tell them that it’s okay to be as bitchy and selfish as they want, expose their impressionable children to this type of environment and their lives to scandal and scrutiny because really, at the end of the day they have more money than they need and it really doesn’t matter what anyone watching thinks. They can care less. They’re only interested in showing off their wealth and “good side.” Just show me the money because I can never have enough of that. Let’s see, this show will start  in Orange County, (because why not), then go to New York City, New Jersey, D.C., Beverly Hills, Miami, Potomac and Dallas.
Since train wrecks are not just popular in this country Housewives was also created for Athens, Vancouver, Melbourne, Los Angeles (in French), Cheshire, Auckland, Sydney Toronto, Hungary and South Africa.

Of course there’s also Jersey Shore, Temptation Island, Love Island, Here comes Honey Boo Boo, The Kardashians, and a host of others including your favorite and mine, The Apprentice, where careers go to die.

I know if I ever chose to get into a discussion with anyone about these train wrecks I would hear about the social understanding they derive from watching, how it helps them understand what makes people and relationships tick and survive. Yeah. To that I say, blah, blah, blah.

I’d stay longer, give you more examples and try to explain the strangeness of the public’s fascination with these shows but I’ve only been writing for a short period of time and I feel like I need to take a shower and take out the garbage.

I know I probably offended some people who enjoy these shows and I know you’re probably waiting for me to say I’m sorry but there is something caught in my throat.

 

 

Living With Dreams

 

“Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” 
James 4:14

Thirty-nine years ago today my father passed away suddenly, less than a day after we buried my thirty-two year old brother-in-law who died of cancer. When you spend a week and half sitting in a funeral home making final arrangements for two people of your immediate family, life has a way of changing you. Not immediately, and sometimes not even in ways you can understand or explain. But it does change you.

It’s hard to believe so much time has gone by and even more difficult to think about everything they missed and everything we missed sharing with them. We lost a part of our future and past in a matter of days. I don’t know if we ever really recover from loss or just throw a blanket over it to allow us to function each day. We carry on, we laugh, we welcome new family members, we enjoy life because there is no other choice. We live for the living and for ourselves. Still, there’s always a hole, always moment in days where we stop and maybe smile at a memory or what they might have done or said about a family situation. Or the way life has changed so much over the years.

Here’s the strange part of the story…

A couple of weeks before my Dad died, I had a dream. In my dream, I saw him in a coffin at the funeral home, exactly as he appeared after he passed away.
Ten years earlier, my grandfather, (my father’s father), died unexpectedly. A couple of weeks before he died, I had a dream. In that dream, I saw him as he appeared in the coffin. My grandfather lived in Brooklyn so I had never been to that funeral parlor. And yet, when I walked in, everything was as I had seen it. In detail. I remember it very clearly.

A couple of days after my father was buried, I told my mother about both dreams. For obvious reasons, I had never told anyone about them before. She wanted to know why I didn’t tell her. She wondered if there might have been something we could have done if she had known. But as soon as she said the words, she understood.

You can’t alter your life chasing those types of dreams, just like you can’t alter your life chasing what might have been. There’s no time for that, no secret recipe for the secrets of life.

So hold the ones you love close. Those that are here and those who are not. And if the ones who are here don’t understand, hold them closer.

 

 

 

 

Scattering Love

                   It’s not what you gather but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you’ve lived.
Helen Walton

I was thinking about my childhood the other day and trying to remember how far back my memories went. I settled on somewhere between four and five years old but there were only a handful that were clear to me. That bothered me, especially when I took what was then and applied it to now.

Making memories with the people you love or care about is one of life’s greatest gifts. Some of the times we’ve laughed most were with our children and grandchildren, especially during their early years, when everything is on the table, learning is a daily adventure, innocent words  are a sound byte and your sense of wonder sometimes equals theirs. Those are memories that we’ll keep with us forever. Unfortunately, it’s all one-sided. Because in those early years it’s not anything they’ll remember. Influenced, yes. But all the things that were said or laughed about until there were tears in our eyes will not be a definitive memory for them.

That shouldn’t bother me because it’s just another cycle of life, but it does. I remember things that we did with our children and now our grandchildren that were special moments, and though we can relay the stories, it’s not the same as being there in our mutual minds. I sit and have conversations now with our grandchildren, play games, tell stories, laugh at the silliest things, hold them if they cry and sit back and wonder if they’ll remember any of it.

I’ve always understood this but I suppose as I’ve gotten older, Helen Walton’s quote has taken on a different meaning. You want those you love to remember every last laugh and cuddle and hand holding because you know that time of innocence, like life, is so short. Eight or nine comes too quick and soon they’re moving on. Parents will always be more invested in the lives of their children/grandchildren than the other way around. That’s just the way it is. It’s not a matter of loving or caring, it’s just the emotional investment that begins long before they open their eyes and never goes away.

So selfishly you want them to remember it all. Every amazing moment. Big and small. Hoping that you’ve scattered enough love and joy into their lives that one day they may laugh at something silly for no reason at all. You may not know it or even be there. But if it brought them happiness, then maybe something in their two year old lives stuck, and you’ve scattered enough.

And maybe, just maybe, the shade of a memory will not only be yours.

 

Bernice Sandler, And Why You Should Know Her Name

Bernice Sandler died this week at the age of 90. She is not a household name and my guess is most people don’t know who she is. That’s unfortunate because there are so many women in this country that owe so much to her strength and determination.

She was a schoolgirl in the 30’s and 40’s when she was told she couldn’t do some of the things that boys do, like be a crossing guard, fill an inkwell or operate a slide projector. When she was older and teaching part-time at the University of Maryland she was denied a full-time position because “you come on too strong.” Others suggested she was just a housewife who should be at home with sick children.

That past fueled her desire for change, which led to her becoming the face, voice and force behind the development, passage and implementation of Title IX, the civil rights law of 1972 that barred sex discrimination by educational institutions that received federal funding. It required that male and female students have equal access to admissions, resources and financial assistance, among other things.

To fully appreciate Dr Sanders, you have to go back to the dark ages of 1972, where many universities had limits on the number of female professors they would hire. Salaries for female faculty members were well behind men and while men’s varsity sports received millions of dollars in federal funding, female athletes held bake sales to pay for their uniforms, had no lockers and were forced to dress in their dorms.

Back in those dark ages of my lifetime, sex discrimination was not illegal in education. But Dr. Sandler found a reference to an unheralded executive order amended by President Johnson that barred organizations with federal contracts from discriminating on the basis of sex. She understood that most universities received federal funding so she went to work, beginning a class action lawsuit in 1970 on behalf of all women in higher education. She found that some schools had no woman faculty  and that women were often denied scholarships if they were married. She proceeded to file complaints against more than 250 institutions.

Title IX applies to every aspect of education, including enrollment, courses, financial assistance, housing and student services. But its impact has probably been most visible in college sports. Where resources for, and participation by women, lagged behind men prior to Title IX, participation exploded in the decades following implementation. Before Title IX, one in 27 girls participated in sports. By 2016, that number was two in five.

Sadly, after all these years, Title IX still has a long way to go before it eradicates decades of entrenched sexual discrimination. In Dr. Sandler’s own words, “I was extraordinarily naive. I believed that if we pressed Title IX it would only take a year or two for all the inequalities based on sex to be eliminated. After two years, I upped my estimate to five years, then to ten, then to twenty-five, until I finally realized that we were trying to change very strong patterns of behavior and belief, and that changes would take more than my lifetime to accomplish.”

Unfortunately, like all forms of discrimination and inequality, ignorance and distorted beliefs hinder real change.

Still, there are tens of thousands of women over the last forty-five years who owe so much to Dr. Sandler’s courage and determination. Women who have positions of power on college campuses, who have equal pay, who share the same educational and athletic resources as men, are all indebted to her sacrifices.

Bernice Sandler is a name and life that should be remembered by everyone.